Monday, April 29, 2013


bilious tummy

the analects of food poisoning

iggy and the stooges

colbert report

what i learned from grandpa punk

you can be the man

and still say fuck you to the man

Sunday, April 28, 2013

sunday services

this is what we did
got up made a cup of coffee
sat down with the sunday paper
and read all the bad news
then anna left to visit a friend
nick watched -- again --
the tremors franchise
i sat in the front room with
all the sunshine and read
the newest rolling stone
then took the selected thom gunn
edited by august kleinzahler
and a collection of buddhist essays
hooked: buddhist writings on greed
desire and the urge to consume
edited by stephanie kaza
to the back garden where it was too
damn warm for so late an april day
later we watched the movie super 8
again because nick loves the film
feeling like shit all day with a stuffy
head and folds of cold chills that anna
tells me sounds like food poisoning
with all the crap i ate last night i am
not surprised  and so here i am at
10:34 pm sunday night
i should be in bed but instead
here i am recapping bits of my
domestic bohemia

i should be sleeping but i'm wide awake.  it is near 2:00 a.m.  must be something to do with the 5-hour nap i took this afternoon.  the nap produced all kinds of dreams including a nightmare that took the form of a horror-exploitation movie trailer complete with a 3rd-person narrator.  i don't remember much of the nightmare except it was real creepy and sad.   but i must've needed the sleep.

it's been a long week.  a former co-worker, whom i dedicated the most recent dailies, died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33 .  it is not my business to tell his story.  his death was like a kick to the nuts.  i am still trying to sort it out.  perhaps there is no sorting available.  a sudden death like my co-worker's illustrates the fragility of life.  death is always present.  and chance is what governs our lives.  life is the greatest gift.  even at its most petty, base and mean.  death makes me shout carpefuckingdiem.

at any rate, perhaps i'm wide awake because i've eaten a lot of junk food tonight.  nick and i spent our night at the happiest place on earth, the drive-ins.  an evening at the drive-ins absolutely necessitates the eating of chips dip and burritos.  i think the eating of crap is in the charter of the drive-in theater.  my belly is full!  the movies themselves are nearly always incidental to the experience of the outdoor theater itself.  a magical experience.  one that cannot be replicated any where else on earth.

i've written here that i heard -- and read in the paper -- that the last remaining drive-ins, the sac 6, is slated for redevelopment next year.  the parent company that owns the sac 6 wants to raze the drive-ins in favor of building a new strip mall.  i've rededicated myself to getting a few more nights at the drive-ins before it falls to the wrecking ball.

wish i can tie drive-ins, death, junk food and life all in a neatly written summation.  i can't.  because like life these things lack closure.  each thing is ongoing.  each thing contains life and contains death.  there is just the continuing present.  the drive-ins will exist until they don't.  and its unexistence will be just as long.  life too exists until it doesn't.  death is not, i think, the great thief.  death is like life is.  always there.  always present.    

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

i.m. mds

scratching at the wall looking thru the screened window

the flashlight moon

stars drop like hits of acid

wavery lines

O wild moon

slapped upside the head by death

i want to throw my arms around you

i want to hug everyone and everything in the world

Monday, April 22, 2013


and what will you do between this and this before you hit the black back wall

Sunday, April 21, 2013


taking a line from etheridge knight

'feeling fucked up'

it's in the knees that pain

does it make you feel alive 


and what do you do about neglect

it's why we do what we do

because we cannot do something else

Thursday, April 18, 2013

no cars go

anna told me about a recent study about the car culture of young people.  there is no car culture.  young people prefer to live in cities and get around by bike, public transport and walking.  young people connect via social media.  cars are only things that are sometimes necessary.  car manufacturers are worried because brand loyalty starts as a teenager.  you know, my dad was a chevy man; i am a chevy man.

which is probably for the better really because cars are a terrible expense, horrible polluters, and obscenely dangerous.  not having a car is better for the environment, the checking account and your health.

and yet, even though i am not a car kind of guy myself there are a few vestiges of the old car culture i love.  like drive-in theaters.  i heard in the news a week ago that our own sac 6 drive-ins are set for closure in the next year to make way for a new shopping center.  the developer for the new shopping center has had plans to demolish the sac 6 for years.  the economy is changing i hear for the better.  so i think that this might really be the last summer for the sac 6 drive-ins.  once it goes there will be no other drive-ins left in sac.  the drive-ins are dead.

at any rate, i am grateful that that last vestige of the old car culture has stuck around long enough into the 21st century that nick will remember it.  i was able to share my love of the drive-in with my son.

i don't know.  thinking that the old car culture is dead put me in mind of that creeley poem, 'I know a Man' that goes

     why not, buy a goddamn big car,

     drive, he sd, for
     christ's sake, look
     out where yr going.

because what is freedom but freedom of movement.  getting a driver's license was the first toehold of independence and adulthood.  the driver's license was a rite of passage.  what of our pixelated era.  what poems will be written from, to, and on the ether.  i'm sure there will be poems.  if there are humans then there will be poems.  something to look forward to.  hell, i have turned into an e-poet.  this is a brave new world.   

memoirs of an old dude doing zazen

chapter 1

oh do my fucking knees ache!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


david byrne got some groceries

some peanut butter

be blunt and ask: when was the world

not fucked up

to have the freedom to sit down

what is the protocol

guess the number the long hours at work

always unbalanced

and busy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

a not so modest proposal

it seems we have problem in contemporary poetry.  there are too many mfa programs that have the whiff of a promise -- however discreet -- of professional publications and the pursuit of academic employment.  in this new normal the economy of academia matches the economy of the corporate state.  the key words are of the new normal are restructure and downsize.  there are simply not enough teaching jobs available for even a few of the graduates of mfa programs.  universities and colleges are faced with steep budget deficits.  departments instead hire not tenure-track professors but part-time lecturers often without benefits.  these part-timers often cobble together a few classes among various schools and struggle to make ends meet. 

add to the fact that the price tag for a post-graduate degree can cost somewhere around tens of thousands of dollars to a hundred grand.  that's a lot of scratch for a sheepskin that confers the authority and prestige of writer in an economic landscape that values managers of billion dollar hedge funds over the maker of unprofitable texts. 

often the subject of right employment rises among writers.  writing, particularly poetry, is not only a money-losing endeavour but writers often have to pay for their own and colleagues publication thru the founding of small presses.  and what writer, particularly poets, haven't got that look from family members or non-writer peers when asked what is your major and what will you do with a writing degree.  writers often ask the question, what should writers do for a living.

writing is not an occupation.  it is not a career.  it is not a job.  it is an obsession.  since writing is a non-paying obsession and because one cannot live on the gift-economy of small-press publications the writer in an mfa program must ask herself how she is going to pay the rent, buy food, pay the internet provider and buy books, and pay back the loans she took to be in an mfa program. 

i have a solution.  in the new normal we have to create new solutions.  the mfa program must be combined with vocational education and/or training.  when you study literature and workshop your texts you are also learning to become an r.n. or an auto mechanic or tech writer.  whatever occupation that suits the talents and needs of the writer enrolled in the program.  the successful graduate will not only have been immersed in the world of art but also the practical needs of the trades.  the successful graduate will have a sheepskin she can take into the boardroom as well as the grease pit.  small-press publishing would get an infusion of monies from the steady paychecks of its publishers, writers and readers [who are often the same people, particularly poets].  the subjects for writing will explode into areas often unthought of by writers for the world of the office is unlike the office of the professor. 

there are precedents for writers with occupations.  think of chekov who worked as a physician; dr. williams writing his poems on prescription pads; stevens composing texts during his walks to and from his job in an insurance firm; wendell berry on his farm; kit robinson working in the tech industry.  the lists of working writers is long.  the health of writing -- particularly poetry -- would increase too for the subjects and objects of writing will live in an expanding universe of trial and error, failure and fatigue.  the mfa program/vocational training program would ensure writers if not adequate employment but a greater chance of making a living then trying to cobble a few teaching gigs here and there.  the mixed program shall offer courses and examples of discipline too.  working and writing shall be taught that they are not antithetical.  working and writing are not enemies.  the world of writing is infinite.  jobs in the new normal economy are not.  every writer need not be a teacher.  but each writer shall gain a force of knowledge by making a living balanced with an obsession of writing.  even after a long shift changing car batteries the writer will have learned the discipline to sit down at night, or morning, or even on the job, to write a few lines or pages.  the only enemy will be her sleep-gummed eyes.

not only is jim mccrary an important poet in my life but he is also a great prose stylist.  just read this piece by mccrary about kathy acker and gregory corso.  mccrary has also recently published a short essay about the poet paul blackburn which you can find on my blog here and at galatea resurrects #19.  and he's ripped thru a few pieces about his home town lawrence, kansas that just killed me.  i'm just sayin'.  i'd love to see him put together these and other pieces mccrary might have around into a big book. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

it was a great show.  the venue was one of the best i've been in.  the band, the postal service, was top notch.  last night was their second performance of their tour.  we sat in the third row so close to the stage we could nearly reach out and touch the band members.  the acoustics were fantastic.  the postal service released their album give in ten years ago on subpop records.  the group was conceived as a one-off side project by its members who each lead their own very successful bands.  the album was immensely popular.  it struck a chord with its listeners who hold it in a very dear place.  thus it is for us.  anna was pregnant with nick and the postal service was the soundtrack.  nick grew up with their music.  he has his own favorite songs.  it was only natural that we would bring him to the concert.  the band gave me the most pleasurable chills.  like i was transported yet grounded by their grooves.  the music and performance was so good i had tears in my eyes. 

whole lotta shakin' goin' on


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

nick and me at the mondavi performing arts center tonight to see the postal service

Monday, April 08, 2013

may the few drive-in screens left in the u.s. be darkened tonight for annette funicello passed away today at age 70.  no small secret that i am a huge fan of the 1960s beach movies and a big admirer of these films stars, frankie avalon and annette funicello.  these films embody goofy innocence and summery lightness.  annette pinioned off the antics of her roles with great charm and grace.  i will miss her luminous presence. 


Sunday, April 07, 2013

four capsule reviews*

life of pi [2012]

ang lee is a gifted filmmaker.  but he chooses boring stories to shoot.  this is one of those stories.  nothing wrong with the narrative about an indian boy who embraces faiths of all kinds and whose life is uprooted and changed forever when his family decides to emigrate to canada and take their zoo with them.  visually dazzling and edited within an inch of its life for gravitas this is a hollywood movie par excellence.  a large movie with bold emotion proudly worn on its sleeve.  yet that is the difficulty for me.  lee creates a world of large gestures and even larger signs.  but little in nuance.  lee and his very talented crew paints large pictures but forgets the pungency of small details.  i didn't say i did not enjoy this flick but i wanted something less in its ambitions.  i wanted to know why the boy believes the way he does.  why this story -- in the words of the journalist who interviews the adult pi -- will make me believe in god.

super 8 [2011]

you'd think i'd be raving mad over this movie because it takes place in the late 1970s, shares some of my obsessions [horror movies, terrific rock&roll of its era], and monsters but i am not.  the movie is too wonky for my taste.  the kids' characters are not developed.  the writing is so-so.  the special fx are again too hollywood bombast for me to give much of a shit.  i have reviewed this movie when it was first released i think.  nick loves it and we watched it again over the weekend.  not sure what to say about director j.j. abrams except that he shouldn't ape the style of spielberg like he does in this flick.  move on and do something interesting.

war of the worlds [2005]

ah spielberg you vex me.  most of your films are bombast and sentimentyet you can make even those things beautiful.  thus it is for this remake.  good movie it is not but it is an addictively watchable film.  spielberg you have crafted an apocalyptic movie with genuine tension and terror in parts.  i watch your remake for those parts like when cruise is getting his kids into the car at the beginning of the alien attack.  or when cruise and kids is in that car and is surrounded by terrified townfolk.  those are excellent pieces, spielberg, and i wish you kept that torque thru whole run-time.  instead you give me a mushiness contained within the reels of this movie that jeopardizes my own willingness to suspend disbelief.  yet i continue to watch your movie and i hate myself for it.

monsters [2010]

like the previous two film i have written about this one before.  it is a magnificent film.  it may not be everyone's cup of tea but i love this movie.  the pace is slow yet riveting.  its leads are as real people are, flawed, comic, serious and goofy.  the filmmaker gareth edwards stretches his budget for maximum effect.  this is an indie low-budget horror film that leaves the horror on the side and instead concentrates the story to the lives of its protagonists.  each frame is packed with detail.  the soundtrack is like the pace slow but riveting.  edwards has created a miracle of filmmaking, small in funds but large in vision and execution.  i found myself rewinding scenes either for its writing or the details placed in both the background and foreground.  this is a movie to savor and to love.

*links will take you to the movie trailers

Friday, April 05, 2013

at the movies

film lovers all over the world lost a wonderful critic yesterday, roger ebert.  his partner in rhyme, gene siskel, died in 1999.  together they made film criticism cool and film critics celebrities in their own right.  i was an early adherent to their show when it was broadcast on PBS back in -- i'm not sure -- but i started watching the program when i was told by a friend about it around 1981. i was 13 or 14 years old. back then the show was called Sneak Previews and i recall it opening with two newspaper delivery truck, the chicago sun times and the chicago tribune, both rival papers and each with their own movie critic.  those critics -- gene siskel and roger ebert -- teamed up and created a broadcast with a forum for film criticism a show devoted to movies that aired clips of the latest films all before VCRs turned every household in to a movie theater?  i was hooked.

nowadays television is saturated by sneak previews, celebrity gossip shows, and trailers.  i don't think siskel and ebert were the first hosts of their kind but they were the pair that set the mold.  even so siskel and ebert were eggheads and slightly goofy which were their strength and charm.  if you want go to where you will find oodles of siskel and ebert at work.  i'd post a clip here but i have a date to watch a flick with nick.  we will even have jiffypop popcorn.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Title for a Book

Memoirs of a Buddhist Fry Cook

spring haiku

cross legged on my cushion
          among the cats and hound
my knees are fucking killing me

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

i couldn't help

i couldn't help but falling in love again with the early evening spring air so soft and warm even as the world continues to be batshit crazy


fucking crazy cloud i'll follow my own red thread

there was a bounce to her stride that was so

astonishing even ol' shakes would be at a loss for words

Monday, April 01, 2013




listen to 'april skies' by the jesus and mary chain

look up big puffy marshmallow clouds thru the window

i've become a catbed for ollie when doing zazen

april fools day a bad joke is me