Tag Archives: Heroin

Time for Self Improvement Week, Folks.

Ok, it time for our annual Self Improvement Week. You can join along with me. It won’t be easy, but it will be richly satisfying.

Monday is FASTING.

Tuesday is EXERCISE.



Friday I haven’t thought about yet.

I will blog daily on the technique, process, and progress of my attempt at a week of self improvement. The liquid only fast begins the moment I awake tomorrow.



50 Life Sentences AWP 2009 (my head is a chewing leg)

I couldn’t blog in Chicago. I was too drunk or too busy with work or too compartmentalized. No, that wasn’t it. The hotel’s internet was slow like boiled sugar. A lot of people told me their Internet didn’t work in Chicago. Didn’t work well. I think I heard the term sluggish. I heard a lot of great terms in Chicago. I heard Painbis, hip-swinging, also annihilates. Words and writers of words appeared in front of me like kicked doors, or armored saints growing day to day.

I am going to blog now; I call this:

50 Life Sentences AWP 2009

1.) I have arguments inside my compartments.

2.) Shards inside I feel the need to fill, with alcohol, rationalizations blue, interstitial fluid, food.

3.) My many Chicago meals were triangles.

4.) A goal of mine was triangles…


5.) A goal of mine was to meet Kim Chinquee.

6.) Why didn’t I take a photo?

7.) Why was I too afraid to take a photo, to seal my memory in everlasting angles, perfect ghosts, in queens and hearts of glimmer?

8.) The poker game was a ghost everyone was talking about but no one had actually seen (like sustained love?).

9.) The poker game was mystical as a flower (on the moon).

10.) Listeners at readings whoop, laugh, bloom and flutter.

11.) Listeners at readings will buy you bourbon, will buy you shots of congratulatory bourbon, and you will drink that golden sun-struck poison like a harness-maker, like a household of leaking cells, drink them all and all and very well…

12.) In the swanky hotel lobby of the Hilton, Blake Butler voiced an opinion that authors shouldn’t just pick humorous work for a reading, just to be funny, etc., and I agree and disagree: They shouldn’t pick just funny work; they should pick funny work that is also sexual.

13.) I have arguments at Abjective.

14.) I have arguments inside my compartments, my flux and flow.

15.) Why didn’t I take the photo?

16.) I can’t get my head around Chicago, my actions, non-actions, and faulty do/do not/residue.

17.) Right alongside my heart, a nick of rib bone, I keep shaking inside like the El.

18.) I was intimidated by the El then learned to observe, conform, climb aboard, overcome something, or some thought inside my skull rolling.

19.) To meet (drift and swerve) with Samuel Ligon was glacial, as in very very cool.

20.) To meet Jac Jemc was glacial, as in very, very cool.

21.) To meet Molly and Matt and all others glowing was glacial, as in very, very cool.


22.) My many Chicago meals were fermented/distilled liquid.

23.) My many Chicago meals were squid, were prawn.


24.) My co-eaters were 1.) a woman who was raised in a “town” (my quotes) of 92 people, who runs marathons and swims with whale sharks; and 2.) a woman who writes drafts of poems about experience so recent (the El looping) so quickly and fine it makes me shiver.

25.) I bought sake and rode its candy-cane high.

26.) I bought more sake, diet cola and books (stored in my car, a Shane Jones signed book, Barry Graham signed book, Mary Miller, others…).


27.) I bought a form of hesitation, medication, some other ation.

28.) I bought the poison and inhaled the poison.

29.) I bought the books; I bought the books in front of the SmokeLong table.


30.) Mary Miller signed the books.

31.) Why didn’t I know she was awesome?

32.) At my age, why don’t I know what I am doing?

33.) I read her book immediately, last night, such likable object, such simpatico of scene and non-scene (I know so well, beer cap moth-ing through air), such castles of crickets and leftover wine.

34.) Sometimes I watched, in all my hours shifting weightless.

35.) Sometimes I watched others and wanted to be with them, or be them.

36.) Sometimes, less often, I felt watched, or should I say observed.


37.) To be my age and feel lostly.

38.) To feel hesitation and unrest.

39.) the photo…

40.) Why do you think I didn’t take the photo?

41.) Honestly.

42.) Why?

43.) I felt this blue crackling in the air.

44.) I felt this moment after.

45.) Of course I took the photo!


46.) (A man can only shelter so much regret…)

47.) (I am learning.)

48.) (and now.)

49.) and now.

50.) And..well, now.

I interview Ander Monson!!

I have a new piece coming out in Diagram soon. It is my Regis Philbin text. It is all Regis Philbin. It is Regis Philbin adapted easily to technical and scientific writing. It is Regis Philbin of your childhood memory of throwing dogs into fencerows. It is Regis Philbin evaluating fuel treatments of your blood. It is Regis Philbin killed by a word. Make-believe. Intricate guts of your mealy, mealy hallway bad-faith conversation (quit asking people, “What’s up?” or “How’s it going?” I implore you).


Speaking of that rag (now officially a rag since they took my story), I saw this interview in 12th Street today with Ander Monson.

I thought it a bit lame. I mean where were the eye-throttling questions, the insight readers need to know? I mean this was the most softball I’d watched since the Olympics, the ones with all the pollution. I’m wondering if Ander sent in the interview questions first and told them he would only answer those 14 questions (this is his usual method; I used to date his publicist).

So, anyway, since he’ll now apparently interview anywhere, I called him up for my own. I don’t do email interviews for the same reason I don’t eat cattle caged in tiny boxes and shot up with pig endorphins, Gatorade, and eyeballs. Ethics.

Sean (big, lion’s voice): I find it really fascinating you can sit there and use phrases like “dialectics in literature” and “soul of the world” and “refectory fable the way of Balzac” when discussing your work but have yet to mention nachos. You know, nachos.

Ander (dry cough): Actually I am not sitting. I am standing in the shallow end of my pool in Arizona and throwing discs into a disc golf basket I have perched atop an Octoilla cactus. And I do mention nachos in my writings. More than once. You’re one of those interviewers who haven’t even read the very work of the artist you question.

S: Let’s move on. If I was to say the essay form is a liar’s holiday, how would you respond?

A: If you bring a cat to a yak fight you better have one wonderful cat.

S: You are a member of several institutions: marriage, academia, Netflix, etc. Doesn’t the institution institutionalize the writer? Doesn’t it rip out the piss, guts, spleen, blood, sputum, sperm, urine of the writer’s very soul?

A: Piss and urine are redundant.

S: Would you like to tell your audience why your car was discontinued from production?

A: Two words: snow.


S: If you had only a week to live what would you write?

A: I wouldn’t write. I would Disc Holf.

S: Disc Holf?

A: Disc golf, on horseback.

S: What are you reading right now?

A: The tiny print on a very large check.

S: Really? What do you stand for?

A: Don’t drive your house, ok? Don’t live in your car. It’s that simple.

S: Finally, what do you say to all of those readers who have noticed a certain distillation in the ethical three-dimensional narrative of your writing, basically stating no difference between living, dead, and Latinate vocabulary of the one-line incomplete expressive sounds, the patterns, etc., specifically as it relates to the by-gone days of print culture, as you clearly address more than once?

(unfortunately, we lose our connection here)


Ander, during a sunny AZ day of “Disc Holf”


Big-Ass Nachos. Tao Lin uses too many Quotation Marks. Mary Oliver Poet. Methadone, Lay off Friend (my advice).

Anyhow, before my ex-wife (the fourth one, a rangy woman, ugly as homemade soap) introduced me to nachos, I would eat a kind of normal breakfast: free-range turkey eggs (boiled or scrambled—runny eggs make my stomach flop like a runover snake), country venison ham, venison bacon, venison sausages, Bit-O-Honeys, Cheerios, cinnamon buns, toast, saltines, biscuits, hash browns, Pepsis, flapjacks, cheese grits with butter, Doritos, crepes, muffins, beans and franks, jellies and jams and marmalades, omelets, and sometimes a small tin of candied oysters (Ebay).

Now I eat nachos.


Best Opening Line in Short Fiction. Lorrie Moore, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

Understand that your cat is a whore and can’t help you.



This kicks ass, over at Barrelhouse, Brock Adams tells us: Things You Can do With a Can of Campbell’s Soup

I also like these from Liz Scheid at Diagram.

I have this idea only those diagnosed with mental illness are responding to our world correctly. Only 100 years ago ADHD would be a handy tool for saving your life. But it does tend to suffer when sitting in orderly rows, quietly. Why are so many people’s biochemistry off kilter now? Environs? Genetics? This world (pick up a newspaper). Too much information overwhelms the filter. The brain, sponge-like, but any sponge can only hold a certain amount. Then it leaks.

Liz seems to reflect some of this idea here.


The new Poets and Writers (because poets are not writers, right?) profiles Paul Guest.

Paul went to Alabama MFA while I was there. The article doesn’t even mention Alabama for some odd reason. Thanks.

For those who think poets don’t make cash, you might want to gander at Paul’s book deal. A poet being solicited by an agent! A lucrative book deal for poetry and a memoir. (I basically know the amount but seems unseemly for me to say. It is much more money than you are thinking right now.) Not to mention they will publish all his future poetry forever. Uh, sweet.

Paul writes by using a plastic stick he holds in his mouth. I often think about the difference between hand-written, typing, speaking into a microphone, the different ways the synapses crackle, but Paul’s method takes it to a whole new level. Think how meticulous the act to create the word, the very letter. I think it probably benefits the creation process, but that’s only conjecture.

We know several older writers–Cormac McCarthy, Jim Harrison–prefer to write by hand, on a legal pad.

Young people go for computers.

The difference?

Tactile. The word from the pencil/pen tip, the clutched hand, the brain chemistry of arm-nerves-cells, IN CONTACT with the word. Versus tapping away, intermittent contact. Let’s take this into an analogy. Treadmill running in a room versus trail running up a mountain? Painting with oils versus Photoshop? Microwave versus cutting board…

The physical experience of art can not be mimicked. Or can it? Boxing is an art. Or a sweet science.

Any sport where killing the opponent is a positive (or even goal?) should be wiped away. Erased. If you kill the opponent in boxing (many have, and do), you win.

I’m not sure why I just said that.

I don’t know.

The text on the page looks “done.” Looks printed, published, in crisp, crisp MS Word. Cut and Paste versus erasing? Revision now a series of cuts, pastes, moving text here, there…

I went to Mark Neely’s class and in five minutes learned more about page layout than I knew in 38 years. That’s a smart class, but I am also dumb.

But so many word processors make a text look “done.”

Ok, I’ll stop with the “quotes.” It’s getting all Tao Lin.

Does MS Word trick the new writer into seeing a finished product?

Mary Oliver revises her poems fifty times, people.

Due to his disability, Paul Guest says he can never write down an idea, a scrap he might have thought up while in bed. Any other writer can just jot something down in a notebook. He can not. This makes him frustrated, angry, so he has trained his mind to never think of ideas while in bed. That’s pretty wild. Pretty impressive.



Kyle Minor is coming to Muncie in the spring! Looking forward to meeting the man, and introducing his work to my students.


I feel like this today (the bird).


Saucy. What is the Value of Poetry? Blake, and Komunyakaa. I like Rotel.


Still Life: Dinner Decisions.

(If anyone ever wants to talk hot sauce, let’s do. I rank hot sauce up there with iced beer, reading a river eddy/swirl, making out at 3 am [probably in a car, parked illegally on a blue-lit acetylene street], the pleading shape of a perfectly thrown disc golf disc. Etc.)

(Does anyone know the best hot sauce festivals? Aren’t they usually in Texas? I am a-feared of Texas, but could visit briefly, skip in like a dragonfly, nibble and pause to warm the wings, then lift away.

I’d like to visit a hot festival festival. Before I die, preferably.


I am teaching a multi-genre graduate class. So now we’re nearing the dark side, the cold moon of shivers and empty beaches, the electrochemical switches, the fever, the bleeding wings–poetry.

So, immediately: what is its worth?

(Is this actual question a symptom of something? Maybe. And I hold a bit of it myself, in my ventricles, so a very fair inquiry. But is it a sign, something involving consuming, throwing away [repeat until death] everything, skating above anything actual, anything real, this bright, bright layer, a way to just push aside every/any thing of substance?

A code, a mantra, dare I say? A code. A programmation?)

I just made up a word. So what, jabberwocky?

We do things without any questioning, but poetry won’t allow that. No sir.

Poetry makes us sit a moment. Watch. Chill. Observe.

Makes me wonder what the worth of a sunrise is, or the gurgle of river over quicksilver stone? The moss on the backside, slippery, shimmering like an voice, quivering, opening shadow.

Worth of nacho.

Worth of playful and musical language.

Of its place as flourishing WAY before prose, before creative nonfiction, as the basis of every allusion: Shakespeare, bible, Greek mythology, Homer–poetry.

How does cave painting deal with preserved shark? Shark sold for 12 million dollars, so there….

Of the day you first wrecked a car, that slow-motion, teenage blur. Remember who was in the passenger seat? I bet you do.

Of T.S. Eliot: Poetry is not the assertion that something is true, but the making of that truth more fully real to us.

Of day I threw egg. Or my shoelaces caught in bike pedals, the tumble.


Almost everyone I encounter is amused that I write or read poetry, and I am frequently challenged to defend the purpose and function of poetry and literature in a disposable society so dedicated to consumerism and earning potential. Even my best friend since I was six years old frequently asks me what good is learning Shakespeare or Keats. “After all,” so he says, “look at me, I’m doing just fine and I’ve never read either.” This issue features a poem by Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy. While I selected the poem because of its quality, I wonder how many readers will be surprised that Spock writes poetry? And if they are surprised, why? What should a poet look like? It amazes me too how every other person I meet is either part Cherokee Indian or a closet poet. Hell, even my banker told me just yesterday, in a hushed and secretive voice, that she has a folder full of poems she’s written. And yet mainstream America seems to ridicule poets in movies and television. This just doesn’t make sense. If people would come out of the closet about their love for poetry, we’d likely learn that it’s one of the most common activities in America right up there beside owning a dog or cat.

(John Smelcer)

Worth of shelling beans while talking to my grandmother about tornadoes (I’ve yet to get paid for this true pleasure–weird.)

Of watching a mocking bird pluck a grasshopper from the air.

Of angles, light on skin, panties, triangles, white cotton…

Poetry is physical. It enlists the participation of the senses, beginning with the sense of hearing, of vibration, and its pace derives from and attends the body’s motions. I believe that poetry, which in the end may come to include the other uses I have named, begins as language does with the urge to give voice to the unsayable in our lives and in life itself.

(Robert Hass)

Of cross-eyed hipster.

Of suitcases leaping the tornado (and bedpost)

Of who do you text back, call back, ignore?

Of Yusef Komunyakaa, total badass:

Lately, I feel like I have been cornered by Robert Hayden’s infamous Devil’s Advocate, the Inquisitor, a shadow figure in the poet’s psyche who keeps one edgy and true to each word in his or her personal canon. Maybe this is the same force that prompts us to pick up the pen in the first place: A discourse which leads to discovery. Here, at this moment in our history, as we prepare for millennium parties around the world-big on commerce and short on celebration-perhaps what Plato feared has happened in modern America: The poet has become the philosopher, the composer and caretaker of the most fundamental and urgent questions voiced to the agency of human existence. And, in this sense, it seems that the poet is responsible for questioning and gauging every facet of our system.

Of Baileys and coffee with mom, who never drank. Before cancer. Now she drinks. I drink with her. And we talk, real things.

Of this:

Now Blake thought that this creative power should be kept alive in all people. And so do I. Why? Because it is life itself. It is the spirit. In fact it is the only important thing about us. The rest of us is legs and stomach, materialistic cravings and fears.

How could we keep it alive? By using it, by letting it out. By giving some time to it. But if we are women we think it more important to wipe noses and carry doilies than to write or to play the piano. And men spend their lives adding and subtracting and dictating letters when they secretly long to write sonnets and play the violin and burst into tears at the sunset. They do not know as Blake did, that this is a fearful sin against themselves. They would be much greater now, more full of light and power, if they had really written the sonnets and played the fiddle and wept over the sunset, as they wanted to”

Whatever…Whatever all of it. This question. This question.

Here’s a story: Saint Francis enjoying the night air one evening in the village of Assisi. When the moon came up, it was huge and luminous, bathing the entire earth in its radiance. Noticing that no one else was outside to enjoy this miracle, Francis ran to the bell tower and began ringing it enthusiastically. When the people rushed from their houses in alarm and saw Francis at the top of the tower, they called up to ask of him an explanation. Francis simply replied, “Lift up your eyes, my friends, look at the moon.”

Done, as for poetry (for now, me).


The new Keyhole Magazine is HAND WRITTEN. I believe this qualifies as bad-ass.

Blake Butler is there. I was wondering when Blake was going to publish something.


I feel like this today: