Reading Bullet Points

Don’t quite know how the French got in except as a neat way to express connection…

Blank

Reading with the syntagm in view of the substitutions is reading with paradigms in chains.

Le travail à la chaine. Assembly-line work.

But branching. The hand swings through a selection but the length remains indeterminate and there is always the possibility of run on, always.

Minimalism.
~~
Do know that a simple bifurcation gesture repeated leads to complexity.

And so for day 1387
30.09.2010

The Herb

The dope on lesbians on dope.

Monique Wittig and Sande Zeig. Lesbian Peoples: Material for a Dictionary.

Among the different varieties of known herbs[,] the lazy herb is much appreciated by the lesbian peoples who practice an intensive idleness. “It gives an exquisite somnolence, a bliss, a state of well-being. The shapes seen by the eyes mix and appear like mists of colors. The sounds soften and prolong. The lazy herb gives consciousness without consciousness” (Sseu Tchouan, Book of Idleness, China, Glorious Age).
We cross-reference this entry with the one for “sleep” given the hint of somnolence. Worth a peek before nodding off in embrace...
Physical time is no longer mechanically divided into sleeping and waking hours since the companion lovers sleep at any moment. To sleep has therefore changed its meaning. This explains how one companion lover may say to another “I sleep you.” To sleep someone means both to sleep beside her and to sleep the love of her. Sleeping someone takes precedence over many other activities. It is often called “an exercise of total idleness, the highest delight” (Sseu Tchouan, Book of Idleness, China, Glorious Age).
Sleep it!

Dreaming and metabolizing a language, ingesting herbs, luxuriating in idleness. Where the verb to sleep takes a direct object most often a lover shifting shape and colour.

And so for day 1386
29.09.2010

Unfolding of the Gendered Voice

The time and space of listening. And the who.

Excerpts from a letter to Joy Parr thanking her for a gift of music by Meredith Monk and Hildegard von Bingen (Monk and the Abbess by Musica Sacra) and musing on other matters.

Having heard it I wanted to hear more Monk, I therefore acquired "Book of Days" which since it was a filmic piece provides a wonderful example of adaptation. Allow me to quote Monk herself:
When it came time to make this record, I re-thought the music again. since I was not at all dependent on the sequence and timing of the images, I tried to develop longer musical forms for some of the sections which were mere fragments in the film. There are also musical sequences on the record that I was not able to include in the film at all [...] Manfred Eicher and I were both interested in making this album a film for the ears. We made a new continuity (going from early morning to night) which had a cinematic quality to it, hoping that this sequence of events would evoke images in each listener's imagination and offer the space and time to dream.
What intrigues me here is the production of a space not for worship as in Part and von Bingen but for acts of imagination.

The next example is a phrase from a poem by June Jordon. "Seven day kiss" is part of the refrain of a lyric which was set to music in 1980 by Bernice Reagon of the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock (on their album Good News Flying Fish Records FF246). The phrase reappears in the libretto of I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky with music by John Adams (1998 Nonsuch 79473-2). BTW, the libretto has much to do with earthquakes & L.A. and is an interesting example of an artistic treatment of one of those large scale events that upset people's everyday existence. In the Sweet Honey in the Rock song, “Alla Tha's All Right but” the gender markers are neutral. In the libretto, three women characters (Leila, Consuelo and Tiffany) do the "Song About the Bad Boys and the News" and the song is very much figured in heterosexual terms (but has great camp potential). I wonder what an all male group such as the Neville Brothers would do with June Jordan's material. They probably could manage it because of the vocal range they display.

And finally this little item from Beverly Biderman Wired for Sound: A Journey into Hearing (Trifolium Books:1998). It is part memoir, part information guide, tracing one woman’s experience of deafness and regaining of some hearing with a cochlear implant)
Treble sounds give 95% of the information used in understanding speech. Bass sounds, while they account for 95% of the volume of speech, provide only 5% of the information used for comprehension.
The sibilants in the phrase "seven day kiss" also put me in mind of this passage from Biderman:
My friend's voices are starting to sound more and more natural, and I think I am starting to understand them better, especially in the case of women's voices, which have less volume and blare than men's.
Acutely attuned. To location and duration. And gender.

And so for day 1385
28.09.2010

Anglosexuality

A quick reminder from Foucault’s History of Sexuality and a bit of emphasis : “Homosexuality appears as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy onto a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphroditism of the soul. The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species.”

Brilliant study by Emily Eells of Proust’s English readings and the drafts to La Recherche. Here is the lay of the land:

The two mainstays of the following discussion of Proust’s work — homoeroticism and Victorian culture — become entangled in a form of sexuality which I propose to call Anglosexuality. His 30-page narrative essay — Sodome et Gomorrhe I — presents homosexuality as a kind of inter or third sex, the man-woman or woman-man combining the masculine and the feminine. Male and female homosexualities are confused in what Proust prefers to call inversion, a notion which complies with Foucault’s definition of homosexuality in The History of Sexuality. Foucault dates its emergence as during the nineteenth century […] This book does not intend to engage in the current critical debate about the classification of Proustian sexuality into fixed categories such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and the physical practices which they involve. It posits that Proust’s work creates an ambiguous third sex, whose very ambiguity defies definition and whose subtly understated associations with British culture justify the choice of the term ‘Anglosexuality’. Anglosexuality fuses and confuses the eroticism and aestheticization of same-sex desire. It is a form of sex and sensitivity which is closer to psychological androgyny than biological hermaphroditism. It is more of an aesthetic stance than a physical sexuality; as Mario Praz wrote: “The Androgyne is the artistic sex par excellence.” [ref. Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony, trans. Angus Davidson (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), p. 320]
Emily Eells
Proust’s Cup of Tea: Homoeroticism and Victorian Culture (2002)

And so for day 1384
27.09.2010

Brackets (more basket cases)

Basket I

Chrystos signed the lines in “Ceremony For Completing A Poetry Reading” gathered in Not Vanishing, lines that point to an undoing, lines that point to the not being able to go home until the everything has been taken, the container too. Hands empty then fullness. Handless.

There’s a never going home built into the unempty occupied by the first person place.


Basket II

Adrienne Rich sending off a coda of concluding imagery at the end of “Transcendental Etude” collected in Dream of a Common Language

Vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
[...]
Absently not absent-mindedly. And no mention of basket in "[s]uch a composition [that] has nothing to do with eternity".

For both, the telling as important as the depicted dispossession for travel. For either, no accounting for the ends of manufacture.


Basket III

Basket the name of a dog recorded by Gertrude Stein to be remembered by.

Words winnowed by the filtering attractor of names. Name, word, keepsakes. Tokens. Carrier objects. Tactful reminders that temporal does not merely mean in time. A holding without hands. For the trio.

And so for day 1383
26.09.2010

Two Basket Cases

This from a long 2006 missive to my friend Willard:

The horn basket [cornucopia] is emptied and usually in its emptying it does not suffer damage. The container subject to dehiscence loses its capacity to act as a container in the same fashion. From the cornucopia I can take the bean pods, once the beans are shelled, the material from the pods only becomes pod-like again after a long detour process involving a route that may travel through animal feed on its way to compost.

Humanist 20.078 minding the gap
Now alongside some stray bit:
the quality of the reading depends on the quality of the basket
Or the precision of the pod.

And so for day 1382
25.09.2010

Matricial Musings

New meaning to stack overflow…

Spell

the never filled () runs over

::: the stack that is a scattering ::: responding to form to begin a journey into speech with the likes of Michelle Cliff prefacing The Land of Look Behind recalling Ted Chamberlain in the experience and knowledge of ceremonies of belief that are the recounting of accounts :::

an abacus of world strung with beads of word and spanned by the abscissa of dreams :::

riddle: charm filter

charm: riddle feeder

~~
The concluding chiasmus relies on the crossing of technical terms and common understandings in a nicely deployed matrix.

And so for day 1381
24.09.2010

Bullet Point Reading

Don’t quite know how the German got in except as a neat way to express a yearning for the skies…

Slab

Reading with the paradigm in view of the combinations is reading with syntagm ladders.

Die Himmelsgegenden. All points bulleting. Stars.

But ingathering. The hand held over some attraction point in the chain and the moment remains indeterminate for there is always the possibility of termination, any time anywhere.

Maximalism.
~~
Do know that a proliferation of points pricks the sublime imagination into a breathlessness.

And so for day 1380
23.09.2010

Trauma Truce

Trauma Truce From a letter to a young scholar.

Menachem,

I was rereading a preface by Adrienne Rich. The preface is collected in On Lies, Secrets and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978. The preface is dated 1976 and it entitled ”Conditions for Work: The Common World of Women”. She quotes from Simone Weil:
A clear view of what is possible and what impossible, what is easy and what difficult, of the labors that separate the project from its accomplishment — this alone does away with insatiable desires and vain fears; from this and not from anything else proceed moderation and courage, virtues without which life is nothing but a disgraceful frenzy.
The passage is from Weil’s “ Theoretical Picture of a Free Society” collected in Oppression and Liberty trans. by Arthur Wills and John Petrie (1973).

I am wondering if Weil and Rich might not provide a bridge back to considerations of the popular as the work of social reproduction and a way of conducting the work of memorialization without re-inducing trauma. Rich suggests that “[f]or spiritual values and a creative tradition to continue unbroken we need concrete artifacts, the work of hands, written words to read, images to look at, a dialogue with brave and imaginative women who came before us.” She then cites a passage from Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition and continues to firmly situate this work in a gendered context: “Hannah Arendt does not call this ‘women’s work.’ Yet it is this activity of world-protection, world preservation, world-repair — the million tiny stitches, the friction of the scrubbing brush, the scouring cloth, the iron across the shirt, the rubbing of cloth against itself to exorcise the stain, the renewal of the scorched pot, the rusted knifeblade, the invisible weaving of a frayed and threadbare family life, the cleaning up of soil and waste left behind by men and children — that we have been charged to do ‘for love,’ not merely unpaid, but unacknowledged by the political philosophers. [...] Arendt tells us that the Greeks despised all labor of the body necessitated by biological needs.”

The radical american feminist critique of the 70s regarding the repression of the body in western thought might be worth keeping in the background of your explorations of the debates over the proper relation between the popular and the Holocaust. Incidentally, Rich does in her later prose and poetry explore her Jewish roots.
Moderation. Courage. The Quotidian.

And so for day 1379
22.09.2010 labels: trauma work

AWCG

I like to categorize these fixtures in the Alex Wilson Community Garden as vernacular architecture.

A visitor to the community garden can look up and see against the wall of the building adjacent to the garden a pipe.

Following the pipe down its curve leads to stacked tubs.

An ingeniously simple system to capture runoff for watering the garden.

I particularly like the stacking of the tubs and can imagine the overflow from the top one filling the bottom two.

There is a piece of urban legend associated with the AWCG water system reported by Gayla Trail: "Apparently when the system was first constructed, and before it had a protective mesh top, a friend of a friend arrived at his plot one day to find a nude man emersed in the “tub” taking a bath!" http://yougrowgirl.com/water-for-all-occassions/

And so for day 1378
21.09.2010

Nature Parks Can Not Do

The Alex Wilson Community Garden has a sign at its entrance. On that sign is an Ojibway proverb ("The bush is sitting under a tree and singing"), a quotation from the writing of Alex Wilson and Wilson's date of birth (1953) and death (1993). The sign is reproduced in Public 41 Gardens (2010). The article in Public by Richard Brault concludes with quoting the passage and thanks to that I noticed that the sign is missing a sentence. It is a rousing call to action. Brault quotes:

We must build landscapes that heal and empower, that make intelligible our relations with each other and the natural world: places that welcome and enclose, whose breaks and edges are never without meanings. Nature parks cannot do this work. We urgently need people living on the land, caring for it, working out an idea of nature that includes culture and human livelihood. All of this calls for a new culture of nature, and it cannot come soon enough. [our emphasis]
Brault's quotation has the bit that the sign omits (Nature parks cannot do this work). [Brault however unlike the sign is inaccurate: drops "connects" from "heal, connect and empower"; substitutes a "this" for a "that" in "All of that call".]

The "nature parks" reference is important because in his book The Culture of Nature Wilson is at pains to emphasize that creating more wildlife preserves is not the best way forward to forge new relationships with the land. Here is the lead in to the call to action:
In an era of ecological crisis, it's no surprise that many of these contradictions are being worked out on the land itself. My own sense is that the immediate work that lies ahead has to do with fixing landscape, repairing its ruptures, reconnecting its parts. Restoring landscape is not about preserving lands — "saving what is left," as it's often put. Restoration recognizes that once lands have been "disturbed" — worked, lived on, meddled with, developed — they require human intervention and care. We must build landscapes that heal, connect and empower, that make intelligible our relations with each other and the natural world: places that welcome and enclose, whose breaks and edges are never without meanings. Nature parks cannot do this work. We urgently need people living on the land, caring for it, working out an idea of nature that includes culture and human livelihood. All of that calls for a new culture of nature, and it cannot come soon enough.
R E S T O R A T I O N
Nature parks cannot do this work.

And so for day 1377
20.09.2010

Inventing Interventions

Alex Wilson
The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez (1991)

My own notes to a passage align on one side terms from my then current interests and on the other side keywords from a passage I read.

producing       framework
reproductive       system of rituals
translations       phase of cultural evolution

What was I reading? This:
Restoration projects actively investigate the history of human intervention in the world. Thus they are at once agriculture, medicine, and art. William R. Jordan of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum writes:
[...]
I now see restoration as providing the framework for a system of rituals by which a person in any phase of cultural evolution can achieve a harmonious relationship with a particular landscape.
These are not new ideas, but they are ideas newly current in the culture.
Wilson proposes "a new environmental ethic".
Restoration actively seeks out places to repair the biosphere, to recreate habitat, to breach the ruptures and disconnections that agriculture and urbanization have brought to the landscape. But unlike preservationism, it is not an elegiac exercise. Rather than eulogize what industrial civilization has destroyed, restoration proposes a new environmental ethic. Its projects demonstrate that humans must intervene in nature, must garden it, participate in it. Restoration thus nurtures a new appreciation of working landscape, those places that actively figure a harmonious dwelling-in-the-world.
As a gay man reading a gay man, then and now, I can say that the take on the elegiac exercises chimes in with the collective response to AIDS — the very cultivation of new modes of being there for each other. Building gardens was one of those ways. See the work of Douglas Chambers chronicled in Stonyground: The Making of a Canadian Garden. It did encompass preservation - the oral history of memory traces - and the creation of a working landscape.

And so for day 1376
19.09.2010

Street Furniture

A block of a bench.

Designed against surfboarding — note the lip.

Shutters protecting chalk image against night time erasure or graffiti tags. (Worth observing in situ at 577 Queen Street West, Toronto).

And displacing car parking with a whole row of city-friendly transportation is the coral for bikes near the location of the Bloor-Borden Farmers Market.

Sit. Read/View. Park.

These utilitarian affordances both invite and repel. Liveable in this urban vocabulary is synonymous with useful. With a good dose of refinement and allure.

And so for day 1375
18.09.2010

Central Heating and Cloud Computing

Where is "hearth"?

Kenneth Frampton. The Status of Man and the Status of His Objects: A Reading of The Human Condition. (1979)

Furthermore, the word "edifice" relates directly to the verb "to edify," which not only carries within itself the meaning "to build" but also "to educate," "to strengthen," and "to instruct" — connotations that allude directly to the poetical restraint of the public realm. Again the Latin root of this verb — aedificare, from aedes, a "building," or, even more originally, a "hearth," and ficare, "to make," has latent within it the public connotation of the hearth as the aboriginal "public" space of appearance. This aspect persists even today in the domestic realm, where surely no place is more of a forum in the contemporary home than the hearth or its surrogate, the television set, which as an illusory public substitute tends to inhibit or usurp spontaneous emergence of "public" discourse within the private domain.
Cecelia Tichi. Electronic Hearth: Creating an American Television Culture. (1991)
For the decentralized TV environment, promulgating dispersal, always risks betraying the hearth by exposing tensions and divisions between generations and between sexes. [...] One cartoon of 1956 suggests this very tension by spoofing its resolution. The cartoon shows a family of three gathered before three lined-up televisions, mother, father, and son happily watching different programs while the audio comes through headphone sets that each wears. Gathered together as a nuclear family, each member inhabits a separate on-screen world. [...] The family's contentment comes from not having to gather to watch the same thing. Technology lets them escape the tyranny of the hearth.
Frampton highlights (as manipulative and apolitical)
Robert Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, wherein the author asserts that the Americans don't need piazzas, since they should be a home watching television.
Mobility may restore to urban populations power. Energy storage & transportation take the "hearth" for a walk... A return to nomadic tents? As Frampton quotes Arendt: "Without being talked about by men and without housing them, the world would not be a human artifice but a heap of unrelated things to which each isolated individual was at liberty to add one more object; without the human artifice to house them, human affairs would be as floating, as futile and vain, as the wanderings of nomad tribes." One more word: pitched. Channel surfing.

And so for day 1374
17.09.2010

Puns and Nonesuch

Signage that is memorable.

There are the magnificent murals of Pour Boy. Where one assumes that a poor boy (or girl) can quaff a modestly priced brew.

Apiecalypse Now! - That's pie as in pizza in case you missed the pun and it's animal friendly vegan hence the cute racoons sharing a pie.

When you need some building maintenance done right go to the fancy spellers at DunRite with a long top on the T.

Which on the company web site looks slick thanks to the Mississauga designers at Reaction Grafix still retaining that swish T.

And the non-verbal

A door to domestic space on Bathurst street south of College looking smartly like the frames of a graphic novel devoted to canines.

Such collecting is inspired by the Dictionary of Words in the Wild at http://lexigraphi.ca/index

And so for day 1373
16.09.2010

Push Pull

A character with the same name as the author observes

I think telling stories is like pushing something. Pushing against uncreation itself, maybe. And one day while you were doing that you felt something pushing back.
Stephen King
Song of Susannah
Dark Tower VI

Flip side of Cronenberg's characters being sucked in in Videodrome

And so for day 1372
15.09.2010

Little Fish Big Fish

John Varley
Wizard

[...] and Nox, the Midnight Sea. It shimmered in the silvery light. Embedded in the water were nebular drifts of luminescence, cold blue beneath the brighter surface reflections. There were harder, more compact light sources, some a warm yellow and others deep and green.

"The light clouds are colonies of fish about this long."

Chris looked up and found that Hornpipe was walking beside Valiha. Cirocco was holding thumb and finger a few centimeters apart.

They're more like insects, actually, but water-breathing. They're true colonies, with a hive brain like ants or bees. But they don't have a queen. They apparently hold free elections from what I've been able to learn. Complete with primaries and campaigns and propaganda in the form of pheromones released into the water at election time. The winner is allowed to grow to be a meter long and holds office for seven kilorevs. His function is mainly morale. He releases chemicals that keep the hive happy. If the leader is killed, the hive stops eating and dissolves. At the end of the term the hive eats him. Sanest political system I ever saw.
Big Fish Little Fish

And so for day 1371
14.09.2010

Potluck Luck

Broken. Assembled. Deciphered.

No Free Lunch
Potlatch

contingent abstraction
Encoding to a lay audience

media relations
a matter of managing
nexus of knowledge
impact on business

Hortulan Diversions

And so for day 1370
13.09.2010

Better Barter

Some lore from the Medieval Ages that pertains to camels and the nature of exchange:

If the owner of a camel sells it, the camel mourns and grows ill, not for loss of his master, but because he thinks the price was too low.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Cloisters Bestiary prepared by Richad H. Randall Jr. (New York, 1960)

And so for day 1369
12.09.2010

Euthermia

Marilyn Dumont. green girl dreams mountains

There are two poems that are juxtaposed in memory after reading. The first is entitled "kindling" and amounts to a detailed description of the speaker's mother's handwriting and concludes that the writing was left as

broken twigs on the page
as kindling
for me
It echoes later in the sequence of poems with the ending of "I am five" which ending arrives after a run through of a dry weather landscape (grasses that move like flames, grasshoppers "snapping their hot wings" and "adolescent pines wrestle the wind"). This is an evocation seems full of an innocent indulgence of a five-year old in the sheer physicality of the vegetation and insect life but the ending almost upends the sentiment:
but I am five and
don't know that this burning inside is
loneliness
And you go back to the beginning of the poem to see that this loneliness is inscribed in beauty much as the broken twigs too were in their setting. I Wandered as Lonely as a Cloud with its contemplative recollection in the mind's eye of the thousand daffodils provides a Wordsworthian touchstone for the "burning inside" — good old animal body heat, sign of life.

And so for day 1368
11.09.2010

Motions, Stones, Motions

A garland of ruins.

Alan Marshfield
The Electra Poems

from "Sleep, Silhouette"

from crotch to chin our sweaty bodies held
and we arrived, gyrating breast to breast,
at motion like the motions of a stone
wherein we learned duration, beyond grief.
from "Genesis at Up Marden"
Stone cherubs, blind with time's gangrene
from "Centaurs"
when we have been two centaurs from the start
and all night's forest screams were waterfalls.
from "An Age Turns"
It's a shame Brunelleschi's stoa
survives as a blueprint to vex me:
Ruined garlands.

And so for day 1367
10.09.2010

Fluff

It reads like a parody of the Little Free Library outposts.

Welcome to the installation. With text and fibre.

Beginning "I thought"



Back panel: you were solid / but you're

The picture here captures the shutter-bug and brings to mind the title of a show of Allen Ginsburg snapshots: "We are continually exposed to the flashbulb of death"

The finale — the bed of milkweed [?] seeds and the third wall — is best visited in the documentation provided by the Open Field Collective. "I thought // you were solid / but you're // just fluff"



Ending: fluff. Beginning again: box bottom covered with fluff/seed.

The piece is by Erika James and was viewed on Grace Street below Bloor in Toronto. And for some reason reminds one of Hamlet: O that this too sullen flesh ---- oops that should be "solid flesh" --- or should it?
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
Many scholars ask whether Shakespeare intended "solid" to be actually "sallied", a form of the word "sullied." The second quarto of Hamlet contains "sallied", but the First Folio prints it as "solid." Modern editors have been quite divided on the issue. Editors of The Arden Shakespeare choose to use "sullied", while editors of The New Cambridge Shakespeare have decided upon "solid." The reasoning for the use of "solid" is fairly evident, as it logically corresponds to "would melt" (131). However, there are good arguments to support the claim that Shakespeare did mean "sullied." With "sullied" we have the "suggestion of contamination" (Jenkins, 437), which is apparent throughout the soliloquy.

References Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Harold Jenkins, ed. London: Methuen, 1982.

http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet/soliloquies/solid.html
O so easy to fluff one's lines ...

And so for day 1366
09.09.2010

The True Sharing Economy Embraces Decadence

Inspired by the work of Gilles Clément, I am attuned to not just recycling but the decadence of rot, an embracing of decay.

From "L'homme symbiotique , commentaire de six dessins (La Vallée le 1er juin 2009)

En tant qu’êtres hétérotrophes (prédateurs) les animaux humains , incapables de synthétiser leur nourriture doivent la prélever dans l’environnement . La possibilité de replacer dans l’environnement l’énergie prélevée et transformée suppose la mise au point d’une économie opposée à celle qui régit la planète aujourd’hui . Le nouveau modèle s’oriente vers une non-accumulation des biens matériels : déchets occupant maladroitement le territoire et polluant les substrats au détriment de la vie .
[...]
Une feuille morte tombée au sol n’est pas une souillure , c’est une nourriture .
Note: there is a space before the terminal punctuation marks. Just like aerobic compositing , this aerates the text .

Translated by Catherine Lavoie and Colette Tougas in Public 41 "Gardens" (2010)
As heterotrophic beings (predators), human animals are incapable of synthesizing their own food resources and must take them from the environment. The possibility of returning to the environment the energy taken and transformed implies the creation of an economy that is the opposite of the one now governing our planet. This new model is aimed at the non-accumulation of material goods — waste that only takes up space, polluting substrates at the expense of life itself.
[...]
A dead leaf that has fallen to the ground is not waste but nourishment.
Decay in audio terms ... listen . . .

And so for day 1365
08.09.2010

Lounging With Lorca

I am disappointed in Lorca who never ceasing for one moment to see the beard of old beautiful Walt Whitman full of butterflies — mariposas — such a fetching image (see the cover of the City Lights 1988 edition) — turns the poetic voice to decry the

Maricas

Ben Belitt in the Grove Press edition of Poet in New York renders them "perverts". Carlos Bauer in the City Lights Ode to Walt Whitman and Other Poems renders them "faggots". Jack Spicer in his adaptation renders them "cocksuckers" in After Lorca.

Disappointment and intrigued (sly one for the slang of mariposa is akin to the referent of marica), for after the salute to the grand old man, the poem turns the hated name into an epic catalogue:

Fairies of North America,
Pájaros of Havana,
Jotos of Mexico,
Sarasas of Cádiz,
Apios of Sevilla,
Cancos of Madrid,
Floras of Alicante,
Adelaidas of Portugal
And this is the intriguing part — there's a shift in addressee (the faggots are called out) — and then the poem returns to the apostrophe to Whitman.

The good poet is unsullied. And yet that catalogue could have been lifted from Leaves of Grass *wink*

Whatever, Lorca's listing of the many names, reminds me of the title of Larry Mitchell's The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions (Calamus Books, 1977) — the reappropriation of terms of disapprobation. Mitchell captures the glee of a certain historical juncture: "The women who love women wrote a song for the faggots. It was called, "Anything you do that the men don't like is o.k. by us." For more fun, take the beginning of a piece called "Disruption: Tactics"
The faggots never tire of fucking with the men's minds. Once all the faggots let their hair grow long, wore necklaces made of silver and shells and clothes colorful, elaborate fabrics. They looked so stunning that the men over-looked their principles and began to look stunning also. [...]"
This was ages before Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003). So too was Lorca.

Lorca of the locked gates. Whitman of the open arms of comrades.

For a closer and more nuanced reading of the ambiguous pose of the poem that explains Lorca's look at the homosexual "ranging from bitter condemnation to veritable idolatry" see the article by Ruth Tobias "Beauty and The Beast: Homosexuality in Federico García Lorca's 'Oda a Walt Whitman'" in Mester, 21(1) [1992] See permalink: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5dv8f3hg. [Mester is the journal of the graduate students of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Los Angeles.] You might relish Tobias's concluding speculations on the motivations of the poet — she moots the possibility of jealousy.

And so for day 1364
07.09.2010

Atomic Library Numbers

The circulation card in this old discarded copy informs me that the author's initials expand to "Edward Estlin" which none of the paratext shows in this 1965 Harvest Book edition of a selection from the poetry of e.e. cummings.

In addition the card shows due dates ranging from the late 70s to the early 80s and is graced by a Dewey Decimal in the corner.

811.52

The table below shows a family resemblance between library classification and the atomic numbers from the periodic table of elements.

It might now a days be called Melvil.
Melvil stands for "Melvil Decimal System," named after Melvil Dewey, the famous librarian. Melvil Dewey invented his Dewey Decimal System in 1876, and early versions of his system are in the public domain.

More recent editions of his system are in copyright, and the name "Dewey," "Dewey Decimal," "Dewey Decimal Classification" and "DDC" are registered trademarked by OCLC, who publish periodic revisions.
On the OCLC
OCLC is a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large. We are librarians, technologists, researchers, pioneers, leaders and learners. With thousands of library members in more than 100 countries, we come together as OCLC to make information more accessible and more useful.
The OCLC (Online Computer Library Cente) operates WorldCat which I am sure e.e. cummings and his ilk would have purr fun with.

And so for day 1363
06.09.2010

Whirligig Jig

Monique Wittig provides a hint of how to approach Djuna Barnes's short stories collection Spillway. Wittig insists on the role of sarcasm and irony in making manifest that which tends to pull in multiple and separate directions. In her forward to her translations she remarks

C'est pourquoi à l'époque où il s'opère une énorme poussée pour évacuer le sens des pratiques de langage il nous faut insister du côté du sens et par le sarcasme et l'ironie rendre manifeste ce qui tire à hue et à dia.
It just so happens that the first story in Spillway is called "Aller et Retour" in English (which title is preserved in the French translation) which references a round trip. It is a story that has the reader leaping through time and space much like the to and fro of a railway excursion. We begin with the protagonist on a train from Marseilles to Nice. We learn that she lives in Paris or rather "lived in Paris" which is exquisitely ambiguous as to whether she still resides in the City of Light. From there the story informs us with the irony and sarcasm signalled by Wittig that
In leaving Marseilles she had purchased a copy of Madame Bovary, and how she held it in her hands, elbows, slightly raised and out.

She read a few sentences with difficulty, then laid the book on her lap, looking at the passing hills.
We next experience a wee bit of disorientation (the narration had set up travel towards Nice but we find ourselves in Marseilles): "Once in Marseilles, she traversed the dirty streets slowly [...]". One experiences a little shock of dislocation for that "once" means not "arrived" but "once upon a time" or "upon one occasion". We are brought face to face with the story as story.

Wittig's French version "A Marseille, elle a parcouru [...]" becomes with back translation "In Marseilles". But had it not been for the Wittig rendering we may have never bumped up against the English's dislocations. There is to and fro between versions that set up a spinning.

Emblematic of these motions is the description of the flow of water in the title story.

L'eau quand elle est dans la main est sans voix, pourtant en passant par-dessus les chutes elle rugit bien. Elle chante contre les petits cailloux dans les ruisseaux mais quand elle est caputrée et se bat et coule le long des mains, elle n'a goût que d'eau.           Water in the hand has no voice, but it really roars coming over the falls. It sings over small stones in brooks, but it only tastes of water when it's caught, struggling and running away in the hands.


Water tasting of water and the curve of a tautology. Water escaping. Hands that cannot clutch its fluid journey à hue et à dia. But words do hold it still for the mind to taste.

And so for day 1362
05.09.2010

What is poetry?

Echoes of William Blake "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

bp nichol. The Martyrology Book II.

oh fuck it's raining

stick my hand into the sea

that's poetry
it's a peculiar combination : sea, rain, hand. peculiar, cuz it's poetry. but note the syntagm: rain, hand, sea, poetry: something falls, something reaches, something crashes its waves into something else.

And so for day 1361
04.09.2010

Pronoun Plenitude

bp nichol. The Martyrology Book II.

you scream his name against the stars
he does not answer
i answer turn
i answer turn
away
away
play with the pronouns. map the you to a male interlocutor. map the i to a male speaking voice. turns out that what you may have here is a wise old queen telling a young buck, "you'll get over him and find another."

* * * * *

permutations, fantastical

* * * * *

Félix Guattari. A Liberation of Desire: An Interview by George Stambolian in Homosexualities and French Literature (1979).
[P]oetry is a rhythm that transmits itself to the body, to perception. A fantasy when it operates does not do so as a fantasy that represents a content, but as something that puts into play, that brings out something that carries us away, that draws us, that locks us onto something.
And what sexualities does "us" bear?

And so for day 1360
03.09.2010

Staging Silence

From 2000, from some notes towards a proposal:

It can be easily noted that Hofmannsthal's Elektra builds its plot upon who sees, who hears, who appears, who is heard. There is a thematic movement from sight to hearing, from appearance to words. At one point Elektra declares that her unheard word is inscribed in her appearance. It is easy to read this as a figuration of the work of language upon the body of the hysteric. But, can we read here two silences? The one of the living: the usual silence that awakens the psychoanalyst's attention, i.e. the silence of the repressed (The hysteric does not speak but shows). Can the other, the truly other, silence be the listening of the dead? Elektra answers the dying Aegisth that Agememnon hears him. Agememnon is of course dead.

There is a silence which comes from the body of the speaker and there is a silence to which that body tends. Elektra enacts both.
Some further meditations, a decade on:

Of course many critics have focused upon Elektra's cry at the end of the play (and of the libretto) with its call to be silent and dance. But that is not the end of the sequence. Elektra collapses. Chrysothemis calls out "Orest, Orest". The brother's name fills the silence. In the voice of the surviving sister invoking the brother, the living are at last addressing the living. The dance and the silence are displaced. They are in some sense mere prelude to the uttering of the name of the brother. Representative of the Law of the Father?

And so for day 1359
02.09.2010

Lists Become Plot Lines

Insurgent, the film adaptation of the second novel in the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth impressed me by the enchaînement of the sequence of trials by simulation. The progress through the factions (societal divisions similar to clans): dauntless, candor, abnegation, erudite, amity. The order matters. The protagonist cannot achieve success in the latter stages without passing through the previous trials. For example, the amity trial depends upon candor — there can be no peace without frankness.

And each of the five factions has a symbol similar to a Japanese crest.

The skill with which screenplay was shot, has me wondering if there is someone who could treat the 12 Shaker virtues to a similar plot rendering. The Shakers come to mind so many times

They may be denominated and arranged in the following order; Faith, Hope, Honesty, Continence, Innocence, Simplicity, Meekness, Humility, Prudence, Patience, Thankfulness, and Charity.

A SUMMARY VIEW of the MILLENNIAL CHURCH or United Society of Believers, commonly called SHAKERS. General Principles of their Faith and Testimony. Published by the Shakers in 1823; Reprinted in 1848. [Excerpt Transcribed from the 1848 Second Edition]
Why the Shakers? I have just been fascinated by the listing of twelve virtues ever since I read it in Edward D. Andrews The Gift to Be Simple: Songs Dances And Rituals Of The American Shakers. The challenge of linking cinematic action to the listing is like shaping a story around the timeless but sequential. (And frankly I think some of the aesthetic elements in the Divergent film universe have Shaker inspiration.)

And so for day 1358
01.09.2010