Saturday, May 27, 2017

Shop Talk

Somebody said 80 percent of writing is reading. Below are brief comments about the most delightful and/or astonishing books and authors that have been part of my 80 percent during the past few months. (And this is in addition to the abundant flow of brilliant writing available on the internet.) This is the best time ever for readers! 

My Favorite Thing is Monsters. A graphic novel by Emil Ferris.  And I loved the graphics but the novel part was overly plotted for my taste, although it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book, so swept along was I by the graphics. The mood of the piece is pretty grim and dismal but again just looking at the graphics is enthralling. And the discerning reader will value and delight in the art history seminar that runs in the background.


Babette Babich is a philosopher and university professor. She has many books in print and a ton of articles online. I recently read two essays: “Angels, the Space of Time, and Apocalyptic Blindness,”--which the title itself compels reading and as do some of the keywords: “endtime, holocaust, humanity”-- and an article about the excitements and frustrations of starting a philosophy journal—the similarities in the politics of academic philosophy journals and the politics of literary journals are blatant.   

Litanies Said Handedly, “scored scourings meant/for the tongue-trigger” are part of a good attempt to recreate on paper the excitement of a Ralph La Charity performance (as I remember them anyway from Seattle back in the day; and this video is a reminder, too). In addition to the performance pieces where “Yes. There is another way to say it” and words “descend in a rush/tripping off the tongue,” The poetics swing and the collages rock. Some other observations can be found in the review I contributed on the book's Amazon page. 




Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, by Lisa Robertson, is set in Vancouver, Canada, as the 20th century became the 21st and is a exquisite little production all unto itself, modest in its packaging, a geode upon opening, text and images about architecture, space, place; erudite and whimsical and serious (History of scaffolding, or Spatial Synthetics: A theory.) and beautifully expressed in word and design. The Index at the back of the book is hilarious. Like all the others mentioned in this post, there is a lambent mind at work. 


“I’m going to dump it all in. Everything that occurs to me or everything I see…This will be my museum. I’ll put it all down here on the page…” A Handmade Museum is a collection of prose poem observation and assemblage by Brenda Coultas of the detritus of the Bowery, objects in trash cans, and dumpsters and vacant lots, archaeological attention paid to discarded items and anthropological attention paid to discarded human beings, as well as odd reflections on all-American oddities, such as “a 60 foot tall Santa that marked the turn-off to Holiday World. Over the summer he was painted into King Kong and rented out to grand openings. If you see either Santa or King Kong, please remember, they are one and the same.” Sometimes her writing reminds me of Gertrude Stein: “He hated to fly, he preferred the ground and traveled by land and not the sea either.” A lovely book.




27Hammerheads Circling Ever Closer, by Catfish McDaris, is so funny and erudite and nasty and violent and crude and poetic and surreal…I made some other observations about the book that can be found in the Amazon review section.





Martha Rosler is an artist and writer, and her essays about art, creativity, and hip urban space are terrific. One essay I read discusses gentrification, the creative class, and the professionalization of art. Another I downloaded is a history of, and aesthetic thoughts about, documentary photography). You can find many of her articles and images of her art work on the internet. Do yourself a favor.


Look, a book of poems by Solmaz Sharif, is about war, the effects of war on human beings, direct, indirect, Iran, Iraq. My favorite in the collection is Reaching Guantanamo, letters from a wife to her husband imprisoned at the U.S. base. (I’m assuming that’s the case; sometimes you really have to spell it out for me.) The letters are censored and the redactions are jarring, and what’s censored, that white space throws an additional light on the words that surround it. I was impressed by the technique, how the poet paced the letters in sequence, and then the contents within each letter, thereby creating it’s own emotional imperative and momentum.



Finally, and continuing in the more somber Memorial Day theme, what I am about to quote informs the life of Joanna Kubicka Fenn but has not circumscribed or inhibited it. To the contrary.: poignant and full  of zest is how I would describe the life chronicled in this wonderfully written memoir, Weaving the Strands of Life. But the passage below is an excerpt from a story from Joanna Kubicka Fenn’s childhood, a memory, hiding in an apartment house laundry room in the city of Lwow in Poland, during World War II as Russian fighter planes were bombing the city. And it speaks to our time. 


“It was that laundry room that was used as a bomb shelter. On the outside the windows were covered with sacks filled with sand. Big piles of them. Inside there were wooden benches under the walls. Whenever the alarm sirens went off, everybody went to that cellar. As my mother had this sleeping baby in her arms, and me, people let her have the most comfortable seat—the wooden cover of the toilet. The door to this cubicle was long gone, maybe burned for warmth, who knows, but still it was sheltered from drafts, and I suppose a little safer.

“And then came the night when a bomb hit us...you know I still can hear the long whistle of the bombs…and how it usually ended with a boom, sometimes even with a shaking, when the hit was near…but this time it was different…that night, the whistle became a roar, a boom surpassing all other booms and a quake incomparable to the other quakes. The sand bags must have been blown away from the window, because a powerful blast rushed in. People were flung against the walls, and one lady, who had been standing in the middle at the time, was hurled onto the floor and spun around…just like a toy top…round and round and round…and my mother grabbed me and tried to cover my eyes…but I wouldn’t let her, because it was fascinating to watch…something queer was happening to that spinning lady…she was losing her face…and her arms…she was becoming bloody pulp…right there…in front of us…And then she slowed, and slowed, and stopped , and after all that movement, she was just lying still. I wanted to run to her and tell her it’s all right, she could get up now, but I didn’t, because what was lying there didn’t resemble her at all.”


























Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Routine

LIVE FROM CHICAGO CHOP SUEY

On MLK.
In Little Zagreb.


THE ROUTINE

Real people not actors.


GREEN WASTE BARREL PODIUM

There’s a warning on the lid: No smelly material.


A CROATIAN BUSINESSMAN THAT CAN WRITE DOPE FLOW

That’s what I am nowadays.
Keep on rocking in the free world.


YOU WERE SORT OF THINKING

An avant gardey type thing?


I DARED TO EAT A PEACH

And have slept interest free
For 25 years.


I AM CHOLO AT HEART

I put the cho
In cho man chip.


IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO THE OTHER SIDE

I do that, too.


OUTLETS ARE TRENDING

Eight boats, 232 anglers.
A lot of movement at the line of scrimmage.


THIS NEXT ONE

Is kind of cute.


TWO ENEMIES OF FREEDOM

Walk into a bar.


I KIND OF SAID HEY

Kenya and Nigeria.


THEY BASICALLY SAID

That’s a long national anthem, man.


LIKE I TOLD ONE GUY

Bwee bwee bwee bwee bwee bwee.
Twee huh huh twee huh huh.
Whirrup whirrup whirrup whirrup.
Zeep zeep zeep.
Titta-titta-titta-titta-titta.


THEY DID A THING ON TV ABOUT

Norwegian plywood.


NO HE’S A WHITE GUY

But he had tax problems.


WHICH IS MORE?

A million trees or a million whales?


I’M AN AVID GOLFER

As you all know.


IF NOT FOR THE SANDIAS AND THE RIO GRANDE

Albuquerque is Clovis. 


HOW IMPORTANT IS AN ERECTION TO ME?

I said you better ask my wife.


I WAS PULLING WEEDS ON A COLD SPRING DAY

And the sun in my crack felt good.


APRIL IS THE CHILLEST MONTH

Daddy-o.


MY SOURCES ARE TELLING ME

The Pope is really feeling the weight of the brand.


LIKE WHEN A CHINESE FAMILY

Sees Tastee-Freez for the first time.


WELL YOU KNOW WHAT I TOLD HIM DON’T YOU

Buy a day, get a lifetime free.




Saturday, May 13, 2017

From the Palace of Freedom





KARINA

I decide to swing by McDonald’s
And get a McChicken.
But when I bite into it
There’s no chicken.
As McDonald’s being my first job
How hard is it to put chicken in a McChicken?
Not that difficult.


CLAUDIA

When he saw the famous painting the scream my son got very upset and said mommy I think this guy had mental problems because his paintings are his expression of saying I'm very sad and my life is hell. I want to leave because his life is very disturbing and dark. Munch art is very dark and depressing, that's how I felt, exactly like my son. I didn't know either anything about the artist but as soon I saw the first painting I knew that he had mental problems, his life wasn't happy or something was tormenting him all his life. Later that day I read his biography and I learned that mental problems ran in his family. For sure he had the same illness. Anyway, what's up with u? We have a koi pond and water snakes come to eat the fish. I'm terrified!!!


WORLD SYSTEMS

Always a crowd favorite, world systems have talent. “And in those days men shall look for death, but not find it, and they shall desire death, but death shall escape them.”  (from Revelation, Lattimore trans.) Those days are now.


A MOST DESIRED FUTURE

You have to stay clean for the Kazakh Family Fun Center in Astana; if you’re not clean it will be vacuum cleaners at 5 a.m., or deep dives into the complicated pain of heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach and poison frogs and spiders, adults talking like adult 7th graders, talking about moving the chains with a flick of their electric wrists, or patio cover packages, or hey the sell-a-thon is on, the tensile avarice among the elite wealthy special interest tax grabbing lava lamp gooey duck tumble dry liberals; after all, pornography (porno-porn-xxx) isn’t the top three internet search terms because there’s no market.


ROUGH MORNING

The electric razor is in with the coffee maker, again, who’s a screamer. Or is it a sea lion pup screaming for its life that my dad is clubbering that dropped out of the sky and landed on the roof and rolled off onto the patio of our three billion bedroom, three billion bath home. A similar incident yesterday resulted in the swimming pool maintenance guy walking off the job.


WITH THE CANDLESTICK

Inventory clearance event goers at the Multispecies Ecosystem Megaplex suffered weight loss gains as flowering burlap glitched unexpectedly, completely covering the to do pile. Blush wine with cabriole legs had stopped breathing and turned bluish by the time emergency crews arrived. Sun and shadows lay cooing in each others’ arms on the roof while at the line of scrimmage behind the yellow tape, rabbits and Tiffany lamps watched along with the neighborhood and art work from Dahomey (the name I prefer to Benin). I’m sure the extra toothbrush and the Department of Hope and Serenity issued condoms were left out on purpose. A zero bill. 


NOTICE

The Palace of Freedom is now located on a dead end road in an unincorporated area of the county, just east of two infamous white trash hellholes (you needn’t be white to be white trash either, although it helps) whose limits commingle such that you don’t know where they begin or end, like Ligeti music and the traffic noise, especially the motorcycles and tractor-trailer hauling dealer level quantities of controlled substances and illegal weapons that traverse the valley on the state highway. The impersonality of it works for the recluse that I am. Earlier today there were flying saucers hovering over the valley, pure white stealth bombers, contrails, genie smoke, agate clouds.



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sugars and Stirrers

HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE A TRAMPOLINE FIXER

That’s what he does.


I SAW YOU AT HAVASU

You and Nayeli were hanging out.


HE’S LIKE TEXTING ME

Can we go on a date?


I DON’T KNOW WHY HE SPRAY PAINTED IT RED

If he wanted a red one, he should have bought one.


IS THAT WHY LIKE

He’s always like.


I’VE NEVER BEEN THERE

I hear it’s pretty cool though.


DID YOU GO ON LINE?

There’s a video.


BECAUSE SHE TOLD OCTAVIA

And Octavia.


BUT SEE I THINK

Plus.


KEYERAL’S SO NICE

That’s why Nayeli doesn’t like her.


EXCUSE ME I’M SCHEDULING

A used oil pickup.


I KNOW RIGHT?

I didn’t even have a boyfriend that year.


HE HEAD BUTTED SOME GUY AT CHURCH

Broke his face.


WHICH ONE TIME

Yeah oh yeah.


EITHER THAT OR

Well sure.


HE SAID NO BUT THEN LIKE

Well I could have I suppose probably.


SO THEN I’M SITTING THERE THINKING

Well.


I WOULD PROBABLY SAY

Both.


I’VE GOT THE WORST BLISTER ON MY FOOT

It’s horrible.
I posted it on Facebook.


AND I WAS LIKE TELLING HIM

No it’s I mean.


HE’S LIKE WELL DELACY

I’m like well Damien.


THAT’S

So like.


I HAVEN’T SEEN HER IN A MINUTE

I thought she dropped off the face of the Earth.


IT WAS

I wasn’t there, though.
It was Octavia, Keyeral, and Damien.


YEAH NO

No wait.
Wait wait no.
Yeah.




Saturday, April 29, 2017

After the Failed Coup

WHO TOLD YOU?

Did I tell you?


AND THEN

And then.
Oh yeah.
And then.


YEAH

So I mean.
You know.


SO UH SO UH

But.


I THINK

I mean.


IT’S SIMPLE

All you have to do.


AND AFTER

After like.


IT’S ESSENTIALLY

You know.
Right?


WE

We actually.
We had.


NOT TO USE THIS

As a window frame but look.
How pretty.


SO THE TWO OF YOU

And what would you.


WELL THAT AND UH

Oh yes oh yes oh yes.


THAT IS UNBELIEVABLE

When you think about it.


BUT IT WAS FUNNY

I was like wait.


OUT PAST

Almost to.


IT WAS ACTUALLY

No that’s.


I GUESS DECORATIVE

I don’t know.


AFTER THE FAILED COUP

She and the boys and Jaida.


I CALLED HER

And I told her I said
And I even told Lulu
And Lulu agrees with me.


SO SHE SAID

You know.
She said.


YEAH BUT THE THING IS

Oh I thought she.


YOU KNOW LIKE

She goes.


WELL YEAH

His is, too.
Except.


LIKE WITH US

Whenever there’s.
We always.


I THINK I THOUGHT

I kind of knew.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Special Offer!


New Release
My latest chapbook, Settles Tab, Enters Scrum.  
Kindle price is 99 cents but I will also post a free PDF on my website:  www.randystark.com






















Saturday, April 15, 2017

Chapters 10 and 11

Chapter 10:  The Cunning Little Linguist

IF WORDS TOOK OFF FOR THE SEASON

Sound would be clip art.


SAID THE CUNNING LITTLE LINGUIST

Enshowered.
Exfoliatively so.


I HAD JUST GOTTEN SOBER

So it was 5 years ago.


REALITY

Super silky.
Super soft.


THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Hey go with it dude.


LATE GETTING HOME FROM WORK

Schemata No.8-21.


BLURB

A terrific sort of
Debut
If you like
In a sense
To me.


I KIND OF WENT HUH?

It’s just the one page.


HE CALLED IT A PLEASURE AND A HALF

He asked me if I knew anybody.


THREE PAGES

Edited down to one.
Which was blank.


IT’S AMAZING

And so.


WELL I DID IT

But I don't know.


Chapter 11:  The Chambray Shirt

RAIN TRAFFIC

Bassinets of spray.


REST STOP

Hauled millions of washers and dryers over the years.


MATTRESS BONFIRES CRASH A DESERT NIGHT

It brings a lot of things to your head.
Hell I don’t owe frickin’ nobody nothing.


SO YEAH OK AS I SIT HERE

Remembering back in the day
New Mexico.


THE WALK TO THE MECHANICAL GARDEN

Tswee tswee tswee.
Snicksnick.
Whistle, peep.
Tseep tseep tseep.


THE CHAMBRAY SHIRT

It gives me mixed feelings.