Aug 28, 2011

"The actual facts of the historical story had practically begged to become a novel: a beautiful Italian noblewoman, gone blind in the flower of her youth. A local inventor, inspired by her beauty to create the world’s first typewriter. The complication that both of them were married to other people. The lush backdrop of early nineteenth century Italy.

It was deceptively simple: Carolina, the contessa, wanted to write a letter to Turri, the inventor. When I had her sit down to do that with the tools she would have had at hand: a pen, ink, sealing wax, and open flame – I knew immediately why Turri would have been inspired to invent his new machine. For a blind person, these simplest elements of communication would have been not only virtually impossible to negotiate, but genuinely dangerous – which is why most early typewriters weren’t conceived of as commercial products, but as writing aids for the blind."

Carey Wallace | review of The Blind Contessa's New Machine

"and I could give you all the olive trees oh look at the trees and look at my face and look at a place far away from here"

eugene, ore. with jasmine | jun 6, 2009
Overhead, morning clouds
        done up in bundles,
small joints fastened


To box up birds
        spilling out from the window,
we forgot to make tea


        Silence clutched to my breast
beating across the lake smooth as glass,
    its wings settle in reflection
is writing a bad book
is set in garamond
is looking at her embroidered towels and cardboard boxes
is watching an eternity go
is a dying man in a living room
is eating an apple

journal entry | sep 25, 2010

The Passenger | Michelangelo Antonioni (1975)


As scale of balance. As object hollowed, emptied of its mass.
As framework, mere externality without substance; as in the outer part.
Received unto windows as indecent allusion; as glass in its two halves.
As if edifice or fabric whose interior, removed is now merely an arc.
As skeletal or concessive to such regression. Remains of a ship
once carved and filled. As in building invites a return unto dust.
As coming away, as departure from the unending hymnal
procession of blues that envelop an egg as it does.
As encasement shed in order to lay the insides bare
As the child or pupa casts its skin; as giving up its outer form.
No longer fixed close, but to divide and to pare.
As an empty case of crushed fruit sits outside in unexpected storms.
As currency. As drinking vessel. As containing pigment of erasure.
Vicissitude of hues; as whiteness in fragments. As opening or as closure.

Aug 27, 2011

"I stripped Shakespeare's sonnets bare to the 'nets' to make the space of the poems open, porous, possible—a divergent elsewhere. When we write poems, the history of poetry is with us, pre-inscribed in the white of the page; when we read or write poems, we do it with or against this palimpsest."

Jen Bervin | Nets
        The jars of octopus—
brief dreams
        under the summer moon.


attached to nothing,
        the skylark singing.


        I don't know
which tree it comes from,
        that fragrance.

Matsuo Bashō | Essential Haiku

it becomes less important to document these days, filled rich with a daze not quite my own nor yours. perhaps we've borrowed these terms to classify under 'memory'. but to remember, thoughts of moments engrained as they are, as they would be anyway, in that is a challenge for the mind to embark

Aug 26, 2011

excerpt from "A photograph"

by James Schuyler

When I woke there was
just time to make the
train to a country dinner
and talk about ecstasy.
Which I think comes in
two sorts: that which you
know "Now I'm ecstatic"
like my strange scream
last Friday night. And
another kind, that you
know only in retrospect:
"Why, that joy I felt
and didn't think about
when his feet were in
my lap, or when I looked
down and saw his slanty
eyes shut, that too was
ecstasy. Nor is there
necessarily a downer from
it." Do I believe in
the perfectibility of
man? Strangely enough,
(I've known un-
happiness enough) I
do. I mean it,
I really do believe
future generations can
live without the in-
tervals of anxious
fear we know between our
bouts and strolls of
ecstasy. The struck ball
finds the pocket. You
smile some years back
in London, I have
known ecstasy and calm:
haven't you, too?

what about this time next week?

Aug 24, 2011


by John Ashbery

Yes, they are alive and can have those colors,
But I, in my soul, am alive too.
I feel I must sing and dance, to tell
Of this in a way, that knowing you may be drawn to me.

And I sing amid despair and isolation
Of the chance to know you, to sing of me
Which are you. You see,
You hold me up to the light in a way

I should never have expected, or suspected, perhaps
Because you always tell me I am you,
And right. The great spruces loom.
I am yours to die with, to desire.

I cannot ever think of me, I desire you
For a room in which the chairs ever
Have their backs turned to the light
Inflicted on the stone and paths, the real trees

That seem to shine at me through a lattice toward you.
If the wild light of this January day is true
I pledge me to be truthful unto you
Whom I cannot ever stop remembering.

Remembering to forgive. Remember to pass beyond you into the day
On the wings of the secret you will never know.
Taking me from myself, in the path
Which the pastel girth of the day has assigned to me.

I prefer “you” in the plural, I want “you”
You must come to me, all golden and pale
Like the dew and the air.
And then I start getting this feeling of exaltation.

Aug 22, 2011

excerpt from "The Beginner"

by Lyn Hejinian

This is a good place to begin.
From something.
Something beginning in an event that beginning overrides.
Doubt instruction light safety fathom blind.
In the doorway is the beginning thus and thus no denial.
A little beat of time, a little happiness quite distinct from misery as yet.
The sun shines.
The sun is perceived as a bear, then a boat, then an instruction: see.
The sun is a lily, then a whirlpool turning a crowd.
The shadows lengthen, the sun-drenched line of arriving strangers are all admitted, seen in the day and not the same at night, host and guest alike.
Two things then, both occurring as the beginner arrives: acceptance and the reconstruction of the world which that acceptance implies.
In the first twenty-four hours nearly blind and with hands swelling, the gaze fierce, face scowling, the beginner faces scowling.
The beginner is a figure of contradiction, conditions what has begun.
Someone could say clouds suddenly, correctly, there's a change in the low-lying blue, the space for it having diminished, its limits are almost certainly black.
Yes, black is right, it's for certainty, yellow for cattle, brown for the violin, pink is fortuitous except in flowers especially the rose, rose is for the rose, gray for clocks and the time they keep, orange for lips or for cups, also sponges, their accompanying sentiment, gold for blue and iconography and geographical distance, red is for the forest and for the alphabet, blue is for intelligence, purple for the old neighbors smelling of wool, green is for sweat, and out of white comes what we can say.

À bout de souffle | Jean-Luc Godard (1980)


by Tina Barry

The birds in Wyoming fly too close to your hat. Birds group, regroup. A thumbprint of black then too much sky. They're already bored with the ritual. Not a bird, but a collection of blue: cobalt, indigo, ink-dipped navy. He preferred the romance of handwriting, the perfect slant of a "t".

excerpt "From a Notebook that Never Was"

by Fernando Pessoa

In me every thought, however much I’d like to preserve it intact, turns sooner or later into reverie. If I wish to set forth reasons or launch a train of argument, what comes out of me are sentences initially expressive of the thought itself, then phrases subsidiary to those initial sentences, and finally shadows and derivatives of those subsidiary phrases. I begin to meditate on the existence of God and soon find myself speaking of faraway parks, feudal processions, rivers that pass almost soundlessly beneath the windows of my contemplation . . . And I find myself speaking about them because I find myself seeing them, feeling them, and there’s a brief moment when my face is grazed by a real breeze rising from the surface of the dreamed river through metaphors, through the stylistic feudalism of my central self-abandon.

I like to think, because I know it won’t be long before I stop thinking. It’s as a point of departure that thinking delights me—a cold, metallic harbor station from which to set sail for the vast South. I sometimes try to focus my mind on a large metaphysical or even social problem, because I know that, ensconced in the hoarse voice of my reason, there are peacock tails ready to spread open for me as soon as I forget I’m thinking, and I know that humanity is a door in a wall that doesn’t exist, so I can open it onto whatever gardens I like.

Thank God for that ironic element in human destinies that makes dreams the mode of thought for the poor in life, even as it makes life the mode of thought—or thought the mode of life—for the poor in dreams.

But even dreaming channeled through thinking ends up making me weary. At which point I open my eyes from dreaming, go to the window, and transfer my dream to the streets and rooftops. And it’s in my distracted and profound contemplation of so very many roof tiles divided into rooftops, covering the astral contagion of people organized into streets, that my soul becomes truly detached from me, and I don’t think, I don’t dream, I don’t see, I don’t need to.


by Helen Vitoria

let's meet for lunch along the Champs-Elysees
we can watch the box elders
climb flowers whose names they can't pronounce
when the rain starts, we can run home and I will
bake you bread, the next day we fly to Russia
and write a tangible manifesto to one another
I’m not afraid to say my body is a spectacle; a place for viewing. An arena’s dips and hooks, bowls of bone that founder and round like an amphitheater wouldn’t you say. Not to mention curved. Think of the events that have taken place in an amphitheater: county fairs with chickens and goats; bullfights; red cloth; gladiator combats and chariot races; the circus; haystacks and dew over grass and fog in the morning; the body as an open air venue for performance. I guess it’s easy to say that about oneself when things are looking up and the light through the window hits the skin this way, like the imperfect orange and yellow and red on an apple ready for picking. But some days I walk in on this amphitheater as though walking to my own execution, head shaved, the garment I wear is the last and white. Or there’s an indistinct choir harmonizing with the bathroom fan above my head, cheering me on or lulling me into some glazed over gazing. Other days an animal is killed inside me and another born almost immediately. The possibility of victory takes place here whenever blood is involved. Most of the time there is sweat. Some of the time I hold my breath seeing how still the night is and the moon waxing over it. Some days I can’t tell which. Other days, a dish for water, a pond as a result of the river flooding in, or place of worship. Seating capacity: 60-100 shuffling regularly from valve to valve, chamber to chamber. Ideal for some purpose; constructed for this.
"Instead of being a book it seemed that what I read was laid upon the landscape, not printed, bound, or sewn up, but somehow the product of trees and fields and the hot summer sky."

Virginia Woolf | Collected Essays II.13