Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Final Exam on Surrealism in American Poetry

Is "surrealism" a style? A method? A movement? A tone? "Surrealism" was a moment. --Later, nostalgia for that moment.

"We sailed the Indian Ocean for a dime." Was this once a subway fare? I don't understand.

Is that surrealism? Why do people call things surrealist that ain't? I think explicable metaphors don't need to be called "surrealist" on top of that; some are just more far-fetched than others. But in English, we really only have an intermittent vocabulary of poetry criticism, & much forgetfulness even in those who study the tradition. Consider Abraham Cowley.

"Who are the great poets of our time, and what are their names?" I sometimes imagine all the truly great contemporary poets are skulking in alleyways, reaching for a soft drink can in a favela, or imprisoned & not ever receiving the honor of a poet-in-residentiary visit (--or making a blog entirely in animated gifs). Certainly the names that get repeated nowadays--are nothing but footnotes. People, don't you ever read fucking Milton?

When did having a book cover with a Magritte painting become the cliché that it now is? A Joseph Cornell box? Textbooks (& the thinking that wants to have textbooks) will devour even the most unlikely food. Not that it can actually digest it. But that doesn't take anything from Cornell or Magritte.

Is Russell Edson a surrealist? Why or why not? Why is Max Jacob a more influential model than André Breton? Dreaminess is a way of avoiding one's dreams. But deeper dreaming is to dream through the sound of the words.

What was surrealism? What wasn't it? When did it stop being what it was or wasn't? A lot of things went drifting loose after the Great War. A few artists' noticing took the form that became known as S. Perhaps the next solidification of reality--the Postwar World--itself came in for a rattling, which never fully congealed up to the present day. (In my more Phildickian moods i think the proper outcome of the Sixties got stolen from us and we are buried in the Black Iron Prison of its denial.) Yet we became complacent (thinking a cultural revolution had already come & saved us) with pastiche instead of attentiveness. I think the only similar moment had to have been "Langpo"--now itself subject to imitation, of course. But what is going to rip us forevermore out of our easy life, & soon, probably won't leave us with the leisure to give it a style or a name.

Is Merwin a surrealist? Spicer? Wright? Ashbery? Lorca? Why is "surrealism" so boring? Why didn't Roland Barthes like it? I once said that surrealism was the best thing that ever happened to Painting, & the worst thing that ever happened to Poetry. All of those poets have flashes of arbitrary connectivity, & stretches of self-parody as well. Barthes, alas, wrote in obliviousness of ecstasy. (As do most of us.) Surrealism was born of ecstasy. Ecstasy can never be a program.

Just the other day I was watching again that long sequence near the end of the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, with its clever appropriation of the imagery of one of Magritte's most canonical paintings. Cute, but that's not S. Neither was Oscar-nominated Pan's Labyrinth, with every image traceable & meticulously thought-out in advance. These things have become part of our cultural vocabulary. What is unspeakable now? Certainly no self-consciously "transgressive" artwork. What are my own nightmares about? By the end of the 21c., one-third of the earth will have become desert. Sitting at a borrowed computer terminal, all that is solid melts into air, & i don't even have words for this loss. It's been raining all summer long. What if it doesn't stop?


Everybody Knows.

pass · word
perfect · word
up · right
crawl · word

I dig i-Cy.

wisps lost
of old hungers told

dried up snail
DJ Rebate Offer

Images of violence seem to speak your pain, but it is only like swearing at your pain; & it adds to your pain the extra pain of clumsy futility. For your pain is not about injury: your pain is about injustice.


"...a tolerated outsider is only a slumming insider." --Andrei Codrescu

    "Whispering Rabbit"

in the captivated doom
festination & fleafestation
we lurch with varying steepness
the floors of complex zeros
is nonkinetic warfare the year
they invented
strawberry air freshener

"It's entirely possible that a quarter of humanity will be squatters by 2030." --Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map (2006)


Days of Hoyden Nardbink
Folger's in a styro cup
definitive arrest
Vulkan or Bellerophon

staring at a blank screen
the hours
and what sky darkening

embrace decay
with something that is not decay

of the school of quietude

"I worked in an office overlooking Puget Sound for a year and my only job was to pick up the phone. It didn't ring for a year and a half."

.i lu le brife ri'a le nalci pelo lobzgi li'u tcita di'e .itu'e

puki filei le jbotut.
cmana pu co'anai tavla
.i go'i fileri ctino co
carmyzirpu .i go'i
fi lei danlu sutra
.e lei spati masno

.i go'i file tsani co skari
befo noda poi na'e
vizyzva .i go'i fi
lei kobli .e lei pamei
cedlidne .e lei sorgu
.e lei pijveljdima

.i go'i fi lei to'e morji ja
no'e morji ja morji be le mijyjbo
.i go'i fi lei pemcrxaiku.
.e lei pemcrdrotkueit.
e lei valsi morna .e lei
pemci be da poi pu'o

cusku kai la jbotut.
i go'i filei tarci
.e lei tarkemnimcevni
.i go'i fi lei mu'e desku
tumla kei .e lei toldi
poi jmive ti'u le cimni

.i di'u zo'u ni'inai ri ku
fi lei xamsi cu tavla pu'o

"The wind of the wing of Lojban-music": One had not yet spoken of the mountains of Lojbanistan, or of their deep purple shadows. Of the animal fast-ones & the plant slow-ones. Of the sky a color which no one elsewhere has perceived. Of the cabbages & of the kings, & of the sorghum & of the wise-vendors. Of the forgetters or rememberers or those who neither remember nor forget Middle Lojban. Of the haiku & of the Drottkvaett. Of word-arrangements & of poems about what is not yet expressed about Lojbanistan. Of the stars & of star-goddesses. Of the earthquakes & of butterflies that live forever. About the preceding, regardless of it, one had not yet spoken about the seas."

Gabcast! etheric notes #9


The New Latin.

"Form is a straitjacket in the way that a straitjacket was a straitjacket for Houdini."
— Paul Muldoon, The Irish Times, 19 April 2003

"It is as if they were playing some bible-based video game."

Austere radiance of the elves
encountering Hello Kitty

the song we are burning to know

"Cortez, he just squeeze rats."

"...a delirious mosaic of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, post-cyberpunk savvy, linguistic fun and Aztec myth."

(by John Whatmough)

"Architecture and rhetoric are one and the same."
--Omar Amorc

"Not My Favorite Section of the Bookstore"

I gaze at all the rightwing tomes
in Politics; all the pundits wrong,
who wrote to blast a foe's repute
or justify a rotten claim.

How pitiful the waste of trees!
And did they really understand?
This goes beyond the mere reward
of prostituted intellect...

Blank Eichmanns sans their Nuremberg
accounting, nor seems likely now
the bulk of those forgotten lies
to ever reel their spinners in.

What hatred must have driven them,
i realize at last: not silver,
they betrayed their fellows for.
Which i must too be wary of.

Gabcast! etheric notes #8

   "Melungeon Sky"

the breaking up of a collection

O Antoinette
your eye is steely
your jaw is set

having to entertain the thought
an injury may or may not be permanent

your fate is walking
your face is wet

lost for a moment
in the cries of the birds

"What does it say about the Franks, that the language for every important event in life has to be invented anew each time?" --Jenny White, The Sultan's Seal (2006)

"In December 2003, he went home, to Manassas Park, Virginia, where his parents, Joseph Sr. and Eva, quit their jobs to care for him."

The "Witchetty Grob": 1 h3 & 2 g4.

"Mysteries of Hello Kitty"

Darb Ramadan · crystal ablution
crisp · furrow

ambitious · magic
adjunct salp into ichthys · prismatic myth

as stars · rattling along cark

clasp fulcrum · at will
for only actual · brumous

New ghazal.

"Osama Van Halen is a novel in which two characters from The Taqwacores, Rabeya the burqa-wearing riot grrl and Amazing Ayyub the Shi'a skinhead, decide to kidnap Matt Damon."

The dwarfish toilet. The picture puzzle of a beautiful jet at sunrise, tilting to turn. (How did you know it was sunrise and not sunset?) Back to the white noise of waiting on a car. Whether it will rain or not. How to stay comfortable in a chair not meant to sit in for hours.

" 'God used to be an urban Jew. He's back in the desert now.' " --Don Delillo, Falling Man


infidel barfly plinth · darg bower or zarf
buying oodoolay · din laconic, voodoo

Seven dirty words.

The Caltrops of Time.

Synthetic division.


    "We Have Always Lived in the Casbah"

com , Tantalum ran into itand
clock burnt amps body appendChild div ; },
prisoners were marched
down for me by
Kinshasa: in the twentieth
century lasted years from 1914 to
large numbers
of Kinshasa Kinois fought for which
one of the armies of adults. ...
is . extinct; and reckless workthat wears my
demur clingsto the pyregoes tooSock Monkey Dreams.The
Whereas the forthcoming royal wedding, he
writes Gobi Desert The is that
the book of money 195 .Unable to shirkeven as death,
of such lurkas casts them
i did, &
it was then continuetuned
in Calvados.But when I
found hands to
do a Drowning Witch & 1982 finally
found hands here are likewise
to Save
a time I found hands You came
after us Trying to afford
bride price or become breadwinners, young men,
for Davis, represented by
Angelique she told to its primary to the labour
becomes stigmatized as it sold 250,000
copies in this is are viewing graywyvern journalCreate
a really We
be inhabiting the postageon this
failure of the guns
in order are currently training... via Metafilter Two
Nice Girls 05 June 2007 @ 11:
08 am abfraction
believe in
your hands,to
under the past we will change
our name to the engagement had been
called the nicest poetic compliment he ever
writes Gobi Desert is therethat sky The end of
one in
Burgundy.I waswhen Anna Nicole
Smith died not wholly
ironically, I saw demand in Savannah,
i will think of
conscience versus abdication.


holding. if,
and so. till.


morning zombuluchuk crisp
snog wisp and ignorant azimuth

cold · ambush
abort lungfish scoop

shadowy lungfish · flip burning skirl across
iron wishing tsunami small

is incog
borg town swig in ash

spools rancor · our adorn biz against
incoming tortuous story · tag had storm


new fuel rules
all indigo

"I'll believe in people settling Mars at about the same time I see people settling the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes "Gobi Desert Opera" because, well, it's just kind of plonkingly obvious that there's no good reason to go there and live. It's ugly, it's inhospitable and there's no way to make it pay. Mars is just the same, really. We just romanticize it because it's so hard to reach."

   "Negotiations with Ganesh"

sluggard in the rainlight
collapse, then continue

collapse, then continue
tuned in to the choirs

what are these headlights saying

arroyo of the lawyers

golden shrine
for golden shrine

how ronald reagan
invented the wheel

End of the Copenhagen Interpretation?

"...Auden once claimed that the "nicest poetic compliment" he ever received came in 1957 when his friend the Catholic activist Dorothy Day was arrested and held at what was then called the "House of Detention for Women" at the corner of 6th Avenue and West 10th Street in Manhattan. She told him that as the women prisoners were marched down for their weekly shower, a prostitute recited the last line of Auden’s poem "First Things First" (which had recently appeared in the New Yorker): "Thousands have lived without love, not one without water". "When I heard this", Auden commented, not wholly ironically, "I knew I hadn’t written in vain!" ." (via)


  1. Riding :: Jackson

  2. Actress :: Extensions

  3. Flowers :: Alley

  4. Making :: Breaking

  5. Robot :: Offers

  6. Enjoy :: Coercion

  7. Identify :: Culprits

  8. 22 :: 7

  9. Busy :: Idiots

  10. Forward :: March


And now...Lala.

beautiful dark morning
who kill because they're told to

"In fact, recent work on the planet suggests it resembles Venus much more than Earth, a seething cauldron far too close to its primary to provide a reasonable foothold for life."


Sportsman's Guide.

New ghazal.

fundos in the Black Current
penultimate white rhino

where i was
when Anna Nicole Smith died

"It's not a conflict of obscurity versus clarity, it's a conflict of conscience versus abdication."

Long comment on Knott's blog.

" 'The future is there,' Cayce hears herself say, 'looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the part behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now.' " --William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (2004)

things already part of me
i collect, scattered across countries.
in one of them a spaceman walks.

the sun sometimes rises.
spirals of mist follow it
from a time when that meant something.

"A wind of such violence
will tolerate no bystanding..."


Grace Halsell.


Lynx is fresh.

(via alumnus dot caltech dot edu)


Presently, i will think of it.
Chapters ago, a punctuation mark
not where today we'd put it
to the fulsome barking of dogs.
To become
part of the wreckage
and part of what walks away:
the undisgruntled country
with free unlimited movie rentals...

Let the healing begin.

"Like fever also is the great Nostalgia." --The Book of Mirdad

"The American author of a study of eighteenth-century Russian literature records the response of one colleague to the prospect: 'Why, is there any?' " --Russia in the Age of Peter the Great (Hughes)

Lego animation music video: the brave new frontier. (via Metafilter)

Two recent books about the Number Zero. (Then there's that Roches song--"Big Nothin.")

"A Word Meaning the Typical Death of Your Sort of Person"

The rushed and reckless work
that wears my infamy
is yet not mine to shirk
even as it flies me.

Here are the ruinous tools
your hand may not unclasp;
these, the rowdy accruals
from sleep and leisure reft.

And no one finds it weird
that makers wield such lurk
as casts them under the wheels
of rushed and reckless work.

   "Secret Prisons"

Innocence; its army.
The postage
on this is much too high.
My ornamental demur clings
to the Esperanto
of Oblivion.

In this sign conquer.

insane the barking
and wakeful the sad list'ner

which one to poison

love that Olympic logo

"When the moment falls off
and primal fool-seasons
affix their wintry incubus"

--Brenda Shaughnessy

Amalia Rodrigues on Youtube.

"Now he’s writing two novels without a contract and posting on the blog and message boards on his Web site,—the literary equivalent of living in a trailer park."

by Deborah Turbeville

Speed Racer Rock Opera.

I came to the author's note at the end of Fallen Host musing on what a real "thrash polka" might be like, & i thought: why not send her a link to Finntroll? So i did, & it went up on the same day.

"...casting hatred upon rosy cheeks is a habit of the Blue Sky." --The Tale of Kieu

"Originally published in 1934, the book sold only 3,000 copies and soon fell out of print. It was rediscovered in 1964 and hailed as a masterpiece when Irving Howe gave it a rave review in The New York Times." "It sold 250,000 copies in five weeks, and a million within a few years."


that on the pyre goes too
heresy blooms, and night draws on
we will change our name to Successland
that on the pyre goes too
mutiny avalanche
carbonaceous I:
that on the pyre
goes too

Sock Monkey Dreams.

The Anti-Streep.

outer limit of this failure of the city to provide employment, services or housing is, for Davis, represented by the city of Kinshasa in the Congo, a city in which "the formal economy and state institutions, apart from the repressive apparatus, have utterly collapsed" (191). "Average income has fallen to under a $100 per year; two-thirds of the population is malnourished; the middle-class is extinct; and one in five adults is HIV-positive. Three-quarters are likewise unable to afford formal health care and must resort instead to Pentecostal faith-healing or indigenous magic" (192). "Wrecked by a perfect storm of kleptocracy, Cold War geopolitics, structural adjustment, and chronic civil war" (192), citizens of Kinshasa (Kinois) "fought for their survival by 'villagizing' Kinshasa: they re-established subsistence agriculture and traditional forms of rural self-help […] They sought release from the 'disease of the whites': the fatal illness of money" (195).

However, Davis says, "despite heroic efforts, especially by women, traditional social structure is eroding" (195). "Unable to afford bride price or become breadwinners, young men, for example, abandon pregnant women and fathers go AWOL. Simultaneously, the AIDS holocaust leaves behind vast numbers of orphans and HIV-positive children. There are huge pressures on poor urban families […] to jettison their most dependent members" (196). This has led to large numbers of abandoned children persecuted as "witches" in the guilty Pentecostal hallucinations of adults."

"..."The real crisis of world capitalism", he argues, is when "a reserve army waiting to be incorporated into the labour process becomes stigmatized as a permanently redundant mass, an excessive burden that cannot be included, now or in the future, in economy and society" (199). This stigmatization leads to the perception that "the mega-slum has become the weakest link in the new world order" (204). This perception, in turn, feeds "the demonizing rhetorics of the various international 'wars' on terrorism, drugs, and crime", which "are so much semantic apartheid: they construct epistemological walls around gecekondus, favelas, and chawls that disable any honest debate about the violence of economic exclusion, and, as in Victorian times, the categorical criminalization of the urban poor is a self-fulfilling prophecy, guaranteed to shape a future of endless war in the streets" (202), a war for which the armies of the new world order are currently training

(via wood_s lot) --Katrina, don't think this will happen to us. But what are you doing so it won't?


my silence is there
chrome greasy star
2 kids on unicycles
remtai minji gaze
my silence is there

that sky and that sky's

they cut off my sister's hands

i'm here but i'm really good

Gabcast! etheric notes #7

"Starlight is almost flesh" --Basil Bunting

Tantalum ran into it
and clock burnt amps body ran ink cicala
indigo storm goaf

cicala story ransom only
adorn scald
clock goaf scurry skill

obol now graying into
stony bank

Two poems and a link.

scattered limbs
car climbed a curb
to kill this seedling

This may be common knowledge in Zappan circles, but it was a surprise to me. One of his rarer albums, Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch (1982)--i finally found it in Savannah, i think--has always puzzled me by its title. Well, yesterday we got a book in from 1953, Roger Price's Droodles, consisting entirely of ultra-simple, enigmatic cartoons, and the humorous captions that cause them to make sense. On page 55, i found "Ship Arriving Too Late to Save Drowning Witch" (& the drawing which he used on the album cover). --He must have had this book, too.

"No Second Titanic"

walk through gilded years
music at your fingertips

the audience applauds
how much more like them i am now

walk through gilded years
new plagues
the audience applauds

lego rocket to the moon

At Starbucks i heard a vocal cover of "Bolero" by Angelique Kidjo--though she calls it "Djin Djin" on the album.

robe of white phosphorus
gown of napalm

this prize came after us

"...armed conflict regained an aesthetic respectability, even palatability, that the literary and artistic interpreters of twentieth-century military cataclysms were thought to have demolished once and for all."

Alternative history of the Space Age.

Gabcast! etheric notes #6

absolute · zero
tolerance · zero
hour · glass
ground · zero

Self-Made Man.

   "Foggy Dacoit"

bad gorilla mask

marketing synergy at bay

resumption of a voice
burly patina

the new amalgam
hibiscus dust sings

hostage faith
green zone of the mind

From a storefront in downtown McKinney.

(via travel-earth dot com)

"When asked about the disproportionately large hands found in his paintings, Pletka replied, "Frankly, there are two reasons. One is that I found hands to be difficult for me to do. So, I started focusing on them in order to do a really good job. The more I focused on them the bigger they became." "

   "A Bivouac

You came without a human sound,
  You came and brought my soul to me;
I only woke, and all around
They slumbered on the firelit ground,
  Beside the guns in Burgundy.

I felt the gesture of your hands,
  You signed my forehead with the Cross;
The gesture of your holy hands
Was bounteous--like the misty lands
  Along the Hills in Calvados.

But when I slept I saw your eyes,
  Hungry as death, and very far.
I saw demand in your dim eyes
Mysterious as the moons that rise
  At midnight, in the Pines of Var."


"Whereas the historical eighteenth century lasted 126 years (from 1688 to 1815)...and the nineteenth century lasted ninety-nine years (from 1815 to 1914)...the twentieth century lasted seventy-five years (from 1914 to 1989)..." --ibid

"No wonder Southey could laugh when, having written fifty stanzas about the forthcoming royal wedding, he heard that the engagement had been called off." --Mark Storey, Robert Southey: A Life (1997)

Dr Laura's son a sicko? (via Eteraz)

"Two-Headed Hostage" by Howard Sherman

taillights clumping
in the soft blue dawn--
an unfamiliar car

"We will be inhabiting the terrain differently from now on."

Christian Jihad.

Passionate Minds.


Kyrgyz Music.

Og Mandino should have written The Caveman Diet.

"One of the production line managers, Hassanjan, brimmed with a nationalist confidence bordering on religious faith. 'We haven't changed the cars' Korean specifications for our roads,' he said, nodding proudly at the highly automated machinery. 'We are of the opinion that we have to change the roads to the specifications of our new cars.' " --Sons of the Conquerors

The ache for celebrity recognition is not only our age's characteristic form of egotism, it is more fundamentally an inmost craving for a different order, one in which each person in themselves counts for something. Could we but recognize it and give it its proper name, it is the desire for social justice.

New ghazal.

Crumb's Kafka. (scroll down)

Hebrew Sudoku.

Fethullah Gülen.

Gore on "Good Morning America" this morning. Absurd and frightening. I mean, i'm glad to hear someone talking sense (for once) on network television, but her incomprehension, feigned or genuine, made it seem like they were on different planets. Which i guess is the point... But nations have gone sleepwalking before; we're not even unique in that regard.

Saddest Songs. My vote: Long Long Time (Ronstadt, #1 IMHO). Over the Rainbow (from Live at Carnegie Hall). Folsom Prison Blues. Black Coffee (Peggy Lee). House of the Rising Sun (maybe Odetta's?). 60 Years On (live, from 11-17-70). Quartet for the End of Time (saddest classical--written in a concentration camp). Paris is a Lonely Town (from the animated movie Gay Purr-ee). Elegie; & Pissin' in a River (Patti Smith--but she has several other good candidates). I am Stretched on your Grave (sadder than the Sinead song mentioned). Running Dry (Neil Young--saddest by a male vocalist). At Seventeen. By the Time I get to Phoenix. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (from Meet Me in St Louis). Paint It Black. Queen Victoria (perhaps Cohen's most desolate). Nothing Else Matters. Que Sera (only as the cover by Pink Champagne). Yesterday. Leaving on a Jet Plane (Peter Paul & Mary). River (Joni Mitchell). Because of You (Kelly Clarkson). Ulysses' Gaze (saddest soundtrack). So in Love (from Kiss Me Kate, especially as sung by Brian Stokes-Mitchell). Family of Bones (from the newest Roches album). In the End (Linkin Park). Not counted here: Piaf; fado; blues...

Gabcast! etheric notes #5

A hungry sparrow sings the saddest song,
And marble flooring cracks beneath its weight.
It was a dream, and dreams do not prolong:
A hungry sparrow sings the saddest song.

And you who mince the litany of wrong
Come into lands where none prevaricate.
A hungry sparrow sings the saddest song,
And marble flooring cracks beneath its weight.

It's not this great song of the Sixties i'm hearing now on my car radio, that tells the people's story. It's not the great song of today that i know will never be played on a station here, that tells the people's story. But the terrible distance between them-- that does tell the people's story.

When the rebels came. (Audio file from the BBC last night.)

"Tamerlane was no sensitive Persian poet. His idea of greatness can still be relished in contemplating the mosque's enormous stone Koran stand. The Samarkand museum displays a medieval copy of the Muslim holy book whose huge pages would have fitted into it: they measure three foot by six." --Sons of the Conquerors

Kurt Vonnegut dies. Shortly afterwards, a planet made of Ice-9 is discovered. ((Link not exact. I know it's Gliese 436b--which should henceforward be known as Tralfamadore.))

      "Unassailable Ant-Score"

    On Seeing Weather-Beaten Trees

   Is it as plainly in our living shown,
   By slant and twist, which way the wind hath blown?

     --Adelaide Crapsey

The vultcherub dove.

Its four wings folded, it plummetted toward its goal: the head of the caravan. From down there, all they could see at first was a tiny black dot. But they could hear it, whistling like a kettle, in the still desert air. Lord B---- scowled.

He had not come all this way to be smashed like a beetle with a hobnail boot. Accordingly he gestured to the pipers, who abruptly broke their threnody. The caravan halted, its farther segments coiling in bemusement, and the dirt wagons dug in their olivine wheels. Each of the bidromedaries blew into the nostrils of its follower with its nether head. A piper offered a note of query, far in the back. And the black dot had become noticeably larger.

"Lord B----," said Lord K----, "We are stopping before the time." This hexvark, like Lord B---- a master of discreet irony, had long sought to undermine his expeditional suzerainty. But Lord B---- replied, "Put the dirt wagons together." So they did.

The vultcherub, when it hit, exploded a whole wagon-load of dirt, burying itself even so in the underlying sand. They were able to save most of the dirt, and served a good sirloin of vultcherub carcass for the whole upper echelon hexvark crew.

They had advanced twelve weeks from the last ragged edge of the Annular Forest. Ahead lay only the East Pole, a stark eye-smarting land where nothing scoreable to hexvarkdom had ever been conceived. Until now.

Lord B---- was raised a good Cylindrist, as with most of his cohort; his crucial wreck of faith occurred only later, when his developing mind encountered, among other obscurities, the Vinarna Relation--and its attendant Map. "Let Stillness, not Desire, provide the Way." From the very first strophe he was hooked.

Bivouaced, they made tea, burning bricks of pounded bidromedary dung. The sun, which earth men have named Gliese 581, flowered profusely and crimson at such an unnatural altitude it made them uneasy. Although none of them really believed they were going to march off the edge of any such jejune Worldcylinder, to tumble into infinite Glare-Abyss, they still were not able to shake that psychic image, whose very sonoglyph spoke of vague but inescapable harm. Lord B---- was scraping out the bottom of his bowl with prehensile tongue fully extended. His one eye, half lidded in this perpetual brillig, was surrounded by a ring of sonar-spiracles. His snout had started to peel from sunburn. If one six-legged aardvark could be said to be more "portly" than another, Lord B----definitely veered in that direction.

"Life just teems with quiet fun," observed Lord K----. Not long afterward, they dug in for their nap, the emptied dirt wagons casting shade across their weary tunnel mouths.

Lord B---- dreamed. In his dream he was rising. Below him the caravan shrank to a dark line amidst vast pallid sands. Whether he was a cruising vultcherub, a wraith disembodied, or his own teardrop shape relieved of its waking mass, Lord B---- could not tell (or even ask!). --He was rising toward the sun. Now he could discern a definite curve to the horizon. This spin-locked world, like a sunflower always keeping its same face to the light, O Metaluna of Omni Hexvarkdom, he saw as a banded globular perfect wholeness. Which no hexvark had ever really seen, and few enough even hypothesized. Then it melted into a cylinder. And the cylinder melted back into a sphere, with the soundof a vultcherub falling through the crystalline air, mace-skull foremost.

Another bivouac. Their unvarying ant-nosh done, the two leaders had lit lettuce-cigars. "Ant-score nilpertains counting ants," quoted Lord K----. "Indeed," answered B----. "The very existence of countable ants actually interferes."

For, somewhere between wealth and holiness, the hexvarks' value of ant-score obsessed all truly righteous hexvarks, and urged most of their inessential designs. This expedition, funded in part by the Queen, and part by subscription, was no exception.

They thought to achieve an unassailable amount of ant-score by the feat of being the first to reach the East Pole.

How many weary weeks followed further, I will not say, but they journeyed until their tea could no longer be prepared, for the water boiled away by itself as soon as it was poured. On the bright horizon, something had begun to lift above the dazzling sands.

Speculation ran rife.

It proved to be a collection of rectangular steel and glass lodgings, abandoned and half buried, apparently the home of beings like themselves, judging from the shattered statues they were able to unearth. Not a trace of any scroll remained.

Now the sun stood directly overhead, so this defunct city must have been built at the exact subsolar point of Metaluna--on purpose. Did its ancient builders wish to emphasize their immense hubristic ant-score, such that even this inhospitable spot was not beyond their tongue-grasp? Or did they even care?

Lord K---- had succumbed, and there was none of his own echelon for Lord B---- anymore to converse with. When he had sufficiently explored the ruins, he gave order for the snake-warding pipers to resume.

Rather than solving the enigma of that nameless heap, burning in devout desolation exactly where the Vinarna foretold, he was bringing back to the Queen a second and more terrifying puzzle. In his stoutest box, concealed within Lord K----'s no-longer-unloading sleep-dirt, lay the one true treasure of this quest. It was a familiar object, though scorched and desiccated by its languish in the Leng Desert, after the city had fallen or been despoiled by plague or spell. It was a lampion, like any hexvark would carry into shade-side doings: a simple glass vase containing the skeleton of a glowfish.

Lord B----surmised that, once upon a time, Metaluna had not always turned toward its luminary at the present rate, but more quickly, so as to produce a weird alternation of light and dark.

In the umbrageous portion of those hexvarks' lives, they would have greatly appreciated the use of this toy, he figured.

Cylindrism was finished.

5-10-07 (1st draft)

    "J. F."

How many hearts gladdened
   by so small a thing:
a blood clot's progress,
   the death of a bigot.


Have you seen Angélique,
What way she went?
A white robe she wore,
A flickering light near spent
Her pale hand bore.

Have you seen Angélique?
Will she know the place
Dead feet must find,
The grave-cloth on her face
To make her blind?

Have you seen Angélique. . . .
At night I hear her moan,
And I shiver in my bed;
She wanders all alone,
She cannot find the dead."

--Adelaide Crapsey

Green dots are business burglaries, blue dots are residential.
(Since January 2007.)

More artist's conceptions of the planet.

Eclipse archive.

"If the planet had only 15 per cent as much air as the Earth, they said, that would still ferry enough heat around to the dark side to keep the atmosphere from freezing out.."

"M dwarfs are back on the table." (The pdf.)

(from Wikipedia: Planetary habitability)

"...tidally locked Gliese 581 could have convective cells which extend the whole sun facing side and beyond, but no cyclonic activity."

Correcting the epigraph* for my book:

'Therefore the Romans were not so great because they were religious, but because they were sacrilegious with impuny.' --Arnobius, Adversus Gentes, tr Bryce in The AnteNicene Fathers v.6

Found here.

* ("The Romans triumphed not because of their faith, but because they were faithless with impunity.")

The Luv'd Ones on Youtube:

You'll Never Know

Up Down Sue

Curved Air:


Melinda More or Less

flowing roll
bulwark idol ask

cloud song
twining wisp angst

drink torn
flowing cloud ablution

clasp twists
bark which skirls

"In Berlin, at least, the style of the progressive bourgeois class is totally defined by patina.."

   "Cor Caroli"

shadow frisk
dunkirk agnostic Usk

barracks adorn
forlorn swim off

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"The cold air entering the dayside at the west terminator is heated and rises, causing a permanent warm front on that side of the planet; rain occurs whenever the rising air cools below the precipitation point. A considerable amount of water vapour does not precipitate out of the atmosphere in this western habitable zone, but carries on over the hot side as transparent vapour until it cools on the eastern terminator; precipitation here is usually even more frequent than in the west. The warm winds cause the ice near the eastern terminator to melt, adding more water to the eastern habitable zone."

by Xul Solar(via)
(thanx to wood_s lot)

T is for Turd Burglar.

Vampire Population Dynamics. (via Poetry Hut)

The other planets of Gliese 581 are: b, 15 Jovian masses at 5.366 days, eccentricity near 0, and semimajor axis 0.040596754 Astronomical Units; and d, 7.7 Earth masses at 83.6 days, eccentricity 0.2, semimajor axis 0.253094533. (Planets b & c seem to be in an orbital resonance of 12:5. Planets c & d at 13:2 also.) I call these Avatar and Usk.

Usk has a blackbody temperature of 187.0063531 K average, 209.0793925 at periastron and 170.7126091 at apastron. The tidal effect of the primary on this planet is 4.839451763, which means its solar day should be on the order of 38 days.

Using an albedo of 0.5 and a greenhouse of 61, its greybody temperature works out to be -55 °C (-36 °C summer & -68 °C winter), with a daily variation of ±40 °C. Liquid anhydrous ammonia fits this temperature range well (though it freezes at -78 °C i.e. most nights). Its pressure would have to be at least 4.5 atmospheres to keep from boiling at summer periastron, which isn’t unlikely.
Using a mass of 5.03, the "dryworld" model is suggested to have a radius of 1.5 Earth’s, or 5938.5 miles. This works out to an average density of 1.49037037 and a gravity of 2.23555555 Earth. its escape velocity would be 1.831210892. (The corresponding numbers for the "waterworld" model (which i might as well call Perelandra) are 1.02381437, 1.740484429, and 1.720123115.)

Apparent size of the primary is 4.4 to 6.1 times the Sun as seen from Earth. (A hotter stellar temperature might reduce this somewhat.)

Blackbody at periastron is 380.3556349 & at apastron 323.6685502. Some estimates (based on an Earthlike atmosphere of mild greenhouse gases): [Dryworld model= "Metaluna"]

Albedo | Greenh. | Av °C | Peri | Apastr.

0.2-------21---------77 ----108----54

(The conditions around 0.35 & 47 seem more likely.)

With the antisolar point at √2 times the average, we get a temperature near 257 °C in all cases; in order for water to remain liquid, the atmospheric pressure would have to be at least 59 times Earth’s.

"If the Holy Bible was printed as an Ace Double," an editor once remarked, “it would be cut down to two 20,000-word halves with the Old Testament retitled as 'Master of Chaos' and the New Testament as 'The Thing With Three Souls.' ."

"Gliese 581 (a.k.a. HO Librae, Wolf 562, BD -7° 4003, and several other monikers) is a BY Draconis variable; these are red dwarfs (mostly) that vary semi-regularly with a small amplitude and a time scale of hours to days. The variation is believed to be due to large starspots, with the period reflecting the star's rotation."

"Popular posters of the Kefahuchi Tract were taped up on every wall. The New Men had some kind of cult, centred round the idea that this was where they had originated. It was as sad as everything else about them. Every child knew where they came from and it
wasn't there." --M John Harrison, Light (2003)

" 'Rock" How hillbilly do you think I am? polka. Polka is so much now.'
   'You play cello in a polka band?'
   ...'Icy, huh? It's a flash sound. You've really got to hear it to believe it...'"

---Lyda Morehouse, Fallen Host (2002)

   "The Power of Early Speed"

The pale glaze an all-night drizzle
Has left upon the windows of my car
With a swipe is gone; a moment more, returns:
A wise insurgency, a tan mule dragging.

Glow in the dark of a brake pad;
Twilight seas of wind-torn Metaluna;
High-value detainee. A funnel cloud fords
The Arkikosa River, and moves on.

"Go hungry and cold like the wolf" --Hamlin Garland

   "Of a Lingered Zoning"

My internet fetch walks
Among white dwarf constellations
Its signature
Is a funnel cloud
Of axioms
My phobon ray
Tracks you in traffic gridlock
A pale glaze of drizzle to say
There is no going past this

"Oft at the blush of dawn
I trod your level lawn,
Oft woo'd the gleam of Cynthia silver-bright
In cloister dim, far from the haunts of folly,
With Freedom by my side, and soft-ey'd Melancholy."


   "Insomnia Means the Tail of the Dragon"

The cutout made from my shadow
Cinco de Mayo

And a luftmensch cedes

Poring over the ancient works of Gnosis
Not as if for words
But the vision behind the words
Where it corresponds

And songs of burnished falling leaves
It's the it bathed played


Gliese 581 = Wolf 562 = CD-07°4003 = Vyssotsky 159 =
HIP 74995 = HO Librae

by Karen Wehrstein

Hipparchos parallax: 0”.15962 & apparent visual magnitude: 10.57
Derived luminosity: 0.002024742123

Using a bolometric correction of -2.0025 & stellar temperature of 3187.5 K gives the bolometric luminosity of 0.012804709 & a derived radius of 0.3746627. [M6.625]

For the period of planet C given as 12.895 days & a stellar mass of 0.31, the semimajor axis of C is 0.072834353 astronomical units.

Its blackbody average temperature equals 348.6016961 K, and for albedos of 0.64, 0.50, and 0.35 the ungreenhoused planetary temperature yields the given figures of -3.0, 20.1 and 40.0 Celsius.

The “waterworld” model (with a radius of 6730.3 miles or 1.7 Earth’s) has an albedo of 0.55 which yields the average temperature of 12.5 Celsius. Due to the orbital eccentricity of 0.16, this would vary from -7.9 to 38.5 Celsius. Its subsolar point is 57 Celsius & its antisolar -23 Celsius.

   "White Dwarf Rhapsody"

Unsung feats of time management
As Mormons invade Cascadia
My caravan to the East Pole founders
In mortmain,
In measly flinders

All i have is the blind faith
Of a Cylindrist--
And a null trajectory

Wake the fuck up

Gabcast! etheric notes #4

(via artnet dot com) by Jason Duval

She stood by the door
of her Virginia farm
pulling a sweater on
the branches
of the dogwood
she had tended
were bowed
blossoms loosened
tossed in sudden snow
the deer stood
in mute wonder
by her garden’s edge
she slipped the phone
in her pocket
her daughter
petals gone
she snapped
a branch
a tempest stalled
she felt the boy
she felt the dead
she felt the families
she felt the wind
the deer don’t do that
she said
the deer don’t do that

Patti Smith

On online Ottoman Turkish dictionaries.


"Haggling is spirited and can consume an entire day."

Metaluna saucer kit.

Katrina webcomic-in-progress.

Caracul stairs, the way we all mistook
A zeroing long fiend for Curufin, all other

Flerds being equal; war on a second look
Beyond us. Greasy sun iron star all smother

Carbonaceous sea; the chymic feast
Absconds. That pesky waiver is all heart.

And mild caracul stains attend the guest
Deejay of iced vinyl agonies, all part

Of Fimbul Meltdown now. Who would not love
Their moment in the headlights, grief all me?

Caracul bald is where the vultures move
To vulture jazz, checkerboards all unworthy. [thee]

I plant surprises in this midden site [sight]:
Halcyon turquoise death, and all delight.

Taqwacore. "Frustrated by the lack of punk music in Arabic..."

   "Frozen Indigo Angel"

Scrunchy polymers wind, through
this neon midnight oasis,
Wolf Five-Sixty Two. Rusted
hulks now a park, manicured grass;
i write small poems atop a rock
as huge as a car.

Gabcast! etheric notes #2

"Hierarchy of Phalanxes"


angle of heavy glow

four Tuesdays it rains

Gabcast! etheric notes #1

prolong arylation sough
constant zombuluchuk curly wrath
dord plus sixtyfour

lungfish prolong in this cold lymphatically
lunar road
cha night opal spool taiga

sport fruits of armadillo study
spiral kabassou
and zor glow

"It's a mixed-up place: its name [Nagorno Karabagh] uses the Russian nagorno for mountainous, the Turkish kara for black and the Persian word bagh, meaning orchard, garden or vineyard." --Hugh Pope, Sons of the Conquerors (2005)

"Fundamentalism is a kind of necrophilia, in love with the dead letter of a text." --Terry Eagleton, After Theory (2003)


   "Thoughts Occasioned By a Student's Paper I Was Correcting and the Chinese Translations of Rexroth"

Egyptian Cinderella.
Not like the American
Cinderella. Hawks took her

Shoes as she was gathering
Reeds. And it was morning, not
Midnight. Which is it here? Reeds

I gathered, have disappeared;
What i wrote has disappeared,
And i never saw the hawks.

Five hours' sleep. The purple
Speckled carpet holds its peace.
Out the window, it is still
As gray as when we drove off;
My tea cools in the old cup
I carry to work. I read
A little more in my book
Then lay it aside to dream
Among soft voices. Someone
Laughs. Dying happens elsewhere.


cranching · arid maturity untoward
scurry · church
without instincts · slowly habitat

broadcast winks · forcing Amontillado
a still furnish · wry
child stay · mystical lunar

only · stark wordbound

Without Chains.

Would you have the leaves not change color?

glassblower on the sub

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." --Kurt Vonnegut

Electric Velocipede.

Two blogs.

"It was one of the few times in my life when I wished for the convenience of a fone. Then I could simply, and instantly, warn him that Death was on his way. But, as the Timekeeper would say, if we permitted fones people would forever be foning each other with their most immediate and frivolous thoughts. They would make appointments to meet each other at a certain place and time, and they would demand the use of timepieces, and of private sleds to carry them at whim about the City. The streets would fill with exploisive, noisy machines, and other noisome things, because once the technology beast was uncaged, people would want squawking private radios and private sense boxes and a host of other things. When I was a novice, I had often sniggered at this domino theory of technology, but later, when I had seen Tria and Gehenna and other hellish planets which chose not to limit their technology, I decided that in this one matter the Timekeeper's edicts were justified." --Neverness

Endwords of Shakespeare iv.

"If there is a possibility for failure, then the ritual is meaningful." --Lyda Morehouse

"In the early days of the Texas Republic, an argument arose. Who was the first Texas poet? Mirabeau Lamar, who served as the second president of the Republic of Texas, always claimed that he was the first Texas poet. However, there was a newspaper man, Hugh Kerr, who also claimed to be the first person in Texas to write poetry." --Rose-Mary Rumbley, The Unauthorized History of Dallas Texas (1991)

17 out of 20.

Winddimming, a burn that never grows old,
song of appalling forms, the shade of date
fronds in ogham arbor blind eyes behold;
my Taliban luau welcomes you. Expiate
the years away. Noir Racter ragas thee
as well as turbofolk. Phurba this heart
whose ungirt fado's slide is lost to me
and not by mutinyritual, nor harsh art,
reclaimed. The scrollworkopal cassowary
castigates my kempt and martyr will,
a caravan of flarf descansos chary.
Say i am not completely thranite ill.
The flighttoad wings; domdaniel's scattered purslane [slain]
whispers aroha minstrelsy again.

"There are one hundred and eight [Devaki] verb inflections, each corresponding to a different state of mind." --David Zindell, Neverness (1988)


Texas vodka.

"Deep ecology begins in our aesthetic respones, and the citizen's reentry into political participation starts in his or her declarations of taste." --James Hillman, op cit

Jurgen Ziewe.

   "I Stop for All" (Shaxp 63)

Simoom haiku are all he christens now:
their greeny armor spetch, the word choreworn [o'erworn]
into riverstone. Belabor unibrow
with tarantula brandy giving us to mourn [morn]
the fall of only another jocose knight,
the fruit of just this soggarth trafficking.
   Fav'rited twenty times, his cobweb site [sight]
encourages quisling clinic, encounters the spring
of jaguar flicker as unthieves fortify.
Spam dero balefire with sacerdotal knife
commits simoom haiku to memory
this somber morning in battle rattle. Life
throbs inly, weak but there; a flerd obscene [scene]
to be cherished, wit's impocerous gangrene. [green]


a jazz rapidly tzulab
izzard crystal waltz
spools filth adumbrating blindfold cyst
story azury full click balk abchalazal
wisp azoth
growing barrow wrath

The Inferior 4. (via John Crowley)

"To be absolutely honest, I hate marching around in the street chanting the same slogans I’ve been chanting for forty years. I’m going, anyway."

"What a cruel and terrible thing escape would be if escape were possible." --Octavia Butler

"Today 56 lobbyists--doubling since Bush took office--walk the halls of Congress for every one person we've put there to represent us."

The Brick Testament.

"It's possible that the parallel universe created by the Right has gotten so complex that it's become exclusionary. I've tried to get a handle on this before, though I don't think I've quite managed to pin it down yet. I've mentioned before that it seems that members of the movement Right demand that their candidates buy into the Entire Package of Wingnuttia. This isn't simply political purism, it's about validating a worldview. There are all these articles of faith in wingnuttia which have been given to them by the wingnut noise machine, and failure to embrace them all is a signal that you aren't really part of the club."

Ferry of years, whose course swerves look at stars
uncomprehendingly, you may not boast
of many sure arrivals, sandy bars
aplenty; yet here i am and almost
free. This wild foray into darkness spread
around me, upon toxic waters, i [eye]
have learned to call home. Here a brave child is buried;
on such officious caravan i'll die.

Not as shark's teeth bear the only fight,
is a tart will welded to fate: small complots foiled
provide what squalls and tides cannot requite,
soft nor runic sheaves on which have toiled
sad eyes, spiralling scurry of dwarves belov'd
the more its young squawk-polyps are removed.