from The Tolerance Project: Poem 40 – American Picture

1 August 2014
Some words are tasteless

The dog accepts no treats from “Obama”

There’s no 13th floor because their God is a prolongation of ego

Founder of the little-known group known as “The Family”

Only turned up as “solid” in the denial column

What are you saying, Bob? 

You are breeding from the lower side of the curve

Something American, Canadian, or viscous

How would you like to have a magic mirror?

Joan Retallack begins with geometries of attention

The class of mediocres has the right to an epaulette of red wool

I am the swift uplifting rush that happens once duration enters

The turtles speak to my bele chose

In order to distinguish the pictorial object from a readymade

Each participant reads their Behavioral Self-Portrait aloud 

This is not to say that people with accents are haters, of course

SOME PARTS HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT, AS YOU SEE (pointing)

My body is on the chair. I don’t shave my legs. 1 is already a stand-in for 0

This is a real-time engagement with form

I will never stop praising my Lord for this prosthetic 

You’re branded by the objects you love 

Everyone has one special sensation

A Neighbor is the one who by definition smells

Kyle, you have to keep making your macaroni pictures


‘This isn’t Whitman’s country anymore’ (390.586). New York City, 2008. R. Kolewe


‘American Picture’ was the last official poem written for The Tolerance Project, the first collaborative MFA in Creative Writing ever. ‘American Picture’ contains poetic DNA traces from several Tolerance Project donors: Rob Read, Jules Boykoff, Abigail Child, Joel Bettridge, Laura Elrick, Anna Moschovakis, Kevin Killian, Sarah Dowling, Bob Perelman, Susan Schultz, and the Office of Institutional Research. ‘American Picture’ is also a response to the photo, ‘This isn’t Whitman’s country anymore,’ as commissioned by photographer Ralph Kolewe for his InfluencySalon.ca section, Frames.

 


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