16.12.08

on shopping: egocentric santa


by Samuel Saint Thomas.

Let's just say for some reason that you're lucky enough to get on my Santa list. You’re nice. You take your shoes off when you come to my house. You always and every single time refill my ice cube tray after making beverages. You pick the lint ever so gently from my sweater. And you don’t give a shit about much I do or say, not a denunciatory bone in your jaw.

And you’re naughty too. Yes. When you come, you come bearing a bottle, or two. You bring Belgian chocolates. You like to play with things. You have a tattoo that no one knows about. And to you, eating is in the same neighborhood as sex. You laugh when you hold grapefruits. “Pamplemousse, pamplemousse,” you say. You use four letter words and God in the same sentence in the dark. You are naughty and you are nice. You are on my list.

So it's good for me to keep naughty and nice people like you around. I highly recommended it for purely self-interested reasons. All smart Santas know this. You might think that I buy you gifts just to make you happy. But how can I know whether opening your box of duck slippers will fill you with joy? Or if a gift certificate to Goombas Pizza will cause ecstasy? How about a tire rotation honey muffin? I want to believe you when you say, “Wow, thanks. I love the color.” But I can’t. I heard on NPR that the perjury rate soars on December 25th.

But I don’t really care if you lie sweetheart, so long as I am filled with joy. Me. I can only guess what brings you joy. And when you say, “Darling, you didn’t have to…” I say, “Oh but darling I did. This is about me didn’t you know?” Keeping nice and naughty people like you on my list. Isn’t that why you too slip a credit card into your pocket, put on your fuzzy red hat, strap up your reindeer, and head out to bond with other lonely, depressed and egocentric Santas like me?

11.8.08

on destiny: deviant lust & possibility

by Samuel Saint Thomas.

Walking down Commercial Street in Provincetown is an adventure in eccentricity. P-town is a magnet for all things unhomogenized. Paris and New York distilled. Its lust for deviation seems as much a footing as the sand that supports its tumbled wooden houses, galleries, night clubs, and lobster joints. It's simple to make out the face of the town, to describe the colors, smells, and movements of tanned retired executives in a topless vintage Mercedes, artists staring away from framed oils, crusty fishermen shouting toward the sea, lovers loving, and the cue of buff gays waiting for a show.
 
Yet, how is it that the browning 60 something woman in blue and beads -sucking on a Marlboro Red- got to that corner on the south side of Commercial Street? Of all the places in the world she might have ended, there she is. And what of the guy to her right, taking in the same view? And what of the wrinkled cross-dressing 76 year old street-crooner and the busty girl on the sidewalk pressing cds right out of her Macbook? And you? How is it that you are sitting there reading this piddling ponder and not saucing a pizza in Pomona? Would it be Pomona UK, California, Kansas?
 
And what about me? Some would say that fate or a god of some sort drives me to destinations and crossroads, Provincetown or Pomona. Yet, that would suppose I had no control. No control over boarding a plane to Tegucigalpa, asking Rosanna to dinner in London, staying on in San Antonio, reading Kerouac on the bus, buying Vlado a whiskey in that underground Croatian bar, letting go at a NYC rave, going for that second coffee in Princeton, not sleeping in the bathtub in New York, and not making that left hand turn yesterday.

It's a beautiful complicated mess. Every one of those choices hooked me up with yet another set of choices that hooked me up with yet more choices that, through a long series of lefts, straights and rights, put me on the north side of Commercial Street with a view of the 60 something woman in blue and beads. It's tempting to think of the what-ifs, rather, it's my history. I have caused my sitting in this chair, listening to Fresh Air Radio, drinking my coffee, thinking into my screen about how great it is to have nothing ahead of me but possibilities and ashes.  The notion of destiny seems quite bland and painful when I think of Rosanna naked.     

comments and discussions welcome..
samuel


click photo for a photographic essay..



17.7.08

on memory: forget this

You'll forget what you're about to read here shortly. You won't give a hounds ass. I won't give a hounds ass either. You see, in writing my memoirs, I've been giving memory a thought. And it's pretty depressing. Because if sensory memory is only good for less than two seconds and short term memory 15 seconds, all one has left is long term memory. And that's not much. Few experiences, only the vivid ones end up there. Blowing my nose? Delete. Drinking that last beer? Delete. I've had no vivid experiences in the last 30 days, maybe longer, I can't remember. I get up every day and replicate. I wander around in my boxers until my eyes are open enough to pour milk on my granola, turn on music, check my email, take out the trash, then mount a fresh roll of toilet paper on the chrome holder I dispise. All titillating stuff. I only remember because I've done those things thousands of times. Repetition improves memories.

Just in the past year, as I can recall, I've taken out the trash about 45 times. I missed a few weeks. I remember the missed weeks because my lover moaned about it, "Just mentioning it," she said. The mentioning was vivid. You'd think I'd had a date with the landfill, had violated some moral code of decay, to blame for fucking up the life of a trash bag full of used Kleenexes, Q tips, and leftovers from the Thai place that we didn't remember to eat in time because it was in the refrigerator behind the wine that I can't remember who gave to us on what occasion.

Rationally, the trash is already dead, what's the hurry? But, if I can remember, I'll use this the next time. "My dear, just as I was about to crawl into bed, my brain discarded the idea of taking out the trash. It just wasn't that vivid. Being that it was vivid for you... oh never mind, I'm just mentioning it."

If only Dali was right...
Equivocally,
Samuel


Salvator Dali, The Persistance of Memory 1931

16.7.08

on writing: 5:16:57 AM EST

engulfed in flames at 5:15 in the am.. the wine is not too bad either..

XO
samuel


14.7.08

on success: in rilke's camp.. sorta..


Just the other day I received a release to publish my conversation with Chris Arthur titled " Scribbles, Fragments, and Ideas," that appeared in the early spring edition of The Literary Review. I count it as an honor to have appeared in a lit mag that has published the likes of some real heavyweights such as William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Philip Levine, Seamus Heaney, and Rilke. Yikes! Right? and the list goes on. But don't take my word for it, just page to the bottom of the file in the title link above.

Anyway, if you are the least bit interested in the skills of seeing and writing, this conversation is a must read. The time I spent in email banter with this guy was nothing short of formative for me and my hacking away here in the mountains with my laptop. Let me know what you think. I'll pass the word on to Chris.

Click here for the Arthur Conversation.. if that doesn't link up, go to my "sample reads" link below the itunes button.. either way you'll need Adobe Reader..



Enjoy,
Samuel

13.7.08

on my memoir: hot for it..

it's summer, people usually go places, but i haven't gone very far.. it seems the fine weather has lured me to the porch with my laptop.. i had to do it, to get a laptop that is.. i know that great writers hide in dark attics, but i couldn't pull it off.. the dark hole theory for prolific writing.. 

regardless, i've been making fresh-air progress on my "jesus boy" memoirs.. it would seem i'm at the half-way point.. it's a strange yet gathered feeling, looking over the snapshots of my past.. it's quite liberating to be admitting openly that i come from a sorted and dysfunctional place.. 
samuel

17.6.08

on being smart: stupid me..

Richie stopped by today. we drank hard cider. his day sucked. his kid ripped off Walmart. stole a video game. so Richie was running me through his punishment scheme. "he's 16 for fuck sake. i thought i taught him right," he said, "he can't work at the pool this summer, that's it, it's pulling weeds." Richie wanted to know if he was being overenthusiastic with all the punishment and such.

i said, "how about i grill you the best beef dog you ever had." i was more interested in consequences. punishment is a strange word, that to my mind indicates a god, a lord, a more powerful being that leans into my behavior as if it falls outside the possibility of behaving immorally itself, immune from being a bad boy.

consequences are much more useful to me because it's the behavior itself that bites me in my ass. the first time that i smoked, i vomited. I have a hundred more of those ass bites too. but i'm guessing that Richie's ass hurts more than the kid's ass. i say stand back and watch the kid suffer his own consequences. the kid, perhaps if he's not too distracted by the gods of punishment, like me, will come to know just how stupid smart people can be.

and Richie? he liked how crunchy my hot dogs were on the outside. "just like Coney Island," he said.



"I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting."
--William Shakespeare

16.6.08

on loneliness: pasty nakeds @bonnaroo?

a few minutes ago i finished up the speed review of Bonnaroo in the New York Times. i had a feeling I missed something, everything, and nothing all at once. i thought perhaps i'd have a beer, instead i checked my email.. nothing. not even a little late night spam.

i'm not sure if Mr Pareles was even there. the voice in his Times review is distant. the voice of hands outstretched toward pounding low frequencies and the gods of music commerce. the voice of stage echo. no voice of human flesh in camp-out city. only -most notably- that ticket sales were down over 07, Bonnaroo is now more than for hippies, and nobody seemed to know Metallica songs.

but where are the pasty nakeds in the mud, sweat, cheap beer, and first or second hand bud smoke? did anyone cry, moan, have a baby, smell like sewage, fuck in the woods or any other such stuff that togetherness is made of? yet, when i think of it, i never notice the stuff of human flesh when in the city either. i only notice myself, alone in a sea of people i so long to be together with. perhaps i was hoping that Mr Pareles would meet some people at Bonnaroo for me so that i wouldn't feel so lonely tonight.


4.6.08

on obama: the swirling sceptic

As I listened to the presumptuous Barack Obama deliver his "sermon" last night claiming his nomination, I realized one more time that I am not a fan. The word fan makes me think of moving air, cardboard on a stick, passed to the perspiring at funerals. The word fan makes me think of the word fanatic, synonymous with breezy words like maniac, extremist, diehard, and zealot. I'm far too much a septic for those sorts of things. But Obama knows me, the skeptic, he knows me well. For the New York Times he said, '"I am like a Rorschach test. Even if people find me disappointing ultimately, they might gain something.'” Rorschach has more than his share of skeptics of ink dots. I am more than disappointed Barack, I'm skeptical.

In the best Obama piece yet, Michael Powell skins the fruit to the pulp. He quotes Abner J. Mikva, "...but oh that speaking style. Too many ers and uhs, too Harvard and not enough South Side. Mr. Obama did not argue the point; he began paying attention in church. “He listened to patterns of speech, how to take people up the ladders,” recalls Mikva, now 81. “It’s almost a Baptist tradition to make someone faint, and, by God, he’s doing it now.” Fans faint. Fans faint from the heights at the top of emotional ladders. Fans fainted every Sunday in my father's church, in my church. I fainted too, fainted from the wind that was said to change my painful wretched soul into an angel of god. But I'm not ruling out the idea of fan completely. I haven't seen Tom Waits play live yet.
Carry on then,
samuel

Tom Waits, "I Been Changed"

3.6.08

on blogging: my mercurial love affair

I have a rather mercurial affair with the idea of the blog. To begin with, I'm not much of a believer, and to blog, I have to believe. I have to believe in things unseen, namely people. I have to believe that subscribers are people, people with heartbeats. People with the fear of dying. People who are confused. People who are lonely. People who laugh, cry, argue, sing, dance, and on occasion have interdependent orgasms. But I don't even know your names, only subscriber 54, subscriber 23. It's all a very strange nothingness.

Despite this nothingness, I am typing. I am typing stuff into a little box known as a 'browser'. Ok, I suppose if I were writing a novel I wouldn't know my readers either. But if I understand Kierkegaard correctly that belief is absurd, then blogging is absurd. I am absurd.

Yet, I can't live without absurdity either, that would be sensible, and to be sensible is inconsistent with living. I don't see anything sensible about most of the poop that comes my way just from waking up in the morning. Loving, for example, all the waiting, the massaging, the trusting, the hoping, when who knows, she might just throw it all in a square bag with a telescoping handle and little plastic wheels and roll it out in the middle of the night in the middle of one of my dreams.

Blogging then, I've reasoned, is a sensible absurdity.

Carry on then,
Samuel

22.5.08

on getting started: thinking of Lou Reed...

I am thinking of Lou Reed just now, the Velvet Underground guy. He said," I think it's true what my wife said to me, she said 'Lou, Lou, Lou, it's the beginning of a great adventure.'" Lucky Lou, I say, to have a muse. But if his wife doesn't mind, I feel inclined to adopt that forecast for kicking jesus.

A few years ago --before blogging was invented-- I wrote a weekly post for 52 weeks on Yahoo to 700 or so people called the MondayMorningBluesBlaster. The immediacy of the medium was dramatic and exhausting. Every sunday night i'd stare at the screen of my old 486 and drink, smoke, and sweat until something came. I'm wishing now that the quality of connections made then will come around again this time for kicking jesus. If it doesn't, i'll shut it down and take up some other bad habit.

As often as I can,
Samuel