Sunday, September 07, 2003

utilities/futilities (cf. 'ill at ease' rhymes in R&H's 'To Keep My Love Alive.")

nice man/Weissman (use of fictional character as internal rhyme in Sondheim's 'Broadway Baby' cements the fiction)

"Let the rich bury the rich. I can only destroy their language." (Bromige, interview in Jacket #22) Fine, except the rich will bury us as well.

"However exultant a work's texture may be, terror and wandering laziness shaped it." (Kostenbaum, Poetics of Indifference) Also: "Wrongly, we often imagine that, as exercise burns off calories, industrious habits can force writing into existence." A curious analogy -- wouldn't the effect of exercise lead one to thing that exertion would destroy, erase -- break down -- writing? Alchemy.

Hoberman misidentifies Harry Warren as a lyricist in his small book on 42nd St., casting everything else factual into doubt. In general, he's not very interested in the role of music in this musical -- could it be, just a little, that the fact that this musical brought the form back in fashion had, as well as its good social fit with the moment, and Berkeley's dances, that it had -better songs- than a number of others. (The musical offers something of this theory, by way of the rejected number "It Must Be June," zipless Kern-style boiler plate.) And performances: Dick Powell's leap into the third A section of "Young and Healthy." (Hoberman calls him a strangled saxophone -- more like an unmuted cornet.)

"...often, when we have an apprehension that turns out to have been uncalled-for, we should be wary, and be guided into gauging the vastness of what we embarked on less by the result (often a shallow and simplified interpretation of the latter) than by the apprehenseion)..." Toufic, Over-Sensitivity, 15. The context -- writing, and the incredibly, almost unreadably bitter run-up to the body of the book via a clutch of letters to women who aren't interested.

Toufic -- despite his 'over'-sensitivity, a classically masculine logorrhea. Or, if you don't want to gender it, aggressive. He's throwing down a gauntlet; could you write this much, in this much detail? (The way prose expands a detail is neither temporal and spatial -- though the text 'takes up' space and reading it 'takes up' time. This is an essay, not a poem, because 'takes up' is in scare quotes.) (Someone who overuses them recently asked me what they are!) Van Vogt. General Semantics.

Have you ever said too much in a letter? In your work?

Go to documentary on '60s-'70s revolutionary politics, primarily take away ideas for poster design. Miss another one a few days later. Videocassette of 'La Chinoise,' rec'd several days ago, finds its way under a corner of the sofa, just one corner peeking out.

Anti-mogul: Fire Hecht; hire Brecht.

This is a poem, not an essay, because I can simply write 'alchemy' or 'general semantics' and excite a bundle of connections between the bruited notion and whatever it's attached to (parataxis). This makes -you- think -I- have thought long and hard, done research, made the connections. It intimidates.

But, I could compress this into a phrase: 'Intimidation by parataxis,' which sounds better, reflects what I wanted to say, and is perhaps illegible to most readers. Though where it is placed might help.


Tarkovsky died on 12/29/86; my 18th birthday. This is notable because I have heard from various sources that Rasputin was excecuted on the same day. But was the calendar the same? (Note passage in 'Oversensitivity' where a friend wishes Toufic happy birthday on Godard's; my jealousy that my friend Guy share's Godard's, also Lou Reed's, while mine is Mary Tyler Moore's.) What could be more meaningless than sharing a birthday?

There is baring the device; and then there is flaying it alive and hanging it skinless in the window of the work.

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