'If you’ve ever read Melissa Broder, or if you follow her on Twitter, you know her spirit is entrenched somewhere halfway between the club and the void. There’s an odd balance of metaphysical transcendence and material bling-brain to quite a number of her lines, and she is unafraid to have her idea of God bump shoulders with both blood and Tumblr.
'Broder says shit like: “Nobody bleeds white like I bleed white / Into a ditch the shadow of my bloodbag is white / I want a darker aura, like I want to be gorgeous.” There’s a weird brand of inner loathing mashed with inner haunting lurking here, but what I like best about Broder, oddly, is her morality. As coal-black as her imagery gets, and as overriding as the sadness in her ongoing personal desolation might be, there is an unrelenting sense that there’s a reason for it. That humans, perhaps, carry hell because they are hell, and that really the self is just a vessel toward something no one really has a name for.
'That Broder wields this, and isn’t just pumping out poems full of wry cartoon loathing and social exuberance, shifts the center of the book not onto the self but onto something larger, undefined. I don’t know what a book is if not a latch to elsewhere, and Scarecrone has pressed its skull against the hidden door. It is neither drunk nor ecstatic to be here—it is a state unto itself.' -- Blake Butler, Vice
'Scarecrone largely avoids poetic language — metaphors and similes are few and far between; sentences are largely in the present tense, declarative to the point of aggression. There is no circumlocution or retreat into artfulness here. A book that, at times, comes powerfully close to advocating for death, Scarecrone refuses to look its subject anywhere but squarely in the eye. The book’s conversational, un-prettified language reflects the urgency of its subject.
'One of the most immediate responses to Scarecrone is the desire to give Broder a hug, though that might be an unwelcome gesture for someone who views the body as a death, and the body’s death as freedom.' -- Open Letters Monthly
TEST FOR A FAULT
Every airplane is sleep.
I point my finger at a jetliner to rest my eye.
Boys smell holes in a neon blue banner I keep in my wallet.
The banner says RELAX GOD IS IN CHARGE.
Stephen Dedalus you are never on my mind.
You come to my island and I am the island.
You are well-traveled but that is arid.
My eye is on the sky.
I say Helios.
You say Brian Eno.
I say Charybdis.
You say I’ll show you hetero.
This instant must be sustained.
I pour black flower milk into a goblet but you refuse to hallucinate.
The breeze sounds an alarm.
I tongue your overlip in an air raid.
You go to the sea to swim with a nymph.
Crocodiles rattle shells.
I look at you long through my one eye.
You become the island.
REMOVE OBSTRUCTIONS SIMILAR IN SIZE
What are you looking
in the water for?
I am looking
to fall in love with
my opposite. Narcissists
are on their own side
so that is not me.
I would be a sensualist
if there was no such thing
as numbers. Get naked
it’s too much to count.
Hang me upside down
over the water
as a waif
whose pubic hair
is back in style.
Give me a year as her
to fuck who I want.
I will invent
a new style
and still feel nothing.
Who would you be
with no body?
Fire. Next wave
Make me fire.
When the shaman comes to town I try to hump the shaman
I try to hump angels
My guardian angels are mine and all for me
When they leak they leak me
Still there are cracks between us
And you have to fill up cracks with candy
If I am not allowed candy I use my body
If I am not allowed my body I use the internet
Television is going to deliver me from the internet
The angels pray over my screens
My angels are probably lonely
Also disillusioned with me
I have always felt the presence of a disappointed being
The shaman says I am not dead
I am definitely dying
I am already digging out of my coffin
I dress in cicada skins
I go bright blonde
Above me is the blonde angel Raphael
And I try to make the blonde angel french me
The blonde angel has a thick tongue
He wants to talk about healing
The violence no one has done to me
Every violence I have done to me
When I leak I leak me
What was so hell that I violenced me?
There were eighty years of candy magick after all
There were also beautiful horses
There were cracks in all the horses
When I stuffed their mouths with candy they turned to rotten
I made candy luncheons in the pasture
It tasted very desire
I poured cherry soda into all my cracks
Tell the angels to give me sugar
If they do not want to hump me
A supreme being should heal me
But only for forever
Melissa Broder reads poems from SCARECRONE
MELISSA BRODER // CUTTY SPOT INTERVIEW
'As one ages, fond memories of times and places long since past become more and more precious. There are those memories I recall often: the first time I kissed my wife, my kids as small children when they were more fun than a bag of hammers, living in Tokyo at the height of the Japanese economic bubble ... And then there are those memories that return unbidden, triggered by a name, an image, a location. Lately, I’ve had many of those memories. Memories of a wonderful time in my life almost two decades ago, when I worked on EarthBound.
'When I localized EarthBound for the North American market in 1995, I could already tell it was a special game. The story and gameplay conceived of by Shigesato Itoi was nothing short of brilliant, and I worked hard to do his vision justice. But it was released in a big box with a high price tag, and just didn’t catch on with North Americans as it had in Japan.
'For a while after the game’s release, I didn’t spend much time thinking about EarthBound. It was certainly a game that I was proud of, and I would occasionally be happily reminded of a character or moment in the game. But then I would also remember the reception it got when released. Sometimes it can take a few years to get over melancholy memories.
'Then, more than a decade later, I slowly became aware of the EarthBound fan community. I occasionally looked at the forums and articles, and happily re- alized that EarthBound had a real impact on people’s lives. For players, the game brought back memories of childhood, when the world seemed big, odd, and full of potential. Fans would replay the game, recount-ing stories of favorite moments, lines, and characters through online forums. I was fascinated by the feel- ings that the game brought out in fans. They said the game was charming and had heart, which was so often lacking in other games. And my memories of working on the game came flooding back as I considered the circumstances surrounding a line, a name, or a detail. It made me happy, and I felt good about my work on the game.' -- Marcus Lindblom
Boss Fight Books
'An RPG for the Super NES that flopped when it first arrived in the U.S., EarthBound grew in fan support and critical acclaim over the years, eventually becoming the All-Time Favorite Game of thousands, among them author Ken Baumann.
'Featuring a heartfelt foreword from the game's North American localization director, Marcus Lindblom, Baumann's EarthBound is a joyful tornado of history, criticism, and memoir.
'Baumann explores the game’s unlikely origins, its brilliant creator, its madcap plot, its marketing failure, its cult rise from the ashes, and its intersections with Japanese and American culture, all the while reflecting back on the author's own journey into the terrifying and hilarious world of adults.' -- Boss Fight Books
The original North American Super Nintendo looks like a pallid tank, a chunky glyph. The old consoles are undeniably utilitarian looking, as if the rush to get them to market necessitated nothing more than plastic housing and functional controllers. The evolution of gaming consoles is less obviously linear than the march of Moore's law—game console design has oscillated between geometric, slot-full bricks, and sleek, sportscar-esque parabolas.
The Austrian architect Adolf Loos gave a lecture in 1910 titled Ornament and Crime. It's a wild document, narcissistic and riled and a preachy, delivered by an architect-gone-ideologue who was in love with America. There's a line from the speech that went on to majorly impact architecture: The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects. In the Villa Moller, a house Adolf designed in 1927, I see the blocky origins of the Super Nintendo.
Might video game consoles might someday be purely utilitarian? Will screen-based media consumption someday be deemed necessary for psychological health?
As a kid, playing EarthBound felt like inhabiting a world as wide as human imagination.
Just typing that sentence makes me want to start the game on my Macbook Pro. I've ordered an original SNES controller and the necessary USB adapter. I plan on plugging my laptop to the TV in my living room, sitting on my The Shining-esque rug, and playing through the entire game for the first time as an adult.
“Final Fantasy VI had a bunch of different mechanics—it had the esper system, relics, custom moves for each character, real time input for certain stuff in combat—”
“Yeah. You're right—there's something really elegant about EarthBound. It's like they decided to ignore everything that took away from the characters and the story. And the really weird tone.”
“I mean, all you had to do is grind, and all you had to do to grind is level up, restore your health, upgrade your gear. Simple.” I feel impressed by Scott's breadth of video game knowledge and lingo. How casually he can deliver this shit.
The next line from the notes I took during our two hour conversation is this jot, written without context: “Local story”.
EarthBound's creator, Shigesato Itoi, became famous for his slogans.
My favorite advertisement of his came out in June 1982—about a year before Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan, known as the Nintendo in North America—and it's stark. Presumably reacting to a combo of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and Japan's incoming Prime Minister—Yasuhiro Nakasone, the Ministry of Defense's director general—antimilitarism was rising among Japanese citizens. Published in the now-defunct magazine Kokoku Hihyo (literally “advertisement criticism”), the anti-war ad features a single white line of text and two Japanese soldiers. Helmets shade their faces into half-anonymity. They bow slightly, their far hands gesturing out toward the gray expanse of a painted soundstage wall. Their shadows are harsh convex half-circles, like a hand painted Zen ensō cleaved in two. Shigesato's slogan runs down the center of the image, ending between the men's hearts. “After you, Prime Minister.”
His copywriting career lasted decades, fueled by Japan's economic bubble of the 1970's and 80's. His other copywriting work is all over the place—selling cars, jewelry, Suntori liquor, makeup, clothes, rock bands, Studio Ghibli's animated films—hell, even Woody Allen shows up. Shigesato's most iconic campaign, promoting the multi-floored Seibu department stores, features Woody and the phrase “Delicious life”.
Japanese department stores are certainly sensual, and massive. My wife and I travelled through Japan for our honeymoon and our favorite store, Tokyo Hands, sports eight floors, the store's wares rising in sophistication while you ascend its behemoth levels. Second floor: suitcases and wallets. Eighth floor: stationary and “book reading supplies.”
I realize that the malls in Earthbound aren't like most American malls—they don't sprawl out, repping shopping corridors like malignant appendages. They're department stores.
Ken Baumann, Author of "Earthbound" Talks EB and More on Game Talk Live!
Ken Baumann « Live at 851
Book Review: "Earthbound" by Ken Baumann
Plain Wrap Press
'Horse Girl is a shot across the bow, a notice of things to come attached to the leg of a horse made of stone and steel and meat and heart. Mathios must have found a secret vial of Kathy Acker's blood and done some form of ritual magick with it, because each line/image/knife contained within Horse Girl scars so beautifully.' -- Sean H. Doyle
My horse wears more name brands than I do, I’ve got arena sand in my boots, and everytime I pull my hand out of my pocket I find strands of hay.
Holding my hand up to the light, I see fifty thousand proud, well-balanced horses blazing through Target Stores filling shopping carts with anti-itch cream and every begging, crying child.
Hidden loudspeakers, a song plays overhead. A smooth crooner is ‘having a good time.’ I am a stick in the mud, in the middle of three sing-alongs, each having a good time, each adding items to carts, each in synch with the good time universe.
Eat a Magnum Double Caramel Ice Cream Bar, engage with a Starbucks employee, the Black Barbie still looks White. Imagine the dinner table. Imagine the main course. Imagine ultra-velvet dairy-free sour cream, pouring over my Morningstar Farms Asian Veggie Pattie. Fantasy to be shattered by equestrian take-over. Heard before seen, a spotted grey in aisle 4 holds a bike pump up to the sky and screams “victory!” His hoof has a canker, tufts of mane shaved: a real American money-shaking badass.
How many TVs must be sold on Black Friday for one Walmart employee to receive unlimited anything for all eternity. When the keepers come out with their frills, does anyone notice the pulsing behind their toenails? Is it impossible to wake from a dream and realize that you don't need them anymore? I know it is possible to wake up.
The Non-Facial Recognition Project feat. Kalliopi Mathios among many others
Matthew Hillock 'Sweet Home Chicago': 'Alt Lit first attracted me because it seemed to be something that my friend, and his friends were doing for fun-not a highbrow, English major kind of thing; instead this small community of internet writers flew under the radar, and was full of talented, dedicated people creating experimental digital poetry and memes. Though my passion for writing often consumed most of my time, I noticed that the Net Art movement is similarly comprised of digital artists who not only circumvent the status quo, but also carry incredible talent with work ahead of its time.' -- K.M.
'The book comes out in a few days—publication date: May 13th, 2014. In celebration (or should I say in mourning?) of the book’s release, I’ll be sleepless and technically homeless, doing… something and I don’t know why.
'In a big way, being in an airport is a lot like being lost at sea. So many places and possibilities to drift, but not if you don’t already know where it is that you’re going.
'I don’t know where I’m going.
'That’s why I’m not going anywhere.
'I’ll be living in an airport for 48hrs.
'Beginning 10AM on Wednesday May 14th through Friday May 16th around 10AM: Going nowhere and probably getting into some shit. There’s a good chance I will no longer be human by the end of it. There’s a pretty damn good chance that I’ve never been human. Not to worry, I’ll be online and active during the entire thing.
'Odds are you’ll hear from me, be it a tweet, a post on Facebook, or a photo/video on Instagram. I’ll be calling out to everyone while I’m stranded in a state of flux. I’ll also have one of my best writer friends around, Kyle Muntz, hanging around, surviving this ridiculousness with me.
'Might as well repeat it; saying it more than a few times makes it sound less insane to me: I’ll be living in an airport for 48hrs in celebration, and mourning, of the publication of “The Fun We’ve Had.”
'Yes I’m serious. Look how serious I am.' -- Michael Seidlinger
Lazy Fascist Press
'Two lovers are adrift in a coffin on an endless sea. Who are they? They are him and her. They are you and me. They are rowing to salvage what remains of themselves. They are rowing to remember the fun we’ve had.' -- Lazy Fascist Press
'Michael Seidlinger is a homegrown Calvino, a humanist, and wise and darkly whimsical. His invisible cities are the spires of the sea where we all sail our coffins in search of our stories.' -- Steve Erickson
'Melding the static, high-concept premise of two humans floating alone on a coffin in a sea devoid of all else with stark and meditative prose, The Fun We’ve Had evokes a highly unexpected experience, somewhere between Beckett’s most hopeless solipsists and the mysterious energy of a child’s Choose Your Own Adventure-era dream.' -- Blake Butler
'It is obvious that Michael J Seidlinger had a great deal of fun writing The Fun We’ve Had. What more could a reader ask for?' -- Michael Kimball
'The best poets are writing poetry no matter what they are writing, creating entirely new and weird spaces. There is no doubt Seidlinger has made one of the weirdest spaces we will ever inhabit. In The Fun We’ve Had, every visible thing is a love of disturbing tremors, keeping ahead of our ever-curious eyes, hoping to savor every line. What a magnificent book.' -- CAConrad
My Pet Serial Killer by Michael Seidlinger Video Review Starring Hannah Lee at HTMLGIANT
Podcast: Episode 246: Michael J. Seidlinger on Otherppl w/ Brad Listi
my Pet Michael
p.s. Hey. ** Keaton, Hi. Well, love is def. complicated, I think. No way to prepare yourself. I guess objectification is one way in, but dropping that particular guard to some degree is probably something you should, ha ha, prepare yourself for. 'Pod' could be their best for sure. Seriously, you'll do a meme day? Score! Awesome! Jiggle away, man, thanks! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. Kenny Loggins?!? ** Scunnard, Hi, J. Yeah, from over here where the tiny number of even okay record stores are the size of a bus stop, Amoeba's doors seem like a kingdom's. I saw your email this morning, thank you, and as soon as I am fully awake, which I am not yet, if you can't tell, I will inhale its contents. Seeing the Mike Kelley show seems like a very, very good decision, obviously. Lazy day in LA, aw, yum, whoosh, sigh, etc. ** Alan, Whoa, Alan! Hey! How are you? It's fantastic to see you! I've missed you! Thank you a lot about the Fanzine interview. Yeah, if you feel like catching me up on you and yours at all, that would be very sweet. ** Steevee, Hi, Steve. The Kickstarter thing seems to work, but it working does seem to require a lot of self-promo and self-related cleverness, which seems uncomfortable to think about. Never even heard of Cock Sparrer, no. Oi! Wow, I can't remember the last time I dipped into Oi! Okey-doke, you're on, I'll test them out. That sounds really refreshing, Thank you! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yeah, we're happy with the location we found other than the lots and lots of insects we're going to have to deal with. It's in the woods along the side of murky river so it's like a bug world equivalent of Disneyland. You really think the phone hacking scandal is going to result in serious, actual, punishing verdicts? That would be crazy in the good way. Yes, many, many French people all around me are talking about nothing but what I guess is the World Cup match between France and Brazil tonight. I, of course, know nothing about nothing about it. I always root for Holland, if they qualified, and France winning would be fun. And I'm always cool with Scandinavian teams. ** Mikel Motorcycle, Wowzer, hi, Mikel! How cool to see you! You good, great, better even? Thanks a lot about our film project. It's looking good, so far, and I look forward to be being detail-y about it when I can. ** Bill, Yeah, I know, sucks about missing the gig/event, but the road trip/location scouting mission was a success, so, you know, sacrifice is a noble enterprise or something and all that. I might see Kevin Drumm tonight. Not the same thing, but I've never seen him live, and it could be something. ** Chris Goode, Hi, Chris! Your room does sound like it contained something very interesting yesterday, and I do wish I had been there, although I could so easily have been the straw that broke that camel's back, not that the camel's back wasn't broken anyway, but maybe it would have been irreparably broken had I been in tow, and that would not have been good unless you're looking for irreparability, which, hm, I can possibly imagine you could be in some dastardly way or something. I haven't had nearly enough coffee, can you tell? It blows my mind that Peter Brook is still making new work. His theater is just up the road from me. Man, it is a great, great space, I'll tell you that. I wonder .. I wonder if I asked all the commenters on the blog to take their pants off today in sympathy with their real world brethren, if they would do it. I know they probably would say they did. I'm trying to remember if I've ever felt creepy about anything I've ever asked the denizens of this blog to do, and I don't think I have, and I wonder if that means I'm being too much of a wuss or if ... something else. Throbbing Gristle! Interesting. Okay, I do wish I had been there yesterday. More to watch them watch Throbbing Gristle than to watch them remove their pants. I suppose that must really surprise people who don't know me very well. I used to really like cookie-cutter budget hotels a lot. And now they depress me. I don't know what happened. I think that ever since Zac and I started traveling together and trying to stay at the most interesting hotels, I've gotten spoiled. I don't really like the idea of actually staying at novelty hotels, though. I don't know if I could do Null Stern. I think I could do that fort one. Maybe the salt one. Probably the cruise ship on the hilltop one. Maybe the edible one. I don't know. Now I'm yapping. Love, me. ** Darren anderson, Darren! Holy shit! This is weird: yesterday I was thinking for a long time about you while I was traveling around by car and wondering where are you and how you are and everything, and wondering if you ever look at this place anymore, and wondering if you might ever return, even briefly, and, holy shit, you're here! That's amazing! And you sound/write just a genius as ever! Darren, hey! I've missed you a bunch! Any chance you might stick around a little? I'm so happy to see you! Tell me more, anything. I'll tell you whatever you want or whatever I think in return! Love, me. ** Nick salty lips, Hi, Nick! Is it weird actually being a text and being here, or is like second nature at this point? Is it like visiting your in-laws or something? It was beautiful to meet you too. Oh, yeah, it was weird that I said 'fuckable'. It's a word I never say normally. I don't know why I thought it would be interesting to not sound like myself for a moment. I think I was nervous. It's so weird to be older than most people's dads. It's the weirdest thing. I guess you'll find out someday. You'll see, it's weird. Homework? Really? Oh, why not, I guess. What was it? You can't tell me, right? Chris would beat you or make you take your trousers off again or something if you did, I guess. It sounds fucking crazy in your world. A lot crazier than it is in this world, just so you know. So, is Day 3 going to be about books? Is that how it works? I bet not, right. Hi! Love, me. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G-Man. I was obsessed with 'F Troop'. I have no idea why. When I read that it was going too be cancelled, I made a petition telling whatever network that it was on not to cancel it, and I asked all the kids at my school to sign it, an I think I got, like, 1000 signatures or something, and I sent it to the network, and they cancelled it anyway. Okay, what the fuck are you trying to send me, man. After all that build-up, I really, really want it, so find a way. ** HyeMin Kim, Hi. No, I was only ever curious about Zizek because reading him was so trendy for a while, and I wondered why, and I read some things by him, and I thought, Okay, I can see why he's the philosopher du jour among the young brainy or wannabe brainy readership, but I didn't find what I read all that interesting, but I was never against him or anything. I could see why he was kind of fun. Now I'm just kind of tired of his antics or something, and it sort of seems like a James Franco kind of thing or something. Paul Celan, yum. ** Kier, Thank you, thank you! For the Fabeldyrene (I hope) photo. I'm so glad it was good scary. Interesting. My day was really good. Zac and I accomplished our mission and had a lot of fun doing so. It was great! Enjoy your day to absolute max! ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T! It was so beautiful! Thank you so much! ** Right. More books today that I've read/loved recently and that I hope will whet your appetites for books. See you tomorrow.