Saturday, June 21, 2003

'At first, players started speculating that there was
a really bad bug in the game code,' player Tim Wheating
said. 'Then we realized that somehow an insane god had
taken control of our world and was out to kill us all.'
(via Rebecca Blood)

Here's a word we need: fascimentalism. (Ariana Huffington
calls it "Operation Avoid 41's Fate".)

Does anybody remember The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax?

And how about that Paint by Numbers revival??

Another key to Mallarmé.

Bjork as Mona Lisa or, what else is Photoshop for?
Parataxis on the level of the sentence. I
remember how happy i was when The New Sentence
came out. I'd published my cut-up novel Mysteries
From Forgotten Worlds
a few years earlier, using
an identical technique (inspired by Tender Buttons
as much as anything), & it seemed to validate my process
(just as Ashbery did, though i never got his kind of
reviews--i think "a tangled, maddening snarl of words"
was about the best [Factsheet Five] i received). This
book i first wrote as a 2000-page scifi novel, based
on automatic writing & a ramifying, unresolving plot,
& let it lie fallow for several years until Xerox Sutra
(later Xexoxial Endarchy) asked me if i had anything
else, after Carnivorous Equations 2. I said i
did, but it needed some work. So i sat down & read the
whole thing, & copied out all the sentences i still
liked. Then i typed them up, cut them into strips,
& spend several weeks arranging them to my satisfaction.
This text i retyped into specially measured forms
to be photographically enlarged page by page with
room for the graphics i borrowed &/or modified
out of my immense-at-that-time image repository.
The results was published as an illustrated book
which is still, i think, their best-selling book ever.
(Not that that means a lot in the small press universe.)

Here in this area
Where speed and time intersect each other
I see a single line of distance,
Crooked in whitish colour.

I go round repeatedly circling
The distance, embracing myself in it,
Located neither in a distant place
Nor in the near place as seems to be.

As numberless steps preceded
Far in the front,
As if not knowing the distance of terminals,
I also go and am ceaselessly going,
Entrusting those numberless steps,
That will follow me,
With the entangled steps of mine,
As if they were my will.
While the stars set down and the dawn breaks
I go with the wind blowing.

The distance wriggles in my bosom
As if it were a rope.
My rusted breast,
Leaning against the wriggling distance,
Goes round repeatedly circling.

If the speed is tired,
Painful steps are also drawn up,
And the steps drawn up make distance;
At last over my bosom without sound
The distance, as it does,
Goes not quickly or not slowly,
Goes repeatedly and go circling.

The single of whitish distance,
The one where I can not return though wished,
The one where I have to go though not wished,
Go I circling.
Embracing myself
I go repeatedly."

Mu-hag Han

Unrhymed songs*, from "Judy Blue Eyes Suite" (is that it? by Crosby
Stills Nash) to Sinéad O'Connor & Ani Difranco... I think it would really
benefit songwriters if they just gave up on rhyming for awhile unless
they're actually accomplished formal poets. Beter still, a moratorium
on lyrics altogether.

I remember when my friend Melissa H---- told me she was laying off the
Beat thing & going to try Cowboy Poetry for awhile. Of course i looked at her like she was nuts, but is it all that terrible to want to join a
thriving movement with plenty of enthusiastic readers? They have big get
togethers every year out West (Nevada?); & if serious critics ignore them
completely, so much the better. Me, i will always boost Robert Service
(a dead poet that people still ask for at my bookstore--& not for school); though
i think in a way he was the last real Cowboy Poet & everyone today is sort
of PoMo- or Neo-... But what is there to keep a genuine talent from arising
in such a milieu?

"I understand completely. The rage isn't easy to control. But sometimes the rage is overtaken by the fear. Not the fear of terrorists -- the fear of my government and of my fellow Americans. The fear of people who believe the world is 6,000 years old and believe that Satan is a real being that is loose on this earth. The fear of people, and a country, that have become delusional and have the power to do great harm. The fear of people that believe their own lies. The fear of people who see all who are not like them as evil and who must be destroyed. For I am not like them, not like them at all. I represent their worst nightmares. I do not believe in their god, I do not follow their hive mind, I do not swallow their lies. Worst of all -- I think for myself.

Why do I keep doing this blog? Why do I keep bringing back reports of the destruction of things that I hold so dear? Why do I feel like I am watching the largest wreck I have ever seen and I can't stop looking? I guess there is part of me that just has to know. I guess that, if you like history, watching the biggest history in your lifetime makes it real hard to tear your gaze away. I guess that I want to know when it will no longer be safe for me to remain in the country of my birth.

Is there hope? I honestly don't know. The fear, hatred, and utter ignorance of the world that these people have is a disease that is spreading and I don't think that it is curable. Can they be contained? I fear that it may be too late. It's not just a matter of defeating Bush. It's so much deeper than that. It's a mass hysteria and it seems to be inpenetrable by truth or reason or caring or love or forgiveness.

The only way I can keep some sanity in my blogging is to contrast this destruction with acts of creativity. By inserting examples of the things that are created by people who are passionate about the world around and within, who are open to the wonders that this world offers. I keep my sanity by bringing back things by people who have a fucking clue as to what a metaphor is. I bring back things by people who want to live and want their children, their children's children, and all those that follow to be able to live and discover all that is beautiful and wonderful because there will still be beautiful and wonderful things left to discover." --Gordon Coale, in answer to Why
I Stopped Blogging
(via Wood_s Lot)

(*Addendum. The Roches, The Smiths...)


the black hand of fortune black hand of glory
under desert skies despise the land of glory

soldiers they bring the next big thing regardless
none of them wants to earn this brand of glory

and dying out there it's clear what they've accomplished
and i from afar am charred with the command of glory

6 20 03

"A Lion That Will Fly with His Face Backward

As we are given it, a dog-eared business. Pause while I stop to speak
with the dogs. For soon they will be old, and learning nothing. They
will be mine, and very tired. Such is the cul-de-sac. Should we rise to
view some meteors fall, our nature in the dark is common and elusive. A
newsprint we hunt for its hide. In the morning you can’t have opinions
about the stars. They should not have shot themselves another
direction, and neither should the paragraph struggle to eclipse the
paragraph. Still we give chase, the dogs bay, the lion’s face is very
beautiful, with holes cut out for the eyes."

Stephanie Young (via Lime Tree)

Listening to: spooky Chamber Music by Vasks.

Friday, June 20, 2003

  ”Watching ‘Vertigo’ at a Time of National Crisis”

where did our country go
when we weren’t looking
how is it so
where did our country go
who changed the show

claws into wings are hooking

where did our country go
when we weren’t looking


“What pain does at the physical level, fear takes up on the
metaphysical.” --Ligotti

I don't love any book enough to be a one-book person. In a
world of howling monotheists, i feel this a fault. 'Against their
vinegar' i have 'two smooth oils'...

The Secret Museum of Mankind. (I've even made paintings from it.)

Somebody gave me a funny coin the other day, that would've been a nickel
if nickels had Arabic lettering. Now i've figured it out--10 dirham from the
United Arab Emirates.

An Orthodox Jewish slam poet. (via Moorish Girl)

I was gonna say, i can't mention Cintra Wilson without also linking
to Dallas's very own Paul T Riddell--but it seems his old site hpoo dot
com has been taken over by corporate Blue Meanies, so you'll just
have to fish out individual essays from the great electronic ocean.
Trust me, it's worth it...

No, i didn't know that today was World Refugee Day, either.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

I'm in a Rube Goldberg machine, pushing the ball
that rolls down an incline to set off a spring,
& pulling the lever that opens a gate for the greyhound
that catches a rabbit; & at the same time i am trying
to weave a rope for a ladder to escape out the window
of my prison that is only open one day a year, & also
in the process of composing an anthem to the saucer
who are not going to come & rescue me in time

Bird call audio files.

In a letter that Sulfur published i once argued that Ashbery was no sort of
Surrealist, but a great nonsense poet...

After reading Tuva or Bust! about the physicist Feynman's obsession with
the philatelic but obscure & short-lived Asian country of Tannu Tuva, i briefly
joined the Friends of Tuva. I never actually contemplated going there,
but the CD of Tuvan music i bought remains one of the more significant musical
discoveries of my life.

Listening to: Katell Keining.
The joke to which "The Lesser False Vampire Bat" might
be the punch line-- What's furry & flies & has a milk

Imagine righteous indignation to be an addictive,
debilitating drug--made from mashed up baby kittens.
Would we still love it then? Dubya loves it, Osama
digs it, protesters get high on it, & the troops in
the desert eat it up--it's the coin of the realm, the
denim everyone wants to wear: veil of the twin desires
of greed & punishment--greed, to take from the Other
in order to make your Self bigger, & punishment--to
reduce the Other to nothingness as much as possible,
so as not to be troubled by resemblances.

Forms of the desire to be just. Putting some
back when you have too much. Admitting you are wrong.
Listening, against the impulse to blurt out contra-
diction. Alms giving. Seeing yourself in others,
particularly those who seem very different. Giving up
the wish to seek honors or take credit. To not care
about winning or losing. To let someone in ahead of you.
To rescue something forgotten, lost, or wasted. To
show mercy; even to those in the wrong. To not do
everything you could do, no matter how good it would
make you feel. To be content with partial solutions,
slow results, & achievements that you will never see
the outcome of.


Behold the afternoon sun, how slowly it withdraws from the sand,
  those darker stains within the shadows, though they
  have been covered and covered again, growing darker
Behold the stone tiers, how empty now,
Behold this day, merely a day, but rumored it may be the last on which
  these simple games, our great sports are ever held--

I, Arius, trainer of the best, matched in my youth against the best,
And against them all,
The swordsmen of every province, the netmen, even the beasts--

Knowing no mother or father save this arena, and no other life,
Twenty-eight killed (more than fifty palms), four times spared
  (once by the Emperor, saved by the people thrice),
Sometimes still seeing my portrait on the lamps, the vases, the
  matrons’ gems
(In addition to the jeweled chains, the helmets, purses, and other
  favors once given me),
And my name, that I have heard in song--

And knowing as well a certain midnight of the spirit that comes to all,
  when each, in his cell, must be chained against self-
Only to be scourged on the very next day, by whips and red-hot irons,
  to the dangerous fight--

Yet now I hear, with wonder. that none of this has been of any avail,
These combats have had no meaning and are in fact nothing, less than
  nothing at all--

As though the fight between the women and the dwarfs had been for
And the combat between the crippled and the blind. had that no point?
Is it not good that the race shall ever behold itself with pride and disgust,
  horror and fright?--

So they say this may be the last of our little games--

We shall see.”

Kenneth Fearing, op cit

"They recognize the difficulty of the task," Rumsfeld said. "You got to remember that if
Washington, D.C., were the size of Baghdad, we would be having something like 215
murders a month. There's going to be violence in a big city." Rumsfeld noted that Baghdad
has nearly six million residents. (via This Modern World)

"Part of mortality’s significance is that wars end." --Eileen Tabios (via Silliman's Blog)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Visual bands so seldom live up to the music they promise. ("The Voluptuous
Horror of Karen Black
" is a good example. The lead singer wears only scare-
makeup & green body paint.) Sometimes i indulge in a favorite fantasy, where
Kiss was the Rolling Stones, & the Residents were the the Beatles...

Molly Ivins reviews The Clinton Wars.

Cheer up.
Few encounters have been as momentous for me as the encounter with Japanese aesthetics. Behind the alluring facade of haiku, kimono, & cherry tree, lies a conceptual system quite at variance with our own & one which, after being understood, leaves you forever dissatisfied with the shoddiness of thought that has gone into Western canons of beauty. We seem to have never quite gotten beyond Aristotle & Longinus; & all the prolix theories of the 20c put together cannot help bridge the chasm between advanced art & everyday life, whereas in Heian Kyoto we find a worldview that culminates its most spiritual expression in pouring a cup of tea for friends & in shaping the letters of a note to a loved one. No wonder once the blinkers were taken off, the horse ran wild--we had no essential connection with either our past or our countrymen, & the best religious impulse most artists ever came up with was to blow it all off as irredeemably bogus.

Just take this one idea: that every thing born in time carries the imperfections like a fingerprint of the forces that went into creating it. Is this not a definition of “style” that transcends both imitation & originality? And isn’t it time we gave up all those sticky dualities, half-acquired with the very words, half-effaced by the fumblefingers that snatched them? If all that is left to Western Art is the political mind-set of team sports (& what else does all this talk of “movements” amount to?), then it is high time as well to have done with games; time indeed to remember what we are here for.

Not enslaved; stupefied with the distractions. We could throw off these overlords any
time we wanted to. And oneday we'll realize this, & like the Soviet Empire, our own
house of cards will cease to exist as such. But everyone will be here. Only a stupidity
will have actually perished.

Think of it as a kind of national Gastric Bypass Surgery: all the food goes into someone
else's stomach

"If one considers so-called "intelligence" as part of defense, approximately two-thirds of the American tax dollar goes to the generals. That naturally leaves very little for anything else, which is why the U.S., in terms of infrastructure and general well-being, is the Banana Republic of the industrialized nations, with 25% of its children living in poverty, the worst education system, the worst mass transit, no socialized medicine, the highest rates of illiteracy and infant mortality and teenage pregnancy, homeless millions, and small cities that look as though they've just been through the plague." --Eliot Weinberger

Listening to: Revolver.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

It's the luck of a lifetime if once you are shown the whole
breadth and depth of your fear. For any act of will merely
suppresses it. It goes automatic and the will is an imposture.
When you become aware of, instead of symbolifying, your
fear, what is real in your character remains, and the rest
falls away, leaving very little perhaps--a child of six, or
three (but in any case it seems negligible next to the
infinite--)...and you can then start to build, not a tower
toward heaven
, but a house to live in. To realize you are
finite and perishable, comes not from having said it a
thousand times, but from having been--briefly--perished
and infinite... The zero that begins a life of measure.

"It has been said that Pater composed his best sentences,
without any relation to the context, and then inserted them
where they would be most effective." --Thomas Wright,
Life of Pater

"And now that a half million people have read me, what
does it mean? About two dozen people are all I really
count as understanding admirers. It was worth winning
them perhaps. Perhaps." --Henry Miller to Lawrence Durrell

"He [Porphyry] firmly believed in oracles, but took the
Pythagorean view that the true gods required only the
sacrifice of the heart, and that the demons alone longed
for the smoke of blood." --Raby, op cit

Monday, June 16, 2003

H'm! My poem in 100 Poets... is being translated into Croatian.

Got my CD back from Ache Records. They said it was the "most interesting
demo we've ever received", "but"... At least they did send it back. The
last label i tried, didn't even do that.

" fishle the ladwigs out of his lugwags, like a skittering kitty
skattering hayels..."
Happy Bloomsday!
"Few people, for instance, realize that a time may easily
come when we shall see the great outburst of science in
the nineteenth century as something quite as splendid, brief,
unique, and ultimately abandoned, as the outburst of Art
at the Renascence." --G K Chesterton, Dickens

"If Hart Crane could have become a communist, he'd
be alive today. He would probably be to North America
what Neruda is to South." --Bill Knott (in the 60's)

"O Time, thou hast played strange tricks with us! and we
bless the stars that made us a novelist, and permit us now
to retaliate." --E Bulwer Lytton, Paul Clifford

In the salvation racket, politics is despair of psychology,
and psychology is despair of politics. To unite these perhaps
it is necessary to eschew salvation...

A wrong reason: doing this or that, just in case it might
have results
. (I don't gamble my money, how much less
should i gamble my time.) Or--so as to avoid the feeling of
having missed my chance. (Most of these are named
"prize"--to win me over.) For example--first i reason out that
art careers have no meaning today. Then i go ahead and plan
shows: just in case i can have an art career. I call it an "experi-
ment" but is it not an experiment in hypocrisy...?

"Unfortunately Plautus did what was natural and easy, and he
had no successors. Ennius did what was unnatural and hard,
and he set a fashion from which poetry did not fully recover
until twelve centuries had passed." --Philip Schuyler Allen

"He [Gottschalk] is a significant witness to the history of the
Latin lyric, for his example proves that whenever the personal
conditions were present which were propitious to the expression
of intimate feeling there was a possibility of lyrical poetry. In
this sense the lyric has no continuous history." --F J E Raby,
A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages(1934)

'St Francis of Assisi...founded an Order which quickly began to
participate in murder and massacre almost immediately after it
was formed.' --Simone Weil

It's alright to laugh at Shazia Mirza. (via Metafilter)

One of our last great used bookstores in town is closing down (sob!).
I picked up Mr Weston's Good Wine, a book of poems by Kenneth
Fearing...& a collectible Lyn Lifshin chapbook.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

   ”The Barren Grave

Butterflies scattered like Arabian numerals.
The march of printing types like sharp knives.

One day----
Marte standing by seashore sings with crows.

The scenery spreads its hands at the moment.
The pupils of ivory!
The eyes, eyes of crows sitting on the cross.

The smell of smoke flowing from towns,
And the cross road where flags of different colours
Fluttering like the last intention.
----Here I suddenly stopped my steps.

The devil is nothing but a handsome dresser.
The graves of Emperor Winter
Enjoys the eternal sleep as an iceberg.
But I am suffering unexpectedly from a habit of drawing out a faded map from my pocket.

I fold a newspaper, the smell of ink.
  -----The landing of a typhoon
   Is at ten o’clock tomorrow morning!

The back-view of an insurance man coming out of the church,
The back feature of a black cat.
On the cross-road in the afternoon
A disabled funeral car is standing like a butterfly.”

--Bong-nê Yi

In the black pupils of Zông-og
Float the sorrows of the sea dyed by the chandelier.

She thinks of the night streets of Sidney.
She recollects the leased grounds of foreigner’s in Shanghai.

Putting on a Bohemian hat
I visit the night-streets where Zông-og was produced.

The inheritance of the dark blue sea.
The girl who can not keep her home in one place.

The old sickness of Zông-og
Is not recovered because of her distant heart’s core.

From her skin
One smells the strait.
I wish to live always in the primitive strait.

And putting on a Bohemian hat,
I visit the night street where Zông-og was produced.”

--Byông-hwa Zo

“The destination of my silence I know not.” --Cza-yong Gim

“...And crown with weeds our pride of towers,
    And warm our marble through with sun,
And break our pavements through with flowers...”
      --Alice Meynell
Listening to: Jelly Roll Morton.