Thursday, July 30, 2009

back to the trailer park

from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s john carpenter made one fantastic film after another. a remake of howard hawk's the thing is a near-perfect gem of a flick and need i mention carpenter's great halloween which is still the bellwether for many a post-modern horror. as carpenter's reputation grew so did the budgets for his visions. so when handed a fairly sizable sum by the studios to make this movie carpenter was expected to produce another hit. the movie landed without a thud. if a film falls in the forest does it make a sound?

no one saw the flick and carpenter became a sort of non-person in hollywood. yet this movie is one of my favorites of carpenter's oeuvre. a perfect summer movie that stars kurt russell as goofy, slightly anti-hero jack burton, sac's own the late, great victor wong and a very pre-sex in the city kim cattrall in an adventure that recalls the pulps and serials of the 1930s and '40s.

the trailer is game and i love the sound of the narrator's voice that gives this slice of heaven just a bit of summer sizzle. the trailer conceals more than it reveals and that is exactly what a good trailer should do. it makes the viewer slow down and savor the experience of magic that movies can make. perfect viewing for a late summer day.

a poetics

between the theory of an action
& the action

i'll take
talking about the action as a theorem

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

jeepers creepers ii [2003]

there's no accounting for taste. or the lack of it. summer films are more about emotion rather than the intellect. one goes to the drive-in not to watch godard but to watch frankie and annette do what they do best, which is next to nothing. that's what summers are all about: doing great swathes of nothing. the dog days, lazy days, the summertime blues.

as an adult with a family and a mortgage those dog days are long gone. it's easy to get nostalgiac over summertimes past. easier still is drinking too much and feeling sorry for yourself that the best days are behind and lo! only infirmity and death await just a bit ahead. but why when we have the movies. it is always the present in the movies. no matter if that present is a period roman-era action flick [there's a movie i watched when a kid on tv one night that was set in ancient rome and started by some guy telling a tall tale about an ancient and humongous bell. the guy finds himself in trouble for some reason with the local police and thus starts the guy's quest and eventual discovery of that bell after many, many tribulations. i asked my old man, who was watching with me, why the guy went thru all that trouble and my old man said, because he's an adventurer. that word has had a special resonance with me ever since] or a dystopian future because it is always the present during the run of the picture.

doesn't matter if that movie is any good or no. what matters for the summer movie is the chord it strikes within the chest. i'm hard-pressed to explain why i like this movie. from every vantage this flick sucks serious butt. it is neither scary nor campy enough for the summer drive-in feel but for me it does. ostensibly about the creeper who struck in the first pic of the same name and starring justin long as the stalked kid, the creeper wakes up every 23 years or something like that and can eat for 23 days. it's favorite morsel are eyeballs, preferably eyeballs out of the heads of gawky teen-age brats.

it so happens that in this movie a busload of idiots is driving down a rather deserted [and aren't all road in horror flicks somehow deserted and without cell phone coverage?] road when the creepers strikes. that sucks because now the kids are trapped on the bus with this thing picking them off one by one. why it doesn't burst from eating too much or why we don't see the monster needing to take a huge crap i don't know. nevertheless, it's dinnertime. some kids will survive and some won't.

the direction is rather flat and lackluster while the editing does an okay job at keeping the narrative moving along. i did like the photography and the creeper is very creepy at a distance. up close the creeper just looks like a dude in a costume. ray wise lends a graceful hand as a father who lost a son to the monster and has vowed revenge. wise is a calming and beneficent actor and can rise above this tripe. justin long makes another appearance as a young man who appears in a dream to warn about the monster.

blame it on the heat or the fact that i've seen this movie at least 3 times on tv. i don't know why i like it, but the flick is redolent of something the late tv horror host bob wilkins would've screened back in the '70s. that to me is the essence of a summer flick, something seriously stoopid that you can't help but like anyway.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


we took my father and his wife out for dinner at a chain restaurant called the cheesecake factory. we've been watching our calories lately and knew that tonight's meal would be an assault on our bellies. it was for i am still feeling the effects of an early evening dinner that consisted of a piece of cheesecake, which i shared with nicholas, so massive that each delicious bite dropped like a brick to the bottom of my gullet and is still, some 6 hours after dinner, making its presence emphatically known.

i'm not sure what the decor of the cheesecake factory is meant to evoke. there are what appears to be ancient egyptian faces at the top of inscrutable columns painted in a doll-like fashion. there are nymphs painted on the ceiling as if they were frescoes and the whole of the interior is redolent of a child's doll house so that the walls are a light peach and the light is more than a hint of what might be a kind of disney-fied whimsy. it was the first time we ate at the restaurant. given the state of my tummy the dinner might last me the whole week. certainly the calorie count could last me the week.

at dinner we were told that because the space shuttle is docked with the international space station and because of its orbit that at 9;32 pm we could see it pass just above the crescent moon in the southern sky as it moved from west to east. it was a very hot summer day. it is still very hot and at 9:00 pm i went out to the garden to water the potted plants. when i finished i stepped onto our front porch and began scanning the sky. it was nearly 9:30. just then anna and nicholas were standing behind me and anna pointed at the sky and asked if that bright light moving very fast from the west and heading toward the moon was the shuttle and space station. it looked almost like a plane but it was silent and without the blinking lights of a plane. it was large and after a few moments we knew that it was indeed the shuttle docked with the space station. we witnessed it as it passed in its orbit, a beautiful sight.

the image of the shuttle and space station gives me hope that our fucked up species might overcome its shallow stupidities and enlarge itself of love and fellowship. such abilities to create and send a craft full of people into space is awe-inspiring and if that humans, flawed, frail, incomplete, each one must be born, endure, love, eat and shit, that each one must also suffer death, that our veritable human being can make such craft and succeed in its missions no matter how grand or modest, maybe then faulkner was right in his assessment that man will not only endure but prevail. who knows. i simply hope.

Friday, July 24, 2009

sixteen candles [1984]

it's hard to remember summer even when in its midst. like tonight, i left work very late in the evening. it was a long, long day and when i left the office i forgot about the sunshine, the air, the way light refracts thru the glass cladding on the buildings downtown. there was a breeze. there is still a breeze, the delta breeze, as it moves west to east from the pacific thru the confluences of the sacramento and american rivers, cooling down the valley, nature's air conditioner. it was, in other words, a perfect summer evening.

there was a band playing in cesar chavez plaza. the streets were choked with hipsters and non-hipsters alike. it felt good to be alive even after an enervating day. when i passed the band i remembered it was summer still even if those lazy days of summer are as far gone as my youth. it is summer and summer to me means a certain type of movie, the kind that can be watched with only one eye toward the screen and the other on your girl or boy. the kind of film i'm talking about is redolent of the carefree and zaniness that we recall of our summers past.

who doesn't love the films of john hughes? be honest, now. hughes was the best purveyor of teen comedies in the '80s as perhaps howard hawkes and preston sturges were of screwball comedies in the '30s and '40s. hughes had an ear for dialogue, a crispness of editing, the right actors, and a great ear for the soundtrack. hughes' choices for songs always rocked. he picked the most appropriate, fantastic alt/emo/modern rock assembled for teen comedies back then.

asked to pick a favorite film by hughes i'd have to choose this one. i consider it to be hughes' masterpiece. it may not be his best movie, breakfast club [1985] i think wins the hearts of most of hughes' fans, but this flick sings with perfect pitch. ostensibly about a girl, sam played by then uber-hot and ultra-in-demand molly ringwald, who turns sixteen and everyone, including her parents who are deeply wrapped up in sam's older sister's pending nuptials, forgets her birthday. sam is also, like all or most 16-year-olds who wear their hearts on their sleeves, deeply in love with the hot but grossly out of her league guy, jake played by the hot michael shoeffling.

what's not to love, indeed. jake really does want sam for all the right reasons, not just to bone but to romance, but for some lame-headed reasons is too shy to approach the girl. enter anthony michael hall who portrays the geek that only wants to bed the lovely sam and you get comedic heaven. add to the supporting cast john and joan cusack and gedde watanabe as long duk dong [get it!] the foreign exchange student and there you have a great comedy.

if all that sounds rather silly and lightweight, it is. which is what a good summer movie is all about. hughes' genius resides in his ability to expertly cast his films with game young actors and a killer soundtrack and craft a screenplay that reaches back toward screwball comedy while it remains firmly in teen angst. sam, as you all probably recall, finds her love in jake and the last image of sam and jake kissing in candlelight above a sweet sixteen birthday cake as the thompson twins' song 'if you were here' melts the heart of boy, girl, man, woman and even the grinch whose heart is two sizes too small. it is movie magic.

quote unquote

The lightning flash of a fist is
A sonnet written with bruised knuckles

--james dunn
'A Punch is a Poem'
[Soft Launch; bootstrap press, pressed wafer, 2008]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

quote unquote

The audience was only a handful, mostly other writers. There would be no reviews or prizes or job offers. No agents ringing up. No photo on the dust jacket looking earnest or seductive. There was no dust jacket. I did it because I had to.

--august kleinzaher, on the small press
['Reflections by the Surging Wave Pavilion', Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club; fsg, 2000]

* * *

for all the little presses
that fly with the phoenix in the sunshine

--bill griffiths, epigram
[The Mud Fort; salt, 2004]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

feeling the veins of a city in yr hands

it's not like i have a secret identity or nothing. however, most of my non-poet friends don't know that i'm a poet. they all know of my love of poetry, they see me reading poetry books and websites all the time, but still my own life as a writer, well. . .it doesn't come up.

so i was surprised the other day when my very good friend p. asked me why i don't write about our city. i'm a good walker and i travel thru the central core everyday to and from my day job. i meet characters and they meet me. just yesterday, again walking thru cesar chavez plaza, a homeless women shouted, sir! hi there sir! and waved a friendly greeting. i do think i've got some sort of reputation among street people since they see me all the time, and probably think, there goes that grey-haired dude again, richard gere.

i have written about my city, i think, in my poems. at any rate, i've long thought that van gogh's notion of being a stranger on earth hits the mark of my life, perhaps all artist lives, even maybe all lives period. i've never taken issue with being a tourist. being a tourist sharpens the senses. things and situations locals take for granted are experienced by the tourist in sharp relief. one can feel alive wandering the streets of a new city.

which is what i try, sometimes, but oftentimes fail at, to do as i walk thru my own town. i have my routine route but i try to mix it up and as i walk i try to stay awake and keep my eye open. should i start to write directy about my travels is up in the air. lately i've been reading expatriate oz poety ryan scott's travel blog closely observed train stations with interest. scott writes about prague like a tourist but with much local flavor because it is the place he calls home. i should like to do what scott does about my own travels thru my particular locales. if i decided to write directly about my the place i call home.

but i don't know. i do know that much of my walking ends up in poems. i also know that when i become depressed about my writing and think about laying fallow for a bit i still think about writing. and i do know that the phrase 'i don't know' has become center in the poetics of my writing but also the poetics of my living experience. i'd rather sometimes close my eyes to hear obi-wan kenobi whisper, feel the force, luke. but i know also that to feel the veins of a city in my hands i have to learn to fall, stand up, and do it over again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

all i have to do is dream

perhaps it was the heat. i've had some vivid dreams, nearly hallucinogenic epics that might be in a certain light nightmares. rather than feel fear i felt fairly safe even if that environment surrounding me was on the surface bizarre.

take last night for example. i can't recall the particulars except that anna and i were holding up in a massive motel or apartment complex. the reason why we were their long faded into the clear light of day. what i do remember is a uniformed figure who took his revolver and pressed the business end to my forehead. i knew he wasn't going to shoot, but i wasn't sure. i closed my eyes, felt the cold heavy steel of the barrel pressed hard against my skull. i told myself to concentrate on this here now. hear my breathing. listen to my heart beat. register this life before it is gone. then i woke up and that was that.

when i told anna about my dream and how i told myself to concentrate on the very minute particulars of the present she asked if my last thought was about my writing. fair enough question. but no. why i did not think about my writing or anything other than the very fact of my corporeal existence i can't answer. maybe it is because without the body the mind, and everything associated with the mind, love, cogitation, desire, fear, those things would be moot. without the body there would be no body here. without the body i couldn't even dream.

Friday, July 17, 2009

groove [2000]

summer movies should be the kind that invoke a sort of mood. the usual mood for summer ennui is wasting time and if wasting time at the beach happens to be on your itinerary then so much the better because what is summer without a few bikinis and surfboards?

wasting time does not mean at all wasted time. we all need time away to do nothing. if one writes poetry then doing nothing might be the most productive time spent because doing nothing affords the mind to be at rest and work at the same time. doing nothing, both in summer and in the pursuit of creative work, is, in the words of poet/blogger adam fieled as he channels wordsworth in a recent post on isolation, a 'wise passivity'.

indeed it is. sometimes that passivity becomes an action and wants to do stuff. even watching a film, or reading a text, becomes a thing that wants to do stuff. often that stuff is reflexive that delights in the emotions. hence the summer movie that recalls a near nostalgia of real and imagined things.

such is the power of films: they can recreate a nostalgia that never existed in their viewers. i've never been part of the rave scene and by the time i became aware of it i was already ensconced in a fairly domesticated life. the only thing raves and me have in common is an admiration and appreciation of electronic music.

even so, this movie is a wonderful document of a scene that was probably dead already when it was released. i've seen it only once, on vhs, when anna and i first moved into our house. the movie itself is rather clunky and the characters are simply half-drawn. this flick becomes fucking bad-ass when the dj's are onscreen and the crowd is lushly photographed as they become a single, grooving organism.

it's not a bad film at all. the director, greg harrison, documents a culture intent on pleasure. the characters converge upon a single point, a night of music and drugs and self-discovery. if that self-discovery seems a bit forced for its characters to converge upon a shared rocking night it makes up for that lack when the dj's are onscreen and the movie comes alive. dig this clip of digweed as he spins the song 'heaven sent':

and see if that doesn't get the juices flowing. summer movies ain't always about the beach. sometimes they illuminate the need to become the moment and to experience those moments with a hit of e.


once upon a time i ordered a pair of x-ray specs that was advertised in the back pages of a 1970s era spiderman comic book & i kept those glasses for years until one night me and a friend were driving around frying on shrooms when the lights of the road became light sabres & me being the passenger felt like sulu on the bridge of the enterprise as it zoomed thru the known universe at warp speed whereupon i recall my x-ray specs & how when a kid i wore them when i wanted to see the inside of the known universe like ray milland in the man with the x-ray eyes who at the end of the movie sees the big eye at the center of the universe that never blinks whereupon i slammed against the idea if i closed my eyes then i could make those damn glasses work & i’d see the thrum of everything rather than the bluish spray that is my life

Thursday, July 16, 2009

quote unquote

are you an atheist that admits the supernatural?

yes, that's a good description of me. it's like bunting-- jonathan williams refers to bunting as 'my atheist quaker friend'.

* * *

i'm a cheerful and rather superficial person most of the time. i simply don't notice things, so when i seem to be calm and stoical maybe it's because i simply didn't notice them.

--thom gunn interviewed by jim powell
['an anglo-american poet', shelf life; the university of michigan press, 1993]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

our rock&roll night

we took nicholas to his 1st rock&roll show at the greek amphitheater in berkeley. we knew it was going to be a long night because it was a 3 band bill. the headliner was death cab for cutie, and it was our 2nd time seeing the band at the greek. opening for death cab was andrew bird and ra ra riot. don't know either performers very well but what i've heard from riot i like a lot. bird was a dylan-esque singer-songwriter whose compositions might be deep and compelling but performed live on stage i found rather boring.

perhaps it was just me because the crowd went nuts for bird. riot opened the show and we got there just after they took the stage. navigating the crowd and finding a spot on the green located above the stone steps -- yep, the venue modelled after its namesake is a beautifully carved stone seats terraced up to a sloping green grass. at the greek there really is no bad seat. however, anna discovered that the ridge of green located center of the stage and is at the very top of the amphitheater is the best seat because the vista not only afforded an unimpeded view of the stage but also the gorgeously wooded uc berkeley campus and the sf bay beyond and the skyline of sf herself. you can take that view with you to the grave.

i liked riot a lot and thought that their mix of electronic effects, low-fi guitar and violins matched the vocalist's timber just nicely. plus ra ra riot is just simply a cool name, and in an indie scene with great bands many of those bands have suck-ass names, such as grizzly bear, crystal antlers, and deerhunter, all very good bands but how come such goofy names? have all the good ones been taken?

at any rate, people arrive at concerts late and really begin to fill up the venue. by the time death cab started the place was very crowded. the kids directly behind us decided it was time to hit the pipe and they hit it hard like mike tyson in his prime meting the punch that delivered the k.o. and leaving for dead his opponent on the mat. each time one of the kids, and i'm guessing that they were indeed kids around 16 or 17, coughed the smoke was hacked directly on us. normally i'd get pissed, especially when my son is present, but we were at a rock show and where else can one openly smoke dope than at a rock show? i've long given up my own chemical life, but hey, i'm no preacher. however, i could only take so much smoke but before i could even think about telling them to go smoke that shit somewhere else they left and never came back. we are living in strange days, brothers and sisters, when the crowd at a rock&roll show in berkeley, california comments on the excessive pot smoking. when those kids got up and left everyone around us breathed in deeply the cool, lightly redwood-scented, bay air and said, holy shit i think i've got a contact high.

now, nicholas i think had a great time. death cab was in good form if only the bass was cranked up a bit too high and that their wonderful song, 'i will possess your heart', which i always think of as slightly psychedelic beginning with a long deep groove from the bass as the guitars come in with much distortion and feedback, was played with more pop and less hallucinogenic. still, it was getting late and each time a song ended nicholas would ask, is it time to go home? we told him rock&rollers stay up late and cheer the band by clapping your hands and screaming as loud as you can. for the encore nicholas met that challenge with yells so strident that you could hear him above the noise of the crowd and the band.

our night turned out even stranger than taking nicholas to his first rock&roll show. what is rock&roll without a little chaos anyway. when we entered emeryville, the home of pixar studios and the public market where we always stop to eat indian food whenever we're in the bay area [it is a ritual we've been making for years and like most rituals i can't remember when we started doing it], our pilot's warning light for the left front tire turned on. we stopped to put air in it at a gas station and also buy a cheap tire gauge. nicholas is always taking our tire gauges and plays with them. then he loses them. no biggie but when we parked on university ave just inside berkeley campus the light turned on again. i wondered if we hit anything and had more than just a slow leak.

sure enough after the show we threaded our way among the thousands of concert-goers to our car. it was overcast, it even rained a bit when bird was playing, and so it was very dark. the campus is very green with many redwoods. at night it can seem a bit spooky. nicholas thought there were bears in the woods. he was very tired and wanted nothing but to go home. however, my suspicion was right about the tire having more than a slow leak. it was flatter than flat. a pain in the ass for sure but we had a spud for a spare and a jack and tire iron. i suck at mechanical things, i can barely screw in a light bulb, seriously, not out of stupidity or passive-aggressive behavior because i really don't want to work with my hands, but like a person with learning disabilities i simply am unable to work with my hands. perhaps mechanical abilities are related to math and i suck at math. abstract thinking, such as theoretical or philosophical texts, i can follow fairly well. science i can understand too, physics for example, but the math underpinning all that abstration, the equations necessary for physics, and i'm like a 2-year-old trying to open a jar of mayo.

i get the car jacked-up anyhow and manage to get most of the lug nuts off. except for one. some new and newer vehicles have a locking lug nut designed as a theft deterrent. a special key is needed to unlock the locking lug nut. and that key was in a dresser drawer at home. we didn't even have our cell phone with us. nicholas is starting to cry and we were faced with the prospect of either sleeping in our car or combing the midnight streets of berkeley not looking for an angry fix but a motel or hotel. at the moment a young, very nice campus police officer drives by, stops and asks us if we need any help. we explain our dilemma to him and he suggests either calling a tow truck, and that was out of the question because no garage was open that late on saturday night and having it towed back to sac would've been improbably expensive, or finding a place to kip for the night. he suggests the durant hotel not more than a 10 minute walk away. i ask if he could draw us a map and he said he'd drive us there.

getting nicholas into the cop car took some doing. he was terrified and screamed and tried to run away. we had to grab him to get him into the car as he made a horrible bellow. we wondered what the witnesses thought as there were still many people leaving the campus after the show. the sight of a 4-year-old child dragged screaming into a police car is not, i think, a typical display.

at any rate, once inside the car nicholas took it in as the adventure it indeed was. the police officer is an incredibly kind man who even went inside the hotel to make sure we got a room then went back to our car to put his card on the window with a note to campus traffic enforcement to not cite our vehicle. the hotel durant is located right off telegraph ave and just round the corner and then some to moe's, my favorite bookstore. i didn't know that during the night as i was stressed and completely discombobulated. but in the morning i recognized my surroundings. we decided to take the amtrak train back to sac, retrieve the lug nut key borrow anna's mother's car and drive back to berkeley for our car. tho it was bad luck to get a flat without the proper equipment to fix it each stage of our adventure worked out smoothly and uneventfully. in the space of 24 hrs we traveled to and from the bay area, counting the train ride, 5 times. i'm still recovering from our adventures.

what i learned from that night is rock&roll is and is supposed to be wild and chaotic. that you are never to young or old to rock. and that rock&roll will, i hope, never die. but let these adventures be smooth, please, for when you are in your 40s rock&roll is more comfortable when you can afford it and put it on your credit card.

this is just to say

i have eaten
the bean&cheese burrito
from jimboys tacos
that was in the fridge

& that you
were probably saving
to eat for lunch
at work

well, excuuuuuuuuse me!
it was spicy
wth just enough grease
& so good

quote unquote

i. . .am not a joiner. i vote democratic, read as much as my eyes will stand, and work at my trade day in and day out. when i can find nothing better to do, i write.

--wc williams

Friday, July 10, 2009

van nuys blvd [1979]

the history of teenagers cruising in their souped-up vehicles is heavy with nostalgia even when cruising was at its zenith. nowadays kids don't get in their cars and drive up and down the main drag of their respective towns in order to hang out and show off. cruising was a veritable right of passage for the young.

not no more. i think. at least in my neck of california cruising died a long, long time ago. cops and the neighbors simply don't want to deal with the head-ache of a bunch of young'uns ripped and roaring in their cars, trucks, vans and cycles. plus the age of the cruise, its innocence, was a lost cause even when kids were in the midst of fixing up their cars to show them off on the main drag. a film like george lucas' second feature, american graffitti, was a bong-hit of nostalgia already at a time when the cruise was still in its ascendancy and was sold as nostalgia from its tagline that asked, 'where were you in '62'?

i recall cruising. j st was the main artery for cruising, a long stretch of road that connects downtown to fair oaks blvd. several miles of a single line tailor-made for going real slow, or dragging very fast. but it was shut down by the mid-80s and the kids transferred the cruise to the 'burbs which was shut down real quick. and then. . .no more cruising.

which makes this movie something of a blast to watch. not that this flick is any good. clunkily directed by william sachs, who made a handful of fun to watch drive-in swill, the story concerns young bobby who lives in a hick town and drives a bad-ass van. but this one traffic light sort of village lacks a certain gravitas and bobby longs for the fabled wednesday night cruise on van nuys blvd located in the san fernando valley, or val, and dumps his girl to drive toward his destiny.

a horrible disco soundtrack and editing that would shame a porno producer does not hinder the utter charisma of young people free of adult responsibilities and finding a good time during what i assume to be summertime. rather than feel eddie cochran's summertime blues bobby hooks up with two hot chicks, a goofball redhead, and a fonzie clone that goes by the name of chooch. if i'd claim that none can act worth a damn i'd be full of shit. chooch, played by david hayward, is clearly the older guy of the bunch who has made cruising van nuys blvd his life's mission. hayward is charismatic as hell and his character chooch is glue that holds this lightweight movie together. the rest of the cast are game and the girls are indeed very hot.

that's just it. there's plenty of gratuitous t&a but nary a cuss word or drug reference. except for one brief scene when one of the characters sparks up a splint on the revolution, a popular roller-coaster during the 1970s [it is the coaster that kills the bad guy in the george segal vehicle rollercoaster (1977)] at magic mountain, a theme park located on the outskirts of l.a., and then in the next frame the splint is gone, like smoke. i think that perhaps the producers were eyeballing the tv market and so wanted enough skin to keep the drive-in crowds happy but that the skin could easily be edited out with no harm to the story itself and perhaps by keeping drugs out of the movie would make it more palatable to a late-night tv screening.

the movie is a document of a time that was dead perhaps even at the moment it was made. i laughed aloud when i saw the bits of real cruisers on the blvd, not because it was funny on purpose but because i recall that era when souping up a van, putting mag wheels and painting it with signs that read -- and this van is indeed in the film -- ORIENT EXPRESS. what is the nostalgia of nostalgia, anyway? at the end bobby and chooch both grow up, the girls also grow up and the blvd remains as an artery in the middle of the valley.

a quintessential summer movie. watching this flick made me nostalgic for my other love, the drive-in theater, which is clearly the place to watch kids fucking, fighting and cruising. in fact, the drive-in is where i saw american graffiti, a film that so bored me to tears that in the middle of it i asked my parents if i could leave the car and go play at the playground. the swingsets and seesaw was located just under the screen so keeping an eye on me and my brothers would be easy. this was at the long, long dead mather auto movies, a place where i saw my first bruce lee flick and countless other movies. it was a place to remain seated and still get lost.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

only connect

kleinzahler is cornered at amoeba music in sf and asked to show what he's buying and why. cool, good, i like to know what favorite writers are reading/watching/listening. what i particularly like about this interview is how kleinzahler confesses to a constant musical education, listening to what is played in the store and asking after the music. ain't that what it's all about anyhow?

which reminds me of my reading a younger poet's blog this afternoon. i like this particular poet's pieces very much, both on the blog and poems published elsewhere. the poet is constantly making discoveries, continuing to expand a wealth of taste and knowledge. which reminds me of my own constant education. i turned 42 last month. i've been reading and writing seriously, taking myself seriously even if no else had, or does, for over 20 years now. i thought that at my present age i'd be closer to mastering my sullen art. but no. it's not like that at all. i'm still making discoveries and learning and still always making a hell of a lot of mistakes. but is it not supposed to be this way? otherwise writing/reading would become boring. i hope so, because i still get the highest high from the art. and i figure i'd need 20 lifetimes for me to even approach mastery. so screw it. poetry is not like life. it is life and when life becomes boring perhaps it is time to break the pencil and bite a bullet.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

song of myselves

walking home today i cut thru cesar chavez plaza, a park in the center of the city and named after the great labor leader. it is also frequented by many street persons of all sorts. i was going my usual route cutting thru when i hear this woman shout, hey! hey you! i look over to her. she's sitting with several men and they all look like they've seen serious rough lives and are no strangers to sleeping in the clothes on their backs. the woman is pointing at me and says, i shit you not, i love your hair!!! and cracks up. i point back and say thanks. i told anna what happened and she told me that the homeless seem to have a thing for my hair and that maybe they just recognize me from my inner-city perambles and are just fucking with me. and i say, wistfully, maybe okay just maybe.

alan baker writes about a recent meeting last saturday with some fellow poets where each brings a text to talk about. someone brought a poem by the 17th century poet thomas bastard. you can read some of his poems here. i fucking love his name. that alone is worth the price of the anthology that baker quotes in saying that bastard was a 'a country parson who made little headway in life'. ah, the tao of the poet.

finally, there's a zine just out that published some collabs of me and jonathan hayes. check out admit2 here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

when all logic grows cold & all thinking gets done
you'll be warm in the arms of the mayor of simpleton

O for the love of po[money]try

what's this about poets not making any money!?? no!!!! on the one day that i kinda put myself on a news blackout listening to my stacks of music cds rather than npr anna tells me tonight that npr runs a piece about how poets make a living. guess what. money's not got thru poetry alone. it appears in order to support the obsessions of reading/writing poets must have a day job. so the story is about a poet who also works in the financial industry. okay, i'm sold. i don't need to be convinced on the necessity of having a day job. i am a poet with a day job. instead of getting on my high horse and bitch about how academia is probably not the healthiest choice as a day job to make for every poet i just wonder why npr didn't search online a bit and find out that there's a host of writers who do things other than writing as their primary source of income.

and if it's not about money than what is it about anyway? should the topic simply be moot as working -- like in day jobs, or graveyard or swing shift jobs -- poets explode the myth that the only relevant work for a poet is teaching. not that i have anything against teaching. far from it. at any rate, the other popular myth is of a poet who is above the needs of cash and would rather starve in his/her garret than plug into the daily commute toward the office or assembly line in the effort to feed the family and pay the mortgage. ay carrumba! so if it ain't about money than why is douglas rothschild -- whose marvelous book theogony [subpress 2009] that i'm currently reading -- seen counting stacks of cash in his author's photograph which you can see by clicking here.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

on reading/writing

It has been a long night & though i am
tired & almost home, i regret that i have

run out of paper as there is still so much
more to write.

--douglas rothschild

Friday, July 03, 2009

at the drive-in

we call it dead
so is the idea of an afterlife
here the light flashes
flickers and fades
like plato’s cave
truth is an illusion
is still truth
we yearn to bust our cocoon
we emerge from the flatness
of light blinkered and senseless
as if witness to the birth
of tires new and gravel

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

return to the trailer park

after posting my last 'splat' last i went itno a trailer marathon watching session. the above trailer is for the thus far only stephen king movie written and directed by king himself. 'maximum overdrive' is based on king's on short story 'trucks' where vehicles become intelligent and psychotic killing machines who end our dominance on earth. seriously silly the film stars emilio estevez as the leader of a group of survivors who hole up in a truck stop as they try to ward off the attacks of various vehicles of all sizes. scary? not if you think a tepid ac/dc score and a lead villain truck with a goblin mask attached to its grill is terrifying. yet, i have a soft spot for the movie as i was once a big-time king geek. and this trailer is classic as king shills his film by talking directly to the camera. king ends his spiel by telling us that he's gonna scare the hell out of us. he's absolutely right in that, but not from the film itself. what's scaring the hell out of us is that huge flap of dead bear fur glued to his face. terrifying!