L(ittle)B(lack)B(ook)IV—les pas / sit(e)—is (well, was) the impossibility of the present and the possibility of a certain presence of mind. First it squared the trilogy of prior Little Black Books (cf. FRAGMENTum b: the little black book I-III), which are detailed in The SYborg mythos. Secondly (and functionally) it was the first LBB to write in the same moment as Bestand (not as concept, obviously, but as cluster of HTML documents).
5/19. "Best perhaps," I muse between Continental and Roosevelt, "to announce the caesura by repeating an initial injunction, to 'Find What the Sailor Has Hidden'; or, 'The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.'"
5/7 - 5/18. Roasting legs of lam, I'm the Little Gingerbread Man.
5/6. on the fire escape, another wee hours redux. I expend all my will not to drink, so that, drinking, I should drink out of failure, in the sovereign intensity of failure.
5/2. 'Turning over a new leaf?' Not bloody likely.
4/29. Clatter-banging under the river on the L is better than Six Flags. Nevertheless...losing faith? "'O, Gentle Reader' my ass," he writes, nibbling on a raw cucumber, washing it down with a cold swig of Darjeeling from a plastic mug...less an archeologist now than a miner. I'm digging straight on to the point of maximum hopelessness, pausing only to sharpen my spade on my ribcage. Beee-boo closing the doors on Bedford...ciao, darling. Beee-boo closing the doors...ding dong the witch is dead. "Hi, I'm Smoke Too Much." "Then you'd better cut down." "Whuh?" "That's a joke."
4/27. Melvins and Buckethead in the same week! not to mention the In-Between...is any of this, as They say, really happening? Hmph. An idle question, or an idol question.
4/17. Preparing for a journey, cleaning out my little black bag, I find a tattered scrap of paper (as in Dickens or Dostoevsky, scraps of paper must be tattered, especially if found in preparation for a journey) on which is written in a nearly illegible hand: "A spell of single evenings spills me into a kind of half-faith, a superstitious mood. Numbering them—I am running out of digits, having already moved on to toes—I surprise myself with the thought of whether this calculus is culturally masculine or feminine, whether to sally forth or lay over. Old wives tales...'This is the lucky one?' An even number's the charm? Five to go; no, make that a plump six." When and where was this written?
4/16. OT née H & LT's party is a gas (and further reveals The SYborg rockenroll high school + Cooper Union + MisterDasein + PK1 multiple cross-path—via Seattle-ite J****—situation; everybody now! "It's a small world after all..."), despite the fact that the L stops running at Lorimer, and everyone must get off the train and queue up for the free shuttle bus, which is so full, the line leading up to it so insane, that I begin to hallucinate something like that Denzel Washington film, martial law in Brooklyn. It goes without saying that it's pouring rain. But Bushwick on a Saturday night gives way early, by virtue of an opportunity to split a car five ways, to a downtown scenario: Frank Gehry's kid's birthday party at 900, which turns out to be unadulterated silliness, as if the Yupper West Side had released all of its early twenty-somethings into Soso to find spouses with acceptable incomes. After my five dollar Presidente I think more clearly and with extreme haste flee elsewhere to discuss, among other things, the influence on contemporary French theory of Kojève's lectures on Hegel. There, there; that's better.
4/12. Walking north, and upon reaching the Flatiron, some Césaire flashes up in the memory bank: "You have to begin.
The only thing in the world worth beginning.
The End of the World, of course."
4/5. found scribbled on post-it in pocket: fucking credit cards
4/1. I need some kind of dictaphone to record the minute waverings of the routes, which with napkins and pens, are only re-constituted.
3/29. Rushing to work—when does one ever not rush to work? Kern: "Some pathological effects were noted in that catalog of medical alarmism, George Beard's American Nervousness . He blamed the perfection of clocks and the invention of watches for causing nervousness wherein 'a delay of a few moments might destroy the hopes of a lifetime.' Every glance at the watch for these nervous types affects the pulse and puts a strain on the nerves."—I am arrested, as if seeing it for the first time, by the huge, pink banner on the northeast side of the Flatiron cruciation, where Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Twenty-third, augmented by other tributaries, flip their skirts for The Car and the bird to the walkers, which recalls me to Timothy Speed Levitch's snarl against the grid system. Whoah! I think being arrested, first, why am I rushing? And secondly, let's sit down for a second. Yes, that's better. I like Madison Square Park as much as I dislike that banner, an advertisement for Forbesdotcom, that has managed to tool Keith Haring's palette in the interests of proclaiming that capitalism is served fresh daily—capitalism being only slightly more, it would seem, than a global system of daily force feedings—a naked and raw capitalism. And yet the ideology through which individual greed appears to benefit the masses was always a thin dress... Catachresis.
3/26. scree at the bar, wee hours redux. Ill luck. The ink soaks through the napkin. That may end up being a metaphor twice over. Something is soaked at any rate. Absorption and membranes. Ink stains.
3/20. wee hours are no longer so wee, plumper now, as my own belly filled with diner food, cheese covered french fries and b.l.t. with, oh of course, cream cheese instead of mayonnaise, and as if by prophecy the conversation ringing in about the insignificance of how much money you have at any given time, you will spend it all anyway, and in the process, this being more unexpected, your partner in crime for the evening may end up locklipped with any number of individuals, who are abandoned as quickly as the bar in which they announced their intentions, and that first single ray of light pierces my left eye all the way to the back and writes this message on the wall: go to bed.
3/10. rereading Zamyatin recently, in transit, bumping into things; it is difficult to read and walk simultaneously. "Then—a leap across centuries, from + to -. I remembered (evidently an association by contrast)—I suddenly remembered a picture I had seen in a museum: one of their avenues, out of the twentieth century, dazzlingly motley, a teeming crush of people, wheels, animals, posters, trees, colors, birds. ...And they say this had really existed—could exist. It seemed so incredible, so preposterous that I could not contain myself and burst out laughing (647KB wav). [...] Some historians even say that in those times the street lights burned all night, and people walked and drove around in the streets at all hours of the night."
3/4. hot midmorning sunlight interrupting my sofasleep pulling me back a few hours to the sometimes lyric accuracy of certain grateful dead songs
2/18. penciled on a damp notecard / horizontal: Truly along the way—when I think back—my most decisive itinerancies grow out of MISSING people, out of not making the rendezvous / along bottom: importance of the phone / arrow: checking messages / arrow to verso: each "no message" pushes you on / vertical: other coordinates and telephone booths
2/11. Darkly true in the sitch: being so far along that the only way you can determine your current position, as least vis-à-vis The Official Grid, is by referring to the R.B.A.D. (remote booze acquisition device, i.e., ATM) receipts in your pocket, which provide you with a topographical and financial account of your perambulation.
2/10. Along the way of The SYborg with PK1 allegedly the task is put "Are you ready to go all the way?" which echoes the way in which the task was recently put to Grouch ("Ready to step up to the next level?"), and in both instances, at first glance, something very much like 'all the way' or 'the next level' obtains. Like the incantational mood in German, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the subjunctive, the word itself becomes world. Or better perhaps, if you are able to articulate the situation as an openness toward 'all the way,' then you are already "there." And encore! The stern truth of The Law of Gravity becomes sterner, truer, trotz any awareness you might have of it.
1/23. Deliberate appropriation of new topoi and bars for Bestand, but at what cost? The stern truth of The Law of Gravity.
1/16. So dismantled by an attraction that I find myself parting from friends with "Take it out, I mean 'easy'" and stopping into several bars because I mistake them for places I have never been, clinging along the leftmost edge of the way of The SYborg, looping in my mind an incorrectly remembered meditation, which I am forced to look up upon my stumbling return: "'Yes, we are both quite right; and to keep us from being irrefutably aware of it we'd better, don't you think, go our separate ways home'" (FK).
1/8 + 1/11. Thank God for rechargeable batteries. Something should be said about the intimate connection between relative poverty and wandering. The SYborg enjoys itselves better when cashed-out, drinking on an empty stomach. A sort of depraved glory settles around me, if desperation or hysteria can be said to settle. "forget the minions, they're on their own/ when they protest it, they'll piss and moan/ caught in a windstorm, blow me away/ while on the subject of give and take/ the filthy scoundrels, let them eat cake/ piece it together, pray for good luck (152KB wav)" (Karp) + "Say something about the method of composition itself: how everything that comes to mind has at all costs to be incorporated into the project one is working on at the time. Be it that its intensity is thereby disclosed, or that, from the very outset, the ideas bear this project within them as a telos. So it is with the present method, which should characterize and maintain the intervals of reflection, the distances between the most intensively exoteric, essential parts of the work" (WB).
1/6. "To Profane, alone on the street, it would seem maybe he was looking for something too to make the fact of his own disassembly plausible as that of any machine. ... This was all there was to dream; all there ever was: the Street" (TP).
12/18. Stress benders. T-Power assumes the role of SYborg-sound-tracking...and as the batteries run out, it realizes, through the interruption, that stops have been missed. Stumbling out of the subway at Delancey and Essex, burdened by a heavy bookbag, discovering that there is no cash left, that it will be light soon, that it can't track a straight line, The SYborg emits one crisp sentence, out loud: "I'm so cold." One can never predict the eruption of spontaneous booze community. One cannot figure Jamaica on a Thursday night. The Boroughed Other takes its revenge, and I'm thinking this thirty-two hours later, pretending to watch basketball along Sixth, near the strange sofa where I awoke, near where I don't know how I came to be, and near the scary clown, and using the fence to hold myself up, since I'm incapable of walking without smashing into people. Repetition. The sun burns my eyes. "Walk, man."
12/11. The race: Get indoors before the sun crests those buildings! (Where the buildings are lower—, it's harder to beat the return of daylight in Brooklyn than in Manhattan.)
12/5. T-Power's waveform on the walkman (that's an imperative) at a preferably painful volume... Quickly, three large Presidentes, and I am literally impelled down DeKalb, which is no longer, through waveform, quite DeKalb but instead a path infinitely richer in sensation, in turns terrifying and amazing ("How does he do that?"). Police sirens blow through the train car in which I have given up on reading for the present. Responsibility? How banal.
sit(e) [back to top]
5/19. To please those who take an interest in such things (who are they? and where?), maybe I should announce that Bestand now celebrates its sixth month as a website? Naw, fuck that...coincidence nevertheless, this correspondence between the caesura, which is to say the brisure between this—LBBIV—and what will have followed it, and the nice round number 6. "On his arrival in —— toward evening of the same day, as Ulrich came out of the station he saw before him a wide, shallow square that opened into streets at both ends and jolted his memory almost painfully, as happens with a landscape one has seen often and then forgotten again.
'Believe me, income has dropped by twenty percent and prices have gone up twenty percent, that's a total of forty percent!' 'Believe me, a six-day bike race promotes international goodwill like nothing else!' These voices were still coming out of his ear: train voices. Then he distinctly heard someone saying: 'Still, for me, there's nothing to beat opera!' 'Is that your hobby?' 'It's my passion'" (Musil, of course). Into The Millennium, kittlings.
5/18. Rarely are conversations given in to memory precious enough that one shrinks from representing them, by writing or otherwise...an irrational fear of a necessary distortion which, however, has already taken place. And if the conversation concerned precisely this thought of conversation, then perhaps one's fear does not relate to distortion at all, but to remembering in the first place...as if the conversation were a dream that slips through your fingers the instant you grasp it. As dream. The essence of awakening is belatedness.
"Hey!" (his cab already starting away down Houston)
"What?" (pivoting in the middle of the street)
"Keep the faith."
I will walk another block before memory provides two images simultaneously like fireworks, one of the past and one of the future: Thurston, leaving the stage of the Town and Country, London, 1987, having just played "I wanna be your dog" (with Iggy!), turns to the screaming crowd and shouts, "Keep the faith!"; and today I will conclude my final lecture of the semester by quoting Flaubert writing to his lover that "art requires neither complaisance nor politeness; nothing but faith—faith and freedom."
5/7. The meteorologists say, "Unseasonable." To the contrary, it makes perfect sense to doze through all your potential stops, to end up at South Ferry, to walk back home, and at last, from your neighbor's windowsill, to see the air turn a limpid blue while tiny dark birds knit unspeakably beautiful patterns into the dawn. The growing visibility of the white buildings across the street only magnifies their surreality.
5/5. This is completely unacceptable: "'Coyote Ugly,' Release Date: August 4, Genre: Romantic Comedy, Starring: Piper Perabo, Adam Garcia, Mario Bello, Melanie Lynskey, Tyra Banks, and John Goodman...Synopsis: Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) moves to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a songwriter. But, her aspirations are sidelined by the notoriety she receives at her 'day' job as a barmaid at Coyote Ugly, the hottest spot in town. The club features a team of sexy, enterprising young women who tantalize and titillate customers and the media with their outrageous antics." Sic, sic, sic fucking passim!
5/1. May Day! M'aidez!
4/28. "The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is seeking grant applications to conduct research on alcohol's effects on sleep. It is well documented that acute and chronic alcohol consumption cause sleep disturbances. In those with alcoholism, sleep patterns may never return to normal, and continuing sleep problems may be a core factor in alcohol relapse. Despite the adverse effects of alcohol on sleep and the serious implications for alcoholism treatment, the topic of alcohol and sleep is currently an understudied area. The purpose of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to stimulate research on alcohol and sleep in areas that are of particular interest because of the potential contribution to our understanding of the etiology and treatment of alcoholism. These research areas include the neural mechanisms of alcohol-induced sleep disturbances, persistent poor sleep as a risk marker for development of alcoholism in adolescents and non-alcoholic young adults, sleep disorders as a predictor of relapse in abstinent alcoholics, and the health consequences of alcohol's disruptive effects on sleep particularly the interaction with age, ethnicity, and gender."
4/25. I melted into some southern metropolis environing lives interconnected shakily since automobiles bind and disperse, luxate, yoke.
4/18. So long as it's feasible to drink scotch at home, Kraftwerk will remain the Black Sabbath of electronic music.
4/17. I need a vacation (so say the harassed housewives on the sitcoms). So long, City...I'll see you at the end of the month...
4/7 - 4/10. For The SYborg a particular kind of vacationing that consists in not being absent, and still, in going all the way...a trip then: I stay in one place, but The City in which I am becomes magnified, spectral, an exaggerated texture. Subjective vibrations. "Sie bietet das Bild der erstarrten Unruhe" (WB). Urban space, emotional harmonics.
4/6. Like an astronomer he observes the drinking of a bottle of red wine, one tumbler of single malt, two tall glasses of bourbon, a small goblet of port, a silo of Sapporo, and like an astrologer he passes his hand over his eyes, the better to see how, in what way the satellites' baptisim of the Stinger will have been missed. So much for the wagon: all work and no play and all that...sobriety is merely another form of excess, but the sober muse is such a bitch. Twists in register. Expectations are crueler.
4/2. Let me see if I can remember the routes.
Friday with PK1: from #***, east through Soso, up Broadway (need cash) to Houston, east on Houston (let's get off this crazy street) to Elizabeth, up Elizabeth to Bleeker, east on Bleeker to Bowery, up Bowery to 3rd, east on 3rd to party in squat between C and D, pick up MisterDasein, u-turn, west on 3rd (cell phone indicates contact's not at Enid's) to A, up A to 14th, east on 14th to 1st, L (nick of time) to Bedford, north on Bedford to pizza, eat, u-turn, south on Bedford to North 7th, west on North 7th to party between—what was it?—(use W.C.), drop off MisterDasein, u-turn, east on North 7th to Bedford, L to 6th, (wait, wait) transfer, 1,9 to Franklin, up West Broadway (look inside indicates other contact's not at Liquor Store) to Broome, u-turn toward Grand (Toad, anyone? nope), u-turn, but Last Call is only twenty minutes off, and we're dead sober. Jiggidy-jog.
Saturday solo: Broome, Thompson, Prince, Sullivan, Houston, Bedford, Carmine, meet AZ, circles in Greenwich, chat chez AZ, drop off AZ on Perry, windings through Greenwich, 8th, 14th, deposit check at bank, University, 10th, u-turn, 13th, 13th, drop off movie at Urbanfetch HQ, 4th, 14th, deli cash stop, 1st, L, Bedford, North 7th, cig stop, Plan Eat Thailand, u-turn, North 7th, Bedford, payphones, North 6th, Galapagos, give HH birthday present, drinks, North 6th, Bedford, car service, Houston, Thompson, Watts, Circa Tabac. Home again, home again.
4/1. April Fools? "I am like a machine set at excessive speed: the bearings are overheated; another minute, and molten metal will begin to drip, and everything will turn to naught. Quick—cold water, logic. I pour it by the pailful, but logic hisses on the red-hot bearings and dissipates into the air in whiffs of white, elusive steam" (YZ).
3/31. end of March, end of birthday month coincides with yet another oil slick—that's what I've begun calling lost time, blackouts, and related losses: oil slicks...the association is subjective: my mind's eye sees itself reflected in what appears to be an oil slick when I attempt to remember nights during which I lost some time, like small change
Perhaps maturity is nothing more than being comfortable with forgetting, and in not panicking about how you may have comported yourself during those now-blackout-ed stretches...
3/29. ...and the presently wagoned alcoholic returns home to write out in just what way s/he touches the allegorist, whose "traffic with things is subject to a constant alternation of involvement and surfeit: 'the profound fascination of the sick man with the isolated and insignificant is succeeded by that disappointed abandonment of the exhausted emblem' [Benjamin]" (Bürger). Exile.
3/27. Cliché concatenation, seasonal inhalation, SYborg immolation; spring, le printemps, der Frühling liegt in der Luft: Luft, l'air, as light as air, there on the stairs the pair, and one of them begins to feel the dawning strongly, of this being a pair alone together, and wonders whether the other might be getting an edging as well: she'll ring the bell: it's time, time to throw the switch from bourbon to beer, and drink in the spring: brrring! Timing is everything, my dear.
3/17. Snow on St. Patrick's Day, but I have already put the space heater back in storage. Nothing for it but to keep moving...wandering as a function of homeostasis.
3/11. How introspeculative the occasion of our birthdays can make us, or at least: renders us vulnerable to memory, not as act, but as a bolt, the force of which knocks me down so that I have to lie supinely and smoke and am helpless before the memory of last year around this time, when after having dinner out with a friend, undergoing a SY show (and their shows always leave me emotionally...a too close engagement, a lover's relation to their music which caresses me violently), and drinking a pair of cocktails at Lansky, I am discovered in the corner of the lounge by a waitress, a friend. I rock back and forth in time, to the music. And so I am put in a cab for a ride I cannot remember—a fold in time connecting the bar directly to waking up in my own bed covered in my own blood, for in the fold there is falling down and knocking myself unconscious on the pavement directly before the door to #***, before coming to hours later and being fortunate enough to have J******* awake (the movie is doing night shooting) to answer my buzzing; I am incapable myself of opening the door. And leaving a party recently I again meet homeless L** who has moved down a block and who saw the whole thing, helped me to my feet when he recognized me, and recognized me attempting to unlock my door, first with a driver's license, then with a pack of cigarettes.
This year the spring falling has been distributed into several smaller tumbles, beginning with 'off my own sofa' and ending with 'through my own window,' since early in the morning, after Last Call on my birthday, someone has thrown the dead bolt (and no one has that key, and no one can hear my ringing), and I must go up another flight to the roof, climb down the fire escape ladder, slip my finger through the crack in the barely open window, pop up the latch, and let myself in manually as it were, at which point I burst, crash, fall headlong into my bedroom and skin my knee terribly. Welcome to adulthood, he thinks, pricking his thumb on irony. And no, tonight he won't make it to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
3/5. I had almost forgotten the conventional, but no less full, joy of being about late on a Friday, the work of the week on hold, piling up for a solitudinous Saturday night. Glorious.
2/22. They had a song of 'dooming', An old thing 'twas, but it expressed their fortune And they lived singing it. That song tonight Will not go from my mind. I have much to do But to go hang my head all at one side And sing it like poor Dorkerie: "surreal guns float by the window lying down we smoke slower surreal guns drag choke splinter seen the sounds move below the street sealed thinking inside kiss greenhouse unreal sun drag choke splinter twentieth one blew by our window lying down we shall faster paranoia drag choke splinter twentieth one blew by my window shattered now sun spins faster delta-a dreamtime stilling dreamtime nothing fucking nothing" (The Dorx, from Apocalypse Soon)
2/12. Exchange, this time, takes place on promotional cards instead of napkins, between bitter academics, and produces "Sestina 169":
I want more money.
I can drown myself in booze
like when jazz was jazz
and date was consummate
to new, through and through, trouble,
the barmaid with red nails our patron saint.
My husband worked hard, he was a saint,
she says referring to the money,
but never talks about the mob and all the trouble
though the time for booze
comes round that shade of night, the consummate
scotch and well, basically OK jazz
without the desperate sexy edge of jazz,
the mirrored shadow of saint-
liness, the smoky room full of heartache, consummate
voice that sings of loss and love and money
but most of all booze,
booze and booze and trouble.
Buying the bar, keeping down the trouble
along with eighty-sixing any jazz
which only makes for more booze.
If you're asking me I'll tell you I'm no saint
and adduce as evidence my desire for money.
Is it your stock portfolio you want to consummate?
I have no portfolio, would much rather consummate
jazz than hear it, live constantly in trouble,
real trouble, mind you, and not that of money
which brings us back to the meaning of jazz
and the meaning of saint
and the meaning at the bottom of a bottle of booze.
Having consumed liquor and consummated all money
like a troubled saint I wonder
if when the jazz is gone there will still be booze.
2/7. Opening what will become Grouch's CW triangle of doom over beer with OT née H, the topic of Rudoloph's, better: Skeletor's Haussmannization of The City is touched: OT points out that the increased policing of outdoor areas such as parks and stoops has the (undesired by Skeletor, I would guess) effect of recreating bars and nightclubs as Public Space.
1/21. "Now" "it" "begins."
1/15. "There is no romance and adventure, only trouble and desire."
1/9. I am living vicariously through myself.
1/3. There is a cliché—never bullshit a bullshitter—that bears reversed, as if in a mirror, the stamp of a scatalogical truth. One cannot not bullshit a bullshitter. Conversing one is already soiled in the presence of the other.
12/19. I expend all my will not to drink, so that, drinking, I should drink out of failure, in the sovereign intensity of failure.
12/17. In south Flushing, while it rains, and the nearest cash machine is a 45 minute walk, a silent flurry of napkin swapping ensues:
J***: I believe in my balcony of flour. I believe in hot soup for breakfast. I believe in the smooth galloping of horses. I don't believe in politics, I Don't Believe in S***. I believe in the innocent cry of children. I believe in God and his mute + silent voice. But most importantly of all I believe in my balcony of flour!
The SYborg: I believe OR I do not believe.
J***: A POEM SHOULD NOT BE PUT, A POEM SHOULD BE
The SYborg: a poem is "is," that is, being
J***: to deny your beauty your delicassy is to deny a precious moment that only a photograph can bring back to my memory
The SYborg: The memory will not have been without the photograph.
J***: A question is proposed!!! Why should we debate?
The SYborg: When does a memory actually enter the sphere of memory? If the poem IS, then at the moment in which it flashed up in something outside you—a photo, or a song
J***: OR JUS A SIMPLE ANSWER?
The SYborg: To speak, in any context, is to fight.
J***: Really or is it in its entirety just to debate...wish one, if you wish to debate, feel sure that we will have a good debate + there is no reason to write [sic passim; here the napkins break off -SYborg]
12/14. I expend all my will not to drink, so that, drinking, I should drink out of failure, in the sovereign intensity of failure.
12/4. If you should happen to miss one of these mysterious guerrilla subway parties, you can—it is permitted—go out all the same, or you can crawl inside a water tower.
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