Friday, October 31, 2008

Driving to Work

Listening to Ahmad Jamal live at the Pershing, watching the burning leaves in their death throes fall, watching rain splatter on the windshield, the end of autumn, the bares trees soon to be etched into the pewter sky. Warm interiors, reading Ulysses, But Beautiful, the poetry of wind.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Plucking Plums

I feel like Li Po traveling through a world where poetry, humor and inspiration are for the plucking. Two tidbits:

More Bad Music

"“Joe” — aka Samuel Wurzelbacher, a Holland, Ohio, pipe-and-toilet man — just signed with a Nashville public relations and management firm to handle interview requests and media appearances, as well as create new career opportunities, including a shift out of the plumbing trade into stage and studio performances.
On Tuesday, Wurzelbacher joined country music artist and producer Aaron Tippin to form a new partnership that includes booking-management firm Bobby Roberts and publicity-management concern The Press Office to field the multiple media offers he’s received over the past few weeks (courtesy of

and from the morning's e-mail

The Best and Smooth Way

Hello To You, here is Cheng &
Cheng Advocates in Hong
Kong. Our office sympathise with you
on the death of one of our
clients who
mentioned you
in his will
as his next of kin.

We have carefuly delibrated on the instruction
after enquiries have decided to consult

you via email
for security reasons.

We have also notified our offshore
agency and release office in France
about this information
and you will be required
to consult with the agent
in charge in France
Dr. Edward
by email :
or by phone: +44 703 594 2908,

he will guide you accordingly
on the best and smooth way

of receiving the inheritance, he
will also let you know what
inheritance you inherited.
You are required
to follow his instruction.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Can't Help Myself

One more Palin, then no more. I promise. Sort of.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lovely Cover

Tool's cover of No Quarter, the Zeppelin song is just so terrific I have to shout it, and this collaboration with Alex Grey's art is truly stunning and immensely moving. Watch it late at night in a dark room with or without additives.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ben Tanzer, a Chicago writer/novelist, has a new collection of stories called Repetition Patterns published online only by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. The book uses a pricing model (pay what you want, even nothing) similar to what Radiohead used for their recent web-released album In Rainbows. Support independent writers and independent marketing and sales strategies. Check out Ben's work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Regarding Palin

$150,000 for clothing? How un-socialist of you.

And with regard to banning books: "There, where one burns books, one in the end burns men." Heinrich Heine

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Two wonderful writers have left this earth for the great beyond: James Crumley and Hayden Carruth.  Both men bore more than a superficial resemblence to each other.  Both loathed power and greed.  They came from opposite ends of the country, Carruth from Connecticut, Crumley from south Texas.  They both flirted with fame, words, demons and death.  Both spoke for the underpriviledged, the brutalized, the down-trodden.  Both gave voice to the voiceless, Crumley as a brawler, Hayden as a poet and clown.  Here most resemblances end.
Crumley was often called a cross between Raymond Chandler and Hunter Thompson.  His earlier novels, particluarly The Last Good Kiss (obliquely starring the poet Richard Hugo) were written with the genre in mind.  His later novels, particularly Bordersnakes, were peregrinations across landscapes controlled by brutal gods and fought by violent red necks on acid (and these were the good guys).  Crumley took the hard-drinking, hard-loving, indestructible and ultimately sentimental PI so far over the top that at times a hero like Sughrue became a caricature.  I was a student of Crumley's at the University of Montana, and remember him saying once that he never knew what was going to happen from one page to the next.  "If I've got it all charted out, I'm bored, and if I'm bored, the reader is certainly bored. There were times though in his later work where he'd seemed lost in a tangle of lose ends he was trying to tie together.  Still, Missoula will not be the same without Crumley holding court at Charlie B's or the Depot.  He was a minor god in my former small town.
Carruth's poetry was plain spoken, owing to the same impulses that power Ted Kooser or (perhaps) Billy Collins, to communicate with ordinary people.  He wanted to make poetry matter.  He often came across as a crumudgeon, a crank, an old hermit living up in the woods.  I've always favored his poem Economics.


Well, Mr. C, he's somewhat weird.

Worms are living in his beard.

He gives them to the fisher trade

Who bring him trout and pike and bass

With which his hunger is allayed

While he sits comfy on his ass.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Off the Shelf

I pulled a small yellow book off the shelf this morning, brought it to work, thumbed around in in.  A small book of poems by the poet John Brandi, known for his connections to the beats and his itinerant ways.  It's a lovely little book dedicated to "mortals & angels & the ghost of Ryokan" called That Crow that Visited Was Flying Backwards.  The poems and ink drawings that inhabit this book are simple and often elegant observations, insights, aphorisms into love, writing and living. 
My neighbor's house
moves a little closer
this cold
autumn night

or this one

My son's journal
my own journal

2 books, 2 pens
2 partners

by the wood

or this one (reminding me of Issa and Patchen)

The polywog
is the biggest animal
in the world
this first day
of spring

One might ask the use of being a poet of little use at all.  That's the beauty.