Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
St. Louis American
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Fellow chronic notetakers may enjoy knowing that all of these lines were scribbled on the back of an off-print of Page 11 of the Diversity special section of the July 24-30, 2008 edition of The St. Louis American, which I kept folded in my pocket throughout the weekend's events for just that purpose.
This is the year between camper
and counselor – lag
bolts. It’s all on the edge: different
edges, at different
Show your scar, sister
lovers. I knelt down. Calm
down, I calm down.
I was not made
A little white boy
in a purple satin shirt.
Where is she gonna go?
What is she gonna do,
in a minute, when this is all
“Deep calleth to deep,
all thy songs and billows,”
I also grew five inches.
I didn’t know anybody
in the valley.
Everything I do
I do in a dark room.
I volunteered that night
to hand out cigarettes,
I was looking for mixed-
use property on the South Side.
We were looking
at plumbing together.
Just because I can speak your language
doesn’t mean I’m not trying to keep you away.
Keep off the elephant grass,
keep off the monkey grass:
It seems like somebody in this movie
is always trying to tell somebody else
in this movie they need to make a sign!
How do you learn
Try missing one. Can we agree
not to move
It was like the house you never noticed
because you didn’t know who lived in there.
We’re going to go to Oregon
and go to sleep.
I’ve got a lot of Three Stooges
reference points. I’m good
at grunt. Don’t carry a gun, boy,
just drive a machine.
Especially on a full moon, hop
the farmer’s fence.
He was an ethnobotanist at the right time,
way before PCP came to San Francisco,
a little embarassing for people
who are not easy to embarrass.
The rooster is news!
A butterfly is a woman.
You have to add that
to the schwag bag.
I was one of the asshole line
cooks, 20 tops, going nuts.
I could make a lot more money
at the front of the house.
All the coke deals that went down
in that town went down in there.
I’m doing okay drinking
4 Invitation not to kill yourself
This is an open-source invitation
not to kill yourself
at the level of marrow.
I’m never surprised
by the people
who go through all that
and don’t overcome.
It’s hard enough to blow a trumpet.
Try taking down buildings with chainsaws.
It’s probably all in the sweat lodge FAQs.
If you didn’t need more
Mommy or Daddy, you’d never
tolerate the mysteries and deceits
of the opposite sex.
All you need to do
is put a death notice in
the paper; she’ll show up.
His mom was in the opera, fucking
some italian guy.
Joey is dead – I’m hanging
back with Cathy, and
Maybe he could have aged gracefully.
“You’re never going to hear from me again?”
That’s supposed to be the dead? No!
You’re going to hear from them tomorrow
And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Friday, July 25, 2008
What fascinates our sources is that Mokwa and Frank have long operated deep within the system and know where many bodies are buried, literally and figuratively. Slay, his Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford and the rest of this sordid outfit have now resorted to eating their own to stay in power. Public cannibalism tends to make for a fascinating spectator sport!
The question is whether Mokwa and Frank get enough enticements to keep their lips sealed. Oh, what tales they could tell!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Thanks to somebody's Flickr site for that ominous image of City Hall.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
If I am not mistaken, it was the printmaking program at Washington University that brought Robert Goetz to us from San Antonio. He quickly went local in tavern kitchens as a line cook, and then on tavern stages as an indie rocker. He probably has stayed beyond what was objectively good for him, as an artist - he is very talented and multifaceted artist - though St. Louis has benefitted from his inner tension through the work he has done while he has been here. And at least he has a decent day job in the arts.
When I found Robert, he was constructing Temporary Autonomous Zones and inhabiting them, in various contexts, mostly as part of his performance art duo with Brett Williams, Nosey Parker. It took me awhile to get a take on that gig. In the meantime, I coaxed him into playing in a band with me, which was a really good ride, for a pretty long time. He played bass on my songs, I played bass (badly) on his. I'd like to think we would have kept it going up until now, except for the extremely unfortunate fact that the drummer we shared killed himself three years ago.
I don't think any of us are over that. I also don't think I'm being reductive of a difficult subject and a complex artist when I guess that Hunter's violent act of self-extinction has something to do with why Robert is writing songs about hate these days.
He is doing more than writing songs about hate. He is writing elaborate song cycles about hate, recording them and printing them to CD, buying ruined cars with CD decks, driving those cars out intp the middle of nowehere, and then blowing them up while his hate song cycle is spinning away inside their doomed frames.
At Robert's invitation, I contributed some material to his hate song cycle - some poems of mine, one by E.E. Cummings, and some ancient Egyptian hymns. They had hate down pat a long, long time ago. Check this one out:
Pyramid Text #211
I hate hunger & I will never eat it.
I hate thirst & I will never drink it.
It is I who will give bread to those who exist,
for my foster-mother is the milk goddess
& it is she who nourishes me.
I was conceived in the night,
I was born in the night,
I belong to those who are in the house of the night,
before the Morning Star,
I was conceived in the abyss,
I was born in the abyss;
I have come & I have brought you
the bread which I found there.
(Trans. R.O. Faulkner)
I don't know that Robert has scored this ancient fragment of hate as of yet, but after he showed up Sunday afternoon for The New Monastic Workshop we did break out my acoustic guitar and trade songs, and every song he sang was a hate song. I remember a line about "prehistoric hate" (that dates back beyond the Pyramid Texts!) and another about "small fish, small hearts all around," which sounds like a bad, sad, drunk take on St. Louis.
The astonishing thing, however, was the bounce and joy - swagger, even - of the songs. It was a tricky way to communicate hate. It almost even managed to sell hate, if not as something that was good for you, at least as something that would be pleasant to hum. I imagined the buoyant bounce of Robert's guitar chordings and the confident, melodic ease of his vocal, singing about the self-hatred of swimming in a circle, surrounded by small fish and small hearts, as the source of the sound detonated, along with the car stereo and the car itself, in a terrible, violent flash.
I became a fanboy. When I visited Matt at his family home in Minneapolis, I maneuvered my way into a Hang Ups rehearsal. We brought them down for a house concert. I did my best to keep up a penpal thing with principal songwriter Brian Tighe, whose day job was the deeply unrockist position of nanny.
It was Brian Tighe whom I saw sauntering through the festival crowd along the St. Louis riverfront that evening. I popped up on him. He remembered me. He remembered my gaudy enthusiasm for his music. He excused himself to get the new CD by his new splinter project. And that first Owls' record has been my constant companion, ever since.
The Owls played once in St. Louis, that I know of, at the now-defunct Frederick's Music Lounge. It was a small, homy room. It was hard to project starpower in that room. Maria May, something of the quartet's leader (or onstage focal point, at any rate) exuded star power. This is a woman who makes you want to run away and join the circus.
I visited with Brian, after their set, on the street outside Frederick's. Maria was smoking. It's often odd, for me, to see a pretty woman, or a singer, but especially a pretty woman singer, smoke. She had the nonchalance of the natural talent. We must have talked of children. I must have told her my daughter wanted to listen to her band and only her band, every day. I must have yearned for some kind of confluence, beyind that; surely I pushed for a songwriting partnership, through the mail. Surely we wrote songs together, started a band, hit the road. Surely I ran away and joined the circus.
It's not possible that I drove home alone, listening to Maria sing about there being only air where she used to care.
Monday, July 21, 2008