Saturday, January 10, 2004

Tony Basil singing "Mickey" in Spanish rather than in English turns a good song into one that is great.

Listening to: Frijid Pink- "House of the Rising Sun." ["...then President Richard Nixon was a huge fan of Frijid Pink. He invited the band to Washington D.C. for a meet and greet and asked the guys to play three shows for him in Chicago, Toledo and Miami."]

Entertaining Mr Acker Bilk.

A strange kind of curiosity: what will i do next?

"...we don't perform religious rituals because we believe in God. We believe in God because we perform religious rituals." --Robert Pirsig, Lila (1991)


Mole my totem
mound builder
maze maker
tooth at the root

shaper of darkness
into ways and hollows

in grave alive
heavy handed
light blinded"

--Ursula LeGuin
[Gerald Burns's, also]

"Increasingly incandescent above the corn silk" --Charles Wright

News story about a family that was in San Francisco for the earthquake, in the Phillippines for the volcano, & in Florida for the hurricane.

"Molten pool, incandescent spilth of
deep cauldrons--and brighter nothing is--
cast and cold, your blazes extinct and
no turmoil nor peril left you,
rusty ingot, bleak paralysed blob!"

--Basil Bunting, First Book of Odes, 16.

...The Unicorn's Secret--perhaps the definitive book on the Sixties.

Still feeling alienated toward artmaking. I realized i preferred the purity of discarded objects to anything that can be made with them. Found myself wanting only to make practical objects, things i needed or needed to make (this does include magical implements & religious icons)--especially despising highly-crafted but meaningless artifacts that are nothing but end results of a career process. And i wondered how i ever could have had an "aesthetics".

"I come so to the more obscure aurora" --Rexroth

"...Presently the blind persistent moles
Crept sleek from the earth, black
In the moonlight, and devoured
The pastries lying on the ground." --ibid


In South Africa, among
The Bushmen, the mantis is
A god. A predatory
And cannibalistic bug,
But one of the nicer gods."


Left over, obsolete opinions: like old shoes you realize one day you don't wear anymore, though you can't remember wearing them for the last time...

"Silver melts to brass and brass to rain" --David Swartz

I said Russia is where America would be if we kept on voting Republican for 75 years... [1992]

I just finished a fascinating & important book Adam's Task by Vicki Hearne (1986)--ostensibly about communication with domesticated animals (mostly dogs & horses) but really addressing the fundamental nature of language. One of its contentions is that syntax is prior to naming; another (harder to summarize), that personhood is sacred & can be conferred--or destroyed...Rich with considered experience, meandering from paragraph to paragraph, & frequently indulging in obfuscatory neo-Heideggerian phraseology (the author, a poet herself, is married to a philosopher, alas), this needs to be read twice to be understood, but it's worth it.

Friday, January 09, 2004


Town without pity.

"There is such grandeur in India and so much beauty. I don't know whether they can kill it. I want to think they can't. I don't think that there is anything as beautiful as a sari. Can you kill it? Can you corporatize a sari? Why should multinationals be allowed to come in and try to patent basmati rice? People prefer to eat roti and idlis and dosas rather than McDonald's burgers. Just before I came to the U.S., I went to a market in Delhi. There was a whole plate of different kinds of dal, lentils. Tears came to my eyes. Today, that's all it takes to make you cry, to look at all the kinds of dal and rice that there are, and to think that they don't want this to exist." --Arundhati Roy

Fex urbis, lex orbis.

Hasn't heard about my "Byzantines" analogy.

Global dimming. (Gimbaling Mold? Bag Doll Miming? Liming God Balm? Old Gaming Limb? Gloam Glib Mind? Mad Goblin Glim? Limn Glib Dogma? Mild Balm Going...?)

Poppy Z gets herself banned from a PZB fansite. (via Bruce Sterling)

('Mid Malign Blog?)

The Gallery of Unfortunate Cards.

Listening to: Thievery Corporation.

Melanie blogs:
"Well, ladies and gentlemen, it looks like Sofia Coppola is one step closer to an Oscar nomination for only her second directorial effort, Lost in Translation. And this is very, very good, indeed. Let me explain. Today (1/6/04), Coppola was nominated by her peers in the Directors' Guild of America for their annual award. This is significant because the DGA and the Academy's directors' branch have overlapping members, and quite often their voting mirrors one another, not always, mind you, but close. Why does that matter in the first place? Because, ladies and gentlemen, in the entire history of the Academy Awards, there have been only two women nominated for Best Director: Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties, 1976), and Jane Campion (The Piano, 1993). Who can believe it's been a full ten years since Campion's nomination? In that time, such movies as Boys Don't Cry and Frida, both garnering major Oscar noms, have been directed by women (Kimberly Pierce and Julie Taymor, respectively), without a nibble from either the DGA or the guys in the Academy's directors' branch. Moreover, with Wertmuller being Italian and Campion being from New Zealand, there has never been an American woman nominated for Best Director. How can this be? Women like Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God, 1986), Penny Marshall (Awakenings, 1990) and Barbra Streisand (The Prince of Tides, 1991) have directed Best Picture contenders without corresponding nominations specific to their field (though Streisand was nominated for the DGA award--so this could still go either way for Coppola). Do I think Coppola deserves an Oscar nomination on merit, or principle? Well, I certainly think the time has come for more equal representation, that's for sure (though to be fair, the DGA has recently been headed by none other than Martha Coolidge). My 10 year old niece recently made the astute observation that as long we continue to only elect men for president, for example, people will still think we all live in a man's world. And good for her. That's kind of how I feel. All that aside, I have to admit I've been rooting for Coppola for awhile. I thought she did a splendid job with her first feature The Virgin Suicides (a movie superior to the book on which it is based), and I loved some of the things she [Coppola] did with , one of the year's most visually arresting films--and I have to thank Coppola for taking us westerners on a journey to the neon jumble that is contemporary Tokyo. It's the uniqueness of the journey that makes Coppola's film significant, makes it worthy of Lost in Translationaward consideration. Even so, I feel the award is destined for Peter Jackson (of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and that's perfectly fine too. Jackson's films are an amazing achievement...for now, Coppola's nomination will be more than sufficient (and like Campion before her, she will probably reap a statuette for Best Original Screenplay as a consolation prize). By the way, the DGA also nominated (besides Jackson and Coppola), Clint Eastwood (Mystic River), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), and Peter Weir (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World).

In other categories, I still believe at this point, Sean Penn is the Best Actor frontrunner for Mystic River, and that Charlize Theron (Monster) is the one to watch in the race for Best Actress, though nothing is set in stone just yet. Tim Robbins (Mystic River) has a great shot at Best Supporting Actor, while Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) is looking awful tempting for Best Supporting Actress. Of course, this is all speculation as it's still a few weeks before the Academy nominations are actually announced."

Homo sapiens declared extinct.

Let's send all the Christians to Mars. They can raise utopian domes full of the hot air of preaching. They can push their make believe God to make believe Martians. I am so sick of living in the fantasies of morons. This earth is for those who can see it taste it & touch it.

We pretend we are going to Mars. Our children & old people will starve. We pretend we are going to Mars. The idea of it. A Macy's Parade balloon over our misery. Why do we not pretend something we could aspire to? One day we could wake up & find ourselves worthy of going to Mars.

We are phosphenes in the eyes of Pain.

"This imminence of a revelation that does not take place is, perhaps, the esthetic fact." --Daniel Stern, The Suicide Academy (1968)

"God, what a jungle of saving it was once you started." -ibid

My heart dumps its whole store of love everytime. It doesn't know deserving or undeserving. All it knows is the imperative need to bestow.

'The prophets feel God's threat to humanity, which appears just to them. Today, when human beings threaten themselves, the prophets are confused.' --Elias Canetti, The Secret Heart of the Clock, tr Joel Agee (1989)

'I know only one redemption: that what is endangered be kept alive, and at this moment of redemption I do not ask myself how brief or how long it will be.' --ibid

'If they with their prospects of hell could hold out--why not we with our prospects?' --ibid

'It's been a long time since the swindlers started from scratch.' --ibid

...i made myself forget so i could indulge in the luxury of believing an impossibility. (Because all the possible things i could believe, were hateful to me.)

The trouble with the idea of reincarnation, is that being an animal is not the punishment. Being human is.

Assuming that because there is power, there must be a center of power ("God"), is just as absurd as assuming that the universe has a physical center that it expands from.

The doctrine of the soul: an ethical prescription. For, once you divide it into ego & unconscious, the former belongs to everyone [society] & the latter, to no one [or nature]. Its uniqueness resides in the sum of accidents of place. Which can only be grasped partially, at moments, in glimpses. Perhaps these alone are what should be preserved.

Ghost: the one who uses my terminal [at work] when i'm not there. --The "unconscious". It has its own work to do.

Hope would kill you yourself before it consents to die. Hope is ruthless.

New Year's Day: our yard full of thousands of birds.

   'Naked in Clay

  Like horrible amphibians come up for air,
mournful grimaces rise to the lip.
Through the Sahara of the Substance
walks a gray verse, a dromedary.

  A twisted face of cruel dreams glows phosphorescent.
And the blind man who died full of voices
of snow. And rise at dawn, poet, nomad,
to the raw, merciless day of being a man.

  The Hours go by feverishly, and in the corners
they miscarry blond centuries of happiness.
Who casts out so much line; who pitilessly
descends our nerves,
already frayed cords, to the tomb?

  Love! And you, also. Black blows from a stone
are engendered in your mask, and smash it.
The tomb is yet
a woman's sex that attracts man!'

--Cesar Vallejo, The Black Heralds, tr Richard Schaaf & Kathleen Ross (1990)

Thursday, January 08, 2004

"The economic policies of the Bush administration do have a solid precendent further south, in Argentina, where "business-friendly, free-market policies would...allow the country to grow out of...budget and trade deficits," but where, instead, the economy collapsed spectacularily.

Remember the pictures of women in fur coats smashing ATMs in Buenos Aires after the banks froze everyone's accounts? The miles-long barter markets that took up positions down the middle of the national highways, allowing refugees to swap their meagre possessions for the necessities of life?" --Boing Boing

Listening to: "Chang" soundtrack by Fong Naam.
" An American army patrol stood in their way, and after they went through the whole procedure of searching my son and his cousin, and inspecting the cargo load, they tied them up both and led them to an area about three kilometres from the scene front of one of the gates of the Tharthar dam where water flows at its strongest rate and to my son and his cousin's horror, they ordered them to jump into the water...After days of search we found my sons jacket..." --Healing Iraq (via Salam Pax)

"As Lou Dubose and I conclude, if you must eat while Republicans control both the White House and Congress, you may want to consider becoming a vegetarian." --Molly Ivins
"...silly, like worrying about the problems of What-To-Do-Next for any surviving Orcs in The Ring (no mention here of a brief occupation of Mordor or of a quick return to an indigenous regime)." --Silliman's Blog

Listening to: Liszt's "Sonate h-moll".
Went to the Party to become a Red-Assed Baboon. First they said you must stop using that word. Fine I said words are just a convention. Are you prepared to despise everyone different from you they asked. I have moods like that. Good. We need a poet. I don't know about that I said.

01 08 04
"The dreamshit was for his caterpillar, and for it alone." --Perdido Street Station

Wrap myself in Albanian folk music. Use headlights because the others do. Gray is a color also. The flotsam we cling to will probably take us all the way to where we will not need such an ignoble expedient. Meanwhile there is so much we can't say, we must communicate via these simple hand signals.

01 08 04
"It was not surprising that Blake would appear to Yeats from time to time & dictate revisions in the poems of Blake that he was editing--revisions which Yeats faithfully incorporated in the text he published." --David Perkins, A History of Modern Poetry v.1 (1976)

I've got a nose for crazies like a truffle pig.

"Tears taste salt to the living but sweet to the dead..." --Ursula LeGuin, Compass Rose

A question [was] put to all the poets [at Chumley's that night]...: what would you be reincarnated as, & why? ...finally i dediced, a siliqua, one of those tadpole-shaped seed pods that drops twirling down like a helicopter. "Because first you get to fly. And then you become a tree."

I suggested to A---- [the Open Mike hostess] we have a "house reader", maybe an actor, who'll read for people that don't want to. Yeah--i'd've made it my whole career to stay hidden, if i could. (I also suggested providing masks.)

Everyone seems to have these ridiculous, crippling flaws; & i suppose i am that way too. Damaged. We are all damaged in this place.

To give everything away before i die: sometimes that is my muse, sometimes my anti-muse. For one can be tempted by a greater generosity--to give it to the Void.

Loneliness corrupts; absolute loneliness corrupts absolutely.


Will you glimmer on the sea?
Will you fling your spearhead
on the shore?
What note shall we pitch?
We have a song,
on the bank we share our arrows;
the loosed string tells our note:

O flight,
bring her swiftly to our song.
She is great,
we measure her by the pine trees."


Rebirth's less of a story.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

'Perhaps speech is to human action what the sun is to the earth, the exterior principle of formal differentiation, the absolute condition of vital movement.' --Remy de Gourmont, The Horses of Diomedes

'Who hasn't built a house/ doesn't deserve the earth.// Who hasn't built a house/ shall not become earth/ --and straw--and ash--// I haven't built a house.' --Tsvetaeva

It would never occur to me to trim a bush or chop down a tree. But i wouldn't plant anything, either.
"It is an undeniable fact that if a fox terrier two feet long with a tail an inch and a half high can dig a hole three feet deep in 10 minutes, then to dig the Panama Canal in a single year would require only one fox terrier 15 miles long with a tail a mile and a half high. This is statistically true; yet one must seriously consider whether, after finding such a fox terrier, one could make it mind." --Johnson, cited by Charles W Bostick in 2/77 Word Ways

Even the view that we have no history & our actions have no consequences--has a history, & consequences.
And i feel stupid for the last residual twinges of wishing i could make a poem of it. For there are some things greater than poems. There are some things too great to be written as art.

"A case in point is Svec, the sculptor who made the World's Greatest Statue of Josef Vissarionovich [Stalin], the one that for about six years loomed over Prague. The Party ordered the monument to be blown up in October 1962. But they had trouble carrying out the order. They could not liquidate the Thing by just one powerful charge because the explosion could have damaged a considerable portion of downtown Prague. So the pyrotechnicians nibbled him away, bit by bit, in a series of mini-explosions. It took them, I think, a couple of
weeks: the statue got gradually thinner, less & less realistic, until it looked quite modern. The whole process was preserved on film by a photographer who, from the windows of the Writers' Union, took pictures daily. They document a gorgeous experiment in pop art, or maximal [minimal] art, or whatever. Svec, however, took his life when he saw how his realistic Goliath was changing slowly, step by step, into a Giacometti-like monster.
The unlucky sculptor was really more a victim of malicious fate than of just stalinism. Only one item of hos oeuvre survives. It stands in the garden of the Art Academy in Prague and captures a motorcycle driver taking a sharp curve--a most unusual, exquisitely beautiful rendition of motion in stone. It is an early work. After it, the gifted student began to get commissions. ...When Svec was asked to participate in the nonpublic competition for Stalin's monument, he had already been pretty frustrated* and thought that he stood no chance anyway, with all the National Artists for competitors. So he reportedly concocted a model in the course of one single afternoon, with the help of two bottles of vodka--and he won." --Josef Skvorecky, Talkin' Moscow Blues (1988)

[*his Masaryk & Hus were destroyed by the Nazis; his FDR wasn't finished]
   "The Clouded Armies"

Man pushing
A shopping cart down the lack of a sidewalk
Recondo erose, movie soundtrack

Recorded grip with do nicer swearwords Rewson

Christo wraps a shark
Walmart cathedral funest in the
Glittering land. Uziel
I umbelliferous raucous kilderkin

How to get

Rid of cat pist (tie-fighter
Belabor) neither malignant nor
Benign winter tumbleweeds when the truth is
Them told again, gulls
Swirling in

It the tired light torridly,
A diagram sways.
Never. Dark
Energy the scribble of rim/ tiny claws
The leave.; swung torch seeds big bad receive

12 31 03

Monday, January 05, 2004

An interview with the author of House of Leaves. (via dbqp)

My cheerful thought: even if the Red-Assed Baboons get away with stealing the '04 election, their nature makes it impossible that they will sit tight without starting more wars, & reinstituting the Draft those wars will require--& the American people will never stand for another draft. But do we have the ten years?
Listening to: The Music of Hikari Oe. More about this autistic composer, the son of a Nobel laureate. (Sounds like Mozart!)

   "April Mortality

Rebellion shook an ancient dust,
  And bones bleached dry of rottenness
Said: Heart, be bitter still, nor trust
  The earth, the sky in their bright dress.

Heart, heart, dost thou break to know
  This anguish thou wilt bear alone?
We sang of it an age ago,
  And traced it dimly upon stone.

With all the drifting race of men
  Thou also art begot to mourn
That she is crucified again,
  The lonely Beauty yet unborn.

And if thou dreamest to have won
  Some touch of her in permanence,
'T is the old cheating of the sun,
  The intricate lovely play of sense.

Be bitter still, remember how
  Four petals, when a little breath
Of wind made stir the pear-tree bough,
  Blew delicately down to death."

--Léonie Adams

A review of the music by Peteris Vasks i mentioned in my June 21st post.

A stamp honoring Emile Nelligan, called by Edmund Wilson "at once the Rimbaud and the Gérard de Nerval of French Canada".

"...there are more people in Scotland who speak Urdu than Gaelic..." --Vicki Rosenzweig (ca. 1993)

A stray dog loitering by the body of its car-hit companion.

"Such was the horror for the profession of a soldier which had affected the minds of the degenerate Romans that many of the youth of Italy and the provinces chose to cut off the fingers of their right hand to escape from being pressed into the service; and this strange expedient was so commonly practiced as to deserve the severe animadversion of the laws, and a peculiar name in the Latin language." --Gibbon

"There ought to be a proportion betwixt the sign and thing signified; therefore should all things, whether real or rationall, have their proper words assigned unto them." --Thomas Urquhart, Logopandecteision

"No pen can any thing eternall wright,
That is not steept in humor of the Night." --George Chapman

"...St Anthony was greeted by Paul the Hermit in the mountainous deserts of Egypt, 'Tell me, I pray thee, how fares the human race; if new roofs be risen in the ancient cities; whose empire is it now sways the world; and if any still survive, snared in the error of the demons.' " --Philip J Davis, The Thread (1983)

"Jewel or shell, or starry ore" --Tennyson

"...nobody has yet imagined a plausible Wallace Stevens." --Hugh Kenner

"The words the Hittites used for the verb 'to put on', as in 'to put on an article of clothing', was different for each garment." --Atlantic 8/92

"Poets arguing about modern poetry: jackals snarling over a dried-up well." --Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave

(I'm always surprised that anybody reads what i write.)

"When he went to Palestine, Buber fought for the rights of Arabs, but did not prevail; had he done so, the history of the Middle East would have been different." --Martin Seymour-Smith

'As soon as a thought has found words it no longer exists in us or is serious in its deepest sense.' --Schopenhauer, "On Authorship and Style"

My mother was getting something in the dime store when a woman was caught trying to shoplift. She ran away--leaving her child behind.

'The history of mathematics is a road lined with sphinxes...' --Le Lionnais