Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Right Way

So I met Ms. Amy Güth up in Chicago few weeks back. Now I've been reading her highly entertaining blog and talking to her about the Fixx & typewriters. Figured it was a good time to order her Three Fallen Women...because being friends with a writer but not knowing their writing feels kinda stupid, especially if one considers his/herself a writer. (I started reading it while at work last night. It's pretty wild, vivid and has a distinct flavor (so far, burning) and flow (ointment), unless it all falls apart after page 19).

I ordered the book from So New Publishing, and these people know what's up. In the envelope was the book:

Hardcover. Unexpected. But a brown paperbag-esque dust jacket is quiet sexy.

With, and physically bigger than the book was this:

It's a giant anthology of work from 2ndHand with a screaming monkey on the cover.

As if that wasn't enough, they also gave me these:

Two little stickers promoting their press, with a crimson likeness of Ms. Güth.

Not only am I a fan of stickers to slap all over everything, but I'm just about inspired to use that design for a stencil to bomb Güth all over Chambana. More writers need stencils drawn from their mugs and taggin' up the block. After this one, maybe I'll make a Tyehimba Jess stencil. And then a Shanna Compton stencil. Doesn't the writing world need more gorilla-graf artists helping them promote?

Point is, when I order one thing, and get a bunch of things, that's the right way to get stuff. Until now, the only other place I got the same kind of swaggish love (and where I regularly say, with head-held-back gusto, "Eff you,!") was from NinjaTune & the good homies at Sleeping Giant. When you love a place enough to pay up, and they love you enough to give you more than you even asked for...that's a lotta love, baby.
Love. Baby.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hot Book Art

Of the books I've seen lately, this one takes my cake:

The painting, by Steve Smock, stretches around to the back where there are no blurbs or any writing other than the upc, BOA logo and "Poetry $15.50." All fairly non-intrusive on the aesthetic, and I appreciate that kind of eye in book design.

As it happens, Smock runs Prime8media, a firm that's designed a few of BOA Edition's titles (including the layout of Edson's The Rooster's Wife, with cover art by the author). They've got this nasty habit of producing really great books...

Mind you, I haven't read Broken Hallelujahs yet, but I'm excited to, and I think it might be simply because of the cover. Have you ever seen a pinwheel flower, graffiti and an accordion player looking so peaceful together?

Don't get me wrong--there are a lot of really dope covers out there. I hope the publishers keep it up. If I'm gonna have books strewn out all over my place, I feel less inclined to feel messy and pick them up if they're also little pieces of stimulating visual art.

Friday, June 22, 2007

On The Mend

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sick (sick sick sick)

It was too good to be true. Dad and I are just too productive for nature to allow, so I spent yesterday fevered (perhaps Prairie Fever-ed?). Did the exhaust on the '75, but then I slept and sat awake in pain.
We have breaks to do today. They will be done.
Send soup.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's Dad Week

My pops safely arrived yesterday to chill here for the week. Bright and early this morning, he broke out the tools and we started to work on Lara's 1975 MGB. (Just so you know, this is gonna be one of those really car-intensive posts. Seriously, people google these problems, find this blog, and it helps them.) If you want good poetry/art stuff, go here, here or even here.
Dad's on the job:

A few small problems: someone decided to vent the Carb by feeding it back into the front cover on the block, so now all the oil is mixed with gas. Easily fixed. Someone also once removed the exhaust manifold and put on tube-headers (to make it louder probably, because it is commonly believed that "loud" means "fast." These are not synonyms), and in the process of welding the pipes they warped the parts that bolt to the head, and so destroyed the seal. Solution: remove broken stuff:

Boom shakalaka.
Replacement exhaust system is on its way. MEANWHILE!
My car has had problems with the valves for about 8 years. Not usually too much of a problem, only I couldn't really adjust them so they were a little ticky and every 3.64 years, one of the bolts would get off the few threads that were there and knock around for a second. "But why were there only a few threads per valve rocker arm?", you ask.
"Maybe the head wasn't ground down enough," I've guessed.
(Click for Visual Aid)
"No. I'm pretty sure it's the combinations of push-rods and lifters, and so the rods are too low, and so the valve (or tappet) adjusting screws are just too low, and so the nut doesn't have enough threads to hold on tight," has been the common idea held by Dad and others.
Here's the thing (and I would be so bored with this rant if my back didn't hurt so much from all the work): Turns out, the valve adjusting screws that have been in my car for 8 years are about 4 threads too short. See?:

The ones that have been supposed to be there are a little (but plenty for the job) longer, and don't have that strange break in the middle. I save all these little parts. If you'd like one, I'll mail it to you.

So, that's where we're at. Alas, my engine sounds way better today that it has for a while. We'll drive it tomorrow with gusto.

What this is all really about is the fact that we work with precision parts all the time. I firmly believe that this is the same in language as it is in automobiles. Tomorrow: breaks on an MGB, the head light relay on a Rambler, hopefully a new book from Amazon, and what's happening behind the dashboard that can save your life....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Picnic More Often, We Should.

Got there nice and early, watched a little rehearsal. Guy at mic is GK of Writer's Almanac fame:

Drank good South American wine (and ate a total of 4 baguettes, goat cheese, Dubliner for Bloomsday and all, and grapes, cherries, hummus, GREAT!) with Christy, Christine the Birthday Girl, and Mr. Noah.

And I ate a whole bunch (note my gut!) and napped next to Seth in stripes.

Here's a Russell Edson poem:


The living room is overgrown with grass. It as come up around the furniture. It stretches through the dining room, past the swinging door into the kitchen. It extends for miles and miles into the walls...
There's treasure in grass, things dropped or put there; a stick of rust that was once a penknife, a grave marker...All hidden in the grass at the scalp of the meadow...
In a cellar under the grass an old man sits in a rocking chair, rocking to and fro. In his arms he holds an infant, the infant body of himself. And he rocks to and fro under the grass in the dark...

Oh. And Happy Father's Day.

It's my pop & baby-me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Bloomsday!

An excuse to drink some Irish Whiskey and read Ulysses. I got a copy last year for $4 in a used store for just such an occasion. I haven't read the book through, but like to think I one day will. I like literary holidays...we can use a few more. Like Russell Edson Day. Or a week set aside to honor small presses.

Today is also the day my friends and I see Prairie Home up in Chicago. I never listened to it until I moved out to the Midwest, but I love it. I'm the kinda hip cat who spends Saturday evenings and nights listening to the radio. It's how I roll. On the rocks, pleaseandthankyou.

While up in town, I'm gonna try to pass a typewriter off to my new favorite blog-author (she writes books too, but I haven't read 'em yet).

Now, if you haven't yet, I suggest you eat your breakfast:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Coming Soon...& Cannibals

That's Lara's car. I'll be working on that with my pop when he arrives in town next week. Lot's to do. But here's the thing: the interior of her MG looks better than mine, and the more I work on it, the more I'm looking at my car with a long-avoid critical eye. So I make plans. I have a few ideas. I spend a half hour in the parking lot of a giant megastore painting the floors with black Rustolium. I think Fiber glass is next. Or I buy a spot-welder. I think I can make poems with a spot-welder, and so might justify that investment.

Happy Flag Day.

I was gonna post a poem, but while driving today, I heard (and so sang along with) Fine Young Cannibals. Here's the video (watch the guitar go on fire!):

Here are the lyrics, so you too can sing along:
I cant stop
The way I feel
Things you do
Don't seem real
Tell you what I got in mind
cause were runnin' out of time
Wont you ever set me free?
This waitin' rounds killin' me

She drives me crazy
Like no one else
She drives me crazy
And I cant help myself

I cant get
Any rest
People say
I'm obsessed
Everything that's serious lasts
But to me there's no surprise
What I have, I knew was true
Things go wrong, they always do

She drives me crazy
Like no one else
She drives me crazy
And I can't help myself

I won't make it,
On my own
No on likes,
To be alone

She drives me crazy
Like no one else
She drives me crazy
And I can't help myself

Uh huh huh

She drives me crazy
Like no one else
She drives me crazy
And I can't help myself

Uh huh huh

She drives me crazy
Like no one else
She drives me crazy
And I cant help myself

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Like Knox Harrington

Ninth Letter has an open call for submissions by Video Artists.

Meanwhile, click here for Walter. And dig the ducks that were in my yard for no reason this morning.

Seriously. I asked them, and they had absolutely nothing going on.

Oh. More wonderful street art!

Monday, June 11, 2007

and We're Back

Returned from Printers Row. So many new 9L friends.

And learned of the new
Rose Metal Press. And Featherproof Books...with free mini-books.
Hopefully there are photos from the weekend to come.

Meanwhile, there's an interview with Susan Somers-Willett to check out.

I've canceled the cable service and will not be detracted from radio, writing and reading for the rest of the summer...except to work on cars, teach a little, and do whatever Jodee tells me to for 9L.

Also, Micah's left town, but not before the debut of White Picket Fences, which is pretty great if you're into that sorta thang...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

See you in The City

Scroll down or dig 9L for the details.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Rambling Guy

This is Ted & his new 1962 Rambler.

It's pretty vintage & sweet...

...but, of course, it needs work:

I've redone the connections to the fuel pump, and installed a lighter/charger that won't make fire/smoke (like the one that was in it, not grounded, that made a lot of fire and smoke when I tried it). It also needs a new horn relay (on order), a whole lotta interior work (on Laura), and your love (if you have a Rambler on the side of your house or behind a garage, I'll send you a list of parts I need, including door panels and floors).

Last summer I spent the time painting for people. This summer, I'm fixing cars (got motor mounts for a Civic on the menu this weekend, and a new MG project for another MFA).

Ted's is mostly blue, but here's a poem to mark the day (imagine it's actually about a 1962 Rambler):
Crimson Rambler by Carl Sandburg:

NOW that a crimson rambler
begins to crawl over the house
of our two lives—

Now that a red curve
winds across the shingles—

Now that hands
washed in early sunrises
climb and spill scarlet
on a white lattice weave—

Now that a loop of blood
is written on our roof
and reaching around a chimney—

How are the two lives of this house
to keep strong hands and strong hearts?

Click here for another Rambling Guy...and Muppets.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ada Limon Reading on Long Island 6/11

historians, and just plain folk!
Enjoy a quiet summer evening on Schoolhouse Green

Ada Limón
WHEN: Monday evening, June 11th starting at 7 pm

WHERE: Schoolhouse Green, Foxhurst Road, Oceanside
(just east of Long Beach Road)

WHAT: Four Readers each evening will share material of their choice:
they may read, extemporize, sing, play music–whatever moves them!
The material may be their own, or a favorite piece by another.
Expect poetry, selections from essays, comedic sketches, novels,
non-fiction works, songs, articles, famous speeches, etc.– any topic, any form.


Bring a picnic basket, blanket, table & chairs– whatever you’d like!

The Summer Swing


This is the new piece of furniture that I spent the better part of four hours in yesterday reading the latest Esquire (and a little B.F. Fairchild). I read the whole issue, except the Stephen King story and maybe one or two other segments. Listened to the local radio station that was in some kinda free-form ambient jazz show. It's a terrifyingly comfy chair. As if that wasn't good enough, there's a twin bed that folds out of it.

We all need a good place to sit. I have it on good authority that Elsa was rocking a park bench on her front porch, overlooking the 5 near SD City College in the exact hours of my lounging.

I'm gonna spend my day sittin' in it again. It's gonna go like this:

Good morning.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A Few New Blogs

Because we all know you need a few more to bookmark and read first thing in the morn':
If you don't know,
Ninth Letter has a blog full of literary news and happenings we think ya'll should know. Check Check it!

Jodee's now a part of the blogosphere. She finds all kinds of things on the interweb for you to visit.

Did you know I love San Diego? Did you? Though I ain't there, a whole bunch of great DJs and Producers are, holding it down, keep it warm (for me, perhaps?). And they collectively keep a blog...a sleeping Giant music blog.
Are there any poets blogging from that wonderful city? Can you tell me who they are?

Did you know I also love Russell Edson?

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