Oh, nothin’, just hangin’.
Write like a lover. Write like you’re leaving yourself for another.
Write like you’re de Beauvoir, object and subject. Write
like you must rescue yourself from yourself, become scrupulous
to the body and the rain that floods you with rage and the crude
sublimities: there was a lip print on the plastic glass wrapped
in the misty domestic interior of the room. Write like there’s evidence,
there’s tenderness, like Paris were the scene of a crime. A lipstick
by the bed, a phone number, a plastic glass with prints. The remote
is toxic. At the Red Roof Inn they couldn’t recommend an alternative
to suffering. Like lovers we spoke of short term/long term knowledge –
and the rest in the circle of hell the telephone allows. I want
my piracy, I thought you said. The familiar doesn’t travel well.
The soul doesn’t travel well. Poetry spoils. Write like you’re Mingus.
Write like the evidence vanishes. Inflammable walls between devoted
ghosts – smoke and the convention of the fourth wall pulled down.
Drama majors, drum majors next door, the all-night opera with starling
sounds. The Red Roof Inn hath me in thrall. The highway sounds
like the sea in storm, pirates with their perishable cargoes.
Their ship goes down. The soul doesn’t travel well. Write
like the ship goes down with your belongings. Write like you’re in thrall.
We’re blown around like Paola and Francesca, lovers, carnal,
windy starlings, misled by the sublime – the binge and purge
of the book and the body. I’m wildly attracted to you winter and fall
when I fly the migration routes from Corpus Christi to Saint Paul.
Or is that summer? I do not travel well. I travel like a lover,
boy king or saboteur, stormed by the fluids of the body.
I’m wildly attracted to your feathers, your lip and book.
My greatest vows are in the getting out. I kneel to look under
the bed for belongings. I’ve pirated myself. Thank you for the chance
to fly, the leaving. Thank you for the soft pink tissue, your cargo
of ghosts. The telephone is toxic. The body’s a rumor. The leaf
blower in the opera is over the top. Thank you for the brimming.
Thanks for the speech acts and action, the alternative to suffering.
Sorry for the hoarse sobs. I’m wild about the red noise of the traffic,
the holy wars of the starlings. Flying back all the songs are of glistening.
Flying back the passenger in 5D is unwilling to rescue others, unwilling
to rescue himself. Write like you’ve lost your belongings.
Bridge of ::Sighs::
I feel like:
Smart Wool’s“The Races” post about expectations made me think of 1) the Oscars, 2) Why companies fail, 3) Jeremy Lin, 4) stuff I used to love and want to keep loving, as if whether or not I continue loving the same stuff in the same way is a referendum on the passage of time, and 5) fucking magic.
People were talking about the Oscars “down roun’ the watercooler” this morning at work and one guy said he had to shut it off after 5 minutes because it was too depressing. He said Billy Crystal looked too bloated. He said, “Billy Crystal didn’t look like Billy Crystal.”
I watched the show. Billy did his requisite opening number and, okay yeah, the jokes were sort of flaccid? But probably the most charming moment was between Billy and Justin Bieber? cuz they were both kind of knowing about what was happening? and knowing about how they (old/young) were being used together? and Billy Crystal’s face, bloated or no, just can’t help communicating an intelligent twinkle of self-deprecation? and that just let the scene land? Clearly I have no confidence forming opinions about things I want to love. (See Exhibit A: My failure last Tuesday night to proffer a post-show review to my companion of Rufus Wainwright’s funny bone-striking opera “Prima Donna.”)
Of course, right after the “classic Oscars” opening number, who presented the first award but Tom Hanks. Good ol’ Tom Hanks, emphasis on ol’. Then during the commercial break, there was an ad for Julia Roberts’ evil queen Snow White movie, which everyone’s saying is a “career killer.” What is happening and why are we sticking to what we know when movies can be about spaghetti-western Italians in spurs as much as they can be about women being funny or a gay Christopher Plummer in a movie called Beginners?
But the magic, you guys, the star quality, the charm that seems so effortless, the Will Smith one-liners and the cash cow headliners, the movies that stand the test of time or cry for a retake, the Titanic 3D, the prequels and requels, the Art-Deco stage sets, the million-dollar live ad for Cirque du Soleil: prepare to be blown away, the in memoria, the montages, the same scene from Gone with the Wind/Field of Dreams/Butch Cassidy/You Name It, excerpted, excerpted, excerpted, the looking at you, kid, over and over and over, ad nauseum.
It’s the same stuff that’s heavy-handed and redundant about Hugo and War Horse and the “magic of the movies” and everyone thanking Marty because he’s a genius. It was cool for a while that SiriusXM had a Cinemagic station because movie music is kind of the new classical, but then they canceled it, so we switched over to the 90s on 9 station because we know all the words.
Year after year, it seems the Oscars is about adding ingredients until you get a soup that tastes like shampoo. Like when I was a kid and I thought that salt and pepper canceled each other out, and I’d just keep adding more and more of one or the other until my dad would choke on a hopeful teaspoonful and say it was the oregano or something.
Expectation. Stuck romanticizing the past and projecting the future. There’s no way to have a real experience in there. It’s like holding a pail without a bottom.
Say what you want, Midnight in Paris had its wits about it when it said we could always run away backwards indefinitely.
There was an article in the Atlantic this month about why companies fail. Megan McArdle quoted UCLA sociologist Gabriel Rossman on corporate culture’s astonishingly efficient ability to reproduce itself: “If new entrants assimilate to whatever is the majority at the time they enter, and if new entrants trickle in slowly, then the founding culture can persist over time, even if over the long run they make up a tiny minority.” McArdle goes on, “This is why Americans speak English even though more of us are ethnically German or Yoruba. In linguistics and sociology, it’s known as the ‘founder effect.’ In corporations, it’s known as ‘how we’ve always done things.’”
No! Right? They recruit you because you’re you and your portfolio was scented. And you’re supposed to keep the place fresh and relevant and circulate and bump up against because that’s the stuff of creativity. Right?
Oh gosh, then there’s Jeremy Lin, the new edition textbook case study in the contrast of pre- and post-expectations. The having to prove, the proving, the proof, and the then what. People use his name around the office like a euphemism for a window of opportunity. They’ll say, “Oh, I have a real chance at a Jeremy Lin with this pitch.”
You do, so you take it. You come to work and pitch your ideas and you win some and you lose some, but if you win, you go through the feedback rounds, the meetings, the focus groups, the checklists, and then you have to access all kinds of bravery and wishful acting and toughening up until one day, finally, hopefully, you find a soulful application for your talents. Right?
It’s very, very possible to suffocate magic.
There’s only so many times you can evoke “the magic of the movies” before you drain the bubblebath.
There’s an arc to everything, a bloom that shouldn’t be perpetual or there wouldn’t be anything worth pointing to and gasping, “Look!”
There’s no right way for things to end, other than to end when they should. Put down the Botox. If there’s a finish line, cross it, and go treat yourself to a Gatorade bath instead. That sounds nice.
“Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game.” “Never lose your childish enthusiasm.” I will never not love this movie.
There was one joke of the few too many bankrupt Kodak Theater jokes that Billy Crystal just nailed. He greeted us, the viewers, after a commercial break by saying, “Welcome back to the (your name here) Theater.”
Somebody start submitting names already. Somebody please infiltrate. Somebody please have the audacity to innovate, not tweak, not copy and paste, not find and replace. Somebody please learn how to curate the present, but God, please let it not be Pinterest. (Follow me?)
I turned 26 on Friday.
Very, very exciting day. Congrats on this, Joe. Can’t wait to read it.
Get ya one.
Camo Mile (Taken with instagram)
“Why Women Get Turned Off
Here are the reasons for a woman turning away from a man’s advances. Love for her husband. Concern for her children. Onset of age. Desolation due to some grief or sorrow. Absence of opportunity. Anger: ‘His proposition is an insult.’ Indecision: ‘He is unfathomable.’ The belief that ‘This has no future. He will go away as he is infatuated with someone else.’ Alarm: ‘His intentions are too blatant.’ The thought that ‘He cares more for his friends and will tell them all.’ Suspicion: ‘He is not serious.’ Diffidence: ‘He is too grand.’ The doe woman’s apprehension: ‘He may be too strong and his sexual impulse too fierce.’ Shyness: ‘He is so urbane and expert in all the arts.’ The thought that ‘He always treated me like a comrade.’ Revulsion: ‘He has no thought of the proper time and place.’ Lack of respect: ‘He is disgraceful.’ Contempt: ‘He does not realize it even when I signal him.’ The elephant woman’s concern: ‘He is a hare type and his sexual impulse may be dull.’ Sympathy: ‘He is out of his mind and may get into trouble.’ Disgust at noticing her own bodily defects. Fear: ‘I will be thrown out if my family gets to know.’ Scorn: ‘He is old, gone grey.’ Doubt: ‘He has been put up by my husband to test me.’ And finally, her concern for virtuous conduct.”
—From Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra, Book Five on The Wives of Others, translated by A.N.D. Haksar
If I may add to a classic, a few of my own:
-An ill-timed plea to upgrade to Spotify premium.
-Guilt: ‘But you’re the vicar.’
-Astrology: ‘Jupiter is in retrograde, therefore consummating this tryst might be at the expense of the possibility of asserting myself at work.’
-Prematurity: ‘My herbal contraceptive hasn’t yet steeped adequately.’
Happy End – Natsu nandesu