Journal » Trout 13 » Emergences [Hazel Smith]
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Hazel Smith

when I write I don't want to create
what I already know
or even what I can imagine

there is a place
which cannot even be smelt
in the erotic fantasies of mapmakers
and only appears on screens as invisible

it is fired from clay
but there is no clay in it
it is built with rocks
but it is beyond rocks

it thrives on the spores of loss
the shaved plains of the unpredictable

once identified it will seek
a sex-change operation
a new passport
a false alibi
once I have found it
I will be searching for another

this is the point I am speeding towards
and this is the reason I am travelling


from the genotype to the phenotype
the inorganic pushing out the living
low level trading creates high level rewards
but not in a currency you expected
and so wombs play new tunes
and in the space shuttle of family romance
cause and effect
become so incestuous
they lose sight of each other

water is not simply hydrogen plus oxygen
but so much more

breeders in ashes


she said 'he already looks as if he
is growing out of the ground'
the banksias arched upwards
and appeared to sprout
naturally from the box
you wondered how vegetation
could be so articulate
from his death you fired a poem
full of pride and fury
that you had allowed this black hole
to change shape and become illuminated
rather than allowing yourself to be sucked into it
as perhaps you should

on the stock exchange of metamorphosis
alchemy at the flick of a coin


the launching pad of linguistic systems
an algorithm seeking asylum
entropy buying return tickets
politics as prosthetic existence


how strange that peace can be pulled
bloody and screaming
out of violence
but history is the doyen of disjunctiveness
the hostess who mismatches guests
the teacher who abandons lessons

and so one moment all solutions are inert
the poem is at an impasse
negotiations fail
because nobody will listen
and then suddenly
the ecologies of distrust break open
a muffled ethics finds its voice
and in the big bang of compromise
land is carved up
the wall comes down
and everyone is wearing headscarves


to this I am alert
our remains will never sit still
but wired and hacked and hyperlinked
restless, dissatisfied, seeking
they will haunt the museums of unnatural history
the futures of recovered memory
silicone stems that tangle
programmed pods that throw their seeds
looping and re-rooting into subterranean distance
there will be no sound but only a
cosmic digital delay
our morphing samples resonating to infinity
spun down in the centrifuge of the virtual
tangled in the poetics of chaos
stories shaking off their beginnings
poems leaving ancestral homes
creation mutating beyond our knowing
emerging out of endless becoming

Note: I am indebted in this poem to the discussion of emergence—which includes the idea that small-scale computational interactions at the micro level can have unexpected and unanticipated results at the macro-level—in Mitchell Whitelaw's Metacreation: Art and Artificial Life, Mass: MIT Press, 2004, and Roger Dean's Hyperimprovisation: Computer Interactive Sound Improvisation, Madison, WI: A-R Editions, 2002.


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© Copyright 2006 Hazel Smith & Trout.