Saturday, April 7, 2012

As Absolutely Devoid of Meaning as a French Horn

So now the firestorm is what some fuck at National Review typed re: white parental advice to their children re: niggers, and jesus fucking christ this is gonna be the shittiest summer ever since the last until the next. I've thought about creating a gadget box to track the worst media or bleggal firestorm ever since the last until the next, and Hey! Did you know Washington DC has a professional soccer team?


Jack Spicer

"Indefiniteness is an element of the true music."
The grand concord of what
Does not stoop to definition. The seagull
Alone on the pier cawing its head off
Over no fish, no other seagull,
No ocean. As absolutely devoid of meaning
As a French horn.
It is not even an orchestra. Concord
Alone on a pier. The grand concord of what
Does not stoop to definition. No fish
No other seagull, no ocean—the true

Friday, April 6, 2012

Born Eighty-One Years Ago Saturday


Donald Barthelme

Well, we had all these children out planting trees, see, because we figured that ... that was part of their education, to see how, you know, the root systems ... and also the sense of responsibility, taking care of things, being individually responsible. You know what I mean. And the trees all died. They were orange trees. I don’t know why they died, they just died. Something wrong with the soil possibly or maybe the stuff we got from the nursery wasn’t the best. We complained about it. So we’ve got thirty kids there, each kid had his or her own little tree to plant and we’ve got these thirty dead trees. All these kids looking at these little brown sticks, it was depressing.

Keep the Mannequin Secrets to Yourself

I had a girlfriend back in my early 20s who claimed she'd chained herself to virgin forest tree trunks in Oregon, I said at Thursday Night Pints, two of those there who'd heard this story before, just like you long-timers here, one who hadn't. Not the tug-of-war trope again, said D. Again, said L. K had asked me why I still enjoy raking myself with politics if I think all teams collude to advance the league and I think any given moment is as good as humans as animals can be. The tug-of-war, I said to K, those on the ends tug for millimeters in the middle, without those tugs those millimeters would be lost, and slope and new starting lines and stuff. The silence of an and. K got up to buy a round, it was about the fuck time, hugs and kisses. You didn't answer the question, said L. There was a question? I asked.


Adam Clay

Twenty-three percent when placed under
intense pressure did in fact kick
the door in. Soldiers creep on the other side
of the turn. Every little thing
is destined for ease. Music, be still.
Keep the mannequin secrets
to yourself. Remember a ladder
can take you both up and down.
The weather grows less stable
than us. This line here is where
the season starts. Spring seems
fluorescently golden. Too much
milk in the fridge. When left alone
long enough, the prisoners
began to interrogate themselves.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Very Flatness of Portrait Makes for Nostalgia in the Connoisseur

Actually Rick Santorum's name did come up that Monday morning in the Zanesville HIE's breakfast lounge, and yes, the reaction, out of a dozen people not me, was more mixed than the group-panning of both Mitt Obama (mittobama - trademark!) and Barack Romney. None were - or pronounced him or herself as - a Santorum zealot, though more than half said they voted for him for the cultural war reasons for which we measure them so contemptuously. One fireman said, Santorum has zero chance of ever being president, he's too honorable to be electable, even within the Republican Party. A Mary Kay representative said, too bad, he'd be a great president. No he wouldn't, said another Mary Kay representative, he'd be another Jimmy Carter.

Yeah, that was easy, but it's a great song plus I truly didn't do proper by Richard Thompson's birthday, so songs today. I've read Romney's new spearhead is Obama being caught on mic promising he doesn't give a flying fuck about public opinion beyond the necessary winking bullshit needed to get reelected, wait until after the election when we Corporate assholes can operate as the Corporate assholes we are, Romney's attack so perfectly apt and correct and prismatically ironic I hope it fucking works from now until November since it will be true next January no matter which Corporate asshole is elected.


Rae Armantrout

The very flatness
of portraits
makes for nostalgia
in the connoisseur.

Here's the latest
little lip of wave
to flatten
and spread thin.

Let's say
it shows our recklessness,

our fast gun,

our self-consciousness
which was really

our infatuation
with our own fame,

our escapes,

the easy way
we'd blend in

with the peasantry,

our loyalty
to our old gang

from among whom
it was our nature

to be singled out.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Next Six Hours: 146 to 70 to 470 to 70 to 79 to 68 to 70 to 270 to 355 to U-Turn at the Second Light

That's at a gas station in New Concord Ohio midway through our last day of driving on eastern Ohio two-lane highways yesterday. I prefer to think of the second word as an adjective rather than a noun, but I'm a self-centered ass. We're driving home early, a few minutes and cups of coffee after I post this (and it's all I had in me late last night), so photos, mostly, though I do want to note the newest addition to Me and Mine. Here's my birding station:

Sixty-Three Today

Your Eyes Green Even Though Your Driver's License Says Otherwise

One can't help overhearing the conversations in the breakfast lounges of Holiday Inn Expresses. There's both a Mary Kay mini-convention and a fire equipment mini-convention currently at the one in Zanesville, the lounge is filled with Mary Kay saleswomen with full Mary Kay hair and make-up, mostly crew-cut men in their respective districts lettermen's jackets and sweatshirts. The giant flat-screen above the gas fireplace is set to Fox News. I'm often, and rightfully, accused of holding Middle Americans in snide contempt as right-wing know-nothings, and when Fox News first flashes to an anti-Obama story and everyone in the room groans in loathing for Obama soft waves of familiar uh-huh ripple over me, but then Fox News follows up with a story about Romney, everyone in the room groans with contempt for the Stiff One. A firefighter says, too loudly, to his table mates, fuck them both, there's not a shit's worth of difference, quickly realizes he spoke too loud, turns to an adjacent table full of Mary Kay representatives, and apologizes for his language. All four Mary Kay representatives laugh, one louder than the others, who then says, they're all lying, self-serving fuckers. All laugh.


Dean Young

Sleep well. A gland in the command
center releases its yellow hornet
to tell you you're missing the point,
the point being that getting smacked
by a board, gored by umbrellas, tongue-
lashed by cardiologists, bush-wacked
by push-up bras is a learning experience.
Sure, you're about learned up. Weren't
we promised the thieves would be punished?
Promised jet-packs and fleshy gardenias
and wine to get the dust out of our mouths?
And endless forgiveness? A floral rot
comes out of the closet, the old teacher's
voice comes out of the ravine, red-wings
in rushes never forget their rusty-hinged
song. Moon-song, dread-song, hardly-a-song
at all song. Let's ignore that call,
let someone else stop Mary from herself
for the 80th time. It's never really dark
anyway, not even inside the skull. Take
my hand, fellow figment. Every spring
we'll meet, definite as swarms of stars,
insects over glazed puddles, your eyes
green even though your driver's license
says otherwise. And yes, mortal knells
in sleepless hours, hollow knocks of empty
boats against a dock but still the mind
is a meadow, the heart an ocean even though
it burns. As long as there's a sky, someone
will be falling from it. After molting,
eat your own shucked skin for strength,
keep changing the subject in hopes
that the subject will change you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

60 to 78 to 13 to 50 to 144 to 124 to 50 to 339 to 60 to 83 to 78 to 284 to 146

Saw two lock and dams, the one above on the Muskingum south of Zanesville near McConnellsville, another gigantic (and remarkably unphotogenic and sadly bargeless) one on the Ohio at Reedsville, near Forked Run State Park. The fourteen miles of Ohio 78 between McConnellsville and Glouster is as pretty a road I've driven since California 128 four years ago on another vacation and another blog. I'll post more photos tomorrow. Glouster, however,

a quick left on Ohio 13 after 78 dead-ends into it, is as depressed and dilapidated a dying grandpa town as I've ever seen (and I'm from the Mon Valley, from Fayette County dead company coal towns, I've seen dying grandpa towns), four wheel-chaired vets smoking cigarettes (two with oxygen-tubes) in front of the plywood-windowed and No Trespassing stenciled abandoned VFW. Two miles of road, from gorgeous Spring to decayed Fall.

Lunch in Athens, on the main drag of Ohio University. I work in academia, I work in a library, two years ago this time we'd started our college tours with Planet, I like to visit colleges and universities, I like to visit their libraries. Ohio University is pretty, the library is yet another (they are EVERYWHERE) 1970s brutalist academic library. Low-ceilinged, atrium-repressed. Earthgirl asked me what I knew about Ohio University, is it considered better than Ohio State or visa versa, hey, anyone from Ohio read this shitty blog that can answer that please? All I'd ever heard is that it's major Greek, and to judge from the endless blocks of frats and sororities heading out of town, probably true.

That's my bird on twelve at Forked Run, one of only five of twenty-four holes worth playing, the only five I played, up one side of a wooded hill, down the other. All other holes open-field hurls. Not much of interest potential-painting for Earthgirl either, though a pretty drive to and from, and this sign exiting the park, should we have wanted to choose a church. More tomorrow, or not.

Croon Self-Lullabies

For those of you tuning in for the first time in a few days, I'm typing this in the breakfast lounge of the Holiday Inn Express in Zanesville Ohio. It's Earthgirl's Spring Break, we drove out to Bamgier to visit Planet this past Saturday and Sunday. Today we're taking scenic routes down through Athens (to see for what the fuck) then on to Forked Run State Park - Earthgirl will take photos and draw for future potential paintings, I'm gonna throw plastic at metal, 24 holes. We'll then take an alternative scenic route back to Zanesville. We get to see Planet one more time Tuesday before we drive home Wednesday. Only perhaps a tenth of the people who regularly read give a flying fuck about these posts on my indulging my comfortable and not-regretted one fucking bit complicity, and oh the fuck well, they are my favorite posts.

Those two above photos are from the clay-throwing house at Bamgier, the bridge below some of you may recognize from Earthgirl's painting, it's the railroad bridge over the Muskingum River in Zanesville, the photo below is also in Zanesville, a real Sinclair sign, one I hadn't seen in at least three decades; it whacked by nostalgia nerve. Still, I'm such an attention slut and blogwhore, I can't avoid engaging the clusterfuck too, have some links, in no particular order than the order in which I find them, with the exception of the first: The most important thing you'll read today. Thinking out loud about race. A quantum theory of Mitt Romney. What does civilian control of the military mean in a demotic age? Occupy accessibility. On the Matt Bai piece. Conservative bullyingThe day moves along. Incoming books. The open road and the traffic stop. If you meet a man on the road, castrate him. Fake.


James Wright


My name is James A. Wright, and I was born
Twenty-five miles from this infected grave,
In Martins Ferry, Ohio, where one slave
To Hazel-Atlas Glass became my father.
He tried to teach me kindness. I return
Only in memory now, aloof, unhurried,
To dead Ohio, where I might lie buried,
Had I not run away before my time.
Ohio caught George Doty. Clean as lime,
His skull rots empty here. Dying’s the best
Of all the arts men learn in a dead place.
I walked here once. I made my loud display,
Leaning for language on a dead man’s voice.
Now sick of lies, I turn to face the past.
I add my easy grievance to the rest:


Doty, if I confess I do not love you,
Will you let me alone? I burn for my own lies.
The nights electrocute my fugitive,
My mind. I run like the bewildered mad
At St. Clair Sanitarium, who lurk,
Arch and cunning, under the maple trees,
Pleased to be playing guilty after dark.
Staring to bed, they croon self-lullabies.
Doty, you make me sick. I am not dead.
I croon my tears at fifty cents per line.


Idiot, he demanded love from girls,
And murdered one. Also, he was a thief.
He left two women, and a ghost with child.
The hair, foul as a dog’s upon his head,
Made such revolting Ohio animals
Fitter for vomit than a kind man’s grief.
I waste no pity on the dead that stink,
And no love’s lost between me and the crying
Drunks of Belaire, Ohio, where police
Kick at their kidneys till they die of drink.
Christ may restore them whole, for all of me.
Alive and dead, those giggling muckers who
Saddled my nightmares thirty years ago
Can do without my widely printed sighing
Over their pains with paid sincerity.
I do not pity the dead, I pity the dying.


I pity myself, because a man is dead.
If Belmont County killed him, what of me?
His victims never loved him. Why should we?
And yet, nobody had to kill him either.
It does no good to woo the grass, to veil
The quicklime hole of a man’s defeat and shame.
Nature-lovers are gone. To hell with them.
I kick the clods away, and speak my name.


This grave’s gash festers. Maybe it will heal,
When all are caught with what they had to do
In fear of love, when every man stands still
By the last sea,
And the princes of the sea come down
To lay away their robes, to judge the earth
And its dead, and we dead stand undefended everywhere,
And my bodies—father and child and unskilled criminal—
Ridiculously kneel to bare my scars,
My sneaking crimes, to God’s unpitying stars.


Staring politely, they will not mark my face
From any murderer’s, buried in this place.
Why should they? We are nothing but a man.


Doty, the rapist and the murderer,
Sleeps in a ditch of fire, and cannot hear;
And where, in earth or hell’s unholy peace,
Men’s suicides will stop, God knows, not I.
Angels and pebbles mock me under trees.
Earth is a door I cannot even face.
Order be damned, I do not want to die,
Even to keep Belaire, Ohio, safe.
The hackles on my neck are fear, not grief.
(Open, dungeon! Open, roof of the ground!)
I hear the last sea in the Ohio grass,
Heaving a tide of gray disastrousness.
Wrinkles of winter ditch the rotted face
Of Doty, killer, imbecile, and thief:
Dirt of my flesh, defeated, underground.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

229 to 62 to 514 to 226 to 3 to 250 to 39 to 62 to 36 to 308 to 229 to 62 to 586 to 146

Long five hour drive today, Ohio 229 to US 62 to Ohio 514 to Ohio 226 to Ohio 3 to US 250 to lunch in Wooster (we wanted to see College of Wooster for what the fuck - it's pretty) where we discovered a Hungarian pastry and coffee shop that served omelette rolls.

Mine was chicken and asparagus, Earthgirl's spinach and feta (Planet had an authentic Hungarian poppy and nut roll), freaking delicious, never had anything like it, we're going back. Then east US 250 through Mount Eaton, Wilmot, Strasburg to Dover then west Ohio 39 through the heart of Holmes County, a crass and vulgar Amish theme park mostly though, Millersburg, the county seat, home of

was pleasant, charming, normal, then US 62 again to US 36 to Ohio 308 back to Bamgier. Looks like a small circle on the map, felt more encompassing. Left Planet to do homework - we then took Ohio 308 to Ohio 229 to Union Church Road to US 62 to Ohio 586 to Ohio 146 to Zanesville; we're about to go out to dinner near the railroad bridge that Earthgirl painted that I've posted here before. Tomorrow we explore southeast Ohio below I-70. If I engage the standard clusterfuck tonight I'll post some links and photos in the morning; if I don't engage the standard clusterfuck tonight I'll just post some photos. I hope for the latter; knowing me I'd guess the former.

Planet Sunday

Wonderful dinner with the above artist and her friends last night. View at sunrise out hotel window this morning below. More tomorrow, or not.