Saturday, March 20, 2004

Reason is measure, proportion, scale; analogue and qualitative. Logic is its digital and quantitative counterfeit.

"I have always thought that the poet was not one who speaks but one who hears." --Octavio Paz, One Earth, Four or Five Worlds (1983)

"Vole Fitted With a Dosimeter"

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03 04 04

Friday, March 19, 2004

Sometime earlier today, my real count (including the 3000 that got lost due to a glitch & it had to start over) passed the 10K mark at my blog. I know at least half of those weren't me; & of those, probably 10% were actually coming here in search of what they found. Gives ya a real warm feeling, eh?

A blog written by spam. (via Collision Detection)

Neil Gaiman on Cthulhu. (via Screaming Cuttlefish)
"Whatever the reason, the brains are slowly seeping out of Iraq. It's no longer a place for learning or studying or working… it's a place for wealthy contractors looking to get wealthier, extremists, thieves (of all ranks and origins) and troops…"
--Baghdad Burning

Artbots. (via bOING bOING)

Excerpt from Ish's (when Lyx was Was) Onanism Curdles. (via Poetry Scorecard)

The Ultimate Bushism.

I do think that originally both Islam & Christianity were religions of selflessness & humility, & it is a measure of the failure of both religions as spiritual teaching, that whenever someone sets themselves up as a leader of arrogant intolerance, they receive glad auditors among the faithful. Indeed, we find ourselves in a world where arrogance in itself is admired, & seen as essential to "leadership".

Veep's wife's lesbian "bodice-ripper". (via Transdada)

Finding them.

A Year of War. (via Antiwar)
It takes a peculiar skill to drive an old car fast over bad roads: & this is the kind of writer i've become.


Two invisible cats
Solutionism is too
proud, one side of rapture turn your
gracious, speech, of letters between a
cog nemesis hiss
to tease archaic fire, their
Policy formerly
driving into a pale glare
my name is Turtle Island

03 08 04

"...and Roby, West Texas

Roby with a drop of Indian blood
who grew up on a white man's cattle ranch--

a giant one--belonging to his folks,
and wanted so to be an Indian,

and said he was going to drink himself
to death in this industrial decay

like an Indian--and did, dying at
fifty-five, back on his father's ranch last

year, Roby, who looked into the eye of
a lizard and loved, on a Christmas day

he hated, and talked to the lizard like a

--Chuck Taylor, Flying (A Primer) (2004)
[Some people criticized R. for being a "Professional Indian" but to my way of thinking this was a perfect example of my concept of volitional ethnicity...]

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Not everyone is down on the King of Pop. (thanx, Peter!)

On thin ice. (via Wood_s Lot) Of course, if you believe global warming is a myth, this didn't happen either...
"Come, Gneiss Hiss"

Columnwise gulls and the fancy
Death-ventriloquist eye
A previously broken mist by ages:
The face is

Spirituality when waves explain
Like an eye of the mortal rose

More waves and waves
To tease archaic fire, their
Rose attacks no ghost
And inflames when haunted

And the cries when three
Sank with ghost sea-water
The imagination,
When a warm bed stood...

The dolphins element the premonition.
Mind the restlessness, ghost.

03 07 04

I learned from aquarians (ENFP-ENTP) that it is a combination of the artful & the artless which acts most powerfully upon my imagination; & ever since this has shaped my art.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Breeders. (via ALDaily)

Hannah Weiner online. (via the Buffalo List)

A good Sedna page, with mythological links. More. And apparently, Sedna is red. And moonless? (via Poetry Hut)

Train station janitor savagely beaten for the third time on his graveyard shift. Each time previous he insisted on returning to work. This time it looks like he's not going to make it.

#6 Sign of the Apocalypse: Finnegans Wake in Japanese. (via Language Hat)

Pareidolia. (via Poetry Hut) This has a lot to do with both the "branding" & the "meaning of nonstandard syntax" arguments.

"In book six he introduced (lines 860-886) a beautiful allusion to the loss of Marcellus, the son of Octavia, the sister of Augustus. On the occasion when he read this passage before the reigning family, Octavia is said to have fainted with emotion. On her recovery she sent him a present of $500 (10,000 sesterces) for each line of the passage."
--1931 New Standard Encyclopedia, 'Vergil"

"Had he lived in any other country, he might have been a power, mighty and permanent, in directing its policy. As it is, his thought will pass mainly as the incoherent cry of a giant struggling against heavy, adverse currents in the vast ocean of Russian life." --op cit, 'Tolstoi'
[But it is something to have had these two disciples: Gandhi & Wittgenstein...!]

If we can't manage to be realists let's at least be cheerful pessimists.

'We should not listen to those who are wont to say "Vox populi, vox Dei," for the noise of the mob is very near to madness.' --Alcuin, Capitulare Admonitionis ad Carolum

"The chastity of Ionia is offended by antediluvian devices, and the sphynxes of Egypt are outstretched upon carpets of gold." --Poe, "The Assignation"

"It's a big war over what's funny and what's not..." --Doug Smith (Church of the Subgenius)

"One can gauge the strength of a group by its capacity for silence." --Robert Fripp on NPR

One for whom solitariness is the norm finds nothing repugnant in either suicide or revolution: they are the same will to power...


Empires at the first
Empires while they last,
Empires when they fall,

Empires in the end

01 01 86

I think i'm so wise, but if i had to prove a Laotse and put down all my knowledge at the border, what would i write but the usual platitudes? I have not yet reached where i could even make use of someone else's wisdom. It is just and fitting that the border guards don't let me by. When i'm really ready to leave Ego-land, they won't be able to see me...
Harold Bloom in the April Vanity Fair has a verse play fragment about Bush; what's interesting is he attributes the play to Pynchon's imaginary Jacobean from The Crying of Lot 49, Richard Wharfinger!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I think "Westwardly Speaking" by Deluxxe 247 is the first poem i've seen on the Umbrist log that's really a poem, & not just striving after an effect. It's beautiful, original, & poignant. Well done, Deluxxe!
   "Palindromic Haiku"

  Ire vessel peels;
foe griddle had a cicada held;
  dirge of sleepless-ever I.

01 23 86

from the letters of Sidonius Apollinaris (Loeb translation--W B Anderson):

'Consider too that the mob of the sluggards has so grown in numbers that unless there are at least a modest few like yourself to defend the exact use of the Language of Latium from the rust of vulgar barbarisms, we shall in a short time be lamenting its extinction and annihilation, so sadly will all the bright ornaments of noble expressions be dulled by the slovenliness of the mob.' (II.x, to Hesperius)

'Even though the Roman commonwealth has sunk to such an extremity of helplessness that it no longer rewards those who are devoted to it, it does not follow that my times never give birth to a Brutus or a Torquatus.' (III.viii, to Eucherius)

'...nowadays there are but few who hold literature in honor. Besides, owing to a natural defect, it is fixed and rooted in the human breast that failure to understand the art means failure to esteem the artist.' (V.x, to Sapaudius)

'...indeed, to combine pleasant discourse and a mind distressed is a sort of moral barbarism.' (I.iii, to Faustus)

Beliefs are the subjective lie, mind as structure, corresponding to the objective lie, body as image. The false freedom is to think you have chosen your beliefs; true freedom, once you understand where they came from, is choosing not to believe them.

"The true test of imagination is to name a cat." --Samuel Butler

Art is clean work; community is dirty work. Not everyone can do the former, but even artists have a duty toward the latter.

"Great changes in artistic style always reflect some alteration in the frontier between the sacred and profane in the imagination of a society." --Auden, op cit

A family is a commune where no one's there by choice.

"Music is the brandy of the damned." --Bernard Shaw

A lethargy you give in to, but have to walk over hot coals to get out of.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Rhyming "Wilkinson". (via Poetry Hut)
[I guess he couldn't come up with a use for the phrase 'silken son'...but Cole Porter could've made a whole song out of rhymes like that.]

CIA cartoons. (via Ptarmigan)

This year's Globalization Rankings might surprise you. (via Turkish Torque)

Or for that matter, Springtail, he could be writing a glosa.
That's a European form but i think you have The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics down there too?

"(instead of “Call me Ishmael,” her novel humorously begins, “There once was a girl from Nantucket”)" --Erik Ketzan

Instead of placing poems on a grid, i always try to figure out which one of The Clans of the Alphane Moon a poet belongs to.
A very amusing poem-sequence, with explanation.
I do think the explanation is needed to fully appreciate it.

"While the pseudonym and the pose might work, that left another problem for the author which he would have to resign himself to.

The drowning of his own good name." --Randall Barron
   "My Big Fat Texas Execution"

body swallowed up I
dare invent a
relief it
should pay some other tribe. Wolfe, The late and
someone, agitated, beset by michael
at Elsewhere.
A few hardknocks
in Gnurr Kett, part of view with the weight of
had no
appeal was something like
Hendrix doing his previous decade, going
to do not give the
nose that Robbins has to need
19 04Say it
that it may
be available for 17 years &
behind us If the RING [
2001] and what the
the writing at table. ...But
of Billy
Crystal'in an escort, wounded, a
man I'Sob Trumpets. , this

03 04 04

   "Lyon haiku"

  cry, bird, that chase to
go. i know why. know i go
  to chase that bird-cry.

01 23 86 [Eighteen years ago i was a different person, too.]

"Hay, be seedy! He-effigy, hate-shy jaky yellowman, oh peek, you are rusty, you've edible, you ex-wise he!" --Harry Mathews

"I often wondered when I cursed.
Often feared where I would be--
Wondered where she'd yield her love,
When I yield, so will she.
I would her will be pitied!
Cursed be love! She pitied me..."

--Lewis Carroll

All the sounds in English: "Hum, thou whirring fusion; yes, Joy, pay each show; vie, thaw two wool dock bags." (from Word Ways?)

"Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis;
  Quomodo? Fit semper tempore peior homo."
--John Owen
I heard about Organ Stop Pizza from a radio show i was listening to last night. I can't seem to find the "dancing cats" (maybe i got drowsy & misheard?), but it still looks like a cool site.

My Life As A Fake.

I have recently been following an Umbrist blog, "The Nacreous Oughts" by Ken Springtail, & now he has an issue i wish to comment upon. One of his readers sent him a poem with a line borrowed from somebody else, & he is taking quite excessive umbrage, IMHO, to this strategy. All i can do is quote back at him a passage he recently linked to by Bill Manhire:

" In the December 1966 issue of Landfall, the second-to-last which Brasch edited, there appeared two poems by a certain C.G. Gibson. They had pride of place at the front of the magazine. The first was called ‘Low Paddocks and Light’. Here are the first three of its seven stanzas:

I think it is in Otago, that place
That lies upon the eye of my mind
Now, like a grey blade set to the
Sea’s shifting oneness,
Like a glass plain touching,
Crowning all that is.

Crowning, but capped by its own
Cloth of morrows: how still it lies.
The long paddocks run out
To the sea there. The bush is not dense.
The flat paddocks, dark between fences, run
Out to the pale snug of the mapped water.

And the fences go on up, rising slowly,
With a sheep-bird halfway, on a stunted
Post, watching. (Birds take some knowing.)
– Watching how the light slides through them
Easy as weeds, and the tall wires sighing.
How sharp the salt seems, how
The grasses cluster.

The only problem is that anyone at the time who had read much contemporary American poetry would probably have come across a poem by W.S. Merwin, called ‘Low Fields and Light’. The difference between ‘field’ and ‘paddock’ in the two titles fairly sums up the difference between the two texts. Here are Merwin’s opening stanzas:

I think it is in Virginia, that place
That lies across the eye of my mind now
Like a grey blade set to the moon’s roundness,
Like a plain of glass touching all there is.

The flat fields run out to the sea there.
There is no sand, no line. It is autumn.
The bare fields, dark between fences, run
Out to the idle gleam of the flat water.

And the fences go on out, sinking slowly,
With a cow-bird halfway, on a stunted post, watching
How the light slides through them easy as weeds
Or wind, slides over them away out near the sky.

Needless to say, Merwin’s poem pre-dates the work of C.G. Gibson.

My assumption at the time was that someone had set out to make a point. Perhaps C.G. Gibson was really one of the poets anthologised in Charles Doyle’s 1965 anthology, Recent Poetry in New Zealand. Perhaps C.G. Gibson was ‘C.G. Gibson’. More recently, however, I have realised that the dust-jackets of an expatriate novelist, Colin Gibson, offer a biography (born in Invercargill, advertising copywriter in London and New York, etc.) which accords with the Landfall note on the poet C.G. Gibson. Presumably novelist and poet are closely connected.

Whatever the origins of C.G. Gibson, Landfall itself never acknowledged that it had printed a pair of American poems in error. I believe Charles Brasch thought there was nothing to apologise for. He had accepted the poems in good faith: that they turned out to be, more or less, by well-known contemporary American poets merely confirmed the acuteness of his taste."

What do you say to this, Mr Springtail?

Sunday, March 14, 2004

His Feet Do Not Touch the Ground. (via Eschaton)
But his head is still up his ass.
And now...Planet Sedna. (via Metafilter) More.

   "Roe vs Roe vs Wade"

Car trouble in the Holy City
And whiffled as it came
I was sub-qualm bazaar
Stairway to Gilligan
Armless legless DU-baby
Waxen gray skin
Eyes like two puncture wounds

Dry swallow a small stone

03 12 04
"The Latin of Æthelstan's charters is of a most extraordinary nature.
...The object of the compilers of these charters was to express their
meaning by the use of the greatest possible number of words and by the
choice of the most grandiloquent, bombastic words that they could find.
Every sentence is so overloaded by the heaping up of unnecessary words
that the meaning is almost buried out sight. The invocation with its
appended clauses, opening with pompous and partly alliterative words, will
proceed amongst a blaze of verbal fireworks throughout twenty lines of smallish
type, and the pyrotechnic display will be maintained with equal
magnificence throughout the whole charter, leaving the reader, dazzled
by the glaze and blinded by the smoke, in a state of uncertainty as to the
meaning of these frequently untranslatable and usually interminable
sentences. [268]

The charters are no less remarkable for the length of the sentences
than for the extraordinary nature of the words pressed into use, most of
which continued in use until the end of the O.E. period. In Latin there is a
preference shown for most unusual words, and they are frequently made
to bear a perverted meaning that was alien to them....Indeed, words may be
said generally to be chosen more for sound than meaning. The resources
of the Latin language were inadequate to supply the craving for pompous
words, and Greek was freely brought into requisition. ...There are also a few
Hebrew words...

This highly embroidered, flatulent Latinity was an outcome of the
rhetorical schools of Italy and Gaul in the fifth century. It is well
exemplified in the tumid diction of Theodoric the Great's secretary
Cassiodorus. But it was in Celtic hands that it reached the acme of
artificiality, pomposity, and obscurity. There are few more curious
monuments of pedantic involution of meaning, turgidity, and delphic
obscurity than the tract known as Hisperica Famina..."

--A page from an 1898 lecture by W H Stevenson.