Sunday, June 29, 2014

god said, let there be light; slowdive said, let there be sound


walking along the american river sunday morning the heat already intense the sun a low yellow ball i find crazy cloud sitting with his blind girl on a fallen tree she had his cock in her hand gently playing with the old radish

oh crap, he said when he saw me, here comes another poet

i wished them a good morning and noticed crazy cloud's hand disappearing into the girl's robe and sitting on the mud bank beside him a half-full jug

he took a sip and offered me some i declined mumbling i prefer coffee in the morning rather than an early morning slug

working on your own redthread verse? he teased

i could answer none but how my claims of writing stumble and fall how each morning the stranger's face i shave before i leave for work looks older and less secure about its place in the universe

shut the fuck up, the old man said.  i've heard that before each writer must scribble his own oblivion each writer must find his own interesting noise and when you see that stranger's face in the mirror tell him death is the easy part living is hard tell him to stop fearing dying because he is in the midst of dying right now

have a drink you dumb fuck, said crazy cloud.  then go away and sort out your sobs

no thanks i said and turned to go looking up to the cloudless sky the sun a big yellow ball the sweat starting to rinse my t-shirt i thought i might agree that the process of living is knowing i am dying right now i might agree that i may start with a dying fall 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

don't talk, shoot: a poetics

when the Ugly slides his dusty ass into the still warm sudsy waters of the bath in the hollowed out hotel of the town still under enemy fire the Ugly makes the sign of the cross and gets to work scrubbing the grime off his body when the Hunter walks in shaking either in fear or joy or both he points his gun at the Ugly and lurches into a monologue about revenge and death and how far in space and long in time his search for the Ugly has taken but finally this is the Ugly's last minute on earth

when the Hunter's talk is broken by the sound of a shot he falls to the dirty broken floor of the hotel room dead on impact the Ugly lifts his pistola from the suds that was hanging by a cord around the neck and says, if you're gonna shoot, shoot; don't talk then resumes scrubbing the grime off his dusty ass still of no-thought and non-action

i.m. eli wallach [1915 - 2014]   

Saturday, June 21, 2014

for my tombstone

here lies the poet richard lopez
loving husband, father and friend
wrote a bit published a bit
tried to read a great deal more
his favorite band is social distortion

Friday, June 20, 2014

holy shit!  i've ordered a stack of books this week and read one of them, cover to cover.  that book is antipoems: how to look better and feel great by nicanor parra, antitranslation by liz werner [new directions, 2004].  i remember thumbing thru this book at tower books about 10 years ago.  oh, tower books!  how i miss thee!

why has it taken me 10 years to get and read this book?!  perfecto.  werner gets to the pulpy, meaty heart of parra's antipoems.  it's been a while that the excitement of reading keeps me wide awake at 1:00 a.m.  this book did just that.  i finished the book, started reading from the first page, then put it down because i had to be at work in the morning even when my heart was pumping and my mind flying with ideas and excitement.

rather than write a review of this book i simply want to relay a bit of my love of this poet and this translator.  i hope liz werner publishes a big thick volume of parra's antipoetics.

below is a piece of  a poem that speaks to my heart.  the desire to get the nobel prize for reading.

           of course these days I don't read much
           I simply don't have the time
           But -- oh man -- what I have read

          that's why I'm asking you to give me
          the Nobel Prize for Reading
          as soon as possible

          [The Nobel Prize]

i don't know if i got my own theory of alt-lyric poetry from parra's antipoetry or not.  but what the hell.  robert duncan and thom gunn both called themselves derivative poets.  i stake the same claim.  nothing new under the sun?  perhaps.  but wait till you hear the song sung at a slant and off-key.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

life at mid-punk

i've been watching 1/2 and 3/4 movies films that are like on TV re the movie channels that have my interest i get thru most of the way then turn the TV off and i don't know who to blame me or the films i love cinema i love books too and i have stacks of books around me on the nightstand beside the bed on the table next to my chair where i sit with my laptop and do a little writing and don't even get my started on the internet blogs websites and youtube i need 12 lives i read books episodically rarely from page one to the last page and now it goes for movies and holy shit i nearly forgot about the ROKU that can stream all kinds of movies and TV shows 100s and 100s of movies and TV shows all on demand at the flick of a button then there is work i do for $$$$ and my job does keep me grounded and relatively sane plus i get pleasure and satisfaction when i do a good job at work don't forget my daily walks my precious time spent with anna and nick and whoo-boy! i need 12 lives especially when i am at mid-punk making my homemade bohemian-life as a husband father co-worker son and friend look so easy

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

what is your presence in the world
before you are born

big house large yard dog behind the fence
you walk along its edge you have learned to walk

you say a prayer
a prayer of the un-believer

touch the right side of your
unshaven face you have learned to touch

one day leads to the next
then one day it won't

taking notes writing poems
learning to forget your name

there are moments in your life that feel like a punch in the nose but come hell or high water you take your daily walks in your city the one you know and love the streets that you feel by the veins in your hand and every now and then you experience a moment that knocks you on your ass in wonder and joy every now and then you go like fucking wow

Sunday, June 15, 2014

live blogging the lords of salem [2012]

i like much of rob zombie's cinema.  many many years ago zombie hosted a monter movie marathon on basic cable.  along with his hosting duties zombie also broadcast a couple of his band's, white zombie, videos.  the dude has an eye for the colorful and the macabre.  call me a fan.  most of his films are more miss than hit.  but even at their lamest these movies have some very beautiful imagery.

zombie has studied the masters like dario argento and lucio fulci.  argento figures prominently in this flick.  sheri moon zombie is a radio dj who receives a vinyl record with all kinds of weird shit in it.  the lords of salem were a coven of witches in the 17th century.  the lived, yep, in salem, massachusetts.  sheri moon zombie, is now getting all sorts of argento inspired visions.

the acting is a bit too baroque.  the acting matches the imagery.  moon zombie is all sorts of indie hipster with dreadlocks and tattoos.  she is an attractive woman and it is cool to see a 40-something woman in the lead of any film.

i said live blogging so let's get to it.  moon zombie went to see a priest.  a young guy.  who starts intoning some kind of biblical language.  she gets up to run away and he, the priest, seems utterly normal.

now there is some hardcore 17th century witchery imagery.  leave it to rob zombie to anti-prettify these witches.  these hags are filthy, wild maned, and tough.

what the fuck is this!?  a witch condemned to death by fire with an iron mask and shots of a goat nearby.

back to one of the radio dj's listening to the record of the lords of salem and trying to figure it out.

okay, the dj's are on air.  what up?  we have to wait and see.

hmmm. . .the lords of salem are a band?  the dj, ken foree [awesome actor!] announces a concert by the lords.

playing the ambient lords of salem music moon zombie looks like she was about to orgasm.  17th century witchery was playing. my guess, in her head.

okay, rob zombie can compose a shot.  lots of great spooky lighting and editing.  but the writing could use a bit more umph!

the bruce davison character, one third of the late night radio dj triumvirate, interviewed an 'expert' who gave davison a gloss on the history of the salem witches.

holy shit, you guessed it, moon zombie is cursed.  she is coughing up blood in her apartment.  she is freaking out and seeing zombie doctors who want to slice and dice our star.

might i speculate a little and say that our heroine will be dragged permanently into lord-dom.  the poster in her bathroom, a cool 1930s robot design, just leaked blood out of one of the robot's mouth.

huh!?  moon zombie's character is a crack addict?!  she is smoking some shit and listening to a french language lesson.  now, the three ladies from the 17th century coven are at her door bearing companionship and food.

the 17th century ladies are all over moon zombie who has passed out.  they are walking our chick down a corridor.  because she is a witch?  hang on.

now moon zombie is sleep walking in to a cathedral, her face painted, with classical music.  fuckin' a.  the priest is one fat fucking scary monster. 

the deed is done.  moon zombie is i think one of the witches.  why not. 

she just declined a date, via phone, from a non-witch kind of dude.  what does that mean? 

she's a fucking witch, that's why!

the bruce davison character, one of the three dj's, is now speaking to two of the 17th century coven.

the third part of the coven just walked into the room.

he just got brained with a frying pan.

again and again and again.  my guess is the davison character is dead.  somehow moon zombie, from a cut-way shot, was able to feel his pain.

i don't know what the fuck is happening.  the nice guy whoo wants to date moon zombie head to go past the three 17th century witches who were sitting on the steps of  moon zombie's apartment.  a quick shot to a zombie in full catholic priest regalia complete with red lighting.  now the hipster doofus is in the apartment.  a curtain was closed on him.

now the three 17th century witches are in a theater, chanting, 'satan come to us, we are ready.'  the witches who were burned at the stake appeared on stage too.

moon zombie is in the audience and is stripping down for the witches.

go figure.

now moon zombie is on stage writhing with a goat, a goth dude, and lots of other sorts of deviltry.  what's going on?  a whole lot of naked writhing by the witches.

 the scene cutaway to our three witches who seem to have been waiting for moon zombie.  who stands on top of a pile of bodies.  a few images of moon zombie playing with her dog.  now the credits role with a news anchor voice over about suicides related to the historical witches.  what happened?  moon zombie was fated to become one of the lords of salem.

satisfying as a movie?  there are some very lovely, haunting imagery but the script could use a some help.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

living easy on friday the 13th, 2014

two black cats crossed my path
i broke four mirrors on the way home

i went out of my way to find
ladders to walk under

there was a silver ferrari
parked outside and i didn't get scared

punk music i found is not only for the old
a few young'uns rocked too

my feet stretched to meet every crack
on the sidewalk

i bayed like a pooch
and danced too under the full moon

polka music i declare is real cool

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

stand by me [1986]

i was a stephen king nut in the mid-80s.  i even tried my hand at writing short horror fiction.  i was a kid.  i didn't know any better.  most of that fiction is i think mercifully lost.  at any rate, this is a pretty good flick and maybe the only non-spooktacular movie ever created from king's oeuvre.  the source story, 'the body', is a pretty good read too.

what had me scratching my head when we ordered this movie via on-demand thru our roku saturday night was how long we've been able to watch movies in our homes.  see, i first saw this pic on VHS tape played on a VCR and rented from a mom&pop video.  lemme tell you kiddies how wonderful it was to watch uncut movies in your home at any time.  the mom&pop video store was a magical place that smelled of popcorn.  the store usually had some sort of hollywood style lighting and a TV showing the newest feature.  i logged many many hours in our store called The Jazz Bird.  i remember the small crush i had on the girl working behind the counter.  she was a fashionable thing dressed in the latest guess jeans and esprit sweaters.  her perfume was outta this world.  i never learned her name.  pity.

but i quickly got over that crush.  that's what happens in life, right.  so this movie starring the late and very great river phoenix, wil wheaton and corey feldman and directed by rob reiner is about three boys who go on an adventure to find the body of a boy who disappeared in the woods a few days before and was struck by a train.  heavy on the nostalgia as the pic is peppered with songs and quotes from late 1950s rock&roll and TV shows.  yet it works.  the nostalgia is leavened by a pungent sadness.  the facts of aging and the visceral immediacy of death keeps the treacle of fond memory at a minimum.

but what exactly is wrong with sentiment and nostalgia anyway?  for these are engines that move this movie.  even better phoenix is such a gifted actor -- oh how i miss him! -- that he makes nearly anything he was in shine brighter.  the casting is perfect, the direction is solid, the editing couldn't be better and the photography is a bit on the lush side but that works too since most of this movie takes place in the woods of oregon.  i think richard dreyfus, who narrates the movie as a grown-up wheaton said it was oregon but the town is called castlerock, a frequent burg in the fine state of maine used in many of king's tales.

nick enjoyed the flick.  so did i and anna too.  i think she told me to hush up when i was reciting dialog as it happened onscreen.  i've seen this movie so many times over these three decades i nearly have it memorized.  oh, another delight is the small role of wheaton's recently deceased older brother played by the always terrific john cusack.  

Monday, June 09, 2014

summer words from the master

i don''t know how to embed this video of a summer message from maestro jim mccrary but click here view it.  i love mccrary's cat in the background chowing down.  our own cats, ollie and noah, are pretty much puddles of fur because it is 100+ F outside!  that is so fucking hot!

i've had a lovely day off work doing nothing.  watched a zombie film and a few of the DVD extras.  talked to john bloomberg-rissman on the phone for a couple of hours.  nick just got home from school, his last week of school.  i'm sweating and now gonna turn my attention to reading a poet john and i talked about then gonna write my blurb for a poet friend that is long overdue.

a new iteration of the great poetry review zine, galatea resurrects, and i am delighted that my review of jonathan hayes new book, american haiku, is in such good company.  i admire poet/critics such as tom hibbard, patrick james dunagan, john olson, john bloomberg-rissman, galatea resurrects editor eileen tabios, and a very many others found within these pages/pixels who engage poetry with their intellects and their hearts.  poetry is in the blood and i think poets should write reviews.  i am doing what i can.  please click here to get to the good stuff.   

Sunday, June 08, 2014

odds & ends

in a half hour, at midnight, i turn another year older.  i'm old.  depending on one's point of view.  or i am not old.  depending on one's point of view. 

the obsession with language and images = the constant thinking how to make these into poems.

it is still in the 80s F. at 11:39 p.m.  that kind of heat makes you think on a life.

i was explaining cosmic inflation to nick yesterday.  he said could the big bang be caused by two universes colliding?

i have this question: how many lives does one get?

i am writing a blurb for a book by a poet i love very much.

i am taking the day off work tomorrow because i am asking how many lives does one get.

i am thinking of carl sagan's speach about a photograph of our earth taken from voyager spacecraft way out in our solar system.  sagan calls our earth the pale blue dot.

i am [un]learning action as non-action

at my age i need to seriously chill, about everything.

i know how stupid the desire for fame and yet. . .and yet. . .

so many subjects i shall never learn well, or at all.

would it were a course called physics for dummies.

i must learn to shun the shame i feel when i say the noun, poet, in public.

i asked a poet friend on friday what roman poet do you feel the closest to.

i am playing catch up, to everything.



Wednesday, June 04, 2014

6/4/14 at 10:54 p.m.

can we say sitting around doing nothing
is doing something
head out of images
a man vs tanks
opening your mind someone says
is like scratching a few lines
with a set of car keys in a
piece of safety glass
the man in the back row
has a question
with all this despair
what keeps you from
going fuckit and
throwing in the towel

i didn't do nothing last night but watch TV.  it was a TV night.  i was bone dead tired from spinning out at work that when i got home i sat with anna and nick and watched a little TV.  when they went to bed i normally turn the TV off and read and/or write for a little while.  but not last night.  strictly TV.  you can't blame me.  we have a DVR that records our favorite shows.  we are long time satellite TV subscribers so you have a trillion channels.  and now we got ourselves an Roku, an online streaming device with dozens of specialty channels that cater to every fetish and genre known to humankind.  shit, i need 12 lifetimes now to watch all this cool shit.

i turned on the Roku and scrolled thru a couple of channels.  hundreds of movies and TV shows to choose from.  and here i found on the documentary channel a sweet little film about the famous ferus gallery located in los angeles.  the ferus artists, like ken price and ed ruscha, took what they needed from hot rod culture, movies, marcel duchamp, abstract expressionism, and a hodge podge of lots of other influences to make their pieces and put ferus gallery, and los angeles, on the art map.

but i confess, i fell asleep watching the documentary.  not because it was boring.  the pic is fascinating.  i fell asleep because it was late and i was spun.  anyway, included in the ferus documentary is a favorite painter of mine, billy al bengston.  old man hip dude and flashy dresser bengston makes aging look cool.  below is a short interview with the artist along with a few stills of his pieces.  this interview is not from the documentary.  i can't remember the name of the flick but it had 'cool guy's in the title.  but here you have a taste of his personality and a glimpse of his work.

now i just need to get hold of my peeps at MIT to start their research giving each of us 12 lives so we can have time enough at last.


Monday, June 02, 2014

late night exploitation movie

blue goes the night blue goes down
the corridor for another beer
empties the bladder opens the heart
to what but another feeling of
dogeatdog and horror of TV news
the splatter of poetry
empty mind again
storehouse of imagery unsettled

* * *

she saw herself in the mirror
                            reflections and reflections
a scream
               dopplered in sound time and space