August 17, 2005

Dead Drop

I wrote you a letter, dropped it in the box.
The weeks piled up and so did the letters,
dead leaves in a ditch.

I expected you'd come to collect the intelligence.
It was inevitable you'd come. But
then the box was full.

Come collect these notes I've made you.
Empty the box. Don't leave
these leaves to rot.

August 16, 2005

Fascinating folks

A very interesting, very intelligent blog on politics and culture: Done With Mirrors

A very interesting, very intelligent site that covers just about everything: Cosma Shalizi's webpage

What do they share? Uh... a dislike for Noam Chomsky's political wankery?

At the best of times.

I don't mean to turn this into a verse blog, but this song has been stuck in my head all day. It's quite a wonderful song. Is it a positive or a negative song? I believe it's neither. It's off Music for a New Society, the great out-of-print album.

Thoughtless Kind by John Cale

When we grow tired of the friends we make --
In case we mean to say something else --
Say they were the best of times we ever had:
The best of times were the thoughtless kind.

We dress conservatively at the best of times;
Prefer the shadows to the bright lights in the eyes
Of the ones you love,
The bright lights in the eyes of the ones you love.
What we see, what we imagine, the eyes tell us nothing.
The bright lights in the eyes of the one we love will tell us nothing
Like the scars of imagination, the scars of imagination.
The bright lights in the eyes of the ones we love will tell us nothing
Except that we're the thoughtless kind.

So if you grow tired of the friends you make --
Never ever turn your back on them.
Say they were the best of times you ever had:
The best of times were the thoughtless kind.

August 15, 2005

I can be detonation

for Molly on her birthday

"Indeed," she sighed into a cup of tea.
"Many ideas are born each second and just
as many die. Why should I believe,"
and this was said
with a deliberate blink of the eye,
"that these new ideas of yours will last
longer than this conversation?"

"Certainly I can be creation. Just as surely
I can be detonation. But these are just

August 10, 2005

Tom and Soapy Sam

Read me!

August 09, 2005

Dear John

For Jeanette, and of great purpose.

I'm looking to the summer
for a stiff breeze at the lakeside.
Some summers disappoint
But others, oh others can satisfy.

I'm looking to the fall for
a dusting of snow to cover the tarmac.
It's a whim, I know, but
you know how ideas take hold.

To winter, to winter.
The screeching of dying brakes
on icy roads. Fear
keeps the heart young, taken sparingly.

I'm looking to spring,
my dear John. The icy
ground has done its purpose.
I'm ready for the melt.

August 08, 2005

Robin Cook RIP

Drift all you like, from ocean to ocean.
Search the whole world.
But drunken confessions and hijacked affairs
Just make you more alone.

from Big Boots (man-o-war) by Radiohead

August 07, 2005

An Etymology

Through the door comes the gunman,
emerging from the night.
The light that glints from the barrel
hints that some other steel might soon emerge.

From moment to moment the world
flows through states,
through endless, invisible
configurations. But once in a while

The state of the world is revealed
in these unwelcome epiphanies,
these unwanted understandings,
when reality peeks through probability's veil.

The fact of the matter emerges.
(It cannot be contained.)
A gunman coming through the door.
Emergence, emergency.

August 06, 2005

This machine kills fascists

O but Steve is one.
Nevertheless this, Her Mac,
is really online.

Dial-up internet connection sharing through an ad-hoc wireless network. Technology is sometimes humanity at its best.

August 05, 2005

A little idea of mine

I'd really like to do a compilation of Radiohead songs in the styles of the acts that influenced them.

A few idea that seem particularly appropriate:
In Limbo covered by U2. I admit, it doesn't make sense 'til you try to sing it. As long as you make up a chorus that goes something like "And you left me in liiiimbo, in limbo in limbo!" it's extremely convincing.

Morning Bell covered by Neil Young. Did the vocal ever strike you as strange? Well, around Kid A Neil became a major influence, and the vocal is a total aping of his... particular vocal characteristics. I think he'd like the song to boot.

Street Spirit covered by the Beatles. Yeah, you know it would work. Would it be as sinister? Quite possibly! John or George on lead.

Dollars and Cents covered by the Talking Heads. David Byrne would put an entirely different spin on the vocals, but it would still be as frightening.

Sulk covered by Nirvana. OK, it's a stretch, but I think it would come off well, though decidedly different.

Creep covered by a lounge singer. Oh, wait. Creep covered by Tears for Fears. Oh... wait. Creep covered by Alanis Morisette. Oh, wait. Creep covered by the Pretenders. Eh, screw it, Scott Walker. Oh, wait, we're back to the beginning again.

Bonus Davies

Plastic Man by Ray Davies

A man lives at the corner of the street,
And his neighbors think he's helpful and he's sweet,
'Cause he never swears and he always shakes you by the hand,
But no one knows he really is a plastic man.

He's got plastic heart, plastic teeth and toes,
He's got plastic knees and a perfect plastic nose.
He's got plastic lips that hide his plastic teeth and gums,
And plastic legs that reach up to his plastic bum.

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kick his shin or tread on his face,
Pull his nose all over the place,
He can't disfigure, or disgrace,
Plastic man.

He's got plastic flowers growing up the walls,
He eats plastic food with a plastic knife and fork,
He likes plastic cups and saucers 'cause they never break,
And he likes to lick his gravy off a plastic plate.

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kick his shin or tread on his face,
Pull his nose all over the place,
He can't disfigure, or disgrace,
Plastic man.

He's got a plastic wife who wears a plastic mac,
And his children wanna be plastic like their dad,
He's got a phony smile that makes you think he understands,
But no one ever gets the truth from plastic man.

August 04, 2005

Do you remember Walter--

I've had thoughts of a former schoolmate of mine at CultSchool (as my sister christened it). Kyle was a bright boy, exuberant, sometimes it seemed a little too much so. Several incidents in our common history have crystallized in my memory as they often do.

1) I don't remember who was telling me at the time, and it's possible that the pressure of memory has smooshed together several bits of truth into one crystalline lie, but for what it's worth: I remember in eighth grade finding out that some new family from Georgia had moved up. I seem to remember standing out on the playfield being told, perhaps watching Kyle's older brother Russell playing soccer with some of the other guys. I remember being told that he was a very good soccer player, at least. (I'd become good friends with Russell for a year or so later on before it became a more adversarial relationship for the rest of our co-education.) A family from Georgia seemed foreign and interesting to me.

2) To my shame: something Kyle was saying irritated me a great deal. Maybe it was the way he was saying it, I don't know. We were standing in the hallway outside the church bookstore, perhaps on a Sunday morning after Mass. Perhaps before school started. Perhaps on a holy day of obligation even. At any rate, I yanked off his clip-on tie and dropped it on the ground. He picked it up and put it back on and acted completely chipper and kept on doing whatever was irritating me. I repeated. His mother saw me and said something that really, uh, awoke me. I don't remember what it was, but I've rarely felt like such a shmuck. Kyle took it with equanimity and grace, which no doubt had increased my irritation. I found myself withdrawing from the conversation and thinking, "I'm being a bully? What am I doing and what did Kyle do?"

3) At a high-school graduation party for a mutual schoolmate, Kyle was on the periphery of my awareness. I remember Russell and his father discussing speedbikes. Russell was enthusing about him, his father said they'd get him killed.

4) At the funeral home, a Coke bottle nestled in his cold arms. He had turned around in his seat to reach for it some Sunday afternoon. His vehicle had drifted across the two-lane country road he was driving on and collided head on with an oncoming truck. I couldn't really find words to say to his parents.

August 03, 2005

Good neighbors were we all

One of our immediate neighbors is a Syrian expatriate, a seemingly sweet, somewhat scatterbrained guy whom I like despite his total non-maintenance of his property and the strange, late-night visits he gets from friends... or acquaintances... or criminals, it's sometimes hard to say.

He has terrible luck with crime. Persons (possibly) unknown have stolen his tools, his car, his building supplies. They've burned down his garage. People he contracted to work on his house and failed to pay decided that revenge was sweeter than legal recourse, and smashed up the whole house inside. His garage was burned down (thankfully doing only minor damage to ours and his other neighbors) last year, by a particular person possibly unknown. One of his other contractors, another Arabic man, got carjacked leaving the house. I have not experienced these things. I hope never to.

On the other hand, I don't have two bronze lions on my lawn either.