Henri Chopin, 1967

henri chopin

It is impossible, one cannot continue with the all-powerful Word, the Word that reigns over all. One cannot continue to admit it to every house, and listen to it everywhere describe us and describe events, tell us how to vote, and whom we should obey.

I, personally, would prefer the chaos and disorder which each of us would strive to master, in terms of his own ingenuousness, to the order imposed by the Word which everybody uses indiscriminately, always for the benefit of a capitol, of a church, of a socialism, etc….

No one has ever tried to establish chaos as a system, or to let it come. Perhaps there would be more dead among the weak constitutions, but certainly there could be fewer than there are in that order which defends the Word, from the socialisms to the capitalisms. Undoubtedly there would be more alive beings and fewer dead beings, such as employees, bureaucrats, business and government executives, who are all dead and who forget the essential thing: to be alive.

The Word has created profit, it has justified work, it has made obligatory the confusion of occupation (to be doing something), it has permitted life to lie. The Word has become incarnate in the Vatican, on the rostrums of Peking, at the Elysee, and even if, often, it creates the inaccurate SIGNIFICATION, which signifies differently for each of us unless one accepts and obeys, if, often, it imposes multiple points of view which never adhere to the life of a single person and which one accepts by default, in what way can it be useful to us? I answer: in no way.

Because it is not useful that anyone should understand me, it is not useful that anyone should be able to order me to do this or that thing. It is not useful to have a cult that all can understand and that is there for all, it is not necessary that I should know myself to be imposed upon in my life by an all-powerful Word which was created for past epochs that will never return: that adequate to tribes, to small nations, to small ethnic groups which were disseminated around the globe into places whose origins escape us.

The Word today serves no one except to say to the grocer: give me a pound of lentils.

The Word is useful no more; it even becomes an enemy when a single man uses it as a divine word to speak of a problematic god or of a problematic dictator. The Word becomes the cancer of humanity when it vulgarizes itself to the point of impoverishment trying to make words for all, promises for all, which will not be kept, descriptions of life which will be either scholarly or literary which will take centuries to elaborate upon with no time left for life.

The Word is responsible for the phallic death because it dominates the senses and the phallus which are submissive to it; it is responsible for the birth of the exasperated who serve verbose principles.

It is responsible for the general incomprehension of beings who succumb to murders, racisms, concentrations, the laws, etc.

In short, the Word is responsible because instead of making it a way of life we’ve made it an end. Prisoner of the Word is the child, and so he will be all his adult life.

But, without falling into anecdote, one can mention the names of some who insisted upon breaking the bonds imposed by the Word. If timid essays by Aristophanes showed that sound was indispensable- the sound imitative of an element or an animal then -that does not mean that it was sought after for its own sake. In that case, the sound uttered by the mouth was cut off, since it only came from an imagined and subordinated usage, when in fact it is the major element.

It will not be investigated for its importance in the sixteenth century either since it must be molded by musical polyphony. It will not be liberated by the Expressionists since they needed the support of syllables and letters as did the Futurists, Dadaists and Lettristes.

The buccal sound, the human sound, in fact, will come to meet us only around 1953, with Wolmann, Brau, Dufrene, and somewhat later with my audiopoems.

But why want these a-significant human sounds, without alphabet, without reference to an explicative clarity? Simply, I have implied it, the Word is incomprehensible and abusive, because it is in all the hands, rather in all the mouths, which are being given orders by a few mostly unauthorized voices.

The mimetic sound of man, the human sound, does not explain, it transmits emotions, it suggests exchanges, affective communications; it does not state precisely, it is precise. And I would say well that the act of love of a couple is precise, is voluntary, if it does not explain! What then is the function of the Word, which has the pretension to affirm that such and such a thing is clear? I defy that Word.

I accused it and I still accuse it as an impediment to living, it makes us lose the meager decades of our existence explaining ourselves to a so-called spiritual, political, social, or religious court. Through it we must render accounts to the entire world; we are dependent upon the mediocrities Sartre, Mauriac, De Gaulle. They own us in every area; we are slaves of rhetoric, prisoners of explanation that explains nothing. Nothing is yet explainable.

That is why a suggestive art which leaves the body, that resonator and that receptacle, animated, breathed and acted, that + and-, that is why a suggestive art was made; it had to come, and nourish, and in no way affirm. You will like this art, or you will not like it, that is of no importance! In spite of yourself it will embrace you, it will circulate in you. That is its role. It must open our effectors to our own biological, physical and mental potentialities beyond all intellect; art must be valued like a vegetable, it feeds us differently, that is all. And when it gets into you, it makes you want to embrace it. That way the Word is reduced to its proper role subordinate to life; it serves only to propose intelligible usages, elementary exchanges, but never will it canal the admirable powers of life, because this meager canaling, as I have implied, finally provokes usury in us through the absence of real life.

Let us not lose 4/5ths of intense life without Word to the benefit of the small l/5th of verbiage. Let us be frank and just. Let us know that the day is of oxygen, that the night eliminates our poisons, that the entire body breathes and that it is a wholeness, without the vanity of a Word that can reduce us.

I prefer the sun, I’m fond of the night, I’m fond of my noises and of my sounds, I admire the immense complex factory of a body, I’m fond of my glances that touch, of my ears that see, of my eyes that receive…. But I do not have to have the benediction of the written idea. I do not have to have my life derived from the intelligible. I do not want to bc subject to the true word which is forever misleading or Iying, I can stand no longer to be destroyed by the Lord, that lie that abolishes itself on paper.





Holstad interview ~ Lisa Zaran

Posted On November 19, 2006

Filed under adult, Arty Stuff, Beat, books, poetry, review, short stories

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lisa zaranscott holstad

It was such a privilege for me to interview and pick the brain of Scott Holstad, a writer I’ve known for many years.  Though we’ve never met, we’ve been in some sort of contact, usually through blogging or email.

Boston born, Scott has lived all over the continent including Tempe, Arizona where I also lived, though not at the same time.  So, I know Scott is familiar with the Mill Avenue scene and Changing Hands bookstore as I am.

A poet, technical writer, English professor and over-educated man, Holstad holds degrees from three Universities.

Most current book is a full length poetry collection entitled Cells.  Confessions, his latest is due for release soon.

You recently celebrated your 40th birthday isn’t that right?  Happy birthday.
Yes, I did.  In September.  It was shocking!  I can’t believe I’m that old, you know?  But it was a nice birthday.  We had a little party and 40 of my friends came to celebrate with me.  It was fun.
Throughout the nineties you released 13 books, one of which, Places  (1996) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Since then you’ve written three more books of poetry, Artifacts, Cells and Confessions due out sometime this Fall.
That was a massive output for one decade, referring back to 1991 through 1999.  Do you feel that you’ve slowed down creatively or is it simply a matter of time and opportunity?
For you especially, based off your past history, most people spend years creating one book.
Oh, I have definitely slowed down!  Imagine, five poetry collections in 1999 alone!  That’s astonishing output.  But I had so much to get out of my system.  It simply welled up within me and I had to get it out, or I’d go insane.  Actually, I did go insane, now that I think about it.  (Laughs.)
I don’t think most people can keep that type of pace up.  I do know several who can pump out books:  my buddy, Gerald Locklin over in Long Beach, CA has published nearly 100 by now.  Bukowski called him L.A.’s best writer.  And, of course, Lyn Lifshin is well over the 100 book mark too.  She’s amazing!

But to put out 13 books of poems in an eight year span – that was hard work!  I seriously put some time andeffort into my writing.  I know you do too, so you can relate to that.
My last two projects, Cells and Confessions, have taken a really long time to get published.  Cells was was such a big book (over 200 pages) that many publishers were afraid to take it on.  After all, most poetry books lose money.  That’s why most poetry books are around 72 pages in length. I signed the contract with my publisher for Confessions in very early 2005, but the book is still not out.  It’s also going to be a big book, about 180 pages.  My biggest book before Cells was under 100 pages, so it was easier for publishers to produce those collections.
But, like I said, I’ve really slowed over the past year in my writing.
I first discovered you sometime in the mid-nineties.  I was just a fledgling then, barely getting my feet wet in the poetic world.  You were very gracious at that time, offering advice and sharing some of your history.  I remember I couldn’t visit any magazine or web based journal without finding your name.  Are you still a regular contributor to ezines, journals, and small press magazines?
No, not really.  I’m now out of the loop.  There are magazines and webzines that solicit my work, but I rarely submit anymore.  I used to be a regular with SO many magazines, especially during the 1990s.  It seemed very different to me 15 years ago.  Bukowski was still pumping out material, and it felt wonderful to get published alongside him in Cokefish and other mags like Caffeine.  I used to make regular appearances in Cokefish, Sivullinen over in Finland, Pearl in Long Beach, Saturday Afternoon Journal in Hollywood, Caffeine in L.A., Shockbox, Chiron Review and so many others.  More recently, The Awakenings Review, published by the University of Chicago, has published many of my poems.
At my peak, I would have hundreds of poems out under consideration at over 100 magazines at any given point.  Even as recently as two years ago, I was still maintaining submissions out at about 75 magazines.
By the way, thank you for your kind words about me being gracious to you when you were starting out.  That’s good, I’m glad I was!
Your work has been likened to that of Charles Bukowski, whom I happen to know you are a big fan of.  Does the comparison irritate you at all or do you feel you’ve made your own distinction?

Many of my poems from certain years, particularly the early to mid-nineties, were definitely influenced by Bukowski.  But I’ve also been influenced by Ferlinghetti and Gerry Locklin and Bill Shields and several others.  Like many writers, I’ve gone through what one might call “stages” or phases in my writing.  I guess, ultimately, I feel like I’ve made a distinction.  Sure, I’ve written about women and sex and madhouses, just like Bukowski did, but I’ve also written about many other topics, often utilizing other stylistic methods in doing so.  Bukowski would probably have been annoyed with the rambling tone of my poems in Cells.
Still, I was able to appear in many magazines with Buk, and that was exciting.  In fact, he and I appeared on the cover of a Finnish magazine back in the day.  We were both very popular in Finland, and this magazine did a big piece on the two of us.  It was a lot of fun.  Fortunately, I had a Finnish friend in Los Angeles who translated it for me.  They said nice things.  Heh.
I remember you told me you met Lawrence Ferlinghetti once.  Refresh my memory, didn’t you just happen to run into him along the boardwalk in San Francisco?
It was in January of 1994 in his bookstore, City Lights, up in San Francisco.  It was widely known at the time that he didn’t come into the store that often anymore, that he stayed home and painted and wrote.  I found myself in the poetry section upstairs in the store, all by myself.  And I found several doors, most closed.  But one was cracked open and I peeked in, and there he was!  I knocked and entered and we spoke for quite a while.  Definitely one of the highlights of my life!  At the time, I was seriously considering going somewhere to do a Ph.D.  On Ferlinghetti and other San Francisco poets, such as Rexroth and Duncan and Spicer.  He advised me, I remember, to look into UC Santa Cruz, that they might be open to such an endeavor.  Strangely, a year or so later, I did decide to go to the University of New Mexico to do this with a scholar there who specialized in west coast poetics, only to have my now-ex-wife tell me she’d leave me if I did it.  So I backed down, and have always regretted that.
Who else do you admire as writers, poets, artists and the like?
There aren’t too many, frankly.  I used to love Bill Shields, published by Henry Rollins’ press, 2.13.61.  However, his work and his background have been discredited to a degree and he’s disappeared from public.  Henry told me this himself in an email early this year.
Gerald Locklin is another, as I’ve mentioned.  Oh, Edward Field and Edward Dorn.  And I love old Kenneth Patchen’s work!  You already know about Bukowski and Ferlinghetti.
Those were primarily poets.  Writers I like include Camus, Sartre, Kafka, Martin Amis and a few others.  Edward Lee and Poppy Z. Brite have written a few good horror novels.
As far as artists go, I’m really into H.R. Giger.
You’ve struggled with varying degrees of psychological illness most of your life and many of your poems reflect what you have been through and are going through.
For example, in Cloudy, But Who Cares from The Napalmed Soul (Chiron Review Press, 1999) you write:
I’ve been cutting for months –
it’s addictive.  I like the blood,
the flow, the look, feel, taste –
it soothes, comforts, controls.
My wife thinks I want to be
proclaimed a schizo.  Actually,
the people who usually do this
are Borderlines, but why make
a distinction in this case?  She
thinks I enjoy the drama of
it all.
I think I knife myself to keep
from knifing everyone else
I run into…
Yeah.  I love that book.  And so many other people find it a tough read.  It’s primarily about cutting, which is something I did to deal with severe emotional and mental pain … for quite some time.  I still have scars.  I love that book because I lived it and I made it through alive and I’m better off for it.
Yes, I’m Bipolar and I have Social Anxiety Disorder, and I’ve also officially been diagnosed ADD and OCD, but I’ve never been treated for either of those.
It’s been a tough ride.  I went through a rough period, about three years, as you know.  It cost me my marriage and a great job, as well as, perhaps, some friends too.
You’ve been on many different medications, been placed in hospitals.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever been arrested.  Can you elaborate on any of  this, perhaps your age when you felt that something was not right, the feelings you had at certain points in your life, did you ever contemplate suicide/attempt suicide, and any words on your recovery. Do you still try to balance your mental health and your life with medicine?
One whole section of Cells is about jail, is actually titled “Jail,” so I guess that answers that part of it.  Heh.
I felt something was not right at age eight, and it became more pronounced by age 12, when I first attempted to cut my wrists.  I did a poor job of it.  I was sent to shrinks, but not medicated.  This would have been back in the mid-seventies, and psychiatrists weren’t as … popular (?) as they are now.
I had strange teen years and then went absolutely wild in college and through my 20s.  However, I did not
really notice anything wrong with me.  It was other people – wife, doctors, etc. – who urged me to seek treatment as I neared age 30.  This was before I had a severe nervous breakdown and tried to hang myself in a mental hospital.  My last suicide attempt occurred in 1999, when I swallowed a bottle of Xanax and a bottle of Ambien.  I severely OD’d, but survived.  I was “found” and rushed to the hospital and got to stay in a psych ward for the fourth time in two years.  Memories….
Yes, I’m medicated.  I’ve been on a good prescription “cocktail” for several years now, thank goodness!  And it’s really helped.  I’ve been stable for a long time now.
Is freedom from drugs an option for you at all or do you believe you’ll need to take them for the rest of your life?
I’m taking them forever.  Freedom isn’t an option.  I – and others – have seen what happens when I’m not properly medicated.
Your chapbook, Artifacts (Sick Puppy Press) opens with two stanzas from a poem I’d written about you.  In the poem I write:
…it’s he who carries
a storm in his head,
carries wind, carries rain,
carries the thought
that every breath
is a dangerous decision.
At the time, I truly believed that.  Is every breath still a dangerous decision?
I guess I’d have to say no.  So many of my poems and books written between 1998 and 2002 were about insanity, depression, jail, suicide, death, etc.  For a long while, it did seem that every breath was a dangerous decision.  But like I just mentioned, I’ve been stable for about four years now and I intend to remain that way.  I think it’s evened me out.  Have I lost my edge?  Perhaps.  Has it been worth it?  Yep.
In the books closing poem, Anticipation, you state that you are Bipolar.  The final stanza reads:
I’ve wanted to die for a
long time, and one day,
I’m going out like a
Texas lightening storm –
big, bold, beautiful,
deadly, dead, and
done with.
What is a normal day for you?
That’s tough to answer.  You know, I’ve attended six universities, getting three degrees in the process, for a total of about 13 years.  So, much of my life has been about school.  Then, there’s a normal “work” day, which I guess is similar to most everyone else’s work day.  I have not worked much over the past few years, concentrating on other things, such as my books, my new marriage, another academic degree, etc.  So, I get up, do the online thing for a bit, run errands, read/write/do chores, help my wife with her work, work on dinner, play a little Playstation 2 or do TiVo with the wife and hit the sack.  Not too exciting, to be honest.
You are a technical writer too, correct?  And do you also write textbooks or am I remembering incorrectly, perhaps you edit them.  Are these college textbooks?  How do you like that type of work?  Is it rewarding, tedious, challenging?
I’ve done technical writing off and on for years, for several companies, most prominently, EarthLink Network in Pasadena.  And I’ve been working recently on my own textbook – at least, it’s designed to be a textbook – of literary criticism.  Critical essays, all of which have been published in various journals.  I greatly love writing those things, although, like poetry, there aren’t too many readers.  I find it very rewarding.  In fact, I recently had an essay on Carl Sandburg published in the Best of the Asheville Poetry Review.  Quite enjoyable.

How many hours would you say you spend each day writing?  Is it something you consider a discipline or do you write mainly when the creative imagination to do so takes over?

These days, not so many.  I USED to spend two to three hours a day writing and at least an hour a day submitting material to magazines and publishers.  But that has slowed dramatically.

Anything new in the works?

I’ve put together a collection of essays – literary criticism – boring, academic stuff which probably only I find exciting.  I’ve been trying it out with the university presses.  One, Ohio State University Press, looked like they were going to take it on, but did not ultimately.  Otherwise, the reaction has been disappointing.  I keep getting told from these presses that they are no longer putting out essay collections by one author!  That seems to be a major distraction for them.  Strange.
I’m also trying to put together a collection of my early works.  So many recent and current readers never got to read my early stuff, which is quite different in tone and style and subject matter to my later stuff.  I think that will be fun.
Something I’ve had going on for a long time, but need to finish is a small book on getting your poetry published.  It’s about 50-60% complete, and I simply need to take the time to finish it.

People have been asking me for years now to write my memoirs.  I’ve been meaning to, but I want to get all of this other stuff of my plate first, you know?

Something I meant to ask you earlier, favorite musicians?  Favorite bands?  Music is a large part of my life and I know it is a large part of yours as well.  Who are you currently spinning?

Current:  Collide, Rhea’s Obsession, Android Lust, Frank Sinatra.
Favorites:  Dead Can Dance, Skinny Puppy, Lovespirals, Faith and the Muse

Faith and the Muse, sounds like it could be a theme for your life.  Thank you Scott for your willingness to participate in an interview I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  Peace and stability.

-To find out more about Scott C. Holstad and his work visit:


start a fight

David Fincher’s Fight Club is a fable about postmodern consumer society, loss of masculine identity amongst male gray-collar workers and the social stratification created by our materialistic society. The story line begins with a nameless narrator referred to as Jack, (Edward Norton) explaining to us how exactly he came to know Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who we come to find out in the end is actually the alter ego of our narrator. The “two of them” create a men-only underground boxing club and as Tyler Durden progresses closer to becoming the dominant personality, Fight Club evolves into Project Mayhem, multi-celled secret society of oppressed gray-collar workers. The narrator and Tyler hold conversations as if Tyler was really a person and the narrator tends to refer to his current emotional state with phrases such as “I am Jack’s sense of rejection.” (Fincher 1999) We also come to know Marla Singer, who the narrator met while touring support groups, as the femme fatal that Tyler was sleeping with and antagonized Jack’s relationship to Tyler. She knew him as Tyler because it was he who related to her. Through the whole process, Marla Singer’s role in the narrator’s life eventually causes him to realize that he is the elusive Tyler Durden and he was merely projecting a figment of his imagination.

   Jack spends his days at a job he despises and his nights ransacking mail-order catalogs, desperate to give some meaning to his life all the while giving himself severe insomnia. As Tyler proclaims at a particular session of Fight Club: “We are an entire generation pumping gas – waiting tables – slaves to the white collars. Advertisement has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.” (Fincher 1999) These men, gray-collar workers are proletarians, “people who sell their productive labor for wages.” (Macionis 196) In reference to stratification, gray-collar employees are higher than blue-collar employees but are still serving the capitalists above them. They can never achieve the advertised ideal because according to the social-conflict paradigm “stratification provides some people with advantages over others” thus causing an overwhelming sense of alienation due the reality of their powerlessness. (Macionis 196)

for more info visit:  http://domspe.org/fight_club/


All things beat’n’stuff….

“All things beat…” I’ve seriously got tooooooooooooooooooooooo much time on my hands!



A collective expression of Brian Ho, Paul Koh, Michelle Chang and Wahyuni A. Hadi
They found them – these lost and discarded μnon-collectibles. 4 artists discovered them on the streets of Singapore and captured them on film, print and canvas. A sublime connection between these μnon-collectiblesξ is immediately apparent ρ when, how and why they became dispossessed, nobody knows. But they were certainly once made a beauty, or born a beauty – that much we know.

SAM TAYLOR-WOOD – The Last Century, 2005

Posted On November 10, 2006

Filed under adult, Beat, Blogroll, books, jesus, poetry, review, short stories, tech

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DVD. Duration 7 minutes 12 seconds.

by: Sam Taylor-Wood


Bram Stoker’s Chair VI, 2005

C-print. Image size: 48 x 38 in. (121.9 x 96.5 cm).

by: Sam Taylor-Wood

Waking Life poster

Posted On November 6, 2006

Filed under adult, Beat, books, jesus, poetry, review, short stories, tech

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waking life poster

The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because, if you can do that, you can do anything.