Wednesday, June 03, 2020

in the safeway parking lot

i do my chores before curfew is imposed
adjust my mask 
hear the nearby police sirens
watch army choppers circle downtown
know barricades are erected 
& humvees on patrol
early summer 2020
102 f
so hot 
a fly buzzed by 
& exploded in midflight

Sunday, May 31, 2020

quote unquote

 AGAINST THE POLICE
 
My entire Oeuvre is against the police
If I write a Love poem it’s against the police
And if I sing the nakedness of bodies I sing against the police
And if I make this Earth a metaphor I make a metaphor against the police
If I speak wildly in my poems I speak against the police
And if I manage to create a poem it’s against the police
I haven’t written a single word, a verse, a stanza that isn’t against the police
All my prose is against the police
My entire Oeuvre
Including this poem
My whole Oeuvre
Is against the police.


--miguel james [translated by guillermo parra]

from my front porch

i can see the police helicopters circling
their bright cyclopian eye of
surveillance
the protest at the state capital
& our country
of the people
for the people
by the people
the anger & the rage
the clouds of tear gas
the riot of flash bangs
& rubber bullets

tell me again, my love
'who broke the world'

Friday, May 29, 2020

holy shit

reading the cantos by pound on the john
my fingers break thru the paper

windows open wide to a cool spring breeze
a garden spider on the screen of my laptop
only one us of will make it out of here alive

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

fatherhood in the 21st century

                                                 means trying to explain the psychedelia of 1970s McDonaldland characters to your 15-year-old

who was Mayor McCheese or why a big purple Grimace representing milkshakes was named after a facial expression of disgust 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

what's in a name

a couple of days ago i wrote about the student poets of oceana high school located in pacifica, ca.  i said that i really dig their individual names; so representative of the cultural & ethnic diversity that makes my beloved state such a great place to live.  i also said that i also like my own name because it also represents the diversity of my own heritage & culture[s].  but the name richard lopez is so common as to be something invisible.  as a writer i love the sound of words & so there are some names that are much more attractive to my eye & ear.  still, i've never tried to change it even tho i experimented with the spelling a ala paul celan did with his own surname, & i never took a pen name even tho i played with the idea to add the adjective 'little' in homage to the great rocker little richard when i started sending my poems out in the world.

beauty, by all measures, is subjective.  what i find attractive another person might think silly.  & vice versa.  still, i keep my eye open to the name 'lopez' in art & culture, pop & not.  i'm obsessive that way.  some things stick in the mind.  like the punk band LOPEZ that i found in the bins of the late great sacramento based record store The Beat.

The Beat shuttered about 7 or so years ago, a victim of our digital age.  i loved the store & would often stop in on my way home from work.  The Beat was the record store for independent music, other than the deep catalogue of Tower Records [another great record store founded in my hometown & another victim of out digital age].  The Beat was the place to get punk records, & to purchase tix to punk shows.  the shop had grown from a little corner on h st to a large emporium on j st.

i miss it.  digital live is great.  finding stuff in a half second is pretty freaking cool.  yet i miss the adventures & discoveries of going in to The Beat to find perhaps something you were not looking for & didn't know you needed until you pulled it out of the bin.

that happened one of the few last times i visited the store before it closed for good.  i was going thru the bins and found an eponymous cd by a pacific northwest band that i never heard of LOPEZ.  the disc was about three bucks & i turned it over in my hands several times.  i recall the cover art was just the band members in a car.  & nothing else.  i liked their name, for obvious reasons, & i wondered why the chose the name LOPEZ.  as i said, i would often visit The Beat after work & for some reason i put the cd back where i found it & went home.

why didn't i buy it if the cd was only a few bucks?  i dunno.  perhaps i thought i would find it later if i really wanted it.  i have a bad habit.  often i won't get the thing i most want even when i can afford it & it won't cause any harm to me or my family members.  like this eponymous cd LOPEZ. i do what i can to not behave this way.  i am not much of a material guy.  i love books, music & movies & increasingly those things are converting to digital.  yet, i love the physical thing so even if i can download pdfs of books by the late great poet bill knott i cherish my published hard copies of his books.

but i didn't buy LOPEZ.  i couldn't find anything about the band either online.  no bandcamp, no youtube, no twitter.  there are a great many artists & musicians with the name lopez that i have found but nothing about a punk band from the pacific northwest.

until tonight.  i haven't looked for a very long while but anna & i were sitting on the couch looking shit up using our phones.  i told her about my finding LOPEZ cd at The Beat but have not been successful on finding anything about the punk band on the interwebs.  we continued watching a series on netflix & looking up random shit via our phones.

then a little while ago i do a quick google search 'punk band named 'lopez' & i find this blog post about the band.  holy shit.  this is the band i remember from so many years ago.  the thing about the internet is that it is a repository for all of culture.  eventually it will be remembered & /or archived on the 'net.  & so it is for this band.  i still haven't heard their music.  all i know is that they are a punk band from portland that have adopted LOPEZ as their band name.

names are important.  i would ask why use a surname as the band name if i were interviewing the band members as this blogger interviewed the band members.  i should've got that cd when i was able to.  perhaps i thought i'd have another chance on another visit to The Beat.  or i defeated myself as i described above when i held that cd in my hands debating to myself to buy it.  but i am happy to have found something about the band.  at least i didn't hallucinate them into existence.

& that's the thing about digital life.  every era in our history of media, like recordings, photographs, & film, can almost always be found on some server somewhere in this world.  & that we are all connected via these servers & our devices.  from pdfs of our favorite writers to movies on streaming platforms.  we connect via social media, even if some of that connectivity is toxic [human beings will shit in their bed too.  don't ask me why, some just do].  it is a great delight to finally find some information about this punk band that i remember some years ago as i combed thru the bins of one of the great record stores of a bygone age.  what is their name?  LOPEZ

political poem

you've gotta be shitting me

middle of the night poem

rubbing my sleep-gummed eyes
                                          whoooooo!
                                          what a day

Friday, May 22, 2020

american high school haiku



















after a long & enervating day at work, after my walks to & from the office, where i was witness to most people outside on the streets walking their dogs, going for a stroll etc etc wearing masks & practicing social distancing i was thinking yeah, we are not so bad, we can do the right things, then on my way home i couldn't believe my eyes, restaurants open for dine-in service, the eateries were packed with people, the staff were masked, & the tables were spaced apart, but these spaces are tight, & you can't eat or drink wearing a mask, so social distancing in these establishments are for nought, & the whole district was full of revelers partying like it is 1999, i wonder what the fuck are these people are thinking, the virus is raging, the risks are grave, & tho i feel the need to hang with my friends & go out to dinner & a couple beers, too, right now is way way way too fucking soon, i despaired at our species

then i got home exhausted, saddened, & angry when i find a small package from my brother from another mother jonathan hayes arrived via that wonderful american institution the united states post office, i open it & find all these booklets published by richard robert hansen' poems-for-all series,  these are haiku inspired by jonathan hayes' vernacular haiku written by high school students from oceana high, an alternative high school in pacifica, as a project led by their teacher, & contributor to ah: american haiku, dakota milliwee, these are so beautiful, the book design by richard robert hansen, the project, & the haiku, that my loathing of our species abates & i wept in gratitude that our human being has moments of grace like these young poets' work, & the beauty of the books they are published in, so that i must note these poets' have great names, i am attracted to names, perhaps i am because my own name is pretty plain, tho lately i am starting to like my name because it is the label i have for my own hybrid person, & i see that these young persons' names are so very american, representative of this nation's cultural diversity, the rising minority majority soon to be dominant in the united states, & that these young poets who possess cool names, who are the future of this country, & their haiku, my anger immediately receded & was replaced by a sudden irrigation of the eyeballs

Thursday, May 21, 2020

quote unquote

man is least himself when he talks in his own person. 
give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

--oscar wilde

[truth: go into public places; wear your masks! motherfuckers! stay safe!]