chloe caldwell’s supa’ hypnotic novella Women available for preorder. (out in October!) check out madison langston’s series of texted ‘blurbs.’ lol also shout out to maddy lang, congrats on her CCM poetry collection, Remember Never to Get Better, forthcoming, 2016! whaddup, mad-lang.
Talking to Reed also made me realize how stage-managed and, in some senses, artificial the X Games’ vaunted progression can be. One of the signature achievements, on a par with Tony Hawk’s 900, was Travis Pastrana’s double backflip, on a motorcycle, in 2006. “Travis was like, ‘Oh, I need the ramp set up like this,’ ” Reed recalled, explaining that part of his job was to be in regular touch with the show’s talent, to find out what the stars are working on, and to incorporate as much potential for iconic moments into the event program, whether by tweaking the rules or the format. This year, he’d added a quarter-pipe to the freestyle motocross course, at the suggestion of a French rider named Thomas Pagès, who planned to perform a “bike flip”—that is, the bike would rotate in his hands while his head and torso remained still. “We try to make sure we build and position everything, so that they can come in and perform what they want to do,” Reed said. “We like to think we’re good at producing what the athletes are doing.” It’s as though Bud Selig consulted with R. A. Dickey on the development of his knuckleball, offering to change the elevation of the mound to showcase its effects.
Reclined on an alpaca rug, I don’t see
past my fingertips. A sad outline blows smoke
rings toward a rental’s ceiling, composes series
of odes to omnisexual barflies, canticles
meditating on a cricket that lives in the cornice
of my dining room—the poor little ticker,
protesting its heart out, probably starving.
Who else will entertain this philosophical grabass?
On who’s bill? How foppish is this bug,
verdant suit, buttressed legs he rubs together
in song, too often, worrying inseams.
His color sticks reluctantly to exoskeleton.
Watch those legs grind down like pencil lead—
How lording over a single room in a house,
much too large, is like trying to hold a column
of cigarette ash between two fingers.
Indeed, it seemed one long worry, my friend,
but it crumbles; the real worry is.”—
Mary Miller’s debut collection Big World, published by small press Short Flight/Long Drive in 2009, offers a compelling case study. Miller’s stories of young white women who live in gentrified Southern suburbs often feel as if they could take place anywhere. The characters patronize fast food restaurants, read tabloid magazines, and watch Hollywood movies. They get drunk in karaoke bars, sober up at Mexican restaurants, and follow the Atkins diet. In some stories, Miller gives no place names at all. Others, she locates in Shelbyville or Gatlinburg, Nashville or Pigeon Forge (all in Tennessee; Miller herself is from Mississippi), but those places are populated by “tire stores and ethnic groceries and gas stations” that localize them exactly nowhere.
"Four days before starting My Struggle, I reported for jury duty. My fellow prospective jurors and I filled out a brief questionnaire that asked about our occupation (doctor); marital status (married); if we were married, our spouse’s occupation (doctor); if we had children and, if so, their ages (yes, 2 and 18); our highest level of education (M.D.); if we or a family member had ever worked for an insurance agency (no); and our hobbies (jogging, reading). I was among the first 12 selected for interviews. We sat in a room, together and in two rows based on our selection order, and the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant took turns asking us questions after scanning our survey responses. The woman seated two spots before me had also put down reading as her hobby, because the plaintiff’s attorney asked her what books she liked to read (‘Mysteries,’ she said. ‘Who’s your favorite author?’ he countered. ‘P.D. James,’ she replied, and she was eventually chosen for the jury). I hoped the attorney would ask me what I liked to read, because I thought it would be hilarious to answer ‘lyric essays.’”
"I thought it would be hilarious to answer ‘lyric essays.’”
“The sun asks me what I want to do. I say I want to get out of here. Go anywhere. Day comes early. A woman shaped light descends. She picks up the glass shop where I work and carries it to her palace. This is where she never stops shining. My clothes burn off my body. But I feel safe without tanlines. I love the hot black fingerprints she leaves on everything she touches.”—Carabella Sands in Hobart <3 (via tracydimond)
There is a girl and a boy sitting on a curb
next to the ocean somewhere in Oregon
where the rain, which has just stopped, has caused
a mud puddle to form in the foreground, just in front
of the boy’s white shoe: his pants
are blue, his jacket is red, and he is not
smiling at all, which I think
is what makes her faintly upturned lip
look so much like a smile.
Never mind that these people were real,
that one will grow up and keep on being real,
while the other will grow up and be dead.
Never mind the brusk presentation or presumptuous
implications the speaker in my poem employs:
he should be excused on account of his grief,
and frankly, it’s probably for the best
that we ignore him and just stick to the facts. For example,
the boy is nearly five years old, which makes the girl
nearly seven years old, which makes it nearly 15 years
before she drove past a stop sign and then,
didn’t do anything ever again.
Despite the fact that here, she has just
pulled her legs into her chest, has just set her chin
on her knees, turned up the corner
of her lip, and here it seems as if she could,
for a moment, break through the artifice of time,
the static nature of her disposition, and say something
utterly irrelevant, something
I won’t pretend
to understand.”—Caleb Curtiss: Self Portrait With My Dead Sister (via swingingaxes)
Today, the seedpods on the Milkweed
growing along the road between the airport
and the place my grandparents will die
began to open themselves, imperceptibly,
as if each were the beak of a baby
crane at the first change in pressure that comes
with their mother’s circling descent. I saw them like this
from the window of my father’s Buick, saw each
one of them pass us by, their cracked
mouths and eyeless heads, and said
nothing. Soon, after watching my father stand
in unsteady synchrony with his father,
I will lift myself from the davenport in the lobby,
and head for the patio where I will stand at my father’s
left hand, his father’s right, and I will smile
for the camera, not noticing how the seeds on the silver
maple behind us have nearly matured. How some
have already detached themselves from its branches,
have begun their slow, spinning fall.
We smile these facsimile smiles, lips taut
over straight, white teeth, because we feel
a sort of pressure in the air: something that tells us
that we are mortal, that we will be here
I’ve been traveling these last few months and not especially writing, and I think sometimes it’s quite good to be quiet, but I did pen this short little thing that hobartpulp was kind enough to publish, so thanks, you guys.
"Still, it bothers me about the flowers.
It bothers me about the flowers because I think these people need them most. Celebration of a life or mourning, the flowers—which grow along the mortuary’s brick and are the first thing these people see, the last thing they witness after witnessing a body—are theirs, I think, not ours.
That my roommate would pick them to put on our table—for what, a day? or maybe two?—evidences, to me, a vast discrepancy from the life she lives and the one she claims to live.
“If you’re feeling weird, you might as well face this fact: we’re all weirder than the next, for sure. We’re all bouncing around in weird Jello, bumping up against other versions of weird, just hoping to be tapped out of a top hat like that, like snap.”—Micah Ling, “Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense,” published in Hobart (via bostonpoetryslam)
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)