ditch,

the poetry that matters

Francis Raven

Francis Raven lives in Washington, DC. His books include two volumes of poetry, Shifting the Question More Complicated (Otoliths, 2007) and Taste: Gastronomic Poems (Blazevox, 2005) as well as a novel, Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005). Poety has been published in Bath House, Chain, Big Bridge, Bird Dog, Mudlark, Caffeine Destiny, and Spindrift among others. Critical work can be found in Jacket, Logos, Clamor, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The Electronic Book Review, The Emergency Almanac, The Morning News, The Brooklyn Rail, Media and Culture, In These Times, The Fulcrum Annual, Rain Taxi, and Flak.

Diagnostic Weapons

 

 

say I say hi

say it’s an example

not you

but I’m

passing information

 

or nothing

in the case

 

of a simple

 

holds a tone

 

a face you

can read

off the surface


 

we find it natural to differentiate tables from faces

to say that’s a sad man

 

but not in our own case

 

no amount of evidence

will tip

our own scale

 

we just feel

 

therefore, diagnostic tools don’t work so well:

 

we can always perform a swerve: lying to the psychiatrist


 

a spy knows

on the ground;

has seen

 

but seeing

is a product of knowing

and knowing

 

is a product of

all of what

we say

 

“does dramatic information turned up by an overseas spy square with his access, or does it exceed his plausible reach?”

—SEY HERSH

 

SAY HEARSE

remember

that funeral

SAY HERS

she died

waiting in vain

 

for HIM to come home [HIM] was a code word

I imagine

 

a codeword has an imagination of its own

 

it is thinking of connecting

two dissimilars

 

for the record

 

you remember

who says

the correct

 

 


 

the National Institute of Standards and Technology was given a daunting challenge – providing the necessary guidance to federal agencies to enable them to provide adequate security for the technologies that store and manipulate the wealth of information our government collects.  To this end, they’ve dedicated themselves to the unenviable task of developing security configuration checklists for every system or application that runs on a federal agency system.

 

“manipulate” (and any subsequent words) was ignored because we limit queries to 32 words.

 


 

triagetriagetriagetriagetriagetriagetriagetriagetriagetriage

 

a verdict has been reached

 

what piece information would be required to force us to the next level?

 

the philosophical point is that the basic parts of systems are normally value-neutral so that values and “taste” can develop as an emergent property of sets of the basic parts; but this is not always so; for example, this is not true in this case

 

 


 

      MORGUE            BLACK TAG

 

      IMMEDIATE         RED TAG

 

      DELAYED           YELLOW

 

      MINOR             GREEN

 

 

 

                        green is like life

                        a symbol for

 

                        if you know what it is

                        you will know where to go

 

MEANING SORT

SORT OF

SORTIE

ROTS

      if you rearrange

 


 

I haven’t waited to acknowledge that some things have been destroyed

they just began again

over which there was another shard of…

and now unclean

our own diagnostic roots

from which

history must recover.

 

do you know what the meaning of that word in the middle should be?

that is, do you know what a fish out of water means?

differentially bouncing out over other scales

there is just this one disease left

uninteresting

for incurable.  destruction will matter

until creation is impossible.


 

it’s the scalded milk

the skein forming

the lifted off

 

what I’m asking is: how did that piece

get lifted off

and not that one?

 

 

the answers are in the body and are set to remain there if the body dies, but the questions are also questions of the body and must be answered with some sort of key, a key called medicine

 

 

diagnosis is bifurcated

 

            between understanding symptoms and causes;

 

between what and what

 

we are trying to get to the bottom of

and then tip the barrel

to read the insignia

 

and see who stamped it

 

why

 

often in the same sentence we do not know what we’re talking about

 

but we know how to fix it; medicine is just engineering for the body

 

the French seem to agree (thank god!): “jogging is [JUST] management of the body.”

 

 


 

isolated vertical

motion

 

removes smoke

 

where does it go?

 

the lack of proper signification

 

layer upon layer

moving up the levels is just a description

 

 

first he arrived in Germany

thus the Germans (federal intelligence service, BND)

had access first

and the Germans hate the CIA

because the CIA is a better agency

and is always scooping their spies

so the Germans won’t provide access

merely reports, thus what questions do they ask

and will only cooperate with

 

but to believe that interagency jockeying for cash

is any less real, viable

than the war on terror

in general

is absurd

 

money is always required and there is always too little to treat everything

 

horizontal motion is never

isolated


 

therefore

 

pill out and mull us the diagnosis shoot

 

 

in each

box

 

from the formula of

Washington’s most eminent specialists

in the art of sending the blood coursing

 

which drew from the critics the high praise above

quoted


 

one of the loosely applied medical terms

which may mean a great deal

or nothing at all

 

in practice, whenever a disease arises

that the average physician can not

diagnose, he calls it “malaria”

 

fill in the blank

for your own era

 

but when asked what it is

he is unable to define it

exactly, to state its origin nil:

 

limitations; beyond his power

according to this authority

 

can depend with confidence

commonly employed

in some parts of our own country


 

charts were sent over

from the opposition's office

boxes

to the death

piled to the next level

of overcoming doubt:

                  beyond a reasonable

 

evidence is like

molecules

of water

displaced

by a body, the heavier

the more

ends up on the floor

 

but the

urge to diagnose

might in fact

be a symptom

[to stare]: to get it right

 

was the source of all our misery

 

a body bloated

floats

the charts of which

can be presented to

any international body you like;

that is, representations can’t make it so

so much as force you to stare at

her greening fingertips

latched to a gun;

 

captions was the word

I was looking for


 

engaging the services of

a specialist in place of

an ordinary teacher

 

 

as an idea was attached

eventually disposed of

 

the bite of connection

was enough to will

 

an absence: doubt in the diagnosis

will engender regret

 

only if it was

your decision to begin with

 

a way of reading a definition

 

from the coverage: throw to our guys;

 

avoid throwing

 

to theirs


 

(7) pain is often improperly assessed, misdiagnosed, mistreated, or undertreated;

 

 

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