186.1: George Life:: from precarity 186

For a long time I've thought about keeping a journal. But then uncomfortable questions emerge. What goes in? What stays out? There's the additional anxiety of a journal being traced back to an "I": a journal is never to be taken as fiction, but non-fiction. The "I" in the entries is always me without mediation, without ventriloquy. George Life's precarity project tests how the act of composition, of adding and erasing, might discover a signature that is at once "I" and "not-I." The achievement of these poems is a combination of embracing and editing. Even the kitchen sink has gone into these poems. Meditative lines like "formal which is to say a kind of purity" culminate in the "violence / and splendor somewhere west of Houston" in the first entry. In a second entry, the act of eating potato chips and a translational play on free radical leads to this realization: "free radicals / radicales libres eating Lay’s what we learned yesterday fails us today." Life's precarity is a palimpsest journal, or what Bloom might call a site for poetic crossings. In these evocative lines and unexpected breaks, we track the movements of "I" that is always somehow other and yet eerily familiar, the "I" that I inhabit on the page or in the world. Ryan Winet

from precarity


02.20.13 – 03.01.13



hundred years and see bare land and suffer vertigo          so little seen

from prominence four hundred years and the same philosophy a few

places siphon sift too

                                   formal which is to say a kind of purity which is

to say          the plate is flawed the blue gourd brittle the shell


                                                                                                    cracked

that space that we’ve been talking about the curious remainder of the

future imagining ourselves already at the end beyond it even

                                                                                                    violence

and splendor somewhere west of Houston





03.02.13 – 03.11.13



                                                                    a few places precarity like

a new fire

                  will burn out the roots precarity the count on the calendar

has become confused the world in which we live the moon red in the

night and we miss it


                                   printed on a shirt what we are          free radicals

radicales libres eating Lay’s what we learned yesterday fails us today

what we learn today will fail us tomorrow

                                                                    why not be the snake that

goes on shedding its skin





03.12.13 – 03.21.13



                                           confident another          more beautiful one

lies beneath dark night bright moon Mairena vacas now grazing one

lot over brought

                           over when was it by the Spanish the present history

an anechoic chamber chance          occurrence so it is we are perfected


not by

           what we do but by what occurs to us the correspondences that

haunted Paracelsus the old excluded orders the female the proletariat

the foreign and as the wind moves as the wind

                                                                           moves as the          and





03.22.13 – 03.31.13



as our boat neared the shore we wept for joy the one beside me lifting

from his one good eye the coin placed there the signature

                                                                                             nowhere to

be seen the

                   paintings thrown into the river after the exhibition when


it reaches the sea what is the nature of art capitalized capital a sizable

property and on it a sizable house

                                                       no home ownable          what is the

nature of art one moves and writes over one’s contemporaries hoping

it might be otherwise





04.01.13 – 04.10.13



                                     guan guan cry the ospreys          on the island in

the river when it reaches the sea if you don’t learn the Book of Songs

you’ll have no way to speak

                                              in the context of chance what is it that is

permanent that doesn’t erode away breath forwardness


                                                                                         failure latent

in the creaking timbers umbilical          cord birth canal

                                                                                         as three coins

tossed six times talent a former weight a sum of money each oarsman

worth his          weight in gold don’t worry the old man said he’s only