G.P. Lainsbury: from Half-Life



“every man is capable of showing his contempt for the cruelty and stupidity of the
universe by making his own life a poem of incoherence and absurdity.” -Gabriel Brunt

*                           *                           *                            *                           *

I have nothing to say & I am saying it
in a kind of field poetry

From a position of openness to surrounding                                                 context

Enveloped by a fine network of half-expressed thoughts & feelings
an atmosphere of such suavity difficult to resist                                          almost

w/out restraint
He arrives, unexpected, and possesses
a bare, wintry landscape, dotted w/ploughmen               plodding
behind scrawny oxen

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The permanent condition of manufactured man
constituted of the sordid, its diabolical                                            subtlety
caught up forever in
burning & immortal
bizanteaten jaws of death

Scattered along stations at the
long end of the                                                                             spectrum
things are always going wrong                      Naïve
voluntarism obscures operation of dark                     forces

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Continuously firing gorgeousness
upon him she sprawled him down
w/out even a smile, hacked his heart

Later, weeping on top of the remains of her house
bemoans obstacles to intimacy

Helen: where necessity & beauty converge
in the playpen of erotic devotion
crisis heterotopias of deviation
begin to function at full capacity

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Writing in an obsolete medium
of witness & documentation
a “field of action” exhibiting aggression
to an audience                                                                             concealing amidst
its reflection of economic & class contradictions
deconstructive death rays
impelled by force grandiose, selfish & cold
throughout those dismal days
when the dead return to inhabit their former houses
needing to express their tendency to view                                        experience
through a lens of literary utility

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Walking through streets filled w/ghosts of early boy-selves
industrious, affable, having brain on fire

Everything leads to whatever follows
Bernouli’s Encyclopedia of Imaginary Diseases
including a disdain for humanity as practiced
an Olympian desire for perfection over power
creating bridges between radical formalism
and a vaudevillian social platform

A strange state of mind, compounded                                     of shock,
unnatural calm, and grief sharpened                           into anguish
by the complete wreck of earthly good

Party of animals / animals partying
amidst hyperbolic self- imagining
repudiates all notions of authorization
emptiness w/a few things arising                                 in it

Glorification of energetic stupidity
a methodical tool designed to subvert
expectations of bourgeois readers
suspended in a doubt-like world

There is no escape from heaven
that large brothel called Aquitane,
its hatred of everything that doesn’t
relate to literature the proper setting
for epic scale brain warfare among                                                                 poets
codependent & entangled sadomasochistic
perpetual institutionality of avant-garde practice
the mania for phrases drying up the heart

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“If anyone is sleepy let him go to sleep.” -John Cage

Write as short as you can, in order
of what matters, as if your parents are dead

Your loneliness is a complex group dynamic
to keep the mind alert but empty

Practice: a syncretic poetics of ingenuity & invention, collage & palimpsest
where music invades the sentence
at the vulvic gateway to Archaos dreams leak
and the dead return, but only if you love
grim deeds & moral panic, that aridity
required for the production of genius
self-involved and unable to draw joy from the world
its pitch, timbre, loudness, duration
glorious penetralium locating us as part of an intensity
not an instant lost /
doing what must be done

Women edge away from smell of hopelessness
the fraudulent imposition of Eros over Ananke
minor, deceptive & extended detournements /
normal marital hatred

Devote one’s life to beating one’s head against that wall
collecting, hoarding and archiving laws & people
ambitionless setting oneself up on verge of ruin
a maggot on the corpse of its revisionist masters

Narcissistic aversion to seeing oneself as permanently ill
divination algebra connects holographic sense to
useless primordial reality of soul

Prepare for the next dumb blow
barest inkling of joyful wisdom always
overwhelmed by cheap /
teenage nihilism

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“If the mind is disciplined, the heart turns quickly from fear towards love.” -Meister Eckhart

Sincerealism of the workless world of work
seen through rectal eye of disorientation
everything happening at once, heavy
eyes & rain, thick head & ground-fog never
thinking get some of that love

Transcend! sensitivity to rejection
leap over the wall of self after logos
abstract rejection of epic encyclopaedism
isomorphic speech-times closely correlated
with higher whole-system productivity
its typically ironic and tightly disciplined nature
is breathtakingly beautiful

“Just because it’s New Year’s Eve doesn’t make this is any way excusable.” 1

Guilt-ridden literary forensics your
disturbing & conscious complicity
in his long-anticipated breakdown
talking too much bullshit, tapping feet,
facial twitches, not looking directly
into eyes when talking                                    shades of Duncan ‘63
Olson’s blazing sun
fragmentary images a terminal moraine
left behind by passage through conscious-ness

Everything had been tried
and he just couldn’t stand it
any more

1 For Simon Thompson and Hardy Friedrich.


G.P. Lainsbury has been teaching at colleges and universities in northern British Columbia since 1995. He is the author of The Carver Chronotope: Inside the Life-World of Raymond Carver’s Fiction (Studies in Major Literary Authors, Volume 23. New York and London: Routledge, 2004); his poems, stories and articles have been published widely in journals across North America. Versions of North, a book of poems, was published by Caitlin Press in 2011.


Northern BC folio curated by Gillian Wigmore.