I’ve been reading Ockert’s latest collection, “Neighbors of Nothing,” this summer, and it’s amazing. Check out Pat Siebel’s interview with Ockert in Hobart. Siebel is editor of Tempo, the student features mag at Coastal Carolina University.
“There’s actually no such thing as an adult. That word is a placeholder. We never grow up. We’re not supposed to. We’re born and that’s it. We get bigger. We live through great storms. We get soaked to the bone. We realize we’re waterproof. We strive for calm. We discover what makes us feel good. We do those things over and over.”—Micah Ling, “Bon Iver: Holocene,” published in Hobart (via bostonpoetryslam)
I’ve been looking at all these summer lists for somewhere to submit my work. And being such a nerd I thought I’d compile a ranking of them by Alexa rating so that I could submit where the most people could see my work. Just thought I’d share the results with people:
Thirty one seemed so old when I was twenty,
sneaking into Max’s Tavern where you knew
all the bartenders and we nightly got shitty
on whatever beer was cheapest. Back when
your need seemed romantic and I thought
your calluses might mean something
beyond history- the seventh-place 500-meter
hurdler in the nation for high-schoolers,
a junior Olympian. I saw you leap all the way
over the hood of some Honda in the parking lot
once on a bet. I saw you drink more whiskey than anyone
would ever believe and do a backflip off the second
story balcony to fuck up your left foot royally.
You were limping for weeks, lost the fifth job you’d had
since I met you- security guard, baker, aquarium salesman
Volkswagen mechanic, fishmonger (you were in love
with every one of them)- and still you wouldn’t see
a doctor. My chest tightens now to look at you
in the picture at the river, your long man’s body tensed,
t-shirt rippling, your tribal-tattooed ankle, even then,
dated. The stone you were skipping had not yet left
your hand. I remember the smell of your Wolverine
muttonchops, the taste of your inner elbow
and Seagram’s 7, the hot, wet violence of your hands
in my hair. And then I remember you dragging me
out of our room at The Palms Motel by the fistful of it,
after I’d dumped a gram of your coke in the carpet
followed by my glass of whiskey and still wouldn’t leave.
Old men with leather faces in bent fedoras just sat
smoking in the parking lot with neutral expressions
under the half-burnt-out neon. I was not the first girl
to scream here. I crossed the dark tarmac towards the light
of a McDonald’s, bought you a McRib sandwich
and left it on the doorstep because you would not let me in.”—Rebecca Bornstein: Brian (via swingingaxes)
“There’s actually no such thing as an adult. That word is a placeholder. We never grow up. We’re not supposed to. We’re born and that’s it. We get bigger. We live through great storms. We get soaked to the bone. We realize we’re waterproof. We strive for calm.”—
“If you are wondering how I am,
I am fine.
If you are wondering what I am doing,
I am missing you
in the aisles of the supermarket
where we decide which tea
is best and which salad
is best and
look it’s this one right here
because this salad
has rice in it
and we both will enjoy
“While you and I are ostensibly talking about “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” what we are actually doing, since neither of us has seen it, is comparing social media feeds.”—Karl Taro Greenfeld - Faking Cultural Literacy. (via ishmaelillo)
“There are many
social conditions that
the human mind
has adapted to already
but it seems we still can’t
figure out how
to back away from one person
when we know
we don’t deserve them
and we still can’t help
making our mothers cry
if we know we will feel triumphant
for only 5 minutes.”—Sarah Jean Alexander, “Apprehension & Other Colors, Fit to Size,” published in Hobart (via bostonpoetryslam)
“How about this season of “Game of Thrones” and that nonconsensual intercourse in the crypt? I don’t watch the show, but I’ve scanned the recaps on Vulture.com, and I am prepared to argue that this was deeply offensive.”—Faking Cultural Literacy - NYTimes.com :: SF/LD author, Karl Taro Greenfeld
We are listening to New Order with the blanket over our heads. Your PC under the blanket is our companion. You touch me again and again. It is very early.
Did I tell you about that dream? My dick becomes a giant sail. It saves us from drowning in the Indian Ocean, the coughing laughs that make you happy. Your breasts were, for whatever reason, two continents.
I am lucky to live during this time. Even though I have a Tumblr. I am an old and wealthy peasant. I produce my own syrup. I cut gigantic stalks of wheat that never die. I like you because you work hard at loving other people.
“At some point, some drunken idiot on the floor hurled a water bottle up at Axl, and he picked it up and hurled it back, spewing obscenities. Buckethead put his guitar down and did some nunchuk shit. There was fire and sparks, lasers and smoke.”—
Got some new stuff up at Hobart. The first installment of Black: Inventory of T-shirts, about seeing Guns N Roses in 2002 during the Chinese Democracy tour.
This accomplished collection of 14 short stories from Burch (How to Predict the Weather) features tales of young protagonists alienated, confused, and searching for their identity. Sixth-grader Ben in “Flesh & Blood” has recently moved from Washington State to Chicago, where he holes up in his bedroom watching MTV. Desperate to fit in at his new school, Ben befriends Mike D., an avid skateboarder, so Ben takes up the sport, but with mixed results. The divorced, nameless main character in “Fire in the Sky” arrives in Seattle for his college roommate Hank’s wedding, but the night before, the old gang sets off fireworks and disaster strikes. “Scout” finds another nameless main character estranged from his lover, Karen, and they can only reconcile while they hang out together in the garage (“The next time we fought, we moved to the garage again, hoping to recreate our previous results, and it worked.”). The discontented Ben Davis in “The Neighbor” cares for his neighbor Helen’s dog, Tiny, while she is away, snoops in her bedroom, and prefers to spend the night in her empty house rather than with his prudish wife. “Unzipped,” about 15-year-old Tyler—who grows a symbolic zipper on his chest to protect his innocent heart—is the best of the surreal stories, and provides a strong contrast to Burch’s longer, more conventional stories. (July)
confession: i hardly ever buy or read print journals anymore. i don’t think i’ve ever bought a copy of Granta. but i picked up the current issue because i remember Tao was trying to write something for their “Japan” issue when Chelsea and I visited with him last November in NY. (Chelsea, “Why do they want you to write about Japan?” - paraphrase. it seemed an interesting question.)
i read Tao’s Final Fantasy III piece while sitting on the deck in the sun last week. it’s the best non-novel thing i’ve read in a long time. i fluctuated between LOL’ing and reading sentences multiple times to garner intended meaning. i liked both activities.
i texted Tao that after reading his Granta piece i then read two nf pieces in another print mag (that happened to get sent to the house) and found them comparatively uninteresting, bland, cliche and outdated. i was surprised by the bios of the authors, that they both teach in notable university programs. (maybe it was just unfortunate i read the pieces immediately following Tao’s.) idk. this isn’t to shit on the other writing but to recommend Tao’s (preaching to the choir here, but, whatever). but ok, yeah, to shit on writing i feel i’ve read a zillion times before.
Tao’s ‘piece’ (i wanna call it an essay but not sure that’s what he’d call it so am refraining from doing so, kinda) is about how he can’t figure out what to say/write about Japan. (so, ok, it’s not like no one has ever written about not being able to write something before but…i still feel like i’d never read any of these sentences before, which is unlike how i felt reading the other two essays.) and it’s pretty hilarious. i don’t think Tao gets enough credit or notice for his humor. (or maybe he does. i’m pretty ‘out of touch.’ idk.) i guess this is where i quote from Tao’s piece. feel not confident in selecting a section as representative of what i’m talking about but whatever:
When I left Florida for college in New York City, when I was eighteen, my strongest associations with Japan were World War II and Nintendo games.
'Why did Florida have no Japanese people?'
My parents seemed unnaturally inattentive, as if feigning distraction to gain time to formulate a careful answer to a difficult, sensitive question. They’d focused immediately on Florida’s Korean population. Finally, after I stressed my focus was on Japanese people, not Koreans, my mother said, ‘Japanese people are a little’ and hesitated, then meekly said ‘rare’ in English. Later I noticed her miming seppuku in an exact, assured, nonchalant manner while also talking about what she was doing, as if she’d once taught a class on miming certain violent customs.
i don’t know what ‘seppuku’ is. that seemed the one fault of the piece. pointing out my ignorance.