395 [Ah Pook is Here] is here: lipsus machina, the art of ruin + ransom notes of CAPTCHAs, whileST Xing 14th

Dear I,

... in anticipation of our upcoming nomadic shift, continue to dig us thru our To Read pile ... 5 more loose ends we've yet to weave in + weigh our 5¢ on ...

> The Phonemes by Frances Richard ... as we read thru our brother's notebooks in writing/editing 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY', came us across this quote by the Czech composer Leoš Janácek:

«When anyone speaks to me, I listen more to the tonal modulations in his voice than to what he is actually saying. From this, I know at once what he is like, what he feels, whether he is lying, whether he is agitated or whether he is merely making conventional conversation. I can even feel, or rather hear, any hidden sorrow. Life is sound, the tonal modulations of the human speech ... I have a vast collection of notebooks filled with [the “melodic curves of speech”]—you see, they are my window through which I look into the soul.”»

The Phonemes reads like 1 of these notebooks Janácek describes ... in fact, it begins w/ a preambling lexicon of sounds used in the book:

Content-wise (from what meaning coud we decifer from the cacophony of noize) we could particularly relate as it seems we (at least us ½ our life ago) share common ground () w/ Richards ... biological, thermodynamic + ecological themes abound, enveloped in industrial musings + rooted geographically in NorCal where once we studied such things, but at the same modulated by current atmospheric disturbances, for ex. 35,000 over Greenland. A smingined sample of txt:

Like oak, chalk-white flying

buttress and pierced drum

Leviathan from off this coast misadventured
onto Baja, into pickup truck, a single whale

Besides us going by Chaulky White, sum 25 years ago we also found a sun-scorched whale vertebra on a beach in Baja ... was Frances Richard on the same misadventure? Or in a nearby parallel-parked universe? Tried we did (in our reality) to bring the beached vertebray home in the back of a gray Chevy pickup ... but U.S. Customs of course took it away ...

> Reading Tests by Jack Henrie Fisher + Popahna Brandes—for a while there a year or 2 ago we considered publishing a book by Popahna Brandes, forget what happened, either we reluctantly declined or it got picked up by some1 else (Sidebrow, forthcoming in 2015) ... tho xcerpts did appear in Sleepingfish 12. Anyway, she gave us a few of her others, this 1 a text/image collaboration w/ her + a partner in crime. When say us text/image we mean it ... the txt (presumably supplied by Brandes, actual CAPTCHAs, mangled OCR'ed txt, or a recombinant combination of all 3) tweaked by Fisher + blown up + distressed to read like a mistranslated ransom note of CAPTCHAs (or vice-versa) ... pushing the limits of readability—literally + figuratively.

a few Reading Tests


... this mis/reading + «slips of the pen» a reference to Freud, who categorized language errors as either lapsus linguine (slips of the tongue) or lapsus calamari (slips of the pen) ... from which we derive our namesake Calamari. If eat u linguini w/ squid ink calamari (lick we did in Viterbo) u cood halve the beast of both L words ... (sip or sLip intensional). Cum to think, what call us 'slips of the computer' ... lipsus machina?

But tonight's menu—an encore of our mole tamarindo (esta vez sobre enchiladas) con pozole ... pero 1st (as we speak, or rather write this) need us to s'cald the broth ... the key to many a dish. Tonight's dinner guests = vegetarian, but fortunately them make xception for chicken broth (otherwise all bets off) + seafood. Our pozole ends up far from traditional (wherein ellos usan pigs feet to sacar caldo) ... once u got broth, just add Hatch green chilis + hominy + lime + oregano + lately throw us in a can of goya black beans ... then serve w/ cabbage, cilantro + onion on top (we also like queso melted in, pero nunca lo hacen en Mexico or even New Mex). The tamarind mole make us mas o menos como our thanxgiving feast, but this time we to smother it over shrimp + pumpkin + queso fresco enchiladas.

What dig us most about cooking has sumthin o do w/ entropy—creating order out of chaos ... specially w/ mole at 1 point (soon) the kitchen inevitably looks like a tornado swept thru, but by the end it gets wrapped up in enchiladas, side x side in a square dish (+ w/ leftovers make us a circular budin azteca, w/ a moat of frijol). The perpetual fight against entropy even better when u can compost (which finally our building has down in the basement) ... derive us pleasure from collecting the jumble of discarded bits + bones after strip us everything edible ... w/ maximum efficiency + least W.A.S.T.E. ... all to neatly arrange + then fork into our bellies in a matter of minutes, washed down w/ mezcal ...

Back to books ... Brandes also gave us another chapbook of hers: The Sea in Me/ The Riddle We Heard, a deceptively simple fairly tale of sorts. Just occurred to us that coincidentally both Popahna Brandes + Frances Richard have ties to or know Miranda Mellis (whose The Revisionist we published) ... Brandes partnering w/ her music-wise in My Invisible + lit-wise for the Encyclopedia project ... + here this interesting conversation w/ Mellis + Richard.

> The Lost Art of Ah Pook is Here by Malcolm McNeil—back in 1970, William Burroughs collaborated on this project w/ Malcolm McNeil, Ah Pooks is Here. The project fell apart (u can read the whole saga here) ... the text by Burroughs got published, but never the text + image together as the original intent. Finally—in 2012 (the year the Mayan calendar ran out)—the image components of it were published by Fantagraphics (the Burroughs estate wouldn't grant rights to include the accompanying text).

original storyboarded pages of Ah Puch is Here

The lost art = truly lost treasure ... felt like wandering thru the ruins of an abandoned temple, from an ancient lost civilization ... or finding a lost scroll of designs for a temple that never got built ... whose text had been looted by the greed of the American economic/publishing machine, leaving only the skeletal remains (felt us similar about Jodorowsky's Dune ... forget the epic movie failure—how to get a hold of that massive storyboarded book!).

The tethering of projects to the corrupting filth of copyright + financing inevitably what kills it before even getting off the ground ... at best to become ½-baked enchiladas. Often ruin = most telling/intresting ... when stripped of original practical intent + superfluous ornamentation. When visiting Mayan ruins (or others, specially Hindu) often we wonder as we wander what the original structures existed like in their day ... convinced that 9 out of 10 times the bankruptured ruins = more compelling ... this = how we felt reading The Lost Art of Ah Pook is Here. Also kind of like how Robert Smithson went to visit Palenque, but became more intrigued in the hotel he was staying in rather than the ruins.

from The Lost Art ...

Dug us the unfinished raw quality about it, the skeletal sketches ... some more «finished» than others (for does finishing something in a sense ruin it?) ... the placelessness + timelessness. Fitting as this becomes what the original Ah Pook is Here = about ... a warped Mayan time machine (Ah Pook being the god of death back in the day) ... or the grand designs for 1. As Burroughs wrote in the severed/disembodied text:

«The Mayan codices are undoubtedly books of the dead; that is to say, directions for time travel. If you see reincarnation as a fact, then the question arises: how does one orient oneself with regard to future lives? What's IN a word? What's IN an image?»

+ as McNeil writes in the introduction to The Lost Art, «... the temporal model Ah Pook set out to consider was one in which circles revolve within circles in an ongoing system of reciprocity.» ... it cycles still ever by its bootstraps, free from glossy photo-finishing (tho some pages came brazenly near to cumpletion) ...

> speaking of Ah Pook, been flipping thru The Codex Borgia now + then waiting for the prime moment to sink our teeth ... a book we picked up maybe when we went to Mexico last year or to see the Madrid Codex ... toying w/ the idea of «translating» it for our own devices, in much the same way our ma(I)ze Tassel Retrazos came inspired by The Popul Vuh.

This particular version contains refurbished drawings of the original (too costly to get reproductions of the original) ... a series of pictographs left to interpretation (unless u read explanatory prefaces, which we prefer saving for after the fact, if at all) ... calendars + ritual codes, sometimes quite graphic (both sexually + violently) ... actually, seems u could perceive The Luminol Reels as a sort of contemporary interpretation of an Aztec or Mayan codex, mostly in the way the language becomes implemented like ritual directive.

Also a certain comic quality to them, Aztec heir to Matt Groening.

Perhaps this 1 we'll keep shelved or bring w/ us nomadically to inspire The Raft Manifest ...

In current reality (mid-Dec 2014), trying to see if we can finish our Maphattan Project by Xmas, before we get out of Dodge ... yesterday (12.12) we did 21st down thru 16th street ...

Venturing into more intresting territory ... finally, after the doldrums of midtown. Skipped Stuy-town as we've passed thru plenty + doesn't qualify as «streets». Some of what we saw ...

where Steinbeck sposedly lived on Gramercy (#38)


where Theodore Roosevelt came born + lived til he was 17 (on 20th street)
... not to confuse w/ FDR, whose house up on 65th we passed already)

Also saw where the original Max's Kansas City was on 213 Park Ave ... but like most everything else in NYC, now shrouded in scaffolding, not even worth showing.

+ speaking of defunked nightclubs ... the once notorious Limelight (right) ... now some sort of commercialized bullshit


still in the Chelsea gallery district on the west side



Past Printed Matter ... who earlier in the day rejected our application for the LA Art Book Fair next month ... guess we're not hep enough for them.

forget which street


new developments way west by Javitz



Maritime hotel


2 by UK-artist Phlegm on west 17th street


another by Phlegm

... didn't eat representative street meat as we went to meet friends straight after to fill bellies w/ oysters + sea urchin + then go see Swans ... intensely brilliant as ever, by far the best band of the 1st ½ of the '10s. The last show at Bowery a bit of a disappointment only cuz the sound system couldn't handle them + the audience sucked ... but now back to true form (in right environs), loud (specially up front sourcing straight from the stacks of stage amps so loud they rattled + swayed, on the verge of toppling). When we saw them before at Warsaw they rehearsed material for the then forthcoming To Be Kind, so then heard us these songs mostly for the 1st time. Now they played a few off To Be Kind + a few oldies + new 1s (The Cloud of Unknowing stands out) ... the last medley (Bring the Sun/Black Hole Man) = beyond words, soul crushing in all the right ways. Feel gutted, cleansed.

O + this band Liturgy opened ... blasting machine-gun death metal, atonal + staccato ... if only the singer had something to say or an original way of sing-saying it ... better off keeping his trap shut + stick to hatcheting his ax.

+ speaking of Swans, finally found an affordable copy of Gira's Consumer + hastily ordered it in our excitement, finally getting it today ... cracked the spine + discovered it writ in German! Wer sprechen Deutsch?

Woke up w/ ears still ringing ... back out to tick off more streets ... 15 thru 12 ... xing the 14th street threshold.

Now getting into waters where navigating not so straight-forward ... no longer gridwork. + had to contend w/ the dual forces of SantaCon + the «Million Man» march (10s of 1000s anyway in NYC) ... the march hadn't quite begun but pigs loitered everywhere eating donuts + setting up barricades ... juxtaposed w/ all the frat-boy santas made for an annoyingly surreal spectacle. If only the pigs turned on the santas + beat + shot them the way they do black people ... but never they woud cuz the santas = stupid white fratboys of like mind + the same corn-fed stock as pigs. Like St. Patricks + Halloween + other ruined holidays, Xmas now just a lame excuse to get stupid drunk + for their accompanying sorority sisters to wear slutty elf costumes. The sight of them specially in mass almost enough to incite us to assault ... then got to thinking a funner game = seeing how many SantaCon hats + elf ears u can steal off the heads of roving packs of bad santas ... maybe next year, today we dressed to flâneur (w/ a backpack of books on our back cuz we headed to a reading after (Evelyn Hampton, Mary Caponegro + Mike Young at Mellow Pages in Bushwick ... a release party for Hampton's Discomfort (which we blogged of recently from a lake in northern Italy).

... + sure, maybe we should've joined the march to channel our anger, but not sure it effectively channels or even diffuses discontent ... w/o a specific purpose anyway. Mostly tho, our weariness of crowds = what keeps us from marching ... nothing making us more uneasy than herd mentality, when every1 thinks + says the same thing ... even if we agree, find ourselves disagreeing just for the sake of it.

... anyway, thru Stuy-town (so no 1 can say we skipped it last walk) ... not that we haven't wandered there plenty before, on more than a few occasions getting lost in there trying to find friend's apartments.

Then the epic x-ing of 14th street ... the longest in NYC.

Union sq ... the Decker bldg (the middle 1 between the Lincoln statue + tall building)
the site of Warhol's Factory from 68 to 73


Otto's Shrunken Head on 14th


under construction


our 2nd favorite nasone (water font) in NYC (front of that church on 14th)
(the 1st = the bear/pan font in Morningside Park)


to the water's edge


getting into meat packing dist

Meat Pkng in recent years has become like SantaCon ... we lived there (13th st + 8th ave) for a year (2009) during the transition to meatless Disneyfication ... maybe 1 day dig us up some shots from last decade, for now this (circa 2001 ... when digital cameras = shitty):

packing meat in 2001

... not that we have a current photo to contrast with ... too disgusted by it all to take photos ... meat pkng now = shopping mall for rich fashion victims.

Natl Maritime Union bldg (now a «healthplex»)


The New School

... past The Strand on 12th + its miles of books, past where Jimi Hendrix lived on 61 Jane + also on 59 W 12th street ... neither photoworthy ... but on our next walk we'll hit his digs on 8th (Electric Lady Studio) ... where the real magic happened.

meanwhile, over on the east side

 > 396 > Mainlining village dreamtracks for infamy into an Oblivion Atlas of forgetting


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