Sunday, March 30, 2008

One of these days,

hopefully in the not too distant future, I’ll get around to starting an Otoliths Books blog. In the interim, some recent reviews & such.

Geof Huth stratifies Spencer Selby’s Flush Contour at dbqp: visualizing poetics.

Thomas Fink at critiphoria & John M. Bennett at Mad Hatter’s Review look at Sheila E. Murphy’s The Case of the Lost Objective (Case).

Sam Trimble at Philadephia citypapernet & Jesse Jarnot at paste (jpeg of the article here) talk to Paul Siegell about Poemergency Room.

Jack Kimball follows up on Rochelle Ratner’s Leads at Pantaloons (post date 2/21/08).

Friday, March 28, 2008

Genji Monogatari XIV: A Boat upon the Waters

The camera is a kind of
surrogate supervisor, colon-
izing bare stones from
beneath the water surface
& then rough tumbling them
to remove the matrix—truth
values, brandname medication,
YouTube videos of girls fighting
in suburban schoolyards. It is
a repository of spatial memory
where everything retains
its own personal space, their
heavy burdens & polemical
charges. There is a small picture
of Genji sitting on a massive
flower under a crescent moon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


As the speechtrack to a cable series about a serial killer serial killer — or should that be serial serial killer killer? — creeps down the staircase from the living room, I’m reminded of the “morality” prevalent, thanks to the Hays code, in the Hollywood movies I grew up on, in which “evil” could never be portrayed in a “good” light & nobody could ever benefit from a crime. I have no memory of the name, or who was in it, but I do remember seeing a movie — fifties? sixties? maybe even the seventies — that, possibly for the first time, shifted away from this premise. Not too far, mind you. Sure the main characters got away with a million dollars, but they would have got, had they stayed around, a million dollars through legitimate means.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuxedo inJunction

The only time I have ever worn a tux was fifty years ago when I played at a New Year’s Eve Ball for the local Polish community. We didn’t play a polka all evening — they had a separate band for that — but there were 57 varieties of potato salad for supper.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let me admit

to using digital time as a kind of mini-omen. 12- or 24-hour displays, around the house, in the car, occasionally in the wider world. Something comforting about them. Equal—12:12; sequential—10:11; the year—20:08; the day, the month—22:03; pi—3:14. A small warm buzz. No downside to them. Something else & they’re just the time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do pubescents dream of electric sheep?

What, early on, shapes our beliefs? Why, contra parental values, prevailing current opinion & a reasonably straightforward upbringing, should I have believed that left-wing politics—socialism, if you like—was the greater respecter of human values, that capital punishment, nuclear capability, totalitarianism, armed conflict were wrong. No-one I knew shared these values, certainly not my parents. There was no television, the most radical films I’d seen were Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator & Modern Times, DC comics hadn’t reached New Zealand, there were no alternative newspapers, TIME told us it told the truth, rock ‘n roll hadn’t beaten a path to my door, wasn’t even beating yet.

What I got from my parents was a love of reading. What I got from my brother, twelve or so years older & away from home, was the collection of science fiction that he’d left behind. What I got from that were alternative views of the world, supposedly the future but written from the perspective of the present.

There was a dichotomy of perspective. The fascism of people like Robert Heinlein; the socialism of writers like Philip K. Dick, Fritz Leiber, C.M. Kornbluth & Theodore Sturgeon. The political tags came later, when my reading widened & I recognized them for what they were. The preferred beliefs stuck with me immediately.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

five years on / forty years on

Marking the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion with a touch of the swagger he showed early in the war, Bush said in a speech at the Pentagon, "The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable."

She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.
Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero / No Limit


I want
to fill her

mouth entirely with
my new

pecker? Certainly
a talking point,

but how to
talk around

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

even if it’s
just to say

i’m still
propping up

my little
corner of the


Saturday, March 08, 2008

The weather has improved. It is time for my homage to catatonia to end.