Dec 9, 2006


How could brittle forms
sleep after a hazard?

Other isles of swamp,

I'm in love with walking moss...

An afterthought--

To smelter some heard tidings.

My short walk to a bridge,
plaza of arcades.

Nov 29, 2006


"New lovers destroy opinions."
"The workers' routine is a pale satellite.
Compulsion today extends the universal police force."

"I will not become nothing. What I want would have made rain:
Botanists hurled against savage masques."

Oct 6, 2006


Two things in an interview with sound improvisor Evan Parker struck my antenna:

1) The discussion of foxes being active in the city at night. This reminds me something emphasized by Morgan during a Portland Surrealist Group meeting-- that creatures are here in the city making their own space and that this could be looked at in a surrealist light. Articles on the Flying Stone Blog ( reflect on some of these matters (see Interview with Morgan Miller; Base Poetics; Paranoiac-Critical Coyote).

I'm enlivened by encounters with night creatures in the city, though these are usually brief compared to the experience of the Trafalgar foxes. This brings to mind a possible future inquiry on human-animal relations within the city as experienced by surrealists. For my part a squirrel recently ran up to a friend and I while we were walking by a cafe, paused by our feet, then climbed on my knee as I knelt down. The squirrel made eye contact, then jumped on my shoulders for a few moments as I stood up, before calmly wandering down the other side of my body.

2) Insect sounds have given me hypnotic memories from childhood visits to my grandparents' backyard, where cicadas began their pulsing drone at dusk. I would find and sometimes collect their pristine, translucent shells, left clinging to the bark, when I climbed trees.


Monastery Bulletin: What's that squeaky sound? You got a pet mouse in your pocket or something?

Evan Parker: No, it's the woodwork, the bench...

(The next minute of the recording is drowned out by the noise of the coffee machines being cleaned with high pressure vapor.)

MB: Are this kind of sounds especially interesting to you as a musician, daily life sounds?

EP: Oh, I think I've got an ear for - maybe a bird sound, or some mysterious sound in the middle of the night. Maybe foxes. We have foxes, a lot of foxes, even in the city, because of all of those little gardens and cemeteries, the foxes find it easier to live in the city now than in the country.

MB: Maybe because there's no fox hunting in the city! We had a very close encounter with a fox at three in the morning on Trafalgar Square...

EP: They've moved in. And they're very relaxed, and more and more cool now. More at night of course than in the daytime. But you see them in the daytime sometimes. The later in the night, the more confident they become. It's like they're asking you: what are you doing up at this time? This is our time! And they stand there, they don't run away anymore. (The squeaking sound catches our attention again. Evan shifts back and forth to get some more signal.) Yeah, you're right, it's coming from here. Nice little squeaks.

MB: Sounds more like a cricket now... Do you feel a kinship with the music of insects? Some of your records have been favorably compared to insect twitterings.

EP: There's fantastic recordings from this French guy, Jean Roché, and he's for years been making recordings of bird songs from all over the world, but also sometimes insects. So there's some very good records of cicadas and crickets and... This guy started in the age of LPs, and he had various series. So some of them were edited like concerts. Some were more like classic species identification, so each track was to identify a particular species - or a survey of a particular region. And then when he liked a particular individual bird, then he would make an EP and say: this bird is a virtuoso and must be featured as an individual, this is beyond the generic or the species type, this is an individual bird with a very special - so he did a very interesting series of records, and gradually they're being transferred to CD. And also now he has younger people working, making new recordings with digital recording. It's a lot easier to do now than in the old days, going to the jungle with an analogue tape recorder.

* The longer interview this excerpt came from can be found here, under the sub-title 'Shopping with Evan Parker.'

Oct 5, 2006


The time of crows for mixed bales
Each roll of scarecrow hexes
Sunlight elopes with bland hollows thrown to a wet eclipse
Nicety digits have hidden relays of streaming silk dust

Call across the water to move a moon
I'm a spark of thought, baby shale

The codex of mingling slips its head into floating envelopes
tearing gumbo trees in its Ming dynasty library

The shovels of rain, liquid teeth

Evolutionary mechanism ice pallor
follows the changed shirt

Jul 4, 2006



Two or more people sit in a quiet, pitch-black room. The chance of habitual retinal and sonic impressions overshadowing inspiration is lessened in the dark, in the quiet that often only arrives late at night. There may or may not be instrumental music or flashes of light depending upon personal preference.

The people may use a lamp timer or other instrument to mark the end of each exchange or session by turning on the lights. They can set a timer for one minute or each person can turn on a light when the time seems right to them to do so. The goal of the experience is to record a surrational dialogue within a given, or random, duration of time. The following 'dialogue' is excerpted from my automatic writings to serve as an example of surrational communication in real-time. Very little conscious planning was involved in selecting the words.

This could also be undertaken by a single person, alone in the dark, as a 'self-dialogue.' The free-wheeling intimacy and unusual appeal of such an outpouring of 'the quantities of excitation' could spark a resonance with the hypnagogic, experiential regions that are often denied reciprocation by the social context.

Made flux by wet lives,
this shape is a falling arrow.
The wind is in a tower.

Gruesome tungsten okra might be served.

I broil the corners' laughing soap kites.

Heights of stone stairs, take away my rushing bubblegum.
The heart-beats of imps call out to fabled trees.

With water-oags, my neck-boating class,
row-row-row your boat of ice.


Where your hype ladder is boxed in lion traps,
the pretense of bat choruses' silver flame.

Scared of aluminum noise, cats reach for bums,
weave in and out of a slow pony. Flat mountains
don't exist.

Somehow they do, in mustard clangs.

Pronto is the paper ghost--search for letters to suit the body.

Jun 25, 2006


In collaboration with the London Surrealist Group who
issued the call, and with other surrealists and allies
around the world.

On the way to my first point, I met a woman with
her face painted white, who was intrigued by the idea
of the derive, and by surrealism, though she said she
knew little about them. She said she'd try her own
version of the derive once I told her the coordinates
and then left an email address during the short bus
ride. I rode to a large mall. My intention was to
wander using the second right, second left, first
right formula from the point of repulsion to the
chance locale to the points of desire, but the
desiring space sometimes intruded into, or was found
alongside, the repulsive and the chanced upon.

From the food court to the video and gaming arcade I
went, talking into a tape deck. 'War: The Final
Assault' was a game which featured an instruction
label reading 'kill boss to complete level.' 'Wing
War' was a flight and driving simulation. 'Time
Crisis' was the last game I saw as I headed for a long
hallway across the food court. I couldn't help reflect
on the tone of video 'adventures' in light of U.S.
foreign policy and the narrow outlook which saturates
this land-mass. People stared at me as I talked into
the tape deck mic.

Following my guideline directions I arrived at a
hallway leading away from the food court. Past a sign
reading 'authorized personnel only' I went through
unlocked double doors, through a short hallway, and
out onto a rooftop area, deserted but for one car. I
could only go one direction down this path which lead
to the public parking lot. Soon I descended a white
steel staircase onto a boring street and saw my
initial point of entry into the mall in the distance,
farther away than I'd imagined.

Heading east, a sudden point of desire emerged in a
parking alley behind a chinese fast-food place. This
was a deserted area without a single car or person,
quiet, and partially in the shade. A row of pine
bushes towered above me to the left from where they
lined the edge of a higher lot. A bird flew by as if
to heighten the solitary feeling of being hidden from
view for a moment, away from the prying, judging eye
of 'the public' near the rush hour. Before I left this
spot I saw one pane in a large double-paned window had
been broken. It seemed no one would notice due to
piles of boxes just inside.

The alley continued across a busy street and past a
small building labelled 'The OOOption Group.' I'd seen
this sign before and it reminded me of the Romanian
Surrealists' 'objectively offerred objects,' which
helped to auto-mythologize the 'oooption group' into a
curious secret society in my imagination. This name is
also a mix of a mistake and a pathway, as in ooops and
options. A sign read 'these premises under video
surveillance' to top it all off.

Moving through an alley behind buildings, past
several 'permanently locked' doors and security
buzzers, I found myself taking the next available turn
into a kitchen and housewares shop. The air
conditioning, shoppers, jazz on the radio, and crying
baby inside were a sudden change, and with humor I
navigated the aisles and levels of this place until I
returned to my point of entry and then set off in
another direction. I wondered when I would be asked if
I could 'be helped' but by then I'd made an exit past
the patio umbrellas onto a boring, hot and busy

A series of giant, locked doors blocked the next
intended turn, and left an uneasy impression. Past the
Epicure restaurant I found an abandoned computer by a
dumpster. A single sheet of paper lay in the
landscaping--an invoice for tropical plants, 'and a
bow' as someone had written in ink next to the print.
It was addressed to a person I haven't thought of for
years, but once was attracted to. "Could it be the
same person." She had a common last name. I moved
through an intermediate space without much to report
other than an unintelligible comment and a smile from
a woman in a passing car. Once past a house where
musician friends once lived, I realized the area was
quite a bore and decided to adopt the chance method by
getting on the next bus.

An atopos or 'useless area' became visible during
the bus ride. Located underneath a busy street's
bridge, just west of a giant bowling alley, this dirt
trail by the highway fence and bridge supports had an
allure. It could be seen only briefly from a short
stretch of road or two in the vicinity, and only
viewed completely by access from the bowling alley
parking garage. Just today as i write this I saw
people moving through and standing in the area. A
short while later I got off the bus to see graffiti,
'paulrus is dead' which appears in multiple locations.
There was a hearing aid shop in a small building near
some apartment towers. On the hearing aid shop's
outside wall were the words 'building' in black
letters. It looked like another phrase before
'building'--some official title or designation-- had
fallen off or been removed from the brick. There were
marks visible where it had once been affixed.

Across the street a bright red, ornate church door
with gold decor and round black handles stood out. A
small courtyard just to the north had been designed
with maze-like patterns of grass and concrete. It was
too tidy and controlled, but was still a somewhat
welcoming area. A nearby dumpster had been decorated
with an ambiguous drawing and the words 'defend the
earth.' I recorded fingertip drumming on a large
aluminum soap container sitting there. To cool off I
headed for a usually interesting or charming thrift
store nearby. In the thrift store I conducted the
derive past clothes and various objects, and found a
unique candle of the cat-goddess Bast or Bastet, some
recording adapters, and a book about a town I grew up
near in a different part of the country. Inside this
book was an aerial picture of a mall (another mall!) I
used to visit as a child, but the photo was taken
before I was born. In addition to this, the
architect's name was the same common name of the woman
in the tropical plant invoice.

I'd intended to explore semi-deserted industrial
spots by the Willamette river, or a series of
overgrown alleyways in the northeast residential
areas, but I was tired and hot and decided to visit
them another time, perhaps with a camera. On my way
back to the busline which would return me to my bike I
saw a pine tree with a curiously bent limb much like a
single arm waiting to be sat on. If someone were to
sit there, it would appear that the tree was telling
stories while holding them up.

I enjoyed the feeling of my motions charting a kind
of geometry on parts of the city, though I was often
tempted to resist the basic instructions. It was a
humorous discipline to maintain the 'flight path.'
Making a sustained pattern across the social
landscape, across the habitual city space, for several
hours, left me with a mild urge to continue for the
rest of the night. The residue of derive lingered upon
me, creating new perception of the commonplace

M.K. Shibek
Portland Surrealist Group

Apr 17, 2006


The Future Citizen in a mock shooting gallery on a spending spree, laden with poisonous telecom and gaming devices strung about body armor woven into brain and spine. Microchip nano-factories deposit adrenalin at biometric checkpoint, seratonin captured in research labs fanned into abyss settlements quaking with sore dust. Body a sign under postmodern regime, sign in circulation to deny the depths, sway to magnet vortex illusion skeleton shape. Stolen body returns as cyborg advert super soldier, global positioning system constraint method. Restricted sponge soaks up the past, historical debris inflates; inverted world's black light hands; the social fate that breaks our knees.