March 31, 2010

I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.

Jessica Dunegan, Courtney, 2008

A Poem For Dada Day at The Place, April 1, 1958
- by Jack Spicer

The bartender
Has eyes the color of ripe apricots
Easy to please as a cash register he
Enjoys art and good jokes.
Goes the painting
Goes the poem

It is not easy to remember that other people died
besides Dylan Thomas and Charlie Parker

Died looking for beauty in the world of the

This person, that person, this person
died looking for beauty

Even the bartender died

Dante blew his nose
And his nose came off in his hand
Rimbaud broke his throat
Trying to cough
Dada is not funny
It is a serious assault
On art
Because art
Can be enjoyed by the bartender.

The bartender is not the United States
Or the intellectual
Or the bartender
He is every bastard that does not cry
When he reads this poem.

A Poem For Dada Day At the Place, April 1, 1955
-- by Jack Spicer

The difference between Dada and barbarism
Is the difference between an abortion and a wet dream
An abortion
Is a conscious sacrifice of the past, the painting of a mustache
On Mona Lisa, the surrender
Of real children
The other, darling, is a sacrifice
Of nobody's children, is barbarism, is an Eskimo
Running amok in a museum, is Bohemia
Renouncing cities it had never conquered.
An ugly Vandal pissing on a statue is not Phidias
Pissing on a statue. Barbarism
Is something less than a gesture.
Destroy your own gods is you want Dada:
Give up your vices, burn your jukebox,
Draw mustaches on music, paint a real mother
On every non-objective canvas. Befoul only
Those things that belong to you.
"Beauty is so rare a thing," Pound said,
"So few drink at my fountain."
You only have the right to piss in the fountain
If you are beautiful.

March 29, 2010

I miss you Easy
without you rap is boring

Carlos Tarrats, Untitled 4, 2003

* Jeff Mangum is scheduled to play at a benefit for Chris Knox this May in New York City, one of only a few public performances involving Mangum in the past ten years. The author of the linked announcement wrote:

"Since the show will certainly sell out quickly no matter what, we'll be honest and say that while there is no artist we'd rather see perform than Mangum (in the world), the fact that every single person there will be holding up a Flip Cam or iPhone to record it, ruining the moment and breaking our hearts, means we will be skipping the show and waiting for the YouTube footage to be uploaded that night. (And no, the irony of that isn't lost on us.) We'd rather remember Jeff as he was in 1998, when human beings could and did rapturously enjoy a musician's work in the moment without the need to distract from it by holding up devices so they could prove they were there. (And if taking these measures to protect our memories/hearts makes us old Luddites, sign us up. We're pretty sure Jeff himself would be on our side.)"

* From an interview with 19 year old Magnus Carlsen, who is currently the number one chess player in the world:

SPIEGEL: Mr Carlsen, what is your IQ?

Carlsen: I have no idea. I wouldn’t want to know it anyway. It might turn out to be a nasty surprise.

SPIEGEL: Why? You are 19 years old and ranked the number one chess player in the world. You must be incredibly clever.

Carlsen: And that’s precisely what would be terrible. Of course it is important for a chess player to be able to concentrate well, but being too intelligent can also be a burden. It can get in your way. I am convinced that the reason the Englishman John Nunn never became world champion is that he is too clever for that.

SPIEGEL: How that?

Carlsen: At the age of 15, Nunn started studying mathematics in Oxford; he was the youngest student in the last 500 years, and at 23 he did a PhD in algebraic topology. He has so incredibly much in his head. Simply too much. His enormous powers of understanding and his constant thirst for knowledge distracted him from chess.
SPIEGEL: How many moves can you calculate ahead?

Carlsen: That depends on the game situation. Sometimes 15 to 20. But the trick is to correctly assess the position at the end of the calculation.
SPIEGEL: You are a sloppy genius?

Carlsen: I’m not a genius. Sloppy? Perhaps. It’s like this: When I am feeling good, I train a lot. When I feel bad, I don’t bother. I don’t enjoy working to a timetable. Systematic learning would kill me
Carlsen: Chess should not become an obsession. Otherwise there’s a danger that you will slide off into a parallel world, that you lose your sense of reality, get lost in the infinite cosmos of the game. You become crazy. I make sure that I have enough time between tournaments to go home in order to do other things. I like hiking and skiing, and I play football in a club.

SPIEGEL: Do you have a favourite club?

Carlsen: Real Madrid, the royals.

SPIEGEL: Many football players use music to get in the mood before a game. Do you do that too before sitting down in front of the board?

Carlsen: Oh, yes. If I am feeling gloomy before a game, I listen to gloomy music.

* "Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind - listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody." -- Eubie Blake

-- back Wednesday

March 26, 2010

pick up pick up a good book now

Clare Woods, Golden Dawn, 2008

Breaking Silence - For My Son
-- by Patricia Fargnoli

The night you were conceived
your father drove up Avon Mountain
and into the roadside rest
that looked over the little city,
its handful of scattered sparks.
I was eighteen and thin then
but the front seat of the 1956 Dodge
seemed cramped and dark,
the new diamond, I hadn't known
how to refuse, trapping flecks of light.
Even then the blackness was thick
as a muck you could swim through.
Your father pushed me down
on the scratchy seat, not roughly
but as if staking a claim,
and his face rose like
a thing-shadowed moon above me.
My legs ached in those peculiar angles,
my head bumped against the door.
I know you want me to say I loved him
but I wanted only to belong—to anyone.
So I let it happen,
the way I let all of it happen—
the marriage, his drinking, the rage.
This is not to say I loved you any less—
only I was young and didn't know yet
we can choose our lives.
It was dark in the car.
Such weight and pressure,
the wet earthy smell of night,
a slickness like glue.
And in a distant inviolate place,
as though it had nothing at all
to do with him, you were a spark
in silence catching

The One
-- by Fred Johnston

He’s taken for a novelty now,
But he wasn’t always —
Back in the bad days
He ran the place. His word
Was our law. And no harm, either:
The soft welter of him now, you’d
Think he’d never
Been a clever
Man, but he was. He can’t sing
Now, but he could, back then.
Only the young can mock like that,
Urging him on
And his voice gone
He’s a fool to himself, feeling
The young girls’ slim backs
And thinking what was naughty
Forty years ago is naughty now —
I am his son,
I am the one
Who waits while he pisses himself:
I am the one who carries this old Christ
Up the hill to his bed of skulls —
I am the one who rolls the stone over his grave.

The Belltower
-- by Diane di Prima

the weighing is done in autumn
and the sifting
what is to be threshed
is threshed in autumn
what is to be gathered is taken

the wind does not die in autumn
the moon
shifts endlessly thru flying clouds
in autumn the sea is high

& a golden light plays everywhere
making it harder
to go one's way.
all leavetaking is in autumn
where there is leavetaking
it is always autumn
& the sun is a crystal ball
on a golden stand
& the wind
cannont make the spruce scream
loud enough

March 25, 2010

I got holes in both of my shoes and I'm a walkin' case of the blues
I saw a dollar yesterday but the wind blew it away

Willy Ronis, Paris, 1946

* Must see short film: Plastic Bag, the story of a discarded plastic bag (wonderfully voiced by Werner Herzog) that is struggling with its immortality, and venturing through the environmentally barren remains of America as it searches for its maker. It's a really wonderful film, watch it.

* "If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." -- John Lennon

March 24, 2010

You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Charles Burchfield, The Night Wind, 1918

Exquisite Candidate
-- by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

I can promise you this: food in the White House
will change! No more granola, only fried eggs
flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!
Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!
Pigs will become the new symbol of glee,
displacing smiley faces and "Have A Nice Day."
Car bumpers are my billboards, billboards my movie screens.
Nothing I can say can be used against me.
My life flashes in front of my face daily.
Here's a snapshot of me as a baby. Then
marrying. My kids drink all their milk which helps the dairy industry.
A vote for me is not only a pat on the back for America!
A vote for me, my fellow Americans, is a vote for everyone like me!
If I were the type who made promises
I'd probably begin by saying: America,
relax! Buy big cars and tease your hair
as high as the Empire State Building.
Inch by inch, we're buying the world's sorrow.
Yeah, the world's sorrow, that's it!
The other side will have a lot to say about pork
but don't believe it! Their graphs are sloppy coloring books.
We're just fine—look at the way
everyone wants to speak English and live here!
Whatever you think of borders,
I am the only candidate to canoe over Niagara Falls
and live to photograph the Canadian side.
I'm the only Julliard graduate—
I will exhale beauty all across this great land
of pork rinds and gas stations and scientists working for cures,
of satellite dishes over Sparky's Bar & Grill, the ease
of breakfast in the mornings, quiet peace of sleep at night.

Buying Stock
-- by Denise Duhamel

"...The use of condoms offers substantial protection, but does not
guarantee total protection and that while
there is no evidence that deep kissing has resulted in
transfer of the virus, no one can say that such transmission
would be absolutely impossible." --The Surgeon General, 1987

I know you won't mind if I ask you to put this on.
It's for your protection as well as mine--Wait.
Wait. Here, before we rush into anything
I've bought a condom for each one of your fingers. And here--
just a minute--Open up.
I'll help you put this one on, over your tongue.
I was thinking:
If we leave these two rolled, you can wear them
as patches over your eyes. Partners have been known to cry,
shed tears, bodily fluids, at all this trust, at even the thought
of this closeness.

Buddhist Barbie
-- by Denise Duhamel

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches "All is emptiness"
and "There is no self."
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.

March 23, 2010

some king chooser
will wind up with my number

Mitch Epstein, Tag Sale III, 2000

* From Harper's April 2010:

-- Chance that a U.S. automobile accident occurs when at least one of the drivers is texting or talking on a cell phone: 1 in 4

-- Average number of hours a U.S. child aged 8 to 18 spends using an electronic device or watching television each day: 7.6

-- Number of volunteer ministers sent to Haiti in January by the Church of Scientology: 110

-- Average number of arrests made each year since 2001 by all 4,000 Federal Air Marshals combined: 4

-- Federal spending this represents per arrest: $200,000,000

-- Number of arrests in California last year for solar-panel theft: 4

* Two new blogs on the sidebar to check out:

-- Civil Eats, which "promotes critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems as part of building economically and socially just communities," and

-- Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, which chronicles the making of a film in the filmmakers backyard, from set building to sound and everything in between. The film (also called Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then) is the "true story about a man named Leonard Wood who lived outside of Louisville Kentucky. He found out his wife Mary was dying and he wanted to save her life. He built a house around her that he thought would heal her. He played music to God hoping for miracles. He even wrote her a letter over a decade after she died begging her to communicate with him somehow."

* Of interest:

-- Hemingway, ee cummings, John Dos Passos and Dashiel Hammett were all volunteer ambulance drivers in Europe during WWI

-- William Carlos Williams died at 79 having lived virtually all his life within a ten-minute walk where he was born

-- The first occasion on which the word shit appeared in the New Yorker was quoting Richard Nixon

-- Willem de Kooning did not have his first one-man show until he was 43

-- Clement Greenberg was asked to deliver the eulogy at Jackson Pollack's funeral, but refused -- outraged that Pollack had caused the death of an innocent passenger in the crash that killed him.

* "How many Cy Young awards would Cy Young have won?" -- David Markson

March 18, 2010

Loose like the wind
From the rough we get par
Sleet city woman
Waiting to spar

Jack Radcliffe, Bath, 2009

* Of interest, maybe:

-- Sherwood Anderson died of peritonitis after swallowing a toothpick

-- Aldous Huxley died the same day as John F. Kennedy

-- Twice as many baseball hitters are hit by a pitch when the temperature is in the nineties than when it is in the seventies

-- W.H.Auden was once arrested in Barcelona for peeing in a public park

-- Mozart was addicted to billiards

-- Anne Sexton abused her oldest daughter

-- Joyce had lost all his teeth by age 41

-- Wallace Stevens wife Elsie was the model for the face on the United States dime and half-dollar. Wallace Stevens and his wife had separate bedrooms.

-- When Rembrandt's possessions were sold at bankruptcy in 1656, they included paintings by Raphael, Giorgione, and van Eyck. And 75 Rembrandt's. And did not bring in enough to discharge the bankruptcy.

* "Sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to look at a painting." -- Barrett Newman

--- back Tuesday

March 17, 2010

one step closer than before

Dana Ellyn, Pierced Nipples, 2009

antipasto à go go
--by klipschutz

“I was never really a member of the Beat Generation.”
—L. Ferlinghetti, 199

I was a vegetable,
and I was red,
and I was diced,
and I was in some famous salads.

I was loosely affiliated
with a lot of fruit,
I was canned, I was sweet,
but I was never really a beet.

It’s true I was an anchovy
once for Halloween.
Rootabaga Stories?
That doesn’t prove a thing.

This is the end of the line, this is me,
the last block puts the bitch
back into North Beach.
Lord Buckley doesn’t live here anymore.

Which doesn’t stop the shoulders of a saint,
the author of a traveling scroll,
from threading through the downfield
all alone now in a dream.

The young kids come around
armed with ancient envelopes,
waking up old ghosts on Russian Hill.
Question lists get baptized with good beer.

They sleep it off in live-work spaces
South of Market, where
misconceptions give breech birth
to cubicles.

The empirical evidence is in:
The sky is made of pesto
and the Aurora Borealis. . .
never mind

You call this a revival?
I call it borscht.

[first run in Evergreen Review]

klipschutz is reading on Thursday, March 18 at 7pm, sharp, Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco. Musician Bone Cootes opens the show. Cootes and klipschutz close the show, in collaboration. Directions:

-- by Stephen Dobyns

How calm is the spring evening, and the water
barely a ripple. My son stands at the edge
tossing in pebbles, then jumping back. He knows
that someplace out there lies Europe, and he points
to an island to ask if it is France. Here
on this beach my neighbor died, a foolish man.
He had fought with his daughter, his only child,
about her boyfriend and came here to cool off
when his heart stopped. Another neighbor found him
and thought him asleep, so relaxed did he seem.
He had helped me with my house, gave me advice
on painting, plastering. For this I thank him.
As I worked, we discussed our plans, how he wished
his daughter to go to the best schools, become
a scientist or engineer. I said how
I meant to settle down and make my life here—
My son asks me about the tide, why the water
doesn't keep coming up the street to wipe out
the house where he lives alone with his mother.
Is he scared, should I console him? Should I say
that if I controlled the tide I would destroy
that house for certain? Our plans came to nothing
and now, a year later, I'm just a visitor
in my son's life. We walk down to the water,
pause, and look out at the world. How big is it?
he asks me. Bigger every day, I answer.

The Thrift Shop Dresses
-- by Frannie Lindsay

I slid the white louvers shut so I could stand in your closet
a little while among the throng of flowered dresses
you hadn’t worn in years, and touch the creases
on each of their sleeves that smelled of forgiveness
and even though you’d be alive a few more days
I knew they were ready to let themselves be
packed into liquor store boxes simply
because you had asked that of them,
and dropped at the door of the Salvation Army
without having noticed me
wrapping my arms around so many at once
that one slipped a big padded shoulder off of its hanger
as if to return the embrace.

March 16, 2010

some special action with motives unclear

Ian Davis, Exile, 2008

* On Robert Altman:

"Greame Clifford (assistant director): Altman had a preproduction speech at the beginning of [a] movie that just captured his whole approach. He said, 'Anybody can come up to me at any time and give me any ideas they have or discuss anything they want. Sometimes I'll use them and sometimes I won't. I may not always have time to tell you why I'm not going to use your idea, but I'll always listen.' I didn't work for anybody else for the next five years, and I just assumed everybody worked this way - the way he treated the crew, the way he treated actors. I stole that speech and I use it on any movie I make, but you think many directors say that? ...

"Mark Rydell (actor and director): Bob [Altman] sent me the script [to The Long Goodbye]. I looked at it and thought, 'This part is just not well written.' So I called him and I said, 'Bob, what would you think if I rewrote this part and made it two hundred percent better? I have a concept for a character.' He said, 'Go ahead.' The character in the book was wishy-washy, really, had no character. ... So Larry Tucker and I decided to make him this Jewish gangster who was insanely brutal, completely capable of any kind of brutality, yet at the same time deeply religious, offended that he wasn't in shul, where he should have been on this night. At the same time, the challenge was to make it funny. Make it not only cruel and horrendous, but charming and funny. So we did that. And we sent the pages to Bob. He called back in five minutes and said, 'That's it. Throw out everything else, I'm inserting your pages right in the script.' That's the kind of guy he was. All he wanted was the best from his people.

"One of the first things he used to say on a set was, 'I'm interested in everything you have to bring.' So he had that remarkably paternal and constructive quality of nurturing people and giving them permission to be as good as they can be. He rarely directed them in obvious ways. His ways were more subtle. He would encourage you. 'What've you got in mind?' he would say. 'Show me. That's great, let's use it.'

"His directorial style was improvisational and permissive. And actors loved him because of it. Because they could bring their skills and their instincts, which he admired and respected, to the moment. If it came from you, he was interested. He didn't want to give you something and have you execute it because he knew that anything he gives you is by nature less good than what you come up with yourself. He instinctively knew that the way to get relaxed and realistic performances was to encourage the creative spirit of each individual actor, and he cast that way. He cast in an effort to find people who are inventive."

-- From Mitchell Zuckoff's 2009 biography

* In or Near Ess Eff??? klipschutz is reading, with four others, tonight, Tuesday, March 16, at 7pm, Books & Bookshelves, 99 Sanchez Street, San Francisco.

* Viking Poem, by David Foster Wallace when he was five or six years old.

* "Swimming is more fun beardless." -- Will Oldham

March 12, 2010

Oh hello Mr. Soul
I dropped by to pick up a reaso

Gerard Richter, Abstraktes Bild 742-2, 1991

* From an interview of Pete Townshend published in Premier Guitar Magazine's April 2010 issue

PGM - For years now, your choice of electric guitar onstage has been the Eric Clapton Stratocaster. Why that guitar in particular after years using Gibson SGs and Les Pauls, as well as other models?

PT - A bit of history: The Who worked fairly solidly from 1963 through to 1982, when I felt I had had enough. Over the entirety of those years, I had regarded my stage guitars as tools rather than instruments. I never tried to play eloquently, I didn't practice much and I didn't work very hard on my sound. The Who was a band devoted to a single function, which was to reflect our audience, and for a lot of the time we had no idea how we did that. I felt it had more to do with my songs and the image of the band than our musicianship. I would never have been a Who fan.

I started in late 1962 with a simple, single pickup Harmony electric; I think it was called a Stratotone. When Roger quit his job as lead guitarist and became the singer, he passed me his Epiphone with P-90s. To be honest, although I realize now it was a fine little guitar, I wasn't happy until I got my first Rickenbacker in 1964. I soon got myself a top model 12-string Rick, too. It's interesting to think that the Marshall sound I helped Jim and his guys develop was built around the very low output and thin, surfy sound of the Rick. The sound I wanted was Steve Cropper, but very loud. The early Marshall with a Rick gave me that. The semi-acoustic body and a speaker stack feeding right into the guitar was what allowed me to refine tuneful feedback.

Before the band was making money—we are still in early 1964 in this story—I broke my 6-string Rick on stage engaging in art-school inspired performance art. Roger said he could have fixed that first broken Rick, but the word spread so fast about how crazy I was that it wasn't long before the 12-string and about four other Ricks followed before I started to look for something stronger. During that time the Who were touring Britain and Europe, and guitars were expensive. My Rick 12, for example, cost £385, that's equivalent to £5,925 today. With the dollar at 2.4 back at that time, my Rick 12 cost me $14,220. It makes me a little angry when people question my artistic integrity in what I decided to do on stage. I paid the price.

I tried everything that I could pick up at less than the price of a house. There are pictures of me with a Gibson 335, Strats, Teles, Jazzmasters and Danelectros. What I was looking for was not a good-sounding guitar but
one that was strong. And so I used quite a lot of Fenders. The necks never broke when I was doing my destruction routine, and gluing the bodies back together and rewiring helped me one step closer to becoming a luthier.

When Jimi was in London, it just so happened I was using a Strat, and he modeled his entire amplifier rig, apart from a couple of special fuzz boxes, according to my advice. So for a while our sound was similar. But no one could approach what he did with that rig, and I decided to concentrate much more on chordal work, trying to give a beat backbone to Moon's flailing and undisciplined drumming. Pretty soon, by accident, I discovered the Gibson SG with P-90s, and because I was using a mix of Sound City (later Hiwatt) and Marshall amplifier stacks, I landed the Live at Leeds sound that stayed with me almost all the way on from there—at least onstage. Because SGs are fairly light, I broke quite a few of them over my hipbone, as well as in our finale, so occasionally I used Strats for their sheer strength.
I built my first home studio in 1963, and again, somehow this relegated the guitar as a musical instrument to a different role. I just wanted something that suited the song I might be working on. I kept a basic collection of guitars for my home studio right through until Who's Next, when I made my first spending spree at Manny's in 1971. On that visit, I bought my first Martin D-45, a Gibson mandolin, a couple of Martin ukes and a tiple, a pedal steel, a Guild Merle Travis, and a beautiful Guild 12-string. I have some of these instruments still. Prior to that, for my home demos, I had a Harmony 12-string (very basic, but it sounded great, you can hear it on the Tommy recording), a Danelectro bass, an old-school cello I sometimes used as string bass and whatever electric guitar I was carrying to and from gigs at the time.

From 1971, everything changed. Alan Rogan helped me track down a lot of cool guitars. Joe Walsh gave me a Gretsch and a Fender Bassman combo with an Edwards pedal (to get the Neil Young sound). He also gave me a Flying V (that I am sad to say I sold to help buy my first big boat—he's never quite forgiven me). I bought two or three D'Angelicos, and started to really appreciate what a fine guitar really was. The acoustic solo in the middle of "Who Are You" is played on my D'Angelico New Yorker (also sold to help buy a boat!) and you can hear that I am playing eloquently at last…

PGM - Exactly who were the guitarists who influenced you as a youth?

PT - Wes, Kenny Burrell (in his work with Jimmy Smith), Jim Hall (with Jimmy Giuffre), Buddy Guy, Leadbelly, Lightnin' Hopkins, Snooks Eaglin, Big Bill Broonzy, Hubert Sumlin (with Howlin' Wolf), Albert King, Steve Cropper, Don Everly, Bruce Welch (with The Shadows), Eddie Cochran, James Burton (with Ricky Nelson). Among my contemporaries, it was Dave Davies, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young. At art school I met Bert Jansch, and realized folk guys used tricks (tunings)!

PGM - After almost 47 years with The Who, are there any regrets? Would you change anything if you could? Do you still get a rush, a thrill, performing live with the band?

PT - I've never gotten a rush or thrill from performing. I'm good at it, and I find it easy and natural. No regrets. I fell into this business, the family business, out of art school. It's given me the chance to combine popular music (which is so natural for me) with ambitious creativity, so I've been really lucky. I've had great support, too, from The Who band and managers over the years. Lots of crazy ideas.

* The Caribbean are heading to SXSW and there are two chances to see the magic:

-- Hometapes SXSW Showcase @ The Mohawk, Thursday March 18, The Caribbean play at 9pm.

-- FRIEND ISLAND! A SXSW oasis built by cahoots with Force Field PR. Pancakes. Oregon beer. Candy. Records. Hard punch. Nachos. And fourteen bands (The Caribbean play at 1:40pm). Saturday March 20, 815 E. 6th St. Austin, TX (at I-35) 11am-8pm. Free! No SXSW cred needed.

* Did you know: Brahms was 43 before he completed his first symphony.

* "It isn't sex that causes trouble for young ballplayers, it's staying up all night looking for it." -- Casey Stengel

March 10, 2010

I drink my liquor from the palm
of a child who spoke in tongues
and smelled like sun

RIP Mark Linkous

-- Linkous, who was a big fan of the poet Frank Stanford, committed suicide with a gunshot to his heart, exactly as did Stanford.

The Light the Dead See
-- by Frank Stanford

There are many people who come back
After the doctor has smoothed the sheet
Around their body
And left the room to make his call.

They die but they live.

They are called the dead who lived through their deaths,
And among my people
They are considered wise and honest.

They float out of their bodies
And light on the ceiling like a moth,
Watching the efforts of everyone around them.

The voices and the images of the living
Fade away.

A roar sucks them under
The wheels of a darkness without pain.
Off in the distance
There is someone
Like a signalman swinging a lantern.

The light grows, a white flower.
It becomes very intense, like music.

They see the faces of those they loved,
The truly dead who speak kindly.

They see their father sitting in a field.
The harvest is over and his cane chair is mended.
There is a towel around his neck,
The odor of bay rum.
Then they see their mother
Standing behind him with a pair of shears.
The wind is blowing.
She is cutting his hair.

The dead have told these stories
To the living.

Humming This Song Trying to Remember the Way Another One Goes
-- by Frank Stanford

For a moment the hour is two mad doves
For the rest of your life
Your blood is a sketch
I have drawn from memory
Like a missing deck of cards
Under the bed's ditch
A gardenia turning brown when you touch it
Or a stone
Sinking in the low pond's mud
It all seems
To swarm obediently
As a fugue
I am going to dream
I hear the sleep of figs and bulls
Pollinating the next second
Like a scar with no wound
There is a lightning before death
Without thunder and melody
A taproot disheveled as a shadow
And the boats remain
Waiting to be launched
A dead reckoning of birds
Flying at ninety degrees
Like lost gloves
The bodies forbear
The bodies
Burning the pillows of the sick
That have written the last lines of songs
Sores down on their knees
Begging to be marooned
The horsefly's legs the lady's cameo
A close brush with the ancients
The other one
Went like this
Night and her moon
Like a widow with child
The wood of a wild cherry will kill you
And the barefoot gypsy slicing her melon
Will kiss the ground you walk on
The rest of your life

March 3, 2010

the early morning sunrise
puts you back to sleep
everyone is angry
in way too deep

Ari Marcopoulos, still from 'Detroit'

Self-Portrait: Black’s Law Dictionary
-- by Beth Woodcome

for Megan Hehir

An elephant moth, devoted to eating,
a tender of meat, a compulsive, a meek,
something that should have been smaller.
Did I do that, or did my body?

I was an Omitted Child. I love the law,
my box, knowing what I should do.
I cannot touch, or swear, or forget my food.
If my mouth opens, something has gone wrong.
Something has gone very wrong.

This will all make sense to you.
I was only an Issue, anything more or less
would have meant love. My own will,
for instance, is blank. Given nothing,
I am only the thing in the woods searching
for an adoption, a different statute, or a good kill.

Travel Directions
-- by Joan I. Siegel

There ought to be a word
for the way you know how to get some place
but don't remember the names of streets
the number of turns and blinking yellow lights
so that if someone asked
you really couldn't say
except you know the road starts out straight
and when it's sunny the branches blink across
the windshield making you want to rub your eyes
then the road turns sharply uphill past a red barn
where a black dog jumps out to race you for a quarter mile
and finally recedes in the mirror like a disappointment
and you remember the road dips downhill
into the shadows of the morning
where you hear Bach's unaccompanied 'cello
and understand what a good fit the 'cello makes
in the hollow of the body
where grief begins and for an indeterminate time
the road winds vaguely past
houses people road signs
while time hums in your ear and you remember
the dream you left behind that morning
which had nothing
to do with where
you are going

** --- Brown Chicken Brown Cow by Nice Breeze.

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March 2, 2010

can you treat it like an oil well
when it's underground and out of sight

Pavement's first show in ten years!!!

* Pavement have played their first show in over a decade, taking to the stage at Auckland Town Hall, New Zealand tonight (March 1).

The band – who have been rehearsing around 40 songs for their forthcoming tour – played hits from across their career at the gig, with tracks including 'Stereo', 'Shady Lane', 'Fight This Generation' and opener 'In The Mouth A Desert', according to the Cause = Time blog.

Guitarist Spiral Stairs recently gave fans an insight into the band's rehearsal on his blog.

"We recently had two good weeks of practice in Portland [Oregon]," he explained. it was the first time some of us had been in the same room together for close to 10 years. I think we all were a little nervous. It started off pretty rough, except for our drummer who probably practised the most.

"But... by the time we had finished, most of the 40-plus songs we had rehearsed were sounding pretty good. We're really looking forward to the year ahead and seeing all the fans out there digging the music makes it all worthwhile."

Pavement will now head to Australia, Japan and the US before playing their first UK shows this May.

Pavement played:

'In The Mouth A Desert'
'Trigger Cut'
'Loretta's Scars'
'Shady Lane'
'Father To A Sister Of Thought'
'Rattled By The Rush'
'Summer Babe'
'Kennel District'
'Silence Kit'
'Range Life'
'Stop Breathing'
'No Life Singed Her/442'
'Fight This Generation'
'Date W/IKEA'
'Box Elder'
'Gold Soundz'
'The Hexx'
'Give It A Day'
'Cut Your Hair'
'Spit On A Stranger'

-- apparently, the hexx turned into here as malkmus who wasn't wearing his glasses, misread the set list....

* "I'm not sure if you can blame everything on the American way of life, but the United States are big. So, if you have a lot of people there, the percentage of stupid people is bound to be higher." -- Stephen Malkmus

March 1, 2010

buttons or donuts
these are my thoughts

cecily brown, the quarrel, 2004

* From: Modern Times, Modern Places, Knopf, 1998 by Peter Conrad:

"The heroic daring of [the new] century lay in its conviction of absolute, unprecedented novelty. This is what the exhilarating notion of modernity meant: canceling all the accumulated wisdom of our forebears. ... Valiantly eager for the future, the Bauhaus instructor Oskar Schlemmer decreed in 1929 that 'One should act as if the world had just been created.'

"A new-born universe called for fresh tenants. Virginia Woolf accordingly reported, as if she were pinpointing an actual, verifiable event, that 'on or about December 1910 human character changed.' Rites of passage made this enigmatic transformation visible. How do human beings usually announce an altered identity? By changing the way they wear their hair. Men who wanted to be ruthlessly modern shaved their skulls, like the Russian revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky or Johannes Itten, an instructor at the Bauhaus in Weimar. In the hirsute nineteenth century, sages - aspiring to the shagginess of Old Testament prophets - grew beards. For the glowering, bullet-headed Mayakovsky, the cranium was a projectile, made more aerodynamic by being rid of hair. For Itten, shaving announced his priestly dedication to the new world which the designers at the Bauhaus intended to build. ...

"Women had their own equivalent to those drastic masculine acts of self-mutilation. In 1920 F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a story, 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair,' about a timid provincial girl for whom bobbing is a transition between two periods of life and two historical epochs. The new style ejects her from Madonna-like girlhood, when she was protectively cocooned in tresses, and announces her sexual maturity. Bernice fearfully acknowledges the revolutionary antecedents of the process. Driving downtown to the mens' barber-shop where the operation will be performed, she suffers 'all the sensations of Marie Antoinette bound for the guillotine in a tumbril;' the barber with his shears is an executioner. The French revolutionaries sliced off the heads of bewigged aristocrats in order to destroy an old world. Bernice, however, has her own hair chopped to fit her for membership of a new society: bobbing conferred erotic allure on girls who were previously dismissed as wallflowers. ...

"James Joyce's Ulysses in 1922 testified to the change in human character announced by Virginia Woolf. Bodies now did things which, at least according to literature, they had never done before. A man ponders his own bowel movement, relishing its sweet smell. Later in the day he surreptitiously masturbates in a public place and takes part in a pissing contest, proud of the arc his urine describes. A woman has a noisily affirmative orgasm, or perhaps more than one. The same people did not think in paragraphs or logical, completed sentences, like characters in nineteenth-century novels. Their mental life proceeded in associative jerks and spasms; they mixed up shopping lists with sexual fantasies, often forgot verbs and (in the woman's case) scandalously abandoned all punctuation. The modern mind was not a quiet, tidy cubicle for cogitation. It thronged with as many random happenings as a city street; it contained scraps and fragments, dots and dashes, like the incoherent blizzard of marks on a modern canvas which could only be called an 'impression' because it represented nothing recognizable."

* Dust Congress HQ is changing spaces this week, so posting may be random.

* "I'm a little too belligerent. I cuss and swear at people. I yell at umpires and maybe I'm a little too tough at home sometimes. I don't sign as many autographs as I should and I haven't always been very good with writes." -- Thurman Munson