12.31.2010

make sure it spins

Today's the official release date for Look! Look! Feathers, which I celebrated by cooking some eggs. A really insightful and generous review of the book by Chris Vola went up yesterday at The Rumpus: check it out.

Today of course also closes 2010. It's been a busy year in this camp. I keep starting and erasing epic summations of the year. But it's too much for me, yo. Maybe at the end of 2011 I will be ready to talk about everything that happened in 2010. Suffice to say, I went up and down both coasts and then some, doing the sunset coast with a girl-carrot I love very much, and along the way I hung out with so many upstanding, beautiful, generous people. We played music and ate burritos and ate chocolate and ate breakfast and saw movies and rode trains and braved a lot of weather. You know who you are. One of the best years of my life, to be honest. Tell me your most secret ambition for 2011 in the comments section and I will make up a barbecue sauce recipe and name it after you.

12.27.2010

thanks

Thanks Dennis Cooper for putting We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough on your list of favorites from 2010!

obviously janelle monae is better than both of them

Hey, have you ever imagined the William Penn drawing from the Quaker Oats box getting into a anamorphic romantic and activist relationship with a tiny Santa Christmas ornament? So have I! Luckily Metazen was kind enough to collect my enactment of this imagination with many other strange and delightful Christmas-themed stories for their second annual Charity Christmas E-Book, which you can download for free here: http://www.metazen.ca/?p=6141. Metazen raised a few hundred dollars with this e-book to donate to a small business through Kiva. Great work, Canadians. Canadians are also good at curling, sheetrock, and waving vigorously.

12.20.2010

slightly stranger versions of what you already know

A person named Emily Temple wrote a nice little crinkle of columns about L!L!F for the Dec/Jan issue of Nylon Guys. Check out a screenshot on her blog. She says: "The collection is a lesson in opposites, in both its push-pull between youth and age and its juxtaposition of sentimentality and irony. It's fresh and weird—and it tugs at the reader in all the right places."

What's more, the forever awesome Michael Schaub included L!L!F in his list of 16 favorite books from 2010, which was imperviously lovely of him (I don't know if that's a real modifier for lovely; it's the first thing that came to my head). Check out his whole list here on the Bookslut blog.

Also, Ryan MacDonald's art class at UMass read poems by Jordan Stempleman and me, and then they made amazing stuffed pillow-like objects. The popcorn to the left is maybe my favorite. In other news, popcorn is a Christmas tree decoration, and life is the bowl of stale leftover popcorn that didn't fit on the tree.

12.15.2010

mastadon in a tar pit

A story from Look! Look! Feathers is newly live at the lovely Collagist: "What the Fuck is an Electrolyte?" Thanks to Matt Bell for publishing this. This story features VHS workout tapes (stomped), checkerboard Vans, a cockroach running away from milk, purple sweatpants, a racist tennis coach, an "old Indian on a mountain bike, wearing a studded cowboy hat and hauling a rickshaw full of canned yams," and so much more, friends, so much more. This story is different from other stories in L!L!F because the protagonist doesn't want to feel anything. Other protagonists in L!L!F have issues with feeling, but they appreciate the opportunity to do so, at least. Not so much with Monty. This makes WTF flat and weird in tone and uncomfortable next to the other stories, which is like when there is a weird guy at the party who won't stop asking you if your fireplace is real. This is the sign—as we all know—of a top-notch party.

12.14.2010

score one for the home team

Though I dispute the way the origin story excludes how Cheney and I made up doo-wop songs on the balcony outside the apartment, the rest of Rachel B Glaser's intro to this conversation is factual in spirit and zest. Check it out for our thoughts on everything from misspelled last names to huge-smelling stars.

If you're in New York on Friday, the Word Riot Press book release party for Look! Look! Feathers and Paula Bomer's Baby will be at KGB Bar this Friday the 17th at 7PM. More details here or on Facebook.

Other relevance involves day-old coffee. Someone with two adams-apples who was too restless about the snow to nap on the bus. Birthday pizza for my favorite lady. Cookie party in historic mansions. Sketchy kennels. Assigned reflection. My doppelganger Australian cricket coach has apparently been demoted. I wish him the courage to carry on in his stunted capacity.

12.07.2010

we predict a seasonal suspension of suspicion spit

Sky too stubborn to snow. Has decided to shave our faces via wind. What else is new? I did an interview as Ada Lovelace. Feel like I might be the only fan Dale Earnhardt and Ada Lovelace have in common. Like I want to wear practical shoes and fancy umbrellas. Made a new RAD Poetry video for Christy Crutchfield with Carolyn and her cat Maude. Exhausting number of links. Had a computer conversation with a student. Hardware troubles. Feel like computers are the new cars in terms of the lay person always knows just enough about them to get themselves in hot water. Some interesting things I've seen lately include two old Puerto Rican twin ladies on the same bus and a Marine with a poodle. Two positive new reviews in decomP: L!L!F and All Good. Thanks, Spencer. Feel like my blog secretly aspires to be a parody of a Larry King parody. Not so secretly, I guess. What should I get you for Christmas? Should I get you a pictographic representation of the way my drowsy minutes before sleep always seem to slough memories of random overheard conversations like one between a street flutist and a meter maid? Should I get you a Rin Tin Tin costume? Should I get you Brazil? Should I get you gotten?

11.23.2010

NOÖ [12]!

If I haven't already told you about this somewhere else, check out the new NOÖ. Lots of awesome stuff.

11.17.2010

keeping busy like a gift i can't give back

Hey y'all, three weird and never before seen little pieces are online at Used Furniture Review, a new online lit mag. Thanks to David Cotrone for asking me to send him stuff. Subjects include tennis, cigars, cake bully God figures, and fair rides. In other words, par for the course. Other pretty cool stuff up at UFR right now includes an interview with Tom Perrota and some poems from Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz.

11.09.2010

Vitamin D for darkness, Publishers Weekly for self-esteem

Here's Publishers Weekly's review of Look! Look! Feathers:

'Young hits the mark in this smart, quirky debut collection, where base humanity—like the macho behavior of a high school gym teacher who is revealed to have only one testicle in "The World Doesn't Smell Like You"—is juxtaposed against a crushing swell of technology and pop culture. Social media, brain-Internet browsers, and reality television all feature in Young's stories, and institutions like the 24-hour grocery, the "old hotel on Mason Street," and Facebook are venues for Young's twisted tales. In "Mosquito Fog," two online companions arrive at an awkward moment when widower Russell discovers his online confidante, contrary to her online profile, is not his contemporary but a teenage girl. The couple at the center of "Snow You Know and Snow You Don't" slowly reveal in a letter to their unborn child the strange way they cope with a domestic tragedy. Meanwhile, in "No Such Thing as a Wild Horse," the transformation of a local fun park "from something rinky-dink into something grand" is held up, albeit wryly, as a beacon of inspiration. This is a slick collection—relevant, wise, and immensely enjoyable. (Dec.)'

11.06.2010

reformed turnpike bully

Hey, the cool and enthusiastic Tyler Gobble interviewed me for Small Doggies and included a review of We Are All Good. I talk about Christmas bags and know-what-I-mean versus no-I-don't, and also I nonsensically talk shit on Tony Hoagland. Check it out. Thanks, Tyler!

11.05.2010

Let's recap: gypsy Halloween singalong, Pet Semetery, cheap gyros, matching b/f, g/f taco costumes, blue jumpsuit, motherboards dangling from neckties, parties of social coincidences, a perilous van ride singalong.

Then the Barry Hannah tribute on Wednesday, hosted by Gene Kwak. Really well-lit time at Newtonville Books, lamps and early release copies of Barry's posthumous selected-and-new collection, Long Last Happy. Joy-stuffed reflections and remembrances, guns with popcorn in them, lots of gut shots and gut laughs of prose. Folks from all over to celebrate a fine man of Oxford, the Southern one. I was humbled to have an opportunity to yak a little about my relationship to the work of Barry Hannah, who was a heart wrangler, a soothsayer, a white hot pilot of knowing why stories are worth it. And humbled especially to read in such company: Askold Melnyczuk, Amy Hempel, Sven Birkerts, Jennifer Haigh, and James Parker. I read "Coming Close to Donna." I wore my best shoes. Later I ate some Eggs Benedict Pizza, and I was a little drunk when I ate it, so I didn't realize until now that such a dish is like something invented as a Christmas present by my kindest dreams.

Next day, I guest-lectured about theft and verbal storytelling in Gene's UMass Boston class. Sharp folks, all ages, creased by experience. Gene was sick and I convinced him to eat some ginger chicken soup. Rain fell on the lake and the UMass Boston campus looked like a prison movie before the redemptive part. Later we got fried chicken, black-eyed peas, and wonderful clove-tasting sweet potatoes delivered to Gene's abode, which was very brave of the delivery people, because I guess Gene likes to shoot them. Or wait, maybe that's his neighbor. That night I read at Lorem Ipsum books (thanks to the kind Pete and Kate for setting things up), which had recently moved into an old refrigerator store. I read with Mark Leidner and Elisa Gabbert. Leidner was hilarious and Gabbert was genius, though each borrowed liberally from both afflictions. I ate some salt and vinegar chips. Gene alas was too sick to read, but he was missed. People made eye contact in wonderful ways. Mark and I stopped at a convenience store on the way back to Western Mass, and then we wondered what would happen if America were one big corporation, and all the billboards just had ads for specific products like: APPLES! CHAIRS! BRACELETS!

Now I am home and working on getting shit together. Some linkage news includes two new reviews of L!L!F, an enthusiastic one in the Brooklyn Rail and a lukewarm one on the blog Glorified Love Letters. Over on the NOÖ Journal blog, Gabe Durham talks about James Robison's 1988 novel The Illustrator, which I want to call a punt-return-for-a-touchdown book because that's the kind of damn good I think it is. And, you can win a free copy of Dennis Cooper's new essay collection Smothered In Hugs by just posting a comment about your dreams or making up a dream and posting a comment. Super easy. Win a free book. Stay tuned for more NOÖ blog content, including long overdue RAD Poetry videos, as I try slaphazardly to hype the run-up to NOÖ 12. The trick is getting past the kicker, who's always a better tackler than he should be.

10.29.2010

the name of my shower is the road

The great thing about waking up at 6:30AM is the fog and the fact that the people who take 7AM buses tend to do things like juggle random breakfast foods or play chess on their laptop while resembling the guy from Entourage. The shitty thing about waking up at 6:30AM is that waking up so early probably means you didn't sleep much, which gives you ridiculous anxiety, so when you have minor upper back pain, you think "Oh no, my lung is collapsing."

All that aside, I have been waking up early and having some good treks. Went to Providence on Tuesday. Ate pizza with Mark Baumer, who owns my favorite kind of coffee maker. Hung out with Evelyn Hampton and hired her bicycle helmet to help me perform a thing. Saw a man talk about how he'd like carriages to come back in fashion. Ate a gyro and watched foreign music videos in the restaurant. Saw Dan-Beachy Quick read and talk like someone who can scoop up a handful of river water and tie the water into shapes like a balloon maker. Basked in the terrific hospitality of Mairead Byrne, who told me some Irish history about the color orange, served blackberry ice cream, and hosted Rachel and me at a fun and brisk reading.

Then went to Boston yesterday and did another reading with Matt Salesses and Nicolle Elizabeth. We held the mic like wrestling announcers. I ate some overpriced chili. The venue served all its alcohol with complimentary potato chips. Macho Man Randy Savage worked there. There was a cloud outside that kept dipping down and asking everybody for Susan B Anthony coins. Inside the venue was a tissue box where you could speak to a random sad person from the past, but legally they were required to be vague about their identity, but really you could always tell from their accent.

After the reading, I hung out with Peter (who I called Keith at one point; sorry Peter), an Emerson MFA fiction writer dude, and Gene Kwak. We ate overpriced nachos and drank whiskey and talked about fly fishing and Michigan and Omaha and moving places and trying not to romanticize a storyteller's suffering as the gangplank for their storytelling, which is kind of impossible not to do. Gene gave me this awesome book 19 Knives by Mark Anthony Jarmon, which is a self-flagellating beast of sizzle. I read half of it on the early bus. The early bus drove by some Autumnal mansions. The early bus hulked past some very self-confident trees.

10.25.2010

essay on loneliness with line breaks based on a dream i had about the phrase "rollerblading through mashed potatoes" that starts out full of stupid jokes and ends full of stupid sentimentality; in conclusion i am stupid and i am going to eat pizza tomorrow with a talented walker



WRONG KING OF FOG

All my friends are swapping coasts on me. They ask for audiobook
suggestions. Why not occupy a trip with a trip? I know I’m being
annoying. Silence is the worst little brother. O witnesses, oblivious
to mustard stains below. Rollerblading through mashed potatoes.
Fingernail injury is a common problem with astronaut gloves.
If I can guess somebody’s dance moves before I’ve seen them
execute, I know they have a greater chance of murdering me.
Tonight I walked home behind a couple telling ghost stories.
Their tales starred floating chopsticks and sleep apnea. Boo
hoo. What I did wonder was how to scare them, and I thought of
friends I could call who might have the best ideas. Note: not
necessarily my scariest friends. An honest-to-God wall phone
in the house I can see from my window just rang, and all I
know is that it’s not me. Today the weather felt like a tourist.
Tomorrow I am going to eat pizza with a man who walked
service roads, mostly, from Georgia to Los Angeles. On the
way, a Dairy Queen marketing campaign interviewed him for
their show. They made a big deal of giving him coupons that
didn’t work. One group we never follow up with is gameshow
winners. One thing my heart has never tried is the most obvious
anything. Still rollerblading through mashed potatoes. Embodied
everything, such as “below you” involving how high your head is.
If I can guess somebody’s injuries before I’ve starred in their
ghost stories, I am one more no one calls their scariest character
reference. Yes, we do know what time it is, so don’t answer the phone
that way. One day I want to sneak up on myself with someone else’s
dance moves. Maybe record an audiobook for a marketing campaign
that details the daily chances of someone below my head murdering
my head, all dependent on factors like how many gloves float discarded
up there, way up, up near the way you're saving your best jokes for trips
you make up. Meanwhile, I could call out for a friend in any night that is
happening right now, and be answered by those still rollerblading through
all they know would be there for them if they knew enough to be alone.

10.20.2010

brett is back

Brett Gallagher, who a few days ago wrote a review of my poetry collection, has now written a review of Look! Look! Feathers, my story collection. Again Brett has immersed himself in a cool way, for which I am grateful. He says that I "write from the vantage point of Frank Zappa's mustache: a superhero of finely trimmed hairs, crisscrossing 'mericuh with jet-pack and endless locally brewed beer, notetaking TI-83+, writing underwater in hotel pools or upside down on the eaves of small town bridges, yes." Thanks, Brett! I hope you never retire. In an interesting coincidence, the current quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, is from Chico, which is right next to where I grew up.

10.18.2010

eastern residency

I'm all over Providence and Boston in the next few weeks. Doing readings, saving lives. Maybe you would like to come hang out?

OCTOBER 26th: Tuesday 10PM, in Providence, RI, with Rachel B Glaser, Mairead Byrne, and someone else. at Mairead Byrne's series Couscous at Tazza, 250 Westminster Street.

OCTOBER 28th: Boston launch for Matthew Salesses's Our Island of Epidemics. Reading at Trident Booksellers and Cafe, 338 Newbury Street, 7PM with Matt, Nicolle Elizabeth, and me. Afterparty at Otherside Cafe

NOVEMBER 3rd: "
RIDE, FLY, PENETRATE, LOITER: A Barry Hannah Tribute." Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut Street, Newton, MA, 7PM. Featuring readings and remembrances by Askold Melnyczuk, Amy Hempel, Sven Birkerts, Jennifer Haigh, Blake Butler, James Parker, and me. Come celebrate a night in honor of one of the greatest American authors in recent memory. Included will be one-off broadsides to commemorate the event as well as readings in the stead of some of Barry's admirers and former students.

NOVEMBER 4th: A reading at Lorem Ipsum, Inman Square, Cambridge. 8PM. With Elisa Gabbert, Mark Leidner, Gene Kwak and me.

10.17.2010

don't point that thing at me

Brett Gallagher wrote an awesome and zany review of We're All Good I Swear Come Here Where Are You Going. When I first skimmed Gallagher's review, I thought it was impenetrably bebop, but then upon closer reading I realized he'd burrowed into the poems like a really insightful but still very idiosyncratic squatter. So this review is like what would happen if you lived inside the poems for a while, but you didn't sleep the whole time you were living there. Or the review is like you live where you normally live except you just took a small blue pill version of the book and now you're walking around like that. In the review is also a clever picture of a philosopher I'd never heard of named Kripke, which sent me on an interesting goose chase. I don't know if I enjoy Kripke's philosophy, but I like the way Gallagher used his picture. His review reminds me of a friend I had in college named Ryan, whom a lot of girls slept with, and who always said that he thought I was really attractive and if he was a girl he'd be attracted to me. Specifically, the review reminds me of one Halloween when me and Ryan went out to find girls who would sleep with both of us at once, but our bonding experience was interestingly obliterated by all the strange costumes and fire hoop stunts. Thanks to Brett Gallagher for squatting in the poems in such a lovely way.

In other news, the only male bank teller complained about his feelings. All his female co-tellers made fun of him. Then he began to play with a yo-yo. "What am I doing right now," he said. "What is this called." "What do you mean what's it called," they said. "It's called yo-yoing." "Oh," he said. "I thought that was just the name of the thing." "That's also the name of what you do with the thing," they said. "Duh."

10.14.2010

astronaut bath

If you're in Northampton/Amherst and didn't already know about this, it's tonight! Come hang. 8pm at Flying Object in Hadley on Route 9. There will be surprises.

10.08.2010

all beauty stands before the world and before the world

I have some new work in Kill Author. Strangest/strongest feeling responses. Check them out, and check out the rest of the issue, which is full of good stuff. Kill Author is edited anonymously. Each issue is fairy godmothered by a different dead author. Vonnegut is the patron saint of this new one, which is cool: "Because we are readers," Vonnegut says, "We don’t have to wait for some communications executive to decide what we should think about next – and how we should think about it. We can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis – at any time of night or day."

For example: there is no such thing as anything that isn't aesthetics. We can smoke by ourselves in the parking lot of KFC, in a truck with the bed missing. We can hang Christmas lights up days before Halloween. We can race with Kirk Cameron in our dream and somehow remember the exact number of the Seavers' house in Growing Pains. We can think the clouds look like ripped up prom dresses. We can tell someone we're fine in an ambulance on the first day of Fall, or we can drive the ambulance, or we can claim that we invented apples, and we can move to the woods where no one will disagree, and where the first day of Fall will look very crisp indeed.

10.05.2010

Lonely astronaut face-to-face feelings that flip language pancakes by flashlight.

Over at the flatmancrooked blog, Bl Pawelek asked me ten playful questions about We Are All Good If You Come Out In the Next Five Minutes They Try Hard Enough. Play is serious too. Play MacGyvers the sadness of language's meaning disabilities. Bl is not short for Bill but for Byline, which one of Pawelek's old editors accidentally wrote for his first name. Seems fun to accept this and make it your own. Embrace the public construction of self. Don't let the public construct for you. And so on. Topics covered in the question-fest include: a one paragraph breakdown of how Levinas/Buber are behind all my poems, stuff about recognition of love and human carrot cake, burnt chili, pop rocks, mirror neurons, thank-you notes, Q-bert tattoos, colonies of chest bats, and the future. Thanks to Bl. Thanks by line. Thank you line by line.

10.02.2010

right and good and interesting that they're moments

Erin McNellis wrote a fun and smart review of We Are All Good If I Drink Enough Coffee They Try Hard Enough over at her blog. Some things she talks about include: quirky sincerity, Frank O'Hara pants, coy symbology, mustard gas hyperbole, and sidelong glances. Also, McNellis mentions books about codes named after famous painters. Also she talks about the long prose poem "Now You Try" in the middle of the book, which is full of things that are supposedly telling and which is maybe my personal favorite artifact in the book—if not favorite poem—because it is a huge mess of text that repeats and repeats one sentence structure with only minor jiggles.

In other news, the left side of my stove doesn't work. Don't worry: I know why!

In Other news, here's an idea: how about let's stop fucking harassing people to death over who and how they want to love.

In even other news, my mood increases amazingly when my boots can withstand anything.

In odd other news, the word "stuff" used to only mean a quilted shirt worn under chainmail. Everybody put your stuff on. The world is coming for you, and the world has a sword.

9.22.2010

"there's a ground invasion / (with complete color coordination)"

If I had been born in suburban Australia, I would have been born Darren Hanlon. I used to buy a lot of new albums a year, but Hanlon's new one is the only one I've been excited about in a while.

what did you say / i said watt digs lute sales

So I had an awesome time in Ann Arbor. Elizabeth Ellen is the best host in the history of hostage. J.P. is all of us. Raviolis are good. Strawberries are a potato substitute. Plus, the reading went very well, big crowd, lots of young people. A teenage poet named Allison opened for us, and she was clever and inventive and did a terrific job. A lot of the architecture in Ann Arbor reminds me of the 1930s. A lot of the plates in the restaurants are yellow and purple. There is a fun arcade named Pinball Pete's. Sometimes it is hard to find a game in that arcade where two people get to shoot at once, but it is easy to find a game where two people get to row a boat.

In other news, there is a new giveaway opportunity for We Are All Good. Adam Robinson is hosting a miscommunication contest on HTMLGIANT. All you have to do is post a story of miscommunication—good or bad, funny or sad—and you can win one of three copies that Adam is giving away. Check it out: http://htmlgiant.com/contests/mike-youngs-all-good-for-free/.

My favorite miscommunication is Ms. Communication, because I do not want to know if she is married or not.

9.16.2010

hey are you in michigan

Well, I'm going to be in Ann Arbor, Michigan soon, and so in the UMass football team apparently. What I'm going to pretend is that the football team is there for me and not to lose to the Wolverines. Why am I there? Why for the sake of Serious Literature. Duh.

Rachel B. Glaser, Tao Lin, and I are all reading at Elizabeth Ellen's awesome Great Lakes Great Times reading series. If you happen to, you know, live in Ann Arbor, you should stroll out to see us Sunday @ 5PM at The Neutral Zone (310 E. Washington St).

9.15.2010

gettin up earlier, gettin burned faster

Before cell phones, the Bible was probably the most mainstream association with "texts." "Body of work" seems totally a wrong and gentile phrase. When I think of a "body of work," what I really think of is that lady they found under a pile of her own hoarding. Body didn't do her much good. Unbearably sexy thoughts will always make me sneeze. Did I just Google "sexy thoughts" sneezing to see if this was a common experience? Welcome to my faith. Have you heard of the game where people surround a huge sheet and hold it up, Ouija-board style? And then someone climbs on the sheet and the people bounce this person, trampoline-like, in a miracle of collective will? Well, usually the person falls off, but people fall off anyway, and everyone might as well be helpful until they do.

9.04.2010

i would hit you again but i need time for my rhetoric


A roofer is whining for a saw, a skill saw, a hand saw, in the most annoying way I've ever heard. People seem to have saws but seem disinclined to give him one because of his whining, more out of confusion than anger, as if his whining is so exaggerated they fear they're on a secret documentary.

God is picking from between different stars with an older God behind him saying "You should get that star, that's a Reynolds star, they're a good brand." God thinks, "I have no idea what that means." Then he thinks, "Wait, all he means is that the company doesn't sound Japanese."

We went to get ice cream at Sundae School, and they had their own cop monitoring parking lot traffic. His moves seemed FAA-regulated.

Fromm the Department of Indignation: Grade the following instances of Indignation on a scale of your choosing: What kind of farmer's market doesn't have free samples? What kind of a personality trait is a preference for ginger ale? What kind of beautiful weather doesn't know it's September 11th? What kind of parent teaches their kid to ride a bike in the parking lot of the funeral home?

8.31.2010

she was forty years old and her daddy still called her baby

Skateboarders at the crepe place. "I enjoy crepes," says the one with the hair that makes him either a girl or David Cassidy, "because they fit my habits and temperament." A parking ticket person helps a British man who's fallen off his bike. He brushes off the British man's knees. In so doing, he complicates the reputation of his profession. If the mother is very pale, why not guess about the kids? On the bus a woman is reading a magazine with an ad that says "Limos at both ends." Of all the people who invite me to things without realizing I don't live where they live, I am most often invited to New York. It's gotten to the point where I forget I don't live there. Below the FREE sign is a fancy mop. Below the FREE part of the FREE sign is this message: "yes, the water works." The kid behind me on the bus insists that every truck is a fire truck. When the auto repair shop is open, they put out a sculpture of a gorilla hoisting a fish. One of my compulsive internet reading tics is EPSN.com. Because of this, I feel I have a breadth and depth of sports knowledge that would startle a large crowd of my friends if they were gathered together and quizzed on what I know.

8.28.2010

i know, mike, but your "ideas" are just that

"Squares and circles are the same." "Really? Have you heard of wheels?" A man crosses the street at night clutching a tiny bowling trophy. There is a giant poster with pictures of a tire-less car and the text: "Who stole my shoes?" One store sells phone cards, fax services, and imported melon sodas. A woman even changes her profile picture from a picture of limes to a picture of herself walking her cat on a leash. It still doesn't help. A guy's sister crushed her hand while she was working on his race car. He told her not to work on it, but he was in Wisconsin. Now he waits in the Emergency Room waiting area with his sister's boyfriend. He looks at the snack machine that sells vegan jerky. "It's not that I'm against the earthy crunchy stuff," he says. The boyfriend is eating Doritos. "I don't even like Doritos," he says. "It's just I'm so bored." The race car driver is missing his bottom teeth but he smiles a lot. He is asking everyone if they're okay or they're just waiting. "Do you want a lap dance?" he asks his sister's boyfriend. Two women discuss the secret downstairs of a clothing consignment store. A third woman joins the conversation. When a stranger jumps into a conversation with vigorous affirmation, I feel a holy feeling. "Oh yes," the stranger says. "They sell beautiful aprons." Someone in Vermont is using a Clydesdale to haul wood, and someone else decided to put a picture of this into a magazine about Vermont. "But if say you were here for a chopped off hand," the doctor says. "Well, then I'd know what to do." After all the tests, the partner of the patient across the curtain peeks into our area and says we should advocate more. She is or was a rugby player. In the gas station across the street from the hospital, the attendant suggests I put a plastic container of fried chicken in the microwave. "Plastic? In the microwave?" When I eat the chicken, it tastes like Indian food and carpet. One cab driver talked a lot, and all the other cab driver said was "Good timing" when he made a green. I didn't notice he had a mustache until I tipped him.

8.24.2010

we've gone from do your worst to do your thing

"We had people that play normal tennis, do you believe it. Those people. Those miracles." "Yeah, I'm just saying, our number is the summer of love." "We'd eat squirrel! We'd eat Tyrannosaurus Rex!" Shaving your neck always feels vaguely suicidal. An employee on his smoke break explained things to a customer using his right hand. "The oh shit bar? You grab it? With your hand?" "Oh. Oh, why do they call it the oh shit bar?" There was a long pause. What if trains had no lights? Cars? Streets? And this was ho hum? Sometimes I am compelled to call something by a pet name, out loud, even if no one else is in the room. Such as earlier when I ate the blueberries and said "Blubes." It is very important when you help someone with something they don't know that you explain what you did and help them try to know. Even if they're not paying attention. This is maybe the only thing I would add to Kurt Vonnegut's "There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind." The blind man was riding a bike. His guide dog was like a chariot horse.

8.22.2010

please contact the White House for all questions about my daily habits

One of the tellers at the credit union says: "Well, I know the songs. I just know the old ones better." Dusty and discontinued licorice. He was tall enough that he looked taller than he was. Replicas of sporting instruments—steering wheels, putters—for use in video replicas of the parent sport. Sold separately. Baskets of yarn on the sidewalk. A gaggle of bros, stiff-limbed from a day at the half-pipe, carrying a huge pizza all together like EMTs, like acrobats with a landing pad, like a giant Ouja board, etc. The possibilities are daunting. "The cult of conspicuous busyness."  A tattoo of Mr. Rogers and a rainbow that says TAKE BACK THE NEIGHBORHOOD. A police car from the next town over pulls up to the spaghetti factory. It is vaguely terrifying to see someone sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car. But it is slightly worse if the parked car is also in a parking lot. Give yourself a walking route that cuts over the railroad. This is like letting the cake think it's baking itself. Very important.

8.21.2010

saturday solomon day



This is Valley of Tears by Solomon Burke. I changed the song quite a bit, mess up a couple times, and also maybe the mixing is eh, but maybe now this song will not be stuck in my head so much and I will be a more positive person (ha ha).

8.20.2010

some things on my floor include a maraca

One of my strongest memories is watching Christina Aguleria asked, on MTV's Total Request Live, if she wrote "Genie In a Bottle." No, she said, but I did come up with that part that goes Come come, come and let me out. Just punched a van in the parking lot of the funeral home across the street. Except it was out my window, which means I was punching via the "I'm squishing your head with my fingers" perspective trick. Even bread was invented accidentally. Most satire does not respect the idea that someone else's loneliness might be incomprehensible to you. My sister bought me a mug shaped like a face. Sort of an Easter Island face. When people are creeped out by it, I am always surprised to remember that it always creeps people out. Headphones are something I always forget to pack and always regret not packing. When will they invent a TV show where you get to switch places with a piece of bacteria living inside your body?

8.18.2010

trip someone nude

Writing a novel is not that different from lying about your age on the internet for several years. At the grocery store, the grandfather was distracted. His grandson was very tall. They were near peaches. "The thing to remember about fruit," said the grandfather, "is, um. The thing to remember. About fruit, when you have—buy more fruit. The thing to remember is to buy enough fruit." For a few minutes yesterday, my life was entitled Is There Anything Better Than Fried Chicken and Iced Coffee? A woman walked down the street doing birdcalls the same way some people I publicly sing. I wonder if the birdcalls were stuck in her head? Here's some instructions: get GRACE, AFTER A PARTY tattooed on your wrist, so you can forever after speak quietly into your wrist: "You do not always know what I am feeling." We guess wrong about someone's personality if their face tends to excel at expressing certain emotions. That doesn't mean that's all they're feeling. It's just what their face is good at.

8.17.2010

good? good. good? good. good? good.

Casey Mensing wrote a little bit about We Are All Good If The Try Hard Enough on his blog. Check it out here. Here is something he said: "The poems in the book are of their time—the immediate present. The lines flow, the images shift with such fluidity and nonchalance they fit perfectly in the technological daydream we live in. But Young also borrows a style and use of imagery that recalls the cultural heroes of the 50's and 60's." Thanks, Casey!

8.16.2010

"did you go to warren wilson? no i just look like a hippie"

Opera glasses hung on a street sign. Crumpled box of cold syrup in the gutter. Is there a So-And-So's Law for the idea that you can always imagine a better example of what you're talking about? Like say I'm talking about the way Pancho and Lefty lands on that minor sixth at the end of each verse, and how I believe this musical move is more seamlessly connected with the song's lyrics and overall structure than any other drop to a minor sixth I've ever heard. But at the same time I concede that probably there is a better example out there I haven't heard yet. Or might never hear. Is there a law for that? Eating more makes my muscles look more accessible. If I were homeless and did my hair like that, hell yes I'd shoot up in the bathroom of the hippie coffeeshop. So would you. Everybody roots for the other people with their name who show up on their Google Alerts. Go Texas Rangers. Even when people are in committed relationships, they seem to enjoy hoping they will find a Missed Connection about themselves. It is annoying to get Pavement's "Cut Your Hair" stuck in your head, because there's that part that goes "Darling don't you go and cut your hair, do you think it's gonna make him change" which overlaps on "change" with "I'm just a boy with a new haircut" etc. How do I execute this overlap by myself? With no audio technology? Just these throat muscles?

8.14.2010

if james madison wrote your daily constitutional, you'd brag too

Pane of glass next to a grill. Makeshift speaker system in a milk crate, sideways in a window. Mutton chops on a tiny bicycle. A hipster carries flowers and tomatoes. Mother is wearing a baseball cap and so are both her kids. They stand at the edge of the driveway, and Mother spreads her arms like Kate Winslet in Titanic. "This is the sun, the only one!" she says. "Show me where the sun is." One of the kids points to a moth. "Not yet," Mother says. Would I that be humbled before this world like a fucking way-back Chinese poet or some shit. Gmail chat conversations about the realities of NAFTA and logging. Often I class my friends according to older friends. So-and-so is a Travis-type friend, and so on. Does this make certain friends a priori? Now that DFW has died, should we retire the term a priori like a jersey number? No matter what you ask us to show you, we will probably point to a moth.

"I achieved absolute belief, and it had nothing to do with politics or humanity or any of that shit" — Sampson Starkweather

Hey, I have four chunks from MC Oroville's Answering Machine in the new Action, Yes, along with really cool stuff from other people whose last names fall near the end of the alphabet, including Sampson Starkweather, Matt Reeck, and Jared White. Thank you to John Dermot Woods and Emily Hunt and the whole Action, Yes team. These are some of my favorite MC O chunks. I would consider them "representative." They are all very wild west, but one of them someone told me one time reminded her of growing up in Kansas.

8.12.2010

"it was actually funny because i thought it was people"

I like it when the audience camera accidentally catches the kid who doesn't care about the home run. Carolyn says you need to wait ten seconds before CPR, which is a delay never depicted in movies, I feel. Imagine living as a rollercoaster critic. Some people like certain frozen meals so much they learn how to make real versions of them. A Pop-Tarts restaurant opened in Times Square. You can buy Pop-Tarts sushi. When you read a lot of news stories about these kinds of things, you realize that only one kind of humor is allowed in contemporary journalism. This humor is like the word "sardonic" plus high fructose corn syrup. The world suggested by this humor is something distant, like a card trick you get in the mail. Do you ever take overheard advice? Like if one stranger swears by coconut water to another stranger, will you try coconut water? What can it hurt? Aren't there many people you have failed to thank? One of my stronger memories is sitting in a diner booth, realizing Dustin made his living off poker. There is one girl who works at Blockbuster who is always negative. Even when I saw her excited about something the other day—maybe a coupon for paper towels, maybe a new kind of bat—she seemed to be more anti-complaining than actually expressing happiness. Speaking of bats, the father insisted they weren't real and tried to get everyone in the car. One time Chris said he had nothing to do on Christmas Eve and he was planning on driving by my house, but he didn't. He told me this around March, I think.

8.10.2010

unfortunately, we can't take the boat out at night

The email is so long but I am reading it sideways so it looks like those text waterfalls in The Matrix. "I can't even begin to say what it says," she says. A woman—I believe the word is "swathed"—is swathed in a white sheet, only the face peeking out, sheet billowing behind her, navigating the on-ramp near Whole Foods. She steps carefully over a railing, holding the sheet up so it doesn't catch. A man sits at his laptop, staring at a tent for sale. He sits like this for hours. He didn't enjoy karaoke last night. You only need to buy a muffin and you can sit there all day. A very old woman wrote a column for the paper about how much she enjoyed reading a child's guide to Ramadan. If you do a good impression of someone, you will be asked to do that impression over and over again. It is more than a little erotic to do an impression of someone right in front of them. Remember when it was important to snap up the same handle in all the different online services? Last night I had a dream where I was in a very epic community theatre production, except we never seemed to rehearse, we seemed only to engage in buffets in large banquet halls. No one was planning on telling you what's in the hot dog, silly. The deer tick is rarely photographed at its happiest moment.

8.08.2010

WHAT'S THE STRANGEST THING YOU'VE EVER FELT / WHAT'S THE STRONGEST THING YOU'VE EVER FELT / WHAT'S THE STRANGEST THING YOU'VE EVER FELT / WHAT'S THE STRONGEST THING YOU'VE EVER FELT / WHAT'S THE STRANGEST THING YOU'VE EVER FELT / WHAT'S THE STRONGEST THING YOU'VE EVER FELT


17

Sometimes I really like those STAFF shirts. But sometimes I don’t. This is what makes me feel strange. Like do I like or don’t? Should I click like? Make a shirt about the shirts I like? Maybe I should do more research? Before you like things should you know them? Like what are they staffing? Will they build a statue of me? Do I feel more important than last week? Do you realize I stole your toothpaste? If energy is never really created or destroyed, why do we expect feelings to go any different? When you think of energy changing, do you think more of a werewolf or a costume party? Or a girl’s soccer team? Should I just ask? Do the people in the STAFF shirts feel important or helpful? Whatever they feel, aren’t they still obligated to help? Should we feel shame to want them near us? I mean, can they help me? Like right now? Who are they working for? Shouldn’t I admit the distinction between the person wearing the STAFF shirt and the shirt itself? Can I wear one? Do I turn here? Will I be on TV? Can you imagine someone being shaken as I ask these questions? Do you imagine yourself? When will I appear before everyone who knows me but whom I fail to know? Do I mean “before” or “before?” Wouldn’t it be nice to walk beside someone, khaki shorts, a dog maybe, and in silence? And the only way you know what I am thinking is by the way our hands go?

8.07.2010

have you ever eaten so many cookies that you become afraid of the cookies

Had a swell time at the Brookline Booksmith reading. Deep thanks to the stylishly tattooed Gene Kwak for putting it on. Lovely readings from Sasha Fletcher, Carrot Cake Zaikowski, Jonathan Papas, Anne "Oboe Cinnamon" Holmes, Blake Butler and Rachel Be Cool Glaser. If you are reading this and you came to the reading, thank you for coming. You were, as Mitch Hedberg once said, a smart crowd. Several folks have asked where they can find the thing I read between a napkin dispenser and a blue Christmas bow: it's in Glitterpony and it's together with a bunch of poems in that We Are All Something Something Something book to your right, kind reader.

On August 6th, Carrot Cake's picture was in the Celebrity News section of the Boston Globe because she is the newest member of the Celtics. Her picture was right next to Shaq's, who was in the paper I guess because he read some poetry at some weird bookstore or something. Whatever! Go Carolyn!

After the reading, we ate some Thai food. Fried pineapple. The next day Carolyn and I did the commuter rail shuffle to rendezvous with Carolyn's friend Siri, then we all drove off to Maine to hang out with the saints of generosity, Ben and Vanessa, at their honeymoon island cottage. Astoundingly idyllic. That's not a picture of it in the corner of this post, but that picture gives you the right idea. None of their hammocks gave me a rash. Floated on the Aqua Thunder. Bruce Willis maybe lived on a nearby island. Many small and well-camouflaged frogs. Other things in Maine include a place where you can learn Brazilian jujitsu and places where you can eat dagwood sandwiches. On the way back to Massachusetts, we stopped at the Portland Whole Foods. I had a lot of good Southern barbecue, go figure, including delicious cilantro corn fritters. Something called "picnic fried" chicken. We saw fisherman beards. Portland's warehouses looked a little like the other Portland's warehouses. Now I am back in Massachusetts with a lot of work to do. There I was, in the cocked hat of America, and now I am back somewhere near the harmonica.

8.03.2010

i don't know if you keep the horses blind in the rain but i know someone who does

Today a young man wearing surgeon gloves wanted only to walk across the lawn and sip from his plastic cup. He looked around to make sure he could. A woman told me to be careful on the sidewalk because she'd recently swept a bat out. The bat thuddumped, injured, no take off, and reminded me of a fragile TIE Fighter. "Bummer," I said. DJ Dan was wearing a colorful shirt of the 80s persuasion. Colors were different in the 80s, and many of them happened on a black background. What's the strangest thing you've ever felt? What's the strongest thing you've ever felt?

barometers

Patrick Trotti has written a very exuberant review of We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough over at JMWW. I read it when I woke up and it made my day very much the opposite of dreary. In other news, We Are All Good is again available for pre-order at the Publishing Genius website. If you go to that Publishing Genius web page, there's also a deal afoot where you can buy both We Good and Look! Look! Feathers for cheaper together than if you bought them separate! Click here and scroll down to get the package deal. I know, I know, Jesus, what am I doing here, selling sham-wows? In all seriousness, it is heartening to work with independent publishers who like working together. Together is good weather. What else is new? I ate some pita chips and some pasta. I stared in horror at a dentist bill.

8.02.2010

reading wednesday in boston area @ 7PM

Yo, I had a killer time at the LIT reading. Deep thanks to Ben Mirov and Jackie Clark, and all my fellow readers. Met some really gentle and terrific persons. And then we all became friends on Facebook, which is what happens after your face makes friends. There was a cocktail made especially for the event. I made a water bottle talk to a tape dispenser. A manhole exploded next to the building where I was staying. I ate a Cuban sandwich in a little joint and read an AM Homes book (Things You Should Know) while the proprietors of the joint smelled the perfume samples in fashion magazines with much admiration. Later I watched "Rear Window" in Brooklyn's new park and laughed with other people at things I do not think people laughed at when the movie first came out. What else? I read The Day of Creation by JG Ballard in Union Square and ate quoinia salad from Whole Foods and listened to some white boys with nice shoes talk about fantasy football. Then I came home. In the Department of Sitting-By-Yourself-And-Watching-Movies-Everyone-Else-Saw-Seven-Years-Ago, I watched "The Saddest Music In the World." It was terrific. I liked the dialogue, the giant veil, and the glass legs filled with beer.

This Wednesday! I am headed back out on the road! To, yes, read again, for Gene Kwak's lovely We Are Champion, this Wednesday, August 4th, 7PM @ Brookline Booksmith (279 Harvard St, Brookline, MA). Will be yakking for seven minutes tight with these fine freaks: Jonathan Papas, Carolyn Zaikowski, Blake Butler, Rachel B. Glaser, Anne Cecelia Holmes, and Sasha Fletcher. That's 7 x 6, which is 42 minutes, which means a dizzying hour or so of literary hoedown. You should come! If you do I will give you a secret handshake.

After Boston, I am going to Maine for a weekend! Damn, yo. In other news, this clip is a spitfire summation of my artistic philosophy.

7.28.2010

reading tonight in brooklyn @ 6:30 PM @ powerHouse arena

Hey, if you're in Brooklyn getting pizza, like the dude next to me on the bus is going to do when he gets to Brooklyn, you should consider stopping by Powerhouse Books (37 Main street, Brooklyn NY, take the A/C/E to the Brooklyn Bridge stop) to see the LIT launch party at 6:30pm. Details at LIT's blog. I will be reading a few poems and there will also be readings from Eduardo Jiménez Mayo (on behalf of Rafael Pérez Gay), Traci O Connor, and Nate Pritts. W00t.

7.24.2010

Late capitalism tastes like your fingers after Doritos

My apologies if you already saw this elsewhere, but I am stoked to announce that pre-orders are now open for my book of stories, Look! Look! Feathers, which is coming out in December from Word Riot Press. The pre-order price is a few dollars cheaper than the list price will be, so it's a bargain. The stories will appeal to people who like 57% or more of the stuff on this list: magic cysts, peaches, gameshows, electrolytes, necklaces made of bluebird bones, broken armchairs, two-father families, mosquito fog, murals, drivethrough redwoods, and cardboard banditos. Stories from this collection have or will appear in American Short Fiction, Washington Square Review, Hobart, Keyhole, The Collagist and elsewhere. Thanks to Bryan Coffelt for working with me on the cover design and for designing the interior of the book, and to Jackie Corley of Word Riot for all her tireless publishing know-how.

So this means I have a book of poems out in September and a book of stories out in December, which is crazy, and which makes me feel very lucky and grateful to everyone kind in my life. I really would like to blog in a way that isn't just links to other things, but my life is not that interesting besides what happens where the links go. For instance, all I've done of note today is eat grapefruit. Last night I dreamed I was in the castle level of a video game. Someone is wearing boots inappropriate for the weather.