Friday, September 29, 2006

How perfectly goddamn superior we see ourselves

I watched ¡Que Viva Mexico! last night at the old school house—a wonderful movie that suffers only slightly from being unfinished. The things I liked most about it are the things I was happy to see DC do with my words. Not that I am trying to compare our man in Taipei to the late Eisnestein, but the idea of eschewing narrative (or redefining it) in favor of a more poetic kind of cinema is one I can get behind. This is what Cole tried to do and I celebrate it. This is what I saw last night and I loved it.

By the way, you can read a little about DC’s rendering of my poems here:

(Then again, you’re the only one who comes here, loca, so why bother posting a link you already have? Oh, this is like tossing a baseball into a black hole sometimes, tu sabes?)


As much as I loved the genuine sort of documentary footage, I was struck by the acted part of Eisenstein’s movie, the moments after the middle of the film that keep focusing back to a portrait of Diaz and the maguey cacti and the struggle of the peasants against rough colonial machismo. It’s the part of the film that holds the most encrypted messages, and the acting is about what one would expect from a film of the era, so, in other words, the punk kids in my class hated it. They made fun of the moustaches on the thugs and couldn’t understand why the farmers were buried up to their chests in the ground or why they used cactus leaves to hold their bullet cartridges (and why Eisenstein made it such a point of focus) or why the decadent and corrupt failed to wipe the fermented pulque off their disgusting lips. They made fun of the acting, they complained about the lack of action, plot, and discernable meaning. In other words, everything I loved about the film—its natural images, its non-narrative elements, the jump cuts and montages, even the Day of the Dead dancing—was exactly what they hated. Now, already apologizing for leaping from one of the most revered names in cinematic history to the work of my ol’ buddy DC, I realized for damn certain that they would yawn during all 19 minutes of Taipei Movie One. It’s not the kind of thing that will grab the kids and make them take notice, but fuck ‘em—I like the thing and not just because my poems are in it. (I think those are the weakest elements of the movie.) DC liked them enough to use them as a launching pad for his vision and mi bella likes them, but it made me think about the coming January and the change in my academic life. Grad school. A big grad school with a bigger name. Writing poems for 10-20 hours a week outside of class. Listening to other people read their poems. Trying to think of what to say about them. Understanding that people will dislike a lot of it. Fine. But listening to the dismissive comments of those 20-somethings, who decided to study literature because they liked Catcher in the Rye or maybe Ayn Rand in high school, made me glad I was an English major as an Undergrad and didn’t study creative writing. Trading poetry with these kids would be too depressing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blinking Lights Try and Seduce

My computer at work is on the fritz, so until the IT man gets over here, I am using another’s hard-drive. This is all well and good, except I lost a lot of music. Most of it was borrowed CDs of things I might not wish to pay for. Stockhausen’s Helikopter Quartet, for example, and lots of John Cage that one of my avant jazz-snob lawyers owns. I could always ask to borrow these gems again, but perhaps I ought to just let it go. I still have the important stuff on CD, but damn, I could really go for listening to the Die Like a Dog Quartet right now. You always want what you don’t have.

This loss makes me glad that I do not have an Ipod and that all of my essential music is backed up on the good old fashioned CD, which is really not that old and, as far as I am concerned, a lot more durable and trustworthy than the handheld gizmos, MP3 players and slick and slender doo-dads. Then again, I had Betamax for years, so I tend to arrive late on the techno scene.

Oh, niña, thankfully you have the poems, many of which I also lost, because I could never recreate those.

No other big news. I am ankle deep in literary criticism and theory and watching it rise toward my waist. Hopefully I’ll tread the murky water. Then it’s grad school, creatively writing and trying to blend in with the rich kids from the northern suburbs. I can smell the money and I have it not. I feel like Rodney Dangerfield.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Patton Breaks Through

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Cramps


My words have come to exist in a parallel world known as Taipei Movie One. Go here to read more about it: Go to New England or Taiwan to see it for your own damn self. Or ask me nice and I’ll screen it for you. It’ll be the most exciting 19 minutes of your day.

Seriously, I trusted DC with my words and he managed to do something wonderful with them. This was one of the major factors in my decision to study this writing thing on the graduate level. Thanks, DC. The other great factor is, of course, the continued support of mi bella niña, who is, of course, the inspiration for the words themselves, the decision to face the fears and go to grad school, the reason I went back to college to begin with, the reason I made it this far, the reason why I continue to allow air to enter my lungs and food to digest inside me; the reason I do everything I do, good, bad and in between.

One day there will be a wall around us and nothing so petty will get through. And the world will fall at our feet, goddamnit, it has to.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who Cares?

These things are strange, really, and I think anyone who has one writes as if they are communicating with a small number of people, or maybe one, and certainly believes that the world is watching, listening in on inside jokes and private communiqués turned public. I know I do. I read a blog page and it struck me that it, and the comments attached, were a conversation between two friends, people who probably speak to each other often on the phone, interact in person weekly if not more, and no doubt email constantly. So why have a blog unless you think so highly of yourself and your friend(s) and want to share this dazzling banter with the rest of us? Why visit such a site? Why did I?

I take comfort in the idea that you read this page and that there is no space for public comments. This ought to be a one-way message to you anyway. You could always email me or call me or find me and look me in the eyes. Anyone who reads this could if they really want, but since no one does I am comfortable with what I have been putting up here as of late. And the reader(s) should have no voice. That’s the problem with the internet generation: they all think they deserve to have a voice, to have the world know who they are. Guilty myself, as charged.

Stay tuned for more self-indulgence.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just to say

There’s the prospect of entering a new sort of life coupled with altering so much more; even if the little things don't add up to mountain summits, it’s enough to crush you-- but what other options are there? Mediocrity.

I look at the 13 floors below and think of birds breaking the water’s horizon, effortlessly pulling fish to the chocking sea air.

It would be so much worse without you. Como te amo…

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I don’t think there are people who can’t understand, or don’t experience, ambivalence, not counting TV characters. And if there are, they bore me. A bit harsh maybe, but it’s the way it is. Humans are complex and contradictory just as much as they are predictable and dull, but the thing that always strikes me about the people in my life is the way they (I) overcome ambivalence long enough to make a significant change. That being the case, they are free to still bemoan, stress and make themselves mad with worry, which does not undercut the struggle against being simultaneously pulled toward and repelled from a person, place or thing. Or idea, let’s not forget ideas.

And I’m not just talking about life altering decisions here. Yes, going back to school is huge, giant, gargantuan, but so is deciding what to do with your evening, even whether or not to bother the girl at the café where you’ve been sitting for an hour with a pot of tea, reading your book and feeling hungry and each time she walks by she barely notices you and you want to eat something but it seems like too much trouble to stop her, not to mention nothing on the menu seems particularly appealing. You are so tired of being a “hunger artist” but it is all so much trouble to be otherwise. Who would have thought that there could such trouble even in this land where we take it all for granted and don’t want because there is so much. And you walk down the street on Labor Day and notice all the closed shops and think, what will I eat? but nothing is open and so you say, the first place that is open I’ll stop at and eat something because it is 8:45 and I have not eaten a thing all day. You are hungry but it is fading and you figure you can get through a night without eating, a whole day, actually, but you also know that the pain of an empty stomach will reach its zenith somewhere around 11:30 when it is far too late for food. And any small meal—a piece of toast, a spoonful of peanut butter, a protein bar, a small bowl of cereal—will only awake a larger hunger that will refuse to let you sleep. And anyway, the only places open are lousy dives and greasy spoons and the idea of eggs and potatoes is disgusting, even though you can smell the bad food from the other side of the neon lit window and you have to admit it smells good—the way the worst things seem so benign when you have nothing. So you give up, walk home, flip through the TV and none of it looks better or worse than anything else. Give up and lay down, look at the piles of books on your floor, on your walls, and think about which you’ve read and which you haven’t and which you never will and why and think about picking one up and reading through the night. You finished Dostoevsky at the café and wanted to read another by him, but classes are coming and you don’t want to be saddled with a book you haven’t finished when the assigned reading begins, so you opt for poetry and read a few of this and few of that and fail to commit to any one book and they start to weigh on you because you have not written them and never could, and you love every word strung together the way only a craftsman could. And then, maybe, you sleep.

In the morning the routine is back, so you can greet that and you can be sure that you feel one way about it. You hate it, but at the same time you don’t leave because you are conflicted and you wonder what else there is to do and if you can do it. Ha ha, you’re in it now.

We occasionally break this and we overcome the fear and the less terrifying but no less serious immobility and we do things like go back to school or face graduate school and make plans to fly abroad and make plans to get out of these jobs we hate and take steps toward something better than this, which is fine but fine is not anything one should aspire for. Fine is giving up and I refuse which is why you get so many envelops with your name, written by my hand. This is why I will climb to the moon and alter the pull of waves so that our one-way can move to another, scary, unsure and beautiful.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Winterson on books