San Diego Poetry Guild

notes on guild, poetry, and San Diego


Field Report #2: Equanimity

Following Jordan Davis's June 20th link to Steve Evans's Third Factory got me wondering about the use of blogs as, for some, sometimes, reverse chronology feedback loops.

Equanimity refers:

"This narcissistic process of salvation by palindrome..." -- Steve Evans notes a sentence beginning this way in the Times' coverage of the mapping of the Y chromosome.

Third Factory refers back:

Equanimity relies on outside stimuli (me too).

They're not talking about the same thing at this point, are pursuing somewhat different conversations. Yet the interchange continues, uninterrupted, reciprocally, and in the midst of other exchanges duly noted, remarked upon, referred to. And Evans has it right: "outside stimuli" (see below for Davis's version) and reliance I think as a kind of steady, healthy diet.

Blog recursivity is pretty commonplace now. The best are simply in it together, and a good chunk of the blogging game requires the kind of indefatigable attention to other sites, other situations, as dramatized so effectively by these and other bloggers.

Equanimity stands out for me, though, as one of perhaps three or four real-time diurnals whose daily feedback loops, as instances of captured attention, also capture reader attention and hold it well. I read it the same way I scan headlines or offerings at the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, for signs of the familiar and unfamiliar, the shocking and tantalizing.

At turns news flash, status report (listening to..., now reading...), play-by-play, aphorism, tissue of quotations, link farm, blogger update, and gratuitous bio, Equanimity cannot necessarily deliver what it promises in name, but as its elsewhere-stated "goal," equanimity is nonetheless properly noted (dreamed of) in passing. Therein lies the fun of it, maybe: equanimity in passing.

The structure and look of it make pretty good sense. First of all, I've seen few others, if any, in this community dare to make good on the robot template. And the daily mouthful of news bites, blog updates, etc., fill up the screen's center field, fleshing out the robot body with bits and pieces simultaneously devoured and dished out (links to elsewhere). Bot-body as boxy placard too, or refrigerator front, or army of post-it notes loosely coordinated in pursuit of composure during rough times.

Equanimity comes one day at a time and, naturally, in reverse order. I haven't quite figured out (maybe somebody else has) what it means to read the addendum before the document, the follow-up before the pre-thought. As victims of top-down reading habits, perhaps we should celebrate the way blog archiving protocols basically gut the surprise of chronological reading, or at least thwart, torque, fuck with those habits and demand perpetual readjustments on behalf of what I will soon read based on trace lineaments of what I just read.

In other words, knowing the yield of past inscriptions (as their conclusions, corrections, etc.) before we actually get to them makes for some trippy and perhaps unsettling states of mind, as both recorded in this work and experienced in the reading. I'm willing to believe that's partly the point, whether intentional or not: to disassemble the past via preemptive assemblies in the present. Kind of like cognition, or like your average day, whose sunset is always curiously absorptive to the point of ousting, displacing, its respective sunrise.

Anyway, Equanimity is about time in passing as much as the passing of time. Here's a quick sample, chosen (I admit) because it shows (1) how the minutes accrue even as they get dashed off and dispersed, (2) the sweep of attention in pursuit of equanimity, and (3) the interstices of reverse time, compressed into sometimes funny (but often not) one-liners:

Listening to a Bedhead compilation Brandon proferred.

Jordan - 1:40 PM

The kicker at the top of the FT today asks: "Is Iraq Bush's Chechnya? The US finds peace tougher than war...
PLUS Why can't we help being nasty to the help desk? LUCY KELLAWAY"

Jordan - 12:01 PM

One set of responses to this questionnaire lines me up 100% with Kucinich, 94% with Kerry, 80% with Dean. -6% with Larouche.

Jordan - 12:00 PM

Brandon Downing advises me that the Euro notes circulating in Germany are contaminated. BBC.

Jordan - 11:59 AM

Relying on outside stimulus pretty heavily to get through being conscious. What's that compulsion about. (Dream of the train making a right angle turn past the heavily-guarded observatory...)

Jordan - 11:50 AM

Listening to the 13th Floor Elevators' Easter Everywhere.

Jordan - 11:49 AM

Listening to The Tony Williams Lifetime's Emergency!

Jordan - 10:25 AM

Funky cold medea. Carl Annarummo.

Jordan - 10:18 AM

Third public piece, last minute, he starts rocking out a la Troggs.

Jordan - 10:04 AM

Blogs (especially this one) emphasize the diurnal in the journal. Of or during the day (i.e., not nocturnal), daily, active in the daytime (don't let the "PM" fool you), Equanimity and blogs like it are to journal-writing what, say, Fluxus is to performance art: not so much epitome or quintessence as reification through repetition and persistence. And all in the present: "Stephen Kirbach is talking..." (June 23, 4:11 PM); "Richard Wolin debunks..." (ibid, 3:17 PM).

I confess that one of the things that brings me back to Equanimity (if not equanimity) is the promise of being able to look over the shoulder of the one kid in class who's actually done the homework. Others do it too, I know, but I for one have found my preferred cheat-sheet in the deceptively wispy but otherwise far-reaching and informative jottings of Equanimity.

The "news" it plays with is always part national/international, part local/personal. In these combinatory transcodings of current events, I find a certain comfort, if not peace of mind, in the pairing of Rumsfeld and Caterina, Bush and Gary Sullivan. Blogs, like the Web in general, have the potential to distort the scaling agendas of big-power players. Perhaps there is something proactive in keeping tuned to a world that occurs variously and on several coincident, if not competing, stages. In Equanimity, things happen everywhere, all the time, and it pays to pay attention on all fronts, all things being equal.

In sum, a daily trip to Equanimity eases the pain somewhat in times of misfortune. All in legitimate pursuit of that elusive even mind.


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