by Rudolfo Carrillo
That number above this text is difficult to look at, mostly because I never really reckoned it would get that high up on the scale.
You know the one I am jawing about, right? It is the one measured in how many times the earth has gotten around the sun since Christ passed into the other world.
Some say he came back again to demonstrate such a thing, after death, was possible — if only one had the proper inclination toward life. Here a proper inclination is defined by the dude's own transcendent passage through the grimly accurate and tightly wound clock that you and I call home for just a little while.
But I ain't going to be writing on metaphysics today, anyhow, it will be more like a sort of metacriticism. You'll see, you'll viddy that.
First though, I am going to lay a dicho on you that my abuela used to intone whenever something controversial came up.
When I'm done telling you all about that phrase, when I've transcribed it below, I will likely move on to the action part of the post where I do some writing about people from Burque who are from the past, from the now, from the future. Maybe I will also mention the beautiful galactic starlight that is beaming down on our city as I type.
Cada cabeza es un mundo.
First off, it has been about a year since David Craven, a gifted teacher, writer, historian, and athlete, died. Craven made his home here in Burque and we were damn lucky to have a man of his caliber working over at the University of New Mexico. I live in the same neighborhood as the professor did and I sure as hell miss seeing him drive his BMW around, usually headed for the classroom or lecture hall.
Craven published extensively and eloquently, was an impeccable researcher and authority on Latin American art; I would need to use the Krell manifestation machine, then clone myself a thousand times and program those replicants to write twenty-four seven to approach his depth and output.
If you would like an introduction to the man's work, check this out. I think it is damn formidable, and it is about the nature of criticism and tragedy, but you give it a try and come up with your own ideas on it.
Cada cabeza es un mundo.
Since I'm kinda leaning toward the subject of the nature of criticism, due to the influence of Craven's writings on my thinking as I note the anniversary of his transformative flight away from this stormy orb, this section of the post could likely provide a great opportunity to write about criticism as it relates to the local arts and literary scene.
Last week, an ulta-chido literary magazine that happens to publish my work came out with a new issue that had all sorts of stuff about Albuquerque and New Mexico floating shimmeringly though it. That ought to serve as a disclosure.
Anywho, besides a bad-ass transcript of poeticized extraterrestrial encounters by Larry Goodell and some indecipherable text strings generated by the robot I play in real life, the new issue of Unlikely Stories includes a narrative that is critical of local slam poet Hakim Bellamy.
I gotta tell you that I wholeheartedly believe that criticism is necessary for art and music and poetry to maintain its edge.
Now listen, before you get on my arse or defriend me or whatever the hell, I want to get this part out first: I have spent most of my life in Albuquerque, New Mexico (except for a portion of the nineties, when I was traipsing around the world like a skylarking sailor on liberty) working, teaching, making art, and writing all sorts of stuff for all sorts of folks, sometimes playing music too. I've done this mostly in obscurity and relished that.
That doesn't mean I have not been paying attention. One of the things I've noticed is that many people within the arts community are loath to criticize each other's work in any sort of substantive or incisive way.
So, practically everyone gets touted as a high-falooting genius with an ancient connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night. Any other model is considered anathema and dissent is discouraged. In case you want to know, that is a phenomenon called groupthink and I've seen it. The damn thing usually comes out in collusion with a Dionysian and insular disregard for anything that might even be vaguely construed as critical. You can see that happy and congratulatory monster too, I believe.
On the other side of a coin that is probably fashioned from depleted uranium, there are plenty of humans outside the arts community in these parts that just love to comment on what they run into while surfing the bland infinity at their fingertips. I get people writing me about how full of shit I am, all the time. Some folks get put off by my verbosity, but I don't give a good goddamn. One dude thought I sounded just like T.S. Eliot and I had to laugh an ironic aging hipster laugh because only I know how lousy my work really is.
Honestly, though, I gotta tell you all I support the opinions expressed in that essay over at Unlikely Stories. I think Hakim Bellamy is an fascinating persona, but I don't find what he writes or reads interesting or challenging. Like a lot of what postmodernism has to offer, there is, in the frantic attempt to express everything all of the time, an amorphous quality in his work that is reflective of a culture that too often settles on what is easy, what can be reduced to efficiently consumable fragments.
More importantly, I believe that the publication of the essay represents an important opportunity to begin a discourse that is long overdue in our community.
And if anyone here in this military outpost in the desert thinks I am some sort of loon for saying that, that I am a hack from the far reaches of the Oort cloud whose only decent work was the ad copy I wrote thirteen years ago for the classified section of this or that alt-weekly, then that's just fine and dandy. That ain't too louche, is it?
Cada cabeza es un mundo.