Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

Last night while the house was filled to the window-edges with people shouting over Elf, Dad and I hung out upstairs watching Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa songs on Youtube.

Got a text from Spencer at 1am. . . Sardines in Cedar Lodge. . . too tired. Signs of aging?

Good lunch with Cliff. Basically spaced on trying to get in touch with most other folks I planned on. Still need to figure out a christmas-ready set for Sunday. And all that.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Arguments with myself and another:



musical note: dig the new jam up until the spell-out-the-lyrics bit. which seems a bit, well, lame.

Friday, 10 December 2010

So you're aware of pending sorts of posts. .

Coming soon to a Graham's blog near you: My Year in Lists.

For now, My Year in Lists.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Fit in the ground like hand in glove.

After the mammoth blog fun of trips and setlists, let's have two videos you can just, you know, watch.

NW Hop Hip. Just audio.

I can't get enough of this one, really.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Swansea, days 6, 7 and beyond . . . !

. . . it should be noted that day 5 did not end at the Rhyddings in a pool of Graham-flavored nostalgia. No, it actually ended with Chris Samia and I at a dinner on St. Alban's road, hosted by our poetry professor and writer-of-many-books Nigel Jenkins and his partner Margot. The food was delicious, conversation both honest and inspiring and the wine was flowing. Oh man, was it flowing.

So it was after that I went to sleep at 1 am, woke up at 4:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. and Day 6 was the day I was to go to Cardiff and meet Anne and Howard Webb. Which I did. And it was nice. I just wish that my primo instinct the whole time hadn't been to find a corner of the pub in Glaedeou y Garth (sp?) and sleep a bit. Then in the backseat of the car and sleep a bit. But saw some amazing views of the area around Cardiff and caught up with Anne, whom it's always good to see. She dropped Howard and I off at City Arms in the 'diff's center, where we talked football (both types) travel (wherever feet may take us) and life in general. I switched between ales and orange juice when it was discovered that City Arms may have all the half-quirky, half-everyguy trappings of a big-city local, but it does not, in fact, serve coffee. In the last hours of our sojourn there, we were joined by Punk John for a round before I trained it back to Swansea.

the train ride was all sleep, and sort of surreal. in my current life context, I am used to waking up at the jostles of the 7, being shoved into a corner when the bus gets too full by an elderly vietnamese man who communicates to me largely with gestures. or the light rail, where the asexual female robot voice informs us "now entering. . . Beacon Hill station."
so to have largely the same in-again, out-again consciousness backgrounded by the landscape I knew well for two years and then disappeared from, the Welsh accents and all-- that was odd.
That evening I had a really nice dinner at Ian and Nessa Folks' house. While in Swansea I didn't go back to my old church (I chose sleep) and I missed seeing people from there whom I'd have liked to. But I was really glad to hang out with the Folks. I won't run down all the conversation topics, because there were many.

Tuesday. Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday. Due to phone-situations (and bad reception) I missed about 8,431 calls (fine, maybe 3)and my morning was spent packing. So it goes.
Dragged luggage to campus. Met for a too-short (not like the rapper) lunch with Wood where we talked music, home life and the time travel murder of millions (okay, maybe a little bit like the rapper.)
Dropped my shit off at Adam/Keiran/Jen's. Adam described his turkey-cooking efforts as "just bastin' away."
Took a quick run to Monkey (downtown) and met Theresa and Pat. Ate cupcakes. Drank coffee. Alun *happened* to be meeting Sophie there later, stopped in and said hi. That was person 3,456 that I didn't know I would see but was glad to (okay, like person 4. ish.)
On my way to the Cricketers I stopped in at Primark. I kind of regret not getting the rad coat for ten pounds, but am happy that a simple shoe-buy didn't turn into a spree.
Annmarie and I drank stella at the cricks. her new BF seems real cool. As does Pat, teez's new dude. All whatevers aside, good for them.
Weesh. My compulsion for play-by-play is wearying me, can't imagine anyone reads this all the way through. Next was Thanksgiving dinner at Adkeirjen's, then a round of drinks at the Bryn Y Mor for Punk John's birthday then various convos and mechanations to stay awake for the 430am taxi to the coach, where we were early, thus facilitating a walk around Tesco in the wee hours, Keiran suggesting various fruit fights.
Jen's sister Laura and I rode the coach together to Heathrow, where the last of the party (for me) disbanded.
the four hours in the airport did a lot to make me glad to actually get on planes and Icelandair's Iceland-centric charm did a lot to make the same three pop songs they played at the beginning and end of my trip a nostalgia-striker.

when I got home I rode the light rail, met Jake at the house, we had a pitcher of Manny's at Lotties and watched some Peep Show. I was back. Am back. Right now Brielle and a friend are making cookies in the kitchen and Jonny and Nat are watching Anime. I should probably take a shower.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Swansea, Days 4, 5.

The weirdest part of the whole trip was sitting in the Rhyddings Pub, after strolling campus, in the corner booth where the quiz crew of fall term '07 would rack up losses. The visiting Campus felt definitely like The Past but it was just odd being in the Rhyds again.
Wot the 'ell is a community college? A community is people, right? So what are all other colleges? You amerrricans sure like your convoluted language.
Which is I guess to say that a lot of the trip was, as Wood said: like you never left.

After the wedding, reception, drinking, walking to town, thick pints of Welsh Porter, driving to Mumbles, well, Saturday wasn't going to be too active. I transferred my suitcased life to Wood and Tracy's, got to see the kids, (still cute, still smart) and sit at the table where I was lucky enough to share more than a few meals during my tenure.
Rallied my energy, which wasn't much, for a few at Mozarts with Katie Weston and Liam Hellwood Blues and a Welsh hippie-ish dude named Scott. At first I thought I would collapse into my orange-vodka, but a little time rendered it a really good visit before Katie went back to Southampton, Liam to Bristol and me to sleep.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


. . . once again, from the Heathrow airport. Heading in a different direction this time. Days 4,5,6,7 will be hastily documented and chronicled before I allow myself any other blog posts. I do not guarantee satisfaction. a really scandanavian hot woman just sat down across from me.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Swansea Day 3

The wedding was great. Never heard the phrase "I'm not really that worried about it" or "yeah, we'll figure it out" so often in any sort of wedding-planning capacity, and I've been privy to some pretty chill weddings.

Anyway, it was fancy dress, which is british for "costumes." I went as Dr. Venture, which involved growing a beard, shaving it to just a chin-beard, getting glasses and a bald wig. I looked more like a bad Star Trek Alien than anything else.

The ceremony was court-held and brief and as best man my primary job was to hand over the rings at the right time. I didn't fuck it up.
People cried, took pictures. It was laid back but didn't feel inappropriately casual. It felt appropriate to interrupt the first dance with a rickroll.. For real.

later, went out with a crew. Liam, one of Swansea's most recognizable characters, has moved to Bristol and on return is talking about how "no one likes him."

Susie:That's not true, Liam. I like you.
Liam: Fuckin' no one likes you either. 's why we get along.
Susie: Hey!
Liam: Oh, fuck off Sooze. You know it's true.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Swansea, days 1 and 2

I am sitting in a bald-cap with the grossest chinbeard in a while, as Jess blow-dries Jen's hair in what has to be the calmest pre-wedding living room ever.

I flew into Reykjavik then London, then coached to Swansea. Punk John joined me in Cardiff and we pulled in behind the Swansea Tesco where a clean-sober Dave Beer drove us to the Brunswick, thereby joining Keiran's in-progress stag do.

"I feel like I'm in Minor Threat."-- Dave, on drinking a coke in a pub.

There were a lot of quotes. lots of "bloody hell, didn't expect to see you." After a while we moved to the Potter's Wheel where Keiran ordered many pitchers of a green cocktail made with Monster. Yeah. I had one. fuck you, jetlag. So the night carried on and after a trip to Vice we finished off at Mozarts where Adam's brother was amused/annoyed at us, but he was getting paid to be there.

Also: Swansea punks still love their John Reis/Rick Folberg. This makes me happy.

Yesterday I secured my costume. Wandered the downtown with Keiran. A few places have painted their walls. There's an H & M now. The giant BBC Screen in Castle Square still broadcasts nothingness to no one.

Did my reading at The Crunch. Adam has really gotten into his role as a host, and Wood and Becky's help in organizing is evident. Got to see a lot of people and readers I hadn't in a couple years.

Felt fairly jetgovered, but powered through. The set looked like this:

A Brief Thanks for the Diners
You, In Your Heyday
Paintings of Famous Satanists
Zombies and Paint Thinner
When Saying Mean Things About Strangers
Extra Wide Bathtubs
Rules for Riding the King County Metro

Ambition is Critical
Story Problem

basically, overwhelmed by love and support. mainly new stuff, which I'm feeling more and more confident in both as text and performance.

soon I'll be standing by Keiran's side at possibly the casualest wedding ever, best man dressed as a mad scientist from a cartoon we watched so many hours of.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Writing this. . .

. . . from a bus station in London, waiting for a coach to Wales. Oh yes.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Napowrimo continues as I split time. . .

. . . between new stuff and edits. Witness.

Sitting at Goth Night with Punk John

In a tin can with blacked-off windows, raccoon-eyed girls dance,
backs of hands-to foreheads. the music distorts with volume.
boys from the role-player's club lead each other around
on leashes. The next track, from an '80s movie about
Doomed Teenage Love, gets spliced under with a steady industrial thud.

We share an eye-roll.
Where some trot out the old
"they think they're soooo different . . .”
and less patient friends threaten to chuck a chair
into the crowded dancefloor, we just grin.
In this-- like nightslugging 12-ers of John Smiths up the hill,
Replacements-soundtracked chili-feeds-- there is comraderie.

"You know, if you're a math whiz from the valleys
this might be the most punk rock thing you can do."

Eventually, and against most bets, we dance.
Maybe a cut we both know. Maybe a girlfriend-pacifying measure.
maybe a whole-table migration, a sudden swirl of energy, or
perhhaps simply non-involvement fatigue.
In this-- like the room itself--
there is community.


A Brief Thanks For The Diners that Understand

The world today is an old fisherman's cringing face.
This entire district is so hungover they can feel it
in their shoulders and knees are a challenge.

On the kinsey scale of practical worthlessness
I am at least a 7.

It is with this in mind that the lights are low,
even over breakfast burritos. The waiter also has
deep grey bags under his eyes but moves with calm
precision, is reassuringly rugged but not threateningly
handsome and everyone manages a wan smile.

Let the fog take downtown and emergencies crack
the last ditch efforts of men in important buildings.

I will take this corner booth
for as long as it will have me
in another little victory.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Riffing on familiar themes.

napowrimos 2 & 3:

Election Night Blues

when the whole county switched to mail-in
while I was switching addresses every six months
I was rendered someone who, by default
could not complete his civic duty and therefore,
practical wisdom says, can't complain.

like a studio gangsta dialing 911 during a break-in
or a non-praying Christian who feels
"so disconnected from God lately," I can say whatever
the hell I want,
for all the difference it makes.

the news feeds are incrementally creeping percentages.
the social feeds are lined with friends' increasingly
anxious screen-refreshers, the occasional gloat.
longtime friends who disagree trying to out-civil each other.

I will find out soon enough just how bad it is and for whom.
Recall the Goldman quote I don't entirely agree with
but can't help, after the shrug and the sigh-- a smirk.
The hard work will be here either way. Cynicism rolls back in.
This afternoon I watched an episode of Venture Bros
and thought about how some things,

you know
don't change.


Where It Really Feels Like a City

Dragged past the gum-stains and the huge billboards
for made-up neighborhoods, alleys full of needles and cats
and quick high-fives, you can look up on either
side and see curtained windows, the posterchild for
changing demographics and lots and lots of people
quickly sliding down stairwells to restaurants and
offices and back again.

You have to see these things time and again
in case everything starts seeming too cute.
In case you forget that crime still happens
on blocks with dog parks.

There won't be a reckoning, there won't be
a toppling, you'll never get your art-space back,
those seedy, beer-bearded merchants
you iconify in the black-and-white photobooks
of Old Seattle, they have found new haunts
and you're not invited. The great glass
sheen of downtown on one side,
the postcard view on the other, duck
in for sushi at a well-groomed restaurant,
stop for pizza where everyone eats loudly,
constantly darting their heads back
every time the door opens.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A Heated Conversation About Steampunk

Its like all these people put on their grandpa's peacoats
and have suddenly conjured a culture that doesn't really exist

Likewhat? saywhat? Youyouyouyoudontevenknow!
how can you say tell me the 5,000+ crammed into
top hats and convention centers
don't exist. This is about a past-future that never really was.

just ask the world's major religions.
just ask the north renton ghost society.
just ask the 53 year old woman who went
as slutty hermione for halloween.

(just because it's not pretty
just because it's not your scene--
this is the future we're talking about.

this is culture we're talking about.
this is the future of culture we're talking

--where things happen instantly!
all bolts and gears and buildings creaking
to life fired by boys with bangs
shoveling coal into ovens)

just ask the 15 Seattle-area entertainment magazine writers
getting paychecks from inventing and dismantling Zeitgeists.

You can't say that when the hats are so cute.

ten thousand elvis impersonators, drunk off prohibition cocktails,
dancing in a circle around brand new anachronisms.
Ten thousand others taking notes and shaking heads.
Complete rolling blackouts.


this month is Nanowrimo. Instead of trying to squeeze in a Novel in my spare time I want to 1) write a new poem a day or 2) edit existing pieces or pieces of pieces. I think I can do this, even while I'm in the UK. The above needs some editing but it doesn't feel like a rehash of other things I've done, so I'm happy about that.

in other news, I'm getting rid of my mattress. wanna know why? last owner had cats. THAT. MIGHT. EXPLAIN. A LOT.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

JCMSUP, a couple of shows, a Saturday night with no set plans but to have no set plans.

Yesterday I observed in an e-mail to Gusta that I "am so tired it's like being jetlagged." this was doubtless partially just in anticipation of November 17-23rds complete whirlwind, but also a pretty accurate look at how time has been moving for me as of late. Even after my Big Art Show-- which was just two weeks ago-- I've done two readings, sat in on some crucial communications-policy meetings with Vera, begun my exit proceedings and been working my regular shifts at the Cafe and Loft. So even without my ZAPP hours, I'm still going at least six days a week. Even the most mellow-day three-hour cafe shifts still take a round trip of at least two hours on our city's beleagured Public Transit system. but yes. build a new deep-bore tunnel . . .

Civic politics ASIDE. . .

Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest went really well. We had about 90 people through in three hours; I don't know if that's a ZAPP-at-artwalk record, but it was enough to get some nods. Wanted to post some pictures up here but still don't have a working computer and while I'm sure there is an equivalent of the "right-click" function on a mac, I dunno what it is.
Plus, right now there aren't a lot of pics of the artwork itself. A bunch of people standing looking at walls is not a great rep of an installation.

The following week I did a spoken word gig at the Rendezvous with Police Teeth, Connecticut 4, Garden Variety Tsar and the Mill Kids. The usual MC with a piece or two between each band. Katrina Miller bought me inappropriate amounts of whisky for a weeknight and I pulled out a few pieces I hadn't done in guite some time. It was a good good-bye for Keenan, who I'm coming up on 10 years of friendyness with and she and her fiance are heading to Athens, Ga.

Rock Radio
Little Red Corvette
My Emergency's About to End*
When Saying Mean Things About Strangers
Like Taking Communion
Sex Standing Up*
Get Smart!

*It is amazing to me how many times I edited this one back in the day and how LONG it still is and not in a way that is particularly great.
*Debut. I got a lot of laughs and I think I made people uncomfortable. Which is what you want from Sex Standing Up? Heyo!

Then on Sunday I went with Brielle, Emily W, Elissa W up to B'ham for a Your Hands Your Mouth reading. There were lots of readers so my set looked like this:
What Reunions Are Often For
Extra Wide Bathtubs
Flicking Ash

In two weeks there's a reading here for YHYM; the last one here at the house was one of the highlight memories of this year that didn't involve being out of Washington State. I'll be probably busting out a rehearsal set for my Nov. 18th set at the Crunch, which I'm pretty excited about.

Now if I could just write some new stuff. . .

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

"Oh, like the downtown street acronym."

Here is what I'm working on now.

I haven't committed myself to drawing in any capacity since a few of the Lobster Manor show posters, and this is way bigger than that. This is kind of huge and terrifying.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

". . . but those first two novels were just so. . . so. . . icky."

Tonight I had a free ticket to see Jonathan Franzen, whom Time Magazine calls the "Great American Novelist" or whatever, speak at Benaroya Hall.

He was smart and funny and very human, talking about the necessity of personal growth to continued relevance, the difficulty of humanity in literary fiction and things like that. I decided to take it as a good thing that many of the things one of the most successful/respected modern american writers said resonated, rather than dwell on *which* particular parts of the talk were hitting home and why.

(i mean, i noted those in the graham-needs-a-life-coach section, not graham-is-a-writer section, though the two are not separate)

also: knew I would be an Uncle by early next year. Now I know I will have a Nephew.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Fire Ant Fire Dance

Back in my days with the fire ants I was a ravager.
The bodies of crickets, the bodies of mice, bodies of
other, weaker ants. We had rituals for these things,
songs and chants and traffic through our underground mazes
was its own rhythm, its own catharsis.
Things were heavy often, the weight of a load nearly crushing
my thorax but I only ever had one at a time and I knew which
direction to walk with it. Through grains of sand that twitched
my antennae. Clods of dirt as big as my head. We owned the yard.
The blades of grass. Swarmed rocks until no grey stone left,
just the thousands of us, in our glory.
Then the child came, big and fat and stupid with hard treaded
feet, stomped our mounds. The elders fled. Tunnels
collapsed, the temple destroyed and the queens crushed under
relentless stamping.

But you should see what we did to that kid's leg.

Monday, 30 August 2010

PDXZines, Beer and Cookies

Down to Portland over the weekend for the Portland Zine Symposium, where I sat at a table and told people what a ZAPP was, did a handful of trades with people who were willing to trade and ran into Dale Woodruff. Good weekend.

The reading at the Beer and Cookies Cabaret was one of my favorite ones in recent memory. I read between a singer and a short claymated film about robots. The beer was good. The cookies were delicious. I think Vegans make better dessert.

Get Smart!
New York pt. 1.3 (swear on the head of the ibex)
Ambition is Critical
Genus, Species and Flavour
Isolation Therapy
You, in Your Heyday

It was the first time I did "new york" or "heyday" and my version of "kids" was half-remembered, half adlibbed. went over well though; sold enough that I was able to return to Seattle with some of the money I left with. This is pretty important these days.

Friday, 27 August 2010

plasma, portland and poetry factories.

In a few minutes I go in for a short-ish shift at The Vera Project where I will do some information culling and website updating in a room full of people all being periodically amused by some non-official thing they saw on a website. Then I hitch a ride with Lindsey Tibbot down to Portland, where I'm reading at the Working Theater Collective's Beer and Cookies Cabaret. Apparently I'm between a band, a comic and a juggler? Something like that. Then the next couple of days is ZAPP-duty with the Portland Zine Symposium, one of the largest er, zine symposiums in the country.

So it's busy for me. Yesterday (after a few and a half other things) I hit up the first ever Capitol Hill Mobile City Fair-- basically a bunch of booths and entertainments set up in the Bank of America Parking Lot. All Cap Hill places. Drag queens jumping rope, people eating pork tortas, a bunch of kids and parents dancing in the back of a U-Haul truck while a dude spun club hits. I sat at the Pilot Books booth as part of the "Poetry Factory" where myself and a handful of other hardworking writers wrote poems-to-order for the donation of canned food or a smile.
one guy says "I just got off work. I need something positive. Write me a poem about, um, not puppydogs and world peace. . . friends."
So I did. and it made him really happy.

On my way off the hill I passed by Twice Sold Tales and sold a couple Tolkein books for like, no cash at all, but the woman was enthusiastic about recommending a spot in Ballard where I can sell plasma and thats how she ate for about two years.
Then two college kids came in and asked if she had any Euclid and that made her very happy.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Life on the Blood Farm was never easy. . .

or Socratease and the unfortunate rise of philosophical burlesque.

Friday, 13 August 2010

5 years and she'll own the place; mother will be very disappointed.

They don't serve SANDWICHES in HELL, JACk!

She slammed the french-dip-daily special so hard on the counter the plate cracked. A few straws shuddered in their glasses. Au jus everywhere. As she clomped her shoes-for-crews regulation heels to the room's end, Jimmy the cook started a slow clap. Alfonse turned from the order he was taking and nodded. More claps as Jack balled his fists and swivel-headed to see where to swing. Half the room was in applause. Defeated, he dove mustacheward into soggy meatbread.

Everyone had pegged her as summer-breeze slight; the sort of pixie-do-ed flower tattoo cranked out yearly in the thousands by creative writing and graphic design programs. No one thought she had it in her, so they were surprised when next she headlocked Mary, and with a . . . we're going to finish this TONIGHT, bitch. . . dragged her outside.

Monday, 9 August 2010

10 pounds of clothes.

and the inevitable futility of resale in today's economy.

goodwill outlet sells piles of clothes by the pound. $1.50 per pound! So I got a sweet idea to buy a bunch and sell them back to Seattle's many vintagey/second hand stores and be swimming in the riches that have, to this day, eluded me.

So I got 10 pounds of clothes at about $17. To make it worth my money and effort, I'd need to make $20. So far, I have not.

I went to Crossroads (Cap Hill) and they purchased four items coming to a total of $11.80. I then went to Red Light (accross the street from Cap Hill) and they bought no items for a total of no dollars. There are a few things I attribute this drought to:

1 and most likely) I'm not likely that good a judge of what stores will buy. 'specially in women's clothes.
1.5) Also, I thought they'd be buying for fall by now. But both stores are still in Summer Mode. Which means the Perfectly Good and Fashionable Coat, not so much.

i'm guessing I'll take the rest to Buffalo Exchange in about a month and a half when it's solidly Fall and hope to make about ten bucks so I don't feel such a loss. Otherwise I'll just donate to the charity down the street and debate in my head if I want to go back to the Outlet and try to be more discerning, or if perhaps this is simply not my way to make money.

In other news: Cameron and Austin are here from Va and that is the funz.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Brielle thinks I should submit to "poetry magazine."

. . . still working up to that.

just submitted a shitload (about 9 pages worth) of poems to the Northwest Playwrites Alliance first annual poetry contest. I did a reading with them in May and it went well; subsequently Bryan encouraged me to submit.

I sent a mix of Swansea Morning highlights (Ambition, Genus, Little Red Corvette) and newer stuff (That Bar You Like, Lake City, Spiderland.)

will be finishing up an edit of Penderyn Smooth to send to the Burnside Review for their "whisky issue." and send some to kate and jennifer for filter.

these are as much reminders as updates.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Catch the right bus.

With my schedule what it is, I catch my reading in forty minute sessions between bus-boardings. I've stopped trying to read things longer than poems on the buses I ride, largely due to the jostling, starts and stops and darkness. I don't get sick per se, but I get annoyed.
So I'm reading The Savage Detectives and because its a Lailey-recommendation and I started it in New York I feel somewhat like hey-- I'm still in New York! Sort of. Even when I'm sitting at the cafe at the Community College constantly checking the clock to make sure I am not late for my tutoring shift.
This morning I decided to come north before my reading session. Usually I sit for a few at Empire Coffee (pictured) in Columbia City. Timing was fortuitous because as I boarded the 41 to Lake City a dude with curly hair and a Steel Tigers of Death T-shirt boarded. Pause. That faint inner-headscratch of recognition.
Hey Arlo.
Well hello, Graham.

Been probably 7 years (last time I saw him I think I'd not yet compiled Because I Don't Play Guitar since the other founding member of the i.o.i. and I last saw eachother; as katherine would often like to reminisce, we met at 13 in a house in Shoreline where a woman who advertised herself as a "writing mentor for teens" was having a meet-up for young writers.

the rest, as they say, is history.
more to come?

Monday, 19 July 2010

"You shouldn't be so self-deprecating! You should just be awesome."-- a girl named Stephanie, on Saturday

Saturday I read at a salon-style reading at Josie Davis' house wherein there was pie and wine and ipa and Paul Nelson and Anastacia Tolbert and they were both excellent and I felt like my stuff was well-received. I read:

Little Fear of Drowning
Not Like a Gas Stove At All
Lake City
Swansea-Cardiff Blues(Bellingham Edition)
Feel the Buzz(Cardiff Edition)
Ambition is Critical(Swansea Edition)
God Delegates
Extra Wide Bathtubs
Genus, Species and Flavour

incidentally, it was the 1-year anniversary of my return to the USA; hence reading the Welsh Trilogy in complete, in order. The first time I've done that. I still love those pieces, but lately have been feeling an itch to get a more complete round up of new, post-SMCD in tip-top reading shape. Lake City tends to go over real well. At least in Seattle.

other news: Shane will have 2(!) new books out soon, which I helped in selecting/editing pieces for. Have applied for a micro-residency at Pilot Books and have a gig in Portland at the end of August. Writers group is going well. I have about four pieces on the tip of my pen, just waiting to get good.

there are other things in my life that occur, but this was gonna be an "artistic" update anyway.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

after heavy editing advice from emily w and eva s:


in the last frame of the photostrip
its just photobooth curtains,
a mess of hair and flailing hands.

i pass out on the L train and end up in manhattan,
rubbing my eye-bags. legs gave out so someone carries
me to a doctor or a taxidermist; above the receptionist
a stuffed wolf's head, teeth sharp and straight.

the third frame is scratched out like a lotto ticket,
no hints left.

by the time i’m back to brooklyn,
the sun has turned it into a brick oven.
at the table with a wallet full of numbers
i try to remember things. the barista wears a handgun.

Second , two joke-kissed. a third lit a match,
held just inside the frame.

at the bodega they burned barrel fires,
smoke of steel and plastic choking up the room.
I thumbed a matchbook--directions to a house--
must have gone, but next thing i remember is
subways cornering, the tilt and creak,
speeding curve and sudden stop.

in the first frame of the photostrip we smiled huge,
lip-cracking smiles, our eyes shone like candy wrappers.

Monday, 5 July 2010

material referencing material.

. . . of being pure at heart

and in the video there was a girl eating elephant ears
and the band played in a basement
until it got too sunny
and it was a field then, in Scotland near a pond
and the girl was trying on blue shirts
and I could relate to the words better than the pictures
and could see how this would be something to lay me out for a while
like someone once had a similar shaped back yard they never wanted to leave.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

So Far Around the Bend

Late April, I went to New York City. This is what it looks like from one of Greenpoint's industrial beaches. New York City was a lot and nothing like what people say it was. Growing up Northwestern, I've always had this sort of idea that I don't like "big cities"; it's only within the last ten or so years that Seattle has committed itself (or really felt at all like) a Big City with Lots of Stuff.
And I've just started living in it now.
But the lesson is, I actually like Big Cities. Or, I think I do. I'm not sure. I liked Brooklyn, anyway, and parts of Manhattan. There were definitely some rows and rows of tall buildings full of things I don't care about, but all in all it was good.
and people were friendly. yes, they moved quickly, had places to be, clearly spent more time than NWers do on their hair, shirt and skirt, but when I was catching a bus from a predominantly Spanish part of Queens, a girl came up to me and told me that "if you're going to the airport, you actually need to wait over there."

(this was useful.)
when Lailey left her phone in a bar, a couple came out with it, yelling at us not to forget our stuff. I saw loads of people on the subway give up seats for the elderly, disabled or overweight. In a McDonalds in Manhattan I was looking for the bathroom and a girl (looked about twelve) waved at me-- "naw, naw, it's downstairs." Same spot, someone ran out to catch up with someone who'd left their wallet.

Lailey and i went to Coney Island. It was awesome. Some parts of it were super cheesy, some genuinely cool, other parts were really fucked up ("Shoot the Freak" you can pay money to simply shoot a "freak"-- in this case just some really ripped black dude in a do-rag-- with paintball pellets) and you had to wait forever for Hot Dogs. I had hot dogs. They were delicious. The sense of American History there was great too; a far less obscured vision of Old-World connections and how those cultures and individuals have shaped what we think of as "american."

This is a view from the rooftop Highline Park in Manhattan. Its new and kinda posh, but open to everyone and a great view. I wrote something close to a love poem there.

Some people have asked me if I'm "going to move to New York now," in a near-accusing tone, like, hey asshole, don't think you can just live anywhere, you had your time away.
I dunno man. I am too deep in debt and obligations, some short term, some long, to make promises. But I'm gonna go again, that's for sure.

Monday, 7 June 2010

More rockers for the pile

Stuart Cable, who played drums for the Stereophonics, was found dead this morning.

I was never a fan of said Welsh band who often sounded like an unholy mix of Nirvana and U2 (or at least, the vocals had that going on) but thanks to my regulars at the Rhyddings and that perverse thing musos have where they talk as often about the stuff they don't like as the stuff they do, the Stereophonics were as big a part of my Wales musical landscape as anything else.

Below is one of their songs that I actually grew to like over time.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

carried: to Ohio in a swarm of bees.

Right now I don't feel like writing about my life. So here are some videos with music.

sometimes it takes a song of understated melodic power and a fierce melancholy pull to remind me that there should be nothing ironic about beard-growth.

Not a cover of the Presidents of the U.S.A.'s 1996 hit, but an entirely different song.

Dear M.I.A.: I love you, but I do not believe violence is the answer.

Katrina Miller, whom I've known since prior to being able to speak, is the crying girl in Seattle Rockers (in all senses of the word) Unnatural Helpers hot new hip-swinger.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

"Oh hey. Welcome back."

Got in 11ish. Waited a good forty for my lone bag, my lone bag I'd not intended on checking, but the flight was crowded, so they generously (?) checked my bag for no charge. Took Seattle's mystical light rail home. Until it dropped me at Othello Station I wasn't sure that it actually existed or was simply a taxpayer-funded excuse for the chain-link fences and rubbly parking lots that have become such a cherished part of Seattle's landscape Downtown and south.

Anyway, it's real and the only person I've seen since getting back was Jonny, on his way out the door to work. After getting a pretty good sleep (the planesleep was planesleep) I decided that alright, i've had my time off (watch for Thoughts on NYC soon) time to GET MY WHOLE LIFE IN ORDER.

So to that effect:
I work tommorrow through sunday.
Have a reading on tuesday.

Knew that.

Today I:
* Sent out extensive invitations to the Tuesday reading. Confirmed Details.
* Confirmed an interview for a paid internship at The Vera Project. That'll be monday.
* Filled out the forms for my Unemployment Defferment Request.
E-mailed my various works/internships/people I'm tutoring to let them know I'm back and ready to be at it. Filled out a late timesheet.
* Checked in with the folks. Getting some editing work from Dad, maybe?
* Looked over a bunch of bills I gotta (somehow) pay. That doesn't seem like much, but believe me, the first step is knowing you have a problem.

Today I would Like To:
* Figure out where (the fuck) to send this form so it gets processed quick.
* Get a start on room de-cluttering; once again, important for mental health.
* Finish the (small amount of) unpacking.

I've only got a couple more hours to do these things, so I'm gonna give myself a break and say for the first day back, I've done alright. Over the weekend I have ZAPP sorts of data-entry stuff to do and I want to make broadsides for Genus, Species and Flavour to sell at the gig, produce a bar-job-hunting resume, etc etc.

but its important I catalog the productivities and perhaps the sun that is out as well just so I remember these things happen.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

New york heat and the end of poem-a-day pressure.

Lailey and I are drinking tomato juice and staying inside because the heat is huge and still and dry. Later we'll go to MOMA on the bus and walk over a bridge in Greenpoint. Last night i had "the greenpoint" at Lulu's, which is a bar that gives you a free pizza with your drink, if you ask for it. "The Greenpoint" is two shots of room temperature well vodka. That's it. Named for the neighbourhood's largely polish population.
Lailey is making pancakes and cofee and I am considering a beard trim and thinking about how I'm glad I am here for a week and not just a weekend and am not thinking yet about leaving.
I've been writing a fair amount about my time so far in Brooklyn but that will take some time to Coalesce. Here are the last two of the Nanowripomos I'll be posting. The rest will be fixed or forgotten as time and favor dictate.

God Delegates

be dusk for now, sattelite dish.
spires quiet, stoic over roofs.
be dusk for now, your round dish reflecting.

eventually the world will flood or burn
or change formats.
some will hope for a former option
in all its biblical terror.

ten standing in a crop circle, praying.

Some nights the big dipper is made up of
red-eye flights.

Beam those re-runs up to heaven,
like great literature buried in sealed capsules,
like sacred texts with re-upping returns.


Extra Wide Bathtubs
At night he dreams of prohibition,
streets clean and whispering after 11pm,
of people leaving theaters in unstained gowns
quietly discussing directorial technique.
Of grocery stores with unlimited supplies of juice
of never finding beer cans on his running trails.

He wants it illegal like prostitution is illegal.
Full-bodied whores in saloon dresses taking
virgins into candle-lit rooms; powerful madames
with curly black hair, lilting accents and huge eyes
charming sherriffs and legislators into
delayed investigations.

Nobody wants that, his wife tells him, drinking
coffee in a slim red turtleneck. Her brother's
vineyard does so much business they're opening
another one. The wine, even he has to admit,
is delicious.

At night he dreams of the vineyard, of tousle-haired
youths in rolled up trousers dancing in huge vats of grapes.
Of muscled young couples swept up in eachothers
arms, but the vats are all machine run.

The roads are rich with decaying fruit-rinds,
plastic juice bottles that take forever to break down,
the crowds passing on crosswalks to all their places,

he imagines himself and two other men comparing
bootlegged rye, practices his speakeasy knock, a
kerosene-lit room full of scholars and pirates,
a soul-sad but drink-happy piano player rolling
notes off his fingers like it were just that easy.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Talk to the head of the ibex

So far in NY: I prefer Brooklyn to Manhattan. Love Highline Park enough that I may have even written a thing about it. Lailey's place is nice, old ceilings, thinking maybe, say, 1930s? Last night we ate out with her friend Johnathan and then met Jordan (the bf) at a bar called Clems, which was playing a compilation of psychedelic musics that were just fine and dandy. Clem's definitely had, above the bar, a stuffed capuybara (sp?) and the head of an Ibex. Real? Your guess is probably better than mine..
With PBR's scenester-ubiquity, Budweiser is once again the cheapest thing on the block. We drank that.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Still owe money to the money to the money I owe

I'd be pretty happy if my tax return decided to direct deposit sometime soon. Preeeeettttty happy.

Dreams lately: pretty weird.
"Dreams" lately: what?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Better than Rhinos!

Me: So what should I write about?
Wanda: Hippos!
Kamili: Cheese!
Karly: Milking hippos for their cheese!

Milking the Behemoths.
You have to get right in there, right under there.
Wear gloves, a rubber facemask. Pull hard, like
you would on a raincoat stuck in a car door.

Experts-- and there are experts-- recommend
you go at night, dressed as some sort of parasitic bird.
(this works better on rhinosceroses, but still a damn site better
than the crocodile suits we tried first)

It helps to be able to breathe in mud,
to be impervious to crushing weights on your chest,
to think only of the profit in certain parts of New England
or the Pacific Northwest where this will be the hot new thing,
to never, as you're slid between sweating, grunting beasts
think "there has to be a better way."

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Nanowripomo (more more more)

(In response to SCB(BHMED)

Ask yourself again, waiting in line for coffee
three minutes late for work
Ask yourself again on the plane ride over
once the buildings disappear
all that are left are clouds
and movies starring
jessica alba and a talking dog.
Ask yourself when Home comes
Sign the date on the rent check
you've not filed, depending on the kindness
of parents, friends, siblings.
Ask yourself when you are too tired
to finish a chapter
of the classic novel
you should have read by now.
Ask yourself when the seven is
rolling like squares and your eyelids are crumbling city halls.
Keep yourself in check when you want to proclaim
the end of bad habits, the ways you like to love, the crash courses
you claim you've completed. Ask yourself again how long it will take
when you cannot stop the chatter wearing down your ears,
when your knees give way on everyday hills that turned downward escalators.

Satans Hands of Hats or
All I Ever Wanted to Know About Macrame Remains a Mystery

It'll burn your hair clean off,
the way they throw the drambuie in this place.
across the room like a frisbee
(if you can dodge a flaming drink, you can dodge a ball)
"I don't know why we come here," she says everytime,
though she's the driver.

We danced when there was the bone-music,
the head-swivel rock.
We billed the waiters for their poor service
and vomited on the still-young
indoor rhodedendrons, but they shook us down
for the last scrags of change
their ever-widening eyes nothing but wheels of rotating flame

we tipped our wigs to the devil in the corner,
who knew he was such a good accordionist?

Holy, Holy, Holy (sing along now)
or I Responded to the Altar Call and All I Got Was this Stifling, Guilt-Inducing Relationship

They have such reverent stances. Fresh blue tennis-shoes on
convention hall carpet. The boys in the worship band used
to be bartenders, espresso machines, hired killers, but now
their freshly-strung guitars and eyes-half-closed toward heaven
beckon you forward, after, they do the conversion strut,
would high-five if it weren't so worldly.

They drink stouts over bible studies, where they bear the weight
of the lost around them with deep sad brown eyes, don't suscribe to
a theology allowing jokes, there is no time for joy not derived
from the sharp curves of their arms on acoustic guitars,
their plate-passing, their entire bodies are the cross, the nails,
you can make them holy

and when they walk with you, you are the bride of christ,
the heat of their hands burns hot into your side, when you
pass other men they draw you tight like lost little lambs,
faces imploring you to ask them about their tears; they quote
St Augustine or Shane Claiborne and have money set aside
for charity once house payments are done.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Nanowripomo and other notes.

NANOWRIPOMO is a lot like NANOWRIMO but with poems. Like, because April is "national poetry month" writer types are encouraged to try to write a poem a day this april. So far I've only missed one day. This is fine; I'm shooting for "produced or significantly revised a poem on the majority of days in april." It's not a literalist interpetation of the law.

Also: been picking up shifts at the RHH Cafe/Bar during events. This is good. Keeps me in incidentals/coffee/incidentals. Placed my chapbooks in a couple of indie bookstores-- Left Bank and Pilot.
About a week ago did a gig at New Crompton with Deerseekingheadlights, My Printer Broke, 1985 and Cat Band. We broadcast the whole thing live on Chatroullette to a smattering of confused 15 year old girls and a Sea of Penises (band name!) I did brief sets between the bands and everyone was bundles of friendly and it was good to see DSH with Peter and hear 1985 again.
Talks of more such gigs.

Other things have happened, or not happened, but I'm not too concerned. Below you'll find two of the things I wrote for Nanowripomopomopwripomo and the setlist for the above show. Enjoy.

The Bar You Like Will Come Back Into Style
Hours: From two hours before you admit you drink
to three hours after its legal.
86ed: the guy with the silver soul patch who always came in with
those two girls who looked way younger than him, reeking of gin at 3pm.
He had a deep voice and perpetually open wallet; the sort you like in every night
until he mistook a server for one of his ladies, darting hand, cheek-slap, escalation.
Now when the girls show up they are drearily sober,
order one drink before hailing taxis.
Benny, the sports nut. Welcome enough to watch the game, but touchdown
re-enactments cost Old Jim his prosthetic leg.
The frat boys who kept trying to hump the moose head.
Loose Mary.

Todays Lunch Special: A burger. A big burger, with bits of meatgrease smeared on the side of the plate. A big huge salty burger you have to unhinge your jaw to eat. A big huge salty burger you have to unhinge your jaw to eat and a whole fuckoff mountain of fries covered in pigsweat and sitting in the meatgrease smeared to the side of the plate, paintchips and stringlets of the fry-cooks curly beard between the bun and pickles. You will have to order a second drink to finish and by then
happy hour is over.

Weekend Events: Friday: A band. Almost good. No, almost GREAT. Almost phenomenal. They know good jokes to tell between songs, you laugh loud but their friends still shoot you dirty looks when they realize they don’t recognize you.

Saturday: Karaoke, magic tricks, dancing clowns, abyss-staring.

Daily Drink Special:
Gin and Paint thinner. Scraped and melted from the counter. Whisky and motor oil, straight from the moose’s mouth. Ten bucks extra for some rusty nails. You pay extra to sit here, the last shitty bar in a renovated side of town, wondering if today you’ll finally get to start a fight.

Kids Stuff
In the poem I write about Childhood
I stand in a field with adults and prophets,
running out ahead, hugging the wind
face beaming, I am cute and precocious
and wise like a child in the bible.
In the poem I write about Childhood
we are angelfaced, shedding light
innocent and smiling, positively goddamn beatific,
-- I’ve even got the last half of the end line:
“we knew so much. . . then.”

a little more wistful, a little more pure
instead of the grubby little shits we were,
clawing to the top of the slide,
punching eachother out for bits of snickers.

setlist for 3/28
Ryan Johnson Asks Me Why Chris Gusta Got a Vasectomy
Little Red Corvette
When Saying Mean Things About Strangers
Rules For Riding the King County Metro
Pack Mentality and Your Tenderloins

then there was lots of noise and trumpet-raping.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Poetry Night vs. Graham Isaac

hear me, hopped up on dayquil, talk to andrew cole about wales, diy show production, slam poetry as an established institution, and loads of other things i have limited knowledge about. there are also some poems I do.

yeah, basically talking a lot of bollocks, as they say.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Decline of British Sea Power and other things that make me want to play air drums

It is forty-five minutes until my time is no longer loggable as community-helping volinternshippery. This is now time I use selfishly, having data-entered, overseen zine-masters productions and made my productivity-proposals for the next week.

right now is all drinking the free coffee, inflicting my personal playlist on Rainey and Kamili and the guys who are at the table drawing their comics. Print out some poems for the writers-group that is actually-going-to-happen.

last night I and Ryan and Bronwyn and Rainey and Lars-for-a-little-while went to Magma Feset '10's Queercore show for the music of Cold Lake and Council of Lions and the poetry of Elissa Ball and then there were other bands and I liked them alright but I was glad to be at a show in a Bike Shop where everyone was happy and dancing and paid attention to the Spoken Word, even when it came at the end of a long night with lots of Rainier.

Days are spinning by fast. That's fine. I wouldn't say I'm "keeping on top of it" but I'm getting better at not feeling like I've been hit by a train, either physically, 'motionly or just in the "wait-what?" sort of way.

this could also be the unseasonably good weather or the coffee or the fact that one of my duties in life involves hanging out with folks who make paper robots and comic books.

Friday, 26 February 2010

So much for Orthodoxy:

And it came to pass that years after the words had stopped being heeded the united council of Rev. Graham and the Isaacs decided on a newer, sleeker, more relevant word, and thus, out of such academic turmoil was born This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: New Revised Standard Edtition
The Epistles:

3.In Beth's Cafe
4.Dried Insect, Collected
5.Swim Team
6.Pink Laces and Kierkegaard
8.For Chad and Jason
9.Drinking Age
10.Performance Heartbreak
11.Pack Mentality and Your Tenderloins
12.This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
13.The Future According to Johnny Quest
14.We Are the Weird Cousins
15.Caleb Barber Loses His Teeth to Meth
17.Homemade Cape
18.Drag and Save
19.The Day After Thanksgiving
20.Just As Well, She Said
21.Like Taking Communion
22.Somewhere in Colorado

The rest are destined for apocryphal status.

2/22 @ Poetry Night in Bellingham

slightly late gig/reading roundup.
got a ride up with Shane and Becca Guthrie. Shane should have a feature locked down at Poetrynight pretty soon here as his availability was requested by robert.

after some wandering around boulevard park, went to Andrew Cole's for a conversation/interview where I said some things far less articulately than I meant, and will perhaps annoy people, were they to pay attention. Will post a link to that podcast once its' up.
Still. Pretty cool that there is an interview with me on a podcast.
After that met at Rudy's with Tim and Debbie and Josh and Jessa and met their new children. All those being folks I'd not seen since pre-Wales.

then to the reading. particularly strong Open Mic, with appearances by Caleb Barber, Eva Suter, Shane Guthrie, Anna Wolff, Nathan Dodge, Jake Tucker as well as the greats you've come to expect from Poetry Night. I felt good about my feature, doing the first two pieces all off-book and felt the crowd was with me for it.

Little Fear of Drowning
Ambition is Critical

Zombies and Paint Thinner
Genus, Species and Flavour
When Saying Mean Things About Strangers
Poor Sisyphus
Rugby '08
Flower Shop
Get Smart!
Flicking Ash
Lake City
Swansea-Cardiff Blues (Bellingham Ed.)

For this feature I made some broadsides of "Saying Mean Things. . ." which sold out in a flash. I think rather than focussing efforts on a New Chapbook, I'll taylor more of my merch-efforts to each specific reading. Eva requested a broadside of "Genus, Species. . ." and I could see doing one of Story Problem or Penderyn Smooth (once I get that one finished.)
Now that that gig is finished and gone well, I feel like I've aired the Wales Poems and can just write and write and write and write and write and need to, really.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

It's raining in Vancouver, but I don't give a fuck

Monday night I'm doing my feature at Bellingham's Poetry Night, the reading I cut my semi-adult to adult teeth at. In preparation, in addition to bugging people to re-arrange their entire lives in order to make it to B'ham, I've also made a few broadsides of new poem "When Saying Mean Things About Strangers." Which mayhaps I'll post here at some point. But the point is, I'm using this blog post as a way to put off the hand-drawn illustrations part of the artistic process, because once the ink is on there, its on there.

So. Check out my most recently published piece. . . yes, I think online counts. Especially if it's as clearly-planned-and-cool-looking as KP tends to be.

Also, you can read the blog I write for ZAPP, which currently gets updated as often or more often than this one.

Today: So frustrating. So many "almosts" with regards to chapbook completion, art-making and things getting done. Tonight: more work. forge ahead. listen to Japandroids in an empty house on Warsaw street.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Rainier and Wedding Music (rough.)

It was their first dance and everybody cried. Everyone. Really.
The room was all champaigne and candles and aftershave and
a circle in the middle where one of the handful of couples I’ve
ever seen that no one had reservations about slow-stepped
into eachother and began the waltz. Perfect wedding eye-contact.
not a dry eye.

Writing alone and in public is an invitation. For interruption,
unwantedconversation. At the bar at a place that’s fast becoming
a “haunt” I liveunswayed by schedule or finances, get another.
I’ve not been writing long, they aren’t busy and this is a thought
to finish. Plus, I haven’t been interrupted yet.

I’ve been involved in executing—at some level—a fair
number of Weddings. Dj, best man, usher, something.
Ritual is important but always better when the Bride and
Groom are Having Fun Up There. The nervous pre-vow clap.
The blush-and-giggle. The spontaneous high-five.
Good food at the reception, if not an open bar.

The bartender isn’t interested that his music choice
triggered these memories, or what I’m writing, or that
I write, or if he is, that’s the wrong assumption to make.
Still, bringing it up is part of the ritual. I have still
avoided interruption, but take thoughtful pauses as I consider more.
Rainier is not a slow sipper.

What makes a great wedding song? Believability. That
the couple has reached into what they think of love
and pulled something out together, both rare and welcome.
That if they can find the right song, perhaps they
just might be ready for anything.

These are unexpected thoughts, ponderances, not plans.
I’ve long stopped making assumptions. Things I work out on paper
but never read as I ease into new haunts. Bartender wipes the
counter down with the absent vigor of one who’s been at this for years.
I lift my glass in deference without even thinking.

this is a few drafts away from anywhere close to "finished" or "let's read this out somewhere" so I'm welcoming comment.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

". . .my brain is falling apart like wet cake."

This was Dave Beer's opening gambit the last time I saw him. After a three-day bender, red-brown stubble all over a face that was used to a razor and a washcloth. He wasn't sure, but something had to change and despite a bit of a shaky grip, there were plans in place for change and I wish there was some sort of phrase that was both the inverse and encompassing of a "shit-eating grin."

It is an image, phrase and tone-of-voice-eye-contact-combo that has come to mind lately. I am sitting in my (new! note that I have Successfully Moved) room, listening to the Stone Roses' good album, just sort of sitting with things, not the least of which are all the doritos I ate in lieu of a lunch today.

Friday, 5 February 2010

file under "awww, that's so sweet."

"Graham, your friendship is far more important to me than sleeping with racists."-- kat

Thursday, 28 January 2010

You Could Practically Hear the Clicking Sound: Moving Out of the 'rents

The couch by the dove
covered with almost-finished errands,
promises I made when I thought I'd
have more time.

The days spun by like the Wheel of Fortune,
you could practically hear the clicking sound
as, living in two cities, my nerves frayed
like dental floss.

Plans for goodbye rituals, chucked out
like Starbucks mugs missing trash cans,
daily affirmations lost sorting through
string after string of broken lights.

So, with clothes mountained on the floor
in front of my bed, I note that
my suitcase is never empty for long,
the stress is always equal,

but it is different leaving a place
you know you can come back to,
even if its a long dark hour away

on a highway you never hoped to know so well.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

It looks different in the day, without so much incandescence.

The day started with a round of donuts and some impromptu readings from Sartre. The last few days of teardown are a lot of feet-dragging, doing the work of six hours over the course of a week, then being hit with tasks where you discover that what you thought was "throw a few parts in a truck" is more like "dismantle an entire miniature fucking house". . .
Spooling up cords, etc.

This would be relaxing, idyllic even, if I weren't also basically living in Seattle and preparing to move all my stuff there, loaded up on commitments, obligations and ideas but very little in the way of financable income.

So what's new, you ask? Ha. Ha ha ha.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Give Me Something I Can Take Away-- Year in Music 2 or something

My opinion has always been that you can't quite make a "Best of" list until sometime in June, when you've fully caught up on Year Previous, by which time you are hopelessly "behind" on the next year, because, after all, it is a race. So I probably forgot a couple records in making this list, but it was still fun to make. I didn't include albums by bands I Always Like if I didn't think they were great(sorry Pearl Jam), nor did I include records made by humans I have physically touched in a non-concert setting. Feel free to berate me on my choices.

St. Vincent—The Actor
For me, St. Vincent is like meeting someone at a boring party, deciding she’s nice enough, but pretty much like every other person there and they’re talking about like, wine or something, not that there’s anything wrong with wine, but the hostess, who you really do appreciate the invitation and everything, she’s cute and all and probably the best person out of that douchey study group where you met, but really why did you come to this party anyway? So then, like, later, at some isolated situation that is not a party you meet St. Vincent and she is funny and weird and clever and sort of fucked up in a really interesting way. You do not want to marry her, but hey, she made this sweet album and listening to it is rad.

MF Doom—Born Like This
MF Doom remains a bizarre dude. Not in the “HI MY NAME IS LIL WAYNE/KANYE WEST AND YOU SHOULD LOOK AT ALL THIS CRAZY SHIT I DO I DO SOME CRAZY SHIT BECAUSE I AM AN ARTIST WHO HAS NOTHING TO SAY BUT CRAAAAAZY SHIIIIIIIT” but more in a way that I would give a crap about, ever. The growing collective of People Who Want Graham to Smoke Pot rejoice.

Fever Ray—S/T
Want to come over to my house some frosty winter and have sex with me while we listen to Fever Ray? BDSM/cosplay optional.

The Obits—I Blame You
Someone give Frohberg a check so that he can just keep making good albums like this. Eases up on the Hot Snakes’ breakneckery, throws in some surf, some swing, rockabilly, keeps the guitars clean and crisp, lyrics smart and straight-up. Guy should be teaching classes on this shit, but most “rock and rollers” are too busy worrying about their hair and practicing sneers in the mirror.

Animal Collective—Merriweather Post-Pavillion
I think it’s possible to be highly overrated, have a pretty annoying fanbase and still be really good.

Japandroids—Post Nothing
Go for it boys, you’ve got your youth, earnesty-thinly-hidden-by-swagger and a history of pop-punk, power-pop and shoegaze in your arsenal. If the results are a bit immature sometimes, well, so am I. And that’s fine.

Anti-Pop Consortium—Fluorescent Black
Remember when __indie kids/rockers/hipsters/art kids, whoever___ gave a shit about whether the hip hop they listened to was actually good and not just an excuse to throw a theme party where they could throw on huge glasses and act out racial caricatures in the name of pop-culture parody?

A Place to Bury Strangers—Exploding Head
When you are this loud and ominous you can get away with having the word “heart” in more than one of your song titles.

The Mountain Goats—Life of the World to Come

When I heard that Darnielle was doing an album where each song corresponded to a Bible Verse, I wasn’t surprised; in fact I was almost surprised he hadn’t already. As a songwriter, I think JD is pretty much unmatched, so he’s uniquely suited to a project like this and the results are stunning. The melodies are strong here too, giving a way in to casual-er MG listeners.

Future of the Left—Travels With Myself and Another
. . . but he can’t put his finger on it; he’ll never be that kind of man/He’ll die in his bed on a summer’s night, with his hand on his favorite thing. There are words he could use to describe it/metaphors that should have applied-- he’ll die in his bed on a summer’s night with his hand on his adequate bride.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Yeah, sure, Satan rules-- that doesn't mean I can't be practical: Music '09 part 1.

For the first of my ("a few of them") year-retrospectives, I am going to avail you of some music which, for various reasons, I have enjoyed. The following songs may have appeared here before, and very well may again; it is my blog and I do what I want. Some are just songs, others are full-on music videos, but the songs are really the point. I also realised that I wanted to put some Yeah Yeah Yeahs on here, but I already put Metric and The Kills and I can't give too much love to the ladies at one time unless they get used to it. Also, some of these are from 2008 albums, but I first became aware of them in 2009. Tralala. Singles!

So without any further adieu: 2009: The Year In Tracks, as negligently and half-assedly perceived by Graham Isaac

You love this band. I love this band. The Internet loves this band. The Internet Backlash Against This Band loves the availability of such a readily backlashable band. Everyone wins.

This song had so much to do with my life Dec 08-March 09. I miss the part about listening to electro-pop making cultural and contextual sense.

"Sometimes, performing basic tasks or even getting up in the morning can be harder than any sort of social or political change."--R.Johnson.

I hear you, brother.

If, when I was 17, you'd told me I'd be way into a song with a line about "trying to love again" when I was 28, my response possibly would have been "Right, if I live that long." Its kinda cheesy, but I like the concept of regaining things you've let go, and that sometimes its worth the struggle, or that damage isn't irreparable.

I don't, however, particularly like Eddie Vedder's hand gestures in the music video.

The new Neko Case record was really good, but I felt it wasn't quite as compelling as the last two. Still, this is, hands down, one of the best songs to exist in 2009 or beyond.

* sigh *

yay, pop!

. . . and finally, after a list so fraught with omissions, songs I just happened to feel like listening to right this instant and perhaps at no other time in my entire life, I ask you to picture the following: You are Me. I know, pretty awesome deal. But don't get too excited-- 1)you work the worst-paying, near-most abusive job you've worked in your life and you can't change it because 2) your immigration status is in limbo. You want to stay but you know that 3) Your Grand Attempt is a straw-horse. You have many things you want to do, good reasons to stay and despite (because?) of the sorta-shittiness of the town you're in, you feel at home. But you are getting kicked out and 4) in light of these developments, the girl you were with (and really, you know, actually liked) is back with the same guy she spent the last three months complaining about to you.
In short, your life is falling apart, but really all that's for it is to walk slow with your hands in your pocket. This is a good song to do that to.

Friday, 1 January 2010


I woke up on borrowed pillows from Amara and Jonny's couch, Michael Noonan was watching Fight Club. Jonny made bacon and eggs and then Amara and I did some Cafe Vita and I did some sister-driving-move-helping-stuff. Putting 6 foot mannequins in to mini-vans. Squishing mattresses into movable spaces so my goofball sister will have somewhere to sleep besides floor. Getting to (slightly) know South Seattle as a place in and of itself rather than just "well, downtown ends here, and I guess Georgetown is pretty cool. . . "

I still have some weeks before knowing where I will live when it is not on a campground with holiday-themed events. I still don't know-know, but I do feel like the last day of '09 and the first day of '10 in solid, repeatable ways.

"I don't hurt anyone with my penis, I just swordfight them."-- Bronwyn, offering sisterly advice