Chris Vitiello

from Irresponsibilities
New Poems From the USA


          late November into early December 2004
          Shenandoah, VA
          Harrisonburg, VA
          Springfield, VA
          Washington, DC
          Durham, NC

Grackles bathe where the drainage
terminates // Typical pull // Pulling, so into // Between
the low Winter Sun and me
their splashes illuminate

He leaf-blows in church clothes

Grackles splash a fray
in the drain divot pool behind
which the Sun sets // Position makes this
appearance    Giving
up is never correct
The whitespace goes negative → Choice of negation
Rolling event-specific sets of by what
The oak leaves appear brassy
Undoing aperçu

The grate has sunken askew // Here’s why → Gerunds are now
That school addition is unornamented and, in backlit shadow,


Iris and Gracie console imaginary horses
A storm threatens // They argue
beneath a lopsided oak
Win it word by word is problematic
Carriage returns

Cadiot: I will do something to someone
The school building rear
looks like a factory contains
also is a factory
Not an implication but a container     His
behavior appears
portioned and metaphorical
to me as
if he thinks he’s being read     A container
contained by what it contains
What’s in Firdos Square now?     Argument is
the game
It ← Grackles bathe and drink in
a drainage pool     Winter Sun
setting linear behind
These 2 things, but 1 thing

Making an argument is a surface

Exploitation instructs

This coat does nothing

I know that the dogwood is completely red though I cannot see it from here

Arafat’s dead // So’s Michelle

“What’s different now?”
versus “Can it be unwritten?”
Only the parts of his body move that
he needs to // He does 1 thing
Miles Davis: “Paraphernalia”

The grackles, the water, their splashing, the sunlight
through the splashing // I’m in the plenum too
Iris and Gracie try the swings again
is experience-determined duration     This
book is set in 12-point type     I wonder if I’m still alive

The container, the surface, the contents, the
whitespace, the characteristics, the reader-specific durations of these
Hocquard: Does writing allow someone to see better?
And the words, obviously
Pursuit is pushing and we have
those 2 words // Little gravelly hill
is one way of saying
little gravelly hill
Thank you Hocquard
Once demarcated, how different should/could the items be?
He makes shit and carbon-dioxide

Letterforms, grouped ↔ Grouped letterforms ↔ Groups of letters

The saturated soil sank, so berm as
unintentional as that consonance

(As I write this) Iris tells Theresa to say “No, no it isn’t” // Theresa says it
Geometric play equipment and what isn’t?
Cobra is a system not a
composition     Keep doing what you would have been doing
Albiach: would their word be transmitted

That lopsided oak likely lost its crown in ice storms and
Vicki and I married and Rabin was assassinated and
Iris guesses pronunciation at vowels and
a signal is a sub-signal ← This with this or this without this
                                                                                     Returning to the grackles is
different from returning to Firdos Square // One symmetry
displaces another    Royet-Journoud:
eye pursues its prey / shelters behind another phrase
The Fallujah offensive is replay and slow-motion
at here // Bettis’ subtlety
Is it information or does it contain information?
Evie’s rectangle

The coverage of the taxi explosion
shows the exploded taxi

Until she gets it right

Nothing elapses at now

It’s the leaves that’s red

Vicki calls from earlier in time

The cartoons did their jobs and were declared heroes

The magical rain brings the tree to life

Neither vacuum nor plenum is a negation

I’m getting tough // Poetry is invisible

The red dogwood leaves hang directly at the
ground in angled clusters around the base of the
nude depleted buds
The Periodic Table lapses into abominations    One name is
as good as another
Amber’s detachment
The projector blocks the light source between each frame
Nothing’s haphazard and I don’t expect
the dots to be connected // Iris says
“The pinks almost rhyme”

Snakes do
not elaborate // Sunset
is a lie

By naming the suspension of judgment you
miss the point // And so “sunset” lies
There were no single grackles // The understood it
Grackles is singular

Each dogwood leaf is mottled with blacks, browns, and reds // Yellowish veins
implies the green they were in Spring
White, dried, curling, blotchy edges
You can’t find what doesn’t exist though you can refer to it
Lack of end-punctuation is a characteristic // Characteristic has of
I agree they’re red Recapitulation // Perpetuality // Goobs’ brother-in-law’s dead

They were probably starlings, it turns out → They were starlings
The noun is a process

Nouns is a decision-making process
I can see three flags from here
Remote-control trees all on the same frequency
Devendra Banhart: “Nice People…”
Randall tells me to shoot what
happens // One thing is not any thing

Every line simultaneous
Vicki moved and everything moved // Vicki moved everything

          December 2004 into January 2005
          Philadelphia, PA
          Wilmington, NC
          Durham, NC

This sunlight is hitting the malic molds now

First, the gas lamp’s incandescence and grasped
in the palm
Shape, light, and surface are soft
Together they soft // Cross out any 5 lines
A circle is perfect As Vicki
stood on the balcony, Philadelphia was Bucharest
The Poggendorff Illusion depends on its 4 characteristics // Keep moving
back and away     The Cape Fear River flows right-to-left
Silhouette looking out
of the guard hut in the Calder stabile garden

Song sparrow, house finch (and/or purple finch), black-capped chickadee, tufted
titmouse, mourning dove, red-shouldered hawk, cardinal, red-headed woodpecker, downy
woodpecker, dark-eyed junco, robin, blue jay, goldfinch, carolina wren, house wren,
eastern towhee, mockingbird, brown thrasher, ruby-throated hummingbird, house
sparrow // A retrograde poetics

Venting shirt steam: I am looking at the venting
Vented shirt steam: I am looking at the steam
It is daytime

A line segment without either termination // The delay

A cloud of details, a details cloud
and a rolling current, a current rolling
She gets her pigs at Esposito’s
Seeds wait // Brent executes the back game
The word “lachrymose” but not to use it // Lachrymose
without “lachrymose” // Lachrymose “lachrymose” =

Second, a coarse ridge down the length
of the right thigh // Unmeticulous
stretched pigskin, pale, hairless, unresolved // This ridge is a
fact Write about the epileptic fit
at the National Bureau of Standards
Larry’s house looks like Larry
                                                                                 How to be specific and why
Battleship mast topped with Christmas star
The seed waits for the opportunity to germinate
To bring the totality of the work to each
part of the work, even as it continues // Replace “work” with “apperception”
Dead bird on the 6 of spades

A willow oak leaf, blown upwards // Duchamp: The instantaneous
state of rest
of a succession of various facts seeming
to necessitate each other under
certain laws // A willow oak leaf moving upwards
A characteristic does not have to
The whistling of taking-off dove wings ← The wings whistle as the dove takes off
&uarr Roberson: turn ambiguity / into separation

1 bell // This is not black and white

1. B D F H J L      (a) AC      (b) KL      (c) NP      (d) MN      (e) NO
2. Z A Y B X C    (a) DW     (b) YZ      (c) WD     (d) VD       (e) FG
Answers below
Tom’s aorta tore // Tom had a torn aorta // There was
a tear in Tom’s aorta // Tom’s aorta
was torn // His kidneys were failing
Nerves convey the tacit pain message &rarr Beachcombing on

A sphere is perfect // There are no spheres
    circle                                          circles

Pissed in the Rodin Museum bushes     Sgt. Childress during
the re-inauguration     Her perpetual negotiating frown
Infinitives, gerunds, pronouns, articles     Third, the waterfall &darr
The time zones were invented in                                          that denies an overall
1884 // Honda’s robot jogged                                            status of image ↔ Watching
Larry stands behind the lattice // The lattice is between Larry
and    Repetition constructs only repetition

Colors are numbers
Numbers are colors
                              Matters is itself a characteristic
Third-and-a-halfth, orange angular light through an embrasure window
Either the enclosed patina crust has stopped oxidizing or not
How you observe
something slowly changing is by coming back to
it     Tony, if I can’t make more than a bag of tricks
Without looking up he growled “Potatoes, beans, zucchini”
C and C
I really am

This word is universal
23      487      9  3521

Fourth, the twigs beneath the body
Neither rigor mortis nor unconsciousness // The brush
buffer around the Battleship North Carolina
and no verb // Ken is cutting // Ken cuts // Ken changes his gerunds ← Agreement
Its position necessitates arm musculature and
the twig bundles beneath are too uncomfortable
Its impossibility is the only real thing about it
Along Ben Franklin Parkway thinking I’m left
with assumption-as-such and am the only pedestrian     Verbal nouns
Amber sends photos of aggressive Patagonian
penguins     The twigs are obviously arranged // Splayed faggots     I bought the arrow
stencil     No
A4 paper     Tape my hair clipping beneath this

All this line does is enclose the space above

          A series is a defense // I can’t make anything of mine metaphorical
The poem already happened ↕ What if the poem already happened?
          Brent sees the backgammon board differently
Nonetheless seismograph as purely representational
writing and that chickadee calls chick-dee-dee-dee-dee
The dim, intimidating alcove is fifth
Darkness produces generalizations // The roof flashing
is white → 20 minutes → the flashing is blue
This line is 6 words long and
this line does 2 things

          Sentences for use

          Use these sentences to re-reticulate others’ processing scales for written information. Through the
          reading of these sentences their potential as a system ratchets against the contextual understanding
          system of a particular individual. This realigns the reticles between these systems – visualize a
          slide rule. Obviously, the level of detail and specificity will increase with the more “Sentences for
          use” that come into play.

          Any information can be contained in, and any passage of writing converted into, sentences like
          these. Use them as you see fit. This book’s copyright does not cover them, so they can be
          disseminated freely without credit given or compensation due.

She was in the dressing room because I was late.

The Sun rose because the Earth rotated enough.

The cat scratched because the flea bit.

The desiccated leaf fell.

The tea was weak because the bag had been used.

The birds were either mating or fighting.

An army is either fighting or waiting.

The skin formed because the soup was below a simmer.

The rocks were ordinary until she took possession of them.

The wallpaper tore because the plaster cracked.

The tone was indeterminate until it was ironic.

The music happened after the second note.

The air was bright despite its transparency.

The man coughed in order to shift the sputum.

The rain was falling until it fell.

The pants are shaped that way because most people are shaped that way.

The light dispersed because the surface was various.

The mirror does not reflect in the dark.

The diet was paused to allow for the meal.

The anticipation happened before, yet because of, the event.

The lead point dulled because of the writing.

The woman slept because of fatigue.

The pronoun meant because of an antecedent.

You are either close to me or unknown.

The curve of the body is either attractive or not.

The pattern is because of its repetition.

The cat meowed because the cat meowed.

The laughter was spontaneous until it was self-conscious.

The eyes were either bloodshot or clear.

The man tasted the food until he swallowed it.

The girl argued because she could win.

They prepared until they participated.

The idea became a decision.

The light either bounced off the eyelids or went through them.

The ornament was either surprising or a reference.

She wrote because of others.

The snake either strikes or flees.

The brain learned to act in the absence of intention.

The sound was heard until it was identified.

The opposite disappeared in solitude.

He danced until he thought.

She worked until they left.

He smiled because they stopped talking.

The elevator came because of electricity.

The bomb either exploded or was a political possibility.

The day grew cooler because of the weather.

The orange peel is the orange’s skin.

The stencil is not versatile.

The siren wailed because of the emergency.

She cued them until they did it.

The water slowed and froze.

The electrons found the atoms.

The army advanced because it could.

The hand took the glasses.

The fear filled the absence of answers.

The apple grew after it was picked.

The air carried the shock wave.

The worry merely was until it worked.

He was either a man or asleep.

It was visible because they could see it.

It was red until she painted it.

The unread book meant nothing.

The wind was invisible until it was audible.

The fish swam because of the surface.

The mind ordered the images.

She thought until she acted.

The hoary sky was hoary.