August 31, 2006

In the beginning there was nothing
but it was kind of fun watching nothing grow

Angelo Filomeno, Spring Shower, 2005

* the rude pundit on New Orleans. excerpt:

"Sheriff Jack Stephens of St. Bernard Parish probably spoke for most of America when he said this morning on CNN, 'We feel like we've been let down again. That we think that Mobile, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi, Biloxi, Long Beach, Waveland, Ocean Spring, Slidell, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, New Orleans, Calcasieu, Cameron are all worth more than Baghdad.'

"Just like every visit to the Gulf Coast by President Bush stinks of flop sweat and desperation, of trying to overcompensate for his aloofness and absence early in the crisis, every year that passes after this one may have feints at making things better, but, like all those feckless visits, very little of worth will occur. Besides, inevitably, the next disaster will come along, perhaps the next war, and that initial momentum will be a distant memory as we try to learn to care about someplace else.

"No, today's episode of bloggery is not a funny little monkey post. It's not even particularly insightful or rude. It's just sad. Because New Orleans is gone, man, gone, as are so many little towns around it. It's gone because of the bureaucratic nightmare and rank incompetence on every level of government, because of the war-tightened/tax-slashed purse strings of the federal government, because of groups of people in New Orleans who are clinging to a hope of renewal that won't come and are preventing progress even at the edge of a bulldozer, because no one wants to build on what's still there, because there is no genuine will in a government that sees private enterprise and charity as the leaders in rebuilding, entities that are, for the most part, unaccountable to anyone.

"The anniversary is done. In the coming year, for New Orleans, more people will move away; opportunists, good and bad, will move in; those who can afford the contractors whose prices have skyrocketed past what meager insurance and federal assistance has offered will rebuild homes so that the best blocks will be checkerboard neighborhoods; crime will rise; the poor will be told to be happy in their trailers; water and electricity will still be unavailable to many places. At some point, someone in the EPA will admit that, yes, the ground, the water are contaminated.

"None of these predictions is awfully daring. They're pretty mundane. But they're nauseatingly probable. If you've ever experienced the steady glare of the Louisiana sun, you know that despair is just a sweat drop's distance from hopelessness."

* From an interview of Kenneth Koch. excerpt:

Interviewer: Do you have any words of caution or wisdom for our poet readers?

Koch: I think that the way that one becomes a good poet or a better poet, I suppose, one starts off with certain amount of talent for language and a certain amount of energy and a certain amount of crazy determination. But the way to develop them is to read a lot of poetry and be influenced by it. And to write a lot of poetry, to let yourself be influenced and become fearless in the way you write.

Extremely valuable for me, perhaps the most valuable in the whole career part of my life, was having friends like John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara, whom I was envious of and inspired by. It was absolutely wonderful, because it's all very well to be the poet in the little place where nobody else is a poet, and everybody says, 'Oh isn't that wonderful? You're a poet.' But it doesn't really inspire you; it doesn't make you nervous enough to try for more things. Whereas Frank and John and I were always showing each other our poems. Every evening, we'd see each other and pull poems out of our pockets, and it was unnerving and inspiring.

* How to Get Free Books, CDs, and Movies from Focus on the Family—Thereby Taking Money out of the Pockets of Anti-Gay Bigots—in 12 Easy Steps.

August 30, 2006

are you for sale?

Susan Bee, the bell cracked, 1997

-- by Veronica Forrest-Thomson, 1967

Love is the oldest camera.
Snap me with your eyes.
Wearied with myself I want
a picture that simplifies.

Likeness is not important
provided the traits cohere.
Dissolve doubts and contradictions
to leave the exposure clear.

Erase shadows and negative
that confuse the tired sight.
Develop as conclusive definition
a pattern of black and white.

For I wish to see me reassembled
in that dark-room of your mind.

So Sweet Our Teeth Ache
-- by Jennifer L. Knox

Daiquiris come
from a drive-thru,
at least
the biggest ones
used to,
and our beer’s magic
as meth.
Let’s get incapacitated
under a tree—
short of that
slowly bleed
to death through
our sock bottoms.
We got nothing
going on at work.
We got no
fresh perspective,
and by the looks
of the stumps
still rotting
in the bear traps on the lawn,
none’s coming.

What a Pity, What a Shame
-- by Paul Beatty

went to hear marion williams
sing the gospel yesterday

she was singin so hard

I almost slipped up
and let jesus into my heart

* "Poetry is a heightened form of language that isn't accessible to everyone, and although people can be taught to interpret a poet, it's not something you can explain. The first time I saw a picture of a Jackson Pollock painting in Life Magazine was when I was ten years old. I remember feeling something for it. Nobody had to explain Abstract Expressionism to me and I didn't have to develop a taste for it-I just related to it. The first time I read Rimbaud I couldn't tell you what the poems meant, but I was struck by them. The first time I heard Little Richard I comprehended it. When I read art criticism I don't know what the hell they're talking about, but I have the capacity to look at some paintings and say, 'Yes, I understand this.' The point I'm making is that everyone has their own relationship with art." -- Patti Smith

August 29, 2006

on the corner selling the New York Times

Kathryn Cornelius

* What foreign journalists must endure. excerpt:

"You're a foreign journalist and you want to visit the United States to cover a story. If you think it is as easy as hopping on an airplane, even if you are a citizen or resident of a visa-waiver country, guess again. Journalists wishing to travel to the United States -- whether they are with print, television, radio, or Internet media -- must first obtain an 'I-Visa'. Freelance journalists who are not under contract to a U.S.-recognized media organization need not apply.

"Journalists must fill out a detailed application in which they are required to outline what story they are writing about and they must personally visit the U.S. embassy and consulate for 'administrative processing, biometric collection and a personal interview.' Biometric processing at the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen entails having one's thumb electronically scanned. Journalists visiting some U.S. diplomatic missions for the interview cannot bring in 'electronic devices (cell phones, PDAs, laptops ) [or] backpacks, suitcases and attaché cases.' At certain missions, U.S. embassy security personnel refuse to store such items during the interview process. Others confiscate cell phones and tag them for pick up after the interview process (needless to say, the interview process might last a bit longer if the local U.S. spooks decide to examine the journalist's cell phone call list and perform certain 'modifications.' At the Madrid embassy, the only bags that are permitted inside the compound are those having medical purposes, such as insulin kits.

"Journalists must also provide their addresses in the United States and the names and addresses of people they will be interviewing. So much for freedom of the press and the protection of journalists' sources.

"The real rub comes with the I-Visa application fee. Journalists who believe they can pay the 85 Euro (US$ 108) fee in Germany and Denmark by check, cash, or credit card are out of luck. Certain U.S. embassies, like those in Copenhagen and Berlin, through a bank wire contrivance, require visa fees to be paid into special bank accounts established by the various U.S. embassies. In Germany, the Bush cronies have cut a deal with a small outfit called Roskos and Meier OHG, a 23-person subsidiary of the giant banking consortium, Alianz Group. Roskos and Meier has only been around since 1994 when Messrs. Roskos and Meier formed their company to provide insurance and financial services in the Berlin-Brandenburg area. Now they have a lucrative sweetheart deal with the U.S. embassy to confirm that visa fees have been paid from individuals applying for visas at the Berlin embassy and Frankfurt consulate. The visa payments go to a special account established at Dresdner Bank AG Berlin, Bank Routing Number (BLZ): 120 800 00, Account No. (Kontonr.): 405 125 7600. In Denmark, the journalist visa money (600 Danish Kroner) is wired to a special embassy account at the Jyske Bank Reg. No. 5013, account number 200200-2. Internet banking or bank-to-bank payments are not permitted. The U.S. embassy in Helsinki requires journalists to pay 85 Euros into Nordea Bank account #221918-16629.

"In Spain, $100 in Euros must be deposited with the Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH), bank account: 0049-1803-54-2210316035. In China, a visa application fee of 810 RMB (US$101) can only be paid at selected branches of the CITIC Industrial Bank. In the United Arab Emirates, the $100 application fee must go to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. In Cyprus, 46 Cyprus Pounds (US$ 102) lands in special LAIKI Bank account "American Embassy - MRV -- Account Number: 070-21-074824."

"Morten Torkildsen, a special investigator for the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, stated the following concerning the Nicosia U.S. embassy's favorite Cypriot bank in a 58-page report on Slobodon Milosevic's secret foreign holdings. 'Popular (LAIKI) Bank, the island's second largest bank, allowed a group of Yugoslav-controlled front companies to operate in defiance of UN sanctions. These companies supplied Mr. Milosevic's government with fuel, raw materials, spare parts and weapons to pursue wars in Bosnia in 1992-1996 and in Kosovo in 1998-1999.' LAIKI's largest shareholder (at 22 percent) is the powerful Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). Even with all the questions surrounding LAIKI Bank and its involvement in money laundering for Milosevic and his regime, the Cypriot bank easily purchased Belgrade, Serbia-based Centrobanka in January 2005.

"Just think of all the various and differing U.S. embassy visa application fee requirements and bank accounts in all the countries around the world. Considering all the other financial malfeasance in the Bush administration, to what degree are these accounts audited? Can anyone spell 'slush fund?'"
In some cases, foreign journalists who carry the necessary I-Visa are, nevertheless, subjected to humiliating questioning and strip searches at U.S. airports. One Danish journalist was required to slip down to his skivvies, bend over, and have some perverted Homeland Security official stick his finger up his rectum. Some female journalists from such friendly countries as Britain and Australia have been handcuffed and sexually groped by other Homeland Security lechers and lotharios.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration's grand dame of international public relations, Bush's gal-pal Karen Hughes, who might even put off a Homeland Security sex maniac, continues to insist that she is improving America's image abroad. As far as most international journalists are concerned, she is a complete joke. And so is George W. Bush. The State Department web page comically posts the following message from Bush to U.S. visa seekers: 'America is not a fortress; no, we never want to be a fortress. We're a free country; we're an open society. And we must always protect the rights of our law -- of law-abiding citizens from around the world who come here to conduct business or to study or to spend time with their family.' Yeah, right. And Bush thinks jamming fingers up the asses of arriving journalists is part of living in a free country."

* Allen Ginsberg sings! [via]

* SJBB3P Part 2 alums, the fake accents and the Miniature Poodle Gang both have new releases available. Drop them a line for further details. (Fake Accents play the warehouse nextdoor September 7, 2006)

And, mark your calendars: The Foreign Press play the warehouse nextdoor October 1, 2006, opening for ex models and Pup Tent.

August 28, 2006

Half the whole town gone for the summer

Pierre Huyghe, This is not a Time for Dreamin, 2004

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"4. Joe Lieberman

"Apparently Joe Lieberman thinks his campaign needs 'retooling,' although I find it a little hard to believe that he's not enough of a tool already. But apparently a retooling it is, and so last week Joe hired 'a nationally known pollster and media consultant to assist in his independent re-election bid.'

"According to the Associated Press, Lieberman's new pollster is Republican Neil Newhouse, 'who lists two key Connecticut Republicans, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, among his clients.'" Hmm. I'm assuming this is pure coincidence, but according to the Hartford Courant last week, Joe Lieberman appeared with 'two prominent Republicans, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd, to celebrate last year's reversal of a Pentagon decision to close the Groton submarine base.'

"Now, for those of you who think that Joe swanning around with "prominent Republicans" might hurt Connecticut Democrats' chances of picking up House seats in November, you might be right. But it's okay, because as a staunch "independent Democrat" Joe is doing everything he can to make sure Democrats win in the fall. According to the New Haven Independent:

Lieberman - who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election - was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson.

'I'm a non-combatant,' Lieberman declared. 'I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it's better if I just focus on my own race.'

"That's the spirit, Joe. Don't want to hurt your new buddy Rob Simmons' feelings now, do we?"

* Such a wonderful woman. excerpt:

"Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) said this week that God did not intend for the United States to be a 'nation of secular laws' and that the separation of church and state is a 'lie we have been told' to keep religious people out of politics.

"'If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,'Harris told interviewers from the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She cited abortion and same-sex marriage as examples of that sin.

"Harris, a candidate in the Sept. 5 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, said her religious beliefs 'animate' everything she does, including her votes in Congress.

"Witness editors interviewed candidates for office, asking them to describe their faith and their positions on certain issues.

"Harris has always professed a deep Christian faith. But she has rarely expressed such a fervent evangelical perspective publicly.

"Political and religious officials responded to her published remarks with outrage and dismay."

* Darnielle speaks about Get Lonely. excerpt:

"So when I sat down to write a new record, I didn't really know what to do. At first I tried just writing stories, like I'd always done: I began a cycle of songs about an imaginary religious cult in the Austrian wilderness, which went nowhere, and a projected group of songs about monsters, which sort of lit the way for where I eventually went.

"But most of what I was doing felt kind of hollow to me. For a while - I have the never-to-see-daylight sound files on my computer to prove it - I just kept writing whatever came to mind. But the songs seemed like formal exercises, only occasionally interesting, and lacking the blood-and-muscle energy that had made 'The Sunset Tree' work both for me and for other people.

"I don't panic if I can't write something good for a while; I don't really believe in writer's block so much as I think that sometimes you're on and sometimes you're not. I was on tour when I finally hit the vein - and it surprised me.

"I get very emotional on tour sometimes because I miss my wife, and because the basic activities of my daily life get replaced by a far less stabilizing routine. I get depressed. I had gone out on tour with the idea of writing a song or two, but in a Holiday Inn Express in King of Prussia, Penn., 'Get Lonely' rather aggressively announced its own shape.

"The room was itself quite alienating: all fluorescent lighting, a window looking out on a freeway, and a location across the street from one of the largest shopping malls in the free world. We were between engagements and had booked the room for three nights. Peter and I both began to feel alienated rather quickly. I couldn't sleep - I do not sleep well on tour - but I can't really write songs when there's somebody sleeping in the bed next to mine, so when I woke up before dawn on our first morning there, I lay in the dark brooding.

"By the time Peter went to shower after 10, I'd been thinking about bad dreams and sleeplessness and what it's like to be alone for several hours. I don't like to write when other people are listening, so I quickly wrote and recorded a demo of "Maybe Sprout Wings," a song that tries to split the difference between several aspects of feeling alone: the claustrophobia, but also its mirror image, that feeling that there's an endless open frozen plain with nobody else in sight for miles."
"There had been something in the personal responses of audiences and correspondents that made a total return to older styles seem dishonest. These songs did not feel dishonest. They came from some sad and frightened place, and felt like natural heirs to their predecessors.

"Before we left King of Prussia, I had also written 'Woke Up New,' and when I got home I looked at the monster songs: three of them turned out to have been waiting for companions to give them context. The six remaining songs came at the rate of about one a week for the next month and a half. There were others - some are on the cutting room floor, some didn't get recorded at all - but the 12 that survived seemed to come from a deeper and truer place.

"Writing with these priorities in mind is a new thing for me because I used to put all my focus on just telling a good story and trust any issues of tone to resolve themselves. New priorities replacing old ones is the constant process of writing for me; maybe this time next year I'll want to write about imaginary kingdoms under the Earth instead of flesh-and-blood people walking desperately across its surface.

"But for this album, and for all the people who responded so openly to the last album, the latter felt like the only real option available."

August 25, 2006

time will break the world

Andrew Miksys, Lipstick, New Orleans, 1997

-- by Frank O'Hara

If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35c, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

-- by Ed Sanders (From America A History in Verse, Volume 3)

brought in Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller's associate
to be his National Securtiy Advisor
Kissinger had offered to work for Humphrey,
but secretly worked for Nixon's election
as we have seen

Kissinger was what they called a power freak
He was vindictive, quick to anger
and he had a Cosmic Ego, as if he'd taken too much acid
with actually taking any
He was a secrecy-batty would-be Metternich
who, the time-track will reveal,
care not many whits
for napalmed civilians
& glazed eyes in the world's ditches

Nixon selected humas named H.R. Haldeman
& John Ehrlichman as his "personal aides."

They were living labs of "power corrupts"
& served as his political knife-men

All three were classic examples of what the historians
Charles & Mary Beard once called
"advisors swollen with infallibility"

To Whom It May Concern
-- by J.V. Cunningham

After so many decades of ... of what?
I have a permanent sabbatical.
I pass my time on actuarial time.
Listen to music, and going to bed
Leave something at the bottom of the glass,
A little wastefulness to end the day.

-- by Jane Cooper

If you want my apartment, sleep in it
but let's have a clear understanding:
the books are still free agents.

If the rocking chair's arms surround you
they can also let you go,
they can shape the air like a body.

I don't want your rent. I want
a radiance of attention
like the candles's flame when we eat,

I mean a kind of awe
attending the spaces between us --
Not a roof but a field of stars.

August 24, 2006

Striking a match for the keyhole

Brett Weston, Holland Canal, 1971

* The VP who cries wolf. excerpt:

"For five years, since a certain president ignored a certain Presidential Daily Briefing and allowed a certain tragedy to befall a certain U.S. city, it has been Dick Chaney’s function to instill fear in the average American. Concerned about terrorism in the United States? Just know that a vote for a Democrat practically insures the demise of all metropolitan areas. Want retribution for the heinous acts of September 11, 2001? Know, too, that Democrats opposed a war that the right side of the aisle promised would put an end to terror threats nationwide. Wolf, wolf, wolf.

"Osama bin Laden remains at large. Terrorism has not been curbed (remember last week’s bomb scare out of London?), we have not gotten retribution, and our involvement in the so-called war for freedom has resulted in 2600 American deaths, roughly the same number of people who died when the Twin Towers fell all those years ago. Scare tactics secured four more years for the president, when ratings would have otherwise been low. Vote Bush and your children will live in a safer world, the message seemed to be. The fact that the dream would never come to fruition was, perhaps, besides the point.

"Maybe those scare tactics are forgivable and maybe they aren’t. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Dick Cheney did actually believe that his party would usher in a safer, more peaceful era. Okay. Suppose, too, that he believed that invading Iraq would send a message to al-Qaeda that the United States was, very, very serious about protecting itself. Fine. Some claim Cheney misrepresented himself. Others claim he lied. At the very least, he was short-sighted in some of his decisions and verbal attacks. That would also be okay—just a mark of being human, really. But what isn’t okay is the blatantly political slam of Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont. Mudslinging—and this is the dirtiest, slimiest, most transparent form of mudslinging—is not okay."
"It wasn’t hard to pull the wool over our eyes five years ago. Back then, we were an easily herded crowd, made vulnerable by of the pervasive fear of having our biggest, most well-oiled machine of a city attacked. For those of us who were here in New York—and you can exclude the vice-president from that group of people—the city changed that day. What we had always taken for granted, that we could be safe and happy in our own neighborhoods, was no longer the case. One only needed to walk down Broadway in the searing daylight of September 12th, when ashes blew northward from the bodies of over 2,000 people, to understand that the city was irrevocably different. So it wasn’t hard to convince us then that war was the answer, or that voting a certain way might take us back to the world we had lived in before those planes flew into those towers.

"The problem is that the world is different. It will always be different, and the current administration has only stalled us in time and space, rather than attempting to correct the problems that caused the tragedy in the first place. They cried wolf once, and we reacted. They cried again and we, so irrationally afraid of fear itself, jumped at the bait and did as we were told. The act has grown stale now, and the vice-president should know that, in the distant aftermath of tragedy, his words have the gravity of dust in the wind."

* Patti Smith on movie stars, sunglasses, and heaven.

Movie Stars

Americans just don't know what being a movie star's all about. That's the whole thing to me -- movies. I used to think it was being a model. When I was in high school, to me being a model was the heaviest. It was the logical extension of being an artist's mistress. Like in Modigliani's time, it was always the mistress that held the great artists together. Fuck art. It was obvious the chicks were where it was at.

I modeled at the Museum School. I modeled for Robert Mapplethorpe. In fact, when I went to work and stuff, where it says "profession," I always put "artist's model." Once I wrote "rock & roll star" just for the hell of it.

I'd like to model for DeKooning. I know how to get to DeKooning. It's easy. I met DeKooning once in a bar and he put his hand on my knee right away. I knew I could model for him.

I was so fucked-up-looking in school, but it just didn't matter. Besides me wanting to be an artist, I wanted to be a movie star. I don't mean like an American movie star. I mean like Jeanne Moreau or Anouk Aimee in "La Dolce Vita." I couldn't believe her in those dark glasses and that black dress and that sports car. I thought that was the heaviest thing I ever saw. Anouk Aimee with that black eye. It made me always want to have a black eye forever. It made me want to get a guy to knock me around. I'd always look great. I got great sunglasses.


My sunglasses are like my guitar. It's real important. I have Wayfarers. I keep wantin' to say they're Fender Wayfarers. I got 'em in black, just like in Don't Look Back, and in shell, just like Roy Orbison. I always lose 'em. I buy a pair of sunglasses a week. I have to make money. It's 12 bucks a week just for my sunglasses.


Everyone thinks there's one heaven. Mohammed personally mapped out seven heavens. If he got to seven, you know there's more. Christianity made us think there's one heaven. Jesus might be top dog in one heaven, but there's other heavens. Mohammed saw Jesus and he went further up, and there's people past him. Kids today pass him. Where Jesus is is small time. He's of the flesh, like a rock star -- you can fuck him.

* Ajax ousted.

* The Guardian on Rough Trade records. excerpt:

"Rough Trade began just as punk was nurturing a climate that encouraged bands to release their own records, quickly and cheaply, and Travis saw it as his job to provide a chance for these bedroom creations to get out in the world, so he set up a label, too. He recalls how he discovered one of Rough Trade's most important bands in 1983: 'Johnny Marr drove down from Manchester with a tape of Hand in Glove that he and the Smiths had recorded the night before. I was in my kitchen making a cup of tea when he played it to me - that was a Friday. On Monday we had the record cut. I grew up listening to bands like the Kinks and the Who - bands who would cut four singles a year. We aimed for a similarly immediate approach, and the Smiths liked that.'"

August 23, 2006

tourists intertwine in effortless lumps

Felicity Clear, The ineffable yearning of the city dweller for the countryside, 2006

Little Tricks of Linear B
-- by Diane Wakoski

The beginning was the dream,
and the voice was a turban gourd.
A strum.
What are we hiding?
Our new bodies
born underground with pearls of old corn?
Our dry husks
on the winter-hard ground/ where
is the moment
between wet rotting
and ashy desiccation? The beginning was
a dream.
But what country is shaped
like an ear of corn?
Which one like a bunch of grapes?
Which one, a pomegranate?
What map leads to the chrysalis nut?

-- by Campbell McGrath

Late dinner at a dark café blocks from Rittenhouse Square, iron pots of mussels and Belgian beer and a waiter eager to snag the check and clock out. Such are the summer pleasures of his work—winding down to a glass of red wine, catching the windowed reflection of a girl as she passes, counting the take upon the bar, thick roll of ones and fives, palming the odd ten smooth against zinc and polished walnut, the comforting dinginess of American money, color of August weeds in a yard of rusting appliances, hard cash, its halo of authority, the hands’ delight in its fricatives and gutturals, its growl, its purr, gruff demotic against the jargon of paychecks on automatic deposit with social security deductions and prepaid dental, realism vs. abstraction, a gallery of modest canvasses, more landscapes than still lifes, steeples of the old city with masts and spars, a vista of water meadows with fishermen hauling nets in the distance, women collecting shellfish in wicker panniers. It yields enough to sustain us, after all, the ocean of the past. We’ve paid. The waiter pockets his final tip and throws down his apron and walks out into the warm night of dogs splashing in public fountains and couples on benches beneath blossoming trees and soon enough we follow, arm in arm across the cobblestones, looking for a yellow cab to carry us into the future.

-- by denis johnson

i would like to be just an old man with my gin,
retiring even from these leaves into
my big, gradual silence beyond the wood
and it will be good,
wife, because i have pointed to you,
and you have become real, within

this darker stillness my eyes grow too wide
it must be that seeing you in the trees
becoming softer than i ever dreamed
has made it all seem
a multitude of nonsense, all the seas,
the planets, all i wrote. i lied,

i swear to you i lied, becoming old and so
very drunk, when i did not lie to you.

The Bush Blues
-- by Bernadette Mayer

george bush is president
he wasn't elected
he ain't the peoples choice
what am i gonna do
it doesn't help to say fuck bush but
let's say it anyway
things've gotten so bad
i have a friend who wants to see
bush executed for treason

August 22, 2006

And my friends, my friends still will whisper hello

Jan Sierhuis, Dream

* Molly Ivans. excerpt:

"...The Bushies are having the hardest time trying to un-lie now. For example, at his Monday press conference the president asserted, 'Nobody’s ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the [Sept. 11] attack.'

"How true: What Vice President Cheney in December 2001 said about links between 9/11 and Iraq was that it was 'pretty well confirmed' that hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta had met with Iraqi intelligence. On June 17, 2004, Cheney said: 'We have never been able to confirm that, nor have we been able to knock it down, we just don’t know. ... I can’t refute the Czech claim, I can’t prove the Czech claim, I just don’t know.'

"In July 2004, the CIA’s own report stated the agency did not have 'any credible information' that the alleged meeting ever took place. The CIA said the whole concoction was based on a single source 'whose veracity ... has been questioned' and that the Iraqi official allegedly involved was in U.S. custody and denied the meeting ever took place. The 9/11 commission had already concluded that the meeting never occurred.

"Cheney has a consistent pattern of exaggeration on intelligence related to Iraq. The tragedy is that at least half the American people believed Saddam Hussein was connected to the 9/11 plot—and most soldiers serving in Iraq still believe this.

"It’s pretty embarrassing when the British intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, accuse the FBI of leaking like a sieve. British intelligence has a lengthy history in the leaking-like-a-sieve department—so that’s some pot calling our kettle black. Nevertheless, they are making the point that our leaks about the 'liquid terror' plot have pretty well bollixed up the case. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was so annoyed he referred to the entire Bush performance in the Middle East as 'crap.' This truth-telling has gone too far."

* The Mountain Goats new album, Get Lonely, is out today. here is a oldish interveiw of John Darnielle. excerpt:

Interviewer: I'm sure you're sick of talking about this -but could you explain your whole stance on why you're against signing to any ONE particular record label?

John Darnielle: See, I haven't talked about that in a long time, actually. And my feelings have changed about it. I'll tell you what my position was, and I'll tell you why its changed.

My position WAS -and remains- politically, if you want to be PURE, label exclusivity was not invented for artists. It was invented for labels, right? So that they could make the most money. And the argument that THEY would give is that they can make the most money for everyone concerned. For themselves, and for the artist. Audiences don't want that, though. Audiences want the most good stuff they can get, and reasonable pay for.

Now if I'm releasing four full-lenth import albums a year, and you happen to give 30 bucks-a-pop for them then you have a complaint. If I'm releasing a slew of singles its not putting any dent in your pocketbook, and they're all of uniformly good quality, there's no good reason why I shouldn't do that. If you like it, and you want it, and I canprovide it -at a reasonable cost to you, the consumer, why shouldn't I do that? Right?

Well, labels say I shouldn't because then I won't sell as many of the one. That's of less concern to me than that you, if you you really like my stuff, want more. 'Cause the people who REALLY like my stuff are the ones who are important to me, not the people who can be convinced to buy it if I make it less available; if I limit myself so that they can probably get exposed. I'm more concerned with people who want to hear stuff. Right? And they'll exhaust a new album in four months. Its not like in four months they'll still be trying to figure-out the puzzle and still enjoy it. Its gone its course, and its going the wide race -its not sitting next to the CD player anymore. They're ready for a new one. If you could sell 'em at cost.

So by not being label-exclusive, the marketing ickiness that Big Labels have made par-for-the-course, and have made many people BELIEVE IN, right? -that an album a year is CORRECT. Anybody who can't write ten songs in a year is not a songwriter! You know? And anyone who can't write 20 isn't working hard enough.

So that was why I felt that way about it.

Then I got complaints from people who WERE really into my stuff. That they couldn't keep up with me. And they were going to fall-off rather than try. They were just going to stop. Because they WANTED to have-it-all, but it was getting harder, and harder to find. Harder to keep up with, and that was taking the fun out of it for them. And they'd rather that there be less stuff.

So I slowed down. And you get comfortable working with a label-or-two. Like the idea of being devoted to one label -nobody should kid themself- this is not for the artist. It is because the labels don't want other labels to have money. In indie rock we are a COMMUNITY. I want ALL labels to have some money -even ones that I don't like! I want labels to have money, because money is what's going to keep the machine running. And at least keep it at some low level of conspicuousness, so that some kid in Herald's Park can maybe run-itno an indie record that he enjoys. And find himself exposed to a level of discourse that he otherwise wouldn't. And I think label exclusivity limits the possibility for that guy. And I ain't down with that! How do YOU feel about that?

* Excellent, long David Foster Wallace piece on tennis star Roger Federer.

August 21, 2006

And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra

that's me in the spot lights, by dronepop.

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

7. The Bush Administration

"In February 2002, George W. Bush announced his National Drug Control Strategy.

Here's an excerpt:

You know, I'm asked all the time, how can I help fight against terror? What can I do, what can I as a citizen do to defend America? Well, one thing you can do is not purchase illegal drugs. Make no mistake about it, if you're buying illegal drugs in America, it is likely that money is going to end up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

Just think about the Taliban in Afghanistan - 70 percent of the world's opium trade came from Afghanistan, resulting in significant income to the Taliban, significant amount of money to the people that were harboring and feeding and hiding those who attacked and killed thousands of innocent Americans on September the 11th. When we fight drugs, we fight the war on terror.

"So how's that National Drug Control Strategy working out? Well, in 2001, Afghanistan produced 185 tons of opium. And last week officials in Kabul told the Associated Press that in 2005, Afghanistan produced, er, 4,500 tons of opium. Which is a new record. And constitutes almost 90 percent of the world supply, up from 70 percent in 2002. And according to the AP, 'opium accounted for 52 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product in 2005.'"

"Yes, it's another smashing success for the Bush administration!"

* New York Times. excerpt:

"The leaders of the 9/11 commission issued a final report last December analyzing how well the administration and Congress had done in carrying out the commission’s 41 recommendations. They awarded only one A minus (for disrupting terrorist financing), a batch of B’s and C’s, and a dozen D’s in such critical areas as reforming intelligence oversight, assessing infrastructure vulnerabilities and sharing information among government agencies. A failure to share intelligence allowed the 9/11 terrorists to succeed despite advance hints of their presence and intentions.

"The commission awarded five failing grades, the most serious of them for Washington’s failure to allocate homeland security funds based on risk. Even after moderate tinkering with the formulas this year, greedy legislators from states that face little danger continue to siphon off funds that would be better used to protect New York, Washington and other large cities likely to hold the greatest attraction for terrorists.

"Almost everyone agrees that the administration has taken some important steps toward greater security, but as the leaders of the 9/11 commission recently commented, it has not made the issue a top priority. The long, costly, chaotic occupation of Iraq, though touted as a front line of the war on terror, has actually sapped energy, resources and top-level attention that would be better applied to the real threat, a terrorist attack on the homeland."

* "Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things." -- Robert Frost

* Scroll down at the link for a fantastic new video from neil young.

August 18, 2006

flowers dance their faces brave

Don Van Vliet, Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, 1984

The Edge of the World
-- by jack gilbert

I light the lamp and look at my watch.
Four-thirty. Tap out my shoes
because of the scorpions, and go out
into the field. Such a sweeet night.
No moon, but urgent stars. Go back inside
and make hot chocolate on my butane burner.
I search around with the radio though
the skirl of the Levant. "Tea for Two"
in German. Finally, Cleveland playing
the Rams in the rain. It makes me feel
acutely here and everybody somewhere else.

Shield the Joyous
-- by dana goodyear

We took a white blanket to the grass,
out of view of the landscape
architect and his crew.
The air smelled hot and small
strings bore down on us.
Afterward, of course, we ate the fruit.
We couldn't help ourselves.

The Bar at the Andover Inn
-- by William Matthews

The bride, groom (my son), and their friends gathered
somewhere else to siphon the wedding's last
drops from their tired elders. Over a glass
of chardonnay I ignored my tattered,
companionable glooms (this took some will:
I've ended three marriages by divorce
as a man shoots his broken-legged horse)
and wished my two sons and their families
something I couldn't have, or keep, myself.
The rueful pluck we take with us to bars
or church, the morbid fellowship of woe --
I've had my fill of it. I wouldn't mope
through my son's happiness or further fear
my own. Well, what instead? Well, something else.

* an odd pairing, for sure.

August 17, 2006

I can't sing it strong enough

Kenneth Patchen

* the rude pundit. excerpt:

"Then the President, who has gone unchallenged by everything except reality, in his radio address this weekend actually said, 'Unfortunately, some have suggested recently that the terrorist threat is being used for partisan political advantage. We can have legitimate disagreements about the best way to fight the terrorists, yet there should be no disagreement about the dangers we face.'

"One could argue this or that, things like, 'Umm, when RNC chair Ken 'Elastic Cheeks' Mehlman said on Sunday that 'the focus now is going to be who’s on the ballot? What are the choices? And I don’t believe Americans, in the middle of a tough war, as they see these plots, want to weaken the tools and surrender the tools that are critical to keeping Americans safe. I don’t think they want to weaken how we interrogate potential terrorists. I don’t think they want to weaken the surveillance. I don’t think they want to kill the Patriot Act, and I certainly don’t want to think that they give the enemy the kind of victory that the 9/11 Commission had said they would have if we cut and run from Iraq,' had he gotten the memo not to use the threat for political advantage?'

"But that's useless. When the goddamn President can say, as he did on Saturday, 'On September the 11th, 2001, they used box cutters to hijack airplanes and kill thousands of innocent people,' well, what's supposed to be our reaction? Motherfucker's right. They did. Thanks for the fuckin' reminder. We could throw all kinds of crap at his bullshit statement that 'Because of the measures we've taken to protect the American people, our Nation is safer than it was prior to September the 11th.' We could ask about the attempt to cut money from explosive detection technology. We could ask about how the White House pressured the British to make the arrests early, so it could conveniently come right after primary day.

"It's useless because Bush ain't talkin' to us anymore. He's only talking to those who could get into his public appearances, an increasingly small number. You wanna talk about the 'polarization' of the nation? There's your bifurcation: those who can see their President speak in person and those who can not. Sure, sure, we can all watch him on the TV, but not when there's all those episodes of Laguna Beach on the Tivo.

"The White House knows this - it's Karl Rove's modus operandi: fuck those who disagree. And it's what they want. By so diminishing the value of the public roles of the President and Vice President, they can go about their business in deeper secrecy. Nothing to see here. And we're just gonna keep sayin' the same bullshit, over and over, because you don't matter."

* JFK at the groundbreaking of a library in honor of Robert Rrost in Amherst, Massachusetts, on October 26, 1963:

"Robert Frost...saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area's of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment."

* A short story by a.m. homes.

* "I think of poets as outlaw visionaries in a way." -- Jim Jarmusch

August 16, 2006

mirror glasses iconoclastic

dana ellyn, dog days, July 2006

The Bus
-- by Leonard Cohen

I was the last passenger of the day,
I was alone on the bus,
I was glad they were spending all that money
just getting me up Eighth Avenue.
Driver! I shouted, it's you and me tonight,
let's run away from this big city
to a smaller city more suitable to the heart,
let's drive past the swimming pools of Miami Beach,
you in the driver's seat, me several seats back,
but in the radical cities we'll change places
so as to show how well you've done up North,
and let us find ourselves some tiny American fishing village
in unknown Florida
and part right at the edge of the sand,
a huge bus pointing out,
metallic, painted, solitary,
with New York plates.

from I Remember
-- by Joe Brainard

I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

I remember the first ball point pens. They skipped, and deposited little balls of ink that would accumulate at the point.

I remember learning how to play bridge so I could get to know Frank O'Hara better.

I remember the outhouse and a Sears & Roebuck catolog to wipe off with.

I remember the organ music from As the World Turns.

I remember being disappointed the first time I had my teeth cleaned that they didn't turn out real white.

I remember that Lana Turner was discovered sipping a soda in a drugstore.

I remember not being able to fall asleep on Christmas eve.

I remember bathroom doors that don't lock and trying to pee fast.

I remember sex on too much grass and the total separation of my head from what's going on down there.

I remember inching myself down into water that was too hot.

I remember awkward elevator "moments."

I remember the exact moment, during communion, that was the hardest to keep from smiling. It was when you had to stick out your tongue and the minister laid the white wafer on it.

I remember little wax bottles with sweet liquid inside.

I remember once when it was raining on one side of our fence but not the other.

I remember hating myself after adult gatherings for being such a bore.

--by Sarah Manguso

Love not the rider but the old rider,
the ghost in the saddle: Obey that ghost.
A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.
But we are not good horses.
We bolt. We stand still in bad weather.
We rely on things we know are unreliable,
it feels so good just to rely.
We are relied on.
But I do not know who knows that bad secret.
I do not see who sits astride by back,
who cuts my flank so lovingly on our way to the dark mountain.

All In My Good Time
-- by Frank Stanford

He did not leave there
even for sermons
He ground his own meal
Watching the sun rise like a weed
in the ditch
and come down with the mange
One night a hub cap
jumped off a pickup and came on
coasting down that cleared path
running to his place
He thought it was running
away from the moon
He went out to his porch
as calm as you ever
silent as blue blazes
I bet a falling star wouldn't have made him
flinch There he was to see
if his wine was chilled
He breathed on his hard hands
and wandered out over his land
That is how I came to be

August 15, 2006

set me down on a television floor,
I'll flip the channel to number four

dylan watching television, unknown

* From a 1970 interview of Kurt Vonnegut, by Frank McLaughlin(not online):

McLaughlin: I was wondering if you were bughouse about your Constitution or Richard Nixon's? these are different Constitutions.

Vonnegut: Well yes, I am heartbroken and confused at this point. I suppose I'm really at childhood's end. I finally understand that I am not protected by the U.S. Constitution. I have never been protected by it, and it is only a piece of paper that we in America have always been dependent upon. The good will of those who govern us -- and that's it -- that's all that ever protected us. We have entered a period now when our government doesn't seem to like us much. I find this oppressive, and realize that the Constitution can't help much, can't help at all really, if our leaders come to dislike -- which they apparently do.

-- From a 1973 Playboy interview of Kurt Vonnegut, by David Standish (also, not online):

Standish: What's your opinion of Nixon?

Vonnegut: Well, I don't think he's evil. But I think he dislikes the American people, and this depresses us. The President, particularly, because of television, is in the position to be an extraordinarily effective teacher. I don't know exactly how much executive responsibility a President has, or how much the Government runs itself, but I do know that he can influence our behavior for good and ill. If he teaches us something tonight, we will behave according to that tomorrow. All he has to do is say it on television. If he tells us about our neighbors in trouble, if he tells us to treat them better tomorrow, why, we'll all try. But the lessons Nixon has taught us have been so mean. He's taught us to resent the poor for not solving their own problems. He's taught us to like prosperous people better than unprosperous people. He could make us so humane and optimistic with a single television appearance.

* From Harper's Magazine, September 2006

-- Percentage of U.S. income in 1983, and today, respectively, that went to the top 1 percent of earners: 9,16

-- Rank of AIDS and pregnancy, respectively, among the top causes of death worldwide from girls aged 10 to 19: 1,2

-- Estimated number of Americans who get degrees each year from nonaccredited "diploma mills"" 100,000

-- Number of Pentagon employees who had such degrees on their resumes, in a recent congressional study: 257

-- Percentage of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, in October 1994 who said they were excited to vote that year: 45,30

-- Percentage who said this in June about the 2006 midterm election: 30,46

* Understanding chess expertise.

* Why is George Bush reading Camus?

August 14, 2006

do you feel like a remnant of something that's past

max cole, north face, 2006

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"2. Joe Lieberman

"Now let's take a look at the final days of the doomed Lieberman campaign. Here are some clues as to why he ended up handing his nomination to a guy nobody had heard of six months ago.

"In a speech the day before election day, Lieberman blasted Lamont saying, 'That's something that separates me from my opponent - I don't hate Republicans. I know that some times the best way to get things done in the Senate for my constituents is through bipartisan cooperation. That doesn't make me a bad Democrat. It makes me a better senator.'

"Joe said this while standing next to former Senator Max Cleland. 'My opponent has done his best to distort my record,' Joe remarked, 'spending at least $4 million of his own money to mislead people into thinking that I am someone I am not - not unlike what happened to Max Cleland four years ago.'

"Lest we forget, here's what happened to Max Cleland four years ago: the triple-amputee Vietnam veteran lost his bid for re-election after Republicans ran TV ads comparing him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and called him unpatriotic and soft on national security. Republicans did that. The same Republicans that Joe wants to shake hands with and pat on the back.

"Mind you, Lieberman wasn't above using similar 'soft on national security' charges against Ned Lamont. 'If we simply give up and pull out now, like my opponent wants to do, then it would be a disaster to Iraq and to us. We would run a high risk of allowing Iraq to become like Afghanistan when the Taliban were in charge, and Al Qaeda had safe haven from which to strike us,' he said. Perhaps that's why Joe gets on so well with Republicans - they give him such great talking points."

* Bush and Cheney's Reign of Error, an editorial. excerpt:

"These people have no shame. Their contempt for democracy is so great they will stop at nothing to undermine it. Their adherence to fundamentalist beliefs that blinds them to reality is frightening. They must be stopped.

"And that's just the Republicans.

"Let's start with Vice President Dick Cheney.

"Yesterday, Cheney bashed those who voted for Democrat Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary, claiming that these votes would encourage 'al Qaeda types' to think that 'they can break the will of the American people.'

"The idea is that since 18-year incumbent Joe Lieberman lost based on his support for Iraq, Americans opposing the war are waving a white flag of surrender to terrorists.

"This is stunningly ignorant logic, as well as annoyingly consistent with the Bush administration's fundamentalist myth that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden - a claim by now well-discounted, most notably by a presidential commission.

"And yet the presidential fog machine has continued to belch out its Iraq-al Qaeda-link fumes to the extent that a recent poll suggests that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda. More people than ever now believe, according to a new poll, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
"Cheney's comments came out a day before British intelligence officials announced they had thwarted a major terrorist attack. Surely Cheney was aware of the plot and the work to thwart it, and was no doubt aware of the timing of yesterday's announcement.

"To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane.

"Has Cheney completely lost it?"
"The immoral and ridiculous claims coming out of the Bush administration's reign of error could ultimately be responsible for the kind of casualties that al Qaeda can only dream of."

--- related: London plot is political 'life preserver' for Bush.

* video for Mountain Goats' Woke Up New.

* rock stars that went back to work.

August 10, 2006

And light it up forever and never go to sleep

jenny holzer, from Inflammatory Essays

Summers, About 1959
- by Alberto Rios

Women wore those sleeveless blouses
Where, if you tried, you could peek in
And try to get a look.

But it was always the wrong angle.
Contact lenses got invented in those years, too.
I remember the first boy who got some:

He had big white lines
From his nose to his ears
As if he were wearing invisible glasses.

That's how someone explained them to me
And I believed it: invisible glasses.
But they were really just the tan lines

From so many years of big, standard-issue
Black frames, glasses a little like
Plymouths for the face.

This was when summers were all the X-15,
Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente,
TV dinners and the drive-in.

Summers had a smell then. When you inhaled
You got the sound of crickets and cicadas
As well in your nose, and Sputnik too-

A word that rolled around in our mouths
Then spat itself out. Sputnik. We said it
All the time. Things were changing.

Dear Mr. President
-- by Philip Whalen









Respectfully Yours, Philip Whalen 10:III:65

-- by Sylvia Parker

Simple Sentences

Bottomed out. There's sadness. Confusion. Lies and more lies. DESIRE - pain. Fuck. Blindness. No Fucking Here. Words. Thank you. Put it to death.


Years ago in a dream I turned to Rose who was sitting outside of a motor lodge in New Jersey with a view of Manhattan under a passionately conversational twilight sky (it was like seeing in WagnerVision). I said, "You don't have skies like this anywhere but New York". She agreed.


I tried to make a middle by going to the heights and hoarding all I could, keeping it living inside me to combine with your souvenirs from the depths so we could have a place to stand and watch. What I didn't account for was a basic law of chemistry - base on top of acid = explosion. Because I usually don't read directions, as a kid it took me weeks of indiscriminate mixing from different bottles in my chemistry set to arrive at an explosion. This time I got all the directions I could find and it happened too quickly.

Unspoken Oath

The current I want to be in changes everything into itself - into me; unwashed, essential before you.


All I want is to be floating gently in the big drink.

The Luxury of Sitting
--- by Chris Stroffolino

As if life is the box at the wharf
for those who need surgery to feel--become splendid
and grateful as the wave's happy sacrifice.
Ah, the power we have when the water recedes!
No more the voyeur borrowing moon
now that the jackhammers have peeled our clothes
and the rooster's caught redhanded
by the sun that seconds its smile
if you stoop to think about it
near the grass factory where invitations incubate.
On the other side, no one can see you.
The reason: they think it's their duty to be attentive
and cannot live the lie of laziness.
We are animals in search of whiffs or flames.
The precise ants and out of tune bulls.
Dualism sends urgent warnings, reminders.
A fool is a formletter but there's a still hill somewhere
and it takes two or time to find it.
is it just lazy rain

Carol Lee Chase, Luster, 2001

* the rude pundit on the Lieberman loss. excerpt:

"Ask any poor bastard who ever got caught cheating on his lover with the hot teenaged chick with the pierced tongue who works at, say, the neighborhood Starbucks. Shit, take a poll, if you want. You'll hear the same thing: that poor bastard should have just up and confessed to his woman, admitted he was wrong, instead of trying to weasel and con and accuse his way out of it. 'Cause he doesn't have to be caught balls deep in the face of a corporate barista for his longtime lover to know the score. At the end of the day, the poor bastard's gotta ask himself what he wants: is it feeling the delicious electricity of that tongue post glide up his cock shaft? Or is it the sweet love of that grown-up woman he's been seeing for two or three years that he wants embracing him? Either way, that poor bastard's gotta make a decision and stick with it and just be true to himself.

"It's an easy lesson, but one that so, so many do not learn. 'Cause if he lies, if he keeps saying that he didn't fuck the pierced coffee pusher, or if he blames his mama issues or the fact that his woman doesn't blow him enough, that woman is righteously, rightfully gone, and his sorry, pleadin' ass is left on the sidewalk, blues-style, motherfucker, with nothin' but a lonely stroll down the pavement left for him. And here's the worst part - he can do all those things and still be left behind like so much curbside garbage.

"Just ask Joe Lieberman. The man who preached compromise or capitulation to the Bush administration because Bush is gonna be president for the next couple of years, the man who never backed down from sayin' that the Iraq War was hunky-dory, the man who attacked part of the base of his own party in order to set himself up for an independent run, that man lost not just because he blindly supports a war that the majority of the nation (and Connecticut) no longer supports. Joe Lieberman lost to Ned Lamont because he refused to admit that he was wrong. You could say that Joe was honorable and stuck to his guns and all that shit, but at the end of the day, a politician must listen to the voters, or that politician will hear them on primary or election day. The best Lieberman could do was this in the desperate last days of his long climb to loserdom: 'I think people are turning around and saying, 'Hey, we were thinking of sending Joe a message [on Election Day], but I think he got the message, and we don't want to lose him as our senator.'

"Lieberman lost because he was wrong, not because he was too principled or too 'moderate' (whatever the fuck that means) or too Jewy or too any-fuckin-thing else anyone wants to come up with before admitting the truth. Lierberman lost because he was wrong, not because the mighty power of Left Blogsylvania smeared him or because Ned Lamont used his fortune to challenge Lieberman. Hell, Lieberman spent most of his time on the campaign trail reeling like a drunk man hit in the head with a Budweiser bottle, swinging and lashing out at phantoms, trying to portray Ned Lamont, a white bread millionaire, as some kind of crazed Bohemian.

"Now Lieberman has the stink of loser on him. His concession speech was the last gasp of the man with cement shoes sinking into Long Island Sound, vowing impotent vengeance on those who did him in. Accusing someone of 'partisan politics' in a party's primary is not unlike accusing a marathon runner of running a marathon. And sure, sure, Republicans and some Democrats will attempt to prop him up in his doomed "independent" run, but he's got no party machine behind him, only the hope that a three-term Senator can run as a heroic underdog rather than some pathetic figure who wasn't even good enough for his own party. Goddamn, it'll be sad. One hopes, desperately, that Bill Clinton'll show up on Lieberman's doorstep and get him to agree that the most noble thing is for a man to fall on his sword.

"Lieberman lost because he was wrong, on the war, on indecency, on torture, on Social Security, and more, more, more. He lost not because he said he was right, but because he tried to say that wrong was right.

"Lieberman lost like so many others will, mostly Republican, because they hitched their wagons to George Bush's star and that fucker went supernova."

* Ugliest couch of the year contest.

* "Art is born of humiliation." --W. H. Auden

August 9, 2006

I've already had two beers I'm ready for the broom

madonna of the suburbs, by dana ellyn (part of her 31 days of July series, this painting done in response to a story on this Washington Post cover)

-- by Gerard Malanga

for Keith Richards

Rolling Stones' Keith Richards
greets girl friend actress anita pallenberg
and their 4-month-old son marlon
on arrival at londons heathrow airport
after u s tour
miss pallenberg a german
said british government has told her
she must marry
or leave England.

Hotel Chelsea, Room 121
-- by Gerard Malanga

for John Weiners

We wake up
In the sunlight pointing to the disadvantages of being up
Tight in the room making calls to friends
At the same time removing ourselves from
Broken promises.
John rolls a joint and thinks
About what time the mail is due to arrive.
Rene wraps himself up in a bedsheet.
Benedetta calls to let me
Know when to call her tonight.
Can't get through to Andy today.
Today inspiration is lacking from my life.
Benedetta moves gracefully over the landscape into my life
With devotion and speed
Knowing where we are coming
From the moment we begin
Somewhere inside.

Coming Up For Air
-- by Gerard Malanga

for Edie Sedgwick

The face that grows out from the magazine
Covers some simple indication
That long earrings are coming
Back into fashion
At the parties that were
Beginning over
Night in the city
Limits, and the surprise
Package of whatever explains the false
Hood of logic to keep us
Guessing at the eventual sun
Rise, brings me home
In the film of our favorite soft
Drink starring you.

August 8, 2006

Same as it ever was...same as it ever was...same as it ever was...

Jannis Kounellis, untitled, 1971

* Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"If the stakes weren't so high, and the situation weren't so tragic, you'd have to laugh at the latest US-French attempt to craft a Middle East cease fire. They announced it as though they had jointly tackled the world's most difficult Sudoku puzzle -- and then about five minutes later Hezbollah and the Lebanese government both blew it off.
"The rumble in Lebanon continues because, for a change, Islamic terrorists and their sponsors are being held responsible for their misbehavior. Hezbollah has turned all of Lebanon into its personal suicide bomber. If Lebanon gets blown up in the service of killing some Israelis, well, maybe there is a paradise in another world for nations that blunder into self-destruction, where the fountains run with iced coffee, and halvah grows on every tree.

"Israel is determined to shut down Hezbollah and the process is going to continue. It's a little hard to imagine that Iran's leaders and the partisans of Jihad will not try to counter that effort by stirring the pot elsewhere in the region. Perhaps they will even go so far as to call Jihad fighters from other Muslim nations to go to Hezbollah's aid in Lebanon, and it would be easy to see how that would lead to a wider war that would suck in additional players.
There are also new rumbles about Saudi Arabia's shaky situation with its Ghawar oil field, which gives ominous signs of entering a far steeper and more sudden decline / crash than previously imagined by many observers. A similar picture is resolving with Mexico's dominant Cantarell oil field. Yet another interesting problem all over the map is that oil exporting nations are seeing their internal consumption increase even while reserves and daily production decline, and the net effect is a lot less oil for export. I would take these signals as reason to think the price of oil will pass $100 a barrel before the end of 2006. Of course, Iran could stir that pot without a whole lot of trouble and take the price to $200, or maybe $500.

"Jihad and peak oil are related, mutually-reinforcing problems. The world is in a lot of trouble and America is in a lot of trouble in our corner of the world. We talk about a lot of things, but the one thing we've absolutely avoided is any talk about making the necessary changes in our 'non-negotiable' way of life. I think the remainder of 2006 will be the start of that national conversation."

* cheating in chess. excerpt:

"Accusations of cheating at the largest tournament of the year have the chess world buzzing — and have tournament directors worried about what they may have to do to stop players from trying to cheat in the future.

"The cheating is alleged to have occurred at the World Open in Philadelphia over the July 4 weekend and to have involved two players in two sections of the tournament. In each case, the player was suspected of receiving help from computers or from accomplices using computers. Neither player was caught cheating, but one player, Steve Rosenberg, was expelled. The other, Eugene Varshavsky, was allowed to finish the tournament but was searched before each round, then watched closely during games.

"Chess has always been considered a gentleman’s game, with an unwritten honor code. But the advent of powerful and inexpensive chess-playing computers and improved wireless technology has made it easier to cheat.

"Although rare, cheating at chess is not new. For years, players who wanted to cheat would leave the board and ask other players for advice, or consult chess books or magazines for suggested moves. Cheating at chess may seem like a twisted exercise in ego gratification, but growing prize money has made the rewards more meaningful. At the World Open, the total prizes were $358,000, with first place in the top section worth as much as $28,000."

* "Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing." -- John Erskine

August 7, 2006

And the time will come when you add up the numbers

Ed Ruscha, Your A Dead Man, 2002

* Top ten conservative idiots.

"9. U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been stumping hard for Republicans in the run-up to this year's elections, and one of their recent ads for Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio was a real winner, giving him big props for voting for the Medicare prescription drug coverage plan.

"There's just one slight problem - Chabot didn't actually vote for the plan. In fact, he kinda voted against it.

"According to the Associated Press, 'Chabot's office said the business group was acting independently and he has asked the ads to stop. When told that Chabot voted against the bill the chamber was praising him for supporting, spokesman David Felipe said he would have to check on the details. The chamber did not immediately call back with comment.'

"Funny that - you'd think it wouldn't take that long to 'check on the details.' Try ten seconds on Google, for example.

* From an interview of Pete Townshend, March 1980.

OUI: Did the cover of Who’s Next have anything to do with 2001?

PT: Yeah, it was meant to be a sort of gag when we pissed up against the monument. It meant that when we asked Stanley Kubrick to direct Tommy, he said, "Fuck you." Got any other great questions?

OUI: Yeah. I saw a great piece of graffiti on the way over from Brooklyn: FREE YOUR MIND AND YOUR ASS WILL FOLLOW.

PT: Last piece of graffiti I saw was in a pub at the top o’ my street. Over the toilet somebody had written: PETE TOWNSHEND IS A CAPITALIST PIG.

OUI: Is he?

PT: Of course he is.
OUI: What do you think of rock that appears devoid of deep meaning?

PT: Some of the people in the rock business- Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Kiss- appear to be quite empty-headed, but, in fact, they’re very consciously saying, "Fuck all the intellectual stuff. We’re just having a good time." A big chunk of rock ’n’ roll is that, and should be that, and should remain that. In a way, that’s what the Who always aspired to, but was never able to do. We were always too unhappy . . . at loggerheads with one another’s ideas. There’s a difference between disagreeing with somebody and respecting them, and disagreeing with ‘em and thinking they’re shit. The first eight years of the Who were like that. Very, very, very unhappy times. Most of it. And if they were happy, it was explosive happiness.
OUI: Aren’t you a backer of the Rock Against Racism movement?

PT: I am, and I’ve got this recording studio called Musician’s Co-op, which people use in a community way. Sometimes they pay me money, but usually it’s free, because I like their music or what’s involved or whatever. There was a band called Mystic, a British reggae band, and they have a community of their own called People Unite. They were based in Southall, which has a lot of Asians, Africans and West Indians mixed in with the whites. There’s a lot of tension there- occasional fights and things like that.

Mystic came to my studio and worked for about two weeks. They’re Rastafarians and smoke joints like this long [spreading his arms about three feet wide]. This one guy in the band really impressed me- a guy called Clarence. See, when they’d come into the studio, they wouldn’t just have the band record; they’d have apprentices there as well. About five guitar players pickin’ away. I was deeply impressed with the way they lived. My spiritual principles prohibit the dope, but at the same time, they seemed to respect my spiritual stance, and I had to respect theirs. Then I hear that one of the group is in the hospital with brain damage, that somebody had put an iron bar through his skull during a riot against the Fascist national Front. I thought. "Please, God, may it not be Clarence." Because without him, this whole group of two or three hundred people in the area- young kids and families, who all depended on this band for a living and a raise on debts and everything- would be fucked. It was him. So I’ve decided that I’m gonna stand up and get counted. I think fascism stinks. And I’m gonna go onstage and say so. And I’m a bit scared. Not for me. I’m scared for my family, and the people around me.

OUI: Heavy talk for a guy not known for political convictions.

PT: My grandfather, and his father before him, and my father, all fought in a war against fascism. We lost uncles, we lost brothers, we lost all kinds of people. Hundreds of thousands of people. In Britain, just as in New York, there’s a strong Jewish community. About half of my friends are Jewish. I know how they feel about the last war. And to see that we’ve allowed a fucking party to reproduce itself. And yet, I don’t wanna deny anybody their right rights. But if the National Front can say, "Send the niggers back to wherever" and "Send the Jews back to wherever" and "Send the Asians back to Uganda," then I can say, "That attitude STINKS." And I think the phrase Rock Against Racism is much more universal and powerful than a lot of people realize.

* Tonight @ Fort Reno. Metropolitan. Thursday at Ft. Reno: the caribbean.

August 4, 2006

the world just screams and falls apart

Rob Stolzer, Four Heads, 2001

house poet klipschutz weighs in on Mel Gibson’s recent Tequila Tourette’s outburst, with a short series of poems written around the time The Passion of the Christ was released. He further predicts that in about a year when this has blown over it will be announced that Gibson is starring in a remake of Gentleman's Agreement.


Is Mel Gibson richer than sin?
Were Auschwitz survivors too thin?


You believe every word, it’s true, you do!

Like Yeats believed in fairies!

Like black believes in blue!

Like I believe in the Energizer Bunny!

Like Mad Max fans believe in you!

And right again! You’re right again!

(A roll! That’s two for two!)

Somebody IS coming back!

Maybe Arnold

Maybe Jesus

Or a friend of a guy in the crew—

So wait and pray and suck a big cigar

As Hutton spins his theories in a book

Action: bleeding light and burning scar

Your patsy’s good and cooked


Where in love is the equation?
This is only an occasion,
and she only a woman.

(The odds are at my tips.)

O, but she danced for me
in all my stage-door Johnny agony—

* RIP Arthur Lee.

August 3, 2006

Broken household appliance national forest

Robert Mertens, Outside: Leon and Mary's Garage, 1996

* Wayne Madsen on brothers. excerpt:

"Brothers versus brothers. Bush and his right-wing Cuban-American friends and donors engaged in a macabre Castro death watch in Miami. President George W. and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, two brothers who owe their offices to the power of the right-wing Cuban-American community in south Florida, engaged in a macabre and sinister death watch for Cuban President Fidel Castro while being hosted by wealthy Cuban-American supporters.

"As Castro was rushed to the hospital suffering from internal bleeding, just two weeks after visiting, along with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, the boyhood home of Che Guevara in Alta Gracia, Argentina, the Bush brothers began planning action against the Cuban government and the two Castro brothers -- Fidel and Raul. Defense Minister Raul Castro took over the reins of power from Fidel, the first time the Cuban leader had given up power since 1959.

"As reported by WMR last November, the politically-powerful St. Joe Company has a significant investment in the Codina Group. After Jeb Bush became governor, he took care of his real estate business friends, selling them state-owned land at cut rate prices.

"Joining the Bush brothers in Coral Gables were the Florida Cuban-American GOP congressional team of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who best represents the fact that America's foreign policies on the Middle East and Latin America have been outsourced to two vocal and politically powerful special interests -- the Israeli and Cuban exile lobbies. Ros Lehtinen's mother was a Jewish-Cuban refugee from Cuba. Joining the Bush brothers in the Florida death watch huddle were another GOP brother team, Representatives Lincoln and Mario-Diaz Balart.

"The brothers Bush and Balart and Ros-Lehtinen and Codina have their eyes set on lucrative real estate development schemes for post-Castro Cuba. The fact that oil has been discovered in Cuban waters has also earned the interest of the Bush-Cheney petroleum cartel. The Bush crime family and their associates see Cuba as a place where they can either force European and Canadian hotels to pay original land owners compensation for deals made with the Castro government or forfeit their properties to Miami-based Cubans working in concert with multi-billionaire non-Cuban GOP moguls, including another major Bush donor in Florida, real estate developer, GOP financier, pro-Israel activist, and former ambassador to Australia and Italy, Mel Sembler.

"Like buzzards and hyenas waiting for the death of an old elephant, the Bush cartel and their Florida friends are anxiously awaiting the death of Castro in order to devour the self-sufficient nation he and his fellow Cuban revolutionaries took so long to build. And there is little wonder that the Cuban government insists on keeping Fidel Castro's medical condition secret. They, too, are aware of the Coral Gables GOP confab and have said they do not want to tip off the plotters to the north about their leader's condition."

* Twinkle twinkle blah blah blah or, as it was known at the end number one hit song, has shut its doors. we are sad to see them close.

* "Every time I see him play I think of Charles Mingus, the late musician. Mingus said to make easy situations complicated, it's easy -- to make complicated situations simple takes creativity. That's Carlos Alberto." -- Former NY Cosmos soccer coach, and special assistant to Pele, Professor Julio Mazzei

* Check out Jennifer O'Connor's Dirty City Blues. Her album, Over the Mountain, is out August 22 on Matador.

August 2, 2006

Phantom fingers straighten a phantom tie

Karal Appel, People of the Edge #10

From Ed Sanders 'America: A History in Verse, Volume 2 1940 - 1960:

A Poem for August

Allen Ginsberg's psychiatrist
at San Francisco's Langley Porter Institute
had said it was ok to move in w/his lover Peter Orlovsky
give up his job in market research
& devote his time to poetry

"I asked him what the
American Psychoanalytic Association
would say about that," Ginsberg later recalled,
"& he said 'There's no party line
no red book
on how people are supposed
to live

If that's what
you really feel
wd please you
what in the world
is stopping you from doing it?"

A.G. settled in with Orlovsky by the summer
& was reading many books
but writing little

His poetic were focused on the W.C. Williams
triadic lines
or indented tercets
(as in his great "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower")
& Kerouac's long-breathed verses.

Allen hitchhiked up to Yosemite & Lake Tahoe
then back to S.F.
where one day in early August
he slid a piece of paper
into a used typewriter

with nothing to gain
nothing to lose

He started with a line from a notebook
"I saw the best mind angel-headed hipster damned"

which he later transformed into the famous
"I saw the best minds of my generation..."

and then, in a rush of brilliance
completed the first twelve pages of
the generation-jelling work

The same day he wrote what ultimately
would be Part III of "Howl"
the Carl Solomon section.

A few days later, lit up on peyote
Ginsberg & Orlovsky walked past
the Sir Francis Drake Hotel
which, high on its hill
looked like "the robot skullface of Moloch"

a vision which led to Part II of "Howl"
the "Moloch" section
beginning with "What spinx of cement..."

The next few months
saw hundreds of revisions
as he shaped it to thrill a generation.

August 1, 2006

mr. jones is a man who doesn't know who mr. jones is

Thorina Rose, Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe 1, 2005.

* Alexander Cockburn on The Triumph of Crackpot Realism. excerpt:

"The frayed threads anchoring the American government to reality have finally snapped, just at the moment radiologists are reporting that Americans are getting too fat to be x-rayed or shoved into any existing MRI tube.

"The gamma rays can't get through the blubber, same way actual conditions in the outside world bounces off the impenetrable dome of imbecility sheltering America's political leadership.

"Twenty-three years after one of America's stupidest Presidents announced Star Wars, Reagan's dream has come true. Behind ramparts guarded by a coalition of liars extending from Rupert Murdoch to the New York Times, from Bill O'Reilly to PBS, America is totally shielded from truth."
"Iraq's morgues reported receipts of 3,149 dead bodies in June; over 14,000 since the beginning of the year. Senior Iraqis in the government confide that break-up of Iraq into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish enclaves, each protected by its own militias, is now inevitable. Iraq as a viable country has been utterly destroyed, with even vaster carnage coming up over the horizon, and here's the numbskull President touting it as an advertisement for American nation-building at its best, and inviting its prime minister to Washington to proclaim Iraq's approaching renaissance, all in sync with the U.S. 2006 election campaigns."
"'Crackpot realism' was the concept defined by the great Texan sociologist, C. Wright Mills in 1958, when he published The Causes of World War Three, also the year that Dwight Eisenhower sent the Marines into Lebanon to bolster local US factotum, Lebanese President Camille Chamoun.

"'In crackpot realism,' Mills wrote, 'a high-flying moral rhetoric is joined with an opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands. .. The expectation of war solves many problems of the crackpot realists; ... instead of the unknown fear, the anxiety without end, some men of the higher circles prefer the simplification of known catastrophe....They know of no solutions to the paradoxes of the Middle East and Europe, the Far East and Africa except the landing of Marines. ... they prefer the bright, clear problems of war-as they used to be. For they still believe that 'winning' means something, although they never tell us what...'"

* From a splendidezine interview of Dean Wareham:

Splendid: I was going to say that "Dizzy" bears more than a passing resemblance to Van Halen's "Jump".

Dean Wareham: I don't think I'm familiar with that song. Could you sing it for me?

Splendid: I'd rather not. And trust me, you'd rather I not, too.

Dean Wareham: (Laughing) Yeah, you know what? It does. In the chorus. I stole the melody from Van Halen's "Jump".

Splendid: Deliberately?

Dean Wareham: Yeah.

Splendid: Because you know, no-one in rock 'n' roll history has ever stolen a riff or a chorus before.

Dean Wareham: I think it would be good to have them kind of sue, wouldn't it?

Splendid: All publicity is good publicity, right?

Dean Wareham: I wonder how many notes it is? I should count them up. I don't know how many notes you can have before it's plagiarism.

Splendid: Well, it's not plagiarism if you play it yourself, right?

Dean Wareham: Well, I suppose it can be. John Fogerty got sued for plagiarizing himself. By his record company. He won the case. Saul Zaentz was the guy who ran Credence Clearwater's label -- he's a big music producer, very well-loved in Hollywood, a great, friendly guy, but he sued John Fogerty for plagiarizing himself. Anyway... yes, that melody is taken, and when I sang it, Sean came running in from the other room and said 'You can't do that!' And I said 'Okay, I'll sing it another way,' and I tried it some other ways, and they didn't work as well.

* DC band The Caribbean will hit the road this week: Thursday, August 3rd: Tritone (Plain Parade), Philadelphia; Friiday, August 4th: The Grog Shop, Cleveland; and Saturday, August 5th: Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh. Upon their return to DC they will be headlining the August 10 Fort Reno show. if you are in one of these cities, check them out, and say hello.

* "Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST..." --Frank Zappa