Saturday, March 27, 2004

Home on the range.

I found another Fanthorpe! Time Echo, by "Robert Lionel".

Stories that read differently if published as scifi or as regular fiction.

"Hunky Jack Spicer, I accept your challenge!"
I seldom correct a disequilibrium (until it becomes dangerously extreme), even an unpleasant one, because at bottom i find all my changes fascinating; and so i keep getting distracted from the important business of healing and seeking wholeness. For my sense of wholeness, intuition, can make meaning from every distortion. I need the feedback of other people because i can not easily regard my own forms other than aesthetically. But [add] one other person, and my sense of feelings becomes activated...

People who don't care if they understand or not--people who don't care if their food nourishes or not. I ask: what are you doing that is more important than living?

I got to get more crazy or less angry, 'cause there sure is no use for a terrorist-artist.

Talkativeness has evolved into a substitute for apes' grooming. Without touching, silence between us feels pathological. Enforced, one pretends to be alone--and finally even our solitude is only a continuation of that pretending. I say: paying attention is my reverence. But that makes me no less prone to jabbering. Because my solitude has a leak--my skin, unsealed by hands, sieves my mind.

It's not a luxury to want to be independent of all other humans. It's a psychosis.

Friday, March 26, 2004

A Night of Jukebox Solidarity. (via Metafilter)

" In 1979, at the age of 74, [Norah] Lofts caused a stir by entering a competition to find an unknown historical writer, under a pseudonym. She won, revealed her true identity, and was granted the award, the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize for The Day of the Butterfly." --BBC Authors (via Hotel Point)

Aramaic Death Metal.

   "Focus on Sainty"

Some loud morrows book
Me fly into prefect glare
And the litterbug
Of my feral betrayal
Gravely does the jitterbug.

03 26 04
   "Sonnet for Satan"

Blue pseudo hologram toothpaste box vying
Strata, carmine, pale bluish-gray
While migrant vultures cruise the ones who die
By a fugitive's lamp the stones themselves go slaying.
O Checkpoint Rhost, there's few big names run big
Cities now; synchronized speed-skating dwarves
Are all the rage. Let the school bus pass
First. A tenor dynasty inchmeal sieves
My infrastructure. King ant pliers force
Capitulation. One less scalawag
Is every ghastly ebon mind above
Two stepped-over olive snails on the raindark sidewalk.
Unbidden panoply of ice-wounds, truck
With other Gilligan. Friday i can't solve.

03 26 04
   "Regrets of An Impresario"

Either spasmodic
Ghost beside
Divalent eon
Grasping with gnarled hands
At the mad wasps

The Secret names revealed

03 26 04
   "Amateurish in the Best Sense"

Behold a pale heart
Her questions the claws dread
Wings prisoner love and a
Dark high red stars' skylessness

03 26 04
(After rereading 'The Love of God and Affliction' [Weil].) I shall never forget my introduction to the affliction of others. It was, over a series of visits, the prolonged dying of my grandmother. I must have been 17, and what i felt was nothing but horror and revulsion. These were not the prescribed emotions: it separated me forever from the unreality of social roles. It was like an initiation into truthfulness, to admit that that was what i felt. For the rest of my family, it was only a nightmare which they soon went back to sleep from. Me it woke up. Since then i have been honest to myself about my feelings, or else very soon began suffering from the lie. Only comparatively recently have i understood this as an advantage and not a weakness. For i wished that my feelings did not contradict the intention of my (feigned) behavior; i wanted not only to lie with my face, but with my guts. And i couldn't. So i had to, finally, give up lying. This has nothing to do with virtue. (Except as wholeness is goodness.)
  --And makes 'romance' for me exceedingly problematical. I am always aware of the mixture of feelings which exist in me at any moment: and to act in awareness of impurity is to act ambiguously. This does not make for trust. I was much easier to trust when i could lie convincingly. Now i cannot be untruthful that sincerely.

If i could come home and not keep thinking about people, no amount of contact with misfortune would make me miserable... But when there are a dozen persons i love whose health, economic selfsufficiency, and perhaps sanity are on the edge--why, the blackest horror seems a perfectly adequate description of this city, this country, or this planet. Knowing it isn't so, fails to reach it. And to reconcile (once again) my thoughts and my feelings, would take either superabundant joy, or an intelligent capitulation to despair.
  But why shouldn't intolerable situations pose insoluble problems? Admitting this is not to give up on problem-solving. It's learning a limit; SCALE.

A slow enlightenment, like being flayed alive: years to understand, what Gautama saw in an hour.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

   "What I'm Working Into My Memorial Service"

For Democracy includes a twenty one gun salute
Of a somewhat unconventional sort.
Touch me, be sure i won't be running away
From this or any other denouement
In the trash-choked alley of our actionable intelligence.
The mine that took off the messenger's foot
Cleanly, leaving a wound the shape of Regis Philbin's grin,
Was set there before the beginning of Time
By the same God who gave us fake fossils to pore over
In bafflement, & Red-Assed Baboons for masters.

03 25 04
Read his haiku from March 15.

William Horwood.
"Several respected members of Eratosphere have had heated differences of opinion with Leo Yankevich (also known as Lamon Cull, poetry editor of The New Formalist), regarding an imputed correlation between the quality of certain poets' work and those poets' ethnic origin and/or sexual orientation. Poets seeking publication in The New Formalist are strongly encouraged to first determine whether its poetry editor's views are compatible with their own." --from Eratosphere
Send Dead Flowers. (warning: slithy popups)
Who knew there were so many lawyer-poets?
(Do they get to sue when they're rejected?)

Bob Grumman's Blog. (via Poetry Scorecard)

For 11M i sent Todd Swift a triolet.

One Day Soon.

Operation Ignore. (via Fables of the Reconstruction)

Chomsky's Blog! (via Wood_s Lot)

With a movie named after a line of Pope's now playing, i remember another of his lines, that is all too relevant:

"Art after Art goes out, and all is Night." (via Metafilter)

Alright already! I bow to popular demand. Here's my entry in the "Imaginary Movie Review Contest":


From the day when she first opened the Collected Poems (given to her
by her then husband Elliot Gould), Barbra Streisand knew she could
not rest until she had written, produced, directed and starred in a
musical based on the life and work of Laura (Riding) Jackson, but she
did not know it was going to take her until midway in Carter’s second
term, to do so. But as dream projects will, it met difficulties--not least
from Riding herself, who in fact had remained so far out of the
mainstream (without electricity, on a farm in Florida) she had not
even heard of la Barbra; and only relented her principled refusal after
Streisand had camped out in the citrus groves for three entire weeks,
vowing not to budge until. The studio, too, required convincing, as
much for the film score, fashioned with brazen ingenuity by dada-rock
maverick Frank Zappa (replacing Michel Legrand, who had stormed
off after a titanic three-hour battle with Barbra over “The Quids”), as
for the actual words of this undeniably cryptic, albeit fascinating,
Modernist poet of the Twenties. Now (Riding) has arrived, and the
question on everyone’s lips is: was it worth the wait?

It depends. Certainly the conviction is there. From the very first long,
turning, continuous shot of young Laura Reichenthal as she crosses
the bleak winter campus of Cornell University, walks to a subway
station, and rides the train home to her parents’ shabby-genteel
apartment in Brooklyn, all to the off-screen accompaniment of
Streisand crooning (with a spare, almost atonic setting of bagpipes
and xylophone) “Because I Sit Here So”, we are plunged into the
intense inner world of the brilliantly precocious poet, gifted, almost
from birth, with an unshakeable sense of mission and righteousness.
And Barbra, in what can only be described as a vehement and
unrelenting performance, delivers flawlessly. We never for a moment
doubt that she is who she purports to be.

But there’s the rub. What is it, after all, that she’s so sure of; what is
her message to the world? Streisand, presumably, got something out
of these poems, and yet (in my humble opinion) the movie, in simply
placing a number of them in scenes associated with Riding’s life,
rather than persuading the audience that great and precious things
are in the offing, instead more likely will leave them with the feeling
that they are either witnessing one of history’s most self-deluded
artists, or else that they are being teased with revelations which will
never be vouchsafed, here in this ordinary life--the world Riding so
frequently (in her own inimitable and convoluted way) derided and
denied. Paradoxically, a less partisan view might have brought us
closer to the real person, and made her seem more sympathetic.

This might be called a central failing, but I have to allow that the
separate parts of it make for some exquisite moments. “John and I”,
with the blackboard eraser dance and Donald Sutherland as Laura’s
momentary husband Professor Gottschalk, manages to be both
poignant and whimsical; the meeting with the leading poets of The
Fugitives (here I might prefer some other poem than “The Quids”, but
it is chronologically appropriate), where she causes consternation and
awe (Cliff De Young, as Allen Tate, pronounces her “the woman to
save American poetry from the Edna St Vincent Millays”), is as comical
as anything in What’s Up, Doc?

And I even like the short scene in a waterfront bar where Laura,
implored by a drunkenly maudlin Hart Crane (Martin Short) to be
given a poetic task equal to the magnitude of his talent and
ambitions, simply points out the window to the Brooklyn Bridge,
sniffs, and says, “Go for it.”

But the second half of the movie feels indefinably wrong. I think Ryan
O’Neal as the irascible, war-haunted minor poet Robert Graves, is
definitely miscast; he is unable to portray Graves’s essential
seriousness, and as he begins to worship Laura, first in Egypt (prettily
photographed) with his wife (Amy Irving) and four kids, and later back
in England, where they set up an odd menage, not even the rapture of
the music (“Dear Possible” with its clanging gongs and synthesizers,
interrupted by an odd solo on the tin whistle) can communicate the
gospel that more and more Riding’s work comes to resemble. The
images grow increasingly surreal--the St Peter’s Square montage,
with its madcap chases, pantomime arguments, and Chaplinesque
panics by Geoffrey Phibbs (well played by Tom Cruise), ends with
Laura leaping out a fourth-floor window, and floating down (in a cloud
of glittering shards) to the chanted words of “You or You” (plus what
sounds like time-reversed chihuahuas barking?)--only to fade to the
primitive Mallorcan village where Riding, Graves, and a few choice
acolytes have exiled themselves; crickets chime in the stillness.

This is intercut with newsreel-looking footage of the gathering storm
in Europe of the Thirties. While I like “Three Sermons to the Dead”
and even its harpsichord-contrabassoon duet (though spare me a few
of the intercalated power chords--they drop through the song like
tossed bricks), all this solemn, almost cultlike activity never seems to
result in anything tangible. At one point the camera lingers on
Laura’s famous “GOD IS A WOMAN”, written in letters of gold above
her bed. But what good does it do Her? They barely escape, on the
last boat out of Mallorca.

Their flight takes them to England, Switzerland, France, and finally
the Pennsylvania farm of Schuyler & Katherine Jackson (Robert
DeNiro and Jessica Harper, who seem to be acting in separate
movies), where another phantasmagoric sequence takes place. To
“Disclaimer of the Person”, the four Jackson children and the two
couples (joined now by another, played by Harry Dean Stanton and
Teri Garr) perform a dragging, ritualistic pageant that begins with
playfully decorating the house with crepe paper (although the music
is already macabre), then gradually shifts into a shuffling, sidelong
intimidation of Katherine by the rest, and ends with her being carried
off struggling and screaming in a home-made straitjacket.

A quick dissolve, and we find Laura and Schuyler embracing in an
orange grove. She begins to sing, “Come, Words, Away”, and by this
we are to understand that she has renounced both Graves and poetry
for something greater. In the golden light of the setting sun, joined by
Zappa (in the costume of a migrant farm worker, wielding an
incongruously modern cordless electric guitar), Schuyler picks up a
saxophone and they exchange leads until the incandescent climax.
Streisand has never been in better form.

And, just to be sure we get it, an oval opens in the picture and we see
that lovable old rascal Gelat, from Mallorca (Ronald Reagan, out of
retirement just for this) speaking directly to the camera: “You’re so
smart, you could write the dictionary!”

I wonder how far she is along.

--Sylvia Hughes
What is it about us that goes on living though we be deprived of so many needs and vital parts, why are we so stubborn not to die though we are nothing but a stump? Humans live without freedom, without thought, without love life-long. As if we had never had them, and had not been sundered. Sheer breathing seems all any of us ask (and the imposed greeds).
  Then one day a human sees the lack and it is so obvious, but this difference makes him feel strange and the one who is wrong. And without memory or language or records, without a tradition that has been shaped by all the other strange ones--he would be wrong. Wrong to want to be human when there is not yet a context for it. Culture makes all the difference.
  But if culture should die--would he be wrong, that next one of unaccountable longings?

Man crept two inches of logic's worth and cried "Oh, my head! I have thunk too much! I have fallen thru a trapdoor into the forebrain! lost touch with my viscereal feeling-reality! Help! I must go back!"
   But there was no going back.

Even our intellectuals are anti-intellectual.

Faith in process: to believe that any promulgation is progress, even if it's unrecognizable distortion among imbeciles.
  All you have to do is understand perfection is possible, to immediately despise the idea of a popular art. But this attitude is unusable. It only makes it harder to be an artist. (Maybe it should.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Titles to use.
Y'know, poets could help each other out more. Like leaving good lines for someone else, if you can't seem to make a poem out of them...Naah. We prefer our own bad lines.

The winners of The Modern Word's "Imaginary Movie Reviews" contest are up!

Schizophrenic Architecture. (via 2 Blowhards)

Good joke.

My usual mistake: assuming freedom instead of the reverse. Feeling instead of thinking (when i can't think i shouldn't get out of bed that day). wanting "to make a difference" = at least one penny in my heavenbank account. While, being real is the only way to make a difference (without "trying"--listening: yes). try to listen; and know when you're not, so as not to fake it. (Dogoodism that doesn't listen for consent, is faking it.)
  And finally: one avoids hedonism not to keep from having pleasures, but inorder to be ready to recognize joy. Likewise, one refrains from absolute (fatalistic) pessimism not to keep from knowing pain, but in order to recognize and understand sorrow. (Most pains are like flashes of sunlight off the top of water--you can't see into the depths then--.) The depths of sorrow include knowing how hatred of self and of truth is inseparable from affliction. (didn't i know that?--no; i was that--now i'm not...)
  Fortunate: someone who does not have to have a position on Affliction.

Artists were talking, and got into money wrangles. I said, "There is no good solution for the money problem in our time--each of us will have to find their own bad solution--let us talk about what we can do together..." but the game was complaining: and discourse is not a game.

"Post Modernism is the language of Hype people who have long wanted to invent something as ominous sounding as Non-Euclidean geometry..." --Anthony Hill


Now i'm in front of one more car:
only 100 million to go.

12 13 85

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I don't generally care for Kirby Olson, but his notion of "Lutheran Surrealism" has legs. More.
"He considers a fair number of his works disastrous failures and bad enough to be burnt. As he has already destroyed a fair number, it is perhaps a good thing that many of his paintings are in the hands of others and that he loses so much gambling. He has to paint to keep up with the debts." --abt F. Bacon on British TV/ in Art Monthly Jul-Aug '85

Capitalism wouldn't work if it was a 100% rip-off. But 90%--and people praise it unstintingly.

Do good-ism & real aid. Real aid usually requires consent, hence it is rarely possible except in crude or trivial instances. do goodism refuses to admit these limitations. In a way, it is spiritual materialism. All that matters is "the amount of good done" --Capital in heavenbank. Real aid, on the contrary, is gratuitous; compassion meets opportunity. Without that opportunity, still compassion isn't wasted. (Tho' opportunities are often wasted on no-compassion.) Because it is part of an internal process aimed toward freedom. Mechanical dogoodism is a trap. Guilt is evidence of the trap when one has refused its compulsion. It is possible to dogood for the feeling of relief that comes from temporarily having avoided guilt. Or for the indulgence of the pity-distance. (Empathy is the opposite of this. Which can also be a compulsion.) How to distinguish compassion? It is like a zoom lens. You are able to be objective, and then to identify. That doesn't free you from sorrow. Joy does. Whereas guilt remains afterwards. Thus may you know them.
  --i wanted to test my sadness, so i danced.--

Monday, March 22, 2004

Bhopal Express. (via Elsewhere)

One time i had a thought: writing prose poems is like painting with unstretched canvas on the floor. Some people scorn it, but it's really just a different medium with different laws. I can imagine a time (after poets have been ignoring their own line-endings so long) when nothing is left but prose poems. And that will be how they read old verse, too.
A community is a medium thru which ideas may travel.
The absence of ideas keeps the absence of community a big secret. Anyone who has ideas nowadays can find no listeners, and is forced to regard himself either as a persecuted genius or a crank, rather than any moderate estimation, because the importance of his ideas has literally no comparison...

Busyness is often the only flavor of our lives. So busy are we that we don't even observe degrees of relative freedom anymore. As if nobody has any. But there are moments when such rankings become overwhelmingly clear. They receive some other label, and so freedom need never enter our minds as a concept--its name preempted by slogans.
  I remember when i was very young and manipulative: i sought to produce those moments for the feeling of power. But in another sense, i was seeking (confusedly) to identify a true relation among all the false ones of society. It never occurred to me, though, to measure the amount of freedom between two situations of my own acting. For as i could not confront myself, that game lacked the reflectivity of art, and would never have made me change from any of its verdicts.

Improvisation with others--sometimes threatens to produce such a moment of truth. But attuned as we are to look for skillfulness, we don't know how to reject a smooth lie (e.g. Reagan). Mostly we agree to disagree, or go along with the flow (lie by omission)--and this is what makes for dead music. What would it be like, to seek only true-moments in improvisation? I think of BL Lacerta, that uses every sound. But to hear them all--and only respond to the necessary ones. (relevant)

Sunday, March 21, 2004

N.B. not dehumanization--

"Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels"

one dream
the flowing blindfold
between mist and midnight

biodegradable styrofoam

03 08 04

"Power" is the phlogiston of our time. The oxygen of it we have not yet begun to imagine. But i am certain that all our concepts about control and order have it backwards...

"Mars Diary"

O'er-darken'd sortilege
Meslamta-ea explains
Vanward & heart-struck lack
Of shadowy followers

Shall be golden holy
Not to find safe haven

An empire expires
As Phobos & Deimos appear

03 15 04