cd collection

Linen and such

The metaphor of human life as a fabric, a woven thing, is a bit worn, if I might be allowed the pun. The Moirai of ancient Greese were not weavers but spinners, as one spun the thread, one measured, and one cut the thread of a life, leading to the idea that social life is something like a tapestry made up of many threads. It is hoary enough to be a cliché, really, but I nonetheless found myself dwelling on it after reading William Davies’ The Happiness Industry, which is about, among other things, the fact that our current capitalist moment makes people so unhappy that their lack of desire to work is causing corporations concern, hence the push to sell us various forms of happiness and well-being. Of course, this only makes matters worse, for a variety of reasons that Davies nails pretty well, and among the solutions he offers is that we talk to one another more, and listen, and argue, and not get everything through a branded media stream (which is hard, given that many of us speak and think using the terms and concepts of that stream to define ourselves). So, I have been thinking about the…
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Opportunities to gain perspective abound

I heard a commotion outside the window, so I went in the backyard and found a squirrel who’d fallen and, I believe, broken its back, because when it saw me it tried to run up a tree with only its front feet, dragging its lower half behind it. When I heard the commotion, I’d been fretting about part of a poem I was writing about the US highway system, trying to figure out how to get some reference to the Federal-Aid Highway act of 1956 in there while still sounding poetic enough. Seems like a pretty stupid thing to fret about, now. The squirrel made up the tree as far as the top of our fence, perched for a while, staring at me, breathing like a creature with a broken spine would breathe, then kept going, up the tree, one claw at a time. Once he was gone, I let the dogs out to sit in the sun. CDs I’ve listened too, as I listen to all the CDs I own, one at a time: 801) Box Set: Pere Ubu: Datapanik in the Year Zero(fuck yeah); 802) Various: I Put a Spell on YouL The Okeh Story; 803) Beastie Boys:…
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Pretty pretty

“An aesthetic response to forms is essential to the attainment of an authentic subjectivity and a creative self-illuminating awareness that is immersed in nature beyond the vacillations of personal emotion” –Heine   The judgment of a thing as beautiful is typically predicated on comparison, that the characteristics of the beautiful thing are superior to another, flawed, less beautiful thing. Thus, beauty and perfection are aligned, beauty is the expression of the most perfect example of a thing, which strikes me as very Platonic. A better understanding of beauty, one that I’ve worked toward possessing without articulating it, is one of recognizing that everything is an example of perfection, and hence of beauty, and the hard work is not in discerning value by comparison with other things of the same class, but in being able to recognize, fully, the beauty of anything, in and of itself. So, a splotch of whitening bird shit on the sidewalk is beautiful in and of itself, though of course it is in a different class of things from a painting, or a symphony, or a skyscraper, or genetically modified seeds. I include the last because there are a whole class of things that I want…
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Moving

Hey hey, new(ish) book of poetry by me available! No Tribe, No Tribute poems by Marc Pietrzykowski Print: $13. 82 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1479212637 ISBN-10: 1479212636 I am about to start moving this blog, the Pski’s Porch site, and also my music sites to Rebelmouse, in order to spend less time dodging spam and phishing posts. If you’ve never tried to host a website, you’d be surprised how many people think posting “Hey, love your site! I’ll be sure to share it with all my friends” and then linking it to “bigtit.cialis.xxxcom” will somehow work. I guess it must. So, sometime in the next few weeks, on to Rebelmouse. Cds listened to (I can see the end. The last 2-300 or so are stretched out before me…): 672) The Staple Singers: Collector’s Edition: 673) Souad Massi: Deb; 674) Iggy Pop: Nude and Rude; 675) Rosemary Clooney: Sentimental Journey; 676) Michelle Shocked: Captain Swing (so sad, watching folks go mad); 677) Me’shell Ndegeocello: Plantation Lullabies; 678) The Pogues: Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash; 679) Taraf de Haidouks: Taraf de Haidouks; 680) Gogol Bordello vs. Tamir Muskat: J.U.F.; 681) Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I; 682) Mum: finally we are no one; 683) Bascom…
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Books Books Books

Yes indeed, just what the world needs, more books. Well, actually, yes, the world does need more better weirder books, methinks, and so I’ve started a publishing — company? cooperative? club? cadre? — some kind of tiny organization meant to produce and disseminate print and digital books. More reasons why at www.pskisporch.com. Wow, CDs. I might actually be halfway through listening to all my CDs, in order, as has been the occasional purpose of this blog for most of its life: 574) Midnight Oil: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (forgot how great this was); 575) Brahms: The 3 Piano Quartets; 576) Richard and Linda Thompson: Hokey Pokey; 577) einstürzende neubauten: Silence is Sexy; 578) Los Lobos: Kiko (thanks); 579) Ethiopiques: Ethio Jazz and Musique Instrumentals, 1969-1974; 580) dredg: el cielo; 581) Michelle Shocked: Short Sharp Shocked (hell yes); 582) Los Jubilados: Cero farundulero; 583) BR-549: BR-549; 584) Tom T. Hall: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 and 2; 585) Outkast: Stankonia; 586) NRBQ: Peek-a-Boo, Best of; 587) Traffic: The Collection; 588) Michelle Shocked: Deep Natural; 589) Belly: star; 590) Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star;  591) Patti Smith: Banga (good on ya); 592) Kolveri…
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Pots and Pans and Poetry Books, too

Possible Crocodiles, by Barry Marks. Brick Road Poetry Press, 2010 The Coal Life, by Adam Vines. U of Arkansas Press, 2012. One of the things missing from a lot of the current poetry I’ve read is a strong sense of personality, that the poem in question is not simply a slight variation of the last one and the next one, but emerges from a sensibility unafraid to take chances, look the fool, leap into a crevasse…. I guess people are thus everywhere, not just in poetry: people tend to establish their personhood within a fairly limited set of largely environmental parameters, and even the biologically determined characteristics tend to find expression through cultural norms. If you like the predictability of people, and I think many people do, then this is a fine state of affairs. If you are more neophilic, as I am, then you get bored quickly and turn small talk snarly and weird at any opportunity. I am willing to grant that we live, in the USA at least, in a very conservative, corporatist, conformist period of history, but I’m not sure that accounts for the relentless predictability of so much art, and so much poetry, produced in…
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Stuffs and Things

I’m exhausted with coverage of the Republican party flaming out in the US, and I don’t even watch TV. It does seem clear we are witnessing the death rattle of the GOP, hence all the coverage of conservative heads discussing what bulbous phoenix will rise from the ashes… and like I said, I don’t even watch TV, or listen to the radio much, but I get enough out of the corner of my ear to put it all together. Then again, I don’t care: not about Republicanism, whether or not there need be such a counterweight to what Democrats and progressives propose is a topic for another day. It’s the coverage I’m sick of, it’s tawdry at best, and downright depressing in a worry-about-the-fate-of-the-species manner. But, it’s in the air, so to speak, and that’s my excuse for thinking about media coverage of the Republican primaries, circa 2012, when reading this tidbit: the motion performed by us in consequence of irritation, are owing to the original constitution of our frame, whence the soul or sentient principle, immediately, and without any previous ratiocination, endeavors by all means, and in the most effectual manner, to avoid and get rid of every disagreeable…
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Charles Potts: Inside Idaho

For a few years, at the tail end of graduate school and the nose end of my post-graduate life, I wrote many reviews and essays about poetry, most of them very critical, some of them snarky, some even caustic. I’m not sure now why I chose to write that way, other than the books I was reading really did leave me feeling dry and uninspired, but soon enough the job of trashing even poems that I genuinely loathed became a chore. So, I stopped, but lately I have again felt the urge to write about poetry, instead of just writing poetry, to find some contemporary poets whose work I can dive into, read deeply, and learn something from. My only agenda is to try and stay away from the standard reviewers tool box: no poetic genealogies (unless absolutely necessary), no armchair psychology, no breathless-but-nonsensical praise; even if I dislike a certain kind of poetry, I will at least try to learn to read and judge it on its own terms. Then again, I might have another agenda, one (or more) that I’ve hidden from myself, and at least one goal of this project will be to investigate my own preferences…
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Dogs Dream of Dogs

I just finished re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, though the last time I read it was 20+ years ago, so there wasn’t much “re-“ in the re-reading. I remembered Dick finding out Abe North died, and I remembered the “crazy” passages that were supposed to be Nicole’s stream-of consciousness… and then I was stunned to discover, on the last page, that Dick’s exile to the U.S. included a long stay in Lockport, of all places. I’m fairly sure I didn’t even know where Lockport was 20+ years ago, and now I live here. So. The page after the book’s ending, the author bio page, indicated that Fitzgerald earned enough writing that he not only lived well, but lived very well, traipsing around Europe, following the moveable feast around. The idea that one could make a living at all as a novelist, as any kind of artist, always gives me a twinge—I’m jealous, because I have had to work at other things all my life on order to have the time and space to make art. Then the feeling fades, quickly, as I realize how necessary all that other work is to me as an artist and human…
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Reading Cowper on the Beach

I went to the beach twice this year, once to Destin, FL, for a friend’s wedding, and once to Rockport, MA, just because. And that’s the part that still confuses me a bit, the “just because,” the raison de la plage, and not just the reason for the beach, but for vacations in which doing nothing is the goal. Vacations crammed with activities are equally puzzling, and the reason they confuse me has to do with what they are vacations from. If I am following correctly, the message is this: most people’s lives–your life, sayeth the adverts–are stress-filled dashes along the edge of an emotional precipice, and we need to either spend a week or two each year being vegetative, or a week or two consuming as many “fun” activities as possible. A blend of the two is optimal for some people, a morning laying in the sun, reading trashy novels, followed by lunch at some over priced and over decorated joint, followed by jetskiing, then dinner, then dancing in a schmaltzy disco so everyone else can watch you dance while you watch them dance, then…. the activities are another way of becoming vegetative, of course, but don’t most people spend a…
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