Thursday, September 30, 2010


Elegant Choice and I sat in a hammock just now and alternated lines on a poem called "Stunt Cat." It is a poem about a cat on drugs.

Stunt Cat

Bends his head to his Whiskas, bends his head
to his Fancy Feast, bends his head to a crystal
goblet and takes his first taste of fine liver,
and another taste behind it, Drug--now he tastes
Lift a Paw for the Cameras, and he tastes Run-
ning Jump on a Horse. And now he must leap
on the limb of a tree, and now he is held
in the mouth of a dog, and now he must let
a child ride him, but in his mind he sinks deep
in silk couches, and in his mind are clouds
..............of smoke---he was once in a movie
called Lure of the Poppy. In his mind he is
........................................riding the dragon,
though no one has invented that phrase yet,
in his mind he is chomping the head of a koi
from the fat hand of an extra, and no one
has ended his scene yet, and no one says
............................Cut or calls out Treat,
for the time being the film is rolling still,
the film is rippling like his fur in the wind
as Stunt Cat runs in a circle, he is shining black,
he is film himself, a roll and a roll of rolling
film, and he is recording everything, all
his smallest actions, all his hops through
hoops, right down to his only line, Mroww.
His voice is a smaller stunt cat, it leaps
out of him perfectly trained, he spent long
years teaching it timing, and how he dreamed
..............................................of letting it fly
like a motorcycle from the lip of the Grandest
Canyon, all other vocabulary beneath him,
MROWW, licking scraps of adrenaline
............................................from his beard,
the taste of Fine Liver at last surging through him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Total Chaos Forevermonth: Matthew Zapruder

When I think very hard
about my thoughts they seem
to me to be very small horses
attached to invisible reins
attached to facts.

--Matthew Zapruder, "This Handwriting"
from Come on All You Ghosts 

All four hooves leave the ground at once, FACT. Eadweard Muybridge (cry, plain Edwards, cry) proved this in the country of the past, 1878. Sallie Gardner at a Gallop proved it! So if you didn't have a horse in your head you have one now, and if you didn't have a fact in your head you have one now, and the one pulls the other, according to the poem above which is also a fact.

PERSPECTIVE LESSON: a horse has too many parts to fit on a single sheet of paper so you must use "perspective" when you draw one. "Perspective" means just put the horse parts wherever you want, and leave out some of the thighs entirely. It's a marvelous Tool of the Trade!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Li'l Envelope Pets, Staring at You

I am an actual child and I laughed so much

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Sad! I wrote a long poem about KRANG from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I was going to post it here but then I reread it and thought seriously, "This is the best poem I've ever written," and sent it to The Paris Review, ha ha. So here is a make-up poem for you:

Right Now I Am Thinking

I wish someone in the world would write a really good poem
about Umbros

Who could do it, could Ana Božičević or Elisa Gabbert or perhaps even
Tao Lin do it

A main thing to talk about is how they were checkered, and how some
of the checks they shone, and some of the checks they were dull

They were held on your body with a shoelace in a far simpler way
than your sneakers, which you tied with textbook technique

(Later you would marry a man who did idiot things with rabbit ears)

Your legs underneath them were ablaze with gross young golden hair,
you wore them under your school skirt like a powerful real identity

Power was what you couldn't decide: no girl wanted X-ray vision,
except for you the pervert

How does an Item, previously invisible, suddenly become Necessary
to conquer your nudity

Umbros were founded in the year 1910, in the year 1990 you believed
that Dick van Dyke was British

You believed he was a model British citizen, who spilled marmalade
in the shape of UK on his trousers

You believed that Julie Andrews was American, and had somehow
given birth to you through her strong blond throat

Umbros were for soccer--in the year 1990, America saw that soccer
was real

Was a country we could possibly conquer, and the television
played shows of only green fields

Instead of walking Americans began to do simple forward footwork

You played soccer a single season, and when at last they let you be goalie
you stood in the goal and cried,

Longing to grip on black-and-white, longing to catch the flying text,

Unable to even raise your arm, unable to raise it even one inch

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rejected Author Photos

 What is more poetic than a JUG

I actually kind of love this

 Not to be rude but WHAT A BITCH, 
God, look at the fine light of hatred shining from my face

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Facts

The patient was attacked by his heart while weed-whacking. This has happened once before; it was worse this time. The patient was given a Valium at bedtime and woke up in the middle of the night hallucinating he was Andre Agassi. He panted, fearing he was late for a match with Pete Sampras. We sat in the waiting room reading Come On All You Ghosts, which it turns out is full of The Father as both an articulated and a whitespace presence. The patient's wife said, in an idle moment, "Let's face it, we have no idea what a prostitute would wear." The patient's heart is weak but thumps along; he is moved to the less-scary part of the hospital, where he is finally allowed to hold his grandchild, a cheerful little man named Tubby Buxom. I arrive home and feel reconstituted, like a Salisbury steak you would eat in jail.

We thank you for your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oh nice little news--I'm up today at Whale Sound! Nic Sebastian bathes "Death by Precipitation" in her fine-sounding saliva.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still in the hospital. We're passing the time discussing which character from Narnia we would most like to DO. I said Reepicheep, mainly for the shock value, but he went straight for Aslan. Aslan! Would he be tender or stern? Would he blow in your face with "his" hot golden breath?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The F*uck-Up

I've written before about my total inability to fill out forms or address envelopes without completely losing my mind. Well, my POETRY contract came in the mail last week and there were a million pages of it and I about had a heart attack just looking at them, but Elegant Choice helped me fill them out and everything was finished and ready to go except I needed to write a little statement talking about my current project. Statements! Even more than forms they are my nemesis. Nevertheless, this afternoon I sat down, got my head as right as possible, and wrote:

I'm currently working on a series of poems about cartoons coming to life and saying metaphors to each other! Hence all the crayons. I also talk about pencils, pens, paint, and children having ink accidents all over their clean pockets.

That's as far as I got. I was then going to write something about the children getting in trouble with their daddies for coming home so inky, and how the whole series is Adults Only, but at that very moment the phone rang and it was my brother-in-law, calling to tell me that my father-in-law had just been rushed to the hospital, and we immediately started planning to leave tomorrow morning to see him and then I was rushing around like crazy doing laundry and putting the apartment in order, and by the time I got back to the POETRY thing I had totally lost my train of thought, and I said, "Just one more sentence, YOU CAN DO THIS," and then with blind determination I wrote the lamest sentence of all time:

It turns out if you stare at a cartoon long enough, it starts to look like a letter, or a bit of cursive, or an ampersand--like a figurative representation of something you could say, if you wanted to, and I guess I wanted to.

Oh no. Oh no no no no no no no. Needless to say I looked at it moments later and said OH MY GOD I NEED TO WIPE THAT SENTENCE OFF THE FACE OF THE PLANET. But how? It was already written down! I could photocopy the front side, or I could slather Liquid Paper everywhere--but no, that wouldn't work, and besides I need to send it off tomorrow morning before we leave. So I did the next best thing:

Here's the thing: I don't feel insane, but then something like this happens and I think, "If not me then who?"

Anyway, the situation with my father-in-law seems serious. I may be gone for a few days--not sure how long. I'll be in touch when I get back. In the meantime, I am THE WORST, I don't deserve to be in any magazine ever, and let's all pray that POETRY somehow neglects to flip that curséd sheet of paper o'er.

Little Thing, Who Made Thee

Today the forests are alive with the animals of Beth Cavener Stichter, alive with their sexy malevolent eyes and alive with their languorous leg extensions. Here's an interview with her at Arcanalogue.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

This Article's Plot Summary May Be Too Long or Overly Detailed

Have you visited the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Wikipedia entry lately? Of course not, why would you, why would anyone. Why did I? I felt Called, and I followed the Call and was richly rewarded, for the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Wikipedia entry is full of treasure. Allow me to show you exactly what you're missing:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sculpture Is So Easy, Michelangelo or Whoever

Our friend Child-Size Lavender was in town all week, so I abandoned you to frolic with her. Yesterday was her last night, so to celebrate we had a vodka-drinking head-sculpting party where we just sculpted the guts out of each other with varying degrees of accuracy. The clay was hard, and we were drunk! It's a miracle the heads turned out so beautifully.


I sculpted Child-Size Lavender's head,

Child-Size Lavender sculpted Elegant Choice's head--
it was difficult because as you can see from this picture
he is made of gold and shines so brightly 
no mere human can look directly at him

and Elegant Choice sculpted my head.
Steal my essence why don't you! 
Let's get a closer look at that sweet bust:

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

BOOK REPORT: Caboose Mystery

Previously: Schoolhouse Mystery
Previously: Surprise Island

You probably won't believe me, but I just read a Boxcar Children book called "Caboose Mystery" that includes actual chapters titled "Surprise for Cho-Cho" and "Beaver Man." The first thirty pages contained so many references to big cabooses that after a while I became numb to them--perhaps because the words issued most often from the fresh lips of child sexpot Benny, recently established object of my mixed hatred and lust. Slight variants of the following conversation occurred about a hundred times in the first few chapters:

"What a neat idea!" said Benny. "I never saw the inside of a caboose." 
"Neither did I," said Mr. Alden, smiling.

"Say, isn't this exciting!" said Benny. "To be riding in a caboose at last. I've always wanted to live in a caboose."
"So have I," said Grandfather, smiling.

You get the idea. The Boxcar Children have found a caboose, and now they will not rest until they are deep inside it and riding it hard all summer long. Understandably, people want to watch. You'd think such a physically...remarkable human specimen as Benny would be used to the attention, but in this book he is super-unhappy with all the service workers looking at his "big caboose."

"Henry, did you really look at that big postman? Did you hear him ask to see this caboose?"
"Yes, Ben, I did," said Henry. He looked quickly at Benny. "I thought it was a strange thing to ask."
"That postman certainly thought there was something different about this big caboose, and sometime I'll find out. Just you wait and see."

Suddenly Benny said, "Jessie, did you notice the workmen at the last station we passed? They pointed at our big caboose and began to laugh."

Benny went up to a tall man and said, "We'd like to know what is different about our caboose. Why are the men pointing at it?"

Well, Benny, if it looks anything like your arms and hands, I think I know why.

God, what was this book even about? Something about a train, and a clown, and a talking horse, and a leather mattress with diamonds inside, and the aforementioned Beaver Man, who is a hermit who lives in the woods and watches "big beavers" put filth on their tails. Understandably, Benny wants to watch.

"I could go right back to sleep," Benny said.
"Oh, don't do that, Benny," called Violet. "You'll miss the beavers. Remember we get off at Beaver Lake at 9 o'clock."
"That's right," agreed Benny. "I do want to see the beavers. I guess I can stay awake that long."

"I should think the beavers would run away if they saw us watching them," said Benny.
"That's the secret," said Al. They won't see you. Now don't ask me why, young man. Just wait and see. One more thing. There is an old man who takes care of these wild beavers. He's a strange old fellow, but he doesn't want people to kill all the beavers. So he lives in the woods and keeps the hunters away. You may see Old Beaver, and you may not."

"Yes, I'm Old Beaver," said the man. He had thick gray hair, and his face was almost covered with a curly gray beard. He was smiling.
Grandfather said, "You are doing a fine job saving a few beavers. They are wonderful animals."
"Thank you," said Old Beaver. "They are smarter than we are in some ways."

"This young man seems to be having a good time," said Old Beaver, looking at Benny.

Now, if you're a child mystery writer who wants to stay on top of her game, how do you top big cabooses and Old Beavers covered in curly gray beards? You introduce a clown named Cho-Cho, obviously. Cho-Cho used to own a talking horse that...did math? With its hoof? I have no damn idea. Then someone hid a diamond necklace in a leather mattress, and Cho-Cho had to sell the horse, and now he's sad, which is Dramatic Irony for a clown. Cho-Cho spills his sorry story into the greedy ears of Benny--because, in addition to his many other preposterous gifts, Benny is also a "good listener" whom people routinely trust with secrets.

As Mr. Alden started to get on the train, Mr. Shaw whispered, "I'm certainly amazed. I never heard Cho-Cho talk so much in my whole life. He never says a word if he can help it."
"This time he couldn't help it," said Benny, laughing.

Gross, Benny. Now, "Caboose Mystery" is notable because it marks the occasion of Benny's first tentative toe-dips into the waters of comedy. He tells three jokes in this book, according to my count. Here are the best ones:

"Look out! Don't touch that!" said Charley. "That's poison ivy!"
"Oh, I see it is now," said Benny. "I wasn't even looking. A good thing you stopped me, because that stuff poisons me."


Grandfather called, "Don't get lost, Benny." 
"I'll find my way all right. If I get lost, I can eat nuts and berries. Children always eat nuts and berries when they get lost," Benny said, laughing at his own joke.

Make of them what you will. It's so deeply tragic to think of eternally-five Benny picking up a joke anthology between Book #10 and Book #11 and reading it over and over in a closed loop of time, daydreaming about telling these terrible jokes to new classmates he will never meet, at the end of a summer that will never end.

Also tragic: somewhere between the writing of this book and the last, Gertrude Chandler Warner came into possession of a truly regrettable mid-century cookbook. Now, the food in Boxcar Children books is usually a highlight. They're forever stirring huge pots of chowder and having clambakes and baking cookies and, as I've mentioned before, pouring pints of fresh cream into their faces. The meals served up in the big caboose, however, drift further and further from established definitions of "delicious."

Jessie opened a can of chicken and heated it. Violet used potato flakes to make mashed potatoes. The girls opened a big can of cherries for dessert.

On each plate was an animal made of a big frankfurter. The legs were four smaller sausages. The heads were pickles. The tails were carrot curls.

Where are the Boxcar Children? asks their angel mother in heaven. You know, hangin' out, chomping wiener-animals in their big caboose. They also, at one point, mix canned orange juice with Coke and find the resulting "liquid" to be totally refreshing. For all of you longing to go back in time and get crotch-gripped by Don Draper, bear in mind that warm cans of chicken, hot-dog horses, and "Alden Orange-Coke Special" would probably be waiting for you there.

The end. And finally, because I cannot abide waste, allow me to present a found poem containing many priceless quotes that I couldn't use in the post itself:

"A Mystery!" Shouted Benny. "The Mysterious Caboose!"

We can see for ourselves what a caboose is like.
Well, you can watch real live beavers at work.
He began to wonder about the postman and the beavers
and the big caboose, but suddenly he fell asleep.
"You could go on alone," he said, "but I like to watch
the beavers myself." Then everyone saw a big beaver.
"Why is Cho-Cho so sad now?" asked Benny.
Still Cho-Cho did not move his lips. "I've seen
grown-up men fall down in here, going to see the talking
horse." The path was very poor. Sometimes he thought
that he was not on the path at all--and he was right.
"Oh, we'll find him!" said Grandfather. "We'll find
him if we have to cut down the whole woods."
Jessie laughed and took the lamp apart.
"Did you go to see the talking horse?" "Yes, 
I did. He was fun, but now I've lost my family."