Monday, August 30, 2010

"The Stray"

"The Stray," by Margaret Keane. On display in Joan Crawford's Imperial House apartment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cat Power - Lived In Bars

we've lived in bars
and danced on the tables
hotels trains and ships that sail
we swim with sharks
and fly with aeroplanes in the air

send in the trumpets
the marching wheelchairs
open the blankets and give them some air
swords and arches bones and cement
the lights and the dark of the innocent of men

we know your house so very well
and we will wake you once we've walked up
all your stairs

there's nothing like living in a bottle
and nothing like ending it all for the world
we're so glad you will come back
every living lion will lay in your lap
the kid has a homecoming the champion the horse
who's gonna play drums guitar or organ with chorus
as far as we've walked from both of ends of the sand
never have we caught a glimpse of this man

we know your house so very well
and we will bust down your door if you're not there

we've lived in bars
and danced on tables
hotels trains and ships that sail
we swim with sharks
and fly with aeroplanes out of here
out of here

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Revelations" -- Yoko Ono song lyrics

Bless you for your anger,
It's a sign of rising energy.
(transform the energy to versatility and it will bring you prosperity)

Bless you for your sorrow,
It's a sign of vulnerability.
(transform the energy to sympathy and it will bring you love)

Bless you for your greed,
It's a sign of great capacity.
(transform the energy to giving, give as much as you wish to take and you will receive satisfaction)

Bless you for your jealousy,
It's a sign of empathy.
(transform the energy to admiration and what you admire will become part of your life)

Bless you for your fear,
It's a sign of wisdom.
(transform the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear)

Bless you for your search of direction.
(transform the energy to receptivity and the direction will come to you)

Bless you for the times you see evil.
(evil feeds on your support, feed not and it will self-destruct, shed light and it will cease to be)

Bless you for the times you feel no love.
(open your heart to life anyway, in time you will find love in you)

You are a sea of goodness,
You are a sea of love.
Bless you, bless you, bless you,
Bless you for what you are.

Count your blessings every day for they are your protection
Which stands between you and what you wish not.

Count your curses and there will be a wall
Which stands between you and what you wish.

The world has all that you need
You have the power to attract what you wish.
Wish for health, wish for joy,
Remember, you are loved.
I love you.

Mike Stinson - "No One to Drink With"

Me and Austin.

Heartbreak warfare / All we ever do is say goodbye

I've disliked John Mayer ever since I heard him, back in the early 2000s, on an Austin radio station saying condescendingly in an interview how he liked Austin because it wasn't like the rest of Texas. (Fuck you! May be true, but YOU'RE not allowed to say it, you ignorant-of-all-areas-outside-of-NY-and-LA jerk!) In subsequent years came his obnoxious high-profile dating (and kissing-and-telling), and his "Benetton heart/David Duke dick" comment -- the latter particularly annoying because he later cried onstage about saying both that AND the word "nigger" (the latter in reference to his alleged "street cred," not to women he liked to sleep with). Please. We all have our types. Who cares if you're not attracted to black women? And no one, no one -- gangstas especially -- thinks John Mayer has ANY "street cred."

In short, the guy's public persona and pronouncements were obnoxious and pretentious.

A couple of nights ago, though, I was watching re-runs of "The Hills" and "All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye" came on in the background. I had no idea who it was, but it sounded, in its emotional honesty, like something John Lennon might have written, and I actually teared up... Just looked it up tonight on YouTube, found out it was Mayer.

Around the same night, I came across Mayer's "Heartbreak Warfare" video for the first time on VH1:

I don't care if we don't sleep at all tonight
Let's just fix this whole thing now
I swear to God we're gonna get it right
If you lay your weapon down
Red wine and ambien
You're talking *shit* again, it's heartbreak warfare
Good to know it's all a game
Disappointment has a name, it's heartbreak, heartbreak.

While I initially wanted to turn the channel because it was HIM, I couldn't help listening to the music and lyrics and staying glued to the TV for the duration of the song, wanting to know how he was going to work it out in the song...

Both songs are gorgeous and make my heart hurt. He gave the murkiness of what I've been feeling a name. I can't dislike him any more.

Lightning strikes
Inside my chest to keep me up at night
Dream of ways
To make you understand my pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Drop his name
Push it in and twist the knife again
Watch my face
As I pretend to feel no pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It's heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare.

If you want more love,
why don't you say so?
If you want more love,
why don't you say so?

Just say so...

How come the only way to know how high you get me
is to see how far I fall
God only knows how much I'd love you if you let me
but I can't break through at all.

It's a heartbreak...

I don't care if we don't sleep at all tonight
Let's just fix this whole thing now
I swear to God we're gonna get it right
If you lay your weapon down
Red wine and ambien
You're talking *shit* again, it's heartbreak warfare
Good to know it's all a game
Disappointment has a name, it's heartbreak, heartbreak.

It's heartbreak warfare.
It's heartbreak warfare.
It's heartbreak warfare.


Just when I had you off my head
Your voice comes thrashing wildly through my quiet bed
You say you wanna try again
But I've tried everything but giving in

Why you wanna break my heart again
Why am I gonna let you try

When all we ever do is say goodbye
All we ever do is say goodbye
All we ever do is say goodbye
All we ever do is say goodbye

I bought a ticket on a plane
And by the time it landed you had gone again

I love you more than songs can say
But I can't keep running after yesterday

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"This hair ain't moving, my dude."

"My boss seems to think that my hair is going to fall off and go into the ice cream. This hair ain't moving, my dude. 150 miles per hour on the highway on a street bike, it doesn’t move. What makes you think it’s going to move in a gelato shop?"

I first discovered hair like this back in 2008 when I lived in Joisey, worn by a kid working at my local pizza joint. I was fascinated by its simultaneous hideousness and fastidiousness. Jersey's answer to the Mullet!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Opinions Without Agendas/ No Mercy

My brother told me yesterday at dinner how my 5-year-old nephew had recently watched the Tom Hanks movie "Cast Away" all the way through and actually paid attention to it, and felt sad when Hanks lost his only friend "Wilson." I was amazed that a 5-year-old kid had that kind of attention span for a serious movie, and that he was moved by it. (For those who haven't seen the desolate film, Hanks gets stranded on a desert island; a Wilson VOLLEYBALL washes up on the island with him; he draws a face on the ball, and "Wilson" becomes his only companion.)

On the way home from dinner, I was sitting in the back of my brother's car with the boys; there was a SOCCER ball on the floor, so, trying to be cute and make what I thought was appropriate conversation with a 5-year-old, I said cheerily to the ball: "Hi, Wilson!"

My nephew looked at me like I was an idiot: "That's not a volleyball, that's a soccer ball." Doh! :)

My mom also told me a story recently about the same kiddo: She, "Oma" to her two grandkids, had walked with the boys to a nearby playground. On the way home, she pointed out, in third-person adult-speak: "There's Oma's house." The 5-year-old looked at her and said, "But... YOU'RE Oma!" (As if to say: "I fully understand the concept of "my" as a possessive -- HULLO!)

So much for dumbing down your conversation when speaking to kids! As a further reminder: Last night, the 8-year-old nephew (the one interested in Joan's movie exploits) was grilling me on where I got my lighters (and why I'd been getting them for free from the store near my house and how many I had by now) and why I didn't move my CD-case from one wall to the other, where he thought it would look better, plus why I was finding it so hard to get a job... RE the latter: He was honestly curious about why I couldn't find a job, not getting in a dig (what a relief THAT was -- just to TALK about it and not defend myself about it...)

His curiosity about random stuff was/is so interesting to me! Both of the nephews -- they're not just "dumb sponges"! They're actually LISTENING to what's being said and offering up their opinions, and engaging, without trying to please and/or trying to be nasty... It's really fascinating and exhilarating to me, being around this stage of little humans: OPINIONS without AGENDAS. I miss being that way.

p.s. As an addendum: I've been bitching about my parents recently. But one thing I'll grant them is that, for the most part, they weren't/aren't phony in their adult lives. I wasn't taught any "social graces" by them, because they didn't think them important (it still cracks me up that my dad was named "Friendliest" in his high-school yearbook). It's messed me up greatly, sure, when it comes to my personal relations. I absolutely don't trust people because of how my parents acted toward me, and how they presented the world to me. But, still, the one quality I do value about each of them, a quality I possess, is their intelligence and ingrained bullshit detector (the latter many times greatly irrational and off-base). Just wish I'd been taught to temper that harshness and sense of judgment with an accompanying sense of love and kindness and mercy (on occasion, Sandra was like what I heard heroin was like -- a wash of mercy...I couldn't believe how utterly deep and sweet, I couldn't believe how much I needed how she was...)

For me, everything filters first through the distrust, almost everything always gets caught there... It's a hard way to live.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dinner With Joan

Just got back from my birthday dinner with my ma, bro, sis-in-law, 8- and 5-year-old nephews.

We ate at my favorite BBQ place in Austin, which is decorated in retro style (aside from old hub-caps and license plates, also lots of old movie posters, magazine covers, etc.)

At our booth, the wall was filled with a mix of vintage magazine covers and sheet music, everyone from Clark Gable to Judy Garland to Perry Como... I immediately started looking for anything with my gal Joan Crawford, with my adult family members meanly teasing me: "Aw, she's not up there. No one likes her." Sadly, I indeed couldn't see her face anywhere... But I kept insisting: "I KNOW she has to be up there SOMEWHERE!" "She's not up there! Give it up!"

As dinner went on, I kept peeking at the wall out of the corner of my eye... Surely... And then, lo and behold, at the very top of the wall, I caught the words "Hollywood Canteen"! I can't remember now which song it was, but there indeed was a piece of sheet music from the movie, with Joan's face in one of the circles featuring the stars! I actually YELLED "A-ha! THERE she is!", startling everyone! :) Vindication!

Later, we all started talking about the time at my old job where people challenged me to find a photo of Joan in a movie scenario (baking a pie, fly-fishing, etc.) -- if I could find it, the co-worker had to put that picture up as their screen-saver!

This for some reason fascinated my 8-year-old nephew, so he started coming up with scenarios: "Joan Crawford rescuing a kitten in a tree!" ("Um, no, don't think she did that...") One that cracked me up: "Joan Crawford breaking a glass!" ("Um, yes, THAT one happened all the time!") :)

Then my sister-in-law had to be a smartie: "Joan Crawford drinking and exhibiting extreme sexual neurosis!" Har-har!

(p.s. Bitch as I might about Texas, it's got THE best food in the world: Brisket, chicken-fried steak, Tex-Mex fajitas and tacos. My mind, heart, and soul might be in New York, but my stomach is definitely right here!) :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


OK, right after I moved into my new apartment in late June, I, with my long summer toe-nails and flip-flops, stubbed the big toe on my right foot, jamming the toe-nail... TWICE within one evening. By the next day, the nail had turned a dark purple. I thought it would fix itself within a week, but no. As of August, two months later, now the sides of the nail are separating from the skin and most of the nail is still dark purple.

At first, I was just pissed off that I couldn't go and get my nails done for the summer. (How retarded is it to have 9 red nails and one big ol' PURPLE NAIL? That's NOT a summery and sexy look.)

Now, though, it's just plain freaking me out! Why? Well, for one thing, I know everything about Sylvia Plath, and I know that her dickwad father, Otto, DIED -- DIED -- after gangrene set in after he STUBBED HIS BIG TOE! I really, really, REALLY DON'T want this sort of irony in my life and/or death.

After checking out the "toe-nail issue" online, found the below:

"...If the toe continues to be swollen and red after you have drained the excess fluid, see a doctor to ensure it has not become infected. Take infection seriously, if it continues to hurt or the pain increases, this is a bad sign. Toe infections can lead to blood infections, gangrene, and worse, especially if you have diabetes..."

That's not fucking helpful! Oh my god. What if I die like Otto Plath?? (That's just embarrassing, like going out a la Michael Lohan or Jon Voigt...)


You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time ---
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal...

Oh my god. I really, really fucked up.

Monetarily poor as I was in Weehawken, New Jersey, the below is what I saw when I looked around. It's EXACTLY my landscape, internal mirroring external. I was HAPPY being, and looking, here. It wasn't even New York City, just across the Hudson, but I was happy every time I looked out my window, stepped outside of my door, made a 5-minute walk to the grocery store, hopped a gypsy bus for the 15-minute ride into the City.

I think I just made the worst mistake of my life coming back to Austin.

I want my Weehawken apartment back. I want my elm trees back. I want my fall leaves back. I want my snow back. I want my beautiful, beautiful towns -- Weehawken and New York City -- back. I never fully understood the power of either nature's or architecture's physical and psychological presence until I lived amid such beauty.

What in the godforsaken fuck did I just do?

And how to get back there?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

2 Ways of Leaving

By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

by SS

No warning, no farewell
Simply leaving
Without a word
No notice or words
She’s gone
Out the door
It’s easier that way
No embraces or words of love
Just get up and go
See if they notice
Your way of saying don’t like saying good bye
Another way of saying how much you care
And not wanting them to know
Saying good bye
Brings back the sound of train’s whistle in the night
Dog's barking in the night
Ice tinkling in a glass carried in the night
Voices crying out for help in the night

Another way of leaving, quietly
Like a legend never told

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bussin' it!

After about 10 weeks (!) I finally got off my ass last week and made an appointment with my hairdresser for today. (What was I waiting for? I always feel like shit when my hair gets raggedy, which it does after 5 or 6 weeks. I guess since I was moping around for the past month anyway, thought I'd just add my crappy hair to my list of woes!)

I must say that usually Haircut Day is a good day. For one thing, you get to drive home tossing your hair and feeling cute, and then get to spend the rest of the day and evening feeling cute whenever you look in the mirror at home. UNLESS, THAT IS, YOU HAD TO WAIT FOR 55 MINUTES IN 101-DEGREE HEAT TO CATCH A DANG BUS AFTER THE HAIRCUT AND BY THE TIME YOU GOT HOME YOUR HAIR WAS A SOPPING WET MESS, THUS RENDERING INEFFECTUAL THE JOY OF HAIRCUT DAY!!!

[Serenity Now!] I must say, though, that my bus trip TO the salon was a pleasant one. I actually checked the schedule ahead of time, arrived at the stop 10 minutes early; the bus was exactly on time, and I got to the salon in 15 minutes. Delightful! But I was just BORED with the idea of checking the schedule for when the bus would be returning home. It runs, allegedly, every 30 minutes, so I thought I'd just gamble post-salon; prolly it would come after 10 or 15... HAIL NO.

And the stop where I was waiting was absolutely shadeless. Wait, I take that back. The shadow cast by the sign-post on the corner was about 6 inches wide. And I actually angled myself sideways so that I was partially covered! So full of ingenuity!

And yet still so completely sweaty after the 55-minute wait. I did enjoy the bus driver's conversation, though. (Still not sure who she was talking to exactly; there was no one up front near her...) I learned that she'd once gotten cussed out by a passenger -- IN WRITING! (Apparently by one of the deaf/dumb/blind/crippled and/or State Hospital folk who seem to be the primary bus patrons in this town.) And that one time a woman in a wheelchair was afraid the driver wouldn't stop before the woman made it to the she wheeled on out into the street IN FRONT OF THE BUS and toodled along in the street at 2-miles-per-hour, just to ensure that the bus wouldn't pass her by...

It's The Bus Life, Baby! ;p

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Joel Osteen says...

... connect with people who understand your destiny.

Joan / Flashdance

Anne Carson's "Nox": No Voice

I've never read Anne Carson, but after this article in the New Yorker about her latest work, "Nox," I want to.

"Nox" (Latin for "night" and also the Roman goddess of night, "the mother of sleep, fate, and death") is what Carson calls an "epitaph" for her dead brother, whom she'd barely spoken to in the over-20 years since he'd left home.

Interesting to me, first of all, is the format of the book: "The contents arrive not between two covers but in a box... Inside is an accordion-style, full-color reproduction of the notebook [that Carson had begun to keep about her brother after his death in 2000], which incorporates pasted-in photographs, poems, collages, paintings, and a letter Michael once wrote home, along with fragments typed by Carson...A mourner is always searching for traces of the lost one, and traces of that scrapbook's physicality -- bits of handwriting, stamps, stains -- add testimonial force: this person existed."

The theme of loss itself is also very powerful for me. It's, sadly, played such a huge role in my life, been more of a presence than any actual presence. Reading this article about Carson's book made me feel relieved: someone else knows what it's like to live with lack.

"Catullus...wants to memorialize the dead, but [Carson] also wonders why she does -- why we feel the need, as Catullus says, to speak to silent ashes, to assemble trivial remnants of a lost presence."

"'The poet is someone who feasts at the same table as other people. But at a certain point he feels a lack,' Carson has written. 'He is provoked by a perception of absence within what others regard as a full and satisfactory present.' In 'Decreation,' she asks, 'When an ecstatic is asked the question, What is it that love dares the self to do? she will answer: Love dares the self to leave itself behind, to enter into poverty."

"[Carson writes in her first book of]...the Greek notion...of Eros as a form of 'lack' that offers both pleasure and pain. The geometry of desire, which we usually take to be a two-way street (I love you; you love me), is actually a triangular circuitry of lover, beloved, and that which comes between them. 'The lover wants what he does not have...All human desire is poised on an axis of paradox, absence and presence its poles, love and hate its motive energies...Who ever desires what is not gone? No one. The Greeks were clear on this."

"As Iris Murdoch once wrote, 'The bereaved cannot communicate with the unbereaved.' Because the dead person is absent and voiceless (the word nox both rhymes with the Latin word vox, or voice, and contains the English word 'no'), the bereaved is always experiencing the lost through other things: books, ideas, language, memory. A sense of this is what Carson's memory book provides; its process of assemblage dramatizes the way the mind in mourning flits from pain at the specific loss to metaphysical questioning about what, exactly, constitutes a mortal life."

"...the mourner's secret position: I have to say this person is dead, but I don't have to believe it."


The above is important for me, but also even moreso for Sandra and her love for Jim. Both an acknowledgment of her feelings for him and their historical context, and an idea of how she can pay homage to him and her feelings. (I would have sent her the Carson book directly, and e-mailed her directly about it... except that she's recently cut me off! Oh, the irony!) :)