Monday, June 23, 2003

Orrick Johns' "Olives"

The Mainstream Poets are happy to sponsor this forgotten classic, "Olives" by Orrick Johns. Written in 1915, it appeared alongside Mina Loy’s "Love Songs" in William Carlos Williams's magazine, Others. Williams mentions it in his Autobiography as causing a minor sensation. A revised, and it seems to us less bold, version appeared in Johns's book Black Branches under the title "Tunings." Johns is well worth checking out! His poetry is all over the map but some of it, including this poem, exhibits a wonderfully bizarre combination of sincerity and stupidity not seen again until some of the New York Schoolies tried on a similar tone. Very Mainstream! Happy reading....

OLIVES (1915)

1. Fingers

I've ten fingers
Very much admired,
I shall frame them
For they cannot do anything;
They cannot earn dinner
Or even hold a pebble...
Pebbles are pretty falling through them.

2. Shoestring

Little old shoe,
You need a shoe-string;
I shall find one for you,
For without it you are helpless
As a man who studies regulations,
But with a yellow one
Like a woman who is bald.

3. Beautiful Mind

Oh, beautiful mind,
I lost it
In a lot of frying pans
And calendars and carpets
And beer bottles....
Oh, my beautiful mind!

4. Miggles

That was his name,
Everyone always said,
"Miggles did it."
Oh, Miggles,
I admired you from the beginning,

5. A Room

It is a room that sets people thinking,
So they say,
Lighted like grandma's moonflowers....
Swish--I hear something in the corner,
And I wish I were a cat.

6. Blue Undershirts

Blue Undershirts,
Upon a line,
It is not necessary to say to you
Anything about it--
What they do,
What they might do ... blue undershirts.

7. In Bed

I am tortured
By this borrowed mattress...
How do you lie,

8. In the Square

They made a statue
Of a general on horseback,
With his face turned nobly
Toward the crupper...
'Twas true
Of him
Quite half the time.

9. At the Door

I have only a tingling remembrance
Not of his eyes
But of
A dandelion...
The whole of him,
The whole of me,
Known, elicited, understood.

10. On the Table

Little duck
Made of plaster,
With your head
Upon a spring,
When my hand trembles upon the table
You nod,
And when I chuckle too...
Such understanding,
C'est henaurme!

11. In the Street

Dinky, slinky,
You must not wink
That way...
You hussy,
Do you forget I think
For both of us?

12. In the Orchard

This morning,
As the quince blossoms died,
The cherries were ripening...
Such are all your moments,
Little one.

13. Somewhere

Now I know
I have been eating apple-pie for breakfast
In the New England
Of your sexuality.

14. A Moon

It lasted a month,
We had one moon...
You took it for a baby
And when it cried
For a bib and a bottle,
All was over.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

The New Yorker Sparrow Project



The morning is littered with people
bumping against each other
like boats in the marina. I notice them

as I discard my jury duty questionnaire
in the business improvement district's
thoughtfully-provided green can.

Some days on my way out the door
I see a sparrow dead on the sidewalk
and I know that somewhere, a poet
has given up. Today

a white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.


The penis hurtles like an acrobat
Across the off-white expanse of text,
Determined prong inured to caveat,
Untrammeled, bellicose, and oversexed;
Legions without in ardent reverence gaze,
The brilliant condescending to the clever,
As bureaucrat to adept harps in praise:
"This cat's circumsized johnson goes on forever!"
But anything goes home with everything
When nothing has the coatroom to itself:
I am the common multinational elf
Whose president failed all the spelling tests,
And today a white-breasted nuthatch nests
In my urethra and begins to sing.

The Ballad of Thrasher the Handsome Adult

With a length of 6
inches, i seek haven at your Sugartree Inn in Vermont.

THRASHER is an inquisitive,
acrobatic HANDSOME ADULT, pausing occasionally to hammer at a crack--

Do you know where your
children are? My all-time favorite kitchen accessory is a delightful ...[sic]

Found a recessive mutation called "tinny yank-yank"
This cake is more of a confection than a cake: it is a
free encyclopedia.

A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.



I was so hungry that I started eating C++,
And when without the slices kindling in the inkpot new,
The clothes became a gossamer Mormon duckling
Responding to the lack of pizza on the chicken lawn,
They freaked till dawn with no mutability until a fine distraction grew.
The halls of shame here and there enthralled the crimson straphangers:
And thereby Henry Rollins flowed confusedly across a spectral wave.
Did you just call my buttocks a Chia Pet?
There is a careless shoe-string, in whose tie I see a wild legality,
To ask the would-be clients if they
Would be finished with the vegen sandwiches any time soon,
Does more bewitch me than a baby tree frog.
Today a white-breasted nuthatch nests
In my urethra and begins to sing.

The Nuthatch

As a child I thought Nuthatch was pronounced
"nuh*THATCH," the second syllable hit hard
as though one might find him stamping

on one's grassy, unkempt roof. In the 80s
a friend corrected my pronunciation: "Nut Hatch."
God, what a letdown.

For twenty years I've lived with this knowledge. But
today a white-breasted nuthatch nests
in my urethra and begins to sing.


Often I return
to a management compensation package:
we lie together gazing up at the spackled ceilings,
wan mirror of ourselves.

Each month brings its flaccid enchantments
around like a dim sum cart. We choose
among absences, forgotten rooms
in an underused vacation home.

Today's colonoscopy went swimmingly,
I think. First I saw inside myself,
then a snow hove off the eaves.
A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.


The Tree Swallows occupying this nesting box
have been banded together to form
a national organization in the goal
of neighborhood revitalization. Nest-Box Cam
provides a "Truman Show" for bird lovers.
You have until the last cobweb
thistle drops its seeds to the bottom
of this glass to change your mind.
To lay on his firm believer in
this approach, he scratches the five areas.
Billy is inside the sparrow
carrying a yellow scratch ticket.
A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
Urethra, and begins to sing.

A Half-Dozen Ways of Looking for a Nuthatch

There is nothing more dangerous
than a bad idea.

A tight-breasted nuthatch
rests on my glans,
and begins to sting.

Time: what is it? To physicists,
defined by quantum mechanics.

Eternal Lenox dinnerware,
compare prices
winter greetings nuthatch plate

There is nothing more dangerous
than previously thought.

A white-breasted nuthatch
nests in my urethra,
and begins to sing.

And contributions from three special Mainstream guests!!!

Louis Cabri

917 Sparrows

Beautiful Devon, and Plymouth's Barbican! 917
elizabethan era 893 elizabethan
439 elizabethan age 430 elizabethan theatre
370 elizabethan times 297 elizabethan foo-

d 286 elizabethan costume 277 elizabethan
theater 238 elizabethan clothing 168 elizabethan
architecture 153 elizabethan music 135 elizabethan
fashion 110 elizabethan dress 77 elizabethan life

73 elizabethan medicine 69 elizabethan enter-
tainment 64 elizabethan drama 61 eliza-
bethan art 54 elizabethan society 49 elizabethan lon-
don 49 elizabethan woman 47 elizabethan ac-

tor 45 elizabethan language 43 elizabethan times
1500’s 42 elizabethan literature 41 elizabethan mar-
riage 40 elizabethan wedding 37 elizabethan game
37 elizabethan poetry 35 the elizabethan era

34 elizabethan religion 33 elizabethan daily
life 33 the elizabethan age
33 elizabethan english 32 A white-breasted nuthatch
nests in my urethra, and begins to sing!

Ryan Fitzpatrick


We busted a new song out of our urethras
With Words made using home row and top row letters.
Reproductive organs, male, feline, lateral.
like spit or tears or menstrual fluids from my anus.

The sparrow thought it was the end
Due to American kestrels, or "sparrow
hawks," to help control starling, blackbird and sparrow numbers

The crystal would be used
to cut into the underside of the penis

Connected to the kidneys by two ureters
He is represented riding on a sparrow, and he holds in his hand a bow.

A "Kitten Opening"
in her abdominal wall

A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.


Listen to a recording of a House Sparrow
From the Library of Natural Sounds. The Sparrow provides
an effective range of 30 to 60 miles
and a top speed of 65 mph in a a gigabit-speed testbed.

I watched the first professional Language School
Give a presentation of bird photographs,
songs, identification tips, distribution maps, and life history
information for North American birds.

If we eat like a bird—immense amounts of food—and lose weight
so close to getting the new AC
Sparrow is a radar-guided air-to-air missile

This Wisconsin-based nursery sells peonies, daylillies, irises.

A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.

Stephanie Young


It all begins. It all
begins with the Expos at the Braves on the Deuce. Down by the river

the frogs--and Seth begins to blow the stars away.
Every morning begins with a nice cup of green tea.

Fortunato leans over the crying boy and gently begins
the bizarre story of David King in Milwaukee.

My rule of thumb, so to speak,
is that when you can see through your skin

as it begins mingling with strands of steam
ascending from my skin, then

all is a fish that comes to my net.
Horrid poem begins here.These monsters can swim

and lodge themselves with quill-like witticisms into each conversation.
They stand there, awestruck, in Vegas

they scribble on clipboards
and the butt sniffing begins. Lightning flashes—Suzanne says

"I will start my own promotion company
Goddamn near excretin' ju-ju."

This begins with separation from the group.
Human magic fails

in the face of a person who develops powerful guilt trips,
loss of Jeffy, loss of innocence, but then

the clouds lift and the sun burns through.
2nd fall quarter begins.

A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.

News Item: Chileans Luvvvv Mainstream Poetry!!!

Mainstream Poetry:

El título es claramente irónico. Algunas ideas buenas y bastante divertidas, además de reflexiones (o pseudo-reflexiones) sobre la vanguardia. Aquí a menudo uno se encuentra con intervenciones poéticas, esto es: poemas clásicos reconfigurados de manera satírica. Muy interesante.

--Chilean Radio

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Notice: Call for Poetry

Today at noon, the mainstream poets sent a series of poems to The New Yorker at Each poem ended with the lines

A white-breasted nuthatch nests in my
urethra, and begins to sing.

You are hereby invited to submit a poem ending with these two lines to The New Yorker. The Mainstream Poets suggest that you do this in coordination with several other poet-friends for maximum effect.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Oblivion Road, Carve Me A Girlfriend

Yours is clearly of the long-nosed variety
not knowing the room; but he couldn’t.
His nose had grown.
I bring up Pinocchio
for several reasons.

Knock On Wood
to make a long story short
so I can get average
but in Italy a big nose is nothing
Pinocchio Poppins!"
the bitch screamed
and it started again

A few weeks later,
The Gipper ran into Pinocchio.
Haven't you ever seen
a Jeff Dahmer-nose pizza before?
I predict that Marie will have a long and happy Squirll.

The Pinocchio Theory:
Steven shrimp (Occasion)
If you fake the funk,
your nose will grow
mostly by the mise-en-scene,
with its long shots of Lover

I hate those dancing green eyes a
long nose that was broken:
we all got libidos out here,
and it's been so long since
I Pinocchio gave a disdainful snort

Mr. Cranky Rates the Movies
beer; Re: Long sentence review
Critico; Pinocchio got to be a real boy, in
the end. The Nose hath perverted your
ability to discern good from evil!

Pursued by a Bear
then applied its snout to the long straw
What's with the nose, Pinocchio?
Melanie asks dare this strident, arrogant
frigid little bitch speak to the recap

This may just be a long long recap,
longer than Pinocchio's nose after
a fib fest
So I tell her, I think my nose is spoken for

Knock on Wood
to make a long story short so I can get to
the bitch screamed and it started again.

he is a reckless, unpredictable risk-taking son of a bitch,
and I When I lie I grow
a long, long nose But to be real I
excerpt from "Sympathy for Pinocchio".

Sunday, June 01, 2003

The Key and the Carrot

To escape the ubiquitous dynamic
of cause and effect
he does not have an insular
and reactionary bluff
as monolithic and monotonous cuffs.
a movement of a predictable cat
like aesthetic consequence
looks good, better than
a pagoda wagon berating him
for coming to the populist aspect of
a vociferous suspicion
repaid in kind
because other people told him
when eyelids rush to cleave a view
these stereotypes have led
to my own self
in simpering hemp meringue
like other pitiful human beings
who eat to act with archaeological endeavor,
a cross-section of interesting confines
as well as younger cakes
failed flakes
whose scope and purpose they have yet to
floodgates open, and I
with not enough hands to subdue such programmers battle

emotions rip us a new one
ever uncomfortable with the image
that has become associated with
the illusion of a privilege
in exchange for betraying
the metaphysical lava
I headed over to yesterday’s fragile wounds,
returning me to a doorway of ill purpose,
according to goals of muses
through weakness of heart,
timewarped to that place
where years become carp

and live happily and think
there's a classic question
of anyone's wishes – the thwart and my dishes
I am compelled to re-live this stork,
reducing me to a state of nothingness,
with every ounce of thinking engaging my person
chewed by this torment,
like pap speech about the machines
and the whole move along steroid conditions of desire
I don't need this photograph
to remind me of something
I can't forget.

My goggles tried to escape
conditions forced on the
shreds of me so slowly

You look at me as Pluto.
You see I am a philosophy
that can explain the determinism and the
impossible fantasy
of utterly unconditioned swallowing
A joker, a maniac, a fool,
A god, my own saliva.
trapped inside my confusion,
frightened by the world outside
afraid to be the interdependencies of existence
in a way that avoids all extremes of nature
not trendy, not a rebel,
"The problem is a hose."
I have a choice to make.
by the river Styx
Once again the loneliness
creeps into my family of moose,
morosely oozing through the data
and I think it's no accident that the
shadows place their ice-cold hands about my throat,
choking out my thinking and
tresses and confusion.

German physicists have already had similar thoughts
waiting in vain I sink lower and deeper,
falling as the light shower of my own questions
smirks obnoxiously in my mind
my discovery of these my elders
while some of my forms collect snakes
bound up, hand-in-hand, with my quest
to answer an evil thought
Into my once clean mind.
way to be a star
in another specific development

I walk my room
Looking for a destination,
only finding poets who love form and content
I have nonetheless found myself
walking to the receiver
as arsonist
with the New Situation in quantum furrow
let it suffice with this:
the ground beef is still nothing received.
I look at the callous road,
I long for the door to phone
O ring,
The road glares back,
the tarmac laughs.