Band of Gypsies

Listening to it this morning, the louder the better. "This is a type of kinda like a formal dedication / Giving out a shout for much inspiration..." My father saw him play in NYC at a small club, sometime in 1967 when he first moved to the US. He told me the show was incredible but that he hadn't known who was playing until the next day, when a friend of his told him who it was.

Regarding fathers, my friend U. finally tracked his down after more than two decades. Turns out he lived in NYC during the 80s and was good friends with Miguel Piñero and several other Nuyorican poets. U. says he continues to work as a sculptor in PR.


Something this morning reminded me of W.G. Sebald's magnificent novels, how important they are for me, revealing a familiar way of seeing the world. I would call Sebald's aesthetic a paranoia method. The pizza shop in Milan he describes in Vertigo, the sinister feeling he got from the place without ever knowing why he felt that unease. The Rings of Saturn is among the greatest novels of all time, in any language. I first heard of it through Sergio Ramírez, when he praised it at a lecture he gave at BU a few years ago. Then, reading James Wood's great review of the novel in The New Republic around the same time made me realize how that book was recounting events that had happened to me.

"They say it is rare for any of the fishermen to establish contact with his neighbour, for, although they all look eastward and see both the dusk and the dawn coming up over the horizon, and although they are all moved, I imagine, by the same unfathomable feelings, each of them is nonetheless quite alone and dependent on no one but on himself and on the few items of equipment he has with him, such as a penknife, a thermos flask, or the little transistor radio that gives forth a scarcely audible, scratchy sound, as if the pebbles being dragged back from the waves were talking to each other."

{ W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn, tr. Michael Hulse, New Directions, 1998 }

Sebald acknowledges paranoia as his constant companion, never celebrating its coincidences but merely writing them, reading them, photographing and archiving their sinister and sublime recurrences. And who's to say that paranoia is not merely the mood or tone of our age. Accept its presence, embrace its fears.


Glad to see the mighty arm sasser is back.


I wrote stanzas this morning about the dream I had before waking. It was the same vision I always see, in varying forms, painful, beautiful and as real as these words I write for the machine. She appears in fragments and I can never fully understand Her. Unpublished is often the best route. Because so much of what might be written is clothed in failure, mistranslation, delusion.

I hope to find a copy of Perfect Sound Forever sometime soon. Even here in Boston most of the bookstores are provincial. You have to hunt down even the most seemingly "mainstream" titles like an archeologist. I'm afraid the entire United States has become "West of mainstream." (Dec. 8 post).


Spiderland is a way of writing the same poem over & over, repetition's sound, paying homage to my own anger and fear, referring back to the Her of my recurring vision, hiding through the machine and stuck at the self same spot on the LP. A fragment from this morning:

Anonymous, broken ebb
flux, tourniquet mantra.
A comma for the ear,
a disturbance hold me.

Invent this form again,
hopefully broken to
weight and height, a
losing entity, encrypt.

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