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the film maker

I’d been invited to a screening
in the internal courtyard at the back of the house
rented by the friend who makes movies,
short films. His attention was elsewhere
when I arrived, since there were others there
who were quite at home and on a table were
bottles. I think I must already have had a few.
Of course, they were neighbours and I wondered
whether they had been in the courtyard already
and, because they had equal right to use it, 
he couldn’t kick them out, or he had
invited them to see his film. Anyway,
he seemed comfortable to let them stay and very
soon started the film. I don’t remember a single
frame, as if the camera were pointed at the courtyard
where we continued our party and, seeing as how
we were in the midst of the action
being projected, on the screen
was nothing we were unfamiliar with. 
At the end, my friend turned to me,
expecting me to make
some comment. I’d noticed
him turning to me repeatedly, and,
since I’d had a few beforehand and I was scared 
of doing something stupid if I got too drunk,
I’d been avoiding saying anything. I’d even
been avoiding drinking more and, as I said,
I don’t remember a single frame.

Time passed and it seemed to quicken 
and stretch
so that images came and went.
I don’t think I did drink more
but I was feeling the effects. My friend
sat ahead, to the right of me, where
the wooden bar extended as far as the corridor
that was the entry to the courtyard. I was 
too worried about my own behaviour to glance up
at it but it is where the screen must’ve been
on which my friend had shown his short film.
The timber of the bar, like the table top
and benches we sat on, was recycled.
The wood was distressed. A dark tawny grey, 
patches of darker grey showed through. 
They matched the concrete of the courtyard floor, 
that, as if wet, had a sheen to it
reflecting below, even more dully,
dull festoon lights above
and the sky, a lighter
grey above that. Night
may have been coming on or not,
I could not tell. At first no trees
or greenery were visible and the men 
were used to each other. They did not notice 
I was a stranger.

My friend turned pale.
He was sweating and his hair stuck to
his head and neck. In front and to the right,
he was turned to me. If anything, he looked
frightened. I thought, he must not want me
to draw the others’ attention to him, so I
relaxed. But he was very grey, like a fish.
His eyes bulged and he gulped the air.
Seeing as how I’d relaxed, he seemed to as well
and had a drink. Then, it happened again.

He went pale, grey, his face wet, his hair
stuck to his neck and to his head, dripping
with sweat. He turned one way, then the other,
slowly shaking his head. It was as if he could not
believe it, but what could I do?
I looked down, at the table. I saw my hands
clenched in my lap. I tried to relax. Act natural,
I told myself. Had I really had so much to drink?

Others seemed to notice. They patted my friend’s
shoulders and back and asked, Are you all right?
But, when I looked up, he was facing me directly. 
He stared at me accusingly. I could not 
do nothing now. I got up. I walked away, 
in the other direction. Carrying my drink,
I went out into the garden.

The owner of the house was explaining something
to a few other men. He pointed first to a patch of 
ground in the front garden, the corner 
of the property, where a big tree
grew beside the fence and the grass had not
been mown and blackberry wands
stood up from the bushes, and then he 
pointed back, to the right of the house, where,
on the same side of the property as the ground 
he’d indicated, a pergola stood.
It came off the house and had once been white. 
Now rust stains ran from the bolts that held 
it together and the paint had lifted. 
It had a patio below it, small and unloved, 
with grass and weeds around it. He said,
It will match the one by the house.

He was talking about a building project
in the front corner of the property.
They held beer bottles. The others 
were younger than him and listened,
without drinking, while he went on 
pointing and gesturing. His watch’s
stainless steel strap stretched 
in the thick black hairs that grew there. 
It caught the light on the hand holding 
the bottle and his eyes too
glittered.

My friend had looked at me 
like a beaten animal.

Inside the house the couches were
pushed up against the walls.
A younger man was with his friends,
ashtrays balanced on the armrests.
The couch was covered with an old 
sheet. He said to me, What is the enmity
between those two? He was the eldest of 
two brothers. Animus, I repeated to myself,
but this had not been what he said.

He took me through
the front part of the house that
was just a facade and opened up
to a large space, 
its timber rafters exposed, like a barn. 
We stood at the top of the steps, looking 
out over the swimming-pool. That’s 
the last thing I build here, he said.


 


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ancestory

ancestors were onto something
or on something

one way
cul de sac

unrolling or creeping
the surprise of mistaken
identity

rude not to notice or
to kill them again

who took
who gave their lives
who furnished nation
who in a thankless nation

someone’s darling
served a cold dish

did not deserve
horror mainly
 dig them up now see
 who’s horrified

whose disease
 we surpass
  whose disease is

if you could only open up
your mouth not talk
in bird sounds

and visiting me again, is it a
surprise I cannot reconstruct
the agony ate you up

you follow me now. Beasts

of religion or
what is
belief no hope no agony
 
 must be the right word
  and contest life
   over death on.

Conscious is over your shoulder
not standing.

It lies about
where you are, cloud
 in the upper atmosphere
  unrolls, creeping 
   things are the impulses
    you have and hold and
     have
      hold, You strike out

in dreams.
alone. play your many pipes
	play and dance and sing
       in birdsong if it has to be 
you
     did not kill
                       or stole
	
	are not a man
planted your seed not
 in the carcase
	your sin in the hill.



...
“you are only the living face of those who have gone before”
— 20 August 2022
...

22 August 2022

hommangerie
immedia
infemmarie
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sweeseed
thigein & conatus
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putting it to the vote:

…the lyric has limitations. I’ve found myself impatient with the lyric form. And that’s the reason I changed my style, a rebellion against the traditional, contemporary, lyric form of, say, William Carlos Williams. I had had it that way. I found my language was responding to the form rather than to my sensibilities. I was getting a little too self-conscious about it. So I decided: Cut loose and give emphasis to the imagination rather than to the line. By “imagination” I mean also the intelligence within the imagination, giving the intelligence its opportunity to explore the imagination as far as it will go. Of course it has a form, but it’s a form that constantly renews itself because the intelligence is restless. Emotions tend to repeat themselves over and over again, whereas the intelligence is constantly renewing itself, recreating itself. Therefore, I feel in the prose poems the emphasis is on the intelligence with an undercurrent of emotion. In the lyric form the emphasis was on the emotion and the intellect was the undercurrent. I’m also following Pound’s rule, that poetry should be as good as good prose. That it’s a vernacular, colloquial thing. And vernacular, the colloquial, doesn’t sing. It talks. If you want to sing, then you write an elevated line, an elevated language. Occasionally, I’ll do that. There are moments. But, on the whole, the contemporary tradition is talking. And if that’s the case, then why not come out and use the prose line?

— David Ignatow, The Art of Poetry No. 23, interviewed by Gerard Malanga

Today I was resolute. I was following Baba Yaga’s advice: (see below) and not choosing between the different callings but listening for which would burn the rest up. And then I read César Vallejo (below), who led me to David Ignatow (above and below).

I began again to doubt the direction I’d given myself in the morning. And so, as if the imagination is a democracy, I’ve decided to put it to the vote. On the evidence you have here, should I:

a) write more of those pieces (for example, here) that in extremity (for example, here) come close to poetry?

b) continue with the letters that started here, the first part reaching its completion one year less one month ago at number 68? (This is what I resolved to do this morning; the second part, about writing, is unfinished business.)

c) write that book proposal for a booklength study drawing out the implications of the ideas developed during the series of lectures about moving image: animation and schematism (lectures 1-5); modulation and screentime (lectures 6-10)?

d) develop the same material as in c) for publication as separate articles in peer-reviewed academic journals?

e) give up writing altogether? It’s flattery to call it writing anyway. What I do is scribblage. After all, when “everybody’s a fucking writer,” there’s already too many.

f) all of the above?

g) Other: suggestions welcome!

How to vote: please use the contact form.


IN A DREAM

a vacuum cleaner held over my head
is drawing out my brains through my nostrils,
blood running in a column straight up
into the vacuum bag whining like a jet engine.
I feel my intestines too beginning to move up
through my gullet and soon they will be pouring
through my nose. My bones quiver in their sockets,
my knees are shaking. I sit down,
emptiness is becoming me. I can no longer think,
I just listen to the sucking vacuum.
Here goes my heart, straight up into my throat
and choking me, pumping in my throat.
It is filling my mouth, it is forcing its way
between my teeth. The vacuum roars
and my mouth flies open and my heart is gone.

How is it I keep writing?
The vacuum roars and whines alternately,
my ears stick to my head but now my head
is rising, a wind is whistling through my skull.
My head is being lifted from my neck.
Take me altogether, great vacuum:
my arms, legs, sex, shoes, clothes,
my pen gripped in my whitened hand
drained of blood. Take me altogether
and I triumph, whirled in the vacuum bag
with my satellite heart, brain, bones and blood.

— David Ignatow, May 1973

Stumble Between Two Stars | Traspié entre dos estrellas

There are people so wretched, they don’t even
have a body, their hair quantitative,
their wise grief, low, in inches;
their manner, high;
don’t look for me, the oblivion molar,
they seem to come out of the air, to add up sighs mentally, to hear
bright smacks on their palates!

They leave their skin, scratching the sarcophagus in which they are born
and climb through their death hour after hour
and fall, the length of their frozen alphabet, to the ground.

Pity for so much! pity for so little! pity for them!
Pity in my room, hearing them with glasses on!
Pity in my thorax, when they are buying suits!
Pity for my white filth, in their combined scum!

Beloved be the sanchez ears,
beloved the people who sit down,
beloved the unknown man and his wife,
my fellow man, with sleeves, neck and eyes!

Beloved be the one with bedbugs,
the one who wears a torn shoe in the rain,
the one who wakes the corpse of a bread with two tapers,
the one who catches a finger in the door,
the one who has no birthdays,
the one who lost his shadow in a fire,
the animal, the one who looks like a parrot,
the one who looks like a man, the rich poor man,
the extremely miserable man, the poorest poor man!

Beloved be
the one who is hungry or thirsty, but has no
hunger with which to satiate all his hungers!

Beloved be the one who works by the day, by the month, by the hour,
the one who sweats out of pain or out of shame,
the person who goes, at the order of his hands, to the movies.
the one who pays with what he does not have,
the one who sleeps on his back,
the one who no longer remembers his childhood, beloved be
the bald man without hat,
the thief without roses,
the one who wears a watch and has seen God,
the one who has honour and does not die!

Beloved be the child who falls and still cries
and the man who has fallen and no longer cries!

Pity for so much! pity for so little! pity for them!

_____________

¡Hay gentes tan desgraciadas, que ni siquiera
tienen cuerpo; cuantitativo el pelo,
baja, en pulgadas, la genial pesadumbre;
el modo, arriba;
no me busques, la muela del olvido,
parecen salir del aire, sumar suspiros mentalmente, oír
claros azotes en sus paladares!

Vanse de su piel, rascándose el sarcófago en que nacen
y suben por su muerte de hora en hora
y caen, a lo largo de su alfabeto gélido, hasta el suelo.

¡Ay de tánto! ¡ay de tan poco! ¡ay de ellas!
¡Ay en mi cuarto, oyéndolas con lentes!
¡Ay en mi tórax, cuando compran trajes!
¡Ay de mi mugre blanca, en su hez mancomunada!

¡Amadas sean las orejas sánchez,
amadas las personas que se sientan,
amado el desconocido y su señora,
el prójimo con mangas, cuello y ojos!

¡Amado sea aquel que tiene chinches,
el que lleva zapato roto bajo la lluvia,
el que vela el cadáver de un pan con dos cerillas,
el que se coge un dedo en una puerta,
el que no tiene cumpleaños,
el que perdió su sombra en un incendio,
el animal, el que parece un loro,
el que parece un hombre, el pobre rico,
el puro miserable, el pobre pobre!

¡Amado sea
el que tiene hambre o sed, pero no tiene
hambre con qué saciar toda su sed,
ni sed con qué saciar todas sus hambres!

¡Amado sea el que trabaja al día, al mes, a la hora,
el que suda de pena o de vergüenza,
aquel que va, ñpor orden de sus manos, al cinema,
el que paga con lo que le falta,
el que duerme de espaldas,
el que ya no recuerda su niñez; amado sea
el calvo sin sombrero,
el justo sin espinas,
el ladrón sin rosas,
el que lleva reloj y ha visto a Dios,
el que tiene un honor y no fallece!

¡Amado sea el niño, que cae y aún llora
y el hombre que ha caído y ya no llora!

¡Ay de tánto! ¡Ay de tan poco! ¡Ay de ellos!

— César Vallejo, October 1937 (translated by Clayton Eshleman)

WHERE SHOULD I PUT MY ENERGY?


Dear Baba Yaga,

I am blessed with many interests, talents, and

desires. They pull me in different directions,

thereby ensuring that movement is forever lateral

and never forward. How do I determine which of

these fires to stoke?


BABA YAGA:

Whether or not you may say so, there is always ;

one fire louder than the others, more consuming. ,

Who knows why–maybe the twigs it devours are aged

best, maybe the wind is stillest around it. It is

not for you to think on. Let this fire get too ;

big. Let it threaten the forest. Let it eat the

other fires around it, until they are living in it.

You will see ; abandonment of yr smaller flames is

not needed to grow yr wildest, most dangerous one.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

— Taisia Kitaiskaia, ASK BABA YAGA: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles, (Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017), 139.



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only

the old sensitive trees    you see on the coast here

they can make you believe   life is sad

gods in the forest


a character's always he or she or they
never it Levinas    the French Jewish philosopher

my friend, Alphonso Lingis, you can call me Al
and when you call me, I am called to myself
    to answer for myself, Al
       as if my self is what you have when you're busy
               doing other things    also from Lithuania

anyway, Immanuel Levinas insight is God is individual
is not the general category of transcendent Being
       an individual    like a character, he she and they

they pull their own roots out of the ground

the old sensitive trees do not oppose the young
and when you meet God, it's like anyone

hey, how ya doin? like the song ...

they throw themselves they hurl themselves off cliffs

yell, Bollocks overboard ! 

and hurtle out of bed like they are leaving this life

any gods       must die?

it's a question you can only answer with a proper name.

...
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to you of all people

harvest the leaves of grass

harvest all things mottled, bare of charm

how can you harvest that
       like anchors on the seafloor

a luminous watery sky
     a wash a watered silk

gather the wings of flies, 
 ...I said, flies.

I know what I said.

yo, measure the beds...
      we have lain on, still lie, will lie on

how are you with dogs, I mean
      how are you with animals in general?

and leaves that fall now and leaves that don't know
      to

how are you over this?

is it courage to feel what you are
to feel what you are feeling
      is it courage

gather on white paper

I'm sorry I said that

how are you about being at all?
how      are you over this

...
hommangerie
imarginaleiro
infemmarie
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lecture 10 – transcript + slides

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lecture 9 – transcript + slides

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lecture 8 – transcript + slides

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lecture 7 – transcript + slides

lecture-7

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lecture 6 – transcript + slides

lecture-6

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