Sunday, December 31, 2006

below is this mortal coil/cocteau twins' interpretation of tim buckley's 'song to the siren'.


if there is a god he/she/it sings
thru liz fraser's voice.

to ring in the year '07
anna, nicholas and i are gonna
put a log in the fireplace

eat a lot and oink like the piggies we are
tip back a few many
and sleep thru dick clark's rockin' eve

and to everyone
have more of the differing same
in this old wild new

Friday, December 29, 2006

i find this performance by sigur ros -- below -- utterly beautiful. esp. when the vocalist, can't recall his name, sings thru the guitar's pickups.

astonishing and, dare i use the word, transcendant.

no new year resolutions for '07 / but want to write more / read more / watch more movies / drink more / eat more / fantasize more / daydream more / take more naps / play more / re discover the absolute pleasures of doing nothing / email [gasp!] more / answer emails faster and more often / take more notes / eavesdrop more /say i love you more / write more letters to catullus / cavafy / rimbaud / john weiners / william wantling / li po / maybe use the phone more / watch more tv / search for bigfoot in full knowledge i won't find it / visit more local galleries / de young museum / sfmoma / look for snails / set free ladybugs / finally schedule a session with a plastic surgeon so i can get that middle finger extension / to at least 5 more inches / cuss more / and more floridly

and maybe take up smoking

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

oh crap, just finished watching the descent. it is the 2nd feature film by writer/director neil marshall, whose 1st film, dog soldiers, was spot on killer horror cinema. whereas dog soldiers was about a group of soldiers on manuevers in the highlands of scotland who are attacked by a pack of lycanthropes, the descent is a maelstrom into the bowels of the earth.

marshall knows his beloved genre well. this film is the story of 6 adventure seeking women who find themselves lost during a caving expedition. marshall sets the story apace with masterful lighting, darkness and very tight, very claustrophic sets. rare is the horror film that causes dread in me. when watching horror you know very well from the get-go that the situations the characters get themselves in won't be good for their health. it is a matter of course, otherwise there wouldn't be any jolts, or scares within the narrative. this film had me curled into a ball as i watched the women descend beneath the mountains of appalachia.

i didn't catch the cinematographer's name during the credits, but the lighting contrasted with the pitch black darkness, along with marshall's vertiginous camera, lemme tell you this was one wild ride. the breakdown in trust and friendship among the characters cracks even before they encounter the inhabitants of that cave. sounds corny, sure, that there are flesh-eating humanoids in the cave hunting the cavers, but as coleridge reminds us, a good storyteller can suspend the curtain of disbelief. marshall knows the horror genre so well, that he succesfully plants clues along the way to signal the women are not alone and in doing so amps the dread. also the director/writer uses music and ambient sound to increase their effect. a number of times marshall uses that old stand-by of placing the camera just so, so that when something leaps into the frame, i swear, i gasped and jumped like a little girl.

that alone is high praise. unlike feast, which i wrote about glowingly a couple of weeks ago, which was all winks and nods regarding its status as a postmodern horror movie, marshall has made a horror film sans irony. instead he goes straight for the jugular and tells a terrifying tale of madness and cruelty. the women not only lose their way within the cave, not only do they lose their trust amongst each other, they begin to lose their minds. when we find the emotional center of the movie, sarah, at the end of the film, we come to understand what lurks in the dark. and it ain't always things that go bump in the night.

marshall has made another outstanding movie. it is really, in my opinion, one of the best few horror films to emerge in the past 10 years. see it, and be afraid, be very fucking afraid.

Friday, December 22, 2006

forget it's a wonderful life. forget miracle on 34th st. forget -- gasp! -- a christmas story. the ultimate holiday movie is santa claus conquers the martians! this little anti-gem will have you laughing so hard by its cheapjack fx, its horrible acting, and sets that must've strained the film's budget of $1.50, that you may spend christmas in the e.r. from a busted gut.

a cast of no-names, oh wait 10-year-old pia zadora is one of the martian kids, and non-directed by one nicholas webster the premise is that the poor children of mars are sad and out of sorts cuz they watch earth tv and see an interview with santa claus live from the north pole gearing up for the christmas festivities. the martians you see treat their kids like little adults, they ain't got no time for play and frivolity. the martian adults wonder why the kids are so bummed and consult their oracle who alerts them to the childrens' woe. so the head greenie [the martians are painted green while always wearing, i mean never taking them off thru the entire run of the movie so we never even know if they have hair, odd-shaped helmets replete with antennae] hatches a plan to kidnap ol' kris kringle and smuggle him back to mars.

but as johhny rotten spat out in the 1970s about having 'no fun' the lead guy seeks to rectify the situation. all to the contrary of the martian way of life which is predicated on the principles of 'no fun.' horrors! so that when st. nick is bustled into his new-fangled automated workshop to make the martian rugruts their first toys there are a few meanie-greenies set to spoil the works and jump the claus.

slapstick ensues. the bad guys kidnap instead what is passed for comic relief in the film, a character called 'dropo' who admires santa so much that one night he dressed as the jolly one and went to run the workshop as big red slept. but the bad guys learn of their mistake too late, and the head party-pooper is pelted by toys from the kids until he cries uncle. santa claus teaches the martians the proper uses of 'fun' and is shuffled back to earth just in time for christmas.

i saw this film when i was just a wee tyke at a 2nd run cinema in the early 1970s. i've never forgot it. when i found the disc on sale for a buck a couple of weeks ago i snatched it up. last night me and nicholas watched it together. nicholas promptly fell asleep whereas i was sitting on the edge of my chair.

i want to kiss on the lips those geniuses who conceived, financed and produced this film. a movie like this is sui generis.

i nearly went to the hospital to stitch up my gut. should you venture a looksee at this film take care to get up every once in a while for a pee, or popcorn, or a fresh beer. otherwise you may just start laughing so hard you'll split yr side, and end up having to explain yrself to a triage nurse.

consider yrself warned.

happy christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

this has got to be the wildest tattoo on any poet. philip jenks has ms. emily dickinson, in full, on his back. see it here and scroll down a bit. you can't miss it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

couple of months ago i read at reel fanatic quentin tarantino and robert rodriguez have teamed up and are currently in the middle of shooting an homage to trash cinema: grindhouse. the cast is stellar, and the teaser trailer, when it was available [it has since been removed from a number of websites; but the net being what it is i'm sure if you google 'grindhouse' and 'trailer' someone still has it posted], looked outstanding.

the gist is that each director make a mini film, in this case 1 horror, the other eurotrash-style, and put in a number of fake trailers between the 2 movies as an intermission, which would mimic sitting in an old broken down theater watching b-movies from preferably the mid 1970s.

will it succeed? can't say, tho i've watched the teaser several times and they got the tone down right. yet i'm skeptical. both tarantino and rodriguez-- excellent filmmakers both and commited trash cineastes -- recent work underwhelmed me. not dissing them, since both are going straight to the source here, and making a cinema as they would've seen it when they were kids in the '70s.

dvd has been a great boon to film lovers of all types. every movie it seems ever made is being digitized and rediscovered. you don't need to watch a homage to exploitation cinema, you can now buy those films on disc and experience them firsthand. sure, you miss out sitting next to a street person waiting out the cold, or watching some dude go psycho smoking dust.

those days are long gone. i recall the star theater, i even wrote a poem about it. it was a dive on the k st mall, a pedestrian open-air strip of shopping located at the heart of the city. when i knew it the star theater was owned and operated by a chinese family that imported the worst sort of kung fu flick from hong kong. i was 13 yrs old when i first stepped inside. it smelled of popcorn, pot, and piss from the non-working toilets. i studied the posters in its lobby. the chairs were taped together to keep from falling apart. which is what happened one afternoon. one by one the chairs collapsed leaving their occupants bewildered and pissed off. it was funny as hell. and me and my brothers, and the friend who first took us there, laughed our asses off.

the star theater was demolished in the late '80s for the sake of gentrification. k st mall is still a shithole, and because of the demolition the mall, the city, is poorer from the absence of the star theater and its like.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

caught total eclipse on the independant film channel last night. i've not seen the film in 12 years when i literally salivated at the thought of seeing my idol, arthur rimbaud, brought to life on the big screen. it was at an old art theater -- the same place where i would go see the rocky horror picture show as the weekly midnight movie -- that's been since torn down. i was the only one sitting in the audience, which pumped up my viewing experience since i've never had a theater all to myself. alas, right before the picture started a couple came in and sat right next to me.

no matter, since the film, directed by agnieszka holland and starring leonardo di caprio as rimbaud and david thewliss as verlaine was about to start. and when it was over i nearly demanded my 8 bucks back.

i sure as shit couldn't bargain for the 90 minutes of my life that i had wasted on this garbage.

but, as ms. britney spears so memorably cooed, oops, i did it again. it is because any film about writers in general, poets in particular, have this hold over me. no matter how stinky the shit, i'll return to it as a dog would to his own excrement. di caprio is a gifted actor, but his rimbaud has none of the french poet's wicked charisma. di caprio plays him as a screechy little bitch. and one thing rimbaud is not is screechy. thewlis does a credible job as verlaine, and we get some good scenes of both at work writing. however, when we find di caprio' rimbaud back home on the farm at roche composing une saison en enfer he appears to be suffering from a stomach ulcer rather than writing a masterpiece.

blame it on holland whose direction is slapdash. the very well-known segments of rimbaud's and verlaine's life together are sort of glossed over. for example, when verlaine shoots rimbaud in the wrist holland films that infamous encounter as if rimbaud was simply being dreamy and waving a hand in the air as verlaine drunkenly points the gun in his general direction. okay, but for crissakes, anybody who will bother to seek out a film about rimbaud and verlaine will know their stories so well that when those episodes are either glossed over or made inaccurate in the telling there will be a feeling of being cheated.

holland also places a few hallocinogenic moments, such as the vista from rimbaud stretcher as he is being shunted across the deserts of africa, which make no sense regarding the narrative of rimbaud and verlaine's life together. in short, a total waste of time rather than the eclipse so wanted by holland. a pity since i do think the world needs a well done film about the french poets' life together. there is something about rimbaud that makes everything about him, even his life in africa, a continuation of the life of poetry. like rimbaud became the poem rather than the writer of poems. even that latter half of rimbaud's life would make a good film.

but in holland's treatment last night anna had to cover my mouth because of my groans while watching this flick, again.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

would 1 source of metaphysics
be that we can be happy only
when we are unable to stop and know it

Friday, December 15, 2006

the city is best dressed in air, cold, and at night. lights are more vivid. shadows, traffic, shop fronts are in sharp relief and outlined like a negative in the dark. walking in it, as opposed to driving, i can slow down, see things that are easily missed. the body demands to be used. it needs to move. and as i do so certainly lines of poems, written and yet to be written, snatches of songs, phrases and scenes from films flicker in the mind's eye as i walk my city's streets at night.

i love it. california is a state that developed around the car. it is not made for walking. but if you are lucky there are neighborhoods, sections of town, even a whole city like san francisco, that demand that you park and walk these city blocks.

like tonight, friday evening, when midtown is jumping with people ready for the weekend. the streets are crawling with singles and couples going to and fro. the clubs of lavender heights, the gay section of town, have their doors open to its early patrons, and already the music is high.

i pass a building with tall windows. i look inside and i see a couple of patrick nagel prints framed and hanging from the wall. and i thought, oh shit. i've not seen any nagels since the 1980s when that quintessential illustrator for Playboy was all the rage. my first serious girlfriend was nuts about his work. i bought her a book of his work. it's easy to make a judgment about it. but what the fuck. what i used to find erotic, and that was just a smidgen, i see as dated and cold. it's crap, indeed. but what is taste anyway.

and the people you see and meet. a few blocks from my house, waiting for the light to change, a young man dressed in fashionably torn jeans, a soul patch on his chin, pushing his mountain bike, turns to me and says, 'hey brother. good evening. jesus loves you.' he keeps up with me for a block emphatic in his salvation. i ask when was he saved. 'oh, about 5 weeks ago. take care brother,' and he stops to talk about jesus' love to a camp of street people. and i think, why not. whatever works. love is love, after all.

love is love
after all

Thursday, December 14, 2006

how much do we admit the irrational in our daily/working lives? or, how much do we value the unknown even in the most rational of persons. not as religious belief but that these worlds we live are vast and strange. yeats believed in the occult. others believe in the equation. and still there are others who are rational, and yet admit to -- what? --

poetry is not about making sense, i think, but about making thru the silliness, horrors, wildness of our common realities, however one defines them.

and yet, thru the processes of reading and writing that make perfect sense, realities that is.

on another note, do check out the blog of u.k. poet jow lindsay.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

for tom b.

woke at 6
helped dress nicholas
ironed clothes
2 cups of coffee
shower shave
squinted at the paper
read a few poems
walked to work
head bent to computer
all day
turned evening
then dark
walked home
in the drizzle

'sir psycho sexy' by red hot chili peppers
looped in the head

nicholas turned 2 today


Monday, December 11, 2006

crap! tried to post a lengthy comment over at jen crawford's blog. wouldn't let me do it, so tried to backchannel the comment but couldn't find her email. so jen, b/c me okay? just to have yr email in case that dookie happens again. but by the time you get to me i'm sure i've forgetton what the hell i was trying to say.

except this, that one of my favorite words is druthers.

watching a miniseries the lost room on the sci fi channel. it is pretty damn fucking good! more later on that.

peace out

Friday, December 08, 2006

does geof huth ever sleep? last spring when he was here in sac i left him in his hotel room around 11:00 - 11:30 pm and he was still buzzing with energy. and he had to get up early to navigate the streets of an unknown city and give a presentation at the local university.

then today i find his video poem on youtube via crag hill's blog, which leads me to looking at his other videos, most of which are home projects. as you know geof is a tireless poet-critic who maintains several blogs [in this way he has a lot in common with eileen tabios, who i also wonder if she gets any sleep] devoted to verbal/visual poetry.

i mentioned in an email earlier today that anna and i are planning on a major kitchen renovation and told him how much i enjoyed his videos of his house. anna is the one who raised my standards really. it is thru her eyes and tastes that elevated my own from just appreciating the occassional velvet elvis painting and thinking a target in the toilet bowl is the height of hilarity.

so tonight geof emails me a link to yet another blog, this one detailing his family house projects. and a lot of the posts are rather lengthy, so again i ask does geof huth every sleep?!

geof's huthhouse blog has me wondering. i know poets john tyson and robert vander molen earn their living as housepainters. i'd love to read blogs that combine both the work of poetry, and the poet's daily work. a couple of years ago, we had our house painted by an astonishingly talented guy who took his time to get the job done well. paul brown is his name, and i was blown away by watching him work. the care, the precision to which he plied his craft was the work of an artist.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

didn't nap that long. nicholas is stirring so got to go to him. but, ladies and gentlemen, for yr poetic endevours might i introduce you to jim mccrary's blog:

smelt money

welcome aboard!

lost my voice due to my cold. i sound like lauren bacall after 30 years of smoking 18 packs a day. so kicking it today at home with nicholas, doing nothing. energy level had done plummeted. i just put nicholas to bed for a nap where i'm soon gonna join him after the dogs finish their pee run.

tom beckett is embarking on a cool project, a long poem based on 1 day of his life. and do check out derek motion's blog where he posted a photo of his daughter.

time for night-night.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

below is arguably one of the most beautiful love songs ever recorded. finn's voice is utterly breathtaking, and i love how the audience sings along near the end. i know of no higher art.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

picked up a cold somewhere so now my head feels like it is a 100 pound weight filled with brillo pads and my nose is scraped raw from the rough caress of tissue.

to top it off, that's it. don't feel terribly bad, plenty of energy. what gives. well, it sure beats last year when i must've endured half a dozen colds, including one that felt like goons from the sopranos worked me over with a couple of 2x4s for a couple of hrs.

wondering what the source of poetry is for most poets. i mean, it seems that many writers come to poetry out of some traumatic event in their lives. i don't mean to suggest all writers, but on the surface there seems some connecting thread of illness or bad happenstance early in their lives that leads to poetry.

so is poetry sourced in pain and trauma, or can a writer live a happy life and write well too? for me reading/writing is the site of tremendous pleasure. but it is episodic, that pleasure. like sex. at least the writing of it. long preparations lead to anticipation lead to the act lead to an hr or so of sustained work lead to a refractory period, whereby the process begins again. sometimes there are marathon sessions. sometimes a few minutes only of solid work.

and yet when it is done, the poet is the one who is continously thinking about the next writing session, the preparation that leads to anticipation and so on. everything, everything is fuel for the writer.

it never ends. like human language, like human desire. but does that pleasure declare as its source the site(s) of trauma, illness, stress and the like. so that writing becomes such a pleasure because it is an action out of, and thus opposite of, mute suffering?

Monday, December 04, 2006

whoa! i'm offline for the weekend [i check my emails and perhaps click very quickly thru a few favorite blogs, but for the most part i usually spend weekends with anna and nicholas] and come back today to read kari edwards has passed away. the news hit me in the gut like a suckerpunch. i didn't know hir but for hir work i've read thru journals online and off. and also hir blog. i have a deep admiration for both edwards' texts and hir activism. i don't remember if it was on jim goar's, or kyle kaufman's, blogs where i said how i admired a poem of kari's in the comments section. s/he also replied too, and i was rather pleased only for the very small fact that s/he, however briefly, knew my name.

i'm blown away by the suddenness, the news of, hir death.

* * *

i think it was ernesto priego [apologize for not linking to ernesto's blog, using wi fi which is more efficient i found for surfing the web, but doesn't afford me the easy ability to open up new windows or tabs for linkage] who wrote a very beautiful, very eloquent defense of poet-blogs. i've long become an advocate of the medium. blogs don't, they can't, replace the pleasures of talking to yr friends face to face, or holding a book, journal, zine, chap in yr hands, but they do allow writers the space to write about their poetics, publish poems, connect with brothers and sisters in the art, and so on.

i think it was mark young who wrote an essay published in an online zine about why he also loves blogs, the online community, and so on. a while back i finished a collection of essays, the undertaking: essays in the dismal trade by thomas lynch, who is a poet-undertaker. in the collection lynch somewhere calls himself an unkown international poet. i liked the phrase enough that i quoted it later in an email to a fellow poet i admire. that is how i consider myself, among the poets also in our aether.

so what i want to read in a poet's blog: a bit of journal entries, poems, fragments, the odd thought, personal life, and essays about whatever that poet is into. e. g. movie reviews, sports, pop culture, painting, you name it. as long as the subject is written with passion and reverence. no small word, reverence. but that is why we're at it, why we approach language. i'm a godless man who is always in the act of prayer.