November 30, 2010

It's raining triple sec in Tchula

Albert Oehlen, Song X, 2004

* Excerpt from James McGrath Morris' Pulitzer"

"By 1890, 80 percent of New York City's population was either foreign-born or of foreign parentage. Joseph Pulitzer, an immigrant himself, bought and also-ran New York World newspaper and transformed it into the most widely read and influential paper in the world by using sensational headlines and short sentences to attract his audience:

"The paper abandoned its old, dull headlines. In place of BENCH SHOW OF DOGS: PRIZES AWARDED ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE MEETING IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN on May 10 came SCREAMING FOR MERCY, HOW THE CRAVEN CORNETTI MOUNTED THE SCAFFOLD on May 12. Two weeks later the World''s readers were greeted with BAPTIZED IN BLOOD, on top of a story, complete with a diagram, on how eleven people were crushed to death in a human stampede when panic broke out in a large
crowd enjoying a Sunday stroll on the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge. In a city where half a dozen newspapers offered dull, similar fare to readers each morning, Pulitzer's dramatic headlines made the World stand out like a racehorse among draft horses.

"If the headline was the lure, the copy was the hook. Pulitzer could write all the catchy headlines he wanted, but it was up to the reporters to win over readers. He pushed his staff to give him simplicity and color. He admonished them to write in a buoyant, colloquial style comprising simple nouns, bright verbs, and short, punchy sentences. If there was a 'Pulitzer formula,' it was a story written so simply that anyone could read it and so colorfully that no one would forget it. The question 'Did you see that in the World?' Pulitzer instructed his staff, should be asked every day and something should be designed to cause this.

"Pulitzer had an uncanny ability to recognize news in what others ignored. He sent out his reporters to mine the urban dramas that other papers confined to their back pages. They returned with stories that could leave no reader unmoved. Typical, for instance, was the World's front-page tale, which ran soon after Pulitzer took over, of the destitute and widowed Margaret Graham. She had been seen by dockworkers as she walked on the edge of a pier in the East River with an infant in her arms and a two-year-old girl clutching her skirt. 'All at once the famished mother clasped the feeble little girl round her waist and, tottering to the brink of the wharf, hurled both her starving young into the river as it whirled by. She stood for a moment on the edge of the stream. The children were too weak and spent to struggle or to cry. Their little helpless heads dotted the brown tide for an instant, then they sank out of sight. The men who looked on stood spellbound.' Graham followed her children into the river but was saved by the onlookers and was taken to jail to face murder charges.

"For Pulitzer a news story was always a story. He pushed his writers to think like Dickens, who wove fiction from the sad tales of urban Victorian London, to create compelling entertainment from the drama of the modern city. To the upper classes, it was sensationalism. To the lower and working classes, it was their life. When they looked at the World, they found stories about their world.

"In the Lower East Side's notorious bars, known as black and tans, or at dinner in their cramped tenements, men and women did not discuss society news, cultural events, or happenings in the investment houses. Rather, the talk was about the baby who fell to his death from a roof-top, the brutal beating that police officers dispensed to an unfortunate waif, or the rising cost of streetcar fares to the upper reaches of Fifth Avenue and the mansions needing servants. The clear, simple prose of the World drew in these readers, many of whom were immigrants struggling to master their first words of English. Writing about the events that mattered in their lives in a way they could understand, Putitzer's World gave these New Yorkers a sense of belonging and a sense of value. In one stroke, he simultaneously elevated the common man and took his spare change to fuel the World's profits. ...

"Pulitzer found readers where other newspaper publishers saw a threat. Immigrants were pouring into New York at a rate never before seen. By the end of the decade, 80 percent of the city's population was either foreign-born or of foreign parentage. Only the World seemed to consider the stories of this human tide as deserving news coverage, The other papers wrote about it; the World wrote for it."

* "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." --Henny Youngman

November 29, 2010

I could look in your face
for a thousand years
it's like a civil war
of pain and cheer

Karin Davie, Distraction, 1999

* From Harper's December 2010:

-- Value of economic-recovery bonds the State of Louisiana has sold since Hurricane Katrina : $5,900,000,000

-- Percentage of the revenue that has been spent on projects in New Orleans: 1

-- Percentage spent on the Lower Ninth Ward: 0

-- Percentage spent on the state's oil industry: 29

-- Percentage change in the U.S. suicide rate for every 500 meters above sea level: +17

-- Number of poisonous dead mice the USDA airdropped into Guam this year to eradicate an invasive snake species: 316

-- Number of episode of Happy Days that aired after the one in which the Fonz jumped a shark: 164

* “It would be easier to pay off the national debt overnight than to neutralize the long-range effects of our national stupidity” -- Frank Zappa

November 23, 2010

Your black cards can make you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table

Stephen Miles, William S. Burroughs After Dinner Joint

"The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values." -- William S. Burroughs

A Thanksgiving Prayer
-- by William S. Burroughs

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for "Kill a Queer for
Christ" stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind the
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

-- Happy Thanksgiving. Back Monday.

November 22, 2010

grounded fireflies are little stars that are dying

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1957

* What a fucking ripoff...and its $30 more to ship...

* Make the Day Out of Range: A free sampling of songs by The Caribbean recorded between 2000 and 2008. There are some real gems in the compilation, starting with the first song, The Go From Tactical. Check it Out... And look for their next album, Discontinued Perfume, coming soon soon soon...

* If you haven't read Joseph MOncure March's The Wild Party, do so now.

* “Wherever you go you carry in your ears the sound of blood rushing through your veins.” --John Cale

November 19, 2010

mystery train
three way plane
expressway to your skull

Todd Hido, Waters Edge, 2008

This Song is for You
-- by Hersch Silverman

I'm feelin' high and happy
High enough to sing a reefer song
You are my lotus blossom
My sunken treasure
My stratosphere where flamingos fly
I don't know why
But it's only 3 o'clock in the morning and I'm feelin' high and happy
Must be the stuff is here and it's mellow
And it's voodoo hoodoo
That's the way it is
Where there's a jumpin' in a julip joint
A-doin' the head-rag hop
Hey let's boogie
The moon is full
This song is for you
And I don't care what time it is.

It Can't Be True
-- by Michael Brownstein

That we belong to one of the last generations
To see an uncontaminated sky
And walk through enough forest
Stretching for hundreds of square miles
Uncharted and completely surrounded by itself
Holding us because being there
Is a real suprise, vast and everyday
And not just the unspoiled tip
Of an island fenced off by the gov't.
For one brief, clumsy weekend
Fucking away from the glare of the city's
Shiny hallucination

-- by Mark Strand

There is a girl you like so you tell her
your penis is big, but that you cannot get yourself
to use it. Its demands are ridiculous, you say,
even self-defeating, but to be honored, somehow,
briefly, inconspicuously in the dark.

When she closes her eyes in horror,
you take it all back. You tell her you're almost
a girl yourself and can understand why she is shocked.
When she is about to walk away, you tell her
you have no penis, that you don't

know what got into you. You get on your knees.
She suddenly bends down to kiss your shoulder and you know
you're on the right track. You tell her you want
to bear children and that is why you seem confused.
You wrinkle your brow and curse the day you were born.

She tries to calm you, but you lose control.
You reach for her panties and beg forgiveness as you do.
She squirms and you howl like a wolf. Your craving
seems monumental. You know you will have her.
Taken by storm, she is the girl you will marry.

November 17, 2010

You're coming out of your shell
You've got a beautiful view

David FeBland, Downtime

Between Seasons
-- by Rob Schlegel

Walking the neighborhood streets I glanced
Into a lit window, behind which a man was standing
Staring into the white of the living-room wall

And the privacy within my head was suddenly
Less private as he turned his face and locked
My eyes in his, which startled me, so I began

To hum a minor tune, as if joining too late
An orchestra's final song and just then he invited
Me in, removed my clothes before covering

My body with red paint and pressing me
Against the wall he said Once you are gone
This will be the proof you became something

More than who you are, but outside, the flowers
Grew bleak in the garden's dim bloom and
The minor tune I had started was still going on.

November, 1967
-- by Joyce Sutphen

Dr. Zhivago was playing at the Paramount
Theater in St. Cloud. That afternoon,
we went into Russia,

and when we came out, the snow
was falling—the same snow
that fell in Moscow.

The sky had turned black velvet.
We'd been through the Revolution
and the frozen winters.

In the Chevy, we waited for the heater
to melt ice on the windshield,
clapping our hands to keep warm.

On the highway, these two things:
a song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
and that semi-truck careening by.

Now I travel through the dark without you
and sometimes I turn up the radio, hopeful
the way you were, no matter what.

One Day
-- Jack Hirschman

I'm gonna give up writing and just paint
I'm gonna give up painting and just sing
I'm gonna give up singing and just sit
I'm gonna give up sitting and just breathe
I'm gonna give up breathing and just die
I'm gonna give up dying and just love
I'm gonna give up loving and just write.

November 15, 2010

waking you up to close the bar

Polly Apfelbaum, Rainbow Park 2, 2006

* From a Melody Maker column written by Pete Townshend, published March 13, 1971:

When Zappa first talked to Keith and I about his film 200 Motels, he said it was "All about how touring makes you crazy." I said I felt the opposite. Touring keeps me sane, I said.

His lady friend laughed and at that point they figured, I suppose, that we'd already gone over the ridge last tour. I can't help feeling, especially at times like this, with the group rehearsing, never appearing before an audience, how important it is to tour.

The WHO go insane when they aren't touring. Maybe that would make a good film. "200 Rehearsals."

As usual everything is a year late, the songs, the script, the energy. The point is that if you're doing gigs, playing halls, facing people, it somehow keeps you in touch with their stand towards you. You can feel their reactions and moods as a mass, and make decisions about your music and how to make it say what people want it to say. I was in the toilet after our return to Leeds University last year, and I overheard this conversation.

"Bloody great weren't they?" "They were all right I suppose, not as good as Deep Purple."

That was when I first got the urge to take another listen to a band I'd always admired as individual musicians, but not really taken much notice of lately. On another occasion. I talked to a load of kids at a gig at Hammersmith at the end of our last tour. They reminded us of songs we used to play years back that we'd forgotten about ourselves. One, "Baby Don't You Do It," a Marvin Gaye number, we play again today. It beats Summertime Blues in the Who nostalgia stakes. Brings tears to my eyes.

Could the Beatles have been saved by touring? I don't know enough background to comment really but I can hazard a guess. I think they would still be together today if they had broken that ice that built up around them, ice that collects around the nose and toes very very quickly in recording studios. Clearly they deserved the long break they took after their heavy American tours, they also needed to allow the heat to die down a bit with regard to audience hysteria.

Maybe they weren't able to foresee that kids wouldn't scream at them forever. I'm not suggesting that was big-headed of them, but at the time it was difficult to hear what any lead singer ever sang at a big show. It wasn't just screaming kids, it was also the fact that a microphone system to get the sound above the new powerful guitar amps was not available.

* "Political conflicts are merely surface manifestations. If conflicts arise you may be sure that certain powers intend to keep this conflict under operation since they hope to profit from the situation. To concern yourself with surface political conflicts is to make the mistake of the bull in the ring, you are charging the cloth. That is what politics is for, to teach you the cloth. Just as the bullfighter teaches the bull, teaches him to follow, obey the cloth." -- William Burroughs

November 10, 2010

the closer you are
the quicker you'll get there

Going There
-- by Jack Gilbert

Of course it was a disaster.
The unbearable, dearest secret
has always been a disaster.
The danger when we try to leave.
Going over and over afterward
what we should have done
instead of what we did.
But for those short times
we seemed to be alive. Misled,
misused, lied to and cheated,
certainly. Still, for that
little while, we visited
our possible life.

At This Moment Of Time
-- by Delmore Schwartz

Some who are uncertain compel me. They fear
The Ace of Spades. They fear
Loves offered suddenly, turning from the mantelpiece,
Sweet with decision. And they distrust
The fireworks by the lakeside, first the spuft,
Then the colored lights, rising.
Tentative, hesitant, doubtful, they consume
Greedily Caesar at the prow returning,
Locked in the stone of his act and office.
While the brass band brightly bursts over the water
They stand in the crowd lining the shore
Aware of the water beneath Him. They know it. Their eyes
Are haunted by water

Disturb me, compel me. It is not true
That 'no man is happy,' but that is not
The sense which guides you. If we are
Unfinished (we are, unless hope is a bad dream),
You are exact. You tug my sleeve
Before I speak, with a shadow's friendship,
And I remember that we who move
Are moved by clouds that darken midnight.

November 9, 2010

all I need's a mirror and I'm a star

Mark Bradford, 2004

* From an oldish Interview of Arthur Nersesian, whose books include The Fuck Up, Manhattan Loverboy, Unlubricated, and Dogpark:

Interviewer: You were profiled in the latest issue of FHM. It was all about how writing a novel is not worth the time, and how you should want to do something more useful. Did you feel exploited by this journalist?

Nersesian: I spoke to the interviewer for a while, and he used what he wanted, and threw away the rest. I feel exploited by you too. But it's controlled exploitation. You have to understand that in FHM Magazine you are going to get that whole wacky tongue-in-cheek tone throughout. I respect that. They should be making fun of people who got a degree in Literature in college.
Interviewer: Who are some of the writers who inspire you? There was the Kafka feeling with "The Sweet Smell of Success."

Nersesian: I loved that movie. There was no deliberate mimicking of any writer on this book, but I heard many comparisons. I didn't think that I was following any writer consciously. My greatest influence until the day I die will be and always has been [New York] city. I write against the city. I try to absorb all the shit around me and then squeeze it into fiction.

Interviewer: How different is Manhattan Loverboy from the early novel, The Fuck-Up? The thing about you writing I like is its unpredictable nature. You're always pulling the rug under the characters and the plot.

Nersesian: It's different in style and tone. The Fuck-Up is somber and I tried to be fairly social realistic. The new book is slightly surreal and off the wall. As far as the plot goes, if you can see the end coming up and can predict it, there's no point in reading it. If can anticipate where you are going, then it's pointless. To that end, I don't over-plot or over-outline my novels. I have a general idea where I'm going, and I try to stop until I get there in the writing, and check out my options. I always try to find something unexpected and yet consistent with the ideas and the story, and whatever I'm dramatizing. But I really want to surprise myself. If I can't do that then no one will be surprised. What's the point?
Interviewer: I noticed that you don't make much reference to music and bands in your novels? Is that a deliberate choice or do you not follow music very closely?

Nersesian: That's a sore point for me. I always lived in lower Manhattan, and I lived on 16th Street and 3rd Avenue since 1973. The point is that this is a very musical area for Indie bands, CBGB's, The Academy of Music, and so on. I never really got into that. I saw rock and roll as a homogenized factor for American teens, and absorbed them from what would be an intellectual and literary culture. Initially I had some hostility towards that. Most teens perceived rock and roll as a form of rebellion, and I guess still do, but nowadays seeing a punk is like seeing a hippie back in the 1970s: it's such a cliche. It's not a rebellious act anymore. It's just so sad to see a punk rocker who has a leather jacket and spiked hair today. You might as well join the Republican party. It was a cliche twenty years ago. Music is a small part in my work. I usually celebrate the lamest love songs in a mocking way. It's what I hear in the background at cafes where I write. Most people just ignore it.

Interviewer: Do you write full-time now or do you work another job to support yourself?

Nersesian: I just got fired from my crappy job of ten years. I was teaching in the South Bronx, which was a noble chore, bringing light to the darkness. I too have Irish ancestry on one side as does Frank McCourt. I write pretty steadily. That's all there's left for people like me. I'm not invited to any parties. I've been excised from the community very slowly. I used to collect string and stack stones, and now my pastime is writing novels.

* "The farther a man follows the rainbow, the harder it is for him to get back to the life which he left starving like an old dog. Sometimes when a man gets older he has a revelation and wants awfully bad to get back to the place where he left his life, but he can't get back to that place-- not often. It's always better to stay alongside of your life." --Jane Bowles

November 8, 2010

I started telling the story
without knowing the end

Ann Marchand, Like This, 2009

* NYRB wonders why so many Americans vote against their own interests . excerpt:

The results of Tuesday’s election are savagely depressing, wholly expected, yet deeply puzzling. Why do so many Americans insist on voting against their own best interests? Why do they shout hatred for a health care plan that gives them better protection against calamity than they have ever had? Or stimulus spending that has prevented a bad economic climate from being much worse for them? Or tax proposals that lower their own taxes by raising taxes on people much richer than they will ever be? Why do they vote in such numbers for the party favored by the bankers and traders who brought on the economic catastrophe?

Eight out of ten voters told exit pollsters that they are frightened by the economy; four out of ten report that their own families are still worse off than they once were. Columnists say that this explains why they turned on President Obama and deserted the Democrats. But that is not a solution to the puzzle; it is part of it. The economy is improving; private sector jobs are increasing. True, the improvement is slow—no doubt slower than everyone hoped and many people expected. But if someone has burned down your house you would not fire your new contractor because he has not rebuilt it overnight and then hire the arsonist to finish the job. Commentators say that Obama has failed to explain the value of what he and the Democratic leadership have accomplished. But he tried: he repeated his explanation all over the country. The people who voted against his policies—or simply stayed away from the polls—many of whom voted for him two years ago, must have had a reason for not listening to him now.

* "Every time I write a book I put my feet in different shoes." -- Haruki Murakami

November 5, 2010

I'm going to glorify everything good
And put right what is wrong, as i should

Paul McDonough, Men Watching Parade, 1973

In Order To
-- by Kenneth Patchen

Apply for the position (I've forgotten now for what) I had
to marry the Second Mayor's daughter by twelve noon. The
order arrived three minutes of.

I already had a wife; the Second Mayor was childless: but I
did it.

Next they told me to shave off my father's beard. All right.
No matter that he'd been a eunuch, and had succumbed in
early childhood: I did it, I shaved him.

Then they told me to burn a village; next, a fair-sized town;
then, a city; a bigger city; a small, down-at-heels country;
then one of "the great powers"; then another (another, an-
other)—In fact, they went right on until they'd told me to
burn up every man-made thing on the face of the earth! And
I did it, I burned away every last trace, I left nothing, nothing
of any kind whatever.

Then they told me to blow it all to hell and gone! And I blew
it all to hell and gone (oh, didn't I). . .

Now, they said, put it back together again; put it all back the
way it was when you started.

Well. . . it was my turn then to tell them something! Shucks,
I didn't want any job that bad

Eyes Fastened with Pins
-- by Charles Simic

How much death works,
No one knows what a long
Day he puts in. The little
Wife always alone
Ironing death’s laundry.
The beautiful daughters
Setting death’s supper table.
The neighbors playing
Pinochle in the backyard
Or just sitting on the steps
Drinking beer. Death,
Meanwhile, in a strange
Part of town looking for
Someone with a bad cough,
But the address is somehow wrong,
Even death can’t figure it out
Among all the locked doors ...
And the rain beginning to fall.
Long windy night ahead.
Death with not even a newspaper
To cover his head, not even
A dime to call the one pining away,
Undressing slowly, sleepily,
And stretching naked
On death’s side of the bed

The Beauty of Things
-- by Robinson Jeffers

To feel and speak the astonishing beauty of things—earth, stone and water,
Beast, man and woman, sun, moon and stars—
The blood-shot beauty of human nature, its thoughts, frenzies and passions,
And unhuman nature its towering reality—
For man’s half dream; man, you might say, is nature dreaming, but rock
And water and sky are constant—to feel
Greatly, and understand greatly, and express greatly, the natural
Beauty, is the sole business of poetry.
The rest’s diversion: those holy or noble sentiments, the intricate ideas,
The love, lust, longing: reasons, but not the reason.

November 4, 2010

Don't believe half of what you see
And none of what you hear

Antonia Wright, On the Other Hand, 2010

* From Life Aboard the International Space Station:

In such close quarters personal hygiene is a must, but the weightless conditions make washing a delicate chore. Water droplets can cause choking if inhaled and can short-circuit equipment, so many astronauts use the music-festival favourite: moist wipes. All-male crews have been known to strip off and get wiping en masse, but mixed crews tend to take turns in a dedicated hygiene station. Hair-washing is trickier. Men tend to get military buzz cuts before a mission. Even Sunita Williams, who spent 195 consecutive days on the space station – a female record – had her long dark hair chopped to shoulder length but still had problems. "Washing took time. I'd squirt a little water under my hair, pat it down with my hand so it wasn't splashing everywhere, then put some shampoo in my hand and moosh it around. Then I'd wet a towel and try and soak it up. I usually did it on a weekend when we didn't have a whole lot of other things to do," she says. Going to the toilet takes a little practice too, but is less traumatic following a redesign that saw plastic bags replaced with a suction-system toilet, like the ones used on planes. The astronauts' urine, incidentally, is recycled into clean water.
It takes the space station one and a half hours to fly around the planet, making for 16 complete laps a day. For those on board, the visual effect is spectacular. Open the covers over the windows and the light can be so blinding that astronauts reach for their sunglasses. But after 45 minutes of daylight, a dark line appears on the planet, dividing Earth into night and day. For a couple of seconds, the space station is bathed in a coppery light and then complete darkness. Another 45 minutes later, and just as abruptly, the sun rises to fill the station with brilliant light again.
Each of the crew has a closet-like cabin where they can hook a sleeping bag to the wall and settle down for the night. Some strap pillows to their heads to make it feel more like lying down. The lights don't go out completely, though. People dozing in orbit see streaks and bursts of bright colour caused by high-energy cosmic rays painlessly slamming into their retinas. Fans and air filters add to the distractions, so some astronauts wear ear plugs to block out the constant hum.

Unsurprisingly, falling asleep can take some getting used to. Just as you are nodding off, you can feel as though you've fallen off a 10-storey building. People who look half asleep will suddenly throw their heads back with a start and fling out their arms. It gets easier with time. One Russian crew member is renowned for doing without a sleeping bag and falling asleep wherever he ends the day. Anyone still awake after bedtime would see his snoozing form drift by, slowly bouncing off the walls, his course set by the air currents that gently pushed and pulled him.

* Strawman, a great, still relevant, song from Lou Reed's fantastic 1989 album New York.

* The initial post on The Dust Congress was November 5, 2002.....

* "You never know what you’re really doing, do you? Like a spider, you are in the middle of your own web." -- James Salter

November 3, 2010

because a song has got to stop somewhere

Jenny Holzer, from Inflammatory Essays, 1979-1982

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
-- by James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

--by Sarah Manguso

Love not the rider but the old rider,
the ghost in the saddle: Obey that ghost.
A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.
But we are not good horses.
We bolt. We stand still in bad weather.
We rely on things we know are unreliable,
it feels so good just to rely.
We are relied on.
But I do not know who knows that bad secret.
I do not see who sits astride by back,
who cuts my flank so lovingly on our way to the dark mountain.

-- by Franz Wright

January 1998

I am not acquainted with anyone
there, if they spoke to me
I would not know what to do.
But so far nobody has, I know
I certainly wouldn't.
I don't participate, I'm not allowed;
I just listen, and every morning
have a moment of such happiness, I breathe
and breathe until the terror returns. About the time
when they are supposed to greet one another
two people actually look into each other's eyes
and hold hands a moment, but
the church is so big and the few who are there
are seated far apart. So this presents no real problem.
I keep my eyes fixed on the great naked corpse, the vertical
who is said to be love
and who spoke the world
into being, before coming here
to be tortured and executed by it.
I don't know what I am doing there. I do
notice the more I lose touch
with what I previously saw as my life
the more real my spot in the dark winter pew becomes—
it is infinite. What we experience
as space, the sky
that is, the sun, the stars
is intimate and rather small by comparison.
When I step outside the ugliness is so shattering
it has become dear to me, like a retarded
child, precious to me.
If only I could tell someone.
The humiliation I go through
when I think of my past
can only be described as grace.
We are created by being destroyed.

November 1, 2010

From the cheap seats see us wave

From the Netherlands Archives, People in Trees Watching a Soccer Match, 1913

* Khoi Vinh on iPad magazine apps:

My opinion about iPad-based magazines is that they run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They're bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.

The fact of the matter is that the mode of reading that a magazine represents is a mode that people are decreasingly interested in, that is making less and less sense as we forge further into this century, and that makes almost no sense on a tablet. As usual, these publishers require users to dive into environments that only negligibly acknowledge the world outside of their brand, if at all - a problem that's abetted and exacerbated by the full-screen, single-window posture of all iPad software. In a media world that looks increasingly like the busy downtown heart of a city - with innumerable activities, events and alternative sources of distraction around you - these apps demand that you confine yourself to a remote, suburban cul-de-sac.

-- [via]

* Download some psychedelic space freak-out of jazz euphoria for your Monday morning.

* "Creativity has never been the problem. Getting paid has always been the problem. Long ago we decided to ignore the question of getting paid. Just do it. And if what you're doing has true value and content the money will take care of itself... at least to enough of a degree to keep on going. It's worked since 1975." -- David Thomas (Pere Ubu, Rockets From the Tombs, etc.)