Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Elisa Gabbert responded to my post about New Yorker Squirrel poems. Here's her Squirrel (literally) Poem. This "Squirrel" (?) first appeared in the Raleigh Quarterly
Elegy at Chestnut and River
Squirrel in the road, squashed
to an outline of itself: cute,
even in death. I can’t miss it
if I never knew it. Can I?
If I pick it up, it will weigh
either more or less
than I expect. Will smear
a little blood on my fingers.
It will smell rich.
It’s a squirrel: not
looking for a monument
or a headstone. It wants
to be left in the street,
the spot where it was last
alive, stuck in a running-
across shape. It wants to keep
running forever, but
it can’t stop stopping.
If you've got a Squirrel or Animal or Object poem that you think I'd find appropriate to post here with illustration send it to me please! I'm wanting to do a few more of these. If they strike me right, of course.
Elisa Gabbert is the poetry editor of Absent. Her recent poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Diagram, Eleven Eleven, Meridian, Pleiades, Typo and Washington Square. A chapbook, Thanks for Sending the Engine, is available from Kitchen Press. She is also the author, with Kathleen Rooney, of Something Really Wonderful (dancing girl press, 2007) and That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness (Otoliths Books, 2008). Their collaborations can be found in Boston Review, Caketrain, jubilat, No Tell Motel and other journals.
And, sorry, no mocking.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
is Seth Abramson really given up on semi-pro blogging??
For a while now Seth's blog has been saying "Gone for a Spell?"
So, is Seth under some sort of spell? Bewitched?
Well, Seth is blogging. And professionally.
And it's sad. Not sad because he's "corrupt and evil." (I'll leave that to others to talk about. Or maybe they're all talked out and typed out.) But sad because I miss Seth's blogging. Miss his Ars Poetica musings. Miss his Law and Order rants. Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss.
I just flat miss his blogging. His semi-pro blogging. (semi-pro because, remember, Seth would occasionally ask for donations.)
I check my blogger feed regularly. Like going out to the mailbox knowing the letter you want and need so badly just is not there.
So, every once in a while I check in on Seth's old blog (knowing already what I'll find. a tomb, a tomb, a tomb!!) and it makes me sad. And that "Gone for a Spell" just tugs at my heartstrings. And the picture of Seth: pensive, pensive Seth. And the serious high-brow stone-marble. O, Seth!
Come back Seth!
Come back Seth!
I know you're busy helping and hustling. But, come on, man, you must have time to satisfy the legions of us who want to see your blogging. Your real blogging!
Come back Seth!
Come back Seth Abramson Come back!!
The 2 dead Canadians have made the front cover of the Meridiano agan today.
The article states:
--that the pair were under investigation by canadian drug authorities.
--that one of them had a drug record.
--that the two of them were regulars at Prestige (a local strib club.)
------it says they were going there 2 to 3 times a week and spending up to 70,000 pesos in a night. (that's over $5,000 USD)
(note: who knows how reliable this figure is but I guess they were really living it up.)
When I went to the Gym today a couple of guys were looking at the article. One of them said that one of the Canadians was at the gym last week.
And this made me think of him, moving through the same areas as me. using the same machines. same bathrooms. same urinal perhaps. his sweat dripping on to the machines. on to the ground. his blood coursing through his veins. his heart pumping that blood.
the same blood and heart, hardening already, and placed (tossed?) in the back of a white pickup truck.
And it made me think of an excerpt near the end of an Orwell essay. Its subject was a Hanging. And there was a dog that raced up to the party of the men (the condemned and the escorts) and leaped up to lick the face of the man who was about to be dead.
Anyways, below is the picture of two men, alive, pointing at the camera (miming guns?):
mud luscious / ml press is happy to bring you new words:
issue nine is livid & kicking, featuring the work of kate wyer, peter schwartz, christina farella, meg pokrass, bradley sands, mel bosworth, andrea deangelis, zachary tyler vickers, cortney mclellan, richard osgood, david peak, roxane gay, gregory sherl, steven j. mcdermott, & kimberly e. ruth & reviews of ANTHEM by c. l. bledsoe, DAYS OF DESTRUCTION by gary beck, & BIG AMERICAN TRIP by christian peet.
read it all here
& the oct. chapbook trio is available now: get MORE INTRODUCTIONS TO A BOOK I WILL NEVER FINISH by mark baumer, I AM RICHARD SIMMONS by ben tanzer, & BOOTS WALKING IN AMERICA FOUND A TROPHY by krammer abrahams, each for only $3.
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&, if that was not enough, this: mud luscious press is anthologizing; every one of our 4x4 chapbooks from inception through 2009 collected into one brutal and massive print edition. 43 titles in all. $15. releases 1.1.10.
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& hey, while we are at it, want a little j. a. tyler ? you can now pre-order signed copies of both INCONCEIVABLE WILSON (scrambler books, 2009) & SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (ghost road press, 2009).
get in early here
hoping all of you are well.
j. a. tyler
Monday, September 28, 2009
2 Canadians shot to death.
The one 15 times. The other "only" 4 times.
This happened right in the middle of the hotel tourist zone.
(Click on Image for Larger View)
99-yr Old Man Killed by his 24 Yr-Old Son---The Back Cover of Today's Meridiano
Stabbed 5 times in the stomach and chest.
(Click on picture for larger view)
1) The Addict
I’m lying in bed not sure if I’m awake or asleep. I hear a noise and my wife nudges me.
“It’s probably nothing,” I mumble, half-asleep-ish. But I’m pretending. I’m wide awake. And I know we need to go check it out. So I fumble on some clothes and we head downstairs.
And, there, disconnecting our DVD from the T.V. is the sorriest looking thief you’ll ever see. Probably a heroin addict, I think. Or a meth-head. (I saw a documentary on meth the other night.)
“Pl-please,” he stutters. “Help me.”
“Help you?” I gasp. (but the back of my mind’s frantic. I know this voice. God damnit, this, this pathetic little wretch here, this shell of a man, burned out and battered, this, this is Ron Silliman. The great big Ron Silliman. O, my!)
“Yes, help me, pl-pl-pl-please,” he mutters through black putrid teeth.
I suddenly feel like crying. Like when I’m in a really big church and the full weight of mortality dawns on me with deepening, dome-crescendoing, steepling force.
“Kill the rat!”—-- a voice explodes out from behind me. It’s my wife. And she’s passed me a pitchfork. “Kill him now, damnit, kill him now.”
“But it’s a living creature,” I plead. And I’m struggling.
And the decayed-rat-Silliman’s flung down at my feet. Sobbing. Beseeching. Begging. Befouling. Bemoaning. And this hurts. It just hurts.
“Pl-pl-pl-pl-pl-please,” he spits forth. “You can have anything. My wife. My children. My soul. Curtis Faville. David Shapiro and all his dreams. And all my poems. Yes, I’ll write for you. Blog for you. Chirp for you. Bark for you. Turtle for you. Strip down to just a fig leaf and be your Eve throbbing in your wounded side under the greening eyes of God and Serpent in that beautiful beautiful garden. Anything, anything, anything..pl-pl-pl-please, pl-pl-pl-please.”
The church dome’s sucking the tears up into my eyes and all around us I notice the shadows and figures of trees and walls are taking on a silver kind of blackness. And it all seems to be swelling. Something’s about to happen, I think. We’re in the presence of Grace forming, I think: a Miracle spreading its wings and closing them all around us.
“Kill the fucking rat,” my wife explodes, again. High-strung. Ecstatic. “Now!”
And the pitchfork rises up. And comes down firmly.
Back in bed I try again:
“It was a living creature. Like Robbie Burns talked about. It lived, breathed. It was filled with arches and light. Like Transtromer’s old woman in church. Arches and light. Arches and light”——
“I have no sympathy for rats,” my wife interrupts me. “You should go downstairs and take some pictures of it.”
2) The Infected
A Mr. Welsby met me at the door. It was a very nice place. Kind of like an office but like a house too. There were tables and chairs and beds. And mostly women sitting and loafing around. Their eyes were all vacant. Must be a cult, I thought.
And where is this guy? Where in the hell is he?
And then from behind a velvety armoire steps forth this fat glowing man with just a towel around his waist. And one around his head. Egyptian. Chic. Terrifying.
“I’m Ron Silliman,” he says. “And I’m very pleased to meet you.”
I don’t want to shake hands. But we do.
“I’m hoping we can do lots of business,” he purrs, unfurling from who knows where a large moleskin order book.
“And let’s get right down to business,” he continues. “I need drugs. Lots of them. The type they sell so cheap to Africans.”
“But why?” I ask. “You seem so robust.”
“Ah, but no,” he sighs, smoothly and sadly. “Look closer.”
And when I do I can see he’s covered in bright red lesions. His entire body (or what I can see of it anyways) is covered in these flaring red monstrosities. And when I look even closer I can see he’s all covered in a very thin white-yellow plastic. A full body condom.
“We can do business, yes?,” he continues, purring in a chair to my left now. And I’m in bed. And a woman in lingerie’s crawling on to me.
“This is my sister,
And, indeed, R-E-G-I-N-A is spelled across her tight white t-shirt in big bright red glittering letters.
“Don’t resist,” Ron purrs, climbing on to the bed with us. “It’s useless.”
“So many times," he purrs, licking my neck through the condom, (and God, this feels good) “I’ve tried to resist her. But it’s impossible. Absolutely impossible.”
“But how did you get so sick, anyways?” I ask, trying to sound casual.
And Ron’s back in his chair now. And
“I was Magic Johnson’s assistant,” he purrs. But this time the purring’s flawed. Sinking. Sticky. Dead.
“I’d go everwhere with him. Get all his sloppy seconds. All this turd thirds. His faded fourths. His fried out fifths. And man that guy could score. And me too! And man that guy could take it to the rim. And me too! And man he could dunk. And me too! And after that I was taken on by Oscar De La Hoya. And then Tom Jones. And Evander Holyfied. I worked for all the best. Damn they were good. Agile and long-lasting. And I was too!”
Ron looks so sad remembering. But a kind of elation tingles through him glowing.
“But you can cure me, right here, right now,” he suddenly blurts out through his condom body suit.
“All you need to do,” he says, “Is pull this silver thread from my navel.”
And when I do out comes a duck.
“Kiss me,” it chortles.
And when I kiss it (longer than I probably should) Ron turns into a German super model.
I kiss it again and Ron turns back into a lesioned body condom. I kiss it again and Ron’s a supermodel. I kiss it again and Ron’s a condom. Again and again Ron’s super. And again and again white-yellow. And so on.
And so on. And so on.
Like wrestling the sun and the moon at the same time. Fused into one. Flashing back and forth. On steroids. Faster and faster.
3) The Insane (A God?)
I’m sitting across from Ron Silliman in the visitor’s area of the Psychiatric Ward. He’s staring out into nowhere and he’s drooling. Actually what he’s staring at is a late-afternoon sky filled with tens of thousands of squawking grackles.
I look at the sky and it’s swarming. A shiver runs through me. I look back at Ron and into his eyes and they too are filled with swarming grackles. Shiver. Shiver. Shiver. Like waves of an orgasm rippling through me.
God, I think. Ron’s manipulating the sky.
God, I think, Ron’s a kind of God.
But Ron’s in the middle of ECT treatment and he’s not taking it well.
“What about yr blog?” I ask him hopefully.
“O, I’ve got Charles Bronson running it for me now,” he says. “I thought about Dennis Cooper but Charles is just so much tougher. And rougher. And huffer. And, O Rauan!!”
I’m stunned. A moment ago this former mountain of a man was dribbling spit like a retard but now he’s coming back to life with a vigor that would rival Rilke and all his strange flowers and does leaping back into those sad and long-neglected Duino Elegies.
“I’ve got plans, Rauan” he bursts out, almost singing. “I’ve got plans. When I finally kick this bird, this big fat cheese, this Jupiter, this cold damned neutron star, I’m going to really hum. Hum, hum, hummmmmmmmm…”
“But, Ron, why are you so depressed??”
“It’s all Tito’s fault,” Ron winces.
“Yeah, that midget who works on my pool and back yard.”
“This isn’t another one of those sad my-poolman-and-my-wife stories is it?”
“No, it’s one of those poolman-and-me stories!”
“O, Ron, how could you?” I meekly proffer.
And with that Ron begins to sob.
“It was heaven while it lasted,” Ron manages through his cascading tears. “And boy he could last. But he left me. Tito, Tito, Tito: that cold-hearted bastard! And went back to
And now the floodgates are completely open. But through the torrents I’m able still to peer into Ron’s eyes and there I can see the blackbirds settling onto the bare branches where they’re starting to really squawk now.
The squawk, collectively and boomingly, rising and falling, stretching into an eerie sound that kinda sounds, broken and bouncing in the middle, like “Ti-to, Ti-to, Ti-to,...”
And in Ron’s eyes I can see a young Mexican, naked and bruised and bloody: Tito. And this Mexican’s running from a big fat bull. Running down through the heartlands of
And the bull stops. And a tear runs down its cheek.
And a tear runs down Ron’s cheek.
Damn, I think. Ron is a kind of God. And I’m in awe.
And a tech came forward.
“Excuse me, Mr. Silliman. It’s time for another zap.”
And as they roll the poor and godlike Ron Silliman into the lightning’s jaws I look outside where the birds had been swirling and now instead I can see a young, gorgeous Tito, dressed immaculately, walking into his Abuela’s house where he sits down with all the family, thousands of them, and begins, long into the night to play at the eternal game of poker. One peso limit.
Grand prize: a 2 kilogram Huachinango.
And a couple of times I think I can hear Ron Silliman screaming.
Do you know how much it hurts to hear a God screaming?
Like a hog being slaughtered. Or a lobster whistling.
If you're interested in reading the older (ancient!) Silliman dreams then hit one of the labels below. Or visit this blog.
Friday, September 25, 2009
in hospital waiting rooms and waiting cubicles I read a few New Yorkers. and most of the poems in there are Squirrels. i'll explain a bit more later (maybe.)
1) "Hubris at Zunzal" by Rodney Jones
I kinda like this poem. Even though the title and beginning bother me. The title indulges in a kind of pretentiousness Charles Simic's fond of in his titles. (aside: I do like Simic. but, retarded titles is one of his worst flaws.)
here's the opening stanza:
Nearly sunset, and time on the water
of 1984. Language its tracer.
No image like the image of language.
1984-- huh ?? I don't know if I'm stupid or if the poet's being clumsy. Whatever, I'm confused. But by the end of the poem (coconut orgasm-sea-shower) I'm kind of ok with the strange clunky 1984. And it all comes together quite strangely. And with some excitement.
2) "Bereavement" by Kevin Young
A meditation on death and consciousness via the speaker's deceased father's dogs. (reminds me of the squirrel poem I mentioned briefly in a post a while back. a poem I also read in the New Yorker. a poem also read while visiting a doctor. in the same issue as the Jean Valentine poem that made me sigh Muldoon and Heaney -sigh-).
A squirrel poem's where you see a squirrel and meditate on it: its condition, plight, consciousness, conscience, prescience, messy-ness, etc, etc. Then you think of yourself. An epiphany occurs. Light or dark. Black or white. Sometimes striped. Like a skunk. Usually a circle's made. It's quite inspiring. Damnit! It makes me wretch! (I should go check my own poems. Probably a bunch of squirrels in there too. Wretch! Wretch! Wretch!)
A poem like this is not only entirely different from how I think and/or write (an alien, a dinosaur, a piece in a wax museum) I can find nothing positive to say about it. This is the sort of poem that brings about Epilepsy in an otherwise normal healthy adult person. Here are a couple of stanzas (in the middle of the poem) that had me really twitching:
I’ve begun to think of them
as my father’s other sons,
as kin. Brothers-in-paw.
My eyes each day thaw.
One day the water cuts off.
Then back on.
3) "Pernilla" by John Ashberry
Here's an excerpt from the poem. I couldn't find it on-line to link to.
Please don’t apologize for pissing me off, you were
probably right, and I was halfway out the door
anyway, the living-room door, leading to the hall
and all it contains. How is it that things can get
shiny and be peeling simultaneously? Seriously, Pa,
we would have come over if we’d knowed
the combination for long, and then folks’d have pointed
toward us, miming birdsong and the like.
What can I say about Ashberry? You've all got an opinon, one way or another. I don't have much of an opinon. Of any sort. I envy yall. Your places in the sunlight. Damn, I sound like a schmuck. O, well,...
Rating: No Rating
4) "The Game" by Bruce Smith
Longer lines. No stanzas. Muddier. But in the end my experience of this piece is kinda like my experience of Kevin Young's "Bereavement." And, so it reminds me of the squirrel poem. Yes, again, I was doused with Squirrel Juice.
But this time the meditation comes from Baseball (how original!). Here's how the poem ends:
...but I thought,
in all this infinity, of the Clementes, the Mayses, and the Yogis,
of the bats of ash I would have to crack and would I have to squeeze
them home? Would I be asked to sacrifice? Would I belly-button it
or break my wrists trying not to swing? There’s a box and a zone
in the air and the dirt I must own. To find my way out
or know where it is I sit, I keep my ticket stub in my fist.
Rating: Very Low to Low
Squarely in the middle of the huge Squirrel Pile. Mound. Bog. Hogbelly.
5) "At Lake Scugog" by Troy Jollimore
A meditation on relationships, time and shifting selves against the backdrop of water and sky and self. A bit cutesy but the annoying language constructions like
and what I believe I believe
sits uncomfortably next to
what I believe.
actually began to wear on me.
Kind of a squirrel poem. Or a cousin. Maybe a "rabbit" poem. And I kind of like rabbits.
Rating: Low to Medium
6) "Monja Blanca" by Clive James
A long 7-stanza meditation on (?) via a tree. But I'll never know the ? because I stopped after reading the first line of the 2nd stanza
This orchid’s sexual commerce is confined
Rating: Extremely Low-Virtually Zero
It's unfair, I'm sure, to rate a poem you've only read a fraction of. But, I couldn't stand the title. Couldn't stand what I read, and, closing the New Yorker in absolute fright This orchid’s sexual commerce is confined found myself covered in all forms of putrid squirrel fluid, runny and chunky,
What is Push Ups For Poetry?
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They have just moved into a new location in Battery Park City. Donating now will help ensure that the transition goes smoothly, and that they're able to really take advanatge of everything that this fantastic new space has to offer.
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There are only 48 hours left to pledge! Any pledge of $100 or more will recieve a FREE COPY of the LIMITED EDITION (signed and numbered of 200) of Zachary Schomburg's Scary, No Scary to any pledge of $100 or more. That's a $30 value right there. Your contributions are tax-deductible as well.
Donations are made on the honor system because I won't be collecting any money until I've completed my final trial. Please consider pledging even 10 or 25 cents per push up, but if you're in no position to donate at lest help me get the word out and share this information with someone who might be able to contribute!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Two Movies (Christ!):
1) Inglourious Basterds
two and a half hours of tension building. and i was glued. yawn-buzz.
While watching this movie I thought of a story I heard once upon a time about a Tourette's guy who caught flies. Someone told him "You must move very quickly" or something like that... But, no, he replied, the flies, to him, are just moving very very slowly.
Before I saw the movie my dad told me that Tarantino had just visited Israel, the Holy Land, to see how Israelis reacted to his film. Huh????? (if you've seen Inglourious you'll understand this Huh???? Huh???? Huh???? damn it, i'm so love love love so damned in love with the "?" buttons,.....)
My brother saw Tarantino at an Austin showing of an old movie. Tarantino had the reels. And knew the filmhouse owner. During the show Tarantino and his girlfriend sat behind my brother and chatted away loudly. I'd like to say I'd have told him to shut up. Tension building I guess.
Ron Silliman thinks Inglourious "is in fact, flat out a great film, the second I’ve seen this year (the first being Up). All of this has to do with Tarantino, who not only is smarter than his peers in the directing community by some order of magnitude, but who is capable of showing it off in ways that strengthen the film"
"Nein nein nein nein nein nein!"
I loved much of the Ali G. show. And thought Borat was ok overall. With some great parts. But Bruno is a disaster. And shame on Elton John, Bono, Snoop Dog and Sting for attaching their personalities and voices to this shambles. (God how I love being moralistic. Righteousness and the "?"-- that's what's floating my boat right now. turning it round now, right round, right round, like a record round....)
This movie's pretty much a drugged-up or mannic or just-screw-you SBC pissing on the movie business and movie public.
But it's not often you can spend all dinner long laughing about the funny parts of a movie you thought was poison. So, ????
This is a book from the early 50's which made a decent splash at the time. It's largely forgotten now. Covered up in sand. Like stone or bone. Like my bones. Grrrrr.
(for a Goodlaugh take a look at the Goodreads listing for Pompey's Head)
O, well,.... Anyways, i read the editor's note. It quotes the New York Times reviewing it (TVFPH)
Many readers have been waiting for many moons for a major Southern novel about comparatively normal, comparatively decent Southerners (is Blake Butler a decent Southerner? - my note within note). They don't have to wait any longer. "The View from Pompey's Head" is a work of brilliant craftmanship. It is also a penetrating and fascinating study of the wheels within wheels of Southern social life. And as a narrative about likable and interesting people it is absorbing.
This is a book of such controlled art and quiet distinction that it should win wide acclaim. And its human warmth and charm should make it enormously popular."
I'm not sure how enormously popular this book ever was. How high Pompey's Head towered over the plains and mountains and valleys of our culture. Blah, blah, blah. but i felt, there in the hospital, holding the book, and not daring to read it, the hot-sand winds, blah, blah,...
and into my puny mind came again that famous canon-sure sonnet of Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
It's been in the making for a while and is official as of today: I've signed a two book deal with Harper Perennial, for a novel and a book of nonfiction. Crazy and exciting for me in many ways, most of all in having a book as crazy as the novel that has been bought is to be considered in the big houses. It seems a sign of good times, I think.
more at Blake's Blog
Blake's a brilliant writer. Fearless. Slaps and handles and orders language. Takes chances. Pulls it off. (most of my opinion formed from the wonderfull novella Ever(Calamari Press)
And Blake just loves language. Appreciates all sorts of good and sometimes good-flawed writing. And promotes it. Very generous. Cranky sometimes. Edgey. Endless energy. (man, it sounds like i'm writing an obituary. jotting down notes for an ode.)
And I write "Can I say I Love Blake Butler??" because Blake wrote "Can I say I Love Rauan Klassnik?" when he talked a bit about my on-line chapbook Ringing (and, yes, I'll take just about any chance to mention and link to Ringing, my foul-mouthed and Rumi-esque chapbook)
Monday, September 7, 2009
I haven't posted one of these up in a while: the front cover of one of our daily Newspapers, the Meridiano.
People die violent deaths everywhere. But here tabloid newspapers (we do have more serious newspapers) put the gore in color on the front and back pages.
The victim, The Rooster ("El Gallo") died in the doorway of his house.
"K PAZ" was detained by drug enforcement agents.
I walked down to the plaza to get this newspaper. And walked back up. Drenched in sweat. It's so damned hot here. And it's not raining much. And that sucks because it's the rainy season. It's the rainy season damnit!!
The weather's unreliable. But you can bank on people dying all the time. And many of them violently. Photogenically bloody.
Angela's recent posts (the ones I've read. just started following her blog) are all in a strange, stilted and quite exciting "style." And this quirky style's nice (man, I use the word "nice" too often... maybe because it's just such nice rhyming options) nice nice coloring for the Feng Shui and Fuck Luck reflections (??).
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The latest issue of Poets and Artists (on-line here) finds a few of my poems along side work by other poets such as Grace Cavalieri, Billy Collins, Juliet Cook, Andrew Demcak, Denise Duhamel, Adam Fieled, Bob Hicok and Paul Siegell.
My 3 self-portraits come from a sequence entitled "The Sea" which is forthcoming as a chapbook from Mud Luscious.
Also, I'm proud to say that the background against which my poems appear in Poets & Artists is part of a piece of artwork I did. (The pink one). My first published stupid photo/drawing! (A distortion of a baby picture of me, Rauan Klassnik.)
Friday, September 4, 2009
David Berman (the "Silver Jew") and Rauan Klassnik (Me): High School Poetry -- A Tale (as always) of Two Cities
David Berman (the "Silver Jew" and Rauan Klassnik (born and raised Jewish and not denying it) both had poems in Greenhill's 1985 Literary Journal: Montage.
That copy of "Montage" is on my desk now. David Berman has two poems in it: "A Prayer" and "Blue Screams." I have one: "My Little Brother."
Here (in its entirety) is David Berman's "Prayer"
Within the parentheses of my gleeful sarcasm,
And when I’m speaking within my parentheses
real truths I give to you
while trying to uphold false ones simultaneously.
And it all made me think of the time in your automobile,
when the cold, gray silence came through the windows.
Dead, we stared—sad.
Tears frozen within lids.
Words frozen within parentheses.
And here are two sections (it's a 7-section poem) from "Blue Screams"
…Blue screams smash my window
To be old
To be made of rotting wood
I’ll stand under those shuddering mouths until the pain is everything
and everything is blue...
feeding the meaning of life in small portions
they make me sick
expelling the time-honoured prejudices
and decadent philosophies on the bathroom floor.
Always emptiness of soul leads me back to the food of ignorance
no choices exist...
fatmen are knocking on my bedroom door--- better not open it
Wonder if that means I'm not a child anymore?
Three eggs on a formica table
one for father mother child
Incorporated religion for breakfast
eating the father son and holy ghost
"Mother I don't feel well"
"Finish your food son"
Forcing poison into a mind breaking free
"Mother I think I'm gonna be sick"
"Eat your food or be punished son"
"Honor thy father and mother for it is right that you should"
"Oh go to hell"
I'd like to curl up like an embryo and swim around in father's soup...
She lives on tree-lined street
with striped carpets
and she never gets sick
her yellow haired daughters take toast to school
It seemed a palace of contentment
In 1985 David Berman knew how to write.
On the other hand, I, Rauan Klassnik, wrote this:
My Little Brother
He looks at the soft inviting grass,
and wants to run and play in it.
I look at the same grass,
and view it in a different light.
Noticing how wild and high it grows,
I swear obscene things, my little brother hasn't heard,
as I know it must be mowed,
and I am the family mower.
I despise the sun and rain,
which give life to rampant growth,
and when the winter months come,
and the grass is short and hard,
unreceptive to the little one's playful touch,
I become elated beyond description,
yet wearily wait for the messengers of spring,
and swear again, when those birds return,
singing the eternal ode to nature,
and watch my brother, filled with happiness,
playing in the grass.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Blake's point (and lament) is that Joyce, today, wouldn't have found a publisher for Ulysses.
An excerpt from Blake's post:
The dwindling of this confidence in the art, the way it seems to taper off further and further each year as publishers become more and more afraid of losing money in the short term by what is essentially a lack of confidence in the progression of human minds, seems absolutely frightening and wild. In the 80 some odd years since Ulysses came out, and the days of those other aforementioned language freaks that are now so easily accepted as the basis of our literature.
And, there's all sorts of interesting banter in the comments stream.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
(from my dead cousin's journals):
7) Far Away - Puberty - Fingers - Plunger - Martin
And far away in a different time and place but linked magically to the primordial anarchy (the fabled mass of wine, bomb, and blood) Sex Ableton was going through puberty. Yes, Sex Ableton, the geek-frog-kid everyone had abused so mercilessly all through school and into his tenure at the PPSDIC, found himself, at the age of 29, finally in the throes of puberty.
And he was confused. Bewildered. Sometimes he'd dash from his cubicle and entrench himself on the heroic seat of the sub-assistant-quasi-proto-
never-gonna-be-PPSDIC's toilet and suck on his small fat fingers.
"Things are happening to me," Sex screamed. "Things are happening."
The janitor, Bluesy (former green beret), leapt in with a plunger.
Seth grovelled and licked Bluesy's boots.
Bluesy shoved the plunger down on Sex's head.
And declared: "You are my unicorn now, baby."
And he pranced around like a forest aboriginal.
"From now on, baby, you will call me Martin the Sword. And you will never ever ever say anything bad about the immortal Pablo Neruda because he was perfect. Just fucking perfect."
But Sex was out of it. The plunger had sucked all the blood up into his head.
And he was super-dreaming. An extremely delicate and rare, bright crystalline vision:
A battlefield. Skulls adorned with butterflies. Orange and blue. And horses in their death throes. (a kind of puberty also). And Sex parades through like an Angel of Death. No timid House-Mouse Cock now! He leans down, one by one, and, caressing their ears together between his left hand, slits each throat with his right.
8) Bored - Locked in - The Mirror - Clean Up - A Dentist - And, again,... And, again...
Sex grew bored and mad.
The great sea-cunts he'd sailed over, adventured in (on jet-skis, and with scuba, and on the elegant deck of a replica of the Santa Maria), and bubbled and pissed in no longer satisfied his enormous but shifting and sometimes shiftless appetite.
He ordered his staff to lock him in his room and to pass his meals in through a prison-style window. Only once a week would they be allowed in to clean things up. And this was a job they grew to dread.
After one particularly nasty clean-up two of the cleaners hanged themselves in the orange-tree orchard.
And, so, Sex had to pay outrageous sums of money for simple cleaners. No matter. He was bored. and mad.
And money was no object. The House-Mouse Cock Consultancy Co was flourishing. Like a dragon on fire. No, not like a dragon: a squirrel glutting itself in cicada season.
Hanging a couple feet over the exact center of his bed (Sex had a kind of Greek or Egyptian mind) was an over-sized oval mirror. And fringed like the sun. Kind of like one you might put in a budgie's cage.
Sex spent all of his waking hours (and he hardly slept) in front of the mirror: admiring, bewitched, bemired, besotted, begotten and rebegotten. On fire. In love. Endlessly lost in a kind of cocaine paradise: staring into the eyes and body of a magnificent creature: himself: Sex Ableton: Adonis: Lord of the seasons: Of the flowers and bees: Of the king's ransomed knees: A star's blue light.
And Sex spoke to this creature. Touched it. Stroked it. Kissed it. Snuggled up against it. Preened it. Chirped to it. Moaned at it. Tried to feed it. Drooled on it. Smeared shit on it. Masturbated on to it. Collapsed against it, sobbing.
The problem, you see, is that Sex, in his attentions, beheld and lavished himself on not a perfect, unchanging, constant creature but on a distorted and constantly deteriorating and degrading image. And the more this sacred figure was fondled, abused, sinking, debased, the more frenzied and renewed and manic Sex's attentions became. It was a vicious cycle.
He ripped his hair out and rubbed it against it. He rubbed his balls against it. Stood on his now-bald head and rubbed his balls against it. Rubbed them raw. Completely raw. It was gone. The creature was gone. And Sex cursed his balls. Whipped them. Rubbed salt into them. And vinegar. and garlic. And had a fine meal. Of his balls. There in his madness.
And he was reinvigorated. By his balls. Flowing in his blood now: his balls.
He tore his teeth out and smeared the blood on it. It was gone.
He lay down in anguish and howled. It was gone.
He sprang up and assailed it. The glass crashed down on him. It was gone.
He devoured the glass. Whistled and howled. Kept touching his face. It was gone.
He curled up in a ball.
Smashed through the iron gates of life.
It was gone.
And, so, at the end of the week the cleaners, wearing their masks and gloves, tiptoed in gingerly. One hauled Sex into a livestock shower and exploded him with a hose (the type prisons and institutions love to use. I'd love to use one too. Wouldn't you?)
Then he was fastened into a great pink chair. And a dentist was brought in. And a hair doctor. And a hair stylist. Big fat women with pliers and blowtorches. Canaries and napkins. A postcard from Verona.
But, Sex just stared into space. No thoughts at all. No feelings. No Mozart, or Beethoven. No Clockwork Orange (so, what's it going to be then, eh?). Nothing.
Finally he was dumped back in his room.
And, after a spell, out of his sad-curled crouch (the type millipedes die in) he peered up between his fingers and beheld in the high heavenly arched distance his own image. And his body flooded with sugar.
He flashed up on to the bed dripping like syrup and pulled the pristine, immaculate God-self-image against him.
And so on. And so on.
9) Exclusives - Partners - Bribes - Absorptions
The House-Mouse Consultancy Co partnered up (at first) with vendors. (Ball-glue vendors. Ball-strap vendors. Enhancement vendors. Psychologocockalists. etc. etc.)
The House-Mouse Co had several 1-900 numbers. Soothing voices sending you "no obligation" videos. Treatment options. The suavest voices in the world. And with substance too.
With a variety of treatment choices ("ways to leaf," the brochures stated) the House-Mouse Consultancy Co could claim without the shadow of a niggling doubt that yr cock could tower up an additional one to two millimeters. And in some cases just as much, if not more so, in girth.
And then of course there was always the expensive but guaranteed HMCMPOC and this of course included the popular Owl-Three-Step.
And Sex knew first-hand (eye in the rubble) that all you had to do was mention the Owl-Three-Step and ANY House-Mouse Cock would stutter and grovel in a mad got-their-panties-in-a-knot frenzy.
Sex arranged increasingly-favorable commission structures with all these "partners." And if strict, by-the-book commissions weren't to be had, Sex asked for and received kickbacks. Huge filthy kickbacks.
Sex was a natural. Bloomed. Blossomed. Arched his back. Wolfed down the moon. It pulsed through his blood. Burst from his cock. "The House-Mouse Cock is howling moon-cum" he giggled to himself.
Later on Sex absorbed all his partners. Just threatened to cut them off. That's all he did. Just threatened them. And that was that. Cat in the hat.
The "partners," you see, had no other customers. All their business came from the House-Mouse Cock Co. (There was no law that said you had to buy from the House-Mouse Cock Co's partners. In fact, how would the average House-Mouse Cock even know? But it was so--- like everyone in Mexico has to exchange their money for gasoline at a government run Pemex station, everyone, globally, bought from, directly or indirectly, from the House-Mouse Cock Co empire-monster.)
In short, they were all assimilated. Like krill down into a whale.
And Sex knew what to do. He raped these poor bastards. Stripped them down completely. And then tossed them on to a junk heap where he and Red would indulge in the most macabre and deviant couplings.
It was the size of Kentucky, this junk heap. In fact it was Kentucky. And toothless bango players (millions of them) flocked to egg our heroes on. To rile up their lusts. And levitate their busts. And oil their nuts. And paper their butts. And flavor their ruts. And purple their fruts.
And, Sex, stood up over these bango players and baptised them in his filth. And they were his fresh-faced recruits (sort of, anyways). They became his army. His thugs. His goons. His demons itching at the bit to be unleashed: mad toothless bango-playing horse-recruit inflamers!
But most of the time, to tell the truth, Sex and Red just sat together sipping milk shakes. Enjoying sunsets. And eating each other's ticks.
Once upon a time, in a great big city on a tiny world, there lived a little island called Manhattan. On this island, at the southern-most tip, there was a very beautiful ferry station (directly adjacent to to a very ugly ferry station) which ferried art- and poetry-loving masses to a littler, lesser-known place called Governors Island. On this island, there were very few governors but many artists--many, many artists. So thick with artists was this island you could hardly see the walls or the floors or the grasses, but, amongst the grasses that you could see, there were one or two animals to be found. These very rare animals were called "poetry whores," known primarily for their verses and their feathers and impermeable loneliness. Now, starting this Saturday, high above the grasses and surrounding waters, there will be a bedroom, a very beautiful bedroom out of time. In this unfathomable bedroom, you can encounter the loneliest poetry whores who ever lived! Come find them! They will moult and brood and read for you all day.
Noon to 5pm every Saturday and Sunday in September in Section I of Building 12 on the 2nd floor at The 2nd Annual Governors Island Art Fair! For a complete and up-to-date schedule of poets, see The Poetry Brothel website's events section.
Over at his blog today the Irascible Poet (Raymond L Bianchi) goes after a certain Dr. Michael Theune for going after Ron Silliman/experimental poetry.
Here's an excerpt from Ray's post:
Dr Theune continues his vituperative attack by accusing us of being deceitful and being people of privilege because we champion Experimental Work. This is rich from a man who has degrees from Oxford, Iowa and Houston and who teaches at an elite private school in central Illinois.
The realities are that all three presses and anthologies he attacked are run as shoe string non profits with most of the operating capital coming from small donors or from the editors pockets.
At first, reading this post, I was really excited. It's always exciting when someone's passionate about something. And when they're defending Ron Silliman! Well, everyone knows Silliman's my man. So, beat that with a stick! Mmmmmm.
But then the wistfulness set in with a vengeance. I remembered that I haven't dreamed Ron in so long. My tail hanging low low low down between my legs I went to my long-neglected Dreaming Ron Silliman blog (no dreams to post,.. like a ghostly ruined building. a church...sigh...) and read through those dreams. And I sat here, in front of my tormented Van Gogh poster, and began to cry.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
On his blog (which I frequently read) John Gallaher posts up a letter from Dean Young that appears in the current APR:
After years of being a defect, it is a pleasant surprise to be upgraded to an effect in Tony Hoagland’s characteristically insightful and cogently hectoring essay (“The Dean Young Effect,” July/August 2009). Equally flattering is to be blamed for so much that he perceives as being wrong with contemporary poetry as particularly evidenced in a group of younger writers, who I am sure are deeply influenced by my work regardless if they have read it or not. Before I quaff the proffered drams of hemlock for my corrupting crimes (apparently to the chagrin of my poor comrades doing the reading for admission into creative writing programs across our fair land), I wish to humbly suggest a flaw in Mr. Hoagland’s essay, a flaw shared by much writing about contemporary poetry. It is a lack of, to use T.S. Eliot’s phrase, historical sense, to acknowledge that poetry has been around a long time before Apollinaire. Far beyond my misguiding of younger poets, I feel as a matter of pride that I must point out the awful effect my work has had on poetry in general. Surely I am as least in part to blame for John Donne’s willful obscurities and distortions; and what about those stylistic fripperies of Gerard Manley Hopkins? Not to mention the obviously inflated self-mythologizing of Whitman, and, even, the smarmy ironies of Chaucer. The list, as any delicate reader knows, goes on and on.
This, of course, again, is a great opportunity for me to redisplay a couple of my favorite Hoagland and Hoagland-related photos.
They produce really nice chapbooks and their catalog includes titles by Zach Schomburg, Jamie Iredell, Brian Foley, Shane Jones and Laura Carter.