excerpts from An Interview with Marguerite Duras

April 14, 2014

marguerite_duras_2_300dpi

But you know … young people … I know hippies, kids well. My son is a sort of kid too. There is an almost irrepressible repulsion against knowledge and culture. They don’t read anything. This is something fundamental, something entirely new. Faye is a man who reads. He wants to destroy knowledge, but from within knowledge. But I would like to destroy it in order to replace it with a void. The complete absence of man. …

 

This is what young people are doing, you know. On the international level they are creating a vacuum. …

 

They have to go through a passive stage. That’s what I think. They’re in this stage now. …

 

… they don’t get anything. They excel at not doing anything. Getting to that point is fantastic. Do you know how not to do anything at all? I don’t. This is what we lack most … They create a void, and all this … this recourse to drugs, I think is a … It’s not at all an alibi, it’s a means. I’m certain of that. … They’re creating a vacuum, but we can’t yet see what is going to replace what was destroyed in them – it’s much too early for that. …

 

… even if they’re not politically aware, they nonetheless represent a political force.

 

… they represent a question, a question that weighs as heavily as a mountain: What now?

 

But if this state of affairs gets worse, it will be a terrible thing. If it gets worse, it’s the end of the world … If all the young people in the world start doing nothing … the world is in danger. So much the better. So much the better. …

 

It’s like a strike. …

 

… is it a revolution that has made up the revolution? Do you believe in revolutions ordered up from Yalta? And in like manner: is it poetry that made poetry? I don’t believe so. I think that all of Europe is a prey to false revolutions. Revolutions against people’s will. So then, what will make revolution? …

 

No, it’s not rejection; it’s a waiting period. Like someone taking his time. Before committing himself to act. That’s the way I see it … it is very hard to pass from one state to another. Abruptly. It is even abnormal, unhealthy. If you like, the changeover by the popular democracies from 1940 to 1945 was a brutal one, one not freely consented to and … It is necessary to wait … You don’t do something unless you undo what’s gone before. …

 

There’s a gap between hope and despair, if you will. Where it’s both together. A gap that can’t be described yet. I think it escapes description. It is what I call the void, the zero point. Perhaps the word ‘void’ is going too far … the zero point. The neutral point. Where sensitivity regroups, if you will, and rediscovers itself … Anyway: it is said that there are more and more disturbed people. Madmen: mental institutions everywhere are full of them. This to me is profoundly reassuring. It clearly proves that the world is intolerable and that people feel it to be so. It merely proves that people’s sensitivity is increasing. And intelligence … Do you see? I think that we must turn ourselves around. We must reason backwards now about many things. Everybody is a neurotic, of course, because everybody is well aware that the world is intolerable. More and more so. And a place where we can’t even breathe. …

 

But it’s a hope I’m expressing. I hope that there will be more and more madmen: I make this statement with pleasure, with satisfaction. Personally. It proves that the solution is near. The premises of a solution. Because I know that we are very, very far away. But here we touch on the problem of freedom. This very moment. We’re on the very edge of it. …

 

– from an interview originally published in Cahiers du Cinéma, November 1969. Reprinted in English translation in Destroy, She Said, published by Grove Press, 1986.

THE KITCHEN BANG BANG LAW – FUNDING DRIVE EDITION

October 21, 2013
this show is history poster

Poster for my radio program in spring ’88 – the year CKUT went FM.

CKUT’s annual funding drive kicks off on October 24. I’m posting this blurb in the hope that you might consider pledging a few dollars to my radio show.

This year, CKUT celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary – it won its FM license and went on the air in November 1987. When CKUT launched in 1987, I was doing a show called In From The Cold, and in 1988 I had a theme program called This Show Is History. I have been on-air at CKUT every Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. since 1995, spinning tunes and interviewing guests from the cultural communities of Montreal and beyond. I also devoted a year of my life to the CKUT library (back in the 1990s), and recently put in a couple of years on the Steering Committee (2009-2011).

I’ve always been proud to be part of a community that isn’t about making a profit. Instead, CKUT FM is about consciousness-raising, 24/7, 365 days a year, playing the music you love, carrying news and information you won’t hear anywhere else – on the topic of social justice, human rights, environmental activism, gender equality, you name it. We do it all on a shoestring budget, so when we come calling for your help during our funding drive, you know we really need it.

My radio show, The Kitchen Bang Bang Law, is about cutting-edge culture. It’s about dreaming beyond the barriers of cynical ‘common sense’ through radical sonic art forms, be they the working blues of the 20s or the avante garde drone of today. I program thematic segments that span all genres and styles of music, breaking down boundaries and (hopefully) opening minds.

Read the rest of this entry »

the synchronicity effect in poetry

August 26, 2013

gaspereaulope

At the used book store where I work, we frequently get boxes of donated books – people are always moving or committing feng shui in their living space and want to thin down their libraries, so they give us a bunch of books. I was going through one of the boxes, (‘dollaring them off’ as we say in the trade) when I came across a water-damaged copy of Sue Goyette’s 2011 poetry collection, Outskirts.

“Oh,” I thought. “I should read this.”

When I was visiting my friend Keith down in Halifax this summer, he’d talked about Sue Goyette, showed me her books and asked if I was going to contribute anything to the Halifax Commons poetry anthology, which she was putting together. I remembered a poem I’d written back in 1988 about the Commons, and on the last night of my visit I put together a letter and the text and put them in an envelope for Keith to drop off before the deadline.

Anyway, I finished my shift at the bookstore and when I got home I found an envelope waiting at my door from Gaspereau Press. My poem, ‘Hieroglyphics of the Moment’, had been accepted!

The following day, I opened the book store for another shift. My first customer was a young woman. She deposited a healthy stack of books on the counter, noticed my copy of Outskirts, pointed at it and said, “Sue Goyette’s my mother!”

CKUT FM FUNDING DRIVE OCTOBER 25 – NOVEMBER 4

October 25, 2012

Alex Ookpik, one of the special guests on this year’s funding drive edition of The Kitchen Bang-Bang Law!

CKUT’s annual funding drive kicks off today. I’m posting this in the hope that you might consider pledging a few dollars to my radio show.

I’ve been doing campus and community radio since 1985. I was doing a show called In From The Cold when CKUT won its FM license in 1987, and in 1988 I had a theme program called This Show Is History. I have been on-air at CKUT every Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. since 1995, spinning tunes and interviewing guests. I also devoted a year of my life to the CKUT library (back in the 1990s), and recently put in a couple of years on the Steering Committee (2009-2011).

I’ve always been proud to be part of a community that isn’t about making a profit. Instead, CKUT FM is about consciousness-raising, 24/7, 365 days a year, playing the music you love, carrying news and information you won’t hear anywhere else – on the topic of social justice, human rights, environmental activism, gender equality, you name it. We do it all on a shoestring budget, so when we come calling for your help during our funding drive, you know we really need it.

Read the rest of this entry »

I STUMBLE IN AND OUT OF THESE NOWHERES

May 7, 2012

I’ve uploaded three more poetry recordings on soundcloud. The links to the recordings follow the texts of the poems, below.

1. Untitled.

Has the James Bond feature ended for the rest of the world, or only here in the politically-correct playground? How tough are you when the framework’s gone and the gameplan changes?

I know I’m not so tough. More like jelly in the freeflow zone. Everything’s running corporate, and the money’s good so it feels like freedom for a while. A kind of stayfree freedom, a maxi pad and a mini dress.

What kind of place is this, disposeable politics and people, they can tap your energy flow and misdirect it – it can feel good in ad heaven, with the right combination of chemicals and expensive entertainment.

You’ll be self-actualized until you hit the ceiling and your craft breaks up. Life’s one big fucking compromise until you can’t figure out who you were when you started this senseless ascent. Even heaven was designed by and for a bunch of pricks.

(Audio recording of this poem here.)

2. AFTER THE BALCONY

Pretty Polly a prostitute gone to the revolution, turned symbol.
Her songs give men courage.
And what of the others in the fuckery amongst the mirrors,
The transported visitors in costume, and the beds?
It’s the other, penetrable yet opaque to all knowledge –
Silent because it’s her power.
Accusations become noise.

A half-forgotten dream tavern beckons
In the snow and steep village hills.
I stumble in and out of these nowheres.
Judge not, police not, soldier not,
A man armed with his own indeterminacy.
Searching in an entirely unconscious way
For my Pretty Polly,
Up there at the beginning of it all.

(Audio recording of this poem here.)

3. Untitled.

All that glitters in Robert Johnson chords –
White blues without words to express –
So simple
I’d do anything for her
But she won’t do nothin’ for me.

I could try to forget about her
But I’m in the wrong place.

The experts can read poetry and prose and know the author
Just by the style . . .
So much for ‘blind judging’,
So much for contests,
So much for competing,
So much for a level playing field
“The day you get weak for a woman is the day you’ll surely fall.”

I brought it all down on me
Never be happy never really live again.

And where are the images?
Where the transfixed heart, the dying rose and dagger,
Where the ugly tattoo?
The sky the sky the sky in winter grey,
The streets the streets drab with winter rain.

(Audio recording of this poem here.)

BETWEEN THE LINES OF THE LAW

March 27, 2012

If you’ve ever been curious as to the source of my blog’s name, it’s a sample from this poem. I have just uploaded a new recording of the poem here.

Limits of individuals crashing on illimitable reality wreck of post post everything shores. Just no mind way here. Crooked gestures at nothing in particular, flabby thoughts or bone thin they come bubbling over the breakwaters. Jesus the times get interesting now. The obvious stop the open wide mystery for idiots on the go. I go you go we go. Go go go go going to a go go.

I’m already gone though often I wonder if another steely stab at the beast is better council. Not alone in the netherworld, a scrapyard of those who forget what it was they came here for. Jamais jamais jamais. Not a desire for anyone’s purpose but a purpose built for one. We dream as we fuck, we are not alone. There’s the destiny bandwagon, there’s the filthy underwear in the basket.

Not talking to you, just dredging the canal that flows between us. The soupy green stuff of night walks. Head cheese, whatever’s useless for making money goes on sale here. Make your best offer. What price will you pay for the resurrection of the dead? Did you see her move like luck or love or some other abstraction between the lines of the law? Did you ever know anything beyond the boredom of a suicide called ‘progress’?

 

IN THE SPIRIT OF CRASS …

March 14, 2012

WE R DYING 2 KILL U performing live on The Kitchen Bang Bang Law, CKUT FM. Photo by Amber Goodwyn.

My friends Jon and Tammy are members of WE R DYING 2 KILL U, the band that will be providing back-up to poet / author / musician Penny Rimbaud (co-founder of the essential UK punk agit-pop band CRASS) and his friend / musical co-conspirator, saxophonist Louise Eliot, at the always-radical Suoni il per Popolo festival in June. Jon and Tammy are organizing a kick-ass fundraiser to help defray the costs of bringing Penny Rimbaud and Louise Eliot over to Montreal. It’s ten bucks at the door, Sala Rossa, a great price for an evening packed with music, dance, video screenings and performance art. There’s also going to be an art auction, featuring some of Canada’s finest artists. I’ll be helping out with between-act MCing and poems suitable to the occasion.

WE R DYING 2 KILL U and TUSKETDANCE present
A Fundraiser/Art Auction
MARCH 18TH 2011 SALA ROSA 8PM 10$
4848 St-Laurent Montreal Quebec

To bring Penny Rimbaud (CRASS) and Saxophonist
Louise Elliot to Montreal for a Suoni Per Il Popolo gig in June 2012.

Featuring:
WE R DYING 2 KILL U
Les Soeurs Lampre
UFO Research Project
Tusketdance
LeAnne Dyer Flotsum 1
Vince Tinguely
and more…

Art Auction:
Billy Mavreas
Dave Liss
Glen Lemesurier
Mary Hayes
Marc Gagnon
John Hunting
Donald Goodes
Et Plus..

http://www.tusketdance.com/
http://wrd2ku.bandcamp.com/

To hear an interview with Jon and Tammy, and a live performance by WE R DYING 2 KILL U on CKUT FM’s The Kitchen Bang Bang Law, click here. Interview starts at about 12:20 on the 13 March 2012 mp3.

ESSAY ON ART AND ACTIVISM

February 3, 2012

Recently I was a participant in a panel on art and activism, organized by Montreal’s Howl! Arts Collective and moderated by Kevin Lo. It was conceived as a community discussion on building bridges between art and social activism. Howl! presented this event within the context of a Conservative majority government that is enacting economic austerity policies that undercut support for the arts and threaten the social fabric of our communities.

I appeared with documentary film-maker Malcolm Guy, installation artist Freda Guttman and visual artist / queer and migrant activist Coco Riot. I was really inspired by the excellent turn-out and the interesting conversations I had with the other panelists and the many people who’d come to hear us.

The Howl! Arts Collective has posted the text of my presentation on their website, here.

RUCKUS 3!

January 23, 2012

An eclectic cabaret of performances to raise funds for the Ruckus Society
January 24, 2011 at Casa del Popolo

With experimental electronic sound artist Freida Abtan

and the madcap bluegrass electro rockabilly of Dante’s Flaming Uterus!

Dru Oja Jay, co-founder of the Montreal Media Coop and a member of Climate Justice Montreal, will talk about his experiences in the campaign against the Alberta tar sands, and share his thoughts on the recent failed environmental conference in Durban, South Africa.

Hosted by Vince Tinguely

Tuesday, January 24
Casa del Popolo
4873 St-Laurent Boulevard

Doors 8:30 pm, show starts 9 pm

$5

“The Ruckus Society provides environmental, human rights, and social justice organizers with the tools, training, and support needed to achieve their goals. Working with a broad range of communities, organizations, and movements – from high school students to professional organizations – Ruckus facilitates the sharing of information and expertise that strengthens the capacity to change our relationship with the environment and each other. We believe building partnerships with organizers and communities to create spaces for participatory learning, networking, and resource sharing is the most powerful way we as individuals can contribute to actualizing positive social change.”

For more info on Ruckus Society: www.ruckus.org

Performer Bios:

JAN DESROSIERS is a founding member of Dante’s Flaming Uterus, The Church of Harvey Christ Redeemer (as Reverend Norm) & Central Dispatch. He has performed music, sound-art, theatrics, installation & controlled spastic body/vocal acrobatics in Toronto, (MOCCA, the Drake Hotel for Deep Wireless), Guelph, Winnipeg, the free103point9’s Wave Farm (Hudson Valley Region of the U.S.A), Vancouver and Montréal. He can be found on ckut 90.3 FM radio McGill, & on the Kunstradio archives, (Austria). Desrosiers is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s School of Art & Concordia University (Montréal), and is presently painting, illustrating, playing music/noize, working simple electronics or gadgeteering.

http://www.myspace.com/dantesflaminguterus

FREIDA ABTAN is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist and composer. Her music falls somewhere in between musique concrete and more modern noise and experimental audio and both genres are influential to her sound. Her work has been compared to bands such as Coil, and Zoviet France, because of her use of spectral manipulation and collage.

Freida primarily works with samples of both musical and non-musical objects that she records herself and then manipulates, often beyond recognition, through techniques derived from musique concrète and through successive layers of digital signal processing. She uses structures reminiscent of popular music and more abstract compositional variants to sequence these sounds into melodic songs before incorporating her own treated voice.

As well as having created visual shows for and performed with the internationally renown group Nurse with Wound, Freida has presented her own sound and visual work at festivals across North America and Europe. Her first album subtle movements is available on United Dairies / Jnana Records. Her most recent release the hands of the dancer is available on finite state and through Jnana Records.

http://www.freidaabtan.com/

DRU OJA JAY is a Montreal-based journalist, organizer and solidarity activist. He is a co-founder of the Media Co-op, and a member of Climate Justice Montreal. He has reported from the industrial moonscapes of Northern Alberta and the bureaucratic absurdity of UN climate conferences, and has participated in direct action campaigns and mobilization in solidarity with communities affected by Canada’s industries and governments.

http://montreal.mediacoop.ca/

MASS CULTURE END-OF-THE-WORLD BLUES

December 2, 2011

ONE

The swing dance of
The car plants
Bodies interpose themselves
Between arc welded parts
Crashing crushing
Crescendos of consciousness
Swinging through feverish
Interlocking machinery

Electronics and tooled machine parts
Send signals in syncopation
Audience receives the shock wave
And dances

Pyramid schemes
Men at the top
Control a few men who
Control a few more men who
Control a few more men who
Control a few more men who
Know nothing but what they are told

So they invade your country
Or they break your arm
With a police baton

Something in me wouldn’t click
The grain of sand in the gears
Never pulling my weight
I could never fit
In the clack clack machine racket
Flowing through
Work and
War

TWO

It’s too easy to destroy the world
It’s too hard to save it
It’s uphill all the way
When you don’t have a car
When you don’t have that
Prosthesis
Mechanism
Armour

The warning signs
Melted glaciers, torrents, droughts
Still too subtle for clownlike primates
Busy driving their toy cars in their toy towns

Mine mine own –
Like fat men
In a famine

The winners
Can no longer win
If the winners
Want to continue
To live

What impossible dream
Could change this picture?
What IDEAL could sway them
From the consumerist delusion
What better illusion,
What finer dream?

THREE

In the night which you don’t perceive, being of it
What is the crack without the addict?
What is the addict without the need?
It’s all one, the drug, the drugger,
Desire and object
Supply and demand,
We’re stupid algebra –
Illiterate so the mathematicians
Can manipulate us like
So many unknown quantities –
x, y, z

Shoulder to the wheel,
Nose to the grindstone,
How do people actually enjoy themselves, anyhow?
Like there’s sun and green fields and trees
But it is the rest that matters,
Wherever, whenever
The being able to be at rest
The being able to just be
Letting thoughts come and go –
I know you can do that, little Buddha
I have seen with mine own eyes
As you raised a lotus,
And spoke with glowing eyes
And smile and shrug
Of its beauty

FOUR

Oh you want to hear about desire
My desire for this thing to be shaken into a billion shards
An earthquake that runs through the internet
A hurricane that moves through circulating currency
My teeth in your throat, do you hear?
My teeth tearing out your throat

As my mind writhes
Like a python
Lashes like a live wire
Smoking sputtering
Sparking in a
Filthy puddle

God I wish I could just
Wreck it wreck everything
My cock gets hard
Just thinking of it

The darkness I feel coming
Like the advent of winter
Like the fall of night, swift
That darkness of vision

The bored, dead man
Frozen in front of a screen
Waiting waiting waiting
For something, anything
To happen

FIVE

If you look at
it, if you observe
the structure

Just there

At the point where
truth ran up
against the
supposed exigencies
of power

From that point
You can see
A flaw

It runs through
everything from
that point

Through every level
beyond that point
like a fissure
like a hairline
fracture

Spreading wider
in ripples, throughout
everywhere

And that is why
this thing can’t
be ‘fixed’

It has to be
torn down and
rebuilt

SIX

Tides and sunlight
Birds and the patterns birds make
Leaves, the way they move in the wind
Grass and trees forming islands of coolness
Skunks, racoons, squirrels, and rats
The rain
The kiss of air
Bite of cold
Clang of heat
Even in the city I am with you

Bird of prey
Her black wings arch as she
Gazes with a predator’s gaze
Into my eyes

Ragamuffin
I look back at you
With the glazed eye of mortality
Still and calm as a lake at dawn
Everywhere I turn now
Death, death, death
My own death, the death of these times
The dead weight of our stasis

Eternity eyes
Seeking some map, some
Sunshine on the ink blot
The socked-in closet
That life can clamp
Down to

Nothing’s concrete
It’s all flowing
Like a world of melting
Tiger stripe ice cream
Days and nights
Blood in veins
Tears
Air moves in oceans
Over frozen plateaux
Ocean flows
And mind,
Words / images / feelings
Peace my darling
It’s all peace
From the vantage point
Of the nearest star
(Light flows
Across silent space
So cold and old)
And up close
No control
Just eternal flow

SEVEN

Help people
Be with people
Love people


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