Monthly Archives: November 2009

Occasional poem

What kind of poem do you like the least?

The kind with yeast.
Rising in a half morning baked
epiphany of meaningly thoughts.

What kind of poem do you like the most?

The kind on toast.
Held fast with a fat veneer
of cream cheese.

What kind of poem does your family like?

The poem that’s caught
In the beak of a shrike
About to be fed to its young.
Healthy lifestyle poems.

What kind of poem does your girlfriend favor?

Sweet-pepper flavor.
Poe, Kunitz, Shyamalan.

What kind of poem is right for Thanksgiving?

Heavy metal poems.
Rivets and drums.

tremendous shout-out

It was obvious, though, from the writings of the cognoscenti, that a true sampling of poutine would require a trip to Montreal. That is how I came to be eating so much of it with Emily Birnbaum and her boyfriend, James Braithwaite, and their friend Richard Parks, and a revolving selection of special-guest eaters.

from Calvin Trillin Eats Poutine with Richard Parks,” the New Yorker, 11/23/09


Language porridge,

alcohol cauldron,

dehydration history,

55-year-old woman at literary magazine party, lips pursed, thoughtful and sublime

drunk blogger abroad, brimful of self-loathing, each tooth a piece of video art broadcasting a private American history back to the motherteeth

British man wearing a t-shirt mocking class struggle, a Scottish novelist too politicized to appeal to an American novelist, an upper-class American too drunk to ever find work in the merchant marine–

MERCHANT MARINE: We’ll take you, you can maintain our website

DOUGHTY CRISP: Great! I’ll start this summer, first I have to go to my nephew’s opera in Tuscany

HAMBURGLER: Have you ever snorted heroin? I am the hamburgler.

In the Hague, they speak Dutch. In Antwerp, it’s rumored that they’ll speak Dutch. Two Americans talking passionately about comics for hours puzzles a short-haired Dutch woman. What could they be so interested in? What’s the appeal?

A tabby cat in Athens, Georgia listens to the sound of a dial-up modem learning to speak Arabic in the compost bin of a futuretimes EcoKFC

A placenta dresses up as Groucho Marx for Halloween

I am drunk

Language Bom

Dear future grandchildren,

I’m writing this blog for you. Someday all blogs will be engraved on the bottoms of wide flat stones and you’ll slide your finger across a surfaceless touchpad and the stone will turn and you’ll read these words and think about the life of the man who begot you.


I put on my semi-rumpled suit and walked to Spinoza’s grave in the rain. It was inscribed with Hebrew characters, some Latin. In English it said “please also visit!” Just kidding, 1632–1677. Ate a sandwich alone at a cafe run by Hillary Clinton and her 12 secret Dutch sisters and daughters. I wanted a sandwich with cheese and vegetables on it which I felt confident they had but I couldn’t decipher the menu so I had “aubergine”.

Went to a panel discussion at a bookstore. Panelists included me (an animatronic goat named Chloë), Breadstixxxxx (dressed like a celebrated motorcycle journalist), and Diacrunktrixxx, who dressed perfectly. It was Us vs. three Dutch publisher/editors, plus another hyperfriendly Dutch editor/novelist moderating. Also in the mix were three short fiction readings from playwrights associated with the small nonprofit theater company where I work.

The music part of the festival began tonight. Saw James Kelman, the amazing Scottish novelist, read three short stories. Kelman was followed by God Save the Girl, which is Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian and a “cracker” team of musicans (ex-B&S, Teenage Fanclub, et al) backing up a trio of deeply attractive Scottish women singing highly theatrical 60s story-song B&S-style tunes. One woman behind us said wryly to her friend “The gentlemen must really love this band.” It was, according to Murdoch, their first “proper gig”. I enjoyed myself, Breadstixxxxxx was a puddle on the floor. Afterward Pru (I have not changed her name because her fucking name is Pru) said she thought Murdoch was pedantic toward the girls– and he was, he wanted everyone to know he’d written the songs and it was really his show and for everyone to be really excited at the end when he sang a song, but it didn’t ruin anything for me, because the songs were terrific and the band was tight (very much in the style of Belle and Sebastian at their most huge-production loungey Dear Catastrophe Waitress mode) and the trio of singers–one of whom murdered Breadstixx’s heart, maybe Breadstix himself, in an elevator at the hotel earlier today, maybe yesterday, Brdstx at the time having no idea who she was beyond just painfully Scottish and lovely–were lovely.

Then about 10 minutes of Akron/Family then all of Grizzly Bear whom I’ve seen a few times and are at the peak of their powers and put on a great show for a crowd of 400 seated elderly (median age maybe 36) Dutch people whose rows and rows of glowing heads from behind were occasionally as compelling to look at as the band itself. I’m not entirely sure why I’m staying awake right now to warm over tired rock-crit cliches essentially reviewing a show I’m embarrassed to have attended (see “I don’t deserve this hotel room,” 11/20/09) but anyway demons begone guitars are often described as shimmering or glimmering or glittering but Daniel Rossen’s guitar in that band is truly a shining blade that cleaves Chris Taylor’s thick bass into savory slices.


Your Grampy Jommz

anti-blogging, drunk, nobody knows what time

Hello America

I am drunk, I didn’t mean to get drunk, I wanted to hydrate and acclimate, but then I met so many wonderful people [eats an entire tube of lipstick, belches, kisses a real pig, literally, at a farm] that I ended up drinking nineteen Belgian and Dutch beers (Heineken is somehow a masterpiece here in the Netherlands, Heineken is a masterpiece here in the Netherlands, they make a variety called “extra cold,” I am drunk, if you’re not careful I am going to smoke Dutch Marijuana and write a terrified blogpost about Yo La Tengo and the raisin-ing of “Northern Europe,” I am drunk) and I had a conversation with a novelist about how blogging actually is bad for the gastric intenso-valves, and I should stop if I want to become the first Jewish James Boswell in Space (Prince, Michael Jackson, Tristram Shandy, Tom Jones, Peter Falk, Peter Falkner, I am drunk), and so I drank the beers. It’s OK. At Christmastime the Dutch set out glass vitrines of dog-food treats for people to eat in honor of St. Nicaulaus. I heard a Russian and Italian discourse about violence. I met several people who, when I thought about describing them on my blog, made me ashamed to have a blog. Their authenticity and bravery and eminence and humility shame this website into the dead condom wrapper that it is. Fuck this blog. I am drunk. I am in the Hague. I am with Slobodan, we are both trashed. Just kidding. The internet is a threat to American novelists so they lash out. Dickensian Tiny Tims like myself kiss and preen before the ovalled internet in our privetty bed-jams and are un-soothed, un-sayed, Orientalised and shaken off the knife. I’m drunk,  nothing excused. Remove me from your Feed.