In a series of poems from the last decade, Gregg Biglieri has distinguished himself by the seriousness of his puns. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Biglieri understands the pun not as a marker of some coolly ironic (or “post-ironic”) façade, but as an inescapable mechanism of the texturing of language. In his poems, the pun is a point of singularity at the intersection of diverse strata, smoothing out the striated space of verse with multiple articulations across networks of reference—a sudden shunting at which the direction of thought suddenly flips, sending the mind moving in an inverse retrograde: upside down and backwards across the line (of verse, of thought) that has just been followed. But that change in direction is only part of the velocity of these poems, and the Deleuzian smoothing of their surface affects their speed as well. The apparently rapid writing of these texts—the sense of inscription synchronized to the speed of thinking itself—seeks a reading that idles at just the right rate. Read too slowly and they fail to spark; too quickly and their substantial heat is lost in the flare. Their tachygraphy, moreover, is precisely the dream-time of seemingly slow-motion scenes packed in collapsed sequences and screened for the flicker—a film shot at 24 frames per second but projected back at 16, the mindwork of extended sleepless spells, the note jotted in the dark and unreadable with open eyes, the blind spot between frames, a linguistic hypnagogic fit. Nap time divided by wake speed. Where “nap” is the roughened surface of the weave and the wake is from a surface craft. Gregg Biglieri: nyctalope, scotographer, insomniac par excellence.
—Craig Dworkin

Deleuze (VIII)

Now that we are in 
        the house that looks 
like language—the words 
        are stranger than 
the space they occupy 
        though they lengthen 
like needles they do not 
        ease the anaesthesia 
the pain of being— 
        painless like a bee 
its stinger ejected 
        & excised from its body 
it has lost its point— 
        and opened the window 
and crawled to the ledge 
        and stared at the height 
that is a reflex depth 
        a wink at the artifice 
of surface and the moment 
        that does not exist 
words are books as eyes 
are libraries whose 
tangular volumes circulate 
meanings that are always on loan 

I want to see your juvenilia 

innocence is speed/ expedience kills 

hands and I hand you a sense of touch 
and hand on hand/ also in which a hand 
holds a pen/ and is the instrument 
of all senses blocked out/ the stage 
before you black out/ the sublime is not/ 
of the text, letters of use and trust 
accustomed/ beyond the fetters of the fixed/ 
the rosy-fingered pathos leads you out 
of hell, of text/ into the neck of the 
next time/ stands time/ hand in hand/ and 
this is only a test 

the processing of information between 
your senses and mind 

poetry is the expression of ideas 
in a non-paralytic environment 

the clown holds a candle and is made 
a saint/ violins (stradi vari) crossdress 
the ears are behind the eyes/ ask Icarus 

first imagine nothing 
and hit the thrusters/ there 
whose own light/ in light 
this swell of darkness/ settled 

even the act of raising my left arm, 
shifting the sleeve of my wrist 
so that my wristwatch is exposed 

is enough to paralyze me without 
even seeing the face of the watch, 
or the second hand like a moustache 
traces a coil that is motile, 

first imagine:/ a pulse, a plodding/ 
applaud a plot where nothing was 

Chocolate Lab
I’d like to mix some cement 
And sit in it to move you to 
Retract your statement 
That I am an abstract 
Painting waiting to be burned 

I’m attracted to magnets 
Belly buttons to what they 
Signify damned if I know 
Damned if you don’t 

Split the difference 
And I fill the void 
But who’s counting 
The surprises 

Stay down on the planet a while 
There’s the imprint of a leaf 
On the wall where the paint’s chipped 
You’re grinning like a pair 
Of coat hangers and when 
The smoke hit the only 
Thing I forgot to do 
Was wink 


The Attempter

Somebody holed up in your arms 
or made equal to what is nothing 

like a body held between tension 
wires to someone a kind communication 

of a kind, a formal variant sinks its 
teeth in to song that holds out promise 

to be true because there is never enough 
likeness to restrain the repetition of 

the past as it pets itself connects 
in conversation and snips out the liver, 

seed of passion, let her eagles rip 
adjust his luck to the tempted gush 

whose life is it anyway to devour 
this commemoration of what hasn’t 

been to what might never be repeated 
like night jealous in welcoming chooses 

stuff out of which and Michelangelo 
a drawing out in coming in now risen 

a hemicycle across the prints in silence 
suctioned out of dub, bled less to expect 

if a zone then a lens still not hearing as one 
everything that is not a proper dome cannot be 

a mausoleum likely tanned in Masonic garish 
as if the moon needed any number of garages 

each Egyptian entombed in ionic exhumed 
by neoclassical wedding cake columns 

to coincide, to knock at the gallery of your head 
that barricades as it ladders the inside of the 

inside, the starlings turn inside the turning, 
with each minor beat articulate a swarm 

of thoughts no different really from leafless 
branches that could be quills but anxiously 

the sky is not paper so writing amplest why 
tamped imaginings clue din to sonic cliffs 


Something I could have left myself the honor 
of saying lets go of itself, the stealth of 

the self, this is a detective agency where 
the action is bent on tracing and tailing 

those red lights, targeting a getaway 
to possible brains afflict the either of 

like minds attract like minds and yours 
shelved under Keatonesque, the baffled 

muse becomes you, shifter, without thinking 
there is no dive in fire, Ovid vide 

because these lines are as kindling things 
that comb and come uncouple trust 

lust in the Latin tongue annotates its braids 
with diet ammo—alloy veto em 

a code for eucalyptus lips, a flair for 
hiding eggs in sense, an ode to Anubis 

a diced phenomenon, elegy for baggage the 
grooveless improviso for stutterers ahead of 

each couplet its own trompe l'oeil 
talisman, phonemes et al do bleed 

emotions swept as bay windows curve 
acoustic space and hats over our ears 

but still talking, slightly ill and chalky 
a taste for anonymous segue though 

if sound is not following the thread through 
then what could have come collapses 

by tracking out the map’s trick circle 
that opens clout from clouds disarranged 

among cumulus sounds busted and choppy 
to abbreviate the status of verbs pulled 

at eclipse, to think out within each stet the 
next word out of your mouth outlandishly 

oval, relic luster in a coffered eye dim 
caves in at the margin to wattages within