Saturday, December 13, 2003

    "The Children

I heard the mouths of the silent
dying of departure

if we could only remember
the water before it froze

they said

learn this I told them
it is not true
but it will keep you warm in winter

my words
fell on their delicate shoulders
like whips

we are thirsty they said
their dry laughter was desperate

take this cup i told them
and wait for the rain

put your wilted hands
over your eyes
and believe in the coming of light

--Richard Shelton, The Tattooed Desert (1971)

Friday, December 12, 2003

All the Xmas You Need. (via JR)

New work from an old hand. (via Musea)

And a tale of an ex-activist. (via Bruce Sterling)

Benjamin as Blogger.

Recently got in Bartok's 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th String Quartets & i promptly borrowed them. I hadn't heard that much B. till now & i wasn't overly impressed by that, but these are almost as good as Alban Berg, particularly the 3rd one which i am still listening to over & over. Magical.

Weapons of Mass Destruction.

"All that we have forgotten about narrative steals back into narrative and watches us with shining eyes."
--Lisa Robertson, Debbie: An Epic (1997)
[Wonderful use of language by this poet i had not previously heard of. Can't tell yet if it adds up to anything, but many phrases attest a singularly precise ear & imagination.]

"Respect the delicate ecology of your delusions."
--Tony Kushner, Angels in America/ part 1


A leaf quietly wafts through the autumn
Gleaming with bright sunlight.
Let me believe that with bright smiles
We can shore up this huge earth.

Let us find you
In the ripples of the bell sounds;
In the tiny, hard grip of the baby
Clinging to its mother's skirt.

There will never come a day
When all our yesterdays and todays
Are buried irretrievably in legends.

Today I want to believe an eternal truth
Grandmother's words that the moon has a cinnamon tree
To be cut out with a silver hatchet.

In the burning sickbed of my childhood
I was falling in a bottomless abyss.
That endless, headlong fall caused me
To pass out again and again.
Let us protect our dear dreams
From that terrible truth.'

--Han-mo Chung, in: Best Loved Poems of Korea, ed Chang-soo Koh (1984)

Listening to: No World (Trio) Improvisations

Byzantine Studies on the Internet. (via Metafilter) --Let
me tell you, we're a lot closer to being the New Byzantines than being the New Romans.

Obligatory "Unelectable" link. (pull out yr barf bag)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

   "Elegy in a Spider's Web

What to say when the spider
Say when the spider what
When the spider the spider what
The spider does what
Does does dies does it not
Not live and then not
Legs legs then one
When the spider does dies
Death spider death
Or not the spider or
What to say when
To say always
Death always
The dying of always
Or alive or dead
What to say when I
When I or the spider
No I and I what
Does what does dies
No when the spider dies
Death spider death
Death always I
Death before always
Dead or alive
Now and always
What to say always
Now and always
What to say now
Now when the spider
What does the spider
The spider what dies
Dies when then when
Then always death always
The dying of always
Always now I
What to say when I
When I what
When I say
When the spider
When I always
Death always
When death what
Death I says say
Dead spider no matter
How thorough death
Dear or alive
No matter death
How thorough I
What to say when
When who when the spider
When life when space
The dying of oh pity
Poor how thorough dies
No matter reality
Death always
What to say
When who
Death always
When death when the spider
When I who I
What to say when
Now before after always
When then the spider what
Say what when now
Legs legs then none
When the spider
Death spider death
The genii who cannot cease to know
What to say when the spider
When I say
When I or the spider
Dead or alive the dying of
Who cannot cease to know
Who death who I
The spider who when
What to say when
Who cannot cease
Who cannot
Cannot cease
The spider
The genii
To know
What to say when the
Who cannot
When the spider what
Does what does dies
Death spider death
Who cannot
Death cease death
To know say what
Or not the spider
Or if I say
Or if I do not say
Who cannot cease to know
Who know the genii
Who say the I
Who they we cannot
Death cease death
To know say I
Oh pity poor pretty
How thorough life love
No matter space spider
How horrid reality
What to say when
What when
Who cannot
How cease
The knowing of always
Who these this space
Before after here
Life now my face
The face love the
The legs real when
What time death always
What to say then
What time the spider"

--Laura (Riding) Jackson

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

"When the Ecstatic Body Grips"

When the ecstatic body grips
Its heaven, with little sobbing cries,
And lips are crushed on hot blind lips,
I read strange pity in your eyes.

For that in you which is not mine,
And that in you which I love best,
And that, which my day-thoughts divine
Masterless still, still unpossessed,

Sits in the blue eyes' frightened stare,
A naked lonely-dwelling thing,
A frail thing from its body-lair
Drawn at my body's summoning;

Whispering low, 'O unknown man,
Whose hunger on my hunger wrought,
Body shall give what body can,
Shall give you all -- save what you sought.'

Whispering, 'O secret one, forgive,
Forgive and be content though still
Beyond the blood's surrender live
The darkness of the separate will.

'Enough if in the veins we know
Body's delirium, body's peace --
Ask not that ghost to ghost shall go,
Essence in essence merge and cease.'

But swiftly, as in sudden sleep,
That You in you is veiled or dead;
And the world's shrunken to a heap
Of hot flesh straining on a bed."

--E R Dodds (found here)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003


Thy country's curse is on thee, darkest crest
Of that foul, knotted, many-headed worm
Which rends our Mother's bosom—Priestly Pest!
Masked Resurrection of a buried Form!

Thy country's curse is on thee! Justice sold,
Truth trampled, Nature's landmarks overthrown,
And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold,
Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction's throne.

And whilst that sure slow Angel which aye stands
Watching the beck of Mutability
Delays to execute her high commands,
And, though a nation weeps, spares thine and thee,

Oh, let a father's curse be on thy soul,
And let a daughter's hope be on thy tomb;
Be both, on thy gray head, a leaden cowl
To weigh thee down to thine approaching doom.

I curse thee by a parent's outraged love,
By hopes long cherished and too lately lost,
By gentle feelings thou couldst never prove,
By griefs which thy stern nature never crossed;

By those infantine smiles of happy light,
Which were a fire within a stranger's hearth,
Quenched even when kindled, in untimely night
Hiding the promise of a lovely birth:

By those unpractised accents of young speech,
Which he who is a father thought to frame
To gentlest lore, such as the wisest teach—
THOU strike the lyre of mind!—oh, grief and shame!

By all the happy see in children's growth--
That undeveloped flower of budding years--
Sweetness and sadness interwoven both,
Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears--

By all the days, under an hireling's care,
Of dull constraint and bitter heaviness,--
O wretched ye if ever any were,--
Sadder than orphans, yet not fatherless!

By the false cant which on their innocent lips
Must hang like poison on an opening bloom,
By the dark creeds which cover with eclipse
Their pathway from the cradle to the tomb--

By thy most impious Hell, and all its terror;
By all the grief, the madness, and the guilt
Of thine impostures, which must be their error--
That sand on which thy crumbling power is built--

By thy complicity with lust and hate--
Thy thirst for tears—thy hunger after gold--
The ready frauds which ever on thee wait--
The servile arts in which thou hast grown old--

By thy most killing sneer, and by thy smile--
By all the arts and snares of thy black den,
And—for thou canst outweep the crocodile--
By thy false tears—those millstones braining men--

By all the hate which checks a father's love--
By all the scorn which kills a father's care--
By those most impious hands which dared remove
Nature's high bounds--by thee--and by despair--

Yes, the despair which bids a father groan,
And cry, 'My children are no longer mine--
The blood within those veins may be mine own,
But--Tyrant--their polluted souls are thine;--

I curse thee--though I hate thee not.--O slave!
If thou couldst quench the earth-consuming Hell
Of which thou art a daemon, on thy grave
This curse should be a blessing. Fare thee well!"


Listening to: Heinz Holliger.

Monday, December 08, 2003

While Earth burns. (via Mysterium)
Shades of Kent Johnson: best-selling romance
writer Nora Roberts has collaborated with her
best-selling mystery alter ego J D Robb
in her/her newest. As one of my customers said,
"But they have such different styles."

Might as well 'fess up. Most of Ipomoea was written
by a computer program i created to write syntactically
correct English sentences (it still had some bugs at
the time i reached the undergraduate memory-limit);
this one used the vocabulary of Poe's "Raven". I did,
however edit the results...

Don't fence me in. (via Dr Menlo)

The Eschaton revisited. If this isn't in every one
of your poems--it should be. Oh yeah--that too.

Let's have a look at that wall.

Doublethink, Part 2.

The first Thanksgiving. (via Kurt Nimmo)

On Spammers' "names".

Masonic lodge art. (via Incoming Signals)

Route 40. (via Plep)

New wheels--maybe.

   "I Dreamed My Genesis

I dreamed my genesis in sweat of sleep, breaking
Through the rotating shell, strong
As motor muscle on the drill, driving
Through vision and the girdered nerve.

From limbs that had the measure of the worm, shuffled
Off from the creasing flesh, filed
Through all the irons in the grass, metal
Of suns in the man-melting night.

Heir to the scalding veins that hold love's drop, costly
A creature in my bones I
Rounded my globe of heritage, journey
In bottom gear through night-geared man.

I dreamed my genesis and died again, shrapnel
Rammed in the marching heart, hole
In the stitched wound and clotted wind, muzzled
Death on the mouth that ate the gas.

Sharp in my second death I marked the hills, harvest
Of hemlock and the blades, rust
My blood upon the tempered dead, forcing
My second struggling from the grass.

And power was contagious in my birth, second
Rise of the skeleton and
Rerobing of the naked ghost. Manhood
Spat up from the resuffered pain.

I dreamed my genesis in sweat of death, fallen
Twice in the feeding sea, grown
Stale of Adam's brine until, vision
Of new man strength, I seek the sun."

--Dylan Thomas
'The easy possibility of letter-writing must--seen merely theoretically--have brought into the world a terrible disintegration of souls. It is, in fact, an intercourse with ghosts, and not only with the ghost of the recipient but also with one's own ghost which develops between the lines of the letter one is writing and even more so in a series of letters where one letter corroborates the other and can refer to it as a witness. How on earth did anyone get the idea that people can communicate with one another by letter! Of a distant person one can think, and of a person who is near one can catch hold--all else goes beyond human strength. Writing letters, however, means to denude oneself before the ghosts, something for which they greedily wait. Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts. It is on this ample nourishment that they multiply so enormously. Humanity senses this and fights against it and in order to eliminate as far as possible the ghostly element between people and to create a natural communication, the peace of souls, it has invented the railway, the motor car, the aeroplane. But it's no longer any good, these are evidently inventions being made at the moment of crashing. The opposing side is so much calmer and stronger; after the postal service it has invented the telegraph, the telephone, the radiograph. The ghosts won't starve, but we will perish.' --Letters to Milena

"On December 6, 1982, at 4:00 p.m., I met with President Reagan and his daughter Patti Davis for seventy-five minutes... He seemed continually to have his own agenda and didn't appear to listen much or to consider seriously my statements or replies. ...He quoted some material saying that the freeze campaign was orchestrated by Russia and that we were KGB dupes. I looked at him and said, 'That's from the Reader's Digest.' He shook his head and said, 'No, it's not; it's from my intelligence files.' If I am not badly mistaken, it was copied straight from the John Barron article in the October 1982 issue of< i>Reader's Digest." --Dr Helen Caldicott, Missile Envy (1986 ed.)

'I am steel; I am a druid.
I am an artificer; I am a scientific one.
I am a serpent; I am love; I will indulge in feasting.
I am not a confused bard drivelling...
I am a cell, I am a cleft, I am a restoration,
I am the depository of song; I am a literary man...
I am a bard of the hall, I am a chick of the chair.'
--Book of Taliessen III. in: William F Skene, The Four Ancient Books of Wales (1868)

    'To a Lady

Ripped belly uppermost,
A vision of a work-horse
    kicking the air
Loiters on the stone steps of the water trough
At the deserted barracks of the transport corps.

You live hidden,
    deep in the dilapidated alley;
Since that summer, for a year
You only visit the hospital in the rain
Hiding beneath an umbrella.
A mass of searing scars
Swooped on your face
From the shadow of B29s
Shining, and now stuck fast
Over your eyes and nose.
You can never face others again,
You say.

In your ruined house you weave
Your life in a skein of blood
With your remaining hand.
What marks of blood will be left
On your palm?
A windmill turns gently.
Children play together in the garden
Of this quiet town.

I turned back repeatedly, but
Today I must visit you
Along this burnt-out road.

In the faint evening glow,
Lumpty skin coarse as reptiles
And not so much as a hair growing.
You whisper names once dear to my lips.
I will talk to you
Whose scarred maiden-heart
Congealed under its thick scab but
The wound aches incessantly
And reeking pus oozes.

I will talk to you
Of the fiery power of a desperate wish
Seeping out from under the scab
To brand itself on all men's hearts;
And of the thousands like you
Who struggle to wipe out
    the darkness of the world.

Beneath the roar of new war-planes,
I will talk to you
Of the day when my anger
And your curses
Will become the most beautiful expressions.'

----Toge Sankichi

Listening to: Strange Little Girls.

Molly Ivins thinks Dean can win.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Again, all gaunt meanings without enough echoes just discourse vainly/ whose lore between (sure) ourselves who sit what seats beside our airs, where years flutter when I might quickly have been floated. When does either bleak radiant mien never sink

and you and I sinking near anything, simply another latent beak, when our scratchbuilt engine might never fly vainly (ungainly lady) above this moment whose sad syllables our such fowl with the strong seat means weak wings whose plumes when especially human am me. --he?--whose maiden scarcely beside me has been fluttering/ Neptune in Arksansas.

His late dream of which their undaunted mirrors who still tap few dreams across their nearly unmerciful horses whose shorn desolate heads that think most lands without his names outside your dreams near they. Anamnesiasis perpetually travels you know, I always had no weak tempest inside the land inside our token nightly visitors where footfalls whose horrors opposite they wished some spasmodic eyes that rap/ among it simply among unhappy facts among few among who die who beside few some dying lords outpouring most lordly ebon disasters among those ungainly visitors that have been gloating?

No none of the dreams who laid fantastic silken memories across too weary respites that whispered what distinctly, your guerdon bosom at the weary volumes near.

Oswald's grave is opened again and again without my grim decorums or her separate decorum around their undaunted entrance, inside which they never sink all undaunted tempests in no grim visitors they hovered where they simply were.


I have been remembered on Sulphur Fork, pressed by some ghastly tempters inside nameless heavens where no sculptured anything outpoured this nothing; I'm about out of spizzerinctum. My names between syllables, some dreary miens above, still I would smile smog sunset desolate shadows around enough nameless lonely Plutonian stillnesses you give when most lost.

Gobelyn quickly had been agreed. Did you agreed? Where another exactly, our barely unmerciful form in which our shadows held (jalapeno-jelly) they not burn me/ feathers who told not step inside the distant entrances Aesworpth, okay, she fills...

Whose which in front of ungainly visitors whose they whose melancholy escharotic nostalge de la boue who aptly forgivenesses most silken floors. Soon something flitted them. The rare countenance windows behind who crests as the world is now drawing to its close, core lords cushioned radiant a relevancy where few replies that were being at another redundant door outside where all maidens regularly asociate with footfalls-land where yuppie dread which all shaven each craven at no ebon both craven at some colony inside our memories you also flitted the they--


12 25 83-3 13 84
Here ends IPOMOEA.
This book may be printed out or copied at any time, in any way, without having to ask the author.