29 June 2011

More Summer Reading II

More summer prose-poetry reading combinations, this time Ford Maddox Ford's post-Edwardian novel The Good Soldier and Jesse Seldess' Left Having.


26 June 2011

Bloomington, Indiana

I didn't take this picture, but I did patronize this establishment at least six times while in Bloomington. What I remember: two breakfasts, one lunch, one dinner, two beer-drinking sessions with friends--some old from UNL and some new from elsewhere. What I learned: allegedly, one of the establishment's two bathrooms has a bathtub in which goldfish once resided, but now have "retired to Florida"; don't order the pancake; bring extra jelly.

Also, at the University's Lilly library you can hold a lock of Sylvia Plath's hair, which I did not do. Hoosiers!

25 June 2011

I Miss the Unethicist, Part Deux

After we offered a job to a talented, experienced person, a background check revealed that she did not have the college degree listed on her résumé, apparently missing a diploma by one semester. When confronted, she admitted her lie, explaining, "I ran out of money, started working and never completed my studies." My first thought was to withdraw the offer, but I believe in second chances. Should I hire her? — name withheld, Michigan

No one cares.

But I think you should hire her, if only because then you can fuck with her for the tenure of her employment, constantly calling her into your office and being like, "Stacy, you know that I let it slide when you lied about graduating from college. I took a chance on you, because I saw potential. But you were five minutes late today, and eventually a man reaches his limit." Just always come thisclose to firing her over really minor stuff, without ever actually pulling the trigger. Constant psychological torture that results in daily tears and abject pleading, that is what I recommend.

Or don't. Like I said, no one cares.

I Miss the Unethicist

I am booking a bus to take a group of friends to a political event. The bus holds 47 people. I'm thinking of confirming, say, 55 people, on the almost certain assumption that some won't show up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning as they promised. Is that ethical? — name withheld, Illinois

This is the second most common problem facing anyone planning a party bus. The most common problem of course being "traditional stripper pole" or "lucite stripper pole laced with Christmas lights"?

Of course, the problem runs much deeper than simply figuring out how many people to over invite to make sure that absolutely NO SEAT goes empty on what sounds like a REALLY EXCITING Saturday. Who doesn't love riding in a crowded bus to a "political event" (in that seat of democracy...Illinois?) starting at the crack of fucking dawn with a maniacal micro-manager who wants to make sure that everything goes according to detailed, known-months-in-advance plan. You probably have a speech prepared for the very beginning of the trip, as the sun crests the hills and the driver rolls his eyes in the rearview mirror because you're like "all those lazybones who couldn't roll out of bed this morning don't know what they're missing." Except that, what you can't face in the darkness of the night, lying awake in bed, is that they do know what they're missing, and that breaks your sad, lonely heart.

Just invite 54 people, and kill yourself.

23 June 2011

Octavio Paz translation II


Tall tower pulsing
still the immobile axis of time
the sun dressing you and undressing you
The day careens away from your body
and is lost in your night
The night falls off of your day
and is lost in your body
You are never the same
always just arriving
here from the beginning


Alta columna de latidos
sobre el eje inmóvil del tiempo
el sol te viste y te desnuda
El día se desprende de tu cuerpo
y se pierde en tu noche
La noche se desprende de tu día
y se pierde en tu cuerpo
Nunca eres la misma
acabas siempre de llegar
está aquí desde el principio

Octavio Paz translation


My footsteps in the street

in another street

I hear my footsteps
crossing into the street


the only thing true is the mist in the fog


Mis pasos en esta calle

en otra calle


oigo mis pasos
pasar en esta calle


Sólo es real la niebla

21 June 2011

Bloodsweat by Pierre Jean Jouve

The Stain

I saw a thick patch of green oil
From a machine and I thought
On the warm pavement in the wicked district
Long, long about my mother’s blood.

For white skin is an idiom of night
And what wastes have its feet not trod by day?
A shadow—which it is—is not more frightened
Nor more obscene, nor more horribly wicked.

The sinless man
Is he who should not die, therefore he
Who would not know what no means, is therefore he
Who would be like no one else, and should not live.

REVIEW: Late in the Antenna Fields

Late in the Antenna Fields, Alan Gilbert's first collection of poetry, which was published by Future Poem, allows for readers to “recover...the scattered bits” of language found throughout the book so as to form them into any number of disparate readings. Moreover, as the second section of the poem "Transdermal Express" explains, no individual reading proposed by a particular reader (at least those readings that are grounded within the text itself) offers a more relevant reading than another “because / there's no big picture, / only small ones / on screens in various / configurations.” In many ways, this echoes Lyotard's belief that, in the postmodern world and beyond (i.e. the world today), there are no more master narratives. What follows, then, are three “configurations” cobbled together from “scattered bits” of Gilbert's collection that provide different ways of conceptualizing his book:

1) Toward the beginning of Alan Gilbert's Late in the Antenna Fields, readers discover that noise transforms into “the language of supermarket / shelves mixed in a Google spittoon and smelling like a global-style sunscreen / tossing live grenades / or handfuls of trail mix / over a volleyball net used / by boys.” In many respects, this passage provides us with an understanding of the world the poems in this collection explore: one constructed upon a hyper-commercialized language founded in a digitally-based, global-economy employed by its practitioners for both entertainment and destruction. Of course, if this is the case, the question becomes: how does this language function and what does one do with it? It would appear that in the frenzy of super-saturated informational and communicative outlets the world populace confronts on a daily-basis (i.e. the Internet and 24-hour news broadcasts), we find our answer; as the speaker of “Every 20-Gallon Jar of Pickles Contains a Free” states, this new language is for “remembering then forgetting / again, the quick flash of history.” To wit, the deluge of words and images offers the reader a moment of recognition, only for that moment to vanish as he/she engages the next image or word, then the one that follows, proceeding such until the end of the collection, which is to say that “the media eats the media” and the processed is processed before we get to it.”

2) “I'm mostly okay with the verbs and objects, / less so with the subjects,” says the speaker of Alan Gilbert's “Healing Hearts Through the Arts” in Late in the Antenna Fields. Perhaps the anxiety voiced by the speaker of this poem stems from the fact that the contemporary subject is an aesthetic body built for and with the newly aestheticized world, an all-encompassing cosmetic surgery meant to reconcile the subject with the objects that surround it. Such a subject unsettles the speaker not because it lacks an authentic or unique identity, but due to the fact that, in today's world, we champion this absence so much so that a subject seeks “not just an organ transplant // but the whole human”: a construction so fully synthetic that “the aging family dog [is] no longer able to / distinguish between a piece of leftover steak and the hand / proffering it.” And once the world and those who populate it become fully synthetic, we'll be left with the knowledge that “Something living / once inhabited / [our] shells,” but any “attempt to get at / the real” (i.e. what we once were) will be futile because “the real can't be got / at” anymore. Of course, the anxiety over these new constructions is tempered with a self-implicating realization when the speaker of “Every Once in a While I am Permitted” acknowledges that “I still want to make things / and change things.” Not satisfied with subjectivities of the past, he must replace them with a newly simulated being of his own construction.

3) While eco-critics and scholars have argued over the culture/nature binary ad nauseum, Alan Gilbert's Late in the Antenna Fields suggests that such debates are moot, if not wholly unwarranted, due to the fact that nowadays “We live with contradictions.” What does it matter if we label something “cultural” or “natural”? Why cannot a particular entity be both? The book's ambivalence toward the aforementioned binary manifests itself throughout the collection in a preponderance of images that conflate the natural with the cultural and the cultural with the natural. In the incipient poem “The World One Summer,” readers will find that the speaker's “daughter fixes the sun to the sky,” thus providing agency to humans in the construction of the natural world. But the book does not stop there; in the next poem, “Outpatient Procedure” there are “tumbleweed assembly lines” used to “produce Escalade interiors.” Later in the collection, we “hear the sound of crickets chirping, / as talk show hosts interview hospice workers,” “clouds [are] specially / flown in for [an] occasion,” and scattered throughout we find an “automated / wave machine,” “a wind tunnel,” “rivers with antifreeze,” “an ebbing river of concrete,” “Emergency lights flash[ing] in the forest,” an “artificial plant,” “a rhythm to the hills accompanied / by the right air-conditioned soundtrack / blurring the landscape in clouds of exhaust,” and earphones that “leak with digital bird songs,” just to name a few. To wit, the culture/nature binary does not sustain itself in Late in the Antenna Fields, but instead flourishes in the joyous world of both, wherein everything is culture and nature.

New Radiohead Song

20 June 2011

Inane Posting

I'm still plugging away at my prose selection (Zola's 19th-century beast of a novel L'Assommoir), but I've moved on in my poetry reading from Gilbert's Late in the Antenna Fields to Jessica Baran's Remains To Be Used from Apostrophe Books, which, at first glance, appears to contain mostly prose poems composed of appropriated material from a variety of different sources. Good times.

On a completely unrelated note, I watched Ghostbusters for the first time in many, many years. The viewing reminded me that, when I first saw the film in 1984, I had an enormous celebrity-crush on Sigourney Weaver and tugged it out to mental-images of her on a pretty regular basis back then. Really good times. Memories.

16 June 2011

The Atrophy of Private Life by Jennifer Moxley

In the heavy fashion magazines strewn here and there around the house the photos of objects and people mouth the word “money,” but you, assuming no one wants you anymore, mishear the message as “meaning.” Arousal follows. The lives of the rich are so fabulous! The destruction of the poetical lies heavily on their hands, as on their swollen notion that we are always watching. There is nothing behind the mask. Nothing suffocating under its pressure, no human essence trying to get out.

Awareness, always awareness. Don’t you see how these elaborate masks are turning you into a zombie? The private life is not for the eye but for the endless interior. It is trying to push all this crap aside and find the missing line. Nobody, least of all the future, cares about the outcome of this quest.

It is easy to lose, through meddling or neglect, an entire aspect of existence. And sometimes, to cultivate a single new thought, you need not only silence but an entirely new life. 

R Kelly: Hero

Sure, everyone new that there was something special about R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet, but maybe you didn't know that there was something even more special about his commentary/video about Trapped in the Closet. You can find the remainder of his commentary on Youtube, but here is the first portion of it (Spoiler Alert: R Kelly smokes a cigar during his commentary in the second segment):

15 June 2011

New Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

You can download a free version of the CYHSY song "Same Mistake" from their forthcoming LP Hysterical over at there website, or just click the widget below:

14 June 2011


(In Entretiens Breton goes over the incidents that led to the rift. Ilya Ehrenbourg had written a book, Seen by a Writer from U.S.S. R., in which he had insulted the surrealists by treating them as loafers and suggesting that they had squandered their wives’ dowries. Meeting him one day on a street in Paris on the eve of the Congress, Breton had given in to the impulse of slapping Ehrenbourg in the face. As a result Breton was not permitted to give his scheduled speech at the Congress. All the pleadings of his colleagues were of no avail. This refusal disturbed René Crevel to such an extent that he committed suicide as an act of protest on the eve of the meeting. Finally, Eluard was allowed to read Breton’s statement but he was rudely interrupted in the middle of it and was not allowed to finish. After that, Breton would never again have anything to do with U.S.S.R. and called it a land of tyranny.)

13 June 2011

More Summer Reading


My summer reading of prose-poetry combinations continues with Zola's L'Assommoir and Alan Gilbert's Late in the Antenna Fields. As the former of these books is 422 pages of small print, I'm guessing that I'll end up reading several collections of poetry before I finish this monument to French naturalism.

12 June 2011

I heart Debbie

If I had to guess, I'd say that the below video is a fake, but I really hope it isn't. I also hope that Debbie is single and still looking (i.e. looking for a guy like me). I. Heart. Crazy. So. Much.

Werner Herzog's Jungle

“In the face of the obscene, explicit malice of the jungle, which lacks only dinosaurs as punctuation, I feel like a half-finished, poorly expressed sentence in a cheap novel."

10 June 2011

Fine, Don't Fucking Hire Me, You Can't Handle My Shit

What the fuck people! I need a motherfuckin job, and I have a resume that says I am fucking fit to be your goddamn front desk/administrative assistant. I have applied to a ton of jobs on here, and not one of them responded, WHAT THE FUCK?!

Cover Letter? Here's my fucking cover letter!

Now, I'm really low on money, and I'll suck a dick if I have to...that's right! Got a bear in your backyard that keeps eating your garbage? I'll fight that motherfucker and I'll win! Can any other prospective employee say that?! FUCK NO! What'd you say? You lost your keys? FUCK IT! I'll shoot the goddamn lock off your door with my laser eyes! That's how bad I need a motherfuckin job! Your brother is gay and you're not cool with that? I'll de-gay him with reverse buttsex. Don't believe me?! Then hire me and I'll fucking show you!

I need a motherfuckin job.


-I invented the moon.
-Atlantis was around til 1988, but sunk when I shot out of my mom's vagina like a silver bullet into a wolverine.
-I am also a wolverine.
-Had sex with the Spice Girls.
-The blowjob machine was originally my idea until that bastard Clint Eastwood stole it.
-I have prophetic visions of the apocolypse.
-Watched the movie "Juwanna Mann" at least 18 times. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0247444/
-Created a new genre of dance in which people get so into it that radiation waves pulsate off of them, I like to call this the microrave.
-I reverse engineered a door, I now know how it works.
-When I was 8, a frisbee flew into my backyard and I blew it up with my mind.
-My brother is the Eiffel Tower
-Direct descendant of Beowulf
-Can make weapons out of anything, very useful in a hostile work environment
-Beat my pornography addiction when I was 19
-Proficient in Microsoft Office and Photoshop


GlomGlom Corporation of Evil Doing
POSITION: Front Desk/Administrative Assistant
DUTIES: Setting up sex scandals in which to blackmail wealthy politicians, forwarding email, burning down the houses of the poor, loan sharking, answering phones, greeting clients in a manner that would frighten most people

GreenHate Enterprises
POSITION: Once Again, I was a fucking Front Desk/Administrative Assistant
DUTIES: Organizing the dumping of bio-waste into the ocean, peeing in lakes, digging holes to fill with garbage, making garbage out of perfectly good and useful items, filling said wholes with said garbage, creating fake facts about Greenpeace and publishing them on the internet(I am internet savvy), good at filing...documents of hate.

Glomgor Evil
GlomGlom Corporation of Evil Doings

Sloblor the Muck Monster
GreenHate Enterprises

So, now that you know the real me, are you gonna hire me or not? I would like to remind you that I can make weapons out of anything.

Sincerely, Steve Madonna



Location: Chicago
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 942873935

09 June 2011

"What the Senator wants is a blowjob"

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks have a new LP titled Mirror Traffic forthcoming this summer. You can stream their new tune "Senator" over at Stereogum.


08 June 2011

Books I'm Reading


I'm attempting to read one book of prose and one book of poetry simultaneously this summer; currently, I've been knee-deep in the prose-poetry combination of Djuna Barnes' Nightwood and MC Hyland's Neveragainland. So far, so good.

06 June 2011

Anna Balakian on Dada

"Dada had been an acute state of protest against society, literature, and those ideologies which had contributed to the destruction and chaos of World War I. The rebels were young men, who came to Paris from all over the world, and attributed the political failures to ineffective thinking. They attacked logic, which had proved a tragic basis for action. They attacked by the same token the artist who had fled into his ivory tower and let the world crumble around him.

The Dadaists summarized their sense of futility by the word “rien.” They endured their nihilism not with tears but with a mocking smirk, a shameless disdain of the reality which embraced them and which appeared so wanting. All the exhibitionism and antisocial vindictives associated with Dadaism were motivated by this concerted protest of the moment."

01 June 2011

Snowstorm by Barbara Guest

I cannot pretend
To solve the problem of blue
With the body of a deer
Counterfeit the chimney lips
In the dark pastures

I am excruciating white
Stagnant white
I live in a dream
Thinner than a flower

Then the anger vanishes
The violin is made
Not a movement of the past
Composed or vigorous
It is here I catch a Swedish breath
Instead of eyes