Monday, January 30, 2006

over the weekend i was doing a lot of reading and rereading. well, no more than usual i guess, however i was taking books out and reading a few pages here and there of one of my favorite travel writers pico iyer. one of iyer's major themes is 'the global soul', how the world is increasingly a hybridization of its languages, cultures, peoples etc. etc. you get the drift. then i read the first 20 pages of sawako nakayasu's long poem so we have been given time or (verse press 2004). then i considered how my name, lopez, is common as dirt in california yet considered still a minority in the united states. tho i don't feel minor at all. so then what is regionalism today? many of my closest poet friends live on opposite sides of earth. both iyer, an indian by heritage, and nakayasu, was, according to her bio, born in japan but living in the u.s. since the age of six, write in english. each writes in an english different from the other. that that englishes is a participation of the the world becoming smaller, and stranger. for example of the world getting smaller, more familiar, and certainly more brand-name oriented i recall a couple of years ago when anna and i spent a week in london, and while seeking a cup of coffee we stepped inside a starbucks cafe without realizing the shop was a starbucks until we saw the familiar green logo. then it hit us starbucks is not only on every corner back home but everywhere in the world, just like mcdonald's and that ubiquity seemed to happen suddenly. every spot on earth must have both a mcdonald's and a starbucks. what is next? and but so are we international poets with regional flavors? or regional poets with a taste of the international. are we in danger of turning everything into one corporate franchise? i don't live in airports. i live in california where there are many languages spoken. why travel when one can take an international culinary adventure right in the neighborhood, complete with language, music and flavors. yet the world is still huge, in my humble estimation, i can get on a plane and be anywhere in 24 hrs. how then, does that change how we write and read.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

just returned from watching death race 2000 with some friends. the film is a tight 80 minute goofy ride. all action, no let-up, and no acting from the actors, or depth of plot is wasted here. from roger corman's ultra-successful low-budget studios the film is the year 2000 situated in a police state, where the future is populated by bozos in leisure suits. its denizens live in either sterile-white large open rooms or the furnishings and decor are all colored burnt orange.

silly and deranged but the direction is solid by paul bartel, however the music is canned library stuff, while the editing is fairly sharp. it wears its no-budget ethos on its sleeve, from chintzy title cards to terribly painted sets to look like cityscapes. filmed in bakersfield, the movie is one robust engine of drive-in drivel. car crashes, splashes of red paint for blood, you'll have fun spotting future has-been movies stars. most likely you'll run for a movie guide or the net to put a name to a face. then you'll return to the film with a fresh beer, your sides aching because you laughed so hard from the bonehead car stunts and robot acting you had spilled what was left of your old beer. in other words, it is terrific time spent.

Monday, January 23, 2006

bummed out seems to be one of the constants of a writing / reading life. bummed that one isn't doing enough for friends and loved ones. bummed because no matter how long we live we'll never finish the life's work. bummed because the length of life, even at a hundred years, is never long enough to read everything. bummed because we want to be that ideal reader. bummed because we want that ideal reader.

and but so, bummed is part of the job description. especially if one dedicates his / her life to poetry. who the fuck reads that shit?! it ain't a job, ain't a vocation, but an obsession. and so we discipline our lives to an art that many don't even think about. what joy is there to be taken from such discipline?

can't answer that with a pithy line, or an ironic, hipster-doofus, sentence. it is worth it, i say. so much depends on it, including the health of the art. i recall several instances where i go into my language-unified-like-a-jedi knight's force theory since language is what binds and penetrates us. most people have that look like rich is off on it again: back slowly away. but it is the problem of humanity, words, grammar and syntax, that can be manipulated and stretched by lies. but it is where our soul, and where the physical heart sits. there is nothing but words, and the investigations we make of words, whether in pure sound, vispo, prose, or lineated text.

bummed because it is an impossible endeavor. and if your a writer of a certain bent, it is the only work worth a life, a love, in all their manifold meanings. i recall reading that dylan thomas's poetry was obsessed with "sex, death and the sound of words." there is joy in the madness, faith in the poison, as rimbaud would have it.

three things: working on my sixth cold this season. nicholas is in daycare five days a week, and small children are nothing if not petri dishes cooking up all kinds of microbial life-forms. i think i quite seriously hacked up part of my lungs. and today's mail brought the latest fuck! and a batch of pubs and chaps from the poet jon cone. and tom beckett has posted his latest interviews with mark young and jean vengua at e-values. only the last two make me very happy, but all three make me delirious.

lee thorn of fuck! awarded his second annual creative accomplishment prize to jon cone. here is the citation.

for his FUSSINESS. Fussiness doesn't work for all artists. Kerouac was terrified by his own fussiness. For Jon, fussiness translates to more work, and more work ends in poems that convey a satisfying sense of aesthetic inevitability.

cone sent a treasure-trove of diy and small-press publications including two of his chaps. fucking great! i aspire to publish like this.

word to yo momma

Sunday, January 22, 2006

check out please dylan hock's new zine watching the wheels: a blackbird where you'll find loads of good work including poems by this dude

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

hungry? then check out this tour of eateries and grindhouses from the pre-disneyfication of times square by bill landis and michelle clifford of sleazoid express. i love the smell of hot dog grease in the morning!

Monday, January 16, 2006

it was a good night. but the reading was rather short. there were three readers each allotted, i think, roughly 10 to 15 to 20 minutes a piece. the whole event lasted about an hour. there was no reason for the readers to feel rushed. i'd have stayed if the reading lasted three hours. so then, when i'm at a reading, i'm there to hear the poets, and if those poets are good, like the ones on saturday night, then i want them to take as much time they need, and not feel like they've been put on to some chore.

not that i think sean finney, david larsen or lauren gudath felt they were doing some obligation. i got the feeling they were having a good time. i sure was, and only wished it lasted longer. each poet had his/her own style, each one demanded a different sort of listening, and i was prepared to make it, to listen. which, in the end, i did.

larsen was a volcanic presence. finney was urbane, with a beckettian, as in samuel, humor. and gudath played with sound in her texts so that i closed my eyes to better concentrate on the music. i bought their books, and gobbled them up.

i forget that i live in a part of town that has a nightlife. so that when walking home i passed scores of couples and persons who are out to try to couple. it was second saturday. every second saturday night in the month is the time when midtown art galleries and eateries stay way open past the usual closing time to sundry hipsters and art aficionados. the streets are packed with people. it was a cold night, with the neon signs refracted in the water particles suspended in the air. i was high, from a good reading and catching up with some old friends. i was happy that home was a matter of a few blocks where my love, and my son, were warm and safe in bed, waiting for me.

shit, ain't that everything?

the following pics are the poets sean finney, lauren gudath and david larsen.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

it'll be my attending a poetry reading since last may when eileen tabios was in town. since the birth of nicholas i've been laying low and staying at home. but tonight david larsen and sean finney are making the drive east from the bay area, so i can't resist. also, jack hirschman will be reading here in a couple of weeks. a couple of years ago i heard him read the day after bush did his state of the union speech. city lights books had just published hirschman's selected poems front lines. it was one of the most powerful readings i'd ever heard. afterward, richard hansen, publisher of poems-for-all series and host of tonight's reading, declared for him hirschman's reading was his state of the union address.

fuckin' a

hopefully i'll have a few pics from tonight and post them in a day or two.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A prayer is a means of programming one's mind.

[tom beckett]

taken from his notes. it is a line i could only hope to write. there is something within its crystal symmetry that resonates with me. the sentence is deceptive because it seems like a simple declarative line. only that it is laden with history, of religion, of computer coding, of psychology.

so much more to say but it is late, and i'm listening to screamin' jay hawkins as he puts a spell on me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

we did it, bought a new family truckster. a 2006 honda pilot, a vehicle with so many electronic doo-dads that i feel i'm piloting spacecraft from star wars. the stress of buying kinda put me off my feed for a few days. some friends told me they love buying new cars, but me, it freaks me out.

more on that later. in the meantime, feast yrselves on tom beckett's new poetry blog

and these beauties by jill stengel (esp. the third text) via chris murray

and tom orange's new blog ( i want to post something a bit later on the film lost in translation based on his critique) also found via chris murray

Saturday, January 07, 2006

uk poet sam ward reminds us of bunting's humility and greatness
while steve caratzas was tagged with multiples of the number four
was tickled by eileen tabios's email from poet dan waber's mother
and printed up and read this talk between poets barbara cole and thom donovan

later we go looking for a new car. i mean shopping for a new car. a new car, because nobody walks in california.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I remember that month of January in Tokyo - or rather I remember the images I filmed in that month of January in Tokyo. They have substituted themselves for my memory - they are my memory. I wonder how people remember things who don't film, don't photograph, don't tape? How has mankind managed to remember? I know - the Bible. The new Bible will be the eternal magnetic tape of a time that will have to re-read itself constantly just to know it existed.

Chris Marker commenting on his film Sans Soleil (1982)

Monday, January 02, 2006

lesson in [new] father hood

when teaching yr child who has newly learned to walk and who now rolls and thrashes with confidant ease in play on the floor how to execute a perfect somersault do not under any circumstance attempt to demonstrate the technique by doing it yrself cuz at the age of 38 you could break yr neck

Sunday, January 01, 2006

in blogland

guillermo parra waxes brilliant on a favorite album of mine

rob mclennan wonders why canadian poet bill bissett isn't better known

eileen tabios challenges noah to bring it on


jean vengua also braces for another california soaking

it is damn wet outside. there was localized flooding in sections of town yesterday. then it dried up by midday, and the clouds parted, the sun was shining, and people stood outside gazing up at the sky in wonder and merriment wearing t-shirts and shorts. then today, the wind is pounding on everything, giving a good beating and the rains returned big time. ah, winter in california.