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Take the Bit Between Your Teeth

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[08 Oct 2009|05:37pm]
I guess everyone here already knows, but I've moved here.
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Voice Post [19 Oct 2008|04:44am]
776K 4:05
(no transcription available)
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[14 Apr 2008|12:38pm]
Lifesaver, Emiliana Torrini
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[02 Apr 2008|06:54pm]
I am blogging somewhere else now. Be in touch if you want to.
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[20 Mar 2008|02:05pm]
While I cannot say I enjoyed it, I made it all the way through Apocalypse Now without dying and I think that's pretty good.
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What was there to bring me to delight but to love and be loved? [20 Mar 2008|11:01am]
I declared, and immediately rejected this. For instance:
a man I loved once liked to hurt women and would tell me
what he did to his lovers. The sight of a woman's slight hips
as she was knocked over a television might give delight. Or the way
bones sounded in skin that bumped or scraped against a wall.
He used to claim he could hear things like this, not
the scratch of a woman's back on a wall, but actual
bone rubbing muscle, skin, joint, the sound
as if sticks rattled in cloth. It frightened him, he said, he found himself
pushing other women to prove he couldn't really hear the sound.
And I loved him. I loved forgiving him. I must admit this
though he never laid a hand on me,
I knew enough about this kind of loss.
There were more significant things
to demand from the world. Such as how
a word could call up more than violence, an idea, person, become
reality with only the finest limitations
of meaning. Such as monster, perhaps,
or grave, or delicious. I could say, for instance, that this man
was a delicious monster with his strap-colored hair and soft mouth
though where does that place me
in the universe of word? Perhaps you could say I
was the monster, searching not for where rivers ran but to the source
of rivers, the frozen nugget of an idea of river: so cold
it almost burns the rock around it. I was the one willing to sacrifice
so many others of my kind; I could listen for hours
to his stories of women whose bones itched within them
and I all I could think was hand, eye, mouth as if to say the words
was to take his fingers in my mouth, to suck
the warm pink nails between my teeth, or lick the egg taste
from his eye with my tongue. These were more real to me
than the fact he would cry out on the phone or in my bedroom
where we would talk. He would cry and all I could think was
More, let my thighs be another casing for you
if this is the kind of grave you want.
I almost thought grace. I almost
gave in once, but, and this is the truth, he was afraid of me. I
was the coldness of rivers, he said, I was the source
and when he looked down at me lying on the sheets rumpled
like ruined skin he called me his destroyer.

Perhaps the real question in the world is not
what to love, but how to forgive.
What does it take for the monstrous
to be delightful in the eye of God? As if beauty itself
wasn't also obscene -- a hand really fleshed claw, a peony
a flowering of blood. Or perhaps a word is really all it signifies, all
we can trust in fact; to name a thing
is to make it so. When I called this man a man, you must believe
he became one for me. The source of the river,
not its oceangrasp. What happened to the man I loved
is that eventually he choked a woman almost to death.
We weren't speaking then. Even I, it seems, have my limits.
But I can imagine how he would have told me he could hear her spine
crying out to him, an accusation of the flesh. What more is there
but to love like this and be loved?
he asked me once.
You are my source of delight,
an eternal search for grace,
I answered. I almost said the grave.

Paisley Rekdal
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[19 Mar 2008|10:03pm]
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[19 Mar 2008|10:01pm]
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[19 Mar 2008|07:41pm]
Like a defective purgatory no one
remembers the point of, or how to
turn it off. Like being hazed by one's
needs. By human practice. Which
can change.

Michael O'Brien
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[19 Mar 2008|07:06pm]
A friend whose acquaintance I suddenly and miraculously remade requested my top books of 2007. In order to name these, I first had to determine which books, exactly, I read in 2007. The list, chronological and as complete as I could make it, can be found behind the cut. And anything in bold is a top book:Collapse )
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[16 Mar 2008|04:31pm]
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Dynasty Handbag.

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Finally! [16 Mar 2008|10:03am]
First, a story: J has gone to SXSW by herself this year because I am hard at work saving pennies for Tin House and Coachella. All weekend people have been whispering, pointing and outright accosting her because she looks like the Deal twins. On Friday night J was at a show and she ran into Kim Deal.

J: Everyone keeps thinking I'm you!
KD: Well, that's good. You're not gross!


Okay, here are my Top Albums of 2007 (three months into 2008):

Battles, Mirrored
Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam
Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
Live at the Annandale Hotel, Life Without Buildings
Phosphorescent, Pride
PJ Harvey, White Chalk
MIA, Kala
Justice, Crosses
Panda Bear, Person Pitch

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[13 Mar 2008|08:50pm]
On my way to class tonight, Phil called and offered me an extra ticket and camping pass to Coachella. And do you know that I actually thought for a second, and even said aloud, "I don't know if I can afford it."

And then about .007864 of a second after I hung up the phone I went, WHAT THE FUCK AM I TALKING ABOUT?

I'm going to Coachella!
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Guess what I'm doing today! [13 Mar 2008|09:05am]
After great pain a formal feeling comes--
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions--was it He that bore?
And yesterday--or centuries before?
The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow--
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.

Emily Dickinson
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[13 Mar 2008|08:41am]
I started Early - Took my Dog -
And visited the Sea -
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me -
And Frigates - in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands -
Presuming Me to be a Mouse -
Aground - upon the Sands -

But no Man moved Me - till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe -
And past my Apron - and my Belt
And past my Bodice - too -

And made as He would eat me up -
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve -
And then - I started - too -

And He - He followed - close behind -
I felt His Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle - Then my Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl -

Until We met the Solid Town -
No One He seemed to know
And bowing - with a Mighty look -
At me - The Sea withdrew -

Emily Dickinson
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Would it keep you strong if I said it with a song? [12 Mar 2008|06:48pm]
I bought Low's The Great Destroyer on vinyl while we were at Amoeba records in the Haight . Even more than the re-released Tigermilk or the four-volume Decade, I think I like this record best. Evenings, I drink a glass of wine and toss a salad together, the Mavs on mute, listening to Low on rich, lipidy, gorgeously astute velvety vinyl. I think about the surreal Low concert J and I passed through so many months ago, but even more than that I think about the Haight Ashbury flying by in the back windows of David's car, the bright insides of the record store and all its treasures, the discovery that Phil has simultaneously started collecting vinyl, the trip afterward to the filthiest and most frightening public bathroom at a McDonald's in the Haight, Coit Tower and the City and the Bridge and the Bay at night and then before I can linger on those sweet memories too long I am back in my bedroom at the Calle Serena house, my portable speakers plugged into my laptop and nestled in the disjointed assembly of blankets on my bed, and blaring "Silver Rider" over and over and over and over again like a teenager who has just found Rock and Roll. I love Low.
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[12 Mar 2008|04:57pm]
Softest of Tongues
To many things I've said the word that cheats
the lips and leaves them parted (thus: prash-chai
which means "good-bye")--to furnished flats, to streets,
to milk-white letters melting in the sky;
to drab designs that habit seldom sees,
to novels interrupted by the din
of tunnels, annotated by quick trees,
abandoned with a squashed banana skin;
to a dim waiter in a dimmer town,
to cuts that healed and to a thumbless glove;
also to things of lyrical renown,
perhaps more universal, such as love.
Thus life has been an endless line of land
receding endlessly... And so that's that,
you say under your breath, and wave your hand,
and then your handkerchief, and then your hat.
To all these things I've said the fatal word,
using a tongue I had so tuned and tamed
that--like an ancient sonneteer--I heard
its echoes by posterity acclaimed.
But now thou too must go; just here we part,
softest of tongues, my true one, all my own....
And I am left to grope for heart and art
and start anew with clumsy tools of stone.

Vladimir Navokov
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[09 Mar 2008|09:30am]
Visible Woman

In the dark museum we see the pump of her heart, brightening with each
beat, her pulse big through the speakers. We listen
until the seats fill, until the floodlights come on
& she speaks, Welcome, this is my body, spinning
slowly, her palms upturned

My brother builds a wall of airplane glue around his bed, the fumes become
dreams as they harden, our mother reaches a cool
Washcloth to his fever, the sheets stick to his body,
like the canvas that fills a balsa plane

Welcome, she says, this is my body, says circulation & her veins
light up like sick rivers, says skin is a door, her hair
molded plastic, her lungs filling blue, her eggs lined up
& waiting, even her bones glow, the marrow white fire,
like a flashlight held in my mouth

When she died we knelt at the coffin, my brother reached a hand out to her
cheek, she's not even real

Nick Flynn
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[05 Mar 2008|07:51pm]
The Corrections was as minutely imagined and far-reaching as a Russian novel. The book, I'll grant, dealt in platitudes, and was overly precious, but my friends, my enemies, my stalkers, my disinterested sometimes-readers, it's a novel about the Midwest. A minutely-imagined, farcial sleight-of-hand too good to be missed. So much to love about the Lamberts and so so so much to love about Jonathan Franzen's totally exhaustive chronicle of the history of one single family, and all the hilarity and discomfort and trepidation and fear and potential and nobility therein. You should do it. It would feel really good.

Glass, Irony and God, after The Beauty of the Husband, was a little bit of a disappointment. A half-hearted mishmash of essays and Anne Carson's fascinating, essay-length poems, the central piece paled and fell apart during a second excavation. A woman returns to her mother's house in what she imagines to be the aftermath of a destructive love affair (but what is, the reader learns, probably years, possibly several years, later). The narrator is obsessed with Charlotte Bronte. She wants better than anything to understand the inertia that might lead to freezing, the steady removal from human contact that might finally make a person better than humanity (but more to the point, safe). But it's not even like, except for the premise, it's a great poem! Because it's jumpy, it lags, it's inconsistent. And don't make that wilfully inconsistent argument to me, sophomore-year workshoppers. Okay? The final piece, an academic discussion of women's silence in Greek culture and mythology and men's fear of ahem MOUTHS of all kinds, was pretty much the highlight. Is that weird? Yes? Moving on!

San Francisco: was just. We went to the pier and ate seafood and chased poaching birds away. We met up with Trevor and his sisters and played Blondie on the jukebox and drank expensive and strange beers. Four drunk straight women hit on Jonanna, then one of them disappeared into a back room with a cigar-smoking man where they made out so hard they broke a window. We met Phil and his brother at a trendy tapas place in the Castro called (in a breathy whisper) Lime. We helped a blind man get on and off the BART. Jonanna threw her subway map at my feet. We went to the MoMA and though the Olafur Eliasson exhibit had already closed we bounced gleefully through the permanent collection and taught Phil how to look at a Rothko. We went to lunch at a hippie health food restaurant run by a cult and careened around the crazy curvy street and up to Coit Tower and back down to Little Italy, where we went to City Lights Bookstore and then through Chinatown and Japantown. We ate at a little French creperie in the Mission and went to the Pirate store and to Good Vibrations and then we went to DD's house in Oakland where she was cooking 15 pounds of ribs and we ate until we couldn't anymore and then we smoked and drank and talked and played Scene It, a game about movies. And then we shopped and watched the Mavericks play the Lakers in our stuffy hotel room and ate dinner at an AMAZING italian restaurant with Meggy and Chris and then we climbed on the plane, world-weary, broke and happy and in love, and came back to Dallas.

We'll be back.
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[14 Feb 2008|09:20am]
1. Mackerel's growth came back an inflamed fibrosarcoma, which was the pathologist's way of being nice. I'm not gonna say it's a vaccine sarcoma, but. Because the growth was almost over his spine he is not a candidate for amputation. We put him under anesthesia the afternoon we found out and took wider margins around the site, hoping to have gotten every errant cell this time. Now I wait to see if it comes back. And I love him as hard as I know how until it does.

2. I've been teaching English to 26 Mexican immigrants and one woman from Kosovo, Slavka, nights for the past few weeks. We work out of the books, from the lesson plans provided. I bring in the phone book and together we look up numbers and practice their particular enunciation -- bumbumbum. bumbumbum. bumbumbumbum. I bring in a family photo of the Simpsons to illustrate first names and last names. They call me Maestra and wave at me shyly outside of class. I like to teach.

3. I have been running a low-grade fever for a week.

4. I blazed through Blind Huber and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City this weekend. I need to pick another conference writer to catch up on -- maybe Aimee Bender, but maybe not. When I am in stasis with many consecutive books, I begin to wonder if I am losing interest, if I am lazy or overtired, when in reality I have not yet found the right book.

4. My favorite basketball team is trying to send a handful of their younger players to New Jersey for an aging superstar pointguard and I am taking it really personally.
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