Friday, July 27, 2018

is it real
if it wasn't written?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

mr hip

i got up to get something in the kitchen
nick plopped in my seat before my laptop
it is open to my blog
he asked if blogs have any followers
i've kept this blog, i said
since your mother was pregnant
with you
boy that seem like a long time
it is not long enough
blogs might be an older technology, i said
but they work for this old man
you spelled bird wrong, he said
what, i asked
it's in your header
the word is bard, i said
it means poet
you are weird,
he said

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


is the name & the newest project of poet tom beckett, an especial treat because tom is simply one of the best poets we have.  seriously, see for yourself.

tom's poems are like potato chips.  you can't read just one.  go on.  you'll find yourself digging in the poem bag for more.  don't say i didn't warn ya.

Friday, July 20, 2018

big fucking rose bush
              i cut you down to nothing
a new green shoot, really?!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

quote unquote

The Breaths animate beings and things; these in their turn inspire man. Pushed by the impulsions and feelings which dwell within him, man expresses himself through dance and song. His song is a light which illuminates the Three Spirits (Man-Earth-Heaven) as well as the ten thousand creatures. Thus, it constitutes an offering to the spirits, and makes manifest the hidden mystery. For upsetting Heaven and Earth, for moving the Gods, nothing equals poetry.

--zhong hong [from the introduction to his shi pin]

Sunday, July 15, 2018

a nite out at the ca state fair

i think anna & i have not missed an annual nite at the the state fair since we've been together.  & we've been together going on well over 2 decades.  i'm very happy about that, both not missing the summer tradition of going to the ca state fair & being with the love of my life for well over 2 decades.

but sometimes the fair is a crowded affair.  shoulder to shoulder with our fellow brothers & sisters on this planet sounds all great, but in practice, let's just say when it is hot [this time of year average temperature varies from blistering to try not to touch the surface of the sun], & you are shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people is a trial on both your patience & your senses.

there are evenings when the stars align.  the crowds are thin.  the temperature might still be close to the skin of the sun but you find the right parking space, you can find seats & a table when you buy your dinner from one of the food stalls that are so abundant at the fair.  yet you try to eat a little healthier than the fried oreo cookie wrapped in bacon [yep, that is a real thing, i shit you not].  so you find a sandwich stall that offers vegetarian fair.  your only indulgence is the annual cinnamon roll from the stand located in the expo building that houses the county exhibits.  there is an existential question: would life be worth living without a cinnamon roll from the state fair?

i'll leave that for you to ponder.  but for me, the answer is no.  i'm over 50.  i'm also a poet.  i should watch what i eat.  i do my best.  but i like to experience life.  living a life as a deeply middle age man & poet sometimes demands that i live at an angle.  the question of normality actually was a topic tonight.  according to those closest to me, the people whom i deeply love & trust, tells me i am not normal.  i am. . .something else.

i'll argue for my ordinariness.  i'm just like every other human on this planet but for my life in poetry & my love of caffeine & beer.  frankly i have no idea how people see me.  i was surprised when a fellow poet described me as an aging skateboarder.  which ain't too far off the mark.

still, the fair was wonderful tonight.  the crowds were thin probably because of the heat.   the thermometer rested at a high of 100 F [37 C].  it was hard work going thru the outdoor farm exhibits when sweat is streaming from your forehead into your eyes.  so we took it slow.  we stayed indoors where there was air conditioning when we could.  we found shade when we couldn't be indoors.

& we sat like the buddha.  we needed to find air conditioning. it got that hot.  we were near the cal expo grandstand which has horse racing.  i said to the group, let me go inside the grandstand & see if it is air conditioned.  the grandstand was not, but the place where you make bets for horse racing was frigid.  perfect!  i summoned everyone inside.

but the thing is that the horse racing wagering is for hardcore bettors.  i was thinking of charles bukowski hangdogging at the track.  it was a remarkable experience for there were individuals who, i think, spent every weekend here betting on the horses.  what kind of people?  let me just say that when i went to the bathroom there was a man who kept screaming, aqui!, in this spine-tingling growl.  what did he mean?  i haven't the foggiest idea.  but sure, we were both here!

i called that place, the end of the line, for there was no where else to go.

still, the purpose of tonight's outing was to see the singer terri nunn & her band berlin play the synth-pop hits of my misspent youth.   i've had a crush on nunn for well over 30 years.  anna knows that so she bought tix so i can see her perform.  better yet, 2 original members of the band, dave diamond & john crawford, [the core of berlin] joined nunn onstage.  it was electric.  terri nunn looks great & sounded even better.  i've always loved her voice.  nunn's voice is a remarkable instrument, filled with pathos, passion, lust & sorrow.

berlin ended their set at a little past 9:00 PM.  we had an hour to go.  what to do with an hour till the fireworks?

the answer: wander around for about 20 minutes then go back to the end of the line.  the fireworks are always launched at the horse track.  there is a large water feature in the middle of the track.  we've seen a few fireworks shows at the track before.  so we marched out to the cal expo grandstand & waited about 20 minutes for the show to begin.

& what a show.  we were right underneath the fireworks.  the crowds had thickened a bit.  it cooled down some.  & the grandstand was the perfect place.  not too many people took advantage of this area.  nick took my phone to take photos.  he's the photographer of the family.  what he produced was a 30 minute video of a 10 minute fireworks show.  holy shit.  he was experimenting with time & exposure.

& that was it.  a perfect denouement to a wonderful day.  but for 1 thing.  we were walking thru the food area, the place where most of the food vendors set up their wares.  i asked nick to take my phone and take some video of a hotdog stand that had a terrific digital display.  this hotdog vendor, milo's, has been in the same spot with the same digital display for years now.  i've always wanted to get that digital display on camera.

oh yes, that 1 thing.  among the people, food vendors & their digital displays anna said, the band is right behind you.  i turned.  sure enough john crawford & dave daimond were wandering among the fair folk as ordinary as you can get.  for a moment i thought about introducing myself to them & declaring my love of berlin.  but the moment passed.  they are two men among billions.  i love their music but finally we are all ordinary & mortal.  i left them alone.

that's it.  we walked to the car without a hitch.  sometimes the number of vehicles in the parking lot are numerous.  getting out is an ordeal.  but not tonight.  it was a very hot day, which might have kept the crowds thin.  also it is the second day of the fair.  it is still early.  the crowds might bet thicker later.

why worry.  i saw one of my favorite bands perform at their full strength.  do i worry about being one of those aging rockers who don't know when to put away the spandex?  let me put it this way.  my great fiend, b., said he & i will be 75 in the audience of the lead singer of blink 182 performing old punk songs from bands like X & black flag.  in other words, we all get older.  so do our bands.  why not embrace the shit out of them.

that's my philosophy.  we all age, embrace the shit out of aging.  & i love the state fair. as much as the fair embraces technology, such as video displays & apps for the fair, it hasn't changed that much.  it is a remarkable proof that even when we age & change some things remain the same.  that is the beauty of the ca state fair. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

ladies & gentlemen: 1 of my heroes, mr. mike ness of social distortion

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

quote unquote

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right. 

-søren kierkegaard [journals and papers]

Thursday, July 05, 2018

self-portrait at 51

i am an optimist by nature & a pessimist by training
but what i can't understand is how that old man
who stares at me in the mirror thinks he's still
all that punk rock attitude w/ goofball swagger

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

the world is broken

of course the world is broken

what will you do about it?

i will live as well as i can

within the limits of my

mind & abilities

is that all?

no, i will try not to be an asshole

i will practice lovingkindness

i will show my love & appreciation

to everyone in my life

& to the small portion of time that is allotted to me

i promise to

enjoy the fuck out of life