Distribution Automatique

Saturday, October 9

The End of An Era

It is very likely that this death will mark not only the death of
a unique thinker, Jacques Derrida,
but will mark the end of an era in a kind of reflective thinking
itself. Although many will attempt to sustain it,
when a unique thinker dies, a light goes out, despite
heroic attempts to keep that light alive. We have the
books to challenge us, but no longer the mind to inspire us.

So we remember, talk, read and mourn. And that is
no small consolation to be grateful for.

Jacques Derrida, dead at 74 {click here}

See Wood s lot {click here}
for an excellent collection of sources concerning Jacques Derrida

-Mark Woods also reminds us that today is John Lennon's birthday-

Friday, October 8

One day you catch yourself realizing that
something which for a long time
preoccupied you no longer does.
And you let out a deep breath-
as if you'd been placed on the ground
by a giant.

published in *Theoretical Objects*
(Green Integer, 1999)

Thursday, October 7

If you don't listen to everything, you don't hear anything.

from *Theoretical Objects*
(Green Integer, 1999)

Wednesday, October 6

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

Thanks , in particular, to

Blindheit: Clarity is overrated ( Evelio) {click here}

Tributary (Allen Bramhall){click here}

DagZine (Gary Norris) {click here}

Bad With Titles (Jay Thomas) {click here}

Equanimity (Jordan Davis){click here}

and xvarenah (Michael Helsem) {click here}

for their very recent links, responsiveness and knd words concerning my work and
this blog.

Working so closely together, reading each others blogs,
responding to each others ideas and thoughts, in the
context of blogging over the past 20 months has entirely
changed my feeling about the field of writing.

My sincere and ongoing gratitude and appreciation goes out to the very many bloggers
whose writing has immeasurably enriched my life- and, hopefully,
will continue to do so for many years to come.

Special thanks also to
Alan DeNiro (Ptarmigan) {cllck here}
(coming soon *Red Giant*, a poetry collection oriented to science fiction),
Eratio (Gregory Vincent St.Thomasino) {click here},
and Charles Alexander (Chax Press) {click here}

The years are not numbers, they're more like letters spelling out a word.

notebook: 2/7/87
from *The Boundary of Blur*
(Roof, 1993)

Tuesday, October 5

Life presents itself to us, all at once, at all times, in its entirety.

notebook: 7/18/88
published in *The Boundary of Blur*
(Roof, 1993)

Monday, October 4

“Time is on my side, yes it is…”

Why were the some of the best thinkers
in recent history (Freud, Einstein, Gertrude
Stein, Walter Benjamin, Bachelard,
Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, George Orwell to name a few)
so obsessed with time and duration?
This question has
been asked on countless occasions,
yet remains incompletely
answered. Each pointed to a factor:
Freud, the timeless unconscious, Stein,
the continuity of the present,
Benjamin the persistent mute call
of the physical remains of history,
Bachelard, the complexity of duration,
Tzara and Breton the magic, temporal
paradoxes of language, Orwell’s characters
who keep hopelessly searching for a forbidden past.

Yet more and more I am convinced these sensitive
observers were aware more than 50-100 years ago that
time itself was disappearing as a crucial factor in
life experience, outside of the realities of aging,
and the progressive consequences of individual lives.
What does it mean to say this?
What was impinging on their lives,
like everyone else’s, but especially on their
acute minds, not like everyone else’s, was that
the ever growing centralization of power, as
in the time of the ancient Egyptians, is bringing
time to a halt, because it is bringing actual social change
to a halt. Medical science increases the length of life,
but must desperately struggle to impinge on its
futilities with antidepressants and psychotherapy.
The eerie stillness of contemporary life was
frighteningly and touchingly symbolized, for example,
in the early science fiction film, The Day The Earth Stood Still {click here}
For some days, the alien technology brings all movement
on earth to a halt to make a point, that peace must be sought
and found, or the aliens will come to take
over the world to prevent it from destroying itself.
Another in an endless series of hopeful utopian fantasies.
Klaatu, the alien visitor explains: "I'm
impatient with stupidity, my people have learned
to live without it."{click here}

With power more and more concentrated in advertising and
corporations, the powers that be have not only brought
social change to a halt, but are gradually able to turn
back the clock to create a more and more convincing
social aura of timelessness. Perhaps this is why
psychedelic drugs became so popular in the sixties- to
help minds adapt to this mysterious and ever growing sense
that everything everywhere is more and more getting to be
the same frozen stillness all the time. For some moments,
terrifying bombs tear through the cold silence,
and total fear and bloodshed create a horrifying
sense of an event having occurred that will completely alter
the social fabric of reality; yes it has been brutally torn;
but soon it is “repaired” and the expectable sequences
of social events begin and end again. In reality, the
clock has stopped; time is over; individual thoughts
and expressions have been (apparently) rendered
meaningless by the inexorable “spin” of Big Brother
Military Corporatism/Media. People keep dying again
and again to give others the right to remain frozen in time,
without memories, without a sense of the possibility
of change, without a thought about what to say or do
because ideas themselves have been rendered
meaningless within the zeitgeist mindset.
For a second an event and an associated
nexus of ideas and associations breaks through
and the Big Picture is slightly askew and blurred
in the social mindset; for a moment the possibility of
change appears again. But change would mean
remembering what a social process was, what
duration was, what working together towards
something as a society was, what actually caring
about each other was. But that was yesterdays dream
when clocks still ticked, when to look at your watch
meant that something significant about to happen
was drawing near. In a day or two we will huddle
together around the hopeful warming fire of our
TV sets and watch a debate between a young,
brilliant activist politician and thinker and a stolid
defender of the timeless Pharaohs. The young will
again imagine refusing to lay another brick on
the pyramids, and the old will smile patiently and mockingly.

They know that time is on their side when they are
gradually, ever more successfully, rendering its reality meaningless.

Sunday, October 3

Charles Bernstein and Carolee Schneeman
turned in exceptionally fine performances
Saturday at *The Bowery Poetry Club.*
Many of the usual BPC suspects were in attendance-
including curators Gary Sullivan and Nada Gordon -
the latter stunned the ample crowd by
comparing the widely admired
and discussed artist Schneeman to Leonardo
Da Vinci- among other things, this galvanized this
audience, jaded and used to fine comparisons; yet
the high bar was easily vaulted by these
two lions, and the audience was wowed by
their works, again and again.Gary
Sullivan introduced Charles by reading a poem on
brain surgery, certainly a Bernstein inspired work
My personal favorite by Carolee was a work,
in some ways comparable
to one of Charles', that dwelled on the various
linguistic uses of the word like, man, "like."
One of Charles' poems repeated a series of similies: love is like
love, water is like water, repetition is like repetition,
etc; since he read first, his "Like" poem preceded
Carolee's and they must have surprised each other.
Charmed by the wit of these two, the audience listened
raptly from the ourset applauding both readers frequently (hard to
believe they didn't arrange this stunning synchronicity
in advance). I wish I had taken more notes re: an
extremely moving new poem by Charles called,
I think, "The Arms of the Bricklayer." The title
reminded me of an earlier work of Bernstein's
called *The Lives of the Toll Takers." Anyway,
you can find it in the latest issue of *Ratapallax.*
Also on hand were copies of the reprint of
Charles' *The Sophist* which he read from
extensively and is now out by Salt Press.
Also in the audience were art notables Mimi
Gross, Kiki Smith, Susan Bee, and Toni Simon,
poet/art critic Connie Robins, art critic
Thomas McEvilley, and Filmaker/poets
Abigail Child and Marianne Shaneen
(who is hosting a benefit
tomorrow for the Critical Art Ensemble horribly and
unjust under attack by the Patriot Act crowd)
and Henry Hills were there,
dancer Sally Silvers, poets Bruce Andrews,
Rodrigo Toscano , Mitch
Highfill and Elizabeth Fodaski were also spotted,
as well as poet-blogger Alex Young,
And I almost forgot to mention witty Bob Perelman,

One more thing before going to sleep:
I have to mention that when I told Rob
Fitterman I had devoted a number of
posts here to his work recently, I instantly
became a lucky owner of his new book
*Metropolis XXX: The Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire*,(Edge).
Does this have anything to do with the year
he and his family (his wife is the poet Kim Rosenfeld)
recently spent in Italy? We'll soon