Phoenix Recap Day 1: Neko Case, Calexico, and a Slew of Haiku.

faked by Saturday, April 30th, 2005

So it’s five-thirty central time Thursday nite and I’m sitting in a bar in a sketchy ghetto part of the Houston Hobby airport (who knew that airports could have across-the-tracks parts? The rest of this place is all NASA and chrome, but the Southwest section has a gift shoppe with a half-dozen Texas shot glasses and a magazine selection consisting wholly of Marie Claire and last month’s Elle) and I’m already drunk off a ten-dollar double shot of Maker’s (volume: a bit less than a standard shot) and a couple Lone Stars (which I don’t really like, but hell, I’m in Texas and it’s the closest thing to local brew I can get).

XYZ calls while I’m at the bar and we stagger through a conversation about Neko Case and I’m getting excited about seeing her tonite, but an hour and a few cans of Heineken later the absolute mare-o-nite of the flight to Phoenix sets in, the plane full to the brim, and me starting to fall asleep despite the splendor of A Splendor of Letters, by Nicholas A. Basbanes, a book about the history of books.

Wonderful things learned from Splendor:

De libris fatalis” was the phrase used to describe writing a book so heretical it got you killed.
Incunabula” means “from the cradle,” and describes those very first books printed in the time of Gutenberg, from roughly the 1450’s to 1500. The North American incunabula period starts in 1639, when type was set on our first printing press.
A “dendroglyph” or “arborglyph” describes writings inscribed on trees; likewise, a “petroglyph” is writings upon a rock.
The June 16, 20, 27, 30, July 2, and July 4th editions of the1865 Vicksburg Daily Citizen were printed on the back of wallpaper due to the paper shortage. The July 4th edition was finished up and printed by Union soldiers—for that is the day they seized the city.

[I’ll scan in some crap drawings from my Moleskin here, later]

I do a botched illustration of Shelley’s “Ozymandias.” National Poetry Month may be (nearly) over, but poetry is alive and well, and I heart it more than ever. Some drunken haiku:

The fucking suburbs.
From the sky you can see the
pure-grain Stepfordness.

How many people
live in damn Houston, Texas?
And, for God’s sake, Why?

Dear El Hornio-
voiced guy behind me on the
plane—please, please SHUT UP.
[he also looked disconcertingly like El Hornio]

I fall out in the
middle of America,
sleeping through fog—good!

The houses below
look like dull yellow jewels in
a sea of blue land.

What am I, without
my Fondren, my Belhaven,
my little green world?

Phoenix lives up to
its namesake—an amazing
amber grid on black—
Shine through the velvet
visible from the moon, and
pretty as a star.

The girl is front of
me is reading an old New
Yorker
. Kindred-soul!

Below us now is
only night, black as ink, and
thick as darkest pitch.

And I land and Cat can’t seem to find the pick-up spot because, let’s be honest, she’s drunk, and it’s totally Keystone Kops, and she keeps saying “I’m only five minutes away” and I’m sauced enough just to laugh and go buy a sandwich and wait a while. I finally see her and she’s got her hair cut in this kick-ass chopped bob and we crack up and get lost trying to leave the airport because, you know, she’s still drunk, and we go to her haus to change and then we get lost going to the Marquee and we totally miss Neko Case, and most of Calexico—who were playing with a ten-piece mariachi band!—but then Neko comes back out and does a Hank, Sr. song I don’t recognize with the boys and they do “Préndeme La Vela,” by Abelardo Vásquez, which is in Bottle Rocket? And I would have never noticed but Cat did, and then, I’m exhausted and we go to bed.

8 Responses to “Phoenix Recap Day 1: Neko Case, Calexico, and a Slew of Haiku.”

  1. Sally Nordan says:

    I should have come along and documented your trip. Then, after extensive editing, I would call my film “Train Wreck.”

  2. pinky says:

    HA! you’re damn right!

  3. You’re crazy. The closest thing to a local brew would’ve been any of the St. Arnold’s varieties, followed closely by Shiner Bock.

    About 3 million people live in Houston. I’m one of them. It’s pretty cheap to live here, and you can find just about whatever you want, if you look hard enough.

    Hobby is a terrible airport; all our business travel goes through Intercontinental, aka The Good Airport.

  4. gorjus says:

    Oh! Todd, I wish I coulda had a St. Arnold’s—never had that before. And I had no idea Shiner was outta Texas. Remember, my selection was limited by what they had at the airport, and Lone Star was the only non-Bud/Miller/&tc.

    And, I got no problem with Houston, except for the sprawl (which I don’t like any-where). I was just drunk and cranky. Lord knows, you can’t judge a town by its airport. Cat and I got into a lengthy conversation, fuelled by some of her non-Phoenix-liking co-workers, about how there are wonderful things in nearly every place I’ve ever been, be they big cities or Alabama backwaters.

    I actually really like some of the super mod elements of Hobby, and they’ve put in a ton of work sprucing up the rest, and look to be putting in a mall-like area in one part. None of that, though, was in the ghetto section I was in. As a rule, anyway, I’m not too fond of airports.

    Sally and Pinky, you haven’t read the rest of the wrecked train, yet. Actually, things are going pretty smooth. No vomiting, &tc.

  5. “Incunabula” would be an excellent name for a poorly named Nu-Metal band.

  6. gorjus says:

    No! I was just letting this entry, er, soak in. I have a BUNCH more, actually.

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