Black Metal with KT last night ended up being mostly about spotting celebrity lookalikes on stage.

Lineup was: Somebody, then Saviors, then Black Cobra.

It was a bit of a weird situation; I went with KT, who was there to hang out with a girl who had decided to pass on dating him. She was there with friends, but the way things worked out, it was just me, KT & his Metal Mama hanging out, talking very loud to try and shout over the ringing in our ears.

I learned that metal guys all make funny faces when they sing; it seems to be necessary to get that metal voice right. And so I had a hard time taking it seriously. However, once again, the amount of Rock put out by a band went up as the membership in that band went down.

The first band, whose name I don’t know, was two downtuned guitars and a drummer. They were nice and sludgey, but they kept breaking out of the droney repetitive parts that I liked, and getting all technical change-up-the-time-signature metal.

Celebrity lookalikes: Will Farrell and Some guy from Three O’Clock High

Next up: Saviors. hair metal enough to verge on glam, and were hookier than either of the two other bands, but the metal voice kind of ruined it for me. Lots of tattoos, lots of hair, but also a lot of high pitched solos played on the neck of the guitar. So they were probably the most straight up metal of the three bands, and the crowd seemed to like them best, but I got the least out of it. Since, you know, I don’t listen to metal at all.

Celebrity lookalikes: That guy from Three O’Clock High (Again!), Sean Penn from Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Last up was Black Cobra. Least Metal Looking. Two Piece Guitar and Drums. Stage totally dominated by speakers, projecting Clash of the Titans on the wall behind them. So I was pretty much sold on them from the get go. Sure enough, they had a really incredible wall of noise going on, but because they’re a metal band, the guy was singing in that weird aggro-falsetto register which requires that strange petulant pout-and-shout face. But as long as they weren’t singing, they were churning out this really great sludgey, hook-driven guitar wall.

Celebrity Lookalikes: None. This probably helped me take them seriously.

Verdict: I like Metal without vocals.

In other news, I applied for a job with Jive Software, got to spend all day with Eve, and read a bunch more of Homage to Catalonia. Which is, strangely, making me more receptive to Communism-as-philosoph, and more hostile to Communism-as-extension-of-USSR-foreign-policy.

Wow. Today seems to have been about new applications (always fun!) and old friends (even better). Got back in touch with two – TWO! – long lost friends today.

So the other night I was at Mom’s for dinner and we were talking, and she had this familiar “My basic point of view is that everything is getting worse and worse” thing going. She was talking about a book she read, and about when Rupert Murdoch bought Myspace. She thinks that News Corp’s alleged censorship of Myspace profiles is an example of how the world is getting worse.

So I countered with a story about Digg; that Kevin Rose actually let the users of his website know that he understood what they, as a population, wanted him to do, and was willing to go along with them – to risk his website in order to let his users voice their dissent and protest whatever the ridiculous RIAA tactic du jour happened to be.

Mind you, there’s a world of difference between Digg and Myspace: Digg is made up of the soi-disant geek intelligentsia, who I imagine to be older, more politically engaged, and confident. Plus, and I think this is really important, they are much more invested in Digg as a community.

Because Myspace is so much larger, so balkanized, and because it offers people to each other, I don’t think there’s the same sense of belonging. I’d like to ask Danah Boyd about this – when are we conscious of social network – as – medium? Is it that those sites which are McLuhan-ly “cool” (e.g., Digg, Barbelith) inspire more identity investment, while the “hot” sites (Myspace, &c) are transparent enough to not require that kind of investiture?

Which is making me think about Tripolitica, and how it feels to belong to barbelith.com, even if I never post there and rarely even read it anymore – I still feel invested in the community there. So I would like barbelith, when it emerges from its strange locked registration and verbose banning thread cocoon, to turn out to have turned into something closer to Digg than to Myspace.

Reading two books about the spanish civil war, I forgot that I had a skeleton of a plot for some weird trans-generational heist / conspiracy story involving cubist maps and those anarchist modern art chambers.

Reading Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia last night, the examples he gave of Communist propaganda used to explain why they needed the anarchists to surrender power were really frighteningly close to current political rhetoric used to justify why we need to surrender our civil liberties.

It’s not like I’m a particularly political person; I just feel like there’s this struggle, always, between government and the people. Maybe this is what the Marxists mean by alienation, or at least it’s a side effect of it – that the haves after a while forget why and how they arrived where they are and just start entrenching their positions against the incursions of the have-nots.

The story would be super fun – you’ve got all this super bright Modern Art, you’ve got ll that propaganda, a kicking sound track, celebrity cameos, Hemmingway in an ambulance, flappers and bolsheviks and nazi treasure hunters.

Oh, and Gaudi – I wanted to work in that gaudi’s tomb was desecrated.

I also had a talk with Andy tonight about helping his wife Jodi start her business – that’s exciting, too, getting to help someone instantiate an idea – conceptual midwifery. It’s really compelling, the ability to assist in helping someone birth a business from vague sketches and possibilities, into an actual business plan that gets financed and actually tested out on the real internet.

Fingers crossed.

Through the demon and the deity,
under seventeen or seven thousand
years of circumstantial evidence-
the groans of soldiers coming as the spear
ignites their hearts, the spear itself, aghast-
beyond the morning that does not reveal
its rosy curl unfurling, the let-down
of a waited-for awake, death’s
disappointment, the finality
of a paperweight, heft and thud
of that which holds down, tight
and always-under the mourning that refutes
its very grief as if a bastard child
come to connive himself a birthright, a name
(oh luxury and the denial)-a city
calls and shall forever call The Dead-
and they arrive. They arrive, pockets
empty of breath and full of vagrancy
thresholding the white light’s obvious tunnel:
Dead fathers make the most noise. Otherwise,
it seems like rain or 1941-
a steam train grinds, trestle to track, sparks
distill the gray air (is it air at all?).
Even the climate has done itself death,
soot and pain of that which everlasts-
and it is an ocean of everlast.

Landscape 2

Here the vodka is strong and the meat is filling.
Here, the believer sings in tune but softly as a plea or a praise
and none but god can hear, or even needs to:
Jesus, Jesus you released me, you’ve tamed,
you’ve conquered my inadequate shiver of a heart.

Here my name spells desire, decree, red firm berries,
my name spells out that quiver of flesh at the meeting
of your hips and of your thighs, and flowers to burn
with praise and sympathy. The mountaintops are green and cold
and drunk on what remnants of clouds I cannot say.

Those animals that remember us do it in syllables-how perfect-
yaps and mews we now completely understand. Rub me
at the belly, feed me loyalty from the nipple of your littlest digit.
There is much to be admired here, soon enough. But oh not yet am I
to ash (I am not yet). This awaited place

will wait as a maiden for many years to come. On the unknown
but faraway day, I will arrive like chiffon lifting itself up on a breeze
and the smile of the passing sailor. I will speak of it to everyone,
I will throm and thrum and hum and grieve (a thousand griefs
relieved!) and bend at the feet of my lord who loves into such a death as this.

And yet I ask: If the child wants a snake, will you give her a fish?

Landscape, 3

There is a bridge in the distance,
and it wonders if I will cross it.

There is a bridge in the distance
awaiting my footfalls.

I say to myself these words:
I am a bride, three times over.

I am a bride in a red dress, the bloody
wife, the sacred cup of wine.

I can see only the bridge and its bearings.
What I hear is the sound of my heart,

discerning itself between beats
and gushes. Am I really dead?

Of course not. How could that happen?
How could that ever happen?

When she is born again, a woman’s name
becomes wisdom and flesh.

How can a birth be a death?
My name is Jill Essbaum-sweetheart

who has eaten from the tree. The wisest apple is one
whose pulp is firm and sweet.

Landscape 3, revisited

It is steel, not stone, the bridge of evermore.
Heavy footsteps rattle its girders, and the crossing
is tenuous like acrobatics. This I could not see
from the distance. What a novice I am, bride
of ignorance, fear, the devilish set, bloody as rain
on ash Wednesday, bloody as the matador gored,
the bull’s heft nose ring shining in the sun. My heart
makes heavy noises. Thump thump thump
like billy goats gruffing. The body of evidence
is a body. I can see only the bridge and its bearings.
What I hear is the sound of my heart,
discerning itself between beats and gushes. Am I
really dead? Of course not. How could that happen?
How could that ever happen? When she is born
again, a woman’s name becomes wisdom and flesh.
This is how the aftermath resolves.

-Jill Alexander Essbaum

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
frustration
discontent and
torture
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
association
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.

-Phillip Lopate

Your love is like a bad tattoo.
I’ve done too much time
in this trailer park and I will
burn your double-wide down

except I’m lazy. Your love
is like a bad tattoo although
you put it on the back of my
eye. It starts "Ramona" and I

can’t read the rest anymore.
I’m tired but I remember what
it says. Something I won’t
repeat is what. I said "love"

but meant a word that sounds
like "trigger" and means
"You’re dead." Look it up
if you don’t believe me.

Find it near "damn fool"
and "dear god" if there ever
was such a dictionary. And if
there was, you sure already

read it. I studied some Latin
strictly due to you: Semper
fidelis, semper idem, semper
paratus. Always faithful,

ready, and the same. Me or you,
what a question. Anymore
I’m like some Ophelia who took
the other route, fat, drugged,

and gone to seed. Alive though.
Lounging in the wading pool
outside fair Hamlette’s double-wide
in my best plastic sunglasses

and checking my periphery as if
epiphanies might have to sneak
right up on the likes of me. I’m in
need of some coy flowers, a cocktail.

Somebody bring my notebook, too.
I’ll write one of my patented I didn’t
kill myself notes: Hello cruel world
I’m still not leaving again, it’s me.

Your love is like a bad tattoo
deep on my superstructure.
What monks scribble on bones
in ossuaries, I imagine. My latest

affectation is pretending you are
a house I’m haunting with my life.
You don’t think I’m pretending.
Somebody bring me my hood.

– Joshua Bell