Saturday, November 08, 2003

Watched "Sylvia"; & although it wasn't terribly
insightful, i liked it just for giving me images
of her place & time to contemplate. I had been
quite skeptical of Gwyneth Paltrow from the day
i heard of her casting, but she did an adequate
job for the role as it was written (particularly
in the second half)--my one real disagreement
was (of course) the simplemindedness with which
the writers approach the subject of making poems.
The idea seems to be that it was the experience
of having Ted leave her, that made her become a
great poet. Whereas, it was instead the quality
of ear & imagination with which she put words
together. Just to be perverse, i will argue
instead that it was his reaction to the shock
of her suicide, that made Ted Hughes write his
one great book of poems, Crow.
Mind is the outermost layer of skin, the most
sensitive & easily marked; it is only because we have
no wider senses that we cannot determine its extent
or limits.

I'm not here because i'm here, i'm here because i'm not

"Memorized speech is perhaps the least dramatic thing
that can happen on the stage." --Jack Smith

"It is rather strange because no painter thinks while
painting about what his painting would look like on
a color slide." --Nam June Paik

"As Leakey also said, the reason painting suddenly
appeared about 20,000 years ago was not because
people suddenly became smart, but because, before
there were agricultural communities, everybody moved
2000 miles every year." --ibid

An integrated person is a working democracy.

When i make a narrative out of my experiences, my
aesthetic sense is a strong wind i must tack against
to steer toward the truth. I get blown off course.
Sometimes i end up headed in the opposite direction.

"The amateur is very rare in French literature--as rare
as he is common in our own." --Lytton Strachey, 1912

TV: "We don't know what the part, corresponding to
the left hemisphere's speech centers, does on the right."
me: "the silence." --How long till we learn the use of

Every artist is a pirate satellite, a guerilla broadcaster.
Like that lone Japanese, we haven't heard that the
war is over. We think it's longing when it is our

"For ours is a most fictile world; and man is the most
fingent plastic of creatures." --Carlyle

I struggle between voice and speech. If i were only to
write when i feel articulate, that would not be the whole

You can live without meaning, without seeking meaning;
and no metaphysical retribution ensues. Our alienation
isn't teleological. It's simple as wearing shoes. When i
came back to Dallas i was able to smell the pollution.
Now i don't. Absence of meaning is like that. You
never find it by trying to reason it out because meaning
transcends rationality. How else can i say this? And
yet the meaning i have found from leaving is not the meaning
i must make here. What i can keep is the knowledge that
meaning exists. I won't find a recipe for it. But i might acquire
a nose for it.
   --By meaning, i don't mean faith. Faith
is kind of like the knowledge that meaning is possible, the
knowledge that makes meaning possible, but it's a wholly
visceral knowledge; swimming which is so natural yet not
a part of our genetic heritage--we develop our doubt and
faith in tandem (always & everyone!)--while meaning is what
holds the entire network of relationships together. Harmony.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Advice. (via Bogue's blog)

Wish i could go hear this bagpipe orchestra...

The weather, in Latin.

Visual representation of ancestry groups in
the United States
(from the 1990 census).
(via Matt Welch)

" It is no longer possible to call Putin’s Russia a democracy." --Johan Norberg

"You're 66 times more likely to be prosecuted
in the US than in France." Make your own statistical

Pocket history of Prague's English-language
newspaper Prognosis.
More. Still more.

"Every officer of the Battalion was killed or wounded and command of the battalion fell to Regimental Sergeant-Major Jones, who received orders to hold on to a ridge of land, later named Iron Cross Ridge, about a mile from the village of Langemarck. During this fighting Pvt Evans was wounded in the chest by a piece of trench mortar shell. He died a few hours later. A few weeks following his death, the National Eisteddfod was be held in Birkenhead. The Chair was placed in the centre of the stage with the eisteddfodic sword resting across its arms. When the Archdruid, Dyfed called out three times for the winning poet to stand up, there was no response. Dyfed announced that the chief bard had fallen on the field of battle in France on the last day of July. He explained who he was, “Hedd Wyn”, a shepherd from Trawsfynydd. And then, as there was no one to be chaired, the sword was removed, and the Chair draped in a black cloth." --Erik Linklater

New Lynx.
"It was perhaps Weapemeoc factionalism..."

The Internet's only officially approved sewergator

Anne bans fanfic.

"Cyber-Ashbery" via John Tranter:

   "Joy H. Breshan: Her Shy Banjo

Rain, without it there can be no September music
The concealed afternoons
A source of the revisions as useless as a lukewarm fancy,
Making pink smudges on life and accepting severe punishment,
Encouragement by lovers, sang no more blades of light
Arise, light! The things of the day we eat
Breakfast each in their tree withdrawals,
Our marionette-like Pierrot, like these
Hot sticky evenings, though fragmented

The greatest risk working deep crevices far inland,
We can see no reward, winnowers of the old time
Involved without pain, with their sleepy empty nets
And you, at twilight.
The neighbours love the yellow of the same tweed jacket.
It is only semi-bizarre where you want to lie,
A nice, bluish slate-gray. People laugh,
Having conspired with a towel, and wiped the last thought
From the black carriages, the models slender, like the stars.
You couldn't deliberately, for fright, once you see
It's all talk, the travelling far from anybody.
Hands streaming with kisses, between us.
It may be something like silver,
Something like a sponge
, and they enjoyed it, abandonment
Without shame, a crowded highway in the sun, it just
Stays like dust--that's the nature of the children, and
Yesterday's newspapers say: "Sometimes good times follow bad."
Their object, the sky. Is it like climbing abruptly
From a room? It may be only a polite puss-in-boots we passed,
Two in love hesitant at the front door.
So we have enjoyed the one crisp feeling, raking
And breathing, checking the horrible speech the furniture makes.
How short the season is--don't fix it if it comes in coloured
Mottoes, and now, underneath this dilemma directly, as
Our clothes, the afternoon, really old-time, her shy banjo."
No questions from Democrats allowed. (via

Harry Mathews on translation (sort of).

In case you don't want print-on-demand from
Cafe Press.

The unorthodox life of an unorthodox chess

Another incursion noted. (via TexFiles)

A new Fifty-Five from Melanie:

   To Have and To Hold

The chapel was awash in yellow roses. The groom¹s shoes were freshly shone. The bride smiled beatifically.

"Do you take this man," the priest began, "to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you live?"

"I do," said the bridesmaid.
'And when a man tells you that you know nothing and you
are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have begun
the work.' --Epictetus

Writing for publication is the slot machines without Vegas.

"Dickens did not write what the people wanted.
Dickens wanted what the people wanted."
--G K Chesterton

Shallow noise is noise. Deep noise is sense.

"The superior man is exacting of himself; the
common man is exacting of others." --Confucius

"For if there be a Faith, from of old, it is this, as we
often repeat, that no Lie can live forever." --Thomas

Physical habits are like canyons & gullies--traces of
innumerable mental habits, weather we keep no other
records of. Rain, we say; it falls. No one gathers it up.

Order & Control are as different as a diamond & a
diamond mine.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man pokes
his eye out.

Swim exactly 12 inches under water.

A life is not a long time to be asleep. An hour is a
long time to be awake.

For every signalless lane change, a baby will be
born deformed.

There is no soft word for a soft death, that does not
sound like love.

A adult is someone who flunked adolescence.

I think i have a privileged seat at this melodrama just
because i found a program & opera glasses when i
sat down.

When you see a UFO, you want to tell the world--partly
to prove it wasn't a hallucination. I'm that way about
my insights sometimes.

Reverence won't get you there, but you won't get there
without it.

Nothing is as beautiful as a flock of birds at dusk. I
look at it, then turn away, having learned only the futility
of all my art. I should look longer next time, & learn more.

A painting is much more like a stray kitten that you pick
up & take home, than a child you give birth to. As people
come to resemble their pets, artists develop a style... Not
developing a style means you are the stray cat that goes
from home to home. We revere & distrust Picasso as if he
were Genghis Khan, king of the nomadic hordes. --Our
own nomads being lost.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Listening to: Sheila Chandra.

   "The Reagans Episode I"

  Where sable swans on
Rivers yet unfound the fecund cicala,
Dew soaked grass,
No grisaille sun// Babylon green noun
Dying into leave us sky

Gray down styrofoam
Want. And silvery ruins vie incursion
A flaunting cactus my cloud
Pseudonym defend the engrams grue

  I think I used to be Lincoln, some great man a grateful nation is always thanking in cards letters flowers the dog the wife why can't I hold on to their names also of greatness. Sometimes the sun makes me cry I am so happy to know America's free & not to be Lincoln anymore.

11 06 03
"There, in that low-ceilinged room, I had often said
to Fay and to Tom that there was no way out but that
the acceptance of this could itself be a beginning."
--Alexander Trocchi, Cain's Book

When i have watched fire as many hours as i have
watched television, my mind will be free.

"I remember a despairing white father in the Belgian
Congo saying to me just before the debacle when I was
bound on some such mission, 'There is another great
age of darkness closing in on the life of man and all
that we can do is to create little fortresses wherein the
authentic light of the spirit can be kept burning so that
one day, when men wish to reach out for light again,
they will have places in which to find it. But for the rest,
we must just accept the inevitability of disaster.' 'You
may well be right, and disaster may well come,' I had told
him. 'But for me it will always be a point of honor to go on
working to prevent disaster, if only to make certain it is
the right kind of disaster life needs when it does ultimately
come.' " --Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of
Our Time
, 1975

We shouldn't kill trees unless we dance on their graves.

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

The wings of poetry, the claws of prose.

"Laughter is the best pesticide." --Nabokov

"Different modes of dehumanization: capitalism treated
men like machines; the post industrial society treats
them like signs." --Octavio Paz

On the treadmill you feel surrounded by interstellar

"There's nothing I have to say to everybody in the world."
--Ken Kesey, 1970 interview

"Tell me what a man dreams and I will tell you what he
is." --Arab proverb

"Humanism could well be defined as the way the inhabitants
of a good city habitually behave." --Kenneth Rexroth

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

And having explained and thoroughly understood the source of
all that is false in my life, i disown it--thinking thereby to advance
beyond. Instead, i should admit what caused it to find such ready
soil in me.

"Voluntary Attention is rare, and is found only among strong
characters." --Ramacharaka

Listening to- Squarepusher.


Heft a enthroned on to my ghosts to bier of courage
Nouns that allow a rapid ghastly ampersand:
It is social, a mad rushing sun-bright pile

The impetuous fury of ruthless law, bold;
I pressure my shoulder; flames went utterly
The throughput of mirrors.

A impropriety of withered bloggers
Couldn't trembled this antlion-spyglass descent.
Only pupil of mirrors.

Once more let was in myriads girt by a
But irrevocable overthrow, alone will gauge
The throughput of mirrors.

A impropriety of the funnel storm.
But flotsam alone will gauge flotsam
The hen-speckled view recedes.

You must not lost.

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what
we pretend to be." --Vonnegut, Mother Night

Being alienated is our communion with dead matter.

For every science an equal & opposite science.

An artist without a community is a lightning rod without the storm.

"...the twentieth century was the century not of sentences as was
the eighteenth nor of phrases as was the nineteenth but of
paragraphs. ...The time had come when a whole thing was all
there was of anything." --Gertrude Stein, 1934

'But there are too many signs that everything that used to
sustain our lives no longer does so, that we are all mad,
desperate, and sick. And I call for us to react.' --Antonin
Artaud, "No More Masterpieces"

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

You knew this was coming.


They are the last romantics, these candles:
Upside-down hearts of light tipping wax fingers,
And the fingers, taken in by their own haloes,
Grown milky, almost clear, like the bodies of saints.
It is touching, the way they'll ignore

A whole family of prominent objects
Simply to plumb the deeps of an eye
In its hollow of shadows, its fringe of reeds,
And the owner past thirty, no beauty at all.
Daylight would be more judicious,

Giving everybody a fair hearing.
They should have gone out with the balloon flights and the stereopticon.
This is no time for the private point of view.
When I light them, my nostrils prickle.
Their pale, tentative yellows

Drag up false, Edwardian sentiments,
And I remember my maternal grandmother from Vienna.
As a schoolgirl she gave roses to Franz Josef.
The burghers sweated and wept. The children wore white.
And my grandfather moped in the Tyrol,

Imagining himself a headwaiter in America,
Floating in a high-church hush
Among ice buckets, frosty napkins.
These little globes of light are sweet as pears.
Kindly with invalids and mawkish women,

They mollify the bald moon.
Nun-souled, they burn heavenward and never marry.
The eyes of the child I nurse are scarcely open.
In twenty years I shall be retrograde
As these drafty ephemerids.

I watch their spilt tears cloud and dull to pearls.
How shall I tell anything at all
To this infant still in a birth-drowse?
Tonight, like a shawl, the mild light enfolds her,
The shadows stoop over the guests at a christening."

--Sylvia Plath

A mask is a choice of faces--a face is an end to

At different times in my life i come to restate
the same truths, like an airplane circling the landing strip.

"What is the use of a sign which is itself only
another riddle?" --C S Lewis, Till We Have Faces (1956)

'Only he is an artist who can make a riddle out of
the solution.' --Karl Kraus

Monday, November 03, 2003

Listening to: Radio Ethiopia.

Deal with it.

"Our nation has lost every last vestige of its honor and prestige in the gathering of nations, like a belligerent vomit-soaked drunk that started a fistfight on the dance floor with an unattractive midget." --Ben Tripp (via Wood_s Lot)

A comment on William Watkin's blog caused me
to remember some old notes i took on Sanskrit
, specifically a concept meaning
'reverberation'--"rasa" & not "yoin" as i
emailed him (this other word, meaning the
same thing, i may have gotten from Bali via
Mrs Byrne's Dictionary, or was it They Have
A Word For It
--?*): anyway, my point was that
with a great poem, it doesn't end when it ends.
You may be caused to spontaneously remember
part of it, years & years later..."it may be that
a poetics of 'yoin' subsumes other views which only
concern adherence to a model or type of process,
& fail to distinguish poems that adhere equally, one
being forgettable & the other not." And when i
consider my writing of late, i wonder if a lot
of the meaning for me of those poems is the
relation of some of the images & even the very
words, to their earlier occurrences in my old
poems...? (As well as--i hasten to add--other
people's poems i have read
with those words
& images.) --Not unlike the concept of "pillow-words"
in Japanese aesthetics: nonsense words or words of
uncertain meaning, continually reused purely for
their associations.

*it would appear that this is a Japanese word.
Using Amazon's new infrasearch capabilities,
i discover that their scanning has produced a
veritable blizzard of electronic typos--such
that, a lot of the "yoin"-s they found were
simply "your" or "young" or "join" in the
actual texts... The implications of this for the
future of our collectobe menmorty arre raher
Someone else has picked up on my phrase,
"information pollution". (This includes telemar-
keter phone calls
, too IMHO.)

   "Debt Consolidation"

Heft a withered spyglass to my shoulder;
The hen-speckled view recedes.
A impropriety of bloggers
Couldn't ransom this antlion-funnel climber.

Only pupil of the razory tickler,
I pressure my ghosts to emit
Nouns that allow a smarmy ampersand:
It is social, like a pogrom of mirrors.

But flotsam alone will gauge
The throughput of the seeded storm.

10 31 03 (for Verbophobia)

"There is the curious set of cases in which the word
Bosheth, 'Shame' or 'Shameful Thing', has taken
the place, or distorted the form, of some genuine but
objectionable word. For instance, the title Melekh,
King, was applied to Yahweh as to other deities: and
at one time in the seventh century human sacrifices
were offered to him under that name. This was an abom-
ination to the purer Jewish feeling. Whenever the word
Melekh occurred in descriptions of these rites,
the practice in the Synagogue was to avoid pronouncing
it and say instead Bosheth. To indicate this,
though the consonants of MLKH were not altered in the
text, the vowels of Bosheth were written under them.
Hence arose an imaginary word 'Molekh'--afterwards
corrupted to 'Moloch'--which was then taken for the
name of some unknown god of the Gentiles." --Gilbert
Murray, The Rise of the Greek Epic (1907)

"The more policemen you have, the more criminals you
have; and the more criminals you have, the more
policemen you have got to have to catch them: and so
it go on and on, until a time will come when everybody
will be either a criminal or a policeman." --G B
Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page
[Tao Te Ching, 57]

Sunday, November 02, 2003

A bit i wrote on Pavic is here.

Melanie took a survey among her friends, of
"...movies that could (or should) be turned into stage
musicals, as per such recent Broadway successes as
The Producers and Hairspray", & here are the results:
   "There were no runaway
votegetters, but there were a few titles that popped
up more than two times, such as, incredibly, both The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
and The Silence of the Lambs,
as well as the more traditional Steel Magnolias.
Some of the better examples submitted include, in no
particular order:

Gangs of New York
The Bridges of Madison County
Ferris Bueller¹s Day Off
King of Hearts
The Seventh Seal
Mommie Dearest
Ghost World
Benny & Joon
Harry Potter
The Bride of Frankenstein
The Truman Show
The Amityville Horror
The Crying Game
Dirty Dancing
A Night at the Opera
The Mummy (Boris Karloff version)
Mrs. Doubtfire
Fatal Attraction
When Harry Met Sally
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Coal Miner¹s Daughter
Pretty Woman
Reservoir Dogs
Forrest Gump
Billy Elliott
The Big Chill
Kill Bill
The Client
Miss Congeniality
Fried Green Tomatoes
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Donnie Brasco
Mulholland Drive
The Green Mile
Bruce Almighty
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Broadway Danny Rose
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Stardust Memories
Pennies from Heaven
The Velvet Goldmine

and even Behind the Green Door."

"(Indeed, language itself is only a
metaphor.)" --C G Jung

"If we give spirits a form, we become
independent." --Picasso

"It's a job to be done. Somebody's got to do
it." --Wendy O Williams on chainsaw-bisecting
the electric guitar