Charles Olson.

Charles Olson, drunk and lovely. Keep with it until the middle and then...

there is no strict personal order for my inheritance
no greek will be able
to discriminate my body
an american is a complex of occasions
themselves a geometry
of spatial nature
I have this sense that I am one with my skin

(those are my line breaks, not his)
He has a marvelous epic voice and I have been listening to him before bed, letting his voice pull me into sleep.
I feel like I have my shit together. I'm almost done draft 1 of SSHRC/OGS applications, finished my Duncan seminar for Thursday, completed two more segments of a very long sequential poem dedicated to my sister and several other poems. Maybe I will post them here or something. Not feeling on good terms with blog-land.

Bon soir, lovers.


A good man is hard to find...

say Sufjan Stevens, Flannery O'Connor, Sophie Tucker and Micah: "The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men." (Micah 7:2)

Spinoza's one Substance/non-anthropomorphic divinity 'sees' all the possible manifestations of the universe, all infinite variations, down to the most minute differentiations. God allows only one of these variations to unfold, and, according to Spinoza, this is the best possible variation, the best possible coming-into-being of the universe. For whom and according to what master plan, though? If this is indeed the best way for my life to unfold according to some abstract concept of divinity or 'essence' and a deterministic model of order...well then, I suppose thankfulness is in order, even if happiness for me personally is sacrificed for the sake of some more general 'order.' I'm not an altruist but the idea of my life and its events fitting into some 'larger,' essential and intrinsic order appeals to moi.

I don't enjoy Stoicism but I think it can be useful. It's useful when applied to suffering. And when Epictetus says, "
Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well," my gut response is a 'fuck dude' groan of exasperation but then, sure, I get it. Stoicism requires you form no attachments to avoid all excess and pain. Recognize that everything is temporary and perishable. Extreme self-discipline to the point of repression. This kind of restraint is not only difficult for me but also seems like a ridiculous approach to life. But its starting to look like a good option. I'm so tired, tired, sad, sad.

I am not a practical or matter-of-fact person, which is why I am drawn to some mystical notion of (shall I say) fate, maybe because of my Christian upbringing, maybe because I am a softy-idealist not far beneath the surface, maybe because I want certainty and direction and a reason not to throw my fucking hands in the air and say 'fuck it' as is so fashionable with my generation. Fuck, I think that I gave up God and replaced it with philosophy, which is essentially the same thing. And now I'm reeling at philosophy, angry at having discovered its tendency to continously point back to God, with subtlety and patience and occasional urgency. All philosophy speaks of a certain kind of 'faith.' I have a deterministic streak. Which is why, when I looked at you that day and I felt something very strong, I knew you were important to me, and I still feel that way. And no, I don't want to give this up. Shit sticks with me, people stick with me. This is my curse and blessing. I feel lonely most of the time because I miss everybody, always. I miss that boy I punched on the school yard in kindergarten and later kissed. I miss the person who taught me how to smoke. I miss God sometimes.

I spent this evening curled up on the floor infront of the fireplace. It is getting cold here. Talking to my brother about his eventful sex life, laughing at and with my Mother, watching home renovation shows, reading Robert Duncan. Family is all I have and all I want to be surrounded with right now.



I went to this gallery on Queen West yesterday with a giant illustrated installation in the front window, a scene with a giant cat being corralled by tiny hunters. The image is really lovely and whimsical. Here are some other interesting illustrations by the same artist, Kozyndan, a seemingly awesome duo.

Click for bigger images and all illustrations are copyright and sourced from their website and flickr. I think octopi are going to be my next power animal. I also really like Fenando Vincente.

School has started and I love every one of my classes. This semester, Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Literature and Philosophy and a bad-ass philosophy seminar called "Life, Death, Absurdity and Meaning" with the lovely prof who indirectly compelled me to get a Spinoza quote tattooed on my arm. Next semester, Hegel, 20th century continental philosophy and gender and transgender theory, taught by the transgendered head of the philosophy department who periodically comes to university as a woman. I have to start writing statements of interest for grad applications. I have to get shit done.

The way that Tom Waits sings "come closer, look deeper, you've fallen fast" makes me melt and fall in love. Dead and Lovely is such a sexy sexy song.

I'm writing a lot of stuff. I feel like there is too little life and too much to do. I want to spend a day watching Antonioni and Jodorowsky films.



New notebooks excuses to buy thick old dog-eared books that smell of basements and coffee stains thick wool knits and heads under hoods cold sunny days autumnal poetry dark wood tables early evenings bundled up in duvets with warm purring cats elliott smith and nick drake and crisp afternoons spent on park benches with mugs of apple cider proximity with limits candlelit patios and pints of amber beer long baths and the goosebumps before you dip your foot in - Olson and Duncan - nostalgia, windy looming overcast days barren beaches and gray sand movies about sadness and the human condition professors that dance and give second chances the twilight of the idols on tv crimson and brown prayers,



Lots of people ask me why I take cinema so seriously, why I can't "let myself be entertained" and chill out. Zizek says something in part 3 of "A Pervert's Guide to Cinema" that is so perfect.

"Our fundamental delusion today is not to believe in what is only a fiction, to take fictions too seriously. It's, on the contrary, not to take fictions seriously enough. You think it's just a game? It's reality. It's more real than it appears to you. For example, people who play video games, they adopt a screen persona of a sadist, rapist, whatever. The idea is, in reality I'm a weak person, so in order to supplement my real life weakness, I adopt the false image of a strong, sexually promiscuous person, and so on and so on. So this would be the naïve reading. But what if we read it in the opposite way? That this strong, brutal rapist, whatever, identity is my true self. In the sense that this is the psychic truth of myself and that in real life, because of social constraints and so on, I'm not able to enact it. So that, precisely because I think it's only a game, it's only a persona, a self-image I adopt in virtual space, I can be there much more truthfully. I can enact there an identity which is much closer to my true self."

Images are very very important. Watching a movie is like re-experiencing the mirror stage over and over: the formation of primary identifications, the literal and metaphorical articulation of the symbolic and imaginary registers in opposition to one another, the projection of Self onto a screen and the introjection of the imago. The images that seem harmless are actually the ones we should pay most attention to; the 'easy' entertainment that doesn't require any sort of conscious deciphering is potentially dangerous. Not because the content of these images is any more or less revealing or complicated, but due to the way we approach them. So, yeah, I refuse to believe that anything should be easy. That images can be easy and opaque. I want to condition myself to see as clearly as possible.

So the quote brings up a lot of problematic issues for me. The cause and effect relationship between the producer and product. In the case of the cinematic apparatus, which is which? This dichotomy exemplifies the illusion of the Subject-Other relation in general: neither one is entirely stable or grounded in either position. Thus, the instability of the mirror image - we form an identity based on the stability of an image reflected on a screen before us, but that image is really only the distorted and idealized vision of our own 'reality' - the 'reality' is formed from a fiction and the fiction is simultaneously a reflection of that inevitably fractured and inconsistent Self.

Where do these cinematic tropes develop? The fact that we take certain motifs and character types for granted tells us about ourselves and our vision of 'who we are.' Why is a lame stock comedy even entertaining unless we can form identifications with the characters on some level? Do we all want to identify with these characters? Is this, as Zizek says, a form of enacting or experiencing an identity much closer to the 'truth' because we can't submit to the excesses of cariacture in reality as a result of social constraints? And what does that say about us, taking into consideration the stock characters we choose to identify with and indirectly produce and reproduce in popular films?

Cinema is important because it is like a threshold between the imaginary and the symbolic registers, or, in any case, the closest we can get to a threshold. Zizek: "Illusion persists. There is something real in the illusion, more real than in the reality behind it." Oi. Watch "A Pervert's Guide to Cinema" if you have not, I think my brain short-circuited due to the sheer amount of amazing going on.

I'm probably in love with him. Zizek, that is.

I watched Pasolini's 120 Days of Sodom (Salo) last week. The full effect of the film didn't really hit me until last night, while watching The Last House on the Left. If you've watched both, you'll understand, I think.

LHotL - torture porn, very short shots, 'documentary' style, unstable cinematography, washed out sepia colour tone, the illusion of a narrative that functions to justify the viewer's investment, the drawn-out high-intensity emotion that reeks of melodrama and only evokes indifference, inane and trite dialogue that exposes 1) the importance of dialogue 2) the complete insufficiency of dialogue in film, stock characters, typical score. The scary part for me in watching movies like this is that I feel nothing while watching a girl brutally raped and her friend sexually assaulted and murdered. I don't like watching rape scenes in film because I don't want to be confronted with the brutual reality of my own indifference to that image. I don't like the games that the director plays on the viewer: we're all aware that we're watching this for entertainment, that we obviously enjoy on some fucked-up level watching people die simulated brutal deaths. And the directors add some stupid shit like an upper-class family with a dead kid and marital problems to ease our minds and soothe us into thinking we watch because its a story that we are invested in with characters and real people who somehow overcome their suffering. We may as well cut out all of that shit and just be honest with ourselves. We just want to watch people suffer. We want to see girls victimized and see the rich white people overcome their complacency and seek revenge. It's a sadomasochistic viewing experience; we punish ourselves for the desire to see these acts played out for us by following through with it and feeling nothing, not horror or enjoyment or anything but a numb void. And what the characters say means little to nothing. The dialogue doesn't really change our experience of the film at all. The voice is on mute, words are nothing, just glossed over decoration necessary but not vital in terms of the viewing experience. We're here for the images and movies like this expose the degree to which dialogue is superfluous in most popular films. I think most people could watch Transformers 2 with no dialogue and still enjoy the movie.

Salo - long, painfully drawn out shots, very stable cinematography, mainly wide and mid shots, high attention to framing and composition, an absurd score that contrasted the content of the screen images, a degree of surreality, severe emotional disconnect, almost like an aloof indifference of the camera in relation to the action, deliberate dialogue consisting mainly of pornographic stories and demands or rules given to the victims, a lack of a typical narrative structure in that there is no introduction that cushions our perspective of the violence - it starts immediately. The characters are blank slates with no identity except as archetypes - but no one is pretending otherwise. This includes the director, the actors, and thus, as a viewer, we can't form these connections because they are not provided and manufactured for us. We remain suspended at the entrance to the image, struggling for something 'human' within the narrative, wanting a flimsy security blanket to maintain some degree of illusory moral security. This film forced me to feel uncomfortable with my position as 'audience.' The film involves you while remaining disengaged, it pushes you into the events; you are victimized by your own curiosity, while the camera maintains a particular distance from the characters and the horrific acts going on. So basically, this film does the opposite of what typical, contemporary 'horror' films do. I could write about this film forever, it is so fascinating and has had such an intense impact on me.

I've been writing a lot recently but I don't feel comfortable on the interwebs at the moment. I feel like writing for a blog conditions my creative process in a negative way. Like I assume I am writing for an audience immediately, which is usually a bad way for me to start.

I am so so happy with my life. The last few weeks have been insane with new experiences people images and ideas. And a new year begins.


We discover, indeed, that we do not know our part: we look for a mirror; we want to rub off the paint, to remove all that is artificial, and to become real. But somewhere a bit of masking that we forget still clings to us. A trace of exaggeration remains in our eyebrows; we do not notice that the corners of our lips are twisted. And thus we go about, a laughingstock, a mere half-thing: neither real beings nor actors.