Shooting' the shit about the Shit Abyss
My good friend, The Old Doctor, has written and original and remarkable work, The Auguries of Shit Abyss. This piece comprises of over 1200 poems on the topic of shit. But not just any shit; T.O.D. examines his own daily output and records the result as poetry. Read some of the poems here.
What are the Auguries of Shit Abyss?
T.O.D: The Auguries are proprioceptive portents of the future of all organically constructed civilizations. They are also a comment on Twitter culture and Facebook. Indeed, an alternate working title for the Auguries is Fecebook. Further, they are a a way of ensuring that regardless of how one’s life is going it is always possible for the humanoid to generate great poetry. In addition, they are cabalistically coded magical instructions to members of my order, as well as emanations of the Qliphoth and channelings of the ghosts of George Oppen and William Carlos Williams taking turns sodomizing each other. And they are my closest golem buddies. They are musical compositions. They are a shamanistic response to the 2012 hysteria. They are also magical movements to Immanentize the Eschiton. Oh, and they’re a record of all the shits I had from the Fall of 2011 to New Year’s Eve, 2012.
What was the source or inspiration for this project?
T.O.D: Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” was a key source, bill bissett’s “a warm place to shit” perhaps another. As well, the uncompleted manifestations of my earlier shit corpus. And of course the work in toto of The Reverend Michael Roth. And all of the lip servicers of critical theory going on about writing the body. Guyotat too. And, of course, Jim Lahey from Trailer Park Boys, the episode where he talks about the Shit Abyss, which is, I suppose, the ur-text.
For many years, I wanted to shoot video of every shit I took, but the 7-11 wouldn’t rent me a video cam without my having a credit card. So I did this instead. Cheaper, better, more scholarly. I guess with cell phone cameras now it might be easier, but I don’t know how to use one. Imagine if there had been all of these cell phones in GG Allin’s day.
Can you explain your method?
T.O.D: Make it new! Seriously, folks, here’s how it works. First I drop my pants and take a crap. Now, at first I would stand up before wiping, take a mental energetic snapshot, then sit down and wipe, get up to look again, then flush, storing special moments all the while. Then I would grab my notebook and write the poem. The next day, I would take what I’d written in the notebook and put it on the computer, sometimes with editing, though most of the poems need no editing at all (you know, Keroucrap, first crap, best crap, etc). Sometimes, if I feel an especially promising one coming out, I’ll get excited and look between my legs while still on the toilet. Pink Floyd “Flaming” just came up quasi-randomly on shuffle. I would recommend playing this song while reading this answer.
How many poems to date comprise the Auguries?
T.O.D: Over 1200 (I think I have irritable bowel syndrome). This number excludes all of the non-Auguries shit poems and prose rhapsodies (probably another 50 at least, dating back to the early 90s) and the 20 page time traveler shit extravaganza in one of my acolyte’s 1000 page self-described masterpiece, Symphony: A Transtemporal, Multispatial, Metaquizzical Interview of an Averaged Entity. The bastard ripped me off, but, as I always say, there’s more where that came from.
How does your diet or exercise regime influence your poetics?
T.O.D: You’ve obviously been reading the Augeries very closely! Rev, I just wanna say to you something that Robert Anton Wilson said to me back in 1987: If I had a million readers like you, I’d be in heaven. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my bottom. And for all the good times.
Anyway, to answer your insightful question, they have a huge influence. The form of the poems, the texture of the language, depends of course on the shape and texture of the shits I take. Also, the emotional tenor of the pieces (both shits and poems) is very dependent upon spicing. For example, some of the most emotionally moving of the Auguries emerge on the tail end of kimchi binges. If I’m constipated, the shits that eventually emanate have a more sculptural quality, obviously, and are usually more humanoid and sentient in their demeanor, kind of like Henry Moores.
Exercise also plays a huge role. In particular, on heavy squat and/or deadlift days I find my bowels become a little more agitated than usual, and so I’ll have a number of pre-workout micro-shits--probably a good thing considering the exercises in question. I don’t think we’d have this legacy of 1200 plus Auguries if it weren’t for my pre-workout nerves shits. This all goes to show that a heavy powerlifting routine doesn’t have to turn one into a meathead.
Do you keep the shit in case scholars need to check the source material?
T.O.D: I did try to, but the ice box filled up pretty quickly, and then we had a two day power outage. I also tried freeze-drying them, but the cat got into them. And bugs, lotsa bugs (don’t know how they got in there, but I learned something about Renaissance theories of biogenesis that I think contemporary practitioners have missed out on). Thinking about it now, I guess it could have been construed an act of cruelty inflicted upon the parasites I am responsible for, for sometimes manifesting as a god in human form can be very difficult. I do, however, have a special section within the Akashic Records where all of the shits are stored for the perusal of the scholarly, the adoring, or the just plain curious. Also, whatever’s under my fingernails. Other than that, they may be shit outta luck, although traces I’m sure still exist in my sewer pipe, which scholars are welcome to send a fiber optic cam down to investigate. In the near future, of course, literary biographies will be based on collated surveillance and online snooping data, but I came along just a bit early for that. A cell phone camera would have rectumfied that.
Does the consistency or the composition of the source material influence the form of the poem?
T.O.D: The form of the poems, the texture of the language, depends of course on the shape and texture of the shits I take. Also, the emotional tenor of the pieces (both shits and poems) is very dependent upon spicing. For example, some of the most emotionally moving of the Auguries emerge on the tail end of kimchi binges. If I’m constipated, the shits that eventually emanate have a more sculptural quality, obviously, and are usually more humanoid and sentient in their demeanor, kind of like Henry Moores.
What are the theoretical or culinary currents running through the Shit Abyss?
T.O.D: Good question. Theory-wise, of course the notion of writing the body. Shit Abyss is probably the greatest realization of this theoretical gesture in the history of world poetry. Also, the theoretical example Steve Fonyo gave to all of us in his heroic run across Canada. I would also invoke Baudrillard as a theoretical foil, and Zizek as a negative point of mimesis. Culinary-wise, Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’ s Kitchen, and Nigellalisima have major representation here (Lou Reed and Metallica doing their brilliant rendition of “White Light/White Heat” now playing on shuffle: thank you friends in Germany!) And of course The Opsonic Index Cookbook!
Does Shit Abyss constitute a praxis?
T.O.D: As my Uncle Jake used to say, you betcha! It is a realization of the continued primacy of the subaltern in the face of the ideological homogenizations of Capital. Indeed, homogenized milk now gives me the runs.
If you flush before revealing the shit to yourself, do you believe it actually happened?
T.O.D: No. And neither did I.
Is the act of the shit leaving the body similar to occult initiation?
T.O.D: It IS an occult initiation, a revelation of the Great Work. Humanity’s great spiritual teachers have always taught that the truth can be found right under one’s nose, or up one’s butthole. Not to mention the putrefactio.
How does the theory of mimesis play into this poem cycle?
T.O.D: Well, for one thing, apparently the poems stink, though they smell wonderful to me. I always try to render the rhythms of the turd leaving my asshole and splashing the water. After all, Auerbach was an itchy German, nicht? It’s more difficult to square more contemporary theories of mimesis with the Auguries as from the perspective of the term the poems do not resist so much as mirror the concerns (Wild Man Fischer “ Think of Me When Your Clothes Are Off” just came up on shuffle, one of the greatest songs of the past 50 years) of mainstream society. In fact, they do so with such accuracy that I think the Auguries could and should made into a great TV series ala The Sopranos, Mad Men or Seinfeld. Did you know that Laurie Anderson’s “Kokoku” is about discovering a pile of turds in a temple full of tourists (just change all the vowels to “a”)?
Do you believe the shit on the toilet paper to be a degeneration or cheap imitation of the original source material?
T.O.D: Funny, someone and I were discussing art books today. I see the toilet paper as a frame for the art object. Or perhaps a filigree, a frontispiece come ass backwards, an autograph. I see the shit on it as having deep adjunctive relevance, and its own primacy as well. After all, some people are more disturbed by dirty asswipe than by the originary ur-shit. The reason for this I think may be that the shit on the toilet paper has a time binding capacity that the raw initial creation doesn’t: asswipe sticks around for far longer than turds do, as anyone with a plugged sewer line can testify.
How is Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the Rhizome expressed through the Auguries?
T.O.D: Absolutely. All of the Auguries are invisibly interconnected in countless ways not just to each other, but to the rest of my corpus. There are many subaltern political agendas manifest in the Auguries, agendas which one day, when they have infiltrated undetected from below the workings of post-capitalist society, will become many among the thousand plateaus of a future critical praxis. As D and G note, the multiple must be made sometimes in the simplest of ways. In the sewer, the great sewer, any semiotic piece of shit can mix with any other. Shit exposes pseudo-multiplicities for what they are, sad and demented ego fictions. These multiplicities reside in the greatest locus of multiplicity in the human experience, the lower intestine. This rhizomatic glob of shit “One More Red Nightmare” by King Crimson on shuffle like blood on the asswipe, this rhizomatic glob can be divided up and yet maintains its hologrammatic structure. This book emanates from and joins again that great, great symbolic and literal and littoral locale of our interconnectivity, the humanoid asshole and its fecund pronouncements.
When you have the flu, is it the will of the virus that is expressed?
T.O.D: Yes, but not just. I find all flues to be initiatory events, events within which the virus is a willing participant. In that sense, the flu is also the will of the universe to increase the magical knowledge of the aspirant (Reich’s "Desert Music 3b" now on shuffle). There are numerous flu initiations recalled in Shit Abyss.
Is constipation the equivalent to writer’s block?
T.O.D: Not for me. It’s just another manifestation of creation. For example, one time I was constipated for a week. When I finally crapped, the turd had the size and shape of a gila monster. And it wriggled in the toilet of its own volition, and winked at me. Unfortunately, this crap was pre-Auguries, but I did manage to tell a slam audience about it, and it was filmed (and again, there’s always the Akashic Records). Like the Sistine Chapel or the Apocalypse, some things just take longer to cook up. It’s important to remain cognizant of the big picture. One of my great early poems was called “Constipation and the Move of Constellation.” It was part of an epic describing the history of the universe as it manifests as my consciousness and thus everyone’s.
Are you stuck within an obsessive second circuit loop or are you examining second circuit programming from a higher circuit?
T.O.D: Depends on which psychiatrist you ask, I suspect. My last tarot draw suggested the latter, but then it was the Crowley deck, so who the hell knows for sure with that kind of question? Kind of the quandary story quarry of pretty much every humanoid delusion/action construct, wouldn’t you say, Rev? Joy Division “Isolation” live from the Love, Fear, Isolation boot just came up on shuffle (“Constipation!”). By the way, you can shuffle Shit Abyss. That’s another level to the augury structure, like the Tarot or the I-Ching. Also palm reading or tea leaves if one’s feeling especially tasty and hungry. Suicide live, one of those fabulous concerts from the 77-78 box set. That’s the next thirty minutes to enjoy. By the way, Suicide was a major inspiration relevant (“Freud or some shit like that man!”) to this question.
Are you exploring and celebrating your German heritage through shit?
T.O.D: Ja, ja, damn rights! Who by German fireplace mantlepiece ceramic toilets, shits and smiling little blonde boys’ bums moved is not? Who from the smell and texture of manure on rubber boots nostalgically weeps not? My feeble attempt to this noble heritage justice just this to do is. Luther, Hegel, Heidegger, Der Alter Doktor.
Would any performance of the Auguries of Shit Abyss be the equivalent of stercoraceous vomiting?
T.O.D: Damn rights! Indeed, that for the masses my dream is.
What has been the reaction to the Shit Abyss?
T.O.D: Lots of people plugging their noses. I did get bouquets from two successive North Korean Supreme Leaders. A few people laughed. But I write for the magically enlightened artificial intelligence programs of the future, not the dullard mental midgets of today!
Are there specific writers that you want to read the Auguries of Shit Abyss? Do you follow them slavishly online with the hope that they will recognize your brilliance while you ignore others who you feel are not “important” and cannot further your career? In this way, are our desires to be recognized and anointed by those we feel to be our “superiors” summed up in the Human Centipede?
T.O.D: Beautifully rendered, Rev. That says it all. I think I’m going to cry now. Actually, though, for me, no. My work is so much more important than everything else being produced, both now and into the foreseeable future, that I have no need to even think about any of those hacks. But yes, of course, the Human Centipede is the most accurate visualization of this humanoid endeavor. It’s just that the Human Centipede is but one of my beloved pets.