Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Guess Entering a Sex Cinema Dressed in a Black Shirt, Jeans with the Crotch Removed, and a Machine Gun Slung Over Her Shoulder Is Not in the Cards Now

Fell asleep listening to, woke up with Durutti Column in my head. Be in yours.

Saw The Grand Budapest Hotel last night with Earthgirl and Planet. I liked it, with quibbles, but I am not qualified to judge movies. Or rather, I don't feel qualified to judge movies like I feel qualified to judge music or novels or poetry. Whether I am qualified to judge music or novels or poetry is up to you. I think I am, though your opinion may differ. I just rarely watch movies. This is not a moral decision - I like watching movies, I don't think it wrong to watch movies - it is a decision based on recognition of my personal finite time and my tendencies towards obsession. Long ago, forty years ago, I made the conscious choice to obsess over music and novels and poetry at the expense of drama and cinema. I do not regret the choice - I love music, novels, poetry. It was the right choice for me. I'd make it again. Of course I have seen movies in those forty years, but whenever I have felt the urge to learn more about cinema - and I do not have even the most rudimentary knowledge of basic cinematography nor the history of movies (for instance, when I mentioned to friends I was offered tickets to The Grand Budapest Hotel they said, oh, I love Wes Anderson (not Carpenter, as I wrote at first, to Richard's amusement), and I said who? and they looked at me and said, you know, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, and I said, what?) - I deliberately chose to squelch that urge. I have only so much time to feed the obsessions I already have. It occurs to me this morning that I unconsciously picked Durutti Column last night to appease my music obsessions for having betrayed them for spending two hours watching a movie, choosing a sound I hold holy.

(What I was reminded of most last night as I sat in the next to back row of a Bethesda Row Landmark Theater is how much I hate going to movie theaters, the buttered popcorn smell, the cavernous sterility that produces acute anxiety in me, the sitting in the dark with strangers. I like to think I chose music and novels and poetry forty years ago at the expense of cinema and drama because I genuinely prefer them - and I believe that to be true - but I hated to go to theaters then when DVDs and streaming movies in solitude, in light, in my own space, was unimaginable, and I'm certain that hate was a contributing factor in my choice of obsessions.)

Reading is harder, physically harder, these days. My eyes strain easier now I'm older. I can't read in bed, I fall asleep, fall into those daytime naps that leave me unpleasantly buzzed and yellow when I wake up. I don't try anymore. Now, my mind tells me, now is the time to turn to cinema for those reasons alone. That doesn't seem honorable, turning to a new obsession because my eyes are getting too old and strained for old obsessions. Silly, but there it is, I feel morally compelled to maintain loyalty to obsessions even if the time given to those obsessions is spent on bad sleep and dull headaches caused by eye strain.

I'll see. Perhaps someday I'll solicit advice and syllabi from you for a Freshman class in what movies I should have in my mental cultural database. It's improbable though no longer impossible that I'd ask.


Stephanie Young

after Bernadette Mayer

I guess it's too late to live on the farm

I guess it's too late to enter the darkened room in which a single light
illuminated the artist stripped from the waist down, smeared with
blood, stretched and bound to the table

I guess it's too late to inhabit a glass-fronted, white, box-like room,
dressed in white, against which the menstrual blood was visible

I guess it's too late to start farming

I guess it's too late to start struggling to remain standing in a
transparent plastic cubicle filled with wet clay, repeatedly slipping and

I guess it's too late to buy 60,000 acres in Marfa

I guess it's too late to begin appearing on the subway in stinking
clothes during rush hour with balloons attached to her ears, nose, hair
and teeth

I guess we'll never have an orgiastic Happening

I guess we're too old to carry out maintenance activities in public
spaces, during public hours

I guess we couldn't afford to simulate masturbation while President
Josip Broz Tito's motorcade drove by below

I guess we're not suited to "I am awake in the place where women die"

I guess we'll never have a self-inflicted wound in front of an audience now

I guess entering a sex cinema dressed in a black shirt, jeans with the
crotch removed, and a machine gun slung over her shoulder is not in
the cards now

I guess Clive wouldn't make a good photographic montage in which
their male and female faces became almost indistinguishable

I guess I can't expect we'll ever have a selection of photographs derived
from images produced by the beauty industry now

I guess I'll have to give up all my dreams of being seen, clothed and
unclothed, being systematically measured by two male 'researchers'
who record her measurements on a chart and compare them with a set
of 'normal' measurements

I guess I'll never be waiting for my body to break down, to get ugly

We couldn't get tied together by our hair anyways though Allen
Ginsberg got one late in life

Maybe someday I'll have the foreshortened barrel of a gun pointing
toward the viewer

I guess joining our hands around the base's perimeter fence into which
they weave strands of wool is really out

Feeding the pigs and the chickens, walking between miles of rows of crops

I guess examining women's working conditions is just too difficult

We'll never have a, never-really-a-collective, a group of women who
came together to work on a public mural

Too much work and still to be poets

Who are the simultaneously-the-beneficiary-of-our-cultural-heritage-

Was there ever a poet who had a self-sufficient loss of certainty

Flannery O'Connor raised peacocks

And Wendell Berry has raised large-scale spirals of rusted industrial
materials in incongruous natural and commercial spaces

Faulkner may have spent three days in a gallery with a coyote, a little

And Robert Frost asked a friend to shoot him at close range with a .22

caliber rifle

And someone told me Samuel Beckett lay hidden under a gallery-wide
ramp, masturbating while vocalizing into a loudspeaker his fantasies
about the visitors walking above him

Very few poets are really going to the library carrying a concealed tape
recording of loud belches

If William Carlos Williams could be a doctor and Charlie Vermont too,
If Yves Klein could be an artist, and Jackson Pollock too,

Why not a poet who was also dying of lymphoma and making a series of
life size photographs, self-portrait watercolors, medical object-sculptures
and collages made with the hair she lost during chemotherapy

Of course there was Brook Farm
And Virgil raised bees
Perhaps some poets of the past were overseers of the meticulous
chronicle of the feeding and
                    excretory cycles of her son during the first six months of his life
I guess poets tend to live more momentarily
Than life in her body as the object of her own sculpting activity would allow
You could never leave the structures made of wood, rope and concrete
blocks assembled to form
                    stocks and racks, to give a reading
Or to go to a lecture by Emerson in Concord
I don't want to be continuously scrubbing the flesh off of cow bones
with a cleaning brush but
                    my mother was right
I should never have tried to rise out of the proletariat
Unless I can convince myself as Satan argues with Eve
That we are among a proletariat of poets of all the classes
Each ill-paid and surviving on nothing
Or on as little as one needs to survive
Steadfast as any person's glottis, photographed with a laryngoscope,
speaking the following
                    words: "The power of language continues to show its trace for
a long time after silence"
                    and fixed as the stars
Tenants of a vision we rent out endlessly


  1. Fine Metaphors Abound in this post, bdr. Certainly way beyond words of comment by a rodent. I am looking forward to some hiking and DCU updates over the next few days.

  2. nice to see your writing at length today , of this being your blo g , your tell, / du rutti is of the summer for me , so fitting , and of fitting to these places of more warming than others ,of my of the lakes near , and of an iceberg sh' is , /of films , i love falling in to the larger screen of cinema, i'm that odd girl that goes closer to the screen , sits and waves in , mostly alone .. .