Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why You Should Love Assholes

I'd like to direct your attention to the discussion Amy King began last weekend. She was surprised by the overwhelming heteronormativeness she sees taking place in the new gurlesque poetry anthology. Being that the Riot Grrl movement was invoked by the editors, and given other ramifications that the editors say make gurlesque poems and visual art, Amy asks the question: are there not l/g/b/t poets whose work falls into the gurlesque category? (You can read Lara Glenum's comments here). I think it's a really valid question to ask, especially regarding gurlesque, since female sexuality (gothic, grotesque, burlesque/performative, feminine, and mechanized) is at the forefront of gurlesque dealings. I love gurlesque poetry, I love finding poems that I think falls into the gurlesque specifications, and I love artwork that I think is gurlesque. (Lara Glenum's books are pretty powerful and have changed my approach to poetry and language). Lara Glenum wrote an interesting piece about how Lady Gaga is gurlesque. The sunglasses made from lit cigarettes! How could she see except with machine eyes! Loving this new genre/school/aesthetic of poetry and thinking, I couldn't help but feel sad that Amy didn't find the Lady Gaganess, the performative blurred lines from a highly sexualized woman embracing queerness, in all respects. A few months ago, I put together a list of gurlesque poetry, using only books I had at home, and I now wonder if it was a hetero heavy list and how the list would've changed. Amy raises a valid point, a complicated one, an interesting one.

For a long time I've felt we should all write more about assholes. It takes the gender out of the whole thing. There isn't fairer genitalia than the asshole. We all have one. Some of them are pinker than others. Some of them are hairier than others. Some of them have hairs in the crumbs. Some of them look like slits. I mean, crumbs in the hair. You can put things in it or next to it. Asshole skin is soft and dotty. Gosh, I'm not sure if there's anything I talk about more than poop and poop comes out of all of our assholes. Some of our assholes have fissures. And they all do that cute puckering up thing when we tell it to. Or not! Sometimes it puckers on its own! I knew a kid who lit his farts on fire. I have two friends who love talking about polyps and butt doctors. There are even butt doctors who specialize in the asshole!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

How Will You Know Who Anyone Is

At least once a week I think about Keith Newton's poem, "I Lived Among Girls." This poem somehow encompasses everything you've ever read and everything you've ever felt. It's cyclical in the way Keith Newton is with his poems--controlled yet with quite expansive growth, reaching, a honing in, layering, then a letting go. "I Lived Among Girls" addresses searching, understanding. First there's an acknowledgment that what we're all looking for is kind of the same, something we want better or back, something we've never had before, something someone else has, something from someone else. Beauty. All the people who come and go in our lives get blurred and we don't mean for it to happen, but it does. When they are not blurred, we recognize how different we are, how strange we are. "Let us see how far away we are." The force of experience weighs on our memories.

You probably already saw this on Jules' blog a long time ago, but the poem was made into a film. The poem collaborates both with the Portastatic song, "I Wanna Know Girls" as well as images from the film. Newton refracts "I wanna know girls" to "I lived among girls" and does this quite a bit with other lines, such as "I wanna draw your outine" to "I knew them by their outlines." There's a muli-presentation of getting, wanting, understanding, being confused that is extraordinarily powerful. This was the first poem film I ever saw and I can't believe how easily the poem incorporates both film and song, without taking away from either genre. I love the opening sequence, that the poem doesn't start until the airplane is out of view. The poem is cyclical the way the song is cyclical, the way the images return to the wintery landscape of the tarmac.

"We travel to you and will be sent away.
We travel away and will be called back.
Among men, I was disciplined in my approach.
Among girls, I withheld the ruin I had seen."

Have a look/listen/read:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Sign Said Come to a Poetry Reading!

This past Sunday I travelled to Washington, D.C. for a reading and it happened to be the day Congress signed a bill regarding health care (the first major bill to address a social program in over fifty years). Walking next to the tea party protesters was rather scary. They shouted about killing, about socialism, and their signs threatened that Texas will one day rise again. The old man is Jewish and I have never feared for his life the way I feared when I walked by tea party protesters. The Republican/Tea Party protesters' message confuses me. One person's sign said: Get Your Government Hands Off My Medicare. Huh? I hate to tell ya, but it's a government program, as is garbage collection, police services, and the fire department. Hmm. Should we cut those programs too? Another protester's sign said: I Love My Country But All I See Is Red. I thought it was kind of clever because all I could see were crazy Republicans too. Their color is red. The old man explained to me that she probably was exhibiting her fear that a health care program would turn our country socialist.

While all this was happening, the largest immigration rally in U.S. history took place Sunday. I felt pretty overwhelmed. The old man and I cheered on the street as the protesters made their way to National Mall. Seeing all those people choked me up so much that I could hardly speak. Rallies in D.C. are so different than other places. People get really fired up. All the health care rallies I went to were pretty tame compared to what I saw on Sunday. When people aren't yelling racial epithets or threatening to kill anyone, seeing people gathered is a very beautiful thing.

I'm sad I found this sign in the garbage:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Don't Move that Dead Deer

I can't stop thinking about a deer that died next to a bedroom window in a place I sometimes stay in California. The house is out in cow country, pretty remote. The old man's parents suggested that he move the deer away from the house, but I didn't want to touch it at all. The old man thought maybe we could "lasso" the deer and spent most of a rainy afternoon reading about it online, but. I can't think of any North American large mammals that eat dead things, so I didn't worry about the dead deer attracting anything dangerous to the house. I was hoping the vultures would've taken care of it, but they didn't seem to notice. I wonder if vultures didn't want to approach the house?

It looked like it curled up, went to sleep, and died. I feel so badly. Every morning, I walked over to the window before brushing my teeth or anything. I had to make sure it was still there.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Louisiana Update

Today I'd been thinking about Louisiana and how I once read that Louisiana had the highest rates of domestic violence. As I was searching for evidence of this statistic, I came across this interesting website that compares findings from all 50 states.

Here's what you need to know about Louisiana before moving there:
  • it ranks 49th for best place to live
  • has the highest rates of poverty
  • ranks 45th on education. California is oddly number 46. If you live in California, be very afraid. My chemistry teacher was a 19 year-old fill-in.
  • is number 1 in gun violence
  • uses just as much oil as densely populated states
  • ranks 49th in health care
  • ranks 50 regarding economic growth
What I want to know is how does anyone run for election there? Do you just not have to worry about answering for yourself because everyone is so uneducated? How does this happen? Some third world countries have better health care than this. I'm embarrassed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Syllabus: Cute as Hell

A study of a compendium of the following:

  • Smurfs
  • Bjork, "It's Oh So Quiet"
  • Film: Babe: Pig in the City
  • The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde
  • toadstool mushrooms
  • miniature: small pies & muffins, pencils, miniatures taken out of their dollhouse context
  • animals: puppies, sleeping babies, baby pandas, koalas, otters, bunnies
  • Sad Little Breathing Machine by Matthea Harvey
  • Bows & bow ties
  • tv show: The Littles
  • Fashion: round collars, rolled pants, color!, ruffled bloomers, Mary Jane's, baby doll dresses, suspenders
  • Hair: pig tails, the bob
  • Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • pixies & hobbits
  • eco-houses, houses built into the ground
  • butt cracks & short stubby hands
  • little bowls
  • plastic buttons
  • baby faced men: Matthew Broderick, Elijah Wood
  • cute women: women with short hair, manic pixie dream girl
  • Joanna Newsom: The Milk-Eyed Mender
  • candy
Course Objectives:

Is cuteness asexual happiness. Elisa Gabbert's post on cuteness here. Is calling something cute condescending. Does cuteness come from darkness. Cute: beauty plus pity. Are people who like cuteness to be trusted. Forced cuteness: dressing kittens in doll's clothing, kittens in mugs. Big people folding small people's laundry. Sesame Street: debate. How come being short is cute. Weigh in: the old man thinks Mia Farrow was cute in Rosemary's Baby. How come southerners are always calling things cute. Texture: wood v. plastic, suits v. dresses, linen v. silk. Animals that reach out to you. Do we all them cute because they can't talk. Any sleeping being, sleeping beings sleeping next to animals. Dogs who show guilt. Debate: leprechauns aren't cute b/c they are all-knowing. Is Tin Tin cute. Aw, reactions to cuteness: document. Anti-cute: children singing Christmas carols. Cultural cuteness: Asian girls, black babies. Cute irony: (Film) The Incredible Shrinking Woman. List: the new childishness. Genitalia v. butts: discuss.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Farewell Sparklehorse

I'm so sad to tell you that Mark Linkous committed suicide yesterday. He was the man behind Sparklehorse. The only thing I know about him was that he was a good musician. He was forty-seven years old.

Here's a fan video made for Sparkhorse's "Piano Fire" featuring PJ Harvey:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jessica Lange Was the Best What's Her Face

One of my gym t-shirts is a light yellow King Kong shirt. I think I found it at a thrift store in Louisiana. Last summer I wore it while jogging in the park near my apartment and I returned tired and feeling like a total pig. Well, a friend told me that she didn't think the t-shirt was racist and the old man doesn't think the shirt is racist because King Kong isn't "waving around the woman." I wore it to the gym today and lo and behold, who was the only white woman wearing a King Kong t-shirt at the gym this morning? I'm cutting the sleeves off and sewing the bottom closed and it will be forever used as a bag for produce.

I admit I have a weakness for the King Kong story. Nature v. city. What climbs your buildings must be shot. Woman who needs something wild. Love without language. Not to mention size. Anyway, I wonder if any version of the film is without racial connotations. How odd that the most recent one was horribly racist. If we had to measure our social progress in King Kong films, well the message is clear.

How could you not love him? His nose is the shape of a heart!

So what could be a non-racist, woman falls-in-love-with-animal, love story? I mean, instead of using the gorilla? What about a horse? Still well hung and could jump and dodge bullets. Maybe the horse could throw the woman on his back and gallop up the Guggenheim rather than the Empire State Building? Can raccoons show love? Tigers? I love tigers. I guess Bringing Up Baby already addressed this sort of.

For the record, I prefer the King Kong with Jessica Lange.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where Is That Other World You Were Sitting On

Other places have sunshine. I have seen it.

The only interesting thing about this sunset is that I wasn't on land when I took the picture. I was told I would see dolphins. Rum punch is no joke.

I snorkeled in a deep place
that a boat took me to. There were no sharks, but there was an ominous ledge where there could be sharks waiting. Last summer I wasn't afraid of sharks, but now I am afeared.

Just to the right of this woman's shoulder is an underwater wreck. The old man snorkeled out to it and watched diver's bubbles float to the surface. The old man has swimmer's ear and I squeeze drops into his bad ear.

It is true. I burn.