Fugue 11
Friday March 12th 2010, 1:50 am
Filed under: call for submissions,news,reading and writing

The eleventh issue of Four Minutes to Midnight will represent a dramatic change in format, an hors-série as it were, featuring the work of American poet F.A. Nettelbeck and Montréal visual artist Sophie Jodoin. I’m very excited and honoured to be working with such talented artists on this issue, and am happy to say we actually have a real editor/production manager on board this time around too. It’s going to be beautiful…

The issue itself will be split into two booklets. The main booklet will feature F.A. and Sophie in all their glory, and the other booklet will consist of the Fugue (XI) that we’re starting here. For those that are unfamiliar, the typographic fugue is a collaboratively written “poem” loosely inspired by the exquisite corpse surrealist technique. It’s our goal to use this approach to find/create a resonant/dissonant collective voice, marked in time, and through type.

So, to start it off:

“a stranger’s borrowed words…”

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Their ceremonial life would end with each world destruction.


Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.12.10 @ 3:01 pm

When the axe came into the forest the trees said “Look, the handle, it’s one of us…”

(not my words, but it’s what I’m thinking right now)

Comment by kevin 03.12.10 @ 3:15 pm

death grows digital cameras
awaiting a puff of moon
dust is no spectacle but
could be a success
with many happy hours
in and out of bed
the sacristan’s latent
prints an eye chart
for the afterlife

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.12.10 @ 4:26 pm

death grows digital cameras
awaiting a puff of moon
dust is no spectacle but
could be a success with
executed offenders the
easiest money you’ll ever
make with many happy hours
in and out of bed the
killer’s latent prints
an eye chart for the afterlife

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.12.10 @ 5:26 pm


death grows digital cameras
a puff of neon dust
(an eye chart
for the afterlife

“block roads with corpses”

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.12.10 @ 5:28 pm

fisted smiles will see us through the journey.

Comment by greg 03.12.10 @ 8:51 pm

“We’re just dolls!” yelled the dolls.

Comment by Hill via Munsch 03.12.10 @ 9:55 pm

nimble and quick, with knives drawn but love in our eyes…

Comment by kevin 03.13.10 @ 3:00 am

prayers to the
god within you

those words get the
best of everybody

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.13.10 @ 11:41 am

and arise from none.

Comment by greg 03.13.10 @ 12:49 pm

WHAT IN THEE FUCK, where’s everyone at? Heroes and villains, thee word. word. the word is your boss

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.15.10 @ 10:06 pm

“words that could have moved mountains”

slowly but surely, everything t’is amorphous and uncertain right now, but it will take shape, of this I’m sure.

just like

“building steam with a grain of salt…”

Comment by kevin 03.16.10 @ 12:11 am

perhaps, it begins and ends with a respect for words. and the arguments had around a kitchen table and the last dregs of a bottle of red wine.

Because every time we use these words, we either invest them with, or divest them of, meaning… and its a hard choice we have to make…

Comment by kevin 03.16.10 @ 12:50 am

aglow with hope in our wearied eyes and fists clenched in our pockets… moving forward into the belly of the beast.

Comment by wit hoover 03.16.10 @ 1:13 am

johnny said it in the beginning.
1:1 – ex aequo et bono.
fuck that shit, i say.
0:0 – “That we are all ready worderers.”

Comment by hoda 03.18.10 @ 3:24 pm

worders wonders & some sentence prances across the metro LED and as if I could understand it – I’ll smile (not the communacative we’re all interdependent commuters) that wane inner wit smile – no one’s impressed yet. trite

Comment by triangles 03.18.10 @ 7:31 pm

trite is the smiley message of hope on my coffee can.

Comment by greg 03.19.10 @ 12:54 am

words are the same no matter where they’re printed.

Comment by greg 03.19.10 @ 12:58 am

the only thing that changes is where we read them.

Comment by greg 03.19.10 @ 12:58 am

if we’re 70% + water than the arctic is a cemetary

Comment by greg 03.19.10 @ 1:23 am

where the sun goes about so much tomfoolery

Comment by greg 03.19.10 @ 1:27 am

game? someone. please press play.

Comment by greg 03.20.10 @ 1:25 am

they keep asking for more, more, more. gnashing teeth and hurried transactions amongst gray funeral days.

but in my dreams you’re all still there, sitting around a breakfast table, and it is nice and warm and kind, and as I wake I keep asking for more, more, more….

Comment by kevin 03.20.10 @ 11:02 am

all she had was a dagger against the pouring rain

Comment by Marie-Claire 03.20.10 @ 11:03 am

I’m enveloped by so many scattered walls of paper and ink, bone and blood pushed outside

Comment by kevin 03.20.10 @ 11:05 am

i’m sorry i’m sorry isimply dontsea Yknot i’m sorry

Comment by Slim Volumes 03.20.10 @ 2:36 pm

oh la la la oh la la la
oh la la la oh la la la

Comment by debbie millman 03.20.10 @ 11:10 pm

tra la la
and on
and on

Comment by kevin 03.21.10 @ 1:10 am


Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.21.10 @ 10:56 am

at least i can say i was there when you died.

Comment by greg 03.22.10 @ 4:26 am

i hadn’t felt a tear yet, or if i had it’d been so-long. since forgotten. a kindergarten outrage, fled.

i’ve hidden under a pine since.

Comment by greg 03.22.10 @ 4:38 am

I went to church and sat on a chair
waiting patiently for a new word to explode

Comment by realerman 03.23.10 @ 2:09 pm

I C Ice T
be the plungee not the plunger

Comment by Slim Volumes 03.23.10 @ 4:04 pm

the DNA inside it
the mutations
the surprises around the corner

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.25.10 @ 10:30 am

virus and descent
not the end
and happiness around the bend
i smile
one way or another
this will end

Comment by ominator 03.25.10 @ 2:21 pm

I was covered in slugs and wet from the rain

Comment by jpking 03.25.10 @ 3:15 pm

shake like a dog and see what sky is left.

Comment by greg 03.27.10 @ 4:01 am

points in muscle mark the early hours, the sleep, the next-day apple — outputting energy, not power.

Comment by kfreek 03.28.10 @ 11:22 am

the dead are left alive

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 03.28.10 @ 9:22 pm

or as dust on fingertips, left stained money love handles on his ass.
smoked jim carroll’s last will
left more finger prints on the wall
dreamed nyshitty in another city

Comment by trianglesFallen 03.29.10 @ 12:31 pm

“have an edifying day”
I am blowing you…a kiss.
I wanna be that someone you used…to know.
I don’t wannna cry, but it’s so easy
doves and hawks
I wannnna share soft crosses*
bone crushing waves of The Luna Sea.

Comment by realerman 03.31.10 @ 2:23 pm

so damned dramatic, these ashes. lustrum in the dustbin.

Comment by greg 04.01.10 @ 8:03 pm

it is still a heavy history.

Comment by kevin 04.02.10 @ 12:10 am

this smoldering penance is a relief.

Comment by greg 04.02.10 @ 7:06 am

frazzled azure waters only come across me as electric.

Comment by greg 04.02.10 @ 8:36 am

fences dare me to piss on them.

Comment by greg 04.02.10 @ 8:37 am

it’s never been shocking, my pissing on the passing.

Comment by greg 04.02.10 @ 8:39 am

(feel free to fuck with punctation.) before/after.
my gift to an editor. is…… hmmmm.
time and erosion.
ore and the panner.
ever seen ‘pale rider’?
fuck do i love that film.
“nothin beats a good piece of hickory” or something to that effect. emphasized by ‘hoosiers’ another movie i’ll always stop to watch. (god bless sunday t.v. movies, preacher.)
blow the fuck out of it? or sift?
hammer at the vein? or at the boulder?
and will she come around the mountain when she comes?
when she comes will she ride six white horses?

Comment by greg 04.02.10 @ 9:00 am

Yo no lo he hecho.

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 04.02.10 @ 3:08 pm

heaven is holding on and I want more & more & more from you, out of me, from everyone…

this can’t be it.

Comment by kevin 04.07.10 @ 9:51 am

resistance is beautiful

Comment by greg 04.07.10 @ 5:59 pm

in deed not in fashion
not any
is beauty – not my stupid mistakes not my preservation of it
not even forgetting

Comment by triambles 04.07.10 @ 7:44 pm

forever along the path of no energy.

Comment by greg 04.08.10 @ 10:14 am

operating in the interval
between being & beacon
is a con

nothing signals
as strong
as it seems


Comment by jah 04.08.10 @ 9:04 pm

except giving the finger to a mirror.

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 04.09.10 @ 6:29 pm

My eye – fingered in the mirror
retrained by knuckles; stars burst
forever along the path of no energy.
fucker, lying again –
I’ve never felt more tired
going to bed – useless,
mirrored on the inside,
repeating to infinity.

Comment by tao 04.10.10 @ 5:28 pm

a flock of feathers fanning out a forest fire
all seeing eye in the house
of the architect whose thoughts imersed in monstrous obsurdity
representing the long and lost

Comment by realerman 04.10.10 @ 6:43 pm

reconstructs it over top of itself again,
with the same dissatisfying result.

Comment by tao 04.10.10 @ 8:42 pm

It begins with respect for a word. The arguments had dregs. The last bottle of red wine. Kevin sits at tables.

Because every time we invest, we use or divest, meaning… it’s a hard choice we have to make…

i’m simply sorry Ydont seigh

this is it

Comment by johnk 04.10.10 @ 8:55 pm

It? that IT was……
something to remember, when we’re 80 it’ll be a moment to carress. pet and favour like a child that’s done well. chirp and preen around it. oh! can you believe this was the fruit of my loins? my loin!
even though they had nothing to do with it but fucking.

Comment by greg 04.11.10 @ 11:42 am

I became something from that gasp. something. anyways.

Comment by greg 04.11.10 @ 11:59 am

a planned implosion. last call.

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 04.12.10 @ 6:40 pm


Comment by tao 04.13.10 @ 4:37 am

That’s all you get.
The best laid plans

Comment by tao 04.14.10 @ 10:49 am

eone gone,
eone else.

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 04.15.10 @ 5:15 pm


Comment by kevin 04.16.10 @ 12:04 pm


Comment by tao 04.16.10 @ 2:07 pm

so you will not know it
as hard as you try
keep trying to see
them off

Comment by tao 04.16.10 @ 2:12 pm

Starved on a meal of sutures, we wrote the lexicon of decay.

Hemispheres form in a heavy fringe across the brow, housing species of half-truths wholly confrontational.

Comment by LizWorth 04.16.10 @ 3:55 pm

in an obsidian benediction
on the borderline
covered in magazine collage
faces with the hopped-up
ghost horses through
the abandoned Wal-Mart that
smells like the sobriety
of skeletons on that
night the Okie pulled pistol
because it was none of
our god damned business
if he was fucking an Indian

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 04.16.10 @ 4:27 pm

Phoo! It is the tao whose brow is of furrowed obsidian! Sternly, squarely in the confrontational hemispheres.
Holy hopped up horsemen Batman,
take an apocalyptic swing;
fat plastic bat that wal-mart
whacked benediction stinking of God breath

Picking sutures from teeth half false
half bitten, half chewed remington.

Shit – so impatient.
Fuck it all right up.

A green fix should last



Or is it blue?
none of our goddamned business
if he was fucking a hot pepper in Mexico.
The point is the type – how many point?
The point?
Lost it in translation.
I think he liked Clark-Novas,
and how did he get involved in this anyhow?
Smells like the drunkenness of skeletons
on that night I wanted to pull
a gattling gun typewriter from my waistband
and the brand name was the only way,
because of my impatience.

There is a situation in the soft machine aisle.
Follow the signs to avoid a confusion.
Create an illusion to aid in obfuscation.
If in time, it doesn’t rhyme,
I am reminded that my metrics are screwed as well.

“time and erosion
ore and the panner
ever seen (the) pale rider?”

white rider gold rushing
Okie pulled the pistol
and fucked the Indians
steel horse ridden hard
buffalo jumped
new worlds to inherit.

Then sit at battered tables and desks
battering battered typwriters and gin
(No – make it whiskey)
make it more meaningful
make it more beautiful

wondering how we got to
buying metaphor from Wal-Mart
reflecting on strip malls
in the new world.

Because of the Genocide.
A stranger’s borrowed words

Comment by tao 04.17.10 @ 12:11 am

their demands are seductive
their language indiscreet
but in seeing what I’ve left myself with here
these fragments and traces of broken homes
i don’t really see what else I can offer

Comment by kevin 04.20.10 @ 12:43 am

aside from all these bitter words, twisted towards (to mean) hope

Comment by kevin 04.20.10 @ 12:49 am

open the window finally – the snow left and goddamn it never really seems like
any kind of winter any godddamn more

Comment by trongalngle 04.20.10 @ 6:59 pm

I’m carrying winter with me, in my fragile brittle bones. But this ain’t about me…

Comment by kevin 04.23.10 @ 12:49 am

..or about soap, or the hair cut that will win the vote. It’s just another sullen song

Comment by triteangles 04.23.10 @ 1:22 pm

about the green fix

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 04.23.10 @ 9:14 pm

keeping it real:

The girl I walk by at the reception desk every wednesday and thursday afternoon makes my heart flutter and my knees weak. Quite literally, and each time a little bit more and more. I barely made it to the elevator today…

And yet, I’ve only ever exchanged a brief “salut, ça va?” with her, too shy to utter another word before rushing past. What is this? I mean, seriously, this makes no sense to me. How can I fall in love so quickly, so often, so uselessly?

Comment by kevin 04.28.10 @ 2:51 pm

To keep emotions supple, to be prepared, open. Sometimes it happens.

Comment by tao 04.29.10 @ 6:04 pm

“Simple Gifts” was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine in 1848. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Several Shaker manuscripts indicate that this is a “Dancing Song” or a “Quick Dance.”

Comment by Hill 05.02.10 @ 3:50 pm

My mum used to sing that song to me. I had no idea it was a Shaker song or how she knew it (she thinks it came from Sharon, Lois & Bram).

Makes me think of this Guthrie song Shawn used to play:

I Ain’t Got No Home in This World Anymore
(Woody Guthrie)

I ain’t got no home, I’m just a-ramblin’ round
I’m just a wandrin’ worker, I roam from town to town.
The police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.

My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road
A hot and dusty road that a million feet done trod;
Rich man took my home and drove me from my door
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.

Was a-farmin’ on the share, and always I was poor
My crops I laid into the banker’s store;
My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.

Now as I look round, it’s mighty plain to see
The world is such a great and a funny place to be;
The gamblin’ man is rich and the workin’ man is poor
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.

Comment by Hill 05.02.10 @ 3:54 pm

75 starlings fell from the sky//The birds had suffered broken beaks//All but five were dead + had to be put to sleep

“The mystery about what happened to the birds is just as puzzling as what caused the deaths of thousands of crows, pigeons, wattles and honeyeaters which fell out of the sky in Esperance, Western Australia in 2007. A few weeks later, dozens of grackles, sparrows and pigeons also dropped dead on the other side of the world in Austin, Texas.”

“During the early morning hours of a day in November 1896, a deluge of dead birds fell from a clear sky above Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They fell in such numbers that contemporary accounts say that they “cluttered the streets of the city”. The birds included wild ducks, catbirds, woodpeckers and many birds of strange plumage, some of them “resembling canaries”. The birds were all dead and fell in heaps throughout the city.”

Comment by H-intobirdsrightnow-Rexe 05.05.10 @ 1:16 pm


birds in a cemetery
are actual messengers

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 05.09.10 @ 12:12 pm

rumors of a
classical form
of immortality
refuse to die
a technique
rooted solely in
the beefy torque
of these
Jovian moons
& harnessed by
a constant rate
of sinking
into the cracked
& drippy void
proof would really
be something
we’re here
just open the hatch
& take off
your suit

Comment by Ian 05.11.10 @ 4:06 pm

we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Comment by kevin 05.12.10 @ 3:41 pm

and we’ve yet to arrive

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 05.15.10 @ 11:29 pm


A black sausage
broke the yolk,

a rocket stuck
in the moon’s eye,

passing over
the star-flecked counter.

Comment by Ian 05.17.10 @ 1:33 pm


sucking your
black sausage

passing over
the broken yolk

of the moon when
the hand-held

plastic counter
pops its spring

and that last
nut explodes like

stars under the
semi truck as it

passes before

ejects like a
rocket of cold rain

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 05.26.10 @ 10:33 pm

Spur of the moment life encounters… this is what I think makes life interesting and worth living!

Comment by T 05.27.10 @ 1:17 pm

make some jokes.

Comment by Charles 05.27.10 @ 1:21 pm

“our way to fall”
bright light and a soft breeze at the café
a subdued urgency
because we’re on our way…

Comment by kevin 05.27.10 @ 1:34 pm



night in the thicket
star-abandoned dark
the air turned a colour
sweat tempered skin
texture of finest hair


when it was over
the yoke cleaned back
into a shell uncracked
a smooth clean smell
the eyes opened


too dark she said
reached a hand to feel
what it was if her dreams
skin had been correct
in their estimation


don’t light your cigars
gentleman by the fire
for I in error
have been born
blue by a white father

Comment by Joshua Mensch 05.27.10 @ 2:06 pm

granny girls
i can spot them a mile away
especially when i’m hungry
greetings my intellectual giants
been had money
she likes to sleep in black heat
free wheeler man
did all my best dreaming on her breast
i kicked a hole in the wall
blamed it on a bad man

Comment by realerman 05.27.10 @ 4:17 pm

we meet
in the space
in between

gathering words
in the space
in between

which I normally sit in

Comment by alex 05.31.10 @ 10:09 pm

personal injury.) wobbly walk
rolling of the eyes|

The wood-framed house against
the soft foliage, the warm dirt

…no funciona bien.

“’tis the raylics of ould decency,
the hat me fahther wor-r-re”

Comment by F. A. Nettelbeck 06.16.10 @ 10:41 pm

friendly fires [un]exist.
creates blood stories.
breaking corpses.
flags [un]suspended.
just shut up for a second
and let’s meet
in the yesterday.

Comment by maria 06.25.10 @ 9:56 am


Comment by Ian 07.12.10 @ 1:03 pm

pass the blood sausage
all the stars have rocketed off into a tremulous dawn
leaving a vast throat filmed with mercurochrome
and the raw ache of stories

the fires have furled their flags into silence
and we lapse there
wet young denuded deities
lapping amniocentesis

Comment by John Moore Williams 12.14.10 @ 6:18 pm

the tremble and treble,
it sounds,
and i kiss everything that is blue.

Comment by young venus 12.22.10 @ 2:47 pm

too soon
thickened paint globs
just beneath the top layer
that hardened too soon
a blemish on a painting – unfinished
adding texture
subtracting the rest

-Matthew Raymond Diomataris

Comment by Matthew R. Diomataris 03.01.13 @ 5:04 pm

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