Friday, March 2, 2018

Previously Published on Clutching at Straws . . .

Barbie Survived

the apocalypse, along with the Twinkies and
cockroaches.  A little worse for wear, her clothes
hang ragged, her skin is melted in patches
and she has this bizarre urge to brunch
on brains.  The remnants of last week’s paper
exclaims that zombies are suddenly in fashion, and she
always was good at savaging malls . . .


Hinge by the Slice (Heller Levinson) -- previously published on Talisman Magazine

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Heller Levinson for several years now.  We met through the Press ( and I quickly became fascinated with hinge theory.  Over the years I have added my admittedly less experimental contributions to the rapidly expanding hinge theory library of work, as well as inspired a hinge myself ("the corner of _____ and ____") of which I am extremely honored.  So from time to time when Heller sends hinge theory updates, I'll be posting them here as well for anyone who is interested.  This is one of the latest -- previously published on Talisman Magazine.  Hope it inspires some of you out there.  It sure did me!

Heller Levinson

Hinge By The Slice

The suggestion that I write a short summary of Hinge Theory threw me into a tailspin.  The thought of shortening an ever-expanding & en-fleshing behaviorism was anathema.  Then the idea occurred that perhaps by indicating how HT resists shrivellization/ contraction/ summarization, I could approach summarization.

Language is aLive.  This is foundational to HT.  It should be asked:  not what HT Is, but how it beHaves.  Language as a living organism is continuously interactive with other organisms breeding extensively & engendering complementarity.  Dr. Mary Newell puts it this way:  “The connectivities of Hinge Theory introduce an intentional and generative biasing, like a pool table with all the balls commotioning and someone lifting the pool table slightly so all that activity is directed yet responsive to unpredicted collisions, meanderings, & swerve.  (With the additional image that new balls are being added all the time as the pool table itself enlarges).”

Hinge does not purport to bring anything new to the proverbial ‘table.’  Rather it seeks to restore Language’s Original Primal Fire.  To ignite the word, Hinge employs the module  which is a word or a configuration of words that serves to spring (to unleash, to unmoor) the subject into a climate of free fall & unpredictability.  & by free fall we mean that we are liberating the subject[1]/word from its normative, conventional context & tossing it into question, tumbling it deconditioned into the void.  A few of the modules in use are:  with, smelling, the road to ____ road, in the ___ of ____, fecundating rotational clusters, fusion reconnoiters, & the most recent, tenebraed, catalyzes an entire book.  When word inosculates/alchemizes word,[2] the components never lock into place nor do they dissolve into a random turbulence; they both formulate & unravel simultaneously, emblazoned with the Living-Hood of continuous Motility.  The frisson (the rub) of word against word scatters the ‘particle’ multi-directionally.[3]Partnering with the ‘scatter’ is the ‘gather,’ a recombinatory process regrouping the components in correspondence with vibrational adhesion (a form of viscous bonding).

Each particle/subject gathers into cohesions, a grouping, what Hinge terms the ‘application,’ formerly the ‘poem.’  This gathering should be seen as an alighting, a momentary pause, tensiled to soar again at the slightest provocation.[4]

The word, by undergoing a multitude of these Modular Chamberings, is in an ongoing state of emboldening/ densification/ complementarity/ & extensionality.  For example, “Mermaid” has undergone over 45 applications, swiveling in the alterior ethers of:  “with mermaid,” “the road to mermaid road,” “smelling mermaid,” “in the purse of mermaid,” “tenebraed to mermaid,” to cite just a few.  Each application both creates its own Mermaid Personality (ether) & interacts/impacts with the other applications.  The Particle is always in transition, always on the road to developmental road, shimmering to fulfillment in compounding complementary refractions.  Hinge Theory clashes against the current cult of quick-click-reduce, or, of what I like to term the lexiconically static.  The Lexicon is a logos abuser, the enemy of the vigorous & dynamic; it is, indeed, a Dynamic Inhibitor.

Case in point:  in Webster’s Third, “Melancholia” & its variations take up about 4 inches of definition whereas Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina[5]  employs 99 pages to begin the investigation (& I term this endeavor to “investigate” an urge to “mobilize” the logos rather than “staticize” it).  & these 99 pages should be viewed as just that -- a prelude, an introduction, a wind-up to ignite.   There is no such thing as a finish to these explorations, no endings, … they are not sequenced or neatly arranged alphabetically, -- the logos is Feral & Un-Cageable, Reproductive & Lusty.
I have recently wondered how our language (the logos) would look/fare without the dictionary (void of reference).  What would the “Unmoored” word (the Wild/Feral Logos) look like if it were free to roam, migrate, hybridize.
To view the Inferential replace the Referential.

These comments initiate an ongoing exploration of Hinge Theory.  But when asked to explain Hinge Theory, the proper response would be the same as to someone who asked you what the sky looks like, -- you would usher them outside, point upward, & say “Look.”  Look, then, to the works themselves.

Further Reading


Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press)
from stone this running (Black Widow Press)
Wrack Lariat (Black Widow Press)
Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press)
Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson)
tenebraed (Black Widow Press)

Interviews (read chronologically):

“No Rust on These Hinges – A Heller Levinson Interview”
The Jivin’ Ladybug

“So Much Depends on the Hinge:  Heller Levinson”
The Jivin’ Ladybug

“Ephesus Glom: An Interview with Heller Levinson, Part 1” by Jonathan Mulcahy-King, was initially published in X-Peri, January, 2018 

“The Hinge Manual”  Howling Dog Press

[1] HT terms the subject being investigated the ‘particle.’
[2] At the level of Hinge Production, each word insists on its word associates.  In this sense, the practice of the author is to detect (to identify) the reproductive impulses inherent in the word being witnessed.
[3] For example, in the most recent volume, tenebraed, the module ‘tenebraed to lamentation’ undergoes three mutations or treatments.
[4] The provocation here would refer to Modular Ignition.
[5] Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson, 2016) exemplifies a multi-teamed approach to densify the ‘particle.’  Not only are we employing multiple Modules, but we are also treating/investigating  the term from multiple disciplines, i.e., Drawing, Essay, Criticism, Poetry.  Melancholia: represents the second multi-participatory Hinge Event following Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press).

Previously Published on Chronogram . . .

With Static

gathering in step, forward
escape.  Attempt thwarted
by miniature lightning.  Flash
against brass, grasp
immediately retracted.  Shaken
off, reformed into hover.  Hesitant
ly held, a moment before
completed release.


Previously Published on Chicago Literati . . .


            after City in White, artist Osnat Tzadok

The concrete emanates an almost-
innocence in the snow.  Though rapidly
graying from exhaust, it glistens with promise
of rejuvenation, a new beginning with every
clinging flake.  This slick coat is not considered
fashionable, quickly shoveled, loaded into trucks,
taken to anonymous gravesites
somewhere on the other side of the skyscrapers.
I imagine the melting piles, looking back
at their fallen home.  Do they miss the metal
shadows, mourn the misunderstanding of cold?


Previously Published on Chicago Literati . . .

The Road to Butterfly Road

shivers in the morning wind.  Layered
in exquisite colors of post-cocoonal flight,
wanders into random nets, gets pinned
behind twin panes of framed glass. 
Destination:  wall corpse.  It ends 
under stereotypical flag-term:  beautiful


Previously Published on Chicago Literati . . .

from Bones this Resignation

Recognition:  their brush’s gentle motion
would tickle if nerves had not
dissolved myriad millennia ago.  Hearing: 
soft echo of brow sweat beating against
what is left of me.

Harvesting has begun.  My piecemeal resting
replaced with zombiesque half-life.  They
will raise me, puzzle for their pondering,
re-construct me as teaching aid, exhibitional
wonder.  Forced back together,  displayed
in a nakedness so complete, their living
minds could never begin
to comprehend.


Previously Published on Century 121 . . .

Corner of Diamond and Dust

Fingers, honored in anniversary, linger
in anticipatory hover over ribboned box.
Does he love me?
                            Does he love me not?
They cannot stop the childishly compulsive
repetitious rhyme from repeating.  In the background,
breath is held as bow tentatively begins to come
undone.  Lid, inevitably removed, finds no karat
sparkle.  A smile is faked as mental inventory begins
in preparation of packing, the bags already waiting
under her side of the bed.


Previously Published on Century 121 . . .

Wearing One Earring

Sleepless and thinking of Van Gogh
I take my left earring out.
Placing it inside a box
to send to a love that does not
exist.  Yet or ever.  Probably
an empty gesture full of
meaning[ful psychoses] even I
don't understand.  Yet
I take my time.  Wrapping
the parchment with pristine
corners any hospital would envy.
I even wavered momentarily
over the choice of ribbon, wondering
if it still qualifies as a present if tied
with breast-cancer-pink allusions
to suffering.  No, this is serious
[ly symbolic if not just a tad imbecilic]
so I selected silver.  Knotted.
Knightly.  Even moderately merry.
And its glint was worth the fuss.
It focused the moon as it soared
from my balcony to the river
below.  Beyond, I was able to trace
its trail as it soaked, swirled,
then sank.  In a flameless
mocking of some ancient and
regal funereal.  All light.
All sorrow.  All honor.
All gone.  As it settles itself
among the silt.


Previously Published on The Centrifugal Eye . . .

With Ruby

slippered dreams of returning
to a far-off land labeled home,
I click my heels three times.  Nothing
happens but another scuff
I cannot cover up with blood-marker
rubbings.  There is no magical
wizard behind curtain, no alternative
method of transport at the ready.
I am still cowardly and heartless,
my rusting brain overstuffed with idols.
Winged monkeys and good fairies
fly amok before dropping
like leaden stones through the glass
pond of my reflection.  I see myself
in pieces, too obscure to form
a whole.  I have
through myself, my imagination
trailing behind, a tornado
devouring path and past.


Previously Published Carillon Magazine . . .


Little yellow
For someone else’s lips.
Swallowed sight.
Swallowed flight.
Running still.
Like blood.
Across this empty plate.


Previously Published on Carillon Magazine . . .

With Rhinoceros This Dream

of emulsification is completed.
It is my able-bodied shadow match. 
I am its animal
guide, or it is mine.  Specific
definition of species’
roles in this mental amalgamation are difficult
to decipher.  We learn
each other’s language.  Foraging
for forgotten moments of unity, we mimic
respiratory distress.  Excessive oxygenation
triggers euphoria.  We dance
holding hands neither remembers having.


Previously Published on Carillon Magazine . . .


blades of grass dance, individual
jigs, shedding dew like clothes,
in freeing worship to morning’s sun.

leaves shiver, their newborn
skin skittish, tries to find symbiotic
stance against forceful breath of wind.

lily pads litter pond, organic confetti.
Party floor for pollywogs dreaming
of days when legs will finally form,
launching them to land.

skin slithers along ivied trellis,
raises boneless body to survey
its garden.  Gaze falls to apple
tree, triggers instinctual smile, historic
memory of fateful first bite.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

Reaping Imaginary Riches

Even in the darkest room
more than your shadow
finds me.  Cloaked in nothing
more than simple
subservient sin.  I am
shaded and layered
to your hands' liking.
Together they/we are
a puzzle game dream.  In this
midnight's holding:

Turn one:  our every piece is a step.
Flop two:  our every step is a gamble.
Fold three:  our every gamble is a touch.
Set point match:  Connection is complete

ly irrelevant as we raise
everything but our minds.  Temperament
al misogyny is our latest god.
We worship on our knees.
Our needs soaking the floor
of this make-shift temple
that no longer resembles
any form[al/of] bed.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

Where Nothing Lies

The pillow screams
against my eyes’ attempt to smother
the severity of their plight.  We have
played this scene too many times to see. 
The ending is cold and clich├ęd.  To hell
with the moon and its silvered fortune.  I am
its forgotten daughter, tortured
by the sound of my own
name.  I cannot dream myself
into being
                 solid.  So I sink
                                           through the seams
of these perfect
ly unsoiled sheets.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

I Am Anxiety

walking, a wavering well of conflicting
thoughts.  Possibilities cling to me
like string.  I cannot cut myself free.  I am
confusion, perplexity, and disorder, tied
to an over-sized chunk of indecision. 
I am barely treading water.  I am trying
to swim in a pool of blood that holds
a shark made of my own vacillating skin.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

On the Wings of a Shadowed Dove

I cut through mountains made of paper,
lined and unlined.  Neither can hold
my rage.  I am rock,
resistant to wind.  I hold blue
flame, symbol of persistence, continuance,
beacon of the broken.  I gather
the pieces that remain around me
like a fort.  They agree to become
kindling for the cause.  I reduce them
to ash, spread them as spackle to fill cracks
in the vision I hold of tomorrow.


Previously Published on Call and Response . . .

Rain Against the Car Window

blinks with every bump.  Droplets become eyes,
narrowing to get a better view
of what it’s like to be sheltered
from repetitive pummeling.  Victims of wind,
they stare, suspicious of all they are not. 
Their silent inquisition lingers long after the sun
returns, burns their tracks from the glass.

Previously Published on Cahoodaloodaling . . .

Hanging Out

“They aren’t real,” she explodes
with laughter at my perplexed expression.
“They are fake.”
                             Balls swinging
from the back of tow and pickup trucks.  I realized
prior to her explanation, but remained rendered
speechless.  Stupidity
inadequately failed to describe this . . .

trend.  I pray
she was kidding about that part.  Surely,
there are still some sane men . . . I stop
the thought there, knowing better.  And still
this blatant Freudian expression astounds
me.  This beyond mundanely crass way to prolong
the vehicle as penis extension metaphor.  I began

to weep for want of irony.  A 4X4 passes,
ablaze in the latest rubber commando fashion.  “What
could be worse?” I wonder aloud
a moment before it registered:  
there was a woman driving that one.


Previously Published on bytheoverpass (Overpass Books) . . .

from Penguins this Calamity

Little birds in black
feathers that look like tuxedos,
clamber over each other and
the ice.  The crazy scene reminds me
of something from an old silent film. 
A Chaplain, The Three Stooges, even
The Keystone Cops.  Timeless
moments when comedy was visual,
more about chaos of motion than diuretic
diatribes to bodily functions.  I cannot
tear myself away from the insanity.  I watch
them waddle about for hours.


Previously Published on bytheoverpass (Overpass Books) . . .

Because Curiosity

suffered at the hands of those who already know,
the cat had to sacrifice too many of its lives.
(Though if the truth be known, it had far more
than nine).  It hired the dog, to aid in its defense,
the ferret to forage in underground
tunnels designed for ease of eavesdropping.  The five
years for transmission of  gossip without
intent to mock, it spent studying bootleg tabloids,
learned how to turn a buck legally, emerged
with a new mission, and a license to stick its whiskers
in everyone’s business that quickly became its life’s mantra:
Enquiring minds want to know. . .


Previously Published on bytheoverpass (Overpass Books) . . .

Cobble [Stoned] Courts

Nothing is solid today.  Not me.  Not
my mind.  Not the air swinging
from my lungs like a bloated baboon.
It is pounding my chest.  An overgrown
tickertape-bongo-ballast.  I walk its plank
blindly.  Counting the rails of my make-
shift cage as I pass through
my own thought.  Lagging, a pace,
my heart is too strong for the intellect
clawing at its bass.  It does not like
the categorizations of pros and cons.  Neat
and tidy is not natural.  Here in this cavern
of callouses, negotiations fall deaf[eningly
silent].  Shame on the sun for trying.
My patience is tweaked by its warmth,
but only slightly.  Slighted is a more familiar
glove.  And knocks me back into the black
before I can settle on any shape
of perforated [in]decision.


Previously Published in Epigraph . . .

To Spin Or Not To Spin Static transporter taunts me infinitely across a room of mirrors, reminders of necessity.  Cold motivators of perpetu...