May 29, 2009

my thoughts keep on turning to Bobby Peru

Tom McGrath, Sprinkler City, 2006

Happily Planting the Beans too Early
-- by Jack Gilbert

I waited until the sun was going down
to plant the bean seedlings. I was
beginning on the peas when the phone rang.
It was a long conversation about what
living this way in the woods might
be doing to me. It was dark by the time
I finished. Made tuna fish sandwiches
and read the second half of a novel.
Found myself out in the April moonlight
putting the rest of the pea shoots into
the soft earth. It was after midnight.
There was a bird calling intermittently
and I could hear the stream down below.
She was probably right about me getting
strange. After all, Basho and Tolstoy
at the end were at least going somewhere.

Among the Things He Does Not Deserve
-- by Dan Albergotti

Greek olives in oil, fine beer, the respect of colleagues,
the rapt attention of an audience, pressed white shirts,
just one last-second victory, sympathy, buttons made
to resemble pearls, a pale daughter, living wages, a father
with Italian blood, pity, the miraculous reversal of time,
a benevolent god, good health, another dog, nothing
cruel and unusual, spring, forgiveness, the benefit
of the doubt, the next line, cold fingers against his chest,
rich bass notes from walnut speakers, inebriation, more ink,
a hanging curve, great art, steady rain on Sunday, the purr
of a young cat, the crab cakes at their favorite little place,
the dull pain in his head, the soft gift of her parted lips.

-- by Jo McDougall

From a wood beyond the fields,
something dark has not yet advanced
toward the yellow light
of the kitchen.
A woman puts away the dishes.
A man goes through the mail.
A child leans over the table,
saying her homework.

The dog looks up once and growls
as if not meaning to, a sound
almost inaudible.
He clicks across the floor, nosing for crumbs.

May 28, 2009

I feel like killing the day
I feel like running away

Dina Volkova, Movement, 2006

* Clusterfuck Nation on the GM bankruptcy. excerpt:

"The implications of all this in the sociopolitical and geopolitical realms are pretty daunting. As long as we maintain Happy Motoring as the normal mode of existence in this country, we are going to see an ever-growing class of very resentful citizens pissed off at being foreclosed from it. In my oft-repeated scheme-of-things, this leads very quickly to the trap of political extremism, perhaps even corn-pone Naziism, as the system becomes increasingly difficult to prop up except by force. In geopolitical terms it leads to ever more dangerous international contests over the world's remaining oil reserves.

"All this leads to two conclusions.

"One is to accept the fact that the Happy Motoring era is over and to devote our remaining resources to re-localization, walkable communities, and public transit. It obviously requires a very drastic revision of our current collective self-image, of what we aspire to and who we are. If the car companies have any future at all, it should be based on making the rolling stock for public transit -- and for now the most intelligent choice for us is to fix the existing passenger railroad lines instead of venturing into grandiose new transit systems requiring stupendous capital outlays. Let the car era wind down gracefully. Triage and prioritize the highway maintenance agenda -- we won't be affluent enough to keep repaving the whole existing system -- and let other nations meet the diminishing demand for cars in the USA. This would be a "best case" scenario. (Other nations may decide to go further up the Happy Motoring road at their own eventual peril.)

"My second conclusion is not so appetizing, namely that the bankruptcy of General Motors may set in motion a chain of events that will accelerate the destructive unwind of the bad credit economy, the damage to our bond values, the loss of faith in our currency, and the authority and legitimacy of our leaders. This last dire outcome might be allayed if, say, President Obama directed his policy efforts to the items in the paragraph above, that is, a reality-based agenda for true change in how we live -- but who can feel confident about that happening these days? Maybe it will take a horrifying chain of events to get Mr. Obama there. And then, tragically, he may be overwhelmed by the chain of events itself. I hope not."

* Does this goal count?

* RIP Jay Bennett. Hank from Bennett's 2008 album Whatever Happened I Apologize.

* "The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not." -- Eric Hoffe

May 27, 2009

the world's always amazed
at how much cash you made
but not at how you made it
it's just strange

Andre Ethier

How To Listen
-- by Major Jackson

I am going to cock my head tonight like a dog
in front of McGlinchy's Tavern on Locust;
I am going to stand beside the man who works all day combing
his thatch of gray hair corkscrewed in every direction.
I am going to pay attention to our lives
unraveling between the forks of his fine-toothed comb.
For once, we won't talk about the end of the world
or Vietnam or his exquisite paper shoes.
For once, I am going to ignore the profanity and
the dancing and the jukebox so I can hear his head crackle
beneath the sky's stretch of faint stars.

-- by Grant Lloyd

A mother whittles her red-haired child a toy.
Dead deer lie poached along the freeway.
Community vineyards replace
Crumbled buildings.
One heartbeat
And the city thrives
In a bath of silence.
An urban jungle becomes
A throng of cultures, creatures,
And life goes on in a celebration of ruin.

After Apollinaire
-- by Franz Wright

It's four o'clock in the afternoon
and its finished;
I sit back and light my cigarette
on a ray of dusk.
I don't want to write anymore.
All I want to do is smoke.

May 21, 2009

If life begins at forty
Well, i hope it ain't the same
it's been tough enough without that stuff
I don't wanna to be born again

Today I am 40

Men at 40
- by Donald Justice

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices tying
His father's tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

--- REMINDER: Tomorrow evening The Foreign Press perform at the West Main Development showcase at 2640 Space in Baltimore, with Don Zientara, The Caribbean, HD, and Nathan Bell. Doors at 7:30. The Foreign Press is scheduled to start at 8:15.

--- back Wednesday.

May 20, 2009

television truth is lies debated

Heidi Fowler, Billboard

Corrigenda in Two Stanzas
-- by Steve McCaffery

And yet I built this house as my pioneer theme
along the perforation of my very own toilet roll.
For perforation read wipe of shit.
The shit of for shit
read this
an Amazon for Amazon
read Emerson.

Credo, after E.P.
-- by Jim Harrison

Go, my songs
to the young and insolent,
speak the love of final things --
do not betray me
as a dancer, drunk,
is dumb to his clumsiness

Dawn Whiskey
-- by Jim Harrison

Mind follow the nose
this honey of whiskey
I smell through the throat of the bottle.

I hear a wren in the maple
and ten million crickets,
leaf rustle
behind the wren and crickets,
farther back a faint dog bark.

And the glass is cool,
a sweet cedar post that flames so briskly.
Sight bear this honey
through the shell curved around the brain,
your small soft globes
pouring in new light --
remember things that burn with gold
as this whiskey to my tongue.

May 19, 2009

Some people seem so obsessed with the morning
Get up early just to watch the sun rise
Some people like it more when there's fire in the sky
Worship the sun when it's high
Some people go for those sultry evenings
Sipping cocktails in the blue, red and grey
But I like every minute of the day

Happy Birthday Pete!

* From Harper's June 2009:

-- Height, in feet, of a stack of dollar bills constructed with the average bonus at one of Wall Street's largest firms: 76

-- Estimated percentage of all guns recovered from crime scenes in Mexico that can be traced to U.S. gun shops: 90

-- Number of infants the World Bank estimates will die over the next seven years because of the financial crisis: 1,400,000

-- Average number of sex offenders castrated by the Czech government each year: 9

-- Percentage of Texas public-school districts that teach abstinence as their only form of sex education: 94

* Bad paintings of Barack Obama.

* "It`s not the fact that I was brilliant, I am brilliant." -- Pete Townshend

May 18, 2009

The blessed grace of waking up
Of breathing in the sheets
And hello to you, at the window
Hello to you

Andrew Bush, High Schoolers, 1997

* Jack Kerouac, a huge baseball fan, created his own fantasy baseball league. excerpt:

"Almost all his life Jack Kerouac had a hobby that even close friends and fellow Beats like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs never knew about. He obsessively played a fantasy baseball game of his own invention, charting the exploits of made-up players like Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody and Zagg Parker, who toiled on imaginary teams named either for cars (the Pittsburgh Plymouths and New York Chevvies, for example) or for colors (the Boston Grays and Cincinnati Blacks).

"He collected their stats, analyzed their performances and, as a teenager, when he played most ardently, wrote about them in homemade newsletters and broadsides. He even covered financial news and imaginary contract disputes. During those same teenage years, he also ran a fantasy horse-racing circuit, complete with illustrated tout sheets and racing reports. He created imaginary owners, imaginary jockeys, imaginary track conditions.

"All these 'publications,' some typed, some handwritten and often pasted into old-fashioned composition notebooks, are now part of the Jack Kerouac Archive at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. The curator, Isaac Gewirtz, has just written a 75-page book about them, 'Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats,' to be published next week by the library and available, at least for now, only in its gift shop."
"Among other things, Mr. Gewirtz has learned that Kerouac played an early version of the baseball game in his backyard in Lowell, Mass., hitting a marble with a nail, or possibly a toothpick, and noting where it landed. By 1946, when Kerouac was 24, he had devised a set of cards with precise verbal descriptions of various outcomes ('slow roller to ss,' for example), depending on the skill levels of the pitcher and batter. The game could be played using cards alone, but Mr. Gewirtz thinks that more often Kerouac determined the result of a pitch by tossing some sort of projectile at a diagramed chart on the wall. In 1956 he switched to a new set of cards, which used hieroglyphic symbols instead of descriptions. Carefully preserved inside plastic folders at the library, they now look as mysterious as runes."
"The prose in Kerouac’s various publications mostly imitates the overheated, epithet-studded sportswriting of the day. 't was partly homage,' Mr. Gewirtz said, 'and perhaps partly parody, but every now and then an original phrase leaps out.' For example, the description of a hitter who 'almost drove Charley Fiskell, Boston’s hot corner man, into a shambled heap in the last game with his sizzling drives through the grass.'

"Mr. Gewirtz said, “I really like that ‘shambled heap.’ Another description he enjoys is one of an overpowering pitcher who after defeating the opposition by a lopsided score “smiled wanly.”

"Kerouac wrote his last baseball account, two mock United Press International reports, in 1958, but he continued to play the game and to tinker with its formulas, making them more realistic, until just a year or two before his death in 1969. His friend the poet Philip Whalen was probably the only one of the Beats who was familiar with this side of Kerouac."

* The Foreign Press is performing at the West Main Development showcase Friday May 22, 2009 at Baltimore's 2640 Space. Also playing: Don Zientara, The Caribbean, HD, and Nathan Bell. Doors at 7:30. The Foreign Press is scheduled to start at 8:15. Should be a fun evening.

-- Listen to West Main Development kingpin Matt Byars discuss the label.

* "I only like whiskey all the time." -- Ed McCarthy

May 14, 2009

Once you've begun to think like a gun
The days of the year have already gone

Tod Papageorge, Central Park, 1978

* Profile of John Cale as he prepares to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale. excerpt:

"Cale's first language is Welsh, even though his father, a miner, was exclusively English-speaking. The family home was dominated by his grandmother, who enforced a Welsh-only rule. He learned English at school and wasn't able to speak to his father until he was seven. He grew up among the sounds of a musical nation, and on the film's soundtrack he includes a rugby crowd roaring the national anthem: this is played over film of him being tortured by waterboarding, a scene that suggests some ambivalence towards his homeland.

"The image of a house ruled by the grandmother - the 'nain' - is troubling, but typical of a Wales where the older generation have a particular kind of authority. In the 1980s, my own escape from this was to listen to Heroin; Cale's was a lot less vicarious.

"His musical brilliance got him to New York and there, in 1963, aged 21, he performed in an eight-hour piano marathon of Erik Satie's Vexations, organised by avant-garde composer John Cage. He then joined La Monte Young's band, which was experimenting with 'drone' - the sustaining of the same note for a very long time. The point of drone, for Cale, is sensory deprivation - 'but what I was really hoping for was something that could reach into the subconscious. I though we could do that with the Velvet Underground.' The difference between John Cale playing one note and other, later punks playing one note is that he could play all the others, too - if he wanted. The reason he didn't was because, at the time, he evidently didn't want to be the good Welsh boy, deep as his patriotism is.

"It is not surprising that Cale has now turned to art, for he owes so much to an artist: Andy Warhol produced the Velvets' first album and designed its banana peel cover. No figure in modern culture is more misunderstood than the Velvets' manager, and nobody speaks up for Warhol more eloquently than Cale. He won't hear a word against Andy. The Factory, he insists, was a true underground - "it was outrageously creative and vital" - and Warhol cared about, and properly curated, the Velvets. A rare bit of footage Warhol shot in the Factory shows Cale fiddling with the amplifier, while Reed strums and drummer Maureen Tucker knocks out her steady, dry beat. Warhol listened carefully, and remembered it all. 'He was the one who'd remind us of an idea we'd forgotten.'"

* A New York Post reader did the math and determined that for about $2000 less than seeing a game from the best seats in new Yankee Stadium, you can fly to Seattle and see two games from the best seats in that park:

"Option 1: Two tickets to Tuesday night, June 30, Mariners at Yanks, cost for just the tickets, $5,000.

"Option 2: Two round-trip airline tickets to Seattle, Friday, Aug. 14, return Sunday the 16th, rental car for three days, two-night double occupancy stay in four-star hotel, two top tickets to both the Saturday and Sunday Yanks-Mariners games, two best-restaurant-in-town dinners for two. Total cost, $2,800. Plus-frequent flyer miles."

* "If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties." -- Sir Francis Bacon

May 13, 2009

Life starts again
Watching trees decompose

Billy Name, Lou Reed and Paul Morrissey and Viva on the way to John Cale's wedding to Betsey Johnson, 1968

Ave Maria
-- by Frank O'Hara

Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies
get them out of the house so they won't
know what you're up to
it's true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by
silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you
they won't hate you
they won't criticize you they won't know
they'll be in some glamorous
they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or
playing hookey
they may even be grateful to you
for their first sexual experience
which only cost you a quarter
and didn't upset the peaceful
they will know where candy bars come
and gratuitous bags of popcorn
as gratuitous as leaving the movie before
it's over
with a pleasant stranger whose apartment
is in the Heaven on
Earth Bldg
near the Williamsburg Bridge
oh mothers you will have made
the little
so happy because if nobody does pick
them up in the movies
they won't know the difference
and if somebody does it'll be
sheer gravy
and they'll have been truly entertained
either way
instead of hanging around the yard
or up in their room hating you
prematurely since you won't have done
anything horribly mean
except keeping them from life's darker joys
it's unforgivable the latter
so don't blame me if you won't take this
and the family breaks up
and your children grow old and blind in
front of a TV set
movies you wouldn't let them see when
they were young

-- by Frank Stanford

Death is a good word.
It often returns
When it is very
Dark outside and hot,
Like a fisherman
Over the limit,
Without pain, sex,
Or melancholy.
Young as I am, I
Hold light for this boat.
When the rest of you
Were being children
I became a monk
To my own listing
Nights and days floated
Over the whorehouse
Like webs on the lake,
A monastery
Full of noise and girls.
The moon throws the knives.
The poets echo goodbye,
Towing silence too.
Near my house was an
Island, where a horse
Lathered up alone.
Oh, Abednego
He was called, dusky,
Cruel as a poem
To a black gypsy.
Sadness and whiskey
Cost more than friends.
I visit prisons,
Orphanages, joints,
Hoping I'll see them
Again. Willows, ice,
Minnows, no money.
You'll have to say it
Soon, you know. To your
Wife, your child, yourself.

May 12, 2009

Do the fakers drop out?

Michael Kenna, Night Walk, 2008

* Ponzi Schemes of the Carribbean. Good, long read. abstract:

"In several Caribbean states, unregulated investment schemes grew quickly in recent years by claiming unusually high monthly returns and through a system of referrals by existing members. These are features shared with traditional Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes. This paper describes the growth of such schemes, their subsequent collapse, and the policy response of regulators, and presents key policy lessons. The analysis and recommendations draw on country experiences in the Caribbean, and in such diverse countries as the United States, Colombia, Lesotho, and Albania."

* Scenes from the Ninth Circle of Financial Bureaucracy.

* "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." -- Stephen F. Roberts

May 11, 2009

all I want is a shady lane

Jerry Uelsmann, Homage to Duchamp, 2000

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"5. Rush Limbaugh

"Speaking of empathy: Who's looking out for the little guy? Why, Rush Limbaugh of course! Just listen to his radio show for five minutes and you'll hear all about the doom and destruction about to be visited upon you by the liberal powers that be. Rush is the only man who can save you!

"And if you believe that, you must be a dittohead. Last week Rush Limbaugh was caught on tape giving a speech to fat-cat right-wing millionaires - and what he had to say ain't pretty.

"LIMBAUGH: 'But during all this growth I haven't lost any audience. I've never had financially a down year. There's supposedly a recession, but we've got - what is this May? Back in February we already had 102% of 2008 overbooked for 2009. (applause) So I always believed that if we’re going to have a recession, just don't participate.' (laughter)

"Well isn't that nice. As Think Progress points out, Limbaugh's employer Clear Channel Communications - with whom he has a $400 million contract - has had to lay off almost 3,000 employees since the beginning of the year.

"It's a shame those folks couldn't choose to not participate in the recession. Oh well. At least Rush Limbaugh is still stinking rich!"

* Mr. and Mrs. Bob Nastanovich share their first dance. Congratulations!

* "All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind." -- Aristotle

May 8, 2009

and I moved
but not towards him

Serge J-F. Levy, Houston Street, 2004

The Past Cannot Be Returned
-- Richard Brautigan

The umbilical cord
cannot be refastened
and life flow through it

Our tears never totally

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

After Mayakovsky
-- by Denis Johnson

It's after one. You're probably alone.
All night the moon rings like a telephone
in an empty booth above our separateness.
Now is the hour one answers. I am home.
Hello, my heart, my god, my president,
my darling: I'm alarmed by the alarm
clock's iridescent face, hung like a charm
from darkness's fat ear. This accident
that was my life will have its witnessess:
now, while the world lies whooly motionless
and sorry in a crapulence of stars,
now is the hour one rises to address
the ages and history of the universe;
I swear you'll never see my face again.

-- by Frank Stanford

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

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

We could tell when strangers were around
From what they drank

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

May 7, 2009

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made

Michael Benevento, Car Pile Up, 2008

* 1969 Crawdaddy interview of Keith Moon. excerpt:

Q: What would you say was your most lunatic achievement?

Moon: Ah yes, that would be my birthday party in Flint, Michigan, when I was arrested by the Sheriff while in the nude covered in birthday cake. I think it had something to do with the bottle of vodka I drank at the time.

We hired this motel for the party and it got rather out of hand. Some television sets were found lying at the bottom of the hotel swimming pool and one or two of the changing cubicles were damaged. While attempting to evade arrest I tripped over and knocked out my two front teeth.

The following morning the Law invited me to get out of Flint, Michigan, and never come back, which was a bit awkward as the rest of the Who had gone on to New York and I could not get on a plane—so I hired one, a jet. That party cost approximately $25,000—everyone was very good about it!

Q: Do you feel any necessity to do anything other than be a drummer—would you like to produce?

Moon: I am a producer—I've produced a little three-year-old daughter—Mandy. I'd like to play Hamlet but he wasn't a drummer, was he? I suppose it could be written in that he was a drummer in his spare time—a bit of a dab hand with the sticks. Let's face it, he must have been cos he had a sense of rhythm.

It was a bit of a fluke that I can play drums really or that I can't play 'em really. I'm not a great drummer. I don't have any drumming idols—I know a few idle drummers. And they come over here after having the National Health and move in next to you. It's disgusting, that's what it is!

Q: Have you ever wished you were someone else—someone that you admire for any reason?

Moon: Sometimes I think I'd like to be King Arthur—I liked his taste. Sometimes I think I'd like to be John Entwistle. Sometimes I think I'll be sick.

No, I'd like to be John because he hasn't changed since the day I met him five years ago. Still wears the same clothes in fact. I'd like to be a large cauliflower—no, that's in bad taste.

Q: What has been your most miserable moment with the Who?

Moon: That would be when we nearly lost John in a hotel swimming pool in Spain some years ago. He leapt into the four-foot-six with his snorkel and something went wrong with the ping pong ball. He nearly drowned—true story.

I'm a person who always does things to extremes—extreme happiness or extreme depression, when things get too heavy I just go away or jump out of a window. I don't get depressed unless I'm around people who are depressing—I reflect their feelings. Sometimes I think I have a death wish. I'm happiest playing drums. I likes to hit—I likes hitting.

* 69 Love Songs, Illustrated.

* "I've stopped drinking, but only while I'm asleep." -- George Best

May 6, 2009

It's a sad and beautiful world

Walker Evans, Storefront and Signs, Beaufort, South Carolina, 1936

-- by MTC Cronin

Everything fails.
So why bother calling it that.
It doesn't distinguish anything.
Why bother when everyone bothers.
Except for a few.
They succeed in failing before the rest.
(They know what to call it.
(And don't bother doing so.)
Success is inevitable.

The Huntsman's Resumé
-- by Angela Vogel

Oh, I'm ready for the chase. The green pelts, the headless acorns.
In the loom of an over-improved forest, I'm reminded that most
of the world has moved on to gathering. For days the slow road
to the lecturing wife, the pound-dog mother. Even my sword
overextended. Yada, yada, yada. So at word Queenie's bent
on a piece of reflective crap, I leave them home. Shalom.
(Correction: Technically I captured S.W's heart — witness her
gratitude.) I'm the hapless schmuck whose goose is never cooked,
the ten in a 90% chance of moral drizzle. The boys call me whipped
but I don't feel pain since I failed the art of sensitivity.
Yesterday someone phoned about the Fair Chase Act:
I was reindeer hunting in Greenland. They're either for me
or they're stew, and if they're stew they can't complain
about this dying anodyne that used to impress the hell
out of women once, pre-Bambi effect, pre-"You're a G.D. paleolith!"
upon a time when acquiring was hip and what you clubbed,
you knew, required goggles formed from beer.

You are Invisible
-- by Erika Meitner

and everything is tucked in twice.
It is night-time at the Waffle House.
It is night-time and the Food Lion parking lot
is mysteriously full. All our durable goods
roll like marbles down truckers’ corridors:
flashes of neon, void intervals, a clock
that doesn’t keep time but loses it instead.
Memory vanishes like an inside-out room
shaken over a trashcan: the naked space
beneath the bed, the decorative throw pillows,
paste brooches and pockmarked shoes.
You are a city of resin, of negative space,
of chalk. I am the rupture between past
and future, a TV antenna with cross-hatched
arms outstretched. I write your name
in new cursive on the condensed glass
of bus window, erase it with a trace of breath.
The floor here is littered with black gum,
with chicken bones and flattened wrappers.
I am hurtling through transparent space
beyond which there is no other.
All over town is not that far from here.
I can tell you where to find it.
You can’t go into the dark alone.

May 5, 2009

shine out in the wild kindness

Usher "Arthur" Fellig, Watermain Burst Uproots Madison Avenue, 1940

* "Joe The Plumber" interviewed by Christianity Today. excerpt:

Q: Why does conservatism appeal to you as a Christian?

JTP: Conservatism is about the basic rights of individuals. God created us. As far as the government goes, the Founding Fathers based the Constitution off of Christian values. It goes hand-in-hand. As far as the Republican Party? I felt connected to it because individual freedom should not be legislated by the federal government.

Q: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

JTP: At a state level, it’s up to them. I don’t want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it’s wrong. People don’t understand the dictionary—it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do—what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing.

Q: Does the Republican Party reach out to evangelicals enough?

JTP:No. None of them stand up for anything. They use God as a punch line. They use God to invoke sympathy or invoke righteousness, but they don’t stay the course. That’s why I think that all needs to be taken out of the federal level and give it back to the states. We’ve lost our American history. Every state has “In God we trust” or “With God’s help” in their constitution. God is recognized as, if you will, America’s religion.

* Milton Glasner: Ten Things I Have Learned. excerpt:


One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology. While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask ‘Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?’ An irritated voice said ‘Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?’ I recognised the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was – the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times. ‘You know, I do know how to prepare for old age’ he said. ‘Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceedingly well prepared for my old age’ he said.

* "This is like getting interview lessons from Sarah Palin." -- Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, quoted by Politico, to Karl Rove who said that President Obama "is failing to fulfill his bipartisan promise in Congress."

May 4, 2009

everyone today is turning on

Rebecca Kennedy, Glowing Eyes

* Best drug song? You be the judge: Sniff Swig Puff (And Your Cares Are Gone), sung by Rock Hudson and Bea Arthur.

* Beatles v. Stones, as seen by Ian Svenonius. Excerpt/conclusion:

"While SYMPATHY searches through history for examples of dialectic upheaval, THE BEATLES are actually looking backward from the future onto their own time, warning the Soviets of the folly which will befall them if they are seduced by Capitalism. 'You don't know how lucky you are, boy,' they insist, as they survey the wreckage of modern Russia. Such an appraisal of the song leads one to examine the other tunes comprising THE WHITE ALBUM, most notably Lennon’s, REVOLUTION, which decries the extremism of particular incendiary groups. One line declares, 'If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone, anyhow…' In lieu of their pro-Soviet posturing earlier on the record, we recognize that this reflects the Sino-Soviet split, which occurred around this time, when Mao was incensed by Kruschev's denouncement of Stalin. This fissure prompted Nixon's cynical collusion with the Chinese and the isolation and eventual defeat of Russia. 1968 was also the year of the Cultural Revolution in China, which precipitated horrible barbarity against intellectuals in the name of agrarianism. In Western pop, '68 was similarly the year that cerebral psychedelic music was refuted in the name of the 'roots' country/blues revival, typified by Creedance, the Grateful Dead, Burrito Bros., etc. This would spell the end of THE BEATLES, who had essentially invented intellectual psychedelia, while it furthered THE STONES career, who represented the mass proliferation of a rural aesthetic. THE STONES VS BEATLES dialectic then, was actually Lennon/McCartney's industrial Sovietology vs Mick and Keith's agrarian Maoism, a direct reflection of the ideological conflict of the time. The inability of the revolutionary super-powers to find common ground spelled Communism's inevitable dissolution in the face of Imperialism, with the absorption of Russia, as a new Third World and China's embrace of exploitive imperialist tactics."

* "I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." -- E. B. White

May 1, 2009

I've been dreaming
Traced out but dreaming

David Salle, We Back Them Up

The Mutes
-- by Denise Levertov

Those groans men use
passing a woman on the street
or on the steps of the subway

to tell her she is a female
and their flesh knows it,

are they a sort of tune,
an ugly enough song, sung
by a bird with a slit tongue

but meant for music?

Or are they the muffled roaring
of deafmutes trapped in a building that is
slowly filling with smoke?

Perhaps both.

Such men most often
look as if groan were all they could do,
yet a woman, in spite of herself,

knows it's a tribute:
if she were lacking all grace
they'd pass her in silence:

so it's not only to say she's
a warm hole. It's a word

in grief-language, nothing to do with
primitive, not an ur-language;
language stricken, sickened, cast down

in decrepitude. She wants to
throw the tribute away, dis-
gusted, and can't,

it goes on buzzing in her ear,
it changes the pace of her walk,
the torn posters in echoing corridors

spell it out, it
quakes and gnashes as the train comes in.
Her pulse sullenly

had picked up speed,
but the cars slow down and
jar to a stop while her understanding

keeps on translating:
'Life after life after life goes by

without poetry,
without seemliness,
without love.'

See Under:
-- by Joanna Rawson

There's a word for a beggar who fakes being blind.
Another for amnesia about all events underwater.
For the exact center of gravity in a skyscraper.
Without motive, a bullet whittled from ice
utters murder into a toddler's chest.
The sun makes a pool of water around her body
that will evaporate by noon, a shadow
advertising the precise time of death.
There's a word for a cannon fired from a camel's back.
Another for a rain gauge fueled by the sun.
For anything that lasts all night.
The rumor of a violent stormfront
keeps arriving,
but somewhere else.

My Heart
-- by Frank O'Hara

I'm not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don't prefer one "strain" to another.
I'd have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says "That's
not like Frank!", all to the good! I
don't wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart--
you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open