Key Quotes

Is modernity, then, a lost cause or an inconclusive project?  With respect to art, [Habermas] maintains that we must take up and deepen the modern project of autonomous experimentation so that its renovating power does not dry up.  At the same time, he suggests that we find other ways of inserting specialized culture into everyday praxis so that the latter does not become impoverished through the repetition of traditions.

- Néstor García Canclini

Early on, living in Houston developed an interesting syndrome in [Dominique de Menil], which I might compare to that which an explorer can experience far from home. It would be appropriate to call it, for the sake of argument, the Lamberéne syndrome, after the site of Albert Schweizer's hospital in Gabon. Isolated and away from the metropolitan centers of culture, Dominique developed an unexpected sense of insecurity, which sometimes made her overvalue the opinions and advice of guests passing through town. This sense of insecurity made her feel that she was missing something--removed, as she sometimes felt, from where the action was.

- Bertrand Davezac in Art & Activism: The Projects of John and Dominique de Menil

So Close to the Knives (So Close) or How to Amuse Yourself in Texas

Just fell in love with David Wojnarowicz and his book Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration. A friend had asked Eileen Myles at a reading a while back for books that use queer gossip as a strategy and Eileen said, of course, Close to the Knives. So I read it. And fell in love. (And I'm kinda psyched because I think David and I look a little similar.) Two quotes:

D: I've been told all my life that I'm "too sensitive," as if you could just turn the tap off and feel a little less sensitive for the rest of your life and everything will be okay.

Sylvia: "Too sensitive"⎯oh, definitely. Too smart, too sensitive, intuitive. It is "much sensitive," not "too sensitive," as if it were derogatory. Excuse me, that is what I am. I'll spend my whole trying to maintain this rather than trying to turn it off. That's why it is hard. I want to be as smart and as sensitive as I am and see things the way I do. I want to be strong enough to stay that way. I don't want to dull that.


J: A person like Dakota couldn't live for too long in a place like texas. He couldn't be satisfied. Did you hear how he'd amuse himself down there? One thing I'd heard he was doing as breaking into people's houses and putting on these cowboys' cowboy hats and like putting on their gun belt and walking around the house naked and fantasizing about being involved in these people's lives, I guess, and jerking off into their beds. I mean, if those people found him they probably would have shot him, y'know, like he was going to great lengths to amuse himself in texas.

Three for the coming weeks

I like a folkloric relationship with the avant-garde. This is a thing our people do.

- daniel lang / levitsky


But some are twisted with the love of things irreconcilable / The slant moon with the slanting hill.

- Hart Crane as quoted by Eileen Myles in Inferno


I am awaiting, eternally and forever / a renaissance of wonder.

- Mr. Cohen quoting Mr. Ferlinghetti

I lived without you for two years,
but I'm not better without you. I
don't want to be. I don't.

- Dahlia Molloy,
a.k.a. Cherien Rich
played by Minnie Driver

The Detail Collector puts it well:

in the wake of all-day coming-alive returning-to-self laughter
what i presumed to be mostly dead
turns out
is thriving
on the other side of the border


Porque hay que partir de un principio
esencial, que el mundo en que vivimos es
inventado. No creo que el arte revele la
realidad, al contrario, la inventa, porque la
realidad es intraducible.

- Ferreira Gullar

A veces :

: la celebración enmascara la corrupción mejor que la denigración :

: y la decadencia llega a ser otra manera de facilitar la impunidad.

The tragedy, proclaimed, as they made their way up the crescent of the drive, no less by the gaping potholes in it than by the tall exotic plants, livid and crepuscular through his dark glasses, perishing on every hand of unnecessary thirst, staggering, it almost appeared, against one another, yet struggling like dying voluptuaries in a vision to maintain some final attitude of potency, or of a collective desolate fecundity, the Consul thought distantly, seemed to be reviewed and interpreted by a person walking at his side suffering for him and saying: "Regard: see how strange, how sad, familiar things may be. Touch this tree, once your friend: alas, that that which you have known in the blood should ever seem so strange!

- Reading Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry on a plane to Houston while tuning out the aggressive conversations of two men in the window and aisle seats fighting over the model sitting in the middle, while perched on a curb at the corner of Taft and Clay, while leaning back in a car with the windows down under a Montrose oak, watching a bird struggling to pick up a twig twice its size and fly off to somewhere safer than the middle of the street. Touch this tree! Alas that that which you have known in the blood should ever seem so strange!

Thankfully, Jen Hofer is writing on the Internet. Quite a bit. Which from what I can tell did not really happen previously so much. Or at least not in as a direct blog-like format. So you can read her marvels at FuturePoem as she discurses on Alan Gilbert's new book Late in the Antenna Fields and declares a set of instructions for suggested art work:

5. Instructions: Narrative tucks information in.

Arrange the books on the shelf according to gradations of color.

Every day for at least seven days, make a poem, paragraph, painting, performance, sculpture, stitched piece, instruction piece, or dessert, taking inspiration from a suite of three books from the same color-field.

Send documentation of the results to

Or, respected reader, you can think her thoughts with her at jacket2. A blog of sorts. A journal of trans positions: in transit: in transition: in translation: in motion: in the between:

I can't think about or through poetic language outside the context of the denial of human rights and the silencing of dissent -- in fact, I'm not sure I can think of anything outside that context. And yet what captivates me in the video of the march demanding the return of Carlos René Román Salazar alive is less the language of the demands (though that too is compelling) and more the edges of the buildings against the sky, the backdrop of mountains, the expressions on the faces of people unaware they are being captured on video, the uneven rhythm of many bodies moving not in unison, the kids who whistle and gesture at the camera, the light mobile against the colored surfaces of walls. That is: it's the poetry that captures my attention -- not exclusively, but also not separate from the more immediately instrumental demands of the marchers.

Keep up with Jen on the Internet. Just try. Craig Santos Perez is also on jacket2. Check the flyness. Fly with that check. I resolve to read the New York Times less and jacket2 much much more.