The Operating System and Liminal Lab

2nd ANNUAL NAPOMO 30/30/30 :: DAY 29 :: MORGAN VO on MINA LOY

mina loy

“I was trying,” Mina Loy observed in 1927, with reference to her polyglot, punning, scholastic, asyntactic, unpunctuated free-verse poems, “to make a foreign language, because English had already been used.” 

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Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

from Morgan Vo, on and of Mina Loy:

1) It’s erotic & powerful to watch yourself, to hold a posture, to be on your own and to embrace your singleness.

2) Loy is always aggresively countering whatever she’s heard with something that she’s saying. She’s on an equal footing with experience.

3) Assertions made clearly enough become events.

4) Mina uses a lot of vibration. Notice how you are always shaking like an antennae because everything around you is shaking in a particle-wave?

5) Waking up, “Immediately assuming my personal mental attitude.”

6) I remember feeling that a state of night was stretching out like a long tapestry between four claws. Often blurry demons spin next to her in poems.

7) Given a capital letter, a word like ‘Dilation’ keeps our consciousness ajar for an extended period of time.

8) She can render men so despicable. It makes me, a man, feel at risk, near being noticed.

9) Everything seems to make it in: her thought, your thought, those sounds, those colors, those people, their children, the time, all places, their shapes.

10) Hunger & Exhaustion are sources of Energy.

11) I cannot see her chosen desk, no place returned to with each poem, her place feels fresh each time.

two poems of Loy’s, from The Lost Lunar Baedeker, poems of Mina Loy (the first selected by Vo, the second selected by ExSt)
Three Moments in Paris
1. One O’Clock at Night
Though you have never possessed me
I have belonged to you since the beginning of time
And sleepily I sit on your chair beside you
Leaning against your shoulder
And your careless arm across my back gesticulates
As your indisputable male voice      roars
Through my brain and my body
Arguing “Dynamic Decomposition”
Of which I understand nothing
And the only less male voice of your brother pugilist of the intellect
Booms      as it seems to me      so sleepy
Across an interval of a thousand miles
An interim of a thousand years
But you who make more noise than any man in the world when you clear your throat
Deafening      wake me
And I catch the thread of the argument
Immediately assuming my personal mental attitude
And cease to be a woman
Beautiful halfhour of being a mere woman
The animal woman
Understanding nothing of man
But mastery      and the security of imparted physical heat
Indifferent to cerebral gymnastics
Or regarding them as the self-indulgent play of children
Or the thunder of alien gods
But you wake me up
Anyhow      who am I that I should criticize your theories of “Plastic Velocity”
“Let us go home      she is tired      and wants to go to bed.”
2. Cafe du Neant
Little tapers lighted      leaning diagonally
Stuck in coffin tables of the Cafe du Neant
Leaning to the breath of baited bodies
Like young poplars fringing the Loire
Eyes that are full of love
And eyes that are full of kohl
Projecting light across the fulsome ambiente
Trailing the rest of the animal behind them
Telling of tales without words
And lies of no consequence
One way or another
The young lovers hermetically buttoned up in black
To black cravat
To the blue powder edge dusting the yellow throat
What color could have been your bodies
When last you put them away
Nostalgic youth
Holding your mistress’s pricked finger
In the indifferent flame of the taper
Synthetic symbol of      LIFE
In this factitious chamber of      DEATH
The woman
As usual
Is smiling      as bravely
As it is given to her to be      brave
While the brandy cherries
In winking glasses
Are decomposing
With the flesh of spectators
And at a given spot
There is one
Having the concentric lighting focussed precisely upon her
Prophetically blossoms in perfect putrefaction
Yet      there are cabs outside the door.
3. Magasins du Louvre
All the virgin eyes in the world are made of glass
Long lines of boxes
Of dolls
Propped against banisters
Walls and pillars
Huddled on shelves
And composite babies with arms extended
Hang from the ceiling
In a profound silence
Which the shop walker left trailing behind him
When he ambled to the further end of the gallery
To annoy the shop girl
All the virgin eyes in the world are made of glass
They alone have the effrontery to
Stare through the human soul
seeing nothing
Between parted fringes
One cocotte wears a bowler hat and a sham camellia
And one an iridescent boa
For there are two of them
And the solicitous mouth of one is straight
The other curved to a static smile
They see the dolls
And for a moment their eyes relax
To a flicker of elements unconditionally primeval
And now averted
Seek each other’s      surreptitiously
To know if the other has seen
While mine are inextricably entangled with the pattern on the carpet
As eyes are apt to be
In their shame
Having surprised a gesture that is ultimately intimate
All the virgin eyes in the world are made of glass.

Apology of Genius

Ostracized as we are with God
The watchers of the civilized wastes
reverse their signals on our track

Lepers of the moon
all magically diseased
we come among you
of our luminous sores

how perturbing lights
our spirit
on the passion of Man
until you turn on us your smooth fools’ faces
like buttocks bared in aboriginal mockeries

We are the sacerdotal clowns
who feed upon the wind and stars
and pulverous pastures of poverty

Our wills are formed
by curious disciplines
beyond your laws

You may give birth to us
or marry us
the chances of your flesh
are not our destiny —

The cuirass of the soul
still shines —
And we are unaware
if you confuse
such brief
corrosion with possession

In the raw caverns of the Increate
we forge the dusk of Chaos
to that imperious jewellery of the Universe
— the Beautiful —

While to your eyes
A delicate crop
of criminal mystic immortelles
stands to the censor’s scythe.

Morgan Vo is a new poet, and a familiar face at the Poetry Project.




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