first principles

everybody’s always from somewhere. it’d be very foucauldian, and mucho unanthropological to hold that fact in contempt, right? to not just malign where i’m from, but to malign the whole idea of “where i’m from”?

first principles:

1) philip larkin/paul muldoon/ben trefz roosevelt/j-rock williams/nemerov/hudgins/wcwilliams

2) corduroy jeans

3) seven-inches with only one good song (often the b-side, track one).

4) neither here nor there, betwixt and between-ness.

5) a socialism that’s neither teleological or even, frankly, even just self-assured. just the idea that it’s either socialism or barbarism…. and hell, even every socialism may also be a barbarity of its own, but this is the horpse i’ve ridden in on. and its various utopian iterations sink deep into me like great b-sides. and it’s the closest i’ve got to “the right thing to do.”

6) baseball. baseball without winners and losers, baseball without champions. just the long, mid-summer unfolding of flyballs and pops, and snappy throws circling the horn from persona to persona. baseball’s  everyman, the journeyman, utility man. the look on the utility man’s face on his baseball card. i make a point to keep doubles of those cards (hence, “doubles”).

7) zuma neil young and third-era big star but really, ultimately, for whatever it’s worth….midwestern, indie inspired guitar emo: crownhateruin and giant’s chair and boy’s life and all the others. when i was young i got to yo-yo between the nyc hip shows and the new jersey vegan matinees, and i’m so much more the latter inside that it’s a larf i haven’t ended up strumming pop-punk. basically i see myself here. oh, and unwound and slint. it’s maybe not who i am but it’s where i wanted to be from the first time i was ever anywhere near where i belonged. it’s why the electric guitar needs to come out again.

eight) the galldarn hissing of the old pipes in the old heater of what used to be my old room, which used to have NASA wallpaper but these days rocks a laura ashley motif. it rains all the time in eugene but jersey’s the really gray place.

9) some bizarre sense of wonder about “diversity” or whatever. i rarely dare speak its name because to do so in anthro-circles is about as in-the-pocket as using starved-dead cats for oven mitts. but weird, geertzian, other people live lives i’ve tasted only in deep-fucked dreams….difference. or differance. not the willingness to catalog or describe, but a libidinal will towards communion with whatever will always elude the catalog. in other words, i dunno, weird, lacanian lust-semiotics for that object which stands in for the impossibility of shedding everything but desire. i mean objectivity, materiality. “the materiality of the signifier” is a damned important idea. i should use that to define culture for the business majors.

10) issues about dialectics of modernity and socialism that’ve plagued me even before i knew a dialectic from triaminic. what’s pretentious-er, modernist abstraction or the dream of a non-capitalist modernity? i’ll take it.

11) and the sonic youth, son volt, slint territory. williams described slint as playing “the topography of my nightmares” once… less moodily, i’d merely assert that these three bands’ sounds are, like, geographically real to me. they’re more than spatial: they’re places. respectively: half-burned-out subway lights uptown, the bleeding rural route, and the place we broke into to swim. these are the actual scenes draped behind my own, actual, real life unfolding. these are the glasses i’m seeing through, darkly but resolutely.

12) the novel i haven’t finished but can still see myself in. the main man waking up hungover on an exercise mat in an airplane hangar on a strip mall road. new jersey. goodnight. amen.

13) ultimately, hard-won, overwrought opacities like these. my own way of trying to take the walk on the beach stephen daedalus takes in the proteus chapter of you know what.

14) the adoration of the monstrance, the aura of the irish-catholic god. the holy spirit of guilt, at its purest before you ever even learn about sunday hangovers. thinking you’ll get a snowday off from school and not getting it, no. but staying in bed as if the call’ll come any minute.

15) principled lists, building up to something, or merely building up to tapering off? i’m thankful, retrospectively, for the times i’ve been the unwilling or willing object of somebody else’s experiment. i think it’s happened at least a few times.

16) i should say something about all the wonderful people. and let’s not forget the one or three who’ve already left the building. so soon? the love i feel for the wonderful people, which has something to do with socialism, i’m pretty sure.

17) old slideshows my grandparents used to show. “Those browner, cleaner old days” is what i called ’em in a poem. “the old black phone.” the poems we used to write at university.

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4 Responses to “first principles”

  1. Learn Guitar » first principles Says:

    […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

  2. m. potato Says:

    thought of you the other day because i found one of those little button-pins that punkers and hipsters wear on their leather jackets and messenger bags that says: ” i’d take philip roth over david lee roth any day”. i am wearing it on my jacket as i type, and i do thank jersey for him as well as you…

  3. lexdexter Says:

    very nice of you to check in amidst all this histrionic blah-blah, potato. i need to come visit you about some quinoa soon.


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