Joshua Clover and Chris Nealon / Seventh Letter and Eighth Letter: On Value and Poetry


Joshua Clover / Chris Nealon


So this is what relentless expenditure feels like now,
All spondees all the time: we we so so!
All the data’s on the table but we’re not making a decision

To believe that the literary and linguistic can do things
That are themselves more majuscule than Stay Away.
Beautiful people in this room, most of them young

Could mark the beginning of a new era, a sexual Germinal,
And this will be my moment of greatest optimism,
In all the history of poetry’s analogies to cinema I’ve never

What it would feel like to tap into collective power
Organized by a collection of documents
Each of which begins emphatically with the word No

And doesn’t go nowhere,
The crossing of wires between tactic and pleasure
That makes you feel like you’re the DJ,

That great political question of the last
Epidemic, which I read as poems: found ferocity in the midst
Of exile or betrayal, Pasolini or Mayakovsky,

Gauntlet: thrown down. Love, Joshua
Insisted in a poem one time, is not a private thing, whatever
The lovely troubadour allure

I’ve never been able to get behind. The idea of
George Stanley’s journal N—San Francisco Capitalist Bloodsucker
Was sort of Fuck You but behind that a tendresse

Jack Spicer called “ruining the universe,”
If I understand aright.
The high-five the two girls on the sidewalk give each other

Raises the place of the party, that great political
Thing about Ke$ha. Last year, when anti-
Matter was the only thing that mattered, positive annihilation

Helped me see why, in totality-circa-2011, poetry
Looked a lot like a little town and farms, which is what it was.
It was negative the way a cover tune

Is part of the enabling condition of that error
Called la cultura, il cuore, the grimy froth of notwork and notwar,
Where the fierceness comes in: this meanwhile, this friendship.


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