Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poem: Not too Proud to Officiate

by Alex Gallo-Brown

I am not too proud
to officiate kickball

to preside over colorful young professionals
booting their way through
a Sunday afternoon

Twelve bucks a pop they pay me
to call balls and strikes,
and to arbitrate a series of other
overly complex rules

The teams, some of them, summon
a seriousness those Sundays,
a fierceness, a fervor
that can discomfit.

But others convey an Absurdist take.
Grown up children
or childish adults,
playing the game as it was intended.

The Somberists, on the other foot,
approach the game like full-fledged adults,
strategizing and scolding,
employing sarcasm and stomping around.
Like playground bullies, they revel 
in their anger, their meanness,
they thrive on meaningless conflict.

Meanwhile, behind the plate, 
I narrate the balls and strikes,
hollering into the day
for a little bit of cash,
trying to confine my judgments to the rule book
instead of the players' characters.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

There Are Things We Have To Do To Stay Alive

The first of a ten part (eighty plus minute) interview with David Foster Wallace, filmed for a German television program in 2003. As always, I find Wallace fascinating. Also, is it just me or does the author resemble Portland Trail Blazers' point guard, Andre Miller?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Loving Tax Day

Five reasons why you should love tax day, from author Steve Almond.

Whiteness Losing Power?

In a wide-ranging essay on race in the recent New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh tackles three new books (Searching for Whitopia, The History of White People, How Race Survived U.S. History), an Academy Award-winning movie ("The Blind Side"), and the musings of Glenn Beck. We learn that, according to U.S. law, Arabians are considered white; that there is "something particularly fraught about the whiteness of Italian-Americans, which has been contested for centuries"; that Hispanics, while, too, technically white, represent the greatest potential threat to "the white majority"; and that, "In the Obama era--the Tea Party era--whiteness is easier to see than ever before, which means...if invisibility is power, than whiteness is a little less powerful than it used to be."

You should really read the whole thing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: Bluets

New Los Angeles-based magazine Bunker Hill has published, and posted, a review I wrote of Maggie Nelson's Bluets. You can find it here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

But I, too, wanted to be a poet

I have been reading the selected poems of Fanny Howe, and came across this gem I thought too beautiful not to pass along:

But I, too, wanted to be a poet
to erase from my days
confusion & poverty
fiction & a sharp tongue

To sing again
with the tones of adolescence
demanding vengeance
against my enemies, with words
clear & austere

To end this tumultuous quest
for reasonable solutions
to situations mysterious & sore

To have the height to view
myself as I view others
with lenience & love

To be free of the need
to make a waste of money
when my passion,
first and last,
is for the ecstatic lash
of the poetic line

and no visible recompense