Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Chat with Jennifer

From last spring

: what should i do when i graduate?

Jen: Travel the world, sample exotic foods and wine, recite poetry to beautiful women, skydive, buy a small plot of land with a vineyard.

me: that sounds about right
it’s a cash problem
i'm no trust fund baby

: Make lots of money. Get rich quick. Then do the above.

: how do i get rich quick?

: Um, become a pimp.
Sell illegal drugs.
Start gambling.

me: actually, you know what occurred to me today?

Jen: What occurred to you today?

me: i won't really survive at all financially unless i get married.
no joke.

Jen: To a trust fund baby?

me: no, anybody at all.
who has an income

Jen: So not anybody at all?
You couldn't marry me because I don't have an income.

me: but you will, right?
before too long?
plus you're already married. which saddens me :(

Jen: Someday, perhaps. Before too long? Not sure.
Already married, no, but plan to be, hopefully sooner than later.

me: so what the fuck am i supposed to do now

Jen: Since I'm not marrying you?

me: yeah, since you're not marrying me.
i never thought I’d need to get married out of pragmatism.

Jen: You use the f-word too much.

me: that's once.
and it was for emphasis.

Jen: That's once too many.

me: it sounded good in my head.

Jen: It looks bad on chat.

me: sorry.

Jen: And sounds bad in my head.

me: sorry.
ahh, sorry.

Jen: No worries. I love Jesus, so I forgive you.
So you need to find some hot mama with an income.

me: yeah.
who is tolerable.

Jen: Tolerable? How do you mean?

me: who isn't annoying

Jen: Hmm, you're being a little picky, aren't you?

me: wanting to marry somebody who isn't annoying is picky?

Jen: First she's gotta have an income. Then she's got to not be annoying.
I'm sure you have other criteria as well.

me: yeah, but they are pragmatic criteria.
i mean, both of the above are pragmatic.
my other criteria are probably similar.

Jen: No other pragmatic criteria?

me: like, can't have psychosic allergies and isn't awkward around trees.
i don't really ask for much in any part of life.

Jen: Awkward around trees? Are there people who are awkward around trees?

me: yeah.
especially when there are lots of them.
such as in a forest.

Jen: What - are they scared of them? Do they not look at them? Are they afraid to get within a certain number of feet?

me: i don't know. ask them.
my point is, marriage is utterly abstract to me and isn't something i'm really after.
so to realize that, pragmatically, i should get married puts a large burden upon me.

Jen: Are there no single architects in the world?

me: architects are ugly and inept.
i am a case in point.

Jen: You are neither.

me: architects are scary people who believe in fantasies
such as the virtual future
and deconstructivism

Jen: But if they are ugly and inept, then there should be lots of single ones in the world.
How do they afford to be so?

me: there are plenty of single ones and they're degenerate. they can't afford it.
they don't make any money.

Jen: Hmm, when do you graduate?

me: next january
i wish i didn't have any student debt.
then i could be the person i need to be.

Jen: You and me both!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Poem regarding Enric Miralles

if it weren't obscured by other things in the world
what we would see over the water
is a bull thrashing from the shore
pulled to the tesselated surfaces of the water
confined to limbs and horns
though its points are gathered from the burning bodies
of spheres set apart, distended along empty lines.
between them light travels for thousands of years.
here on the sea, we measure the myth
with hands, and bows, and the moving tides

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Bless her little heart

Sarah Palin:

"I say, you know, when is enough enough of taxpayer dollars being thrown into this bill out there?" she asked. "This next one of the Democrats being proposed should be very, very concerning to all Americans because to me it sends a message that $700 billion bailout, maybe that was just the tip of the iceberg. No, you know, we were told when we've got to be believing if we have enough elected officials who are going to be standing strong on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise and we have to believe that there are enough of those elected officials to say, 'No, OK, that's enough.'"

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Notes on an Unletter

Time capsule

Going through notebooks this weekend from my first year at Harvard, I found this written in one of the pages:

The Velocities of Wind and Rain

1. Justice. A quotidian photograph indicates the voluntary judgments we make for each other, rending barriers in otherwise tactile places of interaction. The arm from Daniel versus the shoulder from Kate.

2. A story: a person who becomes a puppet is an undenotated inverse Pinnochio theme. Wag the dog. A boy turned into a puppet. Rumpelstiltskin--what do we do faced with incredible burdens of injustice? A king who loved his gold so much he loaded it onto his lassy. A girl who loved her faith in silence so much that she cut out her companions tongue, burned him with silence out of her own misunderstanding.

3. Tangibility and sensation (Kant). Descending music notes, wind velocity v. rain velocity.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

the out there or the total here?

this line by rilke came up in my final review:
the heaviness, give it back to the weight of the earth.
they asked why'd you do it? what brought you to this?
it's a nice line.
i would speculate that most people can relate to heaviness. a humid walk on a southern night will make this apparent. when you think about not just the thickness of the air but the things that cause all the sounds around you--the flora, the bugs--it becomes recognizable that the stuff of our senses is mass-ive; massivley mass-ive. the tress are thick, the underbrush is heavy. it belongs to the earth. so give it back.

i didn't get around to writing my annual record this april. i've always called it Premay because May is a hinge in my life and has been since being in college. May is limbo. this year i had a job and school to think about until june but in truth after final review comes and goes everything else is frosting. nobody gets rid of the frosting so you could make it out of infused fish guts and with a little sugar you'd be alright. people eat frosting because it's fluffy and they think it's the cake of the cake. frosting is not the cake of the cake. anyhow, my intention here is not to use metaphors. rilke, i believe, wasn't writing metaphorically. aside from that, i resolved a few times this past semester to give up metaphors as a way of communication. muncey said it right, however, when she saw this as a mechanism to communicate the truth and not a strategy of avoidance. but you just can't count on others to get this all the time. this reminds me of a friend from high school who said that the only person you can count on for love is god. how true.

if it was the mid-90s and i lived in los angeles i would write here: "so cometh the point." seeing that this is the Hay and we're closing in on another decade that won't happen. get a garage for heaven's sakes, folks. put a guitar in it and draw evening tatooes on your arms and freak the fuck out. befriend the bums since, as dave hickey puts it, they might steal your television but they won't tell you the same story twice." a dream of eden is better than utopia. the quality of a work of art is the amount of sublimation we take out of it. these are all hickyisms. so is this: that crazy bitch in the audi drives you up on the you're conscious. you can taste your spit; you can think about your children; you can smell the grass...and when you do finally get to work you complain. to no end.

here are notes from a best man speech for andrew:
didn't like each other at firest (this is the way all such speeches begin)
disposition for the practice of dumbfoundedness
the cure
homemade coffee
the wagon
it became cluttered with the mechanisms of a low-rider's worldview
never a shotgun, always a slingshot
lives in a world of cuts on a cutting board,
curled book covers,
elbows in relation to windows,
good hip-hop,
sounds of being still
a mountain philosopher, as i explain it, whereas i am a valley philosopher
he just don't smell like vinegar
whereas others say cookie, cookie, cookie andrew says eat the void

and later that weekend, notes on things seen/felt in o'hare waiting for a flight back to boston:
do you like the person you are right now sitting waiting for a plane?
harvard has made for weakness, the hairs standing on the neck--survive.
where are the folks with the core (chicago? ann arbor? the west?)
i need to be a good man
am i eating the void? (the answer is yes)
i need to work from the ground
document the mundane
tell her she is silly
i'm pissed off by the former's lack of fortitude
my hair in the sun at wednesday's pinup gave me the sense of the south (this shit shimmered like gasoline and it was bright brown and red and translucent)
in cambridge, mack talked to us with the lights off int he lounge and the door opened to sounds from outside where it was warm and the wind smelled like spring
was i hopped up on valium when andrew picked me up at o'hare? whatever the case, we had coffee waiting for flights at a diner by the airport
the next morning i walked between apartments with untied shoes and a hoody and boxers and the sun was too fucking bright to have my eyes open and it was bitterly, bitterly cold. (hickey: now you're conscious)
piss cloud in the backyard, search for gent's root beer, persEverance, drinks, stars outside, empty house that feels abandoned but it's the love nest instead, smell of cabin, cigarettes, Andrew pissing on the lawn, double-shot craving to supplement the ale, stories, stories, stories, stories, stories

and stories, and stories,

andrew was in the sacristy being quiet. i told him to stand straight so i could take his portrait.
and sparklers. the next morning i picked them up from the street.

and now back away from the notes. this is the conflict: the out there v. the total here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


What to do after graduation

room for dog
room for a truck
access to water
hill or moraine
old things
salvage around
things to document
room to cook
place for a fire
decent coffee
local myth
some sort of past
soccer field
taco bus

the blues
gardens for beer
public old space
and more

Center for Documentary Studies
Design Corps
the government/the foreign service

this will be my next posting.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dave Hickey


Dave Hickey came to Harvard this week and imbued us wisdom on the fifth floor on a somewhat warm rainy day. A good time, this guy. Lecturing the next day in the big aud, I witnessed the finest, most well-crafted cussing I have ever encountered. A dearly needed morsel of fun in our bunker o' 'crete. The paramount moment of his lecture? Probably when he observed, discussing the unspoken burdens of getting paid as a professor versus as a magazine writer: "If I tell Vanity Fair that I have trouble deciding how much money to spend on heroine and how much to spend on Arab boys they don't give a shit!"

Read his interview in the Believer

Dave Hickey: I'll see you on the sixth tray.

# Peeps.


After life

I'm beginning to think that the most interesting sensory capacity we have is for sound. What is it about the sound of small things, such as setting a watch on a table top, that make objects seem like they are massive, fantastic worlds? I remember napping in a Chicago hotel one afternoon in spring. Because the weather was warm, I opened the window and could hear what you might call the constant sweeping sound of the city outside (like passing air) that lets you "hear" your way up the grided streets, out to the lake, out to the prairies maybe, in between buildings...
Measuring a silence in the room provides a middle scale. Waking from a nap, hearing the drapes blow in a breeze, picking up your watch from the night stand. Then set it down again, and it resonates with an afterthought. What Bergson attributes to the space of keeping count in duration would in this case be the echo of the world-in-sound unleased all up in your brain, bouncing around. I'm beginning to think that sounds, the most mundane, unremarkable sounds, have the ability to cast hypnosis.

Monday, January 07, 2008

No quantum veils

My body and yours are
little and more than
the vast and infinitesimal
suspended in fluid
we are not bound up
in gravity and dark energies
in quantum veils
but in the reaching out of
one vessel to one other
in them,
souls, bodies, bodies in bodies,
organs, minds
you flushed through me
sweeping the tiniest
of beings in creation