Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fish, BonFirefox of the Vanities & Google Goggles

FISH (beginning of a draft)


fish school like blood
beneath the skin of a lake

I am a small boy

there is a bridge between fish
and voice

there is a path between blood
and lake


two trees fight with axes
a third wears a mask

in the branches
a sparrow hawk chases a rat

water is blindfolded
you throw a knife at it


on my shoulders
the head of a youth

then like the last flash of a lightbulb
a book on a lectern
and I am looking to the beyond

marry me, the water says
lifts its veil

and mouths become waves


I read in the paper today that Google has created Google Goggles, a software which acts as a filter before you send an ill-advised email. You are asked to complete a few math problems. I guess this is like waiting several days before getting a gun license. Or like the Canadian Senate, ostensibly the house of sober second thought.

Perhaps I should install such a thing for this blog--or for my real life--to stave off impetuous posting of just-finished drafts. However, I do value the process of posting up-to-the-minute texts that I'm currently working on. An interested reader (my mom?) could follow the poem from its first fragmentary posting to its various online drafts and then perhaps an appearance in a journal and then to a book. Or alternately, could track the cul-de-sac evolution of the dead-end poetic species. The family branches that never made it. Sorry Ramapithecus. You're like that Bingo card that never came to fruition, but stopped at BIN.


And while I'm here: There's been some blogoflap over the recent Issue One (at conceptual poetry magazine event. Firstly, as I posted on Silliman's blog:

I found the whole project quite funny and actually fairly interesting as an intervention into the online world of poetry publishing. But: in order to consider the whole project, I think one has to consider the entire blog (and Google search where people found their names) as all part of this performance project /"intervention". There was the initial announcement and then the various kinds of reactions in the comments stream (the waiting for "Godot" jokes the "I didn't give you permission," the "WTF"? reactions, etc.) Then several days later, the actual PDF document arrived and there was again a variety of reactions in the comment streams -- from people puzzling over how to find their name or their friends' names, to their reactions over the texts, to anger, appreciation etc. The whole interaction (blog, first blog post, comments, links in other blogs, second blog post, comments, subsequent posts/commentary/discussion) is all part of the piece.) I don't think this is a hijacking. It's a media intervention. And I'm tickled to discover that my name as a writer (and the fact of me being a writer; ...and the fact of me searching my name on Google...) has become part of the flarfoverse. But then again, it's not "Gary Barwin", but some other guy named Gary Barwin as the editors are quick to point out. Even my legitimate flarfdom has been flarfed.

Secondly, I wanted to say something about "Vanity Searches," searching one's name on Google. I'd surmise, like picking one's nose, most people do it, at least sometimes, at least one nostril. However, I don't see anything wrong with it. Many have intimated that there is indeed something negative, self-absorbed, and navel-gazing about it. Except in moments of great insecurity, I don't search my name to be puffed up by my own importance. I'd need a whole lot more stuffing than is available online to be able to fix those moods of feeling insignificant. I think I'd have to find my name in the Bible or something. And even then, it'd have to be on the title page...

I follow Google to be in touch with readers, to follow where my writing has gone (kind of like receiving postcards from a relative), and to enter the dialogue that I hope my writing to be part of. I've encountered many interesting writers and their texts in this way. We often have some concerns, activities, or publications in common. Which is why we find our names there, or that the person has mentioned me. It's like meeting someone at a favourite section of the bookstore, or a beloved cafe. It's not the "are they thinking of me? Are they thinking of me NOW?" middle school wish to know what others are thinking about you at every minute. Nerd. Geek. I think I'll doodle his name all over my notebook.


ryan manning said...

exclamation point

Carol Novack said...

point well uttered.

Sudipta Das said...
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