What is Heard

Will Young
on the album Echoes

The lyrics I have seen reproduce the long languorous pauses with line breaks and spacing. They bring into high relief the relation between waiting and thinking.

And it feels like jealousy
And it feels like I can't breathe
And I'm on, down on my knees
And it feels like jealousy.

I'm tired of waiting.

I'm tired of thinking.

And it feels like jealousy (hey)
And it feels like I can't breathe (I can't breathe)
And I'm on, down on my knees (oh)
And it feels like jealousy
Listen in at 1:89 there are more words with telling rests:
And all this
taking over
Right there after the tired of thinking and waiting, just before the iteration of the naming of jealousy. Could this be a case of Will Young: 'I forget lyrics and start making them up'? Improvisation that laid down the track?

And so for day 2391

From The View Towards

On the occasion of his turning 100, a piece appeared about Robert Blackburn, Chief Librarian, under whose leadership the card catalogue was converted to machine-readable form.

It ends with a fine sentiment:

His birthday wish? “Only that my work in all those covered-wagon days will continue to provide my successors with the flexibility and scope that are needed to command a great future.”
That is a classy legacy statement.

And so for day 2390

Gross Domestic Product: Its Limitations

First the examples of what's wrong:

If you were the GDP, your ideal citizen would be a compulsive gambler with cancer who's going through a drawn-out divorce that he copes with by popping fistfuls of Prozac and going berserk on Black Friday. Environmental pollution even does double duty: One company makes a mint by cutting corners while another is paid to clean up the mess. By contrast, a century-old tree doesn't count until you chop it down and sell it as lumber.
Now why (a wartime mentality):
To calculate the GDP, numerous data points have to be linked together and hundreds of wholly subjective choices made regarding what to count and what to ignore. In spite of this methodology, the GDP is never presented as anything less than hard science, whose fractional vacillations can make the difference between reelection and political annihilation. Yet this apparent precision is an illusion. The GDP is not a clearly defined object just waiting to measure an idea.

A great idea, admittedly. There's no denying that GDP came in very handy during wartime, when the enemy was at the gates and a country's very existence hinged on production, on churning out as many tanks, planes, bombs, and grenades as possible. During wartime, it's perfectly reasonable to borrow from the future. During wartime, it makes sense to pollute the environment and go into debt. It can even be preferable to neglect your family, put your children to work on a production line, sacrifice your free time, and forget everything that makes life worth living.

Indeed, during wartime, there's no metric quite as useful as the GDP.
Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World
Rutger Bregman

And so for day 2389

Marks and the Marked

The lines lifted out from their surroundings in the poem could be about cutting and self harm.

Your lacerations tell the losing game
You play against a sickness past your cure.
They are about a preacher's struggle and another type of damage:
What are we in the hands of the great God?
It was in vain you set up thorn and briar
In battle array against the fire
And treason crackling in your blood;
For the wild thorns grow tame
And will do nothing to oppose the flame;
Your lacerations tell the losing game
You play against a sickness past your cure.
How will the hands be strong? How will the heart endure?
Robert Lowell
"Mr. Edwards and the Spider"
The Kenyon Review, Winter 1946, Vol. VIII, No. 1

And so for day 2388

Viola Tricolor Memento

Browse: The World in Bookshops
Edited by Henry Hitchings

Reading in this collection "Bookshop Time" by Ali Smith, I was struck by this passage about what gets inserted and preserved between the pages of books

We leave ourselves in our books via this seeming detritus: cigarette cards with pictures of trees or wildlife; receipts for the chemist; opera or concert or theatre tickets; rail or tram or bus tickets from all the decades; photographs of places and long-gone dogs and cats and holidays; once even a photo of someone's Cortina. Now when I donate books to the shop I have a flick through to make sure that anything tucked into them isn't something I might mind losing.
A Cortina btw is a type of car.

A few days later I find in a copy of Bashō a delicate book marker fashioned as a mark of affection and love. On the one side is a pressed heart's ease patiently arranged and composed with parts from other plants to form a miniature herbarium specimen. On the other side is an inscription dated Valentine's Day 1987. The card is laminated and so protected. A perfect long lasting gift.

viola tricolour valentine


And so for day 2387

drawn line has more than one direction

a drawn line has more than one direction

or so we are informed by

Mark Truscott "There" Branches

How many lines

in this glimpse

of bare tree?


drawn, a line can

never really move

in just one direction.
It gets complicated from there.

There is a great cover image — a puzzle piece image of a tree. Reproduced in grayscale in the inside covers: once completed or solved and once inverted. Roots. Routes.

In lieu of damaging the spine of my copy of the book by being flattened on a scanner bed, here is the cover designed by Tree Abraham and the cover flipped.
cover branches flipped cover branches

Detail counts in this book. The first line stands alone on the first page: "A branch like a line like a branch" is almost taken up verbatim on the second page "Branch like a line like a branch" -- except a noun has been converted into a verb.

And so for day 2386

Sensitivity to Setting

Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
In Praise of Shadows
Translated by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker

On lacquer

First one coat...

And I realized then that only in dim half-light is the true beauty of Japanese lacquerware revealed. The rooms at the Waranjiya are about nine feet square, the size of a comfortable little tearoom, and the alcove pillars and ceilings glow with a faint smoky luster, dark even in the light of the lamp. But in the still dimmer light of the candle stand, as I gazed at the trays and bowls standing in the shadows cast by that flickering point of flame, I discovered in the gloss of this lacquerware a depth and richness like that of a still, dark pond, a beauty I had not before seen. It had not been mere chance, I realized that our ancestors, having discovered lacquer, had conceived such a fondness for objects finished in it.
Then another...
Sometimes a superb piece of black lacquerware, decorated perhaps with flecks of silver and gold — a box or a desk or a set of shelves — will seem to me unsettlingly garish and altogether vulgar. But render pitch black the void in which they stand, and light them not with the rays of the sun or electricity but rather a single lantern or candle: suddenly those garish objects turn somber, refined, dignified. Artisans of old, when they finished their works in lacquer and decorated them in sparkling patterns, must surely have had in mind dark rooms and sought to turn to good effect what feeble light there was. Their extravagant use of gold, too, I should imagine, came of understanding how it gleams forth from out of the darkness and reflects the lamplight.
... prose as carefully built up layer by layer as the objects it describes.

And so for day 2385

Subduing the Imperatives

Comparing what I heard with what I read, I became aware of two versions of the song. A snippet for comparison...

Melanie version Rolling Stones version
There's no time to lose I heard her say
You gotta catch your dreams before they run away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind
Is life unkind

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who is gonna hang a name on you
And when you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you
"There's no time to lose, " I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain't life unkind?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Slight but impactful differences ... might ... will

And so for day 2384

Close-up on the Chocolate

Wallace Edwards

Truly captivating images of animals in action and simple verse that complements the images well. From which I have collected these bonbons...

chocolate close-up

chocolate close-up
There are also brushes dripping with paint that get repeated and fruit too.

And so for day 2383

Accepting Ursula's Point of View

Partition by way of modality...

I don't believe in Darwin's theory of evolution, I accept it. It isn't a matter of faith, but of evidence.

The whole undertaking of science is to deal, as well as it can, with reality. The reality of actual things and events in time is subject to doubt, to hypothesis, to proof and disproof to acceptance and rejection — not to belief or disbelief.

Belief has its proper and powerful existence in the domains of magic, religion, fear, and hope.
Ursula K. Le Guin "Belief in Belief" in No Time to Spare.

And so for day 2382

The View from the Theatre Box


In the space between meaninglessness of the present and the unknowable past is the entertainment of history. The artifice of history's words is to give historians, whoever they are - gossips, priests, academics - control over the past in a way participants could never control their present. Historians, again, whoever they are, are outsiders. They always make a drama out of what the participants experienced as one damn thing after another. Historians always see the past from a perspective the past could never have had. They are like meteorologists predicting yesterday's weather today. They get their certainties from consequences.
Greg Dening, "A Poetic for Histories" in Performances

And so for day 2381

A Story that Sticks

Sometimes email brings one the most marvellous of anecdotes.

Like this one in a message announcing a show at the Yumart Gallery

"Stuck" isn't in the exhibition. It's gone. I was having a difficult time in my studio; the floor was littered with scraps and cuttings but nothing came together. I decided to go home and on the streetcar I crossed my legs, looking out the window for even a shadow of inspiration. A young woman across from me looked at the sole of my shoe and laughed and pointed. I took off my shoe and looked at the sole: four small random scraps of sticky cuttings had arranged themselves in an interesting pattern around a small torn magazine image of Donald Trump. The word "Ick" covered most of his mouth; an eyeball was embedded in his bouffant; a torn newspaper headline about murder was underneath it all. I disembarked from the streetcar in the rain and walked carefully to preserve "Stuck". But it had disintegrated by the time I reached the studio. I had a good day, then.
Lee Lamothe, Toronto-based photomontage artist.

And so for day 2380

The Emergency of Breath

Finding that guilt is not a useful emotion, I learnt a long while ago to live by the mantra "No Blame No Shame" (or vice versa) as I neither wanted to be the cause of either in people I encountered nor carry either within myself. Imagine my delight in the listing offered in a poem by Roy Miki which rhymed in a very opposite direction signalling rantings that need to yield.

"No pain no gain." "No sin no grin." "No blame
no fame." The social goods are stacked. All bets
were off track as the announcer waived his voice
fee to expose his goods. You or i only wish the
rantings that blanket the public airwaves of
displeasure would yield the emergency of breath.
From Scoping (Also Pronounced Shopping) in Kits
in Open Text: Canadian Poetry and Poetics in the 21st Century Vol. 2 edited by Roger Farr (North Vancouver: CUE, 2009).

And so for day 2379


Northrop Frye
By Liberal Things
His address upon his installation as Principal of Victoria College, 1959

The university is not merely the group of institutions called universities, any more than the Church is merely the group of buildings called churches. Wherever there is respect for the artist's vision, the scientist's detachment, the teacher's learning and patience, the child's questioning, there the university is at work in the world.
What I love here is the push beyond a tricolon into a quadruple listing terminated by the fine sounding declaration which through the repetition of one word (there) reaches back to the beginning of the sentence to pick up the deictic and thus form in the mind a great solid arch.

And so for day 2378

Levity Amongst the Layers

I have been trawling through the literature on overlapping hierarchies and have repeatedly come across puns and other forms of humour. One of the outstanding examples comes from Steve deRose.

This model, originally named HORSE (Hierarchy-Obfuscating Really Spiffy Encoding) may seem wooden at first, but soon it comes to look quite natural. With its spartan syntax it should be attractive; but its name seems less so, and clearly a Muse meant us to rename this model

because of its heavy use of point events scattered throughout the text or data stream: click, clicks, clix.
The acronym in itself is funny but even more humorous given that it is part of an extended conceit playing with a name: "This approach, which after Troy [Griffiths] is called 'Trojan milestones'". And is redoubled by the allusive heading to this section: "Catching Hell'n Tagging".

From "Markup Overlap: A Review and a Horse" (2004)

And so for day 2377

At the Tail End, a Tale, not Tall

CBC Ideas
Vestigial Tale
An episode devoted to story telling.

At 49:00 minutes in of an hour show we are sent off with a story recounted by Aideen McBride.

I do it not justice except to say it involves a young man and an old woman and the welcome they receive when seeking hospitality and shelter each on their own. One of them figures "truth" and the other "story". McBride concludes her recounting with the observation that truth gains admittance accompanied by story.

And so for day 2376

Affectation or Affordance

Came across this practice in Jeremiah Tower Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother

Wrapped Lemons

Putting cheesecloth or cotton clothes on a lemon is not an affectation but, rather a highly practical courtesy, one that prevents digging for seeds in iced tea, or prevents squirting someone in the eye with lemon juice when all you are trying to do is flavor the fish. It also saves having to remember at formal occasions how to squeeze the half-lemon gracefully against the prongs of a fork.
Had to go search for a picture (basically a lemon cut in half at its equator and the cut end wrapped in muslin or cheese cloth).

wrapped lemons

And so for day 2375

Changes of State - States of Change

Edward Bryne
From "Délires"
In Open Text Volume 2 Canadian Poetry and Poetics in the 21st Century

Even successful snowmen must melt.
Subtle alliterations.

And so for day 2374

Flavour Listings

Where taste begins with names.


Strawberry, Earl Grey Tea
Spruce Mint
Cranberry, Ginger
Peppermint, Cheesecake
Rosemary, Orange
Sugar Plum Jelly
Cherry, Marzipan
Coffee, Cinnamon
Yuzu, Sake
Sherry, Milk Chocolate
Pistachio, Bergamot
Orange Blossom, Honey
Cinnamon, Brown Butter
Cherry, Vanilla
Raspberry Rose Fennel
Lime, Ginger, Black Pepper
Salted Caramel

Names for chocolate bonbons - Names for flights of imagination.

And so for day 2373

Disappearing Appearance

Untangling the myth from the fact to make a greater statement about not peering:

An ostrich does not bury its head in the sand; it lays its neck flat to the ground so as to appear from a distance like a mound of earth. That facts are innumerable is not the problem. That we tend to look elsewhere is.
"The Problem"
Noah Eli Gordon
From Is That the Sound of a Piano Coming from Several Houses Down?

And so for day 2372

Seating and Setting

Jeremiah Tower
Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother

SEATING PLAN: The arrangements should make well-mannered sparks. You don't have to invite couples and if you do, you don't have to seat them next to each other. They already see enough of each other. Put people next to one another who will enjoy that choice and create interest around the table. You can go mad trying to stick to the man-woman-man format when someone cancels at the last minute. Forget it. We live in a world of multitudes of fluid genders.
I like to juxtapose this with the opening advice of the next section: "Very little is about you at someone else's dinner party except your table manners."

And so for day 2371

Fiction Is No Firewall

If you have been reading to stay sane, think again.

And so we were strengthened, because belief, for beings like us, is the colostrum of existence. After Saachi left, the Ada sank even more into her books, by instinct, separating herself from this world and disappearing into others. She read everywhere: on the toilet, at the dining table, in the library before school assembly each morning. It is not clear how much saving these books were capable of.
Who is speaking? Ọgbanje

On the flyleaf of the dustjacket
We came from somewhere, everything does. When the transition is made from spirit to flesh, the gates are meant to be closed. It’s a kindness. It would be cruel not to. Perhaps the gods forgot – they can be absent-minded like that.
Akwaeke Emezi

And so for day 2370

And Nominated for Best Subtitle...

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jonathan Ball have a long subtitle with a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek metadiscursive moment.

Why Poetry Sucks

An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian
Poetry in English Written by Canadians for Canadians
(or American Bodysnatchers) in the Early Years of the
21st Century with an Overly Long and
Not That Clever Subtitle the Publisher Rightly Refused
to Put on the Cover
The cover does have a shorter subtitle

cover poetry sucks
An Anthology of Humorous Experimental Canadian Poetry.

And so for day 2369

The Burial of Hunger

In a paragraph referencing culinary history from Apicius on the order of courses, Mario Pei presents a sentence containing and extending a long repeated pattern:

Once the arts of civilization are established, it seems normal to open the meal with food elements that stimulate the appetite, and to close it with foods of a cloying nature, which put the seal upon the tomb of departed hunger.
Mario Pei - Introduction to The Talisman Italian Cook Book by Ada Boni.

And so for day 2368

Three More Minute Pauses

Three more aphorisms lifted from their embedding in surreal non sequiturs.

Greg Evason
The Red Blind
Toronto: The Pink Dog Press, 1991

Swearing is justifiable when you are a walking dictionary.
A word like prostitution can confuse a lot of people.
Words are living breathing replicas.
Lexical commercials.

And so for day 2367

And You Shall Know Them By Their Plumbing

Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
In Praise of Shadows
Translated by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker

Every time I am shown to an old, dimly lit, and, I would add, impeccably clean toilet in a Nara or Kyoto temple, I am impressed with the singular virtues of Japanese architecture. The parlour may have its charms, but the Japanese toilet truly is a place of spiritual repose. It always stands apart from the main building, at the end of a corridor, in a grove fragrant with leaves and moss. No words can describe that sensation as one sits in the dim light, basking in the faint glow reflected from the shoji, lost in mediation or gazing out at the garden.
Lighting. Noise levels. And so much can be accomplished by closing one's eyes and listening for the beat of one's heart. Whatever location we may be in. For whatever purpose.

And so for day 2366

Hooded Figures - Figured Hoods

I first came across a portion of the illustration by Wesley Bates in a Gaspereau Press catalogue.

In the background you see figures in capriotes injecting a distinctly Klansman motif for which one finds a textual basis in the Forward Foreword.
I hope I've played down Shylock's villainy, but played up the pro-Caucasian Christian Capitalist‡ (Apartheid-like) bias of the Venetian Republic.

‡This Trumpist "CCC" is the prelude to the KKK?
George Elliott Clarke. The Merchant of Venice (Retried).

And if you look carefully at the curtains above the throne you will see swastikas.

And so for day 2365

Sometimes Smallsongs

It happens. You enter a bookstore. Take a volume from the shelf. Browse. And are caught up by a passage.

Though the aiodoi are not of space and time, it is of space and time that they sing, and it is to the smallsongs of space and time they hear (for they hear all songs, always and everywhere) that they listen most closely . . . even though so many of the smallsongs are sad, or angry, or simply wrong.
There is an almost inconspicuous "to" in there which leads to the mis-construction of "to they hear" (odd but not entirely since to grant a hearing to is a kind of judicial procedure). As well the "hearing to" proceeds the listening following the distinction in English between hearing and listening. But if you re-read the passage the stray, little "to" comes into focus as "to that they listen". Most closely. Makes a pretty compositions "to that (hearing) they listen".

Frederik Pohl & Jack Williamson, The Singers of Time bought and brought home to read (almost aloud).

I love the invention of the word “smallsongs” – puts me in mind of all the little tunes we create and carry in our day to day lives.

By paying attention to how some people are listening, quality of their silence, the tenor of their questions, you ensure that others get heard.

And so for day 2364

The Body, Its Environment, Its Exercise

Northrop Frye captured something of the imprinting that happens when good models abound. And are taken up, bodily.

Now if we write in a way that we never speak, the first thing that disappears is the rhythm. It is hardly possible to give any spring or bounce to words unless they come out of our own bodies and are, like dancing or singing, an expression of physical as well as mental energy. The second thing that disappears is the color. It is hardly possible to use vivid language unless one is seeing the imagery of oneself: even abstract words, if they are genuinely possessed by the person using them, will still retain something of the concrete metaphor they originally had. The third thing that disappears is the sense of personality, which only a basis in personal speech can ever supply.
My emphasis
The Well-Tempered Critic

There is a neat twist here. By focalizing the passage through the plural "we" we gain multiple "bodies". Our Bodies Our Selves. Our Poems Our Lives.

And so for day 2363

Gone Fishing for Turnips

The conclusion of a posting to Humanist that muses on the differences of a going towards and the being open to a coming...

What do these esoteric modes of reading or translating have to do with humanities computing? They begin to offer a glimpse of labels for a set of attitudes towards the act of processing text. The tools of humanities computing are for hunting and gathering: the going out. They are also for fishing: waiting to see what shows up. In a sense the tools of humanities computing can be set like traps or weirs.

The distinction between hunting and fishing breaks down when you consider the use of duck blinds. The distinction between gathering and fishing becomes moot when you consider harvesting a salmon run. Still there is some merit, I believe, in pondering whether one's orientation is towards aiming for a target, assembling a resource, or waiting to see what the network might bring.

I do like the idea of casting a net... gutting the fish not so much — though those guts do make good fertilizer for the garden.
And the words themselves lead us to different relations to the ecosystem of words.

And so for day 2362