Friday, August 31, 2007

after a very long, stress-filled day at work i rushed to the cineplex in the mall a couple of blocks from the office to catch the 5:20 p.m. showing of rob zombie's interpretation of carpenter's masterpiece halloween. by the time i found my seat my heart was palpitating, not in anticipation of the film. frankly, i dislike remakes all together, so i wasn't expecting much from zombie. i was all stretched nerves because my day was fucked up.

so then what did i expect from zombie's revision of halloween? i've a tremendous respect for the filmmaker/musician. zombie is a few years older than me. he grew up in the '70s and became obsessed with the same films i did as a kid. plus the 1970s really did have a scungy, creepy vibe [e.g. compare the movie last house on the left with a more recent turn of horror movies: torture porn - see the saw or hostel movies - and despite their blood-letting and imaginative torture devices you'll find that house is the sleazier of them all] so zombie's vision of horror is deeply influenced by the horror and exploitation movies of the period. in addition, zombie loves halloween paraphernalia. every frame in this film and his first effort is rich in halloween details.

if i could i'd decorate our house with things halloween. luckily, anna won't dare let me. so our house is free from weirding out visitors and neighbors. friends and family all know my obsessions and are good-natured about humoring my predilections. still, '70s sleaze and halloween imagery cannot carry a film alone. brutality possibly can tho. and zombie layers the violence as if it were salsa on a taco.

from a distance bloody gore and salsa do look similar. at any rate, the first 3rd of the film is given over to the young michael myer's abusive home life. we also learn he's a psycho already. i won't give out any spoilers here. despite my misgivings of the movie [which i've yet to air] i like how zombie puts a film together. much like an adored poet who has a bad book, zombie's movie is worth the effort if only because it was made with his eyes, heart and ears.

the second 3rd of the film is given over to his life in a maximum security psychiatric ward. the less said about it the better since for me this is the weaker part of the movie.

but by the last 3rd the grue is amped and despite a few holes in the plot it crashes and screams with a gut-rending satisfaction. it's not the same movie as carpenter's but there are a few scenes and lines directly lifted from the original. those scenes and lines lifted me right out the story and wondering why the fuck zombie would bother with them at all. they are anachronisms and if releasing a revision of a classic movie is not enough for direct comparisons - and zombie should be well aware that his film dims when regarding it versus the original - lifting pieces of the classic movie into the revision is not like postmodern pastiche but feels rather like a betrayal of imagination.

there was something about the tone of the flick as well. the 1st 3rd was gritty and raw like zombie's second feature the devil's rejects. but by the end the movie shifts and looks a bit more like the baroque gaudiness of his 1st feature house of a 1000 corpses. there are also a few other problems with the script that i won't say because it would give away too much about the plot.

the movie shifts from sympathetic portrayal of michael myers to presenting him as pure evil. i like my evil straight please, no chaser. carpenter did not have a back story for his myers and thus myers acts of violence are scarier since they are something that can not be named. they are the products of evil that is faceless, soulless and without meaning. and that is the most frightening thing of all: horror vacui. meaninglessness. zombie, by making myers more sympathetic undercuts the terror because human beings are many things, including evil, but they do things for a reason. take away that reason and you've lost all hope. that is terror.

i had a bad day. by the end of the movie i was feeling pretty damn good. the walk home was filled with that very, very early autumn dusky light. the sun was just down but there was enough light to illuminate the buildings which glowed orange and gold. it is friday night and the street was thick with people at the shops, bars and restaurants. i had just seen a movie of unrelenting brutality which in spite of my criticisms i liked because i liked how the director puts movies together. and a lot of people died in the film very grisly deaths. that made me feel better too. for a fuller explanation on that here's u.k. critic stephen thrower on the dark pleasures of the slasher film:

An average day is awash with unwanted humanity. Seeing the likes of Camp Crystal Lake's holiday-making ass-holes get butchered is a pleasure that doesn't need to be pressed through the filter of psychoanalysis to yield enlightenment. Watching everyone die is therapy enough [. . .] The raison-de-etre of the slasher film is to show the horrible (yet pleasing) death agonies of a busload of idiots.

["Pre-Postmodern Slasher Seeks Ironic Teen For 'Meaningful' Termination" pp. 8-9; Flesh and Blood Compendium ed. by Harvey Fenton; FAB Press, 2003]

if i have just a little bit of advice to give to rob zombie it is this: please stay away from franchise horror and sequels of other filmmaker's work and develop original work. yr vision requires it. you got the eye and the ear. and you've got the intestinal fortitude for some really good violence. find a project worthy of yr talents. at least the blame would solely be on you.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

heat index

at 103
               i died
               when i heard a fly

the tree


12:30 a.m.
reading the old beat poet
walt phillips found

listening to coast to coast
streaming at
it fucking late
shld be heading to bed

can't sleep

12:33 a.m.
newsvoice says it
is 83 degrees f.

broiling hot
according to
matthew broderick

in that neil simon film
tarzan cldnt
take this kind hot

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

via billy mills:

A nice quote from Beuys: "I have always tried to show why art has to do with life. Only from art can a new concept of economics be formed, in terms of human need, not in the sense of use and consumption, politics and property, but above all in terms of the production of spiritual goods."

from the guardian blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Knocked Up (2006), dir Judd Apatow, starring Seth
Rogan, Katherine Heigl

‘Knocked Up’ appears to be a gentle, charming comedy
about parenthood but is infested with all kinds of
horribleness, double standards, hypocrisy that belies
its apparent surface. Ben Stone ‘knocks up’ Alison
during a one night stand after a night’s clubbing.
Essentially the film piles up allusions, euphemisms in
order to distract away from its essential
derivativeness but also the hypocritical attitudes,
regarding sex, marriage, babies, that the film panders
to. At one point Ben is watching Steve Martin in the
film ‘Parenthood’ on one of those big monitor hotel
television sets that resemble fish tanks more than
television sets, referencing the last dire Hollywood
attempt to discourse about (something that perhaps
Hollywood needs to do more than anything) growing up.
This was one of Martin’s direst efforts but even pap
like that is at least two notches higher than ‘Knocked

Ben and Alison have fornicated without really knowing
each other very well, if at all, and the result is
that Alison becomes pregnant (‘knocked up’). Alison
(played by Katherine Heigl), an unpleasant,
controlling person and a careerist, who is being lined
up to be a television presenter of some kind. In some
of the more unreal and ludicrous scenes in the film,
the television companies director discusses ideas
about her shows. Ben (played by Seth Rogan) is a
kinder, more rounded character, portrayed in the film
as a kind of waster, explaining to Alison how sex
doggy style has nothing to do with dogs but is really
only another sex position. Alison is utterly shocked
by the suggestion that Ben and she do it ‘doggy
style’, even though she was formerly unperturbed about
having sex on a one-night stand with a total stranger
(at the start of the film when she was ‘knocked up’).

But even though Ben is a little bit more pleasant than
Alison, it is still quite obvious that he is a
stinker. As is this film. There is one word that
sums up this turgid mass of nonsense: vomit. Another
one is puke. Alison is overcome by horror and sadness
at the prospect of bearing Ben’s sprog. Ben is too,
but he feels dutiful and responsible. The one other
option open to the couple, abortion, is never
considered, although it seems the only way forward to
a couple who are clearly unpleasant even disgraceful
people with nasty friends and family. They are
clearly incapable of raising a vegetable garden let
alone a child. The thesis of this film seems
implausible, it also seems hastily made (the sound
boom keeps on dropping down at the top of the shot).
The makers of this film are clearly dirty-minded,
smutty individualists remarkably naïve about
relationships and sex, and would clearly be better
served by going out into the world to find out
something about D.H.Lawrence or Oscar Wilde or even
just about loving relationships, than creating this
degrading rubbish and perpetrating it on our screens.

My advice to any decent punter is: stay away from this

Paul Murphy, Ealing Empire, London

Easy Rider (1969) dir Dennis Hopper, starring Hopper,
Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson

A further re-tread of this magnificent film that
looked nothing but tired. Engaging all the senses
once again, Easy Rider fills those senses with a
vastly entertaining window on the late 60s. The
soundtrack is still excellent, not just the choice of
music but the sound, image matches. The initial burst
of Steppenwolf Born to be Wild, the bikers on the
highway, Peter Fonda on a customised California
chopper wearing a stars and stripes helmet, Dennis
Hopper riding a conventional bike in buckskin. The
rest of the film is an unwinding of the first few
spectacular moments. At the time Hollywood (America)
was in the doldrums. The fiasco of the Vietnam War
was a backdrop, but also chaos in Hollywood, a result
of financial mismanagement, poor artistic judgement,
an unwillingness to invest in the future but merely to
rest on the laurels of past glories. This opened the
door to independent film-makers who might steal the
initiative with something low budget but glorious.
Easy Rider is a total summation of this moment.

The direction is refreshing, engaging. Instead of a
storyline, the characters Captain America\Wyatt, his
sidekick Billy embark on a bike ride across America to
find themselves, freedom, oblivion, after selling
their cache of drugs to an identityless hoodlum
(played by Phil Spector). Wyatt naively stuffs the
money into the fuel tank of his chopper, makes rash
decisions, choices. On the way they pick up a (good)
hippy, visit a commune, meet a lawyer, George Hanson
(played by Nicholson), who is then murdered by local
hicks, go to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, pick up
some prostitutues, have a seeming trip\sex with the
prostitutes in a cemetery, are then murdered in turn
by some red neck duck hunters somewhere south of the
Mason-Dixon line. All this doesn´t add up to much of
a storyline. In fact like many journey parables, a
typical theme of much romantic literature, nothing
much happens at all. The characters don´t find
freedom, their identities or even themselves, but
merely their own deaths, part of their foolish stunt.
Even though Wyatt, Billy seem to be fools, their
foolishness becomes identified with personal liberty,
individualism, truth, fulfilment making their journey
seem more like an LSD trip, imbued with excitement,
edginess, risk, loss of control. Seemingly that all
adds up to excitement, but why should it? The quality
of total innocence, naivety of Wyatt, Billy, their
willingness to believe in the total goodness of
humanity that makes their quest living. But what they
find on their journey is also very disturbing. An
America infested with hillbillies, rednecks, hicks,
harmful crazies, but also naïve city-born hippies
attempting to grow crops in their wired-up commune
replete with attempted theatre, free love naturally,
the stunning American landscape (complete with
soundtrack by Steppenwolf, Dylan et al). Isn´t the
film saying, this is an America where people who are
different, like crazily harmless George Hanson, Wyatt,
Billy, are deserving of a death sentence. This is the
background to the films message that is never told but
shown (and this must be down to the writing skills of
Terry Southern, who also worked on Kubrick´s Dr
Strangelove: that being different is good, that
killing people who are different for that fact is
insanity. That, indeed, is part of the film´s themes,
messages, that seem, in their own way to have some
nascent authoritarianism written into them about the
others that infest America, but only part.

Yes, local people have a right to object to the
presence of drug dealers\addicts in their
neighbourhood. When the film was shown in the deep
south, audiences cheered at the ending, thus upsetting
the film-makers intentions. The druggy sequences do
have an eerily hypnotic quality, do seem to bring over
some of the edginess or disassociation of the
experience, but in most ways the film adds up to a
mess. What distinguishes it is the direction of
Hopper, the performances of Hopper, Nicholson, who
seem to get on very well indeed especially when they
are zonked on marijuana. The film does very well in
assembling audience sympathies for the main
characters, in showing what is wrong with America:
small-minded, small town, backwater attitudes add up
to a very disquieting portrayal of middle, southern
America, far away from liberal New York or California.
Peter Fonda never did so well as this, for it is the
only film in which he ever distinguished himself. He
appears to be the only straight character, engaging
our sympathies, in the film and may only be in it in
order to make a kind of genetic connection between new
Hollywood with Old Hollywood. Hopper, washed up at
the time, a star of the 1950s known for his
aggression, need for narcotics re-invented himself
here, re-emerged a decade later with another defining
performance in Apocalypse Now as the photographer in
Kurtz´s ‘plantation’, then a decade later as Frank in
David Lynch´s Blue Velvet. Nicholson himself went
onto have an incredible Hollywood career, re-defining
(I don’t want to use this word too often, but it seems
pertinent here) himself over and over again in crazily
hammy roles in films as One Flew Over the Cuckoos
Nest, The Shining.

This is the film that launched the careers of
Nicholson and Hopper. It also launched the New
Hollywood cinema of the 70s that was to be brought to
fruition by directors such as Francis Ford Coppola,
Martin Scorsese (but also Steven Spielberg, George

Paul Murphy, Berlin

Monday, August 27, 2007

if the personal is political then the poetical is indeed personal. could it be otherwise? wait, before you answer that i have beside me as i type my copy of berrigan's collected poems. took me years and most of my 20s to appreciate the grand poet's achievement. argue as much as you'd like about abstraction and lyric writing but i want to know that the poems are made by a person.

so it goes that the weekend was spent at the california state fair, always an event in our lives. i'd post pics but the damn camera battery went low. nicholas had a blast as did mommy and daddy. even tho nicholas is at that hyper-imaginative stage in his development where ordinary scenes and situations can scare the dookie out of him. cows for example, who are large and with loud moo. when he delights in something, such as a pony ride, it is like billy blake back from the dead conjuring his visions of heaven and hell. we'll be back this weekend and hopefully take pics so you can see what we see.

then reread kevin killian's collection of poems based on the great italian director dario argento's films the argento series. these harrowing texts are precisely what i mean by the poetical being personal and tho they are full of sadness and horror about friends lost to the aids epidemic filtered thru baroque horror movies, there is a lust for life that is so rich and powerful that i came away from my reading refreshed.

then it was more stephen king reading and watching the old vincent price movie the last man on earth on google video.

as killian and bellamy wrote: the poetry is in the gore. next up are two more reviews by paul murphy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

i've noticed with high-speed connections and that our blogs have become multimedia zines. you hear me complaining? not at all for when you post video content on yr blog i learn about a whole lot of yr likes and obsessions. and i also discover more of the world of music and movies i'd otherwise be ignorant of.

below is the live version of 'sweetness and light' by lush. the band has been defunct for over 10 years, but for the past 5 or so years they've become a favorite of mine. lush was part of the late '80s - early '90s shoegazer movement, an ethereal pop with heavily distorted and layered guitars over a dreamy beat. it was called shoegazer because that is exactly what the band members did as they usually stood in one spot and played their intruments. i can't articulate why i love this band so, but man i'm thinking about writing a series of poems in the form of epistles first to the band's leaders, emma anderson and miki berenyi. watch, be amazed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

below are three movie reviews by - in his description - a european poet based in london, mr paul murphy.

Transformers, (2007) dir Michael Bay

So the latest summertime blockbuster has arrived, this
time an attempt at retro-trendiness with a film about
those transformer toys that seemed to appear suddenly
in the mid-80s then disappeared again just as suddenly
by the early 90s. One symptom of our supposed rolling
post-modern culture is regurgitation or repetition, it
does seem a bit odd that a film concerned with these
toys appears so belatedly.

In brief the plot is a load of nonsense about robotic
aliens arriving on earth to battle humans, a robotic
enemy Megatron, in order to re-capture something
called the Allspark. The word hokum was invented to
describe all this, but it is enjoyable hokum. On
paper ‘Transformers’ looks like utter tosh, but it
actually delivers some newly visceral effects, is at
least convincing. This reviewer was surprised. The
characterisation is very basic indeed, something
entirely expected of summertime blockbusters. The
film concentrates on a pop corn romance inbetween some
unbelievable special effects, an obviously
unbelievable plot, something about contemporary US
involvements in Africa. The evergreen Jon Voight
makes an appearance, almost as antique as your
collection of old transformer toys.

This film was viewed at the Ealing Empire, Ealing
Broadway, London. Ealing with its vital connection to
British cinema via the Ealing comedies, seems an ideal
spot to view movies. However, it was saddening that
there were no arthouse or historical films on at the
cinema, something that the cinema itself wants to

Paul Murphy, Ealing, London

The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet 1957) dir Ingmar
Bergman, starring Max von Sydow

Like many Modernist iconoclasts, Ingmar Berman choose
to set an apposite tale in a rather unapposite time
and place. Medieval Sweden is hardly a place or time
on the tip of everybody’s tongue, in fact, apart from
a few experts safely cossetted in academe, very few
people know anything about it at all. But that isn’t
important. In fact the film is hardly factually or
historically accurate, although there is an actual
icon or painting portraying a man playing chess with
Death in the form of a skeleton in Taby kyrka, Sweden,
dating from 1480 or thereabouts. What Bergman has
created is a startling existentialist metaphor for his
own era, traumatised as it was by the horrors of WW2,
wedged inbetween that conflict, the Cold War, the
conflicts to come, the possibility of nuclear
annihilation. The Knight Antonius Block, played by
Max von Sydow, plays an intellectual game with death,
knowing that he cannot defeat or cheat death, but
merely delay the inevitable. Of course, medicine,
law, philosophy might also be regarded as other kinds
of extended metaphors for such a game. The film seems
to originate in a society that is absolutely certain
that change will come, and that this change will
almost certainly entail unbelievable horrors or chaos.

But the film is more than a single shocking,
overwhelming, wonderful or engaging metaphor. The era
is portrayed as a nightmarish descent into ignorance,
whether it is the trial and torture of a witch,
medieval flagellants (which did not exist in Medieval
Sweden), the ravages of the Bubonic plague. Violence
is used to adumbrate the trauma engendered by
ignorance, but the Knight seems a powerfully cold
adversary for Death, just as he seeks to protect his
Queen. But ultimately we know that a certain
worldview is passing away, as Block, his friends and
family, are led away by Death, performing an eerie
Dance of Death but Jof, his wife Mia and their child
are still able to escape.

For some time now Ingmar Bergman has largely been
forgotten about or marginalized. His obituary in The
Guardian came as a surprise to this reviewer, who
thought that he had died sometime in the mid-80s.
What had actually happened was that Modernism in
literature, theatre and cinema had died: the truth is
that Bergman’s work became intensely unfashionable, as
had seriousness of any kind. In it’s place, anything
shallow, flippant, simplistic without form or force
had overtaken Bergman’s powerful, modernising
consciousness. That’s a great tragedy or a great
farce, however you regard it, but hasn’t Berman had
the last laugh after all? His film has been
re-released at a time similarly charged with
momentedness, momentous apocalypse, momentous
upheaval, as authority seems ill-equipped or inept in
the face of overwhelming political or climactic
movements. The years inbetween were clearly filled
with hollow, insubstantial, unreal laughter. But
Bergman himself is now dead too, his film lives as a
portent, a monumental, singular metaphor evoking
hideous squalor, pity, the redundancy of culture and
history. But we also feel, however unsentimental we
happen to be, however encased in ice our feelings,
soul, spirit happen to be, that there is hope.

The film was often parodied. Woody Allen, Monty
Python, even Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure (bogus
film?) where Bill and Ted beat Death at Battleship,
Clue, electric football and Twister made a stab at
sending up this portentous arthouse masterpiece.

Paul Murphy, The Barbican, London

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), dir Paul Greengrass,
starring Matt Damon

The first film, 'The Bourne Identity' was okay but
there was never enough meat in this franchise to spin
out 3 of 'em. Basically the 'The Bourne Ultimatum' is
saying that the CIA are a bunch of idiots. Okay, we
see evidence of that everyday in the news. What is
surprising is that another American is depicted as
being cleverer. This is hard to believe given the
present state of US foreign policy.

Even The Guardian newspaper manages to get in on the
act. The producer of the film probably realised that
the only newspaper on earth that has intellectuals
that might construct a plausible, legitimate critique
of this apparantly magnificent film is The Guardian
newspaper. The only answer, therefore, was to
incorporate the paper in some way into the film. Thus
a Manchester Guardian journalist joins Bourne at
Waterloo Station to rush around madly avoiding or
trampling underfoot every wino, beggar, down and out,
until he is (almost inevitably) shot dead. This scene
is presented in terms of live action and edited clips
from surveillance videos, a nice duality that
preserves the frenetic appeal of the movie and of any
kind of 'real time' (as the CIA chief dubs it) action.

Bourne then rushes through Madrid and Tangiers. There
is some romantic action as well, but it is never
developed, either plausibly, or what's more likely
given the track record of this franchise, implausibly.
In Tangiers Bourne is blown up. Most people would
simply lie there groaning and wait for the ambulance
but Bourne jumps up for a frantic but implausible
motorcycle chase through the city. Bourne then
sprints across some housetops, stepping on glass as he
runs, eventually finding and dispatching the bomber
with some ruthless violence that nevertheless pertains
to be both slick and sophisicated. Violence in 'real
time' is never so neat, witty or unperplexing.

Bourne somehow manages to phone the CIA chief from a
neighbouring office (yes he's now in New York). The
dumbfuck CIA chief and his staff get out of the
building, chasing Bourne to a location set up in
advance. But Bourne is meanwhile in the CIA building,
using his credit card as a swipecard, entering the CIA
chiefs office, opening his safe. He then faxes the top
secret documents found there to whomever he chooses.
As he does so he tells the CIA chief exactly where he
is in a phone message. Everyone again begins rushing
about in their differing but predictable directions.
Basically Jason Bourne cooly unpicks every lock.

In the final sequence he finds out the truth about his
'identity'. Basically he's a ham actor from
Hollywood, USA, transplanted into a film that is only
slightly beneath his acting and intellectual
abilities. Lastly he's in the water again, swimming
up to the light to begin the first film ('The Bourne
Identity') again, the only film in the franchise that
is indeed worth bothering with. There are some weird
scenes at the end between Jason Bourne and the Big CIA
Chief that are frankly either ridiculous or
embarrassing or both. Worse still, they are utterly
uninteresting, tangential to the rest of the plot.

Paul Murphy, Ealing Empire, London

i'm fucking perplexed. trying to post jim mccrary's video reading from his chapbook being frida kahlo, and the fucking thing won't go. ay me! fuck, i'm a little fucking annoyed.

so then anyway, go to google video [not youtube] type in being frida kahlo and it's the 1st thing you see. do it fucking now! don't miss this seminal work by one of the best poets in english. plus, you get to hear jim's gorgeous cigarette voice. the sound of it will make you swoon. i fucking promise you that.

next up are a couple of movie reviews from guest reviewer paul murphy, a poet situated in london town.

Monday, August 20, 2007

summer's almost ended. school begins now or next week for most kids across this country. which makes me think of high school movies. last week national public radio did a segment on the best high school films of all time. of course, any list such as 'the best high school movies of all time' tends to be subjective.

even so, lists are fun to make. except npr forgot to add one of my favorite high school movies. i could've missed it since i was doing many things at once. so below is a scene from nicholas cage's first starring feature valley girl. the scene is magic. the band in the background is the plimsouls doing their great song 'a million miles away'.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


i don't know about you, but for me everything is ripe for the taking in poetry. in other words, i love film, but don't want to make a movie, i love painting but have no interest in doing one, i love vispo but i wouldn't wish my drafting talents on my worst enemy.

rather, i look at each thing, including things of experience, as potential for writing, whether that means incorporating the techniques of cinema, painting or vispo in my poetry, or take their examples as measures of discipline.

another way to state the obvious is that i think of poetry constantly. anything is subject for writing. so are the techniques of different disciplines. so are the experiences of daily living in all of it's forms.

poetry, as i've said before, is not a career. if it is then perhaps i need to update my resume. but who would i submit it to, the gods on olympus? i'd rather stay on earth sifting thru the trash of living. it should come as no surprise that i love trash, and find trashiness beautiful. now how to find a way to live in it, so to speak. this i think might be obvious: poetry in life/life in poetry.

there you is.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

i believe - ?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ah another thing. i edited my profile a little and included my email addy. don't be shy and hit me up with a word, line or whatever.

and check out logan ryan smith on names. maybe you know when yr obsessed with poetry and language when you think of names constantly, are attracted to names, the sound and look of them. shit, i want a new name. hmmm. . .let me think now. i've always was partial to hart crane and am jealous that the poet crane was there 1st, beating me to a beautiful name.

and also daniel f. bradley writing about a really bad movie starring the lovely lynn lowery in what is euphemistically called a blood-horror. grasp that one kiddies and stayed tooned for more reviews by bradley.

now gotta get back to reading stephen king's novella 'the mist' which i read for the 1st time over 20 years ago. it's my favorite pulp by king and is supposed to be what the folks in hollywood who are in the know a major motion picture set for release during the holiday season.

over the weekend my brother and i were fucking off in of all places a hospital emergency room. let's just say that everything is fine regarding our visit there. so then anyways, my bro was asking me to sign my name on a white board in said room. he took one look at my squiggle and busted up laughing. told me that that was the most retarded thing he's ever seen.

i said, yeah it's real embarrassing when i sign my books.

you got books? real books, or do you publish them yrself?

fuck. i tried to talk about diy publishing, the punk spirit in poetry, but no, he was having none of it. not that my hermano is a philistine, only he thinks that real books come in trade paperbacks or hardcovers and are usually found in stores like borders and barnes and noble.

why argue, i thought. poetry is a lonely, cold life sometimes. tho sometimes i can just hear the snickers when i'm walking down the street. people pointing and whispering, oh shit, there goes rimbaud-in-his-own-mind.

whatever. maybe i should change my name to something like THOR! GAWD of POESIE! then i'd have publishers punching themselves in their faces competing to get me to sign a book contract while major universities would fall over themselves to get me the 1st billion dollar chair in beer drinking, writing and sitting around watching movies.

ah yes. that'd be the fucking life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

i usually don't read novels. not a lot of them anyway, tho at one time that was the bulk of my reading. anyway, i read, on the recommendation of my brother, who in turn got the recommendation from oprah, cormac mccarthy's the road.

and let me tell ya, it was probably one of the best books i've read in a long time. mccarthy's prose is clipped, shorn of ornament, and very cinematic. all thru the book i kept thinking that it would make a good movie.

the plot goes like this: father and young son - mccarthy is coy on their exact ages as well as their names - are traveling thru the barren wastes of the united states in some vague hope of something - any something - is waiting for them. nothing lives, no animals, plants, insects, except for small pockets of people who are also starving. many of the survivors have resorted to cannibalism and the descriptions of them are harrowing. the sun is blotted out by clouds of ash and smoke and whatever started this great conflagration isn't finished since ash covers everything and fires are still raging in the mountains.

mccarthy doesn't ever name names, there is only one character with a name. and the catastrophe, obliquely described by the father in a flashback, is not defined. this is certainly one of the most brutal and bleak books you could read. yet i loved every second of it and wished it wouldn't end.

mccarthy explores the elemental mysteries of existence here. why one would even continue to wish to live in the most dire of circumstances. evil abounds, yet i came away from my reading with the source of the essential goodness of humankind. if you haven't read it, i'll say no more. i don't want to give out any spoilers. however, i can't recommend this book enough.

sure oprah gave it the big plug which pushed mccarthy onto the bestseller lists. on the charges that perhaps mccarthy sold out by being interviewed by oprah on tv [i got that from my brother, i've not yet seen the interview] or from this story, i say, shit i'm willing to sell out too. if only i can find a buyer.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

groovin' on a sunday afternoon

doing not much but reading while anna and nicholas spend the afternoon at a friend's child's birthday party

i find myself reading a couple of self-defeatist interviews by poets who shall remain nameless because i like their work mostly

their attitudes, or how i read their attitudes, revolve around:

no one reads this stuff anyway so why bother

and both of these writers have published their books with trade houses and have tenured gigs to boot

that sort of shit depresses me

cuz why bother indeed if you don't love doing it whether there is a mass audience or no

reminds me a little of a new yorker cartoon where the boss ushers a subordinate into his office and says:

frankly roger, you've managed to self-deprecate yrself right out of a job

Friday, August 10, 2007



life is too short to be behind a moron


life is too short to go too fast


life is eating like a pig w/out dying from it since that would be the end of yr eating


the body is the extension of mind if only the mind was always thinking about fucking


shitting and pissing are two of life's sensual pleasures


the world outside is a physical grammar


the world of the poet and the world of the world are are not the same


the idea of the mind starts w/ the dream about dreaming


cogito, ergo bow wow


when it rains dead fish go inside

Thursday, August 09, 2007

i just finished watching ridley scott's black hawk down on tv. it's the first time i've watched it from beginning to end. i wouldn't dare call it a good movie. certainly the film is not in the same league as scott's two masterpieces, blade runner and alien, but the movie is a hyper-kinetic visual feast. most good war movies are. say what you want about peace, love and understanding but a good battle scene on the screen quickens the senses.

yet, scott's sumptuous eye and flair for editing fails on what is a one-note story. i know it's based on fact, but the facts of history are not what i mean. the flick lacks depth. characters are one-dimensional and the plot hinges on soldiers trapped in the chaos of war with a rescue squad on its way.

which is compelling and very watchable. as far as action movies goes, this is one of the better ones. still, i thought scott could've used this story for a kind of journey to the heart of darkness, much like francis ford coppola did in his brilliant movie apocalypse now.

there are hints in black hawk down of a kind of metaphysics. such as near the end when the soldiers run back into the compound and waiters greet them with clean white towels and glasses of water. scott approaches such a moment with a tenderness that borders on the hallucinogenic. when i first caught a glimpse of that scene a few months ago, again on tv, i thought the soldiers - and the somali citizens cheering on the soldiers as the ran from mogadishu to their compound - as an hallucination. such binaries, choas v. sophisticated civilization, speak of grander themes which were nevertheless not investigated more fully.

even still, scott does a good job in presenting action and chaos. again, i'd hazard that this movie is not a good one, but it is a very watchable one.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

skateboarding sonnet

kid drips over the kerb
like some wino
forgetting the confab
w/ hisself
it's all inked skin and sweat
whereupon the betties
who swoop
up their own sticks

get the fuck outta the way boyo

i know i look dumb
as i stare who cares
the air is heat and tastes like salt

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

poetz on da street

always been
into poetry my

was . . .a
was. . .a. . . a

[heard on the corner of j and 24th st]

Monday, August 06, 2007

other writing

the thing about writing is to habituate yrself in the local
to develop routines that will try to facilitate the
writing w/out damaging
for lack of a better word: its freshness

like unleavened bread
if i can stretch the motherfucking metaphor
a bit
then if the poet must need to break out

of habits that have solidified
into a solid chunk
of day old crusts
what then

i've never gone for aping the cafe culture
that comes w/ the myth of poetry
until now
i think

see we went shopping at 1 of our
local dirt malls
country club plaza
on sat.
it might sound like i'm talking shit

about the place
but really i think sitting in the food
court with my laptop
in the midst of wild families hunting

for bargains
for shoes for kites for sporting equipment
in a building that is of itself
nostalgic for the old vernacular architecture

and that sac has more shitholes
to shop in than it does
other places

really i love it all
to spend a couple of hrs
during the weekend
pounding out poems

sorta like plein-air writing
only indoors saturated by fluorescent
and neon lighting
with the smells of frying burgers and chips

to perfume
the effort after i told anna
she shrugged the idea
break those habits write them fucking poems

Saturday, August 04, 2007

On First Looking into George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead

My old 15” b&w Zenith
turned-on with pliers shakes
midnight the kitchen light left on
another in a like movie says

When there’s no more room in hell
the dead will walk the earth
I’m so scared Barbara says
she is taken and devoured

and after a documentary
on the war in Vietnam
wounded soldiers slung over shoulders
comrades run toward helicopters

mushrooms of napalm
click-clack of machine guns
elephant grass bent from tracer fire
and gunship rotors when the last

hold-out from that horrible night
is shot in the forehead
and placed with others in a pyre
that flares by the clack-click of someone’s Zippo

Friday, August 03, 2007

much shit - good - in lopezland this week, which culminated in an overnight stay by los hermanos eckes [musician brandon on the left and poet ryan on the right]. pay no attention to the date there. guess the digital camera done hiccuped, i assure you that this photo was taken this morning - see the clock above them - in my kitchen right before i drove them to the airport.

both were cutting a swath thru canada, the pacific northwest and northern california before heading home to philadelphia today. both good guys who were kind to my rantings, drank copious amounts of beer, and good-naturedly sat thru a screening of h.g. lewis anti-classic splatter opus blood feast. the movie was meant to illustrate my theories of collapsing the often artificial barriers between lo and hi art.

i am trying to convince the bros. to start blogs. ryan's poems and prose style, evident in his emails, are the stuff of a good blogger. check out ryan's poems here, here, and there, and a recording of a reading here. brandon can post mp3s of his compositions and so on. but before i go on and on about personal shit, i want to say i enjoyed their very brief visit. they are remarkable young men. i'm glad to have spent a few hrs with them.