Friday, March 14, 2008

Bastards of Incentive

I want to ride in the wake of a beautiful ambulance
with an ice cream truck song and flaring lights of blue
stained-glass, red stained glass throwing red and blue
on passing buildings. So what of evening
light at noon, a squall line decapitating the skyscrapers? The sun ‘s
burnt out of his job, cuts his hours, but returns to work. It’s not
hopeless, is it? The ambulance back windows not for looking out.
Soon enough the accident scene emerges and I, the rubberneck
ogle the woman picking glass from her hair, her body
uninformed of the damage. Her hair flinches when the rain’s
first drops reach down to her.

There are calendars made of candles, chandeliers
in abandoned hotels downtown
whose walls hum without electricity. Before plywood sealed
the window someone threw a rock through
I could see. At one time
I checked into my room, flung open the curtains and waited.

No one is moving now. The ambulance takes a chair and
everyone wants to keep it
here, as though this is to where we have gathered,
as though our traveled miles combined could lead us
to, well, here.

I remember the suddenly clear sky of the evacuated city.

Expressionless faces express death or the death
before death where muscle ignores thought or
thought is preoccupied with
self image in the face of tragedy
leaving us slack-jawed,
or thought leaves us altogether but what do I think
looking at myself through the window
of an ambulance stuck in traffic? Life doesn’t care
who occupies it. I am not my life.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

Believe it or not, this sentence is grammatically correct and has meaning: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” First devised by professor William J. Rapaport in 1972, the sentence uses various meanings and parts of speech for the term “buffalo” (and its related proper noun “Buffalo”) to make an extremely hard-to-parse sentence.

Although most people know “buffalo” as both a singular and plural term for bison, and “Buffalo” as a city in New York, “buffalo” is also a verb meaning “to bully, confuse, deceive, or intimidate.” Using these definitions, Wikipedia suggests the sentence can be read:

[Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [whom] (Buffalo buffalo buffalo) buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).

Still too hard to follow for those of us who don’t know “buffalo” as a verb. Refine once more:

[Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.

And once more:

Bison from Buffalo, New York who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community.

Wikipedia has further explanation, including the slightly frightening note:

Buffalo is not the only word in English for which this kind of sentence can be constructed; any word which is both a plural noun and a plural form of a transitive verb will do. Other examples include dice, fish, right and smelt.

Beware of Buffalo buffalo, buffalo, for they may buffalo you.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Some Words I Learned While Masturbating In Front of the Mirror

Cockaigne =%$+#
malaprop =%3@
rectitude =%3!
undergird =%^3(
vermicular =%4)
sylph =%$0-
inspissate =%^3|
chawbacon =%^3#
kakistocracy =%5`
Panglossian =%$4\
henbane =%+[
adjuvant =%^3]
edulcorate =%^4<
vulnerary =%4)
Ruritanian =%$5!
brummagen =%3>
haptic =%$+[
fey =%0/
bloviate =%3>

% words
^ words beginning with vowels
0 one syllable word(s)
+ two syllable word(s)
3 three syllable word(s)
4 four syllable word(s)
5 five syllable word(s)
6 six syllable word(s) NA
# word(s) beginning with the letter 'C'
@ word(s) beginning with the letter 'M'
! word(s) beginning with the letter 'R'
( word(s) beginning with the letter 'U'
) word(s) beginning with the letter 'V'
- word(s) beginning with the letter 'S'
| word(s) beginning with the letter 'I'
` word(s) beginning with the letter 'K'
\ word(s) beginning with the letter 'P'
[ word(s) beginning with the letter 'H'
] word(s) beginning with the letter 'A'
< word(s) beginning with the letter 'E'
> word(s) beginning with the letter 'B'
/ word(s) beginning with the letter 'F'
$ words chosen by Friedrich, Constable, Turner, Blake
= words I don't know

Nabokov, pivoting his foot for the waltz, exsanguinates--

"Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some words I learned from a David Foster Wallace book

gout (quantity)
arch (adj.)
olla podrida~

* indicates fav
** indicates No. 1 fav
~ indicates word unrecognized by spellcheck

Monday, March 10, 2008

Handmade Murders: Pt. !



Suffering resists occupancy. The western self (in context) resists identification with weakness, with true trauma, with being the effect of some uncontrollable outside causality. The extreme measure of this suffered identity posits itself automatically in non-existence, in forgetting, in the non-conscious. Yet the measure of suffering lacks universality. I spy a man with a hand on a hot stove. He wants to know if his blood can boil, and if so, to measure the efficacy of the body’s thermal regulation. Freshly fallen children first hold their hands up, surveying the damage, and then look to spectators to ascertain their own reaction. At some point, visualizing blood becomes the empirical standard for crying. Childhood in social creatures implies a malevolent God; each and everyone must endure a period of helplessness, assured by physical submission to a dominant and larger body. To call this trauma denies the definition of suffering. One cannot both occupy a childhood and suffering, unless its forgotten, unless its incorporated into a Weltanshauung. A natural process: numb to habitual suffering, a greater disaster provides an awakening to the other side of our life’s tourniquet. We, after all, occupy the position of Affect(ed). A will to suffering connotes submission, not empathy towards the effected. The effected rarely occupy pain beyond the instant; body realigns itself into proper fortification against recurrence, the attitude, feeling, the pathos adjusts itself to the event, to rationalize it, to assure that a system is in place and the existence of such a system allows us to predict its motions, to minimize our suffering.

Pain moves in prime numbers
offsets symmetry, appears random.

Although the experience may be permanent, memory distorts. Although the pain of the instant dissipates, there exists an eternal instant, an eternal recurrence where one exists in exile of pleasure, as an aesthete to the motive forces that drive our contemporary life.

Artaud, permanently occupied suffering. The necessarily involuntary tenants of such a body relay messages from outside “healthy” thinking.