Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Chris Ware, "All Together Now," 2014.  One of the very few images in my workspace (along with photographs by Jeff Wall, Sylvia Grace Borda, & Elizabeth Zvonar, a picture of a Giant Pacific Octopus clipped from a magazine, a Jack Shadbolt owl poster, a Fortune portrait of Warren Buffett, a reproduction of Matisse's "Bouquet of Flowers on a Veranada" and the beginnings of a Pearblossom collage).

Ware: "Sometimes, I’ve noticed with horror that the memories I have of things like my daughter’s birthday parties or the trips we’ve taken together are actually memories of the photographs I took, not of the events themselves, and together, the two somehow become ever more worn and overwrought, like lines gone over too many times in a drawing. The more we give over of ourselves to these devices, the less of our own minds it appears we exercise, and worse, perhaps even concomitantly, the more we coddle and covet the devices themselves."

This whole performance, but esp. 5:00-on
Friday, May 29, 2015


The poet writes about her memories of her father.

The poet writes about his teenage years in a small interior town.

The poet writes about his feelings for his wife and his young child.

The poet writes about an unsatisfactory prior relationship, & a new one that's better.

There's nothing wrong with these slim books per se (& one of them is actually pretty good) save the nagging suspicion that the "I" that recurs in all four like the repetitive tick of a metronome could go away 95% of the time & not be missed.

Almost done this thing.

Tone-hunting: "Between Love & Hate," (Room on Fire, 2003)

Fraiture's bass guitar "less present except for several moments when it becomes the focal point of the song."
Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015
"The very idea that one could become a musician without first being deeply struck, being branded, altered, by another’s work: impossible. Psychotic."
Critical reevaluation: that lot may in fact not be location X, but it sure rings all my JW-radar.

&, even if it isn't, that little tree, the one with the couch beneath it, sure looks like it needs its portrait made, maybe even more so than that fears'come excavation on Magnolia Boulevard, or that unrewarding Pearblossom crossroads.
LA Open Acres -- useful!
12:46am: found a workaround, even higher resolution than before.

Not claimed as art, more as evidence of my frustration level with the new Google Street View as a mechanism for autonomous art, as opposed to remotely snooping on others' art.  The little tree in the foreground, if still present in early fall, deserves a picture of its own.

Q: How many parking garages are there in metro LA, CJB?

A: Fewer than there are public parks (qv. previous iterations of this game), but still, enough.
Friday, May 22, 2015

" [I]n the area under the big tree there was a couch with tan-coloured cushions on it, as well as some garbage and beer cans. She also testified that there was a green Save-On-Foods shopping cart in the parking lot under her window. That cart had been there when she moved in two years earlier and had flooring tiles in it. After she heard about the body of a woman being found in a shopping cart, Ms. Debeck noted that the cart was no longer beneath her window and that the flooring tiles had been piled on the ground where it had been."

(This whole text's multiple overlapping voices, but esp. the testimony of Mark Tonack)
Foul Play Suspected in Nanaimo Death
30 June 2010

"Police in the Vancouver Island community of Nanaimo say foul play is suspected in the death of a woman whose body was found in a bushy area near the city's downtown core.

The woman's body was found at about 11 a.m. Tuesday in an undeveloped lot between Millstone River and the Greyhound bus station, at the end of Prideaux Street.

The woman has not been identified, but witnesses say she was found partially clothed in a shopping cart near a homeless camp.

Police say they have not established the cause of death, but foul play is suspected."

Perpetually on the edge
of the polis' frame,
proud skink or pufferfish
who falls in & out
with everyone, returns
reports of the island's
mirror-world to those
still caught in the city's
flopping  jaws, slow cadence
of clashing teeth
the tap   tap   tap
of Foster's drum, or
sneakered E&N crosstie

There's a splinter in your eye and it reads R-E-A-C-T.

Contemporary lyric verse?     Fuck

I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this. So, fuck you, man. (Fuck 'em)


If they weren't there we would have created them. Maybe, it's true,
But I'm resentful all the same. Someone's got to take the blame.
I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen-venting,
But I feel better having screamed. Don't you?
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Everyone wants to take selfies, or close-ups of the equipment. No one can supply a simple panning shot or street signage.  Fortunately the clear sky supplies a crucial piece of information.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dude here's not helpful.  But the background?  Super helpful.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015




Monday, May 18, 2015
These Poems, cont.

A few here & there for a while.  The ones with titles "in brackets" are written quickly in the morning using a restrictive format & loosely autobiographical content, & will probably change for a while before finally settling down.
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
by ee cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
as the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody ,not even the rain, has such small hands

(Taped to Bernadette's study carrel in Buchanan Tower c. 1992-5)
These Poems, She Said
by Robert Bringhurst

These poems, these poems,
these poems, she said, are poems
with no love in them. These are the poems of a man   
who would leave his wife and child because   
they made noise in his study. These are the poems   
of a man who would murder his mother to claim   
the inheritance. These are the poems of a man   
like Plato, she said, meaning something I did not   
comprehend but which nevertheless
offended me. These are the poems of a man
who would rather sleep with himself than with women,   
she said. These are the poems of a man
with eyes like a drawknife, with hands like a pickpocket’s   
hands, woven of water and logic
and hunger, with no strand of love in them. These   
poems are as heartless as birdsong, as unmeant   
as elm leaves, which if they love love only   
the wide blue sky and the air and the idea
of elm leaves. Self-love is an ending, she said,   
and not a beginning. Love means love
of the thing sung, not of the song or the singing.   
These poems, she said....
                                       You are, he said,
                That is not love, she said rightly.

(Taped to my study carrel in Buchanan Tower c. 1992-5)

"Many owners have seen their cats watching nature programs on TV. Most cats quickly put the TV into the same mental category as a window - they can see and hear the animals, but can't reach them. After one or two investigations behind the TV or the speakers, they learn that the animals stay inside the box. After that they don't bother checking for escaped TV animals again, or at least don't expect to find anything if they do check - when you are a cat, it can't hurt to be absolutely sure there isn't a snack-sized wildebeest behind the TV!"


"Pleading emails"

Pleading emails offering
what I once thought I needed.

Hallway object, boy's face on JVC,
window display glimpsed over lover's shoulder.

Young tree's skin,
its passage through time.

18 years since I saw it last,
night desert drive, north under stars.

Thinking it over, together;
letting it go.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
"...your blind, stupefied heart." (John Thompson)

Love You Madly
(as performed by Ella Fitzgerald)

Love you madly
right or wrong
sounds like a lyric of a song
But since it's so
I thought you oughta know
I love you, love you madly
Better fish are in the sea
Is not the theory for me
And that's for sure
Just like I said before
I love you, love you madly
If you could see the happy you and me
I dream about so proudly
You'd know the breath of spring
That makes me sing
My love song so loudly
Good things come to those who wait
So just relax and wait for fate
To let me see the day you'll say to me
I love you, love you madly
But since it's so
I thought you oughta know
I love you, madly
And that's for sure
Just like I said before
I love you, love you madly
If you could see the happy you and me
I dream about so proudly
You'd know the breath of spring
That makes me sing
My love song so loudly
To let me see the day you'll say to me
I love you madly


Love you madly
right or wrong
sounds like a lyric of a song
But since it's so
I thought you oughta know
I love you, madly
Better fish are in the sea
Is not the theory for me
And that's for sure
Just like I said before
I love you, madly
If you could see the happy you and me
I dream about so proudly
You'd know the breath of spring
That makes me sing
My love song so loudly
Good things come to those who wait
So just relax and wait for fate
To let me see the day you'll say to me
I love you, love you madly
I love you
Love you madly
I love you madly
Oh, I got big eyes for you, baby

(PC portrait: Peter Cummings)

& Shasta, brindle catahoula,
'Best of' Used Nanaimo
by a country mile.

& really only ever visible
afterwards, as loss.
Columbia Studio B,
19 June 1974, where no
orchestra played, & yet
is heard, clearly, in the
recording, in the echoing
space above Miles' trumpet
& Harmon mute,
as if love for the departed
could conjure him back,
or some semblance of him
back, like Spicer's
spook voices--
Saturday, May 16, 2015

Axe Handles
by Gary Snyder

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
                 the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.


"If the lights are off, we are temporarily out of kittens. Please check back soon!"
Friday, May 15, 2015

Cymbal taps & Cosey's
steel guitar like light May
rain along the fence
at Morden colliery.
The former 'pride of industry'
defunct, admired now
by Prius mom 'n dad
up island for the weekend.
They moved the town by rail,
dud cordwood cheques
stacked in the so-called
paymaster's hut, uncashable,
& now these Goretex assholes
want to preserve it, like
braid garlic nailed
to grandma's kitchen wall?
Things naturally fall apart.
After spring rain, Players
butts, maple helicopters,
pulpy chunk gyproc &
a blackbird's chewed-off wing
gather near the base
of Scotchtown Road hill.
Primitive accumulation.
Putting things side by side,
not aesthetic choice,
but index.
So I say I'm in love with the world
And what is so wrong with voicing a doubt
When I'm on my own
It's perfectly fine to sleep in a chair
From Monday 'til Saturday
And what is so wrong with talking out loud
When I'm all alone


I made it on the bevel.
Thursday, May 14, 2015


"Algorithmic trading has really made the markets unsafe for comedy."

"Shares never quite traded at the offer price, but they did get as high as $8.00 before everyone started treating the offer as a hoax. (Some of the jaggedness in that chart comes from a trading halt.) I submit to you that some part of that jump is attributable to dumb computers scanning the press release, seeing the offer and buying. Some other part is attributable to dumb people scanning the press release, seeing the offer and buying. And a further part is attributable to smart and/or lucky people and/or computers scanning the press release, seeing the fake offer, and figuring they could buy and sell to a greater fool before the inevitable halt and/or crash.  But no part of it is attributable to reasonable people reading the press release and making an informed decision that PTG's offer is a material event for Avon's stock.

PTG's offer is a transparent hoax. Perhaps it is just an amusing piece of performance art, or someone practicing with the Edgar securities filing system, but my assumption is that it's a money-making hoax. It's a sort of spoofing: Whoever's behind PTG presumably wanted to sell some Avon stock at a higher price than they paid for it, so they announced a massive bid to buy the stock at an absurdly inflated price."

An old friend encounters contemporary art and completes an aesthetic circuit.

Cymbal taps & Cosey's
steel guitar like light May
rain along the fence
at Morden colliery.
The former 'pride of industry'
defunct, admired now
by Prius mom 'n dad
up island for the weekend.
They moved the town by rail,
dud cheques stacked
in the superintendent's hut like
so much cordwood
& now these Goretex
assholes want to preserve it,
like bulb garlic nailed
to the wall in grandma's
kitchen? Things naturally
fall apart. After spring rain,
Players butts, maple helicopters,
pulpy chunk gyproc
& a blackbird's chewed-off wing
gather near the base
of Scotchtown Road hill.
Primitive accumulation. Putting
things side by side, not aesthetic choice,
but index.

 -That sounds like a lot of work! 
Smart poets pursue a
'poetics of leisure' (Paul
Nelson). Or 'pleasure'
(Rolf Mauer). Or anxiety,
peforming a sense of
urban unwelcome -- 'wearing out
their knees' on the mat.
Even that grey stucco
Adanac apartment's.
'In BC you could get
away from the state
by walking uphill
barefoot for ten minutes'
or an hour and a half
on the Queen of Coquitlam,
grey city shrinking
like the Deltaport's lights,
a floating psychic equilibrium
reestablished by distance.
"As a child, however, she had already taken her own measure and found it wanting. 'I was definitely a poser as a little kid,' she says. “It was just clear to me that—you know, in Little Women they’re reading The Pickwick Papers and putting out a newspaper and being unbelievably productive, and I was not like that. So I had this feeling of inferiority to past models."
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Zombie Conceptualism

If a 2015 artwork perfectly replicates aesthetic conventions c. 1967-73, does anybody hear? Or care?  Presumably the artist and the artwork's publisher do, but both should know better.
Monday, May 11, 2015

"In 1926 the economy of the Lower Mainland received a major boost with the establishment of the British Columbia Gypsum Company’s manufacturing plant on the south shore of the Fraser River opposite New Westminster, at a railway point that would become known as 'Gyproc.'"

Sunday, May 10, 2015
"One grasps the writing with what one knows; not getting it exactly right is usually quite fine in an appreciation of art, and in fact should be encouraged."

"Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Thomas Carlyle quoting from the Book of Daniel, so maybe I got it from Phyllis Webb & not from TC at all)
Saturday, May 09, 2015
The old Scots word JACHELT was used to describe trees that have grown with the direction of the wind.

Email:  "Hi: I am really sorry to have to tell you that according to what I am hearing on the radio, it seems that R. has killed his wife, daughter and S. and then shot himself and set his house on fire yesterday."

After all this time, they asked us to leave,
And I told them we could pay double the rent.
I don't know why it seemed so funny,
Seeing as how they'd take more money.
The winkler called again, he came here this morning,
With four hundred pounds and a photograph of the place he has found.
A block of flats with central heating.
I think we're going to find it hard.


Falls entrepreneur's business grows from tree stumps

 (Dan Steely's Just Stumps Stump Grinding)

"If one were to draw up an indictment of this government’s approach to politics and the public purpose, one might mention its wholesale contempt for Parliament, its disdain for the Charter of Rights and the courts’ role in upholding it, its penchant for secrecy, its chronic deceitfulness, its deepening ethical problems, its insistence on taking, at all times, the lowest, crudest path to its ends, its relentless politicization of everything."
Friday, May 08, 2015
Peter Culley's list of 75 of maybe 150 "Essential Texts" in No Particular Order, and not including reference books

1. Life of Johnson--James Boswell

2. Last Lunar Badeker--Mina Loy

3. So Going Around Cities--Ted Berrigan

4. Curiosities of Literature--Isaac D'Israeli

5. Pandemonium--Humphrey Jennings

6. Collected Novels--Jean Rhys

7. Tristram Shandy--Laurence Sterne

8. Collected Poems--Hugh MacDiarmid

9. Ambit--Gerald Creede

10. Planetary Gear--Ted Pearson

11. You--George Stanley

12. The Relative Minor--Deanna Ferguson

13. Europe of Trusts--Susan Howe

14. Words--Robert Creeley

15. Journals--Gilbert White

16. Swedish Letters--Mary Wollstencraft

17. Midsummer Cushion--John Clare

18. Art Criticism--Denis Diderot

19. Lost Illusions--Honore de Balzac

20. The Cloister and the Hearth--Charles Reade

21. Polyverse--Lee Ann Brown

22. The Power Broker--Robert Caro

23. The Glenn Gould Reader

24. Charlotte Bronte--Villette

25. The Fire Next Time--James Baldwin

26. Notebooks and Marginalia--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

27. Tight Corners (and what's around them)--David Bromige

28. From Next Spring--Gerry Gilbert

29. Don Juan--Lord Byron

30. Collected Nonsense--Edward Lear

31. Moominland Midwinter--Tove Jansson

32. Fovea Centralis--Christopher Dewdney

33. The Dumbfounding--Margaret Avison

34. Travels in Arabia Derserta--Charles Doughty

35. Memoirs--Thomas Bewick

36. The Seasons--James Thompson

37. The Task--William Cowper

38. A Dance to the Music of Time--Anthony Powell

39. Autobiographies--Janet Frame

40. Reveries of a Solitary Walker--Jean-Jacques Rousseau

41. Stages on Life's Way--Soren Kierkegaard

42. Book of Magazine Verse--Jack Spicer

43. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire--Edward Gibbon

44. Street of Crocodiles--Bruno Schulz

45. Collected Poems--Basil Bunting

46. The Mediterranean--Fernand Braudel

47. The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity--Aby Warburg

48. The Journal of a Disappointed Man--WNP Barbellion

49. Martyrology Book 2--bp Nichol

50. Midwinter Day--Bernadette Mayer

51. Collected Short Novels--Collette

52. Own Face--Clark Coolidge

53. Testimony--Charles Reznikoff

54. Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror--John Ashbery

56. Anatomy of Melancholy--Robert Burton

57. Journals--Dorothy Wordsworth

58. Voyage of the 'Beagle'--Charles Darwin

59. The Fur Trade in Canada--Harold Adams Innis

60. Archaeologist of Morning--Charles Olson

61. The Kalevela--comp. Elias Lonrot

62. Collected Poems--Lorine Niedecker

63. Memoirs--Hector Berlioz

64. Marcel Duchamp--Octavio Paz

65. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym--Edgar Allen Poe

66. Diaries--Cosima Wagner

67. Essays--Arthur Schopenhauer

68. Harvest of the Cold Months--Elizabeth David

69. A Place of Greater Safety--Hilary Mantel

70. The Wind in the Willows--Kenneth Grahame

71. Imaginations--William Carlos Williams

72. Harmonium--Wallace Stevens

73. Hymns and Fragments--Friedrich Holderlin (Sieburth trans.)

74. The Wanderer--Alain-Fournier

75. Up in the Old Hotel--Joseph Mitchell

Robert Palmer & Roy Fisher, special friends of this long memorial song.

So out of what materials
shall we be making
our nothing?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015
"His work consists of recording small sounds, quotes, and melodies from a film or a specific scene, and sequencing the sounds together to form a new piece of music. In most of his works, the newly created piece of music consists solely of the sounds he samples from those films or scenes, without additional, 'external' music or sound effects."
Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Monday, May 04, 2015

Back in the booth
line 2 blinking -- AM
DJ's late -- no reason.
32 minutes to fill.  Takes
down the double album's
purple sleeve -- Miles' wide
eyes catlike behind
huge hexagonal glasses -- 
cues up the first cut's quavering
organ tones.
Sunday, May 03, 2015
"Urban life and movement present real technical difficulties and challenge poetic conventions. Urban life is dense and fast and requires flexible structures that can incorporate speed and information. It’s tough to come up with a coherent, interesting structure."

Via the Nanaimo Daily News -- Respected Poet Remembered 

"Culley met his wife Daphne more than 30 years ago [in] a book store in Nanaimo.

'As I recall I invited him over for dinner and he never left,' she said. 'We were together from that time.'"

Saturday, May 02, 2015

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