PREPOEM ON GIGIPOESIE
fuck the letters
dazzle my frazzle
sk(r)ew the course of association
with a different notion
the dance of directions
the bent axles
secant of light
the photon flare
When will I stop dreaming
about the fucks from Greek mythology?
And when will I remember the words
that ran off into oblivion?
(It’s cool, clever, intense
like a glass of ginger water
or a volume with a B&W cover)
This washing machine has lost its fucking mind
while he ran across the city
& portals to other worlds opened up.
Why did I dream of a villa And on the other side, another villa
full of American poets? full of British poets?
A yawning face in sharp chiaroscuro is a reflected glass pane.
Who gave you a designate?
Do you assume anything?
The sea glued to bread.
A plain of stupidity.
Insert and eject verses like drawers
full of flies or poppy seed—
with a thunderbolt inside.
Here’s an estate of vacant wall-less prefabs.
Smile to a flower, get your lollypop & go there.
A Nobody waits there. Next to him, a red diode
splattered across the shiny crossroads
of metal structures,
that float like balloons—
your eyes like blimps
on towers’ spires.
The highway covered with blackened sunflowers.
A man with a beard like thistle. Buddy-buds.
Lanucy. Nocho. A Gummi bear bites at the camra.
Faith makes the deuterium. Sodium lamps
of consciousness. What the fuck are you talking about,
sheepman, a howler of sound. Feces
worth its weight in gold & truth.
Rattle me up, swing my bits.
Click me in the ground, bone against
the stone, a pigeon falls down, speechless.
The coughing date keeps unclipping like a skyscraper
keyring of a kid’s bawl. Crying
has a talent. Blood rumbles & shines,
gets reflected on the beat-up
film of memory, scratched up photographic
membrane, the mucosa of horror,
the numbered telephones linger, three
hours a day, eight hours
a day, the week is burning, give it
magnesium, give it light, not
the nightlight, not the sun or the moon,
though it’s in full, not the eye, has
anyone seen an invisible light,
concealed by knowing, a light
from a different dimension, has
anyone seen it, it pours inside the self,
Nobody sees, the name disappears, the word
recedes, the rhythm is suspended,
the dreams about nows, the idea in
the light, the end, purity, unity,
flight is no longer needed,
plight is no longer needed,
there’s no shape,
Like a hand without a signature,
the Mannequin of Gravitas
opens its mouth to you.
To Swallow a Shadow—
these words are
nothing more than
on a sheet of paper
(a mouth full of skeletons);
me, out of my head,
like a ball rolling towards the pocket.
A dog’s tongue,
saliva; the trace
So many thoughts,
over & over,
until he holes up in his head,
as if he were dreamed up by his tongue.
From reproduction to contemplation:
steppes & mountain ranges.
lose their dignity;
till you’re chucking, tho still steady
gales of snow snów
& this poor I,
excluded from its power,
standing at the gate
OF THE GREAT CONTAINERYARD
which used to have a name & form
la palabra el
Cimo ni mo
maybe baby can-
& a face
let him come
to the N1 &
she said, lesen
all the time
Schwamm und Sprache
from MAN, SPEECH & IMPOTENCE
Wristulla between pincers, in the chackles.
out of nowswhere, down with it.
With the human rea
A knownot, fraction. Tuny.
Gim your hand. Bow brow
to another, the other—
The inverted songpits
Agh awashed with mo. Of lamps.
Mothness. Unspokement. A block.
It’s an unbreakon lan. Break
yoursell. Yell. Where’s he
fromm. An unvile
tongue unobtained from the viscera,
ununfound, flashy, fleshy,
reckless in the extracts from its nature,
feckless in the descriptions of the blind,
though kind, inclined and refined;
in the prosody of perdition
in the music of martyrdom,
secretly give yourself
an answer. Without experti.
At the feet
& from up high.
On the side of the road,
in the woods,
all the same.
signpost in sleepy ivy,
when twilight lays a shadow
on an orange
& the month
was violent, like an avalanche,
while it could have been like a waterfall,
steady. The journey became a mound
& in its inertia:
in prison from sentences; at the same time
I found a muzzle in the gazebo,
when a pigeon pressed into asphalt
beggars asking for alms
test our humanity
by saying nothing, I proclaim my existential fall
the thought of modern man must break thru the roar of information
there’s something on the windowsill
that looks like mouse shit
there was no conversation that would lead somewhere
at the end of the boiled self
the age of the horse has run its course
Robert “Ryba” Rybicki is a one-person cosmopolis and, over the past two decades, his status within his native Poland has grown to near-mythic proportions. A self-described “happener,” Rybicki creates poetic events as he works at the intersection of performance and disruption, theatricality and confrontation going back to figures such as Rolf Brinkmann, Tadeusz Kantor, and Stanisław (“Witkacy”) Witkiewicz.
His award-winning book The Squatters’ Gift is a poetic travelogue through numerous languages and locales, both real and imaginary. Like Miron Białoszewski, Paul Celan, and Tristan Tzara before him, Rybicki excavates syllable and song, mind and muck, to invent a transnational poetry that is pointedly unapologetic and utterly unique. Not unlike American poet Michael Palmer, contradictory impulses animate Rybicki’s poetics, as he continuously toggles between the epistemic and the somatic. As he writes in The Squatters’ Gift, “Thought clamps the body / like a barrel rim.” These competing modes allow Rybicki at one moment to offer poems that are reminiscent of Czesław Miłosz while at another embodying the wide-reaching iconoclasm of Peter Handke’s “Offending the Audience on Purpose.” Antoni Zając observes that being uncompromisingly anti-dogmatic “is perhaps the essence of Robert Rybicki’s poetry.”
The Polish language has a much more acrobatic and elastic syntax than English, which is one of the challenges of translating Rybicki’s work. But perhaps more pressing is the fact that his poems so actively resist stasis and are buttressed by myriad neologisms and elisions, which make getting a stable feel for the writing all the more difficult. Polish poet and critic Adam Wiedemann suggests that it’s as if Rybicki begins each poem “at the zero point of poetry” and continues “without respecting sacred literary rules and especially ‘culture.’” The poems shift locations, languages and layouts at breakneck speed, or the speaker can slow down to marvel at polygons or puke. Buckminster Fuller once wrote, “We’re all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth,” to which Rybicki could retort “the heavens aren’t silent / if you have them in you.”
Mark Tardi’s books include The Circus of Trust (Dalkey Archive Press, 2017), Airport music (Burning Deck, 2013), and Euclid Shudders (Litmus, 2004). Prologue, an award-winning cinepoem collaboration with Polish multimedia artist Adam Mańkowski, has been screened at film festivals throughout Europe and the United States. He was a writer-in-residence at MASS MoCA in January 2020 and will be a research fellow at the Harry Ransom Center in 2021. A former Fulbright scholar, he is on faculty at the University of Łódź.
Robert ‘Ryba’ Rybicki was born in Rybnik in 1976. A poet, translator, squatter (at times) and self-described ‘happener,’ Rybicki is the author of nine books of poetry, including Epifanie i katatonie [Epiphanies & Catatonics], Masakra kalaczakra [Kalachakra massacre], and Podręcznik naukowy dla onironautów [A Scientific Handbook for Oneironauts]. He served as the former editor of the artistic magazine Plama in Rybnik as well as the Polish weekly Nowy Czas [New Time] in London. His collection Dar Meneli [The Squatters’ Gift] was the winner of the Juliusz Upper Silesian Literary Award in 2018. He currently lives in Kraków and organizes literary events there.