Thursday, September 22, 2016

happy 1st day of fall

it had been a blistering start of the work week.  100+ F on monday and tuesday set me in an awful mood.  then yesterday's cooler temperature, it even sprinkled a bit, just enough to make the cars dirty, and today is the first day of autumn.  i wore a light jacket to work this morning.  it was that cool.  fonzie style cool.  even the temperature was that cool.  it is getting darker earlier, the leaves are changing and dropping from their trees, and the light is so hazy gold and soft it brings tears of joys to my eyes.  yes, i'm a big softy.

finally, now is my favorite time of year.  below is a halloween inspired video that i posted last year but it is a lovely song and video so redolent of fall and the scary season i love it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

diary of a halloween horror freak

it is in excess of 100 degrees F. today despite it being late summer, early fall.  despite the temperature i am in full hold-on-to-your-hat halloween mode.  last night nick and i went to one of those halloween pop-up stores, spirit halloween, 10 minutes before closing time.  we spent those 10 minutes looking at the animatronics, and the masks.  nick still hasn't decided what to be for halloween.  he is 11 years old, going on 12.  this might be the last year he takes an interest in trick'r'treating, so i would like to make this year count.

however, i am nearly 50 years old and every halloween counts.  i was just on youtube watching haunted house tours.  yep, the haunted house industry appears to be doing very well.  i think that might be because people want to get out into the world and experience something that is not recorded in binary codes.  i don't know, really, why haunted houses are so popular.  i've only started to pay attention to them five years or so ago myself, after a long haitus. 

at any rate, we are now squarely in the scary season.  you know, this is my favorite time of year.  next up is a visit to a haunted house, and the pumpkin patch and corn maze.  who know what else.  i'll ramp up my horror movie watching, but then again, i'm always watching horror movies.  i'll certainly check youtube for halloween horror vids.  some people are made calm by pictures of flowers and mountains.  me, a bloody skull and a jack o'lantern sets my sine waves to zero. 

go figure.  be that as it may, life is too short not to embrace what you love and are attracted to, as long as that does not harm innocent people.  halloween is one of my great loves.  perhaps something is broken in me.  but then again, why apologize.  i love the scary season.  might we all be lucky to find something we can love. 

peace out

ryan knighton

below is a video of the blind canadian writer ryan knighton telling a story about his travels in egypt and in writing.  it is a lovely story.  i came to know knighton's work in an anthology of canadian poetics, side/lines: a new canadian poetics ed. by rob mclennan [insomniac press; 2002].  i think you'll be charmed and charged by ryan knighton too.

Friday, September 16, 2016

quote unquote

Lloyd, why do you have to be like this?

'Cause I'm a guy. I have pride.

You're not a guy.

I am.

No. The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don't be a guy.

--lloyd dobler, played by john cusack + corey flood, played by lili taylor [say anything (1989)]

Thursday, September 15, 2016

reading is a mental action and a physical action.  words printed on the page or screen is a physical manifestation of the cerebration of what words signify.  so in short language is both physical [indeed lexical presentations are often the subject of visual poets] and mental.  so i find it of no contradiction to greatly enjoying watching videos of my favorite poets.  indeed, i recall a book published about the poetry of james dickey [you remember dickey, don't you, he of the novel, and movie adaption, deliverance] that utilized audiotapes in its writing.  dickey loved the technology and pondered what we would make if we had videos of say keats or rimbaud.  well, now we do.  youtube is a wonderful platform for videos of my favorite writers.  i find myself watching many of these videos almost as often as i am reading their books.  below is a video of the 'generation of '68' polish poet ryzsard krynicki in the native habitat of the writer, a bookstore.  krynicki is a favorite poet of mine by the translations i've read of his work.  i don't know polish so i don't know what the narrator of this video is saying but i suspect the video is about both krynicki and the owner of the bookshop the poet is visiting.  i find it a very sweet video and i love looking at the face of krynicki.  here it is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

the poet ed smith

i re-read david trinidad's blog post about his late friend the poet ed smith, toy time bombs: the poems of ed smith.  trinidad starts his piece by noting how common the name ed smith is that there must be thousands of ed smiths on facebook.  that made my ears prick up.  do you know how many richard lopezes are out there?  sheesh!

but like trinidad says about his ed smith there is only one.  i trust that.  smith is a witty, miniaturist whose verse is influenced a lot by punk rock.  i like that too.  something about the few poems reproduced by trinidad makes me want to learn more about this poet who was active in the 1980s los angeles art scene.

i can't say much more about the poetry of ed smith until i read more.  i hope trinidad does indeed edit a collected smith.  but lo!  we live in a remarkable age.  below is a video of ed smith interviewed and reading his poetry.  i really like smith's fast pace and quirky delivery of his lines.  watch and see for yourself.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

what the, really, fuck are you waiting for?!

punk rock reading glasses

we have a teen in the house.  or near-teen.  at any rate nick is growing so fast, and his mind is developing into a beautiful, sophisticated instrument, my own pea-brain is down-right boggled.  i look at our son and see a young man, not the beary, cuddly, chubby baby he was once such a very short time ago.  and now, right now, i have to deal with a stottering internet because he is updating his gaming computer and hogging all the bandwidth.

bear with me.  you see, nick makes me happy.  he is developing into a very decent human being with a keen mind [he takes after his mother regarding his sharp mental abilities].  and yet still, i'm trying to watch videos and the damn connection keeps sputtering!

well okay then so what.  i'm at that age when shit just pisses me off, and shit amazes the hell out of me.  watching/listening/seeing nick amazes the hell out of me.  but why go on like this about my son?  i don't know why.  i am simply recording my gratitude.

earlier tonight nick and i ran around doing a few errands.  i wanted to stop at Barnes & Noble, the last big chain bookstore in the u.s., because keith morris, punk rock icon and founder of black flag and the circle jerks, who is huge in my personal punk rock pantheon published a memoir, my damage w/ jim ruland (the story of a punk rock survivor) [da capo press; 2016], and i needed to get a copy.  i did that and read the first several chapters.  if there is anything punk rockers have in common it is a rough childhood.  morris had that in spades.  so did i.

between the years 1982 -84 i'd seen the circle jerks at least a half dozen times.  i remember one show at the clunie hall [located in mckinley park, a historical sacramento park that dates back to the 1920s] when morris pulled down his jeans and stuck the microphone up his anus during the song 'i got the world up my ass'.  i just met this very cute girl.  i was i think 15 years old and a total blob and was beside myself that this pretty punk girl would even acknowledge my presence.  but the beauty of punk is that every punk was a blob, and you can celebrate your strangeness in the punk rock subculture.  you didn't need to have a college degree or have some bona fides conferred upon you.  you just needed to be sincere in being punk [whatever that means for you].

which brings me to poetry.  i've tried to bring my punk rock attitudes into writing and publishing.  i wish there as more of it.  what charles bernstein calls 'official verse culture' and critical 'frame-lock' is not the end-all-be-all of poetics.  we are living in a globalized culture[s].  yes, we are.  what poets do to publish, commune, and the manners that reading, writing, publishing and gathering together are by increasingly digital means.  sure there are some drawbacks to this but it also is a means to bypass established modes and create your own.  morris et al. made their own music, recorded it and distributed on their own channels, without the blessings of official channels.

well, then so i'm nearly 50 years old and still i am still under the influence of punk.  many of my poet heroes would know the punk ethos, writers like catullus, contantine cavafy, rimbaud, villon, horace, du fu, mina loy et al.  be a poet, be punk.  no one, except for yourself, can tell you no.

but writerly influences are complex beasts.  the late, great raymond carver wrote an essay about literary influences.  he listed several, but the most important influences on his writing were his children.  when i was a young man in my early 20s i didn't understand carver's thinking.  i do now.  nick, and anna, in short my family, have had the greatest influence in my life, and when i say life i mean also writing/reading.  for i do not separate writing/reading from the ordinary daily tasks of living.  especially if that means nick is hogging the bandwidth to update some program on his gaming computer and i'm stuck with a stuttering connection.  as james dickey wrote, 'my life is made of the world/I will do what I can.'     

Saturday, September 10, 2016

happy birthday nicanor parra

on 9/5/16 the great antipoet nicanor parra turned 102 years old.  that seems like an advanced age.  but remember in 1914 there were movies, airplanes and the world was about to embark on one of its worst wars ever waged.  100 years is no longer a long time.  it is a mere lifetime.

i speak only of the passage of time as being 'mere'.  even what appears to be a long time to us is really a very short period.  plus nicnaor parra is a great writer.  i discovered his antipoetry at my own advanced age of 30 or so.  but i figured my own lifetime will be an ordinary amount of time and 30 is, in the space of an ordinary lifetime, fairly young.  so parra's antipoetry has had a great influence on my own poetic thinking/living.

what accounts for such a long life as nicanor parra's century.  who knows?  join me in wishing this old rascal a happy birthday, and enjoy this video of parra reading a few poems.  join me in wishing the maestro a happy 102 years on this clam shell.

4 small truths

1. you can't eat ice cream in heaven

2.  you can't have sex in heaven

3.  you can't drink beer in heaven

4.  you won't find heaven