Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I had a pair of brown velvet high-waisted pants, but they were vintage and they've ripped and are unwearable. I have some deep navy high-waisted sailor pants (you know, with the buttons in front), but they are made of wool, and really not practical for California.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I bought a TV guide this week because I didn't try to buy a paper until late on Sunday and of course all the papers were gone because everyone bought one for the Oscars coverage and predictions etc. It felt weird to buy a TV guide.
Also, today I actually enjoyed driving to and from work. It was raining. In other parts of the county it was snowing. None of my students had heard of Sinatra's "Lady is a Tramp," but they did appreciate my explanation of the line "hate California, it's cold and it's damp." But I had to explain the word "tramp" and also the positive connotation of "lady" first.
Monday, February 26, 2007
But my beautiful crocodile.
My crocodile out of heart,
Where does your pride go?
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Also, letterpresses and letterpressed things. And not just the inserts to my CD, either.
Platforms. They give hight, but it is still possible to walk in them. They are not so good for driving, however.
I'm certain Lester is now saying "You be good," which is what I say to him as I head out the door.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Any kind of rhythmic tapping sound upsets me. My brother drove me to tears once by tapping on the car window while we waited in the bank parking lot for our mother. I suppose I was older than six but younger than eleven.
This is cheesy, but during savasana after a restorative yoga class this evening, I had a memory of leaving New Zealand shortly after my parents divorced. I remembered green. The carpet in the Auckland airport is green, and the landscape of New Zealand is green. The view out the windows of the Auckland airport, even, is lush. Tropical even though the trees are mostly deciduous. So, green, and a vaguely cliche phrase my father said which I've often repeated but only just realized was something he said then at that particular moment: "I hate goodbyes." I haven't thought of this in ages, maybe ever, so I'm writing it publicly so I can't say I never thought it.
No wonder I am obsessed with airports. I have no idea why rhythmic tapping upsets me--now, it reminds me that time is passing, but when I was somewhere between six and eleven, why did it upset me so much?
Friday, February 23, 2007
Ye haw #1: The letter pressed inserts for my chapdisk, Moving Walkways, from narrow house recordings are finished, which means the CD is finished, which means you can get a copy!
Ye haw #2: Mark and I are reading in the Spare Room series in Portland on March 25. This is kind of a ways away, but I am still happy about it!
Ye haw#3: Smoked salmon is good!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
But I haven't read The Devil Wears Prada or the Bridgette Jones Diaries. I don't drink cosmopolitans, though I'm sure I would like them well enough, and I never watched Sex and the City. One day, I met my friend for coffee, and she said she was worried about moving because she needed her Sex in the City lifestyle.
I tried to read romance novels for a while but couldn't. My friends are perhaps bored of me saying this, but even the story about the romance between the vampire and the Buddhist monk ended in marriage.
Chick lit is different from romance, though. The heroines of romance novels are usually virgins until they meet their future husband. Or, at the very least, the hero has to be the genesis of some kind of standard sexual awakening for the heroine. The romance novel heroine can be a princess or a peasant, but her hero is generally a man of power. Chick-lit heroines are urban, in their 20s and 30s, wealthy or on their way to being wealthy, hyper-conscious of their image, and sexually promiscuous even as they long for stability and a fairly generic sort of man to save the day.
I'm not anti-genre fiction, you all know that I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. Traditionally, these genres have tended to simply leave women out: The Lord of the Rings isn't a story about girls or women, duh. But thanks to writers like Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, and Marion Zimmer Bradley and endless more, I can read stories about women who travel to far away places and save the word. And yes, usually there is romance, but the heroine and hero get to save the world together.
So, no Sex in the City or cosmopolitans for me. And no chick-lit. Basically, no stories about women learning to become happy heterosexual capitalists (although I make semi-exceptions for Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice). Oh, the endless self-obsessing. Does he like me? Doesn't he like me? Which man (among the endless options of boring men) should I sleep with? Which boring rich man (who is also sensitive and artistic) should I eventually marry and have babies with after I fuck a lot of these other boring men? Ugh!
I never read coming of age books either. I started to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Heidi, Little Women Under the Lilacs, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, etc but found them boring, yes, even Little Women, G-d forgive me. These books are all much better though, than romance novels and chick lit. I like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice better than all these books, but not nearly as much as Wuthering Heights or House of Mirth.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
How could I have missed this news?
Somehow, Flora, a Komodo dragon at Chester Zoo in northern England became pregnant. She's never even been "exposed" to a male komodo dragon.
"While it wasn't unusual for female dragons to lay eggs without mating, scientists understood they were witnessing something important when they realized Flora's eggs had been fertilized.
"DNA paternity tests confirmed the lack of male input, although the brood are not exact clones of their mother."Thanks to Susan Smith Nash for pointing it out.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Also, I bashed my knee this morning. It is fine now, but I hobbled through teaching. It wasn't as bad as the time I burned my hand and went to teach with it in a bag of frozen tater tots, however.
Lester is a young male bird in springtime with no girl bird to love. He's been a bit overwrought, and last night he sang rather loudly to his rainbow colored chew toy. I wonder if Arnold, the parrotlete Ryan lives with, ever gets this way. It's supposed to be quite common for parrotletes and amazons.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Actually, today it is quite warm. And tomorrow it will be 75.
One of my students wanted to talk about Man Ray yesterday. We were talking about Ford Economics and the 1920s, and he said, "But what about art and culture in the US then? What about Dada and Surrealism?" Bless you, my ESL students!
As Mark and I were driving to the restaurant for a post-reading dinner, we saw short man in a green hooded sweatshirt with bunnies all over it. Also, he was wearing a backwards baseball cap. He was crossing the road into the shopping center.
As I was riding home from teaching today, I rode through town and picked up some millet for Lester. While waiting for the light to change, a woman looked at me suspiciously. Or at least she squinted her eyes and shook her head a bit. Then, she said, "Shouldn't you be in school?" I looked at her and said, "I wish I were still in school." Then the light changed.
Today, as I was running, a guy stuck his head out of his silver pickup truck and yelled "Yeaaahhhh Bluuuueeeee!" I was wearing a blue shirt.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
As I've already mentioned, one of Mark's best qualities is the fact that he is not passive-aggressive. He does not get upset about something and then pretend to not be upset while he does nasty pesky things meant to be annoying. So, perhaps it's a strange quality to love in a person, but I really really appreciate the fact that Mark understands anger and hostility, because this means that he doesn't take his anger and hostility out on other people.
Mark is also a very good writer. I could not love a writer without loving their work. I like the fact that Mark is interested in both lyricism and social & political critique, but that these things don't occur in the work as either strident statements or abstract longings.
Mark is a good organizer. He's confident enough to get off his ass and do things--another quality I love. Like all of us, Mark does his share of complaining, but he doesn't whine. If Mark throws a party, it is a good party. He works well with others who are also willing to get off their ass. When he throws a party, he teams up with other people, and they throw a good party together. He starts reading series.
He talks to people he doesn't know at readings because he wants them to come back if they want to come back. He pays attention to social contexts outside of his immediate poetry and academic contexts.
This from Yepez' "Translation as Matricide (the Sequal!)" Originaly in Chain #10:
Translation should become the transformation of one first language into (at least) two other languages.Or this from "On Character"
Translation as the practice where the permanent presence of the first language takes place in the context of a second language.
“autobiography”. we should read this term the other way around, and say something like this: writing is always autobiographical. never writing on me. but: graphos (text) constructing bios (life) that appears as auto (on-itself). autobiography: language writing on itself and thus becoming “alive”.and also this:
a character is not getting away from us, nor going (more) inside. none of us can be written. in order for “us” to be written (down) (=subjected) (controlled), in order for any of “us” to become text / even just one /, (we) need the presence of the others, their co-existence, due to the ghostly fact that there’s no single-one. no-one (none) can be written. always some of us left behind.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Also, he has a wide-ranging taste in music, and understands that while I like avant-garde jazz very much, I don't always want to listen to Sun Ra at the end of the day.
Mark does not make fun of me for spending an hour in the bathroom applying flash eyelashes which is about how long it takes me--I can never get the knack of those things!
He supported my decision to not look for a regular office job when I moved here, even though I was worried that I wouldn't be able to piece together an income from freelance work. Several times, when I interviewed for perfectly decent full-time jobs that I didn't want, he supported my decision not to take them.
Also, Mark encourages nap-taking in the middle of the day, especially when I've been up late but had to work early.
Instead of writing that essay I will blog about Flarf, because for me it's a useful current example of a poetry that often successfully combines/draws from a variety of experimental contexts and techniques and does so with awareness.
The idea of Flarf does seem to encourage fairly strong responses. Combining procedural techniques and an awareness of the relationship between structure and meaning with any content you and Google can find (and any other substitutions & changes you want) and then delivering it all in a poem packed with satire and a good dose of New York school wit and energy on the level of the line (and possibly a performance that emphasizes artifice) is clearly threatening.
I wonder if people come into contact with Flarf just aren't familiar with the histories of procedural work, Language poetry, and 1rst and 2nd generation New York School. Sometimes I feel like people get fussy about Flarf because it's something they heard about at a party in New York and think it has some kind of widespread popularity. I suppose Flarf is increasingly popular, and it's gotten critical attention, but let's keep things in perspective. It's not taking over the poetry world anymore than Language poetry has really taken over the academy. I'm kind of pessimistic. I don't think poetry really takes over anything, I tend to think it gets let in from time to time, and in between those moments it's usually squashed or (more likely now) ignored.
For those of us who are very familiar with the histories of procedural work, Language poetry, New York School, and most US and European avant-garde movements and lineages since 1800 onwards (ok, so maybe I'm still working on developing that level of familiarity)...well, a lack of familiarity obviously isn't a factor in our various reactions to Flarf. For me, I initially didn't think of Flarf as being something unique, although now I think it can be.
However, I'll pause to note an obvious point--just because you're (we're) writing work that might be considered avant-garde or experimental doesn't mean that you (we) necessarily understand the history and context of the kind of work you are making. We have to keep reading/ looking/ listening.
One of the first mature poems I wrote, (which is in my chapbook, Large Waves to Large Obstacles, forthcoming from Take Home Project etc etc) was a procedural translation of a Chinese character. I did this because I wanted to write a poem and I was studying Chinese, not because I knew anything about the history of procedural work, or translation, or Ezra Pound, or Orientalism. But all of these contexts of which I was more or less unaware still come to bear on the poem, whether I want them to or not.
I'm going to reminisce and say that one day Katie, Drew, Rod, Tom, possibly Ryan & Cathy and perhaps other people came over to our place to watch something. Sports. It wasn't the Superbowl. I think it was spring, so it was probably baseball. I can't remember why Katie and Drew were in DC. I remember nothing about the occasion, except that we watched some sports, talked about Flarf, and that Mark and I didn't have very much furniture. And then I got a chapbook from Casey in the mail--a poem written with Google search results from the phrase "And then I wrote." It was all very sweet and lyric as I remember it, actually. Sometime after that I heard him give a reading from Deer Head Nation and I thought that the poems were funny and scary.
Prior to Flarf being called Flarf and developing into itself (?!), several people were having fun playing around with search engines and automatic translations. One I remember is Juliana Spahr's We Are All . . ., a chapbook from 1999, a series of poems made by moving notes she'd made back and forth through a machine translator--English-French etc. This seems like a contradiction, but when I heard/read Deer Head Nation (I keep going back to that book because it was my first major experience reading and hearing Flarf), I didn't think anything technically new was happening--I thought "oh, process, Google, someone has made a book of poems using these things we've been playing with on the Internet. Interesting!" At the same time, the tone and content of the poems, I thought, was noticeably different from a kind if witty, politically aware irony of writers whose work I already enjoyed like Kevin Davies and Tim Davis. Maybe other people had a similar reaction?
Most of the procedural work I can think of, with the exception of Flarf, doesn't tend to be especially interested in satire, although it is sometimes funny. Actually, I should say that, with the exception of some contemporary procedural work, most procedural work (I can think of) isn't satirical. I don't think "MacLow" and then "Satire." I think the fact that Flarf is usually both procedural and satirical is probably worth noting.
Lester preens. I am going to take a nap soon. Also, I will brush my teeth.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Mark is so great because he is supportive--he's always telling me that I'm great. This would be boring and dull if he didn't mean it, but I he does. And by telling me I'm great I don't mean that he's always saying I'm intelligent and creative and beautiful and that he loves me, though he says all of those things. I mean that he says them and acts like he believes them, which he does.
It's good to be with someone that wants to be around me because we have shared interests, not because it's an obligation. So Mark and I talk about poetry, and animals, and food, and travel, and music, and exercise, and psychology, and other things with each other because we like these things and we like each other.
Now, as I said, I think I can define flarf fairly precisely:
1. It started in New York, more or less.
2. It is process oriented, and in a tradition of process-oriented work that includes Cage and MacLow.
2. The procedural mechanisms it uses are are different than the ones anyone could have used before, because Google and the internet have not always existed.
3. The source content is also, of course, very different.
4. It is satirical, often.
5. It also shares some concerns with Language Poetry (and procedural texts). There's an interest in how structures create discourses, how manipulation of structure can help change discourses, or at least make us aware of them.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Because this is Valentine's Day Week, for the next seven days I will speak unabashedly about Mark, how much I like him, and how fabulous and wonderful he is in general, because he is my valentine, and because, strangely and ironically, Valentine's Day is our anniversary.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I bought birthday presents for my sisters today. The toy section at Target confused me--I wanted to get them some travel card cames, but I had to navigate the aisles and aisles of pink plastic crap. In the end, I got them some clothes, some scrapbook/journals, and of course I'm sending along some books.
I also splurged on a pair of socks for myself. O sock splurge!
Friday, February 09, 2007
Alma is a large book.
Wall to wall carpet sucks. Carpets should be art. While in Oman I drank tea with two different keepers of carpet shops while they displayed many carpets for me to examine and judge. If I said anything like, "that is an interesting red color," they'd find more carpets with that color in it. For a while I even fantasized that it would be ok for me to spend $1500 on a carpet. And then I realized 1) it would be perfectly ok for me to spend this if I had it and 2) where would I put such a carpet? Answer: on the wall to wall carpet.
In spite of the carpet, I am very fond of where Mark and I live. There are many windows, the bedroom is cool and pleasant for sleeping, I have my own study where I can work and keep my books and action figures, the balcony is large, and the kitchen is not shut off from the dinning room.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Mark and I did split a very large and tasty red velvet cupcake on Sunday from Auntie Em's in Eagle Rock, where Joseph took us to breakfast before we headed home. Terri Wahl, the owner of Auntie Em's, used to front The Red Aunts. I have #1 Chicken and Ghettoblaster in my CD collection. Good cupcakes.
We're going to hear James Meetze and Amra Brooks at UCSD this afternoon. The last time I saw James was at that Vietnamese place in Chinatown in LA everyone goes to because it's so very convenient and where they often assume you want iced coffee even when you do not. People in San Diego see each other, but we don't bump into each other. I suppose I bump into people when I'm riding around town. And the bus drivers know me. I am happy with the pho there (the Vietnamese place in Chinatown), even though Joseph says there are better places, and I'm sure that's true.
Oooh, and I forgot to mention that we ate at Koko's in Van Nuys--the Middle Eastern Restaurant owned by Ara's uncle. It really was one of the best Middle Eastern meals I've ever had. One of the salad/dips we had was something with pomegranates, walnuts, and peppers. Maybe it was mahammar or mouhamara? I say mouhamara, because Ara said it probably contained pomegranate syrup and not whole pomegranates. And given the texture, I think he must be correct.
I must buy some pomegranate molasses!
But not until after the termite exterminators have come and gone.
Yes, next weekend, everyone will have to clear out of our apartment complex because they're going to spray nasty stuff all over everything. I have to bag up all our spices and everything in the fridge and freezer and any toiletries. It will suck. But at least we're going to stay with a friend nearby, and not a hotel.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Anne Gorrick's Loco Locust: An Autobiography, with it's eye/ear interplay ("tiki kiwi inca chant / Chain a niacin catkin / canna yawn / with tin hyacinth") reminds me a bit of Adeena Karasick's work. I remember The Arugula Fugues (Zasterle, 2001) being over the top with puns, consonance and alliteration and this all happening in more than one language. I'm just remembering how much I learn from Karasick's work every time I read it or see it performed--her work is intensely physical. This from an interview with Nada Gordon in readme #2 (Winter 2000):
"I’ve never used the sentence as a unit of structured text. mostly i am interested in the minutiae of the letters, how they intersect, how they brush up against and caress each other … these letters which t/ravel together, mysteriously united, one stretched towards the other, one emerging from the other’s side, one suckling the other; folding in on these letters i belong to that carry me and dance both within the pages of this text and as social, historical effects of reference."
In Loco Locust, Anne Gorrick seems to be particularly interested in geography and travel, and bodies don't show up quite as much as they do in Karasick's work, and when they do, they're detached voices and nearly unsexualized. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this, and I'm curious about how Gorrick would read/perform it.
Ryan Walker's Pop Music and Cathy Eisenhower's Sheet & Tube make me feel competitive (and make my heart well with DC pride)! Cathy's work always, for me, has a lightening fast pace that is both precise and casual and meant to be spoken. I think her line breaks are especially good here--they lean against my natural rhythmic tendencies. For example, in the second stanza, rhythmically I want a break between "stomach holes" and "took." Except that "took" goes perfect right where it is and keeps the diction tricky. Here are the first two stanzas:
some wean some
water the river
dirty (me) to keep(ing)
that it was there
not in a good town
to fall upon with
stomach holes took
down from skidding cardiac
will it hurt yes a fucking lot
but till you die
Ryan's poems kind of remind me of Henri Micheaux, but Ryan's poems are strange and psychologically insightful even when they're not being surreal. There's usually an I in them commenting on strange situations in a tone which makes it sound all rather ordinary. "I like it when people who are younger than me comment on my affect" starts with the claim that "I have really good eyes / I can see a wingless fly." By the end, there are "hot lava monsters / and the planets / turn into sea monsters" and the "you" who is you the reader, might be drawing "little mustaches / on the electrons" but it's not really going to matter!
Monday, February 05, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
I'm at least a half day behind on correspondence, which is behind but not as behind as usual.
I cannot find my digital camera!
I need to eat some lunch!
Mark and I and Joseph and Ara and maybe even other people too are going to Ara's uncle's (I think it's his uncle's) Armenian restaurant in the valley this evening. It is very exciting!
I mean all of this, exactly.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
On the bus today were a very clean cut man in his 40s, wearing new jeans and new white sneakers and a woman about the same age, rather large, wearing bright clashing floral prints. He said he is living in a rehab center in Escondido, she said she'd just graduated from a year long program at NAMI in Oceanside and was now living in Vista. "You just keep taking your meds," said the man, "and you'll be OK. God bless you."
Would-be high school thugs skipping class also ride the 302 bus during the day. A few days ago in the rain (did I blog about this already?) two kids were heading back to school after having been gone, both wearing black hooded sweatshirts. One white kid, one latin-American, both only 15 or 16. The white kid asked his friend, "So, has your mom been with anyone since your parents split up?" "I don't know, asshole! She's been on some dates, but I don't know if she's been with anyone."
Then they played some heavy metal music loudly and the bus driver yelled at them. The white kid got nervous and said, "yeah, listen to her, turn it down, man."
At the high school bus stop, their friends were getting on as they were getting off. They all greeted each other with various handshakes. A short, red haired white kid with freckles and a red bandanna said, "hey man, we're going to my house." "Why?" said the white kid on the bus. "Uh, cuz it's the place to go."
When someone does A and only A for a while and someone else does B and only B for a while, their children end up with A and B.