Distribution Automatique

Friday, July 4

circa 1995

Death is inconvenient
It comes on any day
Even when you're careful
Even when you pay

So why write poems about it
Perhaps it's just as wrong
To glorify this awful word
In rhythm, rhyme and song

But today I had to say aloud
What thoughts I can't contain
That silence in the face of Death
Perhaps is too insane

I'm sick of earthquakes, wars and wounds
I'm tired of mourning too
But I'm terrified of distances
That break our hearts in two
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 01:18:14 -0400
To: plist
From: Simon/Piombino
Subject: Ted Berrigan

I've enjoyed reading posts about Ted Berrigan by Erik, Simon Schuchat, Jordan Davis, Henry Gould and others. In 1967 I attended Ted's workshop at the Poetry Project. Some years later, as he did with many others,Ted gave me some very much appreciated support,including recommending some poems of mine to Simon Schuchat and Eileen Myles who were publishing mimeo magazines in the early to middle 70's.(By the way, Ted confided in me that he was particularly impressed by Mr. Schuchat's" brilliance" and writing talents).I had heard Ted read a few times before attending his workshop and had been deeply impressed and truly excited by his poetry and his manner of reading. Ted's readings had a special combination of humor, sincerity, affection, spontaneity and sheer poetic intensity and beauty which have been rarely equalled in contemporary poetry. Ted put great emphasis on the importance of giving poetry readings in the career of a poet. In his own way, he was a great actor. As a teacher, a reader, and a mentor he gave of himself completely. Hardly a week or two goes by in my life when I do not think about him. I go back to his work constantly and keep discovering new things. His work and his person were unforgettably inspiring.Something about his person and his approach to poetry made a great many people excited about poetry in an unusual way, perhaps because of his way of sharing his special passion and devotion to the art, perhaps because of his way of emanating and encouraging more joy and pleasure in writing and living. It is possible that later in life he paid a price for adamantly refusing to take himself, writing- or anything- seriously to the point of eliminating any possible generosity, warmth, joy and spontaneity. Perhaps he was an example of a "60's casualty", something Charles Bernstein long ago pointed out as a cautionary tale, though I don't like to think about this too much. I think I agree with Henry Gould in what he seemed to be saying about Berrigan's combining of the quotidian with high art. Berrigan's irrepressible passion for life made all passions seem more possible and more necessary. I cannot look at an exclamation point without thinking of him!

Here are a few lines from a poem by Carter Ratcliff published in 1969 in "The World Anthology" edited by Anne Waldman:


Arrive at eight-thirty
Arrive early when the table is strewn with banners all strewn with
table-shaped stars....
Notice who was there all the time
Read things on the wall
Dismiss this project immediately
Concentrate on the poem being read....
Say that a a poem is great because the poet speaks of important things
in his own voice....
Disagree with anything anybody else says,especially what Charles, Ted,
Nick and Scott say
Agree with everything anybody says....
Be jealous of everybody
Approve of this sentiment and its intensity....


Hope to hear more from others about Ted Berrigan.

Nick Piombino

Thursday, July 3

"I wish I had a river
I could skate away on..."

Joni Mitchell/Blue
circa 1984

whenever he feels his doubts, she starts to sing
1/25/87 (3)

Find a bit of steam
Beneath the ashes
In a rose bed
Madam, dam mad,
Mad dame, demand,
Man deed, deemed man,
mad man, mad Nam, men dead,
dead Dam, damn mad, more damned, damn dead,
damn need, deemed damned,
damn mud, dumb doom, deemed damned,
dumb mud, dumb mood, dumb moon,
nude dam, rude man, damn mood,
meant damn, met dam, damn down
1/25/87 (2)

It's different from...out of luck...this firm
A romantic movement...movie...moment...mom meant...
team meets...mauve meant...
not me...empty...tempty...
pity...insect...inspect..sins part...
act since...sans pact...captain..
kept them...caught him...
ought them...meet them...heat seems
...sweet seems...meet seems... sight
sings...sweet scenes...seat leans...
heat lens...soft sense...swift sleet...
slight heat...vague scenes...swift sense...
slight sleet...street sings...
bright scenes...might seems...
sight meets...light seems...
heat leans...sleet sings...vague sight...
soft seams...slight dreams
1/25/87 (1)

Just as a word
can invent
a world
an utterance
can be heard
(is remembered)
a certain bit of space
for a meeting
"A lucky card"
"Spring" is the pronouncement
Of all the vehicles
Brought to protect
This origin
Without a common purpose
The entire wall
Is misunderestood.
Words appear
Smaller than they are,
Feelings, images
Reduced in scale
Changing rhythms
To an interval
Of play.
Are never forgotten.
Significance- a variant
of semantic overtones.
Such vacant
7/16/87 The implications of "synthesized voice"
go back to the earliest invention of machines
for translating thought through a mechanical
voice. Such a voice impersonalizes the voice,
enabling it to be identified by the hearer as
a recognizable and conceivable series of
meandering, rather than strictly "meaningful"
expressions of thought.


Language suggests; experience determines.
Be careful when comporing "suggesting"
negatively to determining. The "determination"
(the outcome) is constantly "undermined."
(Un-determined) by the "suggesting." Isn't it
just that one is a "fast" process (determination)
and the other is a "slow" process (suggestion).
There is no hierarchy to this that is invariant.
Slow and steady wins the race but we often
want a quick outcome- possibly to
gratify our faith in our predictive powers.

Wednesday, July 2

Jean Gier wrote to me back on June 27th and had this to say about machines:

"For some reason I've been picking up on the word "machine" a lot lately, from you and from Clayton Couch, actually. Machine in the pre-computer sense...dynamo, engine. I'm really not sure why, or where that will lead -- I guess I'll let it lead me. Maybe I miss the thunder and roar, the rattle and physicality of the old machines. Computers are so quiet and sneaky! Curious to see how the word, machine, comes up in the poetry blogs. And recently reading Nada Gordon's thesis on Bernadette Mayer -- her phrase, "convergences that create dynamism." Dynamism seems like an old word, now; reminds me of "dynamo." vorticism. Wyndham Lewis.

I'm embarassed to say that I know nothing about Mayer, but after reading just part of Nada's thesis, I'm ready to run down to my local bookstore (which is called "The Literary Guillotine," by the way) and look for a copy..."

These comments of Jean's interested me so much because I had a similar thought when recently, shortly before a software update, my computer started to make clickety-clackety sounds that sounded like gears shifting or the teeth of small gears crunching into one another. I realized that as much as these sounds made me apprehensive that my computer was about to break down, I enjoyed them because the silence of my computer somehow seems eerie and antiseptic. Somehow sounds make machines seem more human, communicative. Sometimes sitting at my computer late at night, when I don't happen to be listening to music, I suddenly take notice of the sounds of the refrigerator, and at times even likened these sounds to speech of some kind; lately the same for the occasionally noticeable sounds of the air conditioner. The other day I was thinking about all the gadgets I depend on, particularly my portable CD player which sometimes rescues me from unpleasant noises in my environment and I remembered a scene from Michaelangelo Anonioni's film "La Notte." A couple, Lidia and Giovanni (portrayed by Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni) go to visit their dying friend Tomasso in the hospital. Despite their attempts to reassure him, the situation reeks with alienation; when they leave, Giovanni's bed is filled with his electronic gadgets. Also, it is noticable that in many of Antonioni's films a fan moving back and forth quietly and steadfastedly in a room appears more consistent and reassuring than the lonely, static characters.
9/27/86 Pops Out

In order to think fast enough to hear a
bit of the oceanic tide surrounding the
undulations of the immediate weather allow
for fragments of unthought of dreams to
intrude into the "part songs" repeated vaguely
over and over for a long interval. These
gray memories have pictures attached to them.
They don't mind that the image is made
of dots. Debunking is much less a part of
it than all the pulsing suggestions following
the recitation of a dream. I decided to
wait just as long as it would be
necessary (through dances and long
lectures on the law- I mean *thousands*
of hours, years of this) to one day stumble
onto a moment by accident, vaguely
deciding to approach a dinner on a lawn,
a vast estate held back and also enclosing
bushes of knotty paragraphs, and pages
can eventually become short for this. Say
I was lightly following a g wave, say
every normal sensation would also be
invoked, a short story in Bombay, a
sincere friendship grows in humor and
breadth, like all things at times cracks and
zigzags, a naturally contemporary phenomenon-
the question was how to avoid thinking too
much about what happened briefly a moment
before, a cutting edge of time looms
forward into my plans- then again,
nobody asked me to think like this. Total
recall, like immersion in a
succession of pieces by Chopin
exists in analogy to temporal planes,
and tries to find parallel worlds in
old movies and mounds
of print examined in art history documents
and photographs, Not only the present is
enriched by the lineage of the past, but
voices can become pauses, over a lifetime,
to allow a dense saturation of life
to hover briefly around a culture. What
comes bursting out from inside these words is
life, not a prescription for living, but
the last image in a succession of images.
LIFE magazine cut into
hundreds of collages and painted in
large panels in paths of color
more than only predicted by deep reds and
oranges and a vertical slash. Here was orange,
here was the truck. The day was the
thought and the thought was green. These
records piled in the water were always
played. Silence never stopped either, so
it could easily be found. Words spoken,
jettisoned from origin can also be created.

The child's desire to endlessly regret, to
remember, to suffuse. The fire's light remembered
a thousand times, "a barrel organ carolling across a
golden street in the city as the sun sinks low."
Seated by the record player, listening to the magic
sounds repeat, the willing suspension of disbelief
the disbelief of reality itself.

In order to hear a bit of the guesswork read
within the blur, not between the lines
hear the self of all that being is: to
have a bit of the sun among tides.They don't
sing that make a thing of things. Searching the
heart of marching drums, confounding the rhythms
of following and beating.

The consciousness of stream
this illusion
that by tracing some succession of events or words
a sense of the overall pattern
will emerge; a river does not
flow like that- you must get on a boat
and ride it out at least a part of the
way- whatever it is is ahead-
you don't have to sink into it
but you do have to ride it through.
And when you get out of the boat
to view the river from dry land.
Whatever you think *is* the river.

[This is explosive:]

Tuesday, July 1


This enthusiasm goes until something
stops me. All their bored faces.
Then I'll just keep going.

I'm here-------------I'm not here yet


An aspect-----------Other aspects


King of the dumb---boredom
boor dumb


The recounting of
details of experience is
always an effort to
surface hidden motivations.
That we can hide motivations
is one of the causes of
inner divisiveness.What
we begin by hiding from others,
we end by hiding from our-
selves.To make the world be
what we fantasized it wd
be also furthers the
attainment of divisive
relating. This all
relates to Winnicott's
false self.

There is almost no
other reason to keep
accounts of experience
except to offset the human
tendency to falsify
motivations.The de-
falsification of motivation
requires a sharing
of multiple perspectives.

Monday, June 30


Subjectivity or You Are Here


The culture industry
holds us protectively and
with laughter and high spirits takes us
away on splendid wings.

The sky's dark unbrella.

Slakes your curiosity
with an unwholesome diet
of pasteurized emotions.
But to overpersonalize such emotions-
childish confusion.
But the child!
Let her run! Yet the
whispers afterward-
(They rhapsodized over
skies and seas).
A remembrance
Unnaturally far
Yet a family resemblance
A real cat, not one on t.v.

Visits the museum.

The things we share.
Whereas the idifference-
Still, a little bit more,
A little bit less than the same.
Indivisible, invisible,
sparks, watchful eyes,
yearning watchfulness,
transcendent, serene
You heard it right
Already past
Can anyone get used to
such quickness-
Speaking of the moon-
Floating, coating-
lyrical asides-
Bright obligattoes-
A commercial break to remind us
Not to get too serious-
Or, it's a handicap, not
to feel such passion for possessions,
Color on the checks
(Too precious)
Twirls, swirls, she circles us,
Smiling, beckoning-
I still don't understand
How to stop spilling how I feel
But, is it dangerous?
Kind of a come-on,
A chart buster
By now all the media have it
(Artificial sequences of sea sounds
on the background tracks.)

A library, in silver,
in cellophane, in taffeta
in green. The screen
Memorized it also,
Drops of glistening water,
Trance sessions recorded for the
silver screen.
Small horses attached to a circular wooden platform,
An organ grinder,
two parents and a child.
(Forgotten wildness of the sea,
the tape running backwards
in small shrieks like
gulls on the beach.)
Volumes of indeterminacy
scheduled into the 19th century waltzes
with thickened texture
(A slight reference to
diagrammatic drawings
of a mechanical torso
needles pushed thru them
on grid of wires and a pedestal.)
The constellations reflected across this
and a greying pastel
a piece of sheet music lying
next to a purple vase,
and a delicate hand,
the hand of a musician of the piano-
French, naturally
American music, don't be so angry with us-
The bombs bursting in air
and all through the night
Wolfgang Amadeum Mozart
with a little gun
and a fishing pole.


Things on a certain
tiny scale can come
alive in the viscous
boundary between
two larger realities.
These small things
grow, seeds in
specks of earth or
water, to become
living things in a
world of their own.


Michael asks about
toys to take home.



"staulk yourself
to sleep"

"probably smoked and
knew there was no
insides to things"

"the head is a

a great prose
section on doubt-
as something that
destroys but that's

I have a large
dog I taught
to keep still

"there seemed to be
an endless stream of


The god of bad luck
tends to get sleepy.
This is why it's best
to keep quiet about
good luck. As
soon as the old creep
gets wind that any luck
is happening at all,
he starts to
feel obliged to work
and wakes up.


The antithesis of a
truth also has
some truth. A truth
does not function like
a fact but like a force.

The antithesis of
a truth is
another truth, is not
an untruth but
someone else's truth.
Tht truth is not a
realm but some part
of any realm that can
exist and is the essential
measure of any realm
that continues to exist.


Bring toys to lend
children for Michael
and 207

(Before 2/20 reading)

Also reading to myself-
When I'm reading I'm
saying only to others-
not to me- I'm no longer
listening to me

Hence being excited
by an insatiable love
of gold to disturb
the sacred remains of
thy progenitor


Ms A-
rel with father?
Faulty identification
Chronic sense of guilt

dynamics of the
"pathological" liars and
"white" liars


The artist spends
a lifetime
preparing a


The Portable Museum
The Dialectics of
MIT Press


It was a
moment when I
ran into the
works of------

3rd Symphony
Roy Harris



Do you need to be alone
in order to write,
or to write in order to be
alone? Similarly, is it
necessary to write about
writing in order to write?
These things I
think about in face of the
most subtle physical
beauty imaginable- the
light sprawls of gulls, the
gray-white specks they
appear to be
in the
now dark and cloudy,
now hot bright Noon. A
sailboat is tipped sideways
dead still in the sand,
a familiar touch.
It is hard for two
people to love and still
forego the temptation to
manage and guide
each other. A person
can resent this, while
still appearing
to benefit from the
attempt on the part of
another person to help
them. It takes
courage to say anything,
still more to discreetly
hold it in. The tide
is out and the sand bed
has small squiggly rivulets of
water around its edges
and then a long one
which meanders all the
way to the bay to the
right.The beach
grasses bend in the
wind. A crow squawks
If two people try to
love and remain
there can be painful struggles.
These can come perhaps from the
two people
being tempted to overly
influence each other.
This is natural, and
sometimes stormy, the way
this partly sunny
weather can gradually
become slightly stormy
weather. In people
these struggles
feel unnatural
when they occur between
two people who are
othewise still in love,
in some dimension of
their beings. Now the
beach grass is more
still although I feel
a slight wind.


She appears on her
bicycle to look at the
gulls. She calls out to
me, making
sounds -"I
wonder where the sharks
are?" At least two
perhaps three dozen
gulls standing still in
the wet sand. Once
in awhile one squawks
and breaks away, flying
off before you can see it
start to move. Now,
the gulls are still in
the same spot, although
Toni is walking in the mud
nearby them. In front of
her, a quarter mile of green,
rolling marsh grass
up to the slightly hilly
surrounding line of trees.
Yes, the gulls are
spreading out, but are
staying there, although
Toni is walking around
among them. A few gulls
take off. I can hear
the voices of people
talking half a mile
away, a few small specks
move in the far distance.


When in doubt- read.


How exhausting
conflict is. Must
take it to its
origin and "kill
the germs."

More time alone.

Of course there is
a hurried quality if
I'm not giving myself
enough time to do it.

The story is what
us really happening-
inside and out.

Now the tide is in.
Voices across the
inlet. Silvery
dark clouds. A few birds
in the distance over where
the people's voices are.

See it through what
has changed. A
slight wind and the
staulks of beach grass
sway only little. The
slightest bit of what
is happening is just
as real as a great
amount. But we live
on great amounts-
so these small bits
are "noticings."

The wind feels good-
it touches me, bathes

It's so easy to
stay with what's real.
What makes it so

Everything is important
(thinking of "noticings.")
But to know how
much is enough is
all important. As
Blake says, "Enough or
too much."

transformation of conflict
into energy.

Relationship between
magic and power.

things coming into
existence because
of misunderstandings.

Of course- the artist
uses conflict like
a sailor uses a sail in
a stormy wind, or
a slack one.

Sunday, June 29


Post-Modernism Tilt As Such

Many voices- a voice
that speaks and a
voice that sings. I'll
date it later. He
glanced it over, it
seemed familiar. Once
remembering dreams. A
pause. Then tensions
gripe at me, suggest
annoyance, irritable,
changing. A reminder
to irrigate, watching
drying longer, the
longer I remember. Oceans
past, waves lick my
feet mentioning the
east, the sun also
sets, clearly in the East.
Prelude. This
day, naming. One
bed, not two. Attention
to the fact that...
spreads. Leaving
names out, the
reiteration sponsors
pleasures, apart from
watching. That scrambles.
Historical radio
passage solipsizes
neologisms. Polite
denial, a curious
passage, tilting to
the previous memory-
an experience doubling
the meanings by hinting
at an earlier fragment
of harmony. "The peace
implied by dust,
meandering around an
excuse for asterisks"-
says the clerk
awaiting a charge
card. Oops, a quote,
perhaps a false note
here, falsetto quaver,
mumbling unconsciously
the words to an
old pop song she
heard in her childhood.
Get a leg up there,
but avoid any risk
you can. No, I
don't mean that as a
suggestion, this is what
the dowdy woman
was saying to her
husband, in other
words, not quite
noticing the palm
shadows right in
front of her.
Noticing instead
the ackward gait of
the maid quickly
walking along the
balcony connecting the
rooms. The reader,
thinking by now of a
great French author,
reminds me to have my
lunch. He's all a
part of this nostalgic
utterance, as if I
could massage my own
back, words soothe the
tune, tickle it into
something slightly
frantic- like a
confused arpeggio, it
jumps like a porpoise
right out of the
page. You see? I
wasn't lying at all,
I meant every word
I said, even the
ones that seem
derivative, because I
listen to music so
much. Several
writers who read this
however, will complain
of the presence of the
author. Were I to
describe the craggy
coast, however, and
keep to the compass,
pointing my mind
invariably toward the
surface topography, I
would fit right in,
uncovering inch by
inch my very own
calligraphic identity.
But who cares-where
would I go from there
but to a monstrous
repetition of thematic
elements that thickens
books but lulls me
to sleep? I could
title it as
such. Hence the actual
unconscious meaning of
my name- to plumb
the depths. So fashion's
shallow. The urge to
operate, dig
out the pus, widen
the horizon to
uncloud that ugly
derrick spoiling
the landscape.
I stride rudely
through the gallery
loudly criticizing the
painter's recent work.
Just gray lines on a
black field-jagged
gray lines, slightly
curved ones and straight
ones. The black goes from
flat to glossy- just
like the magazine which
will soon reproduce it
with appropriate titles.
The great adventure
is to escape his voice
dogging me at every
turn. So I curse him
in his own voice and
he is satisfied. Whose
is it? Just because
we both speak, we
hear each other,
accidentally. It
cracks occasionally and
lets in a numbing
light that finally
pursuades us
both to leave,
abandoning the gallery
to a silence
loaded with
symbolic overtones.
Finished yet? Not quite.
You're like someone I
met years ago- I
don't mean to intrude
into your thoughts but
what would you be
doing here if you
didn't expect that,
at least occasionally?
Who has
changed so much I
don't quite recognize
you and you appear
instead to remind
me of someone. Still,
if we don't actually
talk, it's more mysterious-
this is why I
changed "you" to
"to"- because, for
one thing, the whole
passage affects a
curiosity that isn't
actual, like time
instead, it measures
rather than illustrates.
This face or that
babbling into the
screen- they just
speak, not symbolically,
father giving me
original information by
example within
his role, but
breaking into the
rhythmic hum a
beep that means-
"keep out"- your
borders, exactly.
Should we confine these
just to say, come on
in, the water's fine?
What are you writing?
I'm writing writing.
Ever see a kid that
swims with his legs,
just his legs?
This Week's (((((BLOGLINK)))))(((((CRUSHLIST)))) will continue our new feature

the -fait accompli- (((((BLOGLIFE ACHIEVEMENT))))(((((CRUSHLIST)))).

-fait accompli's- admiration for these blogs is boundless, particularly for their ongoing contribution to the world of poetics and poetry blogging each and every day.

A Laurable Log...Laura Willey

ululations... Nada Gordon

Elsewhere ... Gary Sullivan

Well Nourished Moon ... Stephanie Young

Come On Feel The Monkey...Jim Behrle

Overlap... Drew Gardner

Ron Silliman's Blog

Pantaloons: Tykes on Poetry... Jack Kimball

Equanimity ...Jordan Davis

Heathens in Heat ...David Hess

CorpsePoetics....Eileen Tabios

Reading and Writing...Joseph Duemer

Limetree ... Kasey S. Mohammed

The Skeptic...John Erhardt

Bemsha Swing...Jonathan Mayhew

Here are some of our (((((BLOGLINK)))))(((((CRUSHLIST)))))(((((FAVORITES)))))

(check out our links to the left for the *nearly* complete list of our recommended blogs)

Nightjar 2...Jean Gier

abolone..Li Bloom

Sorter...Patrick F.Durgin...

tex files...Chris Murray

prrrowess...Nada's Poems

Million Poems... Jordan's Poems

Bloggedy Blog Blog...Katie Degentesh


Mr.Tong Bliss' Journal...Joe Massey

Dead Letter Game...Bill Marsh

Chimera Song Mosaic...Deborah Wardlaw Pattillo

The Jetty...Cassie Lewis..


No Starting Point...Emma Barnes

Mike Snider's Formal Blog

Mysterium...Carlos Arribas

Arm Sasser...Carl Annarummo

The Brutal Kittens...James Meetze

Process Documents...Ryan Fitzpatrick

Love's Last Gasps...Eileen Tabios' Poem Journal

Topher Tune's Times...Christy Church

Ruminate...Chris Lott

Word Placement...Clayton A. Couch

Yoo Doo Right...Mike County

Ironstone Whirlygig...Amanda Cook

xtina.org....Christina Strong

Zazie's Zone

Heaven...Mairead Byrne

Polis Is Eyes...James Cook

Noahglass...Noah E.Glass

Five Fingers Strong...Alli Warren

Hiving...Jean Chu

In A Dark Time...Loren Webster

Wood s Lot...Mark Woods

Hatstuck and Snarl...Stephen Kirbach

poetic grimoire and notions

Whiskey River

Harlequin Knights...Joseph Mosconi

Eeksy-Peeksy,,,Malcolm Davidson

-fait accompli's- ((((BLOGLINK)))))((((CRUSHLIST))))) FOR 6/29/03

THESE (((((BLOGS))))) ARE (((((HOT)))))

This Public Address 3.0


Finish Your Phrase

Porthole Redux ....Catherine Meng

Human Verb...Noah Eli Gordon

Never Neutral...Ernesto Priego

Swimming for Dummies...Tanya Brolaski

The Nightjar: A Logbook...Jean Gier

Solipsistic Gazette