Saturday, April 6, 2013


True Noir, A Letter To My Friend, John

Once upon a time, long ago, I heard Jim Koller read a poem on NPR. I still remember how he spoke about screwing hinges onto a gate for his sheep pen. It sounded both practical and mystifying, somehow. This would be early 1970s in my cabin in the woods when NPR was on all day — classical show with Robert J Lurtsema in the morning (out of his home!), more classical music in the afternoon and then Susan Stamberg and the news. Jazz at night, even very good rock 'n' roll and some other talk shows. Some ethnic world music wonders. Maybe even the infectious "Car Talk" got started then? I lost track. NPR became larger and more predictable, even snooty, and I stopped listening except to snips and snaps. I've got to think some young poet is now going to hear you and your Billy the Kid sequence of poems when you're on the air. Just the way it should be.

Sorry to hear about the TK murder case. If watching all the tv show "The Killing" from Seattle has anything to do with (it does), and the recent rampage of assassinations by supposed white supremacists onto lawmen and the like (in their house doorways!), then count on the TK case is ripe with injustice up and down the legal ladder. No on can die anymore — we're either thoroughly ignored and gone, fodder, shoveled away, or a tool for other things. Things that assist careers or end them. Let's hope the law at least has their killer, and then wait and watch what others in control do with the killer and the case. It sounds to me like it can be closed and re-opened at political whim at this point.

We finished with "The Killing" and two big seasons of "Wallander" this week. Ideal mud-season viewing. Barely no one cracks a smile in tons of episodes in a row, and now neither does anyone in "Top of the Lake" from New Zealand. In fact, the only 'normal' person in all of these shows — the realtor in Top of the Lake — he gets murdered, probably for smiling, as soon as we meet him. These are shows where people are miserable, wear the same clothes for weeks on end, never comb their hair or else pull it back severely, smoke lots of cigarettes, gulp down bottle after bottle, sleep on the fly, eat terribly, never look at a book, and only the Swede Wallander, living alone as a social misfit (with, I guess, a girlfriend next door) spends his free time on a 24-7 cycle of Be-At-Ready, swooning to classical music, walking his dog (man's best friend) and getting drunk. Id say, crossing the globe of hard crime theater, I'm most at home and invigorated by the Swedes.

In our own crime little theater here all last summer, with all the Sheriff's dept. in our house and visiting at all hours drawing a bead on the nonsense in the rural neighborhood, and we complying with nothing to hide, and nothing really came of it. All political. One chump after another trying to budge up the ladder, no one likes one another, secrets and lies. Sweetheart and I work best, it seems, now with all the old timers dead (or as Jim Koller said ten years ago when visiting us one more time, "You guys are now the old timers") at staying isolated in the hermitage, keeping our noses to the grindstone, tapping into social matters where it counts. Carson and Jocelyn will have a "baby shower" the end of May. Neither of us have ever been to one. Let's have a look.

The printer this week sent my proof for the new little book of prose poems (Sweetheart calls them "fables") completely backwards! It was impossible to get too upset and instead seen as a self-contained boo-boo by a professional momentarily out of whack, that we simply asked them, "Do over, please." They probably we're blushing and placing blame on their end as they had to in order to survive independently one against the other and together, no matter; they had a new proof in our hands within 48 hours. Looks good. We gave the okay to roll the presses after correcting a few typos, adjusting the titles, and brightening one or two of the maybe too many photographs. Too late now. It's part photo album. One more oddity in the secluded world of technology where no one looks at anything much any longer but a screen. We're noticing all libraries we've been in where we are the only ones searching in the book stacks. Come out for air into the high-ceilinged main assembly and its droves of people faced into computers. The book racks are thinning out to make room for more computer carols and terminals. It's only a matter of time books will be seen in libraries as a nuisance. We look very suspicious clomping in every two weeks with a big canvas satchel filled to the brim with CDs and books. Currently Patricia Highsmith, that Texas wreck, is our passion. We can't get enough of her. I just finished Strangers on a Train, returning after years away reading a lot of contemporary muck, to my once youthful wonder at reading when discovering a fine writer at work in craft, character, story and human psychology. No tricks. No compromising the story line. A writer who plows ahead, delicately. As if discovering along with us at the same time and yet being the creator herself. Spontaneity. Ah, what once the poet craved.

Real time — we still have snow up to our knees in the woods. In all towns, no snow, no mud. We look like freaks when we get to a town in our mud boots, thick pants, layers. Sweetheart has taken to wearing her mud boots out of here and sporting behind the seat fashionable wear to change into when she hits civilization. I, on the other hand, they get me as I am.

Say hello to Billy for me
all's well, Bob 

 photo from:
The Incredible Shrinking Man, a 1957 science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold and adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson from his novel The Shrinking Man. The film stars Grant Williams and Randy Stuart. 

The Letter by The Box Tops on Grooveshark