Saturday, December 30, 2006
From Aphorisms I-XV
------------------by Theodore Worozbyt Jr.
The most devout long to breathe the dirt's scent once more.
The cat runs faster at night; he sees you better.
Only the ordinary is reprehensible, but praise disgusts the just.
Wine is not drunk enough.
Be bitter but only about the Truth.
With a friend, poison is sweet; sweetness, with an enemy, poisons.
The colder things are, the slower, unless they are flowers.
You will never know the river wets your hair.
What is sweetness, that bees do not remember honey?
Work is wings.
If you would judge, then be a Judge.
If you would be judged, be just.
The color of a stone is darker in water.
To be loved, love no one.
The catacombs are not the end. Past them lies a wall.
I am an enemy to what I have forgotten.
If a bell rings, then a bell has been moved from its sleep.
Change admits error, but will prove correct in its assumptions.
Every antipole is itself. Every identity is another.
As I walked along the river, an old man carried a walking stick on
---his shoulder, as a soldier will carry a rifle. When we passed I
---greeted him, but he could not bring himself to answer, though I
---too am an old man, taking pains as I go.
excerpt from Poetry - January 2007
Friday, December 29, 2006
Someone is hanging from an ice-pick
Wrestled into my lung
But I haven’t had Blue Cross
In so long it might only be my memory
Of a blue jay chasing the others away—
House finch, sparrow and pigeon—
How it sat at the feeder,
Beak-high, without eating for hours.
The entire afternoon I watched, reliving
The smoke-dark morning I shot my best friend,
And how four years later, seniors
In high school, we sat drunk on Pabst,
Squeezing the remaining buckshot from his calf
As a girl we both thought was ours
Watched, a cigarette burning a knuckle
On her hand. The moon was something
I will never remember and plutonium
Was what I thought of the fireflies.
And now, when I leave my porch
The ground will give beneath my feet
On this day wet and comfortable
With warm rain. Most of the apples are mealy
With bruises, but I will sliver them
With my grandfather’s pocketknife, eat
Them with peanut butter while sipping green tea.
It would be much easier if I could
Say I have so much of everything I don’t
Remember loving anything at all, but really,
What wouldn’t I do for twenty-bucks?
from AGNI online
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
NoD--an undergraduate literary magazine initiated by the University of Calgary English Literature Student Society has accepted a couple of my poems. The magazine published its first three issues last year. The editor Felicia Pacentrilli is pictured here with several issues of the mag.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Eyes Fastened With Pins
----------------------by Charles Simic
How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing death's laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death's supper table.
The neighbors playing
Pinochle in the backyard
Or just sitting on the steps
Drinking beer. Death,
Meanwhile, in a strange
Part of town looking for
Someone with a bad cough,
But the address somehow wrong,
Even death can't figure it out
Among all the locked doors...
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper
To cover his head, not even
A dime to call the one pining away,
Undressing slowly, sleepily,
And stretching naked
On death's side of the bed.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
As of late I have noted that I am less and less inclined to listen to the latest in music. It just doesn’t seem to speak to, connect with or resonate with me anymore. Yes, of course there are exceptions to this rule, but by and large this has become the norm. Then of course I remembered as a teen saying that my parents just didn't "get it" when it came to the music I listened to. So this prompted me to consider what had changed for me vis-a-vis my appreciation of today’s music. Was this a factor of age or perhaps of some other variable that I was unaware of?
Then I came across this article by Nick Southall in Stylus Magazine: “Imperfect Sound Forever” and became enthralled. He forwards that:
- One result of [overcompression] is that modern CDs have much more consistent volume levels than ever before. But when is it desirable for music to be at a consistent volume? When it's not being actively listened to; i.e. when it's intended as background music.
- Music isn't meant to be at a consistent volume and flat frequency; it's meant to be dynamic, to move, to fall and rise and to take you with it, physically and emotionally. Otherwise it literally is just background noise ...
- Music is about tension and release. With very "hot," un-dynamic music there is no release because the sensory assault simply doesn't let-up.
- ... people I see out and about wearing walkmans or MP3 players seldom seem to tap, or nod, or hum along at all though; instead their gazes seem fixed with a steely resolve, their bodies tense and their minds seemingly tenser. To me that isn't the body language of someone enjoying music.
- People are forgetting how to listen, and who can blame them?
Now this would explain why I tend to gravitate to music that was recorded in the 70's, 80's & early 90's:
Take a look at these two graphs. The original is Abba's "One of Us" as recorded in 1981. You can see a wide dynamic range. The second graph is "One of Us" remastered in 2005, compressed to make all of the sound-wave "big" and louder.
Pull out a record from the 70s or early 80s, and listen to it. Odds are it'll have a big dynamic range -- it'll be whisper-quiet in some parts and booming loud in others. You'll pick up new nuances every time you listen to it. Now listen to any music track recorded in the last ten years, and it'll be radically different. That dynamic range is gone: The entire track is loud, all the way through. The sound sounds a lot more intense, and it "grabs" you more quickly the first time you hear it. But does it still reward re-listening?
Southall argues that the "loudness wars" are destroying music. Record labels for decades have tried to make records louder, on the mostly-correct theory that louder music is more likely to pull you in on first listen. But the way you make music louder is via "compression". In a normal recording of music, the loudest parts -- the peaks -- are much higher than the quietest ones, the valleys. Compression shrinks the difference between the peaks and valleys, so there's less dynamic range; this frees up more room up top so you can boost the whole volume of the entire song.
So now I get to feel better about telling my 12 year old to turn her music down - after all it's all Muzak to an old geyser like me isn't it?
Monday, December 04, 2006
"In fact, I think a strong case can be made that the more respect you have for poetry, the less of it you will find adequate to your taste and needs. There is a limit to this logic, of course, or else Plato would be the patron saint of the art. But still, an overdeveloped appetite for poetry is no guarantee of taste or even of love, and institutionalized efforts at actually encouraging the over-consumption of poetry always seem a bit freakish, ill-conceived, and peculiarly American, like those mythic truck stops where anyone who can eat his own weight in rump roast doesn't have to pay for it. ...
Anyone involved with the institutions of poetry would do well to remember this. With all the clamor in this country about the audience for poetry, a veritable barnyard of noise into which I myself have been known to bray, we shouldn't lose sight of one of poetry's chief strengths: how little of it there is. I don't mean how little there is in the culture, but how little there is at any one time that is truly excellent. "
The point I want to make here has to do with the prose in these [back] issues [of Poetry - 1913 & 1915], which in both cases remains surprisingly fresh, readable, even relevant. ...This tendency is borne out by other back issues of Poetry (issues old enough to allow for some perspective, I mean). The poetry is pretty much a steady backdrop of competence for the occasional and (now) unmistakable masterpieces. The prose is surprisingly consistent in its quality and appeal.
----------------------------------------------------------The Editors of Poetry
From the side window
I can see a grove of bamboo trees.
When it drizzles, they shed their rust colors,
When it pours for days,
whorled twigs become quick and full and thin,
and at their delicate ends,
leaves become razor-sharp and long.
In the night when I hear the howl,
tall and dusky shades
would scratch and knock my windowpanes,
lurching with the wind of the storm.
they would succeed in touching me.
Eclectica - Nov/Dec 2006