Friday, March 30, 2007

Last night, I watched Children of Men for a second time. First time, I had a sour taste in my mouth, and even yelled 'c'mon', when Kee said at the end she would name her child 'Dylan'. So I watched the documentary, and that only has an ancilliary connection to what's in the film. Famous scientists and philosophers, including Zizek, predicting global catastrophes, without (except for Zizek) really even trying to relate to the film, all the while accompanied by stock footage from the set of Children of Men. I think it would be funny if the charatcers said the title of film several times throughout: "We must find the Children of Men." And also thinking and wondering why I keep being reminded of The Golden Child, with Eddie Murphy.

So I have two readings of the film. From the first viewing that it's basicly Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars- a reluctant hero, a precious cargo in the form of a woman/child, explosions/bullets, a repressive regime, dystopian elements as a foreground, rebel forces- but way beyond it's depth in terms of the issues it tries to address. Presenting a horrible future where mass numbers of people are 'fugees' (not to be mistaken for Pras, Lauryn Hill, or Wyclef Jean), it always seems to be cloudy except in rural areas, a plague (in this case a plague of infertility), and all of it as a projection of similarity to present times. But does it really get beyond the usual dystopian future motifs?

The second reading is that all of the above mentioned are problems inherent in any film that situates itself in the really-sucky-future/globalization genre. And to be fair Children of Men fleshes out as much as can expected in the span of two or so hours. There's an acceleration in the movie of themes that are already present in the world, paranoia over 'Terrorists', mass numbers of refugees. It's just, I'm bothered when a film actively solicits heavy verisimilitude, a romantic backstory, and action-packed technical wizardry all in one shot. I guess that's what I mean by being beyond it's depth. The most troublesome area of the film is how it addresses the refugees and how they came to be refugees. There are just kind of there. A whole lot of catastrophic shit happened and there they are. I mean it's important to look at a refugee situation as a result of specfic events and not just as all these people, no?

And the hype over the technical virtuosity of the film isn't unwarranted. (The tracking shots! They are impressive.) It's not hard to see that this'll be one of those 'Cult Films', lotsa websites, clubs etc. springing up around it. I would recommend seeing it. It would be interesting to see what others think.
Autechre electro-anxiety in the shower. And yet bopping still.


Duffer St. George, the way Elinor Friedberger leans on care, when she says it the second time, in the chorus. That moment where the severe tone of voice gives way to a heavy breath.


Too cold biking over the Locust Street Bridge, in a holey pullover and sweater.


High School kid piling hot sauces on his friend's tray at the Taco Bell.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I was thinking the Triangle Brat Sale would be today, rather than yesterday, but I was wrong. Now I'm considering Taco Bell. Try and stop me.


On the 60 bus, people at two consecutive stops waved the vehicle by, as they were waiting for the much more popular 15 bus. The first person, a woman most likely in her 50/60s, did a kind of misleading gesture with the index finger, suggesting 'Come here, but then pass by me.' The second person, a man in his 20s probably, did a more dismissive be-gone-from-my-sight, right hand swinging low back-and-forth gesture.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Here's my idea of making lines: if you have to think for more than a few seconds about where to break a line, it's a bad sign. It's a phrase, among other phrases, and together they form a poem. Houston Astrodome.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Does blogging make me lazy? Like when I post something, do I subconsciously think I've done 'enough'?
Last night I had a dream that I was with a person I have a crush on. We were talking. And at one point, we walked under some scaffolding and on some planks, in downtown West Bend near the theater. Of course I'm filling in some gaps. I was saying how if I were a manager of performers, all of my clients would be 'freak acts' or 'noise acts'. It was a really pleasant conversation. I don't remember what she was saying, but she was speaking in a very casual and friendly way. I sensed, at some point, that her boyfriend was nearby. I had another dream about another woman who I have somewhat less of a crush on, last week or so. We were supposed to meet at the Taco Bell on Paradise Drive in West Bend. For some reason, this was where this person, who had never been to Wisconsin before, wanted to meet me. I was there alone, waiting for her, when a short man who looked much older than he actually was, explained why everyone had to leave Taco Bell immediately. He was pretty cool about it, tho. It wasn't like closing time at The Foundation.


The first dream reminded of how I watched The Science of Sleep last week. For reasons I can't quite articulate, I was really bugged by it. But (I guess if you don't want the ending spoiled then you should STOP READING) the ending has the the man's wishes unrequited. And the person I had the first dream about is someone I will probably never even meet, not anytime in the forseeable future anyway. So I'm thinking about the message of that film's ending. Basicly, sometimes you can get what you want only in dreams.

But dreams aren't reality. And I'm not sexy.


So much for 'mind your own business', I guess. I don't think I really meant that anyway. I do think people should share. But I also think they should consider the implications of that.


Last week, I was reading Lester Bangs. He's still one of my favorite writers. I was kind of shocked tho, when I realized that the person who wrote this, I think it might have been 'James Taylor Marked For Death', was 22 years old. I've always read Lester as an elder, toddling the reader on his brilliant knee. He did kind of assume that role in his writing tho, especially in a piece like Psychotic Reactions and Carbuerator Dung. That piece begins with his addressing the reader as a group of his grandchildren, then traveling through the present into the future, for a retrospective on The Count Five, who had a minor but influential hit with 'Psychotic Reaction'.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tomorrow (3/26) I'm reading at Linneman's Riverwest Inn on Locust and Weil at 9pm. Maybe I'll get laid (paid).

Friday, March 23, 2007

What do we think of the idear of something being 'None of your business'? I think it's underrated. Or at least that it could be applied liberally to many of the poet blogs. Not least my own. Its the problem of feeling like one is at a big, disembodied bar/social gathering, jarring against the prospect of instantly publishing something. And something about that disembodied, social aspect makes one say things they would normally only to say to strangers when they were drunk. Maybe some do post drunk. I can't, or rather don't, since the computer lab would be a mighty awful place while one was drunk.

A blog post has the potential to be more widely and instantly read than any book. Not that I wanna start to sound like Time or John Stossel, or the guy who traps sexual predators on Dateline, mewling about the dangers of the Internet.


And everyone should hear this album sooner than later. And yes I heard it before the Pitchfork props came. It is joyful and somewhat unassuming. Sort of has the time/space scheme of a DJ mix. The CD booklet is filled with beautiful collages, which I look at while listening.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Notes Toward a Diagram of Mystery Funk

"I slept on a toilet!! In the dark!!"

Notes Toward a Diagram of Mystery Funk

A poem's potential to induce wow-ness* is not as oblivious to fumes as we think. We say the poem's there. Is it? In a far-beyond-the-dregs-of-old-Wow routine, hard work is the missing ingredient in my syllabic quiche baste. And no one has ever thought of trying to make one (or two) on the George Foreman grill. My poetics dictates that I physically feel the shudders lip-syncing an emotional duet with the next town, i.e. poem, i.e. howdy. This is not just retracing The Plasticity of Fools, or even Emotional Overlay. In the 1970's, some kind of poetic parlay was ALL THE RAGE!!! Game show contestants openly sipping mixed drinks etc. Ugh! Unguito!! Someone praticed pagan cookery in San Jose. And it was you.

(In Pound's THUNDER CANTOS, a specific roar surfaces. A light creamy light, with all the stresses turned off for several pages at a time. Pound asked Zukofsky not to breathe while reading THUNDER CANTOS, or so the legend has it. Pound would not return to this "ladlin' it out" tone until the posthumous FAR BEYOND DRIVEN)

* A criteria stretching back to the Middle Ages and ending somewhere in the Future. As if...
Where I work, people often ask me to do things they need done in the kitchen. The other day, on my way to the shower, in the shower, as I was drying myself, and as I was walking back to my room I was having fun making up such requests that make no sense. Let me see if I can do some:

'Hey Mike, I need you to spatialize that Indonesian burrito paste, we're gonna cook it off in the steam booth.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to rub my cerebral tit while I cold cock these clam baster epigrams.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to come on these monkey wafers in the dark.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to lap up that steak rind, put it in the walk-in 'bot, and dry-hump some more of those parsley beaurocrats for tonight's class war dinner.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to tuna-fold the green bass necks.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to stuff all this ground beef into my backpack PRONTO.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to fertilize the curry-stuffing before it goes out of style.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to perform a pagan ritual while I slaughter this lamb.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to put pancake batter on my leg in time for the Asshole Car Interiors Memorial Dinner and Bake-Off.'

'Hey Mike, I need you to cuddle with this ham while I thrush these artichoke chimneys.'

That was fun! How bout for you?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My birthday is Saturday. Why am I telling you this? My birthday is Saturday. It seemed like I should say it twice. Maybe blogging is Emotional Magic. Or maybe the ultimate realization of Rock n Roll Fantasy. Maybe it is Penultimate Metal. Maybe it is the Quintessence of Maybe.

My UWM computer account will end in less than a month, so I will be doing this alot less soon.

Black Love. Mustache Ride. Cup o Soup. Sweater Vest Octupi. Lonestar Blogging.
Last night I watched episodes 7-13 of The Sopranos Season 5, and as should be expected, I dreamt all night that mobsters were trying to kill me.
Does emotion come from hard work? My friend Robert and I used to always talk about the idea of Emotional Magic, which seemed so melodramatic we couldn't help but ask each other about it constantly. "Is that emotional magic? Is that?" The idea that a magic trick, sleight of hand, willfully bewildering one's audience toward the end of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, would produce an emotional response. The audience would feel a tremendous release of joy, to the point of tears. It would be fun to start a poetic movement called Emotional Magic. But I think in the end it would leave us all in tears, many of us would be driven back to sleeping with stuffed animals. And I already have those kinds of dark thoughts. I mean wouldn't that be more honest than a body pillow or a blow-up doll or whatever. Magic tricks do produce a kind of emotion, but maybe it's the emotion of being bewildered. A lapse between the recognition that produces emotion, and the non-recognition of looking at a magic trick. A poetics of wonderment! The founder of this burgeoning aesthetic approach is Doug Henning.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is emotion even important? Is it important to talk about that in poetry?
So thinking about how language that doesn't use overtly emotional elements can produce great emotion.

Examples of (in some cases) overt emotion being say, Ginsberg. Swooping motion of directly, self-consciously getting something out. Some of Alice Notley's work also. A desperation in the moment of the text, and also speed, getting it down, to meet it's needs. And to amend, more perhaps a need for the text to be born than for the poet, who is a vessel, to express themselves.

I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?

So it seems like emotion is tied to address. The act of addressing a specific person, or circumstantially, whoever's reading it.

Then maybe, on the other end, Ashbery, passages say in The Skaters, which are richly emotional but also exhibit a certain avoidance of that directness that lets you know when to feel something. One is no better than the other.

Also on the Ashbery end, thinking of how Pavement songs like Brinx Job, or Type Slowly are very emotional, but the lyrics are tantalizingly indirect.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Here are some workshop doozies. I was told once that something I submitted was 'a little performancey'. Another time it was 'a little Languagey'. The capital 'L' is from Language Poetry, I presume. Yeah, what's with all the language in this poem? I was hoping for nut-covered raisins. A frequent approach is to treat the poem like it were one of those machines filled with prizes, and the reader has to operate a mechanical claw and try to grab one. One compliment was that it sounds like the 'crazy person' on the bus. You know that person on the bus? Didn't Ron Silliman read from Tjanting on the bus? I know Charles Reznikoff did. Like I said, I took it as a compliment. I probably wouldn't actually do it, but I admire those that do. Kind of like people who have great experiences on drugs. I used to worry that because I had so little experience with substances, I would never be able to write like Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg. But alot of the poems in a magazines like Poetry sound much more depraved than anyone, or anything written, on drugs.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A problem maybe is, how do you not get but allow the world into your writing. And then what world? Through what vocabulary? In poetry where referents make cameos in each others' scenarios, is that linguistic speed-dating? Whalen's graph of a mind of a moving is the still the least constricted, laterally reactive model. What's there? Patrick Kavanagh said something like 'That pint, there in front of you.' But then where's the interface between the pint and the pint at the end of the mind? Why a pint? Because he was in McDade's and one was there in front of him. If I write from anything, it's from what I guess is my present circumstance. And it becomes itself really in the writing. Process seems limited as a word. It implies a Pint A and a Pint B. Poems don't end, as long as they're read. They're looked at, and read.

You have to do so much in a poem. It's unbelievable! There are no demands.

Monday, March 05, 2007

And how could I forget "Bury The Hammer", "Carrot Rope", numerous Yo La Tengo, all the indie duets of yore. And of course Conan with Jiminy Glick doing "Silent Night"-- 'furnyiiiiii...."
I like collaborating on poems, because it's like a duet. Like "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" or "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" or "Total Eclipse of The Heart". But not like "Paradise By The Dashboard Light", which would be maudlin. Something I think I'd rather duet than be in a sexual relationship. Read that however you want.
So I can't I believe I didn't catch this at first, but in #101 of The Annotated My Trip To NYC, Bill Luoma says, "These [paragraphs] are all slides by the way, slides that you would show to relatives after you get back from a trip." (I can't find a paragraph symbol on this keyboard, which is what Luoma uses.)

I had always sensed a pictorial quality in the paragraphs, but not in the imagist sense. Take this sentence for a instance, from 12 Peanuts & an Easton: "They wore regular clothes except for open windbreakers whose front said alternately POL & ICE." So there's a pleasent surprise in reading this of looking at 'POL & ICE' on the page, and visualizing it in the mind. It's a little thing, of course. But one thing that makes Works & Days so endlessly 'readable' is that it's a visual work, as well as a narrative one. Another instance is the Krispy Kreme symbol appearing next to the part where the narrator is describing the best way to eat Krispy Kreme donuts. But a key word in the first-quoted sentence from TAMTTNYC would seem to be 'show'. There's a passivity and a removedness, as in a narrator who says, I want to show you this. And as pleasant as being in a room with a person who wants to show you things, slides from a trip, for instance. Kerouac also writes alot about his prosody, but what keeps it from being a smothering venture for the reader, is that one doesn't the get sense of being told what something means. Same here, I think. I'm still hung up on that old show don't tell chestnut, from English Classes going back farther than I remember. (Mr. Lewis?) But it rings true.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Indie Rock has become like that friend that everyone constantly makes fun of but still keeps around. It seems like the investment alot of people my age (28) had in this music came from the bitterness of having been constantly told 'You missed the 60's'. When I heard Bee Thousand by Guided By Voices I was almost shocked. Like, 'this is as good as The White Album'. It was amazing somehow to 15 year old me that music could still be that good. Of course I had just undergone some no-Motley-Crue-for-you-cuz-they-sing-about-satan trauma, some hybernating with the Dances With Wolves score (which I will always claim has good qualities), and was nearing the end of my interest in sports. But that 'this is as good as the White Album' kinda-realization was a door for me to actually stop caring about the whole now vs. then dichotomy, even if I didn't know it then. But this icky kind of nostalgia persists, everywhere one looks. Definitely in poetry.

But back to Indie Rock, it's interesting to note the change in nomenclature surrounding this genre. And the genre is so broadly defined, it doesn't really exist. Obviously Indie Rock exists in the way Jazz exists, and not in the way a more specificly defined genre such as Be Bop exists. It's almost like saying 'Classic Rock'. Think about it. Just as there is that little (large) niche in every city for a Classic Rock station, there'll soon enough be one for the Indie Rock station. And it'll be aimed at us (18 to 35 at the present time) as we age (dis)gracefully.

The word 'Indie' seems to stick and lend itself to marketing in a peculiar way. Remember when it was 'underground' or 'alternative' or even 'cutting edge'! And of course the word 'punk' is like this gauzy spectrality, looming over the whole field. And obviously the meanings of these words dissolve completely, in the process of being utelized to sell Bloc Party and Bright Eyes albums.

But maybe I'm way off. One definable trend is that music is becoming specialized, more compartmentalized within the internet. Maybe Kurt Cobain would have liked this. Nirvana fans, in the present context, would be able to go to Nirvana's myspace, commiserate among themselves in chat rooms. And Nirvana would never have to sign to a major label. Never have to deal with dreaded jocks!

But maybe that's internet-utopia idealizing.

And maybe there is no next Nirvana. Not that they were so unbelievably great. The Nirvana phenomenon was that people who would never listen to a band like that (supposedly) started listening to a band like that. So much so that (gasp) Michael Jackson was briefly no longer the top-selling artist.

Its come to be considered naive to say 'My favorite kind of music is Indie Rock.' I think it would be funny to say 'Mostly, I'm into alternative.' Remember alternative? Vedder on Time's cover? I have the feeling that kind of media phenomenom-a-non isn't going to happen anymore. The zeitgeist belongs more to technology and the market now than it did even in the 90's. More people are excited about the new iPhone than about the new Arcade Fire, regardless of how you feel about that band.

And nobody missed anything, don't worry. Anyone can get a copy of Bee Thousand, and its still great. The 90's were not a GREAT ERA in music. There was never a time when the nomenclature of music, or even the context of music, was more important than the music. You wouldn't get more out of The Beatles' songs by transporting yourself back to the 60's. You would get more out of the 60's maybe, and realize they 60's were never about the Beatles, or even the 60's.

The trick is not to be fooled by the nomenclature. There is no such thing as Indie Rock. It's really just industry jargon now, and maybe always was. Maybe there never was an Indie Rock. Of course there's independent produced and marketed music. Always will be. But Indie Rock, all it is, is dust in the wind.
I get Wu Tang Clan, Enter The 36 Chambers: This might be the first hip hop album I buy. At first, it sounds kind of scary. You might read whiteness from that statement. But Enter The 36 Chambers is scary. Many of the disses are so effective it sounds like they're directed at you. 'What's that in y' pants? Aww, HUMAN PHESIS. Next time come strapped with a fuckin pampa' 'We have an APB on an MC KILLA! Looks like the work of a Masta.' (Masta Killah) The beats sound like boots stomping through mud. They're bees. You might get stung. Also, best skits of any hip hop album I know about. Accept maybe Three Feet High and Rising. Why don't indie rock albums have skits? I love skits! The ones on this album anyway...

I get The Velvet Underground & Nico: At first I don't like it. The first track sounds like The Mamas & The Papas (I'm fifteen at this point, keep in mind). Waiting For The Man also kind of dissapoints me. I thought this would sound more like Sonic Youth! I want noise. Run Run Run has a loud solo. I don't remember when this album clicked with me, but boy did it! Maybe it was finally European Son, where the glass broke. Nico sounds like my German teacher. Venus in Furs reminds me of the scenes in Jesus of Nazareth that show decadent Romans.

I get Sea & Cake, Sea & Cake: I like this immediately. It reminds me of city parks I never really visited. Bring My Car I Feel To Smash It. Great song title. Clear chiming sound. Reminds me of Steely Dan, which was good then, not good for a while, and now I'm back to admitting I like some of their songs. Despite how they dissed VU.
I get My Bloody Valentine, Loveless: I had first seen them on 120 Minutes (I could blog a whole lot about that too!) and I, in 19-fucking-94 did not own a CD player yet. I wanted the tape so badly tho, I think I all but hugged the dude from Best Buy when he found it for me. I listened on a walkmen in the family Ford Explorer on Hwy 41/45 going north. Later I played it while my mother was giving me driving lessons. She made me take it off. For some reason I thought she might like it. I wrote about it in my school newspaper. Of course crushed on Belinda Butcher.

I get Bugskull, Phantasies and Senseitions: I read that it was groundbreaking and incredible in Alternative Press, this was 94/95 before that magazine became devoted to Emo. First song reminds me of the beginning of St Pepper's, and then the song once it begins reminds me of disco. I like the weirder songs better than the normaler ones. One song is a sloppy watery beat with a phone message from someone named 'Big Ronnie'. Short. My favorite song is called Recoder.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The very first post on this blog (when I thought it would be strictly poesy damaged) was about Bill Luoma's Works and Days. I think I can safely it's one of my favorite books, not that I'm too well-read or anything. It makes sense to give it the sentimental designation 'favorite', because as Alice Notley says on the back (and Anselm Berrigan said in a review of the book I read in an old Po Proj newsletter at Zack's house) (Zack has these old issues of the Po Proj newsletter which John gave to him)(love you John), but like I was saying both of them remark how readable this book is. And I just realized in an more subjective way that no part of it, not even Astrophysics &You or The Annotated My Trip To NYC, projects BOOK outwardly. So much poetry, even terrific poetry, projects BOOK at a little point in the air midway between you and it. But when I read Works & Days I see no projection between me and the book. None of it feels like it was written to be published. How often can one say they read a book and it feels that way? So there are all kinds of words I could throw around here. Maybe 'intimacy' and 'the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction' are on a teeter totter in my mind. In My Trip To NYC, I like the first sentence of each paragraph, and want to read more. 'Jennifer can smoke and I really like her style.' 'Evan and Steve have an 85% hit ratio.' 'I admired the way one side of Cindy's hair fell longer and eyeward.' 'There was an ump named Norm who liked Douglass and he's still the best ump in the league.' Almost all of the beginning sentences of paragraphs have a person's name in them. At first I wondered if there was a method used to write them. Maybe not knowing exactly what this method was detracted from my understanding of it... Now, after reading through it again, I'm not so worried about that.