What is Nothing Something Sandwich?

A symposium dedicated to the cultivation of spontaneous occurrences and multifarious forms of communication, cooperation and presence.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

WIDE, the margin between carte blanche and the white page. Nevertheless it is not in the margin that you can find me, but in the yet whiter one that separates the word-strewn sheet from the transparent, the written page from the one to be written in the infinite space where the eye turns back to the eye, and the hand to the pen, where all we write is erased, even as you write it. For the book imperceptibly takes shape within the book we will never finish.

There is my desert.

Edmond Jabes

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Tomb for Anatole (excerpts) by Stephane Mallarme


time of the 
                  empty room

           until we
                         open it
perhaps all
                         follows from this


                no--I will not

give up
                         father -- -- -- I

              feel nothingness

                  invade me

Catacombs Paris

"... It delighted me that bodies could be used to decorate a room, like flowers."  
Paul Thek 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

It was nearly ten years ago. I was almost thirteen, and I'd run away from a school back east and was heading out west to become a bullfighter. I'd sold most of my clothes and jewelry and hoarded a Christmas windfall from Uncle Roger to get together enough money to buy a coach ticket to Albuquerque. I planned on hitching the rest of the way to Mexico. But somehow I'd forgotten entirely about food. By the time I reached Chicago, my stomach was flat against my spine and gasping for breath. I saw the sign saying Traveler's Aid Society and decided I was in luck. I'd just go up to it and ask for a loan. The woman at the desk -actually she probably wasn't more then my age now, though she seemed older to my young eyes and wore her hair in a severe style that gave her a Librarian Look -- disillusioned me about that immediately. She said they didn’t dole out money like that, they were really only a reference organization, and if I’d answer a few questions she’d be able to tell me which charity I might be eligible for. She was very kind. I liked her at once. I started answering her questions and the next thing I knew I’d blurted out the whole story. She listened attentively. She listened with out making any “listening” faces, but I felt she was on my side. It was the first time I’d felt that about any grownup.

“Oh dear,” she said sadly at the end, shaking her head. “I’m afraid it’s a cut and dried case. You’re a runaway. The worst kind. Underage. Our rules are especially strict for underage runaways. We simply hold on to them and wire the Traveler’s Aid in the town they’ve run away from, and they provide the fare for the return and get it back later from the parents or guardians – but listen, don’t go!” she called out to me suddenly as I started backing away, “I’d like to help you, I really would,” she said. She leaned over the counter. “Why shouldn’t you be a bullfighter if you want to be? I’m sick to death of standing here day after day, sending people back to places they hate, places they’ve run away from. I just can’t bear it any longer. I mean, who are we to know what’s what anyway? Look, here’s a dollar. Go over to the soda fountain and have something to eat. I’ll check the timetables of the trains going west from Union Station and we’ll figure out your next move when you get back.”

When I returned she said “Quick. Here’s fifteen dollars, it’s all I’ve got on me, Your train leaves in half an hour from Union Station and you’ve just got time to make it. I’ll help you get a taxi. We’ve got a priority and they let us jump the line.”

She left the booth and went over to pick up my bag. Then I saw what it was. She was lame. She had an ugly brace on her leg and she hobbled badly. I looked at it and looked away quickly. But not quickly enough.

“The blind leading the blind,” she said casually, acknowledging the fact, as I followed the grotesquely hobbling figure out of the station.

“But I don’t even know your name,” I said suddenly, leaning forward in the taxi. “How shall I pay you back?”

“You don’t have to pay me back,” she answered. “Good luck to you. You’re running for my life.” She slammed the cab door shut, and turning swiftly, hobbled away.

And that was why they didn't pick me up until Albuquerque.

I stood still in the middle of the station and made the porter put my bags down. So now I’d got to the bottom of it. I’d come full-circle and suddenly lost my space-urge. The dash to California seemed so utterly puerile now. Now called for something entirely different. Now called for something drastically un-running away. Now called for---what? Suddenly I had it! Now called for becoming a librarian! In that way I would be laying the ghost once and for all.

Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Aesthetics of Silence

Here is a link to the essay.
I'll also post it under Readings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Arvo Part

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

saya woolfalk, empathic imaginaries

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

here is a dream that someone had. not me, but the co-worker of my friend, as told to my friend, and retold by me:

someone, a girl in the studio, had an accident and lost the last three fingers of her hand - pinky, ring finger, middle finger. the accident was not part of the dream but occurred before the beginning of the dream. i imagine that it was the left hand.

the doctor grafted onto her hand a plant - like three fingers of an aloe plant, a succulent, except for instead of three separate fingers they were attached to each other like a baseball mitt... a little oversized, soft and fleshy like cactus, thick, pale green skin with a cool smooth surface.

when she flexed her hand or waved her fingers, the new fingers moved like slower versions of the lost fingers. they were connected to the brain, but with plant nerves, and so they moved a little more slowly, like seaweed in water.

now i'm thinking about trees extending out of people. or how it would be to have plant parts that respond to the brain the way an arm does. and having body parts like leaf eyelids.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kazuo Ohno

“An authentic expression only emerges when body and soul reach crisis point.”

Tribute video
Mother video

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

here i am, back on earth, now what?

thank you, friends, for injecting my life with a serious dose of much needed something.... or nothing-something? i'm still downloading.
i think of each one of you daily with love! and cannot wait for our next voyage.

i leave you in the care of:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying "Hey! I've been
trying to wake you up for fifteen
minutes. Don't be so rude, you are
only the second poet I've ever chosen
to speak to personally
so why
aren't you more attentive? If I could
burn you through the window I would
to wake you up. I can't hang around
here all day."
"Sorry, Sun, I stayed
up late last night talking to Hal."

"When I woke up Mayakovsky he was
a lot more prompt" the Sun said
petulantly. "Most people are up
already waiting to see if I'm going
to put in an appearance."
I tried
to apologize "I missed you yesterday."
"That's better" he said. "I didn't
know you'd come out." "You may be
wondering why I've come so close?"
"Yes" I said beginning to feel hot
wondering if maybe he wasn't burning me
"Frankly I wanted to tell you
I like your poetry. I see a lot
on my rounds and you're okay. You may
not be the greatest thing on earth, but
you're different. Now, I've heard some
say you're crazy, they being excessively
calm themselves to my mind, and other
crazy poets think that you're a boring
reactionary. Not me.
Just keep on
like I do and pay no attention. You'll
find that people always will complain
about the atmosphere, either too hot
or too cold too bright or too dark, days
too short or too long.

If you don't appear
at all one day they think you're lazy
or dead. Just keep right on, I like it.

And don't worry about your lineage
poetic or natural. The Sun shines on
the jungle, you know, on the tundra
the sea, the ghetto. Wherever you were
I knew it and saw you moving. I was waiting
for you to get to work.
And now that you
are making your own days, so to speak,
even if no one reads you but me
you won't be depressed. Not
everyone can look up, even at me. It
hurts their eyes."

"Oh Sun, I"m so grateful to you!"

"Thanks and remember I'm watching. It's
easier for me to speak to you out
here. I don't have to slide down
between buildings to get your ear.
I know you love Manhattan, but
you ought to look up more often.
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely and with
the appropriate sense of space. That
is your inclination, known in the heavens
and you should follow it to hell if
necessary, which I doubt.
Maybe we'll
speak again in Africa, of which I too
am specially fond. Go back to sleep now
Frank, and I may leave a tiny poem
in that brain of yours as my farewell."

"Sun, don't go!" I was awake
at last. "No, go I must, they're calling
"Who are they?"
Rising he said "Some
day you'll know. They're calling to you
too." Darkly he rose, and then I slept.

-Frank O'Hara

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Something Something Sandwich

We are There.

Our life is in boxes and we have spent the past couple of days between homes. Telepathic messages were sent amidst housepaintingcleaningpackinglugging.

Yesterday , for lunch I had a Ham and Tomato on Ciabatta. Denise had a Reuben on Rye.

Of Glee and Isolation

On Saturday, we traveled to Fort Pulaski in two cars and explored the (relatively) natural environment, for the most part, on our own or just in sight or out-of-sight of one another. Deer, raccoon, and a profusion of birds kept us company. Sandra whistled a duet with a bird; Hilary lay outstretched on the ground, face skyward; Joe confronted nature; Kyle ran; Chriss walked the oyster-laden shore; John stayed mostly within the wooded shade. We continued on to Thunderbolt as the subsequent location, and walked new routes there until evening chill grew and drew us into Tubby's for spuds, Bella's, and lifted silence. Back at the 'bun,' chocolate bread (from Back in the Day) preceded a meal gradually made throughout the evening, of tube spaghetti and grilled vegetables. Questions such as, "What brings you joy?" led the conversation, and John typed a poem while Louie solicited supper through the power of his gaze. Dance music continued through the early morning, until sleepers were waken in darkness to prepare for the journey to the sunrise.


As part of the structure of NSS, we were invited to teach something to our fellow participants, which we did, more or less.

  • Chriss demonstrated how to make tea lights from the shell of a clementine and olive oil, and one burned long into the night.
  • Joe taught (mostly Chriss and Sandra) how to juggle Clementines (until they got squishy).
  • Hilary gave us a lesson in making porcelain beads, and a wonderful varied collection was produced, in the middle of the night.
  • Sandra sampled everyone's handwriting and signature and taught a few of the key principles of graphology (at Tubby's).
  • John modeled the best way to pick up and to hold Louie.
Also, Emily's mailed gift warm socks (darned together) arrived.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yoko Ono

Everyone is in place -- Emily and Kyle arrived yesterday in the morning and Chriss and Joe got here at night. Discussions continued late into the night, and it was determined that the original format of an eight hour silent walk was still appealing.

This morning, amidst steady rain and a forecast of snow, we fortified ourselves on Hilary's amazing tofu breakfast along with mango, Asian pear, and pineapple in preparation to begin.

Our meanderings took us to our house for additional outerwear, and then we headed generally south and westward toward Daffin Park. Others in the group will probably write observations of the variousness of events (umbrella formations, playground excursions, piggyback, woven candy wrappers, the Al Salaam deli), so I'll move on to the time following our return to Hilary's, where we began a collaborative sumi ink and watercolor drawing. At its midpoint, Emily and Kyle called the rest of the group to the porch --- to see the thick flakes of snow falling! In 17 years in Savannah, I have not seen this! This is the NSS snow.

I stayed on the porch awhile, enjoying watching the flakes fall, and melt. When I went in, Hilary was the only one remaining on the porch. As I came in, a small, bright yellow book caught my eye. I picked it up, and opened to a page:


Snow Piece

Take a tape of the sound of the snow
This should be done in the evening.
Do not listen to the tape.
Cut it and use it as strings to tie
gifts with.
Make a gift wrapper, if you wish, using
the same process with a phonosheet.

1963 autumn"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NSS weather report

Weather report made by Banana Peppers for NSS from weather.msn.com:

Feb 11Mostly SunnyMostly Sunny
Feb 12RainRain
Feb 13Partly CloudyPartly Cloudy
Feb 14Partly CloudyPartly Cloudy
Feb 15Mostly CloudyMostly Cloudy
Hi: 51°
Lo: 32°
Hi: 51°
Lo: 32°
Hi: 49°
Lo: 35°
Hi: 53°
Lo: 38°
Hi: 52°
Lo: 37°

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Require Stories

Not able to find his favorite swimming hole Heraclitus
eats the lunch he's packed in the parking lot and reasons
"there must be a better way to proceed than this."
Anaxogoras slurs into his ear: "Heracli, listen,
don't you see
everything is made of everything, but the object it is has most of that,"
and Heraclitus thinks
"avert from my tongue the madness of such men";
he thinks
"if i could get a few more dollars
I could get those forty acres
and grow my olives in peace."

from Presocratic Blues by Joel Bettridge

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear Mr. Mendez,

Thank you for the auspicious donation to the Nothing Something Sandwich Archive.

In honor of your absence we will read between the lines.

Best Wishes,

En Route

Hello, Everyone -- I put packages for you in the mail today. Joe, John, and Raul, wonderful to receive yours! Sandra

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The poem is from Eulogy to the World, by Gu Cheng
The music is a Gondellied in A Major by Mendelssohn

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

native seed....



Monday, February 1, 2010

We have lost two of our ingredients.  Denise &  Raul will not be able to attend the inaugural Sandwich, but will continue to participate in the blog and telepathically.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Red Bird

A detail of "Red Bird" by Agnes Martin (on exhibit at MOMA in July 2009)

From MoMA: "Colored ink and pencil on paper, 12 1/4 x 11 7/8" (31.1 x 30.4 cm). Gift of Mrs. Bliss Parkinson. © 2009 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York"

"For Martin, the grid evoked not a human measure but an ethereal one --- the boundless order or transcendent reality associated with Eastern philosophies." - from MoMA wall text

Capri Batterie by Joseph Beuys

Sandra made this still life
John photographed it (poorly)

Film still from Quo Vadis

Friday, January 29, 2010

By what light then do they see?

A beautiful world come tumbling down in song,
released from obligation though not free to act

How to know:
Take one step back
look left to find
a coin on a pilaster
reflecting history
but not much light

Now isn't that better than singing?
Isn't that better than a trip to the bank?

Who's to say the birds don't know
that old word haruspicate,
to offer up one's guts for news
filtered down through stars

Golden girl, he says
meaning the slant of the sun,
where are you running?


Quo vadis?

Poems by Steven Shearer

3 of 12 shown here
graphite on paper

The Message

"You can write poetry and then again you can't. It comes into this world of its own accord, not by the will of the poet."

—Gu Cheng
A cluttered page, but the video
(film tuc, tuc, tuc, tuc)
is worth the watch to see the
split-second moments of transition:

1. walk, bow, b e g i n s p i n
2. arms opening ARMS OPENING!
3. spin still skirt settling


Funny, that gnostic
on the fourth floor
is still awake.
He knocks and knocks
on the heating pipe.
The mob in front of the window
has gone, and now
on top of everything its starting to snow.

In the whole city
no shoe-laces are to be had.
The machine-gun fire where the banks are
has subsided
But in the fridge there are
a couple of asphodels
just in case.

from Kiosk by Hans Magnus Enzenberger

The Killing Machine

The Killing Machine by Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
(as installed at the Freedom Tower, downtown Miami, FL, late 2007)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the one-
winged soaring blackbird,
above the firewall, behind
Paris, up there,
in the

from Force of Light by Paul Celan

argon night
awash in purity
moon tips and reeds

left to think
could this be it
the last admixture?

sparrow armies
shower and dress
to face the day

I set off now in a box upon the sea.

-Charles Olson from The Maximus Poems

The End Of The Age of Fribble

The end of the Age of Fribble
grumbling fremitus of Crack of Doom
grubbed in the ear of the groundskeeper
at Thunder Bay

Stirred from cuddlesome slackeye

Cock Swain
Dreary Deary
Long Pig and
Loosey Goosey

Scrambled to catch the freshet

casting off long johns
mother –naked
moving from Mute Speakerway
to Cucurbit Appendage
no boundaries inside sight
learning to navigate

french heels
tub thumpers
a massive armaessence
a mass of ar maecenas
in the spaetzle/spacebar of the poesy boat

Long Pig will be Death Watch

Dreary Deary will tryst and tryst

Loosey Goosey will be
Grouchy Grimalkin because
in the end, someone has to

“The cows are no longer
they loved them so dear
they’ll laugh at their cowplop
bending closer to hear…”
the souls of Cock Swain’s crystalliferous feats
faces aglow
feelers articulating
the is of what was happening

They are looking for the cowl of dawn
They are looking for the cowl of dawn
They are freebooters plundering the gardens of watery grasses

Greta Green Secret will cradle little Lanterloo
they had to bring her too
she knew

To udder in the light
the key is not the chest

To pan the lateral horse
forge its shoes

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Enn Ess Ess

When you speak the acronym Enn Ess Ess, it sounds a little like "Inness." So here's a portrait of him.

Notes on the image: "Inness, painter, seated in his studio with a brush in his hand and his hat in his lap. Inscription lower right: "Yours Respectfully, Geo. Inness." Annotation on verso (handwritten): If you have Fifty-Eight Paintings by George Inness*, you may be able to identify painting in easel. *by Eliott Dangerfield, published by F.F. Sherman."


"The true end of art is not to imitate a fixed material condition, but to represent a living motion. "
-George Inness

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Our most profound conception must remain subjective and ambiguous"

"I am for an art in which what you see is the just the beginning of an endless chain of allusion."

from the lecture "Illusions and Allusions" by Jules Kirschenbaum (thanks Joe. a good read.)


Backstory: Nuuchaanulth Ceremonial Curtains and the Work of Ḳi-ḳe-in

Wednesday, January 20, 2010