from Imaginary Journalsby Dan Machlin
I think it is interesting that I am writing this in the middle of the morning memorializing
the past day.
I spent the afternoon at the Guggenheim "Moving Pictures" exhibit running into
friends—it was a local place in the middle of an impersonal city.
I was looking around at the men in the museum for fashion trends but everyone seemed
Vito Acconci and Laurie Anderson’s pieces seemed the most inside of or emanating from
an active engagement in language—they also both really made me laugh.
Vito Acconci once had a little magazine with Bernadette.
What if we filled the Guggenheim with poetry printouts for a day—could we then auction
them at Sotheby’s?
Better yet, could we, Vanessa Beecroft-like line up a hundred naked poets with
typewriters (not a pretty site) and position them behind little wooden grade school desks?
Oh Frank, where are you when I need you? O’Hara that is, not Lloyd Wright. Did art
always seem so akin to advertising?
Oh it’s all envy—that Bill Viola and his multi-channel video.
I want to write multi-channel poetry, stuff poetry in people’s
mouths—move people into wishing they were in the art
version of a Steven Spielberg movie—
I’m tired of the flaccidity of a piece of paper
I’m tired of the lack of virility in a printout
I want to occupy space in a room
immerse people in my artful-tainment
Maybe I’m tired of listening to myself
listen to others
Like you said Richard – the poetics of…
Your forehead is totally
Relaxed imagine a warm light
Entering your toes releasing
All tension in your body
Perhaps I am the dying man in Bill Viola’s video
(There are incidentally a lot of extras in Bill Viola’s video)
So if you capture video at 24 frames per second you can then
easily transfer to film and create the quality of film despite the fact that it was video.
My computer still prints out in black & white; should this poem be first or last.
I took a slide of my poem but it was boring—as a slide that is.
I shredded my poem because I feared identity theft.
I sent my poem to myself to copyright it.
When I am famous, I will date my poems and note the location. I will also send letters to
lesser-known poets because basically everything I write from that point on will hold
I am at the Guggenheim so therefore all these artists are probably famous.
First day, it seems, I am writing actually in the day.
Like Robert Smithson’s art practice—to have, hypothetically, a writing practice.
I go to yoga. Write. Register for unemployment. Buy things on the Internet.
Follow in footsteps of great white-male slacker writers.
S. wants to carry stones up the house from community garden bulldozed by developers. I
don’t know where they go in our tiny apartment. I concede—convince her to take the
This is from the notebook with the holes. The Swiss notebook. The private notebook.
The notebook easily carried, easily hidden.
So this is my private space asserted. So this—my daily moment.
Writing practice—what exactly am I practicing for?
Without this consciousness of being an artist, could I be an artist? The whole pretense of
a project. Like parallel realities of a day in a life: project.
What if my life is only
I ask you—who are the important minor poets?
Forget about writing poetry.
Forget about writing for poetry.
Do most people answer surveys about the war honestly or do they answer them with the
hope that their answer will sway the statistics that influence political decision-making?
It’s 1:44. Tomorrow I will go and see art. I am unemployed and currently living off the
Bought Richter’s The Daily Practice of Painting yesterday, hoping it will inform my
Singing Mozart/Stravinsky is profound—the concept of a double fugue one melody
interacting with a completely distinct melody—surprising—but there is a mathematical
fluency with processes such as these that can be achieved beyond pure beauty—there is a
mathematical beauty to the work if you stare at it long enough
Make love. Burn a Duralog in the fire. Play spit or speed. Take a bath. None of this
to do with writing. Receive a rejection letter from some weird fellowship I forgot I
applied for—burn it in the fireplace—a rare pleasure.
Writing on the computer—no one will ever get to see my ridiculous crossed out
Conversations with writers in living rooms—things one does when one is searching in
their 30’s for a method—for meaning.
Writing was just a distraction from the main cause—from the way—which was finding
balance on one’s shoulders.
There is no simple way to explain. The house is filled with smoke. For that, we had to
turn off the fuse box for the smoke alarm.
It’s as if one’s life did not have line endings.
I’m afraid—writing away from myself—my writing for others—
Walking down Broadway just to continue to be cold—to be reminded of what?—my
integrity as a being with an inside and an outside—it was the light that attracted me.
Dan Machlin was a finalist in the 2004 National Poetry Series Competition and has poems forthcoming in Fence Magazine. He is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and his work has appeared in Talisman, Crayon, CyPress, Pom2, Tool, Poetry Project Online, Center for Book Arts Broadside Series, and The Portable Boog Reader. He is founder and editor of Futurepoem books and is a curator at the Segue Foundation Reading Series at Bowery Poetry Club.
DAN MACHLIN is currently completing THE BLOCK, which he begin during a recent Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Writing Residency. His previous books include Dear Body: (Ugly Duckling Presse), This Side Facing You (Heart Hammer) and In Rem (@ Press) and his poems have recently appeared in BOMB and Vanitas. He is a native New Yorker and Founder and Executive Editor of Futurepoem Books.