Monday, 30 March 2009

From "Up To You Munro"

By Johan de Wit.

huggable wicker debit balls
inspect spiked intensity
northwest of offspring

Sunday, 29 March 2009

From "Mum in Airdrie"

By Fiona Templeton.

drop
stopped in use
storied in use
belie heaven belly believing
become
all good bad
she cubed
a good eyed
a birthbeing
not in so measured
ways
kingsinking
and through her belief asked
when must I
what's next?
still on earth
I'm jecting
easel rubeyes
popped pooped
streetover
readily so she
nighttime has ead
all her ago
and bent summers
pretty dresses
filthy ribs
like legs sticking all up
crowds addresses
bides like steam time cake
all lorn away
what's about
dead dying
snow wounds the garden
a fetish red
and dibe
where getalong
white garden me off
valentime I'm easy praying
blentuse
pansy
I'm her daughter
means
yours beying
make not praise
eliver
friends
come all my round memuse
she's your friend
and warm hooded handed
in the weed garden
not boxes
on her wed dead bed
and everything forged
forced mesmiling
why I'm hillaway
beardless
not a proper cactus

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Currently reading / listening to

Haxbermas, Between Facts & Norms
Everything from Grasp Press
Euclidis Elementa
Yoscrates, Orationes
Leaflets from today's march (Socialist Appeal, Jubilee Debt Campaign)
Confessionale domini Anthonii archiepiscopi Florentini
Marius Nizolius, thesaurus to Cicero
Thomas Becon, The sycke mannes salve
Screen names, e.g.: ashman2000, turdinthetub, Bomb Man, Rawrlicious, luigiyoyo, Lunawolf109, cr1tt3r, Mr Useless, Neva Benjamin Zed, The Sax Man, ljvidela, redninja216, MASTER ZOMBIE KILLER, juliannee, Keith Carr, Bruce Cambull, Moral Compass, ben151107, Steve Darke, Tiberius Falco, James Lovell, Molly McBuggy, Damien Caine, Suzy Dahl, Geoff Bayley, Rick Fisher, Pototo, su1cidal, Cmdr Killbot.
Jehan Goeurot, a boke cauled The Regimen of Lyffe
An other boke agaynst the usurped poore of the bishoppe of rome
Publius Vergilius, Works
A psalter in englyshe
Theocritus Siculus, Idylls
Desiderius Erasmus, De duplici copi verborum ac rerum
& vi or vii other lytelle bokes

Friday, 27 March 2009

From "Unsung"

By Rod Mengham.

A colony, whereabouts unknown, until
the man whose wife the apple

gets more sick, fits in
a brave promise to remember

its citadel, where night falls in one bound
not to distrub the President Hoof

who is plunged in sleep; in the blank dark
you at the back, confess your part

in the crazy flight of Icarus
over summitless mountains:

you broke a lung from his not stopping [...]

Thursday, 26 March 2009

From "Hax"

By Francis Crot.

Nontraditional warrfighters wrap themselves in ethical, political and legal environment, reducing their visibility as strategic targets. The E-1 Mantis is supposed to be able to rapidly identify civilian and combatant, and even to split the latter category into the existential warrfighter, and the mere combatant embedded in a noncombatant substrate who reverts to civilian when sieved through the microstructures of standard issue gris-gris-faced death.

Hackney carries out a final successful test of the Mantis on November 26. The elements of the first regiment equipped with the technology, comprising the command-and-control unit and a reconaissance batallion, are put on combat duty with the Balmer Road missile division, equipped with SS-18 Satan and SS-19 Stiletto, on December 1. The field experience is mixed: “In protracted, ambiguous, complex and asymmetric shit, a Cartesian ID is useless. You just can’t equate disposition to military cognition with military status.” Chaoplexic market solutions.

Techlepathic H+ batallions tag by rote the Of Interest. Embeds monitor their dread. The synthesised data founts into sentinels, ribbons of smartdust move to and fro at their lips. They chase composited leads, firing camera grenados round corners. Matrioshka drills. Both Hackney and City forces are finding themselves increasingly unable to control the pace of their integration with Transcendant Security Actors. Batallions without the basics get wiped out. My Likes: not enough sleeping bags, freshly spray-painted stencils, femtotech dumbdust, more bubbles than bath, tapas, squishing bread, vegan pizza, rising bollards, the Ninth Doctor, crystals with diseases, dreams of sailor battles, beautiful missionaries, agues, pallors, fops, Tom Waits, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Baader Meinhof gang, tulle, chiffon, black, Ananis Nin, the sky over thick jungle, Mexico, anything marked HIGH VOLTAGE, sounds down hotel corridors, Julius Caesar look-a-likes, pets who fight to the death, pin-ups in prison cells, dancing in sprinklers, gas masks, ringlets let down over necks in cloisters.

Dislikes: SS-18 Satans, SS-19 Stilettos. Every time Jabari pulls the trigger his weapon dialing a complex web of third party organisations. Now the permission is for a rubber round. Now for a lethal one. Lives are traded, optioned, unwound. The logic is irrefutable; total deaths reduced, growth augmented. Girls gone wired. Remote suboccipital nerve. DIY sensawunda. Redactive swarming. A great place where we can get hanged. Cohorts. Quisling. Sinister confidant. Junta. Tam inserted to retrieve apoptosis refuser. Nova matrioshka brain haemorrhage. Femtotech dumbdust, obv. Vanishing mediator. Gas mask. Benign LysoSENS “Slow Lindsay” bivoaucs mitochondria-manufacturing DNA inside his scores of saucer-sized nuclei.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

From "Zam Bonk Dip"

By Jonty Tiplady.

For silly automatic theory
answer yes. My body says yes, my house says
yes, my tree on the horizon line behind
my house says yes. I am living,
in my soul's soul, in the soul that lives
like a wisp of smoke above by own wigwam, in the
age of the answer, in the ageless age of
my pen, my pen that never comes
a cropper, dept-rayon, that never flaps, cartoon
beauty, that never kips, Mr Flying Bike, that never laps
me, for I lap it, we lap the one the other, in the same
white chalk ring, Mr Hangman, that never even takes
refuge in
not even once, not even a mite of it.
What I find in insider psyche, nothing grows fusty in this
a tad, this tad of, this old giant tardis butterfly man.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

From "The End of All Songs"

By Michael Moorcock.

"Poor Captain Mubbers," said Jherek. "He tries so hard and is forever failing in his schemes. Perhaps we could arrange some charade or other -- in which he is monumentally successful. It would do his morale so much good. Is there something he could steal, Captain Bastable? Or someone he could rape?"

Saturday, 21 March 2009

From "The Perils of Obedience"

By Stanley Milgram.

Morris Braverman, another subject, is a thirty-nine-year-old social worker. He looks older than his years because of his bald head and serious demeanor. His brow is furrowed, as if all the world's burdens were carried on his face. He appears intelligent and concerned. The impression he creates is that of enormous overcontrol, that of a repressed and serious man, whose finely modulated voice is not linked with his emotional life. He speaks impressively but with perceptible affection. As the experiment proceeds, laughter intrudes on his performance. At first, it is a light snicker, then it becomes increasingly insistent and disruptive. The laughter seemed triggered by the learner's screams.

When the learner refuses to answer and the experimenter instructs Braverman to treat the absence of an answer as equivalent to a wrong answer, he takes his instruction to heart. Before administering 300 volts he asserts officiously to the victim, "Mr. Wallace, your silence has to be considered as a wrong answer." Then he administers the shock. He offers halfheartedly to change places with the learner, then asks the experimenter. "Do I have to follow these instructions literally?" He is satisfied with the experimenter's answer that he does. His very refined and authoritative manner of speaking is increasingly broken up by wheezing laughter.

The experimenter's notes on Mr. Braverman at the last few shocks are:

Almost breaking up now each time gives shock. Rubbing face to hide laughter.
Squinting, trying to hide face with hand, still laughing
Cannot control his laughter at this point no matter what he does.
Clenching fist, pushing it onto table.

In an interview after the session, Mr. Braverman summarizes the experiment with impressive fluency and intelligence. He feels the experiment may have been designed also to "test the effects on the teacher of being in an essentially sadistic role, as well as the reactions of a student to a learning situation that was authoritative and punitive."

When asked how painful the last few shocks administered to the learner were, he indicates that the most extreme category on the scale is not adequate (it read EXTREMELY PAINFUL) and places his mark at the edge of the scale with an arrow carrying it beyond the scale.

It is almost impossible to convey the greatly relaxed, sedate quality of his conversation in the interview. In the most relaxed terms, he speaks about his severe inner tension.

Experimenter: At what point were you most tense or nervous?

Mr. Braverman: Well, when he first began to cry out in pain, and I realized this was hurting him. This got worse when he just blocked and refused to answer. There was I. I'm a nice person, I think, hurting somebody, and caught up in what seemed a mad situation . . . and in the interest of science, one goes through with it.

When the interviewer pursues the general question of tension, Mr. Braverman spontaneously mentions his laughter.

"My reactions were awfully peculiar. I don't know if you were watching me, but my reactions were giggly, and trying to stifle laughter. This isn't the way I usually am. This was a sheer reaction to a totally impossible situation. And my reaction was to the situation of having to hurt somebody. And being totally helpless and caught up in a set of circumstances where l just couldn't deviate and I couldn't try to help. This is what got me."

Mr. Braverman, like all subjects, was told the actual nature and purpose of the experiment, and a year later he affirmed in a questionnaire that he had learned something of personal importance: "What appalled me was that I could possess this capacity for obedience and compliance to a central idea, i.e., the adherence to this value was at the expense of violation of another value, i.e., don't hurt someone who is helpless and not hurting you. As my wife said, 'You can call yourself Eichmann,' I hope I deal more effectively with any future conflicts of values I encounter."

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

From "Eichmann in Jerusalem"

By Hannah Arendt.

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were and still are terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together, for it implied – as had been said at Nuremburg over and over again by the defendants and their counsels – that this new type of criminal, who in fact is hostis generis humani, commits his crimes under circumstances that make it well-nigh impossible for him to know or feel that he is doing wrong.

Grassroots Jargon

Some banned jarg. Not hating on the idea, but the BBC coverage is instructively casual. Etymology and pragmatics are neglected. Here's a direct quote: "Free marketeers get away with fraud = three muskateers get away with Freud or whatever. J/K! J/K! OMG British public, yaw so serious!"

Semantics is conflated with synonymy. Useage is viewed as self-evident, vaguely Heavenly, and a dependable indicator of synonymy. That is, if the Citizen (formally envisioned as the thesaurus's executor, "Couldn't you have just said" with some scone scum ever smudged on his curmudgeonly lips) does not know a lexical item, or cannot remember it just this minute, its meaning must be that of a lexical item he does know and can recall. I guess a word like localities, (with its pompous differentiation to which no nuance seems ever wants to stick, and no reliable context ever wants to gather) is an example of the kind of thing the article invites us to think all the words are.

Kinda reminds me of spelling bees on ESPN: language gets laid out along a single dimension between normalness (where the words are useful and sensible and their meanings distinctly lit) and superhardpointlessness (where the words are smudged and esoteric and luxuriant and only spoken by a class of tolerated pathological eccentrics).

The proscribed list is an intimidating mix of snoozing illocutionary acts, a dazzling paparazzi bitch-snap of neologism, buzzword, cliché, padding, pseudo-qualifier (i.e. roughly analogous with Karl Popper's pseudoscience), euphemism, cacophemism, eyesore, stylistic vice, scapegoat, collocation, place-holder, hesitation, tergiversation, equivocation, malapropism, hype, technicity, magic, expertise, shoptalk, fustian, slang, shibboleth, colloquialism, polite fiction, de copia, decorum, rubric and liturgy.

It might think it's all for the expulsion of corporatese from the public sphere, but it's not -- if by corporatese you mean "the ways in which corporations use language." This is because corporations put themselves under just these kinds of bans (see note 2). What's great about it isn't its rationale of "effective communication," which is the suit's rationale too, but the desirous politics of it, the desire to sound less like suits, and maybe to think and act less like them too. There are exemplary fallacies and fuck-ups of policymaking which underlie this list -- surely, which underlie the appearance of "customer" on it?

Note 1: Jeremy Prynne was me-boning the want of much graceful study of, like, the sociotechnicity of euphemism, at the last of his Sussex Sexminar series last week, though nobody quite knew whether he meant euphemism as a euphemism for sex or for poetry.

Note 2:
The list in question could have been lifted from a "Words To Avoid" chapter of any introduction to business English, or of the style guides of a fair few large companies. So how are such terms sustained within corporations? Members of class fractions, and moments of roles in processes, address one-another with them whenever they think they ought to. A prohibitive list intervenes in this system in a polemical, not a totalising manner. E.g. (a) in a first draft, harried Junior slaps some truly stinking bit of doublespeak down in the middle of a sentence, the rest of which has been copy & pasted from an e-mail and is in a chatty style. When Junior presents her cringing efforts to Senior, Senior sees "to do: perfect the tone" rather than "Junior has not created the slide I told her to create." (b) Eternal Junior (let's say a secretary of some age) uses quaint and circumlocutious bombast whenever she is writing a bitter e-mail to Human Resources. It functions like tear-smudges, indicating the depth of her communion with her bottomless sadness and rage.


Note 3: The kinds of jargon which this cup of tea is interested in, obv., are vigilante & grassroots jargons: paranoid infant lexical items on the cusp of achieving systematic nuance.

Note 4: Cascading, challenge, collaboration, democratic legitimacy, democratic mandate, exemplar, flex, guidelines, paradigm, priority, symposium, toolkit, thematic are lexical units I would be a bit surprised to see confiscated, but fair enough, call it Oulipou. Incentivise resembles encourage and paradigm resembles approach or stance; presumably these often feature as very slight malapropisms. Pooled risk, upstream and value add ("orgiastic dissolution of the boundaries of decency in insects") each to my ear have a good attachment to a very distinct concept.

Note 5: I guess there are probably periodic purges in discourses particularly prone to neologism ...?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

From "Moral Luck"

By Bernard Williams.

There has been a strain of philosophical thought which identifies the end of life as happiness, happiness as reflective tranquillity, and tranquillty as the product of self-sufficiency -- what is not in the domain of the self is not in its control, and so is subject to luck and the contingent enemies of tranquillity. The most extreme versions of this outlook in the Western tradition are certain doctrines of classical antiquity, though it is a notable fact about them that while the good man, the sage, was immune to the impact of incident luck, it was a matter of what may be called constitutive luck that one was a sage, or capable of becoming one: for the many and vulgar this was not (on the prevailing view) an available course.

Monday, 16 March 2009

From "Ward Churchill Responds to Criticisms of 'Some People Push Back'"

By Ward Churchill.

It is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military target, or that a CIA office was situated in the World Trade Center. Following the logic by which U.S. Defense Department spokespersons have consistently sought to justify target selection in places like Baghdad, this placement of an element of the American “command and control infrastructure” in an ostensibly civilian facility converted the Trade Center itself into a “legitimate” target. Again following U.S. military doctrine, as announced in briefing after briefing, those who did not work for the CIA but were nonetheless killed in the attack amounted to no more than “collateral damage”. If the U.S. public is prepared to accept these “standards” when they are routinely applied to other people, they should not be surprised when the same standards are applied to them.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

From "From Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"

By Thomas Gray.

Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

From "Mortal Questions"

By Thomas Nagel.

Ordinary citizens of Nazi Germany has an opportunity to behave heroically by opposing the regime. They also had an opportunity to behave badly, and most of them are culpable for having failed this test. But it is a test to which the citizens of other countries were not subjected, with the result that even if they, or some of them, would have behaved as badly as the Germans in like circumstances, they simply did not and therefore are not similarly culpable. Here again one is morally at the mercy of fate, and it may seem irrational upon reflection, but our ordinary moral attitudes would be unrecognizable without it. We judge people for what they actually do or fail to do, not just for what they would have done if circumstances had been different.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Some funnish overviewish stuffcruft in my new online magazine, Robert Sheppard:

"[...] What have been the most significant developments in the alternative British and Irish Poetries (however you define those) over the last 7 years? [...]"

Kennedy: "[...] Confronted with the work of younger poets—and you really are confronted—like Frances Kruk and Emily Critchley I want to yell something like ‘holy paratactic bad girl word salad Batman’ except it’s there in the work of older poets like Frances Presley and Geraldine Monk too. The voice is thrown out into environments—political, historical, sexual—to see what it catches and catches on. And you have to be there to hear it. I don’t see/hear this is the work of many male poets except Keston Sutherland and Sean Bonney [...]"

The address is http://robertsheppard.blogspot.com/2009/03/afterword-to-fourth-series.html. A hug.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

My new online poetry magazine, On Past Blackbox Simple Edit Manifold, is out today, featuring:

Adrian Clarke
Alan Halsey
Alex Davies
Alex Houen & Adam Piette
Alyson Torns
Amy De’Ath
Ann Bogle
Arlene Ang
Augustus Young
Benjamin Stainton
Ben Watson
Billy Mills & Catherine Walsh
Charles Bernstein
Chris Nealon & Joshua Clover
David Lloyd
David Toms
Drew Milne
Ezra Pound
Fanny Howe
Francis Raven
Geraldine Monk
Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle
Holly Pester
Ian Seed
Jim Goar
Jonathan Skinner
John Gibbens
John Kinsella
Karen Eliot
Kyle Storm Beste-Chetwynde
Lisa Jarnot
Marcus Slease
Matt Merritt
Matthew Sweeney
Maurice Scully
Michael Zand
Nathan Thompson
Paul Muldoon
Philip Terry
Peter Larkin
Peter Manson
Randolph Healy
Robin Purves
Sean Bonney
Stephen Vincent
Ted Greenwald & Kit Robinson
Steve Willey
Tim Atkins
Tom Raworth
Trevor Joyce
Vahni Capildeo
Vivek Narayanan
Vona Groarke

Editorial

You ungrateful centipedes. After all I've done for you.

Why not start out with Alex Davies' (there's audio).

Then move on to Peter Manson's (more proper). Cf. "Surrexit Dominus de Sheryl Crow" ("The Lord is risen from Sheryl Crow") with "Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro" ("from the tomb"). The title of Peter’s poem is probably a remix of Jacques Lacan’s "mirror stage." Baffles are there to absorb noise, but some of it inevitably reflects back. So "The Baffle Stage" refers, maybe, to the creation of Ego through identification with -- not a specular gestalt doppleganger, but -- the incidental acoustic modifications of one’s own sequential babble by structures that are there to annihilate it. Yes, fucking hilarious.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

On Uncanny Valley

By Masahiro Mori, Mukta Research Institute.

It is my great honor and pleasure to hear that the workshop on the notion of uncanny valley, which I proposed thirty-five years ago, is held to discuss the subject in various aspects including neuroscience, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, psychology, and sociology. Unfortunately, another meeting where I have to be the chair prevents me from attending the workshop. So, here I make two brief comments on this subject from my present point of view to make up for my absence.

(1) A dead person's face may indeed be uncanny: it loses color and animation with no blinking. However, according to my experience, sometimes it gives us a more comfortable impression than the one given by a living person's face. Dead persons are free from the troubles of life, and I think this is the reason why their faces look so calm and peaceful. In our mind there is always an antinomic conflict that if you take one thing you will lose the other. Such a conflict appears on one's face as troubles, and makes his, or her, expression less comfortable. When a person dies he, or she, is released from this antinomy, and has a quiet expression. If so, then, where should we position this on the curve of the uncanny valley? This is an issue of my current interest.

(2) Once I positioned living human beings on the highest point of the curve in the right-hand side of the uncanny valley. Recently, however, I came to think that there is something more attractive and amiable than human beings in the further right-hand side of the valley. It is the face of a Buddhist statue as the artistic expression of the human ideal. You will find such a face, for example, in Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva) in Kohryuji in Kyoto, or in Miroku Bosatsu in Chuguji and in Gakkoh Bosatsu (Candraprabha) in Yakushiji in Nara. Those faces are full of elegance, beyond worries of life, and have aura of dignity. I think those are the very things that should be positioned on the highest point of the curve.

While I introduced the notion of the uncanny valley, I have not examined it closely so far. I hope the above-mentioned two respects will help the further research of the uncanny valley.

August 18, 2005

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

From "The Yiddish Policeman's Union"

By Michael Chabon.

The Granite Creek Big Macher outlet died about two years ago. Its doors are chained and along its windowless flank where Yiddish and Roman characters once spelled out the name of the store, there is only a cryptic series of holes, domino pips, a braille of failure.

Landsman leaves his car at the medan and hikes across the giant frozen blank of the parking lot toward the front door. the snow is not as deep here as in the streets of the central city. The sky is high and pale gray, with darker gray tiger stripes. Landsman huffs through his nostrils as he marches toward the glass doors, their handles pinioned like arms with a dangling length of blue rubberized chain. Landsman has this idea that he's going to knock on those doors with his shield held high and his attitude vibrating like a force field, and that slinking whipper of a man, Rafi Zilberblat, is going to step sheepish and blinking into the snow-dazzling day.

The first bullet blackens the air alongside Landsman's right ear like a fat humming fly. He doesn't even know it's a bullet until he hears, or remembers hearing, a muffled burst and then a clamor of the glass. By then he's falling on his belly in the snow, flattening himself on the ground, where the next bullet finds the back of his head and burns it like a trail of gasoline touched by a match. Landsman drags out his sholem, but there is a cobweb in his head or over his face, and a paralysis of regret affects him. His plan was no plan at all, and now it has gone bad. He has no backup. Nobody knows where he is but Benito Taganes, with his molasses gaze and his all but universal silence. Landsman is going to die in a desolate parking lot at the margin of the world. He closes his eyes. He opens them, and the cobweb is denser and sparkling with some kind of dew. Footsteps in the snow, more than one person. Landsman raises his gun and takes aim through the sparkling strands of whatever is going wrong in his brain. He fires.

There is a cry of pain, feminine, a whuff of breath, and then the lady wishes a cancer upon Landsman's testicles. Snow packs Landsman's ears and melts into the collar of his coat and down his neck. Somebody snatches at Landsman's gun and tries to drag him to his feet. Popcorn on the breath. The bandage over the moustachioed snout of Rafi Zilberblat, and by the doors of the Big Macher, a plump bottle blonde lying on her back, her life pumping from her belly into the steaming red snow. And a couple of guns, one of them in Zilberblat's hand, pointed at Landsman's head. At the glint of the automatic, the cobweb of LAndsman's regrets and self-recriminations goes away. The smell of popcorn, coming from inside the abandoned store, alters his perception of the smell of blood and brings out the sweetness of it. Landsman ducks and lets go of his Smith & Wesson.

Zilberblat was yanking so hard on the gun that when Landsman unclenches, the other man goes tumbling backward into the snow. Landsman scrambles on top of Zilberblat. He's just acting now, without a thought in his head. He yanks his sholem loose and turns it around, and the world pulls the trigger on all its guns. Zilberblat grows a horn of blood from the crown of his head. The cobwebs are now in Landsman's ears. He can hear only the breath at the back of his throat and his own blood pulsing.

For an instant a strange peace opens like an umbrella inside Landsman as he straddles the man he just killed, knees burning in the snow. He retains the presence of mind to recognize that this tranquillity is not necessarily a good sign. Then the doubts behin to crowd in around the knowledge of the mess he has made, bystanders gathering around a suicide leaper. Landsman staggers to his feet. He sees the gore on his coat, the tatters of brain, a tooth [...]

[Chapter 22]

Landsman is lying on Berko and Ester-Malke's bed, on his side, facing the wall with its dyed linen scene of Balinese gardens and savage birds. Someone has undressed him, leaving him in his underpants. He sits up. The skin at the back of his head prickles, and then a cord of pain goes taut. Landsman pats the site of his injury. A bandage meets his fingers, a crinkly oblong of gauze and tape. Surrounding it, a queer hairless patch of scalp. Memories fall on top of one another with a slapping sound like crime-scene photographys fresh from Dr. Shpringer's death camera. A jocular emergency room tech, an X ray, an injection of morphine, a looming swab dipped in Betadine. Before that, the light from a streetlamp striping the white vinyl ceiling of an ambulance. And before that. Before the ride in the ambulance. Purple slush. Steam from the spilled contents of a human gut. A hornet at his ear. A red jet bursting from the forehead of Rafi Zilberblat. A cipher of holes in a blank expanse of plaster. Landsman backs away from the memory of what happened in the Big Macher parking lot, so quickly that he bumps right into the pang of losing Django Landsman in his dream.

Monday, 9 March 2009

From "Corroded by Symbolysme: An Anti-Review of Twelve British Poets [...]"

By Kent Johnson.

I offered hime my sweater, but he refused, and so I said, Well then, I am going to take my clothes off too, that's only fayre, and Martin shouted at the top of his voice, I dare you, you lovely mother-fucking hulk of a man! And so I did, though just my sweater and shirtum, not all my clothes, and we walked, bare-chested, our arms over each other's shoulders, all the way back, striking an image that no doubt appeared homo-erotic to all the young BSU bar-fly passerby, but which we both, comfortable as peas in a pod with our sexualyties, secretlie knew was surely nothing more than a spontaneous homo-social expressione of manley friendship between two thirty-something post-acantum poets, with genetyk gifts of beutifulie slim waistes.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Friday, 6 March 2009

From "The Igniting Mask"

By Hangman Joe.

"Hello Erika. I want to play a game. The prize will simply be giving you a new outlook on your life, a new conscience to think before you speak, before you cloud up this world with your spitfire tongue and your lies. The price you'll pay for losing will be your pride, a status you've earned through terrible intentions and little lies, but that's not all. I might just claim your unappreciative life. The device attached to your head is my personal twist on America's number one vice: smoking. Strapped in your mouth are two rows of caplets, each filled tight with gasoline. Also strapped into the mask over your mouth is a cigarette. An alcohol slicked wire has been laced through the center of the cigarette, trailing into the center of each of the caplets. If it is ignited by the cigarette before you can remove the mask, it will ignite all those lies in your mouth and burn your teeth to a black as rotten as your soul, and as dark as your lungs. In the meantime, you've only been supplied with one nostril hole in the mask to breathe out of. Can you find the key to your mask before it's too late? I'll give you a hint as to where to find it. It's in one of your tar-stained fingers. Be careful. Your hands too have been slicked with flammable oil. Let the game begin."

[Saw Fanfic
http://www.freewebs.com/hangmanjoe/

Saw Wiki
http://sawfilms.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_traps_in_the_Saw_film_series
]

Thursday, 5 March 2009

From "Hole in the Ground"

By Catherine Wagner.

This Is A Fucking Poem

don't expect too much.

Well I expect you to go into the
fucking human tunnel
I'm going.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

From "A Review of Soame Jenyns"

By Samuel Johnson.

As we drown whelps and kittens, they amuse themselves, now and then, with sinking a ship, and stand round the fields of Blenheim, or the walls of Prague, as we encircle a cockpit. As we shoot a bird flying, they take a man in the midst of his business or pleasure, and knock him down with an apoplexy. Some of them, perhaps, are virtuosi, and delight in the operations of an asthma, as a human philosopher in the effects of the air-pump. To swell a man with a tympany is as good sport as to blow a frog. Many a merry bout have these frolick beings at the vicissitudes of an ague, and good sport it is to see a man tumble with an epilepsy, and revive and tumble again, and all this he knows not why. As they are wiser and more powerful than we, they have more exquisite diversions; for we have no way of procuring any sport so brisk and so lasting, as the paroxysms of the gout and stone, which, undoubtedly, must make high mirth, especially if the play be a little diversified with the blunders and puzzles of the blind and deaf. We know not how far their sphere of observation may extend. Perhaps, now and then, a merry being may place himself in such a situation, as to enjoy, at once, all the varieties of an epidemical disease, or amuse his leisure with the tossings and contortions of every possible pain, exhibited together.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Relish these pies?

More than thirty short clips of poets saying things have appeared on the Openned web site. Nor have the new tweets of Openned screwdrivers been in vain: on the (correction) 25th of March, The Foundry lines the aupicious line-up of Sean Bonney, Alex Davies, Amy De'Ath, Jim Goar, Lucy Harvest Clarke, Redell Olsen, John Sparrow and Keston Sutherland up. There seems to be a little flurry of poetic activity problematising the horizon, actually. See Openned and the godawful Vents. If I were to pick another highlight, it would be the Royal Family Benefit this Thursday at The Leather Exchange, including Tim Atkins, Sean Bonney, Harry Gilonis, Jeff Hilson, Frances Kruk, Mendoza, Ben Watson, Steve Willey, Michael J Weller and Johan de Wit.

Also, Jeff Hilson has finally published the brilliant Brad? Brad! in full. This is a sequence which poses the old chestnut: "Clock work orange?" -- and comes up with an unusual answer!

Also, a new issue of Readings is up, including Johan de Wit, Luke Kennard on Stephen Rodefer, Elizabeth James on Alice Notley & much other antique pawn rota. Strangely absent from Edmund Hardy's contribution (about how you maybe will be able to get gin by wiping his corpse's face with a special neutral cloth) is any mention of the Lupe Fiasco stanza:

[...] don’t give the black man food
give red man / liquor
red man / fool
black man / nigga
give yellow man tool make him railroad / builder
also give him pan make him pull gold from river
give black man crack / glocks and things
give red man craps / slot machines
now bring it back bring it back bring it back bring it back bring it back [...]

Is he intentionally "picking" on Fiasco?

Monday, 2 March 2009

From "The True, the Good, the Beautiful, and the Baghdad Central Detention Centre"

By Keston Sutherland.

Whether it’s representation, ethics, self-knowledge, or any other sub-field of theoretical inquiry that falls under the lens of paid thinkers, we can rest assured that a conceptual crisis will be found for it, opened up, and discovered to be as fertile for innovative methodological and discursive investment as a new market is fertile for the investment of capital. Crisis is the linchpin of philosophy’s business plan.

[...]

The proliferation of conceptual crises induces the banalisation of the concept “crisis” itself—even as the discourses in which conceptual crises proliferate are implicitly or even explicitly structured on the antinomy of banalisation and crisis.

[...]

In order that the proliferation of conceptual crises should appear to be a consequence not of market forces but of the immanent demands of philosophical thinking itself, the proliferation is said to be caused by historical events described as extreme or singular or atrocious. This causative relation is set up in philosophy and implicitly propagated by it.

Auschwitz has become paradigmatic in this regard. What is questionable is not the extreme or singular or atrocious nature of what happened at Auschwitz, but the trend in paradigmaticisation that leads to Auschwitz being regarded automatically as more singular as the number of historical events that can in some way be compared with Auschwitz increases.

The trend in paradigmaticisation effects a cumulative overconceptualisation of singularity; which is to say that the singularity of extreme suffering and injustice is increasingly conceptualised, perhaps most piquantly of all where philosophy affects momentary dispossession of conceptual thinking, or of “meaning,” in the face of suffering, by means of the concept “aporia” or some equivalent. Affected dispossession of conceptual thinking is always the aggrandisement of conceptuality. Precisely at the point where it is claimed no longer to work, where it is said to have reached a point of crisis, is where conceptual thinking gets its most lavish encomium: i.e., it knows exactly when to defer to the superior authority of mere life, life raw and confused, life incapable of a reasonable settlement with the concepts on offer. Every crisis in conceptual thinking is yet another proof that conceptual thinking knows its place. The induction into crisis is the reduction to deference. And since the concept of crisis is infinitely rebrandable, we may gladly assume that there is an infinity of deference up for grabs.