December 7th, 2011 / 10:15 pm

ToBS R1: declaring ‘__ is dead’ vs. nationwide facebook invite to local reading

[Matchup #25 in Tournament of Bookshit]




On the one hand, nothing really dies. Like I have this receipt from a movie I saw right here in my pocket. What good is it doing anybody? The movie was about the financial industry. We were made to feel sorry for people because they buried their dogs just like everybody else. In one scene, Snapple showed off its brand of bottled water. The best scene was when a guy who used to make bridges explained that money wasn’t a bridge, e.g. it didn’t save anybody in traffic. Adam and I saw the movie in NYC. Driving home, Adam and Joe and I got stuck in traffic. The reasons were mysterious. Adam’s chips were locked in the trunk. I wasn’t really hungry because I’d eaten two breakfasts and Adam’s tiramisu, which he gave me to shut me up after we argued about the relevance of the bridge scene. The tiramisu was delicious and sort of ridiculously conceptualized, just like NYC. -+-+-+-+-+- Listen: I want to go to your reading in NYC! I really do! But it takes me ~$40 and eight hours to get to and from NYC, plus there’s the money I’m going to spend at the takeout Indian place down the street from the Megabus parking lot, but I’m not even going to blame that on you. Shit, I’m only doing this because Blake said I wasn’t allowed to—as my obligatory Mean Week post—post my analysis of my dream about this Asian porn/roller-rink/spooky Blade Runner type place that I dreamed about. Actually I’m lying. He said I was totally allowed to post that. But I long ago swore I wasn’t going to use any euphemism for breasts in the same paragraph I used the phrase “retroflexive embodied consciousness,” so I left that paragraph in the email to Blake and now here we are with this paragraph that isn’t A) mean, B) funny, or C) relevant to the Tournament, so I might as well make it useful: listen! There is a really good Indian takeout place like a block away from that giant Megabus parking lot! Look it up! A giant Megabus parking lot is also a great analogy for America, so technically there is a really good Indian takeout place a block away from America. A few days ago Mike Kitchell sent an email out on the private HTMLGIANT list asking why we weren’t getting paid, and I wholeheartedly support my boy MK getting paid, but this paragraph is evidence of why I should never be allowed near money, even if you put it on a bridge as a trap and then sink the bridge while I’m eating the money. -+-+-+-+-+- Listen: I want to go to your reading in NYC, but the novel is dead. Which means I can no longer walk through NYC to your reading without noticing everything else first, and because the novel is dead I’m not allowed to put it in my novel, so I have to walk consciously through my noticing without smugly filing everything away to put later in a novel. And that is a real PITA as my dad used to say! And PITA means PAIN IN THE ASS! No he doesn’t know WTF pita bread is, so chill out! That isn’t funny to him! Now I am hungry for pita chips, which you can buy while you are walking through NYC. There is so much stuff to walk through, stuff like: hot wings in neon, honking, bored Armenian barbers, old Jewish opera fans on the Megabus, old gyms, broken umbrellas, a biking child swerved to miss me and rode over a broken umbrella which—one rib getting stuck in the spokes—popped open like a parachute (I plagiarized that shit from Lincoln Michel, who to his credit I don’t think has ever invited me to a reading in NYC, but he used to invite me to his DJ parties all the fucking time, and I swear Lincoln I really will go one of these days, I really want to, and I feel bad about not going, but by the time I finally make it I probably won’t be able to make myself do anything but slobber out of my infected no-money-for-dentists gums and point to my beard full of Christmas lights in an attempt to replace conversations-with-strangers with even stranger spectacle), strollers carried up/down stairs and through emergency exits, Union League Club fallout shelter, birdseed under the barbed wire, “I don’t care if yr grumpy, it’s still food,” pigeon with a pen in its beak making graffiti, tiny Mexicans with baby strollers of orange soda, a woman says: “I’m sorry but it needs a beat,” moccasin ballerina shoes, risotto balls with boutique soda and drunk people carrying out song lyric conversations, “She can’t see me this weekend cuz she works 30 hrs a week,” sportcoat on the M reading a book: “There is scarcely a wrong gestures in the plays of” … but he gets off before you can read the author’s name. -+-+-+-+-+- Listen: this post is kind of suicidal because guess what! I read in NYC all the time! And if you live there, I want you to come to my reading! I want you to come and later talk shit to your friends about my poor style of eye contact! I want you to feel alienated by how I probably won’t drink as much as you or alienated by how forward I get once I do start drinking a lot! One time after I drank too much at a reading I told some of my friends that I was worried about Blake committing suicide because his apartment is decorated out of like the Architecture for Suicide Watch section in the JCPenney catalog! And my friends were like, Mike, you can’t just speculate about your friends committing suicide. That is NOT COOL. Of course it’s not! That’s why you should never invite me to a reading ANYWHERE, let alone NYC! But if you want me to come read at your reading in NY, I will bring some bullshit toys to do my bullshit toy love poem. Once I did that poem for free chicken tikka masala pizza. The pizza was too much pizza and not enough masala! Once I did that poem with sunglasses on. Once with a stapler. Once I was with two smart young women and one of the young woman accused that poem of being afraid of its own sincerity, and then we had to walk back up the other way because we realized we were walking the wrong way down the street and all our mutual friends were like six blocks back, texting and texting. So I didn’t even get the chance to tell her she was right! And her saying so gave me a brief feeling best described as wanting to buy her a small tropical island and name each of its indigenous plants after her and/or all the nicknames she’s ever been given! But I get that feeling a lot! Feelings are why you shouldn’t invite anyone to anything, you should just show up and surprise them! Because one of the things our mutual friends were texting us was: “omfg this party is so good it killed poetry!!!!” -+-+-+-+-+- Once I went to a poetry reading in NYC and there was a butterfly in a jar. Except it was fake, electronic, except nobody knew this. All we saw was this poor butterfly banging against their glass encasement in this tastefully decorated room full of amazing deviled eggs (they really were amazing: I ate too many and as a result felt kind of sick on the Staten Island Ferry, which was a bummer because it was my first time on the ferry and my first time ever seeing the Statue of Liberty, which looks smaller in person, just like liberty itself, rimshot), and during one of the reader’s readings (a poem in the form of emails, kind of an elongated joke that I felt was dumb, but conceptual poems about the crazy strings of tags at the beginnings of emails feel so 1995 to me, I dunno, j/k it’s mean week, j/k), then a lady in a crazy hat got out of the crowd and walked up to where the reader was reading, sitting at a desk in the midle of the room with the butterfly jar on the desk, and this crazy hat lady tried and tried to open the jar, but she couldn’t, until finally the reader stopped reading and took the jar away from her and said “Can I help you?” and then “Why don’t you sit back down” in a really aggressive way, and even after he was done reading his cute-ass poem nobody explained the trapped butterfly, but! But! Later that night after some intermission music the SAME PERSON who made the amazing deviled eggs explained the butterfly to everyone assembled! HEY NOW! She was the star of the night, she was the * of the night, if the night were recorded with a * she would be at the bottom of the page next to the text: “Really the star was the person who made the whole night who did the most work who made the deviled eggs who was the one doing all the work again just like always in poetry because she was the one who finally explained the fucking electronic butterfly, whose jar couldn’t be opened because the lid of the jar wasn’t actually a lid it was where the butterfly kept its batteries.” Don’t ask me to explain any of the magnetic principles beyond that because WTF. -+-+-+-+-+- Wait, is CAConrad reading at your reading? Fuck this noise, I’m coming. -+-+-+-+-+- All I want to say is this is why I will only go to your reading in NYC if you promise to make me deviled eggs, and this is why poetry is the living dead, the electronic butterfly and the sadness over all the electronic and real butterflies combined, from now until forever, it will never die, poetry is all the pronouns, and it’s coming for you like a burp, and poetry will be making takeout Indian food out of my ring finger meat and spicing it with some delicious goddamn tumeric, and yours too, your body too will be long gone two or three times, probably it’ll be quartz or some shit before poetry dies, so please don’t invite me to your reading in NYC unless you are prepared to dress my heart up like the Statue of Liberty and force feed my heart orange soda flavored tiramisu and explain to my heart, in poetry, why money is simultaneously the root of all traffic and powerless against the fact it’s difficult to get a good nap in the four hours it takes me to get to your reading in that warehouse or whatever in NYC which I’m sure will be as awesome as the pants I bought over the internet to be prepared for the moment The Novel and/or Poetry zombie pub crawls through the middle of your awesome reading by which I mean crawls through my mind because I’ll realize when I least expect it, like when I saw just for one example Laura Solomon read at Flying Object in Hadley, MA in the Summer of 2011 and thought to myself: “OMG this reading is really good and Poetry/The Novel isn’t dead at all, shit, shit shit, I should stop dreaming about rollerskating Asian Blade Runner porn and send a million FB messages to the living undead body of poetry, begging, blubbering, bonking, poking, until the living undead slime-walker of Poetry/The Novel invites me to its private event page the one where most of the people attending are my dead heroes like Townes Van Zandt and Marina Tsvetaeva the one with the heart-liftingly irrelevant and nonsensical picture of a seagull firing a machine gun.”

Mike Young

– – –

WINNER:  declaring ‘__ is dead’


Tags: , ,


  1. marshall

      i cant even read

  2. Mike Young


  3. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      What Megabus stop are we talking here?

  4. Mike Young

      someone in the pizza place right now is really excited that a guy who designed some of the missiles that get fired around in Afghanistan was a guest speaker in his Russian language class

  5. Mike Young

      9th ave & 31st

  6. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I miss NYC :*(

  7. Lincoln Michel

      Well, my bracket just got destroyed. 

  8. Trey

      mike you’re killing me mike.


  9. M. Kitchell

      for the record, just because I don’t want to seem like a money-hungry dick (not that my actions on the giant as of the last 48 hours would prove otherwise), i didn’t exactly just send an email asking to get paid, i was just following up to the suggestion offered on the list a few months ago that contributors would possibly start getting paid

  10. Mike Young

      ya know i <3 u mk / you're my mikey from another mother

  11. Mike Young

      just call me gonzaga

      (fyi i’m about 10 yrs behind on college basketball allusions)

  12. Trey

      honestly this judgment is correct and I can’t remember why I chose nationwide invite over this

  13. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      i love all the mikes that why i hold them in my hand and sing.

  14. Matthew Simmons

      That’s how Hollywood Young judges him some BookShit.

  15. deadgod

      declaring ‘”__ is dead” is dead’ vs. facebook invite to be an astronaut

  16. Bradley Sands

      Facebook needs to improve its users ability to invite their friends to events based on location. That shit is so annoying. What’s up, Mike Young? I moved to Portland, Oregon.

  17. M. Kitchell

      i would accept that invitation

  18. Anonymous

  19. Anonymous

  20. William Owen

      I am going to have this etched into the front of the breastplate on the suit of armor I will one day have in my foyer.

  21. Helen

      This was like being chased down an avenue by the whole of NYC. I mean, I liked it, but glad I don’t live there any more. I couldn’t bring myself to go to any poetry readings because all the time I couldn’t breathe for the din.

  22. Anonymous




  24. Mike Young

      elementary freedom

  25. lorian long

      mike young come to san francisco and i will take you to a pizza place called ‘brothers’ that serves chicken tikka masala pizza that is definitely more masala than pizza but you have to come to the ocean not the mission for such a masala

  26. Mike Young

      hi bradley sands! portland is a fun-ass town. next time i am there i will look you up.

  27. Mike Young

      the only town i’ve ever been chased in is oroville california, once by hmong drug dealers and several times by dogs

  28. Mike Young

      deal. i am going to be in the bay area december 26th-28th and then january 12th-14thish. let’s make the masala magic happen.

  29. Mike Young

      deal. i am going to be in the bay area december 26th-28th and then january 12th-14thish. let’s make the masala magic happen.

  30. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I want a facebook invite to RIDE THE MECHANICAL DOLPHIN

  31. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      There are multiple arguments in favor of inviting folks from outside one’s city, if we really want to go there.

  32. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      For instance, I once went to Mike Young and Paula Bomer’s book release party while in NY for a weekend, and I wouldn’t have known abt it if I hadn’t been invited.

  33. M. Kitchell

      wait what the fuck is that that place that i never ate at the whole time i lived out there?

  34. Tim Jones-Yelvington


  35. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Do they have a taco pizza? If they have a taco pizza Kitchell’s life is made.

  36. M. Kitchell

      actually, i generally find taco pizza lackluster :(.  i’ve also moved on from tacos to quesadillas in terms of my “late night drunk mexican food cravings,” but i also get burritos sometimes.  tacos just ain’t that worth it out here, chicago’s better for that.

  37. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      That’s good because that means you will still be able to drunkenly shout abt wanting tacos at AWP because it’s in Chicago BAM.

  38. Mike Young


  39. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Girl, we got the largest and most established Mexican-American population outside California and San Francisco is not LA.

  40. Mike Young

      sounds like we need to have a taco-off during february 29th-march 3rd amiright

  41. barry

      best tacos i ever ate were at this little dive mexican joint in vegas. american southwest has the best tacos… 

  42. deadgod

      pay-on-delivery vs. kitten necklace

      winner:  bumps at the ‘pound

  43. deadgod


  44. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I coulda sworn we beat texas cuzza population density or something… it surprised me when I heard it… but wikipedia is saying Chicago is the third largest after LA and Houston. I wonder if that’s raw numbers or pop percentage. And how many undocumented folks don’t appear in the data…

  45. deadgod

      houses on Mango Street vs. el Rio Grande