outta town, outta site, outta my mind

We wanted to get out of the city for the weekend and N's dad is vacationing in Florida, so we decided to spend Saturday night at his place in the SW 'burbs. It's a good excuse to get a bunch of laundry done for free and to spend inordinate amounts of time pretending to shop at places like Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is a place where you can buy skimpy panties with words like "hottie" emblazoned across the front, but you can't find the new Jon Stewart or George Carlin books. Paraphernalia with Confederate flags and NASCAR gear sell well at Wal-Mart, I imagine.

We picked up a nice pork tenderloin and two bottles of $3 Chuck at the nearby Trader Joe's and I cooked a nice dinner and we watched the classic "So, I Married an Axe Murderer" and some BBC variety shows. A couple years back, I was spoiled a bit when I worked at a French wine bar, but I must say I *have* been developing quite a fondness for the Shaw Vineyards, especially their Sauvignon Blanc. I mean, Sonoma is no Loire Valley, but for $2.99 you can't get much better. The wine was good. While surfing channels, I happened upon the Pixies on "Austin City Limits." The night was good.

Once asleep, I dreamt I was the moon orbiting and chortling through space. When the dream began, I was waxing in virgo and once I got to taurus, I seemed to be stuck. I started waking up at this point in the dream to ask N how the hell I could get out of being stuck and into gemini, but there was no waking her. I hate those dreams that hang with you after you wake up. It was muggy under the blankets and difficult to get back to sleep.

This morning, there was a taped reading on C-Span from a Howard Zinn-edited companion book to his "A People's History of the United States," basically actors reading left-leaning speeches from various points in history. I'm into that kind of thing, and a big fan of Dr. Zinn, so like a wonk I sat there eating DIY creme brulee, watching "Books on C-Span." I especially appreciated the reading of an anti-war speech by Eugene Debs that landed him in prison for 10 years. Little has changed since he made the speech, in which he stated the ruling class profits from war while the working class fights and dies in it. The final reading was a Speech Zinn made before being jailed for his own civil disobedience.

I'm re-reading Hemingway's "A movable Feast." I think everyone ought to read it, at least anyone working at being any sort of artist. One of my favorite passages follows.

"... The one who is doing his work and getting satisfaction from it is not the one the poverty bothers. I thought of bathtubs and showers and toilets that flushed as things that inferior people to us had or that you enjoyed when you made trips, which we often made. There was always the public bathhouse down at the foot of the street by the river. My wife had never complained once about these things any more than she cried about Chevre d'Or when he fell. She had cried for the horse, I remembered, but not the money. I had been stupid when she needed a grey lamb jacket and had loved it once she had bought it. I had been stupid about other things, too. It was all part of the fight against poverty that you never win except by not spending. Especially if you buy pictures instead of clothes. But then we did not think of ourselves as poor. We did not accept it. We thought we were superior people and other people that we looked down on and rightly mistrusted were rich. It had never seemed strange to me to wear sweatshirts for underwear to keep warm. It only seemed odd to the rich. We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other."


distressing dreams & things I hate

2 distressing dreams. In the first I'm in a jetliner taking off and for some reason the toilet is in the front of the plane between the passengers and cockpit. We're ascending over Chicago and it's rough, sounds like the engines are about to give out. Not my first traumatic plane dream, but something significant and bad always seems to happen when I have such a dream.

In the second, I run into an old roommate, who chews me out about the manner in which I burned the bridge between us a few years back. I suppose I deserved it, even if this tongue lashing wasn't exactly real.

We ate at Ann Sather today. I think we both needed comfort food. N's bummed about her dog dying and her car on death's door. I'm bummed about the Steelers blowing another conference championship game, I guess, though I tend to think of most sports fans as "meatnecks (Andre's word, not mine)." I hate the New England Patriots. I hate their ugly-ass uniforms and their style-deficient head coach, the way they *always* get favorable calls from the officials and the way the media so willingly rimjobs the team whenever they write about them. I told N as long as that chimpanzee, Bush, is in the White House, the Patriots will win Super Bowls, simply because they're the Patriots. She called me her "little conspiracy theorist." I'm right, you know ... reichstag.


Tallulah, I just like that word.

SO, the other day, I'm sitting at breakfast when N drops a year-old issue of 'Writer's Digest' in front of me. I've never really been a huge fan of said publication, never really found it too helpful, somewhere between a well-intentioned trade mag. and a ploy to get would-be writers (note: as a child, I was a would-be firefighter, astronaut, superhero -- today I am a would-be porno star, tv pundit, superhero ...) to shell out $4/mo. to read a bunch of information useless to them and, perhaps, to succumb to one or two of the myriad ads for phony lit agents, poetry contests or set-your-pomes-to-music schemes advertised in the back. I mean, there are some alright items inside, but the publication exists merely as a marketing tool for its own books. Given the cover price, it's not even free advertising. Who am I to complain, as mayhaps I use this blog to plug my own more expensive literary endeavours?

The other night on TV I heard that 10-year-old Mazzy Star tune, the slow D-A-G one with the really cool, spooky echo. Don't ask me the name of the song, but it was playing again today when I went for tea. I like that song. I associate it with the cold, wet spring of 1996, which was perhaps the strangest season of my life and which I won't get into here and now. Let's just say it was a time defined by my late dad's old navy blue London Fog trench coat I wore then. Maurice told me it made me resemble George Harrison, circa. 1965, and I thought that was pretty cool, so I wore it quite a bit, in spite of it being a size too small. I wore it until this woman I was seeing at the time told me "you know, you kind of look like Paddington Bear in that coat." Things weren't quite the same afterward.



Recieved word yesterday that a piece of mine's been accepted into the upcoming issue of "Monday Night." That's two acceptances in one week. Hopefully my recent art luck parlays into some sort of career luck.

Yesterday was CJ Laity's birthday and there was a roast for him at the Cafe. CJ is the webmaster at the site http://www.chicagopoetry.com and has been kicking around these parts much longer than me. I've only known him about a year, but I've managed to read at number of his events in that last year. He sometimes stirs things up, but sometimes things need stirring. It figured to be an interesting evening.

The crowd was decent, in spite of a Danteiian freeze that later gave way to an onslaught of snow. About half the open-mic folks took part in the roast. J.J. Jameson was reminiscent of old Friar's Club footage, Tom Roby did a good aping of CJ's recent 'punk-poetry' venture and Gregorio Gomez had us all in stitches. It was pretty cool. Even cooler was when David Gecic pulled me aside to slip me some cash for the chapbooks he's sold for me via his http://www.puddinheadpress.com site.


hope the Russians love their kitties, too . . .

FWIW, my revolution will not be digitized. It will be analog, though perhaps assisted by the digital.

One day, whilst fairly bored, I created a friendster profile for my cat, Dusty. He's a pretty smart cat, so under "schools" I put "U of Chicago," "post-doctoral" and "physical sciences." A few days ago, he recieved the folowing message:

Saturday, January 15, 2005 4:23:00 AM
Hello.My name is Mariya.I read your structure and it has very much liked me.Many a structure what that usual, but you has interested me!!!I could not find the half at us in Russia.And I have decided to try to search it in internet. My purpose of acquaintance to you for long relations and creations of family.If I have interested you also YOU want to learn me better.You can write that to me on my e-mail.Mine email:

It makes me think perhaps Dusty is the one who should be blogging, or at least the one who should be the protagonist of the things I write. It makes me wonder if people actually respond to these bots.


Tumbling Dice

I was making breakfast this morning when an otherworldly thunderbolt rocked the windows. For a second, I was a scared kindergartener. Then a hard rain came in, flooded the sidewalks and melted most of the snow. After the rain, a fog fell and it was balmy and gorgeous outside.

Here at my usual Buena Park corner cafe, I'm chill upon a vintage teal couch and "Tumbling Dice" is cranked a tad louder than I imagine the predominantly yuppish clientele would like, but to me it's heaven.

I'm thinking about my old friend Carl, and the firestorm he endured for simply being himself in academia in the oppressively politically correct 1990s. I remember meeting Robert Creeley nearly a year ago and the Carl vs. Academia discussion I had with him. Creeley, who is also an acquaintance and contemporary of Carl's, told me I was smart to get out of *that* when I did. Still, I'm bitter.

I'm attempting the next great literary coup d'etat. Please join me.


Willie and Merle

Today's music at my corner cafe is Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard duets. Much better than the crappy, nonthreatening ski-lodge quasi jazz I heard in here the other night.

"I can sober up tomorrow/and face my friends again..."

I have become addicted to the "missed connections" postings on craigslist. I don't post or reply to these myself, but there's a bit of entertainment to be had at the expense of those who do. I guess you could call it my own version of reality TV.

maybe the Third World his first time around ...

I spent the first part of Saturday afternoon participating in a research study for some radio group. Had to listen to 10-second bites of bad music and answer how much I liked each song and on which of 4 local stations I thought I would most likely find it. The focus group itself was comprised of a bunch of guys, most of whom wore moustaches and looked a bit older than me. Now, to get into this study, I lied and told them I listened to two of these awful AOR stations more than anything else on the radio (I *may* take in maybe an hour or two a week of NPR and college radio), but I needed the extra money and what they don't know won't hurt them. I think most of these guys live in the W. or SW. burbs. Midway through, during the break, one of them told me, "Gee, I think I'm gonna go home and listen to my radio."

Later, N & her cousins Anthony and Ava and Anthony's wife Natalie and I drove a homemade birthday cake the far, far, way to Mokena, IL, for their cousin Margaret's birthday. Margaret's mom is in hospital recovering from car crash injuries, so we were all feeling varying degrees of some necessity to do nice things for family. Mokena is really out there, and is pretty desolate. We wondered aloud why so many of their family members live so far from the city, and referred to this barren burgh as "Mokena Faso."

It was alright, though. N's aunt made us spritzers of Sparkling wine and cold California Merlot and we watched "Napoleon Dynamite" before the younger cousins started wrestling and it was time to return to our first-world digs in Chicago. I would have liked to have gone for a drink or two with everyone, but we were so late getting back and everybody was tired.


needles and pins / / /

Nyla says to say she's sick of my moist, naked ass rubbing against her when we sleep. I suppose the romance is dead.

Rough, rough day. N had to have these invasive neuro-spinal tests today (yes, she's OK) and in the midst of that we found out her aunt had just been in a nasty accident (she will be OK, but it was pretty bad). A doctor and three residents poked and prodded N, first with electrodes and then by inserting a long, thin needle into different muscles. She looked miserable enduring what would otherwise be classified as torture and I was miserable watching her deal with it. All the while I was hearing Sonny Bono's "Needles and Pins" in my mind. Later, after it was all over, I sat at a coffee jernt listening to terrible quasi jazz, catching flirty eyes from people too shy to say hello. I suppose I was too beaten down from the day's events to care about this and I know I'm too involved in my relationship to have cared otherwise, but I would have given anything at that moment to have been listening to the jangling chords of that great Sonny song and gotten a simple "hello" than to hear that crappy ski lodge muzak interspersed with the sound of my own breathing.

I'd write more, but my moist, naked ass is pooped.


fixing their shit ...

Something about the feel of a newly starched shirt. Not too much starch, but when it's just back from the cleaners ... I never used to give a shit about what to wear, then I started dating a damned Libra. They'll brainwash you that way.

I'm set to grind an axe, or to 'fix everybody's shit,' as one of N's aunts put it one time.

So, N's renting a unit in a condo. Her mom owns said unit, but for some reason the 'condo association board' feels the need to meddle with N's mom's private holdings. Apparently N has been renting a bit too long for their own stodgy good. Thusly, this 'condo association board' has seen fit to dig up some old and self-important by-law stipulating an owner may only rent out their unit for 2 years. Never mind the underlying fact her mom owns the place.

What I really want to know is this: How is it people become so self-important? Especially in a time and place where we should all have loftier aspirations than meddling with such a non-situation. This is a small building and N has hardly been a bad neighbor, but because a few assholes are too dumb, blind or shallow to deal with their own ineptitudes, they find a need to gang up on her for no real reason. I hope to hell the next occupant of this unit makes life hell for all of these stodgy, smarmy jackholes. At the very least, there is now an added sense of satisfaction when our sex gets loud.

In Chicago: City on the Make, Algren wonders how it is "senators get so close to God." Well, I guess a senator at least has to do some work to achieve that seat. These 'condo association boards' and 'country club boards' and boards of whatever other kind, they just use these meaningless positions as a means to vicariously masturbate over delusional domination fantasies. Tsunamis, Global Terror, the decline of our own civilization ... and those pesky, meddling tenants.


wire in a fire

We stayed in New Year's Eve, rang in midnight with Belgian raspberry lambic ale and didn't make it much further than that. We've been playing the same Trivial Pursuit game for the last three days.
Saturday, N's mom had us up to her place in Lake Bluff for a dinner party. There was much food and many familials. N's cousin told us a story where he meant to call his brother-in-law's girlfriend a hare-lip, but instead uttered something nastier. The weather's been nice. Eye of hurricane nice. After dinner, N&I went to the Gallery and it was pretty dead. Garrett was playing a semi-scoustic set and smoking a one-hitter during his break. There was an incredibly wasted young woman hitting on Jim the Beatles guy, who is like 60 and fairly road-worn. One could say we rang in the new with a near-dying whimper.