Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015


P H I L I P     W H A L E N

You will want the Philip Whalen biography. 
It is a gnarly book in that it goes round and round in interesting ways, 
often through friendships, quite unusual in this day and age of publishing. 
First Ginsberg, then Kerouac, and then taking off like a rocket
with Snyder
and leveling off mysteriously & sweetly with Kyger, 
while sharing birthdays with McClure (and Rimbaud!)
and all the friends, each and every one
claim they never saw Philip with 
a love interest. 
The gods could have told them that.
 Look at the full Collected Poems if you want to see his love interest. 
Long before a Buddhist,
Whalen, like Kerouac, were human beings. 
They didn’t actually waste their time on the Buddhist stuff, 
they just never needed it in the first place.
So the book reads less as a biography and more like an autobiography— 
Philip’s — the one he didn’t write. 
He wrote love poems. 
He wrote On Bear’s Head
The book that must be in every poetry library if one wishes to claim it is a poetry library. 

[ BA ]

Counterpoint, 2015


Saturday, December 26, 2015


A train on the Xianggui railway in southern China. 
Wang Wei’s photographs show off China’s natural beauty as well as its trains. 
Photograph: Wang Wei​


all together


S E R E N E     J O N E S

A short talk for the ages ~

and more ~

Friday, December 25, 2015


Oberägeri, Switzerland
  People dressed as Santa Claus pose on their stand-up paddles
 as they cross Lake Ägerisee


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Workers polish a snow sculpture ahead of the annual
Harbin (China) International Ice and Snow Festival


wearing the collar

I live with a lady and four cats
and some days we all get

some days I have trouble with
one of the

other days I have trouble with
two of the

other days,

some days I have trouble with
all four of the

and the

ten eyes looking at me
as if I were a dog.


C H A R L E S     B U K O W S K I

"A large number of the poems published in the posthumous collections,
especially beginning with What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through
the Fire (1999), differ — sometimes radically so — from the manuscript version
of the very same poems. In an attempt to rescue Bukowski's genuine voice and style,
the poems in this volume are faithful reproductions of the original manuscripts. If a
given manuscript could not be found, then the appropriate magazine version was
used; literary magazine editors made very few changes — if any — even printing 
Bukowski's unintended typographical mistakes. The sources below indicate which
version is being used for each poem as well as its date of publication."

"Poems flagged as uncollected have previously appeared in small press magazine
only, but given their obscure nature and limited print runs — 200 or 300 copies, if that — 
it is almost as if they were never actually published. Likewise, while some of the poems printed
in this collection have appeared in previous Black Sparrow Press and Ecco volumes of
poetry, the versions made available here have never been published before. This book, 
then, is a collection of new poetry and prose by Charles Bukowski."

For a poet like Charles Bukowski, who certainly didn't begin his writing career with the
likes of Ecco Press, or even Black Sparrow Press, I have highlighted above an astonishing
statement by the editor Debritto, diminishing the very world where Charles Bukowski made 
his name and reputation: the small press magazine and those obscure journals with limited
print runs. His early bread & butter. His charter. His family. If I'm not mistaken, some part of
even the Ecco publishing organization also cut their teeth on publishing a small press journal
and drew authors from its vast underground. Best not to be smug re Bukowski's background.
He could be listening.

[ BA ]

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015



Oak, pine, juniper and ash grew here in these

valleys 60,000 years ago where in summer the

ground was covered with wild flowers among the

grasses. . .

the grains in the cave. . . minute dots

drifting in on what we now call "June" breezes. . .

a little pale blue butterfly . . .

or one of the bodies of . . . the hides and skins of . . .


. . . tiny hollows in a bone decoration . . . or . . .

by water in a deep recess    here    (& here)

a little ripple I think



M A U R I C E     S C U L L Y

from H U M M I N G 
Shearsman Books 2009 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

P I E R    P A O L O     P A S O L I N I
New York City 1966
photo Duilio Pallottelli

from R I C H E S

Behold those times re-created by
the brutal power of sunlit images,
the light of life's tragedy.
The walls of the trial, the field
of the firing squad; and the distant
ghost of Rome's suburbs in a ring,
gleaming white in naked light.
Gunshots: our death, our survival.
Survivors, the boys enter a ring
of distant buildings in the harsh
color of morning. While I, in the pit
of today, have a kind of snake in my guts,
twisting about, and a thousand tears
dripping from every point in my body
from my eyes to my fingertips,
from the roots of my hair to my chest.
My weeping knows no bounds: it wells up
before I can understand it, almost
preceding the sorrow. I don't know why
I'm wracked by all these tears as I glimpse
that group of boys walking away
in the harsh light of an unknown Rome,
a Rome just resurfacing from death,
surviving with all the magnificent joy
of gleaming white in the light,
full of its immediate destiny
as postwar epic, of brief years
worth a whole lifetime.
I see them walking away, and it's quite
clear that, as adolescents, they're on the road
of hope, in the midst of ruins
engulfed in a whiteness that is life,
almost sexual life, sacred in its misery.
And as they walk away in the light
I shudder, on the verge of tears: Why?
Because there is no light
in their future. Because there's only
weary backsliding, only darkness.
They're grown up now. They've lived
their dreadful postwar years
of corruption engulfed in light
and now they surround me, poor men
for whom every agony proved useless,
servants of time, at a moment
when we awake to the painful surprise
of learning that all that light
for which we lived was only a dream,
unjustified, unobjective, wellspring
now of lonely tears of shame.


P I E R    P A O L O    P A S O L I N I

The Selected Poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini
edited and translated by Stephen Sartarelli
with an astonishingly forthright and revealing
Foreword by the film director
James Ivory
( University of Chicago 2014 )

Thursday, December 17, 2015


A bed with softer animals

It is raining.
It is Tuesday night.
There are 36 steps up to Alan's apartment on the East Sde.
A bed with softer animals.
A Doberman Pinscher walks into a 7-11 and buys a carton of milk.
I notice these things.

Rain waters the buildings and they grow and grow.
Makes thieves work harder.
Softens mountains.
Ruins sandwiches.

Some paintings make me cry.
I Like Crying.
Gunsmoke was a good show to cry to
Also, the Waltons' Christmas Special.

Alan is reading about cannibals in New Guinea.
The cannibals average at five feet tall.
They roast their dead for 30 days then bury them in the jungle.
Alan told me it rains more in the jungle, but I knew that already.

What I don't know is how lightning feels on the body.
Or what makes a glowworm glow.
Or why the neighbor keeps knocking his head against the wall.


M A Y     S H I E N     W I N

from Cross-Strokes
Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco
edited by Neeli Cherkovski and Bill Mohr
Otis Books 
The Graduate Writing program
Otis College of Art and Design

photo ~ female glow worm


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


L E N O R E    K A N D E L

Emerald Poem

there reaches a point without words
       safe    a point deep within the emerald
       seabright washes over eyes and tongue

frozen the stonebirds fly soft among my fingers
their tiny beaks tapping snowflakes from my thumb
                the color of emeralds
the solid becomes the liquid and I the greenbreather
I am at home among the nebulae
           in the heart of the emerald
       safe    a point without words
one is one and I the green breather
            I the gill singer
oh the liquid green flowers that the small birds carry!
       they fade to lavender
            on my tongue
       they fade to lavender on my eyes
oh the stars that devour me in the heart of the emerald
       safe    in the flowers of the emerald
       safe    at the point without words


L E N O R E     K A N D E L

from Cross-Strokes
Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco
edited by Neeli Cherkovski and Bill Mohr
Otis Books 
Seismicity Editions
The Graduate Writing program
Otis College of Art and Design

Monday, December 14, 2015


A homeowner looks at the view from the property owned by the Edge of U2. Environmental groups and residents of canyons and hillsides had lambasted the rock guitarist's original development proposal, saying it would cause irreparable harm to habitat and views. 
(photo ~ Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)


Aram and Gailyn Saroyan, St. Mark's Church, 1969
 Photo by Jayne Nodland

Friendly Persuasion

The body and the mind
Have a talk together

And the mind convinces the body
To go out with it on a date.

Soon afterwards
The mind calls the body up on the telephone

And says,
"Why don't you drop by?"

"When?" the body asks.
"How 'bout this afternoon."

In no time at all the mind and the body
Are doing steady.

Then they get married.
For a while they are very poor

And sometimes they have to go and stay at the body's folks' place
And then they have to stay at the mind's folks' place.

Neither one is a very good place to stay
They decide

And almost immediately they have a child.


A R A M     S A R O Y A N

from Cross-Strokes
Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco
edited by Neeli Cherkovski and Bill Mohr
Otis Books 
Seismicity Editions
The Graduate Writing program
Otis College of Art and Design

Saturday, December 12, 2015


1966, Swedish
Director Ingmar Bergman
Bibi Andersson
Liv Ullmann
35 mm print of the film shot by Sven Nykvist
according to David Thomson best viewed in its correct 1.33:1 aspect ratio
(which it isn't here, but it's free, full film showing, and on Youtube)
In 2014 Persona was recovered and redelivered on DVD by the Criterion Collection
who have achieved the ratio right
According to Thomson, on Youtube, "the original glow
of Nykvist's work is retained"
Thomson goes further, "Bergman and Nykvist, Andersson and Ullmann
made Persona for movie theatersBut was that their mistake, their
fussiness? Without knowing it, were they really anticipating something like Youtube yet to come?" 
The intense little boy in spectacles at the start of the film holds a book,
it's Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time
This boy is Jorgen Lindstrom, born in 1951
he made other films as a child
then went to work in a film laboratory
Even with his film background, Thomson
wonders, "I wonder where he is now."
Ingmar Bergman passed away in 2007
The two actresses are still with us
Susan Sontag thought Persona
the greatest film ever made 


"It is one of money's deftest tricks to arrange the world so that we don't see it.
So it's an accomplished maneuver of the movies to convey a feeling
of desirable wealth without provoking fury or revolution in that 90
percent who are neither pretty nor rich enough to be up there on the screen.
For decades, it could be claimed that movies were telling us stories, offering
us harmless dreams, bringing delight and consolation —
doing all those things that the director in Sullivan's Travels
comes to see as precious and useful. But in asking
you to watch movies, I have to suggest levels of geological content and
discontent beneath those friendly messages. The screen breathes money,
and it's more than a nickel, or however much you paid the last time you went."

D A V I D    T H O M S O N
from his essay
"Can You See the Money?"
How To Watch A Movie
Knopf 2015


"Banksy said: “We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7bn (£4.6bn) a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”

The Guardian