Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Point/Counterpoint by Freddie Madball

Point: Hold It Down

Enough time has been wasted, and now I’m faced with our realities and what’s to come of this scene. So many come and go - some have disgraced it. I think its time we take a stand, show them what we mean.

You can’t stop this - this thing of ours. Hold it down. This things is ours, hardcore is ours. Hold it down. Time after time, line after line, I must express the truth (‘cause that is what we stand for!). Some live to lie, they will defy and deny our roots.

I pay no mind. You know who we care for.

And I’m not only speaking for myself - I can’t. I hope I speak for everyone else out there. Because, a lot of people think that we don’t care. (But they cant stop what I’m bringing; cant stop what I’m bringing.) Trying to make a change, do what I can.

Conclusion: Hold it down, because we can.

Counterpoint: Set It Off

I see through bitter eyes and the fact still remains. I read between your lies: you got beat at your own game. Take a trip with me, for soon I will sin. Without one regret, the pain will begin.

As the knife got deeper, I won’t go without a fight. But you know the price you’ll pay - that price is with your life. (Suffering and pain, like nothing in your past.) I walk the walk, and my path will be your last. Set it off.

Conclusion: Set it off.

Freddie "Madball" Cricien is a founding member of the seminal New York Hardcore group Madball and a regular contributor to Slate.com.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"I" (?)

I just discovered the following gem in my free write doc file. How it got there, I haven't a clue. I consider it a complete work. Let the exegesis begin:

I [10 space bars] NEED TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HASNT HAPPENED YET

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shh... It's A Secret

Secrets, secrets, never let them show...
Proverbs, 4:7

“Poets today are a nothing but staid, bloodless, white-bread academics!” sneers the book shop cashier to her colleagues, pretending to ignore me as she rings up my order, but all the while projecting her embittered commentary well beyond their discussion circle. “The real creative voice of our generation isn’t an MFA chair somewhere,” she continues, “but a complete unknown, toiling away in obscurity.” Clearly, she has someone in mind.

Enter my great dilemma:

Should I tell her it’s me?

Should I interrupt her crapulous carping and extend a blessing hand in introduction as the very messiah she has prophesied, activating the book shop’s sprinkler system and baptizing her as my foremost disciple? Or should I behave perhaps more messianically and simply wink knowingly with a serene smile before silently vanishing once more out the doors and back into that obscure existence she romanticizes so? Or should I issue a stentorian proclamation declaring my incessant heartbeat, a deceptively mammalian rhythm which even she could hear distinctly with her own mortal ear pressed to my breast, to be nothing short of the marching cadence impelling a new language, one of pure life, in its striding forth in ceaseless lock-step toward a brilliant dawn of unrealized human potentiality, when rays of pure untrammeled inspiration will irradiate fecund fields sewn with shit she can’t even conceptualize? Should I act out this mixed metaphor for her using dramatic hand gestures, blocks of moveable type, plastic army men, a grow lamp, a Chia Pet in my likeness, and a few fire crackers for the sexy parts? Or should I not risk confusing her with so much nuance and instead convey my message bluntly, by amassing the entirety of literary history hitherto into a great heap, climbing to its summit and proclaiming myself conqueror, and setting it ablaze in a brilliant conflagration which burns but does not consume? Or should I think up a display that’s a bit more... dramatic?

And if she’s still eager to learn more, should I utter the ages-old caveat of every great prophecy, “spoiler alert”, and outline in scrupulous detail the plot arc of my lengthy life story to come, the second greatest story ever told (right after that of my mentor, James Frey), an epic driven by ceaseless struggle against innumerable obstacles and rendered suitable for the silver screen by moments of touching tenderness, numerous humorous sub-plots, all kinds of earnest character development, and a cast of supporting characters that’s simply divine? Should I describe for her my apotheosis in its entire glacial movement in hourly detail, from the humblest of beginnings in the godforsaken backwater of print which my blistered hands strove to cultivate? How by day the parching heat ate me up, and frost in the night, and sleep was a stranger to my eyes? How I offered my blood and sweat to an unforgiving wilderness where all but the most tenacious of the countless seeds I spilled in self congratulation withered and perished in liquor-logged soil? How I did say unto the Lord: “Gad! God, why have You done evil to Your servant, and why have I not found favor in Your eyes, for you to put the burden of all these people upon me?” Should I linger with her in this wilderness for a generation as punishment for her disbelief? Or with incense aflame, should I chisel for her into bas relief my passion—that timeless tragic trope of being born too soon and intro the wrong place, the unspeakable pain of perishing in considerable discomfort while birthing an epoch of unprecedented breadth? Should I relate for her that old familiar magic trick of death by crucifixion for the sins of orthodoxy only to return miraculously, but just to make your friends feel bad because they didn’t stick up for you when the chips were down? Should I echo for her the sentiment famously uttered by Nietzsche in a Cologne brothel: “Alas, I have come too soon!”?

And should I even bother providing this fulsome fustian foreword, a lengthy preamble to the history of my future, or should I proceed directly to the the end of my life and the beginning of my story, when I have expired, when my only creative output will be hair and fingernails, and when the maggots copulating in my eyeballs make me the ultimate Misfits fan? Should I chart the spread of the Jarrod movement after my predictable passing, from the ragtag rural tribe I leave in my wake, through its travels along trade routes, through self-righteous chain-letters and obscenities written on bathroom walls, through its passing between cults of my personality as dissimilar as they are numerous, until I arrive at last at the gates of the great metropolises, where thirst for the latest fad is never sated? Should I detail the spread of my exalted word among these queer folk—the city-dwellers, the newspaper readers, the subway riders, the writers who dress like they’re writers, the adorable kids who read those brightly colored cleverly titled books written recently? Should I provide our bookseller friend with the countless complimentary testimonials of these free-thinking smart-dressing youngsters who will live after I have died, mournful elegies of wan regret that they never had a chance to meet me, to pick my brain before it went cold, to pose for Futurebook photos with the enigmatic sage Jarrod Shanahan, the great early 21st Century prophet of solipsistic metafiction? Should I detail the inclusion of my work, through the intervention of these latter day acolytes, into something called The Cannon, which of course means “that which ceaselessly fires heavy objects at the frail heads of its unsuspecting victims”? Should I announce the coming resurrection, as it was heralded by an angelic cashier of St. Mark’s Book Shop, when I will ascend and be seated at the right hand side of the employee recommendation shelf, and will be granted life everlasting in the tote bag of The Girl Who Read Popular Fiction on the L Train?

And should I leave it off there at my fervent culmination, or should I include the inevitable aftermath, when excitement deflates, prior engagements are suddenly remembered, and one begins to look for ones shoes? Should I describe my loss of novelty once my followers cease to be fed to the lions and become thoroughly institutionalized in a vast imperialistic bureaucracy humorously antithetical to my life and message? When my revealed word is used as the pretext for unifying a great empire of uninspired pedagogical regiment? When I become hopelessly bloodlessly staidly white-bread and academic? When my latter day heirs become MFA chairs somewhere? When the daring young iconoclasts of a new age, my children!, ignore the inheritance which I have bequeathed them and turn their pens against me like a pack of spoiled brats in juvenile fits of patricidal prose, pissing all over the dried up piss I’d once pissed all over my own forefather’s piss that they’d pissed onto theirs? When all the punks refuse to read me because I didn’t have the guts to kill myself like that other guy from my time period? When yawning students forced to read my work by loathsome, unimaginative pedants defiantly abstain, as I once did to the generations which preceded me? When a high school class erupts in laughter at the declaration: “Yo teach, this Jarrod Shanahandjob is mad boring. All this ninja talks about it himself!” Should I tell her its true that some are born posthumously, but that so too must they perish! And how I can smile about it now, but at the time it will be terrible?

And this, this is my dilemma, as the foremost prophet of my epochal apocalyptic epic stares blankly into my eyes, asking me if I have found everything I was looking for—a question I could just as easily pose to her!—and does not recognize me as he who is who he is. And I have decided that it will remain this way. I will continue to toil away in obscurity, a complete unknown. And as for you, reader: Shhh... It’s a secret.

[Originally published by DPP as a half-sheet booklet in a run of about 150. I have a few left, hit me up if you want a paper copy.]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Letter to John Elway by Jimmy Flynn

Jimmy (snail) mailed the following letter to famous American football player John Elway, and was nice enough to share this very private correspondence with us at the release gala for DP III.

Dear Mr. Elway,

I was recently watching NFL Network on cable tv and it reminded me that you were an insanely talented quarterback. A little back story here… I always resented you and that lesser-achieving quarterback Dan Marino because The Patriots got stuck with Tony Eason, until this insanely hot girl from Denver moved into my house. Sometimes I struggle with the issue of having a crush on her but I know it’s the wrong idea to have this crush. Also, by “crush” , I mean I think she is really pretty and has a swell personality, not “crush” in the case of the orange crush colored Broncos uniforms of the mid 70’s-mid 90’s. Know how you have nice eyes? She does too.

Check out this story.. My buddy Brian’s ( from Meltdown / Alpha and Omega ) girlfriend works over by the Boston Garden at a restaurant - a Tapas place to be more specific. Get this: your old stand by running back, Terrell Davis was dining there. He (Brian) made the funniest joke about how we should go in there with Elway jerseys on and hand him off some bread. LOL. Anyway, thanks for your time. Can you help me out with this issue?

PS: Go Pats!

Sincerely,

James

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Hair is Fortified


My hair is fortified, or so says my shampoo bottle. And this is no bullshit kids’ fort.

My fortified hair is perched ever so delicately atop a steep promontory, besieged by the crashing waves which threaten to wash it away at any instant. Erosion, calamity, devastation, misery, the optimism of the mad; you name it, its here in no short supply. Resources dwindle and are replenished, hope ebbs and flows, disease is kept in check but nobody is foolish enough to doubt its ultimate victory in some form or another. But the fort must be defended, in order that the fort may stand, in order that the fort may continue to be defended.

My hair is fortified. My neck a parapet, my eyes embrasures for the mysterious “pill box” they belie, its starved inhabitants trembling together in the dark. Oxygen is low and the air stifles the most wizened, but evacuation is not an option. My stern reserve a defensive curtain, my lean sobriety so many sandbags piled against the siege-works which daily aim to reduce my steadfast bastion to the mere stuff of couch cushions. Archers, to the parapets! The enemy approaches!

Roland Barthes famously noted that according to advertising argot, linen possesses depth. Then he was killed by a laundry truck. Having yet to be hit by my proverbial laundry truck, I am left to foolishly question the utility of considering my fortified hair in something that I once foolishly called “something that I once foolishly called ‘the scheme of things’”. As the popular American philosopher Carey Bradshaw would say, “I couldn’t help but wonder:” Is every unexpected gift a secret vessel for unseen invaders, laying in wait to strike when defenses are weakest? Should the seething hot oil be spared on those below who beat against the gates for relief? Should hunger be chosen over commerce with those unknown, and deemed foes by this very fact?

My hair is fortified. Something tells me that this metaphor leaves something to be desired.

[Originally published in Death Panel Literary Digest III.]

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Chomsky/Foucault Chess Match















CHOMSKY: Let me begin in a slightly technical way. I extend two closed hands, each containing a pawn of a different color. You select one, and this will determines whether you play as white or black.

FOUCAULT: To be honest, I’m quite indifferent. Neither color suits me. And what’s more, I’ve always resisted this sort of question, as I find it to be ill-posed from the start. Why must I be just one color and not also the other...

CHOMSKY: I don’t understand...

FOUCAULT: ...simultaneously?

CHOMSKY: Well, as you know, it must be one, or the other.

FOUCAULT: I do not agree.

CHOMSKY: [Protesting.] But, you must admit, there is, intrinsic to chess itself, a series of discernible rules which are innate, and found similarly across diverse cultures. Varying individuals with varying experiences in chess must nonetheless obey these rules, as organizing principles which make the game possible. Does Msr. Foucault agree?

FOUCAULT: I do not, but as Mr. Chomsky wishes. Nietzsche tells us: “The iron hand of necessity shakes the dice”. [Foucault laughs, and selects the hand containing the white piece.]

CHOMSKY: Smoke before fire...

FOUCAULT: Yes, or so they say. Personally, I’ve never been satisfied with that formulation, for a number of reasons which are irrelevant. Now, why must I move my pawns forward?

CHOMSKY: That’s a good question, and I think I can answer it. Throughout the history of classical European warfare, and continuing to the present, the function of the pawn, who stands to gain little from the conflict, has always been to advance the imperial ambitions of the wealthiest elements of society — the royalty, the bishops, the knights, their castles, etc., — and to absorb the worst of the casualties at the earliest stage of the military intervention. Now, many pawns will tell you that this is untrue, as there is always the possibility to advance and become the Queen, or any position, really, besides of course the King, but historically, as we know, this doesn’t happen very often. Now...

FOUCAULT: I wonder — may the pawns not also elect to move backward? Or diagonally? Or perhaps leap ahead three spaces per turn?

CHOMSKY: I don’t understand what you mean...

FOUCAULT: [Stretches out right hand, fingers arched and pointing upward, as if about to pick an apple.] Imagine a chess board with ten squares per row; where the pawns move in every direction conceivable and others we’ve yet to dream of; where the King and Queen exchange identities with fluidity and reciprocity, different from one day to the next — from one moment to the next; where the bishops and knights no longer obey the mandate to protect the sovereign, and join instead with the movement of the masses in a collective act of spiritual resistance to power; where pawns of both colors erect a popular judiciary to prosecute those who had sent their ranks to the slaughter in history’s enumerable games of...

CHOMSKY: If I may interrupt, all this is very well, but what would the rules of this game be? You do not expect them to arise spontaneously, as the unified will of the pawns and their allies in the nobility? You surely can’t think...

FOUCAULT: I admit to not being able to define, nor propose in concrete terms, how this may be brought about. However, this does not stop me from raising a number of interconnected problems which have been traditionally ignored by adherents of this game. For example, the admixture of the juridical and pastoral domains, effected by positioning adjacently the bishops and royalty; the ubiquitous presence of the castle — looming above every pawn, inscribing itself within their very souls; the ridiculous manner by which the knight advances, as if he’s steered by a mediocre Platonic charioteer...

CHOMSKY: Yes, and I agree with you, but I don’t think any game can proceed without first establishing a basic model toward which we can advance...

FOUCAULT: [Chewing on nail of pinky finger.] But...

CHOMSKY: ...and though we may not pretend to know the outcome of the game exactly, we should have a basic idea of how it should be played in order to get anywhere in the first place.

FOUCAULT: Based upon what?

CHOMSKY: Based upon fundamental principles of how the game ought to be played. This standard I believe is accessible to all reasoning players. Now, I think that guided by this conception, we can minimize the rapaciousness and destructiveness which that the current organization of the board encourages, and move toward a more just arrangement.

FOUCAULT: But what is this justice? In a game without the distinction between pawns and nobility, I can scarcely imagine those rules in operation...

CHOMSKY: [Loosening dorky tie.] Now, just one minute...

FOUCAULT: [Waving hands around as if conducting an orchestra.] ...as the rules are always in the service of whoever controls the board, and will vary according to the strategies these powers pursue. The rules only reinforce this arrangement, lend it legitimacy. This is why we must interrogate the rules themselves, and not appeal to the traditional forms which keep the pawns ensnared.

CHOMSKY: Do you mean there cannot be some absolute basis, latent in the game, which guides us toward a better conception of how it should be played? Are you saying there is no possibility for reaching a definitive consensus, among pawns of both colors, for what constitutes fairness and justice?

FOUCAULT: One plays chess to win, not because it is just. [Laughing, brushes all of Chomsky’s pieces off the board.]

*