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Poems by Steve Roggenbuck

By Brian Droitcour

Steve Roggenbuck, carpe dime you only live ounce, 2012

smile at me using the dead girls mouth


it hurts with me.

im in california hugging with my dead family.

we're alredy 

simple in the western u.s. crying in my bed

im dead with you sad girl.

i want you in the airports of my country





i am about the size of a dead nine year old


i am about the size of a dead nine year old

in her cool bed room 

in september 

i am ugly with dead children

it is early september at 7 in the morning

i want to listen to birds outside of my 

bed room

i love birds 

i love them more than humans

there are also dead

bodies hanging from my familys tire swing






dead girl, you are dead


i am crying in you and being fucked at the same 

time by january rain. i hurt 

when i move.

i am being rained on with dead 

children now dead five year olds.

i dont care if my blood 

chokes me, 

i no longer want to have blood. i want your 

cold pointless hands.

i want to put flowers in your cold pointless mouth


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Bsmart April 24 2012 16:19Reply

excellent video. i suppose poetry is the immediacy of a voice and its hesitations and the grass in your face and everything you believe and everything that you might try to believe in the moment of contact; romance, patriotism, power, and all the other words we hope to shake-down on every awkward encounter, like pixie dust or acid or applause.

as for death: we inscribe names and numbers for the unnameable, because we can never know the full shape of what we are and what we will collectively become, yes? a friend of mine likes to look at old pictures and remind himself that everything that he might find there is already gone, even the dust is gone–it is different dust.

there's was an old-timer whose traces you might like to have a look at: he called himself bingo gazingo, and he spoke poetry in a frantic, semi-comic voice, and was himself a lovely poem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ5M-MRXsX8&feature=related

Twitter April 24 2012 20:02Reply

Steve Roggenbuck is not so good because he is just on this pedomorphic trend that men can get away with, as this is the age of the manchild.

It is bizarre, altlit ppl rebel against mainstream lit in this strange way by creating this identity of weakness (i.e. posing as autistic) which is really just distracts any critique of whatever MFA farm system Steve Roggenbuck is rejecting. Steve Roggenbuck acts retarded. He really isn't retarded. Or is he? He did pursue an MFA for a little while. Either way, this is a gimmick that Tao Lin successfully perpetrates because he seems to have popularized it. Roggenbuck really should try something else out, especially if he wants to be a viable "alternative" to anything.

(also come at me if you think "retard" is an identity that can be claimed and performed by retarded people… I'm sure he couldn't get away with this if he approached in a wheelchair).

Back to gender, last week's topic: Roggenbuck sort of plays with it only in a mysoginistic way. He professes love to mainstream teenage girl icons such as glasspopcorn and Justin Bieber. This paired with his obsessive facebook posting, laden with intentional typos echo a contemporary teenage girl identity. He soundtracks his videos with saccharine pop music, yet he embodies a very crude masculinity where he often yells about his penis. It might be interesting if he were trying to perform teenage girlhood, but he co-opts elements of it without any awareness of how young women ultimately end up as prey and trophies for "artsTards".

Guest Blogger April 25 2012 11:47Reply

Yes, Roggenbuck has cultivated a persona that is retarded, girlish, infantile, and otherwise abject. This has been done fruitfully and beautifully by Faulkner and Platonov and Mike Kelley and Tamy Ben-Tor and many other artists and writers. Roggenbuck has spent too much time reading and listening to the radically open, emo voices of social media to be exploiting them as a "gimmick." He echoes and amplifies them with sensitivity.

Brian Droitcour April 25 2012 11:50Reply

Oh hi, "Guest Blogger" is me, Brian Droitcour.

Bsmart April 25 2012 10:39Reply

let's say there's an abstract painting in a gallery–busy brushwork, and perhaps a few pasted clippings.

one person looks at it and says: this is garbage, doesn't deserve to be here, an insult to my time, an insult to art and the history of painting, an insult to eyes, an insult to my mind as it is thinking otherwise very important and beautiful thoughts, the work is derivative, the work is clumsy, the work is an expression of all of human badness, the work is anti-proletariat, anti-god and truth and goodness, i hate it, let me tell you how much i hate it, i hate it so powerfully much.

another person looks at it and says, say, i like the clipping anyhow. sure, i can think of ways i might have liked it better, but i'd say it isn't a question of good or bad, right or wrong–it's a question of, is this interesting? does this reveal something about human nature and the time and place i am living in?

and then the first person says to the second one, you are an idiot, you also don't know what eyes or your mind is for, and also how dare you question my opinions and so on and so and the second person shrugs and they go their separate ways, and the painting remains in its gallery and thousands of people hate it and perhaps only a few people smile at it and perhaps at the end of the day only one or two people remember anything about the matter, after they take the painting down and put it away in a vault which is forgotten, and the tragic thing is, they don't even remember the painting really, they just remember how they reacted to the painting which is to say they remember themselves, but then again that's the way life has always been. of course a more interesting painting might have stayed in its gallery or gone to auction and fetched a million dollars or might have been stolen or vandalized and endlessly photographed and touched like the fingerbone of st. peter or paul, and this is what amounts to fame and power–but that's a different story, although interestingly with the same characters voicing largely the same opinions.

but of course, that's a story about painting and here we had been talking about poetry, which is different in that everybody writes poetry, yes? everybody writes poetry all of the time and they spill it out like dutch holland when they've been shot in the gut, or when they are fifteen or else they are trying to hear themselves and the waver of their voices and choices and it's nothing at all like painting, which only a few people are called to, with the smell and the mess and the maze, although words are their own maze of course and we are all of us wandering.

Aureliano Segundo April 26 2012 09:45Reply

Roggenbuck is a polarizing figure in that he is funny but he is also kind of a tool.

Also, @twitter I'm not sure he's intentionally playing on gender or "retard" issues. If there's one thing about Roggenbuck I like it's that he's not fake. But his aesthetic is frustrating. If I had to pick a word for it, it would be "youtubey".

Outside of his direct and active engagement with "alt lit" themes, I'm not sure there is any reason to invest time watching Steve Roggenbuck when you could be watching Dax Flame.


Bsmart May 8 2012 18:45Reply

there are true and false stories that will never be spoken.
there are good and bad poems that are only half-written.
there are cities buried in the sand, and new cities rising,
which ash, sand or snow will someday bury.

there are good and bad poems, places, occasions,
incantations to help or hinder,
ideas that are mistaken, visions that are forgettable,
and perhaps one noble error,
in limping pursuit of truth or love.

prayers at the crossroads, prayers to household gods,
prayers to the wind far from shore or in the high passes:

bless us and keep us, silence and sound.