#1
i breathe in breeze
blocks, muggy
and chewy like styrofoam
empty stomach
insulation, i
drown in plasticine:
warm, stifling,
a womb of custard skin,
as if i am drowninnnnng 
innothinnng as if there isnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnothing in words.
                                            nothing in _____.
                                            nothing in art.
                                            ??????? in knowing
                                            nothing in not knowing.
                                            nothing in ####.
                                            nothing in love.
                                            nothing in love.
                                            nothing in love.
                                            nothing in repetition.
                                            nothing in        .
it is so joyous to                          nnnnnnnnnnnnothing
be nothing and                              is the city where 
rake the ground of                          nothing is at home.
gravelly nothings,                          nothing is the city i was born innn
to sift away mybigself                      nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
on a nothingday like                        nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
today. nothing                              nothing is the hillside.
                                            nothing is the fields i grew up inn
                                            nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
is nothing it cannot                        nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
be in a name for that                       nnnothing is man.
is not a nothing. only                      nothing is woman.
        is nothing.                                 is        .


i am hanging 
around inside
it, t
    -
    a
    -
    p
    -
    e
    -
    w
    -
    o
    -
    r
    -
    m
    -
    i
    -
    n
    -
    g
    -
    like a 
    glass wool   p
                l
               a
              c
             e
nothingnnnnnnothing
nothing    t      nnothing
nothing   a              nnothing
nothing                         nnothing <------------this is the custard skin 
nothing                         nnothing              city womb where i was
nothing                  nnothing                     nothing/////////////////
nothing           nnothing                            ////////////////////////
nothingnnnnnnothing                                   ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      ////////////////////////
                                                      /////this is what i look
                                          <-----------like now i'm nothing.       

                               
                                                        
                                            
                                                             

                                                      


                                                                            

                                                            


 
Last edited by doubtfulsalmon at Jun 10, 2014,
#2
this is one of the weirder pieces i've read on this site. that is not a bad thing. congrats!

i think the repetition of 'nothing' gets old by the end. i feel like it is beating me over the head. this could be a good thing, an intentional thing. i do like the images juxtaposed by this stream of nothings, though.

i really cant say much else. i like this, it's so different than anything i've read in a long time. thanks for the read.
#3
Thank you, I can certainly say there are some weird feelings attached to it. I do want to clean this up, there are a couple of moments I'm not sure are working.
#4
reading this again, i think it could be evened out. it feels very weird-heavy (sorry i keep using weird, i dont mean to connote anything negative). some of the stanzas with more imagery could be developed, methinks. much of the grit in those stanzas is quite wonderful, like in the opening bit.
#5
How much html-based or otherwise digital poetry do you read? There's a lot of stuff out there that might resonate with you. Dig around ubuweb a little if you never have before (particularly these sections: conceptual & contemporary ). The Matthew Eberhart piece in the second section is particularly noteworthy. You might find code poems interesting too.

Sorry for the unsolicited slew of links. On to what you wrote:

it is so joyous to
be nothing and
rake the ground of
gravelly nothings,
to sift away mybigself
on a nothingday like
today. nothing

is nothing it cannot
be in a name for that
is not a nothing. only
is nothing.


I think this is where the "nothing" thing gets to be too much. I think that mainly because, formally, the poem is set up so that we read this stanza after the first one, which wraps around the right side of the stanza I quoted. It doesn't feel like much of a departure, however. The language changes its character but I think you could do away with some of it. I'd suggest something like this:

to sift away mybigself
on a nothingday like
today. nothing


is nothing it cannot
be in a name for that
is not a nothing.


which I feel cuts some less helpful uses of "nothing" but keeps the same sense of departure from the first stanza's language. I don't feel that "rake the ground of gravelly nothings" was doing much for you or that "joyous" was necessarily the best word choice in this piece, but the quick edit I made is just a suggestion by way of example. You should obviously edit it down however you see fit, if at all.

??????? in knowing
nothing in not knowing.


maybe look at this quoted bit. It's amazing how much meaning punctuation can carry. I took the question marks as an absence of actually knowing what it is that's "in knowing" which is an interesting twist on the repetition of nothing in this part of the poem and at the same time do very much the same thing (saying there's nothing there) but the line after sort of inverts that in a way that makes it less interesting, if that made sense at all.

There's a lot of imagery relating to the body (though it gets more uncomfortable toward the end), which gives this an organic feeling that I think helps it. It's easy to get a more cold or removed feel from this kind of writing, and things like chewing and breathing right at the start loosen some of that. I like how you play with space and inaudible characters as well.
#6
Thank you for those links, I don't tend to read much poetry like this simply because I find it hard to track down, but it's one of my biggest self criticisms that I don't have much else to compare my own work to or get inspiration from.

It's interesting that you picked out that stanza specifically for cleaning up, as I was debating whether it was that one or the one after that needed cutting. Thank you so much for that, it's given me a solid place to start revising this.

hmmmm that other section you talk about leads me onto another quandary I have with this piece, the role of contradiction in this was a big thing in my head but I don't think I conveyed it too well on the page. I was trying to say as much with the contradiction as with the actual words, but I need to revisit that idea.

Thank you very much for your pointers, and for reading.
#7
Thanks for those links as well brokencoastline, found one interesting piece.. which really develops on the idea that poetry without constraints can also form a picture. Which is kinda an awesome evolution in itself to be honest http://www.ubu.com/contemp/glass/glass05.html


As for the piece itself, I enjoyed it tremendously. Good experimentation although the nothingness can get a bit too obvious at times. However you express that and you create a atmosphere which is both weird and gritty... and that's why I like this tbh.
#8
Thank you eccer.

Those links are really eye opening, some fantastically experimental stuff there. I found this particularly interesting http://www.ubu.com/contemp/andrews/andrews2.html

I made a few changes:

i breathe in breeze
blocks, muggy
and chewy like styrofoam
empty stomach
insulation, i
drown in plasticine:
warm, stifling,
a womb of custard skin,
as if i am drowninnnnng 
innothinnng as if there isnnnnnnnnnothing in words.
==================================nothing in _____.
==================================nothing in art.
==================================??????? in knowing
==================================nothing in not knowing.
==================================nothing in ####.
==================================nothing in love.
==================================nothing in love.
==================================nothing in love.
==================================nothing in repetition.
==================================nothing in        .
=================to===============nnnnnnnnnnnnothing
rake the ground and===============is the city where 
sift away mybigself===============nothing is at home.
on a nothingday like==============nothing is the city i was born innn
today. nothing====================nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
==================================nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
==================================nothing is the hillside.
==================================is the fields i grew up inn
==================================nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
is nothing it cannot==============nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
be in a name for that=============nnnothing is man.
is not a nothing.=================        is woman.
==================================        is        .================
===================================================================   
===================================================================
                       ==============================================
                                     ================================
i am hanging                                    =====================
around inside                                   =====================
it, t                                           =====================
    -                                           =====================
    a                                           =====================
    -                                           =====================             
    p                                           =====================
    -                                           =====================
    e                                           =====================
    -                                           ==========
    w                                                      __________
    -                                                        ________
    o                                                          ______
    -                                                            ____
    r                                                              __
    -
    m
    -
    i
    -
    n
    -
    g
    -
    . like a 
    glass wool p
              l
             a
            c
           e
nothingnnnnothing
nothing  t      nnothing
nothing a              nnothing
nothing                       nnothing <------------this is the custard skin 
nothing                       nnothing              city womb where i was
nothing                nnothing                     nothing/////////////////
nothing         nnothing                            ////////////////////////
nothingnnnnothing                                   ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    ////////////////////////
                                                    /////this is what i look
                                        <-----------like now i'm nothinnnnnn                                      
                                                        
                                            
                                                             

                                                      


                                                                            

                                                            


#9
i really dont like the abundance of =s. to me, the piece could be even more effective if the = space was empty. perhaps i am mistaken.

i think some of the grammar could be more jarring, but only in a couple places did that strike me. at the end, i preferred the original 'nothing.' rather than 'nothinnnnnn'. the latter seemed nearly sarcastic to me.

still, a nice read.