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.