Saturday, November 15, 2003

A brief history of the Car Horn Organ. (via Fiendish Word)

Candybar wrapper embroidery. (ditto)

Stumbling on Lovecraft's grave.

Some good remarks on poetry by Joe Ahearn. (via Ptarmigan)

   "Under the Ion Hammer" (for Verbophobia)

Master of kiteslipt Spetznaz, amnesia is our leader;
Determinancy gone, abductee is our leader.

The tenuous adhesion of a cotton hush
Yields prismatic derangement whose rent church is our leader.

In strawberry fields of self-hypnosis i too roamed:
A maple sapper of the charcoal is our leader.

And your good squirm of lurid flashbangs now protrusive
As kudzu, cannot fail to dub you as our leader.

Leader! into caverns worn with jackboot march
No throe may deflect; epigraph: flambeau is our leader.

"The Poem is a fire-hunt, the Poet an animal charmed in one
spot, eyes fixed to the light." --Susan Howe, My Emily

'What is poetry but fog gathering around the light of a
sword?" --In-Hoon Choi, The Daily Life of Ku-Poh the Novelist,
tr Ki-Chang Hong (1985)

'Lines of a poem may well be compared to tangled vines or jags
of rock in the woods over which man trips, when human life is called
the woods metaphorically.' --ibid

"Apostrophe catastrophes; evolution & Diana. I lop ill
agonism, urge of Edward's. Mures & pop--none. Smetana--I?
Latitude along a cadet animal. & stops, knits, Avallon kat,
Ipoh soma & severe Wolf, a yaw, Harris.
O, O.K. Oklahoma lad: laws, Odessa,
Flahaut, namely Ebert, nectar, Aramaism, a matey & O
cap worn. O worst cad Ero, Tom, Oedipal wed agnates. O! minae,
Nifo, Evita (Gen.), Laro month, guan eras, no it. Cafe Lam
lived. Nas deed. Simla. Gellis, Dr. Awkward, & deer gas. Id,
Mabel E. Bam. O gab! Mulish P. Muir, Tamar, Oenone romps,
ahaniger always, Bob & one film. Sin--a gap? Oenomel,
   I ram a tenable Bratslav & I am mum
re. Cape Matapan..." --Dr Awkward & Olson in Oslo
"I was at Pontius Pilates house and pist against it."
--Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller (1594)

No doubt by the 21c. they'll think "poetry" meant any sort
of confused speech.

In times of language growth the imitation of speech
enriches poetry (Elizabethans); in times of decay, it depletes
it (today).

Squirrels feel superior to cats because squirrels have a
sense of humor and cats don't. [Poets; philosophers.]

Maybe all our age really means is now we have enough people
to manage a Renaissance and a Dark Ages at the same time.

If i am a moralist in art it's because i find it monstrous to cherish
stillborns as living children.

Hypocrisy defines empire. Our new twist is to not know when
we're lying.

"Books written in English had to fight their way into a field already
occupied, and it is clear that until the fourteenth century they
failed to obtain any real popularity among well-to-do people. ...Of
English works...written before 1360, perhaps the majority survive
only in a single copy, which in no single case bears any trace of
the fine writing found in manuscripts for wealthy book-buyers. At a
later date there is no lack of manuscripts of Langland, the Wycliffite
Bible, and Chaucer, some of them most beautifully written and
decorated..." --Pollard, quoted in Schofield's English Literature
from the Norman Conquest to Chaucer

Murasaki has a tanka made of words with double meanings.
"'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings"
--Stainway to Heaven

Johnson, on Horace's Ode I.34: "Sir, he was not in earnest:
this was merely poetical."

Friday, November 14, 2003

Start practicing your Doublethink now. (via Metafilter)

Tired of online petitions that don't accomplish

A modern hero.
Fear is the coriolis force we never notice and
always correct for unconsciously in our trajectories.
It is visible in its effects, most conspicuously in the
magic rituals that proliferate and mean nothing. Without
television's reassurance, there would be a panic.

"...Outside my window, a small tit bird bashes itself
against the glass. At first I thought
it was admiring itself in the window.
Now I know it's mad." --Gwendolyn MacEwen, 'There
is No Place to Hide'

"...I'm sure half the words you and I are using today will
disappear in fifty years." --Galway Kinnell, in: American
Poetry Observed

"He [Ulrich von Liechtenstein, 1198-1275] performed
fantastic exploits in the service of his first mistress and
another lady, including the celebrated expedition as
Vrowe Venus, when, dressed in womanly attire, with
two long plaits, he rose from the sea near Venice, proceeding
through Frivli, Carinthia, Styria, and Austria as far as the
Bohemian border, challenging all comers.
  His poetry enshrines the classic conventions
of the service of love and shows considerable technical
virtuosity in the use of rhyme." --Poets of the Minnesang

"A hardcover book is considered a best-seller if fifty
thousand people buy it, but a record that sells fifty thousand
copies is considered a flop." --Creative Careers, Blake &

'...poetry is like the arts of painting, cooking, and cosmetics
in its ability to express every sensation of sweetness or
bitterness, beatitude or horror, by coupling a certain noun with
a certain adjective, in anaogy or contrast...' --Baudelaire, Draft
of a Preface

"...psychoanalysis is a kind of Imagism--a way of getting the
images to make emotions more precise." --James Hillman,
Inter Views

"In the apocalyptic climate of the 1940's Robert Lowell became
the leading poet of his generation. He wrote as if poetry were
still a major art and not merely a venerable pastime which ought
to be perpetuated." --F W Depee

John Clute on the "hard SF renaissance".

Thursday, November 13, 2003

"Tis true, I pay my debts when they'r contracted;
I steal from no man; would not cut a Throat
To gain admission to a great man's purse,
Or a Whores bed; I'de not betray my Friend,
To get his Place or Fortune: I scorn to flatter
A Blown-up Fool above me, or crush the wretch beneath me,
Yet, Jaffeir, for all this, I am a Villain!

Jaff. A Villain--

Pierre. Yes a most notorious Villain:
To see the suffrings of my fellow Creatures,
And own my self a Man: To see our Senators
Cheat the deluded people with a shew
Of Liberty, which yet they ne'r must taste of;
They say, by them our hands are free from fetters,
Yet whom they please they lay in basest bonds;
Bring whom they please to Infamy and Sorrow;
Drive us like wracks down the rough Tide of Power,
Whilst no hold's left to save us from Destruction;
All that bear this are Villains; and I am one,
Not to rouse up at the great Call of Nature,
And check the Growth of these Domestick Spoilers,
That makes us slaves and tells us 'tis our Charter."

--Thomas Otway, Venice Preserv'd (1682)

Postmodern totalitarianism depends upon, among
other Orwellianisms, "Freedom is Slavery", in a very
precise way: we demand--
   the 'freedom' not to have to think
(leave it to the experts & intellectuals)
   & the 'freedom' not to have to feel
(bad feelings, but anesthetics don't discriminate)
      --and shape our politics
accordingly. Television democracy is like a fool's dream of anarchy
--how to give as little responsibility as possible to most everyone.
And thus real freedom seems to consist...of maximizing your
hassles. Who wants that?
  America is a rotting corpse because Americans aspire
to the condition of maggots.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"More often the poem is the way the poet says he
feels when he can't find out what his real feelings
are." --Richard Hugo

"I had, when we first made our [Hermetic] society,
proposed for our consideration that whatever the
great poets had affirmed in their finest moments
was the nearest we could come to an authoritative
religion, and that their mythology, their spirit of
water and wind were but literal truth." --Yeats,

"Assassins find accomplices. Man's merit
Has found him three, the hawk, the hound, the ferret."

The wholeness of the dynamic aspect is the
hiddenness of the visible.

"After an age of necessity, truth, goodness, mechanism,
science, democracy, abstraction, peace, comes an age
of freedom, fiction, evil, kindred, art, aristocracy, particu-
larity, war. Has our age burned to its socket?" --Yeats,
A Vision (1925)

"Urge me no more: this airy mirth belongs
To better times: these times are not for songs.
...The Raven's dismall croaks; the midnight howls
Of empty Wolves, mixt with the screech of owls;
The nine sad knowls of a dull passing-Bell,
With the loud language of a nightly knell,
And horrid out-cries of reveng├Ęd crimes,
Joyn'd in a medley's musick for these times...
Till then, earth's Semiquaver, mirth, farewell."
--Francis Quarles, Emblems

"Mass-hypnotised, dinned drunken by the tireless
Mechanic repetition of the wireless..." --Roy Campbell,
Jungle Eclogue

"I do very much apprehend...that our Posterity will in
a few Years degenerate into a Race of Punnsters."
--Addison, The Spectator

Poets used to be the custodians of language; now it's
journalists whose style book scarcely extends past
punctuation & capitalization... Not surprisingly, when
we begin to try to think, we mistake our linguistic chaos
for philosophic chaos
, whereas in truth we have barely
one or two ideas and not any profusion except of equally
clumsy ways to phrase them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

  "Here Dead We Lie

Here dead we lie because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is, and we were young."

-- A. E. Housman

"Gold of all other is a most delicious object, a sweet
light, a goodly lustre it hath; and, saith Austin, we
had rather see it than the Sun." --Robert Burton, The
Anatomy of Melancholy

"There is a crack in everything God has made..." --Emerson

"In the presence of extraordinary actuality, consciousness
takes the place of imagination." --Wallace Stevens, "Adagia"

"All of Eliot's subsequent poems were written by J. Alfred
Prufrock." --Milton Acorn

You got to study for years to be a doctor or a lawyer or an
engineer, and have licenses & degrees and stuff, but for
the most important jobs, there are absolutely no formal
qualifications: nobody is too stupid to be entrusted with
running a government or raising a baby.

"The outward form of the inward grace of the Romantic
imagination was the French Revolution, and the Revolution
failed." --Harold Bloom, The Visionary Company (1961)

"There are stones like souls." --Rabbi Nachman

"I feel assured I should write from the mere yearning and
fondness I have for the Beautiful even if my night's labours
should be burnt every morning and no eye ever shine upon
them." --letters of Keats 10-27-1818

If we are ever to prevail, it won't be because of our righteous
feelings, or delicate sensibilities, or correct views, or even the
taste for freedom. It can only be because we outthink those
who are committed to destruction.
   --Put that in an anthem.--

"...the Inquisition--an office more adopted to confirm than to
refute the belief of an evil principle." --Gibbon

"It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting." --Tom
Stoppard, Jumpers

Monday, November 10, 2003

"The LRA [Lord's Resistance Army], under shadowy leader Joseph Kony, says it wants to rule Uganda according to the Biblical Ten Commandments.

They often mutilate their victims, by cutting off their lips, noses or ears." --BBC (via Metafilter)

H'm, here's a collector's item: Polish
Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in
, published by the German Library of
Information in 1940.

Christopher Soden advises me there is an anti-gay
hatemonger Sid Rosenberg on MSNBC every morning;
to complain to his boss Bob Okun: (Oh, & he's racist, too.)

How about WikiTravel?

"Once again, the dispiriting spectacle of the American media in full campaign cry is upon us, as coverage of the 2004 presidential race begins in earnest. But this time around, the usual inanities, inaccuracies and insipidities have a more melancholy flavor, an almost elegiac feel. It's like watching priests of a dead cult, vacantly enacting their rituals in a ruined temple whose gods have been broken, desecrated and cast down."
--Chris Floyd (via Dr Menlo)

The best vague writing i know is Mina Loy's
novel Insel. It's like watching a movie through
heavy gauze (or on heavy drugs): often it's next to
impossible to figure out what's "going on". But her
writing is descriptive--just at a very high
order of abstraction...

"The Castniid moth and the Indecorous Eggar, to parasol and kerosene embark nonsequential to the Carcel lamps, with equal waste battering the votary. Useless this central shadow, loves delicate liberty incorporates through this amber trance of candlelight, desire inaccessible from behind some barrier of beautiful glass. Strike obsessively the preambling diaphane, the cluster of common hearts wounded by the volition of cresset, the futile courtship of moth and incandescence, an exact replication of my worthless seal that abides in embrace." --from Trompe L'oeil by Kristin Ryling (Firewheel Editions, 2000)

'If our present suffering ever leads to a revival, this will not
be brought about through slogans but in silence and moral
loneliness, through pain, misery, and terror, in the profoundest
depths of each man's spirit.' --Simone Weil, "The Responsibility
of Writers", in: The Simone Weil Reader

...the neurotic symptoms of physicalized conflict, surround
us in lieu of an intelligible world.

I would rather have 5 people tell me what they didn't like about
one of my poems, than hear the applause of 100 & not know


The end of everything approaches;
I hear it coming
Loud as the wheels of painted coaches
On turnpikes drumming;
Loud as the pomp of plumy hearses,
Or pennoned charges;
Loud as when every oar reverses
Venetian barges;
Loud as the caves of covered bridges
Fufilled with rumble
Of hooves; and loud as cloudy ridges
When glaciers tumble;
Like creeping thunder this continues
Diffused and distant,
Loud in our ears and in our sinews,
Insane, insistent;
Loud as a lion scorning carrion
Further and further;
Loud as the ultimate loud clarion
Or the first murther."

--Elinor Wylie

I think about jail the way a medieval Christian must have
thought about hell, & as often.

In a way the 19c. bloating of the [book] market was a
temporary anomaly: television's audience arrived a few
generations before television did.

Sunday, November 09, 2003


Delivered in the darkness of the earthquake
The innocent darkness
Of a drug made from junkies

Prouding ostiole
Heart belong cyclone

And a red desire
Whirlpool of pent breath

Break the light with light

Delicious shivers, O Queen
Beryl, collide in the canteen
Angelance notwithstanding, meaningless
Chessmove-hoovered domain

Stairway to Daewu, desire
Flags at the klone-thronged zonda
Vainly a taiga, but love
To the last breath
Trammelled & azure in light,

Soldered llama-name, desire
Pent in a diamond.
A sum counted on the breath.
Hands of celadon
Lift a chalice full of light
But painable as iron.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fight, Semblance, you know what you are doing, stuff
My glove into the lining instead of into the pocket

And the tiny purple flowers of forgiveness
Walk backwards out of their shoes