Distribution Automatique

Saturday, March 8

-In Memory of Truth- a new installation by Ligorano/Reese went on view tonight, at eyewash @ Monk Gallery, 301 Bedford Avenue (Bedford & S. 1st St, Brooklyn.718-782-2458) Nora Ligorano decided she wanted to see a video screened on the head of a pin and asked her partner Marshall Reese if he could do it. The result is one of the most exciting installations yet from this dynamic duo. The optical device looks like a giant microscope and when you look into it through a magnifier you see a number of films collaged together screened on the tiny plastic head of a pin! Most of the films are early war films. The installation also included a large digital wall photo of Bush at the moment he was told of 9/11 by Andrew Card. All of Ligorano/Reese’s work contain powerful, very witty political messages and often operate on a subtle subliminal level.

A recent project of Ligorano/Reese consisted of a John Ashcroft snow globe. Although obviously the piece was meant as a parody, Ashcroft or some of his friends were charmed and bought some of the snow globes. Ashcroft was given one as a gift and evidently he displayed it proudly. The whole episode was detailed in a recent issue of the New Yorker.

Other recent works of Ligorano/Reese include "Turning Leaves of Mind," (Granary) an artists' book collaboration with the poet Gerrit Lansing and "Breakfast of Champions" a 1991 piece about Desert Storm, exhlbited in the recent "Critical Consumption" show at the Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn.

For more information on Ligorano/Reese visit their website at www.pureproductusa.com

Friday, March 7

Stephanie Young (-the well nourished moon-) wrote and asked some questions about -fait accompli-


....question: about the dates on your blog entries. Are
you posting older journal entries? Have I not read you
carefully enough -- did you 'explain' this at some
point -- are you expanding on / editing the
journal/daybook entries as you post them --

all bests,

I thought about starting a blog for awhile and after hearing from Ron Silliman about it, and talking with Gary Sullivan I realized that once I had the title I might have an idea of what I wanted to do . This is often how I begin or end a poem, with a title. Wandering around Central Park one day early last month I realized that the blog would be called - fait accompli-. It was as if I had "read ahead" in time and glimpsed the title as if it had already existed in the future. I often have that feeling about poems or parts of poems- that I "channel" them from some 'elsewhere' where they already existed. With these thoughts came the sub-titles: spellbound speculations: time travel. I then understood that my blog would include journal entries from my own earlier journals and possibly those of others, to be used as time travel experiments. Today's entry that you commented on exemplified what I had in mind, in that the ideas, feelings and thoughts, actually written in 1992, corresponded surprisingly well with what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it today, 11 years later, in 2003. I try to change the original entry as little as possible. Even a slight change deeply effects calibrating the time travel. If the two periods of time blur into each other, without a sharp dfferentiation the time shift effect becomes fuzzier. While precision of meaning is important, the effect of a different period permeating the content adds to the "depth of field" of time past, yet still remembered, and correlating synchronisticaly with a moment in the present. This strikes me as an example of the kind of synchronicity that facilitates time travel. Of course, there is the other example of theoretical speculations in poetics about poets being influenced by poetry that has yet to be written.

The dates at the bottom of the blog entries show the date of the original journal entry. On some blog entries, entries from various periods are juxtaposed, somewhat randomly, seeking to invite or induce synchronicities. I used many of these strategies in constructing my book- Theoretical Objects- (from Green Integer, 1999). In that book I collaged journal entries, notebook writings, prose poems, essay fragments, aphorisms, poems with linebreaks, quotes and allusions to other writers and writings in order to try to induce the types of trance states that might facilitate "time travel." As in -Theoretical Objects- I layer time periods (TO is not constructed chronologically, like -fait accompli-). The late Ramez Quereshi published a review of -TO- (can be accessed through Google) in which he asks me questions and discusses my use of non-linear chronologies.

Thanks for the letter, Stephanie.

And keep those -well nourished moon- California vibes coming. We need 'em here in snow-bound Manhattan!

Meaning, meaning everywhere and not a drop to think
Meaning, meaning everywhere and all the thoughts did shrink

1. Whether or not I write, or what emerges when I finally choose to write, is in the hands of forces something along the lines of one of those spinning devices that are used for young children's board games.

2. My bit of comfort and security, so hard won, threatens the future of my writing because I am so much less watchful than when I was more worried.

3. So that even healing slightly wounds as it heals. But these kinds of discomforts are ridiculous when I complain about them.

4. Strategy- that unreliable friend.

5 Make a virtue of the trap. Describe it, follow it around, trace its movements again and again.

6. The form is a decoy from the unrelenting embarassment (stage fright).

7 Don't lie- you've already been sufficiently introduced.

8. Face your audience with a mirror- then hide behind it. Backstage, fix your mask using the expressions on the faces of the audience.

9. Listening, I am gently rocked by the repetition of silences, mimicked by the monotone of good advice and wise counsel.

10, This way- questions. That way- more questions.

11, Get out of the bubble to breathe.Now it's TOO quiet.

12, Fullness doesn't satiate because it is impatient for what is next. Incompletion satisfies because it leaves room for mystery.

13. I am dissatisfied with my readings of so many of the works of my friends because when I love them, they stimulate a need to answer them within my own work which in turn tends to crowd out the impulse to delve deeper into their work.


15. What was the image of the poem? All the poems I've loved. I can still feel the spaces they breathe in.

16. What is the opposite of quiet? It is cacaphony. Thought is cacophony.

17. I don't want to write "about" because this belongs to whatever it belongs to before I say it.

18. Keeping track of things is not interesting in and of itself. The feeling of organization soothes.

19. Interpenetration fostered by a degree of scatter. I only need one but I have two. Remember the critic's remark about the "impenetrability of patches."

20. What is a trope? For some reason, I have never wanted to know.

Thursday, March 6

Time travel as a theme in psychoanalysis. Time travel may also be understood as a mode of relating to time differently. In contemporary life we are so frequently rushed and then slowed down so that time as it exists no longer feels like it fits, like a garment that is either too tight or too loose. Persistent time disorientation can be either very stimulating or very boring. To the extent that poetry or poetics is prophetic it can offer a species of time travel. The timelessness of certain works- Blake's -Marriage of Heaven and Hell- or -Hamlet-. Their being able to typify certain states of mind that have been emerging over time.

Life: once you see it for what it actually is, you find it is actually a lot but for a tremendously brief period of time.

"What's that you say? Consecutive fifths and octaves are forbidden, why? Parallel movement is condemned...by what pray?" (Debussy, when a student at the music conservatory, as quoted by Valles)

"Ah, the delicious aura of vague ideas slowly growing clear, only to melt into another reverie,another dream."

"You pompous poseurs that answer to the name 'avant-garde!'"

"Deliriously happy paging through phrase after phrase of his songs.."

Breaking things up. An endless wall of words will keep me out. "Breaking up" is laughing.

Douglas Messerli's reading- "too drunk to dream and too full of dream to get drunk"
"The heart survives on so little."
Use of the word "thighs."

Mei-Mei's reading.
Benjamin- "Eternity might be like a ruffle on a woman's dress"
Richard Tuttle mentioned Texel Island in Holland- protected wildlife.

Schuldt- Hamburg/ E. 12th St.

Making it up as you go along.

Kohut's description of Tragic Man. Kafka's K. Copy out section regarding little space and going within.

It's one thing to check the weather prediction in the media - another to only know what the weather is by going by the media.

I'm not a profundity machine.

This premonition I traced back to a lunch with L. I asked him about K- or he mentioned K and I asked him about her. Then I ran into her about one week later.She didn't know he was leaving his job. L's daughter was with her- about 11. We talked about managed care and golden handcuffs (meaning waiting for retirement) A common premonition - thinking of someone- then running into them soon after. Same morning of running into K I had a dream about Postgraduate Center. going back there to get some prices- for some literally small things (like a small bird) I had seen a bird flying around the school hallway. Ms M-( I call her TLC) asked me if Iknew what that meant- an omen?

Breton sold rare books and paintings.

Theoheretical Orbits: views for youse

When you dream at night, there are plenty of busses in the land of the dead.
(Toni Simon, 4/22/01)

The motherfuckers liberation army.

"Simon had a cat,which we could never seem to decide on a name for.Cat, being all we ever called it."
David Markson, -Wittgenstein's Mistress-, p. 37.

Time relationships. Time atomized into thoughts instead of actions.

Darkening clouds. They burst.Things sent higggledy-piggeldy in all directions.
Bring in a screen.Notice the shading as it starts to occur. Take out a mental umbrella
before the splattering starts. Protect yourself. When the splattering starts, just let the drops
dissolve. Don't start. Don't let it start. If you see the darkening start, let the clouds
stay light. Watch the darkening clouds go bright.

Form should release, not impede, it should help to be inclusive ,not exclusive,its order should be expansion,not contracting. It must be non-conforming for these reasons - because conformity's main function is to restrain- to make beings efface themselves, meld in.

When Pavese wrote "Among Women Only" could he have been thinking of Vuillard and Bonnard- so many of their paintings offer what seems to be a very discreet view into the ineffable relationships between women and what Rilke termed "the wide outside"(-Duino Elegies-)

The Contemplatives

To know that your are living within a casing of determined shapes of consciousness, crowding into one's living space (I see them, though, as sculptures) but your pleasure goes beyond all this.

"Never show dismay, never show resentment." (Orwell-"1984")
"We're destroying words- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone." ("1984")
"Was he then alone in the possession of a memory?" ("1984")
"His earlier thought returned to him.: probably she was not a member of the thought police." ("1984")

Titles for uncompleted essays

"The Response to Poetry As A Collective Revery"

"Countertransference and a Diminished Referral Rate"

"America In The Post-Phallic Stage:Towards a Universal Feminism"

(from a tiny notebook)

Everyone is at a party. Bombing outside keeps them there.Things come out.

They are circling the snackwagons. Not a good sign.
(Toni Simon)

Make this world a better place for monsters.

The failed attempt to colonize my perceptions by coup d'etat.

Crush your quibbles like a heartless despot or they will rule your life.

Put your memory where your mouth is.
(Toni Simon, 6/19/99)

1. Quotations
"Dive for cover"
"Instead of taking it, how can I avoid doing anything about it?"

The challenge- and tragedy- of contemporary life: only room for the essential.

Wednesday, March 5

Nada said she disagreed with Descartes and thought his idea "I think therefore I am" was destructive. For one thing, it neglects the voice of the body. How about this, then, Nada? Since speaking enacts a relationship between mind and body, how about :'I say what I think therefore I am'? And if this is so, since saying with meaning should involve listening and responding, how about, 'I respond therefore I am'? If Descartes had been truthful maybe he would have just put it: "I write therefore I am" which is barely a variation of "Publish or perish."

I appreciated Marianne Shaneen's suggestion to go see Steven Matheson's films at the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, at 145 Ludlow between Rivington and Stanton earlier tonight.. I liked in particular "Apple Grown Wind Tunnel" by Steven Matheson aptly described in the flyer: "This absurdist, microscopic film noir follows an underground network of people in a post- industrial world where natural resources are disappearing. "Apple" imagines the development of an alternative culture of self-care at the margins,lined by illicit radio broadcasts, toxic waste sites, the highway, and the overwhelming desire to find a cure." (First prize Black Maria Film Video Festival, and San Francisco International Film Festival Award). These awards were deserving, as this film is comparable to Godard's "Alphaville" in its sinister evocation of an ominous world heading towards doom. I talked with the artist afterwards and he confirmed our sense that the video, despite its anguished subject matter of disease and destruction, seeks for hopeful signs in underground networks of knowledge exchange and utopic yearnings. All thumbs up! Marianne and I discussed the film briefly after talking with Matheson. She and I agreed that the secret shortwave broadcasts that had gained a following among long distance truckers could be compared with geometrically expanding networks of bloggers seeking to break away from the useless, propaganda lined one way streets and crowded commercial highways of mass media. Going home, trapped on an uptown rat infested F train platform which no longer seemed to be receiving trains tonight. Typical post 9/11 Manhattan reality. No one came to explain that the uptown F train had stopped so as I sat there for about 20 minutes pacing around, leaving messages for Toni (she was already asleep) and thought about Matheson's films and how close by these deserted stretches of a decaying reality were. I was in one! No way out, and what to do? Going down to the film I had been shut out of a closed down Broadway train station at 96th Street.. Two strikes. Finally found a cop who was comfortably seated at the end of the East Broadway station. "No more uptown trains. Take a train to Brooklyn." A train to Brooklyn? At 1am? When I'm going the other way??? I was back out on the street, and the atmosphere felt ominous. I saw a cab with a lit up sign and ran for it. All those jokes at the film about paranoia... not so funny now...Fortunately I caught the cab and got home safe, and 18 bucks poorer, in time for this wrap up.. So here it is, all you late night bloggers. fait accompli says nighty- night and pleasant dreams...

Monday, March 3

I met Murat Nemet-Nejat, author of a recent Green Integer book called "The Peripheral Space of Photography," roaming around on the poetics list . Murat is a great talker, and here he is in an exclusive interview, conversing about photography and art with one of the most sought after art "talkoholics" around, David Shapiro.

Dear Nick,

During the recent weeks David Shapiro and I exchanged e-mails and talked on the phone. Here is one of my e-mails to him in which I am responding to a few of his comments on "The Peripheral Space":

"And so the questions remain: Can you paint or take photographs in the past tense? Can you take photographs of involuntary and voluntary memory at the same time? Is this indeed what you suggest all photographs do? "He is dead, and he is going to die, and he will have died"

Dear David,

Let me try to clarify, if I can. Reflection in photography is a process which takes place between the subject and the viewer, substantiated in words in the mind of the viewer. On the one hand, a photograph is a flat piece of paper on which time and light leave traces, creating an epistemological aura (thereness); to it the mind responds bringing its own past. In this coupling the paradoxes of time and the voluntary/involuntary are synthesized.

Maybe, Mohaly-Nagy's "Decorative Work" (pp. 88-90) embodies the purest example of what I am saying. The process of viewing a photograph takes time.
That space is in the present, and the eye/mind's movement starts as voluntary. At one point(s) the response turns involuntary, at that moment the "past" of the photograph and the past of the viewer joining into full photographic space. In that sense, the photographic experience/space is a present into which involuntarily the past pours in and surrounds it.

One (that is, the photographer) does not "take" photographs in the past tense; each viewer substantiates it. The past the viewer brings to a photograph is history in W. Benjamin's sense, that is, a critical re-interpretation of the past as if a dream. For instance, my response to Mohaly-Nagy's photograph implicitly, subliminally critiques, re-sees modernism, in search of something beyond (peripheral), something new, decoration as a positive, active idea (word).

The worker's activity on the wall is also my involuntary experience of time.

In "Histoire du Cinema" Goddard talks about the "gaze" in Manet and Velasquez. He, and Deleuze in his book "Time-Image," are seeing cinema, in my opinion, moving to a state of photography. In his essay on Einsteinstein's stills ("The Third Eye"), Barthes anticipates that.

"Other questions, from Meyer: Is a photograph semiotically translatable: wpord and image'; frontaloity is like an I; profile like a he. If thois does not hold in a stable form, what does?"

Not semiotically, and not in the sense of "trans"; but in the sense Walter Benjamin means by translation: a movement in which two languages move to a "third" space of "ideal language," which is also photographic space. Photographic space is (spills into) ideal language. From that angle the correspondances between frontality and I, profile and he are incorrect. The subject may choose to look at or avert his/her/its face from the lens. That potential for either, that doubleness (the Lincoln photo), the potential for choice (freedom) is the essence of photography.

Photography's impulse is towards chaos, break down, rather than stability.

Thank you for all your ideas, questions and suggestions. I looked at some of Baldessari's work. He also is interested in "parallel texts" to photographs. I am finding the list of artists you gave me very revealing in terms of my looking at my own work.

My best to Lin


Sunday, March 2

There is nothing to compare with the pleasure of allowing poems ot meet me halfway. "Allowing" is actually a funny word for what is really happening, since I long ago realized there is simply no other choice. Like a lover, they come when they want, or not at all. Of course, "not at all" would be a far more serious situation If it were really "not at all" in the long term sense. There have been times, I must admit, when the poem came knocking at my door and the headphones of life were blasting away in my ears and I didn't even know the poem was there. Still, if the truth be known, there have even been times when the poem stared imploringly into my eyes. silent, hinting balefully of the words it wanted to say to me -and me, looking it straight back in the eyes, my mind completely somewhere else, so much so that we never really made eye contact, or soul contact. And, of course, because of this perhaps, and maybe just anyway, the many times, the many, many times I sat longingly waiting for the poem, remembering the times I've spent with it before, when we were really getting something on...but now, that rarely happens because I would hardly think of doing such a thing. The poem and I have made a truce, and we have an understanding with each other. It's better that way. And now, when we get together it's because we both really want to.
How easy it is to turn away from the difficult and obscure and how natural it is, in order to live. But inside here, in the ordered and still world of words and images it is as equally natural to pause before the opaque and the mysterious and to contemplate the unknown and the unknowable. So, at the end of a long day of gathering whatever, of talking and paying and deciding, of thinking and eating, of laughing and sighing, of exasperation and doubt, of exhilaration and sulking, of exulting and despairing, finally comes the time to set it all aside, to allow thoughts and reveries to surface, the hard decisions and realistic plans and actions to settle and disappear and the book to open and the pen to dream.

Of all the many things that are hard to do, and even almost impossible sometimes, the hardest thing there is to do is wait and see. Less than a mile from the spot where I write these words stands Cleopatra's Needle, with its hieroglyphs that are wearing away so much faster in the polluted air of today's New York, of today's world, than they did for thousands of years in the deserts of Egypt. How many millions of souls have stood before this mysterious presence and dreamt and wondered? Yet the Needle has presided through it all, silent and serene, unchanging, distant, enigmatic. The death of one, the birth of billions to it are as routine as the passage of the sun across the sky and the rising of the moon are to us. Its message seems to be that waiting and patience shouldn't be so hard as it is for humankind.

But the time with the Needle can be remembered only in moments. Soon it will be morning again and work and more hard work to be done. You can't dream your whole life away no matter how much thought seems locked up inside a hunk of rock twenty to thirty feet high. But we're here now, not there. Here where words stand still as towers and once printed will also never change. A little time and much perseverance and the words and soon the pages thicken and are dark with them. Not far from the Needle, hardly a mile away, is Harlem, home to tens of thousands of African-Americans many of whose ancestors must have lived not far from where the Needle had its home for so much time. I spent over twenty years working there and it's as much a part of my life as any place in this city.

After all the many answers, after all the pronouncements and theories and reasons for living and the quickly invented justifications for all the rushing by and hurried goodbyes comes the dreaming. The dreaming connects and disconnects, shines and builds and melts the doing, shapes and stabs and holds and plays and hurts and heals.The dreaming falls. More time and no time.

Always, unconsciously trying to gain back what we have lost, which has also become unconscious. Constantly getting glimpses, constantly watching the rays of light dwindle. So easy to run away into the illusion of something. After awhile, the light of the poetry, the very feeble and flickering llight reveals just this: were you holding on to an illusion, while you could have been focussed on what was always slipping away, but was most real?

That things repeat means they are more the same than different. How we warm ourselves against the cold indifference of time with our specialness, when a few thousand miles away people are killing each other, or perhaps soon will be, exactly the way they've done it for thousands and thousands of years.

This is a journey, like any other. Beginning, middle and end. I talk and someone listens, or no one listens, and either way, other things will follow and this will be forgotten- a mark on a trail, followed by another one which sooner or later will leave this one behind and be forgotten too. We hold to the remembering, but eventually it's all washed away. Only the remembering itself is remembered. I reach out and touch you, and I can feel you. I need not hold on to this one, but I want to know how . To remember how to with you. I don't need to describe it, or have it described. Teach me to know how to. Remind me.

In this dark song of mine
The shivers shine