Sunday, November 22, 2009

Here are some questions that we can all shoot a gun at

I once read (and am now twisting into my own claim) that the job of the poet is to transcend the logical use of language. In most other contexts, the goal of language is to share information with as little ambiguity as possible. But poets are often purposely ambiguous. It is more expressive that way, as you can try to incorporate more shit into what you are saying.

For example. Metaphors. Your asshole is a flaming bag of dog shit. The information you wanted to share is "the egress of my digestive system feels uncomfortable," but rather than talking like an idiot with a cork blocking the heart from the respiratory system, you compared it to something different. This means when someone reads it, they are not just responding to one thing. They are responding to assholes, fire, dogs, shit, the act of leaving a flaming bag of dog shit on someone's porch, and the intensely hoped-for stomping of the bag. By saying one thing, you can say a lot of things.

I have had numerous conversations with people who are frustrated by the fact that poetry is ambiguous. I argue that this is typically the goal, so you should not try to read it as if the language is trying to be only logical. You shouldn't try to read it literally and understand the point, as if the poet hid a moral inside the poem. This can sometimes be the case, but more often, you will enjoy a good poem not because it makes you think something, but because it makes you feel something.

That being said, here are some questions. These are in the context of poetry and I guess flash fiction/prose poetry. Answer some or all. Whatever.

1) Do you like to write ambiguously and why or why not?

8) Do you like to write logically and why or why not?

116) Assuming your answer could be premeditated, and you had huge balls, what would you say to someone who interrupted you during a poetry reading and said, "that doesn't make any sense"

&) Why do many people not "get" poetry?

F5) When is using logical language in poetry a good idea?

Caps Lock) When is using ambiguous or figurative language in poetry a good idea?

Dog) How many different dogs have you petted in the last week?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

shaun and i just wrote a poem

here is how to read the poem.

and a response from shaun

Chris Newgent got a thing published

So Chris Newgent got a thing published. The thing is a short story on Everyday Genius. It's a nice thing and can be found here.

He's a Ball State alum living in Indianapolis, if that's something you want to know.

Good job, Chris.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here is a list of things to do in front of indifferent house cats

This blog is leaning toward a thing where we talk about writing so I'm going to write a list and then talk about how I wrote the list. (here's an early hint: makin' jokes)

Here is a list of things to do in front of indifferent house cats

Get naked, rapidly
Scream while pointing at your crotch
Beat box
Call that one guy who said you should call him back about that job
Leave a shitty rambling voicemail message for the job guy
Curse at yourself and the job guy
Swallow an unopened beer bottle
Rub goldfish crackers in your eyes
Stretch a fat broccoli rubber band around your neck and yell "I am not important"
Repeat as necessary until you get a job

So there's the thing. Now, here is a line-by-line analysis of how I wrote it.

Get naked, rapidly:

This is a funny thing to do, cuz cats don't care.

Scream while pointing at your crotch:

This is an even funnier thing to do cuz cats don't know how strange it is.

Beat box:

This is also funny cuz cats don't give a fuck about beat boxing.

Call that one guy who said you should call him back about that job:

Again, this is funny because cats don't know what jobs are, or what it is like to be a human searching for a career, which, by the way, is one of the worst things to have to do.

Leave a shitty rambling voicemail message for the job guy:

Funny because it elaborates on what it is like for a human to try to sound "professional," which cats could not care less about, because it doesn't pertain to cat food or getting massaged.

Curse at yourself and the job guy:

It's funny to juxtapose the human feeling of rage at the thought of being inferior to all of the competition in the job market, with a cat's blatant indifference.

Swallow an unopened beer bottle:

This would just be a crazy activity, and a cat would maybe even get a little bit spooked. That's how crazy it would be. A cat possibly getting spooked is funny.

Rub goldfish crackers in your eyes:

Cats don't understand melodrama, so it would be funny.

Stretch a fat broccoli rubber band around your neck and yell "I am not important":

Elaboration on the melodrama. Once again, cats don't give a fuck, so it's funny. This line is also about self-awareness, which cats don't have, so it would be hilarious to mention something pertaining to self-awareness in front of a thing that could not care less.

Repeat as necessary until you get a job:

This last line leaves the list "ambiguous" and leaves it open for future lists, so it is mysterious and cool and all that. There's another level of humor because a cat would not remember the other items in this list if you did them, so you could do the same exact thing and the cat would be like "whatever" and "gimme food" but you'd be getting naked rapidly all over again and ignoring its desires, cuz fuck things that don't care.

brown mfa

a link to the brown mfa blog was posted on htmlgiant yesterday. i read through the whole thing, accomplishing less than i wanted to accomplish before seeing the link. i laughed many times.

Here is a good short story by brian evenson

It's called Windeye.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Look at this fucking book review snippet for James Tate's "Worshipful Company of Fletchers: Poems."

"These new poems . . . deliver the typical Tate-esque trope de grace to all sanctimonious poses and stodgy cogitation, all verdigris-encrusted mental statuary."

Carolyne Wright what the fuck is your problem. nobody talks like this. if you're always writing like this you do not deserve that national book award you won in 1994. i am rarely this disgusted with the literary world.

We need to take back the book review. blake butler knows what the fuck i'm talking about. i will quote him from htmlgiant's mean week right n-

"Things to not say in blurbs or reviews so as to not sound like a tool: tour de force, startling, bad adverb + adjectives like furiously alive or wildly inventive or utterly involving, triumphant, [last name] swings for the fences, like [blank] on crack, like [blank] on LSD, romp, rollicking, breathless, a unique voice, poignant, sexy (horny is OK), well-wrought, death rattle, tongue fart doublespeak like dizzyingly-high-concept debut of genuine originality, any reference to Dada or surrealism, any employment of the phrase experimental, neo-anything, any vague or direct use of the phrase meditation such as resonant meditations, “[last name] really sings,” cautionary tale, anything about Kafka or Carver or Bukowski, any reconjuring of the phrase reminds us what it is to be human…"

ow. if people can't fucking wrap their minds around the two fucking sentences you applied to a book, how do you think that's going to make them want to buy anything you like? THIS IS AMERICA SO SPEAK AMERICAN. we're going to start talking about how words are badass and books are compilations of badass and poets fuck shit up with badass shitfuckers. we need to take our opinions about poetry and blast people in the face with some kind of word shotgun. no more of this faux-intellectual bullshit. no more of the word faux. like i said SPEAK AMERICAN. if i don't start seeing shit that actually makes me want to buy a book instead of throw up, i will start breaking things, expensive things, things that you like. WHOSE STREETS OUR STREETS

Here is a list of places to take a hot date to show them you really think they are hot

A cemetery at night, without flashlights, so the two of you can trample the dead and show them you are better off
A thick forest at night, without flashlights, so the two of you can carve your own chaotic track
An abandoned warehouse at night, without flashlights, so the two of you can stumble over inconsequential machines and merchandise
A zoo at night, with flashlights, so the two of you can see the dark reflections in scared animal eyes
The sun, so the two of you can attempt to grasp the enabler of life, and not survive
A black hole, so the two of you can experience existence with no expectations
A park, so the two of you can slide down slides, especially the spiral kind
A museum at night, with candles, so the two of you can find a dinosaur's ribcage and wine and dine inside extinction
A prison at night, with flashlights, so the two of you can chloroform the guards, release the prisoners, dropkick the circuit breakers, and run like hell
A stranger's funeral, so the two of you can engage in some good ol' schadenfreude, and stop for ice cream on the way home
An unharvested field of corn at night, without flashlights, so the two of you can uproot living things without hearing them scream
A cool Japanese hibachi grill restaurant where the cooks cook and put on a show right in front of you, so the two of you can slyly throw dead bumble bees at the cooks
A school for midwifery at night, with flashlights, so the two of you can wake those bitches up
A candy factory, for obvious reasons
Your bedroom, for obvious reasons
An old folks home, to deliver S&M gear
A date rape drug manufacturing plant, so the two of you can feed the pills to the workers and arrange their limp bodies in sexual positions, so they can all have a hearty laugh when they wake up
A swan paddle boat ride at night, with flashlights, on a city street
A hill that overlooks the valley of Armageddon, so the two of you can throw unlit fireworks into it

Friday, November 13, 2009

your dad went to college

does anyone read this blog other than the five of us?

tomaz salamun

this guy read at csu's art museum last night. he's from slovenia. his poems were very strange and surreal and badass.

i don't know what he's standing in front of in the picture. i think that's what houses look like in slovenia.

he read some of his poems in slovenian, which sounded awesome. booyah.

i feel like a frat boy talking action film tits.

you can read some of his poems here.


I went to VGR today to look at records and pick up a DEATHMARCH cd because I don't have one(???) and they're all out! WE'RE FAMOUS

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

serenading charles nelson reilly

Here are two prose poems by Danish poet Carsten Rene Nielsen from The World Cut Out With Crooked Scissors. read them

The elephant on the mural in the Church of Birkerod is highly unusual. It has no trunk, but rather a snout in the shape of a horn on an old gramophone. It's slender as a racehorse; its thick tail splits into three. Instead of hoove-like nails, it has on its feet four elaborately curving claws of ivory. In contrast, it has no tusks, and its neck is equipped with large, serrated scales like a crocodile's. Most of all I love its round white eyes, each with a great black pupil, lending it a sad and at the same time utterly baffled expression. Like it knows that it's been painted all wrong.

We are naming the birds, and to what use: under the ice of the inlet a skeleton swims with eyes wide-open; at the cemetery the much-too-soon dead lie eating themselves. It is winter, and a bare tree scrapes with its branches on the fire door of the gray sky.

have a nice day

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Simic to Bailey, Simic to Bailey: I Read You. Over.

I been reading me some Charles Simic dese days. A book of his selected and late pomes called The Voice at 3:00 A.M. Having just finished it tonight, I'm going to post a couple pomes that I really enjoyed from the book's final section entitled New [Pomes].


That's why only a couple of people wait outside.
They are strangers and the shadows of columns obscure them even further.
The windows across the avenue are no longer lit.
Everyone else must be asleep or nearly so.
The guard will be along any moment with the keys.
Or he may have come already and unlocked the doors.

At this late hour, they keep the museum dark,
Relying on lit candles in paintings to provide the light.
The Egyptian death masks are waiting.
The statues of naked Greek goddesses
And the Dutch interiors with canopied marriage beds.
You expect the couple to keep close together, but no.
She's off to another wing where there is a show
Of black-and-white photographs of small children
And he wants to see the martyrs in their torments.

It's up to us to divine what happens next.
The woman has found a bench to sit on.
She can't see the photos but she believes she hears
The rustle of the girls' stiff dresses
As they stir slightly before the hooded camera.

Miraculously, the man has been able to discern
The pale sky above some saint's head.
Dawn is breaking, clouds are racing in the sky
While they get ready to torment him.
His eyes, turned heavenward, remain invisible,
And so do his bleeding wounds
Despite all the red paint the painter had used.

In truth, I've no idea what became of the couple.
The museum has a number of paintings
With distant hillside towns no one ever notices.
They may be in one of them, alone or together,
Hugging the walls of narrow, winding streets,
And then, they might not be there at all
Or for that matter anywhere else I can think of.


Night fell without asking
For our permission.
Mary had a headache,
And my eyes hurt
From squinting at the newspapers.

We could still make out
A few old trees in the yard.
They take it as it comes.
Separate truths
Do not interest them.

We'll have to run for it, I said,
And I had no idea what I meant.
The coming of the inevitable,
What a strange bliss that is,
And I had no idea what she meant.

Next on the reading list is Dan Bailey's (who's that?) Drunk Sonnets.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Here is a list of last names I always thought would be great to have

Van Cuntbucket

Here is a list of lists I am planning on posting

Here is a list of last names I always thought would be great to have
Here is a list of places to take a hot date to show them you really think they are hot
Here is a list of things to do in front of indifferent house cats
Here is a list of activities for when you are babysitting
Here is a list of fun things to jump over

Here is a list of living things that can be really funny if you just let them

Bumble bees
Chet Atkins
Saguaro cacti
That's it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

joey git sum wine in him and open up da doors of da brain and let da finger tips tap dance on da keyboard

I guess there's the horrible question
of how the first things ever began
but first, there's the matter of why and how
we even care about the beginning
or what exactly the first things were
and in order to do that, we have to
ignore the gardens our gardeners
gardened inside our souls, but then
maybe we need to talk about souls
and there's not much to say about souls
except that they exist as a concept
but we have no instruments to measure them
or senses to sense them, but sometimes
people say the soul weighs a little bit
and you become slightly lighter when you die
but then that could be a myth
as we know that myths are very common
and then other people say that the soul is where
our emotions are imprisoned, and we feel
emotions all the time, but feel, in this case
is not referring to the sense of touch
because we know we cannot feel sadness
on our fingers, but then sometimes the body
does act funny when we feel sadness
so in some regard we feel something
but sadness does not feel like the dirt
or like hair when the wind pushes it
so where were we? I think we were talking
about gardens and those fallible gardeners
who kept trenching our organs
and walking through the rows of our bones
and you know when you really imagine it
our skeletons are like stalks of corn
but not the exact same, just similar
and our hair is like grass growing on a hill
but that's not really what we are talking about
because we're here to talk about the gardeners
who kept mowing down our crops in the fall
and waited for the freeze to end so they could try
and get us back up to where we were
and that whole thing is crazy because we were
doing so well before they ended it all
you'd think they had no emotions
which brings us to the question of whether or not
emotions have physical substance
and they say emotions are from the heart
but all I know is that hearts throb with red liquid
and I don't think emotions are in the red liquid
they are somewhere else, if they are anywhere
which brings us to whether or not concepts
or emotions or other abstract things
which we have words for, and which we can talk about,
do those things exist somewhere?
do they even have to exist somewhere in order to exist?
maybe things don't need location, they just need thing-ness
and we need to be able to identify the thing-ness
although do we have to be able to recognize a thing
in order for it to exist? many kinds of flowers
existed before we ever saw what they looked like
and before we had names for them
but then we have to talk about whether or not
existing is something that is only important to humans
because, as far as we know, there are no other
sentient beings, but the likelihood is pretty high
but we just don't know, and all of this not knowing
is starting to get really old because I want to know
and I know that you want to know too
and we can will something into existence
in our minds, but not in physical space
which brings us to whether or not something
needs to exist in physical space in order to exist
and when this all piles up into question after question
without an answer, it starts to get to you
so you stop thinking about it because you don't
want to start creating myths to explain everything
but you can't just ignore the questions forever
because then you would be lying to yourself
and that is no way to exist, if we are even existing at all
but it seems we are, so maybe that's not
a good thing to bring up, but to set the record
straight, I say we are existing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

posting poems here

i feel like this isn't the place to post our poetry or whatever. i think we should keep that to ourselves and work on it with our own brains/hearts. i want hearts to come before brains like hearts/brains like the heart is inside the skull and the brain down lower like when you make out with someone their tongue will always be way closer to your heart than your brain.

let's work on being alive and loving some.

do you ever feel worthless?

Monday, November 2, 2009

a beautiful cinquain

i love chicken
i love liver
meow mix
meow mix
please deliver

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hate on One's Head, and also Hair

Here are some people who deliberately existed somewhere and under certain controlled conditions. It has been documented, so please examine the evidence. Wait a second. Who are you? I'll have you know this is a restricted area. Only those involved with the evidence may enter this section of the premises. You are unwanted here, although, perhaps you may want to stay and examine the evidence with me, since you look like a perplexed and reasonable individual with an efficient pointer finger.

Well, what do you think? Do you not agree that those people are existing quite deliberately? It seems self-evident, but we are just double-checking. Direct your attention to the room in which those people are existing. You cannot disagree that rooms are somewhere, so, by default, anything within the room is also somewhere. It just makes sense. Those people are, without a doubt, in the room, and furthermore, they have decorated it with their intentions, which you can observe scattered about the room.

It doesn't matter what their faces look like, nor does it matter how much time they spent preparing for the documentation of their existence in that room. What matters is that we are now observing the evidence, applying fair judgment, and appending the whole analysis to our collective consciousness, in order that we might accurately dislike these people.

Now, let us go have sexual adventures with numerous transvestites simultaneously.