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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 mark arturo (18)


In Which We Cry Inside A New Bedroom

This Is Up Front


NEW YORK - Three men walked all the way back from the front of the line, coming up to us. Their arms filled with packages, they said they wrote the future of the world. Now they were purchasing supplies and the like, lumber or metal, to make palatable the less fruitful aspects of the dedicated life. I said, "What will happen, in the years to come, that we should know about?" They thought for a while and tossed Starbursts into each others' mouths.

Outside of Home Depot, one man had a parrot in a cage and another men was heckling him. The parrot repeated both of what they said in a slightly less horrifying vernacular. Traffic was moving backwards on the parkway. I was saying goodbye to everyone, and the way I was saying goodbye was with tiny backwards motions of my fingers, alternating even and odd.

Central Park. In the shallow water, my cousin Arlo sails a paper boat. The crest of the fake boat rejects the shadow of a wave. Further down by the Polish statue, in 2007, I was told I was loved next to a seal. I think of him (the seal) on Easter, and alternate Wednesdays. Ash is a language, sailboats are a language, lost to us.

Arlo is the type of cousin one regrets not having at a younger age. He moves in time with the waves, but there are no waves other than the sound variety, massacred by the chattering of finches. The slow onward progress of events impresses an echo but nothing further at this time. Arlo repeats non-sequiturs to himself. They say that is the habit of a growing, learning child, but I disagree, having observed it up close. It is more like a reflex.

After I drop him off at his mother's, I walk the shadow side of the street past the hospital. A group of monks are harassing tourists. A bunch of men, all 5'5" and shorter, are comparing different bowling balls in the courtyard of a church. When I come back on Sunday, there is a pile of Christmas lights as high as a man.

My new apartment is painted a color two shades from the natural repose of a man ensconced in brick. "I would like to see you on Tuesday, maybe Wednesday if I can get off work," an e-mail reads, and I send it to a specific archival folder where it can be reconsidered as if it were a legislative proposal. Someone else's best efforts are bound to be disappointing.


a) Made the left turn, never went to Philadelphia

b) Partial prints, partial apologies, men in auburn-crested suits

c) Offered up under my name, Mark, also the name of many others. We should have one way of addressing ourselves known only to the animals

d) I wish I had touched the heel of a vessel to the top of this gangly haberdashery, crossed and languid in the molten core

e) or even said her name aloud

f) not voting for Hillary Clinton

g) more caution can always be used upon the crossing of an avenue

God repeated a statement of fact as if it were a divisible question. We know the query is an answer to whatever other question there was before something existed. Now, to the time where nothing existed. Who made the first word in the first mouth, and abdicated the rest to the imaginary?

It is great to be able to talk about these things in a city, because no other setting can handle it properly. When I get home the men of the future are engaged in a vesting and intricate argument. They believe, as do I, that the key is the measuring unit, and then the amount. Without knowing how much of anything we can desire, and survive, we must test out the correct volume. Anything else would be a broken promise.

Mark Arturo is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which We Bargain With A Frightened Man

Painting of a Thousand Faces


We are angry. We are angry with you for what you did.

You further reproach me with having promised you that I would paint your picture with the greatest possible care that I ever could, Dürer wrote. That I certainly said unless I was out of my mind. For my whole lifetime I could hardly finish it. Now with the greatest care I can hardly finish a face in half a year. Now your picture contains fully one hundred faces, not counting the drapery and landscape and other things in it. Besides who ever heard of making such a work for an altarpiece? No one could see it. But I believe that what I wrote to was: to make the painting with great or more than ordinary pains because of the time you spent waiting for me.

We imagine modernity began with the last man to speak, the last man that we recognize. (Or woman.) Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had indoor plumbing? Civilizations are circular, cyclical, and we return to the end of the line.

The central posited fact, that remains through the ages, is an image in my mind. A man sits on the edge of a sunset and bakes himself into a landscape. Perhaps he would rather be with a man or a woman but he is unmoving in the firelight. I want you to know for all my days I have never begun any work that pleased me better than this picture of your which I am painting. Till I finish it I will not to any other work, Albrecht Dürer wrote. I am only sorry that the winter will so soon come upon us. The days grow so short that one cannot do much.

Life at the turn of the sixteenth century was all double entendres and unprotected sex. Man considered visiting the moon before deciding he had other things on his mind. 1503 was the kind of year where you wondered why there had been any other. Dürer had three journeymen on his payroll; all were named Hans. Dürer was the type of guy where a part of him was in the present and a part was in the past.

He felt he had missed out on books of art written by close friends. "Phidias, Praxiteles, Abelles, Polteclus, Parchasias, Lisipus, Protogines." He wondered what they wrote about the thing he loved. There were times in history where mankind thought art was a pejorative, a casting of evil. Maximilian asked Dürer for a design of a knight; it would adorn his tomb at Innsbruck.

Sometimes it seems odd how little Christ is talked about by nonbelievers as a historical figure. He is a character as much as Dürer, although he was not as light in the face as Dürer, and he did not smell of turpentine, bleach, and painting oils. When a man understands the thought of another, he can only understand it on as many levels as he can comprehend at one time. Some, like Dürer, could simply hold many more thoughts. The expression of the additional levels was present, here for example:

We are eight to a side, we are sitting at the table until we fold beneath it, our wings pressed down, facing the ground.

Erasmus writes of Jesus Christ that, He despised the eating of his own flesh and drinking of his own blood, except it were done spiritually. This is an analog for history. The history of our people is different somehow, because there is no longer such thing as flesh and blood.

Dürer's mother gave birth to eighteen children. Her name was Barbara. Dürer wrote, God be merciful to her. On her deathbed he drew her. We had the chance to make peace at the end, but we only stayed away. Mankind, in its infinite wisdom killed something precious, and the only way to move on emotionally was to kill something else precious. A few years later, Dürer began to lose his eyesight. He left Nuremberg for a time, determined to see other surroundings.

Mark Arturo is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which We Pretended Not To Notice Her

I Think You Understand Why That Can Never Work


You were sitting on a stool in midtown, perfectly erect even without the backing of the chair. It was not unusual for you to look your best when I was at my worst.

Later, I looked up a place to meet another woman, who I will call Sam. When I arrived, nearly an hour before she did, the waiters applauded. She kissed me goodnight next to the 6 train. She wanted to go to another bar, one that was not so stiff. I said, no, I had to get home. The subway is the most fulfilling place to cry that time of night.

Sam worked for this internet company that was on the verge of unprecedented wealth. For the first time in her life, she was going to become seriously rich, even though she had done very little to merit it. However, there was an expectation that she would amass considerable wealth at some point; this just happened to be the way it occurred.

At the same time I was dating another woman, Kelli, who lived downtown. Kelli is a secretary at a law firm. Neither of the women knew anything about the other, and it was a few months into this whole thing that I realized they would not have liked each other very much.

It is a gratifying and useless thing to be admired. In every good pairing I have seen, a mutual admiration at least develops over time, if each is the sort of person they represent themselves to be. If that feeling never develops, they are unhappy.

Kelli did not respect anyone who did not work hard. She took her own work very seriously, more seriously in fact than I have ever seen someone take their work. This was a positive commentary on whatever was inside her. During sex she shuddered like a mouse in a trap.

So that bar in midtown is supposed to really take you back to the day. I went back a few times, mostly when I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t run into Sam because I knew she hated the place. You feel like Don Draper but the music is even more terrible than that. Some Sinatra is expected but they played the worst kind of jazz, like what white people believe in their hearts that jazz should sound like.

The bartender would always have her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s mother come in and sit at the bar. She made them all kinds of crazy drinks and would describe how she made them. It was the only thing she ever had to say. In contrast, Sam talked a lot. Her family was from Mississippi, but I think she had been glad to leave. All her brothers were married now, and her father had been in the merchant marines and was a very hard man. She was the smartest person in her entire family, and she did not come from money or anything like that.

Sam shared her apartment with a Korean woman who was always traveling with her boyfriend to some far flung place. The first night I ever went over there, her kitchen looked like it had never been used. The only thing in her refrigerator was water because she worked so much. Her bed was insanely low on the floor and uncomfortable. She probably lives in a really nice apartment now, but this was not one. It was on a great street in Brooklyn though with a bar I still go to. The bar has this massive fireplace and they give you tons of free drinks and food, I have no idea why. I have never been in a place like that.

Maybe they were nice to me there because of Sam, or because they thought I was Sam’s boyfriend. (I wasn’t.) Despite working for a tech company and coding very well, Sam did not love the internet or being on it, so I doubt she is reading this right now. When we were together she seemed to melt on me. She had been in a relationship with a not-so-great guy. I think because of that, she didn’t want monogamy, which was fine with me because whenever I was in Manhattan, walking through Central Park just felt like a ghostly visitation of you. The boats moved in and out, and a glass window protected me from them.

It was too confusing seeing both Sam and Kelli, and things sort of petered out. I will say why for the sake of completeness. With Sam she had a lot of friends from her company and she was always drinking and getting wasted with them, and it sort of turned me off. They got high all the time and when she was high she was a disaster. Some parts of it were actually nice, but mainly it was like anti-therapy: the steps a person takes that make them less mentally well.

With Kelli she was really into fighting and I think she wanted someone who was also into it. That is sort of me, but I like serious arguments with emotional conclusions. She liked emotional arguments with serious conclusions. I think you understand why that can never work.

For awhile after that I was alone, and I spent most of my time walking along the Hudson. Remember that park we went to? I sometimes went there, and eventually met an anesthesiologist walking a poodle-cocker spaniel mix. She lives on your street; well not exactly on your street, but closer to the projects. At times how emotionally unavailable she was made things easier; naturally soon after that it made things harder. After we broke up, she brought my coat back to me.

I think she could probably never love me, or anyone. I longed to tell her how much I loved her and how great she smelled and how perfect her skin was. You could tell her maybe one percent of that and she would accept it, but any more and she would smile and roll her eyes. Here was someone, I thought, who just did not give a fuck whether anyone admired her or not. It was obvious it could never work, but her apartment was so clean and cold. It was like making love in an icebox. Actually it was making love in an icebox.

The winter’s dangerous, and you might not live in the city anymore. Meeting someone now is taking a chance, I know, and it is both fortunate and unpleasant that it buries you still deeper. I told you I bought plane tickets for us, and for a second you believed me. I told you I was willing to do this or that, and that I wasn’t willing to do some other things. You believed me. I told you that I loved you and that you were a mystic of the north and south and east and west, and that I had never met anyone like you. You believed me.

Mark Arturo is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Manhattan.