A 38th

Jun. 27th, 2015 06:54 pm
rinue: (Yes Thanks)
It seems like at least one in every ten lifestyle pieces I read is about New York City - rent in NYC, relationships in NYC, dogs in NYC, gardening in NYC - and today I had the charitable thought "hey, NYC is really populous. Maybe it's not weird that it's still the place every single writer is expected to write about, even though it's really too pricey a place for writers and you can hang out with publishers on the internet." So I did a search, and it looks like NYC's population is 8.4 million. So many people!

But the U.S. population is 318.9 million, so still no.

On the subject of writing, two poems by me are up at Punchnel's, "Counter Rant" and "People Yelling In German."
rinue: (Fox)
vulpus fox, wool-wound (need a rhyme clue here, like round, hound, bound. why isn't wound like hurt spelled wooned like mooned, a woon is an administrative officer in Burma, and Burma is no longer. Burma is Myanmar. Is this why? I wound the wool around my wound. I mind the wind of my line stays pinned in the wind. It is difficult sometimes, being poetic.)
rinue: (Yes Thanks)
Inscrawl 6: The Journey is live. If you remember my "best spec poems of 2012" list, you know inkscrawl was well represented. I love this magazine to death.

This issue includes a poem of mine, "The End of Tim," which some of you may remember me playing around with an early version of about a year ago. Back then, I was fiddling with making it a very short story, an ultra-flash, but I eventually realized that it worked better as a poem - the rhythms became clearer. This is my first publication in inkscrawl and by coincidence this issue also includes poems by both the other Strange Horizons poetry editors, as well as a number of our regular authors.

Anyway, read it. Read everything. It's free to read and the poems are very short, so you have no excuse.
rinue: (Default)
My poem "Remainders" is in the fourth volume of Dark Mountain, which is now out. I have not held a copy in my hands yet, but if past issues are to go by it is likely to be very handsomely printed. I mentioned a bit ago that it's going to look like I've suddenly been very productive as a writer, but this is an illusion created by staggered publication delays. In this case, the poem is almost exactly 6 years old. (I procrastinate, you know?) It's the poem that includes the lines "Ciro has asked for my right index finger / to keep in a reliquary like old saints' bones".

The Dark Mountain project and I are somewhat strange bedfellows, in that our philosophies are intersecting but askew. The areas where we agree could be summarized: Technology has profoundly reshaped the environment around us, in ways that place us in some danger. We should be aware of these dangers and remember that the technology is superimposed on top of the biological environment, which will sometimes resist technology or be destroyed inadvertently by technology. These interactions are complex and difficult to predict. It can all feel ominous. Best for everyone if at least some of us make a point of observing what is instead of what is advertised to us, so we can respond to the reality of the present instead of past predictions of the future.

However, this is where we split, because at this point (assuming I understand their manifesto), they get a bit "the present is dystopian, and we should look to pre-technological solutions." Whereas I feel the present which is neither dystopian or utopian, but real, and I see neither technology nor rejection of technology as inherently util or inherently dangerous. More often, I see that technology amplifies human nature - both the good and bad sides. And I see that the ability to reject technology is something of a luxury of the wealthy, akin to buying one's own island, and that technology is a significant avenue of feminist progress.

But then we align again in thinking that for practical reasons, it's good to have a group of people devoted to remembering older technologies. In their case, it may come from a belief in an imminent technological collapse (and there are periodic small technological collapses, such as power outages), and in my case from the similar but not identical recognition that you don't always want to bring in a hydraulic lift, and sometimes can't, and in these cases it's nice to remember that winches can be set up.

And on down the line: I like to know how meat gets to the supermarket in an industrialized system not so much because of Fast Food Nation, but because of Richard Scarry books and the general sense that everyone should disassemble a clock at least once. After all, how are you going to invent things without knowing about the things we currently use, and how it is we decided on those things? What other decisions have we made based on them? Where does the money go? Essentially, even if one isn't a historian or scientist, one must know enough history and science to recognize marketing, and the times when we are being sold something impossible, or more often something we already have at a different price. Infrastructure is a good place to start.

So: Strange bedfellows, but at least on the same floor of the apartment building, and friendly about loaning cups of sugar.

Not that "Remainders" touches on these things in a large sense. It is about funerary practices over a timespan of thousands of years.
rinue: (Default)
(Unlocked May 5, 2011, upon publication by New Verse News)

In 2 years we've fought pirates, fixed colleges
brought women where there should be women
brought doctors where there should be doctors
kickstarted three flailing industries
and capped a hole at the bottom of the sea.

It would take at least five issues of Superman to get so much done
and he had but one Lex Luthor
(I wish Donald Trump would shave his hair)

Our Good president, our shining-man hero president,
he says we've done this together
but I don't pay much in taxes
I mostly play solitaire on my computer
and drive politely in traffic, which is good
but not Good - not Nobel peace prize.
Not save the Libyans.

No, I think it's him more than me, or we,
or socio-economic tides, which are pointing the other direction.
Maybe he wasn't born in Hawaii like he says
but on a planet with a dying sun, many miles away.
rinue: (Default)
I spend a lot of time watching both CSPAN and Bloomberg because, you know, captioner. I probably spend more time thinking about market regulation than any non-politician non-journalist, and I'm in a good position to understand what I hear -- Econ degree, dad who was VP of Fidelity Investments*, grandad who put little me to bed by reading sections of the Wall Street Journal and explaining how to pick investments and who the good traders were. It's in my blood, pretty much.

What's struck me the most is how completely out of touch the rich investment bank guys are. It is like watching Louis XVI give a press conference. In their position, I would have a distorted sense of reality too; I think it is hard to be rewarded so ludicrously and not believe you are somehow untouchable, that reg reform will not happen and that everyone will "come to their senses," and that mere elected politicians simply can't understand what you do that is ever so complicated and necessary and deservedly lucrative. However, I would like to think I would also be socially aware enough to realize that looking down my nose and expressing that in haughty tones was not perhaps the best way to preserve my status and/or win hearts and minds. I like to think that I would realize calling Barney Frank stupid would motivate him to rip out my heart, grill it, and feed it to the homeless of Central Park. Who aren't even in his district.

I wrote this poem about it, which tries to represent what is going on at a specific bank rather than my contention that quite a lot of people need to be punched when they act like this.

Lloyd Blankfein's Testimony

They are the market makers
who sell what you buy and buy what you sell
indifferent as a weather system.

They are smart money, well trained
with models and degrees and degrees of modeling.
They work with investment banks,

with other investment banks, with companies
and countries. Not you.
Someone else holds your credit card.

Someone else runs the bank on the corner.
Retail, you're called, They don't take your money.
You'd know if you knew them

which you don't. They have been



except for the bonus.

They never reached out. When the rain hit you
you looked at the clouds.
But clouds are just fog and these are just smart men

who could be more personal. That was their failure
not taking you out. Not buying you coffee.
We should have talked sooner.

The problem is not derivatives. The problem is not
day trading. The problem is not gloating, not greed
not computers or liquidity

or mortages. There is no problem you'd understand
just people. Smart people who did well because.
And were not hurt because.

Would I lie to you
and can you graph a poker face?

In any case, cucumbers were on crazy sale at the supermarket, so I made pickles by slicing them very thinly and then sticking them in a jar filled out with half white vinegar and half water, along with somewhere betweeen a teaspoon and tablespoon each of sugar and salt (iodized regular salt), a couple cut up garlic cloves, a short sprig of rosemary, some dill seeds, and maybe a half teaspoon of red pepper like you put on pizzas. The jar has been in the refrigerator for a few days, and its contents are tasting pretty good.

* Who kept their noses pretty clean in all this, which is gratifying but also predictable if you look at the way the company is structured and the sort of people who work there.


May. 4th, 2010 08:43 pm
rinue: (Default)
I have heard my dress snap like a flag in the wind off the lake.

I have stood on crunching purple ground to eat a hundred stolen mulberries.

I have seen a deer head dragged from the carcass, skin moldy and loose.

I have filled the kitchen with smoke, with scent, with spitting fat.

I have nodded embarrassed to awkward policemen on midday streets, all wishing we'd gone through the running red light.
rinue: (Default)
Another poem by me, up at Jerseyworks, a magazine that is not well known but that I think is fairly sly about connecting things to other things. I don't think any of you have already read this one, because it's long enough I didn't tend to send it around, and because I felt good enough about it that I figured it was going somewhere. It's damn funny.

Dallas 2009

It was the winter our guy took the White House
when food was expensive and nobody had a job
It was goddamn beautiful
The ex-prez moved to our town
and his tail was not between his legs
even though we thought he was a war criminal.
We worried about running into him at the supermarket
and took comfort in the idea that he had people to go to the supermarket.

A couple of us decided to form a band
Shyly. We had been hurt by bands before
with lots of album names and no songs to speak of.
We pretended it was not a band. We didn't rehearse -
We dropped by. Acted casual.
I played klezmer oboe
I played slide snare drum
I played stride violin
I was so excited I was drinking two cups of coffee at once.

Our first gig sold out fast, because I only printed ten tickets
and the sign out front read "karaoke."

At this point . . . there's this guy, he's a heckler, there's an exchange of words
He calls me out.
He says he's got something to say to me.

Generally, I am opposed to handing microphones to drunk non-professionals
But he took the mic, leaned in, and said:

I will love you unconditionally.
I will love you if you yell at me.
I will love you if you lose all your money, your limbs, and your mind.
I will live as long as I can, and if I can cheat death to stay by your side forever
I will.

We signed a record deal.
My fella took me out to celebrate. We're playing a game these days
where we have conversations backward.
We are playing with narrative structure.
We call it Double Jeopardy.
It's rough because backward conversations sound forward
and like you're boring.
"I am going to order the ham and cheese sandwich."
"I bet you will order a ham and cheese sandwich."
"I can't decide."

I asked the waitress to take a postcard to the next booth over
but she said that was a contravention of federal mail law
and I said I was covert secret service and she'd passed.
I said we had a mission and we needed seven pounds of forks
and would she see what she could do.
She said "spoons?" I said "not hardly."
It turned out the point was moot, as there was no flatware to be had
forks or otherwise
which was a problem
because now that I had the band, I was practically obligated
to do something great.

Well, it turned out the ex-president had gotten together with our local university
to open up something called the Freedom Institute.
I thought that was a magnanimous thing to do
only the school was full of business majors
square, but clearly trying to improve things.
I admired it.
I wanted to help a little.
Maybe show we had no hard feelings.
Nudge things in the right direction.
For love of country.
I decided to liberate the Freedom Institute.

The next day, I got the band together and we all put on uniforms
that looked less than uniform
and set up in front of the institute
I'd made up a banner that looked like Ayn Rand
just to make everyone comfortable
and I'd written "Plutarch" underneath
to provoke discussion.
We played some march music
although it was April
and before too long, out came a man in a suit. He said:
"I think your rhythm's off"
I said "no, it's unregulated.
The market has spoken.
The market wants 9/4."
He went back inside.
He came out.
He said "9/4?"
The band said "we'll fund it."
Can't argue with that.

Pretty soon, we had a crowd
Then the crowd became a parade.
We went right up the freeway, out out of the city
out of the suburbs, to a friend's llama farm.
And I released the freedom institute into the wild.
They weren't happy about it at first
but I pointed out they could get an agricultural exemption on their taxes
and they cheered right up.

At this point . . . We're driving back into town, and we're maybe speeding a little - maybe going five miles above the limit, which is nothing, only we've got some words painted on the side of our car which are maybe a little inflammatory, and we're changing lanes joyfully, in a dancing sort of way. This cop pulls us over.

He said "do you know that you were speeding?"
I said "do you know that we were speeding?"
He said "I have a machine that tells me so. You want to argue with a machine?"
I said "Not particularly, but thank you."
He got kind of red about it, and I felt bad because I was just trying to make conversation.
He said "are you a bunch of radicals?"
and I said "No, sir. We're the mainstream."

He leaned in and said:

I will love you unconditionally.
I will love you if you yell at me.
I will love you if you lose all your money, your limbs, and your mind.
I will live as long as I can, and if I can cheat death to stay by your side forever
I will.


May. 16th, 2008 04:42 pm
rinue: (Default)
[unlocked in 2012, well after publication in Strange Horizons.]

After two days of being generally cranky and overworked, I have finally had time to drink a cup of juice and take a nap. Sleep and vitamin C -> big thumbs up.

I'm hungry all the time these days, even though I'm eating more. I wonder I am actually thinking so hard and so continually that my brain is clocking through calories. This strikes me as highly silly. But possible.

I wrote this poem about a week ago for my friends Summer and Austin:

Summer and Austin Have Left Their Apartment For a House

I meant to write a poem for your wedding
about superfluids. About quantized groupings
whose singular momentum pushes up and over containers -
about transmission of heat, creation of vortices,
the creation of h/m proportions of vortices
where h is plank's constant -
a spun bucket that holds a dozen whirlpools.

I meant to write that you were aligned together
in the same quantum state,
and could not be contained. I meant to write
a poem of matter, of transition points -
of energy that transforms liquid to gas -
of boiling water at a steady temperature
as molecules leap into vapor.

They don't use the term latent heat anymore.
I can't use it to say you've changed states.
It was a long time building, only seeming
the same, like boiling water, as you transformed
into something that rises.
rinue: (Default)
I'm on a plane
reading a novel
about a plane crash.

The buttons are rotting off my coat.
rinue: (Default)
[I made this up as a bit of nonsense to amuse myself with while I microwaved something. It's nothing serious. I could probably make it good later, but I don't have time right now.]

We're full of holes.
I know because after I eat,
I'm not any taller.
I checked with a physicist friend.
She says atoms are empty - the secret's out!
and air is full of invisible waves.
It's getting crowded out there.
So honey, won't you come over
and live in me a while?

It occurs to me that the first line could also be a good start to a Tom Waits song:

I may look solid, but I'm full of holes.
I may look solid, but I'm broken bones.
I may look solid, but I'm looking for a place to die.

If somebody wants to run with that, be my guest.

Also, I want to put in a plug for Government is Good, a website which is trying to help counteract all the radical libertarian "small government" insanity that's been hijacking valuable social programs. I don't know about you, but I went to public schools, take public transportation, send a lot of stuff through the mail, and use the internet all the time. I like knowing that the drugs I buy have been rigorously tested, the restaurants I eat at have been inspected, and the electrical wiring in my house isn't going to blow up. My school loans are guaranteed by the government. I support the EPA. I'd like socialized health care. I don't need any tax cuts. When I'm mad at the government, it's usually because it isn't bigger - I hate being delayed by bureaucracies that are too small and underfunded to be able to deal with their caseloads. I hate that my Representative has to look after too many people to care about my personal concern (or vote). I hate that since Congress doesn't have the funds to commission the studies they need to, they wind up relying on absurdly biased PACs and consulting groups.

I may not like this government, but I like government. The crazies might say that any law lessens freedom, but that's crap - laws are the only things that make sure I'm free from being oppressed by robber barons. Government rules, y'all. Let's represent and raise awareness.
rinue: (Default)
Way back in February, Oronte Churm, whose blog I follow (and doesn't it seem like all the best people are moving on from McSwenney's now?), posted a series of entries about Hemmingway. I happen to be exceedingly fond of Hemmingway (as a writer. Less so as a man.) In this entry, Churm talked about Hemmingway's Paris 1922 Sentences (which were in turn inspired by an exercize of Ezra Pound's) and challenged his readers to submit their own diciplined sentences. I didn't like anything that was submitted, including Churm's, but I wound up writing these. They're not great, but they capture that time well - I found them while going through an old notebook.

1. I have woken to women's voices in the kitchen, monday singing ghosts.

2. I have been asked through a closed bedroom door whether I battered Ciro, who lay naked and asleep beside me at four in the morning while police searched the origin of an anonymous phone call.

3. I have heard the roof pop as deck planks tense from the cold, resonant mariachi heel beats.

4. I have listened to Ciro dressing for work, sliding fabric and the jingle of a belt; he leaves thinking I am still asleep.
rinue: (Default)
Yesterday was Frank O'Hara's birthday, or, well, the day he believed was his birthday; his actual birthday was the 27th of March, but his parents lied about it his whole life to hide that he was conceived before they got married. Anyway, he's my favorite poet (although I am also fond of Anna Swir), and it is a good thing that he was extremely prolific from a very young age, because he was hit by a car when he was 40. It is likely this feeds into my baseless and continual superstition that my youthful promise will soon be cut short by the intercession of A Vehicle.

Frank O'Hara called his poems "I do this, I do that" poems, because he pretty much wrote them while at his job working the front desk at the MoMA; they're basically diary entries. For a little while, I've been thinking about doing a month's worth of daily "I do this, I do that" poems, even though most of them would likely be no good, mainly because I think it's perfectly disgraceful that I call myself a poet but have only written maybe twelve poems in the last ten years. Admittedly, this is because I tend to mull over every single word for months at a time, and because I am not counting songs I've written (which I also don't have many of). Hence the beauty of "I do this, I do that." I am thinking I will attempt this project in August, if anyone wants to join me.

I did write an "I do this, I do that" poem last night, partly because I was thinking about Frank O'Hara, and partly because Ciro has started going to a Boston open mic, and I miss that kind of thing. And partly because I heard some really juvenile poetry a few days back, which always has a combined effect of making me horrified as I assume that my poetry sounds that bad to everyone else and making me uppity as I think I could do so much better.

Anyway, the title (which I stole from Ciro) is "Late Nights Driving Around the Same City Block."

My reliable clothes
My old standbys
Are holing.

In the shoulder
in the armpit
in the crotch
in all the bent places
never on a seam.

Too many years
of itinerant paychecks
and hoarding.

I wouldn't know now
what to buy if I
had the money
which I don't
or the time.

I just want a closet
with shirts and some
trousers, or a backpack
And a dress
And the right professional hair.
rinue: (Default)
Trees die
Stones erode
I change my mind each minute

I will love you as long as the universe.

Orbits decay
Stars nova

I will love you as long as is.

Let's Go!

Mar. 20th, 2007 06:59 pm
rinue: (Default)
Let's go!
Let's go to the library and get food!
Let's get a food library!
Let's read a sandwich!
Let's food food food food food!
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