Dual Duels

Would that English have a nice dual that was not first person plural which collapses the difference of the two (or more) into a collective identity. Even if there were a lexical means for referencing a dual, the verb inflexions are, well, inflexible. Just how does a dual conjugate? Some evolution of a conflation of singular and plural verb forms? isare dancedance Reduplication does nicely. Pidjin savy. gogo eateat laughlaugh

Spend time in a space.
Pronouns are invitiations to spend time in a space. A language’s set of pronouns tells much about the subjectivties it may be ready to entertain. Even more telling is the relation between the set of pronouns and the verbal inflections.

So where do the subjectivities whose time is not ...

So what dimension do the subjectivites with other temporalities occupy?

The point • first person
The line --- second person
The angle > third person

The dual.

And so for day 1290


Apocalypse in diminuendo.

      there are sounds the planet will always make, even
if there is no one to hear them.
From the last lines from the last poem in Sea Change by Jorie Graham.

And so for day 1289

Tracing Spacing

Who is GS whose initials are in tiny type at the base of this poem in praise of the American sculptor Louise Nevelson?

The title and dedication are made of bunched up letters and subsequent letters rain down in lines which with a bit of patience can be read along the horizontal.


The following lines with some reassembly give
To envision loveliness
in lines
liveliness in levels
enlivens lives
Of course my line breaks are a wee bit arbitrary. So is my stab at identifying GS — Gilbert Sorrentino? A New York connection?

And so for day 1288

It's spelt c-a-p-i-s-c-e, capeesh?

I was seized of the Italian origins of "capisce" when I recently encountered it in print. Throughout my years on earth I had thoroughly thought of it as a proper English expression with Anglo-Saxon roots for "do you understand?"


"Capisce" now takes pride of place with "arrivederci" for "later, alligator" from the 1950s tune.

"Get it? Got it. Good." from the 1955 Danny Kaye vehicle The Court Jester.

Prediction: "capisce" will likely appear in some mashup coming to you soon.


And so for day 1287

Everything is to be gained there

Phoebe Hoban in Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art reminds us that

It is significant that one of his favorite source books included a dictionary of hobo signs — and from it he took not only symbols but poetry. ("Nothing to be gained here.")
Henry Dreyfuss. Symbol Sourcebook

Greg Tate in "Nobody Loves a Genius Child: Jean Michel Basquiat, Flyboy in the Buttermilk" alerts us to the importance of the words and symbols painted by Basquiat.
In the rush to reduce the word games found in Basquiat works to mere mimicry of Cy Twombly's cursive scrawls, we've expected to forget that Basquiat comes from a people once forbidden literacy by law on the grounds that it would make for rebellious slaves. Expected to overlook as well that among those same people words are considered a crucial means to magical powers, and virtuosic wordplay pulls rank as a measure of one's personal prowess. From the perspective of this split-screen worldview, where learning carries the weight of a revolutionary act and linguistic skills are as prized as having a knockout punch, there are no such things as empty signifiers, only misapprehended ones.
Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America pp. 238-239.
Later in this article, Tate makes the point that "Black visual culture suffers less from a lack of developed artists than a need for popular criticism, academically supported scholarship, and more adventurous collecting and exhibiting.

Run search on "Black Visual Culture".
And so for day 1286


nathalie stephens (Nathanaël).

Mirror. Book. Page. Turn.
If by chance we speak to mirrors, it is perhaps less for narcissistic reasons than out of a desire for dead time separating us from the battering voices we carry. I turn the page of a book and entire civilization harasses me. If I must accuse myself, I can only do so by drawing you with me into my minds' maze where I love of a love worthy of misanthropy.
Turn. Page. Book. Mirror.
Absence Where As (Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book) p.48

Have I here a transcription error "entire civilization harasses me" for civilizations in the plural or a dropped article for an entire civilization? Or are we true to the mirroring text? The maze one will note is the possession of a collective of minds. A trip to the library seems to be in order ... to check out page 48 and any minor mirror errors.

And so for day 1285

Lessons in Diversity

A little Hassidic Tale, a little knotwork.

p. 146

Learn from All

They asked Rabbi Mikhal: "In the Sayings of the Fathers we read: 'Who is wise?' He who learns from all men, as it is said, 'From all my teachers I have gotten understanding.' Then why does it not say: 'He who learns from every teacher'?"

Rabbi Mikhal explained: "The master who pronounced these words is intent on having it clear that we can learn not only from those whose occupation is to teach, but from every man. Even from one who is ignorant, or from one who is wicked, you can gain understanding as to how to conduct your life."
Martin Buber Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters trans. Olga Marx (New York: Schocken Books, 1947)
And from a signature block that my email messages once sported, a turn from me.
some threads tangle in tassels, others form the weft
I also am very fond of saying "connect sometimes by disentangling" to describe some of the analytical work that goes into assisting a client.

And so for day 1284

To Be Read to the Tune of Telemann's Cricket Symphony

A group way into an irrational number. Always approaching.

(Mar 25 15:46) From Irc: polite
(Mar 25 19:09) From Light: rude
(Apr 1 18:50) From Irc: awakening
(Apr 2 15:12) From Light: enlightenment
(Apr 2 18:49) From Yred: karma
(Apr 4 04:34) From Irc: instant
(Apr 7 18:54) From Light: coffee
(Apr 7 19:53) From Yred: cake
(Apr 9 19:43) From Light: pie
(Apr 10 15:24) From Irc: circle
(Apr 14 19:15) From Yred: pi
Part of the further fun is extracting a series. For example the contribution from IRC: polite awakening instant circle.

Mad House Talker -- telnet madhouse.dune.net 5550

Previous Run

And so for day 1283

Picks of Pics

Les Murray.
Poems the Size of Photographs

Here are excerpts presented in reverse order of their appearance in the book.

The Test

How good is their best?
And how good is their rest?
The first is a question to be asked of an artist.
Both are the questions to be asked of a culture.
I like how in such a short space the context widens.

The next is a two-line stanza from a poem made up of two-line stanzas entitled Portrait of a Felspar-Coloured Cat.
All her intelligence
is elegance.
Gentle reader, the comment about the cat could be one about the poems but our author is far too modest.

The humour of the next serves to ward off any turn to the metaphysical.
The Knockdown Question

Why does God not spare the innocent?

The answer to that is not in
the same world as the question
so you would shrink from me
in terror if I could answer it.
Where it all began.
Big Bang

If everything is receding
from eveything, we're only
seeing the backs of the stars.
Hope you liked the tour of the album. And if you have time read them bottom up to see how their wit first appeared to me.

And so for day 1282

Blossoms Scattered, Eyes Scratched

The 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology has a selection from nominated poet Fanny Howe. Her On the Ground which I continuously misquote as Open Ground by some concatenation with Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996 of Seamus Heaney. In any event I was caught by these lines

Maybe the end of the world happened long ago
A whirl as quick as Judas breaking his neck
and every sound is an echo
There is of course the end rhyme (ago - echo) and the internal rhyme (quick - break - neck). And the subtle shift in tense.

I dwell on this suggestion of what might have happened if events had not led to Judas hanging himself. The "maybe" here is picked up by a later question : can I?
Can I toss them aside
like an armful of sticks and set out as a feeling
to find Hana and Issa across the night
Never mind the referent of "them" for the moment. Let us concentrate on objects of a search: Issa could be the Japanese haiku poet but there is no poet in the tradition that readily responds to the name Hana. (We could be dealing here with pets — household felines.) We can find hana in the poetry of Issa. It is not a proper name but the word for "blossom". We are here deforming on a search of our own not quite tossing aside brain and skeleton which are the immediate referents to the notoriously slippery "them".

Why I like the blossom-connection regardless of authorial intention:
hana saku ya me wo nuwaretaru tori no naku

cherry blossoms--
chickens with eyes stitched shut
are clucking
David Lanoue highlights this poem and its translation and provides commentary in his Master Bashô, Master Buson ... and Then There’s Issa appearing in Simply Haiku Autumn 2005, vol 3 no 3.
Jean Cholley notes that in the poultry market in the Muromachi district of Edo (today's Tokyo), the eyes of the doomed birds were sewn shut to keep them immobile while being fattened in their cages (237). Issa sketches this not-pretty scene with blunt honesty. And though he utters no emotional words, one feels his heart going out to the birds who cannot see, and never again will see, the cherry blossoms.

Reference: Cholley, Jean. En village de miséreux: Choix de poèmes de Kobayashi Issa. Paris: Gallimard, 1996.
Can I now return to where the echo began to reverberate? But I have lost a world. Gone like a "single bubble in steeping tea" the meaning according to Robert Hass of Issa's name. But accessible again to more complicated readings when one considers that Judas is Greek for Judah which in Hebrew means "thanksgiving, praise". Worth pursuing? Feeling one's way across the night? Finding scattered on the ground? Inventing like a way to read with eyes stitched shut and mind wide open?

And so for day 1281