Marx and exchange value brusquely paired, the philosopher is juxtaposed with his greatest nightmare. The illocutionary effects of today’s violence. Some things are not meant to be clear; obscurity is their clarity. I AM FOR MORE’S VIOLET FRINGE. Like when musicians intentionally record songs that include the slip of strings over a fret. I want the blur in there.I.
The desire that the world is coming apart, finally. Unseated by the fact that it seems to be continuing, holding on by a string. What would cause that string to break, what will collapse into its place? The desire for utopia, unseated by the fact that there has never been, yet, a utopia, except in myth or dreams of the future. Or in secrets. Graeber’s story of a society that functioned perfectly well without a government but that no one spoke of it for fear of bringing attention to the fact.
Most of the narrative is secret, is too underground. Is not accessible, much like us, our narratives, too underground. Post-crisis is still in crisis. And nothing can be delivered other than the fact that there will be more crises.
This civilization is already dead.
Blaming “culture” for the problems of poor African-Americans is a way of blaming the victims and a distraction from the true causes of poverty. The collapsing legitimacy of elections. Video and GIFs cannot be shared secretly at the moment. Almost falling is a good way of describing the affect. The correct collective, a pandemonium, is apt: noisy, sociable, always socializing.
How 2016 demands itself. Since 2008, time has speeded up, while Blogs have fallen away, replaced by the 140 character limit. Full thoughts have been replaced by quips. Reading Dunagan’s book The Duncan Era, Robin Blaser’s repetition that he called “folding”—as Dunagan states “content from one story is repeated in another context that alters and extend the original content.” Have we lost this in our social media age of quickness? Or is our “folding” of a different type, social media’s repeating of stories, memes, “THIS,” #same.
In 2008, everyone in SF escaped to Oakland for cheaper prices, restaurants closed down, reopened with double the prices, then the Techies came in, and we were (are) pissed at the Techies for killing our culture, but actually everyone started leaving before the techies came in. It was really the wall-street culture that did it. Techie culture now seems like a rhizomatic bleeding back from Wall Street. The big moneyless money transactions that could not keep going in 2008 seem to have energetically transferred to High Tech.
Post-2008, everyone became aware of their debt, and everyone started doing kickstarters. I never wanted to ask for money from everyone else who is also having money problems so I never did. I just kept putting poetry on credit cards. The intense chapbook making poetry community I knew in the early 2000s has almost fully disappeared. People also stopped buying them so much, seemingly as if why spend your money on something with 10-20 pages when you can pay just a little more and get 80-100 pages.
It would be bizarre to imagine that centuries of slavery, followed by systematic terrorism, segregation, discrimination, a legacy wealth gap, and so on did not leave a cultural residue that itself became an impediment to success. We reject words that we feel are too direct, that might reveal complicity on our part. The ruling Syriza party’s callow refusal to honor the Greek referendum against EU austerity in 2015, and in the plethora of suggestions (exactly by liberal voters!) that last month’s Brexit vote be ignored, overturned, redone. There’s a lot of neurotoxicity, which is why people feel so bad all over. Part of a societal push back to what is repeatedly called “the dimming of the mind,” where our brains are flooded with so much information that they just give up rather than trying to absorb anything.III.
That the crash of 1929 was cured by WWII.
Post-2008, after he retired, Greenspan confessed to having misunderstood capitalism. Capitalism needs failures to survive, but only little failures.
How the world works, misunderstood by everyone. The problem of surplus recycling. From Varoufakis, this thing where everyone agreed that the US can get all the money, all the capital flowing in, everyone seemingly somehow agreed that that would be good for everyone. We thought we’d just take it all, and then when we went into deficit, we invented a fake surplus.
The trickle-up effect: Soon you will all be as poor as me.
White Fragility is the thing that restricts our knowledge, shuts down conversations before they start, and invites us to lie to ourselves. For those in the midst of the Plague it must have felt like the end of the world. The soil tells us we’re not perpetual. As in the classic experiment, participants start to believe that the fake hand is their own. To persist distinctly might be one of a Californian’s challenges.IV.
We seem to love when gender is ambiguous, when sexuality is ambiguous, when relationships are ambiguous. What if power were ambiguous? Maybe this was what the Occupy intent largely was, we are not going to try to force power from you in this grandstanding kind of way, we are just going to sit here and let you know you are being watched. It shifts power but in a not quite clear way.
How the poetry communities’ powers have shifted. That the power used to be in how experimental you are, has shifted to how activist you are. When Michael Rothenberg asked sometime pre-2008 why are there no activists poets in the Bay Area? And for the most part, it was true at the time.
How I consciously tried to belong to no single poetry group, I wanted my foot in all of them, specifically 1) because I like everyone, and 2) because I didn’t want my poetics to have a uniform quality about it. I wanted multiple, even contradictory influences.
But these days, liking the wrong people can be detrimental, even catastrophic. The new poetry wars says if X is aligned somehow, in any way with Y, then Z can’t be friends with either to show A that Z supports A. The problem of liking someone but not able, for whatever reason, to keep up with the gossip, whether hearsay or not. All the people on social media who are friendly with someone you know to have been violent to your friend.
The problem of knowing poets peripherally vs really well, when you find out, oh shit you’re a rapist, or o shit, you’re racist, or o shit, you’re an apologist. And that middle grey area confusion by all the people who aren’t nearby (either proximity wise or emotionally close enough to) to know what is actually happening/what had happened. The mistrust of women by women saying collectively these bad things have happened vs the implicit trust if a woman tells another woman anything over coffee.
Liking someone’s poetry but disliking them. Disliking someone’s writing but really, really liking them. Our poet friends actively engaged with dismantling white supremacy vs our other poet friends who don’t realize Anglo-Franco ethnocentrism, the hegemony of only reading dead poets, is racist. POC poet friend politely critiquing me for usually only attending poetry readings by young people. The argument with a reading curator that excluding young people is very often excluding POC. And myself often enough still occupying multiple poetry scenes, keeping myself in a grey ambiguous area.
After a while we realized we had too many poetry acquaintances, and we don’t really know them, and maybe we should be more careful, and the poetry reading house parties diminished out of carefulness and exceedingly safe spaces. Wanting to have only real friends, real friends you know so well, know that they can be trusted.
Then the problem of trying to have friends who have your exact same politics/poetics means probably having no friends at all. How to yoke together all the differing points of view into one cohesive politics?
We’re quick to think that women are dominating a discussion if women are speaking for 30% of the time. I set up the syntax scaffolding and let it populate. When he tried to sign back in he found that he couldn’t. “We are surrounded by so many things, and people, that we do not see them. We are rather blinded by them.” It’s about attribution of phantom feeling. We do everything to avoid talking about race in any real way, including saying nonsense like “Mohammad Ali transcended race” when we really mean “was retroactively deemed safe by fragile white people.”V.
“Solvable economic models cannot handle time and complexity at once”
What was spoken of in 1929 of a “massive liquidity crisis” is still true now. Having foreseen the crash, they didn’t know what to do. They got caught in a web and didn’t know what else to do. We are living in an aporia.
Robert Duncan’s “derivative poetics” a mantle of pride. How the derivative bled into the appropriative which bled into flarf, and the conceptual. My friend who says if art is not referencing other art, then it’s not art, it’s just a diary entry or therapy. What is the true voice that is the true artistic voice? Can we not have an original art form? What is the prime mover of art?
The split attention mind, even more split through the habit of splitting, through the acceptance of it. The stranger glancing at you for a second before looking away. The sirens the yelling the interesting overheard conversations the unaware tourists. A city poetics that emulates not art but the energy of the city. All of this at once is my life, how I process it is not one thing at a time, but all together, and I wanted to make a poetry that showed that. I don’t think the impulse to combine is really that unique, but it is very central to my poetics.
As both of my full-length books had to do peripherally with philosophers: Deleuze and Guattari present in palimpsest in Orphan Machines, and Merleau-Ponty “translated” into realia in The Incompossible, the real reason I did this was that I felt pulled by the subject matters, and the way philosophy is a sort of third language of our original language(s), and wanted it to be there within a lyrical self’s meanderings. I’ve always felt a symmetry between philosophy and poetry in the fact of the question of their accessibility to the general public, and how they require, and that I like that they require, a nongeneral reading public.
In the Post-Crisis age feeling split between the times of yore, we are in fact continuing in a tradition based in song and stories, but also the more recent past and its romanticisms, where we read “serious” blog entries, and the now where we just get links or quips, but no true intellectual engagement of the kind we seem to be craving for. So the urge to “translate,” not one language into another, but one register of our language into another.
We do everything to avoid talking about race in any real way, including saying nonsense like “Mohammad Ali transcended race” when we really mean “was retroactively deemed safe by fragile white people.” Today, people are having to spend so much of their money, to acquire a house and to get an education that they don’t have enough to spend on goods and services, except by running into yet more debt on their credit cards and other borrowings. “It was not a question of knowledge . . . but of alertness, a fastidious transcription of what could be thought about something, once it swam into the stream of attention.” When Hillary Clinton said she’s going to do just what Obama does and we’re going to continue to recover, most people know that we’re not recovering at all. We’re shrinking. But based on history we are due another period of destruction, and based on history all the indicators are that we are entering one.