Sudden Disarray

All that a person can do on the last day of March, with incredibly important paperwork due by day's end (it has yet to be done, and I can't even find it), the house appearing squalid with clutter, and no money with which to pay bills for the coming month, is laugh.

So, there was an outage in the Brunswick area that precluded my being able to post, and that's fine, but it really feels that some of these events are calibrated for maximal dissolution of momentum. Not for me specifically, but for humans generally.

I'll see you all in April, okay? Have a marvelous end to Marching, please. Out like a lion-sized rodent.


Let's face it.

Everything is almost (but not quite) preternaturally lovely. My family is outstanding. Holy everythingthe monstrously cute kindness of the youngsters, and Molly’s inordinate, exquisite wondrousness. I dunno what on earth a person can do in these situations, except be like, “Oh my word.”

Don't think that a birthday change is in the stars or cards or tea leaves or entrails for me. See, this is Mariah Carey's birthday, and I had wanted to switch over to Mr. T.'s birthday. But I neglected to satisfactorily solve this puzzle. Now, it's become clear: Mariah Carey and Mr. T. are the same person. Tell everyone; this is fucking HUGE.

I’m standing in the kitchen, entering this texty matter like I’m at a customer-service desk, looking up some item for some poopbutt. In fact, I’m having a retroactive fantasy of typing contrarian bits under the guise of "assistance" at a customer-service desk in a bygone retail situation. (How about a record store? I'll be the Associate.)

CUSTOMER: Yeah, like, um, do you have, like, Linkin Park?
ASSOCIATE: Let me take a look, sir. We’re showing…
CUSTOMER: What, you have it?
ASSOCIATE (frantically typing “chunchy chunchy eerm eerm eerm eerm eerm”): Sir, I’m looking. The system is just slow today. You know how it is. Yeah, it doesn't look good.
CUSTOMER (undeterred): Well, fuckin, when does the new Insane Clown Posse come out?
ASSOCIATE: (frantically typing “Ctrl+Alt+Del"Oh, Jeez. Listen, the computer is crashing again. I think you’ll just have to look yourself. They’re arranged alphabetically. Just rememberi before e.
CUSTOMER: Yeah, thanks.

It’s been a wonderful birthday. People are genuinely the most.

Let Me Eat Cake

No longer is it possible in any wise to pretend that I am any younger than thirty-three years old. Evidently, the big dumb sun has anchored imbecile earth to spin round it yet again. But it’s not bad, yet, because I have yet to awaken as a thirty-three-year-old person, kvetching to determine what havoc the Birthday Surgeon’s wrought to commemorate this latest, otherwise-perfunctory, celestial orbit-function apparatus event.

But I’m messing around, just to be that way, and I am so very grateful for my life. It’s never easy to be a self, but I have loved being this self, and the other selves that I have encountered have all been fantastic, even if it’s a stretch to say such sweeping things. Before offering six (6) poems (of varying age) to you, I’ll leave you with the blanking conclusion of what has become a soupçon saga of Molly Fitzgerald (my sweetheart) and her wallet.

We conducted exhaustive investigations, throughout yesterday and today, in search of Molly’s walletcontaining, as it did, our debit card and our EBT card (state help for food, because we’ve been paupers)without any avail or indication thereof. Molly had also undertaken the onerous mission of casing the enterprises that she’d visited the day before (the hardware store and the library), leaving contact information at both places. It was a grim feeling, contending with the practical implications of this misplacement. The fact that the wallet itself contained no contact information made a doubly daunting concern of its vanishing.

Early on Saturday afternoon, Molly received a telephone call. A passerby had spotted a wallet lying by the side of the street, near to a convenience store that we typically avoid. This person happened to work at the library, and she brought the wallet back with her, presumably to keep it safely there. In doing so, she saw a note indicating that Molly had come by looking for her wallet. She called the telephone number that Molly had left for the library staff, and voila! 

Nothing had been taken, a sense of stability was restored, and we pondered the sheer improbability that something like this would happen. When being alive means that possibilities exist for such improbable things, I am particularly happy to be a participant.

Now, some poems.



Love's Labours Located

It is freeeeeezing cold outside, with winds that are nearing gales. We're cowering indoors, I'm bored to tears, and cussing would be so much fun if it weren't blanketed by the selfconsciousness of parenthood. I'd take Desmond and Ivor out somewheres, or go to see a movie if our wallet hadn't been lost yesterday. I was up for most of the night looking for it, and I feel like rotten candy today. I have to pee every 5 minutes on account of all of the coffee that I've had to drink, but it's nice to have anything but deeper ennui mark the passing of time. Brunswick is a lonely place in a lonely state. The end.


It Is Sometimes Like This

Seriously, everybody:

If you're at all the least bit curious, then please go to http://thechores.bandcamp.com. It's free, and it would mean a great deal to me.

The Thing about Things

Vagueness is very special, in that it initiates a process that is unique to each beholder. Everybody has a somewhat-different version of what "thing" means in any idiom. And I was being vague, but "the thing about things" at this moment for me is "the difficulty about titling blog posts."

The good news that I've been reluctant to divulge with the obnoxious enthusiasm that I feel for it is that Multiple Sclerosis, which has been a defining feature in my life for far too long, has not only stopped progressing in my brain, etc., but has actually begun a process of reversing. This is very exciting. I am absolutely stunned, in almost every good way (and in no less-than-good ways).

I instantly went to a place of infinite possibilities about the future and oh my gosh the present, and I marveled at how suggestible the mind is. (Does anybody else remember how verbs ending with el had their past-tense versions end with elled rather than eled? Marvelled. Cancelled. Travelled.) About how I'd been operating under the influence of limitations that had managed to pervade everything that I thought about myself, and how I'd enabled the alleged trajectory of MS to affect the imagined trajectory of my future. And then I was like, Nope.

And I would have been sad about that knot if it hadn't been so easy to untie.

So, that's my good news. It gets better all the time.

Birthday Surgery

Hi. It's the morning here, so good morning!

It has been said that at least two things would be or have been addressed by this point. For starters, I have been promising to detail the workings of the Birthday Surgeon. Well, dig what follows, please.

Alright. Everybody knows that we age. In fact, we've done it with every sentence that we've read (please note that I am trying to make this worth your aging while). See? But how it happens visibly is a different creature indeed. One might think that it's nature or whatever, but I know different. It's the BIRTHDAY SURGEON.

So, this brings us to something else entirely. The Birthday Surgeon (I say that like there's one, but I imagine that they're an entire subspecies). At some point around your birthday (and this is the "official" reason that it's impossible to change your own birthday convincingly), the Birthday Surgeon will appear during your slumber or coma or what have you, and work his or her (although I think that the self-identify largely as male, which figures) deleterious magic at your expense.

And the difference... well, it shows! Bit by bit, you are transformed into an incontinent, immobile version of your former self!

For instance, do you ever wonder where that effed-up, 3-inch, wiry, almost-pubic hair on your chin appeared overnight? The Birthday Surgeon bestowed it unto you.

Have you inexplicably just gained several pounds without any obvious cause? They were a collective gift to you from the Birthday Surgeon.

Forget something? You know, like everything? Well the Birthday Surgeon knows Neuroscience, that's for cure, and he is only too happy to apply his skills in this way.

For those among you that might be thinking, "This is pablum, Benb. Sheer, unquantifiable mythology," I counter, with way more dignity than any of us deserve, that I have actually obtained photographic evidence. This dates from the eve of my 24th birthday, 3/26/2002:

How the Birthday Surgeon found me at R. Stevie Moore's house in Bloomfield, NJ is beyond me, but I gotta go now. More soon, I swear.


Origin vs. Destination


I got some great news this morning, but I'm going to take a little while to process it advance of blathering. So, I guess that this is a stop-gap affair, but I am willing to wager that you are cool with that.

In Brunswick, Maine, what to report? March 24, and it snows. 

I'm reminded of one of my favorite people, Mark Lesseraux, when New York City (where we and millions of others we living) got some kind of ludicrous blizzard on the 7th of April, 2003. That day happened also to be Mark's 35th birthday. On our way out to dinner with a handful of fine friends, we stood on a street corner in the East Village and beheld the ensnared bustling around us. 

"Yeah," he said, nodding with dismissive resignation. "There's a 'fuck you' in this." I thought for sure that he was spot-on. With weather, it is difficult not to take conditions personally; when I'm not feeling effective, doing so is a failsafe time waster. Today, however, I am feeling good, so none of that.

Before I get to talking about good news, I have to suggest that this unsung (as in "unheralded"—I guess I'll just say "unheralded" next time) song, by a well-loved artist, embodies everything that I have ever loved about songs like this (you'll know what I mean once you've heard it): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plU9B51ACLQ

More soon more soon yes yes yes


Flossing Is for Losers!

There was no reason to post this other than the title. It hit me like a bread sandwich.


Don't Read until Reading

...the Preceding Blog Post. [Actually, due to Blogger's strangenesses, you have to scroll down to see it. It's called "Preposterity."]

Right. I have to continue, effective where yesterday left me and I left you (cruelly, just after dispensing [for your edutainment] my singular brush with Vanilla Ice). Thus refined...

Molly and I considered July 27th, but we didn't feel like summer's peak would have been an acceptable site for a revised birthday. Besides, any time spent in the Southern hemisphere would find Molly in a similarly bleak situation (as July 27th is her menological antipode). So, really, we kind of discarded/disregarded the whole idea.

Then, I had a conversation with a dear old friend, in which this topic surfaced. It was embraced as "a great idea," and then encountered the rather-lazy suggestion that I adopt that person's birthday [November 21st] as a guarantee that he would remember it:

HE: So, how about it, Benb?
ME: Oh, no. I refuse to take your birthday. And I can't stomach such proximity to Scorpios. Jesus. 

Le plus diffiçile, indeed. But then, there appeared an idea.

ME: How about May 21st [antipode of November 21st]? Think that you could remember that?
HE: Yes, I do!
ME: Plus, that's Mr. T's birthday!
HE: Wow. I love Mr. T.
ME: Yeah, me too. I mean, he pities fools, and so do I!

(Interesting aside: I'd thought for most of my life that Mr. T had a "mere" mohawk. I don't know what precipitated such a profound shift in awareness for me, but I realized that what he actually had was his hair crafted into a T [sans serif] on his head, with the arms of the letter represented at the base of his head. Revelations.

So, May 21st it is. Oww!

Shocking, I know, but I'll have to forego telling you of birthday surgery until the next. My apologies.



There's an executive decision that's been made, and I'm not talking about yet another disproportionate resource-driven slaughter of civilians that is somehow meant to illustrate how bad it is to kill civilians (I mean, duh. If they really are civilians, then why don't they just stand clear of the damned ordnance?). 

No. I'm talking about an altogether different executive decision. 

I was born on the 27th of March, 1978. I've always been fond of that date for mathematical reasons (too convoluted to explain that in this forum). And, I dunno, it's just always been my birthday, and I've liked that about it, too. As I was born in Georgia (on Tobacco Road, at Fort Gordon), my birthday was on the first Monday of an actual spring (c.f. 2011's first spring Monday, which oh-by-the-way is today, and which finds us fielding a SNOWSTORM. Losing the lottery is considerably worse than merely not winning the lottery.).

As I've grown older, and not just just for climatic reasons, the 27th of March has revealed itself to be kind-of unspecial. Barely anybody remembers my birthday, and I'm tired of pretending not to care about that. I've always felt it kind of a matter of imbalance, given how I strove to remember people's birthdays (before that awful Facebook app that very indiscreetly broadcasts your specifics to all of your friends), and have in the last decade felt the significance of knowing those dates sputter into utter trivia. That's just wrong. I mean, we really have to think about birthdays...when we people are at our bar-none most vulnerable, all covered with vernix (and maybe a dash of meconium), our functional independence completely contingent upon the promptitude of whomever will sever the funiculum; why on earth would we not want to honor that in one another? Birth both trumps and transcends dignity, even for the calculating and stodgy and cruel and administrative among us. This is the underpinning of my executive decision.

My executive decision? I am going to change my birthday. That's right. Don't fucking laugh.

This has been a subject of ample discussion between my wife and me. A January 27th person, she thrills me non-stop with her fascinating Aquarius allure, but her day falls within frozen-spit distance of the winter's purported nadir. She's of a similar mind about the need to make things different, so we decided to change together, and have coinciding birthdays. Since Molly is exactly 10 months younger than me, it seemed an obvious bridge to build.

We thought of keeping it real with our shared 27th thing and all that, but it felt sort of forced. (This reminds me that, on my 21st birthday [1999], my pal Jamie got me the autograph of VANILLA ICE! It read: To BENB  HAPPY BIRTHDAY "21" Keep it Real; this has been an enduring inspiration to me, as I figured that Vanilla Ice knows more about the importance of keeping it real than anybody.) 

I have to go to bed, as there's a lot of work that I have to do, but I will post tomorrow with not only the details of my new birthday, but also my startling exposé about the Birthday Surgeon. 

Posters Are for Posters

Oh, yes, well.

The title of this post is intended to mirthfully obscure the fact that there's really no purpose to writing now. Well, I do have a heap of work to do, and I just collected my old computer (with functional keys and all) from the computer store, and there has been an unseemly surfeit of frustrations causing problems like free radicals are alleged to cause (although that itself is a curious term; I mean, what's the alternative? Imprisoned radicals? Quaint notions abound.) 

Equinox is happening in several hours, and everything stinks to high heaven everywhere ("Decomposition in A Major Stench"). Winter, always at once both real and imagined, has a distinctly own-goal relation to the multifarious malfeasance of litter-creatures (insects being implicated, unjustly, by the term "litterbug") during those piteous weeks and months. Far from novel, this has become an ever-triter truism through Maine's Mud Season (an unofficial 5th climatic "quadrant" of ruts and rutting, a patch of shifting duration and temporal location nebulously attributed to somewhere during the first half of the calendar year). Anyway, it's dismal feeling to be mired thus, and I think that it is gagging to be chronicled, even if only to my precious, albeit snappily dwindling, cadre of blog readers.

Longing for evidence that could amount to a precedent, I found something that I'd written an ENTIRE DECADE AGO (2001); in it, I spoke even of the winter before (y2k, for all of you scared-y crackers--you should be ashamed of yourselves). I'm including it here, and getting away from this blasted contraption to find something that, with luck, will enradden proceedings.

THE END OF WINTER IN PORTLAND, MAINEan editorial statement from Benb Gallaher
Last winter, living in the perversely magical off-season carcass of Old Orchard Beach, I would rise at 5:00 a.m. four times per week to drive [person whose name I shall refrain from disclosing] to work in Portland at Arabica Coffee. I never minded the drive, which soon was all-but-eliminated by a dubious move into a moribund Portland apartment in which I died, like, thrice. 
Anyway, the morning's drive home would see me detour from Danforth St., onto its scalene-situated colleague, Spring St. I would drive 3, maybe 4, blocks from my typical turn off (turnoff). I would pass Mercy Hospital, arriving at a small-ish side street called Winter St. Everyday, I would stop the car there—at the corner of Winter and Spring streets—and pray to an amorphous deity (I was without standards) for my own kind of mercy. It never worked; our last frost fell in June, and the next appeared ten rainy and cruelly mild weeks later. 
Perhaps it may sound cynical for me to say so, but the purpose of snow in Portland is to conceal to us, while the days are short and dreary, how disgusting and sinful we are. We have seen a lot of melt in the last eight or nine days, and the streets are sagging with the indiscretions of the people—cigarette butts, heaps of shit, broken beer bottles, and blatant TRASH (half-eaten Christmas candies, TV-dinner trays, and the like). Beholding the cross-section of a snow bank, you can see the evolution (à la tree rings) of these habits, and it seems that the true trespasses began as the snow really deepened. Like it ushered in a winter culture of waste. Now, the melt washes, foamy with motor oil, rock salt, old soda, and any number of fluid vilenesses, into street and storm drains asphyxiating with Little Debbie wrappers, and the people must figure that this will continue unaccountably until someone comes and cleans.
Heaven help us all.


Daylight Squandering Time

the time what time is it again is passing yet it's labored like trying to sled downhill only to sink into the snow and it's also like growing taller while standing in quicksand there is little if any discernible change now it's late and sleep can't happen because the days have just been stretched in a manner akin to taffy (i.e., it could or might seem to be of greater volume than it was, but it most assuredly is not so) and clocks don't argue although they should i would listen at least once

the switch to EDT has not been easy, and it never is, but we in my family are each and all under the delicious and agonizing siege of Spring Fever. this means that we don't want to retire at the day's end, which means that we'll find ourselves sleeping toward impracticability in utterly unprecedented ways. the bright side, however, is that it's a pretty unanimous occurrence in this household.

is it me, or has the last decade provided some of the most stultifying flourishes of speech imaginable? i mean, i know that everybody has suffered under the Reign of the Ruthless Redneck, but some aphorisms are blatant invitations to a) mourn the passing of intelligence in humanity, and/or b) feel sorry for the poor schmucks that want desperately to be understood but are so sextexted and vain that they don't have any actual ideas.

think about it (I'll italicize the irritants, then offer aptly flippant responses):

Talking points 
a gerund-rock name-in-waiting if ever there was one.

It is what it is 
yeah, and it isn't what it's not, a-hole. dismissive types, especially when evading consequences, drive me batshit.

Celebrity-Couple Hybridized Names (Brangelina, Bennifer, TomKat): 
these are truly vile, and people make money for devising them!

the namesake footwear is punishing, sure, but that's really nothing in the face of GWB's co-opting the term.

On [or Off] the table 
what damned table? is it YOUR table? if so, then pray tell: why'd anyone want anything from it? creep.

excuse me, but what? this has got to be the stupidest term of them all, so far.

merely an insulting gambit of the mock-cognoscenti to reinforce the idea that their hipness is untouchable.

Not so much
occurs typically in the idiom of a person answering his or her own question WHEN THE OTHER PERSON IS OSTENSIBLY CONVERSING WITH THEM, e.g., "Do I think that such-and-such is fun? Eh...not so much." Awful. 

Drunk dial
the fact that calling somebody while inebriated (whether to babble tortuously, or to arrange for future copulation, or to spout impassioned invective) is sufficiently mainstream to warrant a instantly trite catchphrase is, at once, both bothersome and boring.

I very seriously could go on and on, but I should go to bed instead. Goodnight!


The Idea of March

It's mostly incidental that things that are said or written are beheld as "statements," especially in an era that finds people so externalized into appliances and applications. You know, people are (in the grand and general senses) divorced from one another, so wouldn't it stand to reason that impact is divorced from action? Why else, given the horror of what's happened in Japan, would myriad heads of varying state continue to tout the benefits of nuclear anything?

The title of this post parlays an ages-old truism; most people that know me are familiar with my theory about Shakespeare (no love from me) and how that is what he'd intended to say in that '[Orange] Julius Caesar [Salad]' contraption that he authored up via his word processor with such imprecise haste (hence, the typo) and offered up to the fawning masses sometime before he died on his birthday.

I am choosing to keep this entry short, because it looks really lovely out this morning, and who knows? It might actually be that way.


Naming Names

The MTV job is a fascinating thing. As I've said, I'm concocting a character who's got feelings about his feelings. It is surreal and excellent. It's also curious, as I've always loved writing about music.

I've developed some stellar classifications for music, as well. Notable among these is Bearskin Rock, which pertains to that particularly grotseque "laid back" seventies style, and is the exclusive purview of people that will get it on ONLY ON ANIMAL HIDES. Think Poco. Think Kenny Logout. Eww.
Gerund Rock is the subgenre of music on which I'm currently perseverating. A de facto gossamer for the obnoxious alloy of engineered poignancy & privileged mock-substance, gerund-object nomenclature made its debut (as far as I can tell, and correct me if I'm wrong) with Throwing Muses in the 1980s. (Monikers based upon well-worn/familiar phrases [Living Colour, Talking Heads, and the execrable Moving Pictures] don't count, so don't even try it.)

In any case, there was something novel about it, as there tended to be whenever assumptions about language were challenged; curiously, the group's name would sometimes reflect a beholder's confusion surrounding such trifling redefinition, with the surreptitious insertion of an article (usually, the) by some-or-other fuddy-duddy preceding the actual name.

This was all fine, and not even really noticeable, until Counting Crows happened to us, like a pungent dribble of piss from on high, in 199? (they were all the same years, when you think about it). 

Then, it became, like, the thing, you know, to do. These two are uniquely unsettling:
Flogging Molly
Breaking Benjamin

There are heaps of others, and it's become accepted practice:
Smoking Popes
Framing Hanley
Saving Abel
Racing Kites
Asking Alexandria

I like changing the names of existing groups to fit this formula:
Mounting Goats
Marilyng Manson
Hooting Blowfish

And thinking of orginals: 
Remaining Anonymous
Bering Strait
Curling Iron
Carrying Items
Eating Disorders
Failing Auditions
Hurling Epithets
Lansing Michigan


corners of june

waiting for warmth in a
salad of springtime i’m
wilting and verdant at
once and at length a col-
lapse at the starting gate
artless and slave to fate
delicate durable
gathering strength

so a line breaks but everybody’s got a thing what’s yours my
underwear is in bunches in knots but was stolen by my trousers and
doesn’t even remember my name

nobody’s ready (reluctance or something) i
know how they feel but i’ve made it my lot that it’s
nothing when vacant embraces are currency—
simply a symptom of nothing of note

what’s the story now let’s get
apt what’s anybody’s story i don’t want
to hear any more stories unless you can tell me
straight up that they’re not about glamour or romance or god
damned hollywood or however much you like the
parking or the ambience at whichever (whatever) stripmall
houses your fav-o-rite store what color
are your shoes? what color is
your skin? what color
suits me best? i’m dying to know because
surely it can’t possibly
feel good
or be good
unless it looks good.

after june will come another june dressed as july and it will
try to fool us by presenting itself as a warmer being but i and
ideally you can and will see very clearly indeed through that se-
ductive swelter sun and haze and all of the other excuses for
not wearing clothes, to the heart, which is rotting, of things.

neighbors and bedfellows

larger than sentences, smaller than words is the
void into which i see slip my conclusions.

choices make choices themselves without asking, like
ornery children set kitchens ablaze.

think of decisions as ornaments hanging on
christmas-tree people like all of us all—

withering constant, we yield to the ages and
give them permission to speak what we were.

i’m on a plane that’s descending to earth and i
try not to speculate; what does that make me?

the clouds are arranged in precise little rows in the
manner of crops—did they sprout from the sea?

people are more than the sums of their mysteries.
ask me a question and answer yourself.

I don’t like boston or people in college;
I want to be stupider, stupider still.


Only If You March First

BEFORE ANYTHING, I gotta say that I LOVE COMMENTS; how else would I know that you came here naturally instead of through the ridiculous tags? Thank you.

(Before this post commences, I should tell you about the night's vagaries: just as I was getting ready to publish this, the computer crashed and would not restart. Then I discovered that my bank account had gone into overdraft during the night. I sat here with the computer for an hour, tweezing dust from the fans. There was't much there, but at least the thing starts now. Hello hooray March.)

Hi! This is a Zygarnic poem (the "Zygarnic Effect" is that nagging discomfort that accompanies neglect of one's duties). Motivated by "why complete assignments when the everything is just so much?" 

I had been called for jury duty on the day (in june, 2002) before this poem was written;  appearing punctually at the courthouse and everything, I accepted the $20 that they gave me (for "lost pay") and got drunk with it during lunch. 

I walked around, smelling Gardenias and looking for misspelled traffic signs (the two notable ones read 





And I didn't spare a thought for my woefully overdue Master's thesis, which felt as good as it could have felt. If I were a string, I wondered, what tone would I produce when plucked?

deadlines are guidelines

before it writes
it speaks and
before it speaks
it thinks and
before it thinks
it moves and
when it has moved
enough to think then
it stops moving for
long enough to think
the thinking and after it
thinks the thinking then it
does with it what it will or
what is generally expected
so excited to be up on its damn
self that it forgets the motion
and is discovered locking
certain doors without any
palpable effort but what if it just kept
moving and moving and moving and
moving (like an advancing desert) and moving and
moving and moving (like love or somesuch) and moving
and moving (like a collision minus impact) and
moving (sallying forth)
and (don’t hang on)
moving (ha
a-ha-a-hahahahaha) getting
all like there’s no shame ‘cause
there’s not and also something’s there
like a proton you know
everything always
happening for real
at the same time
what kind of crazy
shit is that