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[DECEMBER 2012.]

My dear Alexander Sergeyevich,


I lost the flint to steal the fire. I’m still whittling down potential, always in thinner slivers. It used to be that whatever else was lacking, at least I had a tinderbox - it was like walking around with the Balkans stuffed under your shirt. Now I’m merely comfortable. Look where it gets you! There’s a line before which you can’t write because you don’t know the forms, and a line after which you shouldn’t write because you know the forms too well. Everyone gets it backward and crosses the second line before the first. That’s why you can’t tune in any music on your radio. I’ve stopped listening anyhow. I am ambushed by the slant of a rooftop at four o’clock, which as you know is not like the slant of a rooftop at three o’clock, nor at five; it used to be I was there every day to mark it. Now it comes at me once a month like an unpaid bill. A rooftop is a rooftop, it won’t trade in for anything, and you have to stay busy so long as you want to stay comfortable. You can’t go back to sleeping on cabinet screws. Every hour I’m paying some bill or other. They get slapped down on my desk, I sign off. It makes me significant as far as my own flagstone stretches, but didn’t you and I once measure by another yardstick?

And what of your estate this year?

Your servant,

Pet Sounds

Most of the fish I have known if they had had bicycles wouldn’t have been eaten.
By the day what is the record for bank robberies in New York?
Can you believe some English actually made his homage to the BEACH
BOYS by cutting an electronic collage of their seminal work?
No, of course you can’t. But a California girl is a potential song.
Music becomes gilt. Glom onto some redolent creep and pretend
that you are in love. I’m sick of daylight. I want God.
My name is Gaston and I would like you to make it out to cash.


The opportunities of this world have become so scarce
that people have stopped applying for them.
The result is that periods of deprivation
have become much longer. People who used to spend
a few weeks or a month seeking a job or a place
to live, or a lover, now are looking for years,
or not bothering to look at all because they know
it’s not there, or it’s too expensive, or they can’t
have it because they haven’t already got it.
When breakdowns occur under this kind of UPPED ANTE
(or you could say people are sitting at a table where
there are no longer any cards being dealt),
they are likely to be much more severe—
it is altogether a cruel and unusual turn of events,
but out of it we should not expect a new Constitution.

—Stephen Rodefer, from “Words in Works in Russian”

I’m calling Aesop Rock’s “Gopher Guts” for song of the year. I’m suspicious of the “earning” metaphor, but no question, raw is a different quality when it takes you six records to get there. Well fucking played; and I’m sorry too.

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