Friday, July 30, 2004

The Allegrezza ficcione, Part 5 - an aside on Paracelsus

In a previously un-
ascribed text unearthed
by Umberto Allegrezza
in the library of
the University of Padua
& which he convincingly
demonstrated through
internal evidence, the
commonality of subject matter
& consistencies of style
to be part of De Lapide
Philosophorum, Paracelsus
uses a hen's egg
as the perfect metaphor
for the quest to transmutate
base metals into gold. The
shell, he writes, is
translucent when seen
from inside. Broken &
dropped into the molten
mix in the alembic
it aggregates & separates
the dross. Within, within,
the pure white sac of
albumen resembles the state
in which the alchemist
must be to carry out his
task. The yolk enclosed
is the object of desire. Then
comes the final paragraph,
the part that caused
this manuscript to be
consigned to an adespota
of anonymity. I prefer, he
writes, to have my eggs
soft-boiled for just two
minutes, with the water
stirred thrice with the tail-
feather of a peacock. Broken
open & served on bread,
with salt & a drop of
laudanum added to the
mix. Western travellers might
find worcestershire sauce
more easily available than
the tincture – but each is
equally appetising. In honour
of those monks who say
I am engaged in the work
of the devil, I will call
the dish Eggs Benedictine.

Previous Part / Next Part

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Homunculus of Frank O'Hara

I no longer take the homunculus
of Frank O'Hara onto the plane
with me. Have grown tired
of having to place it
in the perspex tray
along with my lighter, cigarettes,
keys, watch, wallet, spectacles –
yes, I know there's three-quarters
of a racially stereotypical joke
in there; but having no desire
to irradiate my gonads
I have never taken off my
testicles to complete the punchline.

The homunculus travelled peacefully
enough most times. But every so
often, especially when the flight
was delayed, he'd be set off
by the X-ray machine, would
suddenly exclaim "my quietness
has a man in it" in a voice  
that contradicted the words
& then I'd be up against the wall
being searched for stowaways.

Before him I'd taken Bach
with me. He'd mainly hum. The
machines would gradually
pick up the theme &
purr along in perfect
counterpoint. Caught up
by the harmony all around
even the security guards
would display a courtesy &
politeness that was exemplary.
Never a problem until the day
J.S. got asked to remove
his periwig & promptly launched
into a performance of
his Toccata & Fugue in D Minor
that shook the terminal. Then
came the Brandenburgs, & planes
started falling from the sky.

Magritte has been my companion
on the last few flights. So far
nothing to report. He is the
perfect gentleman. Takes off
his overcoat & lays it flat
on the belt, followed by
his bowler hat which he places
in such a way it completes
the outline of a man. Then
we walk through the metal
detector together, quietly,
eating apples. It's hard to tell
who the terrorists are these days.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Eileen
is contemplating
pimping her puppy

&
publishing poems
with the proceeds.

Another entry for Tom Beckett's "spooky" file

I like owls. I like frogs, especially the little green ones which, if you wet your fingers, you can stroke on the back without them moving. I think I have just discovered that owls like frogs, but for a different reason.

I found a bone dangling from the clothes-line when I went to hang the washing out. What looks like a leg bone, about an inch long, caught on the wire by a curlicue of drying sinew. A small delicate bone. Very much what I would imagine a frog's bone to be like.

The hastily assembled Rockhampton CSI team - me & the cat - have re-created the crime scene thus. A serial killer is on the loose. Has swooped down & snatched up the frog, stuck it in the back of its panel van & retreated to the trees. Eaten the frog, spitting out the bones as it goes. When replete it has returned to the ground, picked up a bone in its talons & hung it on the clothes-line as a warning to all & sundry, a boasting message.

I am expecting poetic emails to the local paper any day now. Signed mort aux grenouilleux. m.a.g. for short. An august name. 


Have just posted another Series Magritte poem.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Martin Edmond writes on Luca Antara of the serendipity of finding items of beauty whilst searching out things that are not. He told me of his mysterious correspondent when I was in New Zealand last week. The guy sounds like a fucking nutter.

But a frightening one.....

The Allegrezza ficcione, Part 4 - an interlude

Umberto was sixteen when Nestore died. He had never thought about his future before, had accepted that he would enter one of the narrow range of professions his side of the family considered appropriate; military, law or finance. His conversation with Gemma – he refused to think of her as Sister Raffaela – didn't change that but it did offer an outside interest, with some romanticism to it, something to soften the rigidity of whatever profession he decided to follow.

He saw her perhaps three times over the next two years, exchanged possibly six letters with her in the same time. She kept him up to date with her quest for further information "del Allegrezza", or rather her failure to find further information. "If there is anything," she wrote "it is further East. Istanbul perhaps, or Tehran, or Bukhara. Perhaps even in Beijing. It is not where I have access to it, but I have asked my Brothers in God in those places to look for me. Faith will be our servant."

Umberto was not so sure about that. He was disappointed that nothing more had been forthcoming, but he hadn't discarded all hope. It stayed with him, like a small uncut & unpolished diamond, wrapped away in a youthful drawer.

He enrolled at University. Still under his parents' influence he embarked on a double degree in law & economics; but in his second semester, in a lecture on the history & signage of money, he came across for the first time the term "paradigm shifts".

It was a concept that trapped his thoughts, this gradual overthrowing of a body of established beliefs that is replaced by a competing body of thought sufficiently unprecedented & open-ended enough to gather an ever-increasing & enduring number of adherents until it becomes predominant. He changed to a history degree. Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" became a kind of bible. He read Popper & Cohen, studied Mandarin as an elective stream & Arabic outside his degree structure. He completed his B.A. & went to the University of Padua to do his honours, a revisiting of the influence on contemporary medicine of one of the University's most famous alumni, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus.

His Doctoral dissertation was called "The Catalogue of the Library of Alexandria". In it he posited what books would have been in the library &, by extrapolation, what books should have been in the library. He listed previously unknown plays by Aeschylus & Euripides, a whole school of poetry from Asia Minor written in colloquial language & with lines reflecting the length of a breath, new work by Pindar, an unfinished work by Homer where Odysseus comes out of self-imposed exile to battle a barbaric invasion, the third part of a trilogy that included the Iliad & the Odyssey.

There was also a book by Ptolemy, that seemed to be made up of footnotes to another work of his, a kind of growing self-doubt about his own beliefs, that finishes with a small poem
The
Sun – the
Universe’s true centre?
 
Previous Part / Next Part
furuike ya
kawazu tobikonu
mizu no oto
Made the comment a couple of days ago that if you stand on a random point on the globe all languages come from the west. Should also have added that if you turn & face the other way all languages are eastern.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Come home, Jukka. All is forgiven.

18 days without a new image on nonlinear. Thankfully Jukka should be home soon from his "vacation" in Heinola. & thankfully I've been getting a daily text fix from his textual conjectures so I haven't had to do his absence cold turkey.

A ficcione for Michele Leggott

Having finally
come to terms
with the grief &
anger caused by
her mother's death
she formed a
piano & rhythm
trio called
Mourning Electra
& now makes
a small living
singing in a bar
on the fringes
of Chinatown
that is the front
for a fan tan
parlour. She
does a lot of
Jacques Brel
numbers. Those
patrons who do not
know her history
think she is
imitating Nina
Simone. They
do not appreciate
the irony
when she sings
Il faut oublier
tout peut s'oublier
.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

the hay(na)ku hay(na)ku

Must
be time
for another hay(na)ku.

What sight the light lets in

It is
that time of
the evening
just after the light
begins to fade
& you
begin to
lose your sight

We sat
outside a
café on the quayside
drinking flat white coffees
& talking of Portugal

Let
our ferries leave
without us

Talking of

The ones
after that
as well

Talking

Finally

I sit
on the back deck
facing away
from the way
the ferry
is going

It is
a deliberate act

It is
a replication

of you standing
in the same place
on the ferry that
left twenty minutes
before mine

I watched you leave
I waved
I do not know
if you could see me

It is
that time
of the evening

I watch the wharf recede
I am there on it
I am waving

It is a deliberate act

Just in case

I know
what it felt like
to wave
goodbye

I do not know
what sight
the light let in

But

Now
I can tell
what it felt like
to watch me
wave goodbye

Just in case

we ever
need to know

Friday, July 23, 2004

Jack Kimball has just posted the synopsis of a ficcione.

#2

& this should fix it, hopefully. (See the post below.)

#1

I corrected the spelling of Nullarbor (usually thought of as an Aboriginal word but actually the Latin for "no tree") in a post from last week & dragged the crap formatting back into the blog. I calculate that if I do another post after this it should correct itself, so here goes....
One of the books I bought in New Zealand was a second-hand copy of the City Lights edition of Kerouac's Scattered Poems. Primarily bought for this quote from an explanatory note by the author.
A "Western Haiku" need not concern itself with the seventeen syllables since Western languages cannot adapt themselves to the fluid syllabillic Japanese. I propose that the "Western Haiku" simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language.
I would add to that that if you stand at any random point on the globe all languages come from the west; & remind people that submissions are open for the Hay(na)ku anthology.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

& back to a blogger template that seems to be working again

Back to / back

back to shorts & a T-shirt & 22 degrees in the middle of winter
back to the noise of birds
back to a landscape brown with the lack of water
back to Lauren whom I missed terribly
back to the cat who should have missed me but instead seems really shitty I went away
back to a pc without pop-ups
back to familiar territory & a space I like to think of as my own
back to the lime tree we bought last year getting ready to flower
back to the books I like to have around me
back to add the books I was given & which I bought while I was away
back to unpack & put things away so it seems I was never away
back to read the mail piled up waiting for me to get back
back to a city without japanese restaurants
back to the house for sale across the street whose owners seem to have given up on the sole agent idea so that now the front fence is decorated with half a dozen real estate agent signs like demented flowers
back to smoking outside
back to groovy little green frogs in the garden
back to a place without a harbour, therefore no ferries, therefore no feeling of swaying with the sea even though you're on the land
back to taped episodes of Star Trek
back to last Saturday's Sydney newspaper
back to the Allegrezza ficcione & Series Magritte
back to writing poems instead of reading them

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Have had a fantastic week in Auckland, but tomorrow I'll be flying back to Rockhampton. Back to my own pc, back to find out why Blogger is now using vast sheets of ice to surround my posts

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The First Tapa Poem

At an immeasurable nano-
second that passed a
moment ago
this was a pure white page
of highclass paper that
unmarked marked the
beginning of a notebook bound
in tapa cloth. For the benefit
of those who are / were
unsure of what tapa is
I will find a definition later
& fill in the gap. Take this page then
as a template, a palimpsest,
scarred & marred by that first
downward / of the A. Actually
I lie. I started writing on it
a month ago when I
first heard I was to be
given one, finished the page
in an A5 spiral notebook
unwilling to break the spell
the tapa cast on me.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Talking, about, Zukofsky, with
Wilson Pickett singing
Mustang Sally in the
background, eating Japanese
food for lunch & dinner.
Toast in the morning.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Bells & whistles

All these new bells & whistles seemed to have fucked the format of this blog.
 
Help!
 
Did my first public reading in thirty years tonight. Celebrating the New Zealand electronic poetry centre's third birthday. I was a little bit rusty but it went quite well. Thirteen poets, a few poems each.

Tomorrow it's going to be much more full on. On National Radio in the morning, an hour program of music & talk, Playing Favourites, sort of like a desert island disks thing, what records would you like to take with you....Since it's only an hour, & only about 3-5 minutes per track, it means a lot of my favourites just won't make it. Decided to do music I'd referenced in my poetry that fit the time criteria, so have come up with Elvis Presley doing Mystery Train, the old Sun Records one; Aretha Franklin's (you make me feel like) A Natural Women which if any song can be described as my personal anthem this is it although I've never quite worked out the sexual duality in such a choice; Miles Davis' Milestones - I wanted Time after Time, the Cindi Lauper song, but amongst their 7 million Miles records, the N.Z. Broadcasting people didn't have that; Bach's Air on the G string because I love Bach, & there's a piece on this piece in Jukka & my forthcoming The Oracular Sonnets; & finally Youssou N'Dour & Neneh Cherry's 7 seconds. An eclectic choice, but I can tie them all in my work.

In the afternoon it's going to be a half hour reading, plus half an hour by another N.Z. poet, Graham Lindsay whose author's page is also being launched, & then a Q & A session with me giving the As to Martin Edmond's Qs, plus questions from the floor. Looking forward to this a bit more. Last night's reading was videotaped & recorded for posterity which meant a static reading. & I'm a mover.

Have hardly seen anything of Auckland yet.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Sitting on the edge of Auckland Harbour, looking across at the traffic flowing across the bridge, lights in the darkness. & above it, the phallic spindle of Sky Tower. I'm back in New Zealand.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Nick Piombino "silenced by" a litany of things, including some disturbing links, at Fait Accompli. Fortunately it's a rhetorical "silence". Whatever.

This was the last poem I wrote in New Zealand, thirty-five years ago

HYMN FOR LENNON / TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS

High in Transylvania - trans-
ported location: the actual setting
3 a.m. Auckland in thin rain. Cicadas
all quiet, all still. Only the
petulant whirr of the recordplayer
& the soft-skull noises of moths
beating their brains out against the opaque walls.

Cicadas all quiet, all still. The moths die
with a soft whirring. The recordplayer
coaxes erotically for your new records. The
cat enters, all wet with droplets of rain, like a
grey night.

                 Do not attempt to isolate
the virus that besets you. Pamper it,
& the voices will emerge from the speaker,
detatch themselves & plunge embodied
into your mouth. The nausea as they beat
against the back of your throat: & the resultant
high, the nutmeg feeling, sad hallucinations
of your nightmare soul.
           
                                  But this is not
Dracula country. Garlic flowers & the sitar
have driven him away. In grey coffin
with shroud of thin night rain
he is borne ignominiously to sunshine land
to die, wither & die, a flaccid old man
with collapsed intestines, capable of only
the most inconsequential intercourse.

                                                        & you?
You turn off your mind, relax, & float
downstream, absent-mindedly scratching at the
marks the withered gums have left on your throat.
This time tomorrow I shall be above the Tasman Sea on my way to New Zealand. I will be moving forward in time. It is a three-hour flight. I shall be arriving five hours after I left.

Left behind on the desktop will be the unfinished following:

Part 4 - an interlude, of The Allegrezza Ficcione. The earlier parts are here, here & here.

A poem on this painting by Magritte.

The latest collaboration between Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & myself. Extracts from earlier collabs can be found in Shampoo & BlazeVOX. More are scheduled for publication.

I am feeling nervous about my visit. There is a great deal of history to overcome.

A commitment to Martin Edmond

... As, in accordance with the arrangement of this book, we shall pass through Siam on the way to Malacca, it is right that we should speak of it, although we shall come upon it again on the China side at the river of Odia.
Tomé Pires, in 1515. From The Suma Oriental.

Further reciprocities

Have added links in the sidebar to Deborah Pattillo's Chimera Song Mosaic & Guillermo Parra's venepoetics.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Kirsten Kaschock's NEGATIVE WINGSPAN continues to delight. Song, & dance, & sleight of hand. A wakening.

A New Zealand joke

It is said that when a New Zealander moves to Australia the average I.Q. of both countries goes up.

A sequence of events

The epigraph at the top of this blog is the first line of a poem also called Pelican Dreaming. It continues "They were his touchstone...".
I posted two items yesterday.
The first was a 1917 quote from the British Army commander in Iraq. Iraq was called Mesopotamia then.
The second was a poem that mentioned New Zealand. The nickname for a New Zealander is a "kiwi". (A piece of en passant trivia: when I was growing up in N.Z. kiwi fruit were called Chinese gooseberries.)
I checked my hotmail account before logging off. There was a message whose subject was "footstep". Probably spam, but for once I opened it.
It was a random word piece, promoting pharmaceuticals. But its first three lines.....
supreme drown ejaculate kiwi catawba cult mourn irrevocable hailstorm promulgate gregarious specious judy surmise democratic colorado lost assent compunction touchstone turtleneck gedanken backwater mesopotamia
As Tom Beckett would say.
Spooky.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The commanding general assured the people of Iraq, "Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators." He continued, "O people of Baghdad, remember that for 26 generations you have suffered under strange tyrants who have endeavoured to set one Arab house against another in order that they might profit by your dissensions."

General F.S. Maude, commander of the British forces, in 1917.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

The Now of it

That with which we are
surrounded, in which
we are set,

like a jewelled brooch
or a flower's centre,

we are shaped by.

The environs.

He said:
"This is the space we move
through, which moves about us
when we / do not move.

"In this bright white room,
with the picture window staring out
to sea by day, & at night reflecting
the small blue klee that hangs
like an icon above the fireplace,
                     you are beautiful.

"But when it storms outside
your face takes on the turbulence.
I am forced to close the drapes,
otherwise I lose my balance
seeing you buffeted by the tide."

The words surround her,
alter her to suit their shape.

She sees he does not really see her.
His world is earth, is sea, is rooms
of shadow; & she, as is the bird
in that painting by magritte, is outline
only. The content is another universe,
blue-skied, in which he poses her. She is
imposed upon. She is not content. Her
shape, his shaping - they do not coincide.

She leaves. He does not mark
her going. The words still hold her
in his mind. Spreadeagled on the bed,
the stones singing over him, he reads
about lee harvey oswald & the death of j.f.k.

The words surround him.
The influences, their confluence.
The twenty years, the ten, the now of it.

1974

Thanks César

Paul Klee's Haupt- und Nebenwege.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The joys of modern technology

Jukka is about to go on holiday, so for a while it's going to be palmpilot poems at ::textual conjectures::.
A delightful exchange between César de Oliveira & Ludwig van Beethoven at Hauptwege und Nebenwege(which, thinking about it, might also translate as highways & byways).

The Baggage Card

I move & my baggage comes with me.
I stand still. It snaps at my ankles then rises up
& wraps around me like a cloak or a
kaftan. (I prefer these images to that
of a bodybag which also comes to mind.)

I try heading off in unexpected directions
but it gets there before me. I visit friends. My baggage
is peering out their window, waving me away. I go
to speak & my words come out as echoes
of what it has already said, pre-empting
my thoughts. Silence is my last defence.

My baggage has become more than me
while I am becoming less; & that is not
becoming. I waste away. It tours the world,
gets written up in the social pages taking in openings
& art galleries, is seen at a bullfight in the
Camargue, flyfishing in New Zealand, wearing leather
in San Francisco. I break my silence, beg it
to come back. Now it becomes the mute.

Finally
I receive a postcard of a Louis Vuitton valise
with a Guadeloupe postmark. My name & address
are written in an elegant cursive script. There is
no message but the message
is clear. My baggage has moved up
in the world & I am on my own. Unaccompanied.
Dare I say that kari edwards' transdada looks pretty in pink.

But don't be misled by the new decor. The commitment, strength & on-going activism highlighting the hypocrisies & prejudices of the so-called straight - but, in reality, unbelievably warped - world continue unabated. This is truly an iron fist in a velvet glove.

We must continue to support kari.
hay(na)ku
are both
seed & tree.

& it's only 30 kilometres from where I live

US to focus on Shoalwater Bay
09:54 AEST Thu Jul 8 2004
The Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland will be the main site for a joint US-Australian military training area, under a deal signed in Washington.
Attending the annual Australia-United States ministerial talks (AUSMIN), Defence Minister Robert Hill announced the Australia Defence Force base had been slated for a further upgrade.
He said the Americans were keen on Shoalwater Bay because it already had hosted many joint training exercises.
"It is the most developed of our major training bases. It has been utilised and appreciated by the US in the past," he told ABC radio.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

genetic material

              I
        watch two
       black-tailed
            kites
           above
       the field on
     the other side
     of the lagoon
          spiral
       downwards
  in a complicated
      mating ritual
       & create a
         perfect
         double
          helix.

PO25centEM zines

Furniture Press announces PO25centEM zines, pocket sized zines that will be handed out individually AND serialized with other zines in the series to make an ‘autonomous anthology.’ Further information is available at Nemski.com.
My server has been down all day. Gave me a chance to catch up on things, decide what poems to read in New Zealand, water the garden, clean the pool, sort out all sorts of shit.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

An email from Eileen has prompted the memory of this poem of mine, posted in an earlier version to As/Is some months ago.

Flirting
for Eileen Tabios
                    So the distances are Galatea
                    & one does fall in love.....
                    Charles Olson: The Distances

It is a dance in two
parts. Is ritual.

Pop song from the
Forties. A trip to the moon.

The bull, the matador.
Dance, ritual, death.

Whose death? A las
cinco de la tarde.

Usually the bull. Sometimes
the matador. Provocation

can have unexpected results.
A procession of flagellants

passes by. I am drunk on the
smell of fermented mangoes.

Red sand blood white.
What colour are your eyes?
Shampoo #21 is officially out. It includes an extract from Karl Marx' Rubric Journals, a collaboration between Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & myself. Another extract was in the most recent BlazeVOX, & a third is forthcoming from that home of so much interesting & excellent work, Andrew Lundwall & Jeannie Smith's Poetic Inhalation.

There are another two collaborative sequences of ours, The Oracular Sonnets & The Sketchbooks of Hieronymous Bosch, accepted for publication later this year. More on them when the time is closer. Plus some individual poems.

& that is just the beginning. We enjoy working together immensely, & intend the partnership to keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

New issues of xStream & Tin Lustre Mobile are up.
What little I
know about
flying
         comes from
those who have
never flown.
Jorge Luis Borges in a 1968 interview with Don Bell. Reprinted in Agni #52.
Well, in "The Aleph" I had two ideas in mind. The first was the old idea of the microcosm, the idea that the whole world, the whole universe, the world of the external, might be, for all we know, summed up or enclosed within a very short space, so that we would have, for example, a small shining circle somewhere in a drab house in Buenos Aires and there the whole universe might be found, and therein another aleph, and so on, to infinity. And then I had another idea. I thought of a man being granted a privilege of viewing the universe and making nothing of it but using this privilege to write a nonsensical poem. So those two strains were woven into the story.
Jorge Luis Borges: The Aleph
He proposed to versify the entire planet; by 1941 he had already dispatched several hectares of the state of Queensland.....

Monday, July 05, 2004

defining moments

A
catamite is
a sodomite's minion.

The Allegrezza ficcione, Part Three

In societies where oral traditions are not strong, family histories do not flow in a linear way. They jump generations, or side track down through other branches.

Umberto Allegrezza encountered the story of the journey to the East only once in his immediate family. An overheard conversation between his parents, accompanied by laughter. When he asked about it he was told it was a foolish tale, primitive, unsuitable for these times. No further explanation.

He found out more from his great great uncle Nestore, Franco's brother. But even then it was sparse, with missing pieces, like a skeleton that has been disturbed by wild dogs. More emphasis on the Chinese connection, as if it were an integral part of the story rather than an anecdote.

Ironically, it was at Nestore's funeral that the story took on substance, through his only grandchild, destined to be the last of that particular line. Christened Gemma but now known as Sister Raffaela, employed as a specialist restorer in the Vatican archives.

She & Umberto sat next to one another at the funeral; & after the burial, at the small family gathering that followed, prompted by Umberto's reminiscing about how he had learnt more of the family history from Nestore rather than from his own parents, Gemma/Raffaela told him of her work, part of which involved x-raying manuscripts to see if there was anything of more or equal importance that had been scraped off & written over.

Because she, too, had been told the story by her grandfather, she had investigated the original manuscript by Rustichello of Pisa of the journey of the Polos. Had discovered in an early chapter outlining the reasons for the expedition to the court of Kublai Khan a phrase that had been written over not once but twice.

It was her surmise that the Polo's wished to claim complete responsibility for the idea, & that at their bidding Rustichello had covered over with a mixture of chalk & gum the words he had originally written. What appeared now as "the journey of allegory" had been before that written as the journey "del allegrezza", the journey of joy.

But that, apparently, was still not far enough away from the truth for the Polos. The original wording had been "del Allegrezza". The journey of (an) Allegrezza.

Previous Part / Next Part

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Adding

César de Oliveira's Hauptwege und Nebenwege (arteries & side paths) to the sidebar.

He says the Dutch are without humour. In the main I agree, but I exclude Janwillem van de Wetering whose detective stories are extremely funny.

The Allegrezza ficcione, Part Two

History was written at the ryokan; or at least the outline of a possible history obtained by rewriting the past. The officers were chosen because of their disciplines, not their military discipline. For the purpose of the meeting was to find historical & cultural justification for Japan setting out on an expansionist policy &, in concert with the others whose nations each had similar plans of their own, to divide the new world up amongst themselves.

It was a room full of ironies. The only Japanese to have seen military action was the civilian, in the late eighteen-nineties against the Chinese & a decade later against the Russians. The highest ranking officer was the American, a general, but the only one whose presence here was not sanctioned by his government. The only foreigner not to have fought was the youngest of the Italians, Franco Allegrezza, & though his politics were suspect he was regarded highly as an Orientalist, the foremost one in the military. The youngest Japanese, Kaoru Ishikawa, practised Buddhism, a suspect religion.

Despite the importance of the discussions it is only these last two who play any further part in this story; & even they only for a little while. They shared at room & similar interests. On the occasional evenings when there was a break from the conference they would soak in the hot springs & talk, or play go in their room & talk. The older Japanese would bring in geisha to entertain them in the banquet room, would drink, their faces growing redder, until they passed out. The foreigners would hire less-than-geisha, male or female depending upon their preference, & spend the time in their rooms taking advantage of the temporary privacy.

On one of these evenings, after a day spent investigating the augmented history base that the acquisition of China would bring – the Mongol conquests, the journey of Hsuan-Tsang to India to search for the Buddhist sutras, the voyages of Zhang He – Ishikawa mentioned that there had been a preface to the first edition of Wu Ch'eng-en's "Monkey" that made reference to an even earlier journey than that of Hsuan-Tsang. The preface was obscure, no dates given, no names even. Only an initial, K or Q, of obscure origins, possibly a Uigur who had converted from animism to Buddhism & come east. The implication was that the quest, if indeed it had occurred, was unsuccessful, that the Uigur had simply decided to return home & into anonymity. The preface had been removed from all subsequent editions.

Allegrezza was mildly interested. His family had a story of a twelth-century ancestor who was supposed to have traversed the Silk Road before the Polos. Again obscure, disputed names, vague dates, no proof of a journey let alone a successful one. It was a story told as an entertainment, not as a tale of truth.

He returned home after the conference. The anecdote about the Uigur traveller became a footnote to the family history, used as a supplement in an extended telling or as a defence to reinforce the universality of quests, mystical or otherwise.

All the officers were dead before the Second World War ended. Only the civilian survived, working as an advisor to Douglas MacArthur's Army of Occupation until his death in 1948.

previous part / next part

Friday, July 02, 2004

excerpts from The Real and False Journals, Book I by Michael Rothenberg

"I started this journal the night before Philip died and finished it a year and a half later, on a clear Fall day, after spreading Philip's ashes under the snowy peak of Mt. Hood."
They're beautiful pieces. Click here to read them.
Forgive
the pieces
about my past

I'm
so fond
of posting here.

Just
simply writing
my own obituary.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

& on the subject of Jukka

I have just added a link to his text blog, ::nonlinear poetry - textual conjectures::, to the sidebar.

Buried in its backpages is the comment "nonlinear does not have anybody on their friends list". Bullshit, I say, bullshit!

Challenging the G8

The Finnish And Australasian CO-Prosperity Sphere.

Henceforward to be known as FAACOPS.

As Jukka writes:
I like FAACOPS and the whole idea is wonderful.
We founded FAACOPS and we are FAACOPS, that's beautiful !