March 26, 2013

Sleep on your back
And ash in your shoes
And always use the old sense of the words

Patrick Craig, Foil, 2005

* Long forgotten read: The Summer Before The Night Ecstasy Became Illegal In The State Of Texas, by David Berman (2000). excerpt:

In late April we began to hear rumors about a new drug in the Metroplex. It was in the gay bars. Kids at the Arts Magnet were getting it. Certain people at certain parties had it and it was magical.

They called it X. It was supposed to make you unaccountably happy and tolerant of everyone from headbangers to rich fucks. Even "douchebags."
At sunrise, I came in through the sliding glass. I woke my father and his new bride, apologized for staying out all night, and pulled a chair up beside the bed. I continued to sit there and smile down on them. I said, "I just want you to know how much I love you, Dad." Incredibly, he did not kick my ass. That morning was never mentioned again.

AS I SAID BEFORE, ecstasy was still legal and as such carried virtually no stigma. Kyle's uncle kept a jar of tablets on his desk at his car dealership. Law-abiding adults were taking them at North Dallas cocktail parties. They were even sold behind the bars like cigarettes and openly hawked on street corners downtown.

That summer, I crushed two sports cars with my homely Buick, received six speeding tickets (three in one day), two tickets for public urination, impregnated a Collin County judge's daughter, and had a bottle of MD 20/20 broken over my head. Approximately none of it registered with me. A very real fault of the drug.
Fifteen years on, I can honestly say I'm glad it was outlawed. After three months of its use I had lost all discretion and was prepared to trust just about anyone. Worse yet, it was turning me into a joiner. That's not who I am. Anyway, ecstasy was not to find its true customer base until years later, when the strangely passive kids who grew up in the child protectorate of the U.S. eighties and nineties came of age, craving depersonalization. Apparently it helps them dance. They're a very attractive lot. Have you seen them dance?

* Klipschutz on Poetry.

* "They say that we are better educated than our parents' generation. What they mean is that we go to school longer. It is not the same thing." - Richard Yates

March 22, 2013

light it up forever and never go to sleep

Carlos Tarrats, Untitled 1. 2007

how i met your mother
-- david berman

"you can tell he has an older brother," she said
"how," i wondered "do you know that"
"by the bb scars on his ass"

we watched "motherfuckers" cackle out of his mouth.
he wanted something. something like a mini-mart blowjob.
she propped open her briefcase and pulled out
a stack of research on tonights guests.

i was surprised she was willing to share information.
we'd been rivals for eight years, writing the society pages
for our towns two daily newspapers.

truth told, i wasnt up on this crowd.
id only heard rumours about the house on route 727
where they used a nineteen letter alphabet
and held nude parties fueled by 5 dollar bills
pulled out of birthday cards by the host,
a postal clerk with a sharp eye for grandmotherly script.

"OK," i said, "who is mr. whiskey over there by the bean dip?"
she glanced down at her notes, "he just opened a salon
by the courthouse for defendants who want the innocent look."

the subject was listening to a women bitch about parrots.
"they talk but they dont understand!"
"if animals could talk, we would have killed them
off years ago," he said dryly

"how about the lady in the orange crossing-guard sash?"

"part of the downtown crowd.
she paints portraits of children who cut in line."

i recognized the fellow she was talking to.
a spanish exchange student. his lust
had scorched several area trellises.

an old man came out of the guest room
and walked up to them.

his necktie acted as a valve
that kept the sadness bottled in.

"frederico, i want you to meet elmer, of elmer's glue"

my exact thought was, "no way..."
i faked a disinterested look around the room.
on the wall behind me hung a framed photograph,
"nephew with first stereo,"
and a painting called "three ideas about maine"

the old man approached us, pulling an oxygen tank
on a little chrome cart. he wore a checkered sportscoat
covered in industry medals that clattered when he moved.

it was taking him forever to reach us.

i guess we both looked at the phone and thought about
calling the story in for the morning edition,

but there was something more finely drawn in the air
then the dotted line that showed our possible paths to the phone.

she took my writing hand in hers,
and after that i could find no precedent.

March 19, 2013

boy the way glen miller played
songs that made the hit parade
those were the days

Robert Bordo, The Future, 2012

* From a 1961 interview of Corso, Ginsberg and Burroughs:

Gregory Corso: What say you about political conflicts?

William Burroughs: 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.

Gregory Corso: Who manipulates the cloth?

William Burroughs: Death

Allen Ginsberg: What is death?

William Burroughs: A gimmick. It's the time-birth-death gimmick. Can't go on much longer, too many people are wising up.

Gregory Corso: Do you feel there has been a definite change in man's makeup? A new consciousness?

William Burroughs: Yes, I can give you a precise answer to that. I feel that the change, the mutation in consciousness, will occur spontaneously once certain pressures now in operation are removed. I feel that the principal instrument of monopoly and control that prevents expansion of consciousness is the word lines controlling thought, feeling and apparent sensory impressions of the human host.
Gregory Corso: What kind of advice you got for politicians?

William Burroughs: Tell the truth once and for all and shut up forever.

Gregory Corso: What if people don't want to change, don't want no new consciousness?

William Burroughs: For any species to change, if they are unable and are unwilling to do so — I might, for example, have suggested to the dinosaurs that heavy armor and great size was a sinking ship, and that they do well to convert to mammal facilities — it would not lie in my power or desire to reconvert a reluctant dinosaur. I can make my feeling very clear, Gregory, I fell like I'm on a sinking ship and I want off.
Allen Ginsberg: What about control?

William Burroughs: Now all politicians assume a necessity of control, the more efficient the control the better. All political organizations tend to function like a machine, to eliminate the unpredictable factor of affect — emotion. Any machine tends to absorb, eliminate, Affect. Yet the only person who can make a machine move is someone who has a motive, who has Affect. If all individuals were conditioned to machine efficiency in the performance of their duties there would have to be at least one person outside the machine to give the necessary orders; if the machine absorbed or eliminated all those outside the machine, the machine will slow down and stop forever. Any unchecked impulse does, within the human body and psyche, lead to the destruction of the organism.

Allen Ginsberg: What kind of organization could technological society have without control?

William Burroughs: The whole point is, I feel the machine should be eliminated. Now that it has served its purpose of alerting us to the dangers of machine control. Elimination of all natural sciences — If anybody ought to go to the extermination chambers, definitely scientists. Yes, I'm definitely antiscientist because I feel that science represents a conspiracy to impose as the real and only universe, the universe of scientists themselves — they're reality-addicts, they've got to have things so real so they can get their hands on it. We have a great elaborate machine which I feel has to be completely dismantled — in order to do that we need people who understand how the machine works — the mass media — unparalleled opportunity.

Allen Ginsberg: Who do you think is responsible for the dope situation in America?

William Burroughs: Old Army game, 'I act under orders.' As Captain Ahab said, 'You are not other men but my arms and legs —' Mr. Anslinger [then head of FBI] has a lot of arms and legs, or whoever is controlling him. Same thing as the Eichman case: he's the front man who has got to take the rap. Poor bastard, I got sympathy for him.

This is said to be the first published interview with William Burroughs. It appeared in the 1961 issue of Journal for the Protection of All Beings, a periodical edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and published by City Lights Books in San Francisco.

* "Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness– and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they’re selling– their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -- Arundhati Roy

March 18, 2013

we're gonna find the meaning
of feeling good
and we're gonna stay there as long as we think we should

Mark Tipple, underwater, 2011

* Fantastic interview of R. Crumb. excerpt:

Q:What do you hit first when entering a new record shop that you haven’t visited before?

Crumb: I would only enter any record shop if there was the slightest hope that they might have some 78s for sale. If it turns out that they do, the 78s are usually in the back somewhere, in boxes or on shelves in no particular order or categories. One has to just start in, look at every label. This can go fast if you’ve had a lot of experience at it. First, I just skim over almost all labels from the 1940s and ‘50s. Most of what you find in random stacks of 78s is bad pop music of the ‘40s and ‘50s, and classical music. The good stuff is harder to find. Not only because other collectors have been there before you, but also that the only type of music I and many other collectors are after was originally pressed in smaller numbers and came out in a low period for the recording industry, the 1925-’35 period. A vexatious situation for the obsessed collector, this rarity business, but also part of the magic aura which surrounds these old discs. I know many collectors who are so dazzled by the rarity thing that the music sounds better to them if the record is rare. I’ve seen it often. Absurd, but such is the human condition.

Nowadays, there are really no more record shops in which the proprietor has an extensive stock of old 78s, categorized by type of music and artists. That’s pretty much over. They sell them on eBay instead. Unfortunately, I don’t do eBay, as I am computer illiterate, or maybe fortunately. One could spend all of one’s spare time and money searching for and buying 78s on eBay. I know some guys who do just that.
Q: How much time per day do you spend categorizing/cataloging your records; listening to records?

Crumb: I spend some time listening to records almost every day when I’m at home, and I spend time just pawing through the collection, just looking at what I have. Sometimes I’ll pull a record off the shelf and just marvel at it, that it exists and that I own it. Again, it’s a sickness. It’s embarrassing to admit openly to such behavior, like talking about masturbation or something. Sometimes I have to listen to records in the endeavor to purge and make room for new acquisitions, since I’ve run out of room to put new additions to the collection on the shelves. I have to get rid of something before I can put the new ones in. This involves tough decisions. My natural impulse is to save everything, don’t wanna get rid of anything. If I had endless shelf space, I guess I’d have ten times as many records. Purging, however, is good for the soul and just makes the collection better, more intense. Borderline items must be eliminated, moved out, sold if possible.
Q: Can diskaholism be cured?

Crumb: I doubt it. I certainly can’t be cured of this habit. I keep thinking, when I get old I’ll give it up, get rid of these 20 tons of records. I used to think, when I’m seventy… but now that’s only a few months off, so that’s not going to happen… Maybe when I’m eighty.

* I like this!

* "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." -- Charles M. Schulz

March 15, 2013

what looks like sleep is really hot pursuit

Godfrey Frankel, LES Optometrist’s Shop, 1947

Sinatra, Sinatra
-- Paul Fericano

Sexual reference:
A protruding sinatra
is often laughed at by serious women.

Medical procedure:
A malignant sinatra
must be cut out by a skilled surgeon.

Violent persuasion:
A sawed-off sinatra
is a dangerous weapon at close range.

Congressional question:
Do you deny the charge of ever being
involved in organized sinatra?

Prepared statement:
Kiss my sinatra.
Blow it out your sinatra.

Financial question:
Will supply-side sinatra halt inflation?

Empty expression:
The sinatra stops here.
The sinatra is quicker than the eye.

Strategic question:
Do you think it’s possible to win
a limited nuclear sinatra?

Stupid assertion:
Eat sinatra.
Hail Mary full of sinatra.

Serious reflection:
Sinatra this, sinatra that.
Sinatra do, sinatra don’t.
Sinatra come, sinatra go.
There’s no sinatra like show sinatra.

Historical question:
Is the poet who wrote this poem
still alive?

Biblical fact:
Man does not live by sinatra alone.

4th Symphony Beethoven saying yes
-- Bernadette Mayer

Unmarked and unnoticed & important so alike
the words are the dust on my floor under the radiator
and the wine of the men who love men that I cherish.
I masturbate with you I hope and my love is greater
than yours.

I worship poems when I write them but the
next day I am horrible. Too badi I could be further.

O yes drunk.

Ludwig go after them.

Table For One
-- Marta Ferguson

Solitaire's good practice,
teaches you you never
know who hides the spade
to match your heart or where
the diamonds are buried.
Everything you need waits
in your hands, on the table,
you've just got to get to it,
in time, in time. That's why
it's also called Patience.

March 13, 2013

you may think I'm joking
but I'm tired of toking
on your lies

Roy DeCarava, Coltrane, 1963

I Remember [excerpt]
-- Joe Brainard

I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

I remember the first ball point pens. They skipped, and deposited little balls of ink that would accumulate at the point.

I remember learning how to play bridge so I could get to know Frank O'Hara better.

I remember the outhouse and a Sears & Roebuck catolog to wipe off with.

I remember the organ music from As the World Turns.

I remember being disappointed the first time I had my teeth cleaned that they didn't turn out real white.

I remember that Lana Turner was discovered sipping a soda in a drugstore.

I remember not being able to fall asleep on Christmas eve.

I remember bathroom doors that don't lock and trying to pee fast.

I remember sex on too much grass and the total separation of my head from what's going on down there.

I remember inching myself down into water that was too hot.

I remember awkward elevator "moments."

I remember the exact moment, during communion, that was the hardest to keep from smiling. It was when you had to stick out your tongue and the minister laid the white wafer on it.

I remember little wax bottles with sweet liquid inside.

I remember once when it was raining on one side of our fence but not the other.

I remember hating myself after adult gatherings for being such a bore.

Meiji Shoes Size 12
-- Richard Brautigan

I woke up in the middle of the afternoon, alone,
our love-making did not lead to going to bed
together and that was ok, I guess.

Beside the bed were my shoes covered with Meiji
mud. I looked at them and it felt very good.
It's funny what the sight of dried mud can do
to your mind.

-- Charles Bukowski

here were all these males tuning their guitars
not a women around
and they were content with that.
then they started arguing about who was best.
and what was wrong with the so-called best.
and a couple of them had been famous
and they sat there on my rug
drinking my wine and beer and smoking my

two of them stood up
to duke it out
and that's when I ran them all off
with their guitars and their guitar cases
out into the moonlight
still arguing.

I closed the door.
then I leaned against the couch and drained a beer
fast and I
not a very good night:
it was full of

March 11, 2013

I've been wrong before and I'll be there again
I don't have any answers my friend
Just this pile of old questions
My memory left me here
In the field of opportunity
It's plowin' time again

5th Avenue and 27th Street, NYC Following a 1905 Snow Storm

* Excellent interview of Belarus-born technology writer Evgeny Morozov. excerpt:

Question: You are a feared reviewer of other technology pundits' books … you demolished Jeff Jarvis's book Public Parts, called Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography "pedestrian", you regularly ridicule internet consultant Clay Shirky via Twitter – do you enjoy a fight?

EM: They don't like to fight, that's the problem. They are ripe for ridiculing because they are ridiculous in many cases, and the only reason they are advancing is because they plug in the conceptual and theoretical holes in their theories with buzzwords that have no meaning – "openness" or "the sharing economy" – what on earth is the sharing economy?

What I've tried to do in my reviews is engage seriously with these bullshit concepts, as if they were serious – to see whether an idea such as "cognitive surplus", of which Clay Shirky is very fond, has any meaning at all [emphasis added]. I do close readings of things that aren't meant to be read very closely. That is how our technology discourse works, there are lots of great bloggers, soundbites and memes, but once you start putting them together you realise that they don't add up. And making people aware that they don't add up is a useful public function.
Q: What does the future hold for newspapers?

EM: It depends on what the newspapers hold for the future. A lot of newspapers have embraced the digital rhetoric too eagerly, and have not articulated their own value to the public. A lot of what we hear from internet pundits is that everyone should be building their own reading lists, everyone should be on the lookout for interesting stories themselves, I think that logic is very regressive, backward, anti-democratic and stupid.

I'm fine with a staff of 300 people reading 5,000 stories everyday and condensing them into 25 pages that I myself can read. That's a wonderful model. The newspaper offers something very different from Google's aggregators. It offers a value system, an idea of what matters in the world. Newspapers need to start articulating that value.
Q: When you're online do you watch TED talks?

EM: There are many problems I have with TED. It has created this infrastructure where it very easy to be interesting without being very deep. If TED exercised their curatorial powers responsibly they would be able to separate the good interesting from the bad interesting, but my fear is they don't care as long as it drives eyeballs to the website. They don't align themselves with the thinkers, they align themselves with marketing, advertising, futurist crowd who are interested in ideas for the sake of ideas. They don't care how these ideas relate to each other and they don't much care for what those ideas actually mean. TED has come to exercise lots of power but they don't exercise it wisely.

* The Mark E. Smith Guide to Writing Guide.

* “One part of my mind was doing the writing, and God knows what the other part was doing.” —- Paul Bowles

March 9, 2013

I think I could respect humming
if I couldn't hear it

Pierre Bismuth, Coming Soon, 2005

Still Another Signal
-- Gerard Malanga

Someone has written
on the wall of the
flat I've just moved into
nothing changes

Older Women
-- Jack Gilbert

Each farmer on the island conceals
his hive far up on the mountain,
knowing it will otherwise be plundered.
When they die, or can no longer make
the hand climb, the lost combs your
after year grow heavier with honey.
And the sweetness has more and more
acutely the taste of that wilderness.

-- Jack Gilbert

When I hear men boast about how passionate
they are, I think of the two cleaning ladies
at a second-story window watching a man
coming back from a party where there was
lots of free beer. He runs in and out
of the building looking for a toilet. "My Lord,"
the tall woman says, "that fellow down there
surely does love architecture."

March 5, 2013

I want to live alone in the desert
I want to be like Georgia O'Keefe
I want to live on the Upper East Side
And never go down in the street

Joy Feasley, Green, 2007

* Blake Bailey on The Lost Weekend. Did the cinematic classic destroy the literary achievement? excerpt:

The Lost Weekend—a novel about five disastrous days in the life of alcoholic Don Birnam—was an improbable success when it was published in 1944. Rejecting the novel, Simon & Schuster had assured its author that it wouldn’t sell in the midst of a World War (“Nobody cares about the individual”); within five years of its publication by Farrar & Rinehart, The Lost Weekend sold almost half a million copies in various editions and was translated into 14 languages. Its critical reception was no less impressive: “Charles Jackson has made the most compelling gift to the literature of addiction since De Quincey,” Philip Wylie wrote in The New York Times. “His character is a masterpiece of psychological precision. His narrative method … transmutes medical case history into art.”
Billy Wilder had bought The Lost Weekend at a kiosk in Chicago, and by the time his train arrived in Los Angeles he’d read it twice and quite definitely decided to make a movie based on the book, despite its then controversial subject: an alcoholic, as opposed to a comic drunkard or lush. “Not only did I know it was going to make a good picture,” said Wilder, “I also knew that the guy who was going to play the drunk was going to get the Academy Award.”

* Check out this video of Lou Reed (who turned 71 this week): performing in Paris, 1973

* “The point I discovered is that the best technique is none at all.” —Henry Miller

March 1, 2013

Deep in the back of my mind is an unrealized sound
Every feeling I get from the street says it soon could be found

Deedra Ludwig, Veins of Gold, 2007

Poem for the Working Man and the Upper Mobile Yuppie
-- A.D. Winans

Some people guard their lives
Like a eunuch guards
The Harem door
Like a stock broker with
A hot tip
Like a banker who knows
That today's dollar will only
Be worth one-fourth what
It is today
In less time that it takes
To die
Better to linger over
A cup of coffee
Like a skilled lover with
No need for bragging rights
Remember that every newsman
On every street corner in America
That every meat packer and fisherman
Knows more about life than
Your average poet
That blind man rattling
An empty tin cup
Makes more noise than
A yuppie gunning
On his way
to the graveyard

I Don't Believe In the Peaceful Way
-- Nicanor Parra (translated by Miller Williams)

I don't believe in the violent way
I'd like to believe
in something--but I don't
to believe means to believe in God
all I can do is
shrug my shoulders
forgive me for being blunt
I don't even believe in the Milky Way.

The Place on the Corner
-- William Matthews

No mirror behind this bar: tiers of garish
fish drift back and forth. They too have routines.
The TV's on but not the sound. Dion
and the Belmonts ("I'm a Wanderer") gush
from the box. None here thinks a pink slip
("You're fired," with boilerplate apologies)
is underwear. None here says "lingerie"
or "as it were." We speak Demonic
because we're disguised as ordinary
folks. A shared culture offers camouflage
behind which we can tend the covert fires
we feed our shames to, those things we most fear
to say, our burled, unspoken, common language --
the only one, and we are many.