There’s a problem in the garden partition; it’s not the stupid’s fault for being stupid. I don’t try too hard. Failure gathers in the bleaches of my belly. Sara, blending into the evening, marches along the low garden wall, worrying her outfit’s straps while she considers the problem… and Sara wants to know: What problem? And, actually, what partition? When you were with the woman who hired you to check out her typography (in a city, in a women’s room), it bleached me. I made a joke about a person who eats a dinner designed for an animal. “The omnivore’s dilemma: What if you ate Fancy Feast for dinner instead of all that old tuna salad?” I must have understood it as a joke because then I said, “Just kidding.”
A: I HEAR YOU HAVE A BABY
A: When you have a baby you don’t have time to do ANYTHING
F: That’s because babies take up so much time
A: I know
F: What is it that babies take so much time doing?
A: The babies are very busy, they are constantly reading dense texts and challenging your preconceived notions about things
F: Like what sorts of things?
A: Like … arbitrary–
A+F [in unison] …arbitrary taxonomies of genre!?!
F: I’m bummed out again about how I don’t feel like I know how to make sense. Or, maybe, I hate making sense. Making nonsense is much more fun.
A: It’s hard to tell the difference between making nonsense is more fun in the way that smoking lots of pot and watching Adult Swim is more fun, or making nonsense is more fun in that you are an acolyte of Jarry and Ionesco and Stein and live your life in a radical subversion of standard bourgeoise modes of expression etc
F: I think I sometimes milk that ambiguity. Like I pretend to be a highbrow Dadaist when in fact I’m just waiting for the next fortnight of pajamas and Xavier Renegade Angel
A: Xavier Renegade Angel
F: But Xavier Renegade Angel is made by guys who split that difference. They’re students of Gordon Lish, they seem like they’ve done their homework, and they might have pretensions for their show to have a depth or at least a terminal bleakness that makes the comedy that much more “fucked up”
A: Did you ever check your email during the dark time of hospital visits and black veiled hospitalizations
F: There’s never been a time in my life when I haven’t checked my email every fifty minutes
A: remember when you first went camping and they explained what the trowel was for?
F: Yes. The trowel is for digging a little pit for you to shit into. Then you wipe with leaves, and bury your poo like a tiny funeral rite.
A: That’s a lot of work for a poo.
F: You’re not pooing so much in the forest. Maybe once a day if you’re lucky
A: Also not a lot of urgent emails to respond to in the woods.
F: Are you pining for the pines, blood?
A: The grass is always greener in the other bong. I had my dream job, and now I have my other dream job. Someday I won’t have any dream job and I’ll be shooting squirrels for sustenance
F: Shooting them with what?
A: An inherited crossbow.
F: Inherited from who?
A: A girl I met on the internet
F: Why did she leave you the crossbow in her will?
A: She said she liked my blog.
F: How did she die?
A: She faked her own suicide.
F: So she’s still alive?
A: No. She actually killed herself, but she didn’t mean it.
F: You know how if you commit suicide you don’t get in to harvard I mean heaven?
F: that’d be funny if whoever the last person you slept with got to rewrite your will if you ended up killing yourself
That’d be funny if the guy who said to you “that’d be funny if” in the cafe naked next to your workshirt in San Francisco, the dairy caffeine cafe with the watercolor timestamp art on sale for the wall next to the Green Giant, the jolly fellow near the bathrooms at Ritual Coffee Roasters had a handbill in his pocket that said Remember That Time? And his smile would resemble (in the poems by the coffeeshop poets of the neighborhood) a Trademark Symbol, and in his pocket a kangaroo-shaped playbill would reveal an idea like wouldn’t it be funny you know how when you work from home you invariably inhale sheets of graham crackers (apologies to Kevin Moffett, and or baby carrots,) over the sink, fuck it there’s nothing left in the fridge boiling veggie dogs just because you’re at home and the only stress outlet is to turn your face into a compostable sink disposal, well the funny wouldn’t it be if watch there’s a hip coffee shop like Roasters, but it’s got a fridge and a microwave and a bunch of free food that when you get stressed out you just go up and eat? Plus a separate normal pastry display with normal pastries for sale that all the people with dignity still pay money for and get on ceramic plates, but in a separate part of the cafe there’s a dirty fridge with leftover Thai food and frozen veggie pups and cantaloupe beans and whatever else that people who get a terrifying work-email at 4 p.m. just go hose-happy on blasting the babka till it’s gone.
Trundling up the path, snowy silence, bullshit poems alight on branches like proper ravens. Fatman lost in the zendo can’t even feel the stringcheese in his fleece’s breast pocket. An elipsis travels up and down the length of your cock, why the fuck are your daughters reating my erotc poetry blog… scratch that… nyc pastries + flowers
feeling free in the zendo a professional lifeguard reads the blurbs on the back of your self-published book at the self-funded book release party craftily, hilariously putting his empty plastic wine glass in his breast pocket. Mallarme reference TK, he reads aloud, having flipped to a page at random. “Oh fuck,” you say, “is that actually in there?” Taking the book to look, you see that your placeholder text has accidentally made it into print, you’d meant to insert a Mallarme reference here but I guess you never got around to it… “Fuck,” you say again, handing the book back to the guest, who wears an eyepatch and has a fake parrot sewn to his shoulder and teeters as if wearing a pegleg though looking down it’s true he has two sturdy legs overhung with slate chinos. “Pity the placeholder,” no-one says. The next song comes on shuffle and it begins with an accellerated secular church bell, the kind that bongs the time in stately patient bongs but the clever electronic musician has accellerated the bongs so it seems to be chiming 4,000 o’clock and it’s driving you wild with pleasure, to hear this now, and the embarrassing Mallarme TK gaffe feels decades old and already celebrated as a hilarious and ultimately instructive gaffe. A mewling toddler does not say, “Gaffe Giraffe,” but she does do something specific revealing that there are toddlers at the book event TK TK. A breast presses against the window, begging to be let inside the gallery. A red-breasted titmouse flutters its paws next to the tiny DVD console. A duste mote reveals itself to be hilariously in tune with the matter at hand, I mean with the Remains of the Day, I mean with the Remains of the DVD, I mean with the reina, the queen, my darling. Hate and hope in equal measure suffuse the air above the plate of sandwiches, sandwiches which have tried so hard to be here and succeed, mostly, except looking again at them they seem mostly gone, where do sandwiches go at parties like this? I saw people eating sandwiches but that seems unconnected to the absent, devastated, crumb-strewn plaza near the greasy checkboard mom flannel plane that is what some once called That Table. My nephew is here, his name is Aristotle said an obese cartoon calico cat. I got string cheese in my pockets, Aristotle said. He moved his elbows and knees like he was composing a filigree’d poem for his aunts. He had spent most of the party in the basement behind a piano participating in a jam session with Needles, the drummer, who performed using eggbeaters instead of drumsticks; Palimpsest, on bass, who didn’t know what any of the knobs on the amp were for beyond the main volume control, but still managed to fiddle with them between every song, giving him a different sound each time, playing literally hundreds of different notes throughout the course of the evening, but in which order he played the notes I’m sure you had to be there to know, and of course P. Raichport, tenure-track professor of fiction at Lathe University at Kansas City, who is so clearly based on a real person that even the dimples in her cellulite seem to spell a constellation of ciphers that you can rearrange and glyph and wait what who is that based on no one actually OK nevermind
If there’s coffee inside that samovar a fake smile — more of a wince
If Plato if Platonic if there’s a Platonic sort of Platoish Plato vibe here
Fussy sugar bowl, heaped high with hepatitis
Paul “Fussy” Titus and I had a motocross moment together, piggybacked on an amusement, then there came a “gift from the chef”
Rapeseed and hemlock, Vance put a quarter in the free jukebox, the bartender’s face as he watched Vance was a scrim of novelty fake puke,
My father in law’s gastroenteritis flared up on Halloween, just as my favorite writer‘s hard drive failed on the upper east side, while he was stuck somewhere waiting for the A, C, E
My impish sister registered a Twitter account for my grandfather’s pacemaker. @Peacemakerzz
I hoped we cancelled that order before it shipped
Plain song plain wrapper, Barnes and Noble’s / shawarmas in love
ex girlfriend knows bounds
perfect wife brushes an elegant lock of the universe from her eyes
probably gave myself type two diabetes eating leftover Halloween candy
I think she went to Yale
Pressure pretty labial twilight; a hangover in the Metreon is worth two in the Bush administration
My ambition is to eat the rest of this candy and then an hour later eat a hearty normal dinner. His ambition seemed to be to write a masterful novel
The worst kind of writer is a brilliant one; necessary is a euphemism for working-class, intelligence is overrated and superabundant among men and women. If you think most people are stupid I think you’re a part of the problem; Hey these leggings aren’t going to wear themselves, buddy:
A shapeshifting Native American shaman enrolled in our MFA program this afternoon! I can’t wait to read his poems. His name is Bear-Leg. I saw his driver’s license–it said Bear-Leg Alan Cheuse.
—Here, you don’t have a job?
—No, I’m all alone, on a computer not hooked up to the internet, drinking a craft beer out of a can, composing an email to you.
—It’s almost like we’re having a beer together.
—How are your studies?
—You mean the life of the mind?
—How is your life?
—My mind hurts.
—How is your salad duty?
—I’ve been making bad salads. Bag salads.
—How is your girlfriend?
—I had a dream that she died.
—But she’s alive?
—She’s working on a new translation of Émile Zola’s Germinal (1885). It’s an experimental translation where she takes liberties with the text. Instead of mineworkers, her version of the novel centers around a group of flowers.
—Is there any other kind?
—The flowers take place in an election year and the gummy part of my car’s tyres.
—Huh. I think Uncle’s gone into one of his Tish-rages again, Paulice–
—Right. Grab the corduroy. A wide wale will be wanted for tonight. Oh, hush, Uncle; please don’t. Stop fussing. It’s Auld Hallow’s Ween, for aunt grable’s sake. We musn’t brackish the whoolinancy — I mean the whoolery.
—Genre’s got a beer-boner for stoners tonight, Barbara. Barbara.
—I can’t tell if you want this exclamation mark.
—I don’t want just any exclamation point, Mark. [Pause, applause.] I want yours. [Renewed, sustained applause. A child is born.]
—This boner’s gone free.
—Now that you’re a dad, and a city councilman, you mustn’t post pseudohomoerotic flash fiction on your blog. You must only post outspoken 5 point rejections of Romney’s 5 point plan and so forth.
—You remind me of the news.
—The fuzzy part with no skin.
—That’s called the Purloined Lettuce. [A mouth.] I am studying Botany with your Aunt.
—My nude aunt?
—I have a newborn baby. A child. I haven’t slept. No longer drink coffee. Go Tigers.
— I expect you’ll want to tell me about your craft beer in a can, now.
—Yes. I bought it at the supermarket with some hummus and the halloween candy. Came in a six pack just like a set of Diet Dr. Pepper, but in fact it’s an intensely hoppy microbrew from Whole Foods, Colorado!
—Durango. That candy’s not vegan
—Let’s get personal. I know writing on your blog makes you miss San Francisco.
—Of course. Who doesn’t? But the thing San Francisco doesn’t know is that I took all my shit with me to Missouri so I still have it so if I want to look at my shit like my books or the only one person I love more than anything
—Hang on, there are trick or treaters at the door. [Inaudible] [Audible] [Inaudible]. Fucker just took my last Krackel. [Pause.] Nice costume… What are you?
[Doug Liman, director of Swingers (1996), The Bourne Identity (2002), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Jumper (2008), and Fair Game (2010), walks in with Studio Monitors around his neck. Curtain.]
Dear mom and dad,
I went to college from 1999-2003, where I lived, ate, breathed, and smoked college radio (WOBC-FM) all day every day. Then, with a year left, I dropped out to move to CA to work for a magazine. I worked there for the next eight years. Then I fell in love with a beautiful woman and she got a job in town, so I decided to follow her here and finish my B.A. To my intense delight and surprise, this makes me eligible for a show on [yr station]. When I dropped out of college, I cryogenically froze my radio show and now, eight years later, [cue music bed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_tVZFZ5PR4] my beloved show is going into the industrial microwave on MEDIUM for 6-8 minutes and dragging itself through the halls of the academy once again!
My show (TITLE TK: “WEIRD OLD GUY?”) will be freeform radio at its finest, pushing into the red w/r/t innovation and FUN. Fun must never be sacrificed to innovation. And vice versa.
Music is the bedrock of the show, and I plan to make the most of [yr station]’s rock library, in addition to my extensive personal vinyl/CD/MPEG collection. The best rock — from oddities, novelties, classics, forgotten b-sides, to brand-new singles and previews of bands coming through town. But sprinkled throughout the music will be the true jewels of the show, the multiple talk-based segments. Possibilities include:
• “Walking the Line”
Each week, a different writer (from creative writing profs, to visiting poets, to MU poetry/fiction PhDs and even undergrads) brings in one line — a line of their own poetry, or their favorite poet’s, or a sentence from a novel, or from a piece of journalism, anything — just has to be one line of “literature” for us to discuss.
(Each of these segments will have its own musical intro. Maybe Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” for this first one? Or Johnny Cash, sure)
• “Comics Digest”
A weekly verbal recap of what happened this week in the comics page of the Missourian
ex: “It’s been a tough week for Lois of ‘Hi & Lois’; she’s been home with the measles and her little brother won’t leave her alone!” etc etc
• “Vibin’ with the City Council”
Each week I get a Columbia city councilperson on the phone (pre-recorded, most likely; I have a ZOOM H4N I can produce several of these segs in advance, but I’ll always cue and introduce them live) and ask: what’s the vibe of the city council like this week?
• deranged/brief Self-interviews; fake interviews with pre-recorded interlocutors
• I might try a recurring feature about being a 30 year old dude taking computer science with freshman; I will probably rip lots of samples from my DVD of Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School for this (maybe rent Happy Madison, too…). Find other old undergrads and ask them about their lives, what it’s like here for them
• I have an MU football-related idea that I’ll only tell you if you give me a show with a legit timeslot
• Reviews (with field recordings) of frat party bands (!!!!!)
• as many opportunities for live call-in segments as possible (TBD)
• Guest singles (a guest — anyone from the dean of grad studies to that girl who works at Sparky’s brings in 5 singles and we play them and talk about them)
• tiny, hilarious 5-minute radio dramas
• even tinier, even more hilarious 2-minute radio dramas in foreign languages feat. students in various MU language departments
• Much, much more
• Seriously, so much more you have no idea
• And, as I mentioned above, all of these segs, some of which may happen every week, some once a month or so, will all be sprinkled like cherries and chopped nuts over the wide swath of whipped-creamy dark-chocolate sets of top-shelf weird/funky/great music. Wire, the Fall, Olivia Tremor Control, Pixies b-sides, Unrest, Big Dipper, Deerhoof, Beefheart, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth, Truman the Tiger’s Drug-Hell Singers, Is That a Real Band?, That Would Be Amazing If So, Go Betweens, Soft Boys, Soft Machine, Soft Cell, Soft Bulletin, Don Cherry, Destroyer, Cluster, Tyvek, Essential Logic, Glasser, Wreckless Eric, Nick Lowe, Sparks, Magazine, Melvins, Cardigans, Acrylics, Pterodactl, Fela Kuti, R. Stevie Moore, et al!!!!
Please let me know if you have any questions. I love you.
JEB: Big sale at Nordstrom’s going on here
CLONE 1: Nordstrom’s possessive?
JEB: Nordstrom’s singular. Just the one up on Geary.
CLONE 1: You’re in San Francisco?
JEB: For a tick.
CLONE 1: What for?
JEB: Involved in a professional creative endeavor that brought me out here.
CLONE 1: But I thought you just moved?
JEB: I did. I’m back for a few days to tie up this loose end.
CLONE 1: How’d it go?
JEB: Today was one of two. Went bad. I knew it was pointless for me to come back here, but they wanted me to, and they paid for my airfare, so I did. It’s a film shoot. I was in the way and trapped feeling all day, going apeshit on the craft services table, chatting up the P.A.s. I ended up going into the office there — unrelated, mostly, to the reason I was there — and asking if I could just do miscellaneous work for them, just to be useful. I ended up editing some blog posts.
CLONE 1: Weird.
JEB: Around four I felt that my alienation had sort of topped out, so I left without saying goodbye. I just got a text from the guy being like, “Where are you? Did you go back?” Made me feel like a stoned fearful teenager. I’ll go back tomorrow. Sorry.
Then I went to Nordstrom’s because I had a gift card and bought a shirt.
CLONE 1: Your bag says Barney’s.
JEB: I changed the name because I was embarrassed.
CLONE 1: Don’t be embarrassed. You went to Barney’s because of the gift card. You didn’t ask for the gift card.
JEB: Walking through the Mission with a bag from Barney’s is much worse than walking through the Mission wearing a shirt from Barney’s.
CLONE 1: How much did the shirt cost?
JEB: More than the gift card.
CLONE 1: How much more?
JEB: Does anyone in San Francisco want to get a quick beer? I’ve got dinner plans at 8:00 or 8:30. It’s about 6:00 now.
CLONE 1: What else?
JEB: I wanted to do a misc hex dump, Dad.
CLONE 1: What are you waiting for?
JEB: …for you to turn up the background
CLONE 1: ok. go
JEB: where’s my beat
CLONE 1: boom tss tropp
CLONE 1: people now peoplesoft grab a garabedian
JEB: soft pomeranian lefkowitz insaneian
CLONE 1: lobestar rodeo for Rudy (1993)
JEB: Banagrams w/ Rufio’s the only Lucky Peach you’ll need after the sex-change operation.
JEB and CLONE 1: [together] Whoa!!!
JEB: Veiled bra reduction soft is cancerous and bleeding
CLONE 1: Delete the softest tone in that tone poem’s loft hearth
JEB: label labia libel sokal hoax got supersoaked
CLONE 1: mysql childhood?
CLONE 1: pornstar.
JEB: prada-paseo prado
CLONE 1: destinos,
CLONE 1: island culture deaf squad
JEB: vegan squab; Thanksgiving
CLONE 1: gypsy marijuana trailer coat is dusty warm and febrile
JEB and CLONE 1: [together] Cool!
SHANNON: Can I borrow your yoga mat
BETHANY: Keep your voice down, I don’t want those boys to know I do yoga
SHANNON: What boys? Who cares?
B: Yoga is a bourgeois activity. Also I feel like a girl doing yoga
S: U are a girl
B: I know
TELEPROMPTER: Hey girls I’m a journalist writing an article about the author of this blog. Mind if I ask a few questions?
TELEPROMPTER: It won’t take a minute.
S: Sure. Go ahead.
TELEPROMPTER: What is your relationship to the administrator/owner of this blog?
B: He my daddy
TELEPROMPTER: Do you have any financial relationship with the owner of this blog?
B: He makes me dinner a lot
S: He buys me lunch sometimes
TELEPROMPTER: Do you have a sexual relationship with the owner of this blog
B: We snuggle
S: It’s not like that
TELEPROMPTER: should children descry etc
B: Aw, you seem tired. Come sit.
S: Sit here next to me. This couch is cool.
TELEPROMPTER: I am feeling tired. It’s facebook. Facebook depletes me.
B: It’s also your diet. And your posture. Have you ever done yoga
S: She’s a yoga fiend!
TELEPROMPTER: I got into yoga for a while. I felt great, but I couldn’t keep with it.
B: The owner of this blog isn’t lazy, but there’s something about him that reminds me of what you say.
S: Yeah, it’s not laziness but there is a kind of lack of backbone or something
B: A caveyness
B: no, cavey. like he starts something and then it gets hard and so he caves.
TELEP: Anything else?
S: I named the network’s printer “harold printer.”, isn’t that cute?
B: i love that
tele: OK thanks gals that’s plenty. here are my lynx:
- stoya reads there is no year
- stosuy talks to stoya
- sam frank’s essay from the failure issue of the rcf is full-text online. Helen DeWitt‘s isn’t. Read both of these essays drunk and exhausted on an airplane. Frank’s slayed me. DeWitt’s scared me. I highly recommend that issue of the journal. i even took notes on it. maybe i’ll suspend my facebook account and write a thoughtful response to the issue. i wish I were capable of writing a thoughtful response to something
My very close friend Andrew Leland has started blogging for the Oakland Museum of California. He only has three posts up; he has been very shy about it. The link is here. I was with him when he saw that the most recent post had gone up, and he was like, “This reads like a college newspaper column. I hate myself.”
“Andrew,” I told him. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s great.”
“Really?” He said. So self-obsessed, so delicate. “Thanks.”
The blog isn’t bad. He’s trying. He also told me he recently tried writing fiction, because a young lion who edits a young lionesian quarterly asked him to submit something. “Writing fiction is excruciating,” he reports. “I spent a week forcing myself to write 750 words a day. Then I went two months without thinking about it. I returned to the document I had created, and my wonderful girlfriend had to pry the screwdriver out of my hands before I plunged it into my eye sockets.” Writing nonfiction isn’t much easier, he added, but then when it’s done, he feels happy.
Last Saturday, Andrew and I were hanging out at his apartment in San Francisco. I had my tape recorder, and we thought it would be fun to record our conversation. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I transcribed it.
ME: That’s not why dogs are neutered, Andrew. [Laughter]
ANDREW: Just kidding.
ME: I adore your shoes!!
AL: I love you. I wish I could smoke pot
just kidding, that’s not a real transcript. Tonight is the Oakland Standard’s launch party — officially selected by Good Jobbbbbbbbbbbb: The Online Journal of Success as the number-one Friday Night social calendar PICK for Friday, February 4. The Tammy-Rae MacArthur Genius Kutundu-Wajahat Mother Novella Carpenter’s Gothic part starts at 8, then Turf Fienz at I wanna say 9, then Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding DJ (seriously, literally) at whenever everything else is over. It’s free, it’ll go till 1, one is advised to “come through.” One block from Lake Merritt BART. Alcohol, bikes, leggings. At least three generations of Americans, dancing.