Reader #5

A man is reading The Art of Hanging Loose in an Uptight World: Featuring Psychological Exercises for Personal Growth. He's wearing slippers with tribal design, about my age, looked like my brother-in-law, black bag, gray shorts. His black shirt has this white collar. I'm ten times positive he's a student. He wasn't grim despite popular notion--you should see him. He was kind of disturbed when I was trying to see what book he's reading, in a way that I feel that certain discomfort when someone across my seat in the train is looking at every inch of my clothing. He wears a bracelet and is sniffing quite often due to the inclement rain-and-shine January weather. He has a small bump at the very tip of his nose. He boarded at North Ave and readily opened his book by removing this red bookmark he had to the last page--this was before the train reaches Quezon Ave. The book was old, made to fit the pocket. Yellowing pages. A child suddenly shrieked inside the train.

Facebook chat and its interesting line cuts

Rightly named then
tried something new this weekend
younger Louis prefers hotel

much more alien

stop feeling old
if you really really really think about it

younger Kevin would have crashed on some friend's place
progression of suckiness
academically I might have

been into archipelago lately
place depressing
try the crayon thing
or buy things or tell really

the good kind of crying
Everything Beautiful Began After
live another life

a spectator
they're almost always not a Nobel prize winner
I was about to say that

crappy trees and oceans
with the hotel breakfast thing
run the numbers game we literally can't run out

like really alien
it just counters everything from Newton to Darwin or
distinct smell

your using really three times because it was needed


  1. I've just changed my blog's layout. The header is Roy Lichtenstein's Temple of Apollo.
  2. It so happened that one of my favorite books of all time, F. Barthelme's Law of Averages, has the markings of a remaindered book. I don't know how should I feel about this. 
  3. Very spare stories from Thomas Bernhard's The Voice Imitator. From these five excerpts, I especially like Warning. Most readers would surely pose that question: why is the businessman disappointed about the pyramids of Giza, "especially against the pyramids of Cheops"? Yet the paragraph spares us from an explanation. Such lack makes this fragment charming. Add to that the irony (or "the nature of things") of publicizing his hatred towards the end of the story. From the excerpts I can see the satire and the critiques Bernhard imposes on such short and sparing fragments. The stories border on "vintage Barthelmismo" (coined by Pynchon on his essay) as Bernhard retains the satire sans the paraphernalia. 


It's too much to belabor about the Internet and hyperreality and mention really big postmodern words, but I'm pretty sure somebody did such an atrocity to the name of E.E. Cummings on this Tumblr quote. (Don't ask how I ended up on reading the quote: I really couldn't remember.) Let me post it here, as it has been reblogged by basically everybody else.

“A bouquet of clumsy words: You know that place between sleep and awake where you’re still dreaming but it’s slowly slipping? I wish we could feel like that more often. I also wish I could click my fingers three times and be transported to anywhere I like. I wish that people didn’t always say ‘just wondering’ when you both know there was a real reason behind them asking. And I wish I could get lost in the stars.

Listen, there’s a hell of a good universe next door, let’s go.” - E.E. Cummings

I recognized the last line from one of my readings on my science fiction class back in college. It's from 'pity this busy monster, manunkind'. It's wonderful poetry, but towards the end it becomes bleak with its predictions on mankind, thus the interruption:

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go

Reading another poem of E.E. Cummings (particularly this one) should make you think that the bulk of the aforementioned quotation is clearly written without the poet in mind. Heck, it reads like John Green, or J.D. Salinger, or... a Blink 182 song. It's completely anachronistic of E.E. Cummings to imagine teleportation through clicking one's fingers three times, and worse, to write about it in prosaic language.

Wishing that people "didn't always say 'just wondering'"? Written by E.E. Cummings?!

This being the Internet, it's natural to assume that there are versions: in this one, the last line has been removed. But in many instances, it wasn't. It's the same shit in different baskets, really. I am no E.E. Cummings scholar or even an avid reader of his works, but you'll just know, and right now I cringe at the idea that whoever inserted that paragraph--whether by accident or not--along with one of the most promising last stanzas of E.E. Cummings, should go unscathed, meanwhile fooling 12,000+ people who liked it on Tumblr as of last week.



Robert Bechtel - Berkeley Pinto


Q         I haven't been to any of your readings or bookstore appearances. I would guess that the Leyner Army out there in throngs?  

ML     Yeah, usually. Lots of people come. There's no merchandise, although I'm always asked, "Where are the key rings? The belt buckles?" It's interesting to be touring for a book that was written a while ago. In order to do a book tour well . . . you have to repatriate yourself into the country of that book, even though you've probably moved. But it's fun. I mean, when people ask me, "Do you have your bodyguards with you?" It takes me a minute to know what their talking about.

I really play this (tour) stuff to the hilt. Like room service: the other day I called for a cookie just to see if they'd bring me one. They said, "No, we have an assortment of cookies, sorbet and ice cream." And I said, "No, I want one cookie." I wanted to see the one cookie on the big plate and when the guy took the silver lid off there'd be one cookie! And they always tell you what it is, no matter what you get. In a fine hotel, the waiter comes up, and he'll say, "Mr. Leyner, this is your coffee, your egg-white omelette, this is your croissant," as if you're a complete moron. I just wanted to see him say "This is your... cookie" when there was nothing else there.

from An Interview With Mark Leyner by Alexander Laurence, 1994