4.30.2008

napowrimo #30

I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU IF YOU WILL

Nothing I write will ever give
back Monty Hensley. Fuck you
I'm crying. But I won't make
you. The more we agree to cling at
clever intricacies of conniption,
the less we have to monitor this
spleen. Fuck you "sad poem."
Fuck you balloon in the woods.
All I want to do is make a lot of
jokes and what about Monty Hensley.

napowrimo #29

CALL TO RETARDED ARMS

Is there good advice here?
Take things one at a time,
sleep with one at a time,
fine. I heard you the first
time. Listen to the swallow
lark. Aim at the reap. Grind
past your blink at this mercy.

4.28.2008

napwrimo #28

BRYAN COFFELT ON MIKE YOUNG: "Mike Young's poetry is heavily rooted in zoroastro-colonialism and sanguine video adapters. The comic enjambment in his poems stems from a love of knives. In "Make It Rain," Young utilizes comic enjambment to load the reader with possibility.

Yeah im in this business of terror
Got a handful of stacks better
grab an umbrella.

Mike Young's poetry offers readers a whiff of Wordsworth and his involvement with the feminist slam poetry scene is widely praised. Well known poetry critic Brett Favre said of Young's poetry, "Makes me wanna do jumping jacks." Young's poetry has been translated into more than 2 languages, including American Sign Language and English."

MIKE YOUNG ON BRYAN COFFELT: "Coffelt was born in Hailey, Idaho Territory, to Homer Loomis and Isabel Weston Treacle Tits. As a young drag racer, he often replaced local tourist attractions with large graphite asterisks. He earned a BA in Hammerhead Skullfucking from the University of I Think Wait No Let Me Call My Mom, but found the local art scene "orange." So he worked for seventeen years as a day laborer, mostly in the fields of soothsaying, fire extinguisher mending, and Mussolini's fascist regime. During these years he learned the violin skills that he'd later leave in the sink without washing at all. When Coffelt's uncle, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley Coffelt, died of a self-inflicted helicopter wound, Coffelt inherited the family catgut factory. Coffelt sold the factory to the third Olsen twin and entered the MFA program deep inside Alan Greenspan's gall bladder. Like the many famous graduates of that program, Coffelt spun homegrown buckwheat conjugal poems for the back of racist cereal boxes, which he called "the Ideogrammic Method." To pay the bills, Coffelt translated popular "no hands" toilets. In Greenspan, Coffelt befriended Ashton Kushner (author of YAKS ARE FOOD IF YOU'RE TALL ENOUGH and world-renowned authority on "cunt marmalade"). Kushner later remarked "I was never able to teach him to throw a left hook." Kusher later confabulated. Kushner later unsabered. After Greenspan, Coffelt moved to Nashville, where conditions in the local ménage à trois ranches inspired him to quit his job as a shinguard and write his epic YINZER SHAKE RIB AQUALUNG DOROTHY JINGLE HAMFISTED DECIPHER PLEA AVARICE MOTZ ET SONS ARMONIA CONUTERFEIT FUCK YOU FRANCOIS VILLION FUCK YOU FRANCOIS VILLON IN YOUR JOY NUB, which translated into Canadian as TED KOOSER. With TED KOOSER, Coffelt had a massive hit on his hands, on his hands, a duck-shaped and gooey pustule. Unfortunately, Coffelt squandered his cut of the movie rights pursuing his only love up a broken escalator. After tossing off the hackneyed and (critics agree) "Jew-savvy" sequel, TED KOOSER ESCAPES FROM WHITE CASTLE, Coffelt entered a seven year seclusion of radar prayer and dandelion farming. He returned to briefly host the game show version of Peak Oil, but one day fled the set in a fit of rage, spewing instructions on how to parallel park without "invoking Hiroshima." His hotel room was found empty save for an oven full of checkbooks, a water heater full of nuns, and a shower full of emails from one "Dorothy Shakespear." To this day, Coffelt's whereabouts remain a mystery: some say he teaches competitive panic induction at the University of Slut Get Out of There That's Not For Sluts. Others say he's taken on the identity of one Agnes Burford and regularly composes violin arrangements of Dante's sestinas for Dunkin Donut radio commercials. One truth swims up: the brilliance of TED KOOSER and the piebald elasticity of the kinkfest behind it. Long will serious art fans remember TED KOOSER for its anklebiting heat, its instructions regarding human bones, and the sheer inability of us to even read it unless we're hiding in the cake."

napowrimo #27

DANIEL BAILEY ON MIKE YOUNG: "mike young's poems read like a a cultural critique written by an alien living inside a radio station that plays nothing but a tribe called quest and songwriters influenced by bob dylan. his comic enjambment brings to mind shakespeare, if shakespeare had been part wookie and wanted nothing more than to be part android, part biodome, part human genome project, part mfa student that knows what documents were invented for framing and what documents were invented for feeding to iguanas. i would let mike young have sex with my sister, if i had a sister. mike, stay away from my mother."

MIKE YOUNG ON DANIEL BAILEY: "Ever since God created the Pop-Tart Scansion, critics have argued over whether Daniel Bailey's work represents an homage or appropriation of John Cusack's tribal straw trundle or "plastic poetics." We all know the two camps: Anamorphic Neo-Trotsky Big Money Hoodlum Wasabi Canadians, and Shaq's Free Throw Percentage. But all critics since 1932 have agreed that Bailey ingeniously reintroduced Hawaiian sonnets to bellwether curves. Even though his most recent books spin fruitless reiterations of the "Dick Cheney slept there don't touch that" meme, Bailey is still a go-to waffle laureate for scores of "wishful thinkers" currently in the process of signing a Miley Cyrus donkey sex petition."

4.26.2008

napowrimo #26

JUSTIN TAYLOR ON MIKE YOUNG: "In the Family Double Dare of the heart, Mike Young's comic enjambment demands no less than that we confront our father and sisters (off-camera, before taping starts) and work out our issues so that the whole family can rely on each other and function as a team. Only in this way, Young's comic enjambment suggests, do we stand a chance at completing the Physical Challenges and making it to the final Obstacle Course, where, of course, after two rounds of trial we are immediately to be tried again. As Kierkegaard has it in _Fear and Trembling_: "The true knight of faith is a witness, never a teacher..." To put this in terms of Mike Young's comic enjambment, we must think not just *of witness* but of *what is witnessed.* The closest analog comes to us from W.G. Sebald in the "All'estero" chapter of _Vertigo_. I am, obviously, thinking of the episode where the narrator is suddenly overtaken by a fear of assassination and flees Verona on the night train to Innsbruck. Delayed at a stop along the route, the narrator notes that "[t]he rain turned to snow. And a heavy silence lay upon the place, broken only by the bellowing of some nameless animals waiting in a siding to be transported onwards." This describes not only the interior logic and executive process of Mike Young's comic enjambment, but also, in a roundabout way (Kierkegaard again: "Faith *is* this paradox" [emphasis mine]) it describes the way in which first-time reader's of Mike Young's comic enjambment both receive and internalize the text as an extension of the poetic device, and vice versa, maybe."

MIKE YOUNG ON JUSTIN TAYLOR: "Since his recruit days in the Winnipeg Jets fantasy camp, Justin Taylor has studiously strove to undermine the market through a deft 4-5-6 double play of Vaudevillian proportions. Though wily mermaids have called him "a young Moses" and "the black George Foreman," Taylor has consistently identified and defied expectations by logging off before you can rape his allegory. His breakout show, GYPSIES ARE MADE OF FART BRICKS, had some critics comparing him to Edna St. Vincent Millay inside a Ziploc bag. But since retreating into a blowfish culvert, Taylor has dismissed his previous aesthetics and embarked on a new project tentatively entitled BRICKS ARE MADE OF GYPSY FARTS. Ever the literary "cunt balloon," Taylor's work promises to buy a new food processor, eat a piano, and make everyone forget about how Beckett used to drive Andre the Giant to school until at least 2026."

4.24.2008

napowrimo #25

JOSH MADAY ON MIKE YOUNG: "Mike Young's words dig into the mind with their pointy-sharp chin. Bleeding becomes a matter of comic enjambment, and one's external uterus swells with milkweed and ragweed and fetusweed, swimming in the othernight, lying still at the bottom, encased in the swaggering current, hair floating, sliding back and forth. Mike Young's words ritualize and thrust violently, a wild chimp wielding dagger and penis and classic Darwinian phallic accuracy, impregnating, inseminating, joining elements together in a tissue of meaning, creating a sticky context embedded with tumors of absence, abstractions of life and death and the sex that brings them together. Obscene sanctity: an old woman with one saggy tit exposed as though to breastfeed the public. Her name: Joyce. Her other tit: missing in action. Nipple incarcerated in a glass jar filled with dish soap. Along with screws and tires and TV trays. And, finally, a praying mantis trying in vain to extract a drop of milk. Mike Young's words do this. Mike Young's words are hungry. Comic enjambment. Comic enjambment."

MIKE YOUNG ON JOSH MADAY
: "Live from a dwarf's cabin in a forest of glass trees on Europa, NBC is proud to present the world's first human tortilla chip, the man who grafted Tom Brady's left testicle onto a hawk, the only respected Pynchon scholar sponsored by Tide, the two time winner of the CATULLUS AIR GUITAR 500, the uninstantiated swig siren, the oldest living toothbrush cobbler, the NHL record-holder for "most fingernail sculptures in March," the moral equivalent of a fake Ringpop, the first soldier ever to occupy six Middle-Eastern ice rinks at once, the standard by which all future coincidences will be measured, the father of all magnolia graves, the ant who wanted to be a crop circle, a root canal among fullers, a hinterfotzig among tourists, a shirtless linguist fresh from hiding in the sweatervest closets of Natalie Portman: JOSH MADAY!"

napowrimo #24 (see my "i like suttree" post for details; send me more!)

ALEX BURFORD ON MIKE YOUNG: "Mike Young's poetry, although a suitable front for his West Indian Wife Swap, is not a suitable container for a child. Or children for that matter. His comic enjambment, its tiny little fingers getting in the pores of your lung, does not account for the hurried tone and the insistence that you are the misunderstood one. As a master of rhetoric hump-dump, we know Mike Young not really for his poetry but rather for his critical work on the mating positions of Tenor Flies and the mess that follows. Yum! THAT IS WHY HE IS DEN MOTHER; TAKE HIS CHILDREN AND/OR BOY SCOUTS FROM HIM WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME. But in retrospect we can appreciate his appearance in the film 360's Over Alabama, the way, although he is twenty one years old, he appears to have the body of an eleven year old trapeze singer. So fuck that shit."

MIKE YOUNG ON ALEX BURFORD: "When Alex Burford first entered the Cincinnati literary scene as a flagon of apricot jelly, few thought that his aping of Apollinaire, Clark Coolidge, and a warm towel would result in the catastrophic yurt his contribution to the literary canon has become. Burford's mastery of the trochee often ends up in the reader's ass without the cops or the landlord. Even after Burford achieved popular acclaim as an outspoken critic of javelin factories, he stayed true to literature and stayed mostly in the shower, ten hours a day, wearing the skin of Elton John. When the 29th century ends and space cowboys are forced to reinvent the parentheses, today's literary scholars have no doubt that they will turn to the recursive models of Alex Burford's fake knee."

4.22.2008

see the post "i like sutree" for details; send me more of these; napowrimo #23 literary critcism as poetry

K SILEM MOHAMMAD ON MIKE YOUNG: "Mike Young's sometimes painfully multivalent hollering comes at a time when we were just getting used to a bunch of weak shit being at the center of this, what, this pantomime passing itself off as a dedicated dialectic about/with/towards lettered competence now, today, in (hoo boy) full-throated AMERICAN BOHEMIANISM. The comic enjambment barely begins to account for it. What we are really chewing on here are our own inverted esophagi, spangled with the nonchalant ratatouille flecks of whatever reamed-out discourse looked "OK" at the time. Mike Young is not down with that. Wake the fuck up."

MIKE YOUNG ON K SILEM MOHAMMAD: "The degrees to which K Silem Mohammad's anti-flatulent elegies borrow from the rhetorical stances of Ashbery, Jay-Z, and syphilis have all been explored in prior discourse, but Australian critics often miss Mohammad's solemn and macaroonian open-field weaving of Ginsberg's "column of breath" with Pete Sampras's legendary monotone. In flitting between Butlerian notions of gender performance and whatever's left in the fridge, Mohammad captures a whirligig of contemporary light fixture instructions. Through his famous pantoum and lục bát hybrids "wait" and "brb"--bolstered by the cumulative finger fuck of his two long works SHIT SOCKS: A CRITIQUE OF LATE MODEL ENVIRONMENTAL CAPITALISM AS NARRATED BY VIRGIL and EVERYONE I KNOW IS INSIDE MY PANTS--Mohammad has built a reputation as the only Tanzanian poet who can simultaneously navigate the space of shoe goo and the space of, well, space."

napowrimo #22: literary criticism as poetry

GABE DURHAM ON MIKE YOUNG: "Mike Young's poetry has the "good fat" of a ripe avocado and everybody knows it. When he concluded his collection, "The Kindhearted Enemies of Mike Young," with "I want to dip / my comic. In jam," all of America wondered what "comic. in jam" meant."

MIKE YOUNG ON GABE DURHAM: "Into a lineage that intersects the pastiche of Barthleme but dawned somewhere around Ezekiel 69:69, Gabe Durham somersaults or maybe limbos, touting anxious post-thumb-and-forefinger narratives of displaced class struggle and hot Mormons. Durham's main themes of syncopated baby grinding, Africa, and solid-color polo shirts execute a mouvement gracieux in and out of his overriding conceits. In and out and in and oh my god oh my god oh my god. This interplay allows him to strive toward a unified weltanschauung that aligns him with such diverse poles as Richard Hell, Mallarme, and the guy who played the interactive chicken in that online Burger King commercial."

4.21.2008

napowrimo #21: a literary crticism intermission

BLAKE BUTLER ON MIKE YOUNG: "Mike Young's poetic teetaw caused a cosmic enjambment in my scrote, which once infected, defined a nation, and that nation was neon purple & made of email, and I left that nation with Mike Young's mother's mother, and Mike Young's mother's mother was the dude who scripted most of Legend of Zelda II."

MIKE YOUNG ON BLAKE BUTLER: "Blake Butler's synthesis of Lynchian hyperbole and didactic Wu-Tang skank tropes (in the Lacanian mode) causes readers to question anew our semiotic Dairy Queen panopticon. What Roland Barthes called "the grain of the voice" and Jeff Gordon called "I could've won if the other cars had just gotten out of my way" is embodied in Butler's spry, wedgie-tight narratives of American betrayal and disillusioned shopping cart races. Coming strong as dinosaur's breath from the Fugitive poet tradition, think of Butler as a modern day John Crowe Ransom with buck teeth, a penchant for "iced coffee" (in the Derridian sense of the phrase, more than a surface-level thirstiness and rather a concertedly diachronic poop-under-the-bridge aporia), and a finger up yo dirty brain nigguh."

i like suttree

Can someone write an essay or blog post about my poetry that uses the phrase "comic enjambment?" I don't care what else you write. Just the phrase "comic enjambment" and maybe a picture of yourself with your shirt off.

It doesn't even have to be a positive essay. You can talk shit about "comic enjambment" and say that I've "abandoned my lower-middle-management-class roots." You can quote Nietzsche or Ric Flair. It's really all freedom, see?

If you Google the phrase you'll notice it's only been used once online. That means $$$.

I'll write a blog essay about your poetry if you take care of mine. The biological term for this is "jerking each other off."

Think of it like a Nickelodeon gameshow! Go.

UPDATE: Blake Butler has written one and I have written one for him. More! More.

napowrimo #20

THE GREAT MUSCLE RELAXER IN THE SKY

I can't remember why I'm buying groceries online.
Save on the frozen black bean mango entrée, sure,
laugh a little. Eat by yourself and laugh a lot,
looking. Hug the walls of the rink and list the
songs you'd request if you were someone who did
that. "I want to be with what the people see."
Sorry. Let's return to our hedonist epic, sure,
yes oh yes, a drop of white lemon up there who.

4.18.2008

breaking the record for most posts in a day

Tao doesn't have the only prolific email mother. Here is a story my mother just sent me:

(REMEMBER?) OUR TRIP "TO" BUCK'S LAKE

A true story about being in the right place at (more or less;-) the right time.

Alternate title: ARE YOU SURE YOU STILL WANT A MINI COOPER?!?

It was a bright & sunny day. Middle April, not yet May, yet the temperature was pushing 80 degrees-not too uncommon for this area though. Court was adjourned (more on this in a future reference), chores had been dealt with or delegated, bills paid by Dad. What to do now? First things first, of course, delivering paid bills here and there. We drove around in circles a few times; forgetting to post at the P.O., doubling back; forgetting in the midst of conversation about a passionate issue to stop at PG&E and, you guessed it, doubling back. Finally, we were on our way to the "Dry Dock Marina" to pay our next month's trailer space rent. Except for taking a slight wrong turn on the back route and doubling back a bit, we arrived just in time to be met with a welcoming committee of 3 in a golf cart. The mood was upbeat as changes for the better were/are underway. We chatted about this and that, until Dad got restless to put into action the rest of our plan-head to Buck's Lake, see how far we could get (given the time, as it were, not too concerned about the weather). "Let's see how far we can get!" Driving in silence for a while, enjoying the lake view, the trees, the gorgeous blue sky. I commented once that there didn't seem to be much traffic on the road at all, especially for a Friday afternoon.

We traveled up the road and through the town of Mountain House, both beginning to reminisce about last winter, the snow long gone. As if with one mind, we began to try to pick out the place where we'd had to turn around on our last trip up the same hill. Looking for the wide spot where we had seen many snow bunnies, some of them perhaps seeing the stuff for the first time. Some lingering patches of snow began to appear as we reached the higher elevations. Mere remnants of what had been.. Then a bit more, and some that had actually drifted out into the road. Not a problem whatsoever for us in our Ranger pick-up. Then, around the next bend, what to our wondering eyes should appear but a miniature car with two very stuck old(er) people! Trying to muscle through an unusually large snowdrift across the road, their little car had just become positively snow bound. She was sitting practically terrified inside, he was outside trying to pick the snow away from the tires with some sort of crow bar. When we pulled up and quickly decided to assist, he simply said, "I'm stuck!" Well, the Mini Cooper came with a rope (mike's note: i still want one if it comes with a rope) and a little place to attach it at the back. Though he couldn't hear very well at all, we managed, after turning our truck around to hook up and tow them far enough out to turn around themselves. In trying to calm the wife a bit, I tromped through the snow (in sneakers, hehe) to ask where they were from-Paradise-and where they were headed, "..just out for a day trip". After thanking us profusely (and possibly their lucky stars, too), they headed back down the hill at a pace that we could barely keep up with. Since it was past 1'0'clock, and it seemed that we had served our purpose, it was time for us to head home too. Until the next time!

GMAIL = MOTHERFUCKING JUDAS

So I'm angry at GMail for the first time ever.

You know that feeling when you really loved something and then--

Ugh.

Ugh.

GMail has for I-don't-know-how-long! been calling very important messages spam. Tonight I found at least three very important messages that GMail was like "hmm, looks like spam." Including messages from Noah Cicero, CA Conrad, and Ken Baumann.

Men, I apologize.

If you've sent mail to my GMail account and I never replied, please send it again (if it's not like a one time offer, "come eat tiramisu tonight off my thighs, mike, january 8th, xoxoxo jessica alba," that we are unfortunately unable to duplicate) and comment here that you've sent it. I will fight the spam filter with a sword of truth.

I HATE YOU GMAIL SPAM FILTER.

games

I have included two "words" in the two poems below that you will have fun looking up. Let's hope only two. Unless you don't know what totally means or something.

napowrimo #18 (if a charles bernstein poem is a hot dog this is a very small sausage wrapped in polite cornbread)

BLAH, SICKLY

Hot, tactfully
Urp, desperately
Survey, winningly
Aquarium, totally
Clap, skeptically
Chest, blearily
Stilts, wanly
Horns, manly
Debt, lovingly
Swirl, reliably
Bob, buckingly
Okay, fumingly
Fuck, hooly

steak knife to your pillow


A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness is a book compiled of four chapbooks by Claudia Smith, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, and Amy Clark. You should buy it. Speaking of communities: what a great way to release short-short fiction. Four people in one "normal sized" book. I got my copy today, and despite riding around in a Jeep with the doors off and listening to banjo songs about breakfast, I've already read like 4/5. It's that good. There's something about good prose where your arrival in each new sentence is such a cool tingle, shock, whoa--something clearly orchestrated by wit and heart.

Good job Claudia, Elizabeth, Kathy, and Amy. Rose Metal Press released this book. Good job Kathleen Rooney and Abigail Beckel.

my heart is a bluebird with a bowlcut

Oh God, thank you Old Man Luedecke for writing my theme song: "Big Group Breakfast."

4.17.2008

napowrimo #16



IF LIGHIGHT IS A POEM SO IS THIS EMBEDDED YOUTUBE VIDEO THANK YOU GOOD NIGHT

4.14.2008

napowrimo #13

LET ME FIND MY SOOTHING FIRE

I've got love in my
skillet, again, love,
coconut macaroon
pancakes, again, love.
Holy shit Jim Ford is
crispy. Sun hands on
down its walking cane to
the swamp behind the barn
where I found a white
bat, didn't want to
kill it. Put it in my
skillet. "Okay, pass
a fallow swamp, 2nd
reflectors, after the
trailer, but before
Stanley Street." It's
okay, no one hands-
down the first time.
Holy shit, love. Holy
coconut macaroon.

Bonus material: Category: Dismissed Titles: BABY IF THE CAKE AIN'T MISSING TELL ME HOW THAT ICING GOT ALL OVER YOU

4.13.2008

napowrimo #12

THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN IN RACHEL AND MIKE'S PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP

III

THE FATTEST MAN IN THE WORLD

Rachel and Mike ate some gemelli. "Which eyebrow do you like better?" said Rachel. Mike threw a squishy world ball against the wall. "You're an athlete," said Rachel encouragingly. She'd brought over two microwavable vegetable dishes which Mike didn't eat. Together they talked about literary realism, the fattest man in the world, and Dorthea Lasky's new chapbook from Transmission Press, Tourmaline. In the year 2008, you could buy Torumaline by PayPaling Logan Ryan Smith $3.50. Logan Ryan Smith lived in San Francisco and was entitled--like most Americans--to certain favorites: diners, teams of baseball. Rachel and Mike both agreed they were entitled to hate a mutual classmate who refused to "dive into" gay stories that weren't "gay stories." "He kept saying he didn't understand the Olympic protesters," said Mike. "And I just kept yelling 1936, 1936, 1936." Rachel put on her coat. "I left you that green bean thing," she said furiously. "Wait," said Mike. "When am I going to have a meaningful relationship?" Together they looked at a somewhat confessional blog. "That's obnoxious," said Rachel, "to put *'s for peoples' names like that, like duh of course these people know who they are." "I think it's like mythology," said Mike, which felt like an overly ambitious characterization, like naming your pet balloon Jupiter. "I don't know," said Mike trustingly. "I don't think she's out to hurt them." "I mean," said Rachel, "it's also like I'm a woman! That's good." Three thousand miles west, in San Francisco, Logan Ryan Smith invented nicknames for his favorite shortstop. Chelsea Martin logged onto AIM and logged immediately back off. A polar bear slept on the cover of an online literary magazine. Alex didn't answer his phone. Bryan took a shower, thinking of Crispin Glover. Kyle set a date for his wedding. "Epic," Mike thought exhaustedly. Rachel left for real. Mike opened a can of broken Airborne and sprinkled the Vitamin C dust into his heater vents. Citrus volcano. End of an era. That was the year 2008 and the trains would carry us past the tennis courts four or even five times a day, God willing.

i've never been a criminal i've only been concerned


I have a new story in Alice Blue Review. It's called "The Fire Hazard." The "you" in this story is the "you" in "Don't Wake Up It's Just Me,"* which you can read in realpoetik. I'm just trying to help the critics. Body o' work. Lickable body of work.

*Just kidding. The you is always you. Gosh.

4.12.2008

Ashland, Oregon is the new Iowa City minus the corn

I present:

Jennifer Garcia
Genevieve Kleinbaum
Alex Burford
Bryan Coffelt
Jess Rowan
Michael Kerr
Angela Galvan

These people will all publish their first books in the next ten years or sooner. If they keep writing etc. And Ashland may even continue to produce (and attract) good young writers. If you live in California or Oregon, go to high school or community college, pay attention to contemporary literature via things like the online literary scene, don't want (basically) to do anything with your life other than write poetry and fiction, and you have a manic curiosity not easily "offended," please go to Southern Oregon University and sustain this scene. The town's a little expensive, but the weather is very nice.

Ashland is, I think, a "healthy community." We have common sensibilities, but we don't all sound like each other. We have a kingpin, but we don't sound like him either. We don't work toward imitating him successfully enough to publish in the same places where he publishes. This means that our community will be interesting to people outside of our community in ways beyond "how do I change my writing to sound like this person and become friends with him and all his friends." That approach succeeds, sure, if what you're after is feeling "happy" and "calm" or whatever, but it's also kind of boring as shit.

I think that I'm "involved" in a lot of different communities: see the sidebars. I like communities. Communities in literary history have produced some of my favorite work: New York School poetry, Gordon Lish workshop fiction.

This would be a good time to talk about MFAs, maybe, because I've been reading a lot of anti-MFA stuff on blogs. But I don't really feel like talking about MFAs. Basically the reason I'm getting an MFA is to be involved in even more communities. For some reason, I get bored mining what's fruitful about any particular community. Though I do miss Ashland "intellectually" because I felt more consistently "excited" there. In Amherst I feel pushed toward perfecting the urn. Enthusiasm here can sometimes feel cagey or embarrassed.

Then again, I've only been here eight months. And there are a lot of people around whom I feel communion and excitement: Gabe Durham, Rachel B. Glaser, Jack Christian, Chris Cheney. Plus, I'm like "professionally motivated" or whatever by the talent in my workshops, the talent all around. But in a lot of ways this MFA program feels like the "post-enthusiasm" stage, the "okay now, let's stop trying to one-up each other in the 'startle' department and get to work."

Maybe this is a "productive" feeling. I don't know. I turned a story into workshop on Wednesday that forced people--in discussion--to say funny things like "jumping whale," "baseball bat," "gay sex" and "fake junkie." Not everybody liked the story, of course, but they seemed to have fun critiquing it. I felt after the critique like I maybe wanted to hang out with these people, which is something I don't usually feel in Amherst. But I didn't feel like I knew much better what to do with the story, which is something other Amherst workshops have made me feel, even if--at the same time--I felt like my peers were my "co-workers" rather than my friends.

It's very hard to be friends with co-workers. But it's amazing to co-work with your friends. That doesn't sound very profound. Maybe I'll work later on sounding more profound. Probably I'll delete this post because I hate writing anything that makes me sound like I'm a real person.

4.08.2008

there are people alive to affirm that i've run out of french fries and sort of just ate it off my finger



This is a commercial for barbecue sauce from Oroville, CA. Oh Lord-- if there were some way to include this in MC Oroville's Answering Machine. Dear Jessica Smith: I need your help. You've made books with perfume on them. Can I make my chapbook smell like barbecue sauce?

napowrimo #8

IT'S ALL PARTY OF THE PLAY

I can't believe I saw a snake cloud today!
I can't believe I saw a baby trampoline!
I can't believe I saw the changes work!
I can't believe I saw you after the ball!
I can't believe I saw Yuri eat the butter!
I can't believe I saw the condor! Live!
I can't believe I saw that guy wink!
I can't believe I saw the alternative bid!
I can't believe I saw God check his watch!
I can't believe I saw you in yo nasty!
I can't believe I saw for a living now!
I can't believe I saw after the bad review!
I can't believe I saw this rigged candor!
I can't believe I saw my baby take a dive!
I can't believe I saw what a real yes was!

4.07.2008

napowrimo #7

FINE, HOW ABOUT I'M LEAVING?

I can't believe my dad is sitting on a horse!
I want to say that he's facing the wrong way.
He's wearing the Father's Day shirt again.
Why did we move to this town anyway, God?
The daises are in knots! They're acting up!

Written with much fighting and cake by Mike Young and Rachel B. Glaser

4.06.2008

napowrimo #6

WE CAN ONLY TAKE ABOUT THREE STANZAS OF THIS SHIT, ANYWAY. WHAT'S A STANZA. OH, YOU. I THINK YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE "SHE SUCKED HIM OFF WITH HER GLASSES ON" POEM. IT'S TWO DOWN. THANKS. IT DOESN'T HAVE STANZAS DOES IT? MOST THINGS DON'T. THAT'S TRUE. VERY TRUE. TRUSH IS EXSHITEING.

Treat me right: left: attention, hut.
No, can't say I have: have what: is in vogue.
Weakly gathered round to see what's up: in: spin off.

We don't know much: march: dance: fever.
Wouldn't trade this: that: sold-- call me.
If I hear Crazytrain one: two: hide: away bed.

Don't forget the merits of: off: shh, shh.
Cashew picnic really rocked: rolled: stalled at shore.
I'm willing to overlook: look under: we've lost it, I think.

napowrimo #5

IF YOU KNOW IT AND YOU KNOW IT CLAP YOUR HANDS

Go on, son. Take one for the team.
Soon we'll want a full report
of which one you take.

Reaction rollercoaster. We like to
graft shit to interstellar glee. Don't
lie there, do what I say.

I want to add you onto onto. Isn't
that what they say when they
can't stop, easy treat?

Iced tea sweatshop. Vague glory.
Necklace of ceramic longhairs.
Tastes like a winner to me!

I walked in and ordered one of
in. One oven. Why, what did
Lockdown Dept. really say?

Oh, I know! Make a list of folks
you trust and would also like
to sleep with. No peeking.

Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ.
Jesus H. Christ, yo. No
peeking, I said. C'mon.

4.02.2008

napowrimo #3

This is a (bad) fifty word storypoem about sandwiches on consignment. It was written for Nick Ostdick, topic chosen by Kendra Grant Malone (sandwiches). Here it is on Nick's blog with an interview yea boi.

HORN WON'T CHANGE THE MENU

Who could Horn tell? Tooth in the burger, pissed off snowmobiler. See, Horn's dad opened Truckee Grill when miners still dumped silt from their galoshes. Well. Not really. Life exaggerates its ribbons. In April, he died. Snow off the pines: suddenly, finally. "I'm sorry," Horn says. "It's on the house."

4.01.2008

napowrimo

(They won't be all the same. But there will be reoccurring projects. This is the first one. Consider these NaPoWriMo I and II. Even though they're stories. Remember: can't stop a playa, bitches.)


THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN IN RACHEL AND MIKE'S PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP


I

URGENT CARE

Rachel and Mike sat in the Urgent Care. Sabertooth tigers had invaded Mike's upper left gut. Left is good: not appendicitis. "But what about atypical appendicitis?" said the internet. So Rachel drove Mike to the University. "Infirmary way," said Mike. "One time, my mom," said Rachel, "thought she had a heart attack, but it was just she'd never drank root beer before." Inside of Urgent Care, a television played gameshows about fear, including snakes. Mike wore a blue parka. Rachel worked on an essay about Jesus, fellatio, and Kylie Minogue. A girl screamed. She put a binder over her face. "I have a phobia about snakes," she said believably. The TV! Mike didn't know her but thought she was cute in a "Rule 1: Don't Sleep With Girls Who Look Like Your Students" kind of way, or "Ugg boots." "There are still a lot of snakes," said Rachel helpfully. "Don't look." Mike didn't either. It was a kind of flirting. "You have anxiety of the stomach," said Urgent Care. "Oh," said Mike. "What can I eat?" "Anything you want," said Urgent Care philosophically. Then Urgent Care said "I wouldn't eat a pizza." Mike and Rachel left. "You have nervous fuck-up disease," said Urgent Care, who then copy and pasted the medical history of the entire University community onto a SETI@Home message board.

II

CVS

Rachel and Mike stood in line at CVS. Rachel was buying condoms and a Whiffle Bat. "Stephen Malkmus is playing at Mass Mocha," said Rachel. "Really?" said Mike. "He's playing at a coffeeshop?" He was confused because Stephen Malkmus was famous and had even appeared recently on FOX News making bad jokes about security at art museums. "Mass MOCA," said Rachel cleverly. "It does sound like a coffeeshop," said the teller girl. "Excuse me," said the tired Russian. "Can I leave my bag here?" It was a large piece of brown luggage with wheels. "No!" said the teller girl happily. "You can shop with it. I don't care." "Oh. Are you sure?" said the tired Russian. "Sure!" said the teller girl. "Wow," said the tired Russian tiredly. He began to wheel his bag into the aisles. "Um," said Mike. In 10th grade, he'd been the only one who understood how much the Brazilian exchange student hated everyone. "You can leave your bag there," said Mike. "He doesn't have to!" said the teller girl. "He's just tired," said Mike. "Oh!" said the teller girl. "Then you can leave it there. It's not hurting anyone." The tired Russian smiled and said "Yes yes yes. I appreciate this." Outside, Rachel said "Kaboom!" "What?" "We're lucky to be alive!" "What?" "What if he had a bomb." "Oh. You're just saying that because you're Jewish," said Mike helpfully. Rachel's face surged. "Your people," said Mike. "They get bombed a lot." "That's true," said Rachel, with a normal face now, but a voice that was like a very small paper crane made out of tinfoil instead.