Monday, August 30, 2004

two more for the list

I forgot to add two poetry books I've been reading today since they are out of sight at the moment and in my backpack.

Meme Me Up, Scotty! by Chris Murray
Parts Unknown: Wrestling, Gimmicks and Other Works by Michael Holmes

I like Crag's summer reading list immensely. I enjoy knowing what other writers are reading period. it is very useful and often opens doors to writers previously uknown to me. I take my reading very seriously, I get a tremendous high from it, and I read something everyday.

serious reading does not mean it is done without play. and when I consider all that I read, like you, I'm astonished by the sheer weight of it. I love superabundance and would rather have too much than a paucity of good writings. I am, might I confess it, a fucking junky and need a daily fix or four. why else, indeed, would I enjoy reading the lists of other writers.

so dear poet/readers, what is on your lists? reading is for all times and occassions. the only thing I consider a summer activity is blissed-out, retarded exploitation films, the kind I used to see at drive-ins when I was a pup in the 70s. I love the 60s beach films, and make no apologies for it. watching numbskulls like Avalon and Funicello sing about their love while the honest-to-god genius of Buster Keaton acting like a buffoon in the background is a smartly placed speedball in the artery. geezus, freak!

so here is a partial list of the books I've been reading and also rereading the past couple of weeks. I reread all the time. usually I pick up a book and read a page or two, or a poem or three as I move through a room in the house. the list doesn't include the print and online journals, newspapers, blogs, listservs and google searches.

Behave, Rant 66 by Steve Tills
ode ode by michael farrell
Ring of Fire by Lisa Jarnot
Menage a Trois with the 21st Century by Eileen Tabios
Collected Poems by Tom Raworth
The Little Door Slides Back by Jeff Clark
Madonna Anno Domini by Joshua Clover

* * *

and non-poetry books.

Sleazoid Express by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford
Skin Shows by Judith Halberstam
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

* * *

and music too.

Mommy's Little Monster by Social Distortion
Beastie Groove by the Beastie Boys (oh man, my oldest friend brought this over Sat. night. it is the first EP by the Beasties, released by Def Jam in 1985. in it they sample AC/DC and Led Zeppelin and it is fucking far-out. haven't heard it in years. the record is vinyl and to my knowledge has not been released as a CD. the record also is untitled so I call it by one of my favorite songs. c'mon Beasties release it already!)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

the vacation week

learned to do nothing
but stand on my head

learned to watch many movies
standing on my head

learned that 60 seconds moves as fast as a minute
standing on my head

learned that my dogs, Hugo and Sophie, still bark a loud bowwow
as I stand on my head

learned the Olympics '04 was as boring as Olympics '00
standing on my head

learned from my cats, Ernie and Berta, to stop every now and then and eat the flowers
standing on my head

learned that Social D fucking rocks still
standing on my head

learned to stop
standing on my freaking head

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I got the ol' end-of-summer blues. have the week off from work and doing a lot of nothing. however, today I actually got out of bed and did a little something close to nothing. so the day ain't a total loss, I guess. one must train the self in the arts of BEING, ya know. takes much practice to become an adept. ain't there yet of course, but it is an effort to just type this post.

and doing a bit of rereading: Steve Tills' collection Behave, Rant 66, is a source of great pleasure. the book has been by my side for a couple of days. Tills has also been posting some serious, brilliant stuff at Black Spring as well, such as his thoughts on O'Hara. wonder how he digs Schuyler as well.

autumn is around the corner, my favorite time of year. though it is gonna heat up for this weekend. oh well, summer is the best nine months out of the year.

tonight gonna see one of my favorite bands Social Distortion. but before that I gotta get back and practice the arts of negative being.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

it has been a long, lovely weekend. Anna and I went to the opening day of the California State Fair on Friday. we probably wouldn't go if we didn't live in Sac, however we've made it a kind of tradition to go at least once every summer in our 12 years together. and today we saw the film Open Water. the movie is receiving love it or hate it types of reviews, but for me it is one white-knuckle descent into terror. it is a beautifully bleak movie but it ain't for everyone, I guess. I must emphasize the word "terror" since that particular emotion is keener, more refined, than "horror." it's not a typical horror film, no gore, no special effects, no fancy lighting, or heroic stunts. it is two married people in terrror, living through a very real, but very fragile reality.

thank you Chris for your wonderful book Meme Me Up, Scotty! got it Friday and read it straight through the moment I opened the envelope. a terrific ear and inventive forms in these poems. I'll have more to say later when I reread it, however I do want to mention how much of these poems work upon their sounds and delight in their inventions. it is a playful poetry, dare I say Mozartian? terrific stuff.

Tom, you make me blush. Stag Film is incredible. now to get off my butt and turn my notes into a sequence of poems based on 8mm loops.

and Steve, gracias hermano for digging my text.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

there have been poetry books on jazz and classical music but none that I know thus far on indie music(s). which is kinda sad really considering writers like Joshua Clover wear their music tastes on their forearms like tattoos. James Meetze writes that he and his group of brutes attempted to get a happening going at Mills last year, but was hampered by no moolah. fuck it, do it anyway at a local club.

what about an anthology of texts based on indie music? you are what you hear, ain't you? me? shit, I be nothing but a miasma (undergrad word, huh?) of noise produced by Hendrix, Sonic Youth, Shane McGowan, X, Social Distortion, David Bowie, Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, Stockhausen, the Germs, and, um, I'll stop there. I love one fucking distorted guitar. ain't nothing like the Marshall stacks switched all the way up to 11, pure feedback. amen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Day in the Life of Poetry (a Sketch)

finished a long day of work clicking
through the Buffalo Poetics List
for 20 minutes then walked out the front door
toward the corner
of 5th and I St. to get to the mall
and check the local Doubleday
bookstore for a copy of
The Best of American Poetry 2004 ed. by
Lyn Hejinian where favorite poet/bloggers
are published
the book proves to be at least as exciting as
The Best of American Poetry 2002 ed. by Robert Creeley
and getting to the streetlight
of the intersection right when it turns from yellow to red

is a SUV moving at about 50 mph
to the cross-traffic and I know I feel it
the SUV is gonna smash into that 70s era Toyota
I see it happening the Toyota is gonna spin
hitting the cars in the parellell lane
it will be bad some one(s) will die
others will be changed for life
my adrenaline gland is pumping
I hear a woman screaming
from another car that has already stopped at the red light

but the SUV has antilock brakes
there isn't a sound
it stops inches short of the Toyota
scares the hell out of its driver
the woman's screams become laughter
in relief she is laughing so hard
that when I get to the bookstore
I find on the poetry shelf
Involuntary Vision: After Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
ed. by Michael Cross quite a find
for a mall bookstore
and why the hell not
indeed the book is beside me now
for who is Julia Bloch
her poems in the book
are totally fucking astonishing
finding them were matters of luck

Monday, August 16, 2004

Tastes like Chicken

in gary larson's great cartoon
there is a barn there is a batch of cows
inside the barn one keeps watch
thru the open door the others assemble
there is an upturned crate for a table
there is a plate there is a steak
on that plate and a cow with a fork
and knife the other cows gather
before the cow with fork and knife
who declares it tastes like chicken
to the assembly while one keeps watch
in gary larson's great cartoon

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

for the love of god,

--yes, for the love
of god

it's fucking hot!

thank you Nick, I've got a crush on you, too, big boy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Steve Tills at Black Spring on god, war and evil.

Monday, August 09, 2004

man, it is hard to breathe laughing so hard watching the old porn flick Debbie Does Dallas on Trio tonight where they cut all the sex and nudity and leave only the movie. cut out the sex and you have the funniest half hour on TV.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

In Praise of the Good Stuff

here is a list of books I received the past week:

Behave, Rant 66 by Steve Tills (dPress 2004)
bad-ass poetry from one helluva a poet. Tills reminds me a bit of Catullus in his venom. this collection is a necessary antidote to latterday poemizing.

* * *

Behind the Blue Canvas by Eileen Tabios (Giraffe Books 2004)

a collection of erotic stories. Tabios has the gift to meld sex, life and text. no subject is taboo. I dig how she creates the life of a poet with great sensualities and hungers. wonderful.

* * *

Dear Dad by Bill Luoma (Tinfish 2000)

a lovely chapbook of prose poems about the poet's relationship with his father.

* * *

Ring of Fire by Lisa Jarnot (Salt 2003)

I've not read this straight through. I am a big Jarnot fan and look forward to curling up with it. oh, am I the only one who likes to look at photos of other writers? well, I think the author's photo on the back of this book is pretty cool, good to look at, she with a wide, friendly smile.

* * *

Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000 by Barry MacSweeney (Bloodaxe 2003)

this is the book I've been waiting for. however, it is not a comprehensive collection, MacSweeney spent his life publishing in the small-presses, so collecting his books is sometimes an arduous undertaking. I would love to see one big Collected MacSweeney, but alas this book will do. MacSweeney died in 2000 after a lifetime of alchoholism, which is chronicled in his book, Book of Demons, and has been reprinted here. MacSweeney was a friend of J.H. Prynne and others from Cambridge, a wild, wild poet.

* * *

Collected Poems by Tom Raworth (Carcanet 2003)

this is one fat fuck of a doorstop, and absolutely essential for every poet/reader. get it, now!

* * *

To Hold in my Hand: Selected Poems by Hilda Morley (Sheep Meadow Press 1983)

got this tonight at Beers Books, a used bookstore. I've read some poems by Morley here and there through the years but now I have some of her work in my hands.

* * *

Brisees: Broken Branches by Michel Leiris, translated by Lydia Davis (North Point Press 1989)

got this tonight at the above-named bookstore. a collections of essays on various topics. bought it primarily because of a very short text, "Epilepsy," I read standing in the stacks.

* * *

Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters by Judith Halberstam (Duke University Press 1995)

a critical work by feminist/queer theorist Halberstam on Gothic monstrosities in horror films.

* * *

Big Smoke: New Zealand Poems 1960-1975 edited by Alan Brunton, Murray Edmond and Michelle Leggot (Aukland University Press 2000)

this book is the Big Find in a long, long time. I've been wondering how to get the books of fellow poet/blogger Mark Young and now I'm quite literally salivating. this is the book, I believe, that got Young writing again. the collection gathers together the writings of New Zealand poets and documents a scene of discovery and experimentation. there is a really cool autographed poster for a reading reproduced that is a photo of a bearded Young with James K. Baxter (also bearded) and David Mitchell. the poster reads: An Evening of Poetry, Barry Lett Galleries, Aug. 20, 8 pm. I feel very lucky in finding this book. there is even an inscription in gold ink on the frontispiece: Happy Birthday Kirsten/ Your 10th Oct. 2000/ love, Richard.

hey, wait, that's my name. what the huh?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I've been a fan of Bay Area poet Rusty Morrison for some time now. I literally scour journal, online and print, for her poems and her reviews. tonight I was gonna ask if anyone knew if Morrison has published a collection of her work, then I read this just now, and yeehaw! can't wait for Nov. if you don't know Morrison's work than hightail yourself to fetch a copy of Poetry Flash where you can often find her reviews. for her poems you must look everywhere, such as here, and scroll down a bit to find her texts.

seriously serious good commodities for the social here.

Monday, August 02, 2004

I've been reading Skip Fox for about a year now ever since I found some of his poems at Muse Apprentice Guild and was completely wowed by them. first it was his name, Skip Fox, that attracted me. can't explain it really, but we all are, I think, attracted to certain names. at any rate, his texts are blustery, in-yo-face-type of abstract writing that kept me reading and wanting more of Fox.

so in the mail I received a photcopied zine, FUCK!, published and edited by Lee Thorn from AZ. the mag got my attention both from its title and its DIY presentation: six pages of texts with a staple in the top left-hand corner. in other words, my type of publishing. and here was Fox inside the zine with two outstanding poems that make me want more of him.

check this baby out:

Fig. 24

His mind in

wherein his mind

write it down

wherein his mind

his ass in a

mucus or juice

write it down

mucus or juice

his finger up
his ass

* * *

the couplets and rythms of this poem remind me a little of Creeley, but it is the poem's interrogation of writing crossed with bodily fluids that is pure Fox. the last couplet can be read both as stimulating and stilted, such as the work of writing often can be. but one must "write it down/ first" for it to be either and or, and both. it is a ballsy poem, one that has me hankering for more.

I have two of Fox's books, Adventures of Max & Maxine (Auguste Press 2003) and Fighting Kiwis (Oasis Press 1999). the former has a wonderful drawing of a half-peeled banana by Will Yackulic on its cover, which recalls Warhol's drawing of the same for The Velvet Underground's first album. and like the fans of VU one must actively seek out the work of Skip Fox, but he is worth every effort in the finding.