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-