31 August 2007

Wish List

I wish that I had more trees to climb in my backyard.

Lucas With the Lid Off by Lucas (12" single)
Chelsea Girl by Nico (LP)

I wish I hadn't just pulled the s off my keyboard to clean it. Now I have to push it really hard.

For a long, drawn out fall. I saw red leaves on a tree yesterday.

For a massive power amp, and then for backyard jams (good thing there is space and not too many trees).

That I've got enough time.

I hope the Gano St. bridge never falls and that they never blow it up.

To keep on keepin' on.

I hope they change the probation laws in RI.

For a bicycle trip, and a well-working bicycle.

That Sly Stone and Otis Redding had sung more songs than they did. That they had sung too many to even finish listening too.

29 August 2007

H. Duffdom

She repeats 'she can swallow knives' x2 in an effort to describe the gypsy woman in the song "Gypsy Woman", and according to the NY Times, she sings the song herself. Even when she is live. Hilary Duff, better known by her real name Lizzie Mcguire, is apparently back like she has never been before. The Times article referred to her fans as tweens and former tweens, but I will have them know that I was never a tween fan of Hilary.

It was the fall of junior year. The leaves were green, evergreen, for we were in California. But a wind was sweeping through the streets, and it whispered in your ear: Hilary..... Hilary......
That wind spoke to many of us. Especially those who had already been listening to Metamorphosis. Those who hadn't done so seriously enough installed a copy in their car stereo, and put the lyrics on post-its all over the dash. Learning Hilary's lyrics seems to be a pretty big deal. The idea is that you never know what you are going to find.

I once found, and later immortalized on a T-shirt with puff paint, the sagacious epigram 'If the light is off/ then it isn't on.' This sounds silly, looks silly here, typed, and looks silly on a T-shirt in pink puff paint. But the thing is, when Hilary sings it, really belts it, and when she says "Oh ahn," dramatically and emotionally raising the pitch and the intensity of the final moment of the verse, it isn't silly at all. It kind of makes sense. You know why?

Because of you, the listener. Language related arts draw their creativity from their receivers. All that they need to do is make you receptive. For this reason song lyrics often look nonsensical when recited or written. But the musical beauty seems to imbue them with something. Really all it does is make you relax and open up to the infinity of possible meanings conveyed by the words. Similarly, poetry needs only to convince you of its success, its creativity, for you to indeed find it creativity. It is all about mood.

So when I laughed in the car after shutting off the stereo immediately following the famous light on/off parable, it was because I lost that connection with the music. When I put it on my shirt, thinking it would be cool because I was mocking the teenage star, it was out of the context of her beautiful voice and background 'music'. But when she was on stage and I could see all of her beauty and freshness, and hear the 'music' live, and see her lip sync or maybe even sing, I suddenly understood the meaning of those words. In their simplicity they contained something incredibly profound, far beyond language. In my dismay at having previously underestimated her power, I tore my shirt to pieces, ripping it from my back and heaving it onstage, where it came to rest near her feet, a tribute to her profundity.

27 August 2007

The Real World

Living with people is many things. For some it is a TV show (

Larry lives with his health conscious roommate, his self conscious roommate, and his unconscious roommate

) For others a joy. For the rest it is one of the facts of life, just like hair in new places. Roommates seem to spring up all over the place, and sometimes you just don't know where they came from. Other roommates are always there, lurking away, but you can't really get a grip on what they are doing, or why they may or may not be doing it.

I worked on my house a lot today. All of my roommates are gone, and our wonderful (maravilloso) subletter leaves tomorrow. I dissembled (no, disassembled) the menacing futon/couch. Well, perhaps in taking it apart, I also disguised it. Disguised it, in fact, as a shoe rack. I then mounted a painting I bought in a moment of decoration-frenzy (it appears to be only halfway finished, now that I realize it is not bleak and metaphorical). The painting is mounted on part of the coffee table, which Coogan and I also dissembled into a 100 pound board, something to mount a painting on, and some trash. My roommates will read this, at least one I hope, and then not be impressed with my fab work on the casa.

Luckily I did all that, because I had guests, and we cooked Thai food and then finished off with a durian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian) ==> read it! Its worth it. You can buy them at the Thai market on Elmwood, a few blocks past the first cemetery and on the left. All agreed it was a full and complete culinary experience, and we able to speak endlessly of food without feeling gluttonous, repetitive, or uninteresting. Tonight was the first night of the Fall Semester. Three new people came over, and they came from separate points. My house was the star charted by the routes of their nights. Or it was the apple of their eyes's. Tomorrow a shrimp soup will be prepared by Dane. The best shrimp soup in the world.

25 August 2007

Power Packing

I ate for lunch today two things. Baked sweet potato wedges with maple syrup/orange juice/ginger/curry sauce. Cold steamed kale with honey/lime/ginger/cilantro sauce. Oh my god it was good. I just ended enchilada week, partially due to my lactose intolerancy, and party because I ran out of fillings. Enchiladas are not light, fresh food. Instead they are metaphorical punches in the stomach. I hadn't noticed the effect so much thick and heavy vittles was having on me, but upon eating my simple lunch (sort of simple, at least), I felt the change. The change that comes from fabric softener, from a cold shower, and from spring (the season). That change felt good. I became instantly hungry less than two hours after the meal, but the hunger itself was already changing, already becoming something less snarling, less wolfish.

For dinner I prepared a quesadilla and beans, with salsa Taylor left me. That meal had the proper protein punch, but remained simple and not too thick. I believe that there is an uncharted realm of psychology where a single graph could show the qualities possessed by every meal. It would have hundreds of dimensions, but all would meet at a single axis. Thickness, spiciness, heat, oily nature, lightened, fresh, zing, umph, salt, height, area, toughness, volume etc. The list don't stop. Each graph is scaled proportionately to others, and all fits within a sphere, or a ball. The ball looks like a bouncy ball. If you bounce it, you don't know where it will head for. That is the power component. We must now calculate the effect of these multitudinous factors. The spring in your step. The medicine ball in your stomach.

24 August 2007


Luke is the name of a record shop owner in Providence. He is an especially talkative man with long hippie hair. The shop is going under, so I encourage everyone to go and stay it alive. Luke's Records is the shop's name. It has an incredible amount of hip hop and a very large promo singles section. Luke is also the name of an artist, a hip hop artist.

The album is called In the Nude. It features such tracks as: "Stop Lookin' at My Dick ", "I Got a Fuckin' Headache", and "Dre's Momma Needs a Haircut". He strikes me as the Wesley Willis of hip hop (with a less serious case of schizophrenia). The style varies across the tracks, which is very stimulating in this world of pre-packed hip hop. This mostly comes from the diversity of beats, which are perhaps more the result of an eclectic selection process than an ear for uniqueness. To be honest, I bought the album because the cover has Luke sitting in a hot tub in the middle of four naked girls. Plus he seems to have beef with Dr. Dre, but I don't know if Dre reciprocates.

I pointed out to Luke of Luke's Records that he shared his name with Luke the creator of "Pimple on my Dick", but he just ignored me and checked out the cover picture for a few seconds.

23 August 2007

Prison Meditation

Last night I was back in the ACI (Adult Correctional Institute) for the first time in over 8 months. A buddy was asking afterwards if it affects me, entering such a constricting place, but I realized that this particular time had been strangely comfortable. I never thought that walking out onto the yard could satisfy nostalgia, or provide security. Gosh, what strange contradictions. The prison is supposed to be secure, and is supposed to make us feel secure, but only when we are on the outside of it, when it lurks off and distanced. Instead I am striding across the yard, seeing the horribly beautiful landscape of tall fence, tan shirts and pants, and Rhode Island sunset. I don't think that we are meant to want to enter prison, that is the whole point, but I was definitely excited last night.

That being said, I must note that I am free, and that entering prison for me is totally different than for most of the people in there. Even the word enter means a different thing. For me it implies an entrance followed by a quick exit. For the inmates it indicates finality, in the same way that one enters college, the workforce, or retirement. It is a movement on the scale of a life. Despite all of this, I wonder if repeat offenders ever feel the comfort of returning to an entirely predictable and simple place. I think that would be awful. "He's not cuttin' it on the outside, let's put him back into an absurdly simple and horrifically oppressing environment, maybe then he'll learn."

The real excitement, though, was the prospect of seeing J. I knew that I could count on him to be participating in the meditation workshops. "Bring in anything and I'll be there," he once told me. He isn't Jewish, but attends services just 'to see what other people have got going on'. You can always learn something. Always. I was right, and J was there, along with most of the white men in the facility (I hyperbolize, but really...). He told me he'd thought of me because he performed a spoken word piece at a group therapy session. I didn't tell him that I thought of him, and many of the other guys I've gotten to know, very often. I see us in a strange, illusionary mirroring relationship. Each inmate has a very clear, very necessary, and very distant image of the outside. I, conversely, have a very clear image of the inside, and I often think of the spaces we have created in the classrooms of the Education Wing. (Foucault argued that the 'outside' can only constitute itself with the help of the 'inside' - the self with the help of the other). The space produced by the creative workshops seems to be somewhere in between these two theoretical places. Maybe it lies in between the lofty, arcing imagination of the inmate, his toss landing always-short of 'real' life on the outside, and the way we throw ourselves inside, with romanticized pictures of 'prison'. In between those two humanly erring trajectories is something pretty good, I think.

J has been mostly writing song lyrics recently, but I'm pretty sure he can do anything. He is one of the most fundamentally creative people I have ever met. "Doing good," he said, "as good as you can be in here, you know." I really have absolutely no idea, but I also felt full of good, and said so. Mostly because I was seeing a friend I hadn't spoken with in a while.

20 August 2007

Summer Work

I am well-nigh finishing my UTRA (grant funded research). I think I have just begun my last book. Its called Everyday Creativity, and it is about creativity. Creation is a silly thing to talk about scientifically. The magnitude of difference between a philosophical voyage into creation oceans, and the drab, pinch-nosed discussion of 'expressive' writing's relationship to T-cell counts is very big. The text feels like a waste of time, through and through. It is as though I can see through the pores of the sentences, as though their skin was falling away. But not out of decay or disuse, but rather the result of superficiality - the sort of superficiality that immediately points to the lack of substance that is never there anyways, but it just seems foolish to do it like this. Suicidal superficiality.

I much prefer a thick, custard work. A monument, standing over nothing just like the rest of us, but monumental in its lack of meaning. I read the first 30 pages of Anti-Oedipus this summer and instead of digging deep to catch every thought and point and idea, I just glazed over a little bit and took it at face value. Machines are machines. Desire is desire. All the parts grew into a gigantic, ridiculous, and convoluted picture. I could not see this picture, but it was there, inside my head. A subconscious understanding that benefits me in very few ways, but pleases me when it occasionally shows it's nose.

What helps is what Jessica once told me. "They think this is the most important thing in the world, because it is real, it is the most real you can get." Which is why my paper on Reading and Writing. And Speaking was actually about those three things, about every time we do them. Similarly, the desire machines are real, they grow out and in you. The words snuggle onto the surface of the skin and become parts of the body. Now we have machines, like hairs, on our outsides. Such important work.

My work is less important. I read books by PhD's with meditation experience, or meditators with PhD experience. Ends up being quite similar. Boring academics. Jessica also told me that most academics is (are) boring. But the work of the therapist is important, that is what bugs me. Bugs the heck out of me. If therapy is such an important thing, why are the soft thinkers involved with it so uninspiring? The answer, I believe, is that therapy is not about thinking, and as Jessica also says, don't mix your interests. Jonathan, don't study hip hop in a critical thinking setting. Therapy is about being and being with and healing, all of which are not intellectual but intuitive (see Bergson, The Creative Mind). I often ask myself which goes higher. Bergson claims that the two - intellect and intuition - are exactly equal, or at least that their perfect realizations would be. I have no such strong conviction. At least I got to read that book, and hopefully will slide it in to an otherwise confused course.

19 August 2007

Enchilada Week

Thats right. We have come again to that time of year. It is the famous and first annual enchilada week. Among the participants are fennel mole, banana raisin tamarind, golden beet, and black bean sweet potato. Can't write anymore. Gotta eat!
You should too.

18 August 2007


Coming at you live, from Providence RI. I am starting a blog and listening to an excellent album. The blog is called The Providence Also Moves which is a partial quote from something I was reading and didn't refer to P-town, but to God's will. The album is Cee-Lo Green and his Perfect Imperfections. It was his first of two solo albums, and I have never heard it played before today. I scooped it at Luke's Records in Pawtucket for the reasonable price of $7, for a two disc LP. Go to Luke's before it closes.
The blog is about a lot of things, and even about itself sometimes. It is new. No one reads it yet. No one at all. I'm gonna label this baby metablog, with props to yalabalagan, one of my soon to be blog friends. And music, right?
And seasons, friends today have been saying that winter is rolling its blankets out to watch fall coming, but I don't know. Today was windy and unfulfilling, but that don't mean summer's ending. I am squeezing it for every drop of low-hung cloud, and every spot of awfully lovely Providence light. So this is the beginning of the end of summer. The last two weeks. The hands will start waving and the silly conversations start. But as we all know, there will be a wider pool in which to dip our proverbial cups of love. Fill up and toast, everyone.