Rachel Glaser’s Hypercolor Multitude of Moods

By Blake Butler


Rachel B. Glaser

I can still remember where I was and what the air felt like the first time I read Rachel B. Glaser. I’d slept the night on a friend’s futon and was woken up by the sun blasting me in the face. Crumbs from the sofa were pressed into my skin. Being awake early in a strange apartment with nowhere else to go, I groggily picked up the issue of my friend’s magazine I’d somehow drunkenly acquired the night before, and turned to a story called “Pee On Water.” Although I had read an insane and fucked story of Rachel’s called “Butt Teen” years earlier, in that work she had been credited as “R.B. Glaser,” and I didn’t immediately realize the two were the same person. And yet, as soon as I began reading “Pee On Water” I knew here was someone with style and confidence to spare, who could pretty much do anything inside a sentence and not only get away with it, but have you being like, “Haha, WTF.”

Like, here’s how “Pee On Water” (which would later be reprinted in a book titled, yes, Pee On Water) describes the history of human sexual evolution: “Males try sex with females from the front. Boobs get bigger to remind males what butts felt like.” Take that, Philip Roth.

Or, like, check out her paintings of NBA players, created sometimes in MS Paint and sometimes by hand. You might not expect grand aesthetic beauty in a portrait of Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, but in the same way that she can write about boobs and eating paint and the invention of plastic in a way that makes you think about it in a new way, Glaser’s eye for the line opens wide into the grace and patience of the athlete, caught in form.

Glaser’s latest book is a collection of poems titled Moods. In it we are witness to the same sprawling catalog of bizarre beauty extracted from the mundane, and her weird ability to turn any kind of presence into something magical. The voices here shift seamlessly between God and Woody Allen, Valium and babies, accumulating fragments in some way like a cubist Mitch Hedberg in the body of a 20-something woman. The images sprawl and cut themselves short at the same time, and seem to be able to go anywhere at once, but also follow some very rigorous inner logic. You’re laughing, and then you’re struck, and then you’re struck again and slightly dizzy, and then the poem pets you on the head, then it’s kind of fondling you while pretending to help you walk straight. Within these lines there is an electric array of moods, each of which never hesitates to stop and wallow in its own colors, but in the end keeps on moving into more ideas. It’s both refreshing and challenging at the same time, which feels awesome.

Three Poems from Moods

"God is popular"

god is popular with athletes
they think about him while they practice
but rarely will he watch with one of his eyes

he has countless eyes
a hundred eyes, more
he is all eyes, but they hurt
and he can never sleep

the ocean is okay
but boats crowd it with their wakes
god can’t help but look at every bubble

it puts a strain on his eyes to watch small things and fast things
cities, streets, fingernails
dots on a die

he prefers to watch other planets
Saturn and those ones
those are graceful
more one color

watching Rushmore be built
the Great Wall
something lengthy and accumulative

he hates fireworks
but the worst is to see a needle being strung
the little end of the string struggling to fit
his eye feels like it’s been injected with iodine

he cannot rub it
he is invisible
no one can help him

---

"The BAD LOFT PARTIES"

I had sex with this boy I’m friends with. He has such a nice girlfriend. If the
parties hadn’t been so bad, we wouldn’t of, but every party was bad. One party had
baked ziti, but was still bad. The friend, he wears t-shirts that have disgusting things
silk-screened on. Like somebody eating their eyeball with a fork. Somebody who is not
real. Or a cow having sex with a car and both are dripping with slime. A bathtub filled
with blood but the blood has a smile.

My friend decided to write a love song to win back his girlfriend. I helped because I
took Poetry once, so I know how to do lyrics. We tried to make a song but it sounded
too somber. I think it’s because both our guitars are black, I said. He looked and it was
true. Shit, these are my only guitars, he said. But it was O.K. A love song is always sad.

I have never made anyone my whole world. I like taking apart bikes and putting them
back together different. There was never a guy who floored me. The ones I know,
you’d be retarded to get lost in. They live in basements and pee in bottles. They steal
everyone’s Netflix. A party that’s bad, makes me more sad than mad. That’s one of my
lines from my poems. Then it goes: A boy is a body, a butt is so bare, I ride on my bike,
no hands, eating air.

---

"Incest is lazy"

roommates are monsters
a graveyard’s relaxing
the police are pretentious
artists are wimps
jocks are blocks
babysitters are prostitutes
angels are gay
holidays are non spontaneous
moms are my slaves
dads are hard to read
homework is lame
Sundays I find mournful
gossip is energy
love is overdone
birds don’t participate
brothers are renditions
teenagers are accused
beer is filling the room
globes are spinning off their holders
boogers are extra atoms
science is sexy
history is impossible
Kathy is unholy
Sarah is hella lonely
butts are like babies
writing is like boring
boys eat power
baseball season is over
fall is like grunge music
days are alike
hell is not real
heaven is fake
homes are redundant
friends are brief masterpieces
weed is so crazy
America was immoral
humans are monsters of choice

Previously by Blake Butler - Fatty XXL Meets the Little Mermaid High on X and Texting

@blakebutler

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