Thursday, May 01, 2008

lately i have been reading things by selecting a random paragraph and then another random paragraph until i get bored with the article. i don't really read stories like that, but i do it for news articles, album/book reviews, blogs, letters or e-mails from friends, bank statements, bat mitzvah programs, 'etc'.

sometimes i read poems by randomly reading stanzas. maybe i think that poems mean things more freely than stories, i don't know. i told Joe Harrington today that i never know what anything 'means'. i know if i like things, but sometimes i don't know why i like them. i don't want to say things anymore like "i can relate to this poem/character/image" because i don't like what that says about my tastes, which is that i like things that pertain to my experience, which is narrow. i am only one person, i guess, but i can pretend to be other people.

i think that i would rather say that i like the way something sounds/looks/feels on the tongue because that is based in a visceral pleasure that can't be judged in the same way as emotionally based 'connections' can be. or i would rather say that i like the way a word is used, a sort of new 'meaning' for the word, which sort of denies meaning and thus reaffirms my worldview of meaninglessness. like in this example from an Anne Boyer poem:
I will want like splinters,
astonished spit, also like alphabets and minnows.
i just wanted to give examples of what i was talking about when i said "new 'meaning' for the word which sort of denies meaning." i especially like that the phrase "astonished spit" works on many 'levels'. first, it is a personification of a bodily fluid, which is funny and amusing. this is a little thing but it contributed to help me put off suicide longer than i would have otherwise. i need lots of these things to add up. fortunately, there are a lot of books that i like and it is baseball season now.

second, "astonished spit" is a target for the simile set up in the first line, and it also serves to clarify the other similes: what it means to "want like splinters" is akin to what is it to "want like astonished spit". this is not as interesting or funny, but it was interesting to think about for a second. i felt smart when i typed "target" and "clarify". when i feel smart, i feel like other people who are not as smart as me should die first, and then i put off suicide.

(a short list of people who should not die before me, please: Anne, Cush, ChloƩ, Andy, Cote, Deb, John Muther, Elliott, Becca, Ben, Kristine, people who serve coffee Henry's or people who buy things there, Stephen, the members of Frightened Rabbit, Jesse, Gabe, Guthrie, Chad, Tao, Rob Jach, Erick, Chuck, Ryan & Emily, Karl, Mike Hauser, and anybody these people would include if they made a list like this.)

"astonished spit" makes the wanting like alphabets, splinters, and minnows funnier, too -- makes them stranger, maybe. minnows can want things, like dead flakes of skin or whatever they eat, but when they "want" like astonished spit wants, they do it in a funnier way. the minnows are smashed, then maybe and become a jelly kind of minnow that no longer wants dead skin flakes for nourishment. i don't know what it wants. it doesn't mean anything. it sounds good. it made me happy to think about things like minnows being spread like jelly on a cracker.

to want like an alphabet is to have sex with letters.

i said some things. i do this every once in a while. i don't know why i do it. i think i do it to try to figure out what i 'believe' about poetry or art or something, but it never seems to work. i still don't know what i believe. i just think that i want poetry to try to do something 'different', but that is not a guarantee that i will like it.

i am now sick of trying to type and think about this.


paul said...

Also, the lines sound great. The short “i”’s of “will”, “splinter”, “spit” and “minnow”; the repetition of “like”; the mixing of hard and soft “a”’s and “o”’s; the “et” of alphabet with the “it” of spit... is there some chiasmus?


How do alphabets want? Do they want to form words, language? Do they yearn like minnows for (perhaps) transformation through growth?

Splinters seem like letters in being a part of something but, unlike letters, (or maybe like letters), they are a broken off part that can’t be made to form anything. (They had once helped form something but can't now.)

Spit resembles splinters in being a fallen off part of something (someone). Splinters can enter a finger while spit can exit the mouth. Spit can also sometimes resemble minnows in being globular or tear-shaped.

mlx said...


Are you suggesting I SHOULD die before you?

I think you and I should die simultaneously. Lets make a blogger's pact to try as hard as possible to die at the same time. That will make the grieving process easier for both of us.

Louise said...

Rob, I just read your blog for the first time ever because I did not know about it, and the only reason I found out about it is because Ben sent me a link to his blog, which I had never read before either. I have never read anyone's blog before except my brother's, some famous people's, and some weird people from high school who I don't even talk to.
Anyway, it looks really nice and I just want to say that I remember that discussion in Joe's class and I liked what you said a lot.

Chloe Jones said...

I will never die. Elliott on the other hand...that guy is toast. I give him three years. TOPS. Sorry, Baby Carrots. Thems the breaks.