Wednesday, May 31, 2006

last night felt great. was up till 1:00 a.m. reading and writing, not manic, but feeling that perhaps bad shit passes and there might be good stuff to be had. so i wanted to write to everyone, open letters, postcards etc. etc. i love correspondence but often feel there is never time enough. and once i do sit down to write, it is either poems or blog entries. why not do all of it all at once. and yet, i'm a rather private person.

and yet
and yet

i do think poem-postcards/letters to fellow poet is, in the words of the great vulcan, spock, fascinating. not a new idea, i know. a project something like geof huth's letters to a young visual poet, where the subjects are writing and the life of writing. but a bit personal, sure. i've long loved reading bios and poet notebooks because they are personal, and lead into the life of reading/writing. i recall a poet i greatly admire telling me that the only biography he'd be interested in writing is one that tracks the development of the poems itself. yes, but since those texts were written by a flawed human being, one with passions, loves, who eats, shits and is cranky like the rest of us, i want to read about that person, the person who thought thru the writing of the poems, too.

i'd consider it a summer project. it'd not be terribly biographical, and certainly the texts would not contain anything told to me in confidence by a friend. but like postcard entries, or if i may carry a poetic conceit, like ol' tu fu and li po sharing a bottle of wine and writing poems on leaves to drop into the current of the river.

still thinking about it. and thinking about opening a new blog for it. we'll see how it goes. it may suck big donkey dicks. who knows. i said yesterday that i think all poets are my brothers and sisters, whether they are living or long dead. such a goofy conceit, i know, but i believe it. i don't distinguish between major and minor poets, such dichotomies are, for me, utterly useless. but there are some damn good, and very great, poets. sometimes they hog the bathroom, too.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

it hits me. feel like i've been a piss-poor correspondent of late. but it's summer, feels like summer, temp. in the high 80s to low 90s. cricket-song, acetylene skies. and i'm thinking summer movies, crap you'd see at the drive-ins, the kind of films i love. and how does this relate to being a piss-poor correspondent? cuz, i feel expansive, want to talk to everyone. why not.

so i'm thinking of a series of open letters/postcards to poet-friends and post them here. they shall be extemporaneous, not given much to editing, and be in prose and verse. subjects will range quite a bit, and don't be surprised if you find a letter addressed to you, and we may never have corresponded. cuz that means i've been reading yr blog/website/ and esp. yr poems. i think all poets are brothers and sisters, my brothers and sisters, whether there be gaps in ages and temperament. and don't be surprised to find a few dead poets among the group, too.

we'll see how it goes. feel free to respond, or not. whether or no, the words hits us all.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

been on a writing jag the past couple of days. meaning i've written several poems and started a new series of prose-y sonnets for ed wood, jr. yes, that ed wood of plan 9 from outer space infamy. why not.

used to agonize over every syllable when writing, which of course is a very slow process. but my methods of composition has changed over the years to move very fast and incorporate outside sources, when available, into the texts. something along the lines of improvisatory writing. sometimes the first draft is the right one. often tho, the improvised text is reworked and reworked and reworked. revision is its own drug, and highly addictive. i have a few poems that are still banging around the grey matter written years ago, that are still not done.

i've also learned to let some texts go. some are still-born, while others may die a slow, agonizing death. sometimes i stare at a blank screen for an hour or so with nothing set down. i still call that writing, or at least part of the processes. when geof huth was showing me some drafts of his digiglyphs composed on his pda palm pilot, i was thinking what a marvelous tool. most of my poems are either drafted with pen and paper, which affords its own luxuries, even if my handwriting looks like an illiterate five-year-old did it, and directly on computer. certainly the methods of writing, where and with what tools influences the texts as much as what the poet has read that day, or eaten for dinner.

all this shit waxes and wanes. there are times when hardly anything gets written at all. which is alright, i've learned to be patient. but i'm continuously reading, and always thinking about poetry. always. why not.

Monday, May 22, 2006

geof huth has the energy of a teenager. he had a very early, very, very early morning flight, fought the good fight with california traffic, and still had plenty of fuel to burn hanging with me till nearly 11:00 pm. and it was a school night. we both had to be at work the next day. i could've talked all night, sometimes i do, but needed to go home to anna and nicholas.

i cannot add to his very generous post of our meeting. we hit it off, i think, and talked of poetry, poets, mental illness, the life of family and the life of writing: poets with a mortgage, both in the art and in house payments. bohemia is left for the young(er) and/or foolish, i think. the garrett is overrated, but so is the guggenheim. best to make a life, roll up the sleeves to write, read and publish, and be published. geof gave me a thick collection of chaps and ephemera mostly from his micro-press, dpqp. all are beautiful, esp. the piece of birch bark with the word birchth written in silver ink on the inside white of the bark. we also agreed that james dickey's poem, 'the sheep-child', is a great poem.

what was the highlight of the meeting was watching him work. he showed me where he stashes his drafts on the 'net, and how he begins to compose a poem. it was amazing also to see how he read. back at the hotel after dinner, which was at zelda's pizza, a hole-in-the-wall renowned for good pies and shitty service, he fired up his laptop and pointed his browser to the dedication poems of marton koppany. i watched how his eye scanned the poems, his fingers tracing the shapes. it was full-bodied and with all his mind. i can't emphasize that enough, for from my perspective he was totally absorbed, and yet controlled, meticulous, scrupulous even, in his reading. i had never a doubt that he also took the greatest pleasure from it, too.

a perfect end to a frenetic weekend. and without much further ado, below is a photo of mr geof huth waiting patiently for the grub at zelda's.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

geof huth is in sac. i'm off to meet him.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

on writing

there is nothing
to writing.

all you do
is sit down

at a typewriter and
open a vien.

--sportswriter red smith

(lineated by rlopez)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

clicking thru some blogs last night i come across this post by ted burke. ah yes, the heady rush of finding stashes of porn when entering adolescence. seriously, i think every male kid has similar memories. i recall cheap pulp novels where the paper was so crude that you could see chunks of wood floating in it, and the pictures were horrible line drawings such as the one posted by burke. i also recall glossy color mags where the models all had acne and a stoner's blissed-out expression. the horror! the horror! for a kid, they were like heroin to a junky, such a rush!

and check out these good poems by ryan gallagher. these are texts that are a bit of rush upside the head. i can dig it, yeah baby.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

so then, what is local writing, or writers? i don't mean writing in local slangs or vernaculars, nor do i mean writers who chief concerns or local in flavor. when i was a kid i was fucking spellbound by faulkner's yoknapatawpha county, local sure, but also a cosmos, metaphysical even, an every where in the particulars.

so does the internet provide for my own cosmos. not a utopian ideal, by any means. and surely poetry, and poets, are not public icons, at least not in the sense of celebrity as it is known in the early 21st century. even the most well-know writer, in the u.s. at least, is a stranger to others as he/she shops at the grocery store, drive down the highway, etc. etc. and poets, as we all know, even the most famous among us are unknowns to the madding crowd.

so what. i'm addicted to the verse, and can't help but huff a few poems every day, whether by writing them and/or reading them, tho mostly it is reading them. i write this in sacramento, california, a state famous for hollywood and disneyland, tho i'm pretty far, geographically speaking, from both. and yet, many of my best poet-friends live half a world away, half a continent away. we are connected thru the ether. is it no less a connection for it?

and as for local writing, a good poet-friend recently wrote me an email telling me, when i asked for his ideas about local writing, that he loved his home in grand rapids, michigan. that the upper penninsula of michigan, where he has a cabin, is glorias, and a station from the chaos we call modern living. but for his poems, shit, he could probably write them on mars.

so then, perhaps the internet is a kind of homelessness for writers, at the very least to me as a poet. but to paraphrase the poet richard hugo, to be homeless means that you can be home every where.

i'll end this ramble on a bid of shameless self-promotion i have a review of donna kuhn's book typical girl in galatea resurrects #2. click on the link and find terrific reviews by some very gifted poets there. if i had time i'd list them all, but now heading for the fridge for another beer: sierra nevada bottom fermented summerfest.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

like this definition by jonathon mayhew, of genius?, i dunno, but agree that it is total commitment and absorption that is the highwater of, for lack of a better words, work/art.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

don't usually remember dreams, but the one i had friday night was a doozy. something along the lines of a nightmare really. i recall that there was coup, and that i could see the bombs, helicopters and planes firing and on fire over the central city, and that soldiers were going house to house and causing summary executions. i knew i was on the hitlist. i recall penning a couple of notes, poems?, to my friend the michigan poet robert vander molen, as i waited for the jackboots to pound on my door.

i woke around 3:00 a.m. thinking the shit was real. i then rubbed the sleep from my eyes and remembered i was home, and that it was just a dream. then i tried to go back to sleep, back into the nightmare to figure what the fuck it was all about. no luck. only the luxurious feeling of stretching out in bed, and letting sleep take you, as you drift out and down into slumber.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

superstring theory of poetry

how can language hold the world together
for pitifully brittle human beings
how you say i love you
or fuck off
when the evidence of words might be just
a spray of spittle
from the speaker's mouth
to the listener's right cheek

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

now this is funny. sign of the times?

i recall a couple of years ago when various non-profits were displaying their wares and services during a kind of open house. the red cross was present, and that booth was operated by a kindly older woman who was giving me some pamphlets on how to cope and survive all manners of disasters, such as flooding and so on. i asked, half tongue-in-cheek, if the red cross had any contingency plans for nuclear war. she said, no, but there was one once years ago, and maybe she could find that pamphlet if i wanted to follow-up.

she did tell me, i think, that the red cross had scenarios for coping with terrorist acts, such as bombs, chemical and biological attacks.

i then asked the lady if the red cross had a contingency plan for the dead rising from their graves and attacking and eating the living. she gave me this look that told me i should now piss off.

well? the boy scouts motto is be prepared. one must think of all and any scenarios.

furthermore, we are less than a month away from the mark of the beast, you recall, 666. as in june 6, 2006. the end of the world? it is if you go on that day, which is the opening of the omen, a remake of the 1976 flick starring gregory peck about a little boy who is the incarnation of ol' scratch himself. demonic possession, to this catholic boy, scared, and still scares, the shit out of me. i remember watching the exorcist as a lad, and shitting my pants in sheer terror. but the peck vehicle had only mild chills, and was mostly boring. make it creepy, and they will come. remake a boring horror movie, and then try to tie it in with the oddness of the date 6/6/06, well, that, i'll tell you might be the end of our days. better yet, perhaps i can talk my good friend b. into watching it at the drive-ins. that way we can party like it's 1999, drink many few beers and shoot the shit while the child damian onscreen curses us all.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

shit, feeling the effects of too-much sun. my face looks like a baked apple. weather here in sac has turned from winter rain to blow-torch summer. yep, as usual, no fucking spring at all.

anyway, the following photos are of the fringehead taken at the monterey bay aquarium, a creature anna and i are fond of, who a denizen of the shallows who fiercely defends his lair of broken bottles and other detritus from divers and other vermin. we first discovered the fringehead, the sarcastic fringehead as it was once was called, back in the early 90s when anna and i were dating and spending a weekend at the steinhart aquarium in golden gate park. we admired his tenacity and 'tude even while looking slightly ridiculous. when we opened an aol account we tried using sarcasticfringe for our email address, but someone beat us to it. instead we had to go with

the third photo is nicholas tripping out at the monterey aquarium. he had a great time, and loved especially the kelp forest, a two-storey mother of a tank.

the next is me, at the same place. nothing to add, perhaps i should've posted the photo anna took of my butt at the beach instead. butt, face, who cares.

the next is nicholas digging in the sand with his new-found beach stick at natural bridges state park beach at santa cruz. he was so filled with joyous exuberance that he plum tuckered himself out.

the next is me and nicholas at the mystery spot located in the mountains above santa cruz. i'm a nut for goofy attractions like this. again, nicholas was having a great time, shouting for joy during our tour of the spot and the crooked house tilted at a severe angle because it had slid down the mountain. the results being the tourists like myself freak out at the optical illusions created by the house, such as a ball rolling uphill. whatever the cause of such effects, the house seriously made anna and i seasick when we were inside. nicholas, on the other hand, shouted for joy during the tour-guides presentations.

following photo is of the santa cruz boardwalk from the vantage of the santa cruz pier, which juts out to the ocean for several hundred yards. again, i love goofy, slightly seedy attractions such as the boardwalk, but all but three or for of the rides were closed.

and last is the view from the living room of the house we were staying. it was a beautiful view.

anyway, spent this weekend reading and writing a bit. glad to see steve tills blogging again. also, check out philly poet hassen's new blog and also bill allegrezza's latest issue of moria.

it's late, perhaps there's still time to watch a movie.


Friday, May 05, 2006

just got back from santa cruz where i am sun-dried, bleached and beached. the mantra of santa cruz is, according to the bumper stickers on all the local rusting vw buses and volvos, is keep santa cruz weird. and it is, a bit, like it is still 1969 but with skateboarders and loads of surfers.

we had a great time. wi-fi router in our beachfront house wasn't working so my laptop stayed idle. read only a bit, cuz we spent most our time looking at the window, and going from there to here.

came home to a lovely gift from mark young: his most recent book episodes. read only bits and pieces cuz we've been home only a couple of hrs, but the range and vitality of the poems is astonishing. and gets me wanting to bust out and write, not as well as mark, but that such work makes me want to write. gracias, poeta.

also, check out mark's latest publishing venture otoliths where i have a couple of poems. i'm deeply grateful to be in the company of a solid group of outstanding poets, visual and textual. esp. check out jean vengua's chap.

the following are various pics from our trip. too tired to explain except that the the mystery spot really is weird. anna and i got seasick in that slanted house. almost had to hold our heads to our knees. and the last photo is the view from the living room. we saw whales sounding just a 100 yards offshore. we spent most of our time looking out the window to find more whales. when we found them we became as excited as our bambinos at the beach.

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