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Sunday, April 22, 2018
Come together over dirty messiah John ‘n’ Yoko over me—what do I know? You and “you’ve got to be free.” On Abbey Road, “Come Together” mocks unclean hippy Kurtz whose wisdom is diseased. The third “shoot” is “shoot me” (Anthology 3 “Come Together”: shoot… shoot… shoot… look out!). “He’s one” becomes “he one” but sounds like “he wants”—“he’s one holy roller,” “he’s one spinal cracker” “he’s one jo jo [go-jo? mojo?] filter.” But Live In New York City “Come Together” wants to be a piece with Lennon’s political songs (“Woman Is the Nigger of the World,” “Attica State,” “Luck of the Irish,” etc.). Come together “over you” and “over me, over you, over there” and at the One to One concert “come together, right now, stop the war!” For “Come Together” to work as a rallying cry slogan (akin to “Give Peace A Chance” and “Power To the People”), you’ve gotta ignore “old flattop” who “just do what he please” and hear only “one thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free / come together / right now / over me.”
Lennon’s attempt to recast “Come Together” points toward its origin as a campaign song for Mr. Timothy Leary.
[At Madison Square Garden, August 30, 1972, someone in the crowd shouted “Help!”; Lennon laughs (“Ha”) then says, “We'll go back in the past, just once. You might remember this better than I do, actually.” To the band he says, “Okay. Something about a flattop. That's all I know. One two a one two three four!” When they finish performing “Come Together” Lennon says, “Thank you thank you, I nearly got all the words right, too.”]
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
My and Meghan Lamb’s paths have twice crossed. Lamb’s “Inventory” is in Vestiges no. 2 alongside two of my poems. More recently, Lamb’s “All Your Most Private Places” appears in Almost Crashing no. 1—I’ve a selection from Notes on in the issue.
“Inventory” is about an orderly whose job requires an attention to detail, illustrated by his knowledge of patients’ old and “new scars, bruises, bites, and injuries.” To his life outside work, he’s inattentive. It’s thus that his personal life vanishes—almost without his notice. Soon after he and his girlfriend have sex (initiated by his girlfriend, and barely a distraction from work, TV, and his concern with his own scent), she dumps him. She is clear about it, and about why, but he isn’t listening. Instead—and this is my favorite moment in the story—“he’s thinking of the snowmen he has built throughout his life.”
He is, it’s made clear, an empty figure.
“All Your Most Private Places” is also concerned with work and sex—and sex work. Lamb’s sex scenes are not totally un-erotic, but she emphasizes not being there:
She closes her eyes. Her nipples rub against the linen. Sweat gleams on her stomach. She feels like she’s floating, falling into nothingness.
But more than work and sex, “All…” looks at fantasy. Museum fantasy (the past was like ____ ), magazine fantasy (“…she edits photos of rich people at events. She blurs and touches up and does good”), and sex fantasy (Playboy magazine, prostitutes who care for their clients—“He wanted her to like him.”). And in the background, death by nukes.
[ image: cover, Always Crashing no. 1—when you get the chance, view it with 3D glasses. ]
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Mapped SHARKPACK Annual #0 from Fathom Books. Ethan Hon (p 2) & Julian Mithra (p 5) = blood; Owen Vince (p 10) & Mark Stevick (p 12) = horses; Jade Graddy (p 14) & Daniel Bosch (p. 16) = “the wind called me” / “I am called” & rivers; John Stupp (p 21) & Julian Mithra (p 23) = boats; Scherezade Siobhan = Fathom / “of this fathoming”; Ethan Hon (p 29) & Mark Stevick (p 33) = trees & Christianity & houses, respectively; Gemma Cooper-Novack (p 38) & Nels Hanson (p 40) = birds; Andrew Wells (p 42), Joel Netsky (p 43), & Laura Goode (p 45) = the women Leonard Cohen includes on his album covers; Robert D. Kirvel (p 54) & Melissa Wiley (p 56) = luggage & fabric; Michelle Chen (p 67) & John Stupp (p 69) = sea; Edwin Evans-Thirwell (p 83) & Eric Westerlind (p 85) = space; & Sean Mahoney (p 89) & Joseph Spece (p 36) = Lou Reed & Patti Smith.
Stephanie Adam-Santos’ “The Poet’s House” imagines a poet’s house is bare.
Andrew Saavendra’s rope “From the Temple Priapus” hockles.
Included (p 70 – 82) is my OUTLAND 1 – 6. It looks great in print & compliments its online incarnation.
Friday, January 26, 2018
Friday, December 8, 2017
Friday, November 17, 2017
Jessica Phelps’ second effort in my fiction workshop was a draft of “The Witch House”—I knew, with little work, her story was publishable. Phelps’ voice is full of wit—“My aunt is a witch. Well, she was. Now she’s just dead.” What’s wholly unexpected is just how upsetting the story becomes.
Read it in Nightscript, the journal that proved me right. “The Witch House” is the second short story Phelps ever wrote and the first she’s published. I hope best ofs take note, and editors, too—she’s working on stories three, four, and etc.—call for them now! I only hope to ride the coattails of my protégé. And, indeed—
a story of mine, “The Beasts Are Sleep,” appears in the same issue. My story introduces a character, Laura, who features in the novel I’m currently—slowly—writing. The story’s a slasher—teenagers, woods, ridiculous amounts of murder. I’m not sure how it fits in with the issue, but I’m glad editor C. M. Muller found a place for it.
Nightscript no. 3—or III, as it’s styled—includes a bunch of authors who’ve written stories I like. Clint Smith, John Howard, and David Surface; there’s quite a few authors I didn’t know. I’m impressed with Rebecca J. Allred’s tale “When Dark-Eyed Ophelia Sings.” It’s fantasy (a romance), and I don’t particularly like fantasy, but it’s really good. Vivid. Unresolved. I dig it.
Okay. So. Nightscript is a great looking annual journal with a Munch fetish “featuring tales by some of the finest contemporary scribes.” What’s not to like?