Saturday, June 27, 2009

RICHIE - CHAPTER TEN (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shosetsu)

on the way back to fairview i
dont talk much mostly cuz
im pissed that he was being
such a dick again

and idk if hes got something

on his mind or what but
richie doesnt talk at all and
the only time either of us says

is when i make the point that

regret isnt like msg at all
because msg doesnt magnify
flavors by contrast but by a
chemical reaction

and he replies -dee dee yr

just smart enough to be
hopelessly annoying and no
smarter- and im just
–whatever man

-you know im right- and

silence again and it doesnt lift
until we get back to fairview
and we coordinate how to get
the truck back

to the physical plant without

attracting any attention and
then after we drop it off we
just walk back to the dorm

go in separately to avoid

suspicion theres not a lot
after that and the week goes
by pretty uneventfully again
except for isaacs class

where were reading this book

called –lord of the flies- and
theres this part where the kid
simon dies because they think
hes the beast

and isaacs is talking about

how the light and the
movement of the body by the
water is indicative of the
reincarnation theme

and i can see richie getting

increasingly bunged up as
isaacs keeps talking about
reincarnation and eventually
richie goes into this thing

about how the word

reincarnation shouldnt be
used because it doesnt
indicate theres any choice in
the process

and isaacs immediately

stiffens and says –okay
richie maybe resurrection
might be a better term to use
due to the christ imagery-

but richie keeps going -but in

the elsa barker book- and
isaacs cuts him off -we are
not talking about elsa barker
in this class-

and he raises his eyebrows

like a signal almost but richie
starts again and isaacs beats
him to the punch -we are not
talking about

-elsa barker in this class we

are talking about william
golding- and richie stops
sighs and slumps back in his

and doesnt say anything for

like the whole rest of class i
write down -elsa barker- in
my notebook so i can look
her up later

but basically forget to so

anyway i keep my eyes open
for when crisis staff intervene
and im getting better at
figuring out

what theyre doing while

theyre doing it and its weird
but it does seem like theres
patterns there if you listen
hard enough

and this thing starts

happening for awhile where i
start listening to everything
almost like it was what crisis
staff were saying

like movies and tv shows and

commercials especially and it
starts weirding me out like on
this one night when i got a
couple of

bong hits off those other guys

in the common room
watching tv and it brought
me to the point where i was
almost freaking out

so i left and went to talk to

richie but after a couple
minutes he asked me if i was
high and i said yeah and he

-im not gonna talk to you

when yr high because im
gonna have to repeat myself
every two minutes cuz yr not
gonna be able

-to keep up- and im like
–whatever- and i go to look

up stuff on nlp on the internet
but pretty soon i forget what i
was doing

and just start trolling for porn

instead but the next day i
think about it a little bit and
notice that ive never seen

drink or smoke weed or

anything and i think its funny
that i didnt notice before cuz
he seems like the coolest guy
i know

but it seems pretty geeklike

to me that he doesnt party at
all but he could be straight
edge although those dudes
can get on yr nerves

pretty fucking quick i had

this friend back home for
awhile who was straight and
he was pretty intense

if we were at a party or

something so anyway i talk
to richie the next day at lunch
and hes all like -i dont give a

-if you drink or smoke weed

or whatever but it gets really
boring for me really quick
because i dont and its hard
enough for me

-to keep you on my

wavelength when yr straight-
and i notice yet again that
even when hes being friendly
to me hes still kind of dickish

-anyway adolescence -is-

drugs sunshine its the
biggest bestest high that there
is dont forget that- and he
gives me this silly grin

but anyway we get into it

about the soft controls and
richies all like -okay lets
start from the beginning why
did they create

-fairview- and im like - idk

cuz theres all these fucked up
kids and they need a place to
put them- and hes like

-yeah sure but why wouldnt

they just put them in
lockdown with like tons of
rules and shock training and
shit like that-

i go -idk too expensive-

and richie says -naw fairviews
way more expensive to keep
going those places are all
like bare walls

-and barracks and shit- and i

dont wanna keep guessing so
i go - idk richie why dont
you tell me- and he shifts

monologue mode -fairview

was created cuz the old
lockdown system didnt take
into account the
unquenchable appetite for
teenage rebellion-

he raises a finger -hence

salinas- i flash back to the
walls of his dorm room -if
you press on kids long
enough and hard enough

-theyre gonna flip out and get

some guns or whatever and
rip shit up- and i ask him
-so wait the salinas shooting

was why they started

richie nods -basically im not

sure that fairview was the
first to use the krol
methodology but its
definitely the most

-successful- and im all
-whoa okay who the fuck is

krol now- and richie smiles
-stanislaw krol was this guy
from back in the 60s/early

-who did all this theorizing

about cults and manson and
shit and he coined the phrase
soft controls and basically
explained the framework

-by which you can control

whole groups of people to do
what you want them to by
making them think theyre as

-or freer than everybody else-
hes starting to get really

pumped up like on fire how
he was in the cafeteria or in
isaacs room that one day

-he basically identified how

rebellion could be built into
the package- richie grins
shakes his head in admiration
-the guy was a genius really-

-but the fairview model was

pretty much created by krol-
and im confused cuz richie
seems so into this guy -so
krol wanted a bunch of

-to spring up- and hes like
-no no not at all krol would

be horrified if he knew what
they were doing with his

and now im reeling even

worse than before -i dont get
it then why doesnt he stop
them from using his work-
and richie giggles

-krol died penniless and

disgraced in 1982 he could
only stop them if he came
back from the dead- and he
gets this weird

faraway look for a second
-but anyway krol was

defining what he thought was
the disease not the cure- and
then the weird buzz

comes out of the mounted

speakers that signals the end
of lunch and doesnt let up
until everybody leaves so
richie gets up and goes

-dont bother looking krol up

on the interwebs dee dee if
you can even find his
writings they edited the living
shit out of them- but

im like -so where can i find

the original texts- and he
stops in his tracks and turns
back to me -why dee dee i
think i might be

-falling in love with you- and

i get super creeped-out for a
second and it shows and he
just laughs and laughs and
turns away

-you wont be able to find the

original texts dee dee they
took what they wanted from
krol then erased him from the

Friday, June 26, 2009


I just got an anonymous comment letting me know that Marvellous Keene is due to be executed by the state of Ohio on July 21, 2009. This made me feel very, very strange in a number of ways. In "Gun Crazy - Part Seventeen" I used Marvellous Keene as a vehicle to examine the reasons why some murderers are semi-deified (the examples I used were Charles Starkweather and Bonnie and Clyde) and some are just quickly forgotten or demonized. I found Marvellous Keene's name and specifics from some shit in an old notebook from the mid-90s and decided to use it for the poem, not having any idea if he had been paroled or was still in prison or, as we now know, on death row.

This brings up a few dodgy issues. First off, using an actual murderer (with, you know, actual victims) in a poem. There's a lot of stuff in "Gun Crazy" that is morally questionable, and in every other case, that's cool with me - I designed it to be provacative, and to have an amoral stance that reflects the number of conflicting feelings I have about guns, America, violence, religion, etc. But again, whatever his crimes, Marvellous Keene is a real person (as were his victims) and I am literally using him and his image and crimes as a figurative element in a long-form poem, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Secondly, Marvellous Keene is going to be killed by the state. Again, using "Gun Crazy"'s anti-logic, this is a fitting end for the story: eye for an eye, cycle of violence, American tradition, etc. But it makes me feel terrible. I am not rabid about it, but I have never been a supporter of the death penalty. The very idea that this guy is going to be killed now for what he did at 19 or 20 years old, 15 years ago, is madness to me. I've never known someone who was on death row. This, in its wussy way, is probably the closest I'm ever gonna get.

Thirdly, I wondered how Marvellous himself would feel reading the piece. Or the parent or friend of one of his victims. I assume that Mr. Keene would most probably see the truth quickly: intellectual pansy with no firsthand knowledge of true violence uses a figure from an ancient newspaper clipping to add heft to his writing. Mr. Keene would most probably not see any of himself in the piece at all, despite the repeated use of his (admittedly very colorful) name. And I would think that a victim's friend or family would just be enraged.

I got some stuff to think about. Kinda fucked up, right?

Friday, June 19, 2009

RICHIE - CHAPTER NINE (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shosetsu)

so richie comes into my room
on saturday and honestly im
totally happy about it cuz
even if he can be a dick

hes more interesting than

pretty much everybody else
at fairview but of course im
not gonna let him know that
so hes all

-dee dee whats going on-
and im at my computer

working on a paper for isaacs
and im like -you know not
much- and he comes over

big boots thudding across the

floor and stands on the other
side of the flatscreen monitor
hes got his leather jacket on
and he goes

-so are you ready to go- and

im like -what do you mean
go where- and he says -out
you smackhead where else-

and i just laugh -what are we

gonna do walk in the woods-
and he tilts his head -noooo
were gonna go for a ride-

im all -in what- and hes like

-in one of the physical plant
trucks- and i just turn back to
the monitor -count-me-out-

he scoffs -aw come on dont

be a pussy lets go out- and i
scowl -what so im a pussy
because i dont wanna steal a

he gets very matter-of-fact
-its only stealing if you keep

it were gonna give the truck
right back- and i go -whats
out there

-that you wanna see so bad

its just miles and miles of
cowshit and then theres white
rock not exactly a teeming

he narrows his eyes -yeah

but theres the possibility of
mystery romance- thinks for
a second -regret- and i laugh

-why would i wanna have

any regrets- and he goes -do
you have any regrets- and im
like -im fucking 15 i havent
done anything yet-

he raises a finger -and you

wont ever if yr this scared of
regret- and hes twisting my
words so i go -im not afraid
of regret

-im just not gonna like

actively seek it out its a bad
thing right- and richie gets
all philosophical on me
-regret is the msg of life

-it makes the sweets sweeter

the joys bigger somehow
you gotta get you some
regrets there son- and i laugh

-what book did you steal that

one from richie- and he
grimaces looks down for
something at his feet finds it
and jams his boot down hard

on the power strip my

computer immediately shuts
down and the flatscreens
display winks out and im
speechless for a second then i

-you worthless fucking

asshole i didnt save that- and
hes suddenly solemn -i know
and i fully and completely
regret what i did-

then he grins at me -now

come on- and i just sigh
-sure sure why not theres

no way youre gonna get into
any of those trucks-

and 20 minutes later were on

route 420 towards white rock
away from fairview in this
rickety old red truck and i can
barely believe it

not just that he did it but how

quickly he did it he just had
me watch out for staff and
then suddenly it roars to life

and im in the passenger seat

and were rolling off campus
and its still not kicking in that
he just stole a truck we stole

thats how itll be if we get

busted but i try not to think
about that i just turn and ask
him as nonchalantly as i can

-so where are we going- and

hes like -i dont know ive got
one place in mind but im not
sure i can find it without a

and im like -okay but what

is it that yr trying to find-
and hes all -just relax dee
dee everythings cool- and
i just say

-i am relaxed im just feeling

a little exposed you know-
and were pulling up to a red

light when richie goes
-whoa nelly-

cuz theres a cop car already

there and were gonna pull up
right next to it i start going
-shit shit shit shit shit- and

richie just

reaches down and pulls up a
dirty john deere baseball cap
from the floor says -stop
talking- and pops it on his

and as we pull up i watch his

jaw slacken and his eyes
glaze over and we come to a
stop right next to the cops

and he stares straight ahead

for a minute then turns his
head slightly and catches the
eye of the cop in the
passenger seat

and richies face never

changes but he nods briefly
to the cop then turns his gaze
back to the road ahead

and then the light changes

and the cops drive off and
richie puts the truck in gear
and we roll through the

and he exhales with a whistle

and i go -holy shit what did
you just do- and he says very

-acknowledge them but dont

be memorable in any way-
and im like -where do you
get this stuff- and he shrugs

-soft controls- and i ask
-what are soft controls- and

hes all -soft controls are like
behavior modification

-without you realizing youre

being manipulated- and i just
shake my head and laugh -it
looked like magic-

he smiles and says -have you

ever heard of nlp neuro
linguistic programming- and
im like -uh no- and he goes

-have you noticed how crisis

staff talk when somebodys
flipping out their voices
lower and kind of fall into a

and i go -yeah thats so weird

i was gonna ask you about
that- and he smiles again and
goes -theres a hypnotic
effect at work

-how they start talking over

each other overlapping for a
second but they say the same
words and then the other guy

i nod -uh huh- he goes on
-youve gotta listen to the

word choices too they use
words or combinations of
words that you

-never normally would in a

situation like that- and again
im all -how do you know
this stuff- he grins at me

and switches gears -you

wont find this on the
interwebs dee dee you gotta
read real books original texts
are the only way to go-

and then he sees something

that pulls him back -oh yeah
now i know where we are i
just take a left here- and he
guides the truck over

down this almost dirt road

but its pretty secluded so i
feel a little less anxious and
im coming down off the

from the stoplight situation so

im actually pretty relaxed by
the time we get to the
cemetery and richie puts the
truck in park

-here we are- and im like
-here- and he goes -yup-
and gets out of the truck

slams the door starts moving

through scattered tombstones

like hes on some mission

and i open the passenger door

stick my head out and shout
-hey where the hell are you

and he shouts back -i got a

couple of people i need to
see- and i go -what do you
mean- but hes out of earshot

by the time i catch up to him

hes darting back and forth
jumping up in the thin cold
air to try and see farther

-goddamn cemeteries they

should be arranged
alphabetically- and he goes
off in another direction and

i just trail along behind and

he stops suddenly and goes
–dee dee- and i say -what-

and he says -listen to that-
and i say -what-

and he shushes me and we

just stand there listening for a
minute and he asks me -do
you hear that- and i say
–what- for like

the hundredth time -i dont

hear anything- and he smiles
at me -yeah its awesome-
and i almost shout -what-
one last time and he

goes -its nothing the sound

of nothing- i shake my head
and richie goes -dont dismiss
it dee dee one of the best
things about the dead

-is they know when to shut

the fuck up- and he turns
back and starts moving again
further into the cemetery

he gestures at this bunch of

evergreens -now i think i
remember these two trees
from before

-i think its somewhere

between them and that flag-
and he points to a big marble
monument with benches and

-yeah somewhere over here-

big boots thudding on the
cold hard ground i sigh and
follow along and

he shouts –all right- crouches

down in front of two stones
side by side clears off some
dirt and leaves where they

the names are RAYMOND

birthdates are different

but the death dates are the

same june 18 1991 and i
peer in over richies shoulder
and ask -who are they-

richie keeps tidying the

stones -just a couple of dead
people- not taking it
seriously and i ask

-are these yr parents- and he

stops turns and looks at me
like im a dumbass -i was
born in 1994 what do you

i look at the death dates again

and feel like a dumbass -oh
how did they die-

-car crash killed em both-

and i say –oh- and wait
awhile until richie clears a lot
more junk off the graves

-did they know yr parents-

and richie sighs -no my
parents dont have a lot of
like human interaction

-thats why i picked them-

and i go -what do you mean
thats why you picked them-
and he sighs through his teeth

goes -i was just kidding its a

joke- and i go -oh i dont get
it- and he just shrugs and
turns back to the tombstones

so i go -so were they like

people that - and richie
stands up and almost
shouting -do you have to be

-like fucking talking every

other second can you not
feel the need to constantly fill
the space- and i feel stupid

and go –no i was just- and

he keeps shouting -just enjoy
the silence for like one
goddamn minute okay- and
im just real quiet like

-okay- and i guess i kind of

sulk over to the side richie
squats down again and doesnt
say anything for awhile

then whispers to the graves
-this is bad magic i probably

shouldnt have come- and
kisses his fingers and touches

them to jane tulle-gannets

gravestone -i love you- and
gets up dusts his pants off
and thuds back to the truck

and i wait for a minute for

whatever i dont know but i
just kind of walk after him
and when i get to the truck

i wait to see if hes gonna just

drive off and leave me there
and he goes -are you coming
or what- so i just shrug and
get in

Sunday, June 14, 2009

DESPERATE NEED (not my words)

Posting "big difference" made me sad, mostly because i was very sad when i wrote it. But then i read this piece from Kim Cooper's excellent book about neutral milk hotel's amazing album "in the aeroplane over the sea" (and if you dont own this album go get it now, really, sincerely) and it made me feel a lot better. This is a quote from Julian Koster, a multi-instrumentalist in the band:

"...there's something pure and infinite in you, that wants to come out of you, and can come out of no other person on the planet. That's what you've got to share, and that's as real and important as the fact that you're alive...nothing is going to give you that message, necessarily. In fact, most things are going to lead you away from it, sadly, because humanity is really confused at the moment. But you wouldn't exist if the universe didn't need you. And any time I encounter something beautiful that came out of a human somewhere, that's them, that's their own soul. That's just fills up your own soul, it makes you want to cry, it makes you glad you're alive, it lets you come out of you. And that's what we need: we desperately need you."

i mean, that's awesome. we're in rilke or krishnamurti territory here, and this guy is a fucking rock musician. says a lot for that band.

Friday, June 12, 2009


there's a difference
between wanting to kill yourself
and wishing you were dead

a big difference

those who just wish they were dead
- aside from their passivity -
are also cursed with hope

and gaze longingly
from the other side of the yellow police tape
as if it were a red velvet rope
refusing admittance

Friday, June 5, 2009

RICHIE - CHAPTER EIGHT (Twitter Novel / Keitai Shosetsu)

the next weeks pretty
boring basically i dont
see richie all that much
only in isaacs class and

the most interesting thing

there happens after class
when i come back to grab
this book i left behind

and hes talking with

isaacs really animatedly
like when he was in the
cafeteria that one day and
hes holding this book that

i ended up remembering

the title of because it
reminded me of a song by
the spider babies its called

-letters from a living dead

man- which sounds
really cool like a zombie
story but i dont know
why richie would be so

like passionate about a

zombie book but when i
come in the classroom
they both stop talking
immediately and richie

lowers the book to his

side and im like -left my
book- and neither one
speaks until i leave which
is weird but whatever

so otherwise i meet with

my social worker and hes
this old hippy with a pony
tail and a beer gut and hes
always trying to

get me to talk about the

day i took the gun to
school and i dont know
how many times i can
find different ways to say

i got tired of balls hits in

basketball and being
called faggot and spit on
and having my arm
twisted behind my back

until theyd pull down my

pants and point out skid
marks and my little dick
to whatever girls were

and he always nods and

says –go on- and im like
there is nothing else but
he asks me how it all felt
and im like how do you

it felt it sucked balls and

hes always –when you
say it sucked balls what
do you mean- and i just
sigh and eventually

he starts talking more

than i do and i just kind
of zone out and classes
are always pretty much
the same

i mean somebody will go

off pretty much every day
but they get hustled out
by crisis staff to one of
the chill-out rooms

with the cool lighting and

the ambient music and the
water table and the clay
and stuff and that usually
works pretty well

and if it doesnt the crisis

staff have this really
weird way of talking
where they get super

and their gestures become

like slow motion and
their voices fall into
rhythm almost

but its only happened to

me a couple of times so i
havent seen it enough to
really be able to figure
out exactly

what theyre doing but

anyway every night is
basically the same
drinking beers watching
movies playing g5
smoking weed

and occasionally ill knock

out some homework but
if we dont do it its not
like we get in real trouble
or anything

so i post on my blog and

beat off to internet porn
and listen to satellite
radio and catch bong hits
when i can

and sleep a lot and beat

off some more which
leads to more sleep and
then maybe watch a free
pay-per-view on the 52

or if someones playing

madden or pimptastic 2 ill
watch for awhile a
couple times i hang out
with justin

drink 40s with him which

i think he gets from a
dorm staff and we
download a leaked copy
of kill takers new album

which i was super excited

about at first but got
pretty boring by the end
of the week and hanging
out with justin

is kind of like just

hanging out with myself
really so i end up beating
off again and afterwards i
just go to bed