Wednesday, October 31, 2012


hAppy hAllowEen!

to all you boils and ghouls make this day a day of cares and scares

now get out there and get you some candy!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

everyday is halloween

we -- i mean nick and anna -- carved a pumpkin.  i supervised.  and cleaned up.  nick drew the eyes, nose and mouth and scooped up all the guts.  both he and anna were slicked with pumpkin swill.  i love the smell of a freshly carved jack o'lantern in the evening.  we tested it with a tea light inside.  gorgeous.

then anna and i watched on the history channel the true story of halloween, beginning with samhain with the celts and ending to our pretty damn new traditions of dressing in costume, going trick 'r treating, visiting haunted houses, and throwing parties.  fyi -- did you know early jack o'lanterns were not carved pumpkins?  they were turnips!  yep, and i'd love to see someone go old school and carve a few turnips.

and but then i watched a french horror flick, mutants [2009], on the sundance channel.  meh.  nothing to get excited about.  the pic owed a lot to earlier movies like the remake dawn of the dead [2004] and 28 days later [2002].  the movie was well-acted and the special fx were pretty good.  but the plot barely made a peep.  i didn't even know it was there. 


everyday is halloween

when you buy a new car chances are the stereo in that car will be wired for satellite radio.  to top it all you will get free access to satellite radio for six months and/or a year.  you know, to hook you in.  it worked.  we are long-time subscribers to sirius/xm satellite radio.  there are a few stations that are utter gems.  anna and i rediscovered music listening these stations.  another annual favorite is the halloween channel that broadcasts scary stories, spooky music, and sound clips from movies.  below is a halloween tale by long-time radio dj cousin brucie.  this short is a few years old.  funny that sirius/xm scream halloween radio is not broadcasting these tales this year.  bummer.  i miss them.


reading the diary of james 'jimmy the jam' schuyler.  walking nick to school.  picking up cat and dog food at the grocery store.  step into routine.  step outside of the self.  i am knocked back in delight by incandescent early morning light. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

i feel stuck.  i'm not stuck.  i just feel stuck.  i've made a promise to myself to become alfred e neuman.  not for halloween. but for all time.  what? me worry? will be my mantra, my key to unlocking that treasure chest of life.  but for my gears are stuck in neutral.  i am starting my holiday for a fortnight.  to kick things off today i read a little, watched a little, surfed a little.  as hard as i keep my foot on the peddle, no matter how loud the engine rumbles, i will not roll.  ah, i should get used to it.  i've had many years practice of no talent, no art, and no ambition.  now i can look, write and read with a clear conscious and a free mind.    

Friday, October 26, 2012

everyday is halloween

does it get any better for fright than orson welles' radio adaptation of h.g. wells' 1898 novel war of the worlds?  utter genius.  an ordinary radio broadcast of a big band playing in the ballroom of a hotel with cuts in of news reports of odd activity on mars breaks thru that wall that separates fiction and news.  broadcast on october 30, 1938 welles' mercury players created a template that we still mine today with our obsessions with 'found footage' in movies.  welles blurred the distinctions of the fancies of fiction and the brutal objectivity of the news report.  over 70 years later and this broadcast still sends a shiver down the spine.  for me it is the moment when the news reporter live at the scene in grover mills, new jersey, describes the martian attack.  the broadcast stops in mid-sentence.  that scares the hell out of me.  that is the moment when the foundation of the objective news report collapses into pandemonium.  imagine listening to this broadcast in 1938 as the world lurches toward world war and you hear live an attack that takes out the news reporter.  panic is the result.  this broadcast has turned to myth. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

everyday is halloween

if you want it to be.  i'd written a poet friend a few days ago that halloween is in the heart.  if you are so inclined you carry it with you every day till your last day.  if that sounds a bit melodramatic, so what.  dare to be overly dramatic.  what is life without a little passion, a little obsession.  a boring life? 

dare i eat a peach and spit out the pit.  and so it goes for filmmaker michael dougherty who crafted a film that is a lover's bearhug of the spooky high holiday, trick 'r treat [2007].  i'd written earlier about his movie.  this is not a movie review.  but for each of us we have sounds and sights that can re-uptake serotonin levels and make us go ah!  for me that is horror and halloween imagery and dougherty's movie is loaded with the colors and images of halloween that make me glad to be alive.

evidence of this movie it is obvious that dougherty carries halloween in his heart too. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

the black cat

is a halloween decoration sent by alex gildzen in a package that included a dvd double-feature 1950s sci fi horror cheese fest and alex's newest chapbook, passd ports: poems & pieces [nightballet press; 2012].  i don't know how alex made it but his unexpected gifts were the medicine for my melancholy.  i've been vacillating between poor me and woe-is-me for no good reason.  comes with the territory of writers, i suppose.  perhaps it's a hereditary disorder.  whatever.  i'm here to testify to the power of giving in and up.  i thought fuck it while watching the second episode, sick, of the third season of the walking dead [mindblowing killer stuff this season!].  joy rushed back thru me.  all i've ever wanted was a life in poetry.  and now alex's book and gifts of halloweenery heralded proof of a life in poetry.  passd ports is a sequence of travel poems and prose.  alex lives life to its fullest and conjures that life in these jewels of texts.  here's a taste:

Bovina TX

there are more wreckd cars
than cows in Bovina

                            nov 97

a short poem that is a snapshot to the larger decrepitude of a small town in texas.  humor married to a journalist's eye for detail.  in another poem in prose, subtitled a short story, the narrator confesses '. . .I sit in lobbies because of the great joy I experience sitting in lobbies'.  that's what writers do, observe, collect, write, sit still and make great joy.  this chapbook is a wonderful read by a poet at the height of his powers.  i experienced great joy in reading it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

everyday is halloween

doghouse [2009]

nope.  i've not forgotten about horror films during the high holiday.  but man i wish i can forget this one.  doing some chores yesterday around the house i scanned the channels on the television for anything good.  this flick was broadcast on ifc and i thought oh what the hell sometimes the independent film channel shows some decent stuff.  the british have been doing horror better than us yanks since the beginning of the millennium so what could i lose?

certainly not my perspective.  for this movie is one of the most sexist flicks i've encountered in a long time.  a group of lads, the usual sort of assholes one finds in a cheap-ass horror pic, head out to a small village for a weekend of drinking and scheming the lasses.  it turns out that the lasses have all become man-eating zombies and have put our fellows in the doghouse, get it?

well fuck me sideways.  i wanted every single one of these fuckers to get chewed on.  and spat out.  these dudes were so rotten that they would give the living dead a stomach ache.  i couldn't quite get the tone of the movie either, was it a horror comedy?  i thought it was just an inept script and lousy direction.  the lads couldn't act their way out of a bowel movement. 

not that i gave two shits anyway.  i had to finish my chores.  i didn't even stick to the end and see what happened to the last man standing.  growl.  and


everyday is halloween

i've been wanting to do it for years.  friday night i finally got to do it.  the 'it' is head west on the highway to dixon and go to cool patch pumpkins home of the world's largest corn maze, 53 acres of twisty deadends and circles to mindfuck with you until you lose you head and you get hauled out of the rows on a 5150 emergency call.

tough it was.  but we had a good map reader, b., along with his son j., nick and i traipsed thru the maze at night armed with a map supplied by the cool patch and our flashlights.  oh boy did we get lost.  it took us three hours to find our way out.  i was hoping for a spookier experience.  the maze is so popular with the younger folks that there were literally traffic jams in the rows.  i think b. and i were the oldest in the maze that night.  doesn't matter because we were with our boys and we all had a blast.  without b.'s skills with the map we might never have found our way out!

cool patch is one of the more pleasing pumpkin patches on the planet.  the layout and design of the farm is genius.  all pumpkin patches sport pumpkins in their fields, of course, but cool patch is one of the largest with the grandest plan of fields upon fields of luscious orange and green.  you like pumpkins you'll die of pleasure in dixon.

like i've said going thru the world's largest corn maze at night and getting lost in the rows was something i've long wanted to do.  now i've checked that on my bucket list.  next up go to a professional haunted house and have the piss scared out of me.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

it's alive!

actually it's jim mccrary reading for the 100000 poets for change.  killer voice, killer words, in fine form.  view the video and fall in love.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

everyday is halloween

oh man.  let's talk about classic cinema.  john carpenter's beautiful slasher halloween [1978] is still terrifying after all these years.  simple, elegant set design with just a smidge of oomph on lighting and photography.  but the magic is in the direction and the editing of this movie.  nothing fancy.  not a lot of special fx.  yet there is a dread pulsating within the film's frames.  this movie encapsulates for me halloween in the 1970s when i was still a formless wee lad.  utterly brilliant film. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

everyday is halloween

below is a primer and a history of halloween via the good folk at disney.  starring goofy we learn the origins of the high holiday, it's superstitions, and so forth.  a wonderfully concocted haunted brief of halloween.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

everyday is halloween

all things halloween.  especially if you are a reader of the pumpkin rot blog.  i'm sure i've posted the link before.  i don't know who is behind the blog but the dude [or dudette] is hardcore gaga of the high holiday.  365 days a year.  whoever it is has a fine eye and a good ear for all things scary.  lovely stuff.  check it yourself.


notes from OBITS ETC.

But it's not like that for me; age is not simpler
Or less enjoyable, not dark, not whitewashed.

--thom gunn

* * *

each morning i gaze in the mirror

'wake up old man'

* * *

don't talk about sex to rich
                         he's like our dad

* * *

here's a place for you
        look at the photos
                  the texts between

how will you conduct your life
between now and then

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

everyday is halloween

let us know praise bela lugosi as dracula, the ultimate movie villian.  lugosi is an icon.  so strongly do we associate him as dracula that nearly every actor taking up the role of dracula uses bits of lugosi's manners and speech patterns.  nearly so at least.  yet lugosi is so suave and charismatic that he makes being an undead bloodsucker look like a hot and perpetually trendy lifestyle choice.  director tod browning made the perfect choice casting bela lugosi as the count that every vampire cliche and stereotype [thru no fault of either browning or lugosi.  both created a character and a film that has become part of our shared culture] is in lugosi's image.  even so lugosi is wonderfully creepy to boot.  check out this classic clip.



Monday, October 08, 2012

everyday is halloween

someone gave rob zombie some money and greenlighted another of his projects.  i'm on the fence in respect to zombie's work as a filmmaker.  house of a 1000 corpses [2003] is idiotic fun for at least the first 15 minutes or so.  i loved the halloween imagery.  it was clear zombie is a horror fan par excellence.  for his second feature, the devil's rejects [2005], zombie hit deep the neo-grindhouse vein and produced what i think is a gritty, nasty, exuberant film.  i loved that movie.

zombie's follow-up was a grim, silly remake of the classic john carpenter flick, halloween [2007], and a sequel, halloween 2 [2009].  the first was so awful i didn't bother watching the second.  i wasn't disappointed by zombie as i was mystified as to why the guy thought it was necessary to remake a classic film.  perhaps it was simply a paycheck. 

ho-hum.  but along comes the teaser trailer for zombie's latest pic, the lords of salem [2013], and i'm scratching my head again.  the trailer plays like an arthouse flick married to the horror genre.  has zombie been boning up on his argento?  for arthouse horror you can't beat the italian maestro.  however, my money is on a few films by lucio fulci, like the beyond [1981] and the house by the cemetery [1981], for a wicked brew of surrealism and grue.  zombie has considerable history to contend with.


day at the races

having the day off
i watch the 1966 sean connery film

connery is a penurious poet
tempted by 200 dollars
to perform a reading

totally knock-off bloke
treated the audience like suckers
a reading like a punk rock show

Sunday, October 07, 2012

we left work early friday afternoon.  a quick bite to eat, a brief outing for sophie the hound, and a change of clothes and we jumped into the prius, headed west on hwy 80 for oakland and a show.  the band: new order.  the venue: the fox theater located on telegraph ave. 

a million things were happening in the bay area this weekend, all at the same time.  the traffic predicted to be a circle of hell of such horror that dante could not have envisioned.  baseball and football games, castro street fair, a music festival in golden gate park, and fleet week attracted somewhere around two million visitors.  and so we left friday night around 4:15 pm.  we were prepared.

but no.  traffic was very close to next to nothing.  we made the carquinez bridge in no time.  we had about an hour to kill so we stopped in berkeley and did a little shopping on fourth street.  we bought a little doo-dad for nick at crate&barrell, a tool, a little tape measure, a thing that nick loves.  the name tag on the young woman ringing up my purchase was sappho.  a portent for the middle-aged poet buying a gift for his son, or the daughter of literary parents?  i don't know.  probably neither.  i was going to ask her about her name, did she know the work of the poet of the same name.  but then i decided against it.  it was time to go.

we got into oakland a few minutes later without incident.  that is. . .telegraph ave. was blocked off.  we could see orange cones and police cruisers with their lights on blocking the roads.  and thousands of people.  we thought: occupy protests?  oakland is ground zero for the still nascent movement.  instead it turned out that the occasion was a monthly street fair.  sac has its own monthly art and street fair held in midtown every second saturday of the month.  for oakland they do it on the first friday of the month. 

thousands of people.  food trucks.  people seeing and being seen.  and then there was the fox theater, a refurbished 1920s movie theater of moorish design.  a gorgeous building.  our seats for the show was in the noesbleed section.  it was okay.  the view afforded greater latitude of the stage, light show and the audience who were for the most part on the mobile devices either for part or all of the concert.  anna asked did any of us ever think of the future growing up that we would be welded to our own personal computers.  the rise of mobile devices and broadband internet is mind-boggling.  what did we do before these inventions existed.

omigod!  new order was fantastic.  played most of their famous 30 year plus catalog.  for the encore bernard summers mumbled something about joy division.  the band suddenly launched into 'atmosphere'.  i got chills.  then new order concluded their set with 'love will tear us apart'.  i can die a happy man.  seriously.  the ghost of ian curtis appearing on the stage to sing these songs could not have made the show better.

we got home around 12:30 am.  i was wide awake.  nick was staying with his grandmother.  i had a beer and turned on the tv.  i watched part of what looks like a magnificent john travolta vehicle a love song for bobby long [2004].  travolta is long, a poet and ex-professor, living with is ex-protege, another drunk in a dilapidated house in new orleans.  these reprobates lives are unmoored by the arrival of the daughter of the once-lover of long who passed away and who owned the house.  travolta is a dynamic, charismatic presence.  i have a soft-spot for louche intellects and travolta's long looks the part, white-hair, clear-eyed, keen mind, if more than bruised by hard knocks and hard liquor.  i fell asleep watching the flick and am looking forward to watching it in full.  there was a scene that had me on the floor with its measure of sweetness tarred with more than a bit of licentiousness.  long is riding a street car with his house mates.  a teenage couple are staring at long and giggling.  long charms the couple and says his face was broken.  he takes the girl's hand to his cheekbone.  the girl feels the broken bone.  long says, is my face so awful?  the girl says [bashfully], i think you are so handsome.  then long asks, are you two having intercourse?  aw man!  there was a sweetness to travolta's character that made the ickyness of his inquiry hospitable to our human foibles and waywardness.  it is singular mark of travolta's charisma and his character's obvious goodness that made me fall over laughing at that scene.

the weekend concluded with a trip to barnes&noble.  i wanted to get the october issue of rue morgue magazine, a horror publication that always has a bumper halloween edition.  the store hadn't stocked it yet.  i did what i usually do when i'm looking at magazines:  look for lit and art journals and movie pubs.  i picked up the newest poets&writers.  i am usually allergic to p&w.  too slickly professionally organized to the career of writing rather than a life in writing.  however i bought the issue because of a profile of poet larry fagin.  a wonderful piece and a couple of fine photos of the handsome 75 year old poet within the pages.

but what got in my craw was a piece by a novelist who works as a civil servant in the same issue.  the novelist compared his rather stable life to the bohemian life of geoff dyer.  which is the better choice, dyer's romantic stations or the civil servant's constancy?  there is no answer.  and our lives are rarely either/or.  i think the time of romantic bohemianism is long past the shine of its stereotype.  a life is a life.  no better or worse than any other.  if you choose one path over another don't bitch about it.  just go.  and do.  doubt comes with the life in writing.  whatever your path.  deal with it. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

everyday is halloween

now for something really scary.  the 1953 movie robot monster!  unbelievable right?  i mean this movie was cooked up in some one's fetid brain, funded, produced, directed and distributed to the world.  gives one hope that anything is possible, eh?  well, maybe not.  ro-man as a villain is one of the silliest creations ever concocted.  if ro-man was coming after you you'd probably get stomped by him anyway because you'd be laughing too hard to prevent his fake furred bulbous frame from glubbering you to death.  that is if you hadn't already laughed your guts out and bled out.   bear that mind next time you face an arduous task.  you say to yourself, i can do it, because someone despite the cajoles and the odds against it made ro-man!  viva la life!


it is the greater thing to be an old poet vs a young poet
every poet experiences youth

but to achieve old age
as a writer is a heroic feat

wondering about my worth as a human being i am confirmed
by an ad in a storefront window TOTAL ZERO

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

everyday is halloween

especially if your the band zombina and the skeletones.  i've posted the following video before.  why not a second or third time.  see this band is a favorite of mine.  zats' black humor, their hook laden tunes, schlocky horror and cheap sci-fi imagery married to zombina's voice with its atonal sexiness drives me up the wall.  in a very good way.  tho zats date back to the turn of the millennium, tour frequently, are prolific in publishing their music, they've never toured the u.s.  one explanation for that posted below one their videos is because they can't afford to come overseas.  bummer for us.  this is the band second only to the misfits for pure hook-laden horror music.  no, scratch that.  this is the music we want our enemies to hear when they dance on our graves. 

boils and ghouls i give you 'red planet'.



Monday, October 01, 2012

everyday is halloween

how can you not love a band that calls itself the dead elvi?  this is the devil's party band.  rock&roll all the way to the grave, baby.  what comes out of the tomb sounds a bit like elvis and smells an awful lot like cheese.