Sunday, November 30, 2008

singing and hacking

you don't want to hear either from me. trust me. when i sing, and i do it all the time around the house, in the car, walking, and even in the shower, eardrums crack and pavement shifts. not in some orphic homage but because my voice is so flat and out of tune that it is painful on those poor innocents who happen to be within listening range. it's the same as when i cough, hacking up a 3rd of my left lung does not sound pretty. i'd revel in the noise, i really would, if only it wasn't so painful. well, maybe i could simply pretend to be a consumptive poet from the turn of the last century, spend what little i have on rum, and turn the pillow over to find the cool spot for my aching head. or maybe i could just simply point you to this blog entry by the kansas poet laureate denise low about jim mccrary. now, i've got a couple of movies to watch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

drips & drizzles

that's the description of my physical state. i've been nursing a cold for a few days, no biggie, but now my cold manifested in a hacking cough and my nose has become a leaky spigot. it's gross. so i'm staying in today to rest up. was wanting to see the film let the right one in today but i'd hate to sit in an audience with me and my hacking. hell, i'm annoying myself with it. and i sure as fuck would not enjoy the experience of the movies coughing and snorting. so i'm gonna wait to see the movie after work monday night.

anyways, let me point you to a very readable blog by oakland poet dillon westbrook. no, i don't know westbrook, couldn't point him out in a line-up, but i enjoy his reading his posts. so check out ideational continent where you'll discover, among other things such as his love of the 80s pop band huey lewis & the news [i like them too - we all have our guilty pleasures, yes?], this brilliant open letter to the supporters of prop. 8.

now, if you'll excuse me i have to blow my nose. and maybe my mind too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

thoughts on black friday: man! my belly's full

thanskgiving holiday was lovely. anna and her sister made a marvelous meal and we just had some leftovers. indeed, we did give thanks for friends, family, our being blessed with having nicholas. why not. life would be empty without them, especially nicholas, in our lives.

well then, stores were nuts today. i didn't go shopping but instead took nicholas to see madascar 2: escape 2 africa. the less said about that movie the better. even still, it was fun as nicholas enjoyed the spectacle, the popcorn and the video games in the lobby. however, there were loads of people in the mall. with the downturn of the economy i can't say whether they were buying or just looking, but they were there. all of them, it seemed.

so so so, ever get the name of a poet you don't know very well stuck in your head which makes you go thru some of your zines and books and then fire up the laptop to search for him/her on google? well, i have and for some reason the name lee ballentine was stuck like a note in my mind. i have a zine, el pobre mouse, published by kyle kaufman [where is kyle anyway? he's not updated his blog in years] with a poem by ballentine which i reread. which was good.

then i did a google search for ballentine and found these poems and an old interview and in that interview found out that the poet is interested in alchemy and speculative fiction and that he alludes to being kicked out of school. got my interest perked up. nothing more to add i guess about my quick search of ballentine's work except that i'll keep my eye out for more of his poetry.

finally, thinking of holiday themed movies to write about. my only criteria is that the movies either be about christmas directly or be centered somehow around the holiday, such as the action taking place on or near the christmas season. tomorrow i plan on seeing the swedish vampire film let the right one in. yes, there'll be a review of it right here. you betcha.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

happy tofurkey day!

yes, you've read that right. i don't eat anything that can run, swim, slither, fly, crawl or cower in terror from my knife and fork. every year for the thanksgiving holiday anna prepares a lot of pumpkin pies [i'm in heaven!] and a tofurkey which is exactly what it sounds like. . .made from tofu, along with a couple of vegetarian dishes such as spinach pie, which has become an annual tradition for almost as long as anna and i have been together, made with filo dough, spinach and feta cheese, and some traditional holiday side dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing.

but but but, reading jean vengua's post about work echoes my own thoughts. i hardly discuss my day job because it is far outside of poetry and tho i like my work i don't find it very interesting to write about. but today i'd been thinking about the proper job for a poet. and i know what it is, since everyone complains about their jobs, even the jobs we covet, such as a tenured gig at a university, because no job is exactly what we think it might be and comes with its own set level of bullshit. therefore, the proper job for a poet is any job that is not too soul-killing, provides enough time to read and write and pays well enough.

i'd been thinking about poetry and work today not just because i'm a non-academic [meaning i don't teach at all] poet and think that university gigs are not, and should not be, the only occupations for writers. i can get rather animated about my belief in this. i'd been thinking about poetry and work because i'd just finished today joseph torra's autobiographical novel call me waiter - see a review here. torra spent over 25 years in the restaurant business to support his obsessions. a very readable book that highlights the life of writing, most writers will recognize their own obsessions within these pages, and the absurdity of a wild industry. having logged a couple of years myself in restaurants i laughed aloud with many of the character sketches, but it was not a job i liked doing. in fact, i hated being a servant. but then that was when i was still in my early 20s. i might think differently now regarding employment and responsibilities. at any rate, as a sign of my age i kept thinking as i read of torra approaching 50 and working as a waiter and bartender, what did you do for health insurance?

so as jean says in her post about her day job, we should consider ourselves lucky for our jobs. but to a point for in work we are expected to sell our souls. at least to some extant. when i was working toward my ma i managed a recycling facility which meant i was knee deep and head down in trash 9 plus hrs a day. i'd drag myself off of that heap of shit to attend lectures at night. one night a professor who later became a friend was complaining about his job. he must've had a couple of bad meetings. he sure was having a bad day and he let us know that the job of a professor is not some romantic sinecure. and his tirades told me that no one is happy, at least some of the time, doing the jobs we must do for money. i was mad and wanted to yell at the professor that his job, from my perspective was pure privilege while my hands were sticky working with trash and recyclables all day and to top it all i had to take my stinky ass from my long day to hear him lecture for 3 hrs at night. but i didn't. not because i'm magnanimous or any shit like that. we all hate our jobs, sometimes. no matter the job.

so i don't know how to end this ramble. this ain't a criticism of work or jobs or professors or anything like that at all. i've reached the age to know that having work is a good, no matter what that work entails. as long as it doesn't kill ya. as long as it leaves you human to support your obsessions. the best job for a poet is any job. that you see fit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

do they know it's christmas

i don't. oh, i know what month it is, but still christmas always seems just right around the corner. even better, a few fm radio stations are now playing straight up christmas songs 24/7. seems a bit early, but i could be wrong about that. i mean, i saw on the news today [oh boy!] 4 days till BLACK FRIDAY. that's when the large hadron collider gets turned on and creates a big black hole to suck this madness out.

well, i can only hope, right. enough with the kvetching. i like christmas. however, i wonder why the second biggest retail holiday, halloween, doesn't have the news counting down for it. where's the love now. but before you think i'm a big grinch with my heart 2 sizes too small, think again. because the holidays are magic, no matter what age and how commercial they become.

so below is an advert for the once mighty toy retailer toys r us that aired back when i was a pup. when anna and i first saw this on the net last year, i think, we were stopped in our tracks. christmas traffics in sentimentality and there's little more sentimental than those things of our childhood. and before you get all postmodern and ironic think about those things from your childhood that you recall. the good things. the things that made the world a wonderful place.

now go get some nog with a dash of rum and a sprinkle of nutmeg, put your feet up, get the old vhs tape of the yuletide fire up and running and dig into this.

god bless us, everyone

Sunday, November 23, 2008

fuck art
lets kill

nothing makes me feel older than going back to the music of my youth. okay, everyone does that shit no matter how old you are. and the beauty of the passing days is that everyone gets older, no exceptions. and frankly, what is time anyway but an accretion of days, months and years. duh, you say, and i agree but we all have moments where we remember something that happened years ago and think it was just a few weeks ago.

anyway, last night hanging out with a group of poets the discussion turned to the problems of, and the lack of success, being publishable, teaching and so on. all relevant topics i'm sure. at any rate, i wonder what the hell we mean by success. our discussions were not specific about poetic success, yet a couple of the group are young, early to mid-20s, and by nature younger writers start by feeling out the ground as they try to establish the art of writing in their lives.

which again brings me back to the music of my youth. lately, i've been listening to a few songs by the chicago-based industrial band ministry. i hold the band as an exemplar of metamorphosis for when they first started in the early '80s they were a rather derivative faux-english synth-pop band. by the mid to late '80s they transformed themselves into a nihilist, thundering wash of distorted guitars, steely synths, using samples from movies and speeches while the vocalists, both al jourgensen and paul barker, distorted their voices by artificial fx. in other words, very little in pop music had heralded such a change in tone and sound from a band.

so then, ministry was a group that i focused on as i was moving toward poetry. what i liked about them, and still do, was their nihilism. i was not a hardcore nihilist but i was approaching life and art as interwoven parts of a whole as existential tendencies began to burble in my burgeoning identity as a man and poet. listening to their music i worried less about art, which i held then, and honestly i still do, as sacrosanct and turned my attention to the making of my chosen fields of expression without thought of audience or the unforeseeable future. and tho ministry achieved considerable popular success i wonder if that was their goal when they changed their sound. in the mid '80s only a few cities, largely populated like l.a. and nyc, had fm alternative music radio stations. and back then radio airplay was the main vehicle for any sort of commercial success.

which is a long way of saying that as i was feeling my own way upon the ground of contemporary letters ministry was one of the influences that pointed a way toward doing whatever the fuck i wanted to do and not worry about whether it would get me published in antioch or poetry. who cares. yes, i made mucho mistakes. i still do. it's that art of doing that makes a life, ain't it. so fuck art. lets kill.

Friday, November 21, 2008

welcome home i've arrived

long, long day at the job. i felt a level of fatigue i rarely experience. it was go all the way. by the time i got home anna detected the smell of burnt rubber emanating from my ears. but then i found a package from daniel f. bradley waiting for me on the dining room table. it's his book t=i=d=y language. a welcome gift from a kick-ass poet. then the mind eased down then stopped revving and i thumbed thru the pages of prose poems and smelled the cut pages. yes, i always smell new books. don't you? it is a good smell and it brought me back to the ground.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

mona lisa, mona lisa

when the night turns colder but the sky is without clouds the artificial lights, from traffic and streetlamps and open mobile phones and the shops and homes, deepens the clarity of the city. kinda like staring down into the great deep of an enormous body of water. i had that experience most profoundly flying over greenland and witnessed a sea of such clarity that the land sloped beneath the surface to fade out of sight. even sounds snap and each individual noise is in relief among the others so instead of a cacophony of the cityscape you have rather layers of individual sounds. or maybe that could be simply the result of my own flawed perceptions as i triangulate my way thru the city. how i love walking at night. the lights open each structure to invite the walker to look within as the space and its occupants in turn become extensions of the streets.

i saw at the sandwich shop tonight
a large man wearing checkered vans
circa 1981 with tattoos on his forearms
on his right wrist i swear it was the mona lisa
her enigmatic smile

i see red

a few nights a go i stop at the newsbeat on the way home from work to see what journals and mags there are to be seen. i pick up the newest circumference and thumbing thru the pages i read a poem by the late russian poet boris ryzhii. i've barely read any ryzhii but i remember this entry on the poet which must've been some years ago and remembered the name. plus the one fragment posted at poetry international isn't much but something about it struck me. of course i searched the web for ryzhii's work but at that time there wasn't much of it translated into english.

there still isn't much of it translated into english. but what i have read either falls flat or rises a bit into an interesting text. i suppose it's the art of translation because a writer i adore, osip mandelstam, also has been abused by bad translations. but when mandalstam is served well the results can be deeply satisfying.

well, this wasn't the first time i bought a journal just on the strength of a single poem. i recall another time buying another journal because the poem i read, by nick moudry, just fucking blew me away and i had to have it. anyway, the translator of ryzhii's poems james stotts posted a brief bio and some more translations on his blog here. stotts is completely new to me both as a poet-blogger and translator. reading his entries i discover that his love of russian poetry runs deep. his own poems sway to a minimalist music and a young poet who also has a jones for the late joseph brodsky - as i have, every gnarled, crabbed bit of brodsky - writing elegies to the russian poet [see stotts' entry here] and you got my attention.

but back to ryzhii. he committed suicide at the age of 26 in 2001 and spent his entire young life in the urals. check out his wiki article. other than that i know very little of the young russian poet. i do hope stotts translates more ryzhii and that someone will publish a collection of his work. oh, according to poetry international ryzhii's last name means 'red'.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

bloody cold

the nation of sweden is not known for producing genre films. when we consider cinema sweden we tend to think of the great ingmar bergman's psycho-sociological studies of faith, love and death. but blood and guts, monsters and bogeyman, just doesn't leap to mind.

at least i don't. in fact, i can't recall a single swedish horror film, period. swedish exploitation films, yes, after all if you came of age in the 1970s then you probably had at least heard the phrase swedish erotica, which were a series of porn movies released to the scumotoriums and grindhouses in the u.s. and there are the sexploitation flicks of american born joe sarno who made many movies in sweden with swedish actors, including one of his more infamous films jag - en oskuld. but i'm pressed to think of one swedish horror movie.

there are very few movies i look forward to seeing. i rarely go to the theaters prefering to see movies on disc. perhaps it's because there seems to be a glut of superhero movies out there. i like superheroes but lately that seems the only type of flick hollywood is willing to produce. well, superheroes and bad remakes of current genre films from both europe and asia. enough!

so now then i'm reading rave reviews of the swedish vampire flick let the right one in directed by tomas alfredson, this is his first genre movie, and based on the novel by john ajvide lindqvist. i know very little about the source material and alfredson is a totally new director to me. yet, a few searches on the net and watching the trailer a couple of times and, well, i'm stoked. the movie is a love story of two twelve year olds, one a bullied boy and the other a vampire. i'm not big on the vampire mythos. i find the vampire too romantic and melancholy a figure to find sympathetic. if i had my choice between a roomful of gut-munching zombies or the company of a sad, distant and lonely un-alive soul, i'll take my chances with the gut-munchers.

still, this film is scheduled - i think, i hope so at any rate - to open at one of sac's arthouses, the crest, on 11-28. i've marked the date.

Monday, November 17, 2008


it's been a wonderful but very warm weekend. warm as in the weather with a daytime high temperature is in the high 70s f. which is a bit weird and rare even for sunny northern california. but i've been grooving on it. the light is simply gorgeous and the high 70s is still shorts weather. so we took nicholas to the nimbus fish hatchery today, a fish ladder on the american river for both steelhead salmon and rainbow trout. except that this was a bad year for both fish so the populations are low and being at the hatchery on such a sunny and warm day could not but remind me not of abundance but of scarcity. how we are depleting this planet and soon the shit will hit the fan.

but that sounds rather bleak and glum. and i surely didn't feel like either. nicholas had a blast feeding the fingerlings with these tiny pellets of fish food. the fish were jumping big time. we were splashed by the young fish and by the end of our visit we stank from the high stink of concentrated fish chow.

well then anyway, last night we ate at a local vietnamese restaurant that serves strictly vegetarian dishes, andy nguyen. there is a small chain of the restaurant in town but this particular store located on broadway blvd in downtown is, or so i've read somewhere, owned by the divorced wife of the founder of the chain and because of her buddhism stopped serving meat. the food is delicious and as we were served our appetizers nicholas noticed at the next table over the diners using chopsticks. he never held a chopstick in his life but that wasn't going to stop the boy for he - and me too - have been watching kung fu panda on dvd and the hero of the movie, po, is trained in the art of kung fu by his master thru po's love of food.

which is a long way of saying that thru trial and error nicholas learned in increments the art of eating with chopsticks. the lesson was not without a few tears and a small level of frustration. it was anna who helped immensely in nicholas using chopsticks. but finally dinner was consummed by the child and ho boy! was it ever.

i can draw no parallels in the arts of dining and the arts of living and poetics. tho there probably is since we only have this one life and mine is centered on family, poetry and well, i don't know, every obsession i own, which again somehow relates to poetry. for example, i was re-reading alex gildzen's book it's all a movie yesterday where alex in a poem cites leigh snowden then i see that kiss me deadly is scheduled for broadcast on turner classic movies. or that in another poem richard harrison makes an appearance while the night before last i watched a bit of challenge of the tiger which is the flick paired on the dvd with for your height only. and that is only a partial grazing of connections with alex's book and my own obsessions in movies of late.

and there is jean vengua who's been writing about ghosts and her trip to death valley here, here and here and my own fascination with the paranormal. i've long wanted to take driving trips to the weird parts of california. we've been now to the winchester mystery house and next year anna and i are thinking about checking out the salton sea after we take nicholas to disneyland.

anyway, it is the christmas season even if it does feel like summer, still. all the evidence points to it. so in the spirit of the holiday season i'll start writing about movies that are either straight up holiday movies, or flicks centered around christmas. i won't guarantee all my posts will be about holiday films but i'll make an effort. i like christmas. so some of the movies might be obvious candidates of the holiday season and some might surprise you. well, they might. who knows. and now it's late. i should be in bed. to all a good night.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

for your height only [1981]

james bond? now that there is a new bond flick, and yes i understand the newest bond, daniel craig, delivers a brooding, yet animal sexiness, back to the franchise that's been long absent. but i've no huge interest in seeing the just released agent 007 flick, quantum of solace, nor have i seen the first craig-as-bond movie, casino royale. sure, it's my loss, but for me bond is sean connery and all the rest of the bonds suck compared to the first james of the franchise.

so for the rest of you who might be tired of the same-old-same-old when it comes to action flicks and the likes of secret agents who look great, are nearly superhuman when jumping from burning planes or hi-rise buildings, bed beautiful women, and have gadgets galore, let me suggest an alternative actioner starring a secret agent of the kind you've not seen before. let me introduce to you the fantastic - and no i'm not being facetious, for this might be a low-budget philippine production ripping off the james bond franchise, but it is no mere exploitation movie - for in this flick the women are beautiful but each one of them can kick your ass and the star is agent 00, a man who stands at eye-level with r2-d2 because he is about a meter tall, mr weng weng.

but make no mistake about weng's diminutive size or the nature of this movie, weng is a hardy and brilliant secret agent who let's nothing get in the way of completing his mission. the plot begins when a famous scientist is abducted by a handful of hatchet-faced thugs led by a mr giant. mr giant is - i don't know how to say this so i'll say it simply - mr giant is a talking vanity mirror. the kind of mirror you'd find at a k-mart store circa 1978. it is the kind of mirror with lights on it that you might've seen your older sister, if you have an older sister, use to put on make-up just before hitting the disco on saturday night. in other words, this production is cheap! even agent 00's gadgets look like nothing more than geegaws bought from a gum machine. but back to the plot: weng is recruited to rescue the scientist before mr giant can get his - hmm, clutches? - on the scientist's newest bomb.

and yet, weng's brio makes up for the $1.50 spent on fx and set designs. he not only kicks ass he also kicks the bad guys in their nuts. the dude is a veritable ball-wrecker. weng kicks so many cojones he'll have most men watching holding on for dear life. and that's not all. he's got that i don't know what so that women can't resist him. and if you think i'm making fun of weng, think again. as i said, this movie is no mere exercise in exploitation. it is almost a love-letter to weng, the filmmaker gives weng much respect and allows the star's verve to explode.

and that's not all. whoever did the music, or stole the music, for this flick did a credible job at a bond film pastiche that is played over and over again so that dialogue is held to a bare minimum, perhaps because dubbing a talky soundtrack into english might have been a bit too expensive for the producers, while illuminating the action onscreen. the movie is almost like a silent film. the editing is choppy, as you might expect from a threadbare production and the photography looks like it was filmed with stock stolen from the editing room floor of another production. the lighting is harsh, almost like fluorescent lighting. still, all that cheapness works in this film's favor, as it somehow highlights the charisma of weng weng.

so for all you tired of bond, james bond and his millionth iteration, grab a few beers, check your head at the door, and see this film. i can't recommend this movie enough.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

lesson for autumn #3

fucking life entropy is always 5 steps ahead

no title

even now
the sounds of
like a stomach
but small
the creaks
and crabbing
of the house
as we go
to sleep
then 2:00 am
to get up
and check
the world
the moon
a silver slit
of light
thru the
kitchen window
opening the
front door
the sound
of the freeway
cars in singles
the one motorcycle
quiet then loud
then quiet

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

?you are what you read

sitting here watching a movie, or tv, or when shopping at some furniture store like crate & barrel, i see that the decor is populated with tomes. some of these books are clearly fake, lacquered or laminated plates with a title in faded embossed gold while the edges are gilted. but there are many, many times the books are very real. sometimes there is an author whom i have read, or maybe sometimes the author is a person i've just heard of.

i am drawn to these books, these fictive creations of false personalities designed to sell or create an illusion of a lived, and perhaps well-read, life. i wonder who it is that is hired to make these dioramas of books and if that person is deliberate in his/her choice of author. for a genteel, sad, yet slightly gothic setting why not faulkner's as i lay dying. or if the mood is meant to connote the outdoors perhaps there will be a faded hardback copy of hemingway's the old man and the sea set next to the leather settee.

or are the choices of the bookbuyer haphazard and the books bought sight unseen by the yard. what matters is the conveyance of an examined life and what better expression is the clump of books set on the table or toppled in a bookcase. do the bookbuyer and the decorator ever meet to discuss the books to be displayed or is the decorator and the bookbuyer the same person who nevertheless makes these displays because to make and gain capital one needs a specific tone. books then set that tone.

which leads me to wonder again how those books are chosen. i'm not the only one - am i - that upon entering a store display picks up these books and wonder why john updike and not don delilo, or why there is never any poetry. i'm not the only one who watches a scene in a movie or tv show where a character is either reading or standing or sitting near a stack of books and attempt to read the titles and the names of the authors. i look because i think what you read communicates the mechanisms of your life. more than that i look because one always is hyper aware of what motivates obsession and my life is a long obsession with printed words. i look because i can't stop my wonder at looking.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

on becoming. . .

i don't know nothing about originality
i delight in the found and appropriated
being derivative is my goal
i don't care about thing-ness only what things can give
when it comes to boats i prefer ones that float
about cars only that they start when i want
and stop when i need them to
every being has their uniform
from professor to house painter to street person
if i want to be individual i'd start driving a yugo
and blasting polkas from my am radio
but everyone will be doing it

lesson for autumn #2

not being religious or even anti-religious i nevertheless turn to buddhist poems & texts from time to time & this seems to be a time right now

perhaps i seek in some thing an empty or that knowledge of emptiness is a worthy goal

i find i don't know it easy to lose track anyway

the walks home now are lovely with the air pregnant with cold and the streets details of this living blue traffic

movement at once huddled and heading some where

lesson for autumn #1

pumpkin pie is a salve for the soul

Sunday, November 09, 2008

westworld [1973]

i was saddened to read the obit of michael crichton a few days ago for he was a powerhouse of both novels and films. if crichton's books and movies all seemed to be so much pulp, and they are, his works are nevertheless entertaining on a human scale. what seemed to interest crichton was the play between knowledge, power and reason and how that triumvirate tends to avail in some serious fuck-ups because our species knows not when to stop.

still, crichton was not a moralist, i think, but a maker of science fiction pieces that summed up the human endeavour as powerful and short-sighted. it would seem, to my limited reading of sci-fi, that most of the genre is indeed about how our human being is so very smart in our creations but so seriously dumb in managing that power.

at any rate, i've always thought of crichton as youthful. it surprised me upon his death to be reminded that he was making books and movies for 40 years. and i was surprised even further to read that he both penned and directed one of my favorite sci-fi films of the 1970s westworld. i missed that for some reason. i've seen this film dozens of times thru these years. the first time i watched the movie was at the long-gone drive-in theater, mather auto movies. i thought i'd seen this movie at a later date but a quick glance at tells me that mather closed in 1976 so i must've seen westworld upon first release.

man that was a long time ago! or so it seems; i was but a pup in 1973. well, the movie stars yul brynner as the gunslinger with a lack of affect, and richard benjamin and james brolin as two buddies touring the old west. now westworld is one of three resorts, the other two are romanworld and medievalworld, populated by very realistic-in-every-conceivable-manner androids built for the pleasures of the patrons of the various worlds. get into a gunfight with brynner not only will you win no matter how bad a shot you are, but if you broke a few tables as brynner tumbled out a closed window there's no reason to worry because it'll all be cleaned up like new and brynner will be back in the morning for more gunplay.

all sounds like great fun, and it is for a while. but then the circle cannot hold and things fall apart. the androids go an a rampage and kill their makers - who toil in clean rooms and behind huge computer banks complete with state of the art blinking lights unseen and underground - and then begin to kill off the guests. brolin is the first to go. then, crichton treats us to a bunny chase, benjamin as the bunny and brenner as the hunter.

the action is as taut as a finely tuned g string. brynner is wholly terrifying as the gunslinger methodically chasing benjamin. and when brynner loses his face revealing the circuits and diodes underneath as he still hunts for benjamin and well you could imagine how that played on such a young and impressionable mind. i won't spoil the ending for you but the movie is quite a nervy work of sci-fi that if you've not seen it or seen it in a while i implore you to seek the flick out.

now, man fucking with nature via technology which goes amok was one of crichton's pet themes. he later revisited it most notably in jurassic park, an entertaining mash of novel fx [one of the first movies to successfully utilize cgi that blurred the divisions between live action and animation] and cautionary tale. but if crichton was fixated only with the cautionary tale end of storytelling then his films and books would be the most boring of their type. rather, crichton was a gifted teller of long tales that could curl your toes and spin your head. westworld is a testament to that talent. he shall be missed.

Friday, November 07, 2008

say the dead heart lives here

some songs simply get stuck in yr head perhaps for a reason perhaps for no reason. whatever the reason might be because i watched a few nights ago john hillcoat's film the proposition which stars the magnificent danny huston and guy pearce. this is not a review of the film however i was interested in the movie because hillcoat is directing the film version of cormac mccarthy's novel the road a movie that i am looking forward to seeing but for some reason the release date has been pushed back for next year.

even so, hillcoat's first feature is a very good western set in australia's outback in the late 19th century. very violent with a dream-like pace that counterpoints the sparseness of the characters and the landscape. but even more is the song that's been stuck in my head for a few weeks now. midnight oil was a band that put its politics directly. they also rock, hard. below is i think a transcendent live performance of their song 'the dead heart'. politics in music today is i think rather scarce. but hell politics were scarce in pop music even back in the oils day too.

the quotidian [life] in poetry

tonight nicholas
dumped out a

green caterpillar
on our bed

it couldn't
be found anywhere

disappeared in
wide clear air

was so
upset about it

big green
caterpillar lost in

bed / gone
like harry houdini

like magic
it reappeared right

the living
room / carried we

by ernie
k ernst our

who was
indeed clueless that

big green
caterpillar had landed

ride on
ernie's fluffy back

nicholas declares
as he holds

find again
i'll never let

go / never
let him go


Thursday, November 06, 2008

keep one foot on the ground

i am a big softie. i did tear up a bit when obama won the election. the significance of a black man as the leader of one of the most divided, biased and bigoted nations on earth is huge. but i sure as fuck don't expect miracles or even obama to come close to my own flaming liberal sensibilities. anyone who does i think might be in for huuuuuge disappointments. i live in california and it is not lost on me that even tho californians overwhelmingly supported obama's bid for the presidency a majority of this state's residents failed to stop passage of prop. 8.

however, i'm not much of a political commentator. i simply hope now for the best. and i've not felt this level of hope and optimism in my lifetime. that ain't no small thing. but for better, fuller, commentaries regarding this election please see mark young's posts here and here, and the comment stream at geof huth's blog, as well as ernesto priego's brilliant poem, and finally read john bloomberg-rissman's reality check here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

on the subject of this historic night

skin got
these big goosebumps

my eyes:
a sudden irrigation

Monday, November 03, 2008

stomp & splash

the way home after picking up the kid 5:15 pm & the end of daylight savings time so it is dark

& raining & the traffic is nuts as it seems every driver either has to pee & can only do it

at their homes or maybe just late for something anything whatever the reason they were nuts & there i

was standing in the wet from head to my black chuck t's [an unnecessary product

placement but what the fuck as i actually wear the shoes & have since i was 16 - which may be

an argument to grow the fuck up to try something else but why when it is classic & cool & i've

long wanted to be cool like the fonze yet have managed to be anything but] as the kid laughs &

twirls his frog-shaped & green umbrella searching for bugs to save from the deluge & also

stomping in every puddle he can find which on a night like this puddles are not in short supply


we both arrive home

soaking wet on this monday night

self-portrait in a concave mirror

a quick look
& an aching
to be

[courtesies to steve caratzas who invented the 8-word poem form & to p. westerberg]

Sunday, November 02, 2008

empty after all souls day

rain and rain and rain some more. which is what california so desperately needs so i say let it come down, hard. but when we drove in the pour yesterday as it was going thick we drove past 2 car wrecks within the space of 20 minutes. the 2nd wreck was the worst as it was sitting on its side. couldn't see the driver but there already was an ambulance and a fire engine beside the vehicle.

it is dry as i type but more of the wet stuff is expected by tomorrow. but so okay, took nicholas to see the pixar film wall-e today at the sunrise cinema. located in a shopping mall the theater is the last of its kind playing 2nd run features for a cut-rate admission. the theater is popular with families with young children. crying, laughing, running and talking are all expected and a perfect place to take a 3 yr old. the movie is rather sweet with some spectacular animation. pixar studios, headquarters located in the east-bay town emeryville, makes some damn fine product. i've become a fan of their work, even when stories are slight, such as the movie cars, they are still a wonder to watch with good editing, solid direction and out-of-the-world computer animation.

and and and then, it is the day after the day after halloween after all so after the film and after me trying to do a bit of bookshopping at a barnes and noble which was damn near impossible because nicholas was running up and down the aisles like a monkey slipped of its medication, we find a halloween superstore still open. i had to go in and the staff were in the midst of stripping down the displays and everything is half-off anyway. a few nick-nacks, such as a rubber frog and black widow spider for nicholas, and for me 2 cds by midnight syndicate, a duo specializing in horror music and soundscapes.

well, that was a day indeed. we have faith in the poison, we know how to give of ourselves everyday. or something along those lines. and speaking of rimbaud i have been wondering what absinthe tastes like. i understand it is now legal in the u.s. and there are coteries of connoisseurs here and there. but hell even if i was offered a quaff or 2 i'd probably decline since my experimenting days are long over.

a new obsession, the internet radio cult radio a-go-go. listening to it right now as i type.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

post-halloween blues from cedar sigo
[oh well - it's only 364 days to halloween]

I stole this book and hope you appreciate
"The grave danger" I have put myself in,
Take it to the grave, etc. So this book is
My Halloween present to you and the letter
I actually need you to mail back
Before it's found missing.

[from 'o twist no inferno', selected writings no. 2; ugly duckling presse 2005]