Saturday, August 22, 2015

it's a beautiful world [for you, for you, not me]

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

i keep a notebook.  i have kept a notebook for 20 + years.  months or years can go by without my writing in my notebook.  i carry my notebook everywhere.  my notebook is always in my backpack.  my backpack is always, or almost always, with me.

i have awful handwriting.  reading past entries in my notebook is a chore.  even for me.  some words i can only squint at and shrug their meanings. 

my awful handwriting does not prevent me from keeping my notebook.  my awful handwriting even goads me into writing in my notebook.

sometimes poems come out of my notebook.  sometimes quotes taken from my reading is lifted out of my notebook.  sometimes ideas go to die in my notebook.  sometimes i am surprised by the breadth of years in my notebook.  an entry may seem like it was entered yesterday but was recorded five years ago.

i don't remember when i started keeping a notebook.  i always, it would seem, have a notebook going.

i sometimes pledge to write everyday in my notebook.  often that pledge is broken.

yet the notebook is always with me.  like life.  and death.  both things, life and death, i carry within my body.

it would seem i wouldn't exist without my notebook.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

say hello to mr b.

hi tom!

to be determined

notes at 10:18 pm 

i am in the habit of pulling a book off the shelf and reading a page or a poem or two

this weekend i read poems by john engman olav h. hauge robert creeley errol miller etc. etc.

i attended a memorial for a beautiful woman who died suddenly without warning at the early age of 67

i spoke at her memorial as best i could with words as honest as i could make them

nick is in his room skyping a friend and i am astonished at the speed of which our technology has eclipsed even the fervid imaginations of ray bradbury and gene roddenberry

i did chores today thus i helped keep chaos at bay

it got hot today well into the triple temperatures so anna nick and i went to the pool and met our friends and spent a few hours in lovely cool company

i can't sit lotus my knees don't bend well and i don't have a lot of fat on my butt to help cushion stress

i spoke on the phone with john b-r tonight for nearly 2 hrs he in southern california me in northern california thus we helped bridge the divide the subjects were serious but the tone was of much laughter

i agree with my friend alex g who sez life is a movie but let me add life is a poem too

i am comforted by walls and toppling stacks of books and movies and music

i love and am loved surrounded by anna and nick and family and friends in this our only world

i love the approach of fall and halloween and their imagery

i hope to get thru my life without being an asshole

Friday, August 14, 2015

ladies & gentlemen, the very great otis redding

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

a couple of e-things

tom andrews, a poet i've quoted here before, died in 2001.  he published just two books of poetry in his 40 years.  he was the first gen-x poet i had encountered.  he was a writer of great power who included mysticism and 7/11 convenience stores in his poems.  his obsessions with pop culture, comic books, punk rock, skateboarding, mirrored my own.  i feel electric reading tom andrews.

now you can too.  andrews' second book, the hemophiliac's motorcycle [university of iowa press; 1994] is now available as a pdf.

* * *

mark young's brilliant magazine of 'many e-things', otoliths just went live.  this journal keeps getting better and more brilliant with each issue.  issue 38 is a great read with terrific textual and visual poets mix.  get a gander of these concrete poems by susan connolly.  good, no?  nine bows to mark for his great work with his beautiful magazine. 

i am an addicted reader/listener of news.  i have a degree in old fashioned print journalism.  i was a terrible journalist.  one of the worst, really.  but i had the 19th century notion that journalism, literary journalism, could pay the bills.

i quickly disabused myself of that notion before i left school.  the poet/journalist!

well, ain't nothing wrong with that idea.  some might even manage to do it.

but then i think whatever you can do to pay the bills that allow you enough freedom to read and write is a good.

so i considered a career was what you do for moolah.  what you do for life is an obsession.  if you are lucky that obsession becomes a way of living.

so we are entering a new economic reality.  don't know how it will all turn out.  automation will play larger roles in production of stuff.  if we adopt autonomous vehicles then taxi services, bus and delivery drivers will probably be displaced.

this is a scary time.  it can be a wonderful time too.

education is changing and so are the jobs in academe becoming scarcer.

no longer can the writer count on becoming a teacher much less the poet count on being a journalist.

what can the poet do?  anything.  everything.  in between.

you want a career in teaching poetry?  i wish you the best of luck.  i really do.  we need excellent poet/teachers.

you want to be a poet?  pick up a pen, computer, tablet, and write.  you want to publish?  it is easier today in our digital culture to publish then it has ever been.

you want to rule the world thru poetry?  okay.  try it.

fear and fame, thrown far away.  because writing and reading is larger then popularity or fame.  besides there are easier ways to achieve both.

when i despair, which i do pretty often of late, i read a few favorite poets.  i have a lot of favorite poets.  their work, their life examples, brace me to face another day, another hour.  for i am one of those individuals who think life is short and is designed for pleasure.

for me poetry gives me the greatest emotional, intellectual, sexual, physical pleasure.

there is no career in that.  only a life.  a good life?  please.  but for me it is the only life i want to live.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

i just read this short essay by ks based poet/scholar jonathan mayhew in defense of the plain style.  i agree with mayhew.  i think his focus is on critical writing but i think mayhew's agurment extends to poetry.  i think, or i try, to write in a plain style.  simplicity of language is important to me.  but clarity, simplicity even, does not mean simple.  say it plain does not un-complicate the world.  indeed, simplicity can with great facility explore this crazy world we call home thru language that, hopefully all, or most, of us can understand.   


the dude ringing and bagging my purchases at trader joe's asks if i've read anything lately / i tell him a short mystery novel by a berkeley based poet & a study on the estonian poet jaan kaplinski / curious he asks me about kaplinski / after a few moments i ask after what he is reading / a collection of short stories by david foster wallace & i forget what else / we go on for the length of our transaction discussing books david foster wallace and writing / then i sign the monitor after i swiped my card / & he is done bagging my stuff / anna asked how we got into that subject / i don't know but for he asked me the question / about reading / which leads into writing / which then further leads into how one lives in this world / which may or may not mean very much / but for this life / this writing / & this moment

quote unquote

if gertrude stein were a zen monk family man living on a farm by the ocean at the tail end of the century, she would be norman fischer.

--kit robinson [this might be the best blurb ever, written for precisely the point being made by norman fischer; o books & chax press, 1993]

Friday, August 07, 2015

yes it is still summer time.  hot weather, bbqs, hours lounging by and in the pool.  but many kids go back to school next week.  in a few weeks the summer time commercials on TV will be replaced by autumnal commercials with fallen leaves, brisk temperatures, models wrapped in sweaters, etc. etc. 

yes, just like life, it happens that fast.

but as i posted a few days prior halloween is getting nearer.  for me halloween is in my soul.  everyday is halloween and i can look at halloween imagery any time of year.

the internet also makes things timeless.  whatever you are interested in there is a blog or facebook page dedicated to it.

so i am delighted to see the brilliant william keckler revive his halloween blog halloweeniana.

and there is also the always reliable, fantastic halloween blog pumpkin rot.

and i just discovered this halloween blog that got my undead heart aflutter the spooky vegan.  the author of this blog is all kinds of gaga crazy for things halloween including horror movie reviews, vegan recipes, horror collectibles and many other things that go bump in the night.

with all these websites and resources, and fellow ghouls who have halloween in their hearts i can get thru these dog days of summer with a lot of undead delight.