Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Did a lot of yard work this afternoon: mulching, digging, uprooting and mowing.  Happily the mower, which sat in the shed all winter, actually started on the first pull.  That, my friends, is some kind of record.

I, on the other hand, seem to be misfiring on all cylinders these days.  I'm having doubts, anxieties about Appearances.  Am trying to summon the resolve to stop, go back over everything written so far, and just get ruthless with it.  Right now though I'm exhausted and achy, really feeling my joints in a not altogether enjoyable way.  So it's probably not a good time.  I'm in one of those moods where everything seems very tenuous and fragile.

Beautiful weather today.  A nice change of pace.  Flowers are up.  The air's perfumed.  Birds are busy.  The squirrels are nuts.  Dogs are manic  And we've had more possum sightings in our back yard.


Otoliths issue 29, the southern autumn issue, contains a lot of new work from a lot of people:  Mark Cunningham, Susan Lewis, Aditya Bahl, Jal Nicholl, Andrew Topel, Pete Spence & Andrew Topel, Julian Jason Haladyn, Ed Baker, John Ryan, Francesco Aprile, Unconventional Press, Kyle Hemmings, Philip Byron Oakes, Marco Giovenale, Sheila E. Murphy & John M. Bennett, Jim Leftwich & John M. Bennett, Thomas M. Cassidy & John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett, John W. Sexton, Louie Crew, Sy Roth, Jack Galmitz, Anthony J. Langford, Mark Melnicove, Yoko Danno, Pam Brown, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, A. J. Huffman, John Veira, Maria Zajkowski, Camille Martin, Wayne Mason, Bobbi Lurie, Darren C. Demaree, Michael Stutz, James Mc Laughlin, Howie Good, Reed Altemus, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Vernon Frazer, Jeremy Freedman, John Pursch, dan raphael, Sheila e. Black & Caleb Puckett, Ricky Garni, Jack Collum & Mark DuCharme, Kathryn Yuen, Tim Wright, Mark Reep, Gary Barwin, Taylor Reid, harry k stammer, Marcia Arrieta, Anna Ryan-Punch, Katrinka Moore, Neil Ellman, Sally Ann McIntyre, Jeff Harrison, Joe Balaz, Boyd Spahr, Tony Beyer, Jim Davis, Chris Brown, Sam Moginie, Lakey Comess, Alberto Vitacchio, Jorge Lucio de Campos translated by Diana Magall√≥n & Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Rebecca Rom-Frank, Craig Cotter, Javant Biarujia, Carla Bertola, Iain Britton, Anne Elvey, Bob Heman, Donna Fleischer, J. D. Nelson, sean burn, Spencer Selby, Charles Freeland & Rosaire Appel, Paul Dickey, Michael D Goscinski, Kathup Tsering, Miro Bilbrough, Chris Holdaway, Samuel Carey, Paul Pfleuger, Jr., Michael Brandonisio, Willie Smith, Mercedes Webb-Pullman, Bogdan Puslenghea, Andrew Pascoe, Scott Metz, Marty Hiatt, Eric Schmaltz, Sam Langer, & bruno neiva.

In addition, this issue features 147 Million Orphans: A haybun folio curated by Eileen R. Tabios, containing work from Eileen R. Tabios, Tom Beckett, j/j hastain, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Aileen Ibardaloza, Thomas Fink, Sheila E. Murphy, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Jean Vengua, William Allegrezza, & Patrick James Dunagan & Ava Koohbor.

Monday, April 29, 2013

I just finished
 separating the first volume
 of Peter Sloterdijk's Bubbles 
 from a sleeve
 of bubble wrap.

Friday, April 26, 2013


“People assume
Too much”
Alan Davies
Told me
On Bowery
Street, NYC
Back in
The day,
Early eighties.

I’m an
Uneasy traveler.
I assume
That’s because
I don’t
Know where
I am.

I am
Assuming though
That there
Will be
A reckoning.

I reckon
That an
Assumption is
Something like
The weather
That one
Exists within.
Or perhaps
A coat
One wears
When venturing
Out in
Bad weather.

I assume
That assumptions
Are built
From funds
Of inexperience
As well
As experience.

I assume
That I
Am on
A path
To  _____.

I assume
A lot.

I assume
That you
Might want
To talk.

I assume
That we
Want more
From one
Another than
Can be
Easily given.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just watched the documentary Ginger Baker in Africa courtesy of Netflix.  I recommend it if you enjoy world class percussion music.


Feeling discouraged about writing these days.  Appearances is proving difficult and has thrown me off my game poetry wise.  But I did have an idea for a long poem today.  I'm not sure how to start it, but I've got an idea of the form it might take.  It would be called Assumptions.  It might make a nice counterpoint to Appearances.


Appearances is making me think about repetition and mutation in writing all over again.  Making me think too about showing the machinery of thought, of not pretending that everything is seamless and neat.  The mess in the message is everywhere evident in this manuscript.


Spring is struggling to come to NE Ohio.  The flowers are up: daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, forsythia, etc.  But, you know, it snowed last Saturday.  And there was a heavy frost this morning.  There have been thunderstorms.  It'll be 70 degrees one day and 40 the next.  Plays havoc with the sinuses.


Writing is weather.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Don't you love it
when I 'speak' French
to you?

Traduttore traditore.

You don't get me.
I don't get you.


Well past il mezzo
but still
in a dark wood.

"...io vorrei che tu..."


Monday, April 22, 2013

Appearances is a project that I'm determined to see through to completion, even though I'm pretty sure it is unlikely to find either a publisher or an audience.  I'm calling it a novel.  It is, though, more accurately a sort of clunky collage of ideas and scenarios.  It's an experiment with clockwork mechanics and archetypal palliatives.

I don't exactly know why I'm writing it.  I don't exactly know how to write it.  I do know, however, that I have to try to write it.

The goal had been to complete a first draft in a year.  16 months in and I'm about 12 sections shy of being 2/3 of the way through that first draft.

In this project I'm not writing for any other reason than to see what I can learn to make as I go.


Emotional nuances don't always translate particularly well on blogs.  But...
A blogger/ranter/acquaintance of mine recently tipped in his blog to thinking that novels are only written to make money.  This is a guy who "loves to write" but seems to have decided to dislike an awful lot of writers. At least in the abstract.  And then he's always apologizing for his opinions after the fact and then restating them later.  

See: I can put things under erasure too.  What's the passive-aggressive effect?


I haven't discovered an unmediated way of living.  I say this less than 3 months away from my 60th birthday. The fact is, we edit ourselves and are edited by others.  The space I inhabit isn't mine alone.


Appearances, projections, thrown voices, hypnotic suggestions, ghosts, doubles, shadows, speech balloons, fun house mirror reflections, chalk outlines, zombies, etc, are my peeps these days.




Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'm OK
for a corpse.

I'm OK
for a zombie.

I'm OK
for a ventriloquist's dummy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Listening to Buddy Guy Live at Legends.  


My eyes are buggy after an extensive exam earlier today.  After dilation both of my pupils were bigger than my head.


When people ask me casually--a shop keeper say--how I am, I usually reply "OK for an old guy" or "OK for a tall person."  These tag lines have their fans, but I'm thinking I need some new material.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The world's getting smaller and smaller.  And the violence, the madness is getting closer and closer.  I was thinking yesterday afternoon about when I traveled to Boston some years ago and watched my brother John run  the Marathon.  I was thinking too about my brother Jim, the ironworker, who ran a crew at the World Trade Center after that disaster. He saw some horrible things. Then, too, Jim lives in Sandyhook, CT (which is sort of a subdivision of Newtown). His 4  kids, when they were younger, all attended Sandyhook Elementary.  Scarily enough, this list could go on.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What do
I know?

When did
I know it?

Can feedback
loops and

Fruit Loops become
Borromean knots?


I'm feeling kind of loopy.


I've started a chicken roasting.  It's seasoned with olive oil and tarragon.  That aroma is one of my favorite cooking smells.


The weather can't make up its mind.


Listening to music and thinking about several different writing projects.

Thinking, too, about sex, feedback loops and Borromean knots.


Meaning resolves into dissolving shades, various tonalities and disintegrating ghosts.


I'm lonely.  I'm drinking Sicilian wine.  There are stacks of books, guitar instruction manuals, and magazines around me.  The electric guitar and amp are six feet away from me in the corner behind a pedestal that was used at M's wedding.  The acoustic guitar is in its case in the living room.  It is blocked from my view by the protruding edge of our piano.


Friday, April 12, 2013

I just re-entered the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest for the umpteenth time.  It's still a goal to win it before I  die (Hi Karri!).  I feel pretty good about my entry, but then I usually do.


I am now  involved in a  dialogue/exchange with my friend Suzanne Nixon.


Walked downtown this afternoon in some brisk ass weather, collected some money from books I'd sold and then repaired to Ray's for a couple glasses of wine and a plate of calamari.

NB: the walk downtown is literally down a hill.  The walk back, uhh, is harder.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

As much as I love poetry I HATE NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  And I'm not writing that casually.

But "so what?" the argument goes.  Any attention is good attention, right?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I often see things in the mirror which I don't want to see.  (Or I see things that aren't there. The appearance, say, I wish I had.)  But yesterday, in our second floor bathroom where the mirror is aligned with a window that looks down on the back yard, I saw in the mirror a large opossum walking through our raspberry stalks.

It was eerie. The thing looked spooky, kind of other worldly.  I shivered a little and didn't go out in the back yard for the rest of the day.  Actually I haven't been out there today either.


We've been having big thunderstorms this evening.  A few minutes ago the boomers were so close they were setting off car alarms up and down the street.


B's out with colleagues.  I'm eating some  beans and greens, drinking Malbec and sweating.  It's very humid and a number of windows are closed because it was raining in.


I feel more and more disconnected from the poetry world every day.  I could bullet point the reasons why but I'm just going to try to continue to write what I can and leave it at that. Let's just say I feel like an opossum in the rear view mirror.


Monday, April 8, 2013

"True loneliness occurs not when there are no others around me, but when I am deprived even of my shadow."

--Zizek, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism (771)

Shadows figure importantly in many of my texts and especially so in Appearances, the book I need to get back to work on.


I'm listening to Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa. And  I'm tired.  I did a bunch of yard and house work today--raking, bagging, trips to the City compost site, dishes, sweeping and laundry.  I'm thinking about what to make for dinner--stir fry maybe.


There are
no others

around me.

Except shadows
and voices.


There's too many I's in the world.  Not enough us.


 is ultimately
 about parsing noise.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

He worries his thoughts.

He buries his feelings.

He scurries to come (to a stop).

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Improv for Jean Vengua

The person I thought I knew wasn’t.

The shadows creeping across our lawn.

The sentence which seemed complete.

The haunted aspect of my/your/whose speech?

The pronoun which won’t go away.

The resultant tones.

The first time, what’s between, the last time.

The history of now.

The future of now.

The forgotten question.

The Zen of frozen thought.


Friday, April 5, 2013

We were in Maryland for a few days visiting our beautiful and brilliant oldest daughter, her engaging lawyer husband, and most especially their charming 4 month old daughter, our grand daughter,  Anna Claire.  Baby smiles are like crack.  You just want more and more.  I brought all of my schtick--sound effects,improvised songs, dancing and whatever I could think of on the fly.

I miss that baby and all she telescopes from and to.


I'm off my routines, feeling a bit unsettled.  Also a bit sick.  I'm allergic to cats and dogs; and, though I love them, my lungs don't fare well around them.  Both of our kids have households with numerous pets.


I've just started listening to a 4 disc retrospective of Stephen Stills' oeuvre.  Hard to believe he's been making some pretty terrific music for 50 years. It seems like yesterday I was playing air guitar to Buffalo Springfield in my lonely teenager bedroom.


After a few days off I stumbled today through some guitar exercises.  When I ask more established players questions, they ask about my goals, they speak in musical jargon or ask me if I want to play lead or whatever. They dazzle with the training and knowledge I don't have.

My guitar goals are fuzzy.  I want to be able to make a sort of Blues I can think with.  That's it.  It, if it happens, will be as uninformed and as homemade as my poetry.

I don't want to be Clapton or anyone in particular.  I want to make a sound or two that asks a question or two.  That's all.