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lewis la cook

Lewis LaCook is a poet who wandered one day into a gorgeously chaotic, polylogical room. He's been there ever since.

Born in Lorain, Ohio on November 5, 1970, he began writing poetry in his early teens, shortly after the death of his father. At sixteen, Black River Review first published his work; subsequently, small press journals like Whiskey Island, the Coventry Reader, and Lost and Found Times published LaCook's poetry.

While attending Kent State University in the mid-to-late nineties, LaCook developed a passion for music, and played in several bands. Chad Mossholder of the ambient techno duo Twine was an early band mate. During this time LaCook continued to write poetry and publish in the small presses, culminating in 2000 when anabasis press published his long poem Cling as a chapbook.

In the late nineties LaCook discovered the internet, and was immediately struck by how easily he might combine his two passions, music and poetry, into a cohesive whole. After the unexpected and tragic death of a close friend in 1999, LaCook barricaded himself in an apartment in Kent, Ohio, and taught himself the rudiments of HTML. It was during this period that LaCook also began collaborating with the poet Sheila Murphy; their long poem, Beyond the Bother of Sunlight, has appeared in excerpts in several small press venues, but has yet to be published in its entirety.

As LaCook's use of the internet increased, his focus began to shift from using the medium as a multimedia and distributive tool to exploring it for its own sake. In 2001 he left Kent State University to live with his fiancee Renee Vaverchak in Richmond, Virginia. While there, he began teaching himself basic programming skills, and began using Macromedia's Flash authoring tool to realize his vision of an interactive hypermedia poetry. His early works in this genre met with some success; Rhizome.org began accepting his works into their artBase in 2002, and online venues like CTheory Multimedia, Cauldron and Net, Artifacts at Web Del Sol, 3rd Bed and Slope presented his works on their web sites.

LaCook continues to work in a networked medium, reveling in the ability it gives him to create work that allows for the collaboration between the user and the work itself.


from THE SKY


F.W. Murnau pulled himself up, rubbing the plague in
sleepy granules from his eyes. As he did this,
boulders rolled by, as if suspended in a current;
somewhere at some point in his peripheral vision they
dipped beyond the mess of his perception . The
pavement was carpeted with blunt teeth of glass. He
smiled; he knew he was smiling emptily.

Jean Cocteau, he thought; was it inappropriate to
think of Jean after last night? He'd stood in a field,
after reading too many emails about poetry and parks;
on one side, some sort of company dispatched its
trucks for the night; on one side, the irrevocable
back lot of a shopping center unrolled beneath a pink
sky that murmured about distance , murmured and
followed The Death of Love, already distraught-thin
and stumbling vacantly, across the sick punches his
shoes shot into the newly-rained-on grass. On one
side, sleep fell like windows of a house across the
nihil fragrance of tobacco interlaced with his shirt.
And he didn't--or, more appropriately, couldn't--care:
the blitzed starvation in that broken smile The Death
of Love wore had already leached him of everything
he'd known as human.

So F.W. Murnau tried to think of the inhuman. Almost
by reflex he thought first of the computer; the
inarticulate stutter of pages and pictures building
up, loading. The safety of binary, of hexadecimal, of
instruction code and logic and mathematics and
everything a man had to translate to touch. Every act
presupposed another; in the computer, mediation upon
mediation built up a skin that, because of its
density, was highly polished. And yet, lying face up
in that field, a dawn in gauze staining the overcast,
it seemed to F. W. Murnau to be a half-hearted effort.
To understand the computer, to occupy the space of the
computer, was nothing more to him than a man trapped
in a trick house of mirrors; the unfamiliarity of the
house turned out to be only himself, distorted by his
own hand.

Masturbation! It sickened him to stare into a mirror
all day. Jean was like that; Jean never seemed to
leave himself, no matter how many long walks in the
park they took together. The Death of Love, on the
other hand, was the exact opposite: F.W. Murnau
wondered sometimes if The Death of Love was ever
herself; she stared out the windows of the apartment
all morning long, blinking slowly, untouchable, with
all the exclusiveness of a pariah. If Jean Cocteau,
every time F.W. Murnau touched him, froze, heat
spitting around him, splitting the pores of the air,
The Death of Love, when similarly stimulated, would
only sigh.

He shrugged. He didn't see the point in much of
anything anymore. Most of the trucks had left for the
night. A tired-looking young man opened the back door
of the Save-a-lot; he tossed a greasy white trash bag
into the dumpster.

Th dawn birds had stopped singing.



History carries its properties
across borders of abstraction
into the weight of the sun
tugging shadows across

the treelawn. Anenome's once
headache thins with appointment
cancelation, tasting the lightning
deep in her teeth. This year, alone,

she broke in directions. Every charm
against the night attracts poly
morphism the same way
sleep does: shivers for fruitful gods.




ssssshhh//hollow wand/no end//glint//as carved, vr/rc,
ing vacant lip//ed, kiss as, owner
cotton//null//elope, a poison ing//soy/toll/poem//red
delicate liberated//rb, bl, d//dr, doors roped
off/velvet, taciturn//attourney/in tune with, just
waking//waiting to fall asleep//mem/ish, esque,
ic/entary//ai, ai, ai, ai//sure not to
read//iness/inept, pessimists stimulated



puffy sky inflate grip of treetp//pr, la/ks,
aleph//Then came the bl/cko/t//Early reports traced
the problem to failures at FirstEnergy tr/nsmi//ion//
lines in Ohio. The company//. COM //C:\run pm
module//But the l/gisl//tion has also become almost a
d1rty w0r*:d in some circles in recent months:\The
Republican-led House v*t~d overwhelmingly last month
to repeal a key provision//sieve, vase/plan,
schema:\E:\Windows\System\tartar sauce, tamper



pf, .pd, E:\feelingly, with a more various
temp//0//With thr33 p3opl3 d*ad in//similar
single-shot snpr ttcks// n Wst Vrgn lst w33k,/ federal
agents who investigated the serial sniper case in the
Washington area last year ha//you laugh now/winnowed
by truthfulness:\really necessary agreement\other
questions must be answered//absolutely
empty//Josette:\would like:\this--**~**--//lightning
trickles from the veins in the sky:\walking, knowing
you're home/afraid of you//your vacation:\==otherwise,
why walk in this wind that eats up:\your steps




Walking down a wooded road
after midnight, until you hit
frequented streets
is a synthesis of sex. Streetlights
in parking lots alone
alterate amber and
a frigid blue. F. W. Murnau
steps through fireworks
of puddles into
WnterMute's autumnal speech.
This is how to beautify
your syntax: rolls of love
and involving lathes
think as you vellum
in a parch. If I could patch
us up again, what I'd do
is suffer less, try to learn what
won't numb in words, try to flower
mathematically if I can, with
no wit of pleasure in my petals.
There's this awful tension (it's
night, and I have no hope but to
smoke milk and drink cigarettes, cast
from such polite society as a pieta
stippled with raucous syrups, as
simple then, and protruding
in my landing in fists across
the back of Maggie Evans, TAKE
I hope that because you had me
before this, long before my terrible
injuries made me reclusive and
corpulent, long nights of vowels
can pierce your tongue, to pleasure
with solemnity, those portraits I )
within me, that these words are
dead with me, and I float face-
down over your hair, kissing your face
with my dead lips until I learn to
blush again, and everything's
less still, less sacred. Sitting down
a mother's couch as a bed
in the same light in a room
everyone wakes up in, my index
finger fumes with nicotine and
malaise, I am again your clever
sophomore, not a dumb hulk of
brandy beads and satyr, writing
his suicide notes in chalk on the plains
of plantations and concentration camps
and murders that leak computers
into an ever-thinning air. Vestiges
of gentility still
paw these rotten
shores. Horizon
almost low
enough for notes.
I strip, lactating
purpose. I postpone gender. You
adore in vacant colors nasal drip
as a sign your body wants to live
badly enough. You are sugar-poisoned--
blue and red and wet in the morning,
don't move. I hope these words
find you well. They've been
so hungry. Armitage, too, though
the first thing I remember is the
sound of the lawnmower coming from
the houses ahead of me. And then
Jean knots this simplicity, this starvation;
starring at your hips, not limp
with strange fertile juice, but
heavy with it walking home
wishing I was walking on a red star.
I fell in love with a girl from Mars,
a raw sonic dithyramb, a meter
both alone and gathered in sameness;
I narrow in dim rooms. Why do I
like it here in the dark so much, I
ask Willie Loomis, I ask Aloysha
Karamazov, why do I keep my head down
and my eyes averted in the presence
of crude projects women, cellphones
poised over barking mouths, fleas
biting my shame for them and for
me so infestested, horny for the blood
of Isabel. The cat slinks across
the carpet to me, watches me with
a plaintive sigh. She, too, slips
across the mesh sequestered and
soft, a puerile lollipop, when all of
Renee apart is tart tongue dictation,
some translation of breath thumb-nail'd
and aimed straight for you, to
lie over her face and shield her
from this dumbness in me.
I've always wanted to be light.
My horrible injury subjects me.

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