Musings and Mirth
Hi there, ten people who read this site. You might have noticed my dabbling (“Listen to me, dabble”) in poetry a bit. I figure poetry is one of those things that must find its way out – even it’s bad (as witnessed on this season’s The Bachelorette) – I don’t expect mine to be good but it’s the kind of thing that you’re better off doing than not doing.
But here is a great poem by a great poet – maybe the best or certainly one of the best. His poems are the kinds of things that leave me generally in awe of the human race and our giant brains.
Here’s to opening and upward,to leaf and to sap
here’s to opening and upward,to leaf and to sap
and to your(inmyarms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain
and here’s to silent certainly mountains;and to
a disappearing poet of always,snow
and to morning;and to morning’s beautiful friend
twilight(and a first dream called ocean)and
let must or if be damned with whomever’s afraid
down with ought with because every brain
which thinks it thinks,nor dares to feel(but up
with joy;and up with laughing and drunkenness)
here’s to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon
Damp clothes, steam rising,
Recorded in sequence–
played back again.
Then once more again.
Once more to yes.
Coming in fresh,
before the sun comes up —
where your hands ran
the roadmap of every curve
of flesh clothed and naked
Fevered hands cupped
the horizon line
You were blind for the touching.
Over and under,
as though it was the last time
they would be there,
rounding the wide oval of my ass,
then back upwards, anchored there
in accidental, unpredictable electricity.
Only words don’t come.
Once again the hands dive back down
Up the side,
down the back, around and up
and back down.
No borders or roadsigns,
no speed limit.
Just the light on the road
taking us there. Again.
When I’m walking the streets of Telluride I can’t not take pictures of dogs. Ask me why — go ahead. Right, no answer except that dogs are just happy to be almost anywhere if they’re being treated kindly. Dogs at Telluride are maybe the happiest I’ve seen anywhere. They are always wagging their tails, smiling, guarding their homes or their owners. They’re so loyal and unique.
They each have their own personalities – you can really see it when you “meet” them on the street.
When I watched Miley Cyrus’ vapid easy media get it did remind me of Madonna. How do you get people to pay attention to you if you’re appearing on the same show where Katy Perry is trying to launch a new image and Lady Gaga is starting her own launch? You have to be offensive, or more to the point, rip a page out of the Madonna playbook.
When you think about others who played the sex card overtly, before Madonna, they were all men. Madonna really did change things for female performers, making more than okay to use your sexuality to sell yourself – that’s what Elvis, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, The Who, Led Zepplin had all been doing. The difference was – Madonna’s music was fluff. She was selling sex and shocking her tween fans by igniting their own budding sexuality but her music sounded like every other dance track. In fact, in the beginning, before people saw what she looked like, many assumed Madonna was black. Her music was catchy and fun but it was nothing that could ever really succeed on its own.
That template has served many a female performer after Madonna – Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and now, Miley Cyrus. These girls/women are not required, particularly, to create brilliant, lasting tracks but to provoke while gyrating to a catchy dance tune, one that is jam-packed with formulaic hooks and electronic smoothing. To me, that is not artistry. It is doing what comes naturally to women: using their sexuality to sell themselves.
Hey, if you got it, why not use it, right?
Miley Cyrus is what Madonna’s zero sum game has left behind. Madonna knew as a young Catholic girl that raising your skirt, even a little bit, commanded attention. Boys (and some girls) would stare and drool, adults would be offended. The result: attention. While many famous people before her had also learned how to harness that power (Marilyn Monroe, whose image Madonna spun from) there would usually have been some kind of important artistic contribution to go along with it. Madonna kind of walked that line. While she spent her career expanding in many different directions, always creating a new look and a new sound, her real talent ultimately had to do with borrowing from other people.
Most of those who followed in her footsteps did the same thing but none as blatantly, and frankly, as sad as Miley Cyrus, who had adopted much of her silly act from hip-hop, black culture, and then calling it her own, as Madonna did.
Camille Paglia has written the definitive piece on Miley Cyrus, though Paglia has her own humble to eat, as she has been one of Madonna’s biggest proponents, for years now, and is, in fact, credited with giving Madonna an aura of authenticity, of artistic validity.
Too much ink has been spilled already for the undeserving copycat, Miley Cyrus. And I know, here I am being offended. Paglia ends her essay with “go back to school.” I think Madonna helped prove you don’t need school to get people to notice you. You only need to know which buttons to push.
The problem with motels is that you never want to leave them, or I don’t anyway. You’re half-way between here and there and for now, here is the known. There is the unknown. I’m half-way to Telluride at a Budget Inn in Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the prettiest little towns West of the Mississipp. I woke up around 6am and drove to the drive-through Starbucks, which was like a block away. And for now, I’m still here but soon I will have to go there.
Sleep was fitful at best — no complaints about the room or the bed…it’s the opposite of blogger touring where pics of nice hotels are posted to the envy of all of the readers. You’re probably thinking, in Bette Davis’ voice, what a dump. But I’ve stayed in dumps and this ain’t one.
My drive got off to a late start because I had stuff to do back in town, you know, stuff that never seems quite worth it when you’re stuck in traffic hours later? I had Dan Savage’s new book to keep me company. I have to write up an appreciation of Mr. Savage soon but suffice it to say – it’s such a great book, summing up much of the advice columnist’s philosophies, which if you’re a regular reader or podcast listener you already know. It’s nice to be reminded of the POA, which is, the “price of admission” to be with someone. Maybe it’s giving up anal sex, maybe it’s being monogamous – whatever it is you know that to be with someone you probably have to make at least one compromise. And then there’s “ggg” — good in bed, giving pleasure without expecting it return, game for anything (within reason). He’s also big on being “monogamish” – which is you remain in a long term relationship that can become open if there is a need. As long as both people agree, you disclose the relationship, and you use protection.
Then there’s his very strong opinions on religion and gay marriage and straight pride parades (Halloween!) and parenting his now teenage son. Savage is so brilliant and articulate and funny. One of the lines from the book that made me laugh out loud was when he said “I am married to a stay-at-home dad who does all of the cooking and chores … in a speedo.”
Regular listeners to his podcast will recognize many of the major themes from the Savage repertoire (“my husband looks great in leather,” his dearly departed mother Judy Savage who, upon hearing that her son had come out, told all of her Catholic family members “if you have a problem with him, you have a bigger problem with me.” And of course, his truly moving accounts of life as the gay parent of DJ.) but he just goes deeper and longer here. It was a joy to listen to, as always.
I have to say my dark thoughts took hold on more than one occasion. Like, will this be last trip before I become a news item? And how will they sum up who I am. Will it lead with my terrible fuck up the night of the Boston bombings (just nevermind), or will it talk about how I was on my way to a film festival…will there be a Kickstarter for me? What of my funeral? I’m putting it on the record right now that I just want a big party for my funeral. A big fun happy party. And only Bob Dylan should play on the loudspeakers.
Okay, but enough of that. It’s always fun being on the road because there are people going somewhere, from here to there, on their way to doing something that will eventually make up the history of their lives. Is it a familiar trek? Were they going to meet someone new?
I rolled into Flagstaff around 10:30, so tired I couldn’t even surf Twitter. In mere moments I will get back in the car for another long drive through the Colorado mountains. I will be “there” and everything will change.