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A Tonalist Poetry Feature

Rob Halpern

Literal Hallucination

Like a plug in a hole my poem can’t do any
- thing but fake value being real event having
Not occurred whose bottom presses into fiber

- less memory from which i’ll never recover
The self the poem hallucinates blowing me
From top down singing i love big valves me

- aning yr dumb ideas all the poggy-fish &
Shrimp descending from sky gently landing
On oil where they peacefully die the image

Withdrawn the photo fondly fakes my poem
Comes up down below just shut it off i sing
In my dream of the pipe and it closes like

Some fond du commerce being always false
Bottom ready to vanish as a sub-sea source
Allows things to gush more but this isn’t real

- ly what happens when you give me big blow
- out preventers and shoot epoxy up
My hole look i’m no top i say so i don’t

Protest but it’s a killing there being no witness
No role to play the body itself a cenotaph
Whose remains remain elsewhere as intimate

W/ my fluids & bath as i am w/ the gulf the
Self being equal to a well bore structure
Compromised ‘further down hole’ the end

Of nature history’s fulfillment this bona fide
Fake protector sleek plume drain try the junk
Shot crotch shot fails singing makes nothing

Good to say top kills w/ barrels of heavy soil
Mud to stop crude in 3 attempts at rates of up
To 80 barrels a minute dirt & concrete recall

- ing pit sand & river sand in suites disaster
Emergency funds deploy relief in empty form
- alisms whiteners dispersants can’t over

- come company organs wedged in safety subsea
Infrastructure ruptures during the surge the gas
Being my own sensation a bubble opening

Deep inside the poem allows me to breathe
Freely and escape into ether when it’s all made
Of fiber my special protective covering me

- lts to skin being made of the same processes
Same things pressure flows becoming lack
Of fund raising event bulks 450 tons equals

One cargo bodies buried in first layer sea floor
Reports another commercial fondue shrimp car
- cass of trade gulf silt fossils of vanishing

Bottoms i’m not meant to be holding the sea
In my fluid can’t feel the self the poem fakes
Value contracts tight containment caps lit

- erally hallucinating the hole never having
To touch the floor no singing can sing

how feeble fond things weakened blow.


Rob Halpern

Rob Halpern

Rob Halpern is the author of several books of poetry, including Rumored Place, Disaster Suites, and Snow Sensitive Skin (co-authored with Taylor Brady). Currently, he’s co-editing the poems of the late Frances Jaffer together with Kathleen Fraser, and translating the early essays of Georges Perec, the second of which, “Commitment or the Crisis of Language,” appears in the Review of Contemporary Fiction. He has also written a preface for the recent reissue of Bruce Boone’s Century of Clouds (Nightboat Books). An active participant in the Nonsite Collective, Rob lives in San Francisco.

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