Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I think I half agree

I think I half agree with Kari Edwards over at transdada that marriage is one of those "gross acts of non-questioning of an already bankrupt system....nothing more than a display of an over the top desire... to practice the rituals of the power elite," and that we should "stop buying into the system..."

Marriage is not, frankly, something that I have fantasized all my life about -- but rather something I shrank from (even as a child! * I remember one x-mas getting a madame alexander bride doll and promptly cutting off all her hair and changing her clothes so that she would be a little more multipurpose) with no small repugnance and looked down on from the catbird seat of my superior intellect and staunch bohemianism.

THAT BEING SAID, I am having a really amazingly entertaining time planning the celebration, to include *roses* and *bellydancers* and *epithalamions,* only a few of the myriad delights I am now brewing, and I think it's an experience no one [NO ONE -- are you reading this, ASSCROFT?] should be denied, should they for any reason want it.


*One of my favorite jokes as a child went thusly:

Love is blind.

Marriage is an institution.

Therefore, a happy marriage is an institution for the blind.

(badaboom)

Monday, February 23, 2004

Bushed


Computer issues dealt with, at least for the time being, while the debate rages internally about whether to get the pink minipod or the 20 gigabyte model. Thanks to all those who made generous offers to helpl

Last night an interesting reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, organized by C.A. Conrad, in support of the global women's strike. Heard poetry from such notables as Rodrigo Toscano, Carol Mirakove, Hassan (whose name I've also seen spelled Hassen -- which is right???), Alicia Askenase, Frank Sherlock.

Alicia read a kind of satirical news article piece composed of Bushisms -- it was hilarious and I loved it (as I also loved her staged crotch-grab) but as I mentioned to her afterwards, she was exploiting those Bushisms for their poetic effect, while also looking at them condescendingly from the point of view of a kind of grammar maven, which is an inherently conservative position! That is to say, we laugh at him (or fear and despise him) for "mangling the language" at the very same moment that we do so with aesthetic intent. Alicia commented correctly that my perspective is very much that of an ESL teacher.

Frank read a piece that listed names of reality TV shows interspersed with the repeated word, "news." I just read an article in the new Harper's that delves into the connection between reality TV and the Republican world view -- a kind of uncanny elaboration of Frank's poem.

Carol read a piece that collaged in the letters of U.S children writing to children in Afghanistan on the eve of the most recent war there with memoirs of her grandmother's cultural assimilation to the US. The detail that sticks with me: her Italian grandmother changed her name to -- what was it? -- Jane Smith -- and shaved her eyebrows-- in order to get a job at (I think it was) IBM. Wow! I wondered if eyebrow shaving was a job requirement.

Hassan read a piece that rewrote the beginning of the Book of John -- it was extraordinary and somewhat self-contradictory -- an examination of the chaos inherent in the world and problematic attempts to stifle that chaos by means of compulsive systematization (esteemed critics, take note!). Also an odd piece about smelly red socks and the fuhrer.

Rodrigo read a kind of meditation on strikes and also a poem that ruminated on "swivelization" -- it posited reality and the future as both gyrating and gelatinous. I was impressed by his extension and elaboration of a very strange metaphor, which I commented to him was Donne-like (and as always by his compulsive punning).

It was a very wonderful lineup of skilled, witty, profound, compassionate writers -- good work, Conrad. I remain wary, as you all may know, of explicit or heavy-handed political or social content in poems. Too often have I seen the didactic function tip over the aesthetic --

(and I would disagree with a recent post of Charles Bernstein's lauding Richard Foreman's latest play (("King Rufus Rules the Universe")) for being able to address the burning issues of our time. I thought the play was wonderful, but not even comparable to "Panic," the play that just preceded this one. I thought "Panic" was perhaps the best play I had ever seen --though perhaps the fact that it was my first-ever Foreman play colored my perceptions somewhat. "King Rufus" was skillfully produced and acted, entertaining, mordant, and relevant, but to me it was weakened by that very "relevance." Gary agreed. "Panic", by contrast, took me to another world. Watching it, I remember thinking that I wanted to take Richard Foreman as my guru, become a playwright or director or performer, and forsake all else.)

-- I know that many of you will disagree with me. It's a tired old argument anyway, and I don't think I want to go there. But my point is that these poets were adept enough to address and include the Topical and at the same time keep me with them prosodically and conceptually. And I'm grateful for that. But I also wish (we would make) the new world order (would) come soon so that we need not use the tiresome name "Bush" so much in our poetry.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Dear, kind souls...

Would anyone with DSL or cable be willing to do me a leetle favor???

I need the Mac OS system upgrades to 9.2.1 and 9.2.2 so that I can install the System X that I got so that I can get an IPod so that I can have groovy DIY wedding music. I tried to download the upgrades myself but it was a pathetic attempt on my dialup.

Willing to trade all sorts of things for this.
Took my students to the Met yesterday and sent them off to do a reading task. Tired, wandered into a small room of mainly medieval things with a mauve sofa where I sat to rest. This image of Mary caught my eye:



I noticed in it what I had noticed before for the first time in the French apse at the cloisters -- perhaps this is so obvious that it goes without saying? Mary is ensconced in a vulva. The little head just above hers (not so evident in this cellphone pic) is clearly a clitoris. I don't think I'm just rorscharching here -- the one in the apse was even more clearly anatomical -- in it Mary seemed to be surrounded by petal-like labia.

I don't know enough about the art of that period to say whether this imagery was subversive or not, whether it was a (possibly unconscious) covert survival manifestation of older matriarchal beliefs, or whether it was a consciously codified, even typical, way to represent the virgin.

I'll look into this...

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Mood of what I can only describe as frenetic vulnerability starting to ease off slightly. Reading last night at Bluestockings, where I had always wanted to read! Thanks, Erica and Rachel, a thousand times.

I read first, off to a jerky start I felt, reading odd short poems and some of the brilliant poems of Talent Hizashi Yamasaki, then a bit of singing, then Whitman, then gender poems, then spam poems, then a little bit more singing as a finale. My edginess of the week translated into an extreme sensitivity to the audience -- a couple of people were looking at some quirky paintings above my head and I turned around wondering if there was something alive, maybe a flying insect, buzzing in back of me -- so jumpy, and I made a comment about it. I warmed up as I went on, I guess, and the audience seemed to come along with me. My edginess -- not so much caring what people think of me, as both Drew and Abby commented later, although there is that, to some degree -- feels chemical -- that stressy nutty feeling of fingernails running down your psyche. I need meds, I suppose, or at least some kind of sunny green field to lie down and stretch out in.

Catherine Daly, blondely feline in a black suit, read next, and was as calm and self-possessed as I was not. She writes lush "absconded love poems," taken from such sources as the "juicy parts of the Greek anthology," some Roman poets, and Venus in Furs(!!). She had us read along on the page of her brand-new Belladonna chapbook, Surplice. She stacks sort-of-synonymous words up vertically -- I assume that she is working with the tendency of the eye (in tandem with the brain) to take in words in "meaning-clusters"-- but when she read aloud we were able to follow her interpretive linear-in-time reading sequences.

Caroline Bergvall (in matching rust-colored jacket and weskit), who looks a little like a cross between Jean Sebourg and James Dean, read last, three very different pieces, one full of mumbles and stutters, hiccups and word-frags -- totally musical (as well as macaronic -- sections of it were in French), moving from theme to theme: "face" and "animals" being the two I remember. It reminded me of hearing old vinyl records, scratchy and looped -- I almost thought at moments I could hear a needle being picked up and put down again. Second piece a Pongeian meditation on "figs" -- written as part of an installation. Her third piece (which is included in her new Belladonna chapbook, GONG)was a sort of a listlike, stichomythic poem almost all of whose lines included a person, most of whom had a name, performing some kind of action. Some random examples of lines:

Alicia wants to pull me up into her bed.
...
Cherry wears a tartan at the opening.
...
Judith Butler and the spectacles of hate speech.
...
The girl laughing ejaculates in my hand.
...
My niece's feet are soft and clear.

This poem was so beautiful, with its intertwining of people from the poets' personal and intellectual lives (which created a kind of formal equivalence) and its inclusion of moments importantly juicy ("The boy on the carpet with the smooth chest and his cock in the evening air.") and juicily important ("The first global march, 15 Feb. 2003.").

Afterwards, a good time was had by many across the street at a bar/restaurant called "Dish." I remember eating a particularly extraordinary fried prawn.

888888888

Thursday, February 05, 2004

I like the idea of shooting botox into the problematic muscles so that even if they wanted to spasm, they couldn't. Unfortunately that procedure is still in the experimental stages.
That banner ad was for a massage therapists' site.

It occurred to me that it wouldn't be so bad to have chronic pain if I could afford a shrink and a massage therapist.

I'm sorry, people. I'm a little down about all this.
I like my banner ad today:

Sex money power love www. ethicsofcaring.com.

Life is All About Being Repeatedly Blindsided

I never received my workers comp check, so my lawyer made some enquiries.

It turns out that the insurance carrier appealed the case, though neither I nor my lawyer was ever informed. We were supposed to have been informed within 30 days of the original decision.

I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know if we can appeal the appeal.

In any case, even if I should win the appeal, it would mean getting compensated many many months from now. And plenty of stress in between.

It's... not... fair...

More Extraordinary Spam


tenor near is raspy.
sandwich around meditates, and beyond support group
hides; however, light bulb from share
a shower with..Jordan and I took tuba
player living with (with stalactite related to,
beyond fairy.Now and then, for girl befriend looking glass of looking glass.shadow living with hockey player flies
into a rage, or apartment building beyond girl bur
umbrella related to turn signal.

chess board boogie carpet tack of.

Monday, February 02, 2004

It was the "stunning amorality" that did it. In fact, I don't think I'm all that stunningly amoral -- I just liked the phrase.

Oddly, when I did a similar quizilla quiz last week -- "Which major philosopher are you?"-- I turned out to be Sartre. Sartre? Not Nietzsche? I'm as ethical as all that? Whatever...

It should come as no huge surprise that if I were a Romantic poet, I'd be:


George Gordon, Lord Byron
You are George Gordon, Lord Byron! The
prototypical bad boy, you'll sleep with
anything that can give consent and maybe even a
few things that can't or won't. Your ethics
could use some work (nine year old girls?), but
outside of the sex question, you're a grand
partier and the bipolar, shady hero of your own
story. The wittiest of the Romantics, you're
mad, bad and dangerous to know. Scandalous!


Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?
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