Don’t Look Down June 29, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Monday: that moment when the path narrows to a goat track of uncertain rock which every few steps sends tiny landslides into the precipice. Don’t look down and don’t look ahead, where the bottom of the precipice opens into a verdant, river-threaded place of distant calm. You have gotten up too early, and are not clear enough to remember if the path leads there, or further into the icy granite heights obscured by clouds. Or whether the path just continues on like this forever.
Fare Thee Well June 28, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Grateful Dead, music, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist.
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The Last Waltz.
I was in a foul mood last night, buying cigarettes with the thoughtless compulsion of a junkie, when “Satisfaction” came on the satellite channel. Satisfaction is not a young man’s problem. It is an issue for an aging man who will not settle comfortably into a finale of routine mediocrity.
I have a new CD of Garcia and a copy of the heavy green vinyl repress of the second album to open the evening, to invoke His spirit before the live stream. I have the necessary cables to wire the laptop to the TV and the TV RCA out to the Yamaha AUX in. I have juat enough of the Jah-blessed remedy.
I have enough space on the mantle for some rearrangement into an altar to the four fingered Mojo hand of The Spirit in the Stings which will be both absent and present, at once a Doleful and Glorious Mystery.
We shall, in the words of Sun Ra, erect a shield of beauty over the earth.
Tonight the Fortress of Squalitude shall become The Broke Down Palace. We shall roll, roll, roll.
Crabapple Lane June 27, 2015Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Happiness is for saps.
You see them paired in
matching polos and shorts,
their fat pink squealing children
on even, green lawns.
Science we find is wrong.
The universe does not rush into
their vacuous block
to fill the gaping void yawning
in formless boredom.
There is this skulking skunk.
He squats inside my chest
I want to yank him out, toss him
butt first in their yard.
Going In Circles June 26, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Tags: Confederate memorials, Lee Circle, Robert E. Lee
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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
Gravity Always Wins June 26, 2015Posted by The Typist in Moloch, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Fuck you tomatoes, miraculously irregular Renatza’s 4800s, each as soft and meaty as a breast.
Fuck you summery cucumbers. Fuck you broccoli florets.
Fuck you crisp lettuce, blessed with the sweat of the pickers like blood of a Mexican Jesus.
Fuck you, too, lovely artichoke hearts gleaming slick with olive oil.
Fuck you mushrooms, you glorious flowers of cyclical immortality.
Popeyes, that’s it: dark and spicy, the crisp skin all slicked up and sliding off as if god meant you to eat it that way, like pulling apart Oreos.
Hemoglobin diabetic markers equals fuck it, a biscuit.
The clock ticks. Nothing happens.
The end of the week hasn’t started yet, the little bits still sliding through the wires into place at 2/3C, the Speed of Copper, waiting to be arrayed into fields and screens, checked off one against the other, work for monkeys.
Suck the fingers clean enough for a cigarette.
Fuck you, vape.
But I can’t go on like this !
Would you like a radish?
What is the glycemic index rating of fingernails?
If there is not enough nourishment in coffee and cigarettes, I won’t have to worry if they’ll have an iron lung in my size.
This is becoming really insignificant.
That’s what I think.
Enter title here June 23, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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If not exhaustion then running on fumes, as if huffing fumes, stumbling more like it, threading the obstacle course of too much stuff of a life squeezed into too small an apartment with a ragged disregard for my personal safety. Sort of a swashbuckling exhaustion if your idea of swashbuckling is Johnny Depp mimicking Keith Richards on Quaaludes, and if you don’t like Jack Sparrow there is something deeply, disturbingly normal about you.
The spring water bottle drips and coughs like some sad Dicken’s character. So: Winn-Dixie, an archipelago of unimaginably distant, mythical aisles and all I really need is a bottle of spring water. The Kentwood cooler which no longer cools (but thankfully still pours hot enough for tea) will have to stand totemic and emptyfor a day.
No tea tonight, anyway. Not night meetings. So certainly no coffee. When one’s body goes into shutdown mode at 5:30 in the evening clearly sleep is the necessary medicine. Perhaps it is the new medicine, warnings of somnolence and such, in the absence of mania. My lifelong ADHD is compounding my complete lack of investment in the current job, and the job has to stay for now, so I can’t afford this medicine not to work.
I can make it to Canseco’s riderless (good horse), threading the overhanging plants and managing the rippling brickwork. There are, however, cigarettes at Canseco’s, and winded pumping up the bicycle tire argues both for the bicycle and against cigarettes and untold other things a laptop-bound, post-amitryptiline fat man should not be allowed to even consider.
Consider Fig Newtons. It’s Real Fruit. Says so right on the package. Unlike the chocolaty peanuts which contain no fruit whatsoever and an adjective masquerading as an adverb pretending to be chocolate. Fig…Newtons, the last bit a soft and savory mouthful of vowels, with just a hint of the seedy crunch in the t and ending in the s of satisfaction.
So, glass of water in hand and a plate of Fig Newtons (not the bag, oh my god, don’t bring the bag) and all I need is something to read. Preferably with large type and small words. Or at least something on the Kindle, so I can blow up the type to some ridiculous size. Let the words pass by large and slow like a ship on the river which will certainly loose control and crash into my chest (“they are still dredging the carpet looking for the remains of several Fig Newtons missing after the disastrous collision”) before I can turn off the light.
Odd Words June 22, 2015Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
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Coming up this week in literary New Orleans:
& Tuesday Garden District Books hosts the book launch of Laura Lane McNeal’s Dollbaby, A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets.
& At the East Bank Regional Library on Tuesday the Louisiana State Poetry Society hosts the winners of the Louisiana State Poetry Society Spring Poetry Contest reading from their work. Free of charge and open to the public.
& In Westwego the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at he Edith S. Lawson Library.
& Wednesday Amanda Emily Smith, Donney Rose and Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore read at Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater.
& Thursday Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with photographer John Rosenthal featuring AFTER: The Silence of the Lower 9th Ward. He will be joined by Lolis Eric Elie who wrote the preface.Published in the tenth year after Katrina, John Rosenthal’s photographs of the Lower 9th Ward were taken some time after Katrina.
& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Richard Collins’ No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World. No Fear Zen presents an approach to Zen practice that focuses on concentration and sitting (shikantaza) as a discipline that can be practiced in everyday life with the dedication of the samurai. And in a world that requires bravery and decisive action in addition to generosity and compassion, we can learn much from the now-extinct samurai in creating a new kind of warrior for peace in the twenty-first century. While some practices focus on compassion and mindfulness as the goals of Zen practice, No Fear Zen contends that these are outcomes that occur naturally, spontaneously, and automatically from right practice without any goal or object whatsoever.
& Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels
Madrid, Espana 18 Junio 2014 June 20, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Memory, The Narrative, The Typist.
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I can’t help think of Washington, D.C. as I traverse Madrid on the N3 night bus back to my hotel, set in Ciudad Lineal, a quiet apartment block suburb much like Arlington, VA just outide the ring road. Both are great capital cities, but one was built by bureaucrats and acountants and one by kings and their artists. The meandering path from where the N3 night bus drops me requires I ask for directions three times before I manage to traverse the three blocks back to my hotel, via a rounabout intended to gather up and redirect the traffic directed by the radial imperatives of a monumental city . ¿Qual izquirda when five street meet? I am not sure it helped that the bus stopped across from an all night gas station where I picked up a tall boy of Mahou to combat the jet lag confusion of seven time zones and my first two sets of direrctions in Spanish.
My first mistake was setting my phone (which does not work in Spain) and my tablet an hour slow. I was up from my jet lag sieta an hour late, and took 40 minutes to realie it. I decided to take the autobus anyway to save money, and managed to find the Cafe Bogui Jazz in time to grab a hasty tortilla patatas and two cup of strong coffee before the show in a clearly local cafe. The second small cup of black dynamite was a bad idea, but I was still in my jet lag haze, trying to converse in my collegio Spanish with the waitress in what was clearly a neighborhood joint. Three beers at Bogui Jazz did not help much, nor did the adverture of discovering my 53 bus did not run at night, figuring out that I needed to take the N3, followed by a amble through the neighborhood, tall boy from an all night store in hand and half understood directions, in search of my hotel. Now I know the way, and that I can grab a beer if I think sleep wil be slow coming and find my way back all in 10 minutes.
The “free jazz” night of Bogui Jazz was more of a straight-ahead modern set with a few moments of transcedently improvizational glory. The saxophonist told me on break they had played with Donald Harrison, Jr. at a festival In their hometown of Leon, so I was clearly in the right spot. I was thrilled enough to write a poem on scraps of paper inspied by a duet beteen the singer and the drummer, and pressed it in her hands while thanking her in village idiot Spanish and then English for making a perfect first night in Madrid. I was clearly in The Zone.
I know I am going to love this city. I think I am going to find my way back to that cafe with its rack of dry cured hams one man was carving the whole time I was there to try the boqurenones rellenos con jambon before I wander off to another night of jazz flamenco, even if it takes me an hour to navigate the narrow and convoluted Europen streets from Salamanca to El Centro and the Cafe Central.
If it weren’t for the prepaid tuition I might consider abandoning a month in the Ezra Pound castle and spend 40 days here recovering my forgotten Spanish, and finding those one or two things each day that demand a poem, spend my siestas in the Bibliotque National or the Cervantes Center with pen and notebook, or early mornings in a plaza soothed into concentration by a baroque fountain. I think I may have found my haven when Atlantis comes to pass.
Moonlight On Vermont June 19, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I have 10 hours sleep total over the last two days, a Speaking Tequila Skull and my new CD copy of Trout Mask Replica (no more annoying scratchy ticks or other cicadaian interruptions; the record he almost dead, a penny for the old stylus).
What could possibly go wrong?
Arabella and I have this covered.
(It’s Just) Another Day June 17, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
There’s simply nothing you can’t do if you’re armed with patience and perseverance…
What my horoscope doesn’t tell me is where I can acquire these things. I am the poster child Gemini, flighty, garrulous, of two minds about everything but insistent when my mind is made up.
Patient, not so much. Perseverance? Really?
I think I will arm myself with patience and persistence. Mañana.
For now, there is coffee.
I had a good night’s sleep, by the clock. It started probably around 7:30, perhaps a quarter to eight. I know I woke just before ten with half of the beer I opened for dinner clenched in my first, my vape fallen into the sofa, my old Kindle lying on the floor. I had slid into a position that made the space between my toes hurt, my body gradually slumping while my rubber-bottom sandals remained planted in place, cutting into my feet. I went straight to bed, and plugged in the phone but forgot to turn on Sleepbot. I may have snored like a warped board saw and tossed and turned all night, but have no way of knowing. By five my brain decided it wanted to get up, although my body is exhausted.
I sit down with the microwaved dregs of yesterday’s coffee, and light a cigarette. I was determined last night not to buy cigarettes and did not. As I draw on one of the last ones in what was to be the last pack, I can feel Death’s hand squeezing the tops of my lungs. They are not icy but warm. Still, I can sense the cold bones underneath. Death whispers “emphysema” with each exhale, and gives a little squeeze. I look in the box at the last two smokes, and contemplate running to the sketchy store before works starts at seven.
Does contemplating going out for smokes in this condition constitute suicidal ideation? I will have to ask the expensive but empathetic psychiatrist.
I believe insistently logging into VPN at the current incarnation of Moloch before 6 a.m. constitutes suicidal ideation.
Memo to self: un-hide the resume on Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder. Let my boss’ next check-in call go to voicemail as if it were an accident. Let her hear the greeting that tells why I don’t answer unrecognized calls, that if you are yet another recruiter that I am currently employed and thank you for your interest. Change the arrangement; tip the scales in my favor.
For now I am one hour away from “protected time,” the arrangement by which a multi-national Moloch manages meetings between New York and Singapore. Next week it will be 7 pm until. And then I will start again with a two-hour morning meeting at 7 am, and another at 9 pm.
So it goes.
I need an attitude adjustment, but grow weary of pills. I can’t afford the psychiatrist I sought out to get away from them and a therapist. I missed the first class of Tai Chi yesterda, because work did not give me a moment to call doctors to make sure I got my new medication and made arrangements to not run out of my blood pressure medication. I should be practicing the mindfulness technique my psych and I practiced on Monday, but feel compelled to write, and the compulsion to write calls for the “seer in front” with a cheering section deep behind him, and the lizard brain hiding beneath the stands swilling coffee and contemplating cigarettes.
All along Moss Street they walk, they run, they bike. They walk their dogs, or run with their dogs, and sometimes (but not this morning) let their running dogs pull their bicycles. I drive, entombed in my car, a new pack of cigarettes safely in my pocket. (Emphyyyseeeemaaaa.) A clearly homeless man, wearing a dirty yellow safety vest, is hand-lining for breakfast, his distant but pleasant expression places him more at peace with his world than I am with mine. (Work: T minus 33).
If I had more time, I should have jumped on my recently repaired bicycle and forced myself to ride to the sketchy store for cigarettes. If I had more time. Today’s calendar hangs from my tiny whiteboard by a magnet, a cryptically colored, solid block of no-time, of not enough time even to do what is written.
Emphysema. Cigarettes. Work.
Tonight is date night. Hopefully I won’t be exhausted.
My side of the bed at my girlfriend’s house is what I call my “happy place”, the one spot in the universe where I feel truly relaxed and at peace. I don’t dare go there tonight, and risk falling into a restful slumber. I have a meeting tomorrow.
At 7 am.
“I heard another beep. Who joins?”
[rewind … flap … flap … flap … Krapp]
1. The title comes from the irrepressibly cheerful Paul McCartney, the one who should be dead. I fucking hate Paul McCartney. 
2. A working class hero is something to be. 
3. Listening to George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” on the car stereo while in a hypomaniacal state, I might as well be cranking it while swilling straight from the Speaking Tequila Skull while doing donuts in front of the police station. This is what I believe the mania index quiz calls “risk taking behavior.”
The Slow Noon Burn of June 16 June 16, 2015Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
As I am not making it to Bloomsday (again), republishing this.
Canal Street in the slow noon burn of June. Thin dribbles of tourists pass up and down, hug the narrow ledge of shade along the buildings as if some abyss yawned at the curb. A handful of hotel workers in dull uniforms colored maroon and dark blue shuffle unhappily toward work or tiredly toward their bus stops and home. There are few suits on the street, no conventioneers with plastic badges swinging from their necks our for lunch. Two men in wilted jackets, ties-loosened, pause outside the Palace Café; they consult the burning blue sky, one’s watch, the cool, dark windows of the restaurant and decide to slip inside. I imagine the spicy fried oysters nestled in a bed of cool greens and blue cheese, a sweat-beaded glass of tea besides. The café tables on the street are empty; pigeons huddled under the canopy pick at the crumb-less pavement. The birds outnumber the people passing by.
Canal passes like a diorama: the peppery aroma of Popeye’s Fried Chicken is followed by powerful cloud of patchouli coming from the Hippie Gypsy shop, then the more delicate smells of browning butter out of the Palace Café; music passes like the tuning of a radio, bars of Cajun from one and jazz from another of the progression of tourist shops with names like Gumbo Bayou and Jazzland and Dixie Market with their racks of tacky t-shirts and windows garlanded with beads; in between ageless Levantine gentlemen stand stiff and mute in the doors of electronics shops like sentinels in crisp cotton shirts and slacks, windows blazoned with No Tax! 220v! PAL Format! waiting patiently for sailors who no longer get shore leave from the mechanized container ships. They watch the masts slip past just over the floodwall up the block and wait.
By midday the sun has warmed everything until the heat no longer comes from above but radiates from every direction: down from the sun and up from the pavement and off the sides of passing windows and we pass in the middle like loaves through some mechanized oven, perfectly browned on all sides. In the distance a church chimes and as if part of the clockwork the last thin ribbon of shade slips under the buildings and there is only the harsh glare off the pavement. I stop and listen to the fading echoes from a dozen buildings, try to think: which church, St. Louis Cathedral to my left or the Jesuit Church behind me on Baronne Street?
I remember as a child my grandmother and I catching the old green Perley Thomas cars at Cemeteries for the trip down Canal. She would shop and we would eat lunch at the K&B Drugstore counter or the lady’s cafe’ in D.H. Homes Department Store but my clearest memory is Immaculate Conception; the dark, narrow Jesuit church filled with flickering red glass candles, my grandmother lighting a taper to Mary while I studied the procession of men who stood, heads bowed and murmuring prayers with one hand on the foot of Saint Joseph. To this day every time I see a status of Joseph I study its feet, notice how generations of hands sliding on and off have worn the wood.
I don’t remember it being this hot when I was a child. I study the parents leaning heavily on the handles of strollers, the women’s sun dresses collapsed damply over their bodies as toddlers skip happily away over the roasting pavement toward traffic. To a child this weather is as natural as the damp warmth of the womb, they see the sweat on their bodies as beautiful dewdrops, tiny sunlit jewels. I stop and mop the inside of my hatband and then my brow, watch anxious parents corral the children back into the stroller and set off grimly for the Aquarium and the promise of air conditioning and the cooling illusion of immersion. I squint over my shoulder back toward Baronne Street and imagine for a moment stepping into that dark nave, into the cool innocence of my own childhood, then turn back to continue my trudge toward the river.
I am not on vacation. I have no lunch date. I am walking away from work but only for a while. I have, frankly, no good business being out in the mad dog sun except to walk and watch and listen. It is June 16, and I am taking my own advice, spending Bloomsday not reading about Dublin 1904 but setting out on my own ramble through New Orleans, to capture a snapshot of this city in June 2009. There is little to see except the street itself. The heat has driven all but the desperate indoors, and those who are out in the sun don’t waste their energy talking. I walk on.
The first and last real crowd I pass stands in the plaza of the last tall high rise before the river, the office tower disgorging lunchtime smokers onto benches. They stand alone or in small knots, and I wander in and through the crowd but there is not much conversation. It is all they can manage with a full belly in the noon sun to get the cigarette up to their lips and back down to their sides, blowing smoke up into the sky to carry away the extra heat. I bum a light to excuse my intrusion and perhaps pick up a bit of conversation but all I get are grunts of assent, and a flame held at arm’s length. I puff, nod and walk on.
The last block to the river passing the humming utility substation is empty except lone vendor eyes me excitedly, waving dripping bottles of water in my face for only a dollar, coldest on Canal he promises and the last chance, he throws in. I smile back (his the only smile seen today on the street, and my reply is equally forced). No, I manage through my pleasant grimace and head up toward the place where the streetcar and Public Belt Railroad tracks both cross Canal. I stop and look both ways but there are no cars or trains in site, the empty tracks remind me that the river is no longer the city’s big business. The Aquarium across the tracks and it’s tourists are now our stock and trade, the stores where my grandmother once browsed are now Gumbo Bayou and the Hippie Gypsy.
Here on the plaza another vendor paces up and down shouting his own cold drinks, water a dollar and Powerade available, but he’s on the wrong side of the square. I walk alone into the middle of the plaza while the scattered tourists make directly for the shaded overhangs of the Aquarium where they huddle under the arcade, lining up to escape into the promise of frigid air.
I head straight for the railing along the river, hoping to find a consoling breeze there. I can see it out on the river where the wind stirs up a tiny, rippling chop amid the swirling flat water where the confused current prepares to make the hard bend at the Gov. Nicholls and Esplanade wharves before heading down through St. Bernard and Plaquemine to the Gulf. I light another cigarette and watch the wind but it stays over the main stem away from the riverfront. I pull off my hat and mop again, then start walking along the water’s edge. Usually you can smell the river but today is so hot the creosote is oozing out of the timbers that edge the dock and its aroma overpowers everything. I am alone on the promenade.
There is no traffic on the river. I crane my neck to look upstream but nothing moves. Even here where tourists often congregate it’s deadly quiet; no buskers out playing or liquor-loud knots of bead wearing young people in from the dry north. The riverboat calliope is silent. I am startled when the ferry hoots its horn, ready to cross. Usually the pigeons that swarm here for the lunch leavings would launch themselves into disturbed whorls at the sound, but they are nowhere to be seen, have found shade somewhere else. Realizing I have less sense than a pigeon, I turn and start to head back to work.
The only action is a woman who poses in front of the aminatronic dinosaur advertising an exhibit at the Audubon Zoo and starts hollering, “Help mommy! Help mommy!”. A small toddler grabs his father’s hand and starts tugging him. “Help Mommy, Daddy, help Mommy”. Then the plastic raptor lifts it’s head and let’s out a roar and he freezes even as mother squeals louder, “help me, help mommy”. Not yet two and already he’s torn, facing his first betrayal: the woman and love or his own skin. You don’t get to save a pretty girl from a dinosaur every day and if you don’t you might wind up a lonely pair of eyes, one of the solitary watchers of the world walking alone at lunch, instead of one of the heroes.
I root for innocence and heroism but I need to find the water man, coldest in town and only a dollar, before I start my march back to the office, before the wriggling lines of heat invade my head and start to spin like disturbed birds. I need to replace the bucket of sweat the day has taken out of me, and to wash out the taste of cigarette and creosote. Before I turn the corner I look back to see how things played out but the boy and his parents are gone, into the aquarium where the monsters are kept behind thick safety glass.
The Perils of Memory June 14, 2015Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Flowers of Ruin, Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences
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The man with the silver hair and blue suit led the way. They climbed into the bus that was waiting at the sidewalk. The man counted the Japanese as they passed in front of him. He climbed on in turn and sat next to the driver. He was holding a microphone. The Jardins du Luxembourg was just one stop and they had all of Paris to visit. I wanted to follow them on that glorious morning, harbinger of spring, and be just a simple tourist. No doubt I would have rediscovered a city I had lost and, through its avenues, the feeling I’d once had of being light and carefree.
— Flowers of Ruin, Patrick Modiano
Teach Me To Dance June 14, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
You can laugh, too, huh? You laughed!
All The Way June 12, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I’ve had enough. I’m going to
pull myself up over the side, and get
all the way out of my mind.
From “JUST NORMAL” by Everette Maddox
Another long week at Moloch stuffing screaming debtors into the flames, and it’s time to just get fucking weird again. Just another Friday night at the Fortress of Squalitude…
Smile, my mother whisper-hissed, as I tread up the aisle many years ago..
Where Are the Snowden’s of Yesteryear? June 11, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You’re dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!”
Surplus Labor Incarnate June 11, 2015Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Working from home: you have to get up early to check the Internet and VPN, allowing time to shower (optional) and dress (optional) should you have to flee to the coffee house to get connected. Once you are logged in you have to check your calendar. Someone may have cancelled an early meeting. Or, worse, someone also on night meetings may have pushed out an earlyish meeting, and your are a time zone behind. .So now you are in Outlook. All of the testers whose work you are validating are in China or Poland. It is already 8:30 pm in Singapore, and 2:30 pm in Poland. You know this because you have a screen on your tablet filled with world clock widgets: New Orleans, New York, Singapore (most of the overseas team are in Singapore, but that tiny nation is on China Standard Time), India. And Venice (which is in the same time zone as Poland, but one can dream). Once you are into email they have got you by the lobes, and you haven’t yet brushed your teeth or made your morning gruel of yogurt and Grape-Nuts. You are getting fat, tied down from early morning until late at night into a four-by-four space between the desk and the easy chair in the living room, stressed, taking medications for stress that make you blow up as if you had swallowed the business end of a gas station air line, and you feed in quarters like you feed yourself hypomaniacal snacks. The blue tooth headset hangs from the architects lamp. Both computers are fired up and ready for the day. There is no escape. You got a panicked text message from a new contracted co-worker about her computer. It seems the person she replaced was released because he was too often off-line, but you are convinced the client’s rickety Citrix environment runs on a cluster of scavenged desktops from the late Nineties,and their version of IBM Rational Quality Center–where you spend much of your day–has taken to throwing over license messages when you log on, is hopelessly oversubscribed and overloaded. You are an involuntary contractor–discarded by your last real employer a few days before you received your five year pin, because you refused a compulsory relocation. But the message is clear. You do not have the freedom to set you own hours as long as the work is done. if Moloch’s systems don’t work, don’t complain. Just put in more hours to compensate. You are paid a salary and not by the hour, and the hours are long. You are surplus labor incarnate, and you doubt your employers know the difference between a Marxist and a Marxian. You do what you are told.
This is Freedom.
This is the Invisible Hand.
This is America.
This is Fucking Insane.
“A pig. In a cage. On antibiotics.”
— Radiohead, “Fitter, Happier“
Odd Words June 11, 2015Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:
Tuesday is Bloomsday! Details below.
& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Robert S. Brantley’s Henry Howard: Louisiana’s Architect. Few nineteenth-century architects ventured far from the pattern-book styles of their time. One architect not constrained by tradition was the Irish-born American Henry Howard, who started as a carpenter and stair builder in 1836 New York and arrived in New Orleans the following year, soon establishing a reputation for distinctive designs that blended American and European trends. His career gained momentum as he went on to design an extraordinarily diverse portfolio of magnificent residences and civic buildings in New Orleans and its environs. Henry Howard is a lavishly produced clothbound volume featuring hundreds of contemporary and archival images and a comprehensive analysis of his built work. The first book to examine the forty-year career of the architect, Henry Howard establishes a clear lineage of his aesthetic contributions to the urban and rural environments of the South.
& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.
& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.
& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Jim Field. If you ever see a box of cornflakes offering a free lion, ignore it! This is the hair-raising story of two brothers who didn’t- and then ended up with a grizzly bear, a cranky old crocodile, and a huge gorilla! Now if only they could get a free tiger…
& Saturday at 4 pm the Nix Library hosts a Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.
& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features Poet/songwriter, Mike True performs his work, followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.
& Tuesday June 16 is Bloomsday, the day in 1904 on which James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. Bloomsday in New Orleans will be observed upstairs at The Irish House from 6-8 p.m. Reading from the celebrated novel will include featured readers Brian Boyles, Yuri Herrera, Mwende “Freequency” Katwiwa, Benjamin Morris, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and Katy Simpson Smith. Members of the public will be invited to join in and read brief passages of their own selection from the work.
& The East Jefferson Great Books Discussion Group will discuss Sanctuary by William Faulkner at 7 pm. Psychologically astute and wonderfully poetic, Sanctuary is a powerful novel examining the nature of true evil, through the prisms of mythology, local lore, and hard-boiled detective fiction. This is the dark, at times brutal, story of the kidnapping of Mississippi debutante Temple Drake, who introduces her own form of venality into the Memphis underworld where she is being held.
& Wednesday at 6:30 pm the Latter Library hosts an Author Night: Historic New Orleans Cemeteries, featuring Dr. Ryan Gray, University of New Orleans faculty member, sharing his research on our local graveyards.
& Wednesday at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater continues their month of poetry in June with readings by Russel Swensen and Nikki Wallschlaeger. Wallschlaeger is the author of two chapbooks, Head Theatre (2007) which etched itself out of her palms unexpectedly & “I Would Be The Happiest Bird” (2014). Her hands continue to talk, which is why she writes. Publications include Esque, Nervehouse, Coconut Poetry, Word Riot, Pirene’s Fountain, Burdock, Spork, DecomP, Shirt Pocket Press, Horse Less Press and others. Her book “Houses” was just released by Horse Less Press. She is currently working on her first full-length manuscript of poems called Crawlspace. She is also the Assistant Poetry Editor at Coconut Poetry. She lives in Milwaukee with her spouse and son.Swensen earned his MFA in fiction from the California Institute of the Arts and his doctorate in poetry from the University of Houston. His poetry chapbook, Santa Ana, was the winner of the Spring 2011 Black River Chapbook Contest. His full length collection, The Magic Kingdom, will be released by Black Lawrence Press (January 2016). His work has appeared in Black Clock, Pank, Quarterly West, Prick of the Spindle, The Collagist, and elsewhere.
& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.
Have Faith June 10, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I know you. I know your torments. When you fall into your fears and doubts like this, you become mesmerized. You see nothing outside yourself, my brother. It is as if you walked down a road forever gazing into a mirror, walking toward yourself and blind to the world. Have faith.
-Luis Alberto Urrea, The Hummingbird’s Daughter
When I Am Old June 8, 2015Posted by The Typist in Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I shall paint my house orange…
Fuck You, Google June 7, 2015Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: dumb, fat, unhappy
Of course The Google knows it’s my birthday. It knows Everything. I was fascinated and appaled when I found I could trace my movements through Europe last year when I relied on GPS and Maps to help me find my way..
So, O Great Google, do you now I now weight 259 pounds? That the medication I have taken to avoid compulsive eating in hypomania has caused me to blow up like a fucking balloon off the party shop stand up tank? That the last anti-depressent I took did the same fucking thing? That I’ve gotten up twice this morning and stood over the garbage can holding the Rouse’s doberge cake, only to put it back in the fridge because P wants to light a candle and sing Happy Birthday in her best Marilyn? That the new meds have not kicked in enough to completely stiffle hypomaniacal, compulsive eating? That the cigarettes I’ve reverted to this past two weeks haven’t helped?
I can live with myself at 235, am much happier at 215 , which is still on the red side of that chart written by doctors who haven’t gotten over their amphetemine addiction from residency. Two fucking sixty is just too much. I was ready to set out for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurnts. P wanted to wear a dressy dress she made last summer so I changed into long pants and and a favorite linen shirt she found for me at Goodwill, and as I began to button it I knew it would not work:I was liable to pop a button the moment I sat down. The pants, Haggar Cool 18 chinos with a hidden stretchy bit, cut into my stomach.
Off we went, but this was not the happiest birthdy dinner I have ever had: fat, dumb struck and unhappy I still ordered the tamalaes with a crema drizzle, and split a flan for dessert. The flan and tamales at Casa Borrega are too damn good not to eat. I tried, really, but no amount of expensive reposado was going to improve my mood, flat as a fallen cake I came home and collapsed into bed in my (binding) boxers without even bothering to change into my drawstring bed pants. I turned to the wall and waited for the meltonin and herbal concoction to kick in.
So, thanks for the imaginary cakes, Google, but fuck you very much. I’m off to walk to Walgreens (leaving the car behind) to get a pack of cigarettes and browse the patent medicine aisle for a box of whatever berry and green tea pills. I am not ruling out mail order tapeworms.
The Universal Switch June 2, 2015Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Regular dancing has been shown to lead to significant decreases in salivary cortisol concentrations.
Down on your knees digging through the shelves of vinyl the cat has de-spined looking for Quadraphenia because you heard “5:15” on the satellite radio at the store where you were loading up on intentionally healthy things to stuff hypomanically into your gullet: cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, a non-fat low sodium French Onion dip, a tub of guacamole with pico de gallo and a bag of blue corn chips and you still bought cigarettes anyway, home and not sure what pose to strike, the classic boy hunched over his scooter or the famous inside shot of Todd Rundgren from Something/Anything, hands extended in a Nixon victory salute, so you choose the slouch on the couch and the Kindle and manage 20 pages of the new novel before you get too fidgety, the buttons jumping pages and changing the font size unbidden like the time you tried to watch Arachnophobia while clutching the remote like a protective totem which worked, after a fashion, switching off the movie every time you spasmed with terror.
I want to find that remote, the Universal Remote capable of controlling all channels: the Shopping for Losers channel, the Netflix is Empty channel, the Radiohead and Patti Smith Pandora channels, the channel you have dug from couch to kitchen in search of more compulsive food, the Ant Races channel, any channel carrying Black Mirror’s White Bear episode [No Talking, Keep Your Distance, Enjoy Yourselves], the imaginary but compulsively anticipated stress episode flashback channel, the flood of emotions overflow outlet channel that runs through your nervous system.
This is the truly Universal Remote, as mystic and distant as the Theory of Everything. The instructions for its programming and operation are hidden somewhere in the Paragonian Foundation’s webpage between The Heraclitus Project and Integral Relational Logic: Liberating Intelligence from Its Mechanistic Conditioning. The PIN code required is Hebrew and hidden in the Kabbalah. By default it operates on the radio frequency spectrum around 2.7 GHz so stay the fuck away from the microwave popcorn. Operation at 1420 Mhz is not supported outside the mothership and Radiohead lied to you. Patti Smith lied to you. They are not coming to rescue you.
You can only rescue yourself.
Whew. For a minute there I lost myself, I lost myself.
1. Quiroga MC, Bongard S, Kreutz G (July 2009). “Emotional and Neurohumoral Responses to Dancing Tango Argentino: The Effects of Music and Partner”. Music and Medicine 1 (1): 14–21. doi:10.1177/1943862109335064