Saturday, May 2, 2009


Bowling green. Sewing machine, is the couplet snarled by the
defiant ones
at bay, it is tossed like a flickflacking acrobat at the
cop who has cornered them. He doesn't get it, and it just begins to
show on his face. The film ends. Bowling green, sewing machine,
as a phrase isn't pretty or profound but it is hammered enough
times through the film for it to stay put. Is this some kind of

Nonsense verse becomes fantastical because of the arbitrary
connections effected by mechanical rhymes as they pile up in
succession like tumblers on a vaulting horse; it is the kind of
procedure used by Surrealists and occasional blues singers, Willie
'61' Blackwell is the only one we can name, Beefheart is the arty
version. Sewing machine is also suggestive of Lautréamont, it is a
modern object, and to make poetry about modern objects is to live
slap bang in the modern world (it is said that the sides of this world
are smooth, the pace of this life is fast, machines 'turn and people
lose their arms. You expect a favor? You won't get a favor.
You get off the bus and nobody applauds. Swim in the stream
bud. No nostalgia just immersal, and always the cutting to it; shoot
straight and if you can't shoot straight shoot fast, no time for long
speeches, just do it, checklist tick). Bowling green, sewing
, it's an expression of how things stand; in saying it the
defiant one says, 'I can see exactly what is going on here'. And
the implication is the cop doesn't see it at all. There is some power
in incantations if they reach into something that is not ordinarily
visible, that is not visible to those who live out ordinary functions.
The ordinary steps back when confronted by the extraordinary,
feeling like something furious is dragging it off the map.

Expressivity began after the War. It had its avant garde: Beat
poetry, Be-Bop, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Existentialism. It
had its media: recorded music, film, sound amplification (and if this
is not a medium but a technique, its significance remains). It had
its modalities, Trad Jazz, The Folk Revival, Aldermaston, fanclubs,
cigarette cards, rock and roll, protests. You were certain that, no
matter what the chosen object of your enthusiasm, you could find
others who shared your appreciation. Capitalist society, at the
level of individual experience means simply this: whilst you no
doubt experience yourself as a separate entity you find you are
never alone; the book you want from the library has been taken
out, there was no occasion when you had the swimming pool or

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