Archive for June, 2008

06.26.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Dundun (an excerpt from the short story from the collection Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson)

Dundun tortured Jack Hotel at the lake outside of Denver. He did this to get information about a stolen item, a stereo belonging to Dundun’s girlfriend, or perhaps to his sister. Later, Dundun beat a man almost to death with a tire iron right on the street in Austin, Texas, for which he’ll also someday have to answer, but now he is, I think, in the state prison in Colorado.

Will you believe me when I tell you there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing. It was only that certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that.

06.24.2008

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

How To Be Alone (an excerpt from the book of essays by Jonathan Franzen)

I mourn the eclipse of the cultural authority that literature once posessed, and I rue the onset of an age so anxious that the pleasure of a text becomes difficult to sustain. I don’t suppose that many other people will give away their TVs. I’m not sure I’ll last long myself without buying a new one. But the first lesson reading teaches us is how to be alone.

06.20.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Manhattan Island Poem (a poem by Gregory Orr)

Thin river woman with a concrete star
wedged in her ear. I wrap
a blue scarf of old movies around my eyes.
At night I am a jar of fireflies dying.

06.15.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , on June 16, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Midnight (a poem by Frederick Seidel)

God begins. The universe will soon.
The intensity of the baseball bat
Meets the ball. Is the fireball
When he speaks and then in the silence
The cobra head rises regally and turns to look at you.
The angel burns through the air.
The flower turns to look.

The cover of the book opens on its own.
You do not want to see what is on this page.
It looks up at you,
Only it is a mirror you are looking into.
The truth is there, and all around the truth fire
Makes a frame.
Listen. An angel. These sounds you hear are his.

A dog is barking in a field.
A car starts in the parking lot on the other side.
The ocean heaves back and forth three blocks away.
The fire in the wood stove eases
The inflamed cast-iron door
Open, steps out into the room across the freezing floor
To your perfumed bed where as it happens you kneel and pray.

Please Excuse This Interruption

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

I apologize (quite lazily) to those following this blog, but after I missed a couple of days I fell completely out of the routine of updating this every day, and then laziness truly set in.

I realized after some thought that sometimes I was truly stretching on some of the posts, wanting to get something posted even if it wasn’t quite of the ‘soul-shaking’ caliber I was hoping for.

Updates are forthcoming, though I don’t think a daily update is going to remain feasible. The blog will be updated as I come across words that truly reverberate and I feel need to be shared.

I hope you will all enjoy what there is to come.

06.04.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on June 5, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

the ordinary cafe of the world (a poem by Charles Bukowski)

new worlds shine in the dust
come up through the slums of the mind only
to choke on mosquito
ideas.

it’s most difficult
like eating a salad
in the ordinary cafe of the world;
it’s most difficult
to create art
here.

look about. the pieces to work with are
missing. they must be created or
found.
the critics should be generous but the critics are
seldom
generous.
they think it’s easy to
put out water with fire.

but there’s been no wasted effort
no matter what they’ve done
to us:

the critics
the lost women
the lost jobs,
damn them all anyhow
they’re hardly as interesting as

this ordinary cafe, this ordinary world,
we know there should be a better place,

an easier place,
but there’s not;
that’s our secret
and it’s not
much.
but it’s enough.

we have chosen the ordinary,
withering fire.

to create art means
to be crazy alone
forever.

06.03.2008

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Agrippa (an excerpt from the poem by novelist William Gibson — see details on the Agrippa art piece here)

VI.

There must have been a true last time
I saw the station but I don’t remember
I remember the stiff black horsehide coat
gift in Tucson of a kid named Natkin
I remember the cold
I remember the Army duffle
that was lost and the black man in Buffalo
trying to sell me a fine diamond ring,
and in the coffee shop in Washington
I’d eavesdropped on a man wearing a black tie
embroidered with red roses
that I have looked for ever since.

They must have asked me something
at the border
I was admitted
somehow
and behind me swung the stamped tin shutter
across the very sky
and I went free
to find myself
mazed in Victorian brick
amid sweet tea with milk
and smoke from a cigarette called a Black Cat
and every unknown brand of chocolate
and girls with blunt-cut bangs
not even Americans
looking down from high narrow windows
on the melting snow
of the city undreamed
and on the revealed grace
of the mechanism,
no round trip.

They tore down the bus station
there’s chainlink there
no buses stop at all
and I’m walking through Chiyoda-ku
in a typhoon
the fine rain horizontal
umbrella everted in the storm’s Pacific breath
tonight red lanterns are battered.

laughing,
in the mechanism.

06.02.2008

Posted in Quotes with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

On Art, Life, and New York City (quotes by Ezra Pound)

It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry. If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.

Literature does not exist in a vacuum. Writers as such have a definite social function exactly proportional to their ability as writers. This is their main use.

The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods. Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting.

Either move or be moved.

And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there… Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.

06.1.2008

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

How’s It Gonna Be (lyrics to the song by Third Eye Blind)

I’m only pretty sure that I can’t take anymore
Before you take a swing
I wonder what are we fighting for
When I say out loud
I wanna get out of this
I wonder is there anything
I’m gonna miss

I wonder how it’s gonna to be
When you don’t know me
How’s it gonna be
When you’re sure I’m not there
How’s it gonna be
When there’s no one there to talk to
Between you and me
Cause I don’t care
How’s it gonna be
How’s it gonna be

Where we used to laugh
There’s a shouting match
Sharp as a thumbnail scratch
A silence I can’t ignore
Like the hammock by the doorway we spent time in
tha swings empty
Don’t see lightning like last fall
When it was always about to hit me

I wonder how’s it gonna be
When it goes down
How’s it gonna be
When you’re not around
How’s it gonna be
When you found out there was nothing
Between you and me
Cause I don’t care
How’s it gonna be

How’s it gonna be
When you don’t know me anymore
And how’s it gonn be?

Want to get myself back in again
The soft dive of oblivion
I want to taste the salt of your skin
The soft dive of oblivion… oblivion
How’s it going to be
When you don’t know me anymore
How’s it going to be
How’s it going to be

05.31.2008

Posted in Drama with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

No Country For Old Men (opening lines from the film)

[first lines]
Ed Tom Bell: I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. Me and him was sheriff’s at the same time; him up in Plano and me out here. I think he’s pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough’d never carry one; that’s the younger Jim. Gaston Borkins wouldn’t wear one up in Camanche County. I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can’t help but compare yourself gainst the oldtimers. Can’t help but wonder how theyd’ve operated these times. There was this boy I sent to the ‘lectric chair at Huntsville here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”. I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t. The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, “O.K., I’ll be part of this world.”