Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Road Map Back

Up until this point, I have not mentioned the sectional breaks in Wry Argology (oh-so-cleverly designated as "Reels"), but I figured that I might point my doubtless devoted readership back to see how the land laid aroudn the various poems. The first Reel, titled "The Coming Attraction," runs for only two poems, "American Movie Palace" and "Trailer." The second reel, "The Set-Up," runs from "Starring" to the last poem I've posted, "Gen. Sternwood." Each reel begins with an epigraph. They are:
Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, if they don’t need poetry bully for them. I like the movies too.
-Frank O'Hara
Mechanism is not itself power. Mechanism, without power, can do nothing. Let a watch be contrived and constructed ever so ingeniously; . . . it cannot go without a weight or spring . . . . The spring acting at the centre, will produce different motions and different results, according to the variety of the intermediate mechanism . . . but in all cases, it is necessary that the spring act at the centre.
-William Paley

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Musings on the Avant Garde, Part 1

Much of what has been termed the avant garde can be better understood as the expansion of the aesthetic governing a given medium to fill a new space created by technological innovation. So, for example, when Impressionist painters began working more quickly and in the open air, they sought to create sketches that captured a given moment rather than working from a quick sketch to create a highly refined finished product. Likewise, swing music -- and the swinging syncopations of jazz in general -- would never have been popularized before sound recording. While musical notation allows for a composer to stipulate a swung beat, precisely how much the beat should be swung could never be practically specified until real time recording occurred. It is maybe not an accident that "groove" specifies both the idiosyncratic rhythm of a piece of music and a specific feature of the material conduit (i.e. the groove on a vinyl record) for that medium.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gen. Sternwood

Legs shriveled inward
like a spider’s, balled
about a central flame, I
sit, fortune spawning only
heat, ears hearing warm,
slow speech : dew drops
from orchids’ tongues .

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bird Brains

Ravens, turns out, are wholly deserving of their millennia-long reputations as tricksters. They are among the most intelligent members of the bird kingdom, capable, even, of rudimentary problem solving.

Owls, by contrast, are brick-dumb. Behind those eyes, one finds little more than a tangled ganglia of nerves sparking like a strand of faulty Christmas lights, capable only of responding as millions of years of evolutionary conditioning dictate.

Why, then, the reputation for wisdom?

Because wisdom ain't wiles. The crow's talent is a result of its remove from its environment. Its problem solving skills and use of simple tools a function of its ability to change the world it inhabits.

Owls' wisdom, arrived at in the old age of their evolution, weds them to their environment. They are stitched into the night seamlessly, sown in place with threads of air. This is why, when an owl unfolds itself from the sky, we feel such shock. It has momentarily divorced itself from the black night, which all but is itself. The seams, as they tear apart, scream like a rabbit split open.

Mrs Vivien Sternwood Rutledge

So you’re Dad’s beagle,
hired to dig for Rusty
Regan like a dog nosing a
bone. Alright then, come
and sniff my tree. Try
and cross this stream of
whiskey, clinging to that

stinging scent even as
your nose blossoms with
rye. I can smell the sour
must of Dad’s brandy in
your swagger : that dark
moon sweated on your
back, dripped of orchids.

You don’t say much,
dick, but I hear your brow
cry beef. Just like I see
your second hand suit,
seams sadly resown so
your shirt shows, plain as
a lie and not half so clean.

And shamus, if Carmen’s
your case, be careful she
doesn’t catch your tail
and tear its hairs like legs
from a fly. Let me pour
an image in your ear :
maybe you’d

like to uncover a body
that doesn’t leak like my
Packard drips oil, that’s
not a perforation of
earthworms, swathed in
gunny. If it’ll wrench
Rusty from your eyes, I

might look into owning
a leg in you. I’ll bet on
muscle if I think it’ll
break the book, and
spotter, I’d like to let that
rabbit fly and see the sort
of race you run.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Two and a Half Aphorisms on Structuralism

1) Structuralism's presumed dependence upon the Center (expressed most insistently by structuralism's favorite critic, Derrida) is, in itself, that which its critics accuse it, structuralism, of being, that is, suffused with latent Platonism.

2) Structuralism is the necessary logical consequence of materialism; every other critical approach oozes voodoo from its seams.
2.1) A world without magic is horrifying, uninhabitable. I want to write criticism conjured to life with chicken blood.


My brother posted the following on my Facebook wall:
A Poem:

Wait, you have a "blog" now.
Just crawl in a hole and die
why don't you.
I'm the philistine brother of
Hippy McHipster.
Look, Drew, you're published!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Liberal vs. Conservative

First of all, I want to preface my next comments by stating that this is not meant to be an exercise in deconstruction, a rhetorical strategy slash philosophy I dislike insofar as (among other things) it precludes adopting a firm political stance.

I contend that liberals and conservatives have mislabled themselves.* First, some presuppositions:

1. Conservatives are more sympathetic than liberals to the needs of business and of capital in general.

2. Liberals are more sympathetic to the needs of the human individual than are conservatives.

3. The needs of capital are more dynamic than the needs of the human individual when addressed (as is necessarly the case) en masse.


Conservatives actually attempt to change the world more than do liberals. This is why conservatives are not necessarily fans of conservation.

*For the sake of clarity, I have continued to employ the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as per conventional usage.