“something I said, she would sail into it, a snatch, for me, she would be gone from me a little ways but smiling too, and tell me jokes, and I loved it but didn’t exactly know what to do about it and just smiled back at her and felt slow next to her, just not quick enough. So she talked and touched me on the shoulder and the arm, she kept touching and stayed close to me.”
- L.D., “Break It Down”
I have a bird in my head and a pig in my stomach
And a flower in my genitals and a tiger in my genitals
And a lion in my genitals and I am after you but I have a song in my heart
And my song is a dove
I have a man in my hands I have a woman in my shoes
I have a landmark decision in my reason
I have a death rattle in my nose I have summer in my brain water
I have dreams in my toes
This is the matter with me and the hammer of my mother and father
Who created me with everything
But I lack calm I lack rose
Though I do not lack extreme delicacy of rose petal
Who is it that I wish to astonish?
In the birdcall I found a reminder of you
But it was thin and brittle and gone in an instant
Has nature set out to be a great entertainer?
Obviously not A great reproducer? A great Nothing?
Well I will leave that up to you
I have a knocking woodpecker in my heart and I think I have three souls
One for love one for poetry and one for acting out my insane self
Not insane but boring but perpendicular but untrue but true
The three rarely sing together take my hand it’s active
The active ingredient in it is a touch
I am Lord Byron I am Percy Shelley I am Ariosto
I eat the bacon I went down the slide I have a thunderstorm in
my inside I will never hate you
But how can this maelstrom be appealing? do you like menageries? my god
Most people want a man! So here I am
I have a pheasant in my reminders I have a goshawk in my clouds
Whatever is it which has led all these animals to you?
A resurrection? or maybe an insurrection? an inspiration?
I have a baby in my landscape and I have a wild rat in my secrets from you.
Writing an essay about paternalistic racism? Need illustrative anecdotes? Walk behind my parents as they shop for a canned food drive and discuss their choices.
Rob Horning’s “The Accidental Bricoleurs” is not written with great style but makes some solid connections. From the big finish:
We need a sympathetic community within which to realize our individuality. Social media tends to turn that effort to preserve that community into the pursuit of fame. And when we pursue fame, our behavior devolves into the familiar forms of self-commodification. We replace the pleasure of what we do with fantasies about the measurable notoriety we imagine we’ll reap. Social-media companies don’t facilitate community any more than fast-fashion companies elevate style; they cater to the fantasy of being a celebrity, the impossible dream of a mass audience for everyone. With that we either beat a retreat into vicarious fantasy or end up squarely in the realm of the creative class and its fiefdom of cool. To dissolve the creative class into universal creativity, the tyranny of “cool”—fashion as a mass-market business; trend spotting as an entrepreneurial vocation; friendship as a quantitative measure; influence as an end in itself—would have to be abolished, not universalized.
The pressure that sustains self-branding, it turns out, ultimately comes from ourselves, everyone on everyone else. We circulate the meanings, we empty out or alter their meaning, we grant the suddenly measurable attention that makes identity salient. We have more capability to share ourselves, our thoughts and interests and discoveries and memories, than ever before, yet sharing is in danger of becoming nothing more than an alibi that hides how voracious our appetite for novelty has become. It becomes harder for our friends and ourselves to figure out what really matters to us and what stems merely from the need to keep broadcasting the self.
Over the golf course two suburbs past, the bro longs to see. He fills a cooler with Natty Light: FIRE, WORK WITH ME.