Thursday, March 31, 2005

Feeding tube follies.

I saw a news item yesterday that mentioned how his holy eminence, the Pope, had gotten with the latest craze and was being fed through a tube. Amazing.

How long before one walks into a restaurant, sits at a table, and just plugs a tube into one's feeding port? Then you pay in gas station-like fashion, either just for a snack or after filling 'er up.

Celebrity endorsements ("Richard Gere swears by the Feed-O!"); designer colors and tube assemblages; Mexican and Thai liquid food formulas (even a McDonald's drip - hey they're practically there already).

Why not?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sans honte.

Which means "without shame" in English. In Spanish it's sin verguenza.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I Just Remembered...

...the Jehovah's Witness who told me he couldn't wait for the end of the world and paradise on Earth so he could grow a Fu Manchu moustache.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Brooklyn Art Collective Presents 'Food Chain'

Contemplating a set list that will go over with a fabulous art crowd.

I was invited to read last evening, along with several other poets, at The Brooklyn Art Collective's latest opening, entitled 'Food Chain.' The show was held at Built, a gallery just north of Canal Street, where the main order of business is the design of cool furniture.

Sponsored by Old Milwaukee beer ("It doesn't get any better than this!"), the event featured art, live music, and spoken word performances. I should point out that this edition of the Collective was filled with students from Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, and thus the crowd was young, hip and fabulous. The only thing missing, it seems, was an appearance by the Olsen twins (should that be a capital 'T'?).

Still, old geezers like me were welcome and it was wild. I think this is the closest I've come to experiencing what the Exploding Plastic Inevitable must have been like: The Velvet Underground performing their brand of droney noise rock accompanied by whip dancers amid psychedelic Warhol images projected onto the stage.

A noise band (one of several booked for the evening), perched atop a second tier in the high-ceiling room, played briefly before the poets took the stage - which was basically a couch at one end of the gallery. A microphone hung from the musician's level, creating a Wrestlemania ring announcer motif, and in turn we read. The audience was right among us, I mean right in our collective "grills" (you should pardon my attempt at vernacular), and I had to shout into the mic to be heard over the din of the 200-plus person crowd.

I is one powaful Mac Daddy on da mic.

It was like being in a slam, only not competitive, with a slight element of frustration. The thick, drunken crowd made for a vaguely uncomfortable situation, as people jostled past while I read some of my more challenging pieces, like "There is No 'I' in Fuck." My material went over quite well, and was in fact helped along nicely by a loud, angry delivery. Who knew?!

Quoth Borat: "Great success!"

(Photos by MsAPhillips)

Friday, March 25, 2005


ChapStick floating
In green piss
In the urinal
At work.

Now my
Lips hurt.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Brick

First The Stick, now The Brick.

I'll go first.

What band or performer, no longer in existence, do you wish you had seen perform live? GG Allin (I'd have shown up in rain gear, though.)

What concert experience do you wish you could scrub from your memory? Nina Hagen at The Ritz, NYC (1985) (She cleared the joint in under 15 minutes, although she encored with David Bowie's "The Secret Life of Arabia" - to me and one other person!)

What band do you wish had never existed? The Eagles (And every other shitty California doze-rock band they spawned.)

What band is your guiltiest pleasure? Thin Lizzy, The Four Seasons (tie)

What is the last CD you bought/downloaded? Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team (Completley unknown band, for some reason.)

What songs are currently on high rotation on your CD player, iPod, etc.?
1. "Down There by the Train" - Johnny Cash
2. "Someone I Care About" - Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
3. "Fight Test" - The Flaming Lips
4. "Stupid Man" - Lou Reed
5. "Rock the Boat" - The Hues Corporation
6. "Lemon Tree" - Trini Lopez
7. "White Honey" (Live at The Marble Arch version) - Graham Parker & The Rumour
8. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" - Whitney Houston
9. "Pushin' Too Hard" (live flexidisc version) - Pere Ubu
10. "Crackin' Up" (live at the El Macambo) - The Rolling Stones
11. "Hanging Out With Jim" - GG Allin & The AIDS Brigade
12. "You Baby" - The Turtles
13. "Stay Loose" - Belle & Sebastian

What 5 discs would you take to a deserted island?
1. Rock n Roll Animal - Lou Reed
2. Rock Star God - The Makers
3. Destiny Street - Richard Hell & The Voidoids
4. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips
5. Greatest Hits - Trini Lopez

Who are you going to pass The Brick to, and why?

Gina, because she likes cool music and blogs
MsHellion, because she likes cool music and blogs.
All others who read this who like cool music and blog.

Coming soon: The Flick!


"You become discouraged with your practice when your practice has been idealistic."

—Shunryu Suzuki, Zen MInd, Beginner's Mind

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Hindenburg flashback—
Burst sandwich bag makes lunch stale:
"The humanity!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Rude bitch cuts the line,
Turns in a huff when challenged—
Fat ass blocks the moon.

Recent mismatched (and embarrassing) one-two punch iTunes downloads

The Grateful Dead: "Uncle John's Band" & Cher: "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"

Monday, March 21, 2005

Bad taste (almost literally)

I don't know about you, but the never-ending saga of the unfortunate Terri Schiavo is pushing all the wrong buttons for me.

First of all, the continual back and forth on whether or not the woman should be allowed to die versus continue on in a vegetative state is utterly maddening. Constant news reports, updates, interviews, last-minute Congressional hearings, etc. are turning this tragic story into a lurid meldorama, and the only recourse is to completely shut oneself off. It's not like you can set the remote to sense these particular news stories and bypass them; they are everywhere.

Worse is the abject cynicism this situation is engendering. Once the Prez gets involved, all bets are off in terms of the right thing happening, so that's a moral dead end for most of us. Subsequently, I find that the only defense mechanism left to shield me from this insanity is to explore the darkest forms of black humor.

To wit: when I was told to go take lunch at my temp job today, my immediate thought was something like "I am a bit famished - better reinsert my feeding tube, post-haste." Thankfully this was not uttered out loud. But it was a close call.

When exactly did it become "right" to get up into everyone's business in this country - including those in comas?

This debacle has recently been described thusly: "Ignorant and superstitious and embarrassing."

"Boom! It's done!"

Thus spake Russell Edson last Wednesday at the New School, during a Q&A following his reading. He was referring to his writing process, which favors immediacy and concision.

"Brevity is a crucial element of the prose poem. The best poems are short." This last sentence was uttered at exactly 7:08 p.m. on 3/16/05, and will be a key element of my thesis (which, as you know, will focus on the virtues of short-form poetry).

I glanced over at my thesis advisor, one Mark Bibbins, and gave him the palms turned upward shrug - the international signal for "Well, that's that." I figure I could do much worse than having Russell Edson's sign-off on the matter.

"Boom! It's done!" Indeed.

"Mind if I blog?"

The above phrase is quickly becoming this generation's "Mind if I smoke?" Studies indicate that blogging is continually gaining in popularity, with participants spending more time than ever creating, maintaining and reading blogs - at home, work, even on vacation.

In fact, in the workplace, "Mind if I blog?" is second only to the ubiquitous "Mind if I check my email?"

Not quite on equal footing, though ever the popular query, is "Mind if I jerk off?"

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Jehovah's Witness
Handing me The Watchtower
I look worth saving.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Stick

Gina has passed me the stick. Or is it The Stick? (The Stick?) Who knows.


You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
The Stranger by Albert Camus

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Molly Novotny from Nelson Algren's The Man With the Golden Arm

Last book you bought is:
The Rooster’s Wife by Russell Edson (I bought two when Edson was reading at the New School recently. While he was signing them, I said: "One for each eye." To which he responded: "Oh, good!")

Last book you read is:
Jane by Maggie Nelson

What are you currently reading?
Selected Poems by Paul Eluard and Death on the Installment Plan by Céline.

5 books I would take to a deserted island:
1. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs – I never tire of reading this book.
2. Rimbaud: Complete Works, Selected Letters – French with English translation, j’adore Rimbaud.
3. Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt by Richard Brautigan – Despite the fact that four of the 85 poems collected therein consist only of titles. Wait, maybe because of that fact.
4. The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry – If I’m going to have a bible, let it be this one.
5. The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book - Quoth Mr. Natural: "Nov shmoz k'pop."

Who I am going to pass this stick on to and why:

Ms Hellion, because I am curious to see her very strong opinion aimed at the world of literature.
Dott Comments, because I know she reads a lot.
Dr. Chingasa, because he's a doctor, dammit!


Well, I've posted my kids, now my cat. This along with the herbal tea confessionals should clearly cement my image as a testosterone-free ninny. Here he is in one of his standard poses.

Mott The Cat is named after Mott, the fine album by Mott The Hoople, one of the most unheralded (yet influential) bands of all time.

They followed the classic rock & roll blueprint, burning brightly and briefly in the late '60s-early '70s, a plan other acts should have considered (i.e. The Who, with their endless final tours).

(Top photo by Maya Prohovnik)

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Where the dew drops cry and the cats meow.

                                                       — Spinal Tap

I visited a friend - a sleep-deprived, brand-new daddy - this evening. Thoughts of how I wouldn't trade places with him for all the herbal tea in the Celestial Seasonings catalogue prompted me to post this pic of my own offspring. Here they are, squinting away (probably at the Spinal Tap dwarf as he makes his way thither to do his Middle Earth two-step), soaking up the mysterious culture of western civilization. Note the barely-disguised "Can we get the hell out of here and hit a McDonald's?" look.

While much of the credit for their upbringing goes to their mother, I think I can assume some responsibility for instilling in them a wry sense of humor and an appreciation of the absurd. Upon their return from this trip they noted it was a great "experience," employing the use of air quotes to emphasize the point. That made me so proud!

The endless changing of diapers, rocking a wailing infant back to sleep in the middle of the night, testing the temperature of baby formula on the inner forearm (near the dragon tattoo) - these are but distant memories for me. To my aforementioned pal, I offer a heartfelt "rotsa ruck!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

From Yankee to Redneck - No Muss, No Fuss

From my friend MsHellion in Louisville, Kentucky:

"This Friday I read "That Fucking Bagel Place" and "On the Trail of the 'I'm a Little Teapot' Murderer" at the INKY poetry reading series my friend proctors. The poems went over smashingly. I had to wait a bit after each title to give the audience a second to stop laughing. I think the Teapot went over the best. I even pantomimed the handle and spout pose. I wish you could have seen it. I announced before reading that I was not there of my own merit, but actually there to read the works of a cherished Brooklynite pal. I also let them know that you are working on your MFA at the New School. One lady, another poet, asked if she could buy a chapbook from you. I told her that I would see what I could do.

"I look forward to the day when you get to read your own stuff at one of our events. Louisville crowds are very welcoming, and I think you'd have a grand time."

* * *

Wow. I can't wait to point my pickup truck toward the Blue Grass State and read to a Louisville crowd in person. They clearly have exquisite taste. [Note to self: Acquire pickup truck, a.s.a.p.]

Thank you, MsHellion, for sharing my poetry in a place where the bagel is not a native foodstuff.

"On the Trail of the I'm a Little Teapot' Murderer" was recently accepted for publication by Daniel Nester's online journal, Unpleasant Event Schedule. It, along with my poems "Personal Touch" and "Crisis is King," should go live there in the spring.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

* * *

I'd be hard put to name my top 10 favorite poems, but I marvel at what Yeats was able to do with eight lines.

The Tormented Russell Edson...

...will be in the house at New School University, Wednesday March 16th.

I'm not sure if he's tormented, actually, but I understand he is quite the interesting person. Widely considered to be one of the foremost practitioners of the prose poem, Edson frequently explores surreal, oddball landscapes populated by various, often hilarious, weirdnesses. Not to be missed!

Peppermint Twist

Yes, this is the tea I ordered yesterday at the greasy spoon diner in close proximity to the New School, causing quite the amused look to cross Gina's face.

Currently reading poet Maggie Nelson's Jane, which Gina was nice enough to get for me at last Friday's book release party (signed, even!). It is a riveting read, and beautifully laid out in short poems and journal entries, rather than typical prose chapters. I'm not sure how original an idea this is, but this book's format has me thinking completely differently about writing, and how a rigorous form like prose can be bent to suit a poet's vision. Seems like writing a novel could actually be fun if a methodology like this were employed.

Also listening to "The Mix of Lewd Enlightenment" (vol. one) that Gina put together for me. This, the official music of my blog, features a ton of great stuff, including: The Descendents, All, Buzzcocks, Bowie, the Stones, Modest Mouse, John Lee Hooker, and much more. I can only wonder what Gina will make of the "A Sad Mix for Sad Birds" collection (vols. one and two) that I am producing for her (Trini Lopez + CD burner = enjoyment? Discuss.).

Weird trivia: Joe Pesci, of all people, was the guitarist for Joey Dee and The Starlighters, who took the song "Peppermint Twist" to No. 1 in 1961. Can you imagine the rehearsals? "Whaddaya mean my fuckin' amp's too loud? Ya wanna hear the fuckin' thing or don't you?"

Sunday, March 13, 2005

One Fine Day


You are:

And untalented

And I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Haiku (& GG Allin)

Haiku is technically pronounced "hike," at least according to one of the luminaries present at today's Northeast Metro Spring Regional Meeting of the Haiku Society of America. I know what you're thinking: "Uh oh, first herbal tea, now this?"

Guilty as charged, I guess. It was a really interesting event, though, featuring some of the more well-known talents currently writing haiku in the U.S. A friendly bunch, too! I got all kinds of suggestions and potential interviews for the critical component of my MFA thesis project, which will focus on the virtues of short-form poetry.

And in a completely weird twist of fate, one of those present was a guy I knew back in the '70s at NYU (when I was first - unsuccessfully - in an institution of higher learning; shoulda just gone to an institution). This gentleman, with whom I had no contact in the intervening years, penned the life-changing liner notes to GG Allin's posthumously released (and best) album Brutality and Bloodshed For All.

Yes, I know it sounds completely insane to put "GG Allin" and "life-changing" in the same sentence, but if ever there was an individual who lived by the maxim "To thine own self be true," it was GG Allin. I'm not sure I have the words to describe how or why I found those liner notes (or Allin's recorded legacy) to be so profound. But, suffice it to say Hunter S. Thompson taught me how to be a cynic; GG Allin taught me how to be alive.

That was in another life.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Read tonight at the New School MFA student reading, along with another poet, a non-fiction writer and several others from the fiction concentration. It was unusual in that student readings are generally held on Thursday evenings, though the turnout was a lively one.

I read a few new poems, and a couple of older ones, and even though I like to read slowly and with purpose, it seemed like my time flew by. Got a few chuckles, but the audience seemed to be very serious.

Two upcoming events at which I will be a featured reader:

April 3rd (Sunday) - Atomic Reading Series at the Lucky 13 Saloon (273 13th Street at 5th Avenue) in Park Slope, Brooklyn. This monthly reading series is coordinated by Cheryl B., a spoken word artist/poet. I've attended a few Atomic readings, and each has featured at least a couple of interesting writers (and on one occasion, a wry singer/songwriter).

April 28th (Monday) - Our Word Annual Reading at Columbia University. Now this one could be tricky. Apparently this is an annual showcase for Columbia writers of color, and in this, its fourth year, is open to MFA students all over New York City. I am almost positive that the original call for writers mentioned "writers of color and others." I'm "other," right? I suppose I could always fall back on the fact that I'm half Puerto Rican. I am reminded of Buddy Holly's groundbreaking performance at the Apollo (i.e. he was the first white musician to play there), and I think this situation has great Seinfeld potential (i.e. George unwittingly masquerading as a Neo-Nazi, etc.). If your life has been short on mayhem, I'd suggest checking this out.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The capital of New York is...


Which is where I currently sit as I type these very words.

Quite cold, and still a goodly amount of snow on the ground. The local supermarket looks - to this Brooklynite - like it was created on a Hollywood backlot, with some CGI thrown in.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Plans went awry this evening, as I wanted to take in the Mark Bibbins/Anne Carson poetry reading at KGB Bar. Arrived a full hour half before kickoff, only to find that it was LRO (levitating room only). The place was packed, with the eager crowd spilling out and up the stairs of the East 4th Street establishment.

Disappointed, I pretty much got right back on the subway and headed home, where Bouche Douce was convalescing due to a persistent illness. I was happy to be back on the couch with her, frankly, as I've been quite worried about her health. Today we went to a doctor and loaded up on antibiotics, so I'm hoping things are on the upswing on that front.

To pass the time, we fired up Movies on Demand and watched Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Yes, it was utterly juvenile, but watchable. In fact, I suspect it is probably side-splittingly hilarious if one is under the influence - of anything - while viewing it.

One of the highlights for me was hearing the 1976 Rose Royce tune "I Wanna Get Next to You," toward the end of the flick. There's something about that era of R&B/Dance/Disco music, particularly all tunes featuring over-produced string arrangements. I'm a total sucker for that stuff.

All in all, a very cozy evening, the KGB sardine situation notwithstanding.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The French word for "weekend" is...


Saturday, March 05, 2005




Friday, March 04, 2005

I Just Remembered...

...the guy across the street who referred to that particular luncheon meat as "liverwisht."

* * *

With apologies to Joe Brainard. I intend these weird recollections to be a counterpoint to Brainard's memories. In fact, "Better Left Forgotten" might be a good subtitle.

Ah, the French! Paris diary: entry #3

Typos never sleep!

This fellow, er homme, is actually correcting the date of death on a grave marker in Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. Imagine spending eternity under false pretenses!

More evidence that proofreading is a valuable skill that frequently gets little or no hoopla in the grand scheme of things. If that slab of marble had been properly proofed before being set at with a chisel, the slumber of the deceased would be peaceful, cozy, and uninterrupted.

Being dead doesn't suck enough, you have to lie there and listen to the clinking of tools, while the guy doing the honors sets his cell phone and cigarettes on top of you to boot?

I wouldn't care for that, me.

(Photos by MsAPhillips)

Thursday, March 03, 2005


n. A person who has equal standing with another or others, as in rank, class, or age.

* * *

Ah, age. Got it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Be regular and orderly in your life... that you may be violent and original in your work.

                                                            —Gustave Flaubert

Call from the agency this morning - I was needed over on the West Side to cross the eyes and dot the tease. Ran into several ghosts from Christ! My past! All of them greyer, just like me, though some still wearing a doubtful smile.

Decaying office, clearly once posh; empty cubicles now line peeling hallways. Huge deserted kitchen of chipped formica, greasy microwave the size of a big screen TV, burnt pot of coffee left over from late last Armageddon.

Scanned the bulletin boards: Heimlich maneuver poster, yellowing thank you cards, notices, warnings ("Attention! Don't let yourself die still employed here!").

Pasty-faced failed execs in frayed trench coats, gym bags slung over their shoulders, leave for the day without a word. The ones still at their desks look guilty when I pass by. Customer service yes men apologizing to irate clients on speaker phone in ugly New York accents. Some of them still think they have a future.

Each task a crisis, every job a rush. Beaten down swing shift zombies wander in, muttering about "Gettingthefuckouttathisshithole."

Rode up in the elevator with the delivery guy from Great Wall. The stink of $5.25 shrimp and broccoli announced us.