Sunday, August 28, 2005

Coincidence that I'm posting this just after Jordan revealed his BAP-'05-in-progress, but I finally got around to Lease's "Free Again"s in Xantippe (and I just had to pack it, so this will not be very well-justified). Like, a lot, the phrasal rhythm, and the alternation between sharp, terse lists and slightly baggier/undistorted syntax. "She wants torn strips of city," and the writing is at its best when Lease obliges. Less thrilled by (1) the nature-good (noting, however, that "there is no nature")/culture-bad thematics of much of the piece [that "sense that people don't entirely regret life," and I know I don't have that verbatim, is not much in evidence], though given the scenery of toxic smoke and "brownfields" (2) the intrusive statements about the "I" [this is the part I can't quote directly] and empire that sometimes seem to function as theoretical bona fides, in a poetry that draws much of its strength from particularized observations. Interesting w/r/t J. Moxley's recent Poker essay [also packed, but coming back out of the box in Chi., not to mention, among other things, the Rousseau material I'm not done chewing over] -- from which I take away the point that there's a tension, for many poets, to be resolved between intellectual convictions re the decentered-subject-and-all-that, and what those convictions mean for "how one out of write," as against the way that sensibility generates what one actually writes (and thus implies a unifying, if not unified, subject).* And the point that this tension was only buried but not actually absent for all but the most aleatory/non-intentional of the langs-and-fellow-travelers; it doesn't stop being "lyric poetry" simply because you lopped "I saw/heard/thought of/thought/experienced/felt" off the sentences. [And I do like that Lease doesn't do this, or at least not as a matter of habit.]

*And this has some bearing also on Jane's recent post -- but not only w/r/t music and/or poetry. Why is it that one is much more likely to find an artist's statement that begins (as one I just saw recently did), "My art comes from the soul" in a non-institutional venue (here, the sort of coffeehouse where we sophisticates tend to think the "local art" laughably bad) than in the wall-text or pamphlet accompanying a show in one of our always-self-and-"self"-critiquing/yet-stil-standing-and-still-depending-on-the-star-power-of-names museums. [I'm thinking of the Basquiat show now at MOCA, though the cultural politics of JMB's reception and use, in death as in life, are obviously not a simple case.]


Warmed that Ange found something to like in John Ash -- The Branching Stairs is a book I go back to, though I lost track when he did some big prose travelly book about, I think, the remnants of the Byzantine Empire. Just this a.m., read the Andrew Duncan section in the Vanishing Points anthology (on the way back from U-Haul dropoff, see below), responding especially to "Andrew-the-German Master of Two Servants" -- also "far from British poetry," though traveling a different road away from same than Ash. But then, I have a stomach for "post-war malaise."


Long day yest. moving the bulk of my stuff to a storage space in Ontario w/ much help from Daniel. The moving of brown boxes across county lines not so bad, but bookended by various frustrations w/ the U-Haul; we started about an hr. late, having gotten back from The Press (see below) around 3 a.m., and then the particular truck they had reserved for us wouldn't start, so we were at the franchise for an hr-plus before they found a smaller replacement (which turned out to be ok) with no a/c (which was not). [Hey -- I know what, Franklin, how about this year you spend August in Los Angeles and December in Chicago?] On the other end, this particular location had no night dropoff, so our plan was to park nearby, and for me to take in the next a.m. just before opening at 7. But have you tried to park anywhere along or off of Hollywood Boulevard within about 2 miles of Vermont? Drove around following Daniel looking for a space for prob. 90 minutes before we just went back to my place and, surprisingly, found a wealth of space near the fire station -- must means that Florentine Gardens wasn't open tonight. So I got up at 6 this a.m. to make the drop -- Daniel had done the driving yest. b/c he performs similar tasks professionally, but I made it fine today, pre-traffic. Then stopped off for coffee nearby and was fully expecting to walk 40 mins. or so back home, but happened on a taxi, in which I heard, for the first time in probably a decade, a few minutes of Casey Kasem: Gwen's "Cool," some brief talk about U2 that I didn't quite catch (but no "that's the letter...and the numeral"),
Del Amitri's "Roll To Me" under the description "one of the hottest songs ten years ago," and "Since U Been Gone," "down a notch to 14."

Also heard "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" while getting coffee -- you know, the chorus is undeniable, and the revision of folk form is an attraction, but taken line-for-line, not sure Zimmy '62/3 had it all over Conor '0[x].


Press show went well, I think -- glad to see many of the old core of Empire scenesters there. Refrigerator in the best form, musically, I've seen in some time; Allen, unusually, more off-script/demonstrative than Dennis, heading a "Lonesome..." "Surprise!!" singalong. Acoustic SPGT, lovely, shambolic renditions of "Fortune Came Today," "Terrible News," and "Habeus Corporal" -- plus a decidation to Madame Wong's, who banned them after one show in '84, and a for-the-ocassion number called "Hey Bruno," for which I was prevailed upon to reprise my role the first time I ever played w/ them, eating a trayful of Crunchberries and (homemade) egg nog while they performed the rock opera "The Charles Mansion" for Jim Bogen's aesthetics class at Pitzer, c. '91. As for us, I added some new lines about the Madonna of the Trail and The Magic Lamp to "Up With Upland," and used Daniel as a ringer for a couple of old opb songs -- first time I've played "Block Colors" and "Sorely Tempted" in at least 3 years, very strange how readily the gradual changes made in the songs post-recording came back. Electric SPGT + me-and-Kyle finale, detuned as one might expect, but rather spirited: "Francis Mitterand," "International Church of Pancakes," "Marriage at 30,000 Feel," a new one called "It'll Be Better, Earwig" [seemingly written in ignorance of The Bats' "Earwig," but sounding quite like The Clean covering "Roadrunner"], and "Trash Car," w/ lyrics by Dave Carpenter's 6-year-old. We (minus Spgt) will play a similar but shorter set at The Smell, let's see how it goes w/ people who haven't heard me 40-50 times.

Also presented with evidence that I have "influenced lives," in the person of a student in the very first college class I ever taught, after my Master's, a one-night-a-week intro to phil. at Crafton Hills J.C. out in Yucaipa, who is now a high-school astronomy teacher and musician in Redlands. Full of fulsome praise for my communicative abilities at a teacher at a time at which, in my memory, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Also presented me with the mixes of an upcoming album by a collection of local musicians covering various area material inc. "In A Sourceless Light," for which they added a rhythm section and two female singers (people I don't know at all) to my orig. 4-track. (How would you classify that? Not exactly a cover, a remix, or a mash-up...) Comes off much better than I'd have predicted in advance, apparently the drummer is from some band on Temporary Residence. Anyway, all very gratifying.


Capitalism nibbled daintily at my syntax.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?