Saturday, December 29, 2007

Here Comes My Meteor

Chucking the future
for a bygone shadow
leaving the antlers of
history on the table
as the only evidence
that nothing resembles
these particular shadows
as much as Happy Days
what will you
say to the man mirror
who grins like a
tortoise in a desert
can you Black & Decker
this economy
smiley face IM
Apollinaire knew in
Zone, life no longer
new car smelly
something so
perfect about a
block of ice in which
the zeitgeist
dances, suspended
like a Rx

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Silver Wonder Press

Silver Wonder Press here in Chicago has just released Lee Ranaldo's "Hello From the American Desert" with an introduction by New York poet Todd Colby. The Silver Wonder Web site is looking really good. My chapbook "Disharmonium" will be the next book published in Silver Wonder's chapbook series. Many thanks to Chris Gibson for the exceptional job he's doing with Silver Wonder -- it's definitely worth it to buy some of what's offered on the site. Silver Wonder rocks (literally). Have a look.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Beneath the Eyelids—Storm

—after Robert Kelly

Meloncholia mise-en-scène,
aloof, these branches
pushed upward no-
thing hums, these
à la carte?

Look, to be
seen as if then to raze
from memory some
loam belonging
to speech starting
carousel of womb,
making sense
of time, sotto voce.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More info. on the Observable Books Reading Series.

Here's my holiday greeting to the city of Chicago in the Trib.

And an audio file of one of my poems read on Bob Marcacci's MiPo Radio. Happy holidays to readers of this blog. Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Even Without Bumpers

—for Lina

I love you as the fissipalmate foot of an Ibis loves the water.

I love yóu even when mísplaced accénts cause havóc.

As the fruit bat’s wingspan, reaching nearly five feet, slices the night air, dropping like the USS Missouri onto a plate of black rose petals, I love you.

I love you the way I love a fine cartouche.

I love your.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Forget About The Wild Swans at Coole

Most ancient toxicologist, sun,
wears a uniform called morning

left right left right left right
the armies are advancing

nectar of war in the shield’s reflection
the sunlight on the horizon

gazing into the dungeon of the possible
this prison we’ve constructed of longing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jan 3, Kate the Great's, Steve Halle, Adam Fieled, Melissa Severin, Larry Sawyer & Lina ramona Vitkauskas

I'll be reading Jan 3 at Kate the Great's bookstore, 5550 N. Broadway, Chicago, 7 pm with Steve Halle, Melissa Severin, Adam Fieled, and Lina ramona Vitkauskas. Nosh and sip refreshments too.

P.F.S. Post has an incredible array of poetry up including John Tranter, George Bowering, Amy King, Lars Palm, Daniel Nester, Noah Eli Gordon, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Steve Halle, Catherine Daly, Simone Muench, and Anselm Berrigan among others. Have a look if you've never done so.

And many thanks to Philadelphia poet Adam Fieled for P.F.S. Post and also for including us in his floating reading series.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Is MiPoesias the coolest magazine in existence? The team of editors here at Me Tronome think so. It's nice to see that chivalry isn't dead. That's Ken Rumble in the photo being helpful. I'll be reading with Ken in St. Louis in the near future in the Observable Books Reading Series. While you're online read some of the new poems up at milk.

Oscar Country for Old Men

Houston - we have Flarf, I mean lift-off.

Will Flarf be making an appearance this Sunday at Myopic books? It's possible. Come down to see what it's all about. THIS SUNDAY (Dec. 16) we have

Anne BOYER was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1973. She was raised in Salina, Kansas, and educated in the public universities of Kansas. She is the author of The Romance of Happy Workers (Coffee House Press, forthcoming 2008), Selected Dreams with a Note on Phrenology (Dusie Collectiv, 2007), and Anne Boyer’s Good Apocalypse (Effing Press, 2006). Along with K. Silem Mohammad, she edits the print journal Abraham Lincoln. She teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute and lives in Northeastern Kansas with her daughter Hazel and the cat Ulysses.

Michael CROSS edited Involuntary Vision: after Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (Avenue B, 2003), and is currently editing an anthology of the George Oppen Memorial Lectures at San Francisco State University. He publishes Atticus/Finch Chapbooks (, and his first book, in felt treeling, is forthcoming from Tucson, Arizona's Chax Press. He is currently a doctoral candidate at SUNY Buffalo.

K. Silem MOHAMMAD is the author of Breathalyzer (Edge Books, 2008), A Thousand Devils (Combo Books, 2004), and Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises, 2003). He has also co-edited and contributed to two books in Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy series: The Undead and Philosophy (2006) and Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy (2007). He co-edits the magazine Abraham Lincoln with Anne Boyer, and he maintains the popular poetics blog Lime Tree (
I have tickets for the upcoming Lebowski Fest here in Chicago. I can't wait to see No Country for Old Men. Javier Bardem is supposed to be the best screen psycho since Hannibel Lecter.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Of Diving Bells and Butterflies

When you're as famous as Julian Schnabel you get to show up at Cannes wearing your pajamas. From the director of Basquiat and Before Night Falls we now get The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I'm looking forward to seeing the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, an editor of French "Elle" who was almost completely paralyzed after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 43. Despite his condition, referred to as locked-in syndrome, Bauby eventually learned to communicate by blinking his left eyelid. He dictated his memoirs to his assistant based on an elaborate alphabet communicated by blinking his eye.

If Bell is as good as Basquiat and Before Night Falls it will be imminently watchable. Schnabel treats the silver screen like a big canvas and uses big swashes of color and dreamlike sequences to illustrate the lives of his characters. There's usually just the right mix of ingredients in Schnabel's surrealist cocktails.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm included in the third issue of Vanitas . . . Vincent Katz's magazine.

Here's an interesting excerpt of an interview with
Aram Saroyan conducted by Pirooz M. Kalayeh. Saroyan's one-word poem "lighght" is one of my favorites. Unlike most poetry, poems such as this to a certain extent do require that the reader "gets it."


PK: In your poems, the word and image are simultaneously united. This blend creates an interesting shift in perception. In a sense, it requires a different way of looking, and that, for me, is a different way of being. I am often attracted to art that brings me such a moment of connection. Thank you for that.

I remember looking at a Jackson Pollock painting, and feeling a similar way. For one brief instant, there was a lack of thought. In that space, was the experience itself. It was akin to a "What's that smell?" moment. Of course, the "smell" was simply my previous conception of "looking" being dropped for some actual face-time with that moment.

Is this what you hope to achieve with your pieces? If so, how do you go about a poem's conception with such an intention in mind?

Aram Saroyan: I remember when I was a teenager my dad took me to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and I saw a work by Franz Kline for the first time, and I thought, this guy has really gone out of his way to make something ugly. The ugliness is probably what shifts the way you think, or the way you are, for a moment—I think that’s what you’re talking about. The poems by me you refer to are probably the ones in Complete Minimal Poems and they’re now forty years old. When the book came out I read it through from cover to cover a couple of times and had a number of different ideas about it. One was, it’s about a young man in his room and at the door of his room.

I didn’t have any particular conception I wanted to get across when I wrote or when I write today. I think artists think with their work, not before they go to work. After I finish a piece, I always wonder, does this work.

Eventually, after many years (or maybe it was just a couple of years), I realized that Franz Kline’s work was the height of elegance. So it changed and/or I changed.

PK: I hear you. Franz Kline. I never went deep into his work. I remember seeing a couple pieces at the MOMA and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. I remembered that Jean Michel Basquiat cited him as a big influence on his work. I didn't stop long enough to stick with him though. I was busy checking out Cy Twombly. I didn't really like it, but I didn't dislike it either. I think seeing his pieces made me feel that kind of "ugly" you are referencing. I don't know though. I tend to see pretty in ugly and ugly in pretty. I don't know. I get so confused sometimes. It's not a bad confused, but simply a blending I suppose.

Were there any other visual artists that changed on you?

AS: I always loved Warhol. And Donald Judd. When I saw the first Eric Fischel at a Whitney Biennial in the 80s I thought, oh, that’s ugly. I didn’t like it. And then, sure enough, of all the painters of that epoch like Salle, Schnabel, etc., I started to like his work the most. I think Schnabel’s movies, especially Basquiat, are wonderful.

Warhol was such a great colorist, so inventive and elegant. I think I picked that up at an unconscious level. Later on you realize what it was that got you. His protégé, Basquiat, is also an extraordinary colorist. And sometimes he does great things with words. Like he has the word milk with a little copyright sign beside it. Exactly how insane our global corporate rigamarole has gotten.

When you live in New York, as I did, minimalism like Donald Judd’s work is terribly appealing. It balances the environment. I think I had to get out of New York to write differently. The environment is transgressive. Either that or I’m just a natural born country boy.

PK: Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation is a fascinating book. It reads very much like fiction. In fact, there were several times where I wasn't quite sure. In fact, it almost reads like an autobiography. Why did you decide to write in this style? Was it to capture Lew in a way that a traditional biography couldn't?

AS: There’s a first draft of that book, a more traditional, rather academic biography, which I reread recently. There’s a lot of direct quotation from Lew Welch—interviews and correspondence mostly—and that’s the best part of it. After I reread it I took some of the Lew Welch parts and made a solo performance play of it. It would be great I think for someone like Liev Schrieber or Joseph Fienes. But that first draft was, the Lew Welch quotes aside, a bit dull. So I rewrote it as a sort of Kerouac novel. Some of it is novelistic and/or autobiographical: I was trying to capture the spirit of Lew and the people around him, the Beats.

PK: You say a Kerouac novel, and I definitely feel that. There is that mad rush. At the same time, it's still very much you. I don't see Kerouac's long dash in continual use. You also vary the speed of your sentences by throwing in the occasional one or two-word sentence. Was this an intentional move? Was there a reason that you stayed away from the long dash continually and non-stop as Kerouac did?

AS: Kerouac was a writer I felt I had to come to terms with, and Genesis Angels was my moment of reckoning, so to speak. The book was written a chapter a day and not greatly edited by James Landis, my editor at Morrow. I suppose my technique is a little different, but the idea was to let go and write what came to mind. I started it right after my wife Gailyn gave me the verdict that the first draft was a tad dull. We were living in Bolinas and it was a beautiful day. I was crestfallen, but somehow energized too. As I walked back into the house to start the book again, I looked up the sky and thought to myself, “Just this blue” [meaning the color of the sky]. It’s interesting because the second draft written quickly in my version of Kerouac’s “spontaneous bop prosody,” told a more complex story than my first draft, which was ostensibly more reflective and took much longer to write. Probably I was laying the foundation, familiarizing myself with the story, so that I could then take off.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I know by now you must've read all of Time's 100 Best Books of 2007.

This morning finds me rereading some of John Solt's poetry. And tonight I'll fight the Chicago ice and go see Kristy Odelius read at Quimby's.