bugles, the chips, not the trumpets.

on the way there, the steward was making eyes at me. nasty mean ones. as if to say, don’t you dare drop that package of peanuts.

the woman in front was trying to gossip. she, window-seat, 65, said to he in the aisle seat, 45, that you can’t drink on flights into ABQ anymore, don’t you know, because last time a fellow drank too much and met his family at the airport and drove them all from the airport, (her voice a trembling reed) only crashed and killed everyone before they got anywhere at all. i watched between the seats–i was sitting behind them—as she leaned into him under the auspices of conspiracy.


the man (aisle) next to me referred to me as an 18 year old on his telephone before take off. presumably to his wife. he was calling because we’d been delayed on the ground, and he complained a little, eye-rolling and tetchy. There was something about his indignation that felt at home, and happy even, to have a confessor on the other line. I suspect they had seasonal towels. A weineramer.


When I got out of the airport I asked a man if he was ok. I don’t know why I asked, but there must have been a reason, because he said “It’s just very dry. I come from Florida. I’m not used to the dry.”


All this because I went to Santa Fe for the release of Fragments; a new book by David Carl who is also a St. John’s tutor. I landed in Albuquerque and rented a car, listening to AM stations and mariachi bands all the way. It was great. Amazing too to practice the art of new topographies.

 santa fe


David Carl read in the Great Hall of St. John’s College, in between various meetings. He’d just gotten back a few days before from sabbatical and was knee-deep in the college all over again. Seersucker and all. He sat at a blond desk in the front of an auditorium that could seat about 300 or so—it was the end of the semester. The annual party was to commence the next day, Friday, what students on both campuses (Santa Fe & Annapolis) like to call “Reality.” Needless to say, the campus was bustling with the final days of fatigue, anxiety and anticipation. There were about 20 people in the audience and they sat, mostly in couples, in different seats. Taking full advantage, it seemed, of the many options.

            David Carl had a wine glass of water and ice. It perspired on the desk in front of him, here he sat, his ankles crossed.

david carl is reading



            “It’s been a very busy time and I’m glad you were all able to make it. I guess all I wanted to say about the book in general, before I read you about ten pages from the beginning is, I was telling people O I’m working on a book, or O, I’m publishing a book, and it’s a very reasonable question: What’s the book about? I was not able to come up with an answer to that question. I’m still not sure how to answer the question what is the book about, but it occurred to me that at least I could explain to people how they might want to listen to a reading of the book, or to approach a reading of the book. I think I envision it more as a work of poetry than a work of fiction or a work of philosophy. But I very deliberately set out to try and draw elements from all of those genres into the work. The reason it’s called Fragments is because the book is a collection of a novel that I started to write and never finished so I have extracted elements from the plot of that novel; it’s also selections from a collection of aphorisms that I was working on for a number of years and decided to disperse and there are quite a few lines from poems that I’ve worked on over the years that didn’t survive as poems but I liked those individual lines. So what I did was I took all of those sentences and then tried to write sentences which would connect them in what would be an almost coherent way. The book begins at the beginning and it ends at the ending so despite the appearance on the page it isn’t the kind of book I envision just sort of dipping into. As you read through it, if you read it chronologically, there are characters that gradually start to develop, there are specific ideas that continue to occur and certain themes and motifs which start to develop. One of the thoughts is the book helps teach you how to read it as it’s going. The defining stylistic, which you probably can’t see, but, every sentence is a paragraph. So as I’m reading all you’re going to hear is a series of sentences. Each sentence stands alone as it’s own paragraph and its own idea and the question for the reader is how to understand the relationship between those sentences: Is the sentence that follows one sentence: Is it a comment on it? Is it the initiation of a new idea?  I’m interested in how these things start to accumulate and build up. In a sense the whole book is a kind of meta-reflection on the notion of narrative and the expectations we bring to the books that we read; why we expect the books either to tell a story or develop an idea or defend a thesis. This book is simultaneously trying to undermine those expectations but also flirting with the possibility of that it’s going to deliver those things. If you’re familiar with the writings of people like Fernando Pessoa, or E.M. Cioran, Laob Hardy , this book is very much indebted to those books which simultaneously want to be works of poetry, works of fiction, works of philosophy, they can’t quite make up their mind what they are. That works for me because I can’t ever make up my mind what i want to write….”

                                                                               Tuesday, May 13th 2008


For the record, he’d also said that he was only willing to lean it on the poetry side of things because none of his poet-friends (whom he later referred to as Real Poets) were not present.


The next day, walking around downtown- away from the Plaza with the rabbit skin moccasins, brand new and beaded, everything adobe and dirt brown or rosey: I came across an old Hall of Records. There was an old man taking the flag down and the air was spitting still, the rain a little lighter than it had been that morning. This same building had a wooden plaque running above the old man’s head, and in white peeling paint it said: The nation that forgets it’s history has no future—which was particularly ironic since the adobe walls that held the roof up, the one in particular just below the sign, behind the man, had letters bleached on it’s sides, from where they had been removed spelled out, in dots where once there had been nails or studs: JOSEPH F. HALPIN; RECORDS CENTER AND ARCHIVES. A defunct building crying out against its now uselessness.

            In all that wet, it nevertheless felt like the desert was preening. All of the living things unfurling, at last able to breathe. The dirt released its ozone and the plants took deep breaths, emitting their perfumes. The sudden ecstacy of abundant showers.


Thank you to the Stickneys for their wonderful hospitality & St. John’s too for organizing the event.


Joan of Arc poster

It was the last of Stevie Greco’s shows. The end of her curation period. We’ve been treating these music events like a quarterly, if that makes any sense and over the course of the year have had some great conversations about the possible integration of music and art, and of course literary sundries. It seems strange that there we have carved out distinct avenues for cultural consumption, like it’s gotta be one thing or the other. Either music. Visual Contemporary High Art stuff. Pop culture Candy- movies –tigerbeat etc. Writing.

            Stevie said this was like a family show- MALE was releasing their record, + Emmet Kelly + Joan of Arc; they’re all friends of hers and awesome people to work with. Like a grand fanale for us. Todd Mattei played two sets in a row, both in MALE and in J/O/A.

            And Stevie and the bands and I kept going back and forth, trying to figure out how to have a show in the same space as the exhibition, when the exhibition took up so much of the floorspace, and was delicate, filled with all the delicate precious treasures of other people’s lives.

            It worked out though; we taped off a section, removed the tail of the installation, so the band could set up there, by the radiator, and run along in front of the exhibit like a fence. I was by the door mostly; it was another one of those shows where we found ourselves at max capacity and it was pretty hot up there. A good show though, for sure. 

Joan of Arc shot

You can check out some clips of the performance on u-tube…..