Monday, May 2, 2016

136. DIAGRAM 16.2 } “Notes on” fig wood, etc.

Read from—

even the details have details = "a thing so small / the shapeliest mind / can't fix its density" Katherine Williams

(Elisa Gabbert and I once performed together in her apt. She read from a sequence of poems she posted to the blog Even the Details Have Details; I read the poems I wrote in the comments field of said blog…

—so, Elisa read,

“There’s an injured marsupial in front of my tire.  / Would you be interested in a happy ending? // Technically, it’s still spring. / Would you be interested in a happy ending? // Stop honking. I’m trying to think. …”

and I read,

“Koala never caused no ruckus / not no how not at all + / Koala say yes t'bookish, so / step th'back up fish fragile. // This is SERIOUS. Koala courts /honk-trouble + girls aplenty. / Koala say "brings on brunettes /they red-headed brainy."

…and now we perform in public together once more in DIAGRAM 16.2).

Read from—

"...only the boss, who / disappears into / the carbon field and rises / into the knots of language" Matt Sadler

"fig wood, little sun" Geoffrey Detrani

My contribution is more from “Notes on”; to see more visit Word for/Word 27.

[ image: "Notes on 12," a variant of "Notes on 12b" ]

Friday, April 22, 2016

135. “The man in the mack” } a ferryman.

Ringo boards the Magic Christian; George “on holiday.” John returns to London with “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” calls on Paul at Paul’s and the two work it out: “John was in an impatient mood,” said Paul, “I was happy to help.” At Abbey Road (studio three, 2pm – 11, April 14, 1969), John sings lead, Paul sings harmony; John’s guitars (lead and acoustic), Paul’s rhythm and piano; eleven takes—“Take ten was the ‘best’ basic track."

“John recorded these sorts of songs with his new group, the Plastic Ono Band,” wrote Mark Lewisohn in The Beatles Recording Sessions, “and had the band existed at this time “The Ballad of John and Yoko” would probably have been theirs.” Paul’s presence brightens John’s song, brings to it a depth that, musically, it lacked. John’s solo record, “New York City”—another account of John and Yoko’s doings—gives a sense of what “The Ballad of John and Yoko” might’ve sounded like if John hadn’t made it Beatles. John’s guitar and Stan Bronstein’s sax on “New York City” attempt to fill it up—it’s manic; “New York City” is aggressive, “The Ballad of John and Yoko” is sly. Paul’s bass, maracas, hand claps, fun! but, “Christ, you know it ain’t easy… the way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me”—isn’t it that sneaky desperation that so startles on Smiths records? “New York City’s” jabs—policemen who shove, “God’s a red herring in a drag”—are hidden in the mix.

Prince died yesterday. Yesterday, coincidentally, I stopped at Rhode Island Historical Cemetery no. 41—a plot surrounded by industrial debris—where’s buried Edwin L. Green, died April 21, 1946, alongside his wife, Marion, who died in 1911, and their unnamed, infant daughter (“our only child”). I like to think about John and Paul in the studio together, in the midst of no little legal acrimony, in the midst of John’s heroin use, days after John’s marriage to Yoko, a month after Paul’s to Linda, at work. At work and able to enjoy the pleasure they found in work and in working together.

Two days later George, Ringo, Paul, and John recorded Harrison’s “Old Brown Shoe.” Philip Norman wrote (John Lennon: The Life), “…an indifferent George Harrison song ‘Old Brown Shoe’.” Indifferent? Christ! What about that song is indifferent? Listen to the way George pronounces his lyric—the blunt “shoe,” the way his delivery pushes and pulls.

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” single, b-side “Old Brown Shoe,” a neat pivot into the Abbey Road sessions, begun that day with “Something.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

134. word for/word 27 } “Notes on” foliage, etc.

Read from—

“Soon the foliage around our house is made of mirrors.”
—John Gallaher and Kristina Marie Darling

“Close your eyes. Watch out. Invader. / Invader. That year was a long time ago. It’s happened. Air.”
—Elizabeth Witte

“Can you describe this valley of ash?”
—Anne Gorrick

Look at—

Scott Howard’s “Mere Bog” morse code.

Scott Helmes’ “Sonnet 26-II-14.”

All parts of Word for/Word 27, published late February, and including a selection from my poem “Notes on,” an erasure/collage piece. Another selection from “Notes on” will appear in an upcoming issue of DIAGRAM.

(“Soon the foliage around our house is made of mirrors.” ——that image, what pleasure I get thinking about it. Verdant mirror—they reflect the house, sky, sunlight, the viewer herself, in moving fragments.)

[ Image: "Notes on 11" (rescan) with new smudging. ]

Thursday, February 25, 2016

133. Works in Progress } Mon Mothma's Brood.

Description of a 2:11-min. video parody of the 1982 trailer for Return of the Jedi called “David Cronenberg’s Return of the Jedi”:

TITLE CARD: 20th Century Fox presents a Cinepix tax-shelter incentive CUT TO: Stars. Voiceover: “A shocking new vision from David Cronenberg, and the final chapter of the Star Wars saga. Play it. Live it. Exterminate all rational thought: Return of the Jedi.” CUE MUSIC by Howard Shore (strings processed through a black panel Synclavier II). CUT TO: A pair of ROYAL GUARDS, clad in the red robes and surgical masks worn by the doctors in Dead Ringers (’88), exit as DARTH VADER and LUKE SKYWALKER arrive for their audience with the EMPEROR. Voiceover: “Return for the climactic clash between the forces of good and evil.” CUT TO: JABBA THE HUTT. Ensconced on his throne, he inserts a video cassette directly into his stomach and his massive eyes light up blue and static. Voiceover: “The battle for freedom rages on.” PRINCESS LEIA struggles against her chains while NICKI BRAND extinguishes a cigarette on her left breast. CUT TO: The SARLACC PIT; it groans with lascivious pleasure as various HENCHMEN are drawn toward its moist innards. CUT TO: Rebel headquarters frigate. MON MOTHMA, after briefing the Rebel forces before the Battle of Endor, opens her white gown to reveal an external womb that is also the head of ADMIRAL ACKBAR. A deformed baby drops from his mouth. CUT TO: Endor. Close up of LUKE’s speeder bike entangled with a BIKER SCOUT’s speeder. Voiceover: “The heart of a hero, the strength of a leader, beyond pleasure, beyond pain.” CUT TO: LEIA as her speeder bike crashes. The Ewok WICKET finds the princess amid the wreckage. They tumble together in uncontrollable, accident-inspired lust. CUT TO: outside the shield generator bunker, HAN SOLO reaches into LEIA’s laser-inflicted wound and removes an organic pistol. HAN SOLO: “I’ve got a serious urge to kill someone here.” LEIA: “Do it. It’s just a game.” CUT TO: the DEATH STAR, main docking bay. Voiceover: “A destiny revealed, the circle closes.” LUKE watches as VADER’s head explodes. Voiceover: “To becomes the new flesh, you have to kill the old flesh.” CUT TO: Stars and, superimposed: Return of the Jedi. CUE MUSIC by John Williams (triumphant Star Wars “End Titles” theme). END.

[Excerpt from the essay “Of David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi”—from which I’ll read at the Works in Progress reading, hosted by the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University, Wednesday, March 2, at 6:30pm, Wilson Hall, room 206. More information here.] 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

132. “Did you touch me, } or why am I terrified?”

From The Supernatural Tales Blog, Jan. 30, 2016:

“…the online poll for most popular story in… ST #30 produced a pretty decisive result. ‘Wild Dogs’ by Adam Golaski won by a country mile.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

131. The New Yorker v. } “Lydia Davis’s radical fiction.”

“The letter, like many things that [Lydia] Davis writes, had started out sincere and then turned weird” [24].

How sincere could Davis be, writing to tell General Mills that their frozen-pea packaging isn’t “appealing”? Frequently, I begin to write with no other goal than to amuse myself—Davis’ letter to General Mills… after she cooked the peas… did she steam them, to be eaten as a side, or put them in a dish—

chicken pot pie—

while the pie she made baked (35 minutes “or until golden brown”), Davis sat at the kitchen table and contemplated the empty frozen peas bag. She talked about the package with Alan, her husband, “an abstract painter,” maybe he’d be interested, look at this washed-out photo of peas, not at all like the peas in actual.

After dinner, after the dishes were washed and put away, Davis wrote, in longhand, the letter. It amused her to do so. To send the letter completed the project—if came a response, it might be incorporated—she made a copy; she recognized what she had. After all, this was her mode since August, 1973. Of her process, “I follow my instinct pretty—I don’t like the word intuitively! I follow them in a kind of natural way, without questioning them too much” [27].

What’s more, the editors of The White Review wrote to ask for work from Davis—

“Even now, much of Davis’s writing has its first life in obscure literary magazines. All the editors have to do is ask. If she likes the cover letter and feels she can trust them, she’ll send work. In small magazines, she feels free to experiment. ‘There’s an opposition between what’s good for my career and what’s good for my writing… What’s good for my writing is these little places’” [30]. Besides, FSG will publish what once was obscure in those “little places”; those “small magazines,” their editors, readers, etc., all a part of Davis’s process.

As “sincere” as any of Davis’s writing—and as “weird.”

[ Goodyear, Dana. "Long Story Short." The New Yorker, March 2014, 24 - 30. ]

Monday, January 18, 2016

130. “Hushed Will Be All Murmurs” } & Terror Tales.

Last night my eldest declared that my contribution to Paul Finch’s Terror Tales of the Ocean is inscrutable. Something to do with lips? Of course she’s right. That said, “Hushed Will Be All Murmurs”—a title taken from chapter 25 of Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (“Let my last energies support me in the finishing of this task. Then will I lay down my head in the lap of death. Hushed will be all my murmurs in the sleep of the grave.”)—does have the virtue of being the shortest entry. Turns out, erotically-charged, decapitated heads are an ongoing concern of mine.

Terror Tales of the Ocean is the ninth in a series of anthologies from Grey Friar Press. All delightfully adorned with outrageous covers and sold in gift shops around England. In addition to my contribution, there’s Steve Duffy’s “Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed” (this is the second time I’ve been collected in an anthology with that story—the first was John Skipp’s massive zombie book)—it’s Duffy at his finest. Characters quickly and convincingly drawn and confronted by an utterly bizarre horror that creates a kind of lovely image. Of the stories new to the volume, I most enjoyed Conrad Williams' “The Offing,” a portrait of a teenaged girl on the cusp of adulthood in the midst of a ruined seaside landscape.

Slid between each story are little bits of weird nonfiction, all capped with alarm—of Megalodon, for instance, we’re told that, unlikely as it might be, “few will say for certain that this fabled ‘tyrannosaur of the ocean’ is not still down there, biding his time as he watches us from the inky darkness.” Oh, boy, kiddies!—to be watched by such a mindless god.