Make Lists Not War

by Mark Chmiel

Dear Cami,

One index of a profitable reading experience may very well be in the marginalia we make.

For instance, I read Ed Sanders’ collection of poetry Let’s Not Keep Fighting the Trojan War eight years ago. I went through and collected my inked scribbles in the margins in a list:

I read for topics, for intriguing titles, for examples, for my own Emersonian rejected thoughts, such as …
“My political causes are hopeless”
Val’s life
We’re all gonna die
My brilliant non-career
13 years in a theology department
I could do better on Kerouac than he did in “A Visit to Jack’s Memorial Park”
Come up with an entire book of ListsWork on being a performance artist qua teacher
Throw in a quotation from The Brothers Karamazov in the middle of a poem
A poem on Jean-Paul Sartre and…
Scan pages from old notebooks all sizes
Catch myself thinking as recorded in taping down bones transcripts, notebook jabbers, and more
The Book of Mev as therapy
What am I now investigating?
My version of Cardenal’s “Trip to New York” could all be on the Aero action 2005
Make 4514 a salon
Lineages jostling: Jew, Christian, Marxist, Yiddish
More Wacky chapter titles
Ode to Chomsky
What Mev Told John Dear
In Praise of __________
My next 100 projects
I don’t care how much Dylan “sells out”
Yiddish-influenced Poems
My Kennedy Delusions
A Partial List of All My Muses
Henry Wallace Presente!
Jean Abbott standing up in front of the Guatemala military
Grand Central and Jim Morrison
A Blaze of Mindfulness Bells
Opening lines of a work: The teachings are infinite, I vow to… [5 Beeko stories]
Songs of Longing and Despair
Last Thoughts on Jesus
Am I alone in hearing America the Beautiful and Feeling Ripped?
Just say yes or no/Anything else comes from… [7 instances]

Also, wrote out the following on a Sanders’ page while on vacation in Blue-Eye, MO, a found poem by Joanie’s brother, Joey:
Had a great Memorial Day weekend
Solved all the world’s problems
Then ate ‘smores

Last, I think I sent you a while back Ed’s poem “The Question of Self-Publishing.” Will send you in the next week three more— “Multi-Decade Research Systems” & “Whispering Books” & “To the Revolutionaries Not Yet Born.”

With marvel for your munificence,

Mark

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