Thursday, July 23, 2009



the cracking


on all fronts"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Revolutionary" Letters

"I think I'm so educated
and I'm so civilized cuz
I'm a strict vegetarian..."

never felt so normal

as at the anarchist


steps of sproul

tried to read

your crazy shaved head

attracted in spite

if you took the factory

it would stink

in that great



like Henry Miller's


tarzan tarzan make

me a home in the trees

ape man fantasies

the pure joy

of the coconuts

as they fall

in imagined


split some lousy


in the room the women

come and go

(and the guys

too) the names

of six big

commie theorists

dropped in as many

minutes in my own

living room

if we took the factory

we couldn't make shit

I think I get it

go slowly

eat locally

seems somewhat


one last tomato

please oakland

grown no more

mozzarella di

bufala unless

they milk those

poor beasts

in golden gate


and that's

a different

kind of bufala


at the Claremont

farmer's market

in the DMV parking lot

no lie

I suck on a nectarine

dreaming of imported


I have suffered like Che

Pancho Villa and Malcolm

O give me a home where di

bufala roam

and the prosciutto is cured

down the block

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Personal Poem

catching the rise

of the rhythm wave

out the door

wind hits left side

of my face

turn left on the avenue

a walk among the bogus

Friday, July 10, 2009

Running on Fumes Part 1

There are a couple of places in The Long Goodbye where Marlowe has nothing to say, and Marlowe as narrator says just that--I let it ride...I didn't say anything at all. Other places where the hardboiled wisecrack is called for but passed over--as if Marlowe (or Chandler) was tired of the sound of his voice.

The similes are also less frequent. I just started rereading the middle novels--not sure how the the progression works--but between Big Sleep and Long Goodbye you can feel a difference in the rhythm. There are more similes per page in Sleep, making for a boom-boom-boom forties give-and-take--William Powell, or Bogey.

Long Goodbye is sick, sad and world weary. Chandler working on fumes. The movie was just right--Gould/Marlowe is tired in that I can't go on I'll go on way.

The color of stepped on gum
is the color of our times.
The light of our times is
the light in the 14th St.
subway at 2 a.m. The air
of our times is the air of the
Greyhound depot, Market
& Sixth. It is prime time. A passed
out sailor sits pitched
forward like a sack of laundry
in a plastic bucket seat
his forehead resting on
the movie of the week. The Long Goodbye.

Tom Clark

I'm trying to understand why that's so appealing. There's
something that Tom said once--we were talking about F.A
Nettelbeck, and Tom said that he writes like he just doesn't
care. I almost took it wrong, then understood--Nettelbeck
doesn't seem to care what the reader thinks--he seems
beyond career goals, proving a point, or doing the right thing...
I think the thing I hate most about contemporary writing
(when I'm hating contemporary writing) is the earnestness--
poets "care" too much. The caring disease seems to infect
all schools. The chips aren't allowed to fall, even (or especially)
in the most "avant" work.

A key word: Anymore. As in, "I just don't give a shit anymore",
or, "I can't go on anymore, I'll go on." (apologies to Beckett).
Why/how does that feeling of exhaustion--universal, open up the soul (ouch!),
somehow let the light in. And the word anymore, which has a sad
open-then-closed, three beat sound to it.

What I'm reading: Obviously Chandler, Tom Clark's blog
Beyond the Pale:, proofs of the
new Lethem novel.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the fish in this barrel lack flavor/part one


... so I'm following along--reading the poetry blogs. Slo-po-con-flar-po, whatever--happy to not have to take sides. Telling myself that I don't care but after coffee and the Times I'm reading the blogs. All the various arguments are old news but the personalities are an interesting study--I've met the players, most of them have read at Moe's. I think they see me as the guy who sets up the mic, I don't push my own work--don't think they'd be that interested. They're mostly a generation or two younger than me, and I can't help thinking of them as nice kids. They're all quite professional, have good manners. You couldn't tell a flarf from a slowpo if you saw them coming down the street--mostly from the middle classes, or if not they've learned to "pass". Lefties, intellectual, socially concerned. Hard working--teachers, tech writers. Can talk the talk and for all I know they walk the walk (throw trash in the right bins, bike to work, eat locally grown...). The kinds of folks I like, feel comfortable with. And yet...something's not quite right.
Too good to be true...

Remember Teflon? Been replaced by other nonstick surfaces, but I'd bet that the new ones are just as toxic. Teflon still works as a metaphor, though, esp. now that we have another Teflon prez.

There's something that I believed when I was younger (and gave up on) that is coming back around to haunt me now--will (possibly over) use the Teflon meta. to try and explain: good poetry comes out of the gunk, the stuff that sticks to the pan. Great poetry comes when the pan isn't properly cleaned. Stuff grows there, and it smells bad--unpleasant, sickening maybe--but it changes perception--could even cause ecstatic hallucinations--but, also, fever, sickness...

I don't want to believe this--want to write it off as a late-middle-age (temporary) return to romanticism. I've kept my nose clean--kept those nasty bits hidden away, washed the "pan" whenever possible--


Maybe I'm working with too little information. Maybe there's an Artaud out there, a real loose cannon who will break away and be brilliant--and who won't be invited to the parties.

related note---Trying to work out why I'm so bored with found texts. Looking back at my own poetry, it's full of the stuff--and I used to really love that feeling I'd get from finding the perfect goofy/scary/poignant line buried somewhere--"I get my best lines from stupid people" -Burroughs. Nowadays I couldn't care less. Perhaps it's the fish in a barrel quality that comes from all the googling (jesus, I do it too--who can resist?). No shock of the new there--on to something else?

what I'm reading: We Did Porn by Zak Smith, Artaud Anthology (ed. Hirschman),
Slanted and Enchanted by Kaya Oakes