Sunday, July 15, 2007

K. Silem Mohammad's "Peace Kittens"/Flarf and its Dissident Contents

K. Silem Mohammad, part of the Flarf Collective, and author of a number of poetry books including Deer Head Nation and A Thousand Devils, was the first of the flarfers I read, before I really knew what the hell flarf was. Deer Head Nation was and is, to deploy Mohammad's oft-dropped word, spooky, for its recycled language nonetheless feels like a kind of prosthesis by which Kasey could feel his way around the cultural matrix of the post 9/11 cyberstates. To phrase it another way: the project's kitsch exterior (employing the gamey gamut of language from the internet) actually forms a core around a terrified subjectivity, unspoken and yet formed by its negation. "Peace Kittens" is an apt demonstration of this.

Listen to Kasey's reading of poems from Deer Head Nation, including "Peace Kittens," at SUNY Buffalo, courtesy of PENNSOUND.

"Peace Kittens" by K. Silem Mohammad
originally appeared at
from Deer Head Nation

Peace through Superior Firepower
... did not seem unusual given the context
... peace is good for business
... my cousin "practicing" on kittens at home
... is that what sex is like
... an ear, three boys, seven kittens, twelve roses
... -ance, -ence, -ity
... act as a noun or a verb
... starts piece h- prison based sooner crack driver
... refrigerator Taurus lemon categories
... doll caged relaxation Christians
... yep, I nearly had kittens

Accused of Beating Kittens
... no language on Earth has ever produced
... a joke which can't be taken out of context
... I murder kittens and smear their blood over the walls
... snap their necks in one fluid movement
... greet the day with a mouthful of dead kittens
... eating kittens is just plain
... heartless, mean-spirited
... shame about the live kittens in microwave ovens
... how many kittens must die
... I said I was drowning kittens
... I was just messin' with you snow kittens
... you've twisted the events all out of context
... my "eating kittens" quote
... persecution of Jews in any form
... they aren't funny out of context
... here's a random picture of the kittens
... the kittens that were protected in the blazing oven
... sleeping in heaven, surrounded by song

I Want Kittens
... the NATO-led Kosovo peace-keeping force
... prefers a good hoax to world peace
... I threw Tony the peace sign and went to sit down
... a pregnant cat jumped in and had kittens
... had wild shoats and hogs
... twisted the events all out of context
... in annulo four pairs of kittens couchant respectant
... reborn into an era of peace
... it's usually in a Bill and Bonnie context
... "oh no, not a neutron beer!"
... Abba Airplane Albion
... you know from the context totally usually toward
... strong English range various living believe density
... contour kissing kneecap control kinsman
... roach coach genteel canteen settles Betty's battery
... eternal free kittens strange world nice girl
... who loves kittens and flowers
... smell the roses and pet the kittens
... described thusly: "raindrops on roses,
... and whiskers on kittens"

I Love Quoting Things out of Context
... mini-bubbles full of stray kittens
... catch the bubbles, thus leaving the parents in peace
... I got back on the floor with the kittens
... "peace," said Park Ranger Smith
... well said Dad, I love you
... muting in between the measure who you are exposed
... wires culled alert showering
... in a Guns 'N Roses T-shirt
... so you don't even have context

Going to War with Iraq
... hard for kittens
... if we could just get everyone to close their eyes
... and visualize world peace for an hour
... imagine "Free Kittens"
... make it look like a peace sign
... I could see us taking our kittens
... their threat to peace, stability, and the state
... find the right moment to leave the kittens behind
... kittens rustle in false peace in the form of a fragment
... "they're Klingons, not kittens"
... there was no context
... just killing time between wars
... the code phrase is "extra biscuits"
... we're safe as kittens

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