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John Lowther


I cannot count…

I cannot count the good people I know who to my mind would be even better 
          if they bent their spirits to the study of their own hungers.
Often, the absence of a salient event can tell you more about the causes 
          of a problem than a hundred events.
The bald man in the cowboy suit next to me leans in and says something 
          about the game.
What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.
Any floating object displaces it own weight of fluid.
Your job is to endure, and you cannot walk away.
Each step may take from a day to a week.


The wilderness is not elsewhere…

The wilderness is not elsewhere, but is rather everywhere.
It doesn't mean it's not there, subtly sucking your energy.
The real is the concrete becoming of struggle and negation.
So from a promotional standpoint, you have nothing to lose.
This cannot be political.
Maybe it was forgettable.
I hate that I call it a war. 
Every name in history is I.
I wanna dance over there.
The declaration of love marks the transition from chance to destiny and 
          that's why it is so perilous and so burdened with a kind of 
          horrifying stage fright.


Note on the Text

555 is a collection of sonnets whose construction is database-driven and relies on text analytic software. I crunched and analyzed Shakespeare's sonnets to arrive at averages for word, syllable and character (inclusive of punctuation but not spaces). These averages (101 words, 129 syllables, 437 characters) became requirements for three groups of sonnets. I collected lines from anywhere and everywhere in the air or in print in a database. The lines are all found, their arrangement is mine. Values for word, syllable and character were recorded. Typos and grammatical oddities were preserved; only initial capitals and a closing period have been added as needed. The selection of lines isn't rule-driven and inevitably reflects what I read, watch, and listen to, thus incorporating my slurs and my passions as well as what amuses and disturbs me. These sonnets were assembled using nonce patterns or number schemes; by ear, notion, or loose association; by tense, lexis, tone or alliteration. Every sonnet matches its targeted average exactly. Think of Pound's "dance of the intellect among words" then sub sentences for words-it is amongst these I move. The dance in question traces out a knot (better yet, a gnot) that holds together what might otherwise fly apart. I espouse only the sonnets, not any one line.




John Lowther's work appears in the anthologies, The Lattice Inside (UNO Press, 2012) and Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (U of Alabama, 2003). Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. John works in video, photography, paint and performance. His dissertation-in-progress tries to reimagine psychoanalysis with intersex and transgender lives as pointers toward our ever-expanding subjective potential.


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