Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Video fun

video

Here is a little more from the reading Indianapolis. This clip also includes some of Andrew Scott's short fiction, which was exceptional. The video, unfortunately, cuts out before he finishes; it's a blue balls video. If you're interested in reading more, he has a chapbook out from sunnyoutside titled Modern Love, or you can find him at the short fiction on-line journal he runs with his wife, Victoria Barrett, called Freight Stories.

Also, I've been neglecting to mention a new poem that is on decomP.

Here's a letter I wrote to God asking that the Yankees don't win The World Series.

Dear God,

May the Yankees be humiliated so our holidays, particularly Your son's big b-day, aren't ruined this year. May Gay-Rod gone oh-for-The World Series and Kate Hudson (the former-girlfriend of uber-douche Lance Armstrong) dump him publicly from the announcer's booth on Fox and declare her engagement to Tim McCarver. May CC Sabathia get shelled for 10 runs and pulled out in the first inning, and then gets so depressed he eats his way into an emergency stomach pumping. May we please, please, please, God, not have to suffer through a winter of "new stadium/new dynasty" horseshit from Yankee fans. Please, God, I promise I'll be good if you just, please, stop the Yankees from winning The World Series. Use whatever omnipotent powers You have---get Old Testament on their asses if You have to---just please don't let The Yankees win. Isn't there already enough wrong with the world, God? Even if You can't make the other stuff happen---for example, maybe Kate Hudson won't run off with Tim McCarver---that's cool. Just don't let them win. Please, God.

Amen.

Nate Graziano

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breaking news...

My FFS is out of control. Today, while following up on an email sent to me by my publisher in which the link to the offending photo was attached, I discovered this picture taken at my reading at Buffalo State. Take a guess which one.

Holy fucking shit.

Not only is my FFS epidemic, but the over-sized shirt makes me look pregnant. Seriously. I look like a pregnant woman, sans the beautiful glow that only a woman carrying a child can exude. On top of that, I used to think vertical stripes were slimming. Wrong.

My only consolation will come in an Anaheim victory tonight. Mind you, I hate the Angels, but if the Yankees were playing the Third Reich, I'd be conflicted as to whom to root for. If the Spankees win...well, with my FFS and a Yankees World Championship this year, you might find me fist-fighting a mall Santa.

Do you have any bail money?

P.S. If you're a fellow sufferer of FFS and willing to come forward with it, please feel free to contact me. I understand. I'm here. We shall not suffer alone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fat Face Nate

One of the worst things one human being can ask another human being is: Did you gain weight?

Think about the subtext buried in this question for a second; in fact, it really isn’t a question at all. With few obvious exceptions, the person is not asking you if you gained weight because they’re genuinely interested in you or your body, or they think you look good with weight on you. The question, obviously, is rhetorical, and what it implies is pretty clear.

Here is what the other person is saying to you: Wow, you were once fit and attractive, but obviously, you’ve been sitting on your fat ass and munching out on pizza and Cheese Puffs since I last saw you. Because now, quite frankly, you look like a fucking pig. It’s amazing anyone will still sleep with you, Porky. I bet you had to buy new pants. I bet those old pants, the ones you wore way back in those halcyon days when you were dignified and healthy, are in a second-hand store right now and someone attractive is buying them. God, I am so happy that I am NOT you right now, a tub of lard having to greet the world. You must be disgusted with yourself.

Or something like that.

Recently, my best friend Cracker pulled the question on me, knowing that I would freak out, stop eating, and not want to face the world again without a bag over my head. You see, some pictures from my recent book tour were posted on Facebook in which I looked, according to Cracker, like I “gained some weight.”

Now, for a person as insecure, self-conscious, and emotionally brittle as myself, Facebook presents a bit of paradox. While I want to have friends and pad my numbers and have people leave comments on my wall as an affirmation that I’m loved and popular, it also involves a certain amount of exposure that can be downright terrifying. In my case, I was tagged in the photos, and admittedly, in many of them, I have FFS.

About eight years ago I diagnosed myself with Fat Face Syndrome, or FFS. FFS is identified by the following symptoms: an unnatural width in the face from cheekbone to cheekbone, a lack of a definable profile due excessive flab under the jawbone, additional chins, and the appearance of what I call “the jellyroll”, or a thin roll of fat that circumnavigates the entire neck (see picture and video below; exhibits A and B). For close to ten years, I’ve being growing facial hair as a means of diverting the attention away from my FFS; however, each time I trim my goatee, the true horror of my fat face presents itself.

In 2004, after a shocking set of pictures from a wedding my wife had developed, in which I looked like someone stuck eyes and hair on a ball of pizza dough, I started exercising, thinking this might help to assuage my disorder. But no.

Next I bought a digital camera and started erasing photos where I had FFS, keeping only the pictures where I sucked in my cheeks and craned my neck to make my face look thin, therefore believing my own lies and illusions, believing that I had defeated the disorder. Wrong again. Now, again, it has reared its ugly head (literally) and it seems I have a terminable case.

“So, Nate,” Cracker asks, “did you gain some weight?”

I sigh and try to laugh, but it’s not funny. And I answer with the only response with which I can answer the horrible question, summoning my last shred of dignity. “I’m still not as fat as you,” I say.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Country music and the coolest pic on Earth


This is the coolest picture on Earth, and not just because I'm in it. This picture, I believe, perfectly captures our book tour---Micah, Dave, and me. Dave is exasperated, wondering why the hell he published us. Micah is cool and collected, the backbone of the operation. And I'm being bad ass because, you know, I'm a bad ass. Meanwhile Micah's husband, Nate Jackson, snaps the scene in his lens, killing it in the background. Perfect.

So tonight I went to a Texas Roadhouse after the reading in Appleton. For two hours, I was assaulted by modern country music crazily cranked up in the restaurant. At first, I resisted, making snarky remarks about the lyrics, snickering at them, until I realized I may have been misdirecting my literary efforts for the past ten years. Here is a list of ten country music song titles that I believe will prove saleable (inspired by the line "I want to check you for ticks," no shit):

1. "I Want to Be Your Bra (Just to Give You Support)"
2. "If I Were the Teen Wolf, I'd Want To Stand on Your Van"
3. "I'm Only Drinking Beer to Get Over the Pot"
4. "If You Fart in the Truck, I'll Still Love You"
5. "Get Rid of the Restraining Order, and I'll Be Loving You Tonight"
6. "My Love Steams for You in Cleveland (Come with Me to Oxford)"
7. "Your Toes Taste Like Fried Chicken, so Let Me Lick 'Em"
8. "If You Were Your Sister, I Couldn't Help But Miss Her"
9. "Even with the Runs, I'd Still Hold You"
10. "Your Ex Is a Terrorist"

I'm going to start writing the songs soon, as soon as I finish this book tour. Look for me. I'll be writing my country music songs under the pseudonym Daniel Crocker.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Liz's birthday reading

I read this in Indianapolis on Liz's birthday. This is the first part---it gets cut off during "Paper Ark". Once I get to Chicago, I'll post more. Enjoy.

video

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Notes from the road

In essence, this book tour has just begun, but I feel like I've been away from home for a long, long time. I'm currently in Bloomington, watching The Sox game (good guys winning 5-1) and waiting for the Pats game at 4 p.m. In an unfortunate overlap, the football game and my reading are going to coincide. Hopefully, Tom Brady can do it without me watching. It's time to take off the training wheels, Tom. You're a big boy now.

Here are some comments, observations, and all things esoteric.

  • I met the world's biggest book-douche after the reading in Cincinnati. This grad student in poetry accosted me and proceeded to blab about how poetry ought to be written for an elitist audience of other poets and academics, like himself, who can understand it. Apparently, my writing is too facile for such a beautiful mind as the uber-book-douche. And poets wonder why everyone hates them and no one reads their work.
  • Much to my surprise, I pronounce Louisville incorrectly. Bob Penick and Jason Jordon brought it to my attention. The locals say the word using only two-syllables.
  • Micah Ling is not an Asian man, and she has a business card that says as much. She is, however, a very cool person and a fine poet.
  • Bob Penick's poodle Scooter really likes me.
  • The Sox have had me shaking my head, cursing under my breath, and feeling a lot like I used to feel in the pre-Pink Hat era.
  • It's hard not to like Josh McDaniels; almost as hard as it is to like Bill Belicheck.
  • It's my wife's birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday, honey. I miss you.
  • It seems road trips were considerably easier on my body when I was 22 years-old than they are at 34 years-old. For some reason, my body now rejects Arby's. Very strange indeed.
  • I'm running out of clean boxer shorts. If you're one of those people fortunate enough to step into a clean pair underwear every day of your life, you live a charmed life, my friend. It takes some real guts to go commando. Real guts.
  • For here forth, we shall start calling Dave McNamara, the publisher of sunnyoutside, the ambassador. Yes. That's an esoteric reference.
  • Once again: Go Sox! Go Pats! And happy birthday, Liz! Before you know it, I'll be home and annoying the shit out of you again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jump


For the past four days, I've been staying with Dave, the publisher of sunnyoutside, and his roommate Jim, who is a painter. Last night, after wolfing down a cheeseburger that would make a vegetarian incontinent and watching one of the best baseball games of seasons at a great little pub, we went back to Dave's place for a night of downtime before hitting the road today. When we got back to the house, Jim was watching reruns of The Office on TBS, and it seemed like it was going to be a mellow night until Jim broke out a vinyl copy of Van Halen's 1984 he picked up the previous day.

Then we rocked our asses off.

As the synthesizers for "1984" broke through the speakers, I became buoyant, clenching my fists in anticipation of "Jump." And my mirth would not relent, knowing it would be followed by "Panama" then "Top Jimmy" and the side would finish with "Drop Dead Legs" and a riff that ripped through my chest. Oh yes. Diamond Dave and those beautiful songs about nothing.

"What do you think 'Jump' is about?" I asked Jim.

"Jumping."

Spot on. The age-old debate of Sammy vs. Dave was broached, but both Jim and I decided that it was moot because they're really two separate bands. I happen to like the band who put out their first five albums better than the band with the same name who started getting too political and lovey-dovey on our asses in the 90s. As Jim pointed out, the beauty of David Lee Roth is the fact that it really doesn't matter what he's saying in the songs---although, personally, I find partying and cruising for chicks to be perfectly acceptable material to write all your songs about---because the rhythms drive the music. Dave then pointed us in the direction of this gem of a website. If you have some time to kill, go nuts.

After Van Halen, Jim spun (in order, I wrote them down) Chuck Brown, Led Zeppelin, Band of Gypsies (Hendrix at his best), Sly and The Family Stone, and then an album titled Erotica: The Rhythms of Love, which as far as I could discern was basically couples screwing to some trippy 60s backbeats. I ended up staying awake until two a.m. listening to tunes.

Today, I read at Buffalo State at 4:30 p.m. then Dave and I hop in the car and start driving to Cincinnati for another shindig tomorrow night, which hopefully ends before 9:47 so I can catch the Sox game. In the meantime, my twenty-five friends, I'll leave you with this:

Go ahead. And jump.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Impressed yet?

I have a cell phone.

Okay. For many of you---or the twenty-four of you (we're growing kids!)---who read this blog, you're probably thinking this is nothing exceptional. But you need to realize that I've denounced cell phones, like I once derided my beloved Facebook, as spoiled amenities. In my new book, there's a poem titled "The Ameoba Man" railing against these iniquitous forces, and how, stubbornly, I clung to my virtues. No, dammit, I will never, ever be one of those assholes who clings to their cell phones like nursing child on the tap (there are many levels of crudeness clinging to that simile, too). And I said I would never depend on Facebook as my main...okay, singular means of social interaction, or purchase a cell phone. In fact, I went so far as to say I'd use smoke signals to communicate before I'd buy a cell phone. I was a man of virtues.

Then virtues went out of style.

At this moment, I am sitting in a gallery in Buffalo, where tonight I will kick off my book tour with my first reading. In fact, there was a little write up about in a Buffalo news site this morning. Yesterday, The UNH school newspaper did a piece on me. Are you impressed with me?

I want you to think about this before you answer because, in actuality, this cuts to the core of my neuroses and personality flaws. The cell phone, Facebook, book tours, readings, email, blogs, websites, bombastic anti-Yankee rants are all manifestations of a deeper insecurity: the irrepressible fact that I really, really, REALLY want people to be impressed by me and really, REALLY want the Yankees to suck ass in the playoffs. While the aforementioned this is the case for most people---and those who say they don't want others to be impressed by them are either liars, narcissists who are literally in love with their selves and scream their own name while masturbating to the thought of their selves performing naked yoga, or liars---for me, it's become something bordering on pathological. For example, right now I can't wait until I finish this blog post, so I can post my blog on Facebook. Does anyone else see the problem here? I need help.

Right now, my cell phone is beside my laptop, and I am waiting like a wolf for it to buzz, to receive my first text message. Thus it begins again: a new compulsion and insanity.

For the next couple of weeks, I will posting frequently with pictures of my readings, stories from the road, reactions to the Red Sox (by the way, while I'm parenthetical mode, last night I went out with Dave, my publisher, for wings at Duff's in Buffalo, and noticed a bunch of Yankee hats. Immediately I thought to myself, Look at all these trouble-makers, wearing their Yankee hats out. Then I realized I was in New York, and I was the troublemaker in my Sox cap. Fuck 'em. The wings were great.) and other general ephemera. But let my objectives be clear: I want you to be impressed. I have a compulsive need to impress others.

So join my blog, write to me, text me, chat me up on Facebook, or email me, if you're not up with technology like certain bloggers. I don't mind. Use me. I have to run now. My cell phone just rang.