Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pm+Phto: Detective Story

Detective Story

it's 1940, and i'm standing on the
outside of your police scene tape.
'what have we got here?' i ask the officer,
i'm not listening to the reply.
i'm rubbing something between my fingers,
crouching on the ground
trying to look busy.
trying to figure out what left you here in a chalk line.
why you aren't at my place making popcorn,
getting a blanket out of the hall closet,
telling me about your day,
giving me the chance to half-listen.

i take off my overcoat,
it's time to get to work,
my black suspenders,
my snazzy gun harness,
i'm ready to detect for you.
to sleuth to the very bottom,
to bring you back safe,
with a wool blanket on your shoulders,
and a steaming cup of coffee.

but this is a murder scene, i think:
from the number of concerned cameras,
blinking their big bulbs,
the number of times i have to say
'no comment, wait for my captain's release.'

i'm waiting for my release,
your release, something for us other than
long shifts with old documents,
glasses of gin, and fingers running over my eyes.
i'm leaning back in my chair.
i'm waiting for a lead on you.

i need a cause of death, i need a weapon in a plastic bag,
i need an arm to twist, i need something on tape,
i need to sleep in with you on a Sunday,
i need to quietly stare with a cup of foggy coffee,
i need a new job, with a better pension.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Readin' Memein'

Thank you This Book and I Could Be Friends for the reading meme thing...

1. What author do you own the most books by?

It's probably a tie between Julia Cameron, Anne Dillard, Amy Hempel, and Jeanette Winterson... I rarely buy more than one book by an author... in fact the winning score is two, two books ah ah ah ah. *thunder*

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

Don't own more than one copy of a book... not good for backup purposes.

3. Did it bother you that most of these questions ended with prepositions?

That is not something of which I keep track.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

The narrator from Written on the Body... who cares what gender this narrator 'really' is.

5. What book have you read the most times in your life?

I'm not a repeat offender. Multiple partakes are for movies.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

It was this book about a boy who played flute for slaves on a transport ship in the olden days... it was kind of depraved... the boy eventually escapes, but not without learning a valuable lesson about human rights... and sinking the damn ship.

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?

I read so rarely that I usually enjoy what makes the cut for my rare reading time. However, I was not terribly impressed by The Sun Also Rises, especially since it was recommended highly.

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?

I just finished Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott... really good. I like books about writing, they keep me reflecting.

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

I haven't 'tagged' anyone, first of all. That's just obscene. If I could make lots of people read books, however, I'd probably shove Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel in their hands. The reason is in the title, I guess.

10. Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?

Not qualified to make the call. I'm not even sure what the criteria are, but I hope they involve giving people a reason to grin in the muck we're in.

11. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall. The plot is really cinematic. It even has a mind-bending climax.

12. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski... only because it's too tempting and would be inevitably screwed up. The only good way would be a short or series thereof.... and even then it would be so tough.

13. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

I don't really have dreams concerning books, etc. However, while reading House of Leaves it was tough to get to sleep because a slight fear of the dark developed (and just as quickly passed). Don't tell anybody.

14. What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?

I concur with the previous answerer, this is a fun question. I've read some poetry by Billy Collins... which is not low brow per se, but since he was a poet lauriette, I guess it was the most 'mainsteamish' reason to buy a poetry book.

15. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?

For the time I read it, Brave New World was tough, I think I was in seventh grade or so. As an adult, I can't say it's been hard to read anything... Descarte's Meditations were a little wordy (though I'm sure quite terse for 1641).

16. Do you prefer French or Russian?

I prefer your mom. And she prefers me. Sexually, I mean.

17. Roth or Updike?

Sorry, no dice.

18. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Let's go with Eggers. I'm more partial to Amy Sedaris, really. So I'm changing my answer to her.

19. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Steak, Fish, or Lasagna?

20. Austen or Eliot?

I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan... I like the movie and miniseries renditions of her work, but the reading is kind of tedious. So by default, Eliot, although I'm rather under-exposed... and I dare call myself a writer!

21. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Just about everything. Really. There's so much out there, I can't find the time to even begin to wrap my arms. Although Henry Miller most comes to mind as a gap.

22. What is your favorite novel?

You are a jerk for asking that. What's a novel, anyway? Some of my favorite novel-length books are collections of short stories, poems, essays, etc. The whole of these collections is greater than the sum of their parts; they'd be different if taken piecemeal. Fine. Jerk. Sigh. Ugh. So far it's The Autobiography of Red, by Anne Carson. It's in verse. Take that.

23. Play?

Greater Tuna. It's a 20 role play performed by 2 people. I did it in college and it was a blast. If we are talking reading rather than performing, I'd go with R.U.R. because I'm still a sucker for robots overthrowing humanity.

24. Short story?

"In a Tub", "The New Lodger", and "Tumble Home" by Amy Hempel. "The Daughters of the Late Colonel" by Katherine Mansfield.

25. Epic poem?

You're mom's an epic poem. Or an epic fail. I can't remember which.

26. Short(er) poem?

"Fight Song" by Deborah Garrison. "Toward the Solace" by Adrienne Rich. Others too, lists should be in threes.

27. Work of non-fiction?

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.

28. Who is your favorite writer?

You are. It's you.

29. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Going with Hemingway on this one. Recommended to me, but didn't make the grade. Except that he isn't alive today, to my knowledge, but this is my answer anyway.

30. What is your desert island book?

FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual. Come on, what kind of question was that?

31. And . . . what are you reading right now?

Starting Last Nights of Paris, by Philippe Soupault... How we are Hungry, by Dave Eggers... and Between Angels by Stephen Dunn. Novel, short stories, and poems, respectively... I like to have something for each mood...

And that's that, you are now as informed about reading as I am. Thanks, E.L. Fay!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Essy + Phto: Neck stuck out

I was listening to supposed former infatuation junkie and noticed something about the album. A lot of the songs deal with someone trying to learn to be 'better' in a world that has taught them to be 'worse'. Compassionate in a selfish world. Giving in a taking world. Forgiving in a judgmental world, and so on. It got me thinking: are the emotional survival skills taught to us by our culture actually the very things that leave us alone and alienated? How much of our lives are spent unlearning all this wisdom and becoming more connected to the real world around us?

There's been some shaking up in my life lately; a lot of things have changed. I keep telling myself that I'm going to get back to normal, back to myself, back on my feet. So much of the word 'back'; so much of the belief that my best days are somehow behind me, and I need to turn back the clock somehow to achieve an idealized, paleoconservative self identity fully adherent to the rugged individualism our culture requires. I'm a little tired of trying to get 'back'. I was never really totally rugged anyway; I've always been a tightly wound ball of fears, anxieties, regrets, etc. Plus a dash of grace. Maybe I should just walk forward with that dash of grace. How poetic. In real life I really just want to start being more honest... because worrying about being to forward or too guarded is a tremendous waste of energy when there's so much to do in this life.

Today i am going to buy a bicycle, schedule an eye exam, and enjoy the weather. Later will be drum practice and reading, and probably a movie or two. All the while, i'll have my neck stuck out, my ducks out of their rows, my honesty spinal-tap-amp at 11, my sentences starting with anything but 'I', and ironically i will be the most 'together' person you know. Cheers.


PS - This sick, sad confessional is not really poetry, so it's labeled as an essay in the title (though it's not very well cited, is it?). Thoughts, reactions, stories to share? Comment away!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poem + Phto: Reasons i check my phone

maybe someone called me last night, some people they stay up later than me.
737am i hit snooze a bunch of times, you know maybe the buzzing of the phone was drowned out by the soul crushing once every nine minutes nightmare called my alarm clock
804am coffee's on the way, stepped out
836am out of the shower, and my phone wasn't with me obviously, what you think i'm crazy or something?!
855am one more check before work, because they don't allow phones
856am just one more, i mean there's no phone for like nine hours i don't want to miss him... or her, you know it could also be a her...
857am i mean there's no phones, none at all. it's for security or something.

518pm back from work, been a long day, starving, but before i eat something i should make sure nobody invited me to dinner.
543pm ok i ate, alone, but maybe someone else is getting ready to eat, and maybe i'll be like 'hey i already ate, but i could just drink coffee or something and you can eat, i don't mind. really. at all.'
625pm it's about time for people to start making plans for the night. you know plans, those things people do. with their nights.
713pm practicing drums, and left the phone in the other room. i better put it here next to me in case someone calls for a movie or something
725pm that song was really loud, and if the phone rang i definitely didn't hear it... so i better check to make sure
840pm watching dvds... you know just chilling, maybe someone else wants to hang... you know pajama party... woooo... dvds....
932pm someone might be going out for a drink, even on a weekday, some people have like funky part timer schedules, don't hate. maybe i can grab just one, cause i have to work tomorrow. i'll DD.
1009pm nothing, no? really? fine.
1136pm almost soul searching time, so maybe someone called. making sure there's no soldier folks finally ready to risk it all with a secret affair. or astronauts tired of the spinning chair things and ready for some nerd love. checking for anybody... ready for anything?
1209am i better check this thing one more time. before going to bed.
1213am ok last time. i don't want to leave anyone hanging, you know?
1217am come on, i mean it's gonna be a long night... and some people they stay up later than me.


PS - new headline. time for forward movement.