Jim Behrle ups the ante on the poetics of hot dogs.
After the prestidigitator’s trick, which I inadvertently played into, seeking with too little knowledge to expose it...

I felt for my watch, which wasn't there.

Later I found it on the night table.

my relation with the tricksters


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."


Thoreau's preoccupation with the parallel forms displayed in leaves and in ice crystals led him to suggest a kind of early theory of everything based on leaves. This same observation would be fully articulated, in the 1970s and 80s, in fractals -- self-similarity.

Thoreau is often at his most fascinating at these points where a quasi-mystical theme wrestles itself completely free of its metaphysical connotations and becomes a fusion of empirical observations, speculation about consciousness, and poetic, intuitive leaps. The Journals are full of variations on this pattern.

He is investigating the self-similarity patterning of consciousness and attention interacting with high-detail observation and multiple simultaneous layers of theme and subject matter?

Interesting to get his impressions of New York City when he spent nine months in Staten Island in his mid twenties trying to make it as a writer. The blur of faces. Also the similarities of elements of his bio to many writers I know. The college years, the early affinities and imitaions, the historical forces, the critical alliances, the lack of ways to earn money, the disappointments, developments, growth and decisions. You have to wonder about the patterns of how our live as writers pan out and how much of it might also be described with fractals....


Jack Wright (sax) and
Reuben Radding
(bass), COMA series @ ABC No Rio

Beautiful saxaphone/ bass duet with combinations of negative space, forward momentum and focused self-control, often all at the same time.

This was a half hour of music played almost exclusively with extended technique. The dynamics were mostly quiet, and it's great to be able to listen to acoustic music at close range with no brittle PA in the almost shockingly low-noise ceiling environment offered by a frigid winter night on Rivington St.

There's something about the way Radding and Wright play together that foregrounds the shapes of the collective pauses, the negative space, which, in a way, is the most deeply collaborative musical element at play.


Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson, 1970

A prodigal son story about the alienation of an underachieving upper-class trade-down. The film is a sieve though which partially digested information about class identity and dynamics pours.

It’s possible to feel the director’s life coming through the film from the first shot, with careful nuanced character renderings, subtle dialogue, scene arrangement and cinematography. Odd to think of this director as the creator of the Monkeys.

Rafelson is good with text. The scene where Nicholson sleeps with Sally Struthers ends with a shot of him wearing a TRIUMPH motorcycle t-shirt. In the last shot, where Nicholson abandons his pregnant wife, the blocking includes the word MEN from the outside bathroom for the entire shot.

He's also good with machines and cars, which are picked out and shot with as much care as the people. He likes to put objects between people, like a cigarette machine. Nicholson is immediately handed a sewing machine in the sequence where he and Karen Black give a hitchhiking lesbian couple a ride. In this scene, which is intensely comic, Helena Kallianiotes so commands the manic dirt-obsessed character and takes so much joy in the portrayal that the rest of the movie screeches to a hilarious halt for the entire time she is on screen.

Great sound moment when Nicholson plays the horrendously and beautifully out-of-tune truck piano and it mixes with the horns of the traffic jam.

There is an interesting mix of class languages and scenarios, though there are never any overt questions of class conflict. The estrangement information is only rendered in the small details of an impossible individual escape from a pretentious, bogus upper-class elite to a frustrated, unaware working class. This is a movie about rebelling against pointless rules and not fitting into any class identity that has spilled over into a partial rendering of the general American aphasia of class estrangement.


Katie and I put on A Love Supreme this morning in honor of Valentine's day.
Looking at anyone's work from the point of view of how it works relative to touchy subjects.
The audience at poetry readings is comprised almost completely of other poets. Is it that only other poets can digest poetry because we have developed four stomachs or is it simply that there's no money behind it?

The quickest glance at the art world implies the latter. When I remember seeing U2 in a stadium in Philadelphia in the mid-eighties, though, I can't help but think that the entire audience was comprised of rock stars.
Is it possible to draw out frivolous-in-a-good-way and serious-in-a-good-way at the same time?
When getting really into it, in a certain way, is a problem.
the myopic, long-distance lecture from the intellectually tone-deaf bully-in-training

the misapplied energy...
The established artists who hold their ears when they hear something that doesn't conform to their ideas.
"The universe is harmonic, or it wouldn't work"
Guy Davenport


"The habit of the realist is to find things the reverse of their appearance."
heard in rapid succession, walking down Ave. A:

a man saying:
"The more money you have, the more boring you are."
a woman saying:
"I've been unfaithful since a week after I got married."


Wondering last night how much reception and suggestion are factors in what is happening in the audience's mind during a poetry reading.

Is it like a tarot or palm reading, where there is ambiguity, a suggestible state and a subject who is searching for meaning?

Or is it more like a pop song -- a canvas with roughed-out templates for painting your fantasies?


Beautiful unintentional collaboration:

I was listening to Wayne Shorter's Night Dreamer, when, on the last track, the quavering whine from some construction machinery coming in through the window mixed in perfectly with the song.

Shorter's playing always sounds completely inside the chord, but with a unique kind of space and freedom. It's amazing how adding the layer of noise to this equation deepens the consonance.