Wednesday, April 30, 2008

reading in the dark

sh sd open yr veins
then yr heart old man
recall sitting in the
tattooist's chair getting

ink done at yr age!
what next a harley
& leathers too
oh shoot me shld it

come to that it all
goes poof! just like
that walk when my
blood sugar dropped

& every step felt like
i was summiting
mt everest i recall
the body is still a text

the tattoos a palimpsest
hard writing in an aged life
longs walks and shortened breath
sugar dropped from the sun

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

big buttery moon

hunger strengthening just look at the moon
all yellow and luscious
i could eat up every last bite
hunger the size of a mack truck
for tonight i'd seen a black big cat
eviscerate a finch
at the bottom of my drive
nothing left but the splayed
crucified carcass of wings
& feet / that hunger was so large
it even took the eyes

What are the odds of a critic offing a poet?
--douglas rothschild

Monday, April 28, 2008

this past weekend i missed having dinner with some good friends on saturday night because i still wasn't feeling quite right. after seeing my dr last week my symptoms continued to dissipate but i was still very beat [up] by evening. my appetite was still shaky and tho i've not had a fever in close to a week i was pretty much in the words of etheridge knight 'feeling fucked up.'

then after watching last night's excellent installment of wire in the blood my energy level, which was feeling close to normal all day, shot up. and my appetite returned big time. which is a long way of saying that i'm feeling 98% percent of normal now.

funny how when you are feeling shitty the world becomes a grey, menacing, sinister depressing place. but tonight's walk home from work revealed a world irradiated in joy, love and goodwill. if you can believe that. whatever. my blood tests came back mostly clean tho my glucose fasting index was elevated. diabetes doesn't run in my family and i hadn't had most of the classic symptoms but i did have a few. it is something to watch out for.

my father's wife, one of the sweetest women i know, told me a story tonight about how a one of her relatives went into a diabetic coma one night and didn't know he had diabetes. he fought for his life and there were moments when he was nearly lost. then after recovering and getting his diabetes under control three years later he was getting a ride home from work when the car he was riding in was hit by a drunk driver. he was dead instantly. in short, nothing is guaranteed and we should in all humility take nothing for granted. tonight i reread a poem by james dickey called 'diabetes'. the first part, subtitled "sugar", ends with the line 'A livable death at last'. a bit of romantic posturing from big jim dickey. but i was thinking of the french poet rene char who says somewhere to die in life is ignoble but to die in death is to live. yes, i think that's it.

* * *

if anyone asks tell them my favorite band was social distortion.

my favorite poet was thom gunn.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

i've never been a huge fan of the godzilla films tho i've certainly seen all or most of them growing up. most monster movies are not terribly scary since monsters are rather make-believe creatures where a lot of convincing must occur before the curtain of disbelief lifts.

and yet, i loved watching the dvd of cloverfield tonight, a movie deeply indebted to godzilla films. the joy in watching the disc of cloverfield rests in the remote that controls the dvd player. the movie is a concoction of hand-held video taken by a group of twenty-somethings as they try to rescue a girl while trying also to not get eaten by some mysterious creature the size of a skyscraper.

because the movie itself is spliced with another home movie of the lead character rob, and his love, beth, who rob and co. are trying to find and rescue in the midst of carnage very like 9/11 horror. so i found myself doing a lot of pausing, rewinding and slo-mo to catch some of these splices.

and one simply delighted me. i mean it made me so freaking happy because it is evidence that the director matt reeves and producer j.j. abrams loves the monster movie genre so deeply and that they also appear to have a sense of humor. if i could do a screen shot i'd show you. instead i'll have to tell you about it. which ain't much, but again it is one of the pleasures of this most satisfying of monster movies.

as rob and his friends are evacuated from manhattan by military chopper they watch the monster get bombed only to have the monster attack the helicopter. the chopper crashes with a sickening finality [if you can watch this film in surround sound do so, the ambient soundscapes are fabulous]. we see thru the camera a still-drop then the movie splices, very, very quickly, almost like subliminal imagery, first to a scene from the earlier home movie with beth waiting with rob at a subway platform. the film then splices back to the still-drop only to cut away again, and this is where the pause button was needed, to a photo of what appears to be props from the 1933 film version or toys of king kong knocking down a bi-plane.

sure, that ain't much but to a geeky aficionado of the horror genre like me it's like the verification of some great reward. the movie is by no means a masterpiece. it is balls-out and entertaining as hell.

Monday, April 21, 2008

this morning i had an apt. with my dr. first cause of worry is diabetes but i don't have many of the symptoms, such as sores or lumps. he ordered an array of tests which must be done after fasting for 12 hrs. so back to the lab i go later this week.

i feel 80% of normal even tho i decided to take the whole day off work and rest up. sat. night i was feeling pretty beat up. yesterday i was much improved. i asked the dr. if there any bugs going around with my kind of symptoms. he said, richard, there are bugs we have no idea about where patients come back with clean labs and feel as miserable as you.

my father reminded me that my own schedule might've contributed to my illness. how so, i asked. he said, don't you often stay up late at night and write? well, yr body needs rest and so yr immune system was lowered because of a lack of rest so when you caught that bug in tahoe yr body immediately shut down.

i think he's got a point. i feel well enough to write. i've not felt like that for 2 weeks.

oh, and i need a haircut. my hair is over my ears which makes these goofy cowlicks. good gawd!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

today is a lazy day. time to charge up the batteries. tho i feel almost up to my normal self during the day, in the evening whatever this energy zapper is turns on and i'm utterly zonked. i've promised myself a weekend of rest by god even if it kills me.

but i've not had energy but for a few emails here and there and a couple of posts. which is strange for me. perhaps it is allergies as the temp. dropped 20 degrees today and the winds kicked up blowing spores, molds and pollens. oh man.

so i'm laying in bed for most of the day reading. i got up to get a little something to eat, and to further the autobiographical nature of this rant, currently watching ridley scott's alien on tv. when they got to the scene of the alien bursting thru john hurt's chest i was in total sympathetic agreement. i mean i feel that fucked up.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

in an interview in the current journal jubilat poet peter gizzi claims 'film language is closer to lyric poetry than it is to fiction'. i find that to be the case too and i'm thrilled that gizzi verified a topic i've been thinking about for some time. sure you might think me a guild man because of my love for movies and poetry. that's not the case at all. the techniques of cinema, splicing, editing, collage, montage, double-exposures, jump cuts, lighting and so forth i think carry over to poetry writing and reading than does any other art.

* * *

there is that that still ails me. so i've just called the advice nurse and made an apt. with my dr. she was quizzing me about diabetes, which is something i've thought too. but i don't know. what i do know is self-diagnosis is a fool's endeavour.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

what's the story morning glory

i've no idea. i'm not right. whatever i've caught is sticking like gum to the hair on a hot summer day. strange thing is that i don't have a stuffed up head, no headaches, very little sneezing, and no coughing. what i do have is a constant case of vertigo, no energy by which i mean absolutely none, the walks to and from work are not unbearable but i am winded at the end and can barely move once i sit down, lo-grade fevers which usually are more prevalent at night, and no appetite. i can eat when i remind myself to do so.

rather than give a litany of ills i know a man in his early 40s must remain vigilant. diabetes, heart disease, cancers and ill-humor are just a few of illnesses a person can develop. i don't think it's any of those, tho i do worry about developing ill-humor, but i promised anna that i'd make an apt. with the dr if my symptoms persist by the end of the week. being the manly-man that i am i'd have to be bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth and anus before i'd even consider calling the dr. i've promised anna that i'd shuck my manly-man masculinity to reveal the girly-man beneath. so i'll call should i not feel better. all this week and last week i've been going to bed early. i can sleep, easily, but my dreams are hyper-real. when i wake up i can recall just a few tableaux. that's kind of fun. let's see what tonight's dreams may come.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

i've been hit hard with something. i'm guessing it's allergies, since every plant and flower is blooming and i can smell honeysuckle, and jasmine and orange at the moment. i've not felt right since coming home from tahoe a week ago. my usually high energy level has plummeted to a low wattage and ever since wednesday night i've not had the energy for anything but sleep. which i've been doing. but man it's killing my usual decent mood. it's taking all my will to keep my head up and my eyes open. which is weird and it is beginning to worry me. so today i'm gonna do a whole lot of nothing. looking forward to tonight's installment of wire in the blood, and if i've not fallen asleep at the end of it then i'll try to write a review.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

what can you say about actor charlton heston. with his fairly wooden presence onscreen, his stentorian voice, and his quality of bombast, he was the antithesis of actors of his generation. heston didn't melt into a character, rather he possessed the screen and appears in his films almost in bas-relief to the action. he lived large and was always in 3-d.

that he made a fistful of films that have been important in my life and that his bad acting style in these flicks is a thing of beauty to behold. i'm being sincere. there is no one quite like charlton heston. therefore, here is a short list of my favorite heston movies with a little commentary. god rest your soul, mr heston.

omega man

this is a seminal film in my life. i still love it. a remake of a superior movie, last man on earth starring vincent price, which took liberties with the source material richard matheson's novel i am legend [you can watch what i consider the superior version of matheson's story last man on earth here] heston's neville must battle loneliness and the rabid religious zealotry of 'the family', a group of nocturnal freaks who are neither vampires but are survivors of the plague that wiped out all of humankind. the family blame those who use 'the wheel' for their misery and so are on the hunt for food processing, electricy using, car driving heston. utterly depressing with decent special fx and a terrific score, heston burns the screen with his manliness. will smith should've studied heston and this film before starring in i am legend a movie so stinky that even turds were seen backing away from it.

soylent green

this movie scared the shit out of me as a youngster. the over-population, the environmental degradation, the lack of food, how the film is photographed almost in sepia which mimics the smog of new york city. heston plays a detective investigating the murder of a corporate official of the soylent company. during his investigation heston learns that our earth is dying, and we have been reduced to eating the dead. prescient as fuck in its depictions of the earth ravaged by global warming, the film plays as news today. i recall coming out of the theater after seeing soylent green. it was a nice summer day, and sac is alleged to possesses as many or more trees than paris, paris france you know. i remember looking around and being grateful to being under a thick canopy of leaves. then i remembered heston's famous dying words at the end of the film. his body prone, his arm held straight up and bloodied, he shouts in his magnificent voice it's people!! soylent green is people!! i've not been the same guy since. the movie was also the great edward g. robinson's last role.

okay, i'll list more heston films tomorrow.

collected death poems of master ______ __. _________





Tuesday, April 08, 2008

after the long dark tea time of the soul: confession by richard lopez

couldn't help
he tried
hard at
doing some
thing else
but discovered
can only


Monday, April 07, 2008

from the moleskin

          there are a family of pigeons
making a nest in the midst of a thick clump of white roses

          on top of the trellis that
spans the divide between the driveway and the backyard

          mamma pigeon encamped
while papa pigeon sallies forth bringing twigs and other

          stuffs to build their nest
anna pointed them out this morning and as i look out the window

          i can see the eyes of momma pigeon
and hear papa pigeon coo as he flies about his chores


nicholas is taking a bath a bath as i wait for
anna to return


everything is material
                              for poetry

[april 4, 2008]

Sunday, April 06, 2008

wire in the blood [season premier] 'prayer of the bone'

the opening of season 5 dr tony hill [robson green] finds himself deep in the heart of texas, luther to be precise, to examine an american soldier who confessed to killing his wife and two children. why dr hill is fetched from england to blistering hot texas during the middle of summer to examine an iraqi war veteran is premised on the fact that the defense for the soldier, darius, wants to be sure darius is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. it so happens that darius was stationed in england for a short while and raped a 15-year-old girl and dr hill did an initial examination on the soldier then.

in season 5 we find tony's eccentricities are amped to the nth degree. always quirky, even a tad creepy, for his empathy for both the killers and the killed is so great that those who work closely with him were often a bit off-put by his lack of social etiquette and mores. and yet, those tendencies were held in check by his superb mind and his relationship with the former detective inspector carol jordan [hermione norris]. by the finish of season 3 tony had a successful operation to remove a brain tumor but also for some inexplicable reason his love interest carol jordan left the police force which had shaken the good dr and exarcabated his nerves and self-doubts.

yet his mind is still superb. so in this episode dr hill is upsetting local law enforcement and a provocateur who for some hidden reason obviously wants him dead or at the least leave town. the reasons why so pique tony that a very satisfying two hrs elapses before we find who the true killer is. my only gripe is that this is television with commercials. the breaks between the story is so jarring that i found myself tapping my thumbs against my chest impatient to get back to the proceedings.

that's almost an argument for getting tivo. at any rate, season 5 starts out strong and by far outstrips any crime show in the u.s. for writing, acting, subject matter, photography and editing. tonight's episode had none of the jarring hyper-kinetic frenzy of seasons 1-3 which so far in my mind are the best of the bunch. season 4 is a bit wobbly as it tries to define a new relationship between tony and the new detective inspector alex fielding [simone lahbib] as he also recovers from post-surgery. in fact, tony's brain tumor is still a subject of controversy as it was used against him in tonight's season premiere.

what i find so refreshing about wire in the blood is that it is unafraid of the very dark heart of the human condition. dr tony hill is not simply a cipher for the viewer to get the bad guys, which is often the situation in u.s. crime dramas, but a vortex of human complications. nothing and no one, as with most of us, are what we seem. and yet, there is pathos and even love in dr hill's work. why do all this otherwise? as the punchline to a joke in tonight's show he says why he does his work is because he wants to know what sonofabitch is throwing bodies in a river and why that sonofabitch is doing it. rarely do you get such a nuanced reason in u.s. crime drama. that is why wire in the blood is my favorite tv show.

there are about half dozen new shows, each one airing on sunday night. i'll do my best to write a review of each one of them after they are broadcast. too bad episodes are not available on the web. but the dvds for seasons 1-4 are available. you could not do better for television by getting these discs.

Friday, April 04, 2008


writers by nature are loners?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

last night logan ryan smith, who i think spent several years of his childhood here in sac, wrote about his memories of a cheap-ass, trash steak house chain that was based in fresno. a quick google search and i found a pic of the happy steak tray. as a child i loved the place. because it was cheap, and because it was steak, my parents took us there all the time. i recall the baked spuds as being utterly delicious and each steak was garnished with a plastic tine label with either 'rare', 'medium rare', 'well done' and so on.

happy steak was the poor man's sizzler where any sort of pretensions were whittled down to a baked potato, steak, cheese bread [fantastic!] and fountain drinks served in red plastic tumblers. another treat was the endless supply of oily - because we're talking about the '70s here these crackers were baked in a kind of oil and were not light, you didn't go to a steakhouse if you wanted to eat healthy - rye krisp crackers placed at every table.

the store we frequented is located on arden way, a major artery that sweeps past the arden fair mall. directly across the street - and this is in answer to logan's query - was indeed a carl's jr, which is still there. so is the happy steak building but it is now a chinese buffet. happy steak closed down in the late '80s. my first serious girlfriend worked as a waitress at happy steak for a few months.

even tho i've not eaten meat in close to 20 years i still love the place. what i miss the most was the cheese bread. it was a small, totally unpretentious restaurant and i can still see in my mind's eye the lay-out of the tables, the line cooks and the corridor where the wait staff would gather our orders. and yes, logan, as i recall the interior was wood-paneled, but i have to check with my brother whose memory is greater than mine.