Tuesday, May 31, 2016

THE NATION's Joan Walsh on Trump playing Beat The Press.

I'm not ordinarily a fan of former SALON columnist/current MSNBC mainstay Joan Walsh (the eternal Democratic Party centrist), but this paragraph from her article for THE NATION is essential reading:
Sometimes it seems that the media gets more upset about Trump’s abuse of its own members than his slurs against Mexicans, Muslims, women, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Vince Foster, and the handful of #NeverTrump Republicans who oppose him. Whatever it takes to prod more critical Trump coverage at this point, I’ll take it. Trump’s Tuesday meltdown was a new nadir of petulance and bullying, continued evidence of his inability to pivot to “presidential” behavior even after winning the delegates needed to become the nominee. This level of thin-skinned hysteria plays well with the GOP base; there’s no evidence it can win a majority of American voters. 

Entirety of article here: http://www.thenation.com/article/here-is-a-list-of-people-donald-trump-insulted-last-week/

Monday, May 30, 2016

Coda to the poetry rejection/rusty nail post.

Earlier I wrote this:
received a rejection letter.

Not from the host/poetry editor.

But from the publication's managing editor.

Of course, it could be the host/poetry editor may have chosen several poems and the managing editor may have kept some, cut others and taken on the task of e-mail notifications.

[ The host, earlier today, confirmed the above.  He has the Poetry Editor title, but the final editing/choices gets done by the managing editor.  But, hey, it's an honor and a step up on the ladder.]

I still feel that I've spent years wanting the host/editor to be someone of greater than superficial, "say what people want to hear" character.

Ultimately, a waste of my time and his.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Three poems not good enough for ANGEL CITY REVIEW.

(Note: poem constructed from lines in Beth Cheng's chapbook SYZYGY)
History speaks,
but I'm not drawn into conversation
It's not better,
just different you say
In response to my lament
I do not grow, cannot,
I only deflate, shrivel,
shrink, sublimate...

it's so easy
to be angry at Famous People
(justified or not)
for perceived sins of the past
and display purifying present-day scorn
in public forums
with no need
for nuance or perspective 
or historical context
shut down opposing views
and make it absolutely sure
actual or imagined crimes
and dubious, outdated, chauvinistic remarks
will cause every second of their art
and/or entertainment
created in the imperfect past 
to be avoided like Video Plague
by future generations
and imprisoned in studio vaults
without much chance of escape


Didn’t want to be single at 50
Complaining all the time about change
Didn’t want to be around people
Pronouncing the word “multicultural”
As an obscenity that begins with the word “mother”
Didn’t want to hear the words
“violating the natural order of things”
If I objected to bigotry
Didn’t want to be hushed up
If I said I liked some new movies
Just as much as Old Hollywood classics
Didn’t want to hear discussions at Bob’s Big Boy
About Alan Ladd being superior to Leo DiCaprio
Didn't want to be single at 60
And unable to make a woman trust me
Because of spending decades
In the company of aging men
Who preferred to remain boys

My confession.

I honestly wish that, in 1998, I had never read a copy of NEXT magazine--and, instead, accomplished something else with my life other than go public with poetry. Most of the truly decent people I met along the way are either deceased or have moved to other parts of the U.S. And others are shining examples of "conditional love." I feel like I've lost at least two to three years from my lifespan due to not realizing how to properly cope with the differing values (aesthetic and otherwise) of others without feeling stressed and upset. I'm truly sorry to have ever believed, once I started going to Midnight Special [Bookstore in Santa Monica] and attending the workshop, that I might have some value or something to contribute artistically to part of the community. And I'm ashamed of my naivete in thinking that the openness/acceptance of Midnight Special was something I'd find just about everywhere else.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The poetry rejection that felt like stepping on a rusty nail.

So there's this host who, for years, would say things like "I'm in your corner" when I felt I needed to confide in someone.

And, years ago, he was willing to lose a reading at a corporate bookstore and move elsewhere--this to defend someone who dared read Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" (or at least a portion of it) at an open mic.

The host, for years, compiled and sold a quarterly poetry publication where all were welcome to submit--and he would select the best poem/poems from each submission.

Then, the host got an MFA from a small university on the Westside of Los Angeles and things changed.

The quarterly publication was ceased as a newer showcase was phased in.

The new zine sought to include more eminent poets (perhaps a reaction to a L.A. poetry anthology titled WIDE AWAKE that the host wasn't part of) and began to have either prompts or "themes."

Now, there are some hoops to leap through.  Just submitting for someone to choose what he/she thinks is your best work isn't enough.

Let's start culling the herd to impress others.

And the host became the poetry editor of a webzine (with various forms of writing).

On a certain social network, the host/poetry editor invited submissions.

So, I submitted.

[SIDEBAR: the host used to do a pay-for-publication-of-chapbooks where poets at least were published with someone else's imprint instead of their own.  And I paid to have a handful of chapbooks done in this way.]

And today, I received a rejection letter.

Not from the host/poetry editor.

But from the publication's managing editor.

Of course, it could be the host/poetry editor may have chosen several poems and the managing editor may have kept some, cut others and taken on the task of e-mail notifications.

It's always disappointing to get rejections--certainly from people you know.

And it's up to the poet to decide whether or not to keep submitting.

To me, today's rejection meant:
host/poetry editor was just patronizing me for years because what I did benefited him and put some extra money in his pocket.

Now that he brandishes his MFA with pride, he can afford to leave the little people behind in his quest for parity with some of the major figures in Los Angeles poetry.

And I'm a little person who, again, realizes that rejection is a lot better when I've submitted to a publication where I know no one (and vice versa).

Because at least the rejection (or acceptance) is free of taint, bias or career advancement agendas.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bob Dylan playlist: 2000-2016

1. Things Have Changed
2. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
3. Mississippi
4. Summer Days
5. High Water (For Charley Patton)
6. Thunder On The Mountain
7. Beyond The Horizon
8. Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
9. It's All Good
10. Duquesne Whistle
11. Roll On John

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bob Dylan playlist 1962-1997.

1. Blowin' In The Wind
2. Mr. Tambourine Man
3. Like A Rolling Stone
4. Positively 4th Street
5. Just Like A Woman
6. Rainy Day Women #12 and #35
7. Subterranean Homesick Blues
8. It Ain't Me Babe
9; Chimes Of Freedom
10. All Along The Watchtower
11. Girl From The North Country (w/Johnny Cash)
12. Lay Lady Lay
13. Tangled Up In Blue
14. Hurricane
15. Mozambique
16. Precious Angel
17. The Groom's Still Waiting At The Altar
18. Every Grain Of Sand
19. Jokerman
20. When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky
21. Dark Eyes
22. Political World
23. Everything Is Broken
24. Man In The Long Black Coat
25. Brownsville Girl
26. Dignity (MTV Unplugged)
27. Love Sick
28. Trying To Get To Heaven
29. Not Dark Yet
30. Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Los Angeles 70s playlist.

1. Fountain Of Sorrow--Jackson Browne
2. FM--Steely Dan
3. LA Serenade--Livingston Taylor
4. Come Monday--Jimmy Buffett
5. Someone To Lay Down Beside Me--Linda Ronstadt
6. Use Me--Bill Withers
7. Different Drum--Michael Nesmith
8. Why Can't We Be Friends?--War
9. Best Of My Love--The Eagles
10. Breakaway--Art Garfunkel
11. Tenderness On The Block--Warren Zevon
12. Just A Song Before I Go--CSN
13. You're Only Lonely--J.D. Souther

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Summer movies big and small I am interested in seeing.

In no specific order:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The poetry rejection that wounded me.

Everyone who participates in poetry has at least one story about: a. being snubbed by someone you looked up to personally/artistically b. getting told in an active or passive way that your work doesn't fit the standards of a small press/e-zine/literary publication/reading and you should either be "better" or go elsewhere.

There's a "b" incident which occurred fifteen years ago which, in hindsight, was a signal that my value to a certain level of poetry was going to be primarily as a supporter (be it by helping advertise/make donations/buy books or as an audience member) of the work of more eminent poets than myself.

Here's that incident:

I was trying out poems for the first edition of HOLLYWOOD POETRY at a now-long-defunct reading series.

The host spent some of the evening coveting the attention of another host who was then quite a prominent local figure.

And neither of them seemed to care about my poems that evening as I took my turn on the open mic.

(Backstory: The first host was someone I had met about three years before and was an occasional confidant--and had been supportive of me early on.)

Despite the lack of interest, I (as the cliche goes) "sucked it up" and kept at poetry--finding some friends, plus a few adversaries.

So I self-published HOLLYWOOD POETRY and sold a few copies.  And these were still the days when I tended to avoid outspokenness--all was well.

A few years later, I revised the original manuscript and asked the first host about the possibility of publishing it (since this person had a publishing imprint).

The first host's answer: No, I couldn't publish this under [imprint omitted].  Maybe it could be done under a different one.

And I was led to believe my book was only worth being treated as a humorous novelty born to sit forever at the children's table.

Once again, I sucked it up and made the decision to not pursue the issue further.

In the years since, the first host remained kind on what mostly seemed to me as surface level.

But I now knew that reputation was something to be ultra-treasured.

And my little book of observational poems--if the risk of publishing under the primary imprint had been taken--might have caused this person's learned friends to believe "[host's name omitted] doesn't have high enough standards."

This was the first indication (and not the last, alas) I was never going to be Good Enough in the eyes of certain people I thought reciprocated my respect for them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The George Harrison playlist.

1. Here Comes The Sun (SNL duet w/Paul Simon)
2. My Sweet Lord
3. Wah-Wah
4. Art of Dying
5. If Not For You
6. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
7. Sue Me Sue You Blues
8. Dark Horse
9. This Song
10. Crackerbox Palace
11. Blow Away
12. Faster
13. Here Comes The Moon
14. Got My Mind Set On You
15. That's What It Takes
16. When We Was Fab
17. Heading For The Light (Wilburys)
18. Any Road
19. Love Comes To Everyone
20. Horse To The Water (w/Jools Holland Big Band)
21. All Things Must Pass

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A female GOP operative on the negative effects of Trump misogyny.

From a POLITICO article about some Republicans getting Ready For Hillary:
"If we nominate Trump, [the party] is lost beyond this cycle. I think we lose women for a generation, in big numbers,” said Katie Packer, who served as Romney’s deputy campaign manager and now leads the Our Principles super PAC that spent $10 million in an effort to stop Trump. 
“There’s a feeling among Republican women that I talk to that the people who would nominate this guy don’t have any real respect for us as women—especially professional women. They would rather see us in a Mad Men era, where women knew their place and catered to their husband, cooked dinner and met their sexual obligations and didn’t have any other role in society. And there are other people who are supporting him because the guy’s a blatant racist and they identify with that.
“So there’s a sense that if this is who my party is, I don’t really identify with it anymore.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/republicans-clinton-trump-indiana-222778#ixzz47fJbZ15e 

Memorable concerts I've attended in my lifetime.

In no specific order:
1. The Carpenters--Memorial Auditorium Wichita Falls TX 1973
2. The Clash--Memorial Auditorium Wichita Falls TX 1983
3. Stevie Wonder--Reunion Arena Dallas TX 1986
4. John Prine/Jerry Jeff Walker Paolo Soleri Ampitheatre Santa Fe NM 1985
5. Ray Charles Playboy Jazz Festival Hollywood CA 1988
6. Paul McCartney Stade de France Paris 2004
7. Lucinda Williams El Rey Theatre Los Angeles CA 2007
8. Elton John Hollywood Bowl Hollywood CA 1988
9. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Los Angeles Sports Arena 1988
10. Amnesty International Benefit (Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman)
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 1988
11. Wilco Greek Theatre Los Angeles CA 2015
12. Leo Kottke/Michael Hedges Universal Ampitheatre Universal City CA 1988
13. Bob Dylan/Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Reunion Arena Dallas TX 1986
14. The Who--Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre Irvine CA 2000
15. Gathering of the Tribes (X, John Wesley Harding, Steve Earle, King's X, Yo-yo) Pacific
Ampitheatre Costa Mesa CA 1991
16. Robert Cray Club West Santa Fe NM 1987
17. Marianne Faithfull Barbican Theatre London UK 2011
18. John Wesley Harding McCabes Santa Monica CA 1993
19. Elvis Costello and The Attractions Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre 1994
20. Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band (including Peter Frampton, Jack Bruce, Simon Kirke) Universal Ampitheatre 1997
21. REM--Greek Theatre 2004
22. David Bowie--Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles CA 2004
23. Prince--Mandalay Bay Arena Las Vegas NV 2004
24. Madonna--Los Angeles Forum 2005
25. The Rolling Stones/Buddy Guy/Red Hot Chili Peppers--Rose Bowl Pasadena CA 1994
26. Pink Floyd--Rose Bowl 1994
27. Grateful Dead/Sting Sam Boyd Stadium Las Vegas 1993
28. Dionne Warwick/Burt Bacharach Caesar's Palace Las Vegas 1993
29. Louis Armstrong/Harper's Bizarre HemisFair Arena San Antonio TX 1968
30. Jack Benny/Wayne Newton Music Hall, Fair Park Dallas TX 1966
31. Frank Sinatra/Don Rickles/Pia Zadora Pacific Ampitheatre 1990

Monday, May 2, 2016

What did I do for National Poetry Month?

1. I wrote a few poems that can be found on my Facebook page under Notes--but chose for various reasons not to complete the 30 poems in 30 days marathon (unlike the past two years).

2. I recorded on video a few poems I liked by other poets (including SGV's Ron Koertge and the late L.A. poet/storyteller Jack Shafer) and uploaded them to YouTube.

3. More than the customary amount of plugging my own paid/free past work via my Twitter account.  On one occasion, promoted someone else's e-volume of poetry.

4. Attended Pete Justus' feature (in an upstairs room) at Beyond Baroque one week ago--plus read in an open-mic for the first time this year.

5. Bought the latest Ron Koertge and Brendan Constantine books.

And that's all.

Not a lot compared to other poets in the local community, but certainly more than nothing to me.