Posts Tagged ‘language’

Grammar Nazi


22 May

Who's and whose. It's and its. Bear and bare. See grammar. See grammar rollover and play dead...it happens, especially in the train of thought sometimes with the best and busiest of writers. Don't sweat it. That's why professional editors fit into the communication community quite nicely (and of course, being human they occasionally miss errors; more frequently these days it seems, as Paige attests). Self-editing is important in the case of casual writing for those who can bear it, but the attempt at frank thought by others less diligent is often more important, unless of course one runs smack up against a GRAMMAR NAZI. But be careful as you don that suit. You might be surprised to find that homophones are just the beginning of what a true grammar nazi is keen to enforce. I recall an assignment in junior high was given to look for errors in the local newspaper and other media of the time. I was hooked. Still delight when I find the errors. Of course, I never take personal offense anymore, and you'll get over it. Mere trifles. I did, and I was smug if not frosty about this and so much other sheet music when I was young—but I do congratulate those of you who still care about how you present your thoughts, and am not suggesting you change any of your linguistic insights. Just thought I'd trot out my own grammar nazi among familiar minds for old times' sake—please forgive any errors that remain in this text, even as I attempted to perfect my script.


Authorized Personnel Only


07 Nov

Afraid of demons with scratchy voices,
eat your vegetables, carve your meat,
take your vitamins, drink your success,
I see you've eaten everything on your plate
except Yahoshua pushed to a corner
sanitized, sold with lies,
what a simple shame
this incubus of your hate,
this collective example—you cheat
from bank to bakery to butcher to color
making your choices, icing on your cake,
never the twain to meet.

Cross-breed my gasoline my corn, fuel donkey
bake your bread, your cherry tree disguise
working in office of twelve daughters
a day, long hours in point, bigger
higher, longer, thicker, richer,
faster, smarter, safer—
meaning it's not this way
but that, unauthorized tongue, you say
what you read is authorized and perfect,
but you, still armed, RU authorized,
made perfect just because someone else
unauthorized and not perfect
broke a crowd long ago?

Pick up tree to follow me,
prepare, verify gnosis to name
the claim, the value, the power
ride, sit, walk, fly, win, thin
must be a better way to stalk
barely sure you can cut it
that shame you claim you lost
generations ago, look it's back
got the knack, took me back
moving from palace to shack
better to be seen not heard
in lion's jaw, days of old
breaking dove, the bird
the very meaning
of my word...

[ 2013, Lovettsville ]

Language Theory, Deluxe Brown Shoe Cynics & Other Wet Blanket Ratios


28 Oct

wordwakers

Word Wakers

samplex

The following excerpts are from an essay cast by poet Marjorie Perloff as excerpted in Nothing to Say & Saying It, the online blog by John Gallaher.

Language poetry, together with its related ‘experimental’ or ‘innovative’ or ‘oppositional’ or ‘alternative’ poetries in the U.S. and other Anglophone nations, has often been linked to the two Steins—Gertrude Stein and Wittgenstein (as I myself have argued in Wittgenstein’s Ladder), to Guillaume Apollinaire and William Carlos Williams, the Objectivists and New York poets, Samuel Beckett, the Frankfurt School, and French poststructuralist theory. Those who denigrate Language poetry and related avant-garde practices invariably claim that these are aberrations from the true lyric impulse as it has come down from the Romantics to such figures as the most recent Poet Laureates—Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky and Stanley Kunitz. But laureate poetry—intimate, anecdotal, and broadly accessible as it must be in order to attract what is posited by its proponents as a potential reading audience—has evidently failed to kindle any real excitement on the part of the public and so decline-and-fall stories have set in with a vengeance. Great poets, we read again and again, are a thing of the past: a ‘post-humanist’ era has no room for their elitist and difficult practices. Accordingly, the main reviewing media from the Times Literary Supplement to the New York Times Book Review now give ‘poetry’ (of whatever stripe) extremely short shrift.

"The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work."
But what if, despite the predominance of a tepid and unambitious Establishment poetry, there were a powerful avant-garde that takes up, once again, the experimentation of the early twentieth-century? This is the subject of the present study. Designed as a manifesto, it makes some of the polemic claims we associate with that short form even as it suffers from its inevitable omissions. Because I am here interested in foundational poetic changes, I shall have little to say about many of the poets who have been most important to me and whom I have written about again and again over the years—Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens, Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, George Oppen and Lorine Niedecker, David Antin and John Cage, John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara.

‘To imagine a language,’ said Wittgenstein, ‘is to imagine a form of life.’ This book studies such key poetic ‘imaginings’ both at the beginning of the twentieth century and at the millennium, so as to discover how their respective ‘forms of life’ both converge and cross.

  • Language Poets Wiki: The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work.

  • Textual Politics and the Language Poets: "Let us undermine the bourgeoisie." So Ron Silliman ends his contribution to "The Politics of Poetry" symposium in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E 9/10 (October 1979). Writes Gabriel Thy in response to Silliman: "Better as discard than trump. It's no accident the truck feeds millions, ignoring the silly man crammed with errors."

Poem For Zool (Said and Done)


16 May

WHERE DO YOU WANT THIS KILLING DONE?
We speak with the language of war.
We laugh with the language of peace.
Knowing that all life is born of crisis,
punctuated by brief periods of solace,
we also know that after all is said and done,
we shall never cheat infinity, nor shall we
extinguish the mark of a single thought.

SHALL WE MEET AT THE GALLERY, IF I BRING FRIENDS?
We dance with the jubilee of victors.
We mock with the anger of Kleptos.
Mixing politics and art never batting an eye,
energized by duty and dreams from our youth,
we also know that after all is said and done,
we shall never cheat infinity, nor shall we
extinguish the mark of a single thought.

AFTER HARPER'S FERRY, WHY NOT A VISIT, THEN QUICK LUNCH?
We grace new fables with heavily nuanced figures of speech,
we spring along bouncy digits of man-made digital sound,
agreeing to violins, we love a glass of iced tea,
we matriculated to earn blue terrors in secret,
we also know that after all is said and done,
we shall never cheat infinity, nor shall we
extinguish the mark of a single
blind thought.

AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU ESCAPED FROM GEORGIA, AND THOSE PEOPLE?
We walk past more or less choices each year.
We run with the bulls into summer homes.
Knowing that all life is born of crisis,
punctuated by brief periods of solace,
we also know that after all is said and done,
we shall never cheat infinity, nor shall we
extinguish the mark of a single thought.

WHERE DO YOU WANT THIS KILLING DONE?
We speak with the language of war.
We laugh with the language of peace.
Knowing that all life is born of crisis,
punctuated by brief periods of solace,
we also know that after all is said and done,
we shall never cheat infinity, nor shall we
extinguish the mark of a single thought.

Mortifier II


02 Mar

As in a quick call to battle arms,
the season to the helpless
never seems right. Nor flush
the snares of dog pile charms
do much for the victim's
keen hindsight.

It's not so much that language is dead
past praise and heckle and anybody's guess,
but we haggle over price and strength
of our mountains without emotion...

As the first verse is repeated for good measure.

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV ]

To India With A Hint Of Garlic


23 Mar

living-mess-age

Living With The Mess

samplex

Date: Mon Mar 23, 1998 9:53:11 AM

Hey Ravi, I apologize for this duration of silence since you last wrote. Rather coincidentally, since that letter, I have been caught in the throes of a major christian crisis, a crisis you no doubt will not quite understand based on some of the things you wrote in your letter about the US being great because of figures like Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. I met Oral Roberts once, and beg to differ with you; he is NOT the reason America is great. America is a world power driven by money, expansion, natural resources and exploitation of people and these resources. This is accomplished under the guise of freedom. Now make no mistake about this, there is more individual freedom in the US than probably any other place on the globe, but that observation in itself is the very essence that drives other societies like the former Soviet Union, fundamentalist Islamic despots, and a smattering of hip materialist philosophers to rage at the decadence and satanic natures of this culture. In other words, you can't please everybody all the time.

Which brings me to the crisis I mentioned above. One of my brothers, Allan, fourth son of my mother and father (I am the oldest of six kids, five male, one female), 37 years of age, has begun believing that God wants him to renounce his US citizenship (man's law) in favor of God's government. He currently drives an eighteen wheeler, a cross-continental transport truck in his most recent and most successful attempt to make a living to date. His "defection" will no doubt jeopardize that current job and his ability to subsequently work anywhere. He says he is willing to pay that price. He has four children and a wife to support, and has often failed to do that very thing in his decade-long "search for God's will."

I have written at length this past week to his wife Lianna and also to my sister Laurie Anne in an attempt to ferret out the true meaning of faith and God's will, as they are also strong believers, each a member of a different church. As a foreigner from India, you may well be deceived at how sectarianism has throttled the so-called love all christians are presumed to have for each other, but in your own country, the vast number of competing Hindu sects no doubt offers a good example of what goes on over here under the christian banner.

I will send you copies of these letters written just last week, if you think you can handle the "honesty" of true seeking the diligent pilgrim must endure over the course of a lifetime buoyed by experience and study, but your recent letter suggests you are perhaps not quite prepared for the spicy meat of mature doubt, the earnest freedom of honest interpretation, and the iron resolve that these letters represent.

I am not willing to risk sandbagging your own faith just to parade my own seemingly heretical theology in front of you. In fact, I am certain that the best approach in this matter is to insist upon your own calm collectivity on these matters, or else you may find yourself out on a limb of no return. Twig by twig we build a language, and while Christ may be the trunk of that tree, there are many knotty obstacles hidden along the path of an honest believer.

I must insist you note with caution, any desire to plunge ahead unwittingly. These are treacherous waters for the simple believer, but waters you will no doubt be required to wade at some point in your life. That time may indeed be right now. It is your choice, and your choice only. You initially contacted me, Ravi. I responded. Now we must take the next step, or softly fade away into our own respective fates...

GT

Early Stages Of A Dirty Flirt


06 Mar

Elephant Flirt

Elephant Flirt

samplex

Date: Thu, 6 Mar 1997 14:49:18

Hello charmer, just browsing by, saw Jersey Jam winking at the crowds, and thought I'd make a pass. I too sit at my computer until I drop beneath it. However, I rarely swing by the AOL corridors these days since moving up to the "true" Internet services, but I will never sandbag my favorite online service. I've been a member since 1992, those early days when AOL™ boasted a mere quarter million subscribers, and trailed both Compuserve and Prodigy in size, maybe not in sheer voluptuousness of form as she was thin and but in ease of use she came and she conquered...

I shove quite a mouthful of bits and bytes of writing to friends across the Net, but would love to include you in the Fatz Bullwinkle inner circle. I am cc'ing this note to another mailbox in order to keep my files all together, and also to give you another, more accessible address to reach me should you find me worthy of your interest. You know, I've written to maybe a half dozen folks on the cold like this and only one other person responded, but to paraphrase your own sassy quote, "Too much of a bad thing, can't be all bad..." so I'm taking the plunge again. Just consider this the early stages of a dirty flirt. Remember, the words's the bird, and the bird's the word. Elephants need to splish splash, too.

Married to my best friend, the financial manager in a consulting firm here in DC. Most people I know consider me a whacked out genius just waiting to happen, or just a big blowhard of nothing not worth the snot in the nostrils of a sick stampede. Not much to show for the former yet, but I keep plucky by mudwrestling with my Macintosh 8500/120 building a multimedia web site dedicated to the arts and the social conscience. Am still in the beginning stages, although I also have a few homepages scattered around the GeoCities scene, I'll surely share with you, if we build this E-mail bridge you've inspired. I too am a bit hefty at 270 lbs, seventy-three inches tall, with a story to rattle the walls of ten thousand great novelists. Yes, my wife Sue and I dig elephants and moose, hence my handle, although she's actually more of a horse lover with grand intentions, although of late, she's traded the horse saddle for a Macsaddle, as we race to build this site together, she with financial and OS technical skills while I measure in with graphical creative and internet support strengths. What's your specialty, wonder woman?

I'll cut this short since I have no way of knowing if you will respond, but I do fancy a flowing and fabulous, highly delicious mind and body. Let's find a way to close the gap between your town and mine with the language we both know how to use, the language of fat and fab, and lots of gab...

It's hardly a risk, tsk, tsk, tsk...

Fatz Bullwinkle

Sex As Marketplace Commodity


24 Jul

commodity

Sex As Commodity

samplex

Originally published on July 24, 1996

Not to beat a dead horse into dog food, Landry, but I nevertheless am still interested in digging deeper into this topic of exploring what you as a female writer deem appropriate sexual language and conduct, specifically at the social level, as a (willing/unwilling) member of the freelance pseudo-liberated Generation X thinktank. Or more precisely, the differences whereby men and women perceive the sexual personae, and one's respective duties and roles within the arena. For despite my own mental gymnastics, and occasional outburst among friends and foes of the nightclub antic, I am basically a self-described prude in this matter by default. My prudishness comes from not wanting to hurt the feelings of others, nor have my own wobbly branches burned by the terminally spitfired. I'm not particularly squeamish to broach topics with extreme candor, but the wolves of public opinion can be quite brutal and unforgiving as I have been schooled time and time again.

First a few definitions: pseudoliberated. You touched on this concept by admitting your awareness of blatant contradictions in what your own spirit of freedom tells you versus what your reality-checking brain dutifully informs you is necessary to remain in control of what can soon degenerate into a chaotic and unrewarding sensual killing field if unchecked because of the very nature of individuality. The plain fact is that every person of every generation is genetically (both physically & psychologically) predisposed to a certain level of what passes in the popular mind as freedom but it is plain to see that not everyone is at liberty to express that freedom, which is the stomping ground of the upper classes of beauty, strength, and finance.

However, in the general sense, this freedom is then tested in the sexual marketplace. Gains and losses accumulate. Winners, losers, predators, victims, survivors, casualties. That's the real clay court of the sex game, the match, volley, love, point of the sex game. The sexual elite? Without too much rehashing of old literature we both know that one person's freedom is often another person's enslavement. Each camp seeks its own reflection in the mirror of its ideological yearnings. We each, male & female, across the entire corpus of human identity use different tools to plow the field, sow the seed, and harvest the fruit of our lusts and loves, fetishes and fixes. Individual tastes are formed by a complex matrix of genetics and environmental influences working within us at every turn.

I am equally stricken with a loathing that spreads out beyond that primitive misogyny men are often accused of, rightfully so, to encompass my own fistful of oh so girlie traits the radical feminists harp so much about while lacking a fair shade of the same themselves. We all need to face a few facts. Few of us are ever given a fair shake to show all our cards beyond an exterior and a few words. Male or female. Games are played with romantically inclined falsehoods parading around in the name of spectacular truth, a truth called love. Only once this false game of shadows and overwrought sentimentality has been diminished and replaced with a more intrinsic set of values will equality even find its true voice in the war between the sexes.
Often over the course of a life we change to meet the evermutating challenges of sensuality and desire. Common sense and societal mores of the day often intrude upon what we would embrace if left to our own whimsy. Thus few of us can in truth boast that we are truly liberated. And those who are almost always use this sexual freedom to their own accumulative advantage while the many are still left to fend for themselves in the heat of the battle. Freedom or liberty in this case can only mean freedom of opportunity to succeed or fail, not equality of outcome which is a ridiculous notion everywhere, even the actual sex trade profession—which is also strangled by natural socio-economic stratification—to put a finer point on the realities of sexual politics, never mind the basic argument of one's personal freedom from an oversexualized society if that better suits one's real or alleged moral purposes. This component of the gender war is simply unmanageable in a heterogenous culture, unfortunately, as you've realized by living in San Francisco.

Greater thinkers of antiquity, I submit, realizing this, suggested suppression of the personal urges tempered by cooly ignoring social outlets when the former didn't chill the fevers, rather than having lunatics always chasing a false rainbow corrupting the loins with the tricks of envy and abuse, forced by success and especially, persistant failure of the one night stand, serial monogamy, and prostitution. I observe women with their hypertextual sense of liberal guilt dissatisfied with the roles natural history has prepared for them—for the those female masses rarely take pity on the hordes of men delegated by natural order to mere pawns by the sexual princes and princesses ruling the sexual arena, but consistent with their inherent tools and battle plans are often cold taskmasters, subtle manipulators, starving their opponents and thwarting their competition by any means necessary in order to control the field usually to the chagrin of all parties, themselves included. These women too, are abusers, and their types are legion.

I realize many of the above statements can and will infuriate many a feminine perspective. None of my postulates are meant to pacify female anger for the brutality men have set upon them throughout history, but let's not forget men have mistreated men with similar if not more virulent gusto, as Paglia has pointed out. If you knew me better, you would know that I am grievously sick with self-loathing turned against the gender sporting cock, balls, upper body strength, and this so-called social power everyone in the PC generation is always raving about. Pure madness is afoot and I call for a truce, but who are we kidding? The War Between the Genders is very real for those who feel threatened, and that number includes both women and men for both similar and divergent reasons. Life is not a wind-up toy.

But finally after 32 or 33 years of apotheosizing the feminine component of humanity, and weaned from this generalized self-loathing by the redemptive notions of writer Camille Paglia, no wilting violet herself, I am equally stricken with a loathing that spreads out beyond that primitive misogyny men are often accused of, rightfully so, to encompass my own fistful of oh so girlie traits the radical feminists harp so much about while lacking a fair shade of the same themselves. We all need to face a few facts. Few of us are ever given a fair shake to show all our cards beyond an exterior and a few words. Male or female. Games are played with romantically inclined falsehoods parading around in the name of spectacular truth, a truth called love. Only once this false game of shadows and overwrought sentimentality has been diminished and replaced with a more intrinsic set of values will equality even find its true voice in the war between the sexes.

A lot of superstition and subsequent poor choices can change a person in a decade. It was only a few weeks ago I last threatened to leave the manor in hopes of reasserting myself as I used to be, but I am not the same flesh and bones I once was, and the chances my new independence would prove futile and result in an idiot’s folly are astronomically high.
I am not advocating the overthrow of anything. I simply know that what passes for love in this country is little more than mercantile power wearing a mask of fair weather friendship or lust. Those vows most mouth are garbage lines not worth the paper they are written on or the God they are supplicating. And lust if not outright ridiculed is still spoken of insincerely in most pseudoliberated circles propped up by double standards and power negotiations. So let's not be coy, sweet idealist. It's time to throw off the blinders, and realize that true equality between the sexes is a give and take scenario, and few are they who will find the path to this bliss we all seek.

Most will finally settle for a truce and whatever accommodations their current market value will warrant. I am fortunate my own loved one still finds a measure of grace in my own strengths, raw intelligence and wit. And I in her, her own steady delivery of goods and compassion for my weaknesses and my sense of purpose. Ours has nearly ceased as a sexual bond, but we freely and frequently commit to hugging often, an act Ann Landers would have us believe is the best love has to offer, and we suffer in each other's absence, so attached are we to each other. Because we have willingly accepted this state as a necessary compromise and sublimation to what we collectively can manage to squeeze from life, having failed at any number of dry nuances over the years, a truce has been settled upon us.

Most people find this sort of language an insult to their self-images, despite the self-deceiving accomplices to even more failure these images often play out to be. But you seem to recognize yourself at this juncture of life quite clearly, as I did ten years ago. A lot of superstition and subsequent poor choices can change a person in a decade. It was only a few weeks ago I last threatened to leave the manor in hopes of reasserting myself as I used to be, but I am not the same flesh and bones I once was, and the chances my new independence would prove futile and result in an idiot's folly are astronomically high.

My marriage while generally sexless (a decade of frustration leads to great changes in the heart, the mind, and the body) is certainly not loveless, and in our case, love and social stability won out over sex, although deficiencies in one area usually lead to excesses in others, and in my case, my appetite for food has not waned. Those who neither possess but over or under emphasize love, social stability, OR SEX, are given to great tragedy, and dangerous lives, although nothing I have written on this topic can resolve a damned thing in the world beyond my own need to articulate my innermost thoughts on the topic.

Yes Landry, sexuality is just another marketplace commodity. To deny this is to become an instant liar.

GT

Nothing But A Creeping Annoyance Was Lost


21 Jul

word

There's A Word For That

samplex

Date: Sun Jul 21, 1996 1:11:28 AM

Brave sister—Steve is back in the Dollhouse fold, safely tucked in righteously as an original DH cast member after we kissed and made up, laughing and muddling thru blanket apologies, a case of beer, a few games of "perquacky" and juicy cat calls from the next wave of memory hounds setting up camp. Licking the Pussy, Nickel Ball, and Perquackey stalk our energies for reasons neither of us can quite make the case. Sue should telephone early Sunday morning after the cruiseship docks at 8:30 in Miami, a mere seven hours away—right before she gears up to cross the long Floridian peninsula depositing her Aunt Lou back in Albany GA, where Sue will fold into the lives of her shiny folks for a few days. The well-publicized whore in a box scenario was scuttled by default. Mouse failed to call at midnight after getting off work. Indifference had already settled over us like a rude collapsing smog, so nothing but a creeping annoyance was lost.

How was Mum & Auntie's visit? Did you make it to the Ontario waterworks? Today was a beautifully crisp sunny visitation. I signed a neighbor's petition in his race to get on the ballot for the DC School Board. I told him I din't speak the language of public schools. I wanted the Feds out of schools, and perhaps give schooling over to capital and its minions. Ha! The candidate scoffed at my suggestion like any good Republican trapped in an ultra-liberal jurisdiction would. The government sugar daddy model is the only configuration these major parties know, especially in dealing with the poor and the stupid and the college educated who need money for every project a new brood can think up. Watch your toes, professors...

Yep, keep 'em poor and stupid. Now that's a job for those who like motorcycles, trap doors, and house warming blessings in the name of Jesus Christ without knowing the Nazarene was a Jew down to his dying breath, so I want to be one too, leafy spinach & spam balls, and country music exercise videos. I'm sure there's a word for that. Despite the position of the mid-day sun in the Eastern sky where you sit to study strange behaviors of people still moved by ordinary magic, I can be such an ass sometimes. I wanna go with...

Good luck, Wayne Curtin! You'll need it...

GT

Deaf Page


10 Sep

              Oftentimes we cry
When they capture the smell the unborn skeletons
Smell as they lie in placement, too subtle to object
To the reasons for delivery.
Hurry sweet fragrance before I pass into sleep
At the cut of their knife, before they chain me
To a nest.

Twig by twig
We build a language, answering
As a rule the call to exception, a fig
Leaf or two, or
Isn't he big?

They took us as fools
And pried us free of our questions.
Someone we knew?

Soapy skinny dipper Deborah sober.
Unconcerned prankster.
Don't you see that she blushes with conformity?
Manager of the year?

I love her and them, dare I choose
Or should I if my mantra
Is wrong? Kangaroo said it.
Xerox sighed then replied:
Lists are for opium users
Who forget that mercy is a gift of
Failure.

[ 1982, Atlanta, GA ]

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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