Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alphabet Slaughter: oulipo rap song

Formally constrained rap song by the rapper, Papoose. Each "verse" is entirely alliterative, beginning with the letters of the alphabet in sequence. Is this some kind of "rapoulipo?"

"The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the chains that shackle the spirit... the arbitrariness of the constraint only serves to obtain precision of execution."
Igor Stravinsky

Saturday, August 30, 2008

For every axon, an equal and apposite re-axon.

(images by Craig Conley of the great Abecedarian Web Log. We've been lobbing words and images back at each other for over a month now. Nothing like a good lob for the lobes. The Tongue and Snake image above is one of Craig's awesome illustrations of a text from Hugh Thomas and my translations of Kafka parables.)


My Grade 4 teacher told me that a sentence must express a complete thought.

A thought is a connection between two things.

The “thingness” of the things may vary.

The nature of the connection may vary:

Semi-colon, dash, preposition, subject/object, the connection of grammar, juxtaposition.

“Bird. Flute.” is a thought.

“On the roof” is a thought.

What is a complete thought, anyway?

My dad woke up this morning.

My dad woke up.

My dad woke.


or, Woke.

When I woke up this morning, I had this thought. The thought could connect to many other thoughts, but it was complete. Ready. Resonant. A mind tool.

The thought: ‘up.’

The thought could have been the notion of the colon in that previous sentence; it could have been that semi-colon at the beginning of this phrase (or the parenthetical) or it could have been ‘Shoe-turbid.’

It could have been a semi-colon on the chest of a formally dressed man from the past.

Or the imagined roundness of the tiny period at the end of this sentence.

Or the imaginary one in the middle of this sentence.

On its own, a semi-colon is a complete thought. It is a synapse: jumping from the axon of one thing to the dendrite of another. From the axon of the period to the dendrite of the comma.

A period is also a complete thought. It is a synapse: jumping from the axon of one thing back to the dendrite of that same thing. My mother was worried that I’d fall off the edge. Up.

A complete thought.

A couplete thoupght.

A mplete ught.



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inverting the Deer

for Craig Conley


the deer of this earth have been doubly inverted
once, and their antlers point toward the centre

(the antlers of inverted deer point toward
the antlers of every other inverted deer)

once again, and their antlers point toward space


do not touch deer
and you will not touch deer

do not walk on deer
and you will not walk on deer

do not mourn deer when you are dying
though their noses are against the glass

do not mourn deer when you are dying
though their minds are edgeless


fish swim around the remembered hooves of deer
they understand
they understand
they know


antlers grow toward deer
the deer which grow toward the ground

the wind rustles the hair of deer
the deer are a harp


when the first trees
whose home was the water
whose home was the sky
began to die
the deer did not know what to do

and so, their smooth heads wrinkling
their hooves beating the water
their hooves beating the air
they ran through the world weeping

until they planted the branches
and ran over the world
trees growing like memories
from the tops of old televisions
from the tops of old brown heads


there is only a single vast deer
and there is no longer sky

the deer has but one season
and the hunters wait for it

after a great while
they become trees
and bullets lose their green

night falls in the skyless rivers
& a deer’s breath warms the sky

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All of the Above

when the first trees
whose home was the water
whose home was the sky
began to die
the deer did not know what to do

and so, their smooth heads wrinkling
their brown hooves beating the water
their brown hooves beating the air
they ran through the world weeping

until they planted the branches
and ran through the world
trees growing like memories
from the tops of old televisions
from the tops of old brown heads

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How often do we have ideas?

My little nephew, noting that I always carry a notebook asked me, “Uncle Gary, how often do you have an idea?”

Inflatable house.

A razor can shave a table but not itself.

We can imagine our lives as a turnip but it wouldn’t help.

I was surprisingly unsure of the answer.

Kindness / kindness // trees

What exactly constitutes ‘an idea’?

Sandwich topping, written on a menu: “alphalpha”

What is the process of “having” an idea? A scribble? A fully formed notion?


What’s a ‘new’ idea? How different does it need to be?

Colour is the deeds & suffering of light – Goethe. What’s language?

Noting some new aspect or relationship—is that an ‘idea’?

Letters exist in 4D space, the spacetime of thought, ideas, language. What are the basic forces of this language spacetime? Meaning? the visual? verbal? oral? grammatical? aesthetic? physiological?

Is imagining an umbilical cord coming out of a semi-colon a new idea? If I’ve done antlers, are tree roots different? What if it was the letter ‘A’?

The window framed / the thumb print

Not a period for a bindi, a semi-colon.

If you have an idea that you've had before, but think it is new, is it 'new' then?

Kindness / kindness / kingness

Can you have part of an idea? Something like the bun without the meat of an idea?

One day, after months of trying, K. found himself transformed into a giant insect.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Father, The Sperm King of Canada

My father is a fertility specialist and a tireless advocate for reproductive health and freedom. Indeed, this month he is due to receive an honourary doctorate from Carleton University for his advocacy work. This in addition to the Order of Canada which he has received previously. During the late sixties he did some significant work in artificial insemination and the freezing of sperm. Indeed, he has some sperm samples frozen in Northern Ireland which he has visited (and defrosted) when he returns there on holiday.

Once, when I was about thirteen, I attended a lecture that he gave. He was introduced as "The Sperm King of Canada." When my friends would talk about what their parents did for a living, I would boast that 'my dad makes women pregnant."

When my girlfriend (now my wife) first came to visit my parents, when I was about 18, my father took us to his clinic. He first showed her defrosted sperm under a microscope. Then he showed us the ward where the newborns were. Then we went to the part of the clinic where the contraception was. Now, if it were anyone else, it would appear obvious that he was sending us a message, but, because I know my father well, I know that he was not. He was so engaged and enthusiastic about what he did, that he just wanted to show us it, unaware of how odd it might appear to my 19-year old girlfriend.

A sperm with delusions of grandeur, relative to an egg.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


There are teeth with antlers, but the stars are no longer there. Their indecision in the far reaches, their difficulty across the long dark, their light is a trace of what was once was possible but is silent and no longer.

There was a path to the orthodontist’s but the ever-straightening gnawing of years have made me forget and I find myself in the darkening forest where every direction is the same.

I know the deer surround me, but, like spent stars, they are invisible. Their branches mime antlers, their pelts the barks of warm-blooded trees. Like certainty, they hide from me and say nothing.

The forest is a sentence with no end; only the punctuation of the turning path, the steady breathing of the sky.

I remove my teeth & the antlers grow. Each tooth shining like a torch between thumb and finger as it leaves the gum.

In the night sky, the teeth are a crown, a constellation of birds, the white deer of speech.

I am unknown on the other side of the world. I have become king.

Hard Days Night of the Living Dead

Remarkable Beatlization of Stairway to Heaven by The Beatnix.

The Zombeatles perform "It's been a Hard Day's Night of the Living Dead."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Dentalwork of Space

stars no longer there

antlers beyond stars

teeth light
there the punctuated stars

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Spirit Punctuation

When I was twelve, my father sent me into the wilderness to meditate, to fast, and to pray. There was no moon and the trees were the shaking antlers of dawn. By midday, my iPod batteries failed and my teeth began to hurt. I was cold, alone, and I wished for my own bed instead of the thin sheets of the frozen leaves. By nightfall, I could not speak. The shadows waved their fingers before me. I closed my eyes. I opened them. I remembered nothing. Then the commas came. There were no words but the commas came. The commas which would stay with me all my life. The commas which would breath with me as I breathed, the commas which would keep me breathing until the end.

for Troy Lloyd

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Trancendental Punctuation to fill the Gap-Toothed Galaxies

It is a matter of some doubt what constitutes the vast amount of 'dark matter' that is believed to fill the otherwise totally inconceivable interstellar spaces. I imagine that dark matter consists of an almost infinite number of punctuation marks. Interstellar punctuation to clarify the grammar of the universe. And which punctuation marks? Given what I understand about the known universe, my bet would be on quotation marks, that being the most ironic.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Studies in Micro-Scansion

There's this lovely "Semicolon's Dream Journal."

And while you're at it, I found this to be an amazing allegory about how language is the original Wiki, or commons, and a great dystopian tale about language and ownership. And an especially good expansion of some of the things I was talking about here. (Courtesy of Buggeryville.)