Thursday, April 27, 2006

we have an injured rabbit also

last night i awoke in a panic, absolutley convinced that it was my immediate task to explain Revisionist Modernism in terms of rabbits. you know, there must be a way to resignify the narrative of postmodernism using rabbits. i mean, of course.

now, awake, i can make a relatively coherent statement about Revisionist Modernism. it starts with "privileging the crisis of representation." right?

well, yeah. but trying telling that to the rabbits.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

not funny

when did it get so cold again?

did somebody turn michigan into maine without telling me?

seriously, guys. not funny.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

meet the parents

i've been thinking about my parents a lot lately. thanks in part to the end-of-semester stress, i miss those crazies, even though they usually drive me crazy. in my family, we consider this a positive attribute. anyway, i have often been told that i favor niether of my parents, but that i look, instead, like the unlikely but exact 50/50 genetic reproduction of them. literally, like mixing red and blue to produce purple.

here's my mom, on the right, with her friend Pris. my mother is a book antiquarian. i guess that's like a geriatric specialist for books. she buys, sells, researches, and restores old books. she also works in the library on wednesday nights. her best friend is my aunt Pat. she takes one of her cats with her when she visits my grandparents 3 times a week. she can stop a child from throwing a temper tantrum better than anyone i know, although curiously she often has the opposite effect on me.

say hello to my dad. he used to be a photographer, then he produced documentaries, and now he directs commercials, public service announcements, and corporate/industrial films. in this picture he's napping on his couch with frenchy, who used to be my cat. my dad spends a lot of time ministering to his cats, taking walks, and planning trips. he also enjoys gardening and keeps a spotless house. he loves that couch as if it were a member of the family. he has been smoke-free for over a year. he goes to bed ridiculously early.

conclusion: not only do i look like an equal amount of each parent, but also i am a literature grad student who studies documentary, particularly photo and video narratives, and who enjoys napping, small children, a clean house, and trips. diagnosis ? as i suspected. i have, in fact, become my parents (at so young an age ?!?).

the end is nigh

it's definitely the end of the semester. all my pens are systematically running out of ink. as if in protest.

Monday, April 24, 2006

things that are smooth

over the past year, it has become increasingly clear to me that i often attempt to express anxiety by ironing.

if i am really anxious, i will also use starch.

for example, before my trip to Germany last fall, I compulsively ironed and starched every item that went into my suitcase. during fall term finals, my iron was not permitted to cool off for 2 weeks straight.

so, okay, i have a feeling that the obvious psychoanalytic conclusion finds me projecting my desire to eradicate wrinkles and to make things smooth. also, i associate ironing with my dad - he's supernaturally good at it - and my dad is a notably calm and calming person. the way he irons is almost an art. it's also superfluous, since he's so good at folding laundry that he rarely needs to press.

of course, there may be some issues with aging at work here, too.

i have also recently discovered Shashi's method for wrinkle control (if not anxiety removal): "I steam." now that's interesting. Shashi's outfits are the sartorial equivalent of my dad's demeanor - preternaturally wrinkle-free. so what does that mean? and further, does Shashi own a steamer or does he simply, but expertly, employ the "hanging clothes in the shower" trick?

can you see how these questions might be very important to my psyche ?

Sunday, April 23, 2006


the fundamental device of all structuring.

nothing keeps you grounded like taking a break from paper-writing to plunge your elderly neighbor's toilet.

yes, you heard me. let that sit for a minute.

just when you begin to think that the work might be your undoing, and there you are flailing around inside your head, the world intervenes.

helen: "if i knew the clog was closer to the surface, i'd just reach in there and clear it out with my hand."

me: "helen, listen. i don't care how tempted you may be. do not ever reach into your toilet drain."

if you'll allow a little self promotion, i did get the clog cleared. it took 20 minutes, and it was, frankly, a bit messy, but i got the job done.

helen: "turn it on! see if it works!" and then the sweet sound of the flush.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

not so much writing a paper right now

chickens: roast them upside down.

rewards: watching Jimmy's "Can't Get a Date" on VH1 OnDemand later.

bigger rewards: going to an island in my friend erik's lobsterboat to pick raspberries and/or eat a picnic, a picnic that may consist of things like lobsters and clams roasted in seaweed, with sian and taran and madryn, in august.

possibilites: archives.

and with a thunderstorm like yours, i'd be insecure too: librarian gesture.

an embarassment of riches: my friends.

(please note archaic use of "embarassment"= "profusion," "bounty," "more than i could have imagined.")

a lot

Oh, Foucault.

"How does it happen that the human subject makes [itself] into an object of possible knowledge, through what forms of rationality, through what historical necessities, and at what price? My question is this: How much does it cost the subject to be able to tell the truth about itself?"

From "How Much Does it Cost to Tell the Truth?"

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Times on Times Square

ahoy, gang ! check this out:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

consider this

what i am saying is that this:

is the footwear equivalent of this:

n'est pas ???

spring footwear update

some of you may remember my rant against uggs at the start of winter.

and some of you, who, despite my best efforts to the contrary do not consider me the center of your universe, may not.

it's spring! break out what i consider to be the most hideous footwear fashion crime of all time:

the kitten heel flip flop.

i ask you all to look deeply within yourselves to find the place where, despite what trend-mongers might tell you, you know that this "shoe" is completely, totally, and unquestionably wrong.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

there's this

jumping up and down thing that i do when i have finished something. i'm doing it right now.

and then i think "Oh. *Great*! This goes on *forever*."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ladies Who Blog

i SHOULD be writing papers right now, but i couldn't resist having my say about the current "where's the love for female bloggers" controversy. it's an interesting discussion not because it's going to lead us to some kind of blogsphere sexual revolution but because of the tendencies it points to within the poetry and poetics world.

like this: blurbs.

blurbing has become a poetics "subculture" on par with blogging. a poet produces a new work and then requests blurbs from friends and neighbors, in order to lend the book some kind of "legitimacy" in the market. i do not mean this in the strictly economic sense. i mean it in the social/reproductive sense. the blurbs themselves tend to be reformulations of the work being blurbed within the discourse of each blurb-er's poetics. that is, a poet writes a blurb for a book that directly reproduces his/her own legitimacy by way of the new work. i don't think that's an accident, which is to say, it's no one's "fault." that is simply the function of blurbs. what this function represents, however, is the tendency in poetics to follow -- one could even say, to BE -- an inherently sexist, heteronormative structural kind of development. in fact, i think that it is poor form to lay this all at the feet of the Language Poets; to do so, as some do, to call the Language (and post-Language) poets "sexist," would be to limit ideas about authorship to a definitively non-Language model of genealogy and influence. that is, this is a model of infinite regression. Language Poets didn't invent it; i would argue that it arose as a response to the threats posed by their work.

so. with each new work produced, blurbs allow other -- usually more established -- poets to reproduce themselves. new work is then the "child" of influence and tradition, but not because the work itself necessarily wants to be. instead, because what the work already is (as a work) would be illegitimate if its parents didn't claim parentage. this structure then reflects back onto poetry as a whole, dragging all of its patriarchal inflections along with it. and that, my friends, is what a lot of us call poetics.

am i saying that all poets want is "legitimacy?" no. but i am saying that we all want legitimacy, to some extent, in that we want our work to be in the conversation.

i am thinking, also, of Kathy Acker blurbing her own book with a proclamation that it was all lies.

speaking of Kathy Acker, who famously "love[d] to fuck" and was "totally bored," we can also "do" poetics. take, for example, books like Joe LeSueur's _Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara_, in which the author reflects on his memories of the social situations that he took part in that may or may not have produced certain of O'Hara's poems. i also recently read Samuel Delany's account, in _1984_ of Ted Berrigan's funeral. both works had in common a kind of materialist history of social poetics, wherein the work is reinvested with the kind of mobilized representations that a reproductive model would like to arrest, perhaps, for the sake of our "national future."

we should all be concerned with reproductive politics. and so, to blogging. might it be that lady bloggers tend to have, as Josh Corey cautiously proposed, more integrated, holistic blogs that combine poetry, theory, and the everyday NOT because we are women but because we do not wish to reproduce a poetics that is structurally patriarchal? this not necessarily due to any ideology, per se, but arising instead out of a structural position that is inherently problematic for us to occupy? it's not lost on me that the examples i cited above are more-or-less "queer" texts; texts like these do significant work in "unworking" (thanks Michael) the family romance of poetics. maybe lady bloggers do this too, because, to some extent, we can't NOT do it. straight guys can do it too: look, for example, at Jim Behrle (who is a total douchebag, by the way), or at Ben Friedlander's early 1990s intervention in the Poetics List, chronicled in _Simulcast_. sure, these examples have little in common with the work of the lady bloggers i am thinking of, but the ends are similar.

i mean, might it be so simple as saying that lady bloggers represent the right to have contact without reproduction, which, if you think of reproduction in political terms, as a mechanism by way of which the family romance produces cultural fictions of unity, is also a project that could be called "queer"? does poetics need to be a community defined by a secure unity, regardless of the costs of constructing that fiction? and, am i maybe marginalizing lady bloggers when i make this argument?

consider this: "This is the vision I see beneath the tiniest gesture of wiping one's lips after a meal or observing a traffic light."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


it's officially that point in the semester when i no longer look forward to going to bed; instead of the gift of sleep, those hours just represent a huge block of time when i am not getting anything done.

i actually wake up feeling GUILTY.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

x-rays from hell

On AIDS, art, the everyday, and the collision of public and private, David Wojnarowicz:

"To make the private into something public is an action that has terrific repercussions in the pre-invented world. The government has the job of maintaining the day to day illusion of the ONE TRIBE NATION. Each public disclosure of a private reality becomes something of a magnet that can attract others with a similar frame of reference; thus each public disclosure of a fragment of private reality serves as a dismantling tool against the illusion of ONE TRIBE NATION; it lifts the curtains for a brief peek and reveals the possible existence of literally millions of tribe, the term GENERAL PUBLIC disintegrates. If GENERAL PUBLIC disintegrates, what happens next is the possibility of an X-RAY OF CIVILIZATION, an examination of its foundations. To turn our private grief at the loss of friends, family, lovers and strangers into something public would serve as another powerful dismantling tool. It would dispel the notion that this virus has a sexual orientation or the notion that the government and medical community has done very much to ease the spread or advance,ment of this disease."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

we're here, we're Ruddys, get used to it

In Samuel Delaney's _Times Square Red, Times Square Blue_, the author describes a bar in Times Square called "Ruddy's." A jazz bar in its current incarnation, Ruddy's had, as of 1997, begun attracting a more "upscale" clientele.

Although Delany doesn't name Ruddy's as specifically a "gay" bar, I like to think that, like Ruddys themselves, it's an ally.

And I should mention here that the bar is probably named for the REAL Ruddys, i.e., those who are Irish, as opposed to the Russian Ruddys, who used to be Rudovskys, and of whom I am one.

Still, had I known of the existence of this bar, you better believe I would have been in there demanding my free drink.

There is, also, a part of me that wishes that Ruddy's WAS a gay bar, a fact that I could, if I were so inclined, leverage against my more conservative relatives for, like, eternity. And I would probably have enjoyed that free drink even more.