January 21, 2012
This compulsive need to ‘actualize’ myself
Has consumed far too much of my being.
I wish I could divest myself
Of this tiresome illusion
That I have something to offer.
It would make it so much easier
For everybody concerned.
Not that anybody else is concerned.
January 7, 2012
Book Soup and Kerosene Bomb press presents.
The Literary Event of the Decade
On Thursday Jan 19th at 7pm,
John Tottenham and Anthony Ausgang
will appear at Book Soup.
8818 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Tottenham will finally be putting the Inertia Variations to rest,
giving the last-ever reading from his lauded collection
of 8-line poems on the subject of work-avoidance,
indolence and failure.
Ausgang will be bringing The Sleep of Puss Titter to life -
the hallucinatory ravings of a hyper-articulate madman -
with a rare public airing of his inimitable spam novel.
This promises to be a night that will be spoken of for years,
featuring two innovators and orators of the first water.
Don’t let the remote (for some) location, inconvenient hour
and lack of parking come between you and this
night of high-spirited seriousness.
December 11, 2011
I realize now that nothing will ever strike me
with the force of revelation.
And that in itself is a revelation.
It’s not much of one,
but it will have to do.
October 9, 2011
Snow falls outside the hotel window,
floating carelessly through the air…
and I don’t care.
The town spreads out below me:
A sprawling red brick dream,
with white capped peaks beyond.
But I don’t respond.
Crushing boredom, grueling emptiness,
This is exactly what I came here for.
There is nothing more.
The snow brings silence with it,
sinking into the frozen darkness of a Sunday night.
On these tired, sour, leaden streets,
the bitter desolation is too much to take
for very long. I return to my station:
Stretched out on a bed,
gazing at a distant mountain range
or staring at a faucet in a trance.
It’s not refreshing, it doesn’t seem strange
and seductive, as it appeared in advance.
Far from the City of Refuge,
with no practical scheme,
constantly ruing the latest version
of what might have been; emptying myself
into the emptiness, negotiating the rush,
as a pick-up truck plows through the slush;
and I resign myself to another night, another day,
serving out a sentence.
I told myself I’d stay.
Outsiders here are quickly identified:
they’re clean shaven.
I observe the bartender’s warmth
with other customers.
Surrounded by laughter,
I watch the bubbles in my beer,
shooting from the bottom of the glass
to a rapidly nearing surface, evenly spaced,
like asteroids in a primitive video game,
and leave unthanked.
On the street a creature is drawn to me:
A vicious black dog, grudgingly restrained
by an unapologetic owner.
These excursions strike me now,
as they always strike me at this point,
as being selfish and pointless.
What am I doing here?
When will I learn?
Despite all the goodwill I brought with me,
the place gave me nothing in return.
August 2, 2011
There are no levees capable
Of withstanding the torrents of distraction
That surge through my mind. Tender
Resentments, useless trivia and tired lusts
Are carried along like debris on a swollen river,
From which, very occasionally, a lucid thought
Emerges, only to be sucked back down
Into the sewage of pettiness and vanity.
May 3, 2011
To do nothing
In this day and age,
When so much pointless work
Is being produced,
Could almost be considered an achievement.
It all compares most unfavorably
With my own imaginary
Body of work.
(from THE INERTIA VARIATIONS)