I won’t miss this day. In fact, I’ll try to make up for it by jotting down my thoughts on a Wallace Stevens poem, “Man Carrying Thing”. I just memorized it (hopefully it sticks) and it’s a fun thing to rattle off and attempt to wrap your head around. He wrote these incredibly eloquent, philosophical puzzles that require multiple readings and deep thought to unpack, if not fully understand. I’m not sure most of Stevens’s poems have a singular, unitary meaning. Perhaps some of the simpler ones do. However, most of the famous, great Stevens poems possess a multiplicity (not infinity) of meanings that merge and interweave and clash. The act of reading his poems isn’t trying to find out what they mean – as if each one came with a packaged, one-sentence definition. It’s parsing out each part, uncovering different meanings and how they interact to form a complex yet congruous whole – certainly one that requires many paragraphs, if not entire pages (books, even!), to elaborate on. The thing I love most about Stevens’s poems is how many questions unravel after landing on a likely answer. Again, there’s a limit to these questions, but the point is that his poems are a delight to return to again and again, since they seem to grow in stature and meaning as one grows in life experience. Without further ado, here’s the poem. […]
What with all the recent angst over the “soul of America” and the accompanying struggle to make America great again or to return America to normal, it comforts me to know that for a mere ten grand or so, I can buy a machine to have sex with. It comforts me to know that good old American know-how is still alive and well; it comforts me to know that no matter how many riots occur, how many fences and walls are built, whether the nation’s children ever set foot in a classroom again, I can relieve my anxiety and stress by going home to my sexbot and getting a proper snuggle.
Curmudgeonly ethics professors and traditionalists of all stripes are in an uproar. These people don’t seem all that concerned about rubbing the lamp for other applications of Artificial Intelligence that has already been done and is continuing. It’s not like just freeing a genie, because after your three wishes, the lamp becomes inert and the genie goes off to wait for his or her next assignment. THIS genie produces a never-ending stream of fulfilled wishes: sex with AI-enhanced bots, war with AI-enhanced bots, space travel and colonization with more bots, cars and taxis and trains and semis hauling goods—all robots serving mankind. Why, it’s breathtaking. No the angst is reserved for sex (as Americans seem to be constantly outraged about)—specifically sex with machines, with robots, with non-humans. […]
Ever since publishing became a chip in global empires, small press publishing has been the true voice of the arts. In the small press world itself, there is both legacy and current conditions; given the troubled times of current conditions, perhaps a look at legacy is due. A gift of small press books is a large literary gift, for these are elusive works through time and each is a testimony. Small press books are more apt to be aware of book art legacy itself, and the occasion of one thoughtfully done ought to have some ceremony.
Circumstance thus directs us to a four inch by seven-inch book presented with a card stock cover folded over ten pages center stapled called The Unidentified Accomplice or, The Transmissions of C.W. Moss (Coyote). A glance at the book’s text reveals individually calligraphed paragraphs per page in what seems visually to be a single poem. The single date is 2006 and is listed “Of The Estate”. A book published by an estate is a direct statement to the legacy of the artist, it is additional evidence; in this case, this single folio is a testament to the literary legacy of Philip Whalen. […]
A dirty corner of the street. Late evening. Julio Madiaga’s face in the lamplight. The vibrancy of his eyes is caught in desperation: a silhouette in the window above him. A woman arranges her hair. A memory from a past paradise flashes into frame. Madiaga had a girlfriend, once upon a time. Their paths diverged after a cruel woman took her away on a boat to the capital. She vanished shortly thereafter. He can only guess at her fate, but the city provides him with many educated guesses. (The pimps who cajole him on the curb with their wares – prostitutes, often blank faced, or simply faceless – suggest some sinister end.) Already the city has battered him into destitution, and on the intersection of Misericordia and Ongpin, what he’s come from the provincial town of his birth to find is barred behind a rectangle of light, which immobilizes him, brightens every twitch on his face, and discloses the answer to his question within a shadow – the claws of light, indeed. Illumination, in this story, is no comfort, and often is representative of some misery of either Madiaga or, more cogently, the city which consumes him. […]