Distant Resonances, Abstract Language, Golden Silence & Other Thoughts

William Baziotes, The Drugged Balloon, 1943

Wordsworth: “Blank misgivings of a creature / Moving about in worlds not realized”

Jean Hélion: “I realize today that it is the abstract which is reasonable and possible. And that it is the pursuit of reality which is madness, the ideal, the impossible.”

There must be a labyrinth of lungs where something, or some ‘thing’, impressionates my airwaves. Perpetually overhearing conversations where, amidst those conversations, you hear the person say, “...and dada-dada-da...” or “...and yadda-yadda-yadda...” which are like vocal et ceteras or vocal et als. Foreign Language, too, spoken into the air: the sounds are abstract to my ears, but the sounds are interesting and creates a new “system” of verbiage for my English Language Brain. The ideas seem to merely fall from someplace, glowing invisibly into me, then arising from another place and hanging on. Often the ideas will vanish, for whatever reason, as if tarnished by not writing it down, or concentrating enough, or mulling over it enough so as not to “lose it” amidst being remiss, which happens on its own and obviously isn’t something that you want to happen. It’s terribly tragic, in some cases—in particularly with old age—how the Memory can become antiquated.

It’s especially beautifully abstract when I hear things from a distance, which are like fading memories that don’t quite fade away entirely, but rather just lingers there in the mind like a rainbow barely seen in a fog. Of course, the audible quality depends on the atmospherics and ambiance of the location, which can add to whatever words are being spoken from whatever source. Often times listening to the abstraction from a distance produces new sentences and phrases in my head, which really goes for anything; for example: hearing people talking on a radio or television, etc. It’s beyond loveliness. I also like when I read something wrong, initially, and the abstraction is so lovely that it produces a totally new emotion, and often fuels old ideas or spawns new ones. 

In a section of David Toop’s beautiful book, Ocean of Sound, there’s an amusing text, this:   

“In Gargantua and Pantagruel, a serial satire written by Rabelais between 1532 and 1534, the captain of a ship tells his crew not to be afraid when they reach the edge of the frozen sea. Sounds of a bloody battle between the Arimaspians and Cloud-Riders had been frozen and are now melting as spring approaches. Pantagruel finds some that have not yet thawed, frozen words and jokes which look like crystallised sweets, and throws them on the deck where they lie, colourful but inert. Warmed between the hands, they melt, sounding their words as they do so. One, a frozen cannon shot, explodes like an unpricked chestnut thrown on to a fire. Others are battle cries which melt together in a riot of sound poetry — hin, crack, brededin, bou, bou, trac, trrrr — that recalls Marinetti's Futurist free words, fruits of the inspiration of machine war.”

Then, Paul Valéry, out of Some Simple Reflections on the Body:

“And as a protest arose within me, the Voice of the Absurd added: ‘Think carefully: Where do you expect to find answers to these philosophical questions? Your images, your abstractions, derive only from the properties and experiences of your Three Bodies. But the first offers you nothing but moments; the second a few visions; and the third, at the cost of ruthless dissections and complicated preparations, a mass of figures more indecipherable than Etruscan texts. Your mind, with its language, pulverizes, mixes and rearranges all this and from it, by the abuse, if you will, of its habitual questionnaire, evolves its notorious problems; but it can give them a shadow of meaning only by tacitly presupposing a certain Nonexistence — of which my Fourth Body is a kind of incarnation.’”

Just recently I dreamt that I left my tripod in the gymnasium of a middle school. The audible sounds spinning around me was like listening to a static-swathed AM radio station. In recent days, I’ve overheard many beautiful and strange words, conversations, phrases, etc., from a distance:

“If only this place were smaller. You can buy less stuff in smaller places” (I may not have heard the words correctly [although there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in such cases], but quotes that are legible are often snippets of abstractions in any event). Little snippets everywhere in the air that can be snagged at ease—legible or illegible—but one must react quickly, like catching butterflies. “People don’t know how to react when they get called out on it,” a woman says.


                            “         ”

Imagining Thought without Words. 

“Speed up the warp” (abstract overhearing)

This brings to mind metaphors, poetic imaginings, etc., or like the thought of what precisely makes, in one’s mind, Silence as “golden.” Each individual response, as with anything, is categorized and perceived differently (for the most part), so perhaps when one makes reference to such a cliché phrase (and I’ve always said that clichés are clichés for a reason!) so each person’s situation at the time, their perspectives or experience in that moment depends on the “silence is golden” monicker. It may also be rather commonplace (one of Sherlock’s favorite terms—commonplace) if one is serious about using the phrase, rather than one that uses the phrase as a joke or in a comical tone. Sometimes, like a falling leaf that can start an avalanche, so can observations, and amidst those observations, segue overheard words or conversations or spoken-aloud-thoughts or noises from other people. “Not only knocking, but battering the door down!” Humphrey Bogart speaks exceedingly well for a fella who barely opens his mouth (literally).

The literal verbiage of baseball announcers making references to their “calls” during a baseball game can also be very interesting (and this goes with any sport, whether it be football, basketball, soccer, hockey, cricket, et al), for just recently I had been listening to a game on the radio in my car, and to take quotes literally makes for a lot of Joycean-type fun, but only when one completely allows them to be literate in the great imagination of it all. Examples below:

“the good part of the bat” “names, changing teams” “gathered his feet” “bang-bang play” “the little man in the bag tripped him up” “shot it through the shift” “move the whole field to the right field”

It goes on and on. To take them literal is exciting for Language’s sake; bringing phrases such as this to a new surface, or a new world, with force. Are mistakes really mistakes if you have an imagination? Mistakes in Language, I refer. For example, Frank O’Hara would tend to not correct mistakes in poems, and would leave them be. One example of this would be O’Hara’s kneeness” when he meant “keenness.” ‘Tis a beautiful development! And appropriately, Nabokov (to Vera): “If you catch me rewriting my texts, please shoot me.”

Newshounds are thoroughly convincing. My brain, however, has been unlocked.

Montaigne: “We are dragged into old age, facing backwards, and our youth, facing forward.”

During the winter, Uncle TH says to me: “I want to make a pie just so that I can be around something warm.”

Remiss in blog posts; or, distracted with mere thoughts. I’ll segue back into abstractions with overhearing, as well as observing...

In an old journal of mine, I wrote:

“Crack open that lustred ebb (e66); watch the youthful unborn sicken flow out like the runny jelly of a seeing spy.”

Also, I found this written in the same journal:

“Godzilla birthed Yoko Ono.”

Seeing through sunglasses, darkly? Strange what emotions can do to a soul! Nostalgic Patina. Finnegan should have stayed asleep?

“Did you think that I spoke to you just to move the wind? Speak up!”

“Close your eyes. Tell me what you see.” “The backs of my eyelids.”

“I gotta weird feeling in my head”

“I’ve got a funny feeling inside, but I ain’t laughing”

“I need that like I need a rattlesnake in my backpocket”

“the birds here love my cookie crumbs” “we’re not creations, we’re just givers of names”

“It makes a little buzzy sound and then it does something weird”


Schubert’s opening to “Victor Record Catalog”:

“Most unexpectedly it happens, just
As you don’t know what you say till you
Say it. Sleighbells in the winter of
My discontent.”

De Kooning: “Art never seems to make me peaceful or pure. I always seem to be wrapped up in the melodrama of vulgarity. I do not think of inside or outside—or of art in general—as a situation of comfort. I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere, but whenever I want to get into it, I get a feeling of apathy and want to lie down and go to sleep.”

Percy Shelley: “. . . That from heaven or near it / Pourest thy full heart / In profuse strains of unpremeditated art . . .”

John Ashbery: “[O]n the whole I feel that poetry is going on all the time inside, an underground stream. One can let down one’s bucket and bring the poem back up.”

When models don’t respond, I call this The Silence of The Hams.


A month or so ago, I met a woman, Penny, who told me stories about her haunted apartment in San Francisco in the ‘90’s, where she lived for 7 years, and a beautiful memory in her native New York:

“There were two old men and they were always in the garden, and other people would notice them, but not everyone. My friends would come over, and one of them said, ‘I’m never coming back over here again, because of that strange presence in the hallway.’ I, too, felt that presence in the hallway all of the time, but I truly never thought anything of it, but there was definitely a lot of strange things going on around there. Indeed, that friend of mine was so spooked that she never did come back over.”

“When I was living on Staten Island, I would be at my desk, and every now and then, I’d hear someone out in the foggy night playing bagpipes. I told a friend of mine that I had the urgency to run out towards the sounds, and really, it was so beautiful that all I wanted to do was to thank him.”

All of this, so intriguing:

“Near the close of the 15th century
the wine-dresser of Belvedere caught a lizard,
which he presented to Leonardo da Vinci,
who constructed out of the skins of other lizards
two miniature wings, filling them with mercury
so that they moved and trembled when the lizard walked.
And he made for his pet a little beard and some horns,
and kept it in a box; and it gave him pleasure
to offer his friends this grotesque creation.
To think deeply right now would terrify me.”

–Evan S. Connell, Jr., out of “Notes from a Bottle Found on the Beach at Carmel” (1962)

Then, more from Connell’s story:

“Leonardo, therefore, having composed a kind of paste from wax, made of this, while it was still in a half liquid state, certain figures of animals, entirely hollow and exceedingly slight in texture, which he then filled with air. When he blew into these figures he could make them fly through the air, but when the air within had escaped from them they fell to the earth. One day the vine-dresser of the Belvedere found a very curious lizard, and for this creature Leonardo constructed wings, made from the skins of other lizards, flayed for the purpose; into these wings he put quicksilver, so that when the animal walked, the wings moved also, with a tremulous motion: he then made eyes, horns and a beard for the creature, which he tamed and kept in a case; he would then show it to the friends who came to visit him, and all who saw it ran away terrified. He more than once, likewise, caused the intestines of a sheep to be cleansed and scraped until they were brought into such a state of tenuity that they could be held within the hollow of the hand, having then placed in a neighbouring chamber a pair of blacksmith’s bellows, to which he made fast one end of the intestines, he would blow into them until he caused them to fill the whole room, which was a very large one, insomuch that whoever was within was forced to take refuge in a corner: he thus showed them transparent and full of wind, remarking that, whereas they had previously been contained within a small compass, they were now filling all space, and this, he would say, was a fit emblem of talent or genius.”



A little girl, eating her food, looks over and says to her Mom: “This isn't a brownie! This isn’t a brownie!” The Mom says: “Oh? It's not a brownie? You’re right! It’s a blondie.”

The “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section of Amazon is more of a tease than Bettie Paige ever was.

A couple kisses, then a fly lands simultaneously on both of their heads.

Ticks should tick like clocks when I get close to them, so that I could avoid them easier.

Recent observations:

Behind me, a woman and man are sitting beside one another, conversing. She is discussing in great detail how Curtis Mayfield became paralyzed. “Something, I can’t recall what, just, BOOM, dropped down on him.” She speaks about her various concert-goings back in those days.

To my right, a man with dreadlocks wearing an Ol’ Dirty Bastard t-shirt and tinted black shades pushes his glasses down for a moment to look out of the window at something that catches his eye. “Whatever you’re comfortable with,” I hear in the distance, as laughter breaks out like a hive of smiles bursting from a Happy Bubble. I’m suddenly startled by the ear-splittingly loud racket of a cabinet closing. Everyone looks around at one another to observe everyone else’s acknowledgment of this moment. Some shrug, some shake their heads, some look disgusted, but others smile. Sometimes, all of these at once, or different combinations of them. 

In front of me, a couple sitting side-by-side. The boyfriend is wearing a green t-shirt, and the girlfriend, a blue t-shirt. His hair is sandy blonde. Her hair is golden blonde. They are watching Motorcross videos on a laptop. They are sharing earbuds. One bud is in his right ear, and the other bud is in her left ear. She looks bored out of her mind. Pretending to be interested to appease the boyfriend? If so, a good woman, indeed. Assumptions, yes, but appropriate. Suddenly, he blurts out: “I just don't understand the whole fist-pumping celebration before a win! I mean, I broke my hand one time. I literally broke my hand one time...” Every now and then the girlfriend rubs his back, while looking up at the ceiling. She says “awww” very softly, and scratches her arm, grips it, holds it, yawns, tilts her head to the left, sighs, looks down at her phone, taps it, types on it, and looks back at the laptop screen, looks at him, looks back at her phone and then eyes me observing her; she looks away but I do not look away; she puts her hand to her head and back to her phone and sighs again. He doesn’t know that she’s not watching as she rubs her eyes, yawns again, looks down and begins picking at her fingernails, and then rubs her nose, sniffs, rubs her left elbow delicately, slowly. Body Language is a tell-all beast.


Now, I am drifting along to the tunes of my inner Träumerei, heightening the senses, with a nod to Robert Schumann (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z82w0l6kwE)

G’nite O Starlight O Lunalight O Wide-eyed Wonderers... 

 William Baziotes, Mirror at Midnight II, 1942

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