II — The Manipulator & The Subservient

Monday, 31 July 2006

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

Saturday, 29 July 2006

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

Friday, 28 July 2006

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

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

…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

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

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

Monday, 24 July 2006

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

Friday, 21 July 2006

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.