Monday, October 27, 2014

Overheard at the Counter: Verble's Quick Guide to Tom Waits

Verble Gherulous’s Brief Introduction to the Mad Mad World of Tom Waits

First, one should know that there are two Tom Waits:

1)      Piano Blues Tom Waits


2) Pure Gravel Static Tom Waits. 

Both are absolute genius.

A start with the “transitional” albums (late 70’s/early 80s) between the two is probably the best way to get a true appreciation of the entire oeuvre.  Personally, I would suggest listening to the following albums in order:

Album #1) Blue Valentines.  My personal favourite.  Pure poetry, rainslicked streets, and whiskeysoaked vocals.

Album #2) Rain Dogs.  *THE* transitional album, although some may think that  actually is . . .

Album #3) Swordfishtrombones.   This album is suburbia seen through the eyes of Picasso.

Album #4) Foreign Affairs. Tight mysteries and midnight road movies.

Album #5) Bone Machine. Suffering madness, beautiful delusion.

Album #6) Small Change.  Punks, pimps, tramps, thieves, such beautiful tragedy.

Album #7) Mule Variations. Picture American Gothic drenched in sepia tones.

Album #8) Nighthawks at the Diner. An intimate evening with a brilliant magician at a piano.

With these albums tucked under your belt, you will have the essential Tom Waits.  All the rest is just gravy. Delicious gravy with a haunted aftertaste of blood and gin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Overread at Booth 3: Economy in the Time of Ebola

Economy in the Time of Ebola

In a market in Monrovia a woman sits on a square carpet,
weaving multicoloured bands of beads into bracelets and necklaces,
which sit untouched throughout the long afternoon,
now that these are the days when no one wants to buy,
because to buy means

to touch something.

A young man, 19, owns his own art studio,
where he sells carvings of horses, paintings of streams and
of mountains.  Some days, he makes the two hour walk
from his house outside of the city, to do nothing more
than to sweep the floor of the shop that no one enters,
because to enter means

to breathe the same air.

A lawyer sits at his favourite table
in a bar.  He hasn't been here for weeks,
but he is glad to be back now.  Glad to be able
to get out of the house, to move around, to watch
his favourite football team, Arsenal, playing on the television
propped above the bar.  There is a dispenser
just outside the doors of the bar.  It dispenses a
cleansing solution of bleach and water.

It washes every hand clean.


Overheard at Booth 3: Snakes and Earrings

Snakes and Earrings

Hitari Kanehewa

"Frankly, all I remember about this book is thinking how can someone make tongue-splitting so erotic?"


"Yeah, and why am I so interested in this girl who basically sounds like she just wants to become a snake, and I remember feeling that the snake tattoos were actually moving, slithering, and it was just like, should I be reading this on the bus, in the middle of all these people going to work?"

"You know they made a movie out the book, right?"

"Kick-in' . . . adding it to my Netflix queue!" 

Overread at Table Two: Rough Draft of Short Story


His feet fell hard along the path.  He thought to himself that maybe it was the running shoes.  Maybe he needed to check with someone to see if it was really true that there were special shoes just for jogging.  These that he also used to mow the lawn felt as though the sides of his feet were coming unsealed from the soles.

He slowed down, almost tripping over the lip of one concrete slab rising above another.  It was still dark, almost too dark to see.  Yet he knew it was there, and accounted for it.

As he breathed heavily, he put his hands to his sides and followed the path as it began to wind around the lake, off Peak Hill Road, into the neighbourhood.  He heard his breath, coming hard in expulsive gasps.  He felt the rolls above the seam of his gym shorts, and he tried to imagine if they were gradually lessening in size.  Were they smaller than yesterday?  Was that possible to gage?

The ducks floated on the like, immobile, like short, thick tree limbs.

He looked up at the sky, noticed the brilliance of the stars.  Orion was the only constellation he knew, and it stood as the centerpiece.   He knew there should be more stars, and he knew that there were no clouds, and he also knew (because he had read somewhere) that it is not so much smog that clouds the stars as light pollution.  As the city worked its way toward Cinco Hill, there would be many more light, and these stars, shining high above him, would be pushed out, further out, toward Sealing.  Or even to Toqueville.

So he decided to enjoy them now, at this moment, in this place, where the night was still inky black.  He realized then the wonderful blanket of silence that surrounded him.  He appreciated that.  He thought to himself that in one hour and a half, almost exactly, he would be in the middle of a sea of red lights, and a quick blink and a move over, and the sound of 18-wheelers belching air brakes and diesel, and with the radio on the news and then work would be nothing but a constant gravel crush of wall-to-wall noise

but now.  Here.  Nothing.  Beautiful nothing.

A duck quacked.  Flipped its feathers.  Some water spun off.   Then, it returned to floating motionless alongside the other ducks, all motionless in the inky waters of the black lake.

“Shake off that dream, duck,” he said, smiling.

Then, he started up again his jog.  His feet were heavy but he felt light.

Another jogger approached him from around the curve.

He never saw the knife.   Nor did he ever know how many times the blade jabbed deep into his belly.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Friday LOVE EP
Boy Least Likely To – Saddle Up
Rogue Wave – Christians in Black
Big Data – Dangerous
Sunset Rubdown – Silver Moons
Ace Enders – Souls Like the Wheels
Doyle Bramhall - Lost in the Congo
David Byrne and Fatboy Slim feat. Kevin Moon Loh – God Draws Straight
The Cure – Friday, I’m in Love

Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Open-Mike Thursday: MR poem-of-the-day

Weave in, weave out,
looking for one single moment of gastrointestinal clarity,
I don't really care for your charity,
but I'll take it just the same,

the Beats were a motley crew with no fixed point star,
just a mass of hazy stares, glaring out into the abyss
when no abyss existed, it was merely a playing field

for the thought dreams to be seen
heads in guillotines,

that's right, Bobby, that's right, you come
right out of that muddled mess and
bring some sense to the door,

Interesting how the great American songwriters
emerged out of the Great Depression Oklahoma dust

like the primordial firstborn Adam
walking toward the 20th century from the fog
of the nothing-that-was.

the heartbeat of America is a vein of poetry
that flows through the land, and these
poets, erstwhile musicians, these poets
merely tap into the vein,
like a sideways shock into the shale
and let the poetry ooze out through through
the pores of the earth and spray
into the air, the gas gets flared, and the
words lost in the edit are the
putrified water that gets shot
back into the aquifer.

sometimes the people can't tell the poetry
from the dredge,

that's where the internet comes in.

If you're reading these words in a book, then
buddy, that's poetry.

If you're reading these words online, then
you're wasting your time.

Go read a book.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Poem of the Day: Poem in the Modernist Manner by David Lehman

Poem in the Modernist Manner
David Lehman, 1948

They were cheap but they were real,
the old bistros. You could have a meal,
drink the devil’s own red wine, and contemplate
the sawdust on the floor, or fate,
as the full-fed beast kicked the empty pail.

The conspiracy of the second rate
continued to reverberate.
Everyone wanted to get his licks.
Everyone said it was a steal.

So the girl and I stayed out late.
We walked along the shore
and I campaigned some more.
And the city built with words not bricks
burned like a paper plate.

About This Poem

“‘Poem in the Modernist Manner’ is from a book of poems in progress called Poems in the Manner Of. I began writing the book twelve years ago—on the principle that when I write as if I were someone else, something good may happen. I have written poems in the manner of Cavafy, Neruda, Baudelaire, Holderlin, Rilke, Auden, Mayakovsky, Dorothy Parker, Emerson, Dickinson, Yeats, Frost, Borges, Bukowski, W. C. Williams, Robert Lowell, and ‘Wallace Stevens as rewritten by Gertrude Stein,’ among others. ‘Poem in the Modernist Manner’ sneaks in allusions to Auden and Eliot, and the atmosphere and attitude owe something, I think, to the modernists of the Pound generation.”
—David Lehman

David Lehman is the author of New and Selected Poems (Scribner, 2013). He teaches poetry and literature in the New School Writing Program in New York City.