Introduction by Bruce Hainley
I’m not big on introductions. Frequently they have a quarantining effect, and I prefer anyone risk exposure to writing’s radioactivity. Jon Leon’s texts burn like an extra shot of Chinaco downed too quickly, or one too many snorts of Bolivian. Fun stuff—and like when it burns when you pee, don’t regret it. I haven’t forgotten—and neither should you—the more toxic aspects of the radioactive metaphor. Despite his relative youth, Leon is responsible for almost a dozen tight books: some self-published, frequently by High Street in its various manifestations; others brought out by small but rowdy independents, Mal-O-Mar and Kitchen Press among them. They’re rare and glamorous as Hermès during the years Martin Margiela took the reins, and they sport titles veering from racy (Drain You and The Hot Tub) to cool (Hit Wave and Kasmir) to euphoric (Right Now The Music And The Life Rule). So far, I’ve refrained from identifying the genre Leon works in or with: poetry. Why? His often looks like prose, sure, but really it’s because most so-called poetry makes me want to kill myself or the person who wrote it. Marianne Moore famously declared she disliked poetry; I often hate it. Too much of it appears to be secreted by people totally regretting all the things that make life bearable, re: the specific names, above, of a good tequila, a pure cocaine, as well as a designer and a house both at their peak, peaking. Pleasure goods. “Hanging out at a pool and trying to finger you was so fun” begins a poem from Leon’s Drain You. Thinking about intoxicants, fashion and sex—and not just the thinking but also the pointblank words (poetry) and the exact matters the words stand in for and enact (poetry)—make up no small part of Leon’s writing. It’s about fucking time. Ours.
THE TIME OF THE SEASON
by Jon Leon
I’m lying in a waterbed. On the glass-topped table next to me: the journal of Alix Roubaud and a gun. I haven’t touched the gun, I haven’t read the book. I’m listening to “Roses” by White Ring. I feel like I’m overdosing on Nicorette. I spit the gum into a champagne flute and pick up Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Ellis. I read 3 pages, and then I read 3 pages from Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, and then I wander the apartment, kind of dazed, and put in a DVD of Dawn of the Dead. I watch the entire movie and drink 2 cans of Coca-Cola and eat ricotta, fig, and onion bruschetta. Some California strawberries. I’m feeling sort of high, but I didn’t do any drugs. I’m listening to the track by White Ring and willingly shift into a trance. I look at thathipsterporn.tumblr.com. There are babes and dudes all over it and then a picture of Kobe Bryant in a mist of confetti, a giant 24 facing the camera. A champion. I thought about a lot of stuff, but all I’m really in a position to do right now is smoke kush. I don’t have any kush though, so I think some more, although I find it difficult to concentrate. I think about how when there’s no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth. The dead in Dawn of the Dead converge on a shopping mall where 4 alive people retreat in posh isolation. I think about how their living room is fairly smart and attractive, and how I’d like to live in the suburban mall with them. I also think about MacArthur Park for some reason. I’m in MacArthur Park staring at a guy staring at a fountain eating a popsicle. I walk down 6th street and buy a taco, then I buy a $5 pair of sneakers. I don’t know what the fuck is going on, whether it’s a farm, a ranch, or a street – what country it is. I buy a DVD of a movie that hasn’t come out yet. When I get home I take a bubble bath. I peer into the skyline of downtown Los Angeles and then I smoke what feels like a hundred American Spirits and read a book called The Merchant Bankers, gaze listlessly at a gold Wells Fargo marquee. That was another time. Today I’m overdosing on Nicorette, not reading the journals of Alix Roubaud, staring at the gun, tangentially thinking about some Robert Heinecken pictures I viewed at Cherry & Martin called Hite Hustler Beaver Hunt. I think about pussy. I can’t do anything else so I pick up a book next to me with the title Sex and Rockets about a guy who dropped out of school to build explosives in Pasadena and invoke a siren named Cameron through a magickal process. I look at this book a while and put it down because the writing in it sucks. I can’t figure out the masturbation scenes with L. Ron Hubbard and the eccentric babes who believe in the magic. I believe in the magic though. The magic that is spun from the energy where I am. I understand that my life’s purpose is to invoke a zone of pleasure through language and ritualistic sex that feels borderline, darkly. It feels good. That is why I continue to do it. I get into an American car and drive into the city. I invoke that zone.