Distribution Automatique

Saturday, February 21

from *Amiel's Journal*
31st May, 1880

"...This soliloquy means- what? That
reverie turns upon itself as dreams do;
that impressions added together do not
always produce a fair judgement; that a
private journal is like a good king, and
permits repetitions, outpourings, complaint.
....These unseen effusions are the
conversation of thought with itself, the
arpeggios, involuntary but not unconscious of
that Aeolian harp we bear within us. Its
vibrations, compose no piece, exhaust no
theme, achieve no melody, carry out no
programme, but they express the innermost
life of man."
from *Baudelairean* by Mary Hawthorne
London Review of Books- 5 February, 2004
a review of *Walker Evans* by James Mellow
Perseus, 2002

"He returned to the United States a few months later, and
tried again to write...'Oh yes,' he said years later...'I was
a passonate photographer...I thought that this was a
substitute for something else- well, writing, for one thing.'
...He loved contained, miniature, controllable worlds- books,
maps, postcards...He himself cited the unconscious influences
of Baudelaire and, especially, of Flaubert..."
"How about a little wiggle?" *Untitled* from
Nemski.com (David Nemeth) {click here}
Theory Trading Cards {click here}
via Nice Guy Syndrome {click here}
Home Is Not {click here} reports on a visit by Charles Alexander to Buffalo

Friday, February 20

Notebook: 8/7/89

The social space a harmonization of the
universal cacaphony of thoughts.

Experience, from birth to death, an endless
welter of images. On the one side (so
little time to choose- not quantitatively- but
because frustration relentlessly pushes forward,
wheel scrapes against sand, head against chair-)
Scylla bends forward, beckoning, laughter,
taunting, hurry, hurry- Charybdis falls back,
deep, racking, rolling, hyterical laughter-

Social document- laws, inscriiptions in stone.

Paradyme shift of latitudes in mind space
cause social longitudes to turn to representation of mental
attitudes to redetermine (reinvent, realert) the social

Social as superego- John Phillip Sousa
but also Bob Dylan

The muted trombone represents a social situation-
a memory- something about
ice tea and smiling and talking bashfully on the
verandah. Wasn't that song *terrific*? Tommy Dorsey on "Sleepy Laguna"

Thursday, February 19

Latta talk about Kathleen Fraser on
Hotel Point {click here}
Won't do Michigan a lotta good, but Fraser will read here
at the Bowery Poetry Club on February 28th.
Click on the *Segue Series* on the sidebar for details.
Boston Poets March Forth
on New York on March 4th
read all about it on
Fishblog (Aaron Tieger) {click here}
A frog the size of your eyeball?
Mysterium {click here}
*Stuff* on DaDooDoFlow {click here}
Jordan Davis {click here}
and Noah Eli Gordon (click here} uncover
poetic shortcuts between Massachusetts and New York
A Laurable Log (Laura Willey)
posted over 50 items of great audible interest yesterday-
and *then* she mentioned it was
Andre Breton's birthday.
This just in Prosecutor Sues Ashcroft In Terrorism Case {click here}
via transdada (kari edwards)
Untitled Mood: A Note (3/7/86)

Now and then, on the occasion of a flu or an emotionally
upsetting experience, the whole of life, including all the
complex interweavings of values, beliefs, pleasures,
aspirations, relationships, comes under question. Whether it is
exhaustion or irritability that does this I can't be sure,
but it is certain that a particular perspective, occluded under ordinary
circumstances, becomes more lucid. It is like the quality
of light on a changeably cloudy day: objects take on
an otherwise dull cast, less sharp, somehow less
determined, blending into each other by dint of shaded or
hidden edges. Perhaps partly because of this effect and
the unease and instability of shadowed states
of mind and time, thoughts tend to turn
inward, a kind of quietness, even silence, envelops the
inner life and for a certain while all that had just previously
seemed firm and solid now appears
provisional, shapeless, haphazard, inexact, unfinal.

It would be more comprehensible if thoughts were always
like a song's refrain, repeating themselves long enough
to be remembered, rhythmically even and predictable,
yet charmingly circumscribed and framed, allowing for
neat transitions from one state to another. But like
erratic gusts of wind, or sudden shifts in sunlight
breaking through gathering and moving clouds, thoughts
are just as likely to jump around in unusual ways when the inner
weather is erratic. As often happens when such events occur
and when an unmistakeable minor key emerges, a bleak
perspective may momentarily condition the inner view; a feeling,
perhaps uncomfortable, and which can
easily graduate to actual sorrow, glides the mind
along some specific narrrow furrows to memories
of difficult periods, awkward eras of doubt,
confusion and otherwise oppositional moods and
forces. Generally firm
convictions appear ephemeral; plans &
goals are now enveloped in fog, appearing to
move away from the mind's eye, leaving in their
wake a growing gulf and emptiness. This movement
leaves a blankness, a break in the everyday inner dialogue.
A space is hollowed out and some time is somehow
circumscribed for something strange to
happen. Instead of leaning forward in an attitude of
more or less pleasurable anticipation of future satisfaction,
interest or excitement, the mind hesitates between
present past and future. It is a stillness, a sense
of calm before the storm. A similar
mood has often been described by people who
live in places that are frequented by long periods of
cloudiness, humidity and gathering storms. There
are names for this type of prolonged, uncertain
weather I've heard employed in Southern France, I think, and Italy,
but I can't remember them now, perhaps one of my readers
will supply an example . Sometimes just having a name
for things can help to remove a bit of the
quality of impending doom that surrounds such unpleasant
admixtures of anxiety and possible excitement; the latter
I attribute almost completely to the beneficial effects of
the possibility of sudden change.

For it is change that pain sometimes
precedes, releases, torrential rains, spasmodic
bursts of thought lost in memories & hidden yearnings may thus be
forcibly displaced from their secret nests- flying out &
scattering like frightened birds heading towards
previously untouched ground.

Wednesday, February 18

"2. Everything immediately starts me thinking. Every joke
in the comic papers, every memory of Flaubert and
Grillparzer, the sight of the nightshirts on my parents'
beds, laid out for the night, Max's marriage. Yesterday
my sister said, "All the married people (that we know)
are happy. I don't understand it," this remark
started me thinking. I became afraid again.
3. I must be alone a great deal. What I accomplished
was only the result of being alone.
4. I hate everything that does not relate to literature,
conversations bore me (even if they relate to literature),
to visit people bores me, the sorrows and joys of my
relatives bore me to the very soul. Conversation takes
the importance, the seriousness, the truth out of everything
I think..."

*I Am I Memory Come Alive: Autobiographical Writings
of Franz Kafka*
edited by Nahum N. Glatzer
Schocken, 1974
Not A Blog/ Under Construction

Christina Strong's new web page {click here}
"This is the reason modern war is so monstrous:
its terrible reality is not seen in itself, but only as
part of the noise of radio. It does not stand
concretely before the human mind in itself and
therefore it is not properly controlled. Perhaps
war is becoming more and more violent and
terrible today because it wants to be seen as
what it really is, to be seen quite clearly as the
terrible thing it really is and not as a mere part
of the noise of the radio.

In times in which the power of silence was
still effective, war was heard from the
background of silence, and against this background it
became absolutely clear. There was still an
elemental simplicity in its terrors, and its noise
subsided again in the death that it brought in its
train. In these earlier forms of war man simply
suffered it in silence. It was not an object for
discussion, but an elemental experience.

Today, war is not even a rebellion against
silence; it is merely the biggest whirl of noise
in the general noisy bustle of life. If war reports
were not blaring out from the radio every
minute of the day the cannon fire and the wails
of the dying would be heard everywhere. In the
silence the wails of the dying would be heard
and they would weigh down even the sound of
the guns. In the silence the war would be heard
so loud that it would become intolerable. But
the constant noise of the war reports levels down
the sound of the guns and the cries of the dying
to the general and universal noise. War becomes
a part of the general noise of radio, adapted to
it; and as a result it is taken for granted like
everything that appears in the noise of radio.

It is as though the many and great deaths that
take place today were an attempt to restore a
zone of silence.When the noise-machine reaches
a maximum as it does today, then silence shows
itself as a maximum of death."

Max Picard
*The World of Silence*
Gateway, 1961
pps 202-203
Notebook: 7/26/86

All beauty may be measured by committment
Not that the sudden and strong may not leap into attention
With wit, verve and gallantry
But what is not with us everyday, as much as we remember,
Is really not yet quite ours again
So the first thing the poet must learn is to wait
And wait and wait
Wait by the rain and by the tides
By the long, lonely thoughts and the heartbroken night
By the chills of indifference and the vanishing words
Of the thoughtless, which ring again and again through

The lonely silence."Return to words" she said
Return to the way they make a thought seem special
To remind you that something best forgotten can still be summoned.
Take for yourself the words that just come
Blurted out to a friend on a bus
Whispered in your mind as you go to bed
As you turn in your seat to hear what is said.
"...And if no one reads me, have I wasted my time,
entertaining myself for so many idle hours with such
useful and agreeable thoughts? In modeling this picture
upon myself, I have had to fashion and compose myself
so often to bring myself out, that the model itself has to
some extent.grown firm and taken shape. Painting myself
for others, I have painted my inward self with colors clearer
than my original ones. I hve no more made my book than
my book has made me- a book cosubstantial with its author,
concerned with my own self., an integral part of my life, not
concerned with some third-hand, extraneous purpose, like
all other books. Have I wasted my time by taking stock
of myself so continually, so carefully? For those who go over
themselves only in their minds and occasionally in speech
do not penetrate to essentials in their examination as does
a man who makes that his study, his work, and his trade, who
binds himself to keep an enduring account, with all his faith,
with, with all his strength.

Indeed, the most delightful pleasures are digested inwardly,
avoid leaving any trace, and avoid the sight not not only of
the public but of any other person....

In order to train my fancy even to dream with some order
and purpose, and in order to keep it from losing its way
and moving with the wind, there is nothing like embodying
and registering all the little thoughts that come to it. I
listen to my reveries because I have to record them."

from *The Complete Essays of Montaigne*
translated by Donald A. Frame
Stanford, 1965
p. 504-505

Tuesday, February 17

This just in! Josh Corey's {click here} book *Selah*
reviewed in Time Out and
wins Barrow Street award judged by Robert Pinsky-
Barrow Street {click here}
from *Amiel's Journal*
15th November, 1876

"...On my way through the book I perceived
many new applications of my law of irony.
Every epoch has two contradictory
aspirations which are logically antagonistic
and practically associated. Thus the
philosophic materialism of the last century
was the champion of liberty. And at the
present moment we find Darwinians in
love with equality, while Darwinism itself
is based on the right of the stronger.
Absurdity is interwoven with life: real
beings are animated contradictions, absurdities
brought into action. Harmony with self would
mean peace, repose and perhaps immobility.
By far the greater number of human beings
can only conceive action, or practise it,
under the form of war- a war of competition
at home, a bloody war of nations abroad, and
finally war with self. So that life is a perpetual
combat; it wills that which it wills not, and wills
not what it wills. Hence what I call the law of
irony- that is to say, the refutation of the self
by itself, the concrete realisation of the absurd.

Is such a result inevitable? I think not. Struggle
is the caricature of harmony, and harmony, which
is the association of contraries, is also a principle
of movement. War is a brutal and fierce means
of pacification; it means the suppression of
resistance by the destruction or enslavement
of the conquered. Mutual respect would be a
better way out of difficulties. Conflict is the
result of the selfishness which will acknowledge
no other limit than that of external force. The
laws of animality govern almost the whole of
history. The history of man is essentially zoological;
it becomes human late in the day, and then only in the
beautiful souls alive to justice, goodness, enthusiasm,
and devotion. The angel shows itself rarely and with
difficulty through the highly-organized brute. The divine
aureole plays only with a dim and fugitive light around
the brows of the world's governing race.

The Christian nations offer many illustrations of the
law of irony. They profess the citizenship of heaven,
the exclusive worship of external good; and never has
the hungry pursuit of perishable joys, the love of this
world, or the thirst for conquest, been stronger or
more active than among these nations. Their official
motto is exactly the opposite of their real aspiration.
Under a false flag they play the smuggler with a droll
case of conscience. Is the fraud a conscious one? No-
it is but an application of the law of irony. The deception
is so common a one that the delinquent becomes
unconscious of it. Every nation gives itself the lie
in the course of its daily life, and not one feels the
ridicule of its position..."

(p 213-215)
from an interview with Peter Riley
conducted by Kevin Corcoran
pubished in Reality Studios
Volume 8
edited by Ken Edwards, 1986

"Ken Corcoran: so where does politics come in? You
suggest in *LInes on the Liver* that oil is using us, but
surely that's power, somebody owns that oil...Petrol
is cheap in North America. Look at the Middle East. They've
got Marines over there and 200 of them have been blown
up this morning. They're human decisions. I don't understand
your geo-economic metaphysics or something."

"Peter Riley: It's the people manipulating the oil who
are being used by it, "us" in the sense not only that they
are human but that they exert economic pressure on
everybody else. They want to be used by the oil, and it's
because of their mindlessness and advantage that humanity
is degraded to the mere tool of a geophysical energy source.
The situation with nuclear power is exactly similar: we become
victims of it because powermongers see advantage in it (and by
victims I don't mean the big bang, I mean the constant tension)
and use it against morality. But all I can see is vast institutions full
of people running around and destroying themselves beause that's
what nuclear fission wants them to do- they turn themselves into
channels for its emergence. So mankind subserves the power of
the earth..."
from *Semiotics of Art* edited by
Ladislav Matejka and Irwin R. Titunik
MIT, 1984

"....Thus, in poetry, as against informational language,
there is a reversal in the hierarchy of relations:
in the latter attention is focussed above all on
the relation, important from the practical point of view,
between reference and reality, whereas for the former
it is the relationship between the reference and the
context incorporating it that stands to the fore. This
is not to say that informational reference is absolutely
exempt from any effect of the context or that, on the
other hand, poetic reference is excluded from any contact
with reality. All that is involved is a shift, so to speak,
in the center of gravity. As for poetic reference, the
weakening of its immediate relationship with reality
makes of it an artistic device. That means that the
poetic reference is not evaluated in terms of an
extralinguistic mission but with relation to the role
imposed upon it in the organization of the work's
semantic unity."
Coincidence or willful act? Poetics on Friday Feb 13 at
Dagzine {click here}
notebook: 1986 (poem)





he is

Monday, February 16

Notebook 8//8/98

It comes
down to little
specks of things.
Even the smallest
particle of time
can be
crucial. Like
an accordian , life
expands and contracts.
For example,
a bit of a lesson might
be gained in experiencing a
mistake. Such
contractions and
expansions emit,
over time,
considerable amount
of energy.

I wonder
what the relationship
is between such
tiny specks or
particles of things
and the constant
expansion of time which
is called "forever."
Except as an
idea, whatever
forever is can only
be understood in
relation to the
tiniest portion
of time.

"Anything might
be transformation
if you would only
allow yourself to
complete it."
He had come to
distrust any
kind of of explanation.
Or is that a way
to talk about
what you might
talk about in
everyday conversation.

For example,
some sentences may
be incomplete,
in verbal terms.
But the nuances
of a person's
gestures and tone
of voice- not
to speak of
years of even
decades of

Always, some
things are too
much to say
or too little.

Then, more and
more things are
too much to say
or too

The glances
may become
More and more
and eventually you
turn to your

You take your
violin in your
hands and play
it. As you play
it, you're creating
the melody. You've
put on a tape

Unbelievably, you
realize as you
are playing that
you are actually
creating music. As
as result, later,
when you put
it down, you
suspect very
strongly that you''ll
come back to it.

As you are
playing, you
realize that the
opening chords
were very
important. You go
back and listen
to them. You
go on your way
after them, but
now and then you
come back to

To know how
to do someting
is to know what
the constituants
of the doing might
be. These might
be many difficult
kinds of steps,
but there will
always be steps..

Sometimes there
is an apprehension
that precedes
steps. The step
is visualized,
imagined, and
creeps in . On
some level,
however slightly,
danger has
been realized, or
rather, recognized.

There might be
hardly any
expectable order
in the events
that precede
the steps.


The piece we
listened to this
afternoon is
of the type we
may call
epansive, or

Constant pushing
on, but calmly,
the oboe glides
the violins to
places where they
did not expect
to go. By means
of a kind of
gentle layering,
or playful
challenging, the
violins, those
so subtly sighing
sopranos,echo or
convince their
companions, the
woodwinds. The
ending leads
to nothing more
astonishing, or
tragic, than a
nap. But such
a lyrical
flute, that are
memories and
words have
vanished, both
happy and sad.
(Debussy's prelude,
on the radio,
the second hello
from him today).

Always comes
down to a question
of meaning...
Can much be
made of the
meaning and

Such questions
can enter us into the
muddy area,
the place between
Smithson writes

Solitude for sale

Easy as 1 2 3
I love you
You love me
Easy as 1 2 3

Sunday, February 15

Still sorting books, selling books, giving them
away-friends are starting to come by to look
at the free box. Last night couldn't sleep-
got up and read Gill Ott's *Public Domain*
(Potes and Poets Press, 1989). I was moved
by what a beautiful and fascinating book it is,
child of the high era of L=A poetry, it stands
as one of the most insightful and rereadable
books of prose poetry
of the era. I went to sleep very sad that I did
not get to know Gill Ott better. The same for Joe
Ceravolo, Daniel Davidson, Ramez Quereshi,
and also Frank Kuenstler,
who one day a few years I tried to track
down through a close friend of his, only to discover
his memorial was slated for that day. Not to
speak of my forgotten ticket to Stephen Spender's
last reading in this country.