Saturday, April 6, 2013

solicitations from the underground

Howard Cossell Was An Asshole

The world’s greatest agitator.
Prototypes changed for your last buck,
never parring a hole
on any given golf course
in your calmest nightmares.
down and rapt
with the wide, wide world
of the sound of sirens,
from whisper to bellow
to the microphone’s last brutal silence.
Stop smiling.
There is nothing macho
in the soup,

Another Valiant Attempt At Precision

            We’ve been under the gun, here, with scuttling, with reluctant passion, with slips collectively through oubliettes of low-and-wet tiny triumphs. Regarding the lowering age limit of recruitment to edacious borrowings, wound-wise or not, durable in the hurt for the loss of testamentary failings. Cessation comes, or just hurt built on borrowing’s loose sediment, lush with a crabby flippancy’s surrender; hurt rendered as complimentary as a hotel’s continental breakfast; hurt mushy and looming close overhead; hurt that digs in for the long and short of it; hurt that galls and kills batteries. There are peanuts scattered on the graves. There are no orders left to give. An adamant claim of obscurity goes unclaimed.        
            Bottoms up. Heads down. Do not pray too much while lying supine. Do not fall under the claimed spaces of deconstructed housing units. We’ve been fired at, here, by the honed morality of hunger strikers. At least we are less clever than we seem.
            We’re quieter now that the play-by-play man’s back. So, here we go again, for now:
            “You have waited for the Time Of Bloating to end. The waters were testier in the duration, while the waiting was prized, held in higher regard than sipping week-old flower water from a vase. Squeezed through narrow passages of thought, like a diuretic for the soul, you weakened and then you plowed brave past all fields of knowing. Continuing is perfected, if you’d like to not raise any dust with your meekness. There is a settling that will come and not pass. Be lively. Lead with the left.”

Excerpt From An Interview With Guggenheim Fellowship Applicant #3,137

Q- You mention prayer a lot, or the act of praying.

A- Yes. And I was raised by a couple of atheists, so in a sense praying was absurd: asking what you hold doesn’t exist to grant your wishes. So there’s tension there, a pulling away and a lean towards, if you will. But maybe that’s the real challenge of being human, putting your faith in something that you know is very likely to be nothing at all. It’s like talking to yourself and pretending somebody else is listening. Salvation comes; salvation goes, you know? It’s a broken system, and perhaps it doesn’t need to be fixed. Or maybe it’s just a language barrier that’s impossible to reconcile. I sing a lot while I’m strolling the sidewalks late at night. That’s as close as I get to chatting with God, I think. 

Q- God? Or a God.

A- Oh, I get it. He’s dead, right? Then all this theologizing and making Methuselah out of meatballs gets me dead wrong, or at least dead; and that’s Pascal’s wager there too, right? In there, tucked away like a lost tooth beneath another’s pillow. And, you know, Laundromats don’t get any mail. This stuff takes some figuring, and who’s got the time or the temper for it? Well, not always this son-of-a-bitch here...I guess.

Q-  Sure. But there’s a scent-following wisp in your writing, at least the early material, that probes less, shall we say luminous spheres of what it’s like to live on prayer alone.

A- I’d saying, “praying,” not, “prayer.” And nobody reads my early stuff anymore. Except perhaps used-bookstore derelicts and machine-shop boys with the greasiest smiles in Cow Town. I’m regarded as a sort of temperamental palmist in some of the grimier bookish circles around, and people drool over their future, the possible ways in which their lives might eventually be lived. There’s an element of Gong-Show theatrics to the whole thing, to the way we strut our stuff in the momentary uninhibited lapses we are allowed in this world, the one we’ve constructed for ourselves to live in, if you go in for all that Humanism God-Is-Dead stuff.

Q- Do you?

A- Go in for it? Sure. Sometimes. I have my moments. Suddenly I’ll be struck by a perfect dust-filled gold beam of sunlight falling across the carpet of that place where I do my living and abiding-- if there’s a difference-- and I’ll seize a specific structure of daylight to capitalize on, to make sense with to myself, to say, “There. There. Everything’s happening as it should, the only way it can. It’s all going to be okay, kid.” But I know that’s a lie, even though it’s not, really. But it’s a lie I’m telling myself which in the end I know is the truth; I just don’t want to believe it, so I pretend I’m lying to myself, even though I’m not…really.

Q- Like when it’s easier to, “just say it’s all lies. Everything’s a lie. Lie to me. Please. I don’t got time for anybody’s truth.” I think I might’ve butchered that. Sorry.   

A- Butchers do good work. They’re experts at slicing. Have you ever seen one of those guys trim a primal cut with a cleaver? I don’t think butchering something is a bad thing. But, anyway, I don’t remember most of what I write. Maybe that’s most of the reason why I write. To get all this junk on the inside out of me so I don’t have to deal with it anymore. Let somebody else deal with it and tell me what it all means. A cosmic joke, kind of. A stupid ruse for getting others to play with me, to pick me to be on their side for a recess game.

Q- I’m aware that you don’t proofread, if that’s correct?

A- Ha. Yes. More like, I never read.

Q- Is reading detrimental to your writing?

A- It’s more like I just get impatient with it, the writing. It’s a blindingly fast process, the one I go through, and my conscious mind is rarely involved. So, well, it’s more like I just want to get it all away from me, put it somewhere else where maybe there’s a place for it, because, hell, there’s no room in me for it anymore. But it’s not like giving birth or something. It’s more like having a horrible bout of food poisoning…all this vomit all over the place, and you don’t want to be the one who has to clean it all up afterwards. For me, well, reading just passes the time now. I hate thinking that time is something that has to be passed. I mean, really, what else do we have here other than time? That’s all we’ve got to live our lives in. Without it we’re nothing, we’re dead. No. I just try to buck up and get to it, again and again, push myself beyond any beyonds I’ve ever known, and then keep going.

Q- Like the Satchel Paige saying.

A- Not really. No. Not like that at all. I look back all the time; I just do it while I’m creeping ahead, in drive but without my foot on the gas, and maybe the rear-view’s crooked and misleading, and it gets streaked with dirt and smudged with fingerprints; but I’m moving. I keep moving.

Q- Do you ever worry that nobody will care? I mean, I remember when I was much younger…

A- You seem pretty damn young to me.

Q- Well, much older than I am now, but younger too. I remember coming across your sketches from Caressing Passes…

A- Oh. Shit. No. Not that garbage. Just meager soliciting. “Soliciting. Soliciting. Look at me, soliciting myself. There I go soliciting. Soliciting I go.” 

Q- Really? No. I mean, they meant a great deal to me at the time, especially the ones…I mean, like The Typer and The Picture Taker. That feeling of no matter what you do it won’t matter to anyone. That you’ll never be appreciated.

A- Self-indulgent, petulant crap.

Q- Ok. Well. Maybe…but at the time they really affected me. I saw myself as being so small, so insignificant, and it seemed that nothing I could do would possibly matter, and I wanted it to so bad, more than anything else: to matter. I know you hate discussing your own writing…but those sketches really had an impact on me, and I think they still do, to a lot of people, even in ways they’ve forgotten. 

A- Ghosts. Drifters. Gangs of paint rustlers. People who shop for windows instead of what’s in them. Ha. Those are the ones who’ve been…what, touched by these things? I guess. I don’t know. Used to be I couldn’t even get my friends to read my stuff. It’s not that they didn’t like it; they wouldn’t even read it. It’d just lie there fallow, untouched, rotting in the dry winds of indifference. But, well, I keep driving on ahead, whatever the route, and it’s in motion that I find what I need to breathe, to live. Mattering to others isn’t important. It’s all a bluff, a misleading signpost blazing on an undiscovered moon, and the places you end up…holy Christ, the places you end up at in this life. I’m in love with the clogged arteries of it all, the ways of getting here that ruined what came before, but left it a bit more soot-smeared and murky and deranged and eventful, and therefore made for a lovelier place to do our existing in. My life is out of my hands now. I go along with it wherever it leads.

Q- Damn. There are no questions left on my notepad. Sorry.

A- Good. I’m sick of all this yapping. Here. Have a drink with me. Let’s watch the pigeons shit from the eaves of that abandoned church for a while. It’s quite something.

Q- Sure. I’d like that very much.

Your Red House

Another trash day coming around,
until all the days are trash days
and you’ve only got a cracked blender and a radio with half its antennae snapped off.
You shave and call it a morning.
There are no doves in the soap bottle.
There are no mirrors left to shatter.
There are…
these things
and nothings.
A louder shape that you call your own misuses its meaning and falls flat,
A shrug on loan for the sake of raising levels of fun.
The water’s all on fire, here,
and there are no whims in the coal soot.
shout quieter
so I won’t hear what’s leveling the more accusatory seriousness
of pompomed salutations.
Making up odd ways to survive,
like just saying no to coffee
after the streetlights come on.
Point at a low window in a defunct rooming house,
and tell of where you once spent your days and nights,
the hard pillow that held your head’s dent
for its lifetime.
No more usage fee for this as-is buy;
a hastening of abandoned cheer
scampers like rats in the cellar,
giving away what’s been stored
and is now gone.
We are not always what we tell ourselves we always are,
at all.
go ahead,
laugh out loud--
what are we but what’s been done to us?