Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I'm in this. And others are too.

Friday, January 19, 2007

When I was a kid, I remember it being morning, and the Journey song with 'when the lights go down on the city' (their ode to San Francisco) was on the radio. I also remember thinking to myself, at about age 8 or 9 I'd say, 'Now this is good music!'


My earliest memory is being in a car outside Mayfair Mall, and hearing 'Steppin Out' by Joe Jackson on the radio. I was there because my Mom was a waitress at Captains Restaurant.


Learning that Reitman & Mueller were anti-deer hunting, and how that pissed off my Dad.


My dad made me listen closely to the synth solo that comes at the end of 'Lucky Man' by Emerson Lake & Palmer.


When I was much older, I was in a car with my Dad and "Its Only Rock n Roll" came on. He changed it immediately. It occurs to me that The Rolling Stones and My Dad are almost mutually anathema.
I've noticed that on alot of Seinfeld episodes there are points where George becomes angry and then immediately begins eating. I usually eat when I'm experiencing anxiety because I find it takes my mind off of 'things'. I'm what some would call 'fat'. I experience alot of anxiety, thus the calorie intake. But I can't imagine eating 'angry', in the vein of 'driving angry'. But there are alot scenes with that motif on Seinfeld- 'George is gettin upset!', then immediately starts eating a sandwich. Actually its seems like all they do on that show is eat. Its amazing they weren't all morbidly obese.


Last night I saw The Descent. It's disturbing in a way that stays with you more than say, The Ring, which just relies on one somewhat hokey premise. The Descent is more psychological, and it has a very eliptical ending, though one can make some sense out of it from a psychological angle. The monsters are really just white people who've evolved indoors, not unlike real life white people. The charactors are British, which means they manage to say 'sorry' even when they're on the verge of death, after a spear's been plunged their neck. What's disturbing? The ending, definitely. More than that tho, it's what happens within the group who descend into the cave, what the specter first of the cave, then the monsters does to them.
I'm still digesting my reaction to Ys. It's a powerful album to be sure. But the length of songs and the ambitiousness of the material make it hard to listen to in a casual way. You have to sit down and listen to it, doing nothing else. 'Emily' is amazing to me because it's innovation seems to be entirely musical, or at least more embedded in the music than most rock/pop, which is marketwise, if that matters, still where one situates Joanna Newsom. Or at least its where her albums would be in a record store. The innovation in alot of rock/pop now is found in playing with the codification of certain gestures. In a way, that's what all 'innovative' rock/pop relies on. Skewing the gestures of the pop song, in the format of a pop song. If there's any exception it might be Pet Sounds. Smile, if it had been made by the Beach Boys. Ys also reminds me of Astral Weeks, in its winding structures and lyrical density. Tho where Astral Weeks was influenced by jazz, Ys seems more indebted to modern classical music.
On Tuesday night it was very cold. While waiting for the 10 bus, I began making fog on the shelter glass with my breath. Then I discovered I could actually make clear lines within the fog by curling my tongue and exhaling onto it. I wrote Mike Rules very crudely in the fog on the glass. When I saw the bus coming, I became embarrased at the thought of someone else seeing this and tried to erase it with my gloved hand. But it wouldn't come off. So the next person who came to that bus shelter may very well have seen Mike Rules written on the glass of the bus shelter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thinking today how funny it is that, I think, ODB at some point in the first Wu Tang is like, "What's that's in yr pants? AW HUMAN FECES!"

He's of course referring to how scary his rap style is. And it is scary. Other rap styles on this joint 'have the force to leave to ya lost like the Tribe of Shabaz' and are 'more deadly than the stroke of an axe/ppCCHHHhh!/givin bystanders heart attacks'. Its not out of the question that one such rap style would leave one with shit in the drawers. But 'human feces'? What other kind of feces would it be? Caribou feces? Wallaby feces?


I really like Boris' Pink. Though I can't speak intelligently about metal, such as The Mister does. Not too many reference points. But one of the things I love about it is that the slow, droney songs hit harder than the fast Sabbath-y ones. 'Farewell' kicks in with a massive crash like a space nugget demolishing a tiny village. But it reminds me of 'Limerick' from Amanita by Bardo Pond. I don't know about using Blake and Bosch for liner art.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My favorite song right now is Yo La Tengo's "Mr. Tough". Its one of those songs that seems like it shouldn't work. Some kind of tropical piano figure. Is it calypso? Tango? (Ha!) Festive horns that rangle like Otis Redding. Ira Kaplan singing in a ridiculously high voice. But I think I can definitely say the whole thing's life-affirming. And a familiar rock/pop sentiment 'Pretend/ Everything could be alright'. But it hits home as affectively as Stevie Wonder's 'Don't You Worry Bout a Thing' or Velvelt Underground's 'I'm Beginning To See The Light'.

Also digging 'Foggy Eyes' by Beat Happening. It has a simple echoey sound. Heather Lewis picking up Mo Tucker's sticks in more ways than one. Beat Happening are much underappreciated. They were pretty much a monodynamic band. But you have two great unique vocalists in Heather and Calvin. And they were monodynamic in a way that resembled the Velvets more than Sprinstein (unlike today's indie bands). What's with indie bands all of sudden being influenced by The Boss? Weird. Calvin of course is Calvin Johnson who co-started K Records. How many people even know about Beat Happening anymore. This is making me sound old.

The other night while listening to Ys, I got a huge erection out of nowhere. But it wasn't like a lusty 'bust my nut' type of erection. It was like a good erection, a love erection. I felt kind of weird, like a stalker. But those were just residual feelings. I don't believe the erection to have been residual.

Friday, January 05, 2007

In the confluence of processing a very pertinant post on Silliman's Blog, the comments therein and Jonathan Mayhew's claim to alienation from 'personal experience' I've started thinking about this idea again that I've had for some time. The idea that, socially and I guess poetically since how really can one seperate the two, I'm sort of like a bystander hollering at traffic. This would seem to indicate a sense of alienation, and I guess I feel as alienated as anyone else.

But this idea is from how I came to 'place' myself among my group of friends at whatever time. Sometimes consciously but more times not really consciously I become this person trying say things that exist just outside the bounds of whatever conversation is happening. I feel more comfortable, seeing that this is usually my mindset, when there is a group of people around talking. I probably should've pursued a career appearing on shows like The McLaughlin Group.

This tendency probably comes partly from a fear of intimacy. It seems cliched to say 'a fear of a intimacy', but I think I have it. That is, I don't make eye contact much, I don't like talking on the phone either. When I'm talking on the phone to someone I get this feeling like there's pressure on me to talk. You can't watch tv or listen to music in phone zone. Just you and the other person.

Or it might just be that I get bored easily by other people. Despite how pretentious that sounds I think its probably true. It doesn't mean that I think I'm better than you, sexy reader! Its probably just a short attention span.

Applying this to poetry/poetry world, I've feel isolated more than anything else geographically. Like others I'm sure, I think about how my poetry might have more readers if I lived in a place like New York or San Fransisco or Philadelphia. But is that all I want? More readers?

I do think that to write poetry (assuming one has spent time reading and processing the poetry of others) is to create a piece of culture. Speaking anthropo-something-ly the instinct to share would have to come with the act of creating then, right? Not that I want to show you everything I write. That's not necessarilly what desiring an audience means. To me its sort of like giving something to another person as a gift, so it exists as an entity apart from your own perception of it. But still as a record of your existence, or as James Liddy might say, one of your 'receipts for existence'.

And maybe then, paradoxically, there has to be some level of isolation. I remember a Philip Whalen poem (I think one that was to Bill Berkson) where he is basicly saying how there are so many people around that one can't get anything done. But that's just functionality, or the lack thereof when one is surrounded by distractions.

I mean a sort of maybe self-imposed isolation. Maybe an isolation that the poem imposes on itself. But maybe that's just a matter of figuring how to give it room, more functionality.

Alot of life is functionality. Figuring out how to function. In poetry, making it safe for the poem to happen. A clear connection between Persons.

Now for some reason I want to talk about poetics. (Jeez, an essay's almost in sight!) I tried writing about my poetics or whether I had one this summer, and I've come to the conclusion that there is vanity in poetics. Obvioulsy poetry blogs radically alter poetics. It seems to me that poetics was once a thing one cultivated over one's lifetime. Now its like voting straight ticket. And I don't want to percieve my or anyone's poetry that way. In November, I voted straight Dem, but only to oppose the Republicans. I don't, on the other hand, want a poetics of opposition.

As a sidenote on poetics, I don't think its a complete waste of time. Someone like Lorine Niedecker, you could definintely write about her work in regards to poetics, but she spent her whole life developing that. Its never a finished thing, a stance, a party line.

One thing I believe is that poets connect to each other, out of a proclivity that is almost inseperable from the act of writing. I like this tribal aspect of poetry. I think poetry can and should present a model for a community that exists palpably, but also flexibly. In that way, poetry commuinities can affect the whole world, which they were never seperate from anyway.

As a poet you plant your gardens, which'll have yours and others' poems in them. That's beautiful, no?