Again A Gain

Like playing hangman.

REPETITION. — It is an excellent thing to express a thing consecutively in two ways, and thus provide it with a right and a left foot. Truth can stand indeed on one leg, but with two she will walk and complete her journey.
Nietzsche, Human All Too Human

Came across this via a recommendation by Dr. Herbert Wender to look at "The Wanderer and his Shadow" and was assured that a walk through this text was "virtually a real 'Wanderlust'".

And so for day 2072
21.08.2012

Setting The Pace: Pacing the Set

The opening chapter of Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: A History of Walking brings the simple act of walking into the gambit of cogitation.

Moving on foot seems to make it easier to move in time, the mind wanders from plans to recollections to observations. The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.
And as if she were ringing the changes on the notion of inventio — the finding:
A new thought often seems like a feature of the landscape that was there all along as though thinking were travelling rather than making.
If we retrace the paragraph we hear the consonance between "traversing" and "travelling". It is all mapped out and yet open to rediscovery.

And so for day 2071
20.08.2012

Where Has Been There Will Be

This begins like a call and response and turns into a round and then closes with a synoptic clincher.

Answer July ... #386

Answer July -
Where is the Bee -
Where is the Blush -
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July -
Where is the Seed -
Where is the Bud -
Where is the May -
Answer Thee - Me -

Nay - said the May -
Show me the Snow -
Show me the Bells -
Show me the Jay!

Quibbled the Jay -
Where be the Maize -
Where be the Haze -
Where be the Bur?
Here - said the Year -
Emily Dickinson varies the verbs in the questions and thereby conditions the move out of time to view the whole cycle. Each of the three initial stanzas has a single speaker. The last stanza has two. And the one last voice has only one line — adding a curt aspect to its decisiveness.

And so for day 2070
19.08.2012

Almost a Scar

It's a wonderfully rambling poem & A Serial Poem by Daryl Hine which through a circuitous route brings you back to a variation on a Latin tag about omens and spirit once in a negation and once in an affirmation and both times apt for the spot in the cycle.

Here are two lines (from #280)

Psychosomatic pain is all it takes
To convince us every poem is an open wound.
There is a tiny grain of skepticism here. It is salutary.

Like the cover

We are asked to think the next turn and recall "and"

And so for day 2069
18.08.2012

Breath Unto Breath

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. (Psalm 42:7)

Some, of course do pass out — right out of the circle. But if anything besides rage is clear in these drowning surroundings, it's the clarity of those few who seem to quicken in their sickness and dying, those gifted few who stay awake as they fall away, and offer to us attendant comrades instructions from the beyond, or the going-beyond. [1991]

Aaron Shurin "Further Under" from Unbound: A Book of AIDS collected in The Skin of Meaning: Collected Literary Essays and Talks.
How to live to the very last moment these our teachers gave to us. And what does this mean? An example is how Shurin reads Jean Genet's trail of smoke in Un Chant d'Amour: "When one prisoner passes his lifebreath of cigarette smoke through a hole in the wall along the length of a straw to his friend, it contains the beauty of every secret exchange, glance, letter, or touch passed from man to man or woman to woman through the ages of heterosocial domination. And honey, nobody — not even Bette Davis — has ever, before or since, smoked on screen like that! [1990]

A going-beyond…

And so for day 2068
17.08.2012

Counting Sections

Phillip B. Williams

"He Loved Him Madly" is a partial (15-section) pecha kucha for my father, Calvin Ford, and uses titles from Miles Davis compositions (odd-numbered stanzas) and various Hip Hop and spoken word tracks (even-numbered stanzas). In order of appearance, artists of the even-number stanzas are Boogie Down Productions, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Amiri Baraka, Wu-Tang Clan, Scarface, and Nas.
from the notes to Thief in the Interior

And with the note that makes 16.

And so for day 2067
16.08.2012

The Text Stares Back

In John Edgar Wideman's Hiding Place there is a passage which puts one in mind of Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille if only because of the preponderance of eyes.

Once upon a time. Once upon a time, he thought, if them stories I been hearing all my life are true, once upon a time they said God's green earth was peaceful and quiet. […] You're in a story. […]
And it continues.

And so for day 2066
15.08.2012

Nobody's Mama

John Edgar Wideman. Hiding Place.

When you finish you bring that bowl up here. That's all there is and ain't nothing else. Just set it here by mine. We ain't got no waitress service here. I don't like to cook. Never did and never will. Don't like people talking about my cooking, neither. If people like what I fix they can eat. If they don't they can leave it setting. Don't like all that Mother Bess stuff neither. Wish I knew who started that Mother Bess mess. I ain't nobody's mama. Was once but that was a million pitiful years ago and ain't nobody on this earth got the right going around calling me mother now. I told them that. Don't know how many times I told them. But it's Mother Bess this and Mother Bess that like I ain't got sense enough to know my own name and they ain't got sense to listen when I tell them I ain't nobody's mama.
If you think that this diatribe is gratuitous, you need to be mindful of the step and fetchit grinning and praise of the soup that preceded this: "You make some dynamite soup, Mother Bess. It's not him talking. it's some jive jack-leg preacher grinning and wiping grease from his liver lips and rolling his eyeballs at the platter of fried chicken he's already eateh half of…"

And so for day 2065
14.08.2012

In the XML World

Sometimes possibilities open with the correct confluence of languages.

I have been following with interest the recent (and ancient) thread on interdisciplinarity. I am intrigued by not only bridges but the building blocks of bridges.

I wonder if, at a sufficiently abstract level, some of those blocks may exist in the practice of markup. Markup aims to create a structured object.

Historically, we have come to a point where languages that express such a structured object can also be used to transform the structured object. Given the wise practise of documenting the decisions that lead to the creation of the structured object, in a sense a metalanguage is available to serve as a bridge between disciplines and further conversations about objects and their transformations.

In this light, one might consider the Text Encoding Initiative as a multidisciplinary project.

Notice I have avoided the mention of "method" in favour of "practice".
This little message to Humanist seems terse but what an abyss lurks in the distance between method and practice.

And so for day 2064
13.08.2012

A Tool in the Sky

To fully appreciate the bravura of the ending to this poem, you need to recall the beginning. "a brief history of time" concludes "the mezzaluna rocking" section of Heartland by Michele Leggott.

the book slips past my ears
on the flight over      three hours
following the sun folding up corporeal
reality and I'm not finished as we begin
the descent into      earlier      tray tables
secured seats in the upright position     not
a molecule lighter or less perturbed
than the cold air under our wings      we step
back in the same day and forget an hour
the spooling voice entered and can't leave
or leaves many times without us      going on
split or spilt from departures arrivals terminals
the book slips by and I am not done

[…]

[…]      the mezzaluna
rocking out along the bay or through the fine crust
pulled from the hot oven      the mezzaluna of doubt
of two hands of cutting it fine      as the doors close
the bell clangs and the drunk begins his hyena call
to the black universe then charms a small boy in a paper hat
it's my birthday too very same as yours same as you      I am
going to see my friends all my friends tonight      seven days
of crossings going off like steel drums      again and again
we say goodbye and walk into Hill of Content where the book
opens itself to the very page I was on      real or imagined
starting over on the way back against the turn of the earth
We are not done. We are undone.

The half moon in the heavens. The half moon in the hand.

Rocking.

And so for day 2063
12.08.2012