Balance and Schadenfreude

A poetic take on predator-prey cycles.

"The Hinge of Spring"

The jackrabbit is a mild herbivore
eating the color off everything
rampant-height or lower.

Rabbits are one of the things
coyotes are for. One quick scream,
a few quick thumps,
and a whole little area
shoots up blue and orange clumps.
Kay Ryan collected in The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

And so for day 2057

Rough Notes from Eells on Pater on Mona Lisa

Emily Eells
Proust’s Cup of Tea: Homoeroticism and Victorian Culture (2002)

p. 183-148

Pater - homoerotic ’Conclusion’ of The Renaissance dropped from second edition; replaced by frontispiece

His description of it makes his meaning clear:
a face of doubtful sex, set in the shadow of its own hair, the cheek-line in high light against it, with something voluptuous and full in the eyelids and the lips.
The title of the 1873 edition - Studies in the History of the Renaissance - was changed to The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry in the 1877 edition.

p. 190
Pater’s implicit stress on the sexual ambiguity of the Mona Lisa is particularly perceptive, as computer-generated images have revealed that the face with its enigmatic smile in fact conceals a self-portrait of da Vinci. Until recently, John the Baptiste hung alongside the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, a juxtaposition which made the striking similarity in their androgynous faces all the more apparent.
See Lillian Schwartz, “Leonardo’s Mona Lisa” Art and Antiques (January 1987) pp. 50-54

Assessment of the claim : Antoinette LaFarge (Oct 1996). "The Bearded Lady & the Shaven Man: Mona Lisa, Meet Mona/Leo". Leonardo: The Journal of the International Society of Art, Science, and Technology.

And so for day 2056

Intellectuals and Poses

I am fond of exploring group dynamics and the plurality of roles. For some reason, I find myself thinking about the Divergent Factions in the fictional universe created by Veronica Roth (see I am intrigued by how they resemble the poses of the intellectual vis-a-vis society [Abnegation • Amity • Candor • Dauntless • Erudite • Factionless].

It's a reach but not so much when I read this in a profile of Robert Morrison, an expert on De Quincey

"I once had a teacher who told me that the scholar has two roles," says Morrison. "He [she] is both a monk and an actor. The monk is the scholar when [s]he's doing research, the actor is when [s]he's in the classroom, teaching."

And so for day 2055

Still Life and A Fan of Links

The idea that nests and insects (butterflies) can figure the regeneration of life in a nature morte stems from this blog entry

and a search of vanitas + birds + nests

led to the work of Kimberly Witham

From an interview:

KW: I once heard an expression about artists—that their favorite pieces are the ones they are about to make. I can’t say I have favorites exactly, but there are images which continue to resonate with me – I find myself thinking – “wow, I made that?” I am still in the process of moving into my new home, but I do have a print of “On Ripeness and Rot #10 (raccoon)” ready to hang on the dining room wall. That photograph is an ode to Jan Weenix, a Dutch painter I love. The image expresses abundance and decay in equal measure. It reflects my current mind set well. I also have work by many other artists in my home. I have some of Sarah Sudhoff’s pieces (we traded years back). I also have a portrait of Francesca Woodman, and a really beautiful sculpture by a former classmate of mine, Petra Kralickova.
More names, more links...

Fanned out for display... grace notes.

And so for day 2054


A sketch I made back in the 70s.

The gesture depicted brings to mind lines from "Journey" by John Williams collected in The Broken Landscape

           Toward evening when the wine
Ran out we turned as lovers should
To touch as petals on a darkened vine.
The first Philip Roth novel I read was The Breast: a story of transformation, like so many stories.

And so for day 2053

Time and In-Betweenness

What is amazing in Mary E. Galvin's Queer Poetics: Five Modernist Women Writers is her ability to draw upon sources that might be disdained in academic or theory circles. Witness what she does accomplish with an image from Judy Grahn while discussing the figure of the Poetess in H.D. [of course she also draws upon Robert Duncan's The H.D. Book). What emerges is a fuller understanding of the figure and its import.

Motivated by the need to open up social/intellectual/psychic space for queer existence, H.D. sought, in the freedom of modernism, to piece together the significance of her personal experiences through the techniques of imagism within the palimpsest of myth. This is the ancient role of the Poetess, the role H.D. recreated for herself. In Another Mother Tongue, Judy Grahn has described this office:
In tribal culture we often formed a pool of potential initiates some of whom became the shamans and medicine people, who can enter the spirit world, the wind, the mountains and rivers and the bottom of the sea; the worlds of the dead, or spirits, of other people's minds, of the gods and their forces; we it is who bring back the strange and old messages, interpreting them for the benefit of our tribe. Anciently we were sometimes rewarded and esteemed for this (Grahan, 273)
The difficulty in reading H.D.'s poetry arises not because she was being intentionally obscurantist in regard to the facts of her life, but because she was attempting to convey "another state of emotional life or being, a life of being that contained the past and the future."
Galvin is quoting from H.D.'s Paint It Today
The past and the future, morning and evening star, hung there, a beacon in the darkness between this world and the future, the present and the future. She had, through the clarity of her youth, through the intensity of her passion, and through that fate or chance that had thrown her in Josepha's way at a curious psychological moment (at the moment when she had been touched by the shadow of an understanding, stirred by it, but not awakened), surprised a curious secret, surprised the secret and found the door to another world, another state of emotional life or being, a life of being that contained the past and the future.
Such transhistorical moves are of course of their time.

In its own reach, this discourse with its universalizing the of the interstitial function works in the context of some poets such as H.D. and Robert Duncan. Odd. As in queer.

And so for day 2052

Filial Fragments

Richard Ronan. "Violets". Flowers.

this is a farewell poem:
stephan was like my son
in many ways I mean:
like a son I maybe wanted
to have and didn't and
evidently won't have I
know that part of wanting
a son for any man is a
bid for something immortal
or at least a second swing
at what he left unresolved
another part is like lust
Andrew Holleran. "Foreword". The Man I Might Become: Gay Men Write About Their Fathers.
In his book Being Homosexual, Richard Isay suggests that this alienation between gay men and their fathers begins in childhood when the father, sensing they are different, withdraws. This is not to say that fathers are still not enormous presences in the lives of their gay sons. Fathers have always been, in life and literature, a mystery we believe we must decipher before we can understand ourselves.
Robert Glück. "Robert Duncan: Tribute". Communal Nude: Collected Essays.
In the late seventies, a poetry event took place over two nights at the Gay/Lesbian Center on Page Street. Twelve gay men and twelve lesbians read together. This was a very novel idea at the time because the two communities hardly spoke to each other, and the atmosphere was tense. One woman read a poem about a mother verbally abusing her little boy on a bus. There was nervous laughter from some of the men, and the poet stopped midway. Trembling with rage, she told us that she had read the poem many times at women-only events and had never experienced laughter. There was total silence, till Robert called out from the audience that none of those women had ever been the boy in her poem.
Two memories of my own father:
Sitting on one end of the couch nestled close to him, an open book on my lap. He taught me to read.

At potato harvesting or planting (I'm not sure which), a spade raised against me in anger. It never descended.
I now read a queer subtext into the lyrics of Father and Son by Cat Stevens: at the very least the song is dual-voiced. A paternal figure in the refrain "Find a girl, settle down / If you want, you can marry / Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy" and what we take to be the son coming to the realization that he must go, he is not heard, "From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen".

There are other songs. Other fragments. To read. To query identifications.

And so for day 2051

Confronting the Unread; Reconfronting the Read

I find myself thinking of being in a library.

In the Buddhist worldview, the entire conditioned reality in which we live is called samsara: the world of birth and death, arising and passing. This is our life. One of the amazing attributes of samsara is that no matter what we have or what is available to us, we know that somewhere out there, there is always more. The potential for dissatisfaction is infinite, because in this world of change, there is no end to arising and passing away, and the possibilities for comparing and wanting are endless.

Sharon Salzberg. Lovingkindness.
Countless books and countless roadways to reading and re-reading.

And so for day 2050

Typology and Function

Proposed typology of gay literature

- community building
- coming out
- passing
- closetry
With intersectionality with AIDS writing.

Inspired by application of action research

And so for day 2049

Lost Locus

Could serve as an epigraphy to a set of psychogeographic instructions.

The Drop, that wrestles in the Sea —
Forgets her own locality —
Opening lines to No. 284 in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson edited by Thomas H. Johnson.

And so for day 2048


Towards the end of a poem in three mandala sections ("Tiger") there is this arresting bit of typographical ingenuity.

A few strokes and the "attempting" becomes "tempting". There are many lines to treat the cascade of words. One is the periphery of the circle: "edge / where / someone is / always / cutting loose". Another is to preserve the horizontal line by line progression while ignoring white space between the words: "someone is attempting the / always nemesis / cutting loose." The very action of striking out letters is a sort of cutting loose. And so the poem folds upon itself. Tempting attempt at reading the locus — "at". A displacement.

Michele Leggott. Swimmers, Dancers (1991).

And so for day 2047

Raise a Glass

From the obituary for poet and novelist Peter Trower in the Globe and Mail

A memorial and celebration is scheduled to be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at his old Vancouver hangout, now known as the Railway Stage and Beer Café. It will not be teetotal.
Need we say that Mr. Trower enjoyed his beer?

And so for day 2046

Craft in the Tool

Christine McFadden. The Essential Kitchen.

It's a book about tools. In which we learn more about their design and purpose. For instance, the rough texture underneath ramekins:

Porcelain ramekins These smooth, straight-sided ramekins are used for individual soufflés, as well as baked custards or crème brulées. Egg-based dishes such as these are cooked in a roasting pan filled with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. The ramekins have a slightly roughened base to prevent a vacuum from forming and making it hard to lift them from the water bath.
And this about the design of the tagine:
Tagine A tagine is a uniquely shaped, thick earthenware pot, used in North Africa for the slow-cooked dish of the same name. The pot is traditionally used on an open fire. Very little is needed as the conical lid provides a large cool surface on which steam condenses and then drips onto the food below. The tall shape also keeps the lid cool at the top, so it can be lifted without a protective cloth.
One is set to develop via McFadden an appreciation for good design.

And so for day 2045

Metaphors of Method

This is a description of cooking technique but it in its regard for the appropriate procedures and outcomes can serve as analogy to writing.

Crisp and Golden vs. Soft and Moist

Do you want ingredients — such as onions or potatoes — sautéed to a golden brown? Or do you want them soft and moist? Here are tips to remember:

1. For crisp, golden coloring, heat the fat first, then add the ingredients, but do not salt. Salt impedes browning.

2. For soft, moist cooking, heat the fat, ingredients, and salt together.
Perfect description of some writing assignments.

Simply French: Patricia Wells presents the cuisine of Joël Robuchon.

And so for day 2044

Like How

Wrote to my sister and my niece about a culinary accomplishment (from a family friend from St. Pierre et Miquelon, Mme Amandine Lalande, who gave the recipe to my mother who made pâté maison at Christmas time and passed on the recipe and instructions to us)

At long last I attempted my first pâté maison. Attached is a picture of the creation and a scan of the index card with the recipe in Mom's handwriting.

I no longer have a meat grinder and had to finely dice the ham by hand. A nice meditative action.

Lesson for next time : don't under salt - it affects the taste.

As you can imagine a pound of veal, a pound of pork and a half a pound of ham makes a big loaf. We froze half.
My evidence and the recipe card I worked from

Elsewhere in a post called 1846 I muse about an other piece of handwritten ephemera from my mother and note "Never undervalue the impact of the hand written note." or in this day and age a personal message that reminds oneself and others not to forget to salt adequately.

And so for day 2043

How Like

A bundle and its medicines resembles a smartphone and its collection of apps.

The comparison points to revitalization of Indigenous cultures.

The bundle's homecoming and first ceremonial opening since 1942 is being witnessed by 200 people, Blackfoot from Alberta and Montana (who call themselves Blackfeet) and a significant minority of non-natives like myself.

Some have come for physical healing. Others have come for the healing of the soul.

"These are holy bundles given to us by the Creator to hold our people together," explains tribe member Patricia Deveraux, as she waits outside the teepee, craning her neck to see what is going on inside.

"They're the same as the relics from the Catholic Church," continues the pleasant, round-faced woman of 36, whose faith straddles Catholicism and Blackfoot spirituality with equal vigour. "They are a demonstration of the holy spirit. They can heal people."

Reprinted from the Edmonton Journal 2002 by Larry Johnsrude (
The comparison also points to the indigenization of the culture-at-large.

That smartphone connects people through a sort of spirit world. Remember William Gibson's Count Zero? The loa in cyberspace? Creolization is the old indigenization.

But they are not quite the same in a linguistic context:
The contact between languages in multilingual contexts can lead to language change and the formation of new varieties of language. The term indigenization is used to refer to the contact-induced linguistic changes that result in a new dialect, while creolization refers to the emergence of a new language. […] According to Mesthrie and Bhatt (2008 : 11), indigenization ‘refers to the acculturation of the [transplanted language] to localized phenomena, be they cultural, topographic or even linguistic (in terms of local grammatical, lexical and discourse norms).’ In other words, its use in a new environment brings about changes in the transplanted language. Unlike other kinds of linguistic change, however, these changes reflect the influence of the local languages and culture. They also reflect widespread second-language learning of the transplanted language by the local population.

Jeff Siegel. "Multilingualism, Indigenization, and Creolization" in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism: Second Edition edited by Tej K. Bhatia and William C. Ritchie.
"Linguistic indigenization occurs when a language is transplanted in a new location and learned and used by the local population." By analogy thinking of spiritual items such as medicine bundles in terms of digital technologies such as smartphones would be a form of acculturation covered by the notion of indigenization. Both have an element of ritual and appropriate use attached to them. Spirituality meets materiality. Holding people together.

And so for day 2042

Dialogue as Exclusion of the Third via Noise Introduction

Serres Hermes I

See Serres, Hermes 66-67: [doCtored with typographiC noise]

Following scientific tradition, let us Call noise the set of these phenomena of interferenCe that become obstaCles to CommuniCation. Thus, CaCography is the noise of graphiC form or, rather, the latter Comprises an essential form and a noise that is either essential or oCCasional. To write badly is to plunge the graphiC message into this noise which interferes with reading, which transforms the reader into an epigraphist. In other words, simply to write is to risk jumbling a form. In the same way, to CommuniCate orally is to risk losing meaning in noise. . . .[C]ommuniCation is a sort of game played by two interloCutors Considered as united against the phenomena of interferenCe and Confusion, or against individuals with some stake in interrupting [67] CommuniCation. These interloCutors . . . battle together against noise. The CaCographer and the epigraphist, the CaCophonous speaker and the auditor, exChange their reCiprocal roles in dialogue, where the sourCe becomes reCeption, and the reCeption sourCe (aCCording to a given rhythm). . . . To hold a dialogue is to suppose a third man and to seek to exClude him; a suCCessful CommuniCation is the exClusion of the third man. The most profound dialeCtical problem is not the problem of the Other, who is only a variety — or a variation — of the Same, it is the problem of the third man. We might Call this third man the demon, the prosopopoeia of noise.

And so for day 2041

Sound Twins

Robin Blaser sounds like Carl Sandburg.

Listen to any of the recordings of Blaser at PennSound.

Compare to Carl Sandburg reading from The Windy City [Chicago] from the Caedmon Poetry Collection: A Century of Poets Reading Their Work.


And so for day 2040

The Song Still With You

Dane Swan in A Mingus Lullaby displays a piercing humanity.

gess dey scuuured. Cawl de men in da white suites,/tayk me to da pinkhouse on de hill, da funny fawm,/giv' me a room wit pillows on da wallz, takeway/mi turntable, hav da priest pray ova me, tell mi repent!/I do no such ting! 'least ma mine iz free. 'least deez songs/still wit me.
This is the concluding stanza to "Lullaby" which narrates the tale of a music lover that skips church on Sundays and comes to this unhappy end. Swan captures voice well. And not always to achieve pathos.
If it wasn't for decorum
(and laws) my Hell-o'-Weens
would be a play on irony.
Assaulting Black-faced White people,
While wearing Blackface,
screaming, "Black on Black crime!"

Or eschew irony, wear a white hood
and call them nigger right before I attack.
Watch the glint of innocence
in their eyes fade —
reliving my acts of tyranny on tear-filled pillows

I know I am, but what are you?
This from "Fear — a work in two voices".

And so for day 2039

Just Staring Just Writing

Ephemera from the Royal Alexandra show opens up to a reprinted interview and old chestnut.

From the programme to Lily Tomlin in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe written by Jane Wagner, this bit on the nature of writing work…
I know I lack discipline. But I also think that being at the typewriter is not absolutely the most important thing about writing. I find it hard to get Lily to understand that I'm writing even when I'm just staring out the window.
Excerpt from an interview with Lily and Jane by Stephen Saban appearing in May 1986 issue of Details. Reminds one of the James Thurber self-reported anecdote:
I never quite know when I’m not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, ‘Dammit, Thurber, stop writing.’ She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph. Or my daughter will look up from the dinner table and ask, ‘Is he sick?’ ‘No,’ my wife says, ‘he’s writing something.’
James Thurber, The Art of Fiction No. 10 interviewed by George Plimpton & Max Steele, Fall 1955.

And so for day 2038

Of Taste and Origins

Originally appearing in the journal Petits Propos Culinaires

The name of the confection in its various forms — French massepain, Italian marzapana, Spanish mazapana — has been a puzzle. "Pain" or "pana," it is thought, means bread. But what about "maza" or "masse"? I would suggest that it arose from the experience of the Franks and other Westerners in Outremer. They encountered Saracen food and also Saracen alchemy, and may have been aware of the echoes of the alchemical elixir of life in the dietary of the Arabs. The Saracen name for the art was alkhimia. But the Franks called it by a Greek word, maza (Latinised as massa), which had earlier been a term for the bronze used in some of the experiments. For the Franks, the delicious golden pastes of sugar, ground almonds and saffron may well have seemed magical creations, brought into being by the alchemy of the Saracen cooks, and thus earning the name of maza pana — alchemical bread.
C. Anne Wilson. "The Saracen Connection: Arab Cuisine and the Mediaeval West" reprinted in The Wilder Shores of Gastronomy: 20 Years of the Best Food Writing from the Journal Petits Propos Culinaires.

And so for day 2037

A Particular and Peculiar Pair

Neil Hennessey has produced a gif(t) set worthy of displaying on the same page.



They have popped up in a number of places (in the past in the Coach House Books archive) persisting at deluxe rubber chicken #2 from 1999. Preserved by the kind folks at the Electronic Poetry Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

And so for day 2036

Distracting Disorders

Phoebe Wang has a hilarious piece in BookThug's The Unpublished City curated by Dionne Brand.

It's the tale of an invigilator and the student conditions requiring special accommodation: ASUD - Attention Surplus Underactivity Disorder; the student with a light-sensitive condition who only took classes in winter months; and the Syntactical Dyslexic.

A hint of envy creeps in and quickly creeps out.
Lily almost envied their specialness, their impairments, disorders and fixations that exempted them from the ordinary masses. If she'd had the choice, which of — but this was no way to think. If she wanted to emerge from today with all her faculties intact.
Through the humour shines the evident delight in diversity.

And so for day 2035

Impact of the Cumulative

It may be difficult for the colour-blind to spot the red…

What jumps out is the message that hate does not need much to grow.

The goal of IWitness is to motivate students, through the use of testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive to act responsibly and ultimately to help them uphold important values. These include justice, equality, diversity, tolerance and how best to counter attitudes and acts of hatred. And we’ve seen through our evaluation efforts that the power of first person audiovisual resources does have tremendous impact on students. In this current political climate, it’s so important to remember that hate, unlike other feelings or dispositions, does not need much to grow; something that we are learning too well in every locale we are working.

Ignorance, fear and opportunity provide marvelous conditions for it to take root and spread. In the 30s in Germany, the Communists and the Socialists were so busy fighting each other that they missed the real threat that the rise of the Nazis posed. One might suggest that a similar dynamic is taking shape as our political leaders vie for power, oblivious to—or even exploitive of—the growing resentment between groups of people on the ground. In both cases, the result was and is a proliferation of fear, hate and a loss of democracy and decency. We are in danger of falling into the same trap when we set up a dynamic of “us” and “them.”

Interview with Kori Street
Vigilance: the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.
Cumulative: increasing or increased in quantity, degree, or force by successive additions.

And so for day 2034

Floating Signifier: Die Zauberflöte

Mozart's Magic Flute has spawned many a gorgeous visual treatment in materials advertising the opera. Perhaps none so elaborate as this emblem-endowed figure.

Opera Atelier, 1991.

My copy of this ephemera was used as years as a book marker witnessed by the crinkling at the base.

And so for day 2033

Word, World, Flesh

Stephanie K. Dunning in the acknowledgements to Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture signals the contributions of a care giver — a type of acknowledgement that one rarely sees.

In addition to my friends and colleagues, I'd like to acknowledge a few people who played a more indirect role in the publication of this book. I must give credit to Crystal Haymes, a positively amazing child-care provider, who came into our lives and transformed everything for the better. Without her cheerful, reliable, and excellent child care, I would not have been able to complete this project.
I want to be slightly naughty and tie this acknowledgement to the paean to swearing that is highlighted in her epilogue "Reading Robert Reid-Pharr"
From that moment, my love of Robert Reid-Pharr's writing began. How can one not love a writer who can academically deploy the word "fuck"? I am a person who says fuck, cock, pussy, shit, and muthafucka with great regularity. I delight in introducing my students to the powerful rhetorical pleasure of actually saying precisely what several adjectives and a discrete noun mean to one simple word: fuck. (My students, I must say, are not always as delighted.) What the use of such frank language suggested to me was that there was a place for me in academe — a place for me in language — that I had previously thought was unavailable.
And what name do I invoke to tie these passages together? Bakhtin.

I find hilarious, Nicole C. Kear's rules in the Salon article Mommy’s got a potty mouth which reminds us that there are elaborate discursive dimensions even in the employment of the most course language.
I'm sure my perspective will change as they get older, but my children are still mastering basic language skills, and you have to learn the rules before you can bend them. Unlike other parents I know, I have a perfectly traditional perspective here: I don't think it's OK for my kids to swear, not at home, not at third-grade recess, not on special occasions. Until they can scan iambic pentameter or explain dramatic irony, my kids will have to keep their language G-rated.
In her conclusion, Kear appears to be channelling Dunning with profit.
And so, apparently, will I. The only question is, how? Resolutions are made to be broken, cuss jars are no deterrent, and substitutions only remind me of what I’m missing. It would appear I’m going to have to kick this habit with good, old-fashioned willpower, by biting my tongue. Until bedtime, at least. After all, I’m only fucking human.
Merde! always translated as "Break a leg!"

And so for day 2032

Wry: using or expressing dry, especially mocking, humor

I have always gone through the mental motions of ducking when I finally unscramble the title of Rita Mae Brown's book of poetry: The Hand That Cradles the Rock. Relish the irreverence of "The Great Pussblossom" is lobbed to the reader.

Hoisting her tail to the vertical
Pussblossom plants a kiss of suspicion upon her spouse,
"Tell me, dear, have you been eating mouse?"
Just the appropriate note of outré.

And so for day 2031

Whence Pederasty?

Adrienne Rich. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.

Lesbians have historically been deprived of political existence through "inclusion' as female versions of male homosexuality. To equate lesbian existence with male homosexuality because each is stigmatized is to deny and erase female reality once again. To separate those women stigmatized as "homosexual" or "gay" from the complex continuum of female resistance to enslavement, and attach them to a male pattern, is to falsify our history. Part of the history of lesbian existence is, obviously, to be found where lesbians, lacking a coherent female community, have shared a kind of social life and common cause with homosexual men. But this has to be seen against the differences: women's lack of economic and cultural privilege relative to men; qualitative differences in female and male relationships, for example, the prevalence of anonymous sex and the justification of pederasty among male homosexuals, the pronounced ageism in male homosexual standards of sexual attractiveness, etc. […] the term "gay serves the purpose of blurring the very outlines we need to discern, which are of crucial value for feminism and for the freedom of women as a group.
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 1980, vol. 5, no. 4 (1980); reprinted by Antelope Publications, in 1982, as a pamphlet; collected in The Signs reader : women, gender, & scholarship (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1983)

But in 1986 there is a shift. Mention of "pederasty" is dropped. "Serves" becomes "may serve" and a footnote is added. The revisions are to be found in in her 1986 book Blood, Bread, and Poetry.
Part of the history of lesbian existence is, obviously, to be found where lesbians, lacking a coherent female community, have shared a kind of social life and common cause with homosexual men. But there are differences: women's lack of economic and cultural privilege relative to men; qualitative differences in female and male relationships — for example, and the patterns of anonymous sex among male homosexuals, and the pronounced ageism in male homosexual standards of sexual attractiveness. I perceive the lesbian experience as being, like motherhood, a profoundly female experience […] the term gay may serve the purpose of blurring the very outlines we need to discern, which are of crucial value for feminism and for the freedom of women as a group.*

* [A.R. 1986: The shared historical and spiritual "crossover" functions of lesbians and gay men in cultures past and present are traced by Judy Grahn in Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds (Boston: Beacon, 1984). I now think we have much to learn both from the uniquely female aspects of lesbian existence and from the complex "gay" identity we share with gay men.]
When I encountered Rich's "In Memoriam" in Poets for Life: Seventy-six Poets Respond to AIDS (1989) and in a revised form in Time's Power: Poems 1985-1988) where it appears with the initials D.K in its title [David Kalstone?], I thought that the apparent change in the view of gay men related to the AIDS crisis. But now in reviewing the evidence, I see that transhistorical studies such as Grahn's played a part.

From far on the other side: Gerald Hannon ends the article Men loving boys loving men The Body Politic, Issue 39, December 1977/January 1978 with an appeal to consider the Anita Bryants of the world as the real child molesters.
"Save Our Children, Inc" is the name of the game, although the organizers seem to be cynically aware of just what that means: "The molestation tactic was the thing that particularly got the headlines. We now know how effectively it can be used," said Robert Brake, one of the top officials of that organization. Who wouldn't want to save our children, after all, save them from things like the Houston mass murder horrors, save them from being pawed by nasty old men? That's what molestation means to most people, it's what the media encourages them to believe, it's a belief "Save Our Children" does nothing to discourage.

They've added a refinement. Recruitment. Because homosexuals can't reproduce, they must recruit.

Anita should know. Because recruitment is what she is all about. She wants our children. And, yes, they're our children too.
More on the charges and acquittal provoked by Men Loving Boys Loving Men see Queer Story video which features Jane Rule commenting. This from the Xtra! obituary by Marilyn Schuster
Rule, a lifelong opponent of censorship, wrote a bold column that condemned the police action and engaged the central issues of the offending article. In the column, called “Teaching Sexuality,” Rule acknowledged that the controversy raised difficult questions for her. “On the one hand I deplore repressive police action designed not only to stifle any discussion of… sexual activity across generations but to intimidate anyone even so involved with the paper as to be a subscriber,” she wrote. “On the other hand I understand the rage against sexual exploitation by men not only of children of both sexes but of women and other men, the pleasures of which The Body Politic can sometimes be accused of advertising.”

The real target of her essay was the hypocrisy of a society that is so fearful of sexual initiation that we deny that childhood sexuality exists. The taboo against sexual behaviour between children and adults, she argues, facilitates the exploitation of children. “Children are sexual,” she concluded, “and it is up to us to take responsibility for their real education. They have been exploited and betrayed long enough by our silence.” Her argument, bold in 2007, was unprecedented in 1978.

And so for day 2030

Homophobic Impotence

Righteous indignation with a hook. (from Home Coming). Let's set the stage. Don L. Lee in the intro: "are no trees in Harlem or on the westside of Chicago. The only use/beauty she/we see in a tree, at this time in space, is the number of rifle butts it will produce."

Homophobic Trigger

She's come a long way: "You rescued us from the tyranny of racism, sexism, homophobia, class and economic poverty . . . You. Prodigious singer. Of life and actions. And words . . ." Sonia Sanchez introduction to Audre Lorde's A Burst of Light and Other Essays.

In those days we were caught between the Right (pinko commies) and the Left (bourgeois decadence). Why rehearse the wounds? Because in the historical record stand the judgements of critics such as Houston Baker Jr. who is called out by Kristi S. Anderson (Post-Poststructuralism: Gender, Race, Class and Literary Theory) "Rather than critiquing the obvious (hetero)sexism of the particular poems of Sanchez' which he chooses to highlight, Baker celebrates the "heterosexual bonding and collaborative journeying" he claims they represent (334)." Her calling out is in a dissertation not circulating widely. Houston Baker Jr. does shift as did Sanchez. Here is his blurb on Marlon Riggs's last film (Black Is… Black Ain't): "A remarkably courageous work of art...Riggs shows us a rare type of black heroism and it is profoundly moving." Which is now on my viewing list.

Still Sanchez's poem has a bite. Worth remembering the conditions that led to its utterance. We use the weapons at hand. And do well to remember Lorde: the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

And so for day 2029

Mapping, Proximity and Simultaneity

Dan Llyod. Radiant Cool: A Novel Theory of Consciousness

Caffeine intake; computer interaction. Provide epiphany.

I imagined an arrow swooping like a blackbird through the labyrinth. It says "YOU ARE HERE!" in a point that gets its meaning from the map. The labyrinth was the pattern of all patterns. Out to the edge of being. "You are here."
A few pages later, our hero moves on from here.
I nudged the mouse and set the universe into a slow spin. I had spent two years in graduate school sorting labels into piles: subject vs. object; mind vs. body; body vs. world; perception vs. action. As I looked across the nebula, none of these big distinctions seemed quite right. Each planet overlapped both sides of every 'vs.' All the pattern planets were ways of interacting with the world, and the whole map showed bodies animating perception while perception illuminated bodies. The world and I get along. We collaborate with hands, with eyes, with ears and lips. Our getting along is the world; it's me, too. I make the world that makes me.
Tucked into this book, written on an index card, was an injunction to "confront the anti-text bias." It poses a question.
What causes or sets up the instruction to "put similar patterns near each other in interstellar brain space"? Alternative. Computation — with rewrite rules & history of rewrites — i.e. not about holding pattern but about shifting pattern to and fro and then up & down. "I make the world that makes me" Contraries —> contradictions. There has to be oscillation of a digital nature then a leap to 4 via not here/not there and not[not here not there].
There is a little diagram to accompany these words. It presents P at t1 —> Pa at t2.

P & Pa, I take to mean sets of patterns. And it seems that the route between sets is accomplished through the trajectories of a semiotic square. Which at this late date we can gloss as me/not me and not[me not me]. Bringing the far apart closer? Wedging the close apart?

And so for day 2028


Those that love the crisp chill in the air have a soul mate in Nigel Slater on winter:

The icy prickle across your face as you walk out into the freezing air. The piercing burn to your sinuses, like wasabi. Your eyes sparkle, your ears tingle. The rush of cold to your head is stimulating, vital, energising.

The arrival of the first snap of cold is invigorating, like jumping into an ice pool after the long sauna of summer. Winter feels like a renewal, at least it does to me. I long for that ice-bright light, skies of pale blue and soft grey light that is at once calm and gentle, fresh and crisp. Away from the stifling airlessness of summer, I once again have more energy. Winter has arrived.
For a larger treatment of Winter as idea and cultural construct treat yourself to Adam Gopnick's Massey Lectures: Winter: Five Windows on the Season.

And so for day 2027