Vanitas Magazine pull-quote sequence, ala John Latta / Nick Piombino

Ann Lauterbach

"token analytic muse in the glove compartment"

Fanny Howe

"to remember ourselves / as beings with no-fire costumes on"

"Gordian brain"

Ange Mlinko

"The mythical orgone box is in the woods, pancreas of our passions"

Carol Mirakove

"epiphone at all those brazilian voters. but all this action doesn't / stop me fantasizing make-out sessions"

Judith Malina


Nada Gordon

"What, you think you're special because you have / A DIRECT LINE / TO THE SONG OF THE UNIVERSE?"

Marianne Shaneen

"this isn't the first time that this has been said for the first time"

"amorous secret encounters between here and there"

"objects are only there to hold the empty spaces together"

Sarah Manguso

"marriage partners invite me to consider the possibility of being a deer"

Elaine Equi

"no god / no countries"

Anne Waldman

"With this you will be ready to star gaze and get your revenge"

Jim Dine

"listening to the years / ooze by / I don't see / the kindness of the left / helping those millions who hate / by the river of tattletales"

Jerome Sala

once I was a hog catcher / now I tattoo fine filigrees on snowboards/ you wouldn't believe how much I love it

Carter Ratcliff

"my darling, my pretext for opening my eyes in the morning"

David Lehman

"The task of painting and installing a door is a charming respite for a soul fatigued from the struggles of life."

Francis Ponge

"the collision of words and verbal analogies being one way to scrutinize the object"

Nick Piombino

"Watching / Those birds / fly south / again // my / sky / miles / are / no // consolation"

Richard Hell

Chocolate / Figures in colored foil / Come to life and speak.

Charles Borkhuis

"don't talk to me about your nightmares"

Daniel Bouchard

"new asphalt fills the street like black snow"

"I bet the president knew how to get seriously / fucked up; I bet he knew how to do some / serious damage."

Michel Bulteau

"Rabbit's ass near the eternal. / To make the wooden sword in silk. / Huge clouds slam on the breaks. / Solitude then traverses / the non-existence of objects. The shadow swallows up the kaleidoscope."

Clayton Eshleman

"centuplicating with the beliefs of Christian reconstructionists / whose 'immortality' is posited on / the extermination of humanistic idolaters"

Alvin Curran

"Thelonious Monk discovers 'frozen' time between keys and challenges Einstein to a duel for violin and piano"

"The voice of the president commands this ragtag ensemble into convulsive action, which leads to a strategy of silence, insubordination and sex"

Martin Brody

"Irregular, analog moves (melismas and timbres) link the various planes of discrete polyphonic events, shunting smoothly between data points rather than jumping from one to another. In the end, a vertiginous, virtuosic, analog move -- a 2 + octave emblematic arabesque descending through an impossible variety of vocal timbres -- leading to, juxtaposed with, a single self-contained data point, the last word -- and now the only remaining implausible mode of address: the "natural" speaking voice, Prince saying "kiss."

Morgan Russell (writing about Lydia Lunch)

"she is more a habitual pied-a-terre full-gamut embodiment of triune goddess for me...while she might be viewed as autochthonously self-regenerating, one could also just say she is easily possessed by some aspect of the goddess & always refreshed...

Vincent Katz

Ellsworth Kelly made a proposal for the World Trade Center -- a big green shape, bright like one of his colors, of uneven sides, not, at least in the collage he made of it, to indicate a planting of grass, or actual space, but a color space, a collage that could exemplify art's ability to take over actual, mismanaged public action.
Vanitas is packed with really good poems. Hilarious intro essay by Jordan: the history of New York School poetry done completely without using names, except for Joel Lewis!


Dinosaur Jr. Central Park Summer Stage, 7/14/05

Yes it was the original line-up -- Macis: looking like a gen x Gandalf with trademark long greasy hair gone totally grey. Murph: completely bald and looking a lot like Geoffrey Young. Barlow: he aged the best.

Their nonplussed vibe on stage was hard to read at first. As it turned out, nonplussed is how these guys look when they're trying really hard to make music sound really good. It took three or four songs for them to warm up, but then the whole thing just took off: fast, aggressive, tight riff-switching parts that toggled between introverted and expansive. A true power trio, they cram as much music into every bar as possible, with everyone doubling everyone else and filling in the spaces in a way that just makes you feel like you are being given very large helpings of a dish the servers know is completely delicious. The standard talking point is Neil Young, but I couldn't help thinking Dinosaur is more like the Who in some ways, if the Who was riddled with a multidimensional and multitextured self-doubt that is.

This is the sound of socially hopeless guys who could not learn to fake the normal things people learn to fake, so instead they learned to play really well, and just hoped this would be enough to make things okay -- unassuming people unpacking a surprising amount of music from frustration and longing and a certain amount of desperation.

The report form Mascis is a detailed mass of information from a guy who didn't get the girl and will never get the girl. You can hear the songs emerging from raw unrequited love, an inability to communicate, and feebleness. But then also there is this complete awesomeness at the one thing of playing the guitar and putting these songs together. And the guitar sound is unmistakable -- biting and trebly but somehow still pliable and covering a wide spectrum of tones, suddenly uncontrollably erupting from it's own horizon to include beautiful, alienating and welcoming elements at the same time. A second later the tone recedes into a sharp, jangly clarity. What should sound like lazy, whining vocals are dropped into the power of these song parts and alchemically transformed into a melodic sensitively embedded in a block of conflicted awesomeness.

Working against a bad drum mix (maybe it's expecting a little much to have the Summerstage sound system be able to keep up with the four stacks of Marshalls that Barlow and Mascis had between them), Murph's drumming was aggressive, tasteful propulsion blending seamlessly with the other parts. It's hard to play that much and not sound busy. Barlow's picked Rickenbacker lines boomed and swerved and filled out a bed for all the noise. He has a way of emphasizing the perfect part of the chord in the song peak-outs, reinforcing the melody more than the noise.

As with the Pixies reunion, Dinosaur Jr. recreated the best things about the band without a hint of necrophilia. All the songs were from You're Living All Over Me, and Bug, with a few of the worthy tunes from the first album, like Repulsion and Forget the Swan, done with a Bug-like arrangement that made them sound much better than the original recorded versions.


I'm going to Miss L Sov@ the knit tonight because I'll be ripping into a three-song power-trio Live Aid recreation with Mr. Daniel Nester (guitar) and Mr. Gene Cawley (vocals, bass) over at the Bowery Poetry Club. What’s on the menu?

Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me," with Gene's brilliant done-as-a-T-Rex-song arrangement.

U2's "Bad" (not the 17-min version!)

Queen's "Hammer to Fall"


I seem to have overcome my inability to listen to things while they are being hyped:
iPod mini shuffle in love with Lady Sovereign today. From Run the Road.

Cha Ching -- Jessica Hopper via Jordan
Yo La Tengo at Battery Park:

Listening to music stretched on a blanket on a beautiful day with plenty of snacks sure beats standing for hours in the S and M discomfort routine of a rock club, but alas, speaker cabinets need wood to bounce sounds off of. They do not sound good outdoors. Over-zealous park organizers turned people away when the lawn wasn't even full, so we didn't get to hang out w/ Ange or Jordan.

In this setting, with trees and sunlight, Yo La Tengo did best in their quiet, casual, open song mode -- esp. w/ the breathing room created by brushes on the drums: intimate, relaxed, and operating within a carefully selected spectrum of shyness with anxiety as a back-story to give it some depth.


Jim Behrle, 6/6/05 Poetry Project
Why I Am Not Post Avant, Pressed Wafer, 2005

Jim Behrle performed this gig reclining on a piano, sporting a shiny blue wig. Three musicians provided scratchy improv accompaniment with processed dulcimer, prepared guitar and sax. Spaces of silence bubbled out from the lines and music, fully interactive. It was fantastic.

Behrle's poetry is funny on the outside, serious on the inside. You don’t have to get too far past the layers of irony and jokey self-deprecation to perceive that the mental and social particle accumulation happening in his work is deftly controlled and directed on the larger scale. The work is gross, beautiful and hilarious by turns. The humor he uses is not just crowd pleasing, it’s also a little window into a potential poetic energy liberation policy. Notice how he can handle fun and dissatisfaction simultaneously? That's difficult. Anyone can do something simplistic, but making something simple work well ain't easy. Behrle handles it with aplomb:

"Everything gets clearer after a kick in the groin"

"We met at the jaws-of-life party"

"Like I'm going to stop walking cuz some red hand tells me to"

He's trying to get the lines to sound like throwaways, but it's obvious he cares desperately about each one. The loosely assembled observations and ironic references operate under the pressure of a massive cultural fact-denial system like a bathysphere with the sea crushing down on it from all sides. You can feel the subtle shifts in scale operating within this pressure of culturally suppressed information. What information is important? Where does it fit? How does it relate to what I have to do and what I need? These shifts between the details are not jump cuts but cognitive glissandos that sound like someone looking for new paths, and not wanting to do it alone: a poetic cry for help. The ironic Lucite dive suit here is not made of the armor of defensive superiority, but of pain in the face of the pervasive cultural denial of fact staring down one's own personal reality-check.

There are audible remixed poetry parts -- Berrigan, Silliman, Padgett etc., certainly, but more importantly they are remixes of all the pathways in the mind that don't connect right when wired with the traditional schematics. These lines, details, jokes, loosened in this way, feel as though they can route the brain's electrons in ten different directions at the same time. There is an openness to searching for new connections. I can't wait to see how Behrle develops this work.


Kasey, who I believe is some kind of expert on horror films, brings up some good points about the new Romero movie.

The problem with evaluating Land of the Dead is that it's hard not to compare it in overall impact to Dawn of the Dead, Romero's masterpiece, and it's just not on that level as a film. But it's also not trying to do the same things, and it does work in the overall spectrum of the series. It's closer to an extension of the third film, Day of the Dead, an overlooked movie that earned scorn from Romero fans for not doing the same things as first two films. Though arguably not the strongest, and certainly the least popular of the first three films, it addresses new issues. Set in a military encampment within a general zombie besiegement, where there is an intra-class power struggle between scientists and soldiers.

One of the things that make the series so compelling is that the films dramatize people struggling to survive in a situation where they are caught between equally unappealing groups competing for power. This is the situation that much of the population of the world actually find themselves in. Just ask Iraq's population if they prefer Saddam or the US. The films are about issues of class warfare explored in a setting of the general breakdown of the social contract.

Dawn of the Dead is largely a critique of consumerism. It's about the dissatisfactions of comfortable, isolated, consumerist American life. It has a lot of satire in it and it is funny, though viewers who lack a gallows humor might have trouble accessing this. Like Night of the Living Dead, it also has the pervasive feeling of another reality despite the low budget, and is highly unnerving, like a hyper-real nightmare. Neither the acting nor the writing in the movie are particular stellar, but they nevertheless contribute powerfully to the feeling of another reality despite a certain awkwardness. This feeling of being immersed in another world is gradually deepened by a plot process where much of the action in the film is comprised of the characters learning and managing mundane problem solving skills within the alternate reality: how do we get to the food and water? How do we keep out the zombies? How do we enjoy ourselves? What are the rules of the new reality? This process sucks you into the film. The overall directorial vision is just incredibly strong, and the film is smart, and extremely inventive. Day of the Dead also has this pervasive feeling, and is full of interesting twists, themes and issues, but the characters aren't quite fleshed out enough to have the overall impact the of Dawn of the Dead.

The first thing I has to adjust to in the new Land of the Dead is that it wasn't particularly scary. 28 Days Later, an excellent hodge-podge of the first three Romero movies, is much scarier, and for the same reason Dawn was -- social contract breakdown and power struggle among humans with lots of mundane problem solving to suck you into the reality. I'm fairly inured to horror movies, and the film genuinely disturbed my sleep.

So Land of the Dead is not so scary, what it is is exciting, fun and kind of uplifting. It's much closer to a dystopic action film fused with a zombie movie. It bears a lot of resemblance to George Miller's Road Warrior trilogy. John Leguizamo's outfit is designed to look almost exactly like Mel Gibson's in Mad Max, and there is a scene of zombie gladiators in a cage riffing directly off of Beyond Thunderdome. The action dimension of the film does work fairly well.

Unlike Kasey, I didn't read the scene involving the navel ring as sexualized. I read it within the context of it's moment in the film: a yuppie urban elite being devoured where they shop and show off. The navel ring is an emblem of the hip side of urban status display. The lesbian scene I'm a little less clear on, but I read it as showing that zombies don't discriminate: equal-opportunity cannibalism.

The strength of the film, though, is not in how it handles these variations of who gets eaten/killed and how, but in the fact that the zombies begin to develop self-consciousness. The real heroes are not the boy scoutish leader or the tough-guy turncoat who eventually redeems himself, but the zombies themselves who begin the process of developing class consciousness in the course of the film. The most compelling scene doesn't involve decapitation or picnicking on innards. It is a long static shot of the masses of zombies lining up at the river's edge realizing, with the help of their revolutionary leader Big Daddy, that they can cross the water by just dropping into it and walking underwater. What are they going to do, drown? They have nothing to lose. This is the nascent revolutionary power of an oppressed population being born on the other riverbank: the zombies' heads emerging from the black water.