The Frequencies, Noah Eli Gordon, Tougher Disguises Press, 2003
I sometimes think of blogging as cross between writing a journal and hosting a radio show.
Noah Eli Gordon, in his first book The Frequencies, takes the writer-as-radio/DJ metaphor and rearranges it in dozens of combinations in a series of prose poems written from the perspective of a kind of DJ/poet/blogger. The poems veer between essay, dream-poem, and quasi-narritive.
Metaphors of broadcasting, sound and signal phenomenon are applied to many subjects, often personal relationships and questions of creativity.
"Is it charming to destroy silence? To glue the bits back together, to appreciate the possibility of selection, to talk with someone in line at the grocery store who gives the standard objection, says it's like a drop in the bucket, this wanting to be heard."
Many details associated with a radio are used to explore some subject matter -- for instance, a series of riffs on time are invoked with a clock radio.
“part suspect, part seduction”
Gordon does a lot with these elements -- light, fun, aiming to please and delivering. Wooing the reader.
Michael Friedman-like voicings crossed with Frank's Wild Years. Waits-esque vibe throughout:
“The station memos were full of roman numerals & everyone in the coliseum had their thumbs pointed down. The queen bee was drinking oil, thought the ticking in her ears was an engine.... Face it, we're all in love with landing gear.“
The few sections of repeated grammatical arrangement don't add much to the book, but there are very few of them.
He implies a lot more interesting material and thought than he develops, a kind of chord building made of implications and hints.
One sentence construction that he handles well is a run on sentence with an argument building tone that doesn't necessarily build an actual argument. This rhythm is combined with figure of speech and cliché mixing and juggling.
The most of this work has a funny, light touch, though Gordon will sometimes orbit closer to a more serious question:
“What we hear off the air is not the radio lying to us, but what we encode to come to terms with our own enclosure.”
There are moments where the identification reverses and the radio become a imitation of sound or a representation of the commercialization of sound, countered here by attending to live sounds coming through the window:
"The windows were open & I could hear people laughing from the roof. It was good. The bed was full. The radio was stiff & prim & explosively still."