Mar 30, 2016


About facing pegmen on tiles, cardboard. Have you specified what’s been done done (done done) at the languages room (right hand side)? Has either spouse or godson been notified, i.e., know they the drill? Kind of flattering how your every fellah’s a road orange (just add water) and thusly bloomed a wall overweek, but ehemm, two’ve been flexing their sniping joints. Surely no elbowing them, so ally with hostages and mouthpieces, whistle the tune, doll up that adam’s and roll us some hard misericordiam. Been stringing up rubbers for my poisoned whelp, glad she noticed: Nothing beats children looking quite, like, the, father! Should’ve tendered those eggs, your gratitude eldered for Mlle. Clara—then, rosily, pat your forehead with the smaller book. An evening stroll to the hundredth florist might’ve done us one wonder, at the least, our souls threadbare, our lies sandpapery. Unschooled in topnotch subtlety, this puff meant to poke the green of your pupils, to distract (indeed) so keep your scalp gray between the games. Two of you just fielding monopoly in my book, your cube locked / the chances you drew undetected.

Mar 29, 2016

Dalawang pangungusap mula sa “Ang Katahimikan ng mga Sirena”

ni Franz Kafka
aking salin

Kung tutuusi’y may mas nakamamatay pang sandata ang mga Sirena maliban sa kanilang awit, at iyon ay ang kanilang katahimikan. At kahit sa totoo lang ay hindi pa naman ito nagaganap, maaari pa ring isipin na may kung sinong nakuhang makatakas mula sa kanilang pag-awit; bagay na tiyak hindi mangyayari pagdating sa kanilang katahimikan.

Mar 27, 2016


ni Raymond Carver
aking salin

Takot sa kotse ng pulis na pumaparada sa tapat.
Takot sa pagtulog ng mahimbing sa gabi.
Takot sa kawalan ng tulog.
Takot sa paggising ng nakaraan.
Takot sa paglipad ng kasalukuyan.
Takot sa teleponong kumikiriring sa kalagitnaan ng gabi.
Takot sa mga bagyo.
Takot sa tagalinis na may bahid sa kanyang pisngi!
Takot sa mga asong hindi naman daw nangangagat.
Takot sa pangamba!
Takot sa pagkilala ng katawan ng patay na kaibigan.
Takot sa kawalan ng pera.
Takot sa pagkakaroon ng sobra, wala mang maniwala sa takot na ito.
Takot sa mga sikolohikal na pagsasalarawan.
Takot sa pagiging huli at takot dumating nang wala pang ibang tao.
Takot sa sulat-kamay ng aking mga anak sa mga sobre.
Takot na mamatay sila bago ako, at sisisihin ko ang aking sarili.
Takot sa buhay kasama ng aking ina sa kanyang katandaan, at sa aking katandaan.
Takot sa pagkabalisa.
Takot na hindi masaya ang huling hirit ng araw na ito.
Takot na gumising nang wala ka na.
Takot na hindi nagmahal at takot na hindi nagmahal nang lubos.
Takot na kung ano’ng mahal ko’y makasasama sa mga minamahal sa buhay.
Takot sa kamatayan.
Takot sa masyadong mahabang buhay.
Takot sa kamatayan.
Nasabi ko na ‘yun.

Mar 26, 2016

Unang Sipi: “Mataas na ang Araw” ni Faye Cura

Kikilatisin ang isang tula mula sa ikatlong tomo ng hal., na inilathala noong Agosto 2014. Narito ang pamagat kasama ang nag-iisang linya ng unang saknong—

          Mataas na ang araw

          nang pumasok kami sa Zoar.

Biniyak na pangungusap upang maging pamagat at unang saknong. Alingawngaw ito ng Genesis 19: 23, "Mataas na ang araw nang makarating si Lot sa Zoar." Nasa unang panauhan ang bersyon ng tula, at sa halip na si Lot ang sinusundan ng naratibo, malalaman natin sa unang linya ng ikalawang taludturan na nasa asawa niya ang ating tutok—

          Kuminang ang mga butil ng asin
          at alikabok
          sa aking mga paa.

Maliban sa lipat ng pokus, senyal din ito ng kakaibang atensyon sa oras at panahon. Kung mababasa sa pamagat ang pagiging huli (minamadali si Lot ng mga anghel) o napapanahon (nakasulat na ito), nasa saknong na ito naman ang pagiging abante (may asin na!) ngunit huli na ang lahat (alikabok). At dahil naglalakad, nagmamasid, at nag-iisip pa ang asawa ni Lot, mukhang hindi pa siya nagiging haligi ng asin. Baka naman hindi pa siya ganap na nagiging haligi ng asin. Maaaring tinatapatan nitong paglapat ng foreshadowing ng tula ang pagtakda ng tadhana sa asawa ni Lot, sa sambahayan, sa daigdig na ito ng mga babae't lalaki. Kahalo ng "mga butil ng asin" ang "alikabok," ang espesyal na kahihinatnan ng persona at ang karaniwang katapusan ng mga tao.

Pinaalala rin ng mga salitang "Kuminang", "asin", at "alikabok" ang Genesis 22:17 kung saan ipinangako kay Abraham (tiyuhin ni Lot) ang paglaganap ng kanyang lahi, "magiging sindami ng bituin sa langit at ng buhangin sa dagat." Tila anino ng maluwalhating pangakong ito ang kapalaran ng persona.

Samantala, itatabi natin para sa susunod na anotasyon itong ikatlong saknong—

          Napag-iwanan na ako
          sa paglalakad
          ng asawa ko’t mga anak.


Mar 21, 2016

Notes on John Ashbery’s “The History of My Life”

Once upon a time there were two brothers.
Then there was only one: myself.

I grew up fast, before learning to drive,
even, there was I: a stinking adult

I thought of developing interests
someone might take an interest in. No soap.

I became very weepy for what had seemed
like the pleasant early years. As I aged

increasingly, I also grew more charitable
with regard to my thoughts and ideas,

thinking them at least as good as the next man’s.
Then a great devouring cloud

came and loitered on the horizon, drinking
it up for what seemed like months or years.


[ PennSound ]
[ New Yorker ]


It's seven stanzas. Yahweh marked Cain so that everyone who met Cain would know that harming him would invite a sevenfold return of investment.

        Once upon a time there were two brothers.
        Then there was only one: myself.

Maybe this is survivor's guilt, the poet transfigured as Cain. A kinder intertext would be the longing of Gilgamesh for Enkidu.

        I grew up fast, before learning to drive,
        even, there was I: a stinking adult

Gilgamesh was wanton royalty and the gods conspired to bring him down to size by providing him an equal, someone he would later know as brother. Someone he would lose.

        I thought of developing interests
        someone might take an interest in. No soap.

Gilgamesh would develop an interest in solving death. It was an unnecessary pain, if it could be solved, then let's. He would actually come very close, he was given a flower of eternal life. So he went home, but a snake stole the flower, ate it while he was taking a bath. "No soap."

        I became very weepy for what had seemed
        like the pleasant early years. As I aged

Could be Gilgamesh. But could also be the ancient, seemingly immortal Noah-like figure who would lead Gilgamesh to the secret flower. Instead of returning to his "interest", Gilgamesh just continued on home, ruling wisely until the end of his days.

        increasingly, I also grew more charitable
        with regard to my thoughts and ideas,

Gilgamesh would be made immortal in another way, through the epic. In a way, his "interest" is the poet's: a quest for immortality. But how to do that years after the giants of literature? The Moseses and Gilgameshes, the Shakespeares and Audens?

        thinking them at least as good as the next man’s.
        Then a great devouring cloud

        came and loitered on the horizon, drinking
        it up for what seemed like months or years.

Mar 19, 2016


Notes on Gertrude Stein’s “Sausages”

Sausages in between a glass.

There is read butter. A loaf of it is managed. Wake a question. Eat an instant, answer.

A reason for bed is this, that a decline, any decline is poison, poison is a toe a toe extractor, this means a solemn change. Hanging.

No evil is wide, any extra in leaf is so strange and singular a red breast.


This is great. Found this other one, and it might be of interest since it seems to deal directly with the third stanza.

How the Robin Got His Red Breast 
(based on an Irish folk tale)
retold by Cathy S. Mosley

Many years ago, late in the year, a cruel wind brought biting cold weather; making the night more bitter for a father and son who had traveled far, and still had farther to go. They had sought a cottage, a barn, or even a tree - anyplace they could seek shelter. But there was nothing to be seen or found, except for a bush, and at last the father built a fire and told his son to try and sleep a little.

And when the father's eyes began to droop he woke his son,and bid him watch the fire.

Oh how the boy tried to stay awake! But he hadn't really slept while lying on the frozen ground and he was still exhausted from the walk. His eyes got lower. His head got lower.

The fire got lower.

So low in fact that a starving wolf began to inch nearer the sleeping pair.

But there was one who was awake. There was one who saw everything from amidst the barren bush; a little bird who was as gray as the brambly wood.

The bird hopped down and began fanning the flickering embers until the flames began to lick out hungrily; nor did the little bird stop, despite the pain on his breast, until the flames were dancing with strength.

And from that day on the Robin has proudly worn a red breast.


Aside from this (and perhaps more importantly), there's a Christ legend directly concerning this bird. This one goes down well with any close reading of "question," "extractor," "solemn," "hanging," and perhaps even "evil". Enjoy!

You might also want to look into "evil" in your excerpt of Melville here: "True, you may say that, by exceeding caution, you may possibly escape these and the multitudinous other evil chances of life."

Hi, Karren. Was this Ahab doing his "I will strike through that mask"? An important co-text of that is Ishmael's take on the whiteness of the whale (and Ishmael himself seems to be aware that his is merely a co-text, something that exists in service to Ahab's own notion of the whale). Ishmael focuses whiteness, the different customs (worldwide) by which we regard it as a mark of nobility and purity. Then he pits it against the other colors, most notably: red and black. These are universal colors, our reactions to them are primal. Then he goes into why white is the most terrible of them all (evil?) and that we, in the pits of our hearts, we know this to be true—

But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous—why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian's Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind.

Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows- a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues- every stately or lovely emblazoning—the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge- pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?


And perhaps this is Stein's an "instant answer": No evil is wide, any extra in leaf is so strange and singular a red breast.

Sausages in between a glass.

Sounds like a riddle where the answer is nose. Also, if in reference to Moby-Dick, I'd dig up the chapter called "The Cassock," a strange commingling of the ritual (solemn), the vulgar (hanging), and the pragmatic (eat an instant). What fun! It's one of those wonderful moments when you say: wow, really, they let nothing go to waste. Our man here, the mincer, is attired in the whole skin of a whale's penis (grandissimus) as a tough sort of overalls for the work he is about to do—

Look at the sailor, called the mincer, who now comes along, and assisted by two allies, heavily backs the grandissimus, as the mariners call it, and with bowed shoulders, staggers off with it as if he were a grenadier carrying a dead comrade from the field. Extending it upon the forecastle deck, he now proceeds cylindrically to remove its dark pelt, as an African hunter the pelt of a boa. This done he turns the pelt inside out, like a pantaloon leg; gives it a good stretching, so as almost to double its diameter; and at last hangs it, well spread, in the rigging, to dry. Ere long, it is taken down; when removing some three feet of it, towards the pointed extremity, and then cutting two slits for arm-holes at the other end, he lengthwise slips himself bodily into it. The mincer now stands before you invested in the full canonicals of his calling. Immemorial to all his order, this investiture alone will adequately protect him, while employed in the peculiar functions of his office.

That office consists in mincing the horse-pieces of blubber for the pots; an operation which is conducted at a curious wooden horse, planted endwise against the bulwarks, and with a capacious tub beneath it, into which the minced pieces drop, fast as the sheets from a rapt orator's desk. Arrayed in decent black; occupying a conspicuous pulpit; intent on bible leaves; what a candidate for an archbishopric, what a lad for a Pope were this mincer!


Still in reference to Moby-Dick, perhaps "Sausages" is a way of illustrating her process. Melville goes for that whole great meat (and he does say that somewhere, I think in a letter to Hawthorne, that he was going for the biggest, baddest thing in the natural world) and Stein does the extracting, the condensing of substance in measures of language.

Well everything in Melville (and now in Stein) takes on a cosmic, anthropomorphic hue. Maybe the mincer is the writer is the sausage is all of us. This chapter is an easy favorite (along with that whole encyclopedic intro and the part with the corpusants and little mad Pip).

"Decline" could be a refusal to go to bed alone. It could be rejecting the advances (or the presence) of another. Drawn to the former.

Thanks for the declension as well as the serving of poi! It seems really a poisoning of the consciousness via language as I'm putting it together from you two. The gendering seems to be on point here. And thoughts turn again to that evil which isn't wide. Perhaps it could also be taken as "No evil" is wide, that is, it's all made "natural," a prevalent process, no one has any idea that harm is being done on a daily basis, each time we enter into and take from the language of "Man".

And for some reason (following this, I think) that "wake a question" appears to me as that foamy divide made by the Pequod as it moves on to its next kill.


Once cut, those toes are... sausages!


Sausages in between a glass.

There is read butter. A loaf of it is managed. Wake a question. Eat an instant, answer.

I have been thinking of candles here (and if in connection with moby-type whales, spermaceti candles). The first line might be calling a candle into view. The second takes us to that particular light, or perhaps "butter" wants to bring out the experience of reading under that light, especially while thinking of the provenance of the source. In this languaging, the experience of eating and reading are smoothly well, sandwiched, into a hybrid form of consumption. It could also be that she is eating while thinking upon her food, close reading the eating experience, the beginnings, processes, and myriad associations of the food. In a single moment, the specialized aesthetic joins the primal act of eating, one indistinguishable from the other.

Wonderful! It's officially an altar now too, and the hanging makes (another) sense. The redbreast too, seeing as the vigil candles carry the bared hearts. The Bible might as well be that loaf (too, among others): the bread of life everlasting.

Suddenly a thought of Whitman's conceit: "This is no book; / Who touches this, touches a man;"

Oh no! Roused from the bed! I don't know if this is as fruitful, but I've been thinking of the corpusants since first mention of Moby-Dick and upon revisiting the book, I found that the corpusant chapter is... CHAPTER CXIX. THE CANDLES! Which would bring us to Ahab's heart:

 "All your oaths to hunt the White Whale are as binding as mine; and heart, soul, and body, lungs and life, old Ahab is bound. And that ye may know to what tune this heart beats; look ye here; thus I blow out the last fear!" And with one blast of his breath he extinguished the flame.

Yes, thanks! I have been thinking too narrowly, thinking of poison somewhere in the chapters. Looking for it even in the iron of Ahab's exoticized and shadowy elect (Fedallah and the five from Manilla). But drink and ale is readily available. It will be long reading, but I'll try to find when the casks were brought out. After an "ocean wake" I'm sure. And some other special occasions.

Found a reference to spirits while a whale was being killed in CHAPTER LXXXIV - PITCHPOLING:

Look now at Stubb; a man who from his humorous, deliberate coolness and equanimity in the direst emergencies, was specially qualified to excel in pitchpoling. Look at him; he stands upright in the tossed bow of the flying boat; wrapt in fleecy foam, the towing whale is forty feet ahead. Handling the long lance lightly, glancing twice or thrice along its length to see if it be exactly straight, Stubb whistlingly gathers up the coil of the warp in one hand, so as to secure its free end in his grasp, leaving the rest unobstructed. Then holding the lance full before his waistband's middle, he levels it at the whale; when, covering him with it, he steadily depresses the butt-end in his hand, thereby elevating the point till the weapon stands fairly balanced upon his palm, fifteen feet in the air. He minds you somewhat of a juggler, balancing a long staff on his chin. Next moment with a rapid, nameless impulse, in a superb lofty arch the bright steel spans the foaming distance, and quivers in the life spot of the whale. Instead of sparkling water, he now spouts red blood.

"That drove the spigot out of him!" cries Stubb. "'Tis July's immortal Fourth; all fountains must run wine to-day! Would now, it were old Orleans whiskey, or old Ohio, or unspeakable old Monongahela! Then, Tashtego, lad, I'd have ye hold a canakin to the jet, and we'd drink round it! Yea, verily, hearts alive, we'd brew choice punch in the spread of his spout-hole there, and from that live punch-bowl quaff the living stuff!"

Again and again to such gamesome talk, the dexterous dart is repeated, the spear returning to its master like a greyhound held in skilful leash. The agonized whale goes into his flurry; the tow-line is slackened, and the pitchpoler dropping astern, folds his hands, and mutely watches the monster die.

Mar 6, 2016

The Vapor Rub Installation

“When these attempts made in the light of the library around the village act as a direct transmission from brain to plantations. We hold the hunger seized from the family on the platform. Gasoline contained in plastic breasts. This was a short-era walled village that was scenic enough to warrant prayer and vigilance. Meanwhile, they are tightening one of the houses made accountable at 2 a.m.,” she said.

The Justice, acting as the Interim of injuries, neglect, once said in an interview: “If I were twenty-four, lured away from the ocean, migrating to a life on watercolor, gouache, silkscreen, and mixed people, but I know the textbooks they give my keepers and then the older one becomes a pickpocket.”

“We lost the house because they fueled our quiet. I trace the Greek severe-curtain before I could see any more. Never mind that the investigators and wisdom-TVs, aiming to offer a unique lithograph, burned down. In both houses, I found mail not even sated,” the pastoral letter read.

“I know I should probably have this sleeping in makeshift houses when fire broke out, and the place was a brilliant white, except for the tight, gray ink. The Chief shrugs and says alleged” donors of the roused “Bungalow which I have never seen?”

Never mind that elders on land walk on the bottom of the ocean.

Mar 2, 2016


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