Monday, December 30, 2013

is this the time to take stock of the old year?  i don't know.  2013 is definitely the year i entered middle age.  yes, for the record i am 46.  born in the summer of love.  when the world was at a tumult.  like now.  except perhaps things may be a bit more dire?  perhaps, perhaps not.  when has the world not been on fire.  one cannot predict the future but that doesn't stop people from trying.

i don't do new year resolutions.  maybe eat more.  take up smoking.  definitely love more and let those whom i love know it.  publish a bit more and bring out a chapbook.  out of seven billion voices it is hubris to think your voice is the one everyone wants to hear.  but then again, if not me [and you] who then?  everyone?  yes, indeed.  let's do make our barbaric yawps for we are alive.  there is no better reason.

i have no idea what the new year will bring.  this year brought some tragedy.  it brought some surprises.  it brought a lot of joy.  i certainly will do my best to practice gratitude.  for me my task is to remember to live and not get stuck on my own little puddle of blues.

i think i shall make a better old man than i was a young man.  besides, like the old grateful dead song goes, a bit of grey suits me anyway.  or in my case, lots of silver.

to paraphrase a poem by thom gunn, i am not superstitious/the new year may turn out very rewarding.

happy new year!!!   

Saturday, December 28, 2013


hey how ya doin'

woke from a dream of me hanging with cavafy

got a few things and traded verses

he laughed at mine while i got hard

reading his

call it a fair trade even if

it is up over even

and our tastes in tunes were out of synch

i said i don't know

he said even less

Thursday, December 26, 2013

quote unquote

My manager is making my life very stressful.  It's not personal.  Is it?  I'll maintain my Buddhist calm and detachment  -- that should annoy the bastard.

--alan baker [from 'the book of random access', variations on painting a room; skysill press, 2011]

Monday, December 23, 2013

christmas time at casa de lopez/bronson and things have got to a frenetic pace.  okay, not so frenetic as i spent the weekend really doing very little but hanging with nick and anna.  we've become fans of two TV shows, top gear, a car show broadcast by the BBC featuring three middle aged goofballs who really know their cars and are clever and witty enough to make fun of themselves. 

the second TV show is a french zombie series called, les revenants, or the returned.  anna's mom recommended the show and anna and i did what is common practice nowadays in the age of on-demand entertainment, we watched all five episodes, one after the other, yesterday. 

man, les revenants is very unlike anything on american TV right now.  the only equivalent i can make is to david lynch's noir surrealist twin peaks from the early 1990s.  the french show has the same tone and vibe as lynch's program.  les revenents begins slow and takes its time to show us complicated, wounded, flawed characters.  the opening images of the first episode shows a bus full of schoolchildren driving off a mountain road.  then a girl, first shown on the bus, climbs up over the railing and onto the road.  she walks home.  her mother finds the girl in the kitchen.  the girl behaves like she's been away only a few hours.  she's been dead four years.

thus begins one of the more original programs i've seen in a while.  smartly written, beautifully photographed and superbly acted les revenents has my attention and i can't wait for the second season.

and but for life gets back to reasonable normality after christmas.  whether i'm stuck singing the blues or i am happy to be alive i do my best to practice gratitude in and for my life.  yeah, i know, christmas is for peace on earth and good will but fuck that.  i say peace and kindness are ways of living.  every day and every year.  i am a sentimental SOB who can cry like the worst of them at any cheesy tearjerker.  so what!?  have each and every one of you a very merry christmas! 

tomorrow night i am eating tons of fondue and saffron buns and tracking santa's world journey at the norad santa tracker

merry christmas, brothers and sisters, PEACE!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

santa claus [1959]

we are in fully holiday mode.  plus working at demanding day jobs means that when anna and i get home from the frenetic activities we call our lives we hit the hay like two punch-drunk boxers still standing in the 92nd round.

life moves on, right, and keeps on going.  i introduced nick a couple of weeks ago to my box set of mystery science theater 3000 movies.  included in the set is the mexican kids movie santa claus directed by exploitation veteran rene cardona.  later the film impresario k. murray gordon dubbed the movie into english and imported it to theaters and to innocent unsuspecting kids in the united states.

bizarre is an understatement.  the devil no like santa so he sends his worst demon, pitch, to fuck things up for the jolly guy.  santa may not be smarter than pitch but he is a nicer man and in the end good always triumphs over evil.  the sets appear to be designed by the strung out denizens of the disco era NYC club studio 54.  or maybe by a designer who thought the surrealist films of joseph cornell were too adorable and so tried to ape that style.  the direction is non-existent and you would find better photography in ancient 1960s polaroids left out in the sun on the dashboard of grandma's station wagon and sizzled beyond hope.

what more do you want from a holiday movie.  jolly, hearty and seriously stoopid this movie will warm your heart till it exploids.

happy christmas


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


oh man i'm shaking

bent over the desk

click here tap there verge into

an email and official reports

holidays and eggnog

on the search for a bottle of cold duck

call me cheeseball

and crackers

snack snack crunch

Thursday, December 12, 2013

today nick turned nine.  i am the father of a nine year old.  that amazes me.  nick if i may be so candid is a very sweet boy filled with wit and song.  can't carry a tune -- neither can i -- but he sings at the top of his lungs.  yes, it does seem like yesterday we brought him home from the hospital.  it seems like yesterday when anna and i found out she was pregnant.  i've been thinking about routines lately.  we all have them.  you can't dress yourself, shave and get to work if you don't have a routine.  yet our routines are not stable.  they change and evolve all the while they seem to be unchanging.  the person i was nine years ago is not the same person typing this note.  i have changed.  nick is changing, growing and developing into singular human being.  we would like to know the future, yet we have a hard time knowing the present.  change is the constant.  as a friend described life as a rollercoaster some love the ride while others are frightened by it.  i am often astonished by life.  i find immense pleasure in living.  nick does too, i believe.  i am -- anna is -- so grateful to ride this rollercoaster with nick.  it is a happy birthday.   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

distracted by natural born killers [1994] directed by oliver stone hadn't seen it before lots of cartoon-like violence about two really fucked up people the tone of the movie is a parody of u.s. celebratory culture and the collapse of the family unit hard to boil it down to an essence when every other frame of this flick flashes day-glo light and bomb

Sunday, December 08, 2013

black ice

the title has the odd sound, for me, of the name of an indie band, like the NYC electro-noise band, black dice, minus the letter d.  rather black ice is a real phenomena.  when water freezes on roadways it produces ice the color of asphalt.  all you who live in colder climes now about this phenomena, and you are more adept in driving on it.  not us.  today black ice scared the hell out of us.

because we headed up the mountain to apple hill to a christmas tree farm for our christmas tree.  the farm is a wonderful family run enterprise that we have frequented for two years.  the elevation of apple hill is about 3000 ft.  i wrote about the cold snap last night.  we forgot that it snows in higher elevations.  okay, we know it snows but we didn't think it would be so white and thick with snow starting around 1000 ft.  we drove thru placerville, a burg famous for hits hanging tree, back in the gold rush era miscreants were hanged from a tree long cut down but memorialized by a hanging effigy attached to a local watering hole.

oh how lovely, we said.  the white snow, the crisp air, the lovely christmas ambiance.  some miles up we turned off the freeway and pointed the pilot up to apple hill.  snowmen sitting in front of an apartment building.  snow piled by snowplows on both sides of the road.  nick was greatly excited by the prospect of playing in the snow.  we were awestruck by the surrounding beauty.  the roads connecting orchards on apple hill are narrow and two-lane with steep drop-offs on one side.  we noticed the vehicles coming down the hill driving about two to five miles per hour.  anna was driving.  i said, black ice.  she slowed down.  we got to the first farm.  the road was blocked by a policeman.  just beyond the officer we saw an ambulance and a car that drove off the side of the road and into a snow bank.

we got nervous.  holy shit.  the black ice was bad enough to cause this accident.  we debated to use the back roads to go higher up the christmas tree farm.  a quick scan outside, all the snow and slick roads, we decided to head back down the hill into lower elevations and away from the black ice.

on the way down anna slowed the pilot to about two miles per hour.  it was treacherous.  because we hit, twice, patches of black ice and our vehicle slid.  nothing scarier can be experienced by mortal human kind.  we are so used to being in control of our vehicles, when we step on the gas the car will go, when we steer we know the car will go in the direction we commanded of it, when we step on the brakes we know it will stop.  not with black ice.  none of that happens.  steer, hit the gas, or apply the brakes to your rapidly beating heart's content and the car will slide by its own volition. 

still, one can be cautious.  we slid twice.  that raised the blood pressure and puckered our sphincters.  anna was extraordinary.  she kept the vehicle true and we made it down without much of a hitch for the remainder of our journey.

the view, meanwhile, with black ice was gorgeous.  

we did find our christmas tree at another farm in the valley.  it was cold, of course, but no snow.  if there is a lesson i learned today it is that snow is gorgeous to see and play in, but it is horrible to drive in.  later anna asked me if i would've felt safer if i was driving.  hell no.  i don't like to drive, anyway.  i wouldn't have been a better driver if i were infused with the dna of mario andretti.  we were ecstatic from the adventure to make it down the mountain, happy, in a single piece, and alive to later find and cut down a couple of christmas trees.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


yes, we went to the theater last weekend to see the newly-opened disney film of the same name.  that movie was okay.  cute in its way, as most disney films are, but the musical numbers were a too widely drawn for my taste, too constructed for easy adaptation for either stage, screen and/or parade at disneyland/disneyworld.

no, the bald fact of it is that a large portion of the u.s. is suffering from a huge arctic storm.  the temperature is expected to drop to the high 20s F tonight here which is mighty cold for northern california.  much of the u.s. is freaking frozen.

frozen like in san francisco today where we made our annual trek to the swedish christmas festival.  we've attended the festival for, shit, i don't know how long.  many many years.  i hate driving in sf.  the city seems to hate cars and drivers with its steep hills, narrow roads, one way streets, streets that do not allow left-hand turns, and thousands of pedestrians.  in other words, it's my kind of town as i prefer to walk than drive.  so anna took the bridge of the pilot and i was happily a passenger.

but when we found parking -- another huge issue in the city for sf is not a city with abundant parking lots -- and got out of the pilot the frigid wind cut into and thru us.  brrrr!!!  goddamn cold.  i like cold, i prefer winter over summer, but man that wind was something special.

and now we are home.  outside is an icebox.  i have been nursing a beer for over an hour and when i pick up the bottle -- even though we have the heat on -- it is just as cold as when i took it out of the fridge.  baby, it's cold outside! 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

quote unquote

The ability to look on without flinching and report the beautiful ugliness of life and death is part of our "training in the possible." Once you have signed on to a life in poetry, there is "no exit".

--pete smith reviews jennifer moxley in jacket #9

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


fake werner herzog documentary re searching for loch ness monster

production is going to shit

this is the single most chaotic production i've ever worked on

and i've been on a couple of difficult ones

herzog says to the producer

at least we are not dragging the boat over the hill

says the producer