Distribution Automatique

Saturday, November 1

from This Journal 10/17/03

"a funny thing: this past week
fyp and this journal found
themselves bloglisted at buffalo's
electronic poetry center. seems
the epc asked mr. nick piombino
of fait accompli for his
poetry bloglinks...
among which my stuff was
listed. this is
kind of funny because i
didn't know mr.
p. had added me to his list...
ago i was surprised to
find fyp named
under fait accompli's
"these blogs are hot"...
but then i never made
it to his permanent list...
so i just figured i wasn't
really all that hot...
and then whammo
there i am this week...
not only at his place
but also over there in
in the company of some
really sharp writers
and thinkers and

which all raises
the big question...
what the heck
do you want,
does this linking
stuff really matter
that much to you?
is yr ego so
starved? aren't you
above all this?
to which i answer:
well, no i guess not...
but i ain't now nor
never will be writing
fyp for to get myself
linked...or known
or famous or...
i'm happy that
likes it... that much...
however much
that is... but i got no
confusions of grandeur...

now it's getting late on a
friday evening and gbv is
done wailing... i hope
we won the football game...
i bet we did..."

Man consists of two parts,
his mind and his body,
only the body has more fun.

Woody Allen

(This Journal; 10/17)


"Organic and Inorganic"

Animals and plants cannot
understand our business,
so wehave denied that they
can understand their own.
What we
call inorganic matter
cannot understand
the animals' and
plants' business,
we have therefore denied
that it can under-
stand anything whatever.

What we call inorganic is
not so really, but the
tion is too subtle for
our sense or for any of
those appliances
with which we assist them.
It is deducible however as a
necessity by an exercise of
the reasoning faculties.

Popel looked at glaciers
for thousands of years
before they
found out that ice
was a fluid, so it has
taken them and
will continue to take
them not less before
they see that the
inorganic is not
wholly inorganic."

From “The Notebooks
of Samuel Butler”
Selections arranged
and edited by
Henry Festing Jones


from “Adagia”

“The poet seems to confer his identity
on the reader. It is easiest to recognize
this when listening to music- I mean
this sort of thing: the transference.”

“The collecting of poetry from one’s
experience as one goes along is not the
same thing as merely writing poetry.”

“All poetry is experimental poetry.”

“Politics is the struggle for existence.”

“A poem need not have a meaning and
like most things in nature often does not

“Poetry is a response to the daily
necessity of getting the world right.”

Opus Posthumous
Wallace Stevens
Edited by Milton J. Bates,
Knopf, NY 1989

Friday, October 31

"Human imagination is immensely poorer than reality.
If we think of the future, we always see it unrolling
itself in a monotonous progression. We forget that
the past is a multi-colored chaos of generations. This
can help console us for the terrors inspired by the
"technical and totalitarian barbarization" of the
future. In the next hundred years it may well happen
that we have a sequence of at least three moments,
and the human spirit will be able to live consecutively
in the streets, in prison and in the papers. The same
can be said of one's personal future."

Cesare Pavese
*This Business of Living*:Diaries 1935-1950.
Quartet Books
[click here] Caterina's reverie:
magazines, memories
and "an obscure language of things."

Caterina lives in Vancouver, B.C.
She's been blogging since 1998,
and began when she
became ill and couldn't leave
the house. She's fine now and
no one could be livelier. Her blog
receives around 2000 hits a day-
no sign of blog fatigue here!

Caterina's Vancouver [click here]
art show opens November 7.

How other to express it than in symbolic
characters, words returning away
from representations into abstract
forms untranslateable figures thrown
out of the mind like formless masses
of spatial design, suggestive perhaps
of the mind's language before words,
the cacaphony and squawks of
feeling- of anger and laughter
delight and fear, terror and awe.
But the mind does not want ambiguity.
The mind wants words that illustrate.
These are the words that get things
done, the words that partake of solid
space. These words, the heavy ones have
little to do with the lighter hued
words that the mind can fashion
to *reflect* the sexy feeling of light
clothing over the body. Words have
visual pleasure and the pleasure
they evoke as objects in their own right.
Sculptural, gigantic, massive letters
that amaze the mind's eye because
they are stone but they represent
sound. The life of their value is
unlike the history of the fashioning of
materials to satisfy man's physical
needs although they are used for
that. Words have an aesthetic value of
their own which, on the sensual level,
is represented by the sounds of voices,
the meanings coveyed by these
vocal articulations as they relate to the
awareness as it attempts to organize
experience and respond to it.

At every moment words are spoken
in the mind. The flow of thought, the
continual attempt to correlate these
thoughts to external experience and
thus "reason out our actions." the
experience of "wishing things would
happen" is the natural reaction of minds
that often experience this after reasoning
out a decision in language, that what
we think will happen is spelled out in
language during that thought. The idea
that this language is an unimportant
by-product of thinking is
surprising considering the imporantance
allotted to the spoken word. The magic
word is a spoken word, not the
words of thought. This must be one of the bases
for the ideas of incantations, mantras,
the religious base of theatre and
the dramatic importance ascribed to every
day behavior. Words as amusement.

Now fear brings the transparent.
As far as the jet-age goes.
Synchronous with diversity, the
paper factories are producing paper,
language appearing as luminous. [illegible]
sound of amusements, language has
no multiple place if [it] is unlearned
from just comprehension to the peelable
surface words, added to the top of the
stream of chaotic squawks of thought to
make them appear familiar. Thought,
like everything is always unfamiliar.
It is also identical from mind to
mind. But the sequences are infinitely
varied rhythms.

Lovin' isn't one of the best talents I have
I just seem to have to leave people's minds
alone somtimes
I go drifting inside my own
Just wondering, just wondering
Just wandering, just wandering

1) A friend who's somewhat dull. His
mechanical gestures- smile, language,
habits. Liking him anyway.

2) Reading your own self-image by
thinking about what somebody else
might think about you.

3) Using not the "first" word but the
word most comfortable- the
plainest word for what you mean.

4) Type of quotes from poetry process
book and Andy Warhol.

5) "The futility" of distinctions- (P.S.) - specifically
what pleases others and pleases yourself.

6) "The idea of performance"- E.F.

7) Mysterious, private, secret-
privacy & lying- "fiction" "narrative"

8) As if existence were not naked
enough, every nerve exposed to the eye,
we repeat it in writing- a double
exposure- it's like picking at a sore

9) Fear of laugter

10) Why "so what?" makes
certain situations more interesting (sort of Zen?)

11) Are you afraid? Or are you
afraid to be afraid?

13) "Ow" as a title, the sound of
something as a title.

What's a "fragment" of something.
Right up against the whole thing.

Margaret Drabble-
Tillie Olson-

92 & B'way xxWest Bway
June-Wednesday Sept 24- 12:00 on
Breton-biography- Anna Balakian
Oxford Univ. Press - *Strand*

Thursday, October 30

M Merleau-Marcuse- click here theorizes website writing with an accent that may bring the vampires of book prize competition wearily back to life- or send them fleeing the light back to their coffins!

I've received several messages and I
feel the necessity to let you know
about them. Several messages from
the furniture- particularly the desk.
I'm going to translate them for you.
Not take me seriously? Not glass
or drunk or hours or whispers after
confusion, let it up, not teasing or
what- I - need or where-to-go or
little colors? Humpback, he's back,
or a kind of use for terribly, let
alone, signals, a kind of move. Up
the stairs, or, too familiar, let me
alone to name it a star pointing
towards to take a circle. Why spend?
They collect nouns, things. In a
hospital. Translate the dream into
a bunch of rooms in a house (a
building?) Whose shapes? And get
angry about color about whatcha callit.
Out of gloom. Take an object. Heals
it. Once called it a serviceable
chair. Hum chance. Low low lose.
Low hum. Bleeps out of the simple
shape before the brain yells "usage,"
take it, ornate as the illustrated
castle, this stands for that,
easily sliding into a perspective
laughing at kinds of time, drifting
on associations, star-pointed,
ruby still, long lasts a week
or weddin's sunk, slunk,
slinking, slinging. No, I don't
no. No no in a dream, the text's
a chance. No bets. The professor
is quiet. Out to the bar. Games.

An accurate phrase. Out of
phase. Listen in the light of what
comes next, not what came before
that but what's next as what's
coming before.

Abbreviation, not "of what?" a
mouth opens a bit on "art." Not
taking pain seriously. Uh-oh.
The house has finally become a
constant thing. The items wouldn't
coalesce but seemed to dominate
their spaces independently like
unconnected telephone poles.

If no one calls I'll call it a hat.
Each separate wire, individual
substatements strewn around. If I
put this together with that, sailing,
and go around the house, "I dub thee
Arthur, pillow," another splendid wall.

What was said? I noticed the
utterance but I think I misunderstood
the intent. But was I looking for
hidden meanings again. A slap,
slapping waves, slapping the face
with aftershave, slapping your legs.
They were unshaved. After him. They
go after him.

Something uncovered. A photograph.
No, I'll never say she went out.
They don't speak to understand this.
You have to make friendly. I begin
with child's language, a glow,
excitement, attempting to stand,
peeking. What's that? In red.
Below a charge. It explodes.
I'll elude them. Dot dot dot. I
forgot the morning, slept, the
dog & then shopping, laundry,
small disappointment. The two
sarcastic commments converged: one now,
one weeks ago, added up to what? It
was nothing, but still. It isn't a
goddamned puzzle. A long loving look,
then remembering what a bitch she can
be. That should make me laugh. A
small, jumpy bird becomes the
emblem of a search.

In the code to be accepted as a
given or do I dispose of it entirely
and subsitute suspense. Either not
knowing & just speaking or substituting
a metaphor for what I don't know &
proposing we both don't know it but both
do, in a way, we have all the
information & try to guess.

No event too trivial to write about.
The more trivial, in a way, the more magical.
The attempt to change someone
from being cold to being warm. Also,
decorations, arabesques, as in Matisse
and Gauguin. The encounter with horror,
rapid change, shifting modes of
interpretation. Mirrors, laughter,
morbid satisfaction with pain & fear.
Ideas or about ideas. Concentric
figures of concentration & comprehension.
Ideas stretched out, elaborated. Word
and picture, word & object. Spoken
language. Protons, nuclei. Danger.
Spools of thread. Covering space.
Covering space or lowering space
each decision need not be monumental.
Allowing for the arbitrary, the
ambiguous, the shadings of exactitude
and restraint, the wish not to
choose. What is the exact measure
might be more than what I thought.
Exactly what I wanted. Silence.
Unbelievable incredible silence within
which all is in balance.

Wednesday, October 29

"Worth Doing"

"If I deserve to be remembered, it will be not
so much for anything I have written or for any
new way of looking at old facts which I may
have suggested, as for having shown that a
man of no special ability, with no literary
connections, not particularly laborious,
fairly, but not supremely accurate as far as
he goes, and not travelling far either for his
facts or from them, may yet, by being
perfectly square, sticking to his point. not
letting his temper run away with him, and
biding his time, be a match for the most
powerful literary and scientific coterie that
England has ever known.

I hope it may be said of me that I discomfited
an unscrupulous, self-seeking clique, and set
a more hopeful example myself. To have done
this is the best of all discoveries."

The Notebooks of Samuel Butler (1835 -1912)
selections arranged by Henry
Festing Jones
Dutton, 1917
A note from the Electronic Poetry Center (click here) informs
me that the bloglist is now one of the most
frequently visited pages there.
Much appreciation to the following bloggers for recent feedback
on your blogs and backchannelled,
and to Arm Sasser (Carl Annarummo)
for the collage postcard: Carl, I will be reciprocating shortly; thanks for your patience,
and for your wit, which continues to elicit much needed laughter; and to all of you: for your blogs which I read at least once a day, and frequently more often

abolone (Li Bloom)
fluss (John Most)
Crag Hill's Poetry Scorecard
Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego)
The Well Nourished Moon (Stephanie Young)
San Diego Poetry Guild (Bill Marsh)
Overlap (Drew Gardner)
The Skeptic (John Erhardt)
Blue Kangeroo (Jean Vengua)
Automobile Xerox (Andrew Lundwall)
tex files (Chris Murray)
Pantaloons:Tykes on Poetry (Jack Kimball)
Derailed Commodity (Alexander Trimble Young)
Venepoetics (Guillermo Parra)
Elsewhere (Gary Sullivan)
Bellona Times (Ray Davis)
ululations (Nada Gordon)
Bloggedy Blog Blog (Katie Degentesh)
Eeksy-Peeksy (Malcolm Davidson)
Marsh Hawk Press Blog
Semioanalysis Discotheque (Karl Merleau-Marcuse)

You come to the delicate portion, which is
the center of the machine. You get there
by means of feeling your way there
because your eyes are no good to you
there. Your feelers fly in the air. You
touch the delicate part with your feeler
and the whole machine moves.

For several years, since writing
"Explications" I've been trying
to figure out a way of writing-
like that one- where I can
move freely from tone of essay,
to tone of poem, to quotation,
to reflection.But when I try it-
invariably I get something which is
"preachy." I don't get exactly
what it is I keep slipping into
which is not at all what I am
envisioning.When this starts to
happen I have to wonder why.
It could be I am lapsing into
writing cliches because I am actually
not feeling very motivated. Right
now I have 6 weeks left & I
think I've already allowed myself
to avoid this (as usual) as long
as possible. My reading is in
late January- 3 months away which
I am feeling is a tremendous
luxury of avoidance. As Charles
put it, "procrastinatioin is the poetry
of our lives." This is actually the
luxury of waiting to get a really
exciting idea.But excitement of this
type involves risk- and
avoidance of anxiety is a big part of
avoiding that risk.

A few days ago I got an inner glimpse
of what this text might look like-
then I've been avoiding this.It is
hard to see because everything
that I've been told is criticism &
poetry I am countering. That is really
why it feels so hard to do. It
really should be easy to do- easy
if I can only let go of all those
stupid assumptions that make me a
slave to the rules of the past. At the
same time I feel a sentimental
nostalgia for all that- which also
makes me feel like one of the gang.

This doing exactly what I want
to do- which feels so dangerous
when I contemplate it- but oh so
easy and pleasurable when I do
it- consists exactly of letting all
that old baggage go.


Book I is a book with no beginning.
It proceeds as a series of
postulates, as disembodied from
a moment-to-moment recounting
as could be imagined.


What I want is continuous
access to theoretical speculation
with simultaneous continuous access
to visual and aural imagination.
This crosses over into "just thinking"
but "just thinking" is just as
accumulative as anything else. Simplify,
Sven Birkirts advised me. Simplify
and thus amplify. And more time for

Stop to do what?
Stop to stop thinking.
Stop to go back to thinking.
What other kind of thinking?


Stanley Lewis.Great bookman.
What was my book to this man? Now
I'll never know. What was I afraid of ?
What was he afraid of ? Now I'll never know.


Actually composed of hundreds and hundreds
of everyday observations. Thousands and
thousands. A minute, an hour, a day,
week, month, year, decade, a life,
a random string of such experiences.

The feeling of uniqueness of each
constellation is the freshening breezes of
right now. At a distance, they are
less and less illuminated by such freshened
aliveness. Real memories- full memories
contain some afterglow of this
life-textured vibrance. Just the
pushing- forward, the moment after
moment accumulation of time also
contains some of this spirit.


Never, in a thousand
years could so-called
progress repress what is native
to the human spirit. It
will cry out for the most
vulnerable ones who are suffering-
a cry of mercy. The young ones,
as they told us, would lead
the way, but this is the
only thing they were right
about.This intrinsic thing,
this spirit cries out in
some root part of everything
that exists. Someone, or
something has to say this
always to say this.
We are wrapped about it,
and it is wrapped about
us.There are only
indications, inside the
All things eventually rest-
and still will reappear.

*Listen*: what is it that's calling?
Listen again. Then you don't
have to avoid it.

It spreads out, it
takes over, we breathe it
and it breathes us. An
inhaling and exhaling, just
like us. the "anthropomorphic
argument" is a way of
measuring this way of measuring.
(Meanwhile a small bulldog has
taken notice of me, and when I
look up he is looking down on me
from the hill and just across from
me.Then he runs off).


If you serve writing raw
it is bitter. It has to


Someone called us
and asked for
Dr. Happenstance.

Tuesday, October 28

"All those poems where it is merely
the Poem that is in question-
a whole poetry with no other
substance but itself!
What would we say of a
prayer whose object was

EM Cioran
*The Trouble With Being Born*

Consciousness, that master poet,
never forgets that final touch,
even when the heart itself does.
Allegrezza Blog (Bill Allegrezza) offers a visual poem on yesterday's post, 10/27; it is said a picture is worth 1000 words. Why not use text and photos?- check out today's posts on: Solipsistic,
Topher Tune's Times (Christy Church)
Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego),
The Ingredient (Alli Warren),
Wood s Lot (Mark Woods).

Hey, I'm gonna go out and buy me a scanner!

What is the next step? It is
to consider the next step, If
you find that the flowers you
gave were untended then tend
for them.

Who cares who you are if you
know what to do. (Like follows
like, as word follows word).


"Like follows like, as word follows

But this is only a question of
lighting. *Only* style?

If you are uncomfortable, this
is itself an accomplishment.

Someone touted some writing I like and I
felt it was no longer mine to like.

The seasoning of self.

"Now I follow you."

They say, "Go forward."

A line at a time, like a step
at a time. As they say, "timing
is everything."

It is said, "timing is everything."


Worth waiting for (cool breeze
on face, quiet, flowers &

Only a few elements.

"Yes, I like it. [I love it, "he
says, (Crossed out).]

Plenty of specifics.

"Stop and figure it out *first*? But
*that's* no fun."

Composed of voices.

"Push yourself" (remembering owing some

Momentum (more memories).

Anything you said, say, will say
has its opposite- which can be said,
even if not true.

Lies exist to be shunned. Their existence
motivates action.

To stop is to shape.

To shape is to see.

To see is to approach.

To approach to say

To say is to hear

To hear to surround

To surround to stay

To stay to know.

To know is to have


To stop is to have.

(This is inside.)

The external is shared but the inside
is covered over, private. It maintains
a privilaged silence. The
world won't provide the scaffolding
but the materials are available and are out

First, a tapping, what does it
represent? Then a warble, what is
this telling? It fades, but the
process is repeated again and again.

The remoteness of some people
is as enlivening as the welcoming
warmth of others. Each contibutes
some ingredient to life's elixir.

Outside a breeze moves among
the branches and the trees. Inside
another flow touches thoughts which
stay and grow but also
vanish inexplicably.

Then something moves and catches
your eye & the thoughts start again.
Until what follows comes, the
duration is an eternity. So clearly
eternity is just as brief as anything.
Time is a hill.

Monday, October 27


All artists should get jobs.
This is the only way to create
enough idleness in order to think.


Blankness, indifference, unresponsiveness,
aloofness, these are
the subjects of great interest- because
their existence prevents everything
from existing. Vapid enthusiasms which
spring from a shallow root cover over
this pervasive tendency only slightly-
the way air freshener briefly covers
over an utter lack of freshness in
the atmosphere.


Alchemy of writing: the boundary
between public and private obliterated.


The falseness of Stevens' concept of
the artist's "radiantly productive

I have a greater and greater
dread of noodling around as a
way of producing any quantity of

I am talking about writing that consists of
what are essentially long winded answers to
questions nobody has asked.

The person asking the question is
the writer. But why not look for
the answers in a book
or in a conversation with another
person? Granted, the answers are
inconclusive but the process is
soothing. A kind of harmony comes
out of this. Yes- but it still
sounds like a lot of noodling around,
though very pleasant noodling around.

I presented my new theory of writing
to T. (my wife). She is skeptical.
She sees no harm in "warming up."
But, I tell her, what you are
calling a "warm up" I
am calling "noodling around" &
this noodling around
while appearing to evidence some
momentum, actually slows me down
in the long run because when I reread
the work I feel it has been done
by some alien being I can't
recognize. Now that I think of it,
that is probably exactly what I liked
about doing this sort of thing in the
past. The writing would look like a
foreign language because it felt
so distant from what I was actually
thinking of doing. But T. is skeptical.
I say that convinces me even more
because it seems that I have
worked out an idea that is very
custom-made to my own needs.
It sounds like a
rationalization- but I
think I have to have this with
writing because it is not available
*anywhere else*. This gets to the
core of what I want for myself
out of the process of writing.


A friend of mine
fequently complains about writing which
is nothing more than writing about
writing. I seem to be interested in
this much more than him. How not to
talk about a thing most frequently
thought about when doing it? I see the
avoidance of this as an intense
form of self-destructiveness. The
dependence on indirectness & allegory
is a poison that slowly murders
culture. It is an escape to
the fairly obvious from the completely

As soon as I see that a
quantity of writing has
anything more than the barest
scaffolding I get bored
with it.[And being a little bit
bored is like being a
little bit dead. (crossed out
in the notebook)]

When writers talk too little about themselves
in their work it is as uninteresting
as when they talk too much
about themselves in conversation. Either
way, when they are unselfconscious
about it, it is intolerable.
This is a certain type of naive and unrepentant
self-absorption that feels homicidal
to me.


If I have to depend on
inspiration, the rest of the
time I have suffocation.


What is the difference between
being interested in something and
being skeptical about it? If you
agree with something or
recognize it well, you look
& smile & listen & put your mind
on something else.


If it is publishable, it is
"-the way the *potlatch tax* works is that any
writer who uses the word
*potlatch* has to pay the *potlatch tax-"

Buck Downs from *Thread Wreck*

published in Zazil 1- winter 2000-San Diego, California-
agents: Stephen Cope, Joel Kuzai, Bill Marsh, Joe Ross

Guy Bennett, Steve Carll, Norma Cole, Danielle Collobert,
Stephen Cope, Buck Downs, Kris Dykstra, Dan Featherston,
Heather Fuller, Lisa Jarnot, John Lowther, Nancy Gates Madsen,
Douglas Messerli, Mez [Mary-Anne Breeze], Reina Maria Rodriguez,
Rod Smith, Eleni Stcopoulos, Mark Wallace, Bobbie West
misbehaving.net (click here)- a weblog devoted to women and technology. This weblog apparently opened in September: with the epigraph: "Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

(via Caterina)

Sunday, October 26


Poetry Exam- True or False

1. We will go two by two into the ark.

2. Ted Berrigan encouraged work
outside the New York School.

3. As long as you can still hold a pen,
pencil or scratchy instrument
you are still a writer.

4. Once a writer, always a writer.

5. Writers write mainly to transform themselves.

6. Transformation resonates beyond the
immediate boundaries of the structure
which guides.

7. To judge the merit of some poetry
you must see it mainly in the context
of the poet's overall style.

8. Style is everything.

9. A successful poet is judged by the
excellence of a single poem.

10. The quality of a poem is judged
by the amount of quality poetry the
poet has written.

11. Great poet- 300 great pages.
Good poet- less than 300 great pages.

12. The child's endless delight
in the repeated story is one source
of poetic sustenance.
Crag Hill's Poetry Scorecard today:

"It's pitiful how much energy has been spent
fighting for but a few thousand readers of
contemporary poetry. Fights between those
inside and outside the universities, the
supposed canonizers; fights between
younger innovative writers and those
in the preceding generation; fights
about poetry published electronically
and poetry published in hard cover; fights
over the microscopic print space devoted
to reviews of poetry; fights between poets
who foreground the performative aspects of
poetry and those who do not; fights
between small- and medium-presses
for distribution... We're squabbling
over disappearing crumbs,
ladies and gentlemen.

How to bake more bread?"

It's important to note in this context an example
of how this might be done. Note how frequently
Ron Silliman's list in his important anthology
*In The American Tree*, of 90 or so additional
names of poets and artists, along with these words,
is referenced: "These individuals and
many others participated in the greater discourse
of which this poetry is a particular axis." This sort
of effort to include, not exclude, remains a model
for future anthologists and editors.

*In The American Tree* was recently reissued by
the National Poetry Foundation.

"The actual order of things is precisely what
"popular" tactics turn to their own ends,
without any illusion that it will change any
time soon. Though elsewhere it is exploited
by a dominant power or simply denied by an
ideological discourse, here order is "tricked" by
an art. Into the institution to be served are thus
insinuated styles of social exchange, technical
invention, and moral resistance, that is an
economy of the *gift* (generosities for which
one expects a return), an esthetics of *tricks*
(artists' operations) and an esthetics of *tenacity*
(countless ways of refusing to accord the established
order the status of a law, a meaning, or a fatality).
"Popular" culture is precisely that: it is not a corpus
considered as foreign, fragmented in order to be
displayed, studied and "quoted" by a system which
does to objects what it does to living beings.

The progressive paritioning of times and places,
the disjunctive logic of specialization through and
for work, no longer has an adequate counterpart
in the conjunctive rituals of mass communications.
This *fact*cannot become our *law*.It can be gotten
around through departments that, "competing"
with the gifts of our benefactors, offer them products
at the expense of the institution that divides
and pays the workers. This practice of economic
*diversion* is in reality the return of a sociopolitical
ethics into an economic system. It is no doubt
related to the *potlatch* described by
Mauss, an interplay of voluntary allowances
that counts on reciprocity and organizes
a social network articulated by the
"obligation to give." In our societies, the market
econom is no longer determined by such
an "emulation": taking the abstract individual
as a basic unit, it regulates all exchanges among
these units acccording to the code of generalized
equivalence constitued by money. This individualistic
axiom is, of course, now surfacing as the question
that disturbs the free market system as
a whole. The a priori assumption of an historical Western
option is becoming its point of implosion. However
that may be, the *potlatch* seems to persist within it
as the mark of another type of economy. It survives in
our economy, though on its margins or
in its interstices. It is even developing, although
held to be illegitimate, within modern market economy.
Because of this, the politics of the "gift" *also
* becomes a diversionary tactic. In the same way,
the loss that was voluntary in a gift economy is
transformed into a transgression in a profit economy:
it appears as an excess (a waste),
a challenge (a rejection of profit), or a crime (an attack on property).

This path, relative to our economy,
derives from another; it
compensates for the first even
though it is illegal and (from this
point of view) marginal. The same
pathway allows investigations to take up
a position that is no longer defined
only by an acquired power
and an observational knowledge, with
the addition of a pinch of
nostalgia. Melancholy is not enough."

*The Practice of Everyday Life*
Miichel de Certeau

Thanks to
Ernesto Priego (Never Neutral)
for publishing my poem "The Disappearance" on
his blog yesterday. Which reminds me to go look
for that Spanish course on a couple of CDs I
bought just before Heriberto Yepez came to
town last year to read at *The Drawing Center*,
introduced by Lytle Shaw. I wonder if I could
interest Ernesto in translating my poem into
Spanish. (I've enjoyed having some of my
writing translated into French,
Japanese, Serbo-Croatian and Finnish.)