September 27, 2012

all I want in life is a little love
to take the pain away

Mitch Epstein, Tag Sale III, 2000

A poem by Klipschutz:


October Madness
(Leaves Turn, Days Grow Short)


The RNC Witch Doctor
Gets Faced & Fucks With Mitt

-I’m thinking of a number
between 46 and 48. . .


The Veep Debate

-My boss is gonna beat your boss, like a drum.

-My boss bought the drum kit and sold it off for parts.
Then he capitalized a little box made in Malaysia
that pays no taxes and plays all night for free.


Don’t Get Cockblocky

There are registered voters
and likely voters,

voter suppression
and Diebold machines.

There are wheels inside the turbines
in the rubber rooms of power,

and off-duty assholes
who take their work home with them.


The Back Nine

In my raw youth, I played golf,
and even though I smoked dope like a fiend
and hated Nixon and protested the War,
somehow I always liked Jack Nicklaus,
“The Golden Bear,” who knocked
Arnold Palmer off his throne
and never embarrassed himself
like Tiger Woods.

Soft-spoken, he got the job done,
the job of winning.

Then, long retired, 72, a “legend
and Ohio native,” he endorsed Mitt Romney.
They appeared on a rostrum arm in arm
at a rally at Westerville South High School
where Jack said Mitt was the man to “lead the charge.”

“When I won, I certainly didn’t apologize
for my success,” Nicklaus said.

“He’s god in central Ohio,”
Columbus resident Tim Strawn, 62, chimed in.
“It’s good to have god on your side.”

Yeah, well, we have Dylan on ours.

And Jack Nicklaus is still fine by me.
He’s grandfathered in.

-- by Franz Wright

Death is nature's way
of telling you to be quiet.

Of saying it's time
to be weaned, your conflagration starved
to diamond.

I'll give you something to cry about.

And what those treetops swaying
dimly in the wind spelled.

September 24, 2012

I've been out on my own
I've been getting what's mine

André Kertész, Pedaling, Paris 1948

* Marc Masters interviews Alan Licht about "Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy," his fantastic book of his interviews of Will Oldham. excerpt:

Pitchfork: How do you think his acting experiences influenced his approach to music?
AL: It's interesting that he has no music training as far as I know, but he had very serious training in acting. In our conversations, he made it pretty clear that he was applying things that he learned in that training to how he went about being in a band and making music-- for instance, we touched on the idea of delivering lines in a song as being like delivering lines from a script. I think he realized that in music he can write his own script and do his own casting and control all these things that were beyond his control in acting situations.

"By listening to so much music by other people and working with many people, it puts him in line with everything that has come before him and will come after."
I related to that because I didn't come out of college being trained as a writer. I was a film major, but it turned out that was good training for writing books. With my previous book Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories, I had to figure out how much of the story could I tell in the text, how much through illustration, and how much through sound on the accompanying CD. That is the sort of thing you think about when you are making a movie-- how much of the story you tell with dialogue, how much visually, and how much in the sound mix. So that's something we had in common-- we have both applied something we studied in one field to a different field.

Pitchfork: I found it interesting that he says he "came at [music-making] not as a creator but as an audience member," and still thinks of himself as a fan as much as a musician.

AL: When we were doing these interviews, he had his iPod playing the entire time. When I went on tour with him, there was always music playing in the van. He's probably listening to music right now, and he's not sitting there listening to his own records. For some musicians it becomes self-reflexive and they think, "I have to write some of my kind of songs now." I don't think he thinks like that. That's why I did that cosmological timeline in the back of the book, which starts with the discovery of surfing in the 18th century. The point is that Will's not an end in himself, he's one link in a variety of different chains-- part of a continuum. There are precedents for things that he's done and he's absorbed things from other people that have come out in a different way. By listening to so much music by other people and working with many people, it puts him in line with everything that has come before him and will come after.

* Lou Reed being classic Lou Reed as he grills Mark Josephson, co-director of the New Music Seminar while hosting a 1986 episode of MTV's 120 Minutes.

* "The songs are not meant to be real life. They're meant to have a psychic - rather than a factual - bearing on the listener. It's rare that a song grounded in reality moves me because I don't feel like I'm getting the whole story. Songs are made to exist in and of themselves, like a great James Jones or Robert Louis Stevenson novel - they're not autobiographical, and yet there's a reality in every single page. It's real life of the imagination.” -- Will Oldham

September 21, 2012

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

Karin Davie, Distraction, 1999

Desperate Young Americans
-- by Denise Duhamel and Stephen Paul Miller

Angela Y. Davis is history’s darling today.
The apple says yes, the artichoke says yay,
when Angela Y. Davis addresses young Democrats
and their yoyos. Yankee Doodles pony up
vapid ditties about yesterday’s baddy supermodel —
oh beautiful, for delicious skin, for amber eye shadow, so vain.
Angie Dickinson yodels to the Danish army.
Angelina Jolie’s giddy. The mayo on her sandwich
is laced with oxycodone. On a Discovery
Channel game show David Arquette yaps on
about dainty yak. Sweaty headgear around Dick Cheney
is brandished audaciously in bastard country clubs.
Social Security draws desperate young Americans,
disenfranchised elderly, dirty dancers, and celebrity dads.
My diaper bag is dowdy. Andy Dick’s diaper bag
holds austerely plaid baby bibs. Cindy Crawford
rocks the academy with a stylish dissertation
and dizzying defense: Dowdy Darlings and Daring Yin.
But Angela delays duplicating her syllabi,
rapidly white-watering on Yosemite, radical.

At the Lions Head
-- by David Markson

I scowl at the bar
And confront a midnight revelation:
In ten years
I have contributed thirty thousand, cash,
to the fiscal well-being
of this saloon.

If I still wake, mornings, to
Is there a refund?

September 19, 2012

I stopped the car
we grabbed a beer
and then eased down the road

Saul Leiter, Paterson, 1952

The Old Man
-- George Oppen

The old man
In the mirror
But the young man
In the photograph
Is stranger

Surreptitious Kissing
-- Denis Johnson

I want to say that
forgiveness keeps on

dividing, that hope
gives issue to hope,

and more, but of course I
am saying what is

said when in this dark
hallway one encounters

you, and paws and
assaults you—love

affairs, fast lies—and you
say it back and we

blunder deeper, as would
any pair of loosed

marionettess, any couple
of cadavers cut lately

from the scaffold,
in the secluded hallways

of whatever is
holding us up now.

People Who Eat in Coffee Shops
-- Edward Field

People who eat in coffee shops
are not worried about nutrition.
They order the toasted cheese sandwiches blithely,
followed by chocolate egg creams and plaster of paris
wedges of lemon meringue pie.
They don't have parental, dental, or medical figures hovering
full of warnings, or whip out dental floss immediately.
They can live in furnished rooms and whenever they want
go out and eat glazed donuts along with innumerable coffees,
dousing their cigarettes in sloppy saucers.

September 17, 2012

there's no easy way to be free

Natasha Drewnicki, 2010

* From Harper's October 2012:

-- Years it out take the average American family to spend a billion dollars: 20,786

-- amount by which the average Canadian household is richer than the average American one: $43,232

-- Percentage increase since 1976 in the portion of Americans living at or below half the poverty line: 100

-- Percentage of Americans who believe Obama would handle an extraterrestrial invasion better than Romney: 65

* Last Suppers, what inmates ate prior to execution.

* "We are bored when we don't know what we are waiting for. That we do know, or think we know, is nearly always the expression of our superficiality of inattention. Boredom is the threshold to great deeds. -- Now, it would be important to know: What is the dialectical antithesis to boredom." -- Walter Benjamin

September 10, 2012

the quirky functionality of German shoes
everyone has something that they've abused

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


* How to Play Guitar, by David Fair:

"I taught myself to play guitar. It's incredibly easy when you understand the science of it. The skinny strings play the high sounds, and the fat strings play the low sounds. If you put your finger on the string farther out by the tuning end it makes a lower sound. If you want to play fast, move your hand fast and if you want to play slower move your hand slower. That's all there is to it. You can learn the names of notes and how to make chords that other people use, but that's pretty limiting. Even if you took a few years and learned all the chords you'd still have a limited number of options. If you ignore the chords your options are infinite and you can master guitar playing in one day.

"Traditionally, guitars have a fat string on the top and they get skinnier and skinnier as they go down. But the thing to remember is it's your guitar and you can put whatever you want on it. I like to put six different sized strings on it because that gives the most variety, but my brother used to put all of the same thickness on so he wouldn't have so much to worry about. What ever string he hit had to be the right one because they were all the same.

"Tuning the guitar is kind of a ridiculous notion. If you have to wind the tuning pegs to just a certain place, that implies that every other place would be wrong. But that's absurd. How could it be wrong? It's your guitar and you're the one playing it. It's completely up to you to decide how it should sound. In fact I don't tune by the sound at all. I wind the strings until they're all about the same tightness. I highly recommend electric guitars for a couple of reasons. First of all they don't depend on body resonating for the sound so it doesn't matter if you paint them. As also, if you put all the knobs on your amplifier on 10 you can get a much higher reaction to effort ratio with an electric guitar than you can with an acoustic. Just a tiny tap on the strings can rattle your windows, and when you slam the strings, with your amp on 10, you can strip the paint off the walls.

"The first guitar I bought was a Silvertone. Later I bought a Fender Telecaster, but it really doesn't matter what kind you buy as long as the tuning pegs are on the end of the neck where they belong. A few years back someone came out with a guitar that tunes at the other end. I've never tried one. I guess they sound alright but they look ridiculous and I imagine you'd feel pretty foolish holding one. That would affect your playing. The idea isn't to feel foolish. The idea is to put a pick in one hand and a guitar in the other and with a tiny movement rule the world."

* "Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth — alongside of me. Yes…these are two of the greatest arrivals upon the surface of the earth. So…we get along." -- Charles Bukowski

September 5, 2012

They ask him, "Hey where is this bus going?"
And he said, "Well, I'm really not sure."
"Well then how will you know where to get off?"
And he said, "The place with the most allure!"

Cara Ober, Seagulls, 2008

Years From Now When You Are Weary
-- Julia Kasdorf

and worn out, wondering how you'll pay
a bill or make the rent or meet a deadline

set by some thoughtless boss—and kid,
such days will come—remember yourself

at five: hair light from the sun or just from
being young, new lunchbox pasted

with butterflies, how you hung your backpack
on a hook, then wouldn't let me take your picture

on the first day of school, sending me
out of that classroom, to the car, to my job

where a pair of bats flapped in the hallway.
Bats may be just bats, but one darted

into my office, quick as the boxer's head
that bobs and weaves and never gets hit.

It landed and hung from the drapes, upside
down, as you hung in my body for a while.

Bats are not the only flying mammals.
That afternoon in line for the bus, you cried,

so tired you thought you'd fall asleep
and miss your stop. Years from now, child,

in some helpless dusk, remember that fatigue
but how you made it home to me anyway

in the care of a kind farmer—bus driver.
Recall that once I arrived late, your bus

gone, and when I found you, carefully seated
by a coffeepot in a corner of a dim garage

at the school bus lot, you just said, Let's go,
Mama. Don't tell anyone about this.

The Origin of Baseball
-- Kenneth Patchen

Someone had been walking in and out
Of the world without coming
To much 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 mad house. 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.