Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aimless Reading: The K's, Part 22 (Robert Kocik)


Rhrurbarb
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Kocik, Robert
Rhrurbarb


Given to be my Jonathan Skinner, the publisher.

Jonathan introduced me to Robert Kocik a decade ago in Buffalo. At the time, Jonathan ran a reading series called Steel Bar. It took place in his wife Isabelle's studio in the Tri-Main Center, former windshield wiper factory which originally produced Model T's.

One of Isabelle's mediums is steel, hence the name.

Jonathan invited Robert to read in the series. I can't remember who he read with. I remember he wore a blue denim jumpsuit and that he laid small piles of paper filled with writing and images in a half circle around him on the concrete floor. As part of his reading he sort of randomly sifted through the stacks, pulling sheets out now and again to read from them. Often he'd simply pause and talk about his ideas.

He kept returning to one idea, which he called, "overcoming fitness." I was never sure I quite understood what he meant by this, but it had something to do with the concept of fitness in evolution. There was something quite romantic about the idea, which I interpreted as a desire to replace fitness with some other criterion for survival and evolution. Love, perhaps?

Anyhow, there's something quite compelling about Robert -- he's a visionary, and like most visionaries it can be difficult to see what he's seeing. Our blindness does not, however, preclude our interest in his ideas.

I remember talking to him for a long time about living in Paris. He told me he had managed to find his way into an old time craft guild, where he learned all kinds of valuable woodworking skills. He plies them to this day, both in his art and for a living.

I remember also that Robert had a great influence on several of the younger poets in Buffalo.

I met Robert one other time, I think at Thom Donovan's apartment in NYC. It was a reading and book release party for Dan Featherston. I think Jonathan was also there. It was during AWP. Robert told me about an installation he was working on that utilized a bank vault. I was sad I wouldn't be in town to see it. Alas.

from Rhrurbarb

This is my opening question
for you: what is the degree of
the morbidity? From this I will
find how to flourish, absorb
the brunt of the treatment for
another who wouldn't survive
even its boon. I look at my
pink-yellow-green-and-blue-striped
bathrobe and know I was born to
flower in exactly this way.
My sole question: can remission
be written? Can words be so
potent and so immediately
so? At issue in remission:
whether there are signs at our
crossings and whether the crossing
exists at all without its word.
What I've found is that remission
is not possible by means of
language per se but through pre
reverberative prosody
acting in a kind of ICU-
attentive, morphogenic poise--
once opened...the outcome of
no consequence what so ever.
At which point (and this now
refers to Cinnabar Verses)
we make poisons poisonous by
not taking them in. Once all
alchemists died of their own
iatrogenics, material
operations were freed to be
analog for inner practice
or dead-on doctoring of
various stages of Cadaver
...while I've chosen to go with
the less invasive, more thorough
and salutary phone in its
stanza-crucible compressing
changes normally vastly time
consuming into its lapse of
written-time collapsed into
the time it takes to read it through.
Such words come from stress and scarcely
reach the sounds they make...remaining
in their more vibrant ministry.

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