Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Pig Grows In Brooklyn

At the beginning of last week a sad thing happened: the crazy bitch whose yard is next to the yard behind ours decided to have her tall, healthy cherry tree cut down. This tree gave everyone who could see it a lot of pleasure when it bloomed in the spring: beautiful white blossoms against the blue sky and a graceful, mottled shade . . .

And then when the cherries came out the squirrels and birds ate them. So last week she had the crack-addled, chain-smoking, dentally-challenged tree surgeon who cut down her long-dead ailanthus (hail, ailanthus) earlier in the year come back, and he and his crew made quick work of the tree. Because I had loved the tree and wanted to mourn its passing I forced myself to watch as they severed the last and tallest bough and cut the trunk down to the stump. My downstairs neighbor, Chris, participated in the mourning ritual, too, by sending photos of the tree to our other neighbors who'd also loved it. For days we looked out our back windows at the spot where the tree had been and felt really bad. It had been a bad week anyway: first the tree, then Virginia Tech, and then Sludgie the Whale died in the Gowanus.

Yesterday afternoon my husband, David, was looking out the kitchen window as I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom.

"Oh my God," he said. "There's a pig running around back here."

Sure enough, there was a big grey-black pig rooting around in the yard next to the yard that's next to crazy-tree-cutting-bitch's yard (can you picture that?). Several people stood on the deck looking down on it, bemused. Chris and his partner Jack were in the backyard, sitting in chairs, oblivious to the pig action going on near them. I called Chris on his cell. He and Jack climbed on a bench, looked over the fences, and saw it, too.

When we ran into Chris and Jack later in the building, as we were going out to a concert at BAM, they told us they'd gotten the story: the woman who lives in the house had been on vacation somewhere about ten years ago and found a four-month old piglet. She'd brought it back to Brooklyn with her and tried to get various parties to adopt it, but all had told her they'd euthanize it. So she raised it herself. The funny thing was, for years we'd been hearing strange sounds coming from that house -- like some kind of mad parrot/changeling. Chris and I imagined some helpless half-man, half-parrot/changeling bound to a wheelchair, and so we named it The Pigman. Little did we know it was a pig. We'd never been able to see into that yard because of crazy-tree-cutting-bitch's beautiful, opulent, prolific cherry tree next door, with its profusion of blossoms in the spring, its thick cover of leaves in the summer, and its trunk (and the shadow of its trunk) in the fall and winter. The removal of the tree revealed an interesting story.

I still miss the tree, but I really enjoy watching the pig . . .

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Reading At Poggenpohl Studio

My friend Lisa, who always knows about totally weird cool things, got an announcement for a reading at the Poggenpohl Studio on Park Avenue South. I knew that Poggenpohl makes, you know, high-end, design-y kitchens, so I couldn't picture a reading there (being a veteran of readings in, mostly, dandruff-y bookstores and damp-smelling galleries for the most part, although I did once read in front of a thousand or so students at the morning assembly of a high-falutin' private school in New Jersey, and for $500 I wouldn't do it again). But, yeah, it was at the Poggenpohl Studio (showroom), and there was a spread of savory and dainty hors d'oeuvres and top shelf-ish sparkling wines and men with good hair and woolen scarves and women with perfectly half-considered make-up and pointy-toed shoes. A writer named Akiko Busch read from her new book, Uncommon Life Of Common Objects: Essays On Design And The Everyday. The excerpt she read was about Sam Farber and how he founded his company, OXO (this next part isn't from her book, but it'll give you an idea what she read about):

In 1960, Sam Farber founded the successful kitchenware maker Copco, Inc. Before this, he had worked for 11 years for his father Louis, who owned Sheffield Silver. Farber's uncle Simon had founded Farberware in 1900. After 39 years in the kitchenware business himself, Sam Farber retired in 1988 at age 66. With all those years of experience, it wasn't until retirement that Farber realized the impact of his family's business on people with disabilities.

Shortly after retirement, Sam and his wife, Betsey, rented a home in Provence, France for two months. Betsey had developed arthritis and the available kitchenware at their rented home was difficult and painful for her to use. The more cooking they did together, the more inadequate the utensils seemed. Betsey's discomfort forced Sam to wonder, "Why can't there be wonderfully comfortable tools that are easy to use?"

In 1989, Sam Farber decided to unretire and establish Oxo International to produce kitchenware with older and disabled users in mind. Farber chose the name because it could be read horizontally, vertically, or upside down.


Akiko Busch's excerpt highlighted the kindness and humanity that can be inherent in the most innocuous objects; we just need to look. It was a nice moment and I think I may buy the book used on Amazon at some point (it's $30).

Lisa and I sat listening behind an expensive metal Poggenpohl table, drinking our sparkling wine. We didn't know anyone there. People walking by outside looked in quizzically. After the reading was over we moved to another expensive metal Poggenpohl table and continued eating, drinking, talking. We didn't notice time passing. Then, over by where the reading was, at the back, came the sound of loud singing into a microphone, like you might hear at a wedding in New Jersey. It was close to eight by then, and we figured this was how they were throwing people out. But it was just the showroom staff, drunk-ish, reading from the book as from the Bible in ponderous tones. Somebody mentioned Jesus, and I gave the "rock on!" hand signal. Some guy who works at the showroom asked Lisa and I if we were Polish. He said he used to go out with a Polish girl, and he always could tell when someone was Polish -- by their eyes. Then he asked if he could show us something. Uh-oh. But it was photos of his incredibly cute six-month old daughter. You know how babies are ugly (oh, be honest!)? How they all look like Yoda (but uglier)? Well, this kid was beautiful. Like the Virgin Mary in Fra Lippo Lippi's "Madonna and Child with Two Angels" at the Uffizi. We congratulated the guy, and extended the sentiment to his wife. What else do you say? I felt like saying, Well, she'll be a hideous teenager, but once she grows out of that she'll be okay. Hopefully. Personally, I was ugly until I was nineteen, after my Freddy Mercury teeth finally got fixed.

Then Lisa and I wanted to leave, and so we excused ourselves to go the bathroom. We were young on the punk scene in Chicago, and so we always went to the bathroom with our friends, and like back then I averted my eyes while Lisa peed in the high-end Poggenpohl bathroom (in their medicine chest was a copy of Architectural Digest).

Walking out into the faintly rainy evening, we laughed about how Lisa and her husband and me and my husband all have the same doctor now, and Lisa said that she and Geoff often run into him on the street in their neighborhood, and he never acknowledges them.

If they ever have a reading at Poggenpohl again we're definitely going.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nick Piombino's Fait Accompli

I hate blogs. I agree with what Artaud said:

"People who come out of nowhere to try and put into words any part of what goes on in their minds are pigs."

Of course I myself have come out of nowhere to try to put into words many parts of what goes on in my mind. And I have a blog. That makes me a pig (plus I live near a pig -- see "A Pig Grows in Brooklyn"). Or, at the very least, ambivalent.

Nick Piombino has something interesting to say about ambivalence:

"The ability to tolerate ambivalence, or ambiguity, can create an opportunity to wonder, to wander, daydream, to think, to puzzle or figure things out. Full circle: isn't this often what is wanted from artistic expression in the first place?"

That quote is from Nick's recent book, fait accompli, a compilation (or, rather, a mindful layering) of blog and journal entries covering many years (the blog entries span 2/03 - 5/03, but the journal entries reach back into the '70's). I read it in its entirety during my almost three-hour wait at the podiatrist's office today (I re-broke a bone). The book is absolutely redolent with the possibilities of thought(s), the opportunities created by situations and/or absence of. Here's an entry, perhaps my favorite:

"How easy it is to turn away from the difficult and obscure and how natural it is, in order to live. But inside here, in the ordered and still world of words and images it is as equally natural to pause before the opaque and the mysterious and to comtemplate the unknown and the unknowable ...

"Of all the many things that are hard to do, and even almost impossible sometimes, the hardest thing there is to do is wait and see."

On this beautiful day I'm re-reading Nick's book and re-thinking my blog, wondering if I can make it the record of a brilliant and fascinating mind -- as Nick's is.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Fascist Girlfriend

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag,
And you will soon discover that your fascist girlfriend
Is some fascist’s ex-girlfriend.
She will deploy evil sexual sponges,
Annoying sing-a-longs while driving,
And her whole “dance-of-light-with-several-scarves" thing
Will suddenly seem all strung-out (sort of).
All those lovely mornings-after
Will be bourgeois attacks on nationalism
With five fascist planes always circling overhead.
Boy, you shouldn’t have to pay for that, if you’re a union man.
Besides, you’re fighting against fascism for The Girlfriend
Who Wants To Get Herself Pregnant By Hitler.
She’s a fascist meme transmitter,
A garden-variety corrupt Republican a-hole.
And there’s some consensus among the young
That certain fully-brained girlfriends exhibit the ten distinct fascist features of
Former Trotskyite right-wing chicken-butt Klingons.
Musharaff isn’t exactly a populist, but isn’t he more nationalist
Than your fascist girlfriend?
I mean, she thinks “Starship Troopers” was a good movie —
The sign of a true fascist.
Look – this is Saddam, this is Mussolini,
And this is your girlfriend’s crack.
Or maybe her dad’s.

(from Annoying Diabetic Bitch, forthcoming from Combo Books, fall 2007)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fetish Model Life Partner

The biblical strategy for choosing a fetish model life partner
is to seek Jesus in prayer.
You just need to be ready for His direction.
You must abide in Him.
Then again it may be easier
if you could find a dolphin with a foot fetish,
and make him into Jesus’s personal sex slave.
Then again, this begs a question:
what would the Jesus I know do,
when confronted by Fetish Model Life Partner Jesus?
Would he fight him?
Then again, "anyone who tries to make a distinction
between education and entertainment
doesn't know the first thing about either" —
Marshall MacLuhan.
Then again, all I want is to be Jesus
at the Fetish Model Easter Party.
First I'm laid out on a pink marble slab,
with only a wisp of loincloth about me,
and then my fetish model life partner,
who is Jesus,
and sounds like a flock of geese passing gas over Brooklyn,
chokes me until I begin to worship football equipment.
Then he helps me with my pig training.
I am the writer/fetish model/cultural historian wife
of Marilyn Manson.
I am sinewy with an elk fetish hole cover
and the restlessness of Adlai Stevenson
who carried on a messy pussy blowjob affair
with farm animals despite pubic lice.
I am Corn, the famous Italian fetish model,
a 5 ' 10 " metal vocalist/student-goth,
with long dark blonde hair and blue green eyes .
Im curvy and told that Im very pretty.
Fetish model pretty I guess . . .
but whatever.
I heard that Fetish Model Life Partner Jesus
had a dream girl for several thousand years
and a tampon fetish.
Does that make him a filthy commie?
I sincerely hope not.

(from Annoying Diabetic Bitch, forthcoming from Combo Books, fall 2007)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Atomic Bitch Wax

A play starring the Olsen Twins
Setting: a bench in Washington Square Park

Mary Kate: All my heroes are dope fiends.

Ashley: I wish I were Ronald McDonald and weighed three hundred pounds. Then I would rape you.

Mary Kate: I don't believe it is possible for impaired people to rape.

Ashley: Why not? George W. Bush just broke into our backyard and raped our favorite kitty.

Mary Kate: Maybe if we raped him back he'd give it up and stand up for something important. I think the Olsen Twins should sing to him about love and freedom.

Ashley: And small nude art boys raping big nude patriot cheerleaders.

Mary Kate: I love the 50 daily effects of white privilege. Native Americans don't bitch about how the Olsen Twins raped and pillaged their people.

Ashley: No, they love forced feminization

Mary Kate: Remember when we lived in the underground tunnel to the official Olsen twins biography that contained photos from the whole Olsen family?

Ashley: That's where you unleashed your warrior ass tits of torture!

Mary Kate: Location?

Mary Kate and Ashley: Inside your momma!

Ashley: I like it when the cleaning people don't actually move the vacuum. That's when you know they're FBI thugs.

Mary Kate: Wow, I'd hate to see Bill O'Reilly have to face that alone.

Ashley: I hate him for making me be born white.

Mary Kate: I hate Scott Baio. He has no love for me at all. That's fine. I don't blame him really. We were never friends and I threatened his baby. I'd hate me too.

Ashley: Usually, I’m all like, “Don’t you fucking look at me.” 'Cause I hate people who look at me.

Mary Kate: I hate that Paypal doesn't want slain soldiers' families to receive aid.

Ashley: I hate Mexicans who hate Paypal.

Mary Kate: Mexicans hate eeeevvvverrryboooody! THEY FUCK OUR BEST LOOKING WOMEN, PLAY THEIR CRAP SHIT OVER ROCK OR COUNTRY and then mime over the credits of "Charles in Charge."

Ashley: Which ethnic group does Scott Baio hate?

Mary Kate: I would love to go total Amistad slave ship cartoon toilet Olsen Twins on his ass.

Ashley: What do you love about Amsterdam?

Mary Kate: The architecture, riding round on a bike, local women on bikes (I love the bikes), and balding, elfin-eared Francois, who enters a hooker in a window.

Ashley: Do you know why pirates love parrots?

Mary Kate: Do you know why you love God? Do you think often of God? Do you think much of him? Do you love to think of God? And when you do think of him, is it with delight, or with dread?

Ashley: Needless to say, once I was able to help a sista make a new friend my DREAD turned into DELIGHT. And yes I missed church. Or did I ... ?

Mary Kate: What do you think of my atomic bitch wax?

Ashley: I'm in love with your atomic bitch wax. I'm gonna marry it. It's probably legal now. It seems to me that you have all the bases covered. I mean come on, is there anything else you could really offer past the Emergency Atomic Bitch Wax Removal Kit?

Mary Kate: You are a fucking fat former model trying desperately to be the replacement for fatness.

Ashley: Hey, I hate Tyra!

Mary Kate: I hate having to hit a tee shot linearly over a cart path. The world is not all big greens, but big and small, huge and tiny. ...

Ashley: I would like to rape her, though.

Mary Kate: Me too.

(from Annoying Diabetic Bitch, forthcoming from Combo Books, fall 2007).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Famke Janssen

I would like to be her Toodle Boople
And she could be my Poodle Boople.
And from that comfort zone,
Famke and Rebecca Romjin could pretend
To undress each other,
Or at least undress each other’s poodles.
I’d like to dye Famke’s poodle mauve,
And I know how I’d do it, too –
It should also be mentioned
That not only does Famke have a giant ass,
She also has a very powerful mind
And a hoo-hoo like Tura Satana’s
That snaps into action at the first sign of trouble.
And speaking of poodles,
Have you heard about the many children
Forced out of Eric Estrada’s cocker spaniel?
It must’ve been painful
Like Famke’s lasik surgery in British Columbia.

(from Annoying Diabetic Bitch, forthcoming from Combo Books, fall 2007)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Annoying Diabetic Bitch

Combo Books is publishing my flarf collection, Annoying Diabetic Bitch, this fall (thank you, Michael Magee). In celebration of this long-awaited literary event, I'll be posting selections from ADB until it comes out. Here's the title poem (which will be featured in the upcoming Spring issue of LIT magazine) ...


You annoying diabetic bitch.
You anorexic bulimic diabetic bitch.
You dumb annoying talentless diabetic bitch, eat some diabetes.
You and your bitch monster diabetic junkhead father,
and your diabetic cat, your pathetic geriatric diabetic cat that eats birds —
bitch birds —
you fuck-ass body monster, you're lulling me into a diabetic coma
like that annoying secretary from Ally McBeal, you cold British diabetic bitch-dick.
Look — I've played a hooker, a diabetic inmate requiring hormones,
a divorced shit-ass son-of-a-bitch, a kitsch bitch, an idiot, and — oh fuck it,
all this diabetes is making me into a bitch.
Go eat your diabetes, bitch,
I have never seen someone so loud and moronic and annoying and diabetic.
The last thing I need to find out is that I am diabetic,
someone with six diabetic relatives who beat each other to death
with their own shoes.
Is there a chat room? Because this is just fucking annoying.
Just take into account that I am a heartless bitch, Millicent.
I have a kick-ass diabetic section and I'll turn you into a diabetic.
I'm what's called a pre-emptive diabetes bitch.
Top model bitch, you do not want to be a diabetic in a
typepad-cum-hammer/peg situation
I can be extremely diabetic, and you can be only slightly diabetic.
So that's Queen Bitch to you bitch,
you're annoying like a fucking annoying
diabetic bitch.

Monday, April 02, 2007

My Roast of Nada Gordon (and Nada's Response)

(I roasted Nada Gordon at the party celebrating the release of her fabulous poetry collection, Folly —— which, by the way, is dedicated to ME! —— at the home of James Sherry on Sunday, April 1.)

First of all, I'd like to say -- wow. Just look at all the literati gathered here today. If assholes could fly this place would be an airport.

What can you say about a woman who is admired, revered, and loved by everyone? Well, I'll start by saying she’s not the woman we’re honoring today. But before I talk about our guest of honor, I’d really like to introduce several people who do admire and revere her. I'd really like to, but there’s no one here like that, so I’ll just talk about her myself.

Nada Gordon ... you know we all admire you. And I think you’re beautiful. And as for smart…well … you are REALLY beautiful. But seriously, I love your face, Nada. Can I borrow it for a few weeks? ‘Cause my ass is going on vacation.
 And you’ve got some style, too. What a great, eclectic style you have. Who picks your clothes, Nada? The Happy Bollywood Hooker?

But I admire Nada – she doesn't know the meaning of the word “failure.” And that’s not the only word she doesn't know the meaning of. But don’t worry, Nada. Brains aren’t everything. In fact in your case they’re nothing. With most people, the left side of your brain does some things, and the right side does others. In Nada's case, however, neither side seems to do a whole lot.

But seriously, I don’t think Nada is stupid, or a bad poet. But what’s my opinion compared to thousands of others? You all probably think I met Nada on the poetry scene, but I actually met her at a pagan ritual. A lot of you probably don’t know this but Nada worships nature. In spite of what it did to her.

After hearing this, you people may not think Nada and I are actually good friends. But we really are. There’s nothing I wouldn’t say to her face. Both of ‘em.
Seriously, one thing I really do admire about Nada is her sensual nature. She is a beautiful, sensous woman. Did you all know Nada recently failed her driver’s test? She couldn’t get identify the front seat. But I love Nada’s always been a swinger. Did you all know she sleeps standing up, so the implants won’t move? Right now, Gary’s mad ‘cause Nada cut him down to once a month. But he’s lucky -- I know two guys she cut off completely.

But despite her reptuation, Nada never puts on airs. Shit, after all the eating she does, she has enough trouble just putting on her pants. But seriously, for a second, a tragic thing happened to Nada recently. She got her belly dancing and Riverdancing classes mixed up and she got kicked out of Riverdancing for using her arms.

But enough about the bad things. What about the good things? One good thing I know for sure is that Nada is a committed poet who knows everything there is to know about poetry. Except how to write it.

Okay, seriously, some people say nasty things about Nada and her poetry. Like, she has so much wonderful poetry in her; too bad it never gets out. Like, her poetry is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good. Like, she's a bad poet's idea of a good poet. But I don't feel that way at all. I feel like, when I think of all the poets I most respect and admire in this world, I know Nada is right up there with them. Serving them drinks.

* * * * * * * * *

Nada's response: "You have such wonderful stage presence. For a retard."