Sunday, December 21, 2008

Easy Targets

The Nazis
Did not leave
Did not die
The Nazis
Were normal
And what is normal
Never dies
They were only doing
What everyone else did
As you and I
Only do
What everyone else does
Their economy was bad
Their hate was not hidden
There was never a question
Of them not killing
The question was
Which of their own
Would they disown?
The Jews
Were easy targets
The Germans were
A hateful people
As we are
A hateful people
They had built
Their own violent culture
As we have built
They could not solve their problems
So they renamed them
Called humans animals
We cage ours
In ghettos
And hope they kill
Each other
But in case they don’t
We’ve made our homes
Into cages
And we’ve bought machines
To entertain us
So we rarely have to go outside
And for those
Times when we do
We teach our children
Not to talk to strangers
We teach them to be safe
We teach them to be frightened
Or frightening
It’s necessary
In our society
And we can’t do anything about it
We may not like it but
This is as normal
As our lives

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the word comes down

something other than caffeine and alcohol and guilt
and panic should enter my system
but i don’t feel the need
for anything but an end to this
and i know only
how to continue it
with the general idea
that at some point comes sudden death
but only after sufficient
fear panic guilt alcohol and caffeine

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ode To Captain B

The last post reminded me of this, which appeared in Monday Night # 2, and is probably more a rant than a poem but what the hell.


But I like writing that’s difficult. I like music that’s difficult. Cuz it isn’t difficult for me. Captain Beefheart is my Britney Spears, one catchy dance tune after another. But better dressed, and more attractive. And intelligent, something to aspire to. Songs about Merc Montclairs and human being totem poles, hallucinogenic knowledge of reality. Life as a desert, life as seen by life, not by some visitor. To be the world and hate those who defile it, an ecological religious zeal. It makes so much sense it’s incredible how rare these beliefs are. How selfish other beliefs are, and how self-destructive most of that selfishness is. Destroying where you live to live better, a stunningly grisly illogic. It does need a tune, the truth hurts in just words, Dachau blues those poor Jews. Yeah, and it stuns, pain we can’t fathom but it’s been subjected intentionally from human to human, and I think I will drink now, I think I will drink far too much. Because I’m a part of this planet and don’t know how to stop what it does to itself, if there is a God we are a failed experiment, why didn’t the motherfucker give us some heart. Yay, Mary, where is your boy. Now when we need him, always we need him. If we can’t spare each other we should at least spare the planet but we seem incapable even of that. Those with heart have no strength, those with strength have no heart. Of course everyone wants to kill everyone, with every country run by cocksucking bastards. Who wouldn’t want to kill that, what sort of heathen wouldn’t be a terrorist. Where imperialism is considered relatively peaceful, where political necessity requires immorality. To get what we want we must support torture. How important is what we want. What the fuck do we want. Jesus I just want a beer and a place to stay and occasional sex, a washed body and an unwashed brain. And a place where my children can stand to live. Not just an isolated street but a world. So forgive me if I just don’t get your popular tunes with their lilting little simple melodies. And I understand shrieks and whispers and jokes that aren’t funny. And I am confused all the time, and need words that don’t mock that. And need songs that can be sung by people who don’t look good.

Ghosts (for Albert Ayler)

I've been stumbling across Albert Ayler's name a lot lately. Here's a poem I wrote about him (sort of) a few years back; it was in the first issue of Monday Night.

Ghosts (for Albert Ayler)

They found Albert Ayler
dead in the East River
his feet tied together

So, who the fuck
puts a hit on a saxman?
He must’ve had bad habits,
because genius is not
a thing men get killed for,
or we’d have heard by now
how Einstein ducked assassins’ bullets.
Then again
maybe he was a threat
only to other scientists
And maybe they killed him
Secretly, slowly,
Taking so long that no one suspected;
And maybe Ayler was murdered
by another saxophonist
jealous of the honking squawks
the anguished wails
the misery embodied in solos
that cried out
for an afterlife now
Or maybe it was suicide
and he wove the ropes around himself
with the same dark magic that forced
taut yowls from the depths
where his breath searched for a soul
Maybe Ayler couldn’t stand
to play another haunted

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can I Get Bigger By Renting My Bundle To A Nintendo Timeshare?

Or am I just overexcited by all the great opportunities in my email? You know, it appears that I can get my degree while increasing both my penis and bra sizes. I am going to be one multi-faceted dude. With a new job working from home, not that I'll need it: I'm getting millions from various Africans who for some reason can't access their own bank accounts. Do you think I can just download these body part size increases? Because like, otherwise, I might have to get up from my chair. Which is where I'll be receiving all my rich guy payments and sex, thank you. If I have to get up, I'm renting my bundle elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bruce Springsteen's Super Bowl Set

Okay, Bruce is an Obama supporter, so presumably the fact that the Super Bowl occurs not long after the presidential inauguration means we'll get some happy political material. I.e., "Born To Run" is a lock, from the title alone. Whereas if McCain had won we might have gotten "War" and "Darkness On The Edge Of Town."

Now, I'm a huge Bruce fan, but I also think it would be great if the Dirtbombs played the Super Bowl and did their fantastic cover of Phil Lynott's "Ode To A Black Man" (which, despite my overt whiteness, I always find myself singing along to, especially at the incredibly catchy "can't understand a black man" line, at which point I'm always when I think of it damn glad I'm alone).

That aside aside, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Bruce played "The Promised Land" and "The Rising." Or something like the great cover he used to do of Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA." (Which, of course, was the title tune of the 2nd MC5 album, (over)produced by Jon Landau years before he was Bruce's manager.) Mainly I'd like it if Bruce just gets possessed like he used to, back when a great cover of Gary US Bonds' "Quarter To Three" could morph into something like this:

Bruce and the band had been playing a killer version of the song for 4 minutes prior to that little explosion. Now, if anyone has live footage of anyone anywhere comparable to this, please let me know. I saw Bruce three times in the 80s, they were the 3 best shows I've ever seen, and no one comes close. And I've seen James Brown, Sun Ra, the PFunk All-Stars, Sonny Rollins, NRBQ, The Clash, and a whole lot more. Some of these folk I caught well past their prime; I can judge only by what I've seen. And from what I've seen and heard, the 1978 Springsteen tour is the greatest series of shows filmed and recorded.

So of course the NFL gets him 31 years later. Now, they may have gotten the right guy. Bruce still makes good albums, if not as good as his best. And his repertoire (he was playing 3 hour sets 30 years ago) leaves him plenty of good songs to choose from. And I'm sure he still has a damn sight more energy than most performers half his age. The biggest competition may be that the NFL actually got Prince for the Super Bowl just a couple years ago, and that's a guy in Bruce's approximate age bracket who can also still deliver. Hey, it's a lot more fun competition than the one for the presidency. Personally, I'm still looking for people excited about Joe Biden.

Book of the Day - Hunger, by Knut Hamsun

An absolute classic about a man struggling to survive, insisting that he will make it as a writer even when he can't afford to eat. He just continues to write.

This book was first recommended to me by a guy bumming change at a bus stop. I gave him fifty cents, he turned me on to one of my favorite authors. I win the exchange, except karmically, where he kills me. Bastard.

Anyway, this one's dedicated to our Thursday holiday on which we're supposed to give thanks but generally celebrate gluttony. I'll be with my wife and our sons, a friend and some dogs, and we know that our favorite Korean barbecue will be open, so although I would not need to enjoy the food to appreciate the group I'll be with, I will enjoy the food. Quite possibly gluttonously. Friday I work again, can resume lack of eating then.

Cheers, all. The economy is brutal; we don't need to be.

And if anyone needs a board game recommendation, contact me after tomorrow night. We own a game store, and I suspect by then I'll have played them all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh God, this site is becoming rife with cute pictures

Lemmy reveals the secret to his health and good looks.


I'm writing a short story about a hitman, so I was researching sniper rifles on the net. Which is when I found this:

Now that's what I call a domesticated animal.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've just spent a couple of minutes beating the shit out of a lid of pasta sauce, in a desperate attempt to make it turnable. I'm what's politely called middle-aged now, fully capable of most manual activities. And I can't make pasta without really going psycho on this jar (coming soon, don't worry I won't starve).

What happens when I'm old and still want to eat cheaply? Do I have to hurl the goddamn jar at the outside of the house and scrape what's edible into a bowl, stepping around the shards of glass? Or will be I be stuck with boxed foods? I have no problem with being thought of as the crazy old guy who throws jars at his own house; I'm concerned with how much food will be lost in the process. Will I be outside lapping at the sauce on my steps? Even if I don't need it, just to keep the animals and homeless away? Or maybe I should just step in it and eat my own feet. Flexibility can be essential to survival.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Al Davis Fires Himself

Al Davis, owner of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, announced today that he was releasing himself from his leadership role.

“It is a regrettable day,” Al Davis said. “When I first hired this man he was full of energy and intelligence. And I knew his family – his father once applied for a job with the Raiders, years ago. I didn’t hire him, of course, he was always telling me what to do – but I knew him, and the fact that I didn’t hire him doesn’t take away from the sentimental light I should be seen in for remembering the man.

“But the man I hired has changed. He doesn’t have the same energy, and he no longer applies his intelligence to winning. Not at football anyway. He disparages the name of the Raiders with his every action, drafting bad players and either signing bad coaches or driving away the good ones.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me, personally,” Davis said, tears leaking from his eyes. “This team is a family and I love the Raider family. And I love Al Davis. But I have come to realize that his time is past. He has betrayed the family, and he must be disowned from it.”

Davis looked down, as though bracing himself, looked up again.

“It is with great pride that I introduce to you the new owner of the Oakland Raiders: the clone of Al Davis. Oh, don’t bother looking around the room – I have spent many years on illegal but necessary cloning research, cloned myself long ago and have harvested the organs of young clones to rejuvenate myself. My brain and heart and other crucial organs are no longer those of a 79 year old man. I will live forever! As far as the Oakland Raiders are concerned, I am the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost! I was born on the 4th of July – every day is Independence Day! Just win, baby!”

Davis stood suddenly, looking much stronger than when he had entered the room.

“And if this year’s team doesn’t improve enough,” Davis said, raising the microphone to his lips, “I will use the clause in small print at the bottom of every Raider contract. I own the genetic rights to Lamonica, Biletnikoff, Madden – even Shanahan, that little prick – if they were mine once, they are mine forever.”

The lights went out a moment, there was a sound like the fluttering of wings, and when the lights came back Al Davis was gone.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Prose, She Goes

Zygote In My Coffee, an online magazine with obviously fine taste, has published a couple of my short stories in the locations indicated below. I intend to post more of my writing here but haven't yet formatted anything for this location.

I'll post more stories here when I get around to reformatting some things. For now the conflicting theories are that I should go to sleep, or sit here listening to Spacemen 3. Either way, there will be no more playing with html tonight/this morning. Cheers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jackson Saints, Where Are You?

Okay, apparently I know where the Jackson Saints are - San Francisco, which is the only place I've seen them. Only it's been 15 or 20 years, and when I was reminded of them tonight while listening to the Dictators (they used to cover a Dictators song - Stay With Me, I'm pretty sure, and I think Chuck Davis was the name of their singer then, and he was great, and I saw him in the crowd at a Dictators reunion show, early 90s, and said to him, "You guys shoulda opened" - and Chuck or whoever their singer was nodded and smiled in agreement, I didn't know him I just thought they were the best band in SF at the time, somewhere on a level approaching Sister Double Happiness, and I don't think a whole lot of bands from <anywhere approach SDH, I mean for a couple of years that was just one of the best bands in the world...)

Rambling on (without the R Plant Tolkien references, as amusing as they might be), I was really surprised upon googling the Jackson Saints tonight to find them apparently still extant, and apparently still based out of SF, and with mostly the same players. Although of course the time my brother came up from Santa Cruz to see them at my insistence they'd changed vocalists without notifying me and they were still damn good but they weren't the same band, they didn't cover the Dictators. And I really liked that earlier singer a lot. Oh, the point being that I don't see any way of contacting the Jackson Saints except via their Myspace page. Which would require me starting a Myspace account. Which I did once, but that guy who greets everyone and becomes your friend seemed suspiciously like a child molester, and I'm too old to do anything with one of those except kill him. I genuinely was concerned several years ago when my young son started a myspace account and this older guy was his "friend." Bizarre premise, "Hi, I'm presumably in my twenties and I like to have a lot of teenage friends." Yeh. One time I was talking to a cop about a convicted child molester who was in our neighborhood, and the cop intimated that I should take care of it myself. Which I had no problem with on certain levels, although I assumed there would be certain lifelong legal and emotional issues involved if I actually killed someone. I did think the guy deserved it though.

So, much as I used to like the Jackson Saints, I do have certain issues with myspace. Which is why I'm posting this, in the hopes that at some point someone who knows some other way of getting in touch with the band can give me a heads up. Of course, if someone actually in the band saw this that would be ideal. But I guess that point would be clear by now, eh?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Swill Magazine Reading For Issue 4

I'm the editor of Swill Magazine and I sent out my call-out today for fiction submissions. This will be our fourth issue and we're damned pleased with what we've done so far. Samples from the various issues are available at our website, . Submissions should be emailed to . It is strongly recommended that writers at least read excerpts from the website before submitting. It's only $4 an issue, but if you spent the cover cost on every magazine you're thinking of submitting to you'd be broke (if you aren't already) and the website should be sufficient for getting a feel for what we like. Hell, 4 bucks is a gallon of gas, you could be twenty miles down the road instead of sitting still with a fucking magazine (we have pictures, but not the kind you'd want to spend the night with).

If you haven't made it to the Swill site yet, I could give you a jumpstart on what passes for our heart with this excerpt from the back cover of our first issue:

"We like stories where things actually happen, stories where someone might die. We like stories with an edge, and we don’t like epiphanies. We also like it when the jokes are funny. We don’t like Literature with a capital L. We do like literary fiction: we happen to think it includes the work of James Ellroy and Harlan Ellison. Oh yes, we also like sex, sometimes even in stories; it’s just that most people write so damned poorly about it. Mainly what we like are stories. Not symbols and themes and extensive descriptive passages, not paint-by-numbers well-structured tripe that fails to excite. If you’re Faulkner reincarnated we’d be happy to publish you but frankly we don’t believe in you, and anyway you should be working for someone who can cover your drinking money. We prefer the Shakespeare approach to existentialism: question the meaning of life, then litter the stage with corpses."

I'm also one of the editors with Monday Night (, which is also reading right now) and when one of our editors put up a post about Swill on Zoetrope someone responded that Swill was probably the type of place that would publish necrophilia comedies. Which is highly unlikely, as that is a major portion of what my novel in progress is about.

So, I was minding my own business one night a couple weeks ago when I get an email from Ellen Datlow. Ellen is one of the best known editors in science fiction (she was fiction editor at Omni for several years) and she began her email with the phrase "Hi, Harlan Ellison recommended a story in your issue #3" at which point I nearly fucking keeled over. Ellen Datlow wanted a copy of Swill 3 because Harlan Ellison had recommended to her that one of the stories in it should be considered for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. I edit a magazine with high ideals but low circulation and Harlan Ellison is recommending us to one of the leading anthologies in the industry? Harlan Ellison knows we exist?

I didn't have any idea how this could have happened. I was ecstatic and agog. I forwarded Ellen's email to my co-editor Sean (whose blog is at ) and his response was similar to mine, with the exception that he said, "Didn't I tell you I was sending a copy to Harlan Ellison?" Which I'm sure was along the lines of something Sean said to me when we were talking about distribution for issue 3, except I heard it as "I can try to get copies to..." with Harlan Ellison's name somewhere on that list. It wasn't like Sean had a connection, unless author worship counts.

I of course sent the requested issues to Ellen Datlow and the other editors of that anthology. It's such great news for our little magazine that we're being considered, but it's also the point of our magazine: a lot of "literary" magazines are boring. Which is weird, because there are a lot of good writers but boring has become its own genre. I don't even know the standards, I just know I pick up a fiction magazine and one story after another does not have a fucking plot. Which I thought was what a story was, then its quality was determined by how well it was told, but there are a helluva lot of magazines out there that are going for how it' s told without considering that it's not telling anything.

I thought I wrote literary fiction. Then I read the magazines publishing "literary fiction" and realized I hate literary fiction. If these were the people in charge of science fiction I'd hate science fiction too. Great fiction has never been bound by categories but magazine fiction is shackled by it. That's why I started Swill. Too many fiction markets are controlled by "schools of thought," which is to say, a lack of thought altogether - educating the stupid gives them justification, not intelligence. But they aren't even educated, only indoctrinated, for actual education would leave them the ability to defy what they'd been taught.

Most lauded writers could be machine-gunned in a line without loss of a soul.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I can't put into words the sheer perfection of Elvis Presley's rockabilly. Rockabilly, among the many forms of music I love, is way up there in terms of visceral response. When the emotional and physical coincide. I know the work of the other Sun artists and more obscure rockabilly studs. I own a lot of music, I continue to seek a lot of music. I don't think rock has ever had another singer as good as Elvis Presley.

Which is sort of what came up eventually in the paragraph below, which I copied from a response I made to a post on Mog:

cali had a post, here or multiply i don't remember, where she was talking about the soundtrack to the first shrek movie, which contained rufus wainwright's version of leonard cohen's hallelujah, despite the fact that it was john cale's version that graced the film (and i ain't kidding when i say graced - that song's been covered something like 100 times and i've heard a handful, but the other 95ish don't matter - cale does the definitive version, it can't be touched, as a cover it rates with cale's version of heartbreak hotel as one of the most stunning interpretations EVER, except in this case cale does the song pretty close to the original, just better. whereas heartbreak hotel, much as i love cale's version - well, ain't fucking nothing better than elvis doing heartbreak hotel.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

testing 1 2 3

listening to brotzmann/laswell, gotta post something because i wanna reply on a page where the primary language is french. well, the primary language is music, but the text next to the radio buttons is in french. and i'm goin 100 miles an hour with the radio on - it's the sound salvation.