July 20, 2018

Approaching from far away, the future has arrived and made me ashamed of my deep debt.

ἕκαθεν γὰρ ἐπελθὼνμέλλων χρόνος
ἐμὸν καταίσχυνε βαθὺ χρέος.

< Olympian 10.6, English, Svarlien


July 20, 2018

I do see, smiled Garvey. (Bilby was somewhat disturbed by how Garvey articulated this sentence, for Garvey had laid the stress on the word ‘see’, rather than on the word ‘do’, which is where Bilby would have laid the stress were he the one to have made that comment.)[*]

July 19, 2018

slosh slash slush splash splish splosh … Most of these are imitative. Slash is from the same word as slat (slash as punctuation mark not til 1960s.)


July 19, 2018

Stomachion would I guess imply “mouth battle” but is a corruption or misspelling of ostomachionWikipedia:

The word Ostomachion has as its roots in the Greek Ὀστομάχιον, which means “bone-fight”, from ὀστέον (osteon), “bone” and μάχη (mache), “fight, battle, combat”. Note that the manuscripts refer to the word as “Stomachion”, an apparent corruption of the original Greek….

The word stomach does indeed come from stoma (mouth). Bone-fight somewhat suggest bone wars, which I recently came across.

Change Confronted for What It Really Was / The Eternal Grasped in Every Change

July 18, 2018

Spending time with Crying of Lot 49 this summer, I find, in Pynchon’s discussion of infinitesimals, still another idea maybe comparable to “epiphany” for thinking about the origin of a work of art (though it pertains to something more than to the work of art — pertains to Time and how we should stand with respect to it).

…”dt”, God help this old tattooed man, meant also a time differential, a vanishingly small instant in which change had to be confronted at last for what it really was, where it could no longer disguise itself as something innocuous like an average rate (pp.129)

The infinitessimal or dt is something very like Duchamp’s inframince, it occurs to me. Though where inframince concerns a very small, but ostensibly measurable, moment of time, (or perhaps it is immeasurable because no one would ever conceivably want to measure it: no one would ever measure the warmth of a recently left seat, and if they did, it wouldn’t be inframince), a dt is a moment so small it isn’t measurable, and an epiphany (though this a total projection upon Joyce**) is “a thing at the last moment of the world” (I’m quoting myself here — nothing to do with Joyce) which I guess is a little like a dt: a thing as it’s poised to vanish. Which is like Kierkegaard’s saying of the eternal that it exists in every change:

if there is, then, something eternal in a man, it must be able to exist and to be grasped within every change […] it must be said that there is something that shall always have its time, something that a man shall always do

The thinking here is extremely loose of course: yet find myself wrestling with there being some sort of correspondence to be teased out among these ideas: Kierkegaard’s “eternal”, Joyce’s “epiphany”, Schopenhauer’s “passive subject”, Duchamp’s “inframince”, haikus (the whole genre), and now Pynchon’s infinitesimals,… and we might as well throw Being & Time in as well. There’s something about these authors’ ideas of ordinariness that implies also a certain philosophy of Time, an ethic, perhaps, of how to approach it.

** Joyce seemed to want to say that epiphanies were pregnant moments in time, whereas I would like to say that all moments are pregnant in that way, if subjected to the proper chemical bath of interrogations (everything, I fancy, at the last moment of the world, would show itself to be pregnant with meaning). In any case it does at least seem clear that Joyce was speaking of moments of ordinary life, not moments of historical significance — not pregnant in that sense — when he thought of epiphany.

Drafts of a Haiku

July 17, 2018

A friend looked askance at me when I told her the syllable account was not very important for writing English language haikus. Emboldened by her formalism, I tried to fit my initial Haiku-like observation (at the bottom of this post — the order here is from latest to earliest) into a 5-7-5 pattern, with these results:

In the red polish
of the car door, yellow words:
the space is reserved.

The red polish of
the car yields these yellow words:
the space is reserved.

In the red polish
of the car door yellow words:
this space is reserved.

In the red polish
of the car door yellow words:
“Reserved Space 13.”

In the polish of
a car door the words “reserved”
(with the space number)

In the polish of
a car door is read “reserved
space” (With the number)

In the polish of
a car door the words “reserved space”
(With the space number)

In a parked car’s door —
the mirrored words “reserved space”
(With the space number)

In a parked car’s door
reflection reads “reserved space”
(With the space number)

In the curvature of a parked car door
the reflection of a neighboring “reserved space”
(and the space number)

It’s a little interesting how the effort to dwell within formal constraints will tease out new areas of consideration in the subject: the idea of color is not at all in the original but dominant in the later drafts; the idea of a reflection in the door, important the original, has been diminished by the end. An improvement in the later drafts, I would say, is that they make implicit the idea of a parked car, which is explicit in the earlier ones; and would add that the more formalism bends one to doing that, turning the stated into the understood, the more it recommends formalism as a practice.


July 16, 2018

” A man who really fights for the right, if he is to preserve his life for even a little while, must be a private citizen, not a public man.” Apology [31ε]-[32α] [English]:

καί μοι μὴ ἄχθεσθε λέγοντι τἀληθῆ: οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ὅστις ἀνθρώπων σωθήσεται οὔτε ὑμῖν οὔτε ἄλλῳ πλήθει οὐδενὶ γνησίως ἐναντιούμενος καὶ διακωλύων πολλὰ ἄδικα καὶ παράνομα ἐν τῇ πόλει γίγνεσθαι, ἀλλ᾽ ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστι τὸν τῷ ὄντι μαχούμενον ὑπὲρ τοῦ δικαίου, καὶ εἰ μέλλει ὀλίγον χρόνον σωθήσεσθαι, ἰδιωτεύειν ἀλλὰ μὴ δημοσιεύειν.

(This makes me think, albeit a little obliquely, of H. Clinton’s criticism of B. Obama during the 2008 primary campaign, and of the difference between MLK and LBJ, which I believe, indeed, Clinton referenced: the general idea that, if you want to effect a political change, you need people working both inside –HC / LBJ– and outside –BO / MLK– the political system.)

July 15, 2018

gal: a slang pronunciation of girl, 1795. Meanwhile, seems that grave (adj.) and grave (n.) have different etymological roots, gravel too.

July 15, 2018

Pertaining to concordance. “The reader will see how the images of this book persist and reappear. That is because these things themselves are the plot. They carry all the meaning. Isolate flecks.” (Imaginative Qualities of Real Things, Gilbert Sorrentino, pp. 124)

July 13, 2018

Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests

(Keats, Endymion)

July 10, 2018

This has been notable for a while, but I’m in particular surprised today by the quality of this Google translation (7/9/18):

La vaisselle plate y resplendissait sous les rayons que versait un plafond lumineux, dont de fines peintures tamisaient et adoucissaient l’éclat. (Jules Verne.)

The flatware shone under the rays of a luminous ceiling, of which fine paintings sifted and softened the brilliancy.