Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Come on back and talk to Teddy Bear!

A question

LIp sync yodeling. Fake ukulele playing and Jesus. Close to perfect.

Did you ever notice, if you question some Christians, that they will tell you that all of the weird shit in The Bible, the stuff that doesn't make much sense on the face of it, must be read and believed absolutely literally?

God absolutely planted a big garden with a magic tree in the middle. He put one sleepy little dude in the middle of the garden and then he created one little dudesse out of dude's rib. If you don't believe this you will go to H-E- Double Toothpicks for ever and ever and ever and Jesus will burn you up until the stuff in your eyeballs boils and then Jesus will make you magical new eyeballs so he can boil them until they pop, POP, and he will do this forever and forever and forever over and over again because that's the truth. Our God is an Awesome God. POP.

But if you ask those same people about the stuff in the Bible where it says don't kill people, or you should love your neighbor or if you deny the least, the most unimportant human, you are denying Jesus himself, they say, "You can't take that stuff literally. You have to understand how to interpret it. It's all very complicated. You need to find the right interpretation because love your neighbor means something different in the original Aramaic and besides God's love is a terrible and fearful thing."?

I'm just saying....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Further thoughts on California

I've driven across this bridge something like 12,000 times. Lots of times my job is boring. Lots of times I just watch traffic and never worry about where I am. Every time I make it to The Bridge I have to pause, mentally, and think, "Holy shit, I'm on The Large Orange Bridge." It is the most beautiful man made object I've ever seen.

Here's something I like about Fall in California. They call it "Autumn". I always though that was a quaint word that no one really used anymore. Around here lots of people call it Autumn. My friend named his daughter Autumn. Autumn.

I don't understand Los Angeles. This is not just NorCal rivalry with SoCal. Most cities came into being because there was a navigable waterway and/or an exploitable resource. L.A. seems to exist because people want to live there. Yes there are industries, but most of them could be located anywhere. There's a big port, but that came after the city started to grow.

L.A. must have been beautiful, so people moved there, because it was "nice". Then more people moved there. And more. And more. And more. Now the place is some kind of futuristic dystopia and people keep moving there. They have to pipe in water from Ohio just to water their lawns. I really don't get it. I don't dislike all of it. I've had some grand times there. I just couldn't figure out what we were all doing there.

Why can't all songs have this much heart?

You Belong To My Heart- Old 97's (Buy)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm Just A Prisoner of Love

The capes! God I love the capes!

Not a lot of time or energy this weekend. Further notes on California. We are entering into our late summer, early fall, heatwave. For the rest of the week temperatures close to 100 degrees are expected. Some Californians have this weird disconnect with the weather. They will say things like, "Winter's coming. You can feel a nip in the air," on days when the temperature is in the 90's. I don't really get it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

For Mr. Beer N. Hockey. A great poet. A great American. North American.

I Wanna Be A Girl- King Khan and the Shrines (Buy)
King Khan is a North American too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I was just listening to The Dead Boys. They reminded me of what an angry guy I used to be. Boy was I pissed off.

I still think that the world is a lot meaner than it needs to be and that some very bad people are getting away with some very bad things. Gosh, I even still feel misunderstood and alienated sometimes. I guess I stopped taking the world so fucking personally.

Sonic Reducer- The Dead Boys (Buy)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shorter hours

I'm working shorter hours. I'm much less likely to fall asleep at the wheel. I might have something to say for myself later. In the meantime, if you don't have this record, do what you must to acquire it. Just because I luv u.

Mosquito Crucifixion- The Suicide Commandos (Buy)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Protests Have Started.

I noticed that one of my 12 "followers" has stopped following me. I can see that angry poetry lovers are voting with their feet and leaving for some other arts journal and blog that will look upon their favorite poet and smile.

Speaking of protests. I'm not offended that the asshole from South Carolina called Obama a liar. I'm offended that during the entire eight years of George Bush's presidency not one single Democrat blew up at him and called him a liar. I understand that a lot of old, white men are frightened by Obama. Why wasn't one single Democrat frightened by George Bush? I mean frightened enough to yell at him.

Fuck this polite shit. It's time to set up the Obama people's tribunals and start executing counter revolutionaries or at least making them write something on the blackboard 100 times.

Poetry Awards

If Wilfred Owens was not totally, totally dead he probably would have won.

I'm sure a ripple passed through the literary world with my sudden announcement that Nazz Nomad has won the prestigious Poetry Is For Assholes poet of the year award. I mostly gave him the award because he writes poems that are pretty short and easy to remember.

Let me assure you that I will be posting an even handed and fair discussion of how the judges and I reached our decision. There are several fine poets who come to this blog on a regular basis. Then there's Eloh in Alabama who posts Robert Service poetry which should probably earn her some kind of award.

Just lately I have been getting home around 9 or 10 at night and going back to work at 6 in the morning. I'm so tired I'm seeing shit. Short and easy to remember counts for a lot. Sometimes I fade in and out of dreams and vivid memories of my childhood. I could have given the award to the author of "The Saggy Baggy Elephant".

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This Probably Won't Work

For comrade Nazz Nomad, poet of the year, because he seems to be having a bad time of it.


Call this the Jerry Lee Lewis option: "Son, I know I'm goin' to hell but it's too damn late to stop."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bad Guy Reaction

By the Walking Ruins. I used to know these guys. They are really old with kids and grown up stuff. They still get together and play out. They're alright.


I've been thinking about sin and salvation and country music. Let's start this post off with an invocation.

Baby Jesus Prayer- from the movie Talladega Nights- Courtesy of Setting The Woods On Fire.

See, the thing is that I really like hard core honky tonk songs. I like songs about drinkin' and cheatin' and fightin' and just generally misbehavin'. I also really like gospel music. It all seemed to tie together somehow, but I wasn't quite sure how.

So let's consider one of the greatest cheatin' songs ever.

In Some Room Above the Street- Gary Stewart (buy)

Gary Stewart wasn't just talkin' either. Something got ahold of him and wouldn't let go until he was dead. He was as crazy and self destructive as any rock and roller. For a great appreciation of his work and a short biography, Click Here.

Now, if you've taken the time to read that piece. Go back and listen to the song again. Is that the sound of a man having a good time, even an illicit good time? The man sounds tortured. He's faced his demons and the demons won. Maybe you don't know that feeling. I think I do.

Some of us, at some point, look back on our lives and we feel Like Mister Kurtz. The boat has arrived too late. Things have gone on too long. The situation is beyond retrieval and we are about to die:

He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath—"The horror! The horror!"
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

For a lucky few of us damned souls, the possibility of salvation presents itself.

Now, I'm not talking here about guilt and shame and trying to make it right with the wife. I'm not talking about placating a judge or quieting the ghost of Mom. I'm talking about the abyss and the hand that grasps ours as we are about to fall in.

I'm not very good at religion. My "personal relationship" with Jesus is as cheezy as the prayer from Talladega Nights. It suits me just fine though. Besides, my salvation is about other people. Real people showed up, stuck their noses in my miserable business and saved me because someone had done the same for them. They told me it was a God thing but they didn't get much more specific than that. I started the conversation with Jesus on my own. I like the IWW's fellow worker Jesus and Dorothy Day's Jesus of the streets. That's who I'm talking too when I say grace.

So, here's where gospel music comes into it. It seems like there's a cycle of country songs. We throw ourselves whole heartedly into the world. We discover the wild side of life. We are drug into places we never knew existed. The world is revealed to be a cruel sham. The bottle, or whatever, lets us down and we are alone with our pain. We see the light. We are lifted out of ourselves. Our old life has no more claim on us. We at last know peace.

Shit, I dunno. It works for me. Oh and yes, I've met people who insist on going through that cycle again and again. And I've met people who think they're better than the rest of us because they used to be worse than the rest of us. I've met people who carry on hurting people in terrible ways while claiming that the stench surrounding them is the odor of sanctity. Look, I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the people who've been through it, come out alive and are happy and grateful. Here's a couple of songs for them. You don't have to believe in God and you don't have to send any money to any preacher to enjoy them.

Where Could I Go But To The Lord- Emmylou Harris (Buy)

I'll Be Rested- Mavis Staples (Buy)

I was going to post this on a Sunday, but lately I need a three day weekend to feel rested enough to write anything.

Labor Day

I went to the North Bay Central Labor Council labor day pancake breakfast. You wouldn't know the labor movement was in trouble to look at the crowd. I think free pancakes and t shirts had something to do with it, but what's wrong with that? Business promises you job loss, pay cuts and no health care. Labor delivers free pancakes and t shirts. Which side are you on?

The public radio station was supposedly doing a tribute to labor and I listened while I drove to the breakfast. I quickly figured out that their point was to prove that unions were something in the past and the labor movement isn't relevant anymore. They managed to drag in a couple of elderly folk singers who were a little vague about labor history, but at least one of them had met a worker once. Actually, the poor old things were a little vague about everything. I hope I don't live long enough to get used by some yuppie who is looking to fill his "labor" coverage quota.

They also had some "labor" historians on. The show was pretty much dominated by another elderly fellow who who was determined to take up the whole show explaining his theory that the SF labor movement was saved by a group of anti communist Catholic businessmen. Apparently, were in it not for those unsung heroes of the Police Department and the Chamber of Commerce, the SF general strike would have been taken over by Communists. The whole thing was weird and the old guy's voice was quavering and shrill. What the hell was that about?

It was a relief to be among real live labor people. I got there just as the food ran out. I had a cold dry bagel and an equally cold and dry pancake. I never did find the coffee. I don't give a shit. It was OK to be in a big crowd of people who were talking up real issues. I only stayed for one speaker, Sonoma County's own Norman Solomon. Solomon was just back from Afghanistan. He told a story about an Afghan worker whose house was destroyed by an American bomb. His 7 year old daughter lost her arm. The North Bay's share of war taxes comes to 1.2 billion dollars, including the cost of that bomb. The crowd looked a little tense for a minute there. A lot of union members have family members in Iraq and Afghanistan. My local president's son will be deployed this week. Another local member's son was killed this summer. Then Solomon started to point out what that money could have bought if it had been spent right here. He had us then. The crowd cheered.

I walked around and shook a few hands and left. The labor movement is not doing too well. It's been under attack for my entire working life. It is definitely alive. I will not leave you with some antique folk song about labor. That stuff is quaint as hell but we ain't dead yet.

General Strike- DOA (buy)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Working a lot

I'm not posting a lot. I'm working a lot. When I get a chance I'll post some more.

Orgarhythm- King Brothers (Buy)

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