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Odd Words’ Tennessee Williams Festival Preview Part 2 March 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, Louisiana, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, The Typist, Theater, Toulouse Street, Writing, Writing Workshops.
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Here are some highlights of the weekend activities for the Tennessee Williams Festival. For the complete list, visit the TWF website for the electronic program.

& First, to get your full on fill of Tennessee:

  • TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ EUROPEAN INFLUENCES Williams was both a product of and a muse for Europe over the last half century, and their mutual exchange of themes, ideas and images altered the artistic landscapes of several post-war nations. This panel of Williams specialists discusses the early Williams and the uses he made of various European sources in his theatre; the late Williams and the promise European theater afforded him with his
    experimental plays; and the posthumous Williams and his influence on late 20th and early 21st century European theater and cinema. Panelists: John Bak, Michael Hooper, and Barton Palmer. Moderator: Robert Bray. Williams Research Center Saturday at 10 am.
  • TENNESSEE TODAY: HIS CRITICAL REPUTATION AND POPULAR IMAGE “Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his essay “The Timeless World of a Play.” In the 32 years since his death, Williams’ plays continue to be produced, his critical reputation grows, and his influence on today’s playwrights is undeniable. From many productions of his works on Broadway, London’s West End and beyond, to the hundreds of references to Streetcar in every form of popular culture including Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine and in TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family,” Williams’ genius not only endures but continues to captivate global audiences. Williams experts and friends discuss the playwright’s hold on our contemporary cultural reputation, and how the future may view the resonating worlds he created. Panelists: Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan, and John Lahr. Moderator: Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, Saturday at 11:30 am.
  • TENNESSEE TODAY: HIS CRITICAL REPUTATION AND POPULAR IMAGE “Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his essay “The Timeless World of a Play.” In the 32 years since his death, Williams’ plays continue to be produced, his critical reputation grows, and his influence on today’s playwrights is undeniable. From many productions of his works on Broadway, London’s West End and beyond, to the hundreds of references to Streetcar in every form of popular culture including Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine and in TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family,” Williams’ genius not only endures but continues to captivate global audiences. Williams experts and friends discuss the playwright’s hold on our contemporary cultural reputation, and how the future may view the resonating worlds he created. Panelists: Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan, and John Lahr. Moderator: Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, Saturday at 11 am.
  • A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LAHR Interviewed by Robert Bray How do you chronicle a life that defies illummation? John Lahr, the longtime senior drama critic for The New Yorker, has emerged victorious in this task. Lahr’s critically-lauded biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a triumphant weaving of Williams’ journeys as an artist and as a man. The mammoth undertaking involved a decade of research and writing, and illuminates Williams’ works and life, giving readers the added gift of titillating insight into the lives
    of the theatre greats who were Williams’ contemporaries. Join Lahr as he discusses his book, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, with Williams scholar Robert Bray. Sunday, 10 am.
  • And of course: Shouting Contest Contestants vie to rival Stanley Kowalski’s shout for STELLAAAAA!!!!” in the unforgettable scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Women are welcome to try a little
    role reversal and yell for Stanley. Free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded. Jackson Square, 4:30 pm.

& Also, in addition to the numerous stage productions around town, don’t forget about LITERARY LATE NIGHT: MIXED COMPANY “There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.” ― Tennessee Williams The 21st century moment is an exciting and uncharted time in literature and publishing with new and traditional media forms both co-existing and duking it out to create new avenues for artists to get their work to the public. Mixed Company is an independent publication featuring the writing, art, and photography of women of color currently based in New Orleans. This late night offering will highlight the interplay between tradition and innovation and the syncretic results of a culture of diaspora. “Mixed Company” will be a multi-media presentation of literature, art by artists of color based in New Orleans, film, and music that will expand our notions of reading and seeing into the present, past and future. Location, TBD, 8 pm.

& Saturday and Sunday means panels, panels, and more panels featuring exciting writers and topics. Odd Word’s picks with a focus on panels for writers. All events are by admission, and in the Hotel Montleone unless otherwise noted.

SATURDAY:

  • CRAFTING MEMOIR: OURSELVES AND OTHERS Memoir–You writing about you. But you are not a deserted island. How do memoirists portray themselves in the context of significant and non-significant others? Outside the personal sphere, a writer’s own perspective is set against larger realities—race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. How important is the recognition of the writer’s point of view—and position in the world—in memoir? Can a reconciliation between the You and the many Others happen on the pages of a memoir? Or are memoirs just fine as single and singular stories? Writers on this panel have taken on love, race, and activism in their works. They’ll be considering these questions and more in this panel. Bring your own for the Q&A. Panelists: Molly Crabapple, Jim Grimsley, and Mac McClelland. Moderator: Lauren Cerand.
  • MIGRATING WORDS: HOW POETS INFLUENCE AND ADAPT TO LANGUAGE The rules of the English language are always in flux— from assimilated words to idioms born from social media. Poets are the shepherds, more than the arbiters, of language. Panelists Vijay Seshadri and Saeed Jones write poems that manage to acknowledge the traditional form while simultaneously innovating its use. They will discuss how language came to them and read from their pioneering works. Panelists: Saeed Jones and Vijay Seshadri Moderator: Ava Leavell Haymon. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant,
  • THE TRANSNATIONALISTS: AMERICAN WRITERS ON BORDER CROSSINGS The U.S. literary landscape has always been a transnational space—America goes on excursion into the world and the world comes in—as seen in works of authors from Faulkner on to the many multiply-hyphenated, diasporic writers. In this panel of consummate border crossers, authors will discuss what it means to be an American writer in the world today, at home and abroad. Phil Klay, an Iraq veteran and author, Molly Crabapple, an activist, writer, and artist, and Laila Lalami, a Moroccan-American novelist and linguist, will discuss point of view, writing from within (and about) the U.S. borders and looking inward from abroad. Panelists: Molly Crabapple, Phil Klay, and Laila Lalami. Moderator: Pamela Paul.
  • STORM AND STORYTELLER, TEN YEARS ON: TWO WRITERS AND A PHOTOGRAPHER REVISIT KATRINA In recognition of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this panel brings together three of the storm’s most eloquent narrators: Dan Baum, Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans, Cheryl Wagner, Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around: A Memoir of Floods, Fires, Parades, and Plywood, and photographer Ted Jackson, Hurricane Katrina Then and Now. The panelists will reflect on their Katrina work, consider the responsibilities of journalists and writers in such crises—both as reporters and as storytellers—and share their perspectives on the city of New Orleans ten years after the storm. Reporter, writer, and New Orleans native Lolis Eric Elie, most recently of HBO’s “Treme,” will
    moderate the discussion. Panelists: Dan Baum, Ted Jackson, and Cheryl Wagner. Moderator: Lolis Eric Elie
  • CONVERSATION WITH RICK BRAGG In his biography of aging music legend Jerry Lee Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg has dared readers to “find one boring page in this book.” Indeed, the life story of the Louisianaborn music sensation known as “The Killer” is one that keeps eyes bulged and mouths agape. The son of Delta sharecroppers, raised as a “holy roller” Pentecostal, Lewis would go on to earn a reputation as a hell-raising rock ‘n’ roller who would shake the music world with his outlandish piano-banging theatrics and offstage scandals. David Johnson, editor of Louisiana Cultural Vistas and KnowLA, The Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana, will interview Bragg and discuss Lewis’ life and times. Williams Research Center.
  • LADIES WITH AN ATTITUDE Women have come a long way in the crime world from the days when they were either femme fatales, damsels in distress, or simply the murder victim. Where do things stand in the modern day world of crime writing? Join three successful women crime writers as they discuss the state of the art for women in the world of crime fiction. Panelists: Laura Lippman, Annamaria Alfieri, and Rebecca Chance. Moderator: Greg Herren. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant

SUNDAY:

  • A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LAHR Interviewed by Robert Bray How do you chronicle a life that defies illummation? John Lahr, the longtime senior drama critic for The New Yorker, has emerged victorious in this task. Lahr’s critically-lauded biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a triumphant weaving of Williams’ journeys as an artist and as a man. The mammoth undertaking involved a decade of research and writing, and illuminates Williams’ works and life, giving readers the added gift of titillating insight into the lives
    of the theatre greats who were Williams’ contemporaries. Join Lahr as he discusses his book, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, with Williams scholar Robert Bray.
  • A BYLINE OF ONE’S OWN: WOMEN IN LITERARY LIFE Where are the women on the page? Apparently not very many places as counts of magazines bylines by VIDA Women in Literary Arts have revealed. What does this mean for writers, readers, and the intellectual landscape of our time? Join us for a conversation about women as authors, critics, and readers in contemporary literary life with author Pamela Paul, who edits the New York Times Book Review, Brigid Hughes, founding editor of A Public Space who was formerly at the helm of The Paris Review, and independent publicist Lauren Cerand. Panelists: Lauren Cerand, Brigid Hughes, and Pamela Paul. Moderator: J.R. Ramakrishnan
  • BUILDING STORIES: A PANEL WITH A PUBLIC SPACE In a piece for the Brooklyn-based literary journal A Public Space, now collected in Best American Essays 2014, Yiyun Li wrote that “there are many ways to carry the past with us: to romantize it, to invalidate it, to furnish it with revised or entirely fictional memories.” But how can writers begin to shape experiences into engaging sentences, and what role can editors and mentors play in bringing
    stories to life on the page? Li will be joined on stage by A Public Space founding editor Brigid Hughes and APS Emerging Writer Fellow Vanessa Hutchinson for a candid discussion of fatalism in fiction, the importance of revision, and how writers – like their stories – can emerge in unexpected ways. Panelists: Yiyun Li and Vanessa Hutchinson.
  • NEW ORLEANS: CRAFTING A MYTHICAL CITY New Orleans looms large in the popular imagination, a city envisioned as a peculiar bohemian outpost, loosely attached to the United States in locality and mentality. Tourists seeking a foreign experience within America are drawn to this exotic metropolis, and many arrive with a perception shaped by a long literary tradition of writers who have played off the city’s reputation for eccentricity, debauchery, mystery, and corruption. From Mark Twain and Anne Rice to Tennessee Williams, Frances Parkinson Keyes, and journalists covering the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, this panel will examine how such writers have molded the image of the Crescent City and inadvertently commoditized it as a tourist destination. Panelists: Brian Boyles, Rien Fertel, and others TBA. Moderator: David Johnson

If you hear a cry of Stellaaaaa!!!! in the distance before Sunday, that will be me taking a break from a weekend long special project for the day job that pays the bills that lets me pay Mr. Zuckerman to make sure you see this post on Facebook.

DO NOT STOP OR START OR DO ANYTHING ELSE THAT COULD BE DANGEROUS March 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Two cups of coffee, an over-charged e-cigarette (27 milligrams of nicotine) and the lizards of adrenaline trace the paths of my nervous system with familiar claws. An ogre well-known hereabouts grinds the clockwork of my molars and a pill box monkey dances unwanted telegrams of ALL CAPS urgency to the discordancy of my broken pianos. [Draw upon the e-cigarette with irritable pencils.] The brown stains at the bottom of the cup forecast anxiety, desire and disappointment.. Big Pharma arrives in the waiting room wearing bespoken suits and pink salad bowls carrying sample cases full of cash to reward the doctors for their advice about my bad choices. The reps are peddling punch-foil sample papers of simple solutions to complex problems which the night sky, covered in starry equations, cannot solve, not before it is time to get up and greet the sun with another cup of coffee. I would go back to bed but the pillows are stained with forgotten exams and misplaced passports. The day is leaving without me and I have forgotten to purchase a ticket two weeks in advance. An unreliable narrator suggests solutions to the world’s Facebook agendas involving a black bandanna and a healthy disregard for the law. My sour stomach hollers obscenities from the balcony at the unanimous consent to pour a drink. The lap bar is locked and the cars do not stop (leering clown-faced attendant taking his leisure at the brake lever) and we are dragged clanking back to the top of the roller-coaster from which sunrise is visible over the event horizon from which there appears to be no escape from the plummet into centripetal gibberish.

Somebody scream!

Odd Words’ Tennessee Williams Festival Preview Part 1 March 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, The Typist, Theater, Toulouse Street, Writing, Writing Workshops.
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It’s Tennessee Williams Festival Week. Sadly, Odd Words will not be covering the festival as in recent years as the paying day job makes that impossible. Here, however, are the highlights for the first two days of the Festival (Thursday and Friday):
Program-Logo-Cropped
& Master classes kick of on Thursday at The Historic New Orleans Collection, including:

  • RANDY FERTEL: IMPROV AND THE ESSAY If improvisation generates spontaneous works of art inspired by the
    muses, born of instinct and intuition, and spurred on by revelry, then what city could be more nurturing of improv artistry than New Orleans? Join scholar, author and philanthropist, Randy Fertel, as he investigates the role of improv in the confecting of the essay and works of creative non-fiction. With the city that care forgot as a Dionysian backdrop, Fertel’s call to action, based on his A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation, may encourage hesitant artists to develop a taste for chaos and discover a recipe for pure and undiluted creativity. & This would be OW’s Go To Master Class. I’m reading the essay right now and I think this will be a fantastic event.
  • NIGEL HAMILTON & PATRICIA BRADY: WRITING TRUE STORIES So you want to write a real Life? Where to start, how to conduct research, organize your materials, scaffold the story—and bring it to life? And finally: for whom? Who is your audience, and what, in theend, do you want to communicate, and why? Two distinguished biographers, Nigel Hamilton whose latest work is The Mantle of Command; FDR at War, 1941-1942,and Patricia Brady (A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson), explain—and take you to the heart of biography today.
  • ROY BLOUNT, JR.: ALPHABET JUICE—GETTING THE GOOD OUT OF LETTERS Writing may be about any number of things, but it always consists of the alphabet, variously arranged. Always comes down to wrangling the ABC’s. So let’s take a close look at the building blocks of writing in this master class. In addition to writing bestselling books, Blount is a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary. You will enjoy his take on dictionaries, slang, rhyme, rhythm, and yes, weasel words. This will spice up your style, liven your language, and tickle your funny bone.
  • MICHAEL FARRIS SMITH: PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER How do you write a novel? Maybe the better question is how to write pieces of a novel. Thinking about the form as a sum of parts can help relieve the anxiety of the whole. How can you shake things up, give the novel the propulsion it needs to sustain? Discover some different strategies to use when thinking about the next step for your novel-in-progress and practice creating intruders for your story with in-class exercises that may give your work the push it needs.

& And you won’t want to miss this (I won’t since it’s after work): Don’t miss your chance for a first look at the next wave! New Orleans literary blog Room 220 will host the #TWF15 Contest Readings. The contests, part of our organization’s mission to encourage and support new talent, unearth the freshest new talent from hundreds of entries. Writers who have yet to publish a book compete for cash prizes, publication, and the honor of being selected by a judge. This year Molly Antopol (The UnAmericans) judged the Fiction Contest and Vijay Seshadri (3 Sections) judged Poetry. In this panel, the winning writers will read and discuss the contest with Seshadri and novelist Zachary Lazar (I Pity the Poor Immigrant). Press Street HQ, 3718 St. Claude Ave., free and open to the public.

& Another Not To Be Missed Event Thursday: JOHN WATERS: THIS FILTHY WORLD: FILTHIER AND DIRTIER Visionary filmmaker and one-of-a-kind personality John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Female Trouble,
and Hairspray) is bringing his show “John Waters: This Filthy World: Filthier and Dirtier” to New Orleans, presented in a presentation by Daniel Nardicio. Waters takes on taboo topics as only he can do in this hilarious and completely uncensored one-man show. Waters, who has been dubbed “the Pope of Trash” and branded “O for Offensive” by the Catholic Church, earned his bad reputation by turning bad taste into high art. Part confession,
part Vaudeville act, he’ll share his origins in the trash genre and his subsequent adventures.

& Friday’s Master Classes include:

  • LAUREN CERAND: LITERARY BUZZ AND HOW TO GET IT Lauren Cerand is the independent literary publicist you want in your corner. •In this Master Class, she’ll talk about innovative publicity now, from tricks-of-the-trade of the old school in traditional publishing right up to the evolved media landscape and social media of the present day.
    Attendees will have a chance to discuss their personal challenges and aspirations, and work towards formulating a sensible public relations plan that can serve as a “North Star” in order to orient themselves, and focus on strengths and strategy.
  • LAILA LALAMI: DECEPTIVE HISTORIES, TRUTHFUL FICTIONS If history is fated to be written by the victors, then fiction offers tantalizing alternate readings of official records. Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account follows
    conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez’s 1527 expedition to the New World. The 300-man enterprise ended with four survivors, three Spaniards and an enslaved African named Estebanico. The latter’s account—and role as the first African American explorer—is obscured in the authoritative historical chronicle. In her novel, a NYT Notable Book of 2014, Lalami imagines Estebanico’s story. She will discuss history as narrative force, her re-creation of the multilingual voices of the past, and the points at which facts turn into fiction with Festival literary programming
    director, J.R. Ramakrishnan.
  • JIM GRIMSLEY: THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH Writing fiction and nonfiction about painful subjects involves a willingness to expose the harder and more painful sides of ourselves. Grimsley will share from his own experience in writing nonfiction about the racial attitudes he learned in the South of his childhood, detailed in his memoir How I Shed My Skin, to be published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in April 2015. He will also discuss the different processes for approaching such difficult material in fiction and in nonfiction.
  • MARLY RUSOFF AND JONATHAN ODELL: AUTHOR AGENT ALLIANCE An agent and author explore their dynamic partnership in the today’s changing world of publishing. Roles are no longer as fixed in this brave new world of publishing. How does one navigate times of increased fluidity, where roles often need restructuring in the face of market demands? It’s exciting, fast-moving, and can be daunting, as events happen very much in real time. There are no easy templates but in this class, agent and publisher Marly Rusoffand author Jonathan Odell will share their experiences and innovative ideas about how to succeed in publishing in today’s world.

& Friday is also the annual Tennessee Williams Scholar’s Conference. Panels at the The Historic New Orleans Collection Williams Research Center 410 Chartres Street include:

  • Tom’s “good time girls”: Burlesque and Chorus Girls in Williams’s Early One-Act Plays — Dr. Annette Saddik, City University of New York, Mr. David Kaplan, Provincetown Theatre Festival, Dr. Michael Hooper, St. Margaret’s School (UK) Moderator: Dr. John Bak, Université de Lorraine (France).
  • The Paintings of Tennessee Williams — Dr. Cori Convertito, Curator, Key West Art and Historical Society John Bak, Mr. Bradley Sumrall, Ogden Museum of Southern Art Moderator: Ms. Margit Longbrake, The Historic New Orleans Collection.
  • Suddenly, Last Summer, Play and Film Discussion — John Lahr, former New Yorker drama critic Brenda Currin, actor Dr. Barton Palmer, Clemson University Moderator: Dr. Henry Schvey, Washington University.
  • Southern Literature and the White Trash Aesthetic — Dr. Andrew Leiter, Lycoming College, Dr. Meredith McCarroll, Clemson University, Mr. Jim Grimsley, Emory University, Moderator: Dr. Robert Bray.

& Literary Panels , Theatrical Performances, and Special Events for Friday (Odd Word’s picks; for the full list go to the Festival Website):

  • LOUISIANA WITNESS: HOMEGROWN NARRATIVES The gumbo of the American South’s identity comes from cultural histories as diverse, and in some cases more diverse, than America itself. So when writers, born of the region’s native locales, render and evoke the South, their personal narrative perspectives inform the stories that we receive and read. Panelists discuss how their characters bear witness to an ever-changing Southern social and cultural climate, evolving views of histories, and how these views inform the overall work. Panelists: M.O. Walsh, Rick Barton, Laura Lane McNeal, and Vicki Salloum.
  • SWEET AND SAVAGE: WRITING THE WOMEN OF THE SOUTH Southern women in fiction have faced and overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity, Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlet O’Hara and Alice Walker’s long-suffering Celie come to mind. In this region of sweet tea and magnolias, lynching and the Klan, female characters have long had to be less than genteel, perhaps at times even savage, in order to live their lives and protect those around them, as we see
    depicted in the works of the writers on this panel. Panelists: Natalie Baszile, LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Katy Simpson Smith, and John Warley. Moderator: Nancy Dixon
  • GOOD MORNING, BALTIMORE: LAURA LIPPMAN INTERVIEWS JOHN WATERS John Waters’ wry eye on pop culture has resulted in some of America’s most beloved cult films. The Pope of Trash decided to put his finger on the pulse
    of contemporary culture by hitchhiking across America, from his home in Baltimore to his home in San Francisco, armed with no more than his sardonic wit and a sign saying “I’M NOT A PSYCHO.” The book Carsick is an account
    of what he found. Another Baltimore icon, award-winning bestseller Laura Lippman, sits down with him to talk about what he found on his trip, the experience, and get some insights on America.

& More events the first two days include Southern Rep’s production of Suddenly Last Summer, matinee shows of HOTEL PLAYS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS (THEATER), in which The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival brings short plays by Williams including The Last of My Solid Gold Watches and Lord Byron’s Love Letter set in such rooms. At the Hermann-Grima House, 820 St. Louis Street, $30; and, BLUE DEVILS AND BETTER ANGELS: TENNESSEE WILLIAMS TRIBUTE READING These luminous readings will be comprised of scenes, monologues, poetry, and correspondence of Williams that relate to the struggles and triumphs of the spirit. Readers include author and cult filmmaker John Waters; playwright Martin Sherman; veteran stage and screen actors Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon; and John Patrick Shanley, who will read excerpts from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt. Also joining our cast are author/columnist “Ask” Amy Dickinson, and glamorous thriller writer Rebecca Chance. Curated by Paul J. Willis and Thomas Keith, and hosted by Keith. The Old Ursuline Convent, 1112 Chartres Street, $35.

Look for another listing Friday of the weekend’s events here on Odd Words, or visit the website for the complete program.

Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd March 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Smiling.

IN-A-GADDA-DE-DOLCE-VITA March 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is Friday. Innocence is not an option.

dolcevita6 (1)

I hear the singing of the undertow
where the anxious waves come and go.

I watch it greedily leach
away the sand beneath
Fellini’s beached monster.

The tide has drowned the beach.
The cafe angel waves. I cannot reach
her distant innocence from here.

I turn my back on the fantastic
and light another cigarette.

Let Sleeping Camels Lie? March 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I walk into Canseco’s and It’s Midnight at the Oasis on the ceiling speakers. It’s Day 4 of red beans, day 4 of late night meetings with our colleagues in that huge swath of the earth on China Standard Time. I’m eating a salad, again, to relieve the tedium of just red beans.

The best I can say about this week is last night a line came to me, and I forced myself out of bed in spite of my exhaustion and managed three draft strophes for a long poem I’m working on, a break-through, really, another approach to telling history through poetry without hitting a false note: typing, not writing.

Come Friday night at midnight, I am the camel. Coo coo ka choo. OK, maybe you weren’t born when that song came out or were waiting for Saturday night and the Lawrence Welk Show, but this is not a happy thought. Maria Muldaur was a pop pin up girl in my day, with Cher’s looks locks but a real woman’s body, not a stick figure. And a come hither voice in that song that sent chills up and down the spine.

Now I hear it and I remember the card I saw once in the same store, before the changed the racks. Over what hill? When? Where? I don’t remember any hil1!. (I add here my own: harrumph!) I don’t want to be the Camel. I want to be Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, both terrified to ride in a camel charge, finishing off a pint of scotch whiskey and milk before they took Aqabah from the land side. To paraphrase another song of long ago, I want to up get on my camel and ride before I’m so old no amount of extras and crew and scotch and milk can get me up in that saddle. I want to stop collapsing on Friday night like Welk’s dead accordion.

I better run. I think my sausage is about done. Wait, can I rephra…oh, never mind.

Good Night. Safe Home. March 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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NO. I am NOT going to the Holy Ground. (Write on the blackboard 100 times). I’ve had a 12 hour day and more to come this week.

The last little bit of Jameson is gone, and I’ve got a few bottles of Guinness and Altan for company.

When I die, after you leave my marker or scatter my ashes, I don’t ask for a brass band and Didn’t He Ramble. I ask every friend I’ve known (and one I haven’t met yet who can play the fiddle, or at least the penny whistle), to lead everyone away from the sad moment to the party to follow playing this, the one song I’ve heard in fifty plus years that marries sorrow and joy perfectly, that echoes the music of the Acadians whom my German ancestors were assimilated into.

Long ago, halfway into my exile, the Scottish host of The Thistle and Shamrock Fiona Ritche had Micheal Doucet on her show, and pronounced the Acadians the Lost Tribe of the Celtic Race. I felt this on my one visit to Ireland, especially the nights spent in small town inns. And I’ve taken that as license to drink a bit on this day, as I am right now, even though I am but 1/32nd Irish (and thank my sister whose Mormon genealogy, if I can lay hands on it, can give me the name and the county.

(NO. I WILL NOT go &c.)

(Echoes of drunken Welshmen abound in that last statement. But dammit, I shall not go. NO)

If you can talk Doucet into playing my funeral, I’ll promise to arrange for someone to return the ankle bells I drunkenly stole off the stage at the Mardi Gras Party at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA one long-ago carnival season early in my long exile. If he preceeds me, I will make arrangements for return of the bells myself.

A penny whistle would be just fine. I hear it in my head that way. May this tune carry you safe home tonight is my prayer.

Tommy Bhetty’s Waltz by Altan:

Redemption Songs March 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Now at the annual collision of our African, Celtic and Sicilian cultures, in this town where the African’s ripped from their villages and put into bondage were too valuable a property to risk so the hungry Irish were set to work and die digging the New Basin Canal, where the Sicilian residents of the French Quarter were lynched by practiced hands, the Mardi Gras Indians will come out even as the Irish and Italians stage their parades and the green beer and red wine will flow, and the streets will be lined with rotted cabbage heads, pork chop sandwiches and loose feathers, a celebration in the way only our entirely Creolized culture knows how to do best. In this one place God set aside like Nod for the rejects of Anglo culture and in which we have established (with a wink and a blind eye from God) all that the propaganda of the north promised in their lies, the true melting pot. It is time to to sing Redemption Songs.

Impacts of Fuzz Effect Guitar on Dopamine Uptake and Recycling Rates in the Brain of the Typist March 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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ABSTRACT: A study of the Fripp Effect, in combination with mellotron, in reducing states of oppositional misbehavior and inducing a state of exhilarated calm by the end of the second side.

Klaatu barada nikto mofo March 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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What Tumblr’s email robot thinks I should be doing with my life. Banking is not one of the choices. Wise, wise robot:

college versus gardening. You decide

I thought the other day, for a moment, how happy I was working my ass off trying to cram six credit hours of graduate school into four weeks: eating well, not smoking or drinking much, climbing that damn hill every day, brain fully engaged in poetry.

A castle helped. As did lunch. As did Venice.

Then again, I”m watching three people go through the end of their MFA on Facebook. Not a pretty picture, at least for two of them. Not naming names. You know who you are.

Gardening. I used to do that.

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
By Wm. B. Yeats.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

WHAT HE SAID March 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
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honk honk honk [listen closely]

Miller Time 3 1/2 Hours [Exit Only]

A Riddle Wrapped March 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The unwrapping of which is my current task, to crack the nut and find perhaps in the kernal an enigmatic way to live.

We are here to kill war. We are here to drink beer. We are here to live so well Death will tremble to take us.
— Charles Bukowski

My literary heroes acted out by impulses beyond their control the myth of the drunkenly suffering artist. Bukowski, John Berryman, Everette Maddox, all but the last dead too young and by their own hand (Berryman’s bridge, Maddox’s “Drinking Glass“).

If I have a credo in my life it is Bukowsi’s. How, then, to live a moderately happy life and honor it? Politics drives me to the brink of a stroke, Klonopin drowning in adreneline, and regrets that I tossed my copy of the Anarchist Cookbook. Not a good place, but when I first came home I managed to channel the anger into words and civil action. Beer we may take to understand what the Irish call good craic:companionship of friends, out of the house and having fun. It need not end in a hangover.

The last is the most difficult. I am bound in chains of my own forging to a life, no, a job that is an exchange of soul for money, but at the moment money is what I need. It robs me of so many hours, leaves me drained and empty eyed, all in service to a system I loath.

Moloch, whose soul is electricity and banks.
— Allen Ginsburg, “Howl”

When my careful online code name for my employers of the last several years is an idol into whose furnace innocent children were thrown, a dark god which represented for Ginsburg everything that was wrong with America: what more can I say than that except thank you Mr. Ginsburg for the apt shorthand.

I have just finished making some notes after my therapy session, a process I have just undertaken. It is clear from the flow of questions that my psychologer is still figuring out why I am there, as I am. And if I am serious about the process. Am I?

I tell myself I am in her office to solve the conundrum above, but am I really? Would freedom from the Pill Doctor put me in a place of less dependence, closer to the staticially happy, within six sigma of the Minnesota Multiphasic mean?

I was born to peddle roses down the avenue of the dead.
— Bukowski

Perhaps I am, in this city where the dead all have an address and history uproots the sidewalks in the form of oak roots. If I manage to decode my life into its constituent parts and reassemble it will those parts still be me? It is one thing to take the clock apart. It is another to put it back together. If I am anything at this point in my life am my words. Going to a therapist to try and get off the Klonopin, the molecules unable to distinguish between an unhealthy anxiety attack and the urge at the edge of sleep to rise up and write down that fragment of an idea, to sacrifice sleep to follow that thought wherever it may go, is a gamble. Perhaps I do not wish to be fixed in any conventional sense, but rather to manage the madness without resort to well scotch or a tall bridge. Or the Klonopin, to which I exhibit symptoms of tolerance and possibly dependence.

Perhaps I was borne to suffer at times, to relish irrational exuberance, and in my spare time to peddle my flowers down the avenues of the dead.

The Mind of Me is a Terrible Waste of a Thing March 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
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My EEG while at work today transubstantiated into sound. Primarily the part up to about 1:26 The heavy distortion effect is probably due to the coffee. The giant monkey may be the coffee or just me loosing it.

Damn, that’s a big monkey.

[coffee]

Radio Free Toulouse: In Case of Emergency Smash This Bottle and Go for the Door March 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist.
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In case of emergency are you prepared to execute the instructions on the seat back card in front of you? Are you? Ready?

Daylight Slaving Time March 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Moloch, New Orleans, The Odd, The Typist.
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Oh, by all means, let us schedule four days of meetings at 7:00 am my time, half an hour beyond the sacred hours of “protected time” that allows for the interaction of New York and their overseas developers and testers all on China Standard Time. What better week than the first of Daylight Slaving Time. Monday will run from 7 am to 6 pm. I will be reduced at day’s end to a sack of gibering idiocy, remote in hand and a book no where to hand.

Moloch is just in his mortifications. I have spent beyond my means to finish school and visit Europe, pointless exercises which added nothing to the Gross National Product or the annual earnings growth of my particular sect. I converted dollars to Euros, among my other sins.  Mea culpa, and pass the babes in finance down the long line leading to the furnace.

The American Duende of the Blues March 7, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Duende, music, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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El Taranto

Dame venemo
Si me quieres dimelo
Y si no dame venemo
Y sal a la calle y si
Yo mate a mi dulce dueno
Con vememo que le di

Give me poison
If you love me, tell it to me
And if not, give me poison
And go out on the street and say
I killed my sweet master
With the poison I gave him

— Traditional cante jondo

I love Irene, God knows I do,
I’ll love her till the seas run dry
But if Irene should turn me down,
I’d take the morphine and die

— Variant verse of “Good Night Irene” by Leadbelly

The continuous glissando of the cantaor’s vocal cords and the bending of notes upon the guitar with hard calloused Black finger or the glide of a bottle neck slide.

What you must search for and find is the black torso of the Pharaoh.
— Andalusian cantaor Manual Torre, to Federico Garcia Lorca, explaining the duende–the “soul” if you will, of cante jondo or deep song; paraphrased from Greg Simon’s introduction to Ralph Angel’s translation of Lorca’s Poem of the Deep Song

Song born of pain, of longing, and of pride. Simon continues:

The apex of Moorish culture, which is represented for eternity by the Alhambra, was hallowed out from below by the brutal, secular incursions of the crusaders and brought to an abrupt end by the reconquest…By the time of the destruction of the Spanish Armada…Andalusia had splintered…and soon sank like a breached caravel from the sight of the world. I’m convinced that Andalusia’s Gypsy cantaores…began to be called upon for the consolation inherent in their art.

‘We are a sad, static people,” Lorca wrote of his fellow Andalusians, ‘people [who] cross their arms in prayer, look at the stars, and wait uselessly for a sign of salvation.’ ‘Static,’ Lorca’s description of the Andalusian…invokes the idea of the power of the force of life, potential energy waiting to be called upon by those who must have it to survive.

The further I go into the cante jondo and Lorca, in search of clues to the duende, a possible explanation for my own familiar demons that express themselves sometime in poetry, it seems impossible not to link the deep song, the cante jondo, to the blues. And if you listen for it, it lurks in the portamento of the fiddles in the saddest low waltzes of the Acadians, America’s closest native-born analog of the Gypsies.

“The black torso of the Pharaoh,” the common link in the Gypsy’s origin myth out of Egypt, out of Africa; the marginalization and suffering of a people who lived in caves above the city, and the Black American experience of their own harsh marginalization (the three fifths), the profound combination of sadness and hope, the constant portamento of the cantaor and the blues player, speaks to me of the universality of the duende. There is a force of unknown origin, the soul, the collective consciousness, or as Lorca relates (quoted from Archer) “…the words of an ancient guitar player who told him the duende pressed up through the crust of the earth and into him through the soles of his feet.”

I stood more than once in a tai chi class and felt myself rooted to the earth, the energy rising up through my own soles to the tips of my extended fingers and continuing by a tenuous but palpable thread to the sky.

As I read Archer’s translation, familiar poems in new clothes, the overwhelming presence of the earth, of the Guadalquivir and other rivers of Andalusia, of the olive grove and the flower, I hear echoes of haiku and the poetry of Asia generally. I am carried back to Ezra Pound’s free translations from the Chinese, in particular to the “Lament of the Frontier Guard” and the “Song of the Bowmen of Shu:”

When we set out, the willows were drooping with spring,
We come back in the snow,
We go slowly, we are hungry and thirsty,
Our mind is full of sorrow, who will know of our grief?
— from “Song of the Bowmen of Shu”

(Wind and dust
Fashion prows of silver.
— Lorca’s “Clamor”)

Lorca, in his published lectures and essays, and in his poetry, speaks often of the cave dwellings of the Gypsies of Andalusia, as do his commentators. Caves, openings into the earth, the place closest to the spirits of the earth. As Lorca himself explains, the duende is not the angel or Greek muse born of heaven, but closer to a demon, a spirit of the earth. The duende follows the ley lines beneath the rock and flowers, circles the earth and–when conjured by by stout hearts with the scent of sorrow–comes forth in the voices and fingers of the poet, the player and the singer.

March 5, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Hell, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Will the circle be unbroken
Bye and bye Lord, bye and bye
— Trad.

The lyric, like it’s quixotic faith, defies logic: an endless loop with no exit. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. That’s probably as close to eternal life as I’ll ever get, given an endless supply of “revitalizing” shampoo. The words of the song are nonsensical. Faith in a Christian Heaven or a Buddhist Western Isle imply we have only one pass around the track before the checkered flag or the crash-and-burn. Only one turn.

Like fractal patterns, nature is partial to circles, the ripple being the simplest example. Still, the most perfect pi-in-the-sky ripple eventually meets the fractal shore, and begins its return, the last of its impulse entangled in countless other infinitesimal returns, ending in nature’s other favorite game: chaos. Chaos is the nature’s greatest trick. The ancients thought the first people, gods if you will, emerged from it bearing the spark of consciousness, the ability to defy the common misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics, to impose order out of chaos.

How then do we make order out of the chaos of a life? Life, my dear creationist, is not a closed system, and is capable of self-organization. We dodge the curve balls of a game fixed to nine innings but which, without the deus ex machina of the umpire could go on forever. It is thought a perfect game is when no one reaches base. Perhaps the perfect game is the one in which the trajectory from the mound to the plate and by human intervention to the stands could, in theory, go on forever. Nine innings, three strikes, a perfect game: we manage to make some order out of an uncrunchable number of agate variables. We manage to find the circles in chaos. I have closed my share, 57 orbits of the sun is one. My departure and return to New Orleans, returning to the university after an interruption of 30 years to find as I wrote my last paper a book left to the library by a favorite professor of my ragged start long ago, inscribed to his mother. Terminus, meet Circle. There is a poor payout chance the sun will come up this morning. Other things are not quite as certain: the number of seasons in a life, the clashing possibilities that we will simply decay and return as another circle, a perfect daisy; or the chance that there is an escape velocity to be achieved, either by Calvinist laws as rigid as Newton’s, or by a life of holy mortification. Even that path is not certain. Is it achieved by perfect faith in the road to the distant and distinctly invisible, or in the constant moment of the Tao? Place your bets, spin the wheel, take your chances.

Circles can be our undoing, each the link in a chain we forge to bind ourselves. Spend, work, pay day, spend, around and around and around until we have forged a chain of links we can no longer stand under the weight of. The modern concept of retirement, an escape from the circle, is just an attempt to build a little bit of heaven here on earth, but with each passing day of the current era that dream seems as distant as the throne of clouds. Economy is a closed system, and as the most clever among us–the ones who own the coal and iron and command chains forged by the mile–rely on us to do the digging. As they pile up their own burden of chains, our chances are diminished. The chains we forge are not our own, but we must wear them.

The children of Calvin offer their answer: let go, and let god. Your chains will fall about your feet but so, in perfect devotion void of curiosity, will some measure of your humanity. It doesn’t matter if I Google whether it was Marx or Engels who urged the workers of the world to slough off their chains. What matters is that all attempts along those lines have only forged new chains. The lesson here: even as I swallow the Klonopin of Big Pharma to calm the rage against the machines for the making of chains I serve, is that the only way out is to abandon all dogma: Adam Smith or Karl Marx, Christ or Buddha. (If you meet the latter on the road, you know what to do).

I will take Ikkyu as my model, the most undogmatic spiritual writer you will find. Whether standing in the shadow of a twisted pine contemplating the irregular perfection of a boulder in the distance, bent over the quotidian paperwork of a monastery or reclining, wine in hand, in his favorite brothel, he seems to me the best model for a life without chains. He accepted no rules except the necessary rituals of life: work, pleasure, contemplation. I should have chained myself to the front of the plow half an hour ago, but sit here (thief of time, a title that may be capitalism’s greatest invention), in contemplation. Later, I will meet some friends to drink fine ales. I may perhaps later go out to frolic for a bit with the Dionysians of Bohemia who chose a pub crawl fundraiser as a way to at least rattle their chains a bit, in the name of saving a bit of perfectly contemplative green space from the ravages of the deductible rounds of golf. It is not the wobbly sand pits but the perfect circle, that little cup waiting for the ball, that is the trap, just another link in the chain. Perhaps Ikkyu shows us the only escape, to jump off of the circling carousel, to forgo a chance at the brass ring the lawyers took away long ago, and sneak off for a bit mindful of but outside the rules. This may be as close to heaven as we ever get.

“That’s It For The Other One [Cryptical Envelopment/Quadlibet For Tender Feet/The Faster We Go The Rounder We Get”

Are we here yet?

DEADsiderata March 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, NOLA, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.
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Maybe you’ll find direction around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet you.
What do you want me to do, to watch for you while you’re sleeping?

Robert Hunter (lyrics), “Box of Rain” by the Grateful Dead

Rastaman the Griot: You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.

I’m On The Phone With Singapore March 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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is now my standing excuse for all night time engagements I would just assume not.

We got off early but damn it, I’m still on the phone with Singapore as far as you all are concerned.

I’m going to make a salad and read something.

Write One Hundred Times on the Board:

I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
Scully
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
Tarkovsky Films Now Free Online
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.
I will not watch X-Files when I should be reading or writing.

And, introducing our new tag: The Pointless. It sounds so unhopeful but think about it. Pointless. Without a point. If there is no point, I am neither here nor there. I am not in orbit, have no geographic or geometic reference or presence. I am working no angles, complementary or supplementary. I am adrift in the sea of me without compass or protractor.

All I can tell you with certainty is I am not in Singapore.

That is all.

Brilliantly Literate Occasional Gewgaws February 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
— Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac

Therapist: “What sort of writing do you do. I mean: long form, short form…”

Me: “Well, I primarily write poetry. And I have had these two blogs. The one called Wet Bank Guide…”

Therapist: “What was that?”

Me: ” WET Bank Guide. I used to work for a newspaper call the West Bank Guide and it seemed an apt title for a Katrina-focused blog…

[Pause to allow for brief scribbling. Therapist changes subject].

[Long, distracted, non-ADD pause by me to consider changing therapists after 1.5 meetings.

Nah, everybody does that].

I think I may refer to my therapist in this space henceforth as my “psychologer.” Not to be demeaning or anything. Just because I can. Because I am The Typist.

Any resemblance to psychologers real or imagined by others is orthoganally tangential and in the Particular & Peculiar Public Domain which I, The Typist, create here.

Time Out of Mind February 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Haiku, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist.
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image

I didn’t see one thing on my trip but I breathed and whatever I breathed was time
— Ikkyu

Find X February 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I AM PICKT UP AND SORTED TO A PIP. MY IMAGINATION IS A MONASTERY AND I AM ITS MONK.
— Keats to Shelley, taken from the epigraph page of John Berryman’s His Toy, His Dream, His Rest

Riddle me this, oh Minnesota Multiphasic: If ghosts or spirits do not influence people to do good or bad, how then to explain the history of mankind? Get back to me on that one when you have decoded the mystery of Consciousness
.

A. A violent order is a disorder; and
B. A great disorder is an order. These
Two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)
— Wallace Stevens, “A Connesieur of Chaos”

“I am a statistical outlier,” said I to the therapist on my initial intake visit. [Much scribbling] I recovered enough statistics from the vast cold storage of my idiosyncratic memory while studying for a Six Sigma Green Belt to understand Standard Deviation. I am, then, a deviant, and so potentially pathological. It is interesting that the application of these ideas to systems containing living breathing thinking feeling human beings comes from the Japanese, who value a Confucian conformity above all else.

¿&?

To what extent does a lifetime’s training to “do well” on anything involving a scantron render something like the MMP, which relies on an honest rather than a best answer, a quaint anachronism?

The 10 Clinical Subscales

The older MMPI-2 is made up 10 clinical subscales, which are a result of answering certain questions on the test in a specific manner:

Psychopathic Deviate (Pd) – The Psychopathic Deviate scale measures general social maladjustment and the absence of strongly pleasant experiences. The items on this scale tap into complaints about family and authority figures in general, self alienation, social alienation and boredom. The scale contains 50 items.

It is not strongly pleasant experiences that concern us here, but rather the absence in society at large of entirely rational and pervasive fits of rage and depression, that absence symptomatic of a society suffering a disturbing level of delusion about the culture and economic systems under which it lives.

¿&?

I am a valuable but dangerous commodity, something like uranium, in the work-a-day world: Exceptionally bright and good at what I do when inclined to do so (emphasis mine, and therein lies what might be considered the pathology), and militantly resistant to the subtle neo-facism of Corporate Culture. I am a time thief in service of other interests, and understand that the old ways of loyalty in service in return for reliable employment no longer apply: the social and employment contract (the latter at once subtly stipulated and explicitly repudiated) reduced to a grease can to oil the wheels of capitalism. I am by no choice of my own a contractor. I am Surplus Labor personified. In a world in which theft and commerce are one and the same I dare to place myself on an equal footing with the 1% in service of my own agendas. I carry away a tiny bit of Surplus Value in my pocket everyday from which I construct dangerous weapons of mass disillusionment: poetry, this blog and other forms of thought crime.

As I said above: I am, then, a deviant, and so potentially pathological but only to the extent I am subvervise (contagious in a pathological sense, a danger to The Others or, more importantly, to Them). This has always been a powerful undercurrent here on Toulouse Street. Careful if you wade in too deep. You may never find your way back. You have not washed up on Paradise Island. This is samidzat, a basement bivouac in the defense of Stalingrad haunted by a peasant folksong, a mine in the classical military sense beneath the prison labor camp we have built with our own hands.

Sixth months ain’t no sentence February 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Six months I have wandered and sought, excavated closets, scoured books, and read the crazed fragments of once familiar streets ( heaving in gentle tectonics, from dust to dust) & not even the iridescent scatter of glitter is enough.

Somebody, somebody must hold the key.

Henry’s Confession February 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist.
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—You is from hunger, Mr Bones, I offers you this handkerchief, now set your left foot by my right foot, shoulder to shoulder, all that jazz, arm in arm, by the beautiful sea, hum a little, Mr Bones.

—I saw nobody coming, so I went instead.

Radio Free Toulouse February 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Leon Russell, New Orleans, NOLA, pirates, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Resumes its broadcast schedue from our pirate tramp freighter located somewhere in the radar clutter of The Gulf.

We are prepared to repel boarders from BP’s Coast Guard and the forces of any other nation which does not recognize our right to Be. Watch out for the transdermally pychotropic water cannons, motherfuckers One blast and you’ll be Ours

If 6 Turned Out To Be 9 February 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Somwehere between the last half-slice of citalopram and the allegedly-theraeutic onset of amitriptilyne is something  like a lunar void, a period of uncertainty. The clinically inclined would consider this the expression of depression as the citaoprm washes out before the amitriptilyne kicks in. I consider it something akin to the social readjutment I experienced after forty days and forty nights in Europe, a combination of jet lag and culture shock.

I am rediscovering what it means to be me. In the first few days of the washout I felt an almost exuberant sense of myself, as if I had been mounted by the loa of Walt Whitman. Things then began to grow dark and uncertain, but that I realized is as any path in a journey through the underword should be.

I think the clonazepam has also about run its course, or what the fuck am i doing up at ten of six, and writing my second post in two days on my mostly quiescent blog after two cigarettes and half a cup of coffee. Cigarettes and coffee are two things the new therapist I did a mostly uncomfortable intake with the other day suggests we will have to address. She spoke of a box, in which cigarettes, caffine and alcohol have no place for the chonically anxious. I described myself as a statistical outlier in any battery of tests she may wish to administer, a point well outside the box of the consensually acceptable.

Not a good start.

“Nicotine is a drug, you know,” she said at one point. And what, I was tempted to ask, are clonazepam, amitriptilyne, citlopram and the whole cryptic galaxy of SSRIs the medical profession has perscibed to me in the ĺast several years, along with a course of lamotrigine at a higher dose than a friend’s husband–a full-blown manic-depressive–was perscribed by the former head of the Tulane Medical School pychiatry department?

I am up early, writing. I have a private blog that I hide online from all but invited friends called Poems Before Breakfast, named for the quiet time which I found to write in the tense last years of a disolving marriage inhabited by two teenageers. What role does the deminishing effectiveness of the clonazepam and the absence of an effective pharma cocktail for depression play in this place in space time, in which my fingers find the keyboard and I am unafraid to express my deepest feelings in a highy public way?

What then is the problem we are trying to solve? Caffeine and alcohol are also drugs, but if I calm an anxiety attack with two fingers of Buffalo Trace and the the strange place I am in is one where the amitriptilyne lets me get a decent night’s sleep without fucking with my brain what, for all its transient discomfort, is this place in which I am driven to write, to see myself with a clarity long obscured by over-mdication? What if it is Home, my Axis around which I orbit? What is the purpose of submitting myself to the drug-driven clinicians of phsychology and psychiatry?

The new therapist didn’t answer my question when I asked if the negatively charged phrase “wash out” was a clinnical term. She only scribbled some notes. I deduce it means the period during which the cumulative effects of pharmacology flush themelves out of my system.

It is an unsettling place, but so was my beloved New Orleans when I first returned from Europe.

~

I just want to talk to you.
I won’t do you no harm.
I just want to now about your different lives
On this here people farm.”

Lately I have found more therapeutic value in Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love than I think I will get from any $200 an hour clinician with her DSM, the box-like book of consensual normality from which I declare myself an outlier, a six sigma enigma no re-engineering can or should correct.

Sorry, doctor, but I have had a problem with boxes since I failed in art in the first grade for refusing to color within the lines. I am not sure my comfortable zone is found in the rigid, rectngular pages of the DSM. I am not sure any empathetic and intelligent person should feel comfortble in the world They* are building around us, unless integration is simply another word for cheerful ignorange and compliance.

If the sun refused to shine.
I don’t mind. Idon’t mine.
If the mountains fell in the sea,
Let it be. It ain’t me.
I got my own world to live through
And I ain’t going to copy you….

If the mountains fall
Just don’t let them fall on me…

I think the untriggered anxiety attacks I have had lately whoch wwre well-controlled in medical parlancet rhat led me to visit the pill doctor and schedule myself into the therapist are simply a call to withdraw for a bit into the bariatric chamber of myself, to emerge ready to lift the face plate and announce this planet habitable by the likes of me.

If I cycle through all of the colors of emotion in patterns unpredictable by the mathematics of wave form oscilloscope EEG, well, there are other branches of mathematics and acience that posit alternative universes. Perhaps I am just a visitor in this world, who’s purpose is to take extensive notes such as this–not a catalogue of anthopological field notes but a travelogue–and sometimes sculpt them into poetry. We each have our own path through this planet of forms I find at once alien and interesting.

Perhaps I should just ask the Axis. He knows Everything.

~

* For more information on Them, I recommend a careful reading of Amiri Baraka’s “Somebody Bombed America” supplemented by the more personal and localized blog post on Wet Bank Guide “In the Zone.”. Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow should be considered an essential supplementary text

Mendacity February 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Somewhere out There (not here) Endymion leans on his shepard’s staff and contemplates the moon. This is so distant from what will erupt a few blocks away this evening as to be almost out of reach, but I would choose to be there however long the walk.

Somewhere along the canals of Venice, or climbing the Albaicín in the midday hallucinatory alleys of the past I lost Carnival and I’m not sure where to find it. The Bacchanal of of this weekend holds no appeal, hasn’t for years, really. The endless parade of megafloats is a Zero, not a point but a hollow as big as infinity, god’s bottomless junk drawer. I have abandoned MoM’s, filed it away as memories of Arabi long ago.

Tuesday they promise rain.

What is missing is me, the old Dionysian me. I looked in my costume trunks (smelling a bit of midew; all must go in the wash), but did not find it there. I know it’s in here somewhere, likes to sneak off to the Holy Ground and play the chatty barfly. I start to wonder if I can find it Here, in this city of my birth. It is drowning again and too few seem to notice, our Lord Mayor the Krewe Captain of the final Americanization, an apocalype as large as Katrina and similarly invited by those who refused to see the faults were not in the stars but in themselves.

Today my neighborhood is Kenner, just another big box strip mall boulevard just off the exit marked America 1/4 mile. (America 1/8th mile. America 1/16th mile. American 1/32nd mile…), a paradox I have no interest in teting. My friend the Pill Doctor would call this depression but it is not. It is a sadness as infinute as zero, a nostalgia for all that was almost lost in apocalypse and a sadness that those who did not drown are being sold into the galleys to pull their oars like Real Americans.

I am not a real American. I think the last vestiges of anything ike patriotism were burned away when the last Apollo climbed into the morning sky. I simply didn’t realize it until the Federal Flood washed away all illusions, a catastrophc baptism into what? Something like a promised salvation, a clean slate in the aftermath that proved itself the medicine bottle of a thousand Cousin Dudley’s who’s only interest is to cash in on mendacity.

BIG DADDY: I’ve lived with mendacity!—Why can’t you live with it? Hell, you got to live with it, there’s nothing else to live with except mendacity, is there?

New Orleans as Big Daddy, dying of cancer that has spread to murder, greed, conformity, and the lot of them–the mayor, the uptown money, the downtown carpetbagers–all circling, eyeing each other, trying to get their hands on 28,000 of the finest acres this side of the Nile.

That is what Endymion and Bacchus are to me: mendacity, the Lexus and American Express suburbanites slumming in the city tossing trinkets to the pick up truck port-o-let crowd come downriver from Kenner pretending this is Carnival.

Carnival is not Blaine Kern and a movie star grand marshall. Carnival is a Spirit and I’m looking for a preacher who knows that Holy Ghost. Perhaps if it’s warm and rainy Mardi Gras, I will walk naked as Ezekial through a mostly empty Quarter with eyes like wheels of fire, one saved in the desert by ravens while looking for my place in the story I seemed to have laid aside and lost track of, a prophet of the wrathful god of water, preaching sin and sin again in perfect innocence while we still have time, before one flood or another washes the slate so clean Noah cannot find the mount.

Crow’ Theology January 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in poem, Poetry, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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By Ted Hughes

Crow realized God loved him —

Otherwise, he would have dropped dead.

So that was proved.

Crow reclined, marvelling, on his heart-beat.

And he realized that God spoke Crow —

Just existing was His revelation.

But what

Loved the stones and spoke stone?

They seemed to exist too.

And what spoke that strange silence

After his clamour of caws faded?

And what loved the shot-pellets

That dribbled from those strung up mummifying crows?

What spoke the silence of lead?

Crow realized there were two Gods —

One of them much bigger than the other

Loving his enemies

And having all the weapons.

One Upon A Bayou January 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in History, New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Once upon a bayou an old man and woman came down Esplanade almost daily to the shore. Under the watchful eyes of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (C.S.A) the man sat beneath an unravelling straw hat with a cane pole, fishing. The woman in an apron bent and picked dandelion greens in the ancient posture of the plantation. She placed them in an old, plastic ice cream bucket on which the plastic handle had been replaced by a string of twine.

Once upon a time there were such people? There are no lard-fried bream and dandelion green dinners preserved in the freezer aisle at Winn-Dixie. On my way home, turning north at the General’s statue–the direction of his resentful gaze–on the bank a small tractor pulls a spray tank, scarecrow arms extended. Dandelions no longer mar the view of park lawns from the high-rise apartment building on the opposite shore.

Once upon a time there were such people.

Introduction to a longer poem, and a parable for New Orleans. If you chose someday not to publish the poem because of this post, fine. Return to munching leaves or carrion, after your scaly fashion. Your time will come, too.

Diary of a Hermit Crab Home Worker January 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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February 26. Covered 172 miles. Cloudy sky, grey sea. Nothingness.

February 27, Covered 94 miles. Blue sky, blue sea. Nothingness.

– Log entries from Bernard Moitessier’s The Long Way

[Loop: Marlboro Theme Song Performed by the Incredible String Band} January 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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After a long day, toss all those hours of staring at cryptic test cases written by people with marginal English language skills who are clearly feasting on brownies they are not sharing with you into the back of your pickup, spit on your hands, and crawl behind the wheel with a Frosty 40 of Tree Frog. Peel out, spreading gravel and greenhouse gasses everywhere, Adolph’s mountains spewing spring water in the background while the swine soar on the katabatic drafts and the eagles squeal as the winds flatten their pens. It’s Syd Barrett Time.

Googlizing Chaucer January 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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A Googlization:

When the top thrill is with his shores shoot the drop of march have to use it to the roots and bad it everyday in the inspection cool down a with the 2 engine dude is the new were windsor forest with his sweet degrees inspired houston every houghton he’s the tender crap is in the youngest son the house in the damages have a seat on the small follows making melody that sleep with all the night with open ye so cricket him nature is courage is that long getting folk to go on pilgrimage is and the polymers for 2 seconds strangest on the phone all screwed in sundry longs and specially from every cheers end of England to come to Daddy they will and the holy blissful market for to seek for them have opened. One that they were sick just fill that in the season on the day in South look at the tall bottle as I lay ready to wind in on my pilgrimage to Canterbury with full devote caraj at night was comin into that Austin very well nine and twenty in a company year of somebody folk buy a venture follow in fellowship and pilgrims were they all that towards Canterbury woods and ride the tram but as in the stables what it in wide and well aware wedding exit off the Beast and shortly when the Sun was the to rest so how do I spoken with him ever return that I was out of here federal ship on on and made forward early for to rise to take our way there as it all divisor,

The Taste of Carnations January 9, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Tonight of all nights I would hear the saddest songs.

This wine of the Alicante,
dark as blood spilt by night,
sharp as flint, a spark
in the sparkle with the savor
of must fresh from dusty feet
walked hard and long buried.

I would taste carnations
fed with the blood of bulls.

Tonight I would hear the saddest songs
because joy is a wind
that blows hot and cold
but sadness outlasts empires.

Knife Switch December 31, 2014

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Or, The ritualistic use of tobacco and whiskey in modulating irregularities in pharmacologically induced states of a socially integrated and productive equilibrium perceived by the subject as happiness.

Z-z-z-z-z-Zap. The knife switch (sparks optional). Too drowsy to read at 8:30 p.m. Prisoner-in-the-spotlight wide awake at 10:30 p.m. mad-scientist

One whiskey, two whiskeys, three whiskeys, snore. The addition of Buproprion to an SSRI regimen to combat a lethargy born of a crisis in the ability to give a fuck is not indicated if significant sleep disturbances occur. Such disturbances lead to a reliance on coffee (praised be its name) to overcome the loss of sleep resulting in an aggravation in sleep disturbances. Don’t drink so much coffee is not included in the detailed, agate-type instructions and cautions.

Socially integrated. Forget Integration of the Self, the once Holy Grail attainable by psychotherapy or a whispered, $300 personal mantra.

‘Selfhood’ or complete autonomy is a common Western approach to psychology and models of self are employed constantly in areas such as psychotherapy and self-help. Edward E. Sampson (1989) argues that the preoccupation with independence is harmful in that it creates racial, sexual and national divides and does not allow for observation of the self-in-other and other-in-self.

The very notion of selfhood has been attacked on the grounds that it is seen as necessary for the mechanisms of advanced capitalism to function. In Inventing our selves: Psychology, power, and personhood, Nikolas Rose (1998) proposes that psychology is now employed as a technology that allows humans to buy into an invented and arguably false sense of self. In this way, ‘Foucault’s theories of self have been extensively developed by Rose to explore techniques of governance via self-formation…the self has to become an enterprising subject, acquiring cultural capital in order to gain employment’,[23] thus contributing to self-exploitation.

Integration, then, into what? My current state of disintegration–indicated by the inability to give a fuck, by anti-social tendencies bordering on agoraphobia relieved only by occasional atavistic, narcissistic forays into barflyism–is unlikely to be relieved by anything short of a trip to Room 101. Some breakthrough is required but in my current state of disinsurance it will have to be a breakthrough of my own making.

There are a million doors in the naked city, exterior and interior, almost all of them painted in a uniform palette of whites . How then to find the one that may be opened by the application of the correct bottle (larger or smaller), by incantation (Speak, Friend) or by kicking the fucker down? What lies beyond it, in the magical land where old dogs learn new tricks? (Everybody’s going to be happy/That means you and me, my love). Or is consideration of this possibility simply another trap set by society to keep us moving along (nothing to see here; you’ll be late for work), a new flavor of savior on a stick?

In the event of an emergency, are you able to fill in the blank seat-back card in the pocket in front of you and execute what you have written?

Enter Title Here December 27, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Some days demand nothing, not a vacuum but an absence of structure. At the holidays in particular there comes a point where a day of aimless amble, perhaps a ramble through Cansecos for a few necessities; all the chores stored up for this expensive long weekend started but left unfinished, at least for today. It is raining. There is a hangover involved, and out too late mesmerized past sense by music. I slept until one, my careful attention to keeping myself on a reasonable schedule when I must get up at 6:30 a.m. most days but have no office where I must appear except as an icon on a screen; that’s shot all to hell. That is where the nothing began: nothing as tangible as the sink of dirty dishes or stepping over the scattered winter clothes on my floor but an abstraction, a one not a zero or a two. A nice, round number, admimiting no possibility of the computation of an endless irrationality. I debated coffee versus pillow, a day of black emptiness but decided I ought to try to get back on something like Corporate Standard Time. The house cleaning I began to late yesterday (as I lingered over a book I wanted to finish) can wait. I might file a few of the carefully stacked papers, clean off the kitchen table, pass a Swiffer over the freshly mopped floor where I spilled coffee grinds this morning. Or I might not. I have other books to linger over. The grey overcast is a lullaby of listlessness, relieved only by the pool of lamplight at the couch. A new book, the Kinks anthology I received for Xmas, grown children who do not demand to be taken out into the snow or to the theater for some Xmas release, no demand to make Barbie talk or battle to conquer the Pokemon universe. Those days are long behind me. Nothing ventured, nothing gained: nothing true about that statement. A careful review of the mix of “See My Friends” by headphones, the new book of poetry from the book club I just rejoined. Nothing ventured, something gained: composure, an easing of the infernal spring inside my head, yesterday’s escape from Beckett’s The Unamable, my own compelling or distracting voices stilled by the overwhelming presence of the narrator’s voices. The only voice today is recognizably my own, relaxed enough for the first time in uncountable time to simply share my thoughts here, the pinnacle of the day. That and perhaps a piece of pie.

The Unnamable December 26, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, literature, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Three Novels: Molloy / Malone Dies / The UnnamableThree Novels: Molloy / Malone Dies / The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Malloy? By all means yes. Malone Dies? Unquestionably. Read it soon. The Unnamable, well, unless you recognize that voice, unless that voice of imagination and uncertainty, curiosity and fear is unceasing in your head, that voice springs out of your dreams and into full stream the moment you awake, then proceed with caution. This way madness lies. If the narrator stills your own voice, replaces you own neurotic fantasy dystopia with The Unnameable, bringing with it the calm of insomniac familiarity, strengthens your resolve to not surrender to the utter certainty of despair, this last book may, perhaps, but not certainly (one can never be certain) be suitable for you.

View all my reviews

A Child’s Christmas in Wales December 25, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Coal is Good December 24, 2014

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Fortin Street, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The NOLA Bloggers battle of Bad Xmas Videos drags on is far behind us, but a contender on Facebook comes out of nowhere "swinging", and a dark sense of foreboding settles over the trenches like a dusting of snow. Since Laibach seems to still be working on the Final Mix of the increasingly apocryphal A Very Fascist Xmas, we'll have to settle for this. It starts out with the voice of a tortured soul signing a recognizable carol then swells up into something profoundly disturbing. What is Odd is that this is structured around an actual carol. These people make Korn doing Jingle Bells sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Happy Birthday Jesus. The part where it sounds like wolves are tearing the band apart at around 2:30 is particularly unsettling. If you make it all the way through this you are deeply disturbed. I have to go now and sacrifice a small goat to The Horne'd One In the Dark Forest wrap presents.

Matthew 25:40 December 24, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The old version of A Junkie’s Christmas has been taken down from YouTube due to multiple copyright violations by the poster, and the new one cannot be embedded here because there is no commercial partnership between WordPress and YouTube.

I think this perfectly embodies the entwined spirits of modern Capitalism and Xianism.

The video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6kHN92Yv48

If you wish to keep X in your Xmas, there are still shopping hours left to get yourself a whip and drive the cashiers out of the nearest department store.

30 Century Man December 11, 2014

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The video is a complete waste of your time: full of sound and worry, signifying nothing. I created it a few years ago Christmas after spending an entire day watching a House marathon, an activity for me that is not far removed from standing on a ledge throwing pigeons at the fire department while shouting gibberish.

Perhaps it’s not a complete waste of time. Not of mine, at least. Despite any desire to vanish into Africa or the South Pacific, I am not that likely to jump the next freight west to search for the ghost of Charles Bukowski in the sun-shocked underworld that is L.A. Maybe it’s just something I needed to get out of my system, a swollen psychological boil painfully anticipating the sitz bath of annihilation.

If this video speaks to you in some way, it may not be too late to get help. I find the drug stores in New Orleans among the finest in the world. You traverse the liquor aisle to reach the pharmacist.

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