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Poetry by
Philip Fried

Recitations by Author
Art by Mirela Ramona Tanta

Ballade (of the Brands of Future Times)

for Jon Jorgensen


Discretisima by Mirela Ramona TantaTell me where, or in what domain,
Are Serente, a serious but seductive name
With peaceful and enlightened overtones
To sell derivatives or package loans,
Diamia, “my day,” to celebrate
A unique someone or a special date,
And playful Cycliq for what spins in cycles.
Where is the imminent blizzard of brandable names?

Where is Aphora, whose classical pedigree
Offers the burnish and aura of History,
Especially for a brick-and-mortar business
That seeks to expand into cyber space?
But if Aphora’s hint of euphoria
Is over the line, where is Amolia,
Fluid-sounding yet gentle and multilingual?
Where is the imminent blizzard of brandable names?

Olixo, oh so short but memorable;
Long vowels emotional while “x” is stable.
Ethair, fresh and green and lighter than air,
With minimal carbon footprint. No polluter.
Then, for fiscal services, lovely Xillio,
Sure to multiply millions into zillions.
Or if you’re musty, Cacheup would lisp “technology.”
Where is the imminent blizzard of brandable names?

Investor, don’t beg me for Bigabite or Adflair.
I cannot access limbo’s database,
And my roll-call of noms fatals is over:
Where is the imminent blizzard of brandable names?



Following Him on Twitter

A man or a woman, afraid with any sudden
chance of fire or of man’s death is driven
to cry or to pray after help. Yea, how?

Surely, not in many words, nor yet
in one word of two syllables. And therefore
he cryeth a little word: as “fire” or “out!”

For in ghostliness all is one, height and deepness,
And rather it pierceth my “ears” than any
long psalter unmindfully mumbled in the teeth.

Then feel sin a lump, thou wottest never what,
but only thyself. And cry then ghostly
ever on one: “a Sin, sin, sin! Out, out, out!”



From the Mortality Desk

DEBRIS is a full-service credit rating agency, unaffiliated, privately held, adhering only to free-market gospel.

Our creed: that unfettered capital will redeem us from sub-prime abominations and previous sins of securitization.

Our mission: to work as instruments of financial faith by restoring credible options for the global marketplace.

Per this quest, the analysts at our Mortality Desk will rate an ingenious new death-based derivative.

By grace of a win-win transaction, life-policies cashed in by the ill and elderly are bundled in tranches for a death payout.

Pundits concur with DEBRIS on this bond’s redemptive merit—bets on timely death are free of stocks’ volatility.

However, to reap the promise of this novel field, we needed to hone the old mortality models.

Countering the threat of long life, the Methusaleh Liability, we performed statistical smoothing for the over-healthy.

Then, factoring in the stress of medical progress, we filtered out clusters of cancer to forestall the “cure” risk.

The resulting table, rule-based and formulaic, will gauge the justified yield on decease.

As this market matures, DEBRIS will monitor every advance, in curing disease or chance, that impacts belief in the deal.



Amicus Curiae

We of the Alias Guild hereby proclaim our identity and interest in the lawsuit brought by Simpkin-Simon against the Authentication Board for deceased artist Arriba Ditto.

In addressing this rehearing en banc, we designate ourselves a diffuse association of studio groups each working to produce the oeuvre of a famous artistic name.

As the court well knows, Simpkin-Simon’s suit alleges that the board routinely withholds its imprimatur from legitimate Dittos to sharply limit the total of Dittos on the market.

It is further alleged that, as duplicitous executors of the Ditto estate, the board has one sole reason for this ruse—to boost the worth of its own Ditto hoard.

Exempli gratia, regarding the 1965 Nonself Nonportraits, the board is driven to the farcical admission that these works “are not by Arriba Ditto, though signed, dedicated, and dated by same Ditto.”

Ergo, the board omits the pivotal point that it is Ditto’s very nonparticipation in producing the images, a noninvolvement imbued with glamour and humor, that renders them authentic.

Was the board unaware that the lodestar of Ditto’s career was his fascination with the “Copy,” coupled with his nonchalant debunking of the myth of the auteur, the sole and solitary fount of art?

Or that, only weeks before the subcontracting of the silk-screened Nonself, Ditto had offhandedly observed to an interviewer from the glossy Haut Bas, “I am becoming a factory”?

Or further that, as philosopher Ned Inkling elucidated in his Meditation on Ditto, “The question he poses is not, ‘to be or not to be,’ but the far more acute, ‘how to be and not be’?

“. . . And its compelling corollary, with fiscal consequences for Western thought, ‘Is profit the only difference between identical objects, one of which is art and one not?’”

Hence the Alias Guild respectfully seconds Simpkin-Simon’s claim, noting that if you find in his favor, we unseen makers will teem under the aegis of eminent signatures. E pluribus unum.



Philip Fried has published five books of poetry: Mutual Trespasses (Ion, 1988); Quantum Genesis (Zohar, 1997); Big Men Speaking to Little Men (Salmon, 2006); Cohort (Salmon, 2009); and Early/Late: New and Selected Poems (Salmon, 2011).


Mirela Ramona TantaMirela Ramona Tanta is a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, writing her dissertation “ Didactic Art or Sites of Resistance: Socialist Realism in Romania, 1945-1989.” Originally from Romania, where she thought philosophy and directed theater, she came to America as an ArtsLink program fellow in poetry and as a guest of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Fall of 2002, she won curator’s choice for Chicago’s Around the Coyote Arts Festival. Her creative publications include: Watchword, Another Chicago Magazine, and Milk Magazine. She has presented her scholarly work at: The Art Institute of Chicago, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


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