Friday, December 31, 2004

The Beyond (1981)

the past few days I've taken up the habit of watching movies at 3:00-4:00 am when Nicholas has his early morning breakfast. it's downright difficult to read or type while holding a baby in one hand and a bottle in another. so I pop in a disc for me and serve a bottle for the baby.

I watched again this anti-classic from director Lucio Fulci this morning while Nicholas dozed. I've a love/hate relationship with this filmmaker, a lot of his films are real turds, but he did make the odd movie that sticks in the mind's eye that won't go away.

any self-respecting fan of trash cinema will eventually come across Fulci's body of work. what to make of it is another thing entirely. this particular piece of celluloid is about a hotel in Louisiana inherited by a young woman (Catriona MacColl) that is one of the seven gates of hell. and because it is a gateway for the netherworld you know the shit will start to fly.

and it does right away. all of Fulci's films are notable for their gore quotient, and this little stinker ain't no exception. there are zombies amuck, heads blown apart, a painter ripped to shreds because he has the key to hell, etc. etc. the movie, however, is lushly photographed by Sergio Salvatti. I dare say Salvatti makes expert FX guru Gianetto De Rossi's work damn beautiful. it is probably no accident that hack Fulci's best films are good because of Salvatti and De Rossi. without them Fulci made movies that look downright fucking cheap. with this team in place Fulci is almost alright as a moviemaker.

if I've left the plot out it is because there really ain't one to be had. however, any film student interested in postmodern horror would do well to study this film for it's lack of linear plotting, really. it is succesful because it has no narration at all, so it skips pretty well between eras. any traditional storytelling would make this film less than the silly movie it already is.

so I watched it again while Nicholas slept. then both he and I went back to bed while the sun was getting ready to rise. be well and happy new year.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Tom Beckett is posting some brilliant Zombie poems here. it should come to no surprise to readers of this blog that I've a soft soft for ghouls of all sorts. perfect reading for the holidays, and everyday.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2004

thanks to everyone for welcoming baby Nicholas into our family. it's been one hell of a weird week, both surreal and exhausting. funny, for my age I still feel like a kid. tho I guess that is common, I recall Anna's grandmother, Annalisa, turning 80 during my first visit at her home in Upssala, Sweden. Annalisa said, I remember, I don't feel like 80. still feel like I'm 20.

so it goes, I'm 37 and a first-time father, and last Monday night watched my disc of the punk documentary Another State of Mind. the movie chronicles the 1982 cross-country tour of Youth Brigade, Social Distortion and making an appearance during their stop in D.C. the great Minor Threat. I've not seen the film in over twenty years but when you watch it you'll see a bunch of punks slam dancing at the various shows. just as I did in 1982, like the idiot kid I was, and probably still am.

I'm fascinated by William Hogarth's wonderful 1736/7 etching The Distrest Poet. it is not a flattering portrait at all of a working poet, his neglecting his family. but I love each detail in the etching from the map of Peru's gold mines above the poet's head, to the baby in bed, the seamstress wife who supports them, to the bill collector at the door demanding payment. surely art does not require the artist to be such a prig in his home life. life and art, for me, are not separate things. another poet may see it differently, but since writing and reading are not a profession, at any rate my definition of a professional is someone who is paid and can live by his/her vocation. show me a poet living who can earn enough from his/her writing. poetry is what endures in our living, as we face our day-to-day struggles. poetry, for those who are passionate about it, those (to bastardize Auden) for whom language lives, is the art of amateurs.

can't expand on that right now cuz I'm holding Nicholas with my right hand and typing with my left.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

an invite

love to have the
pleasure of yr company
so should the mood
strike c'mon
and use the hit me
sign from the right-hand menu
but please title all correspondance
either sumpn bout poetry or poet
or really bad movies
to sort yr stuff out from all the
chickenfried spam

Monday, December 13, 2004

spent the day at the hospital with Anna and baby Nicholas, who was born yesterday at 11:51 am. came home meaning to write to everyone but was so exhausted I could barely see straight let alone type. let me say I have found that the word love is multifoliate and consistantly expanding even when brought to a single point. never would think myself capable of such joy when finding the baby had another poopy daiper: my boy is eating and digesting! so it goes, another adventure begun. one that is everywhere present. people have children all the time, who grow and blossom into remarkable human beings. I just never really thought that I'd have a child and fall so much in love. still exhausted, off to bed.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

don't know if I would call Jackson Mac Low an influence on my development as a writer, but what the hell. I recall discovering his work via the Net, then searching out his books at the library. yeah, I don't write like Mac Low at all, but his methods of composition(s) got me to think about writing and reading in, for me, completely new ways. so, yeah, he was an influence. more so than anybody I've read because he opened previously unknown doors to me. how words taken apart and reorganized become words. how writing is part of the art of living because chance is so much part of both processes. and so much more, of course.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


the world

that is


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Steve Tills at Black Spring is onto something when he says, in effect, that writers must write beauty into the world, never mind our "despised selves" and our culture's elevation of human tragedy. that is, if I'm reading Steve right then we as poets need to imagine that the world, despite or in spite of, current ugliness, greed, terror and so forth, is an exciting and tremendous place for us to work and live in.

that is indeed it, I think. we need, as writers, to bring "something which might just entail indulging in the most ridiculously wicked acceptance of Joy the old gods loathe," as Steve said. not decadence in the fashions we are meant to believe, not Weimar-era Berlin, not that kind of decadence of Nero singing while Rome burned, surely. but we must not forget all the beauties of the world, and the responsibilities, yes responsibilities, of poets to create, participate and relay to each individual in the world who will listen of its dynamic beauties. without forgetting its pain, horror, terror and so forth. to make the world a better place? well, that is one task of the writer. but also to be alive and participate in the world as well. and language is what makes our veritable human being.

I read and write primarily for pleasure. for that is what makes me feel more alive than suffering. tho I don't mean to discount suffering, it is all-too real. but what gets me going in the morning are the thrills of living. something we often forget as we age is that being alive, even when working for THE MAN, is the great adventure. really, it is. one of our responsibilities, again that word I know, as poets is to make the pleasures of living resonate with us as readers and writers. to make it new, again and again, as our eccentric Uncle Ez said, but do this by knowing both joy and terror. the knowledge creates partly the pleasure.

but no little cabin in the woods for me a la Thoreau since I love living in the city, among people. tho I do know the necessities of solitude. I seek it all the time, mostly in the middle of crowds. I enjoy watching people. I do it all the time, and love variousness of each individual and subculture, even if I'm a stranger to both. maybe that is why I love cities. even with Shrub in office the world is, and can be made, to be a tremendous place to live, work, love and die.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

meant to write about a bit of shock I had upon learning the death of French poet Christophe Tarkos. C. Bernstein posted the announcement here today. Tarkos was only 40. but I spent my evening scouring the net for snatches of his performances. Tarkos is one of several younger poets who invigorated performance poetry in France. I'm not an expert at all on Tarkos et al. however, I've been grappling with his work upon first discovering him in The Germ. what I find cold on the page is energized in the performing of the work. it is funny and often wonderful. of course what two cents of french I had depreciated to near nothing. nevertheless, one does not need to understand every bit of the language to enjoy its textures and sounds. but reading it I find is sometimes a chore. however, this evening I reread his libretto hurt published in Ma Langue est Poetique -- Selected Work (Roof Books 2000) and liked it immensely. the text is for three voices: voice 1, voice 2 and narrator, and it displays many of the qualities found in Tarkos's writing: emphasis on sound, repetition, enjambed phrases etc. etc. here is a piece of it.

voice 1

i don't hurt anymore, i don't hurt, suffering doesn't hurt anymore, suffering is with me, i don't want to get rid of it anymore, i don't see why i would get rid of it, i live with the hurt, i am the hurt, i'm not too worn out, i'm holding on, i'll be the one who has the hurt inside

(translated by Stacy Doris)

we are poorer by the absence of Tarkos.