Semioanalysis Discotheque
Friday, October 31, 2003
I think this is what was originally meant by "critique of the self." If you don't "buy" that, I feel your testicles descending in full force. I look up and think, God, who built that ugly eyesore, that monument? How many people dragged that through the dirt to be erected?
I'm someone else here so s/he can be him/herself in his/her poems. That's a weird paradox. Can I get a sympathetic ear? Probably not from you, which is why this continues. Somewhere between a phantom and name-as-brand name (no money involved except "cultural capital"), I begin to feel layers of me peeling away. That's him/her, s/he's walking away now, leaving me less than a memory of sense...
Or, as Samuel Johnson put it: "I refute him thus"

(insert action)

Uh oh, looks like mediation led to my action being obscured! For the full story, please visit my apartment in Somerville, MA. That's an actual place, and no, I don't think that machines can really desire anything, thanks for asking.
An Update on the Race Thus Far:

It looks like "speech" is beating "writing" by a nose... sorry, Jacques!
We have our intimate moments, and I enjoy that, but now I must digress into antler chromium diaspora, looking silly in puffed-up plaque designs according to height and weight watchers sycophant. Feelin' groovy (whistles)....
I'm writing to you now from a Starbucks in Acapulco. No, actually I'm on a Highway driving through North Carolina. Wait a minute! I think I'm at a Sons of the Confederacy meeting in Boston! Well, looks like I was mistaken...I'm sitting at a bar in Chicago, a short caucasian woman with a dachsund on a leash. Hang on a second, I'm actually a tall caucasian man with tatooed arms and an evil-looking moustache. There's a mirror on the other side of the bar: in the mirror I appear to be a squirrel with a ball peen hammer for a head.
Meanwhile, the Gender Genie thinks that I, Karl Merleau-Marcuse, am female.

Well, perhaps I am...
There Goes Another Eloquent Theory Dept:

I put Marianne Moore's poem "Peter" into The Gender Genie, and I got the following score:

female score: 665
male score: 802

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

(Demographer says: must have been the line breaks that skewed our results...)
Sometimes I feel like blogs are to poetry what scabs are to the surface of the human body. This may be true, but then I look down at my plastic hands and remember how much of me is merely virtual. Virtual eggs, virtual ham, virtual night spent on the sofa in the hall, virtual vitriol, virtual punch-in-the-face, virtual virtue. From which inhalation enterprise I take the path of not corrupted by a failure, as a phantom disappointment dissolves into the screen behind it.
It's good to be a storefront among storefronts. Wonder what everyone's doing out there in the real world? By this I mean the physical world (as the startups that had no counterpart in the real crashed & burned). I find this mysteriousness to be exciting and slightly sexy, at the edge of such possibility! Hey -- shall we meet in "phonespace" next time, or maybe "fast food space"? I need to go eat lunch, and vigorously licking this monitor screen refuses to satisfy that appetite...
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Parkas, comatose tablets, le futon, le garage band, das bild und Saran Wrap icon. Slipping into something more je ne sais Apocalypse Now, foot fungus, characters you can sympathize with. I approach the Twinkies considering action but am diverted by the shine in le frigidaire patent. Funky classicist, your archaic ideas bring us fascist itch. Why then so appealing, your Caesar's Palace, your normal haunts and ferries between dead lands and the Circle-K?
Example: the 18-to-35 male demographic for television-watching has "dropped off" in recent months by about 10 %. The networks respond to this change by saying the results are inaccurate, and they are confident that viewership will soon return to "normal" levels. Earth to demographers: or my friend who worked as a market analyst and was encouraged to "adjust" any results that seemed "wrong." As art and most societal change works by inductive progress, deductive-oriented thinking gets you some corporate guy trying to employ words like "phat" and "dope" in ordinary conversation. His research tools rigged to prove for him the success he set out to make in advance, as to measure apotheosis in website hits gets you a redhead -- really.
Perhaps, what matters being not the frequency of site-visits, is the quality of attention over time. The way in which we view websites, for Demographers crouched in their little lairs somewhere, hunkered down with a bottle of Yoo-Hoo in front of the spyware monitor, fails to digress into poetry's mold of attention, or its own rhythms. As what's actually important slips through the radar of surveys and plotted course, unnoticed. Poets demanding enormous amounts of attention for a short period of time light up the grid-work, falling off slowly in the evening, for which hour the dice demands: I only read websites really closely a few times a month. I only read a few who I know have something to say. This small amount of information, though it may win no awards, moves me and gives my life meaning as a shortstop trips mid-catch and outs the closeted base-runner. Now this Now this? Fun or not, the chasing each other around with virtual sticks in paying homage to some courtly structure? Fuck it. As I live online, so I am filled with phantom longing as Madonna takes the stage in an old movie, guns blazing overhead, foreign cars, the last guy who penumbra'd a supporting role.
Cynicism is the new sentimentality. I believe Karl Merleau-Marcuse said that.
My address to you is always hidden, in a most ambivalent fashion, behind this same "you all."
By blogging I am procrastinating from all the reviews I have to write. Yes, your host is now a reviewer for several magazines, with far more readers than blogworld could ever provide! Let's see, the biggest poetry blogs: about a hundred and fifty readers, tops. Your average journal or magazine: at least several hundred, if not several thousand readers, maybe tens of thousands of readers. I cease and desist, perhaps I should halt the pursuit of blogging altogether? But no, for I am wired to the wall and would collapse, were I to step away from it.
This evening I ate strudel, a salad nicoise, and some Powerade. I feel like a phantom...can't feel my legs, nor my arms. I think I may have no limbs. I think I may be trapped inside this computer!
I may have forgotten some people...your lit vehicles and other machinery distract me sometimes from -- is that J-Lo?
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
As in, a small puff of breath from "rank" to "rankle."
I do not understand this "crush list" you are all so fond of. What is the purpose of this, as in the Olympics of what medal or gorged meal? Leading economists say wealth is an independent factor, as in people only find themselves happy in relation to poverty or others' unhappiness. Hoping this is not the case, or as signal to pull over, here is my nonhierarchical Boston crush list:

1. Xtina Strong
1. Bill Corbett
1. Mike County
1. Gerrit Lansing
1. Chris Rizzo
1. Shin Yu Pai
1. Mark Lamoureux
1. Michael Franco
1. Tim Peterson
1. Joe Torra
1. James Cook
1. Jim Behrle
1. Dan Bouchard
1. Sean Cole
1. Amanda Cook
1. Jim Dunn
1. Joel Sloman
1. Ruth Lepson
1. Jack Kimball
1. Michael Carr
1. Ed Barrett
1. Jocelyn Emerson
1. Jon Woodward
1. Nadia Herman Coburn
1. Patrick Dowd
1. Aaron Tieger
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
When I speak there is an absence behind that trying to assert itself, ships and stained armpits, ordinary joe. You have so many sleeves to your garment! Shall I collect trinkets of the same presence behind office parks, rubbings from tombstones? I have too many hats, and this would ordinarily determine the ratio of silence to noise. Shoo fly, don't beget me or shirk from what I spoke.
Friday, October 24, 2003
Books I am reading while sitting on the toilet:

How to Read a Poem: and Fall in Love With Poetry, by Edward Hirsch
Everyone Poops, by Taro Gomi
The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel, by J.L.E. Dryer
The Lotus Flowers, by Ellen Bryant Voigt
Where's the Poop?, by Julie Marks
Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault
Being Human at Work: Bringing Somatic Intelligence Into Your Professional Life, by Richard Strozzi-Heckler (ed)
Get Your Poop in a Group, by B.K.Hickson
Sperm Whales, by Hal Whitehead
My Alexandria, by Mark Doty
Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Natural Gardening, by Steve Solomon
The Day My Butt Went Psycho, by Andy Griffiths
Simulation and Simulacrum, by Jean Baudrillard
An Unfortunate Prairie Occurence, by Jamie Harrison
Best Words, Best Order, by Stephen Dobyns
Prehistoric Poop, by Mary Packard

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Hello, my name is Karl Merleau-Marcuse. I am a Franco-Germanic poet who has recently immigrated to America. I am doing my best to make sense of this confusing, alienating capitalist culture swirling around me every day. Join me and my friends as we discuss contemporary American poetry and other vital cultural matters.

Der Readings list:

CD Wright and Wendy Walters, poets
Wednesday, Oct. 22
Carr House (on Benefit St.), RISD, Providence RI
7 PM

Photographic Imaginations: an evening of alternative poetry and photography
Laura Blacklow and Walter (Rusty) Crump, photographers
Ruth Lepson, poet
Wednesday, Oct. 22
College of Communications, auditorium 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave (Boston U.)
7 PM

Joel Sloman, Xtina Strong, and Wanda Phipps, poets
Sunday, Oct. 26
WordsWorth Books, 30 Brattle St., Harvard Sq. (Cambridge)
5 PM

Katia Kapovich and Glyn Maxwell, poets
Monday, Oct. 27
Blacksmith House Reading Series, 56 Brattle St. (Cambridge)

Today I am carefully removing earwax from my left ear with a q-tip while "Karma Chameleon" plays in the background. I have one lazy eye, but this is not my fault. A yellow gob of earwax is a microcosm of bad feelings, as to throw this in the trash is to find speed of traffic scintillating. Matter of a Swatch cut open impulse. As in, I board your buses and house myself among cellphone yakkers who straddle two time zones, flee from their geist.
Monday, October 20, 2003
It's a sad day when you wake up and realize that somewhere deep down in your subconsicous you're basically a Habermassian. This makes me want to go draw moustaches on all your billboards.
The age of the demagogues will pass. The age
of the demagogues will
pass. The age, coming up-
on you as a screech-
ing dialectic, will
pass, the
(HONK) age of the
demagogues will
(WHEE) pass
the age of the (WANT
YOUR) demag-
ogle just the
right stuff op-
posite Wendy's the
aphid of the dimple-heads will pus.

Friday, October 17, 2003
Where did we find truth? In the cafe, in the bar, in the brothel, under the stairs, adjacent to a smart hooligan, screeching out impending nothings! Where did we find power? In the thuggish deliverance of groin-grinding and often sheep's clothing! Who do we want? Arnold!
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Ach, I am living in 2 dimensions too much of the time!
Here are the readings for this week. Je suis desolee pour the lateness, I was wrestling with the shadow of twentieth-century marxism and could not break free in time to post le stuff. Then I had to burp my tupperware containers:

George Stanley, poet
Thursday, Oct. 16
MIT Room 6-120, 77 Mass Ave (Cambridge)
7 PM

Bin Ramke and Sophie Cabot Black, poets
Saturday, Oct. 18
Harvard Advocate Building, 21 South St., Harvard Sq.
4 PM

John Cotter and Dan Bellm, poets
Saturday, Oct. 18
Words Worth Books, Harvard Sq.
5 PM

Jack Kimball and Tim Peterson, poets
Sunday, Oct. 19
Words Worth Books, Harvard Sq.
5 PM
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
The caveman is the dominant type of the decade, it seems. We need a caveman poetics to articulate this. Hu-ah, unh unh. Hu-ah! I feel the urge to rip a telephone book in half to divide you unequally.
Just when I think I am beginning to understand you, the foul stench behind your electoral process engulfs me. I wear your sneakers, I listen to your eighties music as a kind of kitsch, but while trying to embrace le Schwarzenegger, my hands dissolve into puddles of acid and bad reruns, wounds inflamed by the origins of a chauvinist muse. Who shouts loudest, has the most money, who buys into a naturalistic fallacy.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
I will not weigh in on the Silliman/Tieger/Boston controversy because I am constructed almost entirely of plastic, settled amid your New England boutiques next to several potpourri wreaths. Alors, I have found electric plug on sale for less!
Monday, October 06, 2003
C'est le temps du:

Karl's list of events this week (Boston, etc.):

Alice Fulton, poet
Tuesday, Oct. 7
Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library (at Harvard)
5:30 PM

Donald Revell, poet
Tuesday, Oct. 7
202 Harvard Hall, Havard U.
7:30 PM

C. D. Wright, poet
Wednesday, Oct. 8
Thompson Parlor, Barker Center, 12 Quincy St., Harvard U.
6 PM

Keith Waldrop and Mairead Byrne, poets
Thursday, Oct. 9
Carr House (on Benefit St.), RISD, Providence
7 PM

Shin Yu Pai, Aaron Kunin, and Corina Copp, poets
Saturday, Oct. 11
Words Worth Books, 30 Brattle Street, Harvard Sq. (Cambridge)
5 PM

Daphne Gottlieb, poet
Monday, Oct. 13
Words Worth Books
10 PM
I find myself unable to concentrate on anything productive today. I shall instead sculpt busts of your presidents out of Kraft cheese.
Sunday, October 05, 2003
You begin to discern what's missing as the tank steamrolls down the hill with no one inside it, you hope there's someone driving that, makes appearance before hitting that village at the base of the hill. Not hidden or hurt, like some bald patch to be combed over, but real failure, absence that shrinks from its shorn self, named to an actor who did that, made that, fell on that bullet. As those treads roll forward, cut, switch cameras to next report...
Friday, October 03, 2003
"In front of this wall was a slope in which was embedded a stone that jutted out--my stone. Often, when I was alone, I sat down on this stone, and then began an imaginary game that went something like this: 'I am sitting on top of this stone and it is underneath.' But the stone could also say 'I' and think: 'I am lying here on this slope and he is sitting on top of me.' The question then arose: 'Am I the one who is sitting on the stone, or am I the stone on which he is sitting?' This question always perplexed me, and I would stand up, wondering who was what now. The answer remained totally unclear, and my uncertainty was accompanied by a feeling of curious and fascinating darkness. But there was no doubt whatsoever that the stone stood in some secret relationship to me. I could sit on it for hours, fascinated by the puzzle it set me.

Thirty years later I again stood on that slope. I was a married man, had children, a house, a place in the world, and a head full of ideas and plans, and suddenly I was again the child who had kindled a fire full of secret significance and sat down on a stone without knowing whether it was I or I was it. I thought suddenly of my life in Zurich, and it seemed alien to me, like news from some remote world and time. This was frightening, for the world of my childhood in which I had just become absorbed was eternal, and I had been wrenched away from it and had fallen into a time that continued to roll onward, moving farther and farther away. The pull of that other world was so strong that I had to tear myself violently from the spot in order not to lose hold of my future."

-- C.C.Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Oh, and Joe Torra is a fabulous poet.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Yesterday I dueled with Mark Lamoureux over a pack of chewing gum. He drew his axe. I drew my copy of the Maximus Poems. We clashed in a large old room with many books in it and gothic America above a pocked mirror. He wanted to get out of the room. I smacked him soundly on the foreskull with my copy, leaving only a flake-rack where his eyebrows had once resided. He cut my left shin into two dialectically opposed arguments, and then we paused. Outdoors, the moon of cheese was rising. Realizing that our sad, malignant clash had come to naught, we shared a meager crust of bread, weeping and chuckling at the fallacy of it all.
Fact: when Baudelaire was writing his poems, osteopathy did not yet exist.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Hello, my name is Karl Merleau-Marcuse. I am a Franco-Germanic poet who has recently immigrated to America. I am doing my best to make sense of this confusing, alienating capitalist culture swirling around me every day. Join me and my friends as we discuss contemporary American poetry and other vital cultural matters.

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