Monday, June 29, 2009


More later...please stand by.


This is my record review of the new record that I received in the mail and it only cost me a penny.

(And also, it cost me two more pennies for two more records, sure, but mostly I just got this one record for a penny and then the others for the other pennies were sort of like bonus gravy.)

The penny that I spent on this record that I got in the mail for a penny was well wort the copper or whatever that it is made from or out of. (Someone told me that inside a penny is bread for some reason. They said that if you take a penny and cut it in half, inside is like this old stale bread.) (But that is neither here nor there.) This was a penny well spent, much like because the penny was made from when I went out and did the lawn with the mower, it was also a penny well earned.

(The lawn really, really, really, really, like really needed doing.)

I see on the cover of this penny-costing record is a big blue word and some people in a photograph that is under the big blue word which is probably very likely the name of the band or the album. I like it very much when things are plain and straight ahead and no one has any trouble with the way information is conveyed to them, so I like it when a band or musical solo artist does me—and the public!—the great service of going ahead and putting their own name on the cover of the record. I am also very much in favor of a picture of the band itself, or the musical solo artist himself, or the musical female solo artist herself on the cover for ease of identifying the nature of the person performing the music on the record.

(Girls can make very fine solo musical artists, and I swear I was not trying to diminish the excellence of female musical solo artists by putting them last.)

The record itself is round in the manner of record albums in time immemorial. (That means from before you were born to remembering.) It is black and made of some sort of polyvinyl. There is a label on the center of the record and if I could read I would tell you all about the artist.

(And now you say, how is it you are giving me this record review in words if you yourself are unable to read words. The very interesting thing about me as a person is that I am unable to read, but am perfectly capable for whatever reason of writing in any sort of words I want, including words in languages that you don't know. Like, I might if I want say: watashi wa biru ga daisukidesu. Which is a lot of Japanese person talk.)

I do not have a record player of any sort so I cannot tell you if the music is any good. I hope that in the next few years I will be able to make enough money to buy a record player and then I will listen to the record and tell you about it. And then I will blog about it, but I can't now because it is impossible.


A review of A Jello Horse.

When the book is reprinted in August there will be some review copies. Send me an email if you would like to review the book. I'm at







I check my book on Goodreads a lot, and every time someone adds it, I get a little short of breath and giddy. You and all your friends could do a sort of practical joke on me where a whole bunch of you add the book while I am asleep, and when I check the Goodreads site again and see a bunch of people have all added the book, I might faint. Someone could get that on tape.


You will love this book. I loved it. You will, too.


Monday, June 22, 2009


Two small stories at Spork this week. (Forever after here.)


What have you, though? Yes? We pillage.

Why now maybe? But then, all right. We pillage.

So says this not then. But all for real, and though. We pillage.

Crazed of all, my when this well. She is, under. We pillage.

Frank is lost, well, such though when. It can't time so. We pillage.

This under then so now I'm yes. Right to then be, so what is now. We pillage.

Crap in though yes. For what you why? I'm then oh, sure. By mine, by yours so yes. We pillage.

Creep under then, so yes why now. True then by heart. Ate one and two. Reap sewn no what. So time is in. We pillage.

Shit was, then on. It makes by now. You make by now. I make by now. Am one heart sun. This day is on. And so and yes. We pillage.

Race horse. Race horse. Race. Horse. Race. Horse. Race horse, race horse. Race horse, race horse, race horse, race horse. Race. Horse race. Horse. We pillage.

No blog. No blog. Pillage. Pillage.


I'm mad at parades.

(More of the photos from that parade here.)


Glenn Gould talks about The Idea of North:

And other things.

Here's a dramatization of The Idea of North:

Shellac has a song called "The Idea of North." It's on [Shellac] At Action Park. I couldn't find it anywhere, but I found "My Black Ass," which has a great guitar riff:


Keyhole 7
arrived in the mail today. Looks lovely. My thanks to Peter Cole.

I'll be in PANK #4 in January 2010.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I can't blog because I am embarking on a career as a really, really bad naturalist. Here are some photos I have been taking, and some notes on each.

A plant thought it was clever—very, very clever in fact—and thought that it would sit and wait for me to get very close and then that it would spit on me. I did not let this plant spit on me even though it really wanted to and was sitting there waiting for me to get close so it could spit.

Got you, plant. You were unable to spit on me and instead I got a photo of your awaiting to be spat spit.

BEE! This stupid bee got into my shot when I was trying to take a picture of flowers! Stupid bee! Leave me alone, stupid bee!

Bees are very angry creatures, and are often referred to by people who know as the "jerks of the animal kingdom." One time I was riding down a bike trail on my way to where I do my work, and a bee ran into my chest and stung me. And it was the bee's fault because the bee did not look both ways when it crossed the bike trail. It just went across the trail and I ran into it—because I did not see it and it was not paying attention!—and then it stung my chest.

And then it died. Bees are jerks.

This flower was coming on to me. I don't know why. I was walking by it and it started to change color and tell me through telepathy—or something—that I should take its photo and show it to my friends who read my blog. (That's you!) It said I should snap a picture of it. I did. I snapped a picture and here it is. And I think you can see what I mean about this flower coming on to me.

I have a serious relationship already, flower. I am not attainable by you for the purposes of dating me.

This plant is very full of poison and should never, ever be eaten by me. Never ever again should it be eaten by me because it is full of a strong, strong purple poison that makes me talk about things I don't want to talk about when I am on the phone to my mother. Like, Hi Mom, I ate a bad plant and it thinks I should tell you about all the times I used to take drugs in the basement where we lived. And Hi Mom, I ate a poison purple plant that wants me to tell you about when I used to go to our neighbor's houses and hide under their beds and listen to them get ready for bed and fall asleep, and then I'd get out from under their beds when I was sure they were sound asleep and I would touch their lips really really gently with my index finger. I won't eat this plant again.

BEE! The same bee is following me and getting into more photos in a subversive manner where you can only just see its stupid, stupid bee colors and I hate it! I hate the bee!

I have nothing to say about this flower because I am still mad at it.

I'm not kidding. I am still mad at it about what it did.

It knows what it did.

It knows.

This is a very nice mold formation. It is swoopy, which is a nice way for mold to bloom, I think.

I think a lot of things about mold. But when a mold is swoopy, I think really clear, happy, and good thoughts about it.

I do.

I am happy about this mold. It makes up for the bad thing that the previous-to-this-mold-stupid-flower did.

I am not a blogger, but I think I am a "budding naturalist" (which is a pun that you might catch if you reread that two-word phrase, folks).

So maybe there will be more notes.


I will be reading tomorrow and you can go. (Thanks to The Stranger for the kind words.)

The final hardcover copy will be given away to the person who gets the highest score on one of the pinball machines at The College Inn Pub.


I am teaching a class at The Richard Hugo House called The Voices of Anxious Objects. (Last description.) Right now it doesn't have the necessary five students for the class to actually happen. If you are interested, please sign up. I think it will be fun.


I sort of knew this guy in college.


There will, in a couple of months maybe, be a reprint of my sold-out novella A Jello Horse. As the first batch sold mainly to my friends and relations, the second batch will very likely necessitate outreach to people who haven't heard of me to sell.

Meaning: wanna review the book for a local print or online outlet? Or interview me? Want I should guest blog?

I am happy to become a dancing monkey to help get the book some more attention.



Monday, June 08, 2009


And the winner is:

Tao Lin!



No, not really.

The winners are Eli, who sent this photo:

And Sabra Embury, who sent a multimedia blitz, including a video and these images:


Here's the video:

sportzabar from Sabra Embury on Vimeo.

There are some fine, fine other entries, too, including John Synco's really remarkable, really faithful cover of Lonnie Irving's Pinball Machine, and Ryan Bradley's Shockabilly-esque cover of the same song.

Another good one is this drawing of Street Fighter's Blanka playing a Rocky and Bullwinkle pinball machine. It's by my friend Griffin:

And this video, sent by Laura Ellen Scott, of her spouse's high score dance:

All four will be receiving runner-up prizes.

Finally, here's an image from a coworker:

She's playing pinball at The College Inn Pub in Seattle's University District. I will be reading at said establishment on Tuesday, June 16. After the reading, I am hoping people will play some pinball with me and the other reading attendees. High score gets the last of the hardcover copies of the book.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I was really touched with the time and care put into the entries. All of them.


A story of mine is in the upcoming issue of Keyhole.


I reviewed Mathias Svalina's chapbook Play here. SPOILER ALERT: I liked it a lot.


Next week I will actually write something for this blog! No more tedious self-promotion!


Not as much tedious self-promotion!

Also, buy my book before it sells out!

What people on Goodreads are saying about it:

Blake Baby: "It's been since certain modes of David Foster Wallace that the sincere-turned-weird felt this fresh. Memory as a map meets roadtrip as a hallway, all in Simmons's singular and truly heartening, funny, moving ways of phrase. Loved."

Mary Miller: "I read this book about a week ago on a bus from Ann Arbor to Chicago. It made the trip a whole lot better. I keep remembering certain things, like how the narrator calls himself a "carcinogen to women." I love that. The book is really cute, too, and I like that Matthew signed mine. I wish it were longer, but that's only because I would have liked more."

Evelyn Hampton: "I finished the book at work and loaned it to a co-worker and said, Read this!"

Justin Dobbs: "I learned about Jackalopes."

Monday, June 01, 2009


First, a story:


As the rest of us waited in back, pulling at our laces, and thinking about our next meal, she walked confidently out onto the stage. Applause flooded the areas behind the curtains, hurting our ears. “What must it be like out there?” we wondered. "Loud," we figured.

She began with simple tricks, pulling Arbor Day treats from the air, spinning silken webs to capture the worries of the folks in the front rows, floating off to the ceiling to retrieve a helium-bulged stuffed cat for a youngster in the middle. “A plant. Obviously a plant,” we thought, but we were jealous and wrong.

The Dawn of the Aerospace Age moved into the meat of her act. A projection screen dropped behind her, and a film began: the wonders of the modern world, explained.

“A flashlight works like this,” she said. “The battery is crowded with wild light horses. When the button is pressed, they spring out, and run full boar, straight ahead, as the crow flies, direct to what you want to see. The clomp along the water molecules in the air.”

“A toaster works like this,” she said. “The bread is inserted, the button is pressed, and the filaments crowd around and tease the bread for its softness. It is embarrassed. It tries harder. It hardens itself to the cruelty of filaments. It heats from the inside with self-righteous anger, and that's why the butter melts.”

“A baby works like this,” she said. “You buy one at the hospital. It has been spit out, like a watermelon seed, by the baby machine seen here. It grows in a glass of water on a windowsill. That's why hospitals have so many windows. Babies do not need food. Babies do not need water. They are self-contained. Anyone who says otherwise is quite likely mad.”

“A treefrog works like this,” she said. She did not speak. She let the film speak for itself. The audience marveled at the steam engine, and the bellows.

“The aerospace age,” she said, “is a marvelous time to be alive. Look at all we have.” And she showed all we have on screen. It was over in less than an hour. “Thank you,” she said, and left the stage.

We waited for the applause to die down, and took our positions. As she walked by me, I stared at her. Marvelous her. Wonderful her. How I loved her.

She smiled at me, and I thought maybe it would be nice to live in the here and now, in the present, the two of us together, a baby machine baby drooling in the corner.

And then, I returned to my position, ass-end of a juggling horse costume. Spot, the dog in our dog and pony act, waggled his butt as she tickled his back.

She was good to animals.

The Dawn of the aerospace age wore a man's shoes and slacks onstage. She wore a white shirt, suspenders and a bow tie. Burgundy. The tie and suspenders were a deep burgundy.

I wore the back of the horse.

“How indoor plumbing works is this,” she said. “The pipes dig down, down, deep down to the freshwater ocean at the center of the world. Plumbers are required to be both expert spelunkers and expert deep-sea divers. They have the most dangerous job there is. That's why they go to school for nine years, are paid so well, and are thought of as heroes.”

The front end of the horse, Lopez, did all the juggling. We lumbered onstage, and I lifted him onto my shoulders. I tried to move a bit, but Lopez discouraged most forms of tap and soft shoe dancing. He needed to concentrate, he said, because it wasn't easy to see through the horse head.

Our act was not popular. It was not easy to follow the Dawn of the Aerospace Age.

But, she suggested I learn to ride a unicycle with Lopez juggling away on my shoulders. She said she knew how, and could teach me sometime.

I wanted her to hold me in her arms, and tell me about air conditioners and mass transit, but this would do.

“How the cure for cancer works is this,” she said. “You swallow a live Australian tumorphage centipede, and let it work. To keep it happy, you must stay drunk while it searches your body for food. The alcohol loosens your muscles, and it doesn't have to struggle so on its hunt. Scientists were amazed to find how easy it was to cure cancer after all the work they'd done, and issued a formal apology by handwriting letters to everyone on the planet. You probably got one.”

She had her own unicycle.

“How friendship works is this,” she said. “Two people meet, and they purchase a ‘friendship’ crucible. They each remove a lock of hair, and burn them together, and must keep the fires going for as long as they intend to remain in the contractual agreement called friendship.”

And when it finally did happen, when we finally spent long, tangled moments together, I asked her questions, and she answered. And it wasn’t perfect. And it was better for not being perfect.

The act was never perfect, but Lopez and I put on the horse costume, jumped on the unicycle, and did our best. And she would wait for me.

I wondered how motorcycles worked. I wondered how the moon worked.


I have put that story up on the blog every June for the last couple of years. It originally appeared in the journal Reinventing the World.

I wrote it for someone who meant a lot to me. That person is no longer with us.

If you can, please donate a little to my Race for the Cure page.


Pinball contest winners announced Monday. Thanks to all who entered.


Sorry that many recent updates have involved you spending money: my book, donate to breast cancer, play pinball. Very soon I will stop bothering you like this.