Classic Chanel

As reported by John Fairchild in The Fashionable Savages

Chanel had said many times: "I love luxury and luxury lies not in the richness, or ornateness, but in the absence of vulgarity. Vulgarity is the ugliest word in our language. I stay in the fashion game to fight it."
I was put on to Fairchild's book by hearing an interview with André Leon Talley who rings the changes (at 5:25 into the interview) on the notion of "grace" which propels and impels the young boy from humble beginnings in the segregated South to the stratosphere.

And so for day 2088

Old Novelty

Awoke from a dream with these lines in mind:

To write the New English is to displace and replace. To read it is to reknit syntax.
I'm glad I committed the lines to paper; easier to remember.

And so for day 2087

Countercannon: The Threading of Names or On the Esthetic Interest of Exclusion

We need to quote at length for you to experience the rumble.

A kind of countercannon of works runs parallel to the canon we traditionally think of as the literary. Often its works are ones for which a more or less massive critical attempt was mounted to enter them at a respectable place in the traditional canon, and usually most literary historians would have to say that, for whatever reasons (usually because other critics resisted), the attempts have failed.

These works are in a very different position from those that, for a season or even a decade or more, achieve a general public popularity because the authors are well spoken and because there is nothing in the works so aesthetically offensive that literary critics feel called upon actively to denounce them. Often these works would appear to have joined the ranks of the immortals, only to be forgotten after still another decade or so, when their simple banality finally subverts all actual critical interest: one thinks of Archibald MacLeish's silly play J.B. (1958), Robinson Jeffer's mawkish redaction (another wildly free paraphrase from Euripides this time) of Medea (1946) [We studied this in high school in the 70s - FL], or even Tony Kushner's AIDS fairy tale Angels in America, Parts I and II (1993). All three have been declared, in their moments, icons of culture, but, stripped of the artful performances that briefly enlivened them, all three are less than memorable.

Works in the countercannon retain their interest, however. They are constantly being rediscovered. The 1890s is famous for a whole string of such works, though, indeed, to limit the ones associated with the nineties to that decade in any strict way would be far too absolute. It must go back at least as far as 1881, when twenty-six-year-old Olive Schreiner decided to leave South Africa with the just completed manuscript of her mystical — in the best sense — novel, The Story of an African Farm. The book was published in England in 1883, when she was twenty-eight. But during the nineties it was the most talked-about novel of the decade, at least among the poets of the Rhymers' Club — and rightly so. Now one stumbles across excited encomia about it in the letters of Ernest Dowson, now one uncovers an account of Arthur Symons, some few years before his final breakdown in Italy, enthusiastically urging it on the author of Marius the Epicurean, Walter Pater. Indeed we might even want to extend this line back to James Thomson's City of Dreadful Night, which appeared over four numbers of the National Reformer between March and May of 1874 — a work that grows from the same failure of organized Christianity that produced Schreiner's account of her characters' moral ordeals (with its uncanny, transvestial ending) on another continent in the year before Thomson died from tuberculosis in London, complicated by advanced dipsomania, on June 2nd of 1882.

The poems of Dowson (Verses, 1896; The Pierrot of the Minute, 1897; and the posthumous volume Decorations), with their unarguable verbal beauties, belong to this same line of works — if not the equally delicate tales he produced and published in the volume Dilemmas: Stories and Studies in Sentiments (1895) and in The Yellow Book. So do the more demanding — for the modern reader: because of their religious weight — poems of Lionel Pigot Johnson and Francis Thompson, if not the work of Alice Meynell. Indeed, the "productions of the nineties" continue on at least through 1904, when "Frederick, Baron Corvo" published his extraordinary novel, Hadrian the Seventh, a year after Samuel Butler's novel The Way of All Flesh saw posthumous publication in 1903. Indeed, Butler's novel, which he began in 1873 and competed in 1884, is a work contemporary with Schreiner's novel. Butler's novel, with its iconoclastic satire, was taken into the canon almost immediately while Corvo's, with its far more conservative politics, its wildly erudite religious superstructure and its barely suppressed fantasy — the writing is simply gorgeous — has led a far more problematic life at the margins of the literary, despite the praise of every one from D.H. Lawerence to W.H. Auden.

Looking at the range of such counterworks, one notices first the catastrophic lives their writers tended to live: the artists who produced them do not lend themselves to any easy version of the literary myth that art ennobles the artist's life — at least not in any nonironic and socially evident manner. If anything, they suggest that art is a bitch goddess who ravages the creator and leaves a distressing, pathetic ruin behind. It would seem that the canon can absorb a bit of such pathos, but in nowhere near the amounts that predominate in the range of highly talented creators; and it is rare that (with a lot of posthumous critical help) a John Keats, a Percy Shelley, an Edgar Allan Poe, or a Hart Crane makes it across the canonical border. And in terms of the reception of all these, all are poets who, at one time or another, verged on being confined to the countercannon. (How interesting it is to observe the posthumous critical reduction currently going on of W.H. Auden from the poetic giant he was during the last thirty years of his life to a "more or less interesting poet," for no other reason that I can discern — in the half-dozen recent studies and biographies of him I have read — than that [it does not even seem to be his homosexuality] he occasionally neglected his clothing, his St. Mark's Place apartment was a mess, and he drank.) As a group, however, the countercannon poets tend toward a brilliance of surface that suggests an excess of aesthetic relations in their texts constituting both their enjoyment and the permanence of their esthetic interest despite their regular canonical exclusion.
Samuel R. Delany "Remarks on Narrative and Technology, or Poetry and Truth" published in Technoscience and Cyberculture.

And so for day 2086

Sparrow Renewal

This is the opening which could suffice unto itself — the rest is all there in the intimation of a new season.

Catching winter in their carved nostrils
the traitor birds have deserted us,
leaving only the dullest brown sparrows
for spring negotiations.
Leonard Cohen
Lets Us Compare Mythologies
"The Sparrows"

And so for day 2085

Double Flip Slide

Paul Bocuse (Bocuse in Your Kitchen) provides instructions for how to handle the flipping of a pan-sized potato crêpe.

Cook over moderately high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until the underside has browned then slide the crêpe out into a large plate. [...] then place a second plate on top of the crêpe and turn it upside down. Lift off the first plate and slide the crêpe back into the pan to finish cooking 6 to 8 minutes on the second side. Serve immediately.
Technique, so simple, counts.

And so for day 2084

Hanging from the Monkey Bars

In Fish Bones, Gillian Sze grabs you by the shifts in tense, keeps you bouncing about in time frames. And aptly it's the opening to a poem called "The Shaman's Dance" that offers the perfect locus upon which to pin this observation:

From my kitchen window, I see
someone's left a stroller in the alleyway,
a man pull flattened cardboard boxes out of a dumpster,
the tree's bareness open to the sky's scalp.
Is the man pulling or has he pulled? One is tempted to offer to inflect the verb but there is another way to read the quasi-accidental: a man's pull flattened... so that the apostrophe "s" from the previous line and from the following line gets repeated. someone's, a man's, the tree's.

I gather my cue from Sze's "I Still Think So" turning around and hanging from the syntactic monkey bars.
I Still Think So

I was nine
when I discovered
that I looked prettier
in photographs
when they were turned
upside down.
Doesn't "a man's pull flattened cardboard boxes" look pretty? But it's wrong. The anaphora of the apostrophes is only a visual trick of reading too fast. An itch on sky-scalp.

Temporal events collected in the simple act of seeing (the present holds - I see): someone left (present perfect), a man pull (present, a historical present?), bareness open (a present that hints at a continuous present?). And the anaphora is perhaps not so wrong as hidden. Tucked away. A future. Flattened.

And so for day 2083

Having Doing

Experience versus Theory

These days you have to have a P.H.D.
In the old days all you had to do was
Ishmael Reed "Tea Dance Turns Thirty-Nine" in A Secretary to the Spirits

And so for day 2082

The Drinking Dog; The Drunk Scholar

Karin Cope. Passionate Collaborations: Learning to Live With Gertrude Stein

Not to mention the dog!

Yes, that's it. In fact, I began to hear the dog because I had begun to think about writing again for myself. And to do that you have to take certain risks, you cannot be looking for the questions or the answers, you have to be willing to enter into a space of not-knowing-where-you're-going, a space of a certain kind of floating, of absent-mindedness, of indistinct boundaries, a space where what you know and what you experience are intimately linked — in which they have to have a relation to one another. In short, I had to start living again, to value the small details of my own life again, in order to hear the dog, and to begin to understand Stein. There's a wonderful thing that weekend painter Joanna Field — who is also the psychoanalyst Marion Milner — says in her book On Not Being Able To Paint. Arguing that creating, in the sense of artwork or invention, can only happen within a protected space, "a place for absent-mindedness," that the environment has to provide a framework "in which we are freed, for the time being, from the need for immediate practical expedient action," she suggests that you must have, both in yourself, as well in those around you, "a tolerance of something which may at moments look very like madness." Then she goes on to say something that begins to get at the crux of this play issue we've not really quite addressed yet:
The question then arises, are we going to treat all phenomena that are often talked of under that heading as symptoms, something to be got rid of, or can we, in our so objectively-minded culture, come to recognise them as something to be used, in their right place? In our childhood we are allowed to act, move, behave, under the influence of illusions, to play "pretend" games and even get lost in our play, feel for the moment that it is real. In adult life it is less easy to find settings where this is possible (we get other people to do the pretending, on the films and the stage), although we do find it within the framework of the analytic session as patients.
The story of the dog…
Okay, here it is. Perhaps you've heard that peculiar claim that Stein makes in How to Write: "Sentences are not emotional, paragraphs are"? She explains this insight by saying she understood it when she listened to her dog drinking. This made no sense to me for years, for maybe ten years. I accepted it — what else was I supposed to do with it? What are you going to say about such an utterance and its peculiar justification — that it's false? How would you prove that? Then one day I was — well, you have to know, I had just then started to live on a farm and we had a dog there and for years I'd not lived in a house with a dog, for twenty years maybe. So that day I was sitting there, and the dog came in and began lapping at her bowl. And so I thought of Stein's phrase and said it, and all of a sudden I understood it. For there was the sound of the dog's lapping, a kind of rise and fall, very punctual, and there was great exuberance in the repetition of the sound of her tongue hitting the water and scooping a tongueful back into her mouth, a kind of kew-lup, kew-lup, kew-lup sound, and I realized that if you took only one of those laps then, well, the whole thing would mean nothing to you, it would be sort of incomplete, emotionless. Never mind that the dog would not really get any water, you yourself would not be able to figure out what was going on, you would develop some thirst in relation to this lapping —
Thirst-in-relation-to-lapping — a kind of will to meaning that is only satisfied by being in the world?

And so for day 2081


Marcella Hazan in the introduction to The Classic Italian Cookbook stresses the seasons.

The sober winter taste, the austere whites and gray-greens of artichokes, cardoons, celery, cauliflower; the sweetness and the tender hues of spring in the first asparagus, the earliest peas, baby carrots, young fava beans; the voluptuous gifts of summer: the luscious eggplant, the glossy green pepper, the sun-reddened tomato, the succulent zucchini; the tart and scented taste of autumn in leeks, finocchio, fresh spinach, red cabbage; these do more than quiet our hunger. Through their presence the act of eating becomes a way of sharing our life with nature. And this is precisely what is at the heart of the Italian art of eating.
I like how the tour through the seasons shifts its punctuation as well as its all-vegetable cast.

And so for day 2080

Whither Eros

Howard Gardner (5 Minds for the Future) on the Respectful Mind…

We homo sapiens must somehow learn how to inhabit neighboring places — and the same planet — without hating one another, without lusting to injure or kill one another, without acting on xenophobic inclinations even if our own group might emerge triumphant in the short turn. Often the desideratum tolerance is invoked, and it may be the case that it is all that we can aspire to. Wordsmiths of a more optimistic temperament opt for romantic language; on the eve of World War II, poet W.H. Auden declared, "We must love one another or die."
Gardner sets this up as mere pretty words. Indeed he continues in the next paragraph to accept neither love nor hate.
I prefer the concept of respect. Rather than ignoring differences being inflamed by them, or seeking to annihilate them through love or hate. I call on human beings to accept the differences, learn to live with them, and value those who belong to other cohorts.
After this dismissal, I needed to see for myself just what the poet was advancing. That bit from Auden is the last line of the penultimate stanza of September 1, 1939 which ends with this stanza:
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
Composed: both made up and serene. The key is in the affirmative irony. Although Gardner poses Auden's adage as if it were a completely isolated sentence, we can construe a less than monological meaning upon reviewing its context. It's part of a series that actually endorses Gardner's beyond-the-cohort view:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
That "we" becomes more complex in context. We, both citizen and police, are not alone. And hunger impels the choice. Or rather negates the choice. We die. But how we die depends upon how we love.

And so for day 2079

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 2078

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 2077

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 2076

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 2075

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 2074

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 2073

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 2072

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 2071

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 practice 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 2070

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.


And so for day 2069

Agreeing to Perpetual Commotion

Inscribed under the sign of fado, Michele Leggott's conclusion to milk & honey is an expansive poem called "wild light" whose ending opens the mind onto wide vistas


travelling light
because our hearts
those crazy old caloyers
have gone on ahead
with all the stories on a string
all the stories in the world
waiting to happen
light swings between us
luminous and dispersive
anguish no anguish
I won't be back this way again
but the world of light
throws its salts into the sky
one more time
foam dew clouds lightning
and on this arm
of the harbouring planet
we look up and agree to live
in perpetual commotion
a new moon and just below it
the evening star

Anchored in place and on a thread raising to source of light.

And so for day 2068

4 Down: Inhabitant of Lesbos

I have heard variations on this joke but here it takes on a charm of its own.


(looking up from her crossword page)

"Don't be silly, dear. You're Scandanavian."
from Julie Marie Wade, When I Was Straight

And so for day 2067

Stark Consequences

Nigel Slater. Real Fast Food. On improvization…

If you get halfway through a recipe and find that the crucial ingredient is missing, then you must experiment or starve.
He goes on to observe in a variation on the adage that necessity is the mother of invention: "Improvization is a wonderful thing. It is how cooking moves forward."

And so for day 2066

yr utopia: dreem not uv its prfekshun

bill bissett - The Gypsy Dreamer
Director: Luis De Estores
Described as "an evocative, multifaceted portrait of acclaimed Canadian poet, artist, singer, and peer mental health advocate, bill bissett".

"forget living a normal life that's my message of hope, my message of hope is try and most successfully, most organically, most exquisitely, most happily, live your own life"
Caroline Bayard and Jack David have a wonderfully evocative description of bill bissett in the introduction to Out-posts / Avant-postes
bissett, in performance, relies absolutely on the poem: he does not supply anecdotes about when and why the poem was written and he often commences a reading by chanting one of his single-line (many times repeated) poems, such as "day go day go my heart a cum home a". To first-time bissett observers, his chanting, Indian-like poems, and his rattle, often come as a surprise or a revelation. Each performance differs as the "spirit" indicates, for there are no definite patterns to follow.
I was privileged to hear him live here at Glad Day Bookshop in the Poetic Justice series. He did indeed open with a chant. And I'm so glad that Luis De Estores captured some of the magic. it mks the or din airy speshul

And so for day 2065

The Way the Wind Blows

Reversing paragraphs in our source — evoking taste then its source.

First the explication:

It's this breeze, the legend states, that makes up the secret ingredient of Prosciutto di Parma, drying the ham to its signature sweetness and making it one of the most popular varieties of Italian prosciutto – its name recognized around the world.
Next the description of motive force:
Dating back to 100 BC, historians have remarked on this ham produced in Parma. According to legend, the breeze from the Versilia coast drifts through the olive trees of the Magra Valley, picking up the fragrance from the chestnut trees before settling in the hills of Parma.

And so for day 2064

Paths to the the Pleasure Spot

There are some books you wish you had come across sooner…

As the letters empty and reverse themselves, becoming their outlines, their own shadows, the reader sees and/or establishes connections between the images: "anybody looking at something," Nichol has said, "takes a path through it, and that creates a narrative. So the best you can hope for is to present a text which demands of the reader that they organize it themselves."

          Stephen Scobie. bpNichol: What History Teaches. p. 50.
You see from 1968 on we really got obsessed with trying to get to a non-narrative prose. Was it possible? Steve [McCaffery] and I finally came to see that, no, it was totally impossible. In fact, anybody looking at something, takes a path through it, and that creates a narrative. So the best you can hope for is to present a text which demands of the reader that they organize it themselves.

          Caroline Bayard and Jack David. Out-posts / Avant-postes p. 27. [interview with bpNicol]
La seule vérité c'est le plaisir du texte, le plaisir du corps. Si, pour moi, la transgression est importante, transgresser la loi, la hiérarchie, cela veut dire s'approprier des lieux de plaisir, non des lieux de production. Je dis cela en tant que poète. Parce qu'en tant que femme, dans la lutte des femmes, je veux m'approprier du pouvoir, et avoir un pouvoir de négotiation. Mais en tant que poète, ma priorité, c'est le plaisir.

          Caroline Bayard and Jack David. Out-posts / Avant-postes p. 72. [interview with Nicole Brossard]
This would have been great to weave into my considerations of "Storing and Sorting" where I could have made a greater connection between the treatment of sequences (narrativity) and jouissance.

And so for day 2063

Casting the Speculum

At the mention of "Andrew", the phrase "fishers of men" popped into my head and dragged the rest of the poem into an interpretation where the first catch is the self.

The beauty of Titian's Peter—you'd swear
those painted arms were flesh.
He's fishing with Andrew, the two of them arguing,
hauling their heavy nets into the boat.
They bend to the lake's mirror: among reflected reeds,
a heron's image turning its liquid head to hunt.
And the floating shapes of men—necks, lips, bellies—
their bodies' second life on the surface of water.
"Beauty as an Evolutionary Strategy"
Mary Cornish
Red Studio

And so for day 2062

Transcendental Orphans

There is a smart aleck joke in the notes to Stephen Scobie's bpNichol: What History Teaches. First the text block on page 118 that provides the "anchor" for the note in question.

But, given the multiplicity of language, this whole myth can also be read in another direction, and the The Martyrology can be seen as a drama of the continuing redemption of language. Poststructuralism celebrates the absence of the "father," that is, of the very notion of a "Transcendental Signified" which would act as origin, source, and sanction for a stable system of signifiers. As I put it in Chapter 1, "The sign is empty; we are all orphaned in language."10
And so the note:
10 See above, p. 00 [in TS, Chapter 1, pg.17].
Page Double Zero? No title abbreviates to TS in the bibliography. Transcendental Signifier? [Signified?] There is at page 17 of Chapter 1 the self quotation:
Roland Barthes observes that "every narrative (every unveiling of the truth) is a staging of the (absent, hidden, or hypostatized) father": 26 the idea of narrative as an Oedipal quest should come as no surprise to any reader of Journal. Here we may briefly anticipate a later stage of the argument, and observe that the missing parent (a prevalent figure in Canadian literature)27 is equivalent to the absence of the "transcendental signified" in poststructuralist linguistics. The sign is empty; we are all orphaned in language. As Nichol longs to reach the (m)other through the diversity of language, that very diversity demonstrates the impossibility of concluding the quest.
Amazing if you squint a little that double zero 00 looks like an infinity symbol.

And so for day 2061

Follow the Breath

This little set of verses set as an "exergue" reminds one of the practice of being mindful of breathing.

"Will you come?" said the Sun.
"Soon," said the Moon.
"How far?" said the Star.
"I'm there," said the Air.

A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems of Innocent and Experienced Travellers by Nancy Willard. Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen.

And so for day 2060

Perspective & Proportion

Mary Cornish
from "The Laws of Japanese Painting"
in Red Studio

If a mountain is ten feet high, the trees
should be one foot, the horse one inch, and a man
the size of a bean.
The image of the bean brings to mind for me those primary school projects where a bean is sprouted in a glass and we could see the hairs on the roots and the leaves unfold from the cotyledon. Without proper soil of course they perished. Of course any plant eventually perishes. Such are the thoughts that grow from contemplating man as bean.

And so for day 2059

Blackboy Utopia

Danez Smith in Don't Call Us Dead creates a utopian space in which to reinvigorate the Black psyche through an artful homoerotics. He saves the body. The mind bends the body politic to imagine another place and another time beyond wounds.

that boy was Trayvon, now called RainKing.
that man Sean named himself i do, i do.

O, the imagination of a new reborn boy
but most of us settle on alive.

from "summer, somewhere"
The fanciful can take a whimsical turn (which then turns to a deep contemplation of the logics of culture).
let's make a movie calld Dinosaurs in the Hood.
Jurassic Park meets Friday meets The Pursuit of Happyness.
there should be a scene where a little black boy is playing
with a toy dinosaur on the bus, then looks out the window
& sees the T.rex, because there has to be a T.rex


no bullet holes in the heroes. & no one kills the black boy. & no one kills
the black boy. & no one kills the black boy. besides, the only reason
i want to make this is for the first scene anyway: little black boy
on the bus with his toy dinosaur, his eyes wide & endless

                                         his dreams possible, pulsing, & right there.

from "dinosaurs in the hood"
As crazy as a Barmecide feast in Peter Pan or a generalized ability to manipulate illusions
if you don't
eat the imaginary potato (grown in an
imaginary field, baked in in imaginary
oven) your real capacity
to imagine illusion lessens:

A.R. Ammons from The Ridge Farm
Worth noting that "illusion" has in its etymological roots in the verb "to mock" — a defence mechanism. [Middle English (in the sense 'deceiving, deception'): via Old French from Latin illusio(n-), from illudere 'to mock,' from in- 'against' + ludere 'play.']

And so for day 2058