October 26, 2011

it's a negative point of view
and I bet that you've got it too

Kendall Siedlecki, She's got legs, and she knows how to use them, 2011

-- by Frank Stanford

I Or Your Woman

The night was a bad one.
I only saw one other person out:
A big black man on muleback
Riding along the levee, marking the water.

There was a lantern in his hand
And what you could call a grim smile on the lips.
I shifted down gears,
Rolled down the window, turned the radio low.

And said, “Say there, man, how goes it?”
But he couldn’t hear me for the rain
And the song on his transistor radio.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but it’s raining,

Raining to beat hell.”
Said I, “Do you think it’s going to quit?”
“Friend, I couldn’t tell you.”
When big water will, you call everyman friend . . .

We said our goodnights,
Went on, by mule and flatbed truck, wearing black
Rubber, cold to the bone,
Like divers from different ships meeting below.

All you can do is nod, some of the times.
At least, we spoke, knowing that living
Anywhere near the river
You speak when you can; the only thing you try

To hold is your liquor,
And we had none, that bad night on the levee.
Always down the road, I looked up
In the mirror. And I’m sure he’d a done the same.

II Midnight

I almost slid off, once
Imagining this cloud was a pall
And the moon was a body.
I don’t know who put coins over her eyes.

When I got to Rampion’s Ferry,
I thought I was the only one there.
I mean it was quiet,
Except for the current, the cables, and the rain.

I got a piece of rope
Out of the back of my truck, and wound it
Around the generator
Engine; it kicked right off the first pull.

The yellow bug lights came on,
And I saw a body move under a purple blanket.
He cussed me out
For waking him up, pulling his old self up.

There was some kind of fish
In the weave of his poncho; other figures
Of snakes and birds, too.
I didn’t mean to wake the awnry fellow up,

I wonder if I did.
A strange odor came from underneath him
When he dragged out his towsack.
It didn’t smell of something burning, but of

Something that was singed.
Like the rain, it didn’t let up.
“Are we going crosst it, or not,”
He told me in a voice, half-blooded song.

III Some Past Twelve

Someone with a light
Rode up before I could see what all
He was pulling from the burlap:
Blue calling chalk you find in pool halls, ivory

Tusks, a stringer with rotten heads
The good book and another I couldn’t pronounce—
Just as worn,
And one of those paperweight crystals that snows.

He had strummed the mandolin twice,
A couple of sounds blue as a fox in trouble
In a snowdrift on a ridge, like weeds
Burning underwater, a few licks of silent fire.

When I recognized the lookout
The ferry wasn’t more than a few feet off the bank,
So the mule made it aboard, easy;
Its hooves on the planks like a mad, rough carpenter

Nailing driftwood together.
Oh, we made it across. We didn’t exactly
Hit the dock on the head,
But we floated on down to Vahalia’s Landing.

We had a good time.
The foreigner played the mandolin, the river
Reached its crest,
And the man on the mule and I drank way into the morning.

They heard us, the ones on land.
“We’re a floating whorehouse, without noun women.”
And in the dead of night,
Rain and all, we motioned them on.

October 24, 2011

Worked in bars and sideshows along the twilight zone
Only a crowd can make you feel so alone

Charles Mayton, The Long Exposure, 2011

* From Harper's November 2011:

-- Number of the highest-paid American CEOs who earned more than their employers paid in taxes last year: 25

-- Percentage of U.S. Postal Service expenses that go to labor costs: 89

-- Of FedEx and UPS expenses, respectively: 41, 48

-- Number of chopsticks made each day by Georgia Chopsticks in Americus, Georgia, for use in China: 2,100,000

-- Percentage of all oxycondone sold to doctors in the U.S. last year that went to Florida: 89

* A Philosophy of the Super Wealthy.

* "I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things." -- Henri Matisse

October 19, 2011

Goin' on the corner, I'm gonna score
Baby wants somethin', she's in the mood to
Baby wants somethin', I want more
When I don't get it, I get blue, blue

Patti Smith, Cherub, Fountain, San Severino, 2008

* Artforum Top Ten for October by Patti Smith.

jukebox cruci-fix
-- by patti smith [from CREEM, June 1975]

I was at this party but nothing was happening at all, a lot of chicks were leaning over a pale neon wurlitzer jukebox. the way dead voice boxes rolled up it came on like a coffin. it was the kind of party to leave behind. 8 millimeter footage of Jimi Hendrix jacking his strat. girls sobbing and measuring the spaces between his fingers. I went out in the hallway and stood there drinking a glass of tea. "riders on the storm" was rolling from a local transistor. the boy slipped on some soap and the radio fell in the bathtub. I gulped my tea too fast and some of it went up my nose it made me choke and stammer and my lungs started pumping like erratic water wings . . .

I woke up and the room was gone the radio was playing "riders on the storm" and the dj cut in and said that Jim Morrison was dead. I reached over for my air rifle and took shaky aim. ducks with musical notes etched in their little wax skulls were revolving on the ceiling. Camus said that it's death which give gambling and heroism their true meaning. but me I prefer another french saying -- better a live scoundrel than a dead miracle. I kicked the shit outa the radio and when looking for a heavy handed game of chance. local bingo -- fascination -- or when the chips are down handle some poker . . .

Johnny Ace was cool he came east from texas to knock "just a dream" off the charts with "pledging my love." "dream" was tender but who could imagine humping it up to Jimmy Clanton? all the girls would oil their nylons when Johnny came to town. white girls. there were no black girls in the fifties. flashes of pony tail hair. girls with chiffon triangles tied tight around their hot soft throats. girls with flesh like wonder bread. and Johnny Ace sang for them. a hero with no R & B no spanish blood no sweat. ballads tender as boston lettuce, more soft spots than a baby's head. until he pushed his own finger in. one christmas eve the black velvet Sinatra was a little long backstage. Ace was playing solitaire. he took a 45 calibre outa his tux rolled the barrel like his own hit record and blew his brains out.

some say Vladimir Mayakovski was the first rock n roll star. russian poet adolescent anarchist handsome 22 years old rushing the streets howling blue face. a guy with huge piano teeth and a marshall amp installed in his chest. he was always crashing church meets bars parties pool halls. were there pool halls in russia? who knows. but if there were he hit them all. he was the seven feet tall poet bully with the amazing megaphone mouth. did god know about revolution rhythm of the painful promise of a poem? well Mayakovski knew and thousands of kids rocked in russian behind him.

until one mornin while the crowds were waiting our hero was penning his last booming aria; "me and life are quits" he write. and like our own Johnny Ace he held the wild card. he put on a clean shirt swaggered to the window maybe glanced in the mirror russia's Marlon Brando cocked the lever pulled the trigger and blew his heart out. russian lit was in the red. the funeral was like after the pop festival. you know -- those last shots of monterey -- no sound -- minds blown. all the women wore black cloaks. russia was a rainy nunnery. cause Mayakovski -- a god unto himself to say nothing of his fans -- had pulled the rug from his own life.

you take a chance when you put your stakes on somebody else. like a horse race it often pays but sooner or later you're gonna be left standing in the rain. genius is meant to peak and pull out or be wiped out permanently. we is a fickle lot. the champ ain't champ unless he keeps on winning. the minute some flash knocks him outa the ring or outa the charts he's thru. like pabst beer says "ya don't get the blue ribbon for being second."

see it's like this. first let me move outa metaphor. there was no poker game I'm lousy at cards. there was the dream though and I got splattered. we been creamed up the ass since Buddy Holly Kennedy. platinum porches miniature airplanes switchblades poisons saturday night specials motorcycles hypodermics pills thrills old fords. ever see Jackson Pollock in motion. that bull ballet and dipping blue poles. premeditation was his action he didn't believe in accidents. his blood spattered like his own pain cause like most heroes he was a crazy driver. it's okay though it was the rules of an old game. and me I got to admit I like the photographs. the twisted steel the outstretched hand the broken neck of a fender. the instant replay of Lee Harvey Oswald getting dead live on television. they were the assassinating rhythms of our generation.

but rhythms like rules shift. something new is coming down and we got to be alert to feel it happening. something new and totally ecstatic. the politics of ecstasy move all around me. I refuse to believe Hendrix had the last possessed hand that Joplin had the last drunken throat that Morrison had the last enlightened mind. they didn't slip their skins and split forever for us to hibernate in posthumous jukeboxes.

they are gone and we're still moving. I went to Jim Morrison's grave and there was nothing. a dirt site in section 6. I sat like some jack ass sobbing in the mud all alone in paris when there is so much work to do so much flesh to consume. there is nothing there -- not headstone no vibration no flowers no feeling. just a little plastic plaque with the word AMI friend the only thing Jim Morrison ever wanted.

I went to paris to exorcise some demons. some kind of dread I harbored of moving forward. I went with this poetic conceit that we would meet in some melody hovering over his grave. but there was nothing. it was pouring rain and I sat there trying to conjure up some kind of grief or madness. I remembered this dream I had. I came in a clearing and saw a man on a marble slab. it was Morrison and he was human. but his wings were merging with the marble. he was struggling to get free but like Prometheus freedom was beyond him.

I sat there for a couple hours. I was covering with mud and afraid to move. then it was all over. it just didn't matter anymore. racing thru my skull were new plans new dreams voyages symphonies colors. I just wanted to get the hell outa there and go home and do my own work. to focus my floodlight on the rhythm within. I straightened my skirt and said good-bye to him. an old woman in black spoke to me in broken english. look at this grave how sad! why do you americans not honor your poets?

my mind moved before my mouth. I finished the dream. the stone dissolved and he flew away. I brushed the feathers off my raincoat and answered:

because we don't look back.

October 17, 2011

And all the bells are rolling out for you
And stones are all erupting out for you
And all the cheap bloodsuckers are flying after you

Andy Warhol, A Boy for Meg, 1962

* Advice from the 1971 best-seller by "M," "the sensuous man:"

-- from a chapter titled "What Turns a Women Off"

"The Bad Timer

Many men get refused not because they are lousy lovers, but because their timing is bad -- and this includes thousands of husbands. Tune in to what she's doing a few minutes before you pounce. If the sink is overflowing, your youngest child has just broken and swallowed his front tooth, the oldest is smoking pot on the front porch, her bridge club is due any minute, and that's when you walk in and grab her, is it any wonder that she refuses you? Being rather small-minded and inconsiderate, she may not be able to juggle thirteen crises and ball you at the same time. How would you like it if she walked into your office while you were trying to meet a deadline on an important report and started making passes? Unless you're the coolest exec going, you wouldn't be able to get it up. Timing is of the essence."

-- from "miscellaneous turn-offs"

4. Careless smokers, who burn holes in women's clothes, upholstery, and rugs. These junior pyromaniacs wield cigarettes like torches, dropping ashes on rugs, grinding butts out on table tops, resting lit cigars on the lady's coat. And, to top it all, they give the lady a kiss and an embrace while holding a lit cigarette behind her back. Result: one burned dress. If you smoke, be considerate and be careful. Any rule of Smokey the Bear goes just as strongly at home as in the forest.

5. Men who don't say who they are on the telephone. "Guess who?" Guessing games are strickly for preschoolers. If you're a good lover, she'll recognize your voice eventually, but in the beginning say, "Hi, Mary, this is Bob Soandso."

* Charles Bukowski reads Something for The Touts, The Nuns, The Grocery Clerks And You.

* If you haven't seen it: Cocksucker's Blues, "the film the Stongs still don't want you to see."

* "I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." -- Charles de Gaulle.

October 12, 2011

making sense of a cloudy afternoon
playing chess in an old cartoon

Niocolai Karadjov, Sleeping Beauty, 2007

* Come see The Cut Ups (links at sidebar) perform this Friday, October 14 at The Velvet Lounge, with Pittsburgh's Host Skull. 9:30pm.

-- Listen to Come On

-- Listen to Alcohol

* "In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol and it was the worst 20 minutes of my life." -- George Best

October 11, 2011

half-hours on earth
what are they worth

Barry Stone, Glitter Shoes, 2009

* Awesome Tapes From Africa, a great place to spend some time.

* The Phenomenon of the Right Wing Nut
--- by Ed Sanders, 1981

Many of the
National Security grouches,
the flame-mouths of secrecy,
the racists in high places
the men and women of crypto-kill
and their dull, unimaginative, paper pushing

subsumed beneath
the banners of the
Right Wing Nut

The Right Wing Nut in its heart of hearts wearies of the concept
of voting, and longs for a rigid boss with
powers of Total Spank

The Right Wing Nut itself is rigid, like a bazooka shell striking
a tank's side, never giving up, piercing,
ripping 24 hours a day, as eager to harm & to
loot in the dawn as it is in the dusk

The Right Wing Nut never knows itself wrong. Wrong is the Other.
Wrong is something in the Other. Wrong never
confuses it, for Wrong is a weaker mammal w/
a bullet in it.

The Right Wing Nut will slime its way into the confidence of
police and intelligence, ever seeking access
to, and input to, police information systems
and attitudes, offering its services as
crazed informants or provocateurs.

The Right Wing Nut is a voyeur of violent gossip and bad news.
The r.w.n. grovels in dossiers of dirt. It
Loves without reason the "slimy universe of pain."

The Right Wing Nut thirsts to kill, to fire a gun, to urge others
to kill, and to steal money from the oppressed
while in the act of injuring the oppressed.
The r.w.n. wants ironically to oppose and to
propose street-gore, but more than anything
to hear news about it.

The Right Wing Nut while haunted w/ an irrational hatred of blacks
& minorities, yet has an awe of the prowess of
the oppressed, and confuses its own hatred and
rage with an imagined rage and vengeance
from its victims.

The Right Wing Nut cools his fantasies on Sunday mornings in
church. Church is the calm-down ointment of
the r.w.n. Thus calmed, the right wing nut
look into the eyes another r.w.n., &
will know of one more thing to do at once:
"Acquire Pain-Mon!" That is, the money of
rent-gouging, of migrant workers junk-food
company stores, of mafia heroin protected by
government intelligence, of war profiteering,
of gun sales to muggers, of leg-breaking to
collect debts, of bribery for quick bucks, of
hurting those whom you rip off. Selling fake
cancer drugs to the dying is the triumph of
the right wing concept of "pain mon."

Open up a file
on your favorite right wing nut

& go one-on-one
with him or her
into the Abyss

And may the drool
dry forever on
the lips of
every right wing nut.

October 3, 2011

Don't let it get near you
Don't let it get too close
Don't let it turn you into
The things you hate the most

Bob Dylan, The Monk, 2009

* George Carlin on The American Dream.

* Harold Pinter on Samuel Beckett:

The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don’t want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him.

He’s not fucking me about, he’s not leading me up any garden path, he’s not slipping me a wink, he’s not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he’s not selling me anything I don’t want to buy — he doesn’t give a bollock whether I buy or not — he hasn’t got his hand over his heart. Well, I’ll buy his goods, hook, line and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty.

His work is beautiful.