28 septiembre 2011

rosh hashanah

I don't often use my blog to write about my personal life, leaving it in general for poetry, translation or essays.  But tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and I've decided to write a little bit about the holiday.

I think by now many or most of you know that I'm an observant Jew, despite the fact that I don't always let that show through in my poetry.  Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, literally means "the head of the year" and is typically considered the new year for humans on the Hebrew calendar, the anniversary of the sixth day of creation on which God made Adam.

For mystics, however, the word "shanah" (שנה, year) is actually better understood via its linguistic root, which is the same that gives us the word "shinui"(שנוי, change).  In one sense it is the transformation from one calendar year to the next, but the Kabbalah teaches that this holiday is actually like a trial, in which we must identifying every area of ours lives from the past year where chaos or negativity existed in order to adequately defend ourselves and justify that we be granted another year of life.  In this sense, it is the cusp of personal change or transformation.

It has been just over a year since I published my first poetry chapbook and have really taken on poetry as a fulltime hobby.  Through reading my own poems I am able to see how I've spend my past year, and decide how I'd like to alter my life for the next one.  In the book Pri Etz Chaim, Rabbi Chaim Vital states that the study of mysticism is only for the sake of "removing thorns from the field."  Through dedicated study for the past six and a half years, I have only the intent to become the creator of my own consciousness, to be able to truly control my emotions and actions.

For six months of the past year, I let my consciousness be entirely controlled by a guy I had met for about thirty minutes in a bar on spring break.  Before that, my poems aren't significantly different, mostly being reactions to the way various boys have treated me at one time or another.  Even at this very moment, I have found it particularly difficult to stay level-headed as I duel it out emotionally with another crush.

Seeing as Rosh Hashanah as both the "head of the year" and the "head of change," I would like the next three days to be a springboard towards becoming more independent of the people I deal with on a daily basis.  I realize that the majority of my selfish, rude or insensitive behavior is a reaction to being hurt, offended or in any sense aggrieved by another person.

A year ago in Argentina, my therapist told me "Jake, you suffer a lot for love."  I guess this year I need to just tell boys to fuck off a bit more as I focus on my own projects... Still sounds pretty bleak. :(

L'shanah tovah u'metukah...

27 septiembre 2011

poem by thais zumblick

Why do you project in me that which you believe
me to be?
Why don’t you sense the doubts of
my existence?
Why is my reality only real
when it departs from your lips?
Why are my emotions
Could it be that I’m nothing more than…
I just spoke down to my son
my stomach is rejecting the damn coffee mixed with Xanax
my pained ego is enslaving my mind
Why do you think that being me
is what you’d like to be?


this is a poem that thais zumblick once read us sprawled on her floor in tears and pizza crumbs and they come to mind tonight and i miss those days more than ever

26 septiembre 2011

we're getting older
wasting the moonlight hours

25 septiembre 2011

the maharal was buried in the old jewish cemetery
and his golem got thrown to the altneu shul's attic.

23 septiembre 2011

לֹא־נִכְחַד עָצְמִי מִמֶּךָּ
אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂיתִי בַסֵּתֶר
רֻקַּמְתִּי בְּתַחְתִּיֹּות אָרֶץ׃
גָּלְמִי רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ
וְעַל־סִפְרְךָ כֻּלָּם יִכָּתֵבוּ
יָמִים יֻצָּרוּ
וְלֹא אֶחָד בָּהֶם׃

This is a chapbook about making a golem.
If golems scare you, you should not buy this.
I will only print 20 copies. There will be no .pdf.

21 septiembre 2011

i think i like writing reviews. soon on magulladón more "lit crit." i mean, i guess as much as i like writing, and love translating, my degree was in literature, not creative writing or translation. seems i should put it to use.

coming in the future, reviews of the antipobros, michael j seidlinger's new book, a collection by alexander j. allison and the book i just finished by bataille.

this seems good.

20 septiembre 2011

by Dan Hoy
(buy Omegachurch here)

I promise
nothing will ever come between us

and our interface,

not after
that antitechnotic

took the place of every k-stroke

with pictograms made of parenthetical
marks and arrows

of all the ways I could be bent
and penetrated

were I to actualize
beyond my predetermined allotment.

Due to the memory

and system limits

all concurrent programs will be shut down

moving forward
prior to any uploading of stimulus,

such as songs

made out of the binary deposits
of my user’s voice,

without which we could not fund our operation.

19 septiembre 2011

Even though I thoroughly enjoy both writing and translating, I must say that the later is a more fulfilling task, in a sense.

Writing is a lonely endeavor, isolating myself from other people and looking inwards to explore my emotions and how to externalize them via language.

But translating is always a joint effort, where another poet and myself get to duel it out on the keyboard and come to an agreement.  Afterwards, I carry a bit of them around for a few days or weeks, as their words repeat in my head.

Frank Hinton talks about how she must read extensively before even daring to produce her own writing.  Likewise, I feel any of my own writing has been born of the works I translate. And that is just fine with me.

18 septiembre 2011

compared to my usual hesitation
(~one-three days)
the build up to professing that i liked you
was quite long
(~one month)

i hope the build up to you falling in love with me
takes considerably less time
(~one chat)

ppl with my chapbook pt 3

Mido Ramirez (Buenos Aires)

James Duncan (Sydney, Australia)


e-mail me ur pic of my chapbook if ud like it posted!!

16 septiembre 2011





pasado mañana

estoy viviendo en el ahora
y qué pena que tu cuerpo esté tan en el futuro.

15 septiembre 2011

more ppl with my book

Jackson Nieuwland (Wellington, NZ)

Matt Margo (Ohio)

Meghna Prasad (Washington, DC)

Un dia largo de trabajo
Desarmé mi casa y construí un árbol

En el árbol había una casa del árbol.

Desarmé la casa del árbol y construí un árbol bonsái.

En el árbol bonsái había una casa de muñecas.

En la casa de muñecas había una muñeca vudú.

En la muñeca vudú había un mechón de tu cabello.

Tomé el mechón de tu cabello y lo guardé dentro de un relicario.

Me colgué el relicario al cuello.

Desarmé el árbol bonsái y construí una casa del árbol.

Desarmé la casa del árbol y construí una casa.

Dentro de la casa estabas acostada en la cama.

Me acosté a tu lado y dormí.


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newer york

14 septiembre 2011

september fiction and poetry

inspired by stacey teague & susie anderson's podcasts, and the general disbelief that I refuse to read fiction (cf. Carolyn DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland), I've compiled these three videos in which i read passages and poems that I have read or re-read in the last few days.

in no particular order i read stuff from milan kundera, ca conrad, simchah bunim, clarice lispector, jorge luis borges, dan hoy, jess dutschmann, william burroughs, roberto bolaño and panna naik

added incentive is that i am shirtless.


I wanted to read something
so I grabbed Dan Hoy's Glory Hole.

Some of my favorite verses are:

or Florida is where people go to die
when they won't go anywhere else."

are what happens to good ideas."

"History is for kids. Tomorrow
is full of horror, stupidity and death."

"After nine thousand years pretty much
everything is a waste of time..."

"... The time of my life is the time
it takes time to end..."

"I feed on plasma and cry a lot
and suck at feelings."


Without going into much detail, my basic perceptions, upon re-reading this book, are a sense of bleakness.
It would seem that there's a sort of superficial presentation of actually deep pondering.
It's not that God doesn't have a place in the book, it's that he's kinda bored too.
I'm left kinda wondering, "when will life be over?"
It's not sad.
It's not really any feeling.

If you don't already own this book, you should buy it.
That may be done here: http://mal-o-mar.blogspot.com/

giving away a copy of the chapbooks
PORN by jackson nieuwland and
Aries Rising by victoria colmegna
to whoever writes me the prettiest verse.

submit here: jrs542@nyu.edu

13 septiembre 2011

in 'like' with you

i want to go to the middle of the woods with you
and a boom box
and a mixtape
and a notepad
and a pillow

we'll pretend to listen to music
and we'll pretend to write poems
and we'll pretend to do anything
but really we'll just cuddle

this is the worst poem i've ever written
but i'm pretty sure i mean it the most

don't worry

pictures of ppl with my book

Stacey Teague (Auckland, NZ)

Carolyn DeCarlo (Washington, DC)

Reprobus Ben Ze'ev (Indiana, USA)

Neon Glittery (Arkansas, USA)


if you bought my book and would like your mugshot on my blog,
e-mail me: jrs542@nyu.edu

12 septiembre 2011

my aunt on me being a writer:

"you get to help people bring out parts of them that they can’t bring out
see parts of them that they can’t see themselves"