tony moffeit | scorching the darkness: the channeling of dillinger

i

read todd moore’s latest dillinger poem, meditations on a machine gun, just written and so new that it has not even been submitted, and i realize why he reaches another level of intensity, another level of obsessive fever, another level of scorching fire. it is because he channels dillinger better than anyone else. his is a vision, a passion, an innovation of the spirit of john dillinger. he is a tremendous will to power and at the same time a receptacle, a receiver of the spirit of john dillinger. both tremendous will and tremendous effortlessness, both outlaw and ghost, dillinger is channeled in the only way that dillinger must be channeled: with fire and darkness, with poison and innovation, with the past and the future, with the pure language of machine gun words. and it is the machine gun that is the object of meditations in this latest poem, this latest todd moore masterpiece:

little
blue
sparks
were
coming off
madam
rosa’s
fingers
she was
holding
both her
hands just
above
the thomp
son her
right hand
was abt
six inches
above
the barrel
her left
hand abt
six inches
above the
back part
of the gun
where the
stock wd
be
she looked
over at
both dill
inger &
billie &
sd now
pay very
close
atten
tion she
was
star
ting to
move
her hands
back
&
forth
along an
imag
inary
line
first to
ward each
other
then back
&
away
she re
peated
this mo
vement
half a
dozen
times slow
ly so
very slow
ly
at the
very same
time
the sparks
were
begin
ning to
turn into
a thick
blue light
that ex
tended
down
from her
palms
to the
metal sur
face of
the ma
chine
gun dill
inger cd
hear the
sound of
some
thing
popping
&
noticed
that small
sparks
were jum
ping out
of the blue
place
then
the ma
chine gun
slowly
began
to lift
all by it
self in
to the air
at first
maybe only
an inch
of space
separated
it from
the scarred
surface
of the
table then
an inch
& a half
then
two inches
then
three inches
madam
rosa
slowly
drew her
hands
away
by now
all she
needed to
do was
point at
the machine
gun w/
her right
index finger
to make
it float

this is pure outlaw. this writing is pure outlaw. because it is about something else. it’s about changing consciousness of things atomically. seeing it on the page is to experience relativity, to garner the secrets of mass, energy, and motion. it is better than a movie. it is better than a rock song. because it immediately and precisely changes the state of consciousness. not only is the machine gun levitated, but the reader is levitated.

in this poem the action has become subatomic and quantum. the story has become archetypal because it is brought inside, todd moore has made it his own:

half a
dozen
mex
ican
ban
dits
sneak
in
behind
us
pretty
soon
we are
the ones
who
are
cor
nered
tra
vis
took a
second
to
suck
the last
of the
smoke
out of
his
cigaret
be
fore
flic
king
it out
of the
win
dow
sd
old
mo
ses
never
told
me abt
his sur
prise
called
for a
parley
i
thought
he was
cra
zy
&
that
we
were
sure
thing
dead
men
but
de
ci
ded
ok
if we
go
out
i’m
ta
king
some
body
w/me
when
we
walk
out in
the open
the
bandits
are
smi
ling like
they al
ready
know we
are
goners
moses
turned to
me
grinned
&
sd
lets
drop our
guns
as
a good
will
ges
ture
gesture
to
who
i sd
but
did
what he
told
me
then the
smiles
on those
bandits
got even
bigger
by
now
they were
all
bunched
up
to
ge
ther
it al
most
looked
like
they
were ar
guing
over
who wd
get
the
bulk of
our
goods
then
moses
tossed
some
thing
out at
the
leader
a guy
wear
ing
a big
som
brero
the thing
is
when
moses
made
his
toss
he yelled
oro
then
glanced
at me
&
sd
duck
i lan
ded
be
hind
a big
cac
tus
when the
grenade
went
off
it
blew
mis
ter som
brero &
those
stan
ding
near him
all
over the
boul
ders
the ones
who sur
vived
were either
blee
ding
or craw
ling
the two
who were
back w/
the horses
rode off
we ne
ver
saw them
again

now here is something dangerous. where terror meets danger meets chaos in the purest form. meditations on a machine gun is about another language, another voice, another consciousness. it’s about the velocity of language, the velocity of the condensed line, the velocity of the speed of light, the velocity of channeling john dillinger. it is also about the tremendous stories, myths, and archetypes of the machine gun. this poem explodes on the page. tony moffeit 8/18/09

Todd Moore books are available by clicking here…

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