Zeitgeist

So all I have to wait for now is
another one to die
that way there will be good music playing on
my FM dial
I could cut clippings from the newspaper again
and stick it my bedroom walls
reminisce on borrowed nostalgia
and fall asleep 
with the radio on

A Nobel Peace Prize Frontrunner

I declared Armistice 

between my cat 
and a solitary sock found in the basement just last week 

a meter maid 
and a stop sign 

a fair-weathered friend 
and his necktie 

a large body of water 
and a leaking tap in my apartment 

I even brokered a sit-down 

between a dog
and its tail

a truck driver 
and his flat tire 

an author 
and her muse 

I did all this for the good of humanity 
and yet I am still sitting on the curb 

Waiting to for my invitation to arrive

   Image - Paul Pretzer
As far as I can see
              we jar
   
            if left
to our own devices
    we could rotate
               a small planet
                         on its axis

forty five degrees
due north
where you and
     a Bedouin tracker
          line up logs

to warm up
 the rusty can of beans
    that I left in the car
        long time before
           you were
                      real

The International Style (notes on urban development)

Le Corbusier is sipping Le Courvoisier on the roof of an estate building,
At mid-night,
Counting stars and flies, flies and stars.
How did this urban sprawl called form come to be?

A glorious Functionary of the B&W,
An avid turn-piker,
A vision of the tower, not built for clocks but for a timeless sitting,
On a stoop, metal railing,
Lying, squatting,
Loitering, squallering,
Leaving the space blank for the 
                         multi-faith prayer room.

The blue print is named "Anadonia",
It has been approved by the one and three quarter star general,
Who got the post,
Rubber stamping at the bureau.

"Ornament is crime",
The obit. Read,
Written in limestone,
That will dissolve into obscurity come the first rain.

Crisp neighborhood Leisure Park,
Where pretty kids, with locks and cornrows come to know who is the king of the Monkey 
 Bars and play in the sand box,

Filled with rusty nails and shard glass,
            The gold locks become Persian red,
                   Especially after a game of

                           rock-paper-scissors.     
                   

                                           Cony Island subsidized housing

A Eulogy for Stieglitz (a Cultural Critic)

What a way to go - to drown in a glass of champagne. 

Looking from the inside out at the party, the band is playing an up tempo tune that you remember from your childhood, but it is muffled, distorted, from that sweet dry effervescence that once filled his heart and is now filling your lungs. The chatter of the party goes fuses in with the bass beats until all you can hear is the fermenting sugar going wild as it let loose in the rocket shaped glass. The bubbles get into your eyes as you struggled to focus on a past love that was being wooed by dark haired socialites. Everything turns sepia; the old age of the grape shows its ugly side. 

It was like a 1920’s comedy of errors shot in three days because of budget cuts. The socialites are circling around your old flame like a cackle of rabid hyenas, showing their teeth and their tails to each other, jumping in the air like show dogs to the sound of her coquettish laugh. 

You stroke with all your might but you don’t know which way is up anymore; you are suffering from a case of The Bends. You free-dive deeper “in-glass”, the tannins in your head are ready to burst. For you there will be no great escape. You won’t have a chance to breath. 

As you go deeper, your head is fizzy and dry, you see your old flame leave alone, her red train leaves a red wet mark on the floor. You become light-bodied and are beginning to ferment. Finally you close your eyes, breathe in the tangy thick semi-liquid. Let your body float, carbonate. 
Your soul, your dreams, your truth will be realized like those fleeting effervescence of a grape; through your rigor-mortis.

Eruditely

It seems a bit German, Doesn't it?

Great Neck and Dandilions

Look at her

Sun like geraniums creeping up her legs, make "it" shine like a vivid childhood memory that lurked in a strange corner of your brain, waiting for the ultimate death to pounce

The solar panels reflect in the wet, cool desert at dawn

She twirls around, trampling on the flowers one by
one

laughing wickedly
   or innocently

which is the same
  in a child's mind

I would like to beat her for it

But instead
   I take snapshots of her
snapshots that will never see
   the light
because I was
  overexposed

                                          Tel Regev/Untitled

Stieglitz

Yes, it’s weird how things turned out but the signs were there. 

 Stieglitz is not like me. Sometimes he can write five pieces in one go, typing hurriedly and aggressively, the clattering of the keys making a sound of verbose downpour, filled with references and lubricated puns, something between Edward Said and a CAT-Scan. 

I could spend days, musing in bed, only to wake up three days later or in a different season all together. I couldn’t help it; my mind like a computer filled with leach-like viruses and despicable pornographic images. His words were soliform, an entity of pure energy that hit the page directly, like the jolt a madman gets in an electroshock treatment. He is the “Man” among men, a true bureaucrat of language and form, a stickler for synonyms.

I was the intellectual-buffoon, a juggler of words, the high-rope walker of semantics and semiotics, the Svengali of syntax. 

Once we were inseparable: weekends down the shore, dramatic readings of Beckett or the TV guide. We wore the same green checkered suit (He wore the jacket, I wore the pants). 
But the job of the critic is to mystify the job of the critic. Stieglitz, like the Wizard of Oz, planted seeds of contempt in this Tower of Babylon in order to create the illusion that he is larger than the munchkins. But unlike the munchkins, he ceased to live in Technicolor. Soon enough his parables came to serve as a deep insight into the psyche of a housewife ironing on Valium. He was the proclaimed prophet of plastic. 

Today Stieglitz lives on the 25th floor overlooking some river or some municipal building or some tree. I live in a hole in the ground or in the tree overlooking a large glass building

A Concise History of Name Tags

Poppy comes from Berkshire. Pippa comes from Buckinghamshire. 
Poppy studied history. Pippa studied anthropology. 
Poppy loves Christmas. Pippa loves Easter. 
Poppy is catholic. Pippa is a Seven Day Adventist. That is why she doesn’t love Christmas.
Poppy works in a solicitor’s office. Pippa works in a barrister’s office. 
Poppy is afraid of spiders. Pippa is afraid of staplers.
Poppy has two older sister and a little baby brother. Pippa has three sisters and an older brother who died of AIDS in 1991, before they knew about cocktails. 
Poppy was once stuck in an elevator for three hours. Pippa was once a high jump champion. 
Poppy fell in love once with a surrealist Spanish painter. Pippa fell in love with her uncle’s life partner. Poppy wants to travel around the world and help women who were abused by their husbands. Pippa has no plans at the moment.
Poppy loves popcorn. Pippa does to. 

Poppy was once late for work and in her haste bumped into Pippa who dropped a two hundred page legal document on the dirt road, its pages blew away and landed in a lake where a lonely secretary was eating leek and potato soup on an overlooking bench.

The Pinafore Room

From time to time I would work at the Savoy Hotel. One night I worked for a reception for Canadian business men. They held the reception in the Pinafore Room. They said they chose it because of its historical significance.
And why was the Pinafore Room so special? It is said that once someone put a photograph of Churchill in it and it stayed there ever since.

מה אתה בכלל יודע

בישיבתי בתור במרפאה שמעתי שני אנשים מדברים. היא קראה עיתון והוא הסתכל עליה במבט משועמם. לפתע פצה את פיו ואמר: "כל המחאה הזאת היא סתם.הממשלה תדאג לעשות ספין ולהרוג אותה. ככה זה תמיד, אני יודע. כל פעם מוצאים תירוצים להשתיק את הציבור."
לאחר מכן הוא פירט את הסיבות למה החבר'ה באוהלים הם סתם נועד עובד, לומד ולא יעזור כלום, כלום. האזנתי בנימוס ובשקט, הרי מישהו פעם אמר שאת זכות הדיבור צריך לכבד, אך משהו בדבריו לא הסתדר לי.

כשיצאתי מהמרפאה עליתי על שורש הבעיה. שורש הבעיה נעוץ במושג "אני יודע". לא שאין לבן אדם זכות להיות בר דעת ולהחזיק באמונה אישית אך הביטוי "אני יודע" לא משומש באופן נכון.

ידע הוא משהו נרכש, מונע מסקרנות ודורש חיפוש, פיענוח, עיבוד וכו'. מצד שני מה שמר-בחור ניסה להעביר ניתן לסווג כמידע. מכאן שאפשר להתחיל להסתכל על שתי המילים כאופוזיציה בינארית – ידע/מידע.

כיום כמעט לכל אדם יש גישה למידע כמעט אין סופי בקצות אצבעותיו, פשוטו כמשמעו: פשוט תלטף את האיי-פון ותוכל לגלות את משקלו של כדור הארץ, התקדמות המורדים בלוב וכמה שערים גיורא שפיגל כבש בראש בין השנים 1971-73.

אם זהו המצב, אם יש לנו חשיפה ליותר מידע מאשר כל זמן אחר באנושות כולה, למה ההגיון שלנו מוכתב כאילו מקור המידע היחיד שלנו הם פשקווילים, רוכלים נודדים והינטה השכונתית? למה אנו מקבלים דברים "face value"? (הצעה לתרגום: בלי משוא פנים?)

כאן נחזור למר-בחור ולגברת. מר-בחור, שלניחושי הלא מלומד הוא אזרח מן השורה, תיכון-צבא, בתור לרפואה ציבורית (משמע משלם מיסים) למעשה נעשה למעין כלי בהשאלה. הוא מקבל מידע מהרופא, מהעיתון-חינם, מהממשלה ואם אלה לא חורגים יותר מדי אחד מהשני, הוא מקבל את המידע כפשט ומעביר אותו הלאה, ככלי קיבול אחד לשני. המידע מגיע אליו עם חשבון הארנונה, עם חדשות השעה שמונה, עם תוצאות בדיקת השתן.

הפרוש השני של ידע הוא מיני במקורו, אך בהכרח אקטיבי: "אני ידעתי אותה כל הלילה – על המיטה, על השטיח, על הרדיאטור!"
מכאן שידע הוא פעולה, אשר נשענת על מערכת יחסים עם סובייקט משתנה אחר ודורש רמה מסוימת של סיכון כמו אמרת השפר, "ככל שאתה יודע יותר כך אתה מבין שאינך יודע כלום."
ידע נותן לאדם פרספקטיבה בעצם זה שהוא שם אותו ביחס לסובייקט. אם אדם מפשפש בשורשי משפחתו אולי יגלה שסבו היה יודנראט? כך עצמיותו משתנה עם עצם ידיעתו.

מר-בחור מסתפק במידע. מה מסתתר במילה מידע? מידע הוא נגזרת של ידע אך הדגש במילה היא באות הנוספת, 'מ'. ה'מ' חשובה פה מפני שהיא שואלת שאלה – "מי" נתן לך את הידע הזה?" זאת אומרת ה"מי?" הוא האקטיבי ומר-בחור, אתה, אני, נעשים פסיביים (וכל זאת בלי לרדת להקבלה סקסואלית!).
לכן, למרות שאנו חיים בתקופה בה הפוטנציאל לידע הוא הגדול באנושות כולה, אנו עדיין מתבוססים במידע שאנו מקבלים מעיתוני-חינם, ערוצי חדשות לסוגיהם, רשתות "חברתיות" ועוד שאר ירקות.

לכן, כל פעם שאנו חושבים שאנו יודעים משהו, חובה עלינו לשאול "מי?" נתן לנו את המידע הזה, זאת כדי להבטיח שה"מי" הזה לא עומד מאחורינו עם מכנסיים מושפלות.     



Oeuvre mystique


In a fragmented moment we become fecund with wistful imagination. We become impregnated by the semen of doubt, or conviction.

Time, when it is flux, allows up a pensive gaze into our own contemplative mechanism; we become detached from the fantasmatic elements that construct our reflexive actions, leading to a kind of paralysis.

This paralysis, which is also known as void or, under religious hypotheses, ecstasy, expands our view of the fragmented, expanded time, in which he paralysis is not really ours, but the world.
This is in a sense of spatial time: imagine one in outer space going at three times the speed of sound. Not only is he detached from any spatial coordinates i.e. directions in vacuum manifest differently than in condensed space. He is no longer abiding by up/down, right/left binary oppositions.  Instead, he can choose new definitions. It is not that he is changed; it is the world that is ceased to work, at its most simple and complex mechanism.

In this void two elements are manifested in a paradoxical manner: the first is the sense of  feeling the “heaviness” of the void: as the airless expanse becomes more “palpable”, one can feel as if the space is dense, heavy, even though it is the opposite.

The second is a sense of elation in this space. Even though the space is limited and serves as an oppressive cage, one may feel that he is looking into eternity, feel himself revolving. This is of course unproven as the space can be as small as an atom.

With these two elements in play, one is both attached and detached from the particular space and time at the same instant.

It what makes our world go round; and what makes us revolve in the world.


Rules for the Modern Socialite #1

1. If it's too good to be true, it must be a lady boy.
2. You are not a true carpenter if you still have all you're fingers.
3. Things we learned from movies #23: Jews always have Chinese take out on Christmas Eve.
4. By the time you get to the mixed nuts bowl at the bar, there will be no cashews.
5. People you can hit #15: People who say on 31/12, "See you next year".
6. Athletes foot does mean you work out to much; It means you should take shower.
7. Just so you know, through the course of their marriage, you're father asked you're mother to have anal sex.
8. Even though you're shoes smell like a dead vulture, you can't stop smelling them.
9. Even the pope partakes to Dutch ovens.
11. The only reason why Woody Allen makes films is to prove that even an uglier guy than you can get laid
12. Even Charlie Chaplin didn't have energy to watch silent films.
13. Yes, truffles taste like mud and socks.
14. Every person tried to imitate the characters in the signal light.
15. Yes, the reason you can't work you're computer is it was revenge by the nerd you used to beat up at school.
16. It's not a detective movie if the detective does not give in his badge and gun and gets drunk afterwards.
17. It doesn't matter how old you're TV batteries are. If you open the lid and twist them, they will work.
18. Even Elton John thinks musicals are too gay.
19. You were offered to be Santa at the office party. It is not because they think you're jolly; It's because you're fat.
20. Even Lewis Hamilton doesn't recognize anything when looks under the hood of the car.

Seared Gaze

I’m hiding behind a cheap pair of dark glasses.
Hiding from the smell of reeking fish lying one, one,
in a market stall.
the fishing boots laid to rest in the sun.
the hustle and bustle of tourists
looking for that tomato that will remind them of their childhood
that never was,
On a kibbutz or an Indian reservation
Weekends at the city’s shore.
playing with sand as it was clay
crafting a Golem that will protect them from the shining light
of growing up.
sand pales blue and wet
riding in the back of cars
glorious Sunday afternoons
in a gridlock.
the kids ask for a pee stop
they go in front a great beech,
near the beach,
where a fishing smack
fashioned for two,
The sailors went to the pub
drowning in ale and sorrow (they need a pee stop as well),
sorrow for playing the part
of drunken sailors,
in some imaginary escapist world
of a writer in a shared flat,
hiding behind cheap dark glasses.

Food for Thought

My friend Marv eats books. He does not eat them for taste. He eats them to gain knowledge. He believes that by eating books he can better remember and store knowledge of those books he has eaten, as if by osmosis.
He started to eat books in college, when we had an exam do on Shakespeare’s Henry the V. He took a pair of scissors, cut up the text book into mulch, stirred it with some milk and ate the copy.

From then on, he was eating books regularly. He ate our county’s phone book, Webster’s Dictionary and the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, which took a week and two blenders. After that he would eat random books. For a while he was into the Russians. He ate a second addition of Gogol’s The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich, all of Chekov and some late 20th century writers like Vladimir Sorokin.

Then he went on to eat American fiction, biographies and so on.
Once I asked him if the subject of the book influences its taste. He said it didn’t, but more the book itself, for example a paperback has more sweet tones to it while hardback usually tastes like octopus or sandals. He also mentioned that he didn’t care for new books, because they use too much glue.

He ate his way through man’s greatest literary achievements, and the occasional “light” pulp novel or reader’s digest.

I do not want to get into digestive issues, but once he described his dejections as 
being similar to Paper Mache.

One day he got a call from a newspaper that did a story on him and quickly enough he became a celebrity appearing everywhere: He went on Jay Leno and ate his cue cards; he came to a Michael Chabon signing where he got Michael to sign a book which he later devoured. He even came along to a high profile trial where he ate an international law book, to emphasis the case of the prosecution that the law is being devoured by our corrupt society.

One day he got a call from the Guinness Book of World Records, telling that he won the prize for bring the man who ate the most books. It comes as no surprise that when receiving the award, he ate the book, the certificate and his valet card, which made it hard to find his car at the lot.

After his popularity sore, universities and libraries banned him from going in. a few copyright lawyers tried to sue him as they contested that by digesting a book, it is considered editing, and that is not allowed.
With the advent of electronic book readers, Marv could eat five thousand books in one sitting. But after a while he had to stop eating them, as his doctor told him he was allergic to glass. It caused him internal bleeding.

Sometime later, Marv met a lovely woman and fell in love. He knew everything about love, but it was all cerebral. He couldn’t feel anything in his stomach. No butterflies, no palpating of the heart. Zilch. 

So Marv ate her so he could really sense what love felt like. It was a few frightening weeks in our town, when Marv started eating people he had different emotions to. He ate his personal banker, which he hated. He ate his pastor, for he made him feel optimistic and he even ate his cousin who came from out of town unexpectedly and surprised him.

My friend Marv is now sitting in jail where I’ve been told he ate his hand, for he felt loneliness.