Sunday, April 29, 2007

also, derek motion defends the life lived online here. i'm with derek on this, not that the net has diminished my love of books. far from it, as i type my copy of pinoy poetics, ed. by nick carbo [meritage press; 2004] is open to joel b. tran's essay 'Brown Faggot Poet: Notes on Zip File Poetry, Cultural Nomadism, and the Politics of Publishing' as it sits beside the computer. i've had this book for about a year now but just really started to read it. and i'm reading it serially, jumping from essay to essay, rather than straight thru. which is the way i mostly read now. often i read a book of poetry from last page to 1st. and truth be told i just finished andrei codrescu's 1970 collection license to carry a gun sitting on the john. which didn't diminish my enjoyment of codrescu's heteronyms: julio hernandez, peter boone and alice henderson-codrescu an iota.

i don't know what 'old-fashioned reading' as derek quotes the opinion-writer he takes to task quite mean now. literacy takes a multitude of forms. i believe even that email has brought back, to some degree, at least how i use email, the art of letter-writing. blogs allow me to read essays, jottings, poems, rants and raves by all manner of poets and movie-critics. i've always been a nosy bastard who'd comb the stacks in the library and bookstores for biographies, journals and notebooks of writers. the net has opened that up and the access of give and take between writers is extraordinarily fluid. we live in the era of what estonian poet jaan kaplinski called 'the wandering border'. it's the liminal space i find fascinating. the net is the great tool for that liminal space, that border that is always found and misplaced. for here the net opens those borders wandering within our own psyches and lives, both immaterial and material.

of course the computer has changed how we read and write. jean vengua [her blog is found in the links to the right] writes in her essay 'Abilidad and Flux: Notes on a Filipino American Poetics' collected in pinoy poetics that the net is where 'I write 90% of my poetry and "in public" with a minimum of revisions.' vengua continues:

It has also changed my perceptions of poetry from something "fixed" on paper, to a language that is always in flux, always changing, and even - to the extant to which I forgo the "save" command or commit the words to disk - fleeting. I am more willing, nowadays, to "let go" of my words. I no longer think of each poem solely as a unit in itself, which will someday be inserted onto a page by itself, separate from other poems on their own pages. Instead, each poem is part of a continuum on a long, scrolling page[. . .]

the net has changed our notions of literacy, but not i think killed [hold on now, here comes a silver dollar word] literature. i'll leave it at that.

for 24 hrs on 5/01/07 you can download as many or all of the e-books you want at the great e-book exchange at the poetry superhighway. drop by and pick up a copy of my e-book parts of the journal: night, a collection of notebook entries written from 12/05 to 01/06. you can find a list of books here. totally diy affair, my book, nothing fancy. but essential reading, i guess. or not. hmmm. . .

Saturday, April 28, 2007

it is difficult for me to write a kind of political poetry without simply preaching. i've avoided doing so out of the frustrations arising from an 'us v. them' mindset. easy enough to do, and yes, perhaps that sort of writing has it's place.

for years i've been reading the postwar eastern poets, like herbert, krynicki, jaan kaplinski et al., for their remarkable abilities to make a metaphysical poetry that is damning of dire political and social realities.

and yet, sometimes a fire is called for that is at times lacking in a writer such as herbert. this morning i read a poem by argentine poet juan gelman from his book unthinkable tenderness; translated by joan lindgren and edtited by eduardo galeano [university of california press; 1997]. gelman's is an earthy mysticism, grounded by the horrible and yet it takes flight. his son and pregnant daughter-in-law were disappeared during argentina's dirty war of the 1970s. gelman then went into exile and wrote a body of work that is at once literary, menacing, hopeful and vitriolic. he often uses other texts taken from a host of historic diasporic poets, and creates as well using the pessoan device of heteronyms.

the poem i read this morning is filled with fury. it is intensely moving and beautiful.

Note I

I will name you time after time.
I will lie down with you night and day.
nights and days with you.
I'll defile myself fucking with your shadow.
I'll show you my rabid heart.
I'll stomp on you crazy with fury.
I'll kill you in pieces.
I'll kill you once with paco.
again I kill you with rodolfo.
with haroldo I kill you one piece more.
I'll kill you with my son in my hand.
and with the son of my son / little dead one.
I'm coming with diana to kill you.
I'm coming with jote to kill you.
I'm going to kill you / defeat.
never will I lack the face of a loved one to kill you again.
alive or dead / a beloved face.
until you die /
hurt as you are / that much I know.
I'm going to kill you / I
am going to kill you.

Friday, April 27, 2007

this evening i was driving to get dinner and listening the xm satellite radio station the system. this is hardcore trance and electronica, shit i love. and so zoltar the brother from another planet is just starting his show. became a fan last year when zoltar would broadcast from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm saturdays, when i would listen as i drove around with nicholas running errands.

and but so zoltar fires up with a mix of the future sound of london's 'papua new guinea'. it just so happens that i dig this song too. but the mix diluted the power of the original. below is the video.

on a side note, i'd love to collab with an electronica artist. i'd provide the texts, most likely mininalist things that can be repeated, thru the corrosive noise of hard trance-like stuff.

any takers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

about 3 weeks ago poet jon cone wrote me about a new anthology he's in. described the publisher being based in san francisco and wondered if i'd be interested in a copy. of course, cuz whatever pub jon is in, i'm all for it, jon is 1 of those magic poets for me.

so then the publisher, sf poet klipschutz [whom i know only from his frequent appearances in thorn's zine fuck! and the outlaw bible of american poetry], sends me the book. a real beauty, hand-made 4 poet anthology:

All Roads. . .But This One [luddite kingdom press]

with poems by jon cone, klipschutz, claudia grinnell and albert sgambatti. the book is a real labor of love. it is probably 1 of the most gorgeous small-press pubs i've ever held. i cannot emphasize that enough.

i'll i can do is support diy publishing and spread the word. buy it here. read sample poems here.

kicked in the head koan


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

below are a few poems by jim vetter from his 1995 book simple shrine. i know nothing about vetter except that when i was managing the recycling center for a non-profit back in the mid-90s i ran across this book. there were many copies and i guessed at the time that these books were remaindered and finally sent to be pulped. i also guessed that this was a diy affair.

i've always regretted not keeping a copy. recently i wrote in an email to jim mccrary that regret and that i had googled vetter and found that he is also a painter. i mentioned to mccrary in some half-assed way that books and poets find their readers too. however, tonight a quick search on google turned up nothing. i still know nothing about vetter.

and yet, yesterday i stopped in a local indie bookstore, time tested books, and found vetter in the stacks. i bought it immediately, and i've been reading him since. vetter possesses a quiet, minimalist nihilst gusto that i find appealing. i hope he's doing well and still writing. i hope he googles himself and finds this post. i'd love to chat with him.

so this post is something about how poets and books find their readers, eventually. in poetry if you want fame and immortality you best search elsewhere. i'm sure american idol will soon hold auditions in yr town. for me poetry involve the processes of living and even dying. no one gives a shit for the most part. you do it out of obsessions and love and self-love. you do it cuz you ain't got a choice. if yr lucky that is. so do it yrself. don't wait for someone to discover yr genius. chances are, even if you are a genius, no one will recognize it. and if yr discovered after yr death, you won't give a shit. yr dead. read/write and publish it yrself. start a blog, email friends. whatever. just do it.

off point. here are a few of vetter's untitled texts.

i threw away
my nothing.
fiery toy.
unnecessary offering

* * *

so ive come
to this..
dismal hierarchy

to my intentions

* * *

you be your
fuckin patriotic
capitalist bitch
i will not support the opposition

* * *

fuck you all

* * *

i dont want
to know why(etc.)
i just want
it to be

Monday, April 23, 2007

slogging around still. fuck.

but then anyway, last week in an email logan ryan smith brought up the topic of what a poet should look/dress like. i mentioned to smith a dream i had years ago about me looking like john berryman: bushy, steel-grey beard, thick black framed glasses and my arms all inked. somehow with that dream i knew i was on my way to developing into some kind of poet.

what is the proper dress for a poet? i haven't a clue. look in the mirror, you, and you have yr answer. as for me, if i grew a beard it'd be pretty grey, i do have black framed glasses and i wouldn't mind a couple more tats on me arms. i also would like a silver hoop for my ear and a couple of sportcoats. why not, indeed.

speaking of poetry and life, the life in poetry, check out this poem by martin stannard.

i need help. my browser, at&t yahoo, is running real slow. dsl connection seems to be fine. i can log on without any difficulties, but getting from 1 page to the next takes a freaking lifetime. frustrating. managed to get here to post this but the damn pages are soooo slow. nothing turned up troubleshooting. but i'm probably doing something wrong there, since i don't know much about this here personal computing except to log on, surf and post shit. any and all help is greatly needed and appreciated.

as further incentive, i'll even throw in copies of my latest chap, super8, currently be read all around the world. i'll sign it even, gratis. sound good. whatever, please b/c, pretty pretty please. with a cherry on top, dig.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

tile guy arrived yesterday as i was leaving.

richard, he said. do you mind choosing a color for yr grout? yr choices are a) platinum and b) dorian grey.

dorian grey? does it get older and we never age?

guy gives me this look. dolorean grey, he said. like the car.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

much to write about. received some damn good books and zines in the mail the past couple of days. but tonight i wanna point out this poem by kiwi poet james brown i found last night. hits close to the bone, don't it. that is, if you happen to work in an office.

Monday, April 16, 2007

anna and i became bone marrow donors on saturday. there was a drive in the name of a baby, trevor kott, 5-months old who desperately needs a marrow transplant, and soon, very fucking soon.

so we paid the fees, swabbed our cheeks and are now in a registry until the age of 61.

today my friend p. at lunch asked me if i heard about the shootings at virginia tech. no, i said. p.'s nephew is an engineering major. the nephew is okay, but according to p. 2 of his nephew's friends are not. they were killed by the gunman.

sucker punched. had no idea. and but so at lunch we wondered if there are more nuts in the u.s. or maybe the nuts just have easy access to a lot of guns. it would seem the latter is the answer. but i don't know. at all.

i hate guns. i was born a pacifist. i'll die a pacifist.

i've been reading again the poems of nyc school poet jim brodey. brodey died in the early '90s from complications of aids. for a while when he was strung out on drugs brodey was homeless. was gonna quote a few poems but i'll end this rant with a section taken from the last poem printed in his collected heart of the breath [hard press; 1996] 'there and back'. doesn't quite fit the tone of this post but i like it a lot. and it gives you a taste of the wild, lovely poems by a poet who died too soon.

9. up for grabs

Poetry is my life-job
God in his infinite wisdom
made me a writer
then sent me forth
whatta great guy

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

living at the grindhouse

losing my review a couple of nights ago really made my blood boil. my fault, should've saved the mofo as i noticed that my wireless connection was being a bit batty. it's just as well. ce'st la vie, and all that tripe.

as i was saying. i'll be 40 in june, which means i was a wee tyke in the 1970s, sac at the time had close to a dozen drive-in theaters and several matinee movies houses. a few of those houses were beat-up old beauties that were notorious for the films they featured and the audience who watched them. e.g. i had written a poem about the old star theater. when i knew it in the late 70s to early 80s, just before videotapes made the whole matinee theater system go bust, the star theater specialized in cheap-ass kung fu flicks. my brothers and i saw hundred of them nestled among the whacked-out and the homeless.

we lived at these theaters because they provided hrs upon hrs of cheap entertainment. we went to the drive-ins cuz those in turn cost less than a handful of dirt for admission and with 3 boys in tow our parents didn't have to worry about us breaking apart theater seats, or annoying the other patrons by being too loud. if we needed to pee mom would open the car door and we would let stream thru the crack of the car frame and the open air. man was it a satisfying sound to hear it hit the gravel.

that our parents allowed us to see the crazy films shown in those theaters and drive-ins were maybe a symptom of a mild form of psychosis on their part. but rather than question my parents' sanity, i am grateful that we were allowed to see these movies. i know they shaped my life, and my writing today. and i know that these kinds of films helped form my belief in the nearly absolute necessity of free, unencumbered, speech. sort of hippiesh of me, but i believe speech whether noble or foul must be protected.

which leads me to the grindhouse. tarantino and rodriguez obviously love exploitation movies. they know these genres like a grad student in classics know latin and greek. and they remember a nearly extinct form of movie-going. tarantino/rodriguez didn't make a couple of films but tried their best to replicate that experience of the double-feature. they succeeded immensely. from the 1st 'prevue' for a fictive trailer, a film called machete starring hatchet-faced vato loco danny trejo [a line from the trailer goes: they fucked with the wrong mexican!], to the final reel i was laughing like a freaking monkey. when it was over i had the biggest shit-eating grin i've possessed from watching a film in a long, long time.

the films are almost incidental to the experience of sitting thru 2 full-length features, much like how it was sitting in a drive-in. sometimes it was all about ambience, a gritty kind of atmosphere, produced in those old theaters and drive-ins. for the intermission there are 3 more fictive trailers, each 1 spoofing a specific exploitation genre. the 1st trailer titled thanksgiving dir. by eli roth had the tone of the slasher flick down pat. the 2nd trailer titled don't dir. by edgar wright was a pitch-perfect shill for a british gothic horror, a style of film commonly made in the 1970s. the 3rd was called werewolf women of the ss dir. by rob zombie and was again dead-on recreation of an old naziploitation [yes; there is such a sub-genre of exploitation film] and featuring a slumming nicholas cage, and 2 exploitation veterans: sybil danning and udo keir.

but lucky for us tarantino and rodriguez made a couple of rollicking flicks with rodriguez's contribution being the most entertaining. it is fast-paced and so gooey it would make the maestro lucio fulci turn over in his grave. my only complaint is the unnecessary use of title cards that confessed to missing reels. okay, films often were shown cut to pieces with reels missing, but the management never told the audience. couldn't risk it. the patrons would know they were had, and might burn the theater down. or so i surmise. at any rate, i don't recall 1 title card ever declaring a scene was missing. the films would simply jump around without regard to linear narratives. in a way watching an exploitation movie is how i read poems now: with pleasure and no hunting for any sort of traditional sense-making. just let the mind go and the senses, if the work is good, will follow.

planet terror is a loving tribute to zombie films rodriguez never lets the pace go sack. un-p.c. and hyperviolent the movie reminds me of david durston's 1970s drive-in anti-classic i drink your blood, a film so violent at the time it was released it received an x rating. freddy rodriguez and rose mcgowan don't have to act, this is a bad film afterall, but man is there fire between them. much has been made of mcgowan's prosthetic gun for a leg. it's worth the price of admission alone to see her use that weapon. rodriguez destroys his film stock, scenes burn up, and appear to be spliced together with playdough. the movie is scratch, badly-lit and the editing is off just a bit. exactly like a bad print of say, i drink your blood.

rodriguez keeps the dialogue to a minimum and amps the gore and violence in its stead. what is spoken is genuinely funny lines. the same can';t be said of tarantino's death proof. the first half of the movie is sluggish, almost boring. it is very talky, much like his earlier, brilliant films pulp fiction and resevoir dogs. but here the language never rises above the banal, and certainly doesn't hit the hilarious hyper-surreal brutality of tarantino's earlier work. that sounds like a condemnation: it is not. again, tarantino knows his genre so well that we forget that movies, even action films, of the 1970s often lagged until they got to the action. a classic car-chase movie such as the original gone in 60 seconds is deathly boring until the we witness about a half-hrs worth of destruction. even kung-fu flicks had dialogue so dull you would get up from yr seat looking for a bag of weed to kill the pain.

it does lag, until we meet kurt russell as stuntman mike. an inspired choice of casting russell is a veteran of action starring in movies like escape from new york, the thing and big trouble in little china. in other words, this is 1 of russell's best roles of his career. instead of the goofiness found in rodriguez's movie, tarantino suffuses his film with sinister menace. so much so that when rose mcgowan is killed as the first victim it is a stomach-churning scene. and it goes on until he meets his match with 3 stuntwomen. it is fantastic to watch the role reversal and the spectacular chase scenes. i was sad that the film couldn't go on for another couple of reels.

tarantino should've trimmed the language. or got help sharpening it. he should read poetry more. he did a little in this movie, for stuntman mike quotes frost's 'stopping by woods on a snowy evening' an obvious choice of poem, i guess. but it's a poem just the same. now, i wonder how that scene would've played if tarantino would've used larkin's 'this be the verse' with the 1st line that runs this way:

they fuck you up, your mum and dad.

we'll just have to wait for his next film. at any rate, i loved death proof. it is wholly satisfying and a fitting conclusion to a cinematic achievement. allusions and outright comparisons to exploitation films are too numerous to cite here. grindhouse is so meta that even the fake ad for the mexican restaurant 'acuna boys' is fleshed out in the 1st scene of death proof where butterfly is drinking from a soda from that taco house. there are also references to pulp fiction in the brand of cigarettes smoked by freddy rodriguez's character el wray are the same as travolta's vince vega smoked. and kurt russell asks if there is a billboard advertisement for sydney poitier's jungle julia next to big kahuna burgers, which is the same joint brad and his friends patronized before getting iced by samuel l. jackson and john travolta.

i'll end this lengthy review by saying that grindhouse is the most fun i've had in a theater in a long time. it's a movie for movie nuts. i've read here and there that the movie has not done so well partly because potential viewers are wary of its length of over 3 hrs. i say, are you kidding me?! the fistfull of dollars theaters charge to see just 1 90 minute feature should have movie-goers up in arms and demand that theaters and production companies bring back the double-feature replete with intermission shorts and the like. no, it ain't regression i mean. i say make going out to the movies an event again. make it seem like we are on a long journey so that when we emerge from the darkened theater we are bleary-eyed, tired but satisfied that we might have just seen something.

check out michael lally's recent posts
and alex gildzen on the hazards of life and art
and an actor named snub

Monday, April 09, 2007

i don't fucking believe it. i just wrote a long review for grindhouse and the damn connection went shit when i tried to publish it. i lost the thing. rather than rewrite it now, i'll do it again tomorrow.

fucking hell. i'm a bit pissed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

just came back from the local park where there was an easter egg hunt for the kids, with a young woman dressed as the easter bunny as the master of ceremonies.

and but so easter appears more about, at least on the secular workaday level, fertility symbols: eggs and bunnies.

so below, in honor of the holiday i find this trailer for night of the lepus. a horror movie about a giant killer wabbit.

there is a funny story about this movie. 1 afternoon anna was channel surfing and shouted, omigod! there's this movie about a giant killer rabbit!

i ran into the room and said, what, is it night of the lepus?

anna gives me this look. are you serious? i was just fucking with you. i made it up!

nope, i said, there is a real movie about a giant rabbit on a rampage. and i opened 1 of our movie guides as proof.

she rolled her eyes, and said, now i've seen everything.

enjoy. and happy easter!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

i couldn't resist. below is 1 of the fake trailers from grindhouse. directed by eli roth, whose films include hostel and cabin fever, this is a very gross and bloody valentine to a sub-genre horror film: slashers. superstupid in conception and often shoddy in execution these sorts of films revelled in prudery and mayhem. the only people who were killed by the slasher of course were the only ones who engaged in sex.

i see that is removing these trailers like crazy. so watch it, at yr own risk, as soon as you can.

oh, am i looking forward to seeing grindhouse? let me answer that with [in my best steve martin in the jerk voice]: does a bear shit in the woods? will it replicate the actual experience of watching exploitation movies in a delipadated theater at all. only if you have a couple of crackheads in the back talking shit at the screen during the movies, if the bathroom was caked up with dookie and piss, if the popcorn smelled just a little too old, and if yr seat was taped together with ductape and a prayer.

but fuck it. i'm a sucker for this type of marketing. i buy discs that also sell themselves as a drive-in experience, complete with a double-feature and intermission shorts. now a drive-in would be perfect for seeing grindhouse, next to an authentic grindhouse of course, but i think our local 6-screen has been put out to pasture. the last in sac. at least i can't find any ads for it in the local paper, tho anna tells me that when she passes it on her commute it is still there beside the freeway, and she can't tell if it is closed down or not.

i'm about to cry, seriously. and but anyway, expect a review re: tarantino/rodriguez extravaganza in a week or so.

Monday, April 02, 2007

the drywall guys came this afternoon around 3:00 pm. so anna picked me up from work and to kill a couple of hrs we drove to the local ikea. and there at ikea they have these displays of living spaces of 300 ft or 257 ft complete with beds, kitchens, bathrooms, the works. and i stared at1 of these displays thinking, yeah that would be cozy in san francisco or nyc where rents and mortgages are fucking unreal.

our house is a california bungalow built in 1925. that is considered an old house by california standards. it is relatively small, only about 1300 sq ft but plenty of room for our 2 dogs, 2 cats, me, anna and nicholas. but living in only half that space as the remodel progresses and sheesh, it's a little tight. we have no kitchen at all, meaning either we eat out or nuke shit in the microwave which is resting on our dresser in the bedroom. we wash dishes in the bathroom sink. and the fridge sits 20 ft away from where i'm typing in the living room.

and the crews get here nearly precisely at 7:00 a.m. often i'm getting out of the shower and i hear a voice say, richard can i ask you a few questions.

oh and drywall smells a little like bread dough. a bit homey even. but not delicious. what the fuck.

i'll leave you with a couple of poems by john tyson. the dude kicks ass.

In Silence 6:25 a.m.

There by
The grace
Of God
We go,
Nature knows
No singularity.
As a bee
I cover you
Vomited sweetness
A pig
Fuck you
& seahorse
Birth own kind.
Evan warned me
Against getting a tat
Of Ezra Pound.
"No Jewish woman
Would ever sleep with you."
"Perhaps," I replied
"Not Italians or descendants
Of Jefferson."

Prayer for the Dying
for James Liddy

As Oscar Wilde's
Rent boy
I change
The union rate
Promised dreams
Are only for the sleeping
& everything
Is over
You think.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

quickly reading around blogland this afternoon i find many good posts on reading/writing/living from geof huth, crag hill, joseph massey, alex gildzen and tom beckett. if we are lucky we find those texts and poets that remind us that we are alive.

when i was about 21 i recall getting a high high reading une saison en enfer by m. rimbaud while drinking very strong coffee. it was the best high i ever had. sure beat all the chemicals i had been ingesting at the time.

i still get that high at times. last friday i find this text and got such a buzz.

i'm still buzzing like a drunk motherfucking bee.