Well, we shall see if my blog will work. Intimations of "suspended account" + every one of the last 50 or so comments have been spam-bot BS ...
I would LIKE to [re]start this blog ... My sister says I should ...
news flash: i did not get into the Master's Program in English with a Concentration in Film Studies, at NC State, despite some fantastic recs from some great duke profs. really bummed, but i'll live. for now, i am going to post an older, longer poem cuz i feel like putting something up here & this is the only good thing i've written in a LONG time. so here ya go, if you feel like it:
Motions of Return
I. Houses of Deceits of the Senses
as the pendulums undulate, the sight of its wave-like motions
often creates sickness.
the ululations only make the attendees nervous.
lines form, this-a way & that-a way, the periphery
delineated by an ever-changing center.
the word of his father is how one dictionary
exemplifies the word periphrastic; this is
not to paraphrase my father's word,
but to write my own, & call it mine,
so that i may say the phrase
mine-own -- a shakespearean turn,
with apologies for peripeteia.
so: this house, of diverse & curious clocks,
perennially reveals itself differently.
here, today, a Lyceum;
tomorrow a brothel. on friday
the slaves will be auctioned.
even the decor shifts, automatically;
the transmission is silent & pure.
each softly descending night, gear is packed up & stored away;
rocking & bending under the weight
we head for the attic.
tomorrow, in the early pre-dawn mists,
we will again repopulate this museum,
a motion of return, cylindrical
like a door-bolt, at once locked & accessible.
II. Feats of Juggling
there was, at first, just a duality of spheres:
two balls, aloft with simultaneity.
over time, past the ticking of the clocks,
a trilogy was born. in fact, including appendages,
a sort of ennead could be seen, if only time were stopped
for a moment; muybridge would be proud.
now, there are kerchiefs floating,
chainsaws chaining, et cetera. the magician's
hand changes things over time.
this house of performance sells out,
seven nights a week.
the idea of metonymy is evidenced in sterne:
he abandoned the sword and the sex together
in other words: his military career
& his heterosexuality were abandoned.
& yet these are things to be returned to,
vocations create, in turn, revocations,
just as resolutions beget revolutions.
yesterday, in the early hours of evening,
we populated this arena,
circled in & out, eyeing the scaffold, angled
like a parabola, concurrently above & below.
III. False Apparitions, Impostures, & Illusions
upon the screen above the stage float ghosts,
apparitions of appearances, snippets of conversation,
imposters posing as actors who are
'playing' their roles. we roll along,
suspending our unending will to disbelieve,
knowing that behind that cloth. . .
'do not look behind the cloth' we have been told,
& told again; we learned it from the wizard, the wizard of ounces,
who populated a chroma-saturated world,
greens greener than green, roads that were gold,
little men & larger women, with a city of emeralds;
yet still we're told:
'do not look behind the curtain'
so we do not.
as if we're in some cave, looking at shadows;
oh wait, did we learn that at the lyceum?
in this peripatetic wandering, we have come full circle;
the clocks have returned, our hands are full,
it is as if yesterday has become tomorrow,
like eternity stopped at the roadside for a conversation
with two beggars arguing over shoes.
yet this is all familiar, the stopping & starting of
time, the setting of sons; the rehearsal, when witnessed,
becomes the performance. the actors, act.
the viewers, view. & the clocks keep time, or not. . .
in any case, if these are the riches, the ones that we
heard about, if these are the riched, & this is the
house, & we get to stay: well,
imposture or no,
there's no place like home.
well, because i have so much to write, i am doing the "covert grammar" thing by eschewing punctuation, or, to be more accurate, capitalization.
i just read a post from last week by my good friend maura (a.k.a. occasional blond) in which she sort of bemoaned her present position in life -- especially in regards to writing, something very close to my heart & soul & psyche -- as well as make a couple of interesting insights regarding tele-vision programmes that i don't watch. but the part about writing really struck me, & is the reason for this post's occurrence in the fractured time-line that is my so-called blog.
although the 3 people who read this blog already know it, i have applied to graduate school. i am hoping to get a Master's Degree in English with a Concentration in Film Studies from North Carolina State University. i was -- & still am -- very nervous about getting into the program, probably due to the extreme level of superstition that was instilled in me by the game of baseball & the addled miscreants who seem to be attracted to playing it. [i once wore the same pair of socks for 11 consecutive baseball games without ever washing them; i will say that they fit rather well at the end.] my nervousness was exacerbated by the fact that i really procrastinated the whole ordeal; took the GRE late, didn't study for it til the last second, waited until january to start getting the whole application together (due Feb 1) -- this included a transcript, a personal statement, three recommendations, & a writing sample. one of my recommenders was not even notified that i needed a rec until early january; another one, not a Luddite but not an emailer either, wanted the paper form printed out for him, as well as paper copies of my personal statement (PS) & writing sample, which i did not provide him until about 2 weeks before it was due.
what i am elated about is the fact that i am pretty sure these recommenders gave me amazingly solid recs. the one who submitted his by mail called me on tues, feb 3 to tell me (paraphrased) that he "mailed in the recommendation, and included an extra letter explaining how qualified he thought i was for the program, as well as what an excellent graduate student & (eventually) teacher i would make -- this was left for me on my voicemail. rec writer #2, a former professor of mine, got my PS & writing sample a week before stuff was due, & a week after the deadline his rec was not showing up as submitted (i can check my status online), so i emailed him, & we got it all sorted out, but again this only re-exacerbated my nervousness. when he re-submitted the rec, he sent me an amazing email from his hotel in hermosa beach which contained the following paragraph (used without permission):
Now, that certainly allayed some of my nervousness & fear; that may be as wonderful a thing anyone has ever said about me. at least to my face. my third rec, which is from Jane Gaines, head of the Film & Video Program at Duke, i feel pretty good about cuz she was really gung-ho about the whole thing starting last fall. so, if grad school works like college, then the people at state will have some solid recs to look at, some slightly above-average test scores, a mediocre writing sample (not even film related -- it was a paper on "Dubliners" that i wrote for the professor who emailed me from LA), & a hopefully revelatory personal statement.
which brings me to the crux of this: i had to write a personal statement. i wrote a rough page in october, showed it to jane gaines, she emailed me some changes, i made them, showed it to dave felton & james miller, took some feedback from them, & then never consulted anyone else again. i looked at it & looked at it & looked at it again & put it away, looked again when no-one was looking, & then just decided i would leave it be. it was about 3 pages long, & i honestly felt like it was okay, not great, but some sort of bi-polar disorder with two sides, depression & graphophobia, kept me from really tackling it. & when i say tackling it, i mean alchemizing it from a dry, mediocre list of "reasons why i want to go to grad skool" into something better, more meaningful, & more accurately reflective of not only who i am, but how i got there, how i represent myself, & especially how i write about myself. a daunting task, which i was simply not up for.
cut to: super bowl sunday. i wanted to go to muggs' house, but superstition prevailed, cuz the steelers always won [or so it seemed] when he was at home & i was at home & we were texting about the game. since i had to submit my app by midnight -- that was feb 1 -- i sat down during the pregame to go over the PS & make sure there were no typos, no misinformation, & that it at least had a flow that would keep someone reading until the end. as i read it, my frustration grew: it was inaccurate, saccharine, arrogant-sounding, etc etc. i actually got angry. then, in the writer's parlance, my muse sort of shat on my head. i started writing (re-writing, really) in the middle of the first quarter & never looked back. i changed some sentences, deleted some, rearranged, re-wrote some more sentences. i think better writers than i call this "editing," & i have NEVER been good at it, nor have i ever enjoyed it. but i couldn't help myself; it wasn't right. finally, about 10:45 the night of the 1st (figured i had til midnight, right? they might as well get used to me toying with deadlines right off the bat. . . ), i had something that i thought was special. i uploaded it, previewed it, & submitted it.
i've gone back & looked at it since then, & i am still really proud of it. i even printed it off & gave it to a couple of people to read, just so they could see it.
now i'm written out, & i haven't even started on the documentary film that dave felton & i made last weekend. so, if anybody wants to read my personal statement, in its entirety, i have posted it to my "notes" page on facebook; you can go here to read it.
So, today I took the GRE. 650 verbal, 540 math. Wanted to break 700 on the verbal, thought I had done that, then did okay on the math. . . then WHAM! second verbal section, right when i thought i was going home. Fucking killed me. I guess I failed to read the guidelines properly; I knew that there was a possibility of some heretofore unseen types of questions, but I had no idea that a whole section was going to be repeated. Oops. I finished the math, thinking I was done, and like i said WHAM! another verbal section. ouch. I think I messed up the 2nd one pretty bad, cuz my score was way lower than I expected, & i think the first verbals -- which had a "funny-format" question at the end -- were tossed. i swear, i actually clicked out of the first verbal section thinking that i had missed AT MOST two questions, with an outside chance at getting all of 'em right. Then I get a 650? Oh well. The average at NC State for grad students is 600, so I am 50 points above average -- which, you mathfuckers might note, is approximately 8.3333333333blahblahblahetc percent. which, i suppose, would relate to an 8% shift up in where i lie in the percentile rankings? maybe not, i guess nobody gets zeroes on the thing -- though there were some neanderthal looking people in there. plus, somebody complained that i was typing too loud & it was disturbing them. oh cry me a fucking spilt-milk parade. that's what the headphones were for, to block out noise; did the dude think that fucking radiohead was playing through them? plus, when the lady tapped on my shoulder to tell me to "keep it down on the keyboard" [not her exact words; exact words "some people are saying that the volume of your typing is bothering them. . . can you please type more quietly?" & i just nodded & went back to typing the same ol' way. . . wish i'd a had bill burroughs Underwood typewriter from "nekkid lunch" is that peter weller's best role ever or what?] right when she tapped on my i was writing. . . you guessed it, sentence five, paragraph one: the THESIS STATEMENT. . .
you can go here to find the possible topics. . . i went there monday, read four or five of them, & just started laughing at them. almost every other one -- & i knew i would get 2 to choose from -- was a joke. i actually said to anne curtis on the phone [as well to some other people, i'm sure i should be mentioning a dave here somewhere -- BTW, thanks to all for the pos comments & feedback & etc etc ya'll kept me sane] well i said to anne "there aint a question in the world that i can't relate to apocalypse now and/or (read: and) bob dylan in some way. so i stopped looking. again -- just for kicks -- click here to see the topics list. read the first two. then realize that no 2 is really a cut & dry one for me, i totally agree with it. it runs as follows, for you non-link-clickin peeple:
"Originality does not mean thinking something that was never thought before; it means putting old ideas together in new ways."
so, i wrote a 5 paragraph essay: intro, 3 topics, outro. wrote the outro first. then, for my 3 topics, i scribbled [in pencil, on pink paper, no pens because, as shoulder-tap lady told me earlier, pens could be used for things other than scratch-paper writing. . . ]
II. Coppola -- "The Godfather"
III. Bob Dylan
IV. Steve Martin
V. Outro (agree)
in writing essay, i pointed out that godfather was a book first, plus the film is informed by all the gangster movies that came before it -- realized that the word "recombined" was gonna get used. then realized that Apocalypse Now is based on joseph conrad. . . came up with sentence "Coppola takes Conrad's 19th century novel of colonial Africa & sets it up as a post-colonial American political interventionist self-analysis." that should get me up there somewhere in the 5 range by itself. then decided to switch (III) and (IV) & wrote about steve, then bob, then finished with a messy conclusion that was comprised of beauteous repetitive linguistic tricks. quoted greil marcus ("the old, weird america") & bob himself ("something is happening here, but you don't know what it is")
can't write more now, back hurts sick of typing. will talk about AN Redux later.
well, we found the cat, for those of you who still read this blog.
now, i've waited until 2 days before the GRE to start studying for the thing, & i am dead in the water. quadratic equations? you gotta be kiddin. i last took a math class in 1989 -- THAT'S TWENTY YEARS AGO.
wish me well.
hey folks, me & beth can't find alias, our lovely little grey cat. could anyone who reads this please post the information in as many places as possible? she's a 7 year old, medium sized domestic shorthair, with no collar. very friendly towards people, but doesn't like other cats. put my phone number on there, if you don't have it email me & i'll send it to you. i am going to try to put a picture up, but it's a crummy one - we're not the type of people who take pictures of our cat.
when i was just a wee lad in high school -- tenth grade, to be exact -- we were taught a book in english class by mr. pierce, my hero of the teaching profession, a lifelong friend of mine, & undoubtedly the source of my love of he subject of english. the "theme" of the class was stories of transformation or change, especially those that might relate to teen-agers [read: pubescent boys & girls]. we read "the odyssey," & we read "the catcher in the rye." i remember him reading parts of "catcher" out loud, & i can still hear the gasps when he said "fuck" & "goddamn" out loud [i also developed a lifelong radar for anything or anyone that could be considered "phony" -- you'll have to read the book to understand, just like you ought to read "the stranger" to fully grasp the cure song "killing an arab," or how "wrapped around your finger" mentions part of "the odyssey"].
but one of the texts that we read was "ethan frome," by edith wharton. there were more than a few of us that absolutely could not stand this book. i mean, we hated it. one of those few people was mr pierce himself -- you see, he had never taught the book before, & he had actually decided to teach it without reading it. well, about half the class [there were only 15 of us or so, 37 people in my entire high school graduating class 2 yrs later] absolutely HATED that book. led by me, i must say, though my respect for mr pierce forced me to read it [prior to his teaching, if i didn't like a book on page three, that was it. . . i ain't readin' this sh*t]. interestingly, one of the more vocal anti-"Ethan Frome" contingents was none other than. . . Mr. Pierce himself. we weren't sure why we hated the book, we just did. the story was okay, it's about unrequited love, cold new england winters, & sledding accidents [russell banks, where are you? if you wanna read "ethan frome" but GOOD, try "the sweet hereafter" by banks, & check out the movie by, i think, atom egoyan.
then, one night, after stealing some of dad's courvoisier & mixing it with diet coke, & maybe smoking a little green tobacco, i realized what the problem was. edith wharton has a problem with semi-colons. they are literally on every page of that book. i ran into class the next day shouting "i got it! i got it! it's the punctuation!" pierce looked at me like i had nineteen alien heads, & i just said, "go ahead, open 'er up, any page you want. . . go ahead, do it" & he did. i then said "alright, count the semi-colons. . . . trust me."
he found five in the first three random pages that he looked at, eyes ever-widening, as did the rest of the class. the laughter was amazing, outside of the 4 people that really like the book. they thought we were being "over-analytical."
bottom line: now that edith wharton is no longer using up the english allotment of semi-colons, we can have them all back! so, get crackin', people; we gotta lotta semi work to do!
more posts to follow, this one's for dave felton.
well, it's been awhile since i posted, so i thought i'd weigh in for a minute. i got REALLY sick last week, from sunday to about thursday or friday, & i thought it was pancreatitis rearing its ugly head, but things are -- pun intended -- coming out all right now. but for three full days -- really almost four, about 95 hours or so -- i had to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. makes for hard sleep, & makes work virtually impossible. but i stayed off the drink for 3 days, ran out of all my other "calmatives," so it was a decidedly surreal four days. all better now, thought, really spending a lot of time at the restaurant. please pass it on to everyone that you can that fishmonger's has their act together, & you can check our website for veggie specials, announcements, specials, etc. it's at www.fishmongers.net
on a side note: one of my new "favorite" bob dylan songs is called "where are you tonight? (journey through dark heat)". it's the last track on "street legal," & i suggest you give it a listen, if you can. you can check out the lyrics here, though really you need to listen to the song. it's got some weird 70's style backup singing, & some silly horns in some places, but i really think it's a gem. here's the opening:
There's a long-distance train rolling through the rain, tears on the letter I write.
There's a woman I long to touch and I miss her so much but she's drifting like a satellite.
There's a neon light ablaze in a green smoky haze, & laughter down on Elizabeth Street
There's a lonesome bell tone in that valley of stone where she bathed in a stream of pure heat.
Her father would emphasize you got to be more than street-wise but he practiced what he preached from the heart.
A full-blooded Cherokee, he predicted to me the time and the place that we'd part.
There's a babe in the arms of a woman in a rage
And a longtime golden-haired stripper onstage
And she winds back the clock and she turns back the page
Of a book that no one can write.
Oh, where are you tonight?
Again, you need to listen to the song. The "I" in the song changes, as does the "she" & the "he" [thanks bob]. i think it's really great, & once again, it's like bob is just talking to you about himself & the state of the world he sees around him. it's like we're his personal therapist, & he's ours. inexplicable, really.
in any case, hope all is well, check out the song, i think you can listen to it from the lyrics page. if not, drop me a line & i'll make you a cd of dylan stuff that'll blow yer socks off.
so, sometimes what really gets me about dylan is that i feel like, when i am listening to him, that really no-one could really understand him without my help. not cuz of what i know about him & what-not -- though that's certainly there, & cant be ignored -- but because i feel like he's talking to me in a 'language' that only he & i speak, like a sort of dialect where the native speakers are so few & far between that the chances of you finding someone other than me to 'explain' it to you are virtually zero. i realize two things, though, here: 1] this CERTAINLY aint true, no-one needs anyone else's help to 'understand' bob dylan, & 2] it seems to be an almost arrogant thing to consider, that i have some access to something that you don't have.
of course, this brings up the authorship issue -- does it matter that i know when & where things were recorded, how they were put together, maybe even what kind of wine dylan was drinking when he figured out that "like a rolling stone" didn't work as a waltz? i mean, yeah, i can bring that stuff up, & we can talk about it, but how much does it REALLY matter? i somehow instinctually doubt That there is some biographical information that can help us bring any more or less meaning to the line 'you're invisible now, you've got no secrets to conceal. . . " it's like the line either speaks to you, or it doesnt. . .
which i guess is really the point i'm trying to make to myself : i 'understood' dylan long before i knew anything about who he was, how he did his thing, before i even knew about 'the 60's' -- he spoke to me outside of time, outside of self, outside of any boundary that i had even considered the existence of. the funny thing -- almost ha-ha funny, almost straight-jacket funny -- is that the more i know about how these things were done, the more i know about the guy & what he was doing & who he was doing it with, & when, & etc etc -- the more i know, the more i wanna just listen to it over & over & over again & again & again, & try to talk about those things that cant/arent talked about.
sheesh, check out the song "she's your lover now." & don't start talking to me about dylan, unless you got some free time & wannna watch/listen to a guy try to figure out whats going on in reality & whats going on in the mind, & how some pseudo-beatnik-too-smart-no-attention-span man who's brilliant with words can make sense of it all, usually about 5 minutes at a time.