It sucks in the pugilists. Just then on leave without pay the skyscrapers regularized and quiet as disgust. Later, not now, the dirt coughs us up like nitrogen, and we sit miles above and one night, I mated with Insomnia and, together, we birthed what I’m calling “The MDR Poetry Generator” — a project that can generate poems from a database of 1,146 lines. One such poem is “No. 6. I Forgot the Plasticity of Recognition.” Then I mated with Insomnia once more and, together, we birthed the idea of “No. 6.” There’s no numerical complexity to the reference to “6” — it’s simply the sixth stage of AMNESIA, for example, the island as idea, the path / direction as the same, the mixture of concepts and palpable experience, and the like. Like, “I remember aptitude belonging to another en route to the clean island. I remember the contralto voice made ashen against a colder sand.” “I remember standing barefoot in 2 tons of basmati rice with a common garden shovel. I remember Homero Aridjis talking about light & ghosts. I remember ceiling fans & fans of ceilings. I remember an action appearing practical.” I remember thinking, maybe, in spite of everything, I should give the Democrats some money. I remember the failure of recognition, its blue silence drowning us. Keeping your skin toned and youthful is as easy as putting a rubber ball gag with rubber wings in your mouth and moving your head about. Four days felt slack with all these “can can’s can’t canada canal canal’s canals canaries canary canary’s cancel canceled canceling cancellate ... crushable crushed crusher ... entrust entrusted.” Now I know exactly what I’m going to wear and which perfume I’m going to use. Does this sound too glowing? I remember we shared our car with a severed donkey's head resting in a bowl. A BRIDE UNTIL ... green eyes had simply been a conscious effort to coax the blood back into his brain. Poor, awkward fever. “Answer feeling hour full along glad speak quite buy able death free stupid running story lose send trust shot hot truth honey ... blood none safe sign” … Suddenly someone says the area code for that phone number and almost instantly you forget the last two digits of the number. First, I took each line and processed it variously. I Googled it as it stood. I substituted the word “remember” for “forgot” and continued the Google search. I slowly typed in the phrase, or various words from the phrase to see where the dropdown box of suggestions led me. I picked and sorted and rearranged until I was satisfied. Some lines came directly from the brainbox, others were highly curated from the midden. Given this absent history, I once heard a story of one of my father's cousins, Friedrich Hollander, who wrote the lyrics for Marlene Dietrich's “Falling in Love Again,” and who could have had a cousin who was a furrier with money, although that was another Hollander clan since mine usually follows the financial spiritual path named by Michael Gold’s 1930’s social realist novel, Jews Without Money, one of the most singular book titles in 20th century literature. When I was 10 I wanted to be: First, Mickey Mantle. Second, Mister Ed. No. I wanted to be Kelso, 1962 (Mute) Horse of the Year. And let’s not forget: one of Jack Spicer’s favorite juke box songs was Lemon Tree / Very Pretty / and the lemon flower is sweet / but the fruit of the poor lemon / is impossible to eat. But things decay, reason argues. Real things become garbage. The piece of lemon you shellac to the canvas begins to develop a mold, the newspaper tells of incredibly ancient events in forgotten slang, the boy becomes a grandfather. Yes, but the garbage of the real still reaches out into the current world making its objects, in turn, visible -- lemon calls to lemon, newspaper to newspaper, boy to boy. As things decay they bring their equivalents into being. Things do not connect; they correspond. That is what makes it possible for a poet to translate real objects, to bring them across language as easily as he can bring them across time. That tree you saw in Spain is a tree I could never have seen in California, that lemon has a different smell and a different taste, BUT the answer is this -- every place and every time has a real object to correspond with your real object -- that lemon may become this lemon, or it may even become this piece of seaweed, or this particular color of gray in this ocean. One does not need to imagine that lemon; one needs to discover it. Offspring of wanton wants, they arrive, together, these gods of war and weather, to the beating drums, and sound of thunder, crying out crisis, each September. This century’s, Septembers, all arrive back to school, as it were, refreshed from resorts and beaches, in need of replenishing, their depleted coffers, of personal savings, and future job offers. This century’s, September, as if afraid of endings, arrives as though, its own immortal endless season, of unceasing sameness, an eerie stillness of repeated scripts and finite possibility: War as weather and weather as war. Each September, reminds us, of an, unchanging, unreformed industry, of needs, that guarantees, more spectacular bombs and thunderous storms. Bombs and storms. Lovingly named for eradicated tribes, victims of genocide, and of course women. Apache Helicopters, and Tomahawk missiles, Rita, Katrina, and Ophelia. Do you even remember, come September, as we lurch from one year to the next, all the threats and crisis, these Septembers past have presented as pretexts? And we, the video generation, watching and watched, posting selfies, need only a video to suspend belief, acquiesce and agree. War is peace! This is a crisis, indeed. These past, two half dozens, and change, Septembers, this same cry of crisis? And we, resolutely unquestioning, of how rules were changed, to protect us, from ourselves. The Patriot Act? Remember? In September 2005 came Katrina, after Rita, and Ophelia: and army boots and troops came out, to act and protect the land, while patriots drowned? Boots on the ground? This ground. Remember Septembers past, and to come. Then, came FISA ‘Protect America Act', in September 2007. Do you remember? (here.) Do you remember the rules, that changed, on how you were to be protected, by being watched and listened to, and put in your place, if needed, by guns and batons, and military courts, and tear gas and bullets and fantastical costumes of robot cops and juggernauts. For your own protection, for your own, good, of course. Who else’s? Do you remember, the Financial Crisis, come September in 2008? The rules that changed? And Wall Street won and you lost your gains — and your roof, in its name, and, of course, your good name? And then, came the Gulf spill and by September 2009 British Petroleum, how it threatened, do you remember, the war on life? Or the threat for burning of the Quran, again godsent, then, in September 2010 that almost ushered in the chance on changing the rules on freedom of speech? And in September 2011, the Occupy Movement, which revealed, to us, the extent of our powers, against power, which as it turned out, were: None. That revealed to us, that the police, primarily protects property. That even a movement for rights and freedom, uses the term, Occupy. Are we mystified? And then the storm of Sandy which by September 2012 had made it clear, as it battered and washed away, our water front properties and flooded, Wall Street how powerless the batons, bullets, the tear gas, the shells, the bombs were against, the real threat. That year, they bombed Libya straight to hell. Then, a video of insanity, and that September, the attack at the embassy, in Bengazi? Yes, that was September 2012. Come September 2013, the drums of war turned to a deafening roar — that bloodlust’s design, to go bomb Syria, all the way back to Afghanistan and more, Iraq and Libya and even Iran! A video, several, tried to help. Always a video, to make the case, to go bomb and invade, yet another place. That juggernaut denied its chance, by another hegemon, rose again, metamorphosed to fight another day. And come September now today, bombing of Syria, anyway — just the same, for now, lo and behold, there it is, ISIS, proof in hideous videos, for our eyes to suspend disbelief, that lets them there drop their bombs, which they had baked, and ached to drop for years, and almost did, last year. Iraq, has been bombed, for twenty five years! A gift from God, for endless war. Who created this new Goddess? This new crisis, of this ISIS? (here, here, here and here). So here we are, this September, with the headlines developed so far, which we won’t remember, this time, next year, which gives us, our latest bed time story, and the newest season of hideous videos galore. Re: I support the democracy movement and the HKCTU, This is to acknowledge receipt of your message. Where appropriate, we will give you a reply. Thank you. (This is generated by an auto-reply programme.) 本辦公室已經收到你的電郵。如有需要，我們會作出回覆。謝謝。(此為電腦自動發出 的訊息) Chief Executive’s Office行政長官辦公室. My name is Rico Tease. I’m one fifth of Twerk Allstars, I’ve been doing this since 1994. I think that the people that are best at something, are like, sick people, all across the whirl ... like … all my favorite …
Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick, that made his ears burn.
Whatever happened to dear old Lenny?
The great Elmyra, and Sancho Panza?
Whatever happened to the heroes?
Whatever happened to all the heroes? All the Shakespearoes?
They watched their Rome burn.
Whatever happened to the heroes?
No more heroes any more.
—The Stranglers, 1977
But also in 1977, David Bowie releases his single “Heroes.” He sings about a new brand of hero, just in time for the neoliberal revolution. The hero is dead — long live the hero! Yet Bowie’s hero is no longer a subject, but an object: a thing, an image, a splendid fetish — a commodity soaked with desire, resurrected from beyond the squalor of its own demise. Just look at a 1977 video of the song to see why: the clip shows Bowie singing to himself from three simultaneous angles, with layering techniques tripling his image; not only has Bowie’s hero been cloned, he has above all become an image that can be reproduced, multiplied, and copied, a riff that travels effortlessly through commercials for almost anything. This hero’s immortality no longer originates in the strength to survive all possible ordeals, but from its ability to be xeroxed, recycled, and reincarnated. Destruction will alter its form and appearance, yet its substance will be untouched. The immortality of the thing is its finitude, not its eternity. But what happens to identification at this point? Who can we identify with? Of course, identification is always with an image. But ask anybody whether they’d actually like to be a JPEG file. And this is precisely my point: if identification is to go anywhere, it has to be with this material aspect of the image, with the image as thing, not as representation. And then it perhaps ceases to be identification, and instead becomes participation. I will come back to this point later. But first of all: why should anybody want to become this thing — an object — in the first place? Elisabeth Lebovici once made this clear to me in a brilliant remark. Traditionally, emancipatory practice has been tied to a desire to become a subject. Emancipation was conceived as becoming a subject of history, of representation, or of politics. To become a subject carried with it the promise of autonomy, sovereignty, agency. To be a subject was good; to be an object was bad. But, as we all know, being a subject can be tricky. The subject is always already subjected. There might still be an internal and inaccessible trauma that constitutes subjectivity. But trauma is also the contemporary opium of the masses — an apparently private property that simultaneously invites and resists foreclosure. And the economy of this trauma constitutes the remnant of the independent subject. But then if we are to acknowledge that subjectivity is no longer a privileged site for emancipation, we might as well just face it and get on with it. On the other hand, the increased appeal of becoming a thing doesn’t necessarily mean that we have reached the age of unlimited positivity, whose prophets — if we are to believe them — extol an age in which desire flows freely, negativity and history are a thing of the past, and vital drives happily splash all over the place. No, the negativity of the thing can be discerned by its bruises, which mark the site of history’s impact. As Eyal Weizman and Tom Keenan remark in a fascinating conversation on forensics and the fetish, objects increasingly take on the role of witnesses in court cases concerned with human rights violations. The bruises of things are deciphered, and then subjected to interpretation. Things are made to speak — often by subjecting them to additional violence. The field of forensics can be understood as the torture of objects, which are expected to tell all, just as when humans are interrogated. Things often have to be destroyed, dissolved in acid, cut apart, or dismantled in order to tell their full story. To affirm the thing also means participating in its collision with history. Because a thing is usually not a shiny new Boeing taking off on its virgin flight. Rather, it might be its wreck, painstakingly pieced together from scrap inside a hangar after its unexpected nosedive into catastrophe. A thing is the ruin of a house in Gaza. A film reel lost or destroyed in civil war. A female body tied up with ropes, fixed in obscene positions. Things condense power and violence. Just as a thing accumulates productive forces and desires, so does it also accumulate destruction and decay. So then how about a specific thing called “image”? It is a complete mystification to think of the digital image as a shiny immortal clone of itself. On the contrary, not even the digital image is outside history. It bears the bruises of its crashes with politics and violence. It is nothing like, say, a carbon copy of Leon Trotsky brought back to life through digital manipulation (though of course it could show him); rather, the material articulation of the image is like a clone of Trotsky walking around with an ice pick in his head. The bruises of images are its glitches and artifacts, the traces of its rips and transfers. Images are violated, ripped apart, subjected to interrogation and probing. They are stolen, cropped, edited, and re-appropriated. They are bought, sold, leased. Manipulated and adulated. Reviled and revered. To participate in the image means to take part in all of this. So, what’s the point of becoming a thing or an image? Why should one accept alienation, bruises, and objectification? “By imagining an object that is differently animated from the commodity fetish … Arvatov attempts to return a kind of social agency to the fetish.” In a similar vein, Aleksandr Rodchenko calls on things to become comrades and equals. By releasing the energy stored in them, things become coworkers, potentially friends, even lovers. Where images are concerned, this potential agency has already been explored to some extent. To participate in the image as thing means to participate in its potential agency — an agency that is not necessarily beneficial, as it can be used for every imaginable purpose. It is vigorous and sometimes even viral. And it will never be full and glorious, as images are bruised and damaged, just as everything else within history. History, as Benjamin told us, is a pile of rubble. Only we are not staring at it any longer from the point of view of Benjamin’s shell-shocked angel. We are not the angel. We are the rubble. We are this pile of scrap. Imagine if Bill Evans or, better yet, Cecil Taylor had, after reading a slew of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty’s PHENOMENOLOGY OF PERCEPTION, set out to take ownership of those critical vocabularies by engaging in an exhaustive description of the postures, gestures and composures of their spontaneous pianisms. Sudnow’s is an early classic of what is now being advertised as the genre of “self-tracking” or “self-quantification”. I prefer the original 1978 / un-rewritten edition, but Sudnow’s own account of his revisions is worth reading. Sample: “For a long time I guided my hands on the keyboard by moving along all kinds or routes and scales that I conceived in my mind’s eye, and, when I did look at the piano, I was so involved in an analytic mode of travel that I didn’t see the hands’ affairs as I now do. Their affairs and my looking were different.”
Between the buildings (in the
interval between buildings),
the ground is leased to parking.
The entertainment waves flit
by uncaught. Old telephone numbers
ring in mid-air.
The sea has eaten us
before. The sand is trying
to hand us over. But treat
us not in drugstores that sell
square ice cream,
because I live in this kiosk of nerves, in this blind and gradational situ, I know these beings of the “zaman afaiqi,”who seek to engulf my deliriums with ash. They cannot hear me murmuring beyond an oblique geography, squaring the sun while drawing on new zodiacs, had seen of now who is no longer there to see figure on sheet of bikes in the city that now comes up flicker straight on in the center. Then the day monkey pirates in candy thongs entered the shelves. Litmus slices before I even knew they took. Iced lemons in the box of porcelain, the laminated oilcloths in back and the snap of a cat. I took her down to the bottom of my bed at night and once she shot back up out and stroked at my eye with her tusk (it was a he). The goal of all women, darling. She was a barbarian and a sorceress and she had magic. Zhuangzi was weird indie lit, which is to say “In the northern darkness there is a fish and his name is K’un. The K’un is so huge I don’t know how many thousand li he measures. He changes and becomes a bird whose name is P’eng. The back of the P’eng measures I don’t know how many thousand li across and, when he rises up and flies off, his wings are like clouds all over the sky. When the sea begins to move, this bird sets off for the southern darkness, which is the Lake of Heaven,” which is to say, “Today, for no good reason I stood up on my pedals and pretended to whip my bicycle like a jockey would a horse”, which is to say I’ve finally done it. It’s taken 15 years of solid toil but with my landlady’s help I've learned every Albert Ayler sound on Spiritual Unity on accordion and committed them to memory so I can busk outside the tube station. I hope listeners will be familiar with the album and can ‘re-imagine’ the rhythm section parts as I’ll be playing unaccompanied (I can’t seem to work those chord button things with the left hand). Which is to explain how to operate the machine to vacuum-seal the pouches stuffed with exactly 25.5 grams of pasta made on the farm but of purchased eggs and trucked-in semolina in an unheated garage; to wield a paring knife on fruit frozen from sitting outside overnight; to climb a ladder in the dark when frost is already on the ground to gather the last of the sidetracked chayottes for seventy quiches for the Christmas market in Bordeaux and what to do when half of them don’t sell. When two customers come in to the store and you have to find someone to help them and Claudette in the patisserie tells you to get Bene cos she doesn’t know the prices which are listed on the wall and Bene asks you to please get Christine because she is busy with the accountant but nobody’s home at Christine & Luc’s so you have to go interrupt Bene again and then go back to the boutique, to mumble, On arrive. And go back to labeling pasta. The prunes that at times did feel endless, anticlerical, and blasphemous, the prunes, on a chilly evening in 1998, Lamantia, seriously ill, was accidentally locked out of his apartment. After wandering the streets all night he was arrested and held in jail, incommunicado, for several days. Afterward, he approached a local priest and proposed a special midnight service in which he, Lamantia, wearing a Cardinal’s robe, would read aloud, at the top of his lungs, from Maldoror. Needless to say, the proposal was denied, but, as we all know, “Passionate Ornithology Is [Indeed] Another Kind of Yoga”, and this is true to the extent that 4chan hates everybody. 4chan hates 9GAG and Reddit, which are in many ways its direct descendants. It hates My Little Pony: Friendship is Magicculture, even though it has an entire “containment board” dedicated to it. 4chan will most likely hate me for writing this post. 4chan, as one local Fox News station stated, is “an Internet hate machine.” And you’re just going to have to deal with that. So Godspeed 4chan. You Mein Kampf-quoters of /pol/. You neck-bearded masturbators of /b/. You paper crane folders of /po/. You I.T. geeks of /g/. You well-armed mercenaries of /k/. You tulpa conjurers of /x/. You literal shit-eaters, of, again, /b/, random,
' '""'[':, ,.:,
Aground on a beach of metal bones and boiling lava,
the astounding air a fiery growth...
and socially disconnected....
,,',;",,.:-.,-:,-,.:..,,,'::r.,,,...v There like a torn-out page, like a strip torn from the flesh.................. Which is why I entered this exhibition knowing next to nothing about Russia’s part in World War One.
to be crippled means to have a window
into the insanity of the able-bodied
to be crippled means to
see the world slowly and manically
Bones that are ground up to make black pigment glow in the dark. Let me paint you a mask like a highway at night. Here. Wear this creepy interstate mask. And I will wear this highway rest stop mask, that also glows. You will approach me in the night the way a dark, dead highway approaches a well-lit rest stop where there is nobody, no reflections in the bathroom tile, nothing, but why would you boil eggs? I feel more in love with insects every year. In fact, I have a friend right now who is a spider. I can see him from where I’m writing this poem. We’re that close. I would not trade my shapelessness for yours. The carrying and the carrying and the carrying of the shadows to the shadows. I don’t know why I kept that horrible theme for so long on Tumblr. White chalk of the Cretaceous shining in the sun. The bottom of the sea tools its purple prose tonight, A school project. How do I protect my boundary with the billions of years I was without you? “Not in my backyard!” “NIMBY!” That’s a kind of quantum explanation of human moral fixation, or maybe the subtle body horns the fermionic body like a shadow bent over under a kind of prism which hides in the eyes in my jaws, for when you see the quipu or (harmonia mundi) in Piranesi’s garage, confound the transcendent torso and make way for the large Hadron buckets and trust enough to whistle, for we hold firmly to the principle and practice of “boycott classes, learning goes on.”
[Note: Sources: Brittany Cavallaro and Rebecca Hazelton, “In Us We Trust”, quoted in Kit Frick / Black Lawrence Press, “NEW RELEASE! No Girls No Telephones by Brittany Cavallaro and Rebecca Hazelton”, email rec’d 28 Sept 014 approx 9:15 PM PDT; Eileen R Tabios, “A Process Note on the Poem and the Poetry Folio”, at Otoliths; Sheila E Murphy, “6. I Remember Punctuation’s Being My Sole Nest”, and “A Process Note”, at Otoliths; Lars Palm, “my selective memory”, at Otoliths; JBR; Marthe Reed, “I remember the inevitability of ashes”, at Otoliths; Anne Gorrick, “6. I Remember the Plasticity of Recognition”, “A Process Note”, at Otoliths; Benjamin Hollander, and Jack Spicer, After Lorca, quoted in Evan Karp, “The Write Stuff: Benjamin Hollander on What Separates Anarchism from Libertarianism”, at SF Weekly, 26 Jun 014; Maniza Naqvi, “CRY ISIS”, at 3 Quarks Daily, 29 Sept 014; firstname.lastname@example.org, email in response to me signing a petition supporting the Hong Kong Democracy movement, rec’d 29 Sept 014 approx 9:31 AM PDT; Rico Tease, Interrupted Meditaton [sic]”, at Afrosonics, 28 Sept 014; Hito Steyerl, “A Thing Like You and Me”, at e-flux, Apr 010; Joe Milazzo, David Sudnow, The Way of the Hand, Musa McKim, Alone With The Moon: Selected Writings, Will Alexander, Sunrise in Armageddon, Leslie Scalapino, Defoe, Clark Coolidge, The Book of During, Bertha Harris, Applesauce, Dennis James Sweeney, Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings (tr. Burton Watson), Evan P. Schneider, A Simple Machine, Like the Lever, quoted in Felipe W.Martinez, “Sunday Entropy List: 3 Books No One We Know Has Read, But Should”, at Entropy, 28 Sept 014; JBR; Claymore, YouTube comment appended to Albert Ayler, Spiritual Unity, ?? Aug 014; Maya Weeks, “It’s A Brand New Start So We Throw Things Out The Window In My Family”, at Entropy, 29 Sept 014; “Poetry as Revolutinary [sic] Praxis: Philip Lamantia & the Surrealist Movement in the United States”, at Infoshop News, 9 Apr 05; JBR; Mike Sauve, “In Defence of 4chan”, at HTMLGIANT, 29 Sept 014; Robin Tomens, “There are so many things in this dream”, at Scribble Electric, 29 Sept 010, “A Game in Hell: The Great War in Russia at the Gallery for Russian Arts and Design”, at Include Me Out, 28 Sept 014; Jennifer Bartlett, “to be crippled …”, attached to an email rec’d 29 Sept 014 approx 11:42 AM PDT; William Keckler, “Interstate Mask Drama”, “‘Recipes’ for Shmendricks”, “Insect Pain”, “My Shapelessness”, “Where to See Caravaggio Today”, “Okay, I Revamped My Tumblr”, “Nothing”, at Joe Brainard’s Pyjamas (The Sequel), 29-27 Sept 014; Lanny Quarles, “pitiful abstract arrest”, at Jellybean Weirdo With Electric Snake Fang, 29 Sept 014; JBR; “A Statement of Cultural Studies Teachers in Response to the HKSAR Government's Violent Crackdown of Students’ Peaceful Protest”, quoted in Paul Bowman, “Hong Kong protest crackdown”, at Jacques Rancière, 28 Sept 014]