, but only until Monday. I'm off to New York City, where I'm sure the MacDowell Colony will offer me an internship, and where I'll have a large dinner and a bottle of red with, well, let's call her someone very special. Then it's off to Milwaukee, or, as we say in Algonquin, "The Good Land", where Shira Fagan will wed Aarom Stockum. Pre-emptive congratulations, you two! Um, do you need any silverware or other wedding-gift-type stuff! Because we are unprepared! In the meantime, be well, all of you. Stay tuned for upcoming posts including a review of The Flaming Lips new album At War With the Mystics, to be released on April 4th - read about it hear first. Depending on your web browsing habits of course. Who knows, maybe you've already read about it. Cheers and kudos.
So I took off on my bicycle
Recently acquired:Andrew Bird, Weather Systems. It occurred to me, listening to the final track while lifting weights, that there's a possible paradox implicit in pairing weather and systems. I still like my Jeff Buckley-meets-Rufus Wainwright description of Bird's sound. Lots of string arrangments, a delicate tenor voice, lyrics that are actually lyrical and not just words to be sung. The melodies aren't as full of hooks and pep as those on Bird's Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs, but there's enough cautious power in the last song's drumming to intrigue and comfort just about anybody. I humbly submit. Bird writes music for people who are confused about the world - his melodies themselves can sometimes stymie or make you go Hmmm - but he always slips in a track that argues for the eventual improvement of whatever's wrong or off.Mylo, Destroy Rock & Roll. Dance music that isn't all about sustained crescendo and breakdowns. Very fun stuff, very warm. "Sunworshipper" samples a precocious lad who one day just had had enough. Over a very gentle hip-hop beat, the kid says "Well to solve all my problems, to get outta drugs I'd I'd hadda enough of that, I'd had the college I'd had the earning the money and the material trip, I just decided I was gonna find a new way of life... So I took off on my bicycle." Then it breaks down into some decidedly post-rockish drum beats straight off of a Tortoise record. Then back to the cool bicycling. The whole record sounds like Air - super-cool French band Air scored The Virgin Suicides starring Kirsten Dunst - if Air were to put some stronger beats beneath them.Alpha, Stargazing. If Massive Attack and Portishead took some uppers instead of downers, they'd sound like UK duo Alpha. Cool James Bond-style female vocals will make you want to pose in very slo-mo ways while brandishing your thumb-&-forefinger gun.Broken Social Scene, You Forgot It In People. Not as likely to make you slap your forehead as the heavier, poppier, thicker mix of Broken Social Scene's more recent self-titled record, this one's worth your time as well.
The New Hampshire Review
said no to some poems, most of which come from Food Bed Gospel. Which I'm going to keep alive by sending out said poems again and again and again. The Joseph Millar School of Success in Contemporary Poetry: "Buy stamps, bend over." Miss that guy. Simultaneous submissions: the magazines say don't do it, or else they say to be notified if you're doing it. I dunno. Think I'm gonna do it. *I'm drawing a lot of power from the fact that you're reading this right now.
You want all the lovely music to save your life
All day I've felt greedy for more and more in the way of hearing from people. As luck would have it several NY pals and Syracuse pals and Oregonians even have dropped lines in the last few days or hours. I feel unwilling or unable to reply to them in kind, however, because I'm not doing very well. When I'm not doing well it seems counterproductive if not indulgent to share any facts about how I am. It's a real paradox: I want to hear more from my friends and feel seen, feel as though I am somewhere existing, but in order to participate in that conversation I need to contribute. I'm a little bit afraid of my thinking process recently. Thoughts that basically suggest that a) nothing worth reporting is happening to me and b) the things that are happening to me don't deserve airing or publication, because they're indulgent or because they create the very conditions they would seem to be caused by. As a result I feel as though participating in these dialogues - with good friends of mine! - would validate some pessimistic feeling or would reveal how, well, down I am. And I realize that there's an irony in confessing to an unwillingness or an inability to communicate in the form of an online journal any old body can look up and read. The ideal would be to receive notices constantly from any and everyone - communiques from everyone I've ever met. That's a very selfish thing to want if I'm not going to keep up my end of that bargain. *NUMBER 1 DREAMApologies to J., whose morning email features an abridged, unedited version of this account: I had a dream this morning between 6 and 6:50 AM in which I was a senior at a vaguely Vassarish college. I was tooling about through the upper garret-like chambers of the gothic stylings of the library, saying hey to friends but mainly working on something creative, Good Ground probably - which didn't exist when I was there. And then so I was working away, happily typing, and now and again getting up to find and chat up friends, when one of the characters of the dream, an 11-year-old girl with red hair, died. I don't remember how or why. But pretty instantly there I was at her wake, which was held in what now that I think of it was like the Vassar Chapel only with more natural light, and the girl (dressed in something like a First Communion dress, all lace and billows) was lucky enough to have an open casket service with everyone able to reach in and touch her a last time. And even though the dream me couldn't and I certainly can't now figure out who this girl exactly was I was still very conscious in the dream of being unable and unwilling to take my hand away from her shoulder because, and I was pretty self-aware on this point, I wasn't able to see what Jon looked like as he lay in his casket because his face had been unrepairable. Reparable? Repairable? So I cried in the dream and this is what woke me up.*NUMBER 2 DREAMThere was another dream recently that I haven't shared yet because it was the more profound of the two Jon dreams. In the dream, I was in what's now the weight room. As I recall the room was set up as it had been when we first moved here in late '94: there was a wooden entertainment center along one wall, which was faced by an overstuffed brown couch which I believe is still in the care of one David Eldridge. This is where we played all of our video games. I have vivid memories of playing Donkey Kong Country here. Unfortunately, the remainder of the dream is somewhat hazy; I knew I should have written down sooner. But the critical moment in the dream came when I was either wrapping up a game of something on the SNES or else just took a break and looked around, and lying there on the brown couch was Jon, stretched out in a tight-fitting t-shirt and athletic shorts, hands pillowed behind his head, and his mien all like, "Are you done yet? When's it my turn?" And I knew, in the dream, that he was dead. I think it was as a result of this dream-knowledge that Jon's physical substance began to change; he was suddenly less corporeal than he had been and the couch he was stretched out on began to be visible beneath and through him. Standard dream-ghost stuff, I guess. But the kicker came when I woke up gasping. Literally breathless with sobs. This really was like drowning; I suspect it's a cliche when discussing nightmares, but that's what it felt like: as though my knowledge of Jon's being dead equalled this sort of vivid, colorful, transparent weight which was very difficult to come up through. It wasn't precisely like water. It was the visual equivalent of not being able to breathe. The best way to put it is that I felt as though I was at the bottom of a gigantic black V and desperately trying to climb up from it even as I knew I wouldn't be back down there any time soon and therefore I sort of wanted to remain down there a while longer. Even though the dream-room was still well-lit, and even though Jon was still there - not talking to me, not signalling to me or looking worried because I was leaving / waking up - the feel of those few moments was that of a dark V I lay at the bottom of. That's it. I don't have any conjecture or hope for what all that might mean. But it was and it remains of the most true-to-Jon pictures I have now. It's been automatically entered into my fund of Jon-related memories; the dream felt that accurate. There's a hard-to-define aspect of aura or presence. It was him. Not a dream-him; not a him that was him because it looked like him. Just him.
THE FOLLOWING SONG HAS BEEN DESTROYING ME / MAKING ME DANCE IN MY CHAIR
Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene, "It's All Gonna Break." Track 14. Like a Beethoven's 5th of indie rock. Horns, fuzzed out guitars, transitions from allegro to pianissimo to allegretto, and lyrics about (of course) wanting all the lovely music to save your life. Turn this one up to 11.
In which I am
I tried to not think of anything during this shot. It seems that there's a knob of worry in my brow I don't know what to do about.
Here I am having just thought of last night's Family Guy, specifically the one woman's request for a sperm applicator "that looks like Jodie Foster's knuckles." Hahaha, oh my. Still funny.