Saturday, January 03, 2004

"[Stefan] George had, of course, looked forward to a holy war which would renew the spiritually moribund society of his time; but the particular war that came must have struck him as vulgar and brutal." --Patrick Bridgwater, The German Poets of the First World War

"The frail, illegal fire balloons appear" --Elizabeth Bishop

"Or, as G K Chesterton said, 'If it is not true that a divine being fell, then one can only say that one of the animals went completely off its head.' " --Auden, intro to The Star Thrower

...Two insomniacs, still up at 3 AM & wanting to talk, but each not wanting to call the other in case they've achieved a precious sleep.

My seeing-eye dog bites me when i turn my back.

" automatically rhymes with blood,
nature with liberty, sadness with distance,
humane with everlasting, prince with mud,
and song and wind and life and death with none..." --Nabokov, "A Night of Russian Poetry"

   "Quaint Mazes

And, after all, it is to them we return.
Their triumph is to rise and be our hosts:
lords of unquiet or of quiet sojourn,
those muddy-hued and midge-tormented ghosts.

On blustery lilac-bush and terrace-urn
bedaubed with bloom Linnaean pentecosts
put their prolonged light; the chilly fountains burn.
Religion of the heart, with trysts and quests

And pangs of consolation, its hawk's hood
twitched off for sweet carnality, again
rejoices in old hymns of servitude,

haunting the sacred well, the hidden shrine,
it is the ravage of the heron wood;
it is the rood blazing upon the green."

--Geoffrey Hill, Tenebrae (1978)

"turn clouds the cauldrons of the martyrs' cries" -ibid

"It is as compleate a piece of madnesse to miscall and rave against the times, as thinke to recall men to reason by a fit of passion..." --Religio Medici

We mass-produce diseased souls; we heal them one by one, if at all.

"...mosques...were built with mortar that had been mixed with musk. ...It is even said...that the Mosque of Zobiade still smells of musk today." --John Trueman, The Romantic Story of Scent (1975)
[A great poem is such a mosque.]

Friday, January 02, 2004

Webpage poem generator.

Brain drain.

A Gil Elvgren miscellany.

Somtow Sucharitkul's serial killer sonnets are going to be published as a book by Wormhole Press.

Winners. (via Caterina)

Red Alert 2016.


Yesterday i ran out of gas; today my electric car window broke. Though "luck" is only our word for unknown causality, it is certain that things will continue to break, wear out, & go awry. I resolve for the new year, not to count any of this as evidence, in the ongoing still mutable case.

01 02 04


  Come to me in the silence of the night;
    Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
  Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
    As sunlight on a stream;
      Come back in tears,
  O memory, hope and love of finished years.

  O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter-sweet,
    Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
  Where souls brim-full of love abide and meet;
    Where thirsting longing eyes
      Watch the slow door
  That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

  Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
    My very life again though cold in death;
  Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
    Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
      Speak low, lean low,
  As long ago, my love, how long ago."

--Christina Rossetti
"England has done one thing; it has invented and established public opinion, which is an attempt to organize the ignorance of the community, and to elevate it to the dignity of physical force." --Oscar Wilde

"Man's greatest epic, his four long battles with the advancing ice of the great continental glaciers, has vanished from human memory without a trace." --Loren Eiseley

"The reality that interests me is strange and flickering and haunting." --Russell Hoban, The Medusa Frequency

To be a philosopher, to be a chessboard, to be a sunset, to be a statue, to be a poem, to be a wind, to be a leaf--not to love.

Story idea. A writer wanting to exploit his tragedy--but can't.

Why don't i get them all in the same room together, & tear me apart like Orpheus?

The hour of dawn is a place i inhabit, in my organometallic way. i know all its lights. It is a dangerous place, but a place with rules. Its walls are made of pain, but its roof is made of music. The hour of dawn borrows me, for as long as it needs, to see.

12 29 03

Thursday, January 01, 2004

   "Nocturne in Silver

Here where the barbed wire struggles in the marsh
And alkali crusts all the weeds like frost,
I have come home, I have come home to hear
The new young frogs that cry along the lost

Wild ditches where at midnight only cows
And fools with eery marsh fire in their brains
Blunder toward midnight. Silvery and clear
Cry the new frogs; the blood runs in my veins

Coldly and clearly. I am mottled, too,
And feel a silver bubble in my throat.
Lock doors, turn keys, or follow in your fear.
My eyes are green, and warily afloat

In the June darkness. I am done with fire.
Water quicksilver-like that slips through stone
Has quenched my madness--if you find me here
My lineage squat and warty will be known."

--Loren Eiseley

This doesn't put me any closer to the mystery, though. What is the mystery--that i so seldom am moved to remember? That any thing abides? That the grammar can shape these unanswerable questions?

...meaning uses itself up. It has to be replentished. From where? The silence that we clear within ourselves. Without it, we cast off old & seek new lovers, new languages, new cities--when nothing really died but the growth of our understanding. For every meaning is infinite...

I imagine myself able to accept any outcome. (What a cruel illusion!)

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

'Far away from men, clad in blue silence, I work my spells' --Sologub

"The closer you come to the end, the more there is to say." --Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things (1987)

Yes, it would be much wiser to put all this energy of self-questioning & conjecture into something artistic i think. Like what? Tinguely's self-destroying sculpture.

"Where things that own not man's dominion dwell" --Childe Harold

"Where dolphin-leaps like transitory doors
To palaces across the water form
Shining parabolas above canals." --Schnackenberg, The Lamplit Answer

Chumley's. A new poet says he lived in Warsaw for 2 years. Introduces one poem as being about the time he asked a Polish woman for a date, & they went to Auschwitz. I forgot the poem but i remembered the introduction.

Dream about Crowley. He was making a movie, & i got banned from the set because i told him it was 1993. I snuck around anyway.


Bring me a sea-wet stone, something broken
   of your own
--I want to make you a charm for death.
A charm I make you of my breath
   and sea-drone,
casting to mateless moan, things not spoken.

Time is the bone-white ache, all things cloven
   it will break
--I will leave you amulets for pain.
Round amber and round jade have lain
   in sea-rake,
light in the stone awake, liquor-woven." --Mog Decarnin

Finished Shampoo Planet this morning over coffee. --Snidefluffy.

Monday, December 29, 2003

If Dean is McGovern, Bush is Nixon.

Hyperinstruments. (via Parking Lot)

The Bay Area's flourishing transgender performance scene, (via Transdada)

Typologies of writing styles remind me of typologies of "race": simply the act of imagining such groupings as distinct, bounded entities creates nonsense. We now know, of course (or ought to), that "race" does not exist; there are only traits, some of which are genetically linked, but many of which are not. It's the fact of static traditional societies that tended to confuse the issue: because people who lived in a place resembled each other more than people living far away, all sorts of connections were assumed between accidentals. So, style. Because writers tend to write in only one, or a narrow range of styles, this produces an effect exactly analogous to the traditional social grouping; whereas if writers wrote in all sorts of styles & combinations of stylistic features, this would be the equivalent of the modern multicultural society. --Now, the politics of getting published, that's something else: & if you observe attentively, it is often the case that a particular trait may be accepted in a writer who is already a member of the "in-group", while being rejected when an outsider uses it. Canons are thus not about style so much as they reflect the literary politics of the people who compile them. And the period immediately preceding ours has produced, out of a putative struggle to rectify the canon, not so much a new canon as a new set of canons--which has nonetheless failed to alter the catholicity of any of the agonists. --I think also of food purists: people who will eat fish but not beef, or orange foods but not green foods. Well, there may be sense to some of these preferences, but we will not discover their sense by treating them as universal laws.
What is "bubble tea"?

A recent interview with Lorenzo Milam, handicapped-activist & the "father of noncommercial radio in America".

Raymond Roussel, of course, was hypertext before hypertext was cool... Here's a partial translation of one of his long poems, with the multiple parentheses turned into links. More.

Listening to: The Ultimate Bollywood Party Album.

'...those rebel angels--the prime numbers--' --Francois Le Lionnais, OuLiPo tr Warren Motte (1986)

'...that curious dark-blue light was beginning to steal through the window-panes that in a gas-lit cafe is the equivalent of daybreak.' --Gustav Meyrink, The Golem (tr Madge Pemberton, 1928)

"I had thought that only beetles had this delusion of progress." --Ursula LeGuin, Buffalo Gals

" 'Which would be worse: a world without music or a world without dogs?'
'I don't know. Music, I suppose. Yes, music. I think you could probably miss dogs if there weren't any. I mean you could wish there was something midway between a rat and a wolf to have around you--only tamer. But if there wasn't any music then you couldn't even miss it. And that would be worse.' " --Amanda Prantera, Conversations with Lord Byron...

"cum minus abnuerit noctem desisse viator
quam coepisse diwem..." --Punica V. 27-28 ('...a time when the way farer is less sure that day has begun than that night is ended')

"A grove of ( ) ground zero at Hiroshima survived the blast and sprouted within days." --James Gorman

"i throw away my glasses and accept my way of seeing" --dan raphael


This smoky winter morning
do not despise the green jewel shining among the twigs
because it is a traffic light."

--Charles Reznikoff

"Guns, cradled on the tide,
Blast the eelgrass about a waterclock
Of bilge and backwash..." --Lowell

"I think it is often so that those most in need of change choose to fall in love and then throw up their hands and blame it all on fate. But it is not fate, at least, not if fate is something outside of us; it is a choice made in secret after nights of longing. When I have shaken off my passion, somewhat as a dog shakes off an unexpected plunge into the canal, I find myself without any understanding of what it was that ravaged me." --Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry (1989)

'I don't understand: where does everything that passes through the soul disappear to? The unsaid. To yourself, without words. But it was there.' --Zinaida Gippius in: A Difficult Soul