Saturday, August 25, 2018

get yr berserker on!


the international republic of literature

purposeful matter hovers in the dark
-anselm hollo

purposeless matter hovers in the dark
-thom gunn 

i think 'literature' sounds so, well, academic
& i was a shitty student who would rather make
discoveries in the library than read the books
that were assigned by professors
i blame myself for this prejudice
i admire intellectuals & academics
& wish i was more of their ilk
i am a human being in the vain
of the late zimbabwean poet
julius chingono who answered the question
what language do you dream in?
i dream as a human being, said the poet
& i know one of the things that the academy
teaches about poetry is that its power lies
in naming things
a named thing is also a placed thing
so language can anchor & attach the poet
to a particular place
yes, my particular place is sacramento
located in northern california
which i love
& yet i am a human being
on this one small blue speck
hanging in the universe
as the poet jaan kaplinski said,
it is like this, or a little bit different
it was like this, or a little bit different
we are all the same and we are all different
language is specific & universal
we can both live in a place
& live in language
that knows no borders
my home is the international republic of literature
for i am an ordinary
human being whose is most at home
in poetry
barren of borders

caveat lector: links

you may have noticed many of my links are pretty old and/or dead and gone.  some blogs have not been updated in over 10 years.  some of these poets, whom i admire, have moved on to elsewheres.  a few have migrated to facebook and twitter.  i have not updated my links for fear that if i delete some of these blogs then i will lose them forever.  some blogs, like aussie poet william fox's filmism is way old but it is still up and i like to have it because i like fox's film reviews.  same goes for a poet whom i love very much, steve caratzas' the blog of lewd enlightenment has not been updated for some odd years, and yet i do love clicking thru it because there is some wonderful stuff.

but in the past few months i have updated a couple of links.  first was glenn ingersoll's lovesettlement and tonight i updated tom beckett's latest poetry blog hay(na)koans of which i wrote about a few weeks ago.  i like poets' names so you will see that i rarely link to the title of the blog and use the poet's name instead.  i recommend wholeheartedly these two wonderful poets whose writings will make you love and question life.

as for the older links, please approach with caution.  some poets have made their blogs private.  some have deleted them.  and some have moved on to other forms of social media but i like their writings so i keep their blogs.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

crime fiction

i'm hardly a reader of detective novels.  i do like the occassional p.i. tv show.  the rockford files, starring james garner as the laid-back so cal private dick, is a classic tv show and a favorite character of mine.  jim rockford had buddha nature up the wazoo.  lately, anna and i have been bingeing on a canadian detective show, the republic of doyle, set in st. john/labrador and features a father/son team of goofballs that remind me of the aforementioned the rockford files in charm and chance.  also, the st. john/labrador accent is so quick to an irish brogue that anna and i were scratching our heads on the location of the characters.

but the reason why i'm thinking of crime fiction is the two clay blackurn novels, the channdler apartments and the incredible double, by berkeley poet owen hill.  i reread portions of the former when i want a quick pick-me-up, and i reread, for the second time, with great pleasure, the latter last weekend as i waited for our honda pilot to be serviced.

again, p.i. blackburn is a reluctant detective who would rather scout for second hand books and write poems than solve cases.  blackburn is also a hedonist who worships sex as a physical thing, loves to cook and eat, and really likes a strong drink.  he is surrounded by berekeley crazies and is assisted by anarchist/computer whizz marvin clarke and transexual ex-fbi agent bailey dao.  oh, and did i mention blackburn is a poet, so are many of the characters in these books, including many real bay area poets like the late, great, joanne kyger.

in short, these short detective novels are a delight to read.  perhaps i self-identify with clay blackburn.  i believe the character and i are about the same age.  in the chandler apartments blackburn is in his late 30s.  the incredible double happens about ten years later.  indeed, blackburn complains about being amazoned because the book scout business is drying up on account of the e-commerce giant.  what would blackburn say about today when amazon is even larger and many bookstores have shuttered.  the world has greatly changed in just a few short years.  we are now connected to, well, everything, by our smartphones.  and our political landscape rivals anything cooked up in the fevered brain of any berkeley loony.

so where is the third clay blackburn novel?  i really want to hang with the bisexual/book scout/poet.  i hope owen hill has another detective novel, or four, in the hopper.  and even if hill doesn't have another blackburn book to publish i am, almost, content with rereading these two wonderful novels.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

the other side of summer

holy shit.  here we are in the middle of august.  fall is just nipping at our heels.  the light in northern california, the most gorgeous light in the world [of course i'm biased, i'm a native son], is changing from the harsh fluorescent white glare of high summer, to the diffused, smoky, golden hues of early fall.  i love fall.  bring on the pumpkins, the corn, the root vegetables, and the ghouls and goblins of halloween.  but fuck, i have yet to take a summer holiday.  yeah, i know.  boo hoo.  i'm fortunate to even complain about summer flying past me without a summer holiday.  but there was something the elders of my youth always said, treasure your life because the years go by so quickly.  i paid them no mind.  however, they were so right.  i'm moving into geezerhood.  not as a metaphor but as a numerical value.  hang on.  because the next several decades that might be alloted to me will go by even faster.  what to do about it?  nothing.  but for those family, friends and whatever you might be obsessed, if you are lucky to be obsessed, with something.  for me, my obsessions are poetry, movies [horror and exploitation, and everything in the interstices] and music.  is poetry a career?  not for me.  i've made it a life.  for better and for worse.  if nicanor parra can make an anti-poetry those who take up the mantle can also make an anti-life.  what the fuck does that mean?  fill in the blanks yourself.  for that is the beauty of 'anti'.  we are what we make of it.  including life.  if you choose poetry, or if poetry chooses you, make of it the best you can, in any fashion you can.  one does not need to be a university professor to be a poet.  any job will do.  you don't even need to publish books.  a blog, twitter, or whatever, will do.  that is one of the definitions of antipoetry, and a life in antipoetry.



Saturday, August 11, 2018

quote unquote

i was second to none of the Company in any acts of Debauchery; nay, i soon distinguished myself so notably in all Riots and Disorders. . .as i have addicted myself more and more to loose pleasure. . .

the history of tom jones, a foundling by henry fielding [quoted in the incredible double by owen hill]

Thursday, August 09, 2018

it is still really fucking hot as i write this.  temperature hovering around 80 f [27 c].  it is late summer.  the fires, carr & mendocino complex, are fucking apocalyptic.  for the past two weeks & some the sky looks like it is enshrouded in fog.  nope, it is smoke.  we wake to find a fine coat of ash on our cars.  we breathe it in.  the heat makes the smoky air just that much worse.  the sun looks like a big bloody ball.  & the mendocino complex fire is expected to burn all they way to september.  the climate is a'changin'.  & not for the better.  california has always been hot & dry.  it has always experienced wildfires.  but the new normal is a year-long fire season with fires burning at the nth intensity.  last year was horrific.  large swaths of the wine country incinerated in fires that were so out of proportion to received norms of what was the traditional parameters of summer time california fires.  this year's fires might even be worse.  i don't know what more to say.  these extreme weather events are going to become more extreme.  we may experience periods of calm in the near future.  who knows.  but we have disrupted the climate.  we have the resources, for now, to cope with these extreme events.  but if they continue to become more extreme with every passing year, well, our effective coping strategies & mechanisms might stretch to the breaking point.  but for now, i can only express my awe & sadness at our fire smudged sky & bloody sun.  what dreams may come.   

quote unquote

what you have to realize when you write poetry, or if you love poetry, is that poetry is just naturally the greatest goddamn thing that ever was in the whole universe.

--james dickey

Sunday, August 05, 2018

i fucking love this song

the late 1980s saw a kind of neo hippie movement.  the indigo girls rode this wave of hippiedom.  some of my punk friends grew their hair and followed the grateful dead on that band's peregrinations.  still, i was a little skeptical of hippiedom perhaps because my friends and i rebelled against it.  we cut our hair, ripped up our jeans [yes, i know the indigo girls look pretty punk in this vid.  i said it was a neo hippie moment.  there were some changes in hippiedom such as the allowance of a punk's anger at society], penned angry/ironic anthems of the state of the state, and the state of living our american lives.  we have all failed at changing the world, both punk and hippie alike.  and yet, i think perhaps maybe we can revisit hippiedom.  the music is fucking rad.  the philosophies of peace, love and understanding are, if naive, at least admirable.  so this song, 'Closer to Fine', is, to my ears, a return to self-inspection, and a corrosive indictment of the state of the state.  we would do worse if we were to rediscover hippiedom, from its first flowering and up to the present state of the state. 

'hey, what's that sound' brothers & sisters
[this song is 50 years old.  what has changed?]