Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Occasional Distant Emergencies

We are told that among that obscene
dawn there are hideous pleasures hiding.

A study in disregard is permanent. Yes,
poetry is boring, but my poem has cats.

My poem is a lobster catch, verbena, some
impudent wry perception involving the moon.

God, I’m sick of the moon and all it portends.
I’m sick of the moon appearing in poems.

In so many words, fuck off, moon.

O, my naked cheese cover yourself with
a cracker and bombard my lips with passion.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Aaron Belz mentioned me in a poem, which makes me feel honored.

Everybody Polka

The well-oiled machinery of night is a cackling jade huddled cellphonic masses
as a friend on the ceiling makes the most deceitful
bartender. Like Norse gods, weigh credit cards
spend retirement sums as large as trade deficits.
My compadre with the olive suspenders and ample bosom
lifts a glass of sarcasm to the heavens and launches an epistolic invective
that Chicago in all its blustery charm cannot fathom
although we in our
and they in their
and me and my ubershadow cannot
in this year of our political apathy
simply stand here amid the techno induced stupor
of these
and refrain from the thought that the
years are passing us like taken cabs as we,
stunned, pass from our daydreams into summer software.
In the stereo dark we are invisible as eyes
and long for stuff
because props make the man and the waves form a sea of

Saturday, June 23, 2007

John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia recorded live in Spain is a spectacle. Paco de Lucia's playing has me thinking of duende. There's a moment on this clip during his first solo when the audience reacts and an electrical current runs through the room for a moment.

What interests me about the idea of duende is its nearly unidentifiable nature. From most definitions comes the idea that one can have duende without technical skill. Federico Garcia Lorca embodied duende because of his mystique and became the most oft quoted personage on the topic. "Thus duende is a power and not a behavior, it is a struggle and not a concept." Even so it's hard to resist thinking of it as a concept for the sake of discussion. The psychological state or mood produced by many of Lorca's poems embody duende in their searching, mysterious quality. It's the record of a life lived in the balance that's interesting, or a note played bent.

Black pony, big moon,
olives in my saddlebag.
Though I know these roads,
I’ll never reach Córdoba.

Through the plains, through wind,
black pony, red moon,
death watching me
from the high towers of Córdoba.

Ay! What a long road.
Ay! What a brave pony.
Ay! Death, you will take me,
on the road to Córdoba.

distant and alone.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mlekowoz Cafe in Krakow.

Yes, I struck incredible Floridas
That mingled flowers with the eyes of panthers
In skins of men! And rainbows bridled green
Herds beneath the horizon of seas.



If the voice of Charles Baudelaire isn't the voice of modern poetry it is probably the voice of Arthur Rimbaud. I prefer Rimbaud and admit that his prose poetry is not something I return to on a regular basis. I almost view him in a light similar to Whitman in that his writing forms some shadowy foundation upon which everyone else works. The unique qualities inherent in the works of these two are inaccessible and shouldn't be imitated. There is the spirit of Rimbaud in Lidija Dimkovska's Do Not Awaken Them with Hammers that I really like. Nothing in it resembles imitation though and that's what's so interesting about it.

All the energy being expended over Salmon Rushdie's new award seems ridiculous to me. I've never read the Satanic Verses and probably never will. Someone should tell the crazed protesters that all literary awards contests are rigged anyway. Mr. Rushdie, just when you thought it was safe. Wait, weren't you just on Conan O'Brien the other night? You were knighted? WTH

Silliman does a good job contextualizing The City Visible but I don't get Chicago's reputation as the Rodney Dangerfield of cities. I guess there are poets who move to New York to feed off its literary history to give themselves some of sort of credibility because of their new mailing address. I thought the Internet had done away with all that. I couldn't care less if a writer is from New York or Akron --if I think the work is important.

Ok. Now this has me really wondering. Yikes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And here I am reading in character as David Hasselhoff.

It's good to see some reviews of The City Visible out there. Even Ron Silliman is talking about it now. OMG.

Someday I hope to see the Great Firewall of China, the pyramids in Egypt, and Notre Dame. Oh yeah, the great firewall just keeps people in China from looking at Flickr, which I thought was a harmless, photo-sharing site. I'm glad the Chinese gov't is there to squelch free speech, it's not like they're up to any wrongdoing themselves.

I'm really enjoying Lidija Dimkovska's Do Not Awaken Them with Hammers lately. It's worth ordering from Ugly Duckling Press.

A Heaven Beside Me

A heaven beside me is
revolving, a planet a window
a façade of confusion.
Poor landscape
a mouse with a pipe
playing electric ocarina
isolates my psyche.
What an uncanny picnic
this sparkling silver air.
Like a first date or
skyscraper juggling a desert
there is a beauty to ice that
only a statue understands.
O silence,
how we must
squeeze restaurants
of their conversations.

Monday, June 18, 2007


And the moon upon the sea

upon the surface of an eye

a traveler in the dark

lost along the way

rides upon a wind

each day heaves a green sigh

invisible as a scent

omnipresent as time.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The story about the closing of Antioch College has me thinking of Rod Serling. Serling was one of Antioch's more famous alums, along with Coretta Scott King, Rick Ocasek (rock group, The Cars), Sylvia Nasar (author, A Beautiful Mind), and Mark Strand (poet). The year or so I lived in Yellow Springs is a good memory, so I'm wondering how Antioch's closure will affect the town. When I make occasional trips home I usually stop in the laid-back oasis of Yellow Springs for a saunter through Glen Helen and a stop in Ye Olde Trail Tavern for a bite. The ultra-serious Dave Chappelle is Yellow Springs' most famous resident these days. Years ago when I lived in Yellow Springs I ended up at a gathering at the house where Serling had lived during his Antioch days. I had to go upstairs to see the room where he stayed. The homeowner had tried to keep the room as Serling had kept it and some of the belongings were supposedly those he'd left before his move to California. I wasn't surprised to find much Shakespeare.

"The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Life at Kentucky Fried Chicken

Once I saw in a backroom that there was
a room behind that which was behind that room.
When I told everybody that the backroom wasn’t
really the hindmost room in the building and that
in fact there was another smaller room inbetween
the room they thought was the backroom and the
actual backroom they didn’t believe me.
Not only that, I was sent to the backroom, their
idea of it anyway, as a sort of punishment. They
asked me to think really hard about why
they thought it was necessary to send me
to the backroom and that questioning the
location of the backroom was something
that just wasn’t done. I walked off and thought
"I wonder if anyone has ever mentioned this
as a comment in the suggestion box"
so I went over and unlocked it and
inside was a note that read "this food sucks.”

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why So Enormous

There is a logic to breathing that I know so well
here is the darkness where the mirrors hide.
Where are you waking, walking so?
The city is a Smith & Wesson covered in noon.
There I discover the parallel moon.
The light, crazy ivy, is oblivious to waves.
It covers our hummingbirds in delirious flames.
My pizza is a plaza where I meet no one.
The silence there is a tribe of ice.
My shoes ache as I wait for the bill.
A woman files her nails with a miniature spell.
The sky is so wide that I’m offered a slice.
Soon we will march upon a desert and hum.
My pizza is a plaza where I meet no one.

Oh Yeah

And another thing

a candle balanced
precariously on my tongue

could be mistaken for the
pronunciation of your name

or mine, it's all the
same to me whether
you kill me with the
kind salutation that I am

of your race
among whales
and fish of the sea.

And these
air bubbles between us
pay attention
we breathe the
same air

are microcosms
in the gaps of our conversation

what lotus blooms, where all are lost in space

chasm, greet me
as I open usual doors

these stars, galaxies
when you advertise
pavement into speech.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Tell all your friends. My chapbook, Disharmonium, will be published by Silver Wonder Press in Chicago in late fall 2007. Contact Chris Gibson at P.O. Box 146399, Chicago, IL, 60614 to order a copy.

Why do I miss the 80s? I miss the goofy rock videos.

A friend of mine swears that Dylan is our modern-day prophet, foretelling of our climate woes and altercations in the middle east (think "After the Flood," "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," and "Infidels"). His detailed notes on the subject made me want to listen to Subterranean Homesick Blues again, but that's as far as I got.

George W. has stomach problems of late. Could it be that he's finally realizing that he's the most ineffectual U.S. president in history?

I had the chance to go through the archives at Poetry Magazine the other day, which was a really amazing experience. The Printers' Ball is coming up, which should be cool. Don't miss the gravity-defying event at Myopic. It will be full of surprises!

So, most say that Aishwarya Rai is the most beautiful woman on the planet (Angelina who?). I still say it's Cate Blanchett. Personality counts dude. Rumor has it they're casting CB as Bob Dylan in an upcoming biopic. Weird.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blaise Cendrar's Prose of the Trans-Siberian and Little Jeanne from France was one of the first books of poetry I came across when I first became more serious about reading. At the Fairborn, Ohio library I also found the Anchor Anthology of French Poetry with translations of the work of Nerval, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Valery, Apollinaire and others. I had read those two books as a kid before I read Leaves of Grass. There's something about Cendrar's poetry that makes it seem like he's just having a conversation with you.

This page doesn't take full advantage of the interactive capabilities of the Internet to re-create experience but it's worth a look, too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Glib Olympics

Who cares about the heirloom anyway? It doesn't go with anything and besides it looks too Rilke, desperate and alone. My shoes are more Neruda punching the pavement in tangerine triplicate as we ply the city with drinks and keep up our damn drilling, somewhere (down there) we will eventually find our raison d’être. You recline into another plush comeback and remind me that our paths have crossed for just this reason. Double-parked on a junket to WTF.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wound Farmer

A regular Nick to your Daisy
watching it glisten like a meteor shower

televised in a block of ice.

There is an iffy cocoon
of these afternoons by the swamp.

I’ll milk the shadows of melancholy.

We’ll bathe in gender politics.

Femme fatale, decline all drinks proffered.
I left my sense of humor in my other suit.

You had a breakfast of bees.
Migratory birds applauded your rare frequency.

Perhaps we should’ve checked with the national
weather service about our feelings, before we let them fly.

At the English garden there you found
wan Snickers wrapper, sign of civilization.

Time has feathers, but we, too shy, seem
forever left to linger upon the lips of an hour.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

The article up at the Poetry Foundation site had me thinking of my own early attempts to write songs based on the lyrics of Elvis Costello, Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Marc Bolan. Cut me some slack I hadn't yet read Frank O'Hara. Beyond the trite or simply flat inbetween lines of many rock lyricists are bursts of real brilliance and insight that rival some of the most memorable lyric poetry ever written. Of course, the banal and simply pretentious sounds not half bad when backed up by a stack of Marshalls. As the groundbreaking sounds of some of the best music of the 1960s (garagebands galore) gave way to the decadent irrelevance of bands like the Eagles in the 1970s, rock music moved beyond its roots and became something else entirely. Some bands teetered between the bluesy roots rock that had started the phenomenon called rock 'n roll and the fusion based noodlings that marked the beginning of the end for quite a few talented musicians.

As rock bands began to be called supergroups, they took themselves a little too seriously and left what was genuine by the wayside. Before bands like the Ramones emerged on the scene to reclaim rock 'n roll and return it to what it had always been, there were certain songs that weren't so cheesy they couldn't be appreciated, mainly because the lyrics rang true and offered some kind of insight typically not found on the FM dial. Traffic's music has always been hit or miss for me, but I've always liked The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys because it defines the time period after Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues so well.

If you see something that looks like a star
And it's shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar,
And you just can't escape from the sound
Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys.
And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys.

The percentage you're paying is too high priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams,
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn't make any noise.
But it wasn't the bullet that laid him to rest was
The low spark of high-heeled boys.

If you had just a minute to breathe
and they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance?
Or something similar as this? Dont worry too much
It'll happen to you as sure as your sorrows are joys.
And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys.

If I gave you everything that I owned and asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you?
Or take me for a ride, and strip me of everything including my pride?
But spirit is something that no one destroys,
And the sound that I'm hearing is only the sound
The low spark of high-heeled boys.