Tuesday, May 30, 2006

comments on "Bubble bejeweled" version 2

I like the word "bejeweled" ... e is every other letter. Y'gotta like that! It doesn't appear in version 2. Maybe we can finagle it back in.

Version 2 reads like notes for the poem, I think. Hit this, go there, do that, end here. If all poems were reduced to this sort of "notes" I'd probably like more of them.

"Bubble bejeweled" version 2

Small font, glass
from the cupboard,
water tipped into it,
fizzing, bubbles all
through it,
lids over my eyes
dampened by the
opening water.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I climbed out the window of my soul

Just got an email from the editors of Beeswax. They’ll be including one of my poems in their next issue. The poem, “I climbed out the window of my soul”. It’s one of two poems of that title that I sent them.

I liked the first issue of Beeswax. Seems as a contributor I’m now also a subscriber. Good. I look forward to watching the magazine thrive.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I've saved everything from this blog into a Word file.

Up till now there was no backup for LoveSettlement*.

I told myself I liked the idea that one day it might all just disappear.

But I find I like the idea that there's some small insurance that it won't.

The statistics:

392 pages

121,070 words


*except the poems (& their versionings) which I worked on before resorting to the Blogger postbox

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I put in an 8 hour day at Claremont today. That's a once-a-month thing. Working Saturday. It was busy. Yesterday was a holiday. Malcolm X Day. The day after a holiday there's twice the pile of returns under the drop slot. So we jammed through the pile this morning and almost finished by the time we had to open.

During one of my Info Desk hours I got the classic reference question: What's the definition of this word?

The word of the day: simulacrum

It means ... copy ... that didn't exactly fit the context in which the caller had come upon the word; in what she was reading it seemed to mean exemplar or approximation, as in, develop a simulacrum of the citizen in order to figure out how best to market to him ...

And I helped a teen who was writing a report on Area 51. Seems there were three books that covered the topic over at the West branch. But I showed her some of the Electronic Resources on the library website, too.

Gee, I felt like a librarian.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


'S a lovely day in Berkeley. I did the 8:30 yoga class at the Y this morning. Then I walked home slowly, didn't feel like browsing in shops this time, ended up having a tuna sandwich at the Bakeshop at 11, an earlier lunch'n usual.

Now what? I've caught up on the political blogs (look, indict Rove already, 'K? &, Democrats, put on your ass kickin' boots and do some ass kickin'!)

I spoze I could do some chores. I could do some writing. This doesn't count as writing, does it?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

comments on "Unicorn" version 1; "Bubble bejeweled" version 1

Two more poems from the 1984 notebook. August.

The autobiographical material of the first poem would be: my brother & I spent a vacation in Alaska summer 1980. We were visiting my father & his family. Dad's youngest child was a girl and I remember telling her stories as we traveled in a camper. I figured girls liked stories about horses so I remember inventing a story about horses. She was transfixed. I was her favorite brother (she grew up with two, my stepbrothers) as I paid attention to her and didn't tease her. But the poem is just meant to be a laugh. Any details with relation to my own life were merely convenient. I started with a title, something I rarely do. And I amused myself.

I don't know whether the Unicorn poem or the fizzing mineral water poem really want revision. I like them. I wouldn't offer them up for publication, not because they embarass me but because they seem ... slight? unfinished? unready? ... but what would I want from them that they don't do already?

"Unicorn", version 1; "Bubble bejeweled", version 1

The Summer the Unicorn Died

That was the day the Unicorn died.
In the summer of my seventh year,
Reality struck hard,
Tearing away my foolish youthful fantasies.

That was the year Daddy hit
The Unicorn with our Winnebago.
My sister and I cried a lot
And Daddy didn’t have Comprehensive.


Bubble bejeweled glass
cups clear Calistoga
water like a priest’s palm
minute flicking drops,
baptize my eyes shut.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cody's closing

Ron Silliman has a nice portrait of Berkeley on his blog. His post was prompted by the news that longtime Berkeley institution Cody's Books is closing its original store.

Cody's has the best selection of literary magazines in town. Being one who can contentedly drift for hours in a sea of books I mourn the loss of a good bookstore. Too bad, too bad.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

ASL poetry

I've thought before that the web would be a great way to disseminate American Sign Language in the form of little movies. In the context of a controversy over the new president of the nation's only liberal arts university for the Deaf, Gallaudet, I followed some links (good diary at DailyKos) through to a collection of ASL poetry performances. Nice to see. It's been awhile since I've been around Deaf people and sign language. I'm no better reading ASL than I've ever been at picking out the meaning of what people say when they speak Spanish or Portuguese (the two other nonEnglish languages I've studied) but the forms language takes fascinates me in a different (but complementary?) way from the denotative meaning of what's being said. I like to hear the sounds, see the shapes chosen to represent them in written form, or (as with ASL) watch the construction in air of meaning. And, yes, I do catch a few words.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


At APE I picked up an advertising postcard for Theo Ellworth's Capacity. Now I've visited his website. And I like it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

teabag bed

At the ACCI gallery on Shattuck there was a window installation that I wanted to get a picture of. It consisted of stacks of books hanging by wires. There were five, I think, each stack about 3 feet tall. The wire passed through the center of the books and concluded in a rusted railroad spike. Beneath the dangling spike was an open book on a pedestal. All the hanging books were mass market paperbacks. The open books were large size hardcovers, art books, I believe, though none was open to a color illustration.

When I got there, however, I found that the installation had been taken down. The ACCI gallery website does not include a photo of the piece. However, there is another sculpture by Clayton Bain that did not appear at the gallery though it is similar in that it also consists of a stack of books. I find his artist statement annoying. "I use mostly found objects, so they inherently have their own meaning. It is your experience that is reflected in the meaning, not mine. I focus more on form and spatial qualities instead. The physical space is so important to any sculpture. Any connection to the content is prejudiced by your own viewpoint. You create the artwork from that point onward. You are the artist, not me."

The statement strikes me as passive aggressive. If you don't like it, it's because you're "prejudiced." Plus I've never been a fan of the observer-collaborates-in-the-meaning-of-the-art pose. Culture is a collaborative construction. Is this insight not banal?

The pierced books bothered me because they were ruined. There were perfectly good well-written books in solid readable condition in those strings. And perhaps it's aggression I see here, too. Someone else's art was destroyed in order to make this person's art. The books were the sort of thing you see in yard sales and over & over on the used book clearance shelves. These weren't limited editions. These weren't unique items. These items were mass produced and many a book is destroyed by its own publisher when it becomes uneconomic. Maybe these were "saved" from the recycle bin, in any case. The piece intrigued me. I can't say as I liked it or that I carried away from it a meaning. The books in the strings interested me more than the presentation they made, rather like scanning the bookshelves in the house of a new acquaintance.

The show of which Bain's work was a part featured artists who link themselves as The Edge Group. Since the installation I'd come to photograph was no longer in the gallery window I stepped inside. Some of the Edge works were still on display, including a small bed covered with teabags. It's fun and clever and I liked looking at it. (Being an artist who can store all his work on a compact disc I always worry a bit about where bulky art lives.) Of her teabag textiles Ruth Trabancay writes, "The hand-stitched surfaces recall visions of vast epithelial sheets and cell cultures. [Trabancay used to be a biologist.] The teabags themselves represent the intimacy and ritual of sipping a cup of tea with family and friends and the finished sculpture, a gesture of warmth."

I don't like it when an artist claims that one thing "represents" another. (Can you say "objective correlative"?) But I do approve of Trabancay's description of her own associations: intimacy, ritual, family & friends, warmth.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


This elephant overlooks the sidewalk as you pass Dara, a Thai/Lao restaurant on the corner. It came back, I suspect, from one of the family's jaunts back to Southeast Asia. I walked about the neighborhood this afternoon snapping pics. When the elephant originally appeared it had a twin and both elephants had tusks. The tusks were the first to disappear. Then one of the elephant's trunks broke. Then the one with a nonbroken trunk disappeared. In this photo you can't see the break but, poor thing, the tip of its trunk is missing.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Poetry & Pizza tonight

I finally got some work done on the Poetry & Pizza website. For a long time I was shut out -- my login was not logging me in. Finally I wrote to the hosting company and somebody there reactivated the username & password.

I had agreed to make a postcard to advertise this week's & next month's readings. But I didn't get it made. Yeah, feel bad about that. Did manage to get online and improve the website and post announcements on events calendars like craig's list and laughing squid.

Even though I've heard her read her work many times since moving to Berkeley I still look forward to Julia Vinograd. She's smart and gently mocking, not so much the Berkeley radical as the radical's sympathetic but skeptical sister. She's always tented in a black dress, has the same tassled cap on her head, and wears eyeball rings on her fingers. She presents weird. (She long wore a pin on her cap that declared, "Weird and proud.")

"We're a tribe, we move in mystic circles,
like the drunk said when the cop
told him to walk a straight line."

-- from "Anniversary Party at People's Park"
(the link takes you to a tribute in the local homeless advocacy paper; there are some poems at the bottom of the page)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

comments on "inevitable spraying", version 3

In version 2 the first two lines do not flow, no, they're a bit ugly and jerky and they annoy. I thought the poem might be better for losing them. But I liked them for their presumptuous infacility. Maybe the poem would be more interesting with more of their like. So I created duplicates (with variations) and distributed them through the poem from top to bottom. I wanted stumbles to interrupt the flow. What the heck, eh? It's an old poem that otherwise would've remained in an old journal unread. It's not like messing with it would ruin a thing.

Version 3 amuses me from top to bottom. This is something.

Time for a title.

"inevitable spraying", version 3

disarming qualities of imprecise

figurement whence medication unmended

concerns all whom’re comers, quarters

hind and head, and the spinning

of the silver coquettes on a long trust

breached occasionally by a dazzle

of fluke or the tipping of smoked glass

rearming equalities to concise

configurement hence dedicated upended

on a titter of nose, the disguise as

see-thru as the lacquered taboo, thin as

the hopes inevitable in a dish, success genially

underlying Project W’s tender rigging,

some jury, some jerry, jugs swung on bristly ropes,

harming discontinuities pupa’d

in a fat blue fig or quince in a sense

and the pricks of firm black rubber

stood up to tongues, all wet attention,

brutal vigor, the hair trail from her navel

to the indistinct fusion of celebration,

breath, and fish, a left-leaning bother

alarming vanity’s cicatrice

prefigured on a dented sentiment

all told, a nakedness projected on a

conjoined word, the men and their

holes presenting frilled migration, arms

folded along factory creases, a pet

or parapet known for the dissimulate wag

strong-arming qua extra nice

consent, calculated viz. per and cent