Sunday, March 29, 2009

temple of schlock

is the name of a serious movie-lover's guide to cinematic obscurities. i've stumbled upon it a few weeks ago and each time i visit the blog i discover new delights. consider this post as a public service announcement for hardcore film geeks. the guys who run and write for temple of schlock are real scholars of other-stream, exploitation, rarities, and every variety of film one can imagine. e.g. the editors just ran a series of obscure jerry lewis flicks. as if that's not enough, the real pleasures are the movie posters they publish. just check out the post found here of 100+ films that have never had a dvd release. the last flick on the list cracks me up and seems to be a kind of sign of our economic woes today.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

on art & life

but just remember
if you take care of the art
                                your sister, Life
takes care of the human part.

from 'Lessons for Young Poets' by john forbes

2 dreams
for ernesto priego


sitting in a house converted to a tattoo studio. a small group. we are each waiting our turn. one motherfucker wants to go first. i clutch at my ideas of an image. swallow. humming bird. the tattooist attacks the motherfucker’s arm with an anger that is unwarranted for its occasion. i hold my breath. and turn the images over in mind. some bird. still. still in flight.


we shared what. we cast around with that look of being so lost we might not be found. sitting upon your nose was an insect. a real bug. it had shed its stinger. i held it in the crook of my hand. out at arms length. thus beginning our studies of the divide.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

other writing of the cultural divide

i suppose i'd confess to my being a luddite in this brave new world. yes, i am online, have a blog, publish mostly in online zines, and quite simply love my laptop and the infoweb, but i don't have a cell phone, or mobile phone if you will. i don't have an ipod either. i have cds, those flimsy discs of plastic that were meant to last a lifetime only to be made near obsolescent by digital technology.

but it's the culture of the cell phone that has me puzzled. no matter the age or the sex or the tax bracket of the individual it appears to my eyes that every human being on the planet, or at least in my purview, are constantly on the phone. constantly. the public pose on the street, in the market, or even at the movies, is that of a person bent forward slightly with their device in hand or to their ear. the pose looks almost penitent. what subjects might these people be discussing, i might ask, are so important that these devices are in constant use. i imagine those who are hooked to their cell phones have them by their side every minute of their day, and when they wake in the morning the first thing they do is pick up their phones and either dial, punch out a message with very tiny keys, or check for messages received.

don't call me a tecnhophobe, i protest. i think i might understand the allure of cell phones. we are social creatures and need the interaction of our fellow human beings in order to feel like we belong. our social tendencies go deeper than that of course. what is language but a social construct that is absolutely necessary to our lives. that's why i think poetry is the ultimate art. not because i'm a poet, or my friends are poets, or because i love reading poetry, but because language is what makes us homo sapien sapiens. without words we would die as a species. make no mistake about that, we need to communicate and express and expand our consciousness thru grammar. poetry is that expression taken to the first intensity. if you think most people can do without poetry than consider why it is that people will quote song lyrics, which are a form of popular poetry, when the need for comfort and understanding arise. in the past five years i've been to at least two wakes where the speakers quote song lyrics in their eulogies as poetry. in other words, we need poetry. we need language. we need writing.

which makes me wonder if texting can become another form of poetry. certainly it must follow grammar and syntax rules, otherwise it would be meaningless. i don't text and don't have any desire to learn but that doesn't mean that it couldn't also be another form of writing, one that could be taken seriously as not simply communication but perhaps also as an art? i'm wondering aloud. another thing about poetry and literacy on the web is that the kind of writing i'm interested in, non-linear, fractured, collaged, vernacular and high-flown language, so closely resembles the kind of reading we do on the web what with hypertext and scrolling as information folds upon itself. as for cyber-reality poetry has already led the way as a tool for reading on the web. think about t.s. eliot's 'the wasteland' which is a kind of hypertext. or more recently the visual poetry of, say, david-baptiste chirot which is a collage of sources raised to a hyper-political plane. chirot is prolific and publishes much of his work on the web, like most visual poets do, perhaps because the publishing platform is so agreeable for their works which are, to my eyes at least, made as a collected system of visual and textual information.

just a few stray thoughts on the subject. i suppose it would be easy for me to decry the use of cell phones, especially in public. my own personal preference is silence and solitude. when i'm away from the computer i want to be away from it. i don't want to take it with me everywhere i go. when i'm walking i want only the sound of my own breathing and the ambient noises from the streets. however, i'm fascinated by technology and when someone showed me his i-phone a few months ago i was agog because that little thing is something captain kirk, or scotty, would give his left nut to have. where that technology takes us and how will it be used by writers and readers is another matter to be hammered out by our daily living.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

on the road to nowhere

a few weeks ago nicholas and i were taking the long way home after a late afternoon at the movies. i was driving on auburn blvd, a long and old stretch of road the sidles beside for a while business 80 which is part of the freeway system that had made auburn blvd as a major artery redundant and slow-going. the blvd is still used, big-time, but its luster has long faded and on certain stretches of it are trailer park communities and strip clubs so blighted it gives tijuana a run for sleaze.

i decided to drive home on auburn blvd because, well, there's a certain decorum found on the street. but only if you look for it. i love the old, fading, soon-to-be lost artifacts of our culture. perhaps my love of drive-ins is partly explained by this love of the soon-to-be lost culture. certainly going the way of the dodo is googie architecture, a form of vernacular building exemplified by space-age designs, starburst neon, and sloping roofs. when i was a pup googie was much more common and the most obvious example of it here in sac was in the form of an orbit gas station. most of these gast stations are gone. there's even a converted orbit gas station near my house. it was turned into a kind of hip retro burger joint called suzy's burgers. the burger place looks cool but finally when we ate there we were met with a very limited menu and all but one item was served with beef. a huge disappointment for us vegetarians and finally a waste, i think, of a cool building.

but what do i know anyway. it was dark when i was driving down auburn. then out of the corner of my eye i spotted a working, intact orbit gas station. i did a double-take and nearly drove off the road. it's the small things i guess that gives us pleasure. the roof of the gas station sloped skyward as if beckoning the mothership to pick it up and take it back home to galaxy x. time again folded upon itself as i was swept up by the details of the gas station's design. it was physical, a place to park and walk into. i could reach out and touch the roof. i could, as i fantasized when i was a kid, take a skateboard and grind my trucks on its edges.

another pleasure lately -- it seems every time i fire up the laptop i go there -- is the retro website roadside peek. i love the categories and photographs of neon sings, ghost signage, googie and vernacular architectures found within. as the editors proclaim roadside peek is 'an adventure in time.' i know from the various pics located in sac many of those icons documented are now gone, or soon to be gone. for the human measure time can only be counted by its absence. we don't know what until it is gone. the thing is for me to stop sometimes and find pleasure in the moment. learning to stop is the hard part. i was pretty psyched to see orbit, enough to tell anna about it, because it was not just an icon from a vanished era, but it is a form of pop art that happened to be intact and used still for its intended purposes of selling gas. for the moment it is rooted in the present as it is in the past as well. a vanished era is only so when there is no one to remember it.

holy shit

toward some
kind of light

beginning to
feel human again

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the future starts now

and so does the past. we took nicholas roller skating this morning at a tiny tot session. the roller rink, king's skate country, been around for a long time. anna and i used to skate there when we were children. and we both have not put on roller skates for 25+ years. other than the carpeting which looks like it was redone in the '80s, the place looks just the same including the menu board at the snack bar and the large mural of a few cowboys around a dayglo campfire that itself is chipped and fading from these long years.

what a flashback. a great pleasure it was right down to the disco balls and some of the same old disco songs played on the p.a. time seemed to fold upon itself where anna and i got used to having these heavy rented skates strapped to our feet as we re-learned the art of rolling upright. we didn't fall on our asses and nicholas i think had a blast too.

but then okay, the past is now available too as digital downloads. you can now download movies at the exploitation video outfit something weird video. i think that downloading movies will become more common in the near-future. something weird started this decade with fabulous dvd releases of serious sleaze. these discs were packed with extras such as trailers, radio spots, posters, and oddball shorts. however, the market has changed and something weird switched to cheaply produced dv-r's and a deal with the cable tv company comcast. now they offer very cheap downloads.

i'd never thought that we would be satisfied with digital media in lieu of a physical product. are we satisfied with it, or can we simply get used to that nothing we can't hold, that doesn't take up any physical space, but which is still music, movies and books? perhaps the trend started 20 years ago with the advent of the cd. what compact discs offered in cleaner sounds and smaller packaging could not make up for the loss of a large physical space for artwork and the warmer sounds of vinyl.

still, i can't help to mourn the loss should we go straight to digital in everything. i love walking thru my house with its shelves of books and dvds. on my desk at work are 4 tall stacks of cds. they give me a pleasure that cannot be measured. i need something to hold in my hands, that have physical weight, and that i can read the spines and covers and admire the artwork. if this is our world i'll have to adjust i guess. i love my laptop and read most poetry zines online. and i get rather irked when poets refuse to do email or publish a blog. when i get a crush on a writer i will google his/her name. whenever i want to look something up whether it be a word or an actor i go to the infoweb. i'm trying to become a 21st century boy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

make it up as i go

damn my memory. i was in the shower this morning when a very short poem popped into my brainpan. i worked on it all the way to my job, going over lines, and thinking i must write this down. naw, this shit i'll remember, i said to myself. shoulda known better. cuz i forgot. got busy at work and didn't get a chance. now that i've sat down i can't remember what the hell it was at all. fucked up. my short term memory is all shot to hell.

but then so published over at stride are short pieces called the deflated ego where a poet writes about his/her own work. martin stannard is his usual witty self with his piece. a new poet to me, nathan thompson, writes a bit of a palimpsest about his first book. i've been reading and enjoying thompson for a while now who i think is a young or youngish writer. i've got say to thompson is why don't you start a blog.

i was about to say something else but i forget. . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

these are days

i'd forgotten it was st. patrick's day until i walked home and i was witness to many hipsters garbed in green hopping from pub to pub. it was a long day at work, but it began with re-reading a little jim mccrary which is a proof against all kinds of bullshit so i was readily prepared for whatever the day might bring.

and brought it did. for i was nearly pooped on my sojourn home. but the weather was too gorgeous and the critters, bugs and birds are all dancing and chirping in their pursuits of making more critters, bugs and birds. and a friend wrote to me this afternoon asking if i was okay because i've been silent for a while and knowing about my recent bout with the blues.

but how can one be too down when on days like these it feels good to be alive. the blues comes and goes, no big thing. but right now i'd rather stay away from the funk and instead crank the ramones to 11. so there i was walking thru cesar chavez plaza which is ringed with ornamental pear trees that are fantastically in bloom. a homeless woman was walking past and seriously eyeballing me but she had on a smile. i was about to say something like, good evening, when she said in a rush, your hair looks good amid all these blooms.

what can i say? i was flattered and a bit chagrined at having my ego messaged by a stranger. but then weirder things have happened to you all. for her and for you i dedicate to you this song:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

shouting from the back row

the film critic for the new yorker, david denby, writes in the latest issue about a micro-movement in contemporary independent cinema called mumblecore. i'm not familiar with this strain of filmmaking but according to denby these films are about youthful diffidence shot mostly on digital cameras on a next-to-nothing budget and using non-professional actors. but what interests me is denby's conclusion about the health of mumblecore given that most of these films were made in a time of prosperity. denby writes:

It remains to be seen, in fact, whether mumblecore’s ethos can survive in a period of violent economic downturn. Those penny-budget movies were made in a time of prosperity. Now that the parental check or the roommate’s job may be drying up, the movies could dry up, too, or turn from dithering to rage.

which makes me think of creative expressions in all manner of forms and media in this time of vast fear and uncertainty. i'm not a prognosticator of any sort nor am i an economist but it does seem that what is happening is a large fundamental shift in how we buy, sell, save and our relationships to work. and that what we are experiencing is not a recession but a depression, and it appears to be getting worse. i wonder not necessarily about the health of art for art survives in every era but art's makers. what might come of this and how will poetry confront our fears and hopes and rage and despair.

Friday, March 13, 2009

thrash poem



hope poem

there's beer
          in here

Thursday, March 12, 2009


explosive           ornamental           pear blooms
                                        my head
white erased           with white

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

                      At the moment tho' this set up
works for me, being paid to sit and write &

smoke, thumbing thru Adorno like New Idea
on a cold working day in Ballarat, where

adult unemployment is 22% & all your grand
schemata of intricate cause and effect

work out like this: take a muscle car &
wire its accelerator to the floor, take out

the brakes, the gears the steering wheel
& let it rip.

from 'Ode to Karl Marx' by john forbes

Monday, March 09, 2009


with an hr gone i'm walking like the undead after a night of necrophagy / what sadist devised daylight savings time anyway / no wait / don't tell me / i don't want to know / i also don't want to know who it was that introduced legislation in congress to move daylight savings up / for it became law / i know have the luxury of feeling like the undead after night of necrophagy / after a 15 hr flight thru 7 time zones / i'm walking in another dimension / i'm moving in the twilight zone / i only wish that i can take the last line of wilfred owen's unfinished poem 'strange meeting' as a cry for help / because i am exhausted but awake / because i lost an hr / because i hear that line and the poem ends by asking to 'let us sleep now. . .'

Saturday, March 07, 2009

swinging back & forth

i'm doing my damnedest to stay out of the blues. yesterday was pretty bad. today is much better. it helps that the weather is cooperating. blues skies, sunny, clear and a high in the mid-60s f. anna and i did a little work in the garden and now we are heading out for some family time outdoors. i have to fight hard to stay bad.

my life is made of the world. i will do what i can [sd by the late big jim dickey]

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

dig into this

lawrence, ks citizen and great poet jim mccrary is back with a blog. that's right folks. he's back and cutting it up. so click your way to resisting poetry and do it often. give mccrary a few shout outs and encourage him to keep at it. tell your friends, family members and neighbors too. you'll make your mama proud.

Monday, March 02, 2009

eugenie. . .the story of her journey into perversion dir. by jess franco [1969]

at last we find the island is a desert of hard baked sand. innocence betrayed by the hand that holds the teddy bear. now it holds a black glove. slave to master. engineered to be spoilt. hold now. that love. that whip. there was a time when the camera would just take it in. steady. rather now it zooms to her face. sweet girl. steady now. the room boiled in red. her blood is red. the man wore a red robe reading the red words of de sade. raised her arms. bite off meat taken from the chalice. kiss between bitten lips. o sweet sweet girl.

beware the ides of march

well, really, come now. i think my pissedness yesterday was more chemical in nature than causal in my environment. i must be careful and this morning i recognized the symptoms i have of my panic disorder, severe irritability, depression, a stomach that feels like a bowl of roiling acid. i've been on a high the past few days and i crashed big time yesterday and everything looked like shit to me. when i get like that i know that the black back wall is just over the horizon. sometimes i simply can't help but to crash into it. sometimes i can slow myself down and try to calm myself, get all yoda-like and chill.

by last night around 10 pm i almost felt human again. the symptoms did not dissipate right away and a panic attack can hit with the force of a 10 megaton nuclear blast without warning. what i find terrifying is losing not only perspective but a pleasure that i get out of life. so far, nada, but i've promised myself to seek medical attention when i most need it and not procrastinate to the point where i am nearly immobilized by constant and hyper-physical fear.

but enough of that. i've not put myself up to a daily writing task in some time. so for this month i'm gonna watch movies and write about them as critical poems. i'll use the titles, directors, and years of release as the title for the poems. they'll be just text without any youtube trailers as tie-ins. i won't post everyday but whatever flick i watch i want to write about them without using standard criticism. we'll see how it goes. i may just think it is a bunch of shit and stop in the middle of the month. what i need however is a task to kickstart some writing and i've been thinking about this for some time.

here goes. . .

this dream

ended with a gathering of friends i've not seen in a very long time or that i've yet to meet in the flesh. it was about writing, we all were writing and discussing writing, and we did not question why we do it for why question what you do for love. you just do. and in that act you become the act of doing. there is thinking done in this doing but you also, to bastardize a famous poet, you also go on your nerve. i was in this dream and when i awoke there was no longer a separation of this life.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


been stuck in a pissy mood all day. it may be from the weather, rainy and windy, but i usually get a psychic charge out of wintry days. what could it be. hmmm. . .i don't really care for any kind of analyses. we all feel shitty sometimes. still, coming out of my funk i hear the wind blow strong outside and the sound invigorates.

maybe it's the fact of aging, but yesterday i was about to post a piece titled 'on the pleasures of aging' because growing older does indeed have its fair share of pleasures. they may seem like negative traits, but one can take pleasure in them. for example, i've been going to youtube the past week to watch live video of one of my favorite early '90s shoegazer bands, slowdive, awesome soaring guitars as the vocals low in the mix increase in intensity to combine into a massively solid whole.

so then i went to wikipedia to learn a bit more about the band members, of which i know dick, even after years of listening to the band with increasing admiration. anyway, one member, rachel goswell, who along with her fellow bandmate and erstwhile slowdive leader, neil halstead, later founded the band mojave 3, goswell had blown out an eardrum and now requires a hearing aid. i thought that lucky girl. i'll tell you why. because hearing loss is something i look forward to, in a way, as long as it can easily be corrected with hearing aids. that way i can have a choice, to hear or not to hear. think about being on a crowded train or bus. if you have perfect hearing you have no choice but to try to tune out the cacophony that surrounds you. but with a hearing aid, all you have to do is switch it off, and there you have it, peace and quiet. bliss.

besides, you can still rock as you age. this morning i caught a bit of the great punk band x on tv. how old are they now? they've gots to be in their 50s at least. and they still kick ass. also, early last month the great lux interior of the psychobilly band the cramps, died. he was 60. i was shocked both by his death then his age. really? 60?! and he could still belt it out. he is still 'the garbage man'.

even tho my bones might creak, even tho my eyesight is piss-poor, even tho my hearing ain't great, even tho i may need someday soon a walker, or a high-powered lark with chrome wheels and tuck and roll upholstered seat and a pair of dice hanging from the handlebar and painted on the front will be DEATH FROM BELOW, i'm gonna take up skateboarding again. watch out punks, i'm on a roll. for reals.