Wednesday, April 25, 2007

“Note’s on a Slant”

because I’m jotting too quickly – blue ballpoint
on a lemon paper square – impressions
of fragments of concepts, for
Later use, maybe not – on the way out, to:
Run errands
Waste fossil fuels
Curse traffic while gumming it up worse, making it shiner, more leviathan-like

Exploit “detente,” “expiration”; and what does “Grand Guliol” even mean,
anyway? It figures into so many disparate critiques of late,
anymore – gotta horn in on that action – and supposedly

Kazuo Ishiguro’s brilliant though I never heard of dude til this week;
Borrowed books unread: the Sontag, the Brautigan, pieces of the
one I should be assembling.

Frozen dinners circa Valentine's encrusted in ice crystals,
Corpse-battery forever mausoleumed in pocket-watch crypt,
Tires breaking down on the Neon, mechanic sez

And it’s actually true, per Everett’s Nirvana book:
Mary Lou Lord could’ve been Kurt’s everything, given a window,
a fighting chance

And it’s time, soon, to buy two Mother’s Day, one Father’s Day, a
Birthday, cards for more than a quarter of what it costs
Rachael Ray to feed her face daily in one fabulous American metropolis or another

And the Load Records mailing is a day late,
it’s suddenly too
humid for windbreakers;Yeltsin and Vonnegut roll dice in the afterlife --

It’s all minutiae, it’s all monument, it’s scratchings and dust I’ll have misplaced
Sometime between now and whenever they’d come in handiest.

Singles, Not Going Steady?

Since it's looking as though what would have been my first non-Pazz & Jop Village Voice submission might not actually see publication - I submitted it to the music editor and never heard back - here tis, in its entirety. It's totally silly and irreverent, but I want it to appear somewhere, even if only 3-5 people, consequently, will actually read it. Onward and upward!

“Singles Going Steady”

By Raymond Cummings

Blitzen Trapper "Wild Mountain Nation" (from Wild Mountain Nation, self-released)

Like a three-stick Juicy Fruit cud-chew on a sunshiny, cloudless afternoon in the Rockies. These self-sufficient, self-perpetuating Oregonians issue a good-natured cattle call inviting urbanites and suburbanites to drop out of society without getting all McVeigh militia or hippie commune – upfront, anyway. Carefree “ooooo-oooos” and adlibbed “yeahs” sweeten the pot; fulsome, deep-fried, squealing guitar leads lace up them hiking Timbs; drums that mimic tramping up a slope seal the deal. Onward, then, to REI, and to the trail! And all this talk about wolves and eagles hints that Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, the Eagles of Death Metal, and AIDS Wolf can tag along, too – bonus!

Cornelius "Breezin'" (from Sensuous, Everloving Records)

Like cracking the foil on a fresh pack of Orbit while chilling on a Tron set. Are those accentuated finger snaps or compressed handclaps erupting in the crisp, busy mix? Don’t know, don’t much care: whatever it really is, it’s just a stark ingredient in Keigo Oyamada’s dynamic, conveyor-belt future-pop. Electronic drums, prim keyb hooks, handfuls of glistening magic dust, and laidback, over processed Oyamada vox (in his native Japanese) co-operatively exist in the same realm while obeying totally separate orbits, working together in concert and against each other at the same time. Conflicted? No. Jaunty! Yep!

Avey Tare and Kria Brekken "Sasong" (from Pullhair Rubeye, Paw Tracks Records)

Like April Fools’ Day gag chewing gum that turns your mouth wet-black. When the bro-sis Fiery Furnaces shellac backmasked shaggy-doggerel onto prog-pop tuneage, it’s wackily risque; when the hubby-wife duo Tare (Animal Collective) and Brekken (ex-Mum) go so far as to DJ-reverse their entire freak-folk unified debut, it’s straight-up unforgivable. Quickie “Sasong” is emblematic of Pullhair Rubeye’s vortexual mindsuck: what may have once been synth and/or guitar hills-qua-valleys has morphed into nightmarish pitch-shifts as Alvin, Simon, and Theodore trip hard on brown LSD and gossip, conspiratively, all at the same damned time. Behold, the bent echo in Timothy Leary’s rotting skull: dreadful, dread-inducing!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sad, but True

Do you love magazines? Do you want your heart broken into millions of pieces? Then read this blog on a regular basis (don't waste your time with the character-assassination going on here).

Monday, April 09, 2007

April Fool's Goldilocks

Susan Sontag, At the Same Time
korn, Unplugged
Sebadoh reunion
Panther, Secret Lawns

Blenny, Blenny, Blo-Blenny

Viviparous Blenny
a twentythreebooks contemporary arts journal*

Fall 2007, Volume I

Theme: Synchronicity

Synchronicity is not merely serendipity, it is defined as meaningful coincidences. Synchronicities are acausal, that is, not able to be reduced to a cause-and-effect explanation. They are always personal events. They are boundary events that often occur at periods of major life transitions. And they necessarily reflect a deeper, more holistic reality.

*If you submit work that doesn’t directly address the theme, please explain why you’ve chosen the piece to represent the theme.

Submissions guidelines:
¨ 3–4 poems
¨ 5–7 pages of prose (fiction, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, commentary, interviews, reviews, etc.)
¨ Black and white photographs (.tiff, .gif, .jpg; low-res for submission)
¨ Black and white artwork or drawings (low-res scanned image file)
¨ Comics

You may also submit your work on CD to the address below (be sure to mark “CD, do not scan” on the outside of envelope).

Send written work as an attachment to

or snail mail to:

Viviparous Blenny
c/o Douglas Mowbray, Managing Editor
2910 Erie Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21234

Be sure to include an SASE and cover letter (including a brief bio) for a reply to your submission. If you would like your work returned, please include proper postage and envelope.

Submissions due: July 23

Issue on sale: Fall 2007

Payment is 1 free contributor’s copy.

(*I'm an assistant editor of this journal. Please submit!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Things I've Learned From Seven Months of Fatherhood

You may have noticed that I haven't posted a whole lot about being a parent here in the last several weeks. That's insane, because Nodin - and issues relating to Nodin - are frequently on my mind. Blame the writing schedule, a sense of hopelessness about some aspects of life, stress at my job, whatever, but maybe I simply needed some time to allow the realities of my new role to sink in and become solid before being able to write about parenthood with any sense of objectivity and clarity. Hopefully, my experiences will prove instructive or, at the very least, amusing; this is only the beginning of my posts on this theme.

(Alecia, if you're reading, feel free to chime in in the comments section.)

1. Free weights - 5 lbs., 10 lbs., 15 lbs. - are fairly cheap and can be found at just about any decent department store you care to name. If you don't already own a pair, score some and start working out now. Or if push-ups are your thing, or chin-lifts, or whatever upper-body, arm-muscle building exercise form you favor, look, just start doing that stuff right now if you're all "Ooooo, I wanna have a baby!" Because babies are heavy, or, more accurately, they become heavier the longer you hold them. It's possible that you've held other people's babies before for a few minutes at a time, and, really, those babies didn't seem too heavy, how hard can it be? When you become a parent, there will inevitably be times when you will be cradling an infant for an hour or significantly longer as you try to coax him/her to sleep or into a state of relaxation or calm. And your biceps, your wrists, your very bones will ache in ways that will amaze you. The nerves in your arms will do weird, uncomfortable things for a little while. Or maybe that's just me and I’m a total weakling.

2. A large, colorful bib, reversed = a cape! And this provides an excellent opportunity/excuse to run around the house with your tot held aloft, pretending that s/he is a super hero, provided s/he has not just eaten.

3. There will be crying fits, tears, migrane-inducing screams, and oceans of drool, and they won’t just be coming from you. In restaurants, you probably bristle when the small children of strangers freak out for whatever reason and your dining ambiance is slashed like a tire. Parenthood will up your capacity for sympathy considerably. You will exchange knowing, sad, but valiantly proud, smiles with people you’ll never know well of all races, genders, and ethnicities in solidarity; you will suddenly understand your own folks a bit better; big-ass splotchy stains on your clothes won’t faze you.

4. Going to the liquor store then getting blasted loses its previous attraction when you realize that in all likelihood your little one will rouse you up at 2 a.m.

5. It’s tempting to read to baby at a very early age, especially when you’ve got a stack of children’s books to choose from. But infants are restless, and the tot sitting calmly in your lap while you page through Goodnight, Moon or whatever, enunciating carefully and playing with the tone of your voice in an attempt to imbue the story with some sense of drama is likely a wasted effort. Nodin usually gets bored quickly and tries to grab the book from me or swat it out of my hands when he isn’t scratching excitedly at my arms. Adult talk and baby talk alike seem to be the best means of familiarizing him with the nuances of language right now.

6. Diaper-duty? Not so awful, particularly if you’ve owned a dog and have plenty of wipes on hand. Level of difficulty increases when diaherria strikes or the “exploding-diaper” stage begins – where Nodin is right now, owing to all of the jarred fruit baby food he eats at this point – when changing-table time also must become lukewarm bath time and the hand-sanitizer flows like wine.

7. You will be clawed at, spit upon, pooped upon, peed upon, smacked, head-butted, momentarily deafened, foresaken temporarity for a bleeping and/or flashing toy, much more besides – and you will somehow love and savor every minute of it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

# 1,000: Hole “Doll Parts” [DGC, 1994]

Live Through This still gives me weird tingles and chills In Utero couldn’t and still can’t rival, but, to paraphrase Stephen King’s cryptic conversational refrain in those Dark Tower books, the world has moved on, and so have I. Kurt Cobain wasn’t even dead of suicide yet that spring and I was already mainlining This cassette like grade-A smack all day, everyday, on public transportation buses and en route to Hallmen performances and in my bedroom; after his body was found it seemed that solace and answers might be found there and C.Lo’s Grunge-Lite Sad-Mad-Sadtime Dramarama ground on and on in my oh-so-perishable knockoff Walkmen as one season yielded to the next and then, all of a sudden, it was time to start mailing off college applications. The fix was in, and Hole’s tragic, primal magic had faded to a dim, ghostly glow. The attentive reader will notice that I’ve yet to write a single word about “Doll Parts.” I’ve spun the song maybe five or seven times today, and an entryway into talking about it in any meaningful fashion has yet to reveal itself; I considered maybe switching to a different dynamite tune from This. “I Think That I Would Die”? “Rock Star”? “Plump”? Or maybe I could extrapolate on the liner photos or something. The truth may be that I’m burnt out on the artifacts of this particular alt-rock conflagration, on the albums and the articles and the books and the chin-stroking parsing of it all, if not on the person Courtney Love is -- or believes herself to be -- today. America’s Sweetheart was fantastically slick, trashy, and fuck-all-y’all, and I’ll be first in line to review the Billy Corgan-enabled How Dirty Girls Get Clean whenever it comes out (smart money sez it’ll show up just in time for the Democratic presidential primaries – how cosmicly appropriate). The intermittent hit parade project I’ve embarked on here is intended as a never-ending tribute to songs that’ve struck my sweet spot and left a dent; perhaps the question is whether the obsessions of 17-year old me rank with those of 30-year old me? Because when I listen to “Doll Parts” in 2007, the quiet-quiet-quiet-raging-at-the-end and the “Someday yooooooou will ache like I ache” resonate because in 1994 I truly believed that I was as worthless and miserable as Love probably really felt while in the studio recording with Eric, Patty, and Kristen. We both survived and we’re both still here, but it was pretty touch-and-go for a while there.

"Nodin's Late-Winter/Early-Spring Teething Ring" CDR

1. Axolotl “Pneuma”
2. Jimi Hendrix “The Star-Spangled Banner”
3. The Howling Hex “Be the Last To Stay in a Haunted House”
4. Beck “New Round”
5. Helium “Devil’s Tear”
6. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Interesting Results”
7. Panda Bear “Carrots”
8. Bardo Pond “Cry Baby Cry”
9. Fur “Devil to the Lamb”
10. Tegan and Sara “Walking with the Ghost”
11. Blast Off Country Style “Cutie Pie”
12. Lady Sovereign “Public Warning”
13. Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek “Name of the Game”
14. Pavement “You Are A Light”
15. Arbouretum “Sleep of Shiloom”
16. The Amps “Bragging Party”