Wednesday, October 31, 2007


jonathan hayes reminds me that windowpane press is a joint lopez/hayes venture.

titles thus far:

hellbender by john tyson

natividad by ryan eckes

want one? both? write me at len200athotmaildotcom

do it, sucka!

happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

starting yesterday anna and i are taking a much needed 2-week holiday. we did the same at the same time last year. with fall being our favorite time of year the effects of vacation at this time are not just relaxing but revivifying too.

so posts will be rather sporadic, but since most of my reading is now online i make no bargains and might be posting more.

well then dookie. a belated happy birthday to mark young who at the age of 66 is making the arts of poetry and publishing [re]new.

also jonathan hayes started a small press - windowpane - where so far he's published broadsides by john tyson and ryan eckes. eckes' signed broads arrived yesterday along with a copy of his chap when i come here. both are beauts so hit the link to plan b press and get eckes' chap and if you want a copy of either/both of tyson's and eckes' broadsides hit me up with an email.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

curious how others consider political writing in their poems. how polemical do you make it. i've never thought of myself as a political writer at all, but present times seem to demand one speak however muted it may sound. i'm teasing out a half-ass thought about political writing. that when conditions get so outrageous, e.g. now [my thinking is spurred by the story today that the bush administration is set to enact a series of sanctions against iran's military. which in my mind might be the first step to justify war. and quite frankly a war with iran might be the start of wwiii. am i being alarmist, here?], that writers perhaps don't have an obligation to incorporate political viewpoints in their work, but a serious situation demands a serious response. which is a long way to say that a response from poets would be found within their work. a writing not above saying, you suck! but a writing also with humor, love and the iterations of our human being.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

let us practice a little of the dark arts

i know ouija boards are crap that james merrill composed his long poem using one as an oracle & that anything manufactured by milton bradley is just a toy let us suppose however that we might tap into that other elsewhere in our time another time altogether

for even crap has specific names that we tell ourselves around the fire inside the cave as we watch these shadows on the walls

Monday, October 22, 2007

a couple of weeks ago i asked anna to list her halloween movie choices. now anna is not a horror freak at all, she puts up with my obsessions but i think doesn't approve of them. but she did choose one film that was surprising because it is often thought of a christmas movie and not associated with ghosts, goblins and/or ghouls.

meet me in st louis is a war-time ode to a time long past. director vincente minelli and his then-wife judy garland crafted a charming tale of a year in the life of the smith family at the last turn-of-the-century leading up to the 1904 world's fair in st louis. in the past year i've must've seen this movie about 4 times which is remarkable only in that i don't own a copy of it. everytime it's on tv i think we manage to watch it.

but back to halloween. the little girl of the family, played by margaret o'brien as tootie, is one helluva a macabre child. thru out the entire run of the movie tootie manages bring family discussions back around to death and murder. cut to fall when the family celebrates all hallow's eve. tootie, being the youngest of the children sent out to do the devil's work, is also the bravest and most brash. this scene, which involves a blazing pyre and intrigue among the kids is a real bacchanalia. the kids act like winos around the last bottle.

it is a fantastic scene and one that last just long enough for it's flavor to fully mature. tootie is a nut, but a lovable nut who displays a fear that then is quashed to show how grown-up she is. also, the movie shows how halloween was celebrated before the advent of pop culture becoming the culture. and it is interesting to note that halloween collectibles from this period - mostly pieces that were manufactured in germany - are highly prized among collectors today.

a pity i couldn't find this scene at but you know christmas is just around the corner so when you watch this film on tv during the holidays please pay special close attention the halloween movement, and then clang yr trolley.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

i've never cared for the vampire mystique. something about vampires' cool eroticism, their lurking in shadows just beyond the window frame, that leaves me cold. too mannered to be menacing, i suppose. the novels of anne rice about the vampire lestat i find boring. the same goes for the film versions. tom cruise and brad pitt are certainly beautiful creatures, yet i find their performances rather fey and quite simply silly. tom cruise certainly is other-worldly, but not so as a vampire.

the same goes for most vampire films. okay, bela lugosi is bad-ass, and jess franco's vampyros lesbos is a surreal gem. but on the whole, vampires and the entire cult of vampirism - those idiots running around claiming to be actual vampires - has me scratching my head wondering what the fuss is all about. could it be that body fluids are a taboo to be broken? could it be the fact that vampires live forever, are intelligent and tortured souls, can nuzzle up to satan, darth vader and dr octopus and still get the dudes/chicks?

who knows. i do know that i've just watched 30 days of night directed by david slade, who is unknown to me, but from this work i'm gonna keep my eyes peeled for more of his films. based on a graphic novel the set-up goes like this: a group of vampires led by danny huston [again, an unknown actor to me, but based on his performance a dude to watch for] as marlow attacks the citizens of barlow, alaska during the depths of winter where for 30 days every year the sun literally don't shine. most of the town's citizens leave during this period which slade covers in the 1st 10 minutes or so of screen-time.

so far so good. there are wonderful ambient shots of the town nestled above the arctic circle. the score is creepy, it is in fact so good and creepy that i stayed past the credits for as long as it played. the vampires' renfro then is dispatched to the town to kill all the sled dogs, destroy phone lines and internet connections, a helicopter and so forth. again, the tension is mounting.

by the time the vampires attack, it is so swift and sudden that even tho this film does not break new ground there are still plenty of jumps out of yr seat to be had. the initial attack lasts only minutes, and the rest of the film is yr rather standard zombie fare where the survivors hole up trying to hide from the marauders.

but even still, slade knows how to frame a shot. there is a wonderful tracking shot of the town from the air during the initial attack. the editing is crisp and powerful, and the photography enthralling to the ideas of man and beast as man. if a horror film is the sum of its set pieces than this one is a singular beauty.

character development is rather thin, but who cares. the hero of the film in my book is huston's marlow. the other hero is played by a game but rather bland josh hartnett as barlow's sherrif. oh yes, melissa george plays hartnett's estranged wife who gets trapped in the town just in time for the massive carnage. if the end of the film is rather sappy, so be it, for the preceding 80+ minutes were kick-freaking-ass adrenaline.

the vampires are nattily-dressed - even when blood-soaked they make their threads look good - and vaguely eastern-european. they speak a language that sounds like a cross between klingon and romanian. there is no explanation of origins and they are not tortured souls enduring an eternity of self-pity. they are predators. even tho the movie is rated a very hard r, and the cast plays it rather serious and dour, when the vampires attack they display a kind of child-like glee. the attacks are gory and have more in common with zombie killers than the gentle two-pronged love kiss of most vampire films.

this type of film ain't for everybody, and it is getting rather so-so reviews. however, if yr looking for a serious horror movie for halloween, see this movie.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

i've written earlier of my experience of seeing a ghost when i was just a lad. no one is more skeptical than me about the paranormal. i recall that night as if it just happened, and the experience i had as a witness to the apparition is real, but i can admit that it might all be bullshit. that the ghost was the product of half-remembered stories realized in a dream-state.

even so, consider me an atheist believer in the strange and marvelous. i'd love the chance to spend the night in a purported haunted house. i also would like to go back to the house where i saw the ghost and ask the present owners if i could spend the night in that room. the house is not too far for my desire not to be realized. but i won't. if someone knocked on my door and asked the same thing i'd think that person a serious kook. also, the house itself is located in a pretty rough part of town and i'd imagine that the present occupants would not take to kindly to a 40-year-old man who says he saw a ghost in their house when he was a child. the poet wants to corroborate every experience to language. esp. the strange and marvelous. who knows maybe i'll get lucky and hook up with a team of ghost hunters who won't mind a writer tagging along. maybe i'll just stay on the look-out. the dead, i've heard, are everywhere.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

first read this story about a mexican poet with a few unsavory proclivities via a link on daniel f bradley's blog. now i read this piece about the writer with the usual set of denials of the more salacious acts. yes, the mind reels at the atrocity, but i'd hate to be among the group of publishers who returned his manuscripts with blandly worded rejection slips.

i'm in the mood for a few fava beans.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

peeling back the host


views of the host

the middle of horror a respite

when the family sits down to eat

she eats

don't say a word

you are me

she is you

is not there



[splish / splash an ocean of blood an horror slash]

peter poetry popped poetic popcorn fragments of an [add] un-focused watching of the movie ‘the host’ over a crazy cool consistent period of three nights straight after work with super happy big thanks to sacramento for kickin’ down the dvd to thee:

memory and identity thesis girlfriend
on the carpet says she doesn’t like it

and switch the conversation channel
to “the hong kong version of ‘the departed’

is better then the american one that won all those awards

but jack nicholson was real good”
as a character based off of whitey bulger

and she wouldn’t shut up as i tried to and eventually told her

how my father was walking through times square

one day and a black car pulled up on the sidewalk
and men in suits jumped out

and attempted to take him down or into the car

but he put up a 2.0 generation irish american

barley corn of a fight and when they called in his i.d.
they apologized as they thought he was whitey
the fbi's second most wanted after osama bin laden

whose squid had ten salty tentacles ready for gnoshing on
and washing back with some cold beer yet the punk kid waiter
stuck a tale down his pants and so the two tadpoles met
and bred an ugly loud adorable monster.

richard lopez/jonathan hayes

ted v mikels/the misfits 'astro zombies'

Monday, October 15, 2007

nicholas is at the stage where things both simultaneously frighten the shit out of him and also attract him too. for example, at the exploratorium in sf weekend before last there was an exhibit with a very life-like, yet fake, human hand in it. the idea is to have one person put his/her hand on a shelf above the fake hand while another person is supposed to use only his/her sense of touch to determine which hand is the real one. the moment nicholas saw that fake hand he reeled back in horror and panic. and yet, he can't stop talking about THE HAND IN THE BOX.

the same goes for halloween imagery. he loves it and he's frightened by it. so tonight as we went shopping at target he was begging us to see the aisles of halloween gee gaws, but when we took him there he freaked. then when we were paying for our goods nicholas begged us to see the halloween stuff.

and but so, saturday we took him to this giant pumpkin patch in the tiny agricultural hamlet wheatland. nicholas laughed, and cried, and laughed, and then lost his marbles and laughed some more. 2-3 year-olds do not possess a steady center. rather, the emotions shoot from pole to pole. one moment, ecstasy, and the next a full-on tantrum. all within the space of a few minutes.

does that keep me young? they say children do keep you young. i'll get back to you on that.

this ramble was meant to talk about poet jim mccrary. mccrary's video reading from his chap being frida kahlo is up at the continental review. editor nicholas manning posted this wonderful note about jim. and mccrary is also one of the featured readers at the new reading series an actual kansas located in jim's own lawrence.

i've been battling a very minuscule case of the blues the past few days. best not to wallow in it. and jim's reading and video make me happy. why not. mccrary is one of our best.

word to yr mama

Saturday, October 13, 2007

1 song - 2 versions

trent reznor

johnny cash

what is originality? i forget

Thursday, October 11, 2007

okay, what's a boy to do. i've got 2 long over-due book reviews to write, my half of a collab manuscript i should be cleaning up so that maybe it can get printed, another collab project beginning to simmer and and and poems to write. but no, i'm gonna sit down and watch 28 weeks later right now. logan smith saw it last night and posted his review. i'm holding off reading logan's piece until i finish watching the movie but can't help but notice that he's given the flick 6 out of 5 bleeding eyeballs. a winner in my book. i'll let you know how it all turns out.

in the meantime check out this cracker edition of dusie. i've only parsed it but so far my faves are martin stannard, rob stanton, simon turner and ernesto priego. but wait, there's emily critchley, jack alun, mairéad byrne and and and . . .oh, read the zine for yrself and come up with yr own faves.

peace out

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

this is a classic spookshow trailer and is available on a dvd nicholas and i've been watching for the past couple of days. nicholas calls the disc 'halloween' and it loaded with fun old clips of this sort along with 2 full-length movies. i've written about the disc before, called monsters crash the pyjama party, released by somethingweird video.

a spookshow was a live stage act and a movie where the host would pretend to hypnotize the audience, make monsters and/or ghosts appear, and other assorted hokum, and then would show a horror film.

perfect for halloween, but great for year-round viewing. now, is that an endorsement, or what. the disc is one of my favorites, hands-down.

Monday, October 08, 2007

the following is a short list of scary movies for halloween. i'll post more during the month as they come to me. these aren't reviews of movies but ideas if you want them for films to view for the haunting month. idiosyncratic and highly debatable my idea is to present a few flicks that perhaps impart that sort of vibe and ambiance that i associate with halloween: creepiness and euphoria.

curse of the blair witch

this pseudo-documentary was first broadcast on the sci fi channel as a lead up to the release of the blair witch project and is an extra on the dvd version. with a running time of little less than an hr this film is a rather creepy, yet goofy exposition of the blair witch curse from its beginning in the colonial era and ends with the disappearance of the three student filmmakers that star in the main movie. with stock footage and fake newscasts that round out the ken burns kind of filmmaking i got hooked on it and this short is often on heavy rotation in my house.

house by the cemetery

lucio fulci was a hack director but a sumptuous hack who made some of the most gorgeous and violent horror films of the late 1970s and early 1980s. the best of fulci's work are movies with the narrative broken in favor of rich imagery. this flick is the story of a scientist turned into a monster who lives in the basement of the house of the title. a younger scientist and his family rent the house as the father does his research who then discovers the secrets of the house. a hackneyed story is delivered via surrealist techniques that blend past and present so that when you get to the end you'll scratch yr head in confusion and amazement.

killer klowns from outer space

yes, the movie is just as stupid as the title implies. released in the late 1980s this movie hearkens to the era of drive-in cinema where the viewers can nod out then come back to the story with little lost in-between. yet, this flick is a delirious sequence of bad acting and gags that'll have you begging for more. and it capitalizes on the very fact that clowns are just freaking scary.

the eye

asian horror cinema is in a renaissance. this creepy gem is directed by the hong kong bros. pang: danny and oxide and is a prime example of the genre. the movie is about a blind young woman who gets cornea transplants from a dead girl. the film moves from one hallucinogenic vision to the next until we come to the surprising and surprisingly beautiful denouement. i read somewhere that there is a u.s. production in the works. avoid it. like most hollywood remakes of asian horror films such as the ring and the grudge the originals are superior both in style and content to their u.s. remodels. u.s. horror movies would be better served by using writers with original ideas inspired by asian cinema rather than remaking them in an inferior fashion.

evil dead trap

this is another movie that is in heavy rotation in lopezland. released in 1988 this japanese flick is a chiaroscuro of moving cameras, quick editing, pulsing score and lotsa gore. director toshiharu ikeda has an obvious love for dario argento and sam raimi, the latter of which is underscored by the title in english. the plot is rather thin but frankly if all horror movies were made using logic rather than emotion than nothing scary would happen. if the characters in horror flicks used common sense, such as never going into an abandoned house or factory in the middle of the night, then many of the pleasures to be had watching horror flicks would evaporate. instead we would probably get dry treatises on the nature of reality and illusion rather than meaty, sweaty and colorful films such as this. the heroine, nami, is a late-night talk show host who gets a video of a snuff film. evil dead trap opens with this film in all its horrid detail. the filmmaker of the snuff movie also photographs precise directions to a factory on the outskirts of tokyo. nami of couse is a journalist so she gathers up a band of goofballs to investigate. you can guess the rest of the plot. and yet by the end of the movie the plot folds on itself as to what appears to be a straightforward slasher film becomes another thing altogether. if shakespeare had seen this movie we would know the source of his famous line: there are more things in heaven and earth than what is dreamt of in yr philosophy. or something to that effect.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

a beautiful day in the bay. today we took nicholas to the exploratorium in san francisco where the kid went nuts with all the hands-on activities. nicholas went into overdrive and i think charmed everyone with his exuberance. i mean he's a kid who enjoys himself so thoroughly that it is infectious. okay i'm more than a little biased, i'm his old man, but i swear you could hear his ecstatic squeals in that loud place. when nicholas was playing with a beach ball hovering on a jet of air everyone who passed his playing would smile and gesture at his joy.

but then okay, the air was crystal and a bit warm. it is fleet week in sf, plus there was a 49rs game, which translated to horrible traffic into the city. but once in: no problem. the exploratorium was lightly attended. nicholas had a lot of the activities to himself.

we could hear the blue angels as they blasted the air just above. we left a little after 3:00 pm right when they were in the midst of their show. the pacifist me rejects the display of military might, but man, watching them over the bay was just fucking awesome. the jets are powerful, loud and jawdropping in their precision flying. i couldn't take my eyes off them. and as we left the city with the blue angels still buzzing the bay we drove over the golden gate as the crowds stood watching the jets, there were thousands of people out, traffic was fucked, but the view of the bay, and san francisco, and the hundreds of boats in the bay, and all the people when the air was crystal and a bit warm we all felt just a tad lucky that we could have the opportunity to witness that all.

* * *

finished reading last night a book of prophecies by john wieners published by the excellent small-press bootstrap productions. if you haven't heard of this book, you have now. get it. wieners is one of the master makers for me. what is amazing is how the manuscript, a collection of journal jottings and poems, is about our present time, specifically the year 2007, but was composed in the early 1970s. the book opens with a poem titled just that: '2007' where the poet imagines that our cities would advance to 'extremes of stability' and we would be a 'generation of new, advanced hip persons' who usher in an era of peace and experimentation.

rather than becoming the detritus of a utopian's dream the book is a repository of love, lust, and hope in the bettering of humankind. creeley and olson make appearances in the texts which are sometimes printed in facsimile in wieners hand, thus maintaining the poet's complexities of composition. the facsimiles display wieners' love of list making and using the page as an open field where text is written in the middle of the page and the corners while keeping the cross-outs of lines and words.

skillfully edited by poet michael carr with an introduction by poet jim dunn, this book is a welcome addition to the growing pantheon of one: the indispensable john wieners. i'll leave you with a taste:


They must let us know you
I am the chase and you are pursuit.


oh yeah, chase this book down. yr poetry library will be the poorer for yr not having it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

what is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?

so wrote roethke in his metaphysical sequence. it was a profound statement when i first read it in my early 20s as i was in the midst of my own recovery of a severe illness. it is a beautiful line, and it is complete b.s. not that i think roethke is a bad poet. i don't. it is just my own experience with mental illness is not noble or profound or enlightening. it was a terror and i believe it stole years of development both as a human being and a poet. even in the depths of my illness i managed to write. it was all shit what i was writing. i had succumbed to the myth of the mad, reckless poet. it took everything i had to keep myself from curling into the fetal position. every minute was a struggle. i managed to write is not a miracle of will but a system of habits. even in its grip i still had an ego and the desire to develop as a poet.

not that that saved me. circumstance is fluid and changes moment to moment and is different for each individual. madness when it hits is a permanent present. it embodies the concept of eternity. the suffering, and i don't think i'm exaggerating nor do i think i'm unique in my own brand of mental illness, is everywhere and becomes everything. my quarrel with roethke and other poets who are quick to the myth of the mad/bad poet driven nuts by the world we all live is that the myth is destructive and absolute nonsense. madness isn't mad and being crazy is only when we are given the proscription of what the life of writing must be.

Friday, October 05, 2007

thinking of halloween tonight i find instead this collection of pics of children screaming. nothing is scarier than a bad santa.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

bela lugosi's dead

well then i was walking this morning thru downtown when i pass a building i pass every morning an ol' condemned work that once housed a sro hotel occupying the top floors & an ancient steakhouse called the broiler which by the by merely changed locales as for the occupants of the sro my guess is the city gave them the boot & little else

well then on the wall of this building thats been boarded up for a couple of years now was this giant roach fucking big scarab that was a wee bit dun colored yet it was too big to be a bug at all methought maybe it was instead perhaps a halloween decorative piece tacked on by who knows what asshole

well then i stopt took a look at the thing that was tacked up at eyelevel & i'se could see it had wings and little boney bones bent as it was hunkered down

well then i spy it was a bat still asnooze at 8:30 am & surprised by it i'se jumpt back to me walk and saunterd quickly away

well then the building must be home to a lot of them & as the day took its grind i thought maybe the bat couldnt find the way back in after the nuits hunt & and it was my dearest wish that the creature would take wing tonite & rise like the living dead

for thom gunn

i'm sorry you had to die at a time when evil's got this country by the balls, cracks them and sucks them like eggs. in a final rake of the heart throw out some vinyl records i can throw on like a pair of pants and dance my way through this crap. i'm so happy i'm suicidal, like a psilosybin trip that's moved in for good and his name is george bush, a hallucinogenic indole obtained from a fungus. fuck'm. it's a sad vacation; what can i say? i only write poems of death these days. nightmare of beasthood, snorting, how to wake?


from garrett caples' newest book complications. i've been slowly reading it for a couple of days now. pleasure after pleasure. this is my first sustained reading of caples. jonathan hayes turned me onto him a few months ago. get thee to the link now and purchase this book!

Monday, October 01, 2007

jubilate agno

let us now praise the month of october for even the sound of the word is redolent of pumpkin pie fallen leaves and early frosts

let us praise the month of october for it possesses us as we play dead on all hallows eve

let us praise the month of october for it's lightness of bearing and hope in death

let us praise the month of october for it is living as it is the dead

let us praise the month of october as it is the station before winter

let us praise the month of october for hayrides scarecrows and the flitted wings of bats

let us praise the month of october for the pungent strength of burning rice fields

let us praise the month of october for the light turns smog into de kooning paintings

let us praise the month of october for the sweater in the morning and t-shirt in late afternoon

let us praise the month of october in all its wonder and glory for ever it stands and we can do nothing but praise it's life giving and death dealing beauty