Distribution Automatique

Saturday, December 11

Not Yet

The desert of time between each poem, each insight, each plateau of understanding.

The steps towards the poem feel like small epiphanies,
but are not yet the poem; brief shimmers of hope the
poem may still come, while the weary shadowy downpour of doubts continue to dog my path.

Silence encourages me; no discontinuance, no refusal, no
critique, no patronizing, no flattery, no false hope.

The failure to conceive the line captivates me; its remoteness, its beckoning closeness reveals a seductive
movement that stirs me, awakens me, stimulates me;
trapped, frozen, eluded on the verge of something endless, I am wholly alert; ready to pounce.

Is it that the possible, even the improbable but still conceivable, at the moment of composition, offers possibilities so much more appealing than the immediate data of experience- the sensible material for the poem? Is this the appeal of the poetry of place, for example, or the poetry of time:
“I wanted to say it’s ok
the dark sky is the way
it is anyway. Night
keeps its own counsel,
muttering to itself in the form
of shadows.”

Is this the attraction of the poetry of thought; i.e.
“the struggle for the poem is the poetry” or
“it’s beautiful to have the time to think”?

Oh, how I miss the idea of pure poetry, I miss it
but I do not want it back; the same way I miss
the poetry of pure words, the poetry of pure
thought, the poetry of pure detail,
the poetry of pure meditation, the poetry of pure revolution,
the poetry of pure nonsense; will I never learn to
miss (let go of) the poetry of poetry, the
poetry of the thought of poetry,
that still continues to beckon, almost
like the surprisingly shocking, patient weave of dawn?

Friday, December 10

Jackson Mac Low: A Few Images

I met Jackson Mac Low in 1967. We both participated
in an anti-war event, blocking the Whitehall Street
Induction Center in November of that year. I found
nyself in a jail cell with Allen Ginsberg, who I had
met a couple of years earlier. I asked Allen if he
knew Jackson Mac Low, whose poetry I had been
avidly reading and researching for the past few months.
As we left jail together, Allen pointed to someone walking
up the street ahead of us. "There he is," Allen said. I
ran up to Jackson and introduced myself. He sent me
a copy of *The Pronouns*, an early, stunningly beautiful serial
poem, written as instructions for dancers, which
has been performed many times, which he had published
himself, in mimeographed form. It has since been republished
a couple of times. By the way, I came back from Berkeley
in late November to attend the trial, only to learn the case was
dismissed, since it was decided we could not really have
been blocking the Center at 7 o'clock in the morning!

Another memory of Jackson is that he was a frequent performer
in Charlotte Moorman's avant-garde festivals in the late 60's
and early 70's.. I and a number of
my friends were also invited to perform in a few of them. An early
one took place on the Staten Island Ferry. I found Jackson in
a corner on the ferry, playing his music on an instrument he
had invented.

Charlotte Moorman {click here}

Jackson Mac Low will surely come to be known as one of the
greatest seminal artists of our era. Due to his convictions about
ego-lessness he was different from the avidly self-promoting artists
and poets of today. His influence is pervasive but as yet remains largely
undocumented and untracked. This is surely one of the reasons for his
constant tendency to carefully date and document his own works,
as perhaps he was conscious of this situation, contributing to his
relative obscurity, which was largely deliberate, and no doubt somewhat frustrating to him.

Despite Jackson's ubiquitous presence throughout his life in
experimental and avant-garde circles (Fluxus, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E,
etc), Jackson's humility, modesty, and unique ideas, kept him
surrounded in mystery; an all the more intriguing figure whose voluminous,
yet consistenty superb work will offer much for critics and art historians to unravel.

I can't recommend too highly, if you are unfamiliar with Jackson's
work, to check out the CD he did with his wife and artistic collaborator,
Anne Tardos titled *Open Secrets*.
Another giant of the New York late 20th Century avant-garde
is Hannah Weiner. Just pubished, Patrick Durgin has created
An Introduction to Hannah Weiner's
Early and Clairvoyant Journals {click here}

Barrett Watten on Jackson Mac Low {click here}
Wood s Lot on Mac Low {click here}
Tim Peterson on Mac Low {click here}

Thursday, December 9

I have never encountered any person
of more intense internal confrontation
with the reality of social experience on the
one hand, provoking a concomitant sense
of personal political responsibility,
and the desire and ability to focus continuously
on the reality of internal thought and
experience, at the other pole,
as it is or could be encompassed in or by
forms of verbal expression.
A powerful current connected these poles
in the writing of Jackson Mac Low, sparking
an astoundingly continuous stream
of beautiful, haunting, complexly evocative and inventive poetic objects.
All of this from a person of incomparable modesty and humility,
yet unmatchable humor and vivacity, particularly in performance of
his own or others' poetic or artistic works.

Although his works will surely forever continue to nourish, his human
presence will be sorely missed and its memory cherished by all who knew or were touched by him.

"Time will be wasted
but honesty
whether in light from an Argend lamp
or arc light
or Aufklarung
is the




An aureole springs around a formerly hated form.

You must stay alive."

Jackson Mac Low
born September 12, 1922
died December 8, 2004

[from 14th Light Poem: For Frances Witlin- 10 August 1962]

(Black Sparrow Press, 1968)

Wednesday, December 8

Rest In Peace John Lennon
b. Oct. 9, 1940 d. Dec 8, 1980
Paranoia and
Pre-Emption: Is the Bush Administration Certifiable?...from *Counterpunch* {click here}


Jackson Mac Low, born September 12, 1922,
a great poet and close friend, died this morning.

Monday, December 6

Nada Gordon's Automatic Wisdom & Poetry Factory

"So strike up the sarod,
fellas, and wiggle your fngers on the skins, drummer boys.
Like you, I hear it all technically, a mountain of rouge
on a pale imitation, wallowing in the anemic spirit of time..."

Ululations {click here}

It's all in the perception, folks, and if you were Nada Gordon
you would find poetry anywhere, even in lowly spam.

Go on, let Nada make you smile with your
Monday morning coffee or tea!
(Don't forget to scroll UP for more,
once you get there.)
Hey, *fait accompli* is getting around...
flarf this!
{click here}
Jack Kimball {click here} is right,
The blogs are heating up! I love it when I want to link to every blog I read.
Here, Mike Snider serves up a provocative questionnaire on
Ashbery, and Jonathan Mayhew takes the serve head on
and slams back in the comments section. Check it out.
Mike Snider's Formal Blog & Sonnetarium {click here}

Sunday, December 5

Pondering what do do about the accumulation of
archives, on *R/ckets and S/tries*, Allen Bramhall contemplates the lengthening shadow of history and "enters the lists." And feeling
the need to chime in on the issue of smarm, a comment or two from me.
Right now on

Tributary {click here}
Jean-Luc Godard's superb *Notre Musique*
has a couple more days at Manhattan's Film Forum {click here}
Godard {click here}