Friday, March 6, 2015


(This feature is part of TRUCK’s Theme Issue on the List or Catalog Poem. You can go HERE for an Index of the Participating Poets.)

In the House of the Hangman 1878

Still, it will take me a while to list violinists, though the first one who comes to mind is Robert Mealy who plays with Quicksilver, Trinity Wall Street, and others. Most fluid, relaxed, and effective technique I’ve seen, and I wish Jesse Kotansky would go to one of Robert’s clinics because I would enjoy seeing how Jesse might incorporate some of Robert’s techniques into his distinctly personal style. Robert is at Juilliard now but we’ve known him for decades and seen his style evolve. Elizabeth Wallfisch is another very interesting violinist in terms of technique. Rather different from Robert. Jesse Kotansky has dreadful technique if evaluated critically, but it works perfectly for him. Rob Diggins has a gorgeous, relaxed flow when he plays. Oh, and one violinist I haven’t heard live yet but have recordings of and expect to enjoy live someday: Helene Schmidt. Oops. I left John Holloway off the list. Ditto for Andrew Manze and Monica Huggett. They are all splendid, with radically opposite body types. I could go on for a while. Manze is retired now -- he was amazing at fast lyricism. Holloway is a powerhouse. Huggett is a charmer, never the very best but always a pure delight to watch and hear. She has presence on stage. Someone younger I haven’t seen in person is Amandine Beyer, but I enjoy listening to her CDs. Just fun stuff to watch -- it is standard to watch other musicians in order to see yourself more clearly.

And so when you read
Wait until you have read the next line—
Then it is safe to go on reading.

One wish may hide another.
One dog may conceal another
On a lawn, so if you escape the first one you’re not necessarily safe;
One lilac may hide another and then a lot of lilacs and on the Appia
   Antica one tomb
May hide a number of other tombs.

One bath
   may hide another bath
As when, after bathing, one walks out into the rain
One idea may hide another: Life is simple

And one dream may hide another as is well known, always, too.

Pause to let the first one pass.
You think, Now it is safe to cross and you are hit by the next one. It
   can be important
To have waited at least a moment to see what was already there.

Like Tuğçe Albayrak. Tuğçe was a 22-year-old German woman. One night, she was at a McDonalds and heard two teenage girls being harassed by three men in a bathroom. The restaurant was crowded, and many people heard what was happening, but no one did anything to help. Tuğçe fought her way into the bathroom and stopped the men from attacking the girls. But one of the men followed Tuğçe outside and beat her into a coma. Her parents turned off the life support machines on her 23rd birthday. This story is about Tuğçe, but it’s also about much more. In the movement to end violence against women, there are myriad heroes, people committing acts of unspeakable bravery every day, people whose names we’ll never know. I wonder, Eileen, can one name constitute that list poem I owe you? At this point, I have not telephoned anyone. The leper colony we drove through on the last night, to buy Ayurvedic toothpaste from the Ram Sharnam store … I began to make a film, thinking how much the colorful blue and pink quarters resembled the architecture of Taos. But no, he said. This is a leper colony. The Gandhi colony. Prime real estate. The lepers have been displaced, bit by bit, by forces of capital. Businesses that took over or bribed current residents for a lease: proliferate. Thus, a mixed space. And the air. So incredibly polluted and real. The thing you become, breathing it in. And I can’t think about the month of April and the shattered apple blossoms of Brooklyn.

Patrick Dresmond   Timothy Stansbury   Sean Bell   Amadou Diallo

Kimani Grey   Kendrick Mcdate   Erin Campbell   Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin   Trayvon Martin   Osmand Xango   Justin   Sic Johnny Kamai  
Warren   Austin   Trayvon Martin   Timothy Russel   Johnny Kamai

Warren   Trayvon Martin   

Oscar Grant  

Fred Hampton (Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner, Rumain Brisbon …)

Paused here on the way to the Indian grocery store. Turmeric, moong daal, kishmish. The mountains looked weirdly violet and the clouds displayed an eagle shaped portal of blazing light. Was I dead? No, I was dreaming of a hybrid city. It was Berlin but in the middle was a moving escalator that was in Tokyo. And it was a cultural festival. Margit Galater and Matias Viegener were dancing together in an improvised movement piece holding large pieces of blue watercolour paper with writing on it that was both German and Japanese. Andrea Spain was discussing literary philosophy in the toilets. The toilets were in Johannesburg. This is such a quiet life. Why Tokyo? Hiromi Ito’s Wild Grass on the Riverbank came from Action Books in an envelope, like a block of cocaine. How the “rushes”: a vegetal complex of grasses: might start bleeding beneath their legs or from their seams. “... the grasses growing in the wasteland bloomed with yellow flowers, but the flowers quickly wilted and became red, the clusters of rushes on the riverbank still had not gone into heat ...” Is the prairie a kind of monkey, exposing its rump to any passerby? I scan the trail for late season rattlesnakes. I love that the book ends with a botanical index: “A Guide to the Plants in this Book.” “Sometimes,” I overhear him say, “I want to riot for riot’s sake.” What else? Formless and ancient hydrocarbons from the depths of our planet move beneath Los Angeles, unexpectedly setting fire to sidewalks and burning whole businesses to the ground. What else? Fallen Fruit, an art collective formed in 2004 by Viegener, David Burns, and Austin Young, has worked — according to their website — “with fruit as a material or medium” and has sought to “imagine fruit as a lens through which to see the world.” The fruit that Viegener seeks isn’t stolen, like Saint Augustine’s, but is available by the divine right of usufruct. I could compare his formal corpuscle (stanza) of 25 to the blessed coterie of 36 souls who will save the world (“When I was a kid I read about the Lamed Vavniks, 36 righteous people on whom the world depends — but we don’t know who they are”); or to the sonnet’s healing constraint, an S/M contract, of 14; but a more logical comparison would be to the psychoanalytic hour, the 50-minute slice, my mother said women would run across lanes of traffic just to touch my hair. “Once I saw Dolly Parton in a restaurant, Patina. She sat behind me; as soon as I knew she was there, I could feel her vibrations through my chair.” This Dolly Parton observation is number 22; number 23, in this sequence, is “She’s tiny.” Tiny, too, is the sentence in which her tininess appears. This lightness of tone introduces a plainspokenness, a climate of the commensensical, the copacetic, the comfortable, that is Californian, but also Benjaminian (Walter Benjamin, were history kinder to him, might have had a happy third act in Hollywood, playing tennis with Arnold Schoenberg) — I mean, parataxis, like a line- or stanza break, gives rest cure within the work itself, as if the respite offered by yoga’s corpse pose could exist within literature, too (The Birds doesn’t lead to Interiors; Interiors doesn’t lead to Body Double.) Parataxis allows Viegener to do justice to sex’s randomness, but also to the sublimity of this particular guy landing right here in my lap; parataxis allows Viegener to push a “sex” argument that is more relaxed and satori-filled than anything Foucault could have imagined — a body-without-organs weightlessness, (like apples in a tragically complicated orchard) sex everywhere, theory everywhere, death everywhere. “I am so tired of making lists I could cry. I’m tired of trying to get people’s attention. I just want to shut up and go to sleep.” “I once saw Alanis Morissette naked at Esalen.” To use another unruly (and evasive?) metaphor: I drink German romanticism through any straw. I mean,

1 Adam begat Seth; and Seth, Enos,
2 Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered,
3 Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech,
4 Noe, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
5 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, and Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
6 Forsooth the sons of Gomer were Ashchenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
7 And the sons of Javan were Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
8 The sons of Ham were Cush, and Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.
9 And the sons of Cush were Seba, and Havilah, Sabta, and Raamah, and Sabtecha. And the sons of Raamah were Sheba, and Dedan.
10 And Cush begat Nimrod; this Nimrod began to be mighty in [the] earth.
11 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
12 and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, of which the Philistines and Caphthorim went out, or came. (and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, and Caphthorim, from whom the Philistines came.)
13 And Canaan begat Sidon, his first begotten son (his first-born son), and Heth,
14 and (the) Jebusite, and Amorite, and Girgashite,
15 and Hivite, and Arkite, and Sinite,
16 and Arvadite, and Zemarite, and Hamathite.
17 The sons of Shem were Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram were Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech.
18 And Arphaxad begat Shelah; which himself engendered Eber. (And Arphaxad begat Shelah; and Shelah begat Eber.)
19 And to Eber were born two sons; the name of [the] one was Peleg, for the land was parted in his days (for the land was divided in his days); and the name of his brother was Joktan.
20 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
21 and Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah,
22 Ebal, and Abimael, and Sheba,
23 and Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.
24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah,
25 Eber, Peleg, Reu,
26 Serug, Nahor, Terah,
27 Abram; this is Abraham.
28 The sons of Abraham were Isaac, and Ishmael.
29 And these be the generations of them; and these, begotten, begat

Macy’s                               Hickory Farms
Circuit City                         GNC
Payless ShoeSource                   The Body Shop
Sears                                Eddie Bauer
Kay Jewelers                         Payless ShoeSource
GNC                                  Circuit City
LensCrafters                         Kay Jewelers
Coach                                Gymboree
Gymboree                             The Body Shop
                                     Hickory Farms
The Body Shop                        Macy’s
Eddie Bauer                          GNC
Crabtree & Evelyn                    Circuit City
Gymboree                             Sears
Foot Locker
Land’s End.

And it’s official, they’ve found the remains of one of the 43 students, Alexander Mora Venancio, whose father reported that his son’s body was burned and that experts identified it by a fragment of bone and a tooth. On that afternoon, my heart was silently bleeding as I knocked a hole in the shop’s wall. I lived in a great big city but increasingly had found that I was having difficulty walking through the doors. Again, it wasn’t a matter of their size, nor mine, but of something else entirely. You see, I am one of those rare people who actually remember being born. Then I choked on – someone had to take my forearm and get me belly up. I looked like this. I turned on my head. I WILL NOT PROFIT FROM THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS. Sometimes, around dawn, I was sure I could hear the snake wriggling in its cage, making a sound akin to dry glue sliding through sawdust, winking his lower eyelids one eye at a time. I rang for my stop, but when it came time to exit the train, once again I found that I could not fit through the door. Several people gave me recommendations, until I settled on the idea of visiting a volcano that was supposed to possess many rare qualities (apparently it made the sound of a human breathing in and out). These days I’m finding it difficult to stay put inside my own skull. Why the other day, I wrote, I was watching some swans swim around a small pond during my lunch break, and I swore that for a brief moment I couldn’t fit into my own skull. This had nothing to do with size. I was unwrapping a sandwich and suddenly flashed on myself washing my hands with a stub of old white soap, which I had done about ten minutes earlier. Then for a brief moment I was convinced I saw my own thoughts steaming in the grass, and I thought the swans were vultures, but this didn’t frighten me. If only we knew with certainty that our effect on the world was a good one. Now grab opposite hand to ankle, extending each leg. I had to get it right. My body had to. It was a matter of rolling forward. Like, “why is a mouse sad,” but always with a post-authentic authenticity, a new sincerity, that reminds us of when Lil’ B raps about the beauty of a little turtle (or maybe Drake). The story of how he discovered Instagram is typical. During a breakfast in 2012 with Ryan Trecartin, the video artist downloaded the app onto Obrist’s phone (without asking). Next, Trecartin posted to his Instagram followers that H.U.O. had signed up. Obrist was curious, but he wondered what to do with the new tool. Inspiration was sparked by other well-known friends. On a visit to Normandy, he went for a walk with Etel Adnan. During a rainstorm, they stopped at a café, and she wrote him a poem, by hand. This made Obrist remember Umberto Eco’s comments on how handwriting was vanishing; he also thought of marvellous faxes he had received, all handwritten, from J. G. Ballard, when he interviewed him, in 2003. Adnan’s handwritten poem became one of Obrist’s first Instagram posts. Soon afterward, he remembered that another friend, the artist Joseph Grigely, who is deaf, uses Post-It notes to communicate; they are often incorporated into his art.

[Note: for Eileen Tabios, who asked for a list-poem, and got a lists-poem instead. Sources: Still: JBR; it will take me a while … see yourself more clearly: Sylvia ??, a friend of K’s thru Ravelry’s Chronic Bitches, and a cellist, who kindly took an interest in my viola technique when I tore up my hand learning a new move; And so when you read … what was already there: Kenneth Koch, “One Train May Hide Another”, at New York Review of Books, 8 Apr 93; Like Tuğçe … names we’ll never know: Shelby Knox,, “She was murdered for saving two teen girls”, email rec’d 7 Dec approx 6:05 AM PST; At this point … apple blossoms of Brooklyn and Paused here … What else?: Bhanu Kapil (another very brave woman), “I don’t really”, “Prairie Style”, at Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi?, 4 Dec 014; Patrick … Hampton: Ambrose Akinmusire, “Rollcall For Those Absent”, at Afrosonics, Dec 014; (Mike Brown … Rumain Brisbon …): JBR; Formless and ancient … businesses to the ground: Geoff Manaugh, “The Fiery Underground Oil Pit Eating L.A.”, at The Daily Beast, 6 Dec 014; Fallen Fruit … straw: Wayne Koestenbaum, and Matias Viegener, quoted in Koestenbaum’s “Through A Glass Randomly: Matias Viegener’s ‘2500 Random Things About Me Too’”, at Los Angeles Review of Books, 29 Aug 013; I mean: JBR; 1 Adam begat Seth … generations of them: 1 Chronicles 1 (Wycliffe Bible), at Bible Gateway; and these, begotten, begat: JBR; Macy’s … Land’s End: Robert Fitterman, “Directory”, at Poetry Foundation; And: JBR; it’s official … bone and a tooth: Carolina Muela,”It’s official …”, at Carolina Muela, 6 Dec 014; On that afternoon … rolling forward: Amanda Ackerman, I Fell in Love with a Monster Truck, in “DAY 5, FEMINISM AND FITNESS - AMANDA ACKERMAN”, at Delirious Hem, 7 Dec 014; Like: JBR; “why is a mouse … maybe Drake): Felix Bernstein, “The Golden Mean: Dorothea Lasky and the Well-Adjusted Poem”, at Hyperallergic, 7 Dec 014; The story of how he discovered … into his art: D T Max, “The Art of Conversation: The curator who talked his way to the top”, at The New Yorker, 8 Dec 014 (on Hans Ulrich Obrist)]

7 December 2014

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