eye reflecting the gold of fall

Silver is the ruby’s faded glare
Awkward silence taking it out to sea
And you away. The morning
Is its own highway, interleaded
With ears at the important points,
Each the size of a key of typewriter type.
To hornets we are all electroencephalographically
Neutral. Everyone is speaking jargon, especially
The ducks which look orange in this light;—
Sunny as a fruit tree, or as a lime drawn
From the tops of the fruit trees to the telephone wire
Dividing the ocean, whose neck is the horizon.
Some words (“like ‘fuck’”) require objects some of the time; others
Are content to be themselves, suspended like a chair,
Covered in green ink. Everyone’s comet
Strikes the earth, in a way.
The birds stay where they are, stretching to get the birdseed
Until they resemble the clothesline, white
With a dark shimmer. Half-cocked, except for a hay
Riding the air, the sky pushed branches against a screen
Where some T-shirts have caught, drying in powder
That will make them stiff and fragrant. As sound is released
By the head in front, the back of the neck
In back, and out and beyond the honking.
Everyone sleeps at least part of the time, the pilot
In the plane, the oceanographer in the bathysphere,
The judge on the bench, everyone else between eating and
Going to the bathroom, the window pouring
It through like the boat.
Some of the harvest words are
Also used for hunting, making them doubly unresonant,
Like an agglutinative language
Condensed to a single word, unspoken; or
The moon with no breath on it, touching your forehead in a complete
Absence of what meteorologists call weather
In a country on the verge of capitulating
To its smallest city. One would steer
Carefully to the south towards the lighthouse.
Slowly the lawn quiets down.
Each berry is a species of robin, all inflect night
Like the ocean’s rush over a bumpy road. As the radio
Spars with air, random to the space it occupies
To the inclusion of skin. Not the argument
From design since there are no stars to push, but thin
Points of maroon beside some gold
Letters which thud, far
Out of their cosmological depth.
Then the berries leave the trees;
The birds chase them, delivered to a prior spot where ech,
Like the ocean, is inflated and simplified,
Marooned no more than late afternoon mist dispensed
From an apple tree claiming to be the air outside the room,
Supporting everything in it. In the turtle’s mouth.
The turtle looks up. Trees and grass, chairs and clouds,
Sit in the middle of the lawn, the snowy lawn of the air.
With a breeze the ocean stutters, in the middle of
Mumbling. But the ship is already a blur,
Each point created for the benefit of others
Which react to it as if it were poison ivy, catching the same spray.
A chorus steps out of the spray. Two, in fact;
Astonished at not having made themselves known before,
With brandied snows, burning eyelashes.
You are the hotel, but you are also
The vandal, as well as the house detective.
Every spray accelerates, stops, so you can watch it;
Banging like grain like the door against ice air.

(Charles North. Reprinted in The New York Poets II, pp. 148–149. Originally from Six Buildings, Swollen Magpie Press, 1977.)

a few readings

  • Saturday 14 October, 6 pm at the Drawing Center, 35 Wooster St: Hélène Cixous & Maria Chevska with a slew of others to promote Ex-Cities. Information here. Cixous is also appearing at NYU (info at the Drawing Center’s website).
  • Sunday 15 October, 5 pm at the Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St: James Reidel, translator of Thomas Bernhard’s poetry & a bio of Weldon Kees.
  • Wednesday 18 October, 6:30 pm at the Mercantile Library, 17 East 47th St (between 5th & Madison): Joseph McElroy (reading new work) with Mark Jay Mirsky in a reading for Fiction. That Fiction website has a piece from Women and Men
  • various things

    • A failure of book design: Hamid Dabashi’s critique of the cover of Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran. An interview with Hamid Dabashi that touches on the subject.
    • Two insightful posts (1, 2) by Ron Silliman about line lengths in poetry. The second is particularly nice on the relationship between form and technology.
    • Jonas Mekas is going to do something exciting!
    • Also:

    • There’s an essay by Joseph McElroy in the Winter 2006 issue of Raritan (volume 25, number 3). It’s entitled “One Shoe Off, One Shoe On”, and it’s about Albrecht Dürer.
    • On Sunday 15 October at 7 pm, there’s the first Marquise Dance Hall Poetry Reading at the Marquise Dance Hall (251 Grand Street, Williamsburg) featuring poets of the Brooklyn Rail. Featured: Mary Donnelly, Raphael Rubinstein, and Jerome Sala.
    • On Thursday 19 October at 7 pm there’s a panel discussion at Zone (601 West 26th Street, no. 302) about Nam June Paik featuring Alison Knowles, David Vaughan, Joan La Barbara, and William S. Wilson.

    heritage of the accursed

    Kurt Seligmann’s “Heritage of the Accursed” from Charles Henri Ford‘s magazine View (number 5, December 1945). Reprinted in View: Parade of the Avant-Garde 1940–1947 (compiled by Catrina Neiman & Paul Nathan; printed by the Thunder’s Mouth Press in 1992) as pages 179–182.

    Click on the thumbnails of the four pages to see them in readable size:

    seligmann 179seligmann 180seligmann 181seligmann 182

    And details of the two illustrations – click to enlarge:

    seligmann 179 detailseligmann 180 detail

    There’s a note from the editors of the anthology on p. 181 that the discussion and illustrations are expanded in Seligmann’s History of Magic (1948), reprinted as Magic, Supernaturalism and Religion (1971) (superseding a note from the editors of View that the article was an excerpt from the forthcoming Seers, Wizards and Magicians, which would have been published in 1946 by Pantheon.

    rayner heppenstall, restaurant critic

    “From Vitrac’s account of his visit, it would appear that, by 1926, Roussel was already accustomed to receive visitors at Charlotte Dufrène’s apartment in the Rue Pierre-Charron, a practice which M. Leiris’s account might have led us to think Roussel only adopted later (perhaps because not until later, when he was living in a disreputable hotel, did he take to receiving even old friends at Mme. Dufrène’s). At any rate, although Roussel was apparently still resident with the Elchingens at Neuilly, Vitrac was received at ‘l’appartement d’une femme‘, and it was clearly in a turning off the Champs-Élysées, as the Rue Pîerre-Charron is. This little street is nowadays best known to men of letters as that in which stands the maison internationale of the P.E.N. Club, flanked on one side by a night club called Le Sexy and facing The Chickens Self, a restaurant no doubt specialising in barbecued chicken and operated on self-service principles.”

    (Rayner Heppenstall, Raymond Roussel: a critical study, p. 13)