Wednesday, 24 December 2014

"Gray Toad" and "Color of the Season" by Ōte Takuji

Translated from the Japanese with commentary by Dean A. Brink.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Far Harbor

—after John Ashbery

On the out the dickens we didn’t try your recipe
to hold up the touted soufflé and make amends,

all but the gas oven standing its ground.

The ball park closes its eye to the sky and players
pray and swing their ballasts to packed applause.

A happy couple drifts closer, all the borrowed notes

and time being with you and that is enough.
The body shifts in all this, gradually the world turns

around on it, so we are bystanders standing up

to towering spiders and bury our things with us
in the crawl space where the narrative give way

to panic, the calm voice of reason then reassuring

despite the atonal motifs and turn of slashed signatures
the fingering on scales confines us to our favorite keys.

(Nov. 14, 2014)

Monday, 10 November 2014

Northeast Building

—after John Ashbery

Things are rough, I know, I said taking you out
had no strings attached, but it’s not often I see you
and wasn’t it you who whispered a smile
is a precious thing to waste?
So here the modus operandi greets us in a row
as you say it should, though not your cup of tea nor mine,
a punishment, like Greyhound (for lack of trains)
all part of your rollover-to-live-to-see-another-day plan
gone on umpteen years. I guess it might seem better
as the world closes in, stiffens, and at least
you dropped in from the sixth
and I borrowed your light nine to sink a birdie.
Who said I raised my voice? Sheesh, it wasn’t even your turn
just a penny opera, no mute scream could
breakdown the onslaught of Mack the Knife.
All in good fun even you say
like daffy-go-Bucky all top-down, robes flowing open
quite the monsieur de la maison, newspaper ruffled
and plop, a robin dives outside and audiences pirouette
on their bums to hear the upshot, pas du tout. Double sheesh.
So tell yourself we’re on the up and up
and the hologlobe spinning under our fingers will come around
to a lost island in the Pacific slowly sinking,
but no need to send in the llamas—
we’ve seen what that does. Try steering clear
of what makes you unhappy without letting it down.
See you when flights resume.

(Nov. 10, 2014)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Feel Free

 —after John Ashbery

While you tinkered with that watch that keeps on
acting up, keeps you up (and wouldn’t wake you up)
the rest of us trekked with the captain for tacos
from the back of a truck. A ribbed false sunset
flat at sea met us from the distance,
the mouth of the city breaking cloud cover
clearing around blocks of transport ships,
splotches under the radar a joke
planted in bystanders. Who’s a taker?
Heroes fold, triangles for a better day.
“Daddy, don’t dance that way” starts it.

The fullness of the world settles in, you say,
scanning places to take place beside us
thus tightening in us, overworked to
sort the mad rush, what what and no boy
wonder rushing in from the other side of the city
to free us. Since you dialed in telling us not to bother
leaves fall out of season as they will. We’re nowhere now
and, it would seem, the future—sending notice

for the tête-à-tête in Copenhagen, more sunflowers.

(Nov. 7, 2014)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cross Island

—after John Ashbery

When the lift stopped and they sent notice you
stepped over sleeping vagrants in the stairwell on your way out.
Time held still in its museum you constructed
from hearsay, happy voices, no one in control
the beauty of democracy without the parade of life
you said and closed Shelley, turned to the tap a shoulder
rolling over in bed (before the water shortage)
like a lost Apollo mission.
     We joked about who had the gumption
to talk to her. All the blokes held back, shadows of what we sought.
A fine mess, indeed. Don’t blame the messenger but do listen long enough

as we touched down elsewhere again, sons of immigrants
fathering immigrants, “my generation” a rolling spectacle.

I’d like to button down too one day, collect trinkets
bearing a conceptual oblivion that undoes them
like a new pair of glasses too high or too low.
I’m glad you are open about drawing lines in the sand
not to disturb eternity with details of the day
and can relax that no one will take you seriously.
All that is left is a restless hope in surviving time
like a lover so young and innocent who disappears in time.

(Nov. 5, 2014)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Allegations

—after John Ashbery

You stood on the sidelines laughing

as the colorful parade passed

and joked about fallen comrades saving us

from ourselves. I laughed, not a belly laugh

that covers a hollowness that contains us,

gives us our sense of being-there

but one inching and retreating as if not a laugh at all,

not hearty anyways, but helpful, so the balance can shore up

a balanced life. So touchy, how now

touching off upstate dancers with their gaudy truths

that would teach the townspeople before turning in

the hard plots need back-hoes more than a shovel of men

for backed-up situations, you find it pleasant among
the daffodils weed-whacked off the road as man becomes man
and the poetry is here, in the empty corridor alone with your ear.

It’s fun to see from above without looking up.

You’re from the first wave of peasants lying low,

taught to enjoy the collage of life’s peccadilloes

in torn cubist recumbence, letting others carry

on the joy of caring, ushering others down the same

corridor of self, reflecting our world as it is

without hope, amen, we made it this far. And we’re off.

(Nov. 4, 2014)

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Richard Wright's search for a counter-hegemonic genre: the anamorphic and matrixial potential of haiku

is now online at Textual Practice
It constitutes the results of two-year research project.
(If free copies run out please email me at interpoetics at gmail dot com.)

Examining Richard Wright's vast haiku oeuvre, this article shows how he used haiku to reinvent the form in English by repeating playfully anamorphic imagery so as to construct a poetic matrix modelled on, but distinct from, the categories he saw used in Japanese haiku. Writing haiku in this productive manner produced Nietzschean jouissance rather than resentment, so that the affective dimension of a multitude of socio-economic relations, including race, could be demonstrably reframed in this matrix of anamorphic imagery which maintained political allegories and critical consciousness in the landscapes of his invention. He asserted measured displacements and anamorphic transvaluations of how one sees (in Jacques Rancière's sense), and as such presented a modernist haiku constructed not in isolate verses (as haiku are often read), but in refrains and nodes, suggesting an intertextual matrix asserting new commonplaces (locus communis) and self-evident ways of seeing. This article also points out the lack of evidence for the current consensus in literary criticism which mistakenly asserts that Wright discovered a Zen spirit which elevated his spirit and brought him closer to nature. Moreover, the editing of the book manuscript is shown to be not only flawed in its critical framing, but in the very ordering of haiku, presentation, and even title.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Samples from the International Biennial Print Exhibit: 2014 ROC Exhibition (2014/08/16 ~ 2014/10/26)

One of the finest regular exhibits I try to see every two years is the International Biennial Print Exhibit. Since they allow photography (although just using my cellphone), I thought I would share some of my favorites from the exhibit in Taichung.

Andrea Serafini (Italy) Project to a Construction Site VIII, 2013. Etching, aquatint. Bronze Prize.
Although it appears to be a variation on modernist themes, the gauze-like construction barrier is rendered so as to suggest plans, thus working with the "project to" in the title. Thus its not just complexity of a high contrast building core under construction but a post-postmodernist antidote to cynicism: showing the papering of surfaces on the nitty-gritty of construction sites.

Here are some on ecological themes. Above, Lin Pei-ying (Taiwan) Overload, 2014. Below, Sawada Yuichi (Japan), Keeping in Touch with Pine Trees 2013-5, 2013, with an allusion to Buddhist ink paintings.

Certainly the most ambitious and striking among the eco-prints was Hugo U. Besard (Belgium), El Niñ Niña...the Climatic Change and the Tears of Mother Earth, 2012. Detail right.  

Below, Paul Hawdon (UK), Sunset at Cadiz, 2012, which is one of the most playful prints in the show, though it appears very traditional (after William Blake).

 Magical and making good use of the print medium's capacity for layering, Tatiana Potts (Slovakia), Something Good Is Awaiting, 2012:  

Also deftly produced is Li Yan Song (China), Time Cross My Space, 2013 (below), which features a grid design that works well in prints that combine many prints (as did the Silver Prize, not shown on this blog). There were many great prints from China this year, though just six years ago one could not say that. I really admire the energy put into taking printmaking seriously and one can already say the printmaking village of Guanlan, with its international residencies, is the new New York/Paris of printmaking.  

Also from China is Zeng Zhao Yang, Hazy Behavior - I, 2013:

Two prints in particular, both from Poland, carried an antiwar message. Below is Krzysztof Hain, PPSh-41, 2013.

Below is Kamil Kocurek (Poland), Chamber, 2014, with detail. These are just a few of the many splendid prints.

Don't miss the show--I did four years ago and still regret it.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Sound Work—"Social Justice for All for Some"

Link to my Sound Work—"Social Justice for All for Some" in Technoculture, Edited by Keith Dorwick
This work combines my love of keyboards and conceptual art with my ongoing work in poetry and spoken word recording. In the journal there is also a statement on the work and how and why it was made. 

The full issue Volume 4 (2014)—Oppression and Liberation
is now online, including: Critical Essays: On Gender and Sexuality 
Digital Articulations of Sexuality and Gender: An Introduction

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bamboo Rain (piano composition)

Quirky piano prelude with lots of grace notes and sense of story (happy, tense moments).
The score is here for free download. 
The photo is of the Tamsui River, between Fisherman's Pier and Tamsui (where I live).

Friday, 4 April 2014

Antelope Talk - atonal blues piano composition

This short piano piece uses parts of minor blues scales to form a pitch class row in the right hand and maintain a left hand with traditional blues notes (though not in traditional chord progressions).

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Two Senryu 川柳

D. Brink 2007

In cutting the grass the people
   in spring see to the future


In a field of thistles the ferns
    gradually find their way

[Thanks to Huang Shih-Yi for the Mandarin translations
and David Jiang for help with transcultural imagery.]

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mister Coffee

Mister Coffee
is a flash sf story I wrote--set in Taiwan--and appearing in Every Day Fiction. It's about a mother, daughter and their robot as they struggle to keep their business going. The comments on the site are very interesting too; thanks for the feedback.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

12 Tone Tango for Two

12 Tone Tango for Two (opens audio in new window)
This short piano composition marries the tango with atonal serialism--technically a no-no if one follows Milton Babbitt's approach to serialism (linking temporal and spatial intervals). Here the two tone rows live in a tango rhythm.
 12 Tone Tango For Two