Thursday, April 25, 2013

86. Shane Carruth } encrypts buckle-pan with data.

The machine they build is a ramshackle box, kind of like the movie Crammed.

Months passed, then years, then the lanky guy who’d left film-found odd voice recordings says, “And if you look, you won’t find me.”

The trees open up to reveal a slight deviation in his parents. Flashes of data, barely seen at all. “So, that’s work, Dad?”

Rooting around dirt forts, he’s hard-pressed to recall the name of a single co-worker from his engineering days. What he really wanted was a belief that they could find new truths in the account. People fill up message boards and YouTube videos and multi-part, critical exegeses with their thoughts. “But some of that stuff, I just get spun up.”

To see it, a lot of people stopped paying attention to him altogether. Enthused confusion about data bracketing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

85. 1913 } is not really sure.

Today, mass-emailed, the announcement that 1913: A Journal of Forms, will print only if funds are successfully raised via Kickstarter. My stake in the project is “When You Speak Your Desire for Another,” actually one panel of a triptych, hacked from my submission that 1913 solicited. I was pleased to be asked and included, if mildly frustrated by the selective communication by the editor.

I like the idea of being in an issue of 1913—my first experience with the journal was #2, which impressed me very much with its actual heft, a striking, Tiffany-blue cover, and with the inclusion of poems by John Taggart and Fanny Howe.

The Kickstarter pitch is peculiar. To summarize: help fund a print edition of #6, unless you think 1913 should go digital. Of course it shouldn’t go digital; read the editor’s faltering query and you'll understand why not:
…since 2003 we at 1913 have been devoted to printing (yes, actually printing!) a paper journal chock full of the baddest in contemporary writing and art of all forms, alongside galleries of predecessors. …Print journals come with attendant joys, as well as their inherent costs. Is it time to move 1913 a journal of forms online, to new conversations of form? Or is there something about a print magazine that still necessitates, converses, engages?
Is it time to go digital because printing costs money?—that’s the crux of the matter, not, Is it time to go digital because digital can offer something to the form?

1913 makes fine books. Their journal is a desirable object, crammed with the poetry of many innovative poets, not least of all me. My wish to be in a print issue of 1913 is sincere. I hope that, in spite of their unfortunately hesitant pitch, money will be contributed.

$25 gets a copy of the issue (if the funds are raised to print it). If issue 6 is anything like its predecessors, $25 is a very reasonable price for a copy. My payment for the poem-fragment they’ve taken is a contributor’s copy of the print issue—that is to say, my contribution is already made.

Monday, April 22, 2013

84. Rose and Valerie } screaming from the gallery.

Maxwell Edison is a serial killer, his trademark a silver hammer-blow to the head. He convinces Joan, a student of “pataphysical science” to go with him to see a film, but when she answers his knock at the door, he murders her. “Bang bang!” he shouts. Before he murders his teacher, who keeps him after school for acting up in class, he writes, over and over, “I must not be so.” What he must not be is a blank—what is he? He is thorough. He “made sure that she was dead.”

He’s arrested by police constable #31, who, stunned by Maxwell’s foul flat utters, coughing— “We’ve caught a dirty one.”

On trial, Maxwell hardly pays attention, but parodies the courtroom sketch artist by sketching testimonials. Two women, known only as Rose and Valerie, must be removed from the court for shouting, “Max must go free!” As Maxwell is sentenced, he hears the judge bowdlerize the phrase Maxwell wrote on the classroom chalkboard—the judge, “tells them so”—, and Maxwell fantasizes killing the judge with his silver hammer, the head of it shattering the judge’s glass face “as the words are leaving his lips”—“Bang bang.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

83. More video lies } from the Unfinished House.

The following is an excerpt from the column Video Lies, a regular feature in the 1990s ‘zine Kraken Farmer, edited by the mighty Lucy Kurtz, available at Tower Records and Flyrabbit.

Body Melt. Dir. Philip Brophy. Perf. Gerard Kennedy, Andrew Daddo, and Regina Gaigalas. Prism Entertainment Corporation, 1993. Videocassette.

Blue-lit nude witch with mechanical witch tits sez, “I fixed Ryan.” Ryan’s computer cigarette, Pebble Court graphics, writes an address. Fade to suburban cul-de-sac, red-orange mailbox, “regula Vegula” vitamins. Vit-ah-mins. Phil C-c-collins. “I’m serious, mate.” Ryan uses detergent to keep himself together. 1. hallucinogenic, 2. glandular microcassette recorder.

Int. Airport. Day: hallucinate. Offer a dying man a fag, “it’s a killing machine it got everything.” Horizon cigarettes, smoked by a bruise. Int. Paul’s at Pebble Court. Day. The bruise appears healed and opens Paul’s chest for another pack of cigarettes, Smoke a fresh breath.

Cannibal families choose Chesterfield cigarettes. Truck circles, “Keep it inbred the family.” Watch pornography. The hallway wall a KISS mask museum. Pud eats kangaroo adrenal gland and Pud can can. Detective Phillips detects fitness: “We’re only just shifted here.” Helium voiced he-men. Cheryl’s pregnancy dust picked up by leftover stethoscope. Instead of a baby, steam. She names the baby Steam. Foaming father butterfly swallows his wings and family evacuates.

What is important about Body Melt? Bodies.

Monday, April 8, 2013

82. More video lies from } the Unfinished House.

The following is an excerpt from the column Video Lies, a regular feature in the 1990s ‘zine Kraken Farmer, edited by the redoubtable Lucy Kurtz, available at Tower Records and Flyrabbit.

Teenage Exorcist. Dir. Grant Austin Waldman. Perf. Brinke Stevens, Eddie Deezen, and Robert Quarry. AIP Home Video, Inc, 1991. Videocassette.

Diane buys a mansion from a realtor deformed by hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. During the night she writhes in silk as the mansion’s demon possesses her with the spirit of an evil baron. Diane wanders the house in fetish gear and mounts a priest. Handel’s largo from Serse plays as Diane bloodies the priest’s chest with claws given her by the demon. The scene fades to black; “Intermission” appears on the screen; Serse plays to its conclusion. Fade to star and author of Teenage Exorcist Brinke Stevens who whispers, “Brink, break, ache, lake, shore, thresh, hold, hold would, mark, mar, ocean, lore, fore, ground, down, own—”  her voice and the image fade.

At the front door of the mansion stand a pizza delivery boy and a horse. The horse nibbles pizza from the open pizza box the delivery boy carries. The front door opens, but there’s no one on the other side. ‘Course, there is a demon and the spirit of an evil baron and Diane dominatrix. The delivery boy and the horse step into the dark mansion. They are comically startled by the shirtless, bloody priest. The priest asks the delivery boy and the horse  to help exorcize the baron from Diane. The priest is incompetent so he’s sent to sing to the undead who’re drawn to the scene from a crack in the basement. Even as they eat his guts he sings.

To exorcize Diane, the delivery boy refers to the comic book he carries rolled in his back pocket, which turns out to be quite helpful. “Pow!” he shouts. “Wham!” and, finally, “Pfft.” The baron slips away. The horse eats the demon and the demon doesn’t even care.  Our attention shifts to the open window. It’s night. We stare out the window until dawn. That’s twenty minutes of the film’s 86 minute running time. The mansion is empty. Diane is herself again. She strips ‘till she’s Brinke Stevens.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

81. The terror of omission & } of secret dads.

The day before Christmas 2012, Arnold Snyder, senior editor of Vegas Lit and blackjack expert, published a review of Worse Than Myself. He writes, “Golaski’s stories brought back memories… the feeling of danger you sense as a child when you know that something’s off but you don’t understand the nature of the problem,” and includes the following childhood memory, which perfectly illustrates what he means:
When I was five years old, playing in a field—really just a vacant lot in my neighborhood on the east side of Detroit—a teenage boy I’d never seen told me he was my father and he was going to take me home with him. He was on a bicycle and he rode over to where I had been trying to catch grasshoppers in the dandelion patch, but now stood paralyzed with fear. He grabbed my arm and I screamed. He rode off down the alley from whence he’d come, laughing loudly. I ran home crying, and never returned to play in that vacant lot again.
My first instinct, copyright be damned, is to steal this anecdote for a story. I won’t, I don’t want to end up paying Chuck Berry royalties for the rest of my recording career, but Snyder’s anecdote certainly does fit my aesthetic. Perhaps he should write the story.

A little less than a month later, Gordon White, a self-described “late-blooming” writer, published his review of Worse Than Myself. His begins with “a lengthy pre-digression,” which I like. White summarizes how David Byrne wrote “Once in a Lifetime” and “Na├»ve Melody” and writes, “I think the strength comes from the fact that [the image is] thematically coherent within the larger structure of the song, but it’s not narratively inevitable.” He speculates that “Adam Golaski must do his work in a very similar way.

White took time to consider the types of stories in the collection, how my style works (and doesn’t), and generally to speculate why certain stories resonated more than others. He also “nit-picks”—the story “Back Home,” which he writes is “a perfect little frozen gem,” employs a device he doesn’t care for: instead of full names, I use the first initial and brackets. So, “K[   ].” The good editors of All Hallows, who published the first version of that story, also didn’t like the device; in All Hallows 32, she’s Kate. When I had the opportunity to run the story as it was meant to be, I did. I first saw the device as a boy reading Edgar Allan Poe. To leave the name incomplete makes a great deal of sense to me, especially in the case of the characters in “Back Home”—a story all about incompleteness (see the body parts falling info the fireplace). In the ms. The Unfinished House, one of the main characters is M[    ].

There are other reasons, too. Some literary, some personal.

On the drive to my office I caught a snippet of a comedy routine delivered with great bluster in Igbo. I laughed. Made me wish to hear David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Anyway, I laughed, even though the joke was very dark, and not particularly funny.