Thursday, November 29, 2007

i've been tagged by senor steve caratzas to write about my obsessions/passions/whatnots in groups of 8. because i consider steve a good friend i'm game.

now let me open up another anchor steam christmas ale to kill the tickle that is germinating in the back of my throat: feels like a cough, a cold, coming on, and let her go.

8 [not-living: i mean breathing] poets better than the movies

constantine cavafy
jimmy 'jam' schuyler
osip mandelstam
thom gunn
john forbes
bill griffiths
christophe tarkos

8 favorite words


8 obsessions/loves of my life

drive-in theaters
otherstream topics [i.e. ufology, cryptozoology]
movie trailers

8 things that piss me off

aggressive drivers
mobile phones used loudly in public places
spitting in public
the word 'gifted' as it is used in a sentence like 'my grandmother gifted me this clock'
smelling someone's cigarette smoke
persons stuck in a queue and bitching about it when they could step out if they so choose
questions that begin, 'if you don't eat meat, what do you eat'

8 cities i've not been but would love to go

reykjavik, iceland
dublin, ireland
belfast, ireland
st. petersburg, russia
venice, italy
edinburgh, scotland
mexico city, mexico
ontario, canada

8 filmmakers that i can't help but love and admire

lucio fulci
dario argento
the coen bros
david lynch
stanley kubrick
jess franco
ingmar bergman
ruggerio deodato

8 seminal films of my life

star wars
2001 a space odyssey
blue velvet
saturday night fever
repo man
decline of western civilization
attack of the mushroom people

okay, that's it. realize i can go on and on with these lists, but man i've got a bit of a buzz, my throat's still scratchy and finally how much can one person reveal of himself with a series of lists? part of me hopes that what is revealed is a whole lot. the reality is rather rashomon-like. and if i wrote these lists tomorrow night there'd be another group of far different answers.

i like making these lists just the same, and i like the tagging. so you, yes you, consider yrself tagged.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

shit, the only problem i have with aging - other than the horrible fact of getting old - is forgetting. for example, fire up the laptop to look something/someone up online then soon as it's booted up forgetting why you fired the computer up in the first place. or calling yr son, or wife, or dog, or cat all the names of all the occupants of the household before hitting on the correct one. like stepping into a room for a purpose then immediately upon entering forgetting what that purpose might just be. a permanent state of loss.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Anna Telling Nicholas He's the Best Decision She's Ever Made

Your Father on the other hand
I sort of fell into
There was no decision made there

Everyone falls Mommy
I fall too sometimes

i've long been a reader of irish poetry, whether it is from the republic and northern ireland. should be no secret by now of my being a big fan of billy mills and his wife catherine walsh on one hand. on the other i'm also big on seamus heaney and ciaran carson too. these are just a few examples of irish writing i admire. trevor joyce is on my list and so is medbh mcguckian.

so now, where are the irish poet-bloggers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

i've been remembering my dreams lately. at least, i'm remembering the ones that have to do with poetry. whether it is reading or writing or hanging out with poets or going to readings. often i can't recall details other than i was reading some poems from poet x or y. or i was jotting something down in my notebook. or like last night where i was a guest - again - at some kind of poetry festival and i was asked to submit a poem in a contest. so i did. which is antithetical to my belief and practice of non-competition. i am not a competitive person i think, tho anna will remind me that i am. at any rate, i wasn't even on the list of contenders. i awoke half-pissed that my poem didn't attract notice from anyone. i was also rationalizing the loss as out of my control and that poetry, my poetry, is not predicated on the notion of contest. that there is no ultimate finish to writing. put the final dot to that perfect poem and then take out the pistol and put it to your head since perfection will not be more perfect so that is that. rather than belabor that illusion, i'd rather go forward, maybe sometimes even fall backwards at times, get pissed and continue on.

for love

blackened from
pulling morning glories

garden put
up for winter

vines' grip
& let go

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

the thanksgiving holiday is upon us where we in the u.s. traditionally gorge ourselves on turkey and all the trimmings then spend the rest of the day drugged in a protein stupor staring vacantly at the tv watching another football game again.

instead i offer this trailer about a religious nut who turns into a killer turkey but wearing a cheap mask and mutilating those who done him wrong. blood freak is far from a masterpiece as a turd of a flick can get, but it's got cojones.

check it out, and maybe you might even forgo turkeyday as it is called and have instead a tofurkeyday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

still i recall last night's dream where i was at a poetry reading in dublin, ireland not as a reader but as a guest of another poet who i don't know

but nevertheless made the introductions tried to put names to faces and faces to names and got them all wrong

just the same it was dublin a city i love even if never having stepped foot there

afterword i asked if the poet billy mills was among those present

after being told that mills was not at the reading i asked where i could buy some of his books and was told there was a very good bookstore at the strand

whatever the strand is i set out looking for it and figured it was this shopping mall at the center of dublin

anna and an unidentified friend were waiting for me at the airport and i thought i still had several hours before our plane

time folded over so that it became early morning on the cab ride to the strand which was a short drive away and 4:00 pm when i got to the mall

i missed my flight but still i was determined to find this very good bookstore

the film of my dream was in a loop and i couldn't find where i was going when night turned to day then back to night

there were plenty of planes to catch and i could always call anna once i got to the airport

i got a lot of help from a lot of people who were amused that i was so intent on finding a few books by the poet billy mills

i awoke still on the search

Sunday, November 18, 2007

now that nicholas is old enough to express his desires and joys, and also angers and frustrations, and that he's also ambulatory [in other words he doesn't walk: he runs - everywhere] each trip whether to the grocery store or the park or a museum is an adventure.

which is what we had today. we packed a light lunch and a few wet wipes and drove the 2+ miles to the california state rail road museum located in old sac. there is something about trains and train travel that set the imagination to flight. at least it does for me. nicholas had a blast running from one humongous beast to the next. the museum is very well done and very hands-on so that we can touch each train, and even enter a few of them. a sleeper car from the the 1920s, and dining car from the 1950s were set in motion so that the sounds and sights mimic travel.

there were trains that go back to the history of travel in the u.s. and all so expertly lighted that the locomotives and cars appeared to be alive and still ready for work, rather than entombed in the static space of the museum.

except for a short jaunt to the bay area on an amtrak line, i've never seriously traveled on a train. not for any length of time. i'd love a night in a sleeper car. there is a romance to it, i think, that transcends time and place. when i fired up the laptop tonight i read this post about a new anthology published in britain about poetry and the railways. i'm sure if i google it i'd find a score of u.s. published anthologies of the same theme. but why not airports and airplanes too, since those are so much part of our lives. and seeing huge aircraft land and take-off also set the imagination soaring.

and i've traveled much on planes and been to some of the world's busiest airports. all nightmares. heathrow is insane and sfo is a palace of confusion. so then set me on the terra firma and travel in comfort and style. but until i can make a long journey on a train i'll settle for the museum. we liked it so much that nicholas joined the caboose club which is an annual membership and includes a year-long pass to the museum. he can take a guest too. guess who that might be.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

i have a real fear of heights
sometimes very pronounced
& sometimes it sits dormant
like a vague thought at
the back of the mind
it goes away in planes
where the distance of air
between craft & land
are abstractions

& are not scary
i test myself often
by going to the top floor
at work like tonite
see how long i can stand
in the little observation cube
over the whole city
laid out below lit up
like a box of m80s
explosives frozen
in the midst of com
busting & sound muffled
to a itty bitty teeny screech

and do youselfs some good
poet steve tills has been
some time away from
the blogosphere
but he's back & as brilliant
& irascable as ever
read all that

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

stein's post about the poet cedar sigo which is also about poetry i think led me to googling for as much of sigo's work i can find. i also reread sigo's mini-essay 'figure & narration' which i believe was presented as part of a class lecture. which is again a long way of saying that sigo hits upon one of my driving obsessions about poetry: pleasure.

i read many types of writing and frankly don't know how i'd classify my own type of poeming. i've hit upon the description, alt-lyric poet, mainly because i like the sound of it. but also that it is generic enough to include language poetries as well as small-press writing as well as traditional lyric poetry as well as how long this list might go fucking on and on. the point i suppose is this: what i want from poetry, mine and yours, is a pleasure both sensual, erotic with a bit of intellect. language daily with a hint of adventure. with some politics too.

here i quote from sigo's essay:

I do not just want to interest academics. Skaters are more dear to my heart. Boredom is the cardinal sin.

seeking just the thrill can produce maybe a lot of trendy writing. whatever. i don't claim to be an original poet. i steal from everybody i love. i'm not advocating trendiness at all. what i want from writing, mine and yours, is to not be bored. pleasure is the key.

one of the great pleasure giving poets writing in english today is the one pictured in this post: jim mccrary giving his best at the new an actual kansas reading series a couple of weeks ago. mccrary's hyper-no-bullshit poetry is what i mean by not being bored. his poetry is the kind that makes me glad to be alive.

Saturday, November 10, 2007




Friday, November 09, 2007

nicholas in tallac village at lake tahoe
these 2 pics taken at muir beach last wednesday when that cargo container hit the bay bridge and caused oil to spill in the sf bay

muir beach is one of many beaches closed today because of oil contamination

we didn't know about the accident until the next day

on halloween night nicholas dressed as a frog to take on the neighbors in the hunt for treats

Thursday, November 08, 2007

holy shit
krush groove
is starting

but before i
get distracted
surfing da blogs

i read a very
sweet and beautiful
post by bay area poet

suzanne stein
about poetry and bay area poet
cedar sigo

and tomorrow
a few pics of nicholas's
halloween, along w/ daytrips to muir beach and tahoe

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

both allen bramhall and geof huth have written glowing reviews of mr tom beckett's reading in cambridge, mass. i'm glad they did, since i live in california which might as well be antarctica in my inability to bridge the gap between sac and massachusets. if i could wish for anything i'd want that transporter device like in star trek where in the blink of an eye a body can move between great distances. only in sci-fi. instead, i'm grateful for the ether where i can read 2 excellent poets posts about the 1st public reading in nearly a decade by a really excellent poet.

Monday, November 05, 2007

my life as a hay[na]ku is

border of
'of' and 'and'

Friday, November 02, 2007

just finished the splatter zombie novel city of the dead by brian keene. it was my 1st leap into horror fiction in over a decade. the book reads like an exploitation film, which is probably why i picked it up. keene knows the zombie genre well so that characters are named after ken foree, lucio fulci and so on, while the novel is hip deep in other horror references. characters are rather shallow and the dialogue gets rather flat when the principals talk for more than a paragraph. but the zombies can speak, organize, use tools and are rather intelligent. the pace is brutal and the tone is bleak even if there is a bit of humor. in short, a page turner and not a bad piece of fiction.

but man i think i need a shower now. there was so much slime, blood and gore in the book that i got up every 20 minutes or so to wash my hands thinking they were slick with undead grease.

how's that for a recommendation!

now back to the overfull halloween candy bowl. there is a song by the skate-punk band jfa back in the early '80s that goes:

coke & snickers is all i need
coke & snickers is all i need

health sucks
health sucks

* * *

accent on the last syllable is critical for that last verse, please. say it loud and proud.

skate or die!

i usually get a bit saddened on nov. 1st because that means halloween done passed and i have to wait another 364 days for the sucka to come back around. today is no exception. anna and i drove around on various errands and in every store we shopped at was selling its halloween gee gaws at 1/2 price. to top it off we passed a spirit store - a roving shop that specializes in all things ghoulish - still open. but for how long. if christmas hoopla seems barren in the middle of summer then a store that sells halloween shit on the day after halloween has got to be the very pit of depression.

so tonight to assuage my grief i stopped off at our local borders bookstore and bought two novels by horror writer brian keene. i know nothing of his work except that they are packed with putrid zombies and come highly recommended by those - i guess - in the know. when i was in my teens i used to read a whole mess of horror fiction. writers such as steve rasnic tem and dennis etchison and clive barker. so googling etchison and tem last week i run across the name of keene and me being the sort to say what the hell. . . so far, so gross. in a good way.

nicholas had a blast trick or treating dressed he was as a frog. we bought a new digital camera for the occassion and pics are forthcoming soon as i get them uploaded. nicholas made bank on the candy and as we also purchased a shitload of the sweetstuff that is left-over i am also drowning my sorrows in snickers and butterfingers.

if alcohol is the devil's piss then candy is old scratch's dookie. and man what sweet sweetness it is. i'm getting another butterfinger right now.