Thursday, February 23, 2017

when i publish my writings on this forum i think of the texts as provisional some are movie reviews other pieces are diaries and still others are poems and essays i think all my writing is unfinished and i try to use the aesthetic utilized by better makers like jim mccrary and nicanor parra who are antipoets sometimes their texts are raw funny sloppy erudite and so on

so sometimes i keep my texts sloppy much like a punk rock musician who plays her instrument out of tune on purpose i think of the great anti-solos by punk guitarist greg hetson where the notes are on this side of chaos

that sounds like an excuse for bad writing but that ain't what i'm getting at i'm reaching for an art that is yes punk but as deep and profound as i can make it

i also go for simplicity years ago i saw the works of the japanese artist takashi murakami at the SFMOMA whose aesthetic he called SUPERFLAT

SUPERFLAT as theory is sorted by pop culture and fine arts together to explore the shallowness of culture as a lover of b and z grade horror movies comic books pulp novels porno chic era films this aesthetic thrilled me

but i am also a student of asian cultures and its poetries it is said that when you stand west in california you are facing east i am also a student of eastern european and latin american poetries and i really dig it when those poets are also influenced by asian poetries like jaan kaplinski and again nicanor parra

further these poetries are marked by simplicity and i am doing my best to be simple in expression

so i've been rereading my most recent essay or proem and worrying over it i am trying to work thru my difficulties over the necessity of art even in the teeth of our most likely extinction

the fault of course is mine because my default setting is joy i am honestly thankful to be alive even when the times have turned shitty

how do i and you square art making when our civilization won't likely survive  that was the crux of my essay written in the prism of SUPERFLAT antipoetry

i think i failed that task in my text it is just as well i'll fail better again tomorrow

Monday, February 20, 2017

i woke this morning, the third day of a three-day weekend, where the rain has pounded california, north and south, with biblical intensity, this after a five year harsh drought and my beloved state is now reeling with epic mudslides, flooding, and dam spillway failures, that it is difficult now to deny, try as you might, that climate change is here, right now, and these are the milder effects we will experience from a destabilized climate, and i know that the worse is still to come, but time is short, the shit hasn't really hit the fan

i woke this morning thinking about this, and art, and how art sometimes feels like an inadequate response -- action -- when faced with the enormous destructive powers facing us in our new century what can art do with the fact of our likely extinction

then i remembered a movie matinee [1993] directed by joe dante this flick is a love letter to grade z monster movies of the 1950s and early '60s and the schlockmeister william castle who perfected the viewing experience of monster movies by, for example, installing electric buzzers in theater seats so when castle needed an extra bit of wham! he'd hit the buzzers to scare the bejeezus outta his audiences

and i remembered that those grade z monster movies were made in an era of the cold war when fears of global nuclear holocaust were at their zenith

i remembered dante placed his flick his love letter to horror moving going during the cuban missile crisis on key west which is a mere 90 miles or so east of cuba and if the world was going to end key west was going to be the first to go

and yet the movie is about art its utilities and necessities in a chaotic world because the world has not ceased its madness, we need to sing thru that madness, our madness, it really matters not a whit whether we survive our madness, i think extinction, if not for our species at least for our civilization, is certain

and yet art in all its forms painting language musics movies etc etc is absolutely critical for us to remain sane and so the movie matinee is a reminder that even in the scariest times we need to remember how necessary how vital is art

we will not survive this, our art will not survive the end of civilization, but for the while we are here alive our hearts pumping and our synapses firing, the making of art is a lot like love it won't save the world but we will die if we lose its creation, oh hell we will die anyway, but for art, for the while, creates us as we create it and thru our making art is, at the least, cause for us to stay alive

Sunday, February 19, 2017

the philosopher george carlin on 'not giving a shit'


Friday, February 17, 2017

the above is a map of the lost drive-in theaters located in the sacramento region.  the only one still open is the Sac 6 drive-in.  anna emailed me this map tonight from a facebook page dedicated to sac memories.  as you know the drive-in hits my sweet spot, my special place, the happiest place on earth.  i found my love of outdoor movies by the movie-going habits of my parents who took me and my brothers to nearly all of these drive-in theaters on this map -- except for the Westlane because that specialized in XXX movies -- where we watched every genre of film.  indeed, my first chapbook, THE GRAPEVINE, long out of print, i don't think even i have a copy, boasts of a photo of the Sunrise drive-in on the cover long after it closed its doors but still in magnificent decrepitude.  the Sunrise has long since gone to dust and is now, well, i don't know what it is, but the drive-in has been bulldozed out of existence.  but as you can see from the map sac was rich in outdoor movies, another side of roadside paradise long away and gone.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

recent netflix viewing: rita [2012 -]

when i started this blog way back in the mid part of the last decade i was a hardcore DVD collector.  it was a marvelous time, really.  lots of indie DVD companies were lovingly restoring beautiful, crazy, demented horror and exploitation flicks that made this movie lover's heart a'skipping and a'beating.  but now we live in a digital age of broadband internet, mobile devices and streaming services like netflix.  i am a convert to these streaming services and i love making discoveries like the above named TV show from denmark.

the eponymous hero of this show is a school teacher, played by mille dinesen, living in copenhagen who is in her early 40s with three grown children.  she is popular among her students.  she is preternaturally gifted with children but with adults she is a serious misfit.  rita is a loving mother, but there is something within her psyche, or past, or something, that keeps her from growing up.

and thus therein lies the magic of this TV show.  rita is not a wholly likable character.  she is deeply flawed, irritating even on the viewer's nerves.  indeed rita is like people we actually know and see in the mirror.  rita's children are decent, loving people in their own right.  but they also have flaws, again, like us.  rita's coworker's are again like the people we work with, sometimes fun, sometimes not.

still, there is much love and lovingness in this show.  rita is a compelling character.  i've binge-watched the first season this week and i'm already two shows into the second season.  oh, and it is wonderful to see how life is lived in other parts of the world.  for example, one episode deals with pregnancy.  rita contemplates keeping the baby.  it wasn't a planned pregnancy -- rita is pretty randy -- but she already has children and her oldest son is about to become a father.  in the end she decides to terminate the pregnancy because, as she tells the man who got her pregnant, 'it is now the younger generation's turn' in having children.  the next scene rita takes medication to terminate the pregnancy.  never would you see that scene, or hear that dialogue, in a u.s. TV show, at least not without a lot of horrible mental anguish and agony suffered by the woman.

another thing, streaming services allow us, the viewers, to see international TV shows and cinema.  despite my country's hard turn to the right, and its protectionist rhetoric, i prefer to live in what the poet pierre joris calls 'betweenness' which is the liminal area of translation, of cultures, of languages, of peoples, for when we look at our planet in the cosmic perspective, our earth is, in the phrase of carl sagan, a 'pale blue dot', and from that perspective we really are a single species.  our current rhetoric notwithstanding we do live in the age of globalization.

the beauty of streaming TV and movies is that we can see, hear, feel even, what it means to be human in other cultures, countries and languages.  rita's culture is not so different from mine.  even so, i understand denmark ranks as one of the happiest countries on earth.  but even so human nature is complicated and stupid and goofy.  this TV show is proof that being alive and human is a traumatic series of events no matter where, or who, you are.  i have fallen in love with rita and her children. 

please do read

this profile of kevin opstedal, the poet of the california littoral, & do check out his terrific poetry blog located in the links on the right of this humble blog

peas pass the please

Monday, February 13, 2017

on the way to berkeley

                                      we stop at the highway rest stop
for a piss and a stretch of the legs
the view of vacaville is astonishing the rollercoasters of the
theme park are stationery and silent for the season

then it happened a man returned from the loo to his car
used his car key to open the door and then behind the wheel
unfolded a paper map of california

                                                    as we ordered our doors
open via a button on the key fob
and punched our destination into the phone

Friday, February 10, 2017

tom raworth [r.i.p.]

i don't know where to begin because there has been a lot of death recently but of course death is part of life and all of us are getting older than we might like

i've been a long time reader/admirer of tom raworth

i didn't know him personally tho he did send me a birthday greeting many years back via email and i always wondered how he knew my birthday i think he had a gift for such greetings and must've possessed a talent for significant dates

what i admired about this poet is his goodness a lovely man devoted to his family his devotion was mightily in evidence on his website where he posted thousands of pictures of his children grandchildren family outings events etc etc

such is proof that one can be an excellent poet and a good person with a happy family

i am grateful that tom raworth was in the world and wrote some of the zippiest poetry i know

his influence is obvious in my decision to write like his poetry in lower-case around the time when i read raworth's mammoth collected poems published in i believe 2003 or 2004

oh and don't forget his appearance and dress an admixture of the domestic and bohemian an earring a couple of faded tattoos a bushy mustache and kind eyes

we can't stay on earth forever and now that i am so much older than i thought i'd get my own life is just a blink in time but while we are here we can love and create as best we can touching as many people as we are able by the simple acts of being a good person

i believe tom raworth was such a person and for those of us who admire and love his poetry and his person we are made better by his example of a good life in poetry

Thursday, February 09, 2017

it's been a week of distractions, stress, and obligations. . .you know, the usual array of details that make up a life in early 21st century u.s.

i didn't watch the superbowl last weekend but i did see part of lady gaga's halftime show i thought was way too overproduced for my taste

i understood that the worry was lady gaga would be political in her performance

i mean the times call for it right

but no there was just a lot of fireworks and dancers and gaga herself leaping about the stadium

and i thought would it were be cool if black flag or the dead kennedys performed the superbowl halftime show

you want political?  you couldn't get more of a political statement than seeing jello biafra intone the great verses of say 'california uber alles' before a weary and wasted world audience

oh and don't forget the stage divers leaping into the frightened moribund living rooms of the united states

think of that

then we might get somewhere . . .

Friday, February 03, 2017

Thursday, February 02, 2017

groundhog day haiku

rainy day watching the movie, again
                          punxsutawney phil sez
definitely see a hungry shadow