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Wednesday, April 30, 2003
more from Hugh MacDiarmid's "On a Raised Beach":

I must get into this stone world now.
Ratchel, striae, relationships of tesserae,
Innumerable shades of grey,
Innumerable shapes,
And beneath them all a supendous unity,
Infinite movement visibly defending itelf
Against all the assaults of weather and water,
Simultaneously mobilised at full strength
At every point of the universal front,
Always at the pitch of its powers,
The foundation and end of all life.
I try them with the old Norn words--hraun,
Duss, ronis, queedaruns, kollyarum;
They hvarf from me in all directions
Over the hurdifell--klett, millya hellya, hellyina bretta,
Hellyina wheeda, hellyina gro, bakka, ayre,--
And lay my world in kolgref.

This is no heap of broken images.
Let men find the faith that builds mountains
Before they seek the faith that moves them...

...Their sole concern is that what can be shaken
Shall be shaken and disappear
And only the unshakeable be left...

posted by peter 11:14 AM
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
More OED Frogs

(frQg) [Of obscure origin; perh. ad. Pg. froco (repr. L. floccus flock n.), which has much the same sense.]

1. An attachment to the waist-belt in which a sword or bayonet or hatchet may be carried.

1719 De Foe Crusoe i. xv, A belt with a frog hanging to it, such as+we wear hangers in. 1725 I Voy. round World (1840) 150 Every man a hatchet, hung in a little frog at his belt. 1876 Voyle & Stevenson Milit. Dict., Frog+that part of a soldier's accoutrements which is attached to the waist-belt for holding the bayonet. 1879 Rutley Study Rocks v. 40 A small leathern frog with a flap.

2. An ornamental fastening for the front of a military coat or cloak, consisting of a spindle-shaped button, covered with silk or other material, which passes through a loop on the opposite side of the garment.

1746 Berkeley Let. Wks. 1871 IV. 306 Laces, frogs, cockades+are so many+obstacles to a soldier's exerting his strength. 1770 W. Richardson Anecd. Russian Emp. 325 In a light blue frock with silver frogs. 1796 J. Anstey Pleader's Guide (1803) 181 The coat+With tabby lin'd and frogs complete. 1836 Dickens Sk. Boz vii, He wore a braided surtout with frogs behind. 1846 Hist. Rec. 3rd Light Dragoons 39 The buttons set on three and three upon yellow frogs or loops. 1848 Craig, Frog+a small barrel-shaped silk ornament with tassels, used in the decoration of mantles, etc. 1896 Daily News 19 Mar. 6/5 Serge suits and tweed costumes are better adapted than any other to this style of ornamentation. Frogs are sold in sets to accompany the braiding.

3. Comb., as frog-belt, -button.

1719 De Foe Crusoe ii. iv. (1840) II. 68 He drew a hatchet out of a frog-belt. 1827 Hone Every-day Bk. II. 190 A coat with frog-buttons. 1867 Smyth Sailor's Word-bk., Frog-belt, a baldrick.

posted by peter 12:24 PM
Orkney ad in my blog today! I'd like to take you all there with me...
posted by peter 11:13 AM
(John Fahey)

From the frog around his waist he drew a small hatchet or claw hammer to hit those chords of Ur. Under the gentle demand of Wooley's soft sable the cuneiform floats into legibility. The phantom melody. The part in Dvorak's Serenade for Wind that he got "Bali H'ai" from. Odd fragments of rolling stock that pass through include the late seventies yellow truck adapted for rail maintenance and the guys that do that might as well be in a sandbox they're so happy. By the blue Hawaiian shore--Tone Picture. Laughter written throughout as har har har. And not since they switched back but for a while they got rid the weeds at the side of the track not by cutting them (as they do now) or by poisoning them (which they did a couple of years to great outroar) but by steaming them to death with a kind of mobile kettle with attachments that allowed themselves to be lowered, a dozen spouts firing in a great wet cloud, to within inches of the ground. Three fanciful sketches. Bleached white as if the chlorophyll had simply evaporated.

posted by peter 11:01 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Some Frog Plants from the OED

posted by peter 4:46 PM

b. In various plant-names, as frog-bit, (a) Hydrocharis Morsus-ranæ, an aquatic plant; (b) Limnobium Spongia, a similar plant of America; frog-cheese, (a) (see quot. 1866); (b) Malva sylvestris (cf. cheese n.1 5); frog('s-foot, duckweed (Lemna); frog-grass, (a) = crab-grass 1; †(b) Juncus bufonius; frog's lettuce, water caltrops, Potamogeton densus; frog-lily U.S., the American yellow water-lily, Nuphar advena; also called spatterdock and cow-lily; frog-orchis (see quots.); †frog-parsley, some plant (? = fools' parsley); frog-stool = toadstool n.; frog-wort, a name given to species of Orchis.

1578 Lyte Dodoens i. lxxi. 106 The thirde [kind of floating weeds]+is called+*Frogge bitte. 1741 Compl. Fam.-Piece ii. iii. 374 The+Spearwort, and Frogbits. 1866 Treas. Bot., Frog-bit, American, Limnobium. 1868 Nat. Encycl. I. 659 One of the Frogbit tribe of plants.

1818 Withering's Brit. Plants (ed. 6) IV. 453 Lycoperdon+*Frogcheese. 1866 Treas. Bot., Frog-cheese, a name applied occasionally to the larger puff-balls when young.
1529 Grete Herbal cclix. Pi, Lentylles of the water ben called *frogges fote. 1863 Prior Plant-n. 87 Frog-foot, lemna. 1597 *Frog grasse [see crab-grass 1]. 1640 Parkinson Theat. Bot. Index 1738 Frogge grasse or Toadegrass. Ibid. ii. lviii. 281 The people that dwell neare it by the Sea side, call it Frogge grasse or Crab grasse. 1861 Miss Pratt Flower. Pl. IV. 385 Glass-wort is sometimes called+Frog-grass.
1597 Gerarde Herbal ii. ccxcviii. 824 Small water Caltrops or *Frogs lettuce.
1869 J. G. Fuller Flower-Gatherers 204 It flourishes best in dull, stagnant pools, and is often called the *Frog-lily. 1931 W. N. Clute Common Names of Plants 111 The frog lily (Nymphaea advena) is better named, for frogs delight to rest on its round floating leaves.
1840 Paxton Bot. Dict., *Frog-orchis, see Gymnadenia viridis. 1861 Miss Pratt Flower. Pl. V. 214 Green Habenaria+sometimes called+Frog Orchis.
1651 J. F[reake] Agrippa's Occ. Philos. xviii. 41 Sheep fly from *Frog-parsley as from some deadly thing. 1535 *Frogge stoles [see 1398 quot. in frog n.1 5]. 1661 Lovell Hist. Anim. & Min. 144 The dung helps against Frogstooles with wine and vineger. 1865 Science Gossip 1 Nov. 258 In Dorsetshire poisonous fungi are often called ‘Frogstools’.
a1824 Holdich Ess. Weeds (1825) 65 Man-orchis, Red-lead and *Frogwort are the only English names we have heard given to these weeds in damp pastures.

posted by peter 4:43 PM
Tourist Googlism.
posted by peter 11:05 AM
nanaimo is disposed of at the regional
nanaimo is known as the "harbour city" in fact
nanaimo is serviced by both air canada/air bc and canadian airlines and
easily accessed from the mainland via bc ferries from horseshoe bay
nanaimo is the centre of it all
nanaimo is situated
nanaimo is known as the "harbour city" in fact nanaimo is serviced by both
air canada/air bc and canadian airlines and easily accessed from the
mainland via bc
nanaimo is disposed of at the regional nanaimo is also the only all
nanaimo is the perfect destination nanaimo is known as the "harbour city"
in fact nanaimo
nanaimo is also a major entry point for travelers tovancouver island
nanaimo is just 111 km or 69 miles
nanaimo is a quick hour
nanaimo is situated on the east coast of the island just north of the 49th
parallel and has two well protected deep sea harbours which provide
service to many
nanaimo is "action central" ­ and a great place to relax
nanaimo is considered the heartbeat of vancouver island
nanaimo is a fun
nanaimo is one of the best places we have ever been to
nanaimo is the second largest city on vancouver island
nanaimo is the third oldest city in bc the city of nanaimo was originally
called colville
nanaimo is
nanaimo is a fun filled energetic city with a lovely harbour
nanaimo is emerging as an urban center that contributes to the sustained
growth and development of the local economy
nanaimo is the first of five main air facilities on the east coast of
vancouver island
nanaimo is a scenic 90 minute ride across the strait of georgia through
the gulf islands
nanaimo is situated on beautiful vancouver island on the west coast of
british columbia
nanaimo is "centrally located on the east coast of vancouver island
nanaimo is the regional
nanaimo is approximately 72
nanaimo is al macsween
nanaimo is regarded as one of the most scenic harbourfronts on the west
coast boasting a 4
nanaimo is vancouver islands largest export center and is one of the
fastest growing communities in the province
nanaimo is definitely on the list
nanaimo is a wonderful community
nanaimo is pleased to
nanaimo is staffed by some of the most highly skilled individuals in the
nanaimo is disposed of at the regional district
nanaimo is 26 km
nanaimo is the horne lake road which leads west to the spider lake
provincial park and horne lake caves provincial park
nanaimo is the heartbeat of vancouver island
nanaimo is now accepting
nanaimo is vancouver island’s second biggest city
nanaimo is in the center of vancouver island
nanaimo is among british columbia's most liveable cities
nanaimo is no exception
nanaimo is a thriving
nanaimo is a member agency of the united way
nanaimo is pictured from left to right
nanaimo is committed to creating a business
nanaimo is winning hearts and minds as a convention site for the new
nanaimo is one the most desirable places to live in canada
nanaimo is creating an opportunity for non
nanaimo is looking for people
nanaimo is the geographical centre of one of the fastest growing areas in
nanaimo is the second largest city on british columbia's vancouver island
with a population of over 70
nanaimo is the hub city and gateway to the north island and the west
nanaimo is not only a great family vacation destination but also the
gateway to vancouver island
nanaimo is 111 kilometres or 69 miles from victoria
nanaimo is 35 km across the water from vancouver and highway 1 brings you
from victoria in about an hour and a half
nanaimo is a year round adventure land
nanaimo is famous for its’ many parks and scenic waterfront with its
beautiful winding promenade
nanaimo is the third oldest city in bc
nanaimo is about 95 minutes
nanaimo is also home to a year
nanaimo is one of the fastest growing communities in the province
nanaimo is quite enjoyable and is your time to relax
nanaimo is connected with vancouver and the mainland by ferries
nanaimo is a great dive destination
nanaimo is pronounced na ni mo
nanaimo is serviced by bc ferries and regular airplane and float plane
flight from vancouver
nanaimo is the regional service
nanaimo is infamous for a couple of things;
nanaimo is the gateway to many of the island’s most beautiful vacation
nanaimo is the second largest city on vancouver island and should not be
nanaimo is located on a coastal plain on the east coast of the island
nanaimo is doing in attracting film activity to the region
nanaimo is linked from vancouver by frequent air service with world
nanaimo is a multi
nanaimo is the second largest city on british columbia's vancouver island
with a population of over 85
nanaimo is appropriately known as the “hub city
nanaimo is the home to the most beautiful harbour on the eastern side of
vancouver island
nanaimo is an organization of approximately 100 women university graduates
who live in and around nanaimo
nanaimo is a coastal town of about 80
nanaimo is ideally located at the north entrance of the gulf islands
nanaimo is a growing city that is strategically located with victoria 110
km south and port hardy 391 km north
nanaimo is the hub of what is consistantly voted one of the most beatiful
getaway spots in the world
nanaimo is a challenging
nanaimo is centrally located on vancouver island and offers all the
amenities of a mid sized canadian city with the added attraction of our
coastal setting and
nanaimo is one of british columbia's most comfortable cities to live in

posted by peter 11:03 AM
Guten tag to the Berlin class of '95.
posted by peter 9:35 AM
Bob has to make it back to Protection Island by 1:00 am.
posted by peter 12:02 AM
Friday, April 25, 2003
Listening to:

Footloose! Paul Bley
(from Paul Haines' sleeve notes: A small
number of modern musicians hunt with the instrument, but only in Bley's hands has the boomerang become, among things, a soft-mouthed retriever--in an exchange with Swallow of disintegrating phrases, curving to behind the starting point, revealing annoyances and what amuses in a music something sometimes a harsh light turning every way but off. Back up the faucet.)

posted by peter 10:58 AM
from Hugh MacDiarmid "On a Raised Beach" written on the Shetland Islands early 1930's

...Nothing has stirred
Since I lay down this morning an eternity ago
But one bird. The widest open door is the least liable to intrusion,
Ubiquitous as the sunlight, unfrequented as the sun.
The inward gates of a bird are always open.
It does not know how to shut them.
That is the secret of its song,
But whether any man's are ajar is doubtful.
I look at these stones and know little about them,
But I know their gates are open too,
Always open, far longer open, than any bird's can be,
That every one of them has had its gates wide open far longer
Than all birds put together, let alone humanity,
Though through them no man can see,
No man nor anything more recently born than themselves
And that is everything else on the Earth.
I too lying here have dismissed all else...

posted by peter 8:44 AM
from Roads and Canals in the Eighteenth Century, Then and There series, M. Greenwood, Longmans 1953

Size of the broken stones

McAdam had three tests for choosing the right sized piece of stone. He taught his workmen to crack up the stones until they were small enough:

1. To go in a man's mouth.
2. To weigh about 6 ounces.
3. To pass through a 2 inch ring.

Which way would you use if you were working for Macadam?

posted by peter 8:29 AM
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Paul Newman brushes the thick ashes from a typewriter.
posted by peter 12:35 PM
Dark sheets of rain in the near distance uphill the bar at the bottom of a black and white screen before the picture tube gives out. The drive from Harewood on the new highway a series of ascents and descents into newly organised picturesque space. Along the side the parkway trailway, a long black path snaking in and out of the triumphantly low-maintenace landscaping; some effort made to preverve the gary oak and arbutus from the encroaching broom, which will smother us all, deserted at this wet hour. Yesterday on the very muddy morning circuit a glistening tiger slug about half a foot long implied with his eyestalks and shiny manner both the irrelevance of flight response and the wish to be thus described.
posted by peter 9:34 AM
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
from the OED definition of hologram:

1966 Observer 15 May 13 Every bit of a hologram contains information about the whole scene. So you can snip it into pieces, shine a laser at one of the pieces, and you will see the original scene, only somewhat fuzzier.

posted by peter 11:47 AM
Very sad news today. Jerry Pethick, Hornby Island artist and a friend of mine since the early 80's (part of a circle that back then included writers George Stanley, Billy Little and Kevin Davies) is very ill. Less well known even in the Canadian art world than he should be, his adherence to both high modernist principles and a deeply idiosyncratic and worked-out set of motifs place him in the company of artists like Michael Snow and Ian Hamilton Finlay. His house, a set of airy cabins, with a large barn studio out back partly made of empty propane tanks and hay, spreading trees with tables underneath, is golden in my memory though of course I haven't been back in years. A pioneer of holography, Jerry would pull from drawers smoky sheets of decaying plastic that when peered at would reveal images of haunting insubstantiality, like something hoarded from another dimension. I wrote a catalogue for a show of his that I've always been a bit embarassed by, it failed completely to capture his work's singular combination of the alchemical and ad hoc. But no one else ever has either.
posted by peter 11:36 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Delia Derbyshire

(electronic music pioneer, founder BBC Radiophonic Workshop)

In Maida Vale
did Delia Derbyshire
string down the hallway
a 40 foot loop
of iron oxide
stuck with rice and rust
to make a sound
that would be sellotaped
to another sound
ten thousand times
to assemble an anthem
for the Queen of Cypress.
The charge that held
the cellophane wrapper
against her waving fingers
moved in a perfect arpeggio
she knew, lacking
only the means
to coax itself from the aether
and onto the oscillator’s
shaded green field,
to send its ascending call
along green tiles
through tobacco curtains
and the thick September air,
to be lost among the
distant poplars
of the North Circular.

posted by peter 5:52 PM
Lyrics by Frances Landesman
Music by Thomas Wolf

Doctors once prescribed a tonic;
Sulfur and molasses was the the dose,
It didn't help a bit, my condition must be chronic
Spring can really hang you up the most...

I'm all alone, the party's over
Old Man Winter was a gracious host
But if you keep on praying
For snow to hide the clover
Spring can really hang you up the most...

posted by peter 12:30 PM
Thanks to Jordan of Million Poems Journal & Equanimity for the kind word and the link.

Hello & welcome D!

posted by peter 12:06 PM
Brown on Dickinson, from an essay in Teachers & Writers:

...she wrote her own proposals into the ecstatic gaps...

posted by peter 10:10 AM
for we're like creatures of the wind...

RIP Nina Simone

posted by peter 10:07 AM
Monday, April 21, 2003
A poem from about a year ago, my ongoing "disco" series, was in "Public" mag out of Toronto

The Voice of Kathy Sledge

“The green morocco binding of the spring, emblazoned with blue stamping.”
\ --James Schuyler

the voice of kathy sledge--
stevie’s ‘another star’, the
long melismatic fade now
as in ‘79 once again most
of the song--
echoes outward faintly
through the window over
the blue railing to
the grey snow, as if
my taste had somehow
saved me
from the question of
imaginary shutters and
then of making sure
the actual door is properly shut
which it often isn’t, or why
the sifto consumer grade road salt
glimmering faintly, pearly,
bounces off the clouds off
the sweet potato water orange
light from town, and
on the stairs seems
to draw from the frozen wood
a thin layer of sap
slick as five-in-one
destabilising the
thin grit underfoot--
within shotgun
outside of porchlight
seventeen versions
of “la buena vida”--
forms fill themselves in
with poignant dependability
shapes you like I like
the ones with acoustic guitars
the ones that make you cry
a page from locke
ground into oil,
rolled on the buttery
leaves of the 39 Articles, dipped
in formaldeheyde
and left to dry
a blunt as big as a badger
a vancouver special with
obverse lions
rampant meringue
treetop tea-rose pillar
rinsed-out bungalow
roofs reflect
the oxidised light above
your spindly widows walk
the space in the air
it occupied
jupiter, comfy
on the lip of a blue hill
but once again
the twinkling attention
of the lights below
chills the remix, a cat
sets off a motion sensor
and an operating theatre
appears beneath
an infant’s basketball hoop
a mode of deliverance
once entered into
even the crabgrass
asserts in dimpled relief
its ancient encroachment--
all down the line
by invective transfer
the means by which
this or that domain is secured
woodgrain panelled rv habitat
oddly sloping wide
sidewalk but you trip
carport, or south of there
shed, or out here
dogbark instead of shotgun
berkely instead of locke

posted by peter 12:45 PM
Looking at the sleeve notes of the June Christy album saw that "Spring" was recorded Aug 15, 1958, the day I was born!
(and the day before Madonna was born, of course.)

posted by peter 11:58 AM
listening to--

Mathew Herbert & Dani Siciliano Around the House (household object samples clicked with sotto voce)
John Fahey Red Cross (the hidden track is a quarter hour of silence)
Coleman Hawkins Properbox (the world as will and representation)
Ernest Ranglin Below the Bassline (screen door propped open with a cinderblock, some steam escapes)
June Christy The Song is June (spring can really hang you up the most)

I should have said imminent readers.

Big plume of thick black smoke from the opposite, high end of the valley, where the new houses are all on big lots set well back from the road and thus suspect. Lots of growlabs, bikers etc. around here, which keeps the burglars away at least. Daphne says she saw a big shooting flame which tends to make me think car or generator, something engined. "We'll never know...." she reminded me, but I was already hunting for socks and jadedly shaking salt into the oatmeal water.

posted by peter 11:40 AM
Sunday, April 20, 2003
My e-mail is
posted by peter 12:50 PM
Was just looking through the links at and saw myself there, a nice shock!

Hello actual readers & thank you Laurable!

posted by peter 12:48 PM
from Laynie Browne's "Pollen Memory":

Flowers occur in a small segment of the population.

posted by peter 12:38 PM
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Got Lee Ann Brown's "The Sleep That Changed Everything" in the mail and the next day the Dover
"Guide to Southern Trees" presents itself in Value Village as a supplement. Also found a Robinson Crusoe with illustrations by Grandville which reminded me of the Bunuel/Dan O'Herlihy version somehow. Also from Lee Ann the latest
Tender Buttons, Laynie Brown's "Pollen Memory" and India Radfar's "the desire to meet with the beautiful" both of which are lovely bits of bookmaking. Discussions proceed with R. about "Hammertown"--watch this space.

posted by peter 10:49 AM
Thursday, April 17, 2003
More on Theo Parrish, Detroit DJ

Slowly, Surely

We’re about
ten minutes in,
the rhythm section
eight or ten strong
has, working outward
from the bass
filled the stereo field;
Fela, after taking a few
perfunctory stabs in that
Sun Ra meets Sly Stone
Fender Rhodes thing of his,
settles into a solo
of blithe complexity, but
its all in the matter
of delaying
the reason we put the record
on in the first place,
that moment when the horns
come in & everything goes
BIG and WIDE---
the gruff edges of the baritones
mark time for a few seconds
with barks and squeaks
and then boom,
a mauve curtain descending:
it is at this moment
that Theo Parrish
drops the bass completely out
concentrating the massed overtones
of Africa ‘70
into a yellow shimmer
of force buzzing
against the walls
of a thin jar, an
unknown song from
the AM radio
hanging from the rear-view
of a car passing
over the
short wooden bridge
under which we sit,
hands pressed against our ears.

posted by peter 10:22 AM
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Listening to

Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (how could you tell?)
Theo Parrish Live Mix (king of the bass dropout)
Claire Martin comp. (great UK chanteuse)
Sacre Bleu! Dimitri from Paris (for solidarity with France)
Capitol K comp. (hard drive homemade beats and sweet soul from towering blocks of North London)
Beecham conduct Delius vol. one (hour of sheer bliss for 8 bucks Canadian and theres two more!)
Okeh Ellington (Bubber Miley)

posted by peter 3:02 PM
Kind of gray day when all the new spring growth seems lit up from inside, especially the acre of superlawn up at the turf farm.

Up as in uphill from our water table, so its probably making me glow a bit by now.

posted by peter 1:56 PM

If I were a bell
I'd keep coming back,
I’ll play it &
tell you what it is
later, my voice
not yet the hard rasp
it will become, patient
even, as if to say
it’s not you or me, its
the mildly lapping waves
on a length
of municipal lakefront,
pennants snapping
you to mild attention, look
you see that
pink granite tomb
reflecting so majestically
the waning afternoon?
Well they’re
keeping it for me, so
I entreat you,
leaning on your armrest,
regarding the dials
of the walnut board
before you
as if they were
rats in a maze
or numbers on a cash register,
don’t phase out
on the eyelash kiss
of my disdain
or succumb to the
annihilating blue fog
you glimpsed
when you could still
look up.

posted by peter 10:24 AM
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
I guess I didn't win the Hon's free potsticker for life contest or they would have called me by now.
Hello anyway to Beatrice, Oscar and the Union St. Cloudwatchers Club.

posted by peter 12:33 PM

Fancy oft doth lend
interests to promote:
our natural lot
our walk attend
or comprehend
a note;
let their odours float
and their glories blend,
or the blaze
the golden cords
that visions, raise.
And who the line,
the power define
to man affords?


How benign
a thought will share
outwardly as bare,
no fallacious sign
with fruit divine!
His care
the common air,
its shrine
the eyes that meet.
Thoughts are stayed,
necks entreat
his voice or hand,
in silence made.


Vacant hermitage;
some dry nook
near a brook.
From stage to stage
its bustling rage
translucent pool;
its arches cool,
a beechen bowl;
should be
the hooting owl,
the crested fowl,
sounding for me
their industry.

posted by peter 12:22 PM
Big meow to the Clement Moore Park collective.
posted by peter 12:14 PM
Coincidentally wonderful Schuyler letters in issue one of the three Sal Mimeo magazines Larry Fagin sent me along with the new Joanne Kyger "ten shines" (drawings by Nemi Frost --Nijinsky Suicide Health Club 2003). I noticed Ron Silliman on his blog quoted the same line from it I would have "Why is everyone except Michael Moore so stupid?" and he's excellent on it from there of course. Also in the Sal Mimeos a couple from Alan Bernheimer including these lines from "Sleep City Squegee"

champagne and salted almonds
over and over again
in a hail of bullets

posted by peter 9:52 AM
The tar-flattener is being put on its little trailer.
posted by peter 9:36 AM
Pete quotes, from his home across the water in Tsawassen (gateway to Point Roberts!) James Schuyler

...a day subtle and suppressed in mounds of Juniper unfolding...

posted by peter 9:33 AM
A nine car freight about five minutes before time of posting, a graffitti-covered car adding a pleasantly urban touch. Right now I can watch the wide steel wheels of the tar flattener as they finish work on the new foot of road over where they put the new drainage pipe about a month back. Full sun and very deep daylight savings time shadows. Neighbour's workshop roof steaming as the sun hits it, beyond that tarsmoke as the dumptruck pulls up and begins to pour.
posted by peter 9:19 AM
Monday, April 14, 2003
Hello to the Eastside Shier wideboy mob and Zoe.
posted by peter 2:11 PM
A shout out to my Tsawassen peeps.
posted by peter 10:43 AM
Walking up to the mailbox the yummy smell of hot tar.
posted by peter 10:35 AM
Spell check:


posted by peter 10:33 AM
So the WMD's are in Syria. It's a wonder they don't choke on their lies.
posted by peter 9:21 AM
More of my Wordsworth workings.


Panic stricken aid moved
from hill to hill--
heaven’s high will
assumed a darker shade,
thus afflicted and dismayed
the mountains
flowed like fountains
and in the dust were laid,
conscious of a care
those of the earth
that gave them birth,
found savage fortunes only there;
and the girth!
Witness what they were.


Wrath and scorn--
and the gleaming blades--
the spirit that pervades
shall mourn,
prayers would turn
and guard the store.
Roman lore
now must burn--
all things swerve
or vanish like a dream;
language spreads from coast to coast,
some melancholy stream
old names preserved
the people all are lost!


Youthful slaves
within the pale
for public sale,
city laves,
an angel waves,
man’s eye
Salvation craves
the earnest sire;
slender ties
commanding sympathy
God’s ire
shall sing,
eternal king!


Morning fair
on which ye tread
procession bear
who floats in air,
Augustine led
without dread
a tuneful prayer--
they would free
the tempestuous sea
so rough and high
the clashing swords
a few bare words
with fear of God’s divinity.


Royal hall
tutored in the school
of heathen rule.
Stature tall?
Meagre cheek
an eagle’s beak;
at once appal--
the monarch leans
this delegate propounds,
(his own deep mind he sounds)
then convenes
give ear,
utter, hear!


Sparrow, mighty king!
Your chief you sit
is seen to flit.
on hasty wing
from cold to cold;
nor behold
that transient thing
not utterly unknown,
her warm abode--
what woe or weal
no tongue hath shown;
the stranger can reveal,
cordially bestowed.


The novel lore
in full career
hurls a spear
which heretofore
falls, and Thor
in battle heaved
victory was achieved
no more.
Hide their shame,
come to me
inviting voice,
the pledge of sanctity,
the promise claim.

posted by peter 9:19 AM
Sunday, April 13, 2003
A short art thing.
posted by peter 1:21 PM
Antonia Hirsch String Theory A Note

Peter Culley March 2003

It is appropriate that a work predicated on closely observed contingencies of scale and presence should appear in the enclosed but malleable space of the Xeno Gallery, a 50 foot square alcove attached to Dadabase, a small boutique at the corner of Main and Broadway. Though “String Theory” is embedded, even half-hidden, in a quasi-commercial space, it also inhabits a neighborhood, a faded-but-resurgent edge of the downtown core, eager to accept the rewards of the type of hybridity the work-- as “art“--serves to authenticate. Thus even before being seen, “String Theory” makes an awareness of location the first of the pre-conditions it enacts on its viewers.

This question of location persists in bluntly practical terms, for even in the designated gallery space, once past another artist’s window display and the body of the store, the somewhat dark ante-room that constitutes the Xeno Gallery appears empty save for a door at its opposite end. Anecdotal reports of visitors wandering into the area, staring at the eye level wall spaces where the art would presumably be and walking away bemused are sadly believable, but only barely. For again, “String Theory” is in careful control of its effects, and enters the senses on its own peripheral terms; the initial impression is one of ghostly insubstantiality coalescing into form with deliberation, even reluctance. A reverse hallucination, perhaps; a moment of clarification deferred as long as possible.

Flush against the right wall, parallel to the floor and in size not much larger than a mouse hole, the moving surface of its projection seems to hover momentarily as the eye becomes dark-adapted. The image is of a woman skipping, at times haltingly, in an indeterminate dark space. The sound, when it emerges from the rest of the city’s considerable undertone, is an amplification of the figure’s action; most vividly the echoing thud of feet. Very little of the figure is visible beyond its extremities, which seem to emit rather than receive an iridescent blue light. The skipping rope, depending on the speed of its movement, trails its own more brightly phosphorescent light in variously intertwining and overlapping shapes. But to make these details out is not easy, viewers must crouch, adjust their sight lines, gather up their hems--a corrective tilt of the head seemed helpful for some. It is for a moment almost as if the artist means us to recall not only one of the stock figures of holographic representation--the “dancing” (potentially revolving) figure--but to replicate that form’s notorious difficulty of apprehension. But like a speaker strategically lowering her voice, “String Theory” diminishes scale in order to compel attention. To experience the work as anything other than a suggestive blur involves an active bodily commitment not unrelated to that of its endlessly skipping subject. Absorption becomes the last of “String Theory” s pre-conditions.

For if “String Theory” --with its title, loping mobius strips and stretched infinity signs--enters a discourse of science, it does so bodily. Experimental science is, after all, an abstraction of human labour; I do this in order to find out about that. If “String Theory” attempts to restore through aesthetic manipulation a human trace to the bodiless patriarchy of science, it also functions as an experiment in its own right.
In this way, its repetitions function not as gestural solipsisms but as a legitimate ground of enquiry.

A first clue as to the kind of data that such an enquiry might generate occurred at the point when I realised that the work’s central figure is not, at least compared to the still-vivid memories of the girls I grew up with, much of a skipper. To watch the drama of “String Theory”s doll-like, quasi-abstracted figure struggling with the arbitrary demands of its self-appointed task--feet sometimes tangling in jerking uncertain rhythms--is to see a struggle with the legitimacy of artistic process literally embodied. The skipper skips on determinedly, as if in hope that purpose and meaning will at some point be triumphantly revealed, that fleeting accidents of light and movement might be made to signify.

The theoretical speculations of string theory itself, in which (as far as I can make it out) the very largest and very smallest of the universe’s components are united in gleeful instability, serve only to mock the relentlessly Newtonian discourse of the body the work can’t help but describe: the steep stairs, the hills down which a bicycle can be freely coasted. The endless work of day-to-day existence, the humliating drudgery of artmaking. But if the condition “String Theory” depicts is thus circumscribed, the process of its depiction deliberately enacts paradox. It is a representation of solitude that demands an intimate response; a record of base physical effort made in terms of luminous insubstantiality. It is an experiment whose results are inscribed on its constantly receding surface.

posted by peter 1:20 PM
A late epithalamion for Lee Ann Brown and Tony Torn's wedding in North Carolina last summer.
posted by peter 1:12 PM
Morse’s Code

for Lee Ann & Tony

“did you expect southern butter?“


You have no memory of it,
but something--
the way maybe
Sam Waterston’s coat
drapes across his arm
as he quickly runs
up the courthouse steps--
tells you its a repeat,
or the feeling through
your whole body
outward from the hand and
up from the rebar,
striking adamantine
sparks across fillings,
flaking paper leaves.
knocking pebbles
grounders four feet
into Ladysmith harbour
off Transfer Beach
the satisfying plonk
of the heavy flat pebble
dropping deep,
crack of driftwood bat,
elicits from Liam
(for whom speech then
at best
a lightly regarded register)
a momentary keening
then a sustained
intake of breath,
commencing as if
to a smoke-filled
brocaded armour room
an impromptu address:
a butter knife
taps a water glass,
rhetorical quietus
crosses his face like a cloud--
phylogenetic like the Method
then gone like a cool breeze.

Or it could be the way
the pale pink petals
of the asterish
catnip flowers
(dislodged by
extirpated bees,
also pale, dusty,
greenish yellow
faintly striped)
arrange themselves
on the blue stained porch
with studied thitherness,
slightness edging
manipulation, endearing
scatter, chaotic
like a certain kind
of good day, supine
like Goethe
on the downy spine
of the continental divide;
with a dark card
and some thin glue
you prepare to make
a record, voices
from below and above
press the soft walls
of the amniotic ether
no more roughly
than do the receding
velvety peaks
of the old America,
the mound America.


An odd feeling of floating
toes dragging heavenward
occupies the near-silence
left by the generators
abrupt and shuddering shutdown,
various birds and dogs
shouting over it all along
amp down gratefully
if not gracefully,
crimped green pipes
secured with collars rest
on fresh drifts of topsoil
until the sun
takes everything out of the picture.

Genre completes it later--
a grey scale out of Art Blakey
over an Ottoman blue sky,
lozenged skidmarks
in ochre ditchspace,
icebarrel transcription discus
nonchantly half-boomeranging
over earnest lego capitals,
coming to rest beside a toy ball
whose decorative stars have been
eroded by saliva.

As formerly in Davenport
similarly excavated, similarly
they mixed their gin
with kolnwasser
coloured bulbs
and the victrola-horned astringencies
of Mr. Albert Ketelby
to assert half-nauseated
synesthestic drift as appropriate
response to both
their dads horehound-smelling
Barbasol babbitry
and the post-Wilsonian
inward turn, so did we dwell

“in a monastery garden”

hanging the notes like apples on a tree

(our Whitman via Delius,
for fuck’s sake)

so through the dark trellises of Harewood
did we array against
the hegemony of Social Credit
and the pirate mayor
the tattooed maxims of Philip Whalen
and the heaving crystallographies
of Wanda Landowska:
it was as if
her harpsichord
had by some device
imprinted itself
on the heavy old vinyl,
so worn a web of little scratches
was visible in the careening
ribbon of light that straddled
the picture frames pale curved limit,
translucent carriages bursting
mysterious barricades,
her paws as soft as Scottish weather
floating in scare quotes
above the podium
all we could see
from where we sat.

posted by peter 1:09 PM
This Oulipan Wordsworth jape my Sunday rage-lightener.
posted by peter 1:00 PM



The faithful pace
it’s cloud-fed spring
his to sing
nature’s grace;
stream to trace
the plausive string--
Resting place:
the source,
banks are found
that have crowned
lawless force;
in its course
palms abound.


Spirits rest
they can tell
the sacred well
Island blessed
through the west,
in Britain dwell
by a miracle
stream invest?
Prison doors
These wild shores
this cup of woe
to guard
the flow?


the mystic ring
future questioning:
heavy flight,
baleful rite.
Crept o’er
patriarchal lore.
Doctrines blight
his historic strains?
Julian’s spear
Roman chains,
Jesus crucified;
the weak, the suffering hear
hope abide.


Thy road
the gift of fire
sacerdotal ire,
man bestowed
to God
the eternal sire
of law aspire,
wisdom flowed,
the coming storm,
the stars were shaped;
primal truth
a superstitious form
unavailing ruth.


We are lost
amid Brigantian coves,
shepherd roves
the ghost
of tradition crossed;
Western Isles
those holy piles
Iona’s coast.
Eldest name
unforgotten lays
to Roman fame
has led:
the fountainhead
may gaze.


Fiery sword
but instinct
weapon linked,
storehouses afford.
Incarnate Lord
smitten in the field--
the ineffectual shield
others gored.
Alban tried,
no threats could shake,
he died
name forsake
platforms seem to rise
for holiest sacrifice.


Birds regain,
bespangled plain;
Re-constructed fane;
storm renewed
they ordain
great deliverance;
their fear
rage extreme
mild countenance,
feed and cheer--
less dreadful than they seem.


Soul subduing vice
on your steps await
banquets delicate,
bright as polar ice
may yet suffice
virtue, and abate
forehead sate
the price.
Insidious arts
from her frown
her peaceful gown,
fondly viewed
are but parts
of deadliest servitude!


(If truth be scanned)
both wide and deep
to feverish sleep.
Dares to stand
her fiery brand
new baptized!
Peace despised
the enervate land
suppliant cries,
forced farewell;
her own knell
upon strange allies
dreaded enemies
them to repel.

posted by peter 12:57 PM
Ceara comes into my room wrapped 1 1/2 times in Daph's pink coat carrying on the end of her finger a morrel mushroom as big as a bear's brain.

posted by peter 10:24 AM
Saturday, April 12, 2003
Still having a little trouble with this, but here's the url for an old article of mine.
posted by peter 1:56 PM
posted by peter 1:52 PM
I guess I should say that my name is Peter Culley, and I live in a little house in South Wellington, just south of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I write for a meager living, usually about art but sometimes poetry too. I've never been a journal keeper, letter writer or even commonplace book keeper, so I hope that this will be be a place to keep some sort of record of my uneventful existence.
posted by peter 11:23 AM
April 12

Lots of little changes in the neighbourhood. The rather shabby diner across the highway, which even though less than ten minutes walk from our house I rarely went to (even though it had a fireplace and offered a hamburger patty as a breakfast item), is not just shut down but completely gone. Bob and I had scoped it out in search of usable material some months back but they'd done a pretty thorough job already. It was ripped down, the lot was filled, flattened, rezoned light industrial, graded and is now for sale. The truss factory roughly across from it, where they made triangular house frames, has moved, the old place now shuttered. In my sentimental Richard Scarryesque regard for honest straight work I liked to walk past it in full operation. It was open to the street, and one could watch not only sawing, hammering and nailing, but also the big press they used to straighten the lumber out. The young guys who worked there moved with the kind of unhurried deliberation that told me that they made good money, as did the giant trucks in the parking lot. I looked through the mangy office window and saw the usual industrial rug and phone wires. Not so much as a calendar otherwise.

posted by peter 11:02 AM