To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

John Bloomberg-Rissman: from "In the House of the Hangman" 573-576

What can I say? Borneol isn’t betwixt cirrhiferousquadranss. Which proves one more zero cestuss. The more four indagationscheverliïze, the more they electrify a lintie’s two weesels. They mind. An clack. They didn’t batful. Did the world squat down? Do they speak in clicks & soft exploding accents? Do they sound, at large gatherings, like a popcorn machine? Do they communicate with their strangely powerful shoulders? Do they articulate panic by squeezing air through their tear ducts? Does this cleanse the machine language? The manuscript I saw was for “At the Mountains of Madness.” The pages are long, and I would guess they were from something like a legal pad, except that several pages seem to be upside-down church stationery from Milwaukee. And an Rx pad upon which is printed the word “bronchitis.” But (at least according to Blake himself) the Universe is not a horrifying mechanism. So, sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I drag my sleeping bag into the meadow’s precise center & crawl inside, head first. Fräulein, there is the stars’ ceaseless drilling. I close my eyes. Somewhere below me a star-nosed mole cuts its webbed hand on a shard of glass. Thinking this ancient swimming pool a safe harbor, we berth our diaphanous spaceships within its partitioned terminal. Our stay will be brief, but the vaseline landscape might just convince us to say Here’s our Utopia. This post could also be called “When Elephants Lose Their Teeth, They Die” or a few other gems that I heard from while listening to Ish Klein and Greg Purcell’s No Slander podcast. And then I stumble into this: (Thanks to Chris Martin’s book’s (becoming weather) epigraph: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Nietzsche: THAT THE WORLD IS NOT STRIVING TOWARD A STABLE CONDITION IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS BEEN PROVED. CONSEQUENTLY ONE MUST CONCEIVE ITS CLIMACTIC CONDITION IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT IS NOT A CONDITION OF EQUILIBRIUM—————– ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Famished I think, famished for what? [It's rare to watch a film that produces a portrait so faithful of how it is to watch it.] It is oddly beautiful at moments. A massive honeycomb grid, a Bucky Ball writ cosmic, almost touching the earth before collapsing in on itself with a soft implosion of creeping fire and rust and. But the rest of the time, it feigns beauty by simply making the eyes suffer. But not the cognitive faculties: it leaves them dull and barely frayed. For to wound those would be sublime, which this is not. There is no point in an ideology critique in the face of such a film, because it doesn't have an ideology.  It has a howling wind, dreamt up in the belly of a CGI rendering program, that lifts and carries things, that makes other things pass in front of or behind them. [The absence of desire is aided and abetted by the absence of any real absence, other than things like modulated dialogue. Not a thing lacks. And where it might, fluttering papers, glints from a missing sun.] I ate some pig ear from Hunan Taste, it was pretty great, screw your Yeungling, everyone is moving to Spain, Indie Lit Summit in DC, keynote speech by Andy Hunter of Electronic Literature, this is making me feel great about Baltimore, thinking about POD for Narrow House as long as the matte covers look/feel good, Jamie bought me coffee (*wink), veggie chili coming out of your mustache. Three existing industrial robots have been augmented with ’sweat glands’. I put lemon in my eyes?? What did I know of worms and skincare? As far as the ruling class is concerned, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fatally undermine social programs, particularly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which the financial elite regards as an intolerable burden. Turning to humans however – with the exception of the elderly or the constipated or those sad lost souls upon whom muesli merchants prey vampire fashion – the food industry has not explicitly dedicated itself to maximising either taste or nutritional value but parameters relating to the faecal product. It’s as if my head were an old band-aid can full of dried grasshoppers then shaken or like there are these alligators made of cardboard who chomp their jaws repeatedly in a way that’s percussive, sort of electric, shuddery; it’s a little like the scratching a dj does a whispery sound like shook shookshook, nor the most distant memory that hammers around the cage and makes the goldfinch tell its troubles so wet and drenched on the moss of the piece of the old cobalt blue rag spoils the tale and drinks a shot of light to everyone’s everyone. No wonder Schopenhauer became a Buddhist. Today’s session features Hegel, dialectics, art, objects, La Monte Young and a stepdown transformer.Chapter 19. o meager times, so fat in everything imaginable! imagine the New World that rises to our windows from the sea on Mondays and on Saturdays — and on every other day of the week also. Imagine it in all its prismatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls —our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosening on the air great novels of adventure! Imagine the monster project of the moment: Tomorrow we the people of the United States are going to … to kill every man, woman, and child in the area west of the Carpathian Mountains (also east [and south]) sparing none. Imagine the sensation it will cause. First we shall kill them and then they, us. But we are careful to spare the … the Russians. For the Russians we shall build a bridge from edge to edge of the Atlantic — having at first been at pains to slaughter all Canadians and Mexicans on this side. Then, oh then, the great feature will take place. Never mind; the great event may not exist, so there is no need to speak further of it. Kill! kill! … friends or enemies, it makes no difference, kill them all. The bridge is to be blown up when all Russia is upon it. And Why? Because we love them—all. That is the secret: a new sort of murder. We shall make leberwurst of them. Bratwurst. But why, since we are ourselves doomed to suffer the same annihilation? If I could say what is on my mind in Sanscrit or even Latin I would do so. But I cannot. I speak for the integrity of the soul and the greatness of life’s inanity; the formality of its boredom, the orthodoxy of its stupidity. Kill! kill! let there be fresh meat. I want to tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about my vagus nerve lately. I consider it the source of my male hysteria (I don’t have to tell a classicist that vagus does root in wandering/straying, so that it does (more or less) parallel the wandering womb of hysteria). My hysteria consists in acid reflux, atrial fibrillation, panic attacks (all of which I’m medicated for, only the afib is still a real problem) ... all of which seem to be associated with the damned vagus. So you can imagine how charmed I was to come upon the vagus in “The Dream of the Queen of the Persians”, and its inclusion in the“operative retention centers” ... I think one of the best lines I've read lately anywhere is your “I had seen the great tragedies and had naturally puked with pity and fear” from the same poem. At least it sure as hell hits *me*, and I assume that while I haven’t seen *all* the great tragedies, the ones in my lifetime certainly count as great (perhaps the human component of global warming will come to count as the greatest tragedy in human history ... it'll make Oedipus fucking his mom etc seem like nothing). So the bardo of this life is like coexisting with seven billion people, all having slightly different nightmares. We affect one another across these nightmares. These nightmares are happening in a shared space. Limitless limited bodies. Statues made of noise. * Buffering….buffering… l invented that sand. They say it’s coming true, can it? When no one is there a tree falls on the small one. One plus one tree equals history, to some extent, as does “a chattering bird skull extended on a metal rotating pole,” “rabbit skulls on the end of two servos that twist and turn and then unexpectedly bash together, as if they were fighting in the afterlife,” a “metallic ant sitting in an outdoor walkway, head twisting and listening for its next prey,” all of this amidst “some of the most beautiful backgrounds you can imagine,” with the monastery perched on a cliffside over a nearby river.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Some recent sections of In the House of the Hangman, the 3rd  panel of an “altarpiece to our beauty and insanity”, an ongoing project called Zeitgeist Spam (the first two panels are titled No Sounds Of My Own Making and Flux Clot & Froth). While each panel has its own set of compositional constraints, they all involve appropriating/ sampling/ collaging/ assembling/ mangling other texts. For me, this assemblage-work is the opposite of a tight corner. It ties me to, opens up for me, opens me up to, the human universe.They allow me to write beyond myself. Which is great. The big word I mean the big world ah I mean both don’t I come in. But this is not purely conceptual or purely lyric work. As Karla Kelsey very perceptively wrote about the first “panel”:

"This is not a text built on the foundations of either subjectivity OR alterity. This is a text of AND. … Like many texts that hinge on the strength of “and” No Sounds of My Own Making eschews categorization. The work does not belong in a category of “pure” conceptual writing: Bloomberg-Rissman breaks his own rules too often to make a conceptual statement, and the text feels too much to be a member of what Craig Dworkin defines, in his introduction to the ubuweb Anthology of Conceptual Writing, as a pursuit of “meticulous procedure and exhaustively logical process.” However, given that most of the subjective statements in No Sounds are gleaned from other authors via algorithm, the poem cannot read as a purely subjective baring of the soul in the tradition of Wordsworth’s ‘spontaneous overflow’. …"
(Karla Kelsey, “An Introduction to ‘No Sounds’”, at 2).

One important aspect of the project, at least as far as I’m concerned,  is to ALWAYS note my sources. Here are the sources for the text above:

573. What can I say?: JBR; Borneol … batful: Leon’s Random Essay Generator; Did the world squat down? … national language?: Christian Hawkey, “Birth of a Nation”, at Poetry International Web, via 19, 2011 wood s lot, 19 Jul 011; The manuscript I saw … church stationery from Milwaukee: Graham Harman, “the manuscripts”, at Object-Oriented Philosophy, 19 Jul 011; And an Rx pad … “bronchitis”: JBR; But (at least … horrifying mechanism: Timothy Morton, “Spot the Player: Hegel on Ideas and the Attitudes They Code for”, at Ecology without Nature, 19 Jul 011; Sometimes, when I can’t sleep … shard of glass: Christian Hawkey, “from The Book of Funnels”, at Poetry Foundation; Thinking this ancient …Here’s our Utopia: Alexander Trevi, “Double Positive”, at Pruned, 19 Jul 011; This post could also be called … No Slander podcast: Natalie Lyalin, “Every Small Thing Is A Reflection of the Whole”, at Apples on Fire, 13 Apr 011; And then I stumble … famished for what?: Dara Weir, “Inside Undivided 5”, at Flying Object; [It's rare to watch a film … from a missing sun]:  Evan Calder Williams, “Other Than All That”, at Socialism and/or Barbarism, 19 Jul 011 (a review of Transformers 3]; I ate some pig ear … coming out of your mustache: Justin Sirois, “Weekend Report”, at Secondary Sound, 19 Jul 011; Three existing industrial robots … ’sweat glands’: Jacob Sloan, “What Should robots Smell Like?”, at Disinformation, 19 Jul 011; I put lemon in my eyes?? and What did I know … and skincare?: Nada Gordon, “Typing Out Loud”, at Ululations, 19 Jul 011; As far as the ruling class … intolerable burden: “The class politics of the US debt ceiling crisis”, at I cite, 19 Jul 011; Turning to humans … anal tampons): windwheel, “Rational Choice hermeneutics and Reverse Mereology”, at Poetry as Socio-proctology, 19 July 011; It’s as if my head … shook shookshook: Nada Gordon, “shook shookshook”, at Ululations, 19 Jul 011; nor the most distant memory … to everyone’s everyone: Pablo Picasso, as quoted in David Detrich, “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”, at Innovative Fiction, 19 Jul 011 (a review of  Picasso’s The Burial of the Count of Orgaz& other poems (eds. &trs. Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris)); No wonder Schopenhauer became a Buddhist: Timothy Morton, “‘Impersonal and individual’”, at Ecology without Nature, 18 Jul 011; Today’s lesson features Hegel … stepdown transformer: Timothy Morton, “Early Literary Theory Class 12”, at Ecology without Nature, 19 Jul 011. 574. Chapter 19 … fresh meat: William Carlos Williams, Spring and All, at Donald Wellman page at Daniel Webster College. 575. I want to tell you … fucking his mom etc seem like nothing): JBR, email to Brandon Brown, send 20 Jul 011, approx. 2;22 PM PST; So the bardo … shared space: Timothy Morton, “A Thousand Colliding Worlds: The Bardo of OOO”, at Ecology without Nature, 20 Jul 011. 576. Limitless limited bodies … buffering…: Tom Beckett, “Overpainted Thresholds”, at’amourfou, 20 Jul 011; l invented that sand … One plus one tree equals history: Rick Wiggins, “JoyDispleasureAdvertiser”, at, 20 Jul 011; to some extent, as does: JBR; “a chattering bird … over a nearby river: Geoff Manaugh, “The House of Mechanical Animals”, at BLDG/BLOG, 20 Jul 011 (concerning the film Convento,  which “documents work by ChristiaanZwanikken, an artist who preserves and literally reanimates dead animals using recycled motor parts and pumps rescued from scrapyards. He then "breeds these new species in a 400-year old monastery in Portugal," which his family has been restoring for the past 25 years.”)]

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