Lentils: A Poem/Advertisement
by Aisha Ahmad (written January 2009)

Do not be afraid of the humble lentil!
It is your friend!
Lentils take a long time to cook:
This is because they are delicious
and it takes work to achieve nice things.

The End


Here is how I like lentils:
Spicy lentils with rice,
Spicy lentils with yogurt and apples,
Spicy lentils with tomato paste and onions.

These are ancient lentil-eating methods learned from my dear, smart, wise mother.


Lentil bless you all and keep you.

Pitch 'N Putt with Joyce and Beckett

I've been told that this video in no way reflects the characters of Joyce or Beckett. It's hilarious nonetheless.

Point and Line

The first time I was exposed to visual poetry that moved me, it was through Thalia Field. Before reading Point and Line, I hadn't previously experienced visual poetry that I identified with and I actually thought the genre was pretty corny. I think that it's because sometimes visual poetry is introduced as a simplified concept (for example, a poem about stairs is shaped like stairs or a poem about a car is shaped like a car) that would scare off a reader looking behind the shapes for meanings beyond the literal.

Field makes the shape of her poetry create additional meaning within the work, enriching the reading experience aesthetically and conceptually. Point and Line  and Incarnate: Story Material (another of Field's books) make me think of people like Alan Moore, who've created works that are most successful in an unusual format of the author's own choosing.

I noticed that Point and Line was up on Google Books and I wanted to link to it here.


Space and Art

Neil Cummings's flicker
I saw and loved this film called "flooded mcdonalds." It's by an art collective called superflex and it's showing at The Hirshhorn. It is of a McDonald's devoid of people and people's things, but remaining are burgers and fries and drinks, as if everyone just left in the middle of a meal, and the place floods with water. I love how the movie changed my understanding of what a sacred place is.

A great way to get a lot of people to see something is through TV or internet. Both are experiences we have in common with many other people; TV and internet are both part of our reality. So, if one can watch this thing on the internet (but you can't, I'm just saying, hypothetically), why is it important to show it in a museum?

Keeping in mind that it's a privilege to live in DC and a privilege to have metro fare and a privilege to be available at a time when the museum is free and not be homeless, raising the interest of the guards, which is all kind of undemocratic and not-sacred, I think that the museum is a sacred place.

Part of what the film expresses is that we have places that we all go to, and that those places are important because we go to them and we gather there and we identify communally with the surroundings. Like, McDonald's is a powerful, iconic place. Seeing a McDonald's drown made me feel a little bit of shock and anxiety. I mean, besides all the political/environmental stuff that this film alludes to, that sense of place/home/belonging (even, I think, for those who don't eat at McDonald's) is the thing that really hit me emotionally. It's kind of cool because I've been spending a lot of time thinking about if, as a person who doesn't have an investment in supernatural stuff, I have the ability or opportunity to feel that something is sacred.

I think that it's kind of fetishistic to preserve things (even art) as singular, exceptional and sacred, but perhaps traveling to see the art lends it gravity and importance. More importantly, it might lend the experience gravity and importance. The idea that you came to see something lends more personal responsibility and investment than clicking a link or turning on the TV. The space itself can have significance, is what I'm trying to say.

Here's a link to a review.

People as comedic props, annotated

The First Few of Which That* Come to Mind
I was carrying a really long ladder at work last night. I was feeling disgustingly sick, which made me space out. I kept turning around to talk to people only to hit others with my really long ladder, which made me think of people as comedic props. Since I am now lying in bed with paint fume poisoning, I thought that posting a list of people as comedic props might be a good thing to do. Some of the people are dogs. I don't mean it about the children. Also: It's a little dark sometimes.

1. Two men carrying a very long ladder.**
2. Anybody on or around any ladder
3. A woman in a bonnet pushing a baby basket.1,2,3
4. A robust man in a top hat lighting a cigar.
5. A lady with a poodle or small yapping dog on a long leash. The leash usually trips somebody up.
6. A woman in a feather boa or fur necklet smoking a cigarette on a holder.
7. A man performing a song or dance for money.£ 
8. A stiff and irritated man or woman, turned about as a protagonist chases a small animal or child.
9. People chasing a small animal or a small child
10. A small animal or small child that is being chased, often self-confident or scared. asterisk*
11. Anyone not dressed as they should be
12. A man or woman of any sort in a jail cell.
13. Two men carrying a large pane of glass.
14. A grizzly man walking, slouched, hands stuffed in pockets.

      *Whew! Had to look up the usage there. Don't want to appear [something unsavory]. Thanks, Grammar Girl!
      **Most of these involve turning about quite a bit, but in an hilarious sort of way
      1. The baby basket may or may not have a baby in it.
      2. The woman may be of any age, though she is, at times, a man.
      3. She is probably wearing something blue.
      ♥ If the filmmaker is adventurous, it is two people who don't feel like being body-locked just then.
      ♣ Though once an avid smoker, I have never smoked a cigarette on a holder. Seems an irritating and dangerous endeavor.
      £ Or with a monkey!
      asterisk* Yes, self-confident or scared, but rarely both and never neither and never ever anything else because we all know that neither small children nor animals have any feelings at all and probably contain filthy hands. Terrible, dastardly things. Stab you in the back or yap at you rather than look at you.

      Funny Names: Calgary Deficit

      I have a long list of funny names I made up. Here's a story from one.

      Cheese Nips! I'm telling you.

      There's a woman like myself sitting in front of me on the metro; folding fan, well-coifed and red suit jacket. I'm soaked, the hair I flattened this morning wet and curly. She doesn't look wet at all. Her hair is so thick and straw-colored and dry. She's fanning herself and it's 65 outside and raining. She is reaching into her bag (she is taking two seats on the nearly-empty car, one for herself and one for bag) and grabbing something one piece at a time, eating (akin to bold and unregretted murder down here); she fans herself and eats bon-bons with her perfect hair and a grace and a self-confidence resilient. I am resentful. Then once and twice and continuously when she fans herself with her paper fan the cool air hits me and it feels good, like a breeze, and I catch the smell of her perfume and I think of Paris gardens, so well-kept, pristine. My favorite part of the city. She turns her head and her face is elegant handsome, and I smell the smell of her food. She is eating Cheese Nips. She lets her hair down and puts it back up. I realize she's baking and also that one day I will be here on the metro, hot and uncomfortable. I think that I will approach that moment as myself and no one else and I wonder what I will convey then and how other younger women will eat me up like cheese nips and bon bons and whether they will see themselves in me.

      A movie about the poem Howl? Yes, please.

      James Franco Reads "Howl" As Allen Ginsberg

      James Franco does a good job sounding like Allen Ginsberg! I enjoy all of the odd places he pops up. And who doesn't love Allen Ginsberg's poetry? The linked picture goes to movie excerpts. I didn't watch them because I don't want to be spoiled further, mmm.

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