Sunday, September 15, 2019

absolute music

i spent an enervating late afternoon driving thru & in my beloved city & environs where the traffic was thick & deep doing all manner of long put off clothes shopping [i will wear the same clothes for ever until they literally start falling apart at the seams]

but when i got home after going to the clothing stores & then grocery stores & working my way thru the california traffic anna asked if i heard that ric ocasek died

no i hadn't since i was listening to the radio show of one of my favorite electronica artists nora en pure

how old was ocasek i asked


wow i didn't realize that the dude was in his 70s

because like a great many people who love rock punk & new wave ocasek's band the cars bridged all sorts of sub-cultural barriers

punks headbangers new wavers et al loved them

& the cars dated back to my discovery & love of pop music

so go forth mr ocasek & let them brush your rock&roll hair

you lived a relatively long & rich life

you made some great songs

peace & love

Monday, September 09, 2019

do you remember. . .

my own memory must be going out the window.  i read stephen king's humongous novel it over 30 years ago when i was a screaming punk rock horror loving teenager.  i still am all those things, except the teen part, so when i woke up this morning & turned on the TV the 1990 miniseries adaptation of it starring richard thomas, john ritter & annette o'toole among others was on the Sy Fy Channel i, of course, watched a good hour of the miniseries.  what can i say but i love it.  sure it's flawed but this was the standard set for the novel.

i remember the novel i thought, fairly well.  i was a huge stephen king fan -- i still am.  i devoured his fiction & his non-fiction [king's study of the horror genre, danse macabre (1981) is a tour de force] when i learned to read at 16 [i mean read for pleasure & for life.  i was 16 when i picked up a book to read that wasn't assigned for a school project].

because of the miniseries re-broadcast i thought why not reread the novel.  nick has a copy that was published as a tie-in for the newest movie version of it.  i've not read king in a great many years.  part of the reason was reverse snobbery.  as in, i'm a literary person, i am a poet, literature is my life & i can't be bothered with popular fiction.  what a load of crap.  i'm at an age where i say that there are no such things as high art and low art.  there is only our lives in art.

king is beautiful writer who gets in the heads of ordinary people.  he does so with a relaxed prose style that sounds like the way people talk.  a movie version cannot get into a person's head like writing can.

but how now what about my memory?  sure there are moments of finer details that i didn't recall when i read the novel in 1986.  but what about the prologue?

i might be stitching together some of my memories but i remember a brief prologue at the start of the novel it.  these few pages show the origin of pennywise the dancing clown.  that malignant force on derry, maine.

again, i might have this quite wrong but i recall the edition i read in 1986 started with a few pages that had a craft landing on earth a few billion years ago when our planet was a muddy ball.  that craft deposited the entity later knows as pennywise who would not rise up until the town of derry was established.

but my son's later edition had no such prologue.  a quick search on the interwebs did not reveal that kind of prologue.  was that all in my head?

well, it's been 30+ years since i read the novel.  & i was reading lots of horror fiction at the time.  one of my favorites was the books of blood series of short stories by clive barker.  so perhaps i conflated another story or stories with it.  

i dunno.  it seems like that prologue belongs with pennywise the dancing clown.

but even if no, the novel is a great read.  but a committed read as it is well over a 1000 pages.  i don't remember how long it took me to read the book in 1986.  i'm sure it was well over a month of dedicated reading.  i do recall several late nights when i couldn't put the book down.

i may not finish the book this time around.  i know the story pretty well.  i know what pennywise the dancing clown is.

& yet, king is better than those moments of horror.  he knows how to get inside the heads of his characters & his prose style is a winning example of colloquial voices.  but that's the beauty of literature, & king is literary to the nth degree, literature gets to the heart of where we live.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

first pumpkin of the season

Thursday, September 05, 2019

learning to read

i just watched again a documentary on TV horror hosts
                                        AMERICAN SCARY [2006]
& a film critic said he learned to read

on account of horror movie hosts
                                      come again?
well he was so excited as a 5 year old

to know the time & date of the next broadcast

that he learned to read the newspaper listings
                                   to know the date

quote unquote

the day accomplishes itself with its
                small failures & annoyances

Its pleasures mount gently toward evening
walking many strange streets toward


--paul blackburn ['uncharted' the selected poems of paul blackburn; 1989]

Monday, September 02, 2019

the other side of summer

now that we are at the ass end of summer it is tempting for me to take stock of the past 3 months of hot weather & lazy days.  hot weather we got [still getting] but lazy days are long past me for i have the ordinary adult responsibilities that we are all tasked with.

have i done all the things that were on my summer to do list?  no; but that is life.  i've lived on this earth, thus far, for 5 decades & many of those things on my list, such as going to the drive-in movies [yeah, you'd think that a man who so loves the drive-in theater & movie experience would practically live at the sac 6 drive-ins] but i've logged so many nights there that i can relive the experience in my head.  also, youtube is chock full of drive-in intermission shorts [i do so fucking love these ads] that i can have a shot of the drive-in experience every time i log on to the interwebs.

plus i've done a few new things too.  e.g. a family kayaking trip on the cosumnes river to watch the local colony of bats take off in the evening.  it was a beautiful experience.

nick is growing up, & fast.  he started high school last week, a freshman, & i'm still wrapping my head around that fact.  yesterday he was a baby; today he is in high school.

anna & i logged as many weekends at the pool that we could manage often in the company of our great friends b, c & their son j.  we did so today & yesterday.  the weather was ripe for it: 100+ F.  where else would you go when the weather is so hot?

what else?  well, we are now swiftly synching toward my favorite time of year: autumn, & halloween.  the light in northern california is already changing from a hot blue to a warm golden/brown.  what van gogh could've done with such light!

& soon on to another year.  2020 looks & sounds like the future date in a sci-fi movie.  where the hell are my protein pills & jet pack & 2 hour work day?!

keep it groovy, brothers & sisters.  these are times that try men & women & non-binary souls.

peace & love

quote unquote

What do you think of immortality?

henri cole:

I don't understand this question.  Do you mean "immortality," like Keats's "Here lies one whose name was writ on water"?  If so, I think one is forgotten almost immediately after the earth is tossed back into the grave and the mourners turn away.  Life resumes.

So then why write?

henri cole:

For the completely selfish pleasure of composition, which for me surpasses the trumped-up pleasures of eating, drinking, and sex.  Since I do not write to teach anybody anything, it's a completely selfish act, but it gives me a sense of equilibrium and a reason for existence.  Nothing gives me as much pleasure, when I'm doing it well, as writing. 

--henri cole [the art of poetry #98; paris review 209]

Monday, August 26, 2019

my favorite song
-absolute music-

i have a lot of favorite songs.  ask me tomorrow & you will get another list.  i am this old punk who has been around, read a few books, watched a few movies & listened to a few bands.  i am neither expert nor an authority be it art, pop music, exploitation movies or poetry.  & yet, i have a little history in all these & a bit more.  several weeks ago i discovered what i think might be one of the greatest cover bands in the united states.  that statement is conditioned by my own limitations of time, exposure & human nature.  & yet, i do have an opinion that is predicated upon something similar to why the punk/poet john cooper clarke calls himself: dr john cooper clarke, even if he didn't finish secondary education.  it's because the poet/punk was not just awarded an honorary phd, that he calls himself 'doctor' because he has, 'read a few books & had a few thoughts.'  so i make my claim that the atlanta, ga based bar band, foxes & fossils, might very well be the greatest cover band this country has produced.  i say this because i've, in my 50 + decades on this planet have listened to a few bands & i have a few thoughts.

the bad news is that foxes & fossils is no longer a working band.  bummer. but  many of their performances have been preserved on youtube.  the setup is this, singer & arranger, tim purcell, has a fantastic ear for musicians & harmony.  he recruited two teenagers [one is his own daughter], as well as a cracker group of musician to make music that makes me glad to be alive.  i shit you not about that sentiment.

rather than write a fucking essay about why i think foxes & fossils might be the best bar band i've encountered i present you with a few of their songs.  the first is, at present, my favorite song.   but may i suggest a couple of things.  first, turn it up loud.  second, wear earphones.  really, really dig their vocal harmonies.  then dig their musical prowess.  this band is a proof [if we ever needed one] of the value of art in our late capitalist age.  here is a band of amateurs [meaning lovers in the root sense of the word, e.g. of music & voice] who make art because they love their art & because they can't help it.  art ain't a professional degree.  art is what we do to make a life.

and dig these harmonies

and 'landslide'

& this utterly gorgeous version of CSNs' 'helplessly hoping'

allow yourself to fall in love.

peace & love

Sunday, August 25, 2019

absolute music

i heard this song by country music artist orville peck this afternoon when i was running around doing chores & i was fucking ravished.  i love peck's deep voice & the country-punk sound that reminded me of the under sung, beautiful, 1980s country-punk band rank and filebeen a long while since i heard a band &/or singer that hit me this hard.  i don't know much about orville peck but i did hear him interviewed on NPR a couple months ago.  i understand that he is a country singer who is queer & wears a leather-fringe mask.  but ain't that america, for you & me.  goddamn, dig this song & let it ravish you too.