The Zemblan Ministry of Culture

Notes on things I've read and what I got out of them.
David McNew for Reuters - Silver Fire, California. August 7, 2013

David McNew for Reuters - Silver Fire, California. August 7, 2013

The Lost Lyrics to I Am A God

During the recording of Yeezus Kanye, on multiple occasions, scrapped his lyrics entirely and rewrote them from scratch. Many of these lyrics have been lost to time. However, I have recently uncovered this early version of the song “I Am a God” which was written in response to a slight at Paris Fashion Week. As you can see in these early lyrics, Kanye was much more critical of France and French culture when he initially penned the song. This sentiment was tempered in latter versions. 
An interesting note, the last line referencing Jane Birkin was cut from the final version, likely because of a similar line in Jay Z’s Somewhereinamerica, which was released on “Magna Carta…Holy Grail” two weeks after Yeezus.

The Lost Lyrics to I Am A God

During the recording of Yeezus Kanye, on multiple occasions, scrapped his lyrics entirely and rewrote them from scratch. Many of these lyrics have been lost to time. However, I have recently uncovered this early version of the song “I Am a God” which was written in response to a slight at Paris Fashion Week. As you can see in these early lyrics, Kanye was much more critical of France and French culture when he initially penned the song. This sentiment was tempered in latter versions. 

An interesting note, the last line referencing Jane Birkin was cut from the final version, likely because of a similar line in Jay Z’s Somewhereinamerica, which was released on “Magna Carta…Holy Grail” two weeks after Yeezus.

Long Island Poem


imageJones Beach, Long Island  from NYMag - (Photo: Robert F. Sisson/National Geographic/Getty Images)

On my birthday to to list was the task of writing a poem about Long Island that wasn’t too snarky. I move to the city tomorrow so here is my farewell.

The potato fields have been salted

Rum Runners drunk and stumbling west for the night

Shouting at each other on the way to the game

LIRR lurching them onward to the rat tunnels

Little screens filled with fruit and flashing messages

Try to capture their energy

But their voices overwhelm

Breach the sandbags on the southern shore

And wash away tract after identical tract

Sadness can not be duplicated

It is a snowflake emotion

Alway unique

If you put two lachrymose girls heading home from a club under a microscope

You will find an entire universe contained within

And likely be arrested for your efforts

They burned Giordano Bruno at the stake

But then again, they were starved for entertainment

And we have two of every kind of team known to man.

 

Wither the Midwestern Novel

I just finished reading My Antonia, and one thing that it reminded me of was how absent the midwest is from contemporary literature  Sure you get a story here and there from a midwestern city but this region of the country seems sadly neglected. And many great american novels are midwestern novels, like Marilyn Robisons Housekeeping and Gilead and Willa Cather’s work and Anderson’s Winesburg Ohio. And one of my favorite poets, James Wright, is deeply entrenched in the region. Who is the great modern midwestern writer?
What happens when you mix the internet (in the guise of rap genius) with biblical annotation (like e-talmud). Yup, the bible with cat pictures.

What happens when you mix the internet (in the guise of rap genius) with biblical annotation (like e-talmud). Yup, the bible with cat pictures.

An idea to explore

Every great novel is a mystery novel. At their core they have some fundamental question that needs to be answered which drives the narrative. Whether it’s as simple as the disappearance of a girl or as complex as the disappearance of God, it is our need to know and the authors ability to ask that makes literature rise above dross. One way to study books is to try to determine what question the book is asking and how it is asking that question.

How to love a heat wave

We spend our lives forgetting about air. We move through it and let it pass over us without a second thought. It is only in extremes that we can see air as an object; when it is filled and when it is absent. 

I hate the heat. Especially when it’s humid. I sweat, I get dehydrated and I want to collapse into a ball and lay still until it’s gone. Heat waves, especially the northeaster moisture rich variety are the worst. The natural world feels like a prison trying to keep you inside and punish you for emerging.

But there is one great thing about heat waves. They make your recognize the air. It is unavoidable. You feel it. You remember that it has density, mass, volume. It is not just background, it takes up space and you exist in that space. It moves and flows and acts like a fluid traveling in parcels throughout the planet. When it is oppressively hot out your body may not be happy, but if you try, you can teach yourself to enjoy the novelty of recognizing what air really is. You can write about hot air, you can not write about pleasant air. So yes, it is terribly disgusting out, but it is also pretty amazing. Enjoy the rest of the heat wave and drink plenty of water. Minds don’t work without bodies. Not yet at least.