Distribution Automatique

Saturday, February 22

Lines and phrases selected from "V. imp." by Nada Gordon (Faux Press, 2003)

"sci-fi slow river consolation" (p. 14)

pythoness:pithiness/ a rat scurries by me. as one./i squeal. a rat. we are all...catalytic (19)

Massive revelation box of altruistic salvo (23)

p.s. HOOKAH is to/B L A S T- P I P E/ as MERIDIAN/ is to A M P U L E S (25)

"I put my lover's pussy in the bottle/ of time (28)


sometimes, gazing up at the cloudy firmament
I realize that I have never understood anything (36)

levaucho becho uehayu me odecha-
levanecha veshinantam lana'am uvish arecha- (37)

the so-called "power of/ lyricism" (38)

my orange-pineapple afro, irking
Tantarella's pansexual intellection (40)

I have an exaggerated sense of my own unimportance- (Nada Gordon)" (41)

the writing falls apart (again...) (42)

I think about what to do in deep thought in the future (47)

Somewhere there is another world (50)

"Sometimes it's good to fall into emptiness..." (50)

In 1974 I was writing about Elvis movies (56)

extremely "hot" dimple ((60)

*between his breasts (69)

zen zen nani mo nani mo wakaranai (72)

*glukupikron (74)

biting down on the daisy singing LEL LEL (77)

Poetry...I too /my head...won't go into it (78)

"the politics are in the poem" (79)

No ideas. Just sensation (81)

and we will buy a new vacuum (Lao Tzu) (83)

Contemporary culture/ births a red tarantula (85)


"palomine lotion:libinaggravation (93)

Pascal's "ills of the body (94)

burnin burnin burnin (97)

muscle, excrement...sky (100, 101

Dactyl- (102)

(in my dreams) (103)

Elizabeth Barrett Watten !106)

Fable of Contents

We dream because we think something we want is impossible.

thanks to Joe Massey for the letter and poem ("dream fragments...")
Always two thoughts at once. I think there's a way to "catch up" by a gentle rocking movement from and toward (which, at last, amounts to the same as other ways, that is, going backwards and forwards, past and present). Which is another way of saying "hover over it,"
which another way of saying "evoke it"
which is another wway of saying "wait and don't wait"
which is another way of saying "learn to recognize voices"

I'm imagining standing over a vague spot which represents another vague spot in the imagination. See? Somewhere in the middle there's only one way out, but that way, built as it is on the INSIDE of the middle of a sentence gets us to discover a sense to the side of what is happening (art a type of perseveration, a power play, a skip and a jump to call a hope (e) something else.) To repeat- which is a way, etc. Slides down to revealing (parentheticallly brave, an epicurean singularity, a s(i)mile. Yes, but, ready to return, or just alright, decibels or decimals, the anger just subsiding, another wave. If it's a choke, see the opast as a sliding trombone, tones disappearing as part of an harmonic, years seen constantly against the future's persistent dream, awakening again alongside momentary signs. Even when you've listened, you've listened in a certain tone of voice, dissolving the point of a decision, forgetting an instance to a stair. The marketplace single rule: giving a higher price raises attention to the product- a lower price raises attention- the attention of "easy" axquisition. But, then again "taste" or "intelligence" often consisits of hyponotic attention to the "highest price," "the highest valule," "the unique," "the authentic." Either way, the prize goes to the highest bidder=- or the quickest. The now? (6/1/86)
The problem with the concept of the "current" time is that it entirely off-sets the relevance of future and past events. Thoughts are current= feelings exist with more or less long "holds"-like the continuity of a "bass" line in music. A more random concept of historical informational material than linear chronological ordering world afford a "recycling" of past events. That is- try to apply a "free associational" concept to events. Use a diary and record events-write about thoughts and events. then alphabetize the various subsections. Then shuffle the letters. Let the order of letters be chosen randomly- but be combined by conscious comparison. Pick a ltter (an event). Now look through the remaining letters. Which one(s) resonate? Now put the remaining batch back. Use the randomization to afford the possilbility of a re-connection. I was wondering about "lost books." Like Tom Phillip's use of "The Human Document" to recreate the Humament.This is a method of reclamation by random processes. As the amount of world information astrononomically increases every moment- the amount that os "covered over" is also astronomical. (Computers are now being used to deal with this problem-seperate question). One factor very difficult to track and therefore the method of the apperceptions is very difficult to pin down but significance is very subtly- and geometrically- accumulative. This is so regularly true that it is a very special talent to see into the future. But the ability to see into the future is- to a great extent- a simple and direct funtion of a readiness to acknowledge the present {predict the future by seeing the present and acknowledging the past }. Predict the future by acknowledging to yourself what you feel.

To see the future
Acknowledge what's happened.
Now what's possible

Time, previous time, is going by. Not so precious- as if there is any, there is enough.

Time- if there is any, there is enough (so, again- first the sloppy beginnings, awkward moments preceding smooth understanding, the ruffling of feathers as one setles int a spot.

First,: a literary experience along the lines you want them to have. Th\s is an approximation. (3/10/86)


Earn the right to step back and theorize (that is also in another story).

All these sensings of time speeding up and time slowing down- they are actual tracings of the movements of reality but they are really decoys distracting us from another aspect of duration. this has t do with cross-current of significant succession. (2/20/86)
Obviously, energy is exchanged by means of light (Velvet Underground-"I'm beginning to see the light." By memory of "reflection" the mind comprehends the otherwise incomprehensible energy pattern of other minds. By means of "reflection" entities translate the information- a message of light.

There comes a time whena transitional point is reached that a perceiving mechanism can still extract energy from a source of information but the elements of this source are inchoherent to a nearby perceiving mechanism. This extraction of energy is actually an exchange of energy. The perceiving mechanism draws energy from the fact that the increasing dispersion of the points by the perceiving mechanism and retruned by pattern retrieval to a temporally anterior state (1/11/86)

There may be sujch a thing as a time shift (as described by the previous passage).. This time shift may be brought about by a perceiving mechanism reconstructing an already decayed signal and expeeriencing this pattern recognition as a regeneration of energy (a regeneration of the formerly expired burst of energy.

This transitional energy may also funtion as a trigger mechanism. Something is needed to convey energy f rom one point to another point. Once it is conveyed a process is needed to change the energy from one form to another form.

Even happiness is nothing without a spectator. (5/1/75)

When I expressed my feelings about writing the fantasy= Osvaldo said something about seeing my future. Hejira Villa-Lobos (Bachianas Brasilieros) (1975)

Definitely part of it has to be walking through that dark hallway, bumping around, trying to find the handle to the door to the other time zone (the door to the time machine)

In the world of fantasy, anything is possible. In the world of possibility, anything is fantasy. the world of fantasy no longer exists, because fantasy has become possibility.This is one outcomeof the split between science and art, that is gradually dissolving. Two things do not become one. What happens is that the boundary between two aspects of one thing is becoming one thing again. The human is again on the way to becoming one thing because some of the splits are being healed. (1990)

"I imagine when we reach the boundaries of things set for us, or even before we reach them, we can see into the infinite, just as on the surface of the earth we gaze out into immeasurable space." (Lichtenberg)

'It cannot be denied that the word "nonsense" if spoken. with the appropriate face and voice, has something that yields little or nothing to the words "chaos" and "eternity" themselves. One senses a shock whilch, if m y feelings do not deceive me, originates in a "fuga vacui" of the human understanding" (Lichtenberg).

"If people would recount their dreams honestly, character could be divined more easily from themm than from the face."
(Lichtenberg- 1775/1776)

"As soon as one begins to see all in everything what one says usually becomes obscure. One begins to speak with the tongues of angels" (Luchtenberg)

"I am convinced we do not love ourselves in others, but hate ourselves in others too."(LIchtenberg)

"Ideas too are a life and a world." (Lichtenberg)

"I again commend dreams; we live and experience in dreams as ell as we do when awake...The dream is a life which, combined with the rest of our life, constitutes what we call human life. Dreams merge gradually into our waking state..." (lichtenberg)
Johnson, of Edward's criticism of Warburton: "Nay (Edward) has given him some smart hits to be sure; but there is no proportion between the two men...Af fly, sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince, but one is but an insect and the other a horse still." {Bos. 1754 (n)}


How contradictions can live side byside- hard to bring this to light in formal language- which is designed to provide an image of orderly development-music more easily accomodates the inclusion of abrupt reversals of emotion and contradictory forces arising from a common root, coexisting,, and accompanying each other through endless mazes of combination and change- (8/5/92)

The friend and the other friend.Written in the form of aphorisms,maxims of {asides-910/92}

When publishers fail, they fail at being readers.
When readers fail, they fail at being listeners.
When writers fail, they fail at being lovers

So much is assumed. More is framed by the manner in which you tell it. One of the reasons why it's a good idea to travel outside the U.S. once in awhile. If you can afford to read a book by someone else other than an American, a person of your own general background and race and education.This is when are reminded of the now (sadly) clliched idea that everything said is an echo os something (everything) else. We knew this before, Roland Barthes told us this, this is why it was so exhilirating to hear him talk about things that had long been obvious but by his enthusiasm, charm and occasional rigor, became THRILLING.

We appreciate existing forms because they are in s as to how feel about them. As Jerome Sala puts it: "I'm fascinated with mixing old conflicts I hardly understand, thus coming up with something "new" and calling it a take. There's something boss about it all. Something that makes you think you're part of something bigger than yourself.. Something that makes you think there are commands and definitions you can follow...and solve thet riddle of your life...But it doesn't work. You feel boxed in, then suddenly nailed to a cross." ("Mach" from "The Trip,P p. 70.

I have to read in order to write, I have to hear in order to speak, I hage to listen in order to be able to talk, I have to talk in order to be able to think, I have to think in order to be able to feel, I have to feel in order to want to do anything. If I could read all the books I like at one time this woud approximate what I want to think about.them. And this would certainly consist of thinking about more than one thing at a time.The only time I think about one thing at a time is when I write. Which is whyit is so tedioius so much of the time to do- and to think about. It takes too much time away from thinking about everything and everyone at one time.

Soluitions as proposals: Each word will stand for an entire idea, a sentence, or perhaps a whole conversation or experience.



"how are you?"

"I'm alright."

"You want to sit down?"


"What was that you were reading?"

"Oh, a book of poems."

Hands it to her.

She reads: "Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke."

"Why is his middle name a woman's name?"

"I don' t know. I remember his mother was supposed to have dressed him up like a girl when he was a child."

She reads: "Who has not sat anxious/before the curtain of his heart."

(sing) "Dream The Impossible Dream, write the Impossible Poem, Stop The Impossible Sorry,And Go Home The Impossible Home, This Is My Life, My Writing and Name, Take It Or Leave It, And Make It No Blame."

Duhem, in "The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory" traces the slow development of physical science, for example in distinguishing beween qualitative and quantitative attributes of physical reality. While speaking about "ample? minds and "narrow minds" he advances a psychological theory perhaps making some of the same logical errors he attributes to the "model" system of physical theory construction of the English. His claim is that qualitative attributes can have no attributes of magnitude. Perhaps this is true by comparison to discrete objects. The question is- can a thought be responded to as an "iinner" object?it is possible that this issue of magnitudes as discussed by Duhem is as yet a fairly elementary principle, as yet uundefined as a principle, in psychology and poetics. In psychoanalysis, we see that a malfunctioning mind tends to magnify details out of proportion. The tools available to physical science attempt to provide basic measurements (as in the contemprary concept of atomic time) on a micriscopically accurate basis. - once a mean has been established (like Pi or the baic unit of atomic time). The imagination, in contemplating such quantities, is kept within limits.The malfunctioning mind lacks such a "mean." It uses (unconsciously) memories of early childhood to assess functions of current reality which sometimes establishes limits which do not accuately respond (correspond) to observed reality. So to measure this response we would have to compose the subject's memories of these early assessments and how they were established to correspond to the subject's actual currrent reliable knowledge. A rough estimate of the distortion would then be within the differences beween the current stock of knowledge of the subject as compared to the apparent limits imposed by the subject's actual current assessment.. This would yield a rough (quantitative!) current assessment- that is, if a rough *quotient* of the subject's available knowledge could be determined. This, as in the physical sciences, could be recorded as a *magnitude*.

Can the objects of thought-thoughts- be defined as discrete objects? How could scale be related to such an identified object (of thought). (1/31/86)
{Before this, there was an earlier version, something about sets of words being portraits of themselves., A pre-history of the idea. The complete loss of pubishability occurs if the link closes and the text hasn't been selected yet. This is what Henry Miller called remembering to remember. In order to be published you have to remember to select yourself before you lose your connection with the server. I realize that with a link through cable this wouldn't happen. Imagine telling a blogger not to "rush into publication.:* Blogging for Dummies*.}

1. Partialize the solution, even iff you can only see the problem itself in all its dimensions.Whatever the solution is, even if it could be enacted all at once, the event would occur over time. By partializing you captialize on the fact that at a given moment a p;erson has onl so much strengthon so much time and attention, and other elements are always crowding in on you at a particular moment. (12/9/94))

{What would it take for these two entirely separate categories to find a way to coexist in a boundary zone between two such immensely diffferent categories of habitation. What if a word and a human being decided tthey wanted to be together? .What do I mean by "be together." Well, I mean "be together" in the same way two human beings want to be together. Except one of them was a word and one of them was a human being. What would it mean If the himan being were to ask this lifeless object if somehow it could try to find a way to communicate across two such completely different realms? What would have to happen first? First, the two would have to find a way to see each other.They woulld have to each be aware that the other dimension was out there. The two would have to find a way to communicate their sameness and their differences.The two, would have to be able to regard each other with hopes of success in making some kind of actual contact. Just to start, just a tiny flicker of connection. This would require some degree of sage awareness on the part of the word and the person so that they could always accept and be patient about their incrediby differing contexts of experience and existence.. What is it that keeps drawing the two together so much? What was it that made the two constantly find a way to be together far beyond the simple pragmatic "uses" they had of each other? Of course it had to be iwithin poetry that words and human beings could find time to really connect,, sounding out a full range of the hearable frequenciest}.

Time is a commodity that works for you or against you.
The earlier you put thte sauce on the stove, the sooner it will get cooked

How do you get out of the cave of writing?.
Receives an announcement that he's won a million dollars. Of course, he throws it out in disgust. We know, however, that he actually has won a million dollars.

If there's no specific content in my contact, sometimes the attempted connection ricochets off the other person, leaving inside an empty line of thought going nowhere. A kind of forgetting . "You didn't remember!" as in not remembering someone on their birthday. Once you started looking for it, it took exactly ten minutes to find it- Kafka's "Investigations of A Dog."

What is a lack of wit if it isn't a moment of indecision. When the other moves into the zone of embarassment to counter you. (10/17/94)
Maybe luck is like love. You've got to go all the way to find it.

You do to keep it.
{This idea is not yet it- but when I wrote it I had an image of a "work inside a work.}

If you didn't want to hurt me I might want to live on the same planet as you.

Instead of a construct that asks you to string things one after another one that allows things to emerge on various planes of thought and feeling.

The physical emerging from (the) thought and (the) thought from the physical.

Measure, a way of hurrying completion, also foregrounds substance, particularly how consecutive things, side- by- side things, brace each other.

Feeling asks for acceleration, particularly accelerated interaction. A release from isolation. Solitude-poetical isolation. Unit=alone=fragment. Subject invites object over for a conversation.

Just read!

Circling in. Enclosing the circuit.

Form and content, man and woman, feeling their way around in the dark. Also, as an end in itself, occasionally feeling good, very good. Also, occasionally, unavoidable at times, at many other times, very great pain.

No matter what, step by step. One dance, awhile ago, was too much in a hurry- as if set to music, pre-set to music. About its what would be a better question then " what's it about?"Things are ordered by going in reverse. You thought of it sooner than....what? You thought of it?

Every now now and then, let that reasonable one in charge fall asleep. Who was checking up on you? Other than what? So it glows. A strange one, stranger, strange.

Dissolution is scary. Things fall off a table and you get reminded of those careless moments (were they?) When you let yourself get distracted. 1983-1984. "Have it your way" -(J. Walter Thompson).A kind of contstricted, choking, feeling. then all that can be extracted is an agonized, fact by fact elicitation of the "here and now." Illustrating that the imagined and the illusory are not the same.The illusory is just as much a threat to the imagined as it is to the real. This is why when it too easily inhabits the foundation of either one we immediately anticipate a collapse. So when something falls off the table... (9/6/94)

Friday, February 21

This is cool:

From: Bernard Waldrop [mailto:Bernard_Waldrop@brown.edu]
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 11:42 AM
To: Bernard_Waldrop@brown.edu
Subject: Fwd: important--act now

please pass it on:

former u.s. attorney general ramsey clark has drafted articles of
impeachment for bush, cheney, rumsfeld, and ashcroft

to read more, and to have your voice be heard by your congressional
representatives, go to:


The thing is Nada, I kinda have a thing for Heathens In Heat also, but I don't mind being being number two because the one I like the best, you know the guy pretty good, has a blog called Elsewhere ... guy named Gary Sullivan- he's got tthe real big guns you know what I mean?----- ullalate----?
When talking, make sure to respond to each moment in the conversation. For example, tonight when I was talking with David Bromige I told him how much I liked "LInes" and "Lines Upon a Distant Prospect of Lines." When he said he felt that way too, I said nothing. I probably thought I was being diplomatic, because soon after I emphasized how much I liked the whole book. ("Desire") Now, as I look back , I think I was just being impatient and skipping steps. The equivalent to this in music might be to fudge on the counterpoint and development and return to the main theme: which, of course, is what I had to say. By the way, he also spoke about a friend that somtimes does not allow pauses in the conversation for the other person to respond. In music- the melody- as compared to Debussy's space that allowed for wandering- not the same thing as noodling around.

Trajectory: "Why finish anything when there is so much pleasure to be found in the project itself." (Baudelaire)

Why try to be someone "important" when recent history proves that there are no longer any "big people" only the broken pieces of what might have gone towards making up a "big person." A situation in which everyone and anything and anyone which or who is sensitive is "shattered" by so-called reality. And yet the bravest ones go on pretending things are what they might have been and give us the reassuring illusion that there are still "important people." Yes, very important cogs in a gigantic machine growing bigger, more grinding, more pounding EVERY SINGLE MINUTE.

So-called peace of mind being nostalgia for a time when this might have been possible (if ever such a time actually existed except in similar states of nostalgia.)

You enter into a relationship with another author- you read his or her book(s). You think you are done and sooner or later go on to the next one and that's the end of it. How wrong you are. The author- alive or dead- is now much more part of your life than you think.This is, in fact, not that different from your relationship with a "flesh and blood" person that you know. You didn't know that the author might want something too? The money? If any, most of that went to the publisher, the distributor, the bookstore. Credit for the ideas? You've probably thought of them yourself at one time or another- or you are already suspecting where the author has borrowed them from. What does a writer want (or take) in exchange? Of course, you knew it all along- a place to inhabit- within your mind and soul. And hopefully, even more space to stretch out in- by and by. (9/19/93)
A collection of aphorisms by Charles Bernstein selected by David Hess may be found on Heathens in Heat, http://heathensinheat.blogspot.com/ Celebrating the 25th anniversary of L=A=-N=G=U=A=G=E, edited by Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews
Apparently determined to get some kind of rise out of the staid, self-absorbed crowd at the Poetry Project, Nada Gordon appeared Wednesday night in a belly dancing outfit complete with finger cymbals. First she kicked the hell out of the podium, and if that can't wake up these moribund poets, she'll read to us provocatively from her terrific new book "V. IMP." (Faux Press), replete with wicked wit laced with double entendres and lightning fast rhythmic movement, dances straight toward and all around us us singing and laughing all the while, with her two partners tossing slips of paper with enigmatic poems printed on them; then, with these two charming cohorts sings us a rousing new song redolant with Bollywood and general hilarity. I managed to scratch one line down despite my state of shocked and dazed delight: "Even generals are ephemeral." I thought I glimpsed a few twinkles in the eyes of the usual suspects as we drifted out like sullen vampires shuffling home to beat the dawn.
Of course, beginnings are slow and birth is painful. But the alternative, stasis, gradually, true, sometimes very gradually, chokes more and more the will to experience more than the surface of things.

The urge to put down the heavy weight of thought is strong.

Long sleep. Strong sun with cooling waves. Delicious food to satisfy the many cravings. And love's desires that can only be soothed by the hard won ways of the heart's companion.This knowledge did not come overnight. Word for word, touch for touch, answered only over many years.

Sometimes the conversations continued through the night- only to be interrupted by the first light of dawn breaking through the space and time of night. (2/22/94)
The most difficult thing to do when writing is to hold firm to perceptions and not be sidetracked.

When a perception appears- see what it is. If is the seed of something that may grow, plant it. Don't throw it aside in a moment because of the attractive qualities of other things and other perceptions.

Too often the work chokes in the undergrowth and the overgrowth of the excitement surrounding its birth.

How much more they would tell us if they could, if we would let them.

In the split seconds of our proximity to each other we protect ourselves, frequently while hiding behind the screen of a feeling we are protecting the other.

And then we smile and say goodbye. Goodbye again. (2/22/94)

"But the periphery is everywhere, and its edges are steep." (Erica Hunt)

Thursday, February 20

Thanks to Ron Silliman for posting my letter/article "L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and Free Association" on his blog (link on left)- see entry for Wednesday, February 19th. This letter is part of a discussion on the unconscious in contemporary poetry..
Thanks to Heriberto Yepez for mentioning (and listing!) this blog on his Spanish language blog, "Border Blogger," and for listing fait accompli on his English language blog "The Tijuana Bible of Poetics!" http://thetijuanabibleofpoetics.blogspot.com/ Heriberto Yepez reads at the Drawing Center with Rodrigo Toscano and Kim Rosenfield on Tuesday, February 25, at 6:30 p.m. The Drawing Center is at 35 Wooster Street, NY,NY. (212) 219-2166

Wednesday, February 19

Thanks to Stephanie Young, http://stephanieyoung.blogspot.com/, for mentioning fait accompli on her blog. In discussing the Valery quote below about silence, unhappiness and the need for vagueness at times she writes:
" I'm a lurker because, yes, I'm scared of being either attacked or ignored, and because the yes, war-like, call & response of the Poetics list isn't one that allows me to take a quick dip in the waters of how-to-quit-smoking or, as you've seen and will seen more of, true poetic confessions in the midst of articulating my response. But I also lurk instead of engaging b/c I've been unable to figure out how to be vague in public.... I am tired of being sad and unhappy!

Some folks are great switch hitters for both the listserv and the blog-- Kasey and Gary are the first ones I think of but as more people hop the blog train I bet we'll see more articulations all over the place. As Nada said -- party over here! Party over there!"

After 9/11 I needed the list so I learned a lot about hanging in there. I learned it is necessary to speak back to people who insult you. If they insult you indirectly, then speak back indirectly. You can speak back "words of wisdom" and you don't have to insult them back. This creates a vicious cycle. You're right that the key is to not be silent but to hang in and say something, even if you have to feel your way to what it is you mean. Bullies like to get their victims to back down, and I find when it is other poets their unconscious, if not conscious wish is to get you to stop publishing what they consider your "bad poetry." What I've learned is that many other poets will consider your poem "bad" when they they find your poems in books, in anthologies or praised by other poets. Thanks again for your kind mention of fait accompli.
Despising oneself creates a fire that can be used to scorch others; despising others provokes them to return the flame: the cycle of hatred is complete.

Tuesday, February 18

"A man comes into a room, and on his first entering, declares without preface or ceremony his contempt for poetry.Are we therefore to conclude him a greater genius than Homer? No: but by this cavalier opinion he assumes a certain natural ascendancy over those who admire poetry. To look down upon anything seemingly implies a greater elevation and enlargement of view than to look up to it...The want of any external sense or organ is an acknowledged defect and infirmity: the want of an internal sense or faculty is equally so, though our self-love contrives to give a diferent turn to it. We mortify others by throwing cold water on that in which they have an advantage over us, or stagger their opinion of an excellence which is not of self-evident or absolute utility, and lessen its supposed value, by limiting the universality of a taste for it...These spiteful allusions are most apt to proceed from disappointed vanity, and an apprehension that justice is not done to ourselves. Those who really excel and are allowed to excel in anything have no excuse for trying to gain a reputation by undermining the pretentions of others; they stand on their own ground: and do not need the aid of invidious comparisons. Besides, the consciousness of an excellence produces a fondness for, a faith in it...A fool takes no interest in anything; or if he does, it is better to be a fool, than a wise man, whose only pleasure is to disparage the pursuits and occupations of others, and out of ignorance or prejudice to condemn them, merely because they are not his."

-William Hazlitt, "On Egotism" (May, 1821)
"'A warlike people who think life is not worth living if one cannot bear arms' (Livy) They prefer death to peace, others prefer death to war.
Any opinion can be preferred to life, which it seems so natural to love dearly." (Pascal 29/156)

"We do not choose as a captain of the ship the most highly born of those aboard." (Pascal 30/320)

"Of true justice. We no longer have any. If we had we should not accept it as a rule of justice that we should follow the customs of one's country." (Pascal 86/297)

February 1978 was the first month L=A=N=G=A=G=E, edited by Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews was published. Happy 25th Anniversary! The first issue contained the following articles
Larry Eigner, "Approaching Things"
Clark Coolidge, "Larry Eigner Notes"
Nick Piombino feature, "Writing and Free Association"
David Bromige, "Ronald Johnson: 'Radi Os'"
Lawrence Weiner "Regarding The (A) Use Of Language Within the Context of Art"
Kit Robinson, "Ted Greenwald:'Native Land'"
James Sherry "Michael Lally:'Charisma'"
Hannah Weiner"Julian Jaynes 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind''
Ron Silliman, "David Melnick 'Nice'"
David Melnick"A Short Word About My Work"
Description incuding editors, with some contributors of 51 current magazines
review of Pattern Poems by Dick Higgins
Alan Davies, "Barrett Watten; 'Decay'"
Charles Bernstein, "Johanna Drucker, 'From A to Z''
review of Jerome Rothenberg,"Big Jewish Book"
a note about his installation work "Carnival" by Steve McCaffery
Bruce Andrews, review of John Weiners, "Behind the State Capitol"
Rae Armantrout feature: "Why Don't Women Do Language-Oriented Writing"

Monday, February 17

Reading Tom Phillips' "The Humament." This sense of time passing, some variant or contrapuntal "running through" while simultaneously "actual" time is passing. This counterpoint automatically produces an alternate measure of time, including a relative comparison to the immediately preceding segment of time. Experiencing some alternate view of time is complicated because we are so completely immersed in every aspect of it every second (every interval). It is difficult tto keep the focus of attention on a single aspect of it, for example, duration. A book of poems is a universe unto itself, like the symphony, it is a complex rhythmic analysis of duration. We "let" the next beat come, just as it is slipping away from us.

Sunday, February 16

"When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always come from the book?"
(Georg Lichtenberg, Notebook D, 1773-1775)
"LIfe is made up of the most differing, unforeseen, contradictory, ill-assorted things; it is brutal, arbitrary, disconnected, full of inexplicable, illogical and contradictory disasters which can only be classified under the heading of 'Other news in brief.'" (Maupassant, 1887)

"Sometimes in life situations develop that only the half-crazy can get out of." (La Rochefoucauld, 1665)
Up all night blogging, exhilarated by world-wide demonstrations against the war, reading about them all over the web, no sleep, who cares, reading selected poems from Sam Hamill's site (now over 8,600 poems and statements of conscience) on Ron Silliman's blog, Sunday New York Times still lying there unread, except for one article on the demonstrations, and a full page ad taken out by Yoko Ono (WAR IS OVER If You Want It).

Thanks to Laurable for the link/Valentine and to Gary Sullivan, Jack KImball, Jonathan Mayhew, David Hess, K.Silem Mohammed, and Heriberto Yepez for links to fait accompli on their sites.

Marianne Shaneen reports that Lytle Shaw and Emilie Clark spent 7 hours in a jail cell for taping up posters in Soho. Writes Marianne Shaneen in her blog:
"It turns out that the people arrested for taping up the pictures were Lytle Shaw and Emilie Clark. While taping a picture to a lamppost in Soho that had many other signs - moving van, apts, etc. - taped to it, two undercover police who had been sitting there in a cab came up to her and asked if she was putting up signs about the protest, and if she was going to the protest on saturday...then they told them they were under arrest. she told them she was 7 months pregnant and they had the nerve to say that she should have thought about that when she decided to put the pictures up! and that she should think about that saturday at the protest (!!) - (as if bombing doesn't endanger childrens lives, but...). when they were brought in all the police at the station were saying 'the liberals are here" - (Lytle held back from saying: hey! that's an insult! you guys are the liberals!)- they were kept in jail (complete with human feces) for 7 hours"- from- http://froth.blogspot.com/

And I had just written Heriberto Yepez telling him I didn't think any poets had been arrested! I wrote to him because he said on his blog he may stop writing in English. I certainly hope he does not do this. His blog writing has quickly become a favorite of mine. Heriberto Yepez has been invited by Lytle Shaw to read with Kim Rosenfield and Rodrigo Toscano on Tuesday, February 25th at 6:30. The Drawing Center is at 35 Wooster Street, NY, NY 10013, tel: 212-219-2166.

The musical analogy constantly comes to mind. When I was writing "Light Street" I began with an idea from Tchaikovsky, which occurs also in Rachmaninoff's powerfully expressive Second Symphony and at the beginning of Brahms Fourth Symphony and Brahms First piano concerto. It's entirely possible to start a work introspectively, with a siimple phrase as if you were entering into someone's mind in the middle of an afterthought and only very gradually come to more complex emotional settings. Stronger feelilngs are masked or held in check, concealed within a quiet surface- everyone instinctively recognizes such states. To suggest complicated feelings you have only to provide a sketch of a situation: "A woman, reading by herself in bed, has recently suffered a loss." Of course, we know instantly innumerable things that might be on her mind. (7/11/91)

When you say to yourself-"oh, it's that feeling again" you are taking command over yourself. Even this much remove can entirely change its meaning. (7/3/91)

This art of keeping things at bay is necessary in order to have the mental space to picture the whole situation, the immediate expression of which is this feeling occuring right now. In order for this feeling to be released and to allow the emergence of the next "reality," the feeling must be recognized.

A voice: "He had mastered that great art of keeping everything up in the air just long enough to have a decent idea of what his next move might be."

Anger as the outcome of frustration with constriction side of symbiosis. (6/21//91)

Artists gain access to certain inexplicable powers, even when they don't actually understand them, much in the same way that anyone can learn the use of a machine without understanding much about the way it works. (5/12/91)

Suddenly everything is gradual again. (5/9/91)

L=A=N=G=U=G=E writing as the contemporary attempt to overthrow the type of writing which is subservient to telelvision (i.e. ultra-narrativised). (4/8/91)

Ink coherent

(Overheard voice). "Frankly, I'm not that well organized, you might even say I'm guilty of a rather shoot-from- the-hip kind of attitude, an intentionally and patiently cultivated kind of relaxed and rumpled approach to things which keeps me feeling honest. No, you never know for sure you're being honest or not, but I take all this to be a way of saying that I wish to be free to respond to what I experience but want writing to be there when I do. Nothing more, nothing less." (4/4/91)

Deciding a way of decoding and mapping the tidal flow of events (event current).

"Languages are ciphers in which letters are changed into letters and words into words so that an unknown lanaguage can be deciphered." Blaise Pascal, Pensees

There is something in everyday thought which is akin to horror- this must be at the heart of the hunger for news reports about terrible happenings. Any thought, even the slightest level of anxiety can multiply itself as a result of some inner loss of balance which prevents the mind from letting go of the fear. A feedback loop gets established which guides the mind- and, if sustained, surges it into a swirling undertow of fear. The scientific term for the boundary of a black hole is the event horizon. I think of this acceleration of thought as the event current. (3/22/90)
The Limit

This is all there is of this. It's only a minute part of all that is, but whatever this is, it's all right here.
"Was there ever a poetry of the ivory tower more than Mallarme? Was the ever any music more wholly of the ivory tower than Debussy?" (Wallace Stevens, "The Effects of Analogy" in "The Necessary Angel."

An idea I just got from reading (my poem) "The Tower of Babel." Describe what is desired from the poem but which can't possiby exist yet, due to current conditions. Why these things are desirable, and why they are incommensurate now. I've learned that naming such ventures beforehand can be lethal, by giving the poem a pseudo-existence- a sort of aritificial seed-reality which, if it does not very soon receive the right amount of water and light (and other intangibles) will have such brief existence as to have virtually none at all. I love Debussy's description of Bach before he dies. This is a most touching late confirmation of his artistic beliefs and the letter of Chou-Chou (his daughter) that ends the book sounds so much like her father's "voice" in his letters. (8/21/90)

I must forget Poetry in order to write poetry.

The poet's vice is prose, the prose writer's vice is poetry. Those who write both enjoy making virtues out of vices and "vice -versa,." a habit that may sometimes be confirmed by a tell-tale weariness around the eyes.

"What are the facts? Not those in Homer, Shakespeare, or even the Bible. The facts for most of us are a dark street, crowds, hurry, commonplaceness, loneliness, and, worse than all, a terrible doubt which can hardly be named as to the meaning and purpose of the world." (Mark Rutherford, "Lost Pages From Journal," 1915.)
A form of wandering includes losing one's bearings but may bring me closer to surprise. Of course, all too often it feels like "there's no way to get there from here." By definition it is a form of remembering, bringing me closer to something or someone unexpected. LIke coming across the "feathers in the files" in my dream. "So that's where the feathers in the files came from." I was surprised, but somehow I had expected this.

Ready to face something means ready to do something. (My book) "Theoretical Objects" is virtual poetry. All the materials for poetry have been presented within a supporting atmosphere- an emotional tonality has been supplied. Still this all consists of music only. What is not supplied is a musician or the occurence of a playing, a concert. This is all left to the reader. So, there are blanks- which can only be filled in by the readerly imagination. Although it loooks like one- this is not only a puzzle, though there are puzzling aspects and there are possible solutions. In the end, there are only readerly solutions, each one, though, of course, slightly different from the last. This is an invitation to create the dance, in order to hear the music. The actors and the characters are only too willing to come on stage, but only the reader can call them to order. Even after being called in, they are certainly an unruly lot. There are sullen loners in there who are not all that interested in communication- but these too will probably eventually make themselves available at a certain point if the reader is persistent.

Again and again one seems to be at a precipice, an ending point- where only incoherences seem capable of living or existing. If this is so, then let them be there be too, in order for them to have the thin atmosphere of such stratopheric latitudes in order to be seen or felt to play their parts.

Anything can supply a narrative- a story can be built around anything. Just as in life, one has to go through an entire cycle of feelings and perceptions once a specific story- (or image-complex) is opened. At any entrance, of course, the reader can go in any direction. This is established mostly by what appears inviting- though this isn't to say that this is all that insubstantial. Evanescent at times, but not merely a vapor. (2/19/99)

Grasping for transcendent security with one hand and digging for meaning with the other, not yet a conflict but a rocking energy tht throws you from one position to the other: like the HIndu gods who seem to live in a constant slow shining in the dance of forms and meanings. And yet, in all of this I still felt like an alien form trying to adjust itself to shatteringly unfamiliar situations. How else could these Gods have arrived into a state of unequalled contentment? When the hands reach up and down at the same time you know an aura of timelessness is being depicted, that is, a tableaux of multiple zones of experience imploding, then exploding in a sequence of infinite variations.

As an alien object, it is very hard to read the reactions of many others to signal what kind of meanings and relationships you were searching for. With this enfolding of implosion with explosion a degree of unfettered energy states may be made possible. This is certainly what many kinds of gods have tried to tell us for eons. In the end, isn't it always something in the decisions regarding someone that forms the axis of our wanderings?