Monday, October 31, 2005

Anyway You Slice Them!

------------------------------------------------------------------Carlos Clarens

My first brush with horror was via "American Gothic" literature. Whether it was: Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The House of Seven Gables " & "Rappaccini's Daughter"; Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger ; Edith Wharton: "Ethan Frome"; Herman Melville: "Moby-Dick" ; or inevitably E.A. Poe's, "The Fall of The House of Usher", my "yearning for the fantastic, for the darkly mysterious" was piqued and of course made the leap from the written word to the visual. My interest in "film noire" of course could not exclude certain horror classics. Listed below are several of the latter:

Early Classic Horror Films:

F. W. Murnau's feature-length Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror (1922),

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

The Wolf Man (1941)

Frankenstein (1931)

Dracula (1931)

The Mummy (1932)

King Kong (1933)

Cat People (1942)

Freaks (1932)

Other More Modern Classics:

Psycho (1960)

Alien (1979)

The Shining (1980)

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

The Birds (1963)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The Exorcist (1973)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Had a Good Time!

Slightly unshaven and hung over....!

"Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed
My life's a mess
But i'm having a good time"


Paul Simon - from the album: Still Crazy After All These Years

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Linda Pastan


No one has a heart like yours
the doctor tells me, studying
the CT angiogram with barely
concealed excitement --

an explorer in white
discovering a tropical island --
exotic foliage instead of
the body's usual geography.

And he shows me the picture
of my heart proudly, one artery
instead of two snaking from the aorta,
dividing only later

into tributaries that nourish
this aging body: white cells
and red cells paddling madly
towards the organs on shore.

Oh unchartered rivers of blood!
Why am I heartsick, heartsore,
heavy hearted? Haven't I always known
my heart was different?

From: Shenandoah - Volume 55 Number 2 (Fall 2005)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Julie Speed: Woman With Dogs (oil on linen) circa 2003-2004

Julie Speed's art is featured in Julie Speed: "Paintings, Constructions and Works on Paper "(Texas, 2004), which includes comments by the painter and essays on her work by art historians. She is represented by Gerald Peters Gallery in New York and Dallas and lives in Austin. A selection of her work will appear in the winter, 2005 issue of Shenandoah.

I received my contributor copy of Shenandoah 55/2 Fall 2005 in the mail this morning. Among the contributors are: Alice Friman, Steve Gehrke, Rodney Jones, Linda Pastan, David Wagoner & Ronald Wallace. Lisa Russ Spaar reviews Ted Kooser's "Delights & Shadows". All in all a fine issue if I say so myself. My poem "The 30 Hz Hypothesis" also appears in this issue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

"A Working Class Hero is Something to be."

When I Paint My Masterpiece
by Bob Dylan

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble,
Ancient footprints are everywhere.
You can almost think that you're seein' double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs.
Got to hurry on back to my hotel room,
Where I've got me a date with Botticelli's niece.
She promised that she'd be right there with me
When I paint my masterpiece.

Oh, the hours I've spent inside the Coliseum,
Dodging lions and wastin' time.
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle,
I could hardly stand to see 'em,
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb.
Train wheels runnin' through the back of my memory,
When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese.
Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece.

Sailin' 'round the world in a dirty gondola.
Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!
I left Rome and landed in Brussels,
On a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried.
Clergymen in uniform and young girls pullin' muscles,
Everyone was there to greet me when I stepped inside.
Newspapermen eating candy
Had to be held down by big police.
Someday, everything is gonna be diff'rent
When I paint my masterpiece.

Copyright © 1971 Big Sky Music

Snippet here:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Around the World in 80 Clicks!

Nicolas Ruel is a photographer extraordinaire who's got an equally impressive site. Check out the web site of this Montreal photographer. Here's a sample of his work:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Bushisms Quiz: 15 Questions to Test Your Bushspeak IQ.

1 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their ___ with women all across this country."

d-pick-up lines

2 - Q: President Bush made four of the following statements. Which one was made by Dan Quayle?

a-"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."
b-"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
c-"More and more of our imports come from overseas."
d-"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
e-"Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?"

3 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the ___."

a-joy of freedom
b-joy of sex
c-joy of cooking
d-joy of world domination
e-joy of Hannukah

4 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ___ and ____ will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport."

a-ticket counters and airplanes
b-seat backs and tray tables
c-pigs and monkeys
d-groped and shoeless passengers

5 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, '___.'"

a-"I think, therefore I is."
b-"People who live in glass stones shouldn't throw houses."
c-"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
d-"A bird in the hand is worth two in the — uh, two in the — uh…"

6 - Q: True or false: When asked in the 2000 presidential debates to sum up the reason for his candidacy, Bush said, "Strategery."


7 - Q: Four of the following statements were made by President George W. Bush. Which statement was made by President George H. W. Bush in 1990?

a-"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here."
b-"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right."
c-"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."
d-"I just am not one who – who flamboyantly believes in throwing a lot of words around."
e-"I'm the master of low expectations."

8 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "I know the ___ and ____ can coexist peacefully."

a-Israelians and Palestinicians
b-Christians and Islamiacs
c-donkey and elephant
d-human being and fish

9 - Q: True or false: When asked by a child in Britain to describe the White House, Bush replied, "It is white."


10 - Q: President Bush made three of the following statements. Which one was made by Dan Quayle?

a-"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."
b-"People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you."
c-"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
d-"How many Palestinians were on those airplanes on Sept. 9? None."

11 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "I want to thank the astronauts who are with us, the courageous ____ who set such a wonderful example for the young of our country."

a-spacial entrepreneurs
b-spacious exploranators
c-space rangers
d-intergalactic colonizers
e-moon dudes

12 - Q: True or false: Speaking at a right-to-life rally, President Bush said, "We must always remember that all human beings begin life as a feces. A feces is a living being in the eyes of God, who has endowed that feces with all of the rights and God-given blessings of any other human being."


13 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to ____ himself."


14 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "You teach a child to read, and ___ will be able to pass a literacy test."

a-him or he
b-he or her
c-she or it

15 - Q: Complete the following Bush quote. "A ___ would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it."

a-constitutional monarchy
c-fascist police state
e-global empire

ANSWERS: 1) c; 2) d; 3) e; 4) a; 5) c; 6) false; 7) d; 8) d; 9) true; 10) d; 11) a; 12) false; 13) b; 14) b; 15) d

If you answered (0 – 2) items out of 15 correctly.

Your knowledge is sorely lacking. You might try taking the test again. As President Bush once said, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

If you answered (3 – 5) items out of 15 correctly.

Your knowledge is highly underwhelming. As President Bush might have said, you ought to make the pie higher.

If you answered (6 – 8) items out of 15 correctly.

Your knowledge is underwhelming. As President Bush once said, "Expectations rise above that which is expected."

If you answered (9 – 11) items out of 15 correctly.

Your knowledge is slightly above average. As George W. Bush might have said, they misunderestimated you.

If you answered (12 – 15) items out of 15 correctly.

Excellent strategery. As President Bush might have said, it's people like you where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.

From Daniel Kurtzman (writer, editor, journalist and political satirist)

Monday, October 10, 2005


“...[W]ith blogging becoming more popular, there's less need, I think for the critique message-board workshop in general.”
-----------------------------------------------------------------------RJ McCaffery

I was saddened the other day to receive an e-mail notifying me that the on-line workshop “Haven” (run by R.J McCaffery) was closing down. I met, read and was read by some fine poets there. Chelle Miko (whose absence is missed), Frank Matagrano, Steve Mueske, Steven Schroeder, Hannah Craig, Amy Unsworth (?) and of course R.J. himself - come to mind offhand. I’m sure that I have missed others. Notwithstanding this saddening news, the gist of R.J’s comment on the diminishing need for on-line poetry workshops was both astute and thought-provoking. If indeed the “message-board workshop” had seen its day and has been by and large supplanted by “blogging” then a question came to mind. I.e.: Do blogging and work-shopping actually meet the same needs of a poet? On the face of it one would think not. I mean workshops allow the poet to hone their poetic skills. But they also serve as a backdrop as a sort of community to poets and those interested in poetics. The “Blogosphere” obviously also serves as a community i.e.:

What characterizes a community is sharing and interaction in any number of ways. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs and a multitude of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the degree of adhesion within the mixture, but the definitive driver of community is that all individual subjects in the mix have something in common.

This condition exists in both environments (the blogosphere and on-line workshop). However, the blogosphere is less of an adhesive whole than the on-line workshop. The workshop atmosphere more closely resembles any social environment, where while being open to outsiders, it generally plays itself out dramaturgically, within its social confines, with the same core set of personae on a day in and day out basis. This inevitably leads (as in any social group) to hierachical distinctions and assignations. (There’s a pecking order in them there hills!)

The balance between self-interest and shared-interests within and among members of a group is the crucial factor in community formation. When enough participants in a group develop an attitude of caring for the well-being of the whole, or the common good, the prospect of community is present.

The relationships between bloggers in general are more losely forged (there does not appear to be a definitive demarcation as to who and who does not belong) and thus appears to be less constricted by social role and status. Players are free to choose when, where and even if they want to comment and read without losing their general sense of status as it does not rely on the extent/level of their participation. It also seems that there is less of an interest in the "self" and more of an attitude of “caring for the well-being of the whole or the common good” in the blogosphere than in the on-line workshop. This might in fact explain why some of the best on-line workshops are attracting on-line poets with lesser and lesser frequency. This may not spell the end of the on-line workshop; but it does not, in my opinion, bode well for their long-term viability.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A-Blogging They Will Go!

Days 24 to 27 & Counting:

24. Theresa Davis' s: Sista Seuss Highlighted here.
25. Mark Young's: Pelican Dreaming Highlighted here.
26. Lorna Dee Cervantes Highlighted here.
27. Bill Allegrezza's: p-ramblings Highlighted here.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Oh!...What I Wouldn't Do!

For the Sake of the Poem


For the sake of the poem

the bed remains disheveled all day,

the dishes loll in the sink

like adolescents. For the sake

of the poem a forest is cut down

to appease my appetite for paper.

A lover is betrayed in print;

hot tea and desire must

cool their heels,

for the sake of the poem.

I am an addict who needs

her daily fix of language.

Children are left uncombed;

unwatered, plants languish.

For the sake of the poem

old age is put on hold.

Oh, what wouldn’t I do

for the sake of the poem?

from "Margie" Volume 4, 2005

Something to do on a Rainy Day!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Singular Twist of Fate

I got an SASE back today in the mail. It was from the Indiana Review; postdated September 30, 2005. So I figure...This is Guinness World Record material for a rejection from a print journal. I mean I sent the sucker out on September 26, 2005 and I receive the SASE on October 4th of the same year nonetheless. What did they use the pony express? Then I thought: Gee.... I didn't think my sub was that bad. So I open the sucker up and I read the rejection slip.

Now let me get this straight. I sent my sub on September 26, figuring that it'll take about 4 to 10 days to get there just in time for October 1st . Instead by some freak occurrence they get it within a couple of days maybe and they're whipping it back at me by September 30th. But I mean October 1st is like the next day. Do you get the impression (like me) that they never even took a look at the sucker and that right about now my poetry, printed on Xerox Ultra White 20 lb standard weight paper, is being abused and tortured into admitting that it's vapid and meaningless drivel by some intern? Something tells me I shouldn't waste my time and money sending them another sub. But then I figure what the hell...even interns have to have some fun.

100 Blogging Poets In 100 Days

Billy Jones is profiling 100 poets who blog on his site at BloggingPoets. Here is a partial list of poets (as today is day 23). The list is in no particular order as is clear from the sequence of Blogs highlighted below. Heck, I don't even belong on a list of poets such as: Collin Kelly, Ron Silliman, Peter Pereira, Laurel Snyder et al. I look forward to seeing who else is profiled.

1. Talking To Myself
2. Alivianate El Coco Highlighted here.
3. Poetry Hut Highlighted here.
4. Ginger Rivers Highlighted here.
5. Tread On Dreams Highlighted here.
6. Stick Poet Super Hero Highlighted here.
7. Poetic Acceptance Highlighted here.
8. They Shoot Poets Highlighted here.
9. Ron Silliman Highlighted here.
10. Blog Poetry Club Highlighted here.
11. Million Poems Highlighted here.
12. JewishyIrishy Highlighted here.
13. The Virtual World Highlighted here.
14. Never Neutral Highlighted here.
15. Night Jar Highlighted here.
16. Stranger Ken Highlighted here.
17. Te Quiero Highlighted here.
18. Glittering Muse Highlighted here.
19. A Poem A Day Highlighted here
20. Watermark Highlighted here.
21. Yemenja Highlighted here.
22. Collin Kelly Highlighted here.
23. Blue Tattoo Highlighted here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Chilling Read

Re-creating the Scene
by Yusef Komunyakaa

The metal door groans
& folds shut like an ancient turtle
that won't let go
of a finger till it thunders.
The Confederate flag
flaps from a radio antenna,
& the woman's clothes
come apart in their hands.
Their mouths find hers
in the titanic darkness
of the steel grotto,
as she counts the names of dead
ancestors, shielding a baby
in her arms. The three men
ride her breath, grunting
over lovers back in Mississippi.
She floats on their rage
like a torn water flower,
defining night inside a machine
where men are gods.
The season quietly sweats.
They hold her down
with their eyes,
taking turns, piling stones
on her father's grave.
The APC rolls with curves of the land,
up hills & down into gullies,
crushing trees & grass,
droning like a constellation
of locusts eating through bamboo,
creating the motion for their bodies.
She rises from the dust
& pulls the torn garment
around her, staring after the APC
till it's small enough
to fit like a toy tank in her hands.
She turns in a circle,
pounding the samarium dust
with her feet where the steel
tracks have plowed. The sun
fizzes like a pill in a glass
of water, & for a moment
the world's future tense:
She approaches the MPs
at the gate; a captain from G-5
accosts her with candy kisses;
I inform The Overseas Weekly;
flashbulbs refract her face
in a room of polished brass
& spit-shined boots;
on the trial's second day
she turns into mist--
someone says money
changed hands,
& someone else swears
she's buried at LZ Gator.
But for now, the baby
makes a fist & grabs at the air,
searching for a breast.

From: Dien Cai Dau - Wesleyan University Press: (1988)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

In Memoriam

After reading all the articles and epitaphs in various publications recounting Don Adams' life and career, what he will inevitably be remembered for is his depiction of Maxwell Smart. I could not help but fondly remember what drew me to this TV spoof of the "secret agent" genre (ie. popularized at the time by Ian Fleming's creation). It was not the fact that it was written and conceived by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, or that it won seven Emmys and two Golden Globe awards. What did draw me ( even as a child) back to this show time after time was the on-going gags and quips. Some of the most memorable:

  • Max: (After causing yet another disaster for the Chief) "Sorry about that, Chief."
  • Chief: "Now listen carefully ... [long list of directions to a secret rendezvous or some such] ... did you get that?" Max: "Not all of it." Chief: "Which part didn't you get?" Max: "The part after 'Now listen carefully'."
  • Max: (Used when his enemies call his bluffs and he ineffectually resorts to more desperate ones) "Would you believe..."
  • Max: "Missed it by that much."
  • Max: "Don't tell me [he made yet another mistake and when his compatriot confirms it, he responds...] I asked you not to tell me that."
  • Max: "The old...[complicated explanation]...trick" (often followed by "that's the second time this month")
  • Chief/99/somebody else: "Max, you'll be in extreme danger every minute!" Max: "...and loving it!"
  • Max: "That's the second biggest ...(whatever)... I've ever seen."
  • Siegfried: (usually to silence his sidekick, Shtarker who is doing something silly) "Shtarker! Zis is KAOS, Ve don't... [whatever it was he was doing]... here!"
  • Max: "Good thinking, 99." [Used by Max to congratulate 99 on a statement of the obvious as if she was learning deduction and logic from him. The implication was that she was just catching up to his thought processes, when in fact the expression on his face showed that he was embarrassed that he hadn't worked it out himself already.]
  • "Hymie, kill the lights": Hymie the Robot (Dick Gauthier), a powerful android who tended to take orders too literally.