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STATUS PROGRAMS | SOME RULES FOR US TO BREAK Joseph A. W. Quintela

with program output (poems) by Joseph A. W. Quintela Eryk Wenziak David Tomaloff


Introduction | A Note on Facebook The astute reader will quickly observe that each of the nine ‘Status Programs’ compiled herein are intended to be—and, indeed, have been—posted as a facebook status update to generate the output of poetry. Additionally, each program contains instructions which utilize either the news feed or message faculties of this social networking platform. You may ask: why? Indeed, I hoped that you would. Facebook serves simultaneously as abstract model, platform, impetus, nemesis, and hero of and for these programs. My relationship with facebook is--and always has been--one of terrified fascination. Its potential and power as a tool of communication (as both media and medium) are galvanizing and affecting. But the shadow of Facebook, its manipulative power, its unchecked archival of information, its short circuit of face-to-face communication, and its intrusions into privacy are deeply troubling. As such, I have been cautiously enthusiastic about facebook, searching for ways to subvert it, even as I explore and become entrenched in its web. These programs were designed to take their users out of facebook and divert their attention to a book, a poem, an artwork, a friend, even an object—this is, to some well of desire to which they may not have attended in some time. In doing so, they generate poetry as output but, in doing, so the programs become poetry themselves. They are poems that resist the programming of facebook as all poems must resist something. Ah, you say, but they contain instructions that return the user to facebook, and this is a point I cannot argue, for they do. But it is my hope that these programs return the user to facebook with a fresh eye, with a critical eye, with an eye for questioning. If they do, then they have manifested at least one of my desires. I will also remind the user that any instruction that references facebook can be executed with any other text that contains the basic grammatical structures of English: nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives. Though it is a gross reduction to assert such, examined from a certain angle, this is all that facebook is: a text generating application. Feel free to substitute a book, a personal essay, a conversation for any of the instruction that would otherwise guide you back to facebook. To do so is to exceed the parameters of the program, to become a programmer yourself. It is the first step to


writing you own programs, to arming yourself with the tools of the system: and resisting. Now forget all this. Go. Play. This is far less serious than I’ve just made it sound. Enjoy it. Create poetry output using these programs and play with the output that you and others produce. The Status Programs are open source and generative in their conception, as such I assert no right of ownership to them or to the output that they generate and nor should you. Instead, use them, play with their output, and play even with the codes themselves. You may post them to your status. You may rewrite them to reflect your own desires. You may share them with anyone and everyone you choose. You have my blessings. You are a blessing. Joseph A. W. Quintela New York | 2011


Preamble | Terms of Use Note: Execution of any program or any part of any program is an implicit acceptation of all terms outlined herein. 1. Procedures 1. To execute a program, use the attention of your sensory faculties to generate an interpretation of the instructions. 2. To distribute a program, copy it into your facebook status and believe. 3. To use the output of a program, trust your imagination. 2. Rights 1. You have the right to the use of all output generated from the execution of a program. 2. All have the right to the use of your output generated from the execution of a program. 3. Definitions 1. To follow is to interface with a program of instructions. 2. To note is to record a process of attention for the purpose of later use. 3. To write is to use an instrument to stain a page with ink or to use an apparatus to simulate ink on screen. 4. To stain a page is to create a surface designed to present a product through an assemblage of positive and negative space. 5. To use an apparatus is to interface with code. 6. To write is, alternately, to program. 7. To program is to use code to generate both a process and an output from a user and an input. 8. To generate a process is to believe in the necessity of language. 9. To generate an output is to believe in the agency of play. 10. To believe in play is to accept a disruption of the sacred.


Link Program (follow the instructions) 1. Follow the first news link on your facebook news feed. 2. Write down the first four words followed by the last text on that page into a single line. 3. Follow any link on that page. 4. Write down the first four words followed by the last text on that page into a second line. 5. Follow any link on that page. 6. Write down the first four words followed by the last text on that page into a third line. 7. Follow any link on that page. 8. Write down the first four words followed by the last text on that page into a fourth line. 9. Copy the result as a comment to this thread.

four words of

four words of

four words of

four words of


Link Program Output Joseph Quintela As part of the outside Philadelphia. Enough said. When someone blurts out whole new generation of youth. Let's talk alchemy. For Miami-Dade's de facto town. Latin bakeries have their Guitar Hero controller, anyone? Eryk Wenziak Newsletters about us advertise corporation. All rights reserved. Aunt: Nephew doesn’t deserve male with internet access. Are electronic cigarettes healthy? Featured on this site. Fire up the fox which occurs with pregnancy. Daivd Tomaloff it’s a blank word; okay to move on now the moment when stand to stay in the inception of a she said nothing too the meaning of holidays; this will never happen


Window Program (follow the instructions) 1. Go to a window. Spend 5 minutes looking out. At the end of that time, note 6 simple things that caught your attention (e.g. sidewalk, railing, stranger, sky). Write down each one at the beginning of a separate line. 2. Scroll down through your facebook newsfeed and note the first 6 progressive verbs (verbs ending in –ing). Add one to each line followed by a colon. 3. Scroll down through your facebook again and at the first 6 question or exclamation marks add the two words that precede that question or exclamation mark (along with the mark) to each line. 4. Copy the result as a comment to this thread.


Window Program Output Joseph Quintela Branch adding: General Assembly! Point speaking: Today? Reflection listening: if afloat? Road donating: phone call? Space bringing: of OWS? Pebble reading: their faces? Eryk Wenziak Key looking: Mountain Road? Brick allowing: so much! Rope following: not cheerful? Gate seeping: manager ever? Snow depicting: Los Muertos! Chimney rocking: speed boat? David Tomaloff LETTERS FROM THE COAST reflection advising: my answers? stone knowing: over here! bark happening: it. Bastards! star editing: hear me? leaf rediscovering: not cheerful? light snarling: time travel!


Book Program (follow the instructions) 1. Take any book from your shelf. 2. Write the first four words of the book on a line. Add the last four words of the most recent status update in your facebook news feed (with at least eight words in it). 3. Write the first four progressive verbs (verbs ending in –ing) in the book in step 1 on a second line. 4. Write the first four words of the most recent update in your facebook news feed on a third line. Add the last four words of the book in step 1 on the same line. 5. Write the last four progressive verbs in the book in step 1 on a fourth line. 6. Repeat the first line as the fifth. 7. Copy the result as a comment to this thread.


Book Program Output Joseph A. W. Quintela, Book: Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje when the team reached this wonderful new journal, waiting, leaving, searching, waiting, so honored to have touch from the world, beating, churning, rolling, moving, when the team reached this wonderful new journal, Eryk Wenziak, Book: More Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski God knows I am on this fascinating phenomenon. trying, getting, turning, working, Moving sucks—but by them, drained them off. telling, sitting, following, looking, God knows I am on this fascinating phenomenon. David Tomaloff, Book: A notebook I've been writing in they built themselves a years of age. FfffffFFFfFFFFfffff. sleeping. freezing. mocking. making. there are now fifteen back to the corner. streaming. letting. stumbling. holding. they built themselves a years of age. FfffffFFFfFFFFfffff. Eryk Wenziak, Book: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1974 Edition) Most pocket books are edited and posted online. abasing, abating, abbreviating, abdicating. Vacant home catches fire pronunciation of the word: zoning, zipping, zincing, zigzagging. Most pocket books are edited and posted online.


Art Program (follow the instructions) 1. Google image any artist. Select an artwork you’ve never spent much time with and spend 5 minutes with it. 2. With the artwork in mind, note 6 verbs in the progressive tense (verbs ending in –ing) that come to your attention. Begin 6 separate lines, one for each verb. 3. Add the word “is” after each verb. 4. Scroll down through your facebook news feed and note the first 6 verbs that appear. Change them to the infinitive (i.e. to run, to laugh, etc) and add one to each line. 5. Google image a second artist. Select another artwork you’ve never spent much time with and spend 5 minutes with it. 6. With the artwork in mind, note 6 nouns that come to mind with the indefinite article Add one to finish each line. 7. Repeat the first line as the seventh. 8. Copy the result as a comment to this thread.


Art Program Output Joseph Quintela Artwork 1: Metaesquema No 348 by Helio Oticica Artwork 2: Apollo and Deaphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini trembling is to marry a shadow, edging is to get a pointed toe, whispering is to see a branch, breaking is to have a ground, hovering is to grow a caress, singing is to provide a fold, trembling is to marry a shadow, Eryk Wenziak Artwork 1: Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) by Salvador Dali Artwork 2: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) by Dorthea Tanning supporting is to trade a sunflower conquering is to gain a departure mourning is to wait a loss rotting is to accept a petal enjoying is to execute a friendship understanding is to generate a punishment supporting is to trade a sunflower David Tomaloff, HANDS OF A RIVER Artwork 1: Rose on a Hillside by Bob Dylan Artwork 2: Olive Trees, 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh raining is to wake a valley standing is to arrive a tree wallowing is to submit a sleep living is to shout a mountain bluing is to write a body seeing is to burn a day raining is to wake a valley


Light Program (follow the instructions) 1. Begin at night or in a windowless room, where you have access to and control of the light switch. 2. With the light on, spend 2 minutes gazing toward the light. Write down 4 adverbs (words ending in –ly) that come to your attention. Begin 4 separate lines, one for each adverb. 3. Turn the light off, spend 2 minutes gazing toward the darkness. Write down 4 progressive verbs (verbs ending in –ing) that come to your attention. Add one to each line followed by a comma. 4. Did you prefer the room in light or darkness? Note which one. 5. Scroll down through your facebook news feed and write down the first 8 progressive verbs that appear. Add two to each line, separated by a comma. 6. Open the last long message you sent on facebook. Write down the first 4 nouns that appear in the message, one to finish each line. Add a colon to the fourth line. 7. Flip the light switch on and off for few seconds. Note 2 verbs and 2 nouns that come to your attention as you think about flipping the switch. Begin the fifth line with the first verb in the infinitive (e.g. to walk, to run) followed by the first noun. Add the word “is” followed by second verb in the infinitive. If in step 5 you preferred light add “the” followed by the second noun; If, instead, you preferred darkness add “a not” followed by the second noun. 8. Repeat the first line as the sixth. 9. Copy the result as a comment to this thread.


Light Program Output Joseph Quintela indiscreetly cooling, winning, revealing time widely throbbing, diving, pleasuring gear sordidly coiling, yelling, considering issue whitely soothing, rumbling, demonizing prototype: to excite language is to run a not pulsar indiscreetly cooling, winning, revealing time Eryk Wenziak calmly watching, making, supporting page decisively tensing, lining, paying critique geometrically forgiving, serving, increasing poem openly awaiting, announcing, revisiting time: to stutter lightening is to infuriate a not neighbor calmly watching, making, supporting page David Tomaloff, SUITORS OF NAPALM &RED PLASTIC CUPS willingly morphing, waiting, motivating irony softly counting, stunning, saying heroes sparsely exploding, bombing, diminishing philosophy kindly beguiling, exploring retracting hand: to spin dial is to clasp a not turn willingly morphing, waiting, motivating irony


Friend Program (follow the instructions) 1. Ask a friend to provide you with the following: 4 nouns that come to mind when they think of you and 4 adjectives that describe you. Begin 4 lines, with one of the adjectives followed by one of the nouns in each line. 2. Bring to mind any fond memory of the same friend. Note 4 verbs that come to your attention. Add one to each line conjugated in the past progressive tense (was [verb]-ing). 3. From your facebook news feed note the first verb that appears. Begin a fifth line with the indefinite article (a/an), followed by the verb conjugated in the simple present, followed by the words “to is to�, followed by the same verb in the simple present, followed by the indefinite article (a/an). 4. Repeat the first four lines in reverse order with the words also reversed as the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth lines. 5. Add the following punctuation and capitalize as customary: a comma at the end of the first, second, and third lines; a period at the end of the fourth line and after the first word of the sixth line; a question mark after the first word of the seventh, eight, and ninth lines and at the end of the ninth line. 6. Copy the result as a comment to this thread with a dedication to the friend with whom you created the poem.


Friend Program Output Joseph A. W. Quintela, for Joshua Schroeder Gifted St. Paul was careening, ebullient school was electing, stubborn church was imagining, loyal memory was imbuing. A release to is to release a(n) imbuing. Was memory loyal imagining? Was church stubborn electing? Was school ebullient careening? Was St. Paul gifted? Eryk Wenziak, For Edward S. Sarcastic poet was dedicating, compulsive writer was forgiving, focused music was cheating, caring poetry was helping. A need to is to need a helping. Was poetry caring cheating? Was music focused forgiving? Was writer compulsive dedicating? Was poet sarcastic? David Tomaloff, {in dedication to the dedication of Eryk Wenziak} &THE WORDS WERE BELIEVE THAT Dedicated observer was observing, imaginative musician was roaming, molecular observer was manifesting, searching maverick was compiling. A machine to is to machine a compiling. Was maverick searching manifesting? Was observer molecular roaming? Was musician imaginative observing? Was observer dedicated?


Design Program (follow the instructions) 1. To begin, choose an object in your home that came with an instruction manual that you still possess (if you don’t keep instruction manuals, many products will have copies of the manual on their website). 2. Open the manual to a random page. From the beginning of that page find the first sentence with at least 8 words in it. Begin a line with the first 4 words of that sentence. 3. Consider the object itself. With it in mind, note 2 adjectives. Begin a second and fourth line, each with one of these adjectives. 4. Scroll through your facebook news feed and note the first 2 nouns that appear. Add one to the second line and the other to the fourth line. Note the first sentence with at least 8 words. Add the last 4 words of this sentence to the first line. Begin a third line with the first four words of this sentence. 5. Note 6 progressive verbs (verbs ending in –ing) that appear in the manual directly after the sentence chosen in step 2. Add three to the second line and three to the fourth line separated by commas. 6. End the third line with the last 4 words of the sentence chosen in step 2. 7. Repeat the first line as the fifth. 8. Copy the result as a comment to this thread with the name of the object.


Design Program Output Joseph Quintela, Toshiba Notebook Computer be careful not to not make this journey constricted world pressing, pushing, lifting goldman sachs commodities indexes hinges and causes damage generative jargon closing, leaving, opening be careful not to not make this journey Eryk Wenziak, Netbook Premium 8 Tablet To start an automatic manual on their website thin program making, recording, photographing to begin choose an menu on the toolbar affordable instructions exploring, using, tapping to start an automatic manual on their website David Tomaloff, Droid Incredible 2 DOMINA TU APARATO select the type of back our human shape black voice entering, accounting, finishing when life wears us &then tap next light glass addressing, securing, restoring select the type of back our human shape


Poetry Program (follow the instructions) 1. Choose any poem. Read it once. With the poem in mind, choose one month, one noun you associate with that month, and decide whether you prefer to be inside or outside during that month. Write down the month to begin a line followed by the words “is the”. Begin a second line with the noun followed by the words “out of the” if you chose outside or “into the” if you chose inside. 2. Read the poem a second time. With the poem in mind, note an adjective in the superlative form (ending in –est), and a second adjective in the regular form. Add the first adjective to the first line and the second adjective to the second line. 3. Read the poem a third time. With the poem in mind, note 4 nouns. Also, decide whether you feel included or excluded by the poem. Add the first noun to the first line and the second noun to the second line. Begin a third line with the remaining two nouns separated by “and” if you chose included or “or” if you chose excluded. 4. Note the first three progressive verbs (verbs ending in –ing) that appear in your facebook news feed. Finish each of the three lines with a comma followed by one of these progressive verbs. 5. To begin a fourth line, write down the first adjective followed by the first plural noun that appears in your facebook feed. 6. If in step 3 you used the word “and” add the word “with” to the fourth line. If, instead, you used the word “or”, add the word “without” to the fourth line. 7. Add the season that corresponds to the month you chose in step 1 to the fourth line. 8. Add the first noun that appears in the poem you selected to end your fourth line. 9. Copy the result as a comment to this thread along with the name of the poem.


Poetry Program Output Joseph Quintela, poem: Learning to Write/Basho by Robert Gluck December is the longest stone, performing ice out of solemn structure, painting number and sigh, breaking drunk graves with winter family. Eryk Wenziak, poem: Revision by Richard Jones. September is the noblest daughter, beating leaves out of the red fog, wearing soot or prose, spending cheap beliefs without fall holiday. David Tomaloff, poem: Map (of the New World) by Dan Boehl CONQUEST october is the bloodiest rope, tricking sea out of the loose whale, diving boat &shackle, gaining bitter days with fall smoke T. S. Eliot, poem: Like rain it sound ‘til it curved by Emily Dickinson April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.


Lyric Program (follow the instructions) 1. Scroll down through your facebook news feed, note the first and second pronouns, the first three occurrences of the words and/but, the first and second verbs, and the first adverb that appear. Begin 6 lines. The first, fifth, and sixth each begin with one of the occurrences of and/but. To the first line, add the adverb, followed by the first subject pronoun, followed by the first verb conjugated in the simple present. Begin the second line with the second verb conjugated in the active present perfect (e.g. have fallen, have looked, etc), followed by the word “from”. Begin the third and fourth line with the second subject pronoun and also add it to the fifth and sixth line. 2. Listen to any Bob Dylan song and Google the lyrics. 3. With the song in mind, note 5 nouns and 1 single syllable verb that come to your attention. Also, note whether you feel included or excluded by the song. To the first line, add the possessive form of the second pronoun noted in step 1 (his, her, my, your, our, their), followed by the first noun. Add “and” if you felt included by the lyrics or “or” if you felt excluded by the lyrics. Add the same possessive pronoun followed by the second noun. To the second line, add the same possessive pronoun followed by the third noun. 4. Use a rhyming dictionary, note 3 verbs that rhyme with the verb you noted in step 3, if there are not enough verbs that rhyme, simply repeat the first. Add them to the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth lines. To the forth line, add the fourth noun that you noted in step 3. 5. Listen to the song again. Do you feel “unlike”, “becoming like”, or “just like” the song? Add your choice to the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth lines. To the third, fourth, and fifth line add the fifth noun you noted in step 3 proceeded by the indefinite article (a/an). Add a comma to the third and fourth line. 6. Flip a coin. If it lands heads add “yes”, followed by the second pronoun from step 1, followed by “do” to the third and fourth line. If it lands tails add “no”, followed by the second pronoun from step 1, followed by “don’t” to the third and fourth line. 7. Note the last noun in the lyrics. Consider an adjective to describe in. To the sixth line, add the indefinite article (a/an) followed by the adjective followed by the noun to the sixth line.


8. Copy the result as a comment to this thread along with the name of the song. Lyric Program Output Joseph Quintela, song: The Hurricane And basically I make your injustice and your glove have thought from your game you fight just like a corner, yes you do you bite trap just like a corner, yes you do and you right just like a corner but you slight just like an unseen world. Eryk Wenziak, song: Simple Twist of Fate And recently it read my loss and my sex have spread from my guilt I hold just like a memory, no I don’t I bold regret just like a memory, no I don’t and I cold just like a memory and I fold just like an unexpected fate. David Tomaloff, song: Shooting Star LETTERS AS UN-MASS MAILINGS FROM PEOPLE I FORGET TO REMEMBER TO THINK ABOUT & bogglingly I swallow my star & my radio have slipped from my engine I miss unlike a sermon, no I don’t I kiss world unlike a sermon, no I don’t & I bliss unlike a sermon & I hiss unlike a dissolving star Bob Dylan: song: Just Like a Woman But lately I see her ribbons and her bows Have fallen from her curls She takes just like a woman, yes she does She makes love just like a woman, yes she does And she aches just like a woman But she breaks just like a little girl.


Notes The full text of each of the nine preceding programs will be made available at http://www.thepoetryapp.com/statusprograms one month after the publication of this manuscript. The author grants all rights to the copy and use of these programs with only the request that their use be acknowledged in the event of subsequent publication. The author would like to acknowledge the work of Raymond Roussel in “How I Wrote Certain of my Books� as a particularly influential text on the subject of devising generative programs for the creation of art. Gratitude Eternal gratitude is reserved for Eryk Wenziak, and David Tomaloff for sharing the output generated from their use of these programs for the purpose of creating this text as well as their guidance and advice in formulating the conceptual framework of Status Programs. Special gratitude is also reserved for Una Chung and Judith Rodenbeck who were instrumental in guiding my inquiries into programmed writing. Further gratitude is reserved for: Lizza Dauenhauer-Pendley Mark Cobely Bryce Livingston Niel Rosenthalis Joshua Schroeder Jim Tolan Davita Westbrook


About the Programmer Joseph A. W. Quintela writes. Poems. Stories. On Post-its. Walls. Envelopes. Cocktail napkins. Twitter. Anything he gets his hands on, really. His last chapbook, This is not Poetry. #poetry, was published by The Red Ceilings Press. Other work has appeared in The Collagist, ABJECTIVE, GUD, Bartleby Snopes, and Existere. As the senior editor at Deadly Chaps Press, he publishes both an annual series of chapbooks and the weekly eReview, Short, Fast, and Deadly. His work at Sarah Lawrence College revolves around integrating the disparate yet rapidly dovetailing fields of Conceptual Poetry and EcoCriticism. As such, he is an acolyte of intra-action, hash tags, and the Oxford comma. (www.josephquintela.com) About the Contributors Eryk Wenziak is a drummer, photographer, visual artist, and teaches management at the graduate level. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in: elimae; Short, Fast, and Deadly; Thunderclap Press; Used Furniture Review; Otoliths; Negative Suck; Psychic Meatloaf; Dark Chaos; Guerilla Pamphlets; Deadlier Than Thou (anthology); Phantom Kangaroo; Pipe Dream; 52|250; Bending Light Into Verse V. 3; Long River Run. Most recently, his cover art was chosen for a chapbook of poems honoring Donald Hall titled, Olives, Now and Then, which he personally presented to Mr. Hall at the poet’s 83rd birthday celebration. David Tomaloff is a writer, photographer, musician, and all around bad influence. His work has appeared in fine publications such as Mud Luscious, >kill author, PANK, Connotation Press, HOUSEFIRE, Prick of the Spindle, DOGZPLOT, elimae, and many more. He is the author of the chapbooks 13 (Artistically Declined Press), A SOFT THAT TOUCHES DOWN &REMOVES ITSELF (NAP), Olifaunt (Red Ceilings Press), EXIT STRATEGIES (Gold Wake Press) and MESCAL NON-PALINDROME CINEMA (Ten Pages Press). He resides in the form of ones and zeros at: davidtomaloff.com

Status Programs  

some rules for us to break