Comments on the Acid Landscape
by d.a.levy

d.a.levy's "Comment on the Acid Landscape," (possibly subtitled, if we rotate the poem and read along the right margin, "experiment in words") was composed on a mimeo stencil, lending it a certain immediacy. In the poem words, letters and pattern notations of vibratory sound:

( Freedommmmm / FREEDOMMMMM / . . . mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . / . . . MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM . . . )
are cast into a visualized mirror syntax which explodes in a cacophony of typographisms (open and closed parentheses, asterisks, free-floating letters, dashes, "#"s, etc.) converging horizontally, vertically, diagonally and in reversed mirror writing, anchored with sets of repetitions: "strangelandscape," "eye," "over here," "that," "mind" (also mirrored), "falling is rising is falling is rising . . .", "mirror" (mirrored), "eye" (mirrored) "exit" (mirrored"), and so on. It is worth noting that levy combines the phonic elements belonging to letterism with the graphic elements of concrete poetry in this poem. A solitary "om," appearing in the center of the poem (on a vertical axis), flanked on three sides by the ("om"-reversal) "mo" of "motion," an apposite "I'm" with the "m" horizontally inverted (levy's typical elision of punctuation and use of lower case letters further codifies this mirror-splintering of the "I am"), and the negative "no," is situated at the pivotal center of the poem. Lest one miss the laughter of this "bad trip isnt it," one of the lines of mirror writing in which several of the repetitions converge reads, ". . . mind mirror iiiii was keeping in mi mind mi maiden formless mind mirror bra mirror mind in STRANGE LANDSCAPE . . . " a playful variation of the famous Maidenform ad along the lines of: "I dreamed I was in my Maidenform in a strange landscape" with fainter echoes of the evil queen in "Snow White" and there is also a sense, out of "maiden" and "form," and the overall mirrored glancing, reflecting, richocheting typography, of a rupture of the illusory veil which protects the Apollinian I/eye through the contemplation of form: ". . . eye / eye / eye mind / . . . i was keeping . . . mi maiden formless . . ." The poem is at once a psychedelic devil trap (for a technical demon) and a poem presenting an invisible mirror, visually punning on the mirrored dissolution of the lyrist's written "I" and the dazzling/blinding of the plastic artist's form-seeking "eye."

- Ingrid Swanberg

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Text copyright © 1998 by Ingrid Swanberg.
This poem previously appeared in UKANHAVYRFUCKINCITYBAK, 1967.

This is a cooperative presentation of
Ghost Pony, Kaldron On-Line and
Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry.