Sunday, January 31, 2010

DFW on u.s. politics & the responsibilities of the citizen

2 good things

1) mark young's newest otoliths [just spent the past hr clicking thru the many very fine textual & visual pieces. holy shit! the zine is simply that good.]

2) from lars palm's ungovernable press comes alex gildzen's book tie one on, part 1 and part 2. [i'm delighted to be part of alex's book of ties where you'll also find among the many photos of tom beckett, geof huth, jim cory, and mark young.]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

clicking around

the net tonight i find these kick-ass pieces by ray craig sumo in noir

these appear to be a series

more can be found at craig's blog dada kamishibai

Friday, January 29, 2010

is that all there is

my half-assed studies in zen buddhism. sounds like the beginning of a poem. perhaps it might just be at that. what delights me is the blunt-force trauma of impermanence. that's right / nothing lasts. everything is change, in flux, etc. etc. the tattoos on my body will die with me. the words i use will cease when i stop. yet, the joy of knowing that this here/now is all there is makes life all that sweeter. without getting all mushy i've been walking around with my eyes open lately. still blind as fuck and trying to take it all in. the feel of rain on my face, on my glasses, the taste and crunch of the apple at lunch, the poems i'm reading, the movies i'm watching, the people i am loving, i am trying to take it all in. because this is all there is. i am larger in the knowledge of it being so.

quote unquote

Bodhichitta is what distinguishes Buddhism and Zen from world religions generally. The pilgrim looks directly into the fact of death, into the fact of impermanence, and finds there the solace that others find in the notion of heaven and eternal life. What is that solace? Ha-ha! How truly beautiful everything is!

* * *

Each breath is inspiration and then expiration, life and death. Every day really is a good day.

--robert aitken

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

one more thing

a couple of posts back i wrote about political poetry. i find out today that jim mccrary is writing a political rant blog. a younger brother of ed dorn but funnier mccrary is on fire. do read the lawrence, ks city dump.

a poesy

i write because i hate shit

i write while reading

i write to show my love

i write because i am in love

i read while i write

i write when i'm finished

i write because i don't like to stop

i write because everything is always a draft

i write because i am grateful for this fucking life

i write my english because i love it to death

i write because poetry is like the movies only better

i write for the girl with the kaleidoscope eyes

Sunday, January 24, 2010

quote unquote

I have seen the greatest minds of my generation stuck in call centers.
-- cassie lewis

Saturday, January 23, 2010


richard lopez reads widely publishes occasionally loves roundly hates equally too and is an international unknown poet local in the wild city of sac

the penitent

saw him out in front of the safeway parking lot standing on one foot
big silly grin on his mug
holding a torn cardboard sign to the traffic scrawled in black marker

Friday, January 22, 2010

politics and comedians

tonight's discussion went like this. comedy and poetry are closely related. particularly stand-up comedy and poetry. both use and are about language. both uses heterogenous ideas and images to make a spark, collect that moment of absurdity, whether it be light or tragic, that we all know well.

that was all agreed upon. papers can be written on comedy and poetry. seminars taught. poets could learn a great deal from the comedian george carlin. timing, metaphor, and even the usage of politics in the work.

that's when disagreement opened our talk. should politics as a subject and a force be a matter of poetry? when i was younger i was more of a mallermean and thought art should be free and unencumbered from polemicism and the strifes of the moment. but then i changed.

if everything is fit for poetry then politics is a worthy matter altogether. the past 9 years of u.s. political life has been nothing short of disheartening. i wonder how society can be so mean. i'm tempted to stop reading the paper, listening to the radio and reading the news on the net. i've gotten so pissed from the news the past few days, the supreme court's recent overturning of corporate campaign spending limits, brown's win in massachussetts which founders, i hope at least temporarily, the healthcare bill and so forth. is it a component of growing older to get more alarmed at the state of the world too?

love is a harder sell then hate and fear. yet love, i'm firmly convinced, is in the dna of poetry. it is easier to hate but poetry, which is language about the human mind, body and spirit, is essentially love oriented. poetry might want to fuck shit it up, like an old punk rocker, but in the end really says all we need is love.

back to politics. i do think it has its rightful place in poetry. i am currently reading the complete poems of gaius valerius catullus translated by ryan gallagher. the old roman poet was a lusty scag but he was also politically astute and wrote some of his poems about politics. take this one for example.


What now Catullus? Why delay your death?
The scab on the seat of Nonius is now on the throne
because Valtinius stole the consulship.
What now Catullus? Why delay your death?

there's a shitload going on in this short text but mostly it is the poet's horror of a politician. catullus even names names. now, it's not a polemic about policy but it is an overt political poem and the reader gets the not too subtle impression that nonius is probably a pretty bad guy.

and then there is jim mccrary who is i think a metaphysical poet. but he also writes about politics and like catullus mccrary names names. take these short pieces from the section 'the book of arrogance' taken from the poet's all that: the collected chapbooks.

fuck bill clinton

I fucking hate being made
the fool.

fuck isreal

You think you deserve to live
in a snake pit then don't ask
me to buy you a shotgun to
kill the previous occupants.

can poetry be any more political than these pieces? the anger is intense and nearly is holy in its purity as anger articulates itself beyond a guttural growl. anger becomes metaphysical and is a shout out for love.

as i said above, i've changed. i think politics can be a deep source for the poet and the poem. how well they the political poem turns out is a matter of timing, luck and talent. it's not necessarily the poem's subject that makes the poem not work or worse boring. there are plenty of love poems, or sex poems, or poems about grandma's alzheimer's disease, or post-language pieces about the fragmentary nature of our 21st century lives, that can be boring too.

politics has its place and that the time's might necessitate more political messages from its poets. doesn't mean that i shall turn into a political poet but that politics perhaps in this time right now might need more thought and attention.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

in deep

i'm a bit of a travel channel junkie. i'm kinda lame tho. anthony bourdain's show no reservations sits at the top of my list of shows. but i'm not addicted to it. weeks go by without me watching an episode. or i'll watch half a show then turn the tv off and go do something else.

i am a hardcore junkie for shows produced by prometheus productions for the travel channel. i can't find much on prometheus productions doing a quick google search. however, their page is just a partial list of their tv shows.

these are simply travelogues of the world's best rollercoasters or waterparks or diners that serve the biggest, hugest, gut-bustingiest portions. they all use the same announcer who is great at his job with just a touch of early david letterman irony in his voice to tighten up the silliness of these programs' subject matter and still make it sound like a great time.

this is arm-chair travel. or couch-potato travel. and i'm ga ga over these shows and will stop in my tracks to watch one whether it is about the nation's coolest steakhouses or the dives with the greatest fried foods. i'd even buy their dvds if they produced them.

i'd like to say that these sorts of shows exemplify the best of iggy pop's song 'lust for life' but probably not. more accurately iggy pop's title for his album the idiot song best illustrate my addiction to these programs. i'd even write poems about these shows. which proves that i'm in deep.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

from silenced press

silenced press is bringing out a gorgeous, i know i've seen the proofs, edition of t(here) by sf poet and my brother in rime jonathan hayes. sure i'm tooting hayes' horn but man the text is that good. interested in a free ebook review copy please follow this link here and make your momma proud.

spread the word

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the news / the weather

just before i left the office it had stopped raining for a couple of hours. anna called and asked me if i wanted a ride home. no thanks, i said. i'll walk. that's when a co-worker looked out the window. a wall of purple-to-black clouds were bivouacked on the northeastern horizon. soon the storm will drop the hammer. i took my moleskin and the book i'm reading from my backpack and wrapped them in a plastic grocery bag. i zipped up my jacket and made a b-line for the exit. not two steps out of the building and small, thick drops of rain concussed with the concrete. i had 45 minutes of walking to go. 30 minutes in the rain was sweeping the city sideways. rain so heavy i couldn't see thru my glasses. taking them off the world becomes a matter of blurry agreements. 40 minutes in i'm three blocks from home. i cut across the safeway parking lot as i always do. a woman running for the grocery store entrance stops in her tracks. she takes one look at me, gasps and says, o my god.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

pontypool [2008]

we don't know how it starts but are given a hint during the opening narration by radio talk show host grant mazzy played by stephen mchattie in this canadian lensed gem that you probably haven't heard about nor less seen but you probably would like as much as me.

ostensibly a zombie flick filmmaker bruce mcdonald's low-budget feature is an investigation of the burroughsian language is a virus trope. instead of being a benefit to humankind this virus infects only certain words -- what words are random and remain a mystery thru out the run time -- of the english language. the infected become psychotic automatons attacking anything and everything and who parrot whatever is spoken around them.

the day begins for mazzy as any day. as he drives to work on a snowy road in the fictional ontario town of pontypool toward his job as the morning host for the local radio station he stops at a light and is approached by a woman who babbles enigmatically before fading back into the snow. this creeps our hero out and decides to make the question when do you call 911 the subject of that morning's broadcast.

before mazzy can get to his subject all hell breaks loose as you can imagine. but slowly. calls trickle in with callers being rather incoherent. victims of the virus? then calls report that people are being attacked by bands of psychos. all the action of the movie centers on the people in the radio station as they try to make sense of what is happening in the world just outside their door. mcdonald utilizes his small budget by saving us in-your-face scares in favor of off-screen narration of the horrors at hand that recall orson welles' radio play war of the worlds. the effect is far creepier than seeing a horde of zombies attacking the living. the radio station's erstwhile helicopter pilot echoes mcdonald's low-budget ethos. the radio station is too small to afford a real helicopter so the reporter utilizes sound fx as he sits in his car at the top of the city's highest point. yet what he relays to mazzy and his 2 person crew is chilling.

there you have it. a claustrophobic setting and the horrors of a world coming apart at the seams. now, mazzy hints at the beginning the cause of the virus but still we aren't sure as the language virus effects just a few english words and those words change from person to person. once the infection hits the radio station we are witness to its grotesque symptoms. but freakier still is when the fake helicopter pilot places his cell phone to the mouth of one of the zombies who tried breaking thru a wall to where the reporter was hiding. it is what we hear rather than see that makes us turn on the lights to ward off the heebie jeebies.

mchattie is a wonder in his role as the host who continues with his show to report on the truth. only later does he and his crew figure out that they might be spreading the virus. by then it is too late and the movie ends on a beautifully pessimistic note. mcdonald has proven that you don't need a huge budget to make a very good scare pic. what one tells rather than shows sometimes is more frightening. mcdonald's movie recalls the origin of the fright films which is a person sitting around a fire telling us scary stories. this is one of the more recent frightening stories told to date.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

san francisco days/sacramento nights

one of the pleasures of visiting sf is its many fine museums. today we got up at 5:30 am to head toward the newly refurbished de young museum located in golden gate park to see the tutankhamun and the golden age of the pharoahs exhibit. a quick couple cups or rocket fuel, getting nicholas dressed and ready then waiting for my mother- and sister-in-law to arrive we were out the door and on our way by 7:30 am [which is practically moving at light speed for us] in the thick morning valley fog.

anna drove. i usually drive but it was a luxury to put my feet up and enjoy the trip. driving in sf is a logical nightmare but anna kicked serious butt and kept us on our tight schedule. the city was sunny with light cloud cover and warm, unlike my beloved home base. getting to the museum early made the tour so much more pleasant as large crowds usually avoid the morning.

nothing makes history alive than viewing the artifacts of past ages. however, as faulkner told us, the past is never dead. it's not even past. sure three millenia separate us and the boy-king but to get up so close to see the lines of wood carved in a cartouche and the paint of a model of a riverboat and know that the hands of artisans made those things and that it looks like, on the level craftsmanship, the can be made and used handily today.

the de young was closed for many years as it was remade for our new century. i miss the old classicism of its former self. it might be dated for today but the old dioramas and halls possess a discretion of viewing than the more digital presentation of 21st century exhibitions. no matter that even as the de young is gorgeous and has a justly famous observation deck with wrap-around glass and views of the city and the bay and the golden gate bridge to seriously die for.

that was it. a long day. we stopped at one of the many gift shops. i've not paid attention to painting for some time. however, i picked up a retrospective volume of paintings by cy twombly, i didn't buy it because the listed price was way outside my ken, yet the painting thrilled me like i've not been thrilled before. i also looked at a book of work by sean scully and another collection of work by william t. wiley. looking at paintings on the web is okay but the book form is superior and even better of course is seeing the works should we get the chance live in person.

we bought a few things. i picked up joseph cornell's dreams edited by catherine corman [essay press, 2007] because i couldn't help it. seriously fucking good shit. i've been ga ga for cornell for a couple decades now and this collection of the great artist's writings read like poems.

then we took a long driving tour of sf with anna driving again. drove thru the sunset district and haight/ashbury before hitting fell st and heading across the bay to emeryville where we had lunch at an indian place that has over the years become a tradition for us to eat everytime we are in the bay area.

apologies to my comrades in the art who live in sf -- esp. you senor hayes -- for not trying to visit. i can't imagine the boredom of anna and nicholas and my mother- and sister-in-law would endure me talking poetry with a good friend over a couple beers and/or coffee. i don't think they could take it and might even collapse under the weight. oh well, we bid sf a good day and went back home to our city in the valley. on top of that my cold has come back with a vengeance. excuse me now i have to wipe the gunk off my keyboard. blech!

blog tip of the week: the sfmoma blog. you'd think i'd find this blog by being a frequent visitor of the sfmoma website but no. i found it by searching for work by sf poet cedar sigo. now go read!

Friday, January 15, 2010

horation ode

the dj in charge of my soundtrack, the inner one, the bits and pieces that make a sonic collage of our waking hours, popped a new tune into my head yesterday. i found myself humming and singing parts of the song. i've not heard the piece in years and tho i've never been a huge fan of the band i always liked this particular piece of music.

perhaps there was some reason operating on the back end of my subconscious that needed this tune. i've been fairly stressed and i suppose the dj needed to remind me to chill, that life is short and this day will never happen again. perhaps the answer was the name of the band which might've been a direct reference to the philosophy of the sublime.

or maybe not. whatever the referent of the band's name sublime skateboarded the 3rd wave of ska in the 1990s into a half-pipe of success with their song 'what i got' cresting the charts. the song is indeed an ode to living large but its humility and love of life is i think an heir to mr flaccus.

horace, as you recall, wrote about seizing the day while you can and not worry about aging and death because, as donald hall said in his collection of horation odes, the museum of clear ideas [ticknor & fields, 1993], worrying about death does not prevent death and only hastens dying. dig as you will these lyrics by sublime:

life is short so love the one you got
you might get run over or you might get shot

* * *

i don't cry when my dog runs away
i don't get angry at the bills i have to pay

i don't get angry when my mom smokes pot
hits the bottle and goes right to the rock

* * *

let the loving let the loving
come back to me

the humor and sadness makes i think horace smile in recognition. of course i'm making a literary conceit here comparing sublime to horace but unlike most pop songs that want to comfort with a shellac of fey references and emotional brinkmanship with a bargain basement level of kitschy goodfeelings, sublime rather amps the intellection of their piece by stating that life is shit but even the experience of shit can be a good time and while we are having a good time remember to practice humility too. therein lies an emotional sophistication that girds but does not contradict the rather outrageous statements of the lyrics.

horace preferred in his carmina lightly watered wine which contrasts, by a bit, with sublime's dope smoking, 40 once drinking, smack hitting southern california aesthetic but the richness of life is one they both share. 'loving is what i got,' says vocalist bradley nowell which is the work of life and horace seconds it in this prayer:

apollo grant that i be satisfied
with what i have as what i ought to have,

and that i live my old age with honor,
in health of mind and body, doing my work.
[translated by david ferry]

the work of nowell was cut short when he died of a heroin overdose in 1996. horace lived to a relatively ripe age and did indeed do his work. it might be a stretch but i think apollo would recognize this song by sublime as a worthy heir to senor flaccus.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

experimental cinema

i start every day reading a few pages of a book, mostly poetry books, but often too film books which range from criticism to guides to collections of reviews. i read in the john like a lot of people. these are usually collections i've read before and so do a little re-reading to fortify myself for the journey thru my day. but sometimes i read start to finish a whole new book.

today i re-read from alex gildzen's collection it's all a movie. if there ever was one bonafide nut for movies it's alex. now alex and i approach movies a bit differently. i'm not all that keen with celebrity culture and alex loves old hollywood glamour. i respect old hollywood glamour and yes i do swoon over bogey lighting two cigs, one for himself and one for bacall. but for me i dig the nuts and bolts of movie-making and if i went back to school i'd study filmmaking.

however, alex's love of movies is so evident that i swooned, again, when i read these lines:

I've been alive long enough
to have life & movies collide

. . .

so now it's all a movie
what I watch & what I live

yes. a true film geek is alex that cinema also had a major influence on his poetry. how could it not. the poems have a sweep of the camera taking close-ups of faces. the sentence are often unpunctuated and the words themselve are constructed by an ingenious system of contractions that recall, at least to this reader, the staccato editing of say scorsese. the book even begins with the section 'my first movie' that on the occasion of sal mineo's 57th birthday alex solicited first movie memories from '50 fascinating people'. it is fascinating and all day i've been trying to remember my own first movie memory. but i can't remember. i've been going to movies even before i was verbal. films are a huge part of my life.

i think all movie nerds have at least one life-changing film that turned us on to movies for the rest of our natural days. for me that movie is star wars [1977]. i was 10 years old and just waiting the four hours in the blistering heat of a sac summer day in the parking lot of the local cineplex was enough of a movie experience. it was exciting as hell, that waiting. but when the movie started and the scrawl floated into the black background of space and stars and the camera lowered into the frame the planet tattooine and a space ship zips by over head followed by an imperial star destroyer that was so big that it felt like it took 20 minutes for it to pass, at that moment i was changed forever into a gonzo nut with celluloid wired into the synapses of my brain.

that life altering event is what i find in alex's book. the experiments of life, cinema and poetry are all-encompassing. i can't have one without the others. neither can alex. it's all a movie solidifies my belief that i'm not alone in my obsessions, and that life is lived to the fullest, at least for me, when poetry and movies are mated to my dna.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

got the beat

i like to think so but i never learned, and even completely hobbled, by my inability to dance. no rhythm at all. try as i might, and i've tried mightily, i can't move without looking like some spastic chicken in the midst of a colonscopy exam.

it started to rain last night and continued thru the day, and is still at 10:00 pm raining. which meant that the walk to and from work today was a wet one. i fortified myself this morning by reading a couple of poems from great american prose poems ed. by david lehman [scribner, 2003]. it was bernadette mayer's text 'visions or desolation' that knocked my socks off. this is a poem living large and in stereo. mayer's got this i don't know what that always makes me happy to be above-ground and breathing when i read her. mayer's poem comparing childbirth to lsd while wrapping the whole in the form of a rambling letter is my kind of writing. thusly fortified i was prepared for what the day may bring.

wet shoes. that's what i got. wet shoes. also got thru work then on the way home stopped at the central library looking for books by paul violi, mayer again, w.b. keckler and michael lally. no go. the library's has a few anthologies with some poems by all these poets but no individual collections. pity. did skim thru a few poems by kit robinson, a poet i've been reading more of lately, published in a thick door-stop mother of a book edited by douglas messerli.

heading back into the rain i went straight down j st. the street was choked with cars and pedestrians all running to and/or from someplace. there's this brand-new building with luxury lofts located directly across the street from the library. a lifestyle for the total urbanite. in the dark and wet i could see in some of the lofts and noticed most of their occupants were watching tv. big, huge flat screen tv's. nothing significant about that i suppose but i did wonder why all of the tv's that i could see were giant flat-screens. just the age we live in i guess.

down several blocks and located in the heart of midtown is the used record shop the beat. when i was a wee pup this was the place where i could find imports and indie punk bands and buy tix to punk gigs. the beat used to occupy just a little corner of a shop and over the years as it's inventories expanded moved to bigger digs and now sits on prime sac real estate.

anna and i have been groovin' to the french electro-pop band phoenix and i wanted to get anna their latest cd. so i stopped at the beat. my chuck t's were soaked and my glasses spotted from the wet. i've not been inside the beat in some months even tho i pass by it almost everyday. they've expanded quite a bit and now sell used tapes, dvds, vhs tapes, and comics on top of vinyl and cds. as i wrote in an email to another poet tonight, i've always felt i had an old soul. being in a record store with all the kids looking for who-knows-what band makes me feel like the old man out, what with my salt&pepper hair and my general mein of decrepitude.

times have changed. most kids get their music as digital downloads now. shoppers at the beat are mostly, not completely, but mostly dudes like me still looking to buy cds. i wasn't the old man out as there were many older dudes and dudettes inside. i'm speaking generally of course. i just didn't feel like the old man out. i found wolfgang amadeus phoenix for anna and picked up soulvaki by slowdive for myself. the latter album is about 16 years old now. and every time i listen to slowdive my esteem for the band rises even higher.

i'm turning a new leaf. trying to become a new old man. i still don't have the beat. can't dance worth a dookie. don't ask me to dance, because i might just do it, and you won't like what you see. i don't mind getting older. my corns can even tell me when it's going to rain. like now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

things i learned from the twilight zone

1) in case of armageddon always have a spare pair of glasses*

*time enough at last

Sunday, January 10, 2010


richard lopez used to be a bunny but turned into a hawk thru a dream as described by jungian acolytes detonated by the phrase tune in turn on drop out upon which lopez remains in a permanent state of astonishment situated as he is between here and there

the man without a past [2002]

this finnish movie caught me by surprise. when a friend emailed me a couple of days ago suggesting this flick for our occasional movie night i did a quick search and thought why not give it a go. turns out that my friend made quite a wonderful selection. there's a quirky charm to this love story of a man who is brutally beaten during a mugging and starts to rebuild his life on the margins of society.

it is a love story finally and such a sweet-natured one at that. the director, aki kaurismaki, is brand new to me even tho this pic is the second movie of kaurismaki's finland trilogy. the principals are superb in their protrayals of outcasts of society. even those characters whose actions appear mean are at the bottom decent if just a bit slightly off people. kaurismaki's pacing, editing, musical choices, compositions, writing and photography are of the highest order and if this movie is no masterpiece it is certainly worthy of a space on my dvd collection shelf.

kaurismaki's world is nearly timeless. i've been to helskinki just once and that certainly doesn't qualify me to comment on the way life is lived there. or what kind of phones its denizens use or what kind of cars they drive. in the world of kaurismaki there is '30s blues music, '50s cars, rotary phones, '70s fashions and early '90s computers which creates a mis-en-scene that is off-kilter. rather than settling into a single frame of time watching this movie i began to float in a kind of timelessness where the date didn't matter. what matters are the people who populate this world and the lives they have created for themselves.

and what a world. comedy driven by despair in a dead-pan delivery. think of the films of jim jarmusch but funnier and you have an idea of the world of kaurismaki. at the heart of the comedy is a clarity that is both sober, not sobering, but sober and very sane. the protagonist has his feet firmly planted and his love interest, a woman who works for the salvation army, is so delicious in her role of awakening love and desire that it is a wonder to watch.

i was deeply impressed and thanked my friend for suggesting this movie. the film is a refreshing breather from standard hollywood flicks. a movie like this wouldn't be made in hollywood where it is believed no one would want to see love between two middle-aged and not very attractive people. even in hollywood the middle-aged, and old, are incredibly hot. not so in finland and i am happier in the knowledge that such a movie was not simply just thought out but funded and finally expertly made. fantastic.

Friday, January 08, 2010

the man in the back row has a question

if i want to cultivate my soul
do i need to grow a soul patch?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

[* * * * * * * * * * * *]

not doing nothing minding my own business
& not looking for nothing there he was
standing on the corner of 21st & j st
dressed in that yellow & black jump
suit that bruce lee wore in his last
unfinished film game of death the one
lee died before it was done & they used
a body double to pad out the run time
still this guy on the corner was rather
fond of the odd hand gestures
open palms up spread & out
toward me he says in a voice
that sounded like the flat note
of an ekg machine
what was that he said as he patted his head
once more with feeling
you've got to be kidding me i thought
as a nearby taxi parked across the street
blasted out the latest hindi duet
from some recent bollywood musical
as the driver laughed at this exchange
between me & the clone of bruce lee
stuck it seemed to be playing another role

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

name yr poison

yesterday i got in the mail the spring 2010 [ain't it a trip to write that date? does it not sound/look so futuristic -- like we should be riding in air cars a la fritz lang's metropolis and spending long weekends on moonbase alpha?] catalog from small press distribution. i took it to bed and made mental notes ticking off what books i'd like, such as permit by rob holloway [you can read sections from holloway's poem here].

what a bounty of books. makes me dizzy. reading book catalogs for me now is like looking at porn when i was a wee pup. there's a kinetic, visceral high that is muscular and neurological. endorphins kick in and the head begins to pleasantly buzz as i read little capsule reviews of this and that tome, this writer and this poet.

holy shit. so many to choose from that i became dizzy. all the capsule reviews for each book is often a description of the kind of writing and a testament to the author's talent. moving from formal narratives to a lyric grace to a fractured postmodernity i began to wonder if it's all been done before. what can be new now, perhaps a return to augustan frippary?

i became anxious. when might've been the best time to be alive and writing? the elizabethan/jacobean period, downing a pint with mike drayton and marlowe? or perhaps the teens of the last century in zurich when anarchy was free freedom achieved with horrible obstinacy? or perhaps the best time is never and that what seems like a period of fecundity and experimentation was to those who lived thru it just as maddening and perverse as any time in history.

as i put the catalog down and drifted off to sleep the toxicity of my anxiety was leavened with a return to the sort of buzz i first felt upon flicking open the catalog to the multitude of choices. i said fuck it, name your poison. i can't help but be born in the time that is mine. that choice was made for me a long time ago. i don't subscribe to the idea of anxiety of influence. i've no idea about this time or any time. if every thing's been done before then why worry. just do it anyway.

i couldn't remember my dreams last night. it seems i remember my dreams only in periods of stress. i wasn't stressed out. not about my place in poetry or the position of any other poet either. i've given up on that a long time ago. if i have no competitive streak and that i have no worries about poetic history i do feel keenly about the quality and production of my writing and that of the writers i most care about. i care about the writers making the writing. no ideas but in things? i've never gotten that. both please, but when it comes to things or people i prefer the person to the thing.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

news & weather

was it this morning i started the day reading the diary of james schuyler?

or was it this morning that i began double impact by kevin opstedal & michael price?

how do the days go anyway?

why do these days blur into fiction but felt like fact?

why make it up as we go if along we go is not what we want to do?

buoyed by the hard existence & sublime fact of schuyler's poetry what now & where to go next?

henceforth do these memories of reading fold into these transitions of life or these transmissions?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

no resolution

last night we were in the car on our way to meet friends for dinner and a round of monster mini golf [ordinary enough mini golf but the course is peppered with animatronic monsters and ghouls, the decor is lit with black lighting, and there's enough lite horror and halloween imagery to make this horror geek giddy as hell]. on one side of the freeway was the sac 6 drive-in theater, still open for business, and on the other side was a strip mall with a 24-hour fitness center. guess which one was packed with people?

you guessed it. i suppose the fitness industry counts on the yearly boost in membership fees from earnest, well-meaning individuals who resolve each jan. 1st to get into shape. the gyms should be packed until march or so when those well-meaning individual resolves turn into exercises of procrastinations and excuses.

still, it's worth the effort, right? i guess, but a collection of resolutions to make my life better for the new year is very low on my list of things to do. to change one's life, as rilke instructed us to do, takes a helluva lot of resolve and discipline. who can succeed at that? and to change for the better? what do we mean by 'better' anyway?

so no resolutions for me. except to read more, write more, publish maybe a bit more, watch more movies, demonstrate my love and fidelity to my family and my friends, eat more, drink more, and maybe take up smoking. oh, and go to the drive-ins more, until the drive-ins are finally shut down as they've been threatening to do for years. but hell, i figure just do what you love. life is short and death is like forever.

as the old roman poet said, carpefuckingdiem.

for the new year and the new decade i'll have the great marvin gaye have the last word:

Friday, January 01, 2010

here's looking at you, kid

[pic taken by nicholas in early nov.]

to the past year/decade: so long