Jun 17, 2013
Hearing Malcolm Brickhouse talk about their imaginary tour list and where they hope to one day play, while they’re playing in their basement makes my heart bend. Watching this youtube clip of three 12 year old black boys tearing it up with metal on the streets of NYC makes my heart beam.
Jun 15, 2013
I don’t write about me on my birthday no more. Or at least I didn’t this time around and I can’t really remember writing much other than a small passing observation last year or the year before. It used to consume me, the becoming a year older. Consume is perhaps too strong a word but oh how concerned I and my writing were with this, circling around age and growing older and the slow disappearance of my youth, slipping away from me. There is not much need for dealing with those things very heavily these days. It all goes and most of it is irrelevant when it stands in the room with only itself. Only when it stands next to the other parts of one’s life do they gain relativity. Much like Einstein’s famed theory. The speed of our movement is only shown when held up to the movement of other objects. This can be both a bad and good thing depending on the objects we run beside, against, or past. Last night when the two pit bulls came out of the dark bushes and into the arcing streetlight to chase me as I biked up the hill and through the church parking lot, Lord the speed of my movement was shown. And yet it didn’t feel fast enough. It only felt that at any moment their biting of the air would find my leg or that my bike would stumble and down I’d fall to their snapping mouths. I wonder if I could have kept it up if they had kept chase past 12th street, and if they had kept chase, who would have been the first to tire out, and what would have been the fate in that situation.
The stars stand so still. Sometimes I swear the blinking light of an airplane is so still it must be a star, it must be. Even the statues have eyes that follow us. At least the good ones do. I am trying to match my movement to only the still shadows, to the wind careening through the canyons of the city and their freshly paved streets.
I do not wish to match my beating heart to the harsh thumping of spite or to the movements others make. Let their journeys be their journeys. I do not wish to match movement with the arbitrary stone throwing at any window bright enough to take aim towards. Nor to anything that resembles a punch meaninglessly thrown. So many things that I have worried about protecting needed no protection from me. Their path through the darkness would be found irrelevant of me. I want my actions to purposeful yet needless. I want my movements want to slice through a melting ice cream. My movements want to tiger in an emptied jungle. My movements want to hunger, separate of consumption. My hands open palm until the need to follow the fist through to the jawbone drives the curling of them. Let that which is to come precede that which is. I think that this might be what it means for time travel to be based on the speed of light. I’m not smart enough to always put these thoughts into matter of fact science and thus all this poetry being pulled out of the water in me. May the imminent stepping into the dark river that awaits us all, be the footstep that leads the now, the hand held on to mine leading me through all this in me that can be. Everyday I hear my heart calling to me from the other side of the wall, not always calling for me to join it but for me to lead it back to where I still am.
Jun 12, 2013
The beautiful and Austin-based literary journal Foxing Quarterly is having three contests for their fall issue, for comics, fiction, and poetry, of which I’ve been invited to judge the poetry competition. The winners will receive publication in the magazine, 25 copies of the issue, and 200 smackers! Super excited and honored that they invited me to do such, and also to be included with Annie Koyama and Ken Baumann as judges. AND to have the flier for all this (pictured above) done by the super bad ass Joseph Lambert (check out his I Will Bite You for the awesomeness). Hot dog!
If you’re not familiar with FQ, visit their site and check out the incredible work they’ve done with just two issues so far. You can order copies from them or if you’re in Austin, feel free to stop by the Write Bloody store on Cesar Chavez and pick up a copy in person.
Jun 8, 2013
I love bicycles. I love that I have a local bike shop. Windmillbicycles. I love how cool Aaron & Sarah are and that they screen movies there on Sunday nights. I also love that they do repairs, that the bikes are not fixed gears, and that enough guys ask if Kari has a boyfriend to warrant including it in the above post. But mostly I love the bicycle they sold me. It’s green with white handlebars and when I ride it it feels like the wind lives inside me.
Jun 7, 2013
We hold many worlds inside our hands. When those worlds end up connecting, what strange and wondrous feeling can move through us, even more so when those worlds connect themselves separate from anything we have done to do such. Such a good feeling when this large world is made smaller.
I do not know when I first visited Said The Gramophone, but they have been one of the regular constants in the world of the interweb. The site’s format is to post a song along with usually a paragraph or few of writing (or in the case of when Michael Jackson died several beautiful pages). The writing may be tiny reviews of the songs, or they may be slices of memories connected to the music or stories inspired by the tracks or tales intended to be read with the songs as soundtrack accompaniment. Over the last 7 years they have introduced me to so many incredible songs and artists, and provided daily/weekly nuggets of literary beauty and inspiration.
What’s wonderful is that the musical selections are not driven by musical connotation but by only the music itself, and what that music inspires inside the writers. Whatever shape the writing takes, the songs are always varied, running the gamut from Dirty Projectors to R. Kelly to Empire X to Rokia Traore to Taylor Swift to Tune-Yards to Cadence Weapon to Nico to Morricone to etc. And whatever the songs may be, the writing is just as varied but always unique and poetic, giving their visitors a different kind of experience than the usual website of musical journalism.
A number of months back, Bahhaj Taherzadeh better known under his musical moniker We/Or/Me asked if I was interested in recording a poem over a piece of music he had, for his upcoming album. I had met Bahhaj the year prior when he came down to Austin Texas to visit a close friend of both of ours and we decided to do a local show. I was super excited to do something collaborative with him, so I listened to the beautiful piece of music he had sent and recorded a few pieces I felt inspired to share and sent them his way to see what he thought.
The piece he chose was a poem called “From The Top of This Thing” from my book The Feather Room. Every spring my friends and I spend a long weekend at the Oregon coast. Our first few beach trips were spent at this one part of the coast that had a huge hill of sand we would climb. Next to the sand mountain were tide pools and a giant crest of rock that rose and dipped, parts of which we would all climb upon as well. The first time my now-wife/then-girlfriend joined us up there, I was inspired to write this little story of climbing upon these rocky surfaces and what the love we had found meant for our future together.
The album that showcases the aforementioned poem, The Walking Hour, came out May 28th. It’s available here on bandcamp, also features folk legend Vashti Bunyan, and was mixed and mastered by Brian Deck, producer of one my favorite albums of all fucking time, Modest Mouse’s The Moon & Antarctica. That same day Sean Michaels of Said The Gramophone mentioned it on twitter saying it featured “lovely work” by me. I was honestly floored that a website I have loved and enjoyed for years would mention me. And then today they posted the track in question and wrote more on it. A large smile spread across my face and chest when I learned this. It is a good good feeling when this vast world is made smaller, and even more joyous to have people who’s work one respects reveal a respect they have for yours.
One of the funny things is, is that when our mutual friend Misha said that Bahhaj was first coming to ATX she asked if I was familiar with his music. I didn’t think that I was but something seemed familiar and yes, there in my iTunes were a few of his songs. Songs which I had been introduced to by Said The Gramophone.
Jun 5, 2013
Jun 5, 2013
Jun 1, 2013
May 30, 2013
My performance from TEDx Atlanta is up! It includes these poems:
Closer, Here Am I, For those who can ride an airplane for the first time…, Galumpf Deez Nuts Galumpf Deez Spines Shoulders & Collarbones of Mine, and Shake the Dust. All of the above, except for Galumpf…, can be found in my new book Songs From Under The River.
May 29, 2013
New Lonely Island track “Go Kindergarten” featuring Robyn. The usual tasty wittiness from these fellas. The 31 second mark would have probably made me choke on my coffee if I had been taking a sip at that moment. The video however takes it to a different level of awesome, using the song, the visuals, and the hashtag script/commentary to become something almost poetic in the intelligence of its comedy
May 19, 2013
May 18, 2013
Purgatory by Jared Lyons
May 16, 2013
In case you forgot the awesomeness that is Wolf Parade and the doubly awesomeness that is their first album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, here is the above. Goddamn I love this song. It makes my heart a fist bomb of sunshine. At 2:05, when Spencer Krug starts singing “And I could take another hit for you” that thumping fist of sunshine starts thumping harder and when he gets to “look at the trees, look at my face, look at a place far away from here” that bomb in my chest explodes with the crashing of their guitars, I feel all light and wind and belief in whatever beauty is screaming on the other side of the hills.
May 14, 2013
Listening to this man sing makes me feel like the downward spiral I find the world right now to be inside of will be pulled out of. Like we’ll finally have not only the collective realization that all the bullshit is so infinitesimal but also surmountable and we’ll do just that. Like I walked into a church that, finally, was the one everyone us found ourselves sitting inside of.
May 10, 2013
The videos portion of the Write Bloody Publishing submissions are up (or at least a good number of them). Check out the videos of this year’s batch of finalists here on Youtube. As the Youtube search may not reveal all of them, be sure to check out the full list of folks here.
And check out the sampling of the upcoming fall titles by clicking the pic below.
Photo of Write Bloody books from Kayla