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Rufous City Review [1 poem]

My poem, “Lux Con­inua,” recently pub­lished in Rufous City Review (issue 11):

The review’s web­site:


Adaptive Preferences and Meta-Preferences: A Defense of Informed Preferentism


In her paper, “Adap­tive Pref­er­ence,” H.E. Baber defends a ver­sion of informed pref­er­en­tism against Martha Nussbaum’s objec­tions. Informed pref­er­en­tism, hence­forth sim­ply “pref­er­en­tism,” is the view that an individual’s good con­sists in the sat­is­fac­tion of her informed pref­er­ences (105). Nuss­baum presents sev­eral puta­tive coun­terex­am­ples to pref­er­en­tism, exam­ples of indi­vid­u­als whose pref­er­ences are allegedly deformed by deprived or oppres­sive con­di­tions, and who have learned to pre­fer what is harm­ful to them. In defense of pref­er­en­tism, Baber argues that the cases that Nuss­baum cites fail as coun­terex­am­ples, because they are not gen­uine cases of deformed or adap­tive pref­er­ences. Baber’s argu­ment rests on a dis­tinc­tion between “true” and “man­i­fest” pref­er­ence. On Baber’s account, a pref­er­ence is a true pref­er­ence (as opposed to a merely “man­i­fest” pref­er­ence) iff (1) it is informed, (2) it issues from a state of mind con­ducive to ratio­nal choice, and (3) it does not issue from a sense of moral oblig­a­tion (107). In this paper I will argue that con­di­tion (3) is prob­lem­atic, and that moral com­mit­ments can often (though per­haps not always) be under­stood as “meta-preferences”—genuine pref­er­ences that con­strain and deter­mine the order of rank of one’s other, lower-order pref­er­ences. The elim­i­na­tion of con­di­tion (3) will open the door to new puta­tive coun­terex­am­ples to pref­er­en­tism, or cases in which an indi­vid­ual prefers what most would con­sider bad, or harm­ful, for her. In defense of the revised ver­sion of pref­er­en­tism, I will argue that this result is only prima facie coun­ter­in­tu­itive. The rea­son that it is only prima facie coun­ter­in­tu­itive is because pref­er­en­tism, on the revised account, per­mits and may even require dis­putes and inter­ven­tions at the level of meta-preference. For, on the revised account, if an indi­vid­ual meta-prefers that oth­ers not be harmed, then it is good for him or her to pro­vide those with harm­ful pref­er­ences or meta-preferences edu­ca­tion and oppor­tu­ni­ties for chang­ing them. Thus, the pro­posed revi­sion bol­sters Baber’s sug­ges­tion that pref­er­en­tism does not pre­clude social change or result in an “any­thing goes” atti­tude toward adap­tive preferences.


Immorality and Fatalism in Kant, Fichte, and Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard’s project, broadly con­strued, is to offer a cor­rec­tive of Chris­tian­ity, and to advance and defend his own pos­i­tive con­cep­tion of the same. The ver­sion of the Chris­t­ian life-view or stand­point that Kierkegaard advo­cates he calls “Reli­gious­ness B.” Kierkegaard’s defense of Reli­gious­ness B involves show­ing how it is better-suited to human exis­tence than the alter­na­tives: the aes­thetic stand­point, the eth­i­cal stand­point, and the immanent-religious stand­point (or “Reli­gious­ness A”). In her book Free­dom and Rea­son in Kant, Schelling, and Kierkegaard, Michelle Kosch argues that what uni­fies Kierkegaard’s crit­i­cisms of the lat­ter stand­points is his claim that they “incor­po­rate dis­torted accounts of human agency” (Kosch, Free­dom and Rea­son, 140). Accord­ingly, Kosch main­tains that the despair that accom­pa­nies the aes­thetic, eth­i­cal, and imma­nent reli­gious stand­points for Kierkegaard “will turn out to be the unwill­ing­ness to accept human agency with all of its par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions.” (Kosch, Free­dom and Rea­son, 154). In this paper I argue that, if Kosch’s read­ing is cor­rect, then Kierkegaard’s crit­i­cisms of the alter­na­tive stand­points turn against his account of Reli­gious­ness B—the stand­point that Kierkegaard wants to advo­cate. This is clearly problematic.


Is Authenticity Possible?

In Being and Time, Hei­deg­ger defines authen­tic­ity as a mode of being in which Dasein, the type of being for whom its being is a ques­tion, dis­closes (or un-conceals) the fun­da­men­tal aspects of its being to itself. But as Heidegger’s analy­sis of Dasein shows, there is rea­son to think that Dasein can­not actu­ally achieve, much less know that it has actu­ally achieved, authen­tic­ity. But if what is prac­ti­cally pos­si­ble for Dasein is not a cen­tral con­cern of Heidegger’s, it is cer­tainly not a mat­ter of indif­fer­ence for the reader. For this rea­son, this paper will explore the ques­tion of whether authen­tic­ity is a prac­ti­ca­ble goal. The essay begins with a dis­cus­sion of Heidegger’s analy­sis of Dasein, and the struc­tural fea­tures of Dasein’s being that serve as con­di­tions for the pos­si­bil­ity of authen­tic­ity. I then con­sider the posi­tion that authen­tic­ity is not a prac­ti­ca­ble goal. I argue that this posi­tion is fre­quently based on con­fla­tion of Heidegger’s con­cep­tion of authen­tic­ity with “vul­gar” con­cep­tions of the same. Lastly I argue that, assum­ing that authen­tic­ity is in fact a prac­ti­ca­ble goal, it is nonethe­less unlikely that one can know whether one has achieved it.


On the Subjective and Objective Elements in Nietzsche’s Theory of Value

The goal of this essay is to gain a clearer under­stand­ing of Nietzsche’s the­ory of value through an analy­sis of key themes in the philosopher’s sem­i­nal work, Thus Spoke Zarathus­tra. I will begin by focus­ing on the descrip­tive dimen­sion of this the­ory, or Nietzsche’s views con­cern­ing the nature, pur­pose, and ori­gin of val­ues, and the story he gives for why some of the high­est val­ues have, in Nietzsche’s words, “deval­ued them­selves.” Next I will turn to the pre­scrip­tive dimen­sion of Nietzsche’s the­ory, that is, to Nietzsche’s views con­cern­ing what kinds of things we should value, and con­cern­ing what we ought to do now that our high­est val­ues have been deval­ued. At this point in the paper, a ten­sion will become appar­ent in Nietzsche’s account. As we will see, Zarathus­tra (Nietzsche’s fic­tional spokesman in the work being ana­lyzed here) empha­sizes and advo­cates the sub­jec­tive nature of valu­ing, and at the same time he seems to want to say that cer­tain val­ues are objec­tively bet­ter than oth­ers. As I will dis­cuss, how­ever, this ten­sion can be rec­on­ciled by under­stand­ing Zarathustra’s pre­scrip­tive claims as indeed pre­sup­pos­ing an objec­tive cri­te­rion of eval­u­a­tion, but one that leaves room for the sub­jec­tive ele­ment in Nietzsche’s the­ory. On my read­ing, this cri­te­rion is con­ducive­ness to health, where “health” is under­stood as fit­ness for valu­ing. My first claim is that, on Nietzsche’s account, any value that dimin­ishes this fit­ness is self-defeating, hence “objec­tively bad,” whereas any value that increases it is “objec­tively good.” My sec­ond claim is that what ren­ders val­ues sub­jec­tive, for Niet­zsche, is the fact that they orig­i­nate from the passions.


Kierkegaard on Objective Uncertainty and Ethical Despair

In Con­clud­ing Unsci­en­tific Post­script, Søren Kierkegaard, under the pseu­do­nym Johannes Cli­ma­cus, gives an account of a per­son who he calls the “sub­jec­tively exist­ing indi­vid­ual.” This per­son, as we will see, instan­ti­ates the final stages through which an indi­vid­ual must progress if she is to rec­og­nize, and rec­on­cile, the ten­sions within her­self that cause her to be in despair. There are three major stages in this devel­op­ment, for Kierkegaard: the aes­thetic, the eth­i­cal, and the reli­gious. In this paper I will focus on the role of despair in what Kierkegaard calls the “eth­i­cal” stage of exis­tence. I will begin by explain­ing the three main stages of exis­tence, and sit­u­at­ing the sub­jec­tively exist­ing indi­vid­ual therein. I will then argue that the source of eth­i­cal despair need not be attrib­uted to doubt con­cern­ing “what one ought to do” or the legit­i­macy of one’s moral stan­dard. Another pos­si­ble source of eth­i­cal despair, I will argue, is uncer­tainty con­cern­ing the purity one’s own motives.


Rationality and Theism [conference]

I’ll be pre­sent­ing my paper “On the Ratio­nal­ity of Mystical-Perceptual Prac­tice” at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity (in Nashville, TN) this Sat­ur­day. Please come if you live in the area!

Con­fer­ence sched­ule and abstracts of papers:

To read my paper, see the below post.


On the Rationality of Mystical-Perceptual Practice

In Per­ceiv­ing God: the Epis­te­mol­ogy of Reli­gious Expe­ri­ence, William Alston argues that it is ratio­nal to engage in “mys­ti­cal per­cep­tual prac­tice” (“MP”)—the prac­tice of form­ing beliefs about “the ulti­mate” that are based on puta­tive per­cep­tions thereof. This argu­ment is based on Alston’s “dox­as­tic prac­tice approach” to epis­te­mol­ogy, accord­ing to which a dox­as­tic (or belief-forming) prac­tice is ratio­nal to engage in if and only if (1) it is socially estab­lished, and (2) it yields out­puts that are free from mas­sive inter­nal and exter­nal con­tra­dic­tion (Alston, 175). Accord­ing to Alston, the dox­as­tic prac­tice approach is indis­pens­able for defend­ers of reli­a­bil­ism (the view that beliefs are jus­ti­fied if and only if they are formed via a reli­able process) due to the fact that no source of belief can be non-circularly proven to be reli­able. To prove that sense per­cep­tion is reli­able, we must use our senses; to prove that rea­son­ing is reli­able, we must use infer­ence; and so on (Alston, 146–7). On the dox­as­tic prac­tice approach, how­ever, it is nonethe­less ratio­nal for us to rely on rea­son and sense per­cep­tion to the end of belief formation—insofar as we lack recourse to other alter­na­tives, and inso­far as said prac­tices meet the above-stated con­di­tions (Alston, 149). But what about the mys­ti­cal per­cep­tual practice—does MP meet these con­di­tions? I take it as self-evident that MP meets con­di­tion one: at all times and in all places, peo­ple have formed beliefs about “the ulti­mate” based on their puta­tive per­cep­tions thereof. But what about the sec­ond con­di­tion? Can MP be said to yield out­puts that are free from mas­sive inter­nal and exter­nal con­tra­dic­tion? Accord­ing to Alston, it can; I will argue that Alston’s the­ory does not sup­port this conclusion.


Requited [1 poem]

My poem, “Antonyms for Ret­i­cence” pub­lished in Requited ‘s Issue 8–

Requited on Requited:

Requited is a jour­nal that explores the con­ver­gences between lit­er­ary writ­ing and the expe­ri­ence of art as a cre­ative exchange, a con­tract. These con­ver­gences evoke the blurry in-between where an infi­nite num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties man­i­fest. As Hélène Cixous says of rela­tion­ships, the con­ver­gences of human-to-human con­tact are co-created spaces; they are the entre-deux, the spaces of love, lan­guage, and eroti­cism that exist between the two. Mean­ing is depen­dent upon this exchange, and we wish to draw atten­tion to this amor­phous space between bod­ies. In a sense, the text is the mother, the gen­er­a­tive body, and the audi­ence, in its pri­vate space, must seed the expe­ri­ence for cre­ation to suc­cess­fully take place.

Happy Read­ing!

A x

Genius and the Origins of Art in Kant’s Aesthetics (Thesis)

Fol­low the link to read my the­sis, “Genius and the Ori­gins of Art in Kant’s Aesthetics” –


Texas/Lubbock Locals:

This Fri­day, Lubbock’s 1st Fri­day Art Trail will be politely invaded by a few artists seek­ing to chal­lenge the var­i­ous dog­matic social/political/religious stances that pre­vail in these regions. Click on the link to view our work, or bet­ter, come see us on Fri­day:


OU philosophy conference

The sched­ule for the Uni­ver­sity of Oklahoma’s 2013 phi­los­o­phy con­fer­ence is now avail­able online, along with paper abstracts:

Please attend if you live in the region! If you don’t live in the region but are inter­ested the con­fer­ence top­ics, email me and I’ll try to hook you up with the papers that are being pre­sented. Mine is avail­able on my blog.



Flag + Void: Postcard Series

Fol­low the link to read about Flag + Void (a new, rad­i­cal, online art and poetry journal)‘s Post­card Series, which “pro­motes inter­ac­tiv­ity, allow­ing for the re-sequencing of the poems within each vol­ume, or the dis­sem­i­na­tion of the vol­ume to friends and strangers, poem by poem, in the mail or on the street” - My poem “Arche­ol­ogy of Means” is a part of the first vol­ume, which you can order here: Sup­port a poetic inno­va­tor and share the love! (Who doesn’t want poems in their mail­box??) Cheers, A x

Poetry, Sublimity, and Aesthetic Judgment

In the Cri­tique of Judg­ment, Immanuel Kant dis­tin­guishes between judg­ments of beauty and judg­ments of sub­lim­ity, and states that the lat­ter can only occur in expe­ri­ences of nature—not in expe­ri­ences of art (Kant, § 26). What’s trou­bling about this asser­tion is its impli­ca­tion that the worth of art­works lies solely in their abil­ity to gen­er­ate plea­sure, and not, for instance, in their abil­ity to gen­er­ate aware­ness of one’s fini­tude, or respect for one’s ratio­nal capac­i­ties. In this paper, I will attempt to show how sub­lime judg­ments can occur in an expe­ri­ence of art—namely, of poetry—and that the worth of an art­work there­fore need not hinge on its pleasure-inducing capac­i­ties. I will ground this dis­cus­sion in an exam­ple of a poem by Tessa Rum­sey that I think achieves “math­e­mat­i­cal sub­lim­ity,” in Kant’s sense. Here it will become clear that, on Kant’s own terms, judg­ments of sub­lim­ity need not be lim­ited to expe­ri­ences of nature; and that art­works, like nature, can pro­duce in us an aware­ness of our fini­tude and a respect for our ratio­nal capac­i­ties. Finally, I will argue that judg­ments of beauty and judg­ments of sub­lim­ity, which Kant deems anti­thet­i­cal, can occur as moments in a sin­gle aes­thetic expe­ri­ence. That is to say, cer­tain art­works (and cer­tain nat­ural objects) can trig­ger both types of judg­ment in the self­same subject.


E·ratio [2 poems]

Two poems recently pub­lished by E·ratio:

E·ratio Issue 16 (scroll down and click on “issue 16 pdf” to down­load):

What I pro­pose is to make poets and artists more crit­i­cal and vital to more peo­ple through using a mod­ern triv­ium, one that retains the clas­sic skills in gram­mar, logic, and rhetoric but that adds tech­nol­ogy as a fourth road.…This mod­ern triv­ium exem­pli­fies the power to think inde­pen­dently and write elo­quently rather than to think func­tion­ally and behave. Think­ing effec­tively with art and lan­guage, artists can help remake soci­ety rather than be aca­d­e­mic or orna­men­tal stars for soci­ety. In other words, art is to have at least as much effect for pub­lic minds as for elite con­cerns. Art then is not a spe­cialty for con­nois­seurs, but a foun­da­tion for civilization.

–Joseph F. Kep­pler, E·ratio con­tribut­ing editor

glowing in the dark is not a superpower (mixed by Andy N)

U.K. musician/poet/sound ter­ror­ist Andy N mixed the fol­low­ing track, which is part of the DIH 2012 Christ­mas album (happy belated!) Use the below links to down­load tracks from the album, learn about DIH and Andy N, and lis­ten to more of me and Andy N’s col­lab­o­ra­tions. Thanks, Andy!

glow­ing in the dark (xmas remix)

Lis­ten to/download the album:
About DIH:
Me and Andy N online:
Andy’s web­site:

The Destroyer [2 poems]

Two poems recently pub­lished by The Destroyer:

The Destroyer Issue 2.1:

The Destroyer is a bian­nual pub­li­ca­tion of text, art, and pub­lic opin­ion. It was offi­cially launched on 11.11.11.

We believe in an infi­nite uni­verse, not in lim­ited real estate. We rec­og­nize all edi­tors are biased, includ­ing our­selves. We cre­ated this pub­li­ca­tion to add our bias to the mix. We believe in the power of the Inter­net, and that the dig­i­tal isn’t infe­rior to the printed.

On the Involuntariness of Faith

In his Pro­le­gom­ena to a Phi­los­o­phy of Reli­gion, J.L. Schel­len­berg makes the provoca­tive claim that reli­gious faith entails non-belief. But while this claim is provoca­tive, Schellenberg’s rea­sons for mak­ing it are rel­a­tively con­ven­tional. In claim­ing that faith entails non-belief, Schel­len­berg is attempt­ing, on behalf of phi­los­o­phy of reli­gion, to pre­serve “our intu­itions” about the vol­un­tary nature of faith. Writes Schellenberg:

Three impor­tant intu­itions, I sug­gest, need to be cap­tured by any under­stand­ing of the con­cept of faith’s vol­un­tari­ness. These might be infor­mally expressed as fol­lows: if you want it, you can have it; if you have it but don’t want it, you can drop it; and you shouldn’t expect to keep it with­out doing some­thing about it. (Schel­len­berg, 147).

In this paper I will argue that, while Schellenberg’s def­i­n­i­tion of reli­gious faith indeed entails non-belief, it does not nec­es­sar­ily pre­serve the intu­ition that faith is vol­un­tary. This argu­ment will be made in sev­eral moves. First, I will offer a coun­terex­am­ple to Schellenberg’s def­i­n­i­tion of reli­gious “faith-in” or “oper­a­tional faith.” This coun­terex­am­ple will reveal a dis­crep­ancy between Schellenberg’s account of reli­gious faith and his account of reli­gious skep­ti­cism. The only way to resolve this dis­crep­ancy, I will argue, is through the addi­tion of an extra propo­si­tion to Schellenberg’s def­i­n­i­tion of oper­a­tional faith. This addi­tion, how­ever, may have the con­se­quence of ren­der­ing faith involuntary.


Lux Continua

Lux Con­tinua


I steal things I’m too ashamed to bor­row:
the hours at the end of your day
you inhabit so grace­fully; your glance, that place

Where elec­tro­mag­netic waves go
entan­gled, go to war. My inde­pen­dence dete­ri­o­rates
with my opti­cal fibers, fireworks

Seizure on the nerve-screen and I mean,
if you need to make noth­ing out of some­thing
you should say it to my face.

Was our love not hand­cuffs, was what held us together
not your hate-dread of the other
rac­ing pulses I’ve felt flut­ter­ing inside me?

I let them all get away
and was sen­tenced to the page, which for a time
at least gave my crimes meaning.


The things I steal / I rarely savor: her body forms
a lump on my retina as my brain
leaves the restau­rant. I’m afraid of what my hunger will do.

At some point the cones must take sides:
If blue is heaven, red is soli­tude.
A ten­sion builds that will inevitably be broken

Between the under­stand­ing and its object.
A shud­der grows that must be released
between the shoul­ders as the spirit remem­bers

(I remem­ber) why the Gothic archi­tect Suger had a name
for each turn light takes as it enters a sanc­tu­ary:
Lux when it pours unim­peded from the sun

Lumen when it streams through stained win­dows
Illu­mi­na­tion when it fills the believer.
Remem­bers what it was, but couldn’t stay.


Call the mem­ory of color sub­lime: call it despair.
The lover comes and goes like a recur­ring night­mare
where the face goes white, the eyes swollen

The soles of the feet slice open on the boul­ders
when the tide rolls in—comes and
goes between trial and error, I do and do us part.

If I were trapped in a cathe­dral on this dark­est night
of the drought and cried out to The God
I doubt he would hear me. When I was the cruel word

Scrawled across sand­pa­per, strapped to a mis­sile at 30,000 feet,
you were cac­tus limbs strewn around my shel­ter
in the nuclear fall­out. When my name became Tantalus

I made you my rain stick: shaved glass tum­bling through
thorns turned inward: a secret storm
no light could enter, with­out first break­ing thee.



conditions of resurrection

I’ve been shut up
for mil­len­nia in this ward
with a ter­ri­ble ques­tion
on my tongue, I’ve been
ret­i­cent stricken and bound
by insom­nia because
dream-language smacks
of drunk slurs and I’ve
had my fill of those. Believe me
when I say that heaven is this
world, and this world is
a the­ater where pau­pers go
to don them­selves splen­did
and ren­der hope pos­si­ble,
because we’re all just
deus ex machi­nas tak­ing turns
with the sus­pen­sion cables.
Believe me when I say that
I know that beauty is in
the noose through which
the gaze shoots its arrow
acci­den­tally hit­ting a spar­row
fly­ing crooked against the wind
a split sec­ond before
your foot slips. But it’s more
than that, and less: it’s the dark
fig­ure pen­du­lum­ing under
the meteor shower / between
two Judas trees. See, I’m attempt­ing
to explain how I know that feel­ing
is the kick-away foun­da­tion
of belief, but on good days
belief is a paper boat that sets sail
in a gen­tle stream, in hopes
of dis­in­te­grat­ing before it
reaches the water­fall.
All I’m ask­ing is why this is
a bad thing. Why when dan­de­lions
dis­sem­i­nate a wish that took all
of ten sec­onds to for­mu­late
I’m filled with a dread
that could move moun­tains,
the very moun­tains
through which my broth­ers
and sis­ters are tun­nel­ing
their way toward the light.
Why noth­ing, absolutely noth­ing
is so com­pli­cated as that silence
that bewitches the mind
just prior to cre­ation, or so sim­ple
as the one that fol­lows
the end of the world. Because god knows
we’re addicted to these inter­vals,
and for this, like god, we’ll be judged.
But like god the author
is not sorry and offers
no expla­na­tion as to why
my poems give rise to more
eye­brows than jihads,
and dares whom­so­ever
has never sat down to write
a let­ter to the uni­verse
and couldn’t find the words,
who’s never strapped a bomb
to their per­son just to feel it
det­o­nate, and spent the rest
of their life at the river’s edge
alone, con­tem­plat­ing
not death, but the con­di­tions
of res­ur­rec­tion—
to cast the first stone.

*Pub­lished in The Destroyer

time-lapse resolution

time-lapse res­o­lu­tion

I want to be in love and of it, to live
in a post­war, radioac­tive city
or on a ship at the bot­tom of the ocean
because I’m just that invinci­ble, my force field’s just that bomb.
I want to know God, to approach him
with no puns intended, with a gun to my head,
to be beside myself, out­side myself,
to crave the unspeakable—I want my voice to
explode in my dream with­out wak­ing me and when
the alarm clock goes off on the hori­zon
I want my body to stay pros­trate as my fake one
runs through strange streets soaked with blood and maybe gaso­line,
and Flame, I want that rush to the head
of but­ter­flies fore­telling our impend­ing destruc­tion
and sub­se­quent mass pro­duc­tion of hate mail
and fran­tic prayers for halos—I want to be in dan­ger of believ­ing
every­thing they tell me, of tak­ing the prophet on the sub­way
for a ter­ror­ist, reli­gion for pro­tec­tion, quan­tum entan­gle­ment for proof
it’s not just me and my deci­sions. I want to believe
every word of it—and laugh. I want my life back.

*Pub­lished in The Destroyer

Creation Story

This much is given: a set of organs, an infi­nite set of needs.

be wary of those who fear inti­macy: who priv­i­lege the need to be taken seri­ously over the need to be taken, full stop

This much you’ll take with you to the grave: heart, lens, cer­tain neurons.

the sever­ity of whose night­mares can be mea­sured in slips of the tongue, at dawn or in broad daylight

With these, you will walk through the val­ley of deci­sions, mak­ing shad­ows of which you are ter­ri­fied, despite your hav­ing made them.

whose offspring—petals on a wet black bough—are con­ceived in under­ground sub­ways that read “save me from myself—”

Three times you’ll deny hav­ing made them: thus your migraines will mul­ti­ply, your labor pains made thrice-excruciating.

whose bru­tal­ity implies sin, or worse, doesn’t; who turn a blind eye toward Jerusalem, a blind eye inward

Your pupils will be per­pet­u­ally at war with your mind: threat­en­ing to flood it, and by turns, to cut it off from the light-source.

who view the heart as not a four-leaf clover, but a com­pass rose; its direc­tion not dis­cov­ered but for­ever self-imposed

Your shame you will braid into a noose for lack of bet­ter instincts, for lack of forgetfulness.

whose pic­ture omits a thou­sand words; who slide unno­ticed through the night: three times, Peter, three times

Tear­ing up while tear­ing out some pages, you drowned in your own wound-salt: richer than you’d ever been, or be.

who deny that in cell years seven is the turnover rate—after which it’s anyone’s guess who’s counting.

Between the needs of the body and the virtues of the mind // fall the upright, for­ever lost in translation.

Cyan coins of dusk rushed through my chest as I fell to the East // As I fell to the West—

My spine shone and you promised to make me shine brighter than any known star, laser, or halo.

What was I sup­posed to say? How was I sup­posed to age? I’m no human, and god knows you’re no angel.

Do what you will, I said, and I’ll go where I go. Cut my umbil­i­cal cord. Com­mit me to the flames.

The Diverse Arts Project [1 poem]

Click on the link to see my poem “Alla Prima” in issue four of The Diverse Arts Project

About the jour­nal: “The Diverse Arts Project (The DAP) is an online lit­er­ary jour­nal and art/cultural space. We view art as a social cre­ation, a func­tion of and con­trib­u­tor to soci­ety and pol­i­tics. Art is a socially fluid form whose def­i­n­i­tion and value depends upon who (or what) is talk­ing about it, cre­at­ing it and engag­ing with it. It is our goal to explore the var­i­ous def­i­n­i­tions and exclu­sions within the art world by expand­ing the num­ber and type of peo­ple who are included in the art world’s dia­logic and pro­duc­tive spaces. This is our project to diver­sify the arts.” — The Editors

Enjoi! –AS x

glowing in the dark is not a superpower

glow­ing in the dark is not a superpower

But some­thing we do daily. By day I mean only the shrink­ing doily
of light through which a whole black hole must squeeze before our eyes
can adjust, before the dream seam­stress drifts off at the wheel
before blow­ing out the can­dle, before the child in the sky can cut stars
from the singed scraps of cloth she sal­vaged from the burn pile.
Love of my life, cause of my insom­nia, some­times when dusk snows its dark
wool down on us, I search your face for the sheep you counted
as lost, and won­der if I’m one of them. But I still take com­fort in the night’s small
cer­tain­ties: in the tiny move­ments mus­cles make when the rest of the body lies par­a­lyzed
with dread; that I’d wake, here, again, for the last time; that you can love some­thing
and still shake its soot from your feet. Restore to mean­ing the plas­tic aster­isks on which
I wished my ado­les­cent life away. Don’t pass over. Lie me to sleep.

Archeology of Means

Arche­ol­ogy of Means

Try to remove your things from their graves with­out wak­ing them. Do not ask “what shall we eat?”

And “what shall we wear?” See there, a blan­ket belong­ing to a girl who’d been thrice-starved—

Once by The God, twice by her own voli­tion. Take it: it shall serve as your cape.

And here, the doll’s head, resem­bling a radish, attached to a feed­ing tube now dan­gling freely from her lips

Will bring you luck on your jour­ney. You threw a match into these fields once, now raise it: build a fan with your lungs.

Her hills will rage and her trees will orange as your vital gusts blow through them. This is not voodoo: this is tough love:

For it there is no anes­the­sia. There is a red flag flick­er­ing off in the dis­tance, mean­ing “peril.” Take it

To mean “free asso­ci­a­tion.” Run past the police with your mouth on fire and fol­low the crowd

Of sur­geons down to the sea-hell where the youth are trad­ing seashells for aloe and the mer­maids are singing

Each to each. Steal from them accord­ing to your abil­ity. Sing with them accord­ing to your need.


*Pub­lished in Flag + Void’s “Post­card Series”




Tell me what you breathe again, and why we’re so dif­fer­ent
as to not attract the same types of virus or com­mit
the same hyper­graphic slips of the pen—
You’re right—I left.
Strange logic I keep
between these hemi­spheres: equa­tor into which
col­lapse my wildest fan­tasies
of deca­dent crys­tal chan­de­liers crash­ing
at the end of the world party table
when eat­ing is futile as try­ing to rea­son
with your ex. Rays of light
stream from a cliché, an abused
source of energy we’d meant to keep
ambigu­ous, rid­dled with petals of an unknown sea­son and bruises
we didn’t watch form. The last time we talked it was over
an herbar­ium writhing with foliage refus­ing to update
its endan­gered status—and I’ll never for­get the way you looked at me
like I was the Sun, as if to say tell us
what laws will still apply when you’re gone, when what rules
the world has no use for my scent, or for my lungs.


ditch [4 poems]

Hello all,

Click on this link to see four of my poems recently pub­lished by ditch - .

Happy read­ing! AS x

killer covers

Thanks to Jaime Jensen for grant­ing you (and me) priv­i­leged access to the fol­low­ing inter­pre­tive per­for­mances of my poems, “Lux Con­tinua” and “time-lapse res­o­lu­tion.” Orig­i­nal pro­duc­tions are avail­able on my blog– just scroll down.

This shit gives me chills… (Lux Con­tinua, per­formed by JJ) (time-lapse res­o­lu­tion, per­formed by JJ)




Nearly dry: a lone rose descend­ing head first from a piece of twine, dou­ble tied.
In absence of Atro­pos, we are part­ners in infi­nite crime.

We are gath­ered here with the win­dow open, on cold linoleum creak­ing.
Through voodoo blinds the Chris­t­ian neigh­bors peek­ing. When she flew her air­plane into me

It all felt so inevitable: the burns on my wrists, her taste in my mouth
The burns on my ankles. How in my last life I was hanged

And how I was hanged the life prior. How we tried and tried.
I don’t know what to feel any­more, save for the wholly ghostly echo of petals coming

Down hard, com­ing down sin­gu­lar, all around the kitchen table.
My voice, a bomb trapped inside a blaz­ing ele­va­tor, fails

And fails to com­bust. Father, for­give us. Demons, evac­u­ate. Nearly Beloved
Take my oxy­gen mask: I’ve said my vows already.

audio poesis VIII (“Cables” remix)

Hit play to hear Andy N’s haunt­ing remix of my recent poem, “Cables.” See below for Andy N’s info. Thanks, Andy! AS x

Cables — remix
Cables– ver­sion two

Meet Andy N:

Andy N’s web­site–
+ cur­rent band ‘A Means to an End’s web­site:
+ blog:
+ Andy and me online:

Read “Cables” —



Is a home an uncon­di­tional space, or does it have a time frame? If the for­mer, are its mea­sure­ments changeable?

Are ques­tions con­cern­ing these changes inter­rog­a­tive or rhetor­i­cal? Can a ques­tion be a home?

They pro­longed the sen­tence to death, hav­ing found you sus­pect and simul­ta­ne­ously daughter.

Hav­ing con­fessed your love’s true sex, you tossed a match from here to child­hood and watched those bridges burn.

Whose face was on fire when you whis­pered A rose is a rose and she answered I didn’t raise you to deface His creation?

The World was found guilty and the sun was pun­ished, so the Word was pub­lished in absence of the sun

And there were pic­nics and potlucks and silences that seemed to last eons; time was mea­sured in bites not taken

And the occa­sional clink of a fork against a plate became the absolute cen­ter of a uni­verse that was clos­ing in rapidly

And they called this hos­pi­tal­ity, and you accepted it—stared out to the gar­den whose bird­bath is always overflowing,

Whose lilies nei­ther toil nor spin, whose pin­wheels hyp­no­tize what they can’t understand

What can’t be dis­owned or proven innocent.


Kill Author [2 poems]

Fol­low the link to see two of my poems (+ audio!) pub­lished in “Kill Author”- an anony­mous + bad ass poetry jour­nal. Happy reading…

[Why the anonymity: “The journal’s title is inspired by The Death Of The Author, a work by the French philoso­pher and lit­er­ary critic Roland Barthes, whose name graced our first issue. We com­pletely agree with the crit­i­cism he makes in that essay–that read­ers rely far too much on their knowl­edge of an author’s per­son­al­ity in an attempt to try and gain some mean­ing from a work. Barthes’ pref­er­ence was that the mean­ing should come only from the impres­sion left in the reader’s mind by the words on the page, rather than from the iden­tity of the writer. That’s our pref­er­ence, too.” –Kill Author]



Ex Nihilo

A thou­sand hats off, twenty rounds of applause, six hun­dred hun­dred goats, and my old­est (hypo­thet­i­cal) child–to Andy N, for sound­ge­neer­ing this most epic track. (See below for links to Andy N’s work…) Vocal record­ings include excerpts from Tessa Rumsey’s “Fan­tasy Coat,” and from my essays “The Glimpse of Recog­ni­tion,” “Toward a Lin­guis­tic Account of the Soul-Poem,” and “Cri­tique of the Gen­e­sis of Form.” With­out fur­ther ado, we present to you “Ex Nihilo”–

Ex Nihilo

Meet Andy N:

Andy N’s web­site–
+ cur­rent band ‘A Means to an End’s web­site:
+ blog:
+ Andy and me online:

Radioactive Moat [2 poems]

Click on the link to see two of my poems recently pub­lished in issue 6 of Radioac­tive Moat:

We seek the mutant; the face­less and com­po­nents grotesque. We abhor the exem­plary; the self-righteous. Writ­ing is not merely a game or reward. Writ­ing is social crit­i­cism; is activism. Writ­ing is few words; is many.” –Radioac­tive Moat

AS x

Musical Chairs (A Lullaby)

Musi­cal Chairs (A Lullaby)

I am the keeper of the heights, wind-tender and wild-eyed. Alpha and Omega, Begin­ning and End, I Am

The cast and the cho­rus and the audi­ence at once: mean­ing lone­some. A lime­stone cas­tle crumbles

With my every exha­la­tion; when­ever I inhale a lit­tle color leaves the world, my chil­dren, listen—

To the hyp­notic pull of the full moon preg­nant with every sad poem ever writ­ten, the wil­low and the ter­ri­ble truth

The wind has to tell it—and tell me who I am. If you refuse: sleep will come like a thief, the lover, set sail in the toss­ing and turning

Your bed­frame become lad­der become kin­dling is no fire escape. I am the-top-of-the-world and the sea,

Now evap­o­rat­ing. You who I carved out of an eye-sore, you sight for sore eyes, rise—walk bravely in cir­cles to the music.

Do not ask: “What shall we make of all the dis­ap­pear­ing fur­ni­ture?” Think only on those things that must be dis­cov­ered, that may

Never be cre­ated nor destroyed. Dreams come to those who ask for much, and need lit­tle: a sound tonic, a fist­ful of sand.

Ye wing-bent, ye with no way down, take com­fort: you aren’t the first, and are far from the last.



Pastel Pastoral: The Black Sun in Pop Culture’s Closet


What if you—abandoned your­self? Dis­lo­ca­tion, as in a time of great dan­ger or impending


Phys­i­cal anni­hi­la­tion, the way the—soul?—may dis­cover the lib­erty to disconnect


From the body, like the word money from the mint or an indi­vid­ual cop­per penny


And what exactly does it mean to won­der about this over cof­fee, soli­tude, perfect


Weather?.…”  (Tessa Rum­sey, 19)

* (Con­tin­ued)

audio poesis VII (w/ Andy N!)

Click here to hear another exper­i­men­tal col­lab­o­ra­tion with audio-poetic genius Andy N! (See below for Andy’s info.) Thanks Andy– as always, you’re a true inspiration!

audio poe­sis VII (unsta­tis­ti­cally speaking)


Andy N’s web­site–
+ cur­rent band ‘A Means to an End’s web­site:
+ blog:
+ Andy and me online:


uncertainty principle

uncer­tainty principle

What our nature is / can’t be cap­tured: this I know.

On black and white film, ele­ments may appear interchangeable.

The flames were like ocean spray—a surf wave—we could not see through them.

At the end of this world will rain hour-glass. Will time pass like light. Will light separate

the shards from the sand as we wade deeper in. A gray sun may hang

in the back­ground, dis­in­her­ited. Under­stand: a great lens encom­pas­seth us.

Under­stand: some may lose their faith. Cam­era now turned on / the Light of the Dharma:

his face soft as lotus petals, firm body. An arrow called Grav­ity points away

from an unnamed cen­ter, Beethoven’s Moon­light Sonata play­ing from a for­eign car

crouched beside the curb, upstream a boy anoints the monk’s head with gasoline.

There are two kinds of peo­ple in this uni­verse. Min­strels, drag your rigid bows across

the trem­bling cello. Reporter releases the shut­ter / shud­ders: a flour­ish of orange

flags and yes a few blue even— In my lungs, an unspo­ken manifesto

now com­bust­ing— Did he stay in that pose, and for how many centuries:

These ques­tions can’t be answered simultaneously—and will burn—


*pub­lished in Radioac­tive Moat


fragments on openness (published by PANK Magazine)

Hello all–

The below link is to a col­lec­tion of my apho­risms– “frag­ments on open­ness”- now part of the “This Mod­ern Writer” series, pub­lished by PANK Mag­a­zine:

Many thanks,
AS x

audio poesis VI (Battery Cage w Andy N)

Another col­lab­o­ra­tion with UK poet/experimental musi­cian, Andy N!! Andy sound­ge­neered the track, and I wrote the poem. (thanks Andy!) Enjoy…

Audio Poe­sis (Bat­tery Cage)


Andy N’s web­site–
+ cur­rent band ‘A Means to an End’s web­site:
+ blog:
+ Andy and me online:


unstatistically speaking

unsta­tis­ti­cally speaking

wings fold back and break off in unbear­able winds

nei­ther of us had the lux­ury of watching

my plane leave inso­far as you crashed once I said good­bye come dawn

and I was stuck inside it. love, to be honest

is to board a metal bird full of strangers all moving

in the same gen­eral direc­tion at ter­ri­fy­ing speeds

much as a train of thoughts throt­tles across a page, mean­ing anything

you think you want—oxygen mask, sui­cide bomb—can and will be

held against you. bound­aries blur, book drowns, as water­color air­craft spirals

bright lights down below may belong to sev­eral cities or sim­ply a home

once chris­tened flu­o­res­cent, now taken by flame.


*pub­lished in Radioac­tive Moat

the story of the youth who set forth to learn what fear was

the story of the youth who set forth to learn what fear was (remix by Andy N)

So much depends

on whether the self is

a carousel

glazed with red rainwater

beside the white

cop cars, turning

out songs gone

demented, gone sinister

when a gang fight broke out

on the fairground,

killing sev­eral innocents.

Let fairy­tale characters

lay low, come back

coun­ter­feit. Say

your com­mit­ment issues

stem from your wicked stepmother,

from the stag­ger­ing rollercoasters

on which so many boys held her

hostage. Say what does not

move does not stun

can­not help us, should not be

com­mit­ted to memory.

Shud­der, say nothing.

I am perpetually

car­ry­ing within me

what I most wish to flee:

all these bleed­ing bodies,

my team of unicorns

not bul­let­proof but not sentient

either— black and blue

clouds blow over, roll over

another lover leaves me

naked and awake: a sandman

sus­pended in mirages

as you cruise my desert cities

look­ing for answers

beneath a splen­did umbrella

of dreams.


tasteless: writings by/to a starving artist

go slow, said the soul, // That you may know the streets of your aban­doned city more inti­mately than any joy // Or cher­ished sea­son.” –Tessa Rumsey

On return­ing to my home­town (i.e., for the last cou­ple of weeks) I’ve been com­pelled to revisit an era of my life, and hence of my poetry, that for a long time I’ve kept at bay. This work is the result of said revis­i­ta­tion: a col­lec­tion of poems, cor­re­spon­dences, and reflections-in-retrospect, that  doc­u­ments, or mir­rors rather, one poet’s jour­ney through hell/anorexia — more or less toward health/life. Poems and cor­re­spon­dences appear in chrono­log­i­cal order (or order in which they were writ­ten) — begin­ning in advance of a stint “on the road,” and end­ing in the author’s hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. Excerpts from my essay, The Gen­e­sis of Form, recount the expe­ri­ence in ret­ro­spect. Thanks to MH, with­out whom the present body of work (or its author) would not exist.    Happy read­ing, A xx


anti-christmas audio poesis

Hey all;

the fol­low­ing track fea­tures my poem “thrown­ness,” and belongs to an album by Andy N + friends– “…Offi­cially designed for peo­ple who don’t really like Christ­mas, the album has a series of tracks that go for acoustic based pop to full on drone epics.”  See below for more info. Thanks Andy!!

silent night (thrownness)

Hear the full album HERE:
Read the poem:

Andy online:
Andy + me online:

poetic justice (video)

Fol­low this link to see a youtube video of some Texan poetic rad­i­cals + myself per­form­ing poetry a week ago:

Com­pli­ments of Anna Lover­ing. Happy lis­ten­ing! AS xx

Transmissions Outside the Teaching (poetry book)

Dear read­ers,

This is just a note to say that my book of poems, Trans­mis­sions Out­side the Teach­ing, is now avail­able on Ama­zon, i.e., HERE (or you can just go to Ama­zon and type in my name and/or “Trans­mis­sions Out­side the Teaching.”)

Prophecy and Abstraction in a Passionless Age

The fol­low­ing is a re-worked ver­sion of my paper Ani­mal Meta­physicum: Prophecy and Abstrac­tion in a Pas­sion­less Age, which I recently pre­sented in a panel dis­cus­sion on “Nar­ra­tive and Social Move­ments.” A cou­ple of peo­ple asked me to post the updated ver­sion on this blog, so here it is– com­ments and ques­tions are wel­comed! Thanks, A (Con­tin­ued)

audio poesis IV (remix by Andy N)

Here’s another audio-poetic col­lab­o­ra­tion with exper­i­men­tal musi­cian Andy N. Andy mixed the track (see below for his con­tact info and links to other projects) and I wrote the poem (here again, see below.) Many thanks to Andy, and happy lis­ten­ing! –A x

My Euphrates (Remix)


Andy N’s web­site–
+ cur­rent band ‘A Means to an End’s web­site:
+ blog:
+ Andy and me online:


Timely Meditations

Upcom­ing Arts and Human­i­ties grad­u­ate con­fer­ence @ TTU, Sat­ur­day, 22 Octo­ber 2011. If you live in the region, hit us up! My paper can also be found HERE. (Con­tin­ued)

love song / suicide bomb

love song / sui­cide bomb

Let us go then, you and I / When evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherised upon a table —T.S. Eliot

As the insom­niac dreads the night, so does the city

Grow pet­ri­fied of being what it is, need­ing what it needs.

Take the bridges we man­aged, despite down­pour and detour, to let burn.

An ani­mal in motion stays asym­met­ri­cal: this was me try­ing to get even

With history—carbon foot­prints all the way down.

The metro­plized sky­line like a girl, by def­i­n­i­tion, interrupted

By the pol­i­tics of entrance, essence askance—warship lands

Her one-hundred-story deal: pub­lished, perished.

They’re tight­en­ing the bor­der now, punc­tu­at­ing things with­out thinking

What they might be killing off. If this is free­dom, I’ll have no part in it.

If this is scan­dal– I want in on it all. In Time’s Square, a fig­ure ate

Dirt, back­ground ate fig­ure, a skat­ing rink falls asleep full

Of frac­tured bones, New York City full of terror

And I still can’t remem­ber where I parked that night

For the life of me // requires so many more bod­ies than this.

*Pub­lished in E-ratio