Thursday, July 31, 2008

the sounds of the sirens from a fire engine and/or ambulance and/or police car is a common enough, daily, fuck sometimes it seems almost hourly occurrence. i'm sure it's the same in yr parts of the world. but today i picked up nicholas from daycare. i walked the 2 or so miles from the office to the daycare and i walk because i'd rather be active and move then to suffer mass transit with its crowded seats and at times plain-ass weirdos who ride the trains as if they were a transmigration of lost souls on an endless trip to no where.

strange to think of luck holding the place that it does in our lives. we've all had near-misses whether it be in a vehicle, crossing the street, on bicycle or motorcycle. these glances of disaster are almost as constant as the wails of sirens in the city streets. luck, or chance, i think, may just be the one ruling factor in our lives. think back to some crucial event in yr life, such as meeting a great love or finishing college, because if they may seem to be fated had you not had the luck of financing and inner resources as well as guidance from family, friends or counselors you might not have even considered grad school. or what about the day and/or night you met the person with whom you fell in love. if you didn't go to that club or class or party or supermarket or whatever at that particular moment and in that mood of adventure and attraction you would probably never have met.

i recall reading the oeuvre of auden back in my early 20s. i don't necessarily recommend auden as a teacher but one could do worse i think then read a poet who was a formal master who also dealt in themes large and small, quotidian, private and political even. one word that auden often used in his texts both as concept and sometimes even as a title for poems was the word 'lucky' which struck me as being quite bold. the thought to live in chance and continue on with the contradictory impulse of our will was almost a quantum leap in my thinking. as a young man i was still struggling with my catholic childhood and the idea of god as THE BIG DADDY IN THE SKY. i fought the idea of chance and remained steadfast in my belief that order was predicated upon my faith and fate was the sole principle of our universe.

well, then. i walked the 2-plus miles to the daycare and sometimes the journey is a test in my own faith in humanity. so many vehicles all jostling for space on the crowded roads with all the drivers late for something. i've witnessed and also been subject of the spectacle of near-misses. today was different. i heard the sirens and saw the ambulance about 2 blocks up the street from where nicholas and i were walking. the street is alhambra blvd and is a main artery running north and south that bifurcates the areas of midtown and east sac. there used to be a grand old movie house called the alhambra theater with its moorish designs and palatial stadium on the blvd and the neighboring businesses all try to keep up with the moorish designs even tho the only thing left of the movie house is a wall and fountain with a snippet of verse from omar khayyam located in the parking lot of the safeway supermarket. nicholas and i walk this blvd each time i pick him up from daycare.

just then as nicholas was looking for sticks among some potted flowers a man rides by on a bicycle and says that a woman was just hit by a car. it was only 2 blocks away and it just happened even tho i didn't witness it. i did see the ambulance stop and a fire engine arrive. these piqued the interest of nicholas and he wanted to see them in close-up. i told him that a person was hurt and these vehicles arrived to help. nicholas gathered himself up out of the potted flowers and nearly ran to the crash site.

i don't know how else to say it. the scene was almost anticlamactic. nicholas was seriously curious about the goings on and i could see the hurt woman trussed and bundled on a gurney inside the ambulance. i got the story from one of the witnesses as they stood waiting for the police to arrive. the woman who was hit was crossing alhambra and was struck by a car. the woman was in a crosswalk and the car was making a left out of the parking lot of an office park. the woman who was driving the car was standing near the ambulance and appeared to be in shock.

such a thing is not fated. it is not written in the stars. it was an accident and accidents by nature are unpredicted and unforseen. it was the oddball mechanization of chance that 2 lives intersected at that moment in time and space with so terrible a consequence. i sincerely hope the woman who was injured is okay and that the woman who was driving can forgive herself. nicholas and i stood watching for a few minutes longer before i thanked the woman i was talking to as i took nicholas's hand and walked across that same street. just then i noticed anna in our car as she pulled to the curb with a relieved look on her face. our plan tonight was for me to pick nicholas up, walk our normal route and have anna find us as she drove home from work so we could do a little shopping. it was late and anna didn't know how long it takes for me and nicholas to walk the way home. it usually takes us an hour simply because nicholas stops every few feet to check out a bug, some flowers, a few sticks, a couple fire hydrants and so on. anna didn't see us but saw emergency vehicles which were only a couple blocks from the daycare. she feared the worst and told me so as we got into the car. and i recalled my own trappings of chance when i thought of the night we first met. i didn't want to go out that evening. i didn't even notice her at first until my brother pointed her out. it all seems like fate for it all seemed to fit a pattern that worked in grace from that night on forward. perhaps it is, i am still fairly superstitious as i suspect the lot of us are, but if i'd never left the apartment at all that night, well, i'd have never known what i was missing was that essential part of me for the course of my life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

first line : last line #001

twilight hovers; booking roundtrip death
never got so cheap. i was hoping for

tenderloin professor parts the sea; and gets whip cream pies in face
if he had thought of it he'd have packed a seltzer bottle

a universe in the carbonation; her eyes skate across the scene
to land on the ass of the cutest tranny

two spirit sparkle third sex; krazy kool katoey
and the dimples to sparkle a baby

jonathan hayes & richard lopez

out walking the dog mr b turns to me & says






i say, yeah, like, totally

i go by staying // where i am

Thursday, July 24, 2008

getting older now [who isn't getting older, no one i know] i worry about atrophying in my habits and forgetting that no matter how fucked things become living is a goddamned trip packed as it is with passion for knowledge and experience. the former is easier to do and quite frankly is a tired cliche while the latter takes quite a bit of effort.

but is that effort worth it. um, depends on the day and sometimes the time of day. yet, in spite of my pessimism there ain't nothing better than being alive and to know it. e. g. last night i was watering the garden which i sometimes do at night. i looked up and noticed the stars for the first time in what seems a very long time. i live in a city so light pollution is a barrier against the scrim of stars that have very little chance of being seen. and yet, there were more than a few in the night sky. and yes, it is a silly cliche to get all pumped by the night sky, but there you have it, and i was and i know that there is beauty to be found. if we open ourselves to beauty, that is.

and but anyway, i am getting tired of my writing style and techniques. the poem i posted here last night i think is okay but it ain't nothing new and tho i enjoyed writing it i want a greater ambition in my work. it's easy enough to become depressed and i have to fight the temptation to rip up everything i've written in the hope to begin again. that's when i know i've got to step out of my normal routines and just try to chill. in this kind of mood i want to write a manifesto on new writing ideas but that sure as hell won't do shit but make my frustrations more intense.

writing the splat poems last month helped in clearing the air. i am drawn more and more to the poetics of the messy. that the writing becomes process rather than product, even tho writing is both and the idea of product v. process sure didn't originate with me. i suppose what i'm thinking of is a kind of bad writing but done out of love and passion. not bad writing as in blah my 3-year-old can do that better and in crayon. a writing that is sensate and forward-moving with little care about being correct. deliberation, process, thought and passion all at once. 'first thought, best thought' yep 'i do this, i do that' uh huh; but also the majesty of bernadette mayer's pieces married with jimmy [the jam] schuyler's quotidian beauties.

hmm. . .still puzzling it out. however, one thing that attracted me to the new zealand poet richard taylor [link to his blog on the right] is his ideas of the poem as ongoing constructs of writing, that life is a series of palimpsests and so are the poems. each carbuncled line and cross-out are parts of the whole.

another poet, jim mccrary too works with this process. at least that is how i read jim's work. and nyc poet steve dalachinsky as well writes wonderful improvizational styled pieces. i've long been an admirer of dalachinsky's work.

so now i read that sf writer dodie bellamy's soon-to-be published barf manifesto is a piece about passion and error as 'an intellectual stance' which more than likely solidifies my own thinking better than i can manage. can't wait to read it and adopt its ethos as my own. in the meantime, i'll recharge my batteries by going back to my roots so to speak. one of the things i love about the worst kinds of world cinema is the lack of artifice which becomes part of the art. recently, talking to a friend about film stock in '70s exploitation films i said how much the washed out graininess becomes part of the aesthetic upon which my friend asked if i thought the filmmakers used cheap film as an aesthetic choice or if they used them because they were cheap. i said their financial choices became part of the look and appeal of grindhouse movies.

i am trying to recharge my batteries by watching movies, reading poems and pulp and reading magazines such as shock cinema and pop-culture blogs like scar stuff [this blog needs updating; i find it endlessly entertaining and informative with a lively collection of links] and just trying to get like a jedi knight and chill and use the force to the best of my abilities.

we'll see how it goes. meanwhile, see below, a reading by steve dalachinsky.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

license to ill-umine

goes the bum before the supermarket
beard thick white & long like santa's
& he looks like santa that is
if santa was in the habit
of wearing coke-bottle glasses
w/ tape in the middle
& his sleigh be a shopping cart
topped up w/ black plastic
trash bags filled with god knows what

i passed him the other day
on my way to work
my head filled w/ the anxiety of another day
about to say hi for the first time
even tho we've seen each other nearly every
weekday for years
looked at me as i approached
w/ a beseeching look
& asked

excuse me sir
i wonder if you can help
me to shut-off a song that's
on continuous loop in
my head
i can't find the button
that says stop

Monday, July 21, 2008

i love night. the solitude. the shadow play made by artificial light. the isolation [relative but still intense, for who else would be up at 2:00 a..m. for no other reason then to read and write]. the sounds as cars doppler past on the distant freeway. the settling of the house as it too seems to go to sleep and tosses and turns.

i am a night owl. it runs in the family. i recall my father also up very late, either watching tv or reading. he is still at it. so am i. i get charged by night. recently i was on the road home at 2:00 a.m. i tried writing a poem about it but didn't like how it was going. so i stopped at a very rough draft. i wanted to capture the feeling of exhilaration of driving a major thruway at 2:00 a.m. as i pass caltrans workers who do their jobs at night because of fewer cars. no one else save the distant lone driver as we pass, each heading to our particular and unique destinations.

night is a dream state made conscious. night solidifies emptiness. at this moment it is midnight and i am sitting beneath an open window. the weather is cool with a brisk breeze. it is just a taste of fall and cool enough to need a heavy blanket for sleeping. i can hear the occasional car and police and fire siren on nearby city streets. i can hear our fountain in its gentle plashing. it would seem i am the last person on earth. if only for a few moments. if only there was this increase in peace.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

something of a pop culture nut myself i went nuts last night when after dinner at n.'s and t.'s house i was holding in my very hands fantastic four #48 comic book. the silver surfer makes his first appearance in this book. i've lost touch with comic books since i was a kid but n. loves them still and collects them. n. and i also share a love of horror and exploitation films, but when i asked him if i could see his collection of comics i didn't know how deep his collection was.

so there i was holding vintage original books, smelling the old pulp and marveling at an art form that was once derided and poo-poo'ed, like a kid given the keys to willy wonka's chocolate factory. it was amazing. n. also owns an original e. c. comic which were published in the 1940s to the 1950s and were often ghoulish tales of moral retribution. often the bad guys got it at the end in a horrible twist of the story. they were gruesome and shocking enough to freak out parents, school officials and clergy to the point of slapping down a comics code that made many publishers weary of gore and death for many, many decades. back in the late '80s i owned several re-published e. c. comics but never had i seen an original.

at any rate, i loved comic books and still have a great affection for them. n. i think goes beyond love and embraces comic books like a faith. that's hardly a criticism. when i asked how much the fantastic four #48 was worth, which sounds rather gouache but money is simply money and things are only worth what we're willing to pay for them, i understood how deep his love of the art runs. i simply sat there in wonder and glory holding the book and looking at the panel with the very first appearance of the silver surfer.

and another thing, i was looking at the ads in the vintage books, how they were laid-out and the crap that was being shilled. i still love that stuff, the ads and the crap in and of themselves. as a writer i've long been drawn not to just what is considered the high arts but to, and i might be quite obvious by saying it, to the low arts too. advertising, television, b-movies, pulp novels, pornography, and tattoos are all exciting and rich veins to mine. when i discovered the poet thom gunn i was overjoyed to read that he also made no distinction between the high and the low. i found a brother in arms, so to speak.

trash culture, as it is affectionately known, of course has its adherents. and that artists and writers have long explored its varied terrain. after all, what is the work of joseph cornell but the vision of one person's love of trash. perhaps it was no accident then that when we got home and turned the t.v. on a documentary on lowbrow art, or pop surrealism, was just starting. personally i like the phrase pop surrealism a bit better since it seems more evocative of the movement. but whatever. perhaps pop is what is in the air and water, or maybe it's simply because my own rader is attuned to its frequencies. again, whatever. i'm too old and cranky to join a movement. but fuck i think pop surrealism is something worth exploring as one vein among many. one poet i've been read much of lately i think is doing something akin to pop surrealism is kevin opstedal. whether he'd think so is another matter entirely.

but i've started to meander. and not for the first time. last night i was a kid holding the books i remembered loving as a rabid young reader. at the end of the evening i thanked n. for a wonderful tour of his collection to join my own family and my own obsessions as a man and poet.

Friday, July 18, 2008

what's in the water

anna pointed it out a couple days ago reading the newest new yorker, the copy with the now well-known michelle and barack cover, in two separate back-to-back pieces [fold the magazine over and they nearly touched] and today i saw it again on silliman's blog, while again i saw it used in two articles in today's paper.

today's word it would seem is cipher. sure it ain't an uncommon word but i can't recall seeing it used as often as i've seen it in the past couple days.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

passive-aggressive sonnet

no really i only meant it to be funny
i love you but please go
no don't honestly i was humbled
by the experience
how like yr lines enjamb
i was thinking of peanut butter
and jam on toast
that is my favorite
i love you see this much
really truly i mean it
was simply a joke
how we can be like this together
but please go but don't
if you do i'll shoot myself in the head

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


a few days ago i sent gina myers a list of 12 recommended exploitation films. after sending the list i thought i've not posted a list of movies in quite a while and i think this one is pretty okay so i asked gina if it was cool that i post it here. i've written about a few of these films before. but as we are midway thru summer and i've not written about summer films, or the deep pleasures of watching movies when the heat and light are so intense that the best way to deal with it is to hole up, draw the shades, turn on the a.c. and watch movies. with that in mind i thought that this list can function as a list of summer flicks too. these movies are not placed in an order of a top 12. but they are some of my favorites, period. so here goes.

'the bird with the crystal plummage' (1970) dir by dario argento

this is an early argento release, one of his best, where he steps into the fertile ground of the giallo tradition. giallos [translation in english, yellow] were, as you probably already know, lurid, sleazy thrillers that took their cue and also their name from the pulp fiction published in postwar italy with yellow covers. the movies often invoked sex, violence and a single killer who usually wore black gloves and killed by elaborate means, rarely with a gun. the camera followed the killer as we view his/her actions thru their own eyes. argento is a master filmmaker and even tho there are scores of cheap, goofy and plain-ass bad giallos, this is one of the best.

'lifeforce' (1985) dir by tobe hooper

this film, a sci-fi outing by hooper, is a bit of a mess. a group of astronauts discover a craft with a frozen body. they take the body back to london and all hell breaks loose. this was a big budget production but you wouldn't know it from watching it. highly recommended.

'gone in 60 seconds' (1974) dir by h.b. halicki

this is the shit, classic drive-in fare, which is where i saw it as a pup. one of the cars used in the film was used a prop located at the refreshment stand and man was it beat to death! halicki was a former stunt driver and made this film using the skills he knew best. the ending is a sheer balls-to-the-wall 30 minute plus chase scene. except no substitutes, such as the anemic remake starring nicolas cage. by the end you'll be breathless.

'assault on precinct 13' (1976) dir by john carpenter

john carpenter made this action flick before he lensed 'halloween' and it details carpenter's gifts as a filmmaker for this is flick made with a paltry budget about the size of lunch money and yet the action and the set and even the premise is displays a wealth of talent. fashioned after an old western, complete with cowboy code and all, this movie freaked me out as a kid because the gang that attacks the police station were silent, still and deadly. also remade 20 plus years later, which signifies that a bigger budget and a-list stars is no guarantee of a masterpiece.

'another state of mind' (1982) dir by peter stuart and adam small

this documentary chronicles the better youth organization's 1982 summer tour featuring the hardcore bands youth brigade and social distortion, in addition to minor threat. an incredible feat that was doomed to fail for social d is/was known as heavy drug users while the better youth organization advocated the straight edge [no drinking, drugs, lying and sometimes even no sex] punk rock lifestyle. utterly kick-ass rock&roll at its grittiest.

'munchies' (1987) dir by bettina hirsch

this roger corman produced trash vehicle was mainly to capitalize on the 'gremlins' and 'critters' franchise. the only known actor is harvey korman. yet i have what might be an unhealthy fondness for the film. stupid, goofy and a waste of time, the film is livened up by the presence nadine van der velde, an actress who didn't do very many movies at all. perhaps i'm simply biased for i had a huge crush on her just from this film alone.

'exit the dragon / enter the tiger' (1976) dir by tso nam lee

the shaw bros were to kung fu flicks produced in the '70s what harvey weinstein is to indie cinema today and the shaws knew their audiences well. hence, after the death of bruce lee, 'the dragon' of the title, they introduced a shitload of actors each bearing some form of the name lee. so this movies stars bruce li as a disciple of the late lee searching for lee's killers. hong kong kung fu cinema doesn't get any crazier and sillier than this.

'what have you done to solange?' (1972) dir by massimo dallamano

another prime giallo photographed by the notorious joe d'amato [aristide massaccesi (and if you do any research on him and interested in seeing any of his work i have a copy of his most vile of films 'emmanualle in america' but that is more a warning then a recommendation, i kid you not)] and sumptiously scored by ennio morriccone. i won't say too much about this movie except that it is fantastic.

'beach blanket bingo' (1965) dir by william asher

what is summer without the beach movies? this flick is one of my favorites of the bunch. perhaps beach movies are an acquired taste, or maybe evidence of my own de-evolution. at any rate, frankie and annette, buster keaton, don rickles and paul lynde all at the beach doing what i'm not sure since these movies were never made with a plot in mind. but fun all the same, like eating a big bag of chips and washing it down with several cans of old 8 malt liquor, you'll feel like hell afterward, but man does it satisfy as you pig out.

'basket case' (1981) dir by frank helenlotter

you've heard the word 'grindhouse' when talking about exploitation cinema, well this movie comes directly from the grindhouse era of filmmaking. you can almost smell the crack and puke in the air as you experience this gory trek of a young man who was crudely separated from his siamese twin and now wants revenge on the surgeons and nurses who commited the deed. depraved and wonderful.

'grizzly' (1976) dir by william girdler

girdler was a brilliant hack who made cheap exploitation films that rose to the level of high camp. this flick is a total 'jaws' rip-off except that the monster in this case is a grizzly bear. don't let that description warn you away from this movie because it is one of his better efforts and i have the highest regard for girdler who died in 1978 at age 30 while scouting locations in the philippines.

'diabolical doctor z' (1965) dir by jess franco

love him or hate him franco was capable of making the odd good movie and this one is very good indeed. i'll not say too much about this film but let it envelope and surprise you. i hadn't considered my self a huge franco fan but when i look thru my dvd collection i'm surprised by how many franco flicks i have. he's the most represented filmmaker in my collection beside gore maestro lucio fulci.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

like a few poet-bloggers friends lately i've been duking it out w/ the blues. the heat, the fires that are causing the very fouled air which is so thick at times that it does seem like winter, the normally blue sky smeared w/ brown blotting out the sun, my own insecurities as a man and poet, work as in the day-job stressful as hell are all contributors to my own funk. but i can blame my blues solely on me for life is shit as it stands but it is glorious shit and it is my own. how i react to these factors as i've listed them is part of my own faults.

the fires are not getting better and i've read that the smoky skies are expected to last till fall. it is a long, strange summer indeed. the videos b. and i made together yesterday lifted my blues. they are stupid antics but were so much fun to do. then last night as we drove home from our friends' house we played a cd of the postal service, a group that holds an especial meaning for anna and me because it was the album we listened to the most when she was pregnant w/ nicholas and was the very thing we listened to the morning we drove to the hospital for nicholas's birth. it is then appropriate i think that as we drove home nicholas insisted on a particular song 'the district sleeps alone tonight' as he sang along we could clearly make out the lyric 'my palms are sweaty' in his sweet voice which amplified a lovely evening made even more beautiful as my funk and w/ it my own desires however i might define them blew off w/ the slight breeze of a very warm california night.

below are a couple of vids my friend b. and i made yesterday. because it was a good saturday evening, because we had nothing better to do, because b.'s the owner of a bad-ass muscle car, a 1972 monte carlo, and because we are both 40-something idiots here then is a feast for the eyes and senses.

there are a couple more vids you can find here if you're so inclined. in a couple other videos you can see how thick the smoke is as the sun looks like an overripe orange.

Friday, July 11, 2008

poet watch?

on the way home i stopped at our local safeway supermarket. it was crowded as fuck as people bought shitloads of beer for the weekend. seriously, it seemed every purchase was nothing but beer. the harried clerks took the rush with a mixture of humor and exasperation. theirs is a stressful job.

so then anyway, the crowds cleared in just a few minutes and i was the last in line. as the clerk was handing me my receipt i looked up to see a dude that looked like the poet joshua clover step in line right behind me. i've never met clover but seen photos and videos of him online. he teaches at nearby u.c. davis, so who knows. same face, same wire-rimmed glasses, same tall, slender build and same longish grey hair. so if it was clover, the dude who did a double-take as he was walking out the door was me. and if it wasn't clover, well hombre, you've got a doppleganger roaming about.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

ultima mantra

chin deep :::: in the shit :::: of life

the gates of hell

are now in california
the sky thickened from smoke
so dense you'd think it was
winter / while the sun
blipped out a bit as if
it were skinned alive
leaving in its stead
the pulp of an overripe orange

...from Tangerine Press, publishing outsider poetry in handbound ltd. editions, comes:

Wm. Wantling
Only in the Sun
Selected Poetry 1964-74

with an introduction by
Professor Kevin Jones,
author of Finding Jewels in the Awkward Mud: A Reconsideration of the Life and Works of William Wantling

Tangerine Press is proud to publish one of the true maverick poets of the 60s/70s US small press scene. Over 100 poems chosen from all his long out-of-print and subsequently very rare publications; also uncollected poems from seminal small mags like Dust, Poetmeat, Wormwood Review; a novel extract and a few surprises. Only in the Sun is handbound in boards by Tangerine Press in London, England.

Some comments:

'Your book is a beautiful thing indeed. Thanks for making use of this material.'
--Greg Koos, McLean County Museum of History, Bloomington, IL, who supplied a copy of the manuscript for From the Jungle's Edge.

'Many thanks for sending this marvellous book. Truly a labour of love on your part and the result is little short of a miracle.'
--Ian Seed, poet and editor of

'It is so damned good for Wantling to get this well deserved publication. Your books are setting a very high standard.'
--Adrian Manning, poet and editor of Concrete Meat Press, England.

‘This is a superbedition and a fine selection, I have to say. I am glad that you have doneBill’s memory proud.’
--PeterFinch, who’s Second Aeon Publications in Wales originally published Wantling’s SickFly, 10,000r.p.m & Digging It, Yeah! and co-publishedSanQuentin’s Stranger with Trevor Reeves’ Caveman Press, New Zealand.

‘The book is a beautiful production. It makes me think ofthe wonderful books John Martin published at Black Sparrow Press. I am sure itwill be much sought after by collectors in years to come and, more importantly,it will stand as a record of a man’s life and work, for readers to discoverlong after we are all dead and gone,
which is really the most magical thingabout writing and publishing, I think.’

--HowardSounes, author of the highly acclaimed Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Armsof a Crazy Life


100 Numbered copies: £30.00 --still available
26 Lettered copies: £40.00 --only a few left...
Lettered/slipcased: £50.00 --SOLD OUT

To order, or for more information, go to

Bookshops, universities and libraries: please contact the press for details...

Further Wantling books:

THE FIX -- a second volume of poetry. Advance orders welcome. Please note: Lettered/slipcased editions for this publication have already been sold.

Look forward to hearing from you...

Fight the good fight,

Michael Curran
Tangerine Press

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

2 poems

where are you going
don't know
what i can do
is to look at what where i've been

* * *

midsummer night -- the heat
the smazy sky
the blood-drop moon

Monday, July 07, 2008

hayes sent me a link to and an excerpt from a new collection of haiku written by a zombie, titled appropriately enough, zombie haiku by ryan mecum. holy shit, just the cover alone got me by the boo-boo. looks sorta like a horror movie poster. a little searching and i find mecum's zombie haiku myspace page. zombie poetry is not a new genre. tom beckett has published some brilliant zombie poems. and poet jay snodgrass maintains a collective blog of zombie poetry here. but wow, and hopefully the poems bear out the cover of mecum's book which looks as i say again like an advert for a horror flick. poetry like a horror movie, now there's a concept i can sink my teeth into.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

day of the dead

filmmaker george a. romero has settled on the zombie sub-genre in recent years with films such as land of the dead [a bigger budget film starring dennis hopper and john leguizamo] and diary of the dead [a film that hearkens back to the good director's small-budget indie films. yet romero is a social satirist at heart. his landmark masterpiece night of the living dead was made and released during a period of social upheaval. times-were-a-changing, indeed. night was the essence of a new social order rising from the tomb and literally eating the flesh of the establishment. it is a riveting document of violence and change in a society exhausted by an un-winnable war in southeast asia. the new world order, as coined by bush sr almost 20 years from the release of romero's vision of change, is neither voted on or decreed by those in power but enacted from the pressures made upon those who rise and in this case, eat. the new world order is neither from the world nor very orderly. it is a consummation upon the flesh of the power complex, and in this reading romero was, at least for a brief period in u.s. and world history, prescient.

still, the old does not give up so easily. and revolutionary change is also subject to the debilitation of entropy. of all of romero's zombie flicks day of the dead is my favorite for in this film romero captures entropy in all its horrifying banality. released in 1985 the movie is about a scientific research team protected by a small group of army regulars who take shelter in an abandoned mine in the state of florida. they've no contact with any survivors for months and the research is rather left vague to us the viewers. 1985 was the height of the reagan years when the u.s. wished to go back to a more innocent time, a time personified by reagan as 'the city on the hill'. gone was the revolutionary actions of the 1960s and in its place were the trappings of greed and power. wall street became the icon of success. it still is, i suppose, but romero is not oliver stone and is more subtle than stone's film wall street. instead, here in romero's zombie universe the power structure is crumbling without any illusory trappings of being safe residing in the 'city on the hill'.

the scientists lose touch with the nature of their research and the soldiers lose their sense of common boundaries. it was an inspired idea to set the action below ground for it gives the action and the performers an intensity of restriction. i mean, there is no where for these folks to go except to turn on each other as the zombies proliferate above-ground. does that suggest romero believes revolution will ultimately prevail? that is the scope of another essay, i think. rather, this film is the bleakest of a bleak bunch and even the ending, which features 3 survivors fishing on a florida beach, suggests that their time is also running out. the film begins with scientist sarah [lori cardille] looking at a calendar and ends with her marking time on a calendar. such imagery does not bode well for the survivors for the end is a prelude to the beginning. in other words, they have only so much time before they are consumed as well.

perhaps day is the summation of romero at his most pessimistic. there is little humor in the movie in the way of social satire, much as it was for dawn of the dead dealing with our consumer culture. the characters are memorable and powerful, esp. joe pilato as sgt. rhodes, and the editing and photography enhance what might be the last stance of the power structure in the face of unfathomable change. okay, that might be a stretch calling zombies 'unfathomable change' in consideration of the socio-political remarks of this little review. however, this flick is well-made and is perfect vehicle for a master satirist to tell his tale. i watched this movie again this afternoon and come away with unbridled enthusiasm for it. romero is unique in genre filmmakers. his vision is born of the revolutionary 1960s and his films often express a horror and disgust of the existing power structures. what might seem a trifle to cineastes, zombie ficiton in particular, is actually a wealth of enormous details and energies transfiguring our contemporary socio-economic-political existences. what dreams may come, indeed, might bite you on your ass. times are always a'changing.

on the figure of inspiration this is what the poet hears

i am not a muse d

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

night watering

plants and
flowers at 10:00 p.m.

has thinned
i look up

see a
rat running over

telephone lines
that starts hugo

very loud
who am i

but a
dog now old

out a
few new tricks

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

now that is over - the splatter poems - i've got to look for a new project. it was a good exercise to force myself to write everyday. some of the splats i think are okay while others i think just simply went splat. that is simply how it was supposed to go, i think. i simply can't believe that it's been a year, 2 separate months of june, already so that when derek thought aloud about doing the splats again this past june i had to check the calendar. you mean it's already june '08?! well, that's what happens, as the years flow forward the current becomes a deluge and soon the years blend together. i'm gonna simply start calling time THE BIG ONE and leave it at that. what are the years anyway. the sun shines just the same, figuratively speaking, whatever name or number we use, right?!

okay, so there was news about a new giant, super-powerful, particle accelerator, the large hadron collider, located outside geneva, switzerland where some scientists fear by turning on the collider might produce a black hole that would swallow up the earth, or create theoritical objects called strangelets that have the power to turn ordinary matter into strange matter thus destroying everything they touch.

i recall a show on the history channel about possible doomsday scenarios which ended with a young, brilliant scientist turning on a collider and unleashing strangelets, which was the end of the world. not a likely outcome from the large hadron collider, i think, tho sure it is from a physicist's point of view a minute possibility.

but the theories of strangelets and blackholes got my imagination working. logan and steve both imagined as much too. as for the end of the world, shit, when is it not ending? but if it is going to be destroyed by a man-made blackhole or strangelets we'll have to sit tight another month for the collider is expected to go online in august. what i do find fascinating is the human species, that human beings, who all have to live, shit, eat, fuck and die, can think up and create such a device as the large hadron collider. okay, only a few human beings can do it, but it is still amazing and to think that scientists might be able to get a glimpse of other dimensions just blows my mind.