Blackbox Manifold

Issue 10: Jennifer Scappettone

A Chorus Fosse

                  “…their whole as bodies in the underground petroleum ... holes spurting here and there in the sky-turned-indigo as did the ocean, now petroleum.”

—Leslie Scalapino, February 14, 2010

'Please come back and finish your story!' Argh—[lss]

called after it; and the

others all joined in chorus: roughly,

Wow! Wow! Wow!

One!—singular sensation—every little sap

pacified by


famished enormity

through the infrastructure of tragedy—which is the infrastructure of

abundance spreading vis-à-vis

liquidity and boom! Horizon as cutting edge


in Transocean’s leas’d “controlled

burn” baby burn [rated BBB] within local booms awash in slick

tidings of BP-to-be Mississippi black

was 200 million gallons & counting, so to speak,

“of national significance,” & always attritional spikes

in employment—remember that?

like the mine, that is a made place

& extension of the metropolis, Coketown

whose inverse citizens were so darkling they were overpassed

by rail pretzel the day

of a presidential post-Easter prayer breakfast from Jo’burg

to Montcoal “clean”

—remember that?

Pulses the fuel Justice layeth on

a Blank “more creative in the area of safety than

any other corporation” inventing the ship & the wreck

Horizoncracking record of a well dubbed Tiber

going now (then) for further belches and “kicks” in the case

of nitrogen mousse to wit the wistful

hundred-ton containment dome

for surface all rainbows poking six miles down

driving a vertical Rome into crusts 24-65 million years old

“in the emerging lower tertiary play”:

Ocean, the deep frontier, far-shooting

Eye-in-the-Sea Apollowing it, that

2/3 of the planet still unexplored

bailed out by a junk shot of tire, golf

ball, & mud: the whole

heavyweight top hat (top kill & Tooling

Package) sucking “if you don’t have tunnel

vision” for the continual state of violation

through the vomitorium, particulate, SWAT

—remember that?


                             *            *             *


IŌ some years ago

found upon return to the nubile coast

a macron—in mine throat—

raw Ronzonilike chock to the liege blowhole—

illegitimate stroke of the o

in the life sentenced and its accidence

a tumble-toy |

down the slow settling of the sludge

in public toke whilst

a proparaxytone heart that is

rebel hustles reserve

alases endlessly caulking,

Maybe You’ll go through the Little Door into the Garden!

into each hamnet off an exit ramp

of our oil palace parkway Peaked and Pined

with a gradual wane!

so the Father returning East daily along the daisy-chain

of blots may shut

up like a telescope nightly

preferring not

to the proprietor of the face

boxing his papers….

—and she at home botflied daily while learning to

plug & plié like clockwork, stuckt,

Till the doctor Says, quite

solemn: “She must roam And play

amidst other Epic Curiosities

stringing together feet in interesting ways….”

Would the Fall never come to an end?

Scanning the walls of the well lined with

cupboards of a gaping wound

((fancy curtseying as you’re falling

to stalk the saucer of milk laid out low

not much larger than a rat-hole!)

the billionairess on high

with her sack of Xmas coals

researching the history of a pursey employee

(‘short of breath’))

who is being recorded?



                              *            *             *

An Open Feed


mr blitzker of h0gbutchertown

we Peter long gone at 19 and m@m and the cluster

benzened fruit by fruit

of your distant laborers

selling far below book value

while prising itself from your believing

charitable fingers

drifting from the banks—

your sludge relations ;}


interests & “what’s known

in the business as #‘toxicwaste’”

of a muck virtually

afar—the smoking stack

that cementeth your family eleven ways and maketh us one

riches to ragpickers

the accidental ingesters

of #gasvapormigration—we’ve

been dying to meet you

evolved and common gawkers of your

prized @rchitectures #gardenszoosandlibraries of w@r

and the schooling of medicine at my universe [redacted]

of employment

in your town nostalgic of h0gs

fancy that

you healeth the sick

of cancer, the lifestyle disease

preventable as it is to breathe the air that swallows you

on spec

fecklessly as you taketh away

and have bejeweled our #postnubility

of a Lot remote from home

and from your hustled palace and Superior bank

appraised with floundering

gimmicks and hogs mr spitzker

with prIzes

we were the shipwreck,

eating, shitting, breathing—

we couldn’t help it—the accident

of your most successful acquisition of the ‘70s

as sponges of 700 to 1080 tons

of sludge annually

and over a million gallons of toxic wastewater

since “loosening it up will make people there feel better

and perform better, too” stated you

over the b0dies of we—we

the monitored for 40-50 years at least

too wise for our own goods

gasping pixels and gas at the port (60637)

leaching /ghastly/ thanks for your slitzker priorities

you the publicity-shy

who since the ‘20s don’t believe in public companies

& “can kill a deal revealing information”

Oh-ho the sicknesses come to work to roost

vs. a ho-hum 0z hemmed by phantom hogs

whilst the band Shells with tintinnadulations

a new heifer’s garth

where the rod mill sludge mothered with garbage

soundlessly financial

was host to sliding schoolchildren

arrogated dogs and the workers

mess of smidgeons of your fortune

in troubled companies on the cheap

written up as blots in the documents (c@pped)

to sell to #Sy and the Tribune

who steereths the ship mr splitzker who invented the shipwrecks

that made your fortune split eleven ways

remember that?

Jennifer Scappettone is the author of From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009) and of Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice (forthcoming from Columbia University Press). Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which she edited and translated, was awarded the Raiziss/De Palchi Book Prize from the Academy of American Poets. The lines above come from a multimedia archaeology of the landfill and opera of pop-up pastorals called Exit 43 (forthcoming from Atelos Press, with a letterpress fragment coming from Compline). She is associate professor at the University of Chicago.