Thursday, November 12, 2009

(from The Light of the World)

"You know, the wisdom that is now conventional claims that light creates shadows. But the facts are otherwise. Darkness came first and is infinitely older and more enduring than light. Light borrows a little space; then it dies or it moves on, and the dark exists again as if it had never been disturbed." --The Etched City

The Soft Intelligence. (via Metafilter)

Klingon Tao Te Ching.

    tr Petrarca CXC

Methinks i saw upon the level green
an alabaster hind with horns of gold,
between two rivers shaded by spreading laurels
with the sun rising in a bitter season.

Such sweet transcendence the sight bestowed
that i abandoned every plan, to chase her
like a miser steeped in avarice
who numbs his human loss with ceaseless counting.

Around her neck Noli me tangere
in topaz & in diamond, plainly read;
It is my Kaiser's will that I roam free.

Already noon was near its culmination.
These eyes wearied of looking, not from sating,
when i slipped at the water's edge & she eloigned.


A book on the Krazy Kat.

"There aren’t many people around, as far as I know who can follow a Mandarin/Welsh mixed conversation."

steel myself in the old way
if i still know how
hungering for some live music

broken off bird bath
in the forever twilight

deep in the bushes
christmas lights
birds sing at dawn

glossy crow on the mailbox
painted with the pale sky

the rain · heavy and soft
the curbs · rushing and splashing
thicket of dignitaries

the one out there
i called her and she came

"In absolute numbers, that would be like bombing to death everyone in Pittsburgh, Pa. Or Cincinnati, Oh."

Sabre Foundation.

The Female Pharaoh. "At least four authors have written fictional novels featuring Hatshepsut as the historical heroine..."


"Art is the conscious making of numinous phenomena. Many objects are inconsequential, too banal to add anything to our experience of life. This is unfortunate, as one cannot grow except by having one's spirit greatly stirred; and the spirit cannot be greatly stirred by spiritless things. Much of our very life is dead. For primitive man, this was not so. He made his own possessions, and shaped and decorated them with the aim of making them not merely useful, but powerful. He tried to infuse his weapons with the nature of the tiger, his cooking pots with the life of growing things; and he succeeded. Appearance, material, history, context, rarity--perhaps rarity most of all--combine to create, magically, the quality of soul. But we modern demiurges are prolific copyists; we give few things souls of their own. Locomotives, with their close resemblance to beasts, may be the great exception; but in nearly all else with which today's poor humans are filling the world, I see a quelling of the numinous, an ashening of the fire of life. We are making an inert world; we are building a cemetery. And on the tombs, to remind us of life, we lay wreaths of poetry and bouquets of painting." --K J Bishop, The Etched City (2003)

(via Centauri Dreams)

Spooked prance.

by Hyman Bloom

thalidomide · whisper
dark climax · without adjunct polls
ambergris · filch edict · self
swerve thistle dictionary tsar
spiralling searchlight · crunch oddly
radical frore skiff

"I'm not psychic, but I can see people from other dimensions." (via Bookslut)


ipapavomai lu loi remna li'u tcita di'e pela meka itu'e ca'i le musycei poi xamgau je tolvefkai ku ga'inaisai ku ko bacru lu mi se marbi le raivli je ralju je cevni be loi remna vau le palci pe le mipkla kadbacru i ri kadbacru semu'i le remna djica i co'e ri eji'a le crida li'u tu'u

    from Royston's Lycophron

But I shall lie upon the lap of Earth
Smit by the piercing steel, and in my gore
Weltering; while on my neck bow'd to the ground
Shall strike with many a stab, and many a blow,
The Dragon queen: as on the mountain tops
The youthful woodman cleaves with sturdy stroke
Cedar, or pine, or knotted oak, so she
Shall stride infuriate on my bleeding limbs,
Wreak her mean vengeance on a captive slave,
And satiate all her savage soul with death.

Cursed be the mariners, the Carnian wolves

On glides the speaking oak, instinct with thought,
Whose vocal beams upon the waters fly
Self-moved, self-wing'd, and prescient of the port.

The firebrand gleams, and kindles Discord's torch

And iron clouds shall canopy the globe

Why pour the fruitless strain? to winds, and waves,
Deaf winds, dull waves, and senseless shades of woods
I chant, and sing mine unavailing song.

(And this one might have inspired Poe:)
Ligea, floating to Tereina's towers (852)

The Cathechism of Visual Poetry Doctrine. (Or, VizPoDoctCat, for short.)

The Puppini Sisters

    "Autobiography of Cyclone Fence"

Heartworms reinforce fatidic crisp
stymie swarm
go around smarting
as broken bells siliqua indigo of
formal troglodyte octave
meld after ransom

starkers silvery addict limit
scoop occult
frost tinge tsimtsum spoolage ostiole ether
dynasty ambergris binge
rebar ashram twelve

   lines from Royston's Lycophron:

Deep in the tomb, and cavern'd gloom of Death,
Alive shall they descend, unwept, unmourn'd,
And roof'd with horrent stone the Daunian race
Raise the rude monument; thus shall they hold
The plains beloved, the portion of the king,
Son of the boar, who ground with cruel jaws
The warrior's head, and dyed his tusks in blood.

Endarkenment. (via wood_ lot)

Top language blogs. (via languagehat)

pile of brush on the sidewalk
i fill up my tank
with three sixty nine gas

power was out yesterday
while we were gone

man with a leaf blower
on the cool morning parkinglot
new edition of Diva

your tea riding tilted
darkens the back of the clear lid

what have we made of the day
that was given us
so long ago

the ground spongy from rain
no sidewalk next to the thoroughfare

   lines from Royston's Lycophron:

Wherefore all joyless shalt thou strike the lyre,
Trilling vain chords and bootless melodies,
And pour the fruitless tear, when thou shalt mark
Thy native towers, which erst the son of Jove
Mantled in ruddy flame, and in thine arms
Embrace the fleeting shade of her who hears
Pleuronian Mænad, for whose beauteous form
Five times the bridal torch shall shed around
Its saffron light of love; for so the Fates,
Ancient of days, dread daughters of the main,
Have stamp'd their web, and ratified her doom.


Down Home Shakedown. (via Metafilter)

"Among others of my class I talked to were: a boatbuilder of rural Icelandic parentage; a Native American professor of clinical psychology; a maker of artisan goat cheese (tubs of which she brought); a high Anglican priest and AIDS activist; an historian who wants to write a series of 14th century murder mysteries; a banker who's led financial congresses in Afghanistan as the only woman (they give you the abbiyah on the plane, before you disembark), and who's off to see South Georgia and Easter Islands; a lawyer who's negotiated the return of antiquities from a great museum here to Turkey (only to see them pillaged), and who is a certain late tycoon's dog's guardian (a woof in chancery!); and a daughter (also reuning here) who has masters' degrees in both marine biology and in East Asian civilization, and who's writing a doctoral dissertation on the eco-cultural history of whaling in Japan. She was once on nightwatch in the Arctic Ocean when she felt a deep shaking in her blood, and turned to see a great blue whale arising." --
nineweaving (via crowleycrow)

Harry Potter and the Abortion Battlefield.

"In one inglorious incident, owners of the Bol'shaya sovetskaya entsiklopediya--the Large Soviet Encyclopedia of 1949--were mailed instructions to razor out a full-page portrait and two pages of text extolling the life and accomplishments of Lavrenti Beria, the Communist Party secret police chief who was purged and executed in 1953, and to paste in their place two pages of text and a one-page spread of photographs devoted to a discussion of the Bering Sea." --A Splendor of Letters

Momus remembers The Little Red Schoolbook.

"His only bark, to where the giant brood,
Press'd by th' enormous weight of Sicily,
Lie gasping; whence Typhœus pours on high
The fiery volumes of tempestuous flame.
Where erst the sire of men and gods in wrath
planted the race of apes; fit successors..."

--Royston's Lycophron

Smelly Cat.

(via Sgt. Grit)

eyes have forgotten
the glare of summer
without shades
squinting painfully
eyes have forgotten
what so long they knew
how to see
the view unaided
eyes have forgotten
the time that took me
and for whom i changed
eyes have forgotten
the skin remembers
and holds fast
its perfect tokens

"It was not the emotion, or rather the situation, that he knew in Anvallic as cariah. Though he had quickly grown to like the speech of Ashamoil, which was essentially a skeleton of elegant Halacian grammar generously fleshed with the vocabulary of a dozen other tongues, it was his view that his native language offered more precise tools for defining certain concepts and emotional states, of which love happened to be one. In Beth's language he could, if he wished, say, 'I love you.' In Anvallic this phrase was impossible, for cariah, loving, had no form in the singular person, but could only be expressed in the plural. It was understood to be something that existed as a mutual sentiment or not at all, and it implied a voluntary blending of identities. When one person wished to affirm cariah with another, the expression most often used was, 'We love as water loves water and fire loves fire.' " --The Etched City (this quote precedes the other one, actually)

Early Release from Debtor's Prison.

    lines from Royston's Lycophron:

Our greatest curse! whom Bombylean realms

Bedded on oozy foison, like a shell

Commands th' Alæan fane high-throned, and rolls

...sable robes
Of wo shall clothe thine habitants, and all
Squalid with grief, and savaged by despair,
Dishevell'd tresses of entangling curls
Shall float upon their shoulders, signs of wo.

And dragon coil implicit; then shall steer

My forceful spousals, and the foul embrace

Such wiles, the mining hedgehog shall infuse

And lies all withering on Methymna's shore

International transsexual pop star thread on Metafilter.

Loki: a Paean in Progress. "The unintended consequences of Loki's actions are often more meaningful and far-reaching than the event which set them into motion..."

The dictionary Mallarmé used for his etymonarchical writing is now online! (via Language Hat)

The Great Debate. (via Silliman)

(via seventyseveneightytwo dot blogspot)

jingles in my head
instead of survival skills
orange cones

circular cracks in my wife's windshield
that weren't there yesterday

for a coming November
the streets full of gutted hulks

i am steel i am a Druid
i am not a mimsy bard plorant

"To say precisely, 'I love you,' he would have needed to use naithul, which had the meaning of turning or leaning toward the object of the verb. It variously implied fond feelings, admiration, carnal desire, or even fervent devotion, but held no implication of reciprocal sentiment.... Equals rarely used the term towards each other.

There was another word, suhath, denoting a person met at a crossroads." --The Etched City

Sympathy for the Republicans.

i want something precious
and small, to hold in my hand
against this feeling of falling

the last scatterings of fireworks
always the most beautiful

was it ever otherwise

the tent caterpillars
among road-dusty boughs

every morning
ants on the wooden fencepost
forgotten as fast as seen

West Nile in our
abandoned swimming pools

i write
like i had the indulgence
of readers who trusted

a road so scarred
it might as well not be there

Krates threw
away his cup i cannot
even quit coffee

the roads torn up
ev'ry leg of my routine


Audio Gore on Kucinich.

The chief sacrifice we resist--is having to meet our neighbors.

The Garden of the Debt-Suicides.

"Locavore" in Lojban could be made from CECMU (community) & CIDJA (food): e. g. cec5 se 3dja.

The Audacity of Depression.

"In fact if we were to try and find on this planet a place to hold the Olympic Games where the government of that place has not been responsible for human rights violations (in one way or the other), then I suspect that we would be left with very few options..." [4/01/08] (via Beyond the Beyond)

I sent Bill O'Reilly a case of half & half.

pen on the counter
i use to write more legibly
"7" on your insulin

bruise on my forearm fades
i have no idea how it got there

duck-taped dashboard
garble at the radio high-end
from ansible interference

simple leavetakings
the color of our money

electric door doesn't open
i could have broken my nose
on my day off

how do we sleep while
our beds are burning

"I have weapons: irony...adjectives...eyebrows!" --Jeffrey

   more lines from Royston's Lycophron

Then loose the bars, and free the poison'd host
Who pant for blood within the piny womb

He seeks, and lurking orichalc, through veins

He flies on wings of winds; Hoplosmia's fane

"He wrote the Island's telephone directory, which included an entry for his cow."

Invest in cancer makeup.

The Janissary Tree.

New ziggurats.

    "Tropical Feudalism"

Baroque sequestration, pink
umbrella condom. Gray & gray
the skies, the saber panic

so weak and frangible we are

quake like the sober gorilla
in a turbid time

"All Iraqi poetry under occupation is now about death and separation."

The literary life seems to require witnesses, but that's only because we try to imagine ourselves back into those separate solitudes. What the literary life instead requires, is faithfulness.

Mackerel skies.

Some thoughts on the future of cities. (via Beyond the Beyond)

Fifty million tons.

All these cars nosing after the unimpeded avenue, like eyeshut kittens avid after a teat.

    "why waste any more time"

the merciful
bicephalous metonymy
song of inbetween
Darjeeling dumptor
hired caique calcspar mask
petal on a fishhook scam
weevil Thonis
run on the phantom load

Darjeeling for the aftertaste
the door to the belfry

an old book only half-opened
for the special copier


Paula Prentiss

To have passed the point where most of our thoughts are thoughts you've had before. To have passed it so long ago you don't remember realizing it; & the relaxation of the struggle seems like a slightl winsome novelty. Almost, an inspiration.


   lines from Royston's Lycophron:

Who round his limbs involved the leathern spoil

Dolphins, and orcs, wallow'd unwieldily

On the soft heifer wolf-like shalt thou spring

Swift Psylla whirl'd the rattling chariotry

When through the blazing helms and blazing prows
Pale crowds shall rush...

And temper foreign furrows with their gore!

"Language belongs to the saint children." (via Bernstein)

shredded tennis ball
green reporter embedded
batten on tokens

the sky full of promises
stark and impending pleasures

March through four dollar gas. March through five. What's the fucking problem? Like you had any other plans for that money.


Alright it's "nuestra cosa" not "West Carcosa." But it could have been.

The Kind of Poetry I Want. (via Morfablog)

America is like that Chinese general who lost a battle because he couldn't tear himself away from the music of his favorite pet cricket. A toycentric civilization!--a wonder for the ages, certainly: but not a going concern.

Plutocracy reborn.

Withdrawe, this sable Disclosure ere devot'd
Of the black cone amid the polar waste,
That the black presence of its violence is.

I do not know if ever it existed--
Yet whence, except from guessed sight, does touch teach
A row of sphinxes where the way lies clear
Athwart the moment of our ceasing pain.

Bedraggled birds into the yawning sky
By no exterior voidness being exempt
Had left a certain monstrous aftermath.

To a new flesh my travelled soul shall come,
Parting the cobwebs with a curious lack.

"...'innovation' cannot be recuperated as 'legitimacy'..."

A Breeze of Language.


Stuff Korean People Like. (A list curiously lacking in kimchee, which he quickly rectified.) --The Metafilter thread led to this wonderful remark: "Durian tastes like a slice of vidalia onion dipped in the fresh shit of a baby fed on nothing but lentils."


wheels that aren't the real wheels
wheel in the sky keep on
turning past the headlines
knight to queen's rook three
and knight to king's rook

rooky wood
wheels the high aasvogel vifgage
corazón mortgage
dumptor moly gee
and after

sky that's not the real sky
two lanes narow to one
curdled taggage 5sycei minuet
wetware werewolf welfare
ixnay snejuhe

Brothers of the Head.

How I Spent My Stimulus.

New Lynx.

"you were once told
by a sidewalk fortuneteller
to have a small affair;
alone with the Autumn sea,
is this small enough?"

--Ed Baranosky (from a longer sequence)

Picking up is hard to do.


Hedorah legwarmers
· addict root
growing fainter shade

slipknot fealty ogham
swizzle fails
from umbelliferous ferules art ashram

fault oddments
add wish ictus stirious
growing Fortran IV.

Goodnight Bush.

"After four critcally acclaimed novels for Roc, my new editor, John Morgan, let me know on the sly that my sales figures weren’t living up to potential..."

"If I could edit any anthology? Muslim stories in SF. There are already some good ones ("Written in the Blood" by Chris Lawson), but I think it would be a fun companion to Wandering Stars and such like." --Lyda Morehouse.

Gallery of orientalist art. (via Juan Cole) --Especially #13.

I love the desert.

"There’s no easy retreat from knowing that a lot of the people around you are willing to sanction torture and are indifferent about the guilt or innocence of those subjected to it."

The Relativistic Rocket. (via Sunclipse) --Takes me back. The summer after i graduated high school, i spent weeks working out the equations for this, because i couldn't find them in any book. It was a grinding, intense bit of calculus just beyond my technical grasp, but i learned enough to get it right.

Then i figured how long it would take to make a tour of the Big Dipper.


Saviour sibling, shipwreck of Ishtar
stakes a new antipode.
Warm my hands at a plume from Tvashtar.
Dumptor brisk, sezgaho antipope.

"Aware of Adam's prophecy that the earth was to be 'destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water'--but not sure which cataclysm would come first, these early astronomers...constructed two pillars, 'one of brick, the other of stone,' and 'inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain.' For added protection, the duplicate was erected at a distant location 'in the land of Siriad,' where, Josephus asserted, it had remained 'to this day.' Which may well have been the case two thousand years ago, when his history was written, though no trace of such a spire has come down to modern times." --Nicholas Basbanes, A Splendor of Letters (2003)

Room 26. (via BritlitBlogs)

Rejoinder to Dyson. "Therefore if the trees could simply be persuaded to drop diamonds instead of leaves, repairing the damage to the atmosphere could be fast, I suppose..."

Better late than never.

How to Prevent a Revolution.

    "A Book of Counted Gallstones"

rainbow troll · silent rave
one flew over the computer monitor

dumptor · dyscalculalia
monkeyfuck · phantom load

kapokrypha whetstone
no talc · the Flying Red Virgin

upchucked spatula

A Vengeful Longing.

Silliman's Top 10 from UbuWeb.

Translating. Looking at: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful." Obviously starts with CAHI 'by the authority of'; & XAMGAU matches 'Beneficient'. (Question: should i append the honorific?) But there is no word in Lojban for 'Mercy'. I thought of & rejected something like 'law-beyond'... The best i can do is 'opposite-of-revenging' TOLVENFYKAI or TOLVEFKAI, with VENFU.

On second thought, this is exactly what i need.

The true perks of power. (via This Modern World)

Double Barrel Prayer.

    "A Book of Counted Gallstones"

rainbow troll · silent rave
one flew over the computer monitor

dumptor · dyscalculalia
monkeyfuck · phantom load

kapokrypha whetstone
no talc · the Flying Red Virgin

upchucked spatula

A Vengeful Longing.

Silliman's Top 10 from UbuWeb.

Translating. Looking at: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful." Obviously starts with CAHI 'by the authority of'; & XAMGAU matches 'Beneficient'. (Question: should i append the honorific?) But there is no word in Lojban for 'Mercy'. I thought of & rejected something like 'law-beyond'... The best i can do is 'opposite-of-revenging' TOLVENFYKAI or TOLVEFKAI, with VENFU.

On second thought, this is exactly what i need.

The true perks of power. (via This Modern World)

Double Barrel Prayer.

(pic by Kehinde Wiley)

the vast shrill · noise in my ears
cries it's all · noise in my ears

read blogs and · try to discern
truth from the howl · noise in my ears

curb clyte · as time dwindles
scribble words · from the noise in my ears

sun on my back · black joe
in my nesh gut · white noise in my ears

How to Create a Global Food Crisis. (via Cursor)

In every encounter with my demons, slippage has the upper hand.

   "Shenandoah Waxwing"

the pores of deception ooze
hedge-witch, Cthulhu whetstone ice.

Annals of landfill-mining.

Dove soap soon
and i will or shall not find

you were clocking
treasures of the Andes.

"First we get the video of the people in Germany or the people in Italy or the people in Washington, D.C., who are bringing war crimes allegations against Bush and his key aides. Then we cut to Dallas for the reaction shot." (via Sclerotic Rings)

Alas, 'tis true.

   sky after sunset
all the fleeting half-colors
   even these are changed

yesterday's futures expire
like old movie magazines


"I never thought that I was going to live in a tree."

"Can we just get this over it and classify this thing as a religion?"

"At the heart of my own anger lay a sense of betrayal..." (via Orcinus)

Steam-powered hummers; magnolia oolong.
Panop toucan trine among the dead cities.

Gold-banded black cigarettes
mutter shanty patois among the dead cities.

I have taken off this silken blindfold again
and again; still i dither among the dead cities.

Here Comes the Rain Again.

shadow built into the floor
aims of argument
quicksand and the awakening
complect the formular
art carnage
when the traffic comes to a standstill for no reason

the surge is working

Everyone reading Sun Tzu, as if in a climate of madness the key to our fate could be found there. "If we were so rational," i want to snarl, "it would have been otherwise."

Nobel lit feud. (via Bookninja)

Jero Enka thread.

"At the Poetic Ecologies conference, speaking of the time of peak oil and the end of cheap energy, Andrew McMurray said, "The world is about to get a lot bigger." That may, in the end, be our best hope."


A life was mine full of the close concern
Of many-voiced affairs. The world sped fast;
Behind me, ever rolled a pregnant past.
A present came equipped with lore to learn.
Art, science, letters, in their turn,
Each one allured me with its treasure vast;
And I staked all for wisdom, till at last
Thou cam’st and taught my soul anew to yearn.
I had not dreamed that I could turn away
From all that men with brush and pen had wrought;
But ever since that memorable day
When to my heart the truth of love was brought,
I have been wholly yielded to its sway,
And had no room for any other thought."

--Paul Laurence Dunbar

Fear Up Harsh.

Disgusted at how the spirit of gaming has infiltrated every sphere, from news that can only see politics as team sports, to a class system increasingly devolving into winners punishing losers; from art subcultures that conflate status with achievement, to entertainment based solely upon tricking you into falling for false promises; truth is not just bent in the interest of the game, it is not even factored into the equation. And a place has already been prepared for those who've given up or been forced out of the game: this is all that keeps me playing, sheer mulishness. (Instead, i imagine i have found my own way of playing. This is to want to be misunderstood. ...Thus i count myself among the Seekers-of-Blame.)

Two poets gave up writing. One silence was worth more than the other.

snowflake strikes
squalene drizzle at Spudstock

complect the formular
dark khan

birthday from cat

Lucan V. 219-224:

Dumque a luce sacra, qua vidit fata, refertur
Ad volgare iubar, mediae venere tenebrae.
Inmisit Stygiam Paean in viscera Lethen,
Quae raperet secreta deum. Tum pectore verum
Fugit, et ad Phoebi tripodas rediere futura,
Vixque refecta cadit.

A 1983 translation by me:

...and as she was carried back to the common day
out of the sacred radiance she saw destiny in,
a darkness came between. The Healer threw
Stygian Lethe in her guts
so he could grab his secrets. Then the truth
left her breast, and the futures returned to the tripods.
--She fell, to be barely revived.

Rowe (1718):

Now by degrees the fire aetherial fail'd,
And the dull human sense again prevail'd;
While Phoebus, sudden, in a marky shade,
Hid the past vision from the mortal maid.
Thick clouds of dark oblivion rose between,
And snatch away at once the wondrous scene;
Stretch'd on the ground the fainting princess lies,
While to the Tripod, back, th' informing spirit flies.

Widdows (1988):

And while she was slowly returning,
After the heavenly vision in which she had learned of the future,
Back to the common daylight, a darkness fell on her senses
While Apollo dispelled her secret knowledge by pouring
Into her spirit the water of Lethe. The truth of the future
Vanished from her mind and returned to the tripod of Phoebus.

Braund (1992):

And while she is returned to common daylight from the sacred light
by which she saw the Fates, darkness intervened.
Paean admitted Stygian Lethe into her guts
to snatch away the secrets of the gods. Then truth flies
from her breast and the future returns to Phoebus' tripods...

Joyce (1993):

While she returned to common light from the holy brilliance
which bathed her visions, a spell of darkness overcame her.
Paean infused her marrow with fluid from Stygian Lethê,
to flush out the Gods' secrets. At length, the truth fled
from her heart, and the future returned to the tripod of Phoebus...

'Will' and 'shall'.

"Most of us never know--
Or the long toil of our mortality
Would not be done."


arterial croon
stern · fester crystal hill salp flaky

scrag tribulation · dollop
mortal ink

us at best gray into · afterwards leather
Osmanli storm meth

credulous acquired · brokenly math
ash stumble

Name for a band: Zapruder Tourist.

A long, somewhat political reflection on the works of Joyce.

I kind of like this song by Ersen. (via the Goray thread)

i ought to feel better
   than i do
a keeping-up debtor
i ought to feel better

weather growing wetter
   dems are winning too
i ought to feel better
   than i do

The Gallant Gallstone is now available as a book! " 'What's that?' 'It's the title of a novel. By Lois Cook.' 'What kind of novel?' 'Oh, just a load of drivel. It's supposed to be a sort of prose poem. It's all about a gallstone that thinks it's an independent entity...and then the man takes a big dose of castor oil. ...It's all supposed to prove that there's no such thing as free will.' " --The Fountainhead (1943)

Remembering the troops.

    "the doves on this block"

we sink into the swamp
with sovran appetites
from Abu Ghraib our nights
from war the pomp

as if in swinish dreams
we sink into the swamp
more splendidly to romp
the plush extremes

a landscape red like Mars
observes this fevered stomp
we sink into the swamp
as bulbous cars

Erkin Koray thread. (From Turkcerock.)

"At least he isn't another Mongolian!"

(via Centauri Dreams)

zombie ensemble

cardmember akimbo

stack of implements

what are these words for

He Do the Time Police in Different Voices. (Which led me to the Wikipedia article on the motif of harmful sensation--a genre The King in Yellow certainly belongs to)

The Devil to Pay.

Audio Duncan. (via Sharp Sand)

    "Hope I Die Before I Need Health Insurance"

vainglorious border collie
all we are is dust on the
windowsill silver
bullet ballet layaway wasteland
castaway waitjurk
sorrow embellished a song
poppy and lullaby


Man or Astro Man?

"We may have horrible weather in Texas, but the fantastic scenery makes up for it," i said.

Why We're Here. (again?) (via MeFi)

In a 1972 TV performance of "Eighteen," Alice Cooper throws in a couple of lines from "American Pie."

(from, via Incoming Signals)

My Florilegium Anthropocene anthology is up to L.

   "A Dissertation on Post-Modern TV Shows with Unresolvable Plots"

Ninth hedge-magic
distill the perps
one with God's answer

Sayonara Michelangelo.

The Curse of Uluru.

Saviour siblings.

"The age of working class art is over." (via wood_s lot)

    "John Aspen"

it is years
fastened to this task

screever of the cloud-shadowed hours
my love for you is the sidewalk beneath

and such perfect days
if only they were without knowing

fifty dollars a week on gas
i read maybe one book a month

the backstreets, deserted,
i try to imagine our starting over in

one more self-published chapbook
one more offering to the void

her life my life and our life together
three stars at fixed distances

and maybe it will all work out
each of us finding our place in the emergent pattern

i dread the future like an avalanche
i stand watching poised and rustling above us

Everclear at Guantanamo. (via Cursor)

"Was it Earthquake or tobacco,
Day of Doom or Night of Drink?"



A MAN wrote me not long ago and asked me what I thought of the theory of angels. I immediately told him that I am highly in favor of angels. As a matter of fact, I am scared to death of them.

Any adult human being with half sense, and some with more, knows that there are angels. If he has ever spent any period in loneliness, when the senses are forced in upon themselves, he has felt the wind from their beating wings and been overwhelmed with the sudden realization of the endless and gigantic dark that exists outside the little candle flame of human knowledge. He has prayed, not in the sense that he asked something, but that he yielded himself.

Angels live daily at our very elbows, and so do demons, and most men at one time or another in their lives have yielded themselves to both and have lived to rejoice and rue their impulses.

But the man who has once felt the beat of the angel's wing finds it easy to rejoice at the universe and at his fellow man.

THIS sense of cosmos, or angels, or the divine accommodation of a man with the universe, usually happens to a man suddenly. Angels do not take part in work for civic causes or help raise money for the United Fund. A single human heart has to long to touch an angel before it can sense one.

It does not happen to any man often, and too many of us dismiss it when it happens. I remember a time in my final days in college when the chinaberry trees were abloom and the air was sweet with spring blossoms and I stood still on the street, suddenly struck with the feeling of something that was an enormous promise and yet was no tangible promise at all.

And there was another night in a small boat when the moon was full and the distant headlands were dark but beautiful and we were lonely. The pull of a nameless emotion was so strong that it filled the atmosphere. The small boy within me cried.

Psychiatrists will say that the angel in all this was really within me, not outside, but it makes no difference.

There are angels inside us and angels outside, and the one inside is usually the quickest choked.

FRANCIS Thompson said it better. He was a late nineteenth-century English poet who would put the current crop of hippies to shame. He was on pot all his life. His pad was always mean and was sometimes a park bench. He was a mental case and a tubercular besides. He carried a fishing creel into which he dropped the poetry that was later to become immortal.

'The angels keep their ancient places,' wrote Francis Thompson in protest. 'Turn but a stone, and start a wing!'

He was lonely enough to be the constant associate of angels.

There is an angel close to you this day. Merry Christmas, and I wish you well."

--Paul Crume, in the Dallas Morning News 12/25/67 (& many Xmases thereafter...).

"Imagine that all of these elements were the same, but she’d left us the work of Amy Clampitt."

Electric veena thread.

Ramos da Silva.

"I often find myself defending as new forms of honour things that others dismiss as fads."

(thanx, Jill!)

    "The Five People You Meet in Waco"

dulgiskula fulcrum flarf
against night

Iskander skitoma juche slurp
sanguine afterburn

sundown clabber across crystalline murrain
amphibian effigy

New Leaf Paper.

The Pusher.

    "What Does Music Want?"

aysirosi lyre
is lingering frore doorbell

is literal slag wyvern trigger bequest
filter psalm

slash zigzag indigo Ogpu dealth
crystallized silt ink aggry afterimage

Outwitting History.

Another perfume blog.

    "Encyclopedia of Food Riots"

static in my head
is money in my pocket
smoothe the love-rank bed
with only ghosts to rock it
gray horizons speak
movie of the week
gerdanlouk is sped
limn the empty socket

cities of the dead
wheel a forsaken sprocket
bradykinin bred
and poison in the locket
now the poet rises
with plate-sized irises
ready to have said
his say at the quisling docket

where we are is clear
our fates, our loves stand naked
only the atmosphere
veils with fulsome orchid
shrouds in doublespeak
movie of the week
chronicles of fear
and a ferret in my pocket

"How hard it is to sing when I must sing of horror."

(Years ago i posted this in the Tanka yahoogroup; i am reposting it here so as to have it all in one convenient place:)

a year or so ago i undertook to translate some of my favorite tanka into the artificial language Lojban. at the time i did this i noticed that the old Rexroth translations i used were not only not in form, but often not even five-lined; & so i thought when i posted them to the Lojban list, i would modify them into the same strictness as my translations. here is the result of that exercise, along with a few i added just the other day. i know on one level this sort of thing is as barbaric as when Dryden turned "Paradise Lost" into rhyming couplets. but, i'm not claiming it's an improvement. anyway...


'As I watch the moon
shining on pain's myriad paths,
I know I am not
alone involved in Autumn.'

--Oe no Chisato (Rexroth)

As I see the moon
tracing all the manifold
highways & footpaths
of pain, i know i am not
alone involved in Autumn.

(the literal Lojban runs: I observe the lunar illuminer of many harming roads, & intuit an autumn pattern of me & not-me.)


'I go out of the darkness
onto a road of darkness
lit only by the far off
moon on the edge of the mountains.'

--Lady Izumi Shikibu (Rexroth)

[this is my all-time favorite tanka.]

Out of the darkness
onto a road of darkness
i go, illumined
only by the far-off moon
on the edge of the mountains.

(My going from the dark via dark ways, is illumined only by a small moon on the mountain slope.)


'In the Autumn mountains
the colored leaves are falling.
If I could hold them back
I could still see her.'

--Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (Rexroth)

Here in the mountains
of Autumn the rufous leaves
have started to fall.
If i could only hold them
back--i could see her again.

(Autumn mountains. Falling are the leaves that have color. If i prevent it, i now see her.)


'This is not the moon,
nor is this the spring,
of other springs,
and I alone
am still the same.'

--Ariwara no Narihira (Rexroth)

[this tanka has haunted me for twenty years, & i made many versions. after a while, the "moon" became a "song"; & my latest version owes as much to Earl Miner as to Rexroth:

'This is not that moon
And it cannot be this is the spring
Such as the spring I knew;
I am myself the single thing
Remaining as it ever was.' ]

This is not that spring,
nor even the selfsame song
so broken-hearted.
I myself am the one thing
staying as it ever was.

(It is not so, that here is the spring or the moon of me. Nevertheless, in it i myself am constant in pastness.)


'The white chrysanthemum
is disguised by the first frost.
If I wanted to pick one
I could find it only by chance.'

--Oshikochi no Mitsune

White chrysanthemums,
lost amidst the handiwork
of this first snowfall:
if i tried to pick one i
could find it only by chance.

(The new-ice-weather hides the white ones from me. If i wanted to take, i only by luck could find one of the flowers.)

[unfortunately, Lojban lacks a precise word for "chrysanthemum"...]

"Right now, we're just about where we were back in 1932 when FDR set up the WPA and set off thirty years of government planning and investment."

    "72 Views of the Tower of Babel"

sedevacantist reacharound
rooibos sear I ching
injury accident working

shades on a cloudy day


"The library in Tashkent has a copy of Amir Khusrau's Kamsa in Hafez's hand, dated February 9, 1355." --Robert Bly, The Winged Energy of Delight (2005)

Interview with Kaz Maslanka. (via fait accompli)

"The fellowship includes a cash prize of $44,000, which he will use to pay his accumulating pile of medical bills."

    "The Thing That Eats The Heart

The thing that eats the heart comes wild with years.
It died last night, or was it wounds before,
But somehow crawls around, inflamed with need,
Jingling its medals at the fang-scratched door.

We were not unprepared: with lamp and book
We sought the wisdom of another age
Until we heard the action of the bolt.
A little wind investigates the page.

No use pretending to the pitch of sleep;
By turnings we are known, our times and dates
Examined in the courts of either/or
While armless griefs mount lewd and headless doubts.

It pounces in the dark, all pity-ripe,
An enemy as soft as tears or cancer,
In whose embrace we fall, as to a sickness
Whose toxins in our cells cry sin and danger.

Hero of crossroads, how shall we defend
This creature-lump whoe charity is art
When its own self turns Christian-cannibal?
The thing that eats the heart is mostly heart."

--Stanley Kunitz (via wood_s lot)

One Day the Soldiers Came.

"If there is a shame to be shared that is for all of us."

    "Gerdanlouk Thunder"

for those who still hear the guns
things i have no recollection of

powerful dark morning, the river in spate
tantalum vapors hanging over the river


"Art is for people who aren't worried about zombies." --Kelly Link

    "Song of the Son

POUR O pour that parting soul in song,
O pour it in the sawdust glow of night,
Into the velvet pine-smoke air to-night,
And let the valley carry it along.
And let the valley carry it along.

O land and soil, red soil and sweet-gum tree,
So scant of grass, so profligate of pines,
Now just before an epoch's sun declines
Thy son, in time, I have returned to thee,
Thy son, I have in time returned to thee.

In time, for though the sun is setting on
A song-lit race of slaves, it has not set;
Though late, O soil, it is not too late yet
To catch thy plaintive soul, leaving, soon gone,
Leaving, to catch thy plaintive soul soon gone.

O Negro slaves, dark purple ripened plums,
Squeezed, and bursting in the pine-wood air,
Passing, before they stripped the old tree bare
One plum was saved for me, one seed becomes

An everlasting song, a singing tree,
Caroling softly souls of slavery,
What they were, and what they are to me,
Caroling softly souls of slavery."

--Jean Toomer

(Sadly, a version of this with 3 glaring typos is all over the internet. Sheesh!)

Isidore of Seville site. (via Metafilter)

    "Quebrith Lost, Quebrith Regained"

hareiously sane
crusting yegg

with dollop lug tsunami
fly as fail into meagry sculsh travelogue

mustard ask stigma find indigo
igneous lyre berth

"If we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf."

Olga: Revolutionary and Martyr.

"We can only imagine the confusion and concern when the informed elite of the United States Government discovered that an alien spacecraft piloted by insectlike beings from a totally incomprehensible culture had crashed in the desert of New Mexico." --Milton William Cooper, Behold a Pale Horse (1991)

    "You Too, Not Just Me

Never just me.
However you need,

however, I'll be.
Like smoke slid

in like previous whiskey,
fire wisps,

fire drowns.
And follows itself

into new form,

afraid it's too alike.
A fraud must

believe, too.
Then, forgetting

how unlikely.
A centaur's first street

fair, alone.
Then so lucky,

only a dream is so lucky.
Sometimes laughing

with others
who must sense

us, condensed,
frontbodied, pushing

soft walking
circles onto a ledge.

where your face

turns into breath
and vanishes

in the home.
Can't matter

in the home.
Some fire

makes form
only folly,

however all three
follow us to take

your shape
down with mine."

--Brenda Shaughnessy, Human Dark with Sugar (2008)

Find out where to recycle near you.

"href="">The question "Mohammad or Mesmer?" is a common icebreaker, and a self-revealing test, among poetry students far beyond the United States."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    "1982 Junoon"

passage from that mood, years ago
to this mood

and the space i am in

but there is no going

* * * *

gusnylijda jelq
no talc
stamps going up
cry sandalwood

if its in the words
really in
some of the words
then it must be in
all of them

* * * *

the mirror that exploded
took us all along
oh yeah
took us all along
cold, bright
problems i cannot solve
listen to

the cries of the birds

When Butterflies Kiss.

350 dot org. More.

I don't think that i can take it.

The Republican Dictatorship. (via Antiwar dot com)

    "Ylang Ylang Yclad"

Don't want to lose this sleepiness
should occasion recur · to use it

you get used
to a certain size of exoskeleton

i donned shades for a moment of sun
when it left i kept them on

cherish these shards
that sound like part of the real future

Sigur Ros's album "( )", while reading the first chapters of The Wandering Scholars (again): is this not the music for a melancholy survival, on remote islands of order?

"It was low tide [for culture] on the Continent of Europe, except for one deep pool at Toulouse where the grammarian Virgilius Maro agitated strangely on the secret tongues of Latin, and told his story of the two scholars who argued for fifteen days and nights without sleeping or eating on the frequentative of the verb to be, till it almost came to knives, rather like the monsters one expects to find stranded in an ebb." --Waddell

The Chinese Enya.

Telephone Sheep. (via Rebecca Blood)

"The novelist and critic Masamune Hakuchô (1879-1962) said that it was only when he read [The Tale of Genji] in English translation that he realized how truly fascinating it was." --Ikeda, On the Japanese Classics (1974; tr B Watson 1979)

   Yves Bonnefoy: Threats of the Witness (my tr.)

In this garden you've stopped coming,
The trails of aching and loneliness erase,
The weeds stand for your dead face.

You don't care anymore that there may be hidden
In the rock the dark church, in the trees
The blinded face of a reddened sun;

You suffice
To perish lengthily as into sleep,
You love no more even the shades you wed.

" 'Nobody ever really knows what they want,' Charley said. 'Why should that change after you die?' " --Kelly Link, Magic for Beginners (2005)

Alliance of Enemies.

"When will the chicks of the same mother hen remove the colors from their faces and recognize each other as brothers and sisters?"

   "The Mystery"

I WAS not; now I am--a few days hence
I shall not be; I fain would look before
And after, but can neither do; some Power
Or lack of power says "no" to all I would.
I stand upon a wide and sunless plain,
Nor chart nor steel to guide my steps aright.
Whene'er, o'ercoming fear, I dare to move,
I grope without direction and by chance.
Some feign to hear a voice and feel a hand
That draws them ever upward thro' the gloom.
But I--I hear no voice and touch no hand,
Tho' oft thro' silence infinite I list,

And strain my hearing to supernal sounds;
Tho' oft thro' fateful darkness do I reach,
And stretch my hand to find that other hand.
I question of th' eternal bending skies
That seem to neighbor with the novice earth;
But they roll on, and daily shut their eyes
On me, as I one day shall do on them,
And tell me not the secret that I ask.


Rough Crossings.

Taser parties. (via Dangerous Meta) So taser is the new tupperware...?

"Time drags like a sluggish wave, it is a sphere of molten glass on whose surface myriad glints catch one's eye and engage one's attention, while inside glows the crimson, disquieting core." --Saramago

    "Infamous Informers"

shatteringly orange plastic turtle
counterintelligence elbow
is decidedly orientalism's unperson

nor coventrize of
a rumor of one's own
Darth Vader M&M statuette

    "Hell is for Hobbits"

sent to Coventry
drink vandalroot
lambently eradicate
corf adazzle
the Septentrioni

drink coventrize

lowering corf

and this sky of angels peckish
your vain arroyos

The Shame of the Nation.

    "Typhoon Sunrise"

In storms of rage against a newer world
myself knew not the tumult nor the prize,
but found a delight my budding dreams empearled
in storms of rage, against a newer world.

What of this land whose levins are all hurled?
Already i abscond, i coventrize
myself, knew not the tumult nor the prize
in storms of rage against a newer world.

"Cold gliding horrors thrill'd each hero's breast" --Mickle's Lusiad

"What I do not wish to know does not exist, the only real problem is how to play the queen's knight."


IF you could sit with me beside the sea to-day,
And whisper with me sweetest dreamings o'er and o'er;
I think I should not find the clouds so dim and gray,
And not so loud the waves complaining at the shore.

If you could sit with me upon the shore to-day,
And hold my hand in yours as in the days of old,

I think I should not mind the chill baptismal spray,
Nor fine my hand and heart and all the world so cold.

If you could walk with me upon the strand to-day,
And tell me that my longing love had won your own,
I think all my sad thoughts would then be put away,
And I could give back laughter for the Ocean's moan!

--Paul Laurence Dunbar

When the Velvet Underground went on Lawrence Welk. (You mean they didn't?)

Called "TG's Finest Moment". (I used to have this on VHS, then in a weak moment--sold it.)

    "Behind The Arras"

As in some dim baronial hall restrained,
A prisoner sits, engirt by secret doors
And waving tapestries that argue forth
Strange passages into the outer air;
So in this dimmer room which we call life,
Thus sits the soul and marks with eye intent
That mystic curtain o’er the portal death;
Still deeming that behind the arras lies
The lambent way that leads to lasting light.
Poor fooled and foolish soul! Know now that death
Is but a blind, false door that nowhere leads,
And gives no hope of exit final, free.

--Paul Laurence Dunbar

NOW AVAILABLE. Get yours now--while supplies last!

    "Poem ending with a line by Davidson"

The lowering welkin has to teach
office of sudden shelter found;
a dream of rescue by snowy moonlight,
the meltingness of such.

Nor shall missiles wing us hence:
we plant among those skyey fields
words of despair, whispered long
for still night's starry scroll unfurled.

What Shamu taught me.

The Etched City.

I was doing a counter shift when i recognized one of the albums a kid was buying as The Magician's Birthday. (I used to have this on an 8-track!) Later, searching YouTube, i found out that they're still together. A group that had its moments of semi-sublimity, i would say now, without ceasing to be Bad Prog Rock in all the familiar ways. Still, gotta love that mythology... The emotions of adolescence were never so gaudy, as when hung on objective correlatives of Tolkienesque kinkiness. And some Moog.

"The ruins of the unsustainable are the 21st century's frontier."

A Million Penguins. (I miss out on everything.)

    "A Northern Suburb"

Nature selects the longest way.
And winds about in tortuous grooves;
A thousand years the oaks decay;
The wrinkled glacier hardly moves.

But here the whetted fangs of change
Daily devour the old demesne--
The busy farm, the quiet grange,
The wayside inn, the village green.

In gaudy yellow brick and red,
With rooting pipes, like creepers rank,
The shoddy terraces o'erspread
Meadow, and garth, and daisied bank.

With shelves for rooms the houses crowd,
Like draughty cupboards in a row--
Ice-chests when wintry winds are loud,
Ovens when summer breezes blow.

Roused by the fee'd policemans knock,
And sad that day should come again,
Under the stars the workmen flock
In haste to reach the workmen's train.

For here dwell those who must fulfil
Dull tasks in uncongenial spheres,
Who toil through dread of coming ill,
And not with hope of happier years--

The lowly folk who scarcely dare
Conceive themselves perhaps misplaced,
Whose prize for unremitting care
Is only not to be disgraced.

--John Davidson

They won the propaganda war, but lost the reality war; guess which one is the one that counts.

The Deep State, here & around the world.

The Ephemera.

" one can claim to be truly Portuguese unless he speaks another language better than his own."

    "Jewelled Spider in my Zipdrive" (Son of Godzilla)

Body-slam the glow-eyed gimantis
orphan with a cast iron alibi

in our paper houses lovers star-crossed
drink the red water eyes downcast

rare disease TV segment ablative
absolute bollix the lunar castaway

not these instrument readings
not this pet holocaust

godzilla breath pirate broadcast
a dry cough among styrofoam boulders

perish to whimsical music
Grinchus that the stars accost

"When one starts to believe in miracles, there is no longer hope."


Audio Dunbar.

"Liberals love America like grownups."

    "Hotel Penetralia"

the casket, protected
the moving
at an end for now
khaki forms
with their immutable

(thanx Xian!)

1. "Etymon Edamame"

Blog this saracen bowling
in the rancid jungle.
Its contrails, *plagal-boring,
disrupt the raptors' juggle
and our seas boiling.

What fates we *lease of this, charm
like astrolabia parting.
Some will come to harm;
some, content with just hurting
on the bladed barm.

2. "Barsoom Wedding"

A silurian gray dream
softens, realm of breccia,
rain-*obnoxious; failure is
the only option
considered in this wonky biz.

Ice-*fiduciary, creep
you *haggard turncoat.
Chemystery you tried to treat
with icky chromecoat
and now a fyrd's sweep.

3. "The Gun in the First Act"

Weird catenary footstep,
suggilation by furphy.
Flarf burns in my *fee
roll, eke my geason catnip;
it's Barsoom wedding.

One is futilous Ixtab,
the other pancake
with explicating Duck Stab;
futurist tinplate
gruntles the Barsoom wedding.

I do the insects' bidding.

(Note: i have marked "etymonarchical" usage with an asterisk.)

"On his worldwide money-raising tours, he would often thrill young would-be jihadists with miracle tales of angels seen riding into battle on horseback, bombs intercepted by birds that formed canopies to protect Muslim warriors and individual soldiers who with divine assistance defeated entire Soviet battalions." (via ALDaily)

"The poems, which will be sold as one lot and include 15 originals not held by the National Library of Scotland, have been given a guide price of £4,500-£6,500, similar to a collection of Harry Potter first editions signed by J.K. Rowling and considerably more than rare early editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, which are also being auctioned." (via Poetry Hut)

A practical response.

"Writing breaks open the vaults of the dead and the skies behind which the prophesying angels hide." --Plath

    "Supermodel Holocaust"

i can't wait
for that peaceful time
for that milder clime
to write

what will chime
on the shiny plate
i can't wait
for that perfect time

SOA Watch.

A crater named Neruda.

    "Canzone: Elegy for Hussain"

Given up under torture
names of friends, the frenzied virtue waltz

a commodity
in the beginning, borne on smoky zephyrs

hidden road
through the lachrymose garden of Pulumchva

fading, no fixture, irrational
mixture of star and angel

the arc from candle
to stilbtrap

Cornish asphodel
panhandler olympics in Xipetotec

the vanquished desires

offers of sciamachy
by in-cahoots officers shadowed

even our dreams might throb with finitude's frost
paean Gjeld

in the fists of each peon hajji
warrior from Tau Ceti

blindfold march, opium worrier aion
rains opinion vap

craft ebbing
in overcast nirvana

sound of walking on wet gravel, against Vlad
this dark albedo

i find, a limber climber, wolfchurch
rat's amber

and following home the oblong ox
tuned to an oolong rainbow

wrecks the lexicon
my soft slag

here, wretched and robed in phosphorescent fire
here, rigid in death

change of tide
depth charge of boiling sibilant art

over the muezzin's taiga
scatter Carcosa filaments scatter gold

the wrathful ouzel
its shadow glides upon the ocean

digs the sand
of a sunk theocracy's

least common fnord and liripoop hobbitfrith
glean transparent deuce

a thousand bright chrome meanings
and mazy folds of nascent Armageddon

perfect myrrh
implicit as citadel in my

crossings tzigane

zigzag bright the tarmac cwm
adamant jade mayfly convex basilisk

Shaggai taikonaut tuatara
dusting now our liaison

hurls pillbug
after pillbug quest

what fulvous cuneiform communion
pontiff to this andiron glow of vermilion

snavvles the quaint manticores
with pillbug limits

if you can't
thristnidinghent profound attains your sand coil

acres of diamonds

"Now do you see how being vertically integrated puts Amazon in a terrific place?"

"...a nation that, at present, for all practical purposes, only produces Cheetos and killer drones..."

"The great difference between poets and madmen is the destiny of the madness that possesses them." --Saramago, op cit

    Bonnefoy: Une Pierre

          Porphyry's solar tome
    --see it as a mass of somber stones.
  Long have i perused Porphyry's tome;
now i've arrived where there is no more sun.

(my tr; 1985)

"All spectres now resume their dim domain" --Owen Meredith

Read the words. (via Matt Arnold)

"It is a measure of our own depravity that we do not hoot this man from the stage..."

"There are two kinds of poems."


    tr: Ghalib 35.

to sink is merely human · there is nothing you can say
depending on the enemy · there is nothing you can say

decease long wooed forbears · maybe on the ricochet
after so much carnage · there is nothing you can say

my case she asks degree of · only in the public way
knowing where this thing goes · there is nothing you can say

regardless of the question · we are lightly brushed away
in any jib of language · there is nothing you can say

Ghalib among the chatterers · his own silence must obey
except you call him crazy · there is nothing you can say

Haiku blog noticed by Silliman.

"...every city needs one young Japanese noise artist playing sheets of sheer distortion, it seems."

"They have also murdered my friends in fields teeming with hawks..."

    "The Reign of Galba"

Downpressed in Epigonia
for all the talk of winning

not a story
when the winners come to write it

dream of Nidhhoggr
and the altar thereto

a vivid understanding
in an old lingo

A nice thread on treasured poems.

   "Bob Phossy Jaw"

in the Library of Babel

dead armadillo as
the route tempestuous

through my larynx scintillate

simoom wars

wharf plethora

the survivors on the way

* * * *

Rings of refraction
in black and white. The lit
fountain, holding memories.
Flicker among loose things
i'm having this one

strange encounters
uncued by any music
solemn and binding

the sideways rain
good lusty yell
pass and repass

the contradictions

   tr. Ghalib 27.

From delectation, all our taste was lost;
The more our thirst took in, the less we had.

We never knew a chance: a snare so close
Awaited us upon the very threshold.

The amputation of our hand did not
Suspend the writing of that tale one bit.

So it was not apostasy to turn
Mendicant, for there too we were kidding.

" is always prudent to consult Persian dictionaries when reading Ghalib; he often uses words of Persian origin with their original Persian meaning rather than, or in addition to, the adapted Urdu meanings of the same words." --Aijaz Ahmad, Ghazals of Ghalib (1971)

"One of his [Milton's] strangest devices is to use existing English words, not in their current sense, but in the sense which their Latin root possesses." --Gilbert Highet, The Classical Tradition (1949). Highet goes on to cite "pontifical" used as 'bridge-building', "astonished" as 'thunder-struck', and "exploded" as 'hissed off'...

Mallarmé probably can be added to this list (& certainly Celan), which i think i will call etymonarchical mode, as well.


''Perhaps it is the language that chooses the writers it needs, making use of them so that each might express a tiny part of what it is. Once language has said all it has to say and falls silent, I wonder how we will go on living.' --José Saramago, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1984; tr G Pontiero 1992)

    "Guitar Solos that Changed the World"

Forge the athanor, blind tiger;
tiger despair to disembark
among elliptical plates of standing water
jingling hauberk.

Ichthyosaurian blockade
drain, a brindled standing quirk
pools Darjeeling-led ordalic slider
goaf and pitchfork.

'The book of resemblances remainms to be written.'

"It was a show of [Clyfford] Still's painting that led me to stay in San Francisco instead of going to Europe, and to search out the new painters where I found Jess. It was not to be until five years later that I ever saw a canvas of Still's as an instance of the beautiful (and these in painting are rare enuf), but what was clear then was that this was authentic, a command within the spiritual history of art that involved more than painting--as uncharming, as hideous in strength as revolt is; it had or I gave it authority. Not to be like it, but to take my place in a world where such painting must be a definition of the real." --Duncan to Levertov, 2-2-60

    "Touring the Polygamist Ranch"

Here · morning · rain
forever to leave the earth

Clear skies searched for rain
above the waterlogged earth

Jade Vacuity, rain
from ev'rywhere that is or isn't earth

"Even where his art is beautiful, Still's work is grandiose, megalomaniac: he is incapable of the intimate. And the force of his egotism makes it impossible for me to think of him as heroic. Heroism for me has something to do with the engagement with and for the Beautiful." --ibid

"Glancingly if fluvial cup protuberous conic plat."