Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2 things in my wallet

this is from our favorite
eating place
a big salad bar
w/ killer baked potatoes
& vegan soups
made fresh every day

we thought of it
as our place
we would eat there
at least twice a week

to our horror
eat your vegetables
was sold about 10 years ago
and became alternately
a chinese buffet
& a mexican eatery

eating out's
not been the same

i've carried this
card in my wallet
for about 10 years now

this is the badge from my 1st job
working the tomato season
i am 18 in the photo
taken on the 1st night

that 1st night they tried to
kill me
working in the flour room
located in the basement
ripping open 50 lbs bags
of whey and flour
for stock
& pushing the contents
down huge chutes
no air conditioning
flour in the lungs
hair eyes

160 lbs crybaby
who faked it as well
as i could
when mgmt
surprised that i hadn't
keeled over
transfered me
all over the plant
i did almost
every kind of job
from driving a forklift
to cleaning the cookers

i did those jobs
for 2 seasons
i did
& survived

i've carried this in
my wallet for over 20 years

Monday, July 30, 2007

Winter Light

what is it you want
a sip of aquavit?
come a little closer look

here at the lake’s edge
hear a tape-loop
in the head

see finger
clouds gather
to form

a grammar
like the priest
in Bergman’s Winter Light

without the verb to be
but a flat
Helig     Helig     Helig

[r.i.p. ingmar bergman 1918-2007]

Friday, July 27, 2007

i've been hit by steve caratzas for the interview me meme. okay, i asked steve to hit me up with a few questions. i like memes, and i like being interviewed. so sue me.

here goes.

1. What B-movie actor do you wish you had been?

if lucio fulci can be called an 'actor' - he played the lead in his mash-up movie cat in the brain [premise that the director fulci was being brain-washed into believing he was committing all kinds of grotesque atrocities, which were cobbled from scenes of his previous movies] then i pick fulci. fulci was a certifiable lunatic who made a few of the wildest movies ever set on celluloid

if fulci doesn't count then i pick john saxon. he's always seemed debonair and cocky at once. sort of like a ghetto sean connery. only that you can tell saxon knows his shit doth stink.

2. Which band was more instrumental in forging the
punk rock movement: The Sex Pistols or The Ramones?

the pistols sold to the world that there was such a thing as punk. but without the ramones there would be no punk. what came first the chicken or the egg. answer is easy: the ramones.

my wife, anna, calls me a punk rock snob. punk started in the states in the early '70s - you could argue the late '60s with the velvets and iggy and the stooges - then migrated to the u.k. and again migrated back to the states in the early '80s where the sound became more aggressive and brash, which was thus the birth of hardcore. all the while punk existed on both sides of the pond and spread thru out the world, nourishing each other.

without the ramones none of that would have developed as it did.

3. What three songs would you like played at your
funeral or wake?

a/ 'funeral for a friend' by elton john

b/ 'god's comic' by elvis costello

c/ 'mommy, can i go out and kill tonight' by the misfits

4. More idiotic mode of transportation: roller blades
or skateboard?

considering i grew up skating, both on boards and at the local roller rink, where i rented boots that were connected to two trucks and four wheels and grooved to late '70s funk and disco and journey and reo speedwagon and that i think roller blades look pretty retarded;

i'd have to go with skateboards. any device of transport, no matter how graceful or crude, that makes me - a 40 year old man - want to start a street skate club for middle-aged punks so we can tear it up on the streets and at the local skate parks so we can show to all these young whippersnappers what shredding was back in the day is pretty dumb.

i'm taking names now for my club. we'll call ourselves 'geazers'. if you wanna join, grab yr stick and meet me on the street.

5. Describe the most irritating thing you have
encountered at your place of employment over the past

my cube is next to the john for men. i hear everything. most times i can block it out. but every now and then it sounds like a fucking firehose or dying thing croaking its last.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

say it ain't so!

according to this story
weekly world news
is set to shut down
it's print version

'fess up ye snobs
who didn't at least scan
it's headlines
at the grocery store

at least it'll still
be published online
that's the way of the world
we find everything now on the aether

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

director danny boyle's latest film sunshine is quite a sensual feast: for the eye and the ear. yet boyle's vision of a suicide mission to re-ignite the sun with a thermonuclear device the size of manhattan lacks a certain amount of mysticism that i think he was trying to achieve. thus when we get to the penultimate conclusion outright comparisons to kubrick's masterpiece 2001: a space odyssey become obvious.

which is a shame since the first half of the film is a beautiful creation of the tedium the crew endures on a long space flight. the pace is languid, almost static, yet when we come to about a third the way thru the film the pace quickens to a conclusion that has at least this viewer scratching his head at the action onscreen for it so defies physics.

these are not outright condemnations, since even kubrick's film stretched believability to its limits. in boyle's film all i could think about was: wouldn't an unmanned rocket be more effective and efficient? if scientists can land a probe on an asteroid in the early 21st century, then certainly by the middle of the century sending a rocket to the sun should be not more complicated than elementary math.

these are the dangers of watching sci-fi movies: having the curtain of disbelief lifted during their narratives. even so, boyle's films, as i've written earlier, even when failures are 100 times more rewarding to watch then the best tripe screened at the local cinaplex. several set pieces are astonishingly beautiful. a few of the editing tricks reminded me of what william friedkan did in the exorcist. i do not want to give the movie away so go see sunshine, then think about the scene where father damian sees his dead mother.

i do think this is a good movie. a pretty damn good one. leaving the theater unsatisfied at the conclusion reminds that speculative fiction often leaves me unsatisfied. i do not mind a communion with the creator in sci-fi but do so carefully. i could also make an argument that boyle is being completely secular by the events unfolding onscreen. but i think it is meant to be religious in his vision of trying to re-ignite the sun. just that boyle's vision becomes muddy. perhaps it is because his gift at image-making is so large that he became giddy with his power. i don't know.

look at the clip below, which i find extremely moving, and see for yrself. then go see this film.

Monday, July 23, 2007

frank o'hara's lunch poem written at work

                    just when i think that the title
to my uncollected poems will be

          sex, death and fucking text

someone suggests that
                    my biography be called

          gleaming the cube

Saturday, July 21, 2007

hair hay(na)ku

long not
but puffs up

Friday, July 20, 2007

stopped by the book collector - richard & rachel hansen's book store - after work. richard is probably one of the nicest guys in the world of poetry publishing. a genuine adept of diy work ethic. i've become a virtual - literally - hermit since the birth of nicholas so i see richard only once every several months. a shame since the hombre knows poetry, politics, bad movies and more and wears his learning lightly.

richard's specialty is the mimeo-era poets. we started talking about d.a. levy, and when i mentioned that i had read on alex gildzen's blog that russell salomen reprinted levy's ukanhavyrfuckincitibak recently, he said, oh yes and pulled a couple of copies from underneath a stack.

my mouth dropped and what i could mutter was, how much. the price is cheap, 10 bucks. i've been holding it in my hands and dipping into it all night. it sits beside me as i type.

what i told richard is that somehow as i get older i seem to be regressing. when i 1st got smitten with poetry my heroes were berryman, lowell, dylan thomas and hart crane. guys who were essentially high moderns. the influence of levy was there, but i was a bit of a snob and a few of the poets i knew at the time were levy acolytes. i was not, and so i sneered at them. that was writing?

it wasn't till later that i rediscovered the mimeo-era poets and caught on to what they were doing. so much like punk rock. just pick up a pen or typewriter and go! don't bother with waiting for publishers to discover yr work, so print and distribute yr poems yrself. there is also a beauty in the anarchic spirit of bad spelling and horrible typography found in the texts. and there is a lot of concrete work. levy i think excelled at it, and i believe that was his strongest form of writing.

there is a lot to be found in levy, and other mimeo-era writers, that can nourish poets now. at least they do for this newly 40-something punk who wanted to be a high modern at 20. levy set an example for anarchic diy writing, that also was joyous in the best of his work. there is a kind of sublimity by writing fuck you to the MAN.

even a kind of divinity. not the sort conjured by many of levy admirers, that sort of 'saintly mad' cliche is not what i mean. the kind of divinity i'm talking about is the sort villon knew after a night in the tavern, with his fingers cracked and bleeding from the cold as he writes furiously before the candle sputters out to the vast blackness of night each of us face on our own.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

epistle to vander molen


what shld a poet do for a living
is a question i've long asked
since i never did give much of
a shit about the myth that the
only proper occupation for poets
is teaching / who cares & why
even bring this up at all
when i'm walking to my cube
this july morning as the
heat eases back a bit
& becomes a touch of
fall while i think of you
writing poems on the top
of a ladder painting homes



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Humanities 133

i’m reading a collection of poems titled ‘the perfect darwin lizard’ by john tyson

as the vietnamese-american writer reads from his memoir to a class in an auditorium at the university my girlfriend is at a conference in chicago over the phone she complains about the 32-degree weather and it being seven bucks for a pack of cigarettes

the bean salad i just had was good and the flavor of balsamic vinegar is still in my mouth

there was a young feminine boy sitting next to me on the streetcar yesterday he gave me his eyes for a moment i saw god felt god in his eyes for a moment

i think about whitman in manhattan and john tyson in the clink for something “serious”

like his poems

--jonathan hayes

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

letter to hayes


kicking back like a mofo      thinking about prosody
not like in how to shape the sound   of the line     but how
to make      the art       into the life

fucking impossible     i guess      better yet      destroy the life
and art will follow      shit    what is art
but an anagram for     tar     and      rat

even tho     to make the walk into work     more like
the beat of the poem          i'm heading to the fridge
for a beer      tonight     i'll drink on it



Monday, July 16, 2007

8 random facts about me [a few true]
for tom b.

1/ my hair is salt&pepper. it started going grey at age 8

2/ i live in the town i was born & raised in
i have sojourned here & there
but figure any place is a good place to die

3/ my 1st love was the martial arts. i blame my father. for it was him who took me to my 1st kenpo class. i was smitten at 1st blow. later i studied shotokan karate. i wore - seriously - chuck norris brand jeans in order to kick serious ass: at all times.

4/ i'm a nut for ufo lore
& the geek culture
that surrounds it
i cannot say whether
this is a short-comimg
of mine but i'll watch almost
any tv show or movie about ufos

5/ i've seen a ghost - no shit - at the age of 7. anna almost dumped me when i told her about this fact. the ghost was not human, but a pet monkey who lived in the room, and was dressed in overalls, and stood about a meter tall. i can still see him today. those who doubt my veracity are welcome to call my mother. she will vouchsafe that that monkey did indeed live - and die - in that room.

6/ i am a life-long vegetarian. i gave up eating meat after attending a fair called 'lamb town' in dixon, california where they were slaughtering the creatures. that was in 1990. i am not a vegan but a lacto-ovoid veggie. i do not eat anything that tries to fly, swim, walk, run and crawl from you in defense of its life. i will not kill anything that screams in pain. i also will not try to convert anybody. i do my best tho to not increase suffering and death.

7/ despite seeing a ghost, digging the lore of ufos and cryptoids, i am an atheist who does not believe in the after-life.

8/ i was knocked unconscious for well over a minute at a circle jerks show. i recall doing a stage dive during the set of the local band - the vacant - and the crowd parted like the red sea. next thing i know i was placed in a chair by the stage and told to just sit there. it looked like i was dead.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There was a time when William and I sat around his cabin at local
lake drinking rum and coke and smokin cigs and joints.
ah....those was the daze. The one thing we never talked
about....writing. "Just do it" he snarled. "Now did I ever tell
you, Jim, about the time in Tangier when that little bitch Jane
Bowles tried to steal my stash? Now there wazzzzzzzzzz a real
woman.." Snack,hack, snort, hack.

Miss the old fuck.

Take care.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

a few things today that made my whole month or several months.

1st/ got a cool photo of jim mccrary drinking with his old friend and boss william s. burroughs with a mini-memoir by mccrary. i'll post these soon as i get the okay from mccrary to post his words. in short, fucking amazing.

2nd/ please see nicholas manning's lucid and erudite response to last night's post re: permanence in poetry and publishing here.

3rd/ some time back i queried gina myers about whether ny poet douglas rothschild had published any chaps or fugitive pubs. she was kind to look for an email address for me. rothschild's one of those poets i google fairly frequently for more texts. i'd not heard anything from rothschild and as gina warned me that she didn't know whether the email she sent along was still valid, i figured it all for naught.

but then last night i googled for more of rothschild's poems and came across drew gardner's blog with an entry from '05. gardner gives his email address and said if you want a pdf of rothschild's selected poems just give him a write. which i did, and this morning drew forwards rothschild's selected much to my surprise and delight. been grooving on that all day. a big thanks to drew for sending the book and to rothschild for writing it.

4th/ i'd lost my draft of a poem, one that i think will conclude quite nicely my split chap with jonathan hayes. i remembered sending a copy to poet steve tills. so i emailed him last night and lo, he sent it along. 9 bows to steve cuz now my manuscript is finito.

5/ finally, as you probably figured out from the poems of john tyson i've posted here, john is in the clink and won't be out till late '08. again, gina myers is the one responsible for hooking us up, and as john's become a close friend, i want to give gina a huge shout out of thanks. i'm not one for much self-promotion but gina posted a bit from my indie chap today and again i say thank you.

john's gone thru hell this past year or so. at my nudging and with the the help of his friend kelly john's begun a blog the old man: prison poet. please spread the word. john explains some of his circumstances and gives out his address where you can write him. please do so, now. john is an extraordinary man and poet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

i don't know what the word *permanance* means in reference to poetry & publishing. there are radically diverse views regarding whether diy self-publishing is legit form of publishing, or must publishing be under the aegis of an editor, a board even, which is all funded by a grant.

reading the thoughts of the talented poet nicholas manning re: publishing poems on blogs counts as the real deal or not makes me want to air my own 2 cents worth. manning is concerned with the permanence - if i understand him correctly - of writing. i guess we all are, since surely each one of us secretly thinks that we might be a cesar vallejo or gerard manly hopkins toiling in relative obscurity only to be rediscovered soon after our deaths and celebrated as the geniuses we are.

i have my doubts about the permanence of anything. that does not mean to imply that i also in my best and worst moments like to think of myself as a rimbaud laboring in obscurity until. . .well, a discovery of my work. but quite honestly i don't give a shit about it. to me writing is part of living, and perhaps as ephemeral as the passing day. why bother to publish at all is the question, since it is the writing that counts. i'll answer that rhetorical question with a very concrete answer: because i love to read. i have many, many, many, many favorite poets. and i want to read everything they got.

which is why i like blogs, why i encourage poet friends who don't have blogs to start one. i'm the type of reader who wants to read yr grocery lists. i get frustrated by the poets i have crushes on who don't publish all the time. whether their poems will mean something to a future reader is hardly a matter, since i and the poet i'm reading will be dead. what we do now is what matters.

i do not advocate a sort of pop fleetingness in style, subject and what-not. i'm as influenced by trends as each one of us. i do mean write with the highest abilities we got. this is our only life so do yr fucking best. but permanence of writing, like permanence of living, of my life, is illusory. i won't be here for ever. neither will these words. neither will you.

the punk in me knows that poetry is not a commodity. it might be a fetish, even a religion, but not a saleable item. therefore, do it yrself. i'm beginning to publish more and more poems on this blog. i'll continue to do so. as a poet i admire and respect said some time ago, no one will recognize yr genius, so get busy and do it yrself.

poetry is a gift. at least for me it is. so far, i've given away far more copies of my chaps than i've ever sold. as long as i can afford to, i'll continue to give them away. i've learned from jim mccrary, the great lawrence, ks poet, that self-publishing is as legit as you can get. do for yrself, now.

another poet i greatly admire, tho he may chafe at my language, then again maybe not, is bill knott who has vowed to stop publishing books and is in the process of putting all of his poems on his blog.

i'll end this ramble at knott's example.

pulp noir

for alex gildzen

check out her gams
possessed with a foxy leer
gilt in a pegnoir

of yellow mesh maybe

or yellow silk
her red hair tied in a ponytail
her eye make-up        blue

if she had a soul
it might be staked over a stiff
while her lover

slouches in the doorjamb
a bit out of frame

and if the dead guy
was loverboy’s boss
or her husband

that was just in the way

she might’ve got just out of bed
or was waiting for him in the closet

but for this scene there is the kind of light
filtered from the window
outside the frame

              so we won’t know
the time of day

Monday, July 09, 2007

feeling just a little fucked up

there should be a toll
for california too

Thursday, July 05, 2007

i don't go to the theater that often, since most of the films i like i can't interest friends to watch them with me. which means often i must go alone. but being the hermit that i am, along with being the father of a 2 1/2 year old who has the energy of a fully loaded nuclear reactor, i usually stay at home and watch flicks on disc. suits me temperamentally, even tho i enjoy the movie experience more fully in a darkened theater sitting amongst a bunch of strangers.

a couple of weeks ago anna and i attempted to see at the theater the movie knocked up. after sitting thru the rigmarole of commercials for cars and army recruits and a few dozen trailers, we are into about 10 minutes of feature presentation screen time when the mobile rings. it was grandma. nicholas got sick and was crying for mommy. so we left.

what the hell. there are just a few films i want to see on the big screen anyway. every now and then a movie announces itself and i can't wait to see it. it's an emotion hard to explain or quantify, if however we all know that feeling.

lately, that movie is director danny boyle's latest effort sunshine. a sci-fi thriller premised on the fate of a group of astronauts on a suicide mission to re-ignite the dying sun. i've seen the trailers and a few clips at youtube.com. i'm a big fan of boyle ever since watching his mid-90s black comedy shallow grave. not all his films are successes but even in failure they are a 100 times more watchable than the usual pablum found at the multiplex or even art-house cinema. i think the movie opens in the u.s. after several months of delays at the end of july.

another movie i'm looking forward to, in spite of my misgivings about remakes of classic movies, is rob zombie's revisionist halloween. zombie is a fan's fan of exploitation and horror, and his last effort the devil's rejects is a masterpiece of breakneck cinema. ah they don't make 'em like they used to, is given the lie cuz zombie has carved out a piece of territory that the old masters, such as craven, carpenter and hooper, can explore.

that doesn't mean that i think remaking carpenter's brilliant horror movie is a good idea. as long as it's zombie, then i'll give it a sit-thru. i've not been paying attention to what is being said about zombie's halloween in the horror community. really i don't care. i personally do not like remakes, find them a waste of time and several millions of dollars. if a studio is gonna spend that kind of money than waste it on a new talent with an original idea. why zombie agreed to do this film, i haven't a clue. perhaps a butt-load of moolah. but perhaps also a love of the genre. whatever. i'll be sitting in the audience not holding my breath for a good interpretation of a classic. but i'll be sitting there just the same.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

are you fucking kidding me?! i've never thought of looking them up on youtube.com. there they are. quality of video and sound is shit. but what matter, yr in the presence of greatness.

ladies and gentlemen: 'dead souls' live by joy division


go get me my pistol
babe this place
don't make sense
to me no more
hermetic you understand
sister morphine in a skinny bone chair
it's too early in the mudflaps
for malarcky with the geegaw boys
a bucket of nails & some holes
are never filled where the words
when half-moon on kitchen wall
waiting for nothing &
for no one again

cigarette in my pocket

turn on lights.
brush fingers.
before you make
the coffee wise.
reflector eyes
open wide
toward anyone but me.
i stand in shadows
where turpentine builds
far away
i think about you.
as confetti rains
on revelers, sunday
night has its' own pair of eyes
which i carry in a pocket.
they have a newspaper to read
along with you.
the one who has stopped
alongside me by
way of the dead
who saves rubles in a shiny tea pot
& then wear golf shoes to the new year's eve ball

mickey o'connor