President vows to ‘Change Evil Ways’
MANHATTAN, Kan.(AP) 1/23/06 11:12AM

At his morning press briefing, President Bush wowed and stunned the press corps with a powerful and soaring rendition of his promise to change his “evil ways”.

Recognizing his lack of popular support at home and abroad, Bush made an impassioned and densely polyrhythmic plea for the American public to take him back, despite his public "foolin' around", declaring he understood the public's desire to "find somebody who wont' always act like a clown".
After an uncharacteristically visibly excited Scott McClellan announced President Bush’s unscripted appearance on the Air Force One morning press conference, the press secretary retreated to the back of the stage, where he set up a quiet, unhurried, funky mouth-bassline over which the President intoned with a coiling, streetwise baritone:

I've got to change my evil ways, baby, before you stop lovin' me.
I've got to change, baby, and every word that I say is true.

Both McClellan and the President swung into a bouncy syncopated vibe for the bridge and chorus, declaring:

I got troops runnin' and hidin' all over town,
I got snoops sneakin' and a-peepin' and runnin' you down.
This can't go on, Lord knows I got to change, baby.

Returning to the opening rhythm, Bush continued over the flawless mouth bass and commanding air hand drumline being laid out by McClellan:
When I come home, baby, the White House is dark and my polls are cold.
I'm hangin' round, baby, with Dick and Don and-a who knows who.
You're gettin' tired of waitin' and my foolin' around,
You'll find somebody who won't always act like a clown.
This can't go on, Lord knows I got to change, baby.

With a quick series of “Yeah yeah yeahs” President Bush, nodding at McClellan, launched into a dazzling, completely silent and pyrotechnic air guitar solo, as the press secretary moved his fingers frantically up and down an imaginary keyboard. The speech ended with the President on his knees and an ecstatic McClellan throwing his hands into the air in triumph, brandishing unseen drumsticks.

While later quietly admitting that the music was “a little heavier” than the President's favorite fair, McClellen, wiping sweat from his brow, claimed President Bush had been inspired when he came across the song on his Ipod while dirtbiking at his ranch over the holidays:"The President was immediately struck by its relevance to his own plight as the increasingly embattled ‘leader of the free world’" McClellan added, throwing his arms around the shoulders of two adoring, giggling female reporters and heading off-stage.


did anyone watch these two?

After watching 360 minutes of these boys lives, what to say? If you missed the show, its available online (but right now Frontline's site is down, and this show is clearly (gotta be) why), and here's a blurb:

Filmed over three years (1999-2002), "Country Boys" tracks the dramatic stories of Chris and Cody from ages 15 to 18. With the same intimate cinematic technique and sound design that distinguished "The Farmer's Wife," David Sutherland's new film bears witness to the two boys' struggles to overcome the poverty and family dysfunction of their childhoods in a quest for a brighter future. This film also offers unexpected insights into a forgotten corner of rural America {Floyd County in eastern Kentucky] that is at once isolated and connected, a landscape dotted with roughshod trailer homes and wired with DSL.

I am mostly interested if you have watched it, or part. I have a lot of thoughts around it, and not simply testifying to its power, but also the more problematic side of Sutherland's "portraiture" and the social impact and cost of such a stance. It was a very complex project, and yet I feel that the documentary, as-aired, entirely erased that complexity in favor of an eventually wearying/naive insistence on letting its subjects speak/be seen as if there was no camera. And I was enamored of these two, deeply, I just became troubled after awhile by the fly-on-the-wall angle, and wondered, as I often do with, say, war photography, how we, as artists and audiences, repsond to and consider the alleged "neutrality" (i.e. naturalization, invisibility) and "observer status" of the artist.

Like, simply, did Sutherland talk to these kids? Get at all involved? AND did he think-through the effect his presence would have on them, their lives, the footage he culled? I am sure he did, but none of that was shown. There were fascinating moments when I could discern the bit players conscious of themselves as actors for a far larger stage, and of course, the voice-overs, and I wonder about this shift... the very creepiness of voyeurism...

Plus, this film is a fascinating and utterly ripe expose of its other subjects: small-town America, Appalachia, boyhood, the role of parents: esp. the role of (absent or inadequent) fathers, the welfare system, popular Christian culture, NASCAR America, what the hell high school education means, class consciousness, conservative ideology of the free will/liberal focus on social conditions - played out up close and personal.

start the day by answering email

crissy, i must have known this email was coming, as i looked up the hill this morning and thought of going over for lunch. i certainly will. best lunch around, no?

i am still here, and there are stretches where that is okay and others where it is not. it takes the same focus and dedication and courage you talk about to do a job search - i have been holding back. but this is still the wrong fit job, and there is a ceiling on what i can learn and do here. urgh... must marshall forces...

glad to hear whats up with you - did i give you my "real" email? - sarahandkyle@earthlink.net, lets move this conversation over there. and follow your passions! follow your passions!, right? its my wish too, although the wish to "play it safe, stay low, take it easy" mostly dominates. we can do that too, it just doesnt make for a tasty life - a sort of suburbia of the mind. and curse that dumb eagles song.

i am in one of those "lots of ideas, little actual work" phases right now. but i am very happy to report that i have no pronounced seasonal/post-holiday depression hole. which makes for a lovely change, thanks to all the work i've been doing, and to the universe.

we went snowshoeing last wknd, but i cant say i envy your winter (whenever it gets there)- snow looks best in hills and mtns (though snowing looks wonderful anywhere). and maybe snow looks best when you drive away at the end too (although in Boulder, i loved how it would dump - and then melt completely the next day). in SF, the cherries have started to bloom (!). so freaking soon? i give you that with the complete overhaul of the ecology/flora out here, the seasons can make perilously little sense within city limits.

tasos just emailed me to inspect and possibly file some drawings, making that my sole work task for the day. and yet i wanted to complain! oh, little child, we may be getting a tad spoiled.

i think in the right setting, any of the plants you talk of would be powerful experiences for you. but i have no personal experience with any of them. ayahuasca can be life-altering, from those around me who have taken it - but the homeopathic route, thats intriguing, a slow, gentle course instead of a 1 day cram-for-finals cosmic blitz. i could see that as a good fit for you.

san pedro is generally described as a close but milder relative of mescaline. its rumored to taste horrible. you eat the flesh. which makes it easy to control dose, once you know how strong your plant is. lets say you do "see someone's illness" - vividly, say - what do you do with the knowledge? these are warrior plants.

i wonder about someone in new england taking tropic plants though - there are many indigineous mushrooms in NE that could be hunted, picked fresh and wild, and brewed as tea which might have more to say to someone of your clime (and more holistic of an adventure too). i fit in this city as rosemary is cultivated all over the place, perfect for me and my headaches.
(how could ayahuasca be made into a homeopath pill though - the drug is a brew, from many sources, not just one plant?)

anyway, i support you in whatever path involving plants you step out on. if you do take the one-day intensive route, a little structure (like a question and a friend/guide) will help ground it.
the leaf i had smoked/drank as tea is called Calea Zacatechichi, "the dream herb" (practically a registered head-shop trademark). do a search for it online and a thousand sites selling it will pop up.

its basically an i ching type event, where you spend some time beforehand formulating and considering some question/active edge in your life, drink and smoke the herb (which, unlike the plants you mentioned, is very mild, somewhere between sleepytime tea and a wee puff of weed) and then go to bed, question in mind. then (perchance) the dream.

the herb smokes well, but the tea is exceptionally bitter, like drinking aspirin. but i never felt sick. i just looked online at "experiences" people posted about it, and its sad, they're almost all from druggies who stumble through it as spectators, passive, without intention, ritual, thought, questions - just brew it up and kick back and wait for the psychic tv. no wonder most of them are disappointed. the dream you mention was one of the best dreams of my life. a teaching that still applies.

okay, love to you, so good to hear from you, i have had fun writing back, more soon, no? i miss our lunches. its grown quiet here, somewhat cobwebby. perhaps i'll go inspect those drawings, and then read from the book of poems (Charles Olson, an MA native - wrote obessively of Gloucester, born but in Worcester) and start a review I promised to a friend/editor. I just added these last lines because it was too horrible to end with the tombstone of "go inspect those drawings". i am not going to peacably inabit these death-realms.




the sonic liberations of plunderophonics

"If creativity is a field, copyright is the fence" – John Oswald (or, for the brave, John Oswald).

And the wonderful word plexure.

plexure: n. 1 The act or process of weaving
together -[Webster's 3rd]

I first read plexure as a diabolical portmanteau of pleasure + flex. And if anyone can help me understand why I read vinyl into flex (not cuz its bendy), beside maybe the old Dischord comp Flex Your Head, I’m thankful.

If you don’t know John Oswald’s early plunderphonic work (c1989), trek here. A full CD’s worth of assault and tweakery is downloadable in 2 large files (in gray, near the top). Bear in mind that this is his music 16 years ago, when the digital revolution was still years away from the type of sound-shaping and shifting advances that let a laptop become a complete soundstudio. The work appears to have been done through the painstaking manipulation of magnetic tape on a mixer. And probably requires a couple listenings to sink in (to destroy also being a creative act).

sound as property
sound as brand
sound as (re)source
sound as material
sound as food
“pop will eat itself”
cut its avant head off and get: the Gray Album.

Creativity as a matter of channel-surfing. Respecting that there is a wave (the surfer rides out waves – chooses among them for the One (finding many). Our culture provides a mindscape, through which we move. The question is to how?

Samples from Plexure (1993).
A synopsis of that project: an "megaplundermorphonemiclonic" “encyclopaedic popologue” covering 10 years (83-93) in pop music history that “plunders over a thousand pop stars” “It starts with rapmillisylables and progresses through the material according to tempo.” Thus becoming also a study of the relation of tempo to genre (there’s a moment when the metal is briefly cut by bluegrass – two very distinct mythologies of speed).

When I heard this as a teenager, it blew that same mid out the bedroom window. If it sounds more familiar, if I now have a sense as to the how of this work, and a better understanding of the where it works in and from, it does in one way become less of a visceral mindfuck. But knowing what goes into it, and what this type of work entails (incl. reams of Michael Jackson lawyers ordering you to “destroy all copies” and your family and neighbors shaking their heads year after year) it becomes more radical, more courageous, more plain old eccentric cum visionary. It tears the fence off the field – free-range as any organic label or cowboy legend can be.

Welcome to our new year. So lets hear it for electromegamadmonics. And what does it look like in words?


graine, redux, woolf, this prose

DISCLAMING: My tendency is to take work like this and file it away in a drawer. I pretend I do this out of compassion for possible readers. But come now, I do it because I do not want to be seen in this light. I want to choose my appearances carefully. And I am not an especially privileged or insightful judge of my work’s use to you. So here it is (actually yesterday’s too), I trust you can skim and skip as good as I can. But here’s what I am noting as I review this: that it becomes repressive, that it smothers, and that its brilliance lends itself not to enlivening, but to… what? I can’t label it, and I don’t want to pooh-pooh it further. The essay is a form whose impersonality can be demonic or daemonic, and lordy lord, if this one doesn’t slip – for me – between the two, although it opens up vital territory in its own particular way (why so loathe to admit it? – because its hurt repeatedly?). How that part which desires to make sense can itself easily, ever so easily, seductively become monster. One of the worst. To make sense of surroundings - not to experience the always-already existent sense. A hard day's work? - not working, not inventing cycles of work/rest.

What was it like to write it? Slightly uncomfortable, a hungry focus pushing on, circling back. The motions, in the end, tiring, dissociative. Its abstraction gutting my, and this, frame – it stalks it subject, and sails away from it, but enacts the very process it critiques : its distance a bridge to compassion or JUST MAYBE anything I write in this space (at work) is rabidly, violently insane, i.e. a work generated of unresolved tensions and conflicts. How to hold and articulate those then? This morning’s attempt… take it as further madness, like most madness, a raving will to live, a trapping to be free...

(Now those words felt sane)

graine, woolf

and to tire very easily of mute devotion and to want variety in love, though it would make him furious if Daisy loved anybody else, furious! For he was jealous, uncontrollably jealous by temperament. He suffered tortures! But where was his knife; his watch; his seals, his notecase, and Clarissa’s letter which he would not read again but liked to think of, and Daisy’s photograph? And now for dinner.

- Mrs.Dalloway

There are moments in the day that I have come to think of as abandonments. I owe this term to Teresa Sparks, who related it to the writer’s habit of working on a piece, building it up with an intensity which spoke of passion and commitment, only to suddenly and irrevocably sever that intensity mid-plateau, and park the frustrated fucker in the “drawer” cum hard drive.

The problem is that there is no cumming hard here – it’s a frustrating coitus interruptus, or really, coitus abandicus (Mword wonders if I meant to spell "bandicoots" here). Just when it starts to heat up, when the territory is exciting and powerful, when we start to get a little disheveled, in the moment, a little strange to ourselves (itself a familiar, slant feeling) then, the break, the back off, the smother. Its no coincidence that these moments are exactly when our life-limiting habits are simultaneously coursing strongly and in a relatively unguarded, openly visible state. What is it that shuts this door as quickly as it opens – that turns, in a sentence of consciousness, from fury and torture, to seals, a letter not to be read “but liked”, and off to dinner? And where, in what shape, does the echo of this frustration – this interruption, driven (consciously) underground – persist, dwell, in our bodies?

Its this habit, this move to close what is clearly a powerful subterranean well, a psychic geyser of repressed energy (if, like Woolf’s Peter Walsh, we find the strength of our own emotions unsettling, foreign, awkward, something to avoid and to later try to clean-up/explain) which renders our own emotions Other, and relegates them to shadow, to subjugation and censure and avoidance. It’s a move, a quick snap of the switch of mental attention, denying audience to some powerful upsurge, but why?
I take my desires for reality because I believe in the reality of my desires
- Guy Debord

Walsh turns to toys, knick-knacks, sentiment, and the routine regularity of set mealtimes. This seems so familiar, this turning, this abandonment of his own greatest energies – at the very moment they present themselves. Familiar from daily encounters, from my own stream-of-consciousness, and from myriad cultural representations once the emotional intensity becomes coded as abnormal, malfunction, breakdown. Politically, the “eruption” of scandal – whether name-brand (DeLay, Abu Ghraib, Lewinsky, the latest celebrity divorce) or generic anonymous is handled in the same way: a defense team assembles about the “accused” and struggles mightily to stomp-out the accusations of rage, greed, lust, etc. An admission of guilt is seen as both humiliating and likely end to a career – the notable exceptions appearing almost as “miraculous” comeback kids.

This defense team is the very mechanism of psychic repression – if we took it back to Lacan, we would be talking about the Symbolic realm, the order of the Father. It is this defensive, goal-minded, career-egoistic behavior that the emotions threaten; they threaten its static stability, its fixed identities, its narratives of progress.

While we talk about a nervous breakdown, its not the nerves or emotions which “breakdown” (rather, they spring to dizzying life), but rather the subject’s transparency and fluidity in the discursive realms and roles demanded of adulthood – job function, citizen function, consumer function. And, heart-breakingly, these functions have become so demanding, so central and normative to symbolic narratives of identity, that when a friend, family member, or lover is in such a place, we often experience this what? - frustration, impatience, stagnation/confounding which often results in our repeated attempts to catalyze (i.e. fix, either directly or via distraction) “the problem” – as it becomes – or to abandon it (and therefore, abandon our intimate (and our own intimacy too) and return to the familiar, predictable workings of the Symbolic.

To go to Dinner, or return to work. These are – from the Symbolic opinion – reassuring, normal, orderly events to be relished when compared to the odd strength and dark uncertainty of intrusive, demanding emotions which know no timetable, have no clear guide or intent, can’t even be properly traced back in time to some specific cause. If we – immersed in the net of the Symbolic - do dally with them, much of the dalliance is generated from friction, a Symbolic resistance – to allow in, to listen to and accommodate the different, but undeniably powerful and real logic of the emotions. Hence much advice, the offering of strategies to get over/get on with it, offered medicinally – as curatives – in the same fashion as a doctor’s prescription for an upset stomach, or splint for a broken bone. The sense is there is something wrong, and it needs to be righted. And that it’s the doctor – or his pills – which will do the righting. The wrong dwells, inarticulate, helpless, in the body, asking for deliverance. Which arrives from outside – from the Symbolic. But is a broken heart equivalent to a broken shin, and can rage respond well to tablets of Tums?

Too abstract? I am not trying to state that we are all bad people who abandon their friends and repress their own emotional vitality and spontaneity, but I would be surprised if most of us did not experience some difficulty, often profound, when confronting a friend, lover, parent, child – and esp. ourself – in distress. Even laughing too loud, having too much fun, joyful wildness, is disruptive. How many movies bear one of these scenes where one guest’s incivility (manners being the Symbolic policing of affect) disrupts the dinner table?

The link between Modernism, Marxism and Psychoanalytic thought (and for many, from Benjamin on, various Mysticisms) has opened a wide vein of study of this tendency in the arts and literature. Surrealism comes to mind, and at an even rawer, ruder level, much Dada. Perhaps it’s the book I’m reading, but women seem often to be adepts at this work – or is it just I recognize it more clearly when it is Other? Not just Woolf, but Maya Deren, Djuna Barnes, and today, writers such as Renee Gladman,Bhanu Kapil, Summer Rodman and Teresa Sparks explore this rich, unsettling vein with remarkable veracity and fluidity, if not with untroubled ease. Rather, if this trouble, as always, is liquid, then they have learned to swim, passing the barrier of frustration/repression and diving down to this unconsciousness, to the realm of desires and aversions. Although not always surfacing again – Deren may have grown lost in Voudon, and Woolf fell prey to her despair, literally enacting the “drowning” sensation of one buried and oppressed by the heaviness of feeling.

Duncan comes to mind too – and even straight white post-avants can dip their toe in – the logic of Sean MacInnes work is a definite probing of emotional terrain, digging through sentimental encrustrations to contact less predictable moments of resonant lucidity. But the closer one stands to the Symbolic power nodes, the better one is at that game, and the harder, the less accessible such “radical” explorations, such “threatening” openings, seem. A mansion is a far greater investment than a one-bedroom apartment, or a cell. Its defenses are accordingly far more involved and elaborate.

I’m very excited about this thought-string. And I am equally saddened by its abstraction, its distancing, its predilection towards utilizing Symbolic means to critique the Symbolic. Whats the old situationist slogan - “One cannot end alienation with alienated means”? Then there’s:

People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth
– Raoul Vaneigem, "The Revolution Of Everyday Life"

And not just because I want to wind it back now, to the subject of migraines, to the brainstem, to explore – and offer testimony – of how it might dwell in the body once denied conscious audience, how, like a scorned child, unable to speak to the parents and share its needs and experience, it sulks and tantrums and rots instead up and down the neck, in the back of the head, along the shoulder, in the pit of the eye. Except I am not – instead this piece tracks my motion away from this initial desire, is its betrayal, its abandonment. The circle closes not to bring revelation, but an annulling completion, a FINIS in which further participation is … I want to say an impossibility, but I don’t know – I’ve grown tired of writing this, the logic is unsustainable, falters, gives no further life, only questions about just how much its progress so far has enabled, and to what extent its been a further distraction, a new repress.


all graine-y

today i am feeling very well.

yesterday's post was written about an hour into a migraine. its fairly typical of the terrain an hour in. typing it two or three hours in, as it nears full-strength, is unthinkable.

while its not a subject i talk about at length much - socially i avoid broaching it if possible - migraines have been a fact of life for me since I was 15 or so. for over 15 years, i've experienced at least monthly, generally weekly, and even daily episodes, ranging from 6 to 12 (occasionally longer) hours in duration.

a migraine is a cluster of symptoms. they include (for me):
  1. sensitivity to light, noise, movement, and conversation. exertion, even intellectual, quickly results in intensified pain.
  2. nausea. but, for moi, never vomiting.
  3. constant aching and throbbing pain, accompanied by feelings of heat and pressure, along one side of the head, from the eye socket, over the top of the head, down the back of the neck, and along the shoulder, with some lesser pain and tightness in the shoulderblade as well.
  4. wide perceptual and emotional shifts accompanying "dealing" with and accomodating the pain, and its accompanying demands (go slow, do nothing, turn off lights, avoid distractions, stay with your body, don't speak, do not wander into thought, avoid activity and bend with the knees only, head and neck held straight up)
these classic symptoms, for me at least, are accompanied by (when i notice):
  1. -tightness/contraction of the gut. this creates a center of further pain, and perhaps predates the flaring in the upper body.
  2. -if i raise my arms, i become conscious, as trad. Chinese medicine predicts, that the pain travels down the length of the afflicted side's arm.
  3. largley involuntary shivers and twitches along the neck-shoulder-arm route.

Migraines alternate hemispherally. If today, your left side aches, when you get your next one, it will target the right. Western science is unsure as to the causes of a migraine, it is a hotly contested arena of research and pill-patenting. An inflammation of blood vessels in the brain was generally agreed upon as precursor, but now the focus is more neural, and the role of the brain-stem is being investigated. Migraines also come with or without auras. For more on this (science!) side, check here. A lovely sample quote:

The trigger of the migraine may be overactivity of nerve cells in certain areas of the brain (for example, the raphe nucleus). Dilation of the blood vessels is now known to be caused from chemicals released from nerve terminals and inflammatory cells. Occasionaly a migraine can be triggered by large amounts of emotional tension and stress.

Wading further in the same articles brings the word prodrome: an early symptom indicating the development of a disease, or indicating that a disease attack is imminent. "

In Trad. Chinese Medicine (TCM), a migraine is an intense form of Liver meridian imbalance. It is the body's response to shut down the system through disabling pain, in a way like one turns off the water to re-callibrate the flow. The bitter element harmonizes the liver (most herbal liver medicines are concentrations of bitter herbs - thujone in wormwood/absynthe catalyzes the alcohol high in a markedly diff., more lucid direction) and the bland/sweet/salty diet of Americans comes along with a high rate of alcoholism and blood diseases (the liver births and grooms the blood).

"Migraine sufferers usually develop their own coping mechanisms for intractable pain."

The list of what I have tried is long, and varies depending on the vintage. Aside from OTC painkillers, I've tried over the years: traditional yoga, alochol, green tea, rosemary, meditation, feverfew, walking, hot showers, naps, akido, weed, tibetan yoga, immersing myself in water, iceubes, facemasks, acupuncture, massage, eating, drinking water, lying down on the floor in the dark and groaning, etc.

Believe it or no, I have never sought a western doctor's advise or treatment on migraines. When I told - as a teen - my eye doctor about them (without using the classic "migraine" label) - he was uninterested, having ascertained that that didn't sound like a symptom produced by the prescription. And I am not a fan of expensive experimental drugs, although, for once, I have insurance.

"Sumatriptan and related selective serotonin receptor agonists are now the therapy of choice for severe migraine attacks that cannot be controlled by other means. They are highly effective, reducing the symptoms or aborting the attack within 30 to 90 minutes in 70-80% of patients. Some patients have a recurrent migraine later in the day, and only one such recurrence in a day can be treated with a second dose of a triptan. They have few side effects if used in correct dosage and frequency. Some members of this family of drugs are:
Sumatriptan (Imitrex®, Imigran®)
Zolmitriptan (Zomig®)
Naratriptan (Amerge®, Naramig®)
Rizatriptan (Maxalt®)
Eletriptan (Relpax®)
Frovatriptan (Frova®)
Almotriptan (Almogran®) "

In TCM, its noted that simply eradicating a symptom, and not attending to the root factors that lead to that symptom arising, will drive the disorder deeper. In neuropsychology, the brain stem, whose "malfunction" or "over-sensitivity" may result in an episode, is the seat of the ddepest, most primal emotions, including fear and aggression. In TCM, a symptom is a node in a web - it is not causally identical to another subject's instance of a similair system. Differing systems may yet inflame the same node. So tracking the web, its relations, in my life becomes the work. Not sure how well I have done at it though, I am more Inspector Clouseau than Sherlock Holmes.

While they respond to care, and to my surrender to their seemingly inhuman, obliterating agenda, they do not respond very predictably. But letting the pain hold center court, abandoning any agenda I might have besides suffering and caring for my pain-wracked body, is rewarded, and the pain changes, subsides, sometimes even ceases. Sometimes, in its wake, there's a palpable, if subdued hush of ecstacy. But even the slightest weariness or premature excitation over its departure, and a migraine will steadfastly return. I'm thinking of how dominant males mark their territory, and patrol it, squashing challenges - its a lot like that, that sense of resistance is futile. And the shit is intense - life is very vivid in these procedurally restricted passages.

"Annual employer cost of lost productivity due to migraines was estimated at $3,309 per sufferer. Total medical costs associated with migraines in the United States amounted to one billion dollars in 1994, in addition to lost productivity estimated at thirteen to seventeen billion dollars per year."

The workplace is an exquisite and total torture when suffering from a migraine. I invariably struggle, and then abdicate. Some of the strength of that feeling of work=s extreme & immediate suffering has long since hopped the phenomenal fence and broken free of its strict association with migraines per se. I eventually just thought of work itself as a sort of low-grade migraine, a background irritation in which the foreground pain inevitably and periodically arises. Like the roaring laugh track in a sit-com.

For a long-time I knew, holisticlly, that this pain was necessary, even benevolent - that is, a teaching. Not an easy one, but it was my body's instinctive response to its situation. Western science focuses either pornographically on the neuro-materialist aspects of what physically, isolatably happens to the body during a migraine, or has dismissed the whole thing as a mental malady. Either way, its seen as a disease, the body as weak or malfunctioning, the patient its victim. I have long known there is much more to what is happening here, and that I - how I am living my life, is a responsible party (and the only on I have hope of effecting) - but charting the rhythms and happenstances around my migraines has been a long-term project, and one that collapses every time i fall into resisting its logic, or lamenting my fate. While science does acknowledge tension and stress as factors in "some" migraines, they stand mute on emotional habits, on what we might call the psycho-energetics of migraines. And maybe we want our science to stand mute on this... its a seemingly obscure terrain, it offers no quick fix. You might miss a day of work, not get to go shopping.

My focus now is shifting to the prodrome arena, to becoming conscious of the early symptoms that might alert me to an attack, so I can respond to these incipient signals, instead of ignoring them, and be forced to respond to the willful demands of a full-blown migraine.

There appears, here, to be a definite emotional and energetic link between these spasms of pain, and a re-occuring repression of unconscious desires.

The cleaning staff is here, my stomach's growling, that's far enough, time to go. i leave it to me to probe the emotional subterrain, and for you, if you care to, to wonder how this might relate to the Kyle you know, whether aesthetically, intimately, blogger-ly, whatev. And if you don't know me, you know someone else who suffers these fuckers : 8% of men, 16% of women, for a start.


today i am not feeling so well. Blogging and nausea - non, merci.

I have managed to forget both of the great ideas I've had so far today.

Not so sure these points are as unrelated as they first seem.


Readers, does it bother you when a blog - such as this one - has occasional typos and grammatical hoo-haws? blogger's spellcheck is so, so slow. there are other options, though. perhaps my carefree-ness here is interpreted variously - in this theoretically public space.


books i could be reading today:

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf.
Selected Poems, Charles Olson.
Office of Soft Architecture, Lisa Robertson.
Ovid: currently sidelined for an inexcusible prosaic-ness.

Yesterday, at the SFMoma, I read some fascinating selections of a 1937 Hitler speech on "degenerate art". Reminded me, in its arguments and inflammation, of certain US politicians.

My not-feeling well-ness means that i don't care to risk commentary on those other titles.

Yet part of me is filled with rage at this blog post.


Lection is out

Lection, the latest Subday Press offering, is out. Author Scott Inguito read from it @ the semi-annual SPD Open House on Saturday, and last night John Sullivan, our long-suffering web-designer, launched the Lection page. Check it here. Lection is a tasty, thought-provoking and pocket-size morsel, and its available on the cheap - I hope you'll check it out. Teresa Sparks will be reviewing it in the upcoming American Book Review (Feb/Mar, methinks). But don't wait.

Speaking of ABR, I just sent them my first review, of Sara Larsen's doubly circ. Ganglia crossed.

As for me, I'm listening to funk on the college radio station and I'm a little too stinky for comfort, so its a pre-shower blog moment, friends.

Final note of hot gossip: Sean MacInnes has made a brilliant and intimate batch of short videos while down in FL for his Kerouac House residency. These films are worth seeing - they are lyric, nightmarish, gauzy, silent, celebratory and a little wobbly. The ghost of ol Stan Brakhage floats thru. They are deeply felt and oddly touching too, and they speak of the goddamn wonder of sight (check out Derek Jarman's Blue if you forgot about that). He can send them out on VHS tapes, I am not sure if he can do DVDs. We can work on it. Email him here if you are curious - and with a little luck and a few dollars donation, you too will learn about benches, branches, cockroaches, and sprinkler jets.

And if he doesn't, let me know and I'll make you a pirate copy.



Books I am reading today:

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

"Bond Street fascinated her; Bond Street early in the morning in the season; its flags flying; its shops; no splash; no glitter; one roll of tweed in the shop where her father had bought his suits for fifty years; a few pearls; salmon on an iceblock."

The list of particulars dates back at least as far as the heroic epics - the Illiad and the Odyssey, for one start. It shows up today in the work of Ray DiPalma in the current Chicago Review. My edition notes that Woolf saw the novel, c. 1920, as at an impasse, and was reading Euripides, Bacchae excitedly. How alive this prose is - sparkling with details, written thru the senses and memory- gaining focus thru its characters narrative wanderings. Want to read Nightwood after this. These are the first non-standard genre novels I've read since Dhalgren last year. Breaking out of my reading rut feels great. I chose this book because I remember there was something alluring and satisfying in Woolf's prose as an undergrad English major. Some type of ecriture feminine, is it? I am conscious of not wanting to read any male-written novels right now, at least none I can think of. A few minutes pass, and this dissolves. Woolf and Barnes first though.

Tales From Ovid, Ted Hughes
A Christmas present last year, and here I am pouring over it. Having just finished Ronald Johnson's seminal radi os, a page-by-page "reduction" of the first four chapters of Paradise Lost into a bewildering and intensely alluring alchemic word-drone, in which whisps and suggestions of underlying stratas and a dozen or two startling lines rose out of 70 or 80 sparse and beautiful pages, Ovid's metamorhic tales make mighty sense. And yet I have no sense of Hughes' mode of translation, so I can take these only as work bearing some intimate relation to Ovid's 1900 years earlier, but from what I can guesstimate, this is a logonymic translation privleging "sense" as in semantic content.

I dont recall liking more than a few of the lines in Hughes "own" poetry, but "Creation; Four Ages; Lycaon; Flood" made for a great afternoon, and it turns more and more brutal with each page, a sort of restrained but pitiless death metal poem. We move from "Now I am ready to tell how bodies are changed/ Into different bodies" (go ahead Ted, tell me) thru the prehistory of the world, up to the flood, where we part 18 pages later, with: "Drowned mankind, imploring limbs outspread,/Floats like a plague of dead frogs." I certianly don't expect such work from Poet Laureates. It must be the magic of the classics - that his craft shines brightest in looking back at the work he first read as a schoolboy struggling with Latin.

I enjoy this and it also irks me that I do. Which is part of the point - my sense of lineage and my ideological leanings have cornered me to the point where reading is no longer fun, and is cut off from many of my desires. I don't yet know what to say of Ted's lines, how he works with them, they are themselves a sort of "rough" free verse where the line ends act as the main key to distinguish this work from prose, staggering the lines in tiers, slowing the reader down. The prose translations of Ovid I glanced at looked pale and dull - despite the stylistic diff. btwn us, I read Hughes lines in this poem with great warmth, and they slip easily, energetically down the throat like a tastier red bull. But they slip fast - there are only a few lines I re-read to savor or work out an image or turn of speech. It is - I keep feeling - such a different use of the poetic from what I have grown used to these last few years. It feels good to be in contact with it again, from this new vantage.

Like the Dalai Lama has said - any one faith would be a poor fit for all the various peoples of the world. Any one corporation, any one state, any one style... I agree.


werdenfield love for each and every last - squish! - one

this arrived in the mail today, confirming my sense that john ashberry has become deeply weird with fame, psychoanalysis, and age. Move over, late, rhyming Creeley poems, its:

Wild Geese - John Ashberry

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

okay, so i lied to you, its - surprise - mary oliver. but i figured if i put mary oliver up there, you'd read it like i did, with a sense of fatality, like watching a body fall out a window til "PLONK!" we hit the, umm, hard concrete? of "the family of things".

sent by a borderline-buddhist friend who doesn't read much poetry yet called me up to tell me how much he liked my reading last month (future post or visit to therapist here). i tensed while reading it, and tried to pull away, esp. the parts where we are flying over the placeholder nouns of named landscape like in "god bless america" or "this land is your land" but without any of the cheese or charm of those two. goddawful descriptive distance.

i figure some people like the lullaby-like quality of this, but without the metrics of song. its like your boring mother is saying boring but familiar things to you as you go to bed. its like checking the thermometer: "yup its hot". "yup its still hot". slight sweetness + bland =s comforting, right? poem as sleep-aid or suppository. hell, "life's rough" & some are "in need" of an ameliorative.

so, what to say about the daily weather forecast? that its predicatable? it seems silly to rage against it, "over the prairies and the deep trees". it is obviously medicinal to some, but its barely readable to me. poetry is vast and inexhaustible. its sentiments are blameless. etc etc.

[ i am trying, pirooz, not to rush to condemn, but there's nothing else here for me thats FUN, that wants only to tear up and rip out the pastic intestines of this beast and REVEL in it - VIOLENT, yes, but no more than my LUNCH. the only way i want to masticate this is not as droll NPR sermon on beatitude and some kinda whitebread come-on to intimacy but as WORDS to MASTICATE on BURP thank you very much then - and there is liberation in me destroying in a fit of gleeful rage what someone else is rushing to stickily embrace and us not needing to EXPLAIN or FIGHT over this difference - since I'm not tearing up THEIR book or ITS AUTHOR - I am tearing up THIS SPACE, THIS TEXT, THIS READING, what it elicits...]

so i mull before lunch, i ,
"whomeveh i am, no matter how wonewy
the mawy owiveh offehs itsewf to my imaginashun
cawws to me wike duh wiwd geese, hahsh and ecksiting--"

okay, now i am squarely back to how terrible it is, what a horrendous ball of hooey, spiritual hallmart e-card texts.

i am never going to even try to get to the bottom of this, except to say that when i find myself acting in a "mary oliver-esque" way to another adult, i am overcome with shame and scorn. and thats in person - an that emotional response keys me thati have "lost" my connection with them in the moment, it attunes me to cut the soliquoy, hold-space, and reoreint. If i fail to do this, I go on, but with a sens eof shame at the betrayal of our relation, and then scorn at this too, a rage at what shit is pouring from my mouth. i read such sneakily and unacknowledged (and obviously unavoidable in the act of writing) falseness and duplicity here. maybe i have issues. its not all i read here, but it overwhelms the rest. but i do not stand against intimacy, or even advice, or certainly not "sharing" (but the poet's promise to share their woes is not followed up, its an empty gimmick - and not just here, but in most (all?) of oliver's work - there is a frigid patina of distance which she uses to convey intimacy that i find troubling when the resulting work is taken as natural, organic produce and not some deeply mediated gene-splicing: in many ways i find her work supremely un-wild, massively tame - and taming: which I resist here). i dont stand against, even the type of genial - yet lingusitically very decisive and powerful - type of wise-old-aunt authority ol mary's asserting here, but, left to its own devices, it - what? - represents a human tendency that i think of as opiate, a nice sleep-aid before bed for troubled sleepers, yes, but a very weird crown to be riding on the head of the intersection of the worlds literary and spiritual, where i often find it.

i respect deeply many of the people who ornament their sermons, letters and essays with verse of this kind (like today's sender), yet it seems so purely decorative - maybe thats part of it, i dont want a purely - even mainly - decorative poetry, and my insistence that one's artwork can be a much more funamental and powerful wrangling with life and death and self and other and sex and state often feel a little lonely.

a basic lesson of autonomy i that if someone tries to shovel the wrong medicine in your mouth, don't swallow. regardless of their own intentions. if you do, you get deeply troubled, and have to write mad posts about it broadcast to the teemingly near-empty depths of the blogosphere. how did i know it was the wrong medicine, friends, its right up there in the brand-name, one poetica-pharmaceutical giant who does not have my consumer allegiance. hence this class-action suit to which you are welcome to file briefs.

thanks for stopping by and please deposit leftover portions of this rant in the comments box on your way out of the page.


Last night saw the second installment of Salon. I still gaffe at the name, esp. when I think about the online mag. I am converted now to this media of group discussion, this enacting of poetry-as-social-thinking, a thinking both critical and practical, and attuned towards expanding and redefining awareness.

This morning I've been doing some research off one thread of last night's topic, and that's around Stephanie Young and Juliana Spahr's collaborative panel presentation @ the recent LA Noulipo conference. Even though Stephanie was at Salon last night, we didn't ask her to talk about the performance, or its fall-out, so an opportunity missed there. But one of the greatets things about Salon, and about any on-going engagement with a writing community is how the mind and heart expand/contract/ re-orient upon entering an arena of common concerns (and some others left out - silenced? or uncommon? - as well).

How do we enter the commons? Its often traumatic for me at first, i.e. i enter with anxiety, with a lot of emotion, indeed more than the apparent "coolness" of the discourse can handle. Maybe it was just my rough weekend. But if I stick it out - i adjust - and can bring some of that raw energy to bear on what - surprise surprise - can drifty towards the abstract and heady, a discourse more interested in demonstarting mastery than in encouraging emancipation and intimacy. But this is a writing community where an analysis of that tendency towards headiness (and the body it leaves behind) is very much welcome, if one can articulate it.

Which Juliana and Stephanie can. Together, they presented "Foulipo", a talk processed with traditional Oulipian methods (ommited "r"s, and n+7), and with an overt nod to the 70s feminist body-art performance work (i.e.: they twice undressed during the talk). The talk itself was about the problematic intersection - or lack thereof - between these two practices, their practioners, and their politics. But thats just an obvious teaser for a piece I am at a loss to do quick justice to. Check it out:

You can find general info about the Noulipo conference here.
A review of that day's panel can be found here.
And, the main course, Stephanie has posted in full, with notes, their text here.

Its been fascinating to read their paper, and the work around it, from a personal vantage point - to read it in consideration of the emotions and states i bring to the writing commons - and to compare its analysis with my own experience of writing panels, workshops, texts. It also doesn't hurt that I just saw the Kiki Smith retrospective @ the SFMOMA.

If I was less hungry I could express this differently, but I am getting a little strung out now so ciao. But thanks to both Stephanie and Juliana for once again writing something that helped redefine (re-mind?) what art is all about for me at a time when, once again, I felt I was losing just that grounded sense of what is desired, what is problematic, and what is possible. It went down with a big gulp of "oh yes" that is simultaneously "oh shit": a perfect prescription.


Dear friends,

What else is a blog but a sort of rarefied gossip column? Plenty, but not today. It’s 7:15, and I’m going to get into what’s been exciting in my corner of the ark poetica of late. Its going to entail some sinfully laudatory descriptive language.

Friday nite saw Brandon Brown and Brent Cunningham read @ SPT. SPT is the outgrowth of a 30 plus year old literary-advocacy project, and pretty much the most reliable and wide-ranging series of contemporary readings round here. Have I already said much the same? It’s a reliable place to run into poetry pals and peers, nestled in the Timkin Lecture Hall at the back of CCA’s hanger-esque artspace.

Brandon read from/performed sections of his The Persians by Aeschylus, the latest of his active re-imaginings of Classical texts. Constantly shifting, formally conscious and inventive, dense with word-play (downright Zukofsyian at times), and tensely resonant with an echo-chamber of postcolonial concerns with representation of the Other (the Greeks “fend off” the Persians, the US “pre-empts” Iraq), and wise enough to allow the chorus to get down to business to “Rock the Casbah”, Brandon’s work was invigorating - a real stunner. The type of piece where, after its over, I found it difficult to speak, and certainly difficult to speak about. Which is a measure of its impact and strength, work that can literally fuck you up. I don’t know how well Brandon’s rep extends outside the Bay Area – his bio is disturbingly full of unpublished works (someone will have to do something about that) – but he was warmly received and “welcomed” Friday night by his hometown crowd.

It’s a warmth they returned. Brandon and Brent opened the evening with a performance of a comic dialogue which underlined both performer’s real interest in – and critical consciousness of the limits of – creating a warm, intimate space of “welcome” with their work, of having the audience listen as comfortably as they would in their own home. Timkin - and SPT - both are and aren't that space they were invoking. Their appeals to the heart - worded, performed - both did and didn't evoke such intimacy and warmth: and the constant return to this basic welcoming became increasingly absurd - the record's (or neurotic's) stuck groove. The slide here between pathos and bathos was wonderful, and had at least two of us independently thinking of Beckett’s tramps. Language is such a tricky medium, never stationary, never flat, always beyond our control, even in moments when it seems most transparent and responsive to our intent. Both Brandon and Brent, in their own ways, proceed from a position in which irony and honesty, personal vulnerability and the impermeable mask of the orator, are inseparably coiled. Good f-ing luck picking them apart.

Brent read a smattering from his Bird and Forest (Ugly Duckling), for which this reading served as a belated release party. Brent read a sampling of the title poem, a series which, as he explains it, inverts the traditional mode in which multiple images point towards the same “unnamed” center, which the images serve to enliven. So the single image of the bird, and its forest, iterate outwards off each page, in each instance in a different direction, gesturing towards dozens of possible focii. This approach has a rich conceptual resonance, and is realized in sumptuous, contemplative language full of subtle turns. It’s a fucked thing that work that seems to emanate from a place of quiet, dedicated study – from in short, a study, that sense of the workman’s table, a comfortable armchair, next to it a table on which rest a few well-chosen books, seems such a rare find these days. Brent's work seems at home with itself where much other work seems itchy, bothered, uncomfortable, agitated. There’s a sense of unhurried mastery here I associate more with the past dead than the present living. Rarer still that the work is lively, attentive, that it has heart and grit to it, and a humble/sharp sense of humor. This alertness, not sprung from any sense of danger, but somehow innate to the posture of the work itself, makes for compelling reading, makes the generative intimacy of the study seem a resonant chamber for me.

Brent continued on to read from a new manuscript which got me thinking to such a degree I can’t really say anything on it. Sometimes you leave a reading just wanting to see the damn work on the page. What impressed me most was Brent’s declaration that the process of this new work included a vow to strike out any line which struck him as conventionally poetic. Given Brent’s skill with this “conventionally poetic” that strikes me as a particularly brave thing.

As soon as the applause died down, Sara and I ducked out to pick up Sarah and hit The Goblet of Fire, which temporarily erased the reading with the first blast of Dolby sound. In the second row of the multiplex, feet up on the seat before me, Whizzy Fizz popping on my tongue, I switched from viewing the work of a sole author to a movie made by more than a thousand.

Saturday saw Sara and I sit down for the first of two el pobre submission selection meetings (at Beanbag, a café two sunny blocks from our usual choice). November is the tail-end of the warm season here, and this weekend delivered, with a trio of glorious days. I keep thinking “it’s November” as if that means something on its own – but months only take on specificity in a given place – and no, this isn’t anything like November in New England or Colorado. The selections are making more sense this time round: the third el pobre advances and refines our aesthetic, challenges several of our early limits, and is moving into a more varied, rougher, uneven – and invigorating – read. Its exciting work, and a pleasure to be publishing. The flow is a little wilder, less predictable, the range of work is greater, and the aesthetic preoccupations and concerns come forth more sharply here. The 1998 Robert Creeley interview Brent's brought us is a particularly rare and wicked find.

Today – Sunday – Scott Inguito and I finished the layout and proofing for Lection, Subday’s latest. Lection will initiate Subday’s “mini book” series of small book-art conscious chaps. Each time we meet the design comes a full step or two forward, and each time it’s a surprise. This time, once more, the book came forward in unexpected directions, and carries a liveliness and fully-realized polysemous quality that was only a dream a month back.

On top of being productive, the meeting was delightful – Scott and I have been ideal collaborators, and working on Lection has fulfilled the social criteria of publishing – that the editor and the writer come together in the process, that it generates an intimacy and exchange of ideas, perspectives, poetics. I also see the mini book series as a collaborative venture, a chance for me to step forward with layouts, designs and editing strategies which push the process of book-making to the fore, that catalyze the writers manuscript into a new shape, new form. Bookmaking is always a process of translation, and with the mini books, I hope to showcase the possibilities and test the limits of this trans-ing of the word.doc text into papered three-dimensionality. Lection will be available by December $10th, for $5, and Scott will be releasing it at SPD’s Holiday Open House reading and book sale. These are two facing pages, unfortunately scrambled here. They line up so that "use aries" can be read across the pages.

Now I’m sitting at home, finishing an Oatmeal cookie milkshake, and Sarah’s at my side watching Bono on 60 Minutes. I’ve put my headphones back on to finish track 6 of Sigur Ros’s latest CD. Their must is emotive in a way that turned me off a few years back, but, now, the alternating surges and slides and languid rolls of their music makes sense to me, how to say it – there’s a tidal quality here, and a vulnerability that rises up in crescendos of noise, vivid waves of it that then crash – or evaporate, leaving a droning wake of amplifier hum and piano keys. The same way, 20 seconds after a big six foot breaker, a 1/8” thin sheet of water pours back into the surf with its fine cross-braidings of sand.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. I wanted to end the weekend at the New Yipes, a half-hour away in Oakland, where Norma Cole is reading tonight, but I was too late. So I’ve decided to share and celebrate that too-late-ness, this buoyant comma at the bottom of the heavy week. Next line starts with Monday’s alarm brrrrrng and my first shave in five days.

Now Sarah’s watching about animals left behind by Katrina, and I’m gonna join her.

Today's amazing Wikipedia link

Brazilian modernist poet Mario de Andrade: "he virtually created modern Brazilian poetry with the publication of his Paulicéia Desvairada (Hallucinated City) in 1922. He has had an enormous influence on Brazilian literature in the 20th and 21st centuries, and as a scholar and essayist—he was a pioneer of the field of ethnomusicology—his influence has reached far beyond Brazil."


before heading home

I assembled 25 boxes this afternoon. Some long and thin – for architectural drawings. Some fat oblong cubes for administrative files. Into these boxes went information pertaining to the construction and modification of a variety of courts, hospitals, universities, and secure treatment facilities (department of corrections) throughout California.

Prior to this, I composed a long associative poem, the type often thought of as “a meditation”. This usage is the western version of what might be better termed “a contemplation”. I want to distinguish the mystical sense of meditation – which involves no action beyond letting go, and is an active process of being passive – i.e. of practicing non-attachment – from the object-focused work, often taking a literary form, known as a meditation. From some perspectives, particularly for those not concerned with meditation-as-practice, this distinction might seem unnecessary. Another, softer way to make the distinction is to describe zazen as “meditation” while other forms, whether worded, imagistic, or purely conceptual, could be termed “meditations on”, hence bringing their object into the named fold. St. Augustine’s meditations are surely “meditations on”, in which objects emerge and fade, and each path leads to God, and to His realization in a particular life remembered discursively. Zazen, and other forms of meditation-sans-object, have a different approach. Writing is not possible from this place, just as writing is not possible from a coma, or a dream, or death. Trance-states form a boundary region here, and I am down enough with Herzog’s Herz aus Glas to consider that intriguing. Yet, lit-wise, its wicked old fashion, its Surrealist digs, and folks these days prefer other types of the minor. Fashion is relentless, but Henry Darger and Hannah Wieners show a continued interest in this territory. Once these get too trendy, I am sure the head of the moving column will be found elsewhere.

The poem was concerned with space, with inhabiting space, and the difference between experiencing and fixing that experience. It strayed from and returned to these concerns, to avoid being fixed by them. I’m interested in work that charts desires, work whose liveliness has a slightly uneven, unpredictable quality of attending. I doubt this is news to anyone who has read much of my work (all 12 of you) but its coming clear to me, and, today, its spilling into other areas of my life. Cracks of light on a beautiful fall day turned evening.
Now Sarah is here, and I am a gonna go.


Lacan goes to the Salon.

I've been reading some work on Lacan, AND, we've revivied the salon idea. The second salon is to be around Lacan. And i've fallen in love with how lacan defines jouissance not as bliss, but more generally as (it would appear) any intensity "which is too much to bear" - i am guessing its the Symbolic-Moi complex which must bear it. So if a flow or rupture too great for the (imaged/worded) I to bear comes across a subject, it arouses a state of great excitation which normally we want to rid ourselves of immediately, right? Feeling hot? Bothered? Un-normed? Go back to being cool, rational, under control ASAP. Irony aside, experiences from anxiety atacks to being horny to not understanding a speaker or text appear to fall under this heading. For me too. But I've noticed it doesn't help.

In modern Western societies, it is considered masculine for men to have hair on their faces, arms, chests and legs, but the hair growing from the top of the head is generally kept short, relatively speaking; equally, it is considered feminine for women to have no hair on their bodies, with the exception of knuckle hair, but to have a lot of it on the tops of their heads. This is a fairly recent development. Before the First World War men generally had long hair and beards. The trench warfare between 1914 and 1918 exposed men to lice and flea infestation which caused the order to be given for the routine cutting of hair to a severely short length. The shorter style became the new normality and has never entirely gone away since.

With activities like extreme sports, we also SEEK these states (in a form the I can just so barely control or perhaps pushing into a limnal state where control is a dangling question.) I just flashed on Genet's The Balcony here, a similiar fetishized state at the edge of control as theater, and also as (barely) mediated eruption of the repressed unconscious desires.

Hair is the filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis found in mammals.

Now thinking of this and reading - a text which disrupts too radically the symbolic logic causes jouissance. but this jouissance too will largely /most likely be construed as painful, irritating, annoyance. Won't it be the work of the ego to say that this outbreak is "petty" or "painful" and therefore dismissable/to be avoided, so we can return to biz as normal?

In humans neoteny is manifest in the paedomorphic characteristics exhibited by fertile women. See Sexual attraction

It appears as a threat, and the threat, one way or another, must be extinguished.

See also

This seems to me to make enormous sense in interpreteting the response to the various modernisms and po-modernisms of the last 100yrs. A writer fucks with the code, and the general response is one of... defense, of reentrenchment, dismissal, pot-shot, boredom, the same response a client on the couch is likely to have as the analyst pushes the work into the unconscious 'wound' (or i guess Lacan would say the neurotic knot). An artist may do the same so long as the ghetto (i.e. container) of the Object is not compromised - then their disruption is recouped through capital and object fetishism, again as a form of theater. The book is such a marginal site for this theater (not as restricted of entrance as a whorehouse or limited edition object) that only the critic can recoup it for capital/audience in a larger symbolic order. But with nothing to buy, the critic loses the ear of the elite (as well as the privleged site of the gallery space) . And not owning any of it, the privleged classes show far more indifference to its larger cultural promotion, freed as they are from any shareholder's stake in the enterprise. UNLESS the book is a limited edition affair, a "book arts" project, esp. one bridging the art and literary world, providing them an accessible entrance into this new theater. With attendant high cost/restricted access.

Some studies suggest that one source of physical attraction of a human male to a human female is dependent upon a proportion between the width of the hips and the width of the waist (see Golden ratio). (disputed — see talk page)

Writers who engage in this process of focusing on jouissance, on documenting and heightening it - are threatening to unravel just what the normative society is absolutely forbidden itself to unravel. Not that this work is necessarily heroic or particuarly intelligent - just that the general direction of the avant-garde (insofar as it shares this direction to trouble the smooth surface of language-logic) is towards increasing jouissance in texts, contra the broader tendency to extinguish or severely deplete or ghetto-ize it.

One idea of physical beauty regarding the breasts of women is that the best shape approaches the shape of a three dimensional parabola (which is called a Paraboloid of revolution) as opposed to a hyperbola, or a sphere. Conversely, the shape of the buttocks of an attractive person (male or female) tends to resemble the shape of a cardioid, which is the inverse transform of a parabola.

(i actually dont know if you are interested in Lacan. hi there)

Sexual attraction to a man by a woman is determined largely by the height of the man. For the woman, the man should be at least a few percent taller than her in order to be perceived as handsome. In European populations the average height of males is about 175 cm whereas the average height of females is about 165 cm - a 6% difference. It would be preferable if the man is at least a little above the average in height in the given population of males. This implies that women look for signs of social dominance and power as factors that determine male beauty.

It's also worth noting that Lacan saw the process of jouissance as a destructive one - its uncontainable energies provide unbearable suffering unto its conscious subject, who is unable to maintain the symbolic order of meaning under tis "attack" - yet, at the same time, the unconscious drives and energies of the same subject experience jouissance as a satisfaction - its eruption provides the body an aspect of release, a discharging of clogged/trapped energy. Even psychotic episodes ("breaks") are moments where flow is restored. The unconscious mammalian body thus regulates its flows of jouissance on its own, even when the conscious and Symbiolic egos act as its intractable foes. In the end, the "real" body may be dominated, exploited, suppressed, but it can never be extinguished, and its unmediated, non-symbolic power, like any force of nature, will be felt both in the continually escalating degree of control nec. to "maintain order" (response to the current riots in France, and the continual bark of the right wing to unleash the army) and in the pent-up destructive energies which turn, inevitably explode (the riots themselves) when measures of containment and repression themselves threaten a greater disruption than jouissance itself. There is a comedy here, or play of forces, as the Symbolic order and the Real energies of the unconscious do their dance. Its worth noting that neither force has a monopoly on violence.

At various times in history and throughout various cultures and sub-cultures the growth, maintenance and display of facial or body hair produced as a by-product of testosterone activity within male bodies has been considered a primary characteristic of sexual attractiveness, and of a display of masculinity in general. Cultural development seems to oscillate through multi-generational cycles from one pole to another: extreme hair growth, especially of facial hair accompanied by elaborate grooming rituals is often followed within a couple of generations by a widespread antipathy to body hair and the widespread adoption of depilatory practices.
The causal mechanism for this oscillation has not been established but differences in the simultaneous characterisation of body hair attractiveness within a culture between different social classes may indicate that the dynamic force driving the diffusion of differing male body hair social practices is in fact mate selection by females.

The text is a body with as many operative levels of Symbolic order (and hence social demands, with their ever distance from instinctive drives) as the political body of a nation. Language - for Lacan - is the seat of Symbolic power, the source of its energy, the means of its effect. The text operates Symbolically through plot, through diction, through the heirarchies of clause, sentence, paragraph, chapter, through "proper spelling", through dialect and the associated rhetorical tropes. Jouissance, for most writers, is what falls outside (Symbolic) intention, it is seen as inattentive writing, as error - it is swept away. The repressive/winnowing master-author alone decides what goes into his text. Any other autonomy within the book is discarded. What is left of jouissance is the titilation of the romance, the suspense of the who-dunnit, etc., a disruptive tension playd like a string inthe maestro's hands, to its ultimate, and never-in-doubt conclusion. And these are in textual forms geared towards emotive release - legal documents, instruction manuals, newspaper articles, medical and mathematical treatises: what role does jouissance play in these? Aren't the Symbolic reigns even more tightly bound into the unconscious flesh?

The appearance of health also plays a part in physical attraction. Often, women with long hair are thought to appear more beautiful, as the ability to grow long, healthy looking hair is an indication of continuous health of an individual

But the next place i go to is Lacan's sense that the analyst's task is then to regulate jousissance. As flow/current. Which brings me to chinese energetics, to meridians. To hazard some fairly obvious translations: jouissance is a dark, mature yin energetics, the Symbolic a classic yang ordering principle. A rupture comes about when the dark yin unseats the ruler - yang - sowing chaos which is also fruitful release, dependingon perspective. As in the flooding of the Yangtze, or civil unrest, or a wife leaving her husband (classical Chinese thought seeing a direct gendered extension betwene man and woman in the paly of these energies, one the West has also inherited, with all its associated problematics - its in Lacan as well, and has likewise been a fruitful troubling in his inheritance among the French feminists). Neuroses and psychoses are unharmonious (excessively disruptive or short-term emergency measure) pairings of these energies - they create grievious distances and (social/psychic) ruptures even as they allow the subject to carry on against a threatening backdrop of chaos.

Structurally, hair consists of an inner cortex, comprising spindle-shaped cells, and an outer sheath, called the cuticle. Within each cortical cell are many fibrils, running parallel to the fibre axis, and between the fibrils is a softer material called the matrix. It grows from a hair follicle.

But, also, in writing, doesn't this become the work? To explore the edges of the unbearable and find that we can bear them, and to enter intensities without so much habitual baggage? i think this is what i have found of value in my writing and reading practice. I can't pinpoint Lacan in this, but in my practice, the fear of this chaos, of the rupture or break, becomes so unbearably prohibitive, that writing against it - into chaos and trouble - is a welcome release, not the thing to be feared as endangering my sanity. It is also a fear which prohibits bliss - it is the clamp down which tends towards obssesive death-in-life, which I equate with the zombie.

Cross-section shape of human hair is typically round in people of Asian descent, round to oval in European descent, and nearly flat in African peoples; it is that flatness which allows African hair to attain its frizzly form. In contrast, hair that has a round cross-section will be straight. A strand of straight round cross-section hair that has been flattened, for example, with an edge of a coin, will curl up into a micro-afro.

Terror and bliss, as horror movies point out, are intimates. Daring writing does much to explore and document the same links. Likewise all states we habitually avoid - especially ones which cause no obvious physical harm, such as listening to a long, difficult lecture, or watching an unfathomable movie or (so goddamn often) dancing or speaking up - bind us, tie us down, and we attach to ever more narrow zones of comfort and control in which we move, and which, as the American Right has reaped so much capital from claiming, consitutes our "freedom", which, sliver that it is, we are paranoiacally disposed to staunchly defend.

Hair is strong. A single strand can hold 100g (3.5oz) of weight. A head of hair could support 12 tonnes. It is equivalent in strength to aluminium or Kevlar. Wet hair, however, is very fragile.

How can our writing proceed into this territory? It is work against the grain, but there are so many... there is a lifetime of work here, work that is libratory in that its aim is to bring into harmonious relations the Symbolic and the all-too-often repressed Real. So that jouissance's eruption is allowed, engaged in, appreciated, even enjoyed - not because its wild difficulty is wholly contained and regulated, but precisely in experiencing this not being so, in the very real felt tension of a work springing form both camps, a work which proceeds as a Lacanian "sinthome" a modulated creative activity in the place of a eactive situation of violence and repression of violence (itself violent). By attending to it, giving it a place within the city limits (likethe theater, at its edge) we can become more intimate and expert at noting its flows, at discerning real from imaginery dangers, at learnign to relax and repress a little less, widening the current of human possibilities : on the stage, in bed, at work, etc. It is a work of engineering wild flows, with all the attendant contradictions. Humans have been at it since before the Neolithic, no time to stop now, just because Mussolini, Giuliani, New Formalism, your inner version of the same, et al are on the momentary epochal ascension. After all Schwartzenegar lost all his ballot initatives.

People starting out with very pale blond hair usually develop white hair instead of grey hair when aging.


questions for ya

In lieu of the planned post on hair, which is unfinished, we have this, an email from a colleague here at KMD:

Hello everyone.
A buddy of mine has a few extra tickets that he would
like to sell for tomorrow night’s SOLD OUT U2 concert at the Oakland Arena. The
tickets are $190 each and are in section 216.
Concert time is 7:00pm.
Let me know if you or anyone you know may be interested.

In this short email message we have almost everything that is wrong with rock music today. Spun off this, extending its logic, we have even more. How many can you click off? If you can't get at least 3, you aren't even trying.

The fact that it is a more thought-provoking piece of writing than a fair # of the poetry I see out there today means which:

A) I'm in the wrong field.
B) There are a lot of heads up some collective asses.
C) How horrible most poetry is is itself deeply and terribly thought-provoking. (like most other traumas, it leaves interesting marks on the body)

Dear reader, tis a joy to be here again, grumpy and yelping, and thinking about - if not writing on - hair.
another small chapter in los dialecticas pobre