Saturday, July 03, 2004

Virtual fireworks. (thanx Melanie!) --Click where you want them.

The air perfumed with onions frying in olive oil.

  habits, the
  glue still wet

07 01 04

‘When substance [zhi] outweighs style [wen], we have a rustic; when style outweighs substance, we have a clerk. Only when style and substance are equally combined do we have the cultivated man.’ --Confucius, cited by McCullough ibid

Not many artworks i know of are like a glass of water or a bottle full of coke. I think this metaphor has passed its expiration date. Let art be like tea. Under distant suns you gather the fragrant leaves; prepare them under very particular conditions; then (after vicissitudes) you bring water & new fire & time to steep. Only then is the artwork (& the metaphor) complete.
   Let us vie opinions on the best climate for growing & the best education for preparing & the merits of various fires & waters. But enough of FORM VS CONTENT!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Is it more appalling that Saddam Hussein should have ordered someone to have their tongue torn out; or that he was able to find others to carry out such commands? If you walk up & down in this world for very long, it still seems deplorable, but less & less surprising. You may seek for years in vain to find allies in planting trees or teaching illiterates to read--the quest for henchmen is a matter of mere steps.
   I used to not hate those whom i called “innocent Republicans”, the ones who never thought about it but simply accepted the immutable fact that this was their home team, & they should root for it. But as it has become an effortless task to find out unwelcome political truths: there is only self-delusion, & willful ignorance. Not innocence, not anymore. They are henchmen, small henchmen it is true--but the faraway crimes of this administration are never small to those whose lives they destroy.

   A small swirl of birds
in the gray dry dawn, music
   at the gas station
pelts down; i leave it mid-phrase
driving Djuna's turquoise car.

07 01 04

"The short Teijin Contest diary devotes two of its twenty-eight lines to the musical compositions presented and four to the costumes of the former Emperor (brown robe and yellow trousers), the men and women of the Left [team] (red cloaks over cherry-blossom robes), the men and women of the Right (green cloaks over willow robes), the poets and scorekeepers of the Left (red robes with trousers of pale brown damask), and the poets and scorekeepers of the Right (green robes with trousers of yellowish-green damask)." --McCullough, op cit

A genius way to market poetry.

" I think we made a disastrous error in the classic strategic sense when in 1991 we concluded that we “had won the Cold War.” No. We simply didn’t lose it as badly as the Soviets did."
--Chalmers Johnson

Thursday, July 01, 2004

   "The Pillar of Storge"

recur, like
they know something

06 30 04

Asleep at midnight, up by 4:45. Saddam's ugly mug on the tube. More rain in the offing.

"By and large, if a poet was good enough to gain admittance to Kokinshu, his style was, by definition, basically anonymous. ...The challenge to the sensitive observer posed by such oblique indications of authorship constitute, we may conjecture, one of the pleasures of poetry as game." --Helen McCullough, Brocade by Night (1985)

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dallas with Seattle skies. There was a year in the 80's when it rained all summer. I wonder if this will be like that one. I used to joke, ours was the only climate global warming would improve: 'cause it couldn't get any worse. In fact the savage hot summers that we'd learned to accept (like some remorseless proof of Original Sin or something) have been rather scarce in recent years. We had a real one a couple years back--& people who hadn't been here that long were appalled. They had no idea what they were getting into, obviously. There was a sort of wicked satisfaction in saying, this is what i've had to put up with, all my life. You won't get used to it, but in time you'll feel superior to those who live elsewhere, in halcyon regions
where eighty degrees is a heat wave.
I imagine the same snobdom must prevail in Dante's Nine Circles.

"...sacred words, which, to him, were not the wind, but the infinite circling maze of leaves blown before the wind." --William Sharp

A Sudanese painter. (via Sharp Sand)

The earliness of the hour precludes humor.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

pemmicanize Miskatonic Mesklin, tribune
Omaha; pink School of the Americas pearl

Gibraltar smurf Gestapo sepulchral sob fnord

06 29 04 q. mujtass

I see that DaVinci Code-wannabe The Rule of Four is a thriller wrapped around the mysterious Hypnerotomachia; we are almost at the point where books themselves are magical, awe-inspiring objects; & the Past--well, anything could have happened...!
   Without a culture that bears in itself continuity & justification of what came before, one has to construct such continuities as one is able. Beyond that forlorn, heroic effort, there is only the superstitiousness of grown children who have never been given the bare means of deciphering any evidence whatsoever.
   "IS SO!" "IS NOT!"
   How thrilling to live at the end of a phase, & know it.

One of my art reviews gets a rebuttal.
   cool morning
the fake handover
   here believed;
now the squid slithers
Europa dark seas

06 28 04

Listening to: George Rochberg- Music for the Magic Theater (1965)

Monday, June 28, 2004

Rereading- The Drowned World (1962). (And i see that Kim Stanley Robinson has a new book out on global warming...)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

'Orioles in the tree, and the length of vowels
Determines the measure of a classical line.
But on one day each year quantity overflows,
Spills from nature's bosom, like Homeric meter.

And like a caesura that day opens with a yawn:
Dawn brings tranquility and almost painful peace;
Oxen in the pasture, and golden indolence
Thwarts me from extracting rich, round notes from my reed.'

--Osip Mandelstam (tr Jane Gary Harris), in: The Silver Age of Russian Culture (1975)

"...a return to the 70's was inevitable." --Word Placements

   "Dialogue of Lenin & Moon"

Here begins the land of phantoms.
Your precious blood,
but they were only dreams.
Shine on the evening waves gray
The master is here!

Dextrous rats.

6 26 04