Sunday, September 30, 2012

i promised nick i'd take him to the reptile show at the convention center.  and i did.  we went to the reptile show last year because anna and i thought it was a travelling exhibit or zoo of exotic animals.  nope.  the reptile show is pure commercialism.  these critters are for sale.  snakes, lizards, insects, spiders and carnivorous plants including the gear it takes to keep them in alive in your house.  nick loved it.  he loves it.  so we went yesterday to the reptile show.

what a trip.  to see snakes and frogs and bearded dragons stacked in plastic containers.  many of these animals were bred for the purpose of being sold as pets.  but it is a little bit hard to see baby snakes loaded into what look like clear cottage cheese containers and stacked under heat lamps. 

the people who collect such animals are an eclectic bunch.  many alt-lifestyles were represented.  most were heavily inked.  the people were inked i mean.  nearly all of them were set on buying some kind of snake, lizard, spider, insect or carnivorous plant.  it was mind-blowing.

but to purchase admission tickets we stood in line for 45 minutes.  the reptile show was that much in demand.  i couldn't believe it.  i didn't have the courage to ask anyone if they also have puppies, kittens, birds or rodents too.  can one household mix and match species like that?  is it a dumb question?  i suspect if you bring home a python and you have a kitty too that python might just mistake the kitty for lunch.  right?

there was a booth with just tarantulas and spiders.  the tarantulas were all huge and hairy.  we looked at one larger cottage cheese container and it was all webbed up.  nick asked if tarantulas can make webs.  thinking they are solitary ground creatures i said no.  a young man, thin, heavily inked, with ears drooping with that style of gaping hole earlobe primitivism that is so popular said, yes they can.  depends on the species.  see rain forest tarantulas make nests of webs to stay dry while desert tarantulas make a single line of web that they use to return to their burrows.  then he looked at the stack of very small spiders and said, wow!  he asked the proprietor if these were [insert latin name for species]. 

that kid loved his spiders and had an encyclopedic knowledge of them.   later i saw him carrying about 6 or 7 smaller cottage cheese containers each one housing one of those smaller spiders.  the price of one small spider was around $65.00 on up. 

nick on the other hand wanted a venus flytrap.  nope i said.  there were other kinds of carnivorous plants too.  one was a series of bulbs that were tall and narrow with a narrow opening at top.  a flying insect is attracted to the scent of the plant, lands on the edge of the opening, slip down the stem and into a pool of enzymes just waiting to digest the poor critter.  these kind of plants had their adherents too.  i watched a lady purchase two of the long pitcher plants and get into an excited discussion with the seller about her carnivorous plant garden.

last stop was a petting zoo organized by a reptile rescue organization.  they had an albino alligator.  a crocodile with its tail bitten off, a large tortoise, and an asian water monitor.  nick fell in love with the monitor and lovingly petted and held it for a good 25 minutes or so.  quite a sight to see. 

alas we couldn't bring the monitor home.  nor any of the creatures for sale.  we were there to look and touch.  i was fascinated by the insects.  nick also fell in love with a group of death feigning beetles.  little black scarabs about an inch wide that if you touched them or scared them they would flop on their backs and pretend they were dead.  i asked the seller if she sold many of them or her millipedes that she brought from her shop in orange county.  she said, sometimes.  i let nick play with the beetles for quite a while.  we even returned to have another look at them.  i did not see one person buy any of the bugs. 

bummer because i thought the death feigning beetles were cool.  i'd have taken one or two home myself if our household wasn't already brimming with kitties, a dog, and two gold fish.  for right now that is more than enough. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

everyday is halloween

below is a catch-all video taken at the opening day of halloween horror nights 2012 universal studios hollywood.  i learned of the videographer from william keckler's halloween blog last year and i've been revisiting the work posted on youtube.

this shit is goofy cool.  well done, scary and silly all at the same time.  i'm now in the middle of my life.  going to halloween horror nights is on my bucket list.  for realz.


everyday is halloween

the day started with a walk with nick to his school

my brain's electric engine fried from a volt of sudafed i'd taken because of a cold

i can't stop coughing

i read an interview with lisa jarnot on the john this morning

should i buy the dunncan biography?

got into a spirited debate with john bloomberg-rissman regarding violence and non

received some delicious fiction from tom beckett

had a double hit more of sudafed for the walk home

brainpan skipping like a stone over water

early lovely autumn evening

breezy with golden/hazy light

bright for jack o'lanterns and candy corn

scares that reach out and go


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Words From The Master

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

everyday is halloween

if you are of a certain age you grew under the shadow of nuclear threat.  the threat of MAD, or mutually assured destruction, kept the two great superpowers, the u.s. and the u.s.s.r. from launching nuclear strikes during the cold war.  however the threat of nuclear war was scary and vivid.

the emergency alert system in the u.s. is designed to give advice and instructions during times of crisis.  there are regular tests of the emergency alert system made during standard broadcasts of television and radio.  i'm not sure if there is such a system in place for mobile devices and the web. 

below is a halloween special of an emergency alert system for a fictive nuclear strike at the u.s.  it is an amazing piece of fiction.  the electronic sounds of the alerts and the voices of the announcers are eerily authentic.  in a certain frame of mind this piece can scare the hell out of you.


Monday, September 24, 2012

everyday is halloween

cutting trailers to movies is an art form too.  sometimes the trailers transcend their movies.  a few are too modest in their claims.  while other trailers mislead their viewers by either leaving the good stuff out or putting all of the good stuff from a movie in. 

then there are trailers for exploitation movies.  these are cuts from movies designed to shock people into theaters.  every now and then a movie is larger than its exploitation roots.  take for example the trailer for george a. romero's zombie film night of the living dead [1968].  the trailer is cut with all sorts of ghouls and grotesques.  the movie is a cultural revolutionary.  romero's vision of a new society consuming the older society is the lodestar for every zombie movie ever made.  upon its release in 1968 the world was in upheaval.  imagine seeing this trailer at your local drive-in.  then imagine the following saturday night when you and a few friends see the movie at the drive-in.  imagine then driving home in the dark after puking your guts out thinking what might lurk beyond the shadows made by the hi-beams of your car.


what did you do on your day off

1. slept till 10: 00 a.m.

2. started our christmas shopping

3. took a short nap

4. read conflict [chax press; 2012] by norman fischer

5. read as long as trees last [wave books; 2012] by hoa nguyen

6. watched part of nebraska [the walking dead, second season dvds; amc]

7. repaired loose step leading down to the basement

8. wrote email to jonathan hayes debating the merits of cheech and chong, harold and kumar, and jay and silent bob

9. reread the manuscript LOL POEMS by jon cone

10.  decided to dye my hair black.   then decided against it

everyday is halloween

the birds [1963]

masterful storytelling.  lots of silence.  pauses.  punctuated by violent action.  the sleepy hamlet of bodega bay is attacked by birds of all species.  no reason is given.  it just happens.  like life.  the soundtrack, music and bird effects are situated by large spaces of eerie quiet.  one of the great scenes in horror cinema are the moments in the diner when the townsfolk of every imaginable stripe and persuasion, from the apocalyptic inebriate foretelling the end of the world to the woman of science with her calm rationale, sit inside attempting to make sense of the behavior of the birds.  the build up is fantastic.  the personalities of the sea-side community are a study of contrasts.  yet when the birds make their largest attack yet and tippi hendron and rod taylor return to the diner they find all of these people huddled inside a narrow corridor of the diner.  the shiteth had hiteth thy fan. 

this is one of hitchcock's most satisfying movies.  dread and non-purpose [why are the birds attacking] weave into the narrative of a playgirl who fancies a man and follows him to his home in bodega bay.  the final images of the birds massed by the hundreds of thousands on the hamlet as the survivors drive into an uncertain future is one of the finest pieces on celluloid. 



Friday, September 21, 2012

i walked to the state capital this morning to watch the space shuttle endeavor flyover.  20,000 people had the same idea.  the flyover was scheduled for 9:30 am.  it was 15 minutes late.  i had nick's camera.  i tried to take a picture of the first flyover.  too fast.  on the second flyover the shuttle was in the east.  it was lost in the sun.  picture turned out crap.  the crafts were amazing to watch.  how they managed to get the shuttle on the back of a 747.  i remember seeing on tv the enterprise ride piggyback on a 747 in 1976. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


this and
             this and this
                         and like this

after joe brainard

i remember looking at an op-art painting at the sfmoma
after 5 minutes nearly burned out my rods and cones

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


after reading my text she says, is this even in fucking english?

everday is halloween

trinkets, baubles, geegaws of all sorts abound during the scary season.  so does cheap merchandising of foodstuffs.  consider the record winchell's donut house gave out in 1976 called hear the monsters.  winchell's were once ubiquitous.  i don't know if any of their stores are still open in sac.  the record is a long commercial for the donut shop and is really quite charming in a corny way.  i very much enjoyed hearing the once familiar but now obsolete sound of pops and scratches of the needle in the groove.  take a listen.  enjoy a respite from a time long past.



there he goes that puppet of mud

feet planted firmly on the ground

ass swaying high in the clouds

thinking of that poem by john forbes
you know the one where he says,
'a day moving furniture will do as a career'

you wonder when someone asks you
'with all your degrees why do you work here'

Monday, September 17, 2012


days flinging emails shuffling from computer to printer to computer

the comedy of it samuel becket might've composed a play

bad posture eyes gone bad needing new reading glasses

up to the eyeteeth

in deep

Saturday, September 15, 2012

line for the car changing lanes and didn't signal thus nearly crashing in to you


hubba sonnet



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

'a time for peace -- i swear it's not too late'


on i street

nearly stepped on them

there on the sidewalk

flat and neatly ironed

out beneath the canopy of trees

a man's purple boxers


then a block later

flat and neatly ironed

a woman's pink knickers

Monday, September 10, 2012

return to the trailer park

call me an old softy.  i watched bits of steven spielberg's saving private ryan [1998] while doing chores yesterday, and granted its schmaltz filmmaking, it is very good schmaltz filmmaking, so that at the last moment of the movie when an elderly ryan is facing the grave of captain miller [played with aplomb by tom hanks] and asks his wife if he's been a good man i fucking lost it.  i mean i broke down too.  by bookending the movie with the retun of ryan to france is a cinematic conceit but it worked marvelously.  like how bill knott wrote in a footnote to a poem about eugenio montale hating montale but being obsessed by the italian poet i feel the same way about steven speilberg.

then i read tonight in the new yorker about a new film directed by the wachowski siblings and german director tom tykwer [who directed the excellent run lola run [1998]] called cloud atlas and starring tom hanks my interest is piqued.  i'm not crazy about the matrix trilogy.  in fact i think they are rather precious hollywood blockbusters that thinks it invented a new cinematic language and action sequences but for the hong kong kung fu filmmakers of the 1970s and 1980s were already doing that stuff on limited budgets that the wachowskis spent over a hundred million. 

nevertheless tykwer is on board and the magazine piece about the film is glowing.  much in the piece emphasized abundant human goodness and kindness in the movie.  i'm getting mushy in my old age.  the film looks epic.  see for yourself.  below is an extended trailer and when you here the music to match the images and narration your eyes may get just a tad moist too.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

everyday is halloween

i needed nyquil.  we were out of nyquil.  i walked to rite aid.  it was oh i dunno about 8:00 pm.  lovely evening.  it was second saturday.  every second saturday of the month midtown opens its shops, art galleries, restaurants and drinking establishments.  second saturday used to only be an art walk.  now it has gotten big.  very big.  with a huge attendance with businesses and city leaders scrambling to cope the sorts of troubles, including violence, that attend such public events.

8:00 pm on a second saturday.  the first thing i heard was a woman crying her eyes out and screaming something as she bolted out the door of rite aid.  i have no idea why.  a security guard was beside a young man.  the young man turns to the security guard and says, thanks.  the young woman hopped on a skateboard and disappeared into safeway parking lot.

rite aid has rearranged itself.  i can't find the aisle with the cold remedies.  they've got to sell nyquil, right?  they do.  i find it comparing the pros and cons of cold&flu nyquil vs. cough nyquil.  is there that much of a difference?  i settle on the cold&flu version and make my way to the cash register.  there is a line.  before me are two women buying candy and ice cream.  i see that one of the women has a tattoo on her right forearm.  it is text.  i can't read it.  there is another couple looking at the tobacco products that are behind the counter.  they lean over the counter to read the ads of the varied cigars, cigarettes, pipes and rolling papers.

i decide to leave the line and walk thru the store.  eureka!  rite aid put up their halloween items.  a whole large aisle devoted to candies, decor and costumes.  the packaging of the candies make me swoon.  bats, monsters, full moons, trees void of leaves.

then i think.  wow.  this is like totally commercial.  for reals.  then i think again.  when hasn't halloween been a boon to capitalism?  well.  are we living in a late-capitalist era?  i've read reviews of david cronenberg's latest movie based on a don delilo novel, cosmopolis [2012], about a day in the life of a twenty-something asset manager.  the cool bearing of the billionaire married to the sleek interior of the limo where most of the action takes place contrast with the grittiness of the street and the graffitti [i'm guessing the graffitti is similar in spirit and tone to the occuppy movement].  i've not seen the movie but garnered a bit from the trailer and the reviews.  here it is cronenberg's vision of late decaying capitalism.

is it?  are we in decline?  the world is i think restructering itself.  life in the late 21st century will be much different than life in the early 21st century.  the 20th century was one of dilation.  the 21st century is one of contraction.  what will it give birth to?   

in the meantime, there still is trick or treating to be done, candy to distribute and eat, costumes to choose and wear.  rite aid is selling it.  are you buying?


Friday, September 07, 2012

Let uS nOw prAIse IdleNess


i've long advocated cultivating the arts of the inert, lazy, go-with-the-flow, and now i've been corroborated by poet john olson.

i read this essay about john olson written by steven fama today and nearly fell out of my chair in delight.  here is olson describing influence on his life and writing:

Another strong influence is laziness. Spacing out. Gazing out the window.

i can dig that.  however, i must add that it takes great discipline to be that focused on laziness.  for what might be called being lazy is an art of great proportion.  olson is a prolific writer.  the art of lazy requires a great amount of work in order to be productive.   yet i think daydream time, grazing out the window time, is under-emphasized in our culture.  i have the wonderful privilege of walking to and from work.  over two miles each way.  this is my daydream time.  the exertion of my body for the 45 minutes it takes to walk allows my mind to open.  sometimes the mind and body synchronize in a way that i can only describe as walking meditation.  i am not hooked up to an ipod or mobile device.  i am alive to the sounds of the city as the city provides.  somehow the exertions allow me to leave myself.  without walking i know i'd be one helluva fucked up mess.   it was bracing to find out olson advocates daydream time too.  

oh, and another thing.  olson loves losers in culture and literature [i include movies when i say literature].  here is his piece on his favorite losers.   

can you dig it

Thursday, September 06, 2012

so it has come to this
listening to hardcore music
on my little cd player at the office
oh what the hell from now on i shall sign my poems

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

would you believe
i can scare myself with my own desert places
--robert frost

a summer evening in the swedish woods we scared ourselves with shadows and trolls

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

but then there is anselm hollo who says

(je suis)
but also "lower-case american"

the man in the back row has a question

what do you mean, post-nation-post-race?

a little after gunn


Sunday, September 02, 2012

everyday is halloween

yeah, i know, it's still officially summer.  yet today was one of those days that we used to call indian summer.  the air was way past hazy.  it was down-right smoggy.  and the temperature was in the mid-90s.  nevertheless, it felt like the beginning of fall to me.  we shopped at costco this afternoon.  costco has a huge bakery.  guess what?  that's right.  there was pumpkin pie!  we bought two pies.  then i took nick for a round of monster mini golf.  have no idea what that means?  take a gander.

this video is from a place in florida, but it's the same kind of set up here too.  black light, day-glo paint, and lots of animatronic monsters all add up to a great time. 

then nick and i went to a barnes & noble because i still have a gift card from christmas.  i was looking for the the walking dead second season dvd.  they were sold out.  nick settled on a couple of laminated field guides to the flora and fauna of california.  he's ever the naturalist.  he had a difficult time choosing between the field guides and a book on precious gemstones.  me, i was happy to see that there were a bunch of halloween books on display.

then we walked down a bit to the next store over.  i had seen sign for a spirit halloween store.  a sign on the door read the store will be open on september seven.  nick and i looked in the windows.  some stuff was up.  a lot was still under construction.

no matter.  we got home and each had a large piece of the first pumpkin pie of the season, and we are in love.


thank you, jean

on my creative reading piece jean vengua posted a response regarding my comment that i am too old to skate.  in jean's response are two links, the first is to a blog by a 75 year old indie book publisher, lloyd kahn, and the second is a link to a video of  kahn skateboarding.

that made my day.  especially the vid of kahn skating.  for the past several weeks i'd been mulling over the old phrase, SKATE OR DIE, thinking that i'd just rather die.  now i find kahn's work and his skating as a proof of life.

below is a short documentary of kahn, and he does skate here.


and here is a link to kahn's blog.

as auden wrote, we must skate with each other or die.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

re: last night's post [see below] about creative reading.  i was on the john where lately i've been doing most of my poetry reading.  okay, not most but when i do sit on the pot i read at least several poems each morning.  if that is what the kids call 'too much information' i doubt that.  i'm sure you and you and you read too while taking a crap.  it's probably one of the more intimate activities a mammal can do and reading poetry is an even more intimate an experience.

well then this morning i was reading thru ambush review, a poetry journal published in san francisco.   my brothafromanothamutha jonathan hayes pointed out the mag when we were visiting the beat museum a few weeks ago.  hayes has a poem in the publication that [self-disclosure] was written in response to something i wrote and dedicated to s.f. writer mel c. thompson.  and the review published two pieces by duncan mcnaughton, a maestro if there ever was one.

i bought the mag, read hayes' text and mcnaughton's poems too.  then i put the journal in the drawer in the bathroom where i keep a few books and magazines just when the occasion arises.  i've been reading other stuff for my morning ablutions until this morning.  that's when i read the poems by angelos sakkis published therein.  dig this.

                                 reading all the time
                                 mostly undisciplined, haphazard
                                 serendipitous stuff, no method, just
                                 for fun, catch as catch can, then
                                 as he plies that new voice, he finds
                                 that it comes to bear, how he has
                                 barely, hardly at all, scratched
                                 the surface.

hells yes!  i know that reader.  i am that reader.  i love the third and fourth lines 'serendipitous' which was like my own self-education as one discovery led to another, 'no method' because i read for the love of it and was without a syllabus, 'just for fun' because fun is fuel for the adventure of a life in poetry.  finally, the final two lines sums up a life in reading, or a life period, because no matter how deep you dig you 'barely. . .scratched/the surface.'

angelos sakkis rocked my world.  his poem is an example of what i mean by creative reading.  the bio in ambush review states that english is sakkis' second language.  a quick google search revealed that sakkis is the uncle of bay area poet john sakkis and together both sakkis have translated the poems of demosthenes agrafiotis.  i didn't find more poems online by angelos sakkis. 

i hope there are many, many more poems by angelos sakkis coming.  at least for this reader.

peace out