Monday, December 29, 2008

Important Advice

I was looking at a recent book by a butler, about manners and how to get along. Sensible advice but I quibble with his description of how to open a bottle of sparkling wine. He was doing fine until he ripped the cork free with a loud pop. Big Drama, but lives are at stake. For SAFETY'S SAKE, read on:

  1. Remove the wire cage from the bottle, always keeping a finger or thumb on top of the cork. Corks can pop without your help, and with devastating force. Could be a bad thing.

  2. Hold cork in one hand, bottle in the other. Keep the bottle horizontal. The reason? The pressure is upward from the surface of the wine. Holding the bottle vertically can inspire a rapid exodus of the contents of the bottle towards unprepared regions. You can wrap the bottle in towel or napkin, for a better grip and added safety, but you will look a bit poncy. Also, wear a Kevlar suit.

  3. Twist the cork slowly. I have heard it advised that one should twist the bottle. In my experience, it is easier to twist the cork. Do whatever you think is right. Just because I have professional experience does not mean you should listen.

  4. Ease the cork out. The trapped gas will help.

  5. As the cork reaches the point of extrication, maintain a firm grip on the cork and let the gas slowly hiss out as you raise the bottle to a vertical and remove the cork entirely. Oh darn, did not spill a drop.

  6. Pour wine into glasses, not the ones modeled after Marie Antoinette's breast--oh those French!--but tall flutes. Flutes are made with a rougher surface. Bubbles emanate from those rough points. Oo, the bubbles tickle your nose!

  7. Hail the New Year, lads and lasses.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

you ought to take time to read this blog, by the former Stephen Ellis now ycelpt Bob Button and likely to take on other aliases. page down a bit for a lovely Youtube performance by Leo Koetke (on the Tonight Show!!!), but do not ignore the words.
my informant sent this link to Charles Olson reading "The Librarian". additionally I am informed that today is Frank Moore's birthday, born 1923. yesterday was Olson's 99th annivérsaire. there are several other videos of Big Fire Source on Youtube. I realize that that sort of moniker is weighty and wearing but I am sure Duncan meant it straight up. I am now beyond slavishness towards my teachers but I am still much invigorated by Olson's work.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

saw Batman the Dark Knight. it exceeded expectations. it is based more in a human reality than these comic book movies usually manage. Heath ledger was certainly riveting. of course, that is how it works, the crazy, intense one is the centre of attention. as has been noted, Satan is far more interesting in Paradise Lost than Adam or Eve. that given, Ledger still made every moment crackle. Cesar Romero played the role campy, pretty much as Bob Kane envisioned the character. Jack Nicholson was Jack, creepy yet fun. Ledger’s Joker was disturbing. late in the movie he deliver unto Batman an examination of Batman’s moral dilemma that was splendidly biting and well-aimed. Joker himself is hors de combat of that problem. he’s a terrorist without the moral clause. the sense of the city being terrorized, in the current political sense, was strong and compelling. Aaron Eckart as the white knight DA was good. he’s startlingly goodlooking in a brisk public servant way, and entered the role of Two-Face smoothly, I thought. no need to go entirely Willem DaFoe. Michael Caine as Alfred was good, cockney Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, worked well as well. do not go cheap on the little roles in these things. Batman as Dark Knight is wearisome. he’s got issues just like the criminals, but is far less evolved. Christian Bale as Wayne has life to him, but no Batman has succeeded in being more than a costume. which is the point, I suppose, of the character. the movie was well-contained, did not allude outside itself to other entries in the franchise, and its themes held thru out. I haven’t seen the latest James Bond movies, but I think they tried to just start over, treat them more like separate movies. there was that obvious sense in Iron Man that this began the series. it worked nonetheless, but one fears the attenuation that likely will occur. one need only look at the Pirates flicks following Black Pearl, and the 2nd Matrix was so awful that I could not watch the 3rd, tho that is supposed to be better and resolve the 3.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, check. 1st one is still the best. this one has the same self-conscious manipulation as The Last Crusade, the urgency to touch all the franchise keynotes and let the plot take care of its own. the result is even more muddled than Last Crusade. I even found it visually cluttered. it looked remarkably cheesy, which is surprising given that as a film technician Spielberg aint no slouch. the movie starts with some malarkey about Russians invading Area 51 to steal, oh, you know, the Crystal Skull, or some hint to its whereabouts. the movie simply accepted that certain forces must push the plot, and dealt something to suffice. Indy is accompanied by a Brit who, it turns out, is a double agent. and a triple agent, except no one likely believed that reconciliation. but Indy gets away, and survives a nuclear bomb test by hiding in a refrigerator. I believe everything I see. there’s a brief 50s blackball theme, then Indy meets Shia LaBoeuf, who arrives looking like Brando in The Wild Ones. decent rapport exists between Ford and LaBoeuf, albeit a contrived tension, plotwise. on a vague hint, they fly to Peru, in search of that crystal skull. the Russians remain in the story, poor man’s Nazi. I did not mench Cate Blanchett being the nutsoid in charge of the Russians. she’s Stalin’s head of psychic research, or some such. which sounds more like a Hitler thing but anyway.she’s a dully campy dominatrix. is she a good actress??? her Galadriel was probably not her fault, the director forced her to look like such a bemused drag. I cannot remember what else I have seen of her. the plot was muddled beyond repair. the crystal skull attracted metal, but only when convenient to the plot. the action set pieces were lacklustre and did not seem to worry about plausibility. one accepts that Mythbusters might bust certain imaginative elements in a movie, but not that Jamie and Adam would not even bother to probe the possibilities. that is how it seemed with this movie. the movie was enjoyable enough, since I like Ford, and Spielberg’s failures are still largely competent. the crystal skull belongs, we learn, to ETs, so we end up with Richard Dreyfus’ friends with a somewhat more malign aspect. I do not know the budget of this flick but it looked cheapo. I wonder about Lucas, who has twiddled away his most interesting projects for the sake of merchandise and 2nd rate productions. I imagine that the plan was to slip River Phoenix into the Indy franchise, back in that day, and death kinda precluded that. LaBoeuf might be the next chance to move on, because Ford’s not good for many more punch outs. the movie ended smarmily, so maybe we should just tuck the baby in and say goodnight.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

traffic to this space tripled because of searches on Emma Bee Bernstein, indicating the interest in her. Beth and I did our share, just wanting to know a little more. I did not intend to write a poem to her (see link below), but it was immediately identified as such by someone on the Wryting-L list. intent is a difficult thing in poetry. I (hope to) let feeling find the words, rather than, say, replicate the feeling in a structured response. if there is a School of Quietude, its sin is boosting emotional moments into crass simulacra. some things are too large in feeling, and too essential, death certainly, that we cannot play them like that. when Olson tells Blackburn that he did not know it was a subject, he lets boundaries find themselves. when I write ‘E’ in my poem, I really meant the letter, mostly. that was a safe distance, you might safe, tho I did invoke her name. i like the poem, because I see language passing thru me, mostly, rather than me at the steering wheel, sorry if metaphors are mixed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

quickly but respectfully reported
I guess that I appreciate Ron Silliman's death watch. my interest in the obits page has yet to reach the lurid point, but I do take note. and it is so stark to see a name, Emma Bee Bernstein, that I readily compute as 'someone', not that I have met Bernstein or Bee, tho I could have dined with them after their presentation at Tim Peterson's series, along with the rest of the audience. the picture on Ron's blog is a casual snap, a frame in the life movie. I know no more about her death, and do not even need details. I think of Charles Bernstein as an edifice, as a focal point for poetic divergences and such, I mean, oo, Bernstein = this or that. neither this nor that, however, hardly comprises the person who has lost his Emma. I have spoken as many words to Charles Bernstein as I have to Princess Diana yet the picture of her with the doleful end date caught me, and not just because I can insert Erin for Emma to bring it home. death don't have no mercy, certes. clasp hands, dear ones.
I guess you could check out the 139th installment of Antic View. Antic View has links to a lot of Jeff Harrison's work. Please peer upon it with your best eye. It is unique and delightful work, idiosyncratic yet inclusive. that Socratic Republic of Plato is a word-twisting place, suspicious of intent. we have this political economy of vocabulary (lumpy mouthful), in which the dedication of employment of words is respected. whereas the life of words, as living history of the joining space between people, is paved with too much intent. too many poets suck out loud, to put it bluntly. they suck the meme of intent, the sort of intent that can make Sarah Palin the map of Republican expanse. I think Jeff Harrison is a poet who arrives in a better light, less willful and more respectful. I believe strongly that his nation is aligned with the best vibrations. I will declare my own intentions towards a similar assonance. I read Antic View coldly, because I know that it is not titillating anyone, and that it adverts upon me, and well as on Jeff. I take our dilemma as poets seriously, and feel that Antic View charges the reader as well as ourselves. what do you need, dear Reader, to be incited???

Friday, December 19, 2008

I note Jeff Harrison's review of Walden Book (scroll down the page) at Galatea Resurrects. buy a copy and support Carl Annarummo's press and good work.
2 new installments to Antic View. Jeff Harrison admits to writing only about one poem a month, and I do not seem to be doing much more than that lately. yet we both feel productive. hm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a couple of interesting social networking options. I've tried a few:

  • Myspace, simply too ugly even to start with

  • Twitter, could be useful but it did not stick with me. do we really need too much???

  • Facebook, overwhelmed by structure, and people counting coup, but it seems useful, tho it also seems like a lot of work. come on, be my Facebook Friend!!!!!

I like these 2, however:

  1. Goodreads, advert the books you are reading, write reviews. I like reading what other people are saying, and it is fun to write my own wisdomisms.

  2. Wakoopa, reviews and usage data of computer applications. Wakoopa can tally what applications you use, how much, plus you can learn about what others are using. really useful!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

{revised, 12/9/08}

saw 2 movies. 1st Khartoum, which I saw on Hulu. a spectacular historical drama from the 60s, and really, it was a spectacle, with grand vistas and all that. 19th century British interests in Khartoum are besieged by Islamic forces following a visionary called The Mahdi. the story begins with the British sending an army to quell the nascent uprising. the army goes Custer-like into a trap and all 10,000 are wiped out. the Mahdists are now well-supplied with guns. back in England there is this backroom talk with Gladstone and such, how to save face, rather than save Khartoum. all these proper English accents sound like Monty Python, deciding how to cut bait without looking like it. the machinations are appalling and confusing, but the gist is that Charles Gordon is chosen to go save face for the British Empire. Charlton Heston pays Gordon. I think the point is that Gordon, a Christian fanatic, will stay at Khartoum to the death, that being how Gordon rolls, meanwhile Britain can get the rest of its interests out of the area. something like that, I need another shot at the movie to get this clear. the point is that Heston is onstage now. he has his pompous, hammy mannerisms, but he is fun to watch. and those mannerisms are not as exaggerated as they could be, Cecil B. deMille isn't directing. Gordon is a little like Obi Wan in Bridge on the River Kwai. he is not quite over the edge like Obi Wan, that is, the point of his duty is clearer, but he is still buggy. his 2nd in command is Stewart, who is there to keep an eye on Gordon. he attempts to run a blockade on the Nile with British citizens at Khartoum while Gordon awaits the Mahdi. shades of Dien Bien Phu. the Mahdi is played by Laurence Olivier, merely exotic to my mind, Iago minus 7. the show always has to be Heston, I think. not in the sense of chewing scenery, tho he is good for that, it's just that he is so commanding in his stiff, somewhat noble, somewhat silly way. even when up against the like of Yul Brynner, who is one hell of a screen presence himself, Heston just keeps you looking at his ridiculous grandeur. Gordon and the Mahdi meet near the end for a parley. they realize that their fanaticism is similar. in the course of conversation, the Mahdi shows Gordon the heads of some of the blockade runners, and the hand of Stewart. ah, all is lost. so Gordon goes back to Khartoum, the Mahdists attack and c'est ça. the battle scenes were done with a certain grace. since no one in the fighting were important characters there was never that exult of action and heroism, just this thronging of energy. I was surprised how well done the movie was. and not dated. I almost watched Casino Royale, the 60s version. which, surprisingly, was directed by John Huston, and starred most of Hollywood's 60s elite, all to no avail, from the few minutes that I saw. it was too dated for me. it was a Bond spoof but the comedic timing was dreadful, color was garish, and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass playing Burt Bachrach was congestive, not to my taste. there was a legitimate Shakespearian quality to Gordon, not that Heston was really up to that stature. knowing that Heston went from Hollywood icon to IRA loony (then Alzheimer's???) adds a dollop of substance to his expansiveness. I do not think I know who is a good actor anymore. the laden consciousness of 'great' actors really tires me. Heston's earnest hamminess works in this movie, I guess because the director kept the screen wide and commanding, so that the tussle of actorly ego could not overwhelm scenes. the historical story certainly carries a freshness.

also saw Get Smart. this surprised me by having good pacing without the antic imperative of many comedies (I am thinking of Steve Martin's Pink Panther). the actors had good rapport, tho 99 was played generically. could 99 have been played strongly? she was strictly support team in the tv series, sense to be placed against Max's nonsense. Steve Carel played the role earnestly, that is, played Smart as an earnest fellow, less pompous than the tv character. the plot was stupid but flowed well enough. regularly sown throwaway jokes served to keep the standard plot from weighing heavy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I guess it is Christmas season. I cannot wait to see a Very Brady Christmas again, or that one with Mr Magoo, beloved by millions. I am right now listening to a Christmas jazz favourite, mellow guitar trio, oop, time for the bass solo. anyway, Thanksgiving was nice. we went to friends. getting last minute goods to bring on Wednesday, we were surprised that Whole Foods was quite quiet. wondering if this is an economic indicator. it is if subjective reports count. the after dinner music was John Fahey's Blind Joe Death. it was recorded 45 years ago! woot. yesterday we had errands to run. did not seem busy as we were oot and aboot. we were inspired to visit the mall, just to look around. the lots were filling in the outlying areas but not yet stuffed. I wanted to traipse thru the mall itself. a very long line waiting for cashiers at Sears. someone was stationed at the Sears entrance into the mall, with flyers for eyeglass bargains. saw that elsewhere: effort, that is, to sell. lots of sales, one place adverting 65% off. just down the road a Linen 'n Things closed, a Tweeter is in process, and Circuit City is gettin' ready. we did not really go into many stores. I wanted to see Apple both to see the new stuff there and to judge how this do-no-wrong is holding out. certes, it was crowded. 2 people at the door with leaflets about the 1-day black friday sale. the prices of which were not fancy at all. oh, in the window were large representations of Santa and Herbie (or is it Hermie?) from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. do they pay for that? anyway, lots of people. Beth and I ogled the iPod Touch. the phone aspect of the iPhone is of least interest to me, and combined with all the other features, the battery hardly keeps a charge. so give me a dedicated phone and a Touch. seriously, give them to me. an Apple employee answered our questions efficiently and sans commish. it is a good business model there, with lots of expertise floating around, no central cash register, and plenty to play with. innovation will get a company thru these times. companies with 'n in their names will fail. the only other store we looked into was Coach. several people milled around, and lots of sales people. it is a stalwart brand that will hang in there, I imagine. so that was all there was for Black Friday. short line to be scared by Santa, but maybe people were not bringing the kids on this mission of savings. I should mench seeing Stephen Colbert's Christmas Special. it was awful. I still like Colbert, and continue to be amazed at how well he plays the character and the irony above it. the marketed part of him, the synedoche of his image standing for a slew of disparate things, all tires me. his special was really cheesy. he was satirizing those homey specials of yore, Perry Como or Andy Williams wearing sweaters and pretending to have a family celebration. Colbert did nothing different, except that he undermined any sliver of sincerity. he had numerous singing guests who were all uncomfortable. the worst was Toby Keith. who was not so bad as a guest, but his song, with him wielding a gun to defend Christmas, simply did not work. it was an embarrassing effort, as was the show itself. wheel off the tricycle time, it would appear.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lanny Quarles has made available a book in pdf form: Nosering Cellphone. I commend your attention to it. I have also updated his blog url in my links. I also add another Quarles blog. earthshaking!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I have it on excellent authority, my own, that in this post by Ron Silliman he is channeling me or otherwise influenced by my patented frame of peregrinacious wandering. seriously, tho he follows threads, this post is much more ramble table than I expect from him. good job! and he manages to mention the Beau Brummels!!! the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, informs me that the original Beau Brummel was the 1st to introduce the suit and tie for men, and he recommended polishing one's shoes with champagne. I am doing that right now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

interview/documentary with/re mIEKAL aND.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

reading Brothers Karamazov and a book on the sacred by Mircea Eliade. which is neither here nor there except, what, to provide a reading background? well. the nature of that has changed with the internet, because I read quite a lot online, and in the online way, from here to here to here. book reading is a specific pleasure, but so is listening to stuff, like podcasts and their variety. anyway, I was thinking that I made zero mench of the election that just passed thru the United States with the speed of slow variance. a bit of that is discouragement, a bit numbness, a bit an unwillingness right now to be part of the machinery that has been running for so long. Obama won, I hear. I thought to get to the polls early but dawdled and it was after 5:00 when Erin (his 1st) and I went to the polls, Beth voted earlier. I expected a long wait but there was essentially none. zowee! I can remember a lengthy line for the last election, and we went mid morning, but my frail father was allowed to cut in, and I was allowed to balance out his vote directly. my father's grandfather voted for Lincoln, and that set the tone thru the lineage, up till my baby booming divergence (my mother, rest her soul, was more liberal) tho my father did vote Democrats once or twice, including Kennedy. whatev, I am not trying to bubble on that mound. the race was a race, ultra long and crap like that, then Sarah, and I had nothing but growling contempt. her, even her, is something historical, and it is sad that it WAS her. Beth, much more politically astute than me--I am so hamfisted in comparison--lived long in Alaska, and is familiar with Sarah. Palin brought nothing worthwhile to the table. think how cruel that is, with the practiced patterning-in at work. this bespoken entity, Sarah, claimed by the desperate Think Attacks who fostered this battle, steps into the fray unqualified and untrained. how did they stick her in front of Katie Couric or that other guy, without a few hints how to fake it. that's just ridiculous. snap at her for the preposterous wardrobe fix up but reckon: we do not fuss whether the Joe Bidens and other momentum drags wear the blue or the grey. but the women package is a key snag for our consideration. hair up, hair down, etc. how are we to get thru this??? I have no original observations to offer. I am fast past the historical wonder of this election, this missive broadcasts from Shit Creek. Obama is not as creepy as a Clinton but it looks like a Facebook lock down with his crew. I mean the business as usual stuff will go on, tho Obama is bright, eloquent, and worthy of respect. is poetry possible after election night holograms? blague.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

this & that...

I frequently see a man down the street from us. I suppose he is in his 60s, I am not a good judge. looks healthy enough. he looks like he is waiting for a bus, but the stop is across the street, and he never gets on or off one that I have seen. he lives a few yards away from where he stands, in what I am guessing is a group home. just stands there and watches, for considerable stretches. I have taken him to be simply interested in the passing flow, but there is that in his face, and this is completely inference, a sense of worry. I think of my father, who would, at times, have no idea where he was. nothing in his surroundings was familiar, tho he recognized me, and Beth, if not to the degree of knowing exactly the relationship. this past summer I was at the library at closing time. there was a man there about whom the librarians were concerned. the man did not know where he lived. he sat in a chair while the police were called. he looked at me with the same look my father used to have, surrounded by an unfamiliar world. this condition does not cease to amaze me, that panging sense of loss. we rely on certain foundations that are not, we discover, so secure as we believe. Buddha gives a clue, not to put a shine on this.

* * * * *

I was thinking about what I read when I was young, in terms of my later (age 16) becoming a writer. I was not a voracious reader in that autodidact sense that comes up in bios. I read, but I also watched the 3 Stooges. I know that I read Robert Benchley early on, and was mystified by James Thurber's cartoons. both those writers were in my parents' collection. Winnie-the-Pooh might have been read to me but I doubt that I read it myself until I was an adult. I was fond of Landmark Books, which were history and biography books for elementary school readers. I read every sports bio available at the school library, including bios of such unknowns as Red Schoendiest. which brings to mind the time a cereal box offered a small figurine of an American president in every box. when I fished out the prize I was thoroughly disappointed. it was James Polk. I was hoping for a real president like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Benjamin Franklin. anyway, I was fond of the adventures of Danny Dunn (Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint, which detailed his adventures in a sort of space bathyscath that was painted with this miracle paint, anti-gravitying its way into endless space), and the Happy Hollisters. we had 2 HH books, and I assumed until I consulted Wikipedia today, that those 2 were the extent of their adventures. in sooth, there are some 20 HH books. The Hollisters were essentially proto-Brady Bunch, tho with no implication of anything so decadent as remarriage. just as the 3 sets of Bradys paired off in neat incestuous units, so too the 4 older Hollisters. the littlest, Sue, is right out. I really enjoyed the 2 stories that I read. one was set at some oceanside resort, one was in the desert. turns out that the same mill that made the Hollisters made the Hardy Boys and such like. at Barnes & Noble yesterday, the juvenile selection was pretty oppressive. lots of franchises like Hannah Montana, just reams of bleary looking product. I never hooked into that stuff when I was young. I read a few Hardy Boys, but no Tom Swift, none of Edgar Rice Burroughs various series. dunno why. I have since read some Tom Swift Jr adventures. they are hilarious. son of erstwhile genius Tom Swift Sr from a generation before. Jr is much smarter and more capable than his dad. he just flies around in his rocketship with his pals, solving crimes, comes home for a delicious meal cooked by his mom, during which he explains to dad his latest discovers and victories. fully loaded, that is.

* * * * *

I started reading Brothers Karamazov. not sure why but I have only read one Russian novel, War and Peace. which is great. it's the milieu and the Napoleonic history that I like. I read 200 pages of Anna Karenina and could not get interested. the inferred gloom of Dostoevsky put me off from him. well, I have gotten thru several Thomas Mann novels so I guess I have the right stuff. at least he has some humour. I have to applaud B&N for producing less expensive editions of public domain authors.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

watched Independence Day again. I think about all I want from movies is expansive ridiculousness. I mean, surely no one involved with the movie thought to talk to their physics teacher. and that's okay. there are some grand visual moments, some snappy humour, and the dopey stuff does not get in the way, so all systems go. I cannot haul in the name of the president here, Bill something. the perfect prez, just a family guy but nay, a hero, too. I am sure Bill Clinton always carried a similar picture in his brain, of what the people want, tho that aint what Bill is. it is a movie of familiar faces, that is, actors you know, can even name, but also actors who fulfill their compartment. the Sec of Def, Mr Stones in the Passway, for instance, imbibes the classic space of not being heroic enough in times of stardom. Jeff Goldblum does his roughly likable stuttering hero. Randy Quaid, well, he went overboard with the bulging eyeballs. I mean, he had to wear an aviator's helmet, just so that we could be really, really clear that he was a kook. I forget the name of the 1st lady, who always has that indomitable wan smile, too bad she had to leave this mortal coil. Will Smith's girlfriend, I forget her name, was much more 1st ladyish, than the fainting featherweight. Will Smith is Will Smith, and on a smaller scale, Harry Connick is Harry Connick. I for one could tire of them, in large doses, but it was just the right amount in this movie. not so with Data, however. his overplaying of the eccentric scientist was a chore, score one for the alien that moidered him. and so on. Judd Hirsch gets his faith back, tra la. the movie ends as homage to Star Wars. humanity nearly wiped out but the locust aliens defeated, so all's right with the world. I think I have seen 2 other movies by Roland Emmerich, Stargate and The Day After. Stargate's pretty good, even the tv show is, tho the show is scaled way down. Al Gore, who invented the environmental movement, would love the thorough disaster in Day After. some drippy plot points get in the way of the spectacle, and once again it's a happy ending with the world about ruined. bigger is best, says Emmerich.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Erin decided that we needed, our triumvirate, to do something for Halloween. he carved a pumpkin, and, dare I say, his finger (which I frequently did when I used to carve wood). Beth got some brie to bake, and also, scandalously, a morceau of some honest to god truffle infused cheese, tres cher mais delicieux. truffles are amazing, period. Beth and I had a bottle of Guigal Cotes du Rhone BLANC at the ready. thought to read something appropriate to the night but there's nothing on the shelf currently of that ilk or flav. so I offered to go to the library, looking for one of Edward Rowe Snow's books. okay, you don't know who he is. he wrote 100 or more books about New England legends and history, ghosts, pirates, and such like. he'd appear periodically on local tv, and I recall seeing one of his presentations, perhaps with the Cub Scouts, which included at least a couple of scared the bejesus "true" ghost stories. so that was my quest. I biked up to the library. the town centre was unusually clogged with traffic, and of course troops of costumed children with their parental units were all about. sirens were sounding, and when I reached the library, I saw smoke. a block from the library, a former school, now a collection of condominiums, was burning. the smoke was thick enough to irritate the eye. I went to the library entrance, only to discover a sign saying CLOSED DUE TO AIR QUALITY. as I was heading back home, sigh, 2 groups of teens convened. one fellow, coming from the fire, said, I'm going to be on television, yo. that yo demanded irony, but I am afraid the speaker thereof did not get the memo. the gist of that was the local newscast on which the kid believed he would appear. it really was a substantial fire, tho I did not attempt to get closer. tv news copters, I like to call them choppers, flew overhead. with smoke thick in the air, and throngs of excited children in costumes roaming all over (I think there might have been a gathering at the library), it was a pretty surreal scene. a beautiful fading autumn day, cloudless and still bright. I cycled home and bethought me plan B. I ended up reading an account on a sea serpent sighting in Provincetown (at the end of Cape Cod), from a 19th century book on the town. the witness, one George Washington Ready, somehow has a Professor attached to his name. I got the impression that he was more like the town rummy. there's a full front drawing of Professor Ready, aghast. one must presume from the pov that the sea serpent drew the picture. no, there is no picture of the serpent, just stunned Professor R. by his account, this creature was seen offshore, it made its way ashore, crawled to a pond and disappeared into it. in its progress it scorched the ground and sliced trees through. as it sunk into the pond the water receded. it left a 20' wide hole that was later plumbed to 250 fathoms without striking bottom. confirming what I believed, a fathom is 6'. do the arithmetic: sounds like Lovecraft material. another glance at the picture of the professor and you will realize that he had good reason for the look of disquiet on his face. a note at the end indicates that Mr. Ready resides at the head of Pearl Street, where he is willing to discuss the sighting further. perhaps a drop of the pure would make the telling go even better. we cycled to the fire saturday afternoon. it is this castle-like brick edifice, 4 stories high and more than a century old. the roof was burned thru. the place was cordoned off. workers and police were about, as well as the curious. Beth remarked how sad to a passerby, an older woman. this woman lived in a condo there. she said a worker soldering a copper gutter saw a spark get away. tho he responded quickly the fire was quicker. it was a breezy day. she seemed calm but she had yet to see the damage. she said she and her husband had given their place in town to their son, and could stay there. there's a sign near the building, with an old picture of it, to indicate the town;s history. someone, probably before the fire, had painted an X over it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I just wanted to make notice of these publications by Lanny (with whom I have no) Quarles. he, like Alan Sondheim, among others, seem to be online constantly, producing and posting an enormous and varied amount of work. Lanny writes dense thickets of words, philosophical, grotesque, and weirdly musical. in addition he produces visual and sound works. I have seen much of this work, as it has flown by on the Wryting-l list, and on his blog (the address of which I have incorrectly to the right: I shall rectify this). oh, and also in the occasional comment box. I commend this work to the curious, if any such exist.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I just read all the John Ashbery links that Ron Silliman recently collected. it has been several years since I last read much Ashbery. we'd gone down to visit Beth's aunt and mother on the Jersey shore. I brought Flow Chart with me. that, some writings by Lenin, and sitting thru the better portion of a James Bond movie marathon resulted in a series of poems, to wit: The Lenin Poems. which has little to do with my initial instigation here, thoughts on Ashbery. I think it might be said that Robert Grenier championed Ashbery in class. we wrassled with the texts something fierce. the main book that we read was Tennis Court Oath, a monumental book, tho at the time the disjunction and the coolness of the author voice really distressed me. Three Poems had just come out. I responded to that better, because it turns out that I always liked the possibility of prose tho I did not realize it then (a Richard Grossinger reading broke the realization home). Grenier invited several of us Franconian poet types to dinner with Ashbery when JA came to read. Ashbery arrived from NYC by bus. Franconia was definitely The Sticks. I wonder what he was paid. Franconia had a modest event when I was there, the headliners of which were David Bromberg and the Holy Modal Rounders. Bromberg, whose claim to fame was session work with Dylan, got $750 plus room and board. the very awesome Holy Modal Rounders, a 6 piece electric band at the time (they began as an acoustic duo), got $150. Grenier was active in getting poets to the distant realm of New Hampshire. Ashbery is probably shy but he was warm enough socially. I remember we went on a road trip looking for an antique store where years ago Ashbery had seen some interesting piece that he hoped to find again. now that seemed weird. I believe we located the store but the piece was no longer available. during dinner Ashbery asked if there were any poems we would like him to read. I said "Le Livre est Sur la Table", I hope that's the title, from Some Trees. he dismissed that poem as inconsequential, and did not later read it. I liked it for being jokey, or at least what I perceived as so. astrological talk arose and JA and I connected for both being Leos, as likewise Grenier. JA noted that Leos and Cancers get along, and that O'Hara was a Cancer. of course now we know that O'Hara was born 3 months prior to the June 26 birth date he has been assigned. anyhoo, I was honoured to be included in this select group. the reading itself was a let down. it was a large room, or small auditorium. the audience was sparse, and spread thru out the room. so it was a terrible venue for Ashbery. and he read without much inflection, as I recall. I know that he read "The Skaters" and a portion of A Nest of Ninnies, which I have to admit has influenced my writing enormously. I felt sorry for him, stuck with such a weak crowd. his poetry has a blur to it, like the stuff that shows up as New Yorker column filler. there are so many of these pieces that fear, it seems, declamation. picaresque moods and moments. I am amazed at his popularity, his work does not seem user friendly but I guess they give satisfying pictures without that dowdy weight of the poet's impinging biography.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Big Changes!!!

with the idea of increasing here at the Green Blog, I had some focus group work done. turns out poetry, writing, and yard sales are right out as blog topics. from now on , my name is Tombstone, I will be wearing a black eye patch, and this blog will be all over Apple computers. email me for the address to send MacBooks, iPods, iPhone, and any other merchandise. ad astra, etc.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

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I watched Iron Man last night. I'd seen favourable reviews, which I do not think it lived up to. Robert Downey did. the movie was definitely a turn for him. I used to read the comic but IM was well down the list of favourite characters. initially his suit looked more like a robot, was bulkier. then some space age metal was developed so that it looked like the usual lycra.

the movie begins with Tony Stark touring Afghanistan in an armoured car, checking out the playground for the weapons he sells. frankly, this was just about redux of the fun parts of Less Than Zero. Tony Stark, is just riffing charmingly. well, this is war time: the car gets attacked and Stark gets wounded. this brings on an awkward flashback, to set the table plotwise. the arms industry is in his blood. as is the Playboy lifestyle. the morning after his viciously unlikely one night stand with a reporter, Gymneth Paltrow arrives. I had forgotten that she was in the film and I had forgotten about Pepper Potts. I would not have cast her because she is cool and elegant, and Pepper is more like Della Street. but Paltrow plays it well. putting capable actors into these movies works every time. Jeff Bridges was stuck with Mr McNasty. I like him but there was nowhere to go with the role unless he went all Christopher Walken, which would have been nice. I mean let Walken do it, or Anjelina's father (I forget his name). so, wounded Stark is captured, and in fact kept alive by another prisoner who hooks Stark up to a car battery. not too unlikely, prisoners in a cave. the Afghani warlord wants Stark to build the nasty missile that Stark demo'd earlier. instead, they build a robot outfit. thus Iron Man. well, Stark gets out, and decides that the weapons industry is a poor place for his creative impulses.

back home, Stark demands a hamburger, but gets a McDonald's instead. at the news conference, he munches that and has the gathered press sit on the floor. which just rang so silly. Stark's insistence on leaving weapon making behind brings bad guy Bridges into the open. Stark develops his IM rig while Bridges sets up the dramatic finale. took a long time to get to the IM part. it's a franchise, I realize, but it is a long wait for the story to find its cheese. it is entertaining, because Downey is so comfortable playing above and below the role. R2D2 and C3PO appear in spirit with a robotic whatsis that does funny stuff and a poncy computer voice that advises Stark. the denouement is stupid, with Bridges in a Transformer-like robosuit. no effort involved here.

having the real world, Afghanistan, bump against this crap was a bad risk. what's stopping IM from selectively killing off all the bad elements there except his complicated relationship with Pepper. Samuel Jackson arrives after the credits to enlist IM against some heinous evil, you know, a guy in tights, chapter2. once that's cleared up, IM can save the Middle East.

now, is it a propos of me to write now a few words about the recent Apple press con? it is available from iTunes. I was curious what the buzzmaking machine does when it is doing. I do not own a Mac, nor have I used one much, but I am attracted. and I got an iPod without thought that other mp3 players exist. Steve Jobs is Mr Cool in black turtleneck. he's just selling the latest merchandise, you know. my god, what is so gorgeous about a track pad? Tony Stark creates a totally smoove robosuit, not just power but slick design. thus Apple. Apple renders as a slack superficiality with this ultimate design stuff. Jobs brought highranking Apple folks on stage, the core of his desmesne, haha. and the press is rapt. didn't they realize they were machined? well I do not have in me right now to paint it clearer, but I connect IM with Jobs up there selling the latest Apple confections. which I want, of course.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

this post by Jack Kimball is a poignant look at an effed up climate. I started to riff on this but maybe I should just mouse out. I am aware that I am so, so, so here, thus unreliable.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

this blog is 4 1/2 years old. that is not an even number so I should not be looking back. but I still feel charged to speak of what I have gotten from this blog. everyday, I am stopped by people who say, aren't you the author of Tributary? naturally I say that I am, because I am. I write this blog full of vested insight, and old school content, and original typos that only I can produce. I write it completely. ok, I have someone who helps me with the adverbs but that is only because I am so busy as an international blogger, and who cares about adverbs anyway? I write tributary for you, The Fans. some of my fans say, can't you do more hard hitting accounts of yard sales. others want more lighthearted ruminations on death. I try to please all but it is not easy. sometimes I do not even want to write this blog, tho millions depend on me to supply them with cunning turns of phrase, whimsical assertions of fact, powerhouse criticism and all the other goodness one can find here. sometimes I just want to hang out with the cast of Cheers discussing the virtues of mentholated cigarettes. rarely do I dodge my duty and give Ted Danson and the gang a call. instead, I bear down, and effort a new posting of scintillant perspective and wit. Dear Reader, I have to admit, it gives me great joy giving YOU great joy. as I sit at Starbucks or the local library, listening to the chortles of pleasure and gasps of enlightenment as people read my latest words of wisdom, I feel a sense of satisfaction. I know that in my little way, I have made the world a better place. so thank you, Dear Reader, for being there (and there, and there, and there...). I vow that over the next 4 1/2 years I will continue to provide you intelligent posts full of delight and links to Youtube. I want to continue to earn the ardour that you have given me since post one. so once again, I say Thanks!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

autumn always urges me to read English Romantics, I guess because the poems are so landscapey, and of a climate at least somewhat akin to New England. this has been a preternatural New England fall weekend, the colours seeming transcendent, with a similar emotional heft as when the spring flowers bloom. but one sees, alas, bumblebees doggedly gathering in the dahlias, still collecting pollen, but frail now, chilled and worn. I wonder a lot about Halloween and its appeal. the decorations arrive with the same early rush as Christmas now. people are going to pretty fancy lengths to decorate appropriately for the holiday, if I can call it that. Pottery Barn has a Halloween-inspired dinner table displayed, hi-gear accouterments like silver skulls at each place setting. apparently a market exists even for lavish dinner parties of a Halloweenish nature. I would not have thunk it. I guess I do not like Halloween because there is no thought behind it, no measure. a semi-ironic play with horror, and the opportunity to dress up, cosplay. but no acknowledgment of a Golden Bough dimension to the proceedings, just arch reference to scary. it seems like this time of harvest and fade deserves better attention, at least in the way that Thanksgiving or Christmas offer lip service to the underpinnings. bumblebees are dying with Puritan work ethic, and people are just sending unheeded consultations from the unconscious. well I guess I'm a poopypants, but there is such a poetic savour to this time, that the corny exultation of effect that is Halloween seems a poor substitute for the due confrontation. monsters... a remarkably chilling yard display that I saw years ago consisted of a life size human figure standing in the yard holding a rake or shovel. it just looked like an old man standing there, but somehow the inference was easy that his wife or a neighbourhood child was buried somewhere in the yard, or some other evil intention fulfilled. a damn sight more chilling than those gravestones for Frank N Stein. but what is the purpose or proposal of such a display? or how does that display fit anything we find necessary. I do not say it doesn't, I just ask how. poetry lives in a world of glum lack of horizon much of the time: centralized evocations of self-explanation, verbal pomade for some radiated trend, or other weak entries to the communal trough. Halloween grips us, it seems, but it has not made its vocabulary known. perhaps there's some reading to do.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

we had a yard sale today. I spent 25 bucks on an ad in the local paper, then took an ad on Craigslist. I know Craigslist is legit, but it is hard not to think that an ad for a yard sale there will bring people interested in Star Trek-themed threesomes or some such, because didn't I know the code??? happily, it appears only yard sale enthusiasts came by. and sure that enthusiasts they are. I set the time for 8-12, but I knew someone would appear by 7:30. which was the case, if not earlier. I was still hauling stuff out. the ads listed books (a modest thinning), furniture, clothing and, what the heck, outsider art. meaning that which I myself created. I weeded some of my more egregious paintings, honest experiments, and just piled them up. wouldn't you know it, one of the 1st people to arrive asked to see the outsider art. fairly speaking, I do not think you can consciously create outsider art, you have to be oblivious to that idea. so to use the term, I was applying marketing rather than a description. I like my visual work, tho cognizant of its limitations. and as I noted, this was not my A stuff. the woman looked thru the pile of stuff with interest and by gum selected 5. when she asked the price I said a dollar a piece. so that is my first sale, woo hoo. Beth got rid of a lot of jewelry. most of the people who came were older folk for whom yard sales apparently are a regular entertainment. one woman was interested in a silver whatsis. almost everything was selling for a buck but that does not mean that one should not be cautious. she asked if we had toothpaste. I think the letters H=U=H-N appeared on my forehead, because she directly explained that she wanted the toothpaste to polish the item. if it polished up okay, she would divest herself of that dollar. I fetched toothpaste and she said, oh, Tom's of Maine, that might not work. and I nodded knowingly and said, probably not abrasive enough, and she said yeah. but luckily it did indeed polish the item, and she bought it, and several other things. by 9:00 it seemed like the game was up. it was a brisk but electrifyingly bright and intense autumn morning. one man bought largely of the poetry books. I only got rid of ones that had been succeeded by collected editions, or a few books that I had multiple copies of, and a few stinkers (nothing by you, Dear Writing Reader). one other guy bought poetry books. it is a reassuring pleasure to see poetry books find an audience. a man asked how much for my stamp collection. Beth said 10 bucks, the guy said, would you take 8. Beth said no, so the guy turned away. a while later he handed her 10 bucks. I think of the bartering scene in Life of Brian, the formal code. there is a chance that my collection could have been worth something at one time. I had a number of older stamps that I found (age 10) amongst family papers and stuff. and my friend in high school gave me his collection, which he claimed contained some international rarities. last spring we investigated the possibility of selling this marvelous collection (realize that in my infinite 10 year old wisdom, I might have a time or 2, used Scotch Tape to affix my stamps in my album, but still), only to be told that there was ZERO market for stamps outside of a precious few. we pulled back a number of items, a table that belonged to Beth's father, a chair of my father. I had a book, that was in my parents' collection, that was about the hurricane of 1938 in the northeast. this was a devastating storm that arrived without warning. a car pulled up and an elderly man got out with difficulty from the passenger side. the driver jolted me by superficially resembling my oldest brother. I will only allude to familial rupture here, tho perhaps that is a reference. the guy was taking his father out for a run at some yard sales and what not. let us just say that the aforementioned rupture had some little to do with sons and fathers, and expect no foot notes. this elderly man picked up the hurricane book. I knew it would be of interest. I said, I am sure you remember that hurricane. I did not say it loud enough, even tho my father was deaf, but the son said, oh yes, he remembers. I mentioned that my father drove home from work in that storm, drove a co-worker home. he remembered driving along Storrow Drive in Cambridge, alongside the Charles River, and seeing trees being flattened in the wind. the man asked for the price and I took his dollar. Beth did not realize that this book was in our collection, and wanted the book, but saw the value it held for the old man. a pleasant chatty woman poked thru the goods and conversed with us. the mailman had just delivered the mail, in which was a letter from Christian Children's Fund (we sponsor a child). Beth mentioned that the US now has THREE CCF offices, the only 1st world country that partakes of CCF (which is shameful, is it not?). Beth explained that she was not christian, but appreciated the work CCF does. the woman said, I'm not Christian either, I am a Catholic. which effectively shows how a fundamentalist concept of Christianity has absconded with the norm. a woman and young daughter looked at a bed that we had. I slept in it as a child and it was not new to me. Erin also slept in it, when he was still of plausible size to fit it. it was the sort of thing we wanted rid of, it just takes space, and which did not seem likely to move. but the woman was excited to find it, what with the economy, etc. she wanted to come back with her husband, which happily happened. he wanted to put it together to make sure the pieces all worked. situation proved green. they packed the springs on the roof of their car, yikes, tied it with electrical cord, and presumably got it home. earlier a car arrived with a couple and a young woman with, perhaps, Downs syndrome. she was very direct, and entertained by everything. she wore a highly decorated bicycle helmet. at the same time an older man arrived on his bicycle. he too looked thru things while wearing his helmet. Beth asked, are you here for the bookcase? the young woman's father was pleased to find a book on mechanical drawing, and handed me a dollar. the young woman said to me loudly, he's a real wise guy, and laughed. the man gave me a quick look to see how I took her behavivour. so that is how the front part of the day went. and yes, we recouped the price of the ad. the sale precluded our going to Lowell, where there was a gathering of poets and presses. I hope to hear a report.
always excellent critical thinking at Rodney Koeneke's blog, I especially like his Issue 1 cogitations.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I noticed that Hulu has Slacker on its menu. Hulu could become an internet force, free movies/tv shows (NBC, etc) with minimal commercial interference. I have seen Slacker bunches of time, and it has never worn thin. there is absolutely zero star power amongst its performers, and in that sense seems like reality tv, albeit of a trompe d'oeil sort. the director, Richard Linklater leads off in the concatenated vignettes. he riffs philosophically to a disinterested cab driver, and sets the picture's tone. not that 1st time viewers have a read on the tone, or anything, yet. Linklater's character moves out of the scene and the camera picks up another person and story line, and this occurs thru out the film, a la Mrs Dalloway. it is a compelling device, as the narrative is handed from one character to the next. the vignettes are steeped in ordinariness and recognition, but an underlying anarchy bubbles up frequently. the characters in their commonness are immensely involving. the movie should be dated, it is so 90s, but that is not how I have ever felt it. in a low key way, this is a movie homage to Woolf and Joyce, without being artsy at all. I have seen dazed and Confused and that one with Ethan Hawke and Julia Delpy moping improvisationally (the 1st not the 2nd movie), and both had their moments but neither were a patch on Slacker. the movie ends like a student film, really just letting the camera run until the audience understands that the movie is over. things have been so rich prior to that that I forgive the lameness.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

the Issue 1 controversy has gone further than I expected. aren't people used to such exercises yet, they pop up often enough? at least Jack Kimball went to the trouble of googling the perps, which added dimension to the project. you know, to find out about it. why take offense? really, what is the argument? studying one's points of resistance is ALWAYS useful. reveling in them is just small. I mean, to take this project strictly as an affront lacks scope. to lob such a wad into the affray is at least interesting, if only in the sense of seeing if anyone salutes, and to act all plaintiffy is to reveal a terse Republican heart. I imagine that everyone listed in Issue 1 has embarrassed themselves online to a greater degree than any possible wound from this public spectacle. I know I have. to view the internet as a place of sanctified boundaries is really to misread the document entirely. yo, 1997 went thataway, so come up for air. how off has Ron Silliman or anyone else been ripped with this? to me, complaining about the appropriation is more like poopypants talking. I DIDN'T WRITE THIS GARBAGE I WROTE MY OWN GARBAGE, etc, till the puddle is no more.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Demolicious Valedictory: we went to the last Demolicious reading. John Mercuri Dooley and Andrew Richardson are shuttering the series after 4 years. the annals will show that the 1st reading that we made was Rob Fitterman's. we went to many, as best as we could. this was the 1st time that we attended an event at the new home, the Pierre Menard Gallery, much closer to Harvard Sq and Yard. a tonier place, and more comfortable as a reading venue. this was not strictly a reading but a multi-media event. 1st up was Jean-Claude Charles, and when I say Jean-Claude, I am afraid I might mean Jean-Paul. I did not take notes and there are no readily available info sources (more on that later). Jean Dash is a musician and sound artist, a doctoral candidate at Harvard. he is from France. he came equipped with a bass clarinet and a laptop. I guess I have never met a bass clarinet in person. Charles 1st played a solo excerpted from a larger piece. he said what the other instrumentation was but I forget. he made simply extraordinary sounds with the clarinet, overblowing and trilling and such. it had the sort of unclenched fascination as electronic music can have. he followed that with more of a demonstration. using an audio program, which he explained, he coupled his live playing with hacked sounds of his output. the program would select audio ranges and whatnot. it was really wonderful and vitally strange. I would love to hear more. following him was a film maker, tho I guess there's a more accurate term since film is not in the equation. his name escapes me as well. he showed 2 pieces. the 1st was called My Hustler Boyfriend. this held an immediate inside joke since the boyfriend in question was portrayed by stalwart Demolicious attendee Cedric. it consisted mostly of stills with a voiceover. it was an arch paean to the boyfriend and their hustler lifestyle. the 2nd piece was also rather arch, a satiric look at America. it was pleasantly heavy handed. the name of the 3rd performer is, consistently, not readily available in my brain pan. I trusted the Demolicious web site to have such like available (more on that later). (this just in: Vanessa place is the poet's name, and the musician is Jean-FRANCOIS Charles. thanks to Boston Poetry Collective for the info). she read from a lengthy novel. she asked for two numbers to be called out. those were the pages she would read, plus what she chose to read. she began by reading the copyright page, every bit of it. then page 17 was read by John, then she read a page or more. this page consisted largely of synonyms for female genitalia. she had quim, I believe, which I first read in Auden's commonplace book, but not pen wiper, which likewise I learned from the honourable WHA. she read this part vigourously, like Beat poetry. Joel Sloman read a page, then she read the last page backwards then forwards. the two pages were torn from a copy of the book, not the one she read from. they would not, as she said, ever be rad again. well,I do not know if she took the pages back, to ensure that they would remain unread. I liked her presentation but did not absorb much of the text. I am keenly interested in novels that bump against the boundaries but I would have to read her work to get a fair idea. the final piece was an excerpt from a film by Jonas Mekas. it was a piece about Utopia. it consisted by Mekas talking to the camera. he sat at a table and rattled on philosophically. his ramble was loosely bound, so I had trouble staying with him. beyond that... he wore a brimmed hat and resembled, at least in my mind, Studs Terkel, but with a Lithuanian accent rather than Chicagoan, or whatever it is Studs speaks. as Mekas spoke he began gesturing with his right hand. due to camera placement, the hand seemed overly large. and because the elbow was out of frame, the arm did not seem attached to Mekas. additionally, light glaring on his hand produced a plastic effect. the result was that it looked like this intruding fake hand was entering the picture. the sight of this completely fried me, I was in tears laughing. Beth and I sat with Jack Kimball at the back of the room, and I think we were the only ones to laugh, at least at 1st. I did not make clear that he sat low at the table. at one point he lowered his head, so that his hat completely obscured his face. I did not want to be snide but the absurdity of these bits was overwhelming. and so ended Demolicious' run, and the environs of Boston are the poorer for it. John Mulrooney, who seemingly has attended every reading that I have been to, and clearly more besides, still runs a poetry reading series. William Corbett has a series too, I believe, but I am thinking that he's stones in the passway for this poetry scene. so we gots ourselves something close to a wasteland now. both Armantrout and Ashbery read this tuesday, tho different venues and essentially competing, so Boston CAN get readings together. but it is a yank that one must choose between these two poets (which I shan't alas attend, it's a school night). what would kick out the jams here? Demolicious certainly was a noble effort. but really, the Demolicious web site is not updated often enough, nor is it content rich enough to keep you hooked. John espoused disappointment at the meager turn outs for Demolicious. this aint the 50s, when readings were like rock concerts. people who came to Demolicious were serious, tho, weren't just there for photo op. after-reading gatherings were vital connections that I appreciated. it is too bad that Demolicious could not keep going. it is not like NYC isn't balkanized, from what I hear, and other scenes probably have their hobble. Boston lacks a central force (it aint Corbett, I know), and those barriers called universities rarely supply anything close to generous gumption. the result is a spacious landscape of not much. Jack Kimball, Beth and I performed post mortems at a nearby Cambridge restaurant. then home to this report.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

I feel guilty for all the recent books that I have gotten--living authors, poetry espesh--that I have not writ about. blogs are just that tool for quick reports, if not more in depth, and my blog, completely free of trans fats, is simply waiting for more and ever more content. I hope to rectify this lack of public noticing, and at the least present more assiduously some thoughts on what I have read/am reading, etc. so one more chapbook from Faux Press:

Subsistence Equipment by Brenda Iijima.

as I mentioned with Orizaba by Stacy Szymaszek, design of these chaps is similar. Faux Press delivers a consistent concept, let us say, which connects the writers by way of editorial choice. it works, and as I have said previously, the design makes these chaps inform and connect to each other, tho they were not written with that in mind.

Iijima's work is an unnumbered chunk of text with no titles or headings. such blocks of text are forbidding to some extent, at least for those of us who get nervous without footholds. I write that while having writ my share of forbidding blocks of text. reader must find a way in. in is in the words here, simply enough, perhaps rhythm and sound.

first line:

Struggling city skeletal intermingle serial order existence

little punctuation in this work. I am disconcerted by occasional punctuation but this is not worth being anal about. but it does make me think why this lone comma.

each line is capitalized. authors make choices.

mostly regular spacing but with some extensions, exalted breaths.

the sense of verbal monolith breaks down as one reads/speaks and respects the words. as I read, the felicities unveil. it is a text. I take it as an exercise, as, say, Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer. where the press of text forward, over the 'long haul', instigates the poem. the poem converses. I could imagine that Iijima, like Mayer, wrote the text in one day, with that as the stated goal when beginning. if not, there natheless remains a sense of process. I also think of Coolidge as I read, in the sense of translating sensory experience into word alignments, which is not the same as description. you could say that what Iijima writes is her state of mind, but it is the idea of stating that does not seem accurate, I guess because of the musicality that I hear. 'what felt through the cracks is want' is punny but it rattles interest by sounding a familiar note that is not exactly what we hear. this sort of partial transmogrification happens thru out the poem, part of Iijima's hearing, and more like a penitent pun than straightforward exercise. 'ratcheted up to strangest denominator'. the title seems pretty canny.

lines come from anywhere, it seems:

'American career girl cleavage'

'Tally ho leeward below the kneeling'

'At the real place 96 degrees hot day to do this'

'Separate events from time'

I am fishing these lines out randomly. I should be clear that this is not the reading. Iijima's metric is almost entirely three-lined stanzas, tho lines of varying length. one steps first at the level of line, the syntactical oddity and picture conveyed. how these lines combine is the reader's larger work, which I can only suggest at this time that one should do. the grand involvement of lines into stanzas and stanzas into poem are the work of work, and time. to which I recommend thee. and me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

of course, I am proud to be an American...
one further book, which just indicates how lax I have been in writing this marvelous and useful blog, to wit:

The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus translated by Ryan Gallagher, published by Bootstrap Press. he is one of the proprietors of the press. I have, or perhaps had--maybe I deep-sixed it--a wretched translation of Catullus. I do not recall the translator but his crime was his choice to bring Catullus' slang to the present age. I think the translator's sense of the present age's slang was archaic or anachronistic, and certainly the ear was not good. the effect was merely goofy.

I am no Latin scholar so I can only read the poems for their sense of freshness. they seem like poems not exercises, which is always the first endeavour in translation, at least in readership's view. Gallagher includes an extensive and useful afterward about his process. he cites the Catullus that the Zukofskys produced. now, Gallaghher, does not attempt a homophonic translation, but I can see how he placed the lines in his head and worked them into poetry. he makes the translation process a very present one, with the sense of writing rather than rewriting. I get that sense out of Paul Blackburn's translations. or let me say, I do NOT get that sense from the army of translators who have latched onto Neruda, Bly et al., who seem relentless in producing what even I, barely voiced in Spanish, can see is mangled versions of the originals. Gallagher's translations are unlaboured, respect the language into which they have been translated, and live. the Latin originals are placed at the back of the book. I would prefer seeing them en face, the better to compare, but that's a choice. buy the book, support the press that wants to live in Lowell.
I have, as well, Eileen Tabios's latest, of which there are an impressive steady flow: The Blind Chatelaine's Keys, from BlazeVox. the subtitle is: Her Biography Through Your Poetics. the book is credited thus:

Begun by Eileen R. Tabios
Completed by Others"

all of which is telling.

Eileen gathers commentary on her work (blogetics), a considerable mound, and, somehow, makes it all her own. this might sound self-consumed, but if Eileen is a black hole, she is a generous one. that is to say, she emits light. she is not, therefore, a black hole, just a heck of a presence. indeed (doesn't the use of that word give a poncy lift to the writing here?), Eileen Tabios is a positive force in our poetic world, promoting poetry itself as a beneficial energy. this book is evidence of that benefit, as people take to her work and engage in a larger conversation. tho conversation is a flat word to describe the nature of the gift. I have a couple of pages worth of words in this book, starting p29, which illustrate the casual tics of my blog as much as anything. when Eileen asked permission to use my postings, I replied okay but isn't what I wrote more about me than you? but that was just what Eileen wanted, that personal engagement. when I read Harold Bloom, I get oppressed by the academic torture of the work in hand. what got me about his lecture that I have mentioned listening to, was his enjoyment and personal revelation of the work. he speaks lovingly, I think that's the right word, about Stevens, and Crane, and Bishop. I have not read Keys yet, altho p 29-31 interest me greatly, but I can easily offer it to thee, Dear Reader, as a fascinating involvement. I speak to the choir, no doubt.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I have had the six recent chaps from Faux Press since spring, and reading them, but have yet to marshal the time to write about them. I will start with some comments on Stacy Szymaszek's contribution, she of the six being the least known to me, Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane. the title piece begins in a way that made me think I read the introduction, all too ready to explicate and delineate. the opening quote, from Crane, proves telling:

In all the argosy of your bright hair I dreamed
nothing so flagless as this piracy

arr, piracy (unavoidable Robert Newton allusion), 'tis the essence here, for Szymaszek. the piece is partly about her fascination with Crane. she delivers a fair chunk of biography, tho I am not Crane scholar enough to know how much might be invented (possibly none, I am just indicating that potential). the piece also contends with issues of sexual identity. she quotes Crane again: "Then in front of Orizaba everything suddenly begins to change." she describes and pioneers with her own awakening sexual identity by writing about Crane and her interest in him. Crane indeed is a wonderful possibility, romantic yet hard-edged, modern yet stalled. Bloom, I might add, in his Stevens lecture, declares more fully for Crane as 'the best' tho of course Crane's work was curtailed compared with Stevens et al. Bloom makes the point that Crane unfolded rashly (the adverb is mine) whereas all the other modernists of note had yet to write much of real interest by the age that Crane leaped.

I did not mention that this is all written in straightforward prose. the reverberations of Crane are heartfelt, made me want to get his poems out (too many books in boxes just now),and I have not read a full biography of him. Szymaszek connects with his disorder as well as his bloom.

balanced with this direct consultation with the reader are The Eustace Poems, which being a selection from a work called Hyperglossia. here, Szymaszek writes in jolting short lines. words are spread across the page in various layouts. the effect is punchy, which contrasts nicely with the meditative extension of Orizaba. here Szymaszek performs further identification, closer to home, perhaps. she produces an image of Eustace, the boy, which one must assume is, in some way, her. I have seen enough poetry LANGUAGEd across the page to be wary of 2nd rate explorers inventing what they have seen before. I have given myself largely to prose for reasons of this issue (and other reasons besides). Szymaszek rattled my prejudice because the words on the page look so thoughtfully presented. making me think of Mary Rising Higgins, which we all should do, poems wrought so carefully. these Eustace Poems are riveting and rhythmic, and play neatly against the self-examination of Orizaba.

I would like to deepen into this work but for now am content to leave these just notes* behind, since my intention here at Tributary is to coax interest and instigate engagement. the hard work is left to you, Dear Reader.

these Faux Chaps are well-presented. design is similar among them all and each bears a head shot of the author on front and back cover. this makes one want to read them as a single entity. they were not written that way, but it works somehow, six poets of the city. I shan't further that point but would recommend all six chaps. and I hope that I have made an engaging point about Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane.

* I hope Gentle Reader recognizes that I meant to write just these notes. I leave it as I wrote it because it looks just funny, or funny just.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the enormous international audience that I have accrued may not all find it convenient to attend this event, but for those who can find Maynard, Massachusetts,(simply use one of those online map sites and go opposite to the directions given), the library in that town will be having a discussion of Elizabeth Bishop, led by Lloyd Schwartz, who edited the Everyman book about her. DATE: November 18. audience gets to read aloud. I have not read much Bishop, as it happens, just one of those holes in my reading. I think I have (unjustly) equated her with that crowd surrounding Lowell (who, I must keep reminding myself, Grenier studied under), a group I never cottoned to. Bishop has connection with Worcester, MA, as do Charles O and Frank O, so there is that. anyway, it is nice to see an event such as this at a suburban library. years ago I saw Margaret Atwood read in similar circs, well before her novel success. a decent turn out but an overly airy room, with a bluestocking ambiance that to me, let alone Atwood, seemed oppressive. it was the idea that a modicum of culture was available without too much effort. that reading of British poets that I attended at Harvard last year April 07, you could look it up): wood-paneled room, sofas, wine and cheese, that's the polar opposite of the Atwood reading, so lushly exquisite was everything, including the audience (even me!). I am reminded of being in a used bookstore. a woman was explaining to the shop owner that her family never watched television. which caused her young son to pipe up, yes we do mom, we watch all the time. anyway, book your flights now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

returned to the pow wow today. Erin brought camera and tripod. the and tripod part brought someone over to say that pictures should not be taken during the 1st 4 songs. I had a camera with me yesterday, but I only took pictures during obviously less sacred times, like the candy dance, during which children dance, and when the music stops they scramble for candy scattered on the ground. which is okay, according to the people we spoke with. I get that sense of sacred and of the soul at risk. I mean, why not? there were 4 songs/dances that were not to be photographed, being sacred. the 1st was the grass dance. the 2 brothers that I have noted danced it. the point was to create a place for the festivities. the dancers stomp down the grass (which, in this case, needed no stomping), as well as snakes, again, not literally necessary. I feel like I come from a failed tribe, without going into detail, so I felt envious and sad, ocean deep, to see these brothers creating there for the further dancing. I am not sure which dance followed but one of them was a procession of veterans. the war(s) now, hello, are the job of the disenfranchised and poor, so native Americans are big in that. which is a hard thing to stare at, and hard not to. it is why (mostly) I did not enter the dance circle. I was stepping in place, that 2 tap step (toe then heel, then the other foot), and someone said, you can join the dance, you know. I acknowledge the open welcome but felt like anglo guy had to think it pretty purely to do so. which is a sad eff up on my part but hard to deny. so far as I know, my heritage is completely English. there is no pride in that, especially as a family rupture makes the whole structure fata morganna for me. I feel like I am starting over, with no useful family line to point to. so the sense of tribe amongst the participants at the pow wow was intense and saddening for me. it was heartening to see the elders dancing alongside the young ones. and how cool, gracefully cool, so many looked in their expression, the dance. only a few danced the crow dance. I do not know if crow meant the bird or the tribe. probably the former, since there was a crow-like hop to the step of the dancers. the females kicked out like majorettes, their shoulders back, and skipping in a graceful, gaily pleasing way. the males hunched forward but attained a similar exhilarating lift in their hop. the drum is a strong attraction for me. it is roughly the size of a bass drum, and I could not think of it as aught but sacred, which surely is how the the groups regard it. in one dance, an older man caught my eye. the pow wow was on the grounds of a VA hospital. adjacent to the field on which the pow wow occurred was a golf course, part of the VA. this guy looked like he came from the golf course, wearing polyester pants and that type of shirt. he walked stiffly, gingerly, and mimed hand to hand combat. I thought with a bear but perhaps with a person. swinging and jutting his arm. he came close to a child and I wondered if he would not notice, but he did. some dances are narrative so his story did not seem strange, except that he seemed overly committed. as he left the circle, he looked like he was still there. I do not know if this is so, this is only my impression. the singing was wonderful. and the drumming, I would love to be in that beat. a couple of times, the drummers did a gallimaufry wherein they all banged away randomly, as if channeling Keith Moon. and the singing was thrilling. when the women sang along, falsetto, it sounded like ouds or whatever reed instrument I mean, it sounded Arabic. I am sure I have more to say, but anon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

we made a brief visit to the native American Pow Wow today. Beth has been to some out west, which are grander affairs, more like rodeos or state fairs. this was a smaller event. there's a lot of stuff to buy, trinkets mostly. when we arrived a woman was telling stories for children. I wanted the drums, the singing, and the dancing. we toured around until the festivities turned to the music. gosh it is wonderful. 5 or 6 men sit around a large drum (there were 2 or 3 groups), and they beat in an entrancing way, with occasional provocative thuds on the drum. singing as they do so. meanwhile, in the dance circle, people set to. some dancers are quite internal and meditative, and some are John Travolta in Sat Nite Fev (except that I think he's a clunky dancer in that, schlocky Vegas crap, but I am trying to relate the dance circle to you). some dancers are courtly, even prim, and some cut the rug. there was a man using a walker, and an oxygen bottle, with head dress, quite dedicated to getting his steps in. and young girls and boys making quite the most of the simple two step procession. it's a lovely spectrum. I saw two brothers, late teens or so, who I saw last year. they sang as well as danced. the older dressed up fine while the younger wore jeans and a red basketball singlet. I wanted to be banging on the drum. not, I hope, in that male menopause way. I have always had drums around, tho I never call myself a drummer. the tom toms are more like mystical vortices than musical instruments. that is, the point is the engagement with time as a proposed element of breath and connection, not an attempt to be Elvin Jones. I think in writing about Harold Bloom yesterday, I was sniffing the border of something similar, a similar distinction. there's a chunky competition in Art World, everyone with their Elvin Jones chops displayed. and the teaching facade, and the critical facade, each instigates a sense of limitation. and the dumb shit of that is the obvious point: that aint none of us Elvin Jones. who only himself got there by the magic of being Elvin Jones. and that magic has a lot to do with Elvin Jones' engagement with breath and connection. proposals of canon reflect a weak attempt to match that. the pow wow drumming is granted as a simplicity to share (tho I note no women in the groups, I am sorry for that, tho some of the singing did include women's voices), and the dancing even more convivially embracing. this stuff makes more sense to me, in the most vital way, than poetry scene. universities and sackcloth, for the sake of poetry as coterie voice not tribal connection. this make sense to anyone?
Nada Gordon comments (below):

"poetry is not a tribal code, it is a personal lighthouse on the edge of something wildly fascinating. "

Can't it be both?

and course poetry can be both tribal code and lighthouse. by tribal code I was thinking of something more minor, tribe of critics, or tribe of academics (not to mean all critics or academics, but the dullards, the non-progressive stones in the passway). poetry is very much a tribal thing, but a loss occurs when tribes put up boundaries.

Friday, September 19, 2008

iTunes has something called iTunes University, something like that, which offers a bunch of college courses as podcasts. I listened to a talk by Harold Bloom today, How to Read a Poem, a class he gave in 2006. I really enjoyed listening to it, which I did not expect. I find his ideas interesting enough but gosh his writing is tiresome. the vocabulary of his writing chimes uncomfortably with awkward words. trope as a verb: yech. I mean trope used as a verb thruout the book, seemingly on every page: yech. and his Canon of Western Civ, I do not want to hear about that. I mean, writ on 2 stone tablets or what? he is such an edifice. the lecture was quite charming, tho. I assumed that he would be demonstrative and overbearing but instead he was quiet and thoughtful. his lecture (1st in a series) was a close reading of a Wallace Stevens poem. he kept apologizing about his tangents, but his tangents were worth trailing along, and showed a more interesting process than the plangency of professional critic. his tangents tended to include close friends, Paul de Man, Kenneth Burke, John Hollander... I am forgetting a few... Bloom in the swirl of interest. so, as I say, it was surprisingly entertaining to listen to him. his humour is dry and self-deprecating. and Stevens is a great poet. the pungent array of evocations that occurs in Stevens' work is enticing and strange. the guy was a drastic weirdo in a way that we do not, perhaps, really need to overthink. Bloom mentions Holly Stevens saying that her family never had anyone to dinner, ever. Bloom did not emphasize Stevens' oddity, but I was minded of, oddly, Lovecraft in the sense of a highly-charged intellectual and imaginative world, and a strangely bereft daily one. but anyway, I got a sense of a love of poetry that I do not get so much from Bloom's writings. that critical world of his seems demarcated and limited, whereas as he spoke of Stevens and other poets (but not the so-called confessional poets, Lowell et al., who he declared a distaste for), the pleasure of poetry shone thru. years ago, if I might follow a tangent, a neatly timed snowstorm arrived in time to have work called off. unexpectedly, I had the day off. I read Bloom's book on Stevens. I spent the day at it, reading the poems Bloom referred to, as well as hunting down other works that Bloom brought into the discussion. it was delicious to do this, especially under a non-academic directive. I think that is the difference between his writing and his lecture. on one side is something more like career positioning, wherein his declarations provide structure for his world place. in class, this one at least, he is not asserting that so much, certified as he is, but instead he is allowed to speak his pleasures, simply that essential. I will take Olson's canon, because it is quirky, personal, and directed from his personal craze. Bloom's was a public predictability, just one more book. I think it might be nice to break the academic hold on poetry and the critique thereof. poetry is not a tribal code, it is a personal lighthouse on the edge of something wildly fascinating. so okay, all you teaching poetry in college: get out, you are not happy, your light aint working. poetry is important, unloose, and a pleasure for the mind. if you do not sign that contract, you should not be talking about it. yes, I am just yapping...

Friday, September 12, 2008

before I hit the hay, a few thoughts on the new Microsoft ad. Microsoft decided to spend a bunch to respond to Apple's Hodgmanian ongoing smack down. Jerry Seinfeld was paid a pantload to help in the effort. and Bill Gates his own self was in the mix. my thought was to mimic the Apple ads but offer Gates as the antagonist, and Seinfeld could represent the Microsoft side. that is not how the commercial went, alas. instead, it was a Jerry cliche. he goes thru his shtick of enforced whimsy. he connects with Gates, and the commercial becomes oddly homo-erotic. I mean, they meet cute, Jerry gropes the richest foot om earth, and they... well, whatever. Jerry asks for a sign that there will be edible computers, and Gates wiggles his (his own) ass to adjust his (his own) underwear. there is confirmation here that Seinfeld is fully over and that Microsoft suffers in the mode of overdog. you have to think that you could do better, what evidence exists that you could not?
watched The Scorpion King. I watched it on Hulu, where you can stream movies and tv shows for free. not an enormous list of items, but a reasonable range of stuff. as I recall, this was an outgrowth of the remake of The Mummy. Vince McMahon was executive producer, and The Rock starred. it is basically Conan, but with more energy than I recall those movies having, but not quite the production values. Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been oppressive to me. in comparison, The Rock is subtle, varied and easy to take. the movie started with some sort of plot stuff, which included The Rock rescuing his brother from some anti-Akkadian creeps. after the rescue there's some more plot stuff, in which The Rock, his brother, and another guy go off to do something. there's a guy that looks like Eric Bana, and quite a few who look like they've worked for McMahon in the squared circle, tho I could not name any of them. the big plot centers on Memmnon, a bad ass king, who has a sorceress who can tell him which battles he will win. the Rock and his team invade a camp to kill the sorceress, I am not sure of the particular impulse for this. brother and other guy get killed but The Rock manages to kidnap the sorceress, who is suitably slinky. um, comic relief guy, who is in a lot of movies in the same role, becomes part of the team. utterly surprisingly, The Rock and sorceress become enchanted with each other. well who would have expected that? okay, there's a scene in which The Rock goes alone against 11 assassins, in the employ of the badass king. there's a sandstorm, okay? and The Rock chases this crew into cave. in a, like, sinister way, he kills off the assassins one by one. it's totally like he's magic. he's free of the constraint of physics, but he's not magic, man. okay. so we got the love interest, the weasly comic relief. do not worry, the cute urchin appears. there's Amazon fighting force, and the guy who happens to have figured out how to make gunpowder. oh, there's the chunky warrior who begins as an adversary but succumbs to the Rock's charm (patented lift of one eyebrow, of course). this crew makes an assault on the city, which happens to be Gomorrah. check it out, there's quite a battle between Rock and hard place, aka bad ass king. simultaneously the big warrior, who is convincingly big but not convincingly agile, fights a mob, the Amazons have a crew of well-timed combatants to defeat (well-timed as in: wait till the guy ahead of you is defeated before you rush in madly), the weasly guy and the inventor have their scene. the denouement occurs when The Rock gets hit by an arrow. he is down, may be out. just like in every Coppola movie, there is a simultaneity of events, each group with their dark night of soul. the weasly guy, desperately breaking free from some guards, sets gunpowder afire, which sets the good vibes a-vibing. The Rock rises as if from the canvas, pulls the arrow from his back, and nice touch, notches it to his bow. it has already been established that the bad ass king can catch arrows, but The Rock outquicks him something fierce, and that, dear friends, is that. as with the best of such movies, it is refreshing to have physics relaxed, so that we can watch The Rock perform felicities of physical nonsense. he has a lot of style as he moves thru space. he should not be given more than 2 sentences in a row to recite, because he has issues with sincerity. he had a good wrestling rap, as I recall, but his conversation come out more like urged declarations. there's a comedic touch there, and he is likable, unlike Arnold. a classic film experience of how small bits of plot and whatever can be coaxed into something almost larger than the what you expected.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I have written several times about Tom Beckett's The Difficulties, and now, recently, Tom has writ a few words about the experience. of publishing, that is, this influential (at least it was an influence for me) journal. I came out of a schooling at Franconia College much inspired by Robert Grenier (and Olson, Williams, Stein, Niedecker, Eigner), but still unable to see a clear path, which is to say that the poetry shelves at the library were monolithic in the confusion they bred in me. Tom's work as editor did a mean job of clearing the way for me. his publications were succour, can I say that? I recognized that his publications found their way to me from, you know, OHIO. an outpost. I valued that, and still do. I learned so much from my confrontations with The Difficulties. I know that I scribbled muchly in my copies, I know that I ordered copies for a friend. I am pretty sure that I added a few bucks to my orders (peccavi, Tom, if I did not). talking with Tom's daughter after his reading last fall, and she remembering collating pages as a child on the kitchen floor or some such picture. and then Tom sells the archive to Yale for a goodly chunk, tho zeroes could be fairly added now. I knew Tom 1st as an editor, tho every work of his that I read, that I would buy or he would add to orders, was solid, serious, great, as anyone who has placed their nose within the pages of Unprotected Texts knows. it is a crappy business, certes. the hustlers get heard, tho I write that and immediately must edit. energetically placing one's words before eyes is no bad thing, but chop back blocks are. aiming for the knees sort of imploring. territorial jerks. Tom mapped an essential hunk of land, essential landscape. for which, all honours from this voice.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

yestreen Erin invited me to join him on the green for I presume the last weekly town concert for the summer. I was tired and said no but thought it s nice to be invited, by a stepson, so I mustered myself and hopped on my bike. which is indeed NOT what I did: no one hops on a bike without some manner of excruciation. there have been concerts all summer, and we have witnessed several. the concerts tend towards generic classic rock, competent work by old farts. I mean, one group consisted of doctors and lawyers. I do not mean to disparage, it is just that you realize that a Richard Thompson, or whoever, simply goes beyond, that the engine can be amazing, and not just fun. when I got close to the green I recognized "Magical Mystery Tour", done in straightforwardly Beatles style. hotcha, I like that song. I hurriedly locked my bike and hustled to the music. the band was a foursome, 2 older guys and 2 younger. I think I understood from the start that they were a Beatles cover band. that they played MMT confirmed that. the bass player was a grey beard and played, like Paul, a Hofner bass. the mix was heavy to the bass, but at least he was good. as was/is Paul, his bass lines were awfully tasteful and pretty. they zipped thru the Beatles catalogue competently. the sound system declined thru the night. vocals were not a patch on the original, but then the Beatles were largely a studio band, there's not a lot of extant examples of Beatles live. I was happy to hear the tunes, altho "The Ballad of John and Yoko", a mailed in song (by John et al.) if ever, just annoyed me. the Beatles hit Ed Sullivan and the American consciousness when I was 11. they flipped my world around. it has occurred to me that I can sing, words and lyrics, a very large percentage of the Beatles' catalogue, without having studied much, and without listening to much of it the past 25 years or more. the Beatles were a mega something. you think of Elvis having a similar cultural completion, and Sinatra. I think Mariah Carey may have more #1s than anyone, or some such stat. granted I am not paying attention but all that comes to mind with MC is those looping high notes. who/what is the Beatles of the 90s or the 00s? or is that a deprecated concept now? could Nirvana be said to be the Beatles of the 90s, that is, unavoidably influential? is Radiohead, for the current 15 minutes? maybe the media divergence has made such a unifying force impossible. The Beatles were a cultural imperative then, when I was 11. that concept may hold little or no water now. I certainly do not intend to present the Beatles as some necessity. Erin noted the song "Ticket to Ride", which has been taken by the homeschool coop as the theme song for graduation. which maybe is akin to taking "Born in the USA" as a paean to Republican virtues, but anyway. Howl was the culminating or coalescing thing for that time but god knows no poem will have such influence now.