Feb 23, 2007

The Ends Justify the Memes

I was tagged by Logan to list my 'Top 10 Films.' So as not to redundantly repeat redundantly the film list in my Facebook account, which you probably all have seen anyway, I will reinterperet this as "Top 10 Films I Saw Last Year in No Particular Order." And to quote Francois Luong, "I will list foreign films because I am foreign." Ich bin ein auslander, dig?

1. This Film is not Yet Rated. A fascinating glimpse into the MPAA and its crypto-fascist program for censoring the film industry. Worth it for the endearing and hilarious exploits of Kirby Dick's hired "Private Eye" alone.

2. Ballets Russes. Yeah, yeah, say whatever you want about me. This was a great documentary--I found the ballerinas to be perhaps the closest analogs to poets that I've enountered thusfar, the same devotion to an art that is considered elitist and outmoded, and the same (perhaps consequent) megalomanaical pettiness. The film is very sad because most of them die before the film is released.

3. Better Living Through Circuitry. There seems to be a documentary theme going here. Having missed out on the rave scene of the mid-90's but being spiritually sympathetic to its motivating principles, this was a great glimpse into the culture that spawned much of the music that I listen to now as a creepy nearly-middled-aged guy who listens to electronic music... Genesis P. Orridge's bits are the best.

4. Au Hasard Balthasar. Fanny Howe said of this film, "A luminous pallor surges out of the screen, spreads over every face and form in the picture; it is the colour of consciousness. The subtitles are ghostly and easily submerged in the background light.
Squalor bleeds into this whiteness. Blends.
The plot follows an erratic line until it is swallowed in bells and sheep."

5. Grizzly Man. I am a fan of messianic nutjobs because I am one.

6. Transformers: The Movie. Robots got me through my miserable childhood, so shut up. Killing Optimus Prime was definitely a big leap and a decent bit of "realistic perspective on death," in a kids' movie. Never mind that he is a robot and not actually alive, but anyway. Featuring a dessicated Orson Welles in one of his last performances as the voice of...a planet... Nice period-piece Hair Metal also. I await eagerly the live-action one this summer (& the "second coming" of OP.)

7. Slither. 2006 was a bad year for horror films (my favorite genre, more or less) and this was about as good as it got (screw "The Descent," it was lousy; "An American Haunting" and "The Grudge 2" were crappy as well). The best thing about "Slither" was that it was pretty much OK with the fact that it was a silly horror film: which is kind of the cornerstone of the form.

8. Meredith Monk's Ellis Island. This is one of the Film Poems films. I showed this to my first semester Freshman composition class and one kid said, "So, like, was that supposed to be good or something?"

9. I am running out of films, time to switch to only 4-star rated films from my Netflix... Good Night & Good Luck. Anything that bashes McCarthy is Ok by me.

10. Time Regained. Only fun if you are a Proust geek; pretty much a manifestation of the "which-of-my-friends-would-I-get-to-play-Mme. Swann" game.

I usually refrain from tagging people in these things, but having felt very jilted at not having been tagged by anyone for anything in the past 9 months or so, I will go ahead and tag people in case they happen to be feeling the same way: Tom, Aaron, Matina and Joel.

Feb 21, 2007

Speaking of iTunes, this is my new favorite song:

"I'll Buy You One More Frozen Orange Juice," The Cakekitchen

The whole record it comes from, "Everything's Driving You Crazy Cos You Can't Get What You Want," is pretty great, including the sublimely banal "I Think I Had Too Much To Drink Last Night."
Brobdignagian Tony Tost and his brobdignagian associates present what may be the most momentous achievement since the wheel, the polio vaccine, or fermentation--Fascicle 3. 100% more broads this time. Ron Silliman was so excited he announced its release in his sleep 7 months before Tony Tost was born.

Seriously, though, kudos to Tony, Brent, Ken, Stacy, Chris and Eric for assembling another formidable issue with highlights too numerous to list here.

Feb 19, 2007

Tonight @ The Poetry Project

Come hear me read on my last day as a 34-year-old.

Mark Lamoureux & Mohammad Ali Niazmand
@ St. Mark's Poetry Project
Monday, 8:00 pm

Mark Lamoureux is the author of four chapbooks: Traceland, 29 Cheeseburgers, Film Poems and City/Temple. His first full-length collection of poems, Astrometry Organon is due out from Spuyten Duyvil/Meeting Eyes Bindery in early 2007. He is the editor of Cy Gist Press, a micropress focusing on ekphrastic poetry, as well as the the Printed Matter editor for Boog City.

Mohammad Ali Niazmand was born in Tehran, Iran in 1977. He is of Iranian and Iraqi decent, migrated to the USA in 1988, learned english from the hill of Mt. Tamalpais, to the streets of San Francisco, and the alleys of New York City. He is the author of four collections of poetry including Wizard Poisonings, and Change of Atmosphere.

Feb 18, 2007

Cy Gist Press is happy to announce the release of Sandra Simonds' The Humble Travelogues of Mr. Ian Worthington, Written from Land & Sea (Or Notes on the Life and Letters).

“These travelogues record realms and entities sprung, spit, spattered, spun from the off-kilter pottery wheel of the author’s subconscious in fully-fledged bursts — organic forms! — of visionary lyricism. Before the reader’s eyes -- and most importantly the ears — a kaleidoscopic dream world is enacted in real-time complete with “velvety mammoths,” a four day stay in a lighthouse, a maze, Mary Magdalene, dolphins, bear cubs balancing eggs on their noses, glass pineapples, and much more. Simonds crafts a world whose phantasmagoria folds over the reader like a strobe-light on Jesus Juice. She is the reincarnation of Artaud, Mina Loy, and Gilda Radner. The Humble Travelogues of Mr. Ian Worthington is a wild stroke of poetic power, and cooler than the Crocodile Hunter (RIP)!”
— Joseph Massey

“To traverse a barreness, this plane, tracking series of condemned, black with melancholy, all hunched and shuffling toward their end. Who knows how figures get made, but imprinted and upright, they fall in line. It’s the fate of flesh: even spirit, even the lightest wit, assumes space. They say reading happens in time, but Sandra Simonds doesn’t believe it. Her travelogues are white meanderings, inklings of worlds to come, a tiny island. This voyage of bare facts, that everything is, that wonders appear, that earth abides, quiets geography. Unpretending itinerary, all she knows is that we don’t is this.”
— R.M. Berry

A sample poem:

Prose Poem Written at the OK Corral

I went to visit the amputee. He lived in a teepee made of stained glass. Precious stones lined the pathway leading up to his teepee. There were gardens in the area mostly gardens of light green moss. There was a forest of glass pineapples. I want to ask him many questions like do you take vitamins and if you do, what sort of vitamins do you take. I also want to ask him if he ever experiences the phantom limb phenomenon. When he says yes, I have a phantom limb I ask him: does it feel pain? or does it tickle the rest of your body. He said he lost his limb in the great war of 44444444444. According to the Kabbalah this was a "no nonsense" war. A war among wars.

When the great war of 4445454545454523243 ended many people were walking around the continent looking for their limbs. Prosthetics were invented only much earlier so he was fortunate enough not to bear the shame of a false-limb. The sham of it. He says I am an elitist and if I have lost a limb then I shall not hide from a night of googly eye stars. I lack nothing. I have all of my limbs.

He showed me his pet goat. He said the goat likes to drink saline solution and the goat chews black bubble gum. I was getting annoyed with myself. Would I ever be able to really understand the amputee in the teepee? Strange days. Strange days, friend. The moon is that dried clot of blood on a dried flower in my left pocket. Does the limb ooze cloud? I took out my ATM card because the teepee had a snack bar and I was getting hungry. Limb, llama, buccaneer, despair. a Ghastly fear!

The amputee would ask me to play a game of pick-up sticks. Notice that his left leg is missing and he wants to play only if a towel is tied around the missing limb. It�s okay. I will tie the towel to the missing limb. He says please go outside the fort and pick us a few glass pears so that we can dine tonight and play our games in peace with full stomachs and I will put on some Schubert for the goat. It�s the uselessness of milk, I tell you. The red breasts thrown out to Chernobyl sized skin cancer mutts.

In the months that followed the amputee disclosed the much needed information and though he had a violet temper I got all of the facts Jack. He moved into a dormitory-style �old folks� home and he killed his pet goat in a sacrificial ritual that could only be understood in terms of biblical prophecy. I was moved to a different case. Oh my caseload is heavy! Peking duck, marbles, Joan of Arc.

Feb 17, 2007

Bad Night is Falling

Oracles are always a lot of fun. Maureen posted a meme (which was apparently circulating through 'non-poetry' blogs) in which a series of questions are answered by song titles taken from an iPod on shuffle (iOracle?). A fun exercise (it might be interesting to compose poems this way also), even if it offers a glimpse into the schizophrenic enigma that is my iTunes. So here are Nadja's (yes, my iPod is named Nadja, go ahead and start mocking me now) answers to the questions.

* What does next year have in store for me?-- "Untitled," Red Monkey. The iOracle equivalent to "ask again later," I guess. Lame, Nadja, lame.

* What does my love life look like?-- "Soul Seven," The Undertones. Accurate enough if you look at the lyrics.

* What do I say when life gets hard?-- "Place to Be," Robert Creeley. Yes, Creeley remains there for all of us, still.

* What do I think of when I get up in the morning? Op. 23 No. 3 "Le Secret," Gabriel Faure. Faure is the person that the composer Vinteuil in Remembrance of Things Past is based on, so I suppose it is appropriately quotidian.

* What song will I dance to at my wedding? "Psyche," Love Spirals Downwards. I will have to invite some goths to my wedding, I guess.

* What do I want for my career? "With a Man of Leisure," Harry Partch (from "17 Lyrics of Li Po.") Hehehe...right on.

* Favorite saying? "She's a Dog," The Geraldine Fibbers. Uh....not really.

* Favorite place? "Winter," Bebel Gilberto. Oh so metaphoric, Nadja.

* What do I think of my parents? "Just Another Soldier," The Minutemen. Yeah, pretty much.

* Where would I go on a first date? "Downtown Venus," PM Dawn. Classy. (Though, as in any song about Venus, it is easy to insert "Penis." No pun intended.)

* Drug of Choice? "Ghost City," Ghost in the Shell Soundtrack. Whoa, creepy. The StatMeter name for my blog is "Ghost City."

* How do I describe myself? "Coolin' Out," LTJ Bukem. I don't know if I would describe myself using an elided g. Elided, G.

* What is the thing I like doing the most? "The Judgment is the Mirror," Dali’s Car. Nadja has been talking to my shrink.

* What is my state of mind like at the moment? "Na├»ve Journey" feat. Marlon – DJ Icey. OK.

* How will I die? "The Hook," The Sonora Pine. Yeesh.

* Song they'll play at my funeral? "Jongleur Grey," The Durutti Column. Well, he did write an Elegy for Ian Curtis, so why not. Though not that appropriate if I haven't... err... hooked myself.

* What song will I put as the subject of this post? "Bad Night is Falling," Styrofoam. Well, there you have it.

Feb 16, 2007

A "mixed review" of my Night Season over at Galatea Resurrects 5. The review is reasonable enough; the parts that Manning objects to pretty much function as he says they do. I suppose the point of difference would be concerning the usefulness of those moments, which I would argue are useful. But of course I would think that since I wrote them!

Ultimately what anyone wants is their work to be read carefully, so hear hear.

This Saturday
3:00-4:00 pm
The Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery@ Bleecker
New York, NY
$20 suggested donation (please give what you can)

Performers include:

Anselm Berrigan
Eddie Berrigan
John Coletti
Cori Copp
Marcella Durand
Greg Fuchs
Brenda Iijima
Mark Lamoureux
Carol Mirakove

Our good friend Frank Sherlock was rushed to the hospital January 22nd with a sudden and mysterious illness which turned out to be a serious case of meningitis. He needed emergency surgery and also suffered a heart attack and kidney failure as a result of symptoms related to the illness. His friends have come together to help him at this critical time. We are reaching out to other friends and the poetry community on Frank's behalf. Frank's poetry page can be found here:

from the Friends of Frank Sherlock

Feb 13, 2007

I had a dream that I won a prize for a poem I wrote called "Justine," so I figured I ought to write one. Though I suppose because I have put it here, it means I will never win a prize for it.


Justine views the carousel
through the mod angles
of the tent caterpillars.

She cuts her foot on the barb
of the horseshoe crab.

Justine feels cooler where
the jailhouse bands
of shadow hit, she knows
how the world acts
upon the body like a

She thinks of the faces
of strangers, how they
ebb into & out of death.

All the faces that have ever
been pressed into the deltas
of air the arms
of the tree make.

Justine runs on the sand
& watches the man
with peach-colored

A star will dislodge
from its firmament
& she will know
it is all
a game, it is all
a question of scale.

Justine sees the olive trees
know the word
for mistakes, the bronze
fish lives in a pail
of salty water.

Justine wants to let it go,
but she knows it will
find itself
in the hungry wheel
of the riverboat,

propelled by parcels
of water along the bay
shaped like a comma
upside down. Justine looks up
at the sky & knows you
can’t look into the ground
in the same way. This proves
death is forever.

Justine will write her epitaph
in the aforementioned
sand, protestations of the quick
given to the sea.

Justine will wait until the lost
ocean things walk
back up upon shore. She knows
each thing will happen, if given
enough time:

A spider will inch backwards
up the wall, the sun
will turn to milk, the
shadows will burn onto the water
with the smell of wood;
in enough time, each
thing is possible, even