Friday, November 12, 2010

The Rejection Group - Welcome Back

Another poem suggestion from the comment stream:

The Rejection Group

Welcome Back

          “You are an interesting species.”
          --Alien addressing Jodie Foster, through a holograph of her character’s dead father, toward end of the movie ‘Contact.’

          “Poets, hi.”
          --Bhanu Kapil


Poets, hi.

The whole gymnasium is encrusted in sweat: the stationary bikes, the bolted rowers, the track that comes back to its start, the dead weights. The apparatus Donne hung from like a milk-pale bat, the medicine ball Dickinson rolled for measureless black--dross, these, in lichen and scum, for all your encrusted sweat.

We’ve had it with your strutting and grovel, your refusals to wipe the habiliments after use; we’ve grown weary of your wet seductive wear, your affected grunts and awful smells, not to mention all the wedding parties in chunks on the passes of the Kush--they never quite made it into your experiments, it seems. That is why we are closing the whole area for cleaning and remodeling. Sometimes one just has to start from scratch.

Come back in fourteen billion years.

Don’t tell us you can’t.

Good luck. It won’t seem long.


Poets, greetings.

The whole classroom is encrusted in tears: the maps and the globes, the desks and the gowns, the gradebooks and the paddle. The dunce hat Lorca wore on his crown, serene and glowing in the falangist armoire, the chalkboard where Akhmatova dug sonnets with her nails--clumps, these, of goop and mold, for all your encrusted tears.

We’ve grown hound-tired of your infant treading, your little gasps just above the fluid line; we’ve had it with your teacher-pet cries, your conniving praises and calculated slights, not to mention all the children of the Congo, waving their little shoulder stumps in puzzled hurt--they never quite made it into your experiments, it seems. That is why we are closing the whole area for suction and purification. Sometimes one just has to start from scratch.

Come back in seven million reincarnations.

Don’t tell us you can’t.

Good luck. You won’t even notice you’ve been gone.


Poets, yo.

The whole convention hive is encrusted in gob: the programs and IDs, the Power Point remotes, the cash bars in predestined cells, the infinite exhibit of secreted wares, which extends for miles underground. The car of contents Creeley careened down the long, formal dark, the bluish enfants Césaire swathed in cotton wrap--glutinous, these, in glop and crud, for all your encrusted gob.

We’ve burst our coop of hens and hogs with all your clucks and squeals, midst your habits of feigning nonchalance; we’ve sprung a gush in the seabed sump of our sufferance for your googling and oh-so-tip-toe wont, not to mention all the circumcised little girls cowering in those nice post-colonial spots, they never quite made it into your experiments, it seems. That is why we’re boarding up the whole area until it’s choked with vines thick as twenty minotaur thighs. Sometimes one just has to start from scratch.

Come back when half of all the sentient beings in all the universes have been saved.

Don’t tell us you can’t.

Good luck. Just lie back and enjoy it.


Poets, howdy.

The whole writing retreat is encrusted in cum: the porch and the cane chairs, the four-posted beds and the lamps, the deer on the grounds, the moleskin and the cup. The garret stairs Celan climbed, trailing his Heidegger cocoon, the oven where Plath baked her glowworm scones--encased, these, in glaciers of slime, for all your encrusted cum.

We’ve lost our patience with your masturbatory élan, your wild and ecstatic bleats; we’ve had it to the scalp with your self-regarding blab, your recycled tricks and your gossip-fueled ways, not to mention all the people self-tearing their throats in Gaza with gurgling despair--they never quite made it into your experiments, it seems. That is why we are closing the whole area for scrubbing and quarantine. Sometimes one just has to start from scratch.

Come back after ten thousand great extinctions, not counting the next asteroid.

Don’t tell us you can’t.

Good luck. It will seem like a nap.


Poets, wake up.

The whole Field is encrusted in time: the golden towns and the holograph böökes, the hovering raiment and the flowering drinks, the wormhole forms and the five-dimensioned bidets. The black chips pressed to your ears look super, it makes us recall that ancient shot of Spicer listening to the incunabulum, do you recall it now. The point is that quark and lepton are massed anew, melodically, in your skulls; look at you here, sheathed in dimensionless edge of Wave, forward and back, in Dream of Category of Mind, which is leading edge of aforesaid unfathomable Wave, you are quite the catch. One day we hope you will write of this, puzzling how it is you got back to where you are (though you really never left), not forgetting vast Humor and Pain is much the engine of it. We have waited for your tiny spots of light to wink and blink, for the faint beep of your incandescent phones and morphs, for the shy sign of your repentance. We foretold your weeping and yearning, the nub of your esoteric drive, and your hair extended back to glistening points three feet behind your heads; we foresaw your new modes of lyric wreathed to the cusp of nameless Being, modes inside Being bearing you forth, or whatever, we’re getting carried away. Forgive us our enthusiasms, but it’s true. We mean we saw you poised so patiently for redemption there. Sometimes one just has to start all over again. That is why we are reopening the whole Field for repopulation by your obsidian desire.

Welcome back after all these eons; bring the radiating language of your ridiculous, miraculous brains back tomorrow, too.

Don’t tell us you can’t; this is probably your last chance.

You are an interesting species. Chase the hornéd horse with all of your might into the sun.


At 11/12/2010 4:29 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

A note on The Rejection Group:

"The Rejection Group is a collective of five poets and critics, two from the United States, the others from Chile, India, and Russia (though the poet from Russia currently resides in the US). The Rejection Group composes its poems and essays in a predetermined sequence and according to whatever phrase or stanza rules have been previously agreed upon. This is their first poetic effort."

At 11/12/2010 5:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Gallaher, for posting our poem. It appeared in the first issue of the newsletter Sous les Paves. More of our efforts, we hope, will appear there in the future. We are now a collective of six, a poet from Holland recently joined.

--The Rejection Group

At 11/12/2010 5:37 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

When I read this, I hear you all speaking at once. It kind of scares me.

At 11/12/2010 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be frightened. It's not over until the last pumpkin sings.


At 11/12/2010 12:19 PM, Anonymous Micah Robbins said...

The Rejection Group and I began corresponding some months back and, like this poem (which reads like an essay ... a communique ... a manifesto), their letters have been consistently exciting and challenging and provocative in the best possible ways. I count myself lucky to learn from them and am thrilled to see 'Welcome Back' posted here for a larger audience than would have otherwise been reached in Sous les Paves.

I agree, John -- this piece brings us a layered chorus of voices speaking at once, an observation that Warren Craghead (a very interesting artist and visual poet) shares: he wrote me recently to say "the Rejection Group's piece is like watching four movies at once." I couldn't agree more. I think this simultaneity is what infuses the work with such power, and I've spent some time wrestling with how the Rejection Group achieves such synthesis. Perhaps it has something to do with their dispersed geographic locations (I was tickled to hear a Hollywood poet joined their ranks -- wild!)? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the group is not 'poetic' in a purist sense, but is actively bringing together poets and critics humble and curious enough to submit themselves to predetermined rules? ... an interestingly democratic process, I'd say. Whatever the case, the blend of aesthetic / polemical writing we see in 'Welcome Back' is really refreshing and found a perfect fit in Sous les Paves.

A quick word about Sous les Paves itself: SLP is a bi-monthly publication poetry, prose, ideation, photography, collage, and letters of all kinds. It's free and distributed by mailing list only; if you want to be added to the mailing list, please email me your physical mailing address (yes, it's a print publication) at

The first issue includes work by the Rejection Group, Richard Owens, Edmond Caldwell, Linh Dinh, Lisa Burdige, David Hadbawnik, Micah Robbins, Gene Tanta, Brenda Iijima, and Brooks Johnson.

The forthcoming issue (December 2010) will feature work by Tyrone Williams, Keston Sutherland, Dale Smith, Susan Briante, Josh Stanley, Kristin Prevallet, Sotere Torregian, Mary Burger, an exchange between Kent Johnson and Peter Davis, and more.

For more information, visit the Sous les Paves tab at

-- Micah Robbins

At 11/14/2010 8:02 AM, Blogger Delia Psyche said...

Poètes, bonjour.

The whole shantytown is bejewelled with boogers: the nefarious ultra-rigs, the splendorous fingersnails, the coterie of corpses from Carnival of Souls, the hyper-palimpsested faces. Nerval's lobster Thibault killing the Ichneumon-rat, Smart's cat Jeoffrey scuttling around the Palais Royal--bedizened, all of them, in seismic shifts, for all your bugger-all boogers.

Our trigger-fingers are twitching to perforate the gibbous moons of your pupils, to pock your wingèd third-eye-sockets adorning the vault of the sky. We've supp'd full with your windspins and headmills, your thoraxes and Thor hammers, to say nothing of all the pressure-gauge buttons on the elevator's blouse, basking in the quintessence of ascetic earwig--they never inveigled an invite to your petri-dish jacuzzi, it seems. That's why we're palling the whole desertified infrastructure in a hazmat suit impervious to the saliences of your sardonic wit. You can't make an omelette without cracking a few quasars.

Come back in the morning. You can sleep underwater with the estuarine crocodiles.

Don't tell us you can't. How else would you beguile the night--with your louche pursuits?

Bonne chance. It'll be a cakewalk.

At 11/14/2010 8:48 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

"Cakewalk," certainly, there is that, as a form of satire that works for/against/toward both groups. But only one takes the cake!

At 11/14/2010 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are following all of this with interest.

The flattering parody by David Grove is quite good.

--the Rejection Group

At 11/14/2010 9:37 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

David, are you the David Grove associated with the Clean Language technique of psychotherapy? See below. I ask, because I once wrote a poem (unpublished) with the fine poet Aaron McCollough based on the Clean Language method. It's quite strange and I could dig it up. I hope you're the same person!

>Clean Language was developed by David Grove in the 1980s as a result of his work on clinical methods for resolving clients' traumatic memories. As Lawley & Tompkins describe it, "He realised many clients naturally described their symptoms in metaphor, and found that when he enquired about these using their exact words, their perception of the trauma began to change."

At 11/14/2010 9:41 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I'm sure they're the same person, at least metaphorically.

At 11/14/2010 11:19 AM, Blogger Delia Psyche said...

No, Kent, I am not that person. I'm a nobody. Fuck clean language.

Rejection Group, I enjoyed your poems very much. Thank you for posting them, John.

At 11/19/2011 8:44 AM, Anonymous Paul said...

It such a thing in poets which makes every country had piece of poem. Its great to have this kind of contest which represents your own.


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