Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

7/31/2003

Can someone please explain to me the fascination street with [insert television show here!]!

Slap your back for--somehow--actually bringing this one-eyed, three horned lamb to gestation, but please don't mind the "I am talentless" sign that THE AMERICAN VIEWING PUBLIC WITH MORE THAN A FIFTH GRADE EDUCATION HAS TAPED TO YOUR BACK.

Perhaps we can make a little puppet

7/28/2003

All Right Who the Fuck is Evening and Quail, Buster


Read some archival ptarmigan material. October was a good month for their antics, wooly and other wise.

All Right What the Fuck Happened to Evening and Quail, Buster

Oh, they're still around. When once larval, always larval--though perhaps in different insectoid, mitochondrial form. Always a-new. Floating around function. Terraces of thought--sometimes geraniums, sometimes sumac. Wait, sumac doesn't grow on windowsills!

I wish I could sell them on a consistency of voice, but I couldn't sell my soul to the devil even if I wanted to, and he wanted it.

Plus they have lives and weren't crazy about minerals to begin with.

Plus they weren't my pets. Just so we're clear.

I had students pair up for this poetry exercise. It turned out extremely well, I think--everyone had novel solutions to work against the grain of the couplets (this isn't anti-Pope, btw. Pope rocks. Pope would be, to paraphrase Atmosphere, bigger than guns and cigarettes if he were alive today). Here is a poem by one of the pairs:

Then build a New, or act it in a Plain.
 
offend in Arts
by a Love to Parts
One glaring carmine Chaos and wild Pile
of wit;   spit   deposit
Poets like Painters; the naked
Nature and the Living Grace,
        Some thing
whose Lies convinc'd at Sight we find
That gives us back
the Image
of our Mind: As bodies materialize through
                Excess of Blood.
Words are like Alexander Pope;
False Eloquence,
and still

--Leslie Matton-Flynn and Kathy Peterson

7/23/2003

Unto the happier.

My good friend Barth (aka Prof. Produce) has interesting ruminations about writing and farming:

potlach economy had it right. the best economic system doesn't value loss and waste but, instead, adheres to the rules of bounty. anyone who gardens knows this to be true. come august, you wind up with so many tomatoes that you have to beg friends to take them off your hands, or watch them rot. every summer, there reaches a point, right around late july, when i don't have to buy fresh fruit anymore because my store has so much fruit ripening and sweetening on our shelves that we're overwhelmed by agriculture's overflow. i juice. i can. i freeze it. and, man, i don't take a tenth of what we throw away.

farmlands gush because that's what they do - and every summer is another food-tide. that's why farmers don't make money in this country. they're like artists. writers. we pay them nothing because we know they'll produce the goods no matter what. ultimately, we don't value either writers or farmers because what they produce is waste, by capitalism's standards.


Bounty it up. Err with excess and giving-aways.

7/22/2003

An article like this....

"Popular romance."

I wrote something much longer in response to it. I axed most of it. Keeping this, however:

Poetry, while sometimes therapeutic, is not therapy. Poetry is not a man or woman with an MSW. Poetry is not a sulfuric hot spring. Poetry is not Lourdes. Poetry is a series of words, often with line breaks. The rest is fair game, an open ended question. But to ascribe poetry solely as a bulwark against personal dissolution--the implication being that Reetika's poetry might be construed solely as coming from this kind of motivation, which, anyone having read more than a few lines of her work, is clearly not the case--frustrates me to no end.

7/18/2003

I'm too crushed to say much. But Reetika Vazirani, who was in my class at the MFA program at Virginia, was found dead in an apparent murder-suicide along with her two year old son. This is what the Washington Post has regarding this. Although we had lost most contact after I left for St. Paul, she was a good friend of mine in Charlottesville, both in and out of the program.

I don't have the wherewithal to say anything else right now except that I'm devastated.

At Open Book milling around waiting to teach my poetry class, saw denziens of Typecon milling around as well! Then they loaded onto a yellow schoolbus to go back downtown! How I wanted to get on that bus with them (this isn't irony btw!). Writing predicates much of its secrets with typography. Good typography readily alters the reader's perceptions, can create little moods with little hairline changes in the shapes of words. This is grammarmancy in the most subtle (but because of that most true) sense.

Con culture can nurture...I don't know if I'd be the same person, much less the same writer if there wasn't Wiscon (yes, switching gears again, yes, the two principalities of poetry and speculative fiction are in increasingly less uneasy congress and antiplatonicks). Which involves a lot of talking to people whose company you enjoy in hotel lobbies, coupled with talking to other people (or the same) in hotel suites at 3am after bourbon and branch or what have you. Oh, that's the other thing--talking shop! Every little convening has its own shops about which to talk about. And in this case, no doubt ideological battles about serifs. I could think of no cooler thing in the world, so get on the bus!

7/17/2003

Agincourt Blues

Despite the historiographical jitters. I have to keep reminding myself that we, in fact, are not trying to invade France with the short end of a stick. The longbowman and the arquebuser (or is it arquebusier?) in uneasy coexistence until the invention of the musket, and later, the NRA. But there are desires for overwhelming force throughout history, and writing, sadly or not, sometimes marshals its own forces, in order to "innovate" and "outflank" ("Full plate carapace? Nice knowing you." said to the Agrarian gilded mercantile yes-men poems, c. 1895)

On a related note, Peter the Great thought he was a superb dentist. He would wander his palace and, quite at random, rip out "bad" teeth of servants. I can think of several recent geopolitical inferences from this, mostly centering on 1600 Penn.

Maybe the New Brutalism is more an antidote to the New Feudalism more than anything else. Which I like. The former, I mean.

If a battle was going bad longbowman fearing capture would drop their bows and fight with swords as a melee. Why? Captured prisoners of war that were thought of being possible longbowman were usually ransomed back to their kingdom, but not after having both of their draw fingers cut off. A bowman who could use a sword adeptly, came back home with all his digits intact.

Caller, you've been on hold the longest....

7/16/2003

Listen! Tactically, it would be opportune to embrace failures. But what kinds of failures? It depends on who's reeding. For a long time I have been afraid to mis-make the wrong kinds of failures, to disguise them as successes and "greats!" It comes down to "street cred" (a night without armor indeed) amongst people rapidly leaving the party. It's two AM and the Merovingians are on their way, and if you stay you're going to have to clean up the mess you didn't make. When was the last time a lion roamed Europe?

It's that I see failure all around me that I like to think it is mimetic in some way. I'm not sure what I'm imitating. For all intents and purposes, maybe it's moving away from "it would be opportune" in the first place. Maybe it would be highly inopportune to succeed. Or tune. What success? In the way that a Roman edifice will outlive others? Or that it can't outlive quantum dissolution x million years from now? Then other thoughts follow.

7/15/2003

The perfect ambulance would...well, let's start over. They used to think that if you were cut by a knife, putting balm on the knife would heal the wound. In which case someone needs to break into ________ and start putting band-aids on MOAB.

On a related note o why have people told me over and over through the years just how bad Their Satanic Majesties Request is? It's grrreat.

7/13/2003

Open Letter to Jewel

Dear Jewel:

So how are you going to spend all of that new-fangled street cred?

PS. Are you a vampire now? Thanks.

The not so secret link between William Burroughs and Whitney Houston.

Okay, my works' dones now.

7/03/2003

This here mineral explains some shit, kids, about minerals.

Sincerely,

7/01/2003

People always ask, what's this dog thing? And I always say, dogs are like minor angels. They love you purely. They forgive you purely. They're happy to see you. You can wake a dog up at three in the morning and say, hey let's play ball, and they'll say OKAY! My wife won't do that. My son won't do that. My friends won't do that. Three o'clock in the morning-let's go get pizza! OKAY! We overlook these extraordinary qualities even though we wish they would manifest themselves in people. --Jonathan Carroll