The mountains across the valley - blue from the distance and white with snow. The snow and ice are melting after a month of subfreezing temperatures. The ice dams on our eves are dripping away. Still we need more snow and rain after 5 years of drought.
We are looking forward to dinner tonight at our house with our Sicilian guests, Alex Caldiero and his wife Setenay. Alex is Utah's preeminent performance poet. He and I have performed on the same bill a couple of times in the past. And recently, Flavia and I were involved in a multimedia performance with Another Language which included Alex (and others). But we've never had a chance to get to know each other better. Perhaps that will change tonight.Wed, 28 Jan 2004
Silent - white, like her skin before the sun. Cold before blood melts the missing.
How far away is that which we do not know like a cat we have not yet met?
Extending through the night, reaching towards each other's invisible edge, past thoughts holding the earth in place.
The steps leading home - white now, wet soon - uncountably delicate, falling, hoping for the soft silent breast of life to catch our breath.
Standing, breathing, burning heart in the midst of the sea.
Earth, air, fire and water.Fri, 23 Jan 2004
Neon sign in the window, people passing by on the street in the cold. Writing, waiting for the other musicians to arrive (John Flanders and Keven Johansen). A trio for the dinner set at an Italian restaurant, Caffe Molise. Not too many customers now but it should fill up by the time we start since it's Sundance week.
The bread and wine is served while I wait on my meal, Arista - spice rubbed roast pork tenderloin. Nowadays it's a gamble eating meat. The wine: red Zinfandel - Rosenblum. The shadow of its legs on this paper.
Relaxing, eating, the thought occurs - how did it come to this? This restaurant? My life? The universe? I lean toward the infinite while trying to keep my feet on the ground.
Music is a good way to be. Expansive - in touch with the impossible. Completely present and bound to time. More than bound - music is time.
Music has no boundaries, no edges.
Where does music end? The question makes no sense. Music is not a place - it is an occurrence.
When does music end? When you are not there at the end of time. (But we won't let it end - D.C. al Coda then Vamp.)Thu, 22 Jan 2004
The rhythm of surge and dissolution. Waves building and breaking on the beach. The surge - a building of an individually recognizable wave. The dissolution - all waves are water.
Surge is exhilarating. Dissolution terrifying. The surge builds boundaries while dissolution wastes whatever was formed.
Our tiny beings oscillate within this rhythm alternating between courage and fear - yet all waves are water. Don't despair during dissolution. Foster fascination.
Fascination for the unlikely chance you came to be.Wed, 21 Jan 2004
I am a flame - brightly burning then flickering, finally leaving ash. But water dominates fire and washes the ashes away - Thales trumps Heraclitus. But Heraclitus introduces the crucial concept of change, so seems more apt. Bataille mixes them both with his metaphor of a "wave in water."
A wave in water is the image of time, Cronus creating and devouring all. I am time. (Being Time, the title of my second book of poetry.) We are an unlikely and fragile occurrence.Sun, 11 Jan 2004
B/E attempts to open a space rather than to be a definitive settlement of differences and disputes. It is a web of correspondences and differences, of polarities and spectrums. It is a dynamic exploration and participation in contradiction and difference. Its guiding principal is pre-Socratic dialectic: to keep the interaction between opposites in play (rather than the determinate Aristotelian syllogism which closes the conversation).
B/E is free play in indeterminacy and flux. It sees unity in difference. It highlights the interdependence (rather than conflict) of opposites in transition. It views contradictions as complements (rather than faults) - the seeds of new thoughts.
Unresolved difference ("without ground") is an abyss. Interpretation arises as the abyss is cross, as differences are traversed.
Metaphysics and meta-narratives (quests for underlying structure) are fascination but closed systems like syllogisms. The multiple master narratives (e.g., Zen, Christianity, Vedas) contradict one another. B/E facilitates the free play of meta-narratives.
B/E is dialectic: through the lair, movement and rest.
This sentence is irregular on the right when not written down.Wed, 07 Jan 2004
In the 70s (I think) I had a dream of B/E. I had the book in my hands. In "real" life what I had was a plastic bound copy of life insurance from Alexander Hamilton Insurance, a company I tried selling insurance for for about 6 months (in musician's financial desperation).
Now I can interpret the dream. Insurance is security. B/E was a quest for continuity. The book was the security of eternity (continuity).
Of course, now B/E is fascination and hands-on working with ideas.
I first started thinking of this book when I was 17 years old. I recall being up at "rockroller", getting high, imaging a book of all knowledge.
I now know that feeling to be my "quest for continuity". Regardless of its initial impetus I am still drawn to the idea. When I mentioned it to Flavia recently she asked, "Do you think you'll have enough material?" Although she really meant it, I got a good laugh and a reality check.
Of course it's impossible to catalog everything. Persons more qualified than me have tried (and are trying) but that won't stop for taking the plunge.
I first worked on the book via the "Poet's Apprentice" program I wrote in the early 80s (based on the A* algorithm. In the later 80s I updated that program to be a simple Prolog language program. The third attempt was the idea to attach metadata (categories and relationships) to (structured) data, then to scan that data and build web pages from it.
I'll use this to write. As an example, Gilgamesh. I've outlined it. Next I annotate the outline with "idea" identifiers. I find other instances of those ideas (by particular authors, such as Bataille) by doing Prolog queries and extracting matches from the database. I'll pick instances which I find most appealing and place those in place of the idea identifiers. I'll then take those idea instances and rewrite them using the Poet's Apprentice. Finally I'll take my imaginative final pass over the replacement/rewrite to produce the final work.
A word is now in order about the Poet's Apprentice. This program is given a text. For each word in the text it attempts to replace that word with a synonym which derives from Old English (or further back to proto-IndoEuropean). If it can't find a synonym it suggests the base meaning of the IndoEuropean root.
I just said Old English and IndoEuropean but it is actually possible to configure the program to look for words deriving in different ways, for example, from Semitic via Old French. My database for the Poet's Apprentice has been based on The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language since the 80s.
At the current time my prototype for this system is written in a combination of Lisp, Prolog, Java, XML, and HTML.Fri, 02 Jan 2004
Time has at least three directions: past, present and future. Although we cannot change past events we can change our present reactions to them. We can change the stories we tell ourselves so that instead of being lost victims we are victorious survivors. Or instead of being grandiose heros we become humble humanists.
These gracious perspectives then inform our present, helping us to live our present lives gracefully. Each step taken today can be confident and tender, graceful and gracious, bold and caring. In other words, connected to life.
Just as we can change our relationship with the past we can have a plan for the future which doesn't preclude the present. Perhaps the most important part of the plan should be our willingness to throw it away and start again from the present. To be open for surprise, to be in the game.
We do well, living in our times, to remember Kerouac's advice: "Don't forget your tenderness."