Saturday, June 23, 2007

thanks RC for these Tim Knowles - Tree Drawings

Piping and quacking of queen bees

"The 1609 edition shows a four line staff with the letter G on the second line from the bottom indicating that this is a treble clef. There are no bar lines but the two semibreve rests at the beginning of the staves indicate that we are in a triple metre, and indeed the text states that the bees 'sing' in triple time. The notation indicates that the two most common results of the simultaneous piping and quacking of the rival queens are the musical intervals of either a perfect fifth or a major third...The 1634 edition presents a two-part madrigal for four voices incorporating melodic elements based on the actual sounds produced by bees. The music has been printed in the manner of a part-book to be read by the Mean [soprano] and Tenor sitting on one side of a table and by the Bassus and Countertenor facing them on the other side. This edition also incorporates the use of what is referred to as 'Butler's reformed spelling'. In his English grammar of the previous year (1633), Butler had condemned the vagaries of English orthography and proposed the adoption of a system whereby 'men should write altogether according to the sound now generally received'."

from Bangor Maine this handsome Flowering Chestnut

Friday, June 22, 2007


He wakes in the pollarded half-shade of a dying
walnut. The half-audible early birds tweet
ear bones press against each other
a passing satellite pings its archive.

Night had been a tree to him moving through space,
sparing him memorable dreams, something
medication never quite achieved
but if you sit there thinking, it goes dim
the golfball grain comes rushing in
like water through a window. All he knows
of the moon--its interlocking t-shapes
of broom yellow fanning
oilslick tailfeather--is that its
both outside & above, a bell held in a cup.

The pain is such a little thing to be wandering
abroad like that. He becomes aware of the
heavy air & that he's awake,
a hiss of decompression through the leaves
hanging heavy in a hoary-hanging sky
sickly after the rain hit, turning west
he hallucinates as it falls each ring of the tree.

review of the Philip K. Dick Library of America volume, here on "Man in the High Castle"--

"Some characters appear to wonder if they’re actually participating in a work of science fiction, but Dick is way ahead of them; he seems to know he has written one of America’s enduring expressionist novels of alienation and disillusionment, whose environs are no more far-fetched than the West Egg mansion of an ersatz millionaire or the newspaper offices of a wretched advice columnist with a Jesus complex..."

nice reconsideration of Hall & Oates'Abandoned Luncheonette (1973):

"The breezy “Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)”, a character study of sorts about a woman named Sara (perhaps the Sara of another subsequent hit, “Sara Smile'), casually exploits what must have been the inherent fascination at the time with the displaced people who made a living in commercial aviation. That they can pass off this gimmicky concept off-handedly, with little trace of desperation, is characteristic of much of the duo’s material and is suggestive of what would ultimately make them so successful; audiences are perhaps primed to forgive them their transparent attempts to be hip because they simultaneously come across as implausible, likable underdogs who can’t be held to a higher standard..."

JACK KIRBY'S "2001: A Space Odyssey"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Captain Beefheart's rules for guitarists:

"9. KEEP YOUR GUITAR IN A DARK PLACE When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure to put a saucer of water in with it."

Star man

Housman is not the only poet in the nineteenth century to have been part of a living orrery; evidence uncovered by Nicholas Roe suggests that Keats enjoyed similar educative games at Enfield School, where each pupil was given a card listing key facts about specific planets (“I represent the grand Georgium Sidus . . . I move round the Sun in about 83 years, and at the distance of 1,800,000,000 miles”), and then put into orbit around a classmate representing “the great Sun”. But it seems significant that Housman, as well as taking part, was also the bossy god who created this mini-universe and set it in motion. For whereas most people grow out of the desire to have whole worlds at their command, just as they grow out of tending ant-farms or using train-sets to stage elaborate crashes, Housman might better be thought to have grown into it. His inaugural lecture as Professor of Latin in Cambridge pointed out that the boy who makes mud pies shares “in modest measure the activities of the demiurge”, as he sets out to “evoke a small world out of a small chaos; let him also behold the work of his hands and pronounce it, if he can, to be pretty good”, and he exercised similar talents in his twin lives as classical scholar and poet.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cruel Summer

He was in Nanaimo writing letters to
Marshall, every now &
then walking down to the playhouse
for a smoke. The heavy leafage
of a wet June absorbed the roar
of the highway so he sat on the damp
carpet he'd slung over the old garden
chair & picked up and put down
the book that had begun to curl
on the dusty table raising more dust.
He trades places with the cat
so that when the gravel trucks gear
down or loudly up the cat can watch it pass
& he can pretend to read.

It was almost time for "Rockford"
when the news intervened. Outside the last
bees on Planet Earth rubbed sagey
pollen on their undercarriages.
Noting this he raised his eyes from the
newscrawl to a copper Ford drifting
thru the twilit Bel-Air of the Ford
administration. This is the part of the sublime
from which we shrink: Sepulveda, Ventura
& Culver City are to him
an approximate haze as hard as calcium,
unspooling painkillers at every point
of the compass. Something shifts &
then he shifts. He apologises
to the dead space where he had been sleeping.