July 29, 2005

flew off early in the haze of dawn

brave, by kelly moore

three poems by Jack Gilbert:

More Than Sixty

Out of money, so I'm sitting in the shade
of my farmhouse cleaning the lentils
I found in the back of the cupboard.
Listening to the cicada in the fig tree
mix with the cooing doves on the roof.
I look up when I hear a goat hurt far down
the valley and I discover the sea
exactly the same blue I used to paint it
with my watercolors as a child.
So what, I think happily. So what!


I can't remember her name.
It's not as though I've been in bed
with that many women.
The truth is I can't even remember
her face. I kind of know how strong
her thighs were, and her beauty.
But what I won't forget
is the way she tore open
the barbecued chicken with her hands,
and wiped the grease on her breasts.

Winning on the Black

The silence is so complete he can hear
the whispers inside him. Mostly names
of women. Women gone or dead. The ones
we loved so easily. What is it, he wonders,
that we had then and don't have now,
that we once were and are no longer.
It seemed so natural to be alive back then.
Soon there will only be the raccoon's
tracks in the snow down by the river.

July 28, 2005

all the bushleague batters are left to die on the diamond

one year of the milkweed, by arshile gorkey, 1944

* Tom Delay is a very bad man. excerpt:

"Tom DeLay thinks the federal treasury is his personal piggy bank. DeLay slipped 'a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas” into the energy bill.'

"But this isn’t a normal case of government pork. DeLay has completely dispensed with the democratic process. From a letter Rep. Henry Waxman just sent Speaker Dennis Hastert:

"'The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure.'

"The $1.5 billion won’t be administered by the government but by a private consortium in DeLay’s district:

"'The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Ordinarily, a large fund like this would be administered directly by the government.'

"Hastert and DeLay need to explain themselves immediately. No member of Congress who takes taxpayer dollars seriously should vote for the energy bill until this matter is resolved."

* from a 2003 interview of scott kannberg. excerpt:

Nick Bensen: Your early music (along with the work of others such as Bob Pollard, Lou Barlow and Nick Saloman) was largely responsible for the lo-fi home recording movement. What gave you the idea to put out self-produced music at a time when even most indie records were done in studios with producers?

Scott Kannberg: Our early records were not really lo-fi home recordings like the others you mentioned. We recorded everything in a real studio. Gary Young was the engineer. It probably sounded lo-fi because we didn't have a clue on how things were to sound and we just put everything on there, all the mistakes etc. and we didn't know how to mix or master things correctly. We were so excited to hear ourselves that we just said 'fuck it, it sounds cool.' I think Gary thought we were crazy wanting it like that. He was into Zappa and Yes and we were Silver Apples and Pere Ubu. At the time, putting out our self-produced stuff was really our only option. We were just following in the footsteps of what others were doing at the time. K records were putting out singles, so was Am Rep. Plus, there was this little fanzine scene going on and I think we thought it would be cool to be part of that.

NB: What were your earliest musical influences?

SK: Kiss, Devo, Stones, Blondie. But I really started to get into music when I was 18 or so. I loved Punk Rock and then English Post Punk like Echo and the Bunnymen. REM also got me into a lot of bands by namechecking their favorites. That's how I got into Wire and Television etc. etc.

NB: What do you listen to these days?

SK: I'm kind of into West African high life stuff from the 70's this month. Oh, and I like the new Spoon disc.

NB: Can you share a few high points and low points from your years with Pavement?

SK: High. Playing to 30 thousand people in the wind and rain right before Nirvana at Redding 92. Making Mark E Smith care. Making a few great records. Low. Coachella festival 99.

NB: What was it like doing the HBO Reverb show near the end of Pavement?

SK: Didn't really like it. Lots of hot lights and stupid questions from the interviewee. When you listen to the show, you can actually hear my guitar in the mix. That usually didn't happen.

-- Related: Sales figure of pavement records:

Westing (By Musket and Sextant)/ 63,000
Slanted and Enchanted / 144,000
Watery, Domestic EP / 33,000
Crooked Rain Crooked Rain / 237,000
Wowee Zowee / 118,000
Brighten the Corners / 142,000
Terror Twilight / 96,000

* from john vanderslice's website:

An open letter to DC Berman.
Re: Tanglewood Numbers

Dear David:
You've made a fantastic record. It's another stake in the ground, another mast on the sail... In other words, your records are incredibly important to me; they make me more sane. I'm sure recording it wasn't easy, but please, god, please keep making records. I have it early because I'm a slouch who downloads illegal music. I'll make it up to you by making this year a Tanglewood Numbers Christmas ("Andre was a young black Santa Claus!").

* Quicktime video of Bush giving someone the finger yesterday.

July 27, 2005

the hills have eyes, their trees have lives

it's not the heat, it's the humidity, by sharon shapiro

X Marks the Spot
-- by hailey leithauser

where hot swag or loot
was put, or great beasts

squat or sleep. Where last
words were first said, pot

planted, fevers caught.
It's usually east

and south, down deep, grease-
fingered routes of dots,

past glyphs for burned out
shacks, stacked rocks, deceased

elephants or priests,
along a path not

habitually sought---
brambled, unpoliced.

Devotion, The Story of My Ear
-- by beth woodcome

The floor is cold. Hardwood with small
noises shuttering along each plank.

When I walk I walk blindfolded.
There’s only so much I can stand at once.

I don’t live in the same world anyone else does.
I can feel you in the house. Your breath

at night is my alarm. Something that can
pull me head first, from room to room.

If I can find you living, I’ll sleep.
If I can find you, I’ll stop.

Mystery Cover
-- by tina celona

The upside-down tornadoes with lobster-claw heads gathered around the beautiful Japanese woman protruding from the casserole. This is pitiful, I said. I was trying to think, and it just wasn't working. I closed my eyes, screwed up my arm, and threw. Nothing bounced off of nothing, calling in an outrageous falsetto, Yoo-hoo, boys! We all linked arms. Reality was so boring, compared to art. The ornate Victorian flocked wallpaper reminded me of my mother, the drug addict. I knew that from that day forth I would take no more sedatives, I would be disciplined, even if it meant going back to the pink bed with the pink blankets and door with a little square window.

July 26, 2005

left my hotel in the city everything was clear and set

summer heat, by jim reverand

* From the Department of Things You Shouldn't Have to Think About

From this month's Harpers.

From a decision issued in February by an appellate court in Illinois. In November 2000, Sharon Irons sued Richard Phillips for child support; in May 2003, Phillips countersued, charging Irons with fraud, theft, and intent to cause emotional distress. The court found Irons innocent of fraud and theft but held her liable for causing Phillips emotional distress. Phillips was ordered to pay child support. Both are doctors.

"Plantiff and defendant began dating in January of 1999. Plaintiff informed defendant he did not wish to have children prior to marriage and intended to use a condom if and when they engaged in sexual intercourse. During the entire course of their relationship, the parties engaged in intimate sexual acts three times. Vaginal penetration never occurred. On or around February 19, 1999 and March 19, 1999, defendant 'intentionally engaged in oral sex with plaintiff so that she could harvest his semen and artificially inseminate herself.' Plaintiff asserts that defendant took his 'semen, sperm, and genetic material without his permission, for the purpose of conceiving a child.'

"Defendant responds that plaintiff did not loan or lease his sperm, and there was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request. She asserts that when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm to defendant it was a gift -- an absolute and irrevocable transfer of title to property from a donor to a donee. Plaintiff's donative intent was clear, she argues. 'Had he not intended to deliver his sperm to me, he would have used a comdom and kept it and its contents.' Plaintiff cannot show he had the right to unconditional possession of his sperm. Plaintiff presumably intended, and he does not claim otherwise, that defendant discard his seman, not return it to him."

-- related: for fiction on the subject of stolen seamen semination see a.m. holmes' excellent short story "Georgica," from the collection "Things You Should Know." This story is about a women who spends nights at the beach waiting for drunken lifeguards have sex, then collects the discarded condoms for her personal use.

* "Adults find pleasure in deceiving a child. They consider it necessary, but they also enjoy it. The children very quickly figure it out and then practice deception themselves." - Elias Canetti

* Jandek to play live in Austin, Texas (August 28, 2005); New Orleans, Louisiana (September 2, 2005); and New York city (September 6, 2005). These are the first U.S. live shows in Jandek's almost 30 year career.

July 25, 2005

you can call it a spin-off, call it a knock off, title it part 2

photo by silver juice!

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

1. The White House Conspirators

"Even a Supreme Court nomination - which was timed to try to knock the Valerie Plame scandal off the front pages - couldn't divert attention from the White House's machinations last week. First the Washington Post revealed that 'A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked '(S)' for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.' In fact, it was later revealed that the memo was actually classified "'op secret.'

"Meanwhile Dick Cheney's chief-of-staff Lewis 'Scooter' Libby and Karl Rove have now been identified as two of the sources in the Plame leak case and the prosecutor in the case is apparently looking at perjury and/or obstruction of justice charges. These are two of the most powerful men in the White House - this scandal goes all the way to the top.

"But there's more: it was also suggested last week that Judith Miller's source could be none other than John Bolton, Bush's dubious pick for ambassador to the United Nations, who is still having difficulty getting confirmed. Not only that, but Bolton testified before the grand jury and then somehow failed to mention that fact in the forms he had to fill out for his confirmation hearings. Whoops.

"Finally, a panel of ex-CIA officers convened by Senate and House Democrats blasted George W. Bush last week for jeopardizing national security. Said former CIA analyst Larry Johnson - a Republican, by the way - 'I wouldn't be here this morning if President Bush had done the one thing required of him as commander in chief - protect and defend the Constitution. The minute that Valerie Plame's identity was outed, he should have delivered a strict and strong message to his employees.'

"Well quite. And now let's take a look at the strict and strong message that the commander-in-chief actually delivered..."

-- Related, given Alberto Gonzales appearance on Face the Nation, Think Progress asks: "If the Attorney General of the United States can answer questions on the ongoing investigation, why can’t the White House?"

* From Harper's:

-- Number of killed or captured suspects reported so far by the U.S. media to be Al Qaeda's "number 3" man: 4

-- Average amount of sugar consumed each year by a U.S. preschooler, expressed as a percetage of body weight: 149

-- Average number of times each day that aircrafts intrude into D.C.-area restricted flight zones: 2

-- Number of corpses shipped on Delta Air Lines last year: 42,175

* Spiritualized's Jason Pierce recovering from very serious illness.

"Spiritualized leader Jason Pierce is recovering from a serious, unspecified injury that apparently left him near death. 'So [after] nearly dying twice in the last two and half weeks, Jason has now and fantastically made an alarming and brilliant recovery and is due home today,' writes his partner Juliette on the group's official Web site.

"'He is still fragile and really weak, weighing in at maybe 8 stone [112 pounds] but love and happiness on his side,' the post continued.

July 22, 2005

Men of good fortune, often cause empires to fall

Growing Old In San Francisco
-- by Jack Gilbert

Two girls barefoot walking in the rain
both girls lovely, one of them is sane
hurting me softly
hurting me though
two girls barefoot walking in the snow
walking in the white snow
walking in the black
two girls barefoot never coming back

Pendulum's Progress
-- by Klipschutz

It used to be a scandal
Now it’s a flap

First it was a mystery
Then it became history

Which is to say forgotten

Of a sudden it was back—
With a vengeance not a bullet

Loose words on high were haunting
Old familiar places

The cast includes
- a ferreter
- a flak

And the one we’d castrate if we could
- a lying Cheshire sack

Who skates from under it
(He built his conscience from a kit)

It used to be a scandal
Now it’s a flap

"What Do Women Want?"
-- by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

July 21, 2005

fast cars, fine ass, these things will pass

shadowplay, 1990 by bridget riley

* Tanglewood Numbers, the new Silver Jews record, has leaked to the filesharing sites and will be released in non-compressed form by Drag City October 18, 2005.

It is everything one might hope for and more. From the first lines "where's the paper bag that holds the liquor /just in case i feel the need to puke" to the last, the repeated "I saw god's shadow on this world," (words, mine anyway, cannot do justice to how excellent the ending is) Berman gives his most inspired performance yet, with spot-on rock and roll backing from Malkmus and many others in your collection. Word on the street is that Berman has asked Malkmus, Cassie, Paz Lenchatin and Brian Kotzur to tour on this record, which if it comes together, would be beyond fantastic.

Here's something from the last time (?) they played live:

From the Drag City Invitational: cocksucker's blues, by the siver jews.

* Seattle P.I. on Bush.

"President Bush likes to talk about high standards, accountability and personal responsibility. While Bush expects students, school systems and future retirees to toe the line, his friends get an easier deal.

"Consider White House political strategist Karl Rove, now implicated in off-the-record discussions that preceded the exposure of a CIA officer's identity. Viewed in the best light, Rove was engaged in leaking information about national security for the political purpose of making the president's sales pitch for the Iraqi invasion appear to have been honest. Whether Rove did anything illegal, he did exactly what the White House repeatedly said he had never done. Rove offered the media information about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the administration's attempts to connect Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction. And Rove's conduct met the standard for removal from his post that the president laid down in 2004 when he promised to fire anyone involved in the leak.

"Now that Rove's involvement in leaking information has been confirmed, the president has decided to modify that pledge. Bush let it be known on Monday that he would fire any staffer who 'committed a crime.'

"Schoolchildren, take note. There will still be high standards for you, your teachers and your schools. But at the White House, the rule is a little different: No pal left behind. Unless, of course, he is an out-and-out criminal. That's quite a standard."

* We did it in the stacks. excerpt:

"I have heard that one of the rites of passage for undergraduates at Harvard University is to have sex in stacks of the vast, labyrinthine Widener Library. It's sort of an academic version of joining the "Mile-High Club."

"I suppose sex in the stacks is meant to lampoon the library's aura of high-minded seriousness and Puritanical chastity. Harvard used to keep Leaves of Grass in a locked case in order to guard the moral virtue of undergraduates. And that was in the days before Harvard admitted women.
"For the record, I have never had sex in the stacks, and -- even after many years of lurking in several major collections -- I have never had to discreetly avoid anyone else in flagrante delicto. But I have had many moments in stacks of great libraries that were almost erotic in their intellectual intensity.

"I have had moments in reading a text -- an ordinary one that might now be found online -- when I noticed a minor reference in the margins that sent me a few shelves down to find a much more obscure book that was packed with unexpected clues that changed my project entirely."

* If you are in the Reasearch Triangle, North Carolina area this weekend, this comes highly recommended:

Lump Gallery is very pleased to present Lost Weekend 2005 July 22 – 24, 2005. Lost Weekend 2005 will feature a reading/literary event presented by Raleigh’s Optical Oak on Friday, July 22. A night of sound/noise/performance featuring Boyzone, Phon, Planecrash and Vuokko on Saturday, July 23rd and All For Show contemporary videos by young, British video artists on Sunday, July 24th. The gallery will also feature new posters by Team Lump artists. These three events will be a low cost and highly entertaining. This event will run for one weekend only July 22 – 24, 2005. Don’t Miss It!!!

Reading Friday night will be Brent Van Daley (contributor of Minus Times) and event host Eric Amling along with Flamenco dancers and contributors to the Greensboro magazine Backwards City Review.

July 20, 2005

manifestos are my windows and my proof

untitled silk-screen, Ilya Bolotowsky

Three poems by Jack Gilbert:

Portrait Number Five: Against A New York Summer

I'd walk her home after work
buying roses and talking of Bechsteins.
She was full of soul.
Her small room was gorged with heat
and there were no windows.
She'd take off everything
but her pants
and take the pins from her hair
throwing them on the floor
with a great noise.
Like Crete.
We wouldn't make love.
She'd get on the bed
with those nipples
and we'd lie
and talking of my best friend.
They were in love.
When I got quiet
she'd put on usually Debussy
leaning down to the small ribs
bite me.

Poetry Is A Kind Of Lying

Poetry is a kind of lying,
necessarily. To profit the poet
or beauty. But also in
that truth may be told only so.

Those who, admirably, refuse
to falsify (as those who will not
risk pretensions) are excluded
from saying even so much.

Degas said he didn't paint
what he saw, but what
would enable them to see
the thing he had.


I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife's hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko's avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.

July 19, 2005

how can I love you if you won't lie down

* New York Times. excerpt:

"In July 2003, Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed article in The Times that described how he had been sent by the C.I.A. to investigate a report that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger. He said he had found no evidence to support the claim of a uranium purchase, or even a serious attempt to negotiate one, and that he had reported this to Washington. That is entirely accurate. Mr. Rove knew it when he spoke to Mr. Cooper, and he tried to give the impression that Mr. Wilson was an unreliable person who had been sent to Niger only because of his wife's influence. In fact, Mr. Wilson had excellent credentials for the mission, and the entire Niger story had already been pretty thoroughly debunked by the time Mr. Cooper and Mr. Rove spoke.

"What really bothered Mr. Rove was Mr. Wilson's view that the administration had deliberately twisted the intelligence on Iraq and that Mr. Bush had misled Americans about the need for war. We don't know whether top officials heard about Mr. Wilson's findings and ignored them, or whether the findings never reached the upper levels - at the time, dissenting views on Iraq were not getting much of an airing in the administration. There's a lot we don't know about this case. But these things are clear:

• Journalists should not tailor their principles to the politics of the moment.

• Coerced waivers of confidentiality are meaningless.

• Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction."

* the rude pundit:

"Had we destroyed Atwater through, perhaps, an investigation of his consulting firm’s relationship with a man who looted Medicare funds, we wouldn’t be discussing Karl Rove, who took the lessons of Atwater’s savagery and interwove policy manipulation into it. See, whereas Atwater’s primary (though not exclusive) influence was in campaign mode, Rove has merged the tactics of brutally dishonest campaigning with the work of the executive branch and made them the modus operandi for the White House. (This is not to mention the relationship between Atwater and young George, Jr., who was Atwater's 'minder' back in 1988 and learned a bit about manipulation and duplicity from Atwater.)

"You know what? If Karl Rove is ever put into a cell, the Rude Pundit doesn’t want it to be with some three-strikes-and-yer-out, beefed-up Texas drug mule who needs some flabby cheeks to call his own. No, the Rude Pundit wants the slime-covered skeleton of Lee Atwater thrown in there with Rove. He wants Rove to have to stare, endlessly, into those empty cavities where eyes once were, smelling the fecund dirt scent, the foul and everlasting odor of rot and decay. Just to let him know that he, too, shall pass."

* Short quicktime homemovie: 7 words you can't say in kindergarten. take a look.

July 18, 2005

been working at the airport bar, its like Christmas in a submarine

purple haze, by fiona rae, 2004

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

4. The Bush Administration

"Speaking of honesty and straightforwardness, here's an extremely rare display of it from a Bush Administration official. Last week Douglas Feith, chief policy adviser to Donald Rumsfeld, admitted that "the Bush administration erred by building its public case for war against Saddam Hussein mainly on the claim that he possessed banned weapons," according to the Associated Press.

"Feith backed up the assertions made in the Downing Street Memo that facts were being fixed around the policy saying, "I don't think there is any question that we as an administration, instead of giving proper emphasis to all major elements of the rationale for war, overemphasized the WMD aspect." Well, yes... but considering the other rationales were "Saddam Hussein gassed his own people in the 1980s with weapons we gave him" and "We really want the Iraqi soccer team to play in the World Cup," you can understand why.

"So there you have it - they wanted the war, they lied about the reasons, and they got the war. And now the world is a much safer place - provided you aren't an American soldier, or an Iraqi civilian, or just someone who happens to live in a major city anywhere in the world. Good job."

* From an interview of Patty Smith in the July 2005 edition of the sun. excerpt:

TS: How are you handling President Bush's reelection?

PS: I conduct myself in the same manner no matter who is president, but those who opose the policies of the Bush Administration need to be more vocal now than ever. We must work harder to protect our environment and to develop a strong and visable anti-war movement. The way to handle Bush's reelection is not to be defeated by it. The Declaration of Independence, our great organic law, calls for us to speak out against our government if we do not feel it represents our ideals.

TS: How did you end up in rock-and-roll?

PS: ...By the early 70s rock-and-roll seemed very materialistic, glamorous, stadiumized, and pyrotechnical, and I was concerned about that. At that time I was performing poetry, but performing poetry had become a dead game, really boring to me. There were a few performance poets I loved: Jim Carroll, Gregory Corso, Steve Williams, Allen Ginsberg. But it was lacking new blood. I wanted to infuse a little energy into that circuit, and I thought, it needs to be electrified. So I asked Lenny Kaye to play electric guitar while I was reading poetry, to make it more present.

TS: But would you agree that speaking out against the establishment in the U.S. today can cause the speaker some harm?

PS: It depends on one's definition of harm. If one is willing to accept certain degrees of harassment and censorship, one should proceed. This does not seem too great a proce to pay in order to be upright and speak one's open mind.

TS: In 1998 you said, "Art is by nature optimistic." How so?

PS: In order to create art, one must be alive and focused and envision the future. We create work not only to experience the process, but also to inspire and incite our fellow man. A work such as Picasso's Guernica, for instance, though it deals with the horror or war, instructs us. An entire antiwar movement could flower from one such work of art. Art is optimistic because it is alive.

* Kid in Syracuse, New York, handcuffed and arrested for having "impeach Bush" sign at Parade.

July 15, 2005

In a while will the smile on my face turn to plaster?

Grand Jazz Band, 1944, Jean Dubuffett

Three poems by Frank Stanford:

Monk's Dog

You aren't around
Friend I might have been
Looking for you

I could have been beautiful
Like the sound of your running

Tobacco of night when I find night
Sour Mash of misery the star of my calling

You don't have a snowball's
Chance in hell

And you don't have a past

I can go into the woods
And find the river asleep
And the blood under your shack like fog

The Last Dance

after Jean Follain

Save it for me
they ask you
or you asked them
what difference does it make
some guy from college
always forks over
a couple
extra bucks to the band
a little before twelve
you don't have wheels anyway
and if you still intend
on going
to school next fall
you've got to be on the gym floor
with a broom at midnight
helping clean
broken glass and flowers

Fair Trial

The undertaker went his bail
And the chauffeur lent him
A jacket to wear
A sea blue tuxedo
It was all he had that would
Fit him
And all his friends
Showed up
Not that they carried any weight
In the town
But they came
To give him soul support
Because they knew
He didn't have a whore's chance
In heaven
You can't touch
The wife of the Law
And expect to get away
With it hell
The paper's bound to be against you

July 14, 2005

raise my rent and turn the clocks back

by Ralph Gibson

* from an interview of Ralph Gibson, by Kristine McKenna, from talk to her.

KM: Garry Winnogrand once told you, "It's guys like you that are the problem with photography." What did he mean by that?

RG: He was expressing the fact that he hated my guts. First of all, I was Robert Frank's assistant and there was always something between the two of them. It's an interesting story, what happened with those two. In the 50s, a bunch of photographers that included Louis Faure, Robert Frank, Sid Grossman and Garry Winnogrand were around , and strangely enough, Louis Faure was the one the art world chose to back as the great talent. Louis loved girls, though, and he went off to Paris to shoot fashion so he could score models. He basically walked on a huge career, at which point Robert came through the door. Steichen became a mentor to Robert, who was also the protege of Walker Evans, and Evans and Steichen got Robert the Guggenheim that allowed him to do The Americans, which is a masterpiece. Robert then quit. Winnogrand was doing really sensitive early work and the art world wanted somebody from that generation, so it fell to Winnogrand by default.
KM: In 1971 [your publishing company] published Larry Clark's legendary photo essay on a gang of Oklahoma speed freaks, Tulsa. Did you have any idea at the time of impact that book would have?

RG: I knew it was a very good book, so I said to Larry, "Let's do it," and Robert Frank went to Danny Seymour who gave us $5,000 to publish it.
KM: Why does love die?

RG: Because it's finite. It's fixed in the stars that there are a certain number of kisses to every love story and not one more. Love stories that seem to go on forever simply haven't exhausted that final kiss. Putting people on a couch because they're having trouble in love is ridiculous. Nobody's asked to sign a contract saying, "I agree to be successful," or "I agree to be healthy." But you're supposed to sign a contract that says I agree to be happy in love. It doesn't work that way.

* 40 things that can only happen in movies. excerpt:

6. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

14. On a police stake-out, the action will only ever take place when food is being consumed and scalding hot coffees are perched precariously on the dashboard . . .

37. Most musical instruments (especially wind instruments and accordions) can be played without moving your fingers.

* Not surprising: one in three Americans believe in ghosts.

* Afternoon Delight: Join DC's Leafy Green and Pittsburgh's Mike Tamburo Saturday July 16 for some acoustic guitar meditations at Takoma Park's Sangha (7014 Westmoreland Ave.) Strumming begins at 5pm.

July 12, 2005

he knows what its like to be 45 in a 53

Twilight, by Kim Hanna

* Old 45s digitized continued: ...and then, by pavement

* Keith Richards to make Hollywood debut opposite Johnny Depp.

* Three poems by Charles Simic:

Small Feast

Naked at the table
Face to face
Eating grilled squid
With our hands.

She licks the olive oil
And garlic
Off her long fingers,
One by one

Eat some bread, I say.
She just laughs at that,
A hot pepper flake stuck
On the tip of her tongue.

The Seeress

You'll lead a saint into wickedness,
Her cards say.
The breasts about to slip out of her dress
Worthy of a seance all their own.

Oh my storefront seeress,
With your moist and roving tongue
That warns of unhappiness
Which is secret happiness.

Pretty Watchband

Feeding ladybugs
To a rattlesnake
Out of your own hand,
Miss Muffet.

Your watchband made me think of that,
And your naked breast and nipple
Made me think of milk
For the darting tongue to lick,
And the hidden equally busy
Tiny red teeth of your watch to nibble.
I never asked for the truth but you owe that to me

Vocalise, by Andrea Way

* The Cunning Realist on Rove. excerpt:

"It's too early to say he is officially guilty of anything. But what we know at this point is more than a little ugly, and has extremely serious implications. The outing of a CIA agent would be bad enough. But the possibility of the most powerful unelected---and thus unaccountable---White House official trafficking in national secrets as part of an effort to subvert and short-circuit the public debate over the need to go to war? It would certainly be on a par with Watergate, and arguably far more serious. Until we get some clarity on all this, Rove must step aside to salvage what integrity remains for this administration. He certainly cannot be effective if he stays, unless his job is solely to make speeches about Dick Durbin and 'the motives of liberals.' And he wouldn't even be able to do that well right now. By the way, we now know the genesis of and motive behind that speech: a 'get one last shot in while I still can' blast from a man who knew what was about to go down.

"And just like Watergate, the question about what the president knew and when he knew it is highly relevant here. Bush is on record and on camera with statements about this. What information did he possess when he said he wanted the leaker to 'come forward and speak out?' And in the unlikely event that Bush did not know until now that Rove was involved, isn't the fact that Rove did not admit to this before now---despite the publicly-stated desire of his boss for the leaker to come forward---itself gross insubordination worthy of immediate termination?

"Of course, someone else who is abundantly on the record is Scott McClellan. If you can watch this video of the press gaggle today and not think he needs to be replaced, you have more confidence in him than I do. I've thought that he should go for some time now. This is the mouthpiece of the administration and thus the nation at an extremely important time, and it's painfully and embarrassingly clear that at best he is in over his head, and at worst---well, we'll see."

* Clusterfuck Nation on globalism. excerpt:

"Also, it must be obvious that relative world peace depends on equitable distribution of cheap energy. If the industrial nations don't get the oil and gas they need at a tolerable price, they are going to get very cranky, and when nations get cranky, peace itself is in short supply.

"Three quarters of the world's oil is in the eastern hemisphere -- two-thirds of the total is in the Middle east alone. Guess what? All of it is a lot closer to China than it is to us. Some of it they can walk to. Do you have any idea how desperate for oil both China and America are going to be in five years? Do you have a clue how tapped out America's WalMart shoppers are going to be as jobs vanish and the value of a dollar craters in the face of runaway energy prices?

"Globalism is yesterday's tomorrow. The future is about living locally on a much smaller scale. Pepsi Cola and Exxon-Mobil are exactly the kind of gigantic enterprises that are going to wither and die over the next decade. China is not tomorrow's geopolitical colossus, it's a geopolitical super train wreck waiting to collide with the reality of its environmental devastation, population overshoot, and energy starvation. Americans will be lucky if they can do each other's laundry ten years from now, let alone sell massive amounts of soda pop to people twelve thousand miles away.

"Is it an accident that there is so much Realty TV in America when, in fact, there is so little reality?"

* DC band the caribbean (which includes foreign press guitarist dave jones) is heading out to the west coast tomorrow to play shows supporting their breakout full-length, Plastic Explosives, which drops on Hometapes in September. Stop by and say hello:

Thursday, July 14: In-store, Jackpot Records, Portland, OR
Thursday, July 14: Holocene, Portland, OR
Sat., July 16: The Lower Level, Seattle, WA
Sun., July 17: The Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA
Tues., July 19: In-store, Sea Level Records, Los Angeles, CA
Wed., July 20: Knitting Factory Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

* "When you cut into the present the future leaks out." -- William Burroughs

July 11, 2005

well, you know what happens after dark

Andy Warhol, final self-portrait, 1986

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"10. Katherine Harris

"And finally, sad news this week in Florida's fight against citrus canker - it turns out that the method for fighting canker advocated by world-renowned vote stealer Katherine Harris has turned out to be a flop. Last week it was revealed that when Harris was Florida's secretary of state, she spent six months advocating 'Celestial Drops' as a solution to the canker problem.

"What are Celestial Drops? Well apparently Harris had researchers working with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test the fluid which was, according to the Orlando Sentinel, 'promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its 'improved fractal design,' 'infinite levels of order' and 'high energy and low entropy.''


"Harris was 'repeatedly sent copies of the letters and memos bouncing between Florida canker officials and [Rabbi] Hardoon. In August 2001, Harris herself jotted a note to Hardoon. 'I would love to see this work,' it says.'

"Well wouldn't we all. Unfortunately it turns out that even with an 'improved fractal design' and 'high energy and low entropy,' the Celestial Drop solution didn't work because, well, it was just water. Although to be fair, the Sentinel does note that it was 'possibly, mystically blessed water.'

* Bookslut interviews David Markson. excerpt:

BS: Madness and religion do often get coupled too, as a literary theme -- in your work as well as in those.

DM: It's much more symbolic than real, of course. When Fern lifts her hand in front of the blind infant and its eyes seem to move -- as if she's some sort of sainted prostitute out of old hagiography or some such. But of course it's just that she has turpentine all over her hands, from her painting, which I mention several times. I didn't do that in Wittgenstein's Mistress, I don't think, because I was too preoccupied with all the philosophy that's buried in there. Wittgenstein himself, but Heidegger also, though nobody's picked up on him. But with Going Down, yes, even if it's frequently a matter of local Mexican superstition rather than religious per se. I had a head full of it, after three full years in the country. Indeed, one of the loveliest compliments I ever got was from a bright Mexican gal who used to call me "el estúpido gringo" because my Spanish was so bum -- but when the book came out all those years later she said, 'All you ever seemed to do down here for three years was drink, but damn it, you were paying attention.'"

BS: How does it make you feel, not being as widely acclaimed as many of us believe you should be? Is it frustrating?

DM: Listen, you write the way you do because you have to, and because it's who you are. But nice things happen too, reputation or no. Just recently, for example, a letter from someone here in town, whom I don't know at all, wanting nothing, simply telling me that if I need anything -- if I want to say 'lift this' or 'move that' -- I should give him a call. Or someone else, saying that he's recently read Wittgenstein for a second time, and that he did it aloud, sitting alone in his apartment and speaking the entire book to himself, simply to capture the rhythms and taking two days to do so. Or then again, on a much more concrete level, at least two books about my work are being written that I'm aware of, and several essays or chapters in critical studies, and so forth. What more can someone in my position ask for? In some small way you're finally paying back the debt you owe to those books that moved you and got you started in the first place -- books like Lowry's, in my case, Willie Gaddis' The Recognitions, Joyce, any number of others. Or am I making all this sound precious, here? [Laughing]
BS: And what are you reading at right now?

DM: Someone asked me that no more than two days ago, and do you know what the answer was? In all honesty, I said I'd spent about an hour that more rereading some Zbigniew Herbert, and then had stopped to look up something in this year's Who's Who in Baseball -- and the next thing I knew I was reading that for just as long.

BS: How much is age a factor in all of this -- and not just in your reading habits, do you feel it affecting your work?

DM: Oh yeah, it's there. Forgetting all the damned medical problems that pile up, to begin with there's a lower energy quotient. It used to be, when work was going well, I could sit at the desk ten or a dozen hours; now I'm ready to go and put my feet up someplace after half that time. But your head just doesn't work as well, either. I'm not just talking about forgetting names, words, everybody does that, though of course it does become more extreme. But I mean simple things like judging a sentence. I'll make a note about something I plan to use, and rewrite it five or six times -- this just the note itself, knowing it will get revised any number of times additionally when it's actually part of a manuscript -- but almost always there's this gnawing sense that it's still nowhere near what it should be. Or where it would have been ten or fifteen years ago. I'll get it right eventually, dammit, but the sense of lesser facility -- slower perception, maybe I mean -- really does exist.

* Read this Buzzflash editorial: Bush is Killing America by Claiming Failure as Proof of Success. [via] excerpt:

"Which brings us to Bush's colossal blunders in his public relations war on terror. Well, the public relations part has actually been a success because it has been based on smoke and mirrors (and it got him re-elected), but the war on terror has been an unmitigated disaster.

"The Busheviks aren't so much concerned about decreasing terrorism as they are about projecting an image of dominant power, just as the Chickenhawk architects of the Iraq War were more concerned about the 'image' of the U.S. pulling out of Vietnam, than by the fact that we 'won' by withdrawing (and saved thousands upon thousands of American and Vietnamese lives in the process.)

"The Bush Adminsitration Chickenhawks (a tradition inherited by their children and grandchildren, as well as pro-Iraq War Young Republicans who are 'too busy' to sign up for military service) want to use the rallying cry of terrorism -- and the fear it invokes -- as the vehicle to reassert U.S. military and nuclear supremacy.

"But it is a conundrum that threatens our national security and our lives, because a war on terrorism requires intelligent and resilient strategy, not a nuclear 'shock and awe' blunderbuss approach."
"If you change a coach after a losing season, no one accuses the owner of the team of enabling the cross town rivals. You are making the change to increase the odds of beating the other team. BuzzFlash is located in Chicago and when the Coach of the Bears, Dave Wanstedt, was fired for continuing to lose, none of the sports commentators claimed that the owners of the Bears or Wanstedt's numerous critics were enabling the Green Bay Packers, the archrival of the Bears. Wanstedt was fired to improve the chance of the Bears winning against the Packers, not to make the Bears weaker. Why doesn't that same 'framing' approach work in terms of Bush?

"But the Busheviks turn such logic on its head. Failure begets the need for more failure."

July 8, 2005

I follow my intuition into the vampire’s nest

Three Poems by Ted Berrigan:

Sunday Morning (for Lou Reed)

It's a fact
If you stroke a cat about 1,000,000 times, you will
generate enough electricity to light up the largest
American flag in the world for about one minute.

In former times people who committed adultery got stoned;
Nowadays it's just a crashing bringdown.

A Mongolian Sausage
By definition: a long stocking; you fill it full of shit,
and then you punch holes in it. Then you swing it over
your head in circles until everybody goes home.

Today's News

My body heavy with poverty (starch)
It uses up my sexual energy
constantly &
I feel constantly crowded
On the other hand, One Day in the Afternoon of The World
Pervaded my life with a
heavy grace
I'll never smile again
Bad Teeth
But I'm dancing with tears in my eyes
(I can't help myself!) Tom
when he loves Alice's sonnets,
takes four, I'd love
to be more attentive to her, more
The situation having become intolerable
the only alternatives are:
Murder & Suicide.
They are too dumb! So, one
becomes a goof. Raindrops
start falling on my roof. I say
Hooray! Then I say, I'm going out
At the drugstore I say, Gimmie some pills!
Charge 'em! They say
Sure. I say See you later.
Read the paper. Talk to Alice. She laughs to hear
Hokusai had 947 changes of address
In his life. Ha-ha. Plus everything
else in the world
going on here.

Last Poem

Before I began life this time
I took a crash course in Counter-Intelligence
Once here I signed in, see name below, and added
Some words remembered from an earlier time,
"The intention of the organism is to survive."
My earliest, & happiest, memories pre-date WWII,
They involve a glass slipper & a helpless blue rose
In a slender blue single-rose vase: Mine
Was a story without a plot. The days of my years
Folded into one another, an easy fit, in which
I made money & spent it, learned to dance & forgot, gave
Blood, regained my poise, & verbalized myself a place
In Society. 101 St. Mark's Place, apt. 12A, NYC 10009
New York. Friends appeared & disappeared, or wigged out,
Or stayed; inspiring strangers sadly died; everyone
I ever knew aged tremendously, except me. I remained
Somewhere between 2 and 9 years old. But frequent
Reification of my own experiences delivered to me
Several new vocabularies, I loved that almost most of all.
I once had the honor of meeting Beckett & I dug him.
The pills kept me going, until now. Love, & work,
Were my great happinesses, that other people die the source
Of my great, terrible, & inarticulate one grief. In my time
I grew tall & huge of frame, obviously possessed
Of a disconnected head, I had a perfect heart. The end
Came quickly & completely without pain, one quiet night as I
Was sitting, writing, next to you in bed, words chosen randomly
From a tired brain, it, like them, suitable, & fitting.
Let none regret my end who called me friend.

July 7, 2005

I'm Not Jolly in the Morning

* Finally broke out and transfered to digital some old 45s. Here's an old family favorite:

old new york, by the silver jews

* From a 1976 interview of John Cheever by Annette Grant, published in the Paris Review

Grant: I was reading the confessions of a novelist on writing novels: 'If you want to be true to reality, start lying about it.' What do you think?

Cheever: Rubbish. For one thing, the words 'truth' and 'reality' have no meaning at all unless they are fixed in a comprehensible frame of reference. There are no stubborn truths. As for lying, it seems to me that falsehood is a critical element in fiction. Part of the thrill of being told a story is the chance at being hoodwinked or taken. Nabokov is a master at this. The telling of lies is a sort of slight of hand that displays our deepest feelings about life.

Grant: Can you give an example of a preposterous lie that tells a great deal about life?

Cheever: Indeed. The vows of holy matrimony.
Grant: Who are the people that you imagine or hope read your books?

Cheever: All sorts of pleasant and intelligent people read the books and write thoughtful letters about them. I don't know who they are, but they are marvelous and seem to live quite independantly of the prejudices of advertising, journalism, and the cranky academic world. Think of the books that have enjoyed independent lives. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Under the Volcano. Henderson the Rain King. A splendid book like Humbolt's Gift was received with confusion and dismay, but hundred of thousands of people went out and bought hardcover copies. The room where I work has a window looking into a wood, and I like to think that these earnest, lovable and mysterious readers are in there.
Grant: Have you ever written poetry?

Cheever: No. It seems to me that the discipline is very different...another language, another continent from that of fiction. In some cases short stories are more highly disciplined than a lot of the poetry that we have. Yet the disciplines are as different as shooting a twelve-gauge shotgun and swimming.
Grant: Do you feel drawn to experiment in fiction, to move toward bizarre things?

Cheever: Fiction is experimentation; when it ceases to be that, it ceases to be fiction. One never puts down a sentence without the feeling that it has never been put down before in such a way, and that perhaps even the substance of the sentence has never been felt. Every sentence is an innovation.

* Be glad you have not been asked to interview American Apparel CEO Dov Charney. [via] excerpt:

"...because Dov Charney likes to masturbate. A lot. In front of women. And female reporters. He also has no problem walking around nude or covered by just a small towel. He also likes taking pictures of his scantily clad models. Oh… and he’s slept with his employees. He’s pretty up front about his peculiar predilections - some of the articles reproduced on the American Apparel Web site reflect his unusual behavior. As far as I know, he’s never forced anyone to do anything they didn’t want to do. In interviews, his employees describe an employer who is somewhat unusual and a little manic but who is passionate about running an ethical AND successful business. Well ethical in so far as he treats his workers. Perhaps not so ethical with regards to potentially sticky sexual harassment situations.

"I bought the issue of Jane Magazine in question. Yes, Dov masturbated in front of reporter Claudine Ko. And he did other stuff. Here are the relevant passages, since Jane Magazine is not available on-line (nor has the article been reproduced on the American Apparel Press page):

"Ko goes to Charney’s pad late one evening for an interview session:

"Soon enough he loosens his Pierre Cardin belt.

"'Are you going to do it again?' I ask.
"'Can I?' he says adjusting himself in his chair.

"And thus begins another compulsive episode of what Dov likes to call 'self-pleasure,' during which we casually carry on our interview, discussing things like business models, hiring practices and the stupidity of focus groups.

"'Masturbation in front of women is underrated,' Dov explains to me later over the phone. 'It’s much easier on the woman. She gets to watch, it’s a sensual experience that doesn’t involve a man violating a woman, yet once the man has his release, it’s over and you can talk to the guy.'

"Ko claims that in the month she spent with Charney, she watched him pleasure himslef eight or so times. She ends the article by describing how she leaves Charney in New York, interview completed, and hails a cab. 'Then as I step into the depths of the backseat, I realize I don’t want this trip to end just yet.'"

July 6, 2005

you're penny rich and dollar dumb

Burgeoning Brainstorm, by Heather Levy, who currently is showing some of her work at Cafe Luna (P Street, wdc).

* Editor & Publisher on saving the first admendment from Karl Rove. excerpt:

"In 99.9 percent of cases I know, journalists must not break the bonds of appropriate confidentiality, to protect their ability to report, and to defend the First Amendment. I’ve testified in court to that end, and would do so again.

"But the Valerie Plame-CIA case that threatens jail time for reporters from Time and The New York Times this week is the exception that shatters the rule. In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the president’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it.

"To understand why this case is exceptional, one must grasp the extent of Rove’s political mastery, which became clearer to me by working with him. When we taught 'Politics and the Press' together at The University of Texas at Austin seven years ago, Rove showed an amazing disdain for Texas political reporters. At the same time, he actively cultivated national reporters who could help him promote a Bush presidency.

"In teaching with him, I learned Rove assumes command over any political enterprise he engages. He insists on absolute discipline from staff: nothing escapes him; no one who works with him moves without his direction. In Texas, though he was called 'the prime minister' to Gov. George W. Bush, it might have been "Lord," as in the divine, for when it came to politics and policy, it was Rove who gave, and Rove who took away.

"Little has changed since the Bush presidency; all roads still lead to Rove."
"The problem, as always, in dealing with Rove, is establishing a clear chain of culpability. Rove once described himself as a die-hard Nixonite; he is, like the former president, both student and master of plausible deniability. (This past weekend, in confirming that Rove was indeed a source for Matthew Cooper, Rove's lawyer said his client 'never knowingly disclosed classified information.') That is precisely why prosecutor Fitzgerald in this case must document the pattern of Rove’s behavior, whether journalists published, or not.
Reporters with a gut fear of breaching confidential sources must fight like tigers to protect them. But neither reporters Cooper nor Miller, nor their publications, nor anyone in journalism should protect the behavior of Rove (or anyone else) through an undiscerning, blanket use of the First Amendment that weakens its protections by its gross misuse."

* Michael Chabon writes script for Disney Kung Fu Snow White. excerpt:

"The Wicked Queen will not know what hit her. Snow White is about to be transformed into a martial arts epic with Shaolin monks replacing the seven dwarves of the original Grimm Brothers fairytale.

"In a sign of the times, Walt Disney is behind the kung fu retelling of its 1937 animated classic, which is part of an intensifying strategy to make inroads into the Chinese cinema market ahead of Hollywood rivals.

"Tentatively titled Snow and the Seven, the story - scripted by Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon - will be set in a British concession of colonial China in the 1880s.

"The remake is part of an attempt by Hollywood studios to capitalise on the relaxation of controls on film-making and screen building in a potential market of 1.3 billion people."

* "The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurement anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them." -- George Bernard Shaw

July 1, 2005

make a new cult every day to suit your affairs

I, Too, Sing America
-- by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Ode To Pornography
-- by David Lehman

If you could write down the words
moving through a man's mind as
he masturbates you'd have a quick
bonus bonk read, I used to think.
But words were never adequate
or the point in the bar where the girl
is a boy the boy is a girl the two girls
exchange underpants the one with
the dildo is the boy each needs to know
what the other is feeling, so the thrill
of humiliation is visited on one and
the other is disbelieved, perennial virgin,
with teeth marks on her buttocks
hiding in the closet and the power
between them is distributed unequally
the other on her knees in ecstasy

The Past Cannot Be Returned
-- Richard Brautigan

The umbilical cord
cannot be refastened
and life flow through it

Our tears never totally

Our first kiss is now a ghost,
haunting our mouths as they
fade toward