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from “The Franklin Party”

landscape landschip
scape the land escape
of a promised-land attack

a map will help you discover ice

what’s at stake in parallels
of water below and ice above
the private idea, the public object
the sail and mast
the wind and lash

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In 1819 John Franklin led an expedition to map the Arctic.
In 1825 he returned and continued the work, and for this he became Sir John Franklin.
There was a brief interlude when he governed Tasmania.
In 1845, Franklin and a crew of 129 men shipped out to discover the Northwest Passage, the mythic waterway that ran from Atlantic to Pacific by way of the Arctic.
The most complete maps of the Arctic region are the result of expeditions sent out after 1846 in search of the mystery Franklin became.
In 1947 someone invented the word cartohypnosis.

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putting the car before the hip
carrying the no into knowledge
the cartwheels of no knowing slips

there were errors on the maps which complicated the journey through the barren lands. the map we followed was the eye of the cartographer.

the filmaments on the screen of an imperial desire.

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Canned goods technology was invented in 1811. It is suspected that Franklin’s canned provisions had faulty soldering. Lead poisoning causes “mind despair,” anorexia, weakness, fatigue, paranoia. When three bodies from the 1845 expedition were found perfectly preserved in ice and exhumed in 1984, the lead content in the organs of the men was 20 times the normal level. Franklin and the higher class officers died early on because the canned goods were considered luxurious foodstuffs. This left a crew without leaders. Inuit witnesses reported that cannibalism had occurred.

In a newspaper op-ed piece Charles Dickens called these eye-witness accounts “The vague babble of the savages,” “the chatter of a gross handful of uncivilized people with a domesticity of blood and blubber.”

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In short, Franklin made his living by confirming the edges of the British Empire. He was a cultural attaché. You are here. Before conquering the ice one last time, he governed the beaches of Tasmania. Your home, our dumping ground.

Van Diemen’s Land

Van Demon’s Land

Land Demon Sand



        your sentence is transportation

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Poet Ron Silliman is perhaps best known for his book The New Sentence where he wrote:

The new sentence is a decidedly contextual object. Its effects occur as much    between, as within, sentences. Thus it reveals that the blank space, between words, or sentences is much more than the 27th letter of the alphabet. It is beginning to explore and articulate just what those hidden capacities might be.

if they had submitted themselves to the mirror of our blank
women are marked in the face with blewe strekes down the cheekes.
Five Men’s sound enticed by a bell, then a man taken as a token of possession.
the wounded jumped off the rocks and drowned.
if they had submitted them selves…we would both have saved them, and also have sought remedie to cure their woundes received at our handes.

Sir John Franklin appears to be Ron Silliman’s ancestor, although it’s somewhat nebulous. In an email message, Silliman explains:

A cousin of mine and I have been mucking around in the archives…in an attempt to either prove or disprove the connection. Since [Silliman’s great grandfather] John Franklin Tansley died on Thanksgiving 1906 (he was hit by a car while going to buy coffee), and all of his children have now passed on, it’s impossible to get any evidence directly. Frankly, Franklin looks almost exactly like my grandfather (something that John F. Tansley could not have anticipated) and, as I age, not so different from yours truly.

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The heat meets the cold air of the ocean and together they mesh into the fog that surrounds us. We are right at the meeting point. The sun is pushing over the mountain, and the fog is pushing it back. We meet in that thick atmosphere.

            pendulum lung(e)
            in stair-water,

The heat meets the cold air of the ocean and together they mesh into that fog that surrounds us.

            taut in the flute-sham

The fog rolls in over the mountain and the sun makes the floor of it pink. One lone tree is visible through the carpet. We could be standing there, the sun pushing the fog down toward the trees, the floor giving way beneath us. But we took a wrong turn.

            a ray
            an ounce

The fog sits over the ocean, then finds its way to where we are. Its cloud moves through us and takes all the warmth away. Or mirroring of ice. Fine pieces of black powder found in the smoke of our breath.

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If they had submitted themselves to our mirror of their blank

These people are in nature verye subtil, and sharpe witted, readie to conceive our meaning by signes, and to make answere, well to be understoode againe…
They are desperate in their fighte, sullen of nature, and ravenous in their manner of feeding….”


Navigate the sentence without destination or purpose.
According to Silliman, “the commodity fetish makes language appear transparent, a vessel for transfer, a conduit.” Our sentence is transportation.


Float in prologue.

You are here —–> •

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The Franklin Party left on two ships named Erebus and Terror. On board there was little room to sleep, but full libraries, writing desks, school supplies, a camera, a dog named Neptune, a monkey name Jacko, and 8,000 cans of food.

A vessel searching for passage, an interpretive riddle?

sailing up the Mistaken Straights reaching the Land of Desolation
swimming around meta incognita discovering the Race of Countrymen
pillaging up the rock of sand forging the Disease of Glory

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The heat meets the cold air of the ocean and together they mesh into the fog that surrounds us. We are right at the meeting point. The sun is pushing over the mountain, and the fog is pushing it back. We meet in that thick atmosphere.