12.22.2006

laundry vans and lumber yards

The tour diary is done. Scroll down past the laundromat entry to read about the Bay Area of California, USA, Earth, Universe.

Also: I have new stuff up at some familiar places. Check out Juked and SmokeLong. Sort of like winter sweaters, these places. Comfortable and fantastic. So more like winter sweater firework ninja snowmen.

12.19.2006

i was like: lovers are waterproof

Spent much of the day at the laundromat, back in Oroville.

Something was messed up with my left ear. Clogged, very quiet.

A blue, suspicious towel hung on the doorknob in the public restroom.

I read Roy Kesey's Nothing in the World. It fit the mood of my bad ear. It made me want to wash my heart in a storm drain. And stare at any cute, depressed-looking gutterpunk girls like the history of a desert. Until they shivered or gave themselves a little hug.

Someone in the laundromat laughed and said, "That's what she said. She said that's the thing about death. You got to die or you don't!"

They had King of the Hill up on the television.

A couple argued over two choices: happy hour at the casino, or an unspecified something else. He yanked the clothes out of the dryer and was all, "These are all the baby's shit. We wash any of our stuff?" His ladyfriend waved a washcloth in his face.

This crinkled lady in a belly shirt and big glasses tossed clothes into the dryer like it was some sort of ballet. But then she saw me looking and stopped.

A man asked me if cotton were the highest temperature. He owned a beard half pirate, half vagrant, and sat on an overturned clothes basket in a bare chest, waiting. When his dryer stopped, he was able to cover his well-tanned veins with a guayabera shirt.

A woman, who sounded very spent, like an alley full of cigarette butts and tinfoil, chewed somebody out over the phone. She talked about how her husband needs heart surgery and how that put her under a lot of stress.

The sunset reminded me of persimmons. It colored the bricks of a store that used to sell some sort of Chinese coconut candy. Now they appear to sell shoes. Full of sexy. Sexy shoes.

It was an eventful laundromat.

12.16.2006

tour diary part très

Kindness. It sizzles me. Let me explain.

We left Ashland in the wee hours of the morning, waltzing down I-5 through eerie Shasta clouds and talking about National Geographic documentaries, Lemurians, power ballads, the etymology of the word emo, the California Highway Patrol, and how to turn a forest fire into a delightful barbecue adventure.

At some point, I ate breaded jalapeño bites with cherry sauce. At a different point, thankfully, I ate chocolate covered coffee beans. They filled me with thunder.

Pretty soon we got into San Jose. Early to our show, we hung out at a dive bar called the Dive Bar. They had music videos playing on a giant TV behind me, and every time someone started staring at the sexy dominating the screen, I accidentally believed they were staring at my considerable sexy reserves. It was a confusing bar. Full of Christmas parties, too. Lots of tipsy, bitter secretaries and melting hairspray.

Still early, we hit San Jose's Christmas parade, which involved a lot of kettle corn and a circular design. Poe tried to get some cops to take pictures of us. Didn't work. Go figure. The parade felt cool because we were strangers. It made Christmas feel quaint again. Plus they had this tacky blue tree, which was huge and pretty much enthralled me.

Now! Part one of the kindness. The show at the Anno Domini gallery went fucking lovely. Basically, the proprietors Brian and Cheri have their act so together that they would spur the next revolution in space exploration were they to enjoy space exploration. If you're ever in San Jose, stop by the gallery and check out their retail shop, where they sell art shirts, little prints, zines and Lomos, indiecore Russian film cameras.

So we had theatre lighting, a raspy gospel singer-songwriter to throw some local into the show, shared giggles and twitches and many sold books. But we also had a slight dilemma. No place to stay.

Luckily, Ocho has a friend in San Francisco named Elliot Harmon. Elliot's ridiculously amazing girlfriend Erin hooked us up with a room at the Fisherman's Whatf hostel where she works. So there you go. Kindness. It does a body good. By the way, the Wharf hostel is a very nice place. It will clean and cuddle your bones. Free bagels and shit for breakfast. We met some young Australians. They were afraid of snow but headed for New York. Australians are brave, I guess.

And the San Fran show went off pretty nice, with nods and clicks. Our host at the Modern Times Bookstore painted a bookcase blue then introduced us. I don't mean that in the sense of "paint the town red." She took a break. From painting.

Anyway, on Telegraph Hill we (I) ate French apple sausage omelets and nachos and peanut butter mocha fudge. We slunk around City Lights Bookstore. Much must and historic spots with their reality superceded by their history. Some camera crew was there to film Lawerence F. One crewmember needed to use the bathroom and seemed skeptical of everything.

Someone in North Beach asked us to translate the utterance of his female friend, which went something like "maughguuuuuuuuuughhhhhhhhh." He pointed to his chest and then to hers, and he said "We're the white trash Will and Grace!" Then he laughed and wished us a good morning. He had a close-razored beard and eyed that looked entirely satisfied with their aperture.

Now, um, the show in Berkeley. Well. I guess everybody at our scheduled stop, an anarchist cafe, had too much anarchy brewing. In other words, they weren't open.

Uh oh. No show.

But okay! We just gathered in our arms the sobbing throngs who had crawled down from the canyons and up from the rivers to see us. Together with the sweet and lovely Clay Banes we herded them to a restaurant named for a quizzical Irish playwright and Joyce typist, where we ate Cobb salad and Greek chicken fingers. Clay entertained us and got into a well-spirited argument with Ocho about whether MySpace porn causes frustration or frustration causes MySpace porn.

By the way, yes: yes. My memory cares a lot about what I eat. No control here, kids. Lo siento.

So: all in all, a rockcore of a time. Random introspection? I missed a lot of holiday buildup, as I was too busy reading poems about screwy and scrawny friends. Slept near fireplaces and sewing machines. Owe much much to Ocho and T-Poe for everything, and of course to everyone I met along the way, under all of the (all! of! the!) rain rain rain.

Thank you for you reading. Now go and get your merry and bright on. Here are photographs, though not Lomographs:



A radio show in Ashland, where Ocho and I studied our eyelids. Also: I lost that black thumbpick.



Outside Anno Domini in San Jose. Me. Appreciating. Art.



Ocho is metal to the max. Inside Anno Domini.



City Lights.



Tao: I know, I know. I know what's missing from this blog. I haven't had the chance to finish it. But the good news: your book seems to make reality @ City Lights a little blurry and afraid.



Elliot Harmon in the big red hair. His friend Patrick next to him. They run an e-zine called Idiolexicon.



Ocho Ocho Ocho with Clay Banes Clay Banes Clay Banes. I do my part for the Google schemes. I do I do.

12.12.2006

tour diary part dos

Glorious evening to all of youze. When I started this entry, I was in Portlandtown beside a fireplace, staying with one of T-Poe's childhood friends. The Portland show went well. We played in a converted garage. After the show, I ate a piece of pound cake with strawberries in it. Many of T-Poe's friends and relatives came and cheered, and the venerable Rodney Koeneke showed up and wrote a blog about it, in which he references an ancient Jewish council.

An extra day allowed us to eat extremely cheap and delicious Eggs Benedict at My Father's Place, play pinball, and attempt to trick the hot water in the Powell's Bookstore bathroom into staying on for more than the time it takes a centipede to drown.

After Portland, we stopped over in Eugene to graze on a lovely open-mic at Cozmic Pizza. It featured improv opera singing and a host whose pep tipped the scale and took off for neighboring galaxies. Chuck breezed through with his hair a little wet, so we chatted about antique bicycles and the underground magpie trade.

Tonight we do a home home hurrah-ba-dee-be-doo gig in Ashland. If you live in Ashland but for some reason miss this show, Santa will burn seven cheerful angels and place carefully inside your stocking a thimble full of angel ash.

Now, pictures!



All of us plus Laura Boo in Van to the Cou.



The night blaze of Canada.



Leaving the Pacific northwest.



Enthusiastic in Eugene.



We made two and a half new friends in Eugene.

12.10.2006

tour diary part uno with a lot of passive voice

Hello. I am currently sitting on a kitchen floor in Vancouver, BC. We are staying at Laura Boo's house. There is a slab of wood across the back door and a sewing machine on the table. We, the minor poets, ate artisan pastry bits leftover from a major poetry release party at the gallery where Boo works.

Tonight, our first Roadshow featured a very polite host with a very large beard. David and his homemade sampler opened for us. One song featured modulation of the words "no adam" over and over. David explained thusly: one time he was in this room with a guy named Adam, but Adam was leaving, to which David reacted defiantly.

Our audience arranged itself in a semi-circle. One guest acted concerned about geography. He kept asking if any other states were close to Oregon.

A biker dude showed up with his wife, who told us about sitting on a toilet and having her husband burst in to share a poem. She insisted he would do it for us if pressured. It was called Achin' for the Bacon. He performed it like a cross between slam style and tweedy Shakespearean actor. It dealt with his love of bacon.

Last night we stayed in Tacoma, WA with Ocho's friend. We looked at photo albums, and T-Poe put out a grease fire. In the bathroom, I noticed that the shower curtain had a skull motif.

Photographs:



North of Eugene



Pacific Northwest through the Pacific North-Window



Ocho plays so fast. And I can't hold a camera, I guess.



People fucking love this cat.



Evolution allows me to have hands.



The many beards and eyebrows of the PMR.



Laura BOO! She just fixed the toilet too. Rocktacular.

11.29.2006

perpetual motion roadshow

Some news:

Between December 8th and December 16th, I will be trundling up and down the West Coast with clandestinely-named Ocho and T-Po on the Perpetual Motion Roadshow, which is an "indie press touring circuit, an unholy combination of a vaudevillian variety show and punk rock tour."

Here is where I'll be:

Vancouver: Sat. Dec. 9, 7 pm. Spartacus Books (319 W. Hastings, upstairs)
Portland: Mon. Dec. 11, 7 pm. Chance of Rain Cafe (1522 SE 32nd Ave)
Ashland: Wed. Dec. 13, 6:30 pm. The Beanery (1602 Ashland Street)
San Jose: Thurs. Dec. 14, 8 pm. Gallery Anno Domini (366 South First Street)
San Francisco: Fri. Dec. 15, 7:30 pm. Modern Times (888 Valencia Street)
Berkeley: Sat. Dec. 16, 7 pm. The Long Haul (3124 Shattuck Ave)

If you go to the Perpetual Motion Roadshow link, you can download handbills for each of these cities. For handing out. If you live in one of these cities and harbor any sort of love for me in your chest bones, please attend a show.

I will probably keep a diary on this blog. In said diary I will record the fluctuation of my moods and the failures of my beard.

To pay for expenses and gas and shit, I will be hawking an exclusive tour chapbook called "That's Not the Face I Was Giving You." This chapbook will contain a variety of words, some suitable for sawyers and some suitable for sixth graders. Here is a possible cover, because the poetry world is ready for nervous yellow:



It features a charming illustration by Scott Campbell.

Fry some balloons for me! And come meet me, folks. I want to know you well.

11.07.2006

king's quest 4

Magic Helicopter Prayer

Which deodorant allows you
to check the electric meters
in that very sexy fashion
dawn and doughnut crumbs
provoke?

Which Mach do you use
in the bathroom of Denny's?
Brown towel chips in your chin,
the syrup bowl a shitty mirror.

Which hatchback goes best
off the pier? Your violin inside,
your orange rinds and old shoes.

Which cover song accompanies the man
who answers a classified for an ice vendor?

Which company hires the Marine come back
to his Kentucky sawgrass and attic full
of Lincoln logs? His grandmother
hands him a butter knife.

Which insurance agent will stand
next to you, your solvency, collecting
scoops of snow in styrofoam thimbles,
while you sleep in the car you crashed
into a cow -- who, like most of what
befalls us, wouldn't turn to answer.

Where are the commercials set
in the elevators of the all alone?
In the jigs done therein, in the
buttons smooshed to code
a magic helicopter prayer.

Where are the endorsements of crawdad soup
and elbow scabs? Where are the battery ads
that feature gouged chests, nimble sinew,
that sell you the bunny’s mallet and
offer to amp up your smallest bones?

Which central casting agency hires you
to ape the nap that ends with wait--
I’m-not-an-astronaut?

Where are the public service announcements
explaining how to tickle a whale’s uvula?
This, the bow tied man would explain,
is how to guarantee his sneeze.
This is the notion of freedom.

11.05.2006

bcr & tao & herman & i want to trade the game i play for shelter

Sorry about the delay in the BCR and TAO LIN reviews. My hands and brains have been otherwise committed.

So, in an effort to apologize: Andre Herman Dune & Clemence Freschard cover Leonard Cohen's "The Stranger" in one of those rooms, one of four minutes where you memorize the chinks in our bottles, bends in our hair. You look around, drum your knuckles. Four AM is coming down somewhere. To our onion mouths and crinkle yawns.

Andre Herman Dune & Clemence Freschard - The Stranger (Leonard Cohen cover)

So promise to buy Herman Dune's Giant when it comes out in the U.S.

11.01.2006

i am a sloth

See title.

Final two reviews coming today, tomorrow, whatever you call it.

10.28.2006

MIKE TALKS FOR FOUR DAYS ON FOUR THINGS ™ : EPISODE II: FEBRUARY



Feburary
—Aaron Tieger

I got a copy of Aaron Tieger's Feburary along with Property Line, as a kind gift from Jess Mynes.

February is a cream-colored book of sixteen pages, thin and tall, the right edge a little frayed (I don't know if that's just my copy), like a gaunt and lanky man asking you for a cigarette outside a bus station.

It's set in Perpetua, which is what I set my chapbook blue wheels and handshakes in. Hurrah!

Wonderful paper, textured, pocks and crinkles gathered in it, clutter of late winter kind of paper.

Speaking of sets: opening up to a poem called "2/1/05," not knowing what to expect, you get set for a month submersion, that sort of David Lehman onslaught style "gee-here's-today" poem. But thankfully Aaron abandons that conceit by the second poem. Which, coupled with the book's first lines, "Waking early from / dreams of waking early" casts an unsteady, elusive sense of loss about the whole thing from the get-go. Elusive loss? I mean that we're not sure what we're losing, we're not sure, we're not sure, then it's too late. Exactly the feeling I get from February anyway. It doesn't really excite me to watch ice melt. It bums me out. I know some people go in for bees and buds and things, but February reminds me more of Aaron's "gone cafes," or places where "frozen locks fall into doors," places where the coming Spring is really a violent upheaval — of snow to slush to rain — and you sometimes want to just hunker in and avoid it. Everything outside antsy, turning, the snow turning, while you're stuck, doing what you do when you get stuck, which is remembering:

Chris Rizzo Valentine
—Aaron Tieger

       Perfect night
for a beer or some tea
downstairs, white stone
walls echo low
rain & gas
heater blow

       but the shop shut
w/the year and I'm here
not there
the trains past
the highway here
underneath
you there.

***

There is a rollicking delicacy to Aaron's wordplay: check the "here" versus "there" of the second stanza. His verbal music is like one of those junk-heap carnival rides in Portland headed back to the ocean after the parade. If you can unknot it without breaking it, you get at stuff like how slippery our connection to the now is — like if you see a traintrack you want to slip back into your old traintracks. This isn't fair, but look at that second stanza and think of the phrase "I can't see you without seeing ____."

Along with the fuss-less clarity with which Aaron renders things like "walls echo low / rain & gas / heater blow," I like this wordplay a whole super-lot. My favorite quatrain from the whole book, probably, comes from "Two Cafes:"

              Garlic soup
       and grenadine
       and ham and cheese
       and flan.

This is a great three lines of a great word cluster. It's easy to look at dumb word clusters and walk away, but sometimes with good sets I get skeptical about the line-setup. So, me, I would've shoved "garlic soup" and "and grenadine" together, to say "garlic soup and grenadine," because I am young and insecure and flashy, and that's how I eat, like I'll never die. But it's nice to catch myself, to take that pause, to take that "and" not as a quick shoelace strung between phrases, but a little cymbal of announcement. Or: think of cursive. Those lines remind me of how you're supposed to write cursive.

And food-wise, that isn't a bad recipe for raising a toast to gone cafes: Flan! Flan! Like flipping off executioners during the Spanish Civil War. I hope that statement doesn't make me racist.

There is plenty of such toast raising in these poems, dedication, paeans aplenty to the heart's attic. I don't mind that. I'm not afraid of the odic, the eulogic. (Those words may be fake.) Sometimes February the month makes me look like an attic. But I don't want to say these poems are wimpy "those-were-the-days" shit. Why? Birthdays are coming! Somebody's. Ours? It's there, birthdays, which I guess is kind of like rebirth, but I'm trying not to think that, because rebirth means repeating the shitty birthing process, while birthdays mean razzing it up for the fact you made it out. If there's nostalgia in these poems, it's the nostalgia you get right before your birthday, which is like the look you give your pit crew before you turn the ignition. And Feburary's last two poems turn — or, I guess, settle, give up with the turning snow, conjure and gather the violets up, reset to a "clearing sky," find everything boring and sunny again. The last two poems are spare and well-wrought, but they tend to depress me, after all the chaos swamping the walk depicted in the valentine, all the submersion in memory to evade the outside world. Once you get to go outside again, you only have one outside. When you're stuck in the past, you can have however many outsides you've managed to stack up.

I sound like I need a teddy bear or something.

Maybe the best way to say all that comes from the beautiful fucking beautiful end of this poem:

Tension Tamer
—Aaron Tieger

              cat
in every room
big socks old
sweater low
light hot
mug quiet
night soft
cheeks soft
breath big
bed more
cats dark breathe

       snow
       codeine
       honey

***

If you numb yourself to all the regrets that accompany your past, there is a floodlight there, a light like a honey-light, a light for February that will always trump whatever March happens to wake up.

For me, to see those three lines after that stanza (with its own great sequences: "big / bed more / cats" is my favorite), in Perpetua, on paper like a streetlamp-post, makes this book good enough to gift. To a good friend in January, right? Like try this. Drink grenadine. Watch snow.

10.26.2006

MIKE TALKS FOR FOUR DAYS ON FOUR THINGS ™

As promised, over the next four days I will spout about four lovely things: Property Line by Joe Massey, February by Aaron Tieger, you are a little bit happier than i am by Tao Lin, and Backwards City Review #4.

Thank you for joining me on my blog's unsalted trek into continuity.

FIRST EPISODE OF "MIKE TALKS FOR FOUR DAYS ON FOUR THINGS ™"



Property Line
--Joe Massey

Both Property Line and February are products of Jess Mynes's Fewer and Futher Press. PL is delicate to hold, but less like something that will fall apart than something in a wise rest. Or: think of someone making tiramisu in a tin hut, tucked away, under a little rain. That is what PL feels like.

(I think I am going to call Joe Massey Joe, and not Massey. Because he is a nice guy. I don't know.)

And the words: my favorite entanglement of these poems is the one they have with time. The wind you see is a wind from several mornings ago. And everything is in its own stage: fuchsia at one point in their life, mosquitoes at another. Really good writing sort of cripples you, right? It suspends your coping mechanisms in favor of some sudden and flavored sensitivity. If you were to read PL on your bike, everything would start to look like a million unfinished quilting projects. And a tension comes from this. Almost suspicion, but a busted, helpless suspicion. Like we all own our particular lives, our particular histories. But to strange things we render only moments. So we face off—whatever we're doing to each other, it's a face-off, an abbreviated presentation. Cellphone bags "face" the overcast above them, clouds and bags with a lot of story (sorry about the retreat to narrative) behind their situations, both only with their current states to show. I think that's what makes Joe's verbal music so sad and beautiful for me: how those verbs and vowels line up and do so much revelatory sonic work, for only a huge amount of such work can gesture to the lineage of all subjects.

Here is an example:

—Joe Massey

Spider web
(wind-
ripped)

weighted with
a wet receipt

***

You have the web, the wind, the receipt -- they are all staring at each other, trying and failing to hold their cards in, tangled in the moment where their stories intersect.

Is this sort of like the "property line" of the title? This intersection of lineages (that's not a word, btw)? With all the anxious connotations? Like how the hell do things cross into each other, the way they do all the time?

I don't know.

There is also some more fundamental and awesome geography in these poems. Part of it is simply how things get around:

Abandoned Lot
—Joe Massey

I

Bees inscribe the fog
& funnel
into plum blossoms

that barb the abandoned lot's
chain-link border.

***

I mean, goddamn, I want to funnel and inscribe shit. I want to hem things and pitch them. It's a way to see the world that is heavy with respect, as if everything were due a perfect record — and why not?

And the other part is spatial movement, where the camera goes, if I'm allowed to sound retarded. Check this out:

—Joe Massey

Next
door's
flower's

scent
parts
the curtain.

***

You never even know where you are until you're implicated by the last line. Or that's what I thought. First I read it with someone behind the curtain, a conscious agent I wasn't expecting when the poem began. But it's just as easy to strip out any lingering human identity and simply watch the curtain open. Hell, you can even enable the consciousness of the sounds, call it their little tromp: a missive from the t in "Next" to the t in "curtain," wound through a couple tailing s's to knock on the two t's of "scent" and "parts" before opening "the curtain."

Of course, other more venerated and articulate folks have spoken about the linguistics of Joe's poems, and what a good salad-maker he is, and what a fine fellow he is to have in a knife fight.

So I won't get carried away. Suffice to say that despite all the sounds working in steeltrap matricies, Joe is not just an audile. The craft of the poem above comes from how the poem works and changes and still works, on visual levels, sonic levels, and even trap-door levels (where the words are signifying something deeper, something in a well somewhere). This craft is like using words for all their meat, a certain solemnity. But I can't figure out, I guess, ultimately, if it's for reverence of the words that Joe uses them so well, or reverence of the referents, because he wants to serve his subjects. I don't think these two loves are in "competition" — cellophane bags are just as beautiful as the word cellophane — but there's something there. Another property line, maybe. Another pair of something staring at one another across that line, kinking together or sharing burrs.

I will stave off any more comments and just direct you to scoop up the book. It is like buying tiny contact lenses for the entirety of your perception, lenses made of sugar glass and strands of silk.

10.25.2006

10.19.2006

no, mostly, i just smell my fingernails, she said



HAPPY 21

TO BRYAN

COFFELT,

ESQ, pH.D,

341 RBI


As of midnight tonight.

Now that he is twenty-one, Bryan can legally imbibe spirits and run for the position of Universal Well-Endowed Bovine, or Mega Cow. We are all very anxious.

10.13.2006

NOÖ [five] is online! (and I have new poems out)



NOÖ [five] is online!



Print copies coming soon.

Also: Erica has posted an interview with me and done it up with lovely visuals and style.

All sew: I have two (old/new/revised) poems out in the brassiest named e-zine ever: melancholia’s tremulous dreadlocks. Why is this cool beyond cool? I am in it with Barbara Jane Reyes! Slam damn. If I may quote a too-long part of her poem:

from Barbara Jane Reyes's "in the city, she transcribes a composite of impossible lovers" :


"so do you have the time to reach into your body and find your heart a murder
of crows, your heart an opening in a barbwire fence, your heart a memory of
snowdrift, your heart an elegy to your former self, your heart a trickster
god in disguise, your heart a freeway offramp, your heart a scratch in the
vinyl of your favorite slow jam, your heart an empty tank of gasoline, your
heart a postmodern literary masterpiece, your heart mislabeled as a
hollywood blockbuster, your heart a murderer's insanity plea, your heart an
angel opening his eyes, your heart a thicket of bamboo, your heart a bullet
train, your heart hunted to extinction, your heart a prayer for the
departed, your heart an abstract poem, your heart a string of freshwater
pearls, your heart a broken swingset, your heart a sticky dive bar in the
bad part of town, your heart a dead language, your heart not a creation
story, your heart the understatement of the year."

10.10.2006

good discussion

Jessica Rowan is hosting one among us Ashland tykes over at her blog. Feel free to chime in with accounts from your town. Extra points for total subscription to the authority of narrative.

We need to mention, I think, the two big populist poetry beasts: cowboy poetry and slam poetry. These draw crowds that would bust the AHS auditorium. Yet don't receive a lot of press (that I can see anyway) when we post-post-fencepost-postoffice-avant-Avons thinks about public readings (or anything).

Less $20 tickets in these worlds too.

But also ugly issues of coddling approachability, numb reinforcement of pre-existing values surrounding poetic accomplishment, ear candy and myth candy, pretty much brazen cotton-candy entertainments. Or are they? Shit if I know. Should we ask why they work so well?

P.S. NOÖ will prolly be out tomorrow. Along with Erica's very kind interview with me.

10.05.2006

they will lean that way forever

Blue Jeans For Sale in the Trailer Window

and pour from the parked Airstream
like tubes orphaned off the grid.

We have come with these sodas
of mint and marmalade, these
somewhat easy parallels to Rome,

to blame a billion barrels
of banana pudding, wafers mixed
with cardboard and soybean oil,
hours gifted to nutrition design.

We blame much of what we eat
from Tupperware at one or two,
a window open on bats and trains,
a wind more cowboy than a pearl button.

And everything is stalked by antique shops.
They clomp past streetlights, touting whale nets.

Someone moves a spoon past dentures,
the years down on their shoulders like
hands. Then swallows. Bottoms out.

The hands on your shoulders like
listen, no, listen: we are a
flicker thing, a thing kneaded in-
to an aggregation of area codes,
familiar restaurants and hymnal hooks.

Wait, this is a true thing that once
heard may not fit the provision of hope:
picnic groves capped the trolley lines.
Then carousels. Okay. But then chalk.

And were they razed to fill now
with trailer sales? Sails to tarp?
Is the freeway a strobe of blinkers?
Will the turnoff lanes sag and give way?

And who then will scavenge the axles?
The airbags? The blues? Dawn, dawn,
you will not miss how sure we woke.

10.01.2006

unsuspecting liar would you park here near the fire

More names. Name poems. Poem names.

Heather Has Always Moved Away

Trust only the brisk, the spirit
with a little bit of sputter behind
it, the others under the same rain.
It's odd to head for another's awning.
But Heather, I miss you like a roadtrip
leaks music, and I thread my legs through
the fire escape bars to listen for operas
from the cats, their secrets of claw sweat.

We do, we do to daydream of the snag
that will elude us still, come next
October, next ban on leaf burning
lobbied for by your biddy neighbors
and their chimney milk like new Pope smoke.
The mailman knows them and won't say shit.

We want, we want to daydream of the knowing
why the bomb crams like a toothache into
Mesopotamian cobble chinks. Heather,
they have carpet in the porta-potties,
and I have flushed what others install.

God put stinkbugs under my bike brakes
to scare me over my handlebars, while
they say kids these days mistake lists
for substance, and I say bullshit and
lick pavement from my elbows and who knows
along with quartz and tar how much errant hair.

Heather, our community theatre did the Wiz
with four of the original munchkins,
but I don't know what to think of that.
Play intermission feels like you crawled
for a pee out the back of a dream. But
who are these children in line, giggling?

Heather, the most beautiful I've yet to
feel was in an emergency waiting room,
where I watched an old man fling backwards
from his walker like fuck it into the
tiles. You can feel a little or a lot
or a variety or nothing, though more
if you still go in for that caroling shit.

Heather, you hear tabbies like the voice
of an other. Or two. Even better. I want you
to tell me a nightmare about jousting giraffes
or catching bird flu, and I want to remember it
under my nails. Please do, so much do I want to
dream up the yous of how flab scrapes nipple.

But still will the night clank, and still
will the night cram us all sausage meal
into its bus huts and the buses between.
I am just a wish vendor low on pennies,
but come on Heather, come on in and in.
Out from the goofy jail of the bones
you know, in for the vessels you don't.

9.21.2006

about july

I spent one afternoon with two people who kept calling everything weird. A man dancing in the dollar store to a kiddie piano? Weeird! Someone's brother named Setee? He's weeird! Weather? It's weeird! Strollers without mothers? That's weeird! A pamphlet with seven pieces of advice for pedestrians? How weeird! People wearing clothes from Hot Topic or pink, polka-dotted belts? Ugh, they're weeird!

Later, over the phone, they kept making jokes about someone in the background having my baby. I asked the phone person to ask this background person if our baby were an underwater dance. The person on the phone refused to say it. They were just words. Is the baby an underwater dance? See? I typed them. Just said them. My capillaries didn't fizzle. But she refused. It was "too weird."

Refused to say them!

Earlier, these two people had argued about spatulas. Two spatulas, red and blue, were ugly -- and one, white, was okay.

Also, one of these people received numerous phone calls, during which she said things like "Yeah, totally, I've just been so .. yeah, I really need to clear some time for 'hanging out.' No, no, I need to catch up on 'hanging out' with people.."

I thought it was dumb and sad, how she thought everything was weird. I wanted to tell someone about it, but she is friends with a lot of my friends, so I decided to blog about it.

Welcome to the new model of confession, Michael. There is no vestibule to cross. There are a million priests next to my speech, and none of them are certified.

I had an email discussion with John Wang about blogs. We talked about the possibility of students blogging as they learned to write. Like from third grade on. He said: "If everyone blogged we’d cut crime and juvenile delinquency and adult illiteracy down in no time. We’d also hear more about aliens and bicycles flying over mountains..."

This post has changed. I'm sorry. From talking about my disgust with the word "weird" to blogs. Blogs aren't the venerators of self-obsession. All a narcissist needs is water or body odor.

People act like blogs are old news, tiresome. But they haven't been around that long. Most ancient tribes thought written speech would erode memory. One time I memorized a three page monolog in twenty minutes. And my brain is clogged with Nickelodeon quotes.

Why shouldn't every emo-person write a blog? A weird blog. The grunt of "no one cares about their stupid life" is always more true without the blog. You have found and read more random blogs than attic diaries.

The anti-blog argument is so asinine that it makes my ankles itch, like seventy-nine trillion hobo phytoplankton trying to make me trip. It goes sort of like this: "Don't publish pointless emotional or intellectual diatribes on the internet because other people will think you're wasting their internet time. Too many people write blogs." This is like saying "don't talk to anyone when you're in a tall building; you are wasting tall building time" or "don't think when you're on a submarine; you are wasting our submarine thinking space."

Who cares if other people have already tackled emo-person's mishmash. Who gives a shit if nothing is new news. If I decide to not post this, turn off my computer, and save electricity, the electric company will save money on operating costs and use that money to expand their services through new equipment, which will be made in factories that employ oil and render my conservation useless. Most conservation is useless.

Conservatism, thinking most things are weird, is useless. The more you shun people or pretend to ignore them, the more audacious go their self-performances. Clap or spit in their ears: it's all acknowledgment currency. I want to meet Setee and give him a jackrabbit and a free coupon for Greek food.

9.12.2006

dzanc books dzanc books dzanc books

This is an excerpt from the press release of a super-cool new organization designed to publish literary fiction and promote literature, literary journals, and literary awareness:

"Dzanc Books is a 501(c)3 organization set up to operate exclusively for charitable, literary, and educational purposes. Our mission at Dzanc is 3-pronged: To assist literary journals in reaching the largest reader base possible; to develop educational programs within the schools in the areas of reading and writing; and, beginning in 2007, to publish two excellent works of literary fiction per year."

Their services to schools and journals will be 100% free.

Dzanc is run by Steve Gillis of 826 Michigan and Dan Wickett, founder of the Emerging Writers' Network, both extremely able and well-equipped people committed to what might be technically monikered as the "reading and writing of wonderful stuff."

I am really stoked about this. These guys know what they're doing. This is a much more important post than my normal posts, in which I post poems that make people roll their eyes.

9.09.2006

r u gonna find a new boy to spoon????

Kasey, I know you'll get a kick out of this: two new songs from Herman Düne, your second-favorite HD, courtesy of Songs: Illinois (and a little hyperbole, but hey):

Get new HD songs

In other news: my friend Jordaan Mason is making a chapbook of his prose and poetry. You will want to get it. I owe him a copy of my handmade chapbook, blue wheels and handshakes. The cover is BLUE. Kasey Mohammad, Joe Massey, and Bryan Coffelt all have copies and keep them to sneeze on and stuff.

If you want one, let me know and I will try to make you one before we're overrun by space gerbils. I will mail it to you for free, but you can PayPal me postage at mrgoldsoft@hotmail.com if you so dig.

For being a DIY indie-kid, I have a dastardly time with meat-and-potatoes DIY stuff like stapling or taping. If the modern publishing rackets crumple, and we return to an arena of DIY media that demands some actual skill in one's self-presentation, the avatar named Mike Young is pretty much fucked. Computers, computers I can ice. Staples? Awful. Like a volcano trying to play cricket.

Letitia Trent sent me a chapbook, which I have neglected to thank her for or mention anywhere. It was cool and had poems culled from Readers' Digest pages. I think she is sending them out for free if you want one. Here's her MySpace. It has music from Ladytron!

Um, let's see. Everything else you probably already know. The "summer" issue of NOÖ will be more like an October issue, Lisa Jarnot's "Sea Lyrics" is one of my favorite long poems, lots of people are in love and the wind is growing teeth. See? Y'all know that shit.

Clay told us all to read about Kasey's schism of poetry into the palliative and the cathartic, so you should probably give that new toy a few twirls. Say something about it. Like something something. My articulation could paint fences.

9.03.2006

play the piano with your tongue hair

She in Bed and He in Morning

When she dozes off,
and he slips from the
bed to meet his friend
for pumpkin bread and coffee--

How wind seems rude as a faucet,
how all cotton sleeves drowse
away in flecks, dandelion clocks.

How strangers on bicycles
tuck or wag their miles of tongue
and shriek a bunch of oily hair.

How all tastes of burnt coconut.
How the drive melts water.

And when his friend waves and
laughs, it ricochets through his teeth
like a tennis ball in a museum
under night watch, every boing
the freeze tag of brutal light.

They gab for some odd hours.
Then he calls his kitchen phone
to see if she is up--to hope
that the call will not wake her.

peak oil means there is no such thing as a mission

I've gotten over some of my reluctance about poem introductions. We don't share a brain, just a language. So: this is a poem that is not about the universe. Sometimes different narrators jump in and out, like a conversation at a party or in a chatroom. My favorite words in this poem are the rhythm prepositions. The poem is bewildered and pretty. Like lynxes hung on Christmas trees.

Record Us Up Here on the Train

What do you say near railroads and ocean hotels
that doesn't sound like it needs raccoon makeup?

Let us gut the apple pastry shells and fill them
with teeth varnish and benzyl peroxide and four
shitty compensations for our loss of the waltz.

I have a list of those to whom we owe apologies:
anyone in photos missing feet, infants in drawers,
that LP on primetime TV with the shotgun,
all the gooey glitches of the way too sunk.
Lucky us tho! See: we get blowjobs from
gameshow relics and Audi owners and tuned eyebrows.
That class with the next-nicer spaghetti sauce.
Dude, this cereal! This suffering, this summer labor?
You don't know. It sort of feels okay-ish some.

That waitress who lifts barbells on her balcony
looks like a tabloid actress sometimes, then a girl
from your subscription to Sad Foreign Shrapnel.
That is, on certain nights she makes your chest white
and looks almost a whole life long. Almost full.

What do you say on railcars in cotton hoodies
that doesn't sound like the sitcom's drug episode?

I promise not to drink of corporate yerba matte soda,
which is $4.75 and tastes like green hair gel.
We shall sustain the raisin boxes and baby carrots.
Wait, do you need oil to make cardboard?
Google when the carrot season starts. A gourd?

Shit: anything now to remember a squaredance.
This emo-ass shuffle of wilt and dust soccer
will not look impressive on top of the boxcar
or get me from the cattle to the textiles,
from CRYOGENIC BODIES to DINOSAUR MODELS.
Hey, a boxcar full of new white horses.
It's something more to soldier for, I think.

You dangle over to photograph some graffiti.
I make seventeen billion jokes about midnight,
none of them an ark or an underwater kiss.

8.27.2006

explicit fishnet clank

It's Sunday, which means this blog will turn into an indie pop MP3 blog for no good reason at all.

The Little Ones
"And the answer of the day / is you've made it"

Any small bald man can outfit your day with the latest in paranoia. But The Little Ones will apologize and chime and tom-tom and press several keys over and over again until they are playing your nervous system. If your nervous system is a fridge that stocks macadamia nuts and once let Voxtrot spend the night after their stint as a Village Green Preservation Society tribute band. These songs are like what comes after "Sorry, you're right, that scheme was fucked up. Far too frazzled."

Download please my babies:

Lovers Who Uncover
Cha Cha Cha
High On a Hill


The Channels
"I can't imagine / how much it killed / to pop a blood blister / under your nail with a power drill"

No, not the Channel, but more than one, not like a fat Austrian who eats rivers, but more like wispy ADD. Maybe a skinny Austrian with a terrific metabolism and the cravings of a pregnant twelve-year old: yes, Weird Al with a side of Pavement, oh oh those high fuzz organs, crunch amps over autumn vocals, trumpets and lizardfish skulls, that Cleveland Indians movie but with dreadlocks, I am full, I am full! -- make the girl sing ooe-ooe-oo; o she is so allowed to be so cocky. This is the band of goofs afraid to stare too hard at the xylophone lest the glee should crack.

Download youz patooties:

Moon Song
Trevor
Fluoxetine
Couldn't Be Worse
More


From Neiles' Life MP3 blog

Lizardfish Skull
Baby You Make My Heart Sing
Leningrad Song


PS: Scuttle yr spectacles and check out the August edition of Ruby Mag, a great online art zine.

8.15.2006

i would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy

I have a new story, "Summer Peaches Versus Pocket Holes," up in StoryGlossia, a sweet online mag run by Steven McDermott, who loves to read short stories like us poor folk love to grill Kraft singles.

I have been spending most of my time watching Tom Waits videos on YouTube and shivering upon the sight of my bloated email inbox.

But I am also tutoring and working and eating pasta and broiling red peppers.

Once I built a bridge that spanned the gash of human indecency.

NOÖ [five] coming in a month or so.

P.S. New stuff from me, Tao Lin, P.H. Madore, Brian Beatty, Shya Scanlon, Benjamin Buchholz, other succulent flesh-morsels -- all over at the August elzimater-whatwhat.

8.08.2006

all we are say-in - !*&%$@#*&$%

It's hard to make this song work clean, but this is like ice to rise in every mouth, a-go-go now.

via Clay Banes

8.04.2006

p.s.

While not writing honest-to-whole-milk "rants" (see below), I am working on an e-poem/hypertext toy inspired by Robert Grenier's Sentences, mantra poems of take-your-pick Beat-floosies, the testimony of my own silly discrimination, and a certain internet boredom site.

It was boring and stupid until the last idea.

Now it has a wowzer-dowzer "format" trick.

And splashy language.

I don't know if I will just host it myself or ask others if they want to host it. Hosting it myself is like a "vanity publication," and Lord knows I digz me some validation from the Other, but it's probably boring and stupid and I'm nobody, so who would want to host it?

8.03.2006

8.02.2006

from a decree, i sowed in yr burning coals

Two new poems: one containing an image that will re"appear" ("occur" might be giving myself too much credit) forever in my shit (but reoccur recursively?! that would be something!) and one in which I have no idea whom I'm trying to accuse.

Is it gauche to post two poems at once? Also, is there a nifty word that means 'to see through'? Sorry for all this work! I know, lazy-puff, it's summer. Finkle me a dinkle. Go shave an asteroid.



Headlight Hollow

    Sunset trawls
a hollowed head-
light, finds the
  fine     dust, this
  loose       silk

One Last Note or Two or Wet

Thunder scoots against the riffs
that eke from such a dimebag balcony.

    He plays to prove his t-shirt,
    its logash logo of The Doors.

      In his family, things are assumed fucked
      when you spring for the pre-slated motorcycle.

But he tried and couldn't swing a cut & paste account
of "first in the family to graduate x" --

not a neat forked choice, just a skylark plunge
for "volunteer jawbones on the Reception Battalion bus" :

      comparing pink-tubed and cornpoke routes
      against his hopalong mytholojerk,

      a clank heart and that later go! crokd fingr
      trigger flang scuzz thud finger but oh now just

skin that bathed in the kitchen sink (no flowers
near the shower knob, nickel hussy Mazda gurgle --)

    He has seen Val Kilmer fake peyote bolstered cum
    and dreamed to jump hard from his own face,

is worried now about a fumbled twang,
losing sweet ass riff shit to wet strings

kinked and fried (what is it five seconds)
by a rain that you can lean from or let spread.

    He tries to keep the guitar under the roof slats
    and knees the amp against his goof flesh.


7.29.2006

okra made of to-fu!

Sorry (or you're welcome) for my string of promotions and now extended silence. I've been in Humboldt County, California, hanging out with my sister and guzzling fog. Met up with the lovely and gracious Joe Massey yesterday afternoon. We talked about all kinds of shit. Weird super-Christian outsider folk, how certain fellows do or don't listen to Public Enemy, rich people, families, fist fights, and .. um .. oh! Poetry! He showed me a book by Graham Foust and a Jack Spicer biography. Also gave me a MS copy of his next book: Areas of Fog. Which r0x0rs, is rich, gives me something to read -- I finished all my "vacation books" the first day out and have been subsisting on the magazines in trailer park laundromats.

And his cottage has a trapdoor.

Absolutely kickass dude.

This has been a Traditional Autonarrative Blog.

P.S. Siskiyou County poet Merita Stewart's poem from NOÖ was featured on Riley Dog. Yum!

7.22.2006

looking for how to spend $3?

Observable Readings, a free reading series which in October will host the impeccably dressed and usually beer-clad François Luong, needs yr good will. For every dollar you PayPal them, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission will give them another dollar.

Also!

NOÖ Journal will soon print its super-hurrah fifth issue -- sometime in early September, prolly -- and we're free too, giving away 32 honey soaked pages of goodness to rural readers throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon*. Funds come from our pockets and a thimble full of beautiful donations. If you want to support us, donate a paltry $2 and get a bad poem, so we can keep printing good poetry for free.

If you don't believe in "bad" and "good," relax: neither do we. Think of it as a giant joke, think of it as you giving us $2 pweese.

If you don't believe in money: shit. Shit. I guess we're up a creek.

K. Silem Mohammad, Tao Lin and Bryan Coffelt are all on deck to write you some deliberately awful poems.

Pluck $3 from yr July paychecks? Pweese?

*They aren't actually slathered with honey. That would be kind of combative.

7.20.2006

this situation has universal symbolism and stuff like elephants having tea with ghosts

I was bicycling down the street the other day, and a car -- some kind of white sedan -- honked at me. The driver made the "please call me" motion with pinky and thumb.

But I could not see the driver.

The driver was vague.

I don't know who the driver was.

I don't know the driver's phone number.

I have so far denied the driver's request, owing to all these problems.

If you were the driver, please let me know your phone number. Then I will call you. As you asked. With your hand.

7.18.2006

new elimae

If you're hot, you're on elimae. Not that I'm a facist or anything.

The new July elimae has poems from my friends Bryan Coffelt and Paul Madore, and a story from Nick Antosca (who I think is my friend, though he has yet to submit something new to NOÖ *hint hint, Nick, after you see this through checking your blog stats*)

It also has work from fine folks like Brian Beatty, Matt Bell, Claudia Smith, Tomi Shaw, Antonio Maltezos and Toshiya Kamei (translating Fernando Iwasaki). And everyone else too. Elimae is so lovely it makes your hands smell better.

7.15.2006

an astronaut / could've seen / the hunger in / my eyes from space

Maybe Adorno would say that a turn to the testimony of interior feelings in a time of global conflict is immoral. Nonetheless, these new Mountain Goats songs end any need to ever sing about death ever again.

Or maybe they make it okay.

I don't know.

This is not emo, because emo would never say: "I was cold. // So I put on a sweater. // And I turned up the heat. // ... // I practically ran. // From the living room. // Out into the street."

It's not really in the text, so listen:

Woke up New.
Find other Mountain Goats songs from their new album Get Lonely.

7.08.2006

michael that is a long poem the food channel is on your face is like a great big poop of face poop

Trying to move with breath (see: Charles) and stupid bric-a-brac (see: Kenneth) toward clarity (see: sand-dune Frank) and inflate (not with nothingness, but like tires don't run if they're not inflated) relevance (see: Allen).

Lordie, but what a paragraph of white men!

Now .. poem.

P.S. Please tell me especially about any technical inconsistencies in the poem. Oh ha ha ha. I'm serious about wanting to make sure the technical things are consistent, but yeah, ha ha ha. Read the poem.

P.P.S. If you post a comment saying 'i scrolled to the bottom // the poem is too long' then I will roll my eyes seventeen billion times.

Airplane Hangar Pancakes

okay: pancakes in an airplane hangar
and i worry about the men from oklahoma
with their cancer shoes and terminator reruns
like standing beside the motorhome two hours
just to watch me hook up the sewer line and
to tell me now you're shitting in cotton
and the old aunts! their millennium bunkers!
yeah those? with cheerios and applesauce?
evaporated milk and astronaut food? like after the
blackout a trucker will picnic with cockroaches
(out of work, both) saying well, them fucking
computers replaced prayer in the schools

and well, i worry about the mill towns
living off the photographs of old floods
stapled above the beaver heads in coffeeshops --—

i had a seven minute argument with my father
on how he said 'diners' were really 'coffeeshops'
and Starbucks didn't 'exist' and i got mad
then i thought of how i don't know a single
pop star from the 1850s and now i think
will litany shaped piffery save anything?
is salvation staring at the earwig in the tissue
before you step into the shower -- but okay:

pancakes in an airplane hangar, some years
later the tourist trap between humboldt
and southern oregon: back room with platoons
of old junk: kayaks, paul newman posters,
neon pool tables and pool table riffraff
of sambo dolls and styrofoam rc cars,
like stuff from the redemption of
a megagillion cereal tops or radio passwords
they drafted in longhand (radio!!!)
and the owner's blender was broken for
milkshakes so we had strawberry ice cream,
which tasted of strawberry ice cream --
then the yuppies, toddler, digicam and
since when did the word 'cute' come to mean
look at this thing that i own! and since when
did the word 'quaint' come to mean
how lovely that this smells like death
and we don't
or has it always meant that?
please write to me: mike@noojournal.com
to tell me if 'quaint' got invented by assholes

and the owner's blender was broken for
milkshakes so i thought of airplane
hanger pancakes from box mix, like oh
when boxed food was new! and now i'm saying
organic, like, you grow it in the ground?
and they are saying look at these jiffy boxes!
and i am saying those fonts need bedpans!
and my hair, then wrists, then knees glop up
from their sludge of dead rocketships and
cantor oil for baseball gloves, which melts
and sighs like a showtune through a glass tuba
and then i say a thing like that and feel like
bugs bunny's in a green hospital slip
but don't make him 3D just do all you can

just write him a card and staple a lily to it
like in second grade the lunch lady had a disease
that cards wouldn't fix but the teacher said
do cards anyway and we didn't understand
'anyway' we just understood 'cards' we did cards
and to third grade we went and to fourth grade
we went she died and to fifth grade we went
and to sixth grade we went and to eigth grade
we went and to eleventh grade and some of
us had babies on meth and took to sundown cigarettes
and everyone died and i have no idea if god
propped a nice carnival up somewhere in space
if we'll build another shuttle and sprinkle it
with gongs and vodka and bluegrass and think
like star trek: oh what silly days were those of war!
or if hope falls out with every tooth -- i have no idea
if you and i will ever fall in love on mars

7.06.2006

dolly

I want a little Kasey Mohammad doll whose string I can pull, whereupon he would deliver quotes like this (gleefully out of context):

"... the language, however 'poetically' elevated it is or isn’t, is carefully calibrated to accommodate that reality ..."

Yep. With the dangling "that" and everything.

Just to assauge fears that I am sucking up to Kasey: his breath smells. His breath smells like dead penguins on a bus.

7.03.2006

oh it's a funny little world

Sometimes it is better to let the mirror neurons have sex with the eyes.

Leave out sentences and words.

Go here: http://peoplecollector.blogspot.com/.

6.29.2006

talking about yourself is like dancing about something else

I know y'all can take me only in tiny doses, and I can take myself only in droplets, but my friend Sean Kilpatrick was kind enough to interview me and let me talk at length about shit.

Please read my interview.

I will do something for you, buy you a cake or something.

P.S. I probably won't buy you a cake.

6.27.2006

SoQ repreZENT

I feel sleazy. I am not out in the heat doing physical labor, like my father once did, like my mother once did, like my sister does on Arcata farms, like my friends do in foundation pits and cherry factories.

I feel sleazy about that.

Have done it. Building sheds, canning, gutting and cleaning filthy apartments. But right now I'm just a slip of here and that, a waste of water.

Thus: sleaze.

I wrote a SoQ poem because my new SoQ life "amuses" me. The rich people in this town smell of plastic rosewood, maple cures (in bottles, in bottles of maple pills) and sloths (dead sloths).

But this has nothing to do with all that.

It's actually okay, I'm doing well. I've drafted three new short stories. Okay, raise your hand if you give a shit. You shouldn't. Turn to your favorite news source for pictures of charred buses, useless shrugs, a conflict dreary with thousands of years and gallons of hatred.

I wish this had something to do with all that.

I wish I could write something about that.

Should I?

This is two posts in one. That was the first post.

The next post: I wrote a SoQ poem because my new SoQ life "amuses" me. I couldn't stay the course. It sounds like James Tate eating confetti-colored mints. Oh well. I'm glad it's not too quiet.

Now That I Own a Door

Leave you outside, you said,
with the spider on my doorbell.
Well, maybe him? Does he want to
join me and drag-race an armored car?
Fill my molars with melted honey bears?
Stay up until two playing the mandolin
with me, lift me -- it has a nice ring.
Listen, kid: all of your friends are
burnt sod and none of them want to hear
the name June laughed from a tailgate
outside a stadium of grass like tall women
thinking about something else when
they lean into bus poles, when they
won't push the door before a sigh.
Your best bets are cable receipts
and neighborhood popsicle brats
in Hulk Hogan t-shirts, asking after
more kids. No, sorry. Just a crust
of sleet -- but lemme check the burners
twice, then the last gimp of my Crest.
I will find one yet to let back in.

6.16.2006

stolen graham crackers

New poems, real names, same ole same ole:

For If You Burn Carol's Phone Number

God, Keighley, we were not a city
of giant things: weeds and words
for sleet from a Russian immigrant.
He evacuated a smirched shantytown
for your couch. He called Carol
a girl who sound like horse.

Not horse, dude: just Caterpillar boots
nailed like pelts to the sweep of
matching chimneys in a mute mining town,
to wet porches and beer bongs and summer
plans of sinking knuckles beneath lashes.

This other girl is off for Africa,
but she keeps whomping my shoulders,
like you don't understand, you don't --
what about hairdryers?
Who knows, eat
these Mini-Wheats, you're way gone,
you're way gone-- but none of us are way

gone, Keighley. I mean: why did we
let Carol down a fishtank full of rum?
I mean: I was stupid when I saw her
smack the cop car, Indian-sprawled
in a rain ditch, mascara flakes
dusting her crooked belt buckle.

I was stupid when I saw her and thought
hooray for pear and gorgonzola pizza
in my New York City summer! Fuck everyone!
You sound like horse like horse like horse!


Think now of how the tossed off lap
the swamp. They swim and make the rain
that makes us glad when sun busts
back to squish our guilt, thank God.

Keighley, hose her down and buy her
a clipper ship? You won't. We were
a city of singed faceplants, and
we left no lasting grace, only
its opposite -- riddens -- that
brands the broken like a long noon.

6.15.2006

New SmokeLong Quarterly

SLQ 13 is out. Fine flash fiction from flash fiction fiends.

6.12.2006

NOÖ [four]!

Everyone trundle on over to NOÖ Journal to check out [four]! Just released! Hot and steamy!

jessica rowan is a good person

Jessica Rowan is a kind person.

She reminds me of Emmanuel Levinas. She likes other people and what they say. She allows them their oceans, even when they're tentative and honest about the stupidity of many activities, like writing to practice for MFA programs instead of writing to love language and people. But even if they want to do that, she'll let them.

i like what other people say too. i honestly find everyone humbling and crippling and amazing, even stoners, jocks, and Republicans. i'm not being sarcastic.

The jury is still out on assholes. They make me sad and delirious. They make me feel like i have Alka-Seltzer in my shoulderblades and that i will never do any good for the world because everyone else is so worried about hating people.

Oh well! Let's all of us have a carnival and invite everyone who doesn't go to college and who doesn't complain about menial things.

Posting this, i'm "treading thin ice," like my father says, because a lot of the people who read this blog i've met through NOÖ or the wider writing world. They probably don't even realize i'm in college. In my contact with them, i try to stay hyper-articulate and mature, because most people believe college is full of undercooked dunderheads.

Community college in a dirtpoor town and growing up in a strange, mostly poor, semi-urban, semi-rural town -- they both make me feel ditzy and sick about all this hyped up ferocity and obsession over the miniscule. In an American college full of air conditioners! Or on the lousy internet! Were we reduced to an island, three people in the world would have the internet. But i love it. i love it because of all the people i've met.

Still, i try engaging those of my supposed "peers" who consider themselves grave and epic, their collegiate environment doubly so. They hate me for ridiculing cynicism or self-adoration, hate me for dressing like a sailor and spouting and spouting kooky words. i talk a lot because honesty skitters toward the complicated. i talk a lot because talking is funny.

i work hard and grew up poor enough to know i would never hit college unless i scooped every scholarship. But now -- i'm guilty as anyone, equally submersed in this lavish day-to-day, where we're so out of touch with the world that the situation skips disgusting and ascends to silly.

So, if you're sneering and ranting through college, assuming your world sucks, not engaged somehow (any how) in "play" that signals how scary and blissful our luck is -- i don't know. i don't know. Ethically, morally -- i really don't know.

But i guess i engage these people around me because they're people and they're around me. i don't genuinely "hate" anyone or believe anyone comes hardwired as an asshole. i am always hopeful that something cool and kind and earnest lurks in their chestbones, something that might twang and allow them to stop snarling over silly nonsense, leaving room for something graceful.

My sister is a hippie who, with her churchgroup, feeds people chili. Sometimes i'm cynical, but that's only because she does more than me and it breaks my heart that she can't do everything for everyone and we both want to do everything for everyone. =(

Sometimes i try to give her jokes that will make people happy.

6.11.2006

NOÖ Journal [four] is out!!

Update: Everyone trundle on over to NOÖ Journal to check out [four]! Just released! Hot and steamy!

Now, rain:

"It's raining? Is it warm rain? My phone told me it was warm rain."

This Oregon swamprain is crazy right now. You have to see it.

When I read about things I've never seen -- a poem about a Montana train station -- I will picture it as something I once saw on TV / a movie. Even if I don't remember the specific scene, I can tell that media recall is what's going down. Is my imagination limp and squalid?

Does this happen to anyone else? Please help me out. I feel so cold.

6.01.2006

in the bathtub with a french accent

What's going on these days with fizzpo? Friends are writing short, sly fluff pieces about why their friends' poetry is fizzpo.

Check it out here.

What is fizzpo?

And some more clever fizzpo rules.

5.24.2006

men work in fields with feelings

Man, everybody always posts about their scholarship. I am a scholar too. Sources have pegged me a "public theorist." Here are the titles of some of my upcoming projects, all of which will be published in TIME, Rolling Stone, Good Housekeeping and The Dayton, Ohio Electrical Appliance Quarterly:

-The Ethical and Legal Responsibilities of MySpace: Not to Mention the Loss of Eyesight!

-The Linguistics of AstrocolonialismTM: Neo-Colonialism-Post-Colonialism, or Will Space Travel Demand a Unity of Languages and Will That Affect My Friday Nights?

-Do Dinosaurs Poop?

-marginal Diction: How Civilization Will Reorient Itself After the Replacement of Phrases Like "A Sort Of" With Phrases Like "This, Like"

-Cognitive Memory Machines In The Age of Infinite Mechanical Duplication: How Google supersedes Actual Memory and Proves That My Title Is Cooler Than Your Dog

-No, Really, Do They?

P.S. Google says I am the first person to use the word astrocolonialismTM. Pay up, suckers. Even though I can't trademark a noun?!

P.P.S. Ignore this post and read my story below.

5.23.2006

Ball of Dooshie Levitation

Something different. Fiction. Promise. Even though I know a guy named Daniel. I was supposed to write about an asshole, but I'm not sure who's the bigger asshole -- him or me for writing, etc. Love me tender love me true. Tell me if the ending feels dumb.

Ball of Dooshie Levitation

I trip when my little sister shows me how to levitate. Like hello pavement. Chew on this: by the time he was nineteen, John Smith had sailed the known world twice. Me, I can't even get my shoes steady. Not that I'm lacking in desire, Mr. Smith. But a sunburn is munching the skin off my neck, and I am happy to report that the sidewalk smells a little like fried sand.

"No, like this," says the little bitch. She goes tiptoe on one foot and tucks up the other, and sure, sure, she's floating, whatever. It only works with pants. She's got my old pants.

"It's so easy," she says, "you don't even know. Like David Blaine. It's Ball of Dooshie levitation."

"It only works if you're fat," I say.

She sucks up her cheeks.

"Floating people are lazy," I say.

"Whatever. You're a nerd."

Grilled cheese is easy. Hello World in QBasic is easy. Levitation in the sunlight -- not so much.

My sister is running a magic stand. Like a lemonade stand, except snazzier? Supposedly this is better for her than watching David Blaine on cable and eating cashews. I don't know. Cashews are tasty little motherfuckers. And I could be fine, sloth-sprawled in my room with EverQuest and the new Metallica. Sure, the drums sound like someone opening the fridge. On a boat. In space. With a cold. But it's fine. I could be fine.

But no. We live three blocks from a filthy public pool. The city condemned a trailer down the street. Farther into the flats, there be Asians. Paper lanterns in the trees and tarp in the windows. Oh, those diabolical Asians. Thus my little sister requires my supervision.

I'm not so into hanging out with her. Last week I drank this milkshake she'd made and left sitting by the toaster. She came into my room and started slapping my ears. I grabbed her and tried to drag her out, but she dug into the doorway. She looked like a bearded loon in a tempest on an island.

Well, no, not really, no.

But I laughed at her, and she got so mad she almost ate her tongue.

My Mom says, "It's not like you have a job, Daniel."

I say, "It's not like she has a soul."

"It will be good for you. For both of you."

"I get sunburned. I lose skin."

"It's Vitamin D. It's good for you."

"But there's bees and heat waves and shit."

"Oh, come on. Look how nice it is. It's fresh."

Right. Fresh. August fresh, like my legs and my leg hair get so wet together that in Alabama they'd need a marriage license. But I can't explain myself. This is the problem with leisure in an age of mechanical reproduction. I can show my parents how my mage just fucked up like seventy rats, and they'll just nod and shy for the door. Of course, in their minds, the feeble construction of sibling love is a better pastime. They just can't dig particle lighting effects. What can I do? How do you prove your time to someone who treats beauty like a Greek clock?

Not that pixels are beautiful.

Not like skin.

Cheerleader skin like a Slurpee headache.

Okay, so even I think my life is flimsy. Thus I agreed to watch my sister. My shoulders went flaccid and the protest stayed under my teeth.

And I can't even levitate.

So, sick at heart, I chill out on the sidewalk. Clean my glasses, inspect the stand setup, sit on it. It consists of our grandparents' old dining room table and a whiteboard sign. A bunch of magic nonsense crowds the tabletop: cards, clinkly link things, a rubber rabbit. My sister's also got this plastic top hat with stickers. For her part, she wears a cape and a heavy worry. She keeps peering around, craning her look through trees and all, like maybe the birds are up for a coin trick. We even did the sign regression. Down from $3 to $1 to $0.25 to CLAPPING to ANY FORM OF THE WORD WOW.

But no takers and my knees sting.

Whoop-dee-doo. Summer got made for people that like country music. Meanwhile my desk drawers fill with Hustlers. Someday soon, when I outgrow my acne and my loneliness escalates into the moors of the tragic, I totally intend to score some Vicodin.

"Here we go!" my sister yelps. Someone's headed up. One of our neighbors, this little kid Ricky with squirrel cheeks. He is wearing a white, adult-sized cowboy hat, and the world is steadily proving my theories about our inferiority to amoebas.

"What the hell is this," he says, "what the fuck-ing hell."

He's in fourth, fifth grade?

"Nice hat," I say, and he does that cowboy nod with the fat lips.

"Do you want to see a card trick?" my sister asks.

"Why don't you do a pony trick," he says and sneers.

"I have a rope too." She does. And the box set everything came from sits under the table, replete with book. Sometimes she gets these spiral bound imprints on her nose from falling asleep under said book.

"Do the quarter and the cat trick," I say. "She makes a cat come out of a quarter."

"You're a dork," my sister says.

"I don't have a cat," Ricky says.

"Oh. I thought you were a real cowboy," I say.

"What the fuck-ing hell?" Ricky says.

"Real cowboys have cats." I say. "They store them under their hat."

"You're fuck-ing retarded," he says. Then he swoops over the table and scatters the playing cards. My sister spent forty minutes toward their arrangement. Magic is deception and takes time. So my sister screams and punches Ricky in the groin. His cowboy hat flies off like a sure white pelican. Ricky goes all purple and looks at me. I shrug.

"I live with the girl," I say.

But Ricky lives where they condemned the trailer, so he gets up and rips off my sister's cape. She hiccups and grabs her throat. It looks like it hurt.

"Stop, stop," I say, like I'm reading an eye chart.

Ricky and my sister go at it right there, on the sidewalk under the sun, hair jumbling and squeals whirling. All things considered, I feel pretty good. I am thinking of how this scene would look on LSD. Also of that Shania Twain song with the word asunder, which is a good word. The words in LSD are lysergic acid diethylamide. My friends and I memorized it and tried to write a song, but we had only a trumpet and a drum machine. One of my friend's families once had a foreign exchange student from Brazil, who they found smoking pot in their attic. He had bought it from those diabolical Asians. My friend said it smelled like catnip, but not really. Kind of a letdown.

"You need some pot," I call out.

"Dan-yulll!" my sister warbles.

By now Ricky has her plastic top hat, so he peels stickers and scrunches them into the sidewalk cracks. My sister's on her knees, finally a little weepy. I do nothing. Here is my reasoning: the minor devil shrinks when exposed to paramount cruelty. Besides, I know what salt tastes like under no wind. I used to swim at the public pool. My parents went through three swim-noodles (stolen) and half a million bottles of suntan lotion (too effective). The kids there beat me up and once they pantsed me underwater. When I get my own van, I intend to run over each and every little pointy-ribbed asshole.

My sister could use some of that. My sister's forehead sports a red smudge. My sister could lose the notion of her own entitlement. My sister cries in fat, wobbly heaves. My sister's magic cards are getting colonized by ants.

My sister could use a shredded balloon for a heart.

Like mine.

Oh hell.

I stand up and go to pummel the little Ricky fucker, but right then the roof of my mouth turns tickled. I clamp my teeth shut and hear a bee.

Inside of me. Inside of my mouth. Like toast or longing.

Holy shit.

I start going crazy.

The bee sounds scared.

Naturally, I trip again. I fall right next to my sister.

My thoughts in order of escalation: God sucks. God really sucks.

The bee tastes crazy scared.

Ricky is faced with us: a chubby eight year-old girl all saddled with sniffles and wet hair, and a spotty teenager with a huge Adam's apple flailing and jerking and hacking and screaming "mhrm mhrm mhrm." So he swipes his cowboy hat and hides under the table. "You're all so fuck-ing retarded," he yells.

Bees taste like shit.

My sister points at me, says "wait wait" and crawls under the table. She shoves Ricky out and grabs her book from the box. She zooms through the pages, but Ricky bats it away. He starts to say something else but she bites him on the neck and bellmeister ring the bell, they're off for round two.

Bees taste like utter utter shit.

Heat swims off the cars parked around the neighborhood.

The commotion draws out Mrs. Langley, who carries an unwarranted dust pan. She darts back inside.

Two yellow cars saunter past.

Suddenly I feel a fist on my back and I sputter. The bee zips out and away.

I just kneel there for a while. My chin feels greasy and my throat coarse. I shiver in the middle of August.

Then I turn to look up and empirically verify a loaded bikini top. The attached girl is Asian and cappuccino-colored and done up in this sad little smile.

Somewhere on a chart, my luck aligns roughly with that of the dinosaurs.

"Did you get it?" she says.

"It was a bee."

"Wow. That's a bummer."

"It was a mouth bee. It was in my mouth."

"Are they okay?" she says, pointing.

I look at my sister and Ricky, who sit numb and staring at his mangled cowboy hat. She gives the brim another twist. I guess it was pretty cheap. That's what you get for living in a condemned trailer. My sister twists again, which is a habit of hers. Now I even feel a little sorry for that rat bastard. Several seconds glop past. Finally, Ricky snaps his head around, spits on my sister and scampers away.

"They're the best of friends," I tell the girl.

"Liar," my sister says. "I hate his stupid face."

"It's okay," the girl says. "I know how little kids are. They're such little shit balls."

"You're a lifeguard," I say. She laughs.

"No, I'm just watching my cousins. I went to get some ice cream at JD's. Um." She swirls her arms to indicate what interrupted her. If I were a stray leaf, she would be my eagle. I notice her bike lying there, then my shoes, which are all scuffed and dreary. I imagine how the rest of me looks. My glasses pinch my nose.

The world feels like a baby whale with a bellyache. My ears sting and sting and sting.

"I, um," I say. "She has a magic stand."

"That's cool."

"He can't levitate," my sister says.

"You can," I say. "Stay here," I say to the girl, who shrugs. "Do it," I say, to everybody.

My sister smirks, but she levitates. The Asian girl watches her. A bunch of big freckles zigzag down the Asian girl's back, which for some reason I find weird and amazing and oh, I feel so rancid about that. My sister pulls her trick off for a second, then she stumbles and gives up. She starts giggling, and the girl gives her a thumbs up.

I announce, "John Smith sailed the world twice before he was nineteen."

The girl grins and touches my arm. "I knew that, silly."

My face feels dirty like a construction worker's. After they finish a day with a high-rise, I guess they just sit there on that last beam. Who knows. I've never seen a tower outside of SimCity. But I figure that they've lost so much skin over the day -- to sweat and sun and mean birds -- they don't really care about falling off. That's floating for real and I've never felt it.

The girl smiles again and my sister shouts, "Daniel looks like a wet pizza!"

Not that I'm lacking in desire.

5.16.2006

hard work

I have been wrestling with this one for a while. It's about my mother. Sometimes I stare at the lake when a line goes wrong.

Beloved Floofylimbs, How I Pine Like Damn

Floofylimbs, I live in a cheery house of rafts,
wherein I dwell on sex and speaker systems,
all the livelong whistlin' "shlam-zee-du!"
and "up with methsicles!"

I make sure to reck for heavy heavy siphoning,
and eat my grilled tomatoes from a can:
a tin assembly stapled by a Persian
lacking ankle socks.

Charlie from the DragonCon insists I scrimp —
owing to my debt of twenty Pogs. But hark!
All day the pitbulls squish the avocados,
all day a real bridge is paced

to grind away through clomps
the limpid bargains of frayed caps or county lines.
Yet I never dally in such onion-ridden frowns: every
eye I own is totally into that Kenny Chesney nostalgia.

What's with tongue aflame with shitty shitty bang bang?
We have a world of Specials, of Extravaganzas, of Megaman!
Why, Tim has stayed up all night selling fish in Everquest and
truly so did all the garden jingle at his feat! No powdered eggs!

So prowl with me through the Raley's parking lot, the bumper cars, and
train your spork to slice the scrim. For I did not buy half a dozen
Gatorades to see your rain shoes near the oven. This is the year
that we — like — yeah, the year — you know — Oreos.

5.12.2006

um

A Small Choir Replies to Minh-Huyen's MySpace Bulletin

Minh-Huyen may never ride a bull.
We can't derive exactly where her
bleakness bleats. We've lied our
teeth to slush concerning what we
did, shit, Friday night, so many --

  We shook ginger into teenage winks.
  We gabbed acorns across our desks.

Sara and Jes had giggled the pizza boy
out of boxers, while Minh-Huyen said
she'd watched TV, saw Boy Meets World,
but no one heard her, so she just
stenciled triangles into the wood.

We wanted to entice a creamnecked mink
who got sleepy as cinnamon and said
large things about the things we lacked.
Minh-Huyen, we said dumb things about
Paul Simon writing songs for his faucet --

  We scented ourselves with documented gaps.
  We stole baggy clothes from jailed folk.

We heard the funk of the flannel lady
screaming to joggers at the bus stop,
and we heard our capos clamping
as we sang high and hoped for saltwater.

And we can't say still that we would raze
a secret cornfield and spackle it neon,
buy you a bull or tip you a shot,
save you any toys or touch your tongue --

  Hearts like ours would fail to wrinkle silk.
  You own the sea we've attempted to film.

5.08.2006

instructions

Everybody respond to my last two poems with quotes from White Noise (the Delillo, not the Keaton) concerning nostalgia.

Poetry should not service reconstruction, it should service construction, the construction of imagickation.

This renders at least one entire form -- the lament -- irrelevant. Also, whales are dumb.

Discuss.

5.07.2006

dandy wa-wa

Ashley Yells the Once and Future Fuck You

Ricky's brother Ashley in the window,
dirged as an old woman of soup sleeves,
shouting ignoble our baseball and Kool-Aid.

She was a slut, he was less than a
corn can -- me with my gloves and
friends too lotionclad for the laundromat.

Sorry, I'm sorry, I'm pocked where
my baby teeth left. Ricky's brother lost
in a room of galloping angel denim smocks.

I'll go back to build the doughnut store
I promised this one chick. Ricky now plops
her head down in her bowl of mothball stew.

Kids won't know, God knows, give me a streamer.

5.04.2006

okay, trying for fizzpo

Or: how to make fizzpo avoid langpo. I think we need more rules.

Your Town Has Nine Nice Lawns

See Reno before you die in
Alaska where your wolves slip
up the lips of two apologetic girls
trading shoes for fraught shenanigans --

-- win a fistful of rhinestones,
but the fist of a station dwarf, so
yeah. No good movies thrum through
this town so it's roofie what what
for the pose --

-- for the win! in the stretch
of any back, and I've seen my
share of Amy's back, see Reno
before you employ a beach ball
as a priest, or a consolation doobie --

-- see what brooding we invent when
my trailer fills with Chinese lanterns.

5.03.2006

everything that rises must conmotherfuckingverge

Langhorne Slim. Jesus Christ. What do these young men have in common? The drunken scythe of truth, that's what.

This one song -- "Hope and Fulfillment" -- is like an angel gone slicing my heart my heart my heart with banjo wire and the furious love of Jupiter.

This song could reconstruct the pyramids.

Turn your speakers up, invent a new word for up, turn it to that