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Sep. 26th, 2010

This is Margaret Cannell's 1933 collection of signs, omens and portents of Nebraska, published by the English department of the University of Nebraska. I really take a delight in reading collections of folklore and a number of twentieth century anthologies do a great job of cataloging popular mythology. One of my favorite anthologies is Richard M. Dorson's Buying the Wind. Dorson spent quite a lot of time interviewing older folks in the sixties and seventies who came of age before the onslaught of better living through empty materialism. Their stories strike at something wild and protean; the Pennsylvania Dutch maintained a body of work revolving around Till Eulenspiegel, the Southwestern menace of La llorona, even the simple rhymes one dedicates to a new moon in Cannell's Nebraska.

Old, Weird America is a pretty swanky blog to follow. He tracks down info about the artists and songs on Harry Smith's Folkways America and there are also some other songs for download if you're into early American music.

I have a beer to drink. No more typee-type.
I drove into the countryside this afternoon to get some apples from a 'u-pick-em' orchard. The sun was bright and the sky was clear and the owner has grown into a fat, happy old man. I wandered around the place for a bit, completely unnoticed by the wasps and bees swarming around fallen, squishy fruit. I want to go back with a camera and maybe start working on another pastoral poem but I have had neither the time or the inclination to write anything. After I finished at the orchard, I drove up into Custer County and made a mental checklist of all the things I would photograph; the leaning barn bleached grey in the sun, the Wetmore steakhouse, others. After I got home, I made some progress knitting - I have the damnedest time dropping a stitch.

I dunno. The day just felt right and I've experienced more of these days which finish with the exhaustion of completion.
This morning, I found a rabbit by the shed. His ears were peeled back and the eyes were open, dried and covered with dust. Flies buzzed around its parted mouth where a single yellow incisor pointed. The ground vines had already begun to curl around his rear legs and, until I poked him with my shoe, I was sure he was dead. But when I tapped the white underbelly, his body twitched and flopped off the ground, sending the startled flies buzzing like mumbling gossips into the air.

With the blade of a shovel behind the base of his skull, I apologized as I broke his neck. I'm ok with the mercy killing but the state I find them in often leaves an empty feeling in a part of me that doesn't have a name. This is where the horror began to set in; the unbidden thought of lingering in death beneath the sun frozen while the earth begins to reclaim the body.

I don't know what got to him last night but I'm worried plague might be settling in the area. The cats will have to stay inside but the dogs are getting to an age where they're more susceptible to disease. Old age or winter will get to them eventually but plague? I've never seen it and I hate the thought of watching it take fat Chunk with his jowly grin or the trim and stoic Jacob, walking with his head lowered, one paw over the next.

I don't know where I'm going with this train of thought. My dinner is getting cold.

charlene, someday

01 - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Teenager in Love
02 - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Charlotte Stree
03 - Magic & Fur - Christina
04 - Treewave - Sleep
05 - The Oscillation - Head Hang Low
06 - Alpinestars - Green Raven Blonde
07 - Depth Charge - Desire
08 - Gypsy and the Cat - Jona Vark



Laoris, crafted by Anton Brejestovski for his work with Caprice, is one of the neatest constructed languages I've ever found. Laoris is limited to 14 consonants (v, vv, m, mm, d, k, s, f, q, r, n, l, p, t) and 5 vowels (a, i, o, u & e) in a vertical left-to-right style reminiscent of Ogham. The alphabet is meant to reflect the growth of a forest and each block of text ends up distinctly fern-y.

The q is pronounced as a soft 'r' while the r is pronounced like the Spanish or Russian 'r' (which is a little confusing; I don't know if I want to brogue my way through Lothlorien.) One of the odd but phonetically pleasant little rules about Laori is any affix attached to the stem takes on the form of the r-sound within the stem. It may not sound like much now but it makes all the difference in the world when you actually utter it; your mouth and throat don't have to play hop-scotch between the hard and soft r's in a single word. If you're prone to rolling your r's, however, you'll start off with a lot of growling at first but with time, you'll find it replaced with a soft elven purr.

from the Caprice website

I translated a recent haiku of mine into Laoris and the result was a little startling. Initially it read "Dawn is a whisper only a sleeping woman can hear" but after dicking around with the grammar, it became "sleeping women only hear dawn's whisper." The adverb always comes after the idea it defines and the adjective immediately before; "eisna i torpe fare." As the genitive is placed before it's owner, "dawn's whisper" became "whisper of dawn" with the possessive morpheme (-teri) affixed to the owner; "karia rreutari." Since the r-sound in the stem rreu is a hard r, the affix assumes the hard (-tari) as well. Were the stem aosiqaqi, the affix would assume the soft r in the form of a 'q' (-taqi).

Anyway, the final translation is Eisna i torpe fare i pel karia rreutari.

The written form of that appears in a vertical. The writer draws a gently curved line upwards and the consonants v, m, d, s, q, n and p are drawn on the right side of the stem while vv, mm, k, f, r, l and t are drawn on the left side. Vowels are placed in correspondence to the syllable it either follows or preceeds; a consonant-vowel (sa) combination is drawn with the vowel on the same vertical level opposite to it consonant. A vowel-consonant (er) combination is drawn with the vowel directly above its consonant on the same side of the stem.

I'll have a scan of my translated haiku for you sometime this weekend.

Here's the Laori section if you want to learn more. I probably confused the hell out of you, dear readers.

Did you know I'm a nerd? I had hoped you wouldn't notice.

renee, 1947

It is an August morning, nineteen forty-seven at Place de la Concorde, Paris. The pavilion is a sea of stones inlaid with white mortar. The man behind the camera focuses his attentions on a young woman in a fitted wool jacket. He has stationed himself spatially above her while she has turned her back to him. A light cap rests on her neatly bundled black hair. Stray wisps of hair peek over her jacket collar. She has been instructed to plant her feet and twist her upper body from left to right. The effect results in her thick skirts billowing in plumes around her legs. Three young men in suit jackets enter the scene from the upper left hand corner. The farthest man is jaunty and nonchalant as though this isn't the first photograph he intruded upon. His fingers snap to a secret rhythm. The middle man has unruly hair which swelled since he left his apartment. The man closest to the camera is the only member of the trio who bothered to wear a matching suit. His hair is swept from one lateral side of his head to the next leaving the observer free to note his gigantic nose. The right side of his mouth is cocked in an exhausted sneer. He will become thick and menacing as the youth drains from his face in rivulets. As he enters onto the scene, he glances unsteadily toward the camera lens. Everything is blurred in motion except the ample curvature of her waist. Her name was Renée and it was August nineteen-forty seven in Paris.

dream entry

Tom Green paired up with Christina Ricci to save the world from FedEx. Stolen packages were ferreted around by a super-secret FedEx project and any employees who objected were thrown into a giant paper shredder where they are loudly torn apart, screaming. Tom Green didn't receive his important package and gets pissed the fuck off, declaring all-out war. He goes to the Scandinavian imports shop where Christina Ricci works to buy some crap and gets cornered by FedEx henchmen. Her black hair is braided thick and she adds lice to each braid, claiming its to keep her hair straight but the lice give her special powers. The lice-infested braids whip around like tentacles, killing the FedEx workers. At some point, Tom Green develops a nuclear bomb and detonates it over the Secret FedEx Headquarters in downtown Chicago. As the explosion decimates Chicago Land, he squats behind a filing cabinet, plugging his ears and screaming at the top of his lungs "I WIN, FEDEX!" Christina Ricci pokes her head out behind a desk and is cut in half by the detonation. As the surviving half of her charred body flakes to the floor, it is regenerated by the lice braided in her hair. She pirouettes and my alarm goes off, the Decemberists shredding a brash accordion at 5:12 am

rachel in self portrait

it is still sunday here.
a naked shoulder cradles
sun-flecks and pearl-strands, her
smile hidden behind brush strokes
and pen lines. you can't meet her
gaze so you look past her into window
panes and the afternoon light.

backstory here
dawn is a sleeping
woman's whisper only the
moon can hear
This is a page from my large format photography notes. Eventually I'll get around to transcribing all of them in this style.