Sunday, January 31, 2016

you can take the kid out of the drive-in/you can't take the drive-in out of the kid

i have been stalled in my writing for a few months

in the teeth of climate change & overpopulation and lack of resources i wonder how my poems can be equal to the task

i have an intro to a publishing project that is long overdue i'm sure the publisher and my co-editor two very good men are making voodoo dolls of me

i work at my job day in day out i like to think of myself as a 21st C cavafy but no i am a 21st C poet doofus

i wake in a good mood grateful to be alive and have nick and anna

i look into the near future & see holy shit

as i type it is cold and very windy a super kinda windy like a kind that i haven't seen in a while

i have a theme running thru my head it's a drive-in intermission song from the 1970s

i think of my friend the poet alex gildzen and how i'd love to sit with him on the couch and watch old 1940s movies

i have a fantasy to join a monastery shave my head and dedicate my life to meditation and silence

i am constantly amazed at the tenacity of life how it thrives everywhere

i would like another tattoo in the company of my fried the poet john bloomberg-rissman we both get inked with the same image

LOGOS is my game but the universe is silent its language is math

i don't write everyday but i write something all the time

my friend the late poet pearl stein selinsky sd the difference between a poet and a non-poet is the poet thinks of death all the time

i have my doubts about thinking of death all the time and say the difference between a poet and a non-poet is that the poet thinks of writing all the time

i like to think ikkyu and i may not have liked each other but would probably get each other

i don't think van gogh and i are on speaking terms

poetry is as natural as taking a shit & just as important for health

sometimes i can't get past myself & wonder who that fuck of an old man is staring at me in the mirror

whose Inglish is this


drive-in movies in the rain

windows rolled up fogged against the dark
sky & rain
rain on top of rain
an undulating wet of the macadam
the snack bar swing set and superslide
turned inward
reflecting upon the soul
car chases & girls in bikinis
& a level thought
of our destabilized climate
where rain means heavy storms
& storms are projected upon the screen
where light turns upon
the fogged up windows
& images fancy a wet night

Saturday, January 30, 2016

yes, virginia, there is life on mars


i am waiting

i am waiting for my close up

and to be beamed up

on the goodship


Friday, January 29, 2016

walked by another dude holding another cardboard sign

try don't try try again

Thursday, January 28, 2016

walked by this dude all raggedy dressed in top hat and tails holding a cardboard sign

hey you, why the fuck do you want to be a famous poet

i did a double take and tripped over the curb

poetry is the thing
it is not the only thing

it bears repeating:

being a poet is not writing a poem, it is finding a new way to live
--paul lafleur

interview with one of my favorite poets ryszard krynicki


Monday, January 25, 2016

let me direct your attention to. . .

a final poem written by doug draime and published by the lit. zine dead snakes

[nine bows to both jonathan hayes for submitting it to the journal and the editor stephen jarrell williams for publishing it] 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

the x-files [reboot]

i haven't had my haircut for a few months.  it is getting longer, over my ears.  despite my age, and my grey, my hair is still rather thick.  i normally shellac my dome with product to manage the hairs on my scalp. when i do that i usually, along with my glasses, look like clark kent.  with my longer hair, at least for this weekend, i just let the motherfucker go, without any product.  anna likes it.  i don't know.  i am, i think, rocking the mad scientist look.

why so much shit about my hair.  cuz i'm vain, bitches!  or it could be because time changes us, and our attitudes.  despite this intro about my hair i am not so vain to worry about putting product in my hair to look like clark kent.  conversely, i was not a hardcore follower of chris carter's paranormal TV program  in the '90s.  i did watch a lot of it.  i love the spooky intro graphics and music by mark snow.   i just didn't dig the conspiracy theories espoused by agent fox mulder, played by david duchovny.

well, they are back, both mulder and dana scully, played by gillian anderson.  both have aged well.  but to get back to my hair in this opening paragraph mulder looks like he stepped off the set of CALIFORNICATION as fucked up novelist hank moody.  time, she don't let anyone stay the same.  mulder has this crazy goofy physical cool that is was absent on the original series.

what the fuck.  still, it was a delight to watch these two actors reunite under the familiar rubric of alien abduction and govt. conspiracies.  you want to know the worst conspiracy?  fucking televised football.  for i DVR'd tonight's episode titled 'my struggle'.  i was digging it.  mulder so looks and acts like hank moody that i half-expected duchovny's character to quaff a liter of whisky, snort a couple lines of coke, then bang a few ladies, then write a novella, before looking for UFOs.  but the football game ran ovetime.  i managed to get thru half the newly rebooted The X-Files.  goddam!

at any rate, the show looks great. fox and mulder pick up where we left off where the original program ended.  time changes us, and time looks after us, to quote a talking heads lyric.  and maybe, i'll let my hair grow to my shoulders or i will get it cut and put hair product in it.  the future is not a conspiracy.  it's a freaking mystery. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

from the dept. of now i've seen everything

three-piece suit wearing dude sitting behind a card table in front of city hall with his hands folded over a stack of business cards who claims he could launch you to space for cheap

Thursday, January 21, 2016

from the dept. of now i've seen everything

two boys riding their bikes middle of the street at night joyously singing at the top of their lungs 'man in the mirror' by michael jackson

Friday, January 15, 2016

let us now praise. . .

not just the death of david bowie to shock us but the actor alan rickman and the poet c.d. wright has passed away.  i loved wright's poetry.  i remember way back when there was yet another idiotic article about the death of poetry.  the author of that article asked the dumb question, is there anyone who reads poetry?  wright responded, i read poetry.  i am somebody. 

tonight we watched galaxy quest [1999] starring tim allen, sigourney weaver, tony shalhoub and alan rickman.  it's a hilarious send-up of sci-fi fandom, geekdom, and the sweetness of friendship.  rickman is a huge talent.  he is somebody, too.

as the poet said, and death thou shalt die.

raise a glass to life, motherfucker!

i started the day with reading a few poems by philip whalen.  whalen name checks his friend the late bay area poet richard duerden and duerden's cats.  i don't know much about duerden.  what i do know is he was included in donald allen's breakthrough poetry anthology the new american poetry: 1945 - 1960 and the few poems published here and there on the 'net.  so i reread the three poems published by allen before i leave for work.

i think of duerden all day.  and whalen.  and the late poet james koller.  i remembered seeing one of koller's books for sale at time tested books.  i stop there after work.  and there it is right on the counter california poems [black sparrow press; 1971].  i can't believe my good fortune.  i pick up the book, open it, and read

                   if you thought you could make it

koller possesses an elegant ordinary simplicity.  the kind of elegant ordinary simplicity i aspire to.  koller passed away in 2014.  here is a blog, crows talk to him, dedicated to his memory.  and here you will find an interview with james koller.

with koller's poems in hand i scan the stacks at time tested books.  i find life interrupted: the unfinished monologue [crown; 2005] by spalding gray with a foreword by francine prose as well as remembrances and dedications by a host of writers.  i like spalding gray.  a lot.  he suffered a brain injury and later depression then committed suicide in 2004.  i can't let the book go.  i take it.

there is another, earlier book by gray on the shelf.  i pick it up, thumb thru the pages and put it back.  i don't know.  this book seems like it will be an easier find in any other bookstore.  the unfinished monologue book, i think, if i don't get it now i'll never see it again.

then i spy a collection of essays about new orleans by andrei codrescu, new orleans mon amour [algonquin books; 2006].  i'm about to put it back on the shelf when i see the blurb by spalding gray.  the arc of the day's unfinished symmetry.  i can't put the book back.  i take that too.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

                                  HELLO SUNSHINE!

                         self-portrait of the artist as an old punk

Monday, January 11, 2016

david bowie [1947 - 2016]

i woke up on the couch last night around midnight with the TV tuned to CNN.  breaking news: david bowie has passed away at the age of 69 a few days of releasing his 25th studio album blackstar.  there have been a few deaths last month, lemmy from motorhead, john bradbury drummer for the specials, that surprised me.  the specials are an especial band to me and anna.  lemmy simply was freaking ageless and above all else, cool.  however, bowie's death shocks.

david bowie was a protean singer, songwriter and performer who developed an art out self-invention.  he used the cut-up method developed by william s. burroughs when composing lyrics.  bowie was the proof that growing older as a human being could as well grow deeper in to his, or her, art.  i loved his music.  millions did.

i watched CNN for a few minutes before turning the TV off and heading to bed.  the tributes were beginning to pour in from his fellow comrades and from friends around the world.  i paid tribute in my own small way by remembering the songs and albums by david bowie that have rocked my world.  the man is sui generis.

i write this tribute on a sunny monday late afternoon.  the sun is lowering toward the western horizon.  the temperature is warmish, like an early spring day.  i find myself singing the following tune as i move from room to room.  anna and nick will be home soon.  i have to go shopping for groceries.  the cats are pools of slumber in their 26th nap of the day.  i have a long overdue writing project to finish.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

star wars: the force awakens [2015]

millions of words have already been used on this new iteration of the legacy built by george lucas.  a couple weeks ago disney, the parent company of lucasfilm, announced a new attraction to be built at disneyland, star wars land.  construction is to begin this month and is expected to be completed in 2017.  star wars land will reconfigure swaths of frontierland and the rivers of america and toontown and so on.  based on these soon to be made changes at disneyland star wars the franchise is a huge deal.

what could i add to the discussion?  i liked the film, yes.  director j.j. abrams makes a grittier, more brutal, version of the star wars mythos.  the evil empire is gone.  in its place is the first order.  the rebel alliance is now called the resistance.  and there is only one jedi knight left, luke skywalker.

skywalker is the macguffin for all the action that takes place.  that's all i'll say about the plot.  i'm not going to spoil this flick for those who haven't seen it yet.  consider this piece of writing an anti-review.  i am amazed by the staying power of the star wars franchise.  i was nick's age when i saw the first star wars movie.  it blew my preteen mind.  my brothers and i seen that film at least half dozen times in 1977 alone.  we were puzzled by a couple of our friends who were not crazy ga ga for the flick.  i mean, not digging star wars was a real headscratcher.

sure, i would like to visit disneyland again.  i'm a sucker for theme parks.  i hate crowds and disneyland is one crowded place.  when star wars land is complete you won't be able to squeeze in a guppy between the packed people.

be that as it may, it will be hard to resist visiting star wars land for this old fan of the franchise. however, i hated the last batch of films directed by george lucas.  they were awful.  abrams has in his quiver a shitload of brilliant fx.  the action set pieces are spectacular.  the writing is crisp and the photography and editing are first rate.

the characters are wonderful too.  han solo has a huge chunk of screen time.  rey, played by daisy ridley, is crazy smart, brave and terrific.  she's like an intergalactic macgyver, able to fix a time transponder -- whatever that is -- with some shoestring and spit.  finn, played by john boyega, is my favorite character.  he's funny, flawed and simply believable as a reluctant hero.

what i like about this movie is its grimy details.  you can see the chip marks in armor.  you can see the blood on a storm trooper's helmet.  you can see the grime on the millennium falcon.  you can see the massive size of a star destroyer as it rots in the desert sand of a harsh planet.

but does the movie amount to much?  well, if you want deep meaning seek it elsewhere.  if you want to spend close to three hours sitting on the edge of your seat you would do worse than watch this film.

anna asked how i would rate this flick.  i am usually hesitant to rate anything with the standard measure of 1 to 4 stars.  but she insisted.  from a one to a 10, she said.  i give it a 9.2.  abrams reinvigorates the franchise.  there are lots of nods to the generations of fans who grew up on the franchise.  there are lots of inside jokes too.  from the opening crawl to the final image if you are a fan of star wars you will are delighted by this movie.

nick and i have seen scores of movies together.  this is the first movie we talked about right after seeing it.  even know, as i type this anti-review, i stop and discuss the star wars mythos with nick.  he's asking me about darth vader's lineage.  the importance of the force.  kids, i think, are more sophisticated today.  for example, the thrust of engine makes no sound in space.  soundwaves need an atmosphere to travel in.  nick, and j. [we saw this movie with our good friends, b., c, and j.] know this as a matter of common knowledge.  yet, star destroyers, x-wing fighters, tie fighters, the millennium falcon, all make noise in space.  but j. and nick reminds me to check my brain at the door when i watch science fiction.  for it is fiction first and science last.  to be critical of scientific inaccuracies of this film would mean a fuddy-duddiness of the viewer that takes that viewer outside the realm of the imagination, and cinematic enjoyment.  just watch, listen, and dig.

i did that.  i look forward to the next installment in the star wars series.  may the force be with all of us.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

i fucking love this song

i also love kate pierson's voice.  and i can't believe this song is 25 years old!

quote unquote

 language is love

--robin blaser

Monday, January 04, 2016

i love the cover art of old pulp novels and their delicious salacious titles

i love the sound of city noises like traffic horns and sirens

i love that special 3:00 a.m. ambiance of barely registered consciousness

i love barely remembered dreams and how they become fractured images and inchoate emotions

i love the sound of words and the look of text for example reading the caption of a cartoon and forgetting to look at the drawing

i love worn out buildings and gritty alleys

i love grainy prints of movies how the colors are muddy and the sound is washed out

i love old technology such as VHS tapes and audio cassettes

i love long walks when i simplify and become nothing

i love the feeling of anticipation when i take a seat at the theater waiting for the film to begin

well, it's not too bad
the weekend was wonderful
in its way too deep love
and a magical walk in
the rain to work this
morning very busy
thot of cavafy a hundred
years ago hunched over
his desk at the ministry
of irrigation in alexandria
a steady job that allowed
his mind to flight
and when the old poet
got home to his books
pen and secret sex photos
[cavafy wrote a poem about
buying such a photo]
the job supported the poetry
i am not trying to
make a direct comparison
between the great poet
and me but i think
what is poetry for
if not to hold dear
to the heart and say
to the self that this
was made for you
and me

Friday, January 01, 2016

horace nods #4

while we spent new year's day cleaning
the house spic and spanning each room
the dust we moved from bookshelf to rag
to garbage bag to garbage can
might be the same dirt from last week
and tho the gods gave us another year
for scheduled chaos and patterns and verse
let us admit it doesn't get any better
than sharing another ordinary day
so now that the day's work is over
i'll decant the wine and we'll celebrate
the new year until it blurs happily
in our thoughts a toast to life
and one more ordinary day