Friday, March 3, 2017

Goodbye, blog.

This marks the end of Poetry-Arts Confidential after close to ten years of semi-regular-to-irregular opinionated posting on various subjects I wanted to write about.

I will continue with the Tumblr Quiet Man blog-- at, plus my recently-established Instagram account.

Thanks for reading--and for the occasional comments (favorable and otherwise).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Why progressives will always be subordinate in the Democratic Party.

Someone in media/film writing I follow on Twitter retweeted the following statement from a person I'll not name here.  It's the perfect summary of the centrist, big donation-dependent wing of the Democratic Party (who think they've become a little more liberal because Tom Perez, who talks a good game about the party's future and unity, was elected DNC head over Keith Ellison) and the contempt they still hold for the more progressive (i.e. Bernie Sanders supporting) membership.

Democrats are your friend who'll die single, waiting for a person too perfect to exist.

Republicans are the guy who fucks whoever is there.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


here’s to the people who look the other way
when someone is encouraging the crowd
to close their eyes to simple decency
and support wholesale deportation
plus persecution of children and teens
over which gender they identify as
and what bathrooms they use
here’s to the television news channels
on the left and the right
who look at neo-fascist “campaign 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
in loud support of their favorite prejudices
how will you cope with
the future you helped create
by doing the same old things
in the same old ways?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


bridges don’t burn
guards appear at each end
to restrict travel to those
whose friendly faces are instant visas

don’t want to ruin what’s left of life
regretting futures that don’t include me
and, perhaps, never did

Friday, February 17, 2017


'Everybody is born with at least 200 bad poems in them. It's best to get rid of them
by college.' --Billy Collins
hello Billy
you don’t know me
but I read your recent comment
and bundled 200 of my poems,
leaving them at the bottom of your driveway
for potential evaluation

I’m aware of how hard it is
to be accepted by Academia--
particularly when you, Billy Collins,
write poems that are easy
for most people to understand

and, to a lot of poets,
it means you’re not trying hard enough

okay, I get it,
you made that 200 bad poems comment
to keep your credibility
with the poets eternally upset
over how you sell more books
than they ever will

also, there’s that desire for intellectual bragging rights
when you appear onstage with Paul Simon and Aimee Mann
and get super-duper-eager to claim your poems
as existing on an equal plane to their lyrics

so go on, Billy,
keep talking about how elevated you are
and how bad all the beginners are

plus all the self-educated poets
like Adam Driver’s Paterson
(in the movie of the same name )

of course, they’re bad too
because they choose not to publish
or share their art
through accepted channels
with people like you

so, here are my 200 poems
destined to enter your blue recycling can
without even a glance at my cover letter
as you regret your long-ago misstep
of criticizing MFA programs
during one of your book tours,

believing this outburst of candor
about homogenized poetry
led to amateur me
annoying distinguished you

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jim Newell on the Democratic Party leading resistance from behind

From an article on

Millions of people marched against Donald Trump the day after he was inaugurated. Republican members of Congress can’t hold town halls without being set upon by protesters hassling them about their agenda or the blind eye they turn to Trump. Resistance groups are gathering massive support online; the ACLU will never want for money again; the courts have blocked Trump’s order restricting travel into the United States. As Republicans put the Affordable Care Act on the chopping block, regular people are mustering a moral language for defending it that Democratic politicians have been loath to employ. Constituents have a powerful ability to find the right defense for something dear to them when someone is trying to take that thing away. Maybe the job of Democrats at the top isn’t to draw up a message in a focus group. Maybe it’s to follow those people on the ground expressing it already.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


there’s a new flag
for the renamed America First:
mostly white
with clashing shades of red
and a very pale blue

the old one--
with Stars and Stripes
and the promise
of freedom from tyranny--
was stolen in daylight
by Oval Office thieves
on a Friday afternoon
which now lives in infamy

Some ruminations about yesterday.

1. I recall some in my generation who believed (and likely still believe) their Christian denomination's version of Christianity (Christ is the only Savior and non-Christians will all go to Hell).  Presumably, most of them voted for Donald Trump and believe the Muslim ban/refugee freeze (enacted Friday and throwing the US into chaos on Saturday) is a righteous casting out of Satanic terrorists or would-be terrorists from the nation--the sweet-smelling poison attracting allegedly Good Americans to the recycled Trump/Bannon phrase America First.

2.  Part of the evil genius of Trump and his followers was to throw out this explosive Executive Order on a Friday, leaving a lot of government officials plus Senators/Representatives flat-footed and unable to effectively respond to this tyranny.

3. I heard the word "transactional" used to describe one of the various GOP factions (tax breaks, deregulation, oil/gas expansion, "strict constructionist" Supreme Court appointees) willing to tolerate Donald Trump as President as long as he delivers on their wish list items.

4. There's no doubt that Donald Trump fulfills a notion of fast impulsive Toughness for the fan base who enjoyed/participated in the violent shut-them-up rallies of his candidacy.  But President Trump is neither wise nor smart--and one hopes that his lack of these leadership necessities will (sooner than later) lead to a premature move from Washington DC back to Trump Tower.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Best ignored-by-Oscar performances of 2016.

Amy Adams--Arrival
Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani--Paterson
Andrew Garfield, Yosuke Kubozuka--Silence
Susan Sarandon, J.K. Simmons--The Meddler
Alex R. Hibbert, Janelle Monae--Moonlight
Sunny Pawar--Lion
Annette Bening, Elle Fanning--20th Century Women
Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch--The Founder
Ben Foster--Hell Or High Water
Hugh Grant--Florence Foster Jenkins
Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall--Denial

Friday, January 20, 2017


this ain't no party
this ain't no Chili's
this ain't no fooling around
no more media elites and
celebrities with wrong opinions
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 plagiarism and lies
it’s all the lamestream media’s fault

this ain’t no establishment party
this ain’t no gun club
this ain’t no fooling around
this ain’t no NEA or PBS
we don’t have time for that now

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
yelling at those who protest us

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

gonna get ready
gonna get ready
gonna get ready to move in
down with progressives
up with regressives
Washington is ours once again!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Michael Moore on Democrats and why 2016 was lost.

From a recent VARIETY cover story, excerpt found on the Hollywood Elsewhere site:
Variety: “Did the Russian hack of the DNC play a decisive role in swinging the election to Trump?”
Michael Moore: We need an investigation into the hacking, but the Democrats should not be thinking that they lost because of the Russians. The Democrats lost because of the Democrats. It’s the second time now in 16 years where the Democrats won [the popular vote] but lost. That is so revolting that the old guard of the Democratic Party should all resign. They let us down, the majority, now twice. I’m done with it. I’m going to help lead the charge to take over the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The George Michael Playlist: Wham and solo.

Dividing this into faster and slower halves:
1. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
2. I'm Your Man (original)
3. Anything She Wants
4. I Want Your Sex
5. Too Funky
6. Freedom 90
7. Careless Whisper
8. Father Figure
9. Somebody To Love (with Queen)
10. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (with Elton John)
11. My Baby Just Cares For Me
12. Praying For Time

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Plus and minus of Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech.

From Meryl Streep's De Mille award acceptance speech at tonight's Golden Globes ceremony:
They gave me three seconds to say this, so: An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.
But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. O.K., go on with it.--GOOD, because it says something that needs to be said over and over theses next four years.

So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.--NOT SO GOOD because it's just another example of punching down on Trump voters (the "I don't care! They're stupid!"argument needs to be retired by Industry/Media progressives/neoliberals)  And doing so
( instead of figuring out how to communicate the hurt Trump's policies will cause the people who voted for narrow turn-clock-back reasons) could well be the seed of those voters knee-jerk colluding with legislative attempts to censor film/TV /gaming content.  And, in the short term, more nonsense from personalities like Chuck Woolery and Mark Wahlberg about actors being apolitical (political talk in itself) and mute, except to plug product.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Best (and otherwise) of 2016: Part Two

Here's a slight update from my earlier post as to films/TV.  The third (and definitive) one will appear in early February.

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
OJ: Made In America (ESPN, but also a limited theatrical release)
Things To Come

Honorable Mention: Allied, Arrival, The Witness, Snowden, The Light Between Oceans, Denial, Maggie's Plan, The Meddler, De Palma, Cafe Society, Free State of Jones, Louder Than Bombs, 20th Century Women, By Sidney Lumet

Misfires: Rules Don't Apply, Batman v Superman Extended, Money Monster, Captain Fantastic, Valley Of Love. Rogue One

Insanely Overrated: Hell Or High Water

Somewhat Overrated: Blood Father, Hitchcock/Truffaut

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Books I've read (or am still reading) from 2016.

Where Am I Now?--Mara Wilson
Altamont--Joel Selvin
Good Vibrations--Mike Love
I Am Brian Wilson--Brian Wilson
BEATLES '66--Steve Turner
Vampire Planet (poetry)--Ron Koertge
My Feelings (poetry)--Nick Flynn
Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood--Greg Merritt
Mothermorphosis (poetry)--mk chavez
Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon--Peter Ames Carlin
Frank: The Voice/Sinatra: The Chairman--James Kaplan
East Hollywood: Memorial To Reason (poetry)--Harry E. Northup