Monday, July 26, 2010

bugs bunny vs. daffy duck

i may be a coward but what up doc? i am the greediest coward

post-beckettian poetics

i can't go on i'll go on ouch i stubbed my big variable foot

the reveal

he stood before the camera
after winning 200 thousand g's
acting all crazy like and shit
on that reality show
and said in a clear clipped tone

thank you for the opportunity
for competing in this crazy stunt
i've endured stupidity
crass greed and naked ambition
i've had to eat frog eggs
sleep in the mud of that fake camping expedition
act like i hated everyone on the set
cried like a spoiled brat
behaved like a goon
and drank myself into several stupors

it was all worth it

cuz now i can pay off my mortgage beeyotches!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

don't be afraid of the dark [1973]

the flickering of lights. the after-image of a snuffed flame. something un-seen out of the corner of your eye and when you turn to look it is not there. but you are sure there was something that moved right there. there.

movies have a fascinating after-life. the passage of time distorts, adds to, and/or deletes our memories of what we had seen. we are sure it happened because we watched it. or that that couldn't have happened because that is not how we replay it in our minds.

i've not seen this made-for-tv movie in decades. i recall flashes of darkness. images that haunt and a profound feeling of dread as i bring this picture into my mind's eye. my recall is similar to the shadows the poor sods saw on the walls of plato's cave.

the plot is this: young, professional couple move in to a beautiful victorian. the wife, played by kim darby, finds a sealed fireplace and the old coot of a caretaker tells the wife, sally, it is better left sealed. what happens couldn't happen anywhere else but in a horror movie. sally removes the seal and finds that the fireplace is a portal to hell or another dimension. and there are creatures, tiny, articulate, intelligent creatures that are but wisps of shadows who torment sally.

because sally is one of them that will set these creatures free. sally is an unwitting sentinel and the fulfillment of a prophecy. it is now time for the assassins. that's all i remember. i do remember being scared out of my motherfucking mind when i saw this. things that lurk in the shadows are scary, hands down. to hear whispering and not locate the source is an embodiment of fear. the fear is atavistic, like what our ancestors felt as they looked beyond the campfire and imagined what was hidden in the surrounding dark.

no one believes our luckless heroine and i can't recall if she escapes or not from these unthings from the netherworld. doesn't matter for my memories of this pic are whittled by these long years. what i recall are snapshots and aural clips. i also remember the fear i felt too. made-for-tv movies is a dead art. most of these tv movies sucked big time. there are exceptions and it is difficult to describe the feelings of fear, anticipation and excitement that i as a child in the 1970s felt for these kind of films. sorta like christmas, halloween and that first kiss rolled into one life-giving and death-dealing experience as i prepared myself with a bowl of popcorn and a couple of slices of rico's pizza for a night of my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

quote unquote

If people say my work is the work of an amateur, I tell them, "Thank you!" Because the original word [amator] means to love. So if you call me a lover of cinema, I say, "Thank you very much!"

--jess franco

Monday, July 19, 2010

porkchops & applesauce

poor peter brady. when a girl at school told him he had no personality peter fretted the whole 22 minute run-time of the brady bunch looking for a personality to call his own. he tried on a whole suite of personalities including ol' bogie's famous locutions and spoke out of the side of his mouth when alice, l'housekeeper terrible, or his mother, i can't remember which, told our hapless, bland, and empty peter that porkchops and applesauce were on the menu for that night's supper. ah, porkchops and applesauce, said peter in a nasal, flat delivery, doing his best bogie imitation. another personality to be had, tried on like a suit, then set aside all the while looking for the best suit that fits the frame of one idiot soul.

thus began an education in manners. personality is at the core of our human being but perhaps it is protean and develops, contracts and expands over time. james dickey was once advised by his wife to be himself when the poet was nervous reading before an audience. great, said big jim, i'll be myself but which one? ah, there's the rub. in poetry workshops often the instructor will say to her students, find your voice. or that the speaking voice of this poem is doing work, either this or that. there you have it, one voice, solid, present and unmistakable.

could there not be a cacophony of voices inside all solid, present and unmistakable? think about the various writers that lived inside pessoa. might there not be not just one voice, one style, but many voices and many styles living inside the writer as she goes thru her own changes. personality is perhaps not finite after all but fluid and un-fixed. existence before essence. create, become and unbecome all the while. poor peter brady should've responded with glee when that girl told our boy he had no personality. he should've said, cool, now i am free to create my own consciousness. i can create a whole lotta me's and there is that lot of me, you betcha, and all so luscious. dig in.

Friday, July 16, 2010

slowness of the future

i wanna take lessons. i wanna learn by doing and going slowly, slowly, real slow. i don't get it. why the fuck are we always in a hurry. to do what? i'm pretty sure if i'm lucky enough to lie on my deathbed i won't be thinking and saying things like, damn i'm glad i ran around at full speed to get to one task or another. i think i'll be grateful for those moments when i took my time, and was aimless. find without seeking. be full by being empty. everyday when i walk to work invariably -- perhaps because i live in california, and who the hell would be so stupid to walk in california when you could be driving and sitting in a traffic snarl all white-knuckled and and and crimson-faced -- drivers fly thru red lights, cut off other drivers, honk at other drivers or walkers like me, and then have the bloody nerve to cut me off at intersections and crosswalks. i think, maybe they're in such a hurry because they have to pee. but hell, everyone, including me, is running late for something. and in the end, what of it? we're in a hurry because. . .? that's what you'll remember on your death bed, you're last words shall be, god i was in a hurry! i need to unlearn going fast and develop the habits of taking my time because we all in the end have only so much of it, time i mean. why use it up so quickly? the title of this rant is the title of a poem by rene char whose metaphysical poems were often alloyed with the presence of passing time. char reminds us that death in life is repugnant while death in death is 'something accessible, is nothing.' going fast, to me, is like a continual dying. i want to learn the lost art of taking my time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


how now
about making


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


as it feels, sometimes, the 'it' being life and since i live also in the world of language words then also feel random. e.g. i want to say something, a simple directive or a straight question, but i trip over my meaning. i might stutter -- i do stutter sometimes, esp. when i'm tired, nervous, or trying to get out my meaning faster than my jaw will allow, i'm convinced it's genetic in origin -- or i may even mumble. sometimes the words move without benefit of meaning. i've no idea what i'm trying to say even in the midst of trying to say it. i think, i'm fucked. it's not that words have failed me but that i have failed words. i attempt to do better and write down my meaning, but again my language slips its lexical frame and scatters across the page, often in my atrocious script or are banged against the keyboard. i don't know what i'm trying to say and exercise my need, my right, to say it.

quote unquote

The person is, as cliche-ridden isomorph, a creature of habit. One has certain convictions, obsessions, eccentricities, stylistic features, indications that set one, by prescription, apart. All this is begging the question, a delay tactic, for what most impresses its mark on the spirit, an insistence lived, a laugh in the face of horror, mark its presence without recourse to definition. It is the world that is felt, but it is a made place, and within it they make it who after its composition simply by living and doing as they will and can do.

--kit robinson

reading henry vaughan on the john

and what do we call that condition
after we stopped looking
the instant recognition

of the face
or the walk of the beloved
just when we thought we forgot them

Saturday, July 10, 2010

quote unquote

I want to wash when I meet a poet.

They’re Reds, addicts,
all delinquents.
What you write is rot.

Mr Hines says so, and he’s a schoolteacher,
he ought to know.
Go and find work.

--basil bunting

Friday, July 09, 2010

quote unquote

As for originality, I never even think about it. All life is theft.

--john bloomberg-rissman

can't help posting this comment. it's so delicious and encapsulates my
own thoughts on art and the more important, our sister, life. the quote
is lifted from a response on a post by john that can be found by clicking here.

on first landing*

'2 things i've heard about sweden are the women and the smorgasbords

i've seen the women

where's the smorgasbords'

*overheard from an american tourist stepping off the tour bus after a long day
of sightseeing who had obviously worked up quite an appetite and must've been
starving to death

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

10 things you must do before you die that you'll never get to do

inspired by an anecdote poet mark young relates to martin edmond during a reading young did a few years ago at the university of aukland i attempted the above-named list. mark told martin that his two great regrets was never seeing nijinski dance and never having fought in the spanish civil war. the first of these regrets inspired a poem titled 'I Never Did Get to See Nijinski Dance' for even in his fantasy the barriers of time, distance and circumstance bar young from witnessing one of the great 20th century artists.

every time i shop in a store like cost plus, which specializes in foods and furnishings and nick-nacks across the globe i see, invariably, copies of books with titles like 1001 Must-See Movies Before You Die. sure, okay. all well and good. i suppose a bucket list is a neat thing to have and maybe get to tick off items as we race thru our years on this planet.

but what about an anti-bucket list. those things that i'll never get to do but would've loved to do if time, distance and circumstance could be bent or even blown away. i took out my moleskin and scratched out the following:

1) see The Ramones perform at CBGB

2) watch exploitation movies in the grindhouses on the deuce of 1970s times square


i drew a blank. i'm sure there are other things i'd love to do but won't ever have the chance to do them. see most things, like watch movies or listen to bands perform, i can do, approximately. i've never been to the 3 days of peace, love and music at woodstock in 1969, but i've watched the movie so many times and absorbed the stories and anecdotes of the counter-culture of the hippie era that woodstock has entered my bloodstream. sure, it's not the same as having been there at woodstock, but it is the best i have and therefore i do not have a wish to go back in time and see it for myself.

that's the problem with bucket lists. they are mostly wishfull thinking and silliness. i don't need a guide for 1001 movies to see before i die. my viewing is made thru my own tastes and discoveries and lucky accident. i'll never see The Ramones at CBGB but i've been to plenty of punk shows that i'm pretty sure i know the gist of the experience. or something like that. perhaps i don't have many unfulfilled experiences or that i lack the imagination for it. i've done a few things here and there. what really gets my juices flowing is sitting down with my laptop, my books, my moleskin and do a little daydreaming. me and language sitting here quietly doing nothing. that is for me the biggest thrill of them all.

open toe

now it’s time for a hellmate’s confession

i love black coffee

strong beer

& long walks on cold cold nights

i tried to work hard to become a mystic

in the end

i couldn’t get my feet

off of the ground

Monday, July 05, 2010

falling asleep while watching george cukor's the women [1939]

couldn't help it as it was on so late
but loved every frame
boy the 1930s looked so sci-fi
especially the hi-fashion hats
perched upon those wonderfully
coiffed heads & the hard slang
of these cool cool dames

what's in a name

yesterday at the folsom aquatic center
where we spent a few hrs in the drink
broiling under the sun
slathered in sunblock

the deck too hot for our tootsies to take
running from pool to pool
i spy a young cholo w/ tats up&down his flanks
& our name LOPEZ in big script on his back

Friday, July 02, 2010

uncle sam [1997]

there's not been a lot of movies made about the persian gulf war. maybe half a dozen? fewer? i'm too lazy right now to do a bit of clicking to find out how many flicks were shot using the gulf war as the subject. maybe the war was over too quickly to be absorbed in popular memory and is recalled today as being only a few bright flashes of light from hi-tech military hardware broadcast each night on cnn. no bodies. no blood. no horror seen on tv. thus the war recedes from popular consciousness as the world becomes even more intractable and horrific and even less cinematic in our young century.

william lustig, the filmmaker behind grindhouse features such as maniac [1980] and maniac cop [1988], gathered some impressive talent and made a flick that features the murdering exploits of a dead u.s. soldier who was killed in action fighting in desert storm and returned to his small town for burial with full military honors. the town is getting set to celebrate the 4th of july when the soldier rises from his coffin and does some serious shit to the innocent folk of his native hamlet.

you might ask why the soldier kills kin and friends. i don't have the answer. neither does lustig or larry cohen -- the brilliant director of such drive-in gems it's alive [1974], god told me to [1976] and the stuff [1985] -- the last of these is one of my favorite b-movies of all time, who penned this flick. neither can the solid cast, isaac hayes, william smith, bo hopkins or pj soles, make heads or tails of the killer's motivations.

what you can say is that lustig managed to make a horror movie out of independance day and i bet there ain't many horror movies that are about or set on the 4th of july. we are told by the killer's sister, as filtered thru the perspective of her son who hero-worships his dead uncle, that the dead guy was not a nice man and did terrible things to his sisters and to almost everyone he came into contact with. well, there goes any political subtext you might be thinking that is lurking beneath the surface of this movie. lustig uses the 4th of july holiday and desert storm as the backdrop for his set pieces that require the killer to dress in the red, white and blue of an uncle sam costume.

the set pieces are okay. as is the direction and the writing. the story is pretty good too. at least for the initial set up. and the cast is game. hayes was a fine actor and gives this little flick a modicum of dignity it would otherwise lack. the editing sucks and the photography is servicable. the fx go off okay too. like the cheap ends of cast-off fireworks rather than the cool but illegal m-80s and roman candles that your uncles and friends of the family would bring back from mexico and produce after the bbq and when lit despite the protestations of the more sensible and sober adults in the party would just simply amp the wow factor ten-fold of the summer holiday to the delight of everyone. in other words, lustig and co. may have been hampered by a small budget and time constraints. there's no question that there's some major talent at work on this film but what found its way onto the final reels wasn't equal to its makers.

oh well. it's a fun flick just the same. and you can't fault lustig and cohen for the originality of their idea of creating a character brought home from the persian gulf war during the 4th of july. so far i think this is the only horror flick about both desert storm and the 4th of july. yes, i know, there's roland emmerich's independence day [1996] that is set around the 4th of july but that turd of a pic is technically a sci-fi film and not a horror movie. okay, i admit of having a perverse fondness for emmerich's dumb-ass vision of alien invaders, but on balance i'd rather clean up the pencil shavings of william lustig than endure 2 plus hrs of anything by emmerich.

happy 4th of july!