Sometimes I feel very tired of accumulation, of life as layered surfaces that can stifle or comfort. Living is moving between layers of fabric, some thick like wool or glass and others so thin you can pull them up and away from you like dried skin off a scab. Recently I've been feeling like I'm moving through textured surfaces and constantly pulling back layers to get a better view. I want to be sun-drenched. I want thunderstorms. I feel happy but overwhelmed so I want to stay indoors and be in bed with my cats all day. That's all I have to say for now. I feel very private.

photo source.


If you see her, say hello.

All from baubauhaus.com
Phew. Sometimes I need Jeff Buckley to tuck me in. Live at Sin-e soothes my soul.


There were a few boxes of books dropped off at the goodwill below the apartment a few nights ago. I rummaged through and picked up an old Norton anthology and a copy of Sexus by Henry Miller with an old Montreal subway transfer in the middle. Quite enjoying it between bits of "Scorch Atlas." I like reading "Scorch Atlas" in public places because it makes me feel cool, like a self-conscious kid with new sneakers in grade school. Its well-written, of course, but the book design itself is so excellent, I like the feel and look of it. Good job, Blake Butler/designers/whomever.

Miller reads like a more accessible Leonard Cohen, which is not necessarily good but fine for this moment in my life. I'm on reading week so a relatively lighter read is a good thing. It is filled with lots of sex intermingled with poignant philosophical ruminations. Example:

"A child has no need to write, he is innocent. A man writes to throw off the poison which he has accumulated because of his false way of life. He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing is to inoculate the world with the virus of his disillusionment. No man would set a word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in. His inspiration is deflected at the source. If it is a world of truth, beauty, and magic that he desires to create, why does he put millions of words between himself and the reality of that world? Why does he defer action - unless it be that, like other men, what he really desires is power, fame, success. 'Books are human actions in death' said Balzac. Yet, having perceived the truth, he deliberately surrendered the angel to the demon which possessed him."

and etc. I find it rings true. Some writing is just honest, without trying too hard to be honest. Miller doesn't give a fuck so honesty kind of leaks out. And it is unflattering but when you read it all you can do is nod "yes" in response to its humanity.

There are lots of subtle and not-so-subtle references to Whitman in this text. So I found Orwell's summation of Miller particularly interesting:

"Here in my opinion is the only imaginative prose-writer of the slightest value who has appeared among the English-speaking races for some years past. Even if that is objected to as an overstatement, it will probably be admitted that Miller is a writer out of the ordinary, worth more than a single glance; and after all, he is a completely negative, unconstructive, amoral writer, a mere Jonah, a passive acceptor of evil, a sort of Whitman among the corpses."

What a lovely, interesting description. Whitman among the corpses.


Bored Dylan.
Nietzsche tattoo.
Man on man.
I knew that my choice to go out and be drunk yesterday night would backfire on me today. I'm almost done a 3000 word paper due tomorrow morning. I started it on Friday. Its been very tedious. I am sitting at my boyfriend's desk surrounded by recording equipment. He has an electronic drum kit and a really old school synthesizer. His apartment is above a goodwill store and we always rummage through the stuff people drop off at night. Last time we went he bought a light-bright box for 2 bucks. In the other room, Godfather 2 is playing at a subdued volume. Someone just had a baby. There are people yelling outside and breaking things. I find that a lot of people talk about masturbation on their blogs, as though this is the new measure of authenticity. Cool, I guess. It is Valentine's day and I only gave one blow job. He's at work right now so we're postponing the sex and smokes fest until tomorrow.

Sorry for boring you. This blog is my friend first and foremost and I need a neutral space right now.

All pictures were stolen from this person's tumblr.


Mullen, Merlea-Ponty, new stuff to read in near future.

Reading Harryette Mullen's "Recycolpedia" and I'm really, really enjoying it. The first two sections, in Mullen's words, "are serial prose poems that use playful, punning, fragmented language to explore sexuality, femininity, and domesticity...[that] began as my response to Gertrude Stein's simple yet elusive poetic prose." Here are my favourite bits from "Trimmings:"

Opens up a little leg, some slender, high exposure. Splits a chic sheath, tight slit. Buy another peek experience, price is slashed. Where tart knife, scoring, minced a sluttish strut. Laughing splits the seams. Teeth in a gash, letting off steam.
Chaste, apprehended, collared and cuffed. Kept under wraps, as bridal veils visually haze precious, easily torn, gauzy romantic tissues. Thin threads lace into delicate, expensive fabrics woven and unwoven at night by patient spinsters with needles and scissors. Laced in, as fate would have it. Knots and tiniest holes. Surgical cutting and sewing. Peeking as usual. Skin under lace. A thread, a net effect, a web to sleep in. A white nightgown, girl, child, baby, laced and unlaced. A ruffle, a frill. A pale piece of something, almost made of air.
Thinking thought to be a body wearing language as clothing or language a body of thought which is a soul or body the clothing of a soul, she is veiled in silence. A veiled, unavailable body makes an available space.

That last bit reminds me (both as a response to/engagement with/argument against) of the section from Phenomenology of Perception (shock!) that I read on the subway this morning:

"It has always been observed that speech or gesture transfigure the body, but no more was said on the subject that that they develop or disclose another power, that of soul or thought. The fact was overlooked that, in order to express it, the body must in the last analysis become the thought or intention that it signifies for us. It is the body which points out, and which speaks. [ie. speech is not 'sourced' from thought, from the intellect removed from its lived-body; rather, speech is gestural, and is "wholly motility and wholy intelligence"]
-Merleau-Ponty from "The Body as Expression, and Speech" (part 1 of PoP)

And then my brain bounces in two different directions:
1) Black Mountain poetics seem very influenced/informed by phenomenology/Merleau-Ponty and I'd like to explore this more.
2) I can't wait to start reading feminist/queer responses to Merleau-Ponty. I'm anticipating problems but also great collaborations.

And finally...two forthcoming publications - flash-fiction in April decomP and 2 poems in March Negative Suck. I'm happy about this.


Rant 1.

"Living Dolls explores the dark side of the sexual revolution. Walter makes the point that the pressure on young women to live up to a shag-happy ideal can alienate more reserved and quietly brilliant females who aren’t that interested in shaking their arse for FHM. Seventeen-year old Carly: ‘There aren’t any other options. You’re a sex object, and then you’re a mother, and that’s it. There is no alternative culture.' I think Walter could have explored that last statement more. As soon as a woman reaches a certain age (say, about twenty-six) the pressure to down Aftershocks and fall out of nightclubs stops and the pressure to find a man and churn out some babies begins. We have managed to combine the objectification of women with the cult of childbirth. The nuclear family crumbles, divorce rates shoot up, and yet against all sense and evidence we continue to promote the idea that the best thing a woman can be is a mother. Result: an epidemic of teenage pregnancy as young girls learn to associate reproduction with empowerment."

From "In the Company of Men" at 3:AM magazine. Link. Italics are mine.

This looks like an interesting read. I'm always ranting about this: the fact that "sexually-liberated" women are suspiciously "liberated" in a way that is structured by male desire. Many women have still not learned how to articulate what it means to be sexually liberated outside of the limits of the male gaze framework. It irks me to see women either 1) "act like men" because "we're equal" and "can fuck around too" or 2) conform to some sort of porn-star "bad-ass" ideal. In the latter case, this ideal is the same as when men were creating it, only now women themselves are propagating it and pretending that its new and liberating because they feel "in control." Riiiight. I think its equally significant and awesome that the writer indicates that women are under pressure to go to nightclubs and be that "sexually-liberated, freedom-loving" young woman. Her wording suggests (correctly, in my opinion) that this is not a lifestyle automatically suited to all young people, nor something all women strive for within that same framework. I consider myself sexually-liberated and free, blah blah blah, but I want to feel it and live it on my own terms, not as some silly alt-coquette man eater. I feel like I've grown out of that phase but I still feel pressure (perhaps internally and socially) to be out and about and showing myself off. But I just don't want to.

Rant 2.

I've noticed recently that commercials that target women usually use the stupid-as-fuck husband as some sort of prop stock character to sell shit. Ie. man who can't load the dishwasher, man who can't cook eggs without making a huge mess, man who just generally looks like a dumb-fucking-failure. Insert image of smirking smart-ass wife in the background pulling out the fucking lysol while the children look on knowingly. Men are not stupid. Most men that I know personally are very self-sufficient. Most women I know are very self-sufficient. I feel that this kind of commercial epitomizes what the ignorant masses have taken as the "moral" of second-wave feminism: your husband is stupid, you can pretend to give him a little power but ultimately you have complete control. I hate this interpretation/mis-reading of feminist concerns and I hate the fact that one gender is always placed under the other. Sugar-coated "equality" stuck with needles. Passive-aggressive "neutrality" masking resentment.

Rant 3.

The amount of "alternative" girls posing in so-called "provocative" poses is driving me nuts, mostly because its so hilarious. Girls in AA sprawled over random pieces of furniture, girls with "pensive" looks and stupid fucking looks on their faces. My personal favourite is the "intense eye" (usually coupled with thick-rimmed glasses) which is usually 100% terrifying. It was interesting for a while but now that the whole internet is inundated with the self-portraits of girls obsessed with their own "unique personal brand" I just want to hit a big ERASE ALL button and start my brain over.

Done, done, done.


oh, Pessoa.

Down the steps of my dreams and my weariness, descend from your unreality, descend and be my substitute for the world.

One longed, in order to truly feel life, to be a patient convalescing from an illness.

I created various personalities within myself. I create them constantly. Every dream, as soon as it is dreamed, is immediately embodied by another person who dreams it instead of me. In order to create, I destroyed myself; I have externalized so much of my inner life that even inside I now exist only externally. I am the living stage across which various actors pass acting out different plays...

I did not act the part. It acted me. I was merely the gestures, never the actor.

Civilization consists in giving an appropriate name to something and then dreaming what results from that. And in fact the false name and the true dream do create a new reality. The object really does become other, because we have made it so. We manufacture realities.

Leaning on the bridge, I wait for the truth to pass so that I can regain my null and fictitious, intelligent and natural self...to know nothing about oneself is to live. To know a little about oneself is to think. To know oneself precipitately is suddenly to grasp Leibniz's notion of the dominant monad...a sudden light scorches and consumes everything. It strips us naked even of our selves.

[feeling isolated, angry, anxious deep into the
pit of my stomach self-deprecating and intellectually exhausted.
Reading Pessoa is like stepping into already-familiar words.
I want to sit in a pool of water near a beach, one of those little pockets that becomes stale and lukewarm, watch people swim and feel water droplets slowly evaporate off my skin under white-blind sunlight, experience the chill of close-to-summer-sunset breezes, feel at home in my body again
why are people so inpenetrable and why do I turn away so quickly?]

All text is from Fernando Pessoa's Book of Disquiet. All photos belong to Miranda Lehman and can be found at ghostinthewoods.com