Week 1: Things get broken

[I decided to write an essay this week.  Tucked away are a series of “Humiliating Hypermedia Insights.”  These are not profound insights by any means.  They are obvious to any careful observer.  But in the course of having them, I feel humiliated.  Things I did not write about in this essay, but wish I did, are twe Greek terms for time: chronos  and kairos, whose distinct meanings might help us explore the English language’s limited capacity to deal with one of life’s most profound mysteries.]

I begin this symposium with a certain advantage.  I have an inside knowledge of the weekly assignments because I wrote them up myself.  So, what I lack in knowledge, talent, and skills, I make up for in prescience.  I know the order of things before they unfold—not through intuition or anticipation or precognition—but through the conceptualization of the symposium as a whole.  What is for some the beginning of a span of time broken into five week-long periods, each marked with the introduction of a new task, is for me a single, organized event.  You get surprises, I struggle with expectations.  At least this is how these things are supposed to go in theory. Continue reading Week 1: Things get broken

Orphanage, or at least once was.

When travelling, days, as in labels, as in this is Saturday in the gold mine region of Australia, are confused. I am watching more than writing. But right now writing more than watching.


Davin asks about time. Time in a poem. Time is this.   


Does he mean cadence? Is he an angry boar released in Arkansas by an ex-prince, rich and moved to American. Maybe he misses the hunting of boars, the slow and then fast runs through forests. Firing guns and releasing dogs.  But then Davin won’t catch all his angry swines (swine do not need plurality, vote, vote), and later football teams will mascot his failed hunts. Somewhere in those two sentences, the subject was turned, interrogated to exhaustion. No will. Nothing to determine ownership after death.


So I’m staying in an orphanage,  brick and wood raftered complex recently adopted by a mega-resort conglomeration. It is semi-cold here, around 40 or 50 (American style metrics) and there is an outdoor pool, semi-heated and semi-indoors. Last night I went for a lonely swim, chlorine fog and the side pool drains made conversational noises. I imagined a small group of important men just outside the fog, smoking various combustibles and discussing what to do with the unmarked orphan graves found at the lakes edge, always at the lake’s edge. My room has high ceilings and borrowed thrift (or opp for southern hemi-kids) furniture. Down most hallways is a common room called a library, ceramic books, four together with titles suggesting romance and science, book ends replacing the books themselves. There are mega-resort conglomeration magazines and brochures for wine tours, craft tours, high adventure experiences in the lows of this valley. 


These haphazard words are being typed at a blue table in a public Library. The main library mind you, in this town, almost a city, named Ballarat. There is fast wireless now, it being around 11 in the morning on a Saturday, but children and old men with new laptops are filling the spaces, so that speed will wane, cold and sunny outside.


Across from me is one metal row of the reference section (numbers 304.4 to 425 ONF). Four titles:  Dictionary of Wars, Rivers for Life, Protocol and Producers, Convicts.  A large green book, faded and binding worn, has papers/notes fountaining from the top (nouns as verbs as nouns). I want to read them, but I most likely won’t.


From behind the woman in the white hooded and fur rimmed coat appeared to be a child. Turning around aged her over 50 years.


Each paragraph is smaller than the paragraph preceding.


Trend now ends.  I am thinking about interfaces. Many months ago, Christine Hume, a curious and long angled poet, recently a mother, and who took me to see a Rushdie multimedia play in

Michigan, gave me a poem to turn into a digital creature. And since then I have done nothing, but play in my isolated brain (the isolated brain, a movie starring ex-NBA star Horace Grant and the cliché librarian with short red dyed hair and permanent, heavy reading glasses turned up and down for check-out stages). Her poem will start me away, away, like the tightest of jeans.  Scroll down to read, hoods that cant be seen while driving or parking.  



Temporality in Mallarme’s “A Throw of the Dice”

What is fascinating about the presence of the temporal component in Mallarme’s “A Throw of the Dice” is the way in which the poet alludes to the notion of time/life verbally that is at its lexical level and simultaneously renders it visible in the particular arrangement of its words, lines, stanzas on the page(s). In some regards, the temporal and spacial elements intermingle in an harmoniuos and unique way showing that there isn’t quite an accidental “throw of the dice,” as words are not simply thrown on the paper, instead there is a foreseen arrangement, in which the space becomes essential in an interesting interconnection with time.


The first word on the left page of the poem on which it starts is “BE,” which, temporally speaking, signals the beginning of something/life that is followed by there is “the ABYSS,” which refers to a endless hole, or even to emptiness. Semantically, these two words, the only ones written in capital letters in the whole poem, are in a clear opposition and may send to the momentary nature of time in general in between two inevitable stages: life and death as well as to the shape of the poem: half a page populated by words (life) the other part left empty because the rest of the poem continues on the right page. This movement of the text on the next page is expressed through the separation of the word “al-ready” into two syllabuses in order to keep the words and the poems connected and indirectly to maintain a certain feeling of duration.


What also contributes to the feeling of death, of falling down is the stairlike configuration of the placement of the words on this page while the selection of several words such as “maddened”and “slides desperately”sends to the image of endless deepness and a slow loss of temporality. Suddently, and, more precisely, right in the middle of the poem, the text from the right page“ends” leaving a large space under the last word “al-ready”and marks the space of an absence, of an empitiness, which comes to be continued on the right page. In this respect, “A Throw of the Dice” tends to be more than one poem, as it may very well be viewed as two poems, as two finished entities.

 Moving on the middle of the right page, the text gets density and the feeling of decay becomes predominant as the word-populated space abounds in verbs as “fallen,” “covering,” “buried,” which foresee an end/death. It is the end of everything that only seems to last as it is just temporary. In other words, now, time is not longer patient or passive in the same way in which it left the impression at the very beginning of the poem. Time governs the abyss and is ready to annihilate the space, words are everywhere and a claustrophobic feeling is floating in the air. At the very end of the left page, temporality has found its end and place and rests silently, “BE that the ABYSS.”

week 1.1: or: ordinary Poem

[f. 82]
or: ordinary Poem

It is true – you have struck me and you have chosen your wound well –
– etc. – but

today i rode mom’s bike down to seabright beach after swimming with Paitra, after the chaos and fire of the 4th, last night – to meet David, lying in the sand – “looks like the fog’s coming in, though, you still gonna be down there?
/yeah, I’ll be with my Harry Potter til my nipples freeze
/alright then see you then” – I brought the Tombeau, but found I couldn’t read it then.
to everything turn turn turn…
his two eyes are watching me, they are enough – already taken by absence and the gulf –
bring everything to this?
David read to me from HP and the Half Blood Prince instead. I watched the currents of wind and fog rush in and over us from the south, til the sun diluted into mist and we crept up the beach to bikes and the Seabright Brewery.
This time: today, after, after, last, coming in, still, til, then, then, then, time, already, current, over, til, past tenses.

time in one year …

I think I am going to choose another score by the same author — ken Friedman (of Fluxus).

“ In One Year and Out the Other

On New Year’s Eve, make a telephone call from one time zone to another to conduct a conversation between people located in two years. After midnight, call the other way.

Ken Friedman


week 1.0: “The poetry of the undecidable”

Stéphane Mallarmé: Pour un tombeau d’Anatole/For Anatole’s tomb :Patrick McGuinness, trans.

(first. this is not a poem, and Mallarmé did not call it anything in particular (though it calls/calls out)… Rather: “notes towards a poem.” and these: away from (the poem). Not a work in progress: progressing where? But processioning, processing. Professing. “Less something finished than something unbegun” (writes the translator). Scraps of almosts– returning again (and never) to the crux of it– oh impossible empty. Time, and Again.)

there is a time in Existence in which we will find each other again, if not a place

and if you doubt that the world will be the witness, supposing I live to be old enough —

une époque

où nous nous retrouverons

désolé, je ne parle pas le français. but i am drawn to equivalencies, so-called.

your future which has taken refuge in me. how can I (can I) begin to move my hands around, gesticulate the way this resonates within me. Your future :nowhere/nothing/not. Thus: your future (for ‘you,’ futureless subject, are neither either…)

Thus far: first, progress, procession, processing, -ing, finished, unbegun, almost, returning, time, again, time, again, old, future, begin, futureless.

Week 1: Time

What is the “time” of the poem?

By now you have selected a poem that you will use as a jumping off point for this symposium.

Identify the poem's temporal element. Consider its duration, its moment, its progression, its pace, its beginning, and/or its end.

Use any means or media (a written explanation, a series of images, a video, another poem, a song, a hypermedia piece, or something completely new) to communicate your insights about the “time” of the poem to the rest of the group. Your contribution can be witty or obvious, straight or unconventional. You can be concrete or abstract. Just think about the poem and the time it represents. And then do whatever the hell you want to.

Note: If you want to read about time, start with the Wikipedia entry, here.

Post your results by the end of the week (July 8th). And have lots of fun doing it.