Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Saints Senza Sense

I wrote this intro for the fiction anthology, "Santi: Lives of Modern Saints" on Black Arrow Press:

Six zillion pages later would you please come back and reread my intro? All I get may be these few lines, but I wrote this thing out on my hands and knees longhand, with water not wine, feeling like I was that guy they talk about when the guy with the black eye says "well you should see the other guy." These words may be short, but they're slow puffed with heavy breathes. You have to come back, It'll all look better then with bruised and blurry eyes like the ones I'm wearing now. And when you get here think about that day when you were twelve and wondered if since lesbians don't like boys and gays don't like girls could they maybe then reunite at the final bend of the circle and get it on? And then keep moving to when that same line of reasoning completed its own orbit years later and you got stuck on the word "sacrilege" and wondered how a "holy (L. sacrare) holy (L. religionem)" could possibly come to mean its own opposite. You wondered if holy over holy cancels itself out, leaves you with a void, voids are dark, dark is bad, hence "sacrilege" and for a moment you forgot again whether gays and lesbians do get in on with each other or not. So six zillion pages later and not a shred of evidence of any lives of modern saints, in fact mostly the contrary, and finally the battle I lost to innundation blurred the words the way I was meant to see them. The lives of modern saints is a bunch of lies of mai derm s'aints. These things just don't exist (they aint), they also have that Italian s' negating prefix biz and they never (I. mai) have skin (Gk. derma) as things that don't exist tend to not have. Naturally, a book dealing with lives of things that don't exist thrice is gonna be a book of lies as well, no? But you can't devote a book entirely to lies without at least proposing a truth to break from. When everything is lies it flips on itself, so how's it go? If someone tells you they never tell the truth they're lying, right? The sentence cancels the idea out. The crux: I'm beaten by this equation the Black Arrow fam's laid upon us despite the fact that initially I was following it all fairly well. Years ago that holy over holy negation got me thinking about the "san." If San Cristobal is literally "without Cristobal" I figured it meant "he who is not Cristobal" like "he who is so holy he's transcended his name." I was on it up to that point. Even through "Heiliger Christophorus" I was still doing fine. Heiliger simply meaning holy and holy and holes as things that cancel themselves out to transcend to form a whole was still an easy enough ride to follow. It all started to fall apart with the Italian "santi". Not only do we have the negating "anti", but trying to follow if that negating "s" prefix negating the negating "anti" means the saint is or isn't who he says he is crunked me up once and for all. It was then I tried running to the French saints for clarity on this negation equation only to find that not only is their "saint" still locked in a double negation, but it especially seemed antithetical to everything I've ever believed that the word "aint" could be used in both Metz and Mississipi. Maybe the Louisiana Purchase has something to do with it, maybe the racists that ran Metz when it was the Vichy capitol being cut from the same genome of their Southern brethren has something to do with it; either way, I was losing track, which is also to say that six zillion pages (and a cd!) later I'm finally beginning to know something of the lives of modern saints.

Omitted in this introduction because I surpassed my word limit long ago is the connection between "san" and "sand." Again, after the sand on the shore what lies beyond? nothing. And does not the "sandman" take you to the same place as the "saint"? In Old High German "sand" meant "true." In Old English a "sand" was "a messenger" which is where we also get "sense" from. Does anyone need to be reminded therefore that "sin" also shares the same route? And so like sands in the hourglass...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Namesakes Rule

Check out This
Chris Leo
and this
Chris Leo
and this
Chris Leo
and this
Chris Leo
and this
Chris Leo

More on Vinum i Aqua

In regards to 'Where Cherry Blossoms Breeze Past Lotus Leaves' in 'White Pigeons,' I thought I went through every volcanic cluster, graphing combustible passings in the Atlantic where the margins of moment get their edit on, but really -- what fun would it be if I didn't miss the keystone entirely!
In Madiera (so I stumbled upon too late) they pray on the precipice of the Holy Ghost! In Madiera, an island whose name is etymologically tied to "matter" worships the piece of the Trinity with the least representations thereof! Cheers to Christianity for gracing us with an inbetween more enigmatic and religious than any other faith on the globe! It both makes up for and explains the filler surrounding it. It is the Holy Ghost that perverts the Catholic and aren't we all happier for it? And Jesus, does he not come to us in the form of a flaming tongue? How how'd I overlook Madiera! Yes, I say extract the Holy Ghost from history and God would have abandoned us long long ago, for it is hardly an overstatement to proclaim the Holy Ghost IS/AS faith. My namesake, St. Christopher, patron saint of both travellers and the Irish-gypsy Travellers, was decanonized in 1969 when man landed on the moon. The Church, having learned nothing from Capernicus it seems, thought man travelled blasphemously too far, too close too the heavens, which leaves me blowing in the wind amidst Cherry Blossoms and Lotus leaves. No worries you see, I'm happy to let it go, but do we need to continue meeting in the middle See; i.e. I'm taking the Holy Ghost with me while I renounce my faith. And yes, this would all be enough to cement my argument about times out of time, but of course as I speak of Trinities I also know that all things come in twos and thus there was even more I overlooked about Madiera: from the days of scattered outposts to the birthing of our wet nation, all wine supplied to America came from Madiera. Their fortified port built our fortified ports, unless we were drinking home brewed meads and malts. Washington loved beer. Jefferson and Franklin loved port, and when push comes to shove I choose the latter bunch. We drink wine to transubstantiate into Trinities and in order to transcend this matter we must first admit we're also made way way of it: the Romans believed to enhance an orgy properly one need only mix 1/3 wine with 2/3 water.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Artists on the Verge, A Van Pelt Bio in Two Sides

Inside: Stances (scroll down for 'Outside: Circumstances')
The Radioactive Orbit of Brevity and Almost Is

During a New York Times interview for an audio series on New York City raconteurs, the interviewer asked me who my peers are, and as I was rattling off the list of my typical dudes, a glaring theme began deciphering itself to me for the first time: though my friends may be as varied as anyone’s – painters, architects, teachers, designers, lawyers – they’re nearly all involved with the making of music in some small way, as am I. So, duh, this might seem so obvious I should’ve picked up on it from the get go, but thing is, I do my best at avoiding facing music head on at all costs. I try monitoring it sideways with my periphery, keeping it at an arm‘s length. Kind of a don’t ask don’t tell policy between it and me. Like the sun, though reading it through its reflection off the moon might not seem like the most direct source of info, if you look dead on in going straight for the goods it’ll be the last thing you’ll ever see (I drifted off for a couple of seconds here in the interview, getting into “my peers” and “peering into the sun“ and if peers are so called because they let you peer into them and that‘s always something combustible and fiery like the sun and the Greek pyros for fire, i.e. to peer is to burn? The New York Times never called me back and never ran the interview. I think this is where I blew it). This is to say that music is second bliss or near, but definitely not first, for all the people I move about easily with.

For some of us though, myself included, music wasn’t and isn’t always allotted to second bliss. If we fail to surveil it properly it can sneak itself right into first bliss despite our repeated appeals for it to ride a bit behind. In fact, I even think we're unconsciously inviting it to: if Leo’s are extroverts in need of constant attention and hence perfect fits for the stage, and music is as demanding and needy as the most insecure Leo, it would seem the pair needs each other and we therefore need them to be needy in order to ensure more giving. For the rest of us though, placing music at first bliss is too much. We need to desecrate her like the bitch asks us to or suffer the consequences of post-coital praying mantis fodder. Like the metaphor that is not a metaphor, music is heroin when it’s first bliss and all the other awesome drugs when it‘s kept in second. No need to elaborate further on the pyrrhically proven love affair between those two when they are not a metaphor, but when they are a metaphor it’s still not much different -- you find yourself living in windowless practice cubicles on the Gowanus Canal with a membership to New York Sports Club just so you have a place to brush your teeth and take the occasional shower (I sealed the deal killing the New York Times piece by already taking another aside that jumped back a few lines here while at the same time rushing ahead to the end of my thought: if Leos “fit” on stage and the stage is a place where one throws and induces “fits” and junkies always need a “fix” and I am arguing how gravely unstable the Truth music brings with it as first bliss is, then to “fit” into a “fit” sums up why I try to keep music at least in second place). In second place we make music that people can actually enjoy, music that (dare I say) might even make people smile. In first place you wipe ’em out, blue funk, deep fall, take me take me into the abyss stare out the window at the lone pigeon on the adjacent roof as your French press worships, beckons, and accepts the pervasively murky c’est la vie this sludgy morning. Say who? I wrote this poem in response to a Leonard Cohen song:

I’ve Got My Own Ghosts/Get Your Own Ghosts
Is this really what you wanted,
To listen to a song
That makes you feel

Hell no! I wanna dance and get laid and laugh and point at people when they trip and shout doo-wop nonsense WOOOOOLLLLLY-BULLLLY from the top of my lungs with whatever costume jewelry I just stole from the chick who ran away with my blazer as I zig-zag my bike like a pathological shark across the Willis Avenue Bridge all the way home! Visions of Suzanne and Harvest Moons I forsake you. Where’s that gonna get me? It’s gonna get me finding weight in everything. Oh we’re so weighty aren’t we, us poor poor pitiable humans! No way, not me. I yearn to be public domain like the elements already dictate I am *. The weight’s a false weight, I tell myself as often as I can. But when it baits me with “everything is” I agree and bite and then it sacks me with “then nothing is false” by which point my gills are drying out and there’s a hook through my eye and finally it guts me with “then weight too is as heavy as it claims to be” and music has hijacked me yet again which is to say that when music has writhed its way into first place, there is no second place. There is no other drug.

In a self-flagelling way I suppose one could make a strong argument that it did get me here so I shouldn‘t be so wary, but I never would have made it if I was an all out junkie keeping it in first. No, I’ve been on the William S. Boroughs diet with it, an on again off again for eternal youth that’s rendered me seasoned enough to know that regardless of what I proclaim or protest, I can never be off off off (which is to say in permanent second position) with it. In fact, I’m writing this in the wake of a Van Pelt practice for a reunion show at SXSW 12 years after we broke up. Initially excited to revisit the rockin’ songs that should have had the right amount of ignorance in them to get me where I need to be (with it in second place), I find myself instead moping down the street thinking about our song “Let’s Make A List” wherein nothing ever happens and when it gets to the chorus, even less happens. I am destroyed and wallowing in it, wanting yet not hurrying to put music back where it belongs so I can move on and maybe even dance tonight. Moping down this street with the muting "List" in my head, contrary to my whole M.O., I start writing bitter poems in response to my response to that Leonard Cohen song, like this little piece of acid:

The Scoring of Pity
Poor Shane McGowan
With so many friends
"A kinder soul there isn't!"
Is a blunter of his ends

As a second bliss though, music can actually help the other arts. This is why I think it’s that common thread amongst my closest friends. It serves as an essential agent of novelty, brevity, and rhythm that keeps our primary callings in check from running away with themselves. With novelty: there’s still no recipe for creating a good song, still no rational defense as to why we like the songs we do, and still no reason why it should please us to hand our moods over to the whimsy of music to juggle as it wishes. Allowing this element of chance to contaminate our other arts keeps us tapped in to nimble lightness. With brevity: songs are respectful of the necessary reciprocity between art and outside influence. The brevity of song allows for a taking from the outside world and a spitting of a regurgitated product back out in perpetual cycle that fireside thousand-page tomes do not. Brevity respects reciprocity as all art should. Keep moving, brevity is reciprocity. With rhythm: of course we all know there are no such things as flat lines or dead ends, but it can feel that way upon emerging from an exhaustive (egotistic!) piece of prose. Lyrics and poetry welcome rhythm in integrally to affect the essence of words in a dramatically highlighted way. This can serve to venerate, tease, sync us up, or simply draw attention to the broader language riding beneath it all. And anyhow, anything that makes you dance -- as music as a second bliss does -- solves everything across the board.

On the surface we knew this with the Van Pelt. Our songs almost don’t exist at all. Our set lists already arrived at the encore after the 6th song (and that was only on paper, we never actually played the encore, just liked toying with the idea). We hung out together often, but still maintained separate lives. We remained in NYC because, though there were a million other American cities in the 90’s that would have better suited us as a band, we believed it was the everything else of NYC that kept this band vital. We wrote our best album when there were no original members remaining yet no one ever thought that meant we should franchise the band out into a never-ending Menudo twirl; we buried the band when it felt right. We were novel, brief, and rhythmic like the recipe dictates yet we still found ourselves, our songs, and eventually even our band consumed by music. At the peak of our career we broke-up mid-album. Applying the same protective strategies music offers to our other arts to also keep music itself in check, turns out, doesn’t work at all and I suppose anyone who reads this sentence over again will be immediately clear on why it implodes. As aerodynamic as we stripped it down to, it still got heavy. In fact, the more aerodynamic we made it the heavier it got. Tough lesson to learn even though things almost always work this way. If I hadn't stop eating meat when I was fourteen would my palette have ever expanded past the typical American fare? And would the English language have wound up with the biggest vocabulary in the West if we hadn't torn out the excessive articles and conjugations that weigh our parent languages down? Conversely, extreme heaviness always approaches the spherical form until lift off into orbit.

I look back on “Nanzen Kills a Cat” as a foreshadower I missed. Midway through the song when I say “on top of the world, think about it, there’s nothing” that was my way of saying “there is no something in nothing” and conversely, by the song’s end when I say “eat my body’s finest and tell me how it tastes” that was my way of saying “communion tastes like boring bread, and shit will always be shit, and there is no nothing in something”. By trying to whittle it down to the bare essentials I got myself all tangled up with no room for any second or third blisses. Years later I lived Nanzen’s mysteries in a chronological order that played out comically. I took a pill before the sun set, said goodbye to all my friends, asked them if they had any messages for grandparents or dead dogs, and ran and ran and ran and saw it all, every bit of it, and it all felt the same. By the time the grand vision was wearing off I found myself at the old Pan Am terminal at JFK watching airplanes disappear into the sky. I knew I was losing the info when I snapped, “wait, they really are going somewhere other than here and we‘re not going with them!” Worse, as my lymphatic system tapped my intestine for every last drop of anything hydrating it could find, my gut was left with a universe of condensed little spheres and the Bang was about to happen all over again. Shit was still shit and I was back where it all began. The big big and the small small, note to self: abandon the endless preoc with harpin’ on this ish.

Part of knowing once-a-junkie-always-a-junkie is protesting it nonetheless though. I wrote this passage for my short story “Serengeti”:

The stage is never the highlight of my night. Honestly, I should
really quit music once and for all. After the stage I’m either too
upset that we didn’t play well enough, in which case my night is
ruined, or too wound up in my head with rightfully ridiculable artsy
existentialism if we were on fire, in which case my night afterwards is
also finished. The only rare self-pleasing balance my mood ever strikes
is when we were very very good, but not quite incredible. Very very
good makes it possible for me to continue with the night post-concert.
I’m neither depressed, nor am I feeling too creative to do anything
other than make more music or write, I’m just right, ready to drink
and dance and the shite. Still, I think this means I should quit. There’s
no balance in this for me. For example, when I play with rockers they
want me to teach them the parts. I tell them to make up their own
parts, feel it, intuit it, collaborate. This just leaves them thinking I don’t
have it together. However, when I play with jazzbos they tell me how
my own songs go. They tell me when the changes are, how to hit the
notes, when to open up, when to tighten. If I try to give them direction
they tell me I’m not feeling it enough, not intuiting, not collaborating.
To jazzbos, the song is already written and we just need to channel
it. Is there not a compromise? No, if my ultimate goal therefore is
to perform only a par or slightly sub-par, semi-collaborative show
but not be too bad, good, open, or tight, I should just be playing
cover songs and flirting with trashy girls whose feelings I don’t feel
responsible for afterall. Those girls are somehow more comfortable
with their human-being-as-object side while remaining Catholic
anyhow, whereas the girls at my concerts often believe they aren’t
in fact objects yet they remain in that object-friendly collegiately
atheistic counter-church. I love their idea. It’s scientifically ethereal.
Like if we were to probe the border between human beings and air
with the world’s smallest microscope to the nano-degree wherein only
atoms were perceivable we’d be able to fly straight through people.
In one side and out the other. That would make my fans correct, they
are therefore technically not objects, just cosmic mirages. But then
nothing is an object and the next thing you know we’re bound up in a
semantics war and no one is getting laid. No, for now let’s stick to our
loose definitions: until we’re able to walk through walls, we are all still
objects. I mean, somehow I feel like the tactic of arguing that if you are
not an object and therefore I too am not an object either and therefore
you are not a “girl” object and I am not a “boy” object and then
neither is your crotch and then neither is my cock so why can’t we
put all these non-objects together and continue digging in on our nongender-
specific-an-atom-carries-no-sex subjectivity wouldn’t get me
anywhere would it? Following this reasoning it would be fair to argue
that infidelity is just a matter of degree then, as the universe expands
we are fidelitously separated, but once it starts to contract it’s just a
matter of time before my cells meld with her cells and I just cheated on
Benedetta with her best friend, a sofa, the State of Nebraska, the ass of
an eagle, well with everything as the universe infidelitously calls all its
atoms back home. And these girls are worried about letting me get too
close now!? In a million years we’ll be so close you won’t even be able
to tell us apart!

I let that quote drag on after the relevant point was made only to illustrate the contagious ramifications the burning-itchy-skin discomfort of rolling with music as first bliss brings. I rant for ages on getting and not getting laid only to find myself at the same old end of Nanzen again, while the dj that night probably just snapped his fingers.

And we can't end this convo without addressing the bizarre human phenomenom of watching music that sits about as well with me as equating sex with love. I've never understood what I'm supposed to be looking at when I go to a concert. The rationale that to like a band's music is connected to the enjoyment of watching them perform it has yet to be convincingly articulated this way. Be it Francoise Hardy or Pere Ubu on the stage, I can't get out of my apparent levelheaded rut that only understands music as something we in fact listen to, not watch. This makes me both the last guy you want to watch on stage and the last guy you want to go to the concert with. My god, I envy the fervor though! It's that same fervor that rallies the kids to keep seeking out and creating new music, I just didn't come equipped with the same voracity for it. Instead, I'm a sucker for the written word from the debased to the sublime who, yes, has pissed many a real day away for vicarious play instead held captive at the whimsy of even non-writers' writing like Dan Brown. Why? Because it's my form, plain and simple. If music were more my form I would accrue a grand collection and zip through songs endlessly that would then get my brain into the code thinking of other bands to download into an endless flurry that keeps things light: again, heavy makes light. However, I'm the composite that discovers just a precious few musicians a year, latching on desparately listening to the same songs every day forever. Me and Kate Bush won't leave each other alone like the neurotic couple who lets no outside influence in creating a paranoid spiral down that kicks the bucket over as soon as the cow yields milk. Oh oh oh, here we are back at heroin again. With the word I'm a vigilant slut who could tag team Daisie Marie and any fat sow with equal vigor. With music I'm the dedicated boyfriend who impresses quick out of the gates but whose obsessive steadfastness and moral fortitude bores the girlfriend for the same reason she loved me months earlier.

I know I'm wrong, some of the most basic musical words involve vision: the difference between "bass" (from Oscan "basso", same as "base" for low note) and "treble" (from Old French "treble" for "third" part above the melody) is expressed in distance. Like sex and love (maybe) the defense of music as something to be watched wins its case on examples, not theory, and this is where I falter. {Edit: When I emerged from writing this article Sunday I needed some fresh air so Laura and Madeline accompanied me on a walk across the George Washington Bridge at sunset. On the way back home we passed by the United Palace Theater, second biggest theater in NYC after Radio City, and were lured in by the endless stream of tail entering before us (though I may have offered a different excuse as why we needed to go in). Turns out, it was for the "Spanish Service" mass wherein a chain of about 80 Latinas held hands swaying back and forth singing to the almighty Signor Poderoso at the base of the stage while smoke machines, twirling nymphettes waving marching band batons, a chorus of operatic lungs fattened by fast food, a live band, and a doyenne belted it out center stage beneath TWO movie screens showing images of Jesus Christ being both crucified at times and shooting the shit like he too is just a dude who eats chili dogs and drinks the occasional corona on a hot summer day like the rest of us at other times. No ritual slaughter seance happening simultaneously in the Matto Grasso could have been more ascendant. Without an ounce of booze in our bodies we then floated drunk down to St. Nicks Pub in Harlem where everyone is a star, where Billy Holiday got her start, where the black band on stage called me a nigger (second time this season it happened to me in Harlem; first time was when Obama won the presidency and I made the mistake of applauding McCain's dignified concession speech, but this time it was a compliment! The only other time in my life I was called a nigger was by an Indian from India so I don't count it.), where even if you were white you were entitled to free homeade banana pudding, and where the party was razed to ashes and back up again when the chantreuse wouldn't let anyone loose as she wailed "I will wait for you I will wait for you I will wait for you I will wait for you" and though her body and mine had very little to do with each other I was plotting all sorts of convoluted strategies to mount it. Only way out: 'nother round of drinks. By the time we finally managed to peel our souls stuck via sweat in the dead of winter off the plastic furniture coverings, it was too late to go home. One more stop for Hennessey and live bachata at El Presidente where the four eyes the three of us were donning by this point were not enough to take in all the opposing physics happening at once on every Dominican body: faces, stoic as the ice outside; waists and knees, 1 and 2 and 1 and 2 and; asses, lava lamps on coke! Home: a three person, one canna, youtube best-dance- party-evah conclusion to the evening. By the morning, all the snow was melted and spring was in the air.} Without that articulated reason at the base of all the definitive examples I just can't get on board though. To get with yous, I try telling myself that the pleasure one derives from watching music comes from an addition of two concurrent novelties, which therefore creates a third. As we got into earlier in this essay, music by nature is novel, so when music is then played live the course of the song too becomes unpredictable making it even more novel and this is where the third must be birthed. The problem with this theory is that it remits me back to where I wanted to quit music in the first place; if the performance is flawless then I just found myself looking at nothing on stage. So put yourself in the shoes of a performing musician! People pay and give up their Saturday nights to watch you fuck up. If you don't fuck up, fine, they'll tell themselves they liked it anyhow; but if you fuck up in the wrong way you put on a bad show, if you fuck up in an intended way you've just blashpemed your art -- there are apparently right and wrong ways to fuck up here and hence, I (am desperately trying to) opt out of this madness.

So this means I have to quit again, I guess. Not yet though, there must be a hit in this band somewhere. Have you ever heard our song "The Speeding Train"? It comes so so close to a hit. Gotta hop on that bell curve and nail it next time.

* This unfortunate malady has been leaching away at me since Powell Peralta released their skateboarding video "Public Domain" in 1988 wherein every terrain was held theirs to carve up. Problem is, skateboarding is a bloody art that leaves shreds of tattered flesh and freshly reopened scabs on every curb and park bench they grace -- so who's property is that? The skateboarder's who just lost it, the groundskeeper's who has to clean it up, or the elements'? And if something I built that was still mine when I woke up this morning becomes public domain of the public domain in but the blink of an eye one's mind starts to feel both owned by and ownership of everything. My heart, however, is in no way near accordant with head on this.

Outside: Circumstances
A Tribute to the Unreadably Overdesigned Raygun Magazine (R.I.P), the Who’s-Fleecing-Who A&R Guy (R.I.P), and the Young Idea (but not so fast! If George released another masterpiece it would have been called “All Things Come Back”)

NYU freshman wearing Dag Nasty t gives nod of approval to NYU freshman wearing Simple Machines "Cog" design hand-screened thrifted button-down. Make friends the next day when wearer of Velocity Girl t's jaw drops agape at the other's faded out "Seven Sisters" era Shudder To Think t. Just saw a delightful tourist say "Aww, no thanx sir, I don't do thayt!" Just saw a homie get a “Quality-of-Life” ticket for blasting Stevie V's "Dirty Cash" from his boom-box while walking through Washington Square Park. Hate it, both sides. Thank God Wu-Tang came along to salvage said sitch‘. Thing is, what’ll be had of the guitar and live drums in this age of turntableism? Are we both the youngest and last real band left in New York City? That is, a band that doesn't stroke its communal jazz patch to Glenn Branca's and Wharton Tiers' 100 guitars? You can understand our preoccupation with making recordings sound "live"; though the logical line to follow is live-is-live and recording-is-recording, for a spell that wasn't so clear. Assuming we make it through the Y2K crash, will the world have any use for anything other than djs anyhow? NYU just got a computer hall and I was taught how to search for things via "Alta Vista" and send notes to people via electronic mail. Heard of new veggie resto with break-away staff from Angelicas Kitchen who opened a place on 20th and 6th but can't find anyone to venture above 14th street unless there's a show at Tramps or a shoegazer band at the Limelight or a $10/hour nude modeling gig at the School of Visual Arts. Took my first student teaching placement at PS 261K way out on the Bergen F stop in Brooklyn, a Yemeni neighborhood where children wore head scarves and played kickball in Reeboks. Went to get a space cake at The Kingdom across from the Hell's Angels on 3rd Street only to find it shuttered. Weird. Pick up the Post that morning, find a map of 21 other targets Giuliani's goons trashed last night. Sharing the same page with the "no goats may saunter three paces within a spittoon" there was a cabaret law stating no more than one person at a time can dance in an establishment that does not have a dancing license. Create a task force and enforce it. There are tanks on 13th Street and copters above and the squatters are waving banners that almost say "David Dinkins and your Crown Heights Riots, we miss your political impotence that kept us free!?" Can’t get close enough to see, let’s get some free Krishna slop at the base of Thompkins instead. It's yours gratis if you promise to finish you plate, have to, food's already been offered up. Met this culty named Lucas at a hardcore matinee with Lifetime, Another Wall, and American Standard at the Anthrax in CT who’ll be dishing out the dal. Always had to ask what the powder was because brown sugar was masquerading as socially white for awhile, whiskey had yet to be offed by tequila as the official city drink, and microbrew was still a good word. There’s another burgeoning strip club zone away from Times Square down in desolate TriBeCa where girl bass-players work when not on tour. Check it, Drew Barrymore put her clothes back on at the Blue Angel last week and The Harmony won't accept waifs over 110 pounds. Let's go, Chinese New Year is happening right around the corner and firecrackers smoke up waist high red clouds and you can play a chicken at tic-tac-toe in the arcade on Mott. Let's go save Neil after, he's drawing dots for a conceptual artist on West Broadway all day and the only way he can make it through is by listening to Mingus. After a Strong go in the 80's, Australia is finally toppled by New Zealand as Down Under go to. Man, I live all the way at the end of Grand Street in the Baruch Houses. Even though I have a balcony and a garden with a swing, can’t get no one to make the trek out here. Only “Vinnie” in his real pink Cadillac and the brain freezer he claims is weed oozes down the street. So far removed, when I met Hasids in the lobby they'd "welcome to the neighborhood" me. No, the farthest anyone ever ventures is to this place called "Planeat Thailand" in a little storefront on the first stop of the L train in Brooklyn. Knew some pioneers with brutal dogs and windowless lofts on the Lorimer stop, but their parties were full of scowls and art that demanded industrial decibel power tools, not for me. Christ, under the wrong moon how many times did we find ourselves running for our lives to and from Life Cafe' on B and 10th, muchachos? I ask the clerk at the Bodega on 11th and C for coconut Tropical Fantasy soda, "No way man! Makes Latinos and black men go sterile, haven't you heard? We have weed and milk though." Barry London and Dave Baum told me they needed a bass player for their band called "Soma" so I visited their rehearsal in the basement of the Brittany dorm. A girl named Ellie who dated the guy from Junction was drumming but she kept stopping when she wasn't feeling it. Soon she was gay for a bit but still slept with Dave just becuse he had one of those "Prince Alberts" on his prick. I didn't get it. Played my bass with a quarter like the dude from Ned's Atomic Dustbin if he was in Jesus Lizard, Dave was a very late era Gregg Ginn who brushed shoulders with Randy Rhodes at a Bad Brains show at The Whiskey, Barry had a Big Black t and an Assuck patch on his man-pouch but out-reverbed Dick Dale and I swear at least one baked semiotics major loved it. Told them this Neil the drummer guy I met at a Hoover show at the drummer from Born Against’s house in Westfield, New Jersey could prob make it through a song. I think he asked someone why they needed to run out and buy whole wheat pitas for the hummus and garlic when there was bread already in the house. After practice, to Max Fish where for one year only, even though we look like we're 12, we're able to drink before Rudy begins dusting off these law books. It was a djs job to be pretentious, fuck Can, we're talking Amon Duul soundtracks to movies that were never made and Beefheart flexi's from vintage zine's only available from the clerk who stepped out of 8 Ball comics at See/Hear in the basement on 7th and Pretty Things were briefly better than Led Zeppelin. The Van Pelt never played Brooklyn. Heartattack gave our album a bad review and someone else made fun of our dueling strats. I saw Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson at a gallery in SoHo that was fusing digital and analog technology together into one “lazer needle” and spun records made of beeswax! What to do about this band Cathode Ray with Brian Maryansky and Sean Greene? We need them. I know, stop by Angelica’s take out window where they both work, grab some bread and spread, and feel ’em out before we snatch 'em up like we did with Toko from Fermina Daza, and like Blonde Redhead in turn then did to us and my older brother did with Sean and Jets to Brazil did to Brian the second they were all free agents? Jordan’s working at Limbo Café. Free espresso all night. Party on the Tascam 424 at mines till the sunrises thereafter, make tunings we won’t remember to fit into ensembles with antique typing machines and vacuums conducted by Sun Ra from his studio on Mars. Thank god we called that album, the one with the Seam song followed by the Sonic Youth meets Blue Oyster Cult song followed by the Ian guitar with the Guy vocals one followed by Boss song as sung by Three followed by another Seam song followed by the Charlatans song as played by Boy era U2 as sung by Jackie from the Dust Devils if she were a lapsed Catholic still trying to shake off a bad case of the morals, thank god we called that album "Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves" because for every influence we were aware of that we tried to keep at bay there was another subtle latent one we couldn't hear sneaking in. But thank god too there seemed to be a grace saving counter balance wherein what we went into as Soundgarden came out Firehose -- we once even had to rename "Dream Theatre Song" to "Superchunk Thang" after hearing our demo of it. Learning to play an instrument bares some fruits mastery does not. Thank god we believed we would be something, otherwise the costly pay-by-the-hour practice space rehearsals fueled by coffee to get the job done and dream would have been weed and beer strewn basements with solid gear we so envied in Baltimore, Richmond, and Dayton. Let's move to Worcester! We can make it cool! From there we can lay siege to Springfield, Holyoke, and Brattleboro! Booked a tour via phone. Buy a tent when they all fall through. Break your wrist skateboarding when you’re killing time. Wait what? Some kid in Kalamazoo likes us? We’re there.

Stop. Blizzard of ‘96. Total halt. Playing pool in the basement of a billiards hall on 12th street as the snow falls and falls. Announcement over the loud speaker: we are under quarantine until further notice. Vietnamese gang stabs homie who tried to step to. The City of Amsterdam just paid Rudy to talk to its police department? Table by table the officers questioned us. The storm stopped everything, but we had no idea then it would be the last one ever. We were the last table to be set free. Except for the echo of the officer's voice in the empty chamber, silence everywhere as the snow fell in sheets. College done. Like the fruit that fortunately does not exist between the plantain and the banana, we were no longer green enough to fry yet not yet sweet enough to just pluck and eat. No more F-1 visa for Toko. Blacks, Jews, and Koreans had agreed to disagree so no more savage streets. No jerk booths within 500 feet of a school meant nowhere safe to vent for Catholic priests. And where’d all the steady girlfriend’s go? Know mine married the regular who'd visit her everyday during his lunch break for a $20 lap dance. You got a free laptop from your web surfing job in Silicone Alley on the condition that you show your face at your company’s three week 24/7blowout “ABCNBCBSyonara” party? But how come no one in my band did? We paid our band funeral bill in $4.99 increments everytime we stopped by a gas station west of the Mississippi and bought a "bargain best of" cassette by the likes of Wings, America, The Guess Who, and The Moddy Blues. In fact, I think such thrift and desperation has us logged in as the only band ever influenced by the other Procol Harum songs. Spent the early 90s dodging industry agenda to mold us into hit makers, but by the time we were moving mad units on our own the only label that was still talking to us was the one we couldn't even get one "quarterly" financial statement from --ever -- our own label, Gern. One time he did give us each $50 checks and two vegan pizza pies he made himself to get a tour started right. Oh and once we did ask him if we could swap "quartely" for even just "annually" and if not, then even annually for "once" would solve a few things. His lawyer responded that it was us who owed him for unpaird merch. Shit! Who let it leak that we'd be doing it for free regardless! Gonna sound crazy, but I gotta leave the city guys. Can’t afford it. Moving to Williamsburg instead. Practice out at my folks place in Jersey so we can stretch the practices out and dilute those dreams. Seems like the radioactive relationship of our individual varying influences is fizzling, but if it really did fizzle would any of us have had the energy to break up? Breaking up takes action and action takes energy and better break up just in case. Fleetwood Mac was one of only two bands I ever wished I was in. The other was San Diego's Heroin. I suppose if their are reigns to reel in, there must be a beast at the other end. This new “Sultans of Sentiment” album is a bummer anyhow even though everyone apparently loves it. Wait, everyone's a bummer, of course they love it. Who are these new faces at our shows? Bedhead, Blue Aeroplanes, Talk Talk, Scott Walker types and kids who carry Celine and Bataille books with them they already read ages go. The better we get at playing these songs the more I hate myself. Thank god we recorded the album before we’d nailed them. This way I can still listen for the mistakes and near misses, otherwise I could never put that thing on. By the time we hit the Ruhrgebeit I was convinced some other force wrote "Nanzen Kills A Cat". When we returned the two note couplet signaling the closing of subway doors always felt empty without the third. I sang it silently to myself. Met a Cuban on the 42nd Street N/R platform playing the Irish fiddle. Made me skip two passing trains while I rapped with him. Had the gall to tell me "this is the beach." Wow! If an apparation with creds as solid as that guy's can be so embarrassingly wrong, there's no way I'm getting out of here easy.

Holiday Guitar

(Wherein the Title Character, Unable To Reclaim His Trinity, Straps Bells to His Thigh and Severs the Singing Synapse)

They were so bad that they never missed a note
The drummer’s hands flammed on command
While he filled at will over the beats of another drummer
With half his skill
And you know I miss their flawless skill

How many songs do they know?
How many sets will they go?
Tomorrow night they play calypso
At the hotel down the road!

Babe, we followed that band from Johnny Canoe’s
In Nassau up to Finnegan’s in Maine
And what a treat when at Martel’s Pier at the Point
We bumped into them again
Yeah through races and states and genres and bars
They never let us down with that holiday guitar

How many songs do they know?
How many sets will they go?
Tomorrow night they play calypso
At the hotel down the road!

It took us two days but we learned to slow down
You took the hammock, I took the ground
And as you rested above I scribbled one out
Inspired by Westin’s Wailers (or was it Surf Soundz?)
Then awaited a flicker of eyelash so I could read it aloud:

When I Wrote Upside Down the Inc. Dripped from My Pen

“After Earl Greyhound practice we stopped by Tres Palmas under the N near Ditmars para seis coronas and a conversation that began about our long overdue Food and Beverage diplomas inevitably led to The Holy Childhood and things that really matter so I found this melancholy manner which was more mellow than sadder whence I retreated to my Uptown lair to watch a dvd on Kingston streets and well it goes without saying that Vinnie made the scene,” said Matt the brat unaware at the time what he held in his hat – “Ah, to be twenty-three with a band and still sleeping with your friends,” said Jake who met us too on this Ave! Ave! Nue! I think it was Lafayette and Spring where we each converged from our thing, “See now I rely on strangers’ eyes, of which ten I’ve seen this month alone. Wherever I lay my hat is my home, and last night it was a condo her parents must’ve owned, and if all goes well I worked it out that I was not the one” – envious to some, but I did not flinch where others might have run, no I decided to hold my ground and tell the truth which is that “I laid behind her back for three hours while her will waited to speak and after three hours more she reintroduced me to her cheek. Three hours after that we held a very formal chat amidst jeers and guffaws from the days dimming rays as they turned to yawns and when three hours more were all that were left another forty from those we stretched, I swear, and then we finally made it out of that bed, put new sheets on, and climbed right back in.”

Expecting to impress I was met with a pout
Which in recoiling to our room escalated to a shout
So in accordance with the Empress the bard threw it out
-- Paper, Pen, Promise and Pact --
In but one faulty poem all her bags were packed

Now when I roll down my windows on a tour of my own
And shut off the radio to try and be all alone
My memories take me back to our favorite worst band
While we danced by the poolside and made out in the sand

How many songs do they know?
How many sets will they go?
Tomorrow night they play calypso
At the hotel down the road!

More on Other Essays in FEATHERS LIKE LEATHER

On "Bread Circuses":

-- On the Father and The Son and The Word and The Body and The Bread, "figlio" is "son" in Italian, from the Greek "filo" for "thread", which the Greeks also call a type of their bread. The sense is preserved in English with "files" to keep track of ones fiscal "bread". However, a "file" is also something that cuts in English; the relationship between the Father and Son continues to phoenix.

Same theme in "Margaritas in Spuyten Duyvil":

-- On dethrowned and deseatful, "thread" shares the same root with "throw" evidencinging, yet again, that there is no removal from the sitch.

Same Theme in "Gran Raccordo":

-- Both "thread" and "throw" are related to "twist", you fag.

On Janus, the true patron saint of Ireland, in "The Needle on the Scratched Groove":

-- Though "Hibernia", the Latin name for Ireland, comes from the Gaelic *īwerion for "land of abundance", the Romans didn't think so and henced transcibed the spelling into Latin as a relative of "hibernus" for "wintry".

On "Baby, Baby, All The Date Blur Together With You (When We Are Anywhere But Here)"

-- "quick", like "merry" and all the other words for happiness that stem from a sense of fleeting, originaly meant "alive".

-- "Breakfast" in German is "Frühstuck" for "and early piece". In Italian it's "colazione" as in "to collect one's self". The Spanish is "desayuno" which means to "break the fast" (from the eatless sleep) and therefore the French "petit dejeuner" means "the little fast breaker". So what the English speaking world calls "breakfast" began as a "fast breaker", which one might imagine is a time to gorge oneself, yet sounds like a "fast break", which one might imagine is just a nibble for the road. The confluence of differening times and sizes is therefore yet another epitome of "merry". It's for this reason the Englsh speaking world holds the crown for doing the first meal of the day the best.

-- Eating fast food makes one large.

On "High Fashion" and Indian words already sounding like Western words:

-- The name of the country of Chile comes either from the Quechua chin for "cold" or the Aymara tchili for "snow".

The Whole Note Has neither a Flag nor a Body

I’ve shed her she sheets
Down to the bottom of the bed
Opting instead to smother in the burden of
Were words, all dead
So confined by the constructs that
Conned her to our end
-- So bound now myself by the same aforesaid
That even her absence renders cleft the counting of the good times that were spent:
No addition can take place when the numbers are all numb
(stunned sums)
Yet still I’m tempted to admit how sad I am
If I thought she’d find it fun
Mute Muse, these lying lines
Are tattled by a tongue that weighs a ton
Bloated by blows of no’s
Deafened by definitions
That whittle wit down to its bone
And celibate her soul
What I meant has never been spoken, those were only jokes
And the pokes she misread as cloaken?
I thought I was powered to pause time uncoited
And so, look at this hack, it seems I have:
Love’s expense has imposed this sheetless sentence
Disengaged from both sound and seconds
Posed in punctuation that, though a breath, feels like a noun
At another angle an explanation, but to this degree a dash
Proceeding one after another, broken only by marbled stutters
Eeking essay of defemminate defame, like envying the professorial sash
Worn on graduation across a purple velvet dress
A silent siren distress
To mark the compromise between excitement and crass:
Up plus lull equals Dea gone null

A Visit From The Vague Angels of Vagary

I knew nothing of the myth of the Kievan Rus’ or the Jews of Birobidkhan or the Tuvans’ troubled booze, so I set my eyes on train tracked tundra spanning two continents, I mean pages, and I perused. When I awoke I was in the Ukraine, I mean Greenpoint, on the “G” so I swapped encyclopedias and leafed to IRT thinking it would say WPA or “The Great Mistake” when Brooklyn lost its City. Instead, nothing of the sort, no nothing even short, so I searched the web and as history ebbed I came up with only last year’s maps and MTA delay reports. The lack of info wore me out and once again I could not contend with my couch. This time when my eyes shut I was waiting with Keili on a platform underground and y’know what she had the gall to say to me? She said, “A tryst is not a trip unless it’s a tour not a skip” which negates the brief boulevardier and the romantic rue which is untrue which she knew, but she chooses to be stupid because she’s stupid through and through. Jen claims she’s too dumb to be manipulative so she’s a liar and a sneak. Henrietta can’t stand her too but has to work with her twice a week. That’s it, that nap was my last, afraid of what the next might bring, so I changed my shirt, unlocked my bike, and peddled across the bridge just in time to meet my girlfriend as she tallied up her ring. I was happy to see her that night and she was happy to fix me a drink.


To you (formal) / to her (singular and plural):
“The Princess and the Newt”
To you (familiar) / to him (bro):
“A Newt Can Be a Newt, a Butterfly Can Be a Butterfly, But A
Man Can’t Be a Man, the Princess Won’t Condone Such
To you (plural) / to them (mixed):
“The Princess and the Newt”

As I was using a cocktail umbrella to clean out the crepes from under my nails, Maureen dug in, “evidence of absence is not evidence of absinthe” which meant I should know the difference between silver and tin, which I do, so I stood up to dish it right back, and predictably “crack” – the wooden garnish now impaled so I resat. “Coincidentally Chris, this is no coincidence” meant I should take the blame for every time I was late (and my height), so I began my list as I did every day with a series of apologies that will never be seen, I crumpled it up and threw it at Maureen. I said, “Next to your name you’ll find a song you should know.” She read what I wrote: “Calling All Men Between The Ages of 22 and 40, Calling All Men Between The Ages.” “Yes, if I recall the lyrics ran ‘Oh please, massage my feet’” and we fell back to sleep by 8:38.

Tanakh Liner Notes

Tanakh is an incredible band from Florence. I was lucky enough to write liner notes for two of their albums.

one, 'Ardent Fevers':

‘Ardent Fevers’ slipped its way into my pocket at some point after the show in Florence, in the thick of my stomach working through the pesto lasagna I ate hours earlier, while my liver filtered the “whatever you’re having I’ll have” in my cup, after the virus known as politics ruined my chances with the previously intrigued Croat at the bar, before the party on the balcony at Pietro’s flat became the balcony at Pietro’s flat where there was once a party and now only sunlight, a swarm of mosquitoes, me, nobody else, a few birds perched in mockery, and fulfillment remained, after three weeks of tour, and before another three. It made its way out of my pocket and into the car stereo when I just couldn’t bare Colin Blundstone, Kate Bush, or Amerie’s voices any longer – thereby committing three Cardinal sins in a row – because in a frenzied rush packing for tour I neglected the importance of collecting a thorough assortment of discs to get us through. I chose quality over quantity and sometimes the maxim does not hold true. You know, I remembered very little about that first interaction with Jesse Poe when he handed “it” to me and told me about the San Francisco literary mag he wrote for. I remembered less about Jesse when ‘Ardent Fevers’ didn’t make it out of the car stereo while Alex and I drove along the Friulian seashore stopping the car only for a brief walking stretch around the palace of Miramare where we weren’t sure, nor did we care, if we were watching the sky or the sea(so mira "to look" + mare "the sea" here equals "see" + "sighed") . Then, when we pulled into the Reeperbahn and parked the car to grab some gluwein at the Wienachtsmarkt and ride the ferris wheel overlooking the city before the gig, ‘Ardent Fevers’ paused once again when I shut the engine off and I continued to remember even less about the two guys from Tanakh it seems I may have met in another life. Finally, I successfully remembered nothing of the people (dare I say peers!) behind the disc still stuck in my car stereo at five am while I drove across the Oresund bridge before the sun came up, while it snowed into my headlights, after I just dropped Young-Ah off at the Copenhagen airport and headed back to Sweden to continue tour alone. A week later I was in Glasgow and confident that I had purged Tanakh down to a pure ethereal happening, unmanly magic, so I shot a humble email into what I assumed was the dark, that is to say the address markered on the cdr, yet not only was it answered, but it came back with a copious set of tangibles you’ll find listed somewhere in the credits within. Avoid the burden they imparted upon me if you can, listener! They’re gonna give you names, dates, places, and instrumental breakdowns of how this thing came to be. There may even be a way to contact someone involved. Don’t let boredom take you there! Don’t investigate this any further than you need to. What I mean is, to say that ‘Ardent Fevers’ is an album by a band named Tanakh is already more grounding than I care to stomach. Both the words ‘Ardent Fevers’ and ‘Tanakh’ will leave you as they left me within a listen or two. You will lose interest in what chords it was they played, what city they’re from, and how many tracks you’ve listened to so far. Unless you bite the apple like I did you should begin to doubt the existence of a “they” at all in time. I am meeting Jesse Poe at a bar to hand him these liner notes in exchange for a margarita today and I hope to never see him again. Wish me luck.
With you always,

two, 'Saunders Hollow':

Piecing together Tanakh from Manhattan places me somewhere elsewhere. With every new album I'm losing grasp on which direction they're hitting me from. If though, they've come here from Italy as Giovanni Da Verrazano did when he named our harbor Lago Margherita; and if they've come to me from Virginia where the Indians once spoke a similar Algonquin to the one once spoken here, the language wherein those first Italians were referred to as "The Salty People"; and if they apparently also now come to me from Saunders Hollow, the ancient bog in Old Lyme near the Connecticut River, the river that separates remnants of two continents that crashed into each other forming a part of Pangea that then refused to part ways when the rest of Europe went back across the Atlantic; if it's fair then that in light of my excusable disorientation I'm allowed an invokation of the homophonic sum of Lyme, salt, and Margherita that slurs out another homophone by the bottom of the glass throwing me into the Indian from India debate of samay, the art of ascribing ragas to certain times of the day, seasons, and holidays, I appeal to my divided Carnatic and Hindustani masters that samay has neglected to ascribe ragas according to place as well and hence renders Tanakh free to continue blanketing us across all senses. For this time of day, in this year, at this place, Tanakh makes music in concordance with whatever harmony we may chose to argue for or against. I love this band.

Magdeleno on the Beach

Magdeleno on the Beach can also be found sung by Yours on Jeniferever’s album available through www.disrecords.com , where it is known more directly as Magdeleno.

When the gypsy read my palm she traced down some line’s crease as it splintered and divided and then looked me in the eyes. “Your future is a bell curve which is the same as hers and his and hers and if you do not stress it it will not swerve. It will remain but a bell curve with a singular ring, nothing more than a ding. Whereas if you attempt to hold it back blockading its track its timbre won’t crack, just course into a cauldron whose call drones a cacophony of strings.” And so I looked her in her eyes and to her earthen surprise I said, “Yes, yet you sit in this seat and live through others lives then take your pennies to the teller to calculate the size – another seer who’s a eunuch and every eunuch lies! What’s the other option for a bosom that denies?” “I see your point. I understand,” she said still holding my hand. And thus I anointed Lady Jesus with my oils from the sand.

Well it is too late, Rockwell is dead

When the cult urban Rapturist Rockwell asked me to write the liner notes for his "Freeplay" release I entered his world through www.millionstories.com careful to always shadow myself behind free standing gothic butresses or twitch and caw like a madman as to ward the truly mad away. Exhausted by the charade posing as naked bones posing as charade I caught a nip at a place called "The Bowery Bedoin's Boudoir" and a poet named Neverest slipped me these notes on a gin soaked doily:

Save Rockwell!

Save Rockwell! He's undersiege by droves of Khakis, some in pleats
Whose coat of arms is the Indonesian Guatamalan breakfast seed.
They're driving him crazy!
They've overrun Miladies!
This City's silent succumbing's more sinful than
Haiti's Hades!

In his palace he resees when the roadside repertoir was the repartee of homies
Not just the dwindling "ho" hollering of Christopher Street's homomies
Who even they, losing their gay
Will be leaving any day
-- With this encroachin' Hoboken
It seems impossible to stay.
But this is not Versaille, this is Marseille
Built upon the dirty word, trade –
We know when they drudge the harbor what'll turn up in the waste
And more importantly, won't they the Leviathan awake?
We have reached the precipice and now await the break.
So hurry up and meet Rockwell!
In exchange for this freeplay he asks only for a drink and if you sock him in the gut with the goad
"This one's for the City"
He'll appreciate how you think

Read on my friends. It took my a weekend to exit his site so give yourselves time because you might find a piece of yourselves already inside. I found a song of mine. A whole song! It looked like this:

107, 363
(words by Chris Leo)

Yous anemic anemonies planted in this great wait cast your seethy tentacles into the bombs and grenades amongst such an inundation something must break yet nothing's blowing by in this slight and steady wake

the Hudson doth barely lap when new battle lines are drawn The Bronx River sits still in fact I think I heard it yawn From Lenox Hill to the Gowanus one huge communal "c'mon" Yous wither in whispers for all story is gone

Scream dude I dare you but we've heard that one before and brother there isn't even contrary in perverse anymore Puglies and Drabbits, now how come they ain't never bored? Bliss for them's a bodega and some rotgut and some whores
and for us, well I think it might, look are you ready for such spite? Cowardly Courtesans I'm not kidding and it brings me no delight for us it's a fall golden chariots and all


Take a break from English and check out my Spanish childrens book illustrated by the miraculous Francesca Massai:


Abutting the Arabic "dik" with the French "Coq" as two words for "chicken" naturally washed contentness across my soul. When I later found out that "Dikika" is an Afarian word for "nipple" I thought of the "Matter of Perspective" entry and reclined rubbing my belly like it was an alabaster globe.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Let's Take the House Out, Laura

"I have never been home," hmmf,
"My tats don't trace the sum,
I have never been home,
Not when I was busy being born
between another man's legs,
Not when I was rushed off to school
while I's still eatin' my eggs,
Not when I was blitzed off my gourd
with all of my friends,
Not when the throbbing woke me in
the morning to thoughts of
'Whew! Maybe I'm dead!'
Not when, stuck at the light, it finally
hit me that maybe she's right,

Nope, I have never been home

Not when I fell asleep with my finger
on your doorbell beggin'
'let me in',
(Came close when you draped my arm
around your neck and said
'let me in'),
Not when I'd reached my point
with you the European,
me the American, so I said
'let me in',
Not when you rushin' to catch up to me,
me rushin' to catch up to you,
kept us both so thin,
Not on the day after St. Paddy's
when we could only order in
and we called up Gary and Eva and said
'Please bring gin
and quarters and pens for tallying',
Not passing through the tunnel underneath the Hudson,
regardless of which side Manhattan's on,
Not on the seaside in Cupra Marittima
wondering if it was friend or foe
that mirrored me across the Adriatic
in Dalmatia (I flexed my pecks just in case),
Not when I played hooky to masterbate
and fixate on the occupier of my seat in
absentia (be it Cynthia or just space),

I am telling you, I have never been home

Certainly not when I found out
St. Laura was a martyr against the
Americans in the War of 1812,
Especially not when, on my 33rd birthday,
I plucked this nugget of information
off a Montreal shelf,
Not -- "
"Yet, I have never left
Despite the fifths we shared
that we called sevenths of Proust,
At the eastern frontier of the bi-way
Forty Duece,
Renamed for the day
'Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess',
While across the river, above a pier,
we watched a swallow never roost,
I was home then," hmmf,
"and you do not have tatoos."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Astringent Curse of Ides Inverse

(In verse 'cause it's so funny of course)

Hear the inside story of the kneeling knaves (our faves!)
on their annual pilgimage in petrification while they drain
and whimper revokations through April's freezing rains
"I bring you offerings of rare bouquets
as overdue Praise O' Queen of the May!
Look at the alluring texts I ignore from my cat the cad
playing catamite tonight 'cause he thinks he's been bad
(aw, one could almost call it sad)
What, no one buys our guise of beholdened chalice guys?"
Mary, better bless 'em quick while the gray's still in the sky
Dudes you forget! You call your nest a vespiary and you made it out of spit
-- have no fear: you pay your penance in increments when you lay your head in it --
Look! Erica is out the door, she finally threw her fit
Gene is leafing in the listings for a new apartment sitch
Veronica's been wounded, the winter's left its stitch
and for this one spell only, you aren't held a letch
Infact the bars are loose with lightweights who've heard legends of your dick
Quit feeling jilted jaunty, Jane will soon sort through her pout
resuming seat by Steven's side, ceasing to go out
Ah, the herald falls on deaf ears while the knave's forced to behave
until the better weather arives
and the ide returns his blade