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.