Question & Answer 3 – Todd Swift

Question 3

I found the
point
of
a grill pan, constant
sting
of an irrational hate. I’m
the negative number, not permitted in this power series.
Singer’s coercive
persuasion theories listed in the playbook
under the heading ‘Punisher’s Threat’.
Find meaning in
Aerial, Contact, somewhere in 707
digits of Palais de la Découverte. I lived
under the 528th error, she was not the solution
of a non-constant polynomial. We inhabited a
circle we were desperate to square, unaware it was
transcendent. Sutoraiku at
dawn, never
the hesitant arc
of Prynne’s light. I was operant conditioned to
behave according to antecedents,
take away my stimulus, light, take
away my
stimulus, community, take away my stimulus,
words, take away my
reason. I lived
a token economy
in which glory resided in the edges of
peripheral vision, marked
as hertz.
Dopamine personified as a caffeine addict, she
tore the Arabica, Robusta, from my epaulets – became my
cocaine, became my methylphenidate. Addiction

to deprivation,
all symptom, no sensory. Have you ever suffered
the side effects of killing your dreams? Burning
incense scented as regret?
Have
you been the control group in a placebo experiment,
sample size of one? It wasn’t illusory
correlation,
but her belief persevered that she
was the provider for our own MKUltra. Project pikatrapp.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

don’t tell me
boys
go
through the same damn machinations
as lavagirls of the empyrean
do in the forbidden films of the Latvian era
shooting lasers
out of their bellicose fine luvverly bazongas
or rather consider rational abstraction
as meaning’s meaning
Whorf, Quine, Ludwig, and three guys
named U. Li Po; the younger; all drunk.

Then I got bored
with your fucking frames of limit,
your fratboy constraints,
ok you are smart, or rather, a priori
have a bit of math, maths, whatchamacallit,
here comes the wave
of sine anger, Sino-roiling over
the great walls of shame, to burn
a thousand crane-shaped bridges,
in the Chinese paper villages of
my damaged MKUltra youth.

Listen kid, do you know much
about MKUltra? I do.
My father was tested there, so was I –
the Institute at McGill –
CIA bastion of bastardy on the hill.
Don’t go mad in Montreal, lad,
they will white room you.
Broom and inject and hood you.
Three jazzmen named
Leonard Co.

O I kissed the ladies of the Moving
Piano Ltd.
gang, the ones who served coke
on the brass nipples of billiard balls.
it is sad to be a lavagirl
in a land of dead volcanoes.
Pimp my Pompeii. Venusians
have the fun, the Martians though
get most shortlisted laserguns.
It’s all crooked, the sci-fi lexicon
and real science, and William Empson,
who bearded the Occident by accident
and went Oriental by selection;

you can claim to be anti-empirical
(say Movement) but love closed systems;
no game is free
for the language that wants to do good work.
o boy
I failed
the exams
you consider required
writing.
ha
but despite my 50 years of
falling
beyond the discourse
shifts of the age
I still coexist uneasily
in some used bookshops
with Swift, Swinburne and
the i f t s
are all V-F-Ts.

– Todd Swift

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