Monday, July 9, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's Part 31.1 (Jonathan Skinner)

Political Cactus Poems
Skinner, Jonathan
Political Cactus Poems

Given to me by the author at our dual Buffalo book launch at Just Buffalo's Hibiscus Room in 2005.


For Mike
Fellow bard
in flight ...
with Love 



I feel very close to this book. It's almost a record of my friendship with Jonathan while we were in Buffalo.

When he first arrived, Jonathan gave me a small chapbook, which I still have, called "Political Cactus Poems." It's about 2.5 x 2.5 inches, saddle stapled, with a white cover and black text. Each cover was individually hand-painted with an abstract black image by Isabelle Pelissier.

We had a reading together with Eleni Stecopoulos in NYC in early 1999. I put together a little event chapbook called, "Three," containing three poems each by the three poets. One of the poems from the "Mined" series was published therein.

"The Little Dictionary of Sounds" was conceived in conjunction with another of my publishing efforts, the Elevator "Box Project." I asked poets to spend the summer collecting something and to produce some writing around what they had collected. Meanwhile, artist Brian Collier built 40 masonite boxes to house these collections. Jonathan chose to collect sounds. He recorded them mostly around Lake Erie, then began making poems to place alongside the recordings. The collection inside each Box contains a manilla envelope with the poems typed or printed on cards and a cassette tape with the recorded sounds on it.

"Unfolder," it says in the acknowledgments, appeared under my press, Elevator, which means I was somehow involved in its publication. I can't recall if this was as part of the "Postcard Project" or as part of the little one-off anthology we produced in an afternoon at Jonathan's apartment called "Sugar in the Raw."

from Political Cactus Poems


              for Anne-Marie Albiach

infinite scale, neither down nor up, the same
heard even as silence, made tangible
as a dormouse or a rock, a tick
conceivable but not by any vertebrate...

longing spouts into a lake
an exploding quasar [quasi-stellar radio
larger than any ever known
fills telescopes for less than one second
the time of a million suns
and falls with our faces toward receding
light points, crowding out darkness

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