Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
to the top of the Watertower he was standing under with his friends, a loose conferderation of high school buddies, musicians and other semi-employed types who were now in their early forties, years from their graduation date and year boo predictions, standing under a Watertower in the middle of a public park, a spot that had become a hang out for no other reason other than convience to homes and jobs , basic, bonehead familiarity, and the fact that few of these guys ever gave up the idea of being on some kind of cutting edge where street credibility was everything. Middle aged men with nothing else to do but wait out the duration of their drug of choice before they could go home, or to work, which ever they individually remembered they were in line for.
Bonerface rubbed is neck and took a long toke of a joint of skunk weed that was being passed around. Ferg took the joint as he looked up as well, studying the underside of this huge Watertower, a large vat supported by six supporting legs that were as wide as small houses on chopped up lots of land. An ache developed in his neck, and staring at the criss-cross pattern of beams, joists and joints in a murky , rain-drenched dark made Ferg feel profoundly powerless in the center of his stomach. The earth seemed to move away from his feet;gravity seemed suspended. He passed the joint along without taking a hit and looked at Bonerface, who was now playing an invisible guitar. Fingers scurried along unseen frets, notes plucked out the air with a sound that came up from under the street, the mission of the muse to make this park electric, electric,
Bonerface sang something to ease the pain in his neck
"dDEedeeeeeeeeediddly GREUndelliddlybomp!bomp!Bomp! wheeddly wadiddddddddddddididididididididily WHAmzitridddddddddley wheedlyWHammylidlle dlalotta BOMP BOMP!!!"
"Nice power chords" said Grelb, a friend who actually finished a year of college who made a half a living selling record reviews to dozens of adult magazines , titty mags and fast beats, he liked to joke, "nice runs and scat shattering sonics there, and the chords come nicely placed, "BOMBgoddamnedBOMP, and that opens up the rest of the night, the stars above to a terrifying extreme of get down…"
Bonerface shrugged , sang more riffs, this time something that resembled Hendrix , if Hendrix played marches.
"Good for the pain the neck" said Ferg.
"Whatever" said Grelb" because you know one of these days one of us is gonna get married, get a real job, or just die from so much hanging around doing nothing but living on little else but minimum wage and alcohol, and wher will that leave the rest of us, under this Watertower…."
"Beats the willies outta me" said Ferg, "You move on, I guess, you see better movies. Better yet, you become a movie yourself. You may still die at the end, but at least it's a death that means something, hokey though the moral may be…"
"You shoulda been a film critic" said Grelb, "you have a way of filling the air with sentences that evaporate quickly after sounding so pleasant after you said them…"
"Yeah" said Grelb, producing a bottle from the picnic table where the small felllowship did their weekend drinking. He handed it to Ferg.
"My neck still hurts" said Bonerface,"I mean shit, that thing is tall…"
"You need to stop looking up like that" Ferg muttered, "we been coming here since we graduated, off and on, and you still have to stare up at this thing the minute you take your first punch offa bomber?"
"My neck hurts".
"I'm gonna be sick" said Grelb.
"Pussy" said Ferg, " call yourself a son of Irish pride? Go ahead , be sick…"
"Cut some slack, her, Ferg" said Bonerface, "it's not as if you haven't been the one broadcasting their lunch recently."
Ferg rubbed his jaw, reached into his pocked and fished out a smashed back of Camels. He took one out of the creased pack , jabbed it between his lips and lit it with the last dry match he had, cupping the flame as it seared the cigarette tip. The burning end glowed in the dark, highlighting the counters and lines of his palms. The smoke felt good as it seared his throat. A good burn, he thought, burn away this bullshit.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Brilliant as she has been , Joni Mitchell has also had made nearly as much music that is, shall we say, in equal measures underwritten, bombastic, pretentious, just plain pretentious. She coveted the sobriquet "genius" more conspicuously than any pop star I can remember--even self mythologizer Dylan rejects the
application of the word to his name and has suggested , in a sense, that his
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
by Zbigniew HerbertThe pebbleis a perfect creatureequal to itselfmindful of its limitsfilled exactlywith pebbly meaningwith a scent which does not remind one of anythingdoes not frighten anything away does not arouse desireits ardor and coldnessare just andfull of dignityI feel a heavy remorsewhen I hold it in my handand its noble bodyis permeated by false warmth---Peebles cannot be tamedto the end they will look at uswith a calm and very clear eye
I Am A Rockby Paul Simon
A winter's dayIn a deep and dark December;I am alone,Gazing from my window to the streets belowOn a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.I am a rock,I am an island.I've built walls,A fortress deep and mighty,That none may penetrate.I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.I am a rock,I am an island.Don't talk of love,But I've heard the words before;It's sleeping in my memory.I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.If I never loved I never would have cried.I am a rock,I am an island.I have my booksAnd my poetry to protect me;I am shielded in my armor,Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.I touch no one and no one touches me.I am a rock,I am an island.And a rock feels no pain;And an island never cries.
The pebbleis a perfect creatureequal to itselfmindful of its limitsfilled exactlywith pebbly meaning
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
"The Buddha was silent about the existence of God".
Likewise, God is also silent about the existence of God. Unfortuately, not everyone agrees; to have silence be a key to any metaphorical doors that might open up and reveal a metaphysical superstructure of even further quiet and calm is simply too much.Their God is a busy multitasker, making decisions, running the Universe and beyond. It's heresy. Interesting that's these people who make all the noise regarding his greatness and kindnessI am something of a terse Kierkegaardian: i arrive at something that feels like proof of His/Her existence when I stop wading through murky theological concepts and take an action with whatever reserves of faith that I have. An act of faith. Whatever the results happen to be are not so much God's will for me as much as it is the next thing he wants me, all of us, in our own ways, to attend to. I suspect that even God does not the know the outcome of the actions we take. He is there, though, to offer to turn up the light in our search for an inspiration. All we need do is ask . And be realistic enough that God will not answer us in ways resembling a bungled sign, a letter, phone call or email. The occasional hunch or inspiration, yes. Everything else is too flashy.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Chris Matthews, chief bullhorn at MSNBC, is a pundit who has his faults, but even at his worst moments serving up bombast and belligerence he remains a better man that Salon's video commentator Frank Conniff. Conniff is billed as a comedy writer. Fine. But beyond the fact that he appears to be a cheeseburger shy of a heart attack, he is remarkably unfunny, at least as far as his performance . Watch this video and determine if this guy, a paid professional, is actually any funnier than you and your buddies when you're on your second twelve pack cracking wise during an interminable half time act during the Super Bowl. His face seems wedged into the camera lense, stuck by way of cheese fries and fattened, sagging flesh. There is a reason comedy writers ought to remain in the conference room, trolling porn sites and rubbing one out on an old copy of Vogue.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
That something I cannot yet define completely but the feeling comes when you write well and truly of something and know impersonally you have written in that way and those who are paid to read it and report on it do not like the subject so they say it is all a fake, yet you know its value absolutely; or when you do something which people do not consider a serious occupation and yet you know truly, that it is as important and has always been as important as all the things that are in fashion, and when, on the sea, you are alone with it and know that this Gulf Stream you are living with, knowing, learning about, and loving, has moved, as it moves, since before man, and that it has gone by the shoreline of that long, beautiful, unhappy island since before Columbus sighted it and that the things you find out about it, and those that have always lived in it are permanent and of value because that stream will flow, as it has flowed, after the Indians, after the Spaniards, after the British, after the Americans and after all the Cubans and all the systems of governments, the richness, the poverty, the martyrdom, the sacrifice and the venality and the cruelty are all gone as the high-piled scow of garbage, bright-colored, white-flecked, ill-smelling, now tilted on its side, spills off its load into the blue water, turning it a pale green to a depth of four or five fathoms as the load spreads across the surface, the sinkable part going down and the flotsam of palm fronds, corks, bottles, and used electric light globes, seasoned with an occasional condom or a deep floating corset, the torn leaves of a student's exercise book, a well-inflated dog, the occasional rat, the no-longer-distinguished cat; all this well shepherded by the boats of the garbage pickers who pluck their prizes with long poles, as interested, as intelligent, and as accurate as historians; they have the viewpoint; the stream, with no visible flow, takes five loads of this a day when things are going well in La Habana and in ten miles along the coast it is as clear and blue and unimpressed as it was ever before the tug hauled out the scow; and the palm fronds of our victories, the worn light bulbs of our discoveries and the empty condoms of our great loves float with no significance against one single, lasting thing---the stream.
The secret, I think, is that a writer possessed of a fluid style manages to link their mastery of the language with the firm outlining of the collective personalities of the characters , both major and minor. The elegance is in service to a psychological dimension that otherwise might not be available. The thinking among among the anti-elegance crowd is that writing must be grunts, groans and monosyllabic bleats, a perversion of the modernist notion that words are objects to used as materials to get to the essential nature of the material world. Lucky for us that no one convincingly defined what "essential nature" was, leaving those readers who love a run on sentence with more recent examples of the word drunk in progress.I don't mind long sentences as long as their is some kind of mastery of the voice a writer might attempt at length; I am fond of Whitman, Henry James, Norman Mailer, David Foster Wallace and Joyce Carole Oates, writers who manage poetry in their long winded ways. That is to say, they didn't sound phony and the rhythms sounded like genuine expressions of personalities given to subtle word choice. Kerouac, though, struck me as tone deaf. After all these years of complaining about his style, or his attempts at style, the issue may be no more than a matter of taste. Jack Kerouac is nearly in our American Canon, and one must remember that the sort of idiom that constitutes literary language constantly changes over the centuries; language is a living thing, as it must be for literature to remain relevant as a practice and preference generation to generation.
D- Town after the '06 Series
No one saws that we must
stay here , grasping at empty, reedy straws
for something to talk about
when another ball hits the glove's webbing
and hops defeated to the trampled,red grass.
We should move to the exits
and back to the hotel
and go back to the arenas
where we don't wave blankets
but do toss octopus filets on the ice
we hope will gum up the blades
of visitors to our berg
and tell them that
all we do is puck around.
The last Taurus
rolls off the line
and into the street
in hopes a buyer
will drive it into the sunset,
flipping the bird in the rear view
as wheels come off each parked car
under the shadows of these
tall, empty buildings,
We say yeah, we lost,
and we can't afford
to give a flat tire
we make sure it gets shouted
that that's all
in the game
as we measure our pain
and relish plain facts
that bad news and broken bones
are as constant
as the weather,
our newspaper is printed on leather
and we'll huddle
in old Cork Town Taverns
over Strohs and
black and white photos
of dead Irish mayors
when oh when it was ever good
as they say it used to be.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
hit and runs ceased being daily activities
and bullets left their chambers
to slide back into the box that borne them.
After the end of the world
home sales picked up
as if everyone desired a roof
that kept out rain
and false advertising.
Each time the flag waves in slow motion
while an unknown orchestra
strangles the national anthem,
I stand tall where ever I happen to be
and salute whatever floats just
above my head;
Tonight it is ceiling fan
that hasn't had a spin
since two and half car wrecks ago.
for the books you purchased
with the last of your change
and remaining pocket lint,
you've sent your last dime
to a cause since drifting toward a cliff
where white caps break
below on a beach
of black sand that glistens
like diamonds under the moon,
all that remains of your wits
are the shavings
on the table
next to the coffee cup
and pencil sharpener.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Bloom argues, somberly, that Shakespeare is the fount from which mythic forms find a contemporary set of metaphors that in turn became the basis for our modern notion of dramatic conflict, and argues that Freud's genius lies not in his scientific discoveries, but for the creation of another complex of metaphors that rival Shakespeare's for dealing with the mind's nuanced and curious assimilation of experience, the anxiety of influence in action, as process, and not an intellectually determined goal to navigate toward.
The point is that modernization of myth is something that is that is already being done, a continuous activity as long as there are people on this planet...
Academics determine what is taught, but they do not determine what is "literary". Literary, like language, is determined by use.
Academics hardly try to eliminate works from the ranks of literature: more often than not, the aim is to bring works into the fold, though no one, whatever degrees they do or do not hold, will ever be convinced that the mass and popular use of Danielle Steele will confer upon her literary qualities that will have her stock rise amongst academics, critics, what have you. This is an activity that comes from a critical discourse that makes such a conversation possible beyond a popularity contest. It’s not that the best criticism claims to create the things that makes writing ascend to greatness, but only that it gives those things names that make them comprehensible to a larger, curious audience. But the terms are not locked, not fixed: literature changes given the changes in the world its writers confront, and so the terms of discussion change to, lagging, perhaps, a bit behind the curve. It's less that descriptions of literature fail, but instead are forever incomplete.
Literature, by whatever definition we use, is a body of writing intended to deal with more complex story telling in order to produce a response that can be articulated in a way that's as nuanced as the primary work, the factors that make for the "literary" we expect cannot be reducible to a single , intangible supposition. Use is a valuable defining factor, but the use of literature varies wildly reader-to-reader, group-to-group, culture-to-culture, and what it is within the work that is resonates loudly as the extraordinary center that furnishes ultimate worth, varies wildly too; there are things that instigate this use, and they aren't one determinant, but several, I suspect. A goal of criticism, ultimately, is not to create the terms that define greatness, but to examine and understand what's already there, and to devise a useful, flexible framework for discussion. Ultimately, the interest in useful criticism is in how and why a body of work succeeds or fails in their operation, not establishing conditions that would exist before a book is written.