Thursday, November 29, 2018

cayucos, ca

these past 5 or 6 years for a week in late summer casa de lopez/bronson relocates to the central coast beach town that time forgot.  we found this beautiful town indirectly.  my mother-in-law was looking to rent a beach house in a community close to tidal pools so that nick, who was a small child at the time, could explore.  she, & anna, found cayucos.  we didn't know about this little quiet beach side community.  cayucos?  what a name.  but when we arrived via highway 1 we took one look at the community & we fell in love.  this is a place to let loose.  open the windows, listen to the roaring surf, smell the salt air, watch dolphins, orcas & whales swim past.  last time around nick & i spent a couple of hours in the surf.  he went ahead back to the house to shower off the sand & salt.  i lingered on the beach for a while.  when i climbed the steps from the beach back up to the city street an older couple sitting on a bench made to admire the sea views said, do you like it?  what, i asked.  all of this, they said.  we brought it for you.  i told them of our annual tradition of renting our beach house.  how i -- we -- have deeply fallen in love with cayucos.  they told me that they are long retired from san francisco & had fallen in love with the community too & bought a house back in the early '90s.  back when buying a house was in the province of the mortals, i joked.  they laughed.  yes, homes are expensive but look at where you are, they answered.  a couple more minutes of exploratory small talk i excused myself so i could take a shower & slough off the sand & salt.  but that the world expands & contracts based on annual traditions.  so i watch this video transported for a little while to the beach town that i love.  i know these places in this video, i know them not as a local, how could i, but as lover who looks upon the artifacts of his love. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

glorious rain

yes, the temperature has dropped to what we used to call a normal late november & it is raining with gusty winds.  it is wonderful!  i have the windows open.  it is cool, but not too cold.  & the smell of the rain resets my emotional state to one of pleasure & joy.

& i was reading a little tonight about the dutch poet remco campert.  he was a poet who refused to distinguish between his life & his poetry.  not a career in writing, rather a life in writing/writing in life.  another kind of anti-poetry, or duchampian writing.  whose language?  ours, of every tongue & symbol.  that is the stance i do my best to take for writing & living are, if not the same, similar.  just make a barbaric yawp.  that is the deeper meaning. 

so but then i was looking up the northern irish poet tom paulin the other day [i like his poetry, i have several of his books] and i come across a reference to an uk indie pop band that named itself after the poet & cantankerous TV talking head, tompaulin.  how very ironic & hipster chic, i thought.  bands naming themselves after living individuals is a tired practice.  there is a band that named itself after the actor abe vigoda, and the race car driver, dale earnhardt jr jr.  ha ha.

but tompaulin formed in 1999, a few years before such self naming became a cool, ironic thing.  so i gave a listen to a few of their songs.  the band was good [they broke up in 2007[, with some pop gems.  i started listening to tompaulin last night.  some of their songs have been playing on my inner turntable ever since.

below is tompaulin's is the video for their song 'it's a girl's world'.  the tune is a gem & is the perfect sound for a gorgeous rainy night.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

the last scene in lost in translation [2003]

i watched this flick tonight.  the second time i watched sofia coppola's inaugural movie.  starring bill murray as actor bob harris, & scarlett johanssenn, as charlotte who is married to a photographer.  both are lonely, & in faltering relationships.  they find each other in their tokyo hotel & bond over the exigencies of being in japan & living in their own skulls.  really, these are both successful individuals who live a privileged lifestyle.  so what if they are lonely, & alienated.  as the roman playwright terence said, nothing human is alien to me.  still, there is a beauty to bob & charlotte.  it is not a sexual relationship.  but their relationship is a romantic one.  coppola focuses on these two beautiful people as they grow closer over the intervening days of their stay in tokyo.  the photography is gorgeous & the editing is almost perfect.  furthermore, the soundtrack complements the relationship in a symbiotic fashion.  so when i get to this final scene i'm fucking shredded.  what does bob whisper to charlotte?  i rewound this moment a few times & still can't hear his words.  so i cheated & googled those last words.  but that was a mistake. because it does not matter what bob says to charlotte.  remember, we are lost in translation.  the beauty is even greater for not deciphering his words.  we have a moment of high art [yes, i use that phrase intentionally] of great connection between two individuals who fall in friendship & even romantic love.  their smiling when they part, for the very last time, is proof of the necessity of their brief relationship.  they will be nourished by their love for each other for the rest of their lives.  also, the song, 'just like honey', by the jesus & mary chain, is a perfect denouement.  this last scene elevates all that has come before it & delivers an emotional punch right in the solar plexus. 

william 'bill' faulkner

i can't remember my age when i learned to read.  i was no prodigy by any means.  but i feel like i've always been reading, & loving, the text & the sound of words.  of course, i'm a natural idiot.  that is not self-deprecation.  really, i'm a happy dope.  & not good at much.  but i love language.  even languages i don't understand.  so if there is a writer/artists/musician i'm interested in i will watch/listen usually via youtube in their language even without subtitles.  should i miss definitions of the words is enhanced by my pleasure in hearing their languages.

which brings me to this short documentary about, & starring, william faulkner.  & tho i've been reading texts for as long as i can remember i really didn't become literate until my late teens/early 20s.  my love of literature, particularly poetry, was gaining momentum & as my wanderlust took me to various colleges i did little academic work.  i spent most of my time in these schools' libraries making discovery after discovery.  william faulkner was my man at that time.  & as i read his novels & stories i was unable to parse their dense structures.  i was enthralled to their music & structures.  faulkner's prose was like something i had never seen/heard.  he was like an alien from another planet.

of course a bit later i discovered the great 20th century modernists like gertrude stein & james joyce.  still, however, faulkner was, to me, sui generis.  how did this mortal human being come to his gifts?  so i read biographies, several of them, & i discovered he was a high school drop out who earned an f in english.  he was also thought of as a bum to his neighbors in oxford, mississippi because of his bohemian airs they called him 'count no'count'.  still, these don't explain the art.  how could it?  finally, i've come to subscribe to faulkner's belief that if he didn't write his novels someone would have.  & if you don't have nothing to say, break the damn pencil.

& yet, for what it is worth, we have technology to preserve the voice & images of a person.  so when i was doing my perambulations on one campus or another i discovered that the library had a media center.  in that center were tapes of readings.  i heard richard hugo [another early favorite of mine], james wright, charles simic, miroslav holub, &, ta da!, william faulkner reciting his nobel speech prize.  man!  finally i was able to hear the great writer's voice.  that was something special.

it is special.  we are lucky that we can read, but via technology, watch & hear, our favorite artists.  & in all those faulkner bios i read i don't recall any detailing the above short film about & starring faulkner & the real people, including his wife, in his life in oxford.  the language is more formal than we are used to today.  everyone calls him bill.  i don't know why it has taken me this long to find this wonderful piece of film.  but here he is,  faulkner in the flesh.  please do pay especial attention to his speech at the end which is as necessary to hear today as it was over 60 years ago.  also, faulkner does rock that tobacco pipe.  i don't smoke but i like the accoutrements of smoking like zippo lighters, & that pipe looks pretty damn good.  

Friday, November 23, 2018

another poetics

1. sex
2. death
3. love
4. & text

poetics is the act of trying to put into words the satori of staring into her eyes
gazing into her face
& knowing the wonder, beauty & awesome terror of being
alive, right this second

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

here's a song for those who think they've seen it all

i'm not a fan of heavy metal nor j-pop.  i'm not against either of these pop genres either.  but neither speak to me.  that is until i discovered the hybrid j-pop/heavy metal band, BabyMetal.  go ahead, take a view/listen.  cuz these gals/dudes are proof that there are still things out there for us to discover that will rock our world.

'only connect'

whose language?

quote unquote

it's a poem, don't worry about it

--duncan mcnaughton

Monday, November 19, 2018

life is crazy: i know, baby


reading cuban buddhist poet omar perez' daybook, cubanology [station hill; 2018] i am thinking that all writing is translation.  what originates in my grey matter is changed into sounds, or marks on paper or screen, different than the original.  at least that is my thinking on the matter.  i admire writers like perez, & lars palm, & pierre joris, & anselm hollo, & stefan hyner etc etc, who are able to write in several languages.  makes the sense of stable identity challenging.  after all, who is this richard lopez who types these words vs. the richard lopez who shows up to work each day.  the same, & different.

anyway, i am reminded of my own utterly ordinary otherness last night in lake tahoe.  we got out of the smokey valley air for the weekend at a cool retro motor lodge where we did little but read & wander around the gorgeous lake.  for dinner we went to a nearby mexican restaurant.  i order our meals & pay with my credit card.  the young mexican woman looks at the receipt.  'you are lopez?' she asks  'yes, does the name not match my face," i replied.  'your family is from here?'  'yes, born & bred californian,' i said.

but richard lopez is a very common name in california.  i delight in its ordinariness.  & i love its otherness too.  which richard lopez are we talking about?  does it matter?  still, my name is a translation of all other richard lopezes in not only california but the world.  because this name belongs to me.      

Friday, November 16, 2018

o! arrow of art: shoot me thru the heart; this is a perfect scene


Thursday, November 15, 2018

if you wanna see

the face of climate change
look upon the mug of any
ordinary northern californian

on the street

who wears either a respirator
or face mask
against the thick haze of particulate matter

from these goddamn hellfires

Sunday, November 11, 2018

the wonderful buddhist poet from Estonia, jaan kaplinski, is a multi-lingual writer.  he's also a blogger.  you can find kaplinski's blog in the links to the right of this page.  kaplinski identifies, correctly, i think, the real troubles of our world.  the poet calls his post, in English, Some Pessimistic Thoughts.  you can find his thoughts by clicking here

my beloved home state of california is on fire, again

the Camp Fire is about 90 miles north of us the fire destroyed a whole town

Paradise, the whole fucking town

is gone in flames

yesterday the sky smelt, looked & felt like the landscape

of an apocalyptic movie

yesterday we shopped at Costco

in the other checkout line

a woman wearing a Red Cross vest w/ insignia was buying

2 shopping carts loaded with supplies & victuals

for a shelter or 2 up north

today the sky was a bit better but still so much smoke in the air

climate change is happening now

my beloved home state is no stranger to wildfires during the hot dry summers

but hot & dry is nearly all year round

conditions are just right for a spark to start

an explosive conflagration

all year round

it is hotter now than it was even 5 years ago

we are in danger of losing sight of that fact

we are in danger

of losing everything we know & hold dear

that is not hyperbole

it is the cold indifference of nature

acting within the laws of physics

& what will we do


what will we do

Sunday, November 04, 2018

shit got you down?

has the world turned into a massive crap show?  have you got the blues, the blahs, the ughs? 
well then take a gander/listen to this video circa 1980 of the great punk/psychobilly band, the Cramps.  
this is, in my humble, & old man, opinion, how rock&roll should be:
sweaty, sexy, profane, dangerous, & even a little silly
the singer Lux Interior passed away almost 10 years ago
Nick Knox the drummer died this year
but don't let that sad knowledge get in the way of digging on this great band
cuz they got the cure for what ails you
even if you get a bad dose of the Cramps!