Sunday, July 29, 2007

Not A Biker...Yet.

It's like anything else, really; and most exciting ideas deserve a sweet new hat:


Day 2 of learning to ride a motorcycle, and I ate it. Went into a turn, but was slipped into a panic when the person in front of me wasn't going as fast, so squeeze the clutch, over pulled the throttle, release the clutch all fast, and did a few tumbles out of the track. Let's here it for helmets. And jeans and gloves. I'll have scars:

Not bad at all. I'd rather eat it on a closed course on a bike that ain't mine than in the middle of some stretch with other people driving really fast.

This is how summers go. Once, I moved to Nantucket. Another time, I learned to play bass for my friends' band...and I wasn't very good. Max and Dan deserved better. I prefer to forget some of the more recent summer-time decisions. Maybe it's the humidity. Maybe the sun's resistance to setting. I don't know. I'm gonna take some Ib profin (or however you spell it), and rest.

Falling: The Code
by Li-Young Lee

Through the night
the apples
outside my window
one by one let go
their branches and
drop to the lawn.
I can’t see, but hear
the stem-snap, the plummet
through leaves, then
the final thump against the ground.

Sometimes two
at once, or one
right after another.
During long moments of silence
I wait
and wonder about the bruised bodies,
the terror of diving through air, and
think I’ll go tomorrow
to find the newly fallen, but they
all look alike lying there
dewsoaked, disappearing before me.

I lie beneath my window listening
to the sound of apples dropping in

the yard, a syncopated code I long to know,
which continues even as I sleep, and dream I know

the meaning of what I hear, each dull
thud of unseen apple-

body, the earth
falling to earth

once and forever, over
and over.

With All This Time

There not much I can really do right now other than read and get some writing done, but with a horribly hour-ed job (8am to 10:30am AND THEN 6pm to 8:30pm) and the pending move this week, my concentration has gone out the window. I move this week, people have been leaving town left and what, all the new MFAs are coming in some time this week...and I'm taking a motorcycle class.

I was all frustrated yesterday because I wanted to buy a helmet and avoid using the "class helmets" with moist lingering funk, and every store in town closed at 4. However, driving home, and kinda pissed, I had to stop for a goose crossing. Like 30 geese walking across the street. There was a little gap that I thought I could get across, but when I inched forward, the bird opened his mouth and walked faster. I lost it. It was the best laugh I've had in days--I have to start bringing my camera with me.

My heart's been set on a Vespa (with a side-car, pleaseandthankyou!) but I'm learning on a
Honda Nighthawk, but I think I'd like to find a Triumph. And so, a poem for y'all. Pretend that title refers to the motorcycle:

My Triumph

by John Greenleaf Whittier

The autumn-time has come;
On woods that dream of bloom,
And over purpling vines,
The low sun fainter shines.

The aster-flower is failing,
The hazel’s gold is paling;
Yet overhead more near
The eternal stars appear!

And present gratitude
Insures the future’s good,
And for the things I see
I trust the things to be;

That in the paths untrod,
And the long days of God,
My feet shall still be led,
My heart be comforted.

O living friends who love me!
O dear ones gone above me!
Careless of other fame,
I leave to you my name.

Hide it from idle praises,
Save it from evil phrases:
Why, when dear lips that spake it
Are dumb, should strangers wake it?

Let the thick curtain fall;
I better know than all
How little I have gained,
How vast the unattained.

Not by the page word-painted
Let life be banned or sainted:
Deeper than written scroll
The colors of the soul.

Sweeter than any sung
My songs that found no tongue;
Nobler than any fact
My wish that failed of act.

Others shall sing the song,
Others shall right the wrong,—
Finish what I begin,
And all I fail of win.

What matter, I or they?
Mine or another’s day,
So the right word be said
And life the sweeter made?

Hail to the coming singers!
Hail to the brave light-bringers!
Forward I reach and share
All that they sing and dare.

The airs of heaven blow o’er me;
A glory shines before me
Of what mankind shall be,—
Pure, generous, brave, and free.

A dream of man and woman
Diviner but still human,
Solving the riddle old,
Shaping the Age of Gold!

The love of God and neighbor;
An equal-handed labor;
The richer life, where beauty
Walks hand in hand with duty.

Ring, bells in unreared steeples,
The joy of unborn peoples!
Sound, trumpets far off blown,
Your triumph is my own!

Parcel and part of all,
I keep the festival,
Fore-reach the good to be,
And share the victory.

I feel the earth move sunward,
I join the great march onward,
And take, by faith, while living,
My freehold of thanksgiving.

Friday, July 27, 2007

67 Years of Bugs

Today in 1940 his first cartoon was released. This was exactly 18 years before my stepdad was born...Happy Birthday, Frank, to you too! (don't worry, I left him a message.)

If you want, enjoy the classic (and one of my favorites), "What's Opera, Doc?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New at 9L

A spankin' fresh video podcast featuring Nao Bustamonte is now up at

Did you know they have a blog too? Right here!

And did you know 9L has a myspace page? Yup.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


It's been pointed out that AWP NYC happens to make February 3rd a necessary travel day to return to Illinois. However, the Superbowl is on February 3rd. Now, I'm sure the people over at AWP didn't intend for this conflict, and what percent of the people at AWP will also be football fans (More than anyone expects, I'd wager), but we've got a small problem now.

As I'll be damned if I'm missing the game, and scolded if I bail on AWP, there is a decision to be made: Do I make sure I'm on an early flight to watch the game here in IL, or do we make plans to fly out of JFK on Monday and watch the game with dad?

Jets could make it this year, by the by (and if this Michael Vick business sticks, they'll win their pre-season opener in a few weeks).

Yeah. This blog is all about that little spot where poetry, cars, typewriters, literary journals, artists and Football all come together. Cozy, no?

Here you go:

Autumn Begins In Martins Ferry, Ohio

James Wright

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

And Now, Back to Poems

Finished the Harry Potter book--sorry Greg...and Potter doesn't get a little linkidy-link. I didn't expect it to take a day and a half (I don't read that fast), but I stepped up the pace so I could lend it to Christine before she goes to her new 9 to 5 tomorrow. I liked it--found half of the vocabs words I've been using while tutoring for the last month. Potter was no Necroscope, but I've enjoyed the read...

...ONLY not nearly as much as Holliday!

Who knows what to expect from this wonderful woman? And Big Game Books puts together a sexy item:

As if the hand-made goodness was enough, they also toss in a book mark--and that makes me happy (SoNew knows what I'm saying). Bookmarks are a'ight. Stickers are pretty dope. But when Bloof drops Knox's next book, in October., I'm on the make for my Drunk by Noon Lunch box w/ thermos, complete with the Charles Browning art and everything.

(I'm also trying to have a killer football jersey made. More on that as the season draws near!)

And speaking of high hopes, will my apartment be ready for me to move in no later than August 2nd? Only the shadows know....

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rudy Had a Baby...

...if you didn't know. Well, I guess he didn't have the baby, but he definitely did his thing:

Dominic. He wasn't born that big, but Rudy's not so swift with the e-mail. He's got places to be, and I'm pretty sure he's hired the kid on as his full-time body guard.

You can find a link to my old dear friend's art work off to the left. If that doesn't work for you, hang out the cafes of San Diego to find the legendary Rudy Gonzalez.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Change Over

As the old moderately pretentious notebook reached it's last page, I crack the binding of a new one.

I didn't always use these; got a whole bunch of steno pads and stuff, but a wonderful (and long gone) woman gave me the first one as a going-away gift (I came back, but you know how it goes). I started using it in 3/03. And now I'm stuck with the small moleskines, you see, because shortly there after a friend of mine sold me 9 of them for $1.52 from the art store where employed. I just finished the first one, here in 7/07. I might possibly have a life time of these things over here. Not that I'm complaining. They fit in the majority of my pockets, are fairly durable, but not so small that they're easy to loose.

I don't know how I feel about taking 4 years and 4 months to finish through one, but looking through it, I can see times where my process has changed: sometimes started with pen, other times typewriter (I have 10 of them at the moment, including the one promised to Amy). Some people go straight to the computer, but I haven't been able to really do that too well yet. But we'll see how it goes.

Where do you start? Paper? Smith-Corona? Macbook? Grease Pens in the shower? A recorder while driving? How does it get out?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Summer

I've been woken up at least 5 times in the last month from Mid-West storms, unlike any other rain I've ever seen (except maybe in Nantucket). Beautiful lighting and what not.

Been watching this cat for the last few days while Ms. Lillian is over at
Centrum making them all cry. CAT:

Ain't he something? I think he has abnormally short legs, but he's quick. We've been watching movies together. Neither of us like Ghost Rider very much, and he left Marie Antoinette about 10 minutes in to lick himself under the dining room table. He made the right move...I napped at about an hour a half in.

With summer seems to come too much television. With a new roommate until Aug. 1st, we have cable. So I was sucked into the Godfather the other night, and tore myself away kicking and screaming from Godfather II. All the while, they're showing commercials for Goodfellas, and it got me thinking. For years I loved the latter. But a while back I sat down and watched the entire set of the former, and so Goodfellas has been on the wane since.
The thing is, when I watch Hank Hill, Jimmy and Tommy, I know I'm watching a bunch of villans. All violence and what-not aside, I think I'm really bothered by how Hill crosses Paulie, who tells him over and over not to get involved with drugs.
You see, Vito Corleione warned all the bosses in the first one about the dangers of getting involved with narcotics. That's neither here nor there. The point is, I think I find the Godfather to be a better story, simply because I feel like I trust the guys; the only ones who die are the people who cross the family--Carlo sets up Sonny and so is killed in the car; Tessio is killed for trying to set it up so Michael gets killed; Fredo is killed for ratting on this brother to Roth. I'm not saying the violence is good or anything. I'm just saying, I understand. Michael's only intention is to legitimize the Corleione Family Business. Hill's only goal was to keep making money behind the family's back. He had it coming...the rat.

It also dawned on me that my brother's girlfriend looks a lot like Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone, played by Simonetta Stefanelli.

Anyway, it's been on my mind, so I'm just saying.
I'm gonna try to finish the Sean Doughtery book tonight.

Update: didn't finish book, woken by another storm.
Update #2: Dig this interview with Sean Thomas Doughtery at Bookslut.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Max Trax

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Never A Dull Moment

Just because it's quiet, doesn't mean it's boring around this joint. I think I've narrowed down which one of these little jerks has been putting the holes in George's screen. The suspect:

In other news, I'm now in the business of taking this motorcycle apart (it's an '83 Honda CM400C), so if anyone's looking for parts, let me know. I've got 'em.

Thing is, I can't fit another car into my parking space. But I still need something to work on. Depending on what I learn while I'm in this project, I might seriously look for a bike with a side-car. Always wanted one of those. And definitely a Vespa--something really beat up that I can bring back from scrap-yard death. Ha cha cha.

Sebastian Matthews has a poem on Poetry Daily today that I'm totally feeling:

On the Road, between Toledo & Cincinnati, Late June

Somewhere dead center in the day's drive
through this relentlessly flat state, the sky
darkens and fills up deepend blue,
and the word 'rain' comes to your lips
twenty seconds before the first waterballoon
droplets hit; and before you can think
or turn and say 'storm' here it comes
spilling out of its box like a load of grain.
The woman in the passenger seat
of a raggedly elegant convertible, top down,
laughs merrily, purse held over her head.
Motorcycles cluster under the awnings
of bridges, five, six, a whole family of Harleys:
Middle Americans for a brief spell
hobos, gathering around the fire
of manageable happenstance. We'll all
make it through. No twister coming to life
out of the yellowing swirl. No pile-up crash
in our cards. The rain subsiding, wipers
knocked back to intermittent, you drive on
through the burgeoning heat: crows
congregating in the backyards of trees,
fireworks stockpiling in the beds of pickups,
young girls towed behind speedboats
in inner tubes, shouting to each other
as they pass over the rotting corpse
of a deer that, a year-rounder told,
finally fell after a long winter
through the melting ice and settled
uneasily on the lake bottom.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto

Pablo Neruda would be 103 today. Here's one of my favorites by him:

Ode to Things

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
and bowls--
not to speak, of course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
and flower vases.

Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!
It's full of
through tobacco smoke,
and keys
and salt shakers--
I mean,
that is made
by the hand of man, every little thing:
shapely shoes,
and fabric,
and each new
bloodless birth
of gold,
carpenter's nails,
clocks, compasses,
coins, and the so-soft
softness of chairs.

Mankind has
oh so many
Built them of wool
and of wood,
of glass and
of rope:
ships, and stairways.

I love
not because they are
or sweet-smelling
but because,
I don't know,
this ocean is yours,
and mine:
these buttons
and wheels
and little
fans upon
whose feathers
love has scattered its blossoms,
glasses, knives and
all bear
the trace
of someone's fingers
on their handle or surface,
the trace of a distant hand
in the depths of forgetfulness.

I pause in houses,
streets and
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet:
this one because it rings,
that one because
it's as soft
as the softness of a woman's hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.

O irrevocable
of things:
no one can say
that I loved
or the plants of the jungle and the field,
that I loved
those things that leap and climb, desire, and survive.
It's not true:
many things conspired
to tell me the whole story.
Not only did they touch me,
or my hand touched them:
they were
so close
that they were a part
of my being,
they were so alive with me
that they lived half my life
and will die half my death.


Happy Birthday.
(retyped from the translation by Ken Krabbenhoft in the Bulfinch Press edition of Odes To Common Things)

PS - It's also Thoreau's birthday, so if you get hungry you can eat a woodchuck raw in his honor.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Ol' 5 Books-bit

Only because I have a special place in my heart (more like my liver) for Gary, I present the whole you're-stranded-on-an-island-and-that's-all-you've-got jive:

!. The Tunnel by Edson
@. Complete John Milton (Hughes edition)
#. This Big Fake World by Ada Limón
$. The Complete Far Side by Gary Larsen
%. Leaves of Grass by Whitman (Probably the 1855, but if I'm gonna be on that island for a long while, I'll take the '92 simply because it's longer. Realistically, I'd probably take books with titles like How to Build a Boat from Sand or How to Not Starve or Sun-burn While Stranded on a Deserted Island. Maybe I'd take The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, just because I think it would help put things in perspective).

Bonus ^: Blank Sketch Book...I like to doodle. I also can't help but think that a Moss Parts Catalog would do me some good.

I don't tag people. But I care: how's your week/month/summer coming along?
I'm labeling this under "vacation" because I've spent the last few minutes, in my head, on some island some where. It's close enough for me. Thanks, G.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Few Bits To Chew With Your Sunday Brunch, Wash Down With Mimosa

My apartment has plunged into a state of compressed disarray, as I've made space for my last roommate's late-coming sublet. So I share my living space with someone for the next 3 weeks before returning to quiet seclusion of living alone. On the bright side, with someone else in the "common spaces," I'll be in my room more, and so will be writing more...maybe I'll actually spend a little time just sitting outside--but there's a squirrel who's been chewing through my neighbor's screen door (I saw him make the third hole yesterday). Crazy squirrel.

Speaking of writing, I'm taking an epigraph for a poem from a Davenport sonnet. Thumbing through, there are a whole bunch of lines that are screaming to be italicized between titles and stanzas....Uncontainable Noise, if you don't know. At some point, he traded his hair for a whole lotta grit.

I've lost my copy of Janice Harrington's Even The Hollow My Body Made Is Gone, and I'm not happy about it. Probably lent it to some deviant around this joint....

Thanks you Shanna, for this and more.

I was just reading M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A this morning, and A. Van Jordan has a poem up on Poetry Daily. Check it out.

And, by the by, I've been relentlessly listening to Bowie's Hunky Dory. One of those albums that puts a special cut in the ol' strut on the way to campus. Totally worth stealing from one of your cool friends who has this album in their collection.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Get Your Knox Fix

And here I was, all bummed 'cause I had to wait until Oct to get the new Knox book, Drunk By Noon from Bloof Books. I've cried. I've rocked on the floor curled up like a skinned ribbon. I've started drinking at 6am to make sure I was strong enough to stand up to the title.

But I'm sobering up because I found Holliday over at Big Game, and the $4 I was gonna use to buy 27 more PBRs is now going to a better place. Big Game's been known to run out of good stuff, so pick it up while it's still hot.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tuesday Journal

Jodee brought their first issue back from Brooklyn a few weeks ago, and it's pretty neat. Most aesthetically appealing journal design I've seen lately--after the sexy rag I work for, of course.

Just saying. Once again, happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July

Unless I'm in New York, I never seem to know what to do on the 4th of July. Normally I'm here, here, or, a couple of times, I ended up somewhere around here. Wherever you are, try to say a prayer for Captain America, assassinated March 14th of this year.

ON a brighter note (if the passing of comic book super heroes really gets you down) this year I'm working in the evening before heading to a shin-di-diggy bidding warm wishes and a heart-felt farewell to Harmony. It's a celebration: for our dear friend; for the USA; most importantly, it's for the spirit of hope she gives us for finding a job after the MFA!

Thank you, Harmony. Thank you, Captain...

PS - Does anyone else have "Saturday in the Park" in their head?

Monday, July 2, 2007

46 Years Ago Today...

...Hemingway offed himself. After shock treatments ruined his ability to read and write, he supposedly said to one of his doctors, "If I can't exist on my own terms, then existence is impossible."

Just thought that was worth a share--if you don't read/hear the Writer's Almanac. Think I'll read one of the Nick Adams stories today.

This brings me to the fact that I've been thinking about getting a cat. I'm not a huge fan of traveling, and when I do, I'm never really gone for more than a couple of days and I've come to learn that a cat can go a few days without needing me around. Kinda like a plant. But fuzzy, and more agile.
I think I'd like a Hemingway cat with the extra toe--believe to have good sea-legs by British sailors back in the day (so the internet tells me):

Aren't they something? Genetics & cat toes? I have to wait about a month when I move into my studio, if I'm actually going to get a cat. I have time to mull this over.

The other point on the agenda is the Printers' Ball. Sounds like a happening. Anyone go the last two years? Is it a good time? Worth a little drive? 'Cuz I'll ball, baby.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

I'm Not in Kansas Anymore

But I was. Left Friday after installing a bracket on the exhaust of Lara's red 1975 MGB, replaced the speakers, hitting the road. She hadn't learned to drive stick yet, so I was at the helm:

As stops for gas (every 175 miles or so because we have to order a fuel sending unit to the gas gauge works properly) I found little things to repair. The top was so tight because of non-use, but we were strong enough to get it snapped down:

Then, of course something had to happen, and we lost power systematically. First not enough fuel at high speeds, then the radio got staticy, the blinkers cut out, you get the idea. I puttered out in a gas station, noticed the fan belt was slacked (and so no power was being generated by the alternator and the battery was wearing down). I pulled the tension as tight as it could go, but we only got another 40 miles between dying again. Someone at some point put a new bracket assembly on the alternator of this car, and that was the culprit.

From 9:15pm to 11:00pm or so, I hunted for a fan belt in rural Columbia, Missouri. Hunted. I had to go "find" a fan belt for a U-Haul truck in northern Florida once about 8 years ago, but that was in the middle of the day, and pre-cell phones. When it's Friday night 120 miles from St. Louis in one direction and 130 miles from Kansas City on Rt. 70, it's some serious shit.

By the grace of the NAMGBR Help Directory & Mickey (of Mickey's Towing and Storage, 110 Route B, Hallsville, MO, 65255. 573-696-3986), we had what we needed. Mickey, in addition to all night towing which we didn't need, also has a small shop out on Route B. If you need towing services out there, I highly recommend him.

But I fixed it. That's what I do:

By 1:30am, I was shot and so decided to teach Lara to drive her car. She got the hang of stick shift pretty quickly. I documented it for you, and then slept for 40 miles:

What should have been 7 hours took 14 with hunting and repairs. Lara will remember it as an Epic Road Trip Adventure; I will regard it as just another long drive in an MGB. I rented this to drive home:

Driving for days and days, occasionally repairing things, takes a toll on the body. Not only am I severely sun-burnt, but my muscles around my left shoulder are so sore that it hurts if I breathe deeply. I'm hoping it gets better in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, it seems I've been tagged to tell you 8 things about myself:

1. I have 4 fairly large tattoos, but I've never colored my hair or had anything pierced.
2. I've lost 3 cork screws, a set of Allen keys and a bike tool to Airport Security.
3. Don't like foreign films; actively and aggressively avoid them--unless they're kung-fu flicks.
4. I couldn't read until I was 8, and didn't actually read for fun until I was 15 or so.
5. Between the ages of 17 and 22 I tried to start smoking cigarettes at least 3 times. I'd buy a pack, run out, and forget for about 3 weeks. Upon remembering, I found it a huge pain in the ass to stop at the store for a pack of cigarettes, and so that's that. I buy a cigar every few months, and really enjoy it.
6. My food shopping list consists of very little more than eggs, apples, cheese, cans of black beans, & either tortillas or bread, and scotch (but a bottle will last me at least a month). I forget to eat dinner at least twice a week. I'd live on pizza and sandwiches if there was a decent deli in this town.
7. I used to know Latin, but have forgotten most of it. I forget a lot of things. I don't hold my memory in high regard, and believe I'm a better person for it.
8. When I am on a long drive, I constantly scan the stations and stop almost only for "Don't Stop Believing," "Time after Time," "Copacabana," or Jackson Browne's "Stay."

Happy 4th Weekend. I might cook a steak.

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