A stapled chapbook of fourteen poems, none over a page long. No press name, date, or other publishing information other than the title page: Bruised Dick, Alli Warren & Michael Nicoloff.
Warren and Nicoloff collaborated on the poems by emailing each other back and forth--that's all I know about the process; whether the collaboration was line by line, or phrase by phrase, or some other method, I can't say. What I can say is that the finished poems are required reading. "Required" in that loose sense of if you don't you will be like the lone person in the room who doesn't know about the very cool thing that other people are having a wonderful conversation about, or like the first little mouse who drowned in the bucket of cream instead of the second little mouse who thrashed about, churning the cream into butter, and finally climbed out (I got that from Christopher Walken in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can--the perfect all-purpose analogy).
The language of these poems gets in your head and takes up residence there, bringing its own definition of habitus, which it guards jealously against the coercive grammatology of classical landlord/tenant ideation. I hope the authors won't object to my quoting an entire poem, the first one:
and I was there
and fought him strangely on the roof of it
how men in each state voted
for us to mimic namesake features and how I
specifically was to be the one
to love to handle the kerchief
and I did I loved as if
a vivid and sympathetic policy
to breakfast out of doors
swathed my tats
in full light of appearance rearing
this drafty expanse
and I was facing forward
and I realized bread
not reclining tipsy on the sectional
severe to our employees
and employers denying a tidy message
of how to bruise the hands in public
in sight of baggage tractors and nationalities
of all persuasions--about a quart per hour
per worker goes the rate of toxic blight
need not marvel at the slump
I love the clausal movement of this piece, the way the syntax proceeds more or less unbrokenly down the length of the verse until it hits bottom and fractures at the last line. As a tissue sample, take the application and distribution of the word "and": it appears nine times in the poem, six of those times as the first word in a line, and in the first case as the first word of the poem. That first instance is followed hard upon by the second instance, in the second line. Having thus established the basis of an anaphoric pattern, the poem breaks the pattern by inserting the third and toward the end of the fourth line, where it engages in a subtle constellatory pirouette with the second of the poem's three hows. When and next emerges, it is again the initial word in the line, as though attempting to effect a temporary renewal of the anaphoric principle, but just as quickly deferring it again in the next line, where it is the third word. We then have the longest stretch of and-free lines in the poem (four of them), before we have the second and last instance of full anaphoric repetition: two more lines both beginning with and. The remaining instances are spaced fairly evenly across the rest of the poem, leaving three lines at the end in which it does not occur.
I've paid so much attention to and because a) it's the first thing formally that jumped out at me, and b) it's obviously an important word to discuss in the context of syntactical extension. I could go on from there to observe that in addition to the nine aforementioned occurrences, the word is also embedded in the words handle and hand, six lines in from the beginning and then five lines up from the bottom of the poem. Or I could note that in five of the nine main deployments of the word, it is coordinated with the subject "I" (six if you count the second line, in which the grammatical structure carries over from the first line). The important point, maybe, is that we're only at the first poem in the chapbook and already I can't resist playing Roman Jakobson. These compositions provide the reader with numerous low-key intricacies--designs, or design-like tendencies--that are almost impossible to separate from a general undercurrent of pregnant pre-sense, or motivated reference in a tightly wound state of potentiality.
They also have some great titles, like "People in Berkeley Need to Get Down with General Spatial Awareness," "Chiseling My Basket," "Tomorrow I Will Mow You," "You Hold It Right There While I Hit It," and "Alli and Michael's Institutional Critique." There's even one called "I Accidentally Domed Your Son," which I recognize as the title of one of the lowest-rated movies on IMDb. Should I put this on my Netflix queue? And of course there's the title poem, "Bruised Dick."
I guess you'll have to contact Alli and/or Michael via their blogs to find out if it's possible to buy a copy.