Dogmas and Catechisms

Philip Levine in A Walk With Tom Jefferson has a pair of poems that resemble the pairing of Milton's Il Penseroso and L'Allegro. They are a dog poem about karma and suitably entitled "Dog Poem". The cat poem can be read as its companion piece in a more intimate key. It revolves around the remembrance of a single cat named Nellie, now deceased. The cat would swat at the poet's writing hand if the lines became too long. A compositional practice that became "A Theory of Prosody" as the poem is named. The practice of short lines celebrates its absent muse and the poem ends on these brief but pleasing notes:

She's dead now almost nine years,
and before that there was one
during which she faked attention
and I faked obedience.
Isn't that what it's about -
pretending there's an alert cat
who leaves nothing to chance.
The dog poem is less sanguine about the inter-species relationship. After presenting a catalogue of grievances, that is the misdeeds of countless canines, the speaker dreams of being reincarnated as a lion and the dogs reincarnated as him. It's all very droll.
If I must come back
to this world let me do so as the lion
of legend, but striped like an alley cat.
Let me saunter back the exact way
I came turning each corner to face
the barking hosts of earth until they
scurry for cover or try pathetically
to climb the very trees that earlier
they peed upon and shamed. […]
[…] give them two big feet
and shoes that don't fit, and dull work
five days a week. Give them my life.
A life of neither Miltonic contemplation nor Miltonic mirth. A life devoted to the feline.

And so for day 1783
31.10.2011

Beneath Context

I really want to shorten and heighten the breadth to which this insight reaches:

Spring doesn't begin on the surface; it comes from below.
But that would slight its place, its rootedness to a specific time.

In the documentary Rivers and Tides, sculptor Andy Goldsworthy describes working with bracken whose stalks go black underground during the winter.
I think we misread the landscape when we think of it as being pastoral or pretty. There is a darker side to that. I think at this time when spring is beginning that it doesn’t begin on the surface, it begins below, so this idea of finding evidence of that heat within the ground, in a way is my way of understanding what is going on at the moment. And even though these are stalks from last year’s plants and will not grow again this year they are still connected to that root system underneath the ground and the idea that what happened last year is being repeated this year and it’s going to come through this.
Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time, 2001, directed by Thomas Reidelsheimer.

It begins below: but where does it end?

And so for day 1782
30.10.2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

The small promo movie that comes on the CD informs us that

the album is about bringing everyone to a room of poisons and remedies.
My favourite track and how I got introduced to the work of Carl Hancock Rux is "Eleven More Days" and its chorus
Eleven more days in the city
Eleven more miles to roam
Eleven more prayers of pity
Eleven more stops to home
The album: APOTHECARY RX (2004)

What I found astounding is that the beginning sounds like the fade out from another song urging us to "walk this way".
On "Eleven More Days," the contrast of generations, religions, races, and social statures is played out on subway platforms, playgrounds, apartment stoops, prisons, and in the streets. While Rux iterates the terrain and circumstances in his landscape, a stunning gospel refrain sung by a chorus of female voices emphasizes the place of intersection, the place of hope, the place of loss, and even deliverance while contrasting contrapuntal synthetic rhythms slip around basslines and indeterminate sounds.

http://carlhancockrux.com/apothecary-rx/
Rx

And so for day 1781
29.10.2011

Shape & Weight

Yvonne as a model.

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't confess to knowing a French woman or two who was fat all her life. We had a great family friend called Yvonne, who reveled in food and wine more than almost anyone else I have known. What excitement it was, both vicarious and actual, to share a meal with her, which I did many times before her death some years ago at the age of eighty-four. Yvonne knew she was not svelte, but her shape did not develop from a loss of control. Particularly after eighty, she simply had learned to derive so much genuine pleasure from food and drink, such a sense of vitality, that the payoff of typical compensations didn't measure up in her mind. It wasn't that she was always gaining weight; she had of her own free will set her equilibrium higher than that of most women, and she loved every day of her life. She was unusual in body, but in her spirit she could not have been more French.
Mireille Guiliano. French Women Don't Get Fat.

And so for day 1780
28.10.2011

A Nostrum

Or why the Humanities matter even more now (good to revisit platitudes for they can be touchstones despite their limits)

I point to the words of Walter Pater at the end of the chapter on Pico de la Mirandola in Renaissance ...

For the essence of humanism is that belief of which he [Pico] seems never to have doubted, that nothing which has ever interested living men and women can wholly lose its vitality — no language they have spoken, nor oracle beside which they have hushed their voices, no dream which has once been entertained by actual human minds, nothing about which they have ever been passionate, or expended time and zeal.
A voice for diversity to add to the chorus.

And so for day 1779
27.10.2011

The Demise of Capitalism

This from 1965 …

But the erosion of the market goes deeper yet. For the introduction of technology has one last effect whose ultimate implications for the metamorphosis of capitalism are perhaps greatest of all. This is the effect of technology in steadily raising the average level of well-being, thereby gradually bringing an end the condition of material need as an effective stimulus for human behavior.
Robert L. Heilbroner, The Limits of American Capitalism.

Note it's "well-being" not higher wages. And the timelines are longish: "For roughly the past century and a half the dominant system of economic organization in most of the the Western world has been that of capitalism. In all likelihood, barring the advent of a catastrophic war, capitalism will continue as the dominant system of the Western world during the remainder of this century and well into the next [21st century]."

Something to work for: shifting the ideological construction of the concept of well-being.

And so for day 1778
26.10.2011

Heaving Heavy

Kate Eichhorn
Fieldnotes, a forensic
(BookThug, 2010)

In light and lighter weight are sections that read as if definitions from a dictionary or instructions from a screen play (shooting script). I skip over them noting their presence and think of them as marked off areas to be disinterred. I am consoled by what I read as comments on the process of reading the near unreadable:

Fieldwork necessarily includes failures in reconstruction. Also excessive pleasures. Confusion. Today it was the expression of an absent field. The women gave me means (not memories or dates). Lower bodies vis-à-vis shoulders. Memories vis-à-vis hips. A network of palms. The inner surfaces of fingers. Viscerally stepping beyond the sway of order, proprioceptive more than visual. I felt the weight of reading these patterns.
The body is locked in. It provides traversal of grids. See how the "weight of reading" is elaborated:
Monitoring forearms down routes. Distal ends leading toward paths. The gravity of conduct. Contact. A smile or gaze intricately twisted out from an upper torso. Ephemeral cairns. Unreadable. Still in motion I stretch to graph these principles. The density of this telling of subjects, objects, selves etc.
Note the lack of comma between "selves" and "etc" — it's as if the subject-object were welded to an interminable series.

And so for day 1777
25.10.2011

Time Displacement and the Numinous

A story counted by Gossamer Penwyche is recounted by Terry Boyle in Discover Ontario: Stories of the Province's Unique People and Places. The story leads to a realization about temporal displacement.

The experience: "Several hours had lapsed while I had noticed only a few minutes."

The lead-up:

Then the song ended and the hawk let out another cry. The hawk stretched its wings and took off suddenly, flying directly towards Gossamer. She explained, "I threw my hands up to protect myself. It came so close that I could feel the rush of it its wings on my cheeks as it flew by me. My fear turned to amazement when I caught a glimpse of the hawk's large, fan-shaped tail. It looked like a feathered cape or the train of a doll's dress. I was so startled that I slipped off the rock and fell into the stream. I was certain that I heard children's laughter as I struggled to sit upright, waist-high in water. I looked all around me for the source of the laughter but saw no one."

[…]

Gossamer, instead of feeling puzzled by this loss of time, felt only disappointment.

"I wanted to be in that weird and wondrous place I had been in just moments before. I wanted the magic to return. My fairy encounter, for I have no doubt that is what it was, has hunted me all my life."
A great blue heron wadding and spearing a frog. A snowy owl taking flight over a ploughed field exposing mice. A loon dive and surfacing.

All moments that could pass unnoticed without attention. And a modicum of familiarity with one's surroundings and a sense of safety … Gossamer's experience is set in a place where she is "alone and unafraid" playing in one of her favourite haunts.

Setting and set.

And so for day 1776
24.10.2011

Iconoclastic Considerations

Comment to Calamity Jane's
July 2, 2003
CONVENTIONS OF EKPHRASIS
http://calamity.wordherders.net/archives/000422.html

Don't quite know how this one would fit into your typology.... the narrator contemplating a possible painting-to-be as a type of "projective ekphrasis" There is an example in Joyce Cary's The Horse's Mouth.

I wonder if one might capture the deontological aspects of your typology but considering a "table of attitudes" (degree of control over, fascination with, etc) in a table where the attitudes would be correlated to the status of the object of ekphrasis (exists, doesn't exist, might exist).

It seems your project might be facilitated by a consideration of Lubomír Doležel's possible worlds narratology. It seems that ekphrasis calls out for a treatment in terms of the intersection of Doležel's four modal systems:

alethic (possible, impossible, necessary)
deontic (permitted, prohibited, obligatory)
axiological (good, bad, indifferent)
epistemic (known, unknown, believed)

I like to recast the epistemic in terms of "known, knowable, unknowable". It seems to bridge considerations of ekphrasis with questions of iconoclasm. Which leads me to ask if the proposed listing of ekphrastic conventions is also an entry point into cultural values pertaining to visual-verbal translations....
I appears to me now that that trailing phrase about cultural values is about the verbal-visual relations as structured as permissible and possible. A society that construes the relation between verbal and visual renditions as impossible is also likely to interdict other crossings. [see McLuhan's eye-ear dichotomies tied to his Catholicism …] There are other types of iconoclasm besides an outright destruction of images; making them impermeable to words is likewise a smashing.

And so for day 1775
23.10.2011

The Tip

Either of tongue or finger

Fingerspitzengefühl

Intuition is counter-intuitive: while it appears to be quick and spontaneous, it actually takes effort, calculation, and memory.
Charles Jencks. The Garden of Cosmic Speculations (London: Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2003).

Akin to sprezzatura and always having a ready word beyond the tip...

And so for day 1774
22.10.2011

The Island: Name Written but Unpronounced

Speaking of reading "Sirocco"…

In none of the recordings of Robert Penn Warren that I have heard (from MIT's Vault and from the Caedmon Poetry Collection) does the poet pronounce the name of the island he has written in his poem — he simple says "the island".

But there it is in the Collected Poems.

But there it is hanging in the Paris Review when "Sirocco" was but a section of "To A Little Girl, On Year Old, in Ruined Fortress"

Giannutri

And so for day 1773
21.10.2011

Mayonnaise and Liaison

Nigel Slater. Appetite "June"

A typical June meal for friends might be the classic asparagus, salmon, and strawberries hat trick. Hardly original, but who cares when such glories come together for such a short while? The salient point is that the meal should be one of understated perfection — don't even think of apologizing for your lack of originality — so you can make your own mayonnaise and serve nothing fancier than a simple, ice-cold salad of lettuce, cucumber, and watercress. The berries must be sweet, ripe, and unblemished, the cream yellow and old fashioned, and offered in a generous quantity in a pretty pitcher. If you are going to serve a meal of such classic nakedness, then make no attempt to get fancy. A last-minute panic ("am I doing enough?") into doing two deserts or a fancy salad will miss the point. This sort of simplicity only works if you keep to the rules, and one of those is not trying to gild the lily.
Note the two markers of bonding: a meal for friends; making one's own mayonnaise.

And so for day 1772
20.10.2011

Treading Stupidity

Charlotte Shane. "Anne Carson's Splintered Brilliance: On the pleasures of poetry that deliberately defies our comprehension". New Republic.

https://newrepublic.com/article/139103/anne-carsons-splintered-brilliance

Calling one’s self “stupid” is akin to saying “my mind doesn’t work like that.” It’s a way of recognizing the distance between the functioning of your mind and the functioning of someone else’s. An experience of our own stupidity, then, is a privilege afforded to us by the best art and maybe especially by the best poetry: We are granted the opportunity to swim a lap in the pool of someone else’s brain, if we can
Back stroke, crawl, butterfly, breast stroke. Drowning.

And so for day 1771
19.10.2011

Connections, directions, corrections

Some one sent me a link to "The career advice I wish I had at 25" by Shane Rodgers. It seems to populate many management sites all over the World Wide Web. This is the one item on the list that caught my attention.

6. Management is about people, not things

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that all people are equal, behave the same every day and have a generic capacity to perform. Humans are simply not made like that. Business guru Jack Welch says the workforce consists of 20 per cent of people who are high performers, 10 per cent that you should get rid of and 70 per cent who do okay. The problem is the 70 per cent. Most managers want everyone in the 20 per cent. We need to be careful not to believe that the 70 per cent are underperformers. Sometimes we need to celebrate the competence of the masses not the superpowers of the elite. As managers, we are not managing things, we are empowering people and making the best use of whatever it is they bring to the table.
I wrote back to my interlocutor that this interesting take on managing performance might lead to some advice for managers about the interactions among themselves. I remarked "Seriously though - I think (from my limited perception from the outside) managers are very hard on managers - we as staff rarely hear managers celebrating each other…"

And of course there is the important aspect of sincerity and specificity:
Beware of the "Praise Trap"

It is important to reinforce when children have done well and worked hard. Reinforcing this by saying "you really worked hard on that puzzle, didn't you" or "I see you've collected all of the cars and put in them in the basket, that's wonderful Jack!" is much more informative than "good job tidying" or "you are so smart." The first type of praise encourages the child and fosters motivation from within (intrinsic motivation), whereas the second type of praise can lead to children looking for reward or praise which typically means they work less (extrinsic motivation).

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/Clinton.pdf
The article not only has some insight on praise and providing positive feedback it also invites people to consider their C:D:C ratios. That is how much of their interactivity is devoted to

Correction: Direction: Connection

Let me direct you to the early education site for more info on C:D:C including video where Dr. Jean Clinton explains the differences between connecting and directing.

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/positive.html

And so for day 1770
18.10.2011

Documentation, Discussion, Doing

We begin with the material fluency and move to interpersonal collaboration for the pursuit of projects…

Beyond working in small groups, a key feature of Reggio schools - and prime example of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) - is the emphasis on using high quality clay, paints, wire, fiber, pens, and hundreds more "materials" including music, dance, and conversation as stimuli for children to learn to express themselves skillfully. Reggio educators say children learn "100 languages."

[…]

Another pivotal Reggio innovation is documentation through which teachers encourage children to listen to themselves as a way to pursue a project thoughtfully. Teachers carefully listen to children, record what they hear, and select children's words, photos of them working, or their work product to display on a large panel. The purpose is to provide a way for children to reflect on what they have done by analyzing and interpreting what they see on the panel. Exchanges among children and with their teacher are lively! Documentation enables children to find meaning to their work and is a way to assess children's capacity at a particular time. Moreover, it gives visitors a window into the school and is a powerful draw for parents, an impetus for the deep ties that develop between families and school.

Ann Lewin-Benham, Starting Smart: Twenty-first Century Early Education
http://www.education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Journals/Fall2010/Lewin-Benham
I emphasize that the discussion begins with the child's interaction with high quality materials.

And so for day 1769
17.10.2011

Maturely Premature

Hokusai's jisei (death poem) has been set to music by Karl Jenkins in his Requiem.

hitodama de / yuku kisanji ya / natsa no hara

now as a spirit / I shall roam / the summer fields
Though my demise is not for all appearances imminent I have tried my hand:
he reads signs /
has become a sign /
always pointing elsewhere
Of course I could ascribe it to Barthes and begin a whole genre what if so-and-so wrote a death poem.

And so for day 1768
16.10.2011

Fragment Underlining Unrolling

I have on occasion examined the results of my cutting paper into smaller sizes for note taking and list making. Sometimes I observe that the results offer a kind of poetry.

And on this one occasion I returned to underline the preserved text — a way of punctuating and so reading by emphasis … almost like the negative space of silhouettes.
The perception of the world as ever changing, ever requiring the human being to be alert to the requirements of proper relations, means that views from every vantage point are valuable in making decisions. While older persons are generally thought to be wiser by virtue of their longer experience, the perceptions of children and young people are not discounted. The roles of teacher and learner in an Aboriginal world can be interchangeable, depending on the context.
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996)
Volume 1 - Looking Forward Looking Back
Part Three: Building the Foundation of a Renewed Relationship
Chapter 15 - Rekindling the Fire in the subsection "Words Are Not Enough"


Further comments on this passage: http://berneval.blogspot.ca/2011/09/what-is-taught-and-what-teaches.html

And so for day 1767
15.10.2011

Beyond the Sphere of Touch Typing

I have come across a delightful book on the art of writing (Your Penmanship by Kathleen U. Ockendon) which offers a neat little analogy for academic activities and scholarship. As well it has as a swell opening chapter called "Making friends with your pen". In the introduction, Ockendon writes:

Though we can, of course, take pleasure in the work of craftsmen whose methods are unknown to us, yet it is only after we have begun to manipulate their tools and wrestle with their problems that we come to realise in full the measure of their achievement, and our appreciation of their worth increases with our skill.
It lives by its word and teaches how to trim a quill pen as well as how to shape letters and curlicues.

And so for day 1766
14.10.2011

Disappearing Young Men: Sister Uprising

Einstein on the Beach

(Both texts written by Mr. Samuel Johnson)

OLD JUDGE : PARIS (In Original 1976 Production)

When considering the best liked cities on earth, Paris looms large among them. Paris is one of the world's greatest tourist attractions. And not without reason, for Paris has much to offer. Paris does not have a multiplicity of skyscrapers like New York, but it has much beauty and elegance. And Paris has an illustrious background of history.

In Paris there is a number of young men who are very beautiful, very charming, and very lovable. Paris is called "the city of lights". But these young men who are very beautiful, very charming, and very lovable, prefer the darkness for their social activities.

One of the most beautiful streets of Paris is called Les Champs-Elysées, which means the Elysian Fields. It is very broad, bordered with trees, and very pleasant to look at.

One of the most beautiful things of Paris is a lady. She is not too broad, bordered with smiles, and very, very, very pleasant to look at. When a gentleman contemplates a lady of Paris, the gentleman is apt to exclaim : "oo la la", for the ladies of Paris are very charming. And the ladies of Paris are dedicated to the classic declaration, expressed in the words : "L'amour, toujours l'amour !"

A Russian man once said that the eyes of a Paris lady are as intoxicating as good wine, and that her burning kisses are capable of melting the gold in a man's teeth.

In Germany, in Italy, in Congo, in China, and in the United states, there are men who say : "If you've never been kissed by a lady of Paris, you've never been kissed at all."
OLD JUDGE : ALL MEN ARE EQUAL ( Alternate Speech, From 1984 Revival )

"In this court, all men are equal." You have heard those words many times before. "All men are equal." But what about all women ? Are women the equal of men ? There are those who tell us that they are.

Last week, an auspicious meeting of women was held in Kalamazoo. The meeting was addressed by a very prominent lady who is noted for her modesty. She is so modest that she blindfolds herself when taking a bath. Modesty runs in her family. She has a nephew who is just ten years of age. Sometimes, the nephew says "I'm going to the forbidden name store." The little fellow is too modest to say "I'm going to the A & P." Well, here is what that modest lady said to the gathering of women in Kalamazoo :

"My sisters : The time has come when we must stand up and declare ourselves. For too long have we been trodden under the feet of men. For too long have we been treated as second-class citizens by men who say that we are only good for cooking their meals, mending their socks, and raising their babies.

"You have a boyfriend, and he calls you his queen. Then, when he marries you, he crowns you. These are the kind of men who, when they become romantic or, I should say, when they are in a certain mood, they want to kiss you and kiss you and kiss you again.

"My sisters, I say to you : Put your faces against it, and, if the man takes from you without your permission, look him squarely in the face, roll your eyes at him, and say to him ‘How dare you, you male chauvinist pig ! You put that kiss right back where you got it from.’

"My sisters, we are in bondage, and we need to be liberated. Liberation is our cry. Just yesterday, I talked with a woman who is the mother of fifteen children. She said ‘Yes, I want to be liberated from the bedroom.’

"And so, my sisters, the time has come when we must let this male chauvinist understand that the hand that changes the diapers is the hand that shall rule the world.

"And now, my sisters, let us stand and sing our national song. For the benefit of you who have not yet memorized the words, here they are :
The woman's day is drawing near, it's written in the stars
The fall of men is very near, proclaim it from your cars.
Sisters, rise ! You flags unfurl ! Don't be a little girl.
Say "Down with men, their power must end : Women shall rule the world !"
Paris and "a number of young men who are very beautiful, very charming, and very lovable." on the one hand; on the other the battle cry of sisters. Are we to take reported speech as satire?

And so for day 1765
13.10.2011

Erasing Erasure

Jennifer Biddle
Dot, circle, difference: Translating Central Desert paintings
in Cartographies: Poststructuralism and the mapping of bodies and spaces edited by Rosalyn Diprose and Robyn Ferrell
(1991)

Unlike in northern Australia, where images figured historically upon more permanent materials (bark or wood), Central Desert images were drawn in the sand or on the body. It wasn’t until 1971 at Papaya that an art teacher, Geoff Bardon, in inviting some men to paint the school walls, was instrumental in these designs being rendered transferable to canvas. The creation of the acrylic painting as object of attention, comment and permanence has shifted the focus of interpretation from that of the productive aspects of these paintings to that of interpreting their status as product. This is a problematic status for images historically marked by their capacity for erasure — images that are produced within performative or enactive contexts where the production of the designs (who is allowed to mark whom with what and when) is inseparable from the ensuing product itself.
Juxtaposing here with remarks about another artistic practice.
By far the most studied aspect of bebop improvisation is the use of precomposed figures and quotations, selectively borrowed from other musical compositions. the surface repetition, and the use of recognizable quotations — sometimes called licks, tricks, patterns, motives, riffs, or crips by musicians — are distinctive features of this genre.
In Basquiat's work, originality is defined by premeditation, imitation, and even the repetition of certain compositional elements.

Jordana Moore Saggese Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art
If you are still wondering about the juxtaposition, see Japingka for artwork by Australian Indigenous artists. Watch the images move. Be moved.

And so for day 1764
12.10.2011

Impaired or Wrecked

my mind catches on a phrase "wrecked cognition" and lifts it from its context to a place of thinking about how at any time any one of us may be considered as disabled…

Haryette Mullen
Muse & Drudge
In Recyclopedia

odds meeting on a bus
the wrecked cognition
Not much to find at present about "wrecked cognition" but "impairment" is a useful bridge word that led me to a reference to this book now in its second edition Bathing without a battle : personal care of individuals with dementia edited by Ann Louise Barrick et al. and its support material which taps into our collective desire for humane treatment for all…
This battle that often occurs between people with dementia and their caregivers is in most cases preventable. The source of the distress is often the caregiver imposing his or her duty to get someone clean; even when that someone is reluctant or distressed. The caregiver may feel bound by cultural, personal, or supervisory influences to "get the person clean" in some predefined time frame using a set method. Unfortunately, this lack of flexibility can have unpleasant results for both the caregiver and the person they are bathing. However, we believe that bathing can be made into a more humane, gentle experience for persons with dementia.

http://bathingwithoutabattle.unc.edu/about-bathing
Before this useful reminder of cultural imperatives, the battle is described as an escalation of conflict:
Each day hundreds of thousands of people with dementia are bathed against their will. Their overt or nonverbal refusals are often ignored, and they are removed without permission from their beds and wheelchairs and taken to an often cold, impersonal, frightening shower or tub room to be scrubbed down. As a result, the refusals escalate to verbal and physical resistance, and finally to combativeness. The experience is frustrating and dangerous to caregivers, who become the targets of hitting, spitting, biting, and verbal attacks by the person who they are only trying to help. In the fields of nursing and medical research, such behaviors are called "agitated" or "disruptive", and the impact of such behaviors on caregivers is immense. Nursing assistants report being routinely distressed on the job by patient hitting, verbal aggression, and screaming.
I get edgy simply reading this. Coercion: the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

And so for day 1763
11.10.2011

Stanza Stance

Stanza means room. In the valley of its making one finds a room of one's own to share, to let …

What does it matter if I don't exchange names with a man, if I never see him again, why should that lessen the value of the pleasure we give one another, a bodily pleasure and also a pleasure of knowledge and recognition? "Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe," says Whitman, our great poet of cruising, who doesn't hesitate to use the word love for transient encounters between otherwise strangers. Like the stanzas of a poem, which offer such unlikely, durable shelter from the crash of public speech, the cramped spaces of back rooms and toilet stalls serve not to lessen value, but to concentrate it. As is the case for poetry in the valley of its making, cruising offers an experience that might look like privation but feels like luxury, a hidden richness, a secret world.
Garth Greenwell
"How I Fell In Love With The Beautiful Art Of Cruising"
Buzzfeed
https://www.buzzfeed.com/garthgreenwell/how-i-fell-in-love-with-the-beautiful-art-of-cruising?utm_term=.vp3VzzDk9#.dlpLqqA96

Greenwell leads me to return to Earl Jackson Jr. "Explicit Instruction: Teaching Gay Male Sexuality in Literature Classes" Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature edited by George E. Haggerty and Bonnie Zimmerman.
The cultural and psychological significance of gay male pornography for its intended audience cannot be understood within normative heterosexual morality. In its role as a medium for self-understanding within a repressive social regime, gay pornography configures visibility in its erotic and political senses.
And brings me to share with trepidation an image of the cover of the first porn mag that I bought as a very young man in small town Kapuskasing ...

Putting the carnal back in carnival?

And so for day 1762
10.10.2011

Drink Me Lookalikes

Looks like Alice https://shakespeareillustration.org/2016/08/07/juliet-2/

It's Juliet by H.C. Selous. Used to illustrate the lines: "What if it be a poison, which the friar / Subtly hath minister'd to have me dead. [Act IV. Scene III.]

Source Text: The Plays of William Shakespeare / Edited and Annotated by Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke / Illustrated by H. C. Selous / With Thirty-five Full Page Wood Engravings after Frank Dicksee, RA., H. M. Paget, A. Hopkins, R. W.S., and others / And Thirty-five Photogravure Plates / Special Edition / Parts XXIV-XXV. Published: London, Paris and Melbourne: Cassell & Company, Limited [1864-68?]

Brought to the World Wide Web by Michael John Goodman, The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive.

Compare with John Tenniel's Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 1865

There is the striking pose after the potion has been drunk…

It's all in the hair.

And so for day 1761
09.10.2011

Clusters of a Single Species

I have begun reading the work of American poet Philip Levine. This little bit from "Winter Words" collected in A Walk with Tom Jefferson is delightful in its exactitude and its animation:

Birthday tulips, twelve hothouse flowers
of royal purple on long stilt-like legs
that sag beside the frosted window.
I wonder what he might have thought about the season for the brilliant incandescence of amaryllis ... we know what he does with paperwhites, the above lines continue:
Paper white narcissus uncoiled from bulbs
that had only polished stones to push
their green shoots through. You can grow up here.
I like to think that the here is both in the poem and the referent to a place imagined.

And so for day 1760
08.10.2011

After All the Reading

Monad deme, in tectology, a unit of the first order of individuality. Monad is an anagram of nomad. Deme is a half-rhyme for dame.

Tectology: a branch of morphology that regards an organism as made up of other organisms.

Technical vocabulary to help with reading this:

it's clear
after all the reading
mankind speaks
but one language

differences skin deep
reach
one anchored depth

one underlying flow
which to all men is the same

it's clear
after all the reading
they've all overlooked

the monad deme

can be a nomad
and a dame
Lola Lemire Tostevin from Color of Her Speech

And so for day 1759
07.10.2011

Targetless Rock Throwing

Ken Babstock. "Industry" in Methodist Hatchet. Last line:

What is one voice but a resource?
A question answered by an earlier poet:
maybe even stones have discourse
Robert Kroetsch. The Sad Phoenician. Section M
but it was she who resisted; she, wronged by refusing;
life is what we make it they say; maybe even stones have
discourse, perhaps there is a music of the spheres
heard on quiet nights, far from water
and maybe the fireman only climbs to kiss the flame
One voice is indeed a way to source.

And so for day 1758
06.10.2011

Towards the End - Endwards

Repartee inhabits the footnotes in Samuel R. Delany Phallos.

The prose of Phallos — even in the three extraordinary scatological chapters toward its end — is written in the past tense of most normative fiction. In order to achieve what registers with me as a more contemporary mode, I have put my own synopsis into a neutral present — to mark it current, if for no other distinction. (10)

10. "Come on, Randy. The present tense hasn't been 'current' since 1974." (Binky)
This is the first time that the synopsis-maker is invoked by name. Telling that it is in a calling out about bullshit. It's an apostrophe which invokes a dialogic moment; it cuts across the monologic discourse of the monograph which is inscribed under the synopsis-maker's name appearing on the title page. Interesting turn.

But what did happen in 1974?

A little Canadian Content: In the Present Tense is a Canadian current affairs television series which aired on CBC Television in 1974. I mention this because Delany's novella is dedicated originally to a Canadian, Christian Bök. Not that this connection is intended. It may simply be fortuitous.
It was one of the first CBC shows to make substantial use of videotape, which offered the producers more flexibility regarding the timeliness of the subjects they discussed.

http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/index3.html?url=http%3A//www.broadcasting-history.ca/programming/television/programming_popup.php%3Fid%3D1220
O that's "timeliness" not "time line ness" (or mess)!

And so for day 1757
05.10.2011

Suspended in Translation; Translated in Suspension

She leaves it untranslated.

une langue
qui abandonne son nid
ne goute plus

aux oiseaux
There is a bit of trickiness in capturing the ambiguity of tasting like a bird but there it is — the language tastes of bird and tastes as a bird tastes. Here's our go:
a language
leaves its nest
and no longer

tastes as a bird tastes
Lola Lemire Tostevin Color of Her Speech (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1982)

With a cover design by Gordon Robinson where a daub of paint takes off in flight…

One wonders how the Italian deals with the bilingual elements (Il Colore Del Suo Parlare published by Edizioni Empiria).

And so for day 1756
04.10.2011

Letters Like Dropping Rain

Untitled poem of three lines (when reconstituted) to be found at the end of "The Silent Poet Sequence" at the end of the The Sad Phoenician but not at the end of "The Silent Poet Sequence" found in Completed Field Notes [not "completed" not "complete"] by Robert Kroetsch.

thir
st sin
myl
if ewe
rel
arg
er tha
n wi
n d
and
r ain
pr
i est
if myl
if ewe
re un
har
med id
not
beb a
dag
ain
chr
i stif
myl o
ve w
ere in
my ar
ms a
nd Ii
n my
bed a
gain


Reconstituted:
thirst's in my life we're larger than wind and rain

priest if my life were unharmed i'd not be bad again

christ if my love were in my arms and I in my bed again
And if that last line looks or sounds familiar, it is.
O western wind, when wilt thou blow
   That the small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms
   And I in my bed again!
Anonymous. "The Lover in Winter Plaineth for the Spring" in The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900 edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch.

And so for day 1755
03.10.2011

Crono Locomotion

Contemplating the hypothesized state of chronesthesia

Together with language, mental 'time travel' allows us to share our experiences and our hopes with many other people, building networks of combined knowledge that are continually growing with each generation. Science, architecture, technology, writing – in short, everything that allows you to read this article – would be impossible without it.  

David Robson for the BBC

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161108-weve-got-human-intelligence-all-wrong
How would this be connected to musicality?

And so for day 1754
02.10.2011

Blurb Encounters

On the back of the chapbook and framed by a double line rectangle are the following words

Starting with the premise "There are two kinds of people," Susan Holbrook drives supermarket existentialism through its own vortex and gives it a nifty orgasmic twist into hyperspace. Here's a ping pong game you'll never forget — where the tables keep flipping and players' ironic bats spin the banal into deadly mischievous curves.
Susan Holbrook. Good Egg Bad Seed. (Vancouver: Nomados, 2004)

Between the premise and the expression falls the signifier. Holbrook's opening line leaves room (unstated) for more than two types of people: "There are people who only cry in private and people who only cry in public." It is easy to imagine types that do neither or both. There are two kinds but not only two kinds.

And so for day 1753
01.10.2011