Distribution Automatique

Saturday, December 13

The Soul Indrawn
Stephane Mallarme
(tr. Roger Fry)

All the soul indrawn
When slowly we exhale it
In many rounds of smoke
Lost in other rounds

Proves that some cigar
Burns skilfully how-so little
Its ash withdraws itself
From the clear kiss of fire

So the choir of songs
Flies it to your lip
Exclude if you begin
The real as being base

Its too sharp sense will overscrawl
Your vague literature

New Directions

"Man loves company even if it is only
that of a small burning candle."

Lichtenberg, *Aphorisms*

"The most absurd and the most
rash hopes have sometimes been the
cause of extraordinary success."

Vauvenarges, *Reflections and Maxims*, 1746
Very busy the last few days and blogger out for a night
and a morning- I guess. Very interesting, a little
disorienting, but in a good way; like when you
are forced to change your sleeping schedule- bracing and
stimulating but in an astringent kind of way, something I wouldn't
mind encountering quite rarely.

Friday, December 12

Benjamin: Blogger Flaneur

"How this work was written: rung by rung, according as chance would offer a narrow foothold, and always like someone who scales dangerous heights and never allows himself a moment to look around, for fear of becoming dizzy (but also because he would save for the end the full force of the panorama opening out to him)."

I was looking for a place,
in one chapter of the *Arcades Project*
where Walter Benjamin would project a
perfect image of a blogger.
It didn't take me long.

As I read this book, it feels
that Benjamin took on the task
of visualizing what it was to experience
the vast change that had taken place in
the world in the modern era, particularly
concerning the individual's relationship
with time. Walter Benjamin also
understood that the torrential
onrush of time in contemporary
life demanded a drastic change
in literary methods.

"Method of this project: literary montage. I needn't *say* anthing. Merely show. I shall purloin no valuable, appropriate no ingenious formulations. But the rags, the refuse- these I will not inventory but allow in the only way possible, to come into their own: by making use of them."

"Making use of them."
So often Benjamin comes back to
themes of reclamation. In this way
he is similar to Robert Smithson and
Andy Goldsworthy. Benjamin took
the everyday literary reaction to time in
reverse for his project. The more
the pressure of time demanded
complicity, the more he
immersed himself in the
immediate past. He is insisting:
time is going slower than you think.
The demands of contemporary
production demand a relationship
to time that is completely complicit
with commodity production,
commodity consumption and
commodity disposal. The need for
reverie time should be constantly
lessened not only by means of
administered work: the administrators
have as their task to determine
the rate of production - the worker's
relationship with time. This is
discovered to be the most
effective way to enslave the
masses: making it impossible
for individuals to think for
themselves by removing the
type of time needed to acquire
exactly the emotional and cognitive
powers that might set them free.

"It is not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on what is past: rather, image is that wherein what has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation. In other words, image is dilalectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is purely temporal, continous one, the relation of what has been to the now is dialectical: is not progression but image, suddenly emergent.-..."

As the historical perspective
fades away into the fabled
world of the material present,
time changes speed. The exact
reverse of this is
"dialectics at a standstill."
"What has been comes together
in a flash with the now..."
Understanding here is
envisioned as a "flash,"
a flash of insight.
The past and present
stand frozen in their
representative historical
contexts in symbolic forms.
In Benjamin, time's materiality
is all the more unnerving because
it is apt to come disguised in
details, and not present
itself as a completed
tableau. It is presented
in stages, to be absorbed
presently at the pace of the
flaneur. The irony is that what
is seen and experienced is not
translateable into insight by the
flaneur because the function of
commodity processes has
overwhelmed the perceptual
apparatus. Benjamin would
have loved the way a blogger
could move much so quickly
through informational time
and space as to outmaneuver
the one hypnotic materialistic
drone of information expressly
created for mass consumption:
buy now and buy *in* now.

"Resolute refusal of the concept of "timeless truth" is in order.
Nevertheless, truth is not- as Marxism would have it- a merely contingent function of knowing but is bound to a nucleus of timel ying hidden within the knower and the known alike. This is so true that the eternal, in any case, is far more the ruffle on a dress than some idea."

Like his friend and literary companion
Brecht, Benjamin's notion of history
is bereft of the notion of climax.This has
been replaced one the one hand by the
largest historical version: the breadth
of imagined time which is messianic time,
and on the other, by the moment to be
characterized by perception of the
multiplicity of objects for sale in a store
window.The tragedy that has already
taken place is more likely to be allegorized
in the form of a cane used by a beggar
play-acting the part of a cripple.
It's not that "timeless truths" are cliches,
it is that their emphasis is mistaken.
Such truths are proffered like a hunter's
stuffed prey hanging on a wall. They are
objects constructed in factories for quick
consumption and equally quick disposal
(for example, the conceptual planned
obsolescence of the academies).


Walter Benjamin would have
loved blogging because of its
capability of embracing as
part of its mortar what society
considers trivial and unmentionable.
These innumerable details,
which constitute the names,
or at least the initials,
of every person who exists or
who has ever existed, embrace
what traditional journalism consigns
to "quaintness" and the
"human interest story."
Walter Benjamin would have
understood that like the growing
masses of moviegoers ,
the thronging masses of bloggers
stand with insourciant
defiance towards the overall capitalist
conception of the function of
information and history.

"Necessity of paying heed over many years to every casual citation, every fleeting mention of a book."

Benjamin frequently refers to
time in relation to literary details.
This summons an image of
everyday activity and attention
and *citation* of details.

"It is the present that polarizes the event into fore-and after-hhistory."

"It is my intention to withstand what Valery calls "a reading slowed by and bristling with the resistances of a refined and fastidious reader." Charles Baudelaire, *Les Fleurs du mal*, introduction by Paul Valery, (Paris, 1928)

Benjamin is anything but the slow
and methodical kind of scholar-creator.
On the contrary, Benjamin would have
loved the quick turn-around of reading
and writing made available and
nstantly universally accessible as blogging.
Benjamin's collecting of materials for the
Arcades project, like blogging,
pleasurably embraces reading
over the shoulders of other writer.
In turn, this action embraces the past,
as well as the future.

"At any given time the living see themselves in the mdday of history. They are obliged to prepare a banquet for the past. The historian is the herald who invited the dead to the table."

The blogger invites the reader
to the table, and the table is
spread by bloggers en masse.
Time, by means of such connections
created each day by thousands of hands,
a wave of reading, in a tide of electronic pages,
new each day, return the passage of time
to the individual: the story,
invented by the media in complete
complicity with the demands of commodity
projection, is atomized and sprayed out over material
space and time as in Phillip K. Dick's *Ubik.*

All quotations from *The Arcades Project* Walter Benjamin
*On The Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Progress*
The Belknap Press of Harvard UP

Thursday, December 11

The BBR Reading Series:

Brenda Iijima &

Graham Foust

Tuesday, December 16, 8pm

($4 to benefit the poets)

Bar Reis

375 5th Avenue

(btwn 5th & 6th Streets)


(F train to 4th and 9th)

Are books a Dead Letter Game? {click here: see post on 12/ 8}

"The art of living is more like
wrestling than dancing."

Marcus Aurelius


Wednesday, December 10

Walter Benjamin's *Arcades Project* and Blogging

"Thus the poet's thought, after meandering capriciously, opens onto the vast perspectives of the past or future..."
'Mareceline Desbourdes-Valmore'

from "Baudelaire"

"The correspondance between antiquity and modernity is the sole constructive conception of history In Baudelaire"

"For the decline of the aura, one thing within the realm of mass production is of overriding importance: the massive reproduction of the image."

"If the crowd is a veil, then the journalist draws it about him, exploting his numerous connections like so many seductive arrangements of the cloth."

"The poetics of *l'art pour l'art* blends seamlessly into the aesthetic Passion of *Les Fleurs du Mal*"
"The 'loss of a halo' concerns the poet first of all. He is abliged to exhibit himself in his own person *on the market.* Baudelaire played this role to the hilt. His famous mythomania was a publicity stunt."

"In the opening poem of *Les Fleurs du mal,* Baudelaire accosts the public in a most unusual fashion. He cozies up to them, if not exactly in a cozy vein. You could say he gathers his readers around like a mantilla."

"Modernity has its anitquity, like a nightmare that has come to it in its sleep."

"Professional conspirator and dandy meet in the concept of the modern hero. The hero represents for himself, in his own person, a whole secret society."

"Baudelaire would never have written poems, if he had had merely the motives for doing so that poets usually have."

from "The Flaneur"

"The most characteristic building projects of the nineteenth century- railroad stations, exhibition halls. department stores (according to Giedion)- all have matters of collective importance as their object. The flaneur feels drawn to these "despised, everyday" structures, as Giedion calls them. In these constructions, the appearance of great masses on the stage of history was already forseen. They form the eccentric frame within which the last privateers so readily deployed themselves."

*The Arcades Project* by Walter Banjamin
translated by Howard eiland and Kevin McLaughlin
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1999

With some stretching of categories and
conceptual photoshop image-pasting
and tweaking many if not most of the
statements above could be applied to
the contemporary literary/poetic/political/
anti-propangandistic and counter
mass-media blogger.

Like the railroad stations,
exhibition halls, the
"despised , everyday"
weblogs easily adapt
themselves to the
of everyday activity
and more or less comfortably
serve as literary and political
meeting places, akin to what
was once cafe culture. Although
you have to make your own coffee,
you can amble around blogs very
much like Benjamin and Baudelaire
flaneurs wandered through the
arcades and in and out of the
bars and cafes of late nineteenth
and early 20th century Paris. Early on,
blogs started to take on names
very much like cafes: one of my
favorites was *Breakfast All Day Cafe*,
which strangely, the author switched to
a blog of his own name "Bogue's Blog"
around the time *fait accompli* was asked
to contribute its link list to the EPC. Lists of
Blog names remind me of those stacks of
ads for Band performances you see in the
Village Voice by the dozens. The idea is the
same. Blogs extend themselves as
places to hang out, virtual cafes and other
kinds of digs. In this environment, the
everydayness of poetry has an opportunity
to blossom and show itself. I like to blog my
diaries because they are returned to the
everyday spirit in which they were written.
Poems strain to get this "off the cuff" tone
to their works probably in attempt to avoid
the finality (and dullness) in the aura of a lecture

Blogs also give the poet places to exhibit
themselves as demanded by Baudelaire and
Benjamin above. Again, the blogged "place"
happily offers the writer some truly deserved
and needed privacy. You are in the town
square but behind a curtain (a screen).
Unquestionably blogland is a marketplace
but a quaint one in which all the products
are free, and can be copied and exchanged
and interchanged at will. Benjamin is fascinated
with and partly horrified by the eagerness the
masses were taking to these circumstances of
the "infinte copy. The multiple copy, so weightily
and mightly earned by the maker of books, is
available to infinitude on the computer. Its
instantaneity and availablity have a long way
to go indeed to where they feel ordinary.
Xeroxing copies is hard to compare to the
way references and their facsimilies are made
available instantly and more and more universally
by html as information gatherers more and more
expect this availability and accessibility with all information.

Art for art, like the "loss of the halo" emanated
from the rapidly expanding universal availability
and interchangeability of all informational access
points. Every bit of a collage is connectible and
transformable to every other part of the collage,
a printed circuit of currency quickly breaking
through boundaries and altering the shapes
and functions of the forms the content inhabits
and moves within. Blogs are like informational
Jackson Pollacks, decentering information by
providing nodes of connection between every
aspect of each informational byte, and
simultaneously participating in the means
by which geometically expansive transformable
content can be universally accessed and exchanged
via equally transformable formal processes.
Just as the poles of content and form transform
themselves and are absorbed by and within each
other, the various roles of readers and writers
become transformed, via disoriented and distortion-edged codes.

Blog names are the store fronts of Walter Benjamin's
ageless arcades, inviting the reader into the
contours of a day, fading into various qualities
of light in morning, noon and night's
photographic darkroom.

Tuesday, December 9

Linky Haiku

Moonshine Highways
and a bottle of

TEN MORE POEMS by James Hoff
CITY/TEMPLE by Mark Lamoureux

Saturday, Dec. 13 7pm
at The Nest, 88 Front Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
(F train to York St., A/C to High St.)

If you're in the area, please come. Or tell your friends who are in the area.
It should be a great time.

We're all very excited.

"We were fervent listeners... we were like sticks of dynamite." (Joe Strummer)

Dear Kimmy,

Everything's fine now.

And while I'm at it, thanks for
Blogger. I do enjoy it quite
a lot.

Best wishes,
Nick Piombino

On 12/9/03 12:26 PM, "Blogger Support" wrote:

> I've just gone in to take a look at your blog and it appears to be fine.
> This may have been a temporary problem that has since been corrected.
> Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns!
> Sincerely,
> Kimmy
> Original Message Follows:
> ------------------------
> From: "Nick Piombino (1197149, )"
> Subject: no blogger
> Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2003 05:35:04 -0800
> Why still another version of blogger when they ha
ve all been fine?
> No blogs will open, including my own.

The Day John Lennon Died, December 8, 1980 {click here}

"How can there be laughter,
how can there be pleasure,
when the whole world is burning?"

The Dhammapada, probably 3rd
Centrury BC


Jonathan Mayhew "dreams of a poetry
without any poetic vocabulary" {click here}


"A true poet does not bother to be
poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener
scent his roses."

Jean Cocteau
Notebook 7/6/95

"His power to adore is responsible
for all his crimes...once man
loses his *faculty of indifference*
he becomes a potential murderer...
We kill only in the name of a god..."

E.M.Cioran, *A Short History of Decay*

"When we refuse to admit the
interchangeable character of ideas,
blood flows..."


You can't go backwards
You can't even go forwards
You can only face forward with dignity
And try not to fall

"In the fervent mind you always
find the camoflaged beast of


Is it sad not to know which way to go?
At least, the signs point East.
Some time ago when things were certain
They held their babies to themselves and sighed.
All at once the sky was registered in orange.
It is so simple to go forward blindly
Taking your joys with you strongly as you go.
In the Bonnards at the Museum D'Orsay
They sit in dignity and each are looking inward
in different directions.


Here we are over a hundred years later
Still dying of what Baudelaire was dying of
Still crying and sighing the same old sorrows
Sung to the same sad Debussy melodies.
The trees are dark the sky is dark my face
is dark my hands are dark,
The tears were dark. And how they laughed.
Listen you can still hear them laughing.
Listen on the same dark Paris streets.
Walking and walking till you're so
tired you can't stand anymore.

Monday, December 8

{click here} Ron Silliman's wife Krishna
is home and doing well; but his PC crashed.

Drew Gardner is home with the flu
for two weeks. Read about his
videorama and get his email address
if you feel like writing him at:
Overlap (Drew Gardner) {click here}

notebook: 5/19/95

killing begets killing
hurting begets hurting
hating begets hating

wanting begets wanting
holding begets holding
touching begets touching
walking away begets walking away

Silent when you walk away
Silent one
In dark absence, a darkness

Even the air is an empty page

Kindness factor

Coming back factor

Rough edges- pages-

Inevitability (follow suit)

surcease (measurable gaps in interpretation)



going sideways (slipping into speed
down the rabbit hole)

lost trail of clues (cues)

rendering the world into a game
becomes the narrative of winners and
losers (loss of childhoood into
adult/oedipal measure)

One size fits all= childhood
adulthood=winners and losers
humor (remembering the shared characters)

Sunday, December 7

Who could follow Alli Warren
except Chan Marshall? Who is now headed
for performances in Florida:
Cat Power {click here}
Cool- there are now three video clips on her site
including one of "He War"
(you need RealOne Player)
and an mp3 of
"I don't blame you",
both from her album *Free*
(If you click on the second
one down in the first row of
squares you will find the videos;
if you move the album image
of *free* to an open square you
will find audios from *free*.)

Of words, as seen by poet:
The Ingredient (Ali Warren) {Click here}
Don't miss your chance!
Send her your words
before she moves on...

"Happiness is a how, not a what,
a talent, not an object."

Herman Hesse


"The remedy for wrongs
is to forget them."

Publius Syrus


la photo du jour... {click here} cheers me up.

But I miss Solipsistic {click here}


Snow on the ground
creates such lovely

Just enough
to listen to these
Tactus de Sonus (fr) {click here}