about mark flanigan

Cincinnati native Mark Flanigan has been writing and performing for over 14 years....Works from his collections Wrong-Way Poems For One-Way Streets, Not Necessarily God Stories and Next to Nothing have appeared in a variety of independent publications and, along with his performances, have garnered critical acclaim. He has also co-written a screenplay (“Midway,” with Brian Keizer), edited a literary publication (omnibscure) and worked to develop, produce and curate various gallery shows and performance readings -- notably, VOLK/c.s.p.i. and Intermedia Series readings at the Contemporary Arts Center and the Weston art gallery. Flanigan’s monthly column, “Exiled on Main Street,” appeared for over three years, first in x-ray, and upon his resignation there, at semantikon.com. Performances of his can be found on “the Volk/c.s.p.i. spoken word series CD (2001),” which he co-produced, and on the CD “One Night Only" (2002).   To learn more about his work, read his blog, review some of the works mentioned above, and listen to additional audio tracks:

Visit markflanigan.com

flanigan audio
mark flanigan exiled from archives

October 2007: The Dance

June 2007: Cake
May 2007: Special Edition "Light Travel" Mark Flanigan and Steve Proctor
April 2007: Zero Hour
March 2007: Prelude to a Kiss-Off
Jan 2007: State Of The Disunion Address 
Nov 2006: Youngblood
Oct 2006: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
exiled on main street archives

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Exiled from Main Street 5: Esiliato dall’ltalia
 

April 22, 1515

Dear Leo,

     Is that you? Found in thought, by the river?
     It’s hard to say, really, seeing how much time has passed since I’ve last laid eyes on you....If so, pray tell, why the long face?
     I know it’s been a long road, my friend, but despondency at this hour is no better a fit than the common garb you, as a youth, refused to don. A long road, to be sure, having had to venture forth from city to city, your case of notebooks carried to each by someone else’s long face....And still an uncertain future.
     Is yours because, in this quest to systematize all knowledge of Nature, you have yet to make good on the threat of putting your notes in order? Well, pity the man that perfects the frame before the picture, as it reminds me of the sleep you once so much despised! As they say here: man, let someone else do it....Trust that they will, once they are capable of recognizing treasure, I mean. I know, everything simply takes too much time....
     Or is it because so many inspirations remain just plans? That the lowly canvass calls out for another stroke from the hand that, of late, has started to shake? This while, you probably know better than anybody, the air and water see to it that even rock is not allowed to rest! Verily, the next time La Giocondo calls for her portrait, remind her that no one seems to be rushing the sea....
     What’s more, I damn near puked upon hearing you mention the Pope....Since when do you recognize any deity other than Nature? So what if little Leo caught wind of the three corpses you skinned and, as a result, confiscated your scalpels? I mean, think about it, the man that purports to be closest to God probably still thinks the heart is not a muscle, for no other reason than he doesn’t have one. And I am left only to wonder how in the hell he didn’t hear about the first fifty-seven. One of us definitely should send word to Galileo to be more discreet....
     Jesus, man, what shame is there in speaking in a tongue other than Latin? Especially when, once understood, it proves even less vulgar! Really, who would pull their hair out because, while answering the highest calling, one realized there is something beyond the ceiling? Besides, Maximilian surely can’t fool the press forever, and I hear France is most pleasant come autumn....
     Which reminds me: Leo, next time you deign to convince someone that Painting is more heavenly than Poetry, do us both a favor and try someone that’s not starving at the foot of the latter. Oh, how times have changed! To think of all the kings I’ve contacted to be in their court, only to discover there are kings no more! So, hang your painter’s brevity, and alongside it your contention that one voice lacks the ability to “produce the beauty of harmonious proportions set in harmonious divisions of time.”
     I shall be as inglorious as to refute you with your own words, my friend. Was it not you that proclaimed an instant has no time? That time is made of movement of the instant, and instants are the boundaries of time? Did I mishear, later, when you also said that movement had the power to extend to infinite velocity? Are you, of all people, incapable of doing the math?
     Enough questions, then, allow only my lamentation that such a thing, I guess, does not exist for me....Which is my only criticism of you: I concur that Experience is valuable indeed, but will caution all the same that, for every step you further your inquiry with that alone, you will find yourself hindered in equal measure. Remember the last time we saw each other? At one point you berated me for drinking out of the water jar whilst I stood next to a fountain....You never answered me, when I retorted, why drink from the fountain when we can drink from the sea? Herein I ask again....
     Maybe sometimes the sun should move. And small things like Imagination and Instinct are the soles that allow are shoes to work at all. These are my only points. And if you need argue them, feel free to do so in person....I assume you will be in Italy for a few days more?
     I’d suggest that you send one of those strangely dark femmine to gather me, but know better....As it is, have Melzi or another of your boys pick me up. My flight number is 1519 and it, too, will be leaving will soon....

P.S. Tell Michelangelo we all know he fucks young boys in the ass, too.


EDITOR'S NOTE:
"The following text was written upon the author having been asked to write something for the exhibition Ideas into Objects: Reinterpreting the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, which is set to open at the Weston Art Gallery at the Aronoff Center on April 22, 2005. The accompanying metal armature housing both the letter and the image selected from his notebooks-- done by artist Kathryn Schmidt--will be on display there, along with the work of over seventy other artists, until June 10, 2005."