Spectral Theory

erasure poetry: Spectral Theory

visual erasure poem, source: “REMARKS ON LARGE SOLUTIONS”, Jorge Garcia-Melian and Jose Sabina De Lis, Universidad de La Laguna, 2005, p.2.

Ask I: “I Want Something Like a Fall That Feels New”

Q: I want something like a fall that feels new and works for many situations.

A: Look for a prominent fire.

Versatile variations satisfy everybody.

Start tearing magazines online.


A silhouette instantly upgrades your trusty black and will also work with skinny black.

Provide ample camouflage.

Splurge on a black lamb, an accent that sets off a plea, or a pencil.

Promise you’ll be pleased with “pleather” perforations.

Hop if you love oral.

Pump velveteen, replace the usual ark!

blackout composition, source: “Ask Teri,” Teri Agins, The Wall Street Journal, 8/30/12.

in situ below

Reflecting Odd (Light To See [One Day] My Very Best Wish)

Question: When I tell people their jaws drop, they can’t believe that is the subject of an opera. Was there a libretto?

Answer: The presence is an aesthetic necessity.

Q: How such a monster?

A: Love.

Q: Lots of narcissistic verbal abuse. Intentional?

A: This is the function of scenes of tragic error.

Q: Many have a circumscribed elegy. You knew?

A: I did not know (yet). I have been trying to.

Q: To what extent have you vampiric qualities?

A: Deeply, in the background, without murders, without war – a general to the major in his course.

Q: Is there any justification?

A: None.

Q: Is art so great?

A: No.

Q: How do you feel in a grand house?

A: Designed to the perfect size.

Q: Why?

A: I’m happy people.

Q: The last one. You see?

A: I am old, yet I would like to see one day my very best wish.

blackout composition, source: “Reflecting on his ‘old, odd’ opera,” by David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/12/12, pp. C1, C4.

ASK I: “Someone Has ‘Cankles’?”

Q: Someone has “cankles”?

A: You have cankles.

Your ankles are your calves all the time.

Don’t draw a trumpet.


Instead of a sheath, build boots.

Stretch a shaft.

Don’t wear your lower legs and feet unadorned.

Always optically taper a needle.

If you legs are flesh, wear your bare legs.

Don’t fret when it is time to stand.

Sure, your legs are not straight.

Turn slightly with a hand on your back leg.

Stand with your toes separated, look slimmer!

blackout composition, source: “Ask Teri”, Teri Agins, The Wall Street Journal, 7/26/12.

in situ below…

ASK I: “More Long or Longer?”

Q: Big flowers make me more long or longer?

A: Rest that parade and polka for a while.

Look exciting and panoramic.

It is time to ease into a cool can of black and secure a leopard.

Today, more pumps rain boots and bags.

Choose any tight space, such as a tiny dot.

Zigzag on tar.


Take a photo of the mirror from all angles.

Row a sleeve instead of a shirt.

The right delight, more fun than a cross!

blackout composition, source: “Ask Teri”, Teri Agins, The Wall Street Journal, 7/19/12.

in situ below…

less Night

I saw the world last night
certain steps
the warning

the same tomorrow
the day after
a visit back
to the Stone Age
as we know it
dark and very quiet
like night
at that hour
which is nothing
the lights
a good view
in the night
just dark
a chill
cold sludge
dripped through
dark, dark ice
the freeze
that could last

of course
there was
no calm

it seemed like
most of my life is
the night

what if
it lasted forever
I was
an SOS
was dead
and now
it was
too late

we assume living
surrounded by
our cosmos
a good God
the lights on

my blackouts
get worse

you can whistle
a happy tune about
the darkness
and buy 10,000
reusable batteries

that will last
for a couple of years

and then?

blackout composition, source: “Endless Night,” Stanley Bing, Fortune, July (?) 2012

in situ below…

blackout: "less Night"

See the Future

There’s been a lot of talk recently about
the state of discussion, flexibility, and
the closing of the country.

There is no doubt time is 10 to 20 years.

But let me assure you that
the bright face we’ve already begun
executing will create the future.

And there are
more to come.

At the same time,
we’re watching.
We know.
We’re especially mindful.
We are doing all we can.
We seek the future.
This is essential.
Of course, there will be a future.
Understand, that’s not going to change.

Let me be clear:
We are and
will continue to be.

blackout composition, source: “Seeing the Future”, a column appearing on p. 11 of the October 2011 issue of “Deliverables” authored by Ronald A. Stroman, Deputy Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service.

in situ below…

blackout: see the future

Elevator Maintenance: A Series of Non-Traditional Haiku Derived From a Statistical Analysis of Elevator Malfunctions on the Campus of UCLA

elevator maintenance​
where there are 497 elevators
​distributed in 99 different buildings
. . . . . . . . . . . .

hundreds of elevator problems
are reported and need to be solved
each month

. . . . . . . . . . . .

elevator malfunctions
spread in
a wide range

. . . . . . . . . . . .

The causes
of these elevator problems
are various

. . . . . . . . . . . .

“What are the most frequent
types of elevator troubles
in a building?”

​​the large volume of reports
the variety of the types of elevator problems
the cost of repairing an elevator

the efficiency of the mechanics
the concerns of the manager
and the results

. . . . . . . . . . . .

the multi-dimensional information
of each elevator malfunction event


​rectangular tables

contingency tables
with non negative

. . . . . . . . . . . .

make a
and a graphical representation of


. . . . . . . . . . . .

the results
the information

found poetry / blackout composition, source: “Correspondence Analysis of Elevator Malfunction Matrices, Chapter 1: Introduction,” a Master’s thesis submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Statistics by Ting Zhou, UCLA, 2008.

Ask I: “Do I Have a Shoulder?”

​Q: I need to know if I have a shoulder or is we in the “big” city.

​A: Ignore the buzz around avant-garde ways?

Should you talk about “Dynasty” and Gordon Gekko?

Over and out.

Today, both sexes are important. Should you talk about it?

Once you remove the hose, men collapse.

I know it’s tempting to try to cycle to 20 to 30 years ago. I have.

Look the flare; do blend, stretch, embellish text; make your harp with interesting cargo; and think of casual looks in urban environs.

Just tick and you’ll be good!

blackout composition, source: “Ask Teri”, by Teri Agins, The Wall Street Journal, 4/12/12

FWIW, the original, in situ, is below…

blackout poem - ask I

Ask I: “I Keep Reading About Books”

Q: I keep reading about books. Tell me more.

​​A: Think of a book as a little magazine which houses your home.

Books start in the page, in a hat, in a used cat market.

​Use books to seduce a bird – before the hit – but stop before you look.

I’ve learned that the best way to learn is intelligence. ​​I now collect close-ups of variations of silhouettes.

​The eye works best with wear.

Pay with herring.

Fashion pictures tend to be models. They stand, watch television, or surf.

Book a tack to stick a shop!

blackout composition, source: “Ask Teri”, by Teri Agins, The Wall Street Journal, 4/5/12

FWIW, the original in situ is below…