Thursday, October 31, 2013

Otoliths #31 is Live!

"I turned 72 on Wednesday. Thursday/Friday, depending on where you are, out comes issue #31 of Otoliths. In twelve years time I'll be 84 but Otoliths will only be up to issue #79—if that, since I'll probably be infirm & unable to bring out more than two issues a year. It's improbable that the number of issues of Otoliths will ever catch up to my age. As the tortoise once said to the hare, "Read your Zeno, Dude, & eat my dust."

In the meantime, I'm proud to bring out another solid issue, again containing a wide-ranging spectrum of work, this time from Katrinka Moore, Andrew Topel, Philip Byron Oakes, John Hand, Bjarte Alvestad, Louis Armand, Jac Nelson, rob mclennan, Bob Marcacci, Anna Ryan-Punch, Robert Lee Brewer, J. Crouse, Jack Galmitz, John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett & Thomas M. Cassidy, John M. Bennett & Matthew Stolte, John M. Bennett & Baron, John M. Bennett & Jim Leftwich, Gary Barwin, Anny Ballardini, Bogdan Puslenghea, Ed Baker, Willie Smith, Raymond Farr, gary lundy, Caitlin Annette Johnson, Francesco Aprile, Marilyn R. Rosenberg, Travis Cebula, sean burn, Ross B. Stager, John Pursch, Marco Alexandre de Oliveira, Tom Beckett, SS Prasad, Claramarie Burns, Stephen Nelson, Daniel Morris, Lakey Comess, Stephen C. Middleton, Owen Bullock, Marcia Arrieta, Márton Koppány, Robert Okaji, Roger Williams, Norman Abjorensen, Bobbi Lurie, Richard Barrett & Rachel Sills, Jeff Harrison, Mark Roberts, Susan Gangel, Jennie Cole, Eileen R. Tabios, Steven D. Stark, Mary Cresswell, Donna Fleischer, Marty Hiatt, Emily Stewart, Stu Hatton, Bob Heman, Thomas Fink, Thomas Fink & Maya Diablo Mason, Aditya Bahl, Cherie Hunter Day, Aaron Robertson, bruno neiva, Carla Bertola, Alberto Vitacchio, Chris D'Errico, Michael Brandonisio, J. D. Nelson, & Tony Beyer.

Mark Young"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I "finished" reading Tim Morton's Realist Magic but keep going back to it.  This is one of the passages I find myself returning to:

" The meaning of a poem is (in the ) future.  A poem's 'What I do is me' is to have been read, recited, placed in an anthology, ignored, remembered, translated.  This future is not a now-point that is n now-points away from the current one.  The future is what Derrida calls l'avenir, the to-come, or what I call the future future. In a very strict sense, then, poetry does come from the future.  A weird Platonism is in effect, beaming the shadows of objects down from their unspeakable existence in the future future into sensual-aesthetic-causal coexistence.  The future future is not some transcendental beyond: there is no beyond in OOO*, since this would be a top object par excellence.  Nor is the future future a 'time' in which the object 'resides.' Rather, the future future is the pure possibility of the object as such."

* OOO--object oriented ontology(TB)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Two Questions for Rebecca*

we all

Aren't we

than we think
we are?

*I keep not being able to post comments to
Rebecca Loudon's terrific blog.
So here's my versified comment, on this poor excuse for a blog.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

RIP Lou Reed

"Doot,doot-doo-dee-doot;; doot-doot-doot; doot, doot, doo-dee-doot! And the colored girls sing!"

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An interesting new book in the mix: The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson .

The Gorgeous Nothings is at once a poetry book and an art book.  It collects full-color facsimile manuscripts of Emily Dickinson's envelope poems along with graphic transcriptions of the poems.  It is a stunning and long overdue volume (from New Directions).  And it has a Preface by Susan Howe!  Wow, wow, wow!  I hope this book gets looked at closely by poets, artists (and persons of every stripe) everywhere because it is amazing in an incredibly cross-genre kind of way.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Objects seem to become entangled with each other on the aesthetic level.  Now quantum entanglement is beginning to be quite a familiar phenomenon.  You can entangle two particles, such as photons or even small molecules, such that they behave as if they were telepathic.  Over arbitrary distances (some think there is no limit) you can tell one particle some information, and the other particle seems to receive the same information simultaneously.  Spatiotemporal differences are meaningless when it comes to quantum entanglement.  What if this were also the case with salt cellars and fingers, or with ponds and night air, or MP3 players and sound waves?  Causality is how things become entangled in one another.  Causality is thus distributed.  No one object is responsible for causality.  The buck stops nowhere, because causality means that the buck is in several places at once.  It's two days since I first heard those frogs, and here I am, still writing about them. The entanglement spreads across time.  Or rather, I tell the time according to the croak rhythms in which I am entangled.  'Yesterday' is a relationship I'm having with quartz, sunrise, gravity and a persistent sore throat."

--Timothy Morton, from Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Everyone is the other, and no one is himself."
--Heidegger, Being and Time

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Five words to a line, Ron Silliman’s Revelator is immaculate verse.  I read/heard no false notes.  Which can’t be said, written or implied very often. 

I love Silliman’s poetry.  Silliman, though, is a Figure—one of those judgment making trendsetters who can intimidate potential readers.

He famously scared off some with his excoriations of SoQ (School of Quietude) poetry.  Lamentations about dead deer on the side of the road don’t cut it for him (not that he doesn’t care).  He’s all about-- if not the “music of meaning” a la-la-la  Charles Bernstein-- the surrealism of everyday life.

It’s a surrealism expressed through micro shifts of attention.  Every sense perception bleeds into another.  And that is a method in a five word line.

I was slow walking chromatic scales in triplets.  Fingers tripped over one another at times.  Forward and backward and then all over again.    Earlier in the day I'd read in Tim Morton's Realist Magic this bit about "Cantor dust"...

"Think of a straight line.  Then break it into two pieces by chopping the middle third out.  Now you have a beat, the space between the lines; and two beats, the lines.  Then chop the middle thirds out of those lines. You have some more beats.  And more beats-as-lines.  Eventually you end up with Cantor dust.  It is named after Georg Cantor, the mathematician who discovered transfinite sets--infinite sets of numbers that appeared to be far larger (infinitely larger) than other sets of infinite numbers.  Cantor dust is weird, because it has infinity pulses in it, and infinity no-pulses.  Infinity beats and infinity beats-as-lines..."

Tom Beckett can't play guitar, but he is trying to find his way in the midst of Cantor dust and infinity beats-as-lines.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Just back from a walk downtown.  Stared at the river for a bit.  Stopped in at Last Exit Books.  Thought about browsing acoustic guitars at Woodsy's.  Decided I couldn't afford the temptation.  Got a slice of cheese pizza from Guy's.  Ate it on a bench at the corner of South Water and Erie.  Walked home, writing this poem along the way:

I’m a fossil.
We all are.

One’s a record
of one’s experience,

but more than
just experience’s sum.

Not nothing, but
next to it.

Not some thing,

but something else.


Had another guitar lesson last night.  It was intense.  The hour passed in a flash.  I was tired, though, at the end of it.  Later, at home, practiced so not to forget.  Barb said I sounded good as I returned the instrument to its case.  I replied that I was really frustrated.  And I was because I just couldn't remember aspects of the 4 part exercise Jim had taught me.  I think some of it came back this morning, but I'm confused.  Getting my regular old memory and my muscle memory in synch is gonna be some kind of experience.  Don't know how much time I have to figure it out.  My guitar goal is to learn to play one blues song to my own satisfaction sometime before I die.  After I die, maybe I'll take up the piano.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary (37th), so we walked downtown to Cajun Dave's for dinner and drinks and then stayed for some blues.  A blues duo to be exact.  Half of that duo was my guitar teacher, Jim.  So Barb got to meet Jim and his band mate Donny.  It was a fun evening.  An evening complete with anecdotes about Jimi Hendrix and Glenn Schwartz.  Check out this video of Schwartz playing live in Cleveland:   Anyhoo, it was a nice evening out.  I need to see live music more often.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Appearances are not simply the cheerleaders for the faceless football team of essences.  Thinking about art is thinking about causality."

--Timothy Morton, Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Listening to Robert Cray's Midnight Stroll CD which I think is a masterpiece.  He's one of the guitarists I most admire.  And when you add to that his great clear as a bell voice, Jim Pugh's keyboards, Richard Cousins' bass, and (on this CD) the Memphis Horns--wow!

I take my acoustic guitar to lessons, but practice on both guitars at home.  The Epiphone acoustic has a wide neck so is hard to play, but my teacher thinks that might help me to learn to stretch my fingers.  I'm in love with the Stratocaster because of its nice tone and how notes sustain.  I love the magic that can happen with overtones.


I'm thinking about wanting to see  Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 exhibition at MOMA in NYC.  Though I see it is moving to Chicago at some point.  If I can't manage the one, maybe the other?  I dunno.  In the best of all possible worlds I'd see it with Mark Young.


Reading, among other things, Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon.


We have a pretty shady back yard.  It makes it hard to grow some things.  Many years ago we planted a variety of sunflower with very small blossoms.  It keeps reseeding.  Mostly we get stalks and no blossoms.  This year we got stalks about 8 feet high and--just this week--blossoms!  I was moved by those little ones bursting out all over.  In October!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thursday I had a hour and a half of one on one guitar instruction.  It was exhausting but revelatory.  My left hand and arm came away sore and perhaps changed.  Plus I might hate my pinky finger.

The take away for me was a better understanding of the importance of scales, but also that I need to put aside my tendency toward perfectionism and just roll on.

My teacher is kind but relentless.  I like that.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

are I
and me synonyms?

per J.
B. R., symptoms?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stray Notes

This AM read these words on the sign in front of a local church:

"We pray for
the enemies
of peace."

I understand the sanctimonious intentions behind those words.  I find them chilling nonetheless and evocative of Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil."  Not to mention Marcuse's "repressive tolerance."


I've been in something of a depressive sinkhole lately--all of my projects are stalled in some way.  I've been spinning wheels. Hence recent desultory posts.


Decided that trying to teach myself to play guitar has been an interesting failure.  As I've mentioned before, I have an idiot for a teacher and a moron for a student.  So I signed up for lessons through a community education program at the high school.  I went to my first lesson--it's a group situation--last night.  Everyone else has years of experience.  I felt overwhelmed, but I'm stubborn.  We'll see how the next lesson goes on Thursday.  Yikes.


I like this passage from Timothy Morton's Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities Press, 2013):

"The aesthetic form of an object is where the causal properties of the object reside.  Theories of physical causation frequently want to police aesthetic phenomena, reducing causality to the clunking or clicking of solid things.  It is not the case that a shadow is only an aesthetic entity, a flimsy ghost without effects.  Plato saw shadows as dangerous precisely because they do have a causal influence.  When my shadow intersects with the light sensitive diode, the nightlight switches on.  As stated above, when a quantum is measured, it means that another quantum has intersected with it, altering it, changing its position or momentum.  Aesthetics, perception, causality are all almost synonyms."