Distribution Automatique

Saturday, August 28

"You had almost forgotten the tranquil moon above the
empty streets. Every year, the beauties of nature reveal
themselves anew, and the emotion they evoke is always: 'You had
almost forgotten...'

The difficulty of art is to present things you know well
in such a way that they are surprising. If you did not know
them well, you would not be sufficiently interested in them
re treat them in a way that makes them surprising.

The delight of art: perceiving that one's own way of
life can determine a method of expression."

Cesare Pavese
*The Burning Brand*
Diaries 1935-1950

Every night this month, I've been struck,
even dazed, by the loveliness of the
of the phases of the moon.

A constant pleasure: to realize, without yet comprehending
the specifics, that some specific understanding is
unfolding; to notice it instead, in the little forward
and backward emotional fluctuations; what used to
be called, in a more sympathetic literary/ philosophical
era, spirit.

The connected pleasure of discovering parallel insights
in others. Why diaries, journals, blogs, have for so long
completely enthralled me. Why psychoanalysis and
psychotherapy have almost always done the same.

Pavese realized, or hoped, he could piece together
an understanding, a grip on life out of such insights.
What a moving struggle to see so sadly end in suicide.

The phases of the moon: the necessity of priorities;
the necessity of occasionally forgetting them; the
inexorable, yet paradoxical companionship of the
inevitable. On the verge of Aurelius' stoical,
transcendent insight:
to find calm and solace, even reassurance
in all the cycles,
large and small, not disappointment.
Why? Because this is , in fact,
what life is composed of, and life
is all we have.

Two quotes from Marcus Aurelius:

"Always remember the saying of
Heraclitus: that the death of earth
is to become water, and the death of
water to become air, and the death
of air is to become fire, and reversely.
And think too of those who forget
whither the way leads, and that people
quarrel with that with which they are
most constantly in communion, the reason
which governs the universe; and the things
which they daily meet with seem to them
strange: and consider that we ought
not to act and speak as if we were
asleep, for even in sleep we seem
to act and speak; and that we ought
not, like children who learn from their
parents, simply to act and speak as
we have been taught."


"There is no nature which is inferior
to art, for the arts imitate the nature
of things. But if this is so, that nature
which is the most perfect and the most
comprehensive of all natures cannot
fall short of the skill of art. Now all arts
do the inferior things for the sake of the
superior; therefore the universal nature
does so too. And, indeed, hence is the
origin of justice, and in justice the other
virtues have their foundation: for justice
will not be observed if we either care for
middle things [things indifferent], or are
easily deceived and careless and
This just in from Toni Simon:

"Last night, after seeing the overrated Brancusi exhibit we went down to the Cafe Orlin for dinner. The new poll numbers had put me in a bad mood. So we're sitting outside eating dinner when suddenly hundreds and hundreds of bicyclists ride by yelling fuck Bush. It went by for half an hour- like a dream. I'm thinking this is freedom-we still live in a democracy and there's still hope. Soon the riot police and helicopters arrived however at 9th and 2nd ave. and arrested 250, confiscating their bicycles. The sidewalks were jammed with people yelling let them go. Second ave was blocked off with police buses, vans and cars-bicycle riders being handcuffed in the middle of the street-your tax dollars at work. By the time we got home the phony AP news report blaming the protesters was in place."
::fait accompli:: summer reruns
Thursday, August 28, 2003

:: Thursday, August 28 ::

Thanks to Mikarrhea...Michaela Cooper for mentioning -fait accompli- and welcome to Blogland! It appears she has the requisite sense of humor to survive in this strange new world.
Here are a few more of my favorite aphorisms:

"There is hardly any grief that an
hour's reading will not dissipate."
Montesquieu, -Mes Pensees- 1722-55

"To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others."
Albert Camus, -The Fall-, 1956

"There is a certain distance at which
each person we know is naturally
placed from us. It varies with each,
and we must not attempt to alter
it. We may clasp him who is close,
and we are not to pull closer to him who
is more remote."
Mark Rutherford, -More Pages from a Journal-, 1910

"What a fine comedy this world would
be if one did not play a part in it."
Diderot, -Letters to Sophie Vollard-

"if only we could treat ourselves
as we treat other men, looking at their
withdrawn faces and crediting them with
some mysterious, irresistable power. Instead,
we know all our own thoughts, our misgivings,
and we are reduced to hoping for some
unconscious force to surge up from our
inmost being and act with a subtlety all its own."
Cesare Pavese-This Business of Living: Diaries-1935-1950

:: Nick Piombino 9:26 AM [+] ::
. . . . . .

8/1/99 Amsterdam
Homo Sapiens Non Urinat In Ventum

foresight foretaste forethought forewarning
preconception premonition prescience

Almost immediately, "The
Music Lesson" transposed itself
from a narrative into a series
of brief episodes in the
form of a series of aphorisms.
The first of which is: don't
expect the student to be in
any hurry for the lesson.
Perhaps if he or she rushed to
it we might expect them to be
too eager, too accomodating.
The teacher wants good students, not
necessarily compliant ones.

What makes change so
difficult? I've a mind to
smooth out some rough edges,
but there is always this
resistance. My behavior- or
the connection between how I
take action and how I am
feeling, it's this equation I
would like to adjust. Part of
this, I see is related to the
unpredictability of the external
conditions at any given moment.
I overreact, or rigidly react
to these external conditions as
if they were human, that is,
purposeful. This is, of course, the
theme of "Zen In The Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance" as I
remember. I ought to rereread
this book.
As I understand, and develop, what
I enjoy reading, I better understand
what I want to write. I remember
Fielding once suggesting that
the difficulty I have is not so
much with how I react to people
but how I respond to how
they respond to me. So
this is where neutrality
to outcomes comes in.
The automatic reaction
to disappointment, for
example, is to feel
frustrated. My reaction frequently
contains the need to reveal,
and often even to
sustain this frustration.
Maybe part of this urge is
to examine the feelings- and,
if it's a wound, to sort
of pick at the scab, or
press the bruise. But another
side of this is to take
offence- to be displeased and
to express the displeasure.
Getting better is feeling
better, feeling better is having
more, having more is having
more to give.
Wincing- why so much?
Asking for something, asking for
support; "something hurt me- help me."
Memories imply a break
with what took place in
the past. But there was no
break. Day after day, every day
since the first you have been
who you are. To remember you
need only look at what you
are doing at any given moment.
Probably you were doing something
very similar to what you are
doing right now back then.
Maybe a few details have changed,
something you used to do into
a different version of what you
were doing back then.
Misunderstandings can only
come from unmet needs.
Each understanding is like a
rung on the ladder. Yet
every day you have to find
the impetus to climb the
ladder again. First the
ladder- and then the
climbing. Then seeing
something-then more ladders,
more climbing.
So- how to manage this
annoyance- disappointment
thing better. This is what I was
studying with stoicism and
Seneca. These annoyance-
disappointment spells have
actually wasted an awful lot
of time in my life.

I just understood that sometimes
I interpret some unfortunate
experience as if it were a reflection of my
destiny and therefore- somehow- as
a reflection on my self-worth or value.
An example. this year, in the
school I work in there was a
considerable amount of construction
work. This bothered my hearing because
of a hearing condition I have
called tinnitus. Once I speculated
that a very loud construction
project which took place
right next to another school
I worked in over 10 years ago
caused my problem. When they drove
in the foundation it sounded like
explosions. A year later
the ear noises started. So
these misfortunes get grouped
under bad luck surrounding
construction nearby me. Then,
when there is a much quieter
construction project right
acorss from me in Amsterdam,
it all gets clustered
under "bad luck I get
around construction projects."
And somehow this bad luck
is deserved. The fact
that it feels deserved depresses
me. But, in actuality, the
amount of focus I give
something is chosen by me,
not the external environment.
This is Seneca's message.
Yesterday I tried to push through
this. I am very interested in
mastering this and it seems like
an extremely valuable project.
I realized, listening to
Debussy the last few days-
but it also applies to the
Beethoven I've been listening
to: to create according to
very basic kinds of
steps, and gradually to allow
the feelings to overtake me,
and then watch what happens
next. This often involves
considerable waiting. All through
the years I've noticed there are
times I do not write. Many
years ago I might have
gotten upset about these
periods. At times I
can even shed the mantle
of "writer." Why wear
this interest so loudly like a
uniform? It is more interesting
to change identities sometimes,
like costumes. We all do
this naturally, to some
extent, in everyday life.
At a job or professional
activity we have to don this
mantle or we
will not be able to accomplish
very much. Often this
question is one of setting limits
with other people. If we
fail to set these limits,
we will be unable to
manage our activities vis-a
vis other people.
Even the Beethoven- simple steps,
one progressing naturally from
the previous one and the next one.
But, compared with Debussy,
Beethoven is very forceably
moving forward with each step
and sequence of steps. These
middle quartets glide easily
between moods- but there
are rarely the "complete
silences" I hear in Debussy.
The more smoothly one can
change the masks, the quicker
can things move forward. The
times of waiting are clothes-
changing periods. Or sometimes,
with me, it is a stubborn
refusal to don any mask at
In a mirage, I can
don any costume at will.
It may seem so, but I
am not dressing hurriedly.
No, because I am thinking
about what I want to wear.
I knew where my hatred of
uniforms comes from. It
comes from my father.
Since he was a soldier,
an officer, he wore a
uniform every day. I
think he loved them so
much, that when he retired
the only activity he could
enjoy was managing the
uniforms for students
in an army training
program [ROTC, at City College of New York,
in the early 60's].
What is the impatience ever
about? It is about equating
procedures with rigid uniforms,
unconsciously. But certainly
because I've dwelled so long
in a horror of uniforms, that
I can certainly detect the
rigid aspects of "uniform"
behavior- particularly of
importance to me in writing,
but I also detect it frequently
in other areas of being.

:: Nick Piombino 1:45 AM [+] ::

Friday, August 27


My father used to like to tease me with
this word, whever I said I "was gonna"
do something and never got around
to it.

I've been telling myself for awhile now
that sometime I'm going to spend a whole
day reading the links on
:::wood s lot::: the fitful tracings of a portal (Mark Woods) {click here}
I've been thinking about how much I rely on this
blog for blogland sustenance. And finally
last night I got around to looking at just
a few of the dozens of great links there.

One that caught my eye is called
the future of the book {click here}.
It mentions an upcoming conference on that topic
in China. Another featured an interview with
Ronald Sukenik, but unfortunately I can't find it
right now.

But I know I'll keep reading this
amazingly informative blog everyday
and one day I'll get around to checking
out Mark Woods' voluminous resources.

(By the way, "the fitful tracings of a portal"-
you knew it, didn't you?
is a quote from Wallace Stevens.)

Thursday, August 26

The Bully's Cycle of Intimidation

Isn't it interesting that individuals or groups who
like to frequently warn tend to be
the same ones who frequently

The Cycle

Patronize, preach, pressure

Cajole, carp, criticize

Scold, warn, threaten, deprive, punish

Begin again.

Caterina {click here}
takes time out for
Oliver Sacks
::fait accompli:: summer reruns
August 26, 2003

"In everything there is an unexplored
element because we are prone by habit
to use our eyes only in combination
with the memory of what others before us
have thought about the thing we are looking at.
The most insignificant thing contains some
little unknown element. We must find it."
Maupassant, Preface to Pierre et Jean, 1887

:: Nick Piombino 10:41 PM [+] ::
. . . . . .


"Spoke, spoke.
Was, was."
Paul Celan

The real is impenetrable.
Every day we accept the given reports.
Sun, gray skies, rain.
In back of the house the metal swing is rusting.
The day is so hot nothing moves.
Even time doesn't move.
Escape the official remarks and expressions.
Into what? Green? Or eyes?
Words don't welcome, but they are warm,
Warmer than voices. The whole extent.
The whole object or memory.
Contrivance: echoes.
Universe: all bare.
Wonders: caring.

:: Nick Piombino 8:19 PM [+] ::
Are the derangements of modernism
still efficacious? While still fascinating,
and occasionally shockingly
and powerfully beautiful,
can they release us from the fun-house
mirrors of contemporary disinformation?
Is it still revolutionary to counter lies and deceit
with chaos and confusion?
Is atonality, for example,
still more forceful, more
authentic than
melody or silence?

Wednesday, August 25

Those who live life as if
it could never be
protected or protective enough,
who feel obliged to endlessly repeat sad
warnings, remind all and any of terrible events
and scoff at "childish,"
dreams and joys, who live for
becoming tough and "realistic",
who constantly long to be no longer afraid, may never
come to understand, with
Antonio Porchia that:

"When one does not love the impossible,
one does not love anything."

Thanks to Lanny Quarles
for linking

phaneronoemikon {click here}

to my poem
*Career of the Poet*

Tuesday, August 24

Career of the Poet

(written for, and first published on
As Is {click here})

The poet, lying in silver, athwart.
The poet, O moon begotten.
The poet, in sadness abetted.
The poet, mad in shadow.
The poet, being seeming.
The poet, impolitic observed.
The poet, breath curator.
The poet, imperative antidote.
The poet, lost in thought, finding the lost thought.
The poet, missing in inaction.
The poet, savorer of sustenance.
The poet, systematization of nuance.
The poet, monarch of forgotten will.
The poet, static statistician.
The poet, anticipation of bartered dream, battered dream.
The poet, treasures of iincomprehension.
The poet, gold plated listlessness.
The poet, cusp of denouments.
The poet, pain stinginess.
The poet, temporal derangement.
The poet, courageous loneliness.
The poet, deconstruction of doubt.
The poet, tireless critic of rusty reasoning.
The poet, proverbial delays.
The poet, maximal mutations.
The poet, trilling scientist.
The poet, Collected Embraces.
The poet, algebraic admonishment.
The poet, anonymous advocate.
The poet, stillborn stabs.
The poet, contradictory confessions.
The poet, temptation loyalty.
The poet, hybrid hubris.
The poet, grammatical glissandoes.
The poet, hilarious hesitations.
The poet, manic musings.
The poet, career hypnosis.
The poet, lapsed logician.
The poet, priestess of possibilities
The poet, hope insurance.
The poet, jack of all thoughts.
The poet, subtlty action hero.
The poet, stabilized incongruity.
The poet, endangered eternities.
The poet, infinity infiltrator.
The poet, rhythm rhetoritician.
The poet, melodic ministrations.
The poet, luck enticement.
The poet, to be continued.

Monday, August 23

(pencilled note on top of page): A last page


What I didn't tell you is that I can sit for literally hundreds, maybe
thousands of hours totally amazed that it all turned out this way.

Maybe that just means I can't "respectfully dismiss" anything, but maybe Frank
O'Hara was right always addressing what he says to some person. A party
line, who's going to be let in on the conversation. Even if I resort to gulls,
to seashores and sandy beaches and tormented love affairs it is all part of the
news I was telling you about. A mix, I better steer clear of the phenomenological
phrases. He thinks maybe I meant get it wrecked trying to prove its validity.
I can see by your face that you're directly involved in this. It's not that
I'm being purely let outside...it's just that. The magazines. All or none
personal reference. A machine. Lots of space. Don't call. You did it. I
sat by and watched. Me a terrible person. Do something bad, in the abstactness
of language constantly referring to its own nouns I died inside a suit trying
to make it longer. Stuck. In the laundromat, can't.

An. It by getting sevens. Of happened. One ace seven door. Dry like a lick.

I've been stuck for what seems like thousands and thoughsends of days.

No language in the exact color I want it. But I notice by the intent that
the thousands of empty hours are not an accretion. It is the one frozen
second of a poem.

I have for 17 years cast in the frozen composition of one poem. The poem and
the hours and the lifeless sentences are static. Frozen slice of composition.
Terror of the end phrase in the immobillity of finite meanings.

No definition.

The map belongs to me. It is my map., my words, my borrowed typwriter.
I don't want to meet sentences I want to meet people. Your sentences are
people and your conversation is included in this conversation. Stereotyped
fiction. A tape.

Another night that my heart won't go there. Another day that I'm not permitted
near the city.

Today I was angry at everyone.

Notebook: circa 1975-77
The Tao of Blogging

"Blog This!" ?

Yes, but only
if and when
I feel like it.

Sunday, August 22

from *Diaries: Robert Musil
Translated by Philip Payne
edited by Mark Mirsky

"62) I have a minimal need to
communicate: I am a deviation
from the standard type of writer."

Notebook: 33: 1937 to about
the end of 1941
p. 451
Basic Books, 1999