Sunday, September 28, 2014

my aching late 40-something feet!  there was a light sprinkle at mid-day.  anna gave nick and me a ride downtown to the convention center where there was a reptile and insect show.  the show is not a traveling zoo as i thought it was a couple of years ago.  no way.  it is a market where exotic creatures are for sale.  i asked a vendor how is the market for snakes and lizards.  he told me the market is great at the high end but crappy at the low-end.  high end: snakes for tens of thousands of dollars; low end: snakes for fifteen hundred and less.  sacramento is not a high end kind of town.  but he comes to the reptile show for the publicity.

nick and i are not in the market for such a pet.  we just like looking at all the astonishing creatures and insects.  this year nick was brave enough to hold a tarantula.  i, too, was brave enough to hold a tarantula and another arachnid that looked like a scorpion but was told -- emphatically -- by the retailer was not a scorpion.

but then we walked the two miles plus home.  after last night's adventure in the corn maze my dogs -- nicks too - are baying.

but then this evening my father visits and anna and i and my old man had a nice long talk about the fucked-up-edness of the world.

anna read last night's post and pointed out a couple of misspellings and awkward sentences.  i took notes.

jaws 2 [1978] is on the TV right now.  it's not a good movie.  but it ain't bad.  my old man took me and my brothers to see it.  i remember the exact theater, it is still there, and perhaps even the seats we were sitting in.

reading a few poets online.  my happiness is immense.

one poet reminds us that our lives need not leave happiness out.  another poet reminds us a life of humility is a revolutionary act.  

everyday is halloween

it's become an annual tradition, getting lost in the corn.  the little agri-burg dixon has a very cool pumpkin patch, cool patch pumpkins, with what must be the world's largest corn maze.    

b. and j. got here a little early.  we had a few chores to do then we had an early dinner at a local greek restaurant.  then we headed to the maze.  it took a while to get there.  a lot of traffic on the road.  road work too.  we got at the pumpkin patch about 6:30 p.m.  the elderly security guard at the entrance told us not to worry, we'll get out, eventually. 

b. was prepared.  he prepped the map and with a highlighter pen scored our journey.  i checked my watch.  we entered the maze at 7:00 p.m.  there are four bridges in the maze.  we got to the first bridge at 7:15 p.m.  making good time.  we got to the second bridge an hour and half later.  not good time.

we were not the only ones lost.  everyone we encountered got lost.  we began recognizing groups of people.  some would follow us because it looked like we knew what we were doing.  i think people followed us because we looked old to the mostly young people in the maze and so because of b. and my advanced ages, along with having flashlights, and a highlighted map, with two children in tow, we must know what we were doing.


the maze this year is fiendishly difficult.  also, it is early in the scary season so the paths on the maze are still fresh.  meaning that a lot of the corn later in the season gets flattened and paths get pretty worn making find your way out a little easier.  tonight the paths were dense with corn allowing a narrow passage. 

we were fine for the first two hours and got to the second bridge in okay time.  but the last third was a killer.  nick and j. were holding up well.  they were tired and sore.  i looked at my watch.  it was 10:30 p.m.  we had been in the maze for three and half hours.  the final portion of the maze consisted of a lot of switchbacks that were dead-ends.  we no longer heard voices of other maze goers.  nick saw a large rate and a huge toad. 

we met a group of teenagers who were hopelessly lost.  they asked if they can follow us.  they were worried they might have to camp in the corn for the night.  by 10:45 p.m. i started to worry about that too.  we could see the klieg lights burning at the edges of the maze and the roar of the generators.  we knew we were close to the exit.  we were tired.  we felt responsible for the teenagers.  one called her mother on her cell phone and said that she met up with some 'very smart people' [yes, that is a direct quote and i wanted to tell her that we were simply going on our nerve] who looked 'like they've been to college' [another quote, that kid was sweet and i think a bit nervous about being lost].  we needed to get out of the corn for the sake of those teens, our two boys, and my sanity.

we were fouled in the switchbacks.  one dead end after another.  we could hear the generators for the lights.  b. looked at the map and said we made a wrong turn at the last bridge.  we needed to double back.  we did just that.  we took a couple of turns to the right.  there was the exit.  and two golf carts with workers waiting for us.  the teens screamed.  we were the last group to come out of the corn.  i said, you can't be waiting for us!  but they were.  they said, hop on and we'll get you to your cars.

it was a long four hour adventure.  i'm looking at the map now and wondering what sadist devised it. i asked a worker if 11:00 p.m. was the latest he had to wait for people to get out of the corn.  he said no, the latest was 3:00 a.m.  because they count the cars in the lots and wait for people until they come out.  in fact in the rules section of the maze map is, and i quote, ''stay on the pathways.  you'll eventually come out.'  we did.  the teens were taken to their waiting parents.  we climbed into b.'s truck and made our way back home.

it was a long night.  a special night.  an adventure.  i am still wired from the adventure.  nick is in bed and will sleep like a babe.  i'm sure b. and j. will too.  we couldn't have asked for a more perfect night.  getting lost in corn is, i'm telling you, one of life's greatest pleasures.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

back to old skool

pulling long hours at work so that when i get home i have energy for the most basic of tasks and little else.  i read a bit in the morning -- nearly always poetry -- and after dinner and an hour or two with anna and nick i try to stay awake to watch a little TV or a movie.  last night i fell asleep watching a documentary on climate change and overpopulation.  when i climb into bed i take a book or magazine -- rolling stone, the new yorker, vanity fair, et al. -- read a few sentences and pass out.

boo hoo! 

and yet, i owe some writing to a couple of friends.  i feel guilty for not honoring my friends and fellow poets -- my brothers and sisters in the art -- because of my limited abilities.  oh, yeah.  this ain't no cry fest to feel sorry for myself.  life is short.  my life -- right in the middle of it, i hope -- is the only one i got.  if there is one thing i take seriously and honor the most, other than my family, is friends.  i am good at feeling guilty especially if i feel i am falling short in my friendship.  guilt, it seems, is a very human ability and i could compete in the olympics if it were a sport.

but like i said life is short.  love is what you make.  i woke up this morning thinking to myself, dude you are gonna die sooner than you know, enjoy your fucking life, listen to more music.  so with that i'm kicking it old skool.  next week b., c. and i will venture out to see social distortion.  and then on nov. 7 i am going to s.f. to see slowdive at the warfield!  fucking A right!  slowdive and social distortion, my two most favorite bands.

i was checking out some my bloody valentine stuff online a few days ago.  then i went to youtube and watched a few slowdive performances -- recall that slowdive, an early '90s shoegaze band from, i believe reading, england, broke up by the mid-90s.  they reformed with all original members this summer and performed at many festivals.  i went to their website and saw that they added a north american tour.  s.f. is part of that tour.  now, as far as i know, among all the persons in my immediate orbit, i am the only one who is bat-shit crazy about slowdive.  but the band is really that good.  i told anna that the show was sold out but you can purchase tickets via the second-hand online dealers.  long story short: she bought me the tix today.

now, if i sound like a kid on christmas morning so be it.  not seeing slowdive live was my one regret with the bands i love.  i love, for example, the throwing muses, i've never seen them live and i doubt i ever will, but i don't care.  slowdive, well hell, that band, i can't explain why, matters a great deal to me.

friends and coworkers know who social distortion is even if they are not familiar with their music.  but when i saw the word slowdive i get blank looks.  when i told coworkers anna got us tickets to see slowdive i said simply i'm going back to old skool to learn a few new grooves.

oh yes, it rained today.  glorious rain.  poring goddamned rain this morning.  i got soaked on my way to work.  then it cleared up.  to a gorgeous day.  we need more rain.  a lot more rain.  a lot lot lot lot more rain.  a friend reminded me that every fall i rhapsodize about the light, cooler weather, changing foliage, pumpkins, goblins and ghouls, of autumn.  i do.  like a broken record.  or a well-worn groove.  i do that because i love this time of year.  even when i am feeling a bit blue it is hard not to share the pleasures of being alive at this time of year.

now, if you'll excuse me i have some writing i want to do!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

every day is halloween

the scary season is not complete without at least one visit to a spirit halloween retailer.  and we did just that this afternoon, nick and i.  nick is going to be a MAD SCIENTIST for halloween.  anna's ordered him the lab coat, the goggles, the long black gloves and a bow tie.  this is the first year we are piecing a costume together instead of buying a costume pre-made.  the trip to spirit halloween was a reconnaissance mission to find a few more accoutrement's and make-up to make mad the MAD SCIENTIST.

what a delight to shop for halloween with a nine-year-old!  the world is fresh, and scary, in the eyes of a child.  nick is a great kid but there were a few of the animatronics that made him nervous.  as a middle-aged life-long freak of all things horror and halloween it is easy to overlook the things that go bump in the night.  i don't mean  i possess a jaded or exhausted world view of horror.  but a screaming zombie, however creatively composed, looks like another stiff toy.

not so for nick.  so i looked thru his eyes, and when he took my hand and said, daddy let's get out of here, i looked at the thing i was looking at with a fresh perspective.  i was scared too. and yes, we high-tailed it the hell out of the area.

it was a thrilling perspective, very like riding a roller coaster.  you are safe on a roller coaster but the thrills and scares of the ride quickens your blood.  same with the scares of halloween.  i wasn't at the store to scare nick.  i didn't look at things to scare nick.  i think purposely scaring children is an evil act.  when nick acted nervous around some of the things inside the store we avoided those things.  we bought a few trinkets for nick's costume.  i delighted in the items of the scary season.  nick reminded me of me when i was his age.  i was terrified of some things, and fascinated, at the same time.  some of us love riding the roller coaster even if it scares us and makes us sick.  halloween is that season for such thrills.  nick and i got thru the check-out without a hitch and when we were exiting there was a life-size zombie butler to see you off.  nick stopped me and said, daddy, press the button [when you press the button on these things that makes them go and scare].  i pressed the button.  the butler did not come online to scare us off.  instead we took his silence in stride and walked off into the parking lot and early evening sun.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

reality is text it is also image it is too sound i looked toward the sky and the sky was full of smoke and clouds there was a bit of lightning perhaps a bit more is expected there are fires east and west of us tonight at dinner we looked up and saw a fire fighter plane on approach to landing and refueling the land is dry tinder it is dry

Thursday, September 18, 2014

everyday is halloween

for the last two weeks we've been going to lake natomas for a little late summer kayaking.  on the way to and from the lake we pass a locally famous -- famous if you are say between the ages of 35 to 50 -- ancient 1980s all-ages dance club called, yep, the mine shaft.  the mine shaft has been closed for many many many years.  it survived for a while as a miniature golf course.  and then it was for a moment an RV dealership.  now it is a large lot with a huge vacant three story building.  a grounds and building perfect for the temporary home of a halloween haunted house.

each time we pass the mine shaft i try to catch as much as i can of the ongoing construction of the haunted house.  it is the same outfit, heartstoppers, a western-themed scare joint that my father and i visited last year.  and yep, i plan on making another trip to the haunted house.  or two.  with some friends and maybe i can get my old man to go with me again.

haunted houses, pumpkins at the grocery store, jack o'lanterns, halloween candy, and a few scary movies, this is -- you guessed it -- my favorite time of year.  halloween is as much in the heart as its imagery and manifestations are in your face during the month of october.

this is the time of year casa de bronson/lopez turns -- not into a haunted house -- into an expression of autumn.  starting now, in addition to poems, essays and rants, really bad movies will post the odd horror movie review, memories and ruminations of halloween past and present, videos of haunted attractions, and sundries related to the high holiday scary season.

might your scares be true.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

short attention span poems

the check out lines at safeway were crowded everyone jockeying for position some entered the grocery store saw the crowds and walked straight out while i biding my time in line looked around and thought if no one here is my enemy perhaps they are my friends

* * *

i saw a ghost or perhaps it saw me at any rate i saw something standing there like a shadow without a body to cast it

* * *

there are holes in my chuck t's i need a new pair each pebble or beer bottle cap my feet land on during my walks brings my attention to a sharp point of hurt

* * *

 if i die tomorrow i will regret never having visited jamaica

Sunday, September 14, 2014

saturday double-feature

hubert selby, jr.: it'll be a better tomorrow [2005]

it was hotter than the surface of the sun, triple digit highs during the day.  makes me want to cocoon with a book and/or movie.  and i did just that yesterday.  after the sprinkler guy, a real cool old bohemian/hippie dubbed 'the irrigation einstein', left after he completed the work that knocked me on my ass last weekend, i switched to the on-demand documentary channel, docurama, and watched a couple of flicks.  the first is the above titled feature.

selby is that rare artist, a genuinely good man.  his fiction is tougher than leather.  his characters lead lives of addiction and madness.  but the man himself  -- gruff, ornery -- was on a spiritual journey.  he was a bodhisattva of the late 20th C.  this documentary is a testament to selby's goodness.

selby did not die rich or famous.  and yet his goodness and his writing touched millions of people.  this flick has the usual talking heads recounting the decades of addiction and bad health.  his friends, and i think if you knew selby he was your friend, also tells us of the love he shared and cultivated with the people in his life.  i should've taken notes and wrote down some selby quotes.  nevertheless, this movie is a delight of the mind and senses.  and a life lesson for artists, one does not need to be an asshole to be a good artist.

happy [2011]

in 1621 richard burton published the anatomy of melancholy.  ever since, it is cool to be schooled in depression.  most of our artists and writers have trafficked in the southern end of our emotional palette.  so have scientists, economists, politicians and all the rest of us.  a poet's work is given more gravitas if it explores the blues.  if a poet writes about joy we look at her work with a sideways glance.  for sure, you can't be serious if you are happy, right?

that trend is turning.  there is a branch of brain science studying happiness.  what makes us happy?  this documentary asks this question and comes to some non-surprising answers. 

the filmmakers travel the world and seek out peoples, and scientists who are studying this relatively new field, whose claim on happiness exceeds the average u.s.american.  and they found out what makes us happy are not wealth and the acquisition of more and more stuff.  50 percent of our happiness is based on genetics.  that is our set point.  some people are more prone to be happy while others are not.  10 percent depends on circumstance, like having enough money.  40 percent is a mystery but can be influenced by our training.  we can teach ourselves to become happier people.

we are so conditioned to poo-poo the language of happiness.  but why?  this is a refreshing documentary.  very few of our poets write from and thru joy and happiness.  whitman was such a poet, and i think the cuban-born jose kozer is another.  we need more happy poets.  that is not an oxymoron.  first start with the first noble truth: life is fucked up.  and yet, we can, with practice, be happy.