March 29, 2012

the only thing I'd change would be the ending

Andrea Way, Vocalize, 2005

Three Poems by Adrienne Rich (RIP)

November 1968

you're beginning to float free
up through the smoke of brushfires
and incinerators
the unleafed branches won't hold you
nor the radar aerials

You're what the autumn knew would happen
after the last collapse
of primary color
once the last absolutes were torn to pieces
you could begin

How you broke open, what sheathed you
until this moment
I know nothing about it
my ignorance of you amazes me
now that I watch you
starting to give yourself away
to the wind

In Those Years

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I

The Ninth Symphony of Beethoven Understood At Last
As a Sexual Message

A man in terror of impotence
or infertility, not knowing the difference
a man trying to tell something
howling from the climacteric
music of the entirely
isolated soul
yelling at Joy from the tunnel of ego
music without the ghost
of another person in it, music
trying to tell something the man
does not want out, would keep if he could
gagged and bound and flogged with chords of Joy
where everything in silence and the
beating of a bloody fist upon
a splintered table.

March 28, 2012

And where are the days
I used to be friendly

David DiMichele, Broken Glass, 2011

* From a 1968 interview of Jack Kerouac by Ted Berrigan:


You don't believe in collaborations? Have you ever done any collaborations, other than with publishers?


I did a couple of collaborations in bed with Bill Cannastra in lofts. With blondes.


Was he the guy that tried to climb off the subway train at Astor Place, in Holmes's Go?


Yes. Yeah, well he says, “Let's take all our clothes off and run around the block” . . . It was raining you know. Sixteenth Street off Seventh Avenue. I said, “Well, I'll keep my shorts on”—he says, “No, no shorts.” I said, “I'm going to keep my shorts on.” He said, “All right, but I'm not going to wear mine.” And we trot-trot-trot-trot down the block. Sixteenth to Seventeenth . . . and we come back and run up the stairs—nobody saw us.


What time of day?


But he was absolutely naked . . . about three or four A.M. It rained. And everybody was there. He was dancing on broken glass and playing Bach. Bill was the guy who used to teeter off his roof—six flights up, you know? He'd go, “You want me to fall?” We'd say, “No, Bill, no.” He was an Italian. Italians are wild, you know.


Did he write? What did he do?


He says, “Jack, come with me and look down through this peephole.” We looked down through the peephole, we saw a lot of things . . . into his toilet.

I said, “I'm not interested in that, Bill.” He said, “You're not interested in anything.” Auden would come the next day, the next afternoon, for cocktails. Maybe with Chester Kallman. Tennessee Williams.


Was Neal Cassady around in those days? Did you already know Neal Cassady when you were involved with Bill Cannastra?


Oh yes, yes, ahem . . . he had a great big pack of pot. He always was a pot happy man.

* “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." -- Jimi Hendrix

March 26, 2012

it's a city full of animals, a city full of thieves
a city full of lovers trying to make believe

Carroll Dunham, Five Pieces, 1984

* From Harper's April 2012:

-- Estimated minimum net worth of Mitt Romney: $190,000,000

-- Estimated inflation-adjusted net worth of George Washington: $525,000,000

-- Age in years of the average car on the road in America: 10.8

-- Percentage of doctors who will make an obesity diagnosis if a patient's weight is equal to or greater than their own: 93

-- Percentage increase in the rate of alcohol abuse for every percent by which U.S. unemployment increases: 17

* 32 ways to open a beer

* "Art is action, but it does not cause action: rather, it prepares us for thought." -- Rukeyser

March 23, 2012

How many a year has passed and gone
And many a gamble has been lost and won
And many a road taken by many a friend
And each one I’ve never seen again

Valery Milovic, Love: The Only Engine Of Survival, 2000

(white man becomes Hispanic after the fact)

-- by Klipschutz

Trayvon Martin was minding his own business,
and I can’t imagine the company
that makes the candy he was eating
when he was shot appreciates the publicity either.

It all calls to mind “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,”
but as Lou Reed might respond, “those were different times.”
Some things never change, as some cynic said
for the first time millieniums ago.

Strange how the wheel turns: this time the killer
is named Zimmerman, which means exactly nothing
except to the kind of people who collect small coincidences
and spin elaborate theories out of air.

I sit here in San Francisco, white and straight and safe,
thinking ‘Someone should write a song about this,
but what good would that do anyway?’
For now, a killer sits in his own house, feeling misunderstood.

-March 23, 2012

-- by David Lehman:

Every so often my father comes over
for a visit he hangs his overcoat and hat
on my hat rack I brief him on recent
developments and serve us coffee
he is surprised that I like to cook
once when he made an omelette
he flipped it in the air much to my delight
and it landed on the floor yes that
was the summer of 1952, he remembered
the high breakers and how fearless
I was running into the ocean anyway
the important thing is to see you doing
so well he said and took his coat and hat
and left before I remembered he was dead

In memory of William R. Fox, July 12, 1944 - March 23, 2002

March 21, 2012

dreamed that i was president
of these united states
dreamed i replaced ignorance
stupidity and hate

Anne Truitt, Untitled, 1986

-- by Wendell Berry

It's the immemorial feelings
I like the best: hunger, thirst,
their satisfaction; work-weariness,
earned rest; the falling again
from loneliness to love;
the green growth the mind takes
from the pastures in March;
the gayety in the stride
of a good team of Belgian mares
that seems to shudder from me
through all my ancestry.

Waiting for You
-- by Dean Smith

Gritty red brick row house
outskirts of Baltimore
circa the second coming,
I'll look through the stained glass between us
while my victrola scratches "Exile on Main Street."

Saturday morning around my way
children tear down the alley,
a lewd cacophony smeared
with a mix of dirt, ice cream.
Mamas spend the day in curlers
watching Bowling for Dollars.

Obsolete papas scrape mustard
from their backfins, over cases
of National Bohemian.

Working the night shift on a loading dock
with a forklift full of broken hearts,
space on my arm for a flamingo tatoo,
I'll wait until you grace these marble steps.

--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.

March 19, 2012

Some get stoned,
some get strange,
But sooner or later
it all gets real, walk on

Stephen Tamiesie, from his series Promised Land, 2011

* From Vanishing Point by David Markson:

"From a Hemingway letter, on T.S. Eliot: 'A damned good poet and a fair critic; but he can kiss my ass as a man.'"
"At 37, in Key West, Ernest Hemingway badly marked up Wallace Stephens' face in a never fully explained fistfight. Stevens was 57 when it happened."
"'As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.' Begins an Orwell essay dated 1941."
"In 1490, a Rome census showed a population of roughly ninety thousand, including 6,800 registered prostitutes."
"Not long after Scott Fitzgerald's death, Scribner's let 'The Great Gatsby' go out of print. And then rejected the collection called 'The Crack-Up."
"No single book or manuscript is listed among Shakespeare's possessions in his will."
"James Baldwin borrowed money from Marlon Brando with which to finish his first novel."
"There were 954 booksellers in Paris in 1845."
"'An uninteresting, and one may almost say, a justly exterminated race,' was how the New York Times described the American Indian in a 1855 review of 'Hiawatha.'"
"J. Edgar Hoover lived with his mother until her death when he was 43."
"The first Gauguin ever sold was to Degas."

* Lou Reed's Hair, by angel corpus christi.

* Harmony Korine & David Ostrowski's Sprechen sie dick opens in Köln Friday March 23. Reception 7-9. just sayin (though not entirely sure why).

* "If I were not a writer I would prefer being a psychiatrist-gynecologist." -- Terry Southern

March 14, 2012

Is there justice?
Is there something which resembles pleasure?

Jenny Holzer, Selection From the Survival Series, 1991

Calvin Trillin Was Here
(but he left to do a restaurant review)

-- by Klipschutz

Dick Cheney has no pulse.
True or false?

They tell me I’m obsessed:
“Give that name a rest,

he’s old, he’s out of power,
the man of another hour.”

“Whose life’s one long black op,
too illegit to stop!”

The doctor told me plain:
“You’ve got Dick on the brain.

Chew on another bone.
And don’t call me at home.”

For me a rest won’t do,
I need a spree – or two.

Oh not that kind of spree.
I wouldn’t kill a flea

Unless it bit my cat.
No flea will live through that.

They say I’m barking mad
(as if a throat on fire is a mouthwash ad)

and that my light verse is too blunt,
protracted, mean and weak,

and that I’m running out of rhymes.
Another deadline poem next week.

-Ides of March, 2012

March 13, 2012

And we're finally here
And shit yeah, it's cool
And shouldn't it be
Or something like that

Doug Barber, Lil Walt, 1972

* From a 1978 Dinner conversation between Nicolas Roeg, Lou Reed, Victor Bockris, Gerard Malanga and William Burroughs:

"BOCKRIS: I understand you met Céline shortly before he died?

BURROUGHS: This expedition to see Céline was organized in 1958 by Allen Ginsberg who had got his address from someone. It is in Meudon. across the river from Paris proper. We finally found a bus that let us off in a shower of French transit directions: 'Tout droit, Messieurs . . . ' Walked for half a mile in this rundown suburban neighborhood, shabby villas with flaking stucco-it looked sort of like the outskirts of Los Angeles-and suddenly there's this great cacophony of barking dogs. Big dogs, you could tell by the bark. 'This must be it,' Allen said. Here's Céline shouting at the dogs, and then he stepped into the driveway and motioned to us to come in. He seemed glad to see us and clearly we were expected. We sat down at a table in a paved courtyard behind a two-story building and his wife, who taught dancing-she had a dancing studio-brought coffee.

"Céline looked exactly as you would expect him to look. He had on a dark suit, scarves and shawls wrapped around him, and the dogs, confined in a fenced-in area behind the villa, could be heard from time to time barking and howling. Allen asked if they ever killed anyone and Céline said, 'Nooo. I just keep them for the noise.' Allen gave him some books, Howl and some poems by Gregory Corso and my book Junky. Céline glanced at the books without interest and laid them sort of definitively aside. Clearly he had no intention of wasting his time. He was sitting out there in Meudon. Céline thinks of himself as the greatest French writer, and no one's paying any attention to him. So, you know, there's somebody who wanted to come and see him. He had no conception of who we were.

"Allen asked him what he thought of Beckett, Genet, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Henri Michaux, just everybody he could think of. He waved this thin, blue-veined hand in dismissal: 'Every year there is a new fish in the literary pond.'

"'It is nothing. It is nothing. It is nothing,' he said about all of them.

"'Are you a good doctor?' Allen asked.

"And he said: 'Well . . . I am reasonable.'

"Was he on good terms with the neighbors? Of course not.

"'I take my dogs to the village because of the Jeeews. The postmaster destroys my letters. The druggist won't fill my prescriptions. . . The barking dogs punctuated his words.

"We walked right into a Céline novel. And he's telling us what shits the Danes were. Then a story about being shipped out during the war: the ship was torpedoed and the passengers are hysterical so Céline lines them all up and gives each of them a big shot of morphine, and they all got sick and vomited all over the boat.

"He waved goodbye from the driveway and the dogs were raging and jumping against the fence."
"MALANGA: Do you have a lot of secrets?

BURROUGHS: I would say that I have no secrets. In the film The Seventh Seal the man asked Death, 'What are your secrets?' Death replied, 'I have no secrets.' No writer has any secrets. It's all in his work."
"Reed asked whether Rechy had read Burroughs.

BURROUGHS: I didn t ask him, no.

Changing his tack radically, Lou said he'd heard that Burroughs had cut his toe off to avoid the draft.

BURROUGHS [chuckling]: I would prefer to neither confirm nor deny any of these statements.

Lou then wanted to know why Bill had used the name William Lee on Junky.

BURROUGHS: Because my parents were still alive and I didn't want them to be embarrassed.

Reed asked whether Burroughs' parents read. BURROUGHS: They might have.

Reed told Bill that he felt Junky was his most important book because of the way it says something that hadn't been said before so straightforwardly. Reed then asked Bill if he was boring him.

BURROUGHS [staring blankly at the table]: Wha . . . ?"

* Heather Havrilesky's top methods of filling out NCAA tourney brackets.

* “Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream” -- Jack Kerouac

March 8, 2012

Every set of keys is an original
every silver lining is a curse
anyone who's ever turned their back on me
always ended up facing something worse

Lucy McLauchlan, Televisual Mundanes, 2011

* A friend made a record, and on a whim sent a copy to Julian Cope, who liked it and had this to say about it:

"Okay, this next record described should really best suit those rock’n’roll fans who require the jammy fingers of the artist all over their releases. And boy do the Rrreverberationsss permeate the very essence of their debut self-produced album MUSIC FOR PSYCHEDELIC PEOPLE, even the Dark Side Of Jackson Pollock-style hand splattered record sleeve itself clinging to my counter top and leaving skid marks across my iBook. Nice. Even better, the music contained herein is half-an-hour of truly exhilarating space-rock somewhat in that rented ranch style achieved by Simply Saucer. But as the Rrreverberationsss have no real drummer, they achieve their fabulous epic quality not through their unique riffery, but because the absence of any real rhythm section means no fucker’s backing up the cliché. Sweet. And it’s that which always keeps these gentlemen so fascinating and so very far from being a Rock Band. Check them out here, it’s a singularly delightful sound." Buy one now!!

* John Cage answers 19 questions on a variety of subjets using chance operations to determine the duration of his answers.

* “There are years that ask questions and years that answer." --Zora Neale Hurston

March 3, 2012

how do you think it feels
if all you can say is if only

Alighiero Boetti, Mappa, 1971–72

If U Cn Rd Ths
-- James Merrill (1983)

u cn gt a gd jb w hi pa!
So thinks a sign in the subway.
Think twice when letters disappear
Into Commodity’s black hole—
No turning back from that career.
This counterspell may save your soul

Inside Every Vending Machine It's 1979
-- by Mary Biddinger

There’s no such thing as nostalgia
for artificial wood grain, especially when the color
mimics a wet pig yard in April. Nevertheless

we’re trapped in an elevator, and the rug
is missing, and the walls are meant to imitate
the basements we all had and loved.

Some jackass shoved a vending machine
in here: a coin-operated elevator, with more
seductive ways of removing passengers.

Nothing left for sale but algae-green mints.
If only it had been the soda machine
that dropped its solitary paper cup, shuddered

its ounces with everyone as witness.
It’s one box of wood grain inside another, and I
almost want to look down my shirt to verify

that it hasn’t gotten to me. I’m not stocked
with anybody’s marzipan octopus. Everything
is looking for a way out, or a way back in.

March 2, 2012

Andy Warhol, Lou Reed in Factory kitchen, 1967

-- Happy 70th birthday Lou!

-- Perfect Day

* The Washington Anti-Flirt Club (via Wiki):

The Anti-Flirt Club was an American club active in Washington, D.C., during the early 1920s. The purpose of the club was to protect young women and girls who received unwelcome attention from men in automobiles and on street corners. The Anti-Flirt Club launched an "Anti-Flirt" week, which began on March 4, 1923. The club had a series of rules, which were intended as sound and serious advice. These were:

-- Don't flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure.

-- Don't accept rides from flirting motorists—they don't invite you in to save you a walk.

-- Don't use your eyes for ogling—they were made for worthier purposes.

-- Don't go out with men you don't know—they may be married, and you may be in for a hair-pulling match.

-- Don't wink—a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other.

-- Don't smile at flirtatious strangers—save them for people you know.

-- Don't annex all the men you can get—by flirting with many, you may lose out on the one.

-- Don't fall for the slick, dandified cake eater—the unpolished gold of a real man is worth more than the gloss of a lounge lizard.

-- Don't let elderly men with an eye to a flirtation pat you on the shoulder and take a fatherly interest in you. Those are usually the kind who want to forget they are fathers.

-- Don't ignore the man you are sure of while you flirt with another. When you return to the first one you may find him gone.

* "Art is what you can get away with." == Andy Warhol