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is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in lauren quinn (2)


In Which We Are Intimate With Bolano

Imaginary Friendships I Have With Poets


Jim Carroll 

Jim and I meet in the back of a bar. We’re both drinking soda water and fidgeting our cigaretteless fingers.

We’re there for the open mic, a poorly attended and dimly lit event we both show up at every Wednesday night, I suppose because we don’t have anything better to do. We both wear leather jackets and spend a lot of time outside smoking. We stick together because neither one of us drinks, at least not for the moment.

We read to the sound of shoes shuffling and glass clinking, the coughing louder than any applause. Afterwards we walk each other home. The city crunches beneath our sneakers and the streetlight casts sharp little shadows on our pocked skin. No one likes our poetry and maybe that’s another reason why we hang—because we’d once seemed so promising, like such prodigies.

We stand on the sidewalk in front of his stoop and give each other one of those tentative hugs, the kind heterosexual male-female friends who aren’t sleeping together do. We won’t ever sleep together, because it’d make all the disappointment and loneliness we both carry collide and explode, the way we always feel something about to explode—something itching, clawing, scratching around inside us, that we can’t quite ever get out. Not even our poems can get it out.

So instead we hug and say, “See you next week.” Which is what we always say, until one week when one of us just stops showing up.

Which one?, you ask.

You’d be surprised, I say.

Sylvia Plath 

I’m fifteen when I send Sylvia an adorably demented fan letter, the kind angsty/suicidally-depressed teenage girls are apt to send. I enclose with it some of my own poems, which are basically blatant rip-offs of hers. But Sylvia’s gentile upbringing causes her to respond graciously, saying my work displays “promise.” 

So I show up at a reading she’s giving with Anne Sexton one night in Berkeley. I stay after to get my Ariel signed. Sylvia’s sitting tired-eyed at the table and when I get up to the front, I remind her who I am and ask if she wants to hang out. In an equally gracious manner, she agrees. 

It’s Saturday, so I take her and Anne to Rocky Horror. We spend most of the time in The Alley. It’s raining. I squat beside the wall, pull that fake fur coat over my head and flick my lighter, spin a hollowed-out light bulb over the feeble flame, pinch a straw in my teeth and suck the smoke that rises. My hair stands up and I feel alive.

I introduce Sylvia to Sophie, who’s shithoused in a black slip and combat boots, purple mascara running down her face. Sophie grins at Sylvia, leans her head back against the brick wall and begins to scream the entire poem “Daddy” at the top of her lungs.

By the time she gets to the end Sophie has hot angry tears running down her cheeks, annihilating the rest of her mascara. She slams her eyes shut and together we shout, “Daddy, Daddy, you bastard I’m through.” The words echo off the sides of the buildings, ricochet and rise, and all the other strung-out fifteen-year-olds in their underpants howl. 

Sylvia looks utterly horrified at the whole display. Anne, on the other hand, takes a long slow drag of her cigarette, throws her head back and laughs.

Lucille Clifton 

I pass Lucille’s house every night as I walk home from the train station, after a solid day of classes at that commuter college I go to. My backpack is heavy and dogs bark from inside chain-link fences. I check my back every half-block, hands in my pockets and head down.

Lucille comes out to her porch. She’s taking the trash out or checking a burnt light bulb or else just looking at the night. I swear it’s like she’s timed it, like she knows when I’m coming each night: “Well, good evening,” she says; “Hi,” I say. Neither one of us admits to the farce.

She invites me in and there’re pots on the stove, big bubbling murmuring pots. There’re trays in the oven; she opens the door and peels back the foil. It crinkles; steam rises. She fixes me a plate, and I don’t have to heart to tell her I’m vegan, and she doesn’t have the heart to tell me that someday I’ll give that up.

We sit on the stuffed, faded furniture in her living room. She watches me. As I eat I start telling her about things, about my classes and writing workshops where I feel hopelessly out of place; about the boys I like who don’t like me; about the long shifts at the restaurant and the varicose veins that are beginning to bloom behind my knees. Some nights I cry.

When I think she’s not looking, I stare at the empty space in her blouse where a breast has been removed. I see the way the fabric sags. A lamp behind her illuminates her short frizzy hair into a kind of halo.

Sometimes foxes come to the window. They don’t ever scratch. They sit on their haunches and press their warm snouts on the glass, leaving little wet rings. Their eyes are small and black. 

When Lucille opens the door to let me out, the foxes have all vanished.

Roberto Bolano

Roberto and I meet at a dusty old roadside café, somewhere far from here. It’s a long time from now too, when we’re both old — older than he lived and than I probably will either.

We sit there in the stinging shade, the wind whistling hot air and bits of sand against our cheeks. We drink coffee at our separate tables, hunched over our separate notebooks and thinking our separate thoughts, or else just staring out at the big blank desert.

Eventually we start sitting at the same table. At first we don’t talk much—not about our pasts and definitely not about poetry. Only after a year or so do I start asking tentative questions.

“I started writing fiction because you can’t make money as a poet,” he says.

“I started writing personal essays because you can’t make money as a poet,” I say.

We look down at our cheap clothing, our skin weathered by years living in countries not our own, and laugh.

We don’t ever say the real reason.

“Do you still hate Octavio Paz?” I ask one day.

He looks out at the desert for a moment, at a mountain that rises up far in the horizon. I haven’t ever been there, don’t know its name. Part of me suspects that the mountain isn’t even real, that it’s a mirage I’ve created cause everything else in this town is so damn flat. I’ve never even asked anyone about it, worried that my seeing it was a sign I’d finally gone crazy.

But I’m sure in that moment that Roberto sees it too.

He looks down at his notebook and smiles.

“You didn’t answer me,” I say.

He smiles wider.

Lauren Quinn is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Hanoi. She twitters here and blogs here. She last wrote in these pages about her dating life.

"Wingspan" - Carlton Melton (mp3)

"Smoke Drip" - Carlton Melton (mp3)


In Which We Predict The Rest Of Our Dating Lives

Debauched Youth


The 90s were a brutal time to be a pubescent girl. It seemed like every time you got a good celebrity crush going, the object of your obsession up and died on you. The 90s may have been the last era of when non-conformist, non-commercial weirdos could still enjoy mainstream success, but there seemed to be a price for that: the 90s was also a time when being young, talented, famous and male proved an often-fatal cocktail.

What was a twelve-year-old girl to do? Build a shrine and crush out anyway. Because nothing says budding heterosexual co-dependency like a crush on a dead celebrity.

Kurt Cobain

This crush began young. As the most mainstream and well-known tragic 90s celebrity, the pervasiveness of Kurt’s music and persona provided plenty of fodder for your tween obsession. You pretty much tore down your NKOTB shrine to replace it with a Kurt one, in which you displayed a flair for DIY by crafting devotional objects, such as the drugstore votive candles where Kurt’s face was pasted over Jesus’s.

By age 12 you were wearing white plastic sunglasses and puke-green grandpa sweaters (just like the one on Unplugged!). Precocious, you even tried to read Naked Lunch; you gave up after ten pages but kept the book around cause it made you look cool, a fact none of the other middle schoolers seemed to grasp.

As an early bloomer, you were doing drugs and falling in love with strung-out street musicians by 15. Nothing enraptured you like a moody genius with dirty hair and “potential.” You wrote tomes of confessional poetry for these boys, which you self-published in a zine and sold at your local anarchist bookstore.

After a string of unsuccessful relationships that involved a disproportionate level of erectile dysfunction, you’re now either single or married to a dude in recovery. You’re a writer, painter or sous chef. You regularly read The Rumpus and have written a memoir of your debauched youth that you are too scared to show anyone.

River Phoenix

You grew up in California or Florida. Your parents were hippie artists and were in fact the first ones to show you My Own Private Idaho. River’s button nose, wickedly intelligent eyes and lustrous coif overshadowed the fact that he played a gay junkie, and you were smitten. You forced your girlfriends to watch the movie at sleepovers and though none you understood much, you all agreed River was cute. You were greatly relieved to discover he was not in fact gay. (The dead thing was still a bummer.) You became a vegetarian because River had been one. You made your parents buy you leather-free shoes and enroll you in drama classes. In high school you fell in with a crowd of slumming-it trust-funders. You dated at least one ecstasy dealer and were probably sent on Outward Bound.

You’re a crunchy granola type now. You have a weakness for yogis and pretty boys, and are loathe to admit you actually fell for the let-me-give-you-a-Chakra-massage line once. You have probably lived in Ecuador. You don’t care much for Joaquin.

with eliza hutton

Brandon Lee

You were a goth. You wore knee-length TOOL shirts and dog collars, and your neck was permanently stained purple from Punky Color hair dye.

Though Brandon wasn’t a junkie, the sheer spookiness of his death made him crush- worthy. You were attracted to the supernatural element of The Crow, which spurned your tendency to indulge in fantastical departures from reality. You learned to skateboard and liked to pretend you were Sara; you’d mutter her lines to yourself while cruising around your strip-mall suburb, the film’s soundtrack blaring in your Walkman. (“Eric?”) You liked to think that if you’d been born a few years earlier, you’d have been cast in her role.

You developed an affinity for doomed, epic love affairs; you dated boys who lived far away, had burgeoning mental illnesses or were not-so-secretly gay. From them you received tortured love letters, vows shouted at your bedroom window in the middle of the night and at least one case of scabies. More than one of them painted his face like Crow- style (NOT on Halloween) and took you on a date that consisted of drinking vodka at the local cemetery.

You are currently in an open relationship. You still own a pair of black raver pants.

Elliott Smith

Just kidding. There is no way you had a crush – like, an actual crush – on Elliot Smith and survived your adolescence.

Bradley Nowell

Since the only Sublime song you knew when Bradley died was “The Date Rape Song,” this crush didn’t really flourish until 40oz. to Freedom hit the airwaves when you 16 or 17. As such, it had a slightly less demented edge to it. There were no shrines, vegetarianism or role-playing, but there was a lot of singing along to the album as you drove around in your boyfriend’s hotboxed truck delivering bags of weed to local stoners. You were attracted to the way Bradley’s good-time vibe was twinged with addict despair (cause it sure as hell wasn’t the bucket hat that did it). More into partying than fashion, you were a no-frills girl who wore the same hooded sweatshirts as your skater/surfer/ bro boyfriend. Your relationship involved lots of keggers and hacky sac, and one pair of lawn-seat tickets to a Sublime summer concert sans Bradley (total disappointment but you made the most of it).

You now work at a microbrewery and play in an Ultimate Frisbee League. You are still together with the same boyfriend; you are often heard saying, “We don’t have kids; we have a dog.” You have a blown-out tribal sun tattoo on your lower back.

Shannon Hoon

You grew up in Indiana or Ohio. You had long hair and hand-sewn patches on your jeans. You spent a lot of time in the woods. You. Ate. A. Lot. Of. Mushrooms.

As the Weird Kid, you were attracted to Shannon’s peculiar inflections and out-to- lunch gaze. Having always felt you were born in the wrong era, you listened mostly to the Grateful Dead and Led Zepplin, so Blind Melon afforded you a slightly more contemporary connection with your peers. You enjoyed a few months of marginal coolness after he died. But then you dressed as The Bee Girl for Halloween and performed a twenty-minute tap routine in the lunchroom and were swiftly relegated back to Untouchable status.

As such, you didn’t date much as a teenager. You went to a small liberal arts college, where you met a kindred spirit in a Kafka course. Your honeymoon involved an Ayahuasca ceremony.

You are now a preschool teacher. You get really stoked every year when you get to play “Three Is The Magic Number.”

Lauren Quinn is a contributor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She is a writer living in Hanoi. She twitters here and blogs here.

"Open the Door" - Magnapop (mp3)

"Waterfalls" - TLC (mp3)