Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Viewed: The Puffy Chair.

Opinion: Favorable.
There is a place to begin? How about noting the obvious differences between the old and the new, with the still newer hobbling along like true goats caught up in fragile curtains. I'd stipulate that the more we grow, the less we go under all because of a few ting-ting-ting noises from around the corner. They all laughed at you, and at me, and that's what to give a second chance to, nobody denies that. All I'm saying is that you can't depend on a thing of beauty to tell you where to stare, unlike the guy I told you about earlier, uh yeah, it's definitely him. Knows when to penetrate just a little further than what would seem to be advisable, no doubt spurred on by his supreme belief in the blankety-blank of processional mannerisms. The phone rang and took us with it. To really get an idea of where the most "untuitive" villagers place awareness, it doesn't help to readily identify with too much in the way of paying your way out of pocket, expenses adding up, lucky you weren't in the store when it went kaboom! Of course I speak of your uncanny ability to say without words only what you had never intended to be known, instead of amiably going about your business in the commonly accepted way. If I had a way like yours, why I'd be rich by now, up to my noggin in weatherproof space age polymers. I can't breathe. In a little while I'll be sledding over the face of he whom I've been entrusted to kill for a fee of fifteen hundred francs. It's cool, he's with me, I can tell. You look like you're from Canada originally.
Ordinarily I wouldn't bother you with this, but it has come to my attention that your cupcakes have been used in movies I never saw. Luckily I was saving up for such an occasion. A reason for entering the building might be that despite everything you've ever been told concerning the maintenance of these facilities, it would be a good idea for you to do some research before consulting with me. I'd like to help, I mean, who wouldn't? But does that give you an excuse to tunnel five miles under Mt. Etna just to say you did it. Pretty lame if you ask me. I've seen that documentary. It had lots of jokes, some of them funny, but never was there a more obstinate bunch than when those hoodlums overtook the dairy and had fun while onlookers watched. Really scary guys and girls with large breasts and even larger mittens came to represent everything even a little bit off in the grand scheme of things, which wasn't much, let me tell you. Add to that the almost indefensible proposition that playing games alters the lanes you're scheming in, does it take you all day or do you have to stretch it out, am I floating headfirst or will there be another list somebody made later to consult when doubtful, prurient, circumspect, a damn sight better than the original plan, the one with winter as the focus, or at least the central character. It comes in the second act. That's probably what I believe, though I can't prove to you how much, or how little, you mean to me as I contemplate what to do with this ridiculous assignment I'm about to hand out among the poor little kids who want nothing more than to listen to F.D.R. keep us hungry for whatever it is I mentioned, but did he hear me? Looks like it, or else he wouldn't have sent all these fresh tomato plants to us, and that's enough for today. Tomorrow I'd like to see you in a nice pair of tights, ones either purchased or borrowed from the local hedge fund manager's late wife's sister-in-law's grandnephew's second cousin's brother's cousin's sister's aunt. Two of you will be lucky enough to attend the festival with me in all my finery, and you'll even get to help me pick out the dress I'll be wearing under the lights as I prepare to enter the covenant I had set up just for us, custom made, in time for the impending ceremony, something like an election but not quite. It's ancient enough to have been included in the landmark survey put out by folks just wanting to do the right thing, not wanting any reward or award or Sela Ward or any combination thereof. If I had a contract specifying as much, I'd be all over it. Until then it's all I can do to avoid knocking off early to speak eloquently about my days in the national park playing checkers and video poker with people who looked exactly like nonconformists but who were actually in bed without a paddle, so I supplied them with one, thus solidifying our ironclad platonic arrangement. When it was over, it wasn't really over, and when it was time to play dead in the road for money, well, that was adequately carried out in time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm comfortable communicating with an orange on two levels. Let it be said that I didn't prepare so much as pretend to accept the judgment of probably not the first time you set foot in the sad location. Pretty soon it'll be heavy enough to transport across state lines, if you ever thought about doing so. To me it wasn't enough that the plane landed safely, but that over a period of time you might grow to appreciate the sacrifices made on this hill or even that other one in the years before it all fell apart. Too many decisions went unmade for too long and the response has been swift, totally without the use of his hands. Sunlight looked out of place until Maury fixed it, labeled it and polished the original score while, oh, nevermind. It's humbling to have been sold underwear that actual Romans wore. Only, too bad you didn't get a receipt or otherwise they would not have had a way to track you down in case of emergencies, one of which you've heard of. Not lately, but soon, and then some, incredibly out of sorts. Relaxing wasn't part of the plan, but the plan was soon amended to include stuff like that. Towering behind the wheel sat Jeremy popping corn and saying things like, "I bet your hat doesn't float, do you have another apple? I say..." and pretty soon even he gets eaten up by the lack of open-ended questions littering the beach. Just get up and flip it, the whole case comes down to a single hair, so I'm told. To last another night, feed the whale another bucket of cream after it happened, go to town and get a load of the priciest chum. Add another one.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Foam was there in the house of the head caroller. Eight extinguished candles sat patiently, the fourth quarter about to begin in the next room. And the next room felt like home to a wallaby on display. Too bad it couldn't have been more than a few days since last time you saw her, I said too loudly into the vent. Besides the host, who abides in whatever comes to pass in these parts? And what about those parts? Really very tired of all this, I couldn't say to what or perhaps you'd like to have a day on time for once, in and of the young, albeit stupid. Then why to spend like three or four hours eliminating the wettest cement still tumbling in the truck, and what do you to that say. A helping hand and another born-again organ from out the mouths of caves so clean and to them it's best to bring a dessert in the morning, before dusk. So it looked good there on the mantel, probably iced beforehand in a factory I suspect. Forget everything you hear, it's only a waste of time till the numbers show it to be an inescapably infeasible con game anyway.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Huh.  I don't know why those mobile-posts decided to create their own post titles.  Huh.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just landed. 2 hr., 4

Just landed. 2 hr., 4 min. in the air, longer than usual due to 170 knot headwind.

I'm sitting on the plane

I'm sitting on the plane at LGA. Smooth sailing through checkin and security. No lines! My view is of the wing. I'm writing this on my phone.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zwanzig Fragen

Q's from The Best American Poetry Blog

1. What poet should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?

I don't know.

2. If you could send Obama one poem or book of poems (not your own), what would it be and why?

I don't know.

3. What other poetry-related blog or website should I check out?

I'm hungry.

4. Who is the most exciting young/new poet I’ve never heard of, but whose work I ought to find and read?

Is it lunch yet?

5. What’s the funniest poem you’ve read lately? What was the last poem that made you cry?

I need to buy some pants.

6. William or Dorothy? Robert or Elizabeth Barrett? Moore or Bishop? Dunbar or Cullen? “Poetry must resist the intelligence almost successfully” or “No ideas but in things”? Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas or Tender Buttons?

They all have holes in the butt or front pocket area.

7. Robert Lowell wrote a poem called “Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid.” What supposedly immortal poem puts you to sleep?

I wonder if I should wait to see if I get pants for Christmas.

8. Even for poetry books, the contract has a provision for movie rights. What poetry book should they make into a movie? Who should direct it, and why? Who should star in it?

Yeah, I think I'll wait to see if I get any pants for Christmas.

9. What lines from a poem you first read years ago still haunt you now?

If I don't, that's ok. I can buy cheap pants at K-mart after Christmas.

10. What poem do you love, love, love, but don’t understand?

Is this over yet?

11. If the official organ of the AWP were not the Chronicle but were the Enquirer, what would some of the headlines be?

Why am I doing this?

12. If you were making a scandal rag for poetry in the grocery store checkout stands, what fictitious poetry love triangle would you make up to outsell that tired Hollywood story of Angelina and Brad and Jen?

I mean, seriously, what possessed me?

13. This is the Best American Poetry blog. What’s the best non-American poetry you’ve read lately?

I don't know.

14. We read poems in journals and books, we hear them in readings and on audio files. Sometimes we get them in unusual ways: on buses or in subway cars. How would you like to encounter your next poem?

Maybe I'll go to Burger King today.

15. What poem would you like to hear the main character bust out singing in a Bollywood film? What would be the name of the movie? What would be the scene in which it was sung?

Last time, I got sick after, but

16. Do you have a (clean) joke involving poetry you’d like to share?

that doesn't happen every time, so I think I'll chance it.

17. Tell the truth: is it a poetry book you keep in the john, or some other genre (john-re)?

I like the chicken tenders.

18. Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?

They took them off the menu for awhile.

19. If you got to choose the next U.S. Poet Laureate, who (excluding of course the obvious candidates, you and me) would it be? Of former U.S. Poet Laureates, who did such a great job that he/she should get a second term? Next election cycle, what poet should run for President? Why her or him?

But then they brought them back.

20. Insert your own question here.

Sometimes I get the TenderGrill.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So all morning I've been loo(well ok, really just the last half-hour or so)king for a mature, productive way to channel my rage against ________. I'm not into the blog-ranting thing, but I don't think I can screw my head back on without first doing something about this, so I've decided to make a compromise with myself: I'll just leave that above blank blank and let you ask me about it privately if your curiosity overcomes your desire not to have your time wasted by the airing of the ultimately petty grievances of yours truly. That was a hideous sentence. I apologize.

Of course now that I've written this note I feel a little better, so I probably won't go into too much detail if you do ask me; I might just fill in the blank.

I'm listening to Goldfrapp and the world is calm.

Monday, December 8, 2008

All good books are page-turners.

                                    —Arne Seligson
from Corking the Spores: A Biography of Arne Seligson:

The Ferris wheel in his backyard was said to be fifty feet in diameter, but it was never photographed, and to this day its existence remains only a rumor. Strong evidence in favor of the rumor's verity, however, comes in a letter from Seligson's attorney, Brian Rich, to Seligson's tailor and close friend, A. Scott Mainly of Providence, Rhode Island:
I saw [Seligson] last weekend at his house in Louisville. He was his old self, in good spirits, though he wouldn't stop correcting my pronunciation of "Louisville", speaking as if he were a native (you know, completely pompous and proud of his hickishness). The highlight of the visit was when he took me out into his backyard to see his enormous [...]
The second page of the letter, which would have picked up after the word "enormous", has apparently been lost, but Mr. Mainly is adamant in his claim that Mr. Rich's sentence concluded with the phrase, "Ferris wheel." According to Mr. Mainly, Seligson informed him in a phone conversation years later that the Ferris wheel had been dismantled and its parts sold as scrap.
from the diary of Arne Seligson:

March 12

          My thoughts are very clear today, very focused.  It must have been the sleeping on the floor that did it.  Every object in the room is worth looking at.  I wonder how long it's been like this and I didn't know it.  I must have been walking around here in a daze, I guess, or a trance.  I guess those are the same.  Nevertheless I still wonder.  People tell me not to worry, but I don't let it get to them.  They are the same, and I am different.  And then the other time I was all about getting noticed on time to be.  Shivering.  Lots of days go by, and then I become into what.  There aren't any, I couldn't mind.  Even if I were to ask or try, not holding the bar would have been seen in a different light, like I might have been molded twice.  In keeping with what they told me, I lucked into a bargain with the helpless ones.  It was there I favored, no more plunking down onto the seat was arranged.  I felt so alive.  It was then I formed.  Like baskets asleep in water money.  Pulsating findings of the carry away, believe nothing too soon, I was.  All then, and no one, we ever to speed princely through the town, it's night.  It's favored, but all said, hunting me, I couldn't say, maybe I was deserving of there.  Police warmed me, looked front and back, lids arranged and closed, humbled, crammed lengthwise into honeycombs.  I please to befriend were taking to, all real play talking, all acting all as if feverish.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

from The Pilates of "Psst!" 

by Arne Seligson


          Nothing makes me happier than to arrange small toy cars in rows of ten on tables owned by wealthy men.  I stand back and admire my work.  The sun is just coming up, and I've nearly finished.  Up all night!  Where does it go?  Not the sun, which I'm fully aware doesn't go anywhere—time is what I'm referring to.  That's an old and boring question that a lot of people have asked themselves since time began, or at least since people began to be aware of time, and it's a question I ask myself every day.  Well, sometimes I skip a day.  In any event, there were my cars, all lined up as if parked in a parking lot, almost eleven hundred of them.  I was collecting more all the time.  They weren't my cars; I was collecting them on behalf of Mr. Luiki, the genteel banker who was kind enough to offer me a home following the destruction by cyclone of my former residence.  The best part about living with Mr. Luiki was that he never set limits on where I could go, what I could do, or what I could imagine.  Such a sweety.
          After breakfast I decided to go for a walk.  I told Mr. Luiki that I was going for a walk, and then I went for a walk.  After returning from my walk, I opened Mr. Luiki's mail and tossed out all the bad news, per his instruction.  There was something about his aunt Horla being stung by a Portuguese man, I think it was, and there was a bill from his taxidermist, but other than that all the news was good today.  Happy that he would be happy, I piled the good news onto the tray I always kept handy for this purpose and brought it up to Mr. Luiki's room.  Not wanting to disturb him (never wanting to disturb him), I set the tray down gently in front of his door.
          In the afternoon I called my ex-wife and tried to explain how to program the alarm clock I'd bought her for her birthday.  I was frustrated that she didn't understand how to program the clock but I was happy to hear her voice.  It smelled like lemons or grapes, if grapes had a smell.  Of course, nowadays I could only imagine the smell of her voice.  But I could do that because, as I said, Mr. Luiki did not place limits on my imagination.  (Once, just days after moving in, I imagined a glorious kingdom somewhere in Asia Minor.  There were bears and chickens and wallabies and five or six gnats.  There were seventeen basketball teams, a swimming pool, a mosque, a synagogue, a Walgreen's, a cathedral, and a double-decker Dunkin' Donuts.  Oh, and everywhere you go, sex sex sex!  Miles of sex!  Metric tons of sex!  Gallons and quarts and pints and drams of sex!  Yards and meters!  Lbs. and Kgs.!  Centigrade and Fahrenheit!  Et cetera und so weiter!  Ich bin ein Berliner!  Hahahahaha!  No, you've got it all wrong, it's Ich bin Berliner!  Ich möchte einen großes Bier für meine Geburtstag!  Awful, awful German!  My German is fucking awful!  I don't know how to speak it, how to write it, or even how to read it!  I can pronounce the words, but I can't translate them!  It doesn't matter!  To me, the pronunciation is the destination.  I have no care for meaning.  I only care for leaning, leaning against objects, people, and other objects (and people).  —All this I imagined, and more, and Mr. Luiki did not object.)  Today I imagined that her voice smelled like cantaloupe, just for the hell of it. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Five chapters of Mansfield Park

have been read by me.  That's five chapters in three days.  If I read one more chapter today, I'll have an average of two chapters per day, and I'll be on my way to finishing the book before 2009 even starts to happen.

I realized another good thing the iPod ebook thing is good for.  Filibusters!  You know how it is—you're in the Senate, you need to kill some time, but what to do?  Sure, you might be alright if you're the kind of person who can stand up and expound on any topic for an unlimited amount of time, but what if you're like me and you tend to go blank, freeze up, in those situations?  Well, with ebooks on your iPod you can just say, "And now, I would like to read to you Tolstoy's masterpiece, War and Peace."  And then you simply whip out your iPod and there you have War and Peace ready to go in the palm of your hand!  And if you finish War and Peace with no sign of surrender from the opposition party, then it's just a few short clicks to Ulysses.  Und so weiter.  Now all you need is one of those urine bag thingies they have at hospitals, and you're good to go.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ribbed for her (reading) pleasure



















Get it?

Get some here.  Awww yeeaaahh...
There's a lot of poetry that I call "forgettable", but I'm not talking about forgetting the words, I'm talking about forgetting the experience of reading the words. I don't care about remembering the words. What I can't decide is, which is worse, a forgettable poem or a memorably bad poem? Who cares. Why am I talking about this. Shut up Matt nevermind sorry goodbye.

I'm star-

ting to think that satires of hipster cliches are a cliche.

1899 Indiana: 2008 Indiana minus billboards

Booth Tarkington, The Gentleman from Indiana:
There is a fertile stretch of flat lands in Indiana where unagrarian Eastern travellers, glancing from car-windows, shudder and return their eyes to interior upholstery, preferring even the swaying caparisons of a Pullman to the monotony without. The landscape lies interminably level: bleak in winter, a desolate plain of mud and snow; hot and dusty in summer, in its flat lonesomeness, miles on miles with not one cool hill slope away from the sun. The persistent tourist who seeks for signs of man in this sad expanse perceives a reckless amount of rail fence; at intervals a large barn; and, here and there, man himself, incurious, patient, slow, looking up from the fields apathetically as the Limited flies by.
(This one's for you, Brooklyn.  Ha.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I read the first chapter of Mansfield Park on my iPod this morning. Why? Because I am Fanny Price, according to facebook, so I'm curious to determine if this is true.

I quickly discovered that I'm able to read a lot faster on the iPod. Why? Because you're turning pages a lot more frequently, which makes it feel like you're zipping through. But also because it eliminates my OCD habit of obsessing over page numbers when I read regular books. It takes me forever to turn a page sometimes because I'm always worried that my thumb is grabbing more than one page or, worse, that the pages have been printed out of sequence, which is not me being paranoid because IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED to me one time. It was White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I was about to turn from page 167 (I don't really remember the number, but let's call it 167) to 168, but when I flipped the page, instead of 168 I arrived at 256 (or something)! I remained calm and turned to where 256 should have been, and sure enough, there was 168. Somehow those two pages had gotten switched in the printing process. Thankfully it was the only error in the book. That was almost six years ago, and ever since then I've been wary of turning pages for fear that something like that might happen again.

I HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE PAGES ARE IN ORDER

So if you ever watch me read a book you'll see me flipping a page back and forth for several whole minutes muttering "41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42... 41, 42..."

But with the iPod, all it takes is a tap and the next page swoops right in. No mess! Burden lifted! Electronic books may not revolutionize the way I read, but they might revolutionize the way I read.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm going to ditch e-Hunger and pick up eventually the Robert Bly translation, which after looking at today I can tell is a lot better than the piece of crap tr. that I downloaded.  I think that one was the original English translation; the book came out in 1890.  What is it with old translations of old books always sucking?  Granted, I haven't read that many old books, but whenever I compare original, Victorian-era trs. with ones from like the mid-20th century onward, it's no contest.  It's not as if writers were stupider a hundred years ago, were they?

WERE THEY??????
So I downloaded finally the new iPod Touch software that enables you to add games and shit. iBowl is fun.

A day later or so I got around to downloading some electronic books. Namely,

Hunger, Knut Hamsun
Silas Marner, George Eliot
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The last one is a short story that a movie coming out is of. (It's my syntax and I'll cry if I want to.) Basically my plan is to read books that I don't feel like buying or even checking out from the library. I do not plan to make a habit of reading books on my iPod. But gawd-

DAMN is it convenient for reading in transit! It would also be great for when you get to a movie a half hour early and have nothing to do. You can sit in the dark and read a "book"! It's also great if you have a date that goes badly and you need something to read on the way home, something you wouldn't have been able to do before because you figured it would be tacky to take your backpack full of reading material along on a date, which was a prudent observation indeed.

I also downloaded The Waste Land, just to see what it would look like on the screen. You wanna know what it looks like? I'll tell you what it looks like. No line breaks. It's in prose. Prose.

Prose.

Uh...

Oh well, I hate reading poetry on screens anyway.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh

What a relief it is, I must say, to have discovered my final poem (see previous post). Now that I've seen the culmination of my poetical development, I don't have to worry about such things. I'm not sure what I mean by that, but then, I rarely am sure about what anyone means by anything.

In case you're wondering how I came upon this poem of mine that won't be written for another 84 years, I'm sorry that I can't give you an explanation, lest I put the fabric of the spacetime continuum at risk. But if you must know, no, I did not use a DeLorean, har har. I used a 1970 Dodge Charger.

WHY DON'T THEY MAKE CARS LIKE THAT ANYMORE

Ahem. Anyway, I'm also relieved to know that I'll live to be 110 and a half. True, it appears that I'll die a slow death from starvation, apparently alone, somewhere in northwestern Mexico (or perhaps "Sonora" refers to the Sonoran Desert, which extends into present-day Arizona...), but at that age, who the hell cares! Am I right?

Although...what if the average life expectancy in 2092 is 140? Nooo! I was (er, will have been) too young! Oy, the worries, they never cease.