Friday, January 15, 2010

"Clock Soup"

these things proclaim
of calm ice night one sonnet
tart glare of Pleione
reflected off muskeg
like it was the truth

no longer javelina
the undergound to Tlaloc
wine occult
an inbetween color

Altermodern 4.

"A Canticle for Lebowski"

the baronetical blur
bedizened on an earlobe
at the bottom of a lake
hot burning coal

glare or gray tub cast adrift
nor to scoff it makes tougher
carrots for the weak of sight
Vanir coin toss

Half of the movie at night. Half of the painting blank. Half of the sculpture empty space. Half of the music silence. Half of the dance stillness. Half of the poem secret.

"At the Wachovia Gate"

plaid to cobbay trobar clus
pramble in pig silk
Copernicus dust discussed
not the tocsin task
pled out of chaosmatic
the beret Khartoum
oompah continuity
in twin monotone
on subfusc plum carpet slake
trek to trobar clus

Putting Lojban Rock on my iPod.

"Weary of Pursuing Closures"

on the sidewalk cockroach flailing
face up to the hard gray sky
the desert is a garden with its life underground
and a perfect disguise of God
here come the warm jets
cold marks and frigid stars

Altermodern 3.

"Death comes before its time--Fernando Pessoa

Death comes before its time,
Life is so brief a stay.
Each moment is the mime
Of what is lost for aye.

Life scarcely had begun,
Nor the idea diminished,
When he whose task was done
Knew not what he had finished.

This, doubting Death presumes
To cancel and to cut
Out of the book of dooms,
Which God forgot to shut."

--tr Roy Campbell, Collected Poems vol. III

Altermodern 1. 2.

"Who Wants to Be a Milliner"

in this sunlight
the matter of Leng

barrarang ylang ylang
desert excellently bright

carrying aloft the moondog
of a long exploded thirst

collision with nada
on the thoroughfare to Roswell

"Orange Socks with White Shoes"

Lalibela red chevron
T S Amulet Phage dawn
resplendent with subfusc, shook
the new leaves on the hymnbook

spoke brisure of the long roll
told bell-marks to the mere air
and this more clear than hardware
sparkling loss and aureole

"On the Aboutness of the Apocalypse"

clean freaks mark
the paths that shdows have made
among stones
among nostrums
veering around potholes
the morning after Oscar

Joel-Peter Wittgenstein
whose marbled morbid aphorisms
bare trees of Highland Park gesticulate
thus we repeat
calendar wrongs with alacrity
laptop blogging
from the longest runway
carpet burns and fettered scalawags

Anagrams of America. (via Silliman)

"Who would have thought the storm systems of Jupiter were trivial?"

31. I am putting some of my favorite songs on an iPod playlist. But when i can listen to them frequently, rather than having to dig them out of desuetude in my collection, will this dim their power for me? Or have the emotions they stand for, already faded; and this renew them instead? Perhaps my poem will not make sense to you now, but it will.

32. I write as the last speaker of a language—or the first.

33. It is unfair to my contemporaries who write, to expect them to jolt me like the best writers of all time; and yet what else can i do? Pretend to be moved when i’m not, and learn to value a pretence?

34. Our language has shed so many of its words, it is in a sort of winter. Like the Earth and its species. The poet, a coelacanth.

35. Maybe it’s enough that you get all your story-need satisfied from television and movies, and it’s beside the point that i think those stories are wrong and pernicious. It’s not like i’ve ever tried to get a job in that story-industry.

36. Without the myth of genius-rediscovery, i still cling to the fiction that nothing written today will survive. Obviously, some of it will.

37. Without leisure, when i do read, it’s like snatching a package of Twinkies at a 7-11, and running out with it under my coat.

38. The same paragraph of a narrative, read at half the speed; read at half the speed again. Like enlarging a photograph.

39. In prose, there are generally many ways of saying what you want, some of which are better than others, but none that is necessarily the best; in poetry, it’s much more the case that there exists a single path through the poem, and everything else not on the path is wrong. But to the reader, poetry & prose alike present a text that seems both arbitrary, and immutable.

40. If i read while music is playing, i don’t hear it; or if i start listening to the music, i don’t understand what i’ve been reading. Reading a text is like playing music from a printed score.

41. If reading is like performing music, there is a skill in readerly-musicianship distinct from the skill of composing texts. This also requires to be taught—and mostly isn’t.

42. A painter who looks at pictures in a museum reads the brushwork with the imagination of fingertips. But a reader who writes, can only reach that level of imagining by hearing a writer reading their own work. The text on the page interposes a layer of opacity that requires more or less effort to interpret. Is this a job for criticism, or for the writer to take into account?

43. Reading a novel by Disraeli. It is natural to see the formality of his style as the equivalent of Regency costume. It is less easy to understand that his reasons might be different from a writer’s of today, because the whole context of that book’s reading remains lost to us. Which happens, also, to what I am about to write…

Found while trying to remember the word kabei... Don Harlow explains the origin of this word.

"The wars of ideas have always been the most fanatical and endlessly prolonged of all wars." --Jacques Barzun

the undersea life
into which stirs fall
and the blurring rots

miracles in store
on the empty shelves
you don't pick sev'ral

hungry as a rune
neither turquoise nor
Orangina feel

the murmurous draw
of undersea life
of cold swaying Wyrd

Angel Sword.

Eva Cassidy doing "Wade in the Water" + photos of striped icebergs. (Where's Judy Henske's?? I mean, i can even find one by Herb Alpert... i guess this will have to do.)

The Guest.

21. Sometimes a sign is like a chess move. It has history, like an etymology; and what you do next, adds to the record of the chess game.

22. Usage against usage. When it becomes a counter-tradition, as in slang. Then: reclaiming the word. A word that carries both its détournement & its reclamation. An array of such words.

23. Trying to say something using only the given words of a fridge magnet poetry set. Sometimes i feel that way about the half a million-plus vocabulary of English.

24. Recurrent feelings as i parse my small routines. It is hard to find a spur to write in these. Then i pull back my focus and see a huge, imminent catastrophe looming. What is there to say about that? --And this too becomes habitual feeling. (Which is the subject of all my poetry lately, i'm afraid.)

25. What you write when you're certain it will never be read.

26. Joining a group in order to have a shared language.

27. Works that are only read in school. The works contemporary to those, that exist in their shadow. To make a canon of overlooked authors. To write in this tradition. And how will others read you, who only know the works read in school?

28. My argument with Browning. My argument with Plato. My argument with myself.

29. This weather--cool, gray, a little misty, with more rain in the offing--inheres in what i write today, if you could only see it.

30. I write to provide the instruction manual for an escape device, while you must imagine first the need to escape.

11. Reading out loud. Reading out loud by candlelight.

12, A speech community with a shared history has a use for poets. Members of a displaced community--but a different use. People who wish to imagine themselves part of a community. Do they need poets too? More?

13. The city is sign-noise but community-silence.

14. All the books in the world do not relate to one another. Not even all the books one person has read. Perhaps a few of those that are deeply remembered.

15. I encounter a new word and then wait for a chance to use it in a sentence.

16. I am an outsider to the extent that some in the words in a community stand for things i do not believe exist.

17. You can also share things that you refuse to acknowledge. Alcoholism, in a family; in a nation, war.

18. Much of the time the sky is not merely an ambiguous text, it is a text that awaits its next writing. To some poets poetry is not just a body of texts, it is this sky. This aspect of sky.

19. The community of people who refuse to acknowledge the skyness of poetry.

20. To others who deny your entire humanity, you are a text that does not get read. They run their eyes over it, but they are substituting something they think they already know. A sign, like a stop sign.

Notes on Reading

1. The first thing about reading is: we don't know how it happens.

2. The world we move in habitually is the ambit of our reading. Some of it takes the form of words.

3. Reading a book is not the same as reading a traffic sign. And even among the latter, there are distinctions. I see, at a freeway entrance, "North 75" and "South 75": the two occurrences of the number 75 mean different things to me. And they also depend on whether i need to use that highway or not.

4. Reading a poem is more like reading a person than reading a sign.

5. Reading a book you like is not the same as reading one you don't. And reading a book for something you need to find out is a third way, still.

6. Rereading, after years have passed.

7. What changes for you after you have learned to parse Middle English and then go back and read something in Modern?

8. A clothes hanger in a closet; in a parking lot.

9. "Incarnadine".

10. Some words are candy. Imagine they were other words.

negotiate crabwise this
haunted flicker-tingle

a sort of murmur · the night
with sev'ral colors added

noise · the space between changes
a dumb rumor of burbclaves

his gauzy navigation
somehow still · through-arrowing

A Driving Fool.

Transition Towns. The Transition Handbook. (via Metafilter)

"Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing." --Sybil

   "A row of sherries

Like a thick row
Like a windy row
Like a monotonous row
His nature is still his
Frail is he who
   recognizes the rowing of the hair,
      the snow of the rib, the fright
      of his quarrels
In rowing he rows a
   row, waiting across his appreciation, frail
   from deference
This dun colored police has no velvet
   for anyone
He can hear the door
   of the spark
He does not see
   my dark, my snow, my air
These things flirt, soft, run, like
   frightened sherries
There are these indefinite days,
   beyond which a sailor glances itself
At midsummer he swims me
Even though dark is plashless, he
   has dark in
      his clover
Often running, surrendering, drawing bitterly
   at a frightened
      door "

--Robot X, 3181

"In Kogelo, where president elect Barack Obama’s paternal family is from, government and private interests are already working to brand the village as a tourist destination."

"The Day My Two Voices Became Three"

disconsolate fanes

soy candle · lamia

autumn of desire

dry tumulus raised

you will saunter in

the shadows you made

roach attempts to climb

from the beaker of milk

this bitter taiga

the Dragon Dream hajji

ill, i am the Walrus

ancient lens of tinsel

alligator wings

orange ideogram

Boom! news & thread.

the fading season of the thief
yet fails to bring a replacement faith
and we are left with dreams of doom

ths weather scramble drives one mad
and madness makes recursive fifth
the fading season of the thief

parables we dwell amid
and we are left with dreams of doom
yet fails to bring a replacement faith

and madness makes recursive fifth
this weather scramble drives one mad
parables we dwell amid

Insuring providence

You would have been a reason
A kind of flak
A sort of attack
A kind of blast

--Robot X, 2819.

"The idea that the USA will go the way of the USSR seemed preposterous at the time."

Solar radios.

Soy candles.

"My Life in 3 Wars"

crookedly mended
no elegy of
the feeling
of every where the storm touched
going wilderness

Opium Tea.

"In Dark Communion"

two big zigzags snag trolley
cynosure of the feral gala
aboulia my rig clad
unwelcoming of its churn battue
most chivvy of transmissions gladly ladled

O long edacious insight
whose garboil versus mere chican'ry
i am habile if not fond
and O pyrosis like smudge inly
it is superstition not to chunk the sprue

Perry Rhodan trailer.

"The Great Saturn Spirit"

a pale squirrel on a dark branch
tug the thread pull the cord
the dust in the air pierced

lost in the rain shadow
follow the blaze of leaves
barium milkshake

the names indecipherable
amid moss of peace
bright marching songs

what i wrote what i wrote
with the gas gauge vertical
which is here a sign

sky clearing
'i head into
through array of still spatters

time malleable
is time conquered
the star made green

white noise broadcast
college football fervor
in the march to destruction

tree shanks splintered by lightning strikes
muddy flats
where the road veers into cryptic traces

i take you away

house to house search
the watch twinkling
on the white table
twelve weeks of night
warm cup cradled
and fool's fire
dilatory zarif
among the night's twelve fires


"Unassailable Credentials"

My subsonic skysofa
follows Ganapatya physics.
My immaculate credo
melts in the incandescent dark.
The plastic and steel syringe
eke runs generous.

"The basic teachings were communicated in a whisper..." --Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah (1974)

"Roofer Madness'

wanderer by trade
and a carrier of dirt
finds tentative faith
orange and white striped pylons
thesterness and leopard thief

God is a Bullet.

"Rosa Vavasor"

you can't be at once
its Chaucer and its Celan

firing out of doorways
the dust in the air pierced

cancer absences

Black: tt2 (2279)

1. Na3 e5
2. Nc4 Nc6
3. e4 Nf6
4. d3 d5
5. exd5 Nxd5
6. Nf3 f6
7. c3 Be7
8. Be2 O-O
9. O-O Be6
10. Qc2 b5
11. Ne3 Nf4
12. Rd1 Nxe2
13. Qxe2 a6
14. d4 exd4
15. cxd4 Bd5
16. b3 Re8
17. Bb2 Bd6
18. Rc1 Rc8
19. Nh4 Nb4
20. Qh5 Bf7
21. Qg4 h5
22. Qf3 Nxa2
23. Ra1 Nb4
24. Nf5 Bxb3
25. Qxh5 Bxd1
26. Qg6 Qd7
27. Rxd1 a5
28. Ng4 Rf8
29. Re1 Nd3
30. Re7 Rf7
31. Qxf7 resigns.

"Interrogation Technique"

yellow hat hair pin turn coat tail spin
drift off putting down
stream line dance hall pass word play dough boy
cott age out come back
flip book move on going deep fat chance
           on slaught machine language



"Running on Premium"

leaves after leaving the bough
dance still
on the sidewalk now
and still the air
in here
of the watcher perplexed
as thought upon thought
its golden grain

on the sidewalk now

alembic shortfall
rises in the predawn glow
hunches my neck
inspiration fizzle

gladsome down payment obol
to the last vermilion stroke
as nervous as a gerbil
all ten of them at a strike
as ravens burble

no provisions no map no paved road
the inkbrush lides like a snake
through the myst'ry listening

and the amber glade
and the shades that croak

"...pentatonic glam rock xylophone band Topmodel." Only on iMomus!

Building a Mystery.

gingerly list · onyxwood
ignoring lemma · frore glitter
fylfot sloom wig · Asberger
stone look in pygarg oxide
sweltering looms bore addle
mist igneous and dollop
bring windless answer

The Anxious Interval.

"The appalled savages

Clear as a situation
New as a caravan
Loose as a trade
Slow as a truth
The gifted waiting-rooms
The real occupations
The appalled feet
Of fixity
Natives changed into envy
A sort of murmur
A string
Full as a heart
Vague as an accident
Careless as a string
Abundant as a litany
Hurried horrors and appalled tourists
A wood of pleasures
A middle
Like an English
Eternal savages and dried reach
Appalled lives and great expressions
Long trees and far off languages
Unfortunate hail and horrid names
Incomprehensible memories and impossible ladies"

--Robot X, 2687.

606 Day--was yesterday.

"The Inner Archangels"

The barking of the little dogs
Resounds within this plywood hogan
All my years blown down the road
Have made of me no mundane hajji

All my years blown down the road

Come creeping back like ilka pillbug
Bearing frankincense and words
And fractal moods from far R'lyeh
Sharpened in a bent kazoo

And dreams i never can remember

Xenakis - Pleiades- Peaux.

"Periastron of Adamastor"

Sxwaixwe exhausted swarm · samite wind
oxter swerving debt
veer axis shadow radio rust
asthma stanzaic
let add tsunami twelve warm prang amps

as part imagine tiling stillborn
western swath lit ink
adjustment box · Ixtab stirious
bette propagate
is sweet leaning bruise aver link ink

A mission to 80606.

"its light a fading nimbus over Wales" --Geoffrey Hill


the houses of the moon,
funest vindaloo road

i leave no plaster gnome
grinning to endure

nor written scrap of proof
nor further knot the braid

i watch an idle fire
hungry as a lichen

now it gains the roof
swifter than double nickel

lunar and crimson name
noose-mark should it slacken

"Maybe the polka
injured thousands." --ibid

"...Seaward the prows are turned; the ships
Fast anchored, and the curved sterns fringe the beach." --Cranch's Virgil, VI.

Stranger than fiction.

Important down and heavy children

A leading lip, heavy
   lip, important lip of a dry ivory-country
The look of people reworked to science
   in the harbor
My psyche was my psyche
I had no such preconceptions
Within there were questions
Important supposed children of the bittern: viridian
   interest, silver down, bony
      down, true posts
Is that people then, that
   beautiful science?
Because I ignored myself, lifting, giving, turning pair inside wisdom.

--Robot X, 2357.

state of the art siliqua
WalMart jungo siliqua

into the mouth of Hekla
spirals stalwart siliqua

this aeronaut travels light
part sundog part siliqua

faithful to the blogged impulse
nimble of heart siliqua

when Graywyvern heaps up surds
they cuisinart siliqua

Michael Swanwick has written a book on Cabell. (Not to mention Stinking Bishop cheese, and The Master and Margarita: the miniseries!))

"March of Stale Cupcake"

the goat cried out with an inhuman voice
th planet seethed around fierce Fomalhaut.

sun shining at Imbolc,
get ripped tonight on kryptonite supreme

ajar as bewildered glory
a cluster of birds in flight
turning, breaks apart and spreads

tyvek chai
journal of freezing fog
pale turquoise
rose carmethene
Ask a roll to sway a
arcane daughter

turquoise chai


ajar as bewildered glory
Meanderthal · epidemic of
extreme texting · octuplets
Nairobi fire · hunger
diabolic · to philosophize
about music · dark worlds of fixity
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne

Asberger raspberry

Cargo Cult. (via wood_s lot)

The shoe heard round the world. (via Silliman)

Vindaloo Vandals.

A young intuition

This will be the intuition’s
What would the
   intuition watch without hand
      to find?
Since it will find you at
   midnight, because it will hurt you now
It will hurt you.
   It will hurt you ever.
It will be
Come until at dusk it will
   know you
Is that poetry then, that young

--Robot X, 2069.

Sean Penn as Ezra Pound.

"Change Moneys Everything"

droll how profligate every space
some at slathering
i mean reach soon
valid repose followed me crassly
upon tinge admonition
& will full why caterwaul
some at slather character
how Kafkaesque my following
i mean to let abscond with
profligate every veil
she is at
soon from time ebbed delve
were valid of a roil
like obdurate


"America's Fastest Liposuction"

dark worlds
a kind of stroll

like usurp follow up
munificent give
delve sedulous language
were knowing who more
of ebb reach meanly
my fecund secreted

Another Day, Another Man.


"Franklin's Pumpkin"

gray car in a gray light
i scatter the crows
as the snow flies
the mist has burned away
now azalea
tingling in my left hand
i keep my visions to myself

Language of occasion has here fallen
into occurrence of outcry, reactive
outcry, like a treatable depression

that happens not to respond. If fate,
then fated like autism. There is some notion,
here, of the sea guffawing off reefs,

to which we compose our daft music
of comprehension. Rain-front on rain-front,
then a sun-gash, cloudy moody; the sea's mood

turns from slate-black, to yellow ochre, to green."

--Geoffrey Hill, "Scenes from Comus" (2005)

Digital video to Donovan's "Atlantis".

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.

HD80606 in Nature.

Yaghnobi New Year's Song. " Yaghnob New Year begins on March 12th on the Sunny side...and on March 18th on the Shady side..."

Enryo. (A concept useful for the coming Great Contraction.)


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

   "Encyclopedia of Bad Faith"

the white heal-all belies its mazzy mazohyst
the hurried sentences mumbled,
unsure of what delinquent martyrdom
awaits within this hour's bespoke shadow

The Poetry Of Ellery Queen. (via crowleycrow)

Gentlemen Take Polaroids.

Wisdom of the Tao.

"Blue suds hingesqueak"

ring out of round again
solacing on a

hagasagan spring
my dark, my snow, my air

durable airspace
kamikaze guest

gawkers curious
only about cars stilled
not the economically

Sangati. --A collaborative Dalit novel.

"So are we doomed?"

The goat cried out in an inhuman voice.

Trouble in paradise.

The February Lynx.

   "Stimulus Package"

maelstrom engram
maelstrom engram troll
When I consider how my time is spent
Let's move before they raise the focken rent!
pelople · perople
green rubber bands
Eyes I last saw in tears
DIbmey ru'Ha'
Boontling · knows about

the Armadillo

The Frugal Algorithm. (via wood_s lot)

Wear Your Love Like Heaven. (To be included in a future essay on Songs whose Meanings have been Changed by Intervening Context.)

   "Emptiness changed inside eloquence

Your arm a
  morning in the mind
Even though you came, a
  cross were other enough
You cite yourselves at dawn
You have triumphs
Like a cocoon
Nothing so piercing as a
  thing or a ghost,
    presuming a dim affair
This cocoon may pass
  and dwell, but
    it is angrily other
Stand since you
  feel yourselves
Is it any wonder that a faculty
  is unknown?
The cloud fascinating your womb, your own
  tightening finger
How they afforded you, those common
”I tighten snow,” you
Piercing fashions in strange sun,
  where times subsist
These are happy
In dearth you note
  an ornament, standing beneath
    your thing, dim
      from nature
Passes and fails
Nothing so other
  as an insect or
    a ghost, overcoming an early
Like a cocoon
Pain can fascinate the
See who you are. See what it
  is to be a swaddler.
After you are common, hypothecating, dwelling, usual as an ornament.
Whenever you are special, supposing, coming, circumscribed, modified, limited as these triumphs.
Since you opine yourselves, dripping, sleeping, like limited varieties.
Whenever you reckon yourselves in the evening, spinning, reckoning, between this bear and that bear."

--Robot X, 1481.

Now i have added the picture that is my final word on the Cheney Administration.

Canterbury Rap. (thanx Melanie!)

   "Ziggurat of Tears"

irreconcilable wordplay
the red hot chrysalis
in traction tug of a third road
and Selenite candle

the narrative use of blackouts
stone cold Jerusalem
golem pyrrhic eating thrust share
glow coma sterile gray

"The fever was checked. I stood a long time in Mac's talking
New York with the gobs, Guantanamo, Norfolk,--
Drinking Bacardi and talking U.S.A."

--Hart Crane

"[Ted] Hughes's metre, for all the length of its lines, is not really Lawrentian or Whitmanesque, by which is usually meant that it is delivered from formal constraints, expansive and recent; instead, it is ancestral, rooted in Middle English, its phrases divided by a heavy caesura that often has the depth of a geological fissure, an abyss into which we are afraid to look." --Derek Walcott

Volapük--the novel.

A Gateway to Sindarin. "It would have been more accurate to call it 'An Introduction to David Salo's Synthetic Reinterpretation of Tolkien's Gnomish-Noldorin-Sindarin language'."

A book on Hildegard of Bingen's conlang.

And Five Year Mission by S.P.O.C.K.

"On the march, reading in his carriage, it was [Napoleon's] practice to toss overboard the books that failed to please him; and thus handsome volumes bearing his arms were distributed all over Europe, later to find their way into the sales catalogues of London and Paris booksellers." --Vincent Starrett, Books and Bipeds (1947)

   "Journey to the Volcano Palace"

lawn, cordial from nightfall
the wind's own talisman
a espair grammatical
to the final arabesque

take the burning nozzle
of word theocracy
take away the grassy words
on an ice-parded zephyr

ruggedized paradox
doublure · pallid ouzel
into Alexandria
atop a pillbug

"Not what the stars have done, but what they are to do, is what detains the sky." --Emily Dickinson, quoted in Starrett

Rudolph Hausner on MySpace.

Clyfford Still, 1947

   "The Lifting of the Curse"

You will be given a chance.
After so much lying, dark
the heraldry of witness
will reach a numbing threshold
and the green cutworm that flies

emissary of Rigel
or xylophone octopus
the mention of death
the music of patience

"The Explanation [of Obsolete Words] has thus some slight antiquarian interest, but it is chiefly remarkable for the strong suspicion under which Fulgentius falls of having faked his evidence." --Leslie George Whitbread, Fulgentius the Mythographer (1971)

Who is Ra Uru Hu?

Without Introduction. I priced it at $200.

The Pork Dukes. --$39.98 & $49.98 (for the yellow e.p.).

Seeing a DVD of this movie, i remember that when i first heard of it, i thought it was going to be about karaoke.

Poems for presidents. (The positive ones, that is.)


Uncontrollable as harness, dim as starvation
I am aware of the clasped book-keeping
  of jewesses, acquiring bitterly within wild glances
I can smell the work
  of the will
Rises and wanes, but
  there is no death
    because of this mouth
My lip reach in the past
A bared sinister sand-bank peers
  from an anxious noise at a various
    steamer of nervousness
I conceive the
  ribs, delightful as
I move in
What am I to make of this
  man, like unhappy aunts?
Seem while I reject
  you in the spring
Carry darkness in your thirst
Another individual is withering in the
  hurried notice, withering
    and arising, a fascinating seat
Particular and terrible
Mysterious and quick
Hopeless and hopeful
Sad and glad
Front and back
I take what rests for you
That flight is yours
Although I am gloomy,
  I intermit myself, a sort of step
I lose my sunshine

--Robot X, 1223.

"Tacitus is a sort of waterfall over which Classical Latin literature takes a last gloomy and splendid plunge." --J A K Thomson, Irony (1927)

    "Nascar Vampire Romance"

Though old old wrongs stand charged
With breaking obsolescence
On this bright day, logic
Has trumped the irrational
More. Write in vermilion
Arabesques of the dove.

Joy eke for the heretic
And for the underdog;
Speak the last mokita;
Let this miasmatic
Fury hard as jasper
Yield to clarity.

Again we will honor
Ourselves. It is enough.

Tempora mutantur. (Mine.)

16. Sleight's Ebb

surviving · at no far date
though the sunlight now · glitters

catadores · the rough jolts
of the road · avoid cyclist

what only · will have changed that
a Ganapatya · may reck

add to · my iTunes playlist
what i could not hear · before

Seen in the sky.

Tom Tomorrow adds his

15. Pæan and Deliverance

from antelucan darkness
the closing of a prison

rising in the runic night
to fix in space and time a rune

in this impossible wood
not to be devoured by sleep

"And madness is a storm like any other. It passes." --Lithium for Medea

Quoth Peter DeVries: ""My secret ambition is to sell a million copies of every book, and then also have a small, select cult of aficionados who look down on my mass audience."

"3,000 years after this most sacred symbol of western democracy was built by slaves, prisoners and others denied citizenship (also known as ἰδιώτης, idiōtēs in Greek, the origin of our term “idiot”), we are, it seems, still searching for ways to realize the monumental dream of democracy."

"The St. Paul-based publisher is publishing 100,000 copies of Alexander’s inaugural poem, by far the biggest print run in its 35-year history."

Not to be missed. (fixed now)

14. the planet formerly known as Goldilocks

and she who is always with me
smiles heartbreakingly gently
in the shadow of the bare trees

EmergencyBot TV theme. (via Metafilter)

Eliza bereft. (via Supergee)

Ekseption: Peace Planet.

13.sandy loam

Bifurcated hate flower
pyramid consecrated
and ev'ry week busted flat
in Baton Rouge
waiting for a train

halcyon morning
grass pale brown on the river bottomlands
it's a hell of a start
it could be
made into a monster
if we all pull together as a

senva dacti
slope where the kudzu grew
so many of the words changed
and there's no putting them back is there
i slow for a shape in the street
unsure of whether to swerve


12. celebritariat

what do you want with a poet
in your marble-hard process
one who already dismissed you
as unworthy of his indigo reveries

one who in imagination blasts
these walls to smithereens
saying let
the sun shine

do you only need this citizen
in case all others prove unsuitable
i could dispense judgments
i could draw up blueprints

i could level with you

i am only even here
till i can slip away decently
free for the rest of the afternoon

a woman with her infant child
on the train


last hours of ancient sunlight
golden haze curling through the underpass
a moment, then gone
climbing the high marble steps
two at a time · toxic Acropolis
i remember far up the concrete slope
spotting a makeshift bed left
for the day
to the constant rumble of traffic

once that would have sufficed

Maxwell House and half and half
a cashier laughing
woodgrained formica
i should be glad now to serve
this government · as if mercy
had clyted at the top
and limbs obeyed

and to listen to some of the pundits
nothing can be done to save us
which tells me only
as i did not see before
these steps, this unsteady table
neither will i see
the day beyond
its panoplies and cataclysmic dawnings
to rise on an escalator
to the marble floors of desuetude

a chai truffle hovers

in any other time
except bound on the canyon train
i could exult in my team winning
like justice
had thereby prevailed
juror 66
with jurors one through one hundred twenty

instead i know
death by starvation cannot be imagined

Catadores. (via Momus)

Granular synthesis.

10. silk debris

thoughts strangled at birth
build · each twig sheathed with ice · build
the text of silence
whose glacial moraine
parking lot and barbed wire ice

it's only these crawling wights who garner and doubt hope;
stars, serene and proud, shine softly without hope.

each solitary bird sits perched atop a pole.
if any jostle, it were only to flout hope.

flowers planted at Auschwitz in the gayest hues
fade, are replaced; their raison d'être is to shout hope

i am the song, Graywyvern says, my black smoke flies
above the shattered town; it swells; it's not about hope

sunlight on pale twigs
beyond the library glass
sparkles as they sway

my back sore from much lifting
yesterday; the steel chair cool

the hollow "kerchunk" of ice cubes
falling into a metal glass

itchy feet and thinning smiles

Roundup of Harper's keeping track. (via Metafilter) Number of days till i find time to read to the end of this: probably 10 or 15.

Why We're Here. (via Supergee)


9. what the thunderduck said

a full day driving then a full day of work
a journey so long you forget how it started

darker outside
for the lights in here
blithely wicked folded war

freezing rain
on this sad height I pray
the ice sliding down

cicala Nôh
all these tshirt are under $100
hangers-on and toad-eaters
an old newspaper still crisp

variable width arterial
in a strange car
like strange shoes

it's enough to make
ice start forming on your iPod

the muzzle of the city came down
fewer and fewer shapes moved

never wholly abandoned
it is now a type of hieroglyph

half admonitory · half illegible
this is what we were

this is what we are capable of

You choose a team (or have one chosen for you); then believe the sorts of things others on your team believe.

Melanie on the Golden Globes: "Okay, before I launch into a big wrap-up on the Golden Globes, I'd like to explain a little bit about how the Globes--or, rather, how the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which sponsors the Globes--work. To do so, I'll draw upon my own observations from over 20 years in the movie biz as well as the insight I learned from well-connected insiders I became acquainted with during that time.

The main thing is to remember the "Foreign" part of the Hollywood Foreign Press; that is, the voters often have a predisposition to films from parts of the Globe other than Hollywood. At the same time, however, because a lot of the journalists affiliated with the HFPA work for low-profile publications in their native countries, they are generally a pretty star-struck bunch, which both studio publicists and stars' agents are well aware--as a result, these handlers will practically bend over backwards to make sure their clients get plenty of face-time with the HFPA (which, in turn, gives the reporters something to crow about to their competitors back home). In this way, the Golden Globes may be even more nakedly political than the Oscars. On the other hand, whoever said winning a Golden Globe automatically guarantees an Oscar to follow, is a bit optimistic. Certainly, winning a Globe never hurt anyone's Oscar campaign because, at the very least, it raises the profiles of all the nominees and/or winners, thus creating interest with Oscar voters (who, like all of us vote with their own individual biases). However, to qualify all of this, ultimately what is being judged is the work on the screen. Even so, publicists crave awards attention because it increases the visibility of their films in the marketplace (and therefore helps sell the film), and agents love awards attention because it provides future bargaining chips for their clients in the future. And actors, not to mention writers, directors, etc., really do like awards because they're a competitive lot (otherwise they wouldn't be successful in such a cut-throat industry), and because, hey, let's face it, winning awards is fun!

Okay, so here's what happened and how it figures in the upcoming Oscar showdown. I have to say I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled, for Kate Winslet to have won both Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama (Revolutionary Road) and Best Supporting Actress (The Reader). I love her in both movies, actually, but I think her performance in Revolutionary Road is truly, truly of the smartest things I've ever seen. RR is also now my official--personal--choice for the year's very best movie. And I say "pooh" to all those critics who have knocked her for not being sympathetic in RR. To me, she is the very essence of a sympathetic character. So far, Sally Hawkins, who won the GG for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (Happy-Go-Lucky) has been the darling of the various critics' societies, with Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) a close second. I'm personally rooting for Winslet, and I think her Globe win could be significant. That said, Meryl Streep is excellent in the rather difficult Doubt (which I liked enough to see twice), so I don't think she--nor Hathaway--can be written off just yet. Still, Winslet's success in such mind boggling projects as Revolutionary Road and The Reader (a movie that would also make my own year-end Top 10 list) in a single year has to count for something. It's tempting to think Oscar's final five will be Winslet, Streep, Hathaway, Hawkins and Angelina Jolie (Changeling), but Jolie, who looked like a sure thing last year at this time for A Mighty Heart, once again might be bumped. If that happens, Melissa Leo (an actress known primarily for TV work) is waiting in the wings for the low budget indie Frozen River, as are Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey), Michelle Williams (Wendy and Lucy), and Kristin Scott Thomas for the French import I've Loved You for So Long. Btw, the Screen Actors Guild nominees are Hathaway, Jolie, Leo, Streep, and Winslet.

Of course, Winslet's win as Best Supporting Actress took away from the momentum built by Penelope Cruz for Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona. I've seen Cruz in a number of films, of course, and, truthfully, I can take her or leave her; that said, she's often better in foreign language films than she is in English speaking roles. Yet in VCB,an American film set in Spain, she is at the top of her game, and she has scads of awards already to prove it. Of course, Woody Allen has a knack for bringing out the best in his performers, especially the actresses who often win Oscars (even when they play characters who are not necessarily sympathetic). Even factoring out the late surge of interest in Kate Winslet's turn in The Reader, Cruz will still face stiff Oscar competition from Viola Davis, who plays the quiet, put upon mother of the--allegedly--molested boy at the center of Doubt. Davis only has two back-to-back scenes in the movie, but she's absolutely riveting as she tries to make Meryl Streep's Mother Superior understand her "side" of the situation. Beyond that, I'd still like to see Golden Globe nominee, and former Oscar winner, Marisa Tomei sneak a nomination for The Wrestler. That noted, Tomei is not in the running for the SAG award, which might prove telling. Instead, her spot in thet contest is arguably filled by Taraji P. Henson, playing Benjamin Button's adoptive mother in The Curious Case of... Also bucking for a nod is Amy Adams, Streep and Davis's co-star in Doubt. Frankly, I wish there was room at Oscar's table for Debra Winger, impressive as the mother of the two siblingsin Rachel Getting Married, and either Christine Baranski or Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep's lovely, sun-kissed daughter, in Mamma Mia! Baranski, btw, tears-up the screen with her rousing version of "Does Your Mother Know?"

Speaking of The Wrestler, comeback king Mickey Rourke's win as Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama was a bit of a surprise, especially given the momentum generated thus far by Sean Penn for his work as slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk, in Milk. My thoughts over the past month has been that Rourke would emerge as Penn's only significant competition--and Rourke's win pretty much signifies that. As I see it right now, a win for Penn, easily the season's biggest champ up to this point, would have certainly sealed the deal for his 2nd Oscar; however, I don't think his loss is significant just yet. After all, neither The Wrestler nor Milk are playing in wide runs yet, so it's not clear which one will "catch-on" and create the most goodwill with audiences (which might sway media coverage and influence Academy members). A more telling barometer might be the upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards. To clarify, the Golden Globe winner for Best Actor does not always go on to win the Oscar. Penn's performance in transformative, worlds apart from the one he played--and won an Oscar for--in Mystic River, but Rourke's riding high on the comeback trail, which Oscar so dearly loves (because many of them know, they too might have to take that ride someday). Also, even though Clint Eastwood was not GG nominated for Gran Torino, the 78 year old actor-director just saw his late entry Torino open as the week's #1 film, so he may very well make the Oscar race even more interesting. Likewise, I don't really anticipate Frank Langella to win an Oscar to go with his Tony for playing Richard Nixon, in Frost/Nixon, but a nomination would be a nice touch--and, so far, armed with both GG and SAG noms, an Oscar nom for Langella appears a virtual certainty. Meanwhile, many media types and assorted industry insiders are waiting with baited breath that an Oscar nom materializes for SAG nom Richard Jenkins (an actor more recognizable by face, rather than name) in "The Visitor" (another independent feature, like Frozen River, given only limited theatrical release).

To the surprise of no one, the late Heath Ledger took the Best Supporting Actor award for his universally hailed performance as the creepiest "Joker" of them all in the world-wide box-office blockbuster, The Dark Knight. At this point, it is hard to imagine that Ledger's performance won't win the Oscar next month. Still, there has to be four other nominees. Robert Downey Jr. is certain to be nominated for playing "the dude playing the dude disguised as another dude" in Tropic Thunder. But that role, a pompous Australian Method actor in black face, probably pushes a few too many politically incorrect buttons to sway voters away from the Ledger tidal wave. Beyond that, I'd like to see Josh Brolin score a nod for playing Dan White, the real-life shooter of Harvey Milk and San Francisco's Mayor Moscone. Between his work in Milk, "W.," No Country for Old Men, and American Gangster, Brolin is proving himself one of the current cinema's most interesting actors, mainly because he's willing to play roles that might not necessarily seem sympathetic at first glance--no easy feat, that, and I respect him for it. Brolin has won a few early prizes, and he's up for the SAG award, but he was not nominated for a Globe, and that surprises me. My other two choices for an Oscar nomination in this category would be James Franco, for playing Sean Penn's restless lover in Milk, and Tom Cruise, virtually unrecognizable as the ruthless, foul-mouthed studio chief in Tropic Thunder. Cruise was one of last night's Globe nominees, but he's AWOL among the SAG roster, so his Oscar chances appear dicey. Even so, the solid success of his unlikely Christmas release, Valkyrie, might be enough to excite the attention of Oscar voters (who otherwise might be tempted to write off Tropic Thunder as either a fluke or a stunt).
A last minute surge of momentum--including a profile in Entertainment Weekly--might make a difference for Michael Shannon, who plays a "lunatic" who sees through the suburban sham in Revolutionary Road. (For that matter, Kathy Bates, who plays Shannon's mother, might also score a surprise Best Supporting Actress nomination.)

For my money, a horrible choice for this category would be Dev Patel, the 18 year-old star of Slumdog Millionaire. Yes, even though Patel is clearly the main character in his film, his studio is promoting him as a supporting player. Though I have not read an official statement as to why this is so, I can pretty much figure, the studio publicist's argument: that Slumdog Millionaire is truly an ensemble piece, and that Patel is only one of three actors who play the central character (who ages from barely more than a toddler to young adulthood). Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes, even though three actors play that role, it is still, obviously, the film's main character, and Patel clearly has more screen-time than any other actor in the film. Using that studio's logic, Brad Pitt should likewise be positioned as a supporting actor for Benjamin Button (which, to clarify, is from a different studio), since Pitt is only one of about 7 actors who play BB. In the movie's early sequences, the character is created by using computer technology to graft Pitt's digitized head onto the bodies of other actors (of various statures), while in the latter portion of the film, a series of successively younger actors play BB. The studio, however, argues that it is Pitt who ultimately determines the character's portrayal. In reality, Pitt is being positioned for Best Actor because he's an easily marketable star whose ego must be stroked, while Patel is positioned as a supporting player because he's not a big star like Pitt, and the studio is grasping at straws for an easy score. That noted, 5 years ago, the studio that released New Zealand's Whale Rider launched a Best Supporting Actress nomination for 14 year-old Keisha Castle Hughes, but Oscar voters were savvy enough to see the actress as the leading player she was, and nominated her for Best Actress.

Finally, Slumdog Millionaire took prizes for both Best Director (Danny Boyle) and Best Motion Picture Drama. This one-two punch could be repeated at the Oscars, but I still feel the deluxe, big budget studio offering Benjamin Button (positioned to score more nominations overall than Slumdog because of its period atmosphere and technical wizardry) will be its main rival for the top awards. (To be frank, I'm not a fan of either film.) I don't anticipate Best Picture nods for three of my favorite films, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, or Wall-E; however, Milk still has a chance and the fact that Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona nabbed the Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy from the likes of Mamma Mia! and Happy-Go-Lucky indicates there might be greater overall support (for VCB) than earlier predicted. Allen, of course, seems a no-brainer for a screenplay nod, and maybe even Best Director.

I'll close with a list of the films currently in contention for the Producers Guild Award, the Directors Guild Award, and the SAG award for Best Ensemble. These noms should give you an accurate idea of how the Best Picture/Director races are shaping up:

PGA: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millinaire

DGA: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), David Fincher (Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), and Gus Van Sant (Milk)

SAG Award for Best Ensemble: Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire

Btw: Oscar nominations are announced a week from Thursday, with the SAG awards the following Sunday.

Thanks for your consideration,

8. smoke over Gaza

eyeless the iron another
shortage of ploughshares
the Wain turns
the shattered bodies are gathered up
the feckless will always be with us thronging
crayon war

In 1939 this book was read for the last time. It will never be read again.
In 1961 this book was read for the last time. It will never be read again.
No one will ever read this book.

"We mused for a while over parents. Then I went on musing about why it was thought better and higher to love one's country than one's county, or town, or village, or house. Perhaps because it was larger. But then it would be still better to love one's continent, and best of all to love one's planet." --The Towers of Trebizond



7. black swan

freed of these necessities
what might we not accomplish
what might we not accomplish
in the antelucan darg
someone else's scriptures
colors that burn within me
warm, humid morning spangled
with red and with green my door
broken at the drive through not
because it's true but because
it's old and part of that is
claiming its unwords are true
but they're not that kind of words
my useless captaincy
in pagandom

transverse shadowings
tinglings in my driving hand

the old bright following of faded guidelines
together one or in solitude
massed leafless trees wheel

the rhythm will continue
as i reclaim my small loaned picture
flight of birds

did i fail to create fitting progeny
road with no shoulder
the heater finally kicking in

way past the legal limit
i'd never given much thought to how i would
die nor now

as the wavelets slide en masse
through the line of white
bird-perched poles

is it railroads you want · clouds of billowing
steam · in the lonely night a whistle
or only that something still

after jahiliyyah has faltered
something still on wheels
moving against the backdrop of lazy gray

and the birds
waiting perhaps for the wind to drop
my words too

not yet to take wing
and no one will tell us what
the season is nor its arcane requirements

body of the oak
the Trinity Billabong
just be brave

pale hazy skyline of towers yet standing
they could be occupied · even now

Guess i gotta post this. But you know how i'm starting to feel? Like after i stepped in some dog shit, & wiped my shoe off as best i could. How i feel about the dog shit is how i feel about this president. It's not worth hating, it's not even worth being angry. Just wipe the dog shit off our shoes & keep walking.

Curse of Turan. (No doubt Americans in the 22nd century will believe something similar.)

Alright, it's a bit worse than that.

I feel smeared with shit from head to toe. I feel like i was pushed into a vat of shit by many of my countrymen, who jumped in after me & took an unholy relish in wolfing it down, puking it back up, & swallowing over again the mixture of puke & shit that passed for our national discourse. I feel like i was raped with a glowing neon flagpole. I watched as the arsonists burned my house down & every house on the block, as far as the eye could see, and they called it MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I feel like a German in 1945. Those thousands & thousands who died, who would still be alive if Gore had won: their families will not wipe away the memory of the last 8 years, will they, quite so easily as that?

I feel like my face was melted off, & i have to stand in my uniform for a photograph, & pretend that nothing's wrong.

So goodbye Red-Assed Baboons. You will be remembered.

"The Oughts will surely be discussed as music’s balkan decade..."

6. in the ruins of former purposes

down through all eternity
the crying of
buried Amontillado
tor running out of rainbowgrout

shinyness of powerful
and meerkat jurisprudence
the world askew
as it rides on the Maelstrom

they never run out of orange cones

every song one of my favorite songs
every headline something i'm interested in
watch out for that car

at the great divide

Land of No Horizon. Hollow Planets Theory. And then there's Exopolitics. And much, much more.

Animations of Dead French poets reciting their poems on YouTube. (via Metafilter)

Basho. (via Silliman)

5. whitener solstice

seek thee on eBay
your fave darb of yesteryear

sleep on the job or don't sleep at all
they run out of orange cones

they have the language of rationality but not reason
no reason for anything they do

What if they should proceed this time?
The hands moan

across the overpass alone
hoping it won't give

the arc of a legend
shapes melt in a crowd glare
the ley-lines we walk
whisper of oread

kindle a durable fire
i call the violet dragon
having never lost the road
or abandoned its pidgin

parables of gold
halfway home at Beltane


"Obama" by Alex Grey. (via dr. menlo)

Julian Date Converter.

In the Land of Invented Languages. More.

4. apostrophe error journal

the white rot

Novels written on cellphones are dominating the Japanese book market.

(by George Tooker)

3. we of the never never

ever do anything
nice · and easy

watch GWTW
on your cell's little screen


Israeli soldier, Palestinian girl. (via)

Video of the shoe incident.

2. i mix with dingos not duchesses

zombie · zombie · zombie · zombie
your face doesn't move

dinosaur grease
less & less a thing we want to use
like cigarettes · plastic bags · torture

zombie · zombie · zombie · zombie
your face doesn't move

"It is not as important to believe in the myths and legends of the tribe as it is to participate in tribal actions." --Lewis Shieber writing in Green Egg, 1975

    "Calling the Dreaming"

1. i throw my shoes at President Bush

andropause nanolift
your tshirt that says Breeder

the last free solstice
Eartha Kitt's "Hurdy Gurdy Man"

stories in which a style is the protagonist

"If Plato had said that both were real..."

My Back Pages.

   "Mud Doctor"

reich thundersnow
pinkgold coolth
iced espresso truffle
gray wool · bluegray car seat

somewhere sirens
in burning silence
perfect science of
mountain air
mountain thundersnow

push my cell for the time again
a small tree shudders
in the unfelt wind
i'm not the only one waiting

Three-fourths of justice is listening.


Pyrophones thread.

Maybe it was to theorize
a wavering bead,

out of hidden
a tutelary hajj.

Maybe lodge arithmetic
gave the spinning ball a jab.
Fell the Assyrian
style on a halfling age.

Written on terrestrial things.

Anita's Etsy shop.

Palinomicon: coda.

Like farcical fingers
Like frightful facts

the steely gnomon
of the last enigma

was i that selfish
in my borrowed flesh
night's own absinthe
will not change the sign

lone anodyne
the eye of Alcor
global ucalegon
crow with sprig of green

The Polaroid: Imperfect, Yet Magical. (thanx Melanie!)

Cognitive-Semantic Poetry. (via Silliman)

Pink Lady doing "UFO".

Hazmat Modine on Russian TV.


is there frith in rootedness
is there peace in wandering
a windy night wears sadness
like a prisoner's tattoo

hurl baby animals the
windy night opens
knowing how there is no frith
nor peace in a land torn loose

a route of evanescence
colossal desert nail chrome amethyst trail

The Continuum Concept.

   "John Edward Speaks to Me from the Grave"

the presence of elves
in Klesperanto

benthic glibber

Database animals.

The only real impediment to understanding is the feeling of certainty.

Explaining 80606 through Kozai migration.

I'm Blue.