Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Get Your Own, Beautiful

Motel on the moon
number over my head
through the suburbs
just inches from my person
we hover probably not
to these mountains.

Dark cartographer
draw a map
of the great American

Dusk loves sitting on the porch
so I resemble

counting the truant ocean

and calmly pass the man with an edge.

Officer forever
unravel the world.

A tiny ship is changing clothes,
stop staring at the scene.

And then the quiet post card bled
the heart’s thick beautiful smoke.


"Nelson Algren, Wicker Park's great literary giant, once remarked "Chicago is an October sort of city, even in spring". He knew what he was talking about. Year after year spring skittishly arrives on the shores of Lake Michigan in a series of dizzying and ultimately frustrating meteorological peaks and valleys. So deep in winter hibernation are Cook County's citizenry that we are slow to leave our cocoons, distrustful of all sunny February days in the mid-50's, expecting the last blizzard later that very night, the old man's last gasp, the billowing snow and ice sideways blown within the hard bitter wind of our dreams. In February, winter's punishing landscape always lurks in the rearview mirror, just as in October it spans the entire horizon ahead."

-Joe Judd, owner, Myopic Books

Sunday March 25 - Betsy Andrews

Sunday April 29 -Tony Trigilio

Sunday May 13 - Comedic Poetry with Aaron Belz, Daniel Borzutzky, Joyelle McSweeney, Gabriel Gudding, and A.D. Jameson

Sunday June 17 - Aaron Fagan

Present Tense

A thousand noons hatch
at horizon where the
gate sings

I peel my selves
for you to
winds bringing hours

You I knew
in a million colors, world

stacks of
nacreous factories

A razor
stubble chin where
constellations crouch

Tiny machines ply
the after-
noon sky, useless as

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Alice Notley re: Joanne's interesting when Notley says each poet's poetry should be its own world. It's difficult to not compare poets, but I think the tendency to do so is counterproductive to an astute evaluation of a writer's work. The photo is Kyger in Kyoto, Japan, I think Allen Ginsberg took it.

"Being known as a glorious and fascinating talker can obscure the value of your work, at least during your lifetime. I certainly hope to have shown that Kyger's work lives up to her conversation, which I also know something about. Kyger's influence on my own practice has been considerable -- and on many other women -- she's one of the women who's shown me how to speak as myself, to be intelligent in the way I wish and am, rather than suiting the requirements of established intellectuality. Universities are frightfully conservative because they love their traditions and especially their language; idiomatic truth can't get born there, or anything that has to be new, not just wants to be.
     Kyger was recently omitted from Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (a very useful book except for the omissions any anthology's prone to). One must assume this is at least partly because she's stayed away from the centers of Poetry's meager power; to wield power would be counter to the logic and even the technique of her poetry, would be for her a spiritually poor choice. But not calling attention to herself, she isn't always included. As her books show, her daily life involves, besides poetry, domestic chores, community service, local jobs in stores, frequent teaching at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, extensive trips to Mexico, and poetry reading trips to the East Coast. This is not at all an insular existence, but it somehow hasn't brought her the notice she deserves. A certain poetry isn't always fashionable. However, each poet's poetry is, or should be, its own world; you cross borders, you get to know it, you read it being there, not bringing a lot of baggage from outside it, and it works. Poetry's supposed to be lived in not assessed. . ."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Fable

Of these misunderstandings there were seven,
as the forested Snid glared out from his jungle lair
and considered the tautologies waiting there,
the fruit ripe in their trees was his heaven.

And as the lotus cleft the stone in two
a fountain of leaves from the forest blew
and a shower of gold from an autumn sky
left the moon in a basket of stars.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Leave it to Beaver—Future Episode Guide pt. 1

Beaver gosh feels the soft pangs of love and gets Wally to help him
pen a love letter to his potential girl only to discover that said
letter falls into the hands of their substitute teacher who
mistakenly surmises that the letter's sender is none other than oh boy Mr.

The Beaver golly expands like a balloon and explodes after eating all
the ice-cream in the fridge, which Wally has to aw shucks clean up when
Beaver gets sick. The Beave then farts in the tub with his boats
while taking his you rascal clean-up bath.

Oh that Beaver wakes up late for school (again) after a tumultuous
dream that convinces him that he is destined to travel in space as an
astronaut. With Whitey's help, the Beaver constructs a space ship in
the backyard that Eddie and Wally gleefully destroy. Wally is so
guilt-ridden the next day that he gives the Beave here ya go a shiny
new nickel.

Ward really blows his stack with the Beaver when he discovers that he
and Whitey have been wearing his cardigan sweater and sticking his
pipe in their mouths as they have a laugh pretending to be hard-working
dads. Ward decides to "show them the ropes" by telling the Beave that due
to unforeseen circumstances he'll have to get a job at the salt mines to
support gosh the whole family.

Geez, Eddie Haskell talks Wally into cheating by passing him answers
during an important test in school. Wally gulp has to retake a much harder
test as punishment the following day and he counts on Beave to help him
get out of the jam by standing at the classroom window with Wally's
textbook in hand. The plan is foiled when Beaver discovers that he
can't read big words and stuff.

Beaver gets hit in the darnit head with a pop-fly baseball after school
and is now convinced he has psychic abilities. With Larry Modello’s
help, the Beave sets up a fortune-telling sidewalk stand. Together the boys
have it made in the shade until Lumpy shows up and they quickly learn
gee Dad honesty is the best policy.

Tooey decides he would be much healthier and happier if he gave his
lunch money to Lumpy on a daily basis. Wally and the gang decide to
rattle Lumpy’s cage by threatening to reveal Lumpy’s dark summer
camp secret (that he likes to knit, gee whiz, girl sweaters).

Histoire du Cinema

I remember seeing Star Wars for the first time
But it wasn't like seeing Breathless for the first time.
I was breathless when I watched Raging Bull for the first time
But I was a raging bull when I watched Clueless for the first time.
I was clueless when I watched 8 1/2 for the first time.
But I was 8 1/2 when I watched Snow White for the first time
I was snow white when I saw Halloween for the first time.
It was Halloween when I watched High Noon for the first time.
I remember seeing King Kong for the first time.
It was in The Apartment that I saw The Searchers for the first time.
In Modern Times, a Taxi Driver should consider The Graduate and
go Singin' In the Rain On the Waterfront with The African Queen,
instead of this route I took classes with a Psycho from Chinatown on The
Grapes of Wrath. Someday I'll be An American in Paris but for now
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Rocky and The Wild Bunch rode in on
The Streetcar Named Desire to fill their Jaws with The Best Years of Our Lives.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hallelujah Fruit Bowl

Thank you for your reliability.
I could always count on you to
maintain your even temper, as you
held the few remaining oranges
and a banana or two. You no
doubt heard my random muttering
in the kitchen on bad days, perhaps
a “goddammit” slipped out
once or twice, as I nearly cut my finger
or a pot boiled over. But you sat
there steadfast, performing your
duty so calmly. I salute your
temerity in that somewhat
frenzied nook, neighbor to
the toaster, but ultimately
without peer.

Where the Sky Went

Explorers of the inner side of nowhere
for only that moment
as if your prey

Gazing upward toward
Still in the published bones
secret things stand, explore the curve of torsos, psychic Alps

Deep inside the volcano that erased the
Mediterranean world
as if a blind coyote
get someone on the phone immediately
paraphernalia of binah, chthonian muck

Oncoming lights, the human velocity of
maintaining leaves me
this time between the sheets
of paper in the dark river of delirium
attention shoppers
some passing storm

inside me

A pool of mirrored yesterdays
must be slowly dying of
some esoteric discipline

up sprouted only sorrow
as if this clear light
walking le morning

would you ask ad execs
to design a new skin for you
in front of televised fires.

Friday, February 16, 2007


This afternoon is a film character at the wheel
thunder break the dishes of the sky
one never sleeps as late as daylight is a weird omen

to you the one without clothes
naked as a skinned peach

plagiarized glances stolen ambulances
I'm gone over the edge only wish to reconstruct
beautiful gardens under your blankets

maybe we haven't been speaking
of a stolen automobile
that's how I found you
watching a
movie not stealing automobiles
million birds along a clothesline

the telephone rings exploding into stars
hoi polloi grace sidewalks Sundays.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What the World Needs Now

Talking to Fred Sasaki the other night about rock lyrics and how poets have been influenced by them had me thinking about Marc Bolan. I know that T. Rex, Dylan, and other rock lyricists have influenced my conception of how images work in successful poems. Because it's also Valentine's Day,

"The lively sparks that issue from those eyes,
Against the which there vaileth no
Have pierced my heart, and done it none offence,
With quaking pleasure more than once or twice."

-Sir Thomas Wyatt

I'm also framing this off-the-cuff blog entry with the thought in mind that the rock musicians I've always loved have written lyrics that use imagery to create a vivid mind movie that harkens back to the tradition established by the medieval troubadors. Renaissance poets also spun tales of lost love that resonate and that imagery has been recycled to the point where it has become the source of much cliche. But a line could be drawn connecting the lyrics of these poets (which could be taken even further back to the work of classical poets like Sappho) to the lyrics of rock artists such as Marc Bolan, the Rolling Stones, and now Beck.

"You slide so good, with bones so fair
You've got the universe reclining in your hair
'Cos you're my baby, yes you're my love
Oh girl I'm just a jeepster for your love.

Just like a car, you're pleasing to behold
I'll call you Jaguar if I may be so bold
'Cos you're my baby, 'cos you're my love
Oh girl I'm just a jeepster for your love."

-Marc Bolan

The blason was invented by Clement Marot in 1536. This enumerated form of catalogue verse of praise or blame works well to list the reasons why the object of one's attention is deserving of that.

"I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands.

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need."

-Mick Jagger

One of my favorites is Free Union by Andre Breton, which explodes with uncommonplace imagery and comparisons so singular that the reader is forced to envision a woman so fantastical that no comparison can be made between the woman described and any living person. Breton's goal was to take the reader someplace unique and never before imagined.

"My wife with the eyelashes of strokes of a child’s writing...

My wife with the shoulders of a champagne..

My wife with legs of flares
With the movements of clockwork and despair
My wife with calves of eldertree pith
My wife with feet of initials...

With hips of a chandelier and of arrow-feathers
And of shafts of white peacock plumes
Of an insensible pendulum.."

-Andre Breton

Sure this stuff seems a little hokey now in the year 2007, but the music of T. Rex still sounds cool. Bolan's pen was filled with something magical ... there should be a new subgenre of music invented for him. Thanks to YouTube for the kooky video. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Always Returning

Return always to the
first day when the world
opened, gushing memory,
its libretto against our skin

Doorbell sonatas and
fire stations scream
red in the night:
enter the labyrinth
of our every mood.

The last star is a rerun in
the sky, burning the
atmosphere of a
summer there hovering.

Could it always be that day
when we meet and map
each moment's lounging frame?

Dancing Off the Edges of Our Lives

We notice ordinary things like flower pots
filled with sighs and closets dripping
monsters. Is it time yet to depart
from the cloistered probability
that our study of cognac has yielded no
transparencies other than what we
imagined? Here in the future our
wings are mere footnotes
ancanthus medallion, ribbon of sky,
facts smile from posterior gardens.
There is a spy called wonder who watches our
habits. There is a virtue to the geometry of
sleep for a friend is a ruddered thing requiring
citations and phosphorescent rooms.

Cool Foreign Accent

There is a pit of silence look where
the music waits and the softest rain
will never reach us there

Dawn cannot be wrong and lilting like
shadows untrimmed, this drizzle

Let us forgive them of error
recluse words in a poem. Don’t they
sound like heartsick and willing appetites
brought to morning
where the music waits with capitalized eyes?

Sunday, February 11, 2007


These mysterious hours

are long-legged

little spiders.

The last day of each year

is my classified ad.

Scent of beach enter.

Lonely passenger, ride the dream bus.

Visit stores without clientele.

Heart so mountainous,

there must be

some unseen map,

bridge to nowhere.

We're in the midst of working on milk, vol. 8 and again I'm amazed by the quality of the work we'll present. It's been my honor to publish the work of these artists since 1998.

I haven't tapped into the world of comics in a long time, but I've been doing some research on Frank King and Chris Ware.

I've written a story that my friend Joe Kimball is going to illustrate.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I'm just remembering working on my first issue of Nexus with my friend Mark Knapke as assistant editor. I remember sitting in the Nexus office in the middle of many nights laying out pages and spending hours on the phone talking to various people amazed that I had a big budget and could make endless long distance phone calls. I remember calling Morocco to try to get Paul Bowles on the phone because someone had given me what was supposed to be his number and hearing a soft voice so unintelligible that I hung up. The Nexus magazine that I edited is not to be confused with the new age fluff mag of the same name. Nexus the poetry journal was founded in 1967.

Those who appeared in Nexus vol. 33, no. 1 include the following:

Hakim Bey, John Brandi, Ken Brown, David Chorlton, Ira Cohen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Henri Ford, Allan Graubard, Renee Gregorio, Paul Grillo, Gabor Gyukics, Maggie Jaffe, WB Keckler, Nancy Levant, Angus MacLise, Gerard Malanga, Sheila E. Murphy, Simon Perchik, Jean Marc Sens, Gustaf Sobin, Sparrow, Tetsuya Taguchi, Janine Pommy Vega, Paul Violi, Ken Wainio, Nan Watkins, AD Winans, Taylor Mead, Tuli Kupferberg, Ronnie Burk, Philip Glass Interview

Video recording was invented in 1956 as an intermediary in live broadcast television. It was a cheap means to pre-record and edit regularly scheduled programs taped from live events. Roughly twelve years later, conceptual and minimalist artists would take an interest in the medium, making “artist videos” at a time when there was no such thing as a video artist. Michel Auder is an exception. He chose video as his primary means of expression well before video was accepted as a practice in its own right.

Born in Soisson, France, in 1945, Auder began making films at the age of 18. As an aspiring young filmmaker, he fell under the influence of the French New Wave and experimental cinema, most notably Jean-Luc Godard and Andy Warhol. In 1969, Auder met and eventually married Viva, one of Warhol’s principal talents. A year later, they moved to New York where Auder has since resided. That same year, he purchased a Sony Portapak, one of the first commercially available video cameras. Since 1970 he has persistently documented the people, places and events that are his life.
The label “video artist” was applied retroactively when Auder began exhibiting his work in 1980. At that time he produced a series of discreet works, some of which were from scripted biographical material and others that were video collages appropriating material from television. As technology improved and access to editing facilities increased, Auder’s skills as an auteur became more apparent. He is a consummate voyeur, one who literally reads scenes of intimacy, exchange and daily life as verses of poetry unto themselves.


Going on boats
morning’s candelabra
splinters light
across water.

an eyelid.

Daily fireworks, roof
of stars
give way to

Frozen oranges,
from the palm of my hand.


You have
come so far
and somehow
the call
was heard, as
a telephone
on the moon.

worry, we
are marooned
in a
nevertheless city,

I’ll unzip
the buildings,

release the


You are coatless Kentucky
You are drunk and disorderly
Your lawns however are immaculate
Your women are chatty, horny
You don’t pick up the check
You're the home of Johnny Depp
You are peppered with horses
Your eyes are barbeque pits
and I’m ok with that.

Frank Sherlock Needs Your Help

Amy King writes:

Philly poet and host of the La Tazza Reading Series, Frank Sherlock, recently suffered a heart attack and kidney failure, among other anomalies, during a very brief window of time that he was without health insurance. It’s one of those crap shoot moments, folks. Anyway, he’s a good guy for sure, young (early 30’s), and a poet who encourages and supports poets — all feats I’m a fan of. He has run that series for a good long time now (I read in it years ago) and gets a much deserved “A” in my book. He needs cash and books and good words sent his way for recovery.

Thanks to the generosity of Juliana Spahr you can now send checks for the Frank Sherlock EMERGENCY FUND which will be tax deductible!

c/o J. Spahr
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94613

and these checks will be tax deductible.

Your donations are very much appreciated.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ice Cubes Rising from My Glass

Exotic trigonometry
coaxe the possibilities.

Love the phrase "cool million."

Not oft understood
a figure of speech cartoons.

Sunday, glare from the front pages.

When I rise to refill my glass,
real life goes on despite reality television.

Television, quip quixotically.

Into my fantastically
real mouth enters

the cold suburban reality
that there are no more.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Describe your chokehold
on my gaze?

The decision clinical
let me paraphrase

that you are new every morning
blowing fresh
breeze of unease

Disturbing to the status quo
you and I know
but even as I eternally so

such a one as you

We are discontinuous pages
in some unwrit book

every hieroglyphic

You Can't Always Get What You Want

This is the only blog where you'll see Mick Jagger painting...I mean a Mick Jagger painting.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

these _______ gaps aren't
our conversation
don’t they
_________ resemble anything
and we pause to let

the _______ wash
over us
"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" made an impression on me. Frost admitted late in his life that he repeated the last line only because he couldn't think of anything else.

Stopping By ___________* On A Snowy Evening

Whose ___________ these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his _____________ fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the ___________ and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The ___________ are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

*Popeye's chicken, Jewel, Navy Pier, Crobar, La Creperie,
Simon's, Giordano's, Myopic books, Buckingham fountain,
Uptown, Danny's, Union Station, Park West, Resi's,
the Hungry Brain, Funky Buddha, Velvet Lounge,
Holiday Club

Monday, February 05, 2007

I Have Passed Along

A quiet desert as if

Robert Frost were my horse

You are my snowy woods

I mostly smile

Way to Pamela Anderson

Dare we not say you are gauche
gazing out from between the bars of the television screen
betwixt lip jobs Pamela Anderson pouts
the beach beneath her feet
all the world her magazine, she coos
trying to suddenly remember her line
as the sun licks the horizon a final time and descends
“Way to Pamela, Pamela Anderson!” someone
on the beach shouts. Pamela Anderson cannot
figure out if it’s condescension she’s
hearing or sarcasm. She raises an arm
and waves back yelling jubilantly,
“Thank you, anonymous beach person!”

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Here's some other recent work up at the MiPOesias site. Thanks to the editor, Amy King. I think it's about 20 below outside right now, so I've been imagining that I'm dreaming all this. I really live in Southern California.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My poem A Heaven Beside Me is read on MiPO radio. Thank you to the host, Bob Marcacci.

It's the last piece read at the very end of the show.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.

Bird & Diz

Language Lariat

We must dance it
nude upon the Alps of meaning
we pirouette and tumble
upon beartraps stumble
for the air is spiny
clear and clean
if all goes well
life resembles a magazine’s
cover? But she soon
discovered it’s not
like that at all
(Summer devolves
into Fall and Winter
then comes slouching)
words can be graves
but also roses and
whenever life loses
its sheen polish
a question and let it
serve as a platter
beyond our fears.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Here's a few new poems up at Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks. No, they're not love poems.

There's a scene in 8 1/2 (that's La Dolce Vita) in which Marcello Mastroianni's character, Guido, listens to a critic's analysis and then he ends up throwing the results on the ground. When he scrambles over to pick it up after a second thought we are shown the visual representation of how most minds function. Going back and forth from feelings of independence to feelings of insecurity, ebb and flow, is a fact of life. Facing the mirror is no easy feat however. But being completely honest with oneself is the only path to freedom from our preconceptions.

Guido is a salad of confusion. He's torn between what he used to be and what he might become, and on all sides advice is offered from those who think they know what's best for him. Philosophical advice comes from critics, advice comes from his wife, advice comes from friends, advice comes from everyone with an opinion, but at the end of the day he forces his own subjectivity outward in an artistic gesture that seems futile. But in this act of creating he ultimately triumphs over futility and makes a lasting statement that outlives impermanance.