B.R.M.TZ.V.H, letterpress chap-pamphlet by Jerome Rothenberg, published in an edition of 225 copies by The Perishable Press (1979) (signed).
The only problem with Mark Lamoureux's Another Night is that I felt kind of embarrassed reading it on the subway, given the naked art nouveau ladies that grace the illustrations, keening angularly in the moonlight, like Grace Jones in negative. Plus, virtually every page has the word "breasts" on it.
But don't blame Mark. He's only working with what he's got -- a bizarre little book of poems by Harold Brainerd Hersey, originally published in 1923. From this book of poems that -- I can only surmise by the words that Mark has rearranged -- must have been one of singular displacement (sublimating what Mark calls the poet's "bondage game" obsessions into an overly poetic vocabulary that describes everything in terms of crystals, breasts, moons and whimpers), Mark has created a new work of "conservation." Employing all the words of Hersey's original poems (complete with the capitalization that attended the original start-words of each line), Mark has created new works, in a sort of magnetic-poetry-on-paper game.
The result is to disorient the grammar of the original works while letting their weird (and sometime painfully raw) words shine through--
all in body in my delicious
. . .
Away with your dancing,
garrulous high limbs
You can feel the nocturnal title of the collection bodily throughout these poems -- each has a sort of languorous freeze about it, an intense dragging cool. Pulled together, they narrate a sort of erotically enjoyable paralyzation before a vampirish love object:
he rests under Her
Weaving Through the ages;
Listen to still layers
like bolds out of rock:
Vampirish is right -- whether the love object here is a vampire, a passing moon goddess, or just a rather heady flapper, the feel in many of the poems is just about the one you get when reading the passage in Dracula wherein Jonathan Harker almost gives it up to the vampire brides . . . like Bram Stoker, for all of his Victorian stiffness, was enjoying this a bit too much, this forbidden bit of glam, this poetic precursor to all those car advertisements which happen in a night where everyone is bone-thin, lit in an icy blue, and sort of deadly-shiny.
Mark's project isn't really to change the tone or topic of these poems, but to cut and paste them into a syntax where they can be taken, on their own terms, as art. In this he succeeds, even managing to inject a bit of fun by making the otherwise wistful narrator take up a more confident role, rife with slyness--
he suddenly stiffened,
he loved her up Her perfect sardonic skirts
. . .
Then she dug her lover
Who kissed her into the still night
Mark wrings oddly definite moments out of the original text, suprising the reader as they rise out of that melodrama-soaked vocabulary of starlight and and "silver quivering moon." I'll leave you with one that practically narrates the experience --
Suddenly you realize that
you is my her Saying:
This is enough.
The man in the boater and the woman
with the parasol discuss the inconveniences
of wealth. Millions of theoretical options
pass sluggishly by, molecules in an absent
river. A spider pertains to them, a hungry
bird pertains to them. The night opens above
Like an orange, in sections, its capacious
ligaments more spacious than the liberties
you take with words. Somewhere, all
the calculations are running. Beneath
a hat and parasol, a tiny truth comes out.