Sunday, May 30, 2010

why are the circle jerks in my dream?

i don't put much stock into analyzing dreams. i pretty much can't remember them anyway, but i do recall this one.

jonathan hayes was in town and i met up with him at a place near my work. the l.a. punk band the circle jerks were performing at a small club and we headed over there. this was all last minute so i hadn't called anna to tell her where i was. i saw vocalist keith morris near the entrance and i told hayes i was just gonna stay long enough to go over and shake the old punk's hand and tell him how much his band meant to me over the years. when i got inside i couldn't find morris. it was near show time and i took a piss in the tiny bathroom and decided to stay long enough to catch a few minutes of the show. i found a seat in the bleachers. the auditorium was the size of a small bedroom and the sparse audience consisted of middle-aged men and women who were wearing business attire and carrying briefcases. hayes must've left because he wasn't with me. i looked over at a couple with a small child. all three were smoking cigarettes. i couldn't believe my eyes. i got out of my seat and asked the couple, is that baby smoking?! they said, yeah, it's just handcleaner. are you out of your fucking minds! i shouted. how old are you, i asked the child. three. you guys are fucked in the head! then i got back to my seat. everyone was looking at me like i was crazy. after a few minutes i tried to ask the dude next to me who was the opening band. he said, in a very pompous tone, excuse me and turned toward the man next to him. i said, is this because of me chiding that couple for letting that baby smoke? the man very slowly said, yes, it was none of your business. i looked at my watch. almost ten pm. fuck it. time to go home. i was feeling guilt for not telling anna where i was. the club was not very far from the office. i knew the neighborhood well, but when i got outside nothing looked familiar. i recognized certain buildings but just could not orient myself and get going toward home.

then i awoke.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

after mark young

today the postman brought
3 tickets to the county fair
plus 2 wristbands for
unlimited rides
that came with a caveat
for persons older than 5
abandon all hope ye who enter here
and the fear of losing my lunch
and stripping the stomach
of its lining
ground down the thought
of our return were 2 tickets
to this side of paradise

Friday, May 28, 2010

the dope

this should be an anti-drug advert on tv

crazy white trash couple

he in a black wife-beater bushy santa claus beard and long stringy grey hair tied in a ponytail

she skinny in faded blue jeans and white t-shirt

whatever the cause they were fighting loud and obnoxious on the corner of alhambra and o st

he grabbed her things and threw them to the sidewalk and started stomping like a pissed-off kindergartner

she screaming something about injustice and god

she runs off clutching what is left of her stuff

he stomps in the other direction toward the flea-pit motel

takes one look at me stops and says, kid, this is my brain on drugs

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 views thru hay[na]ku

to reflect
no mirrors please

* * *

step is
two stumbles back

* * *

my glasses
world softly blurred

* * *

who is
that staring back

* * *

hay[na]ku i
make a hay[na]ku

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

let's ski in july!

sorta. i mean it's late may and the average temp. hovers in the high 80s, low 90s f. and yet this morning had a barrelful of rain dump on us. same for yesterday. it's a bit strange. not that i'm complaining but i see adverts for the upcoming holiday weekend, which is the unofficial kick-off for the summer season, and i'm wearing sweaters and my rain gear to work. the ski lodges up in tahoe have enough snow to remain open still but i do think they pretty much closed down for the season. not that i ski because i don't. but it seems according to popular lore that if every resident of southern california surfs, then every person in northern california heads to the hills each winter to tackle the slopes.

oh what the fuck. i don't mind not needing to crank the air conditioner and the plants and trees in the garden are loving the cool, inclement weather.

i've been diving in to the collected poems by the late, nyc poet jim brodey, heart of the breath [hard press, 1996]. he was by all accounts prolific as hell and his style tripped in registers that were loaded with cuss words and slang along with a measure of wearing his learning lightly. i've decided to use a line of brodey as an epigraph for my BLAST series once i get those texts into some manageable shape. dig this.

Toke up, stranger, this'll get cornier.

how's that for a killer.

oh, if you're gonna do some clicking around the net then do read allen bramhall's visit to nyc to see the dalai lama at radio city music hall by clicking here. allen had me cracking up so hard this morning i'm afraid that i thought i'd broken a rib.

do click here too to read one of the best book reviews i've read in quite some time by jeff harrison. harrison snipped lines of poems from the book under review, prau [meritage press, 2007], by jean vengua and created a new text of praise. that's how i read it, an any rate.


the road [2009], again

the dvd was released today and, yep, i had to get it, and i watched it again tonight on the laptop. the intimacy of the small but very clear screen along with the the enveloping soundscapes thru my headphones invited every little detail of the film so that i would often pause and replay bits and pieces of scenes. the movie is, in a word, magnificent. a much better viewing experience tonight than when i saw the flick at the local arthouse last november because the sound and the projection sucked. also, as i age my myopia is more pronounced and seeing shit at a distance clearly is not the best way to see shit at all. at any rate, i'm surprised that this film has not gotten better notices and a rave following. yes, it is a flawed movie, but a flawed movie in the same vein as francis ford coppola's apocalypse now [1979]. in other words, it is a brilliant rendering of mccarthy's visionary novel. i might be an old, neo-hippie softy but i was moved by the performances so profoundly i cried real tears at several spots of the story without resorting to having to stub my big, right toe. that, my friends, is a recommendation.

Friday, May 21, 2010

doing *not* much

there was work to get thru obviously and this morning as two homeless guys passed me as i was crossing the street one stops and say, excuse me sir, my name is [?]. i said, sorry man, in a hurry and i don't have any cash. the dude replies, everyone says that and walks away. feeling guilty about it i head off toward the office. then walking home another homeless man asks for 55 cents. i say, again, don't have any money. which is almost always the case. i very rarely have cash on hand. yet the guilt is there just the same. a liberal guilt sure but no less authentic for it being so. a friend and gifted poet is having a rough time composing work in these fucked up times. make no mistake about it, these times are very fucked up. you read and watch the news. you know the score. there's a meanness in our culture that is if not unprecedented then certainly not seen in a very long time. politics suck and we have taken so many dumps on the environment that the needle and the damage is done. probably. what the fuck do i know but to be silent, for me, is not a solution. i like life and i love language. i love putting those two together not for fame, or ego, mostly, but for the fact that i am alive and, to quote another poet, can think. i can't do much. or anything at all. i can use language. that's not enough. it isn't even a response to these times. that's no excuse but a hard fact. for that task i'll need several lifetimes. which is more than enough.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

desire lines

days of need of passion of feed]          [she enters without knocking

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

hits of spring

i don't believe it. call the rest homes cuz i thinks i'm gettin' old. for reals. the weather here changes from early summer heat and gauzy light to late winter [as it is right now] overcast, rainy and cold. even at that rate i'm thinking summer, late spring, warmth, and movies. so last night when nicholas and anna go to bed i put zombie [1979] in the dvd tray and prepare to fall headlong in with the late filmmaker lucio fulci's visions of a smoky tropical island and the suppurating flesh-eaters that rise to make the place their own. the film is quintessential summer fare what with a fantastic synth score by fabio frizzi, wonderful photography by sergio salvati, and sui generis gore fx by the master giannetto de rossi. all first-rate talents. there's a lushness to the pace of the film that is redolent of watching matinees on a hot summer afternoon.

not for this old man. by the 3rd reel i'm out like a light and sawing serious logs. i wake up in time to see the infamous shark v. zombie scene. yeah, it's as unreal as you might imagine but works so well it should be seen at the louvre. what the hell. moving as slow and feeling as rotten as one of fulci's flesh-eating creatures i take the disc out of the player and shuffle off to bed.

all's not lost. i still have frizzi's score running thru my head and if you're as young as you feel then i'm half-way there. i'll just blame it on my allergies which have had my head all stuffed up and achy.

it is still spring and i've just received in the mail a packet of poems and artwork from jim knowles, a poet in massachusetts. i've been digging knowles' blog for some weeks now [i must really get my links in order and do some updating] and we exchanged chaps. during dinner tonight i read both of the chaps. knowles' pubs are a diy affair of pieces of paper folded four times with texts printed on each side. just the sort of publication i dig.

both chaps are distinct from the other in style and technique. but first the one that reminds me of spring is small fruit and drunken yellowjackets [2010] , a collection of very short haiku-like pieces that had me at the first line. knowles is a funny guy and his poems take on a home-spun surrealism that keeps the reader at attention. dig this for example.

life has been
Kaopectate and Metamucil
going nowhere fast

and this

from chaos
came order
and fries
thank you
drive through

and this little gem

A half-crushed ant
fights tooth and nail
with the air.
Might as well.

knowles is more serious than that in his other pieces. these three that i quoted contain that quality of the beauty and futility of life that i admire. if one suffers from seasonal affective disorder read the texts in this chap cuz that'll cure what ails you. hit his blog and then hit him up for his work.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

nightmare city [1980]

this italian-spanish production was helmed by none other than the infamous pastaland maestro umberto lenzi. it could only be him. who else to blame for this mess. to be fair, i have a soft-spot for the works of lenzi. i own several copies of his films, movies that range wide from splatter to polizia to giallos. all of them require a certain sort of masochistic streak of the viewer. oh sure, part of the fun of watching lenzi's flicks is to groan in utter disbelief at the sheer silliness onscreen and to cringe in admiration and disgust by the balls-to-the-wall gore fx. in other words, i am that ideal viewer.

if contemporary audiences think that director danny boyle created the fast-moving zombies in the revisionist zombie pic 28 days later [2002] i say lenzi beat boyle 22 years earlier by not only making fast-moving zombies, but zombies that can operate machinery, use weapons, fire guns and organize themselves to create the deadliest onslaught of the undead unleashed onscreen. okay, technically lenzi's creatures aren't zombies but victims contaminated by radiation who chop their victims into pieces and then suck their blood. but for all intent these are fucking zombies.

curiously for a fairly rapid pace the movie lags quite a bit in places. instead of a satisfying narrative this film is built around a series of set-pieces. some of which are quite fine. there is the italian business of showing womens' skin and there is an attack on a bunch of dancers in a tv station replete with the most hideous idea of a disco track that is goofy sleaze. that's part of charm of this film. it lacks decorum and knows exactly what sort of dumb-ass movie it is and so lenzi relishes the hack.

the only complaint i have of this piece of celluloid crap is the star hugo stiglitz who phones in a performance so wooden i believe the man must've been pumped full of thorazine. in an extra on the dvd lenzi explains that stiglitz was not his choice but that the producers demanded stiglitz be the star of the film because he was huge in mexico. okay, but couldn't lenzi coax even a grimace from mr putty-face, cuz that fucker's mug is a stiff mask.

what could be infuriating for many viewers is the circular ending. recall the title of the film, nightmare, okay? sleep? dreaming? alright, alright, enough of that even tho the ending might seem like a cheap way to stop a bad movie from going on into infinity like a line in euclidean geometry if the viewer had made it far enough to watch the end credits more than likely that viewer has already check his/her brain at the door. what's one more leap into the preposterous among friends. lenzi is an artist of pulp and knows it and i think relishes it too. for that, i give him nine bows.


without doubt the need for poetry in our lives, mine at least and i'm sure if you're reading these words yours too, can be called an obsession. more than a hobby, certainly not a career, not a religion [tho it can manifest itself -- discipline, devotion, arrogance and humility -- as such], perhaps even a life. is obsession part of the personality trait of writers? i wonder because my own life i've a few obsessions, serial perhaps, that had made themselves manifest. movies is but one example of an obsession that shapes my living and thinking. there have been others too. i mean hard obsessions that become devotions. would it were part of the circuitry of writers' minds? i don't mean to privilege writers over other creative personality types. only writing is central to my own life.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

heading out the door

going to take nicholas to the dentist this morn / so doing a little of nothing in the meantime / hayes in sf tells me that he's got tix to see george a. romero's newest zombie flick / and afterward a q&a with the great man / i am looking for a poem that i modelled after keat's 'on first looking into chapman's homer' / using romero's film 'night of the living dead' / but can't find it to email to hayes to read to the filmmaker / just was well / i'm sure the old man would simply scratch his head / and say WHEN THER'S NO MORE ROOM IN HELL THE DEAD SHALL WALK THE EARTH

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

like a punch to the head

but in a good way. i mean that. sorta. i'll get back to the title of this post in a moment. but first i spent a long saturday at the birthday party of a classmate of nicholas's who just turned 4. i need a witness, baby, cuz anyone with a young kid knows that these children know how to party. the motor is on full-blast and doesn't turn off. it was exhausting just watching the kids. fuck! i needed a nap afterwards and i'll i did was sit on my booty in pleasant conversation with the other parents there.

i didn't nap afterward but headed to the nearest bookstore, the avid reader, located in the same building tower video once occupied. tower records/video/books went belly-up a couple of years back and goddamn do i miss it. there was no where else that you could hang, browse and bum around til midnight and the magazine section of tower books was unbelievable. name any obscure rag and it was most likely stocked there. now the three buildings on broadway where tower used to be are now the avid reader, r5 [the record store russ solomon, former owner of tower, opened after tower closed its doors] and another indie record store i've yet to check out.

now, i went to the avid reader for a purpose. i was looking for a particular tome to get for anna. the store is smallish in size but with a pretty good collection of non-fiction. the poetry section sucked. any one need a book by mary oliver or sharon olds or pablo neruda? i know where to get one or several. not to knock these eminent poets just that if your an indie bookstore stock a few titles of poetry that can't be got easily anywhere else, okay. as for the book i was looking for, no go. recall i just spent several hours at a birthday party and the medium age of the kids was around 5 and 6. nicholas is still amped and high from all the cake and ice cream and now he's gotta pee. so i ask the kindly proprietor if there's a bathroom and he promptly shows us to the back of the store.

cool. fine. nicholas does his business and on the way out i see stacked on a table a new book by andrei codrescu, poet/novelist/npr commentator and editor of exquisite corpse. i like codrescu, have a few of his books including his first collection of poetry license to carry a gun, that i found for a couple of bucks at a second-hand bookstore. i like that collection very much. i pick up the new book, an irregular shaped treatise titled the posthuman dada guide: tzara & lenin play chess [the public square book series, princeton university press; 2009]. i decide to buy it because it is a university press and other than looking for it online i'll probably not see it in another bookstore.

lo! codrescu was there that afternoon reading from the book. i don't fucking believe it. believe it, said the proprietor and changes my copy for a signed copy. get a load of that! somehow that makes me happy even if i missed hearing/seeing codrescu read. not the signed copy but, oh i dunno, the near-miss at the chance to meet, perhaps.

i spent sunday with the book, after reading the newest new yorker where there was a damn good article on james murphy the leader of the electro-pop band lcd soundsystem [where i discovered murphy is 40, close to my own age, and somehow, oh i dunno, that made me happy too]. the book was rather dry but did spend a few pages on mina loy and arthur cravan. still very readable examination of both the avant-gardes in politics and art of the early 20th century. tzara is a much more attractive figure to me now than when i was a brooding young man when i thought art should be pain and a wallow in misery. being anti- anything is always refreshing and we need to be continuously reminded of the importance of play and chance in life and art.

i didn't put the book down until i was done. if that's not a recommendation i don't know what is, even if the study was not as funny as codrescu's essays for the radio. it's probably not meant to be that funny. what, the world ain't a sit-com?!

now, back to the title of this rant. yesterday clicking around the latest otoliths i read these poems by michael steven and i'm knocked out. love them. admire how steven channels catullus and wonder how he does it and makes it seem so effortless. steven used to blog but i can't find a link or reference to any blog of his now. okay, but here are his poems. fucking rad.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

shots like a rock/it

do check out jim mccrary's post about target shooting with william s burroughs here. mccrary was burroughs' office manager/assistant. i've no idea why burroughs was obsessed with guns and weaponry. there are a few vids floating about where the old beat talks about knives and guns. but below is the only vid i know of where you can see mccrary in jeans jacket helping to set up the target of shakespeare. funny yes, but i'm a pacifist by nature and even watching vids of guns, esp. pistols, freaks me out. i grew up with weapons, my father and i used to do a lot of hunting for deer and bear when i was a wee lad. however, the awesomeness of firepower is too intense for me. take nothing personal from my own fear and squeamishness. guns simply scare the shit outta me. i do like how mccrary ends his post with burroughs telling some punk to not shoot a living creature. and i do like how for a few moments you can see mccrary whom i consider a very close friend even if we have yet to meet in the flesh.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

to review or not to review

that is the question. i hadn't asked it, but it comes up every now and again. why write reviews, why read them? i recall back in the day when i was the manager of the university recycling center there was a large bin for magazines. remember those? in the pre-digital days? well, one mag i fished out of the bin was the alumni pub for boston university. on the cover was a photo of a round-table discussion with seamus heaney, joseph brodsky [i was heavy into brodsky then, and still have an enormous affection for his writing], robert pinsky, derek walcott, saul bellow and christopher ricks. i think i still have it packed away somewhere.

the discussions ran from the role of the poet and poetry in society and so forth. i remember ricks telling heaney how much he admired the poet and how ricks thought one of his roles was to demolish the creative division between writing criticism and writing fiction and poetry. at the time i thought derrida had been doing that all along. and there are french poets [that i was reading quite a lot of at the time, in translations] that also didn't seem to give a flying fuck about whether their writing was in prose or lineated verse or whether their works were lyrics or essays. french poets seem to be saying, who cares, it's writing, okay.

so perhaps ricks was behind the curve a bit re his concerns about what is creative writing. maybe he had something else in mind, i don't know. what i do know is that eileen tabios just released the latest iteration of her reviews zine galatea resurrects and it is, as the kids like to say, a real doozy. i don't know about you but i get a real pleasure reading reviews and criticism and i have my favorite writers, and for the most part my favorite review writers usually happen to be my favorite poets. check out this tidbit by jim mccrary:

First things first. Grandpa out here wants Dana and Nicole and Juliet and Lucy to send to him some of what they are smoking because whatever it is I need it. I am your elder out here. You got to respect that you know. If it wasn’t for guys like me running mimeo machines 40 years ago…blah blah blah. Okay sorry for that. But geez, this group of publications, every one of them has juice…lots of juice.

that's the same high-powered writing in mccrary that i see in his poetry. and whatever mccrary is smoking i want some of it too.

for me, poet/critics/bloggers are doing what ricks wanted back in the past century: breaking down those barriers in writing. and for the record, yeah, reviews do work if the point is to illuminate writing, poets and books. after reading a review i will google for that writer under review and i've even ordered their books and return to their blogs. i do so because, in the words of u.k. populist poet tony harrison, SIR I HAM A BAD HAND AT RIGHTING.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


i post this song
because at the end
i'll i can do is
be grateful
and to praise

viva cinco de mayo

in honor of the holiday of mexico's ndependence and because the 5th of may is also a holiday here in california [there's an enormous block party going on right now, i can hear the bands and the crowds each time i go out to the garden] and because mexican culture is also californian culture, hell u.s. culture, i present one of the great songs by the l.a. band the plugz from the repo man [1984] soundtrack, 'el clavo y la cruz'. not that the tune is representative of mexican Independence but it is a proof that even way back 26 years ago how the spanish language, mexican music, hispanic culture in general and at large, mix right well with english and punk rock and you name it. culture is what we make right here and right now, right. damn! i dig this song.

app stat

is now
down to this

in conversation
side by side

speaking to
a mobile phone

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

4 dead in ohio

where is my mind

walking to work this morning on a very beautiful spring day / doing some shallow errant thinking / fatigued from coming home very late from the airport / last night / my mother-in-law flew in from south florida after a holiday cruising thru the caribbean / & i think of florida / lived there for a short while / as the mind skimmed images and memories / the name of an older poet who lives in florida is just on this side of focused / can't remember the first part / can see his face from author photos & if you google for poems find he's prolific as hell / not remembering / bugging the hell outta me all day / tried a mnemonic device by going thru the alphabet slowly / nada / i need to do brain push-ups or something / memory shot / as if i had hit the delete & emptied the recycled bin / until after dinner i search for one of the poet's books on my shelves / then blam! / the name returned before i could read the spine

Sunday, May 02, 2010

dith / e / ring

or something like that. lazy day here, a fairly rare day of doing nothing, and doing nothing is sometimes my favorite something. besides it is sunny, warm but a strong wind is blowing all the pollen, leaves and other allergens that it at times looks like snow falling. i find myself looking at vids at, told anna that i was looking at old drive-in ads and mentioned that say 5 years ago these intermission shorts were hard to come by but now are common as hell on the infoweb. however, 1 short that we both remember vividly from our childhoods was a live-action musical feature where you can get pizza with 'mushy roomy room sauce'. it must've been a local production because it was in constant rotation at the sac 6 drive-in from the 1970s to the 1980s. however, i can't seem to find it anywhere. i'd love to see it again. anna asked for the computer when i told her this and she pointed the browser to internet archive where there's quite a few intermission ads but no 'mushy roomy room sauce'. well then one thing leads to another and i find myself using the wayback machine where you can type in an url and usually find the website preserved for posterity. i'm delighted to find and read one of the first poetry blogs i had ever read, the skeptic by poet john erhardt and wonder why erhardt who is a fine poet stopped blogging. here's to hoping erhardt starts blogging again.

drive-in ad

speaking of adverts i found this drive-in intermission short. it's from the 1970s, an era where advertisers attempted to capitalize on the public's desire to return to a more 'natural' way of life. yeah, i know, what happened instead was a lot of shag carpeting and clothes and home decor in earth tones. it was an ugly decade, physically ugly i mean, mutton chops and frowzy perms for everyone! i remember this commercial and tho it is rather dated i love it just the same.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

quote unquote

I confesss
I confuse

movies & poems

-- alex gildzen

on the laureate

i don't have to worry about turning in my wreath since i'm in no danger of being nominated for any thing [and please do not take that as some sort of gripe, cuz it ain't, at all]. not only am i non-competitive by nature but i also loathe any sort of competitions, esp. with poetry and poets, since i think poetry is about breaking down hierarchies. so you will not see my name attached to book competitions, ever.

if you want to start a revolution in poetry start with demolishing book competitions and the mfa cottage industry. and no this is no bitter sniping, there are many poets i love and admire who earned their mfa's, but i'm pretty sure rimbaud didn't have an mfa and he published his book at his own expense. which sat the printer's for many years until it was discovered again. that's it, write your poems, you'll find your readers, and if you don't write your poems any way. no one can tell you whether or what you can write. just fucking do it.

and do fucking read, a lot. if you don't get a physical charge, a superhigh from reading/listening/viewing poetry than you are not a poet. not that i need to tell you this. you know it already, i'm sure.

i'm thinking about these things because of allen bramhall's posts here and via bill knott here re the poet laureate of the blogosphere. i hadn't paid attention to the competition but agree with allen and knott that the laureate of the poetry aether is rather silly. why bother. just post your work, publish it on your own via chapbook and send it along to your fellow poets. you'll always find a reader, like me.