8.14.2013

i moved my blog to mikeayoung.tumblr.com // you're missing a lot of videos that my friends say involve me doing too much intense staring // also you're missing posts like this one

"I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I'm just a dog." — Ajax Cugini

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"You have those friends who will agree they should make a movie about themselves and then those friends who will be strangely resistant." — Ira Windshield

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"All your favorite turning
players, up, as mediocre
coaches. Old man! Old man!" — John Vegetableman

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"The contemporary proliferation of stories and narratives and Facebook newsfeeds proves to us how atomic our experiences are, how unwhole and part, instead, of the vast dust, but this generally has the ricochet effect of making us more fiercely announce ourselves, declare our memoirs, “everyone has a story to tell.” Ironically, our emotional reaction to being one among many is to fearfully insist on our oneness. Whereas Shakespeare’s characters—faced with a much-expanding world and a similar sense of losing their own importance—recognized the liberation of floating above their feelings. Seeing their sadness as part of the vast experience of sadness, the sadness dust. If there’s one thing history is good for, it’s for proving that your feelings are just examples of feelings. Tweet that shit. Also see: you’re not the waves, you’re the ocean, and everybody’s the ocean. It’s worth asking if this is just a way to escape the idea of "deeply" held and "deeply" felt and "deeply" examined "feelings," but it’s also worth counterasking if all that presumed depth just represents one model, and if there might be an alternative model of lifting out of yourself and seeing yourself constellated and suffused into all feelings everywhere and allowing yourself the wonderful "feeling" of being a pure observer, which feels like knowing yourself in the world versus just knowing yourself." — Italics Calvino

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"Ain’t an hour of night people usually call
I used your old birthday card to kill a bug on the wall
If I let you up, will you let me down?
Ah forget it, your breath it just runs me around

Two lonely bodies that shudder with proof
Trying not to be drastic or stupid or blue" — Cities Van Sandt

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"I wasn’t born to stare out of this attic
Like some pensive ad for drugs that fix your head
I have seen the quarry where the sculptor cashed in
Drove his riding mower over the edge

I don’t sleep as well on buses as I used to
The novelty has faded quite a bit
I think every sunburn’s melanoma
I no longer care about my zits

Time I think it finds me in my shoulders
Time I think it drags me by the eyes
Remember o remember what it felt like on the boulder
Leaping and presuming water down there in the night" — Stephin Luck

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"Sitting with a tissue to your nosebleed
Waiting for a bus beneath a flag
Some asshole on a unicycle scolds me
Pretending that his sweat don't make him gag

The work will not take place in a montage
won't feel like a montage when it's done
The work will not take place in a montage
It's just a way they fake to place a song" — Stuart Murmarina

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"Horatio was paid sixty thousand American dollars a year to sit in a corner and think about barbecue sauce. Any corner was fine. His sponsor was not strict. A corporation that grew with a modest consistency that resembled a teal-colored wall phone five years out of date, Horatio’s sponsor offered a hummably vague range of services under the mesh of what they called “efficiency granularization” and “resource demarcation.” They had screens that listed words from Horatio’s thoughts. Of the sixty thousand American dollars they paid him, they wrote off 103% in tax categories that overlapped research and charity. On Fridays they made sure he’d A) been in a corner and B) thought, in this corner, about barbecue sauce.

Horatio’s job often took him abroad. Not at first. At first, he visited only American ...

*Korean bbq, chinese bbq
*is ketchup bbq sauce?

" — notes from a new story by George Seenders

4.12.2013

youtube automatic captions turned "thought to whisper them to you" into "cartoonists managerial"

NOÖ [14] is live! It lives! I already said the following on HTMLG, but I will say it again:

There are book vouchings and a list of every book some chucklehead read in 2012. Read NOÖ [14] if your back feels like a shipwreck, if you ever coated Omega 3 capsules with peanut butter, if your body used to like swings and probably still does, if you’ve ever eaten Doritos at breakfast, if it cheers you up to think of Benjamin Franklin inventing electricity even though he lived alone until he was dead, if you like staring up at things that can’t see you below them, looking for a man who tells three lies a day, cooking when you get nervous, gazing spiritually toward the Macho Man, taking turns letting and being let down, afraid to fall asleep on buses, your car on fire in the snow, the screen a scroll, kissing like confusion at the supermarket, Treat Yo Self, (feeling you get in a ball pit), talking in a flashlight lit pool, talking later about creepshots, talking about keeping each other when storms come, tracing dead mouths, selling that brain painting, parabolas the shape of manic depressives, your Soul a scrap of lightning, crappy knowledge, searching the floor for a diamond four, stepping into the rain like a film, dying in a fortlike structure, or the infinite pi of sun.

In more personal news, I updated the list of some readings I'm gonna do later in the year. Come let's bite our fingernails and spit them at each other.

4.01.2013

something futuristic monks will consider annotating with explanatory footnotes and instead dismiss with a cluck

When I bought a humidifier right before the hardware store closed, the guy said "The season's almost gone for those." And he said "You know you should really update your blog." And I said "But I don't want to have to post a giant thing about AWP and how it was great to see everybody and to thank Jon and Molly for letting me crash and Juked for tabling with me and Tyler Gobble for being amazing and Jordaan Mason for getting nerdy glasses so America would let him into the party and the 12 Good Readers for being 12 Amazing Readers and Adam Robinson for convincing me to sing at the Literature Party even when I couldn't talk and to Christy Crutchfield for singing with me, and to a million other people, and I am feeling stressed out just thinking about trying to express how I love to see everyone and high five them even when Boston is sneering snow at me and I get laryngitis, and shit, dude, NOÖ [14] isn't online yet, and I was trying to wait—" and he opened the humidifier with his teeth, which were retractable knives, and he started scratching at the humidifier with his knife-teeth, and I was like "Shit, dude, I already paid for that," and he said "Remember how you used to think that middle aged woman with the flute case who always was walking the opposite direction from you when you walked to high school next to the train tracks and the cowboy hat store and the house where the cute Mormon girl lived—remember how you used to think the flute woman was a time traveler from the future who had paid to go back in time to see you walk to school?" And I told the dude, "Shit, dude, don't tell my blog that, that's embarrassing." And he said "Well, you were wrong about her, she just had flute practice really early, but Google is secretly a project started by a time traveler that is dedicated exclusively to making sure you survive and always get guacamole on your tacos and make blog posts every three months or so." And I said "Like in a Terminator sort of way?" And he said "More like in a Jingle All the Way kind of way." And I said "—" and he said "Your credit card is declined."

So I guess I should tell you a few things. First off, a sad thing. Red Lightbulbs closed up shop after a lot of glory. But they went out on a mustard packet of glory too, so at least there's that. Thanks to Russ Woods for including a few poems of mine in the last issue, and thanks to Russ and Meghan Lamb for starting RL in the first place. If I ever own a lot of rooms, at least one of them will be lit by a red lightbulb, I promise. My poems in the last Red Lightbulbs are about bro gaggles, wrist tattoos, everything rendition vs. everything experience, a good life if you don't weaken, and that time when the grocery store stopped carrying the cereal you bought every week because "sorry sir, no one ever buys that kind." There are literally a million other wonderful people in the issue. Do check.

Moving on to capitalism, namaste to Alisa Damaso for asking me to gibbleg about having a job and spitting up blood sprinkles in the same hours. There are never before told secrets about Mr. Glitchy, the heroic computer virus I invented in 2nd grade. There's a story about the last cab I took at AWP. There's something heady I said about "self-abandonment" and some freaky shit about molasses. Plus it's an article about a lifestyle, not me, sheesh, which means you'll get to read about lots of other cool peeps like Chelsea Martin's boo, the laid-back/kick-ass Ian Amberson. That photo to the left is of Ian, not me, because, uh, guys, that helmet? C'mon.

After AWP came APRIL, an amazing Seattle literary fest started by a bunch of smarty-pants folk. Deep thanks to them (Tara Atkinson, Willie Fitzgerald, Kellen Braddock, Frances Dinger, and Aidan Fitzgerald) for being amazing and putting everything together. I was excited to write "reverse fan mails" for their fundraiser, one very silly about a guy stuck to his toilet and one of course about lesbian astronauts and Star Trek action figures and Facebook stalking and love. Can't stop, won't pop. The other great thing is Richard Chiem was sweet enough to table for Magic Helicopter Press at the APRIL Small Press Fair, and you can see a picture of him looking all genius-statue and selling books in the sexy smoky darkness.

Flavorwire, which I usually feel sort of cheated by since it's neither a flavor or a wire, made me feel aw-shucks ^ shucks by putting me on this list of "10 Millennial Authors You Probably Haven't Read Yet." Lotsa mighty fine folk on that list. Thanks to Emily Temple and Flavorwire for the nod. I don't care what anybody's nonchalant uncle says: I feel excited about all the new adds of Look! Look! Feathers on Goodreads!

BTW, if anyone is just finding this blog from that list and is reading this and is wondering why I don't have a more professional/easily navigable website, it's because I have a lot of old coffee cups under my lamp instead. For example, I don't have any professional headshots, so the picture I am putting here is a picture of me making a weird face with Chelsea Martin—another Millennium Falcon that could've been on that list—and Jacob Perkins, all of us holding Chelsea's books in the sweet new space Mellow Pages in Bushwick, the walls of which are covered with Mill Enema authors. Jacob and the wise'n'bearded Matt Nelson (and the shadowy behind the flannel scenes "Jon") run the fuck out of this place, and I love them and their mossy Pacific Northwest ways.

Spinning the map all the way to the Atlantic Northeast, I would be remiss to exclude the gloriously re-arisen Notnostrums, now hosted at Flying Object, which just put a new issue out. They published a stand up routine by me and some tug-your-lip-so-good poems by all stars galore. For example, everybody loves "Kelly Brutal" by Shannon Burns and now it's your turn.

If you want to know what makes me blush, Michael Filippone talking about me and America and reading "The Peaches Are Cheap" makes me blush. That video is really long but it has like an hour of good books in it, and plus Michael Filippone is really good looking—I mean, I think? I have been told before that the men I think are attractive are not the men women think are attractive, but c'mon, this dude is good looking, right? The professional coffee cups under my lamp agree with me.

The next thing on my list to talk about is NOÖ [14], but like I told my humidifier salesman, it's not done yet, so I will instead show you a picture of Ozzie Smith sitting with Werner Herzog. Werner says: "The only thing that is lacking is the dinosaurs here, to eat every fan’s heart." Update: obviously this did not really happen, drr—good work Robert J. Baumann for fooling me. But also making me very sad because I wish this had really happened.

12.03.2012

I mean, you must take living so seriously / that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees— / and not for your children, either, / but because although you fear death you don't believe it, / because living, I mean, weighs heavier.



FALL

Saturday was the first day of snow, but for months I forgot to talk about fall. Fall arrives in New England like there's no such thing as global capitalism collapse, global class rage, global climate change and wholesale ecological dissolution, global anything. New England didn't get its shore or its subways wrangled by a hurricane. This Fall makes me want to read poems like "On Living" and "Things I Didn't Know I Loved" and "Some Advice To Those Who Will Serve Time In Prison" by Nazim Hikmet. "We'll still live with the outside," says Nazim Hikmet, "with its people and animals, struggle and wind—" To the left is a turbine in Maine. Fall arrives in New England like no one ever made fun of Sylvester Graham for inventing the graham cracker. Fall arrives in New England with snow that throws itself around like it's been shotgunning energy drinks. Beautifully, gloomily, well-timed, apple cider and woodsmoke and cardigan gust. "And I also advise weaving," Nazim Hikmet says, "and making mirrors."

CHRIS TOLL

First I have to say something about Chris Toll. He was jolly in the corner, and it's very strange that he is gone. I'll miss him. I rode down to Baltimore in October with my friends Chris and Heather, who were reading in a literature party/ tribute / celebration. It was good to meet Chris Toll's sons and see all my Baltimore people—their loud pants and casual shirts and big beards and crooked-tooth punk-it-all heartwork—and it was good to have friends from New York and Northampton there too. There was a big photograph of Chris Toll, and spidery strings of something that had to do with the unrelated installation between our heads and the ceiling, but nothing's really unrelated. Chris Toll's book covers had things on them like a tiger, Yoda, a mummy secret agent doctor, a UFO, and a fish humping a pickle cactus. His poems said things like "Why isn’t lunch in melancholy?" They said things like "How long can I stay / at the inn in innocent? / Love is so hard / and it's all we came to do." For my birthday this year he gave me a big book of conspiracy theories to set me straight. I asked him if the book was good and he said he hadn't read it because he knew it all, but if I was interested there were lizard people videos to watch on YouTube. My friend Chris Toll picked up the light he was always telling us about, and he went on with it. And a little while ago after some pizza, my friend Seth interrupted whatever all of us were talking about to point out the stars—like, I'm sorry, but would you just look at those stars? I mean geez. ("I just remembered the stars," says Nazim Hikmet. "I love them too / whether I'm floored watching them from below / or whether I'm flying at their side"). You can read more about Chris in the Baltimore City Paper, at Atticus Review, and on HTMLGIANT. Goodbye and hello to your light, Chris.

SUMMER

Once upon a time a person didn't update his blog an entire summer. Near the end of the summer, on a couple buses back from weddings, the person irrationally freaks out and envisions his death among strangers—specifically among the inclines and declines that mark the entries and exits of said buses onto and off of interstates—and continues to anxiously envision said death for a few weeks. He decides under the monsoon of this irrational anxiety to vacuum his dark-ass secret basement of self with all its fucked up shit and put the resultant bag of dustbunnies in between himself and the person he loves the most.

Included in the bag is, you know, your betrayals, your dishonesty, your stupidity, your narcissism, your self-fulfilling prophecies of self-protective darkness—one funny thing about capitalism is there are bags for anything and no one can remember who got the size and shape so perfect the first time because we've gotten so good at reproducing these bags. The person the bus person loves, she is like what the fuck is this shit? She is like I did not sign up for this. She is like this is your own bag. She is like you didn't buy this from anyone else but yourself. She's right.

Anyway. The person the bus person loves goes and gets a new place with flowers and farmers. It seems good. Meanwhile the bus person is surrounded by graceful friends. The bus person looks at the moon and clicks up the phone and feels ridiculously and melodramatically alone, and then he looks for his friend, who is right there in the living room with his wife, and the bus person's friend comes out on the porch and sits with the bus person for a little while, and they talk about family systems, and the best thing that talk ever accomplishes is to promise more talk. The promise of talk not being done ///

Meanwhile the rest the world is secretly thinking, dude, chill out, it's just love. But he can't help it, and he sees the person he loves, and at least she is still in this world. Which is a really good thing for the world, and some of the world has realized that and some of the world will get to realize that, and he feels happy that there is more of the world to await. And the Orioles made the playoffs and a weirdly named moderate Republican got re-elected so he can keep authorizing the remote deaths of not-your-four-year-olds and Bonnie Prince Billy made a beautiful cover of an Everly Brothers Christmas song with Dawn McCarthy and really: you say basement, they say record of collapsed earth, and that's about as belonging as we've figured out how to get.

And then the bus person changes his tone on this blog post at least and gets on to the stuff he didn't post about in the summer, all the stuff that's been hiding there in the queue, plus some new stuff, which is as usual a record of the kindness outside of himself, which he has decided to just post anyway, without changing to reflect any current moods, because moods are currents, rimshot, a joke he makes by himself, inside, staring, screening, buying bus tickets.

THE OLD POST

They finished the building across from the building. They sent all of us an invitation. Building for the Future, it says. Where do I go to get on a bill? The bike trail is where the daring squirrels hang out. The wok is where the tomatoes boil. Zorro masks are reasonably priced on the internet, but toy guitars are more fragile than advertised. Leonard Cohen can always get talked into singing another song if you tell him about the faces in the front. Summer never hid—it treaded water under the railroad bridge until summer.

BUSHWICK IS NOT A NEW PRODUCT WHERE A CHEAP BEER TURNS INTO A CANDLE WHEN THE POWER GOES OUT

Thanks again to Maggie Beauvais for inviting me to hang out at Bushwick Open Pages. It was a good time of giving away magazines, meeting some 010101 people in person, banh mi sandwiches, freak June thunderstorms, that thing where a bar/restaurant has a wall facing the street but the wall goes away when the weather is nice, which always makes me want to steal food when I walk by, but obviously not if I'm on the inside, though I guess when it really comes down to it, I have to consider myself made mostly of the outside, at least when it comes to how I walk. Actors daring some freakward inside dives. Discussion of information theory and hospitals in Baltimore, attempts and failures to buy a stuffed panda thanks to the inflated prices of graduation season.

A LITBRIDGE IS A BRIDGE THAT LIGHTS UP EVERY SUNSET WITH DISCO LIGHTS [[ OR ]] IT'S THE GATEWAY MUSIC THAT EVENTUALLY AND UNFORTUNATELY GETS YOU INTO THE BAND LIT

Speaking of the picture of me eating a Newman-O (what is this, Tumblr? MySpace? iNarcissism? Xenga? Jenga? What is this, am I an extra in that Jumanji movie? No? I'm not? I'm not friends with Robin Williams? Shit.), Melissa Burton asked me some questions for LitBridge about starting Magic Helicopter Press. Thanks, Melissa! I feel a little guilty about being so flip about the MFA question, especially since the title of the thing is "How to Start a Press While You Are Still An MFA," but I don't feel that guilty because technically that sentence means "while you are still a master of fine arts," which is a hilarious thing to even try to parse. November update: no longer running MHP out of a bedroom, now running it out of a corner of a living room. Get ready for my square footage math, IRS! Specifically the Will Ferrell IRS character in Stranger Than Fiction, and all of Maggie Gyllenhaal's characters in all her movies are secretly terrific bakers (square that one, MG fans).

OMAHA, NEBRASKA IS FULL OF SWEETHEARTED AMBLERS AND IS FLAT AND WIDE LIKE A SHY HAPPY CORN CAKE

In August, I went to Omaha, Nebraska to do an event put together by one of the purest hearts I've ever known in my short life, Mr. Gene Kwak. The first mention of Mr. Gene Kwak on this blog was in April of 2010, when I said I felt broship with him, and this broship has not abated over the years—it has only grown and grown. He is someone you want holding the knot. I would trust his advice in a forest on berries and mushrooms and even leaves.

In Omaha, I got to read with Ryan Ridge, who is like if a NASCAR announcer just kept expressing earnest concern for the emotional wellbeing of all the drivers and wondering out loud if they were really hanging on in there and inviting everyone who could hear him on TV to come down to the bar with him and have a highball or two. More Ryan Ridge please. Always. If we're being honest, I need him slapping me on the back every morning is what I really need out of this life.

We did some wandering and eating and drinking and cozy basement-sleeping (many thanks to Gene's sister and family) and sleeping-with-cats (thanks to Gene's friends) and music watching and got to hang out with Gene's Omaha crew, who were collectively like a wonderful wool beach bonfire blanket, except in the middle of the country in Silicon Prairie, so figure that one out. The event was with Simon Joyner, one of my goddamn heroes, which was pretty surreal, and he was a nice guy and raised his hand when I asked the audience if any of them had been an asshole in high school, which I feel like it takes a really straightforward guy to admit.

The event also included The Betties, who were dozy-doe and flannel twang and lovely sad drink-it-up-and-make-some-hell-until-our-eyes-look-red-and-good music. Plus Mike and James of Gus &Call, who had harmonies like what it would taste like if the soda Mountain Dew actually lived up to its name.

Thanks to you, Omaha. I will brush your dust again one of these days.

BOSTON


Then a few weeks later in August, I did a reading in Boston with Jill McDonough and Ariana Reines. Hosted by the gracious Jon Papas and Molly McGuire at the always rollicking Brookline Booksmith. I was scared about a tornado, but thankfully it was a false blust. Jon and Molly live in a sweet warehouse space now, and I felt like I was on a very specific sub-genre of sitcom known as the "loft sitcom." Ariana's bus was rankled in storm traffic, so she read over speakerphone. Ariana was her brilliant self—talk about an agent of changing the air. Jill was hilarious and read about secret agents. I was happy to meet her and get to know her crisp/wise and funny/sad work.

Also I saw a hometown friend who is out of the military now and is trying to meditate to avoid PTSD. Seems sustainable. It was good to see him. Even if all the rest of my life has gone to shit, I feel like I am really fulfilling the destiny of the senior yearbook photo where I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" and insisted on dressing up in my homeless-uncle coat. An asshole loves his incongruity. Ariana at one point asked me if I used to have long hair. She was incorrect in substance but correct in spirit. In the morning before my bus, Jon and Molly and I had breakfast at a diner that gave us free banana bread the way some places give you free dinner breadsticks. It's funny when you have to explain a good idea by really drawing out the description of a common idea. Thank you for everything, Boston. See you in a few months.

THINGS ON THE INTERNET


I've speckled the internet a little bit since we've seen each other, blog friend. Blog fry. Blog slice. The internet and I, we just can't find the keys to the handcuffs between us. We keep spilling on each other. Ladies and gentlemen of the journey, the exhibits, AKA this is what happens when you don't update your blog for like six months, AKA a here-is-a-potentially-overwhelming-and-alienating-dump-because-I-am-just-trying-to-thank-everyone-and-at-the-same-time-be-ecologically-transparent-about-what-it-means-to-be-a-blathering-hiccup-in-this-suffused-and-suffering-world:

<<< $*$ >>> At Atticus Review, new dad and dude-who-is-as-good-at-being-a-friend-as-chartucherie-is-at-being-a-concept Jamie Iredell featured some work of mine. There was a YouTube theme. First, a story from Look! Look! Feathers, "Susan White and the Summer of the Game Show," that is about what happens when you put the loneliness of YouTube in the bean grinder with the loneliness of everybody in your town. Then the first ever excerpt from this huffing zombie baby of a thing I've been working on called You In User. We also had a good conversation, as we've had more than a few times now, and we took turns describing YIU and Jamie won and then there were a few paragraphs about Burning Man but you'll have to do the click-through for those:
JI: So You in User: former YouTube employee in email conversation with a kicked off user? Am I getting that right? Tell us what the hell’s going on in this novel, you know, without spoiling too much of it.

MY: Yes, gawddamn, thank you for managing to do what I have a really hard time doing, which is explain the pretty simple premise in a single sentence. Here now is my unnecessary elongation of your explanation: YouTube comes up with this service where they hire people to write personalized account cancellation notices, almost counselor-ish, help the deviants, etc., except they almost immediately realize that’s a terrible idea and they can’t really pay anyone to do that, so the narrator of You In User, Neil, is fired, except he has one last user left in his queue, and he has other wobbles, duh of duhs, so he starts venting in this huge never-sent email to this last user of his, tacking on more and more, draft after draft (or, like, one big draft? I honestly am foggy—like real life foggy, not just in this thing—about what a draft is) as things start getting more and more fucked. Like for example Neil’s mother is getting these weird packages of candied bones in the mail. And his father is living by himself in a condo in Springfield, MA designing golf carts. And then there’s this runaway teenage daughter of a woman whose exotic pet is a YouTube celebrity, and there is even a girl who plays bass on rollerskates and a French guy who really likes high fives. I am a shit-for-brains when it comes to summary because I feel like I just made it sound like a terrible Tom Robbins adventure book, but maybe it is a terrible Tom Robbins adventure book, in which case I will try to swallow this and run with it and resign myself to my inner hack and go to Burning Man or something.
<<< $*$ >>> And then at Leveler they explained my poem "Scare the Information Through Direct Observation," and at first I didn't like the explanation but then I did. Thanks to Jennifer Fortin for not giving up on me after I took like a year to send her something. What's relevant to the brutal stranger is that this poem has the Doritos taco from Taco Bell in it, and frogs at a baseball stadium.

<<< $*$ >>> And then Jeremy Bauer told me my stories reminded him of action movies at Front Porch, which was a reaffirming thing to hear, and we talked about that and about food and towns and Barbie limousines. Thanks, Jeremy! He's a great dude, too. Now, I'm not going to narcissisticly scour my entire fucking blog to see if I've ever done a picture of a Barbie limousine before, but here's guessing I have, so I've tried to switch it up by Google Image Searching "sad barbie limo," and I found this person's living room floor. The most interesting things about this picture are: 1) how long it takes to load and thus slows down my page, 2) the reappropriation of a perfectly complicated stranger's living room floor, the 3) the fact the link will probably die by, say, the next presidential election, and archivists will really have to use their imagination.

<<< $*$ >>> And then another thing I did was I wrote a little about Thailand and soldiers and war for Robert Kloss, who asked me to riff on his very fine book The Alligators of Abraham over at Sundog Lit. I was happy to talk about soldiers with their boots in the river and heartstopping language mangles, and I was happy to share the space with Matthew Salesess, also a new dad. WTF is with all these new dads, yo. All I can see is people giving each other piggyback rides in the parking lot next to the radio station and managing to not fall in the snow. That's all I'm ready for.

<<< $*$ >>> And finally I presented a book of prison letters by Aileen Wuornos over at HTMLGIANT, including a conversation between the editors Lisa Kester and Daphne Gottlieb and some selections from the letters themselves. I was very affected by this book, and here is what I said in introducing it, which if you're following along in your attic is actually a maintaining of thematic coherence in this here blog plod:

Imagine you are shown a picture of yourself walking along a highway you have never seen. And now you are asked how you got there. Obviously you have to start running. As in running out of what you remember. Or running out, like losing it. And they want you to talk and talk, so immediately you’re talking back through hell. Talking back to hell. Or taking back hell. Maybe sing, you could call it, like hell. Whatever you want to call it and others call it for you. Insanity is a community decision, heroism is a community decision. Violence is the opposite of space. Everything I know about violence is also the nothing I know about violence.
PEOPLE I'VE READ WITH RECENTLY AS EXPLAINED BY ONE ANIMAL I ADMIRE AND ONE REFERENCE TO A FAMOUS SPORTS STAR I ADMIRE:

— }}} %%% ::: Zach Savich: the Ichiro of snow foxes.
— }}} %%% ::: Blueberry Morningsnow: the Kirby Puckett of flying squirrels.
— }}} %%% ::: Leora Fridman: the Dominik Hašek of mountain lions.
— }}} %%% ::: Anthony Madrid: the Spaceman Bill Lee of owls.

AND NOW FINALLY THIS VERY LONG POST IS OVER AND I AM GOING TO PLAGIARIZE SOMETHING I SAID IN A TEXT MESSAGE AND THEN SAID IN A TWITTER AND THEN SAID IN A POEM AND I'M GOING TO USE THE DRAWN OUT SYNTAX THAT'S THE ONLY THING THAT RELIABLY MAKES ME HAPPY AND WHAT I SAID WAS I SAID "The sky looks like a Goodwill that’s closing down for good
and all that’s left are three identical wool coats" AND THE ACCOMPANYING SONG FOR THAT DESCRIPTION OF THE SKY IS THIS SONG BY IRIS DEMENT, WHO IS THE BEST COUNTRY VOCALIST EVER, MALE/FEMALE/SKY/BASEMENT/OTHERWISE:


5.19.2012

tiger skin mosquito cape

Probably a lot of beautiful human beings have blogged since February. So, okay, I'm not one of them. But somewhere out there (I can't believe Blogger still lets you randomly scroll through blogs by clicking Next Blog, seems like Google will kill that soon, will replace it with their sniffs at circles of influence, as if the only meaningful connections were categorical and historical, no love for having the same mole as a bus stranger, just kidding Google, you know you're my big G) people have blogged. What have I done?

Well I got a new job doing cicada amassment for a snowboarding company, where I find and install cicadas to make snowboards louder. I'm moving back to North Hampton, which is the area directly north of wherever former Colorado Rockies ace Mike Hampton lives at the moment. This is called a quantum residency arrangement. Here's most of what's near me right now: empty Smartwater bottles, packing tape, a capo, a Ben Kopel Victory button, a canvas print by Anna Emelia Hoffman, who I went to junior high with in Oroville and who now insanely lives four doors down from where I'm soon moving away from in Baltimore, a Publishing Genius tote bag, a valiant little fan, my butterfly shoes, a harmonica holster, a Raid can, a multi-colored chewtoy rope, and a VHS of a Leonard Cohen performance my mother taped for me off PBS. Here's a belated Mother's Day video present for the mothers out there and for the Mr. T fans who have never been able to conceive:




Here are a few cool books I've read/am reading since I last blogged:

Fuckscapes — Sean Kilpatrick
After Claude — Iris Owens
Flatscreen — Adam Wilson
Partyknife — Dan Magers
Hallelujah Giant Space Wolf — Dan Bailey
Together We Can Bury It — Kathy Fish
Baby Geisha — Trinie Dalton
The Sisters Brothers — Patrick DeWitt
Too Big to Know — David Weinberger
Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value — David Graeber
Victory — Ben Kopel
The State of Kansas — Julianna Spallholz
These Dreams of You — Steve Erickson
Moby Duck — Donovan Hohn
The Black Forest — Christopher DeWeese
I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say — Anthony Madrid
Hydroplane — Susan Steinberg
The Coming Insurrection — The Invisible Committee
For Out of the Heart Proceed — Jensen Beach
Because It Is — Kenneth Patchen
Gould — Stephen Dixon
The Information — James Gleick

Had some fun times in Boston, DC, and Richmond. Uh, I know that's boring, so here is a smoosh of everything that's in my cell phone's drafts folder no matter how embarrassing it is. I can tell you right now there's a weird preoccupation with hippies and the people of Asian countries:

  • Motherfuckers have their ways.
  • 4 yr old in a college sociology reading study / doing better than both of us.
  • Two Bawlmur hillbillies charmingly swapping child abuse stories on the bus while one has a giant cat scratchpost castle. [seriously, what are those called? Carolyn says "cat castle" is fine. The next one is really embarrassing. But, you know, full disclosure and all that. This is a blog, right? This is 2003? Right?]
  • Tell the gods of poetry I'm 25 and listening / to covers of One Headlight on covered-ass bridges. / 1-800 Mattress, worldwide logistics / Who knows how legit this is cuz baby that's the business.
  • He was watching me to make sure I was watching it. 
  • Alarm salesman / horses in Iceland / the sorting / getting knocked down.
  • Don't pretend u don't exist.
  • Baguettes for drumsticks.
  • Death fantasy baseball.
  • A/B testing in the stutter motif.
  • U can no longer watch tWo girls one cup like u can no longer visit the grand canyon.
  • Thick with tick sex.
  • Albany Bulb Poseidon sculpture near horse track.
  • Tiger skin mosquito cape [that one's actually pretty good].
  • 'So many spectators they were congested like flour in a coconut shell.'
  • Foxhole radios in broom heads and water bottles.
  • U can smoke in Beijing bathroom / surgical mask = Japanese male/hippie gutterpunk intellectual fashion statement.
  • Do I want meaningful encounters with ppl or to use them for meaningful encounter time?
  • Love is when you take someone more seriously than you take everybody else.
  • Sunset as punishment: child shushed and instructed to stare at it.
  • Subway hipstergrass band: "rather drink muddy water than sleep in a hollow log."
  • Recycling Scavenger emptying extra soda out of bottle / grandma opening greeting card in supermarket to discover it plays Who Let the Dogs Out.
  • Cotton Rosser / don't have too much fun without us.
  • Does any love explain a love of Sacramento?
  • Birds like spilled black pepper
  • Floor fish, Asian mom, WTO wary hippies
  • Table of old bowling alley, espresso in the Shell
  • Awe or ah
There! Now you have a perfect vision of what my last few months have been like, and I can finally delete all the messages in my drafts folder. Have I mentioned that my phone is "broken?" Have I mentioned that it's not really broken at all, just now an amazing torch?

Coldfront kindly asked me to write about a song, so I wrote about Charles Bradley's amazing song "Why Is it So Hard" right after the Ravens lost. If you click on one thing in this post, you should click on that link, just to make sure you watch that song.

Shout outs to Troy Weaver and Dan D'Angelo for enthusiastic and perceptive new reviews of Look! Look! Feathers in Gently Read Literature and Phoebe respectfully. Thankee thankee to those bros and pubs, or pros and bubs. Dan's review intelligently considers the role of snow that everybody else forgot about, and Troy makes an impressive list of smacks: "life and energy and degradation and redemption and death and internet and posture and eggs and bacon and tiny babies and medicine cabinets and drugs and alcohol and America." And I think that list is right, because Mark just told me this alcoholic sweet tea and lemonade thing I am drinking is called a John Daly.

2.23.2012

sell me a sand trap and tell me you're floating

Everybody's got their wait for the busted dryer. We've all got our terrible TV pilots about small potatoes political campaigns. And yes, every single person has that weird spaceship/lion collage above the light switch. It's like why bother, right? Wake me up when you figure out why details exist.

That's my preamble. My amble is multifold:

One book I really think might spook you in the best long-winter-of-the-soul way is a book of poems by Mr. Edward Mullany called If I Falter at the Gallows

—Hope to see you soon in Boston, DC, Chicago, New York, and/or Richmond. Check out the list to the right to see where you can find me and tell me nothing I write will ever be as good as The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll and how annoying my beard is.

—Many thanks to Chester College for having me visit and talk to people and read some work. So many fun and smart people there. I really dig the whole tender-hearted art freak sleepaway in the forest vibe. New Hampshire! You are full of surprises. Tender thanks owed to a lot of people, especially Mark and Laura for their instigating and adventuring, and the awesome faculty at Chester (Monica, Chris, Tim, Jenn) for their woodsy alchemy. I did a little video poem thing for Chester's "In Place" series while I was there. They wouldn't let me stand on the backhoe, but I did get to work with a guy named Kyle Petty. He wasn't the race car driver, but he was very handy. Meg Cameron recorded the sound and helped me make sure I didn't eat the microphone. The poem is called "Can We Get Ice Cream at This Hour" (thanks again to Mark and Laura for originally running it in Big Lucks!) and you can watch it by clicking on some triangles:


08 - Mike Young - Can We Get Ice Cream At This Hour? from In Place on Vimeo.