Mixtape: Doom Sprite, Vol. 2

•February 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment


If at times my eyes are lenses
through which the brain explores
constellations of feeling
my ears yielding like swinging doors
admit princes to the corridors
into the mind, do not envy me.
I have a beast on my back.
—Keith Douglas, “Bête Noire” [Fragment D] February-March 1944.

This is the second volume in a series of international psych-rock compilations.

Download Doom Sprite, Vol. 2 here.

(Click the ↓ at the top of the download page. Alternate link here.)

Volume 1 is here.

Shut out the night with other mixes herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Photo credit: Hashem el Madani/Akram Zaatari. Anonymous. Studio Shehrazade, Saida, Lebanon, 1970s.

Frederick Seidel, ‘Me’ (2016)

•February 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Frederick Seidel

The fellow talking to himself is me,
Though I don’t know it. That’s to say, I see
Him every morning shave and comb his hair
And then lose track of him until he starts to care,
Inflating sex dolls out of thin air
In front of his computer, in a battered leather chair
That needs to be thrown out… then I lose track
Until he strides along the sidewalk on the attack
With racist, sexist outbursts. What a treat
This guy is, glaring at strangers in the street!
Completely crazy but not at all insane.
He’s hot but there’s frostbite in his brain.
He’s hot but freezing cold, and oh so cool.
He’s been called a marvelously elegant ghoul.

But with a torn rotator cuff, even an elegant fawn
Has to go through shoulder seizures to get his jacket on.
He manages spastically. His left shoulder’s gone.
It means, in pain, he’s drastically awake at dawn.
A friend of his with pancreatic cancer, who will die,
Is not in pain so far, and she will try
To palliate her death, is what her life is now.
The fellow’s thinking to himself, yes but how?
Riding a motorcycle very fast is one way to.
The moon and stars rapidly enter you
While you excrete the sun. You ride across the earth
Looking for a place to lay the eggs of your rebirth.
The eggs crack open and out comes everyone.
The chicks chirp and it’s begun, and it’s fun.

You keep on writing till you write yourself away,
And even after—when you’re nothing—you still stay.
The eggs crack open and out comes everyone.
The chicks chirp, the poems speaks—and it’s again begun!
Speaking of someone else for a change, not me,
There was a time in Stockholm when, so strangely,
Outside a restaurant, in blinding daylight, a tiny bird
Circled forever around us and then without a word
Lightly, lightly landed on my head and settled there
And you burst into tears. I was unaware
That ten years before the same thing had happened just
After your young daughter died and now it must
Have been Maria come back from the dead a second time to speak
And receive the recognition we all seek.

Mixtape: Doom Sprite, Vol. 1

•January 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Syrian resistant. Studio Shehrazade, Saida, Lebanon, early 1970s. Hashem el Madani 2007 by Akram Zaatari born 1966

The throat of winter is upon us.

This is the first volume in a series of international psych-rock compilations.

Download DOOM SPRITE, VOL. 1 here.

(Click the ↓ at the top of the download page. Alternate link here.)

Let the sunshine in with more mixes herehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Photo Credit: Hashem el Madani/Akram Zaatari. Syrian resistant. Studio Shehrazade, Saida, Lebanon, early 1970s. 

Michael Hofmann, ‘This Sporting Death’ (1986)

•January 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Michael Hofmann, Poet

The days are so dark they hardly count—
but they must have some marginal warmth after all,
for the drizzle of my night-breath turns to fog.

The window is opaque, a white mirror affirming
life goes on inside this damp lung of a room…
I have no perspective on the dotty winter clouds,

the pubic scrub of this street I am growing to hate,
with its false burglar alarms and sleeping policemen.
My exhalations blot out the familiar view.

I can tell without looking when your car draws up,
I know its tune as it reaches the end of its tether
and stops under the lamp-post, melodramatic and old-red,

the unwilling gift of your sainted grandmother
who disliked you and died suddenly on Friday.
Grand-merde‘ you called her when you left sometimes

to go with her to visit your uncle in hospital,
lying there with irreversible brain damage
almost as long as I’ve lived here, after

falling downstairs drunk. You chat to him,
and imagine or fail to imagine that he responds
when you play him the recording of his greatest moment

when the horse he trained won the Derby.
I stay here and listen to sport on the radio,
a way of processing time to trial and outcome.

Someone brought me some cigarettes from America
called Home Run, and they frighten me half to death
in their innocuous vernal packaging, green and yellow.

James Schuyler, ‘This Dark Apartment’ (1980)

•December 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Coming from the deli
a block away today I
saw the UN building
shine and in all the
months and years I’ve
lived in this apartment
I took so you and I
would have a place to
meet I never noticed
that it was in my view.

I remember very well
the morning I walked in
and found you in bed
with X. He dressed
and left. You dressed
too. I said, “Stay
five minutes.” You
did. You said, “That’s
the way it is.” It
was not much of a surprise.

Then X got on speed
and ripped off an
antique chest and an
air conditioner, etc.
After he was gone and
you had changed the
Segal lock, I asked
you on the phone, “Can’t
you be content with
your wife and me?” “I’m
not built that way,”
you said. No surprise.

Now, without saying
why, you’ve let me go.
You don’t return my
calls, who used to call
me almost every evening
when I lived in the coun-
try. “Hasn’t he told you
why?” “No, and I doubt he
ever will.” Goodbye. It’s
mysterious and frustrating.

How I wish you would come
back! I could tell
you how, when I lived
on East 49th, first
with Frank and then with John,
we had a lovely view of
the UN building and the
Beekman Towers. They were
not my lovers, though.
You were. You said so.

Mixtape: The Stars Down to Earth

•September 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment


This is a four-part six-part mix in tribute to one of my favorite bands: Stereolab. The first twenty tracks are culled from their vast discography—albums, EPs, singles, collaborations—and separated into the early, harder stuff (Fig. 1) and the later, more loopy stuff (Fig. 2). The last twenty tracks (Figs. 3 and 4) sample their influences, from psychedelia and exotica to the Canterbury Sound and Krautrock. [Update: Figs. 5 and 6 are Stereolab and more of their influences, respectively.] This required a lot of research. Please don’t listen to it on your laptop speakers because it will sound terrible.

Download The Stars Down to Earth Figs. 1-6 (Complete)

(Click the ↓ at the top of the download page.)


Download The Stars Down to Earth, Figs. 1-4. [Alternate download link!]

Fig. 1: Glitter Dispatches
Fig. 2: Kemmermusik
Fig. 3: Long Time Reader
Fig. 4: Console Yellow

If you have any trouble downloading—and you probably will since this is a lot of music and Sauron has many spies—wait and try again or use one of the alternative download links. (Update: I have switched my file-hosting service so this should no longer be a problem.)

If you like what you hear, my favorite Stereolab releases are: Switched On (Vols. 1 and 2), Mars Audiac Quintet, Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements, Peng!, The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music,” Dots and Loops, Emperor Tomato KetchupAluminum Tunes, the Low Fi and Miss Modular EPs, and ABC Music: The Radio 1 Sessions. Hell, it’s all good.

For Figs. 3 and 4, in addition to archival interviews with band members, I relied on various internet forums to help identify their influences, especially a remarkable old thread on the message-board-that-must-not-be-named. Thanks, y’all.

Feel the air (of another planet) with more mixes hereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Layout by Kyle Kabel, with apologies to Gregory Vines.

* * *

The Stars Down to Earth: Figs. 5-6


10/09/15: I’ve added two more figures with twenty more tracks from Stereolab (Fig. 5) and their influences (Fig. 6)

Download The Stars Down to Earth, Figs. 5-6 [Alternate download link.]

(Click the ↓ at the top of the download page.)

Fig. 5: Geometer
Fig. 6: Flywheel

Please let me know if you have any trouble. Enjoy!

Frederick Seidel, ‘Boys’ (2008)

•September 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sixty years after, I can see their smiles,
White with Negro teeth, and big with good,
When one or the other brought my father’s Cadillac out
For us at the Gatesworth Garage.
RG and MC were the godhead,
The older brothers I dreamed I had.
I didn’t notice they were colored,
Because older boys capable of being kind
To a younger boy are God.
It is absolutely odd
To be able to be with God.
I can almost see their faces, but can’t quite.
I remember how blazingly graceful they were,
And that they offered to get me a girl so I could meet God.

I have an early memory of a black chauffeur,
Out of his livery,
Hosing down a long black Packard sedan, sobbing.
Did it happen? It took place
In Portland Place.
I remember the pink-soled gum boots
That went with the fellow’s very pink gums
And very white teeth, while he washed
The Packard’s whitewalls white
And let them dry, sobbing,
Painting on liquid white with an applicator afterward.
Later that afternoon he resumed his chauffeur costume,
A darky clad in black under the staring sun.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had died.

On the other hand, Ronny Banks was light-skinned.
He worked as a carhop at Medart’s drive-in.
He was well-spoken, gently friendly.
He was giving a party, but I didn’t go.
I actually drove there, but something told me no.
I suddenly thought he was probably a homo.
I drank my face off, age fifteen.
I hit the bars
In the colored section to hear jazz.
I raved around the city in my father’s cars,
A straight razor who, wherever he kissed, left scars.
I was violently heterosexual and bad.
I used every bit of energy I had.
Where, I wonder, is Ronny Banks now?

I remember a young man, whose name I have forgotten,
Who was exceedingly neat,
Always wearing a white shirt,
Always standing there jet-black in our living room.
How had this been allowed to happen?
Who doesn’t hate a goody-goody young Christian?
My father and uncle underwrote the boy’s education.
He was the orphaned son of a minister.
He sang in the church choir.
He was exemplary, an exemplar.
But justice was far away, very far.
Justice was really an ashtray to display
The lynched carcass of a stubbed-out cigar,
Part brown, part black, part stink, part ash.

When I was a little boy,
My father had beautiful manners,
A perfectly haughty gentleman,
Impeccable with everyone.
In labor relations with the various unions,
For example, he apparently had no peer.
It was not so much that he was generous,
I gather, but rather that he was fair.
So it was a jolt, a jolt of joy,
To hear him cut the shit
And call a black man Boy.
The white-haired old Negro was a shoeshine boy.
One of the sovereign experiences of my life was my joy
Hearing my father in a fury call the man Boy.

Ronny Banks, faggot prince, where are you now?
RG and MC, are you already under headstones
That will finally reveal your full
Names, whatever they were?
RG, the younger brother, was my hero who was my friend.
I remember our playing
Catch in the rain for hours on a rainy weekend.
It is a question
Of when, not a question of whether,
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed
And all flesh shall cease together.
A black woman came up to my father.
All the colored people in this city know who you are.
God sent you to us. Thank God for your daddy, boy.


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