Plutarch Was Not a Poet

This is at least 45 percent embarrassing.


Last night I read the “front-matter” — probably not the right word for the preface, introduction, chronology, etc — of the recently released Damion Searls-edited NYRB Classics edition of Thoreau’s Journal.

Kind of great: check out the accidental "Adobe Photoshop CS3" text on the cover! How sublime would it be if that made it onto the real cover! Not sublime at all. But still, this is the kinda junk that makes me happy. My daughters are all grown and moved away.

In Searls’s funny and helpful introduction, he calls the volume an “abridgement”–similar, in one respect, maybe, to an abridgment Searls made of another 19th-century American classic, Moby-Dick: called ; or, the Whale, Searls wrote a great essay in the Believer about the project here. I’ve recently been hit with an overwhelming amt of semirequired reading, and Searls’s introduction, which talks about the distinction between abridgement, which seeks to retain the flow and balance of the original, and editing, which simply reduces its length (I am bungling this, hard, and giving up on this sentence).… Of further interest is the fact that it’s basically Thoreau’s life that’s being abridged. I somehow thought it was going to be easy to make a point here about the amount of books one feels one needs to read and the amount of days one has to live and have these things be gloriously connected in a reading of Thoreau’s journal. But it’s not and I’m at work and need to get back to it. These excuses smell like  excrescences on an old cheese.

Late last year I ate a pot cookie and went to the California Academy of Sciences with some loved ones. That evening I accidentally spilled two full beers on a reality TV show demi-celebrity and her date (I have severe night blindness, didn’t see their table). Then I ate more of the pot cookie and went to Rosemarie Waldrop’s George Oppen Memorial Lecture, where she spoke a bit about Oppen’s Daybook. My grasp of the lecture was suitably tenuous but I did love the idea of a daybook, even just as a prettier word than journal. I guess, my dear Wolfman (I write this blog for one person only, and that is the Wolfman, sweet web-surfing Wolfman, I hope you like my blog, I hope your Internet connection is clear and fast and uninterrupted, I hope that no one bridles at my calling you a “person”, for even if you’re sometimes more wolf than man, you, adorable Wolfman of mine, are always a person. Because you can read! What the fuck) this discussion is inevitably leading toward a discussion of blog as daybook. Blog as journal. Something about the fact that the Wolfman has immediate access to it, and that it has hyperlinks, distinguishes it from the intensely private, contemplative analog journals of “yore” (and yore is, of course, still in full contemporary effect, in tens of thousands of active Moleskines and spiral-bounds worldwide). But seriously, I smack your face with my unworn leather gloves: blogs are allowed to be daybooks. Let them be. Why do I feel the need to defend the internet from hypothetical reactionaries? Why do I insist on calling my rambling, soggy rants “discussions” or “arguments” when they’re really just excrescences on my poor old personal cheese, and I should be getting back to work at work?

The self-abusing rhetorical question smells like the privates of an old man. I’ll see you tonight, Wolfman. Hugs.

Permanent Teardrop.

Hey Cancer

How’s “the darkness


Not as dark as you make it sound

Black beans and codfish

Shapeshifter rsvp’d.


Got fired Friday, can’t make it

Dog wearing lipstick?

Dunno,  she’s in heat, maybe spayed,  upset





canceled too. it’s just gonna be me you and self-zine


And li’l caesar

The pizza guy


used to work for Men’s Wearhouse.

Hey whoww ofenn does your zine come out?

—Every other fortnight

does it pay

No but the internet makes the printing free, minus electricity and rent


paper mewl is here

PAPER MEWL: I’m so fed up with the ass in this city

TEAM: where’s your girlfriend?

PAPER MEWL: Out with her friend gary

TEAM: you didn’t invite her?

PM: She doesn’t need to come to everything, i don’t think her and gary are anything more than friends

TEAM: Whe—

PM: To a reggae/dub/skiffle/punk/lord show. at the Beenurry

T: In Troeptown?

PM: Near there. Clobo Village.

T: That’s a gay neighborhood

PM: …so?

T: Nothing, i’m just bean helpful with regard to you know travel… guide

PM: So are we gonna DO THESE DRUGS, OR WHAT?

T: cool your jets, hang on, here [hands drugs]

PM: I wanna do drugs carefully, not just in a big blast

T: Well, that’s your call not mine, be as careful as 7ou want

PM: I can’t be careful unless you are too. your sloppiness infects  MY UNIVERSE

t: look we’ve been friends for almost twenty years, you know how careful iamb, which is not that careful, but you know my style, my styles not changing, i’m learned but i’m not a PEDANT, so take the drugs and be the peace or go eat a pizza be well but let’s not talk about it

PM: I’m the Prime Mule. Announcement time.

TEAM: Our favorite game

pM: I’m the prime Mewler. Minister Muenster. Papa Gyyno [“Geeno”].

TEAM: Cannibullingus! Classic. “Framingham Farms”

PM: Sodabeer Sobadeer! HarmHock Tavern! I’m lickin the back of a pretty heart

TEAM: Lick that back of pretty hearts.  great stuff.

PM: There are some drugs left. …. May I?

tTEAM: you’re still my guests—be our guest. my guessts is as good as ours

PM: Pull yourself together——the last thing I meantioned about “careful”

TEAM GOGOLBERRYS: Careful did as carefully was— you know that expression

PM: That’s not the expression—————it’s “a careful home gets bigger as my gorgeous daughters get older”—-pita read sadder for older

PM: Listen listen your zine is good but you need to delete more of it

TM: You mean “edit”?

PM: Nah, edit or delete,? Same thing. just pick huge arbitrary/celebrity swaths that aren’t singing and click #delete

TM: What do you mean “Sign” i mean “sing

PM: Same root as “swing”. swing flue. sign flu. the nonjazzy parts.

TM: Punk-jazz?

PM: Jazz isn’t the same as it was in the 1970s: be troppa deuce and so on. swinging jazz has to come from a lamer emotion in today’s age  to really get the big dicks swinging. punk rock is fine-ground avenue.  is working construction—

TM:  I need to work construction to make parts sing?

PM: Deleting unsinging parts is more important but doing big jobs in construction is fine.

I started out as Party Mule, but went backwards in time with the aid of drugs and now have a confusing relationship with  Trawldad, with Party Mule, with Picaba and D. the Skiier and the wreast of my Team; Team was the other guy. Multiple dudes with a single voice that choruses  sweetly & softly ( then, horny, gets meaner with more “skronk”——[jazz term]). After a meal the quietest parts go deaf and drown in the gay roar of a metabolism overwhelmed by an excess (or, contra-pace Gander, a “sudden access”) of satiety. All that remains is the basic four-four  pattern native to pop: “It’s A Gas,” “Onlycake Fountain,” e.g.

Math-rock, “Intelligent Dance Music,” Polynesian polyrhythms—all of them sad, wishful thinkings of a freeboned drug-depression found in culture. A cake is a metaphor you can eat; a shower’s only as hot as its horniest teardropped teabag; pastiche is not flavor; and so on.

RAE ARMANTROUT, TROY JOLLIMORE, & JOSHUA CLOVER perform language TONIGHT at the LATIN-AMERICAN CLUB of San Francisco, 3286 22nd St, 8:30 p.m. Arrive early, call venue for parking. More information is available here.

“An Education” advance screening in San Francisco, 10/7, feat. Nick Hornby IN PERSON!

click to "enlarge"

LI’L TIFFANY: Thirty dollars? Fuck that.

PROVOST GARY: Li’l Tiffany, you spend that much on Vitamin Water and Zen Party Mix every week. And it’s a fundraiser for the Believer magazine, which you’re always reading at Patronio’s house. But you never buy it! And you love Nick Hornby’s “sensibility.” And look at this effing still from the film, it’s awesome:


LI’L TIFFANY: That does look funny. That looks like a photograph of your birthday party.

PROVOST GARY: Oh, Tiffany!!!

LI’L TIFFANY: OK, I’ll take 12 tickets, please.

PROVOST GARY: Oh, Tiffany!! I’m not selling the tickets! You’ll have to buy them from Brown Paper Tickets Dot Com!

LI’L TIFFANY: Sure thing, Provost Gary!!!!

[They both perish from Melancholia]

[Later that day, LI’L TIFFANY’s brother, JARED, is washing the dishes—one of his regular chores. He takes a sponge, wets it, and reaches for a plastic bottle of what he assumes is diswashing soap. He pours it all over the sponge, squeezing it, re-wetting it, etc. His mother, BETHANY, enters.]

BETHANY: Jared what the holy frock are you doing???

JARED: Whaddaya mean, mah? I’m doin’ my chores!

BETHANY: But Jared, you’ve coated your sponge——with honey!!!

[JARED regards his sponge with new interest. It is shining and sticky with Grade-A California Honey, a  plastic bottle of which stands near the sink. He smiles and shakes his head with amazement.]

JARED: Geez, that’s amazin. Mah, didya know——I’m flying on three tabs of acid right now?!??

BETHANY: Jaaaa-redd!!!

[They perish from dehydration]

my visceral dinner

DENNIS: Too busy to blog

JENNY: Too busy even for me? Your “private” blog?

DENNIS: [his laughter setting his corpulence a-vibratin’] Well….. a ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho


[ten minutes later]

DENNIS: [screaming] Fuuckk!!!!!

JENNY: [deadpan] What’s wrong

DENNIS: Nothing

JENNY: Oh. I thought you were screaming

DENNIS: Naw, just “surfin the web”

JENNY: Ha. Cool.

DENNIS: Where are you going?

JENNY: Out. With a boy.

DENNIS: Oh… I see. Um… are we still dating?

JENNY: Yeah. You’re concerned about the boy? [her heart beats fourteen times, sending blood to all the different parts of her body, all of which are sexy]

DENNIS: No! I mean… should I be?

JENNY: Yes. [her blood is poison. She’s the worst.] Just kidding!

DENNIS: I feel like my viscera are serving dinner to other parts of my viscera, in an artificial “formal dinner” context, sort of like when famous cellists serve lowly students of the bassoon at the magical music camp Alex Ross wrote about

JENNY: That article was odd. It was written with a barely supressed prancey exuberance that bugged me

DENNIS: I still haven’t read the imaginary composers piece. But doesn’t it seem a little overlappy with the Arthur Phillips Believer piece?

JENNY: I don’t know; I don’t read the Believer. Just the smell of that magazine makes me feel so hopelessly and sexually aroused that I go all but blind; reading becomes the furthest thing from my mind

DENNIS: Oh, darling——

JENNY: ‘Kay, not now, sweetie—— gotta run! Back tomorrow

DENNIS: [writhes]

Ezra Buchla of Gowns believes that his band’s brittle harmonies have a similar effect to gospel music. (“If people have souls, that’s the way to activate them,” he says.)

The Genre Artists

  1. John Haskell (2003)
  2. Jack Vance (2009) [plus preddendum] [&+tripleddendum: this webpage, wherein the names of carlo rotella and ben marcus are both mentioned, has a weird suggestion:

Children, Cover Your Eyes, a novel [by Ben Marcus??!]

(&, late-breaking, via @r_nash:

jamba juice is a bunch of sucker motherfuckers, long live david rees!

Whoever made this ad is probably a 22 year-old “creative” at some ad agency in Tech Valley, CA. Way to think outside the box, sonny. Have fun snorting cocaine at the nightclub you go to with your friends who work at Twitter or wherever. And no, Adult Swim will NOT buy your stupid cartoon you’re developing with your housemates about four guys who work at an ad agency but are secretly lobsters.