February 28, 2011

Imagine a past
Where you wish you had lived
Full of heroes and villians and fools

Unknown, Hanging At the Studio with Pete, 1966

* From The Basketball Article by Bernadette Meyer and Anne Waldman, written in April 1975:

We sit down to watch a few Knicks games. If one sat down with Dave DeBusschere, one might have a margharita. Margharitas, tequila sunrises, somebody tells us Wendall Ladner likes to fuck. Frazier's "Sometimes I get an offer I can't refuse," occurs to us. Jim Wergeles, the Knicks publicity manager, tells us Bill Bradley won't give interviews this year. Frazier's publicity is awful. Bill Walton announces they're trying to discredit him, he doesn't fit in. The FBI is looking for the people who shared his house. They question Walton about Patty Hearst. The Knicks steal Eddie Donovan from the Buffalo Braves. 20,000 people come to watch an NBA Game. In the cheaper seats in the Garden, nobody cares is you stand up for the national anthem. It's not like baseball. We always say we're pregnant if anybody hassles us. If they play the national anthem before every game because the sport is a national sport, they how can the champions be world champions?

* Gruff Rhys on the perfect song:

"The Pavement reunion was worth it for Shady Lane to be sung again – 'You've been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequel to your life' is a pretty good one-liner. Maybe in terms of writing a simple motivational song that everyone with a rudimentary grasp of English can understand, the song No Limit by 2 Unlimited is perfection. It's extremely motivational and can be understood almost universally. But then, I wouldn't necessarily want to listen to it every day."

* "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." -- Cyril Connolly

February 25, 2011

it's nice to be liked
but it's better by far to get paid

Joseph Kosuth, untitled, 1997

The Drink
-- by Ron Padgett

I am always interested in the people in films who have just had a drink thrown in their faces. Sometimes they react with uncontrollable rage, but sometimes-my favorites-they do not change their expressions at all. Instead they raise a handkerchief or napkin and calmly dab at the offending liquid, as the hurler jumps to her feet and storms away. The other people at the table are understandably uncomfortable. A woman leans over and places her hand on the sleeve of the man's jacket and says, "David, you know she didn't mean it." David answers, "Yes," but in an ambiguous tone-the perfect adult response. But now the orchestra has resumed its amiable and lively dance music, and the room is set in motion as before. Out in the parking lot, however, Elizabeth is setting fire to David's car. Yes, this is a contemporary film.

-- by Denis Johnson

i would like to be just an old man with my gin,
retiring even from these leaves into
my big, gradual silence beyond the wood
and it will be good,
wife, because i have pointed to you,
and you have become real, within

this darker stillness my eyes grow too wide
it must be that seeing you in the trees
becoming softer than i ever dreamed
has made it all seem
a multitude of nonsense, all the seas,
the planets, all i wrote. i lied,

i swear to you i lied, becoming old and so
very drunk, when i did not lie to you.

-- by Hailey Leithauser

More than mere spasm
or when focused mind

and game heart combine
as mechanism,

maneuvering spine

to bliss, realigned.
More like a schism

or charmed sarcasm
at reason’s fine line,

the old soul’s design
for protoplasm’s

exquisitely mined.

February 24, 2011

when something breaks it makes a beautiful sound

David Salle, Mingus in Mexico, 1990

* Locked in a Vegas hotel room with a $150K slo-mo-hd video camera. Pretty amazing footage.

* From: Listening for Life, part one of two, by Matthew Pitt, Chapter of a Novel in Progress.

"Somewhere in Mexico there is a sanctuary for birds. Parrots mainly, and mynahs, who from neglect have gone insane. Birds in an asylum, recovering from poisonous lengths of silence. Birds, tricked into thinking that their owners were friends; that the shared world between them would last for life. Who can blame the birds for feeling forsaken? They repeat the same phrases that once pleased their adopted families, only to find that the trick's gone stale, and that their owners have tossed the speech-training cassettes into the trash. Leaving the birds craning their necks and trilling wannacracker endlessly, until their adopted families stop by to feed them only to shut them up. Alone, for days on end with no community, not a soul to sing for."

-- Pitt will be reading with Allen Hannaham Friday March 4, 2011 as part of the Story/Stereo series at the Bethesda Writer's Center. Musical guests: The Caribbean

* If you've read and enjoyed David Markson, be sure to check out Reading Markson Reading.

* Video footage by William Eggleston from "Stranded in Canton," of Alex Chilton and Sid Selvidge playing "My Rival" in Memphis, TN, circa mid-1970's. Video property of the Eggleston Artistic Trust.

* "People are bullied into thinking that they have to be engaged, or be fans of music. They’re bullied by the culture of the music industry, and feel like they should be swept away by music. But we immerse ourselves in noise for comfort, and that noise could be anything, like a vacuum, or a water fountain. Music is supposed to be mysterious.” -- Ian Svenonius

February 23, 2011

you better you better you bet

Michael Dodson, Two Goals Meeting in Secret, 2008

-- by Jack Spicer

A Postscript for Marianne Moore

No one exactly knows
Exactly how clouds look in the sky
Or the shape of the mountains below them
Or the direction in which fish swim.
No one exactly knows.
The eye is jealous of whatever moves
And the heart
Is too far buried in the sand
To tell.

They are going on a journey
Those deep blue creatures
Passing us as if they were sunshine
Those fins, those closed eyes
Admiring each last drop of the ocean.

I crawled into bed with sorrow that night
Couldn’t touch his fingers. See the splash
Of the water
The noisy movement of cloud
The push of the humpbacked mountains
Deep at the sand’s edge.

Lies and Longing
-- by Linda Gregg

Half the women are asleep on the floor
on pieces of cardboard.
One is face down under a blanket
with her feet and ankle bracelet showing.
Her spear leans against the wall by her head
where she can reach it.
The woman who sits on a chair won’t speak
because this is not her dress.
An old woman sings an Italian song in English
and says she wants her name in lights:
Faye Runaway. Tells about her grown children.
One asks for any kind of medicine.
One says she has a rock that means honor
and a piece of fur.
One woman’s feet are wrapped in rags.
One keeps talking about how fat she is
so nobody will know she’s pregnant.
They lie about getting letters.
One lies about a beautiful dead man.
One lies about Denver. Outside
it’s Thirtieth Street and hot and no sun.

A Poet’s Poem
-- by Brenda Shaughnessy

If it takes me all day,
I will get the word freshened out of this poem.

I put it in the first line, then moved it to the second,
and now it won’t come out.

It’s stuck. I’m so frustrated,
so I went out to my little porch all covered in snow

and watched the icicles drip, as I smoked
a cigarette.

Finally I reached up and broke a big, clear spike
off the roof with my bare hand.

And used it to write a word in the snow.
I wrote the word snow.

I can’t stand myself.

February 22, 2011

I can't temp
I'm way past college
No ways out
No back doors
Not anymore

Gene Davis, Solar Skin, 1964

* The Caribbean's Discontinued Perfume is finally released, get your copy today!!

-- Listen to Outskirts.

* "After a while you begin to understand that writing well is not a promised reward for being virtuous." -- Tobias Wolff

February 18, 2011

seems that I was busy doing something more than nothing
but different from the day before

Joseph O. Holmes, Yellow Dress W. 19th Street NYC

Midas Passional
-- by Lisa Russ Spaar

No one has touched me for weeks
yet in this drugged, gilt afternoon, late,

when nothing is safe, I’m paralyzed,
as though so wildly desired—passing solo through the garden’s

cinnamon, marigolds, famished roses, where a matted shingle
of the swept-up human hair I begged from a local beauty shop

& spread out fruitlessly among the blooms & canes
to keep away the deer might well be a satyr

passed out in the palace’s candied gold—
that something regnant with a strange, godlike power

could not help but reach out from the umbral blue
to tap my white arm. It is a day to die,

the light autoerotic, theatrical, with an unbearable listing,
stalled in cusp, in leonine torpor. Is courage artifice?

As though to answer were within my means.
Or to even move my mouth.

The Origin of Baseball
-- by Kenneth Patchen

Someone had been walking in and out
Of the world without coming
To much of a decision about anything.
The sun seemed too hot most of the time.
There weren't enough birds around
And the hills had a silly look
When he got on top of one.
The girls in heaven, however, thought
Nothing of asking to see his watch
Like you would want someone to tell
A joke --"Time," they'd say, "what's
That mean --time," laughing with the edges
Of their white mouths, like a flutter of paper
In a madhouse. And he'd stumble over
General Sherman or Elizabeth B.
Browning, muttering, "Can't you keep
Your big wings out of the aisle?" But down
Again, there'd be millions of people without
Enough to eat and men with guns just
Standing there shooting each other.

So he wanted to throw something
And he picked up a baseball.

About the Party
-- by David Berman

I loved seeing you the other night
(and I think everyone noticed!)
which was the first time I'm estimating
since the Oak Street Psychic Fair
when I first saw your ears
as the two beautiful pink wheels they are
and your powerful boyfriend unnecessarily claimed
that I only spread unhappiness with my harmonica playing.

People see each other all the time
and they can't always figure out how to act,
so it sometimes seems as if the dandelions
growing silently behind the high school
are the only truly outstanding reaction
to existence,
and perhaps because I thought
I had no argument with the world
until the backyard mosquitoes
started penalizing my hands
and Wayne of Wayne's Hair Systems
and Jimmy Food Hill combined
to not let me near you,
it came as such a horrible shock to notice
you looked so damn beautiful
beneath Bob's silver maples
that I about shit my heart out.

February 17, 2011

I never use doors no more
I never use stairs
just trees

Maxine Taylor

* Dave Jones provides an introduction to Krautrock, as part of The Caribbean's Vinyl District takeover week.

Here, Dave is interviewed about The Caribbean's new record, Discontinued Perfume.

-- related: The Caribbean play shows this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia (Friday @ The Twisted Branch Tea Bizarre) and Brooklyn, New York (Record Release party for Discontinued Perfume Saturday @ The Rock Shop). In DC the band will play at Story/Stereo on March 4, 2011.

* On fact-checking poems at The New Yorker.

* "Love is a great privilege. Real love, which is very rare, enriches the lives of the men and women who experience it." -- Simone de Beauvoir

February 16, 2011

Standing waiting for a man to show
Wide eyed one eye fixed on the door
This waiting's killing me, it's wearing me down
Day in day out, my feet are burning holes in the ground

Mark Ryden, Grotto if the Old Mass, 2008

-- by Kimberly L. Becker

I call you out into the yard
to look at the eclipse.

We have always stood
between ourselves and happiness.

Yellow Tulips
-- by Eileen Myles

I was walking along the sidewalk
in all the daily pain
& miserable faces & awful air.
Up above in a flower box
were yellow tulips, too real
to be real, so big
and sexual looking in
that funny way flowers
always are. I guess
they were like heads
poking in from another
world. How do you
like Wednesday, you
beautiful things?

As Planned
-- by Frank O'Hara

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don't know you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

February 15, 2011

I'm gonna shine out in the wild kindness
and hold the world to its word

Barbara Crane, Private Views, 1982

* Excellent profile of Stoner (my favorite book) author John Williams. excerpt:

Williams published three masterful works of fiction in a twelve-year span, all misleadingly labeled as "historical novels" but vastly different from one another. Each one was greeted with wretched sales and was soon out of print — even though the last one, Augustus, won the National Book Award for fiction, the only work by a Colorado author ever to do so.

People sometimes confuse Williams with the African-American writer John A. Williams, or even with the composer of Star Wars. Yet every few years some astute and influential critic rediscovers Denver's John Williams, with the same shock of recognition Greenberg experienced sitting in her car back in 1965. "Why isn't this book famous?" C.P. Snow asked, writing about Stoner in 1973, after it finally found a publisher in Great Britain.

"John is almost famous for not being famous," Williams compadre Dan Wakefield complained in 1986. "This is Hemingway without bluster, Fitzgerald without fashion, Faulkner stripped of pomp."

Writing in the New York Times in 2007, Morris Dickstein called Stoner "something rarer than a great novel — it is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away." Other Williams enthusiasts have heaped praise on Butcher's Crossing — described as the finest Western ever written and as the first anti-Western — and on Augustus, an astonishing journey through the rise of imperial Rome.

* Werner Herzog reads Roger Ebert's review of My Dog Tulip.

* “All music is folk music, I ain't never heard no horse sing a song” -- Louis Armstrong

February 14, 2011

You're so off you're on

Solongo Sellecker, The Crocodile Goddess, 2010

* Pre-order The Caribbean's new LP, Discontinued Perfume, here. You'll be glad you did!

* Watch Wayne Rooney's game winning bicycle kick goal against Manchester City.

* "I’ve never written the things I’d like to write that I’ve admired all my life. Maybe one never does." -- Elizabeth Bishop

February 9, 2011

I'd like to know completely
What others so discreetly talk about

Peter Hujar, Candy Darling on her Deathbed, 1974

Piano and Scene
--- by David Berman

A child needs to know the point of the holiday.

His aunt is saying grace over a decaffeinated coffee
and her daughter is reading a Russian novel
whose 45 chapters are set
on 45 consecutive Valentine's Days.

Grandpa is telling the kids fairy tales
from Pennsylvania's pretzel-making region

and it's hard for me to be in the mood
you want me to be in right now,

as I'm suddenly wrapped up in this speculation
on the as yet undiscovered moods of the future,

like nostalgia for a discontinued model of robot
or patriotic feelings for your galaxy

which will probably resemble nosalgia and patriotism
as we now know it, but with added tiers of complexity.

Even if we could manage to travel in time, who's to say
we could relate with those who receive us?

Perhaps we would not be able to read the expressions
on our own descendants faces for what they mean.

As advanced as we consider ourselves,
we still allow ad copy to pander to us.
The scam exposed, it endures with our permission
as a parallel narrative running beside our lives
where we sit with an unbuttered baked potato
and a warm beer in multiple versions of Akron
leavened with foreclosure, heartburn and rain.

Great-grandfather's hobbies, whether they be botany or magic,
can barely make sense to a boy named Occupant III.

Their genius was to let us criticize them
until it became boring and obvious to do so.

Meanwhile they were up ahead, busily constructing a world
in which boring and obvious criticism
was about the worst thing you could do,
and when we reached them in the time they were waiting
with their multiple Akrons,
always one link ahead in the chain of consent.

Maybe we need to give up on these simplistic
"us vs. them" oppositions that we shouldn't believe in,
but in our anger do.

Perhaps we should be concentrating
on what's going to happen an hour or two from now,

whether the human race will survive into this afternoon,
what kinds of food they will eat at the dinner table

and what tales they'll tell of this morning.

February 8, 2011

It's been evening all day long
It's been evening all day long
How can something so old be so wron

George Condo, Spiderwoman, 2002

* An evening with j.D. Salinger. excerpt:

Toward the end of the night, as the other guests were putting on their coats, Joe found me in the front hallway. He spoke into my ear, “Jerry has asked us up to his place for a drink. Are you game?”

We three had our coats on, waiting for Salinger to say his good-byes, then he joined us and we went out to the street and found a cab immediately.

What a great turn of events! For Salinger to be taking such interest in us!

In the apartment, which was a brownstown further uptown, Salinger asked us what we would like to drink. I offered my help getting out the ice, but no, he’d prefer to do it himself. The bar’s bottles and glasses were arranged at one end of a counter between the small kitchen space and the living room, and we stood around while Salinger poured—whiskey for all, I think. Drinks in hand, Jill, Joe, and I sank into a long sofa across from the bar, Jill sitting between us. Salinger sat down on a chair facing us across a coffee table.

In my buzzy contentment I looked around the room at the pictures on the walls, and I lost track of what Joe and Salinger were saying to one another until I heard Joe ask, “Where did you go to college, J. D.?”

Salinger did not immediately reply and in that momentary silence the mood in the room changed. I caught my breath. I believe that Joe’s businesslike tone could be heard as faintly aggressive; it was familiar to my ear.

Salinger said evenly, “A little college in upstate New York. A college you’ve probably never heard of.”

“Which one?” Joe asked. Nothing suggested that Joe had heard anything in Salinger’s voice but information sharing.

After another short silence Salinger said, “Hamilton. Does it make a difference to you, knowing that the name of the college is Hamilton?”

* Bob N. on Silver Jews' Starlite Walker, which is Drag City's item of the week:

"Starlite Walker was an Oxford, Mississippi record. David resided on the outskirts of town at the time. He was renting a tiny building that was part of a professor's chemistry lab in the woods. He paid $100 a month. It was mildly suspicious. Stephen and I went there to rehearse for about five days. Oxford is a beautiful town. There are lots of beautiful people. We were well. Peaking physically. We built songs around David's words. David had just about all of his lyrics written down in a notebook. When we were 70% ready, we headed up to Easley Studios in Memphis (which burned to the ground a few years ago). Doug and Davis were ready for us. They were cool and it was welcoming. Steve West joined us on the songs that we needed a 'real' drummer. I just wasn't good enough. It didn't bother me. I was proud of my drums on "Trains Across The Sea" and my moog on "New Orleans." We didn't have any significant problems recording and it turned out well. Our host Sherman Willmott (we stayed above his record shop in a small apartment) did a marvelous job of keeping barbecue sauce on our faces the whole time. I gained six pounds. Upon completing Starlite Walker, Silver Jews felt like a band instead of a project. We became formidable.

* "Only a novelist can know how neurotic, devious, underhanded a novelist can be." -- Walker Percy

February 5, 2011

In my dreams I react as my true self

William Gedney, Man Drinking Beer and Driving, Kentucky, 1972

* Duane Eddy on Lee Hazlewood (some great photos at the link):

“Lee came to Coolidge (AZ) while I was still going to high school, and he had just gone to a disc jockey school… a broadcasting school, I guess they called it– Columbia School of Broadcasting in Hollywood. He graduated that, and he got his first job. And it happened to be as a disc jockey– and it happened to be in Coolidge, Arizona. So, I had a friend who wanted to be a disc jockey at the time, and he said, ‘You gotta come out and meet this new guy– he’s really a hoot. Ya know, really funny and all this, and he’s playing Country music.’ So, I went along with him, and I met Lee Hazlewood the first time.”

“At that time, uh, I used to sing… and play too. And I sang with this other guy, Jimmy Dell. We sang together– we did up-tempo Country things… just around town there, you know, mostly. Lee heard that, and like it, and we went in and tried to make a record of that… the two of us with some songs that Lee wrote– his first attempt at songwriting. His first attempt at producing, we went up to Phoenix to someone’s studio… in the back of their house, and well– it was the only studio we knew of. It was, like, 1954– late ’54 or ’55. And uh, we made a couple of tracks.”

“Lee was gonna put it out on his own label, but Jimmy went and got ‘saved.’ And uh, came in one day and said, ‘I’m saved!’ and I said, ‘Saved from what?!’ And he says, ‘No, in church!’ And I said, ‘Oh, great! Congratulations.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, well, it’s not so good.’ and I says, ‘what’s the matter?’ Jimmy said, ‘I can’t sing with you no more.’ And I says, ‘Oh. Why not?’ He said, ‘Because I can’t sing worldly music no more.’ And I said, ‘oh, oh, well you get to tell Lee that then– he’s just invested all this money in these records.’ So they ended-up sitting in Lee’s garage– and never did get out…”

* "A word to the wise is infuriating." -- Hunter S. Thompson

February 1, 2011

Fuck love, fight love, Fuck love, fight.
Fuck love and chuck love 'til tomorrow night

Paul Thek, Hand with Ring, 1967

* Arab Strap's "The First Big Weekend" presented as a short story:

So that was the first big weekend of the summer... Starts Thursday as usual with a canteen quiz and again no-one wins the big cash prize. Later I do my sound bloke routine by approaching Gina's new boyfriend to say that he shouldn't feel that there's any animosity between us and then I even go and make peace with her. I shouldn't have bothered. Then on Friday night we went through to the Arches...

There was only one car going, so some of us had to get the train. We got through quite late. Then we went to a pub to take the gear. There was no problems getting in - we saw some others waiting down the front of the queue so we skipped in. It was a good night, everyone was nutted and I ended up dancing with some blonde girl. I thought she had been quite pretty until last night when Matthew informed me that she had, in fact, been a pig. When the club finished we wandered the streets for a while until we got to this 24-hour cafe but I didn't like the look of it so we left and got a taxi back to Morag's flat. I couldn't sleep, so I sat about drinking someone else's strawberry tonic wine and tried to keep everyone else up.

Then at ten o'clock in the morning we went downstairs to buy some drink. We had intended to watch the football in the afternoon but we'd passed out by then and slept right through it, awaking to find that England had won two-nil. Then we went to get the train home and had a few in the Station bar. We had some stuff left from the previous night's supplies so when we got home we decided to go down to John's indie disco. Same story as Friday - lots of hugging, lots of dancing etc. etc. I couldn't sleep again so went up the park to look at the tomb, taking a detour through the playpark. To get in we had to climb over a ten foot steel fence, which resulted in severe bruising of our hands, legs and groins, but we had a good laugh on the stuff, especially the tube-slide, which probably doubles up as a urinal for drunk teens. Then we walked through the woods to have a look at the tomb. It was a big disappointment, but the mist on the lake was cool.

Sunday afternoon we go up to John's with a lot of beer in time to watch the Simpsons. It was a really good episode about love always ending in tragedy except, of course, for Marge and Homer. It was quite moving at the end and to tell you the truth my eyes were a bit damp. Then we watched these young girls in swimsuits have a water fight in the street. "Taping this, aye?" We went up to the pub about ten. It was busy for a Sunday night, lots of people we know, including my first ever girlfriend who I still find very attractive, quite frankly, but I didn't really speak to her. She's probably still a bitch, anyway. Her friend Gillian was there, I had a chat with her, she was still quite pleasant. At the same time I watched Malcolm make some terrible attempt to try and chat up a girl we know called Jo. He made some remark about her skirt that was barely there the previous night or something. I couldn't sleep again that night, thanks to some seriously disturbing nightmares...Matthew says I should cut down on the cheese.

"Went out for the weekend, it lasted for ever, high with our friends it's officially summer."

I got some sleep eventually on Monday afternoon. It was a beautiful day, and later that evening Malcolm introduced me to the power of Merrydown - £1.79 a litre, 8.2% - mmmm..... Judith and Laura came round later and we sat in my back garden and drank. Then Matthew came round and we went up the town. It's officially summer.

-- Listen to "The First Big Weekend."

* Neat???

* "[Writing is] like standing on the edge of a cliff… Every day you’re making up the earth you’re going to stand on." -- Peter Carey