Wednesday, July 29, 2009

they made us make air punching motions

I was in a car the other day with three friends and with the way they were jiving bubbly we-did-whats about Saturday, I punched the NOTES key on my iPhone and began butterfly netting and tip-tapping everything. These word salads are the result:

You know how they do that thing
where they touch your back in that very uncomfortable place
& then there's a big hole? I was on my bike for ten hours & now my back & butt muscles have been compromised. Less muscle tenderness is what I want. And spandex padding to reduce the pain from chafing. I can't even push through. The people who go to the gym are very normal or our age or clean cut or younger. I met them at a scavenger hunt. One was at the end of pier 45. A cover band invited me to their acoustic gig at Arlene's Grocery. It was like Bon Jovi karaoke. It was a relay race. A pole dancing mini class. Sometimes they made us make air punching motions. They had strip bowling to get us down to our socks & shoes. Bullriding. Pogo sticks. Everyone stayed around for the afterparty. The winners got second place last year. They won
roundtrip tickets on Southwest to whereever.

&: Did you hear about the python that ate the alligator?
The alligator busted out of the python's stomach while it was asleep & it died. Pythons are taking over the Everglades. The largest spiderweb subsided cannibalism for a little while after a big rain. There was a feeding frenzy. Spiders were feeding & spinning. There were dead mosquitoes everywhere. They were sharing & combining webs from an abundance of food. When I was a child, you know how they have those mints in bowls when you're leaving restaurants, I reached for a mint & began chewing it until I realized it was a piece of chalk;
it was the worst thing I've ever tasted in my life.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

book review - A Jello Horse

I won a copy of Matthew Simmons' book A Jello Horse in a contest

He asked contestants to submit photos of, or write about, people playing pinball. Since I love pinball, and have for a while, I had a few pictures and videos nestled conveniently in my archive and decided to submit them and participate for the fun of it. I also love books and getting books in the mail, and trading art for art, so in my mind, contests like these should exist all the time.

I first heard of Matthew Simmons as the "Man Who Couldn't Blog" in August '05 through a lovely guy in Houston named Gene Morgan. I'd most recently discovered the joys of blogging on myspace when a good friend of mine in Tennessee named Eric Todd, who'd had a few poetry classes with Gene at U of H, introduced me to his blog "pompadoured."

After I got in touch with Gene, we corresponded for a while before I stayed with him as a guest in Houston for a summer week where he was a gracious host--taking me to parties and art and food. This is when I was introduced to other blogs like Tao Lin's "Reader of Depressing Books" and Christopher Monks' "Utter Wonder."

Since all of that business of making friends through networking and moving from city-to-city, I've kept tabs on Gene's projects such as "Bear Parade." This is where I found the one-and-only Youngstown genius Noah Cicero and his blog "the Outsider" from an Omega Man-like zombie story posted there. Read Treatise; it'll let you think, and spark respect for Noah Cicero.

I'm still discovering others as well, through various links and honorable mentions--like the insanely creative and proseful Blake Butler, whose "Win a Copy of Ever with Your Nasty Mind" contest I won effortlessly (being the dirtiest mindedest perv ten worlds over) and the great, fun and crazy-in-an-ALMOST-bad-seeming-way-but-not-really-Sam Pink. Both are brilliant individuals.

Stemming from the pioneering voices mentioned above--I've been fortunate to find friends to admire and find interesting. They appeal to my sense of artistic/intelligent style and not-too-serious whimsy. And above all, the ones I've met, or haven't met, seem like they are good people; fundamentally speaking--even though--they are--after all and everything...writers. ;)

Now, without further delay, here is my review of A Jello Horse:

Matthew Simmons’ delicate prose in his book “A Jello Horse” is a wondrous read on a quiet night within an hour of lying around relaxing. After reading each pretty paragraph, going back and reading it again out loud is recommended to add to the magic of listening to the unraveling of a heart-touching story of a man dealing with a traumatic suicidal event affecting himself and his closest friends. On the road, we observe his recollections of past love’s failures. We are also exposed to his vivid perceptions of the world through the mind of a child who has grown; who continues to grow through death, disease, and empathic observation. His search for absurd beauty between nights in cheap hotels and pinball, takes us through stretches of dreamlike images from an imagination filled with fierce but friendly creatures: the famished antelope grazing city rooftops, slack-eared Jackalope in a Village discovered by roadside billboard, and a flying lion named Richard--all melting into the stark contrast of circumstances in the human condition. “A Jello Horse” is an inspiring coming-of-age tale which is well-worth reading repeatedly.

Matthew drew a surprise rabbit for me. I found it when I reached the part of the story about the Jackalope Village. Also included in the book is a haiku about breakfast. And this is all because I love pinball and reading and hand-drawn rabbits and winning things. Yes! for that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009


One of the worst
sounds in my life
is the rush of sleep
coming for me; it's
screaming paralysis
flickering and hissing,
I jerk my head.

there were demons
before the Church
saved my Savior in a
Sunday dress; in some
handsome weeks I
closed my eyes to drift
away, lucid landscapes
faceless friends stepping
silent paths, incredible
trees, floods low enough
to wade through.

walking before waking,
a hand through a wall
behind a switch for light,
my sinking feet, jump
back paralyzed with a
shadow on my chest,
faceless, holding my
breath to shift an inch,
to replace that hiss
with the sound of a heavy
heart sprinting, sitting
suddenly upright shaking,
staring hard into my hands.

One of the worst
sounds in my life
is the rush of sleep
coming for me
between silent
winds in clouds with
arms outstretched
and the silence of
a dark place to rest
before the sun says
it's tomorrow.

socializing with guests

One wicked season
in one night of my personality:
the lover and the love-maker meet,
recognizing and asking after a hard
week's work socializing with guests, and
demons--to lay there beside you
to absorb subtle nutrients from you
in sips and sighs between light sleeping;
then waking before sunrise to leave--
to really get some sleep on Sunday.
And he knows you are capable and bright;
that's why he leaves smiling and needs
you, the most when he feels like dying,
and he says he's been shattered
and ripped to a mess
tortured to a shell, tail tucked
in gutless guilt lined suits,
just once and she kept it broke
and she wouldn't swallow
and there will not be coffee;
with anyone who is not so useful.
It's the opposite of being worthless
according to the extremes of being,
and the way they we fall
I tell myself this all the time.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

These birds are us...

except we are flesh colored without feathers, probably have much more interesting personalities, and we wouldn't hunker so close on a stick like that staring into a void.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

book review - Old Man and the Sea

I finally read Old Man and the Sea, for the first time, taking it seriously, after years of ignoring the book and the author, as some boring mainstream pop culture hoopla.

My instincts said: Hemingway's stories were over-admired and misogynistic, about baseball and war with no real pizazz or pragmatism for escape; that my life would be better off without them.

Boy, was I wrong.

Old Man and the Sea is not about an old fisherman trying to catch fish, even though it really is just that too.

Explaining the beauty of its decadent meter is like trying to explain how the multicolored facets give luster and depth to a fine diamond, or why the robustness of an aged Port with its subtleties of smoke and asparagus fall so well on the glass and tongue. As an adult there's a beauty in simplicity that makes more sense than when we are younger and more impulsive.

Old Man and the Sea is a lesson in the appreciation of rhythm, like in the sounds of cicada approaching and withdrawing intensely while standing in grass near a tall tree'd landscape--in the flawless white powder covered back yard feeling smooth and blinding on the eyes in the morning crawl of a lazy day; in the whisper of an intuitive lover before climax, framing the moment into rapturous memories oft remembered before some nights of rest.

In other words: as experience refines the palate--maturity and elegant simplicity are Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea.

Here, a few lines that wrecked me into reverently triple reading them:

"The old man carried the mast on his shoulder and the boy carried the wooden box with the coiled, hard-braided brown lines, the gaff and harpoon with its shaft. The box with the baits was under the stern of the skiff along with the club that was used to subdue the big fish when they were bought alongside."

Those very lines had me optimistic in imagining reading them to my future children before bed; they gave me hope for raising progeny in what has felt like a falling apart feeling world; with its poetry in a story about a man and his quest to catch the perfect marlin making the world seem lighter; less intense.
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