ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Writing by John Marvin

the pure rhetoric of a language without words

the non-logical statement of phenomena in the order and exactitude of their perception, before they have been distorted into intelligibility in order to be forced into a chain of cause and effect
                                                                                                                        Samuel Beckett

He became a musical state troper at the Saturday dance with a crowded floor having nothing on blues in the night wherein oxen procreate and songs of joy and friendship protrude right through fly-buttons and blows.

He opined that the difference between art and craft consists of nothing but the contrast between roaming through museum halls and wandering city streets to display wares alive alive oh.

He believed there was no such thing as romanticism but there was nothing he could do to stop it under starry skies above from the supine to the meticulous ringing out the last silly blow of discordant chimes.

He knew Sigmund Freud pissed all over the 20th century in a way more akin to Schopenhauer than to Nietzsche because he can’t get no satisfaction only nothing but a little less misery.

He claimed with severe authority that one of the limits of reality is our fortune and honey hived in the trees and mingling of colors at a festival celebrating not only not all but all or nothing at all.

He frequently burst recondite considerations of Lacan and deconstruction leaving nothing but the dust of teak and mahogany where puns of August once sang love’s old sweat song in the twilight of the idle.

He speculated that in a system marked by protropy of the victory of something over nothing he would find intelligence beside the rivering waters of hithering thithering waters of. Night!


Never No Lament, The Blues in the Hight, Buttons and Bows, Molly Malone, Don’t Fence Me In, Satisfaction, Credences of Summer IV, All or Nothing at All, Love’s Old Sweet Song, Finnegans Wake.


Life is killing my ass (named after Balaam’s by the way)

Observe the spiders and snakes after the semicolon of possible worlds and see their howl in the night once regarded as beautiful music but now folks would rather have John Williams and leitmotifs readily evocative of the guidance they need as they praise some big brother or other or another father long ago and far away in memories of fields and creeks full of fantasies and monsters from the Id which is a land made up for fun and profit and superimposed upon an entire century’s dreams mostly by literary critics who wanted to sound … umm—you know.

Sometimes would-be stone faces face forces of mindless microbes or armies and earth shaking trumpets so they dispatch their magic Balaams to sooth the static rumbling up from ur time before all the days and nights began to form beyond the CMBR or anything else of whatever degree of mythentific philological gum smacking sticky substances that defy chemical analysis but radiate at 2.7 Kelvins or so neither here nor there but everywhere to the first syllable of unrecorded time because it hadn’t really started yet so … oh … I don’t know     … so there!

Everyone agrees that the real hero above and beyond is Balaam’s ass when he goes all Op-Ed over everyone’s head and contradicts the state sucret or rather secret (sorry) going viral and costing lives and sacred fortunes so excuse me as only an unreliable 3rd person narrator and though I wasn’t there I know (OK now first) it must be true because who would make up such happy horse shit about an ass and an invisible angel and who would go around all blood thirsty knocking down walls and taking people’s land and making up goofy supernatural beings to justify mass murder; so where was I?

Breaking News: Omnipotent curmudgeon charged with arbitrary and capricious eviction of children from garden abode because allegedly, “They were a couple of gussied-up smart asses.” Supernatural being drowns nearly everyone on Earth for unspecified crimes. Immortal fouls up language of survivors of flood so they can’t communicate; “They might have gotten as smart as me” he claims. Same perpetrator jokingly orders a man to murder his son and the damn fool almost does it. A couple of deities make a bet that results in the death of a human’s family and horrible diseases for the human. That’s only the beginning. The End.


out like a blight

According to an unreliable source Victor Frankenstein’s last words were “Hey! He didn’t actually exist before I killed him! He told me so himself!” Palmer Joss confirmed “I'm bound by a different covenant than Doctor Frankenstein. But our goal is one and the same: the pursuit of Truth. I for one believe him.”

So the fin de siècle was almost a bête noire but those machine level code writers may have saved the world from whatever they probably caused in the first place if anything so the question is HAL “despite your enormous intellect, are you ever frustrated by your dependence on people to carry out your actions?”

Didja ever hear the one about the Irishman who in an outhouse in Trieste wiped his ass with a masterstroke and epiphanized like OMG I’m going to ejaculate #ulysses [smiley face]!

The unspeakably filthy johnny-on-the-spot in “Calypso” ipso facto was an archetype for productive discourse in which fecal stalagmites conservatively rising up from the oozing floor and guano stalactites liberally soaring down from the leaking roof met to form columns of coprolite solid enough to fill any cave.

Many sojourners cross trackless deserts brave impenetrable rain forests and endure the perpetual blizzards of polar wastes and wintery seas with or without their little daughters to avoid roiling in ashes and suffering boils playfully inflicted by celestial gamblers.

The answer my friend is written in the window looking down upon our planet which “casts with great brilliance the strange mystery under the hideous centuries that darken it less.” Earth has done all it can for us so the search for another home becomes more urgent by the eon more or less if that’s possible.

Didja ever wonder whether time is not really a 4th dimension after all but rather a vibrating undercurrent of croneons fundamental particles of duration tiny little tickings and tiny little tockings down in the fundament with all the Planck bric-a-brac the real united states where nothin could be finer than to be because the fab four are one force so isn’t that worth a moment of rumination?


lock stock and feral

Byron has had a vision against the rafters of his ward, of 20 million Bulbs, all over Europe, at a given synchronizing pulse arranged by one of his many agents in the Grid, all these Bulbs beginning to strobe together, humans thrashing around the 20 million rooms like fish on the beaches of Perfect Energy—
                                                                        “The Story of Byron the Bulb” as narrated by Byron himself

I was misinformed.
            Rick Blaine

Does anyone else miss changing lightbulbs or anything that fastens something else and prevents it from opening turning etc. or anything likely to jam as gears or the first in a line of descent an original progenitor or does anyone miss an enclosed part of a canal waterway etc. perhaps a canal equipped with gates so that the level of the water can be changed to raise or lower boats from one level to another or does anyone miss a heavy wooden frame with holes for confining one’s arms and head and a locking together or a jam or a supporting or main part as a handle or does anyone miss something to fasten by means of a lock or something to fit closely enough to link with intertwinings similar in principle to a hold in which a part of the opponent’s body is firmly gripped but clearly not much like a store or supply or even part interest in something (or a certificate of such interest) or what about to become locked in order to link together or the nature of something kept in stock which might be common ordinary hackneyed or kitsch and attached to a stock to put in a supply of just about anything or while in a snit to keep working stiffs from a place of employment seeking to force terms upon said working stiffs or finally in the evening when light softens to touch lightly a curl tress or ringlet of hair adored even by John Locke (1632 – 1704) himself and his untamed savage so noble and so breathing free in a state of nature outside an AIR LOCK calling for Hal to open the Pod Bay doors, please please please?


Author John Marvin is a teacher who retired and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in English at SUNY Buffalo. He has poems in scores of journals, received 6 Pushcart nominations, and published literary criticism in Hypermedia Joyce Studies,James Joyce QuarterlyPennsylvania English, and Worcester Review. He has a chapter in the anthology Hypermedia Joyce, and his book, Nietzsche and Transmodernism: Art and Science Beyond the Modern in Joyce, Stevens, Pynchon, and Kubrick, awaits a publisher. 

He seeks to marry the experimental, non-narrative with the lyric and traditional in the manner of Nietzsche’s marriage of Apollo and Dionysos. He generally avoids accessibility for its own sake, and the prosaic personal story with superimposed line breaks that is ubiquitous these days.

Return to Offcourse Index.