31 January 2013


I wrote a novel in 2012--The Ominous, Beautiful Bay: The Newest Ginnie Blake Novel.

Here's its bibliography--the things I was thinking and thinking about as I wrote--

Barnes, Sophia
Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook and the Possibility of Representation
Darke, Chris
First Person Singular: Agnes Varda's Parallel Career as a Short-Film Essayist
Fremont, Diane
Inspiriting Body/Embodying Spirit
Guest, Haden
Emotion Picture: Agnes Varda's self-reflexive The Beaches of Agnes
Marchetta, Maria
On Speaking about the Unspeakable & Seeing the Invisible
Altman, Robert
Long Goodbye, The
Tahimik, Kidlat
Perfumed Nightmare
Varda, Agnes
Cleo from 5-7
Varda, Agnes
Varda, Agnes
Rue Daguerre
A Pairing
Art Ensemble of Chicago
"Great Black Music": Message to Our Folks
Kuti, Fela
Shuffering & Shmiling/No Agreement
Mitchell, Joni
Mulatu Astatqe
Ethiopiques Vol. 4 1969-1974
Ra, Sun
Space is the Place
Moir Messervy, Julie
Contemplative Gardens
Sackville-West, Vita
Joy of Gardening, The
Smith, Alison
Agnes Varda
Williamson, Leslie
Handcrafted Modern
Auster, Paul
Moon Palace
Chandler, Raymond
Long Goodbye, The
Leon, Donna
Death at La Fenice
Lessing, Doris
Golden Notebook, The
MacLear, Kylo
Virginia Wolf
McDonald, Ross
Galton Case, The
McDonald, Ross
Name is Archer, The
Mosely, Walter
Little Scarlet
Sjowall, Maj
Locked Room, The
Woolf, Virginia
Orlando: A Biography

30 January 2013


I always feel a bit woeful at the idea of year end lists, maybe it's the way they seem to stand out to remedy time or that old occult crack and boom about the stars measuring the entire aura of human existence in the bottom barrel of a salt shaker. But, game on.

I can't say that I followed the popular trends that well this year. Something like a slug in a jar of molasses, truth be told. So, I'll suppose I'll start with a quick hint: 'my obsessions are your possessions/every piece that i can get.'

10. The Serial: Ever since my first confession in 1989 to a dark mass at St. John Bosco's Catholic Church, I've been obsessed with any creative idea in a multiple of parts. There is something of 'heart-beat' to those things, legacy building for the narrative thread. My whole search as a poet is finding every nuance in a series. Tonight, it's Indiana Jones. I'm unemployed, so the value of time gets to speed up with enough television. He's been my favorite since I found a canteen and my grandfather's 'i'm not a cheap reporter but i look it' hat. It's the rise and fall of our cute Olson projective. Full Series I've invaded this year: Bond, Indiana Jones, The 11 volume Illuminatus books by Robert Anton Wilson, Red Night Trilogy, thinking about Duluoz Legend, my 1988 McDonald's 'Bambi' figurine collectibles, then listening to a random amount of British Invasion groups by day of album release for 48 pages, the disparate family tree left by Polish & Dutch pallbearers (thus how genetic make-up restricts and free choice, generation to generation)... This goes on, like I'm terrified of boredom.

9. Leaving Philadelphia: This was one of those 'I ran out of money things'. I had planned on getting out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for PDN (Potlatch Discordian Network), but the lackluster savings I had created, a string of tiring relationships & a boss who carried on like a sour unsexed Buddhist Psychoanalyst kept me under my own thumb. I like it here. Just a matter of sticking around long enough to break your hands against the wall a couple of times.

8. John Michael Greer's The Blood of the Earth and Atlantis: The first deals with how magick can respond to the situation of peak oil, but through 'countering the tyranny of dualistic thinking...(as) part of the fusion of deep ecology and deep paganism' instead of some advertising blitz gone awry via the 18,000 mile + drilling campaigns from BP Amoco. The second dates back to an obsession started with a big box of Legos and watching 'The Abyss'. It's just like, a taste tester's choice of Plato through the rejected-knowledge movement and I can't get enough of it.

7. Poetry: It's the well and good in me that plays. Dana Ward's This Can't Be Life constantly upped the anty as did Ariana Reines Mercury, and in some ways, those two books kind of operate as my shoulder blades these days. Rob Halpern's new Music for Porn was out of sight, as was the new Dottie Lasky Thunderbird. I mean, without falling into the camp where I knock off the names of friends, my year in poetry was short-lived, out of a penchant to be broke. I really dig Renee Gladman's The Activist and read it again this year. It's funny, it's 423am here and the air is just the same as when I was 18. (TANGENT:

     I had woken up when my face smacked the top of the dashboard. I had totaled my grandmother's        
     inheritance in the back of an off-duty police officer's cruiser. I was sober, on Route 30, outside the
     Southlake Mall. I just hadn't slept in three days. Keef can do 9 straight. What's wrong with me? Fiona
     Apple's 'On the Bound' skipping in the CD player.

6. Sigil Magick: So about two years ago, I got all up and armed with the remnants of the Temple of Psychick Youth and 'The Grey Book' and how it correlated to building elements into the subconscious file headers to kind of stave off the proceeding emotional patterns and dedicate some of the residual feeds of the mind into 'your own will'. It's pretty easy, you take a piece of paper, and you write out what you want. Next you nix all the duplicate letters and create a glyph to represent the 'desire stipulated'. You anoint the paper with blood, spit and cum to 'charge it' and the focus on the glyph registers it in deep. Burn up the paper the next day and forget you ever did it. Boom. Game.

5. How People Died: I spend a copious amount of time on Wikipedia. Part of it is 'cheap research' or 'starter series' for poems or what have you, but what really goes down the old pipe is that 'hit the death head' knock up. If I find out your dead, good luck, cause I'm going to find out everything I can. Was it bad? How old were you? Where did you start and end, how many miles away? Did you see it coming, how long did you see it? It's bloody awful and thanks to the 'goo-gobs' of information, it gets worse for the hypochondriac in me. The hallmark of a 31-year-old Scorpio is the non-existent health-scares. 'Hey, my health ain't the same it was 10 yrs back.' I've been a two pack a day man for a long time, cutting back as time went by. I got so obsessed with my death that I transitioned into the e-cigarette. Yeah, haha, make a battery cancer joke, go ahead. Product of early 20s nihilistic rage that was a cool factor mixed with slow suicide found his dirty 30s playing astrology and WebMD bingo. Yeah, thank Christ for the e-cigarette. Worse case scenario, it's cheaper and cool?

4. Naked Lunch. In May of 2004, John Courie (a founding member of PDN) informed me of the Kerouac line to Burroughs about seeing everything on someone's fork as they eat, a kind of 'formatting' that still oversees my reaction and hope for conversation. How one could act in the world. It's an obsessive honesty, one that gets me into more trouble than it's worth. Where a lie would do, I end up coming out with the real thing and my errs seem to come and go like this winter Philadelphia rain-storm. Just at night and without remorse. I still love life at my age. I hope I can do that for a long time. I mean, the real hint is this. Either you confront the demons right up against your chin or you bury it into your fucking skin. Talk to people, break the fast, crack those grudges. Find a way to say your desires with sincerity and care for your fellow time travelers. It's in your hands, and I want to love each other. Cause 2013 don't need your bullshit son.

3. Thoth Tarot Deck. What don't it got? It's the tree of life, intermixed with the obsessive territory of Aleister Crowley. The deck is the way it centers me. Like, I started off doing these full readings and then was informed at a stop gap and went all 'one a day' on it, and then it was a very different kind of inhabitation, like the god-form personality started to be seen inside the day, like a fullness brought up inside the chest and so forth. It reminded me of that caught off guard breath of fresh air. Have you ever seen Mick Jagger's cock in the outtakes from Performance? I've looked a lot for it, but never able to find it. I've looked a lot at his crotch in the few early 70s pictures. I imagine a blush head and healthy girth. Today I got the Ace of Wands. Flames of Yod, Energy of the Divine en route but 'not yet definitely formulating as Will'. Well, it's a good start, blind forces and all. Lightning in every direction sprung out as a set of clips that gave me the energy to write this today.

2. Stand Up Comedy: Last December, I was in the middle of two failing relationships. I had done a stand up gig in the Midwest, all obsessed with my elicit sexual hang-ups and 'doubting thomas' tit-for-tat with trust. A kind of promiscuous nobility, a recoiling, snake all lost out the skin of it. It's not easy to describe or even publicly talk about the unkempt hiccup that has been my sex drive. I mean, it's not odd for a human these days to be all bees knees about sex, but I've somehow always ended up with a terrible amount of stories, situations that no one in their right mind would conjure up. Here's the bit, all NSFW. So, alright, like six months ago, in the middle of June, I carried off a second date with this woman. Now, the first date had existed within 12 beers between the two of us, and a lackluster performance by both of us. I too drunk to execute demands and demands needed for her to find any pay off. There shouldn't be a second date, but there it is, laid out at another bar, and whispered hints and forthright knowledge of incompatibility. Quarter to 200am, we head back to her place. A recently re-done Fishtown house with an aura of heaving charged psychic energy. Like the second half hour drinking Absinthe.

     “How long has this house been haunted?”
     “How did you know this house was haunted?”
     “How couldn't you know this house was haunted, was it a kid?”

And YES it was a kid. 10 yrs earlier, a 12 yr old kid had lived on the third floor. He had been murdered, stoned to death by his friends down at the docks after his first job had elicited $300 bucks. So, we get up there. And I can feel that kid like the way my mother's early 90s hair-spray burned the hairs in my nose. On the wall nearest the door, a framing nail sat empty and to the far right of it, not in front of it, not directly below it, but to the fucking right of it, with a broken picture of a single purple iris in bloom. The 'get out of my room' shit started panicking up inside me. Though, the girl's fear had already re-registered that she had been living here for over a year and knew I was right.

But we're drunk. And she wants to go. When it runs out, it runs out. I wasn't going to stay hard and I knew I wasn't going to cum. I also knew, from our earlier meeting, that she needed a multitude of toys to get off. I had been told a 'drawer full' and found about 16 pieces of bullet vibrators, a smooth stone dildo, a decent sized strap on and the best rabbit vibrator I've ever seen. Think super thick vein, ass, clit, vaginal action. DP be damned. The guilt of the earlier performance, made me give it my all. Conservative estimates said a solid hour, and you know it's bad when you catch the eye and no twinkle. No glimmer of excitement, just randy annoyance. The 'just get me off son-of-a-bitch' look, and it's the most reasonable thing, given to the illusion of male ejaculation we both grew up with. The moment you give-up, both party wise, it directs traffic to 'guilt cuddle'. No one succeeded, no one triumphed, capitalism still wins, desire is a pain in the ass and the absence is all too tedious.

Forty minutes later, I'm walking home on the phone to a Chicago comrade, laughing. Not nervous laughter, drunken boot steps and 'so this is just how human life works on planet earth' kind of politics. I'm watching Anita Pallenberg in Performance (Brian Jones ex) stroking a fur coat that is gratefully placed over her pussy. 'Don't you think there's a place for you in between the sheets?'

1. The Rolling Stones: Dude, this is so intense. What started as a reappraisal of Exile ended up being, a down and out six month stare off (and an ongoing one at that) with Keith Richards and then after that a brief cock-up with Mick Jagger. The uniqueness that I'm registering here only comes from a 20 yr plus addiction to The Beatles and the other white-ass-man British Invasion groups. It's just a childhood enacted and broken by the 'lack of love' for oneself over that course that ticked up a rather playful hit with Life in the start. What is remarkable about Richards, isn't his unabashed drug addiction (but yeah, it's awesome and hot, sorry), but his eager willingness to stand out (for at least himself) as a good guy and a general rebel rouser. Nothing special, really, yet somehow the old adage of 'The Stones are good music to do bad things to' which is probably from one of the 12 feature length films I sucked off in multiple viewings. The vantage point is odd. 5 (or 7 sort-of) Brits find R&B and just fuck it with earnest first time exposure to the Spectacle. With a truly brief moment in history, global currency was liquid enough that people were allowed to take and make creative peaks (in first-world-countries, obviously) that we don't today, because it's their image of the saturation model of 'you can do anything' that has (with the addition of home-recording equipment) taken a bite out of an artistic hierarchy that could seem valuable. No way around it, the 60s are containing a very overarching god-creation myth, and there is no doubt in my mind, that these dudes got a chance at being it.

I'm watching the 'Magnificent Ambersons' for the first time right now. I've seen and devoured every single Welles product available, except this one. I've read the daily's and I know the disappointment would be real, if I hadn't already destroyed it's 'lost' status in my early 20s, for sure. Philip Norman wrote a bio on Mick Jagger about a month ago. Not a bad tale for someone who is actually so hollowed out, that his sex drive has repeated so hard into a vacuum, that only air could pass out when he cums. I've now put on Tattoo You from 1981 on over the film. It's hard to understand my media consumption. It's my model for society life. It's my life. I hate it. I want to kill it, but, like everyone else, it won't come until the lights go out and we smuggle the dumb-dumb plot lines into camp fire tales while evading death like it's 1620 and we don't belong here.

'You Make a Grown Man Cry' at the end becomes 'You Make a Dead Man Cum'. Yeah, I hear you. That's the emblem of our 200 yr activation of 'love' as immaterial wrapped in necessity shopping. Alright. So, here it is. The proper way to listen to the Stones and get hooked for life.

1972, Exile on Main Street: Listen for two months (rhythm guitar & dada-hardcore sex-word play)

1978, Some Girls: One month, disco then punk then country.

1971, Sticky Fingers: Find the Eric Clapton guitar version of Brown Sugar. Sax & Drum & Bass line matching it out on Bitch.

1969, Let It Bleed: Focus on title-track and transubstantiation, 'Lean On' to 'Bleed On'.

1968, Beggars Banquet: Street Fighting Man (bourgeois 'palace revolution' bullshit)/Jumpin' Jack Flash
cause we were all born in a crossfire hurricane. Seriously.

1973, Goats Head Soup: Star Star (originally titled Star Fucker). Dancing with Mr D is a crappy
late Bela Lugosi copy of Sympathy for the Devil. You still want to fuck to it.

1974, It's Only Rock 'n Roll: Ain't Too Proud to Beg is totally co-dependency on a scale of insanity.

1981, Tattoo You: 'She's My Little Rock 'n' Roll' for Little T&A. Dude, Keith just wants your
smack and to cuddle with you. Gimme.

With that order you can move anywhere:

Emotional Rescue (1980) disco-y.
Black and Blue (1976) jammy
Aftermath (1966) Paint It Black/Goth-Manic-Pixie Girl
Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967) Acid-Pretentious

     I noticed here that you end up registering a career
     Between the Buttons (1967) to Undercover (1983)
     you actually have a near perfect creative model.

After those two you can listen to Voodoo Lounge (1994) & A Bigger Bang (2005) with kindness and affection.

Dirty Work (1986) is better than Steel Wheels (1989) and Bridges to Babylon (1997) has three amazing songs on it, which are You Don't Have to Mean It, Thief in the Night & How Can I Stop, that are on scale with Dylan's later career but crooned on with Keith Richards gravelly-delivery.

And all that's left is Out of Our Heads (1965) , The Rolling Stones, No. 2 (1965) & The Rolling Stones (1964).

I've actually watched the Doom and Gloom video more than once. Rooney Mara. Right. I already did the sex one.

Thanks. I've got some problems. But, I have faith that I'll be dead by 2131. Isn't that when Kirk gets born? Shit. Tiberius. Goodbye 2012.


I am a huge fan of The Atlantic (as I'm sure you are) and for all of the great stuff they produce, their "201X: The Year in Photographs" is always impressive. You can see part 3 of 3 here.

But what was more interesting to me were other copycat sites trying to do the same thing, and this one image I found from buzzfeed's article with the same premise is probably one of the most powerful images I've seen in my lifetime. It's number 44 at this link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/most-powerful-images-of-2012. I've attached it to the email entitled 'monsoon wedding'.

I think that the power comes from the environment. In this photo there are three 'characters': the just-married couple kissing in the rain, the children in the street looking on and cheering, and the background setting, including weather. The bride is glowing and the groom is having probably the best kiss of his life, and below that perfectly ubiquitous umbrella you can see the train of her dress floating in probably a foot and a half of water. What I noticed next was the Pedigree sign in the background. That sign, evoking American industry, makes this photo the perfect juxtaposition against the American industrial wedding complex. In America, we air 'Bridezilla' three times a day on MTV, in Manila, they love each other so much that they get married in a monsoon. It seems narrow-minded of me to focus on this image when there are so many others in the article that are more politically pressing (two women getting married in Maryland, student riots in Chile, Syrian civilians with their families) and maybe it is because I was married this year, but the image of the Campos kissing in the monsoon just floored me. I felt as happy as that little girl in the white Knights shirt jumping and screaming for joy in the background.
Of course there is also the monumental Collected Early Poems and Plays of Robert Duncan, which I cannot wait to buy as soon as it comes in at the Riverside bookstore!
Another thing I'm excited about is Lori's MFA instructor Jill Essbaum has been winning a lot of awards lately. I'd never heard of her until she started trading emails with Lori, but I am coming to love her poems. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/jill-alexander-essbaum

29 January 2013


Anne Boyer, twenty first century girl

Last year I received Anne Boyer’s My Common Heart in the mail near the end of the year. It was 2011, and I was living at the apex of a hill in the east bay, from which I could see the cranes in the Oakland Estuary, a hilltop that made me worry about Sonia’s nascent love for bicycling. It was after I wrote for Steve Evans’s Attention Span, well after I think, and maybe even after I wrote my year-end Disinhibitions for you here, Michael Cross.

I read My Common Heart eagerly, since Anne Boyer is a poet I hold in great esteem—her ability to entwine her domestic dailiness with the dramatic catastrophe of political & economic life fills me with enthusiasm for our art form, even more so for the wisdom, genuine concern for people, & humor with which she manages that confluence. Her chapbook Art is War & her full-length book The Romance of Happy Workers both have unreasonably awesome titles, & both offer such generosity of wit, beauty, & love.

My Common Heart was then my third collection of Anne Boyer’s work, & like I said I read it eagerly. You can download it somewhere, I think, or you could, & if you still can you should. The book deals with the grandiose love of the commune invoked by the Occupations, and in particular the attempt to hold society as such—with all its impossibilities, insanities, brilliance, and horror, society as it exists in real encounters with real people in confrontations with cops, in attempts to build consensus—within the emotional space of a single heart. The turning of the poet’s heart inside-out. The making public of a privateness sort of, but really more the turning private the publicness of a square, a city, a movement, a moment. (I like the word turning here—from the Greek for ‘lathe’—for its implication of a repetitive cutting, the turning into shape of the one into the other.) How to publish the private heart, how to make a commons of it. The book burns with this project, and so with its moment of creation. Closing my eyes I see its afterimages on the insides of my eyelids, that once-was autumn. The hilltop from which I could see helicopters circle Oakland.

Somehow I never wrote about My Common Heart. Then this summer, when I was writing my Attention Span for this year about the previous, I was somehow in other warmer books, and I didn’t write about it then either, though it was a book I read eagerly in the year before, and then offered to poets younger than me as a way to think about poetry right now during that year before. It was a book that was very important to me in that way.

In this year that I did not write about My Common Heart I would read Anne Boyer’s Facebook statuses with varying experiences of love, foreboding, appreciation, and concern. Anne Boyer writes with great openness on Facebook about being a mother to her daughter Hazel, about being a woman poet, about the dangers of wearing awesome new boots on Facebook as regards stalkers, very real stalkers who come to your house and mess with your stuff while you’re away, about getting emails from distressed lovers addressed to her that are not addressed to her, and many other things. It is a very public privateness that she performs there. I would read these statuses and worry for Facebook Anne Boyer sometimes, as an avatar of real Anne Boyer who though I’ve never met I care for as one poet and one parent cares for another poet or parent, sharing certain modes of being in the world.

But what I think My Common Heart would remind me is that the much more radical caring—and much more difficult caring—would be for all people regardless of shared modes. It was that more radical commonality that I could not muster at Oscar Grant Plaza, which led me to keeping Sonia away from Occupy after that single visit, mostly watching helicopters from hilltops.

Then suddenly there was a description of all of this, in Anne Boyer’s own words, among all that scary-real enactment of a poetics that is her Facebooking. And I thought that, for this year, instead of another list, I could just write about Anne Boyer’s work, and how much I appreciate it, and how much it means to me. In a poem called “Ars Poetica” that Anne Boyer put a picture of on Facebook, she writes:

The NYT said “the poet’s work

is to make a private vision public”
but fuck the NYT

I’m the public vision
made private.

Jasper Johns said
a fork makes a better painting
than a painting makes a fork

but fuck Jasper Johns
from now on I’m eating with Guernica

twenty first century girl.

I saved the picture of that poem to my phone, where it sits next to pictures of my daughters dancing and hugging other children. It is being published in a chapbook soon, I believe.

I love this poem—its quirky bad-assery, how it stands in the road like it owns it, how it tells big cultural institutions like the NYT and Jasper Johns fuck you. I like how, with the word “Guernica,” we get an echo of the /k/ phoneme that links “work” with “public” and “fuck” earlier in the poem—but it’s an echo that is softer by virtue of the vowel sound that ends the word. How that softness slides into the edgeless /s/ of “century” in that most territory-claiming ending, and the hard-soft presence of the /g/ of girl, not quite a /k/, not quite an /s/. & of course the wonderful irony of the 21st century as represented by a painting of the Spanish Civil War, circa 1937. But O how that painting burns of that moment, just as My Common Heart burned of last year.

In college, living off student loans that went a long way because it was before the Euro, I studied for a year in Spain, in a town not far outside of Madrid, where I spent my time drinking wine and slowly becoming able to read Federico Garcia Lorca in the original. The Museo Reina Sofia, in Madrid, was free to students on certain days of each month, and I would take the train into Madrid on those days and sit for long afternoons in front of Guernica, spanning in grays and blacks one huge wall, more certain of the value of art than at any other moment in my life since. I did not eat with Guernica because there was no food allowed in the galleries, but I did let it fill my vision. I did not know how to write then, but I was a voracious reader, and I read that painting and I read Garcia Lorca and I started to have a dim view of the standard of meaningful art. Guernica is not a fork but it is also not a map or a flag; it twists horror and beauty until you and your moment fracture into aftermaths of both. It opens other possible futures by forcing us to stare at the miserable present, the barbarous past. It is matter, it matters. Of Guernica Picasso said “I make the painting for the painting. I paint the objects for what they are.”

Elsewhere, in another poem posted (this time as a PDF) to Facebook, Anne Boyer invokes Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day:

What I do not understand
getting our information
from poetry:

but I held you against my chest when you were new so that if you forgot to breathe my breathing would remind you.

& this is what I love most about Anne Boyer—that though she writes that she does not “write poems like this,” she still writes poems like this. That money and information’s infinite & public unthinkability breathes with the same private breath as her once-infant daughter. Jasper Bernes once gave a talk in Maine that read Bernadette Mayer's work in the 1970s “as an attempt to imagine another way forward for experimental writing, one that, unlike the dry, analytic exercises in self-reflexivity that mark some of the work from this period, was less entangled with what Benjamin Buchloh has called, writing about conceptual art, ‘the vernacular of administration.’” By which I think Jasper Bernes meant that Midwinter Day is a poem that records a day in the life of a parent as well as a poet—that while it registers the “capitalization of everyday life,” as his title has it, the poem does so in a manner that is lyrical, quotidian, & full of warmth & love. Anne Boyer’s twenty first century version is even more momentary, but still full of the interplay between horror & beauty that results when “the public vision / [is] made private.”

Happy 2013 Anne Boyer, Michael Cross, poet friends—may we all be eating with Guernica throughout.

28 January 2013


my list for 2012:

The Ida Pingala, Debrah Morkun. Blazevox, 2011.

My Fingernails Are Fresnel Lenses, Christopher Fritton. Sunnyoutside Books, 2008.

The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, Fritjof Capra. Anchor Books, 1996.

God’s Trombones, James Weldon Johnson. Penguin, 1976.

Then Go On, Mary Burger. Litmus Press, 2012.

“now, 1/3” & thepoem, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, trans. by John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis. Blazevox, 2012.

LIBER X, John M. Bennett. Luna Bisonte Prods, 2012.

Trench Town Rock, Kamau Brathwaite. Lost Roads Publishers, 1994.

Old News, Ryan Eckes. Furniture Press, 2011.

Damn the Caesars: Crisis Inquiry. Punch Press, 2012.

unarmed journal #65. 2012.

The Swerve, Stephen Greenblatt. W. W. Norton, 2012.

Captain Poetry’s Sucker Punch: A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980-2012, Kenneth Warren. Blazevox, 2012.

Inside Out, Upside Down & Round and Round, John J. Trause. Nirala, 2012.

Souls of the Labadie Tract, Susan Howe. New Directions, 2007.

Cooking, Care, and Domestication: A Culinary Ethnography of the Tai Yong, Northern Thailand, Ing-Britt Trankell. Coronet Books, 1995.

The Storytelling Stone: Traditional Native American Myths and Tales, ed. by Susan Feldmann. Delta, 1999.

Kafka’s The Castle. I enjoyed every night of this, which were many. Too many, probably, but more likely not enough. No one understands bureaucracy like Kafka does, nor how unreal the mind is.

Arcadia, Tom Stoppard.

27 January 2013


Some Things That Are Not A Tumor in 2012
Explained by  Kindergarten Cop.

CA Conrad, A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon. Wave Books.
“You know, kindergarten is like the ocean. Don’t turn your back on it”

Chris Sylvester, OUTCOMES. Double Room Issue 9.
“Let’s take a little break. Ok. Come on. Now I want you to walk in a circle. Come on”

“I’ve got to get out of here right now. Get those tree stumps out of my way. Before I vomit all over them”

“You hit the kid, I hit you. You bastard.”

“It’s time to turn that mush into muscle. No more whining! No more 'I want to go to the bathroom' There is no bathroom!”

“I’m not a policeman. I’m a princess. Take it back!”

Kevin Varrone, Eephus (from Box score). Little Red Leaves Textile Series.
“That’s her years later/ It’s a great shot of an ear”

Kim Rosenfield, Lividity. Les Figues.
“E is the 5th letter of the alphabet…. Mr. Kimble, I need to go real bad”
“Oh, excuse me. I forgot to tell you. This is my ferret. He doesn’t bite. Come on out”

Pattie McCarthy, L&O. Little Red Leaves.
“Can we talk to kids? Yes, you can talk to kids. Can we talk to dogs? Yes, you can talk to dogs. But what you must never do is… talk to strangers”

Richard Whitehurst, The Rape Tunnel (Akron, Ohio).
“Now listen. You got to handle this like nay police situation. You walk in there showing fear….you’re dead. Those kids know you’re scared.”

Sarah Dowling, Birds and Bees. Troll Thread.
“Your teacher Mrs. Hagley had to go on an important trip. Where’d she go? It doesn’t matter. Did she die? No, Lowell, she went to see someone. Did they die? No, Lowell”

Shiv Kotecha, gos.mp3. Gauss PDF.

“You can’t just walk in here/ and put a gun to my face/ I’m getting a manicure”

Steve Giasson, Self Portrait 2008-2010.
“If you were any stiffer, we could take you surfing. What is your problem?”

“I have a headache. It might be a tumor”

“Sylvester’s been playing with dolls. Oh. He’s been using dolls to look up girl’s skirts. Oh, well that’s a relief”
Vanessa Place, The Father & Childhood. Queue Books (ed. Andrew Rippeon).
“The bastard handcuffed me to a dead man/ A dead man!”


The Littlest Birds, by The Littlest Birds (fiddle, cello, thunder)

Listening to Noise and Silence, Salome Voegelin
Rhythm Science, Paul Miller
The Diaper-free Baby (If you have a kid, do it.)

Ballads, Rich Owens
Clutch, ---
Saborami, Cecilia Vicuna
B Jenkins, Fred Moten
The Katechon, first 200 lines

Modern Times, along with LZ’s review

26 January 2013


Celine and Julie Go Boating
at Yerba Buena

Turin Horse
at Roxie

at Konrad's house
(Patrick Bokanowski and Michèle Bokanowski)

Kidlat Tahimik at PFA

Chris Marker at PFA

at the Paramount

Le Samourai
- Jean-Pierre Melville

Battlestar Galactica

Reading Capital Vol. I with thepublicschool.org

Dhalgren - Samuel Delany
this year I spent a lot of time reading articles/chapters/books that have expanded my politics radically. participating in conversations and overhearing conversations. beginning to develop the ability to articulate economic/political theories and substantiate them with real history and real life. I am nowhere yet in this process but it was a big year of absorption. and beginnings.
Eiko and Koma with Kronos Quartet

Jalal Toufic, Cecilia Vicuña, Myung Mi Kim, Alice Notleykathryn l. pringle Fault Tree
re-realizing again & again the brilliance of this writer and person

Going to baseball games with friends
Playing tennis with friends

(Trying to) play basketball with friends

Watching football with friends

Impromptu solo adventure in Marin

Gualala with love

SPT endless summer marathon reading

Miss your love and warmth, Bear z. Dotes


Favorite things of 2012
somewhat chronological and weirdly braided, in an accurate reflection of my life:

Lyall Harris's MFA exhibit and presentation of her artist's book at Mills

Brian Dettmer's small exhibit at the SF JCC

I attended many, many great readings over the year -- particularly luminous were Kate Pringle, Tiff Dressen, Joseph Lease, Pattie McCarthy, Linda Norton, Kathleen Fraser, Maxine Chernoff, Gillian Conoley, the SFSU student NAW contributors, Stephen Beachy, Lewis Buzbee....

first egg from our chickens!

waning days of the Exploratorium: the spinning sand tables, the basketball game film, responsive lights...

Nikki Mirghafori on meditation and mindfulness

Nancy Drew Noir at Pegasus with Lydia Odette Warren and Eddie Muller

getting a piano!

Cal Day physics demo

UCX "Poets Studied and in Conversation" student reading

getting to do CPITS for a kindergarten class, and hearing their metaphors for butterfly wings

hearing Micah Ballard, Camille Dungy, Aaron Shurin, Brian Teare, and Samantha Giles each spend over an hour discussing their writing and their process

Berkeley symphony performing with two hundred 3rd-5th graders

Edible Schoolyard Celebration and plant sale

the solar eclipse -- and crescent-shaped shadows

Sharon Osmond's garden readings

University Press Bookstore

First graders' classroom Day of the Dead altar

Myung Mi Kim's George Oppen lecture

25 January 2013


Here are some things, organized calendrically [and, uh, longer than I thought it would be]:

January. January 28 Move-in Day action, we marched from Oscar Grant Plaza wound around through downtown Chinatown Laney College campus and out to the Convention Center. I ran into brave warrior princess Brenda Hillman who had an oracle book with her, and I walked with her. I did not want to street fight, so I left after the skirmishing began. Later that night hundreds of people got arrested, kettled by cops outside the YMCA in downtown Oakland, though the Y staff helped some escape.

Also, my brother Pete had given me Anne Carson's Vox for Christmas, but I have been afraid to read the whole thing, an elegy for her brother, out of fear that one of my two brothers will die.

February. Lara Durback read her Projectiles in Lauren Levin's backyard on February 11. We passed around a shredded piece of black rubber or plastic that had come from a police weapon of some kind, shot that January Move-in Day. Also, David Brazil and I worked on our Italian via Prego! : An Invitation to Italian and Dante's Inferno.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
     mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
     che la diritta via era smaritta.

In the middle of the road of our life
     I came to myself [per*] a dark wood,
     [che, in which/where//] the right road was lost.

[*from Carson's Vox, per: (with expressions of motion) through, across, through the middle of, through, across (a barrier or boundary); (indicating the medium through which things are perceived); along, over, (in a stationary sense) through the length of, along all or part of, throughout; in the course of, during, etc. etc.]

March. In March I lost my own right road and relinquished myself largely to the care of others for two months. During this time, almost the only thing I read was Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg, given to me by Yosefa Raz. It's a terrible title, but it introduced me to the Buddhist practice of metta, Pali for "lovingkindness," of which the attempt to practice has changed my life. Also, a small chapbook of David Brazil's, it had a green cover [Ed. Note: David's Mina Loy Portal on Trafficker?], that I gave away to a beautiful boy.

April. My caretakers let me go to City Lights to hear my dear friend Jami Proctor Xu read from her translations of contemporary Chinese poets Zhai Yongming, Yang Li, and Li Yawei. The reading was for the publication of Left Curve, no. 36, in which Jami's translations appear.

     We came from surfaces.
     We encountered sudden weavings in the two patterns of latitude and longitude.
     We threw ourselves into weavings, forming designs; we raised our heads then found love.
     Wearing gaudy clothes, we threw ourselves into revolution and then encountered leaders.
     We circulated, crossed borders then regained someone. (from Jami's trans of Li Yawei, 'We')

May. In May I flew to Fort Collins, Colorado, to hear my beloved friend Caroline Knapp read from her thesis manuscript, Auricle.

     dove song in my eardrum

     doves thrum in my ear low

     dove's sob and my ear thrum

     doves throb in my ear's song

     my ear's song my blood low

     dove's song in my blood's song

     love hollows my ear

     here venus your bird

Also, Sarah Larsen taught me how to read the I-Ching.

And I heard Lou Harrison's La Koro Sutro for chorus and American gamelan at the Berkeley Art Museum. That same night, before the choruses, Suzanne Stein read in the reading room. She read an architecture of her emotional life using BAM as a model. I felt so glad to be there to hear it. Was this before or after her Tout Va Bien (displaced press) came out? I don't remember. But there's this in there ...

If cumulative behavior defines the construction, and that construction's accretionary (aleatory) behaviors are its manifest tactics and actions, a building, or a body, as a meaning-free map, redrawn to make of itself the a priori object: the poem. Framed for right action.

. Stacy Doris's Fledge: A Phenomenology of Spirit (Nightboat Books). I did not know Stacy, but she meant so much to a lot of people I care about.

     this broke part you rope to
     scrape you all outside still
     when you grab as touch drowns

Also Brent Cunningham's Journey To The Sun (Atelos). Thank You, Universe!

THIS is not a man vision
THIS is not a Blake vision
THIS is the Vehement Desire of Form
TRIVIA ! you're in a suit of clouds !

Also Michael Cross's (Here begins my mostly unabashed name-dropping of Michael Cross's Compline press chapbooks, which are precious objects in their own right.) fat-marbled meat of The Katechon: Lines 101-200 (Compline)

     ...my mouth of itself gathers foam,
hammers "same, same, same," her eyes prize the fatness of my throat, milk seeping
from the corners of her lips, her nostrils, fairly pouring forth her throat in propulsive
waves against my face, I turn on my knees, arms linked behind me with comrades,
creativity is intrinsic to law like a cloud is intrinsic to snow, snow to blood, which means
also to have died to law...

Also I went to Sarah Wintz's apartment and cozied while she sewed me some copies of The Feeling Is Mutual: A List Of Our Fucking Demands (all funds raised to SPT) to give to friends and family. So much good stuff in there.

July. I went to hear a John Cage concert at the ODC Dance Commons. Anne Lesley Selcer's three-year old daughter Sitka wanted to go as a cowgirl kitten, and she meowed during 'water music' or the one for crumpling paper or Monica Scott's '(h)ear age: C', I forget. Would Cage not have LOVED that? Also, I went down to Carmel to hear my friend Vinz sing in the chorus of Bach's B-Minor Mass. (A work that, months later, at Myung Mi Kim's George Oppen Annual Memorial Lecture, I learned Oppen thought was the art work containing everything. And Myung played some of it for us and it was heaven. See December.) Also, some people began to plan this year's iteration of summertime artist-activist free school -- called, generically, Summer School 2012, after the also generically named The Public School, of which Summer School became an unofficial launch and is now in full swing. www.thepublicschool.org

August. Summer School 2012! So much great conversations and performing. Something of a record of it can be found here: http://bayareapublicschool.tumblr.com/

Because of Summer School, I read Eleni Stecopoulos's Daphnephoria. Also David Brazil's verse translation of Paul's letter to the Romans (also Compline), which contains the funniest translation of God's promise to Abraham to make nations of his offspring, I made you dad of many goys, as well as the stirring last line, Old secrets now are being shown. Like just how brutal police repression will get when the owning class's property and power is threatened.

September. I started a yoga teacher training program, with much reading! Including The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (2nd or 3rd Century CE, Sanskrit), divers translations. Second verse: yogas-citta-vrtti-nirodhah: yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness. I can't begin to say here, because I'm still figuring it out, but there is a connection between yoga practice and radical politics. Perhaps Sarah Larsen will help me with this. (I read her chapbook Merry Hell this month for in media starters.)

October. The Conference of the Birds, Peter Sis's translation of Farid Ud-din Attar's 12th Century Persian poem. Love loves difficult things / We're on our way!

Also "No Frills, No-Body, Nobody," Manuela Fraire, and several other great essays theorizing fashion in Accessorizing The Body (ed. Christina Goricelli and Paula Rabinowitz).

November. Went to see Kevin Killian's play about Jay Defeo and her poet-thick gang, Wet Paint, at SF MOMA. Laughed really hard many times and sang along at the end to The Rose (some say love, it is a river, others think it is a razor, and more! from the mouth of Better Midler).

Also re-read Pearl, 14th Century Middle English poem, for a Public School class.

Perle, plesaunte to prynces paye
To clanly clos in golde so clere;
Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye.
Ne proved I never her precios pere.
So rounde, so reken in uche araye,
So smal, so smoþe her syde3 were,
Quere-so-ever I jugged gemme3 gaye,
I sette hyr sengely in synglere.
Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
Þur3 gresse to ground hit fro me yot,
I dewyne, fordolked of luf-daungere
Of þat pryvy perle wythouten spot

Which reminds me that at some point during the year I read Brandon Brown's The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus:


The Roman poet Catullus has no job, but the writing is what endures. Not the job. Not the scalp on the floor with the brain barnacles. Is the writing labor or is it a hobby? Is fun labor? Is elocution? I'm writing to you, my friends. I'm just asking you to develop some categories regarding labor, fun, elocution. I'm actually not trying to make you all hate this book.


December. I was sick the weekend that Alice Notley read at the Unitarian Center. But Close to me & Closer ... (The Language of Heaven) [and] Desamere (O Books) has become an important book to me in the last couple of years:

"'Cause there ... there's heaven you ... Can you make ... that you ... talk ... That's ... the problem [...]"

Also Myung Mi Kim and Craig Dworkin reading at Zach Houston's short-lived but generous and generative space on Broadway downtown Oakland, across the street from the now renowned YMCA. The next day I started to read, casually, over a lunch of fried eggs & greens, Craig's chapbook The Crystal Text (After Clark Coolidge). (auh, Compline again. should I start being embarrassed at this point) Very quickly I realized that this text MUST BE READ ALOUD, and read the rest aloud to myself, eggs went cold. How can I excerpt?

The quartz fashions a nappe around its axis. The crystal taches quickly from the friction. The rock is a fraction of some other stone. Nitrides mask the etchants. The crystal was embedded. The roche once was rached. Each face is false -- irregular, inconstant. The rock is just. The rose aches. The cusp is hastate in its jut. A ridge knaps from the back of the neck, where it tapers to a wedge. The quartzes gestate as they hutch. Accretions seek the furthest edge. The stone is asleep, but not for long.

Then the next night Myung gave the Oppen lecture, 'a gathering' (from the etymology of 'lecture,' she told us). The difficulty of accounting for harm. Her pacing makes me want to cry with relief. And in stumbling is at work. She had us all read "Of Being Numerous" together, one at a time around the room. New forms of civic life.

And then my brothers and I made a fire outside and the year turned.

PS. I forgot to say The Iliad!, in the Greek, translated line by glorious line with my weekly Homeric Greek group. After a year and a half, we finished Book I and entered the dream of Book II. Whoo-hoo! And if one has any doubt about the relevance of classical literature to contemporary political concerns, one might read Joshua Clover's essay up on Lana Turner Journal blog right now, "Georgic For A World System" I think it's called. Very fine.