II—The Manipulator & The Subservient

Take my advice;
tell a sto­ry.

Two men set across a val­ley,
have many adven­tures
and return home safe­ly.

If you still have loose jaws after—
that
is the moral

there remains a caul­dron
inside you—your speak­ing
grew less or more than you want­ed

as I grew less
or more
or dif­fer­ent­ly
than she want­ed.

Who is she? My moth­er
thinks this is about her, my girl
thinks this is about her, but

the mad tongue
begs retelling; this is about a
sto­ry.

I have a sad friend [like water] who
wears a large hat to keep the sun
from his face

[I want to tell him Sing!]

and a fat friend with
a type­writer shuf­fling let­ters
that shake the sky when he reads.

[I want to catch that light­ning]

And an old friend who plays
dead-fin­gered gui­tar and a

friend I’ve nev­er met who
will not use his dying
grand­fa­ther as an excuse
to write.

[If only I had their morals]

Because here I am writ­ing—

about them and their
dying grand­fa­thers
and read­ing
about them and their
dying grand­fa­thers
and I am
angry because I will
not hes­i­tate to do this

even
when I still
can’t tell the sto­ry.

They under­stand; [I hope]
we are sub­servient
to what is inside.

I would
sell my grand­moth­er for tup­pence and
still try to talk my way into heav­en,

as if life is just prac­tice
for that last great excuse.

the mad tongue
begs retelling.


I changed a def­i­nite arti­cle and “am/angry” to “howl” in v1.1.

v1.1

Take my advice;
tell a sto­ry.

Two men set across a val­ley,
have many adven­tures
and return home safe­ly.

If you still have loose jaws after—
that
is the moral

there remains a caul­dron
inside you—your speak­ing
grew less or more than you want­ed

as I grew less
or more
or dif­fer­ent­ly
than she want­ed.

Who is she? My moth­er
thinks this is about her, my girl
thinks this is about her, but

a mad tongue
begs retelling; this is about a
sto­ry.

I have a sad friend [like water] who
wears a large hat to keep the sun
from his face

[I want to tell him Sing!]

and a fat friend with
a type­writer shuf­fling let­ters
that shake the sky when he reads.

[I want to catch that light­ning]

And an old friend who plays
dead-fin­gered gui­tar and a

friend I’ve nev­er met who
will not use his dying
grand­fa­ther as an excuse
to write.

[If only I had their morals]

Because here I am writ­ing—

about them and their
dying grand­fa­thers
and read­ing
about them and their
dying grand­fa­thers
and I
howl because I will
not hes­i­tate to do this

even
when I still
can’t tell the sto­ry.

They under­stand; [I hope]
we are sub­servient
to what is inside.

I would
sell my grand­moth­er for tup­pence and
still try to talk my way into heav­en,

as if life is just prac­tice
for that last great excuse.

the mad tongue
begs retelling.

At the Grog

DSC00986I went to the Grog Shop last night to see my friend’s band Humphry Clink­er and Tim Fite and Taran­tu­la A.D. and drink a few Newcastle’s. HC put on a good show, but the sur­prise of the evening for me was Tim Fite. He’s got a pas­sion­ate South­ern feel to his music, a bit of twangy Appalachi­an and a great sense for enter­tain­ing and get­ting the audi­ence involved. They also had some visu­al aid stuff going on from “the gen­tle­man with itchy legs” which was very good, art­work and video of Tim play­ing the instru­ments while he played the instru­ments live. I rec­om­mend going to his MySpace page and lis­ten­ing to Away from the Snakes and No Good Here or go to his actu­al site and grab the songs shared there.

Taran­tu­la A.D. was anoth­er band with a dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent sound that would tour well with Rasputi­na or Tool or Sig­ur Ros or GYBE. It didn’t look like they had any merch, but you can get a sam­ple at their site.

Excel­lent enter­tain­ment for only $8 plus beer.


The New World

I saw Ter­ence Malick’s The New World a few days ago. He’s real­ly known for his cin­e­matog­ra­phy, [You must see Days of Heav­en if you’ve not already] but what struck me most about The New World was the mon­tage. Not the spin­ning news­pa­per stuff that is most preva­lent, but hon­est to God rhyth­mic mon­tage. The film has a dis­tinct­ly small amount of dia­logue and just slight­ly more nar­ra­tion. It would work as a silent and the edit­ing is inspired in its hybridiza­tion of Sovi­et mon­tage and Godard-lega­cy jump cuts. I’d love to sit with the edi­tors and pick their brains.

The sto­ry didn’t do so much for me though.

This Week

…I am focused like a laser beam on noth­ing at all. This is a recipe for mad­ness. A hold­ing pat­tern, wait­ing to hear from sev­er­al sources on sev­er­al dif­fer­ent top­ics. My plate needs one less side dish. To con­tin­ue the metaphor, I feel like I am spin­ning plates on top of lit­tle dow­els, and the plates have deli­cious things to eat on them, but I can’t eat any of them because I have to keep the plates spin­ning. I just need three spe­cif­ic phone calls, two pack­age deliv­er­ies and Sat­ur­day. Such is sum­mer. 6 months from now I’ll bemoan­ing the fact that all I have to do is watch Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion films.

Die Nibelungen

00000318.pngThis past week­end I watched Kino’s restora­tion of Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelun­gen, a five-hour silent film from 1924. I’ve always been inter­est­ed in this Nordic/Germanic epic and its adap­ta­tions and retellings; ini­tial­ly due to the inter­weav­ing of myth and hero-leg­end with his­tor­i­cal fact [Siegfried kills a drag­on, Attila’s inva­sion, for exam­ple] but now my inter­est focus­es on the elas­tic­i­ty of the sto­ry and its use­ful­ness as a foil for con­tem­po­rary events.

If you’re not famil­iar with the Nibelun­gen­lied [The Ger­man­ic vari­ant of the Nibelung leg­end] it con­cerns the hero­ic deeds of Siegfried, his mur­der and his wife’s vengeance. It also serves mar­velous­ly as an exam­ple of how folk­lore is used to tell a peo­ple about what it means to be that peo­ple. This usage is so much stronger in the mod­ern world because the Ger­man­ic ver­sion of the tale pro­vides its own empir­i­cal evi­dence about the Bur­gun­di­ans and Atti­la. This is effec­tive, but not nec­es­sar­i­ly good, since the Nibelun­gen­lied was reframed as “proof” of the Ger­man mas­ter-race nation­al­ism that was so dev­as­tat­ing last cen­tu­ry. [cf. Wag­n­er]

The orig­i­nal tale was prob­a­bly whol­ly fan­tas­ti­cal, with the Norse Pan­theon piss­ing off some dwarves by killing an otter, result­ing in the cre­ation of a huge hoard of gold, a cursed ring, and the ever-present gra­tu­itous amounts of sex and vio­lence. The Bur­gun­di­an and sub­se­quent Ger­man­ic fla­vor of the Nibelun­gen­lied is like­ly the result of Scan­di­na­vian dias­po­ra. A com­par­i­son between Siegfried and Achilles is almost inevitable, they are both great war­riors who are invul­ner­a­ble except in one small spot.

sigbath.jpgFritz Lang’s film has all of that build-up behind his film. Since I love pro­vid­ing con­text so much, here’s a bit for you. There is a huge par­al­lel between the results of Gavri­lo Princip’s assas­si­na­tion of Arch­duke Franz Fer­di­nand and the results of Siegfried’s sim­i­lar assas­si­na­tion. Both events result­ed in action on oaths and treaties that killed entire armies. While this par­al­lel is not explic­it­ly ref­er­enced in Die Nibelun­gen it cer­tain­ly pro­vides strong echoes. Cou­ple this with a smol­der­ing resent­ment over the War Guilt Clause of the Treaty of Ver­sailles and the omi­nous deter­mi­na­tion that per­me­ates the film [ded­i­cat­ed to the Ger­man Peo­ple] is a presage of the Third Reich. In terms of myth­ic reaf­fir­ma­tion, this is an appro­pri­ate response; after some­thing hap­pens that is trau­mat­ic to a nation­al psy­che this type of sto­ry­telling is a heal­ing mech­a­nism.

The pro­duc­tion val­ues are excel­lent, and though I wish Kino had remas­tered their print, I had absolute­ly no com­plaints about the orig­i­nal 1924 score. The act­ing, set-pieces, spe­cial effects and light­ing are trib­utes to the skill of Lang and the capa­bil­i­ties of UFA. At 5 hours, the film only drags briefly, at tricky points of plot expo­si­tion. I’d prob­a­bly be will­ing to buy it if the print were a bet­ter qual­i­ty. And now, some oth­er stuff:

I Spilt No Milk

I want­ed to have a bowl of cere­al this morn­ing. How­ev­er, the new bag resist­ed my ini­tial attempts to open it until it sud­den­ly burst and toast­ed oats cor­us­cat­ed through my kitchen like under­foot-crunch­ing man­na from heav­en. The bag split com­plete­ly in half so every bit went to waste. I should stick with peanut-but­tered toast. My break-fast was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly bro­ken and unbro­ken.

Kimotix

In the past two days I have received The New Com­plete Hoyle [Revised] which has already height­ened my geek­ery since it pro­vides his­tor­i­cal back­ground for the games it then tells you the rules of. I used to read ency­clo­pe­dias and dic­tio­nar­ies cov­er-to-cov­er when I was lit­tle, so read­ing a book of rules for games of skill and chance isn’t too far off the hook. And yes­ter­day I didn’t get my foot­ball tick­ets, but got the refund for them and a list of the games I did get tick­ets to. If it weren’t for pay­ing my mono­gram dues [with unclu­lar assis­tance] I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have got­ten any tick­ets. I got 2 tick­ets to Penn State, 2 tick­ets to Michi­gan, 2 tick­ets to Pur­due, 2 tick­ets to UCLA and 2 tick­ets to Army. I also got a check for $660 for all the tick­ets I didn’t get. Not a bad lot­tery when you get your mon­ey back.

I also rode my bike to Kimo’s in Ohio City again last night for sushi. It has to be the best sushi in town and with the best prices, just under $1 for each piece of hoso maki. I had Una­gi, Dyna­mite and one I can’t remem­ber that was Japan­ese may­on­aise and crab. Una­gi remains my favorite. I love eel. Must be the Welsh her­itage bub­bling up.