Saturday, September 06, 2003

There are 5.7 billion people poorer than me. (via Metafilter)

In spite of all the regularity of my habits, i cannot
become rooted in this world. I will always find it
a shock to step outside, a bewilderment to rise,
a lostness to be among people. And i think by
now it has nothing to do with being loved, or not
being loved.

' "the sun that shows itself is not the real sun. '
--Dennis Tedlock's tr of the Popol Vuh

I heard plaster crumbling from the hole above
the door (paper on the carpet amplifies every
bit that falls) & this time, unlike when i hear
it in the night, i was able to see what makes
that sound. It was a four inch roach.

Friday, September 05, 2003

I always wanted to write a novel with
palindromic dialogue. [There's a character
in Bruce Sterling's Zeitgeist who speaks
only in palindromes.]

Maybe the Dems needed to be
completely humiliated in order to rediscover
their deepest gumption--but the harm caused
by this belatedness will last for, literally,

The movies are less like our literature, than our
equivalent of the old oral-epic cycles: where
certain fixed epithets & tropes & the same
handful of characters are endlessly recycled.
The only originality is in the accent in
which these familiar things are newly presented.

We went to a hidden-away concrete burnt-out
shell of a neo-classical small mansion in South
dallas. Turn of the century; sometime crash-pad;
i found a broken piece of plastic that said "Promise"
--a broken promise.
   I answered a Serbo-Croatian
mail art with another of the same: "Srpskohrvatski
je tvrdjezik
." ('Serbo-Croatian is a hard language.')

"Around our cars graze leisurely the fawns."
--Monier-Williams's tr. of Sakoontala

I can't stand to read poems that are nothing
but a display of sensibility--it gives me
the same feeling as a blank message left on
my answering machine.

"Modern Russians are constantly amazed that
so few Westerners have heard of E. L. Voynich,
the great English novelist." --Gridgeman in
Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games

A poet who writes like his speaking is like
a chess player who only plays against a home

Fast reading & slow reading is how i solve the
problem of defining prose & poetry. In an
ideal world the former would not exist. If
you wanted to find out something you would go
to a person who knew about it, & stay till you
really understood. And if you wanted words
you would go to poetry.
   To be a poet & to be a word-
(& phrase; & book-) hound, is not necessarily
the same thing. And poets who are poets because
they love language may actually be in the
minority at all times, & have more in common
with crossword puzzlers & collectors of old books,
than with people who want to stand up in front
of a crowd & be heard, or who want their name in
histories after they're dead.
[the Silver Age] "The individual, prohibited from
developing his external life, retired more and
more into himself... The majority, however, became
blasé, soured and morbid... Forced carefully to
hide nature, men relapsed into artificial and
unnatural ways. ...a certain vanity attaches to
all the characters of the age in question, and
this was fed by the public declamations... The
uncertainty of existence and possession, the
continual apprehension in which men lived, caused
a restless versatility, a morbid irritability and
hurry, which was always afraid of beginning too
late and eagerly made the most of the moment.
...simple and natural composition was considered
insipid; the aim of language was to be brilliant,
piquant, and interesting. Hence it was dressed up
with abundant tinsel of epigrams, rhetorical
figures, and poetical turns, and indulged in all
manner of borrowed phrases and allusions....
Mannerism supplanted style, and bombastic pathos
took the place of quiet power. ...on the whole,
literature lost the sympathy of the nation at
large; most Emperors even intentionally widened
the chasm between the educated class and the
populace..." --Teuffel (1900)

Thursday, September 04, 2003

The Price of Repeated Transformations Is a
Zigzag Course & Spells of Confusion.

"At Netanya 1968 Bobby and the Dutch player
Hans Ree discussed the story of how Wilhelm
reputedly claimed in his sad, final
days that he could give odds of pawn and move
to God. Fischer said no one could give odds
to the Almighty. Then, according to Ree's
account in a Dutch book, Fischer began to
speculate out loud: 'But with White I should
be able to draw against Him. I play 1.P-K4
and if we have a Ruy, the position would be
balanced, I could never lose.' Fischer became
concerned about what would happen if his
opponent replied 1...P-QB4 and got into an
open variation of the Sicilian. 'No, no,
then I play B-QB4 and I'm better,' he
concluded. 'So, what can He do?' " --July
'88 Chess Life

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"My life was now so hopeless that I wrote a book."
--Edward Dahlberg, Because I was Flesh

One who has ceased to share the illusions of a
group, is farther removed from them than if
he had died & come back to life. So it is with
me & artists.

The truth in alienation is the losing of the
illusion of homogeneity.

Dostoevski on wheels is unthinkable. --A clue.
Not having to drive is the luxury, instead of
having a car.

I drop in my tracks each night like a drugged

The Soviet-American hotline was once
accidentally cut by a Finnish farmer plowing his

We need a word for words that have 16 different
definitions--before we can get anywhere.

Boarding the bus: their anxiety that the system
won't work, anymore than it ever has worked for
them. Versus the truth of those who fly.

I hate injustice, but i don't love justice.

" his [Goethe's] first romance he devised
six brothers, each of whom 'wrote' chapters
in a different language. Goethe thereby perfecting
himself in German, English, French, Italian, Latin,
and Judaeo-German (Yiddish)..." --Walter Blumenthal,
Bookmen's Bedlam (1955)

Love, the Daedalus of paradoxes.

I am more certain than ever it is wrong to write
poems just because you think they should be
written. But this is the whole game nowadays.
How rude, then, for me to say: No poetry is
serious poetry unless its aim is to inspire awe.

"I want to be a carpet in a cathouse." --Kenneth
, The Journal of Albion Moonlight
People i have six or more albums by: Frank Sinatra,
Nina Simone, Messiaen, Tori Amos, Patti Smith, The
Ventures, & Throbbing Gristle.

A new "Mauberley" for the 1990's, with just the right mix of elegy & sarcasm. (pdf, via Free Space

For a desert island, i'd have to have the eye-readable OED
(it could double as most of my furniture, too).

I have become so leery (& weary) of "poetics" in prose
that the only book i can think of is Gilbert Highet's Poets
in a Landscape
(1957)--one of my favorite books--a
close exploration of seven Roman poets, in relation to
their lives & the places they lived in (with cute Rolleiflex
tourist-fotos, too). This is a terrific read even if you have
no Latin & are only vaguely familiar with these poets in
translation. I wish this kind of book were available
for all my favorite writers. I think that no one understands
a writer unless they have tried to imagine the way he
or she lived; & where.

   "DC 9/11: Time of Crisis"

Flick empyrion
For that scaly mazuma.
Soot of a gerund.
From the rust-colored mesa,
Somber olive vacuole.

09 02 03

Listening to: Lycia- Estrella.

[In the museum for a different opening] i wandered into the
"Images of Mexico" exhibit & found half a dozen unballyhooed
paintings by Frida Kahlo. One, a self portrait with a chihuahua,
is just about the scariest painting i've ever seen. ...a
subtle & powerful statement about her attitude toward dying
(& living) that is hard to put into words, but unmistakeable...
[:} What use could Stoicism be as a philosophy to one
who lives in perpetual pain?

The Gnomic is a mood, but Justice itself is either a passion or
a desperate pretense. A passion--to remain cool-headed.
The world lacks, not so much truth, as moral courage. No one
has a long enough life to learn all the truths we've accumulated
in books already--& who tries for even a day to practice them?

Team sports is not only the religion of [Sensing-Perceiving types],
it is also the form their politics & sexuality take. This accounts for
90% of what happens on earth at any given moment; most of
the rest, is other types resisting this fact.

Mathematical proof that Ticketmaster is evil. (via Metafilter)
I was reading near the end of Anais Nin's Collages
(1964), when i realized she was describing Djuna Barnes
after her retreat in New York City ("Judith Sands"). It was
such a beautifully subtle evocation that i wanted to write
in the name for those who wouldn't get it.
   On the next page someone had done
that for me.

Every day however, i think: Why not now?
   (When i know why not now)--
it's not really a's an insect in the shape
of a leaf.

It's only when my ego's attenuated to a few rags that
i can call every form of fear by its true name.

Too often i do "good deeds" for the singing of a lie
inside me: that this changes the person i am. I should
do them only out of an understanding of causality.
I must know by now, nothing ever changed me without
great pain--& i continue to regret it till long afterwards.

Doubt is a maggot in the bottom of the ricebowl.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

   'The Mute Griffins

They pass across the sky at noon,
the summer noon,
through seas ablaze with searing light--
the golden barbed and golden scaled
lions of flight.

The birds of story, treasure griffins,
unglossal griffins,
are gazers of the solar zone
who proudly bear a vulture head
of diamond stone.

These birds are voiceless, proudly mute,
despairing mute,
and if they make a sound they sway
and fall to earth a shadowy brown,
a sparrow gray.

And there they pass the sky at noon,
the summer noon,
in black of pride through seas of light--
the golden barbed and golden scaled
lions of flight.'


   "O Java Tide"

The chilly waters of the night
are not the night.
The ratchet of my anti-theft
device scrapes in a silent car;
the lone drive's left.

The frigid margins of the dream
are not the dream.
I venture onto foreign soil
in search of rapture & to spring
a hoar gargoyle.

I trail no saving string.

The frozen surface of my life
is not my life.
I write & have always written for one reason & one
reason only: not to be at the mercy of my feelings.
To pretend this is a way of manufacturing unique
artifacts for public consumption, is a stupidity i am
often guilty of.

"...the whole of Albertus's considerable output was
intended by the author to be a commentary on
Aristotle..." --Best & Brightman (eds.), intro to
Albertus Magnus's The Boke of Secretes
(16c tr), 1973

My allergies make me a mandarin.

The riddler, not the Riddle, yields; a dawnflush to
the gray marble sings like life.

The place ideas about art come from, is not where
the art does.

The only thing long experience does to a true
artist, is turn irrational insecurity into rational
humility. Failure isn't any farther away, it just
has a changed countenance.

Many more people are literate than are capable
of telling good writing from bad.

Art & careerism are like human-powered airplanes
& commercial jetliners--they hardly even share
the same sky.

Is there any trick but patience?

"I consider ego something to be starved into
submission," i was saying to someone the other
day; but i said it with pride of tyranny in my

To put up with picayune effects from good intentions
is admitting a symbolic victory is better than none.
But a symbolic victory could have been had even
without those efforts. Truth is sacrificed in
order not to believe in magic

" 'We must be clear that, when it comes to atoms,
language can be used only as in poetry...' " Bohr
quoted in Heisenberg's Physics and Beyond
Dualism: "the splitting sickness". There's a machine in my
head for making coins of conceptuality; they all have
heads & tails: i don't know how to make any other kind
(or it isn't a coin)--.

" 'Oh no!' said Holland, 'The species is not at all intent
on destroying itself. It's intent on being something
which happens inevitably to entail its destruction,
that's all.' " --Paul Bowles, Let It Come Down (1952)

Reason is a chainsaw but only hands can build.

"For, if the Grand Architect had acted a human part,
he would have ranged the stars into some beautiful
and elegant order, as we see in the vaulted roofs
of palaces; whereas, we scarce find among such an
infinite multitude of stars any figure either square,
triangular, or rectilinear; so great a difference is
there betwixt the spirit of man, and the spirit of
the universe." --Francis Bacon, On the Dignity
and Advancement of Learning
IV, iv.

Freedom is not a feeling. (A terrible truth for our

"Robert Frost liked very much to play [tennis], they
say, but he hated to lose. In fact he would get so
upset and grumpy when he lost that those who
looked out for him arranged that no one could play
him who did not agree beforehand to dump the
match." --Galway Kinnell, Walking Down the
  [So much for free verse being tennis
without a net!]
   'Tower of Night

Moonwan and whitely intumescent
in anxious silence of a summer night
the tower
peers out and waits for sanguine tidings
of flame and ruin and fright.

A monody of silence strangles
the bells and hymns within this voiceless shrine,
and the Lord's
tower arises, stares, and trembles
beneath an awesome sign.

Mysterious swimmers of the heavens,
the misty moon clouds move and drift on high,
the tower
salutes the moon orb, this all-knowing
omnibus of the sky.

The moon has seen unnumbered towers
it never hurries and is never late,
it glances
in calm upon this little planet
and its unfolding fate.

This sentinel of our salvation
may gleam with blood beneath tomorrow's moon
as once more
we hear proclaimed the ancient motto,
to victory or ruin.

The tower may confess tomorrow
a dedication to the claw and fang,
and the bells
these iron cubs in spellbound languor,
will ominously clang.

The lonely moon will rumble onward,
so will this vacant and unpeopled earth,
and above
a moonwhite ruin of fallen towers
the peace will come to birth.'

--Endre Ady
   "The Alternate Martians"

On the dusty plateau a
Startlingly covariant link.

Viroid trawlnet it's easy
To lose chrome of your hermitage.

Caress where ivorine shade goes
To Civet House.

09 03 03

Mathematical proof that Barney is evil. (via Robot Wisdom)

"No azure-hued tahalia now..." --from Epiphanius Wilson's
renditions of Moorish Ballads

In a recent poll on the American public's knowledge of
science, 21% thought the sun went around the earth.

'It is a very great safeguard to learn by heart instead
of writing. It is impossible for what is written not to
be disclosed. That is the reason why I have never
written anything about these things, and why there
is not and will not be any written work of Plato's
own. What are now called his are the work of a
Socrates embellished and modernized.' --2nd letter
of Plato

The chief illusion of art is the same as the chief
illusion of the City: that it has everything you
. (& can't find elsewhere--)
   In antiquity, the only Halloween
funhouses were the Mysteries. Today, the only
Mysteries are Halloween funhouses--.

"I am sick of the invisible world and all its efforts
to be visible" --Spicer

The Metaphor of the Unconscious as one, is a
reflection of the metaphor of the conscious as
one. Both are half-truths of immense utility.

"The long poem testifies reliably for period style."
--Harvey Gross

Monday, September 01, 2003

'...ritual is permissable only to the extent
that it is genuine as a kiss.' --Wittgenstein

The Epic as a colossal statue.

' "...I would [rather] watch over madmen, than
have to put up with fools. The only trouble, really,
is that there are so many madmen who are also
fools..." ' --Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, Abel
Sanchez and Other Stories

By distributing its effectual parts among the
arts & sciences, magic has been gerrymandered
out of existence.

"Even the subconscious is not patient enough for
poetry." --Jack Spicer, After Lorca

In a culture that celebrates the apotheosis of
trivia, poetry is the one thing that doesn't matter.
All ambitions are silly, but poetic ambitions are
sillier than most. Poetry itself should teach that
small is beautiful, that the unimportant can be
infinitely precious. As such, it's a metaphor for
human life...

"The tick, to use Uexkuell's example, has no need
for any grasp of spatial order and her imagined
place in it: she has only to sit on a grass-stalk,
for up to eighteen years, until the scent of
butyric acid (what we call butyric acid) impels
her to land on a passing mammal, suck blood, drop
to earth and lay her eggs." --Stephen Clark, From
Athens to Jerusalem
The London Review of Books notices slang in the
. (via Momus) More.

A million reasons are no better than one
reason, but a million excuses delude better
than one. Hence, politics.

"Every time we defecate we lose 100,000
million microbes." --Desmond Morris, Intimate

A painter should be no smarter than his fingers.

"Most readers, we have discovered, dislike
computer verse with intensity that borders on
moral censure." --introduction to Against
, Ernest Robson & Jet Wimp

People lack freedom to the precise degree that
they avoid self-criticism.

'...a cosmos where ice and fire are in eternal
conflict, and [a cosmos] in a hollow globe
surrounded by an infinite expanse of rock. Hitler
was asked to decide between them. His answer gives
food for thought: "Our conception of the world
need not be coherent. They may both be right." '
--The Morning of the Magicians

Art must be a wilderness howling among the voices.

"Desperately I strapped a dildo around my waist."
--Kathy Acker, Don Quixote

Only the colors move.

" 'Poor, foolish boy! Politeness is the name
  Politely given to equivocation.
'Twas not a tree from which this comment came;
  But an old stump with fungus vegetation
Encrusted thick. It was this old stump's aim,
  And, as it deemed, beneficent vocation,
To extract out of the toadstools it evolved
A system that all other systems solved."
--Owen Meredith, Glenaveril (1885)


To-day I saw a chipmunk stealthily
  Sitting upon a slender branch;
How steadily he gazed at me--
  As tho 'twere deed in no wise staunch!

Madly I hurled a stone--and down he fell. . . .
  Limp little body, am I then
So void of hell? . . . Since you can't tell,
  We'll think we're masterfull again!"
--Hyman Segal, The Book of Pain-Struggle

"...It would be a pity if any future historian
were to have to write words like these: 'By
the middle of the twentieth century the higher
institutions of learning had lost all influence
over public opinion in the United States. But
the mission of raising the tone of democracy,
which they had proven themselves so lamentably
unfitted to exert, was assumed with rare
enthusiasm and prosecuted with extraordinary
skill and success by a new educational power;
and for the clarification of their human sym-
pathies and elevation of their human preferences,
the people at large acquired the habit of
resorting exclusively to the guidance of certain
private literary adventures, commonly designated
in the market by the affectionate name of ten-
cent magazines...' " --William James in
Memories and Studies
[--Well, almost.]

Buffalo Daughter has a new album!


All of autumn, rose,
Is this single one of your petals
Girl, all of sorrow
Is this single drop
Of your blood.'

--Selected Writings of Juan Ramón Jiménez
tr H R Hays (1957)

When two cultures meet, they can choose to
mix or try to remain separate... It is
instructive to compare New Mexico & Arizona,
Brazil & Argentina, in this light.

Just because you wake up earlier doesn't
give you any sort of moral superiority.
So, neither does intelligence.

It behooves a barbarian to speak in
particulars, to collect shards, and to sleep
uneasy. A barbarian with ambitions beyond
that is himself a shard, a freak, and a
disturbing dream-episode.

Fusion is explosion made conspiracy.

If art is proto-mindscience, we are all
of us mad scientists, for attempting to prove
what we already know, and disdaining results
that contradict it.

Turned up while googling for "theocrat".

Listening to: "Twin Peaks" soundtrack.
I don't know if he was familiar with Pessoa, but in his
early book License to Carry a Gun, Andrei
Codrescu writes different kinds of poems under several
pseudonyms--including that of a Black Militant.

   "Radiant Silhouette IV

Frenzy softens the air.

The hardly used desire was posted on the outer panel
of the blackboard sky. Beneath rows of illustrated
fragments, someone whispers and someone listens,
and no one agrees on how many were in the bed between
one and one equals all the hours you have known or
imagined knowing another.

The inside of the walls got sticky, and tiny spots of
pink paper floated toward the rain spattered clouds.

I followed feathers down flagpoles

I stood on trains,
 sat across from
  and beside

I traced the little wigs of a tarnished button,
 and started eating the perfumed crumbs
  left out for the leper of milk

I licked peeling canisters
 until rain trickled out of
  my mouth and pockets

I counted the insect vowels missing from the slag heap

I inserted a strip of imitation fur into the Book of Neon

After he tied her on the bed, she handcuffed him to the stove.
Dark aquamarine light slipped off the rounded edges of the
upturned venetian blinds, dropping into mirrors fastened
at the corners.

An old movie flickered on the outer border of their gnawed platform."

--John Yau in: The Open Boat ed Hongo (1993)

A manifesto by Mark Amerika.
Shia Pundit.

How would you feel if you were a baker and had
to throw away fresh bread every day because
no one could smell it?

What is a leader? A person standing at the point
of maximum illusion. They have the least freedom
but the greatest sense of power... Nobody tells
the truth to a leader.

Speech is only the latest language.
Story is older than speech.

The only storytellers we listen to anymore, are
either professional liars or people who believe
words can describe reality.

Science is the political expression of method, and
arose with the modern state (17c.). It was inevitable
that, having chosen to perceive reality in terms
of its largest gestalts, and in generalizable relations
about groups, exclusively, scientists should have
gone on to become a collectivized institution which
serves the state in its oppression of individual
humans, just as science must ignore particularities
in order to attain certainty; not "Knowledge is power"
but "certain knowledge is Power-thinking applied
to things"...

In me the bricoleur wars with the enginer. Try to
utilize this as a dialectic. Sketch an outline, decide
on certain elements to choose from among,
then improvise.

"During the siege, concerts were held even as the
city was being shelled. Paintings from the Hermitage
were moved to the Ural Mountains for safekeeping,
but locals still flocked to the museum, where guides
pointed to empty frames and described the art they
once contained." --Craig Neff, in Sept/Ocr '03 Texas

"At a bookshop, we found...the familiar black-and-yellow-
covered for Dummies series; the word used for
dummies in the Russian version translates to teapots."

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Sequels to Beyond Good and Evil:
   Beyond Us and Them
   Beyond Rational and Irrational
   Beyond I and not-I
   Beyond Same and Different

"The Arm Twisted And Turned With Lightning
Imperativeness As If To Reach The Point
Of The Borders Of The Days That Touch
Each Other On The Rim Of The Precision-Discipline."
--Sun Ra

Improvisation depends on having to invent
as little as possible.

   ''The Seventh Rose

The first rose is of granite
The second rose is of red wine
The third rose is of lark's feathers
The fourth rose is of rust
The fifth rose is of yearning
The sixth rose is of tin
But the seventh
The most delicate
The believng rose
The rose of night
The sisterly rose--
Only after your death
Will it grow out of your coffin.'
--Yvan Goll, ibid
The last war. The last war will be fought between
robots trying to sell something, & humans who just want
to be left alone.

The only separable form & content is in lying.
But even so: this is a true representation of an inner

'With every dawn you return to be changed
From the wings of night's theater
Are you elf Holy Infanta?
In your dark strangeness?

With what weapon do captives approach you?
Will you step out of a revolving door
Out of a sunken castle? Out of a storm
Or a street full of tormenting detours?

What blaze touseled your locks?
What god whispered the password to you?
You sing in Tuscan you smell of burning

You come back to me confused bewildered
With the mask of a smile and--only half hidden--
Under the purple of your cloak an angel's wing'

--Yvan Goll, Selected Poems (1981) tr
Schulte & Bullock

I have the hatred of injustice of the true poet, &
the love of gewgaws of the false poet--in equal
measure. I am obviously predestined for no ordinary