September 30, 2009

i'm the only one i know who
feels so much regard for
XTC and talking heads and
the ramones and robert fripp
i don't have the time for anything
but 10cc and residents and johnny rotten
and i can't forget cheap trick

Leah Oates, 2009

How It Will End
-- by Denise Duhamel

We're walking on the boardwalk
but stop when we see a lifeguard and his girlfriend
fighting. We can't hear what they're saying,
but it is as good as a movie. We sit on a bench to find out
how it will end. I can tell by her body language
he's done something really bad. She stands at the bottom
of the ramp that leads to his hut. He tries to walk halfway down
to meet her, but she keeps signaling Don't come closer.
My husband says, "Boy, he's sure in for it,"
and I say, "He deserves whatever's coming to him."
My husband thinks the lifeguard's cheated, but I think
she's sick of him only working part-time
or maybe he forgot to put the rent in the mail.
The lifeguard tries to reach out
and she holds her hand like Diana Ross
when she performed "Stop in the Name of Love."
The red flag that slaps against his station means strong currents.
"She has to just get it out of her system,"
my husband laughs, but I'm not laughing.
I start to coach the girl to leave the no-good lifeguard,
but my husband predicts she'll never leave.
I'm angry at him for seeing glee in their situation
and say, "That's your problem—you think every fight
is funny. You never take her seriously," and he says,
"You never even give the guy a chance and you're always nagging,
so how can he tell the real issues from the nitpicking?"
and I say, "She doesn't nitpick!" and he says, "Oh really?
Maybe he should start recording her tirades," and I say
"Maybe he should help out more," and he says
"Maybe she should be more supportive," and I say
"Do you mean supportive or do you mean support him?"
and my husband says that he's doing the best he can,
that he's a lifeguard for Christ's sake, and I say
that her job is much harder, that she's a waitress
who works nights carrying heavy trays and is hit on all the time
by creepy tourists and he just sits there most days napping
and listening to "Power 96" and then ooh
he gets to be the big hero blowing his whistle
and running into the water to save beach bunnies who flatter him
and my husband says it's not as though she's Miss Innocence
and what about the way she flirts, giving free refills
when her boss isn't looking or cutting extra large pieces of pie
to get bigger tips, oh no she wouldn't do that because she's a saint
and he's the devil, and I say, "I don't know why you can't admit
he's a jerk," and my husband says, "I don't know why you can't admit
she's a killjoy," and then out of the blue the couple is making up.
The red flag flutters, then hangs limp.
She has her arms around his neck and is crying into his shoulder.
He whisks her up into his hut. We look around, but no one is watching us.

Once in a While
-- by Mark Perlberg

Mother was agitated all morning.
A call had come from her brother Harold,
who was spoken of only in whispers
and despised by those with a talent
for never changing their minds.
But Mother loved him.

Somehow I learned that my uncle
had forged checks and spent time in prison.
And I knew he played the saxophone
in small jazz bands.

In late afternoon the doorbell rang.

My uncle stood in the hall.
A tall man slightly stooped, he shook snow
from his long brown overcoat. He had a high
hooked nose and wavy brown hair
that fell across his forehead,
and he carried packages wrapped in Christmas paper.

My stepfather signaled: disappear.

In early evening Uncle Harold
knocked on my door with a gift for me:
jazz records, the first I'd seen.

Fats Waller beaming from the album cover
is clearer to me now than my uncle's face.
"I can't give you anything but love, baby."

A mourning sax backing Lee Wiley:
"Once in a while, will you give just
one little thought to me…"

At first light my uncle was gone,
His footprints vanishing in a fresh fall of snow.

September 29, 2009

I can't compare
one morning to the next
there're all the best

Hope Guzzo, 2009

* Details on Babe Ruth's called shot. "Babe Ruth's called shot was the home run hit by Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, held on October 1, 1932 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. During the at-bat, Ruth made a pointing gesture, which existing film confirms, but the exact nature of his gesture is ambiguous. Although neither fully confirmed nor refuted, the story goes that Ruth pointed to the center field bleachers during the at-bat. It was supposedly a declaration that he would hit a home run to this part of the park. On the next pitch, Ruth hit a home run to center field."

* Two from the classic album Have Moicy!

-- Midnight in Paris

-- Sweet Lucy

-- Bonus! Somewhat recent (?) video of Michael Hurley playing Sweet Lucy live.

* "Life is demand and supply, or supply and demand, that's what it all boils down to, but that's no way to live. A third leg is needed to keep the table from collapsing into the garbage pit of history, which in turn is permanently collapsing into the garbage pit of the void. So take note. This is the equation: supply + demand + magic. And what is magic? Magic is epic and it's also sex and Dionysian mists and play." -- Roberto Bolano, 2666

September 25, 2009

It's a victory for the heart
Every time the music starts
So please don't kill the machine

Huguette Roe, Mixed Drinks, 2009

Worn Words
-- by W.S. Merwin

The late poems are the ones
I turn to first now
following a hope that keeps
beckoning me
waiting somewhere in the lines
almost in plain sight

it is the late poems
that are made of words
that have come the whole way
they have been there
there is not a sound in the whole night

The Reader
-- by Franz Wright

The mask was gone now, burned away
(from inside)
by God's gaze

There was no
I, there

was no he--

there was no text, only
what the words stood for;
and then

what all things stand for.

Goodbye to a Friend with No Mother Tongue
-- by Franz Wright

But which language did you dream in.

In what language
did you cry

Which one
did you fly in. . .

In what words can we possibly die

Forget our names and close our eyes?

What I Understood
-- by Katha Pollitt

When I was a child I understood everything
about, for example, futility. Standing for hours
on the hot asphalt outfield, trudging for balls
I'd ask myself, how many times will I have to perform
this pointless task, and all the others? I knew
about snobbery, too, and cruelty—for children
are snobbish and cruel—and loneliness: in restaurants
the dignity and shame of solitary diners
disabled me, and when my grandmother
screamed at me, "Someday you'll know what it's like!"
I knew she was right, the way I knew
about the single rooms my teachers went home to,
the pictures on the dresser, the hoard of chocolates,
and that there was no God, and that I would die.
All this I understood, no one needed to tell me.
the only thing I didn't understand
was how in a world whose predominant characteristics
are futility, cruelty, loneliness, disappointment
people are saved every day
by a sparrow, a foghorn, a grassblade, a tablecloth.
This year I'll be
thirty-nine, and I still don't understand it.

September 24, 2009

are you amplified to rock?
are you hoping for a contact?

Carl-Henning Pedersens, Vandets Fuglehest, 1938

* From The Big Bam, Broadway by Leigh Montville:

"[In 1923], the nation was in the midst of a stadium-building boom. Harvard University had built the first prestressed concrete stadium in 1903, and Yale, in the ever-running battle of one-upsmanship with its rival, doubled the size of Harvard's effort with the 80,000 seat Yale Bowl in 1908, but the end of the war had started the true building explosion. Games had gained a new importance. Physical training in the cantonments had brought many ordinary men to sport, to athletics, forced them to take part and enjoy physical competition for the first time in their workaday lives. The interest continued.

"Every university in the country seemed to be trying to raise funds to build a new stadium. Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse, Ohio State ... they all had new stadiums or stadiums under construction. In Los Angeles, the L.A. Coliseum was being built in an effort to attract the Olympics. In Chicago, a massive stadium, Soldier Field, was planned on the lake. The fact was pointed out in the Times that the Romans, the all-time lovers of sport, had constructed perhaps 10 to 15 larger stadiums and 100 smaller ones during their time of influence. The United States now not only had matched the Romans in stadiums, but had surpassed them in number and size. The Roman Colosseum, historians decided, held only 45,000 spectators. Bigger stadiums than that were being built every day. ...

"The new [Yankee] Stadium was an amazement. It was a giant three-decked wedding cake in the Bronx, a skyscraper in repose, covering the ten acres of land purchased from the Astor estate. The plan to enclose the field entirely had been altered to allow the structure to be built in 11 months and be ready for opening day. ... The Stadium was an instant hit. ...

"The Stadium was a grand monument to the drawing powers of the resident right fielder [Babe Ruth]. (Did the Romans ever build a stadium simply to show off the talents of one gladiator? And if they did, did they - as the Yankees did - situate the playing surface so the late-afternoon sun always would be behind their star attraction, not shining in his eyes?) ... Ruth was the one who drew the large crowds to the [New York Giants'] Polo Grounds [where they were the second-class tenant], invoking the jealousy of Giants owner Charles Stoneham, who asked the Yankees to leave. Ruth was the one who promised to bring big crowds with him to whatever new park was built, no matter the size. Ruth was the one who at last had given the second-class Yankees first-class style and pizzazz."

* All Our Noise interviews Yoni Wolf of Why?

* "We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger." -- Tad Williams

September 23, 2009

Boris Yeltsin in his underwear on Pennsylvania Ave.
Do you need another reason alcohol is bad

Cara Ober, 2008

-- by Klipschutz

To my friends across the aisle who lost the Oval Office, the Senate and the House, but aggressively persist in the charade that they represent the true will of the People;

To those most visible representatives of our elected government, who were elected to do jobs, but choose to vilify instead the very processes of governance itself, and to botch its execution, then demonize the duties they have failed to carry out, via seventh grade debate club tutor’s tricks: capitalization (Government), just add Godzilla (Big Government);

To the Next World Understanders prescribing piety, hectoring humility, who reserve the right to dine out on our weakness, reserving for themselves the privilege to deem sanctified any low, foul, greedy, super-freaky, cop-a-plea-inducing, vow-ignoring, weasel-slandering, sub-moral, goalpost-moving, trans-legal, sewer-filthy deed they do;

To all you True Believers in the Wisdom of the Market, who invoke Main Street when pressed, with little catches in your voices full of milkman memories, apple pies on window sills, and young couples in front parlors pitching woo, all in all a wilted nosegay of nostalgia mixed with dudgeon cribbed from The Handbook of Rhetorical Device —cut to Sinclair Lewis, pecking out a blunt retort one key-stab at a time on a Remington in his forgotten grave;

To that backwater fantasia of aphasia, the Petting Zoo of Contemporary Verse;

To Deniers who go moist daydreaming how to make the Holocaust come true;

Fuck You You Nickel Bag of Wind Fuck You You Fucking Pebble In My Shoe. . .

-- by Bob Kaufman

for Eileen

Sleep, little one, sleep for me,
Sleep the deep sleep of love.
You are loved, awake or dreaming,
You are loved.

Dancing winds will sing for you,
Ancient gods will pray for you,
A poor lost poet will love you,
As stars appear
In the dark

The Long Dream of Falling
-- by John Haag

Half my life ago I read
on the back page of the daily paper
of a boy-child in his eighth year who,
in his father's garage, hung himself
rather than suffer parental
revulsion engendered by
the great, flaming D
D for deficient
D for defeat
D for die
on his report card.

Bad news rains leapers from parapets
and everywhere unrequited lovers,
the irreparably damaged and
the merely gutless spin
the turnstiles to surcease.

So why does this kid
still wake me in the middle of the night?

September 22, 2009

sometimes I get so sad
sometimes you just make me mad
it's a sad and beautiful world

Robert Frank, Sick of Goodby's

* Lou Reed on Robert Frank's Sick of Goodby's:

"I was looking at Robert Frank's photograph Sick of Goodby's in his book The Lines of My Hand. Moments before I had been listening to a Johnny Cash song called I Wish I Was Crazy Again. Then I thought of the goodbyes in the book to old friends caught once and for all and never again to be seen in life, and I was struck by the intensity of the sadness of life and its redeeming qualities as reflected in these moving photos. With Johnny Cash as well, the desire to see it all again, to go out one more time into the wild flame only to be burned up forever and never be seen again except in these farewell photos, is moving beyond description. The photos speak of an acceptance of things as they are. the inevitable death of us all and the last photo - that last unposed shot to remind us of our friends, of our loss of the times we had in a past captured only on film in black and white. Frank has been there, and seen that, and recorded it with such subtlety that we only look in awe, our own hearts beating with the memories of lost partners and songs.

"To wish for the crazy times one last time and freeze it in the memory of a camera is the least a great artist can do. Robert Frank is a great democrat. We're all in these photos. Paint dripping from a mirror like blood. I'm sick of goodbyes. And aren't we all, but it's nice to see it said."

* NPR recorded Yo La Tengo's fantastic set at DC's 9:30 club last Thursday. Worth a listen or three. I'd say "Tom Courteney" into an extended "Pass the Hatchet" (beginning about an hour in) were highlights, but as Malitz says "There's simply no other group that would cover Black Flag ("Nervous Breakdown"), Half Japanese ("Firecracker Firecracker") and the Beach Boys ("Farmer's Daughter") during the same show." NPR has also posted a bunch of great photos from the performance.

* "When I split an infinitive, god damn it, I split it so it stays split." -- Raymond Chandler

September 18, 2009

I'm the only motherfucker in the whole wide world
that can make Linda Lovelace gag

Garry Winogrand, Peace Demonstation NYC, 1970

Bad Language
-- by Dan Albergotti

We fear to speak, and silence coats the night air.
So we are dumb, as quiet as the kitchen pans
hanging on their cabinet hooks. What words
do we even have? The root of fuck is as much
to strike as to copulate. And sometimes ravish
is to rape
. But when you’re ravishing, you’re
beautiful. Strikingly beautiful. Other tongues
do not help. Try saying “kiss me” on the streets
of Paris. God does not help. The Bible is full
of prohibition. Thou shalt not, saith the lord.
No sounds like know. To know is to understand.
In the Bible to know is to fuck. What do you mean
when you say no? I think I know. I want to know.
Understand me. You’re ravishing. I want to know
you. Strike me. Don’t leave me alone with self-
knowledge and these rich, fruitless, unspoken words.

In the Era of the Sentence Fragment
-- by Dan Albergotti

Lines of incompletion. All those words
that can be gathered. But not enough
for shoring. Not against ruins. Fragments
of sentences, of dreams, of the boys’ school
in Hiroshima. Looking for raw material
in the dust. Finding nothing. Having nothing
inside. Unable to do the police in different voices.
No more voices. No more makers, better
or worse. Only weak echoes. And irony.
And the dim blue sunrise of the television screen.
And the wish finally to die, like Shelley,
mid-sentence. Writing the triumph of life.

-- by Brian Simoneau

Before I’d ever read a poem
I traced my name in dust
wherever it settled, traced
it over and over—in pollen
on a windowsill, grime
on dad’s workbench—letters
overlapping, tangled knots
of naming. Lost in the loop
of language, I’d imagine
myself walking the roads
I’d laid down, canyon walls
of dust looming above me.
In an Oregon classroom
it sprawled across the table
like the early pages of a poem.
Books with cracked spines
rested on cluttered shelves, walls
pasted over with faded flyers.
I’d shake off raindrops and take
my place. We grew to know
each other’s imperfections
as our own, young poets
with sheaves of empty paper
we felt the need to fill. Later
I’d hold my poems close
to my body and emerge
into sinking sunlight.
Every shaft filtered the dust
that descends and settles
in every crevice of this life,
innumerable comets of grief
to be ciphered into new
existences, every line worked
into knowable shapes until
something like a soul stretches
across every turning day.

September 17, 2009

This house is a home
and a home's where I belong
Where the feelings are warm
and the foundations are strong

Decoy, The Beach, 2008

Decoy's Memento Mori show opens Saturday September 19, 2009 (the show ends October 10) at The Fridge. The opening reception runs from 7-10pm. For more information on Decoy, check out this video.

It's Music Thursday!

* Brilliant. R. Stevie Moore covers the Bee Gee's hit Stayin' Alive

* Will the rumors be true?

* YouTube: The Brian Jonestown Massacre's Going to Hell.

* Other DC-area goings on: Friday evening at 7:30pm at the Bethesda Writers Center: Story Stereo, a night of words & music curated by musicians Matt Byars (The Caribbean, West Main Development) and Chad Clark (Beauty Pill, Silver Sonya), based on the premise that there are many parallels between literature and music. This Friday features readings by Suzanne Frischkorn (Lit Windowpane) and Neil Smith (Bang Crunch) as well as a musical performance by Roofwalkers. The Writer’s Center is located on the Metro's Red Line at 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD.

* "After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." -- Aldous Huxley

September 16, 2009

Running water, running water
What are you running from?

Lamar Sorrento, The Death of Hank Williams

Disappearing Act
-- by Eleanor Ross Taylor

No, soul doesn't leave the body.

My body is leaving my soul.
Tired of turning fried chicken and
coffee to muscle and excrement,
tired of secreting tears, wiping them,
tired of opening eyes on another day,
tired especially of that fleshy heart,
pumping, pumping. More,
that brain spinning nightmares.
Body prepares:
disconnect, unplug, erase.

But here, I think, a smallish altercation
Soul seems to shake its fist.
Wants brain? Claims dreams and nightmares?
Maintains a codicil bequeathes it shares?

There'll be a fight. A deadly struggle.
We know, of course, who'll win. . . .

But who's this, watching?

-- by Sandra Beasley

You are the whole building on fire.
You are the voice of sirens. You are
the dumb crowd milling, the capture
of Weegee’s lens. You are flames
licking up the escape. You're the hovering
of a mother at the cliff of her window ledge.
You are the choice to drop her baby.
You're the chance of a beckoning crowd,
six hands gripping a sooty raincoat. You
are the only option. You're a simple drop.
Ten stories below they pray you're like a cloud,
soft floating. You are like a cloud. Grey
and you don't hold anything. You are
that moment before a falling, the falling,
a whir of falling, wail of falling, the sweet
thud. You are black blood flaring
across the concrete. You are a needle
to the groove of a very sad song.
The whole building burns with you.

i lie back on my red coverlet and contemplate
-- by Diane Suess

the paintings of seascapes we won't be seeing in the Louvre.
the miniatures of the infamous Van Blarenberghe brothers.
no rented wooden boats in the Jardin de Tuileries

though this is not about a particular lover or a particular city.
even i am less a woman than a ball of mercury breaking
into forty pieces of silver.

there was talk of Prague, the Klub Cleopatra, that bar called
the Marquis de Sade. as if poetry lies there on a gold settee
smoking a black cigarette in a red holder.

green dress. that Van Gogh green, the color of his pool tables.
the ceiling too is green, and the absinthe we won't be sipping.
the unmade love in unmade beds. small, oversensitive breasts.

Americans always think it's elsewhere. believe
in transmutative sex. i did, when a girl, scrutinizing
my queendom, a colony of fire ants, their thoraxes

gleaming like scoured copper.

September 15, 2009

No one can love without the grace
Of some unseen and distant face

Jack Tworkov, Falls Edge, 1964

* From Harper's October 2009:

-- Percentage of Americans who could be sent to medical school in China this year on the total U.S. health care spending: 100

-- Chance a U.S. household that owns a Prius also owns an SUV: 1 in 3

-- Number of states where the obesity rate declined last year: 0

-- Percentage of unintended U.S. pregnancies that are carried to term: 43

-- Percentage of U.S. pregnancies that the mothers mothers report to be unintended: 47

-- Percentage of unemployed Americans who take a nap each day: 39

-- Percentage of employed Americans who do: 31

* Doug Collins plays Bingo Smith in a game of Horse, from sometime in the mid-70s.

* "Love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding." -- Diane Arbus

September 14, 2009

Everybody lives in a knot
Everybody's trying to make space
around what they think they've got

Amy Blakemore, Garden Girl, 2000

* From a 1989 New York Times article:

"Dame Edith Sitwell used to lie in an open coffin for a while before she began her day's writing. When I mentioned this macabre bit of gossip to a poet friend, he said acidly, 'If only someone had thought to shut it.' ...

"Sitwell's coffin trick may sound like a prank, unless you look at how other writers have gone about courting their muses. ... For example, the poet Schiller used to keep rotten apples under the lid of his desk and inhale their pungent bouquet when he needed to find the right word. Then he would close the drawer, but the fragrance remained in his head. ...

"Amy Lowell, like George Sand, liked to smoke cigars while writing, and went so far in 1915 as to buy 10,000 of her favorite Manila stogies to make sure she could keep her creative fires kindled. ... Balzac drank more than 50 cups of coffee a day, and actually died from caffeine poisoning, although colossal amounts of caffeine don't seem to have bothered W. H. Auden or Dr. Johnson, who was reported to have drunk 25 cups of tea at one sitting. Victor Hugo, Benjamin Franklin and many others felt that they did their best work if they wrote while they were nude. ...

"Colette used to begin her day's writing by first picking fleas from her cat, and it's not hard to imagine how the methodical stroking and probing into fur might have focused such a voluptuary's mind. After all, this was a woman who could never travel light, but insisted on taking a hamper of such essentials as chocolate, cheese, meats, flowers and a baguette whenever she made even brief sorties. ...

"Alfred de Musset, George Sand's lover, confided that it piqued him when she went directly from lovemaking to her writing desk, as she often did. But surely that was not so direct as Voltaire's actually using his lover's naked back as a writing desk. Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain and Truman Capote all used to lie down when they wrote, with Capote going so far as to declare himself 'a completely horizontal writer.' ...

"Benjamin Franklin, Edmond Rostand and others wrote while soaking in a bathtub. In fact, Franklin brought the first bathtub to the United States in the 1780's, and he loved a good, long, thoughtful submersion. In water and ideas, I mean. ...

"The Romantics, of course, were fond of opium, and Coleridge freely admitted to indulging in two grains of it before working. The list of writers triggered to inspirational highs by alcohol would occupy a small, damp book. T. S. Eliot's tonic was viral - he preferred writing when he had a head cold. The rustling of his head, as if full of petticoats, shattered the usual logical links between things and allowed his mind to roam."

* Our Noise : The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small, by John Cook, Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan is out October 15.

* “The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.” -- James Michener

September 11, 2009

I have such sad eyes
I'm going to put a disguise on
walk to the horizon
to watch the planes land

Nikki Painter, Divide, 2009

-- by Bob Kaufmn

Should I sing a requiem, as the trap closes?
Perhaps it is more fitting to shout nonsense.

Should I run to the streets, screaming lovesongs?
Perhaps it is more consistent to honk obscenities.

Should I chew my fingernails down to my wrist?
Perhaps it is better to blow eternal jazz.

Maybe I will fold the wind into neat squares.

Bud Powell, Paris, 1959
-- by William Matthews

I’d never seen pain so bland.
Smack, though I didn’t call it smack
in 1959, had eaten his technique.
His white-water right hand clattered
missing runs nobody else would think
to try, nor think to be outsmarted
by. Nobody played as well
as Powell, and neither did he,
stalled on his bench between sets,
stolid and vague, my hero,
his mocha skin souring gray.
Two bucks for a Scotch in this dump,
I thought, and I bought me
another. I was young and pain
rose to my ceiling, like warmth,
like a story that makes us come true
in the present. Each day’s
melodrama in Powell’s cells
bored and lulled him. Pain loves pain
and calls it company, and it is.

In My Next Life
-- by Mark Perlberg

I will own a sailboat sleek
as fingers of wind
and ply the green islands
of the gulf of Maine.
In my next life I will pilot a plane,
and enjoy the light artillery
of the air as I fly to our island
and set down with aplomb
on its grass runway.
I'll be a whiz at math, master five or six
of the world's languages, write poems
strong as Frost and Milosz.
In my next life I won't wonder why
I lie awake from four till daybreak.
I'll be amiable, mostly, but large
and formidable.

September 10, 2009

sometimes I just won't go
sometimes I can't say no

Cara Ober, Sad & Beautiful World, 2009

Love Letters by Cara Ober opens Friday, September 11, 2009 and will be on view at Civilian Art Projects (406 7th Street NW, Second Floor, WDC) through October 17, 2009. There will be an opening reception on Friday, September 11, 2009 from 7pm to 9pm.

* From a 1970 Interview of Sterling Morrison. excerpt:

Q: Didn't Andy use Dylan in a film?

Sterling Morrison: There was one film with Paul Caruso called, The Bob Dylan Story. I don't think Andy has ever shown it. It was hysterical. They got Marlowe Dupont to play Al Grossman. Paul Caruso not only looks as Bob Dylan but as a super caricature he makes even Hendrix looks pale by comparison. This was around 1966 when the film was made and his hair was way out here. When he was walking down the street you had to step out of his way. On the eve of the filming, Paul had a change of heart and got his hair cut off - closer to his head - and he must have removed about a foot so everyone was upset about that. Then Dylan had this accident and that was why the film was never shown.
Q: Do you consider Zappa more appropriate to that title?

SM: Zappa is incapable of writing lyrics. He is shielding his musical deficiencies by prolelytizing all these sundry groups that he appeals to. He just throw enough dribble into those songs, I don't know, I don't like their music. I like some of the people in the group. Zappa figures how many opposites can I weld together. I'll take this phrase from god knows who (i.e. Stockhausen - the magic name!) never heard of him. What is Zappa? I say Frank can I hear a song leaving out the garbage cans? I think that album Freak Out was such a shuck.

For instance, the following is something that would haunt me to the grave. He had this utterance in one of his albums - god knows which one - "I'm not saying I want to be black but there are times I wish I weren't white." Now how can anyone come on like that? And he just keeps going on. Now as a satirist, or something, he might be okay. Satirists are capable of knocking things. It's a label you can hide behind. You might say that I myself am knocking him, well, not really. He's doing something nobody else is doing. So in that sense he has his little niche.

Q: There have been some comparisons drawn, somewhat outrageously, between The Velvet Underground and the MC5.

SM: That's a comparison that would drive me to an early retirement.

Q: What do you think of the MC5?

SM: I think seldom of the MC5.

Q: Is there anything we've left out?

SM: Well I don't want it to appear that I'm knocking Zappa because too much has already gone down between us.

* 1981 Raymond Carver piece on why he prefers the story to the novel. excerpt:

"It's possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things—a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman's earring—with immense, even startling power. It is possible to write a line of seemingly innocuous dialogue and have it send a chill along the reader's spine—the source of artistic delight, as Nabokov would have it. That's the kind of writing that most interests me. I hate sloppy or haphazard writing whether it flies under the banner of experimentation or else is just clumsily rendered realism. In Isaac Babel's wonderful short story, 'Guy de Maupassant,' the narrator has this to say about the writing of fiction: 'No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place.' This too ought to go on a three-by-five.

"Evan Connell said once that he knew he was finished with a short story when he found himself going through it and taking out commas and then going through the story again and putting commas back in the same places. I like that way of working on something. I respect that kind of care for what is being done. That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say. If the words are heavy with the writer's own unbridled emotions, or if they are imprecise and inaccurate for some other reason—if the words are in any way blurred—the reader's eyes will slide right over them and nothing will be achieved. The reader's own artistic sense will simply not be engaged. Henry James called this sort of hapless writing 'weak specification.'
"VS Pritchett's definition of a short story is 'something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing.' Notice the 'glimpse' part of this. First the glimpse. Then the glimpse given life, turned into something that illuminates the moment and may, if we're lucky—that word again—have even further-ranging consequences and meaning. The short story writer's task is to invest the glimpse with all that is in his power. He'll bring his intelligence and literary skill to bear (his talent), his sense of proportion and sense of the fitness of things: of how things out there really are and how he sees those things—like no one else sees them. And this is done through the use of clear and specific language, language used so as to bring to life the details that will light up the story for the reader. For the details to be concrete and convey meaning, the language must be accurate and precisely given. The words can be so precise they may even sound flat, but they can still carry; if used right, they can hit all the notes."

* "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

September 9, 2009

I can't sing it strong enough
that kind of strength I just don't have

Jenny Holzer, from Inflammatory Essays

--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.

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

September 8, 2009

can you feel the darkness shining through
what are you gonna do
why can't you
move yourself like other people do

Arthur Siegel, RCA Building, ca. 1940–49

In Siegel’s RCA Building, the company’s acronym forms a lone referential anchor in a blurred field of light-smeared architectonics. Siegel’s extended exposure charges an otherwise straightforward cityscape with an air of brooding, miragelike menace.

* From a 1993 interview of David Foster Wallace, originally published in Whiskey Island, the literary magazine of Cleveland State University:

"There are a few books I have read that I've never been the same after, and I think all good writing somehow address the concern of and acts as an anodyne against loneliness. We're all terribly, terribly lonely. And there's a way, at least in prose fiction, that can allow you to be intimate with the world and with a mind and with characters that you just can't be in the real world. I don't know what you're thinking. I don't that know that much about you as I don't know that much about my parents or my lover or my sister, but a piece of fiction that's really true allows you to be intimate with ... I don't want to say people, but it allows you to be intimate with a world that resembles our own in enough emotional particulars so that the way different things must feel is carried out with into the real world. I think what I would like my stuff to do is make people less lonely."


"This is a long haul. Writing is a long haul. I'm hoping that none of the stuff that I've done so far is anywhere close to the best stuff I can do. Let's hope we're not fifty-five and doing the same thing. I'd say avoid burning out. You can burn out by struggling in privation and neglect for many years, but you can also burn out if you're given a little bit of attention. People come to your hotel room and think you have interesting things to say. You can allow that to make you start to think that you can't say anything unless it's interesting."

* Marjorie Perloff: The Music of Verbal Space: John Cage's "What You Say".

* Two for Tuesday:

-- Love, The Brian Jonestown Massacre

-- The Postman, The American Analog Set

* "I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect." -- George Carlin

September 4, 2009

we speak a dead language now
our rumors to the dust

Sofya Mirvis, 2009

Sofya Mirvis currently has paintings on display at KFD, located at 10805 Connecticut Avenue, Kensington, Maryland, as pare of the Indifferent Post-Modern and Art Rejected by Art Gallery showcase. The opening reception is this evening from 6pm to 9pm.

Delphiniums In a Window Box
-- by Dean Young

Every sunrise, even strangers’ eyes.
Not necessarily swans, even crows,
even the evening fusillade of bats.
That place where the creek goes underground,
how many weeks before I see you again?
Stacks of books, every page, characters’
rages and poets’ strange contraptions
of syntax and song, every song
even when there isn’t one.
Every thistle, splinter, butterfly
over the drainage ditches. Every stray.
Did you see the meteor shower?
Did it feel like something swallowed?
Every question, conversation
even with almost nothing, cricket, cloud,
because of you I’m talking to crickets, clouds,
confiding in a cat. Everyone says,
Come to your senses, and I do, of you.
Every touch electric, every taste you,
every smell, even burning sugar, every
cry and laugh. Toothpicked samples
at the farmers’ market, every melon,
plum, I come undone, undone.

Keeping Things Whole
-- by Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

September 2, 2009

September, I remember
A love once new
has now grown old

Bill Fisher, Untitled 3, 2007

Three Poems by Louis Dudek:

Vanished Beauty

‘Art’ is whatever endures, of the past,
and only what is made of durable stuff endures.

But who knows whether things that have happened
—gestures, speech, an embrace—
were not more memorable, more worthy of art,
and yet have perished?

Who knows, but the greatest moments have vanished
without a record?
as our lives have vanished, our youth,
vanished without leaving a trace?

Pure Science

Poetry is a man-made kite
skating on an imaginary sky,
But nobody knows what the sky is
nor why there are kite-makers.

It is also like grandmother’s idea of heaven
that we have learned to do without
Because nobody cooks there,
sleeps with girls, or mints money.

It is a whirling
spark in a vacuum,
And only scientists seem to
enjoy the experiment.


As for democracy, it is not just the triumph
of superior numbers,
but that everyone, continually,
should think and speak the truth.
What freedom is there in being counted among the cattle?
The first right I want is to be a man.
It takes a little courage.
The plain truth, I say, not a few comfortable formulas
that conceal your own special lies;
the simple facts everybody knows
are so, as soon as you bring them to the light.
Democracy is this freedom, this light
shining on the human mind,
in faces, actions—
as the Greeks once carved it in these stones.

September 1, 2009

every single thought is like a punch in the face
I'm like a rabbit freezing on a star

Winston Link, Louisiana, 1939

* Gary Lutz: The Sentence is a Lonely Place. excerpt:

"The words in the sentence must bear some physical and sonic resemblance to each other—the way people and their dogs are said to come to resemble each other, the way children take after their parents, the way pairs and groups of friends evolve their own manner of dress and gesture and speech. A pausing, enraptured reader should be able to look deeply into the sentence and discern among the words all of the traits and characteristics they share. The impression to be given is that the words in the sentence have lived with each other for quite some time, decisive time, and have deepened and grown and matured in each other’s company—and that they cannot live without each other.

"Here is what I believe seems to happen in such a sentence:

"Once the words begin to settle into their circumstance in a sentence and decide to make the most of their predicament, they look around and take notice of their neighbors. They seek out affinities, they adapt to each other, they begin to make adjustments in their appearance to try to blend in with each other better and enhance any resemblance. Pretty soon in the writer’s eyes the words in the sentence are all vibrating and destabilizing themselves: no longer solid and immutable, they start to flutter this way and that in playful receptivity, taking into themselves parts of neighboring words, or shedding parts of themselves into the gutter of the page or screen; and in this process of intimate mutation and transformation, the words swap alphabetary vitals and viscera, tiny bits and dabs of their languagey inner and outer natures; the words intermingle and blend and smear and recompose themselves. They begin to take on a similar typographical physique. The phrasing now feels literally all of a piece. The lonely space of the sentence feels colonized. There’s a sumptuousness, a roundedness, a dimensionality to what has emerged. The sentence feels filled in from end to end; there are no vacant segments along its length, no pockets of unperforming or underperforming verbal matter. The words of the sentence have in fact formed a united community."

* Download Sun Ra's Sound of Joy.

* "Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke." -- Hermann Hesse