Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 Poems by Ana Carrete

                Ana remembers her time in a pool as a little girl. Pools are seas for children. One day they are on dry land. The next some relative throws them into the water. For a brief split second the children can’t figure out what is going to happen. Hitting the water is going to hurt. And the adults appear indifferent to the child’s fate. Here at least Ana has little floaters on her arm. She learns how to swim. Millions of children every year fail to learn. When the world becomes water world America’s children are going to suffer. 

                Ana pukes in front of her classmates from laughing too hard. Ana is classy. If laughter was truly contagious the rest of her class would have puked as well. Clearly this is empirical evidence showing how non-contagious laughter is in case there was any doubt. On the plus side of things Ana did avoid going to gym class. People really will do anything to avoid gym class even for real puking. 

                Dads want what is best for their children. That includes haircuts. Ana’s dad insists on Ana’s hair looking the best it can. With great haircuts comes great responsibility. Ana understands this fact. Her father, for all his benevolent whatever, does not. Each one has a car. Clearly this is a luxurious kind of life living with a multi-car family. However Ana leaves the story in mid-air: does she get a haircut? This is never explicitly stated. 

                The haircut happens. This is a victory for her father. Once a year Ana gets a haircut. After she gets this haircut she feels bad. Samson felt bad when he got his haircut too. Ana is the Samson of alt lit. Upon getting her hair cut she loses her superhuman powers. It is painful to watch and even more painful to read. However it ends up okay. Hair always grows back except for bald people. 

                Various trolls visit Ana. Three trolls exist for Ana: the troll of Christmas past, present, and future. Past troll messes with Ana’s breasts. This troll is a messed up crazed lunatic who is probably relatively commonplace. Even regular non-troll people play with that kind of stuff. For Christmas present there are burgers. Ana eats them. Ana loves the burgers. The burgers love Ana, love seeing themselves consumed by an up and coming lovely writer. Finally the last troll is the troll of Christmas future. In future Christmases Ana will cry thus making it just plain ‘Christmas’. 

                Each poem brings the reader closer to Ana. This is good. Ana needs somebody to protect her from the trolls.

I found a shirt that smells like you by Salisbury Bushnell

                Ah Salisbury Bushnell is the perennial romantic of alt lit. Salisbury Bushnell is the sexy steak of alt lit, well-done indeed. Here is one thing, a simple smell that looms large in his mind. Without smell how can people figure out each other? Sure talking works but talking can be misleading. Smell is the most honest sense animals have. Imposters have been discovered by an animal’s sense of smell, by barking, by meowing in Salisbury’s case. On the porch Salisbury is alone with his cat. Other people live in Salisbury’s neighborhood. They are irrelevant to him. All he wants is to smell this way. 

                Evening birdies swag to a tune. Birds are the ultimate swingers of the animal kingdom. They hatch eggs like the smell hatches newborn memories in Salisbury’s mind. While it may not be any teacake to arouse new senses it is similar. A family of blue jays lives outside of Salisbury’s window. Families of birds are just like Brooklyn residents. They may be new there, waiting for the area to fully gentrify, hoping for a new Whole Foods to open. Like the humans, the birds hope to feast on free samples, filling their gullet. Of course few are able to be satisfied by Whole Food’s free samples. For those few the samples are life-sustaining. 

                Soap and perfume sustain Salisbury’s memory. He smells of a special someone who is far away. Cyclists move past him. A corona is in his hand. He drops it on the ground. The bottle makes a breaking sound. The family of birds watches on as Salisbury laughs maniacally at the broken bottle. Unlike the bottle nobody can break Salisbury’s spirit or Salisbury’s love. All he wants is to hang out with his special someone. Each of them has their own special horse outfit. Romance is about dressing up as horses and guiding furbies around. Indeed many parents got their start with horseplay. 

                The special someone is Salisbury’s ‘Endless Summer’ akin to Fennesz’s best received album yet. High praise is showered upon this unknown figure. It is a beautiful thing. He is very happy. Summer is their jam. Over the summer the two of them can eat ice cream before the ice cream gets fed up with that cone. Here he smells the shirt that reminds him of traffic streams and tankers in the harbor. In other words people and places watching give them memories they can exchange for more meaningful memories later. Old memories are always being traded in for new better ones. Only when this practice stops do things get more difficult. 

                Between them is distance, ships, air and breaths. They will make it. They are in love.


                Riley Michael Parker is the out of control lunatic of alt lit. Is he even alt lit? What the fuck is a Riley Michael Parker? Few mention him but he basically does everything: he sings, dances, writes, and creates ultra Meta top ten lists. What starts out as an extremely straightforward top ten list of top ten lists transforms into a big old insane thing ready for the holidays. Gather the children. Bask in the warmth of Riley’s true and mostly accurate lists. 

                People make up the first two lists. First he starts with online friends which mean more than IRL friends anyway. The ten chapters of a short story are fascinating. Right off the bat Riley shows he’s a lover and not a fighter. Eventually he becomes a fighter but that’s thanks to his maturity. From there he begins his descent into the list within a list that takes over many of his other lists. He mentions his favorite dead people. Alive people are thrown in to keep things interesting. Here he talks about how Woody Allen used to be amazing. Yeah he did. It is okay if people begin to suck at some point. Karen O is mentioned. What’s strange is Karen O only did one good thing: specifically the debut self-titled EP. After that they began the decline into radio rock. Poor Al Gore is mentioned. Al Gore used to be cool before he got all ‘not the Vice President of the United States’. 

                Weirdly he has a TV list. Some of these shows are quite good. Mission Hill is probably the best thing on the list. The combination of the beautiful colors used in that show alongside the excellent writing makes it head and shoulders above the rest. Adventure Time is another seriously good pick. Generally many of these indicate the sensibilities of a twenty-something so they seem on par with the rest of Riley’s general online persona/brand. 

                Messiness takes over the lists as he mentions the lists that didn’t make the top ten lists. Film directors that inspire him are one of many. Honestly sloths only have one film director that inspires them: Jim Jarmusch. Even by sloth standards, Jim Jarmusch films are pretty slow. He mentions things he wishes he could say but cannot. This is a sad list. Ten books he hasn’t read but tells people he has read make him extremely human. That is a really good list. Hopefully it makes the list next year. At least he knows something about webcam pornstars. Anybody with this much knowledge about webcam pornstars deserves to be on the internet. Riley has more than earned his online keep. 

                Number eight of the ‘Upcoming Western’ list is the best. This is a great way to start out any Western based novel. Good thing the west is all gone. California gobbled up the west. Now all that’s left is a bunch of hippies in New Mexico and Colorado, lesser hippies in Idaho, alongside whatever the fuck happened to Arizona (honestly Arizona is creepy. They got to rename that tea now.) Movies are a huge list. Every category has another couple of movies. Riley creates a taste tree of stuff he’s willing to watch. Punch Drunk Love and Buffalo 66 are particularly nice additions. Also it is shocking to know there is a porn parody of the Flintstones. Guess everything has a porn parody. Hope there is never a porn parody of Lambchop’s Play-Along. Society needs to make sure that never happens. 

                Various images make up the second to last list. These look okay. Finally he ends it with a bunch of things that could happen. He uses all these writers’ names to show that he’s read these writers or something. Riley seems like a pretty good writer. He shouldn’t be so hard on himself at least not without an erection first. One of his situations involves masturbating to death. Americans die more from masturbation than any other ailment. 

Megan Lent receives Riley’s affection via writing. Jealous rages over Beach Sloth and yt summer friendships sound good. Can’t believe it took this far before Beach Sloth got a mention. Perhaps Beach Sloth should reach out to Riley, help him become closer to Megan Lent, then blog about it. Who knows? Megan Lent is ultra-cool, perhaps cooler than anyone else in the greater Western United States besides all those other ultra-cool people. Some of the results of his list create hell on Earth, something about Jesus, more marriage proposals to Megan Lent, something about sharing the list. 

                This is the only top ten-list to read this holiday season. With it things will perhaps come true or the ability to see one’s name in pixelated text comes true. Either way it is a wonderful thing. Riley Michael Parker really needs to write a blog.

Zbeen – Statis 7.3

                ‘Statis’ is a human/digital hybrid. Here the sound appears to be rather dark. Melody appears throughout these enigmatic pieces. Tiny snippets of humanity burst form from the calm. Large periods of calm are broken up by these few events. At times it appears reminiscent of something approximating field recordings. Clearly elements of a natural world can be heard coming from far away. Yet the focus is on the human aspect of things from a digital perspective. In other words there is a great deal of distance Zbeen puts between the sound and the natural environment. Neither one is entirely comfortable in the situation. And the sudden impulses are reminders of this tension-fueled sound. 

Zbeen begins with a wistful melody. ‘Skyr Stillheten’ hovers around. The sound is metallic. At first it resembles a drill. Eventually Zbeen takes this noise and transforms it into an almost extended-carousel tune. In spite of the obvious intense exploration of sound there is playfulness behind it. It is perhaps the closest one can get to a digitally realized inner child. From there Zbeen transforms into ghostly broadcasts. Radio pieces break through the crystal clear surface. Elements of real life break through. Water or an approximation of water weaves its way through. Towards the end it gets particularly harsh in nature. For the closer ‘Flytende  Stillheten’ things are much more concentrated. Unlike the opener there is little illusion of a natural world. Rather a take on ONYKO is explored. Behind the harsh tone are atmospheric noises keeping the environment surprising active. While less immediately understood than the first track upon repeated listens it begins to come together. 

Both pieces require a large degree of deep listening. Multiple listens can result in greater understanding not only of the sound but of one’s environment. Stasis teems with life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nobody trusts a Black Magician by xTx

                xTx is the original bad girl of alt lit. Can anybody compare to the anonymous wonder that is xTx? Before alt lit even graduated high school xTx has been out, kicking it, remaining a secret for quite some time. Since 2004 she’s been rocking the metaphorical Casbah. With all this clout comes great responsibility. Thankfully she’s game. 

                The stories veer from truthful to absolutely ridiculous. It is possible she went to some weird Argentine restaurant. Her co-workers too appear to be real life people with real life quirks. xTx’s hope to save the leftover pieces of meat is admirable. Few are willing to save the unnecessarily saved leftovers. Usually the response is ‘Oh saving things is good’. Here xTx realizes her co-workers are total idiots. She passes judgment on them. At least one of them she imagines has granny panties and a hairy bush.

                Which goes right into xTx’s modus operandi: everything is about sex. Sex rules everything around xTx. A strip bar is a typical place for sex. That’s obvious. Sleeping is about sex. In fact she recommends for someone to stick it in her while she’s asleep. She claims not to care. Now things are getting stranger. Wiffle ball turns into a story about love. Yes she enjoys a good wiffle ball every now and then. Who doesn’t? Wiffle Ball is a great sport, an American sport, a plastic sport. 

                Surreal comes from the extreme detail she uses in aspects of these stories. The detail is so exquisite it verges on parody. Christmas gifts are exchanged between two of the most absurdly named dogs in all of creation. xTx’s over the top 50s dialogue style is particularly funny. Despite the wholesomeness of their speech what they describe is particularly perverse. Other stories show off bacon cars, XBOX players, and relocation to the suburbs. Baths become a battle of the wits between herself versus her biological desire to wallow around in her own filth. Sure baths are dirty, the equivalent of pigs rolling around in their own filth, but at least baths are porcelain. No pig has ever made such classy mud holders. 

‘Nobody trusts a Black Magician’ shows off xTx’s skill with mixing the sincere, the sexy, and the surreal into an unwholesome little package ready for kinky computers across America. Is this worth it? Hell yeah this is what America needs. It will bring Americans together, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Socialists into a sticky sweet sex orgy. Check it out. She’s literally giving it away right here.