Friday, December 30, 2016

Left behind by Beyond Baroque.

Reposting this from Facebook:
Received a Beyond Baroque fundraising letter which speaks of "the spirit of openness and rebellion inherent in literature and art." Except for the HOLLYWOOD POETRY book, I noticed last spring that my chapbooks were removed from the bookstore (ironic since Scott Wannberg, for whom the store is named, supported poets of all stripes when he worked at Duttons Brentwood). Presumably, my earlier DIY work needed to make way for more saleable exemplars of openness and rebellion. I asked for the chapbooks (excepting those in the BB archives) to be returned; this didn't happen. I do appreciate the times I have attended readings and participated in the past--and how hard people work to continue its existence. But I feel distanced from its current programmng and governing philosophies, and have no further desire to donate.

One more post about poetry rejections.

Names omitted here, primarily to stress the universality of these incidents happening to other poets/writers in their communities.

Years ago, I asked [poet/publisher] about publishing HOLLYWOOD POETRY. It wasn't a fit for her then-imprint--so it would have been given a different one, which meant it was only a novelty item at best. I let the matter drop and for the most part, with a couple of exceptions involving sincere support, things stayed superficially pleasant, I learned I wasn't on the same plane with the poets she coveted and truly cared about. Maybe this wouldn't have hurt so much if she hadn't called me a "fine poet" previously.

Last spring, I blocked [poet/proud MFA graduate/poetry zine editor] from Facebook after being rejected for [Los Angeles literary site].  Essentially, the omitted person was a poetry editor in name only for the site with the real decisions being made by its editor-in-chief--Mr. Omission was there to drum up a lot of people (including the core members of his reading) to send in submissions .  Whether right or wrong, I believe that--after years of his ostensible support--I'm now someone who can't "fit.".

What I learned again: poetry is another strain of show business insincerity: people like what you do until they gather enough stature to decide you don't fit--and they won't stand by your art because they want to impress others. Sure, they may be superficially pleasant, but otherwise, that's all. Thanks to [omitted] for making this clear to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Quotation from Chairman Murray.

The POETIX website is now a ghost ship suspended in cyberspace, but it exists to perhaps give future generations some understanding of how the Los Angeles poetry community wanted to present itself within and without its local/regional sphere.

In one of G. Murray Thomas's last reviews, he wrote this manifesto--yet another reiteration of the old "layers of meaning" (i.e. make it opaque and/or amorphous) canard:
In my opinion, all poetry (all art, in fact) needs to be open to interpretation. That is how we bring our own experiences to the poetry, and engage with it emotionally as well as intellectually.

The above is apparently preferable to understanding the poet's experiences and intent inherent in the poem he/she has written.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No avoiding Trump now.

Mitch McConnell, quoted by the Associated Press, summarizes the mixture of economic despair, pushback against social change and fiery blasts of hate (not counting Hillary's campaign flaws, Russian and FBI interference, etc.) that led to November's election and yesterday's Electoral College rubber stamp:
"Trump was able to convey — oddly enough a message from a billionaire who lives in Manhattan — a genuine concern for people who felt kind of left off, who felt offended by all the political correctness they see around them," he said.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Billy Collins explains serious poetry training to you.

In the past, I've appreciated Billy Collins's skill at being both well-crafted and accessible.  I even saw him a couple of times- (Skirball Cultural Center and Pepperdine University).

At Skirball, he seemed to be critical of MFA programs (which most poets consider vital to being taken seriously).

But he now seems to be no more than the kind of pedant routinely found in poetry circles--the kind of person who will inevitably make a snide reference to first-person poems (often, young poets start by writing about their experiences) as diary/journal entry poems or "teenage angst."

And, to top it off, you're not "real" if you don't read every syllable of The Classic Poets/Authors/Thinkers.

Here's Billy harrumphing at perceived Straw Amateurs  via the NPR website:

It really  lies in the simple act of reading tons of poetry. And I mean not just stuff you find in magazines but if you really want to be trained in poetry you need to read Milton — you need to read Paradise Lost. You need to read Wordsworth — you need to read Wordsworth's 'Prelude.'"
"That's if you want to take it seriously. If you don't want to take it seriously, you can just get a 79-cent pen and express yourself," he laughed. "No one's gonna read it with any pleasure because ... you haven't paid attention to what happened in the past."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Someone else complains about the Guardians of the SoCal Poetry/Literary Galaxy.

Here's Chiwan Choi in CULTURAL WEEKLY:

Guessing a lot of the people Mr. Choi writes about will deny that race enters into decisions to hand out gilded passwords to the exclusive club.  But, at the very least, they have notions of class and their version of decorum as ways to limit the diversity of literary voices.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Best (and otherwise) of 2016: Part One

Here's the first half of the list of notable films/TV of 2016 I saw in theatres or at home.  The second post (with updates/changes) will appear sometime in January.

Films (in no specific order):
A Bigger Splash
Manchester By The Sea
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
10 Cloverfield Lane
Finding Dory
Love & Friendship
Queen of Katwe
Audrie & Daisy
Into The Inferno
Louder Than Bombs

Honorable Mention: Allied, Arrival, The Witness, Sully, Snowden, The Light Between Oceans, Denial, Maggie's Plan, The Meddler, De Palma, Cafe Society, Free State of Jones

Misfires: Rules Don't Apply, Batman v Superman Extended, Money Monster, Captain Fantastic

Insanely Overrated: Hell Or High Water

Somewhat Overrated: Blood Father, Hitchcock/Truffaut

Documentary Miniseries: OJ: Made In America

Sunday, December 4, 2016


here’s to the people who look the other way
when someone is encouraging the crowd
to close their eyes to simple decency
and hit strangers they don’t like--hard
here’s to the television news channels
on the left and the right
who look at neo-fascist rallies
as ratings opportunities,
waiting until old-fashioned newspapers
do actual reporting
before asking questions--
but not saying “fascism” or “lies”
because it displays a lack of “balance”
here’s to the people on social networks
who “don’t want to get political”
when friends and family
post ugly remarks and bigoted jokes
how will you cope with
the future you helped to create?
by doing the same old things
in the same old ways?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


werewolf takes the wheel
of the bus called America
and drives it first
to the Canadian border
yelling over the PA:
get out you sensitive liberals
who keep telling me
I can’t make money off my brand
while I’m President
then, after the forcible ejections,
the werewolf locks the doors
and speeds to the Mexican border
and shouts over the PA:
get out you people who aren’t citizens,
aren’t white,
and are those I don’t want to spend time
deciding who’s a good American
and who might be an enemy combatant
now that the bus is almost empty,
the werewolf and his wealthy supporters
feast on gourmet frog legs,
take a leisurely journey to New York City,
the new capital of the USA,
since the White House
has been sold by executive order
and will become
superexclusive luxury condos
for the biggest donors
and other people wanting the werewolf
to bite them in all the right ways

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Post-Beatles 70s Love Songs mini-playlist..

1. Maybe I'm Amazed--Paul
2. Out The Blue--John
3. If Not For You--George
4. Only You--Ringo
5. My Love--Paul
6. Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)--John
7. You--George
8. I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way--Ringo

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A deceased-musicians-of-2016-so-far playlist.

1. Starman--David Bowie
2. Sign O' The Times--Prince
3. A Song For You--Leon Russell
4. Already Gone--The Eagles (Glenn Frey)
5. Young Man Blues--Mose Allison
6. First We Take Manhattan--Leonard Cohen
7. Big City--Merle Haggard
8. Green Eyed Lady--Sugarloaf (Jerry Corbetta)
9. Wheel Of Fortune--Kay Starr
10. Set Adrift On Memory Bliss--PM Dawn (Prince Be)
11. Dream Baby Dream--Suicide (Alan Vega)
12. Flashlight--Parliament (Bernie Worrell)
13. Me And Mrs. Jones--Billy Paul
14. My Love--Paul McCartney & Wings (Henry McCullough)
15. The Wayward Wind--Gogi Grant
16. Can I Kick It--A Tribe Called Quest (Phife Dawg)
17. Lucky Man--Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Keith Emerson)
18. Shining Star--Earth Wind & Fire (Maurice White)
19. Somebody To Love--Jefferson Airplane (Paul Kantner)
20. Something In The Air--Thunderclap Newman (Andy Newman)
21. Don't Just Stand There--Patty Duke

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Garrison Keillor on Trump as Bully of the Free World.

Some of Garrison Keillor's column on the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency lapses into the kind of punching down he's done before (when Keillor wrote a stick-tongue-out book about Jesse Ventura's gubernatorial career) plus crotchety "those young people" ranting updated to refer to "electronic  devices" instead of watching television.

But this excerpt is worth repeating here:
Don’t be cruel. Elvis said it, and it’s true. We all experienced cruelty back in our playground days — boys who beat up on the timid, girls who made fun of the homely and naive — and most of us, to our shame, went along with it, afraid to defend the victims lest we become one of them. But by your 20s, you should be done with cruelty. Mr. Trump was the cruelest candidate since George Wallace. How he won on fear and bile is for political pathologists to study. The country is already tired of his noise, even his own voters. He is likely to become the most intensely disliked president since Herbert Hoover. His children will carry the burden of his name. He will never be happy in his own skin. But the damage he will do to our country — who knows? His supporters voted for change, and boy, are they going to get it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Glenn Greenwald explains last night's defeat of Hillary Clinton.

(1) DEMOCRATS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN FLAILING AROUND trying to blame anyone and everyone they can find — everyone except themselves — for last night’s crushing defeat of their party. You know the drearily predictable list of their scapegoats: Russia, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, The Media, news outlets (including, perhaps especially, the Intercept) which sinned by reporting negatively on Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks that what happened last night in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan can be blamed on any of that is drowning in self-protective ignorance so deep that it’s impossible to express in words.
When a political party is demolished, the principle responsibility belongs to one entity: the party that got crushed. It’s the job of the party and the candidate, and nobody else, to persuade the citizenry to support them and find ways to do that. Last night, the Democrats failed, resoundingly, to do that, and any autopsy or liberal think piece or pro-Clinton-pundit commentary that does not start and finish with their own behavior is one that is inherently worthless.
Put simply, Democrats knowingly chose to nominate a deeply unpopular, extremely vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate, who — for very good reason — was widely perceived to be a protector and beneficiary of all the worst components of status quo elite corruption. It’s astonishing that those of us who tried frantically to warn Democrats that nominating Hillary Clinton was a huge and scary gamble, that all empirical evidence showed that she could lose to anyone and that Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate especially in this climate — are now the ones being blamed: by the very same people who insisted on ignoring all that data and nominating her anyway.
But that’s just basic blame-shifting and self-preservation. Far more significant is what this shows about the mentality of the Democratic Party. Just think about who they nominated: someone who — when she wasn’t dining with Saudi monarchs and being feted in Davos by tyrants who gave million-dollar checks — spent the last several years piggishly running around to Wall Street banks and major corporations cashing in with $250,000 fees for 45-minute secret speeches even though she had already become unimaginably rich with book advances while her husband already made tens of millions playing these same games. She did all that without the slightest apparent concern for how that would feed into all the perceptions and resentments of her and the Democratic Party as corrupt, status-quo-protecting, aristocratic tools of the rich and powerful: exactly the worst possible behavior for this post-2008-economic-crisis era of globalism and destroyed industries.
It goes without saying that Trump is a sociopathic con artist obsessed with personal enrichment: the opposite of a genuine warrior for the downtrodden. That’s too obvious to debate. But, just as Obama did so powerfully in 2008, he could credibly run as an enemy of the D.C. and Wall Street system that has steamrolled over so many people, while Hillary Clinton is its loyal guardian, its consummate beneficiary.
Trump vowed to destroy the system that elites love (for good reason) and the masses hate (for equally good reason), while Clinton vowed to more efficiently manage it. That, as Matt Stoller’s indispensable article in the Atlantic three weeks ago documented, is the conniving choice the Democratic Party made decades ago: to abandon populism and become the party of technocratically proficient, mildly benevolent managers of elite power. Those are the cynical, self-interested seeds they planted, and now the crop has sprouted.
Of course there are fundamental differences between Obama’s version of “change” and Trump’s. But at a high level of generality — which is where these messages are often ingested — both were perceived as outside forces on a mission to tear down corrupt elite structures, while Clinton was perceived as devoted to their fortification. That is the choice made by Democrats — largely happy with status quo authorities, believing in their basic goodness — and any honest attempt by Democrats to find the prime author of last night’s debacle will begin with a large mirror.
Link to entire article:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Summary of how Donald Trump is on track to become President.

From Calvin Woodward article for Associated Press:
To those in Trump country, no boastful, stomach-turning video about women, no "lock-her-up" insult from the stage, no toxic tweet in the wee hours, could peel them away from the man whose crudities only made him more authentic in their eyes. To many of the Republicans who didn't come to the rallies — and to some of the lawmakers who faced the prospect of working with him in Washington — he was a disaster, a Republican Titanic sailing alongside Clinton's Democratic Lusitania. To the country at large, and much of the world, he polarized, repelled, entertained, shocked and fascinated.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Don't throw away your vote on Donald Trump.

A lot of people I grew up with in Wichita County TX (and some of them now live in other parts of the state or other states entirely) believe in the anti-Big Government myth of the Republican Party and are likely to pull the straight-ticket lever out of habit.

Some of them (regardless of religious beliefs) have probably rationalized their need to vote for Donald Trump in this way: "He's not perfect, but, then, he's not Hillary Clinton either."

Donald Trump may be loud and coarse and say incorrect things, but he's not one of you.

Donald Trump isn't going to improve the lives of people suffering from poverty.

Donald Trump isn't going to wave a wand and reverse the dying coal industry.

Donald Trump won't bring back jobs destined to be forever lost--and likely won't support job retraining either.

Donald Trump sees poor people only as a fanbase to wave to from a distance before
he boards a plane with the TRUMP brand and flies to the next town.

Donald Trump won't give you a living wage.

Donald Trump is the imperfect vessel the Republican Party is clinging to--in hopes that a Trump victory will restart the wrecking ball to government and social programs (aka "spending cuts") last seen knocking things over en masse during Ronald Reagan's Presidency.

If you're rich (or very rich), Donald Trump will care about you and see that legislation benefiting only you (and no income brackets below you) will be passed.

In summary, Donald Trump is just a bullying fake using your prejudices, your anger and sorrow over lost jobs and lower income and disappearance of certain "ways of life" to get you to pull a voting lever and, likely, fill the Breitbart empire's mail/e-mail lists with valuable information about you and your beliefs.

Don't let Donald Trump use and discard you.

Don't throw away your vote this Tuesday by falling for a fantasy that does not exist at all whatsoever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Start subdued
Adjust the microphone
Then kick a hole in the floor
Move the microphone a little more
Kick until the hole gets bigger
Keep kicking
Until the hole is large enough
For you to fall through the floor
Dropping towards the Earth's core
As you yell:
Until your voice is no longer heard.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Matt Taibbi's epitaph for the Trump campaign.

Excerpt from Matt Taibbi's ROLLING STONE article "The Fury and Failure of  Donald Trump."

Trump, ironically, was originally a rebel against this process, the first-ever party-crasher to bulldoze his way past the oligarchical triad of donors, party leaders and gatekeeping media. But once he got in, he became the ultimate servant of the horse race, simultaneously creating the most-watched and most regressive election ever.
He was unable to stop being a reality star. Trump from the start had been playing a part, but his acting got worse and worse as time went on, until finally he couldn't keep track: Was he supposed to be a genuine traitor to his class and the savior of the common man, or just be himself, i.e., a bellicose pervert with too much time on his hands? Or were the two things the same thing? He was too dumb to figure it out, and that paralysis played itself out on the Super Bowl of political stages. It was great television. It was also the worst thing that ever happened to our electoral system. 
Trump's shocking rise and spectacular fall have been a singular disaster for U.S. politics. Built up in the press as the American Hitler, he was unmasked in the end as a pathetic little prankster who ruined himself, his family and half of America's two-party political system for what was probably a half-assed ego trip all along, adventure tourism for the idiot rich. 
That such a small man would have such an awesome impact on our nation's history is terrible, but it makes sense if you believe in the essential ridiculousness of the human experience. Trump picked exactly the wrong time to launch his mirror-gazing rampage to nowhere. He ran at a time when Americans on both sides of the aisle were experiencing a deep sense of betrayal by the political class, anger that was finally ready to express itself at the ballot box. 
The only thing that could get in the way of real change – if not now, then surely very soon – was a rebellion so maladroit, ill-conceived and irresponsible that even the severest critics of the system would become zealots for the status quo. 
In the absolute best-case scenario, the one in which he loses, this is what Trump's run accomplished. He ran as an outsider antidote to a corrupt two-party system, and instead will leave that system more entrenched than ever. If he goes on to lose, he will be our Bonaparte, the monster who will continue to terrify us even in exile, reinforcing the authority of kings. 
If you thought lesser-evilism was bad before, wait until the answer to every question you might have about your political leaders becomes, "Would you rather have Trump in office?" 
Trump can't win. Our national experiment can't end because one aging narcissist got bored of sex and food. Not even America deserves that. But that doesn't mean we come out ahead. We're more divided than ever, sicker than ever, dumber than ever. And there's no reason to think it won't be worse the next time. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Varying reactions to Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize.

Marianne Faithfull quoted via The Guardian:
“I think he’s one of the greatest artists in the world and he’s changed our whole lives with his writing and his poetry.”
And she was scornful of the writers criticising the choice. “I think they’re ridiculous,” she said.

Michael Pollock via Facebook:
I have always liked Dylan, but I don't think he wrote or sang anything really significant after 1965. If I were him, I'd feel rather weird about accepting an award for literature when others, with so much more talent and an exceptional history of literary success, deserve it more. Dylan was a folk singer who stood on the shoulders of Woody Guthrie. In his acceptance speech, Dylan should at least acknowledge this fact. You could almost randomly throw a rock out the window and hit a better writer in the head.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Passing along information re books by rock author Ken Sharp.

Printing this e-mail in its entirety:


Please help me to "Play On"... 

Working on a new album and really excited by our progress but trying to keep it going is a tough haul financially...

Here's how you can help...Come check out my web site, for a selection of my books and email me at if interested in any of them. These include all three volumes of my sold out "Play On! Power Pop Heroes" volumes, the sold out Cheap Trick book and others.

Many are now officially sold out and but I have a small batch of personal copies and will make them available for what they sold for plus shipping.

I also have a few softback/hardback copies of "Eric Carmen: Marathon Man," a biography I co-penned on Eric, which sells for ridiculous money on ebay; one copy is up for sale at over $900. These are both signed and unsigned by Eric.

All proceeds will go toward offsetting the cost of recording new songs for my album...

I'd be grateful if you'd consider sharing this info with any like minded music fans.

Thanks for all.

Best Regards,


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The 2016 Election Year Playlist.

Old and new songs relevant to this year's slugfest.

1. Winning Ugly--The Rolling Stones
2. It's Money That I Love--Randy Newman
3. Lawyers In Love--Jackson Browne
4. You're No Good--Linda Ronstadt
5. Surrender Under Protest--Drive-By Truckers
6. Magic--Bruce Springsteen
7. American Idiot--Green Day
8. Troubled Times--Green Day
9. Wristband--Paul Simon
10. Weary--Solange

Monday, October 3, 2016


I want to be there when it doesn't happen

When the nation steps away from the cliff
And decides that the woman running to be the boss
Is infinitely preferable to the man
Who plays the role of a boss on TV

Where there are retakes and downtime
For him to discuss all the female
Contestants and crewmembers who
Excite him sexually

Please remember,
When marking your ballot,
The pretend boss/hateful candidate on TV
Got out of paying taxes

And won the goldmine
While his former Casino employees
Plus shareholders
Plummeted down the open mine shaft

The Presidency isn't a job for charlatans
And that's why I want to be there
When informed choice prevails
Over infantile notions of Greatness

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Today's multiple-choice Donald Trump question.

How does your conservative friend/family member rationalize his/her continuing support of Donald Trump for President?
A. He'll have a lot of smart people helping him
B. I don't agree with everything he says, but he's the best choice
C. The liberal media makes mountains out of molehills
D. I can't not support the Republican Party
E. Stop Hillary!
F. More than one of the above

Friday, September 30, 2016

Random notes on ROLLING STONE 100 Greatest TV Shows article.

1.  Rob Sheffield, the ROLLING STONE in-house media cheerleader who apparently devised the concept for this list, loves anointing anything with "buzz" as much as Peter Travers.
2.  There's a fair number of series that should have asterisks for running far too long (THE SIMPSONS, ALL IN THE FAMILY, HOMELAND, HAPPY DAYS, SOUTH PARK, MASH), ultimately diluting the artistic/entertainment merits they began with.
3. Like Bill Maher or not, his earlier series POLITICALLY INCORRECT (which helped to make THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT REPORT possible) deserves more recognition than REAL TIME.
4. Count the number of recent cable or online series on the list vs. network product (including Amazon'/s TRANSPARENT--this generation's equal to the early, excellent, seasons of ALL IN THE FAMILY.
5. I'd probably swap MST3K and BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD for SCTV and KING OF THE HILL.
6. Where's COMMUNITY?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

America and the Free World deserve someone better than a star of a Mark Burnett-produced reality show.

Omarosa Manigault, who achieved fame as a caricatured villainess on the early run of Mark Burnett's THE APPRENTICE (which starred the current Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump) spoke these chilling words recently:
“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” she says. “It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him — it is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Friday, September 23, 2016

David Byrne playlist--Talking Heads/solo

1. Psycho Killer (Stop Making Sense version)
2. Crosseyed and Painless
3. This Must Be The Place
4. Television Man
5. Road To Nowhere
6. The Rose Tattoo
7. Marching Through The Wilderness
8. Good and Evil
9. Hanging Upside Down
10. Monkey Man
11. A Million Miles Away
12. Miss America

When I found out I didn't belong in a certain room.

Years ago, I went to one of those "how to submit to journals/litmags and get published" get-togethers at Beyond Baroque.

A then-well-known poet named Michelle Ben-Hur, when it was her turn to dispense advice, said something like this:
If you think of poetry as a hobby, then YOU DO NOT BELONG IN THIS ROOM!  (all-caps accurate since her voice got quite loud at that point)

Maybe I should have left the room at that point, since it was becoming clear that I wasn't going to qualify as an academia-friendly poet.   And, therefore, I really didn't belong in the room as defined by Ms. Ben-Hur.

But I wanted to fit in as best as I could--and there was at least one person sitting at the publishing  table who genuinely liked the poems I wrote in that period.

Fast forward to over a decade and a half later, where some of the then-SoCal-based poets/editors have moved to other cities in California--though the bulk of their litmags survive.

Coda: On a recent visit to Beyond Baroque, I discovered that the chapbooks I left there on consignment over the years have disappeared (doubting they were sold like hot cakes)--leaving just two copies of HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013, which were apparently spared since they are Real Books instead of DYI.

Obviously, an example of the "survival of the fittest" ethic espoused at that long-ago seminar.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The perils of phrases like "basket of deplorables."

As I see it, Hillary Clinton's use of the phrase "basket of deplorables" to describe the different varieties of prejudiced people supporting Donald Trump's campaign was a misstep--even though, in advance, she prefaced it with a mention of generalizations.

Of course, the Trump campaign cut together a rapid response ad; it mixed the victimization tropes that fire up fundamentalist conservatives with footage of the Trump/Pence Louisiana flood photo-op where they briefly pretended to care about people other than themselves.

This reminds me of the self-pity ad made years ago by the Proposition 8 opponents of same-sex marriage featuring Gavin Newsom at another gathering of supporters.

Here's what the site said about the Prop 8 Newsom ad:
The Newsom ad opened and closed with [then] San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom saying, “It’s gonna happen—whether you like it or not.” As much as the words, the ad’s raucous and abrasive tone told voters they were not in control and that others were forcing them to accept same-sex marriage.

The more times that conservatives get told they're not in control and (by extension) they're being persecuted, the greater the likelihood of them turning out in force on Election Day.

And this makes it even more vital that the alliance of Clinton believers and pragmatic ex-Sanders followers will not take the next few weeks for granted.

Even if it might mean refraining from basketing bigots existing in the pool of voters/potential voters.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Revised poem: Somewhere There's A Someone

somewhere there's a someone
playing quiet electric guitar
on the patio of his Costa Mesa townhouse
with ROCKY II playing on TV in the den
he remembers his one year of local fame
as part of a cover band
playing Top 40 radio rock
such as Rick Springfield,
John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band,
John Cougar Mellencamp and Bryan Adams
then he plays the opening bars of
Springsteen's THE RIVER
and pauses to recall the line
about whether a dream is a lie
if it doesn't come true
or if it’s something worse

The redoubled double standard on Hillary Clinton's health coming soon.

Now that Hillary Clinton's current case of pneumonia has been grudgingly revealed by her campaign, it's time for those Americans "on the other side of the aisle" (i.e. Republicans who won't bring themselves to vote otherwise) to develop purposeful amnesia on the subject of male Presidents/Vice Presidents with greater health issues, from William Henry Harrison to Dick Cheney.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Donald Trump must not be anyone's President.

Phonetic pronunciation of a recent Donald Trump catchphrase aimed at African-Americans and other now-unlikely potential voters:

Quite a bit, as last night's frightening, invective-filled, violent-imagery-laden speech in Arizona (after a muted pass at looking Presidential in Mexico) proved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More comments on Nate Parker and THE BIRTH OF A NATION 2016.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith's Civil War epic THE BIRTH OF A NATION, from a novel called THE CLANSMAN, gathered infamy for inflaming racism in the United States (allegedly playing a role in the revival of the Ku Klux Klan) while people struggled to separate Griffith's filmmaking from its subject matter.

In 2016, Nate Parker's THE BIRTH OF A NATION, from accounts of the 1831 Nat Turner-led slave rebellion, is gathering controversy for the revelations of a 1999 rape that Parker was allegedly involved with (though Parker was proven not guilty).  Now, people are struggling to separate Parker's filmmaking and the importance of retelling Turner's story from Parker's past behavior.

Of course, it didn't help that Nate Parker's first attempt at contrition (giving interviews to VARIETY and DEADLINE to preempt controversy which would erupt too close to BIRTH 2016's release) had a subtext of "please don't deny me the chance to potentially win awards for my film" spinning his past (as an obstacle to be overcome) and downplaying the woman who was victimized.

Then, it was revealed that the woman committed suicide years later.

Parker's statement showed some empathy for her--but he still seemed to regard this as mostly about him.

At this writing, Fox Searchlight (the releasing studio) seems to be full-speed-ahead with the release of THE BIRTH OF A NATION--but a screening at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles with Parker Q&A was canceled due to apparent objections (the AFI head announced what promises to be a venting session among AFI students on the film and a later re-scheduling of the screening).  And the film will play at the upcoming TIFF film festival in Toronto, but without Parker doing Q&A--though he is to be part of a press junket.

Here's a link to a recent DAILY KOS article:

And here's William Evans writing for :

From Evans' article:
Yes, Parker was acquitted and I don’t believe in infinite punishment, but when he concludes his statements by saying, “I have since moved on and been focusing on my family and writing career,” that simply isn’t good enough. Saying you made some mistakes when you were in college doesn’t exactly sum up sexually assaulting an unconscious woman with a co-conspirator, especially if you’re never really willing to speak specifically to it (“made a lot of mistakes,” “17 years ago,” “grew so much since then,” etc). Realistically, as an editor of a modest website, my not reviewing A Birth of a Nation may not make any impact upon the hype and reception of his film, but it is the only way I know to attempt holding my fellow Black men accountable for the violence we sometimes initiate.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Ugly Mug reading and lingering emotions.

So a poet I respect (have known him since 1998) wrote something like this on the Two Idiots Peddling Poetry Ugly Mug reading last night:
Cool reading!  I enjoyed myself.

And I was tempted to write this on his Facebook wall, but, instead, am posting it here:
It's a cool reading if you're allowed in. After 12 years of being barred, perhaps I should be able to read posts like this without feeling any emotions whatsoever. But I have the mark of Cain still upon me and people will still go and enjoy and think of their own enjoyment and not pay attention to anything I write.

In theory, I shouldn't care one way or another about this--and should have stopped thinking about the ban after it happened in 2004.

But it's still a reminder of the days when I got along and went along with the majority of poets in the community.

Also, it shows the essential fragility of poet-to-poet relationships. You can make one mistake. But if that mistake is a Big Public Error, then goodwill instantly stops--and it's as though you never knew the other person at all and no support/nothing good you've done for him in the past counts for anything.

Over the years, I've thought out loud on this incident here. Sometimes with anger. Other times, I've asked for forgiveness.

At this point, I'm resigned to knowing it's somewhere I'm eternally not allowed into.

And aware that people I like continue to go to the reading and are entertained by it/receive approval from the audience of poets/Chapman students.

Also, doubly aware that the people I like who attend the reading probably share this sentiment:

Therefore, I need to learn to be completely desensitized when people post laudatory messages and photos on Facebook of their moments of glory in a coffeehouse in the city of Orange CA.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What DC comic book movies and the Rio Olympics have in common.

Film writer Jeff Sneider, discussing SUICIDE SQUAD on Twitter, said, in essence, that the DC Comics movies released by Warner Bros. are "too big to fail."

TOO BIG TO FAIL (sorry about all caps) is the mantra for both the DC Extended Universe (which, with the presumably more user-friendly WONDER WOMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE being the next in a series of films to be released in the next 3 years) and NBC/IOC's determination to ensure the Summer Olympics stay on schedule in economically/environmentally blighted Rio.

Once the money has been pledged and/or spent, it will happen because money cannot be lost and egos cannot be bruised by the act of pulling the plug before further disasters occur.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Clint Eastwood, the p-word, and ancient notions of manhood.

In his auteurist prime (essentially from THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES to LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA), Clint Eastwood had people like Roger Ebert and Richard Schickel (among other critics/journalists) to burnish a relatively positive image of him as a politically conservative filmmaker who could also provide strong (by 70s/80s/90s genre film standards) female characters.  And in films like the now-mostly-forgotten WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART or Don Siegel's THE BEGUILED, Eastwood dared (unlike a lot of his peers past and present) to examine the harm unfiltered machismo can do to others.

Of course, none of that matters to younger generations.

And I cringed along with them when Eastwood embarrassed himself at the 2012 Republican convention by insulting an invisible straw-man version of Barack Obama sitting in a prop chair (presuming Mitt Romney operative Stuart Stevens thought he was inviting the we're-all-in-this-together Clint Eastwood who filmed the commercial extolling Chrysler and Detroit auto manufacturing).

So, at the age of 86, Clint Eastwood (along with up-and-coming son Scott) sits with interviewer Michael Hainey for ESQUIRE in his comfortable Malpaso offices on the Warner Brothers lot and snarls about the passing of the era of just accepting the occurrences of racial and other prejudices instead of challenging them.  Then, more scowling about today's too-sensitive "pussy generation."   Finally, a mixed verdict on Donald Trump; Clint thinks that Trump has said "a lot of dumb things" but can't bring himself to vote for Hillary Clinton.

And there's also this landmark of non-feminist patriarchal thinking from Clint--which likely won't persuade online Millennials to spend time separating the wheat from the chaff of his filmography (including the Charlie Parker biopic BIRD, which helped make Forest Whitaker a star):
ESQ: Clint, your father retired when he was sixty and died at sixty-four. Does his death haunt you? Like, "If I stop working, I will drop"?
CE: Maybe. A lot of people when they retire, they just expire. It happens to men more than women. Women usually have great interest in the family, because the family's always growing and they're always coming to the rescue.
SE: [Laughs.] Are you talking about my mom?
CE: For a man, once you've sired your pups, you're done.

The Beach Boys album tracks/rarities playlist.

1. The Little Girl I Once Knew
2. I Know There's An Answer
3. Vegetables (SMILEY SMILE version)
4  Friends
5. Back Home (1970 version--can be found on YouTube)
6. Slip On Through
7. Our Sweet Love
8. At My Window
9. Cabinessence (20/20 version)
10. Time To Get Alone
11. Cool Cool Water
12. Don't Go Near The Water
13. The Trader
14. You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone
15. He Came Down
16. Leaving This Town (1973 IN CONCERT version)
17. It's OK (alternate mix from MADE IN CALIFORNIA boxset)
18. It's A Beautiful Day (single edit, 2012 mix from MADE IN CALIFORNIA boxset)
19. Here Comes The Night (WILD HONEY version)
20. Feel Flows

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Hillary Clinton wishlist.

After some thought, I've decided to be (with reservations) supportive of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic presidential campaign (the U.S. can ill-afford to be ruled by the Trump/Pence/Ryan troika) .  I'm not going to castigate people who are still unwilling to support her (since they received plenty of vitriol during the primaries), but--having cast a primary vote for Bernie Sanders--I believe the seeds of future progressivism in the Democratic Party need to grow instead of being yanked in a moment of fury.  There needs to be more "democracy" in the party if it wants to be a viable alternative to Republicanism in the 2018 midterms, 2020 election, etc.

Now, onto the Hillary wishlist:

1. Please stop regarding Bernie Sanders supporters and Occupy Wall Street as irritants who bang on limousine doors during a leisurely ride through Manhattan.   Take them seriously and erect a firewall between yourself and Goldman Sachs/JP Morgan Chase/hedge funds, etc.  Government regulations to prevent Wall Street abuse of/stealing from the nonwealthy--not a bad thing at all.

2. Ensure that future government e-mails are on a much more secure government server so no further controversy over personal servers plagues yourself or others in your White House.

3. Put more distance between your forthcoming administration and your husband's past one.  It's not the 90s anymore and Dick Morris-esque triangulation and draconian welfare policies/mass incarceration/private prison support are hurtful, to say the least.

4. With regards to foreign policy, regime change causes more terrorism than it prevents--whether it's the Left's "Smart Power" or the Right's "they'll greet us as liberators" neocon values.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Re the reaction to DNC leaks.

Among the pushback rationalizations you will likely hear from those who want the Hillary train to run on time:
A. Assange is Bad Bad Bad!
B. These leaks might be connected to Putin
C. Bernie would have lost anyway
D. You're a child if you object to what the DNC did

In terms of the DNC and now almost departed chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I'll quote
70s TV cop Tony Baretta:
"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New poem inspired by old song: LIFE DURING TRUMPTIME.

this ain't no party
this ain't no Chili's
this ain't no fooling around
this ain't no Trump Tower
this ain't no Mar A Lago
we don't have time for that now

we dress like cowboys
we dress like churchgoers
we all stand up and vote
we do not worry
about plagiarized speeches
it's all Hillary's fault

[repeat first verse]

don't want democracy
don't want free public college
just wanna open carry our guns
don't like working more for less
it just makes us stressed
marching up and down the streets

take us back Donald
carry us back to old America
make it okay to be bigoted again
don't wanna worry about political correctness
sensitivity is a sin

[repeat first verse]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


New York is the real America
and the rest of us live in one big Outer Borough
learning the hard hard way
to treat democracy as a sort of treason
and civil disobedience as punishable by death
for we have no right to interfere
with the businesses that rule the world
and we have no business at all
penalizing successful people
when they allow their ugliness to show
which President of USNY will we choose:
the loud racist man who puts his last name on everything
or the woman who wants to keep giving war a chance
whatever they say now,
neither one of them give a damn about serfs--
only the landowners buying influence and power
and now it’s time
for us in New York Nation to be quiet
stop hoping for change
go to sleep early
and wander the Outer Boroughs
playing Pokemon Go
in hopes of qualifying
for the final championship
to be held at Times Square

Monday, July 11, 2016


he took the fragile state
of police/African American public relations
and stabbed it over and over
before the Dallas Police robot
bearing the death sentence of C4
dynamited him into the Lake of Fire
he gave television an easier story to tell
than the previous two days about
police shootings of black men
following the rules of their respective states
and carrying licensed legal weapons
he enabled cable news
to again display the narrative of
beleaguered good vs evil that comes out of nowhere
and show funerals, interfaith services and press conferences,
reducing airtime for conversations
about asking for misbehaving police
to be held accountable for their overreactions
and how this isn’t equal to
praising the police who engage with communities
instead of holding them in perpetual contempt
pull out the rusty knife-blade of Micah’s hatred
and return to attempting to understand
other people as people
instead of Others to be feared and hated and shot on sight