Monday, October 31, 2011

OAKLAND GENERAL STRIKE

Gorky to Stalin, 8 January 1930: "It is perfectly natural that many of the millions become very genuinely and furiously insane. They don't even realize the full depth of the turn-about that is occurring, but they feel instinctively, down to their bones, that the destruction of the deepest foundation of their centuries-old life is beginning. You can rebuild a destroyed church and set any god you like in it, but when the earth slips out from under your feet, that is irrevocable and forever.'"
 
 

Friday, October 28, 2011

NOBODY LAUGHS ANYMORE


Sutherland | from Stress Position (Barque 2009):  

How can the conditions of any group's life sum up all the conditions of life in their most inhuman form, when the only group that qualifies for the arithmetic is disallowed the majority of pleasures? The end. If the thing I who am passionate can do most passionately is reverse, but passion is irreversible, is time contradictory? Epilogue. If you are alone entering the room and the pain is on the floor only because the floor doesn't fly away, is the only way up? Epilogue. What does torture really interpret, if not by the natural compliancy of pain? The end. Is murder ever free, and if not, is it a corollary of the gift? Introduction.

Brad Flis | from "Not Safe for Work" (P-Queue 8, 2011): 

when a company, while in the process of gaining momentum
by standardized samples, remotely influenced
would-be retirees confronting the doom loop
in the great project manager's second final episode
confronting the brutal facts
I slept on the nail that brought us out
of retirement into bodily Tetris
making experience your rented day's companion
yesterday I blamed the doom loop for the reason I can't find much
to do (9 things I programmed for the next generation of feds)
It's amazing what people will tear up
when listening to the doom loop in their beds
as unexpected guests pop in and matter all
of a sudden

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RECENT ACQUISITIONS: EXPAND OR DIE

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #45 (circa 9th millennium BCE): "Expand or die." Within Ferengi cosmology, the Blessed Exchequer determines entry into the Divine Treasury once a Ferengi has died and their remains have been divided up, vacuum pressed and auctioned off. To be unsold is to be unmourned.

Thomas Lever, "A Frutfull Sermon Made in Poules Churche at London" (1572 CE): "Lette vs therefore euerye one acknoweledgynge our owne fautes, where as moft euyll fpryngeth, there laboure fyrfte wyth mofte diligence to plucke vp the roote of that euil, whyche is couetoufnes ..." 

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #284: "Deep down everyone's a Ferengi." By the twenty-fourth century Earth no longer has a currency-based economy rooted in neoclassical notions of exchange value, but as a founding member of the UN-like Federation, Earth's moneyless economy is not wholly incompatible with the state mandated laissez-faire stylings of Ferengi culture. At least the induction of Nog into Star Fleet, the militarized peace-keeping wing of the Federation, suggests as much (i.e. Nog's catch-phrase: "I may be a Starfleet officer, but I'm still a Ferengi"). In any case, the deep logic that sustained Ferengi civilization for millennia seems also to inform the Borg, the Federation and generally every other intergalactic social formation throughout the known universe. Or as the Federation's most wanted Maquis terrorist Michael Eddington once remarked in our future anterior, "Everybody should want to be in the Federation. Nobody leaves paradise. In some ways, you’re even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You assimilate people and they don’t even know it." All civilizations tend toward interminable growth and the sooner we come to terms with this the better. Deep down everyone's a Ferengi.


Rom leads the first Ferengi labor union (DS9 "Bar Association")

(It's worth noting that when Gene Roddenberry first introduced the Betazoid telepath Deanna Troi in 1987 he wanted her to have four breasts rather than two; his wife Majel Barrett, who went on to play Deanna's mother Lwaxana Troi, gently talked him down from that ledge.)





(Thanks to Boyd Nielson for calling attention to this.)

As I work through my own Ferengi-like acquisition spreadsheets, I see I've failed to register some 99% of the books that arrived over the past couple months. Three remarkable slim books by Ryan Dobran: Your Guilt is a Miracle (Bad Press 2008), Ding Ding (Critical Documents 2009), Confection (©_© Press 2011). Got On by Tom Raworth (©_© Press 2011). Three by Ian Heames: Bad Flowers (©_© Press 2009), Gloss to Carriers (Critical Documents 2011), Out of Villon (©_© Press 2011). Mayan Texts: A Galactic Birth Canal by Edgar Garcia (no press no date). Lobe Scarps & Finials by Geraldine Monk (Leafe Press 2011). Trailers by Michael Basinski (BlazeVOX 2011). CJ Martin's Two Books, a somewhat large book and the first from Michael Cross's Oakland based Compline (2011). Various issues of Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, edited by Robert Sheppard and Scott Thurston (the March 2011 number contains an astounding range of comments, including Danny Hayward's essay on Keston Sutherland's "The Proxy Inhumanity of Forklifts," an essay on Douglas Oliver by Simon Perril and notes on Eric Mottram, Sean Bonney and others by Giles Goodland). A North Atlantic Wall by Donald Wellman (Dos Madres Press 2010). The Summer 2011 issue of Polis magazine, edited out of Gloucester and San Francisco by James Cook, David Rich and Zachary Vincent Martin (includes recent writing by Donald Wellman, Peter Anastas, and Gerrit Lansing among others). A range of broadsides from the 2010-2011 reading series at Small Press Traffic curated by Michael Cross (striking print work from Cross, Kyle Schlesinger, Andrew Rippeon and others). Several Barque Press publications that are new to me: Mike Wallace-Hadrill's Ketamine Boxing With Fun Boy (2011), Petrarch by Tim Atkins (2011), Loving Little Orlick by Kevin Nolan (2006) and William Fuller's Three Replies (2008). Robert Sheppard's Warrant Error (Shearsman 2009) and Far Language: Poetics and Linguistically Innovative Poetry 1978-1997. Various installments of the Chadwick Family Papers by Lytle Shaw and J. Blachly (most recently Nelson Man o'Bar and Half Seas Over, both 2011). Issue 8 of P-Queue, the first under the editorship of Joey Yearous-Algozin and Holly Melgard (includes work from CA Conrad, Ish Klein, Thom Donovan, Chris Sylvester, Jenna Osman, David Buuck and others). Loads more that I've no doubt misplaced and will stumble upon momently, overwhelmed and wanting to think through all of them much further, as I hope to.






Immediately struck by Ian Heames's ©_© Press, most if not all of the titles hand-built letterpress objects (he and Mike Wallace-Hadrill appear to be doing print work more akin to the early titles published through Simon Cutts's Coracle Press , at least in terms of book making, but the poetry itself seems far more closely connected to the poetries published by Bad / Sad Press, Critical Documents, Grasp Press and Barque. This from Heames himself, his Gloss to Carriers: 

And follow the insects of this world
But also of the other
They kill the exact case of the statue
The pink smoke of bitter passwords
They'll sob, thinking of your orbits

Exhaust ardour sprained the flaxen ground staff
CGI brushed steel on sedge phosphorous
And approaching the white hot templates
Of Capitalism and Love
Its dismal optic carbine

Commenting on the police repression of various #Occupy encampments in the US, and well in advance of the violent destruction of the encampment at Oscar Grant Park in Oakland, California at 5:00am on October 25th, Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover and Annie McClanahan write: "It is hard to imagine anyone denying that it would be a good thing if the police were to take the side of the occupations. This is a far cry, however, from the belief that such a thing could reasonably happen. We must distinguish between analysis — an analysis of the concrete situation and accompanying historical record — and wish fulfillment fantasy. The latter tends, after all, to lead toward quite disastrous strategic and tactical decisions. In Tahrir Square — a place and idea toward which the Occupy movement swears fidelity — there was, despite some folks’ hysterical amnesia on this score, no commitment to non-violence, no gesture of complicity with the police, and no hesitation in resisting the government’s armed thugs. The Egyptians understood with clarity who their antagonists were, what their relationship to them was, and what would be needed to prevent the movement from being crushed by the folks with the guns and clubs." (Thanks to Eirik Steinhoff for calling attention to this.)





Call for Oakland police to participate | Oct 25th

An exclamatory remark from Jean-Luc Picard on the Borg to Lily Sloane (Star Trek: First Contact): "I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they've done."