Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on April 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm



“One finds again and again the presence of another world, like a solid ocean bottom from which the restless waves of the ordinary world have drawn back; and in the image of this world there is neither measure nor precision, neither purpose nor cause: good and evil simply fall away, without any pretense of superiority, and in place of all these relations enters a secret rising and ebbing of our being with that of things and other people.”

Robert Musil, Toward A New Aesthetic, 1925



“This is the territory of the writer, the realm in which his reason reigns. While his counterpart seeks the solid and fixed, and is content when he can establish for his computations as many equations as he finds unknown, there is in the writer’s territory, from the start, no end of unknowns, of equations and of possible solutions. The task is to discover ever new solutions, connections, constellations, variables, to set up prototypes of an order of events, appealing models of how one can be human, to invent the inner person.”

Robert Musil, Sketch of What The Writer Knows, 1918








It’s another monochrome day in the Hague.

The white lilies near my window have yet to decide if to blossom or to wither.

The glass table I’m writing on is peacefully chaotic and cold.

The French radio is playing some songs in Portugese.

This is planned to be my last diary entry/post as part of what turned out to be a half year residency at Very Small Kitchen.

What have I done? What have I written about? Where was I all this time?

I’m assuming it had to do something with writing and something with art.

But what is this something? This I do not have an answer for.

What do I know now that I didn’t know before?

Well, I have a better sense of the power of the word, the desire that writing fuels upon, its singular force, its passion and its limitations.

But one should not turn to nostalgia when one concludes. The dictionary definition of conclusion states that a conclusion is when a statement or question comes to an answer or when an idea or thought is settled. The etymological origin is taken from the latin conclusio which also means blokade and/or siege. Siege also means a seat: The place where one has his seat; a home, residence, domain, empire.



Ohad Ben Shimon untitled 2012



So con-clusion might also be thought of as a space where one has a seat – a chair.

I am sitting on a chair now. I always sit on a chair when I write. I almost never tried writing while standing up or running. It might be a nice exercise but something tells me that the chair has served me as an appropriate vehicle to transport without actually moving anywhere.

Something in putting your ass on a flat surface gives rise to focus and concentration. Waking up, brushing your teeth, drinking coffee, sitting down, etc. It belongs to the world of order. And it is no coincidence that siege also refers to the anus or rectum. Order. Domination. Control.

So to conclude this residency I would like to take the opportunity to thank my chair, that has served me throughout the last half year. It can now serve as both the tool (object) and the subject of this last post – the conclusion – the seat – the chair, and by both being the subject and object of this post emancipate me and lift the dualistic burden or blockade off my shoulders or ass and let me do whatever I feel like doing at this moment which is to shake that ass.



“As is
you’re bearing

a common

Commonly known
as desire

No need
to dress

it up
as beauty

No need
to distort

what’s not

to be

Pick your

eyes ears

sex and

to show
the populace

Take your

your accuracy

Listen to

talk to

and others
will also


of the burden-
their own

and grief.

What began
as desire

will end



Allen Ginsberg, Written in My Dream by W.C Williams, 1984







The following is edited from emails between Ohad Ben Shimon and VerySmallKitchen 24-27th April 2012.


OHAD: I’m thinking we should omit the first quote, what do you say? It’s quite essential to Musil’s thinking but I’m not sure it works good with the general flow. I thought it might be nice to post it with a link which is a video work of mine from 2009. Not sure yet I want to use it. Let me know what you think. I also like the idea of a video link of Beyonce and 50 Cent doing shake that ass/naughty girl. Not sure about that.

VERYSMALLKITCHEN: There’s something good about the Musil pair – how it emphasizes that returning to, repeating, in new arrangements/ formations of words, the attempt to define the “another world” and/or the “territory of the writer.”

Reading your text I’m thinking about what Blanchot says about the writer as the figure removed from the world of action into the world of literature which then, at the works completion, excludes the writer who ends up in “essential solitude.” About this, too, from the new The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard:



        You know, it’s really funny this kind of writing. This “trying to be honest” kind of writing. For several years now I’ve been doing it, and getting better and better at it. Getting closer and closer to a point (a place) in my head I call the truth.
        But now I’m beginning to doubt that very point (That very place).
        I mean, what I’ve been working towards just isn’t there anymore (Zap.)
        Do you know what I mean?
        I mean, the closer I get to the truth the less I know what the truth is.
        Wish I could make myself more clear but ——– right now I can’t.” (313)



Perhaps your video dramatises what Brainard asks: as a work and a practice as a whole unfolds: what do you get closer to? And what are you thinking about the Beyonce and 50 Cent? I like its provocation, erupting into this select gathering of Musil, Ginsberg and Williams but-

OHAD: Lets skip Beyonce. It was just a dancing feeling I was in at that time. Maybe you get closer to an image. an image of your self but also an image as such.

a clear image. a crystallization of a sort. see through the clouds, the hard times, the chaos, the struggle, the life of an artist. you find out that it’s a lot about a certain image of an artist but beyond or underlining this image or myth of the artist there is something pure, something child-like something magnificent that should be cherished and I don’t care anymore about what the fuck society or my parents or whoever else thinks an artist is. an artist, and art is the essence of life. anybody can tell me differently but fuck that.





there is always this self doubt… especially in jewish traditions…do not make a not make an image, etc. the 10 commandments. fuck that.

you command yourself daily to sit at that fucking chair and do the job. i do not know many people who do that with such belief besides the pope and that is where art meets religion. but it just meets. it goes on to a new and yet unknown territories. and this is the quest. this is the journey. if you are a writer or painter or sculpture or whatever this is your quest. going there. to that place. figuring out. finding out what its about. focus is essential. and in a way solitude might be a consequence but you don’t choose for solitude. you chose for something bigger than yourself. you chose for life. and for the good in life.

i see the points alongside this quest in mathematical terms as i explained in my previous exhibition at 1646 in the hague. they are derivatives. you derive certain things along this time line that is called life or the process of art you are busy with and those derivatives are meaningful. somehow its like you are packing your bag along your quest and not from the get go. and these derivatives can and will serve you and others along the way.

the way is forward. art is essential and people are good and bad and both. so as i said just shake that ass.






This is the final post of Ohad Ben Shimon’s VerySmallKitchen residency. See also post one, two, three, four, five, and a correspondence with Ariel Goldberg.

More about Ohad’s work is here.





In Uncategorized on April 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm



VerySmallKitchen writes: Ron Padgett has edited a beautiful edition of THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOE BRAINARD, recently published by Library of America. It includes the full text of I Remember as well as facsimiles of several small press chapbooks, including Bolinas Journal and The Cigarette Book (his work as visual artist was the subject of Joe Brainard: A Retrospective at the Berkeley Art Museum in 2001).

The Collected Writings  begins with I Remember, which, for a long time – courtesy of Granary Books – has been the only text of Brainard’s in print. Poet Tim Dlugos could joke – as early as 1977, in one of two interviews included here- “You’re remembered for I Remember… (Both Laugh).” Its 138 pages start off:


I remember the first time I got a letter that said “After Five Days Return To” on the envelope, and I thought that after I had kept the letter for five days I was supposed to return it to the sender.

I remember the kick I used to get going through my parents’ drawers looking for rubbers. (Peacock.)

I remember when polio was the worst thing in the world.

I remember pink dress shirts. And bola ties.(5)


I Remember combines two types of writing found throughout this book: the diaries, written for publication and often arranged by place or time – as in Bolinas Journal, “Washington D.C. Journal 1972” and “Diary 1969” – alongside short prose pieces on a particular subject or object.

These later pieces are not necessarily removed from the ongoing process of diary-making-for-publication, showing Brainard’s intelligence and humour moving through various minimal forms of writing and sequencing, such as the constraint and consequences of writing sentences that begin “I remember…” As Brainard tells Dlugos, this invokes a particular sort of “I” and memoir:


Well, I have a terrible memory, for one thing. I can’t remember anything. But then I began to realize that beyond that point there is another level of knowledge that could be triggered off. It wasn’t really useful knowledge unless it was triggered off; then I sort of used up that and there kept being more and different layers of things that were hidden. It isn’t really there spontaneously. So I got into that. I  was unaware of it, for one thing, that all that was retained.  (499)


See also: “Twenty-three Mini-Essays” and “Towards a Better Life (Eleven Exercises)” alongside often less than a page length works on “Thirty” or “Sex,” “Ron Padgett” or “A Depressing Thought.”



Joe Brainard, Bolinas Journal (Big Sky Press, 1971).



If there is a dominant stylistic element connecting both of these modes, it is Brainard’s sentiment that “Writing, for me, is a way of “talking” the way I wish I could talk.” The various forms and styles in The Collected Writings can be seen as an exposition of this statement, mostly through a kind of talking-prose-style, but also texts foregrounding line breaks and lyricism as structural devices, or, as in The Cigarette Book, through hand writing, annotation, illustration and collage…

This writing-talking relationship gets most concentrated in numerous short works in proximity to the demands of aphorism, koan, epigram and witticism, such as “30 One-Liners,” which mines a playful shared ground of profundity and the mundane. To quote four from the middle of this collection:



Male early in the day.


One can only go so far without potatoes in the kitchen.


A mother is something we have all had.


Every four minutes a car comes off the assembly line they say. (415)


Throughout The Collected Writings, a crucial dynamic is an intimate self that is also a self-conscious literary creation, connected to a chronicle of a particular social and artistic scene, through what Brainard calls “this “trying to be honest” kind of writing.” (313)


Joe Brainard in his studio


This is a practical matter of names, places, emotions, conversations, events that become notated in published writing, but Brainard expresses it on a grander scale in a letter to Anne Waldman:


I am way, way up these days over a piece I am still writing called I Remember. I feel very much like God writing the Bible. I mean, I feel like I am not really writing it but that it is because of me that it is being written. I also feel that it is about everybody else as much as it is about me. And that pleases me. I mean, I feel like I am everybody. And it’s a nice feeling. It won’t last. But I am enjoying it while I can. (xviii)


Aged thirty seven, Brainard ceases both exhibition of his visual work and writing for publication. As Paul Auster observes in his introduction here, there are many theories around Brainard’s withdrawal from publication and exhibition, including burn out, a sense of personal failure, and an  unwillingness or inability to engage with an increasingly competitive art world, when, for Brainard, writing and art making was principally linked to (Ann Lauterbach’s words) “devoted camaraderie and generative collaboration.”

I wondered, separate from this biographical information, what story emerges from the work itself. I skipped around in my reading of this book and when skipping from beginning to end I was struck by the change in Nothing to Write About Home, a final collection of prose pieces, published by Little Ceasar Press in 1981.

Here a text like “My Friend” seems to extend and fulfill an earlier mode of writing, taking it to near collapse under its own realised attributes. A writing that prepares the ground for something new, which, as far as published writing goes, was a not-doing:



There’s this one little bug – so tiny really – say an eighth of an inch long, and as thin as a sliver – with a very simple and symmetrical design finely enameled upon the shell of his body in red and green – as sophisticated as a zinnia bud, or an Art Deco cigarette case – that is just so beautiful – so worthy in my enthusiasm of being glorified into a central window of a major European cathedral – that has been living on a particularly large sunflower leaf for over a week now. I check him out daily. Never really expecting him to still be there, as with each day more so, it does seem to be a lot to expect. But there he still is – (or was this morning) – : my friend. And like a rock by chance encountered, all mine. To microscopically indulge in. To romanticize. (To write about!) Passing on to you what I find to be so very special – a snapshot – to make life more realistic and rememberable, for me too. (481)


For Auster any theory has to take into account how much the subject of Brainard’s writing was youth itself:


Brainard disarms us with the seemingly tossed-off, spontaneous nature of his writing and his stubborn refusal to accede to the pieties of self-importance. We must remember that he was very young when the wildest pieces in this collection were written – still in his twenties – and what these little works capture most fully, it seems to me, is precisely a sense of youth, the laughter of youth, the energy of youth, for in the end they are not really about anything so much as what it means to be young, that hopeful, anarchic time when all horizons are open to us and the future appears to be without limits. (xxv)


Or as Brainard himself had earlier commented of the perceived unfolding of his writing trajectory:


      You know, it’s really funny this kind of writing. This “trying to be honest” kind of writing. For several years now I’ve been doing it, and getting better and better at it. Getting closer and closer to a point (a place) in my head I call the truth.
But now I’m beginning to doubt that very point (That very place).
I mean, what I’ve been working towards just isn’t there anymore (Zap.)
Do you know what I mean?
I mean, the closer I get to the truth the less I know what the truth is.
Wish I could make myself more clear but ——– right now I can’t.” (313)


This ambition and, as Auster proposes, non-tragic crisis, are amongst the reasons why Brainard seems so connected to many contemporary practices. Such a list could continue by thinking about the humor of his work; its concern with everyday sociality become publication and performance; the focus on situations of “camaraderie and generative collaboration”; the hopeful, pleasurable mixture of conceptual and conversational tonalities…



Tamarin Norwood, Musica Practica. Photo by Stefan Fuhrmann taken at Late at Tate: Diffusions, 4 February 2011.



Those who come most immediately to mind here are Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch’s  Ten Walks/ Two Talks ( Pop Poetics: Reframing Joe Brainard by Fitch is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive) and, for all the reasons above, the performances and texts of Patrick Coyle and Tamarin Norwood. Perhaps, though, Brainard as legacy in 2012 inhabits the same paradoxical condition Brainard proposed and inhabited when he wrote the short text “No Story”, which reads in its entirety:


I hope you have enjoyed not reading this story as much as I have enjoyed not writing it. (436)




VerySmallKitchen was delighted to re-print Joe Brainard’s “Wednesday July 7th, 1971 (A Greyhound Bus Trip)”, published for the first time in The Collected Writings.

Thanks to Max Rubin and Library of America for permission to reprint. The text was available here from 27/05/12 until 28/05/12.





More about Joe Brainard here and THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOE BRAINARD here.





In Uncategorized on April 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

SJ Fowler, Work in progress: The Revenge of Miguel Cotto for the London Sinfonietta Blue Touch Paper scheme (2012)




The latest VSK Chapbook is LEAVES by SJ Fowler. It is available for online consumption and PDF download here. It begins:



were it not for the spines
would it rather not be fish backwards
is it remarkable how
much pain
the bodies can endures?
the spiny po
               cket puffer grenade
the oligarch, raping his maid
spread, like the kit
they call a test
that happens afterwards a fall






tap a hole right into the humunc
a tap, or knife, or screw
whether it would then pour
or been boiled, to sugary, don’t know
but the men thereon
were making most of water
& stuck when a hole in them
like a tree syrup did leak out
& they died






to comparison a human hand
laid out all flat
would rather gone at the start
of Alien
on the eve of the release of Prometheus
                               {bam bam bam bam-bam}
I am Theon Greyjoy
an easy way to loose a leaf
to drag bird shaped rocks
from coal, as a cloud
& assuming, nothing
will now abstain from filth
& mischief
a lost dog still must ‘strain its greens’
as fingers that remain attached
were not meant to remain








LEAVES was written for and first performed at Evergreen, X Marks the Bökship, London on March 30th 2012, part of an evening of readings, performances and soup around the theme of leaves, curated by VerySmallKitchen for the London visit of Márton Koppány.










moving in, as a profession
like marching
& now not to bring sheets
but plenty for the stuffing
the greened
& brown flitter, the dropped
a mattress made of what isdead
& wonder, as are you a eunuch, of sorts
when they took your cushion
did they remove the pillow cases too?






if one only
leaves were dry
we would do
to gyms, to learn how to fall?
rather to promote & produce
thick & furious as intestinal
to be a leafed, with rib
run like android wires
from our temple to our dick








Continue reading here. More about SJ Fowler’s work is here.

Other work from EVERGREEN by Claire Potter is here and seekers of lice here.







In Uncategorized on April 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Photo: March Gutt




Take a leaf out of  my book – believe me – I lief would – leaves of grass – leaf thin gold leaf –  leaf mulch  – leafing through something thumbing pages flicked through dog-eared –  turning over a new leaf  – the Manyoshu or Collection of 10,000 Leaves is the first major anthology of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime about 760 AD and containing over 4500 poems – “…your thoughts disheveled like your morning hair” – leaf green is chlorophyll – Indian Yellow was made from the urine of cattle fed on mango leaves, a cruel process finally banned in 1908 – I went into the garden to cut a cabbage leaf – Margaret, are you grieving / Over Goldengrove unleaving? / Leaves, like the things of man, you / With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? – next to humans, leafcutter ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth – they feed on a fungus created from a mixture of the ants’ fluid and freshly cut leaves which exists only in Leafcutters’ nests – each year winged females and males leave their nests en masse and engage in a nuptial flight known as the revoada – each female mates repeatedly to collect the 300 million sperm she needs to set up a colony – to start her own fungus garden, the queen stores bits of the parental fungus garden mycelium in her infrabuccal pocket –  most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves – Clarice Lispector complained that some of the translators of her novels from the original Portuguese removed the prickles from the cactus by translating away her awkwardness –  write carelessly so that nothing that is not green will survive – you who were the smooth bark, roundness and leaf of my words – Daphne escaping from Apollo’s unwanted advances metamorphosing into a tree, fingers turning to leaves – the tears of the Heliades, sisters of Phaethon who drove the Sun God’s chariot too close to the sun, their tears becoming amber as they became poplar trees – in old books when coloured plates were tippped in, a leaf of tissue lay between the text and the plate for protection, so that each illustration was seen first through a veil – leaves can show many different degrees of hairiness for which botany has a very precise vocabulary – leaves can for example be hirsute, bearded, bristly, pubescent, floccose, glabrescent – glabrescent leaves lose hairs with age – leaves as camouflage covering ghillie suits – on location a ghillie suit is customized with twigs and leaves commom to that habitat – these local additions must be changed every few hours as the leaves and green grasses wilt – leaves are carried by the soldiers as Great Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane and Macbeth is vanquished – the trees are coming into leaf like something almost being said – leaf and stick insects camouflage themselves by their uncanny mimesis of particular leaves – Antonio Pigafetta sailing with Ferdinand Magellan’s circum-navigational expedition writes: “In this island are also found certain trees, the leaves of which, when they fall, are animated, and walk. They are like the leaves of the mulberry tree, but not so long; they have the leaf stalk short and pointed, and near the leaf stalk they have on each side two feet. If they are touched they escape, but if crushed they do not give out blood. I kept one for nine days in a box. When I opened it the leaf went round the box. I believe they live upon air” – leaf-like camouflage is used by many different species including frogs and fish – leaf red is erythrophyll – certain bats are leaf-nosed, having a leaflike appendage on the snout – botanically a leaflet is a division of a compound leaf –  commonly it is a small-sized leaf of paper containing printed matter often for free  distribution – airborne leaflet propaganda is a form of psychological warfare in which leaflets or flyers are scattered from the air – there are six different functions of airborne leaflet propaganda which have been used over the past century – in  Isaac Babel’s1920 Diary detailing his time as a war correspondent with the Red Cavalry he describes the great power of Soviet Union leaflets brought to them by defectors from the Polish army – later he finds a Polish leaflet –  “Touching, sad, without the steel of Bolshevik slogans, no promises and words like order, ideals and living in freedom. Victory will be ours!” – but it wasn’t – Duchamp’s wedding present to his sister Suzanne was the instruction for a readymade – she was to hang a geometry book by strings on the balcony of their apartment “so that the wind could go through the book, choose its own problems, turn and tear out the pages” –  wind in the leaves The Unhappy Readymade – disparaging the seriousness of a book full of principles – in its exposure to the weather “the treatise seriously got the facts of life” – a leaf scar is the cicatrix left on the bark by separation of the leaf stalk of a fallen leaf – Duchamp’s concept of the infrathin refers to the invisible yet nevertheless defining qualities of objects or materials which are part of a temporally defined process – Duchamp believed that the infrathin can only be described by examples, such as the difference between a clean shirt and the same shirt worn once – the lingering warmth of a seat when someone has just vacated it – a leaf‘s thickness of difference – the victor wears a crown of laurel leaves – The Laurel, meed of mighty Conquerors / And Poets sage… The Willow worn of forlorn Paramours –  poisonous leavesleaves of three, let them be  –  deadly nightshade or belladonna is one of the most toxic plants in the Western hemisphere –ingestion of a single leaf can be fatal to an adult  –  salad leaves  – skeleton leafleaf print – leaf line leaves on the line, a common cause of train delays –  in the UK a number of rail companies change their timings and publish special “leaf fall timetables” – the French word for leaf is feuille –  millefeuille is a classic French pastry cake popularized by Carême –  it consists of three pieces of puff pastry sandwiched with cream – classic puff pastry correctly made has 729 layers of butter between 730 leaves of pastry so millefeuille has 2190 leaves  –  feuilleton from feuillet / sheet of paper / little leaf is the part of a European newspaper containing reviews and articles of general entertainment –  on the Beaufort wind scale leaves rustle in a light breeze – in a gentle breeze leaves and small twigs are in constant motion – in a moderate breeze dust and leaves are raised up – I found it out, what love is all about / And every day at three, when school lets out / I see my baby, I get weak in the knees / Ain’t nothin’ shakin’ but the leaves on the trees


LEAF/ LEAVES was written for and first performed at Evergreen, X Marks the Bökship, London on March 30th 2012, part of an evening of readings, performances and soup around the theme of leaves, curated by VerySmallKitchen for the London visit of Márton Koppány. Other work from the night by Claire Potter is here.


More about seekers of lice is here. See also LILMP and CREAMY LANGUAGE.



In Uncategorized on April 16, 2012 at 9:59 am


         It’s true. Bulah and Bill Brown did little more than move from the flats of the their backs to the chairs at the arse-end of the room for years. They’d been packing to go back to Jamaica when she fell down the stairs carrying a box. She had to go in for a double knee operation which took her off her feet and then he wasn’t far behind her with his leg ulcers. After that it was bed to chair, chair to bed, bed to chair, chair to bed. That’s what happens to most of them when they come home; physios attend to people who aren’t about to kick the bucket, it’s just how it is. People end up trapped and they have to carry it. So in place of walking, when they can’t just leave the room, can’t walk away from a situation, they do other things; new skills, routines, new structures – trying to make sense of being stuck.

Yu nah ‘ear meh, mi seh, ‘Come!’’

         I was warned from the outset she was a bit of a nightmare, Bulah, something to be reckoned with as one manager put it. After the operation some years before I’d met her, she started to develop what the plan called as a keen sensibility for order: a neurosis. In practice this meant the placement of things and sequence of events were keys to her mood. If you happened to follow the protocol, you were treated warmly, you’d come fi see Nana, but out of line at all and you were nothing but a damn maid.

         ‘Ok, so once you’ve logged in with the phone let her finish with her papers or whatever she’s doing, then it’s phone-on-bed, table-down-the-bottom and then get the Stand Aid. Don’t bring the Stand Aid in first, she’ll think you’re rushing and she doesn’t like people rushing. And word to the wise, put the harness on from the back – you’ll only catch her with the Velcro.’

Looord av manna!
Yeh try tek mi eye owt!
Bill! She try fi tek mi eye out!
Damn foolishness! Owt! Yu nah know wha-fi do – Owt!’

         Each slip added new scare stories to her legacy and she knew it. I could see it in her sly side glances. Crafty like a lawyer, she could make use of anything to prove her point, any point, so it was with awe and watchful caution that I began taking tea with Bulah. Bill however, I took to Bill like my granddad, he did the same quick winks. It wasn’t a useful association as it happens.

         For a while I was telling myself it was the fourteenth the last time she looked into my leaves. I liked the sort of anxiety it gave me – the date being the same number as their house – but in fact we had tea on other days after that, I just can’t remember them. Tea on the fourteenth has eclipsed all other teas. It was the reading on that day that brought us the weasel blocking the seal – someone untrustworthy in the home, two figures carrying baskets, and the worst and most sickening of all the symbols in the tea leaves, the sign that eventually sent me under, a rock and a motor in conjunction with a wavy line.

         ‘Just forget about the remote control – don’t keep picking at it. He could have waited, the daughter was coming back at eleven, you know he could have waited. Just try to remember that. No one saw this coming, it’s nobody’s fault.’

         What the seer reads is in accordance with the muscular action of the arm as controlled by the brain of whomever consults the leaves. I looked that up the day I heard the news. It means that the symbols Bulah read in the tea leaves were of me, like a trace of myself in the cup. But not like a footprint, it wasn’t an impression of me, an outline, and not containing either, not like flaked dead skin, but somehow behind things. At base, that’s what I couldn’t shake, this behindness, the code of it, what happened when the symbols were combined and how I fitted into that. A symbol of a tree means a tree, it means one tree, but two symbols of trees, three symbols of trees – well that’s something else isn’t it, that’s a place. Somehow an unlocatable woods is created through combination of two symbols of a tree. That’s what did me in the end. This thinking. I just couldn’t distance myself from the structures, from all the associations; things just kept on unpacking.

         The rock, motor and wavy lines being in conjunction warned of some forthcoming alarm in connection with a motor expedition, but the episode would be in the distance, would be remote.

         ‘Twigs and stems! Woman yu likea chil – look-fi pichas in thee fyah!’

         Bill wasn’t keen on it, there was no good in it. He told me to go on about my business, come change his catheter bag, go make him a chocolate. Bulah encouraged my interest she always called it a natural curiosity, but it’s what she said to me that day that’s inscribed the date on me like this, that gave it all more weight. She said it was my doing, the message, and she made it sound so plausible; the mind moves the arm that writes the leaf.

         ‘Right, so you’ve got her in bed and she’s comfortable, now it’s table-up-the-side, teeth-top-right, put the glucose tablets on the near right and the phone to the front in case of emergencies. She does wear a Life Line button round her neck – which she’s got a better chance of reaching if anything does happen – but she just feels better with the phone there.’

         Before Bill died, Bulah read my leaves. She didn’t do it once he’d gone. He had pressed for the backrest to go all the way up, going for the telly button I had wrongly placed just out of reach, and he had fallen, out of the bed, down the gap between the unit and the chest of draws. His asthma attack brought on his heart attack and so he died: trying and reaching. I see him doubled, with legs in the air, stuffed down fleshy into the corner, Bulah crying out and pulling at the cord, grasping at the receiver as he had done for the remote.


TEA LEAVES was written for and first performed at Evergreen, X Marks the Bökship, London on March 30th 2012, part of an evening of readings, performances and soup around the theme of leaves, curated by VerySmallKitchen for the London visit of Márton Koppány.
More about Claire Potter’s work is here.


In Uncategorized on April 14, 2012 at 10:33 am




friends and enemies



(stockhausen’s childhood)
the french were our enemies
and the english were our enemies
and the italians were our friends
and the spanish were the friends
and the japanese were the friends
and the russians were the friends
(but that changed a year later;
then the russians were enemies as well)
and the finnish were friends, etc.
I did not know what to do with this.




(childhood friends)
the russians were our enemies
and the americans were our friends
and the french were our friends
and the italians were our friends
and the british were our friends
and the communists were our enemies
and the capitalists were our friends
and we did not know what to do about it.




(adult enemies)
the americans are no longer our friends
and the russians are no longer our enemies
but the muslims are our enemies
and the immigrants are our enemies
and the terrorists are our enemies
and the gypsies are our enemies
and we do not know where it all will lead.





composition militaire

komm, position!





composition traumatique

et: rien.




composition post-traumatique

1) ballon
2) ex(ballon)nation

ça suffit.





it is only getting better/
it is only getting worse/
it is only getting better/
it is only getting worse/
it is only getting
i                          bet





human involution
eh, vos solutions?)
human beings are not the same
human beings are not insane
human beings are not to blame







In an email to VerySmallKitchen 08/01/12, Cia Rinne writes:


I think that working with visual poetry and conceptual pieces is often like an escape, a sphere where you can neglect rules, concentrate on such – seen in a wider perspective – ridiculous things as language, meaning, and sound, so maybe they are not explicit. I feel that if I want to say something important I should rather do it in a text; although there are many pieces reflecting my other practice, working with the Roma for instance, I would not want conceptual writing to become a mere means for an agenda. It can feel like mere luxury to be working with such pieces when you have knowledge of what is happening in the world however, so I guess a balance is good and necessary both ways.


For more about Cia Rinne see the online work archives zaroum at Afsnit P. An interview with SJ Fowler as part of the Maintenant project is here.

See also sounds for soloists and Ubuweb’s edition of zaroum and notes for soloists here. The two books were released as a single volume in France last year by Le clou dans le fer.