Mudlark Poster No. 29 (2000 and 2002)

Louis Armand and John Kinsella

Louis Armand is an Australian writer and artist currently living in Prague, where he lectures at Charles University. His work has appeared in various journals, including POETRY REVUE, SULFUR, MEANJIN, and HEAT. His most recent publications include two volumes of poetry, INEXORABLE WEATHER (Arc, 2001) and LAND PARTITION (Textbase, 2001), and a volume of experimental prose, THE GARDEN (Salt, 2001). He is poetry editor of THE PRAGUE REVUE, and an editor of LITTERARIA PRAGENSIA.

John Kinsella is the author of more than twenty books whose many prizes and awards include The Grace Leven Poetry Prize, the John Bray Award for Poetry from The Adelaide Festival, The Age Poetry Book of The Year Award, The Western Australian Premier's Prize for Poetry (twice), a Young Australian Creative Fellowship from the former PM of Australia, Paul Keating, and senior Fellowships from the Literature Board of The Australia Council. His POEMS 1980-1994 and volume of poetry THE HUNT (a Poetry Book Society Recommendation) were published in May 1998 by Bloodaxe in the UK and USA, THE UNDERTOW: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (Arc, U.K), VISITANTS (Bloodaxe, 1999), WHEATLANDS (with Dorothy Hewett in 2000), and THE HIERARCHY OF SHEEP (Bloodaxe/FACP, 2001). He is the editor of the international literary journal SALT, a Consultant Editor to WESTERLY (CSAL, University of Western Australia), Cambridge correspondent for OVERLAND, (Melbourne, Australia), International Editor of the American journal THE KENYON REVIEW, and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. A novel GENRE was published in 1997 (Fremantle Arts Centre Press) and GRAPPLING EROS in late 1998 (FACP). He co-edited (with Joseph Parisi) a double issue of Australian poetry for the American journal POETRY and more recently an Australian issue of THE LITERARY REVIEW. He is Professor of English at Kenyon College in the United States, a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and Adjunct Professor to Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. His work has been or is being translated into many languages, including French, German, Chinese, and Dutch.


Authors’ Note

This sequence was composed during the course of an email correspondence and remains an on-going project. Each piece is the outcome of numerous promptings and erasures, sorties, advances, feints, overwritings and defacements, pastiches and parodies, rendering a “synoptical” text whose authorship is ultimately anonymous (—in this sense “John Kinsella” and “Louis Armand” function merely as ciphers).


zoning discourse: synoptical echo pangenesis
rorschach series
1. encephalogram
2. “it—the sea”?
3. tachistoscope
4. (uroboros)

triptych: diseases of the eye
1. in absentia
2. self/portrait (solarisation)
3. nature morte with arcane substance

a symposium
1. like foreign tongue vernacular in long revolution
2. there are some very detailed descriptions, protocols
3. clear light falls on the value added copse, the
4. scum on the flow trap, surface
5. or we close up, in the telephoto vanishing
6. but there’s no getting away—our “sentiments,” a tale
7. sync sync: there was, of course, that felt shoe & linen
8. glossing less savoury moments—the table is set, the

i. (mise) en voix
ii. invoices
iii. o
the serotonin hypothesis: bayreuth
1. so, as you proceed in examination of these doctrines
2. marking a continuation of the internal diagnosis
1. bad weather in the troubled
2. &there, staccato line trebled
3. “apposite” as if this meant a codeword
4. post script


casting a pater-noster line
outlooking into the water’s shadow-graph(ed
what (there) it seems to presence—insequential
per echo’s languid pangenesis—oedipal?
& upping prolapse without the mother “issuing
                             directly from the cogito”
a premeditation of non-being
blood-smeared & arithmetic—there
where it smells of excrement & euclid
the clotted drainage of semes after babel
a bias in liturgy—adamic—(re)naming
everything on-screen?
or double-gazing of cathected
sea-like creatures “depositing
about a place they might term
landscape” ... qua
                              meta-physical & (self-)
erasure in counterfeit anatomies—
elevating myth to gestalt therapy
or lyrical solipsism (rodin-achilles?)
or engenderment
                    or simulacra
                              simulating pre-socratic
denunciation of origins—
the striated body & its nemesis
looming glacier-like from a desert
or inland sea (the overarching wave-forms of
limestone, whalebone, dis-
solving on mute petrifications of raftwood)
flowing out to alluvial chiasms—
                              paleo- or mesolithic—
& time-lines fluctuating
as erosion ushers in the platitudinous
(darwinian geo-census miming plebiscites
to millennial tremblers as res publica
                              lurches backwards into history
                              & we (re-)state
the bloody obvious):
out there where I trod & trod & trod
abstracted from (its) contours
[(_) morphogenesis?
part(ing)s companied with the sculptured
or the real or the] miscreant
                              the deus ex machina
of crows high over the nullarbor
                              divining new jerusalems


dis-covering categories in the monad self
the blackbird tosses up
a vein, stranded annelid (cataract
of blinking alterity), as ground-wires
interlink consumption & re-creation via
shifting entelechies—satellites
dishing up “doxa & logos”
for the nightly automation of
homo cogitens (“the eye by which i
perceive god is not the same eye by which
he perceives me”): framing the annulus
of what “is” impossibly transposed within it—
cathode or gottesstrahlen?—or rotogravure
video speculation in the pack
shouldered through closeups
of sleepers standing & coiled like desiccated
leaves in central park (“bemiracled relics of
former human souls”?)—on the fringe
vapour exiting from the subways, intoning
heat like barrage balloons thickly flanked
in smog zones, scaffolded
& fencing-in lines of flight—the coded
messages of traffic lights & dull sound of
impact as humidity reaches outward
to a critical mass (“drowning in air”)
& wings fan back the spreading picture

2. “IT—THE SEA”?
is written as if to encounter something masquerading as real, a moment
when all the lines are brought back together from the dissolution
of the outside—in order for the other always to be there?: the inquisitor
terminates the discussion, seasoned indifference already confused
in the speculations of the sentence & child acting as agent in the fort/da
repetition-revenance, denouncing a scenario point blank in the liminal
exclusion (“for it’s there we inhabit & are most active”)—appearing
in the condemned articulation as any subject might in a room with a table,
spreading the convergence like mutilation, & weather as changeable
as transference or inclination, lost in the endless pleonasms of mis-
taken identity—never knowing how to read the signs or sense danger,
& re-turning always to the same fabula of the sea as mother-charybdis
makes a point of dragging your indiscretions down into the family circle

herme(neu)tic arrival, terminus
on the outskirts
of an undecidable topos
as destinations
interchange & efface themselves
on the flashing
bulletin-board (a thousand trans-
atlantic flights per day)
or stranded “in the middle of
nowhere” folding & un-
folding a map whose segments
no longer frame anything
legibly, branch into trees,
planetariums as remote-control
intervenes in the allegorical
or fugitive space
like a stain outstripped &
telescoped in the tacit refusal
of narrative’s unfolding
& folding like endless schist
as angles stretch further upwards—
in abscondito, the absolute
sensing the lousy forecast
(listless days in the tropics,
blotched skies, the bilious green
deckchairs of floating worlds
strobed in the cloud-chamber)—
& always falling back on the usual
contingencies of disappearance
posing as “concealment in plain view”

incipient & forever crossing (time-)zones
concordant circuit of
incessant inhumation—“objet
& regard sur cette objet” or other
equivalent forms: steradians
& spherical excess
describing an aperture of mis-
alignments (gallows injection gas chamber
the chair) punct-
uating the anatomical—la vie qui tourne
& tourne comme un film “ultra noire” ...
quoting micky spillane
because a crime WAS committed (un coup d’oeil
verging on effraction)—at intervals
phrases emerge from the gothic
machinery of pseudo-american fictions—
enormous engines dragging
“conceptual personae”
out of the primal scene into the too harsh light
of the immediate & invisible
execution chamber—battaille’s thaumaturge
not enough to cure
the socratic affliction—& still prosecuted by
in the numinous countdown


ex cathedra gegenschein—angling the tain
towards the “inner light”—non est inventus
liability of opposition’s product—
despite alleging
mark after mark, the yet to be written apostate
hand on the holster that nouns paternally (manus patris):
“butter wouldn’t melt in his ...”;
& river pilot navigatingsluices—’cause
you know after all, telekinesis,
it’s better that way, un-
tainted by the look of it, film-wrapped & by the hour
reflecting on the solidly
low temperatures: someone, not you, declares—
as if the epistle needed an objective

to the extent that a description goes back to the origins
tries to represent the hackneyed layers of the de-generate
a priori—through morbid reflexes, geothermal, pedantic,
in the virulence of its own phantasms—splitting hairs,
the gauche protest belies the take my point
of it, the internally focussed eye of a mise-en-abyme
where the temples & forehead (bold as heraldry)
have received the electric power of recti-
fication—& “when my face is flushed
with blood it becomes red & obscene” citing dis-
ruption along purely political lines, undercurrents
of dissent—pitt’s tumescence, umbraged, raising the bolgias—
as the floor walked in gestural silence

periphrasis / of the outwardly revolving
not a trace / no longer qv. lixiviate
plenum of forced aspiration ...
introibo ad altare dei / converting
arcane substance via hypostatic union,
eliding metaphysics / who’s been sleeping
in my bed says humor qua heliogabolus
discovering [red dancing shoes?] & formaldehyde,
[the stolen verb of a pentacostal sonnenkind ...?]

[calendar debris] cut-out & overprinted
in margins / erratum / vexed machine
altercating per carotid artery je ne suis pas
l’autodactylograph[ie] / points on a line
in serial declensions of “s is p” algorithmic /
during days when motivation is lacking ...
il faut cultiver notre jardin ...
mandates as the roaring forties
bluster about the point / political justice

vs. rousseau & the thousand & one nights
spent in the coal cellars of this city / ...
conveying practical bodies in sleep
& half-light / geistlich walt disney anima-
tions (aladin’s lamp in countless samizdat
?) / made flesh as [the] carbon type[...]
(“terminates” between quotation marks
the last word before the transcript breaks


adjusting the distance from “to undergo” & opposite to “expectation”
in studied entry, undergripping
all manifest effect;
telemetry, coagulating on the liminal fringe,
gummed up & kicking over like a spanner in the works,
as semblages make eyes
out of jungle, the dark
opthalmosaurus of its primitivist soul, citing lamarck
on the evolution of parts of the brain functioning in vision
or joseph conrad
suffering from calenture & leaping out of sight, out of mind
into the null azure of ocean pastoral, haemoproteins & polarised light


ending again, as in “the hand slips away”
& the street as though
some enigma concealed you
or made you more evident, transgressive,
standing before
or on the threshold
of a criminal impulse—perhaps it was
raining & the night cast two
or five
steps ahead, snake eyes leering
through a barred gate & fire
escape(d) coiling up-
wards into the gloom, like sinuous
gammadions or else
it was morning already & white
under the eyelids de-
moralising spectra-selves
as objet petit (in the
reflex-arc-subjectile) or sidewalk
parting to reveal
a sub-terranean passageway, beggaring
description—a form
of apologia
lost in exhumation, the corpus
delecti they laughed at
behind their tacit refusals—a nervous
twitch at the corner of the sizar’s
mouth, rounding off an ob-
scene proposition (grey &
anatomical lips
pressed inwards onto the patented
skyline)—in this place
or elsewhere,
against the wall / doubled over
beneath the onrush
of doubt—evidence
arranged in direct contra-
diction of the senses like
a haemorrhage
or an apostrophe, the red door of the neo-
classical observatory its
whited domes sub-
siding vaguely beneath
the dogstar constellation & digital
photographs strewn about,
revelatory as background material from
“past life” like a theoretical


1. like foreign tongue vernacular in long revolution—
marxistante, synapse as practiced reversion
in the officially
approved style—almost
continental—the anonymous coffee grounds that always
seem to foretell some well-appointed splenectomy, far
away in the euro song’s
luxurious machinery—discoursing
on the new rerum natura
as matter of consensual fact, colophonic
which is to say “when the finger points at the moon the idiot
looks at the finger”
that kind of lyrical impulse—what it means
to see in the dark, like some nocturnal species
creeping upwards through class structure
a magnificent glass ceiling
struck in sunlight & plaintive rumours
like a poem of verlaine in mis-
dead nettles lopped to the paths—(to approach that aspect is to
view the architecture in its proper light), municipal &
salutary, draping the bouleversement
with a “negligence” that leaves / everything still to be desired

2. there are some very detailed descriptions, protocols
circulating in slow motion like a ring of flies
in the middle of an interrogation room—the words “dis-
sident,” “dog,” or “sub-specie humanitatis”
refuse lying in a corner to be
swept away, tagged
or latinised as an entry in an anatomical dictionary:
mandibulus—the cleft palate aching to speak
heroically, & against “all odds”: i came i saw i conquered
& that only part of the (whole) story.

3. clear light falls on the value added copse, the
russian wood sold up: a se fait. light again,
the snow-fracture—endless miles to the next
station. dysphoria settles & they operate,
dragging trees like splinters into
capitals; the process is “organised,” in the spirit
of our common goal—those who
fell here commemorated. the backlash
gathers slowly, a coil of smoke
low on the next horizon—the plain barely con-
ceals what intentions lie behind it

4. scum on the flow trap, surface
not up to scratch, i gossip—tell-
tale signs like they’re goin’
out of style. a synch, a dead cert.
silvereyed in the orchard & an
era closing over: that’s my sensory
part, a walk-on role to
baudelaire’s envy, but in (real) life
that’s stark in the dress-
reversal, what? the humourless,
jaded fanny, a small hill
in dandysville overshot with
lyrical sentiment, past-
u(e)rised (comes of the boiling pot)—
post-preludal, only the rusticated
worker late on the job
stalled at the traffic lights, but for
how much?

5. or we close up, in the telephoto vanishing
tinuities, in barely
navigable waters—the late night
network news
flashing across the screen, inner, &
with “monstrous laughter.”
whose take this down? the con-
spicuous debutant, cornered? or waving its
gestalt body like an
or an alibi—intermingling
cotton-tops and jock straps. someone comes to
tot it up ... the last slow dance
& rouge
smudged on the collar—it
doesn’t matter, she says, it’ll come out
in the wash

6. but there’s no getting away—our “sentiments,” a tale
of distress related in mixed company—along the lines
that they are justified
by “the essential feature of the life both of men & of
peoples in the age of migrations”—it were a wantonness
& would demand severe reproof (& wordage
stains nothing like barrel chesta
& achilles’ heels ... though after, nostalgia taking the place
of the parallel bars, a
“cybernetic” apparatus
designed as a form of punishment, & no thought
of manners)—was that what he had come so far to hear?

7. sync sync: there was, of course, that felt shoe & linen
shoe & laced shoe &
braided shoe & THE calceaus incisus & calceus rostratus:
reading the newly sewn lips into a less
rigid context—epirhizous?
tap tap. scout down about the archival
(parabasis &
canned laughter), stock-in-trade—the proof yet to be de-
monstrated on the awaiting body, o philosophie!

8. glossing less savoury moments—the table is set, the
tableau (static) presents
an unmoving scene—a small opening is left
for the intrigant soubrette’s
difficult entrance, fronting up / to executed “private”
reviewers & likely yoricks:
& with this, as they say, it’s a wrap
a shroud a charade, another La Revue wagnerienne
or lacework kick-starting
the counter meal’s gastric revolution,
a poor second, played out, but still—a nice set of teeth



he stared at the sun & (speaking in a letter
dated october, 1888) received from its rays
the imperative ...—angel weight is
critical, per tense-depthed
angst of corporeality, sign &
aura—the colophon’s severed phalangial
articulation: he still suspects
that he was influenced by the biography
he tried to flee from—“tropically,” as
insulation against polar conditions, the
versus of automutilation high
in the andes & failing to keep a grip, successively
breaking through the skin (flexor & extensor
tendons)—their failure insinuated
we might rise or fall, radiantly, as if the
heat were a complex fibre, hungover
from trans-aspiration, anima mundi, & signal


sucker punched in the colla(xa)tive—numeracy
counters adage, digital in-
            sertions up the cultural
grading, taking stock of consensus, inventory,
the mephistophelean
contract (clinching the raw deal) ghost-written
valences of righteous ex-
            cretion—the faust house over-
looking the public park & poetasters
caught red-handed in the vicariously lived
former lives of the undergrowth

iii. O

abacus diagonals from notes over massa-
chusetts bay [reading about
this recently], psalm book (this) in coat pocket stub
taken down, these adages (those that were
with us on the sea, in the late
down-pour, & after, measuring the tides’
backwash) an idea each one extends
through filibustered pinch-hitters
pumping up stakes, in the calamitous
drop-zone, vinyl groove, & mojo signing off from the
dream symbology of post-latex theories
a posteriori—take your temptings
for a walk elsewhere, rigged out like a
man-o-war in bad weather, & bells ringing
off stage as angelic voices choral-
treat & syncopate with the canonade, &
god save the queen she is most
receptive to our wish, working in to the elbow as tap
& swish tap, swish: tap, at half-
mast, though keeping it up despite the bad
odds (the word is given
& our work of scuttling begins in
earnest)—the night sky efflorescent, this culmination
of dividables & portions, in the waste-
strewn sargasso of his imagination: “i give you take,”
reverse or re-order, or the whole
washed up on distant shores in messes of flax & pine


1. so, as you proceed in examination of these doctrines

hammering against the marbled outlines
it becomes more &
more evident that territory [...] equi
valent to the eternal

forms (the mountain has
to time & space a different relation
from that which colour has), citing animism
& pantheistic immanence—a phalanstery of selves

strung up like skinned carcasses; one is the
creative,the other evolutionary substance
(who is the unlucky cognisant subject
unsatisfied with his slice

of the pie? threatened by hard gods &
alternative diets: who, to prose
fiction is no guarantee of ... posthumous effect, this
lateral inclusion,

      in place of a /mechanism/ but the more
you examin it, the more foolish is its offer—
the saving grace of something
mobile beneath the skin & which at least

is not hoaxing us? i.e. to enter
into a common experience / on “equal terms”
shifts in germinus & applicability
      tempted offcourse by idolatory & siren

      songs there is
      no general or present
      indication (the habitus of pragmatics
      dies hard, taken

on the out-thrust chin—particularly on the one who
abandons social interpretations &
pretensions & seems to
subsist in spite—yes, we know this: “the time plan

generation, the river god who hates the mountain tribe,”
plagiarists of self-
dramatisations, surveying his idyll
of albion, settled

into auto citation is it necessary
to take possession of what is already ... by which
we mean restitution, as in “one blind from birth has his
sight restored to him” but where

does one go from here? interlistening from the
unseen interview (the telephonist
describes to him the promisory note
she has enclosed ever since); it is

“ever so sincere” a monologue
of unexpected demands ... so we arrive at the concrete
illustration of that strange fact
(it is doubly noted) of the very private

wolfman who cases our joints, utters
sorry to have to announce the vivaldi basoon concerto
      a specious revenance in the discords of
loneliness some fragment of dress or

            mannerism will generate—
multi-scriptures in the frustration of our common
wish, though not
yet its satiric prevention

2. marking a continuation of the internal diagnosis

fegm & headrot, the forensic pathologist
demures to analyse—these late
misrepresentations augur badly, in the midst
of his morning constitutional, milton or
schopenhauer (he is

very well read, it’s well known)
convoluting politely, his stringy optic fibres
braced for self-seeing, the perspective
& restive smothering of taps &
drips, & power left on when he’s halfway down

the “mountainside,” laughter under the
summit, memories of friendships
not quite formed—the ulyssean nostos, la vie
conjugale beatling over its base, postured
arse up to be screwed, but where

with & all, what of it? again to arrive
at the anticline before zero, nose to the
ground—a keen sense of smell
detects messages from across poles & synapses,
stop. nother dead. stop. come home


1. bad weather in the troubled
water of the aquarium, & troubled, too, the shadows
passing a furtive vienna. belgrade. the room
will fill with its gloating hints and outings. we met
under lamplit cedars, made films and skies
drawn in, like videos. the familiar spectrals amputate
window sashes against prague, memories of susan howe,
the fallen season. dust in the sun, underwritten. like
boats lost at the plimsoll line, lulling into the sea’s
hackneyed rhyme. their dead cargo, dull rigging &
tackle. life buoys. a spreading scenery thinner than
water, to the detriment of what is compulsively de-
scribed there, what we make our stuff out of ...

2. & there, staccato line trebled
against a riddled tin, bullet-holed & impurity, which is
merely rhetorical, signing at the end of a
political manifesto. boredom takes the place of
reparation, protection, and minor buildings
accumulating like re-
volutionary fronts, sufficiently causal snow
as headlights, speeding through white-out, noise;
stacked up,
these mo(nu)ments, undressed in concertino files
& raw accordions pumped with brio—one or two
things we know about her & this, our love of cinema,
poxy tintings and chemically reacting edges ...
fringes ... coming a-
part in the semes; the scenerio lying in a pool of
bleach, for keeping it clean

3. “apposite” as if this meant a codeword
or rush of diligences, though I suspect that a
better-formulated version (heavily
revised, if not rewritten and re-
conceptualised) could be appropriate. as
history must be. balloon captions
& capricious stonewalls, as if travelled
I might end up somewhere. might
strangle capital in end-feeding
swamps. dereliction’s of duty, packet-
ships steaming up the hudson, diseased, yellow
flagging the epidemic as prime time old hat. its
viulence candidly observed, in the office of
public morals, steamed envelopes & rough
jab of the censor’s pen. oh christ, I edge it,
I edge it right out into expletives,
stats tilting the bell, alarms ringing all the way
to the capitol & over-scripted, the potomac
rims the chrome-gloss, steely dans
turgid with weaponry. rust-flavoured spikes, driveby
budget rentals: gone broke & hit the
skids, sayin’ nine-one-one’s a joke, & you’d
better believe.

4. post script

possessive, it marked tripped corners, as if you’d
fall through the road
or undercurrent of notes, cast in the patsy
role. going down, rolling with it. & where else
but in the book repository would you
look for the evidence? a name scrawled on a
record liner, celotaped finger
prints. the x in the sample from m is crossed from
right to left, but in the n sample
            the direction is reversed.

Copyright © Mudlark 2000 and 2002
Mudlark Posters | Home Page