Saturday, September 29, 2018

everyday is halloween

below is a vid from the vlogger, sharp productions, that i've been a fan for a few years now.  i love their halloween horror haunts vids.  below is a trip thru the queen mary anchored in long beach, california.  the crew get lost & find themselves in very maze-like storage areas of the great ship.  their adventure reminds me of the time when my brother & i explored the queen mary way back in the early '90s.  somehow, my brother & i found ourselves below decks & in areas that were, i think, off limits to tourists.  my memory is not as good as it used to be but i do remember finding the engine room.  we looked at each other & said, how the hell did we get here.  but like these vloggers we had a great time.  a proof that no matter where the path takes us it is the journey that counts.


2 views of the bay bridge

night at the opera

i buried my deep loathing of driving to & into san francisco, last nite, because a favorite band of mine & anna's, the the [you read that right, that is indeed the name of the band], reformed & is currently on tour.  anna tells me that the first two albums she bought were the english beat by the dave wakeling led band of the same name, & soul mining by the the.  both albums were unleashed on the public in 1983.

now that we are older we sometimes indulge in a few minor extravagaces.  one such indulgence was prepaying for parking, & access to the VIP room.  why the fuck not.  i've never even seen the inside of a VIP room so when anna purchased the concert tix a couple months or so ago she couldn't resist a little extra something for our rock&roll nite.

only problem is getting to sf.  i took the day off work.  anna went to her office.  the only exigency was to make sure nick was provided for & to get a quick dinner for all three of us before anna & i took to the road.  no problem, no sweat.  even the drive to the bay area was routine & dull.  it was a very hot day in sac so when we saw the fog rolling over the east bay we rolled down our windows & breathed deep of the cool, moist air.  i love california cold, above freezing but chilly enough to warrant wearing a coat.  the next thing is to cross the bay to the city itself.

that we easily did.  i snapped a few pics on my phone of the bay bridge at nite & in the fog.  i texted a couple to nick.  it was when we landed onto the city streets proper was where we lost our minds.  san francisco is a great walking city.  it is a terrible city for driving.  we got ourselves lost on market st.  we took a few loops around market & california looking for the masonic on nob hill.  i don't know why we got lost.  the fucking gps on our phones was telling us the masonic was here when it was really over there.  the experience really fried the nerves.

but a few minutes later we pointed our prius to california st, up nob hill, where we found the masonic buiding on our left.  remember it was nite, dark, & the building signage sucked.  i wondered if the building was indeed the masonic so i rolled down my window, shouted to a security guard, hey!  is this the masonic!  yeah, dumbass!, was the reply.  i didn't see the security guard's mouth move.  huh?  the same voice that answered me said something else. i looked up.  dozens of people were on the balcony facing california st.  rock&roll!, i shouted & drove in to the parking garage.

the rest was elemental.  we only had a few minutes to spare before the the was set to hit the stage.  but we insisted on going to the VIP room.  when we found it the room was nearly empty.  we wanted a glass of wine.  so i went to the bar and several minutes later, for there was a couple who insisted on getting an elaborately made concoction that took forever to make, & 20 bucks light in my wallet, we headed to our seats on the balcony right when the the took the stage.

& the the?  OMG, if you don't know the band i beseech you to stop reading, point your browser to youtube, & watch the video of the song 'this is the day'.  the leader of the the, matt johnson, can change your life.  johnson is the owner of one of the more beautiful & expressive voices in pop music.  deep, resonant, soulful are decent description of matt johnson's voice.  the band's set hovered over three albums, soul mining, mind bomb & dusk along with one song, 'i saw the light', from matt johnson's album of hank williams' covers, hanky panky.  & this iteration of the the was stunning musicianship.  the the are no strangers to synths & sequencers but for this version of themselves they stripped down their sound to keyboards, bass, guitar, drums & vocals.

in the middle of their set anna turned to me & asked if i identified a theme to all of johnson's songs.  i couldn't.  she said, time; they are all about the passage of time & growing older.  forsooth, i looked at the audience.  quite a number looked like me: older, white haired rock&rollers who still loved to rock to their favorite band.

which we did.  but we left a bit early.  the very last song of their set was 'lonely planet' from the dusk album.  a gorgeous song.  but they just plaid 'uncertain smile' a favorite among my very favorites.  anna & i were holding hands as we sang along to the chorus.  we didn't need to duke it out of the garage with a couple thousands other cars.  we beat the crowds, as maxwell smart said, by that much.  we pointed the prius to the bay bridge & getting out of the city, & on toward home to our beloved town of sac, was utterly uneventful.  anna & were still electrified by the magnificent the the performance that she plugged her phone into car's stereo [wow!  i know!  i am 51 years old & never in my wildest imaginations would i have envisioned a smart phone & blue tooth tech when the the's soul mining was released], & we sang along to 'cruel to be kind' by nick lowe [another near perfect pop song] & other tunes as we left the damp foggy air of the bay area & moved into the familiar hard, hot air of the central valley. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

last splash of summer

yes, i know we are as of yesterday, headlong into fall.  autumn is my very favorite time of the year.  still, i do like summer.  i miss the lazy sunday afternoons marinating at the pool with anna and nick, as well as our good friends b. c, and j.  my tan is sloughing off!  so in honor of those lazy poolside days i present the killer surf sounds of the sufrajetttes doing britney spears' song 'toxic'.  sounds goofy?  give it a listen and dig these gals' vintage dress, furniture, decor, instruments and amps.  this band has chops to spare.  they are gifted musicians.  oh, and did i mention they love their reverb?  the surfrajettes are my newest favorite band.

Friday, September 21, 2018

please allow me to introduce: the poet chris daniels

daniels is a self-confessed high school drop out atheist anti-capitalist bay area poet and prolific translator of lusophone poetry.  i am a long time admirer of daniels since i read his blog way back in the early 2000s.  there is a lot to admire about chris daniels but what i really really love is his humility of the human being and his great love of poetry as a way of life.  of course, as daniels says, 'cleaning the toilet is more important than poetry'.  so is being a good person.  even so daniels, & i, think that a lot of life is poetry.  like cleaning the toilet.  i've not met, or corresponded, with daniels & i really don't remember when he caught my admiration.  perhaps it was from the early days of blogland.

i'm sure daniels has written tons of his own poetry.  i have his chapbook of original poems porous nomadic [airfoil, 2010] that i ordered directly from the publisher in, i can't believe eight years have flown by, 2010.  one of the great delights of reading daniels' poetry is how much he loves the poetry of others.  porous nomadic has about three pages of epigraphs of other writers' works before it moves on to daniels' own baroque poetry.

the internet never forgets.  here is an archive of daniels' early 2000s blog notes from a fellow traveller.  & here is an audio interview of daniels published at poet as radio.  & an interview with kent johnson published by the great internet journal jacket.  don't let me forget this wonderful short essay on the subject of labor published at poetic labor project.  you wanna see how good daniel's is at translating lusophone poetry?  then click here for daniels' translations of the late great brazilian poet paulo leminski.

finally, below is chris daniel's reading a poem by another favorite poet of mine, jose kozer.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

quote unquote

English is not my native language,
but language is not my native speech.
--franco beltrametti

lunch with john b-r

john & have been friends for several years.  we talk on the phone often.  we text almost daily.  but the one thing we hadn't done was meet in person.  john lives in so cal.  i live in norcal.  i don't travel very often.  and i really am loathe to drive.  i mean i do drive, i have to because california is not easy for the car-less, & i will drive long distances.  but if i have my druthers i prefer to walk my way there.  but i got over my loathing for all things vehicular and pointed our prius to berkeley where john & i agreed to meet for the first time.

john was in the bay area to read at eileen tabios' hay[na]ku 15th birthday party reading at the sf public library on saturday, 9/8.  i was ready to go to sf to see john, eileen, & one of my very favorite poets & human beings, jean vengua.  but if you are loathe to drive then sf is a hellish place.  traffic in the bay area is in a circle of hell that dante didn't imagine.  & parking, in sf?!  get the fuck outta here!  so i asked john if he planned to go to moe's books in berkeley, one of the best bookstores on earth.  john said yes.  i said, i'll see you there on monday, 9/10.

why am i not loathe to drive to berkeley?  i don't really know.  i love berkeley.  it is my second favorite city on earth.  driving berkeley is kinda like driving sacramento.  both are congested.  both have lots of people.  but both cities are somehow more sane, traffic-wise, than the city across the bay.  oakland, even, is a much better city to drive in.  i made up my mind.  i was going to berkeley to see john.

the scene was set and the motion was made.  we agreed to meet at moe's at 10:00 AM.  we'll browse the stacks for an hour or so, find a place for lunch, shoot the shit, catch up on things, talk about poets & poetry and see where the day takes us.  only that i promised to get john to the BART station on shattuck ave by 2:00 PM.  i told john i'll text him once i parked the prius.

i left sac around 8:30.  i expected morning traffic to the bay area to be a wild & congested trip.  it wasn't.  i had the car parked at a garage on durant st at 10:00.  i walked the couple blocks up telegraph ave to moe's and texted john as soon as i walked in the door.  we were to meet at the poetry section.

so that was where i went.  as soon as i got to the stacks i turned around.  i saw john near the elevators.  he was on his phone.  i walked to him.  he looked up & said, i thought you were taller.  huh?  well, john said, your voice is deep.  i expected you to be around 6'2 or 6'3.  but i am 6 ft, i answered.  i think i might be shrinking as i age.

john, in turn, looked cool.  both arms are decorated with beautiful tattoos.  he wears a dog tag around his neck with the inscription, who broke the world?  the quote comes from the great george miller movie, mad max: fury road [2015].

i don't remember the details of our conversations.  but they were rangy.  we pulled books off the shelves, examples of poets whom we love.  we both marveled at how many poets on the shelves are contributors to our anthology of writers & artists on the anthropocene.  we discussed the merits, & non merits, of bob dylan & patti smith.  we had a delicious lunch at a thai restaurant a couple blocks down the street from moe's.  then we walked to university bookstore near the campus and browsed its wares for a bit.

suddenly it was two pm.  i had to get john to the BART station.  those few hours with john went past at warp speed.  i hugged john goodbye, watched him walk down the BART steps, then pointed our prius toward university ave toward the freeway & back home to sac.

still, each day i remind myself of the importance to get out of my comfort zone.  go to sf [sometimes], go to some readings, meet friends, you will find the time & energy.  because sooner than later you will run out of time.  i have only this one life.  poetry makes me happy.  poet friends make me happier still.  i am a loyal chap, too.  i hope that when it is my time to die my friends will say of me, he was a good friend.

so i am happy to meet, finally, john at one of my most favorite bookstores in my second favorite city on earth.  like i said, he is one cool dude.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

everyday is halloween

summer is unofficially over & you know what that means.  the most wonderful time of the year is just starting.  i love me some autumn & i really really really love the scary season of halloween.  already, even tho the weather is still pretty damn warm, the light is changing to a softer smokey golden hue.  it gets dark earlier.  & halloween decor & merchandise are appearing in the shops & stores.  yeah, the world is fucked up but we can't do our best to enjoy the fuck out of life?

so join me on this march toward the high holiday of halloween.  i will, according to my usual practice, post the occasional halloween related knick knack/halloween related video/movie review until we reach the night when the fabric between the living & the dead is wafer thin, when we must dress in costumes to hide ourselves from the risen specters, & we gorge the shit out of ourselves from an abundance of candy.  i love halloween!

i'll begin with this video of one of my favorite vloggers, justin scarred of randomland.  scarred is a punk rocker from OC who grew up next door to disneyland.  he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the magic kingdom & is possessed of a goofy, fun, charismatic personality that draws me in to his subjects.  today, scarred is touring halloweentime at disneyland & disney california adventure.  anna, nick & i spent a few days at halloweentime in 2013.  we had a blast.  according to this video disney has even upped their game & the lands look even more fantastic.

sometimes, joel, you have to say what the fuck & let go of our collective neuroses, fears & anxieties & give in to the moment where we can do our best to enjoy the fuck out of life.


tongues thick with the music of alarm
--robert adamson

of course the world is broken
what the fuck will you do about it
live as best as you can?
break me a fucking give
your mind & abilities are
your portion of time
is smaller than you think
remember this
everything will die
especially you
just don’t be an asshole

* * *

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

* * *

fuck up shit real good

Thursday, September 06, 2018

portrait of the poet in a koons

Monday, September 03, 2018

oh fucking beauty shot me in the heart

Sunday, September 02, 2018

billy mills

here is one of my favorite poets reading excerpts from his poem 'Imaginary Gardens"