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Lucifer Poetics Group

The Displayer volume one

"What you depart from is not the way and olive tree blown white in the wind washed in the Kiang and Han what whiteness will you add to this whiteness, what candor? 'the great periplum brings in the stars to our shore.' You who have passed the pillars and outward from Herakles when Lucifer fell in N. Carolina." Ezra Pound, Canto LXXIV

The Lucifer Poetics Group Tim Botta Amy Sara Carroll Joseph Donahue Patrick Herron Maura High

Brian Howe Tessa Joseph

Eden Osucha Jon Thompson

Ken Rumble

Aaron McCollough

Evie Shockley Marcus Slease

Tony Tost

Chris Vitiello

Based in North Carolina, The Lucifer Poetics Group is an affiliation of people interested in contemporary poetry with an emphasis on experimental, post-avant, and avant-garde poetics. Our primary activity is monthly meetings in which we discuss poems we have written and books we are currently reading. Off-shoot projects of the group include a Poets’ Theatre (tentatively titled The Theatre of Consecutive Thinking) and a chapbook series of which the current volume is the first. For more information, to read the Lucipo archives, or to join the listserve, please visit: Big, huge Thank You to for making Lucipo possible. Copyright 2004 the authors, Desert City Press, 1st printing in an edition of ____ Printed for the occasion of the first Carrboro Poetry Festival, June 5 & 6, 2004. Thank you, Patrick Herron. designed and produced by Ken Rumble 2

Other Lucifer Poetics Members Not Represented in the Current Volume:

John Lowther Jonathan Minton Lance Phillips Kathryn Salisbury Todd Sandvik Rob Sikorski


Tim Botta Generation Y She last had it last last evening. Generation Y. When barmaid of lass stuck license. Path breath cranberry breath breast covering, tavern. In conversation of Shannyn of Helen with Jasmine, when she has gin. Far from Vermont, far from Vermont haunting painting. Far from Spokane and closer to spoken of whiskey sour farm family. Family or famish laugh. A lavish. A lavish with greyish eyes and some Canada. Young thumbed assumption, Shasta. Something of husband, something of mummified, and a month off to caption. Dumb libretto. Fetch my breath dumb or strobe and capture. How did it follow. The trend and it ends in seconds. She last had it last last evening.

[originally published in Shampoo issue 20]


Amy Sara Carroll Tough Girl Speak of the devil. SOB. I wake, feel some gate, drawbridge closing. Within. You’ve left no recourse, as if you’d said we’re salt and sugar in a single shaker, together, but doomed to disastrous distinction. Waiting for the way the humidity will cake us into separate sepulchers. I am a melancholic valediction. It’s like this: I keep imagining I see the top of my head bobbing in a crowd, then I lose it. So insistent. I am. Protesting too loudly of this or that. Wound up, I wind up making an ass of myself, the self scarce. And you, all spiteful gloom, thunder and lightning, fire and brimstone, grimly predict our end. Reaping. Not outright, but obliquely, forecast infidelities. You issue strident travel advisories. I henpeck the evidence, entirely too knowledgeable in what a fool can do for love. NOT ENOUGH. To compensate for arithmetic or that arrhythmic tick which leaves the self to lead the self on. The small victories I’ve won loom few and far between. Seceding. Slipping through the cracks. Helpless to resist the incommodious itch. We must scratch. Or suffer the consequence. This morning the rain supplies ample forewarning of the weak’s cheating heart, of summer, that good-for-nothing pop tart. Not even a negligee to lend an air of mystery. Buck naked. I wait, a lady in wading, for the heatwave we have not had. Leery, winter, a notoriously needy child, demands instant (ADD H2O) gratification, smirking, a flirting, chirping panic attack, an organ grinder, bookbinder, stonedeaf spinal tap. GULP. Too late I remember I’d sworn off liquor, the addition of another fountain of youth to my cluttered heartland. In conjunction with the production of learning the tedious infinity of one, I ask you: who can house a house divided, the forked tongue of affection’s affectation, that fondly referenced, feathered serpent, Beelzebub—lust— attached tit for tat at the tit to trust? Some spit bit tough, taster’s choice lugnut? Make-a-muscle hope? I mope around the house. I ground myself into a villainous gruel, droll floodplain, waste, landfilled playing field. Rumpled, stilted skin. Grueling, the ceiling gloats, a toolish troll, milksopping wet devildog, drooling rascal. Overdetermined, in turn, overcast. The grumbling sky at last passes over, some glass-bottomed boat. And now, am I supposed to come out with my hands up, unhand that funny-looking, cross-i-ed straypup, toothfairy, imaginary friendfaux love? Without a fight? My only right to remain silent? SWAK. You are immeasurably cruel. To give so much, then the headrush, headlong, headstrong to sweep it all to hell. To hell in a handbasket, a handicraft you picked up at the last whistlestop. I will not go quietly, mildly send postcards from the grand canyoned inferno, vacuously apostrophizing, Hello archangel: DRAT! The trap, door slams. Half-baked, I wake to the soundproof fury of black sheep bleating, my own weeping, the hull scraping against that thang I christen (chrysalis) my self. Keeping myself to myself. Bedridden. In a nutshell: feeling rotten to the core, I rattle, snake, brandish swords in a last ditch offense to defend my flaming sixth sense against stormy heaven’s leftover, ego altar soaker--trickledown ambivalence.


Joseph Donahue Immortal Ellipse V black sun In the hills, trees drip with ice. In the valley, bathers loll in stone pools. In the hills, X waits for her husband (he’s on business in Brazil.) In the valley, you toss, dreaming of X. In the hills, moods could be a truth, not just the sweep of bees toward the flowering lilac along the lake. In the valley, lightning all afternoon. In the hills, clouds fill with light. In the valley, this leaf-heap, mud wallow world, come first green will be a boulevard in Paris: the skyline’s flare a vest you wear as you totter home from a champagne and opium blow-out – Alive, awake, new every morning sang the esteemed murderer, our suicide of means, Harry Crosby occult crosses tattooed on the flip-side of his feet – The arrow of my soul pointing to Ra . . . [originally published in First Intensity]


Patrick Herron Funeral Rant (after Auden) Auto-da-fe? What's an auto-da-fe? It's what you ought not to do but you do anyway - Mel Brooks Someone remo ved the tick les from the Elmos, R ead every John Donne poem to a disco beat, Gave the corpse of Kate Sm ith the Heimlich maneuver, (I alw ays wanted that scene in my first try at cinema), Drowned the moon in the sea with the help of c oncrete, Snu ffed out the sun, fli cked the stub in the ashtray, Planted a shrub in high off ice with a ri gged elec tion, Boi l ed off the o cean, thr ew the salt on my fries, Erected a s tatue of Bu ddy Cianci in dry Narra gansett Bay (wr apped him in clear plasti c to appear like a fata mo rgana, And spr ead the rumor: it wa s his first hone st erection) C ut up all the word s, snorted eve ry last se rif lik e a Hoover, F or t h is is the mo ne y sh o t.

Pu ll th e pl ug a n d.

C ut ! I t's a w r a p. (andthensomeonetookthetimetoremindyouofthiscrap)


Maura High Erratics These large rocks that lie or stand athwart our suburban lots— what do we make of them? Stone forts, childhood’s pinnacles, portals through which at any time we may step, and all around us hear the roar of wind, ice crackling, rain sluicing down the crags and gullies of the ancient mountains, at whose feet we scrape up a handful of wild soil, all that remains of them and resists our efforts at domestication.


Brian Howe A Book I want to make a Book that will derange men, that will be like an open door leading them where they would never have consented to go. – Antonin Artaud And it might begin with the words “And it might begin with the words” or else: I made a rapper out of clay, breathed my breath into his nose, I planted jewelry in the garden, gems sprouted like molar caps, he shook up what his momma gave him, slapped her when she kicked him out, we had some beef, did dirt, earned stripes, got touched and went back in, learned to live without our lists, came out and slew MCs by scores, made some guns out of pinecones, fired them off into the sky, Sometimes the sky will suffice as poetic object, mirrored ramification of blue, cloud emblem & sign, deranged sense of scale or unfettered liplock. More often no, a boggling of the metronome or F-F-F stop, Jenny, the aperture is rusted into the “warm & verdant” position and you used up all the oil anointing my feet with your hair. The scant surfaces (refractions of light) that add up to my body are a petty bushel you can hold in the locked loop of your embrace, your circled arms /recursive circuit or contiguous map of energy, a dark & hidden harbor (that is in you) impresses a taut & snapping sail across the slope of your breasts (post-horizon voluptuary) a knit cap of thistle & briar patch into the mainframe (body as a whole) landlocked within the mountain range of the treacherous mind & outlying sea only accessible by Sherpa, funicular or helicopter, an extinct and dreadful insect chirring from the dreams of men. Our sojourn to the coast of Kansas was fueled by other dark anima, a faulty arcana that untethered our word balloons and sent them soaring meteorological. O particle mass, sandy confection of local velour, how treats floated from the (O of your lips) like soap bubbles. The rapper charged into sea-foam, cradling you in his jaw too gently to break the skin. The poet dies of irony but what about a book writer or rapper


Tessa Joseph The hands of the dying The hands of the dying are large, love, widely spread out on their large, dying hips. They’re settled at windows everywhere, hair washed, nails filed. Past them, the planet is a fish’s eye; the planet is in half, spilling, spitting. Their lips are pressed; they are doing something famous, twisting and shining, calling the world up on the dock. It takes something, doesn’t it, to grin and flop and do your last. Something, to wear that old thing well, dancing in that red fleece coat and boiling in your head. That takes willing. That takes force. Inhale: cough

of ocean, sunken traps; lines drawn by a child’s foot, dust breathing up; a playground swing just moving, just caught on the side of a turning world, a twisting, shining world, a world on a wire, too bright and high to see. Exhale. Oh, lord, love, there is so much going, so much going, so much going on.


Aaron McCollough from Prologues from the Reformations second We miniaturize. Call it the mobile eye coming in like light through a pinhole, free to flit from spectacle [dread samson brooding] to spectacle [over all Europe lurks the specter]. Cloistered [I’m winding the wire around the neg. pole] we learn we see only shadows then learn [around the pos. pole] to venture in shadow. How 58 X 88 X 63.5 cm contains the restless soul. Mine, thine.—‘This dog is mine,’ said those poor children; ‘that is my place in the sun.’ Here is the beginning and the image of the usurpation of all the earth. fourth This work justifies [looking at the salad of the lawn] longing for rest [but thought will not permit] in constant spinning rest [the kind of work it takes to rest enough on grass to see in it] heuristic: the rest is vanity [the leaf that rustles with the leaves] at rest in needful vanity [the rest of the leaves] on earth [can we invite a god and bar] brutality’s familiar, comfort [the world] which also moves with rest.


Eden Osucha The Reception de Kooning’s women menace in doorways that brook no passage but mark only the limits of its possibility women put together backwards: blenching cunts where mouths ought to be were the master more enamored of his muse women noose-strung love-famished who stare down from walls dyed a raucous white eye slits strained by monster eyes black burnished and obese oh! ruddy violence that is the flesh in which these eyes are set, clenched horror that is the teeth – they would sooner lap at a fawn’s slit throat than sip Chablis from plastic cups  the husband, at home among the gallery guests the lowering murder of their gossip licks a fleck of Roquefort from his lip and thinks commendable thoughts: the artist’s fine show of form how his sporting use of color breaks the ragged surface, reveals the tug of hidden depths, the dark mystery that is the female sex the wife, sucking wine from the cup’s crack in the wake of a casually toothsome draft irked by these obscene demons his “Women” by the exhausted cliché that is men’s fear of female blood she thinks aloud: “Medea was a critic”


Ken Rumble Your Middle Name The caterpillar scrapes by, head last and leaving flat roads – bowling lanes the Yankee called them – who knows where he drove – strictly the green, snapping heads off water towers, curse in plaid. The white gloves don’t stop thorns – they don’t keep anybody out these days. Felony business, the work program brings help since water rates are high. Behind the club there is another we know by what’s left: 16th hole sand trap, out of the wind, not a bad lie on a Friday. Where are these lights coming from? The moon is out, the stars are gone, yet these lights swing and approach – the long arm in to grope. Daffodil till dawn. The drive from what’s your name to never getting what you want takes time – flies shag and hatch the spider between the window and screen and spinning with the flies – the Civil War all over again.


Evie Shockley o pioneer! “and the lord said unto satan, behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” – job 2:6 he made history sit up stiff like a new recruit waiting wide-eyed for the next gust from winds of change. did another job on the devil, in tailored sackcloth, catered ashes. sometimes he hears the children's voices louden slightly, as if they were coming back. they are not. he claps his hands when no one's looking, in time with their dancing footsteps’ receding: a memory, a summons ignored. all up in the sun's face, his melanin bubbles to the surface like struck oil. he snaps his past around him, a matador's cape, to keep himself from disappearing, becoming some black hole consumed with its own success. he is a brewing storm, high but heavy, hanging like a veil over that yellow daystar until he bursts into spears. -- for craig griffith, byron taylor, stanley stallworth, 1998

[Shockley notes: Griffith, Taylor, and Stallworth, three African Americans, all made partner at a single large Chicago law firm in the same year – something that, to my knowledge, had never before happened at any major law firm in the nation. Their achievement did not come without costs.] [This poem initially appeared in Titanic Operas: Poetry and New Materialities.]


Marcus Slease Jumbo I I became a ghostship ghostslip empty pockets foist and gunk and residual no man is an island and teach a man to fish and mother church and motherland and solid metal chests with solid metal hands and solid metal minds became sub dream sub stance. I was not born in the harbor was not one animal licking another was not a clothespin on the line not a clock but a rabbit in a hat a swarm bicycle

an acrobat a bandit

a wax

at the battlefront.


Jon Thompson In Medias Res After Chagall In the heart of the rooster a melancholy violinist saws away & from one feathery arm an ornate gold clock hangs down and from his sky-blue legs, winter-boughs, artery-red, sprout up. In the middle of the painting he strides toward you cock-eyed & demurely demonic with his white winter wings flared above his head, the dream angel of transmogrifying redemption. His feet are in the past which is a ruby-red shetl with a crooked fence. It is everywhere, has seeped into everything, has re-arranged everything— (Old selves): the shy blue horse grasping the bunch of flowers, the blue ballerina pirouetting against her own vanishing blueness of memory. In Chagall, the past is not past it is the space in which dreams clamor for form— It hurtles us forward and all its detritus spins out separate futures each one an elegy to what we once were when we were here, and now


Tony Tost The Scottish Play, or ______________ In 1672, the actor playing M. used a real dagger, on stage, to murder the man playing Duncan. Gielgud put on the play in 1942 and Duncan was murdered again but this time two witches perished as well. Trace of traces. One path finds the birth of the curse in Shakespeare's use of actual black magic spells for the weird sisters. Another way : this is actually just a play that has a bunch of swordfighting and general traipsing about; it’s full of fire scenes and low and/or spooky lightings; of course people are going to die. There was the production at Astor Place in 1849’s New York and the following riot that claimed twenty-three. Further back there was Shakespeare himself forced to take the stage, in 1605, on opening night, when, backstage, the original Lady M. grew "inexplicably feverish" and died. There was also Olivier's broken sword in '37, gorging an audience member. There are antidotes to the curse of this play : in one, if the cursed name is spoken, the offender must circle the theater (or building) three times then knock on a door asking "Is thy master stirring?" (to cast out the devil one must first knock on his gate). One “News of the Weird” story on Yahoo! describes those obsessed with the curse; they fly to Cawdor and stand there in robes, or in parkas, a sword in the head a single word in the head. It’s unknown if they also visit the Potomac River, where, coincidentally, Lincoln recited to his fellow River Queen passengers the murderous couples’ dialogue following their murder of Duncan; he did this in the afternoon, on April 9th, in 1865.


Chris Vitiello from Irresponsibility 5 Less windy today but still pretty windy The wind is greater than the artifice of breaking the line on 'still' Could have written 'and still pretty windy' Seen from above, penguins in open water look like they're flying This is a poem Differentiate diametric opposition from simple extremes Bluntness is a characteristic 12 The legal system is set up to determine a conviction or an acquittal I have lost a sense of where to break the line I guess I will try my way back into it Practicing on a sentence from the paper: Tank fire destroyed the mosque's 50-foot-tall minaret, from which the insurgents were attacking Iris played with toy guns for the first time today


Tim Botta has an M.A. in English Literature from North Carolina State University and teaches at Wake Technical Community College. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Shampoo, GutCult, Unpleasant Event Schedule, and castagraf. Amy Sara Carroll is the organizer of the Public Poetry Project and a doctoral student in the Literature Program at Duke University. Her work has been featured in the Audre Lorde Project (Brooklyn, New York), Duke University Museum of Art, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center (Auburn, New York), and State-of-theArt Gallery (Ithaca, New York). In addition to an interview and poems that will appear in The Iowa Review, Carroll’s poems have been published in Chain, Crayon, Big Allis, and Seneca Review. Joseph Donahue is the author of three collections of poetry, Before Creation, World Well Broken, and most recently, Incidental Eclipse. He has also published two poem sequences in chapbooks, Monitions of the Approach and Terra Lucida. Carolina Wren Press will publish Terra Lucida XXI-XL in the fall of 2004. In addition, Donahue has co-edited the anthology Primary Trouble and a collection of essays on contemporary American poetry, The World In Space and Time. After New York City and Seattle, he currently lives in Durham, North Carolina. Patrick Herron recently completed his fifth book manuscript, How To Make Poems Like Me. Ron Silliman recently wrote that Patrick's first manuscript, Be Somebody, "is difficult in the way the very best books are," adding that "it is one of the great rumors of contemporary poetry." Herron has four different book manuscripts underway (three books of poetry and one critical work) and a new art-poetics website called, a follow-up to his website. His work has recently appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Jacket, The Canary, Fulcrum, A Chide's Alphabet, in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the anthology 100 Days. After years of sitting on a dark and dusty shelf, his pal Lester will launch the journal Close Quarterly ( in the summer of 2004. Maura High has lived and worked in Carrboro, North Carolina, for 14 years. She is a freelance editor and editorial manager by trade but takes time off whenever possible to volunteer with The Nature Conservancy's prescribed fire program, burning in fire-dependent plant communities east and south of Orange County. Brian Howe is a newswriter for, a senior writer for Sup Magazine, and managing editor for The Crutch. Currently, Howe is working on a long series of short prose poems called "Aeviternity" (from Thomas Aquinas's concept), collaborating on a radio play with experimental electronic musician Josh Graver, and reviewing David Foster Wallace's forthcoming book of short stories, Oblivion, for The fall 2004 issue of Eratio will feature one of his poems. See:


Tessa Joseph is a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is poetry editor of the Carolina Quarterly. She received her MFA in creative writing from Cornell University. Her poems have appeared in Sulfur, the Seneca Review, Cold Mountain Review, and other journals. She is the co-head of Lucipo’s Theatre of Consecutive Thinking. Aaron McCollough is the author of the poetry collections Welkin (Ahsahta Press, 2002) and Double Venus (Salt Publishing, 2003). His work has appeared in many journals, including Volt, Denver Quarterly, and Typo. McCollough’s third book, Little Ease, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in 2006. Eden Osucha is a shy poet and a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Program in Women's Studies at Duke University. Her reviews of scholarly books and collections of poetry and fiction have appeared in American Literature, the Boston Book Review, and Poetry International. Ken Rumble is the director of the Desert City Poetry Series and list administrator of the Lucifer Poetics Group. His poems and book reviews have been published. He likes to lift weights, garden, and fly kites. Evie Shockley’s poetry appears in her chapbook, The Gorgon Goddess (Carolina Wren Press, 2001) and in publications including Asheville Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Brilliant Corners, Crab Orchard Review, Hambone, HOW2, nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, Oyster Boy Review, Poetry 180, Poetry Daily, and Titanic Operas. A graduate fellow of Cave Canem and a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, she teaches literature at Wake Forest University. Marcus Slease is a native of Portadown, N. Ireland. Recent poems have appeared in Conduit, Columbia Poetry Review, Shampoo, Typo, and Octopus. Jon Thompson teaches at North Carolina State University, where he edits Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry & Poetics. In June, 2004, Parlor Press will release his collection The Book of the Floating World. Tony Tost is the author of Invisible Bride (LSU 2004) and co-editor of Octopus. Poems and reviews are forthcoming in Slope, Jacket, Spoon River, GutCult, LIT, Pleiades, Typo and the forthcoming anthology ... and Gentlemen: 15 Younger Male American Poets (Stride Books 2005) edited by Ethan Paquin. Chris Vitiello's Nouns Swarm A Verb was published by Xurban in 1999. With Tessa Joseph, he co-heads Lucipo’s Theatre of Consecutive Thinking. He lives in Durham, NC and is an agent of the Delay.


The Displayer, vol. 1  
The Displayer, vol. 1