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Sunday 31 January 2010



File:Ampolleta de corredera.jpg

Don't know much about history
But I know the sandglass says time is always running out

Don't know much about biology
But I know the winged figure of genius has a headache

File:Dürer Melancholia I.jpg

Which may have something to do with the human skull
Fading into the truncated rhombohedron

The way a watermark on a historical document fades
Into history (which I don't know much about)

File:Duerer wing of a blue roller.jpg

Marine sandglass: photo by Mcapdevilla, 2010 (Musée de la Marine, Paris)
Melencolia I: Albrecht Dürer, 1514
Flügel einer Blauraker (Wing of a Blue Roller, coracias garrulus): Albrecht Dürer, 1512 (Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna)

Saturday 30 January 2010



File:Manta birostris-Thailand3.jpg

Sacrificing to the limiting demands of the opus

is no way to start your day. The opus

itself is like a kind of canvas, with what

has not really been lived through, only idly imagined,

splattered more or less randomly

upon it. The frigging fjords

are no place to build your birdnest of dreams.

The instructions on the brain kit mean zilch.

The dreams are found there in the fjords ab ovo.

The ocean moves deeply in these dreams,

creating dark spots in the encephalogram

into which terror and the desire for beauty swim.

File:Regal angelfish.jpg

Manta Ray (Manta bisostris) among Neon Fusilier, Hin Muang, Thailand: photo by jon hanson, 2005
Regal angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus), found on north coast of Timor: photo by Nick Hobgood, 2004

Friday 29 January 2010

A Day at the Beach


File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-P0706-0115, Rostock, 18. Ostseewoche.jpg

She saw its glories then, the sea's glories,

through her eyes, the girls

running to the sea with their glancing eyes,

the sea was in the noise the girls made,

made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,

heard by the girls standing off from it, seeing it,

it was she and not the sea the sea heard,

hearing itself in her words,

in her words, running into the sea.

The other girls heard and were stirred.

Whose spirit is this? they said, because they knew

it was the spirit they sought and knew there in the sea.

Who is it that is singing? they asked the sea.

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-07767, Badegäste an der Ostsee.jpg

A cool dip at the beach, Warnemünde, Rostock, Baltic Sea: photo by Joachim Spremberg, 1975 (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)
Bathers in the Baltic Sea: photographer unknown, 1929 (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)

Thursday 28 January 2010



File:Crowd in HK.JPG




Crowd in Hong Kong
: photo by Hamedog, 2005



File:Ant on tree.jpg



clarify --



Ant on a green bough with water drops: photo by Thomas Quaritsch, 2005



Datei:Metal movable type.jpg





Sorting moveable type: photo by Willi Heidelbach, 2006



File:Nekyia Staatliche Antikensammlungen 1494 n2.jpg



the heavy


Nekuia: Persephone supervising Sisyphus pushing his rock in the Underworld
: side A of Attic black-figure amphora, c. 530 BC, found at Vulci (Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich)

Wednesday 27 January 2010





people are



Newton's cannonball (illustration describing how gravity connects motion of everyday objects on Earth to motion of celestial objects such as the Moon): image by Brian Brondel, 2007



Fichier:Boilly 2.jpg

For adverbs


did, hopefully,

what they


Les médecins (miniature on ivory): Louis Léopold Boilly, 1761-1845 (private collection; photo by Castafior, 2008)

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Men and Women


File:Paul Cézanne 047.jpg

One man and one man
One man and one woman
One woman and one woman
One man and many men
One woman and many women

Many women and one man
Many men and one woman
Many men and many men
Many men and many women
Many women and many women

Endless complication
Of entangling interrelation
Between human beings
Meaning absolutely nothing
To two cats walking on snow

File:Cat walking on the snow stage-01-Zenera.jpg

The Bathers: Paul Cezanne, 1906 (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Cats walking on snow (Leafy and Saphiri): photo by Zenera, 2007

Monday 25 January 2010

The Headless Woman (Mistress of the Labyrinth)


File:Classical 7-Circuit Labyrinth.jpg

She runs over something in the road, perhaps a dog, or was it something else, a child?

A death is at the center of the labyrinth.

Persephone drives on, into the suddenly pelting rain.

At the center of the labyrinth, shocked, in a fog, in her car, becoming the mistress of the underworld. Her domain now the kingdom of ghosts.

"The house is full of the dead -- ignore them and they will leave," mumbles her demented mother, who is perhaps Demeter.

Argentine director Lucrecia Martel's film is a dream of disembodiment, drifting in and out of focus. Back and forth across the shadowland between death and life.

At Knossos, in Minoan Crete, Persephone, the mistress of the underworld, presided over the ritual enactment. A roofless dancing ground was spoken of as "the labyrinth".

A dry arroyo that is suddenly flooded with a confusion of memory.

To all the gods honey, reads a tablet inscription at the foot of a female figure at Knossos. To the mistress of the labyrinth, honey.

Karl Kerenyi tells us that to the Minoans, honey was equated with divine blood. The ritual gift.

I remembered the haunting images of this film as if viewing through a clouded glass scenes from another life.

File:Persephone Cnidus BM C483.jpg

Classical Seven-Circuit Labyrinth: image by James Jen, 2009
Persephone Cnidus
, c. 330 B.C., found at Baiae, Campania: photo by Jastrow, 2006 (British Museum, London)
Lucrecia Martel, director of The Headless Woman (La mujer sin cabeza): photo via The Auteurs, 2008




I wouldn't exist
were it not for a wish
of someone once, who was it?

Everybody knows the code
might have had a motive
but not what to do

The 3-D structure of the human SRY-DNA complex solved by multi-dimensional heteronuclear-edited and -filtered NWR: image by Filip Em, 2007

Sunday 24 January 2010



File:Fredmeyer edit 1.jpg

The night is cold and there is a line of fifty, then sixty people waiting with their things in baskets in the checkout line, it is a large market but only the one line is open on a Saturday night and the line has stopped moving because at the head of it a woman has disputed the total the checkout clerk has charged her for her grocery things, the amount of money in dispute is inconsequential but the dispute continues, the clerk calls on a phone for a supervisor but no supervisor arrives, the arguing goes on, the people in line are fidgeting but no one says a thing, the dispute continues, the clerk continues to argue with the woman and to make calls but help does not arrive, one then two then three security guards arrive then leave again, the line grows longer, the clerk is trying to control her agitation but now the people in the line are growing visibly restive, some are leaving the line, fuming, muttering to themselves, one man says Enough of this and leaves his cart full of groceries where it stands and walks off, mumbling to himself, saying just loud enough to be heard the name of a much more expensive gourmet market a few blocks away, I don't care what it costs he says moving away, others are nodding their heads and now more people are leaving the line and simply walking off and leaving their goods in carts in this line which is now becoming a cemetery of purchases never to be made, the quarrel at the head of the line continues as the clerk and the woman, no longer concealing their anger, battle over the total on the long white slip of paper in the woman's hand, the clerk continues to make calls even while continuing to argue and now at length a supervisor shows up wearing a heavy parka, having just come in out of the cold rainy night to arbitrate the dispute and as she arrives the clerk suddenly and without another word throws her apron to the ground and walks out of the market in the wake of the growing stream of angry patrons, now the line of shopping carts is becoming a line of ghost carts without shoppers attached to them, but the supervisor somehow solves the dispute with the woman at the head of the line, giving in to her, and then strips off her parka and begins to check out the goods of other shoppers and now the line is moving again, those who have waited are rewarded for their patience, some have been standing in line for at least half an hour but the wisdom of having waited is now apparent to them, and they continue to wait, and in the fullness of time their goods will be checked out and they will leave the market and go out into the wet cold night that much the more aware of what sort of a time this is they are living through, monads, human objects with needs, which they may now proceed to begin to fill, once they have shifted the goods from the carts into their cars and steered their cars through the dark rainy streets to wherever it is their lives must go on in, perhaps they have friends or family waiting, perhaps not, perhaps they are alone, alone or not alone humans have needs and the night is long, here comes the night, here it comes.


Supermarket packaged food aisles, the new Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lombard, Portland: photo by Lyzadanger, 2004
Shopping cart on beach, St. Andrews, Scotland: photo by Sandro Ravazzolo, 2004

Saturday 23 January 2010



File:Máscara de Xiuhtecuhtli Cultura Azteza-Mixteca Ars Summum.JPG

The money




will keep


because the




will keep



Máscara de Xiuhtecuhtli. Representation of Xiuhtecuhtli (Lord Turquoise), Central Mexican god of fire. Mosaic of turquoise inlay and other materials. Mixtec-Aztec, c. 1400-1521: photo by Manuel Parada López de Corselas, 2007 (British Museum, London)

For the Love of God
: sculpture by Damien Hirst, 2007. Platinum cast of a human skull covered with 8,601 diamonds. Displayed at White Cube Gallery, London, asking price 50 million pounds. Copyright Damien Hirst, 2007 (photo via Daily Telegraph)

"... the desire incarnate in money offered a reward to the imagination, as between two lovers; and that reward seemed at first to be guaranteed by rare and beautiful metals, of whose inner nature and capacity men could only dream. In time, that guarantee was unveiled as only the projected authority of a community... It was the community that authorised the wishes expressed in money or frustrated them. To use money was to submit to the state, and when states disintegrated their moneys vanished as completely as their laws..." James Buchan, Frozen Desire: Macmillan, London, 1997

Thursday 21 January 2010

Southeast Wind



Nobody's home, but the For Sale sign
speaks of a collapsed urban economy

and parked just down the block
in an undelivered future
is an abandoned car
with idiotic beeps emanating from it
messages to the past
from the absence where we are
the wind setting off mechanized alarms
an animated bedlam
in the night

East Wind over Weehawken: Edward Hopper, 1934 (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, via Hunting Nighthawks)

The Helmsman


File:Krunkwerke - IMG 4515 (by-sa).jpg

It is the thunderbolt that steers the course of all things.

-- Heraclitus,

Gunmetal cloud light darkening to black and then
The sky cracks open and ninepins scatter again
In the celestial bowling alley, echoing
From Point Pinos to Point Lobos to Point Arena
A rumble and flash in time to write across the hills
Another strike rolled by Zeus, great god
Almighty, dash for cover before that hardball blue
Hail now hitting and bouncing off the wall
Of plexiglass above the storefront arcade seeks
You out and finds you

Thunderstorm, Toronto: photo by John R. Southern, 2003

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Cloud Forest


Archivo:Costa rica santa elena skywalk.jpg

Beyond the haunted hills of a region without name lie Cloud Forests traversed by skywalks that disappear into a dense bosky nebulosity of floating vapors; beneath these precarious spans into nowhere the atmosphere is permanently dim and airless, charged with confused perfumes of rotting vegetation, incense-fogged.

Pockets of ferns and trunks of great sunken mahogany trees rise out of the flooded forest floor. Lost children pick their way blind and bewildered among the wooded depths of this place beyond all maps, outside all human ken.

Large blue thunderheads gather every forenoon, looming up as vast bruises upon a forever menacing sky. Numb prisoners in irons trudging through the undergrowth mutter what may be worksongs, or mad oaths, or invectives against gods who have ceased to exist many centuries before.

Birds resembling some kind of prehistoric geese wheel toward the north one minute, then the next execute long sweeping turns and wing back toward the south, their arcs writing enormous looping diagrams upon the thick aerial medium, as if cancelling time out of history.

In the night something ends, in the morning something begins all over again, the division between these phases is not clearly demarcated, the details of what may have happened or may be about to happen remain anybody's guess, and it is questionable at any given point whether anyone is still sufficiently alive to do the guessing.

Asking a passerby for the time of day is an invitation to possession by obscure forebodings, for chances are good the passerby is merely a phantasm seeded into one's mind by languid salamandrine beings from another dimension who rule over this terrain as a pastime, an interlude between chapters of a more important work.

Archivo:Cloud forest mount kinabalu.jpg

Suspension bridge of the "Skywalk" north of Santa Elena, Costa Rica: photo by Dirk van der Made, 2004
Cloud forest, Mount Kinabalu, Borneo: photo by NepGrower, 2006




The rain it raineth every day. As if with particular intent.

Then there are the nights. So long. Here in the rainforest.

The rain accumulates in the sagging declivity that was once a gutter. And seeps. Sometimes a cascade. Sometimes a torrent. Sometimes drop... by... drop.

Life on earth. These are heaven's gifts. What is that sodden smell? The odour of a clogged drain? The redolent memorial of a weeping cloud, marooned on the celestial shelves past its sell-by date?

The earth is a woman, dreamed by the shipwrecked ancient on his lost island, prostrate on the soggy ground, inhaling the moist humus, letting the dark fragrance soak into his soul, which she permits him to do because she is not selective, she will bless the evil with the good, she is life, and will come where she was not invited and whether the timing is right or wrong.

And the timing always is what it is. The clock is always ticking. Time moves. But goes nowhere. Advances, falls back, starts again. Tick by tick. Drop by drop. Water will wear down a stone, given long enough.

A heart is not made of stone, but may turn stony. Or soggy. Makes no difference to that weeping cloud, which will go on weeping. Makes no difference to that moist and fragrant earth, which will go on giving up its dark fruits.

The night goes on. In the rainforest.


Animation zur Demonstration einer Minutensprunguhr: photo by Hk kng, 2009
Losophosoria quadripinnata ferns in Valdivian temperate rainforest, southern Chile: photo by Dentren, 2006

Saturday 16 January 2010



Christ in the House of Mary and Martha: Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez, 1618 (National Gallery, London)

Like Niobe, all tears.

-- Hamlet

Indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.

-- Antony and Cleopatra

What is the word in the universal language of feeling which we utter inside ourselves when we cast our eyes upon the suddenly, strangely weeping face of the kitchen maid in the Christ in the House of Mary and Martha of Velázquez?

Is this person acting? Are these tears real? Does the expression of a person in a picture tell the truth about her life? Are we being manipulated? Can authentic sorrow be faked in art? Do we wish to share the pain of a figure in a work of art? Are we reassured and comforted to know certain emotions are timeless? Is "real life" like this? Don't all tears have to dry up sometime?

Niobe was turned to stone, but continued to weep for her lost children, and as she wept, tears flowed from the stone.

What dying and crying have in common is a loss of composure, a de-composing. What crying has that dying lacks is a coming back to life.

File:NiobeWeepingRock AglayanKaya MountSipylus ManisaTurkey.jpg

Weeping Rock, Aglayan Kaya (associated with Niobe), Mt. Sipylus, Manisa, Turkey: photo by R.K. Tanitim, 2007



File:Feral cat Virginia crop.jpg

Whirled toward the Nimitz the busy tires sing
Green groves withhold a wilderness of lamps
As in mid street the scavenger appears
Who begs bald and scabrous with legs exposed
From hour to hour in the fog and cold
While the fireworks of cigarettes flipped
From passing cars into the moth eaten boughs
Glow like showers of doubtful shooting stars
Buffeted by winds of a machine future
The ejected scavenger circles restless
As if admonished from another world
Exploits night's intermediate hours of rest
When the great tide of traffic stands still
And the mighty waters part for him to cross

Feral cat: photo by Stavrolo, 2008

Thursday 14 January 2010

Classic Clown


Only light in the house beams on him, showing
Pindrop poise before the wall of noise moment;
There's quite a din before he falls on his sword.
Didn't someone say words are swords?

Tears flow. Last thing he sees is his life flashing
Before his eyes. Last things he hears are the vast
Basso of the cannon going off, his swift
Whistling explosion out of the barrel,

The lion tamer's laugh, the strange ballistics
As he soars over the highwire walker's pole
And out through the hole in the tent peak.
Heaven sent on this grim mission, he creates

A diversion that lasts till intermission,
Then jumps on his comic tricycle and rides.

The White Clown: Walt Kuhn, 1929 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)




Low winter sun, simmering in its distant forge
Foreshortens noon out on the glaring floe
Where northern wind still keens, a stormy petrel.
Dazzled before the New World's final seizure
The hallucinated trekker wanders. Stalled,
Dazed, listless, stupefied -- all one wanted,
Through those long hours following the native track
Was to lie down, doze, let the dumb centuries
Crystallize into dreaming permafrost
Beneath which one lies forever mute, time-glazed,
Heavy with inattention to oneself
As day's embers in the glowing west are drenched,
While around one's remains gather curious
Caribou, seeking tundra pastures new

File:Ren on Disco-tour.jpg

Male caribou in Alaska: photo by Dean Biggins, 2005 (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
Reindeer on Disco-Tour, northern Sweden: photo by Jürgen Howaldt, 2004

The Return of the Native



Rain shafts riddling the night as I pace the long
Path of sodden leaves and slush, traffic splashing
Up a spume of dirty water on Henry,
Street (not) named after a bald, brain-challenged boy
Who hikes boldly through the deafening downpour
Out of a blurred, soggy past, becoming me,
Becoming enfeebled, leaning on a cane.

Miwoks ground acorns in holes in these rocks.
Wet night gives way to sodden, endarkened
Dawning: a new ancient day, already aged,
Encroaches: dead light, leaving liquid shades
To reign. Indigenes once trudged this spot
Where the native returns now to speechless state,
In sturdy muteness, crouched, stooping in the rain.

The cartoonist never gave Henry a mouth.


Henry: comic strip by Carl Anderson, 1935
Betty Boop with Henry: film poster, 1935

"Black cars throb..."


File:2006-10-24 oil-puddle.jpg

Black cars throb past pavements blue with rain.
Soot black air under candlestick-like street lamp.
The pavement smokes. A sentence forms. Black puddles
Gather leaf matter. Particles of dead mind,
Language massing without message: twisted
Ghosts pissing the changeless grammar of the rain.

File:Here comes rain again.jpg

Oil puddle on pavement in the rain: photo by Roger McLassus, 2006
Raindrops falling on water: photo by Juni, 2004

Tuesday 12 January 2010



Cat cleaning itself (showing hooked papillae on tongue): photo by Jennifer Leigh, 2007

Oft turns the ageing mind to Frances
Waldman's blunt query, back seat of full taxi,
Riding downtown, that chill February,
To young Angelica: "Maybe marrying
Him seems like a good idea now, but where
Will it leave you in forty years?
" Being there
Herself, she should have known: old. Low blow, Frances!
The minds of the old are dirty, dirty
With the pained truth of all those years. Old, one grows,
At least in the opinion of strangers,
Ever less loveable (fact of nature), and so,
It follows, ever less easily loved--
Yet still, old does not so easily
Surrender the capacity to love
Nor the need to be loved. If anything
These things increase as one ages, somewhat
Inconveniently let it be said.
No one young likes to think of love among
The old. Consider the film Cloud Nine
In which seventy-somethings conduct
A none-too-discreet affair: things get sloppy,
No fleshy detail's spared us. Would you
O reader, not yet superannuated,
Wish to look away? En route to dust, let us
Guard and preserve, if not our virginity
(Pace Andrew Marvell), then our privacy.
Let's not talk about dignity, only wild
Creatures get to maintain that. And of course
As I'm writing this, Smokey the cat
Fastidiously scours his private parts with
Busy tongue. Animals, unlike us, are clean.
Young, the parts that interested one
Most in books and movies were the dirty ones.

We Can Take This Moment and Freeze It


File:Cleveland night homeless.jpg

When X reached out, earnest, intense, bewildered,
To extend a helping if trembling hand
To Y, lost in the reified nightstreet void,
Prefiguring the data thicket plunge

Of everything into Total Recall
Where nothing that's living is remembered
Because in the instant life turns into
Information it dies, stays forever dead --

Eyes red and burning with radiation shimmer,
One's failing sense of self in wigged out trade winds
Shifting minute by minute to a sense of everyone
As blind automata, compelled by need and drive --

The street preachers argue among themselves
About the Rapture, the when and how, not the why.

Homeless person sleeping on street: photo by Pineapple XVI, 2007




The japonaiserie of bay and islands
In the long rush of January clouds and storms

About six o'clock I take out my memory book
The moment turned inside out opens

Life moves the blood again, the veins are warm
The moon bathes nude in the thin cloud foam

Making ordinary landscapes appear fractured
Under the blue ceiling of an empty street

All night a boat swings as if to sink into a word
The body of this thought must be a star

File:Reflection nebula IC 349 near Merope.jpg

Golden Gate National Recreational Area
: panoramic image by Debivort, 2006
Reflection nebula IC 349 near Merope in the Pleiades: Hubble Space Telescope image, 2006 (NASA)

Sunday 10 January 2010

Moviegoing (1940s)


File:Lady from Shanghai trailer hayworth2.JPG

Rita Hayworth in Lady from Shanghai, 1947: screenshot from film trailer

We dwell in our plush gumstuck viewing thrones.
Buck's still caught on that log when the house lights come
Up. Shocked by the return of a real life
We were doing very well without, thank you,
We recognize that image was a white lie,

With no more substance than a dream,
No more lasting than the gift by which we breathe,
No more lasting, that is, than itself.
And as in waking from the dream too soon
One forgets its truths, we turn back into lumps,

Resigned to our several lump personae
Washed up amid alien popcorn boxes,
Moving out past velvety chains into
Cool silks of the night, Rita Hayworth lost,
Stars widening their vast indifferent gaze.


Star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud: photo by NASA/ESA, 2006

Saturday 9 January 2010

The Two Feathers


File:Types de plumes. - Larousse pour tous, -1907-1910-.jpg

A missing girl skips past the abandoned school yard.

In plate glass, the phantom images of shadow people are blown hither and thither, like straw persons, their movement surreptitious as in underworld areas of ingress to panhandle and retreat. A shuffle promenade, not quite a progress.

Wrecked fields where torn papers scatter in the wind.

Children would play amid the waste, were there children, were the missing children here.

Above the play structures the two feathers hang in the trees, among the branches. A small red shimmering light and a small white shimmering light.

The wind moaning, the dog someone beats distantly howling, but the dark need not fear the dark.

Half the sky for praying, the other half for the beauties of the night.


Plumes: Adolphe Millot, in Larousse pour tous: nouveau dictionnaire encyclopédique (1907-1910)
Salat times: image by LooiNL, 2007

Friday 8 January 2010

Message from the Captain



Not much time before landing, might as well say all this at last. A little wrath gave me a place to hide my face in, but when that passed and I looked in the eyes of those I'd left here to wander alone under the low ceiling of the empty sky, mercy measured the extent of my great openness, and I said: I won't say one more word; and I dashed my headset to the cockpit floor.

Nothing mars the clarity of this calm desert night until I will it. There's a lot of cloud cover as we go down. The departure of the mountains and the removal of the hills may well ensue, but not the ending of this feeling of deep peace waiting at the end of the landing strip; into which, as on a ship drifting after being wrecked in a storm, one must belatedly and unexpectedly happen. I think I can make out the runway lights.

Swissair Flight 111 (crashed after an in-flight fire, 2 September, 1998): image by Anynobody, 2008

Thursday 7 January 2010

Time Rotates But There Is Only One Season


File:Coriolis effect16.gif

The October light falls cold, and number 53
Steps across the infield toward his destiny.

The April light is sullen, and number 54
Walks to the mound once more. Now he knows the score.

Out beyond the stars the universe watches,
Counting beats of strange hearts between pitches.

File:Moving target.gif

Coriolis effect (schematic representation of atmospheric inertial oscillation): image by Cleon Teunissen, 2005
Moving target (Coriolis effect): image by Cleon Teunissen, 2005