May 28, 2010

do something pretty while you can

Christopher Saah, Nightscene, 2004

This Poor Life; The Rain
and the Shining Guide:
The Nest of the Horse and the Scales of Eternity
Make a Pattern But I've got My Life Caught
In a Road Going Nowhere

-- by Kenneth Patchen

The empire is
Officially a goddamn bore

Money's antennae
Feel over the asses of everybody.

As far as that goes a fire ten miles high
Wouldn't warm some of these toads.
They shake my hand and their gloves stink
With the sweat of my people.

They ride a blind horse in a race to hell.
But they sing pretty fat now,
Try tickling me under the skin!
"I just met the most amusing writer. . . "
How perfectly snotty.

For the pittie o' 'em,
O for the pittie of their bloody ways. . .

As now I've said their death--
I'm sure they will know whose friend I am.

To A Certain Section of Our Population
-- by Kenneth Patchen

It is ordered now
That you push your beliefs
Up out of the filth high enough
For the inchworm to get their measure.

Letter to the Critic
-- by Carl Rakosi

There's no living with you
when you pass yourself off and an interpreter.
For whom is this game played?

Are you less entitled to imagination than the poet?
Django on a borrowed string,
I'll vote for that!

May 27, 2010

I picked up my bag
and went looking for a place to hide

Harry Callahan, Eleanor, Chicago, 1949

* * From a 2003 interview of Hunter S. Thompson. excerpt:

MB: You write passionately about the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention. Was that the death of the American Dream for you? [Protests against the convention were met with unprecedented police brutality]

HST: No, it was just the beginning of the fight. I would say right about now, boy, we're losing. They've got this country turned into a police state. I'm not sure how that term would resound with you, but a police state is a heavy situation.

MB: Well, Bush just authorized the U.S. military to kill American citizens overseas if they're suspected of being terrorists. ["THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Dec. 4, 2002–American citizens working for al-Qaida overseas can legally be targeted and killed by the CIA under President Bush's rules for the war on terrorism, U.S. officials say."]

HST: Yeah, suspected of terrorism. It's not so bizarre that our conversation tonight could be seen by someone in the police station as sympathy for terrorists. What's going on here? Valhalla. All you have to do is keep moving west, and you'll still get arrested.

MB: Bush Sr. has been very quiet these days. Do you think he's still running the show?

HST: The answer is yes, but I wouldn't go out looking for a boogeyman. He's running it in the figurehead sense that his son is the president. I still remember the night, that horrible night I watched the Bush family [on the evening of the 2000 election], the old man laughing like a hyena. I believed Gore could win, and when they called–the whole family, gathered together in Texas–they looked like little piggies, and then the old man and that horrible laugh…

MB: The Bush family history is terrifying. They've been in business with Hitler, Saddam, Osama… [George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, had his stocks in Nazi steel manufacturing removed by Congress in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.]

HST: And they're Jesus freaks on top of it. Carter was one and I loved Jimmy Carter–we're still good friends–but this is a stupid Jesus freak. Carter deserved the Nobel Prize.

MB: Do you believe the end of the world is coming?

HST: Yeah, it is the end of the world. What, do you think it's going to come on a TV show, right on schedule? Shit. They've been digging this for a long time. Read the fucking Book of Revelations… The end of the world is not just coming; it's here. Until Bush came in it was still possible to be successful, happy. That was two years ago, but now the wheel is turning and I don't think what we're in now will possibly get any better.
MB: In the new book you admit you secretly pray to God.

HST: No, this is far beyond God.

MB: God can't save us now?

HST: There is no God.

MB: A lot of the figures from the '60s have passed on in the last 10 years–Ginsberg, Leary, Kesey–how does it feel to see that era fading away?

HST: You morbid little bastard… Yeah, how does it feel to be the last buffalo? Fuck, I don't know. I don't think anybody knows… When you talk about the '60s, you're talking about people who were scared out of their senses, trying to get the feeling for what the fuck was going on.

[Thompson suddenly screams for his assistant to turn the television volume up to eardrum-shattering levels. The History Channel is airing former U.S. ambassador Adlai Stevenson's Oct. 25, 1962 address to the United Nations General Assembly, demanding that the U.S.S.R. immediately withdraw its nuclear warheads from Cuba. The address on behalf of JFK is widely credited as having prevented the Cold War from going nuclear.]

"This one always gets to me," Thompson says wistfully, captivated for the entire duration of the speech. "You know, it haunts me that I never pursued the 'who killed Kennedy' story. I believe it's the one story I consider a failure. Yeah, I failed, and now the assumption is that obedience is normal–the president is king."

* Ten maps that changed the world.

* "Anything I can sing, I call a song. Anything I can't sing, I call a poem." -- Bob Dylan

May 26, 2010

repair is the dream
of the broken thing

Andreas Gefeller, Untitled (Stadium), 2002

* From The Caribbean:

Hello, we'll be playing at Zebulon in Brooklyn this coming Friday, May 28th. Some of the songs will be off of our new record, Discontinued Perfume, which is coming out this fall on Hometapes. Others will be from other records. Regardless, hope you can be there if you live nearby. Or even if you don't. All of us have beards now, so it may be confusing, but we'll be patient with you. Zebulon is located at 258 Wythe Avenue. The show starts around 9pm and costs nothing.

Artistic Selfishness
--- by Charles Bukowski

what's genius?
I don't know
but I do know that
the difference between a madman adn a
professional is
a pro does as well as he can within what
he has set out to do
and a madman
does exceptionally well at what
he can't help

now I am looking
into this unshaded lightbulb
at 11:37 p.m. on a Monday night
tiny names
Van Gogh


Yes Yes
-- by Charles Bukowski

when God created love He didn't help most
when God created dogs He didn't help dogs
when God created plants that was average
when God created hate we had a standard utility
when God created me He created me
when God created the monkey He was asleep
when He created the giraffe He was drunk
when He created narcotics He was high
and when He created suicide He was low

when He created you lying in bed
He knew what He was doing
He was drunk and He was high
and He created the mountains and the sea and fire at the same time

He made some mistakes
but when He created you lying in bed
He came all over His Blessed Universe.

Fuck Poem
--by Joyce Peseroff

The rooms live on.
When we finish, they continue,
the walls creating the same space,
holding the same air that held
our bodies when we
held our bodies,
preserving the scene
when we have abandoned it
for some novel sunset, some television,
dinner at a friend's.
The bed is forced into it.
The lamps compose themselves in darkness,
the turntable turns at 33-1/3 revolutions
per minute for hours
after we have forgotten the problem,
and I think it's amazing.

May 24, 2010

Wake up! It's a Monday morning

Lisa Yuskavage, Rubble, 2007


* 50 greatest samples in hip-hop history.

* Puce Moment, by Jonathan Halper.

* "The poet lives by exaggeration and makes himself known through misunderstandings." -- Elias Canetti

May 21, 2010

You say its your birthday
Its my birthday too

Bob Gruen, Patti Smith On Knees, Central Park 1976

In Plain View
-- by Frank Stanford

A white rose fell out of my lapel
outside the church house
like a hand with too much sun
A horse trampled it
The barefoot rider who was
just passing through
leaned over backwards
and picked it up with his toes
He said Sorry
and I said Much obliged
And I took it from his dark foot
and gave it to his fine horse

The Secret of Life
-- by Ellen Goldsmith

I grabbed the streetcar from Fisherman's Wharf
to the Ferry Building to save my feet for later.
My dollar bill, wrinkled and worn, resisted disappearing
into the slot. I stuffed the transfer
in my pocket without looking.

As the streetcar rounded the Embarcadero,
I called my mother-in-law with mother's day wishes,
imagined the conversation
I'd have with mine, were she alive.
On exiting, I asked the conductor
how long the transfer would last.
I gave you extra time, he said.
Just show it. Hardly anyone looks.
It's good until it's taken away

A Dark Summer Day
-- by Denise Levertov

I want some funky jazz band
to wake me,
tell me life's been dreaming me.
I want something like love, but made
out of string or pebbles,
oboe of torn air
to tear me to my senses.
Emily's black birds
don't bate their banjos nor the throbbing
of their quick hearts.
The leaves part to reveal
more leaves, and darkness,
darkness and the intense
poised sequence of leaves.
I want to take that last of all leaves
between my lips and taste
its weight in stone.

May 20, 2010

there's no easy way to be free

Debra Bermingham, Three Thousand Dreams Explained, 2001

* From Bill Bryson's The History of the Toilet:

"Perhaps no word in English has undergone more transformations in its lifetime than 'toilet'. Originally, in about 1540, it was a kind of cloth, a diminutive form of "toile", a word still used to describe a type of of linen.

"Then it became a cloth for use on dressing tables. Then it became the items on the dressing table (whence 'toiletries'). Then it became the dressing table itself, then the act of dressing, then the act of receiving visitors while dressing, then the dressing room itself, then any kind of private room near a bedroom, then a room used lavatorially, and finally the lavatory itself. Which explains why 'toilet water' in English can describe something you would gladly daub on your face or, simultaneously, 'water in a toilet.' ...

"Most sewagestillwent into cesspits, but these were commonly neglected and the contents often seeped into neighbouring water supplies. In the worst cases they overflowed. The people who cleaned cesspits were known as nightsoil men, and if there has ever been a less enviable way to make a living I believe it has yet to be described. They worked in teams of three or four. One man - the most junior, we may assume - was lowered into the pit itself to scoop waste into buckets. A second stood by the pit to raise and lower the buckets, and the third and fourth carried the buckets to a waiting cart. Workers ran the risk of asphyxiation and even of explosions since they worked by the light of a lantern in powerfully gaseous environments.

"In St Giles, the worst of London"s rookeries - scene of Hogarth's Gin Lane - 54,000 people were crowded into just a few streets. Such masses of humanity naturally produced enormous volumes of waste - far more than any system of cesspits could cope with. In one report, an inspector recorded visiting two houses in St Giles where the cellars were filled with human waste to a depth of three feet. The river was a perpetual 'flood of liquid manure,' as one observer put it. The streams that fed into the Thames were often even worse than the Thames itself. The river Fleet was in 1831 'almost motionless with solidifying filth.'

"Into this morass came something that proved, unexpectedly, to be a disaster: the flush toilet.Flush toilets of a type had been around for some time. The very first was built by John Harington, godson to Queen Elizabeth I. When Harington demonstrated his invention to her in 1597, she expressed great delight and had it immediately installed in Richmond Palace. But it was a novelty well ahead of its time and almost 200 years passed before Joseph Bramah, a cabinet maker and locksmith, patented the first modern flush toilet in 1778. It caught on in a modest way. Many others followed. But early toilets often didn't work well. Sometimes they backfired, filling the room with even more of what the horrified owner had very much hoped to be rid of. Until the development of the U-bend and water trap - that little reservoir of water that returns to the bottom of the bowl after each flush - every toilet bowl acted as a conduit to the smells of cesspit and sewer. The backwaft of odors, particularly in hot weather, could be unbearable.

"This problem was resolved by one of the great and surely most extraordinarily appropriate names in history, that of Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), who was born into a poor family in Yorkshire and reputedly walked to London at the age of 11. There he became an apprentice plumber in Chelsea. Crapper invented the classic and still familiar toilet with an elevated cistern activated by the pull of a chain. Called the Marlboro Silent Water Waste Preventer, it was clean, leak-proof, odor-free and wonderfully reliable, and their manufacture made Crapper very rich and so famous that it is often assumed that he gave his name to the slang term "crap" and its many derivatives.

"In fact, 'crap' in the lavatorial sense is very ancient and 'crapper' for a toilet is an Americanism not recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary before 1922. Crapper's name, it seems, was just a happy accident."

* "The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left." -- Jerry M. Wright

May 19, 2010

Some people go for those sultry evenings
Sipping cocktails in the blue, red and grey
But I like every minute of the day

happy birthday Pete!

The Huntsman's Resumé
-- by Angela Vogel

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

Happily Planting the Beans too Early
-- by Jack Gilbert

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

My Heart
-- by Frank O'Hara

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

May 18, 2010

And I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T.Rex

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (I don't know why), 1985

* The latest British drinking craze: eyeballing. excerpt:

"Even as drunken student antics go, it was, by any stretch of the imagination, a disturbing scene. Surrounded by cheering rugby players, applauded by fellow members of the university netball team, 19-year-old Melissa Fontaine tipped back her head and giggled as fellow drinkers in the Students' Union bar pulled apart her eyelids and allowed them to pour a shot of vodka into her left eye.

"'Vodka eyeballing', as it is known in student circles, is the latest drinking craze to sweep through Britain's universities.
Those who do it claim that it induces feelings of drunkenness at break-neck speeds, providing an instant high."

* J.G. Ballard was asked in 1992 by the editors of Zone to contribute to a special issue on the body, and suggested possible topics. Rather than tackle them one at a time, he provided short reflections on each of them. Here are some of the topics Ballard discussed:

War: The possibility at last exists that war may be defeated on the lingustic plane. If war is an extreme metaphor, we may defeat it by devising metaphors that are even more extreme.

Telephone: A shrine to the desperate hope that one day the world will listen to us.

Forensics: On the autopsy table science and pornography meet and fuse.

Hallucinogenic drugs: The kaleidoscope's view of the eye.

Pornography: The body's chaste and unerotic dream of itself.

The Warren Commission Report: The novelization of the Zapruder film.

Money: The original digital clock.

Personal Computers: Perhaps unwisely, the brain is subcontracting many of its core functions, creating a series of branch economies that may one day amalgamate and mount a management buyout.

Furniture and Industrial design: Our furniture constitutes an external constellation of our skin areas and body postures. It's curious that the least imaginative of all forms of furniture has been the bed.

Genocide: The economics of mass production applied to self-disgust.

* "We accept too damned many things on the explanations of people who could have good reasons for lying." --Frank Herbert

May 17, 2010

the soul always yearns

Ron Mueck, Untitled (Big Man), 2000

* From Harper's June 2010:

-- Percentage of all U.S. stimulus funds for renewable energy since last September that have gone to foreign companies: 79

-- Percentage of its public schools that Kansas City, Missouri, will close before the school year begins: 46

-- Chances that a school cafeteria does not serve either fresh fruits or raw vegetables daily: 2 in 5

-- Percentage, by revenue, of PepsiCo's products that the company classifies as "good for you": 18

-- Percentage that it classifies as "fun for you" or "better for you" 82

-- Percentage change since the fall of 2008 in total DEA seizures of marijuana: +94

* From a 1999 article by Douglas Adams:

"So people complain that there's a lot of rubbish online, or that it's dominated by Americans, or that you can't necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can't 'trust' what people tell you on the web anymore than you can 'trust' what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can't easily answer back -- like newspapers, television or granite. Hence 'carved in stone.' What should concern us is not that we can't take what we read on the internet on trust -- of course you can't, it's just people talking -- but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV -- a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no 'them' out there. It's just an awful lot of 'us'." [via]

* "Electronic aids, particularly domestic computers, will help the inner migration, the opting out of reality. Reality is no longer going to be the stuff out there, but the stuff inside your head. It's going to be commercial and nasty at the same time.” -- J.G. Ballard

May 14, 2010

Art is denser than a Hockey puck

Stephen Shore, Natural Bridge New York, July 1974

A Book Full of Pictures
-- by Charles Simic

Father studied theology through the mail
And this was exam time.
Mother knitted. I sat quietly with a book
Full of pictures. Night fell.
My hands grew cold touching the faces
Of dead kings and queens.

There was a black raincoat
in the upstairs bedroom
Swaying from the ceiling,
But what was it doing there?
Mother's long needles made quick crosses.
They were black
Like the inside of my head just then.

The pages I turned sounded like wings.
"The soul is a bird," he once said.
In my book full of pictures
A battle raged: lances and swords
Made a kind of wintry forest
With my heart spiked and bleeding in its branches.

-- by Thurston Moore

sonic youth is playing
a tiny club in new orleans
with unwound and polvo and
the place is a pressure cooker ready to blow. a girl in
the audience scales the club wall
and stands
on a lighting rig
beam. we have to
stop playing and try to coax
her down. kim asks her why she is up there.
she explains she can’t see and for $30
she wants to see. we tell her
that tickets
are only $15 and she confesses
she had to buy one
for her boyfriend. kim sez,
“that was yr first mistake.”

-- by Deborah Ager

Over the fence, the dead settle in
for a journey. Nine o'clock.
You are alone for the first time
today. Boys asleep. Husband out.

A beer bottle sweats in your hand,
and sea lavender clogs the air
with perfume. Think of yourself.
Your arms rest with nothing to do

after weeks spent attending to others.
Your thoughts turn to whether
butter will last the week, how much
longer the car can run on its partial tank of gas.

May 13, 2010

I wish a was a trapper
I would give thousand pelts
To sleep with Pocahontas
And find out how she felt

Jenn Verrier, 2008

* From 2005: Uncle Bob Pollard'sLife Lessons. excerpt:

Three-way phone conversations can blow me.

Real friends come to see you play even if they don’t like your music anymore.

Everything seeks perfection but never achieves it. Imperfection is better. Try it. It’s easier to attain.

Anger is a twisted form of courage. It wishes to obliterate fear.

In the early days of Guided By Voices, when no one was listening, I was impatient. I used to tire of people in the band very quickly. I had physical altercations with them. I even resorted to bullshit tactics, like telling the band I was quitting and we were breaking up, then forming again a month later with new members. I have learned to allow people to exist, grow, and find out who they are in the band, to give them all the time they need. As long as they are enthusiastic about the music, they can do whatever they want.

Lo-fi is like any genre. If you have the songs, the attitude, and the vision, it’s going to be inspiring. If you don’t, it’s going to be lifeless. Lo-fi was the last truly charming and inspirational movement, the perfect extension of punk. Not only did you not have to know how to play, you didn’t even have to worry whether it sounded good by contemporary production standards.

Sing, scream, whistle, drink, and have a good time every night.

True culture and the enhancement of life are being devoured by technological progress.

We are all gods. You can never underestimate the creative potential of a human being. Nor the destructive potential.

* Escort bludgeoned hotel valet for calling yellow cab instead of sedan: mug shot of the month.

* “In all Arabic music, whether dance, song, or elegy, the duende’s arrival is greeted with energetic cries of Allah! Allah!, which is so close to the Olé of the bullfight that who knows if it is not the same thing?” -- Federico Garcia Lorca

May 12, 2010

and it's getting late now
everything is spent now
wonder where it went now
never get to sleep now

Alex Gross, Oblivion, 2007

Society for the Dissolution of Learning
-- by Angela Ball

A scientist reports that evolution is
"A factory for the almost impossible,"

So, I've decided to go there.
I am a seminary for the pretty close to impetuous.

A nonscientist, I see the creation of life
As a kind of bulk mailing,
Much of which arrived
At the wrong address.

My extensively shaky reading habits might help:
"Our world," says John Lukacs, "has come to the edge of disaster
Precisely because of its preoccupation with justice."
I agree! I resolve to abandon the pursuit of sense,
Which turns intentions into roller skates
And revelations into laundry.

Sentimental Education
-- by Tony Hoagland

And when we were eight, or nine,
our father took us back into the Alabama woods,
found a rotten log, and with his hunting knife

pried off a slab of bark
to show the hundred kinds of bugs and grubs
that we would have to eat in a time of war.

"The ones who will survive," he told us,
looking at us hard,
"are the ones who are willing to do anything."
Then he popped one of those pale slugs
into his mouth and started chewing.

And that was Lesson Number 4
in The Green Beret Book of Childrearing.

I looked at my pale, scrawny, knock-kneed, bug-eyed brother,
who was identical to me,
and saw that, in a world that ate the weak,
we didn't have a prayer,

and next thing I remember, I'm working for a living
at a boring job
that I'm afraid of losing,

with a wife whose lack of love for me
is like a lack of oxygen,
and this dead thing in my chest
that used to be my heart.

Oh, if he were alive, I would tell him, "Dad,
you were right! I ate a lot of stuff
far worse than bugs."

And I was eaten, I was eaten,
I was picked up
and chewed
and swallowed

down into the belly of the world.

What We Want
-- by Linda Pastan

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names--
now they want us.
But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don't remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.

May 10, 2010

god put a song
in my palm
that you can't read

Natalia Fabia, Rock 'n' Roll Luau, 2008

* Graph a Story with Kurt Vonngeut. [via]

* Byran Charles' 33 1/3 book about Pavement's Wowee Zowee reads like a Yelp review; probably best to pass on this one. It's one of only a few mishaps in the 33 1/3 series.

* Help Mariage Blanc master their album.

* "[A] lot of this stuff, it’s nice, I would like to get laid out of it a couple of times, which has not in fact happened. I didn’t get laid on this tour. The thing about fame is interesting, although I would have liked to get laid on the tour and I did not." -- David Foster Wallace, just after his book tour for Infinite Jest

May 7, 2010

you can become all the good things you believe
you can live life as long
just as long as you are free

Anthony Campuzano, Confessions of a Hope Fiend, 2007

The Speaker
-- by Louis Jenkins

The speaker points out that we don't really have
much of a grasp of things, not only the big things,
the important questions, but the small everyday
things. "How many steps up to your back yard? What
is the name of your district representative? What
did you have for breakfast? What is your wife's
shoe size? Can you tell me the color of your
sweetheart's eyes? Do you remember where you
parked the car?" The evidence is overwhelming.
Most of us never truly experience life. "We drift
through life in daydream, missing the true
richness and joy that life has to offer." When the
speaker has finished we gather around to sing
a few inspirational songs. You and I stand at the
back of the group and hum along since we have
forgotten most of the words.

Today’s Smells
-- by Eric Amling

Singed foliage from a time machine in the Ozarks.
The rain tarp over an experimental anniversary gift.
The ventriloquist’s hand, in the dressing room, after
An intense set.

A porcelain bowl of discarded hearing aids.
Haunted guano by an Irish bat on historic rubble.
An open cold-cream jar on the midday windowsill at the K-spa
Reminded me of ox red quartz in the showy plaza of a blood cell.

A Gene Clark cassette sandwiched in the Mazda seats.
The X-ray of a complicated handshake.
Wrestling trading cards drizzled with King Cobra.
A piñata of a corncob pipe filled with baby corncob pipes.

Much later, stink lines from a bog within meters of a crayon
Factory, its consistency like that of a child’s brain.

May 6, 2010

it's hard to get things done
with everybody playin' dumb

William Christenberry, Pure Oil Sign Alabama, 1977

* An oral history of Galaxie 500. excerpt:

Kramer: On Fire, it's a masterpiece. I love the way they captured this sense of like a longing, a desperation for love and joy, it was a search-- the way the music really matched the lyrics.

Dean Wareham: "Strange" is about waiting in line to buy Twinkies at a convenience store on Massachusetts Avenue. I ate Twinkies for dessert (at lunchtime) almost every day when I lived in Boston (at least when I was on a temp job).

Michael Azerrad (Writer): The first time I saw Galaxie 500 was at the first Knitting Factory on Houston Street in New York, somewhere around On Fire. The thing that struck me right away was Dean's very intense stage presence. He glared out at the audience like that angry teenaged kid in the original Star Trek who would make people disappear by grimacing with his eyes rolling back in his head. Then this elegant throb from Naomi, who was the picture of Zen-like poise in a slo-mo maelstrom. Damon worked up a constant oceanic wash of cymbals; he barely seemed to hit the drums and yet clearly drove the music, it was just extraordinary. I knew they were influenced by the Velvet Underground but to me it sounded like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons doing heavy trank.

Naomi Yang: Making On Fire was a very happy experience. I think we were at a point where we were accomplished enough musicians that were able to play what we had in our head. There was a generally optimistic feeling about the direction of the band and we were getting very positive attention from the critics. It was a lot of fun and the possibilities seemed endless.

* Pretty neat: a google map noting all the places mentioned in Mountain Goats songs.

* "I quit my job just to quit. I didn't quit my job to write fiction. I just didn't want to work anymore." -- Don DeLillo

May 5, 2010

fiery pianos wash up on a foggy coast

bart van leeuwen, andy warhol lifting weights

Saturday Morning
-- by Hugo Williams

Everyone who made love the night before
was walking around with flashing red lights
on top of their heads-a white-haired old gentlemen,
a red-faced schoolboy, a pregnant woman
who smiled at me from across the street
and gave a little secret shrug,
as if the flashing red light on her head
was a small price to pay for what she knew.

-- by Hugo Williams

The smell of ammonia in the entrance hall.
The racing bike. The junk mail.
The timer switch whose single naked bulb
allowed us as far as the first floor.
The backs of your legs
as you went ahead of me up the stairs.

The landing where we paused for breath
and impatient key searching.
The locks which would never open quickly enough
to let us in.
The green of the paintwork we slid down
as if we had nowhere else to go.

Dutch Interiors
-- by Jane Kenyon

Christ has been done to death
in the cold reaches of northern Europe
a thousand thousand times.
Suddenly bread
and cheese appear on a plate
beside a gleaming pewter beaker of beer.

Now tell me that the Holy Ghost
does not reside in the play of light
on cutlery!

A Woman makes lace,
with a moist-eyed spaniel lying
at her small shapely feet.
Even the maid with the chamber pot
is here; the naughty, red-cheeked girl. . . .

And the merchant's wife, still
in her yellow dressing gown
at noon, dips her quill into India ink
with an air of cautious pleasure.

May 4, 2010

I still keep a suitcase in Berlin

Daniel Richter, Blue, 1995

* Nuggets from a conversation with Ian McCulloch:

- Steven Gerrard is the best footballer ever. As good as Pele.

- Bo-no. I hate that [expletive] [expletive]. When I started saying Bo-no it's because that's how it looked like it was written. You say pho-no. You don't say fawn-o.

- All that matters to me is that I know I've [expletive] got the greatest voice on the [expletive] planet.

- "The Killing Moon" is the greatest song of all time. It's about everything. I knew when I wrote it, that it was the greatest [expletive] song of all time.

- Shakespeare's even better than Bob Dylan and "The Killing Moon." Luckily he couldn't sing.

- Bob Dylan - don't you think he's written too many songs? Leonard Cohen didn't write too many songs. If Dylan made 20 albums of all of the best stuff, he'd still have another 20 albums of the best stuff.

[Question: Have you ever met [Dylan]?] He's never met me. Have you ever met him? He's never met you. Do you want to meet him? Do you want to meet him in Liverpool? Because I'm the King of Liverpool. And he'll say, "Oh, I love 'The Killing Moon.'" And I'll say, "Well, it's the greatest song ever written." And he'll say, "Well, what about 'Love Minus Zero'?" "Yeah, what about it?"

- [America has] the worst sports. Baseball, [expletive] basketball. I can't understand basketball. The basket's too high! But at least it involves a ball. Even talking about baseball puts me to sleep. It's like cricket for [suckers].

* It was 40 years ago today.

* Check out LuShae Jewelry if you are looking for rings, earrings or bracelets. Quality construction, cool designs, quick turnaround and excellent customer service aside, their dangling earrings do hypnotize.

* Follow dustcongress on Twitter.

* "I mean, art for art's sake is ridiculous. Art is for the sake of one's needs." -- Carl Andre