Saturday, October 04, 2003

"So, in 1975 CEOs earned about 40 times the
average wage, by the end of the Reagan era
they were earning 130 times the average wage,
and we thought that was a wildly unequal society,
but now it's 500 times." --Paul Krugman

I've been waiting to see if Rush Limbaugh has
really jumped his own bad shark yet, & things
are very promising... (via Eschaton)

"Maximum number of miles that Ford's most
fuel-efficient 2003 car can drive on a gallon of
gas : 36

Maximum number its 1912 Model T could : 35"
--Harpers Index (via Robot Wisdom)

"But as outrageous as Limbaugh and Schwarzen-
egger are, nothing can top Missouri Republican
Senator Christopher Bond's now former communica-
tions director, Ernie Blazar. He decided to set up an
anti-Democrat web site called "N8354N," the tail
number of the plane that carried Missouri Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan, his son, and his assistant.
All were killed in the crash. The plane crashed just
prior to the 2000 election that pitted Carnahan
against the incumbent John Ashcroft. Carnahan,
whose name remained on the ballot, beat Ashcroft anyway." --Wayne Madsen in Counterpunch

One can love one place or many places, but not
“the Earth”. The same with cultures & Culture,
humans & Humanity. We rootless ones, i suppose,
identify with whatever flotsam we bump up against
--popculture, subculture, well-worn arcana--without
ever grasping the meaning of any whole, that
comes only from having grown up surrounded
by legible relationships

Improvisation is like a game you make up the
rules of as you go along. Others soon want to join;
& if you persevere, you have made a language.

Sapir Whorf. Can historical consequences be
traced from the fact of there not being a word for

“The wolves were ending their song when, from
the sea, the whales answered it.” --The Starship
and the Canoe
, Kenneth Brower (1978)

“ our hearts we are nothing if not cosmologists,
hanging in a cold cage sifting the ruthless jewels of
existence.” --Dennis Overbye, Lonely Hearts of
the Cosmos

“To Szalay the physics life was not that much
different from the rock-and-roll life. The dress, the
hours, the hair, the sense of fraternity, the brothers
who knew what and how you played, were common
elements. New ideas had to be taken on the road.
You went from conference to conference to colloquium
singing for your supper, dazzling with your insights,
your sleight of hand with math. You were judged,
as Wheeler said, by your ability to project a thought
with power. You flew all night and ate strange food
with people you’d never met before, but plied the
same integrals, you had the same heroes. Afterward
you jammed with your colleagues.” --ibid

Meanwhile, in Chechnya...

Good news--if you ride a bicycle.

Friday, October 03, 2003

"and you will disappear under the accumulation from
stones which they will make rain on you/
when you are transformed into a black animal which barks"
--Lycophron (machine translated from French of the

It appears that Javant's zine "Taboo Jadoo"
can be printed or downloaded from here.
My invented language Glaugnea's grammar
(with a lipogrammatic introductory essay)
is in #4.

2002: A Palindrome Story.
Also: The Great American Hypertext Novel.

A German member of OuLiPo.

"...I've made more money at this [lipogram] than from
all of the plays I've written." --Mark Dunn

A musical progressive lipogram.

Tribute to Perec.

“His lab’ring heart with sudden rapture seized
He paus’d, and on the ground in silence gazed.
Unskill’d and uninspired he seems to stand,
Nor lifts the eye, nor graceful moves the hand:
Then, while the chiefs in still attention hung,
Pours the full tide of eloquence along;
While from his lips the melting torrent flows,
Soft as the fleeces of descending snows.
Now stronger notes engage the listening crowd,
Louder the accents rise, and yet more loud,
Like thunders rolling from a distant cloud.”
Merrick’s “Tryphiodorus,” 148, 99. [cited here--
this is T.'s "Destruction of Troy, Being A
Sequel to the Iliad", i think.]

Byron (xxi.) rhymes Tryphiodorus with "storehouse".

Name for a band: Wet Cardboard.

On the back of an SUV: two Sanskrit "OM"
decals & a Dallas Cowboys.

   "Better than Botox"

Cadillac Boedecker snow
On the gray kudzu
Halcyon DMZ harl
Counterweighted bank vault door
Wooden water wheel
In a swirl of gray exhaust
R'lyeh froglegs sparkage

09 29 03

   "The Patriotic Murders"

Winter child the whisper
Thousand tell:
I uncached my Glock.
There's commencement to deadness
In the great boom ahead;
A goblin nepenthe,
Who Hoffa'd his
15kg cufflinks.

09 30 03


Ravel nepenthe
Commencement to deadness swarms
Briskly done
Bare name die of a foe, sleepwalkers qibla
Halcyon whispers leaping flames day

What hold had it tenuous
Chameleon man from Baboon Delusion swirl
Spewing for grope continuing slag
Kudzu rhost
Consequential gleam?

Goblin the free gift change he;
38th parallel particles ravel
Mouthe chrome malison

10 02 03

A bunch of machine translators here.

Could be a heavy metal band name generator.

Theory is making a game that is like the problem--
& then thinking that to win the game is to solve the
problem. Well, maybe for especially gamelike


Firecrackers sounding like shots of handguns rattle
The afternoon of early July at a late time
For celebrations and it is an inglorious
Fourth we have come to, like the birthday of a very
Sick man: no simple affirmations will do today.
In the dying wind the nation's stars and stripes slacken;
I guess this must be the flag of its disposition
Not to save itself. Only now, much later, all flags
Down for the night, we watch some bunting--no more a flag
Than the flag is our old glory--as it fitfully
Gleams in the streetlamp's conditional light, like a truth
Which the sad, difficult telling of half-conceals, half-
Discloses, through our few tears ungleaming in the dark."
--Hollander, op cit

"Quisque suos patimur Manis." --Vergil, VI.743 ('We each
undergo our own ghost [-experiences].')

" 'Knowledge deposed, then!'--groaned whom that most grieved
As foolishest of all the company..." --R Browning
[In "The Flight of the Duchess" he rhymes 'instinct' with 'quince-
tinct', 'rescue' & 'burlesque you', 'syntax' & 'tin-tacks', 'accident'
& 'flaccid dent' (1), not to mention that intriguing pair, 'turmoil'
& 'sperm oil'...& those are just the good rhymes. What
is one to make of 'inquisitive' & 'visit, I've'...?] Well! I found 8 lines
i like:
  "Oh, which were best, to roam or rest?
The land's lap or the water's breast?
To sleep on yellow millet-sheaves,
Or swim in lucid shallows just
Eluding water-lily leaves,
An inch from Death's black fingers, thrust
To lock you, whom release he must;
Which life were best on summer eves?" --from "In a Gondola"
  Philosophical question: could it be that a poet would prefer
cacophony to music, if they wrote enough?

Dreamed i was On the Bus again, part of a caravan for people
with AIDS. Most of my dream i was cleaning up one particular
bus. Before i awoke i stepped outside & saw that the caravan wasn't
moving & the bus i had been in, had no wheels.

Perceptives think Chance is on their side, Judgers think Chance is
against them. Both are wrong.

"The burden of returning is remembering he has no secrets." --John
Edgar Wideman,
Philadelphia Fire (1990)

Wrote a snarling "farewell to Dallas" piece for JR. Probably won't
send it to him. But i like the beginning: "As this woeful & ensanguined
empire slouches, like a lunarscape in motion, towards a darkling appointment
with Entropy it dare not foresee, i find myself preparing to eloign."

Thursday, October 02, 2003

"Heine tells us somewhere, how, driven by the roar of
street-fighting, into the calm cool galleries of the Louvre,
sick and exhausted in mind and body, he fell down at the
feet of the Goddess of Beauty there, standing, as she still
stands, at the end of that corridor of mute witnesses, and
as he looked to her for help, he knew that she could never
bend down to him, or lift him up out of his weariness, for
they had broken her long ago, and she had no arms!"
--John Cowper Powys, Visions and Revisions (1915)

'If she only knew that all his poems had been written to her
and to no one else, every single one, even the one to Night,
even the one to the Spirit of the Swamp. But that was something
she should never know.' --Knut Hamsun, Victoria tr O.

"This must be what I wanted to be doing,
Walking at night between the two deserts,
Singing." --Merwin

"...the migration is itself a ritual performance, a 'religious'
catharsis... nomadism must satisfy some basic human aspiration
which settlement does not. It is paradoxical, but not surprising,
that the great religions--Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian
and Buddhist--were preached among settled peoples who had
nomads." --Bruce Chatwin, What Am I Doing Here?

"Das tier kennt nicht die scham der mensch nicht dank." ('The
beast is void of shame, the man of thanks.') --S. George

A Colombian drug lord is offering to surrender [1991] on
condition that he be allowed to build his own prison...
  What a metaphor.

"Our ways our sole high deeds, our roads our destinations."
--Hollander, Powers of Thirteen (1983)

"For even the alligator dies in his mail, and the swordfish
never surrenders." --Melville, Mardi (1849)

"Wisdom had come from the wizening of Christendom..."
--Hollander, op cit

  I dream of the beauty of Alzheimer's
  in a world that has lasted so long...

  to forget how i got there,
  to have lost these days.

06 03 91

Shocking. I cleaned my yellow sink with dutch cleanser
and it turned white!

Listening to: The Mills Brothers.

Practicing for Year Zero. (via Wood_s Hole)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Mormon colonies in Mexico. (a book we just got in)

Finally got around to seeing "The Anarchist's
": not a bad movie (it made me nostalgic
for old times in the Revolution that Wasn't) but a
terrible slander on Anarchists who, apart from the
"spraypaint anarchists" who think vandalism is a
political act in itself, were the most moral people
i've ever known; people who could spend 2 hours
arguing whether it's okay to eat rennet.

Interstitial arts. (via Ptarmigan)

Craig Hill thinks about poetry publishing. (See his blog for follow-ups.)

One of my favorite singers comes to a bad end.

Gothic Lolita. (And let's not forget Gothic Lolita
.) (via Memepool)

I found this here while searching for "J A Lindon":
"Here's a limerick I picked up off the net a few years back - looks better
on paper.

| 2              3 X pi             3_
| z dz X cos(--------) = ln (\/e )
|                   9

Which, of course, translates to:

Integral z-squared dz
from 1 to the cube root of 3
times the cosine
of three pi over 9
equals log of the cube root of 'e'.

And it's correct, too."

Ten technologies that deserve to die. (via bOING bOING)

A new art medium. (via Dave Barry)

The Free State Project. (via Samizdata)

"I believe it is by persons believing themselves
in the right that nine-tenths of the tyranny of the
world has been perpetrated... 'The times certainly
require,' says he [George III], 'the concurrence of
all who wish to prevent anarchy. I have no wish
but the prosperity of my own dominions, therefore
I must look upon all who would not heartily assist
me as bad men, as well as nbad subjects.' That is
the way he reasoned." --William Makepeace Thack-
eray, "George the Third"

"...Remember that he believed himself anointed by
a Divine commission; remember that he was a man
of slow parts and imperfect education; that the same
awful will of Heaven which placed a crown upon his
head, which made him tender to his family, pure in his
life, courageous and honest, made him dull of compre-
hension, obstinate of will, and at many times deprived
him of his reason." --ibid

"King George's household was a model of an English
gentleman's household. It was early; it was kindly; it
was charitable; it was frugal; it was orderly; it must
have been stupid to a degree which I shudder now to
contemplate." --ibid

"Ulf slit open his belly, led him round and round an
oak tree, and in this way unwound all his intestines
out of his body, and Brodir did not die before they
were all pulled out of him." --Njal's Saga, ch. 157

"Last night I dreamt I was in the labyrinth
And woke far on. I did not know the place." --Edwin

"...Time is a fluid medium for the culture of metaphors."

"Vita brevis, ars longa, tempus acutum, experimentum
vero fallax, iudicium difficile." ("Life is short, the Art
long, opportunity elusive, experiment dangerous,
judgment difficult.') --Hippocrates

"The only flower known to have wings is the butterfly;
all others stand helpless before the destroyer." --Kakuzo,
The Book of Tea

A poetry magazine: LOGISTICS.

Red-assed Baboon inner monologue. (via Rebecca Blood)

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Why is there something rather than nothing? (via Metafilter)
Answer: there isn't.

Listening to: Wishbone Ash- Nouveau Calls.

#3 Sign of the Apocalypse: Pynchon on the Simpsons.
(via Silliman's Blog)

"I had been told by Elinor Wylie, after one of her trips to
London, of a meeting with Virginia Woolf which--though
Elinor may have distorted a little--had sounded rather dis-
agreeable. Mrs Woolf, she declared, had asked her why she
tried to write literary English; she had told Elinor that it
would be much more interesting if she let herself go in her
native American and tried something in the line of Ring
Lardner." --Edmund Wilson

The mass production of "facts": an abstract artform. (Its
aesthetics is called "plausibility".)

"I told him there were thirty-five women to every man
in madhouses and thirty-five men to every woman in
jails." --Rhoda Lerman, The Girl that He Marries (1976)

One who is broken-hearted cannot write criticism. It all
seems equally pitiful.

An artist wages transcendence against his alienation; a
pseudoartist cherishes alienation as a badge of honor.

Poetry in a book is like a record in an album cover.

Songs about being rock stars; poems about being English

Perhaps in all times & places the spirit of emulation
is responsible for the bulk of poems produced. (How
odd that none of our criticism will cop to this.)

The survival of the art of poetry should only be measured
by the amount actually memorized in people's minds today.

"To divine is human." --Michael Edwards, The Dark
Side of History

"And of all the infirmities we have, the most savage, is
to despise our being." --Montaigne, On Experience
(Florio's tr)

Translations as divination. What draws you to an
author, to a text, as the next direction of your own

"...Expiring in the frore and foggy air." --Shelley,
The Revolt of Islam, Canto IX. xxv.

Monday, September 29, 2003

The Miskatonic Acid Test.

"...But this our native or adopted land
has no past, no story. No poet speaks to us. Do we need a poet
to interpret Nature's teachings, we must look into our own hearts,
if perchance we may find a poet there.

What is the dominant note of Australian scenery? That which is
the dominant note of Edgar Allan Poe's poetry -- Weird Melancholy.
A poem like "L'Allegro" could never be written by an Australian. It is
too airy, too sweet, too freshly happy. The Australian mountain forests
are funereal, secret, stern. Their solitude is desolation.
They seem to stifle, in their black gorges, a story of sullen despair.
No tender sentiment is nourished in their shade. In other lands
the dying year is mourned, the falling leaves drop lightly on his bier.
In the Australian forests no leaves fall. The savage winds shout
among the rock clefts. From the melancholy gums strips of white bark
hang and rustle. The very animal life of these frowning hills
is either grotesque or ghostly. Great grey kangaroos hop noiselessly
over the coarse grass. Flights of white cockatoos stream out,
shrieking like evil souls. The sun suddenly sinks,
and the mopokes burst out into horrible peals of semi-human laughter.
The natives aver that, when night comes, from out the bottomless depth
of some lagoon the Bunyip rises, and, in form like monstrous sea-calf,
drags his loathsome length from out the ooze. From a corner
of the silent forest rises a dismal chant, and around a fire dance natives
painted like skeletons. All is fear-inspiring and gloomy.
No bright fancies are linked with the memories of the mountains.
Hopeless explorers have named them out of their sufferings --
Mount Misery, Mount Dreadful, Mount Despair. As when among sylvan scenes
in places

"Made green with the running of rivers,
And gracious with temperate air,"

the soul is soothed and satisfied, so, placed before the frightful grandeur
of these barren hills, it drinks in their sentiment of defiant ferocity,
and is steeped in bitterness." --Marcus Clarke, preface to Poems by
Adam Lindsay Gordon

Update on Welsh poetics, in Welsh & (a little
bit) in English. (pdf, via Wood_s Hole)
Lying being both socially necessary & morally
unjustifiable..., every viewpoint which depends upon
forgoing it (as a token of earnestness) will be rendered
ineffectual or else succumb to unwitting hypocrisy.
  --This is a myth about the Death of God, i
  --but a true myth.

We are all targets in the same murky battlefield--whose sense
of each other, naturally, derives from the competition for
shelter. So i cultivate humanist attitudes i don't often feel
& actively refute in my thinking, in order not to lose touch
with that future time in which people will be born with a
reason to have them.

The re-marginalization of artists won't be the end of the
art-making impulse, merely its spurious authority &
glamour... It will be salubrious for Art, certainly. Those who
were in it for reasons of the ego will then move on to
other things.

When time making pots didn't have to be stolen from time
making spears, it was easier to be an artist. But they didn't try
to be priests, either.

There is a mystery named by the color greenish-orange.
Know this, & you know a secret about all mysteries.

Computers are a greater snare than even drugs. They appear
to confer intelligence without effort, as drugs appear to confer
an inconsequential joy.

"To say, of course, that an art form which cannot pay its own
way is also generically defunct is a respectable American
argument; happily it is no longer applied to any other art form,
from Grand Opera to aerial bombardment." --Charles Newman,
The Post-Modern Aura (1985)

"Our frailties are never more on display than when we give names
to Time." --ibid

The Big Lie. Nothing is so contagiously inspiring as
total commitment to a blatant fraud. It's as awesome as levitation.

We Americans are so childishly delighted with the bare act
of choosing, like Midas in the first hour of his "golden touch",
it hardly matters what; but very often i am as weary with the
plethora of indistinguishables, as Midas after years of the curse,
till i cry out: only give me one necessary task & the barest
sustenance, & i will ask no more! --But my art refuses me.

Listening to: Sons of the Pioneers.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

An incomplete list of my favorite novels. Against the
Grain. Geek Love. Smilla's Sense of Snow. Crime and Punish-
ment. A Thousand Acres. Bleak House. Moderan. Sugar Rain.
Diana of the Crossways. Black Easter. Doktor Faustus. Under
the Volcano. Nightwood. Little, Big. Nova. The Golden Note-
book. V. Tlooth. Valmouth. Norstrilia. Dune. Jack of Shadows.
Moby Dick. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Riddley
Walker. The Ticket that Exploded. Maldoror. Beautiful Losers.
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. The Glass Bead
Game. Flowers For Algernon. The Worm Ouroboros. Wolf
Solent. Underworld (Delillo). The Cannibal (Hawkes). Lithium
for Medea. We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Invisible Cities.
Dictionary of the Khazars. Stand on Zanzibar. Voss. Another
Country. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. Golden Witchbreed.
City (Simak). The Demolished Man. Vathek. Pale Fire. Interview
with the Vampire. Watership Down. the Cipher (Koja). Lilith
(Salamanca). The Crystal World. The Intuitionist. Philadelphia
Fire. Holy Fire.

   The smell of woodsmoke
On a bright autumn morning
   Many memories
Swirl like the dark particles
Of what was once green & tall

09 28 03

For a bumper sticker: DIEBOLD RULES?

Every image without humans is a name for solitude.

As cats are the opposite of painting, rabbits are the
opposite of magic.

" any reading of the Tarot it is the Fool who asks
and the Fool who answers every question." --Bill Butler,
Dictionary of the Tarot (1975)

Integrity is all the more essential in isolation, though it
seems that lies there harm no one & to oneself are trans-
parent. But it is only in truthful relation to yourself that
you exist--the other kind is merely the maintenance of a
convincing fa├žade.

Our system has more safeguards against good leadership
than the goddamn Roman Empire.

And at last i begin to wonder: was it maybe a mistake to
have associated Art with meaning in the first place? When,
most of it has more in common with birdsong, than the
delicate encoding of an insight...?
A strange dream last night. Most of it
i've lost with my morning coffee, but
i remember i was inventorying books for
an estate sale...old books, some of great
value, most not... At last i found the
most important one of all--it was about
three feet tall, one or less wide, &
bound in black ermine fur, with tooled
leather pages of various dark colors.
All the type was gold inlay. The book
was a collection of aphorisms about death.
I opened it (the cover wasn't stiff, but
flexible, less like a book than a satchel,
say) & read a few on one page. Right before
the alarm went off & i woke, i remember
the last one, by someone with a Russian
name i didn't try to pronounce:
   "The Hour of Death arrives, now goes
 confessor to the Confessor, assassin to the Assassin."