Thursday, May 31, 2007

splatta matta numero 1
in deference to derek m.

to do a
down j st
but no cuz
bugs are grounded like
for life
o hip-hop
o castles
i can think
but for da noize
how derek & family
faring down under
bum stretched out
on the bus bench
leans over
as i pass
says i got time
to spare
do ya want a little
reaches into a moldy
there is a band
tuning up for a gig
in the park
summer smells
like clove cigs
she said
tatted arms
leaving the boutique
what band's playing
she asks
who cares
let's go

not writing last night, i left the tv on at ifc where i caught the last half of director alex cox's brilliant study of alienation, destructive love and stupidity sid and nancy. gary oldman is a master actor, he so disappears into his role that he looks and sounds so much sid vicious. it is a great movie, one of my favorites.

after that movie i watched the 1st half of the filth and the fury, a documentary about the sex pistols before going to bed. this film is i hope not the definitive word on the sex pistols since it is so-so, not going terribly deep in its subject. not to say the filmmaker doesn't love his subject, it just seems so contrived in places. esp. using silhouette lighting, hiding the faces, of the principles, lydon, matlock, cook and malcolm mclaren. fucking annoying, really.

at least both movies have great soundtracks. i have never mind the bullocks on cd at my cube at work. my friend b. burned me a copy a couple of years ago, along with some outtakes and so forth. i don't think i've ever owned a copy of any recording by the sex pistols that wasn't either recorded onto cassette tape or cd by a friend.

at any rate, started thinking of my favorite sex pistols songs. like some poets i love, such as thom gunn, i'm rather indiscriminate of their oeuvre and love everything, even the real shitty stuff. however, should i have to choose, the one song that is looped in my head right at this moment is holidays in the sun. i'd go so far and say it is a masterpiece. in it there are brilliant lyrics over the primitive hook and back beat. rotten singing about looking over the berlin wall and they are looking at me! is genius. props must be handed to mclaren who put the band together - i'd also say that arguably mclaren is a genius at promotion and marketing - but it was the punks in the band that dropped the bottom of the tired old cliche of rockstar posturing and made a vital, absolutefuckingly passionate and necessary music. so to choose a favorite of favorites, that is my one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

in answer to the emails and to kevin's inquiry whether we took nicholas to see delta and dawn during their forary in the valley, the long answer is no. i've great respect for wildlife and ecosystems and such, and figure the best way to show that respect is to leave it alone, without human interference. not that i'm unawed by the majestic presence of those two large mammals. but i don't think it's my right to have a religious experience by witnessing whales frolic in the port of sacramento. and i'm told thousands of the several thousands who made the pilgrimage had just that.

no one knows why delta and dawn swam so far inland as to be only a few miles from my house. i think they were on vacation, spending their holiday exploring agua that must've been as exotic to them as the thin atmosphere of mt everest is to us homo sapien sapiens. i've not been paying much attention to them as it was broadcast on the news and printed in the paper. last i heard they were swimming toward the golden gate. i can just imagine the stories they will tell to their pod.

something like, shit, those monkeys were everywhere, and some were floating above the water shooting water at us to shoo us from our vacation. we thought we made it clear to them that we'd go when we were done good and ready. the place? murky and the air was thin. fun to visit. hate to live there.

above is a photo of nicholas at the nimbus fish hatchery taken last thanksgiving day. i took the picture. anna complains usually about my lack of talent when it comes to photography. but uploading these images over the weekend she fell in love with the composition, how the lines create this symmetry. and yes, the fish were jumping.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

this morning i opened my inbox to find a link to the video below. poet andrew sullivan is a long-time friend who spends a good portion of his life with his family in australia.

i like what he does here, how he makes a poem using the words of others gathered during his project. there is something deeply human about it. esp. so as it was done in that most contemporary places of life and commerce: the shopping mall. watch it, dig.

Friday, May 25, 2007

below are two clips from arguably the best punk documentaries ever filmed. the first is the great x closing out decline of western civilization with their song 'nasuea' which alas is still out of print. in this clip you can see the idiot-savant darby crash of the germs in a leather jacket swigging from a bottle wrapped in a brown bag.

the second clip is again x with their song 'we're desperate' from their own documentary the unheard music. i first saw this docu late at night in '86 broadcast on an ancient satellite service [sac was just getting cable installed at this time] called select tv.

all that slamdancing makes me wistful. as jon cone once quoted an old friend of his: oh fucking sweet bird of youth, where the fuck has thou fucked off to.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

influence in life and writing and reading is manifest in the writing itself. but where and why this thing influences the art while that other thing doesn't is a mystery. a writer can explain why he/she likes or is attracted to x but when it comes to explaining the wh/y coordinate we look straight at the ineffable.

at least for me. i've noticed these past few years how ufo mythology, cryptozoology, and other bizarre occult creeps into my writing. i'm a nut for this stuff. it's probably something to do with growing up in the 1970s when books and mock-documentaries about the bermuda triangle, noah's ark on mt ararat, alien abductions and so forth were so much part of popular culture.

when it comes to belief i'm more scully and less mulder. i've not seen a ufo. don't expect to. the rational part of me knows that the universe is vast and moving at great speed. to travel huge distances in a single lifetime is beyond the realm of physics.

the irrational part of me tho, the part predicated on belief, is utterly enthralled with the unknown. ufos and such are metaphysical by design. thus are prime for poems. or certain types of poems written at certain times in a certain frame of mind. they are a way of composing a kind of religious text [or 'spiritual' to use a more common parlance] for a man who is a catholic atheist.

by the by, my very good friend b. surprised me several months ago. i've known b. since i was 16, he's seen thru and knows quite well my pretensions. it was a saturday morning and i found a program about roswell. later that day s., b.'s wife, called. she mentioned that b. found that same program and said, 'i bet richard's watching this right now.'

the following is an early poem, written i'm guessing in 2000 or 2001. it has behind it alien abductions but the title and idea for it was lifted from the u.k. band section 25's song 'visitations'. i was listening quite heavily to section 25 at the time. that song is a perfect synthesis of the strange and pop. there's nothing quite like it. i use the frost quote because it is a talisman i employ when my anxiety becomes so acute i think i'm about to have a panic attack. also, it suits the theme of the poem.


they can't scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars -- on stars where no human race is.
Robert Frost

motion of

drive thru a prick of stars

the vision of headlights

points of light

via negativa

that un

freezes mind

something is
out there

sometimes you can read a poet and pass right thru. then 1 day that same poet's poems will stop you dead in yr tracks. and you say to yrself, how the hell could i have missed these?

so it goes for me re: poet jack alun. know very little about him but some hunting on the net and i discover that he has published many reviews under the pseudonym john couth and conducted many interviews. then there are his poems. check out these here, here and here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

going thru this collection of drive-in theater links i remember seeing the projectionist at the sac 6 standing on the landing chawing the fat with a friend last friday night. the project booth for all 6 screens is the 2nd storey of the concession stand. i've been fascinated with it since i was a young dog. but i've never seen the inside of it.

once at a long defunct drive-in called the mather auto movies [mather was also the name of the nearby air force base before it was decommissioned about 10 years ago] the door of the projection booth was open. it was at ground level and connected to the snack bar. when i peered inside i saw an old man reading a novel sitting in a ratty green recliner set beside the projector.

that would be the perfect job for me. a few years ago i envisioned a long poem using a projectionist as the central motif. but gave it up after a short abortive attempt because that motif alone could not carry the weight of the text without, um, something.

still, i'd love to see the projection booth of the sac 6 before it is torn down. i've been tempted to walk straight up the steps and open the door. but common sense and shyness has kept me grounded to my vehicle parked before the screen. who knows, maybe i'll ask the manager, tell him or her that i grew up at this drive-in, will miss it terribly when it goes, and that i'm geek enough to appreciate the projector and the film cans stacked up in jagged rows.

life lessons #121

be so competitive with yr brothers & sisters
that you don't compete

* * *

life lessons #89

don't hate yrself

there are plenty more than willing

to do it for you

don't know how to interpret dreams, or whether they are important enough to interpret. rarely do i remember my dreams long enough to ruminate over them.

this weekend i had a dream where i was living in a police state. you were left alone for the most part to say and behave however you want. but when the authorities took an interest in you, you are fucked.

which happened. before i woke up i was trying to convince the secret police that my name is richard lopez, that i live at such and such, without showing them my papers. even in describing this i am fighting a tendency to embellish it. i've no idea what i or the cops meant by 'search' or 'papers' other than the definitions popularized in the movies and novels.

i did know that my friend was arrested at the same moment i was trying to sneak away because the interrogations took place in broad daylight on the street. then i awoke.

i've no idea what all that means. but i do find it significant that i can remember at least those parts of my dream 2 days after waking up.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

also, yesterday a batch of poems from jon cone was waiting for me in the mailbox. astonishing work. made me happy, no not happy, but joyous as i read them this morning. cone's poems are filled with a luminous generosity that makes me the reader remember that no matter how hard the road the journey is the greatest pleasure. here is an excerpt from 'Essai Sur La Poesia'.

The life of the poet is spent hailing taxis and waiting for trains. It is raining, cold. Light is always dying. The river moves sluggishly. The poet worries vaguely about his health. Should he make an appointment with his dentist? No one is around to talk to. He wonders about people who care for injured raptors, the hawks, falcons and owls. He feels a welling in his throat, a longing close to tears. From somewhere, a voice, "Hey shit-for-brains! Watch where you're going!"

* * *

Take today, for instance. I got up and made myself some coffee. I climbed the dunes, making my way to the beach. I watched a young family play in the surf. I took out of my bag a book of poems. In this way, my day was ruined.

Friday, May 18, 2007

just got back from the drive-ins with my old friend b. we saw the idiotic, but funny jamie kennedy vehicle kicking it old skool which ain't much but for the drive-in with 2 nearly 40-somethings eating burritos and tacos from jimboys under the stars, hearing the roar of traffic from highway 50 next door, all the while talking shit with each other, it just don't get much better than this.

the bathrooms have long rotted away to a sink and a couple of stalls, the snack bar is unspeakable, and the playground is a couple of swings and a cracked slide. but the place was full of families, children running, laughing and playing, the snack bar was filled with brave souls ready to put their lives on the line in pursuit of eating their way toward a good time. and it was just that, a good time. after the movie was over the wind kicked up icy and the next film looked boring, so we packed it up and bid the old theater adieu then drove home to our families.

where i sit typing this, feeling a bit too full and fat, but satiated and hearing the police copter circling overhead looking for who knows what.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

another thing. wonder about the tactility of making and seeing poems. not necessarily do i mean visp, tho certainly vispo is about the how of language feels as well as looks. today, daniel f. bradley's excellent zine fhole was waiting for me in the mailbox. reading it i notice that some of the texts appear typewritten, rather than composed using word perfect or some other word program. there is a different feel to it, yes. the closest analogy i can think of at the moment is how old film stock looks and sounds, scratchy, warmer, lived-in.

yesterday, talking with richard hansen, publisher of the micro-press poems-for-all, about a recent event he hosted: a day-long making of mimeo pubs using an old mimeo machine. bay area poet and veteran of the mimeo revolution richard krech was one of the featured readers. i don't remember who richard said owned the mimeo press, but the owner did lament the fact that stencils are now hard to come by.

certainly computers can produce pubs very close to mimeo, i suggested. to which richard said yes, but wasn't the point. the main reason is the making of the work. getting hands dirty, manually setting the stencils, ink and rolling out sheets of poetry. it is the tactile that is missing. using the hands in the production of art.

that is one of the reasons i envy painters so. because they can be knee-deep in their medium. they wear their work in their hair, clothes, stained hands. theirs is a physical act in creation that cannot simply be done in writing. language is in the heart, loins and head, but it does not stain the shirt.

so to speak. vispo i think is more akin to the plastic arts so the visual poet does get dirty, wears his/her work on the hands and clothes. but not what i'm doing, such as this, typing directly into our world of digital. that's not a regret or lament, at all. however, now i'm thinking of getting perhaps an old typewriter, if just for the look of the words on the page for some texts. see what i can see.

what?! postal rates have risen


what the fuck. it seems the u.s. postal service
is determined to force people

to eschew sending letters and packages
and rely on ups

fedex and email

i've got to get the new stamps and a buttload
of 1 or 2 cent stamps this weekend

so everyone i've promised stuff
i'll begin sending shit out early next week

* * *

below is the comedian as letter b mr tom beckett
in a video swiped from nicholas manning's
terrific new zine the continental review

where you'll see eileen tabios
noah eli gordon
and jon leon among a host of others

don't miss it, sucka

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

lessons in self-assertiveness #42

when introducing yrself at social functions
find a name that can cause
the root to take stock
e.g. roll yr fists just below the chin
hold yr arms out just above the waist
sit on the balls of yr feet
say in a clear even tone
hello my name is
richard bring it on!

Monday, May 14, 2007

anna and i were looking at vintage tv commercials from the 1970s at this evening. there are a shitload of them. and several took me down the road of wistfulness, nostalgia and feeling damn old. what strikes me is how all those old commercials were recorded in the 1st place then posted on the net.

perhaps that is our collective consciousness write in small lightning. in other words, we all grew up on television. other than the internet there has never been arguably a more powerful medium. and of course it shapes and colors a vision of reality. i do think that tv is a form of art. often base perhaps, lowest common denominator, but art just the same. and commercials are perhaps the wackiest forms of art ever devised. advertising as art is not new, recall henri de toulouse-lautrec more famous works are posters for the popular entertainments of the time.

wow; what a long strange trip it's been.

please go to bob marcacci's blog where he introduces his new-born son vito sante marcacci. praise to the new-borns who i hope will make ours a better, healthier planet. it's their world, we are just borrowing it for the moment.

and check out french/anglo poets cliff duffy's and tomas sidoli's mutual blog mutual machine book. their individual work complements and augments each other. in other words, they are doing fantastic stuff.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Death - Prison - G.L.O.R.I.A.

Hold on
Blade of grass
From this storm

-john tyson

gonna try to revamp a bit this blog. and thinking of starting a poetry blog based on movies. we'll see how it goes, esp. formatting for me is such a pain in the ass. don't have the skills i guess.

kitchen is done. looks beautiful, but then i'm rather biased. sitting in it right now as i type away.

but in the meantime, all the time, ladies and germs, please make yr aquaintance with derek motion's newly born daughter violet margery motion.

congratulations, derek. welcome to the best part of the rest of yr life.

Friday, May 11, 2007

walking thru lavendar heights this morning - a 4 to 5 block radius of gay clubs in midtown - i pass an old queen, not glammed up but just a bit flashy like dressed for work.

she says, good morning. i love yr hair-do.

i say, hadn't realized i have a 'do. thank you.

that made me smile and was the high point of my day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

vhs is dead. long dead, tho you can find tapes for sale still everywhere. i do not mourn its passing since i love dvd, and been collecting films on disc now for almost a decade. shit, has it been that long now? maybe seven years. whatever.

but then last weekend i stopped at the video clearance center, a large shop that sells used dvds and tapes. however, its main moneymaker is a huge inventory of porn discs. and business is brisk, let me tell you baby. that wasn't why i stopped there. i was looking for a movie that is long out of print.

director joe dante loves the horror movies of 1950s-60s vintage. at that time the greatest shlockmeister ever to huckster bad movie-making and creative marketing ploys was the late, great william castle. e.g. for the flick the tingler starring vincent price, castle rigged up the theater seats so at key moments of low suspense the audience would get a slight electric jolt.

dante, who's first film is the roger corman produced, goofy, but an utterly great cheesepuff of a flick piranha, which was co-written by novelist-filmmaker john sayles who at the time was also slaving away at the corman factory. after churning out several successful and semi-succesful product dante then made his homage to shlock filmmaking in general and to william castle in particular.

hence my reason to go shopping at the video clearance center. i looked for and found matinee starring john goodman as the william castle character. but not on disc. what i bought was a vhs tape, rather reluctantly. however, since this film has long been out of print, and the tape itself cost just a few dollars, i snatched it up.

anna and i saw matinee at the theater way back in 1993. she has no interest in b-films, but anna knows i do, and what we watched that afternoon was a sweet homage to bad filmmaking. as expected there is a movie within the movie, the schlock called mant! it's selling moto runs: half man, half ant, all terror! both films feature an excellent supporting cast by the likes of sayles, dick miller and cathy moriarty.

i've not seen the film since 1993. it has not left my imagination. i'd write a review but i've not watched the tape yet. we have a vcr in the back room, but because of the kitchen remodel i'm unable to get to it. what i remember is a well-made movie about the power and art of movie-making. dante reminds us why we fell in love with films at all. it is because of old louie prima once crooned: that old black magic.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

i'm working on a collaborative chap with sf poet jonathan hayes. nearly done and hopefully we should have the book out maybe by midsummer, given time and finances and all that. now that my end of the book is starting to look like a book - hayes finished his portion months ago - to me i'm starting to get all goo-goo eyed over it.

hayes is a poet whose work that straddles a line between small-press writing [such as d.a. levy and bukowski] married to more experimental strains of composition. should you google him you'll find his poems everywhere and in almost every type of publication. he is an astonishingly varied and fecund poet, and a good friend. i've no idea why i'm writing this about him at this moment, except that both he and i are like hermits in a way. i rarely go to readings now, but that doesn't mean i don't keep up with what is going on around town. but rather, i work on my poems, blog, and correspond often late at night when anna and nicholas have bed down for the night. i think hayes's habits are very similar.

anyway, was gonna write about how i delaminate by reading movie books, zines and all-sorts of stuff when i get too stressed about work, life and poems. there are things, if we are lucky, that can make us breathe deep fresh air when the shit hitteth the fan, so to speak. movies are just that thing for me.

instead i wrote a little about my friendship with poet and fellow traveler jonathan hayes. it's been a warm day. walk home was sweaty. kitchen is done and the dishwasher, our first ever, is whirring away. time for ice cream.

Monday, May 07, 2007

as a new father i'm more than pleased to welcome new members in the club: parenthood, an exclusive group that wants everyone to be a member. and on that note, poets bob marcacci and derek motion are expecting their own 1st child in a matter of days even hrs.

i remember well that time almost 3 years ago when nicholas was due for his appearance. nicholas was a week overdue, he wasn't quite done i guess, still wanted to cook for a while longer. so anna's dr scheduled the following saturday for an induction of labor.

it was all so planned and clinical, tho by my standards and anna's it was quite a wild, exhausting, thrilling ride. we were soon-to-be parents and we didn't know what to expect. i remember when the nurse handed me nicholas for the 1st time. by then he was a couple of hrs old. his hair was still flame-red. and i thought, i'm supposed to take him home?

you see you come in to the hospital as a couple, you leave, quite suddenly tho not unexpectedly, with a child, and you become a family. quite a switch in thinking.

at any rate, birthing techniques and hospital stays are much different, cleaner i suppose, certainly healthier, than when they were when i was born in the 1960s. back then you could smoke in yr room. back then when the mother-to-be went into labor, the dr and nurses would ask for her to put down that wine glass, stub out the cigarette and push!

congratulations to bob and derek and their partners. it is a wild, lovely, thrilling, exhausting journey you've just begun.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

recovering from my cold, i've been alternating pissy and goofyhappy. my voice sounds like harvey fierstein with a 10-pack a day ciggie habit. and that the weather has been hot with a real hot wind blowing hard. very similar to the santa ana winds down in southern california, or what van gogh called the devil mistral when he was living in arles. in other words, that sort of wind can drive you psycho.

which so far i'm not. i think.

the past couple of days i've received some real goodies in the mail. eileen tabios's haynaku chap is so beautifully packaged that i've not unwrapped it yet until i can get a photo of it.

jim mccrary's recent chap being frida kahlo is an astonishing work. mccrary's recently darkened his blog and as he is a famous self-publisher it might seem to be difficult to get hold of this chap. it should be well-known. simply produced, hand-stitched with a black and white photo of jim in kahlo drag, this sequence of poems are about kahlo but also writing, identity and the abjection of words. does it sound like a drag? no, and yes. here is a taste:

There is something about

Being a poeta

That is both

Refreshing and

Even more boring than


* * *

Don't look at me for example

There is no here

It is all such a drag

Night and day you see that

Words are just so sad

beautiful, jagged, hard texts. this chap is one of mccrary's finest. interested in obtaining a copy: backchannel me and i'll send yr request along.

finally, i'm on my 2nd beer, shipyard export ale, and thinking of happiness. i was struck by jack gilbert's claim that he's been happy all his long life. and in recent correspondence with the young poet derrick tyson the subject of happiness, personal happiness, was broached. in an old blog elefonts derrick writes eloquently on the subject. happiness i think is different than contentment or joy or bliss. it is not passive. happiness is elusive, often past-tense, you know you were happy, but often don't know that you are right now happy. some are built for happiness, some are not. and it is always being defined. since it is so subjective i try to recall those moments of pure happiness, with the pleasures of the fact of utter existence, in the face of nothingness [i was born in 1967; i did not exist in 1960, nor will i exist in 2100, therefore that is a nothingness that my living further proves to be the case]. i try to remember that living is all the case there is.

read yesterday the intro to creeley's collected that on his last night on earth / creeley was in the hospital / the poet asked for the hard drive to his computer so he can work on poems

then read the 1st 10 pages of the jack gilbert paris review interview / gilbert claims he is a lucky old codger / and that he's been happy his whole long life

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

dutch dj armin van buuren hosts a show state of trance on the xm satellite station the system. a talented chap. below is an extended mix of 'i love you more'.

can't get the song out of my head. whether that be a good thing or a bad thing, i'll just leave it at calling it 'the thing.'

feel well enough to go to work today. spent the day in bed reading a little and watching a shitload of exploitation movie trailers at it seems 15 people downloaded my book from not bad i guess considering that most regularly readers there probably don't know who the fuck i am. anyway, gonna start sending it out just for the hell of it.

gotta run. and it's raining here, hard. means i must take my umbrella.


on 2nd thought gonna stay at home 1 more day. the rain is making a lovely sound. my head is stuffed up, still have a hackingcough and my nose is leaking more fluid than a 1972 chevy nova.

not used to staying home when i feel a bit rough, but a sure thing being the father of a 2-year-old taught me is that 1 needs to envelope the whole self in all endeavours and states of being. in other words, sometimes i need to relearn that i must stop myself from attempting to orchestrate the tasks in daily living, which is a main source of stress, and simply be.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

oh man, got either a cold or really bad allergies. either way, feeling a bit drained so taking the day off work to rest up a bit. oh my, freaking sniffling hackingcough head!

remember the e-book give-away is happening right now here where you'll find a very short chap of mine. and mark young's excellent zine otoliths is live and kicking.