Book of the World Courant XXV-XXVI


Sky 1-15-14 a.m.BWC


“The less evident a quality, the greater its capacity to grow. Plenitude is all the greater for its refusal to show itself. And let us take care not to misunderstand; this is not remotely a question of humility. Rather, this restraint is the very condition for non-exhaustion. Simplicity and plainness are the just measures of authenticity, which is situated at the opposite pole in relation to the flavorful – whose intensity and seductiveness are doomed to wear themselves out.”

Says Jullien [In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding From Chinese Thought and Aesthetics. Trans. Paula M. Varsano, New York: Zone Books, 2004.]


Treacle down syndrome.


Natura facit saltus.

         Oh, Dr. Gazelle!


Medicina corporis-mentis.


Nothing exotic is foreign to me.


Periphrasis, amica mea.


Hypostasis, mi amor.


It (he) is all Greek-Chinese to me.


I will, I will, I will not use apophasis.


Unless you make me.


Systems of quashtionable authority.


If only hesheitthem would stop doing that, then I could breathebehappyrelaxbemyself.

Useless to point out that you already are breathing. Useless to say, but hey, you are already yourself. Useless to put forward that happy and relaxed are internal states conditioned but not determined by external forces. Useless to even k(no)w.

Even less useful to think. And more useless still to speak of what is known and thought.


Emergence and, also, loss –

This is Zhaowen playing his zither.

Nothing emerging and nothing lost –

This is Zhaowen not playing his zither.


The Janus game.


The flowers in the vase emerge – red,

Incense smoke rises in pearl-gray curls.

Neither a question nor an answer,

The ruyi lay obliquely on the ground.

Dian allowed the sound of his zither to fade away.

Zhao refrained from playing his zither:

In all this there is a melody –

That can be sung, and can be danced.




A bibliography:

         In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding From Chinese Thought and Aesthetics by François Jullien. Trans. Paula M. Varsano, New York: Zone Books, 2004.


Move along, move along – nothing to see.


Slipping the knot of childhood.


Something there is that hates a city.


When we are hurt, we become angry. When are angry, we become bitter. How to take the next step?


Five flavors of the self.


Self creates other. Other creates dialogue. Host, guest, guest, host: eternally we change domiciles.


Walk your path and you’ll find there is a valley in the Way.


“I’d like the miracle breakfast, please,”


Can one not be a female bird?


“’I am not Popeye,’ said the blue monster. ‘I am Him,’ knowing well no one heard capitals.” Wrote Sam Farhi in a story.


What is text in the context of madness?


Nowadays, folks often qualify their assertions with: I’m just saying.

Which has a funny way of sounding like: I’m just sane.



Madness is the term we use for the temporary or permanent absorption of context into narrative.


Access made detour made frolic.


Once upon a time we knew nothing except how to be free.


The look, the feel, the fabric of our lies.


What a difference a V makes.


The internet cafés of Calcutta.


The eyes can’t help seeing and the ears can’t help hearing and the mouth can’t help tasting and the mind can’t help thinking and the body can’t help acting. They can’t stay still. But if we let them move without leaving [our essential internal] stillness behind, nothing can harm us. Those who are buried by the dust of the senses or who crave sensory stimulation lose their way.

         —Commentary on the Lao Tzu.


Disharmonic self: shadow other.


A reliance on ethics is the most hazardous of grounds, the black ice of human relations.


Poissant: a viennoise pastry that tastes like fish.


Goofunium: the element next to Plutonium on the periodic massage table.


War, children, it’s just a tweet away.


Throw a monkey metaphor into the works.


Water is the closest thing to the Dao.


What’s my line? You’ll never guess.

         Try me.

Martian interpreter.


In the future, everyone will be able to choose their own madness.


Cafecito 12-29-13.BWC


The persistent substitution of past and future subjunctives for the present indicative. What to make of it?


What would Wilde tweet?

From Reading Gaol.

To Bloomsbury.


The shirts are getting hairier.


Water is good, but not only.


Water points to an inexhaustible fund of immanence.


Within the world nothing surpasses water in tenderness and weakness.

But when it attacks what is firm and strong, nothing is able to vanquish it.

That the weak vanquishes the strong, that the pliable vanquishes the unbending,

            everybody in the Empire knows.

[But] nobody is able to act [according to it].

According to Ho-Shang-Kung’s (He Shang Gong) commentary on Lao-Tse.


Bitcoin broke my teeth.


When the legend becomes fact, tweet the legend.


“The supposition that the Cockaigne idea derives from and original French [or Middle Dutch] text is therefore based on a mistaken notion of the genesis of this kind of material. This by no means rules out the existence of oral and written traditions having developed around this material in both regions, traditions that continued developing on their own while at the same time influencing each other. Whatever the case, it is pointless to search for the ingenious author who came up with the original Cockaigne text. There were thousands of individuals, each of him composed [her or] his own Cockaigne text by using the material available to everyone, which had been circulating in countless forms and in a host of languages since Hellenistic times…

In contrast to [certain] earlier incidental written recordings, these later texts – the product of a written culture – contain references, borrowings, and adaptations that exude the smell of ink, fresh from the pen or printing press…

Oral characteristics [such as rhyming couplets] continued to nestle in written texts intended mainly for private reading. As far as the rhyme was concerned, however, it was important for texts meant to be read or recited to display a clever interweaving of end rhymes and internal rhymes throughout the poetical work. These visual accents lent the desired stress to texts that long continued to be read out loud. At the same time such patterns of sound created aesthetic effects that showed to advantage during recitation. A good example of this is the poetry of the rhetoricians, in which great importance was attached to ingenious rhyme schemes. Their rhymed morality plays and to no less extent their refrains are preeminent examples of the art of declamation.

In this respect the rhetoricians’ art must be seen as quite distinct from the simple rhyming techniques of oral text transmission… An even more important difference is that the rhetoricians’ works ultimately belong to the written tradition, despite their final destination in recitation. Their point of departure was the fixed text, devised by an author and committed to paper, whence it could be recited again and again, with no view whatever to deviations or improvisations. But in the oral tradition things are done differently.

If a text is written down primarily as an aide-mémoire, then rhyming couplets are the best-known expedient. More complicated forms of rhyme only make things more difficult. A textbook for laymen such as the Naturkinde van het gehellal (Physics of the Universe), dating from the fourteenth century, refers right at the beginning to just such a mnemonic aid:

I’ll tell it you in fitting rhyme,

Place at the end of every line,

So that your patience won’t run out

Recalling what it’s all about.

…Not all the oral characteristics were recorded in any case. [Texts for recitation, as distinct from those for private reading] were not meant to be recited verbatim. Whether imparting to his audience fictional stories or morality lessons, a professional reciter relied on familiar techniques and skills to compose the introduction, ending, improvisations and padding, additions, abridgements, and recapitulations. One thus did not have to include them when recording a text in writing, and so manuscripts contain only the bare blueprints of the oral versions. The only texts that were learned from memory were those intended for instruction or scientific learning, with a view to reproducing them word for word.”

Writes Herman Pleij in Dreaming of Cockaigne: Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life, Diane Webb, trans. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.


Conatus, mon amour.

And sign.


¿Eres un zombie total o sólo medio-zombie?


She obtained her sinecure based on one key qualification: her capacity to generate pure, refined saliva.


Sky 12-25-13.BWC


What’s the word from your (internal) Johannesburg?






Here for the enduration.


(F)lux et veritas.


Liquid (f)lux.


Chain of ghouls.


Gumby apocalypse.


Dour power.

And single malt.


The tweet is a deaf sentence.

Commute them all to life in person.


Globalization and its disco tents.


Kurt twitters, dada-o.


Zombie paradise.


Who moved my qi?


Evil robots ate my qi.


These days when I hear the word “portal” I think: sinking ship.


A thousand Fenians marching by the rising of the moon.


By the light of a rhizome moon.


Roots, shoots and leaves.

This bud’s for you.


The sending out and the coming back.


Come hither lasses and lads, and hearken, for there is a tale to tell,

Of the wonderful-days a-coming, when all shall be better than well…


When a woman shall work, and bethink her, and rejoice in the deed of her hand,

Nor yet come home in the even too faint and weary to stand…


Then all Mine and all Thine shall be Ours, and no more need anyone crave,

For riches that serve for nothing but to fetter a friend for a slave…


And the painter’s hand of wonder; and the marvelous fiddle-bow.

And the banded choirs of music: all those that do and know…


For all these shall be ours and everyone’s, nor shall any lack a share

Of the toil and the gain of living in the days when the world grows fair.


            With homage, and apologies, to William Morris.


Sky 1-1-14.BWC


The world does not want to be fixed.

It wants to be lived in.




The false potto is a lorisoid primate of uncertain taxonomic status found in Africa.

The “true” potto, (Perodicticus potto) is a strepsirrhine (lemurish) primate from the Lorisidae family of slender arborealists. The only species in genus Perodicticus, it is also known as Bosman’s potto, after Willem (Vild Villie) Bosman, who described the species in 1704, and is referred to, in parts of Anglophone Africa, as a “softly-softly.”

And yes, Virginia, there is a golden potto too.


Softly softly catchee monkey.

            O say ye anthroapologists, O speak, ye cunning linguists: of what taxonomy the “signifying” monkey be?


And tell me, what’s the bottom loin?


I was a false potto for the FBI.


Up the twerkers!


Representatives of the International Federation of Twerkers, Belfies, Lap and Poledancers (AFL-CIA) today met with management in closed-door talks aimed at hammering out an agreement on… Negotiators for both sides reported hard bargaining, but expressed confidence that…


The Museum of Modern Art hosts a Magritte retrospective. Amidst and amongst, your eye is drawn by what the card describes as: “four fragmented and framed views of an ostensibly conventional landscape.” It is titled Profondeurs de la terre, Depths of the Earth and was painted in oil in Paris, circa 1930. Magritte called such works toiles decoupées,  cut-up paintings. Of these, he wrote to his fellow Surrealist and compatriot Paul Nougé: “In the case of the woman, or the sky, or the landscape, it seems to me that they gain from being subjected to such a process.”


The gaze. The frame. The arc.


Is Magritte assaulting women via their distorted and mutilated images or warning them: “Women, you are under assault!” If the latter, does he imagine they do not know this?


Several billions of dead and yet-unborn people did not attend the exhibition.


The cure for the common soul.


One sigh fits all.


A pinch of anxiety.

A soupçon of (di)stress.


Fukushima, mon amour.


We can think what and when we like, but the only place we truly inhabit is the present indicative. Which has the virtue of being infinite.


You better tweet me white.


“Liberty cannot be provided for in the general sense if property be preserved. The main thing that I speak for is because I would have an eye to property,” said Henry Ireton in 1647 – more or less in the midst of the English Civil War. Ireton was, at the time, Commissary General of the New Model Army as being Oliver Cromwell’s son-in-law. Ireton’s death of a fever, shortly after his capture of Luimneach (Limerick) – in which he produced a fair number of martyrs to the Irish cause – “struck a great sadness into Cromwell,” according to a source close to the latter. In his final moments, Ireton is reported to have shouted: “Blood, blood, I must have more blood!”


“To make society happy it is necessary that great numbers should be Ignorant as well as Poor,” wrote Thomas Mandeville in The Fable of the Bees; or Private Vices, Publick Benefits some fifty-odd years later.


“The old values no longer transmitted, no longer circulate, no longer impress; literature is desacralized, institutions are impotent to defend and impose it as the implicit model of the human. It is not, if you will, that literature is destroyed; rather it is no longer protected: so this is the moment to go there,” said Roland Barthes, not so very long ago.


And from the valley came Ezekiel’s plaint: “Oh Lord, can these bones live?”


One’s work is the processive form of one’s qi – or is it love?


The vast majority of what we know and think either stems directly from conversation or is catalyzed by it.


We are very taken with building vast towers, mostly filled with air.


Souris au chocolat.


Tiger enters the flock of sheep (Hu ru qun yang): number 65 of the 72 techniques of Ba Gua Zhang (Ba Gua Zhang Qi Shi Er Zhao) by Gao Zi Ying.


Like white on rice.


“Connections willed into existence can never become organic.” This a throwaway line in Baldwin’s Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone.


Spagyry, mon amour.


Is a false epiphany an epiphony? Or just something that sounds like one?


Sky 1-6-14.BWC


I’m ready for my old-pine-tree-on-the-mountaintop moment, Mr. Demille.


Metaxu, mi amor.


Ghosts in the machine?

No, goats in the museum.

            And the muezzin – what of him?


Hebbel writes of a young German philosopher in Amsterdam who, observing a funeral party leaving a mansion, found himself stirred to his soul. Asking a passerby whose mansion and whose funeral it was, he received the melancholy reply: “Kannitverstan.”

“Poor Kannitverstan!” the philosopher exclaimed (inwardly). “What can all your riches bring you now? Surely no more than my poverty will bring me one day: a shroud and a winding sheet; and of all your lovely flowers, only a bunch of rosemary on your cold breast, or perhaps a sprig of rue.”

Indeed, indeed. Nor were these profound thoughts impeded for an instant by something the young man did not know: in Dutch, kannitverstan means “I can’t understand you.”


We endeavored, said Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, not to concern ourselves with the imaginary mental state of the animal.




The West had worn itself in two pieces for millennia. But the ultimate expression of cultural schismatics awaited the near-simultaneous interaction, in 1946, of

1) a series of plutonium (just to the right of goofonium on the periodic message board) implosion-type nuclear detonations above an atoll in the Marshall Islands

2) a French mechanical engineer named Louis Réard

3) a 19-year-old dancer named Micheline Bernardini

4) the requisite fabric materials and

5) a warm slot in the collective imagination.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Réard definitively argued in the court of public opinion against his competitor, one Jacques Heim, who had simultaneously introduced a similar costume called the Atome. A two-piece suit, asserted Réard – a mere decade before Jacques Vergès successfully deployed his defense de la rupture on behalf of the jailed Algerian revolutionary Djamila Bouhired – a two-piece suit was not a genuine bikini unless it could be pulled through the eye of a wedding ring.

But before any of this could happen, 167 Micronesian inhabitants of the eponymous atoll had to be relocated. Transported by American Seabees, they were dropped off with their disassembled church and a few week’s supply of food and water on Rongerik, largest of a heretofore uninhabited cluster of islands, about a hundred miles to the east. The Bikinians were not merely unhappy to be uprooted from their homes and ancestral ground. Aside from the lack potable water on Rongerik, the Micronesians believed the atoll was already taken. And by presences whom they had no desire to interact with or offend: a tribe of demonic young women.

It is said that, to this day, if one ventures out from the shore of Rongerik just before nightfall, you can hear this ghostly refrain:

We’re the Seabees of the Navy

Bees of the Seven Seas

The Navy wanted men

That’s where we came in

Mister Brown and Mister Jones

The Owens, the Cohens and Flynn

The Navy wanted more

Of Uncle Sammy’s kin

So we all joined up

And brother we’re in to win


Smoke Sprites 1-7-14.BWC