Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Handicapped Lead Way in Public Space Use
City's urban spaces remain grossly unused save the disabled crowd

(KB) DES MOINES - In a new report issued by the Committee on Recreational Space Procurement, statistics reveal that Polk County parks and public spaces are only properly utilized by the disabled population.  Proper use of these spaces is the committee's gauge on community demand for public spaces in Polk County.
       "Currently we're seeing gross under-use of our urban gardens here in Des Moines,"  says Marie Schopenskwat, a committee leader.  "Unfortunately, proper use of public space does not cover teenagers copulating in our fountains after dark or white-collar criminal activity in the public restrooms."   If it weren't for the handicapped, Schopenskwat says, the city's budget for public spaces would be terminated indefinitely. 


Ma and I came across some Indians.

It happened when we were looking to get on U.S. Highway 212 in Crow Agency, Montana.  U.S. Highway 212 runs continuously from Cooked City to Edina.   Some have called it "the Warrior Trail".  Some have called it the most beautiful route in America.  Some have called it "the highway". 

Anmaalapammuua is the place where Crows mourned a war party that came home nearly vanquished.
Nearby, there now sits a laundromat called Ammaaiisshuuwuua.   This is the town of Crow Agency.
Near the laundromat, there's a spray-painted clapboard on the road that says "NDN Taco $4.20". 

At the end of the block there is an IGA store.  My Ma was once told that IGA stands for Indian Grab Anything.  In a back lot down the road, sitting in a bunch of yellow grass, there is the Little Big Horn College.   We decided to turn around and get an NDN Taco. 

The sister was behind a table that sat outside the side door of a house.  She welcomed us to come and eat.   Two brothers were sitting on a wooden picnic table in the yard.  It was a nice yard because it was well shaded by very large trees.  The trees were probably there way back when Custer got slain dead by some female warrior of the prairie.

Gathering her supplies, the young sister prepared us one NDN taco.  She had sent her brother to the IGA to get cheese.  Meanwhile, she piled tomatoes, cooked hamburger and sour cream on top of a fry bread.  My Ma and I asked the two gentlemen on the picnic table if they knew where the highway to Belle Fourche was.  Then the kid came back from IGA with a block of velveeta.
"That's not cheese!" the sister told him.
"It's all they had!" he said. 

The gentlemen did not know of a highway to Belle Fourche.   I asked them if they knew where the 212 was.
"Oh, the highway!"  one said.
"The highway," said the other.  "You should go back on the interstate, then get off the interstate at the next exit.  That is the highway.  It is only across the river."  The Little Big Horn River.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


For City Pages’ constant tradition of patting it’s own state on the back, here are
twenty-five reasons why it should not be taken to such arm-dislocating levels.

25.  Oregon Trail was an anglo-centric video game masked as an educational tool, which encouraged a whole generation of institutional videots into society.  Thanks!
24.  Minnesota is the most corporate state in the nation.  From Best Buy to General Mills to Target, they are doing their best to keep the free market suppressed and the corporatocracy your lord.
23.  Bragging about your gay population is like bragging about gas stations.  No shit, they’re everywhere.
22.  Hipsters are obnoxious twats who act poor yet pay five to ten dollars for a beer brewed less than a mile away.
21.  Though you have one, single, snazzy light rail line, it has gone bankrupt and is still a far cry from being comprehensive public  transportation.  
20.  Bob Dylan and the Coen Bros left Minnesota for a reason - to get the hell away from that tone-deaf, purple freak.
19.  Your obsession with all things deep-fried is the reason why you’re a stagnant sea of fat-assed, wobbling weeble-people.
18.  Michelle Bachmann is a mere piss in Lake Superior compared to all the loony-toon, faith-based nut jobs running around the place.
17.  Can’t go one week without reading about a murder, rape, hate-crime, abduction or pedophile.  Now that’s what I call Minnesota Nice!
16.  Your kind, open doors toward the world’s refugees is explained as an abuse of cheap labor and the welcome is overshadowed by your indifference toward them once they’ve arrived.
15.  Your so-called “green bikes” are only green by color.  They are credit-card activated, government paid rip-off rides that appeal only to suckers and Mayor R.T. Rybak.  Somebody is getting a free ride off those pieces of shit but it certainly ain’t you. 
14.  There’s nothing like a world-class performing arts center like the Guthrie!  Except of course the fact that it is completely marred from view by the ugliest parking garage in history.  Meanwhile down the street, the historic Southern Theatre crumbles.
13.  Your state capitol is dwarfed by a house of God.  There’s hardly a separation between the two and there’s no question as to who calls the shots.
12.  Norm Coleman and Denny Hecker!
11.  Hamm’s and Schmidt’s took off to operate in a place without the tax-happy morality mafia - a nearby state where adults can purchase and enjoy a cold beer at a fair price and at any fucking time they choose. 
10. 3M has been poisoning your precious waters for decades.   Skin disease or nervous damage anyone?  The Mayo Clinic will gladly experiment on you in exchange for your house.
9.  Any town outside of the immediate twin cities metro area could petition for an official name change to “Redneck City” or “Dipshit-In-A-Pickup Central”. 
10.  The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts has one of the greatest collections in the world, yet the only thing that gets you wet is the trash down at the Walker. 
9.  “Minnesota Nice” is a good term to refer to your meekish, Lutheran, color-by-number types who are intellectually unable to refuse being stomped on.  You could seriously piss in their ears and tell them it’s raining.  
8.  Not only is the Mississippi not the longest river in the country, it is so polluted with sewage, waste, chemicals and dead bodies that a quick swim would quickly turn you into your favorite gimmick:  a zombie.
7.   Nothing says punk rock like a show at First Avenue after purchasing a parking space with your credit card and paying your fair share of a new sports stadium via food & drink tax.
6.  The Minnesota State Fair should be renamed The Great Minnesota Wallet Gouging.
5.    To the DJs at The Current; just admit it, some songs are total shit.  Quit praising them at the cost of your own credibility.  Show some professional criticism you goddamn groupies.   
4. Your pro teams make billions off your fanaticism; they suck ass on the field, and then ask you to pick up the bill for their new stadiums.  You gladly throw your money into their bottomless pit and simultaneously bitch about light-rail expansion.
2.  The University of Minnesota’s logo is an upside-down “W”!  Hahahahahahaha!
1.  Welcome to the land of 10,000 rules!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


                                 DEBUT ALBUM COMING FALL 2011
                                        RED ARROW SKY


Mark / Ma Ke / 马克
In eight months I met him maybe five times
He was the other white guy in town
No, he had a white roommate too
But the roommate was a closeted homosexual
A closeted drinker too

This roommate had a wall-sized collection of video pornography
He would sit there in Pingdingshan and watch Hollywood blondes get banged
25,000 miles away and probably 15 years after
like a hostage taken by his own collection

He was a closeted human being

I wanna get to Mark
but this roommate character
He was a real piece of work
He would fly out to southern cities
on his weekends
To meet so-called girls that he’d met on the internet
as if our town hadn't any

He was almost more interesting than Mark, actually

What was his name? 
It was a gay name, whatever it was

Mark and I spent our handful of evenings in the 2046 bar
Mark never had money
He was a cheap ass and I bought most of his drinks
Despite the owner’s wishes
But the owner figured I was helping my countryman out
So it was ok
Until Mark would get shit-faced and fall off his stool
At that point, his fellow countryman
was solely in charge of getting him home

Nobody else wanted to carry that fatass down the stairs
to a taxi

At some point
I became the only person to socialize with him
After he wore out his welcome
Playing drinking games with the locals
And the neighborhood cop who played ping pong with him
And the local TV station jerks
Who would always bring in some talent chick
Some prima donna lush who teased the hell out of everyone
I’m actually glad he gave her so much trouble
But the bar owner fucked them all

Mark was from Saint Louis

He had serious emotional attachments to American music
I saw him cry when we were listening to Otis Redding
He had a scar on his brow from a Pakistani in Turkey
Who attacked him with a beer bottle

“Totally Unprovoked,” Mark said
in his eternal slur
in his trademark disconnect of subject and predicate
always finding something unintelligible to put between them
And when I bought his poor ass a harmonica
He played that thing like he was talking through it
Like it was his silver little dictionary
Pocket translator
You know, that metaphorical type shit

He would punctuate his statements and elongate his questions with that goddamn thing
His gay roommate had told me once that it drove him insane
“Why did you ever buy him that stupid thing?” he said.  “he plays the fucker from dawn ‘til dusk.   It wakes me up in the morning.”

I thought Mark played well
Probably because he wasn’t so good at talking

Mark wasn’t just drunk, but all tanked out on painkillers too
He’d acquired them from a female in the pharmacy below his house
So he was always falling over
first a slow lean, then a panicked look, then a tumble over a curb
then his shoe flying off in one direction
He was always missing one of his flip flops

Mark.   His chinese name was 马克.   Ma Ke

We laughed our asses off when he wasn’t around

Ok, I’m coming to the point
I actually miss the guy
When I hear Jeff Buckley
Or Otis Redding
sittin’ on the dock of the bay
He is the Midwesterner that I rate all other Midwesterners on

Once I got really plastered in the 2046
The boss man wouldn’t let me play my guitar anymore
So I invaded the stage
While  some guys were singing their karaoke
I started inventing my own chinese pop song
I must have used the word for “homosexual” about 20 times
Some Chinese brothers came up to depose me
I started swinging
God knows what at
I was taken down in a matter of seconds
I was lucky they adored me
But I had crossed the line

The last time I saw Mark
He had the boss call me to get me down there
Mark had lost his phone down a toilet
On day one

But this day he was really broken up
A girl he had gone on a date with
Threw him off
He had been flirting with her best friend online
Sexual talk and such
Not having the slightest clue
But he was really broken down
It was near the end of our contracts
We’d worn our bodies down quite a lot
On a diet of mutton, bread and beer

Finally, he perked up
He spoke as clear and concise as I’d ever heard him
“So I heard you started throwing punches the other night,” he said.
“I did?”        It was the first time anyone had brought it up with me

            “It sounded really pathetic, man.”
             That’s what he told me
             Then he played his harmonica