“Art, as something that is only interesting to the degree to which it shows human beings not as we would have them be but as they are, leads us to throw over the control structures others build for their benefit. Literature shocks not because what it shows about us is inherently surprising. It does the exact opposite. It is shocking because it breaks down what we would be and shows us what we know we are. Dividers of each other into races and groups. Ethnicists. People who hate others via these concepts. And then why this is problematic. Because (this is why I would rephrase Mann) art’s treacherous tendency is to show that we all bleed, and in the long run you will not withstand art’s construction of life, which is Shakespeare’s construction of life, a construction that ultimately finds all human persons fundamentally human, regardless of religion or biology.
Harold Bloom says that he would locate the key to Shakespeare’s centrality in the canon in one very specific aspect of one single character, Falstaff. “It is,” says Bloom, “Falstaff’s capacity to overhear himself. And, thereby, the man’s capacity to change. It is the most remarkable of all literary innovations.”
I agree. The capacity to change is, indeed, one of the most remarkable aspects of literature, and one of the most remarkable, perennial capacities of human beings.
And, I add, if a person can change, he can also change back.
There are people who tell you that you are a kind of person, I say. Not a person. A kind of person. And that all other people are another kind. Who take your desire for good and your talents and your spirit and twist and twist till you instinctively say, “He is one of mine. He is not. She is one of mine. She is not.” And then convince you that there is a god sick enough to want this. Or, if you’ve no use for the god, that there is reason to perpetuate this culture. That evil is good. That lies are truth. That a heart should close.”—Chandler Burr, You Or Someone Like You
We moved to Horoscope Thursday but couldn't bring the bookshelves
April 20-May 20
Emotions can be so awkward, but being intimate with people requires them. The healthiest way to emotionally connect with your peeps is by being clear about your limits. Communicate them directly and lovingly. (SFBG)
"What is the source of our first suffering?" wrote philosopher Gaston Bachelard. "It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak. It was born in the moment when we accumulated silent things within us." Luckily for you, Taurus, the cosmic rhythms are aligned in such a way as to free you from at least some of that old suffering in the coming weeks. I expect that you will have more power than usual to say what you’ve never been able to say and express a part of you that has been buried too long. (Free Will Astrology)
Don’t settle for anything less than complete authenticity. Your success lies in your ability to plumb the depths so that you can recognize what’s true. (Aquarium Age)
Don’t settle for anything less than complete authenticity. Your success lies in your ability to plumb the depths so that you can recognize what’s true.
“i meant to say for what it’s worth i’m sorry for what i am about to say i meant to say when i say you i don’t mean you i actually mean you i meant to say please pass the butter i meant to say bugger but that would mean a shift in diction i meant to say please pass the sugar i meant this to be a quiet poem but i mean tot trip you on this awkward line i meant to say i didn’t see it coming i meant to say fuck me for seeing i meant to say fuck you for saying”—from “the lost book”, Truong Tran
"According to sources we feel really, really sorry for, Foursquare works by allowing users to "check in" from their present location, whether it be a bar, restaurant, nearby magazine stand, or man, this piece would be perfect to hand over to that schmuck Dan Fletcher at Time magazine right about now. By "checking in," users can earn tangible, real-world rewards. For instance, the Foursquare user with the most points at any given venue earns the designation of "mayor" and can receive discounts, free food, or other prizes that, quite honestly, we’re thoroughly disgusted with ourselves for having actually researched….
So what may, Horoscope Wednesday? (ON FRIDAY THANKS MERCURY)
April 20-May 20
Adding more crap into a fouled-up situation gets you piling stuff on top of stuff. Don’t mask problems, correct them. Take the time to innovate your answers. Be like Mr. Sinatra and do it your way — come what may. (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
If your home is like a museum, a staid assemblage of fine memories, I suggest you shake things up a bit. If your imagination is filled with tape loops that keep running storylines you’ve heard a thousand times before, shake things up a bit. If your daily actions are so thoroughly possessed by the anesthetizing demons of habit that you can’t recall your last creative innovation, shake things up a bit. On the other hand, there’s no need for blame. Don’t berate yourself for your sluggishness. It was an inevitable byproduct of your efforts to solidify and stabilize your life. Just slip into a more playful mode and enjoy a bout of experimentation. (Free Will Astrology)
Mercury turns around in your solar house of romance and creativity, inspiring you to burst into song and dance to express your deepest feelings. Just be aware, while you may enjoy musical theater, others may not similarly inclined. (Aquarium Age)
“Faith is something like this, I imagine. Not of God. But of a pen or a brush
held up like the last flaming torch of the century, and yet flimsy—
this desire of the artist to keep the blue from swallowing it all up.
Like something that happens only at night.
Like a lie and desperation so thick you can breathe it. Moments
like this, the skin widens to the lover’s touch and the back arches to whispers.
There is nothing clear about it, nothing lasting about this clarity.
“I will do it different,” I say. I will. As if the threat of death is not a smell
I will lose in a few days. This terror comes in without knocking.
Like a familiar lover intruding into the bathroom as I pee.
I will lose even this when it mingles with the old smell of her wetness
and I will forget and drown us both in wine and regret.”—from “There Are No Names For Red”, Chris Abani
What are you doing, hanging out with Horoscope Wednesday (on a Thursday, no less)
April 20-May 20
"You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar" is an old-school way of saying that you should play nice and make inroads with others instead of stubbornly enforcing your influence. Win others over to your team with kindness. (SFBG: STOP IT)
When they say “Go with the flow,” what “flow” are they talking about? Do they mean the flow of your early childhood conditioning? The flow of your friends’ opinions? The latest cultural trends? Your immediate instinctual needs? When they say “Go with the flow,” are they urging you to keep doing what’s easiest to do and what will win you the most ego points, even if it keeps you from being true to your soul’s code? I’m here to ask you to consider the possibility that there are many flows to go with, but only one of them is correct for you right now. And in my opinion, it is flowing in an underground cavern, far from the maddening crowd. (Free Will Astrology)
The missing piece of the puzzle is knowing how to harmonize a wide variety of opinions about how things should be. Soothe the pent up tension by finding the positive ground of compromise and everyone will feel like a winner. (Aquarium Age)
Todas las manas voy
a preguntarle al romero
si el mal de amor tiene cura
porque yo me estoy muriendo.
Behind those poems lurks a terrible question that has no answer. Our people cross their arms in prayer, look at the stars, and wait in vain for a sign of salvation. The gesture is pathetic but true. And the poem either poses a deep emotional question with no answer, or solves it with death, which is the question of questions.
Cleaning all kinds of casitas today. Someday I’ll find an acceptable image of self. Finding isn’t as hard as making.
Off the docket: rose (in old salsa jars, no less), thrice-risen foccacia (it is exactly as satisfying as it was supposed to be), The Reader, Patrick Rosal, peach cobbler lessons, drafting, The Acorn, Debussy, capsaicin masochism, one honk, one “DAMN,” an almost flat, and let’s ease out of Sunday with some Notwist.
the days bust, no boom no or run. The fireworks sparsely populated, stridently anticipated only the stink of smoke, faint throbs velvetly ringing around the skull the damper pedal of it murmurs out, falling away, falling away.
But we cannot forget, or stop, or accept the last raining days of this, not with fortitude or steel to drive from the sheets.
Would I have been Venus.
An almost star, a fury or a rage caught fleetingly and lost only to multitudes the choices, wishes, desires overwhelming into constancy and consistency, until the horizon shifts again an eye in a spark for the orbit casting sunset then passed.
The moon, here, a thrum lull. No goodbye. Still even in the sheen behind and between fronts partial cloud, overcast amongst the leaves clun to the oak but can’t pull out of bed with the wink can’t follow to watch or trust the set wink a held breath, glances, messages can’t take back.
Saturday. Duende meets the WSJ. Half-Assed Migas (but still awesome). Zig zag apartment hunt.
Fast biking, the old gang. Salt brownies + Red Hot Ranch + Coors + Makers + Sweet French Fry Man.
Calm dog. Balmy day. All the hipsters are pissing their money away at Lolla (I’m not jealous. Maybe). Each girl in denim Daisy’s and stupid ripoff racist “indigenous”-esque headbands trying to hail a cab two blocks in from Grant Park elicited my out loud laughs and head shakes. Oh honey, there’s no way. Shoaled everyone I ran into last night. Milwaukee Ave might as well be called the fixiefreeway.
Not problems: endless debate on possible patioed coffeeshops. But it’s a good problem to have. I’m hoping the streets will be bereft of the young. Sip or Star Lounge or Handlebar maybe. Almost fermented blueberries. Casual boredom with pennies.
To pen, then, maybe. Again, this isn’t close to poetry. But it could break down different maybe.
You are so not in control, Taurus. Life may feel like being in a roller coaster with a blindfold on, but don’t despair. Go with things instead of bracing yourself against every turn. Life is easier when you stop fighting it. (SFBG)
In her 1960 song This Bitter Earth, Dinah Washington sings, “If my life is like the dust that hides the glow of a rose / What good am I, heaven only knows.” I bring this to your attention, Taurus, because you now have the power to prove once and for all that your life is NOT like the dust that hides the glow of a rose. So please get out there and reveal the glory of the world you inhabit. Draw out and enhance the radiance of people you encounter. By week’s end, you may be able to say, as Washington does in the final line of the song, “This bitter earth may not be so bitter after all.” (Hear the song here: tinyurl.com/BitterEarth.)(Free Will Astrology)
Question authority, and be sure to include a look at your own scope of influence. As you conduct this self-examination, be aware that recognizing what you don’t know and acknowledging your limitations is as important as acknowledging your expertise. (Aquarium Age)
The Day - The Roots (featuring Blu, Phonte and Patty Crash)
August Friday. Birthday boozin’ and brownies. General disenchantment (disenfranchisenmentdisillusionmentdissucks). Still: 75. Won’t clear 85. Sun, blue boy boxers, Filter in my future, books like methadone. Mm.
Tempering this summer are tiny circles of purgatory that I mostly ignore because I find them humbling or useful, stern and irritating reminders to not let the months get to my head. Summer is impulsive, and supposedly swollen with so many moments that are supposed to be beautiful and poetic. I could spend all my pennies at outdoor patios and have sex with people met through the internet and you know, generally be young and dumb, but the reminders of damnation seem to keep me on the edge of whatever weird Gen Me brink I truly try and avoid. Purgatory: the refrigerator giving up, wheezing, won’t stay cool full of food and the food that spoils into fizzing sauces and fuzzy berries mere days after purchase. Purgatory: the bathtub clogged and soaking already disgusting feet with the scum of the street coming off. Purgatory: added white-knuckled and bike-lane hogging drivers thinking they’re in the suburbs and lazily getting in my single-speed way. Purgatory: either my job getting more insane, thus I, becoming more insane as I adapt and find it saner than ever, or my mother discussing my “options” with me in the privileged and ignorant-ass optimism that only older generations can have.
And purgatory: writing trickling, and worse, writing about how writing is sometimes fucking hard.
Let’s get this clear: I hate writing about writing. At least, on my end. I’m no good at it, I find it decadent and self-indulgent and generally more masturbatory than regular old pen to paper. I hate poems about how hard poetry is. I even have general unease at prose writing about writers. But I am running out of ideas and the anxiety of all of this is starting to get to me.
I make irrational bargains. I drink too much until the words that I find the next morning are slurry and falling over on the college rule. I bookmark things for ideas. I make goals that are dealing with a child: if you finish this, then we get to go out. And then I don’t finish. And drink a forty in my room while reading the same page of Seamus Heany over and over again.
Something in me is starting to wonder about the mercantile aspects of art and skill. Yesterday I make succotash out of the spoils of Mexican produce markets and the tiny Pilsen farmer’s market and it is quick and delicious. Soaking beans, shearing kernels from corns, saute, saute, saute, crumbled chipotles with barely bursting tomatoes—the strange smokiness from that combination harkens to a bacon umami, something tongue soft and meaty. As it all bubbles and slides together, I make use of old cabbage and carrots and chow mein noodles and come up with a quick salad. I plan this week on braised porkchops and pesto eggs and more pizza and more bread.
But why not all of those things replaced with sonnets and short stories and revision and even five hundred original words? Why isn’t my writing like my succotash these days? I could pare down syllables and filler words and passive voice. Sweat it out with some free verse and see what reduces to the top. Finish it off in the glory acts of editing and careful watch. If words are what is important, why can’t I carry the deftness to my sustenance in the same way as I do something as simple as food?
Perhaps I need to staunch the energy to that. Either eat shit and spend too much money on bad prepared food and lard out (in looking at this very old, and very sweet American Author’s poster from my father from my senior year of high school, there ain’t no corpulant folks on there). Or stop eating like this all together and pull a hunger artist move. Functional anorexia is pretty trendy. I mean, what?
Truong always told me that discipline and my own head would get in my way and he’s right. No matter how many traps I set out for myself, something always seems to release me from the teeth of a good poetry jag. My stupid apartment, my slowly disintegrating social life, the heat, my job, and I’m sick of excuses. I suppose there’s something so romantic and shared in just wanting to take the whole of a page (or a laptop, tell true) and just chuck the damn thing out the window. But at the end of the day there isn’t. And the closer I get to better track stands, quicker times to work, the easy zig and zag of a bike commute, or uniform mirepoix, or a beautiful sunny side up egg, and perfect whiskey sours, the more I wonder if my drive, goddamn infidel leech that he is, is more interested in playing with the cool and easy kids.
(Title is from early Frank O’Hara, and add one more to the summer purgatories: every crappy piece of figurative language in this. But I am going to count this as writing. Like the letters and other bits. I just have to.)
[C and C-Los navigate the detritus of hipster six corners to battle their way to the Hood Internet]
Me:I love checking women out shamelessly.
C-Los:They're straight. I hate that you play that game.
Me:YOU WANT A HIPSTER QUEER HAIRCUT YOU GET TO BE QUEER EYECANDY FOR ME.
Unison:WE'RE SO COOL.
[Note:Absolutely had the obnoxious pretentious meta-we're too cool to be here, we want to be cool enough to be seen here, we want to be cool enough to eyefuck and grin at other cool kids, we want to dance to feel cool, we don't want to dance because we're too cool for school, thank God ironic hip-ness gets to be defined by poverty these days, and yes, please pass me another Miller Lite-time.]
Seven salvages kissed the dust. Dust has a pleasing flavor Anything tastes good if you’re used to it. Marian Bipple stayed stitching till the date of her death. A girl can live if she doesn’t try too hard. Dust is someone’s saddened bones. Seven salvages kissed Marian’s pelvis
A girl can keep her bones whether she wants to or not. It was immodest Pink bones protest. There are some people who only blush during adolescence. A girl outgrows everything unless she wants to. Embarrassment yields blood. There are people who find blood nourishing
May we not pray for Marian? Better to weep. I feel so useless. They also weep who wail, and also spit who sob. Utility is defunct. Mucus has been the deliberate death of a great many people. You can drown in anything if you try hard enough.