one book i'm very much looking forward to is mark young's collected poems, pelican dreaming: poems 1959-2008, published by meritage press. mark is simply one of the best poets period. follow this link for information on the book and how to order here. if you read poetry, and you do, you need this book!
Really Bad Movies
a bard's eye view of love, life and psychotronic cinema
Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
let me praise the empty days
hrs go by doing nothing
sitting reading watching
a little thinking
if thinking is doing
then let me praise
the thought that
skips like a stone
a couple of beats
then goes flat
into the shallow
i wanted to write the 21st c a letter / considering that is so still so young
we've not finished w/ the 20th c it seems / still bloody despots / still the horrors
and power struggles / the hopes / the fears / the terrors
maybe its not a question of time / the matters contend w/ being on this
mad planet / that we are human and human by its very name
is the condition of being very fucked up
i have little hope for the 21st c / for you / dear 21st c / got yr work ahead of you
the problems we people share will get worse and the horrors we have
yet to bear / i shudder to think / and yet i do / for even in my limited
thinking capacity it is evident for even composing this mash of words
means that i still care and worry / i've spent my apprenticeship
in language studying the 20th c eastern european poets
who were no strangers to oppression and horror
they became masters of irony and irony is the most
supreme form of sarcasm and humor / irony is the great FUCK YOU
i recall the line by brodksy that goes
FREEDOM MEANS FORGETTING THE SPELLING OF THE DESPOT'S NAME
that comes to me now when thinking of you / dear 21st c
we are in trouble and in it bad / and yet i can't conjure up the irony
needed for these times that i so admire in eastern european poetry
i hope still / i love and i hate in equal measure
so i'll leave these broken lines as a proof of my hope
as i face you / dear 21st c / that we may enter yr threshold
in love and courage because i suppose we humans are dumb
and being dumb means for us to be in for the long haul
Friday, June 27, 2008
today the air was so smokey the haze irreducibly thick i thought i died when i heard a tiny hack coming from a fly perched upon the window frame
Thursday, June 26, 2008
the sky is a smudge-pot
grey / brown / grey
i have heard that the world is on fire
the walk home tonight was an
exercise in breathing
and felt as if i were an
extra in the movie of my life
but the script is unfinished
and the actors are on strike
and the time to shoot becomes seriously thin
still as duncan mcnaughton wrote:
i don't use a camera / / i use a poem
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
good women turn bad
but secret agent tura satana is hot on their trail
cat food made from corpses
leading to a gory takeover by its most violent inhabitants
cannibals brutalize americans
lotsa bad transplanted brains
brutal man's wife
inherited father's blood thirst
lovesick scientist turns half-jellyfish
the astronaut goes up, 10 ft. monster comes down
[lines sampled from adverts in filmfax+; april/june 2008, #117]
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
i can't tell time
it's gone that thing
in the brain
the wires have
or zapped into
happened 10 years ago
what might happen
from now is
as if it happened
and if it happened
why go on
why on must go
the fire season in california is bad. the blaze i wrote about last sat. night is one of a very many touched off by a large thunderstorm. jean vengua writes about the fires here. my own city, sac, is nestled in a large bowl that is the great central valley. this bowl is as i type filled with the smoke from these fires. the air is brownish-red, smudgy and godawful. the temp. has cooled but we are expected more of the same bad air tomorrow.
the smoky air does remind me of fall when i was a kid and at work i was not the only one who thought the same thing. every time i looked out the window i thought that i should gather nicholas and anna up and go hunting for pumpkins and our halloween costumes. well, at least i've got something to look forward to.
Monday, June 23, 2008
george carlin est mort. he was a master of language and irony. an iconoclast who was also mainstream. he is most famous for the 'seven deadly words that you can't say on television', a piece so luminous that it still can't be aired on network tv today. carlin's mastery of his craft is legend and his acerbic wit took on all manner of hypocrisy. he was i think a happy pessimist. his delight was evident in his work, in his words. i think poets would do well by studying carlin. seriously. i've long considered poetry and comedy are close relatives, brother and sister perhaps. below is carlin's piece 'religion is bullshit'. take a gander.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
you simply made it harder to be an artist during the 20th c. not because yr painting are great - sure they are - but because how alone and fucked up yr life was. every goddamn painter and poet belabors under the myth of the misunderstood genius who is driven mad by poverty and an uncaring public. fuck! now i sit at the mouth of the 21st c w/ a family and mortgage and that myth is full of shit. translation is the key i think to the creative process whatever that process produces. an idea becomes fact only after the labor of creation. and the word 'mortgage' is translated as 'death debt' and man i'm in deep. not because i'm mad or even fucked up like you were. what is a life's work anyway but the process of doing. what you know and think and feel is what matters and as for the uncaring public and fame - that is a sham. you do because you do and there is no reason other than that. pleasure is the fuel that drives the machine. so my dear vincent as i sit here contemplating the influence you had on me as a man and poet i can thank you for nothing. it's not yr fault. it's mine, really. i was young when i found you and fell in love. you were just a fucking bastard who also loved life and work. i greet you at the beginning of what seems a long and difficult century.
anna and i escaped the sac heat - triple digits!!! fucking hotssssssss!!!!!! - by heading to berkeley to see death cab for cutie at the greek yesterday. so hot even that there were brush fires surrounding the foothills, always dry and golden this time of year, near vallejo. the smoke was thick and dark driving thru. yet the haze reminded me and anna so much of growing up in the central valley back in the '70s when rice farmers were allowed to burn their fields after harvesting the rice. the burnings happened around fall and the air turned umber and the thick acrid smoke never fails to tell me that halloween is fast approaching. so there anna and i drove thru this murk happy and feeling a bit nostalgic over those long last days.
it was hot in the bay area but not as hot as when we caught crowded house at the filmore last month. no air conditioning!? you've got be kidding. well, fuck, the bay area is a temperate clime and air conditioning is horrible for the energy grid and the environment. yet, if you live in sac air conditioning is absolutely necessary - arguably at least - during the summer and if we visit places that doesn't furnish it - london comes to mind - it fucking hurts.
parking in berkeley is always a shade better than sf. berkeley is also one of my favorite towns. i wanted to go to moe's books on telegraph but we ended up finding a space near shattuck and were pressed for time. even so, we literally ran into pegasus books on shattuck and since i've not been to this store before i had to make a quick stop. the air was stifling inside. again, no air conditioning. yet, i was in heaven as pegasus is one of the rare bookstores that stocks a shitload of small-press works. it delighted me to see eileen tabios books on the shelves as well as logan ryan smith's chaps. i was looking for pubs by kevin opstedal and michael price - please see their cool blog ukulele feedback - and anything by the irish poet catherine walsh. i could just make a quick scan of the stacks before we had to leave. i picked up two pubs from ugly duckling presse, 6x6 15 with work by anne heide and will hubbard among others and red shifting by russian poet aleksander skidan, as well as one book from krupskaya press 8x8x7 by canadian poet colin smith. i could spend a couple of hrs browsing the stacks but i had to run and leave that to another day.
the crowd at the greek was mixed. because my own hair is salt and pepper, emphasis on the salt, i look for others with similar hair coloring. i don't know why, like begets like? should it matter? sure there were a lot of teenyboppers and the parents of teenyboppers but since death cab has been plying their sound for many years now it follows to reason that at least part of their fan base will be in their 30s to 40s. i'll just leave this part by saying that we sat in a section that was comprised of 14-year-olds and 40-somethings. i did not feel like the old man out. so there.
death cab were great live. they sped up their songs a bit and they rocked the house. it was a wonderful show. the surprise of the evening was the opening band. most opening bands in my limited view of things like this is that they are mostly boring and suck hard. instead this band, from oakland, were quite good. anna and i couldn't make out their name even when the singer said it. however, a quick google search today led me to the band's website and their name rogue wave. overall, a terrific night under the bay area stars for live music.
we then drove back home and watched the temperature rise by the minute. at 12:00 a.m. we were driving thru vallejo and the surrounding hills were still glowing red. the temperature was 70 f. home is where the dogs are. when we got back they were happy to greet us and be let out for a much needed pee trip. then i topped off the evening with a piece of chocolate cake and a bottle of fat tire beer, turned the tv on to 120 minutes on mtv and fell asleep watching 'house of burning love' by the great los angeles band x.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
summer like a short film
wasted days and nights
broiled and basted
there could be some
things to strike it
a few beers
beach blanket bingo
or the horror of party beach
best to stay still
stay calm to stay cool
do yr best to be like the fonz
Friday, June 20, 2008
oh man the world would change / blow up / or go out with a whimper
this is the longest day of the year / the hottest too / i don't care
blowtorch / hammer and tongs / thumbscrews
we'd need to shout to be heard / already if it weren't for the noise
the dna tells us we were alive / if we could backtrack / talk shit boyz
eat you all up / come little gidding / i'd know you if i saw you
we've never met / so what / i'd kiss you anyway / if it weren't for the carbon dating
Thursday, June 19, 2008
have i forgotten one
might've been white noise
the doubling inside
my head held out
could be that
tripping out no longer
requires the luxury of
what life holds
hope i think it might
be gone i think it might
still be found i think
it might be
a simple plan to read
the desiring lines
in the palm of my hand
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
below is the trailer for one of the most bizarre children's film made, little red riding hood and the monsters. i've just discovered the trailer, i've not seen the film. but man what a trip. freaky and scary at the same time. i can imagine children seeing this dada fest back in the day, not knowing what sort of film it was, and peeing their pants in fear.
it's got to be seen to be believed. feast your eyes.
what force is love
should i even ask
there are moments
when i think that
love only love
is the engine
that drives the
love the hatchet
splitting the skull
behind the eyes
all the same
i don't know
what it is
but i like
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
the sign sd LIFE LESSONS
great if you can find a teacher
ah sensei i can't remember
how to be a man
perhaps i'll learn to shave
my legs / tune my voice
up a crack recall
with some words and a kiss
yes that's it / i'm just looking
for a kiss the commercial
sells them for a song
or a couple of knotted
lines of a poem
Monday, June 16, 2008
the text walks into the street maybe at night sometimes during daylight
the text is neither formal nor perverse tho if you want the text will bite yr ear
if the text is neither girl or boy maybe the text is both once and the same
we all desire the text when s/he comes on strong needing a shave / wearing stilletos
how much depends on what yr willing to pay for the text is neither cheap nor free
sex is the text as s/he likes to say / how s/he likes to fuck with you
there are moments when you are awake and find the text clipping yr toenails
the text is proud of a good shit / better still is the sound of the word 'shit'
the text can expand as it contracts thus illuminating yr contradictions
s/he is best with bath oil and a condom / how the text wants to play
Sunday, June 15, 2008
bring out yr lines as if
it was a line in that
movie but instead wanting
nothing but the dead
you've got to be
enervating the will
that might be dead
if it weren't for desire
lines dug in
as a form of philosphy
spare me the shit
this is not about
blasted by frost
what might be
taking me home
Saturday, June 14, 2008
smack in the nose there is a holiday of ink-stained hands if i knew where to find it i'd go but travel is hard and getting more expensive everyday better to hunker down stay still stay calm and hem all this noise
if it were an unlucky #
there might be hell to pay
if the journey wasn't already free
okay i say someone stole
my shoes off the front porch
that's a true story
if i could only cap
on the new because
my shoes were full of holes
and someone needed them
greater than me
did you know that
she reminds me to shut
up and keep
my lines short
Thursday, June 12, 2008
stick to the crunch
and light from a dead star
i've no thoughts about it all
even if the scumbag hits the wall
and nothing after that
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
one more thing. the one film i am very much looking forward to is the adaptation of cormac mccarthy's novel the road. it is slated for a late november release which will put it in line with not only the holiday season but even perhaps the oscars as well. as for the former, it is an odd choice for christmas given the subject matter and for the latter, who cares about awards. what matters is the film itself.
and so anyway, here's a piece recently published by the new york times about the film that features the brilliant viggo mortensen as the father with a few pics from the set. more pics can be found here. i find the photo of the father and son face-to-face in an embrace utterly heartbreaking. just look at mortensen's eyes.
for my birthday i wanted a large victorian gilded frame
and a thick impasto portrait that wouldn't mind its age
i've talked shit about him before. after all, i do think he's a gifted filmmaker who made 1 very good movie, another pretty good movie, and still another film that is good thru its first half. his last 2 efforts were execrable. and i think why fans, especially genre fans, get so pissed off with m. night shyamalan is not because of his reportedly huge ego, but because he promises so much and can even sometimes make good on those promises. often the promises get broken. shyamalan is good at creating dread and fear. he does have an eye and a wonderful ability at creating suspense. even his turd film the village had a moment or 2 of very taut suspense. but man the ending of that film was a huge waste of time and talent that i felt like a sucker and i was very pissed off for being had.
just the same, i think i'm gonna see his newest film the happening and perhaps give shyamalan another chance. the setup is good; the plot concerns nature striking back at the malignancy of our human species. the trailers have my attention. so far the reviews have been damning and rise a bit to a faint praise. below is the red-band trailer of the film, which means it is a bit more graphic. i worry that all the good parts are in the trailers and the film pads out to a sermon which killed the otherwise very watchable signs for me.
i mean shyamalan is interested in the same subjects that fascinate me: the paranormal, ufos, comic books and so forth. his movies are packed with all that so at least on the surface i should like his movies. yet his latter work becomes too hoary and is thickened with some quasi-mystical shit. not that the mystic is what i abhor but that shyamalan's films become preachy and therefore cheapjack works. so here's to hoping he's made a good or even okay film.
in case you're wondering i consider shyamalan's best film to be the sixth sense; the next best is unbreakable, even if that does get a bit silly in its myth-making; while the 1st half of signs is terrific genre fair, the second half becomes a goofy sermon.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
writing the failed novel there are no characters and no plot
writing the failed novel the novelist gets up for another cup of coffee
writing the failed novel is a constant success if the goal is to fail
writing the failed novel the novelist now must piss
writing the failed novel is like watching 23 hrs of tv a day
writing the failed novel means using black ink on black paper
writing the failed novel is almost like writing poems
writing the failed novel is one seriously long wet kiss
writing the failed novel is that tap tap tapping heard in a dream
writing the failed novel is still and again and always writing the failed novel
now the see
had receded to reveal her zip
opened red curtains
her case was inactive
making a move
still we hope the moment
could be frozen
so that some dope
might close his fly
and so go blundering on
Sunday, June 08, 2008
to begin at a time when the sun shot thru the curtains like laser light show at the sf planetarium if i might be so bold it was so filled with hope
the end is but a beginning or so i'm told or explained another way the beginning is a means to the end
some ascertain certainty is lost and luck is what matters while others still suggest it is measured by fate
i don't know but for this
when and where it will end i can hardly fathom
the brim is back!
Welcome to weird california
The hots are nuts
The nuts are busts
Give yrself over
Might make you a star
Dappled dumb and go numb
The high remains lame
The sky's cracked as whack
The motion sinks into the ocean
Friday, June 06, 2008
2 thoughts walk toward each other on a busy downtown street. each carries an opened box. both are lost in their own selves. from opposite sides they both round a corner and bam! hit and fall to the ground.
1st thought: you got your teleology stuck in my ontology!
2nd thought: you got your ontology in my teleology!
both thoughts dip their fingers into their respective mixed up boxes and take a licking.
1st and 2nd thoughts together cry: this tastes great!
they help each other off the ground then smiling go walking hand in hand down the street.
fade to black
Thursday, June 05, 2008
fuck me that i live in an age where i can go to the net and watch bill griffiths read
at a festival held 2 years ago
what of that and what about the poems any poems all poems i hear
before i answer with the question what are poems anyway
because we all know what they look like smell like feel like
because sometimes you might find
a poem you want to take to bed with you
and you'll ask the poem to dance because the poem
is dancing real slow and slutty and smells
more than a little of patchouli which always drives you nuts
finally on the couch or is it the bed or maybe the kitchen floor
the poem turns
to you and says to you in frustration
all you do is talk talk talk
you gonna talk about it
or are you gonna do it
ryan daley on [anti] failure in poetry .
i hear what ryan's saying and it is provocative. too distracted at the moment to comment at length but by and large i agree with ryan. that we all fail in poetry, hopefully, what matters is how well we fail. what about poems, is a bad poem a failure? the value systems we adhere in almost every walk of life, e.g. if it is expensive it must be excellent, if there be a celebrity he/she must be a great person, are a few nominative valuations, i think work against the favorable idea of the necessity of failing at any art, including the arts of living. i recall watching seamus heaney interviewed on tv after winning the nobel prize. asked if heaney had any regrets or wished he'd done something different in his life and/or writing heaney said that that is akin to being a parent. there is no guide book which we could follow step by step to raise children successfully. heaney named his children then said with a laugh, no mistakes made there!
perhaps we as writers/readers should lose the idea of failure, since perfection is an illusion, and writing is the deep pleasurable struggle of living in our worlds. and it is a struggle, it is difficult, and it is pursued with the deepest of pleasure. poetry, hopefully, becomes the life, not unnecessarily obsessional struggles, tho it is indeed that, but devotional as well. the life of poetry is a life of working, paying bills, getting high, loving and hating, dirty diapers, late nights. in other words life is never lived by decree or plan but by incremental phases in which we learn as we go. life and poetry are acts in failing because both are messy, and so far i've yet to meet the one that has indeed got the perfection of the life and the work. yeats was right that that is an illusion, but he was wrong in that we don't have to choose between the life and the work. they are, i hope, jagged parts of the same whole. perfection is unattainable. only failure is.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
below kevin thurston participates in gina myer's survey mean. dig it.
kevin thurston's survery meme
What were you doing five years ago?
1.) living in baltimore
2.) got my first 'real job'
3.) making alot of visual pieces
5.) smoking pot (see #4)
What are five things (in no particular order) on your to-do list for today?
1.) not drink
2.) do laundry
4.) lament that my one day of tardiness caused my parking ticket to go from $30 to $60
5.) wish i had a job (kinda)
What are five snacks you enjoy?
1.) tortilla chips
3.) tortilla chips & salsa
4.) jelly beans
5.) gummy bears (haribo only)
What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1.) not wish (kinda) i had a job
2.) own as many fancy books as patrick lovelace (http://bymygreencandle.blogspot.com/)
3.) travel like a silly man
4.) buy my way to the top of the art world
5.) sell the top of the art world
What are five of your bad habits?
2.) passive aggressiveness
3.) lacking posture/exercise
4.) reading the internet when I should be working on something
5.) lacking the ability to be productive when i have infinite time
What are five places you have lived?
1.) tonawanda, ny
2.) buffalo, ny
3.) white plains/purchase, ny
4.) baltimore, md
5.) washington, dc
What are five jobs you have had?
1.) house keeping (at an office)
2.) account executive
3.) newspaper boy
4.) catalog manger (Randy, anyone?)
5.) small press fair organizer
Monday, June 02, 2008
below is the intro and ending of a tv show i remember well. the show, space: 1999, ran in the mid to late '70s and followed the muppet show on sunday nights. i suppose i'm posting it here because except for me and my brothers, we even had toys based on the show, no one seems to remember it at all. i don't think it lasted more than a couple of seasons. it was campy as hell. you'll see who starred in it as you watch. i think that may be a bit of a surprise. maybe not. at any rate, surely i'm not the only one to remember the series since there are a few clips at youtube.com .
smoke the nub and hotbox the car
the song remains the same
again if one becomes a
little less than zero
or if one's forgotten to be a hero
joke 'em if they can't take a fuck
as for me
i'm intact and
i don't care
Sunday, June 01, 2008
a smack of whitman like a few lines cut with baking powder or was it baby powder i can't remember no more it's gone like the rice fields burning in the fall still let us praise emptiness that hollow feeling that arrives unannounced at 3:00 a.m.
there is the belief that life is toil and pain it depends on who you ask survey says we got it wrong again
she says, c'mon babe that ain't for nothing again