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Monday, October 21, 2013


Today I spent a great deal of time contemplating the concept of dharma


धर्म (dharma) m
  1. religion

Etymology From Sanskrit धर्म (dhárma)


धर्म (dharma)
  1. religion



From Proto-Indo-European *dʰer- (“to hold, to support”).


धर्म (dhárma) m
  1. morality, virtue, moral code, good deed, good works
  2. that which is established or firm, steadfast decree, statute, ordinance, law
  3. usage, practice, customary observance or prescribed conduct, duty
  4. right, justice (often as a synonym of punishment)
  5. religion, religious merit
  6. Law or Justice personified
  7. the law or doctrine of Buddhism
  8. the ethical precepts of Buddhism
  9. the law of Northern Buddhism
  10. nature, character, peculiar condition or essential quality, property, mark, peculiarity
  11. a particular ceremony
  12. sacrifice
  13. the ninth mansion
  14. Upanishad
  15. associating with the virtuous
  16. religious abstraction, devotion
  17. bow
  18. Soma-drinker
  19. name of the 15th अर्हत् (arhat) of the present अवसर्पिणी (ava-sarpiṇī)
It also has to do with spiritual purification. It is a way of being in the world that helps one to become spiritually pure. "Truth is one, ways are many."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Flash Love Story

"When you're feeling better, we'll go to the lake house again. Remember how wonderful it was at the lake? Sitting on the rocks, eating apples, basking in the bright summer sun that shimmered like scattered diamonds across the water?  It was our own beautiful world. We were so happy. That was the summer we fell in love. Remember?" Tears hidden beneath the words.  
"I've not forgotten. But I'm not getting better, love, I'm dying."
She pressed her face into his chest. She couldn’t look at him. Her throat felt like it would crack with each breath. Her voice barely audible over the rattle in his chest. "Can't we just pretend? Pretend you'll get well? Pretend we're staying here, in our beautiful world, forever?"

Thursday, August 22, 2013


You have this image of yourself in a wedding dress sewn entirely of hymens—little ovals stitched together— faintly pink and transparent, like cherry petals, and vibrating with miniature howls—some of pleasure, some of pain, some of disappointment—and when you move there's the delicate sound of membranes tearing (5).

~ Ben Perez

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I fell in love with words

Maybe that's why I couldn't fall in love with a person. My heart was already spoken for.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Meteoric Flowers: Visual Image Becomes Metaphor

In Elizabeth Willis's collection, Meteoric Flowers, the complexly interconnected visual images become metaphors for existence. Life, love, technology and evolution collide to offer flashes of the tenuous and fragile human relationships that form between mother and daughter, teacher and pupil, master and apprentice, poet and reader. The language is so strikingly personal that one feels almost like a voyeur. The collection is an homage to both Wallace Stevens and Erasmus Darwin, and the influence of both of these writers on the collection is clear, but at the same time the prose poems are intensely personal, almost confessional.

The form is experimental, forcing readers to rethink ideas about the imagined differences between verse and prose. The collection is broken into four cantos, each canto contains thirteen prose poems (or verses), except for the third canto, which contains fifteen poems, and, in an explicit homage to Erasmus Darwin's 1791 publication, Botanic Garden, each canto ends with an editor's note of errata and omissions. However, these notes, omissions, and errata are themselves poems (or continuing verses depending on how you read them). Willis refers to these poems as "lyric interruptions" to the prose cantos. In a note on the text Willis explains:
The investigative energy and poetic ambition of his Botanic Garden (1791) suggested not so much a form as a sensibility with which to approach a period of political, intellectual, and biological transformation. Darwin's poems address everything from the sexual life of plants to the evils of slavery, the conquest of Mexico, Franklin's experiments with electricity, and the relation of poetry to painting. In their unwieldy asymmetries and their sudden leaps between botany, political and aesthetic history, and pastoral romance, this work of the late Enlightenment seemed an eerily apt model for riding out the inter-discursive noise of the early twenty-first century. Poetry, it says, can be at once an account of the physical world, a rethinking of the order of things, and a caprice. (77)
And so it is. If this is Willis's contractual agreement with her reader, then her poems do exactly what they set out to do--these poems are "at once an account of the physical world, a rethinking of the order of things, and a caprice."

I am in love with this collection, admittedly, but one of my favorites, possibly due to my enduring Yeats obsession, has to be

"Rosicrucian Machinery"

The past torches itself like a mummy, dear but misremembered.
What did you manage to remember of your day at the beach,
blood in the sand? We're close enough to touch the bull's horn
with a gasp. Of course I pity a boy among crows. A spectator
trawling for the roundest metaphor to counterweight the stabbing
air. What gives, or gave, to get us here, what wired fluorescence?
The treelike nerves to become all things. Turned in, reflected,
postponed. (46)

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I'm reading This Is Not A Pipe in preparation for my review of S/Z in July. I'm also reading and reviewing Meteoric Flowers next month and there is a sense that these texts are interconnected. The threads curve out from the images in the texts to form a structure that is anti-formal. A post-structure that rejects formal aesthetics in an attempt to move beyond "words and things" or rather to counter the way in which language itself becomes conflated with the ideas it seeks to represent. This is the dominant idea within The Order of Things--linguistic orders construct reality and become static things rather than fluid ideas. This is writing as noun rather than verb. The IS rather than is-ing.

I'd rather think of writing as a verb. I think this helps us to remember that all writing, all language use, is representational. It is a thing but it is also a doing. As my dear friend said to me, "an old antagonism exists between those who assign priority to nouns and those who assign priority to verbs; nouns = gods, verbs = tricksters..."

Let's be tricksters.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The only thing

This blog isn't about my life, it's about my writing, but sometimes these intersect. So, after reading countless blogs and reports, I'm just going to say this about the incident in Steubenville, with thanks to my friend Kate for boiling it down to its most basic core:

When you see a human being passed out on a cold concrete floor, alone, all you have to do is pick her up, maybe put her in a chair. Perhaps, if you are in a really kind mood you could find her phone, dial the number for Home, and let someone know where she is.

What you don't do is rape her.  And then take photos.  And then text the photos to your buddies.  And then make jokes about it.
How did rape ever become an option for how to handle a human being in distress?