4.8: the problem with philosophers | Charles Rafferty–new prose poetry & interview

Lemon Drop Fungus photo by Charles Rafferty ©2015

4.7: the day’s dissolutions | Mike Cole–poetry & poetics

the shape of years Mike Cole 1080 x 349 pixels ©2021

diaphanous micro

4.7: the day’s dissolutions | Mike Cole–poetry & poetics

the shape of years
Mike Cole
1080 x 349 pixels


introduction by krysia jopek:

I fell in love with the prose poems (in from Innuendos in a Minor Key) that Mike Cole sent me—the six seeds that morphed and evolved into this full-grown, granulated, virtual poetry show, a day’s dissolutions. The selections from the six unique poetry manuscripts that Mike chose function like six movements of a sonata, unified by his signature, seemingly-effortless tone and style that subtly carry the reader across the surface of precise language and syntax into new poetic territory again and again: “patina of offal,” “distillation of crushed star,” “where party lights are the eels’ fluorescence,” ”a galaxy of meanings/that look like stars,” and “birds were swept up in dust devils of spirit/that rendered them silent with dizziness.”

The selection of poetry that follows exemplifies Mike Cole’s versatility with short, discreet prose poems; poems that utilize line breaks and complex enjambment/syntax; prose poetry (in the two selections from Missives) with a Beckettian even-keeled tone and discursiveness; poems with very short lines of ten in a perfect column structure; and very short poems. The statement of poetics that follows this extraordinary mini-ouvre allows readers to look through the window of this poet’s writing cabin and watch the poet wait for poetry to breathe itself into (human) being.

Please enjoy!

poetry by Mike Cole:

from Innuendos in a Minor Key 

What Was Intended
37 You can, in fact, know what was intended. You can see it in the way the breeze makes of leaves and limbs such easy and graceful sweepings through the light of almost any day. It is there in the way a child regards the dance of dust swirling through a band of morning sun. In the whispers and then breathless and wordless urgency you hear through the wall between your solitude and love.


Waning Light
23 We had hoped for something almost other. We had been both to and away. We were making sure we hadn’t been followed. We had left passion of the old sort to those who could still use it. We were developing the habit of sitting in the waning light watching the leaves and shadows move, and we caught ourselves repeating what had never and now even less mattered.


The Taste
25 It tastes like the air that only a long climb gives the mouth to breathe. Like her hair caught on your lips. Like her fingers after she has peeled an orange for both of you. It tastes like something the apothecary gave you to share: a clear mixture that will convince you both that you are gods before it quickly kills you.


Come and Go
27 Something of the other and much of the more met and became lovers. They whirled and then tangled, they wanted and then had, and in the end, because it is never something that can go much beyond its beginning, they smiled and went each his and her way feeling what had been was what was meant to both come (as they had) and go (as they would).


44 Probably when the tides turn on themselves and the moon rises up and eats the sun. Probably in the next century when you and I switch places behind our faces and your smile becomes my grave expression. Probably in a Never that has become Always and at the depths of a mountain that is standing on its head at the bottom of the Mariana Trench where the party lights are the eels’ fluorescence.


60 It felt like walking across a lake next to a floating moon. Like drinking the distillation of crushed stars. It felt like taking up residence in a daffodil and having all the light warmed and yellowed. It felt like playing “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago on a balalaika as the background music for the coronation of the archangel of a just re-gilded heaven to which only the homeless were admitted. Like riding a unicorn that had borrowed its wings from the daughter of Pegasus and whose horn was a neon orange that was recognized in the next universe as a herald of the arrival of euphoria.



from The New Alchemy:

There is always the possibility
that something quite celestial
will arrive in a blue stretch limousine,
wearing the same sandals that bore Christ
out of the desert with a song so simple
even snakes were charmed into praise,
and birds were swept up in dust devils of spirit
that rendered them silent with dizziness.

The chauffeur will be the poet who was estranged
from her muses when they tempted her to jump
from so high above the Styx that she suspected
subterfuge and chose instead to weave her gowns
of metric and sonal intricacies that ended up
having the exact character of a cast iron
chastity belt from which the only escape
was looking hard and long into the eyes
of this savior of sorts who found his rhythms
in the air above a canyon over which he waltzed
on a slackline dyed and woven by virginal chorus girls
who watched and wondered how this divinity’s
tattoos could fluoresce in broad daylight and all move
in directions dictated by a power neither they
nor the updrafts that lifted their deliverer’s waist-length
dreadlocks into a cloud of breakdancing medusas
could ever explain.


Realize there’s no hurry
Realistically you won’t
reach an end anyway
Reassess what you are
Renegotiate with mortality
Reconfirm your resignation from the real
Reap only what no one else needs
Reason with the residue of dreams
Recount the way you realized your
Realign your reflexes
Re-educate your regrets
Refocus recollections
Recoil from rationalizations


Advice To a Friend Suffering From Disillusion
I would say
that you are
in the last aisle
of a delicatessen
that stocks every
variety of fatigue
next to the blue cheese
and feta and just beyond
helplessness that permeates
the lavosh so completely
that hope cannot be restored
even by grape leaves
perfectly rolled and stuffed
or olive oil
so virginal one drop
on the tongue
conjures the most nubile
and willing Greek goddess
any soldier fresh from Troy
or Ithaca could envision
stepping toward him
out of a doorway
filled with steam.
But that shouldn’t suggest
any absolute resignation
to eternities of starless
nights or loveless
dawns, but rather
the need
on your part
for calculated naiveté
garnished with an astonishment
of saffron and sage
and washed down
with a flask
of elderberry wine
entombed with a king
who was so infatuated
with eternity
he forgot what the living
had given him for his



from A Bouquet of Stars:

Let’s make it clear now
that his is a way of singing
that has a strange appeal
only to the dispossessed
and as such will be heard, if at all,
as a theremin’s distant moaning
by an audience that isn’t listening
but is nevertheless eased
by his song
toward the numbness
of both clairvoyance
and death.


Advice He Received from the Experts
She or he or they
said, or seemed to be saying,
“You aren’t trying hard enough.
You have to study the intricacies
and be able to recite the rules.
You have to bend both yourself
and your materials in ways
it would have seemed
such things could not be bent.
You have to break before the impossibility of it
and then try again with even more abandon.
You have to lose the only thing
you were sure you couldn’t be without.
You have to know that if you arrive
at the end you seek,
the way back
will have dropped away.”


He Receives This Response
            From the Editor:

We are looking for structure
that gives evidence of a rigor
that could only have caused
a discomfort not unlike torture
of the type that those clever
machines of the Crusades
or the British Court might have
exacted upon the bodies of the
too pure of heart whose last
cries were echoing anthems
that both terrified and inspired.


Upon His Interrogation by the Canon
And what do you think will happen
as a result of your lack of rigor?

I think
the day will split open
right here beside me
and a voice from before
even your time
and that at first seems
exactly air moving
will cross through
the translation of this
first of morning’s light
and tell me in my own
simple language
what to sing
to make time
step back and wait
for my permission
to begin again.


There was a poem
he couldn’t find.
It was nowhere
and everywhere.
It had a body
that had no shape.
It was outside of gravity
and slept near an unnamed planet’s core.
It rode a dream from one star to the next
in a galaxy that housed the imagination.
It was dressed like a child angel
and like an old man dead on the street.
It sang once to the tune of a great river
in a country it would never visit.
It ate only the dust
that arose and dispersed
when a bristlecone pine
beginning its 2000th year
was pushed to its repose
by a hundred mile an hour wind
that moved even rocks across the faces
of the White Mountains.


He thinks of Vallejo eating almost nothing,
smoking hand-rolled cigarettes,
spitting the shreds of tobacco
between his dried lips,
crazed by the black horses
thrashing through his waking dream,
and of Lorca smelling the slaughterhouse
and the Hudson River with its patina of offal
and setting it all to the rhythm of metal-flanged heels
on the moon-fringed tiles in Barcelona.
He thinks of the unnamed and never to be known one
aflame from so far within that what she becomes
or how she is regarded cannot shred the fist
that grapples her to the thrumming engine
carrying her back into a galaxy of meanings
that look more like great fires than stars.



from Missives:

25 Knowing the day of the week has come to be of almost no importance to me. I am pleased when I don’t know the day of the week. The next to go should be the hour of the day, though there are indicators that make an estimate of the hour all too possible. If I had developed other skills, I would have something more tangible and possibly more beneficial and useable to show for my time making whatever it is in this case that happens to be made of the only medium with which I have learned to work—words. I drank a beer because that sometimes loosens the flow of words, but after the initial stimulation, it can also bring about lethargy and then even sleepiness, which become inhibitors of that same flow. In the long run though, I may be led toward, or, through no conscious sense of direction or clarity of purpose, stumble upon the kind of revelation that in the religious context seems only to be discovered by the poorest and most desperate souls who have no reason other than their simple and absolutely blind faith to hope. Think of the status attained by the miracle, whether imagined or real, of the Mexican peasant whose sarape was stained by roses with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It is time for me to quit today. There shouldn’t be a time to quit. There should only be a time to go on. The need to do other than the one thing that might lead to what has not manifested itself before and will only assume tangible form in hands that are intent on waiting for as long as it takes to shape whatever the air hands them should be set aside so that the waiting can be as pure and purposeless as the miraculous demands.


26 Evidently Emily Dickinson carried scraps of paper and a pencil with her all the time and used them to record lines or snippets of lines intended for possible later use in poems. Many of those bits and pieces have now been published in small books. One of the things that seems to have also been true is that flies, though possibly not as big as the one I am presently hearing, buzzed where she was writing too. As it turns out in my case, the fly is trapped between the screen door and the outside door here. There is a hole in the outside door where there was once a doorknob when the door was in use in a Bay Area house from which it was removed when the house was torn down, and the door was brought to the salvage yard called Urban Ore where I bought it along with several windows and brought them here to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to install in the cabin I built of rough-cut lumber milled from beetle-killed pines. I need to cover that hole so flies and bees and even on occasion small birds don’t get in here through that hole and then through the space around the screen door. Emily Dickinson was equally concerned throughout most of her day with such practical matters. It was reported, though, that she recited lines of poetry aloud while she was in the storeroom skimming the cream off of the milk which may have come from a cow that her father owned. More likely the milk came from the cow of a neighboring dairy farmer. Had Dickinson lived in the first third of the 20th century, that dairy farmer could have been my grandfather who was in North Hampton only a short way from Amherst where Emily was cloistered (for a little more than half the century before) in her father’s house and at night in her upstairs room composing poems and sewing them into the little fascicles that she knew would be found after her body was taken away to the family plot. The fireplace in her bedroom was bricked up and fitted with a small wood stove that kept her room warm through the night so she could sit at her writing desk, reportedly 18” square, and be transported to a realm that was not inhabited by any other human of her time and place but seemingly by the spirits and possibly echoes of poets who came both before and long after her—if such things are possible, as they probably are not, but it might have felt to her, as it sometimes feels to me, as if such times can be inhabited by such voices and presences. My mother would have only been vaguely, if at all, aware of the poet who would have been nearly her neighbor, and it is certain that they would have had nothing to talk about, except that Emily would have no doubt been interested in and maybe intrigued by the fact that my mother played the baritone in the community band that gave free concerts in the North Hampton town park on Sundays and that she sometimes marched with that band in town parades. But my mother would have found Emily too strange to be of interest and would have regarded the poet with the same wariness as she did the Smith College girls she said she saw walking too close together and hand-in-hand along North Hampton’s main street. My mother would not have found the line “I heard a fly buzz when I died” to be anything more than strange.



from The Glad Oblivion of Light

She still doesn’t know
exactly how it happens
or how it happens that sometimes
it does
and other times it doesn’t
though it seems it eventually will
which is why she must
at least sometimes
stay there longer
waiting to be taken up
by whatever hands or wave or dustless dust devil
that arrives to elevate her to a place
where she can
at least for a moment



from A Distant Place:

there were always
near the end
things abloom
that seemed they should be
far beyond their season
and he would pause
put down the heaviness
he had been carrying
too far and for too long
and sit for a while
maybe beyond a while
where the delicacy
and brightness
of the unexpected


And Finally
I would recommend
denying you ever wanted anything
and then drilling a hole
in the forehead of dawn
and crawling in to watch
what shadows do
to prepare for the day’s

all poetry ©2021


post-introductionfinding my way back [poetics]:

I became involved in writing during the poetry renaissance that Philip Levine and others brought to Fresno State College and the dusty, hot, foggy San Joaquin Valley of California in the late 1960s. I have been hunting down poems for the more than 50 years since, though teaching high school English, Spanish, Creative Writing, and other subjects for over 30 years severely limited that effort. But in the past 11 years, I have spent most mornings waiting on the arrival of poems. Though over the years I have written and published carefully-constructed narrative (and some lyric) poems, I’ve never enjoyed that approach to writing—beginning with a topic or experience and building a poem from that central idea—so I have gradually returned to an approach to writing that actually served me best as an undergraduate when I first discovered poetry. That process involves allowing a flow of words to gradually lead me toward a state of mind in which poems take shape on their own, a process in which I serve only as the receptor and recorder of that voice. I know that this approach to finding poems is anathema to most of the poetry establishment of the day, but at this point in my life (at 73 years old) that no longer matters.

The section titles between the groups of poems published here refer to the titles of book manuscripts I have assembled of my poems. I have one manuscript of poems from the years 1968 to 2010, and 10 more manuscripts for the years 2011 through 2020. The selections included in diaphanous micro 4.7 are taken from the manuscripts covering the years 2012 to 2017. Many of the poems in these manuscripts have been published in various print and online magazines, but none of the manuscripts have been, as yet, published as books. My intention is to publish selections form all of my manuscripts in a single book at some time in the future (or not at all). For now it seems more important to go on following the trail of words wherever it leads.

Thank you to Krysia Jopek for accepting my work for publication in diaphanous micro. She is doing something truly unique and important in this online magazine. It’s a valuable forum for amazingly varied and thought-provoking approaches to literary and visual art. The featured writers and artists push our perceptions and approaches to our own art in many new directions. I hope my poems serve that same purpose for diaphanous micro readers


Mike Cole reading “Therefore, Sing”:


biographical note:
Mike Cole’s poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Laurel Review, Stirring, and Red Savina Review, among other literary journals, as well as in the anthologies Highway 99 (Heyday Press) and Some Yosemite Poets (Scrub Jay Press). He holds a Master’s Degree in Poetry Writing from Fresno State College. For 30-plus years he taught high school English, Spanish, and Creative Writing. He lives in the California mountains near Yosemite and is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Highway 99: A Literary Journey Through California’s Great Central Valley

Yosemite Poets: A Gathering of This Place

self portrait

4.6: groundid | Kristine Snodgrass–visual art (digital glitches)

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diaphanous micro

4.6: groundid | Kristine Snodgrass–visual art (digital glitches)


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Intuitive. Sign. Deletion. Obliteration. Constructive. Beauty
These pieces are glitches (digital) using three different subjects or topics that are all interrelated: t-shirts appearing in social media ads, images of the sound of my voice, and images of my body. My work concerns the intersections of sexuality, voyeurism, performance, Capitalism, and gender more broadly. I am influenced by asemics and abstract expressionist women like Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler.

The glitch is not the environment of the thing, it is the thing itself. I am less interested in exhausting the definitions of asemic writing (if the glitch is ultimately denying meaning from a semantic form is arguable) and more interested in seeing the possibilities of the glitch. I wrangle the “data bending” on phone apps until I get the desired image. That is creative and productive. This does not impede, however, the obliteration of the original image.

Most of my glitches start with ads on my Facebook (on my phone) that offer new complexities when considering its form. I am now introducing Capitalism, data mining, privacy infringement, assumption, targeting, and an inextricable combination of those that can only begin to attack the implications of a thing. I screenshot the ads for t-shirts that appear in my feed (based on the above) that usually show “positive” messaging for and about women, or perceived “feminist” messaging. Glitch apps then layer, destroy, and rebuild what I have consumed. Then I can resist or subvert by taking ownership of the whole mess. I make it what I want it to look like.

I use glitches to break down patriarchal structures. I think of the glitch as a sex act. It is a dominant/submissive binary. There is intention in glitching that is beauty. We know it is not ugly. The ultimate infringement of the digital—our human mistake of knowing and understanding.

Femmeglitch: I have used this moniker or description that includes gender. I think identifying the gender in the act is claiming the social and cultural implications of oppressive systems and the glitching is bending those systems, often to their demise. This makes glitching an art form.

biographical note:
Kristine Snodgrass is an artist, poet, professor, curator, and publisher living in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the author most recently of American Apparell from AlienBuddha Press and Rather, from Contagion Press. The proud founder and curator of Women Asemic Artists & Visual Poets (WAAVe), Snodgrass searches to create an online space for women in the asemic and vispo communities to share work, offer support, and network. Her asemic and vispo work has been published in Utsanga (Italy), Slow Forward and featured in Asemic Front 2 (AF2), South Florida Poetry Journal, Voices de la Luna, Brave New Word, and Talking About Strawberries, and forthing coming in Street Cake. She is the art editor for SoFloPoJo. Snodgrass loves collaborating and is always searching for new projects with artists and poets. You can find some of her writing about collaboration at TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism. She is excited about her newest chapbook, zero-zero, poems in collaboration with Maureen Seaton. More about Kristine Snodgrass at kristinesnodgrass.com.


4.5: Scant Moments, Heavy Coats | Gordon Hilgers—poetry

Dale Houseman morphograph #8: Instead of Waiting . . . digital art ©2004

diaphanous micro

4.5: Scant Moments, Heavy Coats | Gordon Hilgers—poetry

morphograph #8: Instead of Waiting . . .
digital art by Dale Houstman

new poetry–Gordon Hilgers

I think I finally reached the human
inside myself. He was no homunculus,
or simulacrum. But bitter sun-yowling
that echoes inside the uncertainty of
dreams, and deeper cries; primitive
homilies—of utterance, about utterance,
how the first word burbled past the lips,
the fearful lunge beyond loneliness,
a hair-in-the-butter spectacle whereas
where became nowhere, meadowlarks
whistling beyond the windowpane: this
was me. Only for an instant, no lilies,
no blooming, no real sky, a point where
a song squeezes back when you grasp
its hand in the dark, yellowing cotton
adrift in the absurdity of daylight. I am
early morning, I follow footfalls of future,
I knife at the shore like a glint shooting
from a brook, then I go, or went, waking.

Lividly lost, you lie here
beneath starlight’s lost shimmer,
memories of blistered walls
disrupting your delusions of lucre,
your fiction kindling a laughter
that is unnecessary and black.
Dream of your ashen Avalon now,
all its gray angels barking at the sky,
your own breath hollower
than usual. Who looms over
innocence at the wrong end of day?
Who knows its funny flaws,
its dustpan verbosity, its secrecy
the chambermaids clutch?
You whittle intrigue until razor-thin,
your lust a mountain retreat,
ghost moments everywhere,
no cure for lack as galaxies creak
or shiver, a listless, murderous
whim of reasoning. To dream of it,
heartlessness, mosquito’s reflex,
twitching in bleeding dawn, this life
your alien landing in the peat.

Oblivious before the Marxist unknown,
a future-perfect noun gone library-blind as
expectation of the letters will come
amid rumors of rubbish, a jail-cell alive
with endings, water-fountain full of running
small children from the rain because
the myth of the lighthearted is rutted and
raw under the noonday light: Oh, I live
so confused. You do not need to tell me
what I never will know, this endless
trick of all, the most luminescent hour
ever studied, furrowed bandages singing
right where death begins: I start-out
desperate to begin again and condemn
what never was, a saying of solid ground,
ground of being, ground of dream, love.

I remember roots
finding water, celebration
out there in the underground
some somnambulists missed
as thorny slivers shipped-
in from Albania, possibly Naxos,
broken berths, harbor locked,
beachside beer-stand neon-lit
and looking for girls.

What repairs are there inside
the uncertain future? Leavening,
ventriloquists vanquish all
the hopeful flowers, out where
the absentee bedside calls
via coincident clues.

Flat faces hint all night, a braille
lividly commercial and on TV,
scratchy beneath hands
smoothed like paved roads
where bumps have fun. This
is the good error, her brevity of
whip-snap sighs, oozy
bits of blink

as ancients chatter into history.

You’re wandering, lucidly apart from
various dreamlike confusions where sleep
tugs at one stranger’s clothing strangers
might dub a mind, others an animation
or holographic image. Emanating
from your life’s fantasy, you are
the breath of a Chinese dragon,
the creature known as Lung or Long–sign
of good luck, power over rainfall. Groaning
in childbirth, your mother dreamt of you.
Your father tells you her eyes flashed as if
carp, gold flecks lurking in a vexed pond.
Now you simply go. Perhaps some watch;
no matter. Ten thousand miles from home
is but a step in a sky of gloaming grief.

A so-called dove with a stick alerted you
deluge or the end was nearing for a black season
which had brimmed an unintentional metaphor
for chalice with a celestial ocean. How the flecked birds
swiftly neared Columbus’ tiny boats, too, that ache
akin to this day,

only warmer, a desert gone to abasement, all this
from a muddy sky of clay. One day, our forsaken worth
will crack apart, first kiss, sudden grief, a saddened wish
unfulfilled, this thingness of myself gone to below
the way bodies fall, an invisible ephemerality brightly
left to dream. Now you lift,

loving blush wind, sails muttering in codes of old linen,
then olive Sargasso fondles greening keel, new nativism,
pressure’s end, an octogenarian child, a shied grasp
feeling from the shallows if the unreal is tactile,
her fingers wet. I took a breath of this, a long whiff
when my life had gone crazy

into the blizzard. Then I began again, as I always have,
as I plant my grapes late and by the stars and moon,
my back to undertaker’s smile at a black road’s dead end.

Go. Write more mangled approximations
as if to immortalize how the ancient madnesses
sought to tunnel into what breaks the heart open
into goodness or mooniness. Tonight is a sight
of shepherds scanning the sky in a search
for higher treasures

or of a barroom Romeo searching for the right glint
in a sleepy girl’s eyes. Pyrite mistakes itself
for gold, and uncultured accommodations of Sartre
or Camus rock, each part of the desire trip. Love is
now a gangland protection racket, how Crips dub
their dope murder a cap when reason must
be destroyed,

where a life is the stone that finally fills the sea.

Out here in the whitened barrens,
you seek to reinterpret eccentricity with sand,
which isn’t easy. It’s the way we all
sleep in our shadows, or how we do not know
whether anything means more than
the one crowded dream we remember best.
I’ve never reached the Barrens here,
at least not in my sleep. I met a sassy beauty
with black hair, and people I don’t know
kept telling her, Do not trust him! because this
is how revolutions are supposed to be
a stammer into starting like locomotives lost
in the cold. I met one stranger, said,
This is reality, that is civilization, and this is
the people’s will, and over here it’s
merely me and the girl
. I held-down the room

for nearly an hour. Then the cops came
to arrest everyone but us. Beyond a circle
resides more circles, and then the Barrens,
which watches us always from far places,
quick to kiss suddenness, everyplace
a grim new adventure, small days we learn
each unsure step deeper into infinity.

What proof would lie in night’s remains?
This thing, awakened by insistence-as-being:
What is a discovery that all has been forgotten?
Nightfall, typically becoming in red roses
where darkness rises in the east–this mystified
tendency to name it birth–belongs to no one,
even if the man downstairs turns-up his hip-hop
as if he’s waiting too, or if the dove sees
exactly what a coo might mean.

Tell me why there are moments when sleep
brands me with embers, when emptiness is my
final recourse–as if the future is shipwrecked,
the sea presently bloody yet implacably peaceful.
Say to me, There is light in being buried alone,
as if the angels can sleep through insomnia, as if
airport gates mysteriously open,

or as if no one could dare to own an empty life.
I’ve worked around the nonexistent clock, have
danced to broken radios, have deafened
all I could speak beyond grasping, Nothingness
unwilling to hear. Sometimes, unpleasant pain is
the pleasant gift because nobody comprehends
because unseen faces enthrall entire worlds–
those that insist on belonging.

I admit it. I am part of some vast loneliness,
all the foregone galaxies, way out there beyond
the speed of light, persisting as ghosts because
their light is homeless after they’ve gone dark.
Any lunatic can bear this moonlike honesty
like teeth,

and no one says anything, especially not me.

all poetry ©2021

mission statement (poetics):
I’m not one for missions. Paging through recent editions of The Best American Poetry, I discovered I’m apparently not marching in step with those who advocate poetry as a device bent toward social commentary. But then I’ve never had much for what I call the Poetry Billboard 100. That’s not to claim I’m not interested in poetry’s role in effecting social change. I am confronted with the world, and with its sometimes-antithetical human concoction of a world, daily. I often end confused by both, especially by how their collisions shoot out sparks. That’s where I begin: right in the middle of the confabulating and mystification. Sure. I could go with this: “This poem is thinking of ‘creating’ itself (pome) as manifested as a Chinese Pidgin English translation from an American English translation from the Malay, and that from Pashto by way of a number of ancient French translations of a compendium of ‘monad theories of ontological hypotheses’ shoved through a bowdlerized ideation of Derrida’s theories of deconstructionism about some bird I saw that almost got hit by a transit bus this morning at around 10:37 a.m. CST. The versification will be 99 percent Google translator and less than .0001 percent imagination, the rest of the 100 percent pure energy dominated by keyboard strokes,” but why bother?

This is why I am sometimes vilified.

I want poetry that plays as it demystifies, poetry that releases me from the 21st-century’s spellbound infatuation with factual information. After all, if I wanted to be a newspaper columnist, I’d have dwelt on punditry. Is it irritating when someone extols an op-ed familiar as “a poet”? If not, perhaps it should.

biographical note:
Gordon Hilgers has published in Cimarron Review, Red Savina Review, Sequestrum, Chiron Review, and elsewhere. He has a degree in news writing. Go figure.


4.4: a love song to chaos | Sylvia Van Nooten—asemic art (multimedia collage)

Text Tango ink and watercolors on paper asemic collage 18 by 24 inches ©2020

diaphanous micro

4.4: a love song to chaos | Sylvia Van Nooten—asemic art (multimedia collage)

Text Tango
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches

introduction—Krysia Jopek

The moment I saw Sylvia Van Nooten’s “Tango Dance” in a Facebook group, I knew I wanted to feature a virtual show of her asemic art in diaphanous micro. Her multimedia collages utilize ink and watercolors on the two-dimensional surface of paper to contrast and play with indelibility and fluidity, permanence and timelessness, sculpture and dance, product and process. Her titles contrast the linguistic with the purely-aesthetic language of asemic writing. The reader/viewer is actively involved in the human construction of a multiplicity of subjective meanings against the backdrop of potential existential meaninglessness. Her abstract compositions, like that of Kandinsky, create shape and flow while invoking color as “a power which directly influences the soul” (Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Über das Geistige in der Kunst, 1912. Translated from the German by M.T.H. Sadler, 1977). Please enjoy this sequence of Sylvia Van Nooten’s beautiful visual art in A Love Song to Chaos.

Experimental Angel
ink and watercolors on paper
11 by 15 inches


Anatomy of a Flightless Bird
dip pen and ink on paper
8 by 24 inches


Arbitrary Protocols
ink on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


Imagination Discarding Filaments
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches


Internal Map of a Bird
dip pen and ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


Love Letter to Chaos
ink on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


Mermaid Language 1
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


Mermaid Language 2
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


Orbital Whale
ink on paper
asemic collage
15 by 22 inches


Poem Denying the Banality of Sunsets
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches


Saint Goddess Bears the Burden of Red
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


ink, watercolors, and silk on paper
asemic collage
15 by 22 inches


Speaking Ship Sales
(Collaboration with Dixie Denmam Junius)
ink on paper
asemic collage
11 by 15 inches


Text Ballet
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches


Text Dance
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches


Text Gavotte
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches


Text Tango
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
18 by 24 inches


Voicing Nebulae
ink and watercolors on paper
asemic collage
11 by 18 inches


Writing Outside Of Time
ink and watercolors on paper
11 by 15 inches

artist statement

My work has little to do with consciously deciding to create a specific thing. Rather, I will find a shape or a color and see where it takes me. I love ink and watercolor because or the way they blend and create interesting drips down the paper. One small drip of blue might turn into a goddess with silver writing. Collage gives me another point from which to start. By suspending my need to “control” what I am doing, I’m able to create organic forms that often speak to people of different elements of their own thought processes. Asemic writing is what, to me, pulls the pieces together into coherency. Although the writing has no specific meaning, it still has the authority of the written word. Thus, I can be obtuse and concrete at the same time.

biographical note

Sylvia Van Nooten is an asemic artist living in western Colorado.  Asemic art, with its pastiche of “language” and images, allows her to merge texts and painting, creating a hybrid form of communication, which is open to viewer interpretation. Her multimedia collages have appeared in The South Florida Poetry JournalExperiment-O Issue 13, Raw Art Review. The cover of the Summer 2020 edition of RAR features her visual art.

more on Sylvia’s art

She can be contacted by email: [email protected]

If interested in purchasing any of Sylvia Van Nooten’s visual art, please contact her by email.

You can also find her on instagram:


photographer, Sylvia van Nooten