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Jon Curley reads from Hybrid Moments

I heard Jon Curley give a rapidly clear reading from his new book, Hybrid Moments, at the Bryant Park Reading Series one Tuesday evening in April. “These poems,” he said, ”tend to swerve and zig zag pretty much in concert with how people now walk absentmindedly on their electronic gizmos.” And not only do his poems do that; they are full of word play and games with a lot of rhyme and near rhyme in the lines as well as at the ends of them as fast as his Whiz Bang! poems. One gets the feeling that older poets like e.e. cummings and even Ogden Nash are hiding behind a word or two. His territory is tentative with discovery and possible disaster too, pitfalls of repetition a poet might fall into; but these poems change and sparkle like that infinitesimal part of second that constitutes the blink of an eye, always seeing the same thing for the first time.


Mission/Myth Shun Statement


Punning Pan merges lucid with ludic,
sabotages the hopes of codifying rubric
& runs riot with his Rascalizer over manicured
minds and yawns at the lawns of the well-
kempt execs towards whom handbags of hex
are cast. Compound freak shows and non-
stop go-gos green the scene and fertilize
friction in fractals to restore disorder.

To the trickster this trade is no trick,
a desire (a need!) to rend(er) relentlessly.
To the Reader on Her/His Instagram-maton
this is Panacea for Self-Inflicted Voidery…


Ovid’s aphids offer stamens statements,
symbiotic simpatico, draining each other
mutually, enclosures in the nurturing noose of nature’s
sense. Fertile the futility that under pain
of command requires duality to drift into
infinite forms of fructified frissons, bestrewn
with clamorous visions of delay-decay,
defiance of gravity, the viridian livening
of cellular encirclements, blended conventions,
the fusing and cross-hatching of process
and decline. Metamorphoses is observable
as the lush witness of contact highs between
the higher and lower animals, imaginary gardens
grown devoid of secret meaning, glorious
in their vegetal babble.


Just as I negotiated that last switchback
I became cross-hatched by the high beams
and got caught on radar rollicking past

the force field where the hedgerow grows
illicit with surveillance tricks
and develops eco-logics that dovetail

with weathervanes keeping security
(actually keeping the bay at bay)
while citizens wear caps that read “Obey”

redolent of righteous or redundant behavior.
Lock and key instead of Locke and Kant
and now we are all down for the count

caught complicit in our oppressive heat
transformers of the stationary, the stand-in,
the no-win, while the winds of decline increase.


“Taking myself out of the picture”—
The verdict on this premise.
Curious ph(r)ase, a quick-fix cop-out
maybe or sin—
cere protective measure, perhaps
an artificial obsolescence or tact
shedding of skin, all those
protective layers taken off
and out as you move out
of frame. Anxious waiting
and wondering, a sovereign
grin game as you make your
way to the door. Is it unlocked?

“Taking myself out of the poem”—
A clinical extraction which involves
bloodletting you do not get to see
arranged in discrete droplets all across
the page. Actually, each of these
words surround the dried
invisible traces and mourn accordingly.
This attribution of human agency,
this inscription of a script and spirit
self might seem preposterous
but I assure you it is true.
I took the key and let myself out:

The lock was the world with a hell in it.


A Whiz Bang! poem is composed to explode, releasing itself on a timer, its residua sharing the fate attributable to atmospheric pollution and other daily emissions. It can be of various lengths and means, focus and fevers, but on the short side, ready to give instant attention to its disintegration and possible extinction. It can be barbed and blunt but never belabored; it buzzes, fizzes, flashes, even fizzles, but never gives off fuzz. Given the chance to become an iconic poem or a sliver of smoke, a whiz bang always prefers the latter (unless it is being honest). It is a distant cousin of M80 firecrackers and the Infrarealists of 1970s Mexico City (R.I.P.).

Whiz Bang!

Went into the Black Forest to talk shop
With Heidegger but he was not there.
A marionette with lipstick smeared on its
Head lay in a corner of the absent philosopher’s
Cottage. It grew dark and I despaired.
Then I fled. Being and non-Being became

Catchphrases for hoax, trap, bloody murder.

Whiz Bang!

The poem was encrypted due to a virus.
A systemic error was discovered and
It lay not in the poem but in the minds
Of citizens, tested regularly for fourteen
Days in fourteen parallel lines. The
Virus was a synonym for neglect:

The people died. The poem lived on.

Whiz Bang!

Aphorisms may cut to the rhetorical
And semantic bones, and their assertions
May instill wisdom, but they are always jealous
Of ellipses, marching like the Magi onwards, outwards,
Limitlessly, and into mystery.


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