Student blog: Copy Cat

Another student blog for you this fine summery morning: photocopier collages of various and sundries. Laundry unfolded or undone, mix tapes unspooled, unstrung. Like the blog just before this, a sort of love song to the overlooked, our detritus.

Brief my remarks, this time round, as I’ve to go teach in a few. Just go check it out, you’ll have a blast.

Oh but I can’t help connecting to Oppen, his “Of Being Numerous“:


There are things
We live among ‘and to see them
Is to know ourselves’.

Occurrence, a part
Of an infinite series,
The sad marvels;

Of this was told
A tale of our wickedness.
It is not our wickedness.

‘You remember that old town we went to, and we sat in the ruined window, and we tried to imagine that we belonged to those times—It is dead and it is not dead, and you cannot imagine either its life or its death; the earth speaks and the salamander speaks, the Spring comes and only obscures it—’

I’d speak for the connections but why speak for connections that speak of themselves.

Student Blog: Piles of Distinct Pieces

At the end of oh a long day. Woke at 2am to a possum scratching noisily at a hatch to the crawlspace under my bedroom window and that went on some hours. Now after office hours, teaching, teaching prep, and an edifying but mind-twisting course at the local REI on orienteering with map and compass – now a glass of white wine and a big fat artichoke steaming to be had with butter and garlic, and in the gap as it steams one more blog for you.

So here’s a blog, as all these have been so far, on seeing freshly. In this case, seeing what’s real in the daily, unique in the ostensibly interchangeable. A very William Carlos Williams sort of blog.

Pennies, for instance, we act as if one were as good as another. Look at them better, though, and each is its own creature, has its own smudges, patina, has carved its own arc through the ether to your pocket or your change jar.


Or stones. Everyone talks about snowflakes. Fuck snowflakes. Stones are very different from other stones. Why don’t they get some fucking press?

stones 2

Why’s this matter. We live in a world system that’d make a given face, a person, interchangeable with every other, if it could, and maybe it could. To recuperate one penny or scrap of stone from all the others and say – this. In that plain ordinary moment attention is love, squishy yeah but that’s the word for it, and nothing the world commodity system raping the earth and our spirits can do will undo the moment, and the system has to fall back and die.

Doesn’t fall back far. Doesn’t die for long. But does a little, does a bit, and’s good and good again.

Student blog: Wandering Words and Sights

Another student blog for yehs from my Art of Compost class now entering its sixth and final whirlwind week. Picture compost aloft in circuits in different densities in fitful gales.

This one, on the face of it, a travel blog, but under its careful surfaces, the transits are interior. Meditation with landscape as alterity mirror.

Something about the introspective quiet of this blog (you can find it here) puts me in mind of John Berger, whose Shape of a Pocket we’re reading this week.

I had a dream in which I was a strange dealer: a dealer in looks or appearances. I collected and distributed them. In the dream I had just discovered a secret! I discovered it on my own, without help or advice.

The secret was to get inside whatever I was looking at – a bucket of water, a cow, a city (like Toledo) seen from above, an oak tree, and, once inside, to arrange its appearances for the better. Better did not mean making the thing seem more beautiful or more harmonious; nor did it mean making it more typical, so that the oak tree might represent all oak trees; it simply meant making it more itself so that the cow or the city or the bucket of water became more evidently unique!

Beautiful man. That is eunoia, Christian, beautiful thinking.

Out of the mouths of nieces

By Isabel, age 10, nature poet in the key of blue.

From stoneWrites her dad (my bro): Asked if she had written a poem, Isabel answered, ‘No. It’s just words that were in my head.'”

My work as a teacher would be so straight & simple, if I could just put this at the front of the room, point, quote that, and go.

Sheeee-it, my work as a poet would be so straight & simple, if I could about forget making poems, & just put some words in my head on some pieces of nice paper.

P.S. Am I just being a foolish uncle or is it kind of exquisite how that raindrop hangs from that that more-than-line but not-yet-branch? Light as air and heavy like a pear.

Student blog: Mind, Drips

Here’s one more for you of an evening. Student blogs I mean. An ode and owed to coffee. Rich in a compost sensibility and not just because coffee grounds make (I’m told) a fine generative soil.

Comma in the name, that’s punc that don’t punk nor get punked.

Lots I enjoy here, but maybe most of all, the quality of attention everywhere in evidence – let’s call it a wakefulness, in the spirit of coffee, noticing minutiae, taking pleasure in, say, the fleeting flowers of foam a barista draws atop your latte, not because she has to, nor even just because she can, but because she can offer.

And chooses to. We’re back with Imagination, living always and only as imaginations, plural, demotic. NO PLATONIC CHICKENS HERE. Just lots of heartful cups of coffee. (A mischievous link in the spirit of Alex’s blog.) (‘Cept I just spoilt it by saying so.)

No words for this. Guess that’s what got me making picture and thing poems. And yet we need to keep finding and failing to find the words for it. Worlds rely on it. E.g., the pic above.

Student blog: Words the Rede Fulfill

A lot of ways to believe in Aphrodite, Ἀφρόδιτα, whom Sappho calls ἀθανάτ and ποικίλοφρον, athanatos, poikilophron, deathless and spangled in mind, as I wrote about once here.

She could be for you an outer being as real as mom or dad or auroch or furniture. Or did anyone ever believe in spirit beings in quite that way? Maybe only atheists ever have.

She could be something liminal, a threshold being, as she seems to have been for Sappho in that astonishing Hymn, nor outer nor inner, but bridging that perhaps in her time widening divide (Heidegger, comment here?). Gist of so many of her invocations being, come here, to me; bring her, to me. To, unto, into.

She could be what we, now, dissociated, have liked to call an “objective correlative,” an external object saturated with an inner state, longing for what we cannot have, let alone be.

Phenomenological to the core, I spit TSE on your objective correlative – as I know you wished to, too.

One thing more I learn from my student is, wiccans, like monty pythons, fear bunnies among them, as well they might. Check it out.

Another is, witchery is about intimacy, not harming what you’re close to, and seeing you’re close to all of it. Check that out.

Addendum. A book in the mail by my old teacher, Don Revell, out of which these lines, which I am still plumbing (as am I them all).

(In Paradise, remember to tell Hart Crane Tom Eliot was his kitten in the wilderness; the fact that Tom grew up into three white leopards is neither here nor there. That Bohemia should be an island crowded with magical shepherds is neither here nor there. Canons are funny that way.)

Neither here nor there because the Imagination is every where.

Student blog: Vonnegutnut

Here’s another found its footing right quick, or if not its foots, a nearby anatomical feature at the meeting of adjacent appendages – a spot commonly referred to as where the sun don’t shine, though in KV’s cult-iconic rendering, oddly redolent of an asterisk, which I know you know is named for star, which our sun is one of. Is the sun a place the sun don’t shine?

Anyway, said star is, here, home base and icon, by which I think our author may have out-gutsied Vonnegut. Too, I can imagine Vonnegut saying: You think life is bad with an asshole? Imagine life without one.

You can see I’m overcompensating for my discomposure by expatiating and Latinizing. But it’s a kickass blog, w/ word-image mashups, witty capricious hyperlinking, genuine irreverent homage to Mr. V., and real live thinking- and feeling-through of what a blog can do to keep his mischief alive. Go find it here.