Thursday, July 02, 2015



every once in a while advertising becomes art.  thus it is with the above TV ad for a VW cabrio car circa 2000 - 2001.  i asked anna what TV commercials she remembers best.  she said this one.  agreed.  for it captures that moment of youth, wistful, sad and happy.  those lazy, pregnant days and nights of summer when everything was possible.  driving without a destination.  with your friends.  the pink moon within arms reach.  the person you so desire is sitting right next to you.  nick drake on the soundtrack.  beautiful, happy and sad.  a brilliant piece of film.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

notes at 11:24 pm

at the age of 48 i know i will die.  i have known since i was around 5 years old that i will die.  but yet and so i think i will live forever.  a necessary illusion?  after nick and i walked to the local fireworks stand for our ration of fireworks -- natch -- we came home with our booty.  then we took our stash of goodies downstairs to the basement.  we have a basement.  most houses in california, at least our portion of california, do not have basements.  we have leftover fireworks, sparklers and such, from last year.  i busied myself by gathering up last year's fireworks and placing them with the new ones.  then i felt a thud on my head.  i stopped, stunned.  i asked nick, what was that.  a full can of paint fell on my head.  a large knot formed on the back of my head.  i felt with my fingers and looked: blood.  shock.  adrenaline.  me shaking.  i sat down on the steps.  there was pressure behind my eyes.  yet i was lucid.  i didn't feel dizzy.  my vision was good.  i think my shaking was the result of the shock.  life can change, or end, in an instant.  i am 48.  shit can happen.  the seeming most insignificant things can take us out of this life.  no reason to obsess over our fragility even tho we can be reminded of our fragility by various domestic chores.  i know i won't live forever.  but i think i will.  later anna and i went grocery shopping.  nick was busy doing summer vacation kind of things.  my head was still feeling a bit fuzzy.  tonight's dinner was leftover pizza.  i felt like ice cream.  so i bought a half gallon of peanut butter cup ice cream, and had two scoops.  i did so not because it was healthy but because i am alive and ice cream is good.  we came home from the store.  i ate the pizza then had peanut butter cup ice cream.  anna and i watched a little TV.  we did all this because we are alive.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

notes at 11:41 pm

exhausted by the 100+ degree heat i am wide awake


* * *

on TV 48 hours [1982] starring eddie murphy and nick nolte directed by walter hill i am digging the early '80s san francisco cityscape


* * *

bathroom window open the night air soft but with an edge of heat


* * *

in the midst of insanity a couple moments of clarity courtesy of scotus


* * *

it's a drive-in movie sort of night


* * *

if you want love you must love the world first

* * *

nick on his laptop

* * *

i try to remain anonymous on my walks but i always hear from friends and colleagues i always see you walking

* * *

what Inglish shall i use

* * *

street person today sd as i passed good evening chief sir

* * *

when it gets hot like now the cats become cat puddles

* * *

it is easier to be a vegetarian today because of so many wonderful meat-free products and restaurants

* * *

reading begets writing begets reading begets loving

* * *

and how do you wish to spend yr 6 7 or 8 decades on this earth


Thursday, June 25, 2015

can i confess how packed with stuff this week's been?  perhaps i don't have to.  i am a full time dad, husband, worker bee and poet.  the order of that isn't important for these parts of my being are all important.  can one divide the self into autonomous selves?  i suspect most of try for the face i present at work is not always the face i have when i am home or the face i use when i read/write.  all are my authentic selves.  the koan, 'what is yr original face before yr parents were born?' factors into it.

well but so i spent a couple days in the bay area with anna.  anna's business.  i was happy to have a couple of hrs with anna when she wasn't on the clock.  but i managed to tear away for a few hrs in berkeley yesterday haunting a couple of bookstores and a record store.  but bay area traffic?  fuck it!  gawd traffic's awful.  how do people who live in the bay area cope?  i mean the thousands and thousands and thousands of vehicles on the roads and freeways is loco.  s.f. is now one of the tech mega cities on earth.  wouldn't all those tech workers demand the right to telework, and so avoid, or help ease, the congested freeways and streets?!

okay then i spent a couple hrs at the greatest bookstore in the world, moe's.  i bought a stack of books this high.  one of those books is a short novel by the poet owen hill.  i like hill's work.  i have one of his chapbooks published by blue press.  i know he's a bay area poet.  but when i took my stack to the counter the guy ringing me up looks at hill's book and turns to his co-horts and says, 'hill manages to sell a book and he's not here!'  what?  'hill works here.  has been working here for 20 plus years.'  coincidences.  okay.  'he coulda signed it for you.'  just tell owen that i dig his work.  and i do.  i read the book today and fell in love with the poet-p.i. clay blackburn.  blackburn reminded me of TV p.i. jim rockford if rockford was a bisexual small press poet.  i understand hill has more books in this series.  they are that delicious.

weather was fantastic in the bay area.  i love berkeley.  other than sac berkeley is my favorite town.  big but small and quite funky.  i spent a while walking thru the neighborhoods around telegraph admiring the weathered victorian and stuccoed houses.  the neighborhoods reminded me a bit of my own neighborhood if a little more funkified.  but one thing i always wondered, here in my own burg and in berkeley yesterday: i have the day off work so it's kinda like a mini-vacation, but when i am home on a weekday so it seems everyone else is home.  in berkeley the streets were thick with people of all shapes and ages.  what up?  everyone else on vacation too?

or perhaps my compatriots have found that balance of bohemia and domesticity that clay blackburn discovered that could support a house?  i haven't the foggiest.  or they could be thinking the same of me.  what is this tall grey-haired man doing haunting bookstores on a wednesday morning when he should be at work.  my neighbors may be thinking, i took the day off and that doofus down the street is outside mowing his lawn?!

ce'st la vie.   

Sunday, June 21, 2015

so it is the longest day of the year.  also father's day.  took it easy.  watched a lot of TV today.  too much i suppose, but one of those things on the telly was the summer film wet hot american summer [2001], a loving homage of those lat 70s/early 80s summer flicks like meatballs [1979].  both are great movies.  the former is a film of tremendous warmth while the latter is a brilliant riff on youthful indolence starring the great bill murray.

well but then i read this article about poet donald hall.  accompanying the story is a wonderful pic of hall in his house surrounded by his books.  i remember in the 90s PBS aired a documentary on hall and i think also poet william stafford.  i recall a scene inside hall's house.  the rooms were stacked with books, on the shelves, on the floor, and i remembered thinking that that is a house of a writer.  that is the house i want.  a house filled with books.

i know we are entering a new age where all we want is available at the touch of our fingers via digital technology.  believe me, i think digital technology is great.  poet need not shun digital technologies.  i think we need to embrace digital life.  but for me, it is books that make a home.  i love books.  i love the physical presence, the weight, of books.  that image from the 90s of hall inside his home stuffed with books resonated with me.  hard!

i sit here in my room surrounded by my books.  the TV is on too.  I am comfortable with TV and never thought literature competes with TV.  i think competition is bullshit anyway.  i remember an interview with the actor/writer carrie fisher.  you remember carrie fisher, she was princess leia, from star wars [1977] -- oh by the by, i bought a couple weeks ago the novelization of Star Wars written by george lucas, published 1977; the same book that made me want to see the movie when my father and i were thumbing its pages a few months before the summer release of the movie at Payless, a dept./drug store;  thought i never would see that book again!].  she is also an accomplished screenwriter and novelist.  fisher in that interview said that she always writes with the TV on.

books and TV.  TV and the internet.  this brave, beautiful, terrifying new world.  I'll take them all.   

Thursday, June 18, 2015



okay; the world is in some serious shit.  will we as a species survive another 100 or 200 years.  fuck me.  doesn't look good.  still, we are alive.  right now.  we can do things, write things, love everything.  we can practice, i shit you not, lovingkindness.  we are created, but we participate in creation.  if we want change we can, with great effort, lots of will, and with tons of luck, change.

and we have poetry.  the u.s. is normalizing relations with cuba.  the door is opening.  above is one of my favorite poets, omar perez, reading from his home base in havana.  PBS NEWS HOUR shot this film.  things are changing.  for the better?  we shall see.  poetry is in my dna.  poetry makes me feel alive.  no, yes, it keeps me alive.  this vid of perez, a macaronic poet of porous borders, makes me want to hug the world.

now, it is summer time.  movie time.  the wasp woman [1959], directed and written by roger corman, just started on TMC.  i have two different versions on DVD.  but what the hell.  i'll watch it on TV.  we are living in a digital world.  a really bad movie makes me want to hug the world too.





Tuesday, June 16, 2015

hell [2011]

the world ends -- again! -- in this quiet german film.  the title of this feature translates to 'bright' in english.  the sun has gotten a little too large and has roasted the earth killing off flora, fauna and most people.  survivors struggle to find potable water, food and fuel.  there are not many people left.

but there is marie and her teenage sister leonie traveling on the dessicated roads of a desert europe with philip.  they pull into a gas station to look for a few drops of fuel.  they find another survivor named tom.  after a brief tussle with philip the men come to an accord that it is better to work together for survival then try to kill each other.  soon marie, leonie, philip and tom take to the road.

the car is in bad shape.  they are almost out of gas.  drinking water is even more scarce.  they find a wreck, another vehicle to salvage.  then the shit hits the fan.  another group of people steal their vehicle and leonie who was waiting inside the car.  a rescue operation is hastily planned.  it goes awry.  now tom is a prisoner of this other group.

what is interesting is the way the filmmaker, tim fehlbaum, choreographed the action.  there is very little onscreen violence.  the survivors are filthy, their hair is greasy, their clothes look like they stink.  they bicker, sulk and resent each other.  their plans are half-assed and go south.  they look and behave like people would under such circumstances.  philip is a sniveling coward.  leonie is a teen with a bit of 'tude.  tom is a little scary.  even marie, whom i developed a crush during the run-time of this flick, beautifully assayed by actor hannah herzsprung, hesitates when she takes action.  i believe they are real people.

then there is the photography.  brilliantly shot in blasted light this film bestows a world irradiated by a mad sun, and dead.  without hope how can our survivors cope?  see this movie and find out.