Distribution Automatique

Saturday, March 20

Happy blogday Cassandra Pages {click here}
Selected placards at today's march to stop war:













Enjoying the discussion of Drew Gardner's
post re: "nonevents" on
A New Broom {click here}
and elsewhere, I remembered that my poem
The Simple Poetry of Sleep {click here}
concerns this interesting issue in poetics.
A nose is a nose is a nose
right now on
Dagzine {click here}
Up to my aching elbows in packing boxes
(one week to moving)
I had to miss what may have been the
greatest poetry event of the season,
Douglas Rothschild's Poetry Game Show
at the BPC. I hope someone,
A Laurable Log (Laura Willey)

Bloggedy Blog Blog (Katie Degentesh)

Elsewhere (Gary Sullivan)

Equanimity (Jordan Davis)

fluss (John Most)

Free Space Comix (Brian Kim Stefans)

Froth ... Marianne Shaneen

Jim Behrle's Famous Monkey

Overlap (Drew Gardner)

ululations (Nada Gordon)

will be kind enough to blog it
Thanks to Jack Kimball {click here}
for the discussion of my chapbook *Two Essays* (Leave Books).
Send a stamped, self-addressed mailer to the address at the
bottom of the sidebar to your left, and I can send one to you in about
about six weeks.

Friday, March 19


Remember to look close
for the small bits of life
embedded within.
The Avenging Monkey hath emailed me the following.


Please TiVo the Simpsons to appear at the Zinc Bar to hear Jimmy the Poet
and whatever wonders may occur.

from "New Poem"

an unthinkable grid throbs on thru the nite

if spunk could cross-pollinate

this is how I self-thwart dear Gabriella

the future history of the Earth is not for us

TiVo The Simpsons and head with me to

neighborhoods thirsty while yes underwater

to connect with other like-minded playmates

let air fresheners flow and turn up the Watergate tapes

an explosion that seemed quite intense

hey, pass me that fruit you invented

tucked up your shirt like a shoplifter

SUN 3/28/04 7 PM
with Jen Benka
Zinc Bar TRS
90 West Houston Street
corner of La Guardia Place
New York City, NY
hosted by: Brendan Lorber

Jim Behrle
Events Director
WordsWorth Books
30 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 354 5201
fax (617) 354 4674

Thursday, March 18

"...man can no more survive psychologically in a psychological
milieu that does not respond empathically to him, than he can
survive physically in an atmosphere that contains no oxygen. Lack
of emotional responsiveness, silence, the pretense of being an
inhuman computer-like machine which gathers data and emits
interpretations, do no more supply the psychological miieu for
the most undistorted delineation of the normal and abnormal
features of a person's psychological makeup than do an oxygen-
free atmosphere and a temperature close to the zero-point supply
the physical milieu for the most accurate measurement of his physiological
responses. Appropriate neutrality in the analytic situation is provided
by average conditions. The analyst's behavior vis-a-vis his patient
should be the expected average one- i.e., the behavior of a
psychologically perceptive person vis-a-vis someone who is suffering
and his entrusted himself to him for help..."

Heinz Kohut
*The Restoration of The Self*
"The fluidity of the differentiation between ego and ideal,
the easy revival of the mechanism of undoing the separation
between self and powerful object, the loss of ability to distinguish
wish from fulfillment, the temporary disintegration of reality
testing, are the decisive characteristics of these primitive
structures, which I would prefer to call narcissistic "ego ideals"
in contrast to the normal superego. When in pathologic states,
as for instance in manic triumph, a dissolution of the superego
occurs, we may speak of a regression of the superego occurs,
we may speak of a regression of the superego into more
primitive ego ideals.

The fluidity of ego differentiations is regularly found in so-called
"narcissistic personalities." Undoing of the differentiation
becomes the basis for exorbitant self-esteem; its reappearance
leads to the outbreak of "narcissistic anxieties" like fear of being
inferior, over concern with other people's thoughts about oneself,

The faculty for regressive undoing of ego differentiation is based
upon fixation at early levels of ego development..."

Annie Reich, *Psychoanalytic Contributions*
International Universities Press, 1973

Wednesday, March 17

"In essence then, I believe that man's destructiveness
as a psychological phenomena is secondary; that it arises
originally as the failure of the self-object environment
to meet the child's needs for optimal- not maximal,
it should be stressed-empathic responses. Aggression,
furthermore, as a psychological phenomenon, is not
elemental. Like the inorganic building blocks of the organic
molecule, it is, from the beginning, a constituent of the
child's assertiveness, and under normal circumstances
it remains alloyed to the assertivness of the adult mature

Destructive rage, in particular, is always motivated by
an injury to the self. The deepest level to which
psychoanalysis can penetrate when it traces destructiveness
(whether it is bound in a symptom or character trait or
expressed in a sublimated or aim-inhibited form) is not
reached when it ha been able to uncover a destructive
biological drive, is not reached when the analysand has become
aware of the fact that he wants (or wanted) to kill. This
awareness is but an immediate station on the road to the
psychological "bedrock": to the analysand's becoming
aware of the presence of a serious narcissistic injury, and
injury that threated the cohesion of the self, especially
a narcissistic injuty inflicted by the self-object of childhood."

Heinz Kohut
*Restoration of the Self*
International Universities Press, 1977

Tuesday, March 16

Steve Tills of* Black Spring* {click here}
promptly commented on our quotes from
Paul Zweig's classic book, *The Heresy of Self-Love:
A Study of Subviersive Individualism*.
In the preface to the second
(1980) edition, Zweig comments:
"While writing *The Heresy of Self-Love,*
I had spent several years tracing the curiously
persistent revivals of Narcissus in our cultural
traditions. Over and over again, he became the
figure of a powerful longing for inward
autonomy, a sort of spiritual Robinson Crusoe,
as in the fantastic poems of the
Gnostic sects which competed with early
Christianity; or else, a grim figure of
warning: a starved lover staring into
cold water; a woman gazing into a mirror....
Narcissus was the failure of love, the fray
in the social bond...The social effervescence
of the 1960's quickly faded, and the
vaunted revolution in personal style-what Charles
Reich called the 'greening of America-
have left behind the feeling of an
unsolved problem, which has fed cultural debate
in recent years. The galvanizing word of that debate is
"Marcel Raymond has written, 'The objects whose
thoughtful images Rousseau welcomes within him
have lost their 'objective' quality; they have become
a part of him, surrrounded by a flame endowing all
existence with the charm of a subjective magic...'
We see now how the difference in style between
Montaigne and Rousseau corresponds to a vastly
different intention. Whereas Montaigne meant to
philosophize with truculence, in a spirit of psychological
realism, Rousseau was concerned with the 'fictive'
inner surface of the events....

Between Rousseau's character and his social philosophy
there is an exchange of insights which is apparent as early
as the first *Discourses*, where the governing virtue of the
'natural man' is made to lie in what Rousseau calls
*amour de soi*, an expression rendered variously
as 'self-esteem,' self-love,' or 'self-respect.'
In the *Discourse sur L'inegalite*, we read,
'Self-love is a natural feeling which leads all animals
to care for their own preservation;
when governed, in man, by reason and
modified by pity, it had long since been
obscured, for Rousseau,
by the overlying constraint of civilization,
'each single man considers
himself to be the only spectator of his acts,
the only being in the
universe to be interested in him, the only judge of his merit.'
Thoughout his life Rousseau was to argue
that man's best nature
lay, as he wrote in *Emile*, in 'the only natural passion of man...
self-love'; years after writing *Emile*,
harried by paranoia, he still insisted,
'All positive feeling derives immediately
from self-love. It is quite natural that a man who
loves himself should try to extend
his being and his pleasures,
and to possess by attachment whatever
he feels to be good for him: it is a simple question of the emotions...'
Rousseau contradicts the orthodox opinion that human nature is
corrupt because man has lost sight of God and
loves himself. Instead,
he sets the energy of
*amour de soi* at the center of our humanity....
On the other side of the line, however,
lie the corrupt energies of
society, where the natural self has been sacrificed
to the passion for
appearances, for comparison, and finally for vain pretense. Here,
the natural *amour de soi* has been twisted into a simuacrum; it has
become *amour propre*, vanity, which for Rousseau was the source
of all 'negative sensibility' and all aggressiveness."

Paul Zweig, *The Heresy of Self-Love*
Princeton UP, 1968, 1980
pgs. 152-153
"At the dinner table, as they all ate, Ragle Gumm sat
deep in thought. Across from him, Sammy yammered
on about his club and its powerful machinery of war.
He did not listen.

Words, he thought.

Central problem in philosophy.Relation of word to
object...what is a word? Arbitrary sign. But we
live in words. Our reality, among words not things.
No such thing as a thing anyhow; a gestalt in the

Word doesn't represent reality. Word *is* reality. For
us, anyhow. Maybe God gets to objects. Not us,

In his coat, hanging up in the hall closet, was the metal
box with the six words in it.







from *Time out of Joint*
Phillip K. Dick
Vintage Books, May 2002

Monday, March 15

Further Thoughts on Blogging and Narcissism
[continued from Sunday, March 14]

"Every day we go out in search of transcendence,
and find objects."

It is difficult to imagine self-sufficiency as
being anything but advantageous.
One might speculate that the United
States, having emerged as the
prodigal child of the British
Empire, began its existence
with a strong step in the direction
of self-sufficiency.
In 19th Century European literature,
Americans are viewed as prosperous businesspersons
with little sophistication and insight
and this image continued into the
20th century with the emergence
of "the ugly American." Part
of this must certainly be understood
as envy, as if Americans
were perpetural adolescents to be secretly
(unconsciously) admired
for their boldness
and inventiveness but consciously despised
as selfish, inconsiderate bullies.
In any case, we remain the new kid on the block,
creator of charismatic, independent heroes like James Dean
watching the easily duped enemy go over
a cliff in the dark during an car race in *Rebel Without a Cause.*
The latest in this series is Johnny Depp:
nonconformist, eliciting
longings for long lost autonomy,
idealistic values, and optimism,
perpetual adolescent,
perpetual bastion of hope for the future.

Almost all American heroes embrace
autonomy and self-sufficiency,
however, and in recent decades,
more and more they incorporate these
noble values into militaristic, fascist
philosophies. This might be
because such values are so easily
melded into materialism. The courageous
Nick Cage of *Leaving Las Vegas*
succumbs to films reeking with box
office formulas; the same for the Harrison Ford
of *Blade Runner.*
The self-sufficiency of one developmental
stage, adolescence, is easily exploited
for its contiguity with materialistic values.
This is because
self-sufficiency is the flexible,
moldable inner substance of narcissism. As an aspect
of a healthy personality,
self-sufficiency contributes to independent thinking,
functioning, perception and insight.
But when it becomes a central aspect of
the personality, ultimately neutralizing the
ability of the personality to empathize and work generously
with others, it becomes the hardened heart of narcissism.

There are crossroads in the developmental
highway of the individual personality
and that of nations. In adolesence,
this crossroad juxtaposes degrees of self-
sufficiency with degrees of empathy.
The right mixture of the two can amplify
both tendencies, but this mixture must be fairly precise.
Too much empathy can
torque the personality towards a hopelessly
utopian, passive idealism, while too much
self-sufficiency creates a twisted Scrooge.
We live in a nation of narcissistic,
twisted Scrooges, who are held in check
only by the energetic work of a relatively
small group of visionaries who have the
wisdom to understand that only by
working closely with everyone else,
can the success of the few be directed towards
healing the illnesses of a pathologically
wounded and conflicted world.

At this moment in time, blogging,
as a writing movement, is blessed with an opportunity
to evolve a writing tendency that can combine
self-sufficiency with empathy in a way
that can be advantageous to the individual writer,
and at the same time to the writing
community, the local community, the nation,
and the world. Blogging is quite capable of
allowing individual writers quite a lot of
space to take a place on the continuum of
community involvement and sustain
quite a lot of automonomy. This is largely because
of the technological advances inherent in html linking, and the
fact that, at the moment, it is being made available free of charge.
The issues of distribution have
been discussed here and elsewhere again and again.
At this moment, the blogging
community, and the country as a whole
has a unique opportunity to heed
Matthew Arnold's lyric, dire warning that

"The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."

Sunday, March 14

Further Thoughts on Blogging and Narcissism

Since the word "narcissism"
derives from the Greek
myth of Narcissus, which
centers around the mythological
character's contemplating his
own image in a pool, while
his partner Echo looks on,
narcissism is rightly thought to
center around issues
of bodily self-esteem and self-absorption.
But this is only part of the story. In
psychoanalytic theory,
the appropriate functioning of
self-esteem derives from the
wholesome development,
and ultimate crystalization within
the ego, of what is known
as the ego-ideal. The dynamic between
the part of the personality
known as the ego, and its partner in
negotiating issues with
derives in part from the outcome of
this development.

In early, or perhaps very early, childhood
the child gradually becomes
aware of its extreme dependency on
its caretakers. There
is a delicate balance to be resolved
between the child's feelings
of love and admiration for its relatively
"rich and powerful" parents
and its feelings of anxiety flowing
out of its awareness of its
vulnerability if the caretakers are
unavailable to offer necessary
physical or emotional supplies.
Over time, the child's feelings of
pleasure and security obviously
derive from the ministrations of the
caretakers. The caretakers' apparent
knowledge and mastery of this world,
clearly riddled with dangers and risks,
with its potential deprivations of comfort and
necessities, for example, becomes
part of the source of the child's idealization of
the caretakers, which is the core of what
later are to become feelings of love. As the
child becomes aware of
its gender, the gender(s) of his caretakers
also enters into the development
of experiences of identity and the corresponding
feelings and sources of knowledge
about living.

Gradually, however, as the child gains
separate mastery over his or her environment,
this idealization of the parent becomes
less an aspect of immediate reverence
and dependency, and more an aspect
of its identifications and sense of self.
"If I am like the powerful caretaker,
and I love and admire
the 'rich and powerful' caretaker,
the caretaker will admire and love me,
and so will others." Such feelings are at
the core of the development of the
ego ideal, and ultimately, the superego.

The internal struggle over these feelings
gradually emerges over latency
(7-11) and comes to a crisis during adolescence.
This is the moment in
development when the personality is in the
most danger of succumbing to
pathological narcissism. It is at this moment
that the individual personality
crystalizes and must choose between ideals,
and give some external expression
to these ideals. Usually the individual chooses
a peer group that personifies
and activates such ideals. While feeling
varying degrees of ambivalence about giving up
some aspects of the conscious idealization
of the caretakers and other sources
of internal identification, in favor of symbolic
heroes like cultural icons and
other admired people in the individual's
immediate environment, there is
a corresponding reduction in felt dependency
on the caretakers. This
sense of self-sufficiency is at the core
of the healthy, or unhealthy development
of an internal self-esteem mechanism.
It it at this moment of development
that pathological narcissism has its greatest
opportunity to take root in the
personality. A relatively dangerous bridge
must be crossed, as the personality
negotiates between its desires for self-sufficiency
and the powerful pull of crucial, previously developed,
ego ideals. If the individual feels
the necessity of trying to completely
eradicate these earlier ideals, if they are too
threatening in their tendency to dominate
or engulf the individual, for example,
or the person's felt awareness of some
profound failures on the part of the
caretakers, the individual may consciously
reject the ego ideals, but all the more
unconsciously embrace them. This becomes,
then, fertile ground not only for unconscious
conflict, but for assuming the existence of varying degrees
of to some degree false self-sufficiency. False, because the
unconscious identifications remain intact,
while at the same time being consciously rejected.

[As it happens, right now we happen to be listening to
Laurie Anderson's *Oh, Superman*, which
powerfully evokes many of the points I am making here.]

(to be continued)

notebook: 8/21/90

1. The work to be built out of what's
occurring to me at the moment.

2. All of the material connects. The fact that
I constantly choose to write something now
rather than assemble (re-assemble)
what came before is what makes this
poetry. The greatest push is towards
the future. Writing poetry is tidal.
It is this sense that the words
are the producers and the poets
are the transcribers. Writing poetry is like
listening to a pulse- sometimes to see if
life is still alive- sometimes
to diagnose its
current condition.

3. Don't believe in stories. Life does
not occur this way. It utters
itself like the Delphic oracle. This
is why oracles sound so familiar. It's
all the other daily stuff that
sounds so strange.

4. How gingerly we created this
apparently real dailiness and then
coated it (with dreams) to look
like granite. We then exuberantly
(or sulleny, as the case may be)
ride our inventions like a see-saw.

5. Try to remember never to put the
numbers down *before* something
occurs to you. Get ahead of yourself
and you spit in two.

6. Hope are remembering are linked
together, just as understanding and
anticipating are.

7. The dark waters of the imagination
are cold at first and the tides
and winds are unpredictable.