Sunday, April 10, 2011

boil fire and stop fish

"Together, I said, we shall boil fire and stop fish"
-Werner Herzog

I'm writing a story (read: i'm thinking about writing a story while scribbling one-liners on the back of my hand).

Stitch the above pictures with an IV, add a Salingarian monologue, play this song at the end, and you won't need a plot.

Also wrote an untitled poem:

On the other side of the false world

Ink pools hollow roots.

You find the tree lying at the bottom

of a smoke stack, or cigarette.

Reaching for the blue, you dig sky, soil,

root, and rib; Rainbows oil your hand,

congealing birth

certificates and epitaphs that glow

like the sky above our city,

a treeless fossil gridding the desert with bionary.

I ask: what is America?

“The Wasteland!”


“Fear and Loathing!”

Perfect and unpublished, you fold the desert in my ribs

and say “America is a boy at the bottom of a smoke stack

reaching for the blue.”

I roll the tree into a cigarette. Watching the interstate,

we smoke the false world as the city grows dark,

a hollow car passing in the night.


Monday, April 4, 2011

footnotes (from a biography)

burton and carter

These are excerpts from a larger project, maybe a book, or a poetry collection, or a TV series pandering to Juno fans. My narrative voice wears tweed and sleeps on benches. Sometimes it drinks too much, but it gets to class on time.

I hope it's not annoying.

"My waiter looks like a hobbit. I never finished Lord of the Rings. "

"The tower is the pulse of the city, an eager, traditional taboo of discovery; Spheres, sundials, compasses, astrolabes, wheels, quadrants, clockwork, the gears and bones of exploration. Under Einstein’s blackboard is a jar of dust. I look to the stars and see a periodic table, a zodiac of vinographs and camera shutters. Lewis Carroll shares a needle with Lawrence of Arabia; fever powder kills poets. The Germans must not have Deuterium Oxide. In 1943, our parlor rooms consumed us; Hiroshima, our magic lantern."

"Then something in me, something small, whispered you’re going to die. It was the voice of a single cell, barely audible, but the rumor spread like wildfire, ripping up my spinal cord and engulfing my neurons in a wild, life-preserving panic."

"We sit at the table and are dirt. We're not better than anyone for having reading Nietzsche. We're just old. Our parents die in the rooms we used to know. We drink coffee but our teeth are white. We eat shit, develop eating disorders, and through it all our bodies look fresh. Inside we're Hemingway's Old Man. All any of us want is a shack by the sea and the leisure to bicker over wine."

"Sometimes I don’t sleep, so I sit on our patio (just renovated) under the purple-orange sky and wait for my skin to get warm."

"I don’t know if he believed me because the next morning he said he didn’t want anything serious, which was okay, neither did I, but I didn’t want him to say he didn’t want anything serious, I just wanted to kind-of –eat-breakfast and maybe love him."

"I have a story idea, actually, a memory from when I was young. They were having one of their dinner parties, and I had just bitten Mike Williamson. Mike Williamson was the dean of something, and everyone was angry about the bite except Mike Williamson. I was a lion under our living room table; his calf was a wounded antelope. Anyway I didn’t come out from under the table until everyone left. My sister was smoking and talking to me and she talked for a long time before I followed her upstairs."

"I met a boy who dreamed of filling a house with art, books, and musical instruments. The house would have large windows so he could look at the sea as he pondered whatever brave, new ideas entered his head. There would be a movie screen but no TV. All outside communication would be achieved through letters; Phone lines could not cut his Plutonian sky."

"Walking back I meet a farmer. We talk about the sheep, their shyness, and then about Disney World. We chuckle over America. A John Deere tractor roars into the pasture and the animals scatter. We don't use Border Collies anymore, the farmer explains."


"I'm useless and I hate bread."

"I've seen the faded Polaroids. I've overturned cardboard boxes trying to find the tweed professor in the hair and sunglasses of the boy in the photographs. I know they're his, just as his Duke Ellington records, Aztec prints, and motorcycle gears in the desk drawer are his, even though they're from another time. Having read Kerouac, I understand the time of my father. Amazon offered him a thousand dollars for his first edition of On the Road. He didn't sell.

Our books become our children."

"I will never be Dean Moriarty. My role is observer. I'm Sal Paradise watching from the passenger seat as his friend pierces the roundabout like a sperm entering the egg, a wide-eyed Paul chronicling the acts of Jesus. I knew Jesus, and I knew Gatsby. I knew them all, and like Nick Carraway stood by the river staring at a green light as they lived a dream that wasn't mine."


"I’ve never seen the bay. In my mind it’s an oil painting, one where the colors move so the ships bob in the harbor. I’ll describe it but because it’s in my head it will be ‘fiction’. This is different from what I’m writing now, which is ‘nonfiction.’ I don’t know which one is real.

Take the inside of an oyster shell. This is your sky. Remember the way your dad smells after autumn and mix the color of the smell with the sun in airport eyes. These are the waves. Then think of the time you sat in the Andy Warhol museum watching the empire state building get dark as lines from the window moved across the room, and your mom ran in and asked where you were but you didn’t hear because all you could hear was night making the building darker and darker until it was just a star flickering in the screen. This is the feeling you have when you look at the bay."

"I was born too late. Part of me feels like I've lived through it all, looked through Bob Dylan's glasses, sweated in Bowie's leather. My lungs are purple from that stuff I smoked the 60s. When Kennedy died, I was waiting tables in a diner. The radio was playing Back in the U.S.S.R. before the signal broke to deliver the news. I spent a year in jail during the McCarthy era. I didn't vote for Regan."

"I want to say that everyone is brilliant and beautiful and I love humanity. It's all a yellow swirl in my head, a primordial soup of feelings and ideas; ideas, the fat finches exploding from our mouths as we sit in the pub and talk about Kerouac and Marcus Aurelius, about our dinner party that Ayn Rand won't be attending. She's out in the snow, splitting a can of beans with Dostoyevsky as we digest curry with Dr. Seuss and Geoffrey of Monmouth. Somewhere, Emily Dickinson is watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show as Salinger ignores the invitation in his mailbox."


"Alan's a harp-player “dabbling in funk and reggae”. I like him for using the word “funk.” We talk about music and The Motorcycle Diaries, a movie about the life of Che. Che was a doctor from South America who started a revolution in Cuba. I don’t know why he started a revolution in Cuba when he lived in South America, when it was his own people he saw crowded in newspaper huts, legs dead with leprosy, wages useless as their phantom limbs."


"There's a coyote, or twelve, in my purse."