Tuesday, January 27, 2015

bits & pieces

jonathan hayes sent me the latest edition of his long running journal over the transom #26 and it is just brilliant.  i was bone-tired on saturday and after a cub scout function i got home and found this mag in the mail.  regular snail mail.  like a miracle!  wanted to take a little nap, because, you know, like, i'm old.  instead i read thru ott straight and was so jazzed i could not sleep.  favorites out of this issue is an essay by mel. c. thompson, two art reviews by paul murphy, two poems by peter case [yes, that one, of the plimsouls fame], three poems by klipschutz, and a poet new to me, waka murata of tokyo, japan.  this is the good stuff.  support the small presses.  great job brother hayes.

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i recently wrote about my friend in art and life, alex gildzen, paring down the things in his life  i am the lucky recipient of one of those things.  a matchbook from alex's large collection of match books.  the book is from pacific dining car restaurant in l.a.  it's a lovely gift.  and just my size!  thank you, maestro.

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i read at the sacrament poetry center last night.  there was a last minute cancellation and my friend tim kahl asked if i could read.  i said, yes!  had a blast.  i think i rocked the audience's socks off.  any hoot, it was fun and getting out of my comfort zone and get out among people is very important.  thanks to the sac poetry scene and esp. thank you, mr. kahl.

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i am deep in my interview with german buddhist poet stefan hyner.  i'm having a blast and getting a serious education too.  i don't wana say too much but i am very excited by this interview.

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finally you can show an old dog new [or not so new] things.  nick introduced me to the song 'three little birds' by bob marley today.  beautiful song.  because marley says, 'every little thing is going to be all right.'

Saturday, January 24, 2015

you must watch this

a wonderful documentary on the great writer and translator of chinese poetry: red pine

Friday, January 23, 2015

a nightmare on elm street [1984]

after a long, difficult day at work sometimes you wanna open a beer and get the bejesus scared outta you.  this flick will do the trick.  sure freddy krueger is iconic.  when i was last in a halloween superstore, you know the kind that occupies empty retail space for a couple of months then closed down on november first, i saw a sexy freddy krueger costume for women!  huh?!

okay, this movie is 30 years old.  after a million sequels the villain was less lethal and more camp.  fuckin' hell.  but there is always the first movie in a franchise and this pic provides the goosebumps in spades.

director wes craven hit paydirt when he lensed this film about a pedophile who is burned to death by the parents of his victims.  that creep returns to wreak revenge on the living children of those parents by attacking the kids in their sleep.  such a novel concept.  and brilliant too.  there is no escape and eventually everyone must sleep.

of course both versions of invasion of the body snatchers [1956, 1978] was also predicated on being attacked in your sleep.  yet those were cold war movies whose subject in a nutshell was about the Other.  rather instead craven's monster was a colorful psycho in a slasher flick.

and to prove that this movie is a slasher flick we have a final girl, adroitly played by heather langenkamp, who busts thru sleep deprivation to duke it out with krueger.  the rest is movie magic.

this pic did not have a big budget.  craven was used to small budget films.  he earlier crafted the incredible the last house on the left [1972] which was shot with about a buck and some change.  oh but what the man could do with those few dollars!

there are very few movies that can scare the crap out of me.  this is one of those films.  watching it is cathartic.  a long, difficult day at work and i'm knotted up like shoelaces.  i sit down, open my brew, nick is in the other room, anna just got up and left because this movie has too much grue, and feel another kind of tension build up inside of me.  soon the knots become undone.  i know what happens next and still i cover my eyes.  i say out loud, no sleep!?  you are gonna die!  krueger is such a vision.  i love his fedora.  what a cad!  the final girl, nancy, is one to be reckoned with.  i'm scared.  i'm thrilled.  i am finally relaxed.

bad jokes, etc.

what did the hammer say
to the wood?

i'm gonna nail you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


according to wittgenstein the world is everything that is the case
where i come upon my own limits to language
if i take possession and say these words
and take my natural state: confusion
and stand unsteady on my feet
i shall go on and fall
and rise and fall

Monday, January 19, 2015

a curious thing in the world of poetry.  i have years worth of BAP anthologies.  i pick them up because i like to know what is going on.  BAP [best american poetry] has a guest editor and chooses the best among the thousands [could it be millions?] of published poems in the u.s.  a crapshoot fer sure.  what makes something best?  but rather instead of focusing on the subjective merits of what constitutes the best in u.s.american poetry i am struck by the kind of publications culled from the winning batch of a year's worth of best poems.  robert creeley in 2002 was the guest editor and several of his choices were taken from online journals.  creeley was an early advocate for online publications.  but since then most guest editors cull their choices from mostly print journals.  fine.  good.  but most of the really good stuff is published online.  i read most of my poetry, except for books, and even still i have downloaded dozens of pdf books, online via journals and blogs.  WTF, BAP?!  it is like BAP is stuck in a late-20th century idea of success: print journals and then print books. BAP does look at online journals.  however, most of the journals the guest editor chooses from are print.  but we all know that is not how the world works in this modern age.  is it truly the best if you are not reading the online journals?  does it matter?  i suppose.  when i was a younger poet i wanted to be in BAP.  badly.  but most of my publications have been online.  i have a couple of print pubs and i am proud of those. nor am i talking smack for not being in BAP.  nor am i not speaking ill of print, at all!  i prefer books over most anything else.  but when it comes to showing my cards i confess that much of my reading is done online.  i am guessing yours is too.  shouldn't anthologies that call itself the best be taking its material from the dominant publications vehicle?  earlier today i googled a new zealand poet, bob orr, whom i would never have heard of nor have read his poetry if it were not for the internet.  that is what the internet is for, or one of the reasons why the internet is a good thing: it can expand our minds and give us access to people and cultures that a generation ago would have been damn near impossible to find.  the internet complicates our ideas of success.  we all can upload our art and with a click make it available to the world.  what then about BAP?  i don't know.  my favorite edition of BAP was when creeley was guest editor way back in 2002 [did i say way back in 2002?  holy shit do i feel old!]  for the great poet understood the new century.  we live digital lives and we live physical lives.  our poetry embodies this.  our best of. . .publications must embody this too.        

coherence [2013]

eight friends gather for a dinner party on the night a comet passes very close to earth.  the comet, called miller's comet, is a beautiful fireball in the night sky.  the friends eat, drink, joke and make merry until the power goes out.  oh, the main character, a blonde woman named em, while driving to the dinner party talks to her boyfriend via her mobile phone.  she loses her connection and the glass on her phone shatters in her hand.  when the power goes out the friends look out the window to their neighborhood and find only one house about two blocks away with the lights still on.  one friend said he is going over to the house to use their phone.  he said that his brother is a theoritical physicist and if anything weird happens when miller's comet passes earth to call him.

what kind of weird shit happens?  hold on now.  this movie is a slowburn.  the tension grows until the denouement.  to give away anymore would be a disservice for this film is a good exploration of the theory of the multiverse and decoherence.  what?  theoritical physics claims that there may not be one universe but an infinite number of universes.  and living in each of these other universes is a version of you.  the passage of miller's comet causes a ripple in space-time allowing for decoherence.  the universes mix together.  the house with the lights on is the same house of our friends but in another universe.

rather than get all cerebral by trying to explain the physics -- remember this is fiction and the science used to explain all the weirdness is rather wonky -- the filmmaker james ward byrkit, who also wrote the script, keeps the explanations to a bare minimum.  byrkit instead focuses on the psychological state of his characters.  how would you react if you saw yourself across the street?

i believe the great argentine writer jorge luis borges has a piece titled 'the other' where an other borges meets borges on a park bench in cambridge in the middle of the day.  borges of course records the meeting and concludes that both men, tho the meeting was real, were dreaming.  what is reality if it is mutable?  our friends take little in stride and calmly record this anomaly like borges; they panic.

and what if you get stuck in an exact but alternate universe?  these are the questions brought to fruition by the actions of our guests.  em panics.  she is the voice in this confusion.  she does what we many of us might do.  for this is not a deep-think pic.  rather james ward byrkit crafted an intimate film of perplex and growing dread.  he even managed a couple of jump scares for us.  the people in this movie are ordinary players upon the world's stage.  that is why we can identify with them and feel their fear.  this is a good movie.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


blankets for issa: move over you damn column of ants
it's my time for bed, too

Monday, January 12, 2015

3 word haiku