Dragonfly on a Dog Chain

Oh, the kind of angel I’m on the side of / Won’t ever try to hide from the terrible responsibilities of love! — Kenneth Patchen

60 SONGS (+ A HELLA LONG CATCH UP BLOG POST): #39 (CLICK HERE TO SEE OR REMEMBER WTF THIS SONG PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT)

You know that guy—probably selling slices of taco pizza—who funnels all his hatred for his job into proficiency at his job? Like somehow he’s been doing his job so long that all the energy of his hatred has made him really good at it? That’s what winter in New England is like. It’s too good at itself. Onslaughts of grey misery. Lawns snowed over once, twice, eighteen times for good measure. Everybody huddled in scowling in their beanies. The exhaustion of the limited vocabulary for referring to the abundance of clothing you have to wear. One time a newspaper said my scarf was a tie, but it was just winter delirium.

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So that’s the long way of explaining why I haven’t posted anything on this blog for months and months. Now with a little string of unbroken sun, though, I can catch up. I can tell you about the bouncy castle at my friend Anne’s 30th birthday party. Or the landlord who explained about the ghost in the attic and the frozen hot dogs of previous tenants. There’s a lot of things to tell you about, and I even posted a song from my song project, albeit totally out of order, and recorded back in April, but whatever. We’re all just trying to recover however we can.

PLACES I WILL BE

Gather ye garlic scapes where you may, and these next few weeks my scraping will take me to North Carolina, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Beckett, MA as I start touring for Sprezzatura. And I hope you will be there too!

Thursday July 10th I will be reading at the So & So Series with Elaine Bleakney, Dan Brady, and Mark Cugini. That’s at CAM Raleigh at 8PM.

Sunday July 13th I will be in DC reading for Three Tents with Aaron Burch, Caleb Curtiss, and Dave Housley. That’s at Big Hunt at 7PM.

Then, weirdly, I will be in Arizona for a week, working on work stuff. My boss thinks I should do a reading in Tempe, but I don’t know any poets in Tempe.

Friday July 18th I will be back on the East Coast, reading for Cabin Fire with Aaron, Caleb, and Dave from above. That’s at Justin Sirois’s cabin at 8PM. 

Saturday July 19th I will be at the Dream Away Lodge (!) in Beckett, MA, performing with Aaron, Caleb, Dave, and Nat Baldwin. All my friends in Western MA, even the ones who never come to anything, are already being like “I am definitely going to that,” and I hope they are on that wagon of truth if you feel me!

PLACES I WAS BEING

As for the past few months, well, boy howdy. Way too much to cram into rectangles of text and hypnotizing, non-sequitur visual accompaniment. How can I even begin to tell you about Seattle, Baltimore, NYC, Philly, New Hampshire? That giant moose at the HTMLGIANT house in Seattle? Smoking amazing weed with Justin D, Tara A’s husband, outside their apartment the night after my flight got cancelled, and he was telling me about his monk neighbor and rain was falling on the common space lawn gnome his other neighbors, frat dudes, refused to leave standing no matter how many adjustments got made? The reading at the D&D-ish bar (thanks APRIL and Octopus and Poor Claudia and Gigantic!) with a robot in the corner, where I had the distinct pleasure of seeing amazing performances by James G and Tyler G and Melissa B and James Y and Carrie L and more, plus the furtherly distinct pleasure of asking Zach S if his eyes were really closed? Amy M’s marvelously brunched brunch with the yellow tickets? Other brunches with Bryan C and Noland? Sitting in a hotel lobby with Feliz and Ben and Erinrose after the Great AWP Party Bust of 2014? Plus how can I even begin to talk about Sam S taking a nap at the corner booth at Linda’s, where we still might be hanging out to this breath, who knows?

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Then there was playing catch with Adam in Baltimore, watching alternate Nazi timelines with Cousin Joe and Amanda, reading in Philly with Joe Rippii and making an epic trek up and down Broad Street for a single slice of pizza, any slice of anything, the hunger settling into madness. (For some reason when I watched footage of the Spurs exiting their hotel after winning the NBA championship, it looked exactly like the hotel Joe and I stayed in). Plus doing the inanimate object love poem with guacamole, a food service debut, and the wonderful hosting of Sarah Rose and Annie.

Or there was the MFA 50th Anniversary in Amherst, reuniting with the Anne, Christy, and Gale contingency of the Cinnamon Urns to play at a buffet on the top floor of a Soviet hotel like we were designed to do. I elected to wear my black cowboy hat and black sunglasses—inside yes inside—which prompted Delia to not recognize me and ask “Who is that guy think he is?” Many thanks to Kelin, Jennifer, Dara, and all the amazing heart ribbons streaming everywhere that made the anniversary so fun.

Or how can I single out any moment from so many hours spent with the NYC crew? Walking across the Williamsburg bridge with Sarah D as we figured out that the opposite of a pedicab is a mafia limousine pushed by tourists. Matt and Jacob watching World Cup, and all the leftovers from breakfasting with Jacob and Karina. Eric and Sean and I talking about Suttree, me bugging Jordan’s friend about her amazing Dale Earnhardt jacket (I still feel like I deserve that jacket more than she does), drinking ridiculously huge styrofoam margaritas with LKS and Rachael and Oscar and Oscar’s brother and Jordan before he slinked away, plus Jonasin and Johnny B “The Russian” and Spencer and STD and Sarah Jean and all the roofs and dancing and incriminating pictures of smoke rising from apples. Throwing paper airplanes into the crowd at my reading for Buzzards Banquet (thanks again to the inimitable Ed Kearns). Chatting with Annelyse about desert travels. Eating crepes with Sam the night after the party where Macgregor talked about what he really wanted out of poetry. Going to the fight night with Dan M, Mark, and Zoe. Can I even convey to you the terror of all I’m probably leaving out? Why isn’t NYC in a little egg that I can dip my soul into now and then without any additional hindrances of distance? 

And of course I can’t forget New Hampshire with Mark, Mike, and Russ. Me putting my head in the monk statue’s welcoming arms, the second appearance of the word “monk” in this litany. Doing a reading in a pizza parlor with the boys and Beth Ann M. Weird hollandaise sauce in the car in the morning. All that ice feeling good for something for once.

NOW LET’S DO THE SONG LYRICS RANDOMLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POST

This is a song I did write after walking through the rain, but of course I lied to myself. When the Urns were reuniting for the 50th MFA anniversary, this song came up on Anne’s radar as one of her favs, so here it is to celebrate her recent birthday (even tho I recorded the above video in April—how’s that for voodoo?!)

Also: yes I did see Christ of the Ozarks and it was unsettling, and yes I like what the names of foreign countries can do to rhymes (perfect for the World Cup I just realized!).

#39: SERIOUS BLUE

As of merciful today
I ain’t never walking through the rain
To see a girl again
To see a girl again
Promise you Lord I’m gonna change my ways
Buy a seersucker suit and a manta ray
I’ll drink your Kool-Aid
I’ll drink the Kool-Aid
Hey hey hey

Do they have beards in Uruguay
And do they need another overrated colt? Do you know?
Do they smoke cloves in Kazakhstan
And do they need another clever man? Well they don’t. I suppose.
Oh oh oh.

Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Even my teeth want you

I saw Christ of the Ozarks
With his open arms spread like an ark
I’m a Baptist now
I’d like to announce
Wow
Then I went home and did some stupid things
Let my fingers fill with promise rings
I was a candid jerk
I was a candid jerk
Word

Are there cowboy shirts in Luxenberg
And do you know a really pretty word for wait. Please stay.
Will they let my heart on an airplane
If I clamp it down and I really make it behave. Behave!
Hey hey hey

Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue
Ooo ooo ooo I got a serious blue

Even my teeth want you

SPREZZATURA & WHO CAN MAKE IT

All the months I didn’t write words in my blog, what for a stint of grimy blues, meant I missed chances to talk about words I did write.

Like in the chapbook Who Can Make It, which Big Lucks put out in February. It looks like a beautiful pair of 1970s tennis shoes, and Justin Marks talked about the inside (thanks Justin!). I kind of wish I felt the joy that Justin finds in the poems, but maybe I drained it all out of me and into the linebreaks. I mean there is one poem that matches up “Socrates in boxers” with “Fitness muffin laxative,” so there is both joy and drainage, there you go! Many many thanks to Mark and Laura and Ajax. (And hey, Big Lucks just raised ~$6,500 for putting out more books and chapbooks, which is a blessing for all of us who want the good guys to win before the game is called for darkness. I’m eager especially for the “first book prize for women authors” judged by housemate extraordinaire and wicked bananagrammer Rachel B Glaser!)

And as if it isn’t loud enough to release a chapbook, I decided to come out with a whole book! I have told you about it before, but now it’s done for real and it has a cover (thanks Ben Austin for the cover painting!) and everything. It’s called Sprezzatura, it’s officially coming out in October, and I like how Adam described it:

SPREZZATURA is a collection of poems about love and fear and money, about your own devices and stupid contemporary immune systems, about how we know what we know in a confusing era of fleeting information. SPREZZATURA is about how we know our feelings, and how we feel our knowledge.

Have I said lately how impossibly hugely generous Adam Robinson is, and how grateful I feel to know him and work with him in this global spin? With eight billion people or whatever, some of whom are Roger Federer or Iggy Azalea, you’d think it wouldn’t be so hard to find a gentleman with whom you see so eye to eye, but it is rare and hard, and I can’t even begin to buy enough mini market snacks to express how lovely and giving and smart Mr. A-Rob is, and how lucky Atlanta is to have him now, and how sad I am as an adopted son of Baltimore to see him gone from my favorite city on the east coast, but how great it feels to know A-Rob is out in the world being understanding and patient and wizardly with slobby fiends like me.

You can get Sprezz for $9 still (with copies shipping this month even though it doesn’t come out until October!), and you can enter a contest to edit Everyday Genius for a month. Or you can get it together with Christy Crutchfield’s How to Catch a Coyote, a narrative spiderweb of a heartjerker, with the most fully fleshed family I can remember reading in recent novels. Both for $20! Deals carumba!

I will be badgering you more about Sprezz as I gambol out into the country to whisper/yell certain poems at you, to ask you questions, to present you with a variety of snowplow analogies.

OTHER WORDS OF THANKS FOR WORDS

Over at the stylish Blunderbuss MagazineAlex Howe wrote about a poem called “Until They Had to Think About Wider Release” that came out in Shabby Doll House, and for that I thank him. He is exactly right about everything, and I like that he almost called me a demon. I especially like this line of his analysis: “The conversation depicted is halting, hungry, and self-conscious; they are fumbling toward shared understanding, comparing notes on being themselves.

Over at The Fanzine, my cousin-not-really-but-spiritually-yes-cousin Joe Young ran a poem called “Sorry I’m Busy Forever”, which is from the “manically sincere” register that comprises roughly 22% of the poems in Sprezzatura. Thanks Joe! When I die, drape that necklace of sarsaparilla bottlecaps around my neck please yes.

Over at 90s Meg Ryan, Austin Hayden’s very cool Bandcamp-based lit journal, there is a little audio of me quietly reading a poem called “One Future Does It All”, which is brand new and not in any books, but it is all about a couch. My favorite line in it is “We’re tired of staying right here / but not of staying.” It’s in the “suddenly more new stuff” register that 99.9% of my poems employ. Thanks Austin! Lots of other good stuff in 90s Meg Ryan from Alexis Pope, Melissa Swantkowski, music from Peter Davis, hurrah!

Over at Pretty Lit, more audio, with a man named BJ Love putting together a very crackling playlist of songs and poems. My contribution is called “Why Fuck Around?” and it includes most of the questions I plan on asking you when we meet. Thanks BJ!

Dang y’all Buck Downs y’all asked me for a poem for the Boog City Reader, a mighty poetry institution, and of course I said yes, and the poem is called “You Can Get Into This Side,” which I put together with the help of Rachael Katz, and it’s structurally complex the offsides rule is a judgment of arranged bodies. Thanks Buck and Rachael!

Finally, I would like to close out this post by directing some attention way back to the evil icky wintry beginning of the year, when Michael J Seidlinger put together a great project called the Great 2014 Indie Press Preview for Electric Literature. I wrote about a handful of books I was and still am excited about, but I also wrote about a few more they had to cut for space reasons, and—in light of all the sentences and lines and people that make life worth coughing through, even in winter—that seems like a good spot to end.

An Anthology of Contemporary Brazilian Poetry. Edited by Ana Guadalupe and Jeremy Spencer (2014)

I don’t know anything about contemporary Brazilian poetry, but one time I talked with Ana Guadalupe on Twitter for several hours about young people in Brazil, poetry, and the internet, and the result of that chat is that I can’t wait to see what contemporary Brazillian poetry is all about, because I think Ana Guadalupe knows, and I think Jeremy Spencer is the most earnest thing Woodland, CA has ever produced, and I’m mighty razzed for this anthology.

A New Language for Falling Out of Love by Meghan Privitello

How I found Meghan Privitello was that she sent some poems to NOÖ Journal, I loved them, I published one NOÖ [14], I read some more here and there, and now I want this book in front of my face because the faces of Privitello’s poems are full of wrinkles like this: “If you could trace the shape of the dying man’s mouth / on paper … you could call it O orange world”. I like Privitello’s swooping repetition, especially of certain poignant sentence structures, I like the way her poems can swerve out of those rhythms to land somewhere clear and brutal: “When I tell you about something dying, I’m reading from the very middle of myself.”

P.S.

Strange that the NY Times couldn’t find my dad, and too bad, because he has this story: “She seemed about a mile high to me back then, I was about 5 or 6 and she had really big muscles. At least it seemed so..haha.. When she was out here at Christmas I kidded her about it and wanted to know if she could still pick me up. Turned me down..”

I would say rest, but why rest when you can fight? Goodbye out there to Aunt Johnnie Mae.

The Write Like Mike Young Contest

pubgen:

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look at this cover, right?
Enter the Write Like Mike Young Contest for a chance to edit Everyday Genius!

Read More

I know I need to blog for real and I will soon I promise. <3

noojournal:

Exciting Monday news! We’re not sure what the weather is like in Kansas City right now—probably not great—but we know the writing is excellent! That’s because Jordan Stempleman guest edited a brand new edition of NOÖ Weekly featuring eight poets and writers with KC roots!

Leading off with three brand new James Tate poems (!), this NOÖ Weekly also features Anne Boyer, Casey Hannan, Lesley Ann Wheeler, Bridget Lowe, Ryan MacDonald, Dan Magers, and Teal Wilson. CHiPs and unicorns and idylls from the heart of the land heart.

Many thanks to editorial assistants Blake Bergeron and Jane Dykema for their work decorating and editing these pieces. Check it out! Please share! Don’t go outside! It’s so gross outside!

noojournal:

via Michael Dumontier at his blog Stopping off Place, who says: “from THE WISHING BONE CYCLE: Narrative Poems from the Swampy Cree Indians gathered and translated by Howard A. Norman, Stonehill, NY, 1976 The Wishing Bone poems constitute a “trickster cycle”, one of the oldest traditional genres of Cree oral literature. The inventor of these particlular poems was Jacob Nibenegenesabe, who lived for ninety-four years northeast of Lake Winnipeg, Canada.”

noojournal:

via Michael Dumontier at his blog Stopping off Place, who says: “from THE WISHING BONE CYCLE: Narrative Poems from the Swampy Cree Indians gathered and translated by Howard A. Norman, Stonehill, NY, 1976 The Wishing Bone poems constitute a “trickster cycle”, one of the oldest traditional genres of Cree oral literature. The inventor of these particlular poems was Jacob Nibenegenesabe, who lived for ninety-four years northeast of Lake Winnipeg, Canada.”

"You’re a guest in my house, but I’m a guest in your feelings" (new poems & workshops & ideas about the future)

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Nobody ended up ordering the quote-unquote Southern bubble’n’squeak, but we did talk about embodied metaphors for time. Like it makes way more sense to think of the future behind you and the past in front of you. Because you can’t see what’s behind you. Elisa Gabbert has a line in her excellent new book The Self Unstable about this, referencing the past as what you’re looking at when you’re watching the tracks you just tracked over from the edge of a moving caboose.

Even though it seems like right now I’m just deciding whether to go to River Valley Market or King Street Eats, what I’m really doing is looking at the Google DOC I made called “2014 jicama salad,” in which I list things like “bus to work” and “use your blockers” and “brush with the restorative toothpaste” and “listen to things when you think ‘I’d like to listen to that’” and “set mini alarms” and “be a friend to yourself” and “natural light.”

In another DOC called “a year in reading (2014)”, I already have two things, which seems auspicious for a week that isn’t even 2014 yet. Some things in that DOC include a paragraph that goes: “Tawada has been studying getto, part of the ginger family known variously as Alpinia zerumbet, pink porcelain lily or shell ginger, for the last 20 years and now believes his work is beginning to pay off.

imageAlso there is another paragraph that goes “When too many types or new sources of data suddenly hit a system and there are not enough tools or schemas to deal with them, the first reaction is to deny the agency of the sources of the data, and then, for a brief period, to suspend meaning making until new tools are built to handle the new volume. As went modernism, so too went our data: both grew too big to be handled on a single server.

Maybe soon there will be other paragraphs. Ice scraper mittens. A 49ers blanket. Gloves that succumb to touchscreens. Mini-alarms. Natural light.

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Until then, there are many pending things to tell you about—California visits, Worcester music—but two I should hustle with their coattails flapping out into the slush. First is Sarah Jean Alexander and Lucy K Shaw published a few poems of mine over at Shabby Doll House. They are about singers in branches, feelings, interfaces, rooting, and thinking shoulder-slumpedly if there really is any magic to spelling. Michael Inscoe did a great several-layered illustration to accompany these poems, an illustration he spent time working on alone that demonstrates the wispy nature of any attempt to not be alone. Thanks to Sarah Jean, Lucy, and Michael!

imageSecondly, I’m once again teaching a Barrelhouse online poetry workshop, which I’m very excited about. It starts next Monday and there are 5 slots left. I’ve accompanied my spamming about it on Facebook with anecdotes about sunsets across lawyer convertibles, scraping car ice with Starbucks cards, and there was a completely unrelated Facebook thing I posted in which I asked “what if the word ‘dude’ were swapped with the word ‘blueberry,’” like I would call all my friends blueberry and my oat cake would be full of little dudes?” but for Tumblr I won’t do any of that West Coast how-ya-doing bullshit. Tumbling is all business. Here is a major paste about the workshop:

"My goal is for thirteen of us to get together and build ourselves a little online bee hive that will think/talk intensely for eight weeks—and then continue talking/thinking in a sustained, banded-together way for a long time—about poetic craft and conjuring and community. This talking/thinking will be pro-mystical, pro-fascination-with-mechanical-minutia, non-mystifying, and non-elitist. With lots of interesting examples, prompts, collaboration, and pot-stirring that attempts to uproot and reinvigorate how we consider the crazy activity of "making a gosh-danged poem" and "sharing that gosh-danged poem with other human beings" both of which are fascinatingly insane things to do.

Other fascinatingly insane things I want to do include talking about accessibility as a bunch of feathers on a long cord, and getting a group of awesome poets together to ask each other questions like “What private emotional utopia is our poem secretly or openly pining for,” and I want to think practically about how we can make supposedly “ancillary” “po-biz” stuff (like running magazines, hosting readings, writing reviews, etc.) part of a sincere and non-sleazy and all-encompassing poetics.”

Check it out if you’re interested. And if you’re so inclined, please spread the word to any interested friends/former students/cool people! I think maybe I already said this up a little ways, but the workshop starts January 6th and there are 5 slots left.

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But the future starts in that light you just turned off and there are infinite slots left, my blueberries. Remember how when you are walking behind someone in a forest in the future, and the forest gets too dark for you to see where they went, so you get a lot closer.

biglucks:

Mike Young wrote some poems. Actually, he’s written a hundred (or hundreds of?) poems. But he also wrote some poems and then he sent them to us and we loved them so we’re gonna give them to you– we’re excited to announce that Mike’s chapbook Who Can Make It will be available from Big Lucks Books in February 2014.
Thing is we hit a little bit of a snafu in the editing process. One of the poems Mike sent was titled “THIS POEM ISN’T DONE YET BUT YOU CAN EMAIL ME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE VARIABLES AT MIKEAYOUNG[a]MAIL.COM. LIKE REMEMBER WHEN TED BERRIGAN PUT HIS PHONE NUMBER IN A POEM, I LIKED THAT A LOT IN COLLEGE THEN I STOPPED LIKING IT AND NOW I LOVE IT.” We know, that’s a really bad title, but that’s not even the worst part–the worst part was that the damn thing really wasn’t finished.
Some editors might just cut this sort of thing from a manuscript. But not us! Instead, we’re going to do some crowdsourcing–we’re counting on you to help Mike finish this poem. If we like your ideas, we’ll give you a big shout out in the acknowledgements section and hook you up with the newest issue of Big Lucks.
CLICK HERE TO HELP MIKE FINISH HIS POEM

Mad &lt;3 to the Cug and Big Lucks! Sorry for all the pictures of me! My co-worker just said that no one should ever put their face or voice on the internet unless you are allergic to cats! I might&#8217;ve mis-interpreted what she said!

biglucks:

Mike Young wrote some poems. Actually, he’s written a hundred (or hundreds of?) poems. But he also wrote some poems and then he sent them to us and we loved them so we’re gonna give them to you– we’re excited to announce that Mike’s chapbook Who Can Make It will be available from Big Lucks Books in February 2014.

Thing is we hit a little bit of a snafu in the editing process. One of the poems Mike sent was titled “THIS POEM ISN’T DONE YET BUT YOU CAN EMAIL ME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE VARIABLES AT MIKEAYOUNG[a]MAIL.COM. LIKE REMEMBER WHEN TED BERRIGAN PUT HIS PHONE NUMBER IN A POEM, I LIKED THAT A LOT IN COLLEGE THEN I STOPPED LIKING IT AND NOW I LOVE IT.” We know, that’s a really bad title, but that’s not even the worst part–the worst part was that the damn thing really wasn’t finished.

Some editors might just cut this sort of thing from a manuscript. But not us! Instead, we’re going to do some crowdsourcing–we’re counting on you to help Mike finish this poem. If we like your ideas, we’ll give you a big shout out in the acknowledgements section and hook you up with the newest issue of Big Lucks.

CLICK HERE TO HELP MIKE FINISH HIS POEM

Mad <3 to the Cug and Big Lucks! Sorry for all the pictures of me! My co-worker just said that no one should ever put their face or voice on the internet unless you are allergic to cats! I might’ve mis-interpreted what she said!

60 SONGS: #40 (CLICK HERE TO SEE WTF THIS PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT)

So incredible to wake up and putz around before putting my scarf on, shuffle workless to a place where I can get a really small idea of a breakfast burrito that still ended up being too big, where I can read a magazine and think about taking a picture of a stack of cookies but mercifully refrain when I realized the type next to the cookie stack would be too blurry.

It seems like a good day to put my jacket on in the cold orange room and record this song from the summer of 2011. I think I wanted to write the world’s shortest song with nonsensical rhythm/key changes. Maybe I wanted to write some kind of, like, Belle and Sebastian meets California artichoke meets Guided By Voices song? Staying on key is pretty easy, but staying in rhythm is hard, so it felt liberating to just not bother with either. This would be a good song to use psychedelic sound effects with. This song brings my index of lyrics referencing astronauts/NASA back up to a comfortable level—I felt like it was waning there for a little while.

#40: WE ALL DREAM OF WILD LIES

baby baby i know you used to work for nasa
baby baby i know you used to aim for space
oh baby baby the government is gonna ask ya
why did you wipe all the makeup off your face?

we all dream of different lives
we all practice wild lies
we’re all like wait no that ain’t right
gimme just a little just a little more

time (x4)

baby baby i know you used to work for peta
baby baby i know you used to free the birds
baby baby the government is gonna teach ya
there ain’t no screams like the screams you haven’t heard

we all dream of different lives
we all practice wild lies
we’re all like wait no that ain’t right
gimme just a little just a little more

time (x4)

60 SONGS: #41 (CLICK HERE TO SEE WTF THIS PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT)

Babysitting a friend’s nylon-stringed guitar, which means I had an excuse to hide from the cold and jam my face back into this.

My lamp keeps flickering throughout, which seems fine, as I think my goal was to make the longest and worst song about dancing ever. Imagine a frozen-in-place Commander Riker is screaming GOOOOOAL in a chopped and screwed but festive sort of way.

Spoiler alert: I have no idea why I wrote this song way back when I wrote it and no idea why I made any of the choices I made when I made them. The only thing I like are the lyrics that reference the time Jamie Iredell were staying at a motel on the beach near San Luis Obispo and we got evacuated because of the Japan tsunami. Other than that, thank God there are still lots of songs to go.

BEFORE THE LYRICS:

A few things to tell you about and link to! First, I got back from my trip to Philly and DC with Chelzee Cheese Martin and Elizabeth Eminem Ellen. Fun gossip and hotel iPod docks and mango sticky rice for breakfast and Abraham Lincoln embalming details at the Mutter Museum and toenail revelations and rankings in sets of threes and Chelsea sending my phone charger back to me in the FedEx envelope reserved for people who need their medication or they’ll die. It was lovely to read in Philly with Brian Warfield—who read a great road course of a story, except on this road course the race car also turned into an introspective, weeping robot pony—and Mark Cronin who came all the way from Cleveland and was really charmingly shy and offhanded. Thanks to Jaime Fountaine for hosting us in Philly and to Sarah Rose Etter for braving her hangover to show us a good post-reading pizza time and to Mike Ingram for the real talk and to Lee Klein for looking like Superman, as someone once told him in Argentina I think he said!

On the train to DC, EE and I spoke into the camera about what it was like dating (or in her case being married to) another writer. EE talked about editing and drinking together, and I used the word “inspiration” with the quotes around it, a quote-using that got me severely razzed by my train partners. But why am I telling you all this as there was a camera and soon you’ll be able to see it for yourself!

Then in DC I got to see my favorite boos Mark Cugini and Laura Spencer, and Mark had really long hair. It was windy, which is on record. Got to see the Ink Press wonder-nightengales Tracy Diamond and Amanda McCormick, which was as always a frozen orange juice smoothie of delight. CM and EE read with Justin Sirois, who’s so charming he’s newly engaged, and Meg Ronan, who had a great poem that kept saying “Bye forever” (I think) in it. I’m on camera at the bar getting really animated about the edit war in the archives of the Wikipedia page for kimchi.

What can I say: EE and CM are the most darling of all darlings. So happy to vroom with them, and I wish it could’ve been 100x as long.

EDIT: Can’t believe I forgot to mention the first leg of the tour, which wasn’t a tour at all because it took place in my home-scruff! Owl and Raven let us camp out in their basement and throw a little reading, and Chelsea, Jamie Iredell, Laura van den Berg, and Matthew Harrison regaled and regatta. I know regatta isn’t a verb: it’s a boat. They boated us into the night. Later Chelsea and I helped people into their car, Chris tried to steal Halie’s hat, and the fried pickles at Local Burger didn’t really taste how you were expecting them to taste before I edited this post.

Other things:

—In Portland I talked about online publishing with Jamie Iredell, Stevan Allred, and Robin Sloan. This was for Late Night Library, and you can check it out here. Highlights include me having no idea how to say Gargantua and Pantagruel. I think I said gardenia and perpetua (it’s a font?). Thanks to Late Night Library and Paul Martone for hosting!

—New poems out in Swarm and PinwheelMany thanks to Dillon Welch, Brandon Amico, Dolly Lemke, and Stephen Danos. Why do so many people involved in poetry have such great names? Me I have a name that could come in a can of government cheese. But that’s OK! The poem in Swarm is about choices, and the ones in Pinwheel are about sad red downtown choices.

OH RIGHT NOW THE SONG LYRICS

#41: I AM JUST A DANCER IN A TERRIBLE SONG

Take out an ad for lawn repair
Slow children at play
They woke us up at dawn out there
Said there was an earthquake

Cottage on the beach
Thousand dollar wisdom tooth
They found one guy out at sea
Floating on his roof

But I am just a dancer in
I am just a dancer in
I am just a dancer in
I am just a dancer in a serious world

Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Kick over the TV with your fancy boots girl
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world

You’re the siren of saloons
When the music’s way too loud
There are two things that mean siren
There’s just one I care about

If everyone you met today
Tried to soothe your squrriely head
Some you’d kill and some you’d thank
I don’t see what the problem is

But I am just a dancer in
And I am just a dancer in
I am just a dancer in
I am just a dancer in a serious world

Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world
Kick over the TV with your fancy boots girl
Hi I’m just a dancer in a serious world

Dreaming of dancing in a different town
Dreaming of dancing in a different town
Dreaming of dancing in a different town
(I will only let you down)

60 SONGS: #42 (CLICK HERE TO SEE WTF THIS PROJECT IS ALL ABOUT)

Holy interim, Batman. Since I last did this video song thing, it’s started to get cold. I was in Portland for a weekend—that was pretty great. Thanks again to all the hosts and sisters and friends and As fans and Wordstock’s puffy red chair. If you live in Philadelphia, I’m going to be there soon, so let’s invent our own chairs.

In Portland, the green lazy misting felt weirdly unfamiliar, maybe the first time Oregon has ever felt unfamiliar to me. So maybe I’m wrong in this song about where you can go. But also I should back up, maybe? I should back away from the camera? I shouldn’t back into a nice show-offy gold and orange leafed tree, as I have started driving for the first time in my belt loop life. A few weeks ago I cleaned my desk so the only things on it were a tape measure and a dried rose, but then of course over stuff got put on it. ES was 87% responsible for inspiring me to actually start doing these again (I think the phrase might’ve been “chop chop” or something similarly harrowing), and/or also partial credit must be given the cream cheese frosting on the cake outside Flying Object’s third anniversary party.

Wait, I don’t even think I have any links or anything to give you right now, which means I can’t delay talking about the song anymore. Rachel had a recent amazingly link-laden blog update you should check out. It feels like being in someone’s head, not mine, maybe the head of a bull of indeterminate green hue!

So OK. This song I wrote right before moving to Baltimore. After pretty much not playing any music for a few weeks, I think I got rushed and sloppy at everything, but for me that is not that much worse than usual, so let’s quickly lament the fact that a million other people have thought of “the trees are gossiping” as a way to describe the way trees look when it’s windy and go ahead and look at the lyrics.

#42: DO YOU WANDER WONDER WANDER WONDER

You can go west, you can go south
Drive right into the Devil’s mouth
Grow out your sideburns, open a pawn shop
Close it at five and lick every lock

But you can’t shake
What you can’t shake
And nothing will stay where
You set it to get it
To stay

Do you wander, wander
Wander with much regret?
Do you wonder, wonder
What can be carried and what can be left

You can ride a train, you can ride a bus
Greyhound has discounts for heartbroken mutts
Swear off the downers, start a new band
Hello I don’t know you I swear we’ll be friends

But you can’t shake
What you can’t shake
Nothing will stay where
You set it to get it
To stay

Do you wander, wander
Wander with much regret?
Do you wonder, wonder
What can be carried and what can be left

Do you hang up, hang up,
Right when someone says hello
Do you construct, construct
A new heart for every zip code

Sorry for reblogging so much MHP stuff you&#8217;re probably seeing already, but I&#8217;m excited!
magichelicopter:

It’s been a busy time at MHP, and we’re not slowing down. We’re neon happy on this gray day to announce that pre-orders are open for our next full-length: Feliz Lucia Molina’s amazing Undercastle!— What’s Undercastle?  I am glad you asked because it’s a cake: part Valley strip mall heaven memoir, part encyclopedia of transistor feelings, part lonely caregiver, part philosopher pen pal, and so totally the book the 90s owe the world, Feliz Lucia Molina’s genre scuzzing debut “povel” Undercastle is a deft and defiant A-B-Up-Down combo of curiosity and intimacy that chews up all our screens and heroes and fills our breath with glint.*** That poet you saw dressed up all fancy on The Colbert Report, Kenny Goldsmith, says this book is “really wonderful and important work,” and that Feliz is “a great writer writing in the most contemporary of mediums.” CAConrad and Alli Warren both also love this book, and you can read about their love on the Undercastle page!%%% Get prizes for pre-ordering: art scrolls, customized thrift store goodies, and special little chapbooks.^^^ This book is a bag of earnest smarts the likes of which I really feel like isn’t being as practiced as insanely wonderfully as Feliz does it.w00t: http://magichelicopterpress.com/undercastle.html

Sorry for reblogging so much MHP stuff you’re probably seeing already, but I’m excited!

magichelicopter:

It’s been a busy time at MHP, and we’re not slowing down. We’re neon happy on this gray day to announce that pre-orders are open for our next full-length: Feliz Lucia Molina’s amazing Undercastle!

— What’s Undercastle?  I am glad you asked because it’s a cake: part Valley strip mall heaven memoir, part encyclopedia of transistor feelings, part lonely caregiver, part philosopher pen pal, and so totally the book the 90s owe the world, Feliz Lucia Molina’s genre scuzzing debut “povel” Undercastle is a deft and defiant A-B-Up-Down combo of curiosity and intimacy that chews up all our screens and heroes and fills our breath with glint.

*** That poet you saw dressed up all fancy on The Colbert Report, Kenny Goldsmith, says this book is “really wonderful and important work,” and that Feliz is “a great writer writing in the most contemporary of mediums.” CAConrad and Alli Warren both also love this book, and you can read about their love on the Undercastle page!

%%% Get prizes for pre-ordering: art scrolls, customized thrift store goodies, and special little chapbooks.

^^^ This book is a bag of earnest smarts the likes of which I really feel like isn’t being as practiced as insanely wonderfully as Feliz does it.

w00t: http://magichelicopterpress.com/undercastle.html