Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A nifty hinge on WebCite


Another one from the tool shed: WebCite is an archiving site which offers sturdy durability, and also the ability to hinge page to page. This As/Is page from 2016 on WebCite, hinged to an Otoliths page from '17, makes the case for "hinges" (as this, also, does) as some of the more true gems possible to produce from the tools we have around now. Inter-plays between web pages, both inter-relational and interstitial, are another wave of the future, and fertile food for thought as Net archiving progresses through the century. Tri-hinges, anyone?

Friday, October 13, 2017

To Happy Valley


The State College townie kids, bound
to Happy Valley, got their kicks where
they found them, gave off an air of
ennui shot with doom (human life
having granted them no escape valve),
yet were accommodating to me. On
what it means to look around a small
town, and know that it is everything to you,
encompasses all you are, Lords over you
confining curses: to trip with these kids was
to understand these limitations, the magic
& the agony. Lisa smirked, skinny in her boots,
hair cut short but for the one fringe over
her left eye, & passed me water for the E high-

Lisa- after twenty years, the bathroom,
you remember, in The Coffee Cellar,
was all black, with a wide mirror.
Stoned, I dragged you (sweet sixteen) in there
to see if I could kiss you, wrapped in
black leather pants; you banged in
two-inch-high boots, tawny hair-fringe
there, over your eye. I got the kiss; we ambled
out hand in hand; wound up back in
again. You made me vow to you
something I can't remember. How
townie girls talked- I'd nod, get lost.
But the womb-space was complete-
we were safe, ascendant into space, hopeless-

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Order & Discipline


So, you had me on your chopping
block that day; the City Hall court
yard blazed with summer heat. We
were over, that was it. You wanted,
you said, some order & discipline in
your life. Chinatown simmered under
our feet; I looked (futilely) for a GO
board; you bought some incense. You
turned quickly, I tried to kiss you; you
resisted; it was close. Two brains tried
to coalesce into one, about love & us.
Epochs passed; I've got order & discipline
right here, in these lines, Ruth. I trust
you understand. Much of the rest is dust.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Halloween Again...


As we head towards Halloween again, and with the new e-book in circulation, I am left to reflect on what it means to live/work through a transitional time. Some home truths seem to be both stark and Halloween-ish; television, print media, popular culture are all bottoming out on an atrocious level of thoughtlessness and mediocrity. The vacuity of what's "around," in all these contexts, is breathtaking. Meanwhile, the world created from, and out of, the Internet, while it has to have some of the earmarks on the century XX world, has set in place the possibility that those with the brains and gumption to do so can forge their own worlds, universes, contexts. Is it that stark in 2017: the Internet set against the rest of America, or the rest of the world? I am given to wonder because, as the Halloween skull you see here being flown at 1521 Fayette Street in  Conshohocken, the contrasts are so stark, so deathly. If we are moving towards an era in which online universes win more of the time against the hollowed-out stuff, you can bet the plebeian sector of humanity won't be particularly happy about it; they'd gladly stay in century XX forever. But the individualistic portion of humanity, who dare to live beneath the surface and develop their cognitive capacities, will have a much easier time finding outlets for creative self-expression. That seems to me to be more important; even if the "skull" hovering around the endeavor, which suggests rancor and even physical violence, has to be flown, because between those of my kith and kin and the plebes it must, it seems, be never-the-twain.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Volo Coffeehouse, Manayunk


The Posit Trilogy was released September 9, 2017, as an Argotist E-Book. Posit, the first third of the Trilogy, was written in December/January '06/'07 in my Logan Square apartment in Center City Philadelphia, and released as a Dusie chap on June 9, 2007. The second and third portions of the Trilogy (Deposit and Re-Posit) were initially drafted here, at Volo Coffeehouse, on Main Street, Manayunk, in late August 2013. I re-drafted them earlier this year. Volo resembles the Last Drop in Center City Philadelphia very specifically; the high, coffered ceiling, large bay window facade, and general ambiance of all things indie, avant, and Bohemian distinguish it. I happened to be reading Augustine's Confessions as I drafted Deposit and Re-Posit; I also happened to be wearing all my Carnaby Street/Urban Outfitter's gear from the Aughts. And carrying a cigarette case. The coffee was super-potent.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New Argotist Online E-Book: The Posit Trilogy


The new Adam Fieled Argotist Online E-Book is The Posit Trilogy. Many thanks to Jeffrey Side.

"The Posit Trilogy initiates a cycle, and then repeats it twice: a kind of Father, Son, Holy Ghost structure around the poet's quest to achieve self-hood, through analysis of different kinds of subjectivity (visionary, practical), explorations of dreams (consciousness creating its own kinds of matrixes and mazes to wander around in), and attempted resonances with the American city of Philadelphia (birthplace of America, enchanted by history, architecture, hidden depths, and interstitial, subterranean structures). The cycles that constitute The Posit Trilogy ricochet back and forth, with an eye towards creating a poetic landscape individual, idiosyncratic, and loopy enough to stimulate any human brain receptive to its advances."

Here is the current list of Argotist Online E-Books.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Two Plugs


Mike Land & I dropped acid in Logan
Square, danced down to the Drop,
spaced out in the dank basement;
sashayed over to Jen Cho's first floor
apartment on Lombard Street, where
she held court, partying with her U of
Delaware "green" buddies; & huffed some
hash on top of the acid. Mike sat in an
armchair, rocking. Erin, Jen's chum,
sent me purple signals, but Mike had to be
wheeled out of there. Jen's was a floor to
crash on, for Erin & I later. I got my news.
Over at the Drop, Erin's geeks had our number-
I woke Mike up to hear the code: two plugs.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Boys/Girls, Aughts/Teens


The born-in-the-90s generation are in an interesting position. Because the era we happen to be living through is a transitional one, they will not have the problem my generation was forced to work around- of being stuck in a crawl-space, with a rapacious, monomaniacal system of information dissemination dictating what our economy should be to us. We had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide- everyone was more-or-less forced to experience the same events, catastrophes, uprisings, and conflagrations at the same time. Kids born in the 90s can, via the Internet especially, take their pick of what to believe, what to experience, what to study, what to internalize, and who to trust. The popular entertainment 'biz, important for kids, does happen to be in a huge slump now; but the Net offers a variety of alternatives, so that as the brighter, more inquiring kids develop their own "routes," their brains can expand in whatever direction happens to appeal to them at any given moment.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

From The Tool Shed...


As an archiving tool, archive.fo presents some distinct advantages, some distinct disadvantages. Pages generated by archive.is tend to be rock solid, and the archive.is servers are pretty solid too. The main disadvantage, as I see it, is about prestige. Archive.is can be employed as an archiving tool by anyone, at any time, for any reason. As such, the idea of adjudication, of a page judged by a serious authority to have or embody worthiness, for some solid reason, in the world, does not come into play here. Lowly pages receive the same treatment loftier pages receive. Thus, the rock solid pages generated by archive.is must accrue prestige based on an original source. This chips away at the kind of consummate package deal we are looking for in our quest for the perfect webpage; the page which has all bases covered, as the saying goes.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Computer Raunch/Perfect Webpage


It's been a summer of computer raunch for me: from my hard-drive breaking down in June (many thanks to the masterminds at Silvertek in Broomall for assistance) to online operating systems breaking down. That's something about American life in 2017: computer issues will have you begging for mercy. Especially if, as is the case for me, your sturdy desktop set-up is your home, office, and den. As I continue my experiments with webpage archiving and preservation, I do now have a nominee for the most perfect Philly Free School webpage, the most solid all-the-way-round: the British Library version of my Argotist Online Apps/Sonnets page. The last capture, here, is from July 1, 2017 (and its initial twin is from February 15.) Once you have a well-rounded, solid webpage set in place, it is helpful to realize that it can't be truly perfect until a solid portal-page, which also must needs be highly prominent and visible, is set in place. Hidden gems are the way of the Net, but chip away at the aura of the "consummate" which I want pages like this to have. For now, a bunch of portal-way entrances on Blogger (including this one) will have to do for the page I've linked here. Also the attendant solidity quid pro quo is massive: the British Library Wayback Machine is tightly wound, compressed, compacted the right way to achieve maximum durability for its pages; yet the pages will not (as computer heads know) show up in searches on major search engines. So, the vision quest continues.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

September Heat


That September night we followed our
party back to a twin near City Hall, under
an aegis which was not for us, & which
included our enemies, dirt & grime came
down, settled on our backs. Now, I blame
a sense of excess which was just the Aughts;
I got used to knowing a step up on a Philly
ladder could be a step down. They were
snorting coke in a room upstairs at this
party, and, it was rumored, playing Russian
Roulette. The pistol (I saw) had a silencer on it.
I looked up, from the landing, at a greasy light.
September heat cast an eerie glow of nowhere-
someone pushed past me to join the affair.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Eyewear


The UK blog Eyewear has adopted a rather tumultuous approach to what stays and what goes, conservation/preservation, over a long period of time. Most of what I had on Eyewear as of '13/'14 is now erased. Yet, Eyewear is being archived by both the British Library and the Internet Archive Wayback Machines; and this page, from 2008, which contains my poetic apostrophe to Dawn Ananda Hulton, is here completely intact.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Another interesting Ur-page


Another now-offline Ur-page salvaged by the Wayback Machine: poems from Apparition Poems in Listenlight, ed. Mackenzie Carignan, 2010.  

Ricochet Matrix


Over a long period of time, I've noticed that having a large body of work online, in different/disparate disciplines (and representing interests, also, other than my own), creates what I call a ricochet matrix. An environment is generated out of different parts of a kind of organism here, so that when one constituent form held by the ricochet matrix changes in any way, expands or contracts, all the parts respond. Some of the ricochets held within the matrix structure flirt with the unlikely or absurd; por ejemplo, "Brown Eyes Like His" on Soundclick against the Kant-related pdfs on Internet Archive against the Sonnets/Apps on The Argotist Online against Abby's "The Walls Have Ears." The larger matrix structure, which both creates and constitutes the environment around/for everything I do online, is the architecture in Conshohocken, the Philly 'burbs, and in Philadelphia itself. Like a computer, a substantial architectural construct has inbuilt a kind of sentience, and interacts in a semi-sentient way with the world around it. Thus, King of Prussia, Gulph Mills, and Conshohocken are continually poured into my brain as ricochets against the smaller/larger environment of our online matrix as it develops, to nurture (as environment) other brains to remain expansive, too. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tears in the Fence 66


Tears in the Fence 66 is now out and available to be purchased. It features two new sonnets from me, lots of other good stuff. Many thanks to David Caddy. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Getting Tron'd Out


Computers, like architecture, I can still get mystical about. The big hang-up for me, as one playing the lit game (online and elsewhere), is this: the pursuit of the perfect webpage. Take it for granted, given the context, that I mean webpages related to poetry and literature. So, pilgrim-like, I have gone, and continue to go, in pursuit of the perfect webpage, and begin to get Tron'd out, as I realize, as most serious computer heads realize, that both webpages and the insides of computers are at least semi-sentient. Tron, a feature-length motion picture, was not as far-fetched as may have been supposed. So, if you have an almost perfect webpage established, it can be worked, trained, groomed, and unleashed all over again, if you can master the right stretch, compress, and archiving tricks; as though, of course, it were a child eager to perform, ready to learn. And all the warped proportions and strange juxtapositions of the architecture in King of Prussia are mirrored inside a hard drive used to push the human brain forward the right way.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

When the Twelfth House Becomes the Fun Zone...


As someone who semi-actively watches the yearly planetary ephemeris, and likes studying the zodiac archetypes and other elements of astrology though I don't think natal charts work literally that much anymore, I used to dread the last decante of Libra (Libra-Gemini). This decante informs my twelfth house; house of self-undoing, self-destruction, confinement, blind spots, and unforeseen nightmares. I've been learning a new lesson this summer: that the last degrees of Libra which inhabit my twelfth house can also bequeath peace, rest, tranquility, self-transcendence, and, dare I say it, fun. June 3/4, when the print edition of Otoliths 44 arrived in the mail, were the two best days I've had in Conshohocken since I arrived here in '12; and today, also, has been a barn-burner in terms of transmuting possible twelfth house snafus into a liberated sense of living in a world that still has in it boundlessness, heft, eternity. My theory is this: the twelfth house starts to be fun when you've earned enough good karma with the universe to make it that way, through staying innocent of moral atrocities and travesties of all kind, and, more importantly, through using your brain the right way.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

King of Prussia


Last month, for a rather random reason, I managed to make it over to King of Prussia. King of Prussia, and the King of Prussia mall, are always fun for me, both because I like to gawk at the architecture and because I like to indulge in Nineties nostalgia. My semester breaks home from PSU in '94, '95, and '96, I would drive around KOP doing various errands, not necessarily realizing that the architecture was casting a potent spell on my imagination, which it was. KOP looks like it was imported from outer space (and/or the moon), and yet so much of it is so gracefully melded to what mother nature has to offer that it appears entirely organic. Many Philly 'burbs are magical that way; Conshohocken is. The ride from Bridgeport to Conshohocken is another stunning "on the moon" one. If you have wheels, highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

o debbie jaffe, wherefore art thou?


A sign of the times and the Zeitgeist: now that the British online journal Nth Position is offline, we find the key Fieled Nth Position page preserved on two different Wayback Machines, the British Library wayback and the archive.org. This 2006 page is mostly notable to me for containing "debbie jaffe" from Beams. Now, you won't ever get the Ur-page again, but can always come here and get the post-Ur-page, as Blogger ricochets become more distinct/useful, if you so desire. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trooper (for Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum)


In La Tazza, a coffee shop in Manayunk,
a stairway led you stiffly into a high-ceiling'd,
Spartan, red-painted basement, where I
wound up with Chris one autumn night
in '97. How Jeremy's group picked us up
I don't know, but we all wound up in an
apartment on Main Street. Everyone was
wearing army jackets; Jeremy was uncharacteristically
quiet. He had already lost control of his
cabal, & blew in the wind. The poems lay,
then, wrapped in a dossier-like presentation,
at Villanova, among other secret files; as they
lay, also, in Jeremy's brain, as tokens that
he once cared to be a real army trooper.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Poetry Charts


A quirk has emerged from a plethora of music industry websites featuring chart rankings: sometimes poetry gets ranked, too. Poetry mp3s now have the capacity, from PennSound (sans rankings), Soundclick (including rankings) and elsewhere, to travel far and wide, and deliver or not deliver goods to receptive spoken word heads. On the hearthis.at site, the Ode on Jazz, taped on April 5, 2004 at a Live at the Writers House show at KWH on the Penn campus (later broadcast on WXPN), reached #7 in the "Other" category chart. A nifty reminder that the excitement, thrills/spills of the music business are now available to other kinds of artists, who may not write to the tune of Casey Kasem, but don't mind doing business with the dude when he comes a-callin'.


P.S. At one point, I had a #1 ranked poetry page on Reverbnation, also.

P.S.S. Clean (Live in Brooklyn) has a monster ranking of sorts on Jamendo.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Clear Channel?


If by 40 you do not believe in other worlds, above and beyond the world/context of the human race on earth, you can look forward to a pretty paltry existence. Aleister Crowley clearly believed in the existence of other worlds; in Book of the Law, he seems to be channeling one of them. What I find interesting in the book, as the manifestation of a channeling exercise, is the way/manner in which Crowley wrestles with his voices. The first voice is a female voice, and a caressing one (Nuit). With Nuit, Crowley seems simpatico. The second and third voices, Hadit and Horus, are male, imposing, phallic presences. With Hadit and Horus, Crowley not only wrestles with their phallic impositions, it is difficult to tell in the text if Crowley is "clear channeling," or deliberately mangling what may have been being transmitted through the airwaves on those two April afternoons. Why was Crowley quarreling with his voices? The answer seems to be clear: Hadit and Horus espouse a form of spiritual elitism and classicism, against the intercession of plebeians/the plebeian, which Crowley,  not wanting to alienate a potential audience, finds distasteful. It is a theory I have that, literary/occult acumen aside, Crowley as an individual may have been less remarkable than has been commonly supposed. His aims in the world were conventional ones, and he craved conventional success. Maybe. It is just that, when you read Books II and III, when you are hearing Hadit and Horus and when you are hearing Crowley disputing with or rebuking them is a point of some interest, Neo-Romantic interest/transcendentalism intended.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Addendum


As an addendum to yesterday's post about Crowley's The Book of the Law, I want to make something clear about the text. Both Crowley's intro to the text and his postscript are written rather gauchely. Because, in the postscript, Crowley inappropriately suggests that the book should not be studied, for fear of the life of the individual who might study it, he comes across as rather a histrionic adolescent; or, as we see here, The Fool. The Fool on the Hill does, indeed, have a problem; through fooling around with states of non-being and nothingness, while trying to seem to himself like a substantial individual, a something, as it were, on the surface, the Fool has reduced himself to a Zero-state. As he plummets off the cliff, he is a reminder not to be half-assed, where Nothing/Something dichotomies are concerned. Crowley could have used this reminder. Those who will study The Book of the Law, for its literary excellence, will just have to deal with an author unwilling to handle what he has created, and who is more than willing to play the fool.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Do what thou wilt...


There is the big chunk of Crowley's Book of the Law which reads to me as superior poetry; then, there is the dictum which in many circles has become a commonplace: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Crowley remarks, in his introduction, that Do what thou wilt constitutes a simple code of conduct; which implies that what is being signified is a simple Do what you want. Thus, the bastardization of Crowley into Satanic, adolescent cults and orders, mostly undeserved, is due partly to Crowley's own negligence; because there is another, richer way of reading Do what thou wilt. The way I have always chosen to read the dictum, Will (Thelema, in the text) is something, an individual essence, which must be divined for through processes of arduous spiritual labor and eventual catharsis. To "do one's will," one first has to know one's will thoroughly. The process of learning one's own will involves not only introspection but awareness of all levels and gradations of positive and negative Otherness; how the individual must stand in relation to the rest of the (complex, contradictory) human race. Not simple stuff. Just as Love is the law, love under will can only be the manifestation of internalizing complex realities and assimilating them over long periods of time. For the love to be there, under one's will, it must be directed concretely; you must be loving something or someone; and it is impossible to love everyone and everything.

P.S. This piece, on Crowley's novels Moonchild and Diary of a Drug Fiend, appeared on the British blog Eyewear in 2013.

Monday, June 26, 2017

I posit no boundary between us...


The line in the title poem of Posit (I posit/no boundary/between us) is one I'd like to parse, in reference to what Neo-Romanticism is meant to be in the humanities world in 2017. If looked at objectively, an argument could be made that Modern art, post-modern art, and Deconstructionist literary theory are all largely constituted by a succession of boundaries, and a succession of boundaries effect. In other words, the works of art, and the texts, are a game and a gambit against both intimacy, and the possibility of intimacy, between reader/viewer and creator. Deconstructionism configures intimacy as naive, as both an intention and a possibility, largely through the perceived obtrusion of the arbitrary into language and linguistic significations. Modernity and post-modernity lean heavily on alienation tactics and irony motifs. To get a little Wilde, the importance of being earnest is lost. Yet Deconstructionism must withstand its own contradictions; as Roland Barthes enumerates how we might be seduced by texts, it must be understood that what is seductive in textuality is, in itself, the possibility of writer/reader intimacy; and that intimacy can only be a viable possibility if what is arbitrary in language and balanced and offset by what in language and linguistic symbolization is purposeful (as Wordsworth would have it), and penetrant into the psyche of those who read and experience the text. In other words, scruples aside, language works.

Art works, too. Neo-Romanticism is, in fact, predicated on a belief in the efficacy of aesthetic symbolization, and (specifically), the positing of no boundary between creator and viewer/reader. Neo-Romanticism, on a primordial level (sprung, perhaps, from a ricochet to Philadelphia's buildings), believes in itself, and believes in its audience. Why the Dusie chap Posit, which ten years ago was ricocheting across the country for the first time, was more a statement of intention than I at first perhaps perceived, is because I failed to grasp the underpinnings of the work itself (and of The Posit Trilogy which came later) in regards to the primordial compact I unconsciously projected onto it, as I created it; a self-regulated, self-sustaining world of good faith, good intentions, and genial good will towards whoever might choose to read the text. The Neo-Romanticism which was born out of Aughts Philadelphia does, in fact, attempt to take the first person singular and make it genial again. There cannot be a "you," a second person singular, without an "I"; and the significance of poetry's primordial perspective, an "I" addressing a "you," is that it becomes a Heideggerian sheltering device against what might corrupt it from without. The succession of boundaries effect embedded in Modern and post-modern art, the creation of more and more vast distances between reader/viewer and creator, is not an effect Neo-Romanticism finds interesting. Formality is another issue, and off the table here; but, suffice it to say, formality creates the inherent genial good will of a rich relationship to history and histories, continuity of consciousness over long stretches of time. Formality adds levels of richness, rather than impoverishment.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Saturn on Docshare


Saturn is a pdf I compiled in 2013. It presents my first run of print books. Docshare has released the Saturn pdf here, in its own way/manner.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Aughts Elucidations


On page 125 of this document is what amounts to an invitation to understand both Philadelphia itself, and what the cultural composition of Philadelphia in the Aughts was. It also reveals something about what I purport to be Philly's sun sign (Gemini), and the more unfortunate dimensions of Geminian postures and behaviors- trash-talk, double talk, slander, insecurity, and evasion. The party who penned this screed wants to be forgotten what I cannot forget- at a certain point, the olive branch was specifically offered FROM the Philly Free School to this posse. They seemed to accept. It's just that, over the rest of the Aughts, some of my forward momentum in Philadelphia was specifically blocked off by their cruelty, childishness, and unwillingness to respect others. Having a choice between adult-level dignity and infantile posturing, I witnessed them usually making the more unfortunate choice. Yet, a good fight can be an interesting spectacle, Artaudian or not, and all this rivalry and trash-talk heightened the perspective that the Philly cultural scene gave off a good amount of light/heat. Go figure.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ode: On the Schuylkill

On the river's bank, boat-legions rolled
    in search of commerce, bridges to build;
souls, cargo (heavy, light), bought & sold,
    coffers waiting in Philly to be filled.
Ladies stepped gingerly onto green banks,
   white satin, black lace, versed in politesse or no-
      patterns walked, insignias inscribed into air-
young ones, underlings already in their ranks,
   sought to make the landing show-offy, slow,
     down a hundred yards from a drunken fair.

Add a century, an Expressway looms over
    the murk- wave-sounds, squeals, & metal-
which the Schuylkill cannot answer, hovering
    under- slow-moving, patient, & settled.
The river's mind is settled- the human race
   churns around it restlessly, adding bodies
      shorn of dignity, bloated, pulp-bloody, blue,
having carried burdens the river never dreams
   of, emptiness so incorrigible the Schuylkill's face
      registers nothing but limp waves- tender, true.

The Keats-brain, peering in, questioning, elevates
    the Schuylkill's mystery into frozen heat-
truth & beauty all in the browning, decay, fate
    of all water-bodies subject to our meat-
I sit on the edge, watching overhanging leaves,
   frozen myself by the gross negligence
      of what lies beneath the river's surface,
& my own, as the summer sun inverts, grieves
   for the masses, exploring no penitence
      as I am, grounded, here, diving for purpose-

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Smitten European Syndrome


Anyone who's lived in Philadelphia for more than a few years knows the Smitten European Syndrome. On one's travels in Philly, periodically one will run into European folk, who passionately vow for Philadelphia against all the other American cities: for class, style, distinction, and dignity. It's just something that happens. Much of the European hoopla around Philadelphia has to do with architecture: after all, what a city essentially amounts to is a collection of buildings. As a collection of buildings in the continental United States, Philadelphia is peerless. What the Philly Free School amounts to, is an extended attempt to transmute the grandiosity, stateliness, and gravitas of Philadelphia's architecture into a body of higher artistic work; why I called one of our key pdfs Our Architecture Did This To Us. All these facets of Philly, as a construct, point to one essential reality: Philadelphia is an adult city; a city about solidity, on and beneath the surface. For the continental United States to grow into an appropriate awareness of PFS, all the sectors of America which remain Babyland sectors (the press corps are the worst, and NYC, with its bold-facade-with-nothing-behind-it emptiness, runs a close second) will have to grow up. What I'm doing here now amounts to planting seeds, because wheels this extensive and ponderous can only turn slowly.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

& Now, Chicago...

As per other Happenings Ten Years Time Ago: on July 6, 2007, I read with a bunch of Chicago poets at Kate the Great's bookstore in Andersonville, Chi-Town. We wound up doing three Philly Free School readings at Kate the Great's; the final one, in the summer of '08, capped off a trip on which I lectured at Loyola behind Opera Bufa. Illustrated here is a Loyola syllabus featuring the book; this, also, is a term paper written on the book for the class by Stacy Blair. But, back to the main: I forgot to mention: Philadelphia and Chicago do share many key issues. Chicago's image problem is a hinge to Philadelphia's: that to make Chi-Town simple is a fool's game. Down to rich Chicago suburbs appearing in 80s movies with which we learned our moves as kids (Bueller? Bueller?).

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dare


Philadelphia is a city with an image problem. To make a long story short: Philly is impossible to nutshell. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: if Philly has a sun sign, it is certainly Gemini. Geminis do, often, have image problems: they tend to be too complex, too all over the place, to make easy summary possible. The press are wankers and adolescents and need their soundbites, and other cities come through just fine (at least on the surface): DC is the government, LA is Hollywood, Vegas is casinos, Frisco is queers and queerness, Nawlins is alcohol, the Florida cities are the Florida Lifestyle, the Texas cities are the Texas Lifestyle, Seattle went from Nothing to Grunge to Nothing Again, Pittsburgh/Cleveland/Detroit are junk/trash, and the funniest, for those who observe the tactile realities of the United States beneath the surface, is NYC as the power center of everything. Philadelphia is just too complicated, too ornate, as its architecture is, to do the sound bite routine. So you will encounter anomalies: Garrison Keillor, avant-garde hipster extraordinaire, on the Prairie Home Companion, confidently summarizes Philadelphia as a "working class city." On the other hand, a movie like 2009's Dare, which amounts to a staging of Less Than Zero in the rich Philadelphia 'burbs, emphasizes all the Easton-Ellis paradigm insignias of too much too soon, from queerness to sex/drugs/alcohol/money.

Indeed, what Dare actually is, is a meta-movie, staging something daring: accurate reportage of what the Philly 'burbs really add up to, beneath the surface. And, as the movie unfolds, the sturm und drang around putting the pedal to the proverbial metal towards an apotheosis of affluent, wasted youth, brings to the surface yet another Philly complexity; the kinds of kids and families who might hire Rocky Balboa as a plumber or maintenance man. They were there in 1976, too. You just didn't see them then.

Ten Years Gone: Double Imperatives


Ten years ago today, on June 9, 2007, I stepped into the post office, on Chestnut Street between 20th and 21st Streets in Center City Philadelphia, to mail out the first copies of my Dusie chap Posit. A decade and many books and e-books later, it is interesting to reflect, on June 9, 2017, what it means to spend ten years publishing at or on high levels. What it brings to the surface, for me, is an awareness and an acknowledgment that we are living through a transitional time, where publishing is concerned. The splintered or splintering effect in publishing, created by the competing, not always commensurate demands of online life against print life, has created a sense of the whole enterprise as a whirling dervish highwire act. Posit, in 2007, was released as a print chapbook and an e-book simultaneously; Mark Young's journal Otoliths had that double-pronged effect going then, and still does. Beams came out as an e-book later in '07, and pirated print editions soon appeared on the market; while later books like Apparition Poems and Cheltenham were released in print without precise online counterparts. To make up that difference, I placed the pdfs on sites like Scribd and Internet Archive, where they have enjoyed some success. But the point, that the publishing imperative should, of necessity, become a double imperative by '17, is one which adds gravitas to a semi-Sisyphean conception or paradigm model of publishing, in which only the super-diligent and highly motivated might survive, and the idea of standing, confidently and suavely, behind print alone, is an antiquated one.

In fact, from '17 on out, it looks like in many ways online is winning, which I did not expect. The reason is simple: online offers a more pure, less riddled-with-corruption reading experience than print does. The paradigm which held sway in my mind for many years, of print and online holding commensurate weight and finding ways and means of balancing each other out, now in and of itself seems antiquated. Online, of course, cannot be completely utopic; the human race en masse are not capable of producing utopic contexts; but many of us at least do not feel, by '17, that we've stepped into a Rosemary's Baby-level Satanic orgy when we read online. Amazon is just that, an obvious, obviously corrupt jungle; as is the University library system in the United States. It is the province of rackets and racketeers; if you didn't think print books could kill, think again. The problem, for myself as a literary individual, is that I love print books. I adore them. Yet, if the integrity and the purity is online, that's where I'll be. When I stepped into the post office on Chestnut Street ten years ago today, many poetry voices were still dismissive of online as a viable context for poetry; I had no idea then, that so many of these were racketeer voices. So, unbelievably, if you want to ride the publishing cutting edge in '17, you may have to admit that print can be expendable now. Preservation techniques have made online a suitable venue for Eternity, and the Eternity Sweepstakes; and print has become a fool's paradise's, at least part of the time, for clods and literary clod-ism.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

PFS and the Heartland


High or serious art is usually considered the province of the big cities, here in the States. That's generally where the schools, the money, and the prestige are. Yet, as I get older, I can't not be curious as to how the Philly Free School will fare in other parts of the country, like the Bread Basket, or Dust Bowl, or Great Plains, or what have you. One of the most salient mysteries built into America, as a construct, is this large chunk of the country, comprised of small and mid-level towns and cities. What would a rural community see or not see in PFS? The way I imagine it, a small town hidden in the Bread Basket somewhere might have an intrigued response. In small towns and rural communities in general, the populace lead slower lives, and live to more advanced ages. Philly Free School art is meant to encourage contemplative duration; that is, is meant to be consumed, assimilated, and interpreted over long expanses of time. And slowly, piece by piece- not like the McDonald's, disposable version of haute culture espoused by New York. The idea is that if this particular population were to be drawn to, and drawn in by, the Philly Free School, it would be because our oeuvre radiates a certain kind of depth, of dimensions and mysteries which in and of themselves require slow, patient study, to yield the greatest receptive reward. I am attracted to the Bread Basket as an idea and an ideal in relation to us; the kind of audience who would be willing to dig beneath the surface of the paintings and books and stay there. Yet, I am no expert where Heartland mores and tastes are concerned. Who knows?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

If I Ever See Doris Day Again


Envision yourself in a bath, in West
Philadelphia, high as a kite (pot, more),
& you may have a vision of her as pure,
like the America we dream of, like Doris
Day. She may only appear that way once.
Even in the course of the bath, where,
as you wouldn't guess, heaven and hell
loom right around the corner, not the
narrow but the wide way, & it seems like
eternal life, until she tightens her grasp,
you feel around for an exit, no dice,
& her eyes tell you You're gonna die...
yes, you're gonna die, right now. Bang. Bang. Bang.
Two deities turn stone-white, hanged.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lucky Dragons, after 13 years....


Those who were there can vouch for it: the Aughts in Philadelphia were a magical time. There was a spirit there, in the streets, in the bars, the clubs, the coffee shops, that was freewheeling, whimsical, and about real artists developing real talents. Those who lived through the Aughts in Philly will all underline different flash-point dates on which things coalesced for them to experience the magic, the radiance. As for myself, I cast my mind back to a spring day in 2004, in Philly’s Northern Liberties district. The online journal Hinge, edited by Marilyn Bess, was holding an entire day’s events at a random warehouse space. The weather was perfect— seventy degrees and sunny. I was one of the readers. Not only did Hinge draw a packed house, the magic in the room was specifically about everyone (I felt, instinctively) wanting to be there. The party was not, could not be somewhere else. I read, and it was fine. But the day did not turn magical for me until sunset, when the Lucky Dragons, led by Luke Fishbeck, took the stage. The Lucky Dragons were electro-wizards, who produced ambient music from computers, and other digital apparatus. That night in Northern Liberties, they had visuals to go along with it. The visuals were projected onto a screen behind them as they played. It was mind-expanding enough, in the confined warehouse space, and with everyone in an ideal frame of mind, that it defined for me what the possibilities of multi-media art are, or could be. It was a voyage through, and to, a place of complete ethereality, transcendental above where we were standing. When the show was over, and I stopped outside the look at the still-setting sun, noting, as always, that Philadelphia sunsets themselves are unique, and uniquely ambient, I felt that what had been shown to me was not just a dream but a possibility. When cross-breeding occurs between art forms, and when events mix and match the right way, it all serves as a metaphor for dynamism in the universe, and in people’s brains.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Aphorisms Pt. 2

No community is as rich as a community of one.

If you are a "people person," it is because you don't know who or what people are, yourself included.

Contrary to what Stein said, the rules are not already known.

Never revile what's solid beneath the surface.

When a society succeeds in destroying the individual, it also succeeds in rendering itself obsolescent. The individual is the agent of human progress (to the extent that human progress is possible), always.

The primordial perspective poetry sets in place- one individual writing to, for, or about another individual- is also the most durable possible literary perspective.

Pop World/Pop Church, when it happens, is a cruel phenomenon, because it is meant, from its inception, to be erased. The individual is not.

The masses are always implored to admire things that add up to nothing. They are also implored to reject what's solid beneath the surface. What's solid cannot be widely popular.

Yet solidity, is all its myriad forms, is the only ostensible reason for the continuation of the human race.

The individual is solid.

This contradiction; solidity being the only ostensible reason for the continuation of the human race, yet solidity being widely unpopular; strikes at the heart of any perception of the human race en masse other than almost-complete absurdity.

The masses chop things into place, and are chopped into place.

America is more variegated, less absurd, than most other human race locales.

By the most solid standards, the twentieth century was far quieter than the nineteenth. Most of the noise was on the surface, and easily erased. The twentieth century "school" was of quietude; surface-level spectacles now razed to zeroes, permanently.

The profound silence of the twentieth century may have been supposed to work as a riposte to Keats and English Romanticism, a solid apotheosis of the individual. Even Deconstruction is suspect on this level.

Neo-Romanticism was conceived, developed, and disseminated to be solid.

Much more so than other American cities, Philadelphia is solid.

Solidity is louder than what's on the surface. The twenty-first century has already consolidated a position as louder, more solid, than the twentieth.

Philadelphia architecture is solid. Even before Neo-Romanticism, it stood beneath the surface as a representation of Philadelphia's solidity over the rest of America.

.......................................................................................................................

The principle of solidity in serious art has to do with depth and well-roundedness; the sense, in the work of art, that all possible imperatives built into the respective form have been honored and fulfilled. Post-modernity has been one long denial of both the possibility and the desirability of solidity.

Post-modern poetry denies thematics, outright and wholesale. This is absurd. Poetry which addresses no important themes is placed into circulation to preclude seriousness and solidity from emerging in contemporary poetry, at any time this chooses to happen.

There is no reason to read poetry which addresses no important themes, or will only address important themes in a deliberately obfuscated fashion.

The distaste for solidity in serious art is degenerate; and evinces a hunger for art, and all other humanistic endeavors, to be reduced to zero-level beneath the surface.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shenanigans '08


Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum, ensconced
with a U of Arts semi-disciple, sees me
bust in with a brazen brunette, who
resembles me so closely she might
be my niece; we sit, begin to fight;
she decides she wants red wine;
Mary H is standing across Pine
Street, spying on us; we leave; Mary
follows us; Jeremy, as is his wont, can
only pine for the poems he wrote in
the 90s at Villanova, that he meant
something then; we get the red wine;
Mary positions herself caddy-corner
the liquor store window; we walk past-

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Let Us Compare Mythologies


As of the present moment, and the new pages in Otoliths and The Argotist, I've begun a new writing process/gambit: to compose with an acknowledged, conscious sense of mythology and mythologies, and of the mythologizing process; and to do so to facilitate awareness of what happened in Philadelphia (and a few other places) in the Aughts. Ten to fifteen years hindsight had better be enough, folks; and why wait for myths to be generated around you... why not put your nose to the old grindstone and do it yourself? Candor is important here, because the Aughts had an unblemished feeling about them of cohesiveness and integrity, and I do not want that to be lost. It's also revolutionary about the ascension of Aughts Philly and its cultural scene that, on a socio-cultural and socio-historic level, the good guys in American art, those who dared to put the art first and all the subterranean attendant crap second, found a way to win against the stooges, parasites, and floozies. The Philly Free School story, it turns out, is inherently a juicy one. Mythologies spun out from the Free School do not have to deal with the egg-headed professor syndrome, the spoiled rich brat syndrome, the mafia cartel consonant syndrome, or the hands-off puritanical syndrome. The rest of the sonnets from the first round of writing Something Solid are shot through with an awareness of/ fascination with dynamic individuals who dared to live a life with hands in many games, and tactile ones.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Neptune in Pisces Revisited


Is 2017 the year in which (almost) everything stopped dead? As Neptune continues its transit through time-warped, time-bending Pisces, we've reached a critical crux moment in the US about momentum, force, the surface and what's beneath, and the sense that the new century has scared the shit out of what's left of the last. I make no bones about an opinion which isn't going to change: most of the current media hoopla is about red herrings, red herring issues, red herring personalities. Beneath a surface which bristles with malign, childish vitriol, the issue is the same as it was five years ago: a Recession which won't leave, out of control inflation, liquidation of resources on both general and specific levels, and a society which seems incapable of running smoothly or cohesively in any direction. Neptune steps up to the plate and pushes everything to the bottom of the ocean: slime, grease, corpses, offal. Pisces energy is brilliant at the freeze-frame effect: there you are, passing through time without the comforting sense that time is moving forward. A bad LSD trip.

Yet, remember that Pisces and Scorpio are the two great magicians of the zodiac. Where Pisces goes, everything, even when seemingly frozen into place, is subtly, sometimes subconsciously shifting in new directions. Human consciousness, when it is most earnest, most truly human, is incapable of doing nothing. For those on a bottom-of-the-ocean kind of Neptune in Pisces trip, where I join you, sometimes, take comfort that the magic of the celestial fish is that through hitting the ocean's floor, you have pierced through to new levels of both honesty consonance and spiritual awareness. You are higher up than you seem to be.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bite the Bullet, Junk the Junket


For those of us who lived through the Aughts, writing and publishing on high levels, it must be clear: times is tough. The book junket routine many of us perfected in the Aughts involved a multi-pronged attack on literature dissemination, from any individual artist's manuscript on out: composition of manuscript, interspersed with submissions to print or online journals; readings and/or social appearances to create interest; publication of book, in print and/or online; and then reinforcement cycles of the same activities. The junket then was very rich: lots of flourishing journals and presses, lots of social action from scene to scene, city to city. In 2017, we notice that what was called The Great Recession five or six years ago never left, and, in fact, is continuing to plummet downwards, what with the outrageous cost of food, health insurance, and other living expenses (Obama did what to counter or even mention this?), so that book junkets, and the book writing process in general, have to suffer just like everything else. Capiche?

Here, I am, writing a manuscript of sonnets tentatively entitled Something Solid. I've had some new material appear in Otoliths 44 and in The Argotist Online, more to come in Helios Mss, maybe a few other places, but it stands to reason that I can't not notice another simple, irritating factoid: all the new poetry journals that have sprung up in the Teens (Ray Farr's I still count as Aughts, because it's Ray's) are formatted in the most revolting, most tacky possible taste, so that I can't even consider the idea of submitting to them. The imaginatively titled Posit is a key example, and there are dozens of others. The new journal scene is mostly paltry now. Which means that the bum's rush effect, whereby new material which passes muster is instantly passed on into submission land, is no longer in adherence at all. Now, if you have forty new poems, and if you place, say, fifteen of them, and then are stuck, there's really nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. If you're going to write the rest of your f-cking manuscript, you're going to have to bite the bullet and junk the junket.

So, you have recourse, possibly, to a more workmanlike approach. I place new sonnets here, on Art Recess 2, and make due with a lack of glamour and a surfeit of grit. Over a long period of time, waiting for the pot to boil again, poets have to decide what they're in this game for, why they're playing it. Without wanting to appear unduly sanctimonious, the more dedicated individuals, with the more passionate devotion to creative activity, are the ones most likely to survive the right way now, even as the recession continues to clear deck after deck and the idiots of the world offer up more red herrings. And I am, it turns out, forty poems into the new manuscript, and I am ready to be workmanlike when I need to be.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ekphrasis: The Lost Twins: Abby Heller-Burnham/Adam Fieled



I place myself in the next room-
white-walled, high-ceiling'd, cavernous-
as the lost twins turn to face Abby,
in her own most vaunted masterpiece.
If I haven't seen them, they may leave
without attracting my notice. Yet I'll
never miss Abby, who both represents
and, as they well know, is them, & who
finds me irrelevant (as a male, a poet,
a clay figurine at such times in her
economy) as she paints, carrying David
like I carry Keats, & in fact those two
might get along famously, looking at
the inception of a new century, lost?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Eight of Cups


The eight of cups card in the Rider-Waite tarot deck to me expresses a complex reality, at a tangent to what you might read in occult/tarot instructional books. The individual on the card is wearing a red coat, which to me indicates a life or death situation or context. The path that seems easiest for him to walk, of a shallow stream set between mid-size rock formations, has been made inaccessible to him for some reason; the moon's eclipse of the sun adds emphasis, finality, and fatality to this. Yet, as is crucial in the Rider-Waite deck, the sky is pure blue, rather than grey or streaked with clouds. The situation, for the red-coated individual, is not an ambiguous one. The sudden shift is also made decisively; to reach his psycho-spiritual destination, he must turn uphill, away from the easy path, and starting laboriously from the ground. He is in tune, in his turning, with the powers of Earth, including the rock formations themselves, as is indicated by his physical alignment with the largest rock formation. The spiritual energy he emanates, and which allows him to perform the correct physical task, however laborious, is why the suite of Cups is appropriate.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Skanky Grease



1819: as we follow Keats' brain around
London (blasted with senses that anything
he sees he could be seeing for the last
time), I like to think that all his own
prosody is mixed in with the security
of self-acknowledged Genius, continually
revealing itself to itself; yet his secret
Muse is, I imagine, a siren, like Psyche,
unlike Fanny; thwarted, Keats stakes
out places she may be, like the Gods
on the Grecian Urn, driven frantic by
female magnetism; drowsily numb but
not comfortably so; only skanky grease,
gutter-mud, preparing him to channel Heaven.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cheltenham at Poetry Library at Southbank Centre, London


Proud to say that Cheltenham is now on the shelves at the Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre, London, UK. Many thanks to the Poetry Library staff!