Saturday, July 30, 2016

Throw Lines --- Outtakes (part 4)

My latest book now available on Amazon Kindle only 99 cents. Click here.






Below is the fourth in a series of outtakes from the book.  They didn’t make the cut, but some of them are entertaining in their own right.

 






MATURATION PROCESS

Billy the Kid
William the Adult.


TIME CARDS

Are now arranged alphabetically.


HAPPY JACK’S

Super single wide clearance sale.


REVOLUTIONARY

Triple action formula.


O-WEES?

I’m like really?


I’M HAPPY

It’s my nature.


DON’T YOU BITE ME
 
Now be good.


WELL MAYBE THE REAL PROBLEM

If you want to know the truth.


HEY GRAB THAT LITTLE TINY GLASS

No I want that baby one.


YES I’M DRINKING AGAIN

But I have it under control.


HE WAS THE ONE WHO

At the same time.


NOT OFFICIALLY

But it was great.


WHAT I DO IS I

No but I want to.


I WAKE UP

Every morning.
Wide awake.
La di da.


SO I TOLD DOCTOR

You know, doctor.


WHAT DOES IT SAY ON THERE?

Oh, how cool. That’s awesome.


BABY GOT GIRLFRIEND

You all ludic.


LOVE

Terms and conditions apply.


I’LL LET HER KNOW

She’s in Amsterdam now.


THE SINCERITY OF MY PLEASURE

Shortlisted.


ENJAMBMENT ON DONUT ISLAND

Cigar clichés like horseshoes and hand grenades
Ceiling fans with gold-plated blades
Rotating right to left, but in the
Mirror left to right and very bright!


YOUR BASIC BLACK AND WHITE

In line at the Chinese place.


BENEATH CLOUDS OF THOR

People are but raisins along the sands of time.


RECIPE FOR FUN

Cook.
Stir.
Drain.


LADYBUGS MELTED

Over cheezy jalapeno kale chips.


PINK WORM PIZZA

Over 5 feet of meat.


YEAH PRETTY SWEET

And it takes hardly any time at all.


SOME FAVOR FRITOS AND SLURPEES

Some ultra dwarf snow queen nectarines.


USSA

Two political mega parties, one ruling class.




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Throw Lines --- Outtakes (part 3)

Now available on Amazon Kindle only 99 cents. Click here.


 

Below is the third in a series of outtakes from the book. They didn’t make the cut, but some of them are entertaining in their own right.










DEDICATED TO

You and Mrs. Pan.


MOM MY FOOT

Huuuuuurts.


THE WIFE WAS YOU KNOW

Drugs.


THE LAB

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


THE GOPHERS WERE LIKE

Busy little beavers.
They ate the entire root system.


LIKE I SAY

I don’t know.


NO NO NO NO NO

That was.
Uh.
That was.


MANGOS

Mangos.


I SAVED IT

Watch.


TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH

Life gets in the way of my credit score.


THE FRAGRANCE OF ROSEMARY

Is supposed to help memory.
I forget who told me that.


BUT ANYWAY YEAH

Kind of feels nice.


THAT’S WHAT I WAS WORRIED ABOUT

When I got the MRI and everything.


I AM HERE

Overrepresented, problematized, and complicated.


VOTED BEST RIBS

Five years in a row!


WE ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING

Temporary slowness.


WHISPERING RAIN

A Cambodian trio.


CORMORANTS BUNGEE JUMPING

A guy and two gals.


FASHION EXPERT

And jumping horse groom.


ISLAM IN UGANDA

I know nothing about it.


BANKER

Banker’s son.


NATURE’S TRUTH

Con tarjeta.


HOMEMADE DESSERT

Just a little more special.


ORACLE FLATS

You can do it all.
Find out how.


CONCLUSION

The stuff on the farm.
And the sink.




Saturday, July 23, 2016

Throw Lines -- new book now available!

By now my latest ebook, Throw Lines, should be available on Amazon for the amazingly low price of just 99 cents.

This is my 11th book. Not bad for someone who, in his 7th  book declared dramatically and unequivocally that it was to be his final book, that he was done for good being a writer, finished, no más. (I think you can “Look Inside” and read it for yourself right here.)

Of course in the world of ebooks, edits, emendations and changes can be made instantly, and I could easily delete the syrupy goodbye I had written a year and four books ago. But why be sneaky and inauthentic? The reasons for saying what I did were valid to me at the time (and probably still are today) yet for some reason I just keep writing.

Publishing this latest book was, as usual, full of challenges, right up to the final click on publish.  Just yesterday I was selecting quotations for the epigram, rearranging chapters, and making format corrections.

With the new book requiring most of my attention, this here Stark Impressions blog has seen a lot of grandfathered material being posted, mostly because I want to keep the Thursday/Saturday publishing schedule going, but also because it provides a look behind the scenes that sometimes I’m not even sure if I saw the first time. It’s kind of like travel, there is an eager anticipation and preparation, but the work itself is often pleasurably difficult and not truly appreciated until afterward.  Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to fresh new material appearing once again, probably by mid-August.

During the workweek I caution myself not to get too blitzed at the end of the day because early the next morning every morning I have to fill all bird feeders, even the nyjer and the green tray and the peanuts, the water pavilion plus the three nectar dispensers, that’s 12 feeding stations in all. Fuck. Not to mention the yard work pulling weeds and clipping branches and picking fruit and watering front and back and side, all this before sunrise and the triple digit Fahrenheit temperatures. Plus the earth quakes from time to time. Power goes out. How am I supposed to get any writing done lurching about like this?

Truthfully, the environment and the physical work help with writing. The birdsong can be all encompassing, and I listen to it more than I listen to talk radio and classical music combined (and if you know me you know how much I like talk radio and classical music.) The gardening helps produce and maintain peppers, grapes, tomatoes, grapefruit, pomegranates, peaches. Watering and weeding is not unlike writing and editing. Besides being confronted with the reality of another day, another beat down of the sun.

A few musings about my current reading:

The Harlem Renaissance is one of my favorite periods in USA history. I can’t read enough about it, and especially memoirs, what the scene was like, the people, the artists and performers.   This article from 1927, The Caucasian Storms Harlem, by Rudolph Fisher, is such a delight because it describes the scene at a particular time but with a whole different, satirical purpose in mind. “Ribald” is one commentator’s description.

Then I went and I reread Grendel by John Gardner (he writes good scenes of violence, the ogre destroying in one instance a goat, in another a bear, before being destroyed himself by Beowulf and then committing suicide).

The legend took me back to my legendary (in my memory) Comp Lit days at USC, as did Aeschylus (Agamemnon) when I got on a play reading kick that included Tennessee Williams (The Lady of Larkspur Lotion) and Jennifer Haley (Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom). In this time of Pokemon Go, Nabe 3 is so relevant it’s ridiculous.

Plus I am forever being schooled on the internet, being caused to think about new forms and styles. I’m a big believer in being aware of what and who is around you. And then to refrain from imitation. 

Finally, I recently learned a little about two iconic poets, William Bronk and Hannah Weiner.

I think Hannah Weiner’s poetry needs to be seen in a bigger context than this space can provide, she’s a world of her own, and the link above is the connection you want.

But I am closing this post with a couple of short poems by William Bronk:   


THE INABILITY

She wants me to say something pretty to her because
we both know the unabettable
bleak of the world. Make believe, she says,
what harm? It may be so. I can’t. I don’t.


THE RAPPORT


There’s a dead dog at Barber’s Bridge
tied to a tree and two ugly stories why.
Make your own choice; either could be.
Hearing, seeing, I believe both of them.





www.randystark.com

Thursday, July 21, 2016

That Kind of Money


I HAD THE SALMON AND HE HAD THE LONDON BROIL

My back is to the discussion of motorcycles, surgeries. Across the table from me sits the unchallenged king of unproduced, often proudly unfilmmable, screenplays. He’s grommeted to a newly released video game as I’m talking to him. “These days you have to come with buzz,” I’m saying, “or be in some way regarded as celebrated, otherwise...” We’ve ordered dessert. He smiles at his phone while I continue. “My life has been a hydra-headed portmanteau of fractal peregrinations and impractical regenerations. My body parts are failing as fast as new ones can be manufactured and implanted.” He almost looks up at me. “It’s like being a double landlocked country, you know, surrounded entirely by one or more other landlocked countries, such as Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan are as of this writing, and trying to deal with the fucking heat and be an artist, the house is like an oven, garbage and sticky sugary liquid spills covering the floors, rat feces, plugged toilet and water turned off, animal feces, rats the size of lambs gamboling around the garage, crapulous cockroaches caucusing. Seven kids plus two other guys, friends of their uncles. I mean you can do it. But it takes extra effort, and not everyone is willing to give it.”


AIR SHOW

We get more than a few military and law enforcement helicopters flying around here, like preschoolers trying to break out of the play yard—Chinese, German, Navajo—it’s that weekend getaway kind of buildup, convection kayaks and the mansioned and the helmetless, a trinity site;   however, Kiki’s Birkam Yoga and Cleaners is calling it quits, and mops and pillows are banned from all public conveyances, except those with fragrant stops.


PICKING HER UP FROM WORK

Ignacio became nauseous during the activities, but discreetly—or as discreetly as a five gait horse with King Crab legs can, the one in the family with all the bad luck—walked to his car parked in a structure of day-old oatmeal, empty energy drink cans and used condoms, yet with an insist of utter liveliness about him, like trees that bloom fiercer the drier the year. A blander departure might have been visited upon him—the door slam and fervid sole scrape were quite over the top—but he was purpose driven: when he arrived at the casino to pick up Haleena, his wife, the graveyard staff was just letting out as he arrived; he watched them cartwheel and moonwalk to the parking lot, and then saw Haleena waving at him like an inflated balloon enticing car buyers to a certified pre-owned sales event.


HIGH FIVE EVERYTHING’S COOL

But what if the plans themselves are wrong, marmoreal, expiring like statutes of limitations? I’m carrying a guilty conscience like dog walkers carrying plastic bags of dog shit, and I don’t even own a dog. Thinking like that is what stage?


LANGUAGE

Loosely defined, my name means flood in my father’s mother’s native language, or something the cat drug in, one. It’s already the wettest winter on record. Quail, a pair, clutch the fence hoping for a drier tomorrow, but there’s no vocabulary for it: a million words for rain, but not a one for tomorrow.


THAT KIND OF MONEY

The corporate ethos often used as a sales pitch that “they work as hard as you do” inspires absolutely no confidence in me because I don’t work hard. I am a flaneur, the laziest of loafers, the most inert of idlers, torpid of mind and body, a logy independent contractor lethargically listening to slack string quartets or a manatee’s mantra finding its own level sweetened with unsweetened sugar. Splendid are the drowsy, and everyone has that kind of money.


IT’S TOUGH BEING DIFFERENT

The morning breeze is fashionably late, not to mention neutralized by anxiety nausea. The night had been as black as a brand new set of Bridgestone tires; the stars had taken their curtain calls and run offstage, light seeping like food coloring into the sky. A mockingbird quacks on the fence post near the recently planted vegetable garden. Sparrows and finches chip away the remains of the dark, and when the prelapsarian sun grazes the trees the birds explode from the branches and race madly toward it, I’m crouched over the toilet bowl.


THE RITE TO VOTE

The brand took a hit and the franchise took a dump and the box office death spiral commenced—and several billion dollars later an archipelagic eruption ensued, a conflagration of noise, energy and government backed insecurities, egged rebarbative by rachitic and susserating palms, reinforced by television, comic books, and movies. The natural stars blinded humankind with celebrities in mortal combat until every time we turned around we found a star suspended for blowing dirty or a patriot for misusing a compass. Public discourse was predominately bodily functions, and at the conclusion of a very busy day—at times the line extended out the door—and before any votes could be counted, the polling place was quickly evacuated as the building went up in flames, all ballots destroyed, all voter rolls and sign-in logs turned to ashes. News anchorites, sucking on sinecures of unearned passivity, as they are wont, pluralized verbatim the reports with gravity equal to human remains in an ongoing dispute.


ROBOT PHOBIA

I don’t worry as much about the end of writing as we know it, or whether “models of perception and experience will be taken in uncritically [and] turn people into receivers who remix messages uncritically, that is, into robots” (Flusser) as I do about whether robots will clean the stalls and feed and groom the horses? What about roof repair, gutters and downspouts?  Plumbing, painting, replace windows and doors as needed, check on the refrigerator, furnace, garbage disposal? Will they understand Velcro? Will they develop an urge to be a demiurge, while open in the background dogs pass out business cards? And what about cupidity?


NO WAR IN THE HOUSE

Tumbled spaces, cold cases, traces of pharmaceuticals from my childhood, once rubble, now not even that, a fading display of memory, at best. This war on terror, this WWIII, is merely one stage among several at an outdoor festival, a main stage for sure, but like all the others offering music and entertainment and information. And it is so cool, our sable and suede royalty moving unmolested among the people. Whatever sensation you desire is available. It’s not dissimilar to the wars waged on the playground at recess—when you got killed in our wars, you just got up again and had a hella good life. But my mom’s number one rule was:  No war in the house.


ELECTRONIC MONITORING

We compared data plans and metabolisms. We battled over the difference between immutable and irreversible. She asked me in French to stay the night. My problem is emotionally needy people. I have zero tolerance for them. On the six week anniversary of when we officially became a couple, she shaved her legs with my razor.


OLMYPICS HISTORY

Abraham Lincoln won two gold medals at the 1863 games in Gettysburg (and if that sounds odd, it should because the games were held in an odd year, due to the Civil War) but you won’t find that fact in your history books because in this day and age truth is like searching for the beloved family pet that has run away and suddenly a tsunami hits and kills everybody and everything.


  

photo by Geordie Shaw



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Outtakes - Part 2

(These are outtakes from Throw Lines, a new book scheduled to drop July 22, 2016. I’m hoping that showing what didn’t make the cut might elucidate what did.)


THE IRRESISTIBLE INSIST OF LIFE

Yes to everything ad hoc.


LEGENDARY VEGETARIAN

Ham actor.


IT KIND OF MADE ME MAD

But at the same time.


FIBER ARTS FESTIVAL

Or classic car and motorcycle show.
It don’t make us any difference.


I PLAY MANY TIMES THIS ROLE

Weesout break.


WITH REALITY SHOWS

I guess it’s cheaper.
The cost of living.


CROATIAN GUITARIST

In terms of really everything.


SISTERS OF CELLOPHANE

Walking under a money shower.


KICKED IT

With the Italian girl in Algiers.
In Poland we hunted boar.


KICKED IT SO HARD

Only the hot sauce was mild.


DUMP MAGAZINE

What America reads behind closed doors.


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.


URINARY TRACT INFECTION

From campsite to intensive care.


FRIEND

And faux.


COMPOSER

You heir to Verdi you.


VACANT LOTS

Celebrity obits.


WHAT SPEECHLESS IS

A skillet to the gut.


BEACH CITY POLICE

Now hiring.


OUUUCH

Fucking huuurts.
Fuuuck.


LAW ENFORCEMENT

Waiting to hear back.  
From somewhere.


SHERIFF

Hasn’t been seen since.


MONTHS

Months and months and months.


SONS

Last ones and the worst ones.


IT WASN’T WHAT HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE

It never is.


I’M 180 FROM

The little white iglesia.


I NEED TO START TAKING A MULTIVITAMIN

Or something.


WAIT MOM

Mom wait.


CAN’T MAKE RENT

I don’t have it.


NO NO NO

I said no.


15 CUBIC FEET

They kind of looked at it.


HOPES

Dangling like fuchsia.


HE MIGHT NOT BE GOING TO PRISON

But for sure he’s going to hell.


VOTED BEST RIBS

Five years in a row!


THAT’S WHAT HER MOTHER DID OUT THERE

And she is, too.


NOT SAYING IT WAS ENTIRELY HER FAULT

The room sang forfeiture.


AND HERE I AM BUT

I can’t really describe it.


I RAN INTO THE WOODS

You followed.


PROXIMITY SENSORS

Grafted to trees.




Thursday, July 14, 2016

Outtakes - Part 1

(These are outtakes from Throw Lines, a new book scheduled to drop July 22, 2016. I'm hoping that showing what didn't make the cut might better elucidate what did.)

LEAVE ‘EM


We’ll come back.


OPPOSITES

Casino hotel spa.
Skid fucking row.


MORNING

Raising trust issues.


EXPRESS VIBE

Sick outcomes for Planet Slam.


BEACH CITY PSYCH

Surfers rule.


CRADLE OF CULTURE

Somebody drives us in.
We hike out.


CAUTION

Wide turns.


HISTORICAL MARKER

Next right.


TRUTH

It takes you back.


FACT

Only if everybody already knows it.


MATIAL ARTS

Something’s missing.


FORECAST

I would say.


LEADERSHIP

Meeting cancelled.


SOLUTIONS

Dots increasingly connecting.


FEVERED

A pace I enjoy in others.


LIFE

You get a do over if you did it backwards.


ONCE A FIG

Now a fantasy for flute and piano.


OH NO

He some type of prodigy?


OH YEAH WE USED TO

We were bad.


UNCLE EDDY

Mind perfectly empty.


ELIMINATED

Adios bubbye.


MISS JOVIALITY

As she is known at the pro shop.


FLUFFY AND FAUX FLUFFY

Embosomed in her thoughts.


DAYS

They do that to me all the time.
Just zoom by.


ESS

Speedy start.


INSPIRATRAIN

Go big places!


SKELETON CREW

Working on the tracks.


OUT THERE

If not a jungle certainly a zoo.
Enclosures rising into the flyspace.


NONPARTICIPANT OBSERVER

Hiding in the tall grass.


SAVE BIG WHEN YOU BUNDLE

Like that weekend on the cape.
Sleeping disguised as research.


OH THEY FRIEND!

Such an amount of energy!


PERFECTLY POSITIVE IONS

For what seemed like ever.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Rose Among Carrots

The origin of the title of this post will be discovered below.

I’ve been sedulously at a new book, which I hope to have out in a couple of weeks. The working title is Throw Lines.  I’m being reminded of what an arduous, pitiless process is the editing, at times oblique and haphazard, at times serendipitous, subliminally methodical, and often a grind.
 
My m.o. is blunt. I collect a bunch of blog posts for the first draft of the book. Then, I take that first draft and begin to edit. The first cut is the easiest. Trimming fat.  Like being at a butcher shop. After the first cut, which is sentimental and panoramic, subsequent cuts will be targeted and increasingly merciless. 

Every day at work is not a great day. Over the years I’ve learned not to curl up in a ball with anxiety when things aren’t going well and I realize my life has been a failure. I take it in stride now. And I’ve developed a capacity to fearlessly unlove certain favorite sequences, or poems, or lines, or words.

And while working on the book I’m still creating sequences, too, and wondering whether to submit any to literary magazines, two or three of which I could shoot stuff off to right now. But because the format I use is not instantly classified or compartmentalized: I feel like I’d have to explain things, and if you have to explain it, well...So I may just use them in more blog posts, thus maintaining control of my own destiny.

I’ll wipe the blood off and post some outtakes from the abattoir in days to come. 

And during that process, there are some otherwise splendid titles that lose their content to the red pencil and the delete button. Here are some of them.

EXAGGERATED LANAI
I AM CURRENTLY ON BACKORDER
WELCOME CARDMEMBERS
CURRICULUM TEMPLATE
WAVE MAKER FOR DOGS
LUNA SAGUARO AT THE ORGAN MOUNTAIN CONSOLE
CAKE DECORATING FOR GIRAFFES
COIFFURES FOR OVERACHIEVERS
VALIUM TREADMILL


Shop talk:

Always needing to keep current on street cred as an English littérateur, I needed to read Anthony Trollope.  I have smart friends with college degrees who’ve not this popular Victorian novelist read, but I recently received encouragement and so went to Barchester Towers.


Trollope is a satirist, a genial story teller and a bit of a farceur in describing the countryside folk, clerical, insulated, time-stifled.  Somebody on Facebook recently described it perfectly I wished I’d saved that, something about the Trollope’s dark hideous characters made to seem amusing and befuddled.

So here are Kindle Klips of some of my favorite parts of the novel:

This was about an elderly church official nearing the end of his life:  “A month since, the physicians had named four weeks as the outside period during which breath could be supported within the body of the dying man. At the end of the month the physicians wondered, and named another fortnight. The old man lived on wine alone, but at the end of the fortnight he still lived.”

My ears perked up at this bit of dialogue:  "Well, my love; ha—hum—he!"

A nice description of party arrivals:  “And then the guests came in shoals...”

This is an astonishing description of a man and the woman he was smitten with:  “Mr. Slope was big, awkward, cumbrous, and, having his heart in his pursuit, was ill at ease. The lady was fair, as we have said, and delicate; everything about her was fine and refined; her hand in his looked like a rose lying among carrots, and when he kissed it, he looked as a cow might do on finding such a flower among her food.” [The bolding is me.]

And finally a little more about the woman: “She was all in her glory, and looked so pathetically happy, so full of affliction and grace, was so beautiful, so pitiable, and so charming that it was almost impossible not to be glad she was there.”  (Dostoevsky can reach these heights, too!)

Well, my break is over. Back to work.




Thursday, July 7, 2016

You Don't Have To Vote for Either of Them


YOU DON’T HAVE TO VOTE FOR EITHER OF THEM

Unless you want to.


YOU DON’T HAVE TO VOTE FOR EITHER OF THEM

When you stay three nights.


FREE CHILD ADMISSION

With every paid adult ticket.


IF YOU’RE WAITING IN LINE

You’re not alone.


WHITE TRUCK

Black loam.


THE ENEMIES OF FREEDOM

So like whenever one comes in.
Which I will say I understand.
But I mean.


BY KNOWING WHO YOU ARE

We know who you’re not.


AS FAR AS THE BLOOD PRESSURE

I just run hot.


WHILE THE PRESIDENT GREEN LIGHTS ANOTHER KILL

And we laugh and laugh and laugh.


AT-A-GLANCE

Watching my sodium intake.


LMFAO

Ask not what your country can do for you,
Ask what you can do for your country.


LOYALTY PROGRAM

Vote and earn 20,000 miles.


MY DNA BLOCKED THE NUMBER

I never really got the call.


THE POINT IS

Look.


PAY ME IN STRAWBERRY TWIZZLERS

For I am a bachelor of arts.


THAT’S ONE OF MY PET PEEVES

That just drives me nuts.


AND THE ELEVATED BLOOD SUGAR

Careful it doesn’t jump out!


UNLESS YOU ACTIVATED IT

And didn’t tell me.


THE SORT OF SENSE IS

Dream big.
And remain in compliance.


IMAGINE

Store credit.


YOUR INALIENABLE RIGHT

To all you can eat plus cash back.


I DO I LOVE

Duck pita with hot mustard and cheese.


RABBITS

Orthopedic ears and push button butts.


REDESIGNED WITH YOU IN MIND

They’ve got engineers and engineers and engineers.


SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN

Unbeatable protection.


CREAMY RABBIT SOUP

It speaks for itself.


AND HEY IT’S UNCLE

It’s not dad, it’s uncle.


YEAH I KNOW

So just forget it.


RE:  YOU’VE BEEN ACTIVATED

Please disregard message.



Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Nice Sporty Whip

“He’s the man who keeps me in a beautiful decked out condo, nice sporty whip, fabulous clothes, and any other thing my heart desired. I was his little secret, and I didn’t give a damn as long as he kept me living the life of luxury.”

(from Who Said Love Ain't Always Complicated?: Not Your Ordinary Hood Love Story by Nichole DeCari and Jasmine Williams)

In my head she is talking about me.




But the reality is more like:


JOWLY PILLOWS SLUMPED IN A CHAIR

Please no more breathtaking magic.

David Abrams is doing what I dream of at The Quivering Pen



And here’s a Barnett Newman installation




And, Newman + (referring to a previous post) Giacometti.




A trio of thoughts:

  • Jigsaw puzzle solving and writing:  finding the right word, shape, color, piece. 
  • Nature is asymmetrical and everything is perfectly placed.
  • You tag a certain trailer or rail car and your work does a cross country tour. I watched the gallery roll by and felt so happy for the artists.





For my nephew:

The Nintendo 64 remains one of the most recognized video game systems in history and its games still have impact on the games industry. Designed in tandem with the controller, Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are widely considered by critics and the public to be some of the greatest and most influential games of all time.