Friday, October 31, 2008

Overheard at work

"They don't have bagels in Germany. It's a Jewish thing."


"How you gonna toast a bagel?"


In both cases, the guy was being completely serious. These are the kind of people I work with.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My ceiling is swarming with beads of yellow seepage.

Not the whole ceiling, just part of it. The wheels of maintenance are in motion, but a favorable outcome remains in doubt. I envision guys with wrenches spending an afternoon in my room, breaking things, creating disorder in the service of order.

I checked books out from the library for the first time in a year, I think. The books were written by Mohammad, Spahr, and Tate (comma James). Please don't recall them, fellow NYPLers. I need tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmeeeeee to read them.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Was proud of myself for getting to bed a half hour earlier than usual, but woke up to the sound of water falling on cardboard, so ended up getting the same small amount of sleep. Not good for a cold. I hope the leak doesn't get worse and flood my room. I'll find out in a few hours. I put a towel on the floor. Probably should have moved my computer further away from where the leak is. Should be fine as long as the crack in the ceiling doesn't start to extend. Hopefully it won't be damaged by a few drops falling on the outer casing anyway. TV should be fine too. I need to look into whether those digital boxes get a stronger signal than the digital tuner antenna I have now. PBS (Thirteen) doesn't come in at all when I use the tuner. If I vow never to eat out again, I can afford cable. Not just if I vow, though. I have to actually do it. I can't see myself giving up Chipotle at least once a week though. I would eat frozen pizza six nights a week if that didn't seem excessive. Three or four nights a week already seems excessive, which is what my current rate is, about. I probably should have stayed home because of my cold and to monitor the leak. Probably shouldn't have come in yesterday either. But now at least I'll have an excuse to take a couple of "sick days" in the future, when I'm not sick. I really don't like missing work. Every day missed is $54.91 down the drain. If I wanted to spend that kind of money in a single day, I'd go see a movie. Ha. Ha. See, cuz movies are expensive.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It seems that the only way a date can work is if the girl is a natural conversationalist. One of those people who, if you didn't interrupt them occasionally, would be able to talk and talk without end. Like they have an endless stream of subject matter they can tap into at any moment. Or like dropping the needle on a spinning record. I'm the opposite. I will sit there for a whole minute, two minutes, three minutes, unable to think of a single thing to say. Same thing happens in job interviews. You're supposed to ask questions. I can never think of any. At all. Same was true in school. A professor once asked me why I didn't speak in class. I could never think of anything to say. I can't speak extemporaneously. That's why I hate talking on the phone too. I absolutely hate it. I don't know what I would have done before e-mail. I simply don't know how to generate enough enthusiasm for any given subject to the point that it would occur to me to bring that subject up in conversation. There's very little I enjoy talking about. Ingrid Bergman said something like, a kiss is what happens when words become superfluous. I kind of feel like they're superfluous from the get-go. I want to just skip ahead to the making out. Things seem to start going a lot smoother from that point anyway. I just wish it were socially acceptable to point that out the moment we say Hello.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rolling Stone reporter

fashion magazine editor

art magazine senior editor

intern to legendary photographer

daughter of famous character actor

daughter of VERY famous fiction writer

sister-in-law of famous bestselling author

cousin of quasi-famous public radio producer

grandniece of famous soprano and vocalist on Star Trek theme

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This guy I've never heard of Patrick Phillips says this: "There is no greater blessing for a writer, I think, than the joy of being left alone."

Dude, speak for yourself.  Being alone fucking sucks.
Just remembered I also finished Anthony McCann's Father of Noise a few days ago.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fucking finally

I finished a book. I don't think I've finished a single book this year. That's what happens when you read more than a hundred at a time. Remember that pledge I made not to buy any more books until I'd finished ten I'm currently reading? I broke that pledge weeks ago and haven't looked back. I haven't bought a ton of books, but I've abandoned the pledge.

The book I finished was Jesus' Son, by Denis Johnson. I started reading it sometime in college, back in the early 2000's. It's a really good book. The ones I like best are the ones that take me the longest to finish. Go figure.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If I had a diary, tonight I would write in it:

Dear Diary,

I wish my life was interesting enough to justify a diary.


But then I would write:

But tonight, I do have something to write about!


And then I would write the following:

After work today I jumped on the 6 and jaunted up to the Upper East Side for a poetry reading at the New York Society Library, a 250-year-old subscription library that is pretty much your quintessential UES establishment. Upon entering, I immediately wanted to take up residence. I'd only ever been to one poetry reading above 14th St., and not one above 59th. It was a refreshing change of pace, atmosphere-wise. Uptown and downtown really are on separate planets, it seems. Anywayyyy...


And then I would probably describe the reading and tell about how much I enjoyed the whole experience.

I used to keep an actual notebook journal, but that idea seems so lonely now. To write knowing that no one will ever read what you're writing. What a strange thing. It's almost literally "talking to yourself".

But I did enjoy writing my age—in days—at the top of every entry. I've lost track of that number. I wonder if I've hit 9,000 yet...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Isn't it cool when you watch a movie, then you watch another movie right away, and a character in the second movie quotes a line from the first movie?  I did that the other night.  The Big Lebowski, Hannah Takes the Stairs.
5,000 clicks since April Fools' Day. About half of them are from exactly two people, but whatever.

Saturday, October 18, 2008






When I get giddy about mattresses, there's almost no topping me.  You can't top me with butter, you can't top me with chocolate.  You are receiving signals from reliable sources, you feel.  It can't be a week since I moved from the bathroom to the kitchen, and I'm starting to worry about consumption.  It is contagious?  Is there a woman with good typing skills and a 40-inch skillet with no children who likes to take baths while usurping?  I read some book in a place I call home.  It was not what I expected, nor was there a fight for savings at the highest levels.  Reality sets in at about the same time realty does.  You can count on that to deliver you, or else we'll see you in court, looking all handsome and resplendent in your new vest.  If there was ever any point to your investigation, let's see how it plays out among the skeptic few, the blistered crowds of chummy blokes.  Oh, I suppose we could outsource everything to the dance master, but what would that solve, and how long would it take?  Would you be willing to consider a return to more pertinent tasks?  It looks as if she wasn't able to get things going, and that was that.  But let me get this straight: no one even looks at you anymore.  See?  They don't like you.  They have everything they need back at the base, and even they are reluctant to get involved, like it or not, with local matters.  I am a fucking local matter.  Eat that, and then move on to the horse radishes.  That's a lot easier to take when you're built for bucking trends, when you're itching for a stump on which to stand.  Take a stand, yeah, take one, and then see what fustigations result.  Most likely you'll be asked to answer a few questions, no big deal, and then you'll be taken out and shown a good time, whether you feel like it or whether you'd rather stop for snacks along the highway.  Don't matter.  It steps into another dimension, your ball, once you decide to accept the acclaim of the public and/or the critics, but you know, whatever.  Sucks to be that guy.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Looks aren't everything.  I should be getting back to the lighthouse.  Maybe I shouldn't have said that.  Maybe I should care what you think, or not.  Did something burn, or did someone leave little bits of leftover beef in the alley, where my friends and I became enamored with the way of the likenesses of living organisms.  Suppose you were to damage a Rear Admiral's sedan while sledding one bright January day.  And suppose that once accomplished, you opted to slink away into the folded up nature walk reality show dreamscape outer space adventure thingy.  Look what happens.  Did they show up on time, at least?  Or did you come prepared, smoking something I've never heard of let alone talked about openly in front of my friends and family.  Creeps me out, that's what.  I can't fathom what's going through your head, nor can I glean a word of truth from movie stars' biographies.  Little did I know I wasn't holding out.  There were spectral figures, I heard.  They were only there to protect themselves, not to get involved in local races, only local hormones.  It can't be that bad.  Look, every time I've ever tried to fell a maple, I've gotten a lot of grief from the tree people.  Younger girls work every time, nobody knows the game or how to play, what it's like, go to hell, no, just kidding.  The frame around the thought is totally deserving of it.  The secret is not a secret unless those of us who like secrets agree to play along dutifully with the game-changing investments of earlier ages.  Like it matters.  Was another time, wasn't it.  Or having come into the fold been warned of the consequences all about nobody coming in, nobody going out.  It really gets the point across when you send mail out and complain about the covers on your books, but not the books of others.  It looks great on a résumé.  I talk in soothing tones to my real army, the one I dread like none other, but hey, that's their problem.  When it divides sun into moon, lackluster performances hurt a great deal less than what one otherwise might have predicted.  I don't know, despite my vast knowledge, that I can solve this problem all by myself, unless you're into that sort of thing, like I am.  But who isn't.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's as if they weren't even there. Can you explain, I said, or comprehend, but what was it besides that. In any case, but that's another story. Slid over to the main stair, revealing every chapter to be looked at from different angles, strangers wishing they weren't so nutty or politic. It says a lot about you, just from the design of the house. And onward until the house comes apart in your feeble hands, but not that feeble. No one can reveal a hat trick like ploys of surrender or sophisticated blundering. But what if they, I mean who said it would be easy? It seems to me that a lot of what people are saying means closeness isn't what it used to be, or that people in shires like those we used to live in ourselves no longer get out the vote, or someone is telling them to behave like vacuum cleaner repair- or sales-persons. Giddily we exchanged glances across the aisle from town to town, all down the line, over meadows carefully scripted like the weeds of another bloviating hardship. Yikes. It can't be that the movers and Shakers are so adept at culling that none of them says, Looky here, I can put clothes on, just like people and women with gloves on like the frilly lace I played with strings, colorfully on the dime of great policy. It's the devil inside that becomes terrible to sit by, and wait, and wait, the eagle says something to the hawk, and first come, first serve, the suitcase by the door, walking up to it and away from the same time. Good luck.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What I Saw at the Duct Tape Manufacturers Conference 2008, part 972

"You're nothing but a little wannabe gangsta faggot!" says one coworker to another. To be clear, the utterer is himself an avowed adherent of the homosexual persuasion, and the recipient of his remark probably deserved, if not the precise words, at least the general thrust of the insult. Also of note is the fact that the offender is a middle-aged man, and so should be a little more mature, don't you think? I define middle age as forty to sixty years, though I sometimes extend the range to sixty-five, considering that today's seniors are much more active than those of previous generations. These aren't your grandparents' grandparents, so to speak.
Oddly, though not unexpectedly, I thought about falling asleep two or three times before the game started.  Then the game started.  Wow, that's so interesting I can't even dance straight.  Lights up.  I can't figure out my combination without tying my shoes.  I can't figure out how my shoes ended up in the barn.  There are so many barns, and so little time here, which is to say, I like you.  If there were ever a pair of pants that could justify so large a barn, I haven't seen it.  Depends on what you mean by, "I told you so."  But then of course there are other qualifications that have to be met, agreed upon, signed into law, but let's not concern ourselves with those just yet, he said.  In other words, bananas and trucks and wings and forts and blood and jail, well that's my view.  If you don't agree you can always refer back to your owner's manual, the one, yeah, the one I gave you for your birthday, despite your frequent and vociferous protests.  They were elegantly positioned to the fore, and unless I'm mistaken, you're one and the same.  Can you smell that?  It's as if we've dawdled into a new day, an old-but-new zip code, one where everyone seems to be saying things like, "I am a swallowed brunch," and what is the meaning of that which you say.  He say they be looking for a fight, though I have not seen any indications of anything approaching what you might call a tsunami of influence at this time.  The thing to do, I think, now is to band together in search of a common enemy or ancestor.  Really great things are being done in hermeneutics these days.  We can set up shop in the north wing of the Castle Creek Mall, they have an arcade next door I've always wanted to stinkify.  Can we possibly maybe end up doing that?  I'd love you to cum.  That's why I keep coming back for more, to this store, your family's.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The bogus Bradley effect

The "Bradley Effect" is a "pernicious canard and is unworthy of 21st century political narratives." This guy should know.
But what can I say in ten minutes or less that won't appear to incriminate the absolute poverty of absolute hindsight.  In training, the lads were well appareled, so many digs happening, the science of life, the rood on the deck of the frigate.  Luck had nothing to do with it, the stop sign said so, said we were all doomed to praise the fairy tales we'd learned, but someone else stepped in.  Crashing waves became the norm and then disappeared over the—

—no no, it was like that already, I did it like that on purpose, it was my intention, not my inflection, nor my reflection.  Could have been my detection but probably not that either.  But okay, say that's so.  Does it prevent you from coming up with a workable solution?  It can't be that easy, can it?  To work and work and find nothing at the bottom of the pit, nothing to scream about on the way to the theater where they're showing the last movie ever made in the state of Nebraska?  Yeah, I believe that.  Right, just like the time you escaped into the Montana wilderness or the time you wandered off into the New Mexico desert, oh that was a time we had.  Oh me oh my.  People keep coming to tell me how much they miss you, how much they look forward to your return, and when will that be? they ask.  I tell them not to wait up, I tell them it's okay to bleed into the sand for days on end, there's enough sand to absorb any amount of blood and besides it wasn't until the christening at the Robertson's that we finally decided to amount to something.  I mean, puhleaze!  Mormon salt shakers get a better deal than that!  Are you fucking mental?  I know, it can be hard to discern between eggs and butter, especially when science has it that no man will live past the age of forty who undergoes regular, um, haircuts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

So I took one of the napkins down from the shelf and spread it out on the TV tray where I was planning to eat lunch. It was a fine plan, but untenable. The bats I was keeping my eye on were unquestionably itching for a fugue. I played them one but still they mocked me, made me their figurative bitch. A literal bitch lived in my utility room, a very small one with webbed toes and a cute wet nose. I tackled everything from math to science, and everything in between, but no results attached themselves to my origins in the fields of western Kentucky. My bruise was threatening to swallow my charm bracelet, cutting off circulation to low-lying areas, including but not limited to bogs and mires. The captain's tires were shredding finely over the valley, were being skidded along without a care. My job was to contain the bejesus out of Old Hickory, the mayor of Casterbridge, last I heard. Yep, somebody got to him, and you know who that would be. Fortunately I never put much stock in his company, nor in that of his sister Elmyra. Hey man, I can't help it, I just get the willies every time I look at the silly old cow. It's messed up, dude. You can't even get a pint of, I don't know, beer or whatever unless you decide to show up unannounced, cultivating a false sense of security in the hearts of your dearest enemies. Not a bad idea, some would say. Not the worst at any rate. It seems they are looking for you, the constable said something, I don't know, something about you, General Grant, and widely spaced planters on the mall. Good, at least I know you're listening. Now don't let him feel you up the way he did me. Oh, it was fun at first, but as soon as I realized that he'd never speak to me again, I maintained a household comprised of over thirty members, each calmly assigned the task of butchering each other like, well, you don't want to know. I really can't say enough for them, but then again they say it so well themselves, I don't know why I'd even try. They play it as it lays, and then some. Who cares whether the rules are followed to a T? What matters is that mushrooms are no longer capable of abstract math, and I take the blame, despite never having entered into an agreement that could be construed to ensure such trivialities. Time is running out for them and they know it. It skates away like ham into the ether, the banjo music of the era. Your harmony, honey, is tied to another epoch.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Of course you're alright, it's spelled out in cuneiform tablets stacked so thick you'd think Oprah was on her way.  I'd think you were mistaken, but let's reserve such opinions for a later date, I'm thinking of a number between June and April.  I said, How do you like that, a real nibbler, nibbling me fine, and I have no complaints.  Yesterday I went to wash my car but Nicodemus had beat me to the punch, and was spiking it openly.  Tenderly I touched his arm and convinced him to lay down a wager for the party manager, a rotund rascal by the name of Peter Dunlap.  Peter Dunlap, a great man, they said, and who could blame or disbelieve them?  I certainly wasn't in any kind of mood to go about hunting for play-dates for my nephews and their spouses and their children.  It was too much, and it was sunny, and I felt like maneuvering a hippo into the shed.  The hinges on the door were squeaky, so I gave them a tune-up and gave everybody a hug, ushering us all into the new millennium, the one we'd all been waiting for.  Before long it was time to roll out the cake.  Frosting was optional, they'd said at the bakery, and I'd opted for it.  Some time passed before everyone had a piece, and I'll be damned if little Jolene didn't end up with a chocolate-covered face.  It was that kind of small event that made me reconsider selling myself into the waiting arms of yet another handsome canto floating patiently from room to room at all hours.  Nothing could stop me from wondering where it had come from, but something did stop me from climbing to the top of the radio tower and calling in an air strike on the fitfully sleeping town below.  A window was open, so I closed it, but nothing else in the room would budge, not curtains, not furniture, not ideas about armature or candelabras.  And then—well, somebody had to do something!  All that china wasn't going to just gather itself off the floor and reassemble into graceful shapes.  Duh.  A lot of time and effort went into the project, only to yield mixed results.  As a consolation prize, a potato fastener was told to be unlike all others of its kind, lest inspectors relegate it to the nightmare warehouse scenario.  Oh no, nothing like that.  It was too perspicacious to have even been considered.  Light wasn't getting in anyway, it was all shot up, useless.  I could tell many had been through and left their wrappers and so forth all along the darkened halls.  Well, any which way would do, supposing the lights be left on and the cats turned out while people with serious business on their minds could be left to contemplate the edge of sanity, as it were, though not unlike feathery cirrus clouds, kites, rainbows, happy animals and lucky machines.  It was a good day to think such thoughts, to dream and whatnot, unlike most days found shackled beneath the stairs, an oily excrescence resembling a wart but much larger.  Oh, I guess that was his brown-haired head.  My mistake.  These glasses are foggy and unreliable.  Who let all that steam in here?  Close the doors and windows.  I mean open them!  Open the doors and windows!  I can't see a thing.  It's getting darker and cloudier and the sun is—hold on, no—the ocean is folding chairs for me in my vast arboretum, the classiest patch of cultivated grass you're likely ever to see.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A breath of

fresh air from Dorothea Lasky. Dorothea Lasky, your blog, like your poetry, is a tonic, by which I mean, "an invigorating, refreshing, or restorative agent or influence", not a literal fizzy drink.


T minus 34:30:00

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


A few minutes ago I thought I would check in on Ashbery's A Wave, one of the over 100 books I'm currently reading.  For bookmarks I sometimes use old envelopes.  After re-reading "Destiny Waltz", I happened to glance at my envelope bookmark.  And then my brain went something like, Derrrr...uhhh...iz dat uhhhh....PAYCHECK?!?!

And yes, yes it was.  A paycheck dated 7/9/08.  A paycheck marked "VOID AFTER 3 MONTHS".  Now, I guess 3 months from 7/9 would be 10/9, right?  Ninety days would be 10/7 (today), or 10/6 (yesterday) if 7/9 counts as "day 1"... but since it says "3 months" and not "90 days", I'm good to go, right?  Right?  I know that even if it is void all I have to do is ask my employer for a new check, but I would like to avoid the embarrassment.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who is pretending to be me???

Holy shit.  Someone just wrote this about me online:

"The Panthers got off to a great start moving the ball effectively, but four straight penalties had them facing a long-yard first down attempt.

Forced to throw deep, quarterback Matt Walker was picked off, which led to a Saints’ touchdown."

My name is Matt Walker, but excuse me, I am not a quarterback!!  WTF??????  I've never even played football!  Unless you count flag football!  When I was in kindergarten!  Which I didn't even understand at the time!  Much less enjoy!

I did not get picked off!  I'm telling you, I DIDN'T FUCKING THROW THAT INTERCEPTION!

Who can I sue???????????????
It seems weird to me that so many people covet their own names, and are so protective of them that they're willing to go to court. People like me, not to mention the John Smiths of the world, have to deal with doppelgängers all the time, and I don't complain. Among other things, I'm a former drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I have been plagiarized

Well, I knew this would happen sooner or later.  Apparently, some scheming ne'er-do-wells have deliberately STOLEN over 3,000 poems from my continuing life-work, The EU Butter Mountains of Old, and have published them as an "anthology" with each poem being credited to a different poet.  I knew my genius would not go unexploited by the freedom-hating blogorissimos who infest every corner of this series of tubes, but I'll be goshdarned—GOSHDARNED, I TELL YOU!—if these scalawags don't expect me to fight back.  Whoever is responsible for this travesty, hear me now: I will use every resource at my disposal, I will stop at nothing, I will chase you round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares maelstrom and round perdition's flame before I give you up!

Here is the cover they've slapped onto MY masterpiece.  Hideous.  Disgusting.  Un-American.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


In 2005, Mike Judge saw into the future.  A possible one, anyway.  One that might be brought about much sooner if Sarah Palin becomes president someday.  Nobody saw this movie when it came out because Fox tried to kill it, but that just proves how great it is.  Seriously, people.  Just rent it.  Rent the hell out of it.  Now, since I think that telling someone about a movie you saw is like telling someone about a dream you had—more interesting to the teller than the tellee—let me just copy-and-paste this little slice of dialog from IMDb:

Carl's Jr. Computer: Enjoy your EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES!
Woman at Carl's Jr.: You didn't give me no fries, I got an empty box.
Carl's Jr. Computer: Would you like another EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES?
Woman at Carl's Jr.: I said I didn't get any!
Carl's Jr. Computer: Thank you! Your account has been charged. Your balance is zero. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase.
Woman at Carl's Jr.: What? NO!
[She hits the machine. An alarm goes off, and a sign appears on the computer saying "Carl's Jr. Frowns Upon Vandalism."]
Carl's Jr. Computer: I'm sorry you're having trouble. I'm sorry you're having trouble.
Woman at Carl's Jr.: My kids are starvin'!
Carl's Jr. Computer: [the woman kicks the computer, and it sprays a chloroform-like substance in her face, knocking her out] This should help you calm down. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase. Your kids are starving. Carl's Jr. believes that no child should go hungry. You are an unfit mother. Your children will be placed in the custody of Carl's Jr.  Carl's Jr..."Fuck You, I'm Eating."
[Joe approaches the computer]
Carl's Jr. Computer: Welcome to Carl's Jr. Would you like to try our EXTRA BIG ASS TACO? Now with more MOLECULES!
You get the idea.  It takes place 500 years from now, but actually a lot of this movie isn't much of an exaggeration of today.  It's a world where every drinking fountain dispenses the sports drink Brawndo™ instead of water, and the most popular show on TV is called Ow! My Balls!

Anyway, enjoy the debate tonight...