April 30, 2010

my head is going around in circles

Arthur Dove, Sun, 1943

Orson Welles
-- by Richard Brautigan

Orson Welles does whisky commercials on
Japanese television. It's strange to see him
here on television in Tokyo, recommending that the
Japanese people buy G&G Nikka whisky.

I always watch him with total fascination.
Last night I dreamt that I directed one of the
commercials. There were six black horses in the

The horses were arranged in such a position
that upon seeing them and Orson Welles
together, people would rush out of their homes
and buy G&G Nikka Whisky.

It was not an easy commercial to film. It
had to be perfect. It took many takes. Mr. Welles
was very patient with an understanding sense of

"Please, Mr. Welles," I would say. "Stand a
little closer to the horses."

He would smile and move a little closer
to the horse.

"How's this?"

"Just fine, Mr. Welles, perfect."

Waving Goodbye
-- by Wesley McNair

Why, when we say goodbye
at the end of an evening, do we deny
we are saying it at all, as in We'll
be seeing you, or I'll call, or Stop in,
somebody's always at home? Meanwhile, our friends,
telling us the same things, go on disappearing
beyond the porch light into the space
which except for a moment here or there
is always between us, no matter what we do.
Waving goodbye, of course, is what happens
when the space gets too large
for words – a gesture so innocent
and lonely, it could make a person weep
for days. Think of the hundreds of unknown
voyagers in the old, fluttering newsreel
patting and stroking the growing distance
between their nameless ship and the port
they are leaving, as if to promise I'll always
remember, and just as urgently, Always
remember me. It is loneliness, too,
that makes the neighbor down the road lift
two fingers up from his steering wheel as he passes
day after day on his way to work in the hello
that turns into goodbye? What can our own raised
fingers do for him, locked in his masculine
purposes and speeding away inside the glass?
How can our waving wipe away the reflex
so deep in the woman next door to smile
and wave on her way into her house with the mail,
we'll never know if she is happy
or sad or lost? It can't. Yet in that moment
before she and all the others and we ourselves
turn back to our disparate lives, how
extraordinary it is that we make this small flag
with our hands to show the closeness we wish for
in spite of what pulls us apart again
and again: the porch light snapping off,
the car picking its way down the road through the dark.

After Apollinaire
-- by Franz Wright

It's four o'clock in the afternoon
and it's 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.

April 28, 2010

got on the bus half-drunk again
the driver glared at me

Dana Ellyn, Group-Think and the Informed Skeptic, 2006

Vegan-In-Training Slurps
Ice-Cold Alpha-Byte Soup

-- by Dennis Mahagin

Abattoirs butcher

Dumpster ...;


God? He inters
Jonah, knowingly :

Lozenge Man.
Nantucket Offal.

Porcupines' quillz? Really
sting ...



Veg-eatables. Wok.

X-post-facto ... Yo,


Take This on Authority
-- by Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

When the last cloud leaves
nothing behind—no
history, no trace of error, no
basilica to shelter a man—
a hymn, as lonely as any,
will rise out of canyons
and at great heights
sing to every particle, to
every hint of light along the way.
In a temple, in another
universe, listeners will
bow down chanting.

Kora for March 5th
-- by Lewis Mcadams Jr.

Williams died two years ago yesterday
snow expected
in the low 30s

Ive got to drive the lady home to
take her pills

"crutches for us all"
he sd when the world is

sub terra flower
and the Spring song, Persephone
and me
in wet fear
walking to the parking lot
gray lines of
soaked cars.

April 27, 2010

Saw you at a party
You asked me to dance
Said music was great for dancing
I don't really dance much
But this time I did
And I was glad that I did this time

Decoy, DC Voting Rights Poster, 2010

* The Swimmer, by John Cheever, begins:

It was one of those midsummer Sundays when everyone sits around saying, "I drank too much last night." You might have heard it whispered by the parishioners leaving church, heard it from the lips of the priest himself, struggling with his cassock in the vestiarium, heard it from the golf links and the tennis courts, heard it from the wildlife preserve where the leader of the Audubon group was suffering from a terrible hangover. "I drank too much," said Donald Westerhazy. "We all drank too much," said Lucinda Merrill. "It must have been the wine," said Helen Westerhazy. "I drank too much of that claret."

This was at the edge of the Westerhazys' pool. The pool, fed by an artesian well with a high iron content, was a pale shade of green. It was a fine day. In the west there was a massive stand of cumulus cloud so like a city seen from a distance—from the bow of an approaching ship—that it might have had a name. Lisbon. Hackensack. The sun was hot. Neddy Merrill sat by the green water, one hand in it, one around a glass of gin. He was a slender man—he seemed to have the especial slenderness of youth—and while he was far from young he had slid down his banister that morning and given the bronze backside of Aphrodite on the hall table a smack, as he jogged toward the smell of coffee in his dining room. He might have been compared to a summer's day, particularly the last hours of one, and while he lacked a tennis racket or a sail bag the impression was definitely one of youth, sport, and clement weather. He had been swimming and now he was breathing deeply, stertorously as if he could gulp into his lungs the components of that moment, the heat of the sun, the intenseness of his pleasure. It all seemed to flow into his chest. His own house stood in Bullet Park, eight miles to the south, where his four beautiful daughters would have had their lunch and might be playing tennis. Then it occurred to him that by taking a dogleg to the southwest he could reach his home by water.

His life was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be explained by its suggestion of escape. He seemed to see, with a cartographer's eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife. He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure. The day was beautiful and it seemed to him that a long swim might enlarge and celebrate its beauty.

He took off a sweater that was hung over his shoulders and dove in. He had an inexplicable contempt for men who did not hurl themselves into pools. He swam a choppy crawl, breathing either with every stroke or every fourth stroke and counting somewhere well in the back of his mind the one-two one-two of a flutter kick. It was not a serviceable stroke for long distances but the domestication of swimming had saddled the sport with some customs and in his part of the world a crawl was customary. To be embraced and sustained by the light green water was less a pleasure, it seemed, than the resumption of a natural condition, and he would have liked to swim without trunks, but this was not possible, considering his project. He hoisted himself up on the far curb—he never used the ladder—and started across the lawn. When Lucinda asked where he was going he said he was going to swim home.

-- read the rest of the story.

* Band vs. Promoter.

* "The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion." --Walter Benjamin

April 26, 2010

Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island

Bridget Sue Lambert, The Road To Satisfaction, 2001

* Uncut reviews the new Bonnie Prince Billy record. excerpt:

Compared with the rumbustious Beware, The Wonder Show Of The World initially feels rather low-key. Arrangements are spare, spectral even. Mostly, Kelly tracks Oldham with voice and either acoustic or delicate electric guitar. Bass and drums appear intermittently, as do a choir of sorts. The starkness recalls 2005’s Superwolf, albeit without the clanging interventions of Matt Sweeney. At times, a sacred air accumulates around the songs, so that “Someone Coming Through” betrays closer affinities to medieval church music than Oldham’s usual country references. But there’s a certain warmth and ’70s classicism, too: a hint of After The Gold Rush to the frail hymnal of “With Cornstalks Or Among Them”; something of Eric Clapton’s “woman tone” to Kelly’s keening solo on “Teach Me To Bear You”.

Slowly, these immensely crafted songs bed in, emerging as some of the best and most accessible that Oldham has ever written. “That’s What Our Love Is” is remarkable, a tender crystallisation of the album’s principal theme; the enduring consolations of love, both spiritual and physical. For nearly five minutes, Oldham and Kelly indulge in some gentle come-hithering, before tablas arrive and the pace and intensity picks up. “I believe these are end times,” exclaims Oldham. “Wouldn’t it be best to be together then? The smell of your box on my moustache...”

It’s an absurd image, delivered touchingly, that is typical of Oldham’s eccentric ribaldry, and of how he has spent the past few years writing about love and contentment in unorthodox, unsentimental ways. The tone of The Wonder Show Of The World (does the title refer to love itself?) might often be austere, but most of the songs are blessed with happy endings. “My chest swells and my nose snores; it’s all OK by you. I’ve never felt this welcome,” he observes on “Go Folks, Go”. In “The Sounds Are Always Begging”, the narrator’s wife goes crazy and starts “chopping up the bed”. She leaves, and Oldham tames his unruly children with the gift of music.

“Always choose the noise of music. Always end the day in singing!” he pontificates, and long experience of Will Oldham might counsel against taking his lyrics at face value. Still, it’s tempting to conclude that wonderful music and a loving home are much more important than the vagaries of commercial success. When The Palace Brothers first played London, Oldham covered Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, and it seemed ironic. Seventeen years on, experience suggests he might well have meant every word.

* In Japan, awesome new train technology.

* "When I dunk, I put something on it. I want the ball to hit the floor before I do." -- Darryl Dawkins

April 23, 2010

the king is gone
but he's not forgotten

Angela Dufresne, Gena In Mirror, 2006

-- by Eileen Myles

It’s just not as much fun without a good
light and a sharp knife
I mean leaning into the peach of
it. People find the time
to get theirs sharpened somewhere
or use yours, or the one the horrible
subletter left. The drip in the kitchen is like
someone I know. Today’s cold
was an affirmation of the purchase
of yesterday’s new shirt. I knew the cold
would come some time but today.
I’m wearing that drip most of all.
My half made meal and even the space
that surrounds the incredible possibility
of hunger on and on like my favorite man
Frankenstein. The drip has tones.
A relationship with the holding
bowl that is only holding water.

All these rhymes all the time. I used to
think Mark Wahlberg was family.
So was Tim but close to his death
he told me he was adopted. Every
time he smiled he thought Eileen
is a fool. Or that’s what love looks
like. If I woke and my master was horrified
I would go out into the world with this
enormous hurt. And I have carried mine
for so long I now know it’s nothing special.
It’s just the fall and the sound of her sirens. It’s the agony
of being human. Not a dog who dies maybe six
times in the lives of her masters. Everyone’s phony
and made up. Everyone’s a monster like me.
Now I know everyone.

my cheap lifestyle
-- by eileen myles

After a bourbon
I came in and turned on the tube
lit a joint and watched Monterey Pop
nearly wept when Janis came on
Janis' legs kicking on stage is a memorable sight
Janis does her sweet little Texas girl smile as
her act finishes. she kicks her heels
and otis redding is so sexy
millions of young americans experience religion for the first time
in their lives
or so the cameras would inform us
I'm concerned about manipulation in this media
how one gains such wonderful power
but of course I'm too tired
thrilled by the process of bringing down a familar blanket
upon my bed
it's nearly fall
nearly winter
I expect the stars will be bright
the woods full of bears

April 21, 2010

you're killing me
you're killing me, again

Marcel Duchamp, Portrait of a Chess Player, 1911

For Mac
-- by Jack Spicer

A dead starfish on a beach
He has five branches
Representing the five senses
Representing the jokes we did not tell each other
Call the earth flat
Call other people human
But let this creature lie
Flat upon our senses
Like a love
Prefigured in the sea
That died.
And went to water
All the oceans
Of emotion. All the oceans of emotion
are full of such fish
Is this dead one of such importance?

After a Noisy Night
--by Laure-Anne Bosselaar

The man I love enters the kitchen
with a groan, he just
woke up, his hair a Rorschach test.
A minty kiss, a hand
on my neck, coffee, two percent milk,
microwave. He collapses
on a chair, stunned with sleep,
yawns, groans again, complains
about his dry sinuses and crusted nose.
I want to tell him how
much he slept, how well,
the cacophony of his snoring
pumping in long wheezes
and throttles—the debacle
of rhythm—hours erratic
with staccato of pants and puffs,
crescendi of gulps, chokes,
pectoral sputters and spits.
But the microwave goes ding!
A short little ding! – sharp
as a guillotine—loud enough to stop
my words from killing the moment.
And during the few seconds
it takes the man I love
to open the microwave, stir,
sip and sit there staring
at his mug, I remember the vows
I made to my pillows, to fate
and God: I'll stop eating licorice,
become a blonde, a lumberjack,
a Catholic, anything,
but bring a man to me:
so I go to him: Sorry, honey,
sorry you had such a rough night
hold his gray head against my heart
and kiss him, kiss him.

Survival of the Fittest
-- by William F. Vanwert

Darwin was the first to link
underwear with evolution:
the better-fitting survived,
reproduced, accommodated
the elements. First loincloth,
then short tunic or chiton,
Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all
wore underwear designed to show
from under a toga. By way of
casual greeting, the Romans
often flashed each other.

April 20, 2010

most of us are quite pleased
with the same old song
and all of a sudden i'm relatively sane
with everything to lose and nothing to gain
or something like that

Miraslav Tichy, untitled, unknown

* From Harper's May 2010:

-- Percentage of Americans who support allowing 'homosexuals' to serve in the military: 59

-- Percentage who support allowing 'gay men and lesbians' to serve: 70

-- Number of online subscribers to Newsday three months after the publication imposed a $5-per-week paywall: 35

-- Number of grammatical errors found by a retired high school teacher in a single issue of The Miami Herald in January: 133

-- Man-hours it took to build an entire stage from Godiva chocolate for a February episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show: 1,400

-- Minutes it took the audience to break it apart and take it home with them: 30

-- Projected change this year in the garbage collection revenue of Berkeley, CAlifornia, due to increased recycling: -$1,500,000

* Interesting 2006 article on Tiny Tim. excerpt:

New York Times critic Albert Goldman described Tiny as a 'pop dybbuk' - a wandering spirit inhabited by the ghosts of pop culture past, present and future - while a critic in the Wall Street Journal's weekly National Observer magazine wrote:

'He sounds alternately like Eleanor Roosevelt, Yma Sumac and Vera Lynn. He looks like Sir Alec Guinness as Fagin, Joan Baez after a week without sleep, Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch in the Wizard Of Oz, and the gaunt mummy of Pharoah Seti the First.'

There was certainly something unearthly about him. He claimed to subsist on a diet of wheat germ, apples, pumpkin seeds and honey. But no one ever knew for sure because nobody (not even his closest confidants) ever saw Tiny Tim eat or drink in public. A devoutly religious man, who lived his life according to the tenets of the New Testament and peppered his speech with thanks to the Lord, he was fey and effeminate, spoke in a courtly manner and addressed everybody as 'Mister' or 'Miss'.
His first paying gig was in the basement of Hubert's Museum, a 42nd Street institution that housed a flea circus and freak show. He was billed as 'The Human Canary'. He finally started to find acceptance of sorts among the music freaks who swarmed around the Greenwich Village cafe scene. At Café Wha?, he palled around with a young Bob Dylan. He also became friendly with Lenny Bruce - a joint gig was advertised with the slogan, 'Lenny Bruce speaks for profit, Tiny Tim sings for love' - and appeared in films by underground film-maker Jack Smith. At a lesbian club called Page Three, he was billed as 'The Answer To The Beatles!'.

All this activity led Tiny to acquire a reputation as 'the court jester of the underground'. He was invited to perform at private parties in Manhattan for the boho rock set, once serenading a wide-eyed Mick Jagger with a version of 'Time is on My Side', with tick-tock sound effects between each line.
Through all the ups and downs, Tiny's passion for performing continued undimmed, his perseverance steadfast. But, more pertinently, he was irrevocably wed to his fantasy world to the very end.

'My greatest unfulfilled ambition,' Tiny told Playboy back in 1970, 'is to be one of the astronauts or even the first singer on the Moon. But most of all, I'd love to see Christ come back to crush the spirit of hate and make men put down their guns. I'd also like just one more hit single.'

* "Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you're doing worse than anyone else in the whole world." -- Miraslav Tichy, on the quality of the pictures he took with his homemade cameras.

April 19, 2010

Take what you have gathered from coincidence

Alice Neel, Eka, 1964

* Fantastic multi-media piece on DC's 9:30 Club which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

* New R. Stevie Moore song (video too), Shape of Change.

* "It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something." -- Ornette Coleman

April 16, 2010

Embrace the senile genius
Watch him reinvent the wheel

Scott Kannberg, SM in Japan, 2010

Suburban Pastoral
-- Lisa G. Stonestreet

Maybe there could have been
another life that led us here,
where we ended up:

mapless, dehydrated, telling stories
about cruelty to insects, about
setting little fires—tiny gods

with magnifying glasses. We could
have moved into another house,
maybe the one next door

with the rats, or the other side
with the dandelion problem.
French doors instead of sliding glass.

We got the ants, the picture window.
Plan A, berber, gazebo. Afternoons
where every moment slid down

silently into the moment before:
piling up like cigarette ends,
merit badges, a single summer

of sawdust and parch. Maybe another
life like that, one where it wouldn’t matter
how many fires, how long we ran the taps.

-- by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

April 15, 2010

making false hopes rhyme

Robert Bechtle, Alameda Gran Torino, 1974, oil on canvas

* Werner Herzog is working on a 3-D film that will take audiences inside a French cave containing drawings that are more than 30,000 years old:

It's a film that I'd like to make because I'm so fascinated about cave art," says Herzog in a series of filmed interviews on the blog, which we've reposted here. "It's still tough to bring equipment down. You are not allowed to touch the wall or the floor or anything. I can have only three people with me, and I can use only lights which must not create temperature. For each shot, because the technology is not really advanced, we had to build own camera from zero using a specific configuration of lenses and mirrors. We are doing something nobody has done with 3D."

Herzog will narrate the film himself, which comes as welcome news. His familiar Teutonic brogue adds so much enthusiastic flavoursome fervour to his documentary films, and the interviews suggest that we're in for another uniquely skewiff vision.

"What is also strange," Herzog reveals, "is that somebody [in the cave] started a painting and then they left. And it's known that 3,500 years later somebody continued the painting. And then a bear that hibernated over it left scratch marks. And over the scratch marks there was man, bear, man, bear, man, bear, man [over time]. It's like time does not occur – it's completely fantastic."

Despite his adoption of 3D for the project, Herzog is not an out-and-out convert to the new technology.

"I do it [3D] very reduced and as if it was the most natural way to do it," he says. "3D will always have one major problem, and that is when you look as a human being, normally only one eye looks dominantly at things. The other eye is mostly ignored. And only in specific cases – if somebody approaches you – all of a sudden the brain starts to use both eyes for establishing depth of field and understanding space.

"But it tires you when you are a spectator at a 3D movie, because you are forced to see with two eyes and two images superimposed. So 3D, in my opinion, will only work, in my opinion, for the big firework events like Avatar."

* Another graphic depicting how little money is made by most musicians.

* " The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token is he who has a tongue to tell, but must remain unspoken." -- Moondog

April 14, 2010

Like a Bowery bum when he finally understands
the bottle is empty and there's nothing left

Fred W. McDarrah, Franz Kline in His 14th Street Studio, April 7, 1961

Doll Poem
by Gregory Corso

A favorite doll
knows the pain of a child's farewell.
Buried in the crib in the attic it dies forever.
Candy-colors fade
long pants lead us elsewhere
and a child's hands are getting hair.
Chewed-pencils, clips, pennies in our pockets
where are they?
The child's body is longer
long as the earth
everybody walks on him, some on wheelchairs,
long mad envious journey.
Soda and fig-newtons will erupt from the mouth.

Mission Tire Factory, 1969
-- by Gary Soto

All through lunch Peter pinched at his crotch,
And Jesús talked about his tattoos,
And I let the flies crawl my arm, undisturbed,
Thinking it was wrong, a buck sixty five,
The wash of rubber in our lungs,
The oven we would enter, squinting
---because earlier in the day Manny fell
From his machine, and when we carried him
To the workshed (blood from
Under his shirt, in his pants)
All he could manage, in an ignorance
Outdone only by pain, was to take three dollars
From his wallet, and say:
"Buy some sandwiches. You guys saved my life."

-- by Philip Schultz

This morning I'm tired of the same newspapers and arguments.
I'm tired of sticking the same legs into the same pants,
the same hands poking out of the same sleeves, going west
and then east, heating up the same tea, watching the same sun
rise over the same horizon, the same trees shedding the same leaves.
Tired of climbing the same stairs to look out the same window
at the same street, tired of shaking the same hands, opening and
closing the same doors, dreaming the same dreams, saying hello
good morning happy birthday I'm so sorry please forgive me.

April 12, 2010

In the foothills of my mind

Ed Ruscha, You're A Dead Man, 2002

* From James Donovan's A Terrible Glory:

Crazy Horse (1840-1877), the bold war chief who defeated George Custer in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, was once called 'the strange man of the Oglalas.' It was an appropriate description, for Crazy Horse went his own way:

"This warrior-mystic was born in the late fall of 1840 near Bear Butte, outside modern-day Sturgis, South Dakota, on the northern edge of the Black Hills. His father, also named Crazy Horse, was an Oglala holy man; his mother, Rattle Blanket Woman, a Minneconjou. His actual birth name was Light Hair, for his fine, sandy brown locks. His light hair, combined with his light complexion and sharp features, caused more than one settler to mistake him for a white child. An uncle died when the boy was about four, and his mother, grief-stricken, committed suicide. More than most Lakotas, Crazy Horse's life would be colored by the loss of those close to him.

"When Crazy Horse was a boy, he went by the name of Curly, and he was known for his shy personality. Like all young Lakota males, he was regaled with stories and songs that celebrated the cult of the warrior and progressed from paternal instruction and childhood games that emphasized war skills to buffalo hunts and war parties, during which older boys assisted seasoned fighters with relatively safe duties such as tending the packhorses and equipment.
"As a young man, Curly was introverted and somewhat antisocial, to the point that others in his tribe considered him peculiar. Almost all Lakotas danced and sang socially, but Curly never would. 'He never spoke in council,' said a longtime friend, He Dog. 'He was a very quiet man except when there was fighting.' He took to the life of a warrior naturally. When he came of age and displayed conspicuous bravery in a fight with an enemy tribe, his father passed on his own name, Crazy Horse, to his son and took the name Worm for himself.

"When fully grown, Crazy Horse was five feet seven inches tall, slight, and wiry. He had a narrow face, a straight nose, and 'black eyes that hardly ever looked straight at a man,' according to a close friend. When the wife of a white scout encountered him in 1877, she thought him 'a very handsome young man,' despite a noticeable scar on his left cheek.

"Throughout the late 1850s and early 1860s, in dozens of raids and fights against enemy tribes such as the Crows and the Shoshones in and around the Powder River country, Crazy Horse proved his worth as a warrior. His reputation was so secure that sometimes he would drop back and allow others to count coup; once he did this for his younger brother, Little Hawk. He always led his men from the front, and unlike most Lakotas, he dismounted to fire his rifle. He used good judgment and planned soundly.

"In battle he eschewed ostentatious dress. Instead, he wore a simple eagle feather upside down on the back of his head, a cotton shirt and breechcloth, and moccasins. His waist-length hair was braided down both sides. With one finger, he would draw a zigzag streak of red earth down the center of his face. As a good-luck talisman, he wore a small white stone in a bag under his left arm. Whether due to this amulet or not, Crazy Horse was rarely injured, though nine horses were shot out from under him in battle. Only once was he badly wounded, in the leg, and that was before he began carrying the stone."

* Poets ranked by beard length.

* "Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.” -- Charles Mingus

April 9, 2010

Cue every memory at half-speed

Channa Horwitz, Pink to Burgundy Circle Variance No. 5, 2007

City Afternoon
-- by John Ashbery

A veil of haze protects this
Long-ago afternoon forgotton by everybody
In this photograph, most of them now
Sucked screaming through old age and death

If one could seize America
Or at least a fine forgetfulness
That seeps into our outline
Defining our volumes with a stain
That is fleeting too

But commemorates
Because it does define, after all:
Gray garlands, that threesome
Waiting for the light to change,
Air lifting the hair of one
Upside down in the reflecting pool.

I Told Myself
-- by Philip Whalen

I told myself that I wasn't going to het high today:
and I told myself that if I did get high
it wasn't going to be on acid --
but I thought to myself, well maybe
if I just broke a little corner off it
there'd still be an awful lot of it left...
a corner off today

-- by Mark Strand

A white room and a party going on
and I was standing with some friends
under a large gilt-framed mirror
that tilted slightly forward
over the fireplace.
We were drinking whiskey
and some of us, feeling no pain,
were trying to decide
what precise shade of yellow
the setting sun turned our drinks.
I closed my eyes briefly,
then looked up into the mirror:
a woman in a green dress leaned
against the far wall.
She seemed distracted,
the fingers of one hand
fidgeted with her necklace,
and she was staring into the mirror,
not at me, but past me, into a space
that might be filled by someone
yet to arrive, who at that moment
could be starting the journey
which would lead eventually to her.
Then, suddenly, my friends
said it was time to move on.
This was years ago,
and though I have forgotten
where we went and who we all were,
I still recall that moment of looking up
and seeing the woman stare past me
into a place I could only imagine,
and each time it is with a pang,
as if just then I were stepping
from the depths of the mirror
into that white room, breathless and eager,
only to discover too late
that she is not there.

April 8, 2010

in what language do you love
in what language do you live

Raul Zamora

* The Caribbean will perform at DC's THE VELVET LOUNGE, this Friday, April 9th at 10pm with the sweet sounds of Twins of a Gazelle and Ryan Holladay of the mighty Bluebrain (creators of the Cherry Blossom Boombox Walk among other things).

-- related: Interesting, sometimes (in the bestt way) strange gchat amongst the principals of the above bands.

* "I remember one night in Stockholm. I started to play what was in my soul. The promoter quickly got me offstage." -- Albert Ayler

April 7, 2010

Long night, short night
Big hellos and goodbyes
Dreams of conversation
Not a single ho-hum
How come the city it never sleeps at night

Gottfried Salzmann, Times Square (Feb. 3), 2008

Love Poem for Wednesday
-- by Sandra Beasley

You’re the day after Tuesday, before eternity.
You’re the day we ran out of tomatoes
and used tiny packets of ketchup instead.

You are salt, no salt, too much salt, a hangover.
You hold the breath of an abandoned cave.
Sometimes you surprise me with your

aurora borealis and I’ll pull over to watch you;
I’ll wait in the dark shivering fields of you.
But mostly, not. My students don’t care for you

or your lessons from the life of a minor god.
Can you hit the high C in our anthem?
Can you bench press a national disaster?

I fear for you, Wednesday. Your papers
are never in order. Your boots track in mud.
You’re the day I realized I didn’t even like him,

and the day I still said yes, yes, yes.
Sometimes I think you and I should elope,
and leave this house of cards to shuffle itself.

You are love, no love, too much love, a cuckold.
You are the loneliest of the three bears, hoping
to come home and find someone in your bed.

-- by Beth Woodcome

Emergency arrests summer and without a season
I am without night. A lack of it will not be grievous, but tremendous.

Tomorrow I will be called back to listless sheep
and endless women neighbors,

and I will go because someone says my mother could die.
I understand that there will be sun, even day, but that I won't see it.

Leaving here, I will rename this sea and call it gone.
There is a sense of hysteria with my vocabulary imploding so easily.

Leaving here, where it never gets stormy or dark,
even with the shades down, even with my hands over my eyes,

I will not agree to any form of love. I can not think of the possibilities
of a body next to me, a body in a bed, a body of infections.

I will go home and be good to my aunts who are crying.
I will be numbed, but carry what is left of tinctures

of evening and strawberry, fit to heal
things quietly, fit to stand up near sirens.

For My Wife
-- by Wesley McNair

How were we to know, leaving your two kids
behind in New Hampshire for our honeymoon
at twenty-one, that it was a trick of cheap
hotels in New York City to draw customers
like us inside by displaying a fancy lobby?
Arriving in our fourth-floor room, we found
a bed, a scarred bureau, and a bathroom door
with a cut on one side the exact shape
of the toilet bowl that was in its way
when I closed it. I opened and shut the door,
admiring the fit and despairing of it. You
discovered the initials of lovers carved
on the bureau's top in a zigzag, breaking heart.
How wrong the place was to us then,
unable to see the portents of our future
that seem so clear now in the naiveté
of the arrangements we made, the hotel's
disdain for those with little money,
the carving of pain and love. Yet in that room
we pulled the covers over ourselves and lay
our love down, and in this way began our unwise
and persistent and lucky life together.

April 5, 2010

Every day I look at the world from my window

Adam Ekberg, Aberration #8, 2006

* "Former Red Sox OF / Bill Lee crony Bernie Carbo is depicted as somewhat of a dimwit in Peter Gammons’ Beyond The 6th Game, but until now, the extent of Carbo’s troubles hasn’t been widely publicized. In Thursday’s Boston Globe, Carbo — currently drug free and leading a baseball themed evangelical ministry — tells the paper’s Stan Grossfield his 3-run, pinch-hit HR off the Reds’ Rawly Eastwick in the 8th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series occurred while he was high as a kite.

* Pavement reunion (thus far) as seen through YouTube.

-- related: A public apology to Stephen Malkmus.

* YouTube of a mic-less Bonnie Prince Billy & the Cairo Gang from this weekends show in Brooklyn.

* "It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." -- James A. Baldwin

April 2, 2010

As the music swells somehow stronger from adversity
Our hero finds his inner peace

Oleg Radvan, Anna, 2005

-- by Jack Spicer

Because they accused me of poems
That did not disturb the young
They gave me a pair of glasses
Filled with tinture of hemlock.
Because the young accused me
Of piles, horseradish, and bad dreams
They gave me three days
To burn down the city. What dialogues
(if they had let me.)
Could I have held with both of my enemies.

Sheep Trails are Fateful to Strangers
-- by Jack Spicer

Dante would have blamed Beatrice
If she turned up alive in a local bordello
Or Newton gravity
If apples fell upward
What I mean is words
Turn mysteriously against those who use them
Hello says the apple
Both of us were object.

A Book Of Music
-- by Jack Spicer

Coming at an end, the lovers
Are exhausted like two swimmers. Where
Did it end? There is no telling. No love is
Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves' boundaries
From which two can emerge exhausted, nor long goodbye
Like death.
Coming at an end. Rather, I would say, like a length
Of coiled rope
Which does not disguise in the final twists of its lengths
Its endings.
But, you will say, we loved
And some parts of us loved
And the rest of us will remain
Two persons. Yes,
Poetry ends like a rope.

April 1, 2010

I haven't seen ya
Since I saw ya in the newspaper
When your dress was grand and
Your eyes beamed happiness

Evelyn Hofer, Metropolitan, Paris, 1967

* Of interest, maybe:

-- Yasser Arafat was said not to have read a book in the last 40 years of his life, but to have spent innumerable hours enrapt by Tom and Jerry cartoons

-- Andrew Jackson was twelve when he enlisted to fight in the Revolutionary War

-- Jessica Lange was once a waitress in the Lion's Head. Eve Ensler was once a waitress in the Lion's Head

-- Not until a year after his burial at Sag Harbor did someone notice that the title of The Recognitions was misspelled on the back of William Gaddis's headstone

-- Stalin read Hemingway

-- Miles Davis's speedometer had already reached 105mph on New York's West Side Highway when a passenger asked if he should be driving so fast. I'm in here too, was Davis's concept of reassurance

* "I'm a poet, I'm life. You're an editor, you're death." -- said Gregory Corso to an unknown editor at the Black Horse Tavern. Following the statement the unknown editor punched Corso through the door and across the sidewalk