Tuesday, June 29, 2004

thank you Eileen for your wonderful enthusiasm. I raise my extra-strong morning coffee to you.

gracias, Crag for your brilliant reading. it means a lot to me.

I stammer for the right words. oh my, yes.

we do indeed live in a global village, I value that highly. funny, when I was a kid my father would ask me about the root sources of patriotism. of course I'm an American, I'd answer, but I am also a citizen of the world.

the universe
the solar system
the earth
the western hemisphere
the united states of america
the west coast of the united states of america
northern california
34th St

we are all connected whether we know that or no. what happens elsewhere happens also here. we are many and everywhere, all brothers and sisters.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

now to work on our interview before bed.

been a long, frenetic weekend. but lotsa fun. Anna and I spent today lazily splashing about at the lake in Pollock Pines. we are now baked and pleasantly exhausted.

Ms. Chatelaine's find of David Levi Strauss's collection of poems recalls a similar discovery of a book that the staff had no idea was on their shelves. I found Interviews: Edward Dorn ed. by Donald Allen (Four Seasons Foundation 1980) on the new poetry shelf at the used bookstore Beers Books a couple of years ago. it is a battered copy with a $5.00 price located on the back cover. at the time I was reading as much Dorn as I could get my hands on, and this book literally jumped out to me. when I took my purchase up to the counter the person ringing it up had this funny look on her face as she searched for the bar code, or something. she asked, I didn't know we had this one, where did you find it? I told her on the new shelf. Oh, she said, and rang it up for five bucks.

books find their readers, or readers find their books. either way, the beauty of browsing bookstores is the surprise and delight one might discover. I don't know a writer who doesn't love making these finds. I have the Dorn book beside me as I type and love holding its battered pages, how it fits in the hand.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

man, living so close to the Bay Area makes me salivate on all the cool readings they have there. of course, can't go to all of them. so good luck during the Marathon today Eileen, I'm rooting for ya. there are also several readers that I would love to hear and meet, Elizabeth Robinson, Kit Robinson, Bill Luoma, Rae Armantrout, aw hell, everyone on the list.

Rodney Koeneke sent me the schedules for the summer's Marathon and I'm itching for the August reading in Oakland. if you plan on being there, then let me know, and I'll introduce myself to you.

today, heading over to my friend, Robert Roden's housewarming party. then tonight it is a midnight movie at the Trash Film Orgy. but why the hell does a midnight movie have to be at midnight? geez, that's kinda late.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

been a fan of electronic music ever since I was a pup and heard bands like Kraftwerk, though it seems Kraftwerk is not a band in the traditional sense: where each member plays a particular instrument. no, Kraftwerk, to me, is more like a collective.

electronic music, electronica, always seems to me more abstract, cold and cerebral than rock music. perfect sounds for a freezing winter day. but that's to my ears at least. and perhaps it is an acquired taste, I have friends who kinda dig it, but would rather listen to the Beastie Boys, or something. it might have something to do with the fact in electronica circles it is the DJ that rules and not the composer. so it is hard to get a feel for individual artistry. one can buy collections of synth music but so much centers around the sequencing styles of a spiner like John Digweed rather than the composer of the recordings a DJ uses in his/her sets.

but that's not quite right, and I do not want to give the impression I'm so down with the rave scene. never been to one, and I didn't know what ecstasy was until Anna told me. seen and did many kinds of pharmaceuticals but never heard of E. but no matter since electronica is what I listen to when I read and write. and it is ambient works that I dig.

artists such as Mick Harris and Richard D. James aka Aphex Twin are at times inspired composers of ambient electronica. check out the video by James here and see if it don't freak you out.

music, for writers, for everybody, is a tremendous well of inspiration. and I've been thinking how to write a sequence of ambient poems to match these composers, and that is how I think of Harris and James, at their best. there are other artists such as Crystal Method and Chemical Bros. but I think of those two groups as bands, with a traditional pop song structure etc. etc. Harris and James are on to something though, and how, I wonder, to capture a bit of it into writing.

but for influence, whether it is classical, jazz, punk, what have you, well, who knows? but I am, we all are, under the influence.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

ahem, what I meant to say is Tom of Kent meet Tom of Kent. life does have these fantastic symmetries.

Monday, June 21, 2004

working on the interview with Tom affords great pleasure in the opportunity to ask the questions, but the real pleasure is the responses. a few of them gave such a rush it felt like I was mainlining pure speed. I've not spoken openly about the interview, but I love doing it. a question a day, like one step at a time, love and survival.

now off to bed.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

happy to learn Verse Magazine started a blog in lieu of its website. it is one of the most energetic of print publications around. check it out. link added to the right.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Overheard Walking Home

no you don't wanna
be doin' that

is some bad shit

yeah I know
but I'm a bad mofo

hey I'm homeless
got a few dimes

and in other news the

Monday, June 14, 2004

recently asked some friends to recall the scariest motherfucking movie they ever saw. well, The Exorcist always tops on the discriminating cineaste's list. I agree, saw the film at a drive-in when I was a pup and scared me so shitless I've not seen it since. I still remember, as if it were last night's nightmare, certain scenes. good god! I get the shakes just thinking about it now!

but two flicks topped the list: 1) the U.S. remake of The Ring, which I agree is drop-a-load in your pants type of screamer, and 2) The Blair Witch Project, which is one freaky film, I think.

but The Blair Witch Project is not to every filmgoers taste. I've seen only two reactions from film buffs: terror or complete boredom topped by motion sickness. my reaction to the latter group of movie-watchers is a polite: HUH? the movie oozes creepy atmosphere and slowly builds tension, and it does what most horror movies do not do, which is it doesn't show what the fuck bumps in the night. we only get the protagonists sheer terror and our own imagination. and it is the imagination, which can cook up things so much worse than a latex or CGI monster chasing some hapless sucker down a darkened hall.

who has not scared themselves silly, especially alone, late at night, when everything is still, only to hear something creak open or shut like a door, or footsteps, and you know no one really ain't there. or the terror of interstellar cold when you stare up at the night sky and see how vast it is, it exists utterly and without human need, and you catch a glimpse, perhaps, maybe even flittingly, of your mortality and how indifferent the universe is to it.

but, um, er, then, perhaps that's why we go to the movies. and for some reason I can't convince my friends to watch what I think is perhaps the scariest movie of recent memory, the original Japanese Ringu which is pure atmosphere and dread. no for them the U.S. version is enough. a shame indeed.

and what was it O'Hara told mothers to do with their children? oh yes, let them go to the movies!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

reading side/lines (A New Canadian Poetics), ed. by rob mclennan brings forward a question I've long pondered: is there still such thing as a regional writing? perhaps one can argue that all writing remains local, in dialect, in political and ecoconomic concerns etc. etc. but writing surely has become more global with the advent of global economies and the Internet.

a writer may indeed be alone in a small community, physically alone at least, especially if that writer is queer or a minority, but I would argue it is damned difficult to be completely alone if that writer has a computer and access to books and a keening intelligence to seek out works and writers that might become spiritual kindred.

isn't that the point of writing anyhow? to break down barriers of all sorts, to be inclusive rather than divisive? not everyone is the same but each individual is human, with human loves and desires and languages. and these loves, desires and languages collapses time and space. isn't that why we can read the poems of Catullus now as if he were still alive and our contemporary?

writing is forms of processes, and not a finished product, though a poem may be done for its author. in other words, at some point it might not allow its author access and it becomes an autonomous creature, but for the poet a poem is never the poem. if that were the case then there would be fewer poems and more writers doing what Faulkner threatened to do when he thought he had written the perfect work: break the pencil.

and but so reading and writing belong and doesn't belong to space and time, like song, like love. these things are finite and temporal, they occupy space and are outside of it as well. the human voice raised in song exists in time, yes, but indeed lifts the singer and listener outide of it. how else can one explain why we are so moved by a singular piece?

one may actively cultivate a provinciality, Larkin comes to mind, but that is more an affectation of the writer, one that is negative and damaging in the worst possible senses.

for me, some of my spiritual brothers and sisters I've never met except for the mystery of their works. I delight in their many multitudes for it expands what is humanly possible.

Friday, June 11, 2004

my mailbox yesterday was a-brim with goodies. received SCORE 6 from Crag Hill, with selections by Canadian visual poet jwcurry. thank you Crag for the lovely journal.

also, with wax, Coach House Press 2003, by derek beaulieu, a collection of texts and visual poems based on the cave paintings of Lascaux.

and slide rule, subpress 2002, by Jen Hofer.

and side/lines (A New Canadian Poetics), Insomniac Press 2002, ed. by rob mclennan.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

woke up this morning to a wonderful gift: Anna was up early and got two tickets for The Pixies at the Greek Theater in Berkeley for their Sunday show in September. the confirmation number from Ticketmaster was printed up and placed next to the shower so when my groggy ass shuffled in I was staring at a sheet of paper. didn't have my glasses on so couldn't figure out what it was until I picked it up, shoved it under my nose, and read it. she told me I wouldn't have bought them on my own so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

oh yeah!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

wow wow bow wow wow bow! gracias Nick for having a crush on me blog.

Friday, June 04, 2004

so far I've seen Kill Bill Vol. I twice, and I don't have the enthusiasm for it that many, many people do. I wonder, would Tarantino's movie get all the adulation if it came out of Japan directed by an unknown Japanese filmmaker? Tarantino admittedly made the movie as an homage to grindhouse cinema. as an avowed nut of trash cinema I think he gets it partly right. there are some good set pieces in the film, such as the final blowdown between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii, but the cartoonish nature of the flick, ya know the siren calls on the soundtrack when The Bride gets something stuck in her craw, quickly gets on my nerves.

would people applaud the ultraviolence of another flick by another director, or does Tarantino have such a rep that he can film someone taking a dookie to critical acclaim? don't get me wrong I like the dude's work for the most part but last night I watched a film that outdoes Tarantino frame by frame.

Ichi The Killer directed by Takashi Miike is an inventive roller-coaster of a flick. from the opening scene to the beguiling ending Miike transports the viewer to a world of no boundaries, ethics or morals. the story is nearly the same as Tarantino's movie, but predates Kill Bill Vol. I by two years. I have the impression the U.S. filmmaker got a few ideas from Miike.

most people I know who love Tarantino's movies never heard of Miike or his work. I've not seen Ichi The Killer on the shelves of the local Blockbuster either. small matter though, but I wonder would people condemn Miike as being too violent and still celebrate Tarantino's visions?

but to my tastes Miike is the better filmmaker. I've seen three of his films so far, the austere Audition and the goofy Dadaist The Happiness of the Katakuris including Ichi. Miike is a nutball filmmaker. I can't get his images out of my head.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

sometimes it takes a while for certain things to grow on you. for example, I've been listening to the early 90s shoegazer band Slowdive for over a year now and come to have a high regard for the ambient soundscapes of their first album just for a day.

I'm listening to it as I type. I am always, it seems behind the times, for when they were around I didn't pay much attention to them. the same goes for the Cocteau Twins (by the way, was it a CT song that was looped on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake website?). been listening to Anna's old tapes of the Cocteau Twins and have a fondness for their warped ethereal beauty.

perhaps it's just age, I'll be 37 next week. never thought getting so fucking old would feel so young. really, 10 years ago I'd have thought a man in his late 30s was one old fucker. still feel like I'm 25. and so it goes for music re: still love it. I grew up, like most post-war persons, on the pop culture of my generation. though I don't really think there ain't much generational differences at all. when I was 18 me and my friends would smoke a bowl then drive around listening to Jimi Hendrix. by the time we got to Hendrix he was dead for almost 20 years, but that didn't stop us from loving him.

poetry embraces all of it: life, music, pop culture, painting, cinema, and on and on. I love it so. and so for the ambient strains of Slowdive: may you rock.

I've added Geof Huth, Josh Corey and Crag Hill to my links. read up brothers and sisters.

The Pitch

a reality tv show about misadventures of a poet and his family.

watch as the drunken bard stumbles into the car after a reading. see the air crackle in suspense when he looks up from his book to yell at his kids: Turn down that fucking stereo!

feel the goosebumps as we watch his wife shuffle past him into the kitchen trying real hard not to growl as our hero stares at the wall of his study.

think of the possibilities, the inspirations, the sweat.

find the muse hollywood, come on!