Monthly Archives: October 2009

I Live in Your Elbow Room.

hipster 1

“What?”

He goes, “I can see you for what you are!”

(Screaming. He throws a ceramic dachshund at the wall. Etc. Man, if the morning starts this way, what about the afternoon and evening?)

I say, “I can’t argue now. So kindly shut up and get a social life or something.”

“You are not a nice person! I don’t like you anymore than I hate me for liking you!”

“What? Did you steal that shit from a Bruce Smith poem? Leave me alone. Go grow or kill something. Anything.”

(Crash. Drywall wounds. There goes another one of my frosted souvenir Kentucky Derby glasses…He enters the room.)

“Listen, I love you, seriously. Let’ s calm down here. I just read this bright pink book. You know about books. Tell me, what is the deal with Tao Lin and the quotation marks?”

hipster 4

I say, “Well, you know, it started as a gimmick. Dude loves gimmicks. This is the guy who tied little Tao Lin flags to the back of all the city’s fireflies. He first used the quotation marks circa 2000, by accident, and he liked the look and already he was thinking Brand. He was going to call them “Lin Scarves” and had this whole campaign planned about “clothing” your words for the upcoming season. Anyway, Lin Scarves was already copyrighted by this dude in Kansas who sells toilet seats for a living, and anyway Tao was broke. He used to be broke a lot but now things are better. Tao loves money, as we know. This guy is like a dumptruck of P.T. Barnums. He would bottle and sell you his dreams–the actual fucking dreams he has at night about Gerbils and Hegel and cabbage-headed policeman and shit–if he had thought about it before reading the idea right here. I met Tao once, in a bar in New York named Guam. He tried to sell me stock in a diagram (more a rough drawing) of a tiny machine with suction cups that kids could stick under the table and spoon or fork food into when they didn’t want to eat the food themselves. Nice try, Tao. Nice try. The quote thing then became characterization at times; it evolved. And the Brand established itself. He would use the quotes when writing fiction, essays, or even checks. (I kid; Tao has no checking account, or banking account of any kind.) The quotation marks became an element of Tao’s characters, their flat affects and distrust of everything, their layering in the perceptions of individual reality. The quotes added yet another layer. The word/world does not Mean what it Means. “Get it?” Three years ago the quotes became so ubiquitous in Tao’s work that they disappeared. Like air, or beige paint. They just stood for nothing. They existed, but we could not even “see” them. This is when Tao started switching, one quotation mark, two, maybe three. The man was desperate. This was the Shoplifting, the Time of Running, when Tao took to marathons (or cities that held marathons–where he would shoplift) and attempted to enter the Olympics. He quickly dropped that dream, because, you know, pain sucks. Black Toenails! Raw nipples! He was lost, really. Lost. Drifting in an infinite void. He felt contradictory and complex, which is no fun. Where was The Attention? Attention–from all arenas, self, virtual self, narrator of printed page, voice—is the oxygen of life for Tao. Now, he felt suffocated. He turned to drink. Beer mostly, some red wine. A year ago the quotes matured, and finally reached semi-fruition, in a way. Tao left drink, became vegan and started driving a truck, a little 4 cylinder Toyota. His quotes began to lock themselves into a matrix of meaning. To me, the quotes started asking what truth can exist in the world, if Death exists alongside? Or to put it more plainly, Why are ketchup packages so small? Once again, as the quotes clearly showed The Reader, art is fundamentally untrue. It has to be, right? Because art is perceived with the senses, and we all know the senses (along with the artifact of the art) is fleeting and will disappear as if it never existed.  It is a shadow, really. Already half gone. One finitude exposes itself essentially in time, correct? OK. So now you understand the quotes. Let’s move on. Let’ s move on with our lives. I love you too. BTW. Nachos?”

hipster 2

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All pics from LATFH.

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I had nachos for lunch and then for dinner. The dinner one had less black beans than I wanted. I hate that, when the weight is off, the topping ratio all group therapy, but it happens, man. I almost ran to the store. But did not. God made pickled jalapenos, though I am not yet sure which god.

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Dogzplot wants you to send them magical stuff!

I’m going to send them something, I think. I’ll look in my “files” or write something. Something magical like Finland, or elevator shoes.

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Yeh, I still have a literary crush on Kim Chinquee, so what? She writes flash fiction and is a distance runner, what did you expect.? I just wanted to say that she is editing/judging two new flash fiction venues:

Collagist Contest.

Mississippi Review.

I think I will enter maybe three, four flash contest this next year, that seems about right. Why enter contests? Hmmm. That’s a good question, and one you will have to answer yourself.

hipster 3

S

Mean Campaign for Something Reading Lights.

mean

Mean Week at HTML Giant.

It’s kind of addictive. It’s a sociological experiment, I was thinking this morning. It’s sort of fun, but then I feel bad, even during Mean Week. Sometimes my head does an Existing Picture vs basketball dunk, you know? Like I seriously don’t like mean people. Why be mean? But then sometimes I get really sick of everyone being nice.

I had a friend (still is my friend) at Alabama MFA who said one day, “Why is everyone so fucking nice here? It’s annoying.”

I thought that was a really true and unique thing to say at the time.

Big trees on that campus and a lot of civil war and civil rights. The people who were into the civil war never realized the civil rights history, I remember thinking.  The library always sagged. Then one day a girl was walking to class and the wind blew a branch onto her head. Also I remember the students would smell of bourbon. That’s about it, I think, except for the BMWs and the chicken houses. I forgot the cannon, too. Sorry, OK?

Anyway, if you want to say something mean go to HTML and say it. I am SO HAPPY they mentioned Glimmer Train. Glimmer Train be weak like a dented chime.

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I like when superficial comments leak out authentic blur. Example. At the grocery yesterday a man with a head like a Pringle says the social lubricant thing, “How are you doing?” to cashier. Cashier gives automated response we’ve all heard, “I can’t complain.”

Then a beat.

Then he says lower, “No one would listen to me anyway if I did. No one listens to me…” trailing off.

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heh

The Campaign for the American Reader wanted to know what I was reading.

There you go.

And on Writer’s Read.

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I was at a reading last night and four things annoyed me:

1.) People clapped between EVERY poem. This is over-clapping and not necessary.

2.) Woman next to me loudly texted all reading. Click, clack. I had an urge to snatch up her phone and throw it at her Sevens and Eights and Sixes.

3.) No wine.

4.) The room was over lit. The lights crackled like 1960s folk music. My eyes went all rental A/C. They rattled.

Peter Davis was one of the poets. His stuff pretty much rocked, I felt. I didn’t realize he was so funny. Great material and he had this awkward way of shuffling through the papers/poems that worked well with the poems themselves. It was like the time I fell off a ___________ into a ______________.

I felt good. I thought, “I feel good. Too bad there’s no wine to make me feel better then a bit worse.”

S

Big Other Brother Other Big Something Maybe Scorch Atlas

I posted the below today at Big Other. If you enjoy, go check out the site!

WHO THE FUCK IS WE JAMES A. MICHENER?

“Unless you think you can do better than Tolstoy, we don’t need you”

James A. Michener.

Yes, that’s true, and also:

If you can’t be white milk, please don’t be milk at all.

No, wait.

If you can’t be mayonnaise, uh, be a saltine…Wait, if you can’t be sexually OK and also maybe wear a proper vest/socks arrangement and speak quietly with utmost appropriateness of shoe color and sensible automobile and please remove your shoes before I think OK maybe meet you at the lawn care symposium? Something.

The other Tuesday I was driving home and grooving to this song on the radio, have no idea who but whatever, and it’s juicing me, flowing my skin/nerves/belly, and I’m doing the arm fist-bump-to-fist bump dance from the ‘50s with one hand and doing the hand-caterpillar from the ‘80s with the other (guiding by baby-baby Subaru with my knees) and I’m just grooving life, caught in a moment, just living it zone free floating serotonin shivers…just flowing, just flowing, one of those thangs.

And it wasn’t Mozart or The Beatles, Mr. A. Michener. It was just a good pop song.

Word.

LeoTolstoy

How would you children like me to take you for lunch at the Cracker Barrel? Huh?

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I am reading Scorch Atlas now by Blake Butler. Blake sent me a fucked-up destroyed kind of copy because I asked him too and he’s nice that way. He was going to film himself eating every page of the book, but maybe he stopped doing that? I thought that was pretty flaky, so if he stopped, good.

As for the book, I just started but let me say three things:

1.) Immersion is the word I’d use. I am immersed in the words. Under the water of them. Pretty incredible. I’m not going to go Whole Hog review since I just started the book and others have reviewed this thing hard. But I want to throw in the word Immersion. Also horrifying. Like a horrifying to wake you up (or maybe keep you up at night) and to jar you, shake you, rattle your synapses and clank/clutch your bones. I will finish soon and say more, but I can already tell my students will be seeing this book soon. (For me, that’s high compliment, BTW.)

2.) Great book for the deer stand. It’s shaped a little longer, narrower than most, so fits well into my Mossy Oak fanny pack with my grunt tubes, doe in estrous scent, bleat can, rattling antlers, knives, yardage markers, bow hanger, clippers, release, forest woods scent, can of beer (shhh), gloves, head net, rolled up arm guard, glow tacks, lift string, flashlight, batteries for, and so on.

3.) An artifact this thing. When I ripped open the envelope I was driving so leaned down and grabbed the book, looked, them dropped the book and looked at my fingers, for soot or ink. I am serious. I thought the actual book has been burned before I realized it was Scorch Atlas and just designed like a fucking Armageddon. How awesome is that? This book in itself argues for the physical book! (whole other post–but it’s coming. We better all start rolling out our book-as-artifact posts soon, right?)

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Sean Lovelace Reviews AM/PM by Amelia Gray.

The Clock tocks and ticks. Nervous tapping. A colony of motion/emotion. Gray.

I call it The Clock. Been reading, you know, gnawing on its gears…

{posing with a clock? I’ll let that go, Gray. An older you wouldn’t say no; would say HELL NO.}

(First third I read on my roof. Been dragging out this ladder-I-Never-Desired and reading the book on the roof. Not sure why. Life become so ordinary. Then you feel it all ebbing away, so, one day, you start getting on your roof. Or maybe you think you are going to teach English in Japan, move to Alaska, some shit. Keep trying to escape the self, but the self moves, folks, wakes up in your throat every morning. But it happens, man. Just for the feel of the thing. I have no regrets, today. So I read the first third on the roof. The first third felt pretty perfect for roof-reading, I’m just going to say that.

[All photos below from Exactitudes. Thank you, HTML, for showing me these photos.]

THE FIRST THIRD (or the first 45)

The innards of a clock move, move on, shift and change. Back and forth, keeping it real, Time. A night out in new love a blue blur. A night out (rare) after ten years and it feels like the walls are gummed and melting (glance at dude’s eyes, cleavage, at iPod, what did you say, dear?)

{Ever seen the couple who eat for an hour over mozzarella sticks and Sprite and say nothing. The whole time? That, my friends, is hell.}

[45 PM] Love makes kissing feet real. But, once love withers away, “…Carla told her new boyfriends that she’d always thought the foot thing was creepy.”

The last line of a flash might turn the previous 23 lines around, the way the last drink might take you from loudly semi-pleasant to suddenly wrestling a toilet from its moorings for a good old fashioned toilet-toss. I think endings matter more in flash than in most other genres. It’s like being funny in person. Can’t fake it. Can’t fake a flash ending. Have to work that thing out. It seems, at most times, Gray has a keen mind for these delightful conundrums. She gets in the gummy web, then gets out (many writers only get in, then fill the “rough” file with documents…).

her 1

SHE

[Train just passed, over there behind the forest. I can see the forest from the roof, but can only hear the train Dopplering by. It sounds pretty romantic/country song, the train, I’ll  admit, and I detest most country music. I find it so simplistic as to be cynical, insulting.]

Clocks shine. I prefer mahogany or brushed aluminum. Old ass outlive-you-plenty wood, or new age fuck-you-when-you-die-this-world-will-roll-on-laughing-like-an-iPod. You are on the side of nature or the side of The Machine. You are heaven or you are hell.

[31 PM] “The ladybug is not dead. Goodbye, golden friend.”  [Note: This flash basically brilliant. Not all are in this book; don’t be stupid. This one is.]

[There is some weird shit in my rain gutters. I need to clean that out, but won’t. My brakes are making this ghost-grating sound. I keep feeling a lump. The washer leaks, I think. Life.]

[AM 26] “When the workers cut it, it didn’t fall.”

him 1

HE

Image of flight. Image of gold, warmth. I so want things to be unlike they are now in the world. Or I mean better. But how?

I read a lot of flash and flash is often well-wrought. But then it might be cold, mechanical. What about the warm flash sloppily done? It’s a spectrum, fuck-nod. Ok, ok, Jesus calm your spirit. I’m saying I re-read this book because it was WARM and WELL OILED PRECISION. Like the coil of water below a fall, coppery–almost author as little god.

[AM 32] “Packing glassware in secret sounds more stressful than it is.”

Few words but the right words. Right words. I read The Clock and I keep thinking how it freezes/grabs relationships, how it frames it all out, how it covers this in a glass scrim of the absurd, how it breaks the glass and tiptoes over the shards. How it bleeds these words.

her 2

SHE

THE SECOND THIRD (or 45-90)

[I read the second third while reclining in this huge-ass jacuzzi tub my mom has in Memphis. For some reason, I keep thinking the contractors left something–a tin medal or a toy or a chicken feather–in the hollow beneath the tub, though I’m not sure why. It’s just a recurring thought. I used to work with bricklayers and they would always wall up beer cans and potato chip bags and so on into the walls. One guy peed in the cavity, then walled it up. Humans.]

Often I don’t know how shit works. Especially beautiful things, intricate or complex. Like prayers to a river, or the internet. Like my baby-baby Subaru. Oh, I could bullshit. Uh, you put in the key and electricity goes to the, uh, the pistons (?) then they pump and explode and turn an axle so then the car…Um, OK. Then how about reverse? Your air conditioner. That thing that heats your ass during the winter. Well, it’s magic really, isn’t it? Something stupendous–turn this little key, drive sixty miles per hour now–happens and you cant’ know how, can’t replicate, break apart, understand, you just sit in ass-heated awe. It’s magic.

Some things you should just drive.

him 2

HE

living together existential annoying

“People called, mostly men, asking about the girl in the photograph.” [53 PM]

communication impossible

“Betty shut the phone book and walked into the bedroom.” [55 PM]

we are alone, people, period.

“She fantasizes wildly about the ways in which it might plunge into the ones she loves.” [AM 76]

we all have a rough time

“…most of all, be patient.” [AM 88]

love wonks and then wonks and you’re stuck there

“Pressing on in the winter makes more sense.” [AM 84]

cat. the only reality is to hide.

“Carla woke up, still drunk…” [67 PM]

run from home into a lover’s _______

“Missy had legs, and she knew how to use them.” [AM 58]

coffee, wine, the pity is, we are free

“May their hair clog the sewers in the street…” [49 PM]

nothing is ours, not really. Check!

THE THIRD THIRD (or 90-133)

Q:You read it all?

A: Yes. Not in one sitting. I started it on a deer stand, while hunting. I have seen three cats this week while hunting and have no idea why. Then I picked it up during a funeral, just peeked at a few, which I guess is bad karma now. You ever seen those people who think it’s funny to grab the motorized cart at the grocery and go zooming off? It’s usually the hipster kids. Then they laugh with their friends and get off and go to the PBR and irony aisle. Well, those kids are going to end up in a wheelchair. I finished the book in a giant bathtub. I prefer baths to showers.

Q: Any stinkers in the book?

A: Oh sure. 35 PM was weak, and also AM 44. Maybe one other. The amazing thing is how many glow. The writer seems to really lock into Tess. To like her company, so all those rock. Tears in the writer, tears in the reader, etc. And you can see the process gleaming through, like when she shifts into structural risks, gets away from the repetition–she’s writing these things along and they accumulate and one day she says, “Some of these are too similar. I need to switch up a bit here.”

Q: Any wisdom?

A: Wisdom? What are you, religious? I already told you read 31 PM. And 99 PM is a little D. H. Lawrence. Like I think if you were at a party with Gray and you started bad-mouthing Lawrence with a bunch of intellectual bullshit, Gray would punch you in the mouth. That I consider wise.

Q: Do you recommend the book?

A: A third of my life I sleep. A third I work. A third I do whatever. I decided to fill the whatever reading and reporting on AM/PM. I’m not getting a single second back. What do you think?

Q: Paper or Plastic?

A: I prefer flesh. Never buy more groceries than you can carry out in your  bare arms.

her 3

SHE

THE Fourth THIRD (infinity)

The fourth third is the bomblettes of hope-shrapnel you get embedded in your lungs after inhaling a true flash.

133 times I thank thee, Gray. 

him 3

HE

S

Nacho Day Clarification Folks!!

Today IS International Nacho Day, this we know. Ok, OK, eat nachos, I implore you (but I would anyway).

nachos

(I’m not explaining this pic…oh Doug.)

BUT, I am really more invested in November 6 this year, National Nacho Day (scroll down to foods–yes this thing is all congressional and shit). (I have been on both sides of the Nacho Wars between these dates, and am exhausted by the issue. We are going November 6 this year. [Do you hear me, Sara?]) I really want everyone who reads this blog to eat nachos on that day, write about the experience, and send me the results. A nacho anthology. More details later.

My Lunch:

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Big Other Wild Things All Honeybees.

Big Other.

What is it?

BIG OTHER is an online forum of iconoclasts and upstarts focusing its lens on books, music, comics, film, video and animation, paintings, sculpture, performance art, and miscellaneous nodes and sonic booms. We will explore how we are made and unmade by images, language, and sound; examine computer-mediated worlds; and dance along with various tumults, genre- and other border-crossings, trespassings, transgressions, and whatever, nevermind.

I asked John Madera, “Is this kinda like HTML Giant?”

In some ways yes, in many ways no. I guess the description above makes that clear. My main thought is, “Oh hell, every time I read HTML I go buy another book. It is expensive to read that site! So I guess I’ll have to add to my book budget now.”

Anyway, check out BIG OTHER.

I’ll be posting there, along with Others…

indielov

Dive on in…

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Disclaimer: I’m not a big movie fan in general, and I believe the following film is enjoyed by most reviewers. So.

I went to this one for Little Man, and because I have seen other Jonze’s films and they blew me away. I mean who didn’t fall in love with Malkovich or Adaptation? Also I knew all about the Light Boxes connection, so that piqued my interest.

[I still feel very optimistic about LB, don’t read me wrong. Jonze can make the hell out of a film, and I don’t even think he’s directing, right? Anyway, LB is much better source material than 300 something words and a few illustrations, a la the Wild Things book.]

I took Little Man to see Where the Wild Things Are and was wildly underwhelmed. To put it plainly: I didn’t get it. Maybe others got it? Smarter people get a lot of stuff I don’t get.

The following will be several questions, so as to represent my movie experience.

Kid who feels misunderstood starts snowball fights, destroys sister’s room and mom’s date night, screams running out the door? Why? Because dad is gone, I guess?  Um, OK.

War on imagination? I dig that, but kid doesn’t seem that imaginative, no matter how he is framed. He builds forts and wears costumes. I built forts and wore costumes. Who didn’t?

Island of profoundly depressed monsters is stand-in for kid’s imagination? [Monsters actually done well–very strong monsters]

Owls getting knocked out of sky as best part?

Kids gets the monsters to involve themselves in activities. All of these activities are basically assaulting each other in various ways? Or assaulting the earth?

Kid leave island and the monsters have changed from profoundly depressed to profoundly, profoundly depressed? [I kept waiting for jet to fly over and carpet bomb these miserable fuckers with Zoloft.]

Kid returns home, unchanged, from tantrum and is rewarded with chocolate cake? Kid smiles. The end? Um, OK.

I asked my 6 year old (maybe the target audience?) if he liked the movie. He said yes. I asked him what was the best part. He waited a while. We kept on driving past corn and some corn. Then he said, “The time they threw the rocks at the monster’s head.”

Makes sense to me.

But not much else, And I kept getting some kind of creepy talk-show therapy ADD feel, some message that never really made it for me from this film. Maybe my experience as a psychiatric RN in an actual children’s mental health center (actually several) just shades my opinion of these types of efforts. There was something off in the tone of this subject. I don’t know.

I did like the cinematography. Very cool desert. And, again, the monsters rocked. The budget was 80 million, and I assume they spent it making those monsters, then getting the actors to speak for them.

The owl scene was almost weird enough to be awesome. So let me throw in that I appreciated the owl scene.

As I said, I don’t really like movies so much (see maybe two a year in theaters), so I’m not the best to say, but if you want a frame movie narrative, a misunderstood narrator who is whipped off to a magical land, a story where the land is changed by the narrator’s visit, and the narrator is changed (from running away to realization that home can be OK, or even better), a film that I enjoyed as a six year old and also enjoyed last Christmas as I watched it with my mom, my suggestion would be THE WIZARD OF OZ.

brat

or this?

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How would you like your beautiful words to be beautiful? They make an awesome book, folks. They care.

From Rose Metal:

Fourth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest submission period begins October 15 and ends December 1, 2009. 2009 judge will be Dinty W. Moore. During the submission period, please email your 25­–40 page double-spaced manuscript of short short stories under 1,000 words each to us at rosemetalpress@gmail.com either as a Word doc or rtf file. Individual stories may have appeared in journals or anthologies, but we ask that collections as a whole be previously unpublished. Please accompany your entry with the $10 reading fee, either via the payment button on our website or by check. We prefer the former, but the latter can be sent to us at PO Box 1956, Brookline, MA 02446. Please also feel free to include a brief author bio and a list of acknowledgements, but all submissions will be judged anonymously.

Writers of both fiction and nonfiction are encouraged to enter, and we are open to short shorts on all subjects and in all styles. We hope you’ll check out the books of our previous contest winners, including The Sky Is a Well and Other Shorts by Claudia Smith (winner of the first contest, judged by Ron Carlson, available now only as part of A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness), In the Land of the Free by Geoffrey Forsyth (winner of the second contest, judged by Robert Shapard), and How Some People Like Their Eggs by Sean Lovelace (winner of the third contest, judged by Sherrie Flick), as well as A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness by Amy L. Clark, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, and Claudia Smith, which features the chapbooks by four of the finalists from the first contest.

Thank you as always for your continued support, and we look forward to reading your work!

Sincerely,

Abby & Kathleen

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Tragedy…

nacho appetizer

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My Nacho Bowl Turned 100! Happy Cobra Books Meghan McCain!!

eggs leap 2

I have a reading tonight on a vast field of empty grass. On our backs, silly. It drizzles on our faces; it make us feel like possibility, like clammy, clutched hands, crackling fingers, of just meeting, before it all fades. No, no it does not. The reading is at a martini bar in Muncie, Indiana. Over at metazen they just shook up my Seven Things About Gin poem/flash/whatever thing. I don’t really know a damn thing about martinis. I tried to get into them years ago, but it didn’t catch. I licked a knife and liked the taste.  So stopped licking the knife. It was like when I tried smoking a pipe, or the time I leaped out of a moving truck. Some things just aren’t worth the time and effort.

“The martini: the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.”
H. L. Mencken

Yes, I feel like leaping. Why?

My secondary nacho bowl just served its 100th nachos! You nacho aficionados understand the significance: I am more than likely going to “accept” the bowl after 200 servings, so this looks positive. It might just make the rotation. I have discarded maybe 50, 60 bowls that never made it to number 100. So I feel good. This bowl was purchased at a ceramics sale at BSU, and maybe I did it thinking, “I am a BSU prof so should buy a bowl.” Initially. But then the bowl spoke to me, late at night (this is when bowls speak). My primary nacho bowl was none too happy and still serves me well, but, like running shoes, it is best rotate. Less mileage on both bowls. More life.

You do rotate your running shoes, right?

nachoo 500!

Serving # 100!! God this makes me proud.

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I have words about Memphis in Word Riot. I love Memphis. It be low-down. Most of this flash is simply things that happened to my brother and I twisted it all up into a flash and threw in a cellphone and some guppies. Enjoy.

Speaking of cellphones, if you are in prison and you want me to put a cellphone in a potato cannon and fire it over the concerta wall so you can use said cellphone for illegal purposes while incarcerated, I’m not going to do that. I mean aim and fire the potato cannon. Sorry. One point of prison is that you can’t use the damn phone. OK?

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I have an interview at The Collagist. I talk about death.

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mccain

I consider Andy Warhol to be in my Top Ten Muses list (see here…at Willow Springs), so was pleased to see Meghan McCain (daughter of John) reading a book about the artist. This is the photo she posted on Twitter, I guess to prove that she was indeed reading. Or something.

The above photo Took Over Twitter for some reason. It caused an internet squall–waves and fury and wholly terrified tea cups. I guess Andy’s 15 minutes of fame are still ticking. People are still into Warhol. I suppose his art and arguments about substance versus gloss, internal significance versus external appearance, the role of art in America, the role of advertising, of beauty (lowest form as best, mass produced as best, gloss, glam), his ideas on capitalism’s hegemonic and selectively politicized discourse on the self-objectification of…anyway, seems people still like Andy.

Right.

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I want to give a serious shout-out to Tao Lin (Hey, Tao, could your fucking Shoplifting book get more run? Jesus) and Kendra Grant Malone for the (Happy Cobra) ebook Conor Oberst Sex. I’ll write more later, because I found it funny and fascinating work. I kind of approached it thinking, “Is this going to be some of this Tao Lin stuff I don’t really get?” (I find some of Tao’s writing off-putting, though I also find some engaging). Then I thought “Is this going to be wayyy KGM, like too confessional…?” (I find some of KGM’s writing melodramatic, though I also find some honest and endearing and sad). But you know what? Fuck me. I was wrong (again) to be concerned–Conor Oberst Sex is pretty damn awesome. Seriously. Read it.

BTW, I have now seen three reviews/essays that link KGM’s writing and Tao Lin’s as similar.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

I just blew a back wall out an incinerator out my nose. I just coughed up a theme song. It was titled LIES.

How about you read the two authors before you say stupid shit?

My head feels hollow. I am going to go run on my treadmill now. Run like a kangaroo hoping to get pregnant.

S

New decomP Bolt Action Breasts Issue

New October decomP hits the net like a caregiver out back feeding the nuns leftover Cheetos.

I was in my tree stand, deep in the forest. I was reading the new decomP. I thought, “Is this issue about breasts? If it is, OK, I mean we all have breasts. Whoa, three deer just glided by. (That’s what they do–they glide, this ghost-like drifting through the underbrush and your mind goes, “How do they walk without a sound?” How? They glide.)

Tom Mahoney writes a flash fiction about cleavage and tipping. There have been a lot of sociological studies about how waitresses can increase their tips. Research has shown the best way is to PRETEND you like the customer. Also, establish an inside joke!

(Sir, I hope those onions on your plate don’t make the potatoes start crying!! HA HA….)

I think if you touch the customer you get 10% more or some shit. If you sign your name on the receipt. Oh, sorry. Men lower their tips if they doodle or sign the receipt; only women increase their tips.Whenever the waiter/waitress squats at knee level to look at me directly in the eye, to be Down Here, with me sitting, I want to punch them in the forehead.

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A few days ago I was buying a six of beer and a bag of corn tortillas and some shredded cheese and some salsa and the line was empty and I walked up and the cashier said really loud, “Sorry about your wait, sir!” And I said no problem. See, there was NO WAIT. I was immediately there in line, and so was he. So what gives? Later in the car I thought maybe it was a brilliant way to deal with the public–to just open with an apology, to open with a fictional wronged-act, with a Lower Level. His line was obviously automatic. And I have been a cashier–the public thinks you are actually a cashier, the machine in front of the cashier. Etc.

I thought Tom’s story did a good job with conflict and concept, but could have been more. I have written flashes like this myself. They need more. Maybe punch up the language a bit. Maybe introduce a sister or a spleen or Aztec Queen.

Halli Melnitsky writes a flash about a girl wrapped in drug coronas and Christmas lights: “She brought her hands to a point above her head. “Look,” she said. “I’m a Christmas tree.” A red bulb pressed on her nipple and lit her entire breast. “I’m your happy childhood.”

What a flash (pun). I think it would be perfect for a reading. I like readings to be:

1.) Short.

2.) Sexy or funny.

3.) Human.

I believe the above hits all three.

Pandoras box

(Andrew Junge)

“…from his artistic anarchy, or agony,” Jesse Tangen-Mills writes.

Now we have language, flow. Cool name, too, Jesse. There is no breast connection here, except for the phrase “God-thunder.”

This Comorbidity by Frank Hinton is full of the type of thing I like to teach young fiction writers: Fill your stories with STUFF. All objects are metaphorical. Give us a chance to let them breathe. Give us (reader) an opportunity to see, engage, supply the remaining gaps, embrace. It isn’t that we analyze objects like a classroom, etc. Not my point. My point is all objects are ALREADY metaphorical. They echo. We are like fish in the water–we don’t see we live within a metaphorical universe, unless you take us out. Or something. The other day I read a poem about a guy throwing a penny into a wishing well, and his wish was to get rid of that damn penny. So.

Oh, the best poem in the issue is from From Jeanann Verlee

that night I cut a small incision under
my left breast, stuffed two fingers inside

pushed aside tissue, sternum, found a rock
the size of a plum, scooped it out

rinsed it,

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(Kelly Mark)

Or it could be John Sands. Ok, it could be. He doesn’t come out and says breasts, but you know…and don’t you think it very Frank O’Hara? That’s a compliment, Mr. Sands.

A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You
By Jon Sands, Aug 28, 2009

When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

*

OK, ok, I’ll join. Yesterday I was on the roof writing my Drink and Ebay Flash series and I was writing about this guy whose one goal in life was to date a gawky girl. The story goes on for a while and there is a small house fire (in the story) and there is a mention of soda jerks and file clerks and other rhyming occupations and then the story moves over into “I’m going to call a cop!” type drama then has this letdown section I’ll cut later and settles into sun, sea, sand and finally, finally I write this line: “She had pepper grinder bones and breasts like Socrates.”

So there, I joined the breast theme.

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S



Writing Flow of Inscrutable Dr. Head Heavy

I have been in a writing flow. I am not sure why. It has been making me feel insane. I don’t write like this often–daily, output, words dropping like parachute silk, evergreen buds, butlers in the Solomon, or_______ (geese hutches)–and it has made my insides thrum, like when right before/after illness, feathered a bit, or a September of stimulant addiction, or should I say a patent leather case full of escapades and springy steps of bare, high, summer hills. (I mean a train journey through snow, though it is clearly not snowing. Keep brushing off the snow, commenting on the snow. It is NOT snowing, why do you keep talking of snow?)

Do others feel this way when grooving, like hollow?

I don’t like the feeling, or dislike the feeling. I think it’s maybe 60% dislike to 40% like. Why? I mean I can’t sustain it; it’s too thummy-clud, too wired. Usually, when I feel this white clouds/blue air/red Amsterdam type of energy I run, hard, into the sweet embrace of pain. Pain is so clear and honest. And then the energy ebbs away and I can talk, listen, stumble, sleep.

What has made me write this way? Theories:

* I have a concrete project. I know where I am going (but of course the destination will change like a black tie, tiepin, black hair). Robert Penn Warren said writing a book was like driving a car at night–you can see about as far as the headlights. I don’t know.

* Flow leads to flow like one drink leads to another drink leads to…(please don’t say my manuscript will vomit up a curb)

* I have spent the last few weeks in the forest. The forest makes the mind settle, unravel like a dying wave, then go all hysteria. Moonset, sunrise. Glowing orange eyes. I sit in my stand–way-ass up in the air, swaying, swaying in the wind–and read, read, read. Watch, watch, watch. Reading and watching too much is like playing too much chess. Head will throb like a heart. It will make you crazy.

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skipping

*

I saw another cat today. Size of a diet Sprite.

*

Been reading HTML Giant a lot. So what? This: I keep buying books. I don’t need more books! Thanks, HTML Giant! You asses.

*

Some fool emailed me about another fool about another fool. They said, “The word is Blake Butler (talk about evidence that Blake drinks) says he knows more about nachos than you (this was told to this fool in Queens, NY, during one of Blake’s tours).”  What? Than ME?!

Nachos?

Ok. Ok. Anyway, somehow one of my (many, many–maybe 45 and counting?) nacho Thunks made it online…

Here Nacho Hybrid/Poem. (I didn’t know this was online. Then I Googled [verb] myself, and now I know. It’s a rough draft of what appears later in Sonora Review.)

(More than ME about nachos? I retire not to hurl. I can’t get over this.)

(Can not wait for the dinner and book of nachos and the Food Channel calling and…all that settles this.)

Dinner as I type?

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OK, these are only level 3, and obviously processed, obviously tertiary deprived, BUT I am busy tonight, and they do have the beans (black) fried, fried again! And I still eat nachos almost every day (I missed one day two months ago–the flu). The point is on a night I don’t have time to eat nachos I do. Because I AM NACHOS.

S

Sean Lovelace Reviews Where I Stay by Andrew Zornoza

I WROTE THIS PART WHILE DRINKING SCHNAPPS:

This book is horizontal. It STTRREEETTCHESSSS like this, like “places I kept returning to…” (like blankness, the humming torments of unfaithful memory–there are no fucking page numbers in this book!), like yawning, like when “I maneuver down the hollow.”

This book is dedicated “To all those I’ve lied to.” Lie as confession, as taunt, as storyteller, as shaman, as word, as truly, truly sanctification.

This book has photos, many photos (49 total images, I think). This is a book of juxtaposition. These photos, I think several things…

Sometimes they are defectless, organic, blooming in the furrows between the pages.

Sometimes they are forced, even arranged (a textbook for photographic concepts: wide angle, Z-Axis, Directing the Eye).

Sometimes they are neither, the best way, open to me, to my synapse fire, to oddness and strangeness and blur….

[“I do not fit in myself”]

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[“Lee. Don’t touch nothing.”]

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[“It was wet from the river, it clung to your body.”]

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*

PROFESSOR TALK:

3rd person objective. The camera eye (literally). Layered with internal monologue, the interior voice. A talking photo. A thoughtful photo. What are you doing? The first photo is emptiness. The last photo is emptiness. There was nowhere to go, as long as I was myself. You want me to say Sebald, but fuck Sebald (sorry, I don’t mean that). My point is: This isn’t Sebald. This is Fuel-can eating fist sleeping bag dick, Moby Dick. Who is he? I want to say right now on this blog he is not aware that the loss of communal life, the degradation and dehumanization of collective work as a result of capitalist division of labor, and the severance of human relations from social activity have stupefied him. She was a bad actress, but there was no movie, there was no acting. I would like to light my velvet pipe, stuff it with velvet tobacco, lean back, and say to you now that only sophistry could infer the “existence” of nonbeing. The nothingness which fascinates recent literary folks/analysts is a myth of declining capitalist society, and I should know. I got your tower ivory. The earth is black and buckled.

*

A SCENE FROM TUESDAY:

I finished the Andrew Zornoza book and it had me thinking. It was a small animal gnawing my shin, a teething, bloody type of thinking. I had class in five minutes and my head felt like the way men lay on a loading dock. You know how reading can be a cave (writing too, and Percodan). I didn’t know how I was going to use these feelings from Zornoza’s book in my class. I mean I wanted to do something.

So I took the class down to the BSU art museum and told them to touch something, to reach out and teach a piece of art, a painting or a sculpture. The BSU museum contains Warhol and Greek statues and Jesus bleeding all over lush crosses and all those museum necessities. The response was interesting:

14% Immediately walked up and touched a piece of art (no alarms went off, if you were wondering)

36% Just stood there. They paced, mumbled, leaned close to the art, or faked it, but I didn’t see one make physical contact. (Admittedly, the museum was filled with cameras, temperature indicators, one lanky cop, and a gaggle of student museum workers, all in red shirts)

20% Said they touched the art, but were in different rooms. The BSU museum is large.

28% Refused to touch the art.

1% Told me I was an idiot.

1% Left the class-in-progress and walked home.

[Only two students were caught touching the art. Both were simply told, “Don’t touch the art.”]

We walked back to our classroom. The sky looked like a scrapbook full of mutilated novels. It rained, hard.

*

THIS IS WHERE I PLACE THE BOOK COVER INTO A HILLSIDE ABOVE A BUS ACCIDENT:

4 copy

*

LANGUAGE AND IDEAS:

In my bag I carried a comic book, black cover: The Death of Superman. I thought if I had to I could always sell it. Eventually I used the cardboard backing to sit on when it was raining.

(The role of art, utilitarian versus art’s sake)

The lights of the town flickered through the leaves, dim gold spangles on the water.

(Imagism ideology)

Later that night, there is some crying and a dream. The dream is that these two men are connected with several aluminum umbilical cords. The cords grow tighter and pull them closer together. They begin to make love. When they are about to finish one pulls away because suddenly he is aware that one of them will strangle the other.

(Freudian dilemma, society versus self)

*

SHOULD YOU READ THIS BOOK?

Yes. Three times. Here is the last page, pretty great way to end things indeed.

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