Arlene Ang. JMWW. Eeeeeeeeeee. Bosnian Beer.

She might be my favorite poet.

You remember putting the penny last night in your mouth, like a nipple”

HELL and O.

Three prose poems here at Past Simple. Read them. Like them. Or be stupid. I love prose poems. They are cousin of FLASH FICTION. They are the friend who will bail you out at 4-nothing, a.m. Will let you crash on her rooftop, naked. These poems are dropping the doll onto the floor. What will happen when the butterflies all go extinct? No tornadoes? Gigolos have faith in all storms clearing. Offer me a beer? Language bids me eat nachos, sit and eat nachos, sit and think about the hot attic of my unhappiness.


Arlene Ang here.

Arlene Ang here.

Arlene Ang here.

Do I have to lead your sad-ass dime-store god to the microwave popcorn??

Wake the frack up!!


A great story by Aleksander Hemon in the New Yorker. If you are too cool for New Yorker fiction, you are trying too hard to be cool–which is NEVER cool, in fact is the definition of anti-cool, so just read the damn story.


A new JMWW is out! Good stuff to make you steam-ear your daily routine.

Melanie Cotter drops a Hanged Cat on us. Hey now!



1.) People compare Tao Lin to Haruki Murakami. That’s a bit ridiculous, and maybe lazy?  Or even is it fair? Uh, one is translated when read in the U.S. (usually), and one is not. They look the same (relatively) so write the same? They both use black etchings on a white paper? They both write of dolphins, bears, presidents, other animals as characters?

I think Murakami is indeed Magical Realism, as established already in the literary mega-verse. In his novel, I don’t think Tao Lin is doing the same thing, the same way. This isn’t a critique of either author, but I just don’t see them as similar.

2.) For all you stoners kids who simply must have all your meals as a bright, gooey snacks, if Lin’s novel was a youtube video, it would be this youtube video.

3.) Tao Lin’s sentences are difficult to read. A friend of mine called them, “The anti-sentence.” Yes, yes, I know there is some Avant-garde/literary student in academia/Po-Mo (oh gods no!) reason for this: fragmented modern existence, language as artifice…wait, I just hurled-up a corn dog on a clown’s hat. I’m sure some readers will have all types of reasons to defend sentences that often destroy pacing, flow, “readability” (what the hell does that mean?), and please go right ahead. I even see your point, sometimes. But, listen: The sentences are difficult to read.

Update/qualifier (the beauty of a blog):

I suppose I mean the arrangement, not the individual.

p. 65:

A different waitress brings their food. Her name is Bernadette. They eat for a while. They are eating. (“How do you have fun?”) Jawbreaker, You win you lose, it’s the same old news. Octopus. Mark was sad about his Octopus. Steve stands. “Andrew,” he says. “Come here.”

And so on. Could be me, though. I readily agree I might not follow things others easily do…

4.) Rabbit’s foot: lucky for the rabbit?

5.) A better comparison would be The Stranger, by Camus. With a dash of Walter Mitty and Sarah Orne Jewett.

6.) I found the book intriguing enough to try out his book of poetry. details later.


This morning, while eating waffles inscribed in a blue advertisement announcing HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (this actually ON the waffle), my four year old kept repeating, “I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where I’m going.”

Man, I wish I could have told him something better than, “Indeed.”



12 responses to “Arlene Ang. JMWW. Eeeeeeeeeee. Bosnian Beer.

  1. Right on about your comments regarding flow and readability. A fragmented existence can be conveyed with lyrical sentences, I think, or at least sentences that don’t clump on the tongue with the texture of a Baby Ruth. I tend to prefer the lyrical. A book that walks the edge of readability is…well…walking the edge of readability and threatens to be cast from a pair of hands like a crawling spider. Prose that succumbs to the back-breaking banality of the world by staggering and clomping drunk amongst its punctuation is prose that has given up hope that things can be better.

    This isn’t a response to Tao Lin’s style, btw. He’s still on the to-do list. Just a thought spurred from yours on the readability issue.

  2. thats the first mention of difficult sentences in tao i’ve seen. i don’t think i ever thought of them as difficult, framing or no. maybe i should look again, but i always thought of it as based in basic,

  3. 1.) Hey Blake that was a difficult sentence!

    2.) It’s possible they were difficult for ME, and not others. Very possible. But I suppose I am referencing the arrangement with each other, not the individual. Probably should have clarified. Maybe I’ll give some examples, in the future.


  4. I wholeheartedly agree with your New Yorker stories comment. I fuckin love the New Yorker.

    I also really loved that Steinur Somethingorother story you linked to not so long ago. I sat around staring at a wall happily after reading it. Good stuff.

    I love your pictures of nachos- it’s been too long since you posted one.

    Do you think the lin/murakami comparison is racism? Like, they are both of asian descent?

  5. Arlene Ang. Thanks for another great tip.

  6. oh no not the adbusters hipster article

  7. I like the Kilduff analogy.

    I also like that an entirely different John Kilduff interviewed the entirely different Matthew Simmons.

  8. i strive hard for readability and for people without knowledge of vernacular or idiom to be able to read my writing and not feel like ‘they aren’t getting it,’ i think, or maybe just more for my 2nd novel

    i believe my 2nd novel can be successfully read by people from foreign countries

  9. i understand that ‘readability’ is different for different people though, and what i think is readable may not be readable for someone else

  10. (as much as I once set out to never respond to comments on my blog [why? some aesthetic reason? dunno])

    “readability” is addressed by DFW in his Charlie Rose interview.

    Rose (predictably) asks about the footnotes.

    DFW says he wants to fragment the text to reflect the world he exists in, but he wants it to be READABLE. A pretty straight forward and obvious answer. But truthful. He says he doesn’t want to cut up the lines and this/that because people will have trouble reading it.

    Something to ponder.

    I actually revisited Lin’s novel after Blake’s reply.

    So I revised my post. I added the word “arrangement”

    Weird how I can change my post, dishonestly. Do readers know I changed it? An aside…

    I stick by that word “arrangement.”

    But, I would also argue (against myself?) that difficult is fine. And very readily might be my limitations?

    I’ll pick up/blog this idea later, once I’ve read the poetry.

    Only seems fair, no?

  11. here’s a good Tao Lin sentence:

    “There was a McDonald’s, glowing yellow and red in complex, ongoing, and freakish acknowledgement of itself.”

    That’s really good. I’m going to give it a ‘really’ for every word in it. It’s really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s