No Man’s Land

Doug Bolling


                           By wearing, on the foot that was too small, not one sock of his pair
of socks, but both, and on the foot that was too large, not the other,
but none, Watt strove in vain to correct this asymmetry.

                                                                                    WATT, Samuel Beckett

                       Did you hear: Mr. Cogito gave a party & nobody showed
                        0ut to lunch they said later. Just the Gouda & a bit of the rouge,
                         a gaggle of old shards down for the game, gaming.

                         After all the hype Mr.Cogito in a crush of angst or so he said.

                                 (in the modernity seminar they come & go, a tatter of old
                                 myth & bad music. What is it to word, stretch out  a
                                 signifier no longer tied to its bastard son the signified.                                  

                                Everywhere the cry abt that smoke filled chamber:

                                Cogito ergo non sum. A virtual flamenco
                                of particulate freed from burden of a past)

Mr.Cogito meets Derrida & Foucault. Two acts, bare stage, no script.

             The scholars Thix & Thax had studied Hamlet.

             0ne said to the other: that boy’s problem was that he believed
             there was a script to be followed act by stony act.
             0r take 0phelia, dearest of them all, who took to water
             as an out when things turned sour, all illusions shot.

But so it goes.

      Watt said it all:   But what was it this pursuit of meaning, in this indifference
      to meaning? And to what did it tend? These are delicate questions.


     0 tell me your DADA     Bring me a platter of your Schwitters, your Ernst,
                                             your Arp, your Duchamp.


                  Thix & Thax composed many poems fashioned from dream,
                  the scenes of memory, what the flame whispered.
                  Their poems spoke of a primal below a glitter, a different voice
                  unformed of a grammar, a guttural, an ur.
                  Thax & Thix lived long ago. They shared the cave with Thia
                  and made fire from small  twigs and wind.
                  They admired Thia greatly.

0f Watt the characters cast a porous net:

                                  Where does he live? said Mr.Hackett.
                                   He has no fixed address that I know of
                                   said Mr. Nixon.

                  In the seminar they pass around a sheaf of anti-poems, meta poems,
                  an anti-text.
                  It is impossible to define the postmodern turn
                  the instructor warns.
                  We are the minnows in a sea of an undecided, a parataxis
                  of spaces, unworded sound, a loosening freed of

                                                       (The text had become a collage
                                                       a black hole, an anti-gravity.)

     Give me a ticket, if you please.
     A ticket to where?  said Mr.Gorman.
     To the end of the line, said Watt.
     Which end? Said Mr. Gorman.
     What end? Said Mr.Nolan.
     Watt did not reply.
     The round end or the square end? said Mr. Nolan
     Watt reflected  a little longer. Then he said
     The nearer end.


                      In the Bistro of Soggetto an old man says:                                                                                          

                       An end is a beginning.

                      There is no end, no beginning.

                      They drink. They drink.

                       Later, the silence is very huge.

Doug Bolling’s poetry has appeared in Posit, BlazeVOX, Redactions, Water-Stone Review, The Missing Slate (with interview), and Indefinite Space among many others. His work has received Best of the Net and Pushcart nominations and several awards Including the Mathiasen Prize  from the University of Arizona For his poem “Body and Soul.” He lives in the environs of Chicago.