Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Selectively insistent neighbors

Goodnight droopy floorboard and the drag of chests
across you. Hear the train mark its stop from half a block
away and this is a beginner's window--to shop the street
and shout from--"lick me like you like it," or
for the last time "you'll cook this chicken and sing!"

They're rebuilding their doors and plumbing
a flight up. They're rebuking our rights to punch
pigeons that ring out through the walls
and plaster. The pigeons are never grateful.

Another man is bathing in his aches while he
waits for a woman to enter the building.
With all of us here, it's personal. Even
the conversation from the trashbin
and the cars asleep on their curbs.

One woman a block from here likes her feet
tickled. She walks with her hands
upturned and her children are learning
to crawl and curse in unison.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

what does the fool with wings say when he's called a man?

Sat in the back for most of the show. Some guy kept coughing behind me. It sounded like his eyes were trying to make their way out of his body via some cavernous route through his lungs. And then there was all the tapping. I don't know about you, but some thing are almost enough to draw me into a cola fueled frenzy and incessant tapping is one of them. I'll double fist two litre bottles of cola until I'm ballooned up with enough gas and piss that it all comes out at once. Be wary. Don't sit anywhere near me. (overheard on the walk from 83rd to 7th ave)

It was a Tuesday. The sun had just risen over the city's slow buildings. Nobody was minding anyone else's business. Trains were running on schedule and a man with a cane stepped out into the street. There was nothing special about the cane or the light or the man. He'd made this step every morning. He could remember doing it in varying forms. Occasionally he'd pirouette just to see if anyone would notice. There was hardly anyone else out at that hour, but once he'd made a young girl smile and once a gruff young man almost bowled him over and called him foul names.

Your address changes only.
Your address and your demeanor are the only things to change.
Your address and the way you sleep at night and your bones and facial structure.
Your address and the name you're given and the name you take and all of the friends you'll ever have, but you'll never leave them.
Your address and the walk to the bathroom and the walk back to bed and who's there when you get up, but you will never. You will never change.
(overheard on a commercial for skin cream and throat losenges).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jarmusch in Black and White

[Blake finds a revolver underneath Thel's pillow]
"Why do you have this?"
"Because this is America!"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

If you listen enough to your tv you may hear a line like this:

ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex

forward thinking requires that there be a behind somewhere. now to think
engines are only pieces of metal and tubing.
when everyone is looking at her, you'll be looking like you're scared.
you also run the risk of very informal organ failure
before using boiled water. more juicy in the atmosphere
they're saying currently on the news.

since i can't put pictures of sex on the screen, and there's enough of it available on screens everywhere:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, America!

Many Americans were once familiar with this famous image of George Washington’s tearful farewell to his officers in New York’s Fraunces Tavern in December of 1783. Few, however, were aware that this tavern was owned by Dominican-born Samuel Fraunces (1722-1795), a free black, restaurant owner, and chef, of French and African descent. When the U.S. Capital moved from New York to Philadelphia in 1790, Fraunces accepted Washington’s invitation to be chief steward of the President’s house. There, Fraunces also found time to open a new restaurant on nearby Second Street.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

In Response: Is Riddle, Is Not Riddle--the day before freedom day

Q: Regarding terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, you said something to the effect that the real situation is worse than the facts show. I wonder if you could tell us what is worse than is generally understood.

Rumsfeld: Sure. All of us in this business read intelligence information. And we read it daily and we think about it and it becomes, in our minds, essentially what exists. And that's wrong. It is not what exists.

I say that because I have had experiences where I have gone back and done a great deal of work and analysis on intelligence information and looked at important countries, target countries, looked at important subject matters with respect to those target countries and asked, probed deeper and deeper and kept probing until I found out what it is we knew, and when we learned it, and when it actually had existed. And I found that, not to my surprise, but I think anytime you look at it that way what you find is that there are very important pieces of intelligence information that countries, that spend a lot of money, and a lot of time with a lot of wonderful people trying to learn more about what's going in the world, did not know some significant event for two years after it happened, for four years after it happened, for six years after it happened, in some cases 11 and 12 and 13 years after it happened.

Now what is the message there? The message is that there are no "knowns." There are thing we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that's basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.

It sounds like a riddle. It isn't a riddle. It is a very serious, important matter.

There's another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist. And yet almost always, when we make our threat assessments, when we look at the world, we end up basing it on the first two pieces of that puzzle, rather than all three.

Yes, sir.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

From Toast to Freedom, Things that might be owed to the french

This post stems out of a conversation I had a few weeks back about a distaste (somewhat joking) for things and people French. Or at least slightly. Once, some years back, and in a drunken fit of homesickness, I left a party and was overtaken in the street by a band of French rogues who threw me to the ground and repeatedly raked my face across the concrete. This was in Pittsburgh, mind you. That being the truth as I told it.

The "truth" aside, I like french toast on occasion and enjoy a plate of french fries accompanied by the loveliest of American cuisine, the cheeseburger. Mmm, get all dribbly just thinking about it. And today I spent a portion of the day wandering around the city of New York with a friend who I've known since those days in Pittsburgh and a friend of hers who had just arrived back in the states from a 6 year stint in Russia (Volgograd and Moscow) teaching English. He is originally from Canada. So being that we were with a tourist, we were viewing things that tourists view (which if you've spent time living in new york, you don't view unless people come to visit from elsewhere--something about self-involvement and mythology could fit here but I'm tired).

Walking across the Brooklyn bridge, we caught a few glimpses of the statue of liberty. Stopped to take pictures of the architecture and the crushing of Miss. Freedom between two Canadian fingers. There was a fender bender on the bridge and everyone walking gawked for a minute. Drivers were cursing and flailing and beeping. The man whose car was hit almost had his driver side door ripped off by opening it into oncoming traffic. The weather was beautiful. High reaching cumulus and just enough sun. Being the front of July, it was unseasonably mild.

The statue of liberty, however iconic and possibly overblown, still maintains a resonance that very few national symbols can hold a flame to. Yes, I know the turn of phrase is cliche and too cute, but there's something to it. The statue is not commemorating our dead founders, it is not a testament to any religion, it is not simply a feat of architectural ingenuity, or a large timepiece--it embodies an idea that, however hollow and not entirely withheld throughout our nation's short years, people can truly aspire to. And the french might hold to this ideal better than we do, but the statue they gave us is not their nation's welcoming mat.

While I was traveling from what is possibly the most powerful part of this city (this city that is known around the world from representations on screens that make it seem almost as large as it is) across dirty water to another part of the city that receives enough waste to build acreage out of that same dirty water, there she was. The green lady with her skirt and her tablet and torch set against a backdrop of white pillows on a pale blue bed of sky. The lady whose name has been whored out on the tongues of many politicians, whose image and meaning supposedly make foreigners hate the people who populate our nation. And she is beautiful. But it's not her fault. It's the fault of the French. With their damn ideals and grace. This is the truth.

And I will not proselytize about my politics, as they're shifty to begin with. I just know that this nation can be better than it is, and this has always been the case. But I would not want to be anywhere else for too long. At least for now.

Happy Canada Day.