— this is really happening

March, 2008 Monthly archive

Will: Why shouldn’t I work for the N.S.A.? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, "Oh, Send in the marines to secure the area" ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’ ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure fuck it, while I’m at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

from "Good Will Hunting" (1997) 

… well, it’s in the words, too. 

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Sometimes around mid-day, after the orange juice has become sticky in my empty morning glass and I’ve finished my final cracker snack, after the sun is to the left of my monitor, I am struck with an incessant need to read something good. I can often alleviate this by drinking a full glass of water from a clear, clean kitchen glass downstairs, a physical subsitute for my inner parch of good sentences. Today, my scouring thus far has come up dry. I am still searching. Please send along what you might have in your back pocket, a good poem, a short excerpt, a something something I cannot imagine …

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Fowling Piece
Heidy Steidlmayer

The pull of guns I understand,
my father taught me hand on hand
how death is. Life asserts.
(Best take it like a man.)
I shot a dove, the common sort
and mourned not life but life so short
that gazed from death as if unhurt.
And I had nothing to report.

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“Departing a yard always feels to me somewhat like crossing a bridge over a deep gorge; one commits oneself to someone else’s defense against the void. By the time the signal has fallen behind, and many tracks have gone to one, the freights’ velocity is usually too great for the rider to do anything but ride.

That was the great thing about this sort of ride: breathing the air of reality. In the Gilroy country the evening smelled of garlic; later on, near Santa Barbara, the dawn would smell of anise. Freight train rides are parables. Why have we chosen to live behind walls and windows? For an answer, feel the shocking blackness and feeling the asphyxiation when a freight train enters a tunnel! An old man once told me about riding a freight in some nebulous northern realm … I can assure you that the tunnel-darkness beyond the window of a subway car or passenger car, however eerie it might be, is quite innocuous compared to the real blackness that wrenches breath away. Reality caresses and stings! For a fact, reality kills; so does reality denied; at least when reality lays hands on me I feel it. I never want not to feel.”

William T. Vollmann, Riding Toward Everywhere

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Thank you for watching.

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I jus’ been Ditty Hooped, y’all! I’m feeling whizband somersault stars for these three ladies, that is, The Ditty Bops (Amanda and Abby) and the miraculous opulent applet, Jesca Hoop. The Ditties, one of my ever-favorite duos that educe war-time sensations like the McGuire Sisters or Shirley Temple, charmed me in just that special way where I quite quickly began to have a crush on everything in the room. That crushing gushing joy, I was expecting; that is what drew me to the show. What I was not expecting was the accompaniment of Jesca Hoop into the colander. She is an angel sprite, soft and delicate, fleeting along, and then her voice drops folds below itself in a short half-breath and suddenly we’re on a different planet right there in the middle of the song. She sings silly Devendra-style poetry and plays with melodies and rhythms the way birds play with the air. Noah’s Arc needed a soundtrack, here it is!

The pic is as good as it gets from inside a dark room behind a fingerprinted cellphone camera lens. Nonetheless, the drift is gotten and given: it was a good night at the Freight and Salvage Coffee House.


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This was really happening when my eyes drifted out the window. Cloud machine! Motor motor poof poof vrooom!

in Napa, departing the marathon weekend.

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