Friday, November 30, 2012

These Three Must Be Related

At first, I was baffled in too many ways to respond/react properly. I put all of these reactions in a jar, popped the lid. This article is total bullshit, frontloads "facts" to open the door to weak thinking, and generalizes an already over-generalized topic beyond belief. Yet, I can't help but share it, think about it, talk about it. It's so scary, even on Fox, because it was written by a woman, and people are Liking/praising it. A total shame, continued. 

Shai Hulud, whose album That Within Blood Ill-Tempered is easily one of my favorite albums of all-time, is having tryouts again for lead vocalist, or as they put it a person to "channel the various emotions of our words and music through voice, intense physical presence, and visceral interaction during and in-between the songs." That's what I love about Shai Hulud; their music is pure emotion catapulted. Stoked for their new album with singer from-way-back-when Chad Gilbert (yes, that Chad Gilbert) (see video below). And despite my adoration for the things they shout and the big boom of their full sound, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the pulse of the demos available for free download for the vocal auditions. 

Been reading Madness, Rack, and Honey, Mary Ruefle's Collected Lectures, and have been mondo-stoked by the wisdom banner she waves regarding poetry. For my future reference, I'm dropping some stellar sections here from the essays I've read so far: 

"If you have any idea for a poem, an exact grid of intent, you are on the wrong path, a dead-end alley, at the top of a cliff you haven't even climbed." (p. 3; "On Beginnings") (I love how the extremity of this, the near-impossiblity of the danger of having "any idea for a poem.")

"Poetry and sex have this in common: they are the instant consumption of energy, that is, they do not accumulate, they do not have a value dependent upon the consequences of furthering anything outside themselves, though of course they can do that, whereas religious morality is always dependent on consequences." (p. 87; "On Secrets") (And that is why I'm drawn to poetry over religion and most other pursuits. Also, that is the reason I'm so sadden when people's faith in poetry becomes hinged on accomplishing anything specific, especially monetarily or ego-oriented.)

"We speak of secrets from the point of view of the teller or keeper, but what of the listener? What about the one who hears the secret? What happens to him?" (p. 100; "On Secrets") (Everything we do--tell a secret, write a poem, whistle out the window, smash a pumpkin on a lawn--affects someone else. Why do I always forget that!)

"Smoke signals are perhaps the most beautiful form of the letter ever to evolve. For what is a letter, but to speak one's thoughts at a distance? Which is why poems and prayers are letters." (p. 204; "Remarks On Letters")

"The greatest lesson in writing I ever had was given to me in an art class. The drawing instructor took a sheet of paper and held up a pencil. She very lightly put the pencil on the piece of paper and applied a little pressure; by bringing her hand a little ways in one direction, she left a mark upon the paper. "That's all there is to it," she said, "but it's a miracle. Once there was nothing, and now there's a mark." (p. 207; "Remarks On Letters") (GET STOKED THIS IS A MIRACLE ALL OF THIS ALL OF YOU)

"The great lunacy of most lyric poems is that they attempt to use words to convey what cannot be put into words." (p. 15; "Poetry And The Moon")

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


What else would I be doing? Do you see how quickly I'm blurring? I'm reminded that I ask jars of questions. I open my computer. I open my cell phone. I step out of my pick-up truck and walk in the mud. What else would I be doing?

You know that thing about one man's trash. Disc golf is not a treasure. Disc golf is a sport. I like to play it with a beer in my bag. I prefer courses overrun with leaves. Have you ever heard 20 chains rattling against a pole? I prefer when Layne is there, her camera more often at the trees. 

Still, I asked her to take this photo. Look at my left foot ready to leave, forever. You can't make it out, but that hat is stitched with the Circle City Acers patch. That hat holds more than my head. That jacket is not mine. Jason left it in his closet. Jason left Elwood disc golf for Texas.

You know the story about Elwood's disc golf course being dug out of the old city dump. Today, I looked left from the teepad of hole 7 and noticed the mound covered in dirt, in leaves, bits of neon green easily mistaken for a lost driver. Scattered about are baby doll heads from the 50's. Perfume bottles made of whatever can last that long. A black tube like the one that sucked our sewage from the camper when I was a kid.

Today, I introduced myself to a man I've met 7 times. He spoke of an island hidden away, a secret place to research cloning. Also, that new Wes Anderson movie. The movie two people who mean the most to me dressed up as for Halloween and I had no idea. What else should I be knowing? 

Layne informs me of things like this. Like the dark creeps in omy brightest disc. I want to call Jason and ask him how his disc flies in the Texas heat. I want to see if that guy has another story to tell, a cross-country van trip to California, a raccoon dead in a log where he found three unmarked discs. I want to call them all back here, so I can empty every disc from my bag and have help finding them. It's getting dark. It's time to throw away this beer can. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.

Big thx to Scott at Split Lip for talking to me about poetry and my silly efforts. Also, big high-five to David Tomaloff for saying the best thing ever about me: "When I think about T-Gob and his work, I imagine an America remixed by deejay saints in tank tops; I imagine trees growing ice cream that melts under the Midwest summer sun, dripping and forming text on the shells of silverback turtle-puppies, who then carry it off to his editors—and then that, my friends, is how cookies are made."

Christopher Newgent, one of the cool dudes and a stellar writer and a bourbon guy, writes a bourbon column for Hobart, bringing together these three awesome attributes. His newest post is total WOW.

Horses at Midnight Without a Moon
by Jack Gilbert
Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
But there's music in us. Hope is pushed down
but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
The summer mornings begin inch by inch
while we sleep, and walk with us later
as long-legged beauty through
the dirty streets. It is no surprise
that danger and suffering surround us.
What astonishes is the singing.
We know the horses are there in the dark
meadow because we can smell them,
can hear them breathing.
Our spirit persists like a man struggling
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun.
Fire When Ready were one of the best bands no one has ever heard of. 

Pref, Diff, Infer, etc.

When I say swag, do you know what I mean? Sometimes I forget that differences exist. How silly of me. How narrow-minded of me. How arrow-blinded of me. Just because four of us are throwing at the same basket, it doesn’t mean we all expect the same kind of handshake at the end. There are always at least a dozen gaps, if you gowide enough, look high enough. I was standing there and he said he hated my best friend. I missed the putt, but so did he. In the end I won this hat and a disc I promised Robbie I’d never throw. Swag. Who wants to trade? Though he whined like a BMW on a Muncie road, the guy in the batting glove was supportive. Though he hated my best friend, the man who gave up taking off his bag for putts genuinely laughed at my jokes. Still, I prefer standing on a muddy bank with Jason and my beer. Still, I wonder what Andrew’s up to? Just look at the different sizes of bags, some like long handled lunch boxes, others more like backpacks for the trenches. Just tell me we don’t all want different things. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Where do I go? Where do you go? Where did you go? Where did I go?

We enter the time. The Throwdown in (count it!) two days. This week as preparation and how do I feel? As misdirected as those trees. Imagine how bad their heads ache? Step closer and see the marks from errant throws. Bend down and see the mulch barely covering the glass. Did I ever tell you the story about the disc golf course cut into the woods that grew out of the city dump?
That song about "where I come from is cornbread and chicken." Haha at that for a moment, then look up, continue. I spent time 22 years walking my staggered Gobble walk away from Elwood. Elwood: An unwritten Jim Croce song lives and dies here. I'm always amazed when people play disc golf and never come back. Surely, you can find joy anywhere, right? Look at those two trees crossed, the leafy dangling out, can you even find the basket? Remember this is all after the turn. I'm back.
Two days until my first PDGA sanctioned disc golf tourney, me in the lowest level of entry, happy to get my players' pack and see many discs fly in a day. What's causing this headache? Four days until my best Elwood friend and go-to disc dude spends his next 25 years in Texas. Here's another one that bends hard. Five days until Layne and I take over his lease. Take the inside route and you've got to be greasy as hell. Out wide is mighty far. Whatever you do, hope it turns and turns hard.
A wildman is a fella who pulls the black chip and plays the doubles tournament alone. Do-overs all day, man. But wait, where'd you go? Teach me how to pack this thing up. It's team time and you're alone. My first 24 years of practice. The other day I heard "a cunt hair" used as a unit of measurement. I wear my camouflage jacket because it's cold. Elwood is starting to take notice. Sometimes you throw twice, and they end up right next to each other. I'm finally learning what the numbers mean. Another way to say: I start to take notice.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ashbery Under My Arm

I've been prancing around this life with John Ashbery's collected first five books, The Mooring of Starting Out. Knocked out (or knocked myself out with) Some Trees the first weekend I got it in Chicago. Been poking along The Tennis Court Oath, like I think is necessary/crucial with Ashbery. Seriously, I read like three poems and go WOOSH. Constantly baffled and inspired and overwhelmed by these poems. Ashbery writes the world's best riddles. Ashbery writes the deeper into the English language than anyone I've every encountered. Definitely, setting this hunk aside til a later date to finish the last three books. 

Learned much from this Perloff (she's queen right?) essay about Ashbery, "Normalizing John Ashbery."

Breakthrough narratives, it is true, are always forced to simplify the work of the past from which the new text deviates. I plead guilty to this charge in my own references to Eliot or Stevens in The Poetics of Indeterminacy (1981). Of course the symbolic structure of The Waste Land is not as easily understood as I implied in that study, but I stand by my original distinction between the "logic of metaphor" (Eliot's phrase for St. John Perse) of The Waste Land and the much greater indeterminacy of the Ashbery lyric in question, "These Lacustrine Cities" from Rivers and Mountains (1966). Indeed, however great the debt Ashbery owes to the "modernism" of Eliot, one would never, as I suggested in my book, mistake an Ashbery poem for an Eliot one. Nor can one take short extracts from a given Ashbery poem (Longenbach does this with reference to passages about poetry like the lines from "Syringa" that begin "Its subject / Matters too much and not enough") and treat these extracts as containing within themselves the "meaning" of the poem in question.
"A Last World" might be my favorite poem from "The Tennis Court Oath." I read it, tonight, Election Day, and go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm into the night. 

Then one could say nothing hear nothing
Of what the great time spoke to its divisors.
All borders between men were closed. 
Now all is different without having changed 
As though one were to pass through the same street at different times
And nothing that is old can prefer the new.   
And of course, the title poem of Some Trees is a pure delight of existence on existence because of existence

These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance

To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try

To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.

And glad not to have invented
Some comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges

A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Place in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.

 I love hearing poets read their work DUH


Sunday, November 4, 2012


Just signed up for the NAPTOWN THROWDOWN. It'll be my first PDGA sanctioned event. You know I'm stoked!
The Inman Park Squirrel Census is one of the wackiest, and coolest projects I've heard of in a long time. I really encourage you, FB people, to check out the project and if you have some extra monies, toss some their way (AND YOU GET COOL THINGS). This project further proves my rule of thumb: If Laura Straub is involved, it's gonna be stellar!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


It is no secret that I'm a Dean Young yahoo. This interview with him is wow. 

Narrative is a baggy concept. It accommodates anything from a baseball box score to the Iliad. Might it be possible we employ the term for any sequence of events that occur through time that seem to have some sort of relationship, a causal relationship even? Our language, albeit in spite of the Futurist attempt at words-at-liberty, makes a sequential sense—syntax is time passing so we could say any sentence or group of sentences is to some extent a narrative. Which pretty much makes the term useless. As divergent as my poetic practice is, I try to be alert to possible strains within drafts that signal modes of connection. For me those modes of connection certainly don’t need to be rational, logical, plotted, or telling a story. But any signal whatsoever I try to attend to and see as an opportunity, so sometimes I do end up using threads of traditional narrative, the scaffolding of story that can establish a stability, an endoskeleton. We could say that there is a narrative to these three words: brick, blood-drop, red feather which entails the passage from inert material to mortal flesh to a sort of avian/angelic possibility or we could say that what holds those things together is their redness. I try to be alert to as many possibilities of connectedness as I can simultaneously, even if one may undermine the authority of another. 

My top pal/mentor Todd McKinney has two poems up at the new and stellar Split Lip Magazine.

Very stoked for Wendy Xu's first book (not to mention that collab chapbook with my buddy Sturm). Cool to hear her talk about po-po and such.

I think language is always waiting patiently on us to engage it, to play with it and arrange its parts, to build something weird out of it, but the hardest time to stop and think to do this is any space outside of poems. To “negotiate” with a poem is right--it says things, you say something back, you say YES! or you say OH NO, but the two of you build the complete experience together. I always like when part of a poem’s contribution to the negotiation is a pseudo-“normal” syntax, if it seems aware and proud of its glitch, and if it wants to subvert my normalized expectations at every turn.
I have a poem "How Many Years" in the new nap magazine.

Blog Archive