Saturday, April 30, 2016

O Frabjous Day! - notes about literature

Somewhere in my life, there
must have been – buried now under
long accumulation – some extreme
joy which, never spoken, cannot
be brought to mind.  How else, in this
unconscious city, could I have
such a sense of dwelling?



I play two parts, reader and writer.

There are other (many) moments when I am bereft of audacity and inspiration, and this quote from Doris Lessing—“Whatever you are meant to do, do it now.  The conditions are always impossible.”—becomes my lifeline.

Sometimes in the quest for inspiration, I think about the fairly famous quote from the playwright John Millington Synge: “When I was writing...I got more aid than any learning could have given me from a chink in the floor of the old Wicklow house where I was staying, that let me hear what was being said by the servant girls in the kitchen.” I was reminded of that anecdote on a recent Saturday evening as I was sitting on a bench behind two very popular taverns in a beach city in the United States, listening to the lively conversation streaming into the alley. 

On the reading side of town, I love extolling other writers who are so much better than I’ll ever be, and for these reasons:  pure literary entertainment for me and an occasion to share, and the feeling of a burden lifted, a load off my shoulders, of having to prove the worth of the art. This almost always buoys my spirits and, in the background replenishes the audacity I need to create. I’m lucky that such serendipities occur to me con frequencia, especially since this is, according to Tim Green, editor of Rattle poetry magazine, a golden age of poetry.

In either frame of mind, there’s no getting away from the reality that Joan Rettalack describes:  “The contemporary is the latest further complication of the past.”

Every ebook by me is just 99 cents.
Many in a certain poetry crowd are university based, where appropriation of found originary ideas moves from one master meta narrative to another privileged within embodied replies to institutional hails and truth claims. Like oh my god. They attend conventions, they kiss publisher’s asses, and they issue ridiculously high-priced thin books of poetry. Well you can’t just bitch and complain, you have to act, and so every ebook in my catalog (or e-ouvre) is priced at 99 cents. There may exist some early-career paperback books that I published and cover-priced ridiculously high; they, not surprisingly, sold poorly and are very difficult to find; but other than the pretty cover artistry not being available, there is no cause for mourning.

Sometimes when I reach out to the internet (a.k.a. surfing) and come up with startling and beguiling results I just go crazy in my head. The other day started with reading Andy Clausen poems online, I love the way he forces the mind to make connections, theater pieces ready to eat, “Alice” for one, and “Judas” on the same page. Wow! Other recent good luck needing shoutouts include work by Bernadette Mayer, John Weiners, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Ben Lerner. Yesterday and today reading Chilean visual poets, Finnish visual poets (long dark late autumn and winter nights) and two New Zealand poets, Raewyn Alexander and Michael Steven; Claire Blotter referencing Gertrude Stein’s “non-linear use of repetition and the continuous present.”; Auden “In Praise of Limestone,” Emily Dickinson “Much madness is divinest sense;” poets of Azerbaijan; , Maori and Pacific poets including work in Hawaiian Creole English. “Friends” from Facebook:  Dan Raphael, Alicia Young. I have fun with Wiittgenstein and Epictetus (“the fashionable Stoic philosopher”) and can o.d. on Jules Verne any old time (in fact a sequence in my recent book You Perfect Thing is entitled “Mission to Mars” as a tribute to him).

From the It Fell Into My Lap department, there is Nikolai Gogol’s story “Diary of a Madman.” It is about an obscure civil servant working in a typical, faceless government office who is entering the nightmare of mental illness. Although not a little humorous, the story is also one of the saddest I’ve ever read, as the man struggles, futilely it turns out, to maintain his integrity and sense of being.  Highly recommended.

And finally, Charles Simic reading three short poems; the middle one, “Country Fair,” is so good. 

Wishing you happiness.





Thursday, April 28, 2016

The First Meltwaters of Spring

C-VU MOTEL

My face being the more hideous, the motel clerk finally gives in and runs my credit card, slides the key across the counter, and then, pivoting almost disdainfully, he returns to his family nesting in their living quarters behind the office, from which, when he opens the door, blasts concussive aromas of curry and other flagrant spices along with odors of hot human being. Fuckers know how to brand, I give them that. They are concept-driven.


THE FIRST MELTWATERS OF SPRING

Although I didn’t go to school just to eat my lunch, I was always raised to believe it is better to hide from the truth than face reality. Nor was I a scholar (fact is, I’m not that smart; I aspire to live in the mind, but I mostly feel it in the shoulders and the nose). Nonetheless, a) I don’t like to collaborate, and b) I don’t like crowds. And, with those two conditions being met, I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a movie director, though disguised as a writer, telling my story in my own way, sequences and micropoems, everything as startling as possible, and as pretty and fresh.


A MOST DESIRED FUTURE

I also dream of owning bowling alleys in each of six capital cities of Central Asia, and I already have the names—Kazakh Family Fun Center in Astana, Uzbek Lanes in Tashkent, Turkmen Alleys in Ashgabat, Kyrgyz Bowl in Bishkek, Afghani Lanes in Kabul, Tajik Bowl in Dushanbe.


GO FIGURE

When God needs another bowler, or sous chef, or preschool teacher, he just summons them, calls them home, ready or not; good people, people the earth probably needs—somebody’s dad, somebody who works with foster kids—way way way more than God in heaven. (God needed a tow truck driver? Really?) God’s got your sleep number for eternity, and it’s not for you to know.


JURISPRUDENCE

Trial juror on the way to the courthouse; trusting the transit authority mechanics have kept the bus properly maintained, thus lessening the risk of it suddenly bursting into flames; hoping that Homeland Security has blocked terrorists from entering the country; in silent gratitude that so far this morning there’s been no earthquake or underground gas explosion, no structure failure of the bridges or ramps. She’s sitting on a murder trial, so, really, almost every second is fraught with danger of some nature.


TRACKING SHOT

Casinos, libraries, old men driving themselves to their appointments, old women traveling great distances to be healed.


EIGHTEEN DAYS OLD

Doctor said no more kids. We didn’t try anymore. She blamed me. I blamed her. We separated.


I DON’T KNOW WHO IS SITTING ON THE RIGHTS BUT

After a few hands of five card history it’s like my TV station and the remotes we did during the road trip to Chicago the summer she killed herself.


NITROGENATED COWBOY

Inspired by curbside recycling, yet pelagic by nature, this highly capable mercenary and former IT specialist for the Croatian Mafia drives a 1963 Cadillac DeVille like all best 17th century Frenchman would have.


COMING UP FOR AIR

Raining so the place was filled with landscapers and construction workers and car wash employees. So sitting here watching the rain, the tree trunks turn darker when wet, or the older guy pushing a broom. I’m glad for no political discussion. Been going on for about half an hour now.  Predicting a quarter of an inch.  Ain’t shit, but it will be nice for out here for sure.




Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Couple of Things

SONG STYLIST

We put it on her death certificate.
Occupation.
That’s what she’ll go down in history as.
She wasn’t bad.

 



This is my latest release, an ebook available through Amazon for Kindle. Click on the cover for a preview.


www.randystark.com








Thursday, April 21, 2016

Welcome Aboard the Anthropocene

Just 99 cents! Click to order.
With a new cover design by Neil Novello, your table is waiting in the dining car.



JOY A BEAUTIFUL TRIP

If U don’t mind.
Hope U feel fun 2.









Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Wing and a Breast

One man loves the pope, and another the pope’s wife.
                                                                Russian proverb.
  

FRIDAY IS THE NEW WEDNESDAY

Kelsey is this your cell phone?


YOU’RE SO FANCY WITH YOUR WORDS

I was raised on numbers.


TWO MIDNIGHT MASSES

Now I’m the Pope.


YOU LOOK GREAT

But better on TV.


I’VE BEEN AT BEER FEST ALL DAY

I got like everything free.


I WAS THINKING

I think Parviz kind of left town.


IF YOU WANT SUPER SEXY SUPER HEROES

Train them when they’re little.


ACTUALLY THAT DOESN’T EVEN COUNT

A basin should not have trees in it.


HE’S AN IDIOT

She’s an idiot to be with him.


GIVE ME A WING

A wing and a breast.


FROM NOW ON SHE SAID

Run everything past ASM.
Then clear it with QRT.


I’M LIKE

You’re what?


SARAH

She was there.


RIGHT OK YEAH SO

Because if you remember.


HAVE YOU TWO MET EACH OTHER?

Hey girls.
Wait.
Allie.


THAT’S LIKE WHEN I

And then everything went smash.


HEY LAETITIA

I heard you went home with an NFL player.


I LIKE THAT BURGUNDYISH MAROONISH

Sort of crimsony roseish.


I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE

When you.


I SAVED IT

Watch.


EVERYBODY IT’S ALL

A pursuit a pursuit.


THAT UH YEAH

That’s his whole thing.


AT FIRST YOU WERE LIKE THIS

And then you were like this.


I THOUGHT MAYBE

Well that’s just it.
She’s too involved.
But yeah.


IT’S LIKE THE HU HU

How do you say that?


I KNOW HE WAS TELLING ME

Where did you get those?


THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO SULEIMAN’S DAUGHTER

She hid it and hid it and hid it.
Then all of a sudden.


NO WHAT I’M SAYING

Saturday?


I WAS LIKE OH GREAT

Then I saw the post.
And I’m like wait a minute.





Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mangos

THE IRRESISTIBLE INSIST OF LIFE

Yes to everything ad hoc.


LEGENDARY VEGETARIAN

Ham actor.


DUMP MAGAZINE

What America reads behind closed doors.


THE NEW VIENNESE SCHOOL

Fitty-second minuets.


FORLORN SHEPHERD

Broke nigga.


WHEELCHAIR WITH BEAKER

The explanation is better than the poem.


SPORTS BOOK

Wagering on new arrivals as they cross the border.


SWEET 16

4 months pregnant.


MANGOS

Mangos.


WHALE SKULLS

Two giant whale skulls.
This big around.


A PARTICULAR PIECE

Of like pottery.


IRON GATE

Rusted unswung.


URINARY TRACT INFECTION

From campsite to intensive care.


FRIEND

And faux.


OVERKILL

Too many bridges, too few waters.


COMPOSER

You heir to Verdi you.


VACANT LOTS

Celebrity obits.


WHAT SPEECHLESS IS

A skillet to the gut.


BEACH CITY POLICE

Now hiring.


AERIAL SHOTS

Minarets.


BIRDS

Articles of faith.


BIKINI TEST

Created a new atoll in my shorts. 


15 CUBIC FEET

They kind of looked at it.


SNAKES

That woodpile is voodoo.


HOPES

Dangling like fuchsia.


TSUNAMI

Giant liquidation.


CHANGE UP

Nesting in the catcher’s mitt.
The batter stands waiting for a bus.



Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Hear It From My Golf Buddies


ON THE PATIO

A feeder abristle with birdpeck.


BUT OTHER THAN THAT

How are you?


WHY CAN’T THEY

There has to be.


IT WASN’T A MAJOR

It was a minor thing.


I HAVE BEEN INFORMED

I missed 24 hours somewhere.
It is not Friday but rather Sunday now.


FINCHES

Dribbling seeds.
Looking askance.
Marrying young.


I HEAR IT FROM MY GOLF BUDDIES

I hear it from everybody.


THE SON

No, his step-brother.


THOSE PATCHES

They don’t do nothing for me.


TWO WEEKS

Twenty years.
This.


I ALWAYS KID HIM

And I say it every time.
Lawns are tricky.


SO I GOT TO THINKING

I thought hey.


BUT YEAH SO

It turns out.


HEY DID I TELL YOU

I am a giant cabbage.


THINGS THAT I DIDN’T KNOW WERE ON THERE

Were on there.


AND WHEN THEY SAY LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE

I want to tell you.


HE SETTLED

That’s most people.


THAT ONE GIRL THOUGH

She vapes.


I WAS WITH HIM
  
Post contact.


YEAH NO

But I know what you mean.


SOMEBODY ELSE WENT

Traci and Danny went.


THE ROOM

I guess there’s a movie about a room.
I don’t know.


IT’S A DIFFERENT DYNAMIC THOSE TWO

When they’re together.


HAVE A PIECE OF THIS BACON

This is real bacon.
You don’t like bacon?






Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sierra in Buffalo


STYLIST

Color specialist.


WHERE NEXT

The planet.


YOUR HAIR LOOKS LIKE A PRETZEL

Fuck creative differences.


I’M TRYING REALLY HARD

But your dumbness makes me depressed.


IT WAS A BIG OLD LIKE

Huge fight.


PERO

On the side.


YOU KNOW I THINK WE’RE ALL HORMONAL

At this stage.
We really are.


HER BOYFRIEND’S NOT WORKING

Just here and there stuff.


PROBATION CAN BE DONE

In the state where the family is.


SHADOW WAS MINE

Peanut was Romy’s.


GENIUS CHARGES DROPPED

Insufficient evidence.


HEY HONEY

I got your Ding Dongs.


I’M DONE WITH  

Guys who just want to
Smoke weed and fuck.


SHE DID MY TAXES

She said Sierra.
So I said let me see.


WAITING FOR THE DIRECT DEPOSIT

I checked and I checked and
Oh my goodness!


I’M LIKE

Woo!


I DIDN’T WORK YESTERDAY

I was in the door and I was out the door.


PUT IT IN THE TRASH, HONEY

Use that bag right there.


I WENT SHOPPING

Grocery shopping.
My fridge is full.
What a great feeling.


I ASKED THE CASHIER

She said apply through the computer.
It’s the only way.


SHE LOVES THE Y

Loves it.


SHE PLAYS BASKETBALL

Soccer.
She swims.


IT’S GOING TO BE SO CUTE

I was looking online.


NO I DIDN’T TOUCH THEM

They’re right here.


YEAH SO I DON’T KNOW

She needs clothes.
I need clothes.


AREN’T YOU COLD

With no jacket?


YOU GET LIKE

You know.
A set of four.


LOVE YOU

Mwah.




Saturday, April 2, 2016

Assuming There Really Is a Physical World



IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS OR UNUSUAL

Say something suspicious or unusual.


OUUUCH

Fucking huuurts.
Fuuuck.


THE GOPHERS WERE LIKE

Busy little beavers.
They ate the entire root system.


ENJOY LIVI   NOW RENTI

The Ng gang.


IT KIND OF MADE ME MAD

But at the same time.


HARD TOWN

What falls down
Stays down.


WHICH TO ME IS ACTUALLY AMAZING

I blew its fucking head off.


RESPONSE TO SOTU

Drunk driving.
Resisting arrest.


EMERGING TRADITIONS

Gunshots, poisoning, or suicide.


HE MIGHT NOT BE GOING TO PRISON

But for sure he’s going to hell.


MORE PHARMACIES AND DONUT SHOPS

Per capita than anywhere in the world.
More Beware of Dog signs.
More yard sales.


E PLURIBUS PLURIBUS

And nobody to make promises to anymore.


HEROES WELC  E

We  ove our  eroes.


THE WIFE WAS YOU KNOW

Drugs.


GRADUATION PORTRAIT

Booking photo.


THE LAB

I’m confused.
No name.
No date of birth.
Is this the correct address?


PROOF

Not all killers sleep alone.


HE COWBOY-KICKED

The shit out of her.


A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING

To come unglued.


THAT’S WHAT HER MOTHER DID OUT THERE

And she is, too.


GOT MY MONEY RIGHT

Car title loan through iTunes.


A WILD ASS GUESS

As to the miracle of life:
Dying peacefully?


NOT SAYING IT WAS ENTIRELY HER FAULT

The room sang forfeiture.


THE ONLY QUALITY TIME

A man’ll ever find is in the grave.


MOM MY FOOT

Huurts.


I NEED TO START TAKING A MULTIVITAMIN

Or something.


WHEN BEING CHASED

Always have a slower guy behind you.


FORGIVENESS

Like trying to bridle a horse with knitting needles.


SISTER CITIES

Every offer’s been rejected.
They none of them
Want any part of us.


SHERIFF

Hasn’t been seen since.


FIRST TIME SHE SAW THEM TWO

She said why ain’t they locked up daddy?


LAW ENFORCEMENT

Waiting to hear back.  
From somewhere.


SONS

Last ones and the worst ones.


PUZZLED PALM

Scratching its fronds, giving it some thought.


IT WASN’T WHAT HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE

It never is.


CAN’T PAY MY BILLS

I don’t have it.


YES

I want my kids back.


TIME RUNNING OUT

Hourglass has a sneezing fit.


HOSPICE

On every block.


I’M 180 FROM

The little white iglesia.


HALO OF THE PATRON SAINT

A discarded steering wheel.


LA LUZ DEL MUNDO

Full sleeves and neck texts.


ELUSIVE COORDINATES

You are seldom where you think you might be.


MIXING IT UP

Mexicans, Indians, blacks, whites.


WAIT MOM

Mom wait.


PROXIMITY SENSORS

Grafted to trees.


THE HOSPITAL IS THE TALLEST BUILDING IN TOWN

So right away they hooked him up.


A CYST

The size of an exercise ball.


THE ONLY REASON I’M ALIVE IS

To be perfectly honest
I don’t know a painless way
To get to not to be.


JUST A HUGE MESS

If you’re heading that way don’t.


AT THE END OF THE DAY

Canes, crutches, incontinence.


NO NO NO


I said no.