I have been asked to say a few additional words about the series of e-mails
arranged below. Well, it is difficult to know, really, what to say, and I
indicated precisely that in bemused concern to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Debrot.
They were insistent, however. "It doesn't matter what you say," wrote Mr.
Debrot to me, "You are Zizek. People will eat it up." When I replied that
this seemed a rather infantile reason, he wrote me back with an abusiveness
that was so extreme it became clear-as-a- whistle that he and Mr. Johnson
very badly wanted me to do it. So:

Firstly, I should note that there are a few random and seemingly pointless
textual corruptions in the messages below. It is important that the
originals be consulted, lest one get the idea that the people "speaking" are
members of a secret, Sadean cult. Thus, the URL pertaining to Jiscmail is
provided here so that Fiction and Reality may, in the end, retain a
semblance of their respective "autonomies," impossible as such a
metaphysical hope may be, granted.

Still, the reader should be forewarned, for she shall find, upon entering
the documented, "archived" world of the British-Poets list, that the Real is
truly more bizarre than the fiction presented here. What I mean is this: If
voices are being "ventriloquized" in the posts below, one may find, in the
actual, "original" e-mails, that a whole barnyard will often seem to be
issuing from the virtual mouths of single individuals! Well, this may be a
slight exageration, admittedly, but, as Fernando Pessoa once famously said,
"No se, por supuesto, si ellos son los que no existen o si soy yo el
inexsistente: en estos casos no debemos ser dogmaticos."

I will end my commentary of this bizarre and transgressive appropriation of
voices by comparing the project to two films. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Debrot
asked that I do this, since "many of our readers will have an interest in
film theory and you are the man." Very well: I compare the text below to 1)
the silent, racist classic "Birth of a Nation," and 2) to "Black Velvet,"
starring the young Elizabeth Taylor. I have my reasons. Let's see if readers
can figure out the wherefore.

--Slavoj Zizek
Paris, March 22, 2001



Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 17:56:33 +1100
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK>
Subject: Re: Dear Jacques Lacan

(Sigh.) I have noticed that except for the Irish and the Americans, British
Poets has gone hush lately.
This might have something to do with ennui caused by this continuous
barrage of obscenity, masquerading as parody. When I NEED to service--or
HAVE my body serviced--there are filthier places on the Internet I prefer to
go. (Ho hum).


Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 09:03:46 -0000
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: Dear Jacques Lacan

I've stopped reading posts from the Americans and the Irish. Only so much of
that stuff I can take. Pardon me, but I was under the impression that this
was the BRITISH Poets List. Or are we expected now to have Pakistani
subscribers post to us about 3rd world poetry? (Is there any?) Let them have
their own List.

Date: Tues, 20 Feb 2001 15:58:27 -0000
Reply-To: "david.bircumshaw" <daviXXXXXX@NTLXXLD.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: " D>
Subject: Dear Jacques Lacan

Your Lacan posts, I think, Jacques (as I sit here cramping on the toilet and
shitting out my tranquilisers in bloody streams), which manage
to be all-at-once snide, gnomic, pretentious and hostile, and thereby merely a
failed hard-on, amply demonstrates in its semi-titilating performance the
would-be-threatening-to-me nature of your indeterminate sexuality.
And, sir, you are no gentleman.
And a cad to boot.

Date: Tues, 20 Feb 2001 16:18:27 -0000
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: Jacques Debrot <JDEBROT@XXXXXXXX.COM>
Subject: Dear Jacques Lacan

Dear D,

I'm from outer space. I live on the moon as naturally as you live in
Britain. It's a daytime moon. Our maria are not seas and our lacus are not
lakes. In the future science fiction will want to come back and learn all
about me.

Date: Tues, 20 Feb 2001 17:52:04 -0000
Reply-To: "D" <daviXXXXXX@NTLXXLD.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: Dear Jacques Lacan


You're an alluring bugger, aren't you?
I know it is many light-years from where you live to my loo, Jacques, my
dear fellow, but have you considered the possibility, I know this may seem
strange to someone as lovely as you, that the British have a unique culture
even if you have convinced yourself you speak their language, and that what might seem
sexy on your Franco-American homeworld, or in the slums of Dublin and
Belfast, might put us to sleep here?
But I am, I must say--& I speak for everyone else--wholly convinced of your
foreigness, strange though that you are so dull with it.


Date: Tues, 20 Feb 2001 18:05:05 EST
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: Dear Jacques Lacan

You really gave yourself away there Jacques. To put on the 'nothing bothers
me' hard front stitched together with mock giggles and quasi intelligence . . .
shows you up for something . . . pathetic. Don't you realize the quality of
people you are up against? **Haven't you read ANY of my poems?** Are you a
bore in real life too or are you just bored? Are you just another
swivel-chair situationist?

T .

Date: Tues, 20 Feb 2001 18:27:38 EST
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: Jacques Debrot <JDEBROT@XXXXX.COM>
Subject: Re: Dear Jacques Lacan

In a message dated 2/20/01 9:05:50 PM, TAXXXXTW@XXXXL.COM writes:

<< Are you a bore in real life too or are you just bored? Are you
just another swivel-chair situationist >>

All three. Also, Jacques's teeth are bad. He looks like an ugly Isidore


Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 07:25:08 -0600
Reply-To: kent johnson <kljohnsonXXX@XXXXXL.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: kent johnson <kljohnsonXXX@XXXXXL.COM>
Subject: Re: 68

R or D wondered:

>I wonder where Kent was in 68?

In '68 I was in Montevideo, Uruguay, playing ping-pong in the basement of
the U.S. Ambassador's residence with Jimmy Hoyt, son of the Ambassador.
There were two maids, toothless and fortyish, whose quarters were down
there, and they gave us our first blow jobs. Terrifying.

Meanwhile, my father was playing golf at Punta Carretas Country Club with
Daniel Mitrione, CIA agent training Uruguayan cops in interrogation-torture
techniques under cover of AID. My pop worked for the YMCA. A couple years
later the Tupamaros (MLN) kidnapped Mitrione and shot him. His son was a
good friend of mine at the Uruguayan-American School.

Costa Gavras made a film about this (about the Mitrione affair) called State
of Siege, starring a famous French actor whose name I can't remember-- the
same guy in Z. What the hell was his name.

Jacques Debrot was there, too. His father, a cultural attache with the
Spanish Embassy, was actually an MI-5 double-agent. Jacques was quiet, kept
to himself, reading the Ecrits at recess in French original. Impressive for
a boy of 12 or 13. Once, a kitten got caught up a ceiba tree in the
schoolyard. Jacques and I climbed up there to save it while a hundred boys
in short pants stood gawking in a circle beneath us. At the top of the tree
I said hi to him, and he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye, as if he
knew we would speak again in times to come, and said, "Hola. Me llamo
Jacques. Soy un muchacho espanol con nombre frances." Little could I know
the distant meeting his twinkling eye foresaw would end up exploding the
tight-assed unconscious of British avant-garde poesy.



Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 08:12:52 EST
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: Jacques Debrot <JDEBROT@XXXXX.COM>
Subject: Re: 68

Poets are so alienated; perhaps pornography can get us excited about each

I am 13. I kiss you D, then I kiss you, E--a butterfly kiss--with
my eyelashes. We are at the top of a ceiba tree. The sun and the moon are
in the sky together. Caresses . . . shy fondling. The three of us are still
new to desire.



Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 15:05:46 EST
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: Jacques Debrot <JDEBROT@XXXXX.COM>
Subject: *69*

. . . then, E, I scribble a little mess in your ass with my #2 pencil.
D inches across a slender branch to explore the taste of my jissom as
the sun lights gold flames on myriads of leaves. We have no enemies in our
jungle world. A dozen lemurs watch us intently.

--from a boy of 13.

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 09:16:29 +1100
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK

As pornography is the ultimate consumerfest, erasing other(s) entirely in
its egocentric miasma of desire, I can get into it occassionally. But it's
surprising it should turn up here,
although it leaves much to desire as an answer to alienation; perhaps I
am not horny enough yet and miss your irony.
The sex in the Lacan posts is, frankly, not kinky enough.


Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 10:49:00 -0000
Reply-To: "david.bircumshaw" <daviXXXXXX@NTLXXLD.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: *69*

Do you think, though, A, we can give Jacques a pat on the head, on
second thoughts maybe not that, but perhaps a poke with a riding crop made of
delicate bamboo encased in black leather, held at a
distance, as it were, in the slender white fingers of a beautiful boy,
through the bars of a gilded cage, for
registering the ultimate effect of true porn:

Orgasm followed by GUILT.

Or perhaps I could put on some eye shadow and makeup and have a whip round
his office though
perhaps the verb there gives us away?


Date: Thus, 22 Feb 2001 11:47:34 -0000
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: *69*

British poets don't like foreigners who write pornography self-styled as
"art" and applaud themselves - we call them "towel-heads."


Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 12:15:50 -0000
Reply-To: E <coXXXge@CLXXXXO.UK>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: E <coXXXge@CLXXXXO.UK>

In the view of the collective List ownership, in the exchanges of Kent &
Jacques, the writers evidently need, specifically, not only each other as
stupified audience,
but 'the rest of us' -- but an 'us' expressing postures of shock,
disapproval, embarrassment, boredom, intolerance, nervous laughter,
stupidity, sexual dysfunction, racism, homophobia, etc. So far they have
The work seems to be purely instrumental to that end; it pushes on until
everyone reveals themselves.


Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 13:01:16 +1100
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: *69*

I fail to see how anything can be made of the Lacan poems after they get me
off. . . .Just deadening and self-mortifying. . . .
The orgasm as tiny spasm, the present reduced to the endlessly narrowing
point which Xavier Hollander has described so accurately in Hustler, rather
than the plurality and plenitude of times and presences which the very best pornography--as in
the transcendent Death-Sex of Bataille's Story of the Eye--may open for
both writer and inwardly paralysed reader.

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 14:41:00 -0600
Reply-To: kent johnson <kljohnsonXXX@XXXXXL.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: kent johnson <kljohnsonXXX@XXXXXL.COM>
Subject: To those of you who have been bothered

To those of you who have been bothered, I want to ask one simple question,
which I asked before and no one was able to really answer: What the bloody
fucking jelly is the real problem here? The posts are clearly marked. There
aren't that many of them at all. Jacques and I have hardly been the big posters
of late. If you find the posts insulting, delete the posts. We aren't hurting
anyone. We are using our imaginations. Isn't there space for that? We're having
fun and it's not at anyone's expense. Why not just let us continue being boring
and unread? Delete anything that has "Dear" or "Lacan" in it if you're tired of
the boring Americans.

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 14:54:47 -0500
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Bothering

Kent: It is not that simple: I don't have the self-control to do as you say. The
problem is that my mind is filled full of garbage, self-pleasing jokes,
and pointlessly offensive banter.Suggesting that people simply delete what
they don't want to read & carry on normally is the same as suggesting they try
to carry on a phone sexconversation immediately after their wife has
discovered the credit card charge for Teenage-Fone-Fun. (A true story, btw.)

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 15:18:10 +1100
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: Bothering

I'm one of those who has often played with herself while on internet
chatrooms, having an inclination towards looser perameters and being fond myself of the odd
random sexing-up; but after the barrage of pornographic posts which I seem to
have excitedly joined in, I'm with Nate. Maybe I haven't found out the outer limits of my own perversity.

Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 17:11:03 -0800
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: list mores

I don't any longer know who the list-owner is since C. resigned,
but whoever you are, **could you please remove this little snot, Jacques
Debrot?** I realize I'm making a habit of asking for people to be removed, but
the consistent really bad manners are getting to me.


Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 20:13:26 -0800
Reply-To: P <quaXXXerm@XXXXXXXC.CA>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
From: P <quaXXXerm@XXXXXXXC.CA>
Subject: Swan Song

"Swan Song" on the Subject line of this because of the irony--swans are, like I
have prefered to be until now, mute. So with great regret and an even
greater sense of drama, I'm outa here after how many? years of
silent, swan-ike lurking, since it started anyway. How often, I wonder, did the late-Donald
duck-wanna-be Kent Johnson call us "you birdheads." Enough is enough.
But I'd be grateful if those with any actual news of the reception of my
publications and such which might not reach me through "ordinary" human
channels would keep me posted backchannel of what people are saying
SPECIFICALLY about my poetry ( L., whose posts have had the effect of being a
kind of external conscience for my glands; D., who taught me how to READ a
poem as essentially raw material for my own work; beautiful A H , whose
moody studio photo I keep on my writing desk; C.; P.
A. ; H..: do you hear me, loves? I hope so). Thanks.

Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 07:59:50 +1100
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: List Poetry

I really can't stand this. . . . I suppose if you manage
to get a whole lot of people really HOT and BOTHERED by thoughtless, abusive,
time-wasting or deliciously salacious emails, your *virtual* come-ons are automatically more
compelling than the tensed body of an *actual* young man? (Obviously).


Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 09:34:00 -0000
Reply-To: "d" <dXXXXXXX@XXXLD.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXX@JIXXXXXL.AC.UK
Subject: Re: List Poetry

Well said both M and A to the Boor I mean the Broot. I'm wondering
whether he would like me to step on his chest with slutty black pumps, or
watch me thrash around on the floor of a reeking prison lavatory like a
headless chicken?


Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 09:35:07 +0000
Reply-To: TXXX <XX@XXO.IE>
Sender: British Poets <BRITXXTS@JXXX.AC.UK>
From: XXXXe <tjac@IXXX.IE>
Subject: Re: List Poetry


Isn't the general advice that the Americans and the Irish should lurk for a
couple of months before intervening actively on this list? Did you take trouble to
read back for examples of acceptable posts in the archives?

I'm amazed at your refusal to take a hint, Jacques, do I have to come right
out and say I can't stop myself from liking you? A purely personal response,
like all of my posts, dull with the night-green of insomnia, but delivered
for what it's worth because I want to do what I can to resist this sudden
urge to degrade myself in front of you. I trust you (Kent and Jacques) won't
take the lack of any intelligence in this post to indicate lack of passion;
just, please, don't imagine that you're the object of anything but my physical affections.

It's my body I care about.



Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 10:38:00 -0000
Reply-To: "dXXXX" <dXXXX@XXXX.COM>
Sender: British Poets <BRITISXXS@JIXXXX.UK>
From: "david.bircumshaw" <dXX@XXX.COM>
Subject: Peter Do Not Delete (Was Re: List Poetry)

I think T.'s eloquent words about degrading himself are a reason enough
in itself to stay on this list, and a quiet reproach and fit refutation of Jeremiad-tendencies, a
habit not unknown in the threatened tribe of cross-dressing poets, in their
shrinking forest.




for more / go to part two >>