Question & Answer 5 – Todd Swift

Question 5

The trick is to argue for ignorance, place all your assumptions under
regal blankets and provide donatio Constantini. Literature
operating as ponzi scheme – I’m oulipian if the constraints rely on
justification. Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower, I’m just selling red
acid down the river [not a river] leats. Each line is some
neat excuse for De Beers to build and

house some marketing campaign around the value of
oration I never chose. There’s no significance in the message, no
reason to accept somebody will be willing to purchase these words and sleep
soundly on them. Hair shed, pillow wet, do you dream of Doúreios Híppos
entering Troy?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 5

Canadiana was toppled by a man
Who wore his sly fedora

Like a battleplan; devastating
Gloom a glamour, darkness

Sitting for one’s kin; the Klan
That burns the heartless crosses

Is the one that lost their oars;
You drift to shore on ignorance

Once the battle hymn’s been sung,
The stars and stripes torn apart.

Yon future’s thrown to reckless
Abandon, gone to seed in word

And Abaddon, as if the holy bible
Was a blueprint for building sin.

His feckless crew threw their captain
To low sharks, then set high masts

Aglow with gasoline; hijinks musicked
To the light of a damaged moon.

The ship of state is sick, C. Manson
A sad maidenhead and DJ Trump

Playing relentless simplicity,
Hate’s pitiable tunes; victory

Is another way of destroying
What one hates to be;

Vaster Reality got sucked out
Like a bad yolk long ago.

I loved Cohen and I hated him
In equal measures of age

And lust; he was the victim
Suffering less with each great moan;

He was the rag and bone guy
Strumming a ghetto violin;

The ash of his ancestors drifting
Like Frost’s snowy evening,

But this was the ghoulish milk of
Weimar evil plucking every string;

No trusted cantor ever sings
Without a sense of G-D;

Senseless to bring lyricism
To a fragile world otherwise

Than in darkening optimism;
Now, lights are out across

The plains, and Abraham
Has taken the glinting promise

To the prominent vein;
Our sons of freedom bleed

Their bright longing meanness
And the daughters are betrayed;

Grand old republic, singed Ilium,
The half-clad emperor is abed

After sleeping with the soldiery;
And Leonard the lover is dead.

Undead, like Lugosi, in his tomb,
Restless like Lincoln

While the batwings bloom,
And the need for ever-urgent

Loving continues its slow pace
Of opiated gentleness, gathering.

Bless the gentile and the Jew,
The many and the few,

The small and the elite,
The manly and effete,

But love what is higher than true;
That good pours out of heaven

It spills and slips, uneven.
And pours back into you.


– Todd Swift


Question & Answer 4 – Todd Swift

Question 4

Do I know much
about MKUltra? It depends on how meta
phorical you want to be. Do I know about
the mind control, the drugs,
the removal of senses? Only from reading
into my therapist’s transference
and a loose grasp of what counts as a source
on Wikipedia. Though I can tell you
what it was like to be forced into the captain’s
hydraulic valves, how to mop the blood
from my epaulets, grab whatever oxygen was left
and return to the mess pretending
that I’m a man,
or a boy,
or somebody who wasn’t just stripped
and stripped of their dignity
one hundred odd meters
below the surface of the Atlantic.

[I’m not a victim, not yet a survivor. I’m not a victim, not yet a survivor, I’m not a victim, not yet a survivor. I’m not going to spend my life repeating a mantra as some sort of faux-transcendent charm. Yxu are the charms.]

I know I’m a sucker for father figures, I’ll take
Alcimus’ son in any form, whether
Athena or loser. Every single one turned Mentes
with the stubble rash still fresh on my face.
Beards are for winner, as is coffee and hope. Second place
gets regret, and checked for a disease lost in a lack
of consent. Burst
transmissions, sent VLF in the hope that somewhere
in 41,100,000 square miles
somebody cares.

Spoiler: they didn’t.

[Are you the charms? Am I Telechamus in trouble? Are you a dishcloth gently sent to sea?]

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

Sons, fathers, a battering ram
A guttering wick
A promise to avenge
A punching hinge,
And always the besieged
Mother, between Helen
And a siren; and the loins
Of each complicated
By agonising love,
Indisciplines of flesh
Or the thought in flesh;
And sin, in the end
Is answered by death;
No riddle left in the grave;
Just the bones of fathers,
Laid end on end,
As they laid our others,
As they impinged
While alive, then evaporated,
So much smoke.
A father never kills you
Before engendering
In the stones of Troy
The reasons you thrive
Despite his despoiling;
Sons, the crouching
Quasimodos, entirely
Dismayed, subdued,
Under the maledom
That’s dad; with kiss
Or buckle, they beat
The light of Athens
Into your Spartan skin.

– Todd Swift

Question & Answer 3 – Todd Swift

Question 3

I found the
a grill pan, constant
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?
you been the control group in a placebo experiment,
sample size of one? It wasn’t illusory
but her belief persevered that she
was the provider for our own MKUltra. Project pikatrapp.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

don’t tell me
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
but despite my 50 years of
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

Question & Answer 2 – Todd Swift

Question 2

I am not obscured Codex Justinianus to the border of my blood fjord –
abjure, curse, detest the void of prolactin in the alpha – he’s Lovecraft
in Brooklyn, he’s a pawnshop switchblade, I’m opening up to Philippides
on Thursdays. Westbound Train at the end of the week, home was five
nights in Croydon for failure while he swore oaths to the palace. Royalty
is celebrating a prince you never crowned, a father you never wanted.
Do you have film of a good home? Or is your hippocampus trauma-
averse? He’s Lovecraft in Brooklyn, I’m love lost in consanguinity

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Film of a good home is Godzilla in Red Shoes,
Mr Bleaney with a bazooka.
It’s been so bad I paid Trump to kiss me;
I rescind most of what I prevaricate;
And self-loathing is just fear spelled backwards
As reefer, bad spelling, bad times
In the High school. Was beaten reputedly
By a squirrel killer named Darryl
And his other brother named Squirrel;
I kissed a girl, perhaps, or was that a priest?
Forgive my father; his belt was as good
As his bite. Wonderful gentleness
In the midst of violent loss of sense;
Poetry is an outflowing of calm required
To equilibrium the Storm-und-daring gang.
1933, not so good a year. 1934, worse.
Don’t bet on the SA when the SS is around.
So too, the schoolyard bullies had their run
Of the lot. Rape was a common concern
And the local pool teacher was speedo averse;
He liked us clean and in the raw. I shivered
At the touch of too many moguls, on casting
Couches. Age ten, auditioning in Montreal.
At least my father Ramboed them to trees
With bowie knives. It was a lot of boo-hoo-hoo
And blood in the bowels; to be honest.
Film is a gun and a girl, a crime and a cry.
Frames per second never tell truth –
Truths are between the frames; just as
The worst of the days was between classes;
When the bell rang, we sat like princesses
And bell-hops, prim and propped. The bloodletting
Stopped, okay, in the presence of the cane.

– Todd Swift

Question & Answer 1 – Todd Swift

Question 1

4334 west of the sunset,
the sky opens up the void
of Puente, Elysian, Repetto.
Spread the nape of nature
across the arc of some song. Do
you repeat the chord  sequence
Todd? Are you transient in

“Kin selection theory supports
the arrival of diluted blood”
from the tongue of water
pythons. Coiled on other eggs,
or Molothrus Rufoaxillaris.
Cry racist epitaphs for bed,
hum the alphabet, ignore
my letters.

Not Bharata-Nyatam, eight
hours of the wrong chord.
Convert electric for the brain,
paint lucky three on synapses,
sleep under a veil of malic
acid. Cry 4334 west of sunset,
chord progression from wine
to waste.

– Aaron  Kent

Answer 1


Chords get tangled,
The blue in the offer,
Which was virgin.
I am not a forgetter,

Retain, water-based,
Too much. Complex
Words are only less
Complex words

Engendered. Do you
Endanger new music
When you invariably
Echo Gary Numan?

His chameleons
Bled out colourfield
For me. I saw
In Paris Rothko

And was awedled.
Puns were repellent
Until Bernstein
Said go forth

And Stultify.
Spoonerism anthology
More like. Some Muldoon.
My forebears were

Predatory, T-Rex
Gonged, banged,
Tangled up in tree.
I don’t take well

To being called on
To make replies
On the telephone.
They orgied,

Roger that, these
Monogamous poets,
But not monogamous
In less than triplicate;

Coke addled,
Addled Stevenson;
Awfully good to meet
Rothko, in his vast

Sense of pause.
Your numbers,
And a diction of cartography
Is all Nam to me.

I am clicks from base.
It’s drones now,
Soon super-

You will be replaced
By an exact replica
And no one will say
Other than that

At reception. So, no,
I do not totally
Repeat totally
Recall the time we tangoed

In Saigon, with the
Sisters and the blow.
Blowback, eventually,
All wet work has a tongue

And groove network;
And she did kill
The stooge in the photo;
And I was there echo one

Charlie Bravo; but never
Myself, alone, alive-O.

Todd Swift