Monday, December 31, 2007

yesterday morning
nicholas was
watching spongebob squarepants

i awoke to
to spongebob's boss mr krabs

plankton shouting
that it!
you've just lost your brain priviledges!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

okay, it ain't like i didn't have a decent year. just can't think of, nor care to enumerate, a list of 'best of' anything. i like reading those lists. one of the pleasures of lists such as 'best of' is my tendency to combat it. perhaps that's simply human nature. we will always think, 'what about x, or you forgot y'.

i like combing thru the stacks of libraries. which i did last week after work. and thumbing thru many old tomes i got this flash of the stupidity of thinking, considering, and even desiring immortality as a poet. if you are extremely lucky you might become a foot of dusty shelf space. and then. . .well, so what. there will always be that person like me who will pull you down, blow off the dust, and read a few lines. but that sure doesn't sound like a solidly immortal presence.

so what can we do, but work, write, read, live, fuck, eat, hate and love during our pitiable short time here on this earth. carpefuckingdiem, esse!

really started this post to point out the experimental laptop artist and guitarist neil jendon. this afternoon i was listening to this album and grooving on the ambient work. listen with earphones on. discovered this album thru a link a few years ago at disquiet.


this is the time of year for list-making. the best of. . .2007, and yet i can't think of a fucking thing. not that the year has been bad for me. hardly. tho nothing sticks out. without sounding like too much of a pessimist every time i open the paper or log on to the net there are stories that confirm that the world is pretty fucked up and getting more so each day.

but then, when haven't we lived in the best of times, the worst of times. perhaps it's old age, my old age, that would like for me to write a sort of summing up of these past 365 days. and yet, i don't feel so old as all that. recently i wrote a friend about what might be my incipient neuroses about a pending mid-life crisis. but how can one have such a crisis if that person always felt old.

whatever. more of the same and then some, please. 2008 to my ear sounds futuristic, like we should all be eating protein pills and driving flying cars. for some reason 2007 sounds like 1997. yet today is tomorrow's past. we are all living in the present.

i don't make new year resolutions cuz i'm not that deluded or hopeful. more poems please, more movies, more love and friendship, please. the world is fucked, yes, yet i love being in the world all the more for it being so.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

i know that the allegedly, supposedly, really final cut of blade runner is already available on dvd. just so, walking down k st mall past the crest theater, a local arthouse, i see a poster up for the allegedly, supposedly, really final cut of the film. it's not playing yet, but i guess it's on its way.

so i've changed my mind. i'm not a fan of the director's cut of blade runner. i think the movie loses a lot when the narration is subtracted from the story. there goes in my opinion a critical device often used in noir films. and the movie, which is presented so much like a noir feature, loses in the bargain.

and personally i don't care if deckard is a replicant or not. sure this is the bugaboo of many hard-core fans who think that deckard is artificial. i recall a clip i saw at youtube where ridley scott declares the added scene of the unicorn is an illustration that deckard is just that, a replicant. i think by keeping deckard human complicates things just nicely. so when we arrive at that brilliant rutger hauer speech at the end deckard is also filled with the love of life, anyone's life, even a replicant's life, like roy batty, like rachel. being human makes that love more complicit and deeper. the dichotomies of master and slave then dissolve, at least in the mind and heart of rick deckard.

just the same, i've avoided watching copies of the director's cut because i think the added scenes pad out the movie and the lack of narration flattens the pace of the story. the metaphysics of the movie ball up into a black hole of an overused trope: that mythical beast of purity, the unicorn. i don't own a copy of the movie because the theatrical print is long unavailable.

even the desire of seeing the director's cut induces dread. imagine my utter joy when a couple months ago a new tv channel, chiller, which specializes in horror films and tv shows, broadcast blade runner. my hands were shaking, i was in a cold sweat, as i held the remote and aimed it at the tv as i braced myself for the director's cut. instead it was the theatrical version. i could hardly sleep as i replayed the film in my mind all night, and when it was broadcast again the following week, i dropped everything for another viewing. i'd not seen the movie in a few years and i was on a high.

then when i saw the poster for the allegedly, supposedly, really final cut of blade runner my dread dried up. i'm looking forward to seeing it in the theater. maybe it's early onset old-timer's disease. but maybe, just maybe, i've been too harsh in my previous judgments and that there is indeed more than one way to sing a song. or maybe, just maybe, it's simply a strong desire to see a great, cleaned-up print of the film. perhaps it's too early to tell.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Saturday, December 22, 2007

nothing can beat the pure pleasures of browsing the stacks of the indie bookstore. which is what i did last night, stopping at time-tested books on the walk home from work. sac has it's fair share of independents. there are three within walking distance of my house. a lot of the pleasure is finding something that you were not looking for. plus, holding the book or chap in yr hand is so much more satisfying than looking at a jpeg of the book cover online.

yet if yr interested in small-press writing then finding a particular poet at the local indie is a matter of luck. often you won't find nothing. which is why i like the net so much. the ether can't ever beat the physical and mental pleasures of the physical object. but for sure accessibility a poetry blog is unmatched.

for example, canadian poet billy little has been publishing poetry for over 30 years. yet it was thru the net that i discovered his work. recently i found his blog which hasn't been updated since august. but it is filled with a life of passion, which is a quality a highly prize in a writer. don't matter if the writer is a pessimist, even a pessimist can find pleasure and excitement in life, reading and writing.

little's blog isn't a substitute for having his, or any writer's, books in hand. yet little i think published chaps and other small-press fugitive pubs which are next to impossible to find in any bookstore. so publishing, esp. blogging, on the net is perhaps the most efficient way to get the work out there. and ain't that what's it's about, getting the work out there. often i wonder what's the use of publishing. but publishing, by any means necessary, which is often the net nowadays, lets me be the reader i need to be too. without publishing then there would be nothing to read.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

for the past week or so i've been listening to neon bible by the arcade fire. i'm totally new to the band. anna bought the cd a couple of months ago. i've heard their song 'no cars go' somewhere before that, but had not until now listened to a whole album. now i have and let me tell you the band is fucking outstanding. i don't know the drummer's name but he's one of the better percussionists i've heard in a long time. i love the singer's voice.

i'll say nothing more but point out martin stannard's review of a recent gig in the u.k.

below is 'wake up' done live and intimate. watch and listen and see if you don't find yrself tapping those toes. proof that you are awake.

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

ee cummings

A free spirit
is a divine

g. corso

i should be asleep. instead i'm up and listening to the rain. which is pretty heavy. just opened the door to the wet and love the smell of the breeze freshened by falling cold water. and i equate that sensation to the sensations of love and desire. why. fuck, it'd be too complicated to parse that one out. it just does. so here i am, almost feeling like a kid again, because these sensations tweak out notions of renewal, which i think is married to love and desire. fleshly feelings strengthened by the quixotic of near-euphoria. for once, it feels good to be alive.

Monday, December 17, 2007

saturday night anna and i were watching tim burton's
brilliant ed wood

where upon anna turns to me and says
you like him so much because you identify with him don't you

and i say
i do i do

the birthday party for nicholas was at a pizza place called chuck e. cheese. wherever you live i'm sure you have places just like this. for the kids it was a real bacchanalia. for the adults the scene was a house of horrors. oh man. but nicholas loved every second of it. and i just finished the last of the really awful cheese pizza. it was a tuff job, wolfing that pie down. but i was up for the task. and did it with gusto.

anyone have an alka-seltzer?

* * *

last week got an email from an old friend, catalin kaser, i've not heard or seen in 16 years. catalin and i, along with a group of young writers, would hang out, share our writing, and give readings together. man, my heart soared as she told me she'd been in touch with a few other old poet friends and wondered what the hell became of me. so to find me she used, yep, google.

we met i think in '88 when we were all taking the same creative writing class at a jc, american river college. we all got published in the lit. journal. me, i think i was too fucked up for much at the time. i knew i wanted to be a writer, but i had a long way to go and much to learn. catalin on the other hand, was one of the most talented of the group.

after a long, long adventure she is now living in oakland with her husband. me, i've stayed put, and learned that the longest distance traveled is done by keeping still. it's been a lifetime since i've heard from catalin. however, the pics of her on her blog show me that the more we change the more we stay the same.

pretty wild, i think. and i'm happy and floored she found me after all these years.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

today is nicholas's 3rd birthday. we are having a quiet celebration and saving the big party for saturday. man, what a wild, strange, thrilling trip it's been. learned much as nicholas grows and becomes the person he's going to be thru these 3 years. some humbling. some exasperating. all unforgettable and i would not change a thing for all the world.

there is one thing i've learned that stands out: the lost art of napping. sometimes you gotta slow down, kick back, draw the blinds and take a nap. there is little, and i mean little, that is more refreshing than that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

one of the books i've been slowly reading is stet by jose kozer tr. by mark weiss. then today find that anny ballardini points out a tribute to kozer. i'm monolingual. have no gift for languages but i clicked thru the tribute just the same.

which i guess what i'm thinking about how i love the wash of languages in our lives. translations of writing is a critical process in my writing. i can get thru perhaps bit of french and spanish is ever-present in california. even if i don't know the language, say russian or vietnamese, i like looking at the original texts and listening to the poems in their original language.

which again is a way of saying that i admire, and envy, writers who can blend and translate their poems in varying tongues.

which among poet-bloggers with anglo-style names, for example, both ryan daley and cheryl clark seem to be comfortable both in spanish and english.

which of course, for example ernesto priego writes with brilliant facility in both english and spanish. and guillermo parra often translates from spanish as well.

these are just a few of the examples of the wash of languages i mean. and i'm trying to tease out my meaning since i suppose i'm not articulating it all that well. what i suppose is that our world cultures are enriched and made strange by our languages. and that to be a writer today esp. in the ether as i am for the most part translations are crucial for my poetics.

i suppose it's the hybridization of our world[s] that i find so freaking thrilling. if yr asking i'd call myself a california poet before calling myself a u.s. poet. because in california, a spanish name, it seems that all the world cultures are here. in sac some neighborhoods look like moscow, while others look like tijuana, etc. i am a poet writing in english with a hispanic surname who digs all the whole big wide world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

last winter i caught roman polanski's first feature knife in the water on ifc. i didn't know it was by polanski until i looked it up. i was so riveted by the experience of the film that i had to know who directed it. also, i hadn't watched the opening minutes to get the credits. neither did i catch it at the end. which is a long way of saying that when i read that the movie was directed by a 29 year old polanski and it was his first feature my mouth dropped. not because i think polanski is not a gifted filmmaker, he is, but that this film is perfect, absolutely perfect. not a note wasted.

i watched it again, twice in a row, on television night before last and this time gave up to it in even greater delight. the photography, the spare jazz score, the natural sounds, the claustrophobia of the sailboat, the editing and the acting create what is perhaps the most astonishing debuts by a filmmaker in post-war cinema.

the story is simple, a successful middle-aged man goes for a day's sailing with his young, beautiful trophy wife. along the way they pick up a young hitchhiker and invite him to go sailing. the tension between the two men, one perhaps losing his virility while the younger man is in the fullness of it, ramp up to a climax built like an elegant equation - the logic of their actions enfold with a brilliant yet violent clarity. the lushness of the young man's and young woman's sexuality is so much that when they kiss it is like an eventuality. it is raw, naked and chemical.

yet this film is perhaps one of the most cerebral films i've seen. i've used the metaphor of equations to describe the elegance and precision of the action. despite the protagonists' heat their emotions are all bundled within the decorum of their minds. which is illustrated by the end note when the wife asks her husband to tell her the rest of his story, a story he began on board right before he and the young man clash. the story being perhaps the portal which would allow them back into their marriage with the hint of a surface stability that would allow the couple to continue their relationship. what else is there to do once the bad things are said and done.

the knife of course is also a metaphor of the young man who is a beacon shining on the doomed marriage of the sailboat's owners. but it is also a real knife that the young man possesses which is used thru the entire series of events. it is the knife that begins the terrible rowe between the husband and the young man. it is the knife - the actual blade and the young man - that cleaves the married couple apart. polanski uses the knife as motif for the action and inner lives of the characters to a breathtaking degree. never does the metaphor of the knife feel oppressive or gimmicky.

i'll not say too much more. i'm tempted to write about this film as if everyone has already seen it. perhaps everyone has already seen it. but it was a revelation to me last year. this movie is a masterpiece.

below is a clip from one of my favorite tv shows miami ink which is about - you guessed it - a tattoo shop in south beach.

in this clip the tattooist chris garver is inking a skull on another favorite: anthony bourdain, the writer/chef and host of my other favorite tv show no reservations.

not to be a guild man, but how come these shows never feature poets. poets eat, travel, and get inked too. right?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

we create the gods in our images

i believe if he were alive & writing today

m rimbaud would be inked

but would he prefer something small

with tact

or would he have full-sleeves

Thursday, December 06, 2007

w.b. keckler is asking you a bunch of questions and wants your answers

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

p. and i were having lunch at this kinda new, very french place whose specialties are crepes. anna and i discovered it when we were downtown a few weeks ago. midday in the middle of the city, and it is prime real estate for people watching. we watched 2 cops on bicycles roust a homeless guy and the homeless guy got so pissed he threw his bedroll at the police.

then p. noticed this dude wearing pretty ratty clothes handing out cards to the passersby. the dude was wearing a baseball cap with GOD embroidered just above the bill. i don't know what the cards were but we let our imagination run wide.

what would it be if he had 2 sets of cards. for one set would read: YOU ARE SAVED.

the second set would read: YOU ARE DAMNED.

and these were passed out at random. what would the reactions of the recipients be. the saved nodding in agreement with a i-thought-so expression. while the damned might just throw it away as a stupid joke for the non-believers. or would some freak out because GOD - as it said on his hat - just confirmed their worst fears.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

timor mortis conturbat me
w. dunbar

timidity encourages//death and never prevents dying
d. hall

Monday, December 03, 2007

learned over the weekend that an icon from the 1970s, evel knievel, died on friday, nov. 30 at age 69. as famous for his spectacular crashes as the successes of his stunts, knievel was a fixture of pop culture with his trademark cane and red, white and blue jumpsuit and helmet. as i boy i even had the evel knievel action figure with wind-up cycle and the tin lunch box. there was even a film starring knievel as evel knievel, viva knievel!

his type of showmanship is not too popular now, i think. i recall watching his stunts on abc's wide world of sports and on primetime. at any rate, knievel was a rare example of success thru failure. his stunts often ended badly. it was reported that he had broken every bone his his body at least twice.

below is a video of one of knievel's more famous successful failures: the leap across the snake river in his custom-made skycycle. i remember the lunch box - a sure sign of success at least in the world of kiddom during the '70s - embossed with the skycycle as it leapt over the snake river, and the toy skycycle that soon was on the market.

mr evel knievel, may you rest in peace.

CAConrad talks with ken rumble about rumble's history of depression. it is a useful and important subject since all too often mental illness is regarded as a taboo topic, and worse, romanticized in popular culture as being the curse of the artist.

which is bullshit. my own history of mental illness is a long story of mute suffering. nothing taboo or romantic about it. what did/does help me is to not be silent about it. and to know that i'm not alone in my suffering. many others suffer as well. nothing unique in my own illness. only that i had stayed silent for far too long. and if you or anyone you know and love suffers from any form of mental illness there is no shame at all to get all the help needed.

really, no shame at all.

end of sermon.

my cold is sticking to me like peanut butter matted to my hair. at least my voice, still raspy, is returning and despite a nose flowing like a faucet and an ever-present hack, not doing too bad.

so i'm taking the day off from work and doing nothing but a bit of rest. i am delighted to discover tom beckett returns with another blog. check out slim windows.

maybe it's time for a nap.

peace out

Sunday, December 02, 2007

i'm wide awake now even the scratchy throat i was bitching about earlier turned into a full-blown cold. i'm wide awake because i've slept 14 hrs last night, about 8-9 hrs than i normally sleep. i was zonked out for the duration. now my voice has gone south so i sound like a cross between harvey fierstein and tom waits. i think i sound sexy and street. anna thinks i sound like a yeti in the midst of a bowel movement.

so then after a very full day and a couple of anchor steams i'm gonna hit the hay. but not before i say do check out the newest blog by toronto poet greg evason.

word up