‘Faced by hospitalizations, therapies and rehabilitations, the characters in Flamingos are in a permanent state of psychological mutation. In exchange for melancholy reminiscences about their mundane existence, false messiah Simon holds out a promise of release from the drudgeries and depressions of Middle America.
‘Grant Maierhofer’s polyphonic voice formally recalls such Modernist masterpieces as Virginia Woolf’s The Waves. Nonetheless, this book is wholly his own, a brilliant, idiosyncratic exploration of the fragmented twenty-first-century mind.’ — ITNA Press
‘This work will be a nightmare. You are no detective.” This is a noir without the proper detective to piece back together the crime and its narrative. This is self-surveillance under the influence of drugs, art, poetry. Without the narrative cure, the novel becomes sick: “Here the plague again. I’d read once of a fictive plague and a city essentially turned to chaotic police state rot… One thinks as well of the art created then and its constant incestuous vein.” The narrative can turn into a police state of rot or incest. Maierhofer has put his mind to exploring the pustules of this plague “pumped through imagined tubes into the skulls of various Americans and Elsewhereicans.’ — Johannes Goransson, author of Haute Surveillance and Dear Ra
‘Part Beckett, part Unabomber manifesto, part Laurie Weeks, Grant Maierhofer’s Flamingos is singularly alive and wild. Despite its explicit, fascinating cast of characters and influences, the book’s voice is energetically original and strange. Each wrought sentence makes manifest a rapacious linguistic and cultural appetite, along with a world-transforming alchemy.’ — Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets and The Argonauts
‘Permutating along a fine line between culture and trash, theoretical reality and actual reality, Gucci and Mayhem, Maierhofer’s Flamingos invents a way of thinking about our world and what’s left in it that feels at once schizophrenic and clear as lube, as much like a map or index as a New Novel in an era where there can almost no longer be a novel at all, but information. Here’s some information you’ll want to bang to the front of the plague-strung queue while you still have eyes.’ — Blake Butler, author of 300,000,000
‘Elliptical, surgical, Flamingos is also grim, smart, funny and syntactically menacing, a kind of fictional oral history of what one character calls ‘an American Darkness.’ Grant Maierhofer plays for serious stakes.’ — Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
‘A luminous whirlwind of language, emotion and wit, Flamingos cuts through the lethargy and indifference of our lives and our lit with style and rage. This writing is a blast!’ — Jeffrey DeShell, author of In Heaven Everything is Fine and Arthouse
Meet Grant Maierhofer
Rudimentary Peni – “Death Church” (full 1983 album)
John Lennon- Mother (8X Slower Primal Scream)
Kathy Acker Docu by Alan Benson New York 1984
Patient – a neurotic, poring over lived experience and print
Flamingo – a daughter, sunlit, driven by manias
Edmund – a viewer, a depressive, concerned with sight
G.G. – a criminal, involved with strains of black metal, survivalist
Attila – a driver, lover of his auntie, thinker
Simon – a healer, a messiah, M.D., D.C.L., L.L.D., Ph.D.
Haydn – a son, former love interest of Flamingo, caregiver
Eileen – a niece, preoccupied with bloodline, marked with loss
Olivier – a witness, Simon’s cohort, misfit youth
As you walk out of the valium of death
a sad feeling limps around your brain
funny farmers sowing seeds of discontent
pumping nerve gas around unfeeling veins
“Happy Farm” – Rudimentary Peni
A story? No. No stories, never again.
In Heaven Everything is Fine – Jeffrey DeShell
A cackling life inside, a smear of bellylaughs spat back at tellings of doctors, explorers, manipulators. There He dictates with some solution. Spread through cities and guts and the entrails of homelives or families, the presence and he says what’s done. Slid easily back into the comfort of loss—step one, repetition, regurgitation of psychobabble—we did His will to varying degrees of efficacy; he had his say and we were merely subjects. Out out their eyes would look and sweep. Waves of grass and promise lumbered up against the buildings as streams of hope, possibility, taunt. His voice mad of distraction and mother’s milk. His arms earthplates of welcome into what could be. Simon, not a man, not a man. Simon, our teething on his light and what would come. Simon, a future, a renewal. Burnt again and born again our bodies clayshells dripped of ideology to embrace the Father, embrace Simon. A plague of cure-alls, panaceas, SSRIs, MAO inhibitors, breathing exercises, consultants, meetings, rooms, plastic furniture, sweatdrops left from anxious bodies too medicated in various heats never converging. Simon, his own renewal never. Simon, constant drilling awareness of all minutiae and no substance building every hoveled life in cities. He heads south to find a grave in Florida; more followers to meet the beck and call. He topples amid manifesto language and yearns to beat back against the pulse of protest in his times. Simon, ever the miserable failure. Simon our Christ, our Cunt Fear our Cock Fear our Man Fear our Woman Fear our Plague Fear our Head Fear our Love Fear our Death Fear. Simon he lives and dies for his own sins, not ours. Simon’s a polyglot mumble found in waves, in graves, in gutless darknesses beneath wherevers. Simon would wander etching missing notes to sidewalk wondering why they’d dropped in for thinking ever. Simon assembled the passage, the mode. Simon put together the festering, saw what might be done. Ordered and disordered whole gasping last breaths of fathers lost in death while the thumbs twiddled at the wheel of his auto outside belighted storefronts. Scrapped together and wrapped up to be found by some moralist of Hawthorne’s gape and reach. There is no puzzle etched in chalk—it is his missive. It is fetish. It is leatherine. He’s hobbled obsessed with evering death. His mother a jovial plot of mothers, a husking, a collective. His father whatever protest against the aforesaid, and mayhaps a bit of mistaking, mistaking. Simon doesn’t plan our lives, just mumbles at the bodies while they pass.
You have begun to sift through notes to find something revealed. The incessant in this place, the schizophrene. You’ve attempted to grind meaning out of the gaggle; their therapies your only connective point. You have not heard voices so much as intuited nauseas. You’ve fed yourself on bad coffee spreads in hospital and within homes of loved ones kind enough to take you after hands began to slip. The world would not be righted. His take on things suddenly gained perspective, now a straitjacketed old man occasionally seen mumbling on newsfeeds about some great redemption. You began a search backward into heads, perhaps avoiding your own. With each change you only hoped to black your walls.
Call me Flamingo; whatever it was is fading. I sat atop where I happened to live just being. Outside my work inside my car I’d slug at sugary black liquids that energize. I programmed, encrypted. Where I existed was within a city no longer operating as a city, rather a pustule. His alterations to the landscape, the mentalities. I call it pustule and had no friends there. I walked like Travis in Paris, Texas in the clothing come across mostly in stores secondhand. No safety zone. There will be no safety zone. I had no commitments, had broken no marital code, to my thinking. Thirty-four years and my ex-husband and I got divorced when I turned thirty-one and told a falsehood regarding a pregnancy. He wouldn’t shut his mouth about wanting to put children inside my medicated guts. He was an oafish man with long ambitions and consistently short haircuts who I met and engaged with physically, the result of a website that allowed couples to couple and put their parts to use.
Having no more patience for the journal, the diary, the anything approximating a brief lament quasi-essay interrogation of what you’ve read, watched, listened to, you enact this. An assemblage. Your research. The work. You do not care. It will exist time to time and will account for what has existed between times and times. It will not delve in any capacity. Let them face it: it is fairly dead; there is only now a pissy teenaged scrawl. Embittered voices asking after daddy.
I didn’t ever love him but he collected bad films and we watched them and ate pizzas and there was something loving to it, I daresay. My teeth are goners like the betrothed as a result of meds and energetics. I feel such an urge to tell. We’d sworn in various ways not to unveil the various things he’d put inside our skulls. I watched footage of his ECT and guess I pitied the man. Perhaps before this I was converted. His reach was that entire. Picture the doctor describing the procedure as Simon’s pinned to leather chair bound in cuffs of same just moments before his mouth is stuffed of rubber and his body seems to shake itself loose. Undefined gluey rivulets came forth and doctor returned to speak softly about its result, its promise, what might come to be expected. He’d acquired it on receiving permission to research this and more and used its grant money to record himself starved beneath his home in lurid shades.
I cannot profess to have known the man, or wake up and proceed as his follower. I do not do the “how I came to be this way” as is their wont, the ilk’s wont, so here I piddle. The storied. Newsprint. I’ve burnt his telling to my brow and thus am culpable, required to speak whereof I do not know. Archivists have asked after the recordings. I’d pirated them occasionally for late viewings and meditation. I’ve kept them boxed with annotation; some home recordings from his trials.
Say for instance one weekend I visited my auntie where she lived and we’d come together? I’m not sure of preferred terminology in matters but I know where I stand. You live outside moralizing as such and a body like Simon comes easy. I’ve picked up a bit here and there; the rest I give to him and auntie. I haven’t seen much but you see enough sleeping amid thirty or more heaped metallic crates hauling whatever needed wherever. Simon came to me those nights. He’d driven to set funding aside; saw his route as shamanic. I’d followed briefly. Was then the learning took. Read a bit, not much. Lots on plague, sure. I guess I never shook the notion that the world had just, or was soon to just, lost most of its presence, say?
When you became roughly twenty-four and one-half years old you became a follower of Star Trek. It was late, and the fondness grew from a likeness you saw between its creator and images of L. Ron Hubbard—you needed religion. Hubbard’s voice seemed to flood the sixties for you, this syrupy drawl, moneyed, tyrannical. Perhaps a surrogate father, though you’re hesitant to welcome it. Grown men sitting before microphones arguing over the state of things; the mind, humanity, children. It might be here your vulnerability began.
And I taught them. And did not. To resist their obsessive teeth. To grind their desires to a bulb, then watch it burn. And there is no hemlock, no way out; I, therefore, walk aside with the mud and silt, and you become my enemies. I do not know how to speak it, to think, “I, Simon, become difference, or God.” I have nothing to say. You and I cannot judge you and I. Now the time comes, I think, to make something known. I began to witness all, and remained with them delivering the judgment of a man; I retched, became as lofty as your walls. My followers more my fathers and mothers than I their leader. It becomes the other hand, you, not to the soul, there is no wrong against you, and yet a rope grows around my throat. I did not learn anything. I’ve never found a bad fellow in the house of the mad. Everyone in me, their language, and the desire of circumstances aside, the asylum is not where I shall lay. It would not be an apt turn, sad, and you took hold of me not as a good man, but death itself. The doctors you have to say? The medicine speaks in dull, dumb, blind tones and incoherent even. If you become deaf, mute, blind, what you do echoes. Ridiculous, I’ll show you. It’s what I showed each of them. But it is good that all is well. Nothing to do with the question, your questions, it makes no difference, as all are one. It is perfect. There is God. He is seated within your walls to right and left of me. It is your God, a parent. And that is God. But let me speak: the power of the Father, there is no other, bleeds much more than you think. You imagine things, fabricate diseases. A man thinks, then set aside by the dose, or the sessions; if they do not do it again, you sell that sense of newsprint, public opinion, video, as you have hung up to spite me. I did not what you now do. You do not have to kill out of my mind because it is rotting; you all in front of all to string me up. And the beginning of all my children they are your own, they hear and turn back the face of the doctors. I do not care. And I never hesitated, only showed them how to do something good for the good of the all, what you think is evil. Your mothers in the newspapers to write things that you will not tell me, you forget me in the asylum. To eat the flesh and to desire, to the teeth, a being better than your own. Tell you the same way, you send out to find my head. Your own wickedness loud enough. What are you and your descendants. Each of you the picture of right and good against my hands.
“Attila! Attila!” a sort of gull’s crack from youth chimes me back. I know my mother well in memory. Sat high above the earth in my employ, there is coherence; an aftermath, a settling. A wind might push through and scrape against the metals, or heat stopped for coffee against the chest and cheek. Go on runs see other sides to people, ugly, feral families driving from vacation to its opposite. Go on runs and neglect myself for weeks or so. Simon capitalized on as much. Easy to see the emptying spirit I guess. Easy to spot a man nearing on some life-death dilemma. We spoke of what we’d seen. He told me of various tortures, new ways out he’d carved. I listened and slurped at cans our feet both wrapped in wool and up against his dash as night proceeded. He’d experienced shock, insulin therapy. He’d met brilliant physicians, philosophers. He’d seen a youth bury his hands in a jar of water designated for Jaques Lacan. He spoke well of matters so I felt sharp, less dumb. He prompted my speech. I’d once met a boy on the street in New York and talked over the state of things while he broke from loading something into a gallery. I’d once emptied myself on the longest stretch of desert I’ve seen without car or human presence in sight. My family became immaterial beyond the cat on lap or memories of fattened weekends on auntie’s couch and I’m quite at peace in an American darkness. Today sat in bath with filth and limbs stretched out and intermittent dose of scalding water on ankles. Home for several days, maybe the boredom would swell, thick and pungent. I’d visit auntie’s and come away round and shining. I drive a small pile of plastic guts while off the road. My father might be sickened at my indolence.
In your schooling you’d learned well to subvert commonly-understood histories in favor of something postcolonial that accounted for the cruelties of mostly White Men since the Dawn, and it was in this way you’d entered the narrative of Gene Roddenberry, terrified and useless as a newborn. Not dissimilar, you met Simon through the texts consulted and eventual correspondence where he’d become a number. He now submits experimental essays to the PEN Prison Writing program. Young girls wrote him letters and he’d respond with sheets of toilet paper scribbled through with stories about the end of Nature, the end of God, a new beginning for the human race, a revelation, a plague, anything to set their teeth on edge. He’d become imprisoned and institutionalized after any number of things. You’d watched with some disdain his testimony as it seemed to lose coherence, heft. He’d sent a list of possible wives at one point wanting you to see. You assembled what you could in going forward, occasionally pulled back to the work that seemed to embrace simply surrounding yourself with souls.
p.s. Hey. Today the blog has the honor, privilege and fun to help usher in (out?) the new novel by the extraordinary writer and long time local of this place Grant Maierhofer. I’m most of the way through reading ‘Flamingos’, and I can tell you it’s a very fantastic novel, so do explore the samples and info about it today and consider picking up your own copy if everything adds up. Thanks a lot! And thank you, Grant, for letting the blog do its small part. ** Gregoryedwin, Hi, Gregory! I’m so pleased you’re taken with his work. Like I said, I’m brand new to it myself. I hope all is as great as humanly or even inhumanly possible with you, man. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. My impression is that his work is essentially unknown outside of France. Oh, ha ha, thank you for campaigning for LCTG. That’s so awesome of you. I would love to have been a been a fly on those walls just to see the other critics’ befuddled faces. I have no interest in seeing ‘Moonlight’ based on what I hear and know. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Yes like I said, his work was unknown to me too until I read paeans to him occasioned by his very recent death. Very special work. I hope that his work’s visibility is increased by the tragically belated kudos at the very least. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! I’ll tell you the buche winner(s) for sure. Traditionally, I usually photo document the chosen buche’s unboxing and destruction by mouth, and I’ll try to do that this year too. ‘Never “motionless”‘: a perfect way to put it. Okay, the tattoo festival sounds quite fun enough, if not what you’d imagined. You’re going to buy a machine? Do they look cool? I’m imagining so. I guess I’m imagining they look sort of like a Goth dentist’s drill. Which is probably too … romantic? My yesterday was kind of hectic. First, right after I launched the blog, I managed to accidentally hit my head on something and rip a hole in my left ear, which took about an hour to stop bleeding, and my ear still looks a little scary, and then I had to rush to meet the real estate agent at the apartment I was to check out. I waited, but he never showed up. It turns out he gave me the wrong address, but then he was very pissy about it and tried to blame me for the mistake, so I’m not sure if I’m going to reschedule that visit or not. Then I met with Gisele to talk about this new dance piece I’m working on with her. That was good, and I have a bunch of work to do on that today. Then I met up with Zac, who’s not completely better but was feeling okay enough to meet and look at some art. That was great, of course, and we did some planning for all the stuff we need to start doing right now to get ready for our upcoming film shoot. We went to the Centre Pompidou mainly to see the Cy Twombly retrospective. It confirmed my pre-existing opinion that his paintings are self-coddling, privileged, excessively tasteful, overly precious stuff whose reverential treatment by the whitest, most effete contingent of the art world is boring. But still, it was worth doing. Then Zac and I walked around, talked, and that was great, and then I came home, by which point it was near bedtime. So, not an uninteresting day, all in all. How was Tuesday for you? ** New Juche, Hi, Joe. Yesterday was crazy, so I finally was able to get ahold of your new book this morning, and I’m excited to open it. On ‘Death of Louis XIV’, well, it was more thoughtful and aesthetically rigorious/curious than I had imagined it would be. The tone is odd and interestingly maintained. Like that. I was given the wrong address, so I didn’t see the apartment. Maybe I’ll see it this week, we’ll see. There are some experimental filmmakers working with Super8, yes. It can be hard to see their work because many of them think their work is too compromised when uploaded onto Vimeo, etc. And because, generally, the work being done in that format is highly experimental/personal, and the venues for that work are few and far between. ** Ferdinand, Hi. Cool, good move to upload your photos. I look forward to seeing. ‘Lolita’ in Dutch is a very funny idea. Well, based on having been able to speak Dutch at least rudimentarily back in the 80s. Thanks, man, about the blog, and have an excellent week yourself. ** TomK, Hi, Tom. Yeah, the wood block one is a sleeper hit. ** Steevee, Hi. Oh, gosh, of course I hope you do like LCTG. And your vote, if so, would be very kind. Yes, it had no theater distribution at all, anywhere, due to its producer’s nefarious business practices. I tried a little more Heron Oblivion, and it’s growing on me. The Fairport Convention meets Iommi comparison is very cool. I like that. I do know of Lionel Soukaz. I think I’ve only seen a few of his short films, which intrigued and impressed me. Interesting: I’ve been thinking of doing a post about his work here, and you mentioning him seems like the checkered flag to do that, so I will. Well, it’s true that it’s not easy at all for me to find people my age or even fairly close to my age who maintain an interest in new, more experimental music. Or film or literature, frankly. I’ve never understood why that interest declines with aging, but yeah. Mm, well, aren’t the films that you seek out as a critic shaped to a considerable degree by your understanding of what kind of films your experience tells you editors will be willing to have covered? Which means it’s through no fault of your own. If you were wtriting about film for, say, The Wire, it would be a different story, but then you would also basically be writing for free, which is not fair for you. ** Joakim, Hey! Yeah, that two-plus month Google war was so stressful. It was surprising and heartening to find out how much worldwide support the blog has. That was amazing, And I won, shockingly. But at the time, it was scary and horrible, for sure. Great that you might come to Paris! I’d love to meet Asger. As you might know, Michael and Bene are in Italy waiting for the birth of their child, which should happen any day. I think they’re back here in early January. I should be mostly here. Zac and I are getting ready to shoot our new film at the end of March, but I think, other than some day trips to Bas Normandie where we’ll be shooting most of it, I should be here. If you do make plans to come, just let me know in advance, and we can make sure that M, B, and I are here. Cheap-ish hotel? I can check and ask around, and I will. Wow, only just briefly clicking over to look at your recent work, it looks incredible! I didn’t know that you’re making three-dimensional works. I’ve been out of it, obviously. Wow, the work looks absolutely fantastic. I’m going to spend some real time over there when I finish the p.s. Congratulations, pal. I would love to talk with you about it. Another reason I hope you’ll come on down here. Great! Love, me. ** Jamie, Hi Gem-y. (as in ‘a precious or semi-precious stone, especially when cut and polished or engraved’). Newcastle. All I know about that place is the most ultra-clicked thing, i.e. that coals are bound for it for some reason. My Monday was busy, had its ups and downs. See my description to Dora. I read a couple of Bartlett’s books back when we were press-mates. Let me think. Oh, ‘Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall’ and ‘Mr. Clive and Mr. Page’. I remember that were quie good but not quite my thing. I think his main thing is plays, no? Or was? Excellent Tuesday to you, and I hope everything continues to go really well there where coals are bound. Tell me please. ** Misanthrope, Well, he went on to made experimental documentaries. It happens, man. Comet Ping Pong … oh, is that the pizza place where Clinton runs her child sex ring? ** Kyler, The article was exellent, my friend. Kudos, and I learned stuff too. You sound really good. Excellent! ** Armando, Hi, man. I thought your words about Haynes were a bit harsh, yes. Apples and oranges and all of that. Well, based on what you wrote about Jos Charles’s book, I think I can safely, ha ha, say that you and I live in very different worlds and heads. I eat at least one Xmas buche per year. Well, not all of it ‘cos I share it/them with pals. I don’t think those slave sites necessarily even existed back when I was writing ‘The Sluts’. ‘The Sluts’ was derived from the form and goings-on of a now-defunct website where clients reviewed escorts. I have no idea how many of the slave profiles are sincere, legit, etc. I think most them are people fantasizing aloud, but I don’t know. Ha, if you went to see ‘I Apologize’ in February I guess I would think that you must be very wealthy to spend that much money to do something so peripheral. Later, gator. ** Okay. Return to welcoming Grant’s novel into existence, please. See you tomorrow.