January 31, 2006

hello cowgirl in the sand

sam francis

* RIP Coretta Scott King.

* Joni Mitchell interview. excerpt:

Q: What sort of art and music affected you when you arrived in New York in the late sixties?

JM: Abstract Expressionists like Pollock and Barnett Newman were big at the time, but I was not a fan. I wanted to paint in a folk-artist-y way. My heroes were Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, and Rembrandt. I think Picasso is about as a modern as I got. But I incorporated things that they rejected as well as movements that happened later.

Q: I’m curious if you were affected by the great American cinema of the seventies, especially as you performed with the Band in Scorsese’s Last Waltz.

JM: I really didn’t see Martin. I was the only woman there; they added a couple of women after the fact. So that was strange—it was like being a girl on a football team. But I think Scorsese and [Scorsese’s longtime editor] Thelma Schoonmaker technically are magnificent. She’s the best editor in the world. In terms of editing and constructing a film, they’re at the zenith. I love Fellini. I like the Russian filmmaker Tarkovsky. I like some of the French New Wave, though sometimes the movies were boring and I just watched the clothes; they had these great fashions by Coco Chanel. My style of songwriting is influenced by cinema. I’m a frustrated filmmaker. A fan once said to me, 'Girl, you make me see pictures in my head!' and I took that as a great compliment. That’s exactly my intention.

Q: Apropos of Charlie Parker, did you also take a dim view of avant-jazz? How did your collaboration with Mingus shape your impressions of the genre?

JM: I wasn’t a fan—he chose me for the project. But I came to be very fond of him in a short space of time. Like me, he had a wide emotional spectrum, from timid—well, I guess I’m not so timid anymore [Laughs.]—to a raging bull. But I did like his most melodic songs, like 'Reincarnation of a Love Bird.' I didn’t appreciate the bombastic quality of Mingus’s music until I sat in amongst the horns with them puffing all around me. That’s the best way to appreciate Mingus, to be sitting right in the horn section. That was a thrill.

Q: What about philosophers or political leaders? Is anyone inspiring you right now?

JM: No. The world is full of madmen and shortsighted money-mongers. Mandela, Tutu, the Dalai Lama—other than them, the world is totally lacking in great men.

* Check out Leafy Green's piece on new weird america.

* "Americans have always assumed, subconsciously, that every story will have a happy ending." -- Adlai Stevenson

* From Richard Dawkins, who has an editorial in today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

"If a social engineer set out to devise a system for perpetuating our most vicious enmities, he could find no better formula than sectarian education. The main point of faith schools is that the children of 'our' tribe must be taught 'their own' religion. . . . But what can it mean to speak of a child's 'own' religion? Imagine a world in which it was normal to speak of a Keynesian child, a Hayekian child, or a Marxist child. Or imagine a proposal to pour government money into separate private schools for Republican children and Democrat children. Everyone agrees that small children are too young to bear the burden of heavy parental labels. Why then, is almost our entire society happy to privilege religion, and slap a label like Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, on a tiny child? Isn't that a form of mental child abuse?"

January 30, 2006

the whole street's talking 'bout my white shirts looking so grey

joel traylor, introspection

* Parody of Bush's State of the Union address. No doubt worth your time.

* top ten conservative idiots:

"8. The Bush Administration

"The first report on the Iraq reconstruction effort was released by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction last week, and the conclusions it drew were not pretty.

"According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

'The report lays out evidence of the failure to plan for postinvasion Iraq, lack of adequate staff on the ground to oversee reconstruction, horrible bureaucratic infighting between the Pentagon and the State Department (the State Department gets our vote for being almost always right), and hundreds of millions of dollars gone missing. The fact is, the Bush administration - mostly in the guise of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon - almost totally botched its ballyhooed reconstruction program.'

"In a related story, Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton announced a $1 billion fourth quarter profit last week."

* thanks to all (special thanks to the bands, as well as sqrl, who flew in from Alaska) that packed DCAC Saturday night. pictures to follow, possibly...

January 27, 2006

the nights of my professional life

william de kooning, Woman, 1950

Elegy for Frank Stanford
-- by Thomas Lux

A message from the secretary tells me first
the heavy clock you were
in your mother's lap
has stopped: you,
with three lead thuds,
determined insults, to your heart.
You dumb fucker, Frank.
I assume, that night, the seminarians
were mostly on their knees
and on their dinner plates only a few
wing-bones--quiet flutes
ahead of the wind. . . . I can almost
understand, Frank: your nerves'
odometer needle waving
in danger, your whole
body, in fact, ping-raked, a rainbow
disassembling. You woke, in the dark,
dreaming a necklace of bloodsuckers. . . .
But that final gesture,
Frank: irreversible cliché.
The long doorman of the east continues
his daily job, bending slightly
at the waist to wave dawn past.
Then the sparrows begin
their standard tunes, every day, Frank,
every day. There's the good hammer--
music up in the poles
of north and south; there's the important
rasp of snake over desert and rock;
there's agriculture--even when it fails:
needle-sized carrots, blue pumpkins;
and presidencies, like ours, Frank,
of dredging companies, but presidencies. . . .
You must have been desiring exit badly.
So now, you're a bit of gold to pound
back into the earth, the dew, of course,
forever lapping your toes,--
Frank, you dumb fucker,--who loves you
loves you regardless.

-- Stanford committed suicide June 3, 1978. His wife, Ginny, recalled the moment. excerpt:

"Saturday evening. June third. He had betrayed me by having an affair and I had found him out. I was hurt and humiliated and angry enough to put him through a wall. I barely tolerated the hug he tried to give me, my arms stiff at my sides. He tried to kiss me and I turned my head so that his lips only grazed my hair. Then he left. Forever. He left me in a room and shut the door behind him as he left, and he took three steps across a hall into another room and shut another door and shot himself

In the span of the longest five or six seconds I have ever lived through, Frank fired three shots into his chest. Three pops, three cries. All I had was sound. I couldn't see him; I could only imagine what he was doing in another part of the house. With the sound of the first shot time stopped, changed course and went backwards through the second and third shots, then reconstructed itself into an endless, directionless loop. Before Saturday, June third, time was a straight line. After Saturday, a loop."

Ghazal of the Better-Unbegun
-- by Heather McHugh

"A book is a suicide postponed."

Too volatile, am I? too voluble? too much a word-person?
I blame the soup: I'm a primordially
stirred person.

Two pronouns and a vehicle was Icarus with wings.
The apparatus of his selves made an ab-
surd person.

The sound I make is sympathy's: sad dogs are tied afar.
But howling I become an ever more un-
heard person.

I need a hundred more of you to make a likelihood.
The mirror's not convincing-- that at-best in-
ferred person.

As time's revealing gets revolting, I start looking out.
Look in and what you see is one unholy
blurred person.

The only cure for birth one doesn't love to contemplate.
Better to be an unsung song, an unoc-
curred person.

McHugh, you'll be the death of me -- each self and second studied!
Addressing you like this, I'm halfway to the
third person.

* Touch Me
-- by Stanley Kunitz

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

"A poet without a strong libido almost inevitably belongs to the weaker category; such a poet can carry off a technical effect with a degree of flourish, but the poem does not embody the dominant emotive element in the life process." — Stanley Kunitz

January 26, 2006

dizzy dizzy people rush by me at the speed of thought

Intreegue, by dronepop

* Arcane law could get Bush impeached:

"So I was cruising around Daily Kos the other day, and came across this diary, raising a point of parliamentary arcana. I just had to look into it.

"NOTE: Sec. 603. Inception of impeachment proceedings in the House. This refers to Jefferson's Manual-the House uses it as a supplement to its standing rules.>>
In the House there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion:
[...] by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State (III, 2469)."

"The diary linked back to another blog, where the idea apparently originated. And to be perfectly honest with you, this read at first like just another fringe-y, kooked-out misreading of procedure. But I just happen to have an old copy of Jefferson's Manual here on the desk, and sure enough, that's just what it says. The legislature of any state or territory may transmit charges to the Congress and recommend impeachment.

"Now, to be sure, there is nothing that forces the House of Representatives -- still the sole body capable of adopting actual articles of impeachment -- to act on such charges. In fact, you can be assured that they'd do everything in their power to avoid doing so.

"But what a story it'd make! A little known constitutional procedure that has lain dormant for decades, never before used against a president, and pitting the duly elected and sworn legislature of a state against a federal Congress sitting on its hands and refusing to act!"

* Interview of Lars Von Trier. excerpt:

MERIN: Do you hate America?

VON TRIER: Not at all. It would be stupid to hate part of the world. I’ve met some Americans that I like very much, and some I don’t. But that’s the same anywhere. In my part of the world—Denmark and Sweden—there’re people who treasure anything American. They think if it’s American, it’s good—they want American cars or whatever. I’m not like that. It’s difficult to describe my feelings, but I treasure America very much.
MERIN: Do you start your writing process with a specific idea?

VON TRIER: These two films were inspired by literature—and I started with their endings.

MERIN: What literature?

VON TRIER: For Dogville, it was Pirate Jenny’s song about a girl working in a small hotel who imagines a ship that bombards the tow to rescue her from the poor life she has, and they ask her who’s going to die, and she says “everybody.”

For Manderlay, it’s The Story of O, about a masochistic girl who’s treated extremely badly and likes it. Masochism is this little vocation.

Then, it’s about a situation in the Caribbean where slaves were freed by law, but went back to their former master asking to be slaves again. He refused—because of the law—and they killed him. This story, I believe, has nothing to do with masochism, but with the fact that they’d nothing to eat, no way to survive and had been better off under the system of slavery. It’s ironic.
MERIN: You’ve said you find locations like the Rockies and South very exciting and exotic. Why have you distilled their reality into a barebones set?

VON TRIER: After writing Dogville, I was looking for a fulfilling way to do the film. I thought it might not really be America—there’s even a David Bowie song called 'This is not America.' It’s not America. I think that’s easy to see—since the set is a black floor.

It’s also that you, as a spectator, should work, too. I believe spectator co-work isn’t as difficult as we might think. When you’re a child you live in wonderful houses that don’t exist—under a chair is your wonderful house that you see and live in. I don’t think that’s difficult, but it’s something you benefit from.

I thought of Brecht’s work—which isn’t exactly the same as this, but requires stylized settings. My mother was crazy for Brecht and dragged me to the theater to see his plays. I’m always looking for ideas that I believe are good for film.

I believe it’s is time for something like the black floor—since we can now present any fantasy on computers. After seeing Lord of the Rings all summer, I thought there must be another way of doing this—because I truly believe a dragon is more frightening if you don’t see it. Which is why most horror films are made in darkness, right? In the first Alien, we were really scared because the monster was so small and you never see it. The more you see it, the less frightening it is. This is equivalent to that.

Also, I’m trying to zoom in on actors, on characters. I can’t explain exactly why I made the choice, but I’m happy with it.

* "In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. ... Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness." -- Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism [via]

* 1969 Bowie video for space oddity.

* In DC? Saturday's DCAC show is plugged on page E23 of today's Express. check it out. the write-up is online here.

January 25, 2006

there are only moments that's all there'll ever be

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled

-- tom becket

is the
fabric of consciousness.

responsibility of
poets? To attend

its woof
and weave – to

it, even.
Paying close attention

in itself,
a political act.

How Things Work
-- by Gary Soto

Today it's going to cost us twenty dollars
To live. Five for a softball. Four for a book,
A handful of ones for coffee and two sweet rolls,
Bus fare, rosin for your mother's violin.
We're completing our task. The tip I left
For the waitress filters down
Like rain, wetting the new roots of a child
Perhaps, a belligerent cat that won't let go
Of a balled sock until there's chicken to eat.
As far as I can tell, daughter, it works like this:
You buy bread from a grocery, a bag of apples
From a fruit stand, and what coins
Are passed on helps others buy pencils, glue,
Tickets to a movie in which laughter
Is thrown into their faces.
If we buy goldfish, someone tries on a hat.
If we buy crayons, someone walks home with a broom.
A tip. a small purchase here and there,
And things just keep going. I guess.

Thing Language
-- by Jack Spicer

This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water. It means
Is bread and butter
Pepper and salt. The death
That young men hope for. Aimlessly
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals. No
One listens to poetry.

-- by Ron Padgett

It's not that hard to climb up
on a cross and have nails driven
into your hands and feet.
Of course it would hurt, but
if your mind were strong enough
you wouldn't notice. You
would notice how much farther
you can see up here, how
there's even a breeze
that cools your leaking blood.
The hills with olive groves fold in
to other hills with roads and huts,
flocks of sheep on a distant rise

January 24, 2006

women turn to flowers men turn to snakes

Barnnet Newman, Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue?, 1966

* A few days ago, Jack's dad, Frank Abramoff, sent out an open letter to George Clooney, responding to Clooney's Golden Globe jab at Jack Abramoff: "Who would name their kid Jack with the last words ‘off’ at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up."

Frank Abramoff's letter read in part:

"Your glib and ridiculous attack on my son, Jack, coupled with your obscene query as to the choice his mother and I made in naming him brought shame and dishonor on you and your profession. What drove you to this lapse in lucidity, I can never know, but you need to know that your words were deeply hurtful to many innocent and decent people — who love my son and who cherish our family.

"We have had to endure two years of unmitigated, outrageous falsehood directed at my son and his record of achievement on behalf of his clients and friends. The blood thirsty media, guilty of untold character assassinations during contemporary times, have even outdone themselves in their lust to create a cartoon which does not come close to resembling this fine man, my son.

"The fact that you would spend those few moments accorded to you, as an honor for your work as an actor, bashing his name and his family, is astonishing. How do you sleep at night, other than, perhaps with the drink which you lamented not having at that early hour. Funny, it was very hard for us little people in television land to tell whether you had indulged in the bottle or not."

In response, dust congress fav and ess eff poet Klipschutz wrote:


First, your son is a gonif, of astonishing reach, a greedy fuck and corrupter of weak Republican flesh, a bad, bad boy. This much he has admitted by plea bargain to felonies more cynical than a non-lawyer can fathom.

Second, George was right to play the Onan Card at the Golden Globes, at Jack’s expense. (You say it was your own father’s name; well, now it’s mud.) Some comic from mid-last century coined the joke, a play on ‘screwing’ the country. In a one-party system, dog, masturbation says it all. Advantage, Clooney.

San Francisco, California

-- related: Time discusses photographs of Abramoff with Bush.

* Saturday's show, with the Plums, Portion's Toll, Seahorse Staircase and The Foreign Press, gets mention in DCist. And here and here. Thanks!

* "In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." -- Patti Smith

"An artist may have burdens the ordinary citizen doesn't know, but the ordinary citizen has burdens that many artists never even touch." -- Patti Smith

* 1877 guide to camping out.

* Twofer Tuesday: Click here, then on Enter, then John Yoko, to listen to Lali Puna cover Magnetic Field's 'Papa was a Rodeo' and Smog's 'the morning paper.'

January 23, 2006

I woke up in a house I could understand

John Ferren (1905-1970, Greenock

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"10. Samuel Alito

"And finally, I've reserved the last slot this week for a special call to action. This week, Senate Democrats will decide whether or not they have the votes to filibuster Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. Here's what Dick Durbin had to say about it last Friday:

"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen. As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 senators ... are willing to stand and fight..

"We're asking senators where they stand. When it reaches a critical moment when five senators have said they oppose a filibuster, it's off the table. It's not going to happen. But if it doesn't reach that moment, then we'll sit down and have that conversation.

"So this is it, folks - one last chance to call your Senators and tell them to oppose the dangerous nomination of Samuel Alito. The grassroots have been keeping up serious pressure for weeks, and now it's crunch time.

"Here's everything you need - get on the phone, call and fax your senators, and spread the word."

* clusterfuck nation. excerpt:

"Our second peckerhead of the day is David Brooks of The New York Times. Actually, Brooks could qualify for peckerhead of the decade among mainstream news pundits, since his fantasies about America diverge so extravagantly from the realities our nation faces. In his most recent column, Mr. Brooks asserted that the desert wastelands beyond the last ring of Phoenix's current suburban asteroid belts would become the next suburban utopia, adding an additional million people to that hopeless mega-metroplex.

"Note to Mr. Brooks: Arizona's groundwater basins are overdrawn. Most of the rivers are tapped nearly to their limits. The southwest is suffering its worst drought since the 1950s, and climate change signs suggest that the drought will persist. This is happening, of course, as the nation (and the rest of the world) enters an epochal depletion of fossil fuel resources that will, how shall we say, put the fucking shnitz on further suburban development of any kind. Mr. Brooks writes:

"'. . . half of the buildings in which Americans will live, play and work in the year 2030 don't even exist yet. We are in the middle of a $25 trillion building boom that is changing the face of the country, and most of it is happening in desert places like this one.'

"Another note to Mr. Brooks. An economy based on land development and housing bubbles is finished. We are going to have to make other arrangements for running a civilization, and return to traditional methods for occupying the terrain of North America, without the prosthetic enhancements of Ford Explorers.

"This is the quality of thinking that we are getting from leaders in politics and opinion in our country now. It could not be more inconsistent with reality. No evil cabal of corporate CEOs is paying off either of this idiots. They arrive at their opinions by a simple failure to pay attention to what is really happening in the world. Their failure will contribute to a greater failure of authority in this country when we hit the wall of economic pain in the months ahead, and the public wonders why it wasn't informed. That failure of authority, and the angry response to it, will lead a very dangerous politics of grievance and recrimination."

* 100 videos too hot for MTV.

January 20, 2006

once in the morning and once at night

10:23am December 28, 2005, anchorage, alaska, by in oak, in elm

--by Ron Padgett

When I wake up earlier than you and you
are turned to face me, face
on the pillow and hair spread around,
I take a chance and stare at you,
amazed in love and afraid
that you might open your eyes and have
the daylights scared out of you.
But maybe with the daylights gone
you'd see how much my chest and head
implode for you, their voices trapped
inside like unborn children fearing
they will never see the light of day.
The opening in the wall now dimly glows
its rainy blue and gray. I tie my shoes
and go downstairs to put the coffee on.

Called War
-- by Richard Brautigan

I never want
to go away
to a place
called war

i don't think
you want
to go there either.

-- by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous ones we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be good as fingers.
They can be trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

The Terrible Two Hundreds
-- by Klipschutz











January 19, 2006

I get up in the mornin' but it's too early to wake

The Band (and Albert Grossman) on the way to the stage at the Woodstock festival, 1969.

* The Nation lays out why George Bush should be impeached, concluding:

"Representatives and Senators should be asked specifically to support hearings on and investigations into the deceptions that led to the Iraq War and President Bush's role in the torture scandals. Senators should also be asked to insure that the hearings already planned by the Senate Judiciary Committee into warrantless wiretaps are comprehensive. The hearings should evaluate whether the wiretaps were genuinely used for national security purposes and why the President chose to violate the law when it was so easy to comply with it. Representatives should specifically be asked to co-sponsor Congressman John Conyers's resolution calling for a full inquiry into presidential abuses.

"Finally, if this pressure fails to produce results, attention must be focused on changing the political composition of the House and Senate in the upcoming 2006 elections. If a Republican Congress is unwilling to investigate and take appropriate action against a Republican President, then a Democratic Congress should replace it.

"As awful as Watergate was, after the vote on impeachment and the resignation of President Nixon, the nation felt a huge sense of relief. Impeachment is a tortuous process, but now that President Bush has thrown down the gauntlet and virtually dared Congress to stop him from violating the law, nothing less is necessary to protect our constitutional system and preserve our democracy."

* From Harper's:

-- Chances that a U.S. company settling a corporate crime case will illegally deduct some or all of the settlement to the IRS: 3 in 5

-- Percentage of U.S. CEO vacancies that are filled from outside the company: 40

-- Average amount the companies spend on each search: $2,000,000

-- Chance that a CEO will quit or be fired within eighteen months: 1 in 2

-- Minimum number of American colleges and universities that offer programs in video-game design: 82

-- Price for a vibrator that plugs into an iPod and "stimulates you in time with your favorite music": pound 29.99

-- Year that a Hindu nationalist party in India rechristened Valentine's Day "Prostitution Day": 2005

* "We are bored when we don't know what we are waiting for. That we do know, or think we know, is nearly always the expression of our superficiality of inattention. Boredom is the threshold to great deeds. -- Now, it would be important to know: What is the dialectical antithesis to boredom." -- from Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project.

"Each generation experiences the fashions of the one immediately preceeding it as the most radical antiaphrodisiac imaginable. In this judgment it is not so far off the mark as might be supposed. Every fashion is to some extent a bitter satire on love; in every fashion, perversities are suggested by the most ruthless means. Every fashion stands in opposition to the inorganic world. To the living, fashion defends the rights of the corpse. The fetishism that succombs to the sex appeal of the inorganic is its vital nerve." -- from Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project.

January 18, 2006

I was lost in a valley of pleasure

william eggleston

Poems by Patti Smith:

Death of a Tramp

The hills were green and so were we
but not in the way men talk about
we had not known death
nor walked with stain
for all was bright about the land

We had not known death
yet the sparrows ring
set like a wreath upon the marsh
marked for all that shivered cross
in a cast-off clothes himself cast-off

In sun and wind his tramping drum
the high grass knew his shuffling
kindness wrapped his being mild
his countenance moved the brethren

The stench and sense of aimless wrath
now we know death not so the man
a wildflower stowed in ragged breast
the hills are grieved their innocence

The Mast is Down

We lay in the cursed grass devoid of magic,
tracing our disintegration in the kinetic sky.
I touched your arm and the flesh fell away,
and my hands were no longer empty.
Our mount is made of blood earth,
when wet a clay thing writhing.
If you breathe in its mouth it will fly
above the Moorish towers into the blue.
The Pinta is a ship the lone navigate,
channeling the mind once beguiled.
I touched your hip, the bone fell away
and the sea was no longer empty.
We love yet reclaim our dark sails,
gorging the belly of a red dog.

Three Windows

In the garden of the fugitive
he knelt singing
I am with thee

In his white cassock he cried
I pry for that brother
who shot me

A black crucifix appeared
as he lay dying
forgive me

I am one

Crepe streamed from three windows
a flag dropped bound in mourning
these words entered the heart

You have come
the door is open
you will not find me
you will find my love

* blind date with a chancer: must-listen cover of Pavement's Shady Lane, by Julie Doiron.

* "Pursue the small utopias: nature, music, friendship, intimate love." -The Fugs

* From DCB:

Bob Will Be Wife-Shopping (Plenty-to-Go-Round)
Wed Jan 18, 2006 07:52

Hello my e-friends,

I wanted to let the ladies of the nation in
on the ground floor of a wonderful opportunity.
In all the years of Pavement, Bob never slept with
a groupie. It's true. Do I really have to finish
this paragraph? Any woman who walks up to Bob,
during the months of March and April,
merely has to say "I want to rip your
clothes off" and she will be quickly serviced
by an older, wiser bob nastanovich.

Also the touring band is as follows:
me, cassie, tony crow, brian kotzur, william tyler,
and peyton pinkerton. Bob will be drummming on his songs.
Steve West is our soundman.

We sure did have a good time at the Music City Bowl.

Another reason for this tour is it's a way to let everyone
know that I can't stand being called 'Dave.' People
do it freely, and I just think it's time I spoke up.

At www.toddlincoln.com there is a pretty great video of punks in the beerlight made by todd lincoln.
Not mary todd lincoln. Made by todd lincoln.

Finally I'd like to thank everyone for their birthday
cards and if you've written since October, I'm getting
to those soon.

with remarkable love, David

January 17, 2006

And so I dance in dirty pants
A drink in my hand

Albert Kotin, Tropic, 1959

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"6. Chris Matthews

"The moon-faced champion of late-afternoon/early-evening cable news shoutfests put forth an interesting theory last week: that breaking the law is, in fact, part of the president's job. I'm not making this up - here's the transcript:

"Matthews: We're under attack on 9-11. A couple of days after that, if I were president of the United States and somebody said we had the ability to check on all the conversations going on between here and Hamburg, Germany, where all the Al Qaeda people are, or somewhere in Saudi [Arabia], where they came from and their parents are, and we could mine some of that information by just looking for some key words like "World Trade Center" or "Pentagon," I'd do it.

"Russell Tice: Well, you'd be breaking the law.

"Matthews: Yeah. Well, maybe that's part of the job.

"Yeah. Well, maybe Matthews is an idiot. How the hell did we get here? Back in 1974 Richard Nixon was forced out of office for breaking the law. 30 years later, the media is telling us that breaking the law is part of the president's job. Brilliant."

* Interview of stanley elkin. excerpt:

"Interviewer: In a previous interview you admitted feeling little sympathy with 'literature of exhaustion' notions of the futility of language. Are you particularly conscious of your work as a corrective to ideas such as the erasure of the author?

"Elkin: Well, I'm not in battle with the French, who do not sing to me, or of me, anyway, but I'm going over the galleys of a collection of novellas that is coming out in March, and I'm so pleased as I read this stuff aloud to my graduate student who's helping me correct the galleys that the language is as good as it's ever been. This is going to sound dopey, but I sometimes get emotional at how good I occasionally am. And I'm not just talking about the fireworks--I'm talking about getting Sam from one part of the room to the other part of the room. For me, language is still where it's at.

"Interviewer: A writer once told me that she thought it would be impossible for reviewers to overpraise any of her novels--that, given the work she'd put into them and the neglect into which they were likely to fall, no one could ever respond positively enough to suit her. Would you agree that reading reviews is necessarily a disappointing experience?

"Elkin: Yes, yes I would. But I find that the good reviews are often just as dopey as the bad reviews. Except that often, when a reviewer catches something that I'm deliberately trying to do, that's sort of touching to me. So, in a way I don't agree with her. When the reviewer seems to have a kind of perfected pitch to the notes I'm sending out, I get all warm and fuzzy.
"Interviewer: You once traveled to a small college for a reading that has become the stuff of legend and an object lesson in how not to host a visiting writer. Care to recall it?

"Elkin: Yeah. I was picked up at the airport by this guy in the English Department in Williamsport, the home of the Little League, but I didn't know how little this league was I was going to be playing in. For those times those days, this was big money for me--I think it was five hundred dollars for three days' work, plus expenses. We got into the car, we start driving towards Lockhaven, and he doesn't say anything to me. Then finally he says, 'We're not going to give you a party.' I said, 'What do you mean?' 'A lot of people don't like parties,' he says. I said, 'Who? Who doesn't like parties?'

Anyway, he wasn't going to give me one; he'd take me to the hotel room, he'd pick me up for the class and drop me off again, but I was on my own. I sort of didn't believe him--I didn't believe this was going to happen. So he left me at my hotel and told me he'd pick me up the next day at 10 A.M. This is one in the afternoon. There was a Merv Griffin festival on cable, so I watched that, and by the next morning I'm ready to see a human being, and the guy picked me up and took me to his class, and I did my thing. He brought me back to the hotel--he didn't invite me to dinner, nobody gave me dinner, I had dinner at the hotel, charged it to my room. On the third day he picked me up again and delivered me to the reading, which wasn't even in the auditorium--it was in the 'lobby' to the auditorium. And people came--I mean, not a lot of people, there aren't a lot of people that go to Lockhaven State College--and I gave my reading.

After the reading, I asked him, 'Where's my check?'--because I was pretty pissed at this guy. He said, 'That hasn't been made out yet.' 'Is it in the mail?' 'No, I told you, it hasn't been made out yet.' So he took me back to the hotel, and I asked at the desk, 'Do you still do room service?' 'Oh, yes sir, what would you like?' 'I'm giving a little party in my room. I'd like sandwiches for about thirty people. I'd like a bottle of scotch, I'd like a bottle of this, a bottle of that, maybe some canapes--just send it up to the room and I'll sign for it.' And they did--these fucking trays kept coming in. I had a sandwich, maybe I had a drink, and I flushed everything else down the toilet. Nobody's gonna give me a party, I'll give 'them' a party. That's what happened to me at Lockhaven State College."

* "Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of all virtue." -- Flaubert

* If you are in the Atlanta area on Sunday, check out this Dust Congress-approved reading by Eric Ambling (reading poems from upcoming Twin Vapor) and Minus Times contributor Brent Van Daley:

Endzones of Beneficial Truth reading tour
Sunday, Jan. 22nd
@ A Cappella Books
Atlanta, GA 7p.m.

some subjects include: decoder rings, Virginia Slims, suburban forests,jews, harps, Polish indians and emotional rules, rights and rigormortis!

January 13, 2006

days into weeks she rattled my mind

if you, christopher wool, 1992

Goodtime Jesus
-- by James Tate

Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been
dreaming so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was
it? A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes
rolled back, skin falling off. But he wasn't afraid of that. It
was a beautiful day. How 'bout some coffee? Don't mind
if I do. Take a little ride on my donkey, I love that donkey.
Hell, I love everybody.

The Snow Man
-- by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Water Music
-- by Robert Creeley

The words are a beautiful music.
The words bounce like in water.

Water music,
loud in the clearing

off the boats,
birds, leaves.

They look for a place
to sit and eat--

no meaning,
no point.

The Secret
-- by Denise Levertov

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don't know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can't find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

January 12, 2006

it seems like everywhere I go the sky is falling

* Troubling times, troubling nominee. excerpt:

"This country is facing one of the most serious constitutional crises in its history. President Bush has claimed virtually absolute authority to act in contradiction of federal and international law. In the recently disclosed National Security Agency operation, he has claimed the right to order surveillance that may be a crime under federal law. Last week, it was disclosed that when Bush signed a prohibition on torture he had long opposed, he reserved the right to violate it if he deemed it in the nation's interests.

"The Framers gave our nation three branches in a system of checks and balances to prevent the concentration of power. The Republican-controlled Congress has remained largely passive in the face of these extreme assertions of power, leaving only the judicial branch as a check. Over the past five years, many federal judges — including Republican appointees — have stood against some of the president's most extreme actions.

"We are down to our last branch, and Alito would supply the final vote to shift the balance of power toward a president claiming the powers of a maximum leader. Alito's writings and opinions show a jurist who is willing to yield tremendous authority to the government and offer little in terms of judicial review — views repeatedly rejected not only by his appellate colleagues but also by the U.S. Supreme Court."
"As he did as a Reagan administration attorney, Judge Alito often adopts standards so low that any government excuse can overcome any government abuse."
"An independent judiciary means little if our judges are not independently minded. In criminal, immigration and other cases, Alito is one of the government's most predictable votes on the federal bench. Though his supporters have attempted to portray this as merely a principle of judicial deference, it is a raw form of judicial bias.

"The Alito vote might prove to be the single most important decision on the future of our constitutional system for decades to come. While I generally defer to presidents in their choices for the court, Samuel Alito is the wrong nominee at the wrong time for this country."

* Frank Zappa tells Washington Times wingnut John Lofton, to "kiss my ass" in a 1986 edition of Crossfire. video at link.

* "My wife and I were in a car with Andy. It was snowing out and the driver was speeding. I asked him to slow down. Andy turned to me and in a fey arch whiny voice said, 'You wouldn't have said that a few years ago.' He was being so evil so I never spoke to him again." -- Lou Reed

* hanzismatter is dedicated to the misuse of chinese characters in western culture. it features many pictures of tatoos that don't mean what their wearers believe they do.

* "The truth is, people like Samuel Alito & George W. Bush don’t want to stop at the fifties. After all, that dirty rock ‘n roll was already subverting the nation with its African appeal to white teenagers. No, Alito & Bush & the rest of them won’t stop until they have restored the Gilded Age, where every robber baron sat in the front pew on Sunday." - Joseph Duemer

January 11, 2006

Caroline says moments in time
Can't continue to be only mine

duress #1, by dronepop.

See You In the Unfunny Pages
-- by Klipschutz

Without DeLay (he’s French,
I hear) to bring it on,
the party of Lincoln Rockwell
scrambles for a statesman

from its embarrassment of statesmen
to replace the fallen Hammer
and manifest the trinity
of profit, prayer and power.

Soldiers get flak jackets
from their families for Christmas.
Body armor doesn’t grow on trees.

Sacks of flying spit
tell the Gray Lady what to print.
Money talks in baby talk to children.

"Fighting Criminal Charges In Texas,
Tom Delay Steps Down As House
Majority Leader"

Woods Hole Ferry
-- by Franz Wright

Crossing briefly this mirrory still Galilean blue water to the heaven
of the affluent, the users-up, unconsciously remote
from knowing themselves
our owners and starvers, occupying
as they always have, to no purpose,
the mansions and the beauty of the earth
for this short while
we all meet and enter at the same door

Never Again the Same
-- by James Tate

Speaking of sunsets,
last night's was shocking.
I mean, sunsets aren't supposed to frighten you, are they?
Well, this one was terrifying.
Sure, it was beautiful, but far too beautiful.
It wasn't natural.
One climax followed another and then another
until your knees went weak
and you couldn't breathe.
The colors were definitely not of this world,
peaches dripping opium,
pandemonium of tangerines,
inferno of irises,
Plutonian emeralds,
all swirling and churning, swabbing,
like it was playing with us,
like we were nothing,
as if our whole lives were a preparation for this,
this for which nothing could have prepared us
and for which we could not have been less prepared.
The mockery of it all stung us bitterly.
And when it was finally over
we whimpered and cried and howled.
And then the streetlights came on as always
and we looked into one another's eyes--
ancient caves with still pools
and those little transparent fish
who have never seen even one ray of light.
And the calm that returned to us
was not even our own.

January 10, 2006

a trance is a spell with a thrill wrapped up inside it

lee krasner, summer play, 1965

* the rude pundit on Alito. excerpt:

"Man, it must be so fuckin' great to be Sammy Alito. Motherfucker can say anything and conservatives'll have his back en masse. Alito can say to Diane Feinstein about his statement on a job app that he hates him some Roe v. Wade, according to Feinstein, 'I was an advocate seeking a job, it was a political job and that was 1985.' And the right wing acts like he lied that he had french fryer experience on a Wendy's application - c'mon, it was twenty years ago, who cares, he was a kid, Ed Meese's jowls hypnotized him, what do ya want from the boy?

"Sammy Alito can write in his questionnaire for his circuit court nomination in 1990, stating plainly, clearly, that he'd 'disqualify himself from any cases involving the Vanguard companies,' which seemed reasonable since Alito had, like, hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with Vanguard funds. Then he can rule in favor of Vanguard in 2002, a case he got 'due to a computer error' that should have warned him that Vanguard was involved. Sammy went ahead to rule on the case, even though Vanguard was the defendant, which means he either lied to the Senate or he didn't read the list of involved parties at the top of the brief, which says, "The Vanguard Group Inc., Vanguard Fiduciary Trust Company, and Vanguard/Morgan Growth Fund Inc." But the White House says that if you dare question Sammy's ethics, you are just a tarnisher to the shiny essence of Alito, you tarnisher, you.

"It's sort of like promising your brother that you won't fuck anyone who ever fucked him and then you meet a hot blonde in a bar who you take back to your place, and during the foreplay, she says that you look just like your brother, who she fucked. And then you fuck her anyways. In the morning, you gotta look in the mirror and admit, 'Well, fuck, guess I was full of shit on that promise.' This ain't even to say the deep pit of shit you stepped in when you gotta face your brother, who's gonna find out, oh, hell, yeah, he's gonna find out. And you'll have to decide if you deserve the ass-kickin' you're gonna get."
"Contradictions are part of life. We are never totally who we say we are, we are never totally who other people believe us to be. We are measured by our actions, and our motives are always open to questioning. The fundamentalist Christian who molests children. The megawealthy CEO who steals from the company. The righteous judge who lies."

* Guide to getting a human on the phone at various corporations. [via]

* The economics of movie tickets.

* twofer tuesday:

-- big puffy girl handwriting, by danielle howle. from live at mckissick museum, 1995

-- for what it's worth, lou rawls. RIP, Lou.

January 9, 2006

Did you ever, ever notice, the kind of thoughts I got

Ives One, Ronald Davis, 1962

* Top Ten conservative idiots (Abramoff takes spots 1 & 2 this week). excerpt:

"10. Lonnie Latham

"And finally, the Top 10 wouldn't be the Top 10 if we couldn't start the new year off with yet another tale of dubious conservative morals and values. Last week "An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, according to ChannelOklahoma.com.

"Lonnie Latham was apparently arrested in an area of Oklahoma City 'where the public has complained about male prostitutes flagging down cars' after he invited a plainclothes police officer to come back to his hotel room for oral sex.

"In his defense, Latham said, 'I was set up. I was in the area pastoring to police.' Well, sure. If by 'pastoring to police' he meant 'seeking hot man-on-man blowjob action.'

"And wouldn't you know it, Latham has previously 'spoken out against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist Convention directive urging its 42,000 churches to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual 'if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive lifestyle.'

"Looks like he'll have to work a bit harder at that whole 'convincing yourself you're heterosexual' thing. See you next week!"

* Jesus healed using cannabis. excerpt:

"Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.

"The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine, High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.
"Quoting the New Testament, Mr Bennett argues that Jesus anointed his disciples with the oil and encouraged them to do the same with other followers. This could have been responsible for healing eye and skin diseases referred to in the Gospels.

"'If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil _ and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ,' Mr Bennett concludes."

* Harry Belefonte calls Bush 'greatest terrorist in the world’. excerpt:

"No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution," Belafonte told “No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution,” Belafonte told Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez during the broadcast.

* Tragic and senseless death of ace NY Times reporter and friend's father David E. Rosenbaum. RIP.

January 6, 2006

glance, don't stare

-- by Pablo Gonzalez Trejo

Lester Rodgers
-- by Klipschutz

"I did a stupid thing" & he did,
the kind that draws a crowd of uniforms,
drawn guns, a swarm of wide-brimmed funny hats.
"The pay-off was too fat to resist.
Drive a load of herb to Massachusetts,
too easy to call work," says Lester Rogers,
silver-headed, silver-bearded Rocky Mountain buccaneer,
forty-two years of faded jeans & one long river,
breaking silence to a stranger on a train.
He rubs in Tiger Balm & pours out
an after-dinner shot of Jagermeister,
on his way to be arraigned, rolling east,
blue-black windows pressing in on either side.
(He offers me a shot, retakes the footlight.)
"Pulled me over outside Davenport
for Colorado plates. Cited me. Not wearing a seatbelt."
The police dog made a beeline for the "dog-proof" plastic bags.
"So much for too easy to call work.
Should've known, I never won a gamble in my life.
Even if I’d wanted to, who would I give up?
Never knew any names or saw their faces—
the arrangements were all made with codes & pagers."
Carpet-layer by weekday, musician by most nights—
zydeco, country rock, bluegrass, novelty—
up-at-dawn, straight-wages, trout-fishing Lester
got popped, in God’s country with a cargo of good shit.
"Better Iowa than Illinois," he shrugs.
A lawyer flew his own plane in from Tucson,
posted Lester’s bail on his own bond.
Now Lester must keep his appointment—
"Mexico? Yeah, right. I have a daughter—"
probation, deferred sentence, heavy fine,
or stand forth & pray for strength to do his time.
He pours another shot on his way to do just that.

The Men in the Machine
-- by klipschutz

Without DeLay
Jack Abramoff
pled guilty
to persuasion
to lobbying
his way into
the earshot of
politicos for
sale inside
the Beltway
on the Hill.

counts of wire
fraud one
county of
these he did
deny with-
out DeLay
by his side.
-a chain of sandwich shops
-a "gang style hit"
-a Dial-a-Mattress franchise
all were
in the mix
hundreds of
millions of

Tom DeLay
(R - Sugar Land)
a k a
The Hammer
The Exterminator
The ReDistrictator
Hot Tub Tom
(who asked "Is-
n’t this kind of fun?"
of Katrina’s refugees)
soon had a felony
indictment of his
own to deny.

Abramoff Abramoff
DeLay vaudeville
or a law firm
or a debt we
all will pay
the interest on
for years and
years to come?

[The Men in the Machine was originally published on The Dust Congress September 30, 2005]

Ovid in Tears
-- by Jack Gilbert

Love is like a garden in the heart, he said.
They asked him what he meant by garden.
He explained about gardens. "In the cities,"
he said, "there are places walled off where color
and decorum are magnified into a civilization.
Like a beautiful woman," he said. How like
a woman, they asked. He remembered their wives
and said garden was just a figure of speech,
then called for drinks all around. Two rounds
later he was crying. Talking about how Charlemagne
couldn’t read but still made a world. About Hagia
Sophia and putting a round dome on a square
base after nine hundred years of failure.
The hand holding him slipped and he fell.
"White stone in the white sunlight," he said
as they picked him up. "Not the great fires
built on the edge of the world." His voice grew
fainter as they carried him away. "Both the melody
and the symphony. The imperfect dancing
in the beautiful dance. The dance most of all."

January 5, 2006

tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island

-- by stephen shore

* How Abramoff/Scanlon got caught. excerpt:

"Scanlon was implicated in the Abramoff scandal by his former thirtysomething fiancee, Emily J. Miller, whom he met in the late 1990s while working as communications director for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), three former associates who worked with Scanlon at DeLay’s office said. Colleagues say Miller went to the FBI after Scanlon broke off their engagement and announced his intention to marry another woman.
"Miller was DeLay’s young press secretary and as communications director, Scanlon was her boss. The two began a secretive office romance and Scanlon eventually proposed marriage, associates say.

"In 2003, Miller left DeLay’s office to work at the State Department. Scanlon departed too, partnering with now-indicted conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff in lobbying for an array of Indian tribes. As Scanlon’s star rose, troubles between the couple mushroomed.

"In May 2004, Miller found herself at the center of attention when—while live on air—she ordered a cameraman for NBC’s Meet the Press to stop filming Colin Powell. A copy of the transcript shows Miller, who also used to work as an NBC staffer, as a brusque press aide. Powell eventually ordered that the interview continue and asked Miller to step aside.

"What many people didn’t realize at the time, however, is that during the Powell interview Miller was upset because her fiancee, Michael Scanlon, had broken off their engagement, two of Miller’s former State Department co-workers said. While still engaged to Miller, Scanlon had started an affair with a manicurist and broke up with Miller because he planned to marry the other woman, three of Scanlon’s former associates at DeLay’s office said. They added that the two had numerous public arguments.

"But Miller had something on Scanlon. He confided in her all of his dealings with Abramoff, former colleagues said. She saw his emails and knew the intimate details of his lobbying work—work which is now the center of a criminal fraud investigation. After the breakup, Miller went to the FBI and told them everything about Scanlon’s dealings with Abramoff, her coworkers added."

* Short Review of TW#s by Wit of the Staircase (Great photo of Berman at the link).

"A serious and stylistically difficult generational classic I can only compare to Neil Young's 'Tonight's The Night.' The rural life is here, the overhanging death and addiction are here. The emotion is so big it's inescapable, thus singer David Berman can digress from seeing God's shadow on the world to a charming, Aesop-like vision of chickens in the farmer's Corvette with no loss of focus or force. All of it is sung in the voice of someone who has walked away from something he was supposed to die from.

"Berman has claimed his grown-up right to describe reality, and in these numbers he moves in and out of humor with a grace that proves that irony is a choice and that it does not have to be our generational last stand. All this is tangled up with a surprised holiness, like the guy in Denis Johnson's 'Jesus' Son' who wakes up from an overdose to find his girlfriend's dumpy apartment 'glittering like cheap jewelry' and himself alive, alive, alive."

* Italian judge orders priest to prove christ existed. [via]

* DC's the fake accents (which features DM from the fantastic soi disantra site. if you haven't been there, go. NOW.) play the Warehouse Nextdoor Sunday night. get out of the house and check them out.

January 4, 2006

time is the enemy time is the guide

grass layers, by sara padgett

A Child's Prayer for 2006
-- by anon.

It’s cold and it’s rainy
as the heart of Dick Cheney
in the first morning light of the year.

His belly’s a puddle,
he bends over double
then laughs like the man in Cape Fear.

He sleeps in the ground
where he rumbles around
with a smile he stole from a sneer.

Hear my sunshine request
(my umbrella’s a mess)—
Jesus, make the bad man disappear.

* Poems by Dana Goodyear

Things Get Better Before They Get Worse

I find you drinking bourbon
with a teenager—
let’s not leave her out of this,
or the fact that you don’t drink.

I command a river view,
and like a widow watch the boats;
my roommates trot their babies out
to make a wetnurse out of me.

Are you listening?
(No time for that—now let his hand
go at the fat part of your leg.
Now be a good girl and go back to bed.)

A stranger on the answering machine:
"I think I’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.
Tons of light; water on three sides."
They ask after you at the garage;
I tell them little lies.

Séance at Tennis

I play with an old boyfriend, to tease you out.
In white shorts that you've never seen before.
You storm—wind, panic in the tree.
Rattling like the genius
like the jealous man.
Making it impossible to hit.
So nothing clears the net.
An inside joke, my comingback love:
He can't return, but you can?

After an hour, the court is swept, and reassumes
the waiting face of the bereft. But you—
the sky turns blue with your held breath.

The Undressing Paradox

My phantom companion
speaks German
and tells me to strip.

In one encounter he had ice-blue feet
and a fixed expression on his face.
The interpretation: I am letting go.

The drift is this.
give the hypothermic girl
a stiff hot drink.
The mouth of a stranger is a pocket of breathable air.
The spit is a warm vital flow.

January 3, 2006

I've been down so long it looks like up to me

dylan with mimi farina at the Viking Hotel, Newport R.I., 1964

* BioWillie! [via] excerpt:

"Willie Nelson drives a Mercedes.

"But do not lose faith, true believers. The exhaust from Mr. Nelson's diesel-powered Mercedes smells like peanuts, or French fries, or whatever alternative fuel happens to be in his tank.

"While Bono tries to change the world by hobnobbing with politicians and Sir Bob Geldof plays host to his mega-benefit concerts, Willie Nelson has birthed his own brand of alternative fuel. It is called, fittingly enough, BioWillie.

"And in BioWillie, Mr. Nelson, 72, has blended two of his biggest concerns: his love of family farmers and disdain for the Iraq war.

"BioWillie is a type of biodiesel, a fuel that can be made from any number of crops and run in a normal diesel engine. If it sounds like a joke, a number of businesses, as well as city and state and county governments, have been switching their transportation fleets to biodiesel blends over the last year. The rationale is that it is a domestic fuel that can provide profit to farmers and that it will help the environment, though environmentalists are not universally enthusiastic about it.
Mr. Nelson is making his bet on biodiesel.

"'I don't like the war,' he said in the interview. 'In fact, I don't know if you ever remember a couple years ago, it was Christmas day, and my son Lukas was born on Christmas Day, he's like 16 years old, and we were watching TV and there was just all kind of hell breaking loose and people getting killed and I was talking to my wife, Annie, and I said, You know, all the mothers crying and the babies dying and she said, 'Well, you ought to go write that.' 'So I wrote a song called 'Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?'

"He began to recite the first verse:

So many things going on in the world,
Babies dying, mothers crying.
Just how much oil is human life worth?
And whatever happened to peace on earth?

"'That upset a lot of people, as you can imagine,' he continued. 'I've been upset about this war from the beginning and I've known it's all about oil.'

[you can here the song here]

* Nastanovich on the Joos tour:

To all of those interested in Silver Jews 2006 tour:

We (the eight person Silver Jews touring party) are excited to start this new year by looking forward to our first tour of live performances. Alot of this "excitement" is nervous energy. Over the next few months, we will strive to soothe our nerves by working very hard on the original numbers we choose to learn. In addition to the grand Mr.& Mrs. B, we have assembled an enthusiastic and competent band. More than anything else, we hope those of you who attend one or more of these shows will enjoy the performances. We are reluctant as it will be arduous and, despite the band's lengthy career, live performance presents a challenge. If you buy a ticket, be sure that we'll try our bests. Bob Nastanovich (on behalf of Silver Jews March touring party. [from the SJBB]

* 25 Reasons to impeach Bush.

* Check out In Bed, by Australian sculptor Ron Mueck.