Friday, 11 March 2016

The danzig in this coffeeshop

. .  . is not as soothing as intended. A woman who looks like Judy Greer just got into a car. It stopped raining, something that disappoints me, in a sense, though it's probably for the best, as these boots aren't as waterproof as I thought. I owe a man poem feedback that won't be as complete as either of us want, I owe another man a black and white drawing for inclusion in a zine and I'm not sure when I'll be doing either thing, only that like everything, it'll happen somehow, or not.

now it's Meat Puppets covering John Denver. Its like, the guy from the Meat Puppets fronting a band that sounds like Bad Religion. It is perhaps the least important thing I could be thinking about and yet it --- oh no. It's a whole CD OF PUNK COVERS OF SONGS THAT AREN'T PUNK I don't usually feel lots of sympathy for R. Kelly, but what's happening to "I Believe I Can Fly" right now ain't right.

Oh. It's Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. OF COURSE. GLAD THIS IS CLEARED UP.

Things like this wreak havoc on any sort of health-tracking I try to do, because now all I want is to driiiiink.
(I am not going to do that right before I go into work. adulthood is the process of realizing that anything you say can and will be held against you, taken seriously and out of context)


Monday, 29 February 2016

Purely Medicinal (2)

A bit late to the post on this one, but still worth sharing. The first weekend of this month was Medicine Ball. One thing I was struck by this time around was just how good the directors and actors were in interpreting the poetry. This is something that's become more evident as years have gone on. We have many actors and directors who return year after year to be part of this project. I had multiple poets approach me post-show with a "holy shit" look on their face, and we already have a cadre of poets who want to write for it again.
An example:


This was just one of the pieces that I thought the actors and director (Dan Tarker) interacted and interpreted in a way that transcended what a poet reading their own work would be able to do.
We'll be doing this again next week, all likelihood.

Between now and then I plan to curate exactly zero literary events.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

When I'm not working, I'm working: Three New Roughs.

these are all recent musings I may work with more in the future. The second is from a prompt by Lindsey Walker, the third from a prompt by Ryan Johnson.

daily mundane #425

in a bleachstained black shirt
i work in due to unseasonable

february sun, the snapdown impractical.

bills go out, bills come in.
the smiles and swinging arms
down fourth avenue come

earlier every year, turn
to dust. I should buy

new clothes for work for money
to buy new clothes to work in so I can
get money that I use to pay for clothes
that are appropriate for--


you get the picture. the barista
dances to the Beatles in his
fedora and somehow I am not
annoyed.

_____________________

Transiberian Express
(the prompt was to write about a place I'd never been) 

Frozen in place and loaded onto a train
leaving from the last city at the edge of the
world, a whole greyscale cliffscape of others
frozen in place, and you begin the thaw.
The next nine days, split between the soup
and the shiver, the ice crawls up your
legs at the moment of sleep, the snow
rushing past years of punishment-wilderness,
a place whose name itself evoked terror,
starvation, disappearance. By the time you
get to Moscow, you'e frozen and thawed
and frozen again, a lifetime of gruel in
your veins. Step out into the first city
at the edge of two worlds and hold cap
but don't lose it. You'll need it. You'll need it.

_____________________________

Trump Plaza

At the end of Napoleon, there was a drawn out sigh. This much I know from genghis khan international airport. The longer it goes, atrocities are forgotten, only glory remains. I'm eating an eclair. Watching one building fall to be danced on by another. The glass warbles and so many coiffed handbags. Despite my classy pastry, I am especially ugly today, as Stalin must have looked to those he was sentencing. I have done all my sentencing already, just waiting for the execution. Frosting gets on my cheek.

Do buildings fantasize about power? The power wielded in them? Stay up late thinking about orders given? Of course not, don't be silly. They just wish they were fields or vineyards. The crowd becomes too much. I leave, the frosting on my cheek.

Monday, 25 January 2016

When a band is so in your wheelhouse. . .



that it actually takes you time to develop a relationship with them as themselves, rather than genre placeholder ("well, Falco hasn't done anything in a bit, so I GUESS I'LL LISTEN TO Single Mothers*). . . when the most recent** Protomartyr record came out it took me a second to recognize the band as something special, rather than just Graham Jams. I've been immersing lately; there's a maturity to this that a lot of sardonic post punk/indie/blah blah blah doesn't muster.

*Single Mothers and Future of the Left don't actually sound much alike at all, save for being in a larger genre of loud, literate rock music.
** The song posted above is not off the most recent record, but it's the song I've been feeling most intensely lately.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Purely Medicinal (1)

I think it's that recent My Bloody Valentine album that came out early 2014 all suddenly, was the talk of all my feeds, and now I largely don't hear many people mentioning. Or a rough facsimile.

It's been a long enough week that Monday feels like, a week and a half ago. A WEEK AND A HALF! So much longer than four days. Timescale stretched by minutiae. But largely good-- have all the writing in for the Medicine Ball, so my curation/wrangling/writing portion is done, and it's on to the staging, blocking, memorizing.



The theme is (d)constructing Seattle. This theme, or a variant thereof, seems to be on everybody's mind, I just participated in an event called "Inumbrating Pinnacle," which was investigating the Now of Seattle, the Becoming, the Past/Present/Future. For that I wrote 7 pages-- 17 minutes aloud-- of new prose poetry. Still mulling what to do with it now. Perhaps it'll turn up here, in chunks. For Medicine Ball I ended up filling in for a poet who had to drop out. It was challenging to write to two similar themes in one period of time, but I tried to create content that varied enough in tone and subject matter as to be interesting (to myself at least, not sure how many people will see both.)

Now I go to Target. The glamorous Saturdays of weekend workers.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Please Don't Let Me Quote Pink Floyd Again/2015 in Review (two)

It's my thought that years, like decades, are best reviewed with a bit of hindsight. Just like 2010 felt like the last year of the '00s, despite the regenerative rituals and retrospectives, Januaries often feel like the long walk out of the last year.
Any sort of accurate hindsight doesn't tend to start for me until March or April, at which point the full stuff of current years renders reflection superfluous. Still, in the interest of head-clearing, communication, and a throwback to the days when transparency meant connection instead of liability, I always feel compelled to year-in-review.

So. 2015.
A) "A tough year of hard decisions that ultimately has spurred a lot of personal growth and has me set up for much more."
B) "If I could pay to watch 2015 die in a fire, I would."

Depending on my mood.
Let's start with the good, the potentially exciting, or the highlights:
Soliana Monillas: The day before 2015 ended, my Uncle Status was upped by one, as Amara had Soliana Brynn Isaac Monillas. Zion is stoked to be a big brother, and I'm stoked for more Uncle Time. Any year that neds this way has lots of good to recommend it.
ZAPP. So I'd already started to re-acquaint myself with the Zine Archive And Publishing Project, attended some meetings, helped recruit some writers and readers for the Xenographic series, and become loosely re-involved.
This year, however, both Emily Van Der Harten and Kathryn Higgins, who'd been largely steering ZAPP's fundraising/space-finding/still existing efforts both stepped back for various reasons. After talking to them both, doing some soul-searching and self-assessment, I decided to step into the position of Managing Director (informally, I prefer "Team Captain") of the Zine Archive and Publishing Project.I'm working with some great people and the hope and plan is to get ZAPP into a new permanent physical space this year.
I may write more about this later, but on a personal level, I am very excited- and challenged- by this. It will be a better use of my organizational/curatorial skills than co-running 2-3 literature events at a time to no particular end. It'll also help me build new skills in the non-profit field.
Freeway Park. In 2014, we played our first handful of shows, had fun and started to coalesce our sound. In 2015 we got tighter, wrote better songs and played shows in Bellingham, Olympia and San Francisco as well as Seattle nearly monthly. The Makeshift show in Bellingham, Charlie's birthday show at Rendezvous, San Francisco, and the gig at the Highline were particular highlights. Right now we're working on our first official recordings, which we hope to have out first half of 2016. Personally am working on being able to harness the shots-fueled, beer-fist swinging energy of live performances into a bit less comic (or booze-dependent) intensity.
And I really want to sell you a "People in Seattle Love It When You Travel." t-shirt.
Writing. I've been back writing for Nadamucho, I had a goal to write six short stories and have them all submitted out by the end of the year and that didn't happen. But I did write a few that I think have promise. And in addition to having The Third Best of All Possible Outcomes come out on Shotgun Wedding, the newer poems and writing are things I'm pretty happy with. But such things are ephemeral, we'll see how I feel when I check back on them. Either way I'm stoked to have some stuff to work with.
2015 was also the year that Graham got an I-phone. That is neither here nor there, but it's definitely a thing.

Okay. The rough chuckles.
There were plenty of them in 2015. From the supersweet pest invasion that marked the beginning of the year in my apartment (at a time when Rachel was dependent on the space for her air b'n'b biz) to my friend and Co-worker Beau Martin's suffering a stroke that will take a long time for him to recover from (it's going pretty well, he'll be home with his folks soon) to multiple of my friends and family spending time in the hospital for various reasons, there was a reason that my motto for 2015 became let the bad times roll. . .because at some point, that's just what seemed to happen. This at least gained some catharsis in the event Bummed Out, which could be accurately described as my first time curating a "club night." It struck a chord with a few people, and may go quarterly.
Which would be a weird "making a shitty year into art" move, but I'm rarely opposed to such moves.
The roughest for me personally was ending my 4.5 year relationship with my girlfriend in June.
The reasons for this, and subsequent social fallout, is best left off social media both for our privacy, and desires to move forward. I'm sure if you're curious and haven't had one or both of us give our interpretation of events, you know where to find us. I believe I made the right decision, that it's already better for both of us, but that doesn't mean it was easy, or casual or didn't make me incredibly fucking sad.
The one other thing I will say, is that in the event of such a momentous life change it's really easy to take a long view (especially when said event occurs mid-year) that places every event in the context of The One Event. Everything that happens being somehow related, directly, or indirectly, to The Thing and How It Was Handled. where the first half of the year was all building up to this, every argument or bad day was another brick in the wall,  that subsequently every instance of progress, (or regress) was a direct result of said thing. Which is reductive and stupid; while there was a lot in the first half of the year (and last half of 2014) that played into things, there were also lots of decent-to-great times. Likewise, while the remainder of the year can sometimes feel like aftermath-and-regrouping, there's also lots of stuff, good or bad, that would have happened either way.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm also trying to be a bit less dramatic in my self-narrative.

Well.
That's a lot. If you  made it this far, congrats. You get a cookie, the metaphorical salutation kind, not the actual, delicious kind.

In short, yes: 2015 has been hard. I got lots to work on, both internally and externally in 2016, but I can say with cautious confidence, that I'm starting '16 way better than I started '15, and hope to be able to say the same next year.
And hope that for you as well.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Sad Songs/Make It Better/I Thought I'd be writing about 2015 (one)

The Beatles are on Spotify, and Pandora now.

I know this because of Caffe Vita, because of Eastern Cafe, because of passing strains in the mall, passing retail stores where very thin people feel like there's too much of them, even in the food court. 

I'm not complaining about The Beatles. . . especially when Yesterday comes on, which is largely recognized as one of the best, saddest, most heartbreaking but uplifting songs to exist. I get it. I'm just noticing that it feels like 1996 again, when the anthology and the "new" songs and Oasis were all over the radio and I enjoyed it all but felt disconnected from my generation. 12 year olds, 16 year olds getting really into The Who, often less for individual songs than the black and white footage of Mods. Were The Who better than whatever was on the radio at the time? Maybe, probably, doesn't matter.

Being so very suceptible to nostalgia, I guard myself against it. When I saw a whole generation sighing wistfully for something they didn't even experience, I couldn't help but roll my eyes-- I also "missed out" on swing dancing*, victorian chic, craft/scratch cocktail culture**, and many other things. Got a little into the Garage Rock Revival, but even then, the bands that felt like pastiche of older styles without any new voices tended to leave me cold; but then that's the point of revivals-- replicating, not making new.

So it's easy for me to steel myself against nostalgia to the point of cynicism. Ironic, considering that it's a lovely day, the songs are pleasant, (I really do love "Octopuses Garden"-- Ringo haters can bite it) but those sudden flashes of the "Free As A Bird" music video threw off my plans to start a semi-comprehensive and inevitably incomplete look back at 2015.
We'll see just how nostalgic I get about that.

*I realize some of these things were also just discoveries of fun activities, not necessarily nostalgia
**Or delicious drinks. Like the drinks, but you can keep the culture.