Tuesday, July 21, 2015


back to the Project
mis problemas son sus problemas

my love of the word
“project” echoes Sontag’s

as do initials

other SS attributes
dark circles
grey streak


my new answer to
how long


another argument with K
about my tone


how can it fly
so full of
my blood?

There is very much a quality I can see in New York City poet Stacy Szymaszek’s JOURNAL STARTED IN AUGUST (Projective Industries, 2015) reminiscent of work done by a variety of writers, from the late Vancouver poet Gerry Gilbert, to various “day book” works produced by Robert Creeley, Gil McElroy and many others. JOURNAL STARTED IN AUGUST is a long sequence of short lyrics composed as stand-alone notes, suggesting the journal or notebook, including quick thoughts, overheard conversation, observations and complaints, and the occasional list, all set up as an accumulation of collage-pieces. The author of some half dozen or more books and chapbooks, her at the back of the collection mentions a title, Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals, forthcoming this fall with Fence Books. I’m curious to see if this title includes the poems here, or if the book extends and furthers some of which she’s played with in this short collection. The title suggests the possibility of a separate project utilizing some similar approaches to the poetic journal, and then one catches this on the second page, suggesting that this is, in fact, the continuation:

memorial portrait
of Cass as transition
object grief reemerges
upon finishing “Journal
of Ugly Sites” how
will I feel when
I pay off her bills?

My recent work has dispensed with persona. The longer I live in NYC, the more autobiographical it gets. One idea I have about this is that I had always wanted to live here but I was convinced that I didn’t have what it took, so in my mind this was a city of especially savvy people, a city of heroes—so being here I’ve become heroic, or the persona is now the hero named Stacy. The book I just completed is called Journal of Ugly Sites & Other Journals and takes up the idea of poetic journalism in different forms. The centerpiece is “Journal of Ugly Sites” which is a year-long journal I kept which documents, among other things, the life, illness and death of a Beagle that my partner and I rescued.

Szymaszek’s small text plays off the mundane and even arbitrariness of its own format. Does the suggestion of a daily journal make much of a difference if begun in August or any other month? Gil McElroy’s ongoing lyric sequence “Julian Days” manages to bury specific dates by utilizing an unfamiliar calendar, the Julian Day Calendar, as poem-titles; he presents the dates, but they are unknown to the general poetry reader, and therefore, read as arbitrary numbers (one could look them up if one wishes, but I suspect only a rare few might). The temporal aspect of Szymaszek’s JOURNAL STARTED IN AUGUST is a curious one, with very little in the text to offer any kind of specific placement: if the journal really was begun in August, how long did it last—weeks or months or years—and does that even matter?

hoping the high
potassium is another
mystery my body
has authored
where no-
body dies


I guess she thought
the alternative

was to bomb
my inbox


it’s true
no one
should read
after Anne




Final balance pd.
euthanasia bill

and I think it’s going to
rain today

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