Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Every artist comes equipped with a sliver of ice in their heart."

-Graham Greene

Friday, December 24, 2010

Alice Gregory Reviewing Gary Shteyngart's 'Super Sad True Love Story'

Sad as Hell

I have the sensation, as do my friends, that to function as a proficient human, you must both “keep up” with the internet and pursue more serious, analog interests. I blog about real life; I talk about the internet. It’s so exhausting to exist on both registers, especially while holding down a job. It feels like tedious work to be merely conversationally competent. I make myself schedules, breaking down my commute to its most elemental parts and assigning each leg of my journey something different to absorb: podcast, Instapaper article, real novel of real worth, real magazine of dubious worth. I’m pretty tired by the time I get to work at 9 AM.
In-person communication feels binary to me now: subjects are either private, confessional, and soulful or frantically current, determined mostly by critical mass, interesting only in their ephemeral status. Increasingly these modes of talk seem mutually exclusive. You can pull someone aside—away from the party, onto the fire escape—and confess to a foible or you can stay inside with the group and make a joke about something everyone’s read online. “Maybe you keep the wrong company,” my mother suggests. Maybe. But I like my friends! We can sympathize with each other and feel reassured that we’re not alone in our overeager consumption, denigrated self-control, and anxiety masked as ambition. 
Part of the difficulty is that the pace of online narratives (Tumblr posts, Jezebel comment fights, truffle-whatever) resembles that of tabloids or all-or-nothing friends. Maintaining interest in any of them demands constant devotion and attention. Tabloids are only interesting as long as you’re always reading them; let your checkout-line-skimming lapse for a week and the thought of celebrity gossip seems pointless. Same with all-or-nothing friends: they’re only compelling if you talk to them all the time; when the chatty, daily interactions end so does the prospect of an interesting expository conversation. Without consistency, a long phone call seems not only daunting but also profoundly dull.
This anxiety is about more than failing to keep up with a serialized source, though. It’s also about the primitive pleasure of constant and arbitrary stimulation. That’s why the Facebook newsfeed is no longer shown chronologically. Refresh Facebook ten times and the status updates rearrange themselves in nonsensical, anachronistic patterns. You don’t refresh Facebook to follow a narrative, you refresh to register a change—not to read but to see.
And it’s losing track of this distinction—between reading and seeing—that’s so shameful. It’s like being demoted from the category of thinking, caring human to a sort of rat that doesn’t know why he needs to tap that button, just that he does. I deleted Twitter and Tumblr off my phone about a month ago. For a few weeks, I felt empowered, proactive, “refreshed.” But addicts are sneaky! Soon I was circumnavigating my own artificial restrictions, checking via Safari.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Too young to die, too old to care.
Too old to die, too young to care.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thus Spoke Zarathustra...

" Now I go alone, my disciples, You, too, go now, alone,
Thus I want it.
Go away from me and resist Zarathustra! And even bet-
ter; be ashamed of him! Perhaps he deceived you.
The man of knowledge must not only love his enemies, he
must also be able to hate his friends.
One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil. And why do you not want to pluck at my wreath?
You revere me; but what if your reverence tumbles one
day? Beware lest a statute slay you.
You say that you believe in Zarathustra? But what mat-
ters Zarathustra? You are my believers- but what matter all
You had not yet sought yourselves; and you found me.
Thus do all believers; therefore all faith amounts to so little.
Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only
when you have all denied me will I return to you."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

100 Goldfish

I went to the pet store
& bought 100 goldfish
one fish for every reason why I miss you

I took the fish home in a five-gallon bucket
& dumped it into the bathtub

they were beautiful
each fish was moving its lips
silently saying our names

I took off my clothes & carefully climbed into the tub
this is the sensation I miss
that feeling
of fish
flapping their fins
all over my body like eyelashes
this is what love feels like

I close my eyes
& recall your laughter
the taste of your kiss
the rope of your braid

my body has memorized
the orbit of your moons
your bells on my tongue
the sweetness of your grouchy face

my world has become so rich
& full
& orange
& blue
& glittering.

Casey Kwang


I've been drinking with my worst friends
for so long
that happiness
& sadness
are like a matching pair of tube socks

slouching in the corner
of a corner booth
of a tit bar
on the edge of town
hunched over a low-ball
a deflated pack of cigarettes over my heart
I catch a glimpse of myself
in the mirror
past the fluorescent teeth
& the air-humping hips on stage

my eyes are milked over
my skin looks dead
& my hair
strangely looks
the best it's ever been.

Casey Kwang


when her dress hits the floor
& she steps out
with her panties
clinging to her
in the shape of a foreign country
it makes my chest ache like a hammered thumb

it's like an island
or a birthmark
or a dream
imprinted in cotton
& it kills me
it makes me ache
like there's a cricket in each testicle

my heart swells into a bullfrog
my stomach dissolves into tadpoles
if you sliced me open
i would bleed reptiles because it aches so beautifully
it's like falling and never hitting the ground
it hits me like
rabbit punches from a kangaroo
it aches like
hugging a watermelon with a pulse

it's like
when the wheels
of a chariot
& the spokes start spinning backwards
it's like that
it's like
when you blow the flame
off a piece of paper
& a tiny red lightning bolt
eats the edge.

Casey Kwang

195th Chorus

The songs that erupt
Are gist of the poesy,
Come by themselves, hark,
Stark as prisoners in a cave
Let out to sunlight, ragged
And beautiful when you look close
And see underneath the beards
the holy blue eyes of humanity
And brown.

The stars on high sing
songs of their own, in motion
that doesnt move, real,
Unreal, singsong, spheres: -

But human poetries
With God as their design
Sing with another law
Of spheres and ensigns
And rip me a blues,
Son blow me a bop,
Let me hear 'bout heaven
In a Brass Flugelmop

Jack Kerouac

113th Chorus

Got up and dressed up
and went out & got laid
Then died and got buried
in a coffin in the grave,
Man -
Yet everything is perfect,
Because it is empty,
Because it is perfect
with emptiness,
Because it's not even happening.

Is Ignorant of its own emptiness -
Doesnt like to be reminded of fits -

You start with the Teaching
Inscrutable of the Diamond
And end with it, your goal
is your startingplace,
No race was run, no walk of prophetic toenails
Across Arabies of hot
meaning - you just
numbly dont get there

Jack Kerouac

23rd Chorus

Blues in Bill's Pad

CHORUS NO. 23 of
San Francisco Blues

of Blue City Blues

Fifteen O Choruses
of Genu wine blues

Sing you a blues song
sing you a tune
Sing you eight bars
of Strike Up the band

Eight of Indiana, eight
of Israel,
Eight of Chubby's Chubby,
eight of old Wardell

Yes, baby Count Blue
Basie's fat old Chock
Wallopin Fat Rushing
Was a wow old saloon man.

Jack Kerouac

13Th Chorus

I caught a cold
From the sun
When they tore my heart out
At the top of the pyramid

O the ruttle tooty blooty
of Fellah Ack Ack
Town that russet noon
when priests dared
to lick their lips
over my thumping meat
the Sacrilegious beasts
Ate me 10,000 million
Times and I came back
Spitting Pulque
in Borracho
of old Sour Azteca

Askin for more
I popped outa Popocatapetl's
Hungry mouth

Jack Kerouac

6Th Chorus

This Thinking is Stopped.

Buddha's Secret Moonlight: -is
the Ancient Virtue of laying up
and thinking happy & comfortable
thoughts - This, which modern
Society has branded "Loafing," is
made available to people now
apparently only by junk.

Self depends on existence of other
self, and so no Solo Universal Self
exists - no self, no other self,
no innumerable selves, no
Universal self and no ideas
relating to existence or non-
existence thereof -

The Greatest, Who Has Undertaken
to Comfort Innumerable Beings

The Kind One
The Art-of-Kindness Master
The Master of Wisdom
The Great Ferryman
The Great Vehicle Being.

Jack Kerouac

Ancient Music

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Ezra Pound

The Garret

Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come, let us pity the married and unmarried.

Dawn enters with little feet
like a gilded Pavlova,
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness,
the hour of waking together.

Ezra Pound


She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine,
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

Edna St. Vincent Millay


Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
    Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, -
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
    Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
    I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

A Poem for Jesse

your face like
summer lightning
gets caught in my voice
and i draw you up from
deep rivers
taste your face of a
thousand names
see you smile
a new season
hear your voice
a wild sea pausing in the wind.

Sonia Sanchez


i have gone into my eyes
bumping against sockets that sing
smelling the evening from under the sun
where waterless bones move
toward their rivers in incense.
a piece of light crawls up and down
then turns a corner.

as when drunken air molts in beds,
tumbling over blankets that cover sweat
nudging into sheets continuing dreams;
so i have settled in wheelbarrows
grotesque with wounds,
small and insistent as sleigh bells.

am i a voice delighting in the sand?
look how the masks rock on the winds
moving in tune to leaves.
i shed my clothes.
am i a seed consumed by breasts
without the weasel's eye
or the spaniel teeth of a child?

i have cried all night
tears pouring out of my forehead
sluggish in pulse,
tears from a spinal soul
that run in silence to my birth
ayyyy! am i born? i cannot peel the flesh.
i hear the moon daring
to dance these rooms.
O to become a star.
stars seek their own mercy
and sigh the quiet, like gods.

Sonia Sanchez