nerve + wire
August 14, 2014
August 11, 2014
All This Time
I’ve been living the wrong life.
I stepped out to bring in the milk
15 years ago
and now I see
I’m in the wrong house.
Who is this man
with the plaster dust on his hands?
What are these children doing in the kitchen?
The boy is skinny, smells
of goat, mixes Cheerios
and Alpen in his cereal bowl. The girl
reminds me of a jug
my mother had,
the china so fine, the milk shone
a blueish light through it.
Where are my bright
skirts, my heavy silver rings,
the red in my hair?
Shazea Quraishi (2007)
June 24, 2014
Bad books on writing tell you to ‘WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW’, a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery.
June 20, 2014
The parturition of a writer, I think, unlike that of a painter, does not display any interesting alliances to his masters. In the growth of a writer one finds nothing like the early Jackson Pollock copies of the Sistine Chapel paintings with their interesting cross-references to Thomas Hart Benton. A writer can be seen clumsily learning to walk, to tie his necktie, to make love, and to eat his peas off a fork. He appears much alone and determined to instruct himself. Naïve, provincial in my case, sometimes drunk, sometimes obtuse, almost always clumsy, even a selected display of one’s early work will be a naked history of one’s struggle to receive an education in economics and love.
Keep doing what you’re doing and stick to poetry and starve.
Maybe happiness is this: not wanting to be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.
April 11, 2014
Then again, the Internet is a new kind of barometer for keeping track of exactly how old you feel: how many things you don’t get, how many mini-Internet worlds you can’t find the door to; exactly how many crickets in the world you can no longer hear chirping. Unlike in generations past, when (I imagine) you just kept doing what you and your same-aged friends did, and aged into obscurity in comfort on a cloud of your own tastes and generational inclinations, until you died either thinking you all were still the coolest or not caring anymore about being cool, these days the Internet exists in part to introduce you to all these things you didn’t know about, but in part to remind you how much there is out there that you’ll never know about. The Internet is basically like being at a house party and trying to find the bathroom and opening up a door to a room where a bunch of kids are playing a game or doing a drug or having an orgy (metaphorically) or something and you get all flustered and say, “Oh, my God, I’m sorry!” and they all look at you like, “You pervert,” and you quickly slam the door shut. Everywhere you go on the Internet there are rooms you don’t understand, people playing games you don’t know the rules to, teenagers doing drugs you’ve never heard of and can’t even pronounce. And you just walk through the halls of this house party, aging in fast forward, until you open the one last door at the end of the hallway and it’s Death. Ha, ha.
April 10, 2014
You might come here Sunday on a whim.
Say your life broke down. The last good kiss
you had was years ago. You walk these streets
laid out by the insane, past hotels
that didn’t last, bars that did, the tortured try
of local drivers to accelerate their lives.
Only churches are kept up. The jail
turned 70 this year. The only prisoner
is always in, not knowing what he’s done.
The principal supporting business now
is rage. Hatred of the various grays
the mountain sends, hatred of the mill,
The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls
who leave each year for Butte. One good
restaurant and bars can’t wipe the boredom out.
The 1907 boom, eight going silver mines,
a dance floor built on springs—
all memory resolves itself in gaze,
in panoramic green you know the cattle eat
or two stacks high above the town,
two dead kilns, the huge mill in collapse
for fifty years that won’t fall finally down.
Isn’t this your life? That ancient kiss
still burning out your eyes? Isn’t this defeat
so accurate, the church bell simply seems
a pure announcement: ring and no one comes?
Don’t empty houses ring? Are magnesium
and scorn sufficient to support a town,
not just Philipsburg, but towns
of towering blondes, good jazz and booze
the world will never let you have
until the town you came from dies inside?
Say no to yourself. The old man, twenty
when the jail was built, still laughs
although his lips collapse. Someday soon,
he says, I’ll go to sleep and not wake up.
You tell him no. You’re talking to yourself.
The car that brought you here still runs.
The money you buy lunch with,
no matter where it’s mined, is silver
and the girl who serves your food
is slender and her red hair lights the wall.
October 30, 2013
Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse