Distribution Automatique

Saturday, March 1

In the work, allowing elements to go out of control; to not follow a logical, expectable sequence.

The "off-world" colonies.

The couple escaping in 1984.

A sepia print.


The romantic concept of escaping being enveloped by the erasure of individuality=subjectivity=mass media that gives each person the same information with no access to response.

Robinson Crusoe's escape- Gauguin's escape.

Areas with lessened surveillance facilities.

The colony in "Brave New World."

Crowding and hierarchical structures make solitude difficult at times, at times impossible. Crowding enables and forces people to intrude on each other. With the boundary already eroded, it is more possible for someone to jump in . People are conditioned to suffer from social anxieties in order to be more easily directed and managed. Walter Benjamin was very interested in tracking the "escapes" made publicly available.

So at the same time as they attempt to block all possibility for individual discovery by having always already presented it as a -fait accompli-, media disguises itself as an escape. Now the entrapment is complete on all sides and the possibility of solitude is brought deeply into question. The idea that anybody might want to be alone is questioned.. The task of an individual is to further the engulfment by media to prevent all areas of possible escape. As long as privacy is still possible, the "spectacle" can be effectively neutralized by a counter-force gathered by individuals to compete with it.

Psychoanalysis was in some ways presented as an escape; however it still taps on that great yearning. "Anything, so long as it's out of this world."

The layering comes from things being altered over time while remaining in some service, the same. Time does not so much pass, but rather condenses on the containers of experience.. .Time does not pass, it gathers and crystallizes on whatever is constructed to contain it. It is is this sense that poems are time-capsules. The poem is the result of observing/permitting what gathers on the lens of perception as it focusses simultaneously on the procession of experience.
Gravity draws objects together.Synchronicity draws events together.

"Reality is more abstract than we think. Events come in clusters but we interpret them literally not seeing the patterns behind them."
(Toni Simon)
Indoctrination in our time has more to do with talk that is so lacking in listening, introspection and respect for the speaker that the give and take of discussion is reduced to the effect of canned dialogue complete with laugh and applause tracks.This is where narrative structure comes in for me. I associate narrative structure with predictable outcomes, even when the outcomes are predictably unpredictable.The more predictable outcomes become for the practiced viewer of television (and we are all now incredibly practiced viewers) the more outrageous the outcomes have to become...I feel that with Bush, the cooler he is, the more frightening the implied violence becomes. This his popularity with U.S. males.So perhaps what is being repressed, better yet, disguised, is the relationship between emotional reaction and violence, thus the heightened effect of ruthlessness. Only a truly ruthless person can be trusted to be violent.

What appeals to me about disrupting narrative structure is the transgression of automaticity.The "automatic" and the machine gun are apt contemporary images for the internally terrifying sensation of violence exactly because "reaction time" has been effectively eliminated. No time for pity or sympathy. Just plug 'em. Simply stated: narrative structure= violence. Or, as I put it in -The Boundary of Blur-: The cutting edge of narrative often turns to blood and is fascinated by monsters."
(from "The Boundary of Theory" -Cuneiform- 2001)
"I love nature, yet there ae many things that bind me to the city, especially the magazines, the possibility of reproduction. Not to see any steam engines would be no handicap for me, but never to see a printing press would be."
(Vincent Van Gogh)
From nothing to nothing in particular- free association- the unconscious thread in the imagination.

Debord's notion of the "spectacle" accords with the Roman circus. Primitive harshness persists in the form of the "noblesse oblige" of class. It will come as no surprise to learn that avant-garde communities create hierarchies just like all the others. But it is ludicrous.

A child reading.- reading in a childhood of moving from place to place- friendship with books. Learning how to bring words alive in the imagination- an "animated movie" with infinite possibilities for "special" effects.
"What seems fine to me, what I would like to do, is to write a book about nothing [rien], a book without any exterior support, which would sustain itself by the inner force of its style as the world, without being held up, rides through space, a book which would be almost devoid of subject, or at least in which the subject would be almost invisible, if that were possible."
( Flaubert: "Nil: Episodes")
Looking at some early 20th century photos at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Sometimes I would look at a photo from 1930 and see the 1950's part of it. Other times I looked at an early 20th century photo and I could see the 19th century part of it. Every time, I saw, is an overlap of many times and you could see that in these early photos particularly. The world was as yet unaware of photography and had not yet prepared its face. No, it's not that time is so subjective. it's that subjectivity has so much to do with time. With every discovery we make about time, we expand what it is. Time is changing us- but it is also changinng with us. Changes are isomorphic between our experience of time and what it is objectively.(11/27/99; - for Murat: 3/1/03-)

Friday, February 28

{Books received}
Joseph Massey, "MInima Street" (Range, 1205 J Street, Eureka, Ca. 95501)."Awakened/ by the ticking/not the alarm"

Murat Nemet-Nejat, "The Peripheral Space of Photography" (Green Integer) "Tristan Tzara saw in Ray's photograms freedom; Robert Desnos saw "landscapes [of] chaos...more stupifying than that foreseen by any Bible."

Rachel Levitsky, "Under the Sun" ("I am struck by the intellectual verve of this poem"- Carla Harryman)

"I will be better readers."
Rod Smith, "In Memory of My Theories."

Thursday, February 27

In response to our discussion of his reading at the Drawing Center on February 25th (with Heriberto Yepez and Kim Rosenfield),- Fait Accompli- is happy to present a response from Rodrigo Toscano, author of "The Disparities," (Green Integer) and a new book "Platform" (Atelos). -Fait Accompli- welcomes letters. Write to us!

Dear Nick,

Thanks for your comments about my work, and for your take (generally) on the reading two nights ago...I agree with what Marianne Shaneen said: that your "johnny appleseeds affection" is, or can be the basis for, a more fruitful and healthy poetic community…

This is my first time "talking to a blog" and so, it's like the first time at anything, a little tentative...and yet, I didn't say anything (to my memory) about your "proselytizing blogs." Yet, those chaotic bar situations!...need more be said?

And then you go on to write, "but don't get mad at him [me]," which can be read as, "Hey, y'all: there's something to be mad at." For the record, I am not "anti-blog." To me, "anti" is something I take very seriously...it takes effort and time (and product) to be an "anti" anything. In fact, when I get the chance, I do read blogs...and yes, I read them critically, but also sympathetically, in that people really stick their necks out on issues sometimes, etc...not easy to do...in any medium.

Also, the "pod" poem ("subject line subscribe (society)") was about all sorts of cyber-community formations. I belong to several lists myself (the reason for which I was motivated to render a still very confusing social-psychology). That is, the piece isn't a "satire" about blogging per se...anyone who wants read it, should hit me at RT5LE9@aol.com...

Also, the following is (to date) the only thing I've written on cyber activity as regards poetry communities etc...it's an excerpt from an interview for a book, Tradiciones Torcidas (Twisted Traditions), An Anthology of Mexican Poetics, edited by Heriberto Yepez...

(thanks Nick!)

H: 1. What are your views on all this on-going discourse of globalization that we seem to be living right now thanks to the Web, for example, what are the risks involved? Would you call it a crisis of sorts? What's to gain? What's to loose?

R: The web has certainly accelerated (if not in many cases made actually possible) the construction of a paranational poetics; communication speed, graphic interfacing, translating devices, cheap viewability, all these things are now indispensable organizational tools for the movement. And it's true that many people are still treating those tools as mere instruments, amplifying activities they were doing through print magazines, anthologies and the like. Yet, even some of these old practices have had their democratic potential upgraded, at least in terms of accessibility of information. For example, an astounding array of texts and sound files from the whole modern era are now just a click away, and virtually anyone has a web-universal right to explore those sights and do what they will with what's found there (the sights are very often easily searchable). Yet other people, or rather, other collective efforts, are more actively exploring the radical qualitative possibilities of such a leap in communicability. What's more interesting to me are the actual coordinating communicative platforms of the web, things like listservs, group e-mail clusters, chat rooms, blogs, etc. The very notion of what constitutes a "proper scope" for political content is definitely going through some major changes. Highly standardized formats for content-for so long policed by journalistic or university-scholarly prose lengths and developmental procedures, are giving way (in the world-of-actual-practices) to completely different forms of communication. And what I find exciting is that a many of those forms are meant to be more comprehensively interactive from the get go. Inscriptionist attitudes, text-monument judgement and veneration is giving way to speech again, but more importantly, a less monological form of speech. But by "speech" I mean something here very different than phone-speech or in-the-flesh speech, and certainly something different than what goes by "speech" in "speech poetry" (a strict, formalized textual procedure by now). Some might say that what I'm talking about is the Parole & Langue distinction, well, maybe I am, to some extant, but here, that conceptual sandwich is so smushed that it's turned Parole / Langue distinction into a sort of meatloaf. But before moving on to the next part of your question, I should add here that people like Alan Sondheim, Brian Kim Stefans, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Nancy Shaw, among others, have definitely been exploring those radical qualitative possibilities of the Web for some time now (recent writings by Barrett Watten have also begun to explore those potentials). And so how to suss out what's real / politically vital about all this, remains a constant activity.

What's to be gained? Well, maybe at first, is to merely bring people into the loop of conversations, debates, and struggles that are already in progress; that people geographically distant from each other may now be able to keep abreast of developments in poetics. I honestly don't find much to be "lost" by the Web in terms of this distance-closing. Some might say that it encourages poets to keep stay at home more, cybering their way to solitary (critical) merriment or gloom. And that's a real option I suppose. But I don't know of any poet who wouldn't rather be whooping it up in person, giving their whippy tongues a live workout. Poets are, for the most part, irrepressible person-mongers (contrary to the popular notion of the lonesome thinker). From my experience, I see the Web as actually adding to that sociability, wetting the palette for such live contact.

-Rodrigo Toscano

Until writers know what we can be and do, for and with ourselves and each other, the story or strong subtexts of the stories and poems- the lives and the works- of all writers will be to show what a writer can be and do. Our history and landscape is littered with the stories of what a writer can't be or couldn't be, can't have or couldn't have, shouldn't have or shouldn't be. Mostly they are stories of what and who destroyed the writer, or tried to.

Like all workers, until now writers have accepted working mostly as slaves. We have been arrested and brought in and don't know why (Kafka). For some, this may be the appeal of signing up to be a writer, and then doing nothing at all (writer's block=going on strike). Until this has been talked about and confronted, among ourselves, writers will not have much else to think about, whatever else it is we talk about. We will go on talking around this, and keep looking for ways to avoid talking about this, and talk about how to get the word out, all the time trying like hell to avoid thinking and talking about this. This is why we fight among ourselves. Until we learn how to use our words, our communicative skills, on behalf of each other, we will go on disliking ourselves, even hating ourselves and each other, even destroying ourselves and each other, or trying to.

Wednesday, February 26

"Man loves company even if it is only that of a small burning candle." (Lichtenberg, "Aphorisms," 1764-99)

Today, Laurable published a photograph of Jordan Davis. Like many others, I'm sure, I look forward to Jordan's blog every day. On the day of the big snowstorm he posted one word: "Blizzard." It's the dailiness of his blog I enjoy and that of blogging generally. A sense of a periodic presence that one comes to depend on, not only to know what happens next, but how he is, what he is doing and thinking about, and most importantly, how he is adapting and changing. There is something deeply reassuring, and affecting, in this generosity, this willingness (with completely understandable mixed feelings) to let us in, perhaps because at the same time we are tracking our own transformations along with him.The experience of myself alone is like the taste of water, it is familiar and knowable up to a point, but blank. But the aura of other presences reveals a kaleidoscopic infinity. Blogging keeps suggesting to me that the capacity for human connection keeps expanding forever, like the universe. Is this possible?
Kim Rosenfield, Heriberto Yepez and Rodrigo Toscano read to a packed house last night at the Drawing Center. I strongly recommend "Shark #4:The Encyclopedic." I posted a full list of the contributors to that issue on the poetics list the other day. Heriberto Yepez has a piece in there called "An Encyclopedia of Lost Thoughts: (A Short Novel)."
This piece is concerned with the neglect of innovative South American writers like Alfonso Reyes.After the reading we spoke further about this and I could tell that Heriberto is seriously upset about the failure on the part of American publishers to get important books of innovative writing into English. Kim Rosenfield wowed the audience with a new song, her captivating, sonorous voice, and a new satiric work set in the style of a fairy tale. Rodrigo Toscano's new book "Platform" from Atelos was available at the reading. I got one and Rodrigo inscribed it to me in Spanish. I guess he heard that I've been threatening to learn the language to stop Heriberto from complaining further about the neglect of that language on the part of certain innovative American poets. Rodrigo's reading style made Miles Champion and Tom Raworth sound like slo-mo. Herberto's reading tore into the pretentions and unconscious power plays inherent in poetry readings and poetry scenes generally. I was seriously ready for a couple of Bass Ales after this event. And I got them. Heriberto explained to me that Mexican publishers are so not ready for innovative writing that when he rendered "A rose is a rose is a rose" into Spanish, the publisher replied with a curt: "How about 'A rose is a rose?'".The publisher got his way. I wanted to ask Heriberto to translate an aphorism of mine into Spanish: "Publishers are sleepwalkers." But at that point he got into a conversation with Brian Kim Stefans and Bruce Andrews. The mention of publishers at a poetry event is the best conversation killer. Then I started talking with Lytle Shaw about blogging. Rodrigo accused me of being a proselytizer of blogging. But he also commented that he may have seen a few people leave when he read a bitingly satiric piece about blogging which is called podding in his poem. But don't get mad at him. Instead, read his books. Get a copy of "The Disparities" (Green Integer) quick, before they run out.

"Then left, the place. Not a mental life, much less "place."
The east still pushing itself west in a wierd way.
The already-dead ones border building, old clones.
The new element of the Tablelands is Fire."
"Heathens in Heat" asks: "Why not enjoy a really good brewski? And, morever, why are Americans so averse to dark beer?"

I heard a report recently that many cities have had to purchase larger ambulances because Americans have become so obese. So what the typical American does is drink light beer and and then eat an entire pizza. And then get heart surgery. And then...

Bass Ale for me, or even darker if I can get it. But my waist size is a constant battle-so, on to the treadmill or 4-5 mile walks in Central Park. But I haven't been to the gym since I started blogging. Nor have I slept more than 5-6 hours at a time (I know Jonathan Mayhew hates these kind of chats on blogs. Sorry, Jon.) I wonder if Stephanie smokes while she blogs.

Tuesday, February 25

The latest poetics listserv digest is almost entirely devoted to discussions and debates on the relationship between sewing and poetry, due to the reporting of a dream by Stephen Vincent and some remarks of poet laureate Billy Collins on Emily Dickinson.


The stock market in free fall.
They are counting the homeless.
Police crack down on 2000 plus "fare beaters" in the subway.

The genesis of a poem: a series of happy accidents.

"In a work of psychiatry, only the patients' remarks interest me; in a work of criticism, only the quotations."
E.M. Cioran, "The Trouble With Being Born," 1973 (translated by Richard Howard)
In our relations with people who are bashful about their feelings we must be capable of dissimulation; they feel a sudden hatred against anyone who catches them in a tender, enthusiastic, or elevated feeling, as if he had seen their secrets. If you want to make them feel good at such moments, you have to make them laugh or voice some cold or witty sarcasm; then their feeling freezes and they regain power over themselves.

"Ah! Those strange people who have the courage to be unhappy! Are they unhappy, by the way?"
(Alice James, Diary, 1889)
No matter what I do- what talking, thinking, writing, listening- in the end I feel around me, like an atmosphere, like a background radiation, and within me, a pervasive sense of guilt. Nothing is enough, nothing satisfies this inherent sense of a finger pointing at me, a soon to be felt humiliation, a confrontation with something I have unwittingly exposed. Perhaps the only mild relief I know from this gnawing ache, this unreasonable constant nagging within, this neurotic mind-ache, is to contemplate, at length, the transitory quality of all experience. To see the world from this perspective is to notice more the flow of experience rather than the immediate manifestations of human thought, feeling or interaction. To write- ah, freedom for a few moments from this weight- and even that- too often too fleeting.
(8/3/86) (for David Hess, 2/25/03)

1) Each poet an independent judge
2) Each infant a birth of ecstacy
3) A career a natural formation, a stone's throw
4) A poem a natural form of flight
5) Ergo- the infant poem a sign of judgement, a poem a form of ecstacy
6) A career a continous conjunction of all three, a natural consequence of life

Excuse the appearing- we are extending
The world is lit in such an off-hand way
So, as if you didn't mean it
Remember the scene as if you hadn't seen it
As a mstake on a sign in the corner store
This way, both of us will have room for more

"Language writing"- today in the Village Voice mentioned by Toni's favorite critic- Gary Indiana.

As a term- not so bad when I think of it as language writing putting the emphasis on the second world- the same thing as emphasizing the writing not the magazine -zines. I also like the phrase language writing in the sense that the language is doing the writing- that simple idea which sometimes potentially seems to turn the relationship between language and experience inside out.

Tone of voice- tone of thought- tone of experience.

A miscellany of public domain writings with inspirational commentary, e.g. There is a time for Shakespeare, Freud, or quotes plus discussion. (6/10/86)
I again come to the thought that there are types of time- and that the emphasis with understanding time has been with quantity- and a great amount has been understood in those terms. But another understanding of types of time may help to again approach some major questions, like death. One immediate question arises. Is death a total absence of time? This is a legitimate question for poetics. I was thinking that to write poetry- to make art- is the most direct access there is to the world of shifting (tidal?) temporal states. Time, in its ceaseless flow, its mutability and its gatherings, threatens constantly to overflow events past all familiar significance, and no one could have ever known this better than the inhabitants of the twentieth century.

Things wait, they gather and explode- how can it be that in the same quantity of time a human being is born and dies. (6/9/86)

"Disputes" (poem) Minor and Major

Least and most "innocent"= "child-like"
sex=lack of "innocence"- produces an infant= "innocence"

Repeat yourself and you're begging for assent. Chausson said he felt like a child every time he sat down to write. His music sounds like he is imitating his father's seriousness. Yet as true as it is that a consistently present sense of humor generally reveals a character fairly committed to recognizing reality for what it is, the ability to reflect seriously on the actuality of one's situation without relying too heavily on irony can assist the associative process- i.e., the "chain of signifiers," ie:: "phrases of the mind unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains of association." (5/30/86)

I thought today of "gravity" as applying to time.There may be a "free fall" of time, comparable to a free fall of some object towards another object of greater mass. To think of the future as "greater mass" then the past, the present as the least amount of "mass." Thus the future may "pull" time towards itself, in the same way as a large amount of mass pulls objects towards itself. An "infinite past" is not possible- it is finite- but an infinite future is possible; thus, since the future is greater in "mass" than the past, time "moves." But, according to this idea, time should "slow down" gradually, as the past increases in mass, since time would be drawn towards it more and more. (5/15/86)

Monday, February 24

The Not In Our Name radio show with Ann Lauterbach, Andre Gregory and Sam Hamill aired on the Phillp Lopate show on Monday, February 17th. It was terrific. Ann L was smart and sassy, and read a very moving poem, Andre Gregory (who can forget that voice!) sounded like he was late for his Dinner with Wally (Shawn) and Sam Hamill talked proudly about his Poets Against the War site, with now over 10,000 listings (poems and statements of conscience).

To hear the recording of the complete show on the WNYC archive go to


You need real audio for this.

It was announced today on Laurable

Laurable is adorable

Sunday, February 23

Checking out the links on Stephanie Young's blogspot page, I found this from Bellonatimes.com, an interesting take on Kent Johnson's take on Zukofsky:

"Kent Johnson took more or less that approach in his 1996 essay, "A Fractal Music: Some Notes on Zukofsky's Flowers." For hit, he usefully described Zukofsky's 8-by-5 form as a grid of multidirectionally associative vectors. For miss, he then vanished into Catchphrase Forest with his fuzzy-wuzzy friends Quantum and Fractal and Noneuclidean. (Few English majors notice that Zukofsky's own mathematical figure of poetry was provided by the frumpish chore of calculus.)"

Forget 6 degrees of separation- in blogland maybe there's about 20 minutes worth.

Seems to me, if "Heathens in Heat" didn't have a Kent Johnson to push him closer to the edge, he'd have to make one up. Hmmm...
Once again:

"The Tijuana Bible of Poetics!" http://thetijuanabibleofpoetics.blogspot.com/ Heriberto Yepez reads at the Drawing Center with Rodrigo Toscano and Kim Rosenfield on Tuesday, February 25, at 6:30 p.m. The Drawing Center is at 35 Wooster Street.

For the one or two people that don't already know, Lytle Shaw curates these readings, with help from his pregnant wife Emilie Clark -two of a group of brave souls who spent the night in jail, taking the rap for about half a million protesters who joyfully hit the cold Manhattan streets on Feb. 15th. (Better get there early if you want a place to sit!)
"Heathens in Heat" posted a send-up of an ancient fragment today, a speech by "Pistheteiros," supposedly written by Kent Johnson, about bloggers, no doubt based on "Trimalchio's Dinner Party" from"The Satyricon" by Petronius, so I am told.