Saturday, January 15, 2011

for GS

The weak solder
of Solidarity--Zonko's
"Hang the Sock-reds!!"
in his best Queens in Victoria
under the gaze of Victoria
who looks like a young Mary Tod
or a bomb-wielding Avignon pope,
under the gaze of the rank & file
who can't wait for Jack Munro
to come out of the snow
to get them off the hook
& back to Nanaimo.

"when the poets start
it's time to leave"

A farewell
no less permanent
for its awkwardness
& accompanying banners.

The island highway
is the tinnitus
of the landscape,
fifty words for wet snow
words over wetter snow
breaking a stick
off another stick
on my breastbone
then banging
the lichen loose
a layer of something
is the thing
slurry under slush
steel toe cow catcher
but its not the North
not the dog of the North.

This snowball smells like fish
& down the same railroad cut
which carries the ascending whine
& keening rumble of traffic sometimes
bacon, smokes, coffee, acetone
pigshit, cowshit, frying chicken
(if less of the burger onion
startup combo casserole
than years since)
weed, the horse-farm
goat, always the greenwood smoke
at the bottom of the bowl.

Yellowed Penguin pages
ordinary leaves of Don Allen
failing transmissions from off-island
subject to frequency modulation
& infant theft, the last
ethered sunlight of Grade 11
a slice of lemon pound cake
from which the rind
had been removed.
Morse code
from a coffin.

Idea of North
Protestant North
no California lemons
bareknuckle bonhomie
pubs heated by sweat & breath
& pickled egg farts
terrycloth tonsure
cards 'til daybreak
a winter without hugs or drugs
hockey fights & hockey kisses
the rolling greyscale
of a cheap TV
into which the test pattern
has been burned--
conditional recognition
not so much as a poet
as one marked off

as that injured aldermanic raven
walking bent through the snow &
toward the fence
with an entitled eye
to the point of death.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Philip Guston at Isola di Rifiuti
I think it’s true of my whole past, as far as I know my past, to be fascinated by the one and the multitudinous. Sometimes I’ll put a lot of forms into a picture and think: Why do I need all that? I really don’t need this multitudinous feeling of forms. The world is filled with multitudinous forms. I really am looking for one form, a static form, from which the multitudinous forms come anyway. Like that bulging book we’re looking at now. . . .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rhetorical Maneuvers in Contemporary Art, Part 1
The artist has learned that to do less is to be credited with doing more. The artist has learned that to be engaged with physical materials and processes is to be a mere craftsperson, while to work with concepts is to be respected as an intellectual worker (now properly identified as a member of a creative class by the ubiquitous urbanist Richard Florida). The artist has learned that art should be able to claim a political subtext, but not a political subject per se, as the latter will often be derided as unsophisticated and unartistic. We are left with a situation in which the increasingly meager offerings of artists are accompanied by a kind of critical discourse that is both maddeningly academic in its style and often politically pretentious as well. It is the kind of bad faith that arises when a population with the highest ideals is marginalized to begin with, and is then further stripped of the tools it once possessed to assert its unique importance...

The Spoils of the Park returns
“A great object of all that is done in a park, of all the art of a park, is to influence the mind of men through their imagination”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011

fun-sounding Jules Dassin's The Law on TCM tonight...

Set in a sunbaked Catfish Row, The Law is a movie of cartoon-like
mass formations, singing urchins, and operatic outbursts—it opens with
the town's midday torpor broken by top-billed Gina Lollobrigida's siren song as she lovingly polishes a pair of boots belonging to her master, the crusty local padrone (Pierre Brasseur).
Snugly corseted and highly Coppertoned, Lollobrigida plays a
flirtatious virgin half her age. (Dassin's notion of the role seems
modeled after the manic gamine in
Modern Times.) Everyone is transfixed by her cleavage, but La Lollo has eyes only for Marcello Mastroianni,
the progressive young agronomist arrived from the north to drain the
swamp—they have the best looks and the least chemistry of any couple
I've seen onscreen this year. A sleazily mustached Yves Montand plays the town gangster, with Dassin's wife, Melina Mercouri, unhappily married to the local judge, reading
Anna Karenina and making (very scary) eyes at Montand's college-age son...