Sunday, November 25, 2001

memento.

I just saw Memento... and I'm stunned.

I could really identify with the emotions in this film. The inability to understand one's surroundings, the demand for fast action beyond your capabilities, the claustrophobic feeling that everything is closing in on you, the unstoppable feeling of horror that just won't go away... wow.
One of the most gruelling parts of the film is when the protagonist talks about how he's unable to heal because he can't experience time. His wife is gone and there's nothing that he can do to come to terms with that fact. Every time he wakes up, it's like he just found out that she was killed for the first time. The last available memory to him is that of his wife dying in front of him while he's helpless to do anything about it.
The only thing that the main character has left are his long-term memories of her before the accident. In one scene, a friend implores him to close his eyes and remember her, because that's the only time that he's ever happy. The way that he clings onto little details (even things that used to annoy him, like the way she used to say his name) reminds me of how I recall the last time I was happy while in the middle of a relationship with someone. The only problem is that, towards the end, even those memories, the only things that he has left, are drawn into question. He's becomes unsure of how they even happened and of how much he's constructing after the fact. That's really scary.

Like some critics, I was left a little unsatisfied by the ending. I'm still not completely sure what happened, but maybe that's a larger metaphor for the screwed up way that memory works. You're left without a clear picture of the world. The only thing you have is the blind confusion of the present moment where nothing is certain.

Monday, November 12, 2001

it's just not the same

There is a girl who slow dances
by herself
atop New York buildings in sub-zero fog
to scratchy old records.

Lou Reed sings "Berlin" while minor piano chords strike dusty strings, isolated, in the background.
"It was so very nice."
Sharp lines streak down her face and neck,
Red hairdye dissolved in sweat,
Mascara runs in tears and smears over frosted cheeks.
Tattoos and distorted images of shadows shimmer over delicate nose and mouth,
They flash Japanese phonetic characters that speak
stories of dead boyfriends and late nights
of pot-smoke, Trivial Pursuit, and rum-fueled conversations.

She stretches her arms around her hips and neck,
remembers the hands that used to rub her there.
Licks caked up lipstick,
Applied in preparation for a night that never happened
as it begins to crack.
The lips fall apart and tremble open into a
faint frown.
Hold herself tighter and tries to recall good days...
when there were two empty glasses at the night's close instead of
one.

Clenches her body but it's just not enough.
Hands are too stiff... too cold...

"Lord, it was paradise."

Around 2, at last, she walks back to the door.
Gives one last look at the empty table,
longs for someone to be there,
but turns and realizes
he's not coming...

just like every other night.

Sunday, November 11, 2001

life.is.ugly

Geez. Last night I got this weird idea that I should read the entirety of Dennis Cooper's Closer before I went to sleep. For some reason I thought it would calm me down...

wrong, wrong, wrong.

On the one hand, it's very beautiful in places and always well-written. I feel a lot of the characters, especially George. He's obviously extremely different me (I've never felt the urge to engage in casual gay sex), but I really identify with a lot of the feelings of loneliness, meaninglessness, low self-esteem, loss of purpose, and the need to be loved that he feels in the book. There's one entry about him closing his eyes and yearning for a kiss from someone. It's the only thing in the world that will make him happy and he is denied it. Cooper's hitting a lot of the emotions I've been going through right on the head.
However, Closer really distrubed me. It's not as blatant as Frisk, but it still explores some horrid depths of humyn possibility that can be truly painful to examine. In typical Cooper style, murderous desire is directly forced into the reader's consciousness. You are forced to come to terms with the fact that people do horrible things to eachother and that they get pleasure from it. However, what hurt me even more (and kept me up for the rest of the night in despair), was the way that people treated each other. Several characters commodify George and use him like an object. He becomes reduced to this thing that doesn't even deserved to be cared for or loved. His life is steadily shattered and he is reduced to a hollow shell by the various characters that he comes into contact with. Eventually, one of them even tries to kill him for some death fetish. No one expresses a ton of sympathy for him until George's new friend threatens turn Tom in at the end of the book.
In less than 150 pages, Cooper has summed up a lot of my outlook on the world right now. He shows real people caught up in the midst of a chaotic and violent world that they don't deserve. I can't even come to grips with what that means right now. I don't understand why people I know have been hurt by others or what role I play in that process. Cooper fleshed out my emotions and really freaked me out. I spent the remainder of the night in various stages of anger, sadness, and frustration. It's hard to sleep when you know that everyone around you is hurting inside and that you can't do anything about it.

Monday, November 05, 2001

Requiem for Anti-Oedipus

The hand that strained
let go,
Broken blisters flowed free and dropped the rug burnt rope.
Sweet release into the night's bath of wind and fall,
an icy shower over cobblestone streets.
Eyes flickered and cast off one last tear,
An angel, head baptized in the splash of bone and brain on the sidewalk below,
A rhizome flower,
grinds out and shimmers in the nightline for the last time.
A mess smeared on concrete and
served to intellectuals' mouths.
The yawn becomes a gasp...
No more theory.
No more silly schizo masturbation.
Only silence in vacant university classrooms
as our jaws hang open and
we stare at the wreckage of Freud's last cruel joke:

"Tonight it was announced on French radio that Deleuze
has committed suicide
(one report said that he 's'est defenestre' ie. threw
himself out of a
window)."
[Melissa McMahon Sun, 5 Nov 1995]


I'm on these little yellow pills. My dermatologist gives them to me. They're really expensive. I swallow them every night and feel horrible the next day. They say that a senator's son killed himself while taking these a while back.
I wonder how he felt about that. I wonder what was going on in his life. Did he have relationship problems? Ontological issues?
I guess I'll keep on downing these things like razorblades until my face is suitable to be shown in public.

Sunday, November 04, 2001

painless

I talked to some friends I know today. Everyone seems really hopeless. I can't think of many exceptions. Almost every one of them sounds like they're trapped in an endless nightmare. One of them talks about how he doesn't know how to justify school work or breathing. Another one of them has a huge conflict with the legal system and his academic aspirations. Everyone seems so hurt and confused and I don't know why. It's never been like this before. Am I just projecting my emotions onto them? Why on earth would everyone start acting so comatose at the exact same time?

And it's really hard too. I mean... how do you encourage someone who sounds suicidal when you feel just as emotionally tired and scared as they do..?

Friday, November 02, 2001

adrenaline

DISCLAIMER: I'm cleaning up some egregiously bad html and I found this "piece." I have to warn you that it's really stupid and I'm kind of embarassed that I wrote it. I'm not really sure what I was thinking at the time


Today has been one hardcore day.

Lately I've had this desire to look for extreme versions of my normal, daily activities. Don't get me wrong. I'm obviously not a very hardcore person (I'm freaked out of needles and would probably get killed in a brawl). It's just that the things that have normally interested me don't seem as intriguing in their usual quantities. I want something more. And today has been a step in that direction.

I've been listening to quite a bit of Merzbow, Bastard Noise, and Bizarre Uproar. Not small quantities. Unhealth doses of it around the clock. I've been feverishly downloading noise off of www.audiogalaxy.com for the past twenty-four hours and playing it on loop.

I'm also reading crazier stuff. First I picked up Ballard... now I'm reading Dennis Cooper books, for crying out loud. A lot of stuff just seems dull, so I just have to up the dosage and read about more horrific things. I saw Tetsuo: Iron Man today too. Damn. That movie is fucking crazy. Really jerky and violent black and white images with a wall of crazy sound behind it. In the first scene this metal fetishist cuts open his thigh and screams as he inserts a metal rod into it. He gets hit by a car and is abandoned in a field by the driver (who begins to turn into a fucked up metal-person for the rest of the film). I swear... this is like "Run Lola Run" (an excellent film) on amphetamines and crack. I just ate some really hot Indian food at the authentic Indian restraunt down the street. Usually I get it mildly spicy, but tonight I had them turn it way up. If I weren't so distanced from the pain my body is experiencing right now I could have never finished it. I'm still rolling on the edge of an endorphine high. It feels really good. I just hope I don't do anything stupid tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2001

noise.

I'm listening to Merzbow right now. No lyrics. No key signature, melody, or harmony. Just head splitting electronic noise, roaring machinery, breaking metal, shreaks, squeals, and the sound of civilization destroying itself. It gives you a horrible headache, but eventually you learn to love the throbbing in your temples. It becomes a beatiful pulse, like an orgasm of anguish. It's a cacaphony that fractures the way that you feel about the world. Wasn't it Genesis P-Orridge who talked about "entertainment through pain?" When I first heard this stuff I didn't really "get" it, but I had a strange feeling that there was something interesting there. After you force yourself to listen to it for a while, the distorted trash becomes a soothing white noise. It scrapes the day's ravages from your mind and lets you finally fall asleep so you can wake up tomorrow for yet another day on this fucked up planet. One letter writer to Harper's (yeah, that Harper's) called Merzbow's work a brillo pad. I like that analogy. It's kind of like bathing in a tub of liquid lysol. It may burn a lot, but it really cleans that social junk off. Right now, unmitigated chaos is one of the only things I can sympathize with. The aural violence is kind of like a Deleuzian disjunct. It just shocks you out of your normal way of thinking and forces you to confront your basic attitude about what "production," "efficiency," and "art" even mean.

I read an interview once where Merzbow said that popmusic sounded like noise to him. I would definitely rather listen to grinding machinery than the cleaned-up, yet shallow, music everyone around me seems to like.