Sunday, June 16, 2019

i love this fucking song

speaking of poets' blogs

check out lars palm's cheeky editions 
where palm writes about his  
his adventures in the meridian poltava international festival of poetry
in ukraine w/ photos here

doing shit

today, & for just today, it cooled off considerably.  still pretty damn warm, but very pleasant.  i have the windows open to a soft summer breeze [boy does that sound like a song] as the clock ticks close to midnight.

& it was a day of chores.  after chores i got dinner from Cookie's, our favorite neighborhood drive-in burger joint.  now that i have a phone i am in the habit of listening to podcasts as i do my weekly house cleaning.  neil de grasse tyson's StarTalk is always a favorite.

nick graduated from middle school.  we went to the graduation ceremony on thursday.  weird for his parents for it seemed like yesterday - no joking - that he was just starting kindergarten.  now nick is a teen & moving so quickly into young adulthood.  life is that proverbial rollercoaster ride.  crazy-insane & over pretty damn fast.

which is why i've long adopted our late cat, ernie's, philosophy: stop & eat the fucking flowers!

now that our double anthology is in the world it is time to start new adventures.  i've got a few things cooking in the pot & as soon as they get close to being done i'll say more about them.

i turned 52 last sunday.  i'm heading into geezerville.  how did that happen so quickly?  fucked if i know.  i met a poet last week at his reading.  we've been corresponding & texting for a few months but hadn't yet met in person.  when i introduced myself, he said, you're old!  huh, i replied.  sorry, he said, but you write like a young person.  i expected you to be about 35.

well, i am getting old but i think, as the cliche says, you are only as old as you feel.  i feel like i still have a lot to learn & a lot to live & write.

what else.  i've been rereading the collected blogs of the late poet bill knott.  one thing i love about poets's blogs is how they are poets' electronic diaries & notebooks.  i love reading the notebooks & diaries of poets.  given the choice of buying a slim volume of verse or a fat book of notebooks & verse i'll choose the latter all the time.

it's summertime.  again.  i'm a crepuscular creature who prefers autumn but, hell, i am growing old & i better appreciate every fucking season as i experience them.  so this summer will be spent at the pool.  we will have our annual week at the beach in cayucos next month.  i haven't been to the drive-ins this year, yet.  but the drive-ins are part of my soul.  if everyday is halloween every night is at the drive-ins.

peace brothers & sisters

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Saturday, June 08, 2019

a coke by any other name would taste as sweet

Thursday, June 06, 2019


i am watching saving private ryan [1998]
on TV on the 75th anniversary of D-Day
that killer landing of industrial killing
& mechanized assault
& defense
of what
come that scene near the very last
battle when the troops have a moment
to relax
before the carnage begins
& they are listening to edit piaf sing
but the troops don't understand french
they hear the sorrow in the singer's voice
so they ask their translator
the young man who so far in the flick
is way too scared to fight
what piaf is saying
she is singing the ancient tale of scorned love
& love lost
so that right now the translator
the one who is the most
cowardly of all the red-blooded
american soldiers
is the center of attention
he has knowledge that the others
would like to possess
like my friend the painter
vic selinsky who served
in the pacific theater
on a supply depot
vic's job was to off load
supplies from the ships in the harbor
& yet every morning
& every evening the ships
& the depot was bombed & strafed
by the japanese
i was at vic's house drinking tea
when he pulled out his sketches
of the japanese raids
were you scared, i asked
& vic gives me this look
scared, he says, hell no
i wasn't scared
i was 18 & thought i'd live forever
it was the other guy who was going to die
as for piaf, vic continued, she was alright

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

scenes from the heat

i see him dishevelled messy dirty hair
t-shirt torn & jeans needing a belt
eyes spun & talking to himself
clutching close to his chest
a bag of pita chips & a bottle of water

excuse me sir, he says to me,
would you like a few chips & a sip?

* * *

the girl walks her dog
the panting dog flops on the sidewalk 
now the girl carries her dog

* * *

spontaneous combustion?

it got so hot i swear he burst into flame

* * *

each step to the office is like walking on a bed of lava
& the un-shaded sunlight is a gamma ray burst

exchange with tom beckett

please do check/read this new interview with mr beckett.  fascinating & stimulating tom is always great company.

for the interview click here   

Sunday, June 02, 2019

'i want everything this world can give me'


if ya gotta say it say it in verse

stephen fry & richard dawkins

this is essentially a monologue by stephen fry & yet fry is a brilliant renaissance man.  & i think evidence of this talk on youtube [it got over 4000,000 views] is a proof that people still want, nay demand, witty repartee & discourse in their lives.  of course 4000,000 people are not the world but when the world appears to get darker & dumber even a minority of peoples who demand an educated stab in the dark is a cause for hope. 

the end of the world

when i say the *world* i mean us

when i say the *earth* i mean everything else

the earth is so much older than us

the earth will be here for a long time after us

unless until we learn to treat our madness

& call humanity to task against our excesses

our brutalities

our cooperative species of destruction

Sunday, May 26, 2019

the specials in the 21st C

a couple, few, months ago i read that the great ska band The Specials were coming to the Fox Theater in oakland.  i really, really wanted to go.  The specials have a very special place in my, and anna's, hearts since we were wee little kittens.  i even mentioned the upcoming concert to a few friends who said, that's cool, rich, but. . .

but a few weeks ago anna & i were watching the rock&roll hall of fame ceremony on TV.  now, i love live music performances.  most of my youtube watching is live music.  something magic about a group of strangers dancing, singing, clapping & being in a sequence of time & rhythm.  my descriptions of live performances can get to mystical proportions.  i think that maybe there is hope for the human being if strangers can act as one in peace & 4/4 time.  there is no larger communal embrace than getting lost in the music & the crowd.

still, during the broadcast anna got on her phone & said, there are still tix to see The Specials in oakland.  wanna go?  do i wanna go?  does the pope wear a roman hat?  fuck yeah!  i must confess that the Fox Theater has become our favorite music venue.  it is gorgeous inside.  located in downtown oakland on telegraph ave the Fox Theater was an old movie house that fell into disrepair.  it was lovingly restored to its kinda sorta moorish design in 2009.  anna & i saw The Shins a month after the venue was reopened.

i've written about the Fox Theater before so no need to get into the nitty-gritty.  anna & i saw Beirut in march at the Fox.  that was a lovely show.  but The Specials are something special.  formed in 1979 they, & other like bands, kick-started the second wave of ska music.  only this particular wave held a pretty deep social conscious.  these ska bands wrote songs about economic desperation & inequality, social inequity, & political stupidity.  it is my humble opinion that The Specials are the very best of the best.

rather than dig into the personnel & personality of the band, which are all too easily google-able in our rapidly increasing digital age, i will say that The Specials songs about social injustice & wealth inequality & anti-war & anti-nukes speak so strongly of our present age.  have any of these songs aged?  no.  but for one or two.  the later tune 'free nelson mandela' is no longer relevant because mandela did get free, but the great man was also elected president of south africa.

but as anna said, you go to concerts to be with your tribe.  our tribe likes pork pie hats, checkerboard designs, punk leathers, shoes like vans & chuck taylors.  what's old is new again.  many members of the audience also, like me, had grey or silvery hair.  the average age was 50.  but many of these older folks brought their teenage kids.  & these kids were dressed like their parents.  oh man, when i looked to the floor i saw a mosh pit the comprised 50 somethings & teenage somethings.  how's that for equity?

downtown oakland is so cool even Lorca has a place to call his own.

& that's the thing about growing old in the 21st C.  the latter 20th C is so easily available via digital media.  old TV shows, old music, old anything is easily get-able via electronic access.  wanna see & hear jimi hendrix live?  no problem.  curious how people lived in the 1970s.  type in '70s TV commercials' in youtube & you may not get a terribly accurate way of life in the '70s but you will get more than a flavor of how people lived, & what their aspirations were, by watching the advertising media of its time.  at no time was faulkner's dictum 'the past is never dead.  it not even passed' as relevant as in our digital age.

The Specials message is so today.  & all days.  when they performed their masterpiece 'ghost town' i nearly wept.  the band was that good.

even with social messages The Specials kept a danceable beat.  i've been to a very many bay area concerts.  most bay area audiences are pretty mellow.  but as i said a little earlier there was a mosh pit.  when the band performed 'A Message to You Rudy' the venue launched into low earth orbit.  when you listen/see The Specials it is hard to sit still.  this was one of the best concerts i've been to.  i shit you not.  this is a band performing at the first intensity.

would it be that the social justice messages are lost in the beat?  perhaps, that is the problem with art with messages.  people can lose the cause even as they appreciate the art.  still, singer terry hall concluded the band's performance with these words, LOVE LOVE LOVE.  hard to miss that.