4.5.09

on bliss: the love and folly of ignorance



By Samuel Saint Thomas.

It’s raining. I’m mousing Google wasteland for bliss. Perhaps there’s some hope loitering in the nothingness. Click. Sephora offers the lovely Bliss brand in various existential flavours. Fatgirlslim, sandpaper in a tube to wipe away clingy pudge. $29.00 thanks. For the Brazilian pubic waxers, there’s a 50 pack of Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads, an ingrown hair lump and bump nixer. $38.00 please. And truly “…beyond your wildest creams,” Youth As We Know It, the one stop freshman facelift, $79.00 shipped free.

Click. Over in Clifton, NJ, is Bliss the lounge, Bliss the club, Bliss the den of all blisses produced in pink and Merlot tones behind beats spun from vinyl pumped through 92 knob mixers and Sennheiser Turbosound. Blissful adjectives lure the bliss-hungry set: “Alice in Wonderland… high saturation… savvy… sublime… moving heads… and the not to be missed, Open-Lips urinals…” Corporate and group Bliss also available.

Next link? Click on Shop and Live In Bliss Furniture, Fort Bliss: an Iraq training camp, an estimated 12 bands called Bliss, Bliss: the marriage therapy movie, Hershey Bliss, Chris Bliss: Smart Comedy for the Information Age. No shortage of bliss. Just over 7 million keyword hits. More than two for each American. Yet, true bliss is void of thought. Ignorance. Thomas Gray said that. A thoughtless sea of human urge. I said that.

Yet, Gray notes, wisdom is a very foolish endeavor. Foolish or not, I am driven to indulge. I often think I'm very happy, happy to be o-so-fucking-educated. Happy with bugs eating my dead skin in bed. Happy knowing that all meat rots in the stomach before it gets to the exit. Happy knowing that all chins must sag. Happy that Sauvignon Blanc is washing my brain cells down the pisser. Happy to commute in sucking traffic to impart happy knowledge to sucking students with their brains in the “this sucks” position.

While I’m certainly over the notion of stayed joy, as stupid as bliss is, I need a little to keep me going. On occasion, a lot. Ben and Jerry will do. Some battered onion rings awash with ale. A sweet cigar. Belgian chocolate truffles. A merry go round. Butter, lots of butter. Sunburn. Music at 110db. Maybe 115. And alcohol. Yes. I like my friends smart, sexy, and funny. They need all the help they can get. I need all the help I can get.

NOTE: Links provided purely as a convenience to the reader and not as an endorsement of Bliss, the notion.

7.3.09

on writing: framing out the wiggle stuff

by Samuel Saint Thomas

I can't believe I'm still learning how to see. I figure if I learn to do that, I can write. I'm not talking about eyesight. More correctly, I'm talking about learning to look. I see too much. I want to look, as Martin Heidegger suggests, so as to allow for a clearing, as if to licht or light up a thing or thought. That way i'll get a chance to examine it apart from the rest of things. Allowing for a clearing saves me from the hoard of clutter in my head, the diverse stream of stuff of the world I live in. In a clearing, ideas and things get a chance to be understood and experienced.

When poking at things and ideas in a clearing is working, I feel I am writing. Just as I frame a photograph or compose a painting, placing my subject on its own is a way of framing out the clutter that might keep me from seeing a certain few colors, objects, or textures. That's my idea of story anyway, allowing people, places, memories, details as needed, to stand in a clearing. Perhaps, in doing so, I may get closer to stuff, understand stuff more clearly, and if I'm lucky, my readers will too. It's hard work though, trying to understand things in, as Alan Watts says, this wiggly world.

I think this too. What with Raymond Carver, James Joyce, John Updike, Amy Tan, William Faulkner and all the other brilliant minds in people's laps, why should I want to go through all the work? I remember reading somewhere of Bob Dylan moaning about songwriting, "There's enough good ones already." One could say that about poetry, prose, and all the rest of the hybrids annexed and prefixed with the words free, acid, flash, beat, jazz.

But for some reason, that I haven't figured out just yet, and despite the deep doubt that there's a hole on someones' shelf for a book written by Samuel Saint Thomas, still, I do it. I write. I like it. It juices me. And tapping away in the middle of the night makes me think I'm getting a wiggly thing or two of my life to sit still for a spell. Then something else gets wiggly. Then there's more tapping.

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4.3.09

on sitting: writer’s ass


by Samuel Saint Thomas.

At 10:45 this morning, I was half an hour into it, on the exam table, pants off. She felt around on the left cheek of my ass, searching for the exact spot. She was sorry about the cold hands.

“Ahh, Jeeezus, that’s it. Wow,” I said.
“You’re pretty inflamed there on your buttocks,” she said.

The doctor told me that some sort of sac in my ass cheek is the problem. Bursae to be exact. Latin for handbag. Turns out, there are 150 of these little Latin bags all over the human body. I didn’t know I had sacs in my ass. “You’ve abused your bursae sacs,” she said. Who would have thought I could do that? Abuse my own ass. I don’t strap myself to thin fiberglass and rocket down steep slopes. I don’t flirt with avalanches or tsunamis. I don’t jump from planes, trains or bicycles. And I don’t sit on the toilet during a storm. I’ll wait, thank you.

Rather, I write. Turns out that’s quite risky. Sitting on chairs and walls and stools and such, crushes the sacs in your cheeks. I’d laugh right now, but I’m sitting in a coffee shop, on a hard chair, writing about the risk of sitting on hard chairs. I’m taking the risk to write about the risk of getting a pain in my ass from an activity that gets the heart rate up to slightly above looking out the window at a woodpecker.

“But, I’m a writer,” I said.
“You might want to consider a different position,” she said.

I explained that I’d loose my thought stream if I get up for a stroll. I said they’ve invented a treadmill mounted with a keyboard, but that’s still in beta. I suppose I could elevate the kitchen table on cement blocks and write like Hemingway. But didn’t he have bulging veins by the time he finished A Moveable Feast? Virginia Woolf stood up for the task, but we know what happened to her. How about if I just strap myself to an inverter? Are there any sac bags in my head?

But I was still in pain. I wanted to get to the cause of this sac issue in my ass. “It’s my boney ass, isn’t it? Right? I mean, I don’t like to self diagnose, especially with all those certificates on the wall, but I really think I have B.A.W.S., Boney Ass Writer’s Syndrome.” She suggested an x-ray. I said I’d pass on the radiation thing if it was ok. Harmful rays down there could be risky.

Instead, I went for the two week supply of 600 MG Ibuprofens, rotating hot towels and bags of ice cubes. I’ll give the Hemingway treatment a try too. I could also switch to heavy cream and eat a boatload of chocolate. That way I can write, eat my therapy and sit on it at the same time. But not completely satisfied, I Googled “boney ass.” Seems FreshPair has these padded butt boxer briefs in Black, White, and Nude “for guys who want to look good both coming and going.” I have no need for the contoured push-up pouch. I’m ok there.

But perhaps the ‘strategically placed oval enhancement panels’ could reduce the risk of B.A.W.S and keep me on my ass. The paddies got mixed reviews though. Smarky69 said, “The padding is nice when you don’t have the meat.” A verified reviewer noted, “ Not that I was going for a J-Lo look… they were a little uncomfortable…they weren’t really moving with me… I wore them out dancing, huge mistake.” So, I think I’ll just stick with the drowsy, icy, fat increasing routine for now. I’ve scored some desserts and 60 white oblong-shaped tablets imprinted with 6-I. Seems it’s working.

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thanks,
samuel

10.1.09

on parties: things i've absolutely no use in hell for but don’t have the courage to throw in the trash just yet


by Samuel Saint Thomas.

Three times today I’ve tripped over the first step on the stairs. It sticks out in front of the bathroom door. My feet are too big for my house. Yet, I pride myself in it, having the smallest carbon footprint in the neighborhood at just over 900 square feet. No McManor here. I can reach everything in the kitchen in one step. I can see out the windows on all four sides of the house by spinning in a circle. From my bed I can see all of my books I have yet to read. Noisy water closet business is not a private matter.

Small houses are a sacrifice. No room for salt and pepper collections, my late mother’s afghan blanket habit, Bon Jovi videos or anything at all that would fall in the box labeled “Things I have absolutely no use in hell for but don’t have the courage to throw in the trash just yet.” And so it goes, I’m off the hook. Forced minimalism. Spared of the head-pain from fabricating justifications for why the pine slab clock Uncle Tim made for Mom and Dad on their Fiftieth Anniversary is not hanging on my wall. “I thought you could use this,” Mom said.

Which brings me to the idea of parties. Having little space, I often long for grand parties with separate social germination areas for wine consumption, labeled cheese slicing, spirited dancing, strip poker, and philosophic exchange. Perhaps individual rooms for Descartes, Plato, and Immanuel Kant. Yet, I’ve come to realize that small imposes on me socially the way that it does with stuff. In any extended group of possible guests there’s always a good many that, while cleaning up, I wonder how they got on the list.

I had hoped that perhaps this time, someone, one person would not bring Merlot. I wished that this time Suzy would not be wearing her sweater with snowflakes, Bob would dispense with his jokes about big and little boobs, Joy would not get another damn promotion, Jake would not, every single fucking time, correct Mary’s stories and would bring more alcohol than they drink. That Joe would bring his own date instead of sharing so willingly with everyone else’s, and those pants? Please say it isn’t so.

Maybe next time I’ll cut my guest list. I’ll blame it on the chairs. Five because that’s how many are around my table. Six when I fix the one upstairs. The one that Brenda broke after six vodkas. That’ll be my fabrication of the justification for selective social engineering. So five it is. Better yet, maybe in guilt free pragmatism, I’ll simply enjoy the bliss of the small carbon footprint party. I’ll be helping to save the world. I don’t like poker anyway and certainly have no use for all that Cartesian rationalism. One can always find space to dance.

Samuel Saint Thomas