Sunday, July 28, 2019

yet again

another mass shooting
this one at the gilroy garlic festival
not so far away from my city
i've attended the festival a couple times
tasted garlic ice cream
[it is delicious]
i write my shock in lines
but i fail poetry
in expressing my grief
today was a very hot day
spent doing chores
i didn't know about the shooting
until i got home around 8
anna was watching CNN
i flipped over to Twitter
we watched the news
silent in our anger
& shock
at the moment there
is nothing more i can say

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

rutger hauer

i loved this actor.  rutger hauer possessed a huge charisma that was menacing, dangerous, beguiling &, for me at least, irresistible.  he played the lead replicant, roy batty, in the great flick blade runner [1982] to savage perfection.  hauer's half smile & beautiful eyes held me fixed to his images onscreen & batty was the warrior/philosopher par excellence.  the actor claimed that his most famous final words -- poetry, indeed -- were ad-libbed.  whether that be true or no matters little for in this speech hauer spoke with the gravitas & wisdom of a philosopher.

but it was a later film, the hitcher [1986], that i fell in love with rutger hauer.  holy shit!  hauer assays the dark, deadly & mysterious john ryder with such intensity.  i was -- still am -- obsessed with this flick.  why does ryder do what he does?  i've been puzzling that for over thirty years.  i remember my then-girlfriend & i would parse each scene, every action, even the tune ryder hums to get closer to his dark heart.  i can't think of an actor better for this role than rutger hauer.

in this century i bought the dvd, hobo with a shotgun [2011], blind because i knew it starred rutger hauer as the eponymous hobo -- with a shotgun!!! -- & it was a purposeful throwback to 1980s straight-to-video exploitation flicks.  hauer & the movie don't disappoint.

rutger hauer died at the relatively late age of 75.  a generation or two 75 would be called old.  today?  well, age is a fact of living.  we are all aging.  perhaps i am biased because i am closer to my own 60s than i am to my 20s.  c'est la vie.  still, hauer lived a fairly long life.  he made some wonderful movies with that life.  hauer gave this particular movie buff a great amount of pleasure & happiness.  he was a powerful actor.  i call that a life well-lived.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

to echo

           NZ poet rob allan on twitter
after his own few weeks of summer travel
indeed it is damn fine to be
at home among my books laptop netflix amazon prime & dvds

quote unquote

The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so that it won't fall.

--jaan kaplinski [from the wandering border (copper canyon press; 1987)]

Saturday, July 20, 2019

spencer selby at the beach

i just returned from our annual week long holiday at the beach.  for the last 7 years we've rented a beach house at cayucos, located on the central coast, the little beach town that time forgot.  i immediately dropped into beach time.  life is not only more languid on the sand, but it is also more consequential.  looking/hearing at the surf the mind/spirit hankers for the absolute & the finite.  the waves never ever stop.  shut the windows & doors the surf will sound like a churning washing machine.  but on a moment's pause the mind freezes at the enormity of the energy out there.  those waves have been going for thousands of years.  they will continue for ever more thousands of years.

such scales of time are modest for the universe but for the one human life they are mind-bending.  they are humbling.

& so but, i read as much as my eyeballs could stand.  i found myself pointing my browser to find more & more work by the late poet spencer selby.  selby's cool abstract cinematic textual/visual poems were for me the perfect beach read.  the poet was a long time bay area resident but i failed to reach out to him to say hey your poems make meaning in my life.

spencer selby was also a film historian whose specialty was film noir who had written 2 books on the subject.  here he is interviewed on film noir.

as i said, i didn't have the privilege to personally know spencer selby.  i've been reading his work, off & on, for over 20 years.  something clicked in cayucos.  i couldn't get enough.  there is plenty of his textual/visual stuff to be found on the web.  all you have to do, as lauren bacall said in another film & another context, is google.

here is spencer selby's obituary.

but the real cool thing i found on my travels on the interwebs is this video shot in 1994 of a reading by a.l. nielsen & spencer selby.  this video is a proof that the internet is the repository for all human memory.  only the readers are identified, natch, but i think the bearded fellow in glasses, the chap opening the bottle of wine after the reading, is the late great poet david bromige.  & to make it even better for me, i believe the fellow who does the introduction is my friend steve tills, a fantastic poet in his own right.  i think the reading is in sebastopol, ca, which makes sense if that is indeed david bromige for he taught at sonoma state, located in sebastopol.  tills was a student, & friend, of bromige.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

watching donald sutherland play paul gauguin in the movie the wolf at the door [1986] on tv

even in fiction
paul gauguin is an asshole

speed walking

after a long day at work
& navigating the rush hour traffic
feeling every crack & crevice in the sidewalk
my feet barking like dogs
my mind end-of-the-day mush
everything sounds like static
to fight against
& there
a mother walking
hand-in-hand with her daughter
the girl must be about 2 years old
she points at every little thing
with only the glee a small child could possess
how the hell shall i get around them
as they take up the width
of the sidewalk
i clear my throat
make myself known
& find an opening between the girl
& the lawn
i am growing old
my knee is giving out
my energy is kaput
i look down at the girl as i pass
& she looks up at me
with the brightest, widest, smile
in praise of every thing living

Saturday, July 06, 2019

last night anna & i curled up on the couch
we were/are binge-watching the german thriller dark on netflix
when anna said, what's that noise?
the lights above our dining table were swaying clink clink clink
i had a direct line of sight to our backyard
the lights outside were too swaying
the time was about 8:10 PM or so
we immediately turned to our phones
& changed the channel to CNN
i texted my other brother from another mother in life & art
who lives in southern california
did you feel the quake?
his house, he told me, felt like the deck of a ship in a storm
a powerful temblor, the 2nd in 2 days
several hundred miles separate
the epicenter of the quake
& my little postage stamp of earth
twitter was immediately alight
with information
including an automated bot that collated info
from the u.s. geological survey
[oh, the wonders of our techno age!]
but news was a bit slower for TV
nothing, i mean nothing, grabs you by the short curlies
than having the ground sway beneath your feet

Thursday, July 04, 2019

hey baby!  it's the 4th of july

we spent the holiday in the usual way.  we did a long neglected chore in the daytime.  then i went down the youtube rabbit hole watching a band that i think might be the best cover band in the country [which i'll post a video or two later].  in the evening it was a family bbq where i overate, as usual.  around 7:00 the neighborhood started to sound like a war zone.  huge concussions setting off car alarms.  unnerving as hell.  it just got more intense as the sun dipped over then dropped below the western horizon.  but we had our own fireworks.  the california 'safe & sane' kind.  everyone was on the street enjoying lighting shit up.  i haven't seen it that crazy ever.  perhaps, it is as nick suggested, that the world right now is south of normal so we might as well blow up stuff.  we had enough fireworks to last over an hour.  to say i had, no pun intended, a blast is no small exaggeration.  nick & i took turns lighting off our loot.  the air over our fair city was smudged with smoke.  it still ain't over.  even as i type there are explosions galore.  what i enjoy about the holiday is the family bbq & the fireworks.  & tonight the abundance & intensity of the celebrations remind me a bit of the excitement i felt as a boy for the 4th of july.  because sharing the tasks of lighting off fireworks with your son is the greatest fun.

peace & love

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

hereditary [2018]

in the history of horror films of the last 100 + years there have been some really fucked up movies.  there are pics that will make you hate humanity, take a shower, & crawl in to your den  & never want to come out. some of these filmmakers, such as ruggero deodato, pier paolo pasolini, lucio fulci, & joe d'amato, to name just a few of the past 50 or so years of cinema, have a blitzkrieged vision of hell that, upon watching them, feels like you've been stomped on & punched in the nose.

filmmaker ari aster, who made last year's horror sensation, hereditary, despite the keenness of his eye, is not one of those directors from hell.  aster crafted an entertaining bit of horror.  there are a few good scares in this pic.  & yet, i felt, even tho i enjoyed the movie, that the narrative fell off the track.  i was warned that the last 20 minutes of this movie will have me gasping for breath.  i was told that this film was one wild, fucked up, ride.

toni collette leads a game cast as the matriarch of a well-to-do family: a father, played by a terrific, yet underused, gabriel byrne, a teenage son & a young 13-year-old daughter.  the movie begins with the death of collette's elderly mother.  the tone is somber.  the family members are polite to each other in their grieving.  yet, something is off.  aster uses ominous sound, always, to amp the dread, to middling effect.  the movie in the first reel is developing into a ghost story.

the first 30 minutes was the best part of the movie.  i watched a scene of such acute anxiety that i held my hands up to my face in horror & dread.  i am an old grizzled veteran of horror so i say in utter humility that it takes a lot for a film to have that effect on me.  well done, ari aster.

& but so, the movie then moves sideways.  without giving much away this film which functioned as an essay on the dynamics of a seemingly normal family that tilted toward the supernatural, instead veered steeply into the you-gotta-be-shitting-me.  does it work?  sort of.  but if you've seen a fair share of horror movies you've seen this trick a few times.

still, i admire aster's attention to detail.  what can i say.  ari aster is a talented filmmaker who i hope hones his craft to a potent edge.  oh i forgot to mention the wonderful ann dowd plays a friend of the grieving collette who is not what she seems to be.  dowd is a very talented actor whose presence elevates even the most coarse material.  this flick is like a ride on a county fair roller coaster, its got some thrills, it can even shock in one, or two, places, but it leaves the real thrill seeker unsatisfied.