6 by 9, perfect bound
Pavement Saw had the taste to publish the first full-length book of Flarf!! Winner of the 2002 Transcontinental Poetry Award for an outstanding first book-length collection of poetry or prose. It's the Flarfiest!
The first collection from this San Francisco native includes poems which first appeared in: Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Combo, Mirage#4/Period(ical), Moria, The Muse Apprentice Guild, The San Francisco Reader, The San Jose Manual of Style, Shampoo, and VeRT
Mammogram the bildungsroman, induce
dingbat hexameters in the heldentenor's
yeasty Hornitos. Queen Ixnay to the E-bay
goes Braxton-Hicks on mother's bad milk day.
Computer's at last completely stewy-
picked up a bug at the honor bar. Citizen Quiggley
from the Gun and Doll Commission seeks flap
with pointillistic gabardine. Bad weekends for
two straight quarters-look inward and talk
to the polygraph: Have you grokked
Hampton Hawes today?
Hey, they were fisting my peoples
on the Road to Hematosis. In what woods were you,
Goody Hooper? We were mewling lords of power
in the Gallery of World Sculpture,
waving from the piazza
with the rabbi's seltzer bottle. Come, Selma
and scotchguard the rainbow
to the john of the Sunset Room. Give us an 'E'
for unpleasant Effordent. To cry 'uncle'
in a wartime theater, that
Was all our pleasure: to swap knuckles
with a gorgeous case of tartar. Yes,
we were all feeling Amish. Denver, please bring me
my omelet pan and we'll bang at the congressman's gams.
I have seen the gated community, and it looks
a lot like us. Hiss fireworks, steam
the Atlantic-green sleestack, be all that.
In Rouge State, Rodney Koeneke puts the blush back on the demotic. His idiomatic montage is a careening screed dictated from a state of alert, all puns intended to turn the hose back on a culture run literally amuck, and whose marquee reads: Raw, Red, Rouge, Incarnadine. Welcome to these states!
Mammogram the bildungsroman, induce / dingbat hexameters in the heldentenor's / yeasty Hornitos." It's about time somebody said it. Hornitos was never yeastier, hexameters never dingbattier, the bildungsroman never more mammogrammed than in Rouge State, Rodney Koeneke's "extensive cruise / across the bruised Sargasso of white male sexuality." Cannily an(a)esthet(ic)izing the misogynist and orientalist phantasms that are projected on the digital plateaux of its own prosodicbravado, this is how Naked Lunch might have turned out if it had been written by Robert Browning having a sex-change operation. There can be but one sordid bordello of this magnitude, and Koeneke has erected it squarely at the fissure where the simulacral Middle America of Pop Warner and bubble top vans collides with a paracolonial hallucination of Eastern inscrutability inhabited by five-dollar houris and hack oud players. These elegant verses have teeth, and be warned: behind each incisor lurks a Dunciad.
--K. Silem Mohammad
Rodney Koeneke was born in Omaha in 1968 and grew up in Tucson and Los Angeles. He's lived in or about San Francisco since 1986. He has published a book of history, Empires of the Mind: I.A. Richards and Basic English in China, 1929-1979 (Stanford UP, 2003) and keeps two beautiful goldfish in high style with his tall wife, Lesley Poirier. Rouge State is his first full-length poetry collection.