Friday, March 30, 2012

a few things

i also want to note the passing of adrienne rich. a formidable writer. i think most, if not all, poets when we were in school studying english and creative writing and doing whatever we were doing in school, bumped against rich in the anthologies teachers would use. a few years ago she wrote a magnificent text on the french poet, and leader of the french resistance, rene char. her essays were illuminating. i remember she got some flack because of her choices when she edited those goofy best-of year anthologies, BEST AMERICAN POETRY, because of her insistence on including political poets and the like. rich was the embodiment of the activist intellect in her essays and poetry. rich lived a long, good life. she was lucky. and so were we to have her, for a while, in our midst.

* * *

if you haven't read this interview with poet todd colby, i beseech you, do so. colby is a dude electric with life. got the blues? one cure for melancholy is colby. take this snippet regarding the rasing of children as an example.

I'd love my child to be a poet or an astronaut or a water colorist or a hair stylist. Whatever, I'd really just want she/he to feel free and alive and open to the world with all its ridiculous beauty and stunning pain. Openness, and not giving into being a goddamn cynic is the key I'd want them to have in their front pocket.

i am alive in the company of colby's writing. goddam! i am happy to be alive.

* * *

i've been rereading a lot of german poet, and buddhist, stefan hyner lately. he's become kinda my virgil. his mix of politics and the personal is just the sort of brace i need. take this poem on for size.

Secret Mantra of the Red Partisan Buddha

May all Governments
Of all Nations


see what i mean! i've been carrying that poem around with in my head for several days. the text is a corrective for all the idiocy and silliness i've been watching/reading about our contemporary, fractious politicking and politicians.

there are several who worry that there may be too many of us writers around right now. not me. i believe once you try to live in language the less bullshit you can stomach. our society needs more poets now then it ever has. not that i think a society of poets will make a perfect society, cuz poets are the least perfect creatures i know, but it could be a good start in critical thinking, bullshit detecting and beauty making of which we are in dire short supply.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


reading a poem by paul blackburn

* * *

listening to the supreme ct on the radio

* * *

let us talk about the social contract v. freedom

* * *

let us remember the poem with a sexy woman on a bus

* * *

let us remember the abilities of the mind parses details beyond relative sense

* * *

let us ogle sexy broccoli

* * *

let us talk about vegetables and women and men

* * *

let us defend the defenseless

* * *

let us gather at the feet of sex and poetry

* * *

let us eat poor sexy broccoli

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

quote unquote

Walking is pure, but I haven't achieved simplicity yet.

--lew welch

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

heraclitus on rivers

you can't step in the same river twice

how about shit?


reading lew welch
a walk in the rain
no, not a thing less ordinary

Saturday, March 24, 2012

quote unquote

I'm the Buddha known as the quitter.

--jack kerouac

Thursday, March 22, 2012

god of fire

i'm not a religious kind of man, but if there is a god, he/she/it/whatever, made the burrito. god knows i love a good burrito. i love them spicy, muy picoso, si. i don't know. when i was a younger man i guess my senses were keen and i didn't need stuff like hot sauces. i enjoyed food with very little flavoring as i preferred cleaner tastes. or whatever.

now i'm an old fart. my taste buds are dying. i need something, a catalyst, to get the senses working overtime. at least that's what anna tells me. i think that somehow i've developed a taste for hot sauces. there was a vogue back in the '90s when collecting boutique hot sauces was the trend. now only the hardcore lovers of the stuff buy these specialty brands.

well now i did it. i've been out of sauce for some time but when we were in a cost plus last weekend i spied a newer, to me at least, sauce called dave's insanity ghost pepper. okay, i read the label that this is some very hot shit but i've devoured other dave's insanity sauces with little ill effect where all those bottles had the same warning labels.

i was wrong. nearly dead wrong. see, i stopped at the local taqueria for one of god's own burritos for dinner tonight. i planned on smothering it in the ghost pepper sauce. which i promptly did. i also put a little dollop on a few tortilla chips to test the sauce's strength. at first not too bad. i then put more on my chips and sat down to my feast.

the burn was smoky and low. i felt it in my palate where the burn pitched in intensity and my lips started to sting. then my breath got shallower while the sting got stingier and spread to the back of my throat. still, it wasn't too bad. until i got two-thirds into my burrito. then holy fuck! i ripped thru four cans of soda in a single minute. i unfolded my burrito and scooped out what i could of the sauce. then i ate the rest of the burrito. the burn smoothed out a bit for a moment then returned with a hallucinogenic rush. i saw the alpha and the omega.

nearly three hours after the meal there is a lingering stinging in the back of my throat and my palate. my breathing returned to normal. the mucus has dried up too. i'm no masochist. i prefer pleasure over pain. and yet the ghost pepper sauce was delicious in a perverse fashion. i won't be devouring this bottle. instead i'll use it sparingly. drip it into my food rather than plop thick globs of it on my burritos.

if there is a lesson in all this it is this: burritos are one of the most perfect foods in all of creation. hot sauces however are an acquired taste. best to use them with caution unless you want that hard-won taste to be nuked out of existence. in the meantime, i'll see if i can mix a little ghost pepper sauce into my salad. i like to keep me on my toes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

lina romay [1954-2012]

i'm surprised and shocked to learn tonight that long-time love and muse of spanish art-exploitation filmmaker jess franco, lina romay, died last month from complications of cancer at the very early age of 57. romay was a true exhibitionist and was the soul of franco's leering, beguiling cinema of the past 40 years. franco's films are an acquired taste, or perhaps, the taste of someone who has no taste. i wouldn't call myself a big fan but i think i own more films by franco in my collection than i do any other director. franco's career can be parcelled into two distinct categories, pre-romay and post-romay. the filmmaker's pre-romay films are often entrancing while the post-romay movies are entrancing, revolting and sometimes simply wild mindfucks. romay was a breathtaking actress in her daring and her bravery. she was also an utter beauty. franco and franco's camera loved her. i doubt there will be a post-romay portion of franco's career. you cannot perfect perfection.


astonishing: what a day without coughing
and enough rest will do
clouds part the sun shines the mind lifts

quote unquote

I never said I was right, or wrong.
I said I was lucky.

--ted berrigan

Sunday, March 18, 2012

thoughts re: the walking dead

caveat: here there be spoilers

now it is no surprise that i'm a fan of this show. even if it totally sucked, thematically, fx wise, acting wise, and with horrible direction, i'd still be a fan of the show. because it has zombies and real good looking walkers too designed by fx guru greg nicotero [who has directed a couple of episodes as well].

the first half of season two did kind of suck for reasons that are outside my interest, such as amc slashing the budgets of the production. rick and his group had been stuck on hershel greene's farm looking for a missing little girl, sophia, who disappeared in the woods in the opening of season 2. the theme of the show was stasis and boredom which reflected horribly in the production of the programming. and yet, there was still enough tension to keep me tuning in even if there were no zombies in sight.

no matter since zombie attack after zombie attack gets boring too. rather it was in the relationships as they developed by the actors and writers that kept me tuning in. what makes the show fascinating is not the action set pieces illustrated by zombie hordes attacking our little band of survivors but how those survivors cope with an accelerated entropy. this is a dying world. the pressures on the remaining survivors are intense. that is where the action is situated for me during this season.

by the middle of the season things picked up considerably. there are bad people among the survivors. rick, hershel and glenn found two in the bar in the episode nebraska. it is an intense showdown that i've watched several times. because of the showdown rick is a changed man. more cold, calculating and ruthless in his desire to keep his group safe.

the season picked up steam and blasted outward to the stratosphere. i'm not going to recap the shows but only to say that i'm very impressed that the show's creators remembered what is most dangerous to people is other people. what i'm afraid of is that the show's creators sometimes forget that fact and leave certain ties created in earlier episodes, such as the character randall [who he was, where did he come from, who comprises his group] unknotted. the introduction of randall is the creation of doubt, hope and fear that would live in all of us should we find ourselves in a zombie apocalypse. his, i think, premature death is not an indication of another loose end left open by the producers of this otherwise very fine television show.

another thing. the producers and writers have been very bold in allowing for the deaths of some very key characters. a very thrilling, to this viewer, gambit as it makes no character safe from harm. there was a moment in tonight's season finale, beside the dying fire, where i thought maggie and glenn [who escaped the farm after it was overrun by walkers and who were separated from their group] would be taken prisoner by randall's camp. the scene was shot for it because if you've watched enough genre films you learn to recognize certain tropes and techniques. for example if there is a stranger who will suddenly enter the frame to take prisoner a key character the character will be shot with enough space open in the frame to allow for the entrance of the stranger. thus when maggie and glenn stop the car to decide what to do the scene is shot with close-ups of glenn and maggie with enough space beyond their heads so we can see outside of the car. that space created a hell of a lot of tension for me as i thought they were about to be taken prisoner by randall's group.

well, maybe it was bad direction as that didn't happen. or maybe not. at any rate the season finale was a very fine ending to a killer second half of season two. we learned that rick can be a cold killer and that everyone, even the living, is infected with the zombie virus. there's been speculation galore that what dr jenner whispered in rick's ear at the end of the first season finale was just that very thing. speculation over. now what.

there was the introduction of a new character who kills with a sword and keeps two chained zombies whose arms were chopped off on a chain leash. she saves andrea who was running for her life in the woods. and there was the introduction of the prison when the camera panned up and over rick's desperate group in the closing shot. both the character, named michonne, and the prison are both highly anticipated events in season three. there is a lot to look forward to.

if you're a nerd for zombies like me then the fall can't come soon enough. the show so far has only touched upon such great operatic heights but there are intimations that the best is yet to come. even when the show flat lines it is, at least for this viewer, a good watch. the characters are finally off that farm and headed toward new territories where the dangers are not only the walkers but other survivors as well. the other survivors is where the real drama and horror lies. i hope the shows writers and producers remember that and give us a season three that was as thrilling and emotionally exhausting as the second half of season two.

i do wonder about how much stress a human being can withstand before breaking. so far most of the characters have kept enough of their cool to survive. but if every minute of every day is an adrenaline soaked punch of horror wouldn't at least one character behave stupidly and/or collapse into the fetal position and begin babbling? even rick wouldn't be able to be cool all the time. there would be more than a few moments of utter panicked incoherence. because that is how humans behave too. i haven't read the comics so i don't know if any of that happens there but i hope the writers remember that sometimes people do stupid things out of fear and exhaustion. or don't do anything out of fear and exhaustion. panic is a powerful emotion. just the thought of attack is enough to get the adrenal glands pumping that would kick in the fight or flight reflex.

we'll see. i read that there will be outtakes and deleted scenes from season two on the dvds. maybe there's some revelations that were left on the cutting room floor. what matter anyway for this is a very good show of high drama. it is the only show that i'll set my watch to.


regarding the show's inconsistency. not that i'm an expert re: inconsistency; i have spent most of my life enthralled by b-- and z--movies so i think i have a pretty good bullshit detector. there have been inconsistencies either logical and/or narrative in this show. no show is without them. but i'd just read a review that criticized the intro to tonight's season finale where a herd of zombies migrate from atlanta to hershel's farm. the herd follows the sound of a helicopter in atlanta -- perhaps it is the same helicopter rick sees in the first episode of season one and not a mirage imagined by rick. the intro to season two established zombies do travel in herds and are attracted by noise. no big stretch to allow for them to walk several dozens of miles from atlanta to the rural areas. also, tonight's episode cleanly picks up where the previous episode, better angels, the one where rick kills his best friend shane, left off. what i think is important is that the writers hadn't forgotten the helicopter of season one and that will play out in season three. in other words, without sounding like an apologist for the producers of this show, i think there are key elements that are at work here and that should not be lightly dismissed. the helicopter is one of those elements.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

kiss me i'm irish

that's right
my paternal ancestors
hail from the
clan of lopez
the white trash mexican
catholic atheist buddhists
from the wild west of ireland

who live in pluralism
and don't care for labels
so but anyway
happy st patrick's day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


red moon shifting
from there to here
a headcold: 1 hack 2 hack more

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

haiku in 1 line

ah the spring rain arrives downtown softening the sidewalk crowshit

Monday, March 12, 2012


spring again --
for every bloom for every bud
a stuffed nose and plosive boogers

Sunday, March 11, 2012


it's late it's early it's i don't know

i hate the mad rush toward spring

this loss of an hour

* * *

but spring on spring

i recall the job of custodian i was

i had lots of downtime

* * *

i'd stare at a print of a painting by renoir

that one where the young man and woman

swirl in dance she all coy he all desire

* * *

i'd lay on my back

looking at that print

for hours upon hours

* * *

the smells of spring of dew of blooms

mixed with the smells of cleaning fluids

as i try to build a life line by line

Saturday, March 10, 2012

for jonathan hayes

i get up take a shower stare into the mirror
who's that fuck that looks like me
the one with the black panther etched onto one shoulder
a black jack o'lantern inked onto the other

who wears the same shoes
whose pants are the same size
hair thinning and grey
whose dreams when he dreams matches mine

before sleep he and i open the fridge and take out a 40
of miller genuine high life
unscrew the cap and turn on the tv
both of us read a few poems online

stare into space get up for a piss
turn off the lights and tv
crawl into bed beside our wife
both of us don't know where we begin or end

jim mccrary in cambodia learning about the buddha

Thursday, March 08, 2012

real deep dive

there are dives and there a deep hole dives. i just passed this evening one of the latter kind of dives. i don't go to bars anymore. the late poet richard hugo published a lovely essay called 'you could love here' about one of his favorite bars in missoula, montana, and august kleinzahler wrote an essay about his favorite watering hole in the haight 'the zam zam room' in his essay collection cutty, one rock [fsg, 2004]. also bukowski and his acolytes made drinking look like an olympic event. so drinking and dive bars are nothing new in literature.

i am not so much a fan of bars but i am a lover of urban areas. especially the out-of-the-way places tucked into alleys and side streets. i love concrete and tall buildings; crowded streets and lots of traffic. i am a lover of cities. i can't help but peek into the windows of transient hotels as they are nestled right into the cities bustle. the coolest set of flats downtown are right off the k street mall and right across the street from the state capital, el cortez apartments, because they are quite literally smack dab in the middle of the city in a pedestrian-only abutment of shops and restaurants. i think el cortez is cool and i fantasize about spending my dotage in its midst.

now i was on 9th st between k street and l street and i walked past henry's bar. calling the bar a hole in the wall is as an accurate description as calling it a dive bar. it's not real authenticity, gritty realism, that makes this place appealing to me. after all, what is real authenticity anyway. you can get a real experience at disneyland as much as you can find the real on a piss-soaked bar stool swilling down whisky strong as acid burning away your liver. no; what i admired about the bar is because it is overlooked. i'm sure the place has some cachet with the hipster crowd where pabst beer is sold in draft for rock-bottom prices. but when i peeked into the bar it was occupied by a few barflies in a room that was timeless. the year could be any year. the decades pass and the century changes and still the place has probably barely changed.

not that i want to go drinking in it soon. maybe once or twice for the experience. really my bar hopping days are long, long past me. i am just glad that henry's bar still exists. a place where the dive is deep, the booze strong and where time breaks to the point of stillness.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

dr. seuss' the lorax [2012]

theodore geisel must be turning over in his grave. this is one of the worst adaptations from a children's book that i've ever been privy to witness. at least it was in 3d. even that sucked. 3d is over-goddam-rated. it's difficult to become immersed in the experience of the cinema with 3d because the story is an afterthought to the movie. rather we have a jumble of images that are designed at right angles so they can be thrust toward the audience and thus giving the illusion of popping out of the screen. ho-hum. what i wanted to see was a movie. not ride in a rollercoaster.

if you think i'm being too harsh the book about environmental concerns -- the lorax, remember, speaks for the trees -- is none too sublte take on teaching kids to be good to the forest and the critters who live in it. the movie doesn't even pretend to do just that. instead the producers seemed hellbent on creating a piece for the 99 percenters. yep, anti-corporate messages made from a multinational corporation. oh ironies! there is even a poster in the once-ler's factory -- the dude chopping down all the trees to make his thneeds -- that reads, i shit you not, 'too big to fail'.

give me a fucking break. on top of that the songs are so much filler. hum them? can't; too forgettable. i didn't recognize a single actor voice but for one. that voice belonged to danny devito who played -- wait for it -- no don't wait, i'll tell you because his character seemed to be physically modelled after devito, the lorax.

subtle as fuck. what? the movie's not made for me? it's made for kids? you wish. there is little a kid can take from this movie that isn't spoonfed post -- or neo -- capitalist pablum. oh no. i got nothing against capitalism, i really, really don't. what galls me is that this picture pretends to speak for the trees yet speaks only for increasing the portfolios of its producers. made for the dinero and that's it. making money from movies is a time-honored tradition. so is losing money making movies. and somehow a few good movies get made. this ain't one of them. avoid it. i beseech you.

Friday, March 02, 2012

the monkees

sadly davy jones passed away a couple days ago at the criminally early age of 66. the monkees were a very terrific band that got short shrift for being an entity manufactured for the purpose of television. instead the four members of the band turned to creating their own sounds and personalities into a brew of pop beauties. i've been on a monkees jag since i read about jones' death. i'm not an expert on their music or careers but this song is stuck in my head. the tune is the theme for the monkees' first and only feature film head [1968] a surreal mind-fuck directed by bob rafelson. in memory to davy jones here's 'the porpoise song':

Thursday, March 01, 2012

two from ikkyu

nobody understands my not no Zen Zen
not even that crow's shattering bleak scream got it

* * *

for us no difference between reading eating singing
making love not one thing or the other

[translated by stephen berg]

mute inglorious unmilton

ever have those days
where anything you say
no matter what it is
comes out of your mouth