Saturday, April 26, 2003

The movie which was shot in part at the bookstore i work at, finally came out.

A good bunch of listings on Harold Cohen's drawing robot Aaron. I ran across the book Aaron's Code awhile back, & was deeply impressed. More than any other attempt i have seen, this produces a convincing imitation of human intelligence at work.

"According to the International Labor Organization, Americans now work 1,978 hours annually, a full 350 hours - nine weeks - more than Western Europeans. The average American actually worked 199 hours more in 2000 than he or she did in 1973, a period during which worker productivity per hour nearly doubled." --via Signal Vs Noise

If you go to my Amazon Wish List, you'll find The Codex Seraphinianus. That's a joke. But the book--surely the weirdest ever written--is not. At least, so anybody can figure. It's about an imaginary world, profusely illustrated, & written in an unknown language. Borges would be proud...


The steel worker on the girder
Learned not to look down, and does his work
And there are words we have learned
Not to look at,
Not to look for substance
Below them. But we are on the verge
Of vertigo.

There are words that mean nothing
But there is something to mean.
Not a declaration which is truth
But a thing
Which is. It is the business of the poet
'To suffer the things of the world
And to speak them and himself out.'

O, the tree, growing from the sidewalk--
It has a little life, sprouting
Little green buds
Into the culture of the streets.
We look back
Three hundred years and see bare land.
And suffer vertigo."

George Oppen

Friday, April 25, 2003

When democracy fails, there's always the Euro...

Welcome to the Desert of the Real.

Nine Blue Castles - the cento poetry movement

Jaquemart Waltz - the computer poetry movement

Brass Zyxomma - the artificial language movement

"The author of 'The Philosophy of Composition' is rather another of Poe's manic narrators..." --Richard Ruland

Poetry has power the way intimacy has power.

'Night is a moth in the night of lamps.' --Jabès

gnat shadows - a movie based on a comic book

Whigs - the Retro Avantgarde

glimflash - one genre superimposed on another e.g. Dread Zeppelin = a reggae Zep cover band fronted by an Elvis impersonator; Big Daddy = Beatles songs redone in Fifties styles; the bluegrass cover of "Whiter Shade of Pale"; Pat Boone's album of heavy metal songs...the Name of the Rose

"Pope, who was never known to laugh, was a great wit..." --John Dennis, The Age of Pope (1896)
The origin of Art: every night of sleep is the same, every night of insomnia is different.

caco-metonymy: using not-quite the right word, on purpose; a dissonance

"You do not mean by mystery what a Catholic does. You mean an interesting uncertainty. ...But a Catholic by mystery means an incomprehensible certainty." --G. M. Hopkins

snally - greedy for solitude

paxwax - defensive contempt

"The argument of mine afflicted stile..." --Spenser

"In books that are as altars where we kneel
To consecrate the flicker, not the flame." --E. A. Robinson

Best Titles. A Streetcar Named Desire. Until the Sun Dies. Of a Fire on the Moon. The Romance of Orthodoxy. Gravity's Rainbow. The Small Needle of Doctor Large. Habitation of Dragons. Purple Violet Squish. Ascent into Hell. The Dreadful Lemon Sky. For My Great Folly. Nightspawn. Atlas Shrugged. Apostle in a Top Hat. Dorp Dead.

"So alike are the peaks, the forests, and the villages of Nepal to the fantastic landscapes of Tolkien, so common are the characters that resemble the cast of their stories...that many travellers, without apparent validation, believe that Tolkien had once lived there, especially at a forest place called Glorapani, when he conceived those remarkable stories." --David Zurick, Errant Journeys (1995)

Lives lived in a dimness of mosquitos. They don't even have a word for "mosquito".

"What holy cities are to nomadic tribes--a symbol of race and a bond of union--great books are to the wandering souls of men; they are the Meccas of the mind. Homer was to Greece another Delphi." --G. E. Woodberry

Best Titles. The Way of All Flesh. For Whom the Bell Tolls. Too Far to Walk. From Here to Eternity. Darkness at Noon. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. To Kill a Mockingbird. Call It Sleep. Nausea. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Mother Night. The Color Purple. This Island Earth.

"Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries." --Roethke

As if all the ways to be broken were an alphabet, we hearken only to what could be stories written in it. --Incomprehensible to those who come after. We thought we were saying something important, but all of it is destined to be lost. To write, now, with that awareness.

Best Titles. Faith, Keep the Baby. Christ's Witchdoctor. Nightwood. The Book of the It. The Cat Who Sniffed Glue. Death of a Ghost. The Sun is My Undoing. Smilla's Sense of Snow. I, the Jury. Dieting Makes You Fat. The Dark Light Years. The Ticket that Exploded. The Anathemata. Till We Have Faces. You Shall Know Them. Something Wicked This Way Comes. The History of Luminous Motion. Lithium for Medea. Les Fleurs du Mal. All the Colors of Darkness. Shadow of the Moon. In the Storm of the Eye. Mission of Gravity. Gone with the Wind. The Satanic Verses.

"It may be said that in round numbers, the verse of about five hundred people appears yearly in American magazines--thousands send in manuscripts, only to have them returned; the number may be anywhere from twenty thousand to fifty thousand. About two hundred volumes of verse appear in the course of a year, but publishers say that not one-quarter of them are profitable; perhaps one-eighth, twenty-five, are bought by quite a number of people, that is, there are twenty-five poets in our population whom people really want to read. Let us consider that one person in five thousand is sending verse to magazines, one in 250,000 gets it printed, one in 600,000 issues a book of poems, and one in five million is a real poet." --William Ellsworth, in: 5000 New Answers to Questions (1933) [At this time the U.S. population was about half what it is today.]

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Not-to-miss Lucius Shepard review of a book of photography that tells us the future we've been abducted into.

So Webern used the SATOR magic square to write a piece of music with? Interesting. I once created this square:

    S E R A C
    E L E N A
    R E F E R
    A N E L E
    C A R E S

to mimic its properties with all words from my collegiate dictionary ("anele" is an obsolete form of 'anoint'; "Elena" is the Italian 'Helen'; "serac" is an ice pinnacle), only to find out while poring through back issues of Word Ways, that it had been discovered 15 years earlier by a computer...

'After three years of experience as a painter, Congo discovered the ellipse and the circle, and soon afterwards the painting materials became inadequate to occupy the brimming vitality and enjoyment of play of the young male chimpanzee, by now a very assertive personality. Congo drew ellipses with ever-increasing ardour until he lost concentration completely. Intoxicated by circular forms, Congo's painting regressed into pure gesturality.' --Thierry Lenain, Monkey Painting (1990, tr Caroline Beamish 1997)
(I was like that after i discovered anaglyphic painting.)

I hear they're doing a remake of "The Alamo": not only is every detail historically accurate, this time it's told from the point of view of Santa Ana.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003


Ice proud limitary cherub hell
We sleepwalkers roil swimming
Burgeon the military,
All other ebbing.
The soul grows folk clotted arming art

Chrome with blanks, dense tutelary solitude
Emerald slag frankincense
Or in dream
Fain to discover the toxic key;
I haggle the roach.
Sprockets divulge at last purlieu alembic:
Dim sunlight,
Magnifying glass calligraphy.

And when zombies grope Armageddon,
Profound the sciamachy.


Pazuzu grained stone,
I build in air the testament of calcspar
Baja fjord
For those who were too many
Ladle in darkness
A waste of compassion probably
Here we trap
Our own outlines in the stern mackerel sky
File under vile arabesque

And leave/. Stay. They remain talisman
Guiding the grackle
Home from his pilgrimage to the off white moon,
Gift of truth
Lurch for us whose planet murders the lotus
With crave, with a glitch
At Beltane

The sun is a bleak silver
Coin at zenith, i a library
Mourn. Nectar
Hurls down landscape of charcoal

Have watched the Pallid Mask abolish
My words at each curse
Is this Wyrd is this cobweb iridescence
Not cryptic...?

Michael Helsem
April 16-20, 2003

Rex: Despoilation
Needs no ad

No toxic "ut dare, da"
Not even pure clairvoyance
Beats Adolf Hitler
In cowboy boots, mutiny if they scoff God
The profound at the heart of the game
Void for manticore
Quoth Crawford
The power

High oh high the foul glory
Grope & never mind profound Ucalegon
To burn, so glory leave & topaz
In my beaker, in my bleak heart normalcy
Which wine is of assassin
Salted the rim/ kingdom come. Coded
River walk development

Up, eulowirree
Up, the blizzard Ba
Of my ab
Flatness; bleed, liberal left. Omnipotent

My ideology, asymptote

Only this lasso can carve off & 'a'â
Swallow: no plan B
Allowed bleed. Corporation
Profits sing end on to Kyzylkum
Kill Gaea
If I have to, make Baja
Ev'rywhere. The dark & poor workforce
Calls for holocaust
And quick. Faith

Left. I am stuck with my theocrat karma,
My three best dogs. Emerald the lungfish Faust
In crimson water
Longing to make halt music
Leave face up me if vomit beyond
This is my bad flesh

So perilous powerful

You bleed O Mesopotamia
I love the word I love my unwept death bed
Grope gospel where is it?; fad
Trepan resentment

Cockpit of flying phantasmagoria
Love the smell of books burn evil jab
Drugs I had
Given can't up hide my crystal face
I am God's own dibble love the squeal of lab
Rats' fear Frankenstein
I made I can't Khoronzon
I crave black
Sleep I am terrible the love no
Terminizer bent proverb
I sink Atlantis
Down I am Nugent's "Stranglehold" I love bronze

Busts wodwo
Sees me grow. I am Budweiser buzz
My Assyrian vengeance At all flies famous
Stone lion eagle supreme
Rise in entropy
Wet sprockets gleaming discourse
Headlights on in the daytime savor of edge,
There abide

Mother should I build a hieroglyph
Evening wolverine
Tastes the edge-: regimes we made
Chrome shards scatter end
My soul chrome a house of cards earthworm
Emerald ichor, acid rain, poverty
Lifts its ax
In the blackout night are all
Gathered hazards need

The computer dead i turn away & call
One last perfect annihilation

Bleed mud puree watch evil
Bombers thrumming off in green neon
Flashes grow fury
And we find in ourselves the chrome edged courage
Greasy new meaning
To this dust caked absolute

Or zaqqum
Chore i am still not more tyvek to
Stopgreasy flange fracture master the image
Land was star ours before we were Ctesiphon
And Sputnik

Under one bare bulb

Monday, April 21, 2003

Nina Simone has just died. I'm sorry to see how little she is remembered by the oldies stations; she was a singer with the greatness that seldom happens once in a generation. My favorite song of hers is her cover of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", but she has a dozen others just as powerful. And at this time especially, we need musicians with her combination of talent & political awareness...




To do with Rigel
The slow sudden hejira
We belong to like fiery morning sapphire

From Chartres...

I wend raucous breath
My steps an intricate coinage
Echo sphinx
In the chasms of the polyglot morning

Like spilt arterial iron

To give them their beloved razor sigil
Call it the last exodus
Before the gate slams. Never sweven
So fragile
Milky Way rim/ star

Power we leave.; pyramid
He. Autumn's crash now. Receive the gift of drouth
This swift triage
Acid burn from what is known lurch castle
Pall, pilgrim
And utter coincidence
Cantrip words
A planet whose age is now at wise or frost
The browning magnolia

Emerald gaze of basilisk crwth
Smart monkey's on the closure

Gray veil of yearning
Lungfish harness like an alibi
Foolishly clutching the constipated name
Down volvox
Corridors of orpiment
What have you done since you happened here

Wars have come
To bring down sorrow
Grow. My books torn up watch streak the Plenilune
Bones on the terrible tide
Walk the night made fire

Tiger whose profile fares Assyrian
I face you iron down evil yang lair

This soft isopleth
Close pent by trembling wisteria
A thing of moments surely
Do pasture
He: away she: i teach syringe grip cobweb

Moonlight shining can't abalone
Dark twin you create
And the hatred is the pearl
Puree snow
On the slippery ramparts of malachite
Want. Take book
Long shadows of early traffic lapping Ghayb
The havoc men do

Walks after them judge. Pungent the badge
Blithe brisk neotheocrat
Fantasizing their immunity
Killing an Arab
In the gallery wall leaning plates of lead
La Messe-Noire
Fox News for invocation
Green gloom iron men baobab
Sliced an ear

Evil rumors for, not; nor meaninglessness
Arrayed divine flying Hakenkreuz
Flaunts commodity
Relationship as all, those lips vermilion
From their drink, it's fate
My ink to want. Debâcle
Bitter tryst--

Mutiny goes vegetarian.
If Rigel polkas
This burning (me) inside is fled, opium
Of the CEOs, a prayer
In stiletto point azure dimness
Swerve we strength
Rain down illusion
Cluster pierce clinic Baghdad
Oncoming windshield's flicker the tube lurch lack

Sprockets Dad
Lent hear Pazuzu streak the freak ace
War dog ice deliquescent

Slab soot rain direction widderguess
Hammurabi slab bereft & lucent bead

Shrieks the Ka
Then Esperantos
High on styrofoam;

The precise Rosicrucian
Eft & perilous anagrammatism
Leads us to a frigid adage:
Feed your head.
Salvage all unknowable,
Mutiny from, & toxic squamous Chartreuse
Avalanche wrench purlieu Baptist free
Such agate

Lanterns receive, plague
And perverse cat madonna
A slag that people
Take. What is it in the fierce green griffin ghost

Begs chaos
Come flay pierce crush bring dust on logic
Crave? A mystery
Mind's grip cannot find to hold, Zugzwang
Perfect cage
Never devised sightless deaf

Sun.: tantamount panic eclipse of Ea
Lurch black cab

I wake to Mokusatsu
Media poisoned beyond Mithridation
This planet where i can only be
Lungfish egg gone bad
Temple falling down crepuscular
And murderous foreclosure

The temple countdown
Poet built rocket to Alpha Centauri
Grip with jade
I can't see--intricate thorn faded

Muezzin's terrible altered significance
Lamps of olive oil
Caught falling we crave muskeg

Crave loot vault
Crave sky god power have/. Irony
Fathoms square

Ariel's truth. Puree of Mirrabooka
We find salvage in dead quartz
Digits our bible
Never peace
Stand within frantic the zymurgy
Dumb to ask the name of this polyester
Dog Itzcuintli
Or raucous spoonerism

Ones i loved now under rubble a
Psychopath grade A
Sent there (sans interjection)
Devised for them metallic cunnilingus

Ash fall baa
And bitter A/C

Face they full of piercings bag
Share the rapture sea./? & sky the Day same gab
Burning tank hulk desert; bulldozer
Desert; rain
Chrome gastropod
Trail colossal crystal amethyst Ubar
Lord of hosts horde of locusts: All grass

Is flesh. Dinosaur mercy
Grease reserves gazelle
Cry in R'lyeh
We do know there are some things alone
We do not know lehua
Desert but acid but there are tenebrous
Too, Krypton
Unknown unknowns the ones (cede)
We don't know we lurch don't know (cede ice)

Faked evidence & bleed at this conjunction
Grope Ouroboros
For caca
The ordinances of the nether dank cad
World desert. are perfect. Zaglossus