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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2002-02-17 ... 2:38 p.m.

I have a new hipster slang term, which I want everyone to use. When something is gross or icky or generally vile, I've taken to calling it Nasdaq. You do it too, please. "Man, that's Nasdaq." If something is really over-the-top disgusting, it's Nasdaq Composite. A meaningless non sequitur, but I like the way it sounds.

Speaking of meaningless non sequiturs. (Ha!) I've been reading a lot of criticism of the so-called language poets, and it's interesting what a wide variety of loud reactions this extremely minor "movement" has provoked.

For instance, I think Houlihan overstates the case here. Yes, words mean things, whether we like it or not. But who is to say that words can't be used---occasionally, experimentally---as a jumping-off place for a dream of sounds and "accidental" meaning? To me, words are so evocative, all on their own, that I can read the dictionary and become completely entranced.

With regard to poetry, what I'm searching for, and what I've always tried to do (with varying degrees of success), is some middle place between flat unpoetic narrative and forests of meaningless syllables. There are some poems that I'm not sure deserve the name. For instance (and oh boy am I going to get flamed for this) William Carlos Williams said, "This is just to say I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox, [and] which you were probably saving for breakfast. Forgive me, [but] they were delicious, so sweet and so cold." He broke it up into lines and stanzas, but so what? What's special about that language? Where does that poem take you? It's a matter of taste, I realize, but the plums in the icebox do nothing for me.

On the other hand, neither do I enjoy impenetrable things like this.

What I look for in poetry is what Mandelstam called the "making strange" of everyday language. (I love the idea of "making strange." Come on baby, let's go make strange.)

Where did all this come from? You're thinking, Hey, Mimi Smartypants, I don't come to your little web page to read Chardonnay-fueled meandering comments about What Poetry Should Do. That is what you are thinking. That's okay, think whatever you like, I'm done now.

I'm suffering from that small sadness that wafts up on Sunday evenings, like an odor rising up out of the drain. (If the sadness is the odor, what would be the drain? The soul? Quick, someone dump a box of baking soda into my soul!) The weekend is almost over. Friday I went out to dinner with friends, and then back to someone's apartment for drinks and a bit of drug-smoking. At one point M set his digital camera on a tripod and took some photos of the party (which was much less obtrusive than it sounds; I barely noticed and I'm pretty self-conscious about such things, especially when high) and then later hooked the camera up to the television to show the pictures. It was a postmodern walk down memory lane, a little slide show of how the party looked 15 minutes ago. Ah, we were all so young then!

But. There are ways of dispelling the Sunday sads. Music. Wine. Going for a walk down to the park and swinging on the swings. Cooking something complicated (my spinach-feta-artichoke bread is rising as we speak). And realizing that no matter how much of a loser I am, typing hundreds of words about nothing and dissing William Carlos Williams in a public forum, my cat still likes me.

---mimi smartypants is ribbed for your pleasure.


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