In the Name of the King

It's a treasure trove. It's a collection of etymologies of words derived from names.

Thou Improper, Thou Uncommon Noun compiled by Willard R. Espy.

Chicken à la King

Chicken à la king is an odd corruption. According to Claridge's Hotel in London, it was invented by its chef to honor J.R. Keene, whose horse had won the Grand Prix in 1881. Others say that Keene's son Foxhall, who called himself the "world's greatest amateur athlete," suggested the dish — diced chicken in a sherry-cream sauce — to the chef at Delmonico's in New York. When the Keenes vanished from the public eye, their name vanished also; chicken à la Keene became chicken à la king.
There is a whole chapter of gastronomic words recorded by Espy, structured round what Brillat-Savarin might eat at a meal. Worth a peek to find the person behind madeleines: Madeleine Paulmier.

And so for day 1731

Icarian Positions

There is a counterpoint of violence to the invocations of eros in the poetry of Ocean Vuong. Emblematic is the kneeling figure which recurs through Night Sky with Exit Wounds.

Don't worry. Your father is only your father
until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
won't remember its wings
no matter how many times our knees
kiss the pavement.

"Someday I'll Love Ocean Vuong"

               Instead, the year begins
with my knees
               scraping hardwood
another man leaving
               into my throat. Fresh snow

These read like the pain of patella fractures compounded by an equivalent mesmerization with anatomy. Mind and body dislocated.

And so for day 1730


I came across this mash up i.e. poem while doing a search on a string of words for which I wanted more context and took a second look.

First the source texts:

Artist: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Album: Shahbaaz

Track: Dhyahar-eh-ishq Meh

Draws on the poetry of Mohammed Iqbal … "If God has given you an understanding of nature, then from the silence of flowers create speech."

Track: Jewleh Lal

Thirteenth century Sufi master Lal Shahbaaz Qalandar

"Your name is a torch - let it set my heart on fire!"
And now the capturing poem — not the last three lines:
You Are

You are spoken of in every street,
And there is no other like you in the world,
Enraptured are the rivers,
As are the oceans,
Enraptured are the visible,
And the invisible,
Each moment is a rapture,
Your name is torch - let it set my heart on fire,
If you are the one,
Then from the silence of flowers create speech.

Jade Kaur
There is no biography for Jade Kaur and no indication that the final lines of this little lyric were cribbed from the liner notes to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's album. Clever stitchery. Inspires a bit of concentration to emphasize the apostrophe:
Torch, set my heart on fire
Raise speech from silent flowers.
Ravishment so sweet. As if through a green fuse

And so for day 1729


Phil Hall in "The Chase" in Conjugation (Book Thug 2016)provides an infinitive that may mistakenly be read as an imperative.

To not let poetry be furniture
Which the Magic 8 folks at CBC read as a rallying cry.

Less like a divan and more like a stool that can be relied on when milking a cow.

More like a kitchen chair upon which you sat getting a haircut.

A bed, a futon, a hammock.

And so for day 1728

In the Round Almost

Tear off a sheet for a guide to How to Build a House Museum at the AGO and you will discover that Theaster Gates choose in the homage to Frankie Knuckles to include some objects from the AGO permanent collection.

In this gallery, you will find Frankie's signature baseball caps on display, and his reel-to-reel can be found on the first floor of the AGO in Gallery 122. Gates transferred two small Italian Baroque sculptures by Massimiliano Soldani Benzi (Italian 1656-1740) — the bronzes Dancing Faun and Marsyas Playing the Double Flute, both gifted by Margaret and Ian Ross — to this room from their regular home downstairs. They seem to have crossed time and space to dance ecstatically to the house beat.
Note how the Guide privileges the searcher: no wall plaques to explain, tear off a sheet at the table by the elevator and discover that the reel-to-reel player is housed elsewhere in the building.

Gates has chosen to display the bronzes in a case embedded in the wall thus impeding the possibility of doing a 360 tour of the items. The Dancing Faun is displayed with back to the viewer and there is no mirror to permit a view of the front.

Lesson: just as bodies move on the dance floor artefacts move in space and time and the view is always partial, provisional.

dance moves dance moves dance moves

pieces pieces pieces

And so for day 1727

All Flags Are Tatters

Recovering from a bout of illness it seems perversively bracing to read Joseph Brodsky from Nature Morte

All talk is a barren trade.
A writing on the wind's wall.
for it is back from the country of sickness that we realize not only the good days pass but so too does the pain.

Ferron builds to much the same sentiment in a different spiritual context with the song "The Cart" released on Phantom Center. She craftily builds the refrain over the course of the song. First we learn that "the cart is on a wheel" and then that "the wheel is on a hill". We are set into ever more courses of motion (the hill is made of shifting sand) thus agrandizing the view. Until just before appealing to the listeners to "Hold fast to the Mother as she turns us round" we are given a view of law:
And the cart is on a wheel
And the wheel is on a hill
And the hill is shifting sand
And inside these laws we stand.
The song ends with another turn and another again. We are riding not so much standing. Ground to sand and flung to the wind.

And so for day 1726

A little crazy brightness

These are the opening utterances and they gain by the cascade layout: each a step into the next.

Loon tongue
                        idiom savant.
from "Glossolalia" in A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent by Gregory Mahrer.

And so for day 1725

The Genteel Slide into Vulgarity

The semantic slip followed by the gesture going all the way.

As one strokes a cat and feels the ridgy skull beneath the fur and tickles
It behind its ears. The cat twists its head and moves it toward your fingers
Like the lifting thighs of someone fucked, moving up to meet the stroke.
The sun strokes all now in this zone, reaching in through windows to jell
That's from Hymn to Life by James Schuyler.

This is from Robert Penn Warren "American Portrait: Old Style" — describing the life path of a friend talented for baseball …
To pass through to what? No, not
To some wild white peak dreamed westward,
And each sunrise a promise to keep. No, only
The Big Leagues, not even a bird dog,
And girls that popped gum while they screwed.

Yes, this was his path, and no batter
Could do what booze finally did:
Just blow him off the mound — but anyway,
And I turn to Gregory Mahrer to summarize in an abstract fashion the progression from words and gesture:
The technique is quite simple — a few thrown
breaths followed by a series of gestural forays —
from "Ideograph" in A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent.

And so for day 1724

Systems, Technologies and Experiences

Lynn Coady. Who Needs Books? : Reading in the Digital Age.

She acutely unknots the tangle of concepts:

The problem with this conversation we've been having over the past couple of decades is that it perpetually confuses capitalism with technology and technology with culture itself. Technology exists apart from, but is profoundly influenced by, capitalism, and the same can be said of culture. And just because our still-new technologies are currently having a profound impact on our culture, doesn't mean our culture would be any better or worse off without them — it would simply be another version of itself.
What enables such distinctions is the focus on the phenomenology of reading:
The fact that some of us prefer to enact this with a sheaf of printed pages between two bound covers, and some would rather use a Kindle or Kobo doesn't make that experience any less magical, or less singular. Here is why, according to author Rebecca Solnit:
The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resides, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that beats only in the chest of another.
The desire readers have for this singular, magical experience, no matter what kind of technology provides it to them, is, I assure you, never going away.
Coady quotes from Solnit's The Faraway Nearby and we are thrilled by the beating of the thrice transposed.

And so for day 1723

To Give Voice, To Embrace

It is a great irony that I encountered, in the Caedmon Poetry Collection, Archibald MacLeish's poem "Epistle to Be Left In the Earth" while transferring audio cassette to mp3. A line struck me for its call to remembrance which entails an active voice:

Make in your mouths the words that were our names.
Reminded me of a project that has succumbed to digital rot (the .wav files will not play): the Whispers Project which I have described previously on Berneval (See Whispers). It is also interesting to note that the conception of the project depended on the form of the Web Ring, a form now gone into history.

And again I am reminded that all records erode as poignantly pointed out by Paul Monette's preface to Love Alone: Eighteen Elegies for Rog.

Worth remembering that MacLeish ends the poem with the observation that "Voices are crying an unknown name in the sky". We listen to the wind and we hear.

And so for day 1722