Friday, April 28, 2006

having memories like babies through a highly lubed tube

The morning though a touch chilly is beautiful and it reminds me of a spring morning when I lived in Iowa City. After a coffin of a winter, a spring day warmed in. The sun was out, the air was crisp and warm but with a cool breeze almost not there. I zipped out of all my winter coats and put on a tank top. Walking toward the downtown I had a smile on my face like I’d just smoked something fancy. My body was fizzing with springtime carbonation. A turquoise car drove by. I turned to look. The guy driving was listening to a disco song turned up loud—he slowed down, stretched his torso out the window, and reaching his arm toward me he sang with passion for a quick second before driving on. He was fizzing too, and for a few moments I loved being alive so much I couldn’t stand.

Equipoise on the teeter-totter is excellent climax before the story falls down.

Room-temp clear carbonated beverage eases an uneasy belly.

disco in Latin means "I learn."

What’ll we do with the guillotine?

What’ll we do with the guillotine?

We’ll decide after we do brie and tea.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

chronicle of street rats and the crumbs they leave


This word bugs me. And I mean "bug" in the annoying gnat way, swarm-wise. This is a verb for the lazy man, a catch-all that refuses to specifically get at the motion of a thing. As some of you may know, my job requires me to edit scientific research articles and studies that will appear in our (purposely unnamed) journal. This verb gets the trophy for most frequent use.

Finally, with some experience, I understand some of the subject matter enough to replace the weakling verb with one more specific to the case. Other times context eludes me and I must leave it and cringe. I don’t know the etymology of this verb or the history of its associates. It seems to have developed, lazily, from its adjective "worse," the comparative form of "bad."

(I just did some quick research on "worsen," and on how "bad" becomes "worse," but turned up nothing. I do have work to do—in fact, I'm editing a paper written in English by people whose first (or even second or third, etc.) language is not English (I highly commend the endeavor, but it's hurting my head) that relies very heavily on "worsen".)

This is not to say that I am against sculpting language into new and more malleable toys, bending parts of speech, but when doing so weakens rather than enhances meaning, a wrong turn has been made in the maze. Turn back and try again for something I can bite into and understand. Don't do it simply out of laziness.

I suppose the word bugs me yet more because there continue to be cases when my brain can’t seem to clear a path for an appropriate replacement to appear, and I feel inadequate.

Rats pass phonemes like batons in the laboratory and a new umbrella opens.

Which reminds me, I think there is a book relay going on in Brooklyn (roughly where Lorimer St and Driggs Ave intersect). As I was crossing the street, a man wearing blue jeans and a nice jacket sprinted by with a book in hand. A few minutes later, a girl came sprinting down the sidewalk from the other direction, wearing street clothes (i.e., not jogging gear), also carrying a book. Come to think of it, while I was driving home from work last week, I saw two young girls also wearing street clothes, also carrying books, sprinting across the street.

If anyone has any information, whether you’ve witnessed it yourself or whether you happen to know a thing or two about this book relay—perhaps it takes place elsewhere—send word. This must be understood or I'm not made of rat spittle.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

emerald fingers finger the smog

There are times when being a radio is difficult because people keep so many bricks and throw so many chips from them. Those bricks are heavy (never mind the unintended L7 reference), and the air feels tight like a square sealed for a no-happen future opening.

I used to be scared of driving at all. I used to be scared of driving in small towns, then on highways, then in big cities, Manhattan excluded and elevated to its own category. Now, as of this week, I drive through Manhattan to get to my job in New Jersey. Another fear down the drain, and this morning I feel sad.

I don’t like a thing to end because then there is vertigo and scarecrow-like lack of direction. By thing I mean book, movie, music, a project, a fear, in which case a sense of completion or simply enjoyment is satisfying and so, for those same reasons, I do like a thing to end. Now I need a new jersey to tackle.

This week I’m highly empathetic and my sense of smell is so sharp it might cusp into hallucination. Driving over the Goethals Bridge each night there is first a distinct smell of chlorine accompanied by memory of swimming in public pools, and then, halfway over, there is the smell of poop, a conglomerate of all animals’ feces. People sweat. The bathroom at work smells like Play-Doh. The hallway has eggs and whiskey. Olfactory voices in the head, essentially.

Yesterday I did confrontation like a good debbie in Texas. I don’t do confrontation well, but a duck needed to be squared and lit lest my psyche crumble under the heavy weight of doormat. Another fear down.

Each time I finger-flick a fear away, I think, "That wasn’t bad at all. No reason to be scared of anything really." Then vertigo with a long, stagnant-pond future threatens. And so I opt to cultivate and whip-crack fear, cycle through the thing, even though the fear, the conquering, and the next, all are apparently arbitrarily bound and found. At least then there are stones to step on.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

big ears on the streets

"It’s very nice to see some of you people here tonight." pause "It’s horrific to see some of you other people," said Langhorne Slim. "Just kidding. It’s very nice to see all of you." Horrific.

* * *

"Hi. How’s your boyfriend?"
"Good. How’s your husband?"

Small-talk degenerates. I overheard this conversation while I was in a bathroom stall at work. Beyond the small-talk cloud-filler of mindlessly asking each other "how are ya/how you been/what’s up/how’s it going/et cetera," these two women asked each other about the well-being of people whom neither of them have ever met.

Hi. How’s Napoleon?
Good. How’s T-Rex?

* * *

"If you read your paperwork…If you read your paperwork…If you read your paperwork…" Overheard from the office next door after I complained to my co-worker about doctors not following directions (which means I must follow tediously behind them with a pooper-scooper). Apparently nobody reads or follows directions. There is no rule or order.

* * *

"I think he beats his wife." Overheard from the office next door, two hours after I had a conversation about wife-beaters, as in the attire, with my co-worker. Must be ribbed.

* * *

Dear Athena, I love coconut. Please let that be the bellum-winner’s prize.

Dear Coconut, Every time you call my name I heat up like a burnin’ flame. Abra-abra-cadabra. I wanna reach out and grab ya.

Dear Flame, I think this inner-bellum needs a fire lit under its ass.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


This salad plate has bloody eyes and wields a wild needle and thread. Remember that.

My mom and I play Scrabble when I go home, where we enjoy some wine and delight in mispronouncing words in unison. Empty bottle, she interrogates me and I tell all of Laura Palmer’s secrets...

"Scrabble, originally called Criss Cross, was developed by Alfred M. Butts, an out-of-work architect, in 1931. It was redesigned, renamed as Scrabble, and marketed by James Brunot in 1948. A Macy's executive saw the game being played at a resort in 1952 and the store (the world's largest at that time) began carrying it. Manufacturing of the game was turned over to Selchow & Righter. Scrabble has 225 squares on a board and 100 letter tiles, each imprinted with a point value for different letters, approximately corresponding to the frequency of occurrence of the letter in English words. More than 100 million sets have been sold, in 24 languages. It is considered the world's most popular word game." (via

In elephant news…
On this day in 1796, the first elephant was brought to the United States. (via

Overzealous Sri Lankans participating in Buddhist new year celebrations damaged an elephant with desserts.

And in science news…
Get wasted without a hangover; drink sythehol, little Trekkie.

Global warming beats igloos with a stick!

Our bodies and minds are infected with parasites.

More on the thin thin line between creativity and insanity.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

let us eat flowers and tell tales of pillage

A few unusual slow days at work bewitch me. I've acquired a severe attention deficit, all at once amidst several loose ends: trying to open eps files on my incapable computer, sending elicit photos to a friend, inquiring about the price of another friend's paintings for aforementioned friend, reading Pitchfork interview with Neko Case, collecting color data, mapping road and train routes for co-worker, selecting a poem to go in the next issue of our journal, finishing a Hershey bar, selecting a CD to listen to, responding to work e-mails. Pieces of each of these things sit sprawled out on my desk and computer. I had forgotten I had started any of them until I stopped to look around. And so I ask...

"Which flowers are edible? Among the most common edible flowers are peonies, pansies, carnations, chamomile, chrysanthemums, dandelions, daylilies, gardenias, geraniums, gladioli, lavender, lilies, nasturtiums, primroses, roses, squash blossoms, sweet violets, pot marigolds, and yucca blossoms." (via

In Norway, around Easter time--fuck the bunnies and lavender eggs. Norwegians tell tales of crime, listen to radio shows about crime, watch television programs about crime. It’s a tradition perhaps rooted in Viking behavior: "On their return [from raiding trips] the Vikings would settle down with flasks of mead, an alcoholic drink made from honey, and recount tales of murder and pillage to their women and children."

That’s all I’ve got today, outside my new coat tree. I’m glad I have friends who paint me red.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Outside the written word and on a yellow horse

The weekend had me social in Greece, Poland, the Netherlands. The Polish ones charmed me into the kitchen and made me drink rum & coke, play pick-up sticks, eat poppy bread, walnuts dipped in honey, raisins, a partial bagel. I did not fight them off. The walls were bright orange and yellow. Greece was a sturdy hula hoop. The bald pierced one thinks he can no longer be a child. Horse hoof! Fleeting painter, I got called beautiful. Sleep deprivation shades perspective. In a bistro, the Netherlands poured down my throat Heineken, Stella Artois, and fine red wine, insisted my belly have in it lentil soup, grilled tuna and vegetables, coconut ice cream. Dutch history turned into tales of Bangkok and back to Mexico and disparate trips in life jackets backward down canals. In one creation myth gods pierce their penises. Blood spills and something is born. Guitar sounds roll in circles before the polka is loud and the au pair dances. The sun rises and some people still haven’t slept. Fortuity escalates in this very air.

Yesterday I threw green paper down on a counter and got these in return: Neko CaseFox Confessor Brings the Flood, which particularly pleases me, and Built to SpillYou in Reverse. Doug Martsch will always please me, sometimes more than others.

Right now I could go for a pineapple. And an elephant ride, a sabbath, and a loom.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

copulative structure in song titles and broken days

I’m having a crappy day and a half. I won’t bother you with details, but it’s the "fuck everything" sort of stretch that makes you want to uproot what stable things are left.

Yesterday as I drove home from work I made a connection between Kristin Hersh and Pat Benatar. I took note because this is the second time. As you may know, Kristin Hersh is my hero.

The wise man over at God Has Wheels put together some 80s music mixes, which the wise man over at Hall of the Monkey King put onto CD for me. Some are the "that was my favorite song when I was little" sort; others are the "I can’t believe someone actually had that idea and acted on it" sort; some are just funny.

Pat Benatar’s "Love Is a Battlefield" played in my car as I drove home (after the first series of events during which the gods turned against me). At the beginning of the song, the primary vocal is Pat speaking the words and in the background you hear her singing. On Kristin Hersh’s "Listerine," the last track on Sunny Border Blue, she speaks the words (I believe) underneath her singing them. The first time I heard this song I thought it an unusually dramatic trope for her to throw in. Perhaps it’s all Pat.

The first time I made a connection between Pat Benatar and Kristin Hersh I was listening to "Bea," the second track on Throwing Muses’ Hunkpapa. At the end of the song, before the final hypnotic pound of drum and guitar to the end, as she’s singing, "Nothing makes me live my life but you/And that mark on your back making babies/In the field," it occurred to me she sounded like Pat Benatar—from the period of "Love Is a Battlefield," which I know because my mom played those songs—"We Belong," "Hell Is for Children," "Heartbreaker"—when I was growing up. The video during which Pat and the other girls are dressed in rags and marching forward in the dark fascinated me.

What does this connection mean--for me or for life itself? I’m not sure, but probably there is a Greek tragedy buried in it, ready to elucidate lessons about fate and family and who one considers one's gods—and in that tune how you should let the gods have their way with you now and again. It ain’t all milk and cookies, and how boring if it were I s'pose.

Monday, April 03, 2006

shiva bleeds through my icons

Icon #1: the elephant.
Icon #2: the crane (the machinery, not the bird; see below).

Saturday one of my new roommates was watching a National Geographic show on elephants. No, it was not glowing show about how sweet my trunkified friends are. It was more gruesome: When elephants attack.

This afternoon I got a phone message from my mom: Hi honey. I just wanted to tell you I just heard on the news that in Boston a crane collapsed and already two people are dead. Well, I just wanted to let you know since you like cranes so much. Love you.

Yeah, I know how to pick ’em, icons that do both some creatin' and destroyin'.

Brings me a feeling similar to what I felt the first day I drove to work after I moved to Brooklyn a few weeks ago. I turned on the radio to catch some news. The first two pieces: 1. New York is the US state with the worst air, which causes higher rates of cancer (not that I was much better off before—Jersey was listed as #5); 2. there is a coyote loose in Central Park.

If the cancer won’t get me, an anomalous wild animal will.

Or an elephant or a crane.