I think flowers in experience opened Yellow-red, orange, black All your little arms and legs Seafoam. Michael Thomas Taren
For a long time I knew only of one real way the Universe was made : a man enters a bar, it is late at night, and only the old drunkhards are left. The barmaid, a small fat woman with sausage fingers and drooping lips, is falling asleep on the zinc counter with her cheek sinking into the hollow of the palm of her right hand. The man enters, the camera follows him - I forgot to mention this is a movie, in a harsh black and white which savors beautifully the contours of all the drunken heads - till he is fully seated, on a stool which in colors might be dark burgandy, purplish red, or carmoisine. The man sits down, he is rather young, with sharp features that reminds one of a miner worker, or else an unemployed artist who eats seldom and streetfights often. When he sits down the barmaid awakes, a little drool at the mouth and eyes blurry with the cream of half-eaten dreams. She serves him a pint of beer in a comateous state, then resumes to her precedent position, eyelids fluttering for a short while like apricot-colored moths grazing down at her chin. The man looks around, taking slow sips of his beer. When he is half-way through the pint he rises, and stands in the now visible circle of lolling drunkened breaths, and clapping his hands twice in the air he starts swirling, making rise and awaking the drunks from their chairs or sleep, helping them into a standing position till the assemblage of all the drunkened bodies in the bar is mimicking perfectly the memory the man has of the skeleton of a certain Universe: the one where the bar scene is taking place, the only Universe permeable to the touch of those who dwell in it by a flick of the wrist of misfortune or by accident, the drunks and barmaids and the universe-making man all the same. The opening lines to Taren's poem PARASITISM COLORS. NO. are the glyph in which this whole scene, and the figurines of mortal men in their colorized blood that pulsates in it, is compressed :
Purdey Lord Kreiden confirmed Carlos Finlay hypothesis that mosquitos transmitted yellow fever. Her book CHILDREN OF THE BAD HOUR is forthcoming by Ugly Duckling Press in the Fall of 2014. In a facile attempt at unlikely self-aggrandisement, she would also like it to be shouted from the rooftops that she has co-translated Tony Duvert's l'Ile Atlantique with Michael Thomas Taren (Semiotext(e), forthcoming).
It's a failure to grasp the universe. A failure made by the universe to grasp itself. We're not enough.
One man is the Sun, and the bar itself is the Solar System; one man is the Stars, one man is the Sky, one man is the Others Planets, one is the Moon, one is the Ocean, one is the Earth on which the man that is the Soil is drinking. The man that has made them is foaming little whirpools of air from man to man, showing the rotation of the planets, showing how the earth emerged and how all creatures were made; in a sequence-plan of ten minutes, with a handful of winos, a derelict bar at night and a sharp-shaped young man, Bela Tarr in the Werckmeister Harmonies has once and for all created The Universe. When I saw this movie for the first time I all at the same time sobbed and laughed and drowned in graze and died and slept and thought I would never again encounter such a mimicking of Creation that would render all the other ones obsolete, but then I met Michael Thomas Taren and I discovered the Universe could be made up and remade by him, directly from the primeval Ocean to his urethra and back again, till from exhaustion or boredom a little handful of buglike murmurs glazes again, and a new planet never yet sodden in the blood of his language timidely rises from the depths of a single drop of sea-urine, in which a whole poem in the form of an imaginary land would crystallize into being
A TREMOR ACROSS THE TOPS OF PINES.Your shirt open is buried in light Juvenescent antler, and in its place continuous in its lips The river passes peaking, a javelin thrown now To her friend, come up If he is awake, and if it is Slowblack ferns touching the hand people pass Water, ovum, shallows, wheel, Where I have never ceased to be a stranger. A widlier indistinct, Buried and if not buried. Calm enough to be. -MTT
In his collection of essays The Hall Of Uselessness, Simon Leyes introduces the reader to Chinese poetry and paiting; in the Chinese tradition, 'painters and poets are associated with the cosmic creation, and artistic creation participates in the dynamism of the universe'. Leyes talks at length about a great Chinese poet, Li Bai. He explains that 'Li Bai is a poet who can associate with mountains an rivers; he converses with the sun and the stars, as you and I chat with our old friends; he drinks at the banquet of the planets, he rides on the tails of comets'
Taren, for his part, brave as the ocean, let nothing come between him and the stellar world which he forever stabs in the heart, neck and heart again;
If I were sewed with a blue algae, in the city of my birth if I were forced to ascend the steps unwashed Well, well. Brave, be brave, what casts itself so starkly against you. be brave as the ocean, be brave as a hurricane, brave and moving, and stellar the traffic of insect worlds on a pont over the river. The bells dance the bell dance nostrils flare like the bells dance at the scent of poppies and the imagined scentThen, having shat out the universe after eating the void, in a mindless act of cosmic creation the purer and more brilliant for being devoid of motive or awareness Michael Thomas Taren in his starry outfit went strolling about the Universe (under a pine tree, having been asked where his master was, the boy servant answered 'He went to collect medicinal herbs') then, (A shirt that reads) : PLUTO REVOLVES AT PEACE then Taren encountered a man, genitals flickering like a face, hirsute and feminine, beating up a double-headed snake next to the market, beating it up straight into a basket where the serpent with his own schlong-shaped body had been copulating But, in the manner of the soft boy who surveyed the ships in Mishima's Decay of the Angel, he knew the happiness of watching. Nature had told him of it. No eye could be clearer or brighter than the eye that had nothing to create, nothing to do but gaze. When Li Bai had no one to share his bottle of wine with, 'he would improvise at once a little party with three guests - himself, the moon and his own shadow - and this lively drinking bout ends with an appointment for another gathering next spring, in the Milky Way...)
And so, lurking in a crocus bush dark and warm as the steam produced by rice being cooked, Taren spied on the man who had beaten up the mating snakes till it was time for him to get high with them :
Tiresias took drugs The boy who led Tiresias took drugs Oedipus took drugs Tiresias gave him The shepherd gave the young child Oedipus A full dose. It was drugs. Jocasta, just before she yielded To Oedipus on their wedding night, was high. Creon swallowed A handful of pure drugs. The chorus always high. Muttering. The messenger with nothing to do Shattered the mountainsides On drugs. Oedipus' Father Laius and former king of Thebes Was maxed out on beer and drugs When he was killed. And the Sphinx, vaults of sapphire Stoned asking riddles. I'd be with them now. O daytime.
(they walk together past a breast draped in a shirt that read DOPESS GODESS)
The sky started to crawl at the surface of the ocean
"Let us use his belly as our meadow", the shadows implored, and Michael Thomas Taren's shirt in the morning smelled like the Thorah and across his naked chest a bone was laid that read :
I was free from form wordless I traced my tongue along the rim of the flowers and spat happily at the taste so much was my mouth that I could speak in it and not fill it and varied was its height so sometimes it could be stood in and sometimes crouched in and I put my ear to the floor like a napping sheep .. .. and the sheep rose ice lidded and there were his sons there and it went to where it would be pregnant and be born and furrows in its symmetries who came from where working it let us know it would be born living its flesh aglow and we came in through our wanderings loving our starved state but bored into the world stripped and covered of new seasons and skeletal of flash and we flung our arms around each other though disfigured as roots and and it will rain our famishing will be woven into glorified right and he smothered me even he had him in his arms and he felt buoyant though he knew tenderly that he was being killed tenderly and the liver flew indissolulable from the rippling kiln of multilight the turtles were white science which show the thing coming from the thing fled (...)
When Michael Thomas Taren made the Eunuchs he gave them the most hideous and heteroclyte assemble of beauty that a monster could dream of; he called it Earth and, reduced to the last state of Illumination, - crying kings clinging to his breast like the wind roaring in the arms of an incubus or the back of a golden piglet -HE SAID TO HIMSELF ;
(...) this will be like nothing else, 'Goethe-Like' gently moleculizing the vassalage I thought they were playing I thought if I played too they will accept me and swell, Goethe-like, so the others may speak to me (...)
When Michael Thomas Taren made the Earth each of his fingers opened up not on one sea,but three; roasted chicken whiffs embalmed the street, boys with bikes cracking jokes and passing a bottle of Smirnoff Ice around in a muddy moonlight; four copper green nympheas draped in copper green togas were holding above their heads a dome from which city water rivulet drips; he let the eunuchs come into his room and laid them all in a bundle of fresh mint tongues and eyes the color of owls at the foot of his bed and, hearing sad music, he pushed aside one of the seas and gave the eunuchs a country;
SLOVENIAI had forbidden them to appear I wanted their voices first to be heard and assessed the small, child-sized, upper-like want, to help you see your cell-room. I wrote my friend I love him and he wrote back he love me too, nothing changed for a long time. I'm certain of our last days, that they will be visible, like gardens, up to the chest some addition to his face. All is suave, complete. The youth. Again I am nothing, without love I can look afar, into the future, and in the shallows. His heart is stiller in the forest, children look like dogs. All of this was his, videotaped and projected on linen the flocks led behind it feeling their way ahead overflow'd with ways ahead. This was the beauty in my hair, just as I tell them, I will be the one dreaming, the one slender and rotting (...)
Slovenia was made; it is a place where all the electric wires are crystallized into glass pears, and there is a forest, beautiful as a hair, and again I am nothing, and I am born again there were there will be the one dreaming, the one slender and rotting. Michael's Slovenia reminds me of Georg Trakl's mindscape. In Trakls head is the fermentation of these gestures of the sentient world, a world disemboweled so the secret entrails would remain and float through the tree-trunks of reality into his own secret room. The room described as a world by K. Dick's character in Eye in the Sky, in which -'It's all so quiet. As if we were the only people alive.
Living in a gray bucket, no lights, no colors, just sort of a primordial place. Remember the old religions? Before the cosmos came chaos. Before the land was separated from the water. Before the darkness was separated from the light, and things didnt have any names'
Or, as Michael puts it in his own script-poem about Trakl :
(...) When the whole imagination Is made ready for inhuman suggestion. Nothing advances except this gaze From pure beginning to first event. Where a blue rests from its endless emerging: We see the pristine lakes of Salzburg (do they exist?). We imagine lakes exist as or like we know they do. They are not images on a postcard But they are real images They move as on water They float on themselves. The body of the child and the body Of the addict both float in water. The mind of the child Floats in water. Water floats In the mind of the child. Little Do they sense one another. (...)
The place where the doomed brothen - the poet and his sister, the meat lump and the hand, the earthly minions and the Heavens - float on themselves is this land where the whale from the Werckmeisters Harmonies is forever alive and dead, congealed as a fated place that can be by mortals visited and is always, contrary to the mortals themselves who are punctual and need a code, a key-code, to enter it. Poetry is the quest for this code. He went away and kept on hunting and
hunting. Where, he thought, is the real chamois ? And can I kill it where it is? The glyph for our quest is this hunt described by Frank O'Hara in THE HUNTER. The whole poem is how we consider the process of writing. He saw the world underneath, gleaming like a ground in a gold fume, with distance. and it ends like this :
the chamois found in and they came in droves to humiliate him. Alone, in the clouds, he was humiliated.
The whale in the Werckmeisters Harmonies doesn't float in water anymore; it is humiliated, emptied out of her entrails for visitors to fill her in, and Michael Thomas Taren's mind soaked with the chants of whales fills the sea with an intoxicating water which is language-made, gorged on dreams, and moves as water does, ensnaring rare fish and nestling the sea in his stomach, in the manner of this genii who offered a wish to a poor fisherman and so the latter started to fish beautiful rainbow colored trouts, blue, green, yellow and pink, which he brought to the cooks of the King in exchange for a thousand golden coins, and then the fish each time turned into a great black man with a scythe which mumbled something as a threat then turned the fish into ashes, so the cooks had to call back the fisherman over and on each day and the same thing kept on happening, and so I think the fisherman thanks to the genii and his trick soon became a trillionaire
Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. (The Bible) (opening passage of IN SMITHEREENS, MTT)
Meanwhile the Horned God danced, and every living creature were abandonned the moment they were born; a graffiti on a building said, 'COINCIDENCE IS THE GOD'S WAY OF STAYING ANONYMOUS, noises came here to expire in the void of these walls; we had the sea at our feet, behind us the villainous forests, at our head
THE HORNED GOD DANCING ON A LIFEBOATPoetry is a majestic and fertile river. The archangel, you see him by the banilieus, shrieks and vomits at the sight of an apricot.
Meanwhile alone, in the clouds, Michael's poetry produces a mother-of-pearl sperm, a sperm fresh and limpid as the water served by wetnuses and eunuches. The mother of the pearl which breastfed Taren is Allah's sperm, hanging on the back of the bull, his hooves firmly rooted in the semen of the ocean of the heavens, where Saint Theresa described how a vision of an angel came to her :
In his hands I saw a long golden spear and at the end of the iron tip I seemed to see a point of fire. With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times so that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew it out I thought he was drawing them out with it and he left me completetly afire with a great love of God. The pain was so sharp it made me utter several sharp moans, and so excessive was the sweetness caused to me by this intense pain that one can never wish to lose it.
What Saint Theresa took for an angel was solely the spit portrait of Michael Thomas Taren's dialect; when Genet feared and desired the angels as he imagined them, his seduction and dread were a transparent shield to such an entrailablazing apparition as Saint Theresa got dream-humped with.
Taren's words are these angels, rotund balls dangling in the firmament and their mouths incandescent with cummed-on raisins, that Allah made from the substance of pure ghosts not yet invented, memories He had of a universe half-made and long since forgotten, birds of antic beauty gleaming like moistened buttcheeks under the star-haired fingers of the wild planets, shadows lolling oceans still brown-beige, mythologic beasts eating flowers or frozen, their languages of calm cascades without a head or tail and their woods growing at nightfall inside greater woods still, beautiful and solemn.
When Allah took his cock off the Universe and beat lightly on the cheek of the poets to make them rebirth under the shape of mortal men Michael awoke gently from the hollow of the ginko tree in which he had spent the night getting drunk on snake syrrups and asked,Does my sperm becomes angels?, and Allah satisfied wiped his crotched with the flick of a cloud and made Taren's poems the melodious cocoons,
each filled with a different language, life-form or silence, pendulating like tanned slaveboy's toes above the pistacchio green mattresses of His harem.
'Unforeseen vistas opened, unexpected things became conscious, and questions were posed that were beyond my power to handle', says C.G Jung about his visit to Pompeii. This is a third of what Michaels poems make me feels ; the second third I will attempt to express by an imperfect rememberance of a scene from a Thousand And One Night tale :
Sadness melted on him, -another slave jumps from the top of a tree and slips his cock inbetween the prince's buttcheeks, - and the whole time they looked as if they were promenading.
All the rest that I feel towards Michael Thomas Taren's writings is a visceral and profound desire to fuck them from inside their very marrow and be reborn in them either as a beast, wild and nibbling at them so my bones would fill up with their fagrance, or as their pet - tamed and given by them a collar and a name, I would gratefully be a turtle for him and dwell in his poems like the turtles which in MUTANTS he kept-
Peace be upon turtles, large and small When I was young I kept small turtles, I watched the turtles set themselves on rocks I gave the turtles a lamp, and water, and small fragments of food I cleaned the tank and stirred the water and fostered moisture I watched over the turtles and by watching over them cared for them There were two turtles that were sisters Let peace rope out like a gooey schlong