Monday, March 4, 2013
3 eBooks I read recently & loved: Brian Warfield Shotgun Torso, Michael Hessel-Mial MS Paint and Heartbreak, Paige Gresty Every September Since 2005
Is there a sense in which a writer’s vision gets more thoroughly and beautifully tested in a book of linked stories than it does in a collection of miscellaneous stories or in a novel?
Brian Warfield: Linked stories provide cheat codes to writing a longer work. You are able to walk through walls and have multiple lives. Which is not to say that it is easy, but there are certain things you can do in seven stories that you can’t in one long one. You are able with each story to start fresh. By linking them, they work together as a whole. I think linked stories have the benefits of both short stories and longer pieces. You can work on the micro and macro level simultaneously and consciously. Novels that focus too much on micro tend to be disjointed, whereas short stories that focus on macro seem unfinished.
How do linked-story collections combine the capaciousness of the novel with the density and intensity of the novel?
BW: Each story is a separate entity. It has a function and a purpose in and of itself but also in support of the collection. Because each story contains tendrils that attach themselves to the other stories, they function together as a whole. The density comes from the accretion of each story building towards one large story. Like Voltron.
To what degree do linked stories seem to be about pattern, about authorial obsession, about watching a writer work and rework his material until he or she simply has nothing more to say about it?
BW: I was interested in pattern, in telling maybe the same story in different ways, becoming obsessed with an idea, the idea of writing it and the idea being conveyed. I felt that grey paint as an object of obsession – it was the only emotion one could feel towards it. And “working and reworking” could very well explain the contradictions intentionally sewn into the narrative. (cont.)
Brian Warfield Shotgun Torso
'Shotgun Torso is a life in three parts. For the first part of the primordial ooze, that’s birth. Birth is pretty gross. New people, places, and things are necessary. Middle age is for the production of new people. For whatever reason people like making new people and peopling the Earth. Who knows why? It appears to be maddening. At last there is death. Death is the interview to end all interviews.' -- Beach Sloth
'Scrub with anti-bacterial soap, line yourself with latex, then step into that HazMat suit. You're gonna need it. Actually, forget all that. Just bring your body to this book, peel some skin, and enjoy the fester.' -- Paul Siegell
i. Shotgun Torso
I am sinking under dark liquid. Tobacco juice, oil spill, something coughed up from the lung. My feet don't touch the bottom; I'm not even sure if I have feet. Someone painted a barn the wrong color. Barns burn. I watched the fire blazing like a hole in the night. Pure darkness then the sucking out of no light, vibrant scaf- folding of flame.
I held on to the ladder. It was a vertical con- veyor belt. I wanted to find out what it would convey to me. The tunnels had open mouths which were compelled to swallow.
I was jealous of people with broken limbs, climbing out onto faulty tree branches. Mil- lions of miles into the future. Time machines need oil changes, parts and labor. A machine gives birth to poor babies. Oldest living man's last request was to fuck a newborn infant.
I plucked my eyes out, to be more homer. Sight impedes poetry. You think trees or trash blow- ing in the wind is the answer. You think, my god, naked women.
I climbed down that rung to where the water started. I watched it eat the soles of my feet. He wanted to submerge himself. The crying of animals = the crying of humans.
Decapitated clown head. Serrated smile.
I used to want a line, a string, a strand that was tied to my door leading out into the world, and I would wrap the rope around my wrist and feel it burn as it turned marking my passing. I wanted to get to the end of that rope.
Empty trees carry nothing in their arms. Barren barons. Birds forced to fly always in the sky die of exhaustion. Wings beating, beaten, sprain.
Moles on bodies develop into cancer like old photographs.
Sidewalks contain in their souls a register of every footstep ever commemorated upon them. Every heart enshrines that which breaks it.
I can see your body stuffed inside my dryer folded on itself like prayer going around thumping your bones inside your skin.
I held my breath and penetrated the wall. Her eyeball was aghast with blood.
Room packed with unborn children. I don't want to wade through their skin, the skin of not-even ghosts haunted by unlived lives still in their mothers' chambers, still in their fathers' sperm. Still.
I eat them without tasting. Feasting.
The circular room, the ambulance. Crying mis- erable ugly body potato-shaped breast. Beasts with no backs, all rib flesh. Organic on a ses- ame seed bun. All enticing tying shoelaces. I want to drive a truck full of bread. Through a window. 13th floor. The smell of yeast, dough, collagen, clawing up the nostrils. Brainward.
Feet that walk at the bottom of bodies propelling forward toward ... something. Hell, skate, diving board, french, pleasant, please. Write with your left hand, sawn off. Blood, children; beautiful children. Eat them.
Brian Warfield reads 'Shotgun Torso'
You. legato and polyform,
likened to another squall
leathery crepe skin fragile at a glance
unfoldings perfunctory thanks to logic
I am what I am afraid of
I fear my machine parts
blowing off their hinges
Moldings and cross-sections
of an ideal fit
I will be passed over by possibility of
airplanes vs. helicopters
spread-armed breasts or spiral wall
milk blossom poised to erect
as phallic mother
multiple sap oozings
An indestructible plastic necessitates male
and female parts
Form begs shattering to reach molded core,
as underlying as brick to lime honey
to blood-orange tart gelled
to weakened belly, legs, groin
to kissing the breach between wombs,
body bent between bodies,
candle wax and tactile shapes.
So much promise, we can fold
into angled limb constructions
that sound registers of desire,
but I refuse to let you fuck me
Michael Hessel-Mial MS Paint and Heartbreak
'Are Macros the new poetry? If a picture says a thousand words this is a really long collection. You may need to take your time. Michael understands the true art behind each one of these carefully chosen images. Few Macros artists are as renowned as young Michael. View these Macros with the understanding you are seeing the work of a true genius.' -- Beach Sloth
Michael Hessel-Mial Secrets Revealed
Michael Hessel-Mial video interviewed by Matthew Sherling, pt. 1
Michael Hessel-Mial video interviewed by Matthew Sherling, pt. 2
'On first blush, [Paige Gresty] appears to be a Roggenbuckian lief poet who shares Sarah Jean Alexander’s affinity for heartbreak. Her Internet Poetry macros are in the winkingly earnest (which is to say, not really earnest? Post-irony?) #YOLO tradition. She hits those usual marks of found poetry and screencaps that are requisite to our collective Tumblred fever dream. But beneath the standard accoutrements of Alt Lit poetry, there is a unique sensibility.
'“Ode to Cracker Barrel” is Exhibit A. As in “55,” the lyrical quality of the poem stands out: “‘I hope those Japanese soldiers have forgiven me for strip searching them,’ I brux over mashed/potatoes” (brux?) but the (brux!) glimpses of real technique are buried beneath sections that could have been edited out (“The wooden rocking chairs out front, they don’t give lumbar support”). This is a poem about consumerism, hardship, age and memory that ends with the irresolute line “Knickknacks are fabricated to know.” It lacks the focus of “55,” though it flashes the same brilliance.
'“observations from home” is a poem on Paige’s website. It’s a nostalgia piece describing a trip to the states, thoughts of home in London, and a nighttime stroll. Contemplative coming-of-age poems are de rigueur for the young poet. But her eye for detail (“how i wrote a letter to lucas on top of the steps of the masonic temple about ~100 yards away”) and special voice (“several universes combining”) elevate the work. Her strength is not quirk or a flirty personal brand, it’s her ability to write a killer line.
'Paige is preparing a chapbook of poetry titled “every September since 2005.” She describes it as a collection of short stories and poems examining the evolution of sexual relationships. I’m eagerly awaiting this collection and you should be too. Paige is a rare find amid the lonely tumblr laments and ironic macro funnies swirling the info-sphere: a true and beautiful poet.' -- Banango Lit
Paige Gresty Every September Since 2005
'These are sad relationships. Oftentimes people go through tons of mediocre or downright dreadful relationship before finding ‘the right one’. Paige Gresty shares aspects of her life and can look back on it with clear eyes and a clear mind. Life necessitates that these misfortunes happen for a reason. Without the bad relationships, there would be no way to get relationships right.' -- Beach Sloth
Things I Think About When We Are On Your Deck
How angular your body is and how much I want to touch you, where are the cookies in the pantry, I really like those chocolate covered Belgian ones, when will this bikini look good on me, I hope I don’t get a tan- I like that you’re so tanned, what dress should I wear next Thursday for Yom Kippur services.
Your voice is breaking now, as an adult, and I find that sometimes when I call you you sound like a man and I’m not sure if I like that, I’m sorry I keep falling asleep in your bed when we’re meant to be talking, I wonder what we’ll be like when we’re older and if this will last, it’s funny when you play Bob Marley outside, your neighborhood is so nice and all the houses are so big, that time you showed up with roses on my birthday a year ago and the jungle gym afterwards, how you told me you lied and your mom wasn’t coming to pick you up so could you come over to my house.
Would you notice if I wore that plaid skirt again and what it meant, could we have Caesar salad at the Daily Grill and talk, what are our conversations about I can’t remember, I want to be with you on the couch inside because it’s starting to get cold and the leaves are blowing on my face, can we sit on your white couch inside and avoid your dog and listen to your turntable while I put on your sweater until it’s time for me to go.
 You weigh 135 pounds and have collarbones like an aristocratic 17th century Augustan painting, in the shadows they are chiaroscuro and I want to put my tongue between the dip in your clavicle
 Your father asked you what you wanted for dinner at the beach and then turned to me and said I know you haven’t eaten. I didn’t know what to say. Yes, you noticed.
 A Shiksa in the temple, I cried, profusely, when they talked about forgiveness and thought about my father and when I would forgive him; if; when, if I could, I could find him; what I would do if I found him; the deluge of tears made your family wonder if I was ‘okay’.
 I like napping in your bed as the music plays and the trees through your window in the summer look like a painting, I thought, when I was really high from that shit you bought on vacation. Everything was mauve and folk and you were my face.
 When those people had a keg outside on the fourth of July; when we went sledding down the hill in that park we could never find again; when we broke up and I parked outside your house waiting for you to come outside to kiss me
 You said you could smell my perfume a mile away and you knew I was coming but I guess upon reflection that meant I was wearing too much perfume
 Your chest on my chest was the most exhilarating sensation I had had up to that point in my entire puny life.
 You did, and how you did, and how that skirt would recur again and again
 For hours we talked on the purple phone in my room cause cell phones were too expensive and I took a picture of me talking to you on the phone that night, how nice my teeth looked and how bright my eyes-
 The headlights in the driveway are the last thing, always the last thing, even after it all.
PG interviewed by Matthew Sherling
p.s. Hey. I want to give you a heads-up that the week ahead is going to be an unusually p.s.-impairing one due to a couple of out-of-town trips I'll be making. Specifically, there won't be full-fledged p.s.es on this coming Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and next Monday. Then things will return to normal again. So, apologies for those interruptions in advance. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Thought you might/did (re: Sparks). The Paris high is a great one, although winter's particular side-effect, while lovely, has outstayed its welcome as of a few days ago. ** Scunnard, Maybe it's a secret double cheek kiss, which is, you know, how they shake hands over here, and I, being American, can't feel the signals. Me? Cold sun here too, but they say it will become a lukewarm sun in the next couple of days. Saw some not so great art, some friends, worked or tried, trip-planning, stuff, okay. Oh, okay, I'll try that image extraction technique then. I'm pretty klutzy re: tech, even with probably simple as pie stuff like that, but, yeah, that would help, so let me try, and thank you. And thank you for the instructive link ... except, wait, it didn't work, damn. Thanks anyway. Hm. ** Will C., Hilariously sad ... nice. I think I want to write a novel that makes people hilariously sad. I wonder how I could do that? I'm going to try some experiments. ** Lizz Brady, Hi, Lizz. Okay, that doesn't sound like a great Paris entrance trip. This next one will cancel your memories. Paris is really good for art. Galleries, not wildly so much, but there are museums and independent art spaces every-fucking-where, and some of them do great stuff, and we'll get to meet, yeah, awesome. I read a little about Howard Buten, and it sounds like something I could really use, so I'm going to hunt him down. Cool. Hope your weekend maxed out. ** 5STRINGS, Well, you can't have everything, but that's something, and maybe the twain will meet deep down inside. ** Billy Lloyd, Hi, Billy. Oh, yeah, I'm kind of into how the singer can't really sing, but I think maybe it's an acquired taste or something. And I don't sing, or, well, I used to, but not in forever, so naiveté probably helps too. Thank you muchly about the posts, man. Mm, yum, that brownie. I bought some weird pastries for my train trip tomorrow. Vegetarian, but not vegan, I'm pretty sure. They look good. If only my mouth were a camera. ** Crane's Bill Books, Thank you very much on behalf of Paradigm who then thanked you as well. Very nice to see you! ** Bill, How was 'Malina'. Wow, that's quite an interesting line-up at that event you're doing. You plus Lynnee Breedlove plus Gary Fembot, et. al. Wow. What're you doing for it? ** _Black_Acrylic, Awesome that your MK trip is right around the corner. Next week? Sure, that should be A-okay. This week is crazed, but, after Monday, I should be settled for a bit. Yeah, just see the show, think, and write to me whenever. Have an incredible blast if I don't interact with you pre-departure! ** Sanatorium, Hi! I'm very happy for this rare chance to see you. Thank you about the spy post. Me too. I'm having to use inordinate self-control not to order all of that stuff. Tokyo. I've never been there, but I'm in the early stages of planning my first trip there, so, yeah. I love 'Empire of Signs', so I say yes. Everyone, does anyone have any Tokyo tips for d.l. Sanatorium, who, I think, is heading there? Stuff to see, stuff not to miss, stuff you would rush to see if you were there, etc.? Thanks! Hugs back! ** Schlix, Hi, Uli! ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff. No, I didn't even know there was a spy museum in DC. Hunh. If I ever go there again, I will see it first or something. I want to get/read that Wire Scott Walker book a lot. Tim Hardin, yes, I'm a fan. Kind of brilliant. Amazing voice. My favorite used to be 'Tim Hardin 3 Live in Concert'. Might still be, although I haven't listened to it in years. I think my other favorite was 'Suite for Susan Moore and Damion: We Are One, One, All in One', his most ambitious record. ** Steevee, I've read that, but, I don't know, everything I've read just sounds really speculative and gossip-based, so I don't know. And, you know me, I don't really care. Shame about the 'Stoker' script. Curious to see it, though. This week in Paris both the new Malick and the new Harmony Korine are opening, so that's very exciting. I'll go over and check out the comments, etc. on your 'SLP' review. I wonder if that film has played here yet. If there was ever an American movie that was going to get a completely different title in French, it's that one. ** Paradigm, Hi, Scott. Thank you again so much! It was great! Agree about 'Amour', yeah. That's too bad about the Cat Poer show problems. Burying her voice sounds like a truly bad decision or accidental outcome or whatever. I mean, her voice is a lot of what she does, obviously. I hope the day of science teaching goes really well, and, again, I so appreciate the post and what I gained from it too. ** Misanthrope, Wow, you got a brand new, up to date car? Sweet. Excellent that it didn't fatally bite into the hopeful trip over here, and, yeah, keep your dollars close and warm between now and May. ** Un Cœur Blanc, Memory loss? Shit, but it's okay? Well, financially, living in the deep forest is fairly doable, but whether the dream of such solitude would be matched by the day-to-day, I don't know. It seems like the loneliness would be horrible, but I am a city guy. Thank you re: my happiness, and I hope to stay that way, as virtually impossible as that hope probably is. ** Armando, Hi, A! I'm glad you got through it. Xanax, yum. No, wait, I shouldn't say that probably. I used to find Xanax very yum, I mean. I don't know. Lots of love to you. ** Right. Three eBooks that I loved of late that you can read for yourselves for absolutely free. What could go wrong? See what you think, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:03 AM