April 29, 2005

I am going to make it through this year if it kills me

Three poems from twilight of the male ego, by klipschutz:

Ghazal of the North American Dream

Dinner, the porch, the couch, a book -- here we are,
together, awake, shoes off, wealthy in cats and silence.

The dirty smell goes all the way to the top. Backswing
and dogleg are fighting words in a Kennebunkport breeze.

Families live in deserts and springs with pride, horsefolk,
human billboard T-shirts. Reach out and leave a message.

Chances are it's nothing. Chances are you're nobody's lucky
penny. Don't take it so personal, she says to everyone.

Wichita is all over the news, white trash littering the sidewalk
over prayer in the womb, radiating His tough infinate love.

The rich get thin on the fat of the poor. Too many cookbooks,
not enough Indians. One man, one vote, two out, nobody on.

from The Love Poems of Miles Davis

Your eyes, blue as a motherfucker
Your lips, soft as a motherfucker
Your hair, long and satiny as
a motherfucker

* *

We made love, I got my nut off like a motherfucker

She comes out with she thinks Billy Dee's not
half bad to look at,

so I slap her silly as a motherfucker

* *

Some sorry-assed white boy calls about an

then I call back Lurlene, who's into health food
and that vegetarian shit, and always helps me out

And tits as big and nice as a


Tiny propellers whirr in the top
to the sugar dispenser. A European cigarette
shrinks from hand to hand. Adulterers
make no bones about what they are going to do
when the check comes. Across town,
on a small patch of civic lawn, a child
juggles Going Out of Business, Help Wanted,
and Protected by Smith & Wesson signs.
He tosses coins at passersby with his free hand.
Up and down the block, cash registers
with expired service contracts undercharge.
An early arrival, who walks and cough and spends,
is waiting on the steps for the volunteer librarian.
You Don't Have to Pay For This One He Said

* David Berman's poem How I Met Your Mother, recorded very late at night by The Cut Ups [complete with one reading error -- can you identify?; link fixed]

April 28, 2005

let's pretend the fog has lifted

-- by Eduardo Paolozzi, 1924 -- 2005.

* 3am interview of Gerard Malanga. excerpt:

3AM: You do see yourself primarily as a poet.

GM: I started writing poetry when I was sixteen and was published, at eighteen or nineteen. In 1967 my first book was actually a collaboration for a screen test that I had done. That was my first big book. And I had two tiny books that came out that year also. But when I went to work with Andy Warhol my identity was already established. I had already appeared in a number of very prestigious magazines. Poetry for me was a way of entering into a secret language. That's what I felt at the age of sixteen and seventeen. It was a thought that struck me like lightning. I've never stopped writing. Strangely, there have always been spells when I didn't write, moments that were a regenerative process, I wasn't writing because it enabled me to see more clearly. I was also taking photographs at the time so these were activities that meshed to a certain degree. I've always thought of poetry as an introverted process whereas photography has always been an extroverted process. But they both involve the eye to a certain extent -- both the inner eye and the outer eye. I enjoy the process when I'm involved in it.

3AM: So who do you link yourself with as a poet?

GM: One of my favourite poets is Paul Blackburn, an American poet who died in 1971 of cancer. He was a New York poet -- he was into jazz, into oral poetry, he had a poetry reading series at a café called Café de Metro. He would tape the readings using this big analogue tape recorder. He amassed an enormous collection of analogue tapes. They're now deposited in an archive at La Hoya University in San Diego. I was very young at the time and he was too sophisticated for me. So I didn't appreciate everything he was doing at the time. And then in 1979 I picked up a book of his and read it -- this was eight years after he had died and I was wowed. My own intelligence had reached a level of where he was at in his work so I could appreciate what he was doing. For years I would always travel with his selected poems on me. His son, Carlos Blackburn, who is in his late twenties, asked me how come I never travelled with the collected poems and I said the selected was a lighter volume. The collected is a heavy book!

Another poet is Charles Simac. I went to a reading of his the other week in New York. He was very brilliant, very funny. And the poet who introduced him is a very good friend of mine called Nicholas Christopher who is a poet and a novelist. His work is good too. He's about nine years younger than me. I've been rereading a lot of Ashbury. There are poets I read who I continually come back to. I have varied taste. Each of the poets I mentioned are different from each other. They're like night and day but I appreciate them from their own vantage point. It's like switching the TV channel. I did meet Auden. Since 9/11 the TV screen has been snow. I mean, I went blank. I've only written two poems since 9/11. I just went blank. I'm getting back into it now.

* Richard Cohen. excerpt:

"But taking the nation to war for false reasons is not a minor blip. It is an unpardonable feat of hubris for which, on a daily basis, Americans die in Iraq. American voters, though, have been oddly forgiving (see the last election), and the Bush administration has neither apologized nor fired anyone for getting things so very, very wrong. The conclusion is inescapable: This was not a war for the wrong reason; this was a war for any reason.

"So, in a way, I feel a bit solicitous toward the embattled Bolton. He must wonder why, of all the fibbers and exaggerators and outright liars in the Bush administration, he alone is being asked to account for what he said and what he did. It is a fair enough question and leads me to amend a recent column in which I called Bolton a nut. He is, instead, Cheney's acorn. He did not fall far from the tree."

* There is a new short story by Haruki Murakami in this week's New Yorker. excerpt:

"How drunk would you have to be to fall asleep on the rails of a streetcar line? I wondered. Was the amount a person drank the real issue? Or did it have more to do with why he was getting drunk in the first place?

"'What you’re saying is that he got drunk sometimes but usually not falling-down drunk?' I asked.

"'That’s the way I see it,' she replied.

"'May I ask your age, if you don’t mind?'

"'You want to know how old I am?'

"'You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.'

"The woman rubbed the bridge of her nose with her index finger. It was a lovely, perfectly straight nose. My guess was that she had recently had plastic surgery. I used to go out with a woman who had the same habit. She’d had a nose job, and whenever she was thinking about something she rubbed the bridge of her nose with her index finger. As if she were making sure that her brand-new nose was still there. Looking at this woman in front of me now brought on a mild case of déjà vu. Which, in turn, conjured up vague memories of oral sex."

April 27, 2005

played video games in a drunken haze

* From Harper's May 2005 edition:

-- Average amount the Bush Administration has spent per year on contracts with P.R. firms: $62,500,000

-- Average amount spent during the second term of the Clinton Administratiion: $32,000,000

-- Average number of East Germans who died each year trying to cross to West Germany: 18

-- Average number of Mexicans who have died each year since 2000 trying to cross to the United States: 407

-- Minimum number of cows whose skins are used each year for Major League baseballs: 45,000

-- Percentage by which this exceeds the seating capacity of Wrigley Field: 14

-- Number of full-time reporters for ESPN who are covering only Barry Bonds: 1

-- Number of U.S. Newspapers with a full-time reporter in Afghanistan: 2

-- Year that Boise, Idaho, banned full nudity in public unless it had "serious artistic merit:" 2001

-- Number of nights each week that a Boise strip clup now distributes sketch pads and pencils: 2

* Chickfactor interviews Keren Ann. excerpt:

cf: were you in a metal or punk band?

keren: oh, all of those. we played at places like... here we would call it a biker pub but in france it's not even that. once the drummer david who still plays with me almost got in a fight with some guy who wanted to go on stage with us and dance and jump around. we were looking for a sound. you always want to be in a band, especially when you're 18 and you want to try stuff and you want to scream. and then you come home and light the candle and you have your guitar and you just sing folksongs and that's when you're happy and it sounds right but it stays in your room. the music you make is the music you always come back to. you go out of your way to make it bigger, to make it more beautiful, but you don't go out of your way to make it different from who you are. songwriting is just something that comes out naturally. it was a big mistake for me to try and scream but I had to go through that.

cf: what's your favorite serge song?

keren: it would be a mixture of 'ballad de melodie nelson' or 'jane b.' I'm crazy about all his periods except maybe I like the reggae albums less, except 'sorry angel' is a very, very beautiful song. the other songs on the album I like less. 'je t'aime...moi non plus' was played in holland on radio—it was shocking everywhere else but in holland they would just play it, without even understanding what it was about. the sound of it was so—the sound of the drums, the sound of the bass—you don't realize it's that, you just know it's something else. for you this is french. but it's actually french artists inspired by british sounds. it's funny but all his work...there's always a sound to what he's done. what he wanted to hear was very tasteful.

cf: did you ever meet him? I don't know how old you are but you look about 22.

keren: I'm 30. thank you though.

cf: have you met jane [birkin]?

keren: yes, I've met jane. she had a special tv show once where she was singing his songs and she invited me to sing 'babe alone in babylon' with her. she's a fantastic lady. a real english rose.

cf: how famous are you in paris?

keren: depends what you call fame. nobody talks to me in the street. people come up and say nice words. there is a buzz. people look but it's not fame in terms of hysteria. it's more—I am lucky enough to release a record and know that a certain amount of people will buy it. which will allow me record a new one. I've been recording one record a year plus my band side project. I'm very privileged because I know that if I play in certain places they will be filled. if I get a project out it will be bought. so it's not many people but it's enough people to let me live off music and permit me to make more.

cf: have you ever met françoise hardy?

keren: we have dinner every other wednesday. we write each other. I had the privilege of meeting her after my first record was released. it was a dinner that was supposed to be official but we tried to make unofficial and we talked about everything—you know when you've heard someone so much. she's way too generous. we talk about love, books, rarely about songs. I'm very privileged because she became a friend and she's an extremely intelligent woman who gives a lot of good advice—not about music, just about life. she's very funny. I'm very privileged to get to know her.

* An Annotated Inferno
--- by Beth Woodcome

I see my birth, covetous as smoke,
devour me. It’s a victory that repeats itself.

If someone is calling my name I can’t hear it.

The creak of the world’s shoulder
turning: the only sound of the last door

On the balcony, where all ecstasy should
happen, kneeling will be my last pleasure.

If someone is calling to me, I’ve forgotten it.
If so, ask me my sorrows.

Are you frightened?

I’m alive and I want someone
else to do it for me.

How did you wake?

Someone has always been
saving my life.

Tell me your joy.

Someone is calling to me.

April 26, 2005

when you smile then you give yourself away

-- William DeKooning, 1957

* Short Dayton CityPaper interview of will oldham. excerpt:

DCP: Superwolf apparently came about based on a bet you had a long time ago with Brightblack about recording songs for an EP, where they basically dared you to cover one song and you’d cover another. You later bet Matt that if he’d write the music for a new LP that you’d handle the lyrics. Could you talk a little bit more about how the two of you began recording together?

Will Oldham: The collaboration came about because I had a show in London and I asked Matt if he wanted to play with me, then I issued a challenge for us to come up with three new songs for the show. I sent him five songs in lyric form, and he worked out music for three of them. The collaboration was so satisfying that we extended it.
DCP: Have you enjoyed the ability to work so closely and intimately with someone else? Was their any major disagreements?

WO: There have been major disagreements. It is extremely rewarding, though, when people can share and exchange appreciated ideas.
DCP: When you write from the “Bonnie” persona, is it the same mindset as when you wrote things for the various Palace bands years ago, as well as the material you write and record under your given name? Is one more narrative or personal than the others?

WO: It’s a more informed mind space, Bonnie, than Palace Music. The “own name” stuff is instrumental, or collaborative, or between the cracks.

DCP: Will you being releasing anything as Will Oldham in the near future, or are you content right now releasing records with the “Bonnie” persona?

WO: We’ll see. Basically, sung songs with lyrics are all Bonnie songs now.

DCP: Superwolf tends to rely on a sort-of “monster movie” feel. Most of the record is very creepy and somewhat blood-curdling (including the fantastic drawn cover). Was that the idea going into the recording or did it happen as the recording process wore on?

WPO: Maybe it came from a love of Rory Erikson and Samhain?

* A full hour of tapes bearing the music of the Thelonious Monk quartet with John Coltrane were found in January at the Library of Congress. excerpt:

"But it is Monk with Coltrane that constitutes the real find. That band existed for only six months in 1957, mostly through long and celebrated runs at the East Village club the Five Spot. During this period, Coltrane fully collected himself as an improviser, challenged by Monk and the discipline of his unusual harmonic sense. Thus began the 10-year sprint during which he changed jazz completely, before his death in 1967. The Monk quartet with Coltrane did record three numbers in a studio in 1957, but remarkably little material, and only with fairly low audience-tape fidelity, is known to exist from the Five Spot engagement.

"The eight and a half Monk performances found at the Library of Congress, by contrast, are professionally recorded, strong and clear; you can hear the full dimensions of Shadow Wilson's drum kit and Ahmed Abdul-Malik's bass. It is certainly good enough for commercial release, though none has yet been negotiated.
"The music was discovered by accident, during the routine practice of transferring tape from the Library of Congress's Voice of America collection to digital sound files for preservation. Larry Appelbaum, a studio engineer, supervisor and jazz specialist at the library, said that he was given a batch of about 100 tapes for digitization one day in January and looked to see what was there; among them he noticed a brown cardboard box for a 7½-inch reel, marked in pencil 'sp. Event 11/29/57 carnegie jazz concert (#1),' with no names on it. It piqued his interest, and one of the boxes holding the Carnegie tapes - there were eight in all - said 'T. Monk.' 'It got my heart racing,' Mr. Appelbaum said. (None of the tape boxes mentioned Coltrane.)"

* The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin has acquired the papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer for $2.5 million.

"'From the Vietnam War to capital punishment, from first amendment rights to the role of the writer in the modern world,' said Thomas F. Staley, director of the Ransom Center, 'Mailer engaged the important intellectual and social issues of his time. This is one of the most comprehensive literary archives the Center has ever acquired.'"

April 25, 2005

sunlight on the water sets a switch off in your brain

* The Mountain Goats new record, The Sunshine Tree is out tomorrow. Amazon has a new Darnielle interview posted. excerpt:

Amazon: So since you're about ready to start [touring], what are the best and worst parts of touring?

Darnielle: Well, this sounds corny, but it's true. The best part of touring [is when] you come out on stage and there's 400 people completely pumped to see you. It sounds like it's an ego stroke, but it's less ego than a communal thing. To use a hippie term, you sort of honor that energy by pouring as much of your blood into it as you possibly can. That's the best thing in the world. And then the worst part is it's hard to get good vegetarian food.

Amazon: That's right, you’re a vegetarian.

Darnielle: I encourage all your readers to visit farmsanctuary.org and give them as much money as they possibly can.

* Top ten conservative idiots. Bush has regained the top spot. excerpt:

"2. Frank Luntz

"It's a mystery to me why the presumably-savvy media spinmeister Frank Luntz would ever agree to be interviewed by The Daily Show - but it happened last week. Luntz was caught with his pants down by TDS's Samantha Bee, who enlisted his help setting up a fake town hall meeting. At one point in the interview Bee provided Luntz with several words and phrases and asked him to put his own brand of spin on them. So 'drilling for oil' became 'responsible exploration for energy,' 'logging' became 'healthy forests,' and 'manipulation' became 'explanation and education.' That's right - he actually said that. (Luntz was apparently stumped by Bee's next word, 'Orwellian.') So there you have it folks - the next time you hear George W. Bush attempt to 'explain' Social Security reform, or 'educate' you on the reasons for eliminating the estate tax, you'll know exactly what he's talking about.

"3. Tom DeLay

"For the last several weeks Tom DeLay has been loudly proclaiming his innocence while simultaneously obfuscating the real facts of the case behind a smokescreen of partisan buffoonery. The way Tom tells it, he's completely innocent of all the charges against him and the only reason he's in trouble is because of the evil liberals plotting against him. Well, the evil liberals over at the Washington Post turned up some interesting information last week that makes the hole Tom has been digging look just a little bit deeper and darker. According to the Post, when DeLay took a trip to England and Scotland in 2000, he 'said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper.' I should think so - because 'House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists.'

"Unfortunately for Tom, the Post turned up documents last week which showed that the airfare for the trip was charged to a credit card issued to one Jack Abramoff - a lobbyist, and one of DeLay's best buddies, who also happens to be right in the middle of a federal criminal and tax investigation as we speak. And in case Tommy Boy wants to play the 'I didn't know' game, the Post also notes that, 'The invoice for DeLay's plane fare lists the name of what was then Abramoff's lobbying firm, Preston Gates & Ellis. Multiple sources, including DeLay's then-chief of staff Susan Hirschmann, have confirmed that DeLay's congressional office was in direct contact with Preston Gates about the trip itinerary before DeLay's departure, to work out details of his travel. These contacts raise questions about DeLay's statement that he had no way of knowing about the financial and logistical support provided by Abramoff and his firm.' Oops."

* Krugman on the oblivious right. excerpt:

"Is the administration's obliviousness to the public's economic anxiety just partisanship? I don't think so: President Bush and other Republican leaders honestly think that we're living in the best of times. After all, everyone they talk to says so.

"Since November's election, the victors have managed to be on the wrong side of public opinion on one issue after another: the economy, Social Security privatization, Terri Schiavo, Tom DeLay. By large margins, Americans say that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and Mr. Bush is the least popular second-term president on record.

"What's going on? Actually, it's quite simple: Mr. Bush and his party talk only to their base - corporate interests and the religious right - and are oblivious to everyone else's concerns.
"It all makes you wonder how these people ever ended up running the country in the first place. But remember that in 2000, Mr. Bush pretended to be a moderate, and that in the next two elections he used the Iraq war as a wedge to divide and perplex the Democrats.

"In that context, it's worth noting two more poll results: in one taken before the recent resurgence of violence in Iraq, and the administration's announcement that it needs yet another $80 billion, 53 percent of Americans said that the Iraq war wasn't worth it. And 50 percent say that 'the administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.'

"Democracy Corps, the Democratic pollsters, say that there is a 'crisis of confidence in the Republican direction for the country.' As they're careful to point out, this won't necessarily translate into a surge of support for Democrats.

"But Americans are feeling a sense of dread: they're worried about a weak job market, soaring health care costs, rising oil prices and a war that seems to have no end. And they're starting to notice that nobody in power is even trying to deal with these problems, because the people in charge are too busy catering to a base that has other priorities."

* "Europe is far less susceptible than the United States to the religious wars that Ratzinger will incite. Attendance at church is negligible; church teachings are widely ignored; and the younger generation is least observant of all. But in the United States, the Bush administration and the right wing of the Republican Party are trying to batter down the wall of separation between church and state. Through court appointments, they wish to enshrine doctrinal views on the family, women, gays, medicine, scientific research and privacy. The Republican attempt to abolish the two-centuries-old filibuster -- the so-called nuclear option -- is only one coming wrangle in the larger Kulturkampf." -- Sidney Blumenthal, from Holy Warriors.

April 22, 2005

Money is like us in time, it lies, but can't stand up

Poem in the Manner of Paul Blackburn
-- by Gerard Malanga

Hitching up trousers
from just having gone to the can,
leaving the door purposely ajar --
beautiful young girl
suddenly rushes in without knocking --
whataya 'spect -- shocked at her surprise to find me there,
excuses herself "That's all right" I say --
in one lifetime of separate realities,
an erotic aftertaste.

In another phantasy,
she wd've stayed,
got on her knees and sucked me off.
Her head held in my hands,
My hands running through her hair

.............shows what a cup of coffee can do in the morning.

Tough Cookines
-- by Ted Berrigan

You took a wrong turn in
1938. Don't worry about it.

The sun shines brightest when
the others are sleeping.

There is a Briss in your
immediate future.

Take heart. Shakespeare was
probably an asshole too.

Your life is rare and precious
& it has no mud. Stay with it.

You have strange friends, but
they are going to be strangers.

Everything is Maya, but you
will never know it.

Your gaiety is not cowardice,
but it may be hepatitis.

--by Ted Berrigan

is when you walk around a corner
& I see you see me across Second Avenue
You're dressed in indentifiable white
over your jeans & I'm wearing Navy --
Jacob Riis is beams of sunlight as
I cross against the light & we inter-
cept at the Indian Candy Store. The
Family has gone off to Parkersburg, W. Virginia
The Chrysler Building is making the Empire State
stand tall & friendly it leans your way
There's appointments for everybody
They don't have to be kept, either.

* Heart'n the home state: New Jersey women to Iraqi women: We come in Peace. excerpt:

"A letter written by employees of Playtime, an adult toy store in Edison, New Jersey, to accompany thirty-six vibrators sent as gifts to Iraqi women last October. The project was funded by Playtime's owner, staff, and customers, and undertaken 'for humanitarian reasons:'

"Greetings to my Iraqi sister,

"I love getting gifts and surprises, and I hope you feel the same way. The items in this box were selected personally by me for you. The Sphincterine wipes will help you keep your anus and vagina minty fresh (I imagine things get a bit musky there in Iraq) and tasting great. The lube is one of the finest in the world and can really help enhance your pleasure.

"The vibrator I am enclosing is the same as the model I personally use. It is so soft and bendable and features metal pleasure beads attached to the center shaft so the beads can continue to rotate regardless of how tight you clench! Trust me, it can be one wild ride!

"Feelings here in the U.S. are mixed about Iraq right now, just as I am sure your feelings are mixed about America. What I want you to know is that I am sending this gift to show that the sisterhood of woman is stronger than politics, stronger than religion, and stronger than any doctrine or rhetoric. It unites us all, and through this bond we can find peace. Enjoy this gift, my faraway sister, and know that I love you."

April 21, 2005

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen

* The Nation on Bob Dylan. [via] excerpt:

"But if there is one group with whom Dylan currently resists association despite, or perhaps because of, his formidable contribution, it's the 1960s counterculture. When the brash young Dylan of '65 quipped, 'You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,' he might have thought he could make it into Bartlett's (he did), but how could he have predicted that, just five years later, three allusively named Weathermen would set off a bomb on Manhattan's West 11th Street and accidentally die in his name? And when it did happen, and self-styled 'Dylanologists' were digging through his trash, chanting outside his apartment and parachuting into his Woodstock home, how could he have felt? Hardly like a member of Woodstock Nation. Mike Marqusee's Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan's Art is sensitive to this incongruity. Years before the Weathermen, Dylan marched with SNCC and was an opening act for Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech. But his period of political engagement was but a sliver of time (albeit glorious), from 1962-63. And he has since admitted, in Chronicles, to having a soft spot for Barry Goldwater and has still refused to take a position on the war in Vietnam or, more recently, Iraq.

"The cover of the book has Dylan getting his Guthrie on circa 1963, complete with a plaid work shirt, tattered jeans and a waterfront in the background, just waiting to unite some workers of the world. Marqusee writes like a professional journalist but isn't out of his depth when he busts out the Adorno and Marcuse. He's an anguished, aging New Lefty who wants to let Bob be Bob but wishes he'd crawl out his window a little more to fight the good fights. Dylan, of course, is the last person who ever wanted to be a voice of a generation, as he told Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes last winter, and as he says repeatedly in Chronicles. But Marqusee and Dylan are also keenly, painfully aware that the moment for Dylan to be that voice has long passed anyway, even if some stray, incoherent remarks before a subpar performance at Live Aid twenty years ago did help raise millions of dollars for struggling American farmers. Dylan may have allowed Bank of Montreal to use 'The Times They Are A-Changin'' in 1996, but the songs of that 1962-63 period continue to provide a soundtrack to civil (and, in the case of the Weathermen, uncivil) disobedience. At a recent protest in the streets of Taipei, the words of Dylan still resound, even as they are somewhat lost in translation: 'How many rocky roads must the people of Taiwan walk, before really achieving democracy?'"

* Wolcott: Meet the New Pope, Same as the Old Pope. excerpt:

"So if Pope Benedict XVI continues to stigmatize homosexuals and condemns condom use, resulting in the further spread of AIDS in Africa and elsewhere, he's cool with that? He'd prefer consistency and message discipline over sanity and compassion?

"Why am I even bothering to raise the questions? Of course, he would. Floodwaters could engulf both coasts, and [New York Daily News writer]Michael Goodwin, wearing a snorkel, would applaud Bush and Cheney for remaining steadfast in denying the existence of global warming."

* David Berman answers reader questions over at fittedsweats:

Q: Why do some adults speak of dessert in a mock-naughty tone that's usually reserved for sex? -- Wanda, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

DCB: Yes, you'll never hear people talk about appetizers in those terms. Sweet Adultery Eggrolls or whatever. I think this contribution to closing remarks, is purely the work of women 50 and older who do not work. No longer able to bear children, they themselves, in post-prandial hallucinations dream up the cake canyons and sweater covered hills that cause the planet where dessert turns people on.

April 20, 2005

I will see you soon my friend if these old directions still direct

Four poems by James Tate:


Half of the people in town passionately
want a new parking garage to be built in the
center of town, and the other half just as
passionately do not want a new parking garage.
They have argued over this issue for three
long years now. It is front-page news in
the local paper every week. The two sides
are no longer speaking to one another. The
luxurious silence is punctuated by gunfire,
but even so it beats their petty words. The
mountain lion, thought to be extinct here
for more than one hundred years, is seen
downtown on every street corner, yawning or
scratching its ears.

Frontier Guards

I'm surprised to find you here, I said.
Likewise, she said. I come here every night,
I said. I do, too, she replied. Well, I've never
seen you here, I said. And I've never
seen you either. How could that be? I said.
When we drink we become invisible, she suggested.
I thought it over. What would you like? I said.
Hold my hand and we'll disappear together.
Shazam, she said.

New Blood

A huge lizard was dicovered drinking
out of the fountain today. It was not menacing
anyone, it was just very thirsty. A small crowd
gathered and whispered to one another, as though
the lizard would understand them if they spoke
in normal voices. The lizard seemed not even
a little perturbed by their gathering. It drank
and drank, its long forked tongue was like a red
river hypnotizing the people, keeping them in a
trance-like state. "It's like a different town,"
one of them whispered. "Change is good," the
other one whispered back.


Gabriella was lying on her back naked
on the living room rug when an antique toy
airplane came buzzing out of the sky and landed
just below her breasts and taxied to the edge
of her pubis. I had been painting a wall but
immediately put down my brush. She was smiling.
"That was an incredible landing," I said.
"Perfect," she replied.
My arousal embarrassed me.
"Just for you," she said, "I'll do it again."

April 19, 2005

I can't help but wonder what could have been

From Timothy Crouse's excellent 1973 book on the press coverage of the 1972 campaign 'The Boys on the Bus.'

"The next time I saw Robert Novak was also at the Democratic Convention. He was coming through the front door of the Fountainebleau Hotel to collect his rented car on the huge portecochere outside. 'Number 5!' yelled the car jockey. Novak was wearing wrinkled checkered pants, scuffed black buckle shoes and a seersucker jacket that was buttoned too tight over his pygmy belly. As he waited, he acknowledged hellos from passers-by. 'Hi, Governor,' he said, nodding at an obscure Southern pol.

I went up and asked for an interview and this time he agreed to talk to me if I would drive with him to the Carillon, Humphrey's headquarters. We slid into his green compact Olds and started inching up Collins Avenue, with the air conditioning going full blast.....

...Novak didn't look at me as he talked, but he spoke fast and volunteered a lot of points. He and Evans had written a lot of critical articles about Nixon, he said, without getting the 'cry baby' reaction they had gotten from many McGovern supporters....

...We had broken through the worst of the traffic on Collins Avenue, and were coming up fast on the Carillon, so I asked Novak about his fabled sources.

Novak wouldn't name any of his sources and didn't seem to want to talk about them. 'Evans and I are switch-hitters,' he said. 'We write different columns and have different news sources. I use about fifty to a hundred sources regularly, I suppose. I don't really know how many. God bless 'em, though.'

Beside Novak, on the front seat, there lay a manila folder, filled with Xeroxes of his columns. On top of that was a small yellow sheet, with his day's schedule typed on it. It said: '3:30, Pierre Salinger, Doral Hotel.' No matter what Evans wrote about McGovern, the fact still remained that McGovern needed them more than they needed him. So Salinger was very much at home to Novak, and, the next night, Frank Mankiewicz smailed and smiled and was only too glad to show Evans around the Mcgovern trailer." [Emphasis added]

* Unitarian Jihad, by Jon Carroll. excerpt:

"Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion."

* TMFTML on Colin Meloy and the Replacements. excerpt:

"We've been thinking a bit about The Replacements since we recently received a copy of Colin Meloy's Let it Be. The book is quite good, although it's mostly about Meloy growing up in Montana (we're probably the last people in the world to know that his sister is novelist Maile Meloy). Meloy does an excellent job of conveying what it feels like to be a kid, open to everything but limited in possibilities and dependent on friends and older relations to show you what's out there.

"We ourselves had to rely on the English fellow who owned the record shop that sat directly across from our high school to turn us on to The Replacements: We started with Pleased to Meet Me and worked our way backwards. Enough has been said about the band that it would be superfluous to add anything here (except to implore you not to buy Don't Tell a Soul; it sucks in such a way that it seems to violate all laws of physics); if you don't know much about them, pick up the Meloy, which, while nowhere near authoritative, will give you a brief enough outline and is actually enjoyable to read.

"Anyway, what we've been thinking about is Westerberg's first solo record, 14 Songs, which followed his work on the Singles soundtrack (how 'Waiting for Somebody' doesn't qualify for his new best of is beyond us). We'll agree with the general consensus that his later solo records have been bland, pointless affairs, but we listened to 14 Songs again the other night and we still think it's a great fucking record, more mature than the old 'Mats stuff but not as deliberately AOR as what would come to pass with the cavalcade of crap he waxed over the next ten years."

April 18, 2005

the sunset and the electric bill

photo by dronepop

* Popmatters interviews Spoon's Britt Daniel. [via]. excerpt:

PM: What were you guys listening to while you were recording this? 'I Turn My Camera On' kinda sounds like the Clash covering Prince, you know?

BD: Yeah. Umm... what were we listening to... I don't know what Jim [Eno, drummer and, with Daniel, one-half of Spoon's core] listens to. He listens to music on his iPod and nobody else gets to know what it is. I know he brings his iPod in his car... I never know what Jim's listening to. There were parts of making the record that I went through a pretty intense 1999 phase. And there was a big Revolver phase, where I would go to bed listening to Revolver on headphones every night.

PM: That definitely shows.

BD: Yeah. Those were the two records that I kinda became obsessed with at various times. I was listening to the Cure, the Clash, a lot of Prince, the Damned... you probably don't hear that as much.

PM: I like how you always keep your runtimes very economical, and your sequencing is always really engaging. Obviously you still have faith in the concept of the LP as a cohesive statement. So what do you think of all the digital technology these days, and iTunes, and people absorbing albums in piecemeal?

BD: Well... [pauses] it's gotta be done. People are gonna do it, and I do it too. I still think that there's something really special about putting on one album at a time. I understand that it happens and I know it's gonna happen and I know why it happens, but it's a little bit sad to me that people don't listen to music in the environment that they did where they had to put on a record and listen on two sides. You put it on, and it was such a hassle to go in and put that record on that you're not gonna go flippin' around a whole lot. You're listening to it the way the band intended for it to happen. Some people don't listen to music the same way, but I think that the people that are real music fans will listen to records that way, 'cause they want to know what the band intended. And they'll keep listening to them like that. The people that only listen to one song from a record and flip around that much, if that's the only way they listen to music, they're probably the kind of people that like music as something to drive to, you know?

* Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"The stock markets and the oil futures markets sank in tandem last week as the global economy responded to increasing strain by wobbling. Oil dipped below $50 a barrel. Don't expect it to linger there long, as the summer driving season approaches. (Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start.)

"Americans will travel compulsively even in a darkening economy. They may not go to Europe right now, with coffee at five bucks a cup there, but they will keep driving around the US because the suburban wastelands where most Americans live are so unendurably depressing that their denizens will pay almost any price for gas to get away for a while -- if only to hyper-artificial destinations like Las Vegas and Disney World. In any case, virtually all American cities (or metroplexes, since the city part is now the least of them), are so designed that stupendous rates of daily motoring are unavoidable.
"Since then, the world has enjoyed another extraordinary era of stability between the major nations. Notice, I don't use the term major powers. Many would argue that US military power is beyond challenge. A minority view states there enough small arms in the world so that any gang of miscreants with $50,000 worth of rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-launched missiles, and Semtech plastic explosive can make the US Army do a hurt dance. The long term trend is for America to exhaust itself engaging with these fire-ants, and to withdraw from the ant-hills back into the safety of North America.

"That process is now underway, and the economic implications are rather dire. The spring of 2005 has that 1914 feel. In Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, the current hiatus has settled nothing. The various tribes and factions are still pissed off at each other and at us. America is still left with its huge oil import addiction and a suburban way-of-life that no amount of 'energy conservation' can appease. The tectonic stresses of economic distortion have been building under the surface of the Wal Mart / China partnership. For those of you contemplating a vacation in Las Vegas, don't bet on the status quo."

* "I'm a tidy sort of bloke. I don't like chaos. I kept records in the record rack, tea in the tea caddy, and pot in the pot box." -- George Harrison

April 15, 2005

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship

-- by Frank Stanford

The maid used to pull the drapes
So I could see the dust

When it didn't rain
I bought gum and worked in the boat
There was a locked up shack down the road
With a stack of records in the bedroom

We could tell strangers were around
From what they drank

The girls waited in the orchards
There was no need to lie.

-- by Frank Stanford

The old woman washed my socks
Light went through my hair
Like a school of minnows

Death had a socket wrench
That'd fit any nut
He knows a little tune
You can't carry

Death say he give you credit
You better not sign

A journey is just like a journey
The so-called mystery of death
Will run you about an even seven bucks
Go ahead and see
This includes a washtub of beer
Advice on love
Snake oil on your tally-whacker

Wind blows over our plots
Whistling up the butt of our deaths
I could be anywhere
Wind on the island at night
Not the schoolbell full of mud

-- by Frank Stanford

The book is full of my father's eyelashes
He treats the pages rough
like a woman
He pinches the daylights out of them
Mud dries
up between his heel and sole
quick as spit on his thumb
You can still smell
Four Roses bourbon in the morning
through the onionskin
He will not weep He knows
most folks don't keep their word
Anyway the rain
came through like a hitchhiker

-- by Beth Woodcome

Lean in like babies. Lean in like paranoids. Our eyes go to the left,
and quickly to the right. Can you hear it? Can you tell me when it’ll happen?

The sound of someone plotting. A deep breath.
All those fatigues. Those boys.

Let me tell you something. Come closer so my lips. So my lips.
Last I checked you should run.

April 14, 2005

the sun peeks in on an afternoon drunk

adventures in poetry, by Carol Bove

* Do cannabis withdrawals need drug therapy? excerpt:

CASE STUDY: Cannabis Withdrawal in Adult Caucasian Male

PUBLICATION: The Journal of Non-Peer-Reviewed Politicized Irreproducable Junk Science

RESEARCHER: E. Elevator, LSMFT, Miskatonic University Medical School

EXPERIMENTAL METHODOLOGY: Subject ran out and couldn't get any for a couple of weeks.

CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS: Subject was observed to be grouchy, and vocalized using vocabulary acquired during prior enlisted military service. Subject reported loss of desire to play scratchy old Jimi Hendrix and Traffic vinyl. Noticeable loss of appetite for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Necco Skybars and "Dagwood" sandwiches.

CONCLUSIONS: Sudden withdrawal from cannabis use is a significant, life-threatening medical, psychiatric, genetic, hormonal, supercallifragialisticexpialidocious, iatrogenic phenomenon requiring professional intervention, preferably coerced and incarcerated, for the addict's own good. Indications of successful recovery include sincere-sounding testaments to probation officers and judges of how really sorry subject is, and how grateful subject now is for the criminal-justice intervention which was "the luckiest day of my life" (J. Walters).

* "It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language. And it seems that on the stage, which is above all a space to fill and a place where something happens, the language of words may have to give way before a language of signs whose objective aspect is the one that has the most immediate impact on us. Considered in this light, the objective work of the mise en scnène assumes a kind of intellectual dignity from the effacement of words behind gestures and from the fact that the esthetic, plastic part of theater drops its role of decorative intermediary in order to become, in the proper sense of the word, a directly communicative language." - Antonin Artaud, The Theater and its Double

* Bars and Guitars has posted a new mountain goats song: the lion's teeth.

April 13, 2005

Most of us prizefighters will fall for fashion

My American Land Is Not Brave
-- by Jack Micheline

My American land is not brave
Nor the silence of the dead who buy flowers
I open my heart to love without question or pity
I open my heart and weep because men seek the easy road of books and
I extend my hand to the bosom of the earth dark and dirty
I extend my body whipped by poverty and the sky of poets
The world seeks an open soul to breathe
The world seeks
Man seeks
Woman seeks
Child seeks
The cold night seeks
The open wound that strikes at the heart
The pulse of fever in tears of lonely nights
That man has built on this earth will remain
But the bare heart and soul of creation
Among flowers of pain
And the faces of children playing in the sun
No I do not speak of power or bridges of steel
I speak now of the open wound that is the heart that is silent
The sea weaves
The feet wander
The heart ticks
The soul speaks
Open the wound and hear all that is
The lips of frightened lovers

God Bless The Unknown
-- by Jack Micheline

Born in a daze
I wandered across the cities
Ablaze with lights
Hospital, tower, prisons and all hells habitation
Tap in cry and die and keep going
What did I know or anyone know
We knew nothing
Not a god dam thing
A blind man searching in the night
A child poet
Bug eyed from the real racing
The need for what others seem to have
Appearance certainly a sham
This worlds a sham
So what has it been any different
The devil turns the wheels of the world
The devil with his fucking big hat
His ritual of deceit and murder
Slave, politician, banker, stockbroker, pimp entrepreneur
The need for money
Learn to make honey baby
That is the switcheroo
The birds are singing in the trees
The flowers are blooming
I got my eyes
We are all the light

-- by David Markson

The women said:
Is there any point in reducing
Every damned question to sex?

There was Mozart on.
And what she really
Meant was: Couldn't we maybe delve
Into a few dozen more of her neuroses
Before we screwed again?

Now here is what was actually
In my own head around then:
That funeral, in that rain,
Where nobody could spare the time
To set some shabbiest of signals
At his grave.

I assume I've already
Telegraphed the last part of this.
Naturally I forgot her name.
But I could diagram exactly
Where the turntable stood.

* High Plains Business Loop has the goods on the outrage resulting from University of Pennsylvania's decision to book Sonic Youth as the headliner for their Spring Fling campus concert.

April 12, 2005

And the sun peeks in like a killer through the curtain

TV Buddha, by Nam June Paik, 1974 [via]

* Mind control and the American media. excerpt:

The U.S. mainstream media are frequently accused by the right of being too liberal. But consider the following.

"For most of March, the U.S. population was fixated on the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case. Discussions and arguments about the Schiavo case took place daily around water coolers, bars, and dinner tables everywhere. It was likely the most talked about topic of the day.

"Then Pope John Paul II died, and all attention quickly moved to the late pope, with almost 24/7 coverage of activities at the Vatican and interviews with mourners from around the world. Terri Schiavo was no longer of interest.

"Meanwhile, the media has had very little to say about Iraq, where several more U.S. soldiers have been killed, the Abu Ghraib prison was attacked by insurgents, and a Belgian soldier died from 'friendly fire' by U.S. troops."
"The media must remember that their purpose is to inform the public, not to protect or placate the powers that be. They must regain the brave commitment to the truth that has been the hallmark of great journalism through the centuries. And they must be honest without fear of the consequences.

"At the same time, the American people must open their eyes, open their minds, and recognize that there is more to life than entertainment. They must snap out of their complacency and their blissful ignorance of what's really going on in the world, and hold the media accountable.

"A true democracy requires an informed electorate. With the 2006 mid-term elections just around the corner, there is no time to waste."

* The Bush Administration attacks women's sports. in full:

"The Bush administration has mounted a surreptitious new attack on Title IX, the 33-year-old law that has exponentially expanded the participation of girls and women in sports.

"Last month, a memo went up on an Education Department Web site that was billed as a 'clarification' of Title IX regulations. But the memo amounted to a major weakening of the criteria used to determine compliance with the rule that all schools receiving public funds provide equal sports opportunities for men and women. Under the new guidelines, on campuses where the proportion of female athletes falls notably below the proportion of women in the student body, and sports programs for women are not expanding, a college will still be able to show it is 'fully and effectively' obeying the law by doing an online survey that shows women have no unmet sports interests. The department says that if the rate of response is low - as it is with most such surveys - that will be interpreted as a lack of interest.

"Currently, such surveys are just one factor used on the college level to gauge interest in women's sports, along with more accurate measures, like participation rates in 'feeder' high schools or recreational leagues, and the opinions of coaches and administrators. There is no similar burden on male athletes to register their interest, and surveys are a poor predictor of behavior if sports opportunities are afforded equally. The president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Myles Brand, worries that this loophole 'will likely stymie the growth of women's athletics and could reverse the progress made over the last three decades.'

"This harmful change, made without public notice or debate, marks a dismaying turnaround. Two years ago, the administration rejected a set of hobbling proposals to alter the criteria for Title IX compliance, including a change similar to the one it has now quietly instituted. Still, there is cause for hope. The Bush administration supported the Supreme Court's important ruling in March extending Title IX's coverage to whistle-blowers who complain about a school's treatment of female athletes. A public outcry may yet persuade the administration to withdraw the new regulation."

* "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent" – Victor Hugo

April 11, 2005

Their voices are bringing trees to their knees

* Momus on culture and Japanese toilets.


"While the toilet looks like a western style toilet at first glance, there are a number of additional features, such as blow dryer, seat heating, massage options, water jet adjustments, automatic lid opening, flushing after use, wireless control panels, heating and air conditioning for the room, et cetera, included either as part of the toilet or in the seat. These features can be accessed by a control panel that is either attached to one side of the seat or on a wall nearby, often transmitting the commands wirelessly to the toilet seat. The most basic feature is the integrated bidet, a nozzle the size of a pencil that comes out from underneath the toilet seat and squirts water. It has two settings: one for the anus and one for the vulva. The former is called posterior wash, general use, or family cleaning, and the latter is known as feminine cleaning or 'feminine wash.' (Wow, a toilet that knows that different genders have different genitals! How... sexist!)"
"Apart from the odd low-voltage shaver outlet, that's a taboo in the West. Next thing I noticed was the Star Trek-style electronic control panel with an LED display. All the buttons were in Japanese! Which one flushed it? I pressed a button at random. A jet of warm water hit my anus. Oy vey! I pushed another button. A flushing sound filled the bathroom, but nothing happened in the water below. This was totally surreal. Had I just put a real poo in a 3D virtual toilet? How could I link up the dimensions in such a way that my virtual poo got carried away by a virtual flush, or my real poo by a real flush? I left the bathroom in confusion, my clumsy gaijin turd still floating in the bowl. Only later did I realise that there was a 'real' flush on the tank, and that the 'virtual' flush on the control panel was just a sound effect to cover embarrasing noises. Wikipedia again:

"'Many Japanese women are embarrassed at the thought that someone else can hear them while they are doing their business on the toilet. To cover the sound of bodily functions, many women flushed public toilets continuously while using them, wasting a large amount of water in the process. As education campaigns did not stop this practice, a device was introduced in the 1980s that, after activation, produces the sound of flushing water without the need for actual flushing. One brand name commonly found is the Otohime, which literally means Sound Princess, and is named after the Japanese goddess Otohime, the beautiful daughter of the sea-king Ryujin.'"
"The fact is, it's very difficult, once you've been Japanized, not to want the whole world to Japanize. I can't conceive of my ideal home now without a massage chair, a denki poto (I've got one here in Berlin, but the transformer I need to run it is more expensive than the kettle itself) and a washlet toilet. I can't conceive of my ideal city without picturing love hotels and public baths on every block. Like a man who's been on holiday to 2050, I can't help finding the West a little, well, backward, especially when it comes to the body, hygiene, waste, and sex."

* And marijuana for all. excerpt from Toronto Now piece:

"From my perspective, the marijuana issue is a no-brainer. There are probably more Canadians who smoke pot than play hockey. People have been doing this for more than 10,000 years."
"I believe there are six incontrovertible reasons why we should put the tiresome marijuana debate to rest once and for all by truly giving Canadians the liberty to grow and use the marijuana plant for personal use, whether recreational or medical.

"First, it is a plant. Criminal law should be reserved for serious predatory conduct, and only in the world of science-fiction can a plant become a predator.

"Second, since the 1894 Indian Hemp Commission, virtually every royal commission and governmental committee, internationally and in Canada, has recommended that marijuana use be decriminalized. Some have even called for outright legalization. It is an affront to democracy to continuously spend taxpayers' money on comprehensive and informed reports that are ignored for no apparent reason.

"Third, most of Europe and Australia have decriminalized marijuana use, and the liberalization of the law in these countries has not wreaked social havoc. In fact, consumption rates in decriminalized jurisdictions are significantly lower than in the penal colonies of Canada and the United States.

"Fourth, the use of marijuana poses few societal dangers. It is not a criminogenic substance. For most people, marijuana provides a form of deep relaxation and sensory enhancement, and it does not have the unpredictable, disinhibiting capacity of alcohol. No one is getting mugged by Cheech and Chong, and contrary to the false alarms sounded by public officials, marijuana is not significantly responsible for vehicular carnage.

"A drug can only possess criminogenic potential if it is a disinihibitor like alcohol or if it has addictive potential. There is little evidence that marijuana is addictive, though many chronic users experience a psychological dependency like that of the compulsive jogger who continues a daily exercise regimen despite failing knees.

"Fifth, marijuana is relatively harmless for the user. Admittedly, smoking has some pulmonary risks, but we don't throw junk food makers and their consumer-victims into jail despite the enormous burden these junkies place on the health care system. Criminal law is not the remedy for gastrointestinal distress, nor is it a rational solution to curbing chronic bronchial inflammation. The solemnity and majesty of the criminal law is trivialized when it's used to prevent Canadians from becoming a nation of coughers and wheezers.

"Of course, every month we are bombarded by media reports of some new study linking pot to hemorrhoids or some other health risk. More often than not, the study is reporting inconclusive findings from overdosing rats and monkeys, or is a methodologically flawed experiment commissioned by the state.

"Marijuana activists and users like myself are accused of disregarding mounting evidence of the ravages of marijuana, but we've heard the doom and gloom before. Even though marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, there is no epidemiological evidence showing increased morbidity or mortality among the toking population. But their failure to prove that the evils attributed to marijuana are anything more than speculative just compels the state and its scientist handmaidens to use science as a tool for propaganda.

"My final reason for denouncing the use of criminal law to manufacture cannabis criminals is that the majority of Canadians do not support criminalization of pot use. Democracy is an illusion when the state can maintain a criminal prohibition on an activity enjoyed by 3 million Canadians and tolerated by an overwhelming majority."

* "I think one of the great potentialities of poetry is that, while it moves on the surface with image and color and motion and sense, it develops, not an exposition finally, but a disposition . . . what art does, and what explanation can’t do, is that it stops. The poem ends. And at that point, it becomes a construct, a disposition rather than an exposition, and it is silent . . . and indefinable. And this cures us of the fragmentation that words imposed on us from the beginning." - A.R. Ammons

April 8, 2005

People are abused Bush government hides truth

From Ed Sanders' amazing bio-in-verse "The Life and Poetry of Allen Ginsberg."


"April 17, Gordon Liddy, later
sent to jail for his role
in Nixon's dirty tricks team,
led a raid by Dutchess County police
on Tim Leary's 2,500 acre estate in Millbrook
loaned to him by Billy Hitchcock

29 people were there and searched,
and all 64 rooms of the mansion searched
but no grasss was found.

Liddy was sure he had found something
ascribable to Leary
but it turned out to be peat moss.

Allen helped organize a full-page ad in The New York Times
to help Mr. Leary.

In June Allen testified in D.C.
against making LSD illegal
to no avail.

The summer of '66
saw the death of the brillian poet Frank O'Hara
struck down by a dune taxi
on Fire Island July 24.

Allen wrote his
"City Midnight Junk Strains" from Frank O'Hara
(p. 457, Collected Poems)

The next day
Bob Dylan had his motorcycle accident in Bearsville
an injured neck and other bruisings

Three weeks later Allen visited Dylan
bringing him some books, Rimbaud, Blake
Dickenson, Shelly

The fall of '66
loomed like the frentic highway
of the same name
hundreds of interviews, readings, letters, journal entries,
skin-slups, hookahs, plane trips, arguments & kisses

He wrote "A Vow" on October 11
a fine example of what could be called the Scold Poem.
Like the great Norman Thomas,
the bard was sometimes content merely to scold --
singing his vision of calming down the Greed Machine
(p. 460, Collected Poems)

Then came the great year of Flower Power, 1967."

While out of print, this book can be found easily and reasonably priced at Advanced Book Exchange. Highly recommended that you pick up a copy today.

* Rough Cuts: dutch flowers (singel 387), by The Foreign Press. Recorded live at the 'first time with drums' sessions. Please scroll down two days and check out 'Tuscaloosa."

April 7, 2005

can you feel the darkness shining through

Natchez Bridge Crossing, by van Etten.

* Maureen Dowd on The Passion of Tom. excerpt:

"Usually, the White House loves bullies. It embraces John Bolton, nominated as U.N. ambassador, even though, as The Times reports today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is reviewing allegations that Mr. Bolton misused intelligence and bullied subordinates to help buttress W.M.D. hokum when he was at State.

"But there's some skittishness in the party leadership about the Passion of the Tom, the fiery battle of the born-again Texan to show that he's being persecuted on ethics by a vast left-wing conspiracy. Some Republicans are wondering whether they need to pull a Trent Lott on Tom DeLay before he turns into Newt Gingrich, who led his party to the promised land but then had to be discarded when he became the petulant 'definer' and 'arouser' of civilization. Do they want Mr. DeLay careering around in Queeg style as they go into 2006?"
"The Washington Post also splashed Mr. DeLay on the front page with an article about a third DeLay trip under scrutiny: a six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by Mr. DeLay was 'underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.'

"All the divisions that President Bush was able to bridge in 2004 are now bursting forth as different wings of his party joust. John Danforth, the former Republican senator and U.N. ambassador, wrote an Op-Ed piece in The Times last week saying that, on issues from stem cell research to Terri Schiavo, his party 'has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement.'

"When the Rev. Danforth, an Episcopal minister who prayed with Clarence Thomas when he was under attack by Anita Hill, says the party has gone too far, it's way over the edge."

* Flagpole's George W. Bush dictionary. [via] excerpt:

"Intellectual n. An unpatriotic individual who has the temerity to think or question during a time of crisis or war.

"Liberal Elite n. A disparaging phrase used to describe anyone smarter than the person using the term.

"Mandate n. A fictional popular cry for change derived from a statistically insignificant political victory or a simple inability to count.

"Safe Sex n. A low risk sexual activity from which teenage Americans are taught to abstain and of which they are to remain ignorant.

"School Prayer n. A government-sanctioned daily interruption of public school system designed to alienate religious minorities.

"Unlightenment, The n. A 21st century philosophical movement of the American political right marked by embracing the traditional, social, and political ideas of the 17th century. See Luddite, Flat Earther.

"Values n. 1. A set of standards frequently mentioned, loosely defined and selectively applied. 2. A word used by politicians to enjoy the popular good will associated with honesty and ethics without being burdened by the accountability of those terms.

"W n. 1. A mnemonic device for people incapable of remembering an entire name. 2. The logo for a successful 21st century marketing scam."

April 6, 2005

Remember last call false scenarios

* RIP: Saul Bellow.

* Two Poems by Ron Padgett


The New York streets look nude and stupid
With Ted and Edwin no longer here
To light them up with their particularity
Of loving them and with intelligence
In some large sense of the word:
New York's lost some of its rough charm
And there's just no getting around it
By pretending the rest of us can somehow make up for it
Or that future generations will. I hear
A dog barking in the street and it's drizzling
At 6am and there's nothing warm
Or lovable or necessary about it, it's just
Some dog barking in the street somewhere.
I hate that dog.

The Way of All Handwriting

As long as there is hair on the human head
And people wish to arrange it
There will be combs.

But I don't want to sign my autograph,
I want to follow a coil
Down into my desire
To fall face first
Into a blue-green swimming pool
The shape and size of my own body,
So the joke will fly away from my physiognomy
And the steel strings that hold it to my interior monologue
Fall into the ionosphere
Where even combs go when they die,
Perfected, like the first crayons,
Bright basic colors.

* Rough cuts: tuscaloosa, by The Foreign Press, recorded live (first time with drums). [link fixed]

April 5, 2005

I feel like a robot by the river Looking for a drink

* The Book Standard reports on the long struggle to get A Confederacy of Dunces made into a film. [via] excerpt:

"Years after Toole's death, his mother gave the manuscript to writer Walker Percy, who passed it on to the Louisiana State University Press. In 1980, the LSUP printed about 800 copies of the book's first edition, which took off to become a best seller and win its author a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

"But before the LSUP even printed 'Confederacy,' the manuscript had found its way into the hands of Scott Kramer, then a 19-year-old executive at 20th Century Fox. Kramer had written to the publisher about an entirely different matter — requesting a botany book for his mother — but became its sole contact in Hollywood. When "Confederacy" was in galleys, the LSUP sent it to Kramer on the off chance that he might be interested.

"Thus began an extraordinary 25-year journey through which 'Confederacy' has dominated Kramer's life and become a Hollywood legend. He is still working on the project but admits that it has given him cause to reflect.

"'I am certainly not looking for projects to become as emotionally involved with as 'Confederacy,'' Kramer quips. 'But when you have put so much time into something, it is hard to give it up.'
"But Soderbergh and Rudin had different notions of how to make the movie, and when Rudin moved ahead on his own — hiring Fry to write a script — Kramer and Soderbergh sued. That lawsuit stalled the film for several years before Miramax optioned the book from Paramount.

"By then, Soderbergh's interest in directing 'Confederacy' had waned, and he and Kramer attached David Gordon Green, in turn bringing aboard such talent as Drew Barrymore, Mos Def and Will Ferrell. The movie seemed set to go, but precisely then, Miramax's relationship with parent the Walt Disney Co. began to flounder. Stuck between Harvey Weinstein's passion and Michael Eisner's wallet, "Confederacy" froze until Miramax's option expired in January 2004 and the book reverted to Paramount.

"'Projects that are not genre films or aimed at specific audiences are hard to get financed,' Kramer says. 'On top of that, because this book is so well-known, there have been wrestling matches going on between a lot of people who have tried to attach themselves, and that doesn't necessarily help.'

"Kramer hopes to lock in a new financing deal soon and says the key players — Soderbergh, Green, Barrymore and Mos Def — remain attached. But his office answering machine sounds sadly prophetic in declaring, 'If you are calling regarding 'Confederacy of Dunces,' that project is now on indefinite hold.'"

* On Allen Ginsberg's Wichita Vortex Sutra. PDF file of Wichita Vortex Sutra.

* N+1 magazine's It Goes to Eleven: or, How Nirvana Sounds Now. excerpt:

"For post-Cobain Nirvana fans, like post-Garcia Deadheads, the experience of seeing the live show, of being in the same room (or arena, or stadium) as The Man Himself, is a foreclosed option—always already impossible. So the posthumous issuance of increasingly obscure material is not only the closest we can get, it’s all we’ve got (cf. The Dead’s endless stream of live releases or their most recent collection, Rare Cuts and Oddities: 1966).

"Though his ghost may never forgive me for saying so, the man who once said he’d wear a tie-dyed shirt only if it were “soaked in the blood of Jerry Garcia” had a lot more in common with the old hippie, who outlived him by a year, than he’d have cared to admit. (There was heroin, for one thing.) Jerry knew they would deify him after his death, since Deadheads had been regarding him as a prophet for decades. Cobain, whose career arc and ethos and musical project (and fans) were diametrically opposed to Garcia’s in every way, couldn’t have known that in death he’d finally grow wings. But this much he surely knew: it’s a fucked-up world. Proof? Look at the group photo on the back cover of The Dead’s 1969 album Aoxomoxoa; among those pictured is a young Courtney Love."
"The death (read: suppression) of irony in the post-9/11 world has had one positive consequence: the re-establishment of a cultural space for earnestness. Back in the early ‘90s, Nirvana’s pain and anger seemed primarily existential. As such, they were frequently accused of complaining about nothing. Now, as the shitstorm of the second Bush administration drags on, ever thickening, not only does their angst seem justified but the political dimension of their rage is cast into increasingly sharp relief. We’re entangled in an endless, pointless war; reproductive rights are under constant assault; the ANWR is getting drilled like a tooth; the religious far-right is the only grassroots movement that can get any press coverage. Krist Novoselic’s squawking mockery of the Youngbloods ('C’mon people now…') in the opening seconds of 'Territorial Pissings' is worlds more poignant now than when first released.

"If things have gotten as bad as Nirvana always made it sound like they were, this should only go to show that if they hadn’t existed we’d be scrambling to invent them. Novoselic is right: this democracy is broken. Cobain’s howls, however, are more persuasive—and comforting—than a well-reasoned call for electoral reform could possibly be. What the two have in common is earnestness. Luckily, we don’t have to pick one or the other. We need both."

April 4, 2005

Wine in the mornin', and some breakfast at night

* Top 10 conservative idiots. excerpt:

"1. Tom DeLay

"You may have noticed that in the furor over the circumstances surrounding the death of Terri Schiavo, the radical right-wingers have gone a bit, um, over the top. We highlighted several stories in Idiots 191 indicating the lunacy of these people - a man arrested for trying to steal a gun from a firearms store so he could 'save Terri,' a radio host who suggested that Jeb Bush should take her into custody and advocated the 'killing of anyone who interferes with such rescue,' a man arrested for offering a $250,000 reward for killing Terri's husband Michael, plus a $50,000 bonus for killing Judge Greer. The threats continued last week, extending as far as Michael Schiavo's family in Pennsylvania.

"All of which makes Tom 'The Snake' DeLay's remarks last week particularly disturbing, if not downright dangerous. After learning of Terri Schiavo's passing, DeLay appeared in public and said, 'This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.' Compare this to a quote from one of the nuts who called to threaten the Schiavos: "'Your time will come. The time will come, for all of us, for all of us. Time will come. I wonder which way you will get to go when time does come.' Creepily similar aren't they?

"And I guess I'm not the only one who thought the House Majority Leader's comments sounded like a threat. Sen. Frank Lautenberg sent an official letter to DeLay last week which read in part, 'You should be aware that your comments yesterday may violate a Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B) ... Threats against specific Federal judges are not only a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress.' When will Republicans wake up and realize what kind of people are leading their party?"

* From the Sassy archives:

I want to know why it is when a guy fools around a lot or has sex, everyone thinks he's so cool. but when a girl does that, she's known as a 'slut.'
--Meredith, Long Island, NY

"Domination is very important to the male species. To prove our maleness to each other, we engage in conquests of women. To keep the women subservient, we criminalize them for enjoying any glory a sexual affair might bring. This mode of action has become very successful over the last hundred million years. So successful, in fact, that it has been ingrained into the consciousness and possibly the DNA of humanity. Fortunately for people like yourself, there's a revolution going on. One which involves intelligent, spiritual beings aware of the disservice and injustice of just such an order. The riot grrrls and neo-boys will multiply and educate the world to fight the good fight. By reading Sassy you may be on the right track. Join us. Read all about it." --Thurston Moore, NYC [via]

* What do you think of the logo for the Arlington Pediatric Center?

* An Open Letter to Disaffected Music Retail Customers.

April 1, 2005

Bees are black eyed birds that buzz

RIP Robert Creeley.

Four Poems:

for no clear reason

I dreamt last night
the fright was over, that
the dust came, and then the water,
and the women and men, together
again, and all was quiet
in the dim moon's light.

a paean of such patience --
laughing, laughing at me,
and the days extend over
the earth's great cover,
grass, trees, and flower-
ing season, for no clear reason.

love come quietly

love comes quietly,
finally, drops
about me, on me,
in the old ways.

What did I know
thinking myself
able to go
alone all the way.

Jack's Blues

I'm going to roll up
a monkey and smoke it, put
an elephant in the pot. I'm going out
and never coming back.

What's better than that.
Lying on your back, flat
on your back with your
eyes to the view.

Oh the view is blue, I saw that
too, yesterday and you,
red eyes and blue,

I'm going to roll up
a rug and smoke it, put
the car in the garage and I'm
gone, like a sad old candle.

Heaven Knows

Seemingly never until one's dead
is there possible measure --

but of what then or for what
other than the same plagues

attended the living with misunderstanding
and wanted a compromise as pledge

one could care for any of them
heaven knows, if that's where one goes.