May 27, 2010

May 17, 2010

sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

- Saint Francis and The Sow, Galway Kinnell, 1980

May 16, 2010

Plug it in and change the world.

I still remember the outfit I was wearing as I sat in front of our newly cable-fied set the day MTV signed on. (Given that it was 1981, a time when all fashion was unfortunate, let's just mouth the words 'sailor pants' and move along.) However, it's not the details that are important's the fact that I still have them at all.

Things I have to concentrate stupidly long to remember: conversations I had yesterday, the back way to my brother's house, whether or not I've fed my dog today.

Things I long ago abdicated to Google: algebraic formulas, names of high school classmates, the proper usage of i.e. vs e.g.

Things I can recall with zero effort and stunning clarity: lyrics to Gimme Three Steps and Buffalo Stance, my seat number for a 1987 U2 concert, which Brandenburg Concerto was playing the first time I knew I was in love.

Are you hearing a theme here?

My mother once lamented that if I'd only give as much attention to test questions as I did to music, I'd be a great student. Putting aside that this was in the 80s when song lyrics weren't exactly brain busters, clearly she was on to something. Maybe if I'd been allowed to sing my college biology lab answers in lieu of attempting written hypotheses, I wouldn't have had to take the class [inaudible mumble] times.


All of this is just one long-ass, only vaguely related way to announce that my eyes were irrevocably scalded by the video for MGMT's Electric Feel last night. Harboring a nostalgic love for original glam rock and its subsequent roller-rink-ready pop babies, my first thought upon hearing MGMT was naturally "All skate. All skate." (And if you have to ask what that means, GO AWAY AND DO NOT RETURN TO THIS BLOG, YOUNG INFIDEL.) It's a great song, adaptable to both hard time on the elliptical and driving around at night with the windows rolled down.

For reasons having to do with my own aging but mostly with the music video channels deciding somewhere along the way that slut programming is the new black, I don't have the foggiest idea what passes for music videos these days. So imagine my confusion when I catch this on a soundless TV over a noisy bar:

What am I seeing? What is this cheesetastic mashup of the worst parts of Legend, the underground-Club-Med-on-Viagra portion of The Matrix Reloaded, and, I'm sorry to report, what appears to be several main cast members from the Country Bear Jamboree at Disney World? At my request, the bartender clicks on the closed captioning and slowly, sadly, it starts to dawn on me...I know those lyrics. Why couldn't I leave well enough alone? Because now I'm always going to remember exactly where I was sitting when I finally understood that I am old.

No, not ready-for-my-trip-on-the-ice-floe old, just garden-variety old in that I've officially crossed over the River Styx of pop culture. I'm no longer down with the kids, man.