Friday, October 30, 2009

friday confession

budge BULGE budge BULGE budge
budge BULGE budge BULGE budge
budge BULGE budge BULGE budge
budge BULGE budge BULGE budge

So goes the slug.

I need to atone for one I killed when I was a kid. I sprinkled the poor thing with salt. It was a self-dare meant to impress my stepbrothers, which achieved nothing but disgust. Still, despite the self-loathing it inspired, it also perversely heightened my revulsion for slugs.

When I learned the German word for slug, I originally thought it was called the Nachtschnecke, or “night snail.” After literally years of wondering what slugs had to do with the night, I realized the real word is the Nacktschnecke, or “naked snail.” Nacht and Nackt sound very very similar. In any case, mystery explained! It seems so obvious now.

Maybe I’d like slugs more if they didn’t creep about crazy naked. Or if they limited their nakedness to the night. They’d look better in snug slug sweaters, like the one above. I’m thinking of adopting one from this knitter, who likewise suffers a slug obsession.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

big rock candy mountain

I’m reading The Kindly Ones, a holocaust novel. I ordered a used hardcover, and wasn’t prepared for how huge it is – just a few pages shy of 1000. Still, despite the time I know it will take, did I scare off? No. Call me a glutton. I love books where you have to make a chart of characters inside the back cover, complete with arrows, nicknames, time lines, maps and family trees. I love referring to glossaries of terms provided by the publisher, especially in a foreign language. Books that can be used as doorstops, books that deflect bullets. Books with which to press my shirts. Balanced on the head, bulging books can improve your posture. I love sprawling, war-torn landscapes littered with wayward morality, shame, death and big questions. Big books are good for toning the arm muscles. A large, stable hardcover in itself makes an excellent bookend, and a handy portable chair. I love long sentences, lengthy paragraphs and chapters seemingly without end. It’s good to know the author didn’t skimp on the adjectives. Keep those novellas for the easily cowed. I like a book that won’t fit in my purse – a book that is its own suitcase. Bring on rich, leisurely and long-winded profusion! Get that editor out of here! Reading a tome like this makes me feel like I’m taking a long night flight with no one in the neighboring seat. The stars are out. Here comes the Japanese stewardess with my scotch, a pillow, and my plush white washcloth, steaming with lemon-scented water. Be prepared for turbulence. After all, we’re orbiting earth.

photo: Abelardo Morell

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eamonn's model bio

Eamonn was born in 1970.
Eamonn has written hundreds of stories.
Eamonn is a he, with two n’s.
He was born in New Jersey.
He is of Connecticut.
He is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the beach.
Eamonn is of two minds.
Eamonn is insanely happily married.
Eamonn lives inside his wife with three cats.
On top of Old Smokey.
Eamonn was born for San Diego.
Eamonn’s work has appeared, or will appear.
Eamonn has been published in one hundred magazines.
He comes from contented.
His auspicious.
His auspicious beginning.
His auspicious beginning has not been snuffed.
His limp is the product of a childhood crush.
He was born and bred like a sheepdog.
On a dude ranch. On the moon. In rapid succession.
Eamonn has been born again and again.
His is the numberless, and at random.
He takes place in the plural.
When the mood strikes, he sits down like Salvador Dali.
All covered with snow.
Eamonn is the awkward author of this sentence.
Then suddenly he’s not.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Downright rude, chance of b.o.

The other day the forecast said "sunny and beautiful," and the Wednesday Addams in me who likes kohl clouds and branches swooshing in the rain would like to ask "beautiful to whom?"

The forecast for the next day said "sunny and pleasant," and I’d like to know why one day is “beautiful” and the next merely “pleasant.” The sun was at work in both cases and the predicted temperatures were only two degrees apart, so the weatherman must be choosing adjectives without much backthought. What happened to unbiased journalism? Are weathermen journalists? Should they be forcing their opinions on us? Weathermen should stick to the facts, which include "sunny," "cloudy," "xx% chance of precipitation," "temps in the mid-xxs," etc. Facts don’t include "fabulous" or "crappy."

Some late fall days have been so “unseasonably warm” that I don’t find them beautiful, but frightening. I think I’ll make that part of my forecasts. “Partly sunny and angst-ridden.” “Clear with 80% chance of neurosis.”

If I’m driving west late in the afternoon I’m not going to find full sun beautiful, but blinding. And if I put on a wool turtleneck in the chill morning only to find it’s pushing 70 degrees later in the day, that is not "pleasant," not for me, and not for anyone in my sniffing vicinity.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Awesome in America

I figured I’d share a couple of my real-life encounters with Awesome in America. The first sighting was at a Hanes shop, where I bought a pair of pondgreen polka-dot pajama bottoms. As I was paying, the salesclerk told me “those pants are Awesome.” It seems she had the same pair at home. You can bet I was mighty proud of my choice!

The second sighting took place at the legendary Dreamaway Lodge in Becket, Mass. We were ordering dinner, and my father chose the spicy Thai salmon. “That’s Awesome,” the waitress assured him. We had a good chuckle about this after she left. Seems I’m not the only one in the family with a thing for the Awesome. I’m considering making Awesome a regular part of my life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big in Japan

My bus passes a stop called Casual Male XXL.
Is there anything casual about being an extra-extra-large male?
Perhaps among elephants?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

funk is not enough

I'm traipsing around massachusetts and new york state but wanted to drop in to say I have three pieces up at Apparatus Magazine - First Thing, Tinder Box and a techno poem.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

ode to rudolf diesel

The east coast is beautiful and I can overlook traffic and superfluous strip malls but I can’t forgive the ubiquitous muzak (read: 80's innocuous pop) being pumped like gas into parking lots and shops. If we could ban smoking. If we could mandate seat belts. I come out of Pepperidge Farm and can it be that the back of the Goldfish bag says “Challenge yourself to find something GOOD in every situation?” (caps theirs) So much baloney. I think prohibiting consumer muzak would be a giant step towards improving American health care. If we could invent the air bag. If we can bomb the moon. Of course, if it happened that I -walking across the parking lot, forced to process Huey Lewis and the News- burst into gaseous flame, I might find some good in that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the great oxgoad

It’s Wednesday and I’m feverishly reading The Private Life of Chairman Mao. It’s a mission. 635 pages, not including notes. I’m on page 268, which brings us to early 1958, right after “Let 100 Flowers Bloom” and The Great Leap Forward. Despite the title, there aren’t all that many juicy details. Lots of political infighting and plenty of reason for disillusionment. The book was written by Mao’s personal doctor, and so far the most lurid segment had to do with the Great Helmsman’s teeth.

“As I looked into Mao’s mouth, I saw his teeth were covered with a heavy greenish film. A few of them seemed loose. I touched the gums lightly and some pus oozed out.”

I have a couple more decades of sleazy hygiene to cram before I return the book to a friend who used to work in our Frankfurt office and now works in our New York office. I’ll see him in NY next week, and hell if I’m lugging Mao’s formaldehyde corpse across continents again.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Another apparently senseless thing I'm doing

I’m saving corks. One of the markets downtown collects them. “Recycles” them. Honestly, I didn’t know cork was endangered, but as soon as I found out, I began filling all available receptacles with them. I like to do my bit. I have flower vases in the cellar full of corks, cookie tins and plastic bags. I add about two or three corks a week to my collection. The problem being that I never seem to get around to taking them to the store. If God decides to flood the world again, and I understand this is not a ridiculous notion, I hope he chooses to let me know. I could build one badass cork ship.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

bermuda triangle

Aside from narcolepsy, the only reason to stop on the highway is to use the bathroom. And the only decent highway rest stops are those with gas and restaurant emporiums. Such stops have trim, litter-free grounds and sparkling bathrooms with a middle-aged Eastern European lady who charges 50 cents per pee. I don’t begrudge the 50 cents, even per person, but I do dislike the 16 euros we end up spending on gummibears and Coke. So, although I hate them, I advocate the downgrade to the pull-off stop with picnic benches and toilets. This isn’t without its price. The company, for one, is way bad. The grounds are filthy and the bathrooms smell like a septic tank upchucked. This could be bearable if you look straight ahead and shallowly breathe. But you have to touch the door to the bathroom, the lock on the stall and you have to push the flush button (unless you are truly inconsiderate). This will compel you to wash your hands. If the faucet works you’ll have to touch it. There will be no soap in the dispenser. You’ll have to screw the dirty faucet knob back off and and then open the enormous bathroom door with the handle that all the people who haven’t washed their hands have pawed. You could use a paper towel as a glove but there won’t be any because the dispenser has been vandalized. You’ll want to wash your hands again. Before you know it you could be stuck.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I got my share of rejections over the past couple weeks and if you seem to be missing some, I got yours, too. But Whiskey Island accepted two poems that I was really happy about – “To Long Division,” and “Riding Backwards on the Train,” and RHINO recently accepted two of my home totem poems - “Steam” and “sPonge.” I've been in both journals once before, and they're terrific. That's RHINO's rhino that I've borrowed.

Elsewhere, Literary Bohemian also wrote to say they nominated my prose poem(s) “Attending the Tasting” for Best of the Net. Literary Bohemian is a beautiful and novel publication, so I was heartened. In a last bit of news, I have some fragments up in the new issue of Fraglit.

I’m counting down the days until the kids and I fly to Amerika for our annual family shindig. Today the number is 3!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Can't we put them all there

It had been a long time since I’d been to the ceiling.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

book as magic box

This is "Pandora's Box" by Su Blackwell, an artist who cuts sculptures out of books, making delicate, mysterious scenes. I can't help but think of Pandora herself, except instead of a box it's a book and what you find there is the product of your own mind. Check out her site. My favorites are the dark ones with light installed, but they're all extremely interesting. I'd love to wander into one.
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