Sunday, April 26, 2009

& the Oscar for the most outrageous whitewash goes to.....

The Israeli military says it’s concluded an investigation absolving its forces of committing any crimes during the three-week assault on the Gaza Strip beginning late last year.

Regarding the conclusions drawn from these investigations, a Senior IDF Military Official said, "The bottom line is that the IDF conducted itself in an appropriate manner within the limits of international law. We kept a high professional and moral standard; all of this, against an enemy that was shooting at our civilian population and using the Palestinian population as human shields." A Senior IDF Military Official also stated that the investigations shed light on a very small number of mistakes and incidents that indicated inappropriate conduct. These unfortunate incidents were unavoidable and occur in all combat situations in which militaries are forced to fight in urban centers where civilians are used as human shields.

Friday, April 24, 2009



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Now out from Otoliths — Quaternity, by Scott Glassman & Sheila E. Murphy

Scott Glassman & Sheila E. Murphy
284 pages
Cover Design by K. S. Ernst & Sheila E. Murphy
Otoliths 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9806025-1-7
$16.45 + p&h
In Quaternity, Scott Glassman and Sheila E. Murphy ask, "...and what divination will rhetorize the oppositorum / attract the needed nightshade / counter pull assume high produce / to be revered osteo"? Do you understand the question? Whether you reply Yes or No, the point is that the excerpt can be understood to be a question. How? Through the push and pull of its music. Quaternity asks the reader to trust in words — the word itself and not what it supposedly signifies. For the word itself can be a musical note and it can suffice (more than suffice!) that certain combinations sing. The dictionary bows to Glassman and Murphy's seductive diction: "No curve to infinity can mimic bells." —Eileen Tabios

These collaborative pages elaborate vocal colors and chord-changing arrangements of sensory elision: musics of meaning. Quaternity is "lubrication-lit," aglow with the sensual pleasure of its making. Glassman and Murphy court rapture "where frogleaps suture kismet vines." —Tom Beckett

In Quaternity, Glassman and Murphy cease to make the usual "third thing" of collaboration – art and meaning immanent in shared composition – the end. Let the third be words and process, this material book, or tent camping, and start the box step waltz of four: author, author, writing, lunge. —Catherine Daly

I'm not a

superstitious person, but I do believe in omens in the form of birds or chance-heard music. & not to do with things that may be ominous: more along the lines of good day / bad day. Though I do remember, when I went back to do a degree part-time 15 or so years ago, coming out of an exam in a subject I wasn't too comfortable with—economics or calculus or some such—& having that sinking feeling obliterated when I heard one of my favorite songs being piped into the foyer of the building where the exam was being held & knew that I'd passed it comfortably.

& today, up at the shopping mall, my spirits brightened when I walked in to the bass-laden sounds of Booker T & the MG's Green Onions driving its way up the walkway between the shop fronts. Told me it was gonna be a good day.

Ok, so maybe it's a psychological ploy on my part. I remember a scene from Billy Liar in which Julie Christie, in perhaps her first movie, appeared at the edges of an openair market & made her way into centre screen. So much vitality! I used to use that, imagining myself to be the character, whenever I wanted to pick myself up. These days, though, knowing that I can quite make it as Julie Christie—I'll try, if the price is right, but you're going to be disappointed—I go for the smaller things; & since shopping mall music tends to be sourced from the oldies but goodies basket, the chances of getting something you like are quite high. & I need the odds to be in my favor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A / ficcione I / had forgotten about

posted exactly four years ago to pelican dreaming.

The Veronica Ficcione

It is said of Septimus
Veronicus, the last but
one Praetor appointed
to the province of
Camargua, that his
initial infatuation
with this land of bulls
& flamingoes was
gradually augmented by
an anger at its
continued oppression.

So much so that
two years into his term
he renounced his
citizenship & declared
the province independent.
Rome responded. Four
hundred soldiers & another
praetor. A short battle
on the riverbank ended
when Septimus caught
a passing flamingo &
held it out at his side
distracting the newly-
appointed official so
that he attacked the
bird, not the man.

Bullfighting aficionados
regard this move with
awe, now honour
the initiator by calling
it a veronica. History
says little else about
the time. Rome's attention
was taken up by
The Triumveral Wars that
came soon after. The man
that Septimus killed
is known only as
the last Praetor. Capes
have replaced flamingoes.
A blue-winged kookaburra perched on a branch directly above the clothesline. It intently watching the garden, looking for lizards & such. Me intently watching it, worried it's going to shit on the washing that I'm hanging out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G.Ballard, 1930-2009

“The marriage of reason and nightmare which has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the specters of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy. Thermonuclear weapons systems and soft drink commercials coexist in an overlit realm ruled by advertising and pseudoevents, science and pornography. Over our lives preside the great twin leitmotifs of the 20th century — sex and paranoia.”
from the author's introduction to the 1974 French edition of Crash.

During these assasination fantasies / Tallis became increasingly obsessed / with the pudenda of the Presidential contender / mediated to him by a thousand television screens. / The motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan / created a scenario of the conceptual orgasm, / a unique ontology of violence and disaster.
The section headings of "Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan", included in The Atrocity Exhibition.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

geographies: Silver Valley, Idaho

The world of vectors
is a great place. North
Pitney has built a human-
sized maze that changes
as you walk through
it & can be scaled to
any size without loss
of resolution. Then go
down Mac Thi Buoi
& cross Nguyen Hue
towards the trendy
Ton That Thiep. A ton
of trendy papers to
choose from, rhythm
instruments at the
guaranteed lowest
price, energy scattered
elastically into modes. The
sets are finite, soft errors
are detected, but every-
thing is oh so sassy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Series Magritte staggers along towards the double century. Have just added #196, Magritte's take of a Fantômas poster. Plus I've filled in a gap, posted some poems—out of sequence—that were supposed to have appeared more than two years ago in a print journal which never came out.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I do not see black-eyed birds at the red fruits. What is it that keeps them away? Do they not see them? Are the vibrations they give off in wavelengths that are impossible to detect if the eye is black? Are the red-eyed birds attuned to them? Is there some sort of symbiosis at work?


It's birds with red eyes that are drawn to the (r)edible things in the garden—the bird's-eye chillies, the red gelatinous berries on a tree which I haven't yet been able to identify, the small red dates on a palm that grows near the pool.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Street seen

The lawyers, on their way back to Court after lunch at a nearby pub, are all dressed like undertakers. What hope then of a not guilty verdict?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Let's do lunch

"It would be easy to suggest that the glum tone of many of Young’s poems reflects the frustrations of writing poetry in one of the most conservative, philistine regions of Australia, the heartland of Pauline Hanson’s xenophobic political movement. Young does complain occasionally about the ‘town of the/ collectively unconscious’ in which he lives and works, but the source of the unease of his Lunch Poems is just as often located far away."
From a review by New Zealand poet Scott Hamilton of my Lunch Poems which I discovered via the most recent poetry links post at Ron Silliman's blog.

Thanks Ron.

Monday, April 06, 2009

What fucking hope is there?

"Netanyahu's cabinet with 30 members, including two women ministers, is Israel's largest to date.

As the cabinet held its first session, an extra large table had to be brought in to seat all the ministers.

Two prominent Israeli newspapers, the Yated Neeman and the weekly Shaa Tova, which cater to Ultra-Orthodox Jewish readers, digitally removed the two women ministers from the first group photograph of the new cabinet.

Publishing pictures of women is viewed by many in the Ultra-Orthodox community to be immodest."
Al Jazeera

"Among the myriad of superfluous ministries handed out by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his recent orgy of coalition building is the Ministry for Information (hasbara in Hebrew), a throwback to the days when right-wingers were convinced that there was nothing wrong in settling Palestinian territories and that all that was needed for the world to accept Israel's occupation of the West Bank was a fluent English speaker who could argue the country's case on CNN and the BBC."
The Jerusalem Post

For some reason,

even though Both Sides Now is a favorite song & Joni Mitchell a favorite singer, I had never put the two together, had forgotten she'd written it, had always associated it with Judy Collins whose version was the first I heard.

Finally put it all together, forty years after the fact—would that everything could come as quick. Caught a reasonably recent Joni Mitchell doco on cable, some of it concert footage, amongst it a beautiful version of her singing her song.
I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Friday, April 03, 2009

geographies: Oaxaca

Made sense at the time, later they wept at their naivity. Read of the greater use of ethanol in motor fuels. Bought up all the corn around town. Dreamt of gushers of money. Could not comprehend vast acreage under cultivation in the U.S. Midwest. Did not understand white corn for food, yellow corn for biofuel. Did not understand genetic modification, hybrid crops, subsidies. Did not understand why no-one rushed to buy their stockpile or why those they'd bought it from did not come back. Did not realize that since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, it was much much cheaper to buy corn grown above the border.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Just a reminder

that submissions for issue thirteen of Otoliths close on April 27.

Guidelines are available here.