Archive for December, 2012

Don’t Fucking Jimmy Me, Jules!


30 Dec

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Rest in peace, little homey, Capital STEEZ. Sad that you decided to go before Brooklyn could fully recognize how talented one of its children was. Wherever you’re at, be easy like a Ghostface track.

Check out his brilliant mixtape AmeriKKKan Korruption here…

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Twenty Lines of Snow

 

Winter is a good season

for us

funny depressives

who’ve fallen

for

charming sociopaths

who’ve lost some weight

since the last time

we’ve seen them

frightened

with a sense of humor

they seem pleased

when we don’t drink

unconcerned

with the necessity

that we have

to stop the morning

cold,

            cold,

                        cold

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Who Killed Providentia?


26 Dec

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Who Killed Providentia?

 

            He’s been here so many times before.

            A long time ago, after doing some research, Lucy pushed her legs defiantly into her chest, as she tended to, and told him that Eleanor Roosevelt once had the stoic opportunity to quip that “no one can make you inferior without your consent”. He told her that he had to tenderly agree.

            Ah, sweet inferiority!

            He felt as though he’s submitted to being lovelorn and ubiquitously sad (no collegiate adjectives necessary but they come up frothing when he tried to get his brain to slow and it didn’t comply. It was as though as he was endlessly hunting snipes.) all the time, maybe from time to time, but now surely.

            He hated when Microsoft Word made indentation decisions on its own. Like: “I know you want to start your next line a quarter-inch to the right”. Fuck that, it was easier to grab one of the TD Bank’ pens that he lifted last time he went there to count his pennies with an 8% aggregation going to the teller ensuring that his hand greedy in the pen jar was just a fair bit of quid pro quo.

 

 

            You have to understand that when you don’t return my calls, I either think that I fucked up again or you’re in some sort of trouble that’s preventing you from calling me when you said you would. It never dawns on me that you’re just casually ambivalent about your obligation to get in touch with me, looking at the missed calls on your phone with an air of apathy, dismissing that you promised to see me and already made plans to do so. You have to understand that for more than a third of my life I was shooting dope, living in a sort of insulated society where if your friend or lover didn’t call, it meant that they either got jammed up by the cops and are now waiting to get processed, or they OD’d, or they got fucked up by a dealer or a competitor walking away from a spot and are now unconscious in a hospital. We’d keep calling and then we’d check with the ERs and then look through the next day’s death notices in the paper. And I understand that when I was there, nodding off in the safety of like-minded downtrodden cognates spread out wherever we could get high and numbed, comfortable in our stubborn anomie, pushed down – you were living in cold aristocracy, with black nannies and fancy dinner parties where everyone ate little and drank more and watched as the high-priced art dried dead and unappreciated on the wall and you learned that that shit was akin to life or at least living it. It isn’t. I think. But even if it is, it doesn’t seem to be worthwhile, so why continue to balance that checkbook? If you can’t appreciate and reciprocate my love right now, then at least fake it until you learn it – I know that you’re a natural born thespian…

 

 

            James was trying to write a handwritten letter to Lucy (lost art and all; archaic and pretentious just as the man holding the pen): it was all a melancholic, melodramatic transmogrification. He was shapeshifting from a cool, stalwart literary antihero (oh the archetypal coating that he’s woven for himself!) – contemptuous of the world, unwavered by the hurt that the scumbags in it might facilitate unto him (something like a young Jerry Salinger without D-Day or a New Hampshire basement to work in or a Joyce Maynard to resent) – he was changing into the vulnerable artist now; full of anxiety, pained by some love assumed cruel.

            He didn’t know how to finish it – how to give it that sting, how to sound both compassionate and vitriolic at the same time. He had to pretend that he was angry because he was, or at least he should have been – it wasn’t as though he wasn’t expecting it, but he did care, and it hurt him just as much to be in front of language again.

 

           

            …We were supposed to go to the cinema on Christmas day, like the other Jewish families, stuffed up and floating by way of cheap Chinese food – that snowy movie that made you laugh was playing at Cinema Village over on 12th and I had already bought us tickets and hoarded some laundry money for the popcorn…

 

           

            Where could he go from here? A drink, maybe? But he had given up drinking and the bottle of scotch on the work table, half empty, was a reminder. Besides, drinking on a bitter heart only drowns out the conscious, but exacerbates the unconscious turmoil. He didn’t want to go darker, and it was unseasonably light outside. He knew he’d have to revise the letter later, but for now he had to find the next direction. 

 

           

            You are the reason that I don’t trust women anymore: either I worry that they’re trying to manipulate me or I think that they’re not smart enough to be capable of manipulating me.

            So, let’s pretend for a moment that you were a rational individual capable of empathy and I wasn’t such a hardheaded prick – would you then recommend that I continue pursuing you?

 

 

            Man, that’s fucked up. James scribbles the words out, but can still see the outline of “manipulate” on the page.

            Fuck it, he thinks, he might as well have a drink. After all, we wouldn’t want the twelve year old to go bad.       

            And after a glass it feels a little better. Not much. But it was only one. The trick is not to overindulge. He’s learned this fact after many qualifying attempts to define what overindulgence really meant. But when he woke up one morning with bruises on his body he was scared, mostly because he woke up in his own bed. He was alone and couldn’t figure out who he could blame for the assault, so he blamed himself and stopped drinking. Until tonight. But tonight there was a reason for it and he had to finish this letter.

 

           

            This is such a fucking comedy. And a lot of times it’s truly funny, but it’s just taking too long. It doesn’t go along the regular story structure. We’ve been ending this beginning for way too long. It’s like that fucking thing Churchill said.

 

           

            He though that maybe this mordant approach to letter writing was a better way to go. He had another glass. The brown tasted red and James thought: we are all animals desperately trying to be human beings or at least trying to realize what that entails. It was a banal thought, he probably stole it from someone sometime, a better writer, he didn’t remember, and it wasn’t worth writing down. I’m sure there’s something in the canonical proverbs about such things and something a couple of pages later that contradicts it. Gods always like telling both sides of the story, or conditioning you to believe that those two sides exist.

            It was supposed to be a celebration of Christ’s birth, even though the Catholics and the Orthodox Christians never agreed on the correct date, and recently they even found some evidence somewhere in sandy Egypt that if big J was born at all, that he was probably born two years earlier than we think because we haven’t counted the days on the Hebrew calendar correctly.

            James always liked the Jesus story, but he liked the musical better. Neither would have helped tonight. He sat back in his chair and though awhile. Something that seemed like an important memory came up. He took a sip and kept writing his unfinished correspondence.

 

           

            And last time I saw you, you were reading Murakami and listening to the second scene of La Vendetta from Verdi’s I Lomardi all prima crociata. What were you thinking?! But then again, at least it wasn’t some of Vonnegut’s early fiction over Berlioz or something.

            Goddamn, I’m so tired of these highfaluting jokes that no one understands. I just wanted to spend some time with you. Wanted to make sure you were alright. Wanted to be a little more inspired for the day than I’ve been this month. It’s chilly outside, but wasting a day away with you is so much easier than working on all the little unpublishable pieces that ooze out of me like that white pus that festers from the scab when you wash it with peroxide.

            And I reread that story recently, by the way – the one you told me to reread if I had trouble sleeping. The sixth story. “For Esmé – With Love and Squalor”. And I slept that night. I didn’t have to be clever all night that night at all, like a noose around my cock… and I slept. And you made me sleep. It was you. And I haven’t slept so well in such a long time.

            What’s wrong, Lucy? Where did you go. Where did you hide in. And in such bad form. As though you were crowned a queen and walked to the nunnery barefoot the same night. No honeymoon, baby – not for us.

            Speaking of which, do you know why they call it a honeymoon? It was because people tended to think getting married in June towards the end of the Vernal Equinox was a romantic thing to do because for about a week during that month, the moon turned a honeyed, mead color. Must have been beautiful when it was.  

            If we saw it, I’d take it down and give it to you as an amulet to wear throughout the rest of our purulent enmity, battlelines drawn and then forgiven and then bored with, by the lines and the meaning of those lines and then we’d be back together in bed again and I wouldn’t be so cold and you would be pleased and you’d smile like a child again and there would be uninhibited, unselfconscious innocence in my active dream again. Repeating.

 

            James reread what he’d just written and could barely understand his own handwriting anymore. He’d been on the fourth glass and hadn’t realized that he’d been pouring in between paragraphs.

            He could hear his neighbor through the wall.

            Not recognizing his own words he began to worry about his own face, wondering if it changed with the shape of his ink. He grew anxious.

            James shared his mother’s madness. And she was dead. It revealed itself to her at an earlier age and right now James was worried that it was finally coming on. He shook involuntarily, but then recited a couple of lines from the prajnaparamita sutra (his mother taught him this supposed perfection of wisdom in her own adjusted, broken Sanskrit, having herself learned it from Allen Ginsberg while tripping on mescaline in the East Bay in the mid-60’s).

 

“Emptiness is the form. Sensation, thought, active substance, consciousness, also like this.

“Sariputra, this everything original character; not born, not annihilated, not tainted, not pure, not increased, not decreased.

“Therefore in emptiness no form, no sensation, thought, active substance, consciousness.

“No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell taste, touch, object;

“no eye, world of eyes until we come to also no world of consciousness; no ignorance, also no ignorance.”

 

James took another drink. Exhaled. He put the glass away into the kitchen sink. Then he turned the water on and washed the glass thoroughly. He put the glass into a kitchen drawer above him. He looked at it in there for a moment, uniform, part of many. He looked down for another moment. Then he went back to the writing table.

 

 

            Remember when we went to your uncle’s cabin upstate, and it was cold, and we slept under your grandmother’s shawl, and we made love, and fell asleep. And when we woke up you had a rash all over your body from the material, and I rubbed aloe all over you, and somehow convinced you not to scratch by kissing your face or lightly biting your nose every time you tried.

            I remember that. I always fucking remember everything. But that’s my fault. I’m tired of blaming you.

            I love you, Lucy. Call me when you decide that it’s return.

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Fuck Christmas


24 Dec

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If you know me well, then you know that I hate the holiday season. It’s cold, there are tourists everywhere and the right wing takes this time to remind us about the fervent war on Christmas. It’s more of a headache that I care to have. I fucks with eggnog, though.

But, to you and yours I wish you a happy holiday season. Hopefully you have as much as I do to be thankful for: a fifteen year old bottle of single malt scotch (William Grant & Sons need to make me their “celebrity” spokesman for Glenfiddich), a reunion with someone that I missed terribly for a terrifically long time and this video of DMX singing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”.

May your much-needed vacation time be spent in safety and love, and may you all get some rest, get some flavor and maybe even some temporary meaning underneath the mistletoe. Chill out, the next year is going to be better!

 

Love,

Jack

 

P.S. More work coming soon. Also, I will be updating the Official Material section coming into the new year.

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Just a Shit, a Shower and a Shave away from being an Upstanding Citizen


19 Dec

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Almost as Fucked Up as Willem Dafoe’s Face After the Cripple Fight in Born on the Fourth of July or a Postcard from Jail

 

Ain’t it a bitch

when all I want

is

a clean, gray place

where I can smoke

where there’s no rent to pay

where I can look

at merciless long legs

that still get my dick

hard

and I want to drink there

drink them

and then I want to die there

whether between those legs

with my head

bowed

upon the warmth of a cunt

or in my own sick

dead

without a hand on my wallet

without a television broadcasting a war

without any insincerity left

free

like a blowjob that didn’t make you pay for dinner

in that place

where no one asks

“what will you give me if I do?”

 

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No Time Restrained (The Unuseables)


16 Dec

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To be honest, I was in a horrible, mean mood all weekend. I missed someone’s company and she treated it casually (“we don’t deserve much, but we deserve each other”). Then I went to see an Icelandic troupe’s circus-like presentation of Faust with Tristan and then came back with him to the Rockaways to get some work done. After eating a toasted ham sandwich, my mood finally lightened and evened out a bit, so I started thinking like: if I get shot like Stack out here – at least it won’t be on the first floor. Capable of finding contentment even under the carpet of the mind.

 

Since I’m supposed to cease drinking and getting stoned after this Thursday’s poker night in order to finish the novel that I begun nearly five years ago, I looked over at some recent work that flickered across my computer screen, and I noticed that a lot of intended beginnings work by themselves but stubbornly won’t fit anywhere else. So, with no further ado, here are the Unuseables…

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The Unuseables

 

            In this country you have to purchase your freedom, while in other countries – you’re free as long as you survive. That’s always been my problem: I know how to survive, but I’m clueless as to how to live.

            This is a eulogy for the artist as a young man.

            It used to be that the problem was that we were no longer able to forgive genius for its varied transgressions (Dostoevsky started off as an anti-Semite, while Salinger ended off drinking his own piss); the sad truth is that we are no longer capable of even recognizing it and thus my love for you is like snow falling on Virginia, absolutely meaningless. Writing for the penny is as sad as your old overcoat or Nabokov’s droll wit and there was that time that time stood still for the pen, your pen and the pages went and went and it didn’t matter that it would come to null eventually in revisions and procrastination and forgetfulness and that second job and the asshole next door that forgets to turn off his alarm set to the schedule of an rooster stimulated by amphetamines and bad sex in the henhouse.

 

            The Suicide Diner in SoHo is open until 5 am. Fresh hashbrowns cooked with caramelized onions, free refills of coffee. Jack was having a conversation with Andrey:  

            “What the fuck do they know?! Neon Bible was better than A Confederacy of Dunces, The Virgin Suicides was better than Middlesex.”

            “Yeah, just as the book I’m going to write is better than the book I’m writing now.”

           

            If you happen to write a film where the protagonist is a writer – never, under any circumstances, use the following cliché to describe his creative process: ‘the words poured out of him…’ Words do not pour fucking out – it is a rough process, it is hard, it is marvelous and complex – it’s like loving someone who hates you and fucks you and treats you with the casualness of a homeless wretch begging for his meals. The words are a happy tomb, they are a fevered drink, but they do not pour out of anything unless it’s a knife to the belly.

 

            I am trouble. I am murder. I am revolution. I am mistake. I am the senselessness of futile attempts. I am the withering and the drug addiction of unrequited love. I am the empty bank account. I am the grammatical error pointed out by a pupil. I am the second bottle of wine. I am the new movement. I am the unrecognized brilliance. I am the full subway car in the dead of night and the bad lines in a soap opera and all of it, for nothing.

 

            This is a much shorter play than I expected.

            This was a much shorter play than the one I paid for.

            Love, apparently, only works in the introduction.         

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Too Many Recently To Ignore, But I Apologize For Mentioning It…


16 Dec

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No!

Stop, folks! I’ve met you guys before – you used to be so eloquent… the world won’t be ending on December 21st (for further inquiry please visit the ubiquitously available “calm the fuck down” N.A.S.A. sites that report that all of you are worried for nothing and trying to make a joke out of an event that should be pitied within the framework of pop-culture as though it was a prophecy that came out of Alabama). Worry about your bills, your kids, and the fact that your paranoia is misdirected. We’ll be gone soon enough, don’t fret (as a species, within the comparison between the amount of time it would take us to excuse ourselves, use a toilette to wipe the grease off our face and then walk out the door as warmly and unembarrassed as possible and the time it took us to get to this conscious state of illogicality). We’ve got “global warming” and China and Republican rhetoric to worry about. So, for now, let us mellow a bit… or at least, can we all stop mentioning this bullshit apocalyptic theory to me while I’m simply trying to have an overpriced drink at the bar and ignore the frenzied pace of small-talk around me.

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For a New Tenderness Resurrected (Impedimenta)


09 Dec

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Untitled (Regarding Yearning)

 

             A lot of Conor Oberst’s early compositions dealt with lovelorn narratives, but what made them temporarily unique and gratifying for the audience was that he sprinkled in sporadic hints of a personal nature and a sentimental intent into his lyrics: ergo, the writer blatantly expounds on what he hopes a given song would accomplish – most often, his intention was to write a song so biting and beautiful that the girl he  wrote it for would either come back to him, or long for him from whatever wayward present she found herself in, or simply return his calls.          

            Unlike Cohen, he wasn’t simply melancholically considering his past and the mistakes that gamboled at that particular dais, to that waltz he sang about all over the world (before and after getting ripped off my his longtime manager), the bass line reminiscent of heads plunking down from the guillotine into the basket made of ravaged burgundy reeds; the soft shudder, breath of brandy and death, you remember, a place to lay down soon. Conor was instead trying to mitigate the situations that caused him to write, to change their circumstance after posting bail. That’s why I cared and still care about those songs. I could so easily relate to their content, and most importantly, their intended purpose. I myself have so many apparitions floating in my head that I’ve lionized and glorified with my work, my writing. Each time I hoped to create something exquisite and alluring, but also something that might make whoever I then-currently craved return.

            To force a unilateral return is a difficult prospect. Nearly impossible if Conor and I stepped outside of our artistic idealism and realized that love barely haunts most people. They have an easier time forgetting – not the people they used to share their intimacies with (I still have some characterless ex-girlfriends who still remember my birthday and send me a sprightly text message on the day), but rather the weight and significance of those intimacies at the time. They have an easier time stowing away those emotional pieces of baggage into the storage lockers of their minds that they will never, or assume to never, again revisit. They don’t rummage through that memorabilia, nostalgic and pained, with shaking fingers, drunk and dancing, moving along the area of these objects to remind them what they meant, what they were, what about them makes you seemingly need their restoration. Then comes the plaintive song, about Laura Laurent or whomever, or a bit of poetry or prose about a neurotic girl who became Lilia in a bit of honest fiction but was ironically allergic to white lilies. The truth is, she was based on Lilith and not the flower. The first woman that was ever allowed to be created complex.

            Riding the A train to work I was still stuck thinking of all this. But, I always liked the A train and it was easy to find a distraction. It was the vein of New York City. Chugging with artificial efficiency from Inwood to the flaccid geographic prick of the Rockaways. Along your trip you can see youngsters (ages 10 – 14) selling M & M’s and Welsh’s Fruit Snacks for money for their basketball team or “an honest dollar to keep off the street”, or you can see the gypsies parading their infants and playing sad folk songs with the accompaniment of an accordion, or the middle aged Dominican women who try to get you to accept the accented Jesus into your heart by yelling for repentance for twenty minutes while the seated pedestrians try to swallow their hangovers with a passing slumber, or the new school B-Boys performing for apathetic metropolitan straphangers who might squeeze out a buck or two from car to car.

            I saw a father sitting with his young daughter and I began to think about them; forcing myself to pretend a story for them, varied and human, mostly emotion amidst a lack of action, the story rarely moves forward, but always feels transitory.

            He had to force himself to be strict with his daughter. Turn the tenderness he felt into a mild coldness, because he knew how brokenhearted he would later feel when she changed, grew, turned resentful, then resilient, then completely independent of him. When she started wearing eyeliner, lipstick and a rosy blush on her happy jowls; when she started sleeping with boys, staying out late, smoking weed in the staircase or in the same park which she used to run through, giddy, to the sandbox; she would no longer be that adorable moppet with the puffy cheeks. No, she’d still be in there, somewhere, but it would be different – she would no longer smile wide-eyed at him, clasping his chest for reassurance when they took public transportation and the world seemed so large and frightening, but glowing and new, like something coming up, like running into someone you’ve never ceased to love on a subway platform and making fate out to be the capricious culprit.

            It’s damn hard always leaving or being on the return. We struggle against the constipated contrariety of time: it always either moves slowly or in haste – and we strive to either speed up the moiling moments or completely purge ourselves from consciously existing within them; otherwise when you’re accumulating the struggleless times like a collector, when everything carries meaning and plans are being made and your lover is content and she spends a Friday night and Saturday morning with you in bed, eating soup and watching dirty comedies full of thieves and femme fatales who whip their hair back in slow motion and smoke cigarettes in dive bars and maybe there’s some black and white that surrounds the color like Mickey Rourke around a rumble fish – the way I’m living, I probably only got about thirty-five summers left – then you try to bottle these times, salvage them in your mind to treasure their imagined, hope-enshrouded significance.

            They say, or at least they told me as such, that all the great mad artists had asymmetrical ears. So I always tell her to bite the drooping cartilage of my left lobe and I tell her to leave her mark.

            And I still ache all over.

            But I’m a spiteful bastard, and I’m not going to let this life kill me; not the police, the women, the booze, the past, the embittered psychoanalysis by marriage to ideology bankrupt at inception, by fatalism, by the ineptitude to move around with fervor in a world blossoming idly, by mistakes (those fucking rags!), by commotion, by emotion, by anxiety, by the cost of living, by the lazy adjustments that come too late, by transitions, by tediousness, by tenderness, by the motion, by the insolvent acknowledgment that love is only worthwhile when it hurts a bit. It’s supposed to hurt. Sting you into waking. Into enduring animation. Otherwise how the fuck are you supposed to feel a fucking thing?! Everyone needs a little stimulation. So that from haggard you can move into being prolific and make her smile with whatever artillery you have in your ordnance. If you love her, you have nothing else to do but keep trying, and maybe one day she will materialize from the nested hallucination and write the blind side of the anopisthograph that you started from a single page with a single face.

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Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings


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