Archive for August, 2012


The Falling Cow

Somewhere on the internet there needs to be a good, high-res, big, static picture of “The Falling Cow” without the inner spine of a book interfering with the image and also with enough context around it, especially so you can see what looks like a smoky trail or a shadow-ghost of the falling cow.

The falling cow was painted using the spray technique, which means the artist put pigment in his/her mouth and mixed it with saliva and blew the paint through a tube or used pre-made liquid paint and then put the liquid paint in his/her mouth and blew it through a tube. However, the muzzle and horns were painted with a brush. The current idea for explaining why “The Flying Cow” was painted this way is because the surface was too bumpy to paint with a brush.

You should also be aware that this one of the few paintings that portrays movement. Most images are of static animals.

Originally, “The Falling Cow” was called “The Leaping Cow” or “The Jumping Cow.” But on closer examination, which can’t be done with this image, you can see the legs are up against the adbomen. The right hind leg can actually be seen through the cow’s (auroch’s) body. The arrangement of the legs suggests falling instead of flying. I, however, wonder if it is being dragged to the right or if it is flying to the left. Maybe it fell out of the wall where the shadow spot is or maybe it is falling in.

Also notice part of the body is in red.

Most important is the red quadrangular sign near the auroch’s mouth. What is that? A trap? A signature? A shamanistic image from the beginning of a trance? Why are there so many?

Here’s the picture of “The Falling Cow” with the surrounding images.

The Falling Cow with Surroundings

Click the image to see it bigger.

Here is “The Falling Cow” without the surroundings.

The Falling Cow alone“The Falling Cow” is located on the right wall of the Axial Gallery in the Lascaux Cave in France.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 121 – Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009

Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009Tonight concludes the first week as student and teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi. It was only a half week, but, man, it felt full – for sure . . . and busy. So this evening, I’m just going to relax and recover, because this all starts up again tomorrow morning when I make syllabus plans for the next week of teaching ENG 101.

Tonight’s wine is Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009. Bonus, I will use the decanter for the first time in my Hattiesburg Hacienda.

When I was looking for images of this bottle, I kept finding returns with “Martín Códax Ergo Tempranillo” or variations on the order of words. I just looked on the back of the bottle, and “Martín Códax” is there. I think it is the vineyard. According to Wikipedia:

Martín Códax was a Galician medieval jogral (non-noble composer and performer — as opposed to a trobador), possibly from Vigo, Galicia, in present day Spain. He may have been active during the middle of the thirteenth century, judging from scriptological analysis (Monteagudo 2008). He is one of only two out of a total of 88 authors of cantigas d’amigo who uses only the archaic strophic form aaB (a rhymed distich followed by a refrain). And he also employs an archaic rhyme-system whereby i~o / a~o are used in alternating strophes. In addition Martin Codax consistently deploys a strict parallelistic technique known as leixa-pren [. . . ]. His dates, however, remain unknown and there is no documentary biographical information concerning the poet.

And then a little more research tells me:

Bodegas Martín Códax was founded in 1986 and was named after the most known Galician troubadour whose medieval poems, the oldest of Galician-Portuguese language, are preserved. In the poems, the troubadour sings to love and to the sea of our coastline (

Sweet: School. Decanter. Wine. Friday. Poet. It’s on baby. It’s on.

The color is dark maroon with hints of light purple or pink. It’s about 80 percent opaque.

Thee nose is spicy and with dark berries and with some dirt. To me it smells like what Spain would smell like near the Atlantic Ocean or the Straight of Gibraltar. Yes, I’m actually picking up salty sea air odors, and I picked up before using that quote about who the wine was named after. Ok. . . . A little more research shows me that this winery is in northwest Spain and right close to the Atlantic Ocean.

Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley

Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley

The winery is in Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley.

A little more research suggests the vineyard is closer to the Mediterranean Sea and in northeast Spain.

But if I think about it some more, Rioja is in central northern Spain.

Ergo, ha, I don’t where the hell this place is.

Arg. Nonetheless, it’s near salty water and I can smell it. It’s in there, damn it.

I had this wine the other day, and I thought it was okay. Today it’s a bit more tart and drier than I remember. The berries taste lighter than they smelled. It’s not as fruity or fruit forward as I thought it may be or remembered. There’s a bit of dark chocolate in here somewhere, too. And some plums.

It’s a pretty good wine. Certainly it’s 88 points, but I don’t think 89 points. It’s a good everyday Tempranillo. Have some. I think it might go well with some spicy shrimp sushi or well-cooked barbecued chicken.//


Holmes’ Hattiesburg Hideaway

There ain’t much to this post. It’s just a short video of my new apartment so my family can see what happening. Non-family members can also watch.

This video has been updated. It’s the same video, but the video and audio are now aligned and the video quality is better.

Updated 8-21-12.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 120 – Tittarelli Tempranillo Reserva 2005

Tittarelli Tempranillo Reserva 2005I went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond yesterday to pick up  a $2 wine glass, because it has to be better than drinking out of that mini-jelly-jam-mason-jar-wine-glass from the Juiciest Wine Tour Day 119. And tonight I will test it out on Tittarelli Tempranillo Reserva 2005 because there’s nothing else to do, and the daily late-afternoon/early-evening thunderstorm has come and gone, and my stuff won’t arrive from New York until Monday, so bottoms up.

Wow, that’s a big picture of that bottle. I took it with my two-month old Galaxy S II phone, and it takes huge pictures. The original size was like 12″ x 44″. I tried to shrink it down, but I guess I didn’t shrink it enough. If you click on it, you can get an even bigger image. (I should have kept the resolution at 72 when I shrunk the size, but I made it 300 dpi for a better pic, which is probably why it’s still so big. Ok. Boring.)

According to Cellar Tracker, “Tempranillo is the premium red wine grape variety from the Rioja and Ribera del Duero region in Spain,” but this one is from Argentina. I love Tempranillo, but I’ve never had one from below the equator. (Cellar Tracker is somehow associated with Grape Stories, which is a place where I put these reviews, too, but an abbreviated version. If you like wine, and want to know about any bottle of wine you can find, they probably have a review of it there.)

Enough chit chat. To the wine. Allons-y.

This wine has been opened (as well as the back door) and in glass for over 30 minutes. It’s a new world wine, so it should definitely be ready to drink by now.

The nose has leather, smoke, pepper, and dark currants and maybe watermelon. It smells like a picnic on the edge of a forest. I’m waiting from drunken woodland creatures and ungulates to stagger out. [Wait for it.]

The color is a dark maroon, and it has long, sexy, colorful legs. The meniscus is short and dark, but not as dark as the wine.

It’s very dry on the taste and finish, which tastes cheap.

The taste is herbaceous and it makes my mouth pucker as if I had just sucked on some alum. I can find dark, sour cherries, too.

I don’t know what I think about this wine. It certainly lacks the soul of a Spanish Tempranillo.

Bleu cheese would probably go good with this. I don’t recommend drinking wine with chicken wings, even though I have, but if you do want to combine wings and wine, this might be the wine to do it with. . . . Ah, man, will I ever find good wings down here in the deep, deep south. Now I’m hungry for chicken wings. Sigh. I guess I’ll have a chicken Waldorf salad instead. [Read the last two sentences like Eeyore for the true tonal effect.]


Where are the chicken wings in this rainy, rainy Hattiesburg? Oh where? Oh Where?

So this really isn’t a good wine, especially as a Tempranillo. Eeyore says, “And a new wine glass didn’t even save it.”

86 points. Enough said.//


“I Tell You”: On Erica Bernheim’s The Mimic Sea

A version (and a better edited version) of this review may appear in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose issue 16, due out in early 2013.

“I Tell You”: On Erica Bernheim’s The Mimic Sea

Erica Bernheim’s The Mimic SeaThere are many things I admire and could discuss in Erica Bernheim’s The Mimic Sea (42 Miles Press, Fall 2012), such as the certain voice, strength of tone, stoic rhythms, confident momentums that urge the reader forward, minimalistic images that gravitate around or in between the concrete and abstract and that deliver full pictures, etc., but I want to focus on you.

As I started reading, I quickly noticed the repetition of “you” throughout the poems, though, at first, I wasn’t quite sure who the “you” was. I didn’t think it was me the reader, though sometimes later it is or, rather, can be if you want. Sometimes the “you” felt like the speaker’s partner/lover. Sometimes it was just someone other than the speaker or the reader or the lover/partner – an ambiguous you, a ghost, a past, a memory. Nonetheless, the “you” caught my attention.

The way “you” is used makes the poems self-conscious, and the “you” also provides a back beat to the poems. The “you” gets a more impactful stress with each poem until it becomes a mantra or an expectation. The expectation of “you” creates the self-consciousness. It’s like the poem is staring at me from within its pages as if it can see me like a fish from within its aquarium. And each poem’s memory is just as long as the fish, because each poem’s “you” is different.

I took full notice of this “you” when Bernheim called out the “you” in “Car Rolls Off Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.” In this poem, the you is Cincinnati, at least at the end of the poem. (The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, which I recently drove across as I moved from New York to Mississippi, crosses the Ohio River and connects Cincinnati, Ohio, to Covington, Kentucky.) The narrator is confusing in this poem. That is, when reading the poem, I asked myself, “Is the narrator an outside observer or the person drowning in the car crash? Is the narrator an intersection of the outside observer and the person drowning? Is the narrator trying to tell a story but the narrator becomes emotionally involved and actually becomes the subject of the story? Is the bridge connecting two states also the bridge connecting the two narrators?” I think it’s the latter two because the movement is from objective observation to imagining what it would be like to be that person who drove off the bridge to finally becoming the person in the end and uttering:

                                         If it’s me
     you’re here for, say so, Cincinnati, listen,
     if you were beautiful, there’d be no need for this.

With that observation and the reading of other poems, I conclude that the “you” is also the speaker, the subject, and object of a poem. The speaker goes in and out of herself and in and out of what she is observing or talking to. She mimics the object by becoming it and then talks to it like she is talking to herself. She is the sea and the mimic sea. (“Mimic sea” is a term P. T. Barnum used for the early aquarium.) And doesn’t this happen to all of us, at times, when we get lost in our imaginations. We no longer have a sense of I but of you and becoming. Maybe it’s like binary stars that rotate around each other and after a while you forget which star is which star, and, in the end, the binary stars act as one in relation to the outer planets that orbit them, as if they were just one star. This is the new perspective that I’ve been seeing recently in contemporary poetry and of people in their twenties – a blended perspective, an in-and-out perspective. This blended perspective is done well The Mimic Sea, where the objective and subjective often become one and the same.

But sometimes the “you” is a person or persons. For instance in “Virgil Moon,” the speaker is talking to a partner or lover for the first two pages of the poem. But like in “Car Rolls Off Clay Wade Bailey Bridge,” the “you” shifts to Virgil Moon. You can see it happen at the poem’s end:

                 I’m sorry for still thinking of
     you, for wanting to clip your nails with
     left-handed scissors for no reason other
     than to be difficult, to repeat an old
     man’s mantra in your ugly ears while
     you pretend not to be asleep, “The bench
     is in the church, the bench is in the church.”
     Virgil Moon is willing to see my bet
     and raise us both, straighten our legs,
     and get our minds out of the soap
     dish, but the line at his window is too long.
     Tell me something dreamy and hopeful,
     why Virgil Moon’s hair is in such
     disarray, why his face has fallen so. If
     there is a reason to clean out the sink, I
     should not be notified. Virgil Moon, with your
     thick face, grab me by my ankles and
     make a wish. Play my heart like a
     terrible, hot fiddle, replace me with catgut,
     and see what I’ll look like come Monday
     morning. Virgil Moon, you are over the top
     and smell like canned beans. Virgil Moon
     with the top down, making his travel plans
     to the museum and the beach. Virgil Moon
     take back the ring. Spit me out sideways,
     somewhere near a track where dogs are
     supposed to race, and place your bets against
     me. I will disappoint.

Three things happen with using “you” like this. First, the “you” is or can be genderless. It’s just a “you,” and no gender bias can be attached to the other person. The other person, the you, is just a person and acquires only traits from his/her actions as laid out in the poem. Second, the “you” becomes a pivot for shifting perspective or conjoining perspectives. In this poem, the “you” shifts from the partner/lover to the mythic-like Virgil Moon. This seems a deliberate movement because, in the end, the speaker resents the lover/partner (especially when the partner masturbates without thinking of the speaker), and as a result the speaker (let’s call her Erica to make an uncomplicated sentence): because of Erica’s partner’s actions, Erica feels like what she wants Virgil Moon to do her – she wants to feel torn apart, her “heart [played] like a / terrible, hot fiddle” and replaced with catgut, she wants to feel spat out, and then she wants to be bet against. Erica’s hopes of Virgil Moon’s action mimic how she feels based on her partner’s behavior. Third, in this poem, the back beat, or main beat, also shifts. It starts with “you” but then is wholly transferred onto/into “Virgil Moon.” The repetition of “Virgil Moon” steals the rhythm. It steals the focus from the original “you,” the lover/partner. Power is usurped by rhythmic transference and Virgil Moon becomes the dominant subject in the poem.

The shifting you also allows the speaker to shift perspectives and feelings. It’s like she’s swimming around in circles of mimesis where the you and I aren’t certain but are often the speaker.

Maybe this is best explained with some lines from “Dinner – March”:

                          In your mind

     is the greatest picture of any subject
     forgotten. One doubles over


     manipulation of geometry, and why not,
     art of exploration. The pit of the world

     is something you think
     you have seen. After learning

     to read, we rarely look around
     when walking. We are visually

     illiterate. Unraveled, unravished,
     we will come loose in that air.

In the end, I think Erica Bernheim’s The Mimic Sea and its shifting you- and I-perspectives make us visually literate. It unravels us loose into a new poetic air. It fills the “nothing between” you and I.

I enjoy what I think is an honest experimentation or exploration of portraying thinking as it happens.//


And now a few words about 42 Miles Press. This is a new press. Its first book was Carrie Oeding’s Our List of Solutions. (You can read an interview with Oeding in issue 15 of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose or here: Reid interview Odeing.). Bernheim’s collection of poems is their second release. That’s two good books in a row. And two books of unusual physical poetry book shape, but put together with quality – a quality that can only come from someone or someones with the love of the book and an appreciation of the history of the book. These books are quite beautiful and fun to hold . . . and to read.//


In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 119 – Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

So I’m in Hattiesburg, MS. Unfortunately, my stuff is not. United guaranteed it would be here by the 7th, but it won’t arrive until the 13th, so I have to drink wine out of this mini mason jar wine glass for nine more days.

Mini Mason Jar Wine Glass


Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 2008Since I’ve so little to do, I’ll be sampling the Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Red Hills Lake County).

I’ve had Dynamite before a long time ago, and I remember liking it, but my palate was young then. I’m going to try it again. Allons-y.

The color is a very deep, dark purple. It’s 99% opaque. But that might be misleading because the glass is so narrow. The meniscus, however, is a purple pink. Looking at the meniscus I anticipate that this wine has not quite reached its potential drinking age.

I’m not getting much on the nose, but I pick up some dark cherries and pepper and, maybe, some black licorice.

The finish is quick. No. Delayed. It disappears for a while and then it returns with sour black cherries. The taste buds actually recede but then blossom open to receive the next taste – a taste of black cherries and white pepper. I think I even pick up toast. (Oh, I miss my toaster.)

This is a really smooth wine. It’s pleasant. But it needs some cheese to bring out the flavors.

If I were in Brockport, I’d probably pay $10 for this, but in Hattiesburg, I paid around $16 for this. Wine here is much more expensive. I think I might have to cut down on my wine expenditures or readjust how I drink wine. I had a good system down for finding good wines under $15, but I’m going to have to raise that range to like $25 for down here. I even had some good everyday wines for $8 or $9, but down here, I’ll have no such luck.

So with that in mind. Is this wine worth $16? No. $10? Yes. Or maybe it depends on where you live.

It’s really a good wine, but it does need some food encouragement.

I’ll say 89 points.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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August 2012


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