Register Sunday | May 26 | 2024

The Manifesto of Mortarism


verb to bombard;
noun a cement used in building.

With the forth-swinging, flaming, wrecking ball of mortarism, let’s demolish the light-blocking ceiling of “poetry.” Let’s build an overpoetry…Let’s turn art into a tastefully dressed, breathtaking, perfectly proportioned, breath-giving, voluptuous, lactating, nymphomaniac nurse with nature-changing, evolution-redirecting milk—an overnurse of Western man’s sick, degenerating nature—who will pleasure her dry-spelled patients, so long as they are sucking her irresistible nipples, since only nipple-sucking will arouse her and prolong her output.

—from speech given in the A2 psychiatric unit, July 2, 2004

The “living,” writing, established “poets,” my iced generation—are diction-obsessed and beauty-demoting, imagination-demoting, inspiration-demoting, music-demoting, rhythm-demoting, aim-demoting, because they are little more than breathing dictionaries. (They are unelectric, puzzle lovers, without inborn musical talent or anything to say.)

“Poets”—they are hopping over the limbo bar of poetry, but nobody says anything.

We love the “poets.” We must hug them at the knees with novelty buzzers!

Hey, ephebic poet, standing in the bookstore, reading the journals, knowing what you are reading is lesser than urine—at least urine flows, and is not always yellow—beware of the “poet” professors of creative writing. Don’t try to please the “poet” editors.

We must apply to, spy on and overthrow the “poet” professors of creative-writing schools. We are young enough to invade these schools and overthrow them totally legally. Our main terroristic acts will be raising our hands profusely. Our weapons will be fervour, knowledge and magnetism.

“Poets not interested in music are bad poets.” The truth is poets not interested in music are NOT poets.

Mr. Heaney, Mr. Merwin, Miss Bishop, Mr. Hughes, formalists and all the rest of you skeletons: pentameter’s a pacemaker. You guys have heart failure. Without your pentameter you would be known to the world as frauds, and you would not even be the skeleton poets you are—and in the poems where you stupidly dare to abandon set meters, you make me want to get Rimbaudian on your asses and piss on you from a great height. You guys are no better, as poets, than Margaret Atwood who, although she does not write real poetry (and if you take her poems and write them into paragraphs—anyways, I did a test, and not one professor or “poet” I used for this test thought the paragraph they had just read was poetry. I asked them, “What do you think of this prose?” And they responded to me about what they thought of the prose. None of them used the word poetic or rhythmic or poetry-like to describe this prose!), at least shows she has heart failure; she doesn’t hide behind the pacemaker of pentameter. Her reputation as a poet should be hit by a garbage truck then thrown into the mash-mulcher of mortarism. That’s right! I’m using ism in this world where truth does not exist, and so classification is absurd! MORTARISM. MORTARISM. CLASSIFICATION. A REALITY. AN ACTION, NOT JUST WORDS.

When someone says something shortly, or choppily, it should be something weighty, unforgettable, and strong—
if not, such purposelessly
lines of words just
try to
more than
they are.


Now that the God/gods created and perpetuated by previous poets no longer exist and reasons for being are now dismissed…What is left?

The poet must be a trinity: a god of words, a god of music, a god of Earth and humanity’s well-being. We must pay the dues of our predecessors. We cannot be headless matchsticks, like the rest of them.

Poetry cannot take a step on the legs of French philosophies alone. Countercamp! Counter camp. Camp is malignancy.

Rhetoric has been dismissed. Why? Because poets cannot write impressively as they know they should be in the emergency present. The poet must now be the world’s cardiopulmonary resuscitation, not a hospital-room painting.

I wrote that line, with a Magic Marker, on the wall of the smoking lounge of the A2 psychiatric unit the first night I got there, the night of June 23, 2004. A day later, because of rageful outbursts and extreme manic psychosis, loudness and viciousness (I was in the most advanced stage of mania), I was put into the bubble room/solitary confinement for ten days, which is one of the longest stretches in A2 history. When I got out of the bubble room, one of the nurses told me that normally a line scribbled on a wall would be scrubbed off and the patient given shit, but in this case the line of verse was allowed to stay there. I added other lines. By late December, when I was discharged, the wall was completely filled with poetry lines that patients/friends loved or hated.

I have been arrested for disturbing the peace. I read this manifesto to people anywhere, in the streets, in the park, at the universities. Whatever happened to the manic poets? The ones who get arrested for disturbing the peace in Gage Park, with their increasing crowd of hypnotized strangers who were not the ones who called the cops. If only manics wouldn’t get so loud…If only the “poets” had something to say and a vehicle of poetry. They don’t drive. The driver of the lines keeps failing the beginner’s test. You are illegally driving the 2003 two-door Saturn of prose, and the brakes don’t work; you are under the influence of delusions of being a poet.

We prefer embarrassing outbursts to fashionable coolness.

Love is born of an attraction.

I know no woman who says, “O my God, would you look at that five-foot-one dude, with the uneven mullet, beer belly, girl arms, stumbling and bumping into people—Hang on, Clare, who cares if we are late for the board meeting? I’m gonna ask for his number.”

I know no man who says, “Marc, you should read this ‘poet’ —he’s so clumsy and awkward and choppy and unimaginative and boring and tedious—you’ll fall in love with this ‘poet.’”

Chris Martin desperately needs a poetry instructor.

Irony doesn’t heal. It won’t recharge humankind’s soul! I envision a young man who is ready to give up and drink a drugstore and die. He, while popping the first pills, by chance comes across and opens a book of dusty poetry, opens a book of poetry for the first time—discovers this book of verse in the part of the basement never used, rented out to students, one of whom must have left this book behind. And what if those poems in that book were just cute, ironic, depthless word games? WELL, he’d just feel, once again, the coldness of the world and would start taking three pills at a time, rather than one or two!

I think the poet is generally unimportant to the world because the poet does not even try to be important to the world…Passion is unfashionable, and conviction is pretension.

Mr. Creeley, am I the only young poet who believes the poet has duties?

What do you think of all this? Do you think I’m too idealistic or naive or something?

Thanks for sending the Italy pics,


Poetry needs some manic genius to save it now, but that won’t be me, ’cause eventually I’m going to electrocute my electricity, destroy my electricity with electricity, which must not sound possible but bittersweetly is. Acute, constant, unruly, unmedicatable mania is extremely exhausting for loved ones. I love poetry, but I love my family and friends even more.

I would like to think that poetry, if it could speak, would pray the shocks fail! Once, I did a little experiment. I took an IQ test when depressed and scored 147, and then when level and scored 150. I took an IQ test when manic and scored 170 (and keep in mind I did not take the same test over and over). I had ten seasonally-affected-bipolar-I friends take three IQ tests over the course of a year—one for each state of mind—and they all had a higher IQ when manic than when depressed or level. I wonder why it took me to prove a manic’s intelligence increases drastically with his “madness.” Why didn’t a psychiatrist tell me this or think of this experiment himself, and if he already knows the truth, why won’t he tell me the truth?

I have only heretofore truly communicated with the world through poetry; but that is not enough, ’cause only I am communicating something. Poetry, for me, is like screaming on a deserted island; the only thing I hear in response is my echo. I need people. I wish I didn’t. I wish I only needed poetry.

Go, too, my songs, toward them, verse through
the ears of the smilers-in-their-sleep.

Electrify both dance floors and psych wards.

Go you club-footed songs, go in bulldozing
throngs over America’s rhetoric, then shroud
it with sheets of its amateur anthems.

Bring, sing, get morning bells to ring

Go, too, my songs, toward them; let the old
recluse see sunset’s red salamander cirrus.

Chorus in the souls of the hideously bodied.

Last night, as I walked deeper and deeper into a meadow on the Bruce Trail, I became aware of three things, which I noted in my book:
The further I walk into this meadow, the darker it becomes.
The further I walk into this meadow, the drier the ground becomes.
There is a constant sound of cricket chirps as I walk further into this meadow.
I wanted to communicate these realities to the reader but without words, so I took a piece of paper, found a dirt patch, then glued it down with gum.

LINE 1: A head of an ox-eye daisy, slightly closed, and four more daisies, each more closed than the last.
LINE 2: A green wild-grass blade and six more grass blades, each more yellow than the last.
LINE 3: Five live crickets.

The above is an objectohaiku. The words you see are not words but the actual things I placed in rows upon that piece of paper in the meadow and then photographed. The line of live crickets was most difficult to control! If a line ends with a nickel, and the next line ends with a silver bottle cap, you have a rhyme of sorts. If one line ends with a green grass blade and the next line ends with a yellow grass blade you have a half-rhyme of sorts. Dark, dense, heavy objects may slow rhythm down. A line of coke may quicken a line.

AUGUST 4, 2005
Remember that trail of the dolour of the loved ones that the manic psychotic leaves behind him. Mania is the saviour of poetry, but, in my case, the better half-destroyer. Goodbye, mania; I despise you as much as I despise contemporary poetry. I will welcome the shockers with my eyebrows raised in intrigue and ecstatic suspense.