Friday, July 31, 2015

to observe and have fun

last weekend i saw a magazine about cuba.  such publications are abundant now that u.s. and cuba relations are normalizing.  i thumbed thru the mag in the check-out queue of the grocery store wondering if one of the profiles featured in the mag would be the poet omar perez.  nope.  but i thought someone or organ of the u.s. press would find perez and ask him about the changes in cuba.  lo! PBS found him.

below is a profile of perez that was broadcast on PBS a few weeks ago under the title 'cuban evolution'.  perez is -- if you didn't know by now [i have posted two videos of perez reciting poetry here] -- a favorite poet of mine.

the title of this post comes from perez's definition of the role of the poet.  to observe and have fun.  and then comment on what you have observed.  fun is what i think we forget to have.  at least i sometimes forget that, yes, life is pain, but it is also great good fun.  i think writers are observers and are happy to stand on a street corner and simply observe life around him/her.  we would like to be invisible.  we are happy to stand on the periphery.  but having fun is supremely important and i believe we forget that life is also a hell of a ride.

so here is omar perez in his home in havana interviewed by an american journalist about how the cuban times are a'changing.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


steal a cliche
                   by the seat of yr pants
and some
serious state of grief
w/ a cheapjack kung fu flick on TV
you know the
horrible english dub
actions sequences that defy the laws
of physics
after a night spent with father
the weight of yr ass
and the poetic line that takes as long
to write
as this

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


of course the universe is
without words

but if i fail to write does
this exist

Saturday, July 25, 2015

light in a week before august

there are those moments when the body wants to write but the mind can't think of a subject.  so you sit and stare at the screen.  for a long time.  then say fuck it.  and start writing.  something.

this morning i was reading a few zen inspired poems by jose kozer in his book tokonoma translated by peter boyle [shearsman; 2014].  call me a sucker for things zen.  i practice my own kitchen sink buddhism.  not formally.  but i sometimes fancy myself a foolish monk in the 21st century with the ordinary trials of a loving father, husband, poet and worker bee.  indeed, kozer imagines the japanese monk/poet ryokan as a reincarnated 20th century office worker. 

so there.  i was inspired by kozer's poems i rattled off a few lines in my moleskin.  so i guess i did write a bit today.  then we headed out to go back to the state fair.  this is the last weekend for the state fair.  the pop-country-rock band .38 special is performing tonight.  they had a couple of minor hits in the early '80s.  catchy enough tunes.  still video killed these radio stars and by the mid 80s they went deep into their hardcore fanbase. 

still, if a band can last the vicissitudes of time and perform as a unit kudos to them.  and yet, i was not able to hear/see .38 special tonight for the fair was crazy busy.  packed to the rafters.  we decided to forgo the scene and do something else.  we decided to meet b., c., and j. for a round of monster mini golf and dinner.

the world is a scary place.  i just bought the latest issue of esquire magazine because i had heard on NPR the author of an article in this month's issue.  the story is about how climate scientists cope with the grim news of their work.  civilization, brothers and sisters, is on the brink of collapse in the next generation or two.  i shit you not.  climate change is that big of a threat to our species.  how do we go on when we might not have any future.

as the monk said you live your life as well as you can until you can not.  be a good person.  practice generosity -- dana -- and lovingkindness.  don't worry about literary immortality.  work and live as if you are already dead.

we were heading west on the freeway going home.  we had a lovely evening.  the light in the west was this soft blue-black.  we could make out the scrim of light from the sun below the horizon.  late summer light.  the air softened from a hard heat to a pillow of down.  i couldn't help myself.  i fell in love, again.  the crazy world of 10000 things is always around us.  so is its beauty.  be positive?  i dunno what that word 'positive' means for we have little choice in our lives.  we are all here right now.  all we can do is our best, or our worst.  we might not even have to choose.  but what we have is the present now.  how will you live?  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

100 days to halloween

anna is more connected to the 21st century than i am.  to wit: she has an iPhone.  i don't have any phone.  not even an old-fashioned flip phone.  the world has changed so much to digital life we just watched a sitcom where the entire show was films via a computer screen.  the characters, texted, skyped, facebooked, and emailed each other for the whole show.

indeed.  and on anna's iPhone is an app that countdowns the days to halloween.  as of today there are 100 days to the spooky high holiday.  whenever anna plays that app for me, complete with spooky music and maniacal laughter, images of spiders, ghosts and a smiling jack o'lantern, i feel an increase in my serotonin uptake.  there are some stuff that makes us feel good and for me that stuff is things halloween.

yes, we are in the middle of summer.  but summer is different for an adult than it is for a child.  first of all adults don't have 12 weeks off work like children have 12 weeks off of school.  i love summer.  i do.  i am looking forward to spending a week in cayucos next month.  this will be our third summer in cayucos, the beach town time forgot.  i mean, in cayucos i half expect to see frankie, annette and the gang go-go dancing to dick dale's surf guitar on a.m. radio while eric von zipper and his rats and mice looks on with anger and envy. 

but when we get back from cayucos it will be september.  nick will be back in school.  the weather will still be hot but the light will be changing from a harsh glare to a warm gold haze.  then slowly, but really it ain't slow for time moves at light speed and what happened five years ago seems like it was just yesterday, the weather shall cool.  pumpkins will appear in the markets.  halloween adverts will be all over the media.  and i will be in heaven because as i said halloween is my favorite day of the year and the spooky season, autumn, is my favorite time of the year.

100 days.  and those days will go by just like that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

for lars palm

perhaps i'm not back to full speed after last week's blaze of activities

perhaps it is the weather cuz it's been hot and humid i don't do well in humidity

perhaps it is the lack of fudge in my diet

perhaps my homegrown cure of an extra dessert and more chips isn't working

perhaps it is an addiction to netflix and watching lovely crappy movies one after another

perhaps it is because i have bought stacks of books and read them until my eyeballs fall out

perhaps when i think of poetry i am inadequate to its task but then i think all poetry is just words

perhaps long walks in my beloved city to and from work are not clearing my head

perhaps i use the word 'i' too many times

perhaps the long stare into the future looks bleak as hell

perhaps my theme song vacillates between 'sex dwarf' by soft cell and 'lust for life' by iggy pop

perhaps i feel guilt for not writing enough to and for my brothers and sisters in the art

perhaps my dead eye stare is saved for late nights

perhaps i need to learn again the great gift of a fully belly laugh

perhaps my kitchen sink buddhism does not include the kitchen sink

perhaps i should dye my hair but let everyone know that i dye my hair

perhaps i need to give more hugs

perhaps i need to look into the mirror and perfect my sneer

perhaps i know too damn well my impermanence and flux

perhaps i know when i am here and you are there i am astonished at the wonder of presence

Sunday, July 19, 2015

last night we were over at b., c. and j.'s house for dinner.  afterward b. and i fired up his laptop to look at music vids.  b. is a great collector of music with fantastic taste.  we grew up on punk, early rap, and other indie and outre genres. 

b. was playing for me a song by the outlaw country-rock band molly hatchet and attempting to convince me why it was worth my time and effort of listening.  that was when i noticed a police helicopter hovering overhead.  we went outside.  the chopper had its spotlight focused on the ground down the street.  the chopper's police p.a. made a few commands, like 'come outside with your hands up.'  over the noise of the chopper's blades we could hear police sirens.

some serious shit was going down and it was nearby.  a few neighbors came outside.  we talked to a few.  turns out it was a minor thing.  a fight i think.  one of the fighters was chased by the police into his house.  i think it was a he.  b. checked social media for any news but found little.  at any rate it was over after a few minutes and the police chopper flew off.

but then i was thinking what would it be like if this scenario was a movie.  an apocalyptic film.  we see the chopper's spotlight but we can't see what it is focused on.  we hear the commands of the police.  then we hear an explosion.  out of the distance and racing toward us is a car on fire.  that would be spooky as hell.

i would love to see the beginning of the end mediated thru our digital landscapes.  what would the TV news broadcast as the start of the zombie apocalypse be like.  how would social media report it.  the confusion, fear and budding paranoia.  well now.  a spin-off of the TV show the walking dead titled fear the walking dead is scheduled for broadcast next month.  i don't know what to say about this spin-off except that it is set in l.a. at the beginning of the zombie plague.  interesting premise.  below is the comic-con trailer for fear the walking dead.  i have been reluctant to post trailers for upcoming TV shows and movies for fear of them sucking hard and ruining my love of the horror genre.  but then again they are just shows.  like poetry is just words.  love them but don't get to hung up on them.

so with that attitude below i present the trailer for the spin-off zombie apocalypse TV show fear the walking dead and, even if it sucks boiled balls, it does look pretty damn interesting.