You kick it
off the porch
but it returns
all the more eager
So you let it in
learn to live
with the purring of it
heavy and warm
in your lap
its hooked claws
kneading your heart
It’s been another city-to-city runaround for the last two months, and music has been one of the things fueling me as I overfill an endless to-do list, tend to my most basic needs and contemplate the impending doom of Brexit and Trumpdom. I know some of these are repeated of songs I’ve included in other mixes. At this point I don’t think it can be helped. I collect what keeps me going as I go… and that might be the same songs month after month…
amusing tongue of procrastination
Good Goo of Random Gum – January and February 2019
01 Cameron Avery – Dance with Me …Sure, I’m a lonely fool and I ain’t that cool
But I’ll walk you through it…
Some Australian thing
02 Poliça – Marrow
Snowy walks in the dark
03 thanks – Your World
04 INXS – Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down a Mountain)
Hard to believe how long Hutchence has been gone; another Aussie representative
05 Alvvays – Plimsoll Punks
Sometimes things inexplicably and unexpectedly remind you of someone and you can’t figure out why they ever seemed so important
06 World Party – Is It Like Today?
World Party is one of those bands my best friend and I probably made fun of (no idea why) when we were adolescents. Now I listen to this during the snowy, dark morning walks and can’t separate it from the annoyances of public transportation
07 The Cult – Fire Woman
The Cult was never my thing, and this song was something I suppose I made fun of in its heyday, but I recently sent it to my best friend when she offered to help me overcome my fear of fire in order to operate my dormant fireplace
08 Lizzo – Juice
Can’t get enough of this
09 U2 – Spanish Eyes
Another nod to adolescence and the old days when B-sides were so hard to come by
10 Phantastic Ferniture – Bad Timing
Oh, how I love everything Julia Jacklin is involved in. “Maybe it’s not the timing/maybe we were never meant to be”
11 Lee Hazlewood – Pray Them Bars Away
12 Stone Roses – Made of Stone
I think I include this song every time I am in a period of isolation and contemplation and walking long distances – since I first heard it in 1989, it has served this purpose
13 Bill Callahan – Javelin Unlanding
14 Charlotte Gainsbourg – Such a Remarkable Day
15 Townes van Zandt – High, Low and In Between
16 Connie Francis – You’re Gonna Miss Me
17 Santigold – Coo Coo Coo
18 Agnes Obel – It’s Happening Again
19 Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Heart-Shaped Bruise
20 Julia Jacklin – Head Alone
“Come on, give me the room tonight/You know I’ve told you before that you hold me too tight”
21 Elvis Costello – This Year’s Girl
Recently binged the second season of The Deuce – this was a perfect theme song for this season. “You want her broken with her mouth wide open cause she’s this year’s girl”
22 Clau Aniz, flávia cabral – Montanhesa
23 Dory Previn – The Lady With the Braid
24 Swans – Blind
25 Ludovic Alarie – we’re a dream nobody wrote down
if the body is just a parable
about the body if breath
is a leash to hold the mind
then staying alive should be
easier than it is most sick
things become dead things
at twenty-four my liver was
already covered in fatty
rot my mother filled a tiny
coffin with picture frames
I spent the year drinking
from test tubes weeping
wherever I went somehow
it happened wellness crept
into me like a roach nibbling
through an eardrum for
a time the half minutes
of fire in my brainstem
made me want to pull out
my spine but even those
have become bearable so
how shall I live now
in the unexpected present
I spent so long in a lover’s
quarrel with my flesh
the peace seems over-
cautious too-polite I say
stop being cold or make
that blue bluer and it does
we speak to each other
in this code where every word
means obey I sit under
a poplar tree with a thermos
of chamomile feeling
useless as an oath against
dying I put a sugar cube
on my tongue and
swallow it like a pill
Ah… I drafted and never published this, thinking I might add to it. But I didn’t read much more that was worth writing about in the end. So, here in mid-February, I give you January’s thoughts on what I read.
Thoughts on reading for January:
In December last year, I had a few exams and new projects kicking things off, which hampered my ability to dig right in and read as much as I normally would in December. As I recall, recent Decembers have been much slower than this one, so I can’t say it’s a surprise that reading tapered off a bit. Still, I managed to get over the 365-book hurdle for 2018, so there has been more than one per day – not that that really mattered or that I kept score. No. Just coincidental that I’d find something to completely devour every day.
And January has continued this trend of accomplishing less reading. Actually it’s truer to say that I completed less reading – I am reading as much as ever, but in textbooks, you don’t just sit down and read through the whole thing at once. I am immersed in about 15 different textbooks at the moment, skipping around reading assigned chapters here and there, as well as related journal articles, and that’s consuming most of my attention. So finished books are limited for now.
As usual, over the last two years, people have been flabbergasted to learn how much I read, especially when they learn how many other things I am doing. But apart from having the desire and attention span, which it seems many people are lacking, there are a lot of excuses. But even mathematically, it’s quite possible. I probably don’t even read as much as I could, but I know that I am busy doing other things that enrich my mind, so I don’t feel bad about reading as “little” as I do.
In any case, despite the reduced number (and it really isn’t about quantity), I managed a few books in January, even if I don’t have much to write about them here.
I didn’t read anything that I thought was good enough to highly recommend it.
Good – really good
I also didn’t read anything that I thought was really good.
Entertaining/informative/thoughtful or some combination thereof
Although I started reading the book ages ago, and didn’t quite delve into it until I was stuck on a flight down to Copenhagen, it was quite interesting to learn about the history of these questionable personality tests/”types”. It also happens to align well with the work I am doing at uni now, focused on individual differences and personality as well as psychometric testing. I really had no idea about the history of the Myers-Briggs, which is so widely used and has always seemed dodgy at best. Attending job interviews and going through this battery of tests and interpretations with well-meaning HR reps has always seemed, if anything, reductive and possibly even humiliating. And the book starts to illustrate why, with much of the narrative reading like a work of fiction (truth is stranger than, after all…).
Nope, no coincidences this time.
Biggest disappointment (or hated/disliked)
I don’t know what I expected of Lanark, but had read such glowing reviews of it, and felt it was a duty and obligation to read it as an adopted Glaswegian. And it’s not that it was bad – but it was disjointed in a way that made it difficult to become invested in, particularly when you leave the Thaw story and enter the Lanark story. Not much I can really say about it, as it took me months to finally get through. It might be one of those that you need to be in the right frame of mind to absorb properly.
In the Tongues of Bells
I decant a blossom. It goes before you.
You’re filled with Uriah. Green, tiny and pressed.
Blueness is a furious cake, a round
cake where yearning sleeps. Are the balls
the balls of the earth? At wells
and fountains? At Atlas’ pillar?
You say that you’d be my property.
You’d lose everything instantly.
I still wouldn’t notice you anymore, injured.
I choose from the thickness. Honey collects
cries. And when the body thickens and you get up
because I dress you, because I congeal you.
I erase you back in the past. I draw
a white flap, shine a white flap.
Forms of Love
I love you but I’m married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but “I” am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, “I understand the semiotics of that” when I said, “I
had a little personal business to take care of.”
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone, except for this one
I love you when you’re not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it’s so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I’m a strange backyard and you’re running from the
cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I’m just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I’m a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the
syringe takes when you’re shooting heroin, after you pull back
the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she’s the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even
though we’ve never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you
learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis
Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I’m nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren’t for that I know I could really, really love you.