Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Out from Otoliths—Philadephia's Notebooks by Carlos Soto-Román

Philadelphia's Notebooks
Carlos Soto-Román
36 pages, full color
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9807651-9-9
$14.95 + p&h

Carlos Soto-Román writes from the center of Empire with a sense of play (game pieces included) and clinical examination. Philadelphia's Notebooks is the work of an artist/world citizen who critiques the daily interrogations that come with being a new immigrant. The fun fact that Ellis Island was greatly expanded with landfill in the late 19th -early 20th century provides a basis for Soto-Román's signage marking poetry's place in a disposable culture. There are workbook exercises that encourage creative ways to answer the calls for loyalty oaths with a demand for radical possibility the host country includes in its PR material. This work also includes what the USA brand doesn't advertise—isolation and moments of utter despair. It is a truly American poem in that it's internationally inflected, from George Perec to German cinema to self-immolators from all over the world. Philadelphia's Notebooks could not be a more artful and timely reminder that “Every heart is a revolutionary cell.”—Frank Sherlock

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Stage 3

Both contestants achieve zero degrees of separation from Kevin,

but since it's the wrong Kevin, neither bring home the bacon.

In fact, both have had points deducted for publicly consorting with another media tart, current Foreign Minister of Australia & former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, star of the on-again off-again daytime soap, Tintin goes down under.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great (Media Tarts) Race

Or, who's more holy, moley?


Surprisingly, the media were excluded from the pre-race briefing. All we can offer is this drawing based on eyewitness reports.

Stage 1

At the end of which the contestants were equal pegging, since both arranged a date with the newly-single Maria Shriver.

Stage 2

Now Bono moves slightly ahead, winning extra points for the exchange of shades, although the Dalai Lama, by getting the Pope to hold hands with him during the photoshoot, managed to claw back some of Bono's advantage.

(To be continued....)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dalai Lama

& Bono are probably the two biggest male media tarts around, but I doubt if even Bono—who I dislike—would do a celebrity appearance on the Australian version of MasterChef as His Holiness—who I used to like—has just done.

What's next? Jerry Springer?

& / on the / subject of TV . . .

One face I did not expect to see staring back at me whilst I surfed the movie channels on cable was Amiri Baraka. But, lo, in Return to Gorée, with Youssou N'Dour.
At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean there's a
railroad made of human bones
Black ivory
Black ivory.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Out from Otoliths—Raymond Farr's ECSTATIC/.of facts

ECSTATIC/.of facts
Raymond Farr
112 pages
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-3-0
$13.45 + p&h

In ECSTATIC/.of facts Raymond Farr brilliantly investigates the relationship between language, meaning and culture by vividly demonstrating how language can shape worlds. In an insightful and stimulating journey, Farr takes an intense and often playful walk through landscapes of significance in which we are faced with the “Onslaught of language,” only to find that the “amber light of meaning stares back.” To discover meaning in something as “fundamental as chaos,” we need go no further than American suburban culture of generic mega stores, chain restaurants, popular music and blockbuster movies. Reframing these ubiquitous icons in discursive language results in an effect rather like “Marcel Duchamp…singing songs once sung by Doris Day.”

Things are not, Farr shows us, as they seem – the daily reality we experience is not the only reality. With an astute sense of phrasing and rhythm, Raymond Farr explores the interplay of language and culture by taking us through “all possible versions of a straight line” to learn that there is “a cubicle in a circle after blue skies on Saturday night.” We are urged to take linguistic responsibility for the structure of the present instance through being reminded that, “We are the consequence of cause & affect,” and that only “moments ago there was the illusion of nothing.”

The dialectical “I” in these poems is our collective aloneness in the desert of constant traffic noise. Despite our need to belong, we are ultimately alone, members only of ourselves. Overwhelmed by the lies we tell ourselves to make the terror of existence bearable, our lives become “a dream we dream to the end of the world.” Farr invites us to strip away all pretence so we can listen closely to the amorphous flux of the real, where perhaps we will hear “the prayers of angels being answered in the dark,” and glimpse the inner heart where “answers are vague” and the “only true conclusion, we conclude, is always inconclusiveness.” In the end, we have only our shadows to lose. —John C. Goodman, author of naked beauty and editor of ditch

No new cities are being built. That arrangement is palimpsest. Boroughs carved by a metonymy. And oscillation. One may artery about thing, about a place, or both. Each fact is a tenement to situation a place from which oscillations are discerned. ECSTATIC/.of facts courses within this layout, and Farr engages in no liminal simplification charting arrays of snarl. —Matthew Johnstone, author of Let’s be close Rope to mast, you Old light

Cold, hard facts: not! As Raymond Farr demonstrates in this wonderful new collection, facts are the serendipity of the real. Farr takes sentences and fragments, and he builds tenements of facts from the sky downward. His gift to readers is a city of the materiality of language and of what is absolutely, astonishingly material to life. In Farr’s words, “The facts are convincing. I am one hungry carnivore.” —Joel Chace

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Tower

of my PC looks like it's in an intensive care ward. There are cables all over the place.

It's a long time since I recorded anything, but I've had to provide audios for a journal that has accepted some poems. Had to download some recording software since the only program I had disappeared when I got rid of my second last PC. Had to find a mike since the only one around didn't seem to work anymore. So, full steam ahead—Ground Control to Major Tom—with a borrowed headset-mike combination that L. lent me.

Everything's gone well. Good to hear my voice again. But not so good is the little voice remaining at the back of my head which says "Take your protein pills and put your helmet on."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two days

back from the chilly south, back in the tropical warmth, & I'm riddled with the flu.

Ah, unfortunately, shit does happen.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

geographies: Hämeenlinna

                                The confusing sub-
texts in varietal
showers of angst
tropes cause Finlandic
youth to abandon
their motorcycles
which are then
either stolen by the
political directorate
or left to rot
under shade trees.

Friday, July 01, 2011


A tiny bird sits looking up at the cycle
next to a box finished in red baked
enamel with large lettering left by a
mourner. The accompanying folded
sheet is positioned in a reclining chair
about ten feet away from the model. Very
animistic. Women in another epoch
taken out of that down-cycle environment
would have remained awake with their
eyes closed indulging in wonted sorrow
despite the successful seduction. But why
is the phone on fire? Maybe was once
a wobbly table & four chairs gifted by
an aunt. Now a temporary mirror
that matches her well-chosen outfit
perfectly. He treated her like a normal
human being. This does not indicate a
relationship. Merely an obscure awareness
of the quiet, dark shades, the stone under
foot, the master of unfinished business.