How to Be a Bluesman

Never have a happy relationship.
If you do find yourself involved in a happy relationship,
kill your partner and then write a song about it.
If they arrest you, all the better.
You can now write a song about being in jail.

Chicago, St. Louis,
and Kansas City
are still the best places
to have the Blues.

Blues can take place
in New York City,
but not in Hawaii
or any place in Canada.

Hard times in Minneapolis
or Seattle is probably
just clinical depression.

No one will believe
it’s the Blues
if you wear a suit –
unless, that is,
you slept in it.

Taken from a discussion on the Blindman’s Blues Forum, 12th January 2010. Submitted by Howie Good.

Echoes of Silence

Killed the family and went to the movies.
And nobody knows who he is.
Meat tenderizer and saliva
remove bloodstains.
Fornication changes its skin
Goodbye to the story,
memories they told me,
trees in autumn (three colors: white).
Join us at another place,
a polemical mile-high skyscraper.
Free wheelchairs available.

A selection of texts from the MoMA Member Catalogue, May/June 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.

Can Art Be Taught?

Learn to say “Fuck You”
to the world once in a while.
You have every right to.

Just stop thinking, worrying,
looking over your shoulder,
wondering, doubting, fearing,
hoping for some easy way out,

struggling, gasping, confusing,
itching, scratching, mumbling,
scrambling, hatching, bitching,
groaning, horse-shitting, nit-picking,

piss-trickling, eyeball-poking,
finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking,
evil-eyeing, back-scratching, grinding
grinding grinding away at yourself.

Stop it. Don’t worry about cool.
Make your own uncool.
Make your own, your own world.

Letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, quoted in Michael Kimmelman, The Accidental Masterpiece (Penguin Books, 2006). Submitted by Howie Good.

Scientific American

You sink into their brains
a little socket with a screw on it
and the electrode can then
be screwed deeper and deeper
into the brainstem,

and you can test at any moment
according to the depth,
which goes at fractions of the mm,
what you’re stimulating,

and these creatures are not
merely stimulated by wire,
they’re fitted with a miniature
radio receiver so that they can be
communicated with at a distance.

The technique is very ingenious.
I mean you could press a button
and a sleeping chicken would jump up
and run about, or an active chicken

would suddenly sit down and go to sleep,
or a hen would sit down and act
like she’s hatching out an egg,
or a fighting rooster would go into depression.

Taken from Aldous Huxley’s speech “The Ultimate Revolution“, given on 20th March 1962 at Berkeley Language Center. Submitted by Howie Good.

Place & Time

The atoms in a fluid can roll and tumble
and cascade around each other.
It’s that flowing freedom that gives
fluid motion its hypnotic quality.

Allow yourself to become mesmerized
by the flow of a fast-moving river
around a bridge trestle and you’ll know what I mean.

And there is dance in the roiling turbulence.
But, most importantly, the choreography
you’re watching doesn’t care about place and time.
What you see before your eyes today
is being repeated all across the cosmos.

If you don’t believe me, go flush your toilet.

Taken from the NPR article, “How To See A Galaxy In Your Toilet Bowl“, 18th February 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.

Mysterious ways

I needed a new car
as my old one was so unreliable
it kept breaking down.
I couldn’t see any way
that I could afford to get one.
After I prayed the way you said,
I not only got a better car
but it was bright red.

A testimonial on the website More Than Life, retrieved 4 February 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.

Typo in a Dead Language

The scene is in a synagogue,
but the word probably has nothing to do with religion.
It seems that the butchers in town
were either at fault, or the ones faulted.
Something about meat being sent out of the shtetl,
and the butchers collecting money.
Those protesting in half-mumbled sentences
end their words with “kupkes kupkes”
or possibly “kuFkes kuFkes.”
I don’t see how hats or head-coverings would be involved,
unless it was somehow used as a symbol of protest
(maybe something “socialist,” like waving the flag,
or similar to the Bund motto: sher un ayzn [scissors and iron])
or something like throwing down a gauntlet
(in this case a hat – maybe like the Muslims throw shoes)
or used as a swear word or curse…
and someone else suggested a typo (twice?).

(Discussion about the Yiddish word ‘kupkes’ on Mendele (vol23011.txt). Submitted by Howie Good)


The force of laughing can dislocate jaws,
prompt asthma attacks,
cause headaches, make hernias protrude.

It can provoke cardiac arrhythmia, syncope
or even emphysema (this last,
according to a clinical lecturer in 1892).

Laughter can trigger the rare but possibly grievous
Pilgaard-Dahl and Boerhaave’s syndromes.

There are choking hazards,
such as ingesting food during belly laughs.

We don’t know how much laughter is safe.

There’s probably a U-shaped curve:
laughter is good for you,
but enormous amounts are bad, perhaps.

Taken from Who Says Laughter’s the Best Medicine? in The New York Times, 20 December 2013. Submitted by Howie Good.