"art is the lie that reveals the truth." pablo picasso.
Google says government has no access to its servers. But who is the government now? This is a landscape even scholars are ill-equipped to understand.
Who builds the public goods of the internet? Its highways, bowers, series of pipes… The analogies we have now are inadequate. *What* is the net? The way most of us use it, it might as well be just Tumblr, Facebook, Google and Twitter. It’s far, far more than that, from the CSS shell to the intertwining entrails linking your screen to mine.
Without the heuristic guidance of appropriate analogy we cannot begin to understand the internet. We are Spacelanders trapped in the mentality of Flatlanders.
Even Science Fiction today hasn’t transcended conventional metaphors and analogies. Our writers must help us by inventing new heuristics.
That which we call a rose is, today, not really a rose. For us, it is a biological computer with genetic programming leading back millennia upon millennia. It is situated on a planet sucking star material from the Mother Universe. And its future is either a sentience born of an infusion of nano-scale computers through its cells or descendents of a trillion hybridities spread across the cosmos. A rose today is no longer simply a rose. It is a waypoint between the earthy vault of the past and the impossible dreaming of the future. Where is the analogy to describe things of this portent?
We must demand of our writers to step out of ossified discourse, to brave the rabid manglings of the establishment to carve out yet another new frontier in language. They must give us new imagery, new analogies, new idioms, new emotions even, if possible— unprecedented limbs and organs to navigate an entirely new world of sensuousness currently completely invisible to our present faculties.
Stop by the wayside, smell the roses. They smell as sweet, do they not? These roses are sterile.
In Chinese, father is 爸. It’s made up of two words: 父 (fu) and 巴 (bar). FUBAR.
How about mother? 妈. Again, two words: 女 (female) 马 (horse).
I wrote a poem in Chinese tonight. I don’t even speak the flippin’ language. Probably why it started like this:
The second line can easily be interpreted as “sex forever”. So I changed it:
Now it looked right. But a friend said simply, “信”. I was like, WHOAH. That adds a pun, at least two layers of meaning and a whole lot more ambiguity. Genius. And so a poem was complete. In English:
Original belief remains
Hear it every day
Lots lost in translation but that’s ok.
One day, our children will wake up with every type of cell in their bodies a patented product.
One day patented genes will be inheritable. Business will claim rights over cells in offspring containing those genes.
If we don’t change the culture that allows business and law to run amok, biology will be the prison of every last human in future.
Poetry’s beauty is devastating. When I return an anthology, it feels like I’m losing a friend. Old friend, new friend, it doesn’t matter. He/she knew me, spoke a language that opened my soul.
Then, I begin to forget. One by one, those lovely lines that uncovered the bones of my happinesses and sadnesses, that laid my insides bare to the glorious exculpating forces of Mother Nature, fade away. One word goes, then another, and soon the bridges of verse crumble to soft nothingness.
Yet, it does not stop. The loss of beauty implies corporeal destiny. First, these intricate words, what next? Tomorrow, I forget my keys. The day after, I forget to water the herbs on the window sill.
Is this what an Alzheimer’s patient in mid-deterioration feels? A desperate longing to remember some poignancy, some kindness, something long past? He/she looks into the abyss of his/her memory and the abyss looks back, silently mouthing nothing more than an encroaching darkness.
One day, my eyes open unremembering.
Fashion Flaunting Season in Singapore again. I guess I’m biased. Doesn’t matter if that piece of cloth is pretty. Just rooting for whichever designer is nice. In spite of fashion’s insistence that beauty is expressed by a narrow range of styles, the sheer diversity of human opinion in matters of aesthetic means every bloody piece of crap is pretty as heck to somebody somewhere.
Saying otherwise smacks of racism.
Same with preferences for food, weather, writing, religion, etc. People have the right to tell you your taste sucks. Remember, you have the right to tell them to go fuck themselves.
Raymond Carver had married at 19 and had fathered two children by 20; his early married life was spent drifting in and out of poorly paid jobs. His first book of short stories took 12 years to write, compared to the three months it took him to complete Cathedral, largely because Carver had by then adopted “full-time drinking as a serious pursuit”. At 39 alcohol had shattered his career, his marriage, and his health; he was hospitalised for acute alcoholism four times between 1976 and 1977.
Carver finally gave up drinking in 1977: “I’ve had two lives. My second began on June 2nd 1977 when I quit drinking,” he said. Carver did not write for almost a year but felt too grateful for his new life to care much. He met the poet Tess Gallagher and thus began an intensely productive and happy relationship: Carver began to write poetry and Gallagher to write prose. In their ten years together the pair produced 25 books between them, and frequently collaborated on projects up until Carver’s early death from lung cancer in 1988.
Poem for the Day, Two. Foreword by Andrew Motion.
Vanda Maestro, to whom this poem is cryptically dedicated, was a university friend of Levi’s and a fellow Jew. They were arrested together and sent to Fussoli, a holding camp in Northern Italy; it was here that Primo Levi fell in love with her. On February 22nd 1944, the pair were amongst 650 Jews packed onto a train bound for Auschwitz. Observing a synagogue spire from the train window, Levi later noted: “That was the moment I said goodbye to my past for ever.” February 25th was the final day of their gruelling journey, when they crossed the border into Poland, and the last night he and Vanda spent together.
Poem for the Day, Two. Forward by Andrew Motion.