29 September 2011

Tumblr Sux

Sometimes I want to comment on Jeff and Trey's Tumblr accounts, but I can't because I don't have one myself, and even if I did, I could only "like" it or some shit. Tumblr blows.

"Fog-Horn" by W.S. Merwin

Just as was the case when I read Bly's A Light Around the Body a few weeks ago, I've never been all that into W.S. Merwin's work. Of course, this morning when I picked up The Drunk in the Furnace, I was pleasantly pleased with what I read. Take, for instance, the "Fog-Horn," which develops a beautiful and heartbreaking conceit in the tenor of the Deep Image movement:

Surely that moan is not the thing
That men thought they were making, when they
Put it there, for their own necessities.
That throat does not call to anything human
But to something men had forgotten,
That stirs under fog. Who wounded that beast
Incurably, or from whose pasture
Was it lost, full grown, and time closed round it
With no way back? Who tethered its tongue
So that its voice could never come
To speak out in the light of clear day,
But only when the shifting blindness
Descends and is acknowledged among us,
As though from under a floor it is heard,
Or as though from behind a wall, always
Nearer than we had remembered? If it
Was we that gave tongue to this cry
What does it bespeak in us, repeating
And repeating, insisting on something
That we never meant? We only put it there
To give warning of something we dare not
Ignore, lest we should come upon it
Too suddenly, recognize it too late,
As our cries were swallowed up and all hands lost.

David Foster Wallace on Precision

I suppose this video is more about the economy of expression, but I think, especially with his etymological anecdote about "Prior to," it does address precision as well:

26 September 2011

Raymond Carver on precision

"One right word. Use it despite its ludicrous associations."

25 September 2011

Cincinnati Poem by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

You’ve been asking for a ghost
poem to take up against the kill-hole.

This is us flung off with
so much fireplace slag.

Now a cup of coffee seems
the best ingress or salvo.

A drunk kid outside the strip club fakes
throwing his bottle at me to

spook me. I flinched, but
something’s following him around alright.

23 September 2011

Here You Go, Jerf

No More Last Meals for Texans on Death Row

"The controversy began after Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed on Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials said Brewer didn't eat any of it."

--via here

22 September 2011

Wilco on Letterman

The other night, Wilco performed a song on Late Night with David Letterman; they also performed an hour-long, in-studio, web-only performance (that's a lot of hyphened adjectives). The first song of the set is "Art of Almost," which is the opening track off their new album, The Whole Love, is, incidentally, my favorite of the new material. It's pretty awesome. I should also mention, apropos of watching the video, that Jeff Tweedy is an unattractive human being, which, of course, says absolutely nothing about the quality of their music, but is just a bitch-thing to state:

"I have no inner resources b/c I am heavy bored."

John Berryman had an alcohol problem; sometimes, he wrote great poems. Below, Berryman, quite obviously drunk, reads one of my favorite of his poems. His rendition of the poem is even more spectacular due to his affected speech patterns and the ferocity of his beard:

21 September 2011

From Harper's Magazine, Oct. 2011

Percentage of the current U.S. debt that was accumulated during Republican presidential terms: 71%

Percentage of profits American corporations paid in taxes in 1961: 40.6%

Today: 10.5%

Percentage of the world's population that could fit in Texas by living with the population density of New York City: 100%

Number of states in which less than 20 percent of adults are obese: 0%

Percentage of U.S. college grades that are A's: 43%

20 September 2011

Rereading Wenderoth's Letters to Wendy's, I came across this dandy

September 30, 1996

I don't like the idea of "old fashioned" hamburgers. The desire to dwell in the ways of old reduces being to tourism. It puts a "Ye Olde" in front of every location. Ye Olde Drugstore, Ye Olde Restroom, Ye Olde Prison, Ye Olde Strip Club, Ye Olde Convenience Store. The only place that still is a place--and Wendy's is, despite this silly slogan--exists primarily before, not after, history.

Q&A with Ada Limón

I asked poet Ada Limón some questions about her book Sharks in the Rivers as an introduction for my ENGL 253 class. You can check it out on the course blog.

3 Years Ago...

I wrote the below text for my friends and read it at their wedding three years ago today. First, in retrospect, I'm amazed they let me read this during the ceremony; second, I wonder what the hell I was thinking; third, I remember being really drunk while reading it and making a lot of odd hand-gestures so as to ham-it-up for the crowd. I shouldn't be allowed to go out in public:

Today, given the occasion, I thought it appropriate to read something about love. But after thinking about the subject, a problem became apparent: language, by its nature, is limiting in that it always leaves a space between a concept and an articulation; that space always contains an inexpressible remainder. As such, to convey a concept with language, in this case love, diminishes it by negating the remainder and leaving that concept incomplete. When one says Love is…, one does a disservice to the concept of love. Unless, of course, one says To love is to love, or To be loved is to be loved. With tautology, or self-definition, the concept is wholly explained, yet, at the same time, elusive; it attains totality, but remains absent; it is both everything and nothing. For if language intends to express love, it must betray itself. It must disregard empiricism, and embrace the inherent paradox of the tautological statement: To love is to love, and to be loved is to be loved. These statements, both simplistic and perplexing, produce, as an effect, mystery. And it is mystery that produces and maintains the love story, which Barthes wrote is “the tribute…lover[s] must pay to the world in order to be reconciled with it." By this, I take Barthes to mean that, while lovers may have recourse to a secret language that allows them to compensate for the space traditional language creates, the rest of us simply do not. The lovers, then, present us with the narrative, the love story, so as to foster communal understanding. Today is but one chapter in such a love story, a symbolic gesture toward mystery, the product of a tautological statement: a language exhausted, but a language complete: To love is to love, and To be loved is to be loved.

18 September 2011

Joe Wenderoth is one of my favorite writers


Jorsh is friends with the banjo player. We saw them at the Bourbon. Wasn't that fun?!?!? I NEED A HULA HOOP.

16 September 2011

Into the Woods

Into the Woods is a Portland-based video blog that features live performances (both on the road and in-studio) of various indie-bands, as well as a variety of documentary-type shorts. A particular favorite of mine is the Gardens and Villa performance below:

And I would be remiss if I did not mention, as well, the below video documenting the day-job of Shaky Hands drummer Jake Morris as a Pizza Delivery Boy, which he's held-down for the past five years. Jeffrey Roberts would be proud!

The last lines of the last speech Martin Luther King Jr. made before his assassination the next morning

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!"

13 September 2011

12 September 2011

2 poems by Justin Marks


A pill the first thing
every morning Behind the eyes
where the view is broadcast
water towers and cranes
Sunlight Winter
It’s dead outside but alive
in here Concepts and forms Intros
and endings Memory
is merely a mock-up A creepy
little doll At age 32
I had my first wet dream My inner
strength is my money A mild
discomfort Something making me sad
but I don’t know what


Toothpicks from a dead man’s
estate A baby
crying through a bull-horn
I project myself into the future
as a slogan on a sandwich
board Tennis at 3 Homemade
sex tapes I’m so happy
I could puke I’m typing so hard
it feels like maybe I chipped
some bones in my fingers
At night some wine and a Xanax
Bursts and inconsistency
A messaging system that transfers
the self composing the words

(taken from the chapbook On Happier Lawns; Poor Claudia 2011)

08 September 2011

"Watching Television"

I've never been much of a Robert Bly fan, but this summer I purchase a used, first-edition copy of his 1967 collection The Light Around the Body from Mondragon Bookstore in Lewisburg, PA for $3. I finally got around to reading the book this morning while I took a shit, and the poem "Watching Television" definitely is worth posting. Check it out in its entirety (I've italicized my favorite parts):

Sounds are heard too high for ears,
From the body cells there is an answering bay;
Soon the inner streets fill with a chorus of barks.

We see the landing craft coming in,
The black car sliding to a stop,
The Puritan killer loosening his guns.

Wild dogs tear off noses and eyes
And run off with them down the street—
The body tears off its own arms and throws them into the air.

The detective draws fifty-five million people into his revolver,
Who sleep restlessly as in an air raid in London;
Their backs become curved in the sloping dark.

The filaments of the soul slowly separate;
The spirit breaks, a puff of dust floats up;
Like a house in Nebraska that suddenly explodes.

05 September 2011


1.82 million people live in Nebraska. Roughly 300,000 live in the Lincoln metro (city: 260k). Roughly 885,000 live in the Omaha metro (city: 410k). These two metros, about 50 minutes apart by car, account for 65% of the state's population. Lincoln (75 sq. miles) and the Omaha metro (187 sq. miles) account for .34% (262 sq. miles) of Nebraska's total area: 77,000 square miles.

01 September 2011

Climate Reply

An interview with Shawn Kemp Carwash contributor Trey Moody can be found on my class blog. He drops truth bombs about his little book of little poems.