Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I am now house-sitting. I always wondered what the whole point of house-sitting was--I guess it's to make a show that the house is inhabited so that it won't be robbed. This house that my boyfriend and I are staying in is amazing. It's the kind of loft one would see in a huge coffee-table book called "Silverlake Living" displayed out in the front of St. Marks bookshop where people just drool over the pics instead of actually buying the tome. It's modular, and clean-lined, and very zen in that Modernist way. There's a courtyard with only cactii. There is a flat-screen tv and an alarm clock with a remote. The bathroom has twin shower nozzles. The gadgetry is formidable.

Being in Los Angeles, I have become very nostalgic for music I listened to when I was a teenager. One thing that I find terrible is that I have stopped listening to new music. I just stopped. There comes a point when you're up to speed with the music and then the music just merrily speeds ahead of you. And you can't do anything about it. You can try, sporadically, reading Pitchfork. You can ask your sister for recommendations. But it's too far ahead. Yesterday, I was frantically searching through this modern loft dweller's i-tunes for music but everything was too upbeat so I settled for bossa nova in the "mellow" category.

I've been listening to Fugazi because that's what I listened to when I grew up. The nostalgia for music in LA is all too powerful--especially when all you're listening to is driving music and you can't help but inextricably link music with the road and passing scenery. "Waiting Room" will always be my favorite, but also all the songs in "Steady Diet of Nothing." I even love certain songs in their later album, "Argument," especially the second song (I don't remember what it's called) which has this building instrumental that brings a tingle to my sinus (a strange reaction I get when I'm especially moved by something). But I'm not sure why I'm so moved by that particular part, or say "Waiting Room" for example. There's something anthemic about it,of course, a "fuck all" kind of attitude, but it's not an insoucient "fuck all" attitude that is synonymous with Ramones but a "fuck all" attitude that feels very important, tragic, serious, visionary. Jem Cohen directed a beautiful moody documentary on Fugazi called "Instrument"--perhaps one of the more affecting music documentaries around.

I've been spending the last few months in California and I've developed a fascination with the following: Westerns, smoothies, and taco trucks. My fascination with Westerns has been infiltrating my writing. Last year, it was manga. Now, Westerns. I used to hate them. I remember channel-surfing and only watching a syndicated episode of "Bonanza" when absolutely nothing else was on. That show was equivalent to a helpless sense of boredom in a flat-lining late afternoon. I finally saw "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" and I finally get Clint Eastwood. I also love how the extras clearly look like they're Spanish and not American. Apparently, the movie was filmed in Spain during the Franco regime.

I've made little mini-travels for readings and have been reuniting with old grad school friends. In Chicago, I read with a friend, Arda Collins, who is a really fantastic poet (if there is any justice in this world, her manuscript will find a penthouse of a home). Chicago has a really great literary scene--Joel Craig operates a cool series at Danny's. It's lively and crowded rather than a little bit dismal like how some readings can be. Robyn Schiff and Nick Twemlow were our dear hosts (also fearsome poets--Robyn has a yet untitled book forthcoming in 2008). A month ago, I also jaunted off to San Francisco to read with the amazing Lyn Hejinian who read a nautical series that I'm very very eager to see in print. I met Barbara Jane Reyes who I was happy to meet (if you haven't done so, you must find her book "poeta en san francisco"). I hung out with old friends--Chris Chen, Susan Maxwell, Shane Book, Xochi Candelaria, and David Lau who all made me nostalgic for grad school when everyone was very impassioned about poetics--it made me impassioned all over again. I also hung out with a very pregnant Malena Watrous (if there is any justice in this world, her novel will be in every airport lounge, Barnes and Noble, inside the satchels of every citizen riding public transportation) and Liz Goodman, a dear friend way back from middle school, who is having a wedding soon where she will wear a fuchsia dress and Mike, her fiance, will wear a green tuxedo. It is not a wedding. It is performance art. They actually asked me to pen a poem for it. I agreed to do so. I figure if this poem for poem's sake doesn't work out, maybe I'll start a business where I will write for commemorative puposes only. A poem for a wedding. A poem for a birthday. A poem for Groundhog's day. A poem in protest of taco trucks being run out of the city of Salinas. That I will most definitely do.

How I love the taco truck. There is not a better meal than a Juarrito mandarin flavored soda and a mulita with carne asada with salsa and pickled radish. I wonder if I can smuggle a taco truck back to New York?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here's a link to an interview I did with Joshua Kryah for Poets and Writers.