Friday, January 31, 2014

the fantastic jose kozer

i found the following video last night of poet jose kozer waxing on all kinds of shit.  i love this man.  he says, the true heroism of the 20th century is not its fucking wars.  true heroism of the 20th century is dealing with your wife or your friend in decent way.  he's talking about the 20th century specifically in a growing tolerance of civil rights, workers rights, and sexual rights.  that the true legacy of the 20th century is a growing tolerance -- that seems to be eroding in the 21st century -- of alternative lives.  poets like jose kozer are representatives -- to me at any rate -- of a paradigm shift in our perceptions of poetry and poets.  we do not need a bunch of little drunken rimbauds to be good poets.  we need to be good people to be good poets.  amen, hermano.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

the difficulties
of tying my shoes
back bent aching
knees the joys of
infirmary oh how
long how long
do i got on this
earth to open
my eyes and
stay awake nick
asked me how
fast do our eyes

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


evening rain finally even if shallow even if thin

we trust our senses our intuition so much today

i said okay you see me everyday what color are my eyes

i enter this line as an exile i do not know this inglish

ask me where i live i say the international republic of literature

Sunday, January 26, 2014

saturday night double feature

rollercoaster [1977] 

the other day a friend at work and i were talking about obscure bands and musicians.  he asked if i ever heard of spark who performed 'eaten by the monster of love' on the valley girl [1983] soundtrack.  sparks, i said.  the band.  who are still performing and are critical darlings.  i then mentioned this flick where sparks is performing during the climax.  timothy bottoms plays a character billed only as young man who likes to blow up rides at amusement parks.  george segal is an amusement park inspector who the young man takes a shine to.  released the same year as star wars the movie was marketed as a disaster movie.  it is not.  the film is an excellent psycho drama.  the roller coaster sequences are filmed with sensurround to amp the feelings of riding a coaster at top speed.  bottoms is a magnificent little creep.  segal is his perfect foil.

the baby [1973]

this sick little flick was on right after the above named title on Turner Classic Movies Underground.  i've read about this movie years ago but until last night i hadn't seen it.  now i can't un-see it.  the eponymous character is a full-grown man who mewls like an infant, is dressed in the clothes of a baby and crawls on all fours like an infant.  his physical and emotional development was/is retarded by his psycho mother and sisters.  the dude doesn't even have a name.  he's simply called, baby.  whoa.  wrap your mind around that.  and when the baby cries his voice is dubbed by actual baby cries and the effect will make your sphincter pucker.  all the characters, including baby, look like they smell of viceroy cigarettes and cheap bourbon.  this pic is a grubby little exploitation gem that is a product of its era.  films from the 1970s were some of the most radical experiments in sleaze and expression.  taboos were broken and social mores were crumpled and redefined.  the baby has a champion of sorts, a social worker, who fights against his weirdo family for his safety and development.  but the ending will make you give up on humanity.     

Friday, January 24, 2014

i have taken personality profiles before.  last week anna had me take another one online.  yep, unsurprising results.  i'm the kinda guy who gets a charge out of people and social settings.  i used to be, as t.s. garp said of himself [world according to garp, a novel and a film], terribly shy.  now the t.s. stands for terribly sexy [a line in the film starring robin williams].  or not.  but when i tell anna that i suffered from crippling shyness as a child she calls it bullshit.  she don't see it.

like tonight.  i sorta kinda officiating a function involving the cub scouts.  nick is a cub scout and i do what i can to help out.  because i was with a good group of people i got a high from it and i've yet to come down.  i get an electrical charge out of being with people.  but not always.  i'm not a strong extrovert.  i love my solitude too.

which is a long way of saying that i've long felt as an outsider.  even if it seems like i'm in the inside.  i think that is the condition of the artist, if i may be so blunt.  the artist is an outsider.  it's the condition of the artist.  maybe that is why the artist feels the need to try to transform her world.  even as a buddhist who attempts to see the world as it is still has the strong need to help in the creation of the world.

i've been digging lately the work of hungarian poet marton koppany.  i've long admired his lucid visual poems when they are published here and there, but i love his piece on the books he is reading at eileen tabios' new blog eileen verbs books.  koppany writes primarily in english, i believe.  he approaches english as an outsider who lives also outside of his natal language.  i don't mean to read into koppany's meanings regarding his view of language at all.  i simply mean that koppany's use and attitude toward language mirror a couple of my favorite writers, such as ernesto priego, lars palm, stefan hyner, and jim mccrary.  mccrary says in a poem that english is the language that he lovingly mangles.  hyner writes in german and also in an inglish that he learned from his studies of, for example, jaime de angulo. these poets are like punk rockers and punks taught me that you don't have to have any talent.  you just need to strap on the guitar and strum.  fuck off.  poetry is like that too.  you don't need an mfa or a teaching gig or a trip to the awp.  just get those words on the screen/page.  and fuck off.

now some might disagree with the premise of punk rock poetry. fuck off.  but really why else do it but for the love of the art and language.  i became a punk because i was an outsider of socio-economic class.  i just loved punk's attitude and crass music.  punk was an affirmation of life.  with the example of these poets i find the affirmation of language is an act of helping in creation.  i've heard this quote this week on NPR from marcus aurelius, the stoic emperor, don't sweat the small stuff because you, we all, will soon be dead.  aurelius, according to the commentator,wrote in his meditations, 'a drop of semen, pound of ash.'  meaning we will all die anyway so quit your bitching and get on with the passions of your life. 

oh, don't forget to fuck off [see i am really terribly shy!].

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

another day and no rain another day at work another evening home i recall the wisdom i read in a book written by a zen monk about his teacher the teacher worked for many years in a japanese corporation rather than find the job desultory and a distraction the teacher was grateful to have the employment to support his life and his studies this morning i remember that gratitude this morning i read a poem by jaan kaplinski that begins

               The washing never gets done.
               The furnace never gets heated.
               Books never get read.
               Life is never completed.
               Life is like a ball which one must continually
               catch and hit so that it won't fall.

this evening i helped nick compose a diamante poem for school no not really helped more like a coach to nick's muse today i tried my best right now i'm watching the end of total recall [2012] the remake of a better film i am watching this movie because it stars bryan cranston colin farrell kate beckinsale and jessica biel i am watching this film because it is no small matter life never gets completed

Saturday, January 18, 2014

two shorts

oblivion [2013] 

is 50 the new 20?  i've heard something like that because tom cruise, at the age of 50, looks fantastic.  but the work he must endure everyday to maintain his musculature must be stupendous.  he is ripped without a grey hair in sight.  oh my.  and this movie is spectacularly beautiful.  fuck the plot.  i don't even know what this movie was about.  tom cruise lives in a house high in the sky with a comely red-head.  below them is the blasted ruins of earth.  tom repairs drones.  a ship crash lands on earth.  tom races to the crash site.  he finds a woman in a hibernation chamber.  mr cruise has had visions of this woman.  together cruise and this woman, also very comely, take down skynet.  yet there is a sleek beauty to the special fx.  it is wonderful to witness.  with so much eye candy on the screen the producers could afford to skimp on an adequate script.  there is a scene where cruise and his assistant have sex in a swimming pool with a glass bottom, at night, in the sky.  their bodies merge with the clouds.  gorgeous.

women behind bars [1975] 

fucking jess franco.  why do i like his movies?!  this is your standard WIP [women in prison] low budget film featuring franco's muse, the lovely lina romay.  romay wastes her gem thief boyfriend, gets thrown into the clink, while a couple of bozos chase her down for the jewels.  the lady ain't no dummy and plays a few cards her way.  this is your typical franco film.  too many zoom shots of faces and crotches.  franco frames many of his scenes with the cell bars in the foreground, emphasizing the prison part of the movie.  but the damn bars get in the way of seeing the action.  and the lighting is all for shit.  sometimes the screen is so muddy i couldn't tell what the hell was going on.  but as issa said, the world of franco is the world of franco. . .and yet. . .and yet.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

up before light make coffee press on clothes
head out the door nick is singing so am i
the newspaper was full of bad news and ads
my head doesn't feel screwed on right
and perhaps is 2 sizes too small
crisp blue sky no rain for weeks
it is gonna be a beautiful goddamn day

Monday, January 13, 2014

feasts for the eyes and mind and other parts of the body

eileen tabios curated another crack issue of galatea resurrects #21.  you'll find a plethora of poets, poetry and thinking about poetry.  i am honored to be included with a couple of reviews.  click thee there, now!

* * *

sf poet and my brother in the art, jonathan hayes, surprised me this evening with a package waiting for me.  the package contained his latest journal Over the Transom [i have a few pieces in it, so too does jim mccrary, paul murphy of ireland, guy r beining, klipschutz and loads more.  it is well worth the effort to get a copy], the newest issue of Rain Taxi, and a copy of his hot off the presses book, American Haiku (Mel C. Thompson Publishing, San Fransisco, 2013).  this is an excellent book that deserves reading and rereading.  here is a taste.

                fresh shafts of sunshine break through
                and between the skyscrapers of financial district

               -- where is my list of things to do today?


               brought christmas wreath to neighbor,
               condolences on her husband's passing

               -- half naked in doorway she hugs me


               the wife is reading lacan,
               unable to express herself

              -- neither can i. . .

and one more

               b/w photograph
              =           "now"

               -- garry winogrand at sfmoma

magnficent work. click here to obtain a copy.  hayes is a gorgeous poet and one that makes me happy to be alive.

Friday, January 10, 2014

                              A / / / / / o / / / / / Live

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sir Run Run Shaw [1907 - 2014]

in the late '70s, early '80s, before the ubiquity of the VCR and watching movies at home, a family friend introduced me and my brothers to the splendors of The Star Theater, a little grindhouse located on the K St Mall that played kung fu movies.

i went to school at that theater.  street people would take shelter in it.  drug deals were made in it.  the bathrooms were unspeakable.  rats roamed the aisles and i remember one afternoon when many of the theater seats started to collapse with their occupants sitting inside.

the Star Theater was owned and operated by a chinese family that imported their movies from hong kong.  i remember the posters hanging in the lobby for films like drunken master and iron monkey and hundreds more i don't recall the names of.  stars with names like bruce li and bruce le would festoon these works of art complete with a flying kick and/or a pair of nunchucks. 

this is the theater where i was introduced to the movies of sir run run shaw.  these kung fu epics were wild, masterly action films.  often they were horribly dubbed and the editing was sloppy.  but their flaws were part of their artistry.  i love these movies and i would get supercharged watching them. 

sir run run shaw lived a very long life.  he died today at the age of 106.  his studio was prolific and i have no doubt that his kind of hong kong cinema shaped world film culture.

below is the title logo for the Shaw Bros. studio that preceded most of shaw's films.  watching it again makes me wistful for that tattered grindhouse that lives today only in memory.

new bookcase

take the old bookcase to the back garden 
look at the hangnail moon 
step in a pile of dog poo

Sunday, January 05, 2014

a day at the beach

is the name of a collection of poems by robert grenier.  it is also what we did yesterday.  the weather was too nice to be housebound.  we headed toward the coast but couldn't decide to visit muir beach or stinson beach.  both are across the bay from SF and both are pretty damn close to each other.  stinson beach is the larger of the two.  the road to both beaches is a perilous, windy, crazily narrow mountain road with seriously scary sharp turns and high cliffs.  the views from that road are priceless.

we dressed warm for the beach because it is early january.  the weather here is very like spring with high temperatures and sunny.  it is also very dry.  we haven't had any significant rain for a couple months now.  california is entering its third drought conditions year.  the reservoirs are almost mud puddles and the snowpack in the sierra nevadas are 19 percent of normal.  and yet, it is gorgeous weather. 

we dressed warm because we are used to the cold and damp at the coast which is particular for this time of year.  we brought sweaters and jackets.  we didn't need to for it was in the high 60s, low 70s.  we drove past muir beach and pointed the prius to stinson because it has large boulders nick could climb on and explore.  holy shit, the beach was crowded!  girls in bikinis, children in the surf, surfers out in the breakers, families on blankets and chairs under the sun.  astonishing and lovely.

below are couple of pics anna snapped on her iPhone.  you can see the clear blue sky and the people on the beach.  i did my best to practice gratitude and enjoy a beautiful day at the beach with anna and nick.

shoes + beach = sand in shoes

i thought i was smiling!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

last night, new year's eve, nick and i waited for midnight.  for the ball to drop in times square, NYC, via the TV.  nick wanted to watch the clock automatically change on his iPod from 2013 to 2014, me i was up because midnight is my normal bedtime.  i'd been on the 'net earlier to watch videos of the fireworks displays in sydney and auckland and london.

waiting for the ball to drop, i was on a youtube jag looking up old drive-in intermission shorts.  i found one anna and i remember from our childhoods.  the projectionists at the Sac 6 drive-in theaters -- still up and running this far into the 21st century -- played it all the time in the 1970s and early 1980s.  anna and i both can sing the tune because the memory of this ad is tattooed on our grey matter and i was overjoyed -- i shit you not -- to find it, again, after so many years. 

seems appropriate that i start the new year with a clip from a dead industry.  i showed nick this clip earlier tonight but since he has no history for it the drive-in intermission short is out of context, slightly moribund, and a bit esoteric for him.  instead he wanted me to look up 'what does the fox say' by ylvis.  all the kids love that song.

i think it is appropriate to start the new year with this drive-in memory because it was a fortuitous discovery of a sliver of our shared culture that i love so much.  that sliver is gone now but for the memory.  i watched and watched again this clip because it is joyous, goofy, and simply a delight.  for me, and for anna, we've been singing this tune all day. 

behold; it is the first clip on this batch, the one that looks like a bad outtake from the movie grease.  even though the Sac 6 drive-ins are still open and showing films it long stopped playing these intermission snack bar ads.  before youtube these shorts were the domain of collectors of 35mm film prints.  unless you collected the prints you wouldn't see these ads.  today, i can watch these intermission shorts.  in a way, the internet created a space and allows these shorts to live in the present.  great good news to a drive-in nut and cinema geek.  i love these ads, their burnt colors and crackled frames. 

oh, last night, when nick watched the clock change on his iPod, he said, 'that's it, i'm going to bed' matter-of-fact and straight off.  he left the room to bed and left me to see what more drive-in memories i can muster up.