Thursday, March 02, 2006


PRESENTED BY kari edwards who says:

I am not before you, my words are. Do not pay attention to me, pay attention to Rob Halpern's words, pay attention to the integrity of language that is before you, pay attention to the mosquito penetrating your body. Let Rob's words infiltrate deep into the layers of your flesh. Let the proboscis enter the epidermis and bring an infusion of language with the potential to wake up at each syntactical juncture, each momentary leap, each instantaneous swelling stinging real. Let Rob's poetics lay bare the blood bursting "Multi-billion dollar contracts icing profits". Can I say more? Can I introduce the effect that Rob's work offers; language itching at the surface? Can I say it is rare to find a seamless integrity of life and language? What can I say of the pleasure in the painful moment of waking to a mosquito doing its job and of reading Rob's work, waking to it doing its job.


by Rob Halpern

[subtracting all that can’t survive

—achievements of environment]

What activates our withering away
Increasing daily forces squander
Fuels my harnessed links impeded

Heavenly connections trading soft
Targets doing business in
Absentia where my migrant sleeps

In clandestinity to earn a patch
Of hair or something taped illegal
Missing parts becoming real

Live guest-workers pump it up
I’m all you’ll ever need, he said
A bloodless thing my dildo stalks

                               —the new faux nation.


But it all gets even creepier still — stirring
Deep outside us there’s perishing, or something
Looming under legal methods, jet black wigs

Destined to what this destiny can’t contain
It’s really hardcore, the social being merely so
Many oppositions de-linking — wedged deep

In Styrofoam, my needles and the jugs break down
Being tour of duty, an avenue of ingress — tracks
Separate from the land upon which we move

Multi-billion dollar contracts icing profits
Over time, there’s nothing lurking deep inside
Resource — keeps it all intact until the day

All this appears in what appears to be still
Separating — love, or anywhere to hang
Their face turns real grub to fake adventure

[once again dehiscing—

out along the lines and routers]

— pumping my disturbance with phonation
days go by, open vowels, not generating much future
sound — losses where all this will have happened

any common place — strung out on being still, produced
disfigured gently now my ratcheted dejecta
— his leg becomes my fluted stump, my lip

his anal spur — missing tongues insert the word
whose shock force grids resistant salvage, ours
being squandered in advance, we molt in network

fiber, having traced the place of future action
what can’t be named in a field of roots, so come
inside my fjord of mannered stools — lights


watch the eyes peel back, so pasted to the blazing

[being refuse —

becoming natural gas]

drawn deep — kiss a little facial gum for steel
so shameful how his beauty hovers in me
like rain clouds all the block-womb, antecedents
boasting excess — this fantastic privation

little extra folds of skin—mine, ours
how we faked the needed hat disguise
persona or some little article wedged
between this pretty organ and that one

opportunity shimmies slender faults to sanctum —
i put my finger in his flap, still pulling back for more
a so-called viscid white emulsion, or whatever
it takes to make the ordnance take its target

anything to ensure the proper bonding
sickens in dehiscing blanks, a thickening
trace achieves salvation — withering away
gazing at events we still can’t name

                               —and these have named us.


The system and its structures speak
Of dwelling and utopian profiles
Penetrate us all like architecture

Or something standing in erecting
All these needs for dwelling swarms
New seeds dislodging shelter trades

The rent will not exhaust the ground
Vast huts all gone to weed
For the land’s this fateful portion

A little laminate remains to chafe
Scrotal shares our grainy waves
These phantasms stoke a pretty deal


And these facts constitute what sanctions sanctioned our reports.


Rob Halpern’s first book of poems, Rumored Place, was published by Krupskaya (2004). Recent work appears in Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (Coach House Books), as well as Antennae, Chain, and Submodern Fiction. His translation of Georges Perec's "For A Realist Literature" is forthcoming, together with an essay on the politics of Perec’s early writing. With Kathleen Fraser, he is co-editing the poems of the late Frances Jaffer. Music for Porn is the title of his current manuscript. He lives in San Francisco and can be reached at


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