Tricky Wicket

Evoking a crisp country morning, with wool at your chin and the smell of wet hay.

Month: February, 2012

That Amazonian Chief Guy Sure Looks Sad. He Should Take Some Ayahuasca. I Hear That Shit Is Dope.

You see that picture of that old South American Indian online?

No, not Mexico.

I think it was like, Brazil or Peru or Paraguay?

My friend Caleb shared it. He’s really down with um, social issues, you know? All his shares are about, like, feminism and gay marriage and the ninety-nine percent.

You know those pictures that look like motivational posters? A lot of things that look like that, but they’re photoshopped.

He was so mad about Chris Brown performing at the Grammys, for instance. You should have heard him! He was all like “Michael Vick can never work again, but we let Chris Brown on the Grammys!”

Caleb’s good, man. Totally committed to the cause, man.

He has a pit bull.

Wears a bandanna.

No, the pit bull wears the bandanna.

I think he’s an organizer for Greenpeace?

Caleb. Not the pit bull.

He collects signatures and stuff. The only thing that’s scary is that he can be super convincing, you know, because of his job? Last time I hung out with him I ended up paying for the whole pizza, ha ha ha.

Right, so the Indian guy.

Yeah, he’s wearing, like, a yellow feather headdress, right?  No shirt, and he’s crying his eyes out.

Just weeping, yeah. He’s sitting at a city council meeting or something, hearing his, like, fate, I guess.

Yeah, without a shirt.

I guess they didn’t have that sign up. No dude, I shouldn’t joke about that.

It’s fucking sad, man.

I think, like, developers were going to take over his land or some bullshit. Building a nuclear power plant on top of his homeland, and his people are going to have to find somewhere else to live.

And dude, those people have been there for thousands of years. It’s not fair at all. We could be building windfarms and stuff, but we’re polluting and destroying everything. What the fuck is wrong with us?

Dude it made me feel so bad.

Have you ever been down there?

I have a friend, yeah, he went down there last summer. He tried this ayahuasca stuff.

It’s a tea, but it’s also the most powerful hallucinogenic substance known to mankind. This guy said he tripped his sack off. Saw God as a bird in a cosmic tree who was calling to him from his own inner moral core.

If you were that chief, you could be taking that stuff all the time.

Dude, drugs literally grow on trees down there.

No obviously it won’t change the power plant thing.

That’s still totally fucked.


The Serialized Adventures of a Victorian Dandy

I’m sorry, I’m not sure I quite catch your meaning.


Who is that?

Oh, is that published in All The Year Round?

No, I don’t subscribe to that, or any serial, really.

Too many advertisements and notices.

But don’t give anything away! I should not want the experience spoiled by any foreknowledge.

Oh, yes. I loved A Tale of Two Cities. 


I just tend to wait until it’s out on book.

And then I just tear through them in a weekend. I think I prefer them that way.

You don’t have to wait until the next month to see what happens, you know?

Wimsatt and Beardsley

I mean.

What did you think?

Right. The whole project, as I conceive of it, is supposed to mirror the feeling of terrifying existential boredom, in a sense, which is why there’s that droning multimedia aspect.

Yes! Ideally, the headphones do pinch your head. I’ve soldered them so they’re undersized. See here?

Did you catch the demi-echo in the opening section, though? I figured that, in particular, would be right up your alley.

Well, structurally at least, that part is supposed to mirror Wordsworth’s Prelude. Remember we had that conversation about it last year?

No, the 1805 version. It’s more germane to the unfinished opus sub-theme of the first section, I guess, because there’s the whole promise-of-a-young-artist thing to it?

Which is why there’s also all those references to the pink lasers, as a counterpoint.

It’s from VALIS.

It’s a Philip K. Dick novel?

Um. Well, it was his last book; he called it an exegesis. Some total wacko stuff about time travel and Christian revelation. From this really fragile moment in his late life where he was paranoid about FBI intervention, suffering all of the speed that he’d done earlier and having these illusions of grandiosity.

I guess, no offense to you specifically, but the ideal reader catches that, I think. It’s not like, the most obscure thing in the world, is it?

But anyway, that part ties up with the Pet Sounds reference in the fourth canto, and also how the narrator is called Hawthorne.

Well, it is sort of Nathaniel Hawthorne, obviously. Led Retter, the love interest from the penultimate aria-comic-strip, is a spoonerized jab at Scarlet, for sure.

But also, you know how Hawthorne is this palm-tree American Dream suburb where the Beach Boys grew up, right?

It’s okay. I think enough people will catch that one.

Don’t worry about it. It’s not essential to an understanding of the work. There are still plenty of in-text gestures in that direction.

How about this one: you know how the second section’s alternately titled Angels in the Infield?

Right, yeah, but also…

Well, Enfield?

Infinite Jest?

Hmm. Have you ever stood right under the Brandenburg Gate? Preferably at dusk?

No? Huh.

In the lighting design, yeah.

Remember, when you were a kid, those rumors about how Tropical Fantasy was actually controlled by the KKK? How it was laced with a sterilizing agent, and how it was sold almost exclusively in black and hispanic neighborhoods?

Tropical Fantasy.

It was like, a supercheap sugar-water thing in all sorts of colors. You’d get them at the bodega.

Corner store.

I guess that was a Brooklyn thing.

Anyway, that’s in there too.

This Monster Truck Rally Is So Late Roman Empire

Guys, do I even have to say it?

I mean, it’s pretty self-evident at this point.


The Superdome?

Oh salve, Marcus, I’ll meet you at the Colosseum, tomorrow?

Just need to hit up the baths first. They’ve got this new slave girl, Britanica, and she just really gets me. A muse with the olive oil. And, frater, take my word: some serious tittays on her. Makes Poppaea Sabina look like a total gorgon by comparison. Anyways. Colosseum. Tonight should be off the chain. I hear they ordered 9,000 wild animals fresh for the slaughter.

Yeah, from the African colonies. Some really wild stuff. Horned beasts and striped cats and all of that.

I hear they’re just going to hack the fuck out of them with pikes and stuff.

That’ll demonstrate our Eternal Imperial Power, and in no way illustrate a wayward decadence foreshadowing an inevitable decline!

No, dude, it’s like the trailer derby.

Well, there aren’t animals, I know. I wasn’t being literal. I mean, in this extended sense of a collective decadence. Look at these overfed people in their conspicuously comfortable sweatsuits. Just wheeled up in their oversized SUV’s, straight into pay parking, waddled onto the escalators like Temple Grandin’s cows, man.

Advance Auto Parts presents The Grave Digger.

Tire-shaped earmuffs.

It’s totally Roman Empire, right?

I mean, gigantic spectacle in a big building, at least, for the thronging masses gorging themselves, except here it’s super-chilled ten dollar Bud Light can-bottles?

The thirst for destruction?


Mercy Me, Did Some Sort of Athletic Contest Occur Of Late?

What noise from the streets below!

You’d think that the premiere of The Rite of Spring had just let out, that racket! Listen, it’s echoing off the brownstones!

No, no. I’ve been in all night. Perfectly isolated. Listened to the Fresh Air podcast earlier.

Now? Procrastinating on the Sunday Book Review. Some dreck about Westerns, of all things. Apologist pulp-craft lip-service. Spare me, Sam Tanenhaus.

This carousing outside, though!

My skull is thrumming like early Steve Reich.

No.  Philip Glass.

No no. Pardon me. Definitively Glenn Branca.

Football, most likely, isn’t it? I remember now. There was a display in the Trader Joe’s window. A nacho bowl or some such pun.

Have you had the edamame guacamole, though? Shamefully good.

Right. I guess it’s that time of year. It’d certainly explain all of the red/white/blue frippery out there.

Well, here it is: imagine a sudden bovine stampede coursing down Main Street on Independence Day. In one of the flyover states. An apple pie and popcorn in paper bag kind of town. The mayor and his smiling beauty queen wife, sitting on the back of a loaned classic Cadillac, are pulled from harm’s way as a bookish schoolteacher shouts, authoritatively for once, “Old Mr. Daniels forgot his gate again!” Herds of slow moving cattle, draped in patriotic bunting, crowd the sidewalks. That was Court Street today.

The worst has yet to come, of course. Tomorrow there will be that awful responsibility to have witnessed whatever vulgar, cobbled-together trash they’ve conjured for the half-time show. An aging icon, some irony-free corporate sponsorship, or maybe a scripted unscripted gaffe to drive up the Youtube replays. Not to mention the stunt advertisements.

Of course I will. I’ll check Gawker later. I don’t want to be construed as elitist.