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(Thirteen) RAYS

(13 RAYS)
being 14 collages, plus a preface and endpaper
with poems matching up,
that is, a collage poem
including, in homage,
4 extra pages called “correspondance,”
this deliberately misspelled,
all, as one unit,
worked from a [1968?] photograph
of Ray Johnson, artist
October 16, 1927 - January 13, 1995
not (in fact) attributed on the back of the postcard used as matrix
but apparently taken by William S. Wilson,
Ray Johnson’s loyal friend, and a writer,
himself (2016) recently dead,
all this
painstakingly made
between 2012 and 2016
(with a few forays back to 2002)
another Ray
to wit
Rachel Blau DuPlessis


Hey there, Mr.Ray there
hi, arty guy.
Lotto cards are numbered chance,
Can numbers better letters' nonchalance?
Your wend, yr wand, the went, the want and wont,
your dastardly “won't”—a soft relentless stance.

Here’s a letter
tho you're zoned out in your far flung
but always easy-peasy,
lookin’ so near.

Who cares?
It is what is.
You snarked your course
and marked
the marking round
your way, or ways.
Yeah, it was your rays that gave off
blinding binding
and Fright.
from that dark after-spot
of changeable fade:
A bis B bis C bis
I bis R bis    
down thru Z.

Sending love, bis bis,

Les flâneurs du mal
Les fleurs du miel
The flan with caramel.
Let favours flavor
rubber-stamped mail.
Everyone and his brother
makes for detail.
Watch the glue, the tack, the nail
watch anything bewitched
that gathers up the strain-ge
enough together
consequences of inconsequent
to accumulate and to repeat
from see to shining See.

You made a parallel country
and another post
and another “art market
marked with a fat nosy face.
Bloopy eyes, in place.
No way to rise on the Big
“You wanted 20% off?
Well, here’s 80% of what
you bought.
When you paid me that,
I cut off the rest.”
Well, fuck you.
I mean fuck me,

Two-step down the block
the moist dark corner
of our world where it's me-
yeah, right-

hitting the wilds of cardboard in the street
a collect like a prayer of junk junk junk
Happiest Found Geography.

The city shuffles its cars cuts its deck
dicking Jokers
delighting doppelgängers
all over the place

A knot of R’s
your own fine game your
trickster touch.
A muse of no museum
“um um um”
and “um” no real part
of speech.

And there goes You and Not-You
(is there a one you?)
crossing at the light in scat joy
and “stars above” almost unseen,
as in the crooning rhyme word (love)
and so I wouldn't say it's either me or you
I know.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis is the author of the multi-volume long poem Drafts, (1986-2012), from Salt Publishing and Wesleyan, called “one of the major poetic achievements of our time” by Ron Silliman.  Post-Drafts books include Interstices (Subpress, 2014), Graphic Novella (Xexoxial Editions, 2015), Days and Works (in press now from Ahsahta), the collage-poem Numbers (forthcoming from Materialist Press). She has written a trilogy of critical essays on gender and poetics:The Pink Guitar, Blue Studios and Purple Passages, and several other critical books, as well as editing The Selected Letters of George Oppen (1990).

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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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