longshadowfall

Michael Mc Aloran
longshadowfall
Editions du Cygne 2017
book review by David McLean

Mc Aloran’s new book is not about participating in any sort of Irish tradition, although the fact that he is Irish has obviously created an expectation that he be expected to care about Beckett & the other notable Irish writers, if there are any, especially since he does not create conventional prose in his texts. It is not evident in what way Mc Aloran follows in any Irish tradition given that he has developed an individual voice. Mc Aloran takes this subsumption of his work under the patriotic assumption of Irishness & some regional identity qua writer with some grace, since it must be very frustrating.
What the books are basically about is the circumstance that existence is extremely temporary & not driven by some fundamental meaning whereby things fit into their various places & are essentially & unproblematically what they are. We are loathsome ugly clumps of meat – the failing echo of which Mc Aloran writes is moronic repetition, it is the pathetic quest for meaning: there are no razors that do not have blood on them, nothing that does not rust, no flesh forever except the repetitive return of more worthless flesh. The echo might be an originary echo, the sounds that come out first are already echoes. The road, everywhere, is marked by shit, it is full of shit. A perfect place for the shit that is humanity to drag itself back to nothing.

I think that Mc Aloran would agree with my assessment of humanity that I developed from Homer Simpson “People do things because they are stupid &die because they deserve to” – there is carrion everywhere: people die so often that it is (almost) not even funny anymore.

The best aspect of Mc Aloran is the gloom. There is no trace of the inability that the later (& better) Becket regrets as he notices that words do not work, they just lie on the page & suck. This is because what Mc Aloran is portraying is the fact that meaning is not there, life sucks because it is meat that fails to mean.

When we die we will have failed to speak, we will have failed to mean, we will have failed to matter. This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with modern society or any sort of political criticism, that’s just the way it is. We are left with “speech lack of claim/ words dead foreign ice encasing fathom untimely said

It helps to be mad, it helps to be drunk. Buy this book. It’s available from the usual culprits & the publishers here.

Joanna C. Valente
The Gods are Dead (2015)
(Deadly Chaps Press)
review by David McLean

This book by Joanna C. Valente is like a naturalization of Tarot & occult symbolism reflected in the bizarre unlikelihood of real lives since the symbolic figures of the major arcana are used to symbolize something of contemporary relevance. It’s beautifully illustrated by Ted Chevalier & the book itself is very well made.

Valente is good at titles: “The Moon is Always Horny”, “The Hermit Used to be the Guitarist in Your Favorite Band”, “Judgment Promises Life After the Internet”, “The Hanged Man Will Ghostwrite Your Life”, & so on;

I am dead as a forgotten
man, no mind / I am a broken vessel.
(The Hanged Man Will Ghostwrite Your Life)

says the lamb, before he “spreads, purrs into a shit/ angel”. These are poems of sacrifice & the futility of sacrifice, the necessity of ritual, & whatever heaven a religion imagines might exist will not fit us.

He measures his life by expiration
Dates / Milk in the fridge has two
weeks til death / bananas grow
black as the inside of a coffin
(Death Rides a Pale Horse)

I have mentioned titles, & the next excerpt is from a classic:

… He wakes alone
the next morning, his back

rough from ropes. Lilies
spread across the bed – petals
of who he will become
(At Night, Temperance Works as a Dominatrix

Landscapes are supposed to be desolate, & the imagery of these poems invites the reader to conceptualize themselves more creatively. The most pivotal poem seems to be this one:

the air streams
stillness as if someone
died while making
love

He has never made
love.
Instead he cuts up
books
to orgasm. …
……

Someone could stop;
instead chose to be
somebody.
(The Hierophant Builds the Bridge Between Deity and Humanity)

Again this book by Valente is an excellent read, & heartily to be recommended. You don’t need to know or care about the Tarot, the poems create their own symbolism & the archetypes are more universal. The book is on sale here: http://www.deadlychaps.com/joanna-valente/

“at vacuum’s edge” – Michael McAloran

Michael Mc Aloran
at vacuum’s edge
Black Editions Press
review/blurb by David McLean

this chapbook concerns what we have as if to say. when faced by the other than. it is no alienation exactly but the necessary incongruity of the being human with the actual instantiation of all that within the brute meat we sort of want to torture even if the other may conceivably be rather like us

it is also of collisions – a collidescope, as he puts it, mirroring where the worlds minds drag around to imprison them bump into the other cunt.

again/ upon/ sodden crimson red recollect of
bounty’s trace of unforgiven/ dries the eyes what
depth till following lack abort what sung as if to
drift matter of forgotten as before once said
eradicated/ engulfed once more/ yet mocking the
reek/ (tread from this life disease what will stake
claims upon the ocean’s filtering lights)/ and the
bitten song/ a neck snapped in a gild of apathy/
nothing of the tears that demarcate the surface/
bore holes into the surface quadrant/ nothing
known…

the problem of epistemology is not that nothing is known but that maybe what is mostly worthy of knowing is just the nothing/ that which one should designate almost imperceptibly by the via negativa.

whatever is in some sense given is not the significant. we cannot signify what matters which is not that nothing does. this chapbook is as far from nihilism as it is possible to be & whoever says it s just that is as ignorant as those who attribute the same alleged perversity to me.

it is on sale here: https://blackeditionspress.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/at-vacuums-edge-michael-mc-aloran/

Dom Gabrielli reviews “of desire & the desert”

Hugely grateful to Dom Gabrielli for this review of of desire & the desert, on sale here here at Black Editions Press.

Deleuze and Mclean, unlikely bed partners, A Thousand Plateaux and of desire and the desert.

it is not tools but the horrid state of masturbatory technology & intellectual impotence that makes us such scum//

The ‘Deleuzian’ century closed and its successor brought a dramatic return of the repressed as the scared masses took fright and clamoured not ‘with’ the tremors of Being but rather ‘for’ the One and its demonized Opposites, all the dreaded identities. Because as all of us know, closet Deleuzians or not, we are never one nor another, but certainly many, a mass, a crowd, a bunch and no one is supposed to win this life-game which only despots take seriously. With this return of Identity came necessarily the society of control. Deleuze had correctly predicted whose model was the motorway where freedom becomes solely an illusion, where everything one does is visioned, catalogued and potential to be used against us at any time. All that ensues is clockwork orange, and we as citizens are all decidedly lemons!

A Thousand Plateaux written with Guattari was probably the most overwhelming non-poetic reading experience I had as a student and many evenings were spent reading it aloud with my fellow students at NYU in my ground floor flat in the East Village, 3rd and 7th to be precise. Certain plateaux were read with a fine tooth comb, others were ignored and returned to at a later date. Deleuze and Guattari had after all encouraged artist-readers, non-philosophers, to take what they could when they could, to create their own machines, their own assemblages with whatever was at hand because after all the question was always: how to get out, how to let fresh air in, how to evacuate the suffocation of despotic institutions like universities which already back then (1990) were fabricating professor-business men-vendors with theories for sale and ideologies in suitcases to spread over willing student minds for pricey diplomas.

Deleuze and Guattari were unteachable in those days and any mention of them provoked chaos in the lecture rooms. Frequent adjectives were ‘unreadable,’ ‘incomprehensible,’ ‘dangerous’… That is when you could have real fun with concepts such as ‘deterritorialization.’ Much laughter was had at the expense of the advocates of the fashionable doxas of Lacarne, Derridar and Barrethes…

McLean I imagine had many a roar of laughter reading ‘A Thousand Plateaux’ and as good poets will, his readings and impressions made their ways into notebooks and pads. Lucky are those today who can read these immensely enjoyable vignettes which not only play freely with the spirits of the glorious nomad thinkers but place their concepts firmly in the society of control, 2016.

It is the destiny of thinker poets to be overlooked and ignored because they fall between categories, foul of classifications and ideologies. Are they really poets, these folk who cite Hegel and Heidegger? Can thoughts be expressed into poetic form anyway? Let’s face it, the same arguments have been raised against many an illustrious predecessor. No need to mention names. But today, I am told, we are all poets. We all have little secrets to share. We have emotions to dress in romantic script. We can take up poetry, like a gardener picks up his spade to dig his first vegetable patch. Deleuze himself hated French literature for its psycho-analytical bent, for its obsessions and perversions. The superiority of Anglo-American (and he forgot to mention Irish) literature being its lines of flight…. its becomings…. But language is a recalcitrant field. The act of writing reminiscent of Sisyphus, push a frosty boulder upward, ever upward, to the unattainable star. He probably won’t enjoy me saying this, but in this regard McLean is a traditional poet, as much as any today. He perfects his craft in solitude. Book by book, the idiom improves, singing, laughing, thinking. “One must have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star.”

McLean’s diagnosis is spot on.

we have become the creature that both eats & is eaten, a night
forever completely devoid of ideas worth having or any
conceivable meaning/ / gormless Godot is drink again &
snoozing somewhere in the worthless heart of being
(temple destroyed)

here there echoes the cretinous giggle of the pornographer
priest with his active camera, his hymns to null & the absent…
there are no honest warriors left today
(face of the despot)

What perhaps even Deleuze in his aristocratic brilliance could not presage was the rise of the pornopticon which from priest to bureaucrat, from the Kremlin to the Pharmahouse, enable the States of the world, all together and without exception, to re-territorialize desires and ‘pervertize’ the young, tying their memories and developments to a morbid technology which handicaps sexuality and puts resistance to sleep in a nihilistic heaven where even the worst fanatics with furious machetes cannot escape their immediate return as cartoons. ‘the men who police thought are not actual policemen who/would hesitate to think, were this so much as possible in their/ debilitated condition, preferring to the lick the sweaty nipples of/ evil & devote themselves to a smarmy fascism//‘

In his most recent tome, McLean comes to terms with Deleuzian concepts in a 21st world. The parabola of the boomerang of perversion is minutely plotted by McLean using the concepts and assemblages of Deleuze and Guattari as tool boxes. This is no mean feat and we must applaud vociferously, just as often laughing at the flippant tangles which the poet inextricably ties the reader into.

let’s axiomatize indeterminism
to make the crazies go away
& keep the right white faces in mental
heaven; there are shapes to show
maybe, we do not want to know them
mostly, forever sounds so lonely
you know, like nightmares
with nowhere to go
(of axioms & other monsters)

If Outside is Desire. If the Open is constantly recaptured by ‘answers provoked’ and twisted into a ‘smarmy fascism,’ leaving poetry the only right to destroy the ideology of the Inside and resist against the grotesque State machine, folding onto imbecility a simulacrum of a poem which can be read as both flippant self-indulgence and fulgurance and illumination, because both low and high culture, pornography and art, co-exist like the evil and the good sister in Bluebeard’s cave. The simulacrum so good, you tire to distinguish one from the other.

If all of the above, the desert? If Desire is the adolescence of thought, its necessary madness, its rites of possession, its myriad becomings, then the Desert is wisdom, becoming imperceptible, the right to breathe in words. Finally amid the One which is everything. Here is the Desert.

& it is the futile Peyote Dance resurrected again for all the
madmen hanging like bats from the rafters in some
disingenuous midnight temple. they have torn the scabs from
their arms to wall up the seven devils dead & eternally
protected accordingly, they are losing all their memories to be;
they are forgetting memory & learning to be // they want to be
everything but no body wants to be free

Rarely has such lucidity pinpointed the hypocrisies of Self and glorified selves in Collectives clamouring for Freedom and needing corpses and morals, when they haven’t been mad enough yet to see the futility in their madness, when they haven’t collected enough matter to find the Desert in themselves, in the cold North, where ingenuous temples grow for the night amid dunes of Nothing.

Who speaks desert speaks Nomad. But who knows society knows that ‘eyes are for spying with not seeing’ and that collective hope is an alias for suffering and ‘they are watching the children the prisoners the madmen in the distorting mirrors of this disgusting cunting panopticon’ and we are probably not ready to be nomad and we are probably not ready for Deleuze or Guattari or any of his one thousand distorted plateaux. Society is not worthy. It is just killing and destruction because the State ensure ‘they are born crippled,’ and ‘death is better than labour.’

Who reads this book knows hope is extraneous to matter. The physics of poetry, the immanence of the dissecting pen, imply the end of all forms of transcendence and a mockery of all their avatars. Difference and repetition of the whole history of poetry. ‘Structure is for vermin.’

I looked in vain for the Desert. I saw some animals passing the dunes. I spotted Artaud. I will keep an eye out for the nomads as i keep reading, backwards, inside out, dancing and laughing. There really is no need to be sad in this hell, because ‘the outsider comes undone.’

I heard some echoes.
I saw some footsteps.
I know the desert will burn again one day.