Monday, July 30, 2012

make a living at writing?! you gotta be kidding how do you know you've become a poet? easy when you get that job flipping burgers and you are always thinking about words reading and writing when you are bone tired and still scratching out a few lines without thinking you are doing it that's when you'll know you are on your way and still you don't know

Thursday, July 26, 2012

just a stray thought.

i stopped at a favorite used bookstore, time tested books, this evening after work.  i'm not much into things but the things i am in to such as books and movies i tend to collect like a fanboy jonesing for that long lost chewbacca figurine he had when he was eight years old.

so i try to buy only the books i know i'll be rereading.  how do i know a book that i just purchased will be read again?  i don't know but if i'm interested in the book enough to buy i'll most like pick it up again.  besides i love being surrounded not only by the people that i love but the things that i love too, books and movies.  in other words, esse, i'm doomed.

well shit i bought a collection of writing by paul auster.  i've not read auster's fiction.  i know him as a former poet and as a great translator of french poetry.  i picked up the collection of writings, which include critical essays and autobiographical pieces, because one of the pieces is a selection from auster's memoir hand to mouth about his early years as a poet in 1970s paris and nyc.

oh man to be a poet in 1970s paris and nyc!  oh brotha!  for me that is the gilded age.  don't ask why.  i don't know why but it has something to do with dilapidation, punk rock, times square and exploitation movies and back in the '70s nyc was cheap enough to actually foster young starving artists.

and that made me think of being once-upon-a-time a young starving artist myself where i was making discoveries upone discoveries and that the world might've been going to hell but i didn't notice because i was high on life and continuously finding new loves via books, movies and art.

that was heady as all hell and i can't return to the past.  nor do i pine for the past either.  but auster's little memoir reminded me to stop getting all fucked in the head thinking that the world is shit -- even if it is shit -- because to be alive in it is a greatly good gift.

right?  right.  sometimes you gotta slow down and do as our late cat ernie would do, eat the flowers with full knowledge that to be alive and have the priviledge of creation is, fuck yeah, there is nothing better. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

out of the trailer park

matilda [1978]

yep, i've never heard of this flick too until i ran across the trailer a few nights ago.  mind-blowing, wouldn't you agree, a boxing kangaroo!  the movie was marketed as a family comedy to boot.  but one look at the eponymous creature would give kids the heebie-jeebies for weeks.  wow!  this is a pic for those who think they've seen it all and  maybe are just a tad jaded.  after all, if a stinker like this movie can get funded, produced and distributed to theaters then anything is possible!

carpefuckingdiem, brothers and sisters!

sunnyside in
side lock
out the
ed beat up
i've been
for my
leather chains
and spikes
ing oh
so punk

Sunday, July 22, 2012

the dark knight rises [2012]

hmm. . .well. . . ahem. . .

can a self-proclaimed film fanatic who grew up on comics, tv superheroes, and horror/exploitation films even claim objectivity in the search for truth regarding what a very many fellow nerds consider the penultimate achievement of superhero cinema? 

on top of that blow the action set-pieces up to considerable size, wash the colors out of the palette so that every frame appears very monochrome and dour, use little cgi, and drive in a score that is not only ominous but thrillingly loud, louder than the who [the band] were in the guinness book of world records when i was a child for being the loudest fucking band on the planet. 

the batman trilogy is finished yet canny christopher nolan tossed in enough details at the end to endear us to yet another installment, maybe not helmed by nolan and penned by both nolan and his brother jonathan -- as was this film and the dark knight, but by someone else to do yet another reboot and introduce [dare i say this?] robin? 

gulp!  what of it?  after all, movies are business and right now the only movies that seem to be taking in the dough are superhero franchises.  if poetry is a kind of money, as stevens so perversely remained, then movies are fucking mints that are too big to fail.  as for objectivity i claim that i've never been a huge batman fan.  i went to this film to see how nolan tackled our very real problems of social and financial inequalities. 

and so but nolan populates his film with some real winners.  especially the women, anne hathaway and sumptuous [who is a delight to watch whatever movie she does] marion cotillard.  even if the writing breaks formal narrative structure and becomes more talky but less histrionic like a telenovela the pinciples are wonderful to watch.

i was eager to see what side of the fence of the socio-economic divide nolan sits.  perhaps the movie's strength resides in a refusal to take sides.  both the 1percent and the 99percenters commit acts of atrocity.  in the former those acts are perpetuated thru the binary systems of global finance, thru computers, and the drudgery of removal from the suffering of the working classes.  for the latter those acts bear witness to a horrendous reign of terror made even more acute by our witness thru live tv news.

then there is the showdown between two opposing idealogical systems.  who wins?  as it is in life it depends on who is telling the tale.  for nolan, who is directing essentially escapist fare, he tries hard to make a 19th century russian novel of a film.  the movie is too long by a third and there are a few characters that are extraneous to the narrative.

i did my best and sat thru worst movies.  perhaps this trilogy will be revisited in a few years time and admired not only for nolan's verve and artistry but also as documents of difficult times.  for that i am grateful to nolan's gifts and bravery for creating a cinema for our socio-economic climates with hollywood blockbusters. 

christopher nolan has made a superhero movie out of our late-capitalist era.  from what i've been reading and listening to it seems that the consensus agrees that we are at a point when the center will not hold and that our financial systems are going to collapse.  i've been asking my friends of all political persuasions if they think this is so and for the most part the answer is yes.  the future is nearly always different then what we might think it will be.  we don't have a crystal ball to confirm our worst fears.  we can create an art out of those fears.  nolan has created such an art.

4 punks in leather chains and spikes circa 1981

ameliorates the long division of my heart

tho i couldn't help but ask, if punk is dead. . .?

as i watched this crew fade-out with the scene on j street

the irony wasn't lost on me but then i did just begin

to read the second edition of american hardcore by steven blush

but when the days turn to dogs and the temp. rises to 105

i'd rather have the movie version play a double-bill

with endless summer at the drive-in of my soul

Thursday, July 19, 2012

the pleasure of the pixels

i'm amazed and astonished at the lightning pace of radical changes technology is having on our lives.  all our lives.  every portion, from work, to love, to entertainment, to you-name-it. 

we are all becoming pixalated.  everything has its dark side, yes, but if you are the kind of diy poet who'd rather make a few books and send them along to friends and whomever you think might give your work a read then our rapidly techno-changes is a great boon.  you can make a create a chapbook and mail it out on the cheap.  you can use or some other print-on-demand services.  you can post your work on a blog.  or you can email a pdf instead of mailing it.

kinda like the electronic chapbook i read last night by william keckler.  i dig that dude's work and was delighted to find a chap of his poems online complete with instructions on how to print it out, fold and staple it, if you're inclined.  that made me happy, keckler's poems and how readily available his chap was just from a quick google search.

these thoughts come bidden reading an essay by wendy lesser published in her collection titled the amateur: an independent life of letters [vintage; 1999].  lesser praises email and calls her essay about her ability to be a late 20th century, early 21st century 'eighteenth century man of letters' as a letter-writer 'the conversion'.  lesser's conversion mirrored my own in the late '90s as i resisted email and the internet until my mother-in-law got a computer in 1997 so she could e-mail her sister in stockholm.  the moment i logged on i was hooked.

later i discovered like-minded and similarly minded poets thru blogs and e-zines who were doing the sorts of work that energized my own life and writing.  some of these writers have become great friends.  the internet also provides forums for publishing that at least in the early days of the internet felt like a revolution.

of course there are dark sides to all this.  there always are.  i won't list them here.  however, reading wendy lesser made me re-think my own relationship to the pixels.  i've been publishing this blog for eight years now.  i like the freedom the blog gives me.  i don't have a facebook account because i consider that social media site to be rather restricting and is mostly an electronic hang-out.  okay, i guess.  however, i like the expansiveness of the blog format where i can post pics, movie reviews, rant about shit, publish poems, publish essays and whatever i can think of.  and like lesser i took think of email as correspondence.  i don't title my emails because letters were not titled.  i know that not putting titles on my missives is considered bad form.  i got over it.  you should too.  if you see my name in your inbox without a title you will know that that email is not spam but from me.  i'm thinking also of not putting titles on some of my posts too because many of the poems i write are untitled and sometimes a mini-essay or rant does not deserve a title.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

call me geek

some people like their mad men, and some like police procedurals.  me, i like zombies.  and here is the trailer for the third season of the walking dead.

many pixels on the internets have been wasted bitching about how this series is more like a soap opera and not like a horror flick that sticks to the zombie genre.  that's what i like about the show.  the show is about people at the end of the world.

and now that the group has found the prison and are about to meet the governor in woodbury the soap opera is about to get a lot more kinetic.

call me geek.  call me stoked too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

william asher [1921 -- 2012]

just learned from alex gildzen's blog that director william asher died today.  asher is better known for his work in tv shows like i love lucy and bewitched.  to me he made some of the finest summer flicks ever put to the screen, the beach movies produced by american international pictures and starring -- mostly -- frankie avalon and annette funicello. 

william asher lived a long life.  he gave us -- me -- great pleasure from his work. 

thank you, mr asher. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

the horror!  the horror!

i'd spent the past week on a mini-vacation.  nick and i went camping.  we went to the state fair on opening day.  we drove thru the wine country to bodega bay [yep, the place where hitchcock filmed his great movie about killer birds] and back again.  oh, i ordered about half-dozen poetry books from spd which arrived two weeks ago and i've read thru all of them, while also discovering writers i should've read 20 years ago, like gary snyder.  it's been an eventful few days.

but i've lost sight of the pleasures of watching a good, even a goodly cheesy horror movie.  to be quite blunt, i've not been watching movies this summer.  not many blockbusters out in the theaters caught my attention.  i have a stack of dvds i still have not unwrapped.  i catch snippets here and there.  i'll put in a disc for a scene or an extra.  that's about it. 

at any rate, this evening i took a book into the bedroom [on going, bootstrap press; 2007 by tom morgan (a wonderful poet)] and because i'm a modern man turned the tv on too.  i opened the book to the page i've left off and then scanned the channels.  and there on the channel devoted to horror, chiller, was a program called can you survive a horror movie?  silly premise?  definitely.  what i liked about the program was its horror geekdom.  three easy-on-the-eyes goodlookingly horror nerds are put to various tests manufactured from horror movies to see if they'd survive the challenge.  goofy.  what kept me watching was the panel of experts regarding the skill levels you'd need to survive something like a psycho stalking you thru the woods and/or house, or a zombie apocalypse.  back to silly premises, yeah, yet there is something about the horror genre that literally calms me down and gets my blood pressure under control.  horror films make me happy.

so does halloween and halloween imagery.  today we went to a birthday party for j. the son of our very good friends, b. and c.  j. is also nick's best friend.  the party was held at a public pool where we also have season passes.  so we arrived a few hours early to get some swim time in.  i was sitting on the pool steps with anna as nick was splashing all kinds of crazy around us.  a little girl swims past us and says to me regarding my tattoo on my left shoulder, i like your halloween pumpkin.

thank you, i answered, i do too.   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

27 years ago --  yesterday

the world is still fucked but this is a great performance by mr david bowie

watching i think maybe we can be heroes -- just for a day


Who wrote that book
(about staying alive
In the body)

You did
--simon pettet

I don't want to make plans for the body
I want to be in the body
--aaron kiely

a day at the beach combing for shells and crabs with nick and anna

and my glasses are fogged with saltwater and sand

we stop for a bite and a browse in guerneville

later needing badly to have a piss driving the valley of the moon

Friday, July 13, 2012

life at camp

as i've said, i haven't done any camping since i was knee high to something or other.  one thing i'd forgotten, that there is so much dirt in nature.  there were showers at camp but why bother rinsing off because the moment you walked back to camp you are again coated in the fine red dirt of the sierra nevada mountains.  i'm not one to wear hats but i took to wearing a cap because it was easier than trying to comb the hair.  everyone wore hats and at dinner when we took off our lids each of us possessed a magnificent 'do pressed a la hathead.  it was quite a sight to behold.

nick and i shared a military pup tent -- it was provided by the boy scouts, nick is a cub scout and this was a scouting trip -- of the kind you see in a tv show like m.a.s.h.  i brought all sorts of camping gear including sleeping bags and air mattresses.  yet sleep that first night eluded me.  i tossed and turned like a cat in a bag.  the nights grew cold.  during the day the temperatures hovered in the mid 90s f. range but at night the temperature plummeted which left one if he happens to be sleeping on a his bare air mattress and using his unzipped sleeping bag as a blanket shivering like a hound put to pasture.  i mean it was cold!  i tossed so much that when i finally did catch some zzzzzz i somehow rolled out of my cot and out of the tent.  i hit the ground hard and had a few moments of what the fuck?!  i felt for the floor and found dirt and pine needles.  my only hope is that the other campers didn't hear that thud. 

by the second night i had adjusted to life at camp and slept like a babe.  my preferred time is nighttime but at camp life became a diurnal existence and when the sun dropped like a coin in a fountain it was nighty-night.  nick adjusted just fine from the get-go.  i heard him sawing logs like a lumberjack on crack.  essentially the camp was run by older scouts who acted like counselors and the whole deal reminded me so much of the summer movies from the late'70s early '80s like the bill murray vehicle meatballs [1979] but not so wild or manic.  for the kids it was a wonderful time filled with activities that included archery, bb gun target shooting, bmx riding, nature hikes, canoeing and so on.  what was manic was the schedule as everything, from wake-up to meals to activities, were on a strict timeline.  i brought the sunday paper and a couple of books [i've been reading much buddhist writing and had brought along dharma punx by noah levine along with a collection of essays by assorted buddhist on the culture of u.s. materialism] but hadn't even more than 20 minutes to read.

as for the canoeing one could only do it if you passed a swim check.  okay, no problem i thought.  nick and i are both strong swimmers.  the camp had a small lake that was fed by snow melt.  upon our arrival we were told that that lake was cold.  it would take a measure of fortitude to make the swim check.  we were given a tour of the camp and its various programs and activities.  the tour lasted about two hours.  thru out the tour it was repeated, almost like gallows humor, that the lake is cold.  okay, i thought, okay.  i've been in cold water in the past and i've lived to tell the tale.  when it was time to get to the lake there was a camp counselor in the water telling us the rules of the swim check and what was expected of us.  i checked to see if she was wearing a wet suit or some time of protective clothing.  all i could see was that the counselor was in a bathing suit.  how cold can that water be? 

when it was our turn nick wanted to check the water by putting his hand in.  it was cold but not so much i thought.  then i gave the count of three and we jumped in.  holy mother of god!!!!  it was -- you guessed it -- fucking freezing.  nick immediately stiffened up and asked to stop.  i said okay and was ready to climb the ladder back on to the dock when another counselor said that if i completed the swim check i could take nick out on a canoe.  mind you i've been in the water for a few minutes already.  i said okay and began to swim.  now the distance i had to swim was no more than 50 yards i guess.  not very lengthy and the requirement to pass the test was to swim four laps, three in freestyle, and the last lap doing the backstroke.  the first lap was not too difficult.  i thought my body would acclimate to the cold.  it didn't.  my muscles began tightening up and my lungs felt like it was breathing in shards of glass.  i finished the second lap and i had a decision, either be rescued by a teenager or stop on my own.  i figured stopping on my own was less humiliating then a 40-something man be rescued by a teenager.  on my little chit that was placed on the board by the lake denoting swimmers' aptitude was the word beginner

nick continued to amaze me.  he has a scientist's mind.  one of his favorite activities was the unofficial one of looking at and cataloging insects and wild life.  for one activity the cub scouts were given flint and a rod to strike to make fire.  most of the scouts couldn't do it.  it took a good deal of finger strength as well as technique to make sparks.  nick understood the principle of making fire and had the technique.  he didn't make the kindling blaze but when we got back to camp one of the other parents observed how nick was teaching a couple of boys how to strike the flint.  she turned to me and said, you have a thinker. 

i hope i don't sound like i'm bragging but her words brought tears to my eyes.  we have children and to our amazement our children turn into their very own individuals.  nick's strengths are mathematics and the scientific method.  quite unlike is poet father whose head is words and images.  nick also has a large, kind heart so that when he found a baby chick near our tent he worried that the chick would be stepped on by fellow campers and he wanted to let everyone know about the chick.  nick doesn't know yet that not everyone cares about a baby chick.  it was a relief to both of us when he asked that i take a picture of the chick and when i tried the bird flew up and away.  the chick was a fledgling.  i told nick not to worry.  the forest is its home and he is learning to fly. 

anna asked me what was my favorite thing about this camping trip.  i told it was this:  on our second night nick and i climbed into our cots.  i turned off the flashlight and in the perfect darkness nick spoke of the adventures of the day.  he said, i love you.  i said , i love you too.  it was the tone of his voice that was my favorite thing.  it was the voice of contentment, adventure and love. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

gearing up

for a camping trip.  nick and i are headed to lassen state park in the morning.  we'll be out in the boonies till the middle of next week.  okay, now, when i was a wee lad way back when my family would often go for extended camping vacations.  back then they were totally exciting.  i especially loved the gear that is needed for camping. 

i totally forgot about needing all that gear.  i've not camped since i was, oh, about 12.  so we had to buy much of that gear and then pack it up.  man oh man!  that alone is exhausting work.  we went to REI, an outdoors sporting good store, hoping to pick up a few things, including a hat for me and some clothing and a couple of air mattresses.  the prices for just ordinary stuff -- what i thought was ordinary stuff -- was outta this world!  i mean, c'mon, really?!  $75.00 for a pair of shorts!  fuck that shit.  so we went to COSTCO where i bought two pairs of shorts and a pair of trousers for half that amount.  then we stopped at TARGET where we found all the gear we needed for very very very reasonable prices.

and it was still a lot of gear!  i wanted the hat not only to keep the sun out of my eyes but to not worry about what the fuck my hair looks like.  i plan on going caveman and not shave too!  just watch me.  pure atavism.

i promise NOT to take pictures of neanderthal lopez.

Friday, July 06, 2012


sleepy and pleasantly drunk reading the poems of simon pettet

too happy by half


can't ever be too happy!

pet the dog and cats good night and go to bed

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

this be the verse

this be a sentence

Monday, July 02, 2012


what again another long day

that ends with eyes half closed

laptop open

and the tv blaring its blue scream

Sunday, July 01, 2012

watching children of men [2006] on the syfy channel

didn't mean to but i did.  i have the dvd and i think alfonso cuaron's vision of p.d. james' dystopian fiction is one of the best films of the past decade.  watching it on tv as it was edited for time and langauge, along with long pauses for commercials, was a frustrating affair.  cable tv networks have no problem with violent imagery but a bit of dirty language is a no go.  same with sexual imagery.  oh well.  what remained intact is cuaron's bravura camera work.  there are a few long takes that make me catch my breath in wonder.  and yet the movie, as much as i admire it, feels a bit less than the sum of its parts.  the battle set pieces are remarkable for their realism.  the torture depicted in the refugee processing center appear even more as a blistering indictment of george w. bush's war in iraq today then it did when it was released on '06.  which it was.  and is.  still even if the imagery of cruelty seems too politically on-point those images resonate deeply with me.  the movie broadcast on prime-time tv seems at odds with the intent of the filmmaker who was, i think, making a broadly sweeping anti-war statement of a conflict that is still ongoing but not much in the news anymore.  the movie broadcast on cable suffered from too much whittling down for time and, this is a big bugaboo with me, none of the raw language that one does expect with this kind of film.  still, i watched and teared up at the penultimate scene where theo and kee and baby are walking out of the line of fire where innocents and combatants cease their actions in the presence of the first baby born in 18 years.  yes, to mis-quote luke, a militant leader of the underground rebels, the fishes, it is a fucking miracle of a movie at that.