Tuesday, June 29, 2010

it's the sound of a man reaching for paradise

Calling out to anyone that would listen.

Calling out for them to hear—his time had come.

Then he becomes the trickster

Frenetic energy


He tricks animal and human
into climbing a stairway to the stars.

The kicks it out from under,
watches them fall,
turn into dust.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dracula (1931)

In 1931 Universal Studios released Dracula, which was based on the stage play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. The Horace Liveright production was based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The Broadway production was successful, running 261 performances before touring. The star of the stage production and subsequently the film version was Béla Lugosi, playing the role he would forever be identified with, Dracula.

The film was part of a series of successful horror films that Universal would release from 1923 to 1960. The director of Dracula was Tod Browning (Freaks, The Unknown), who was most famous for his silent film collaborations with the legendary Lon Chaney Sr.

Dracula begins with Renfield (Dwight Frye), traveling through the Carpathian Mountains via stagecoach. His fellow travels are afraid that the coach won’t arrive at the local inn before sundown. When they do arrive, Renfield refuses to stay at the inn and asks the driver to take him to the Borgo Pass, so he can make his way to Castle Dracula. The innkeeper and his wife warn him about vampires and give him a crucifix for protection before he leaves for Borgo Pass. At Borgo Pass, Renfield is met by Dracula's couch which will transport him to the castle. During the ride, there is a unintentionally comedic moment when Renfield leans out of the coach and sees that the stagecoach is being driven by a giant bat, which looks terribly fake, and probably even looked silly by 1931 standards.

One of the most visualizing interesting moments of the film comes when Renfield arrives at Castle Dracula. Browning pays tribute to the German Expressionists with a gorgeous and creepy shot of the castle. Renfield then meets Dracula for the first time. Bela Lugosi is sublime as the Count. Eerie, suave, and haunting from the moment he comes on the screen for the first time. Renfield and Dracula then discuss the Counts desire to buy Carfax Abbey before a tired Renfield heads to bed. Dracula then leaves and Renfield goes to his bedroom. Dracula hypnotizes Renfield into opening a window and then causes him to faint. A bat is seen at the window, which then morphs into Dracula. Dracula's three wives suddenly appear and start to move toward Renfield to attack him, but Dracula waves them away, and he attacks Renfield himself.

When the story picks up, Renfield is now a madman aboard the schooner, Vesta, on his way back to England. Also on board the ship is Dracula, who takes the opportunity to feast upon the crew. When the ship finally docks in jolly old England, Renfield is found to be the only living on board. Based on his mental state he is quickly taken to the sanatorium run by Dr. Seward (Herbert Bunston)

Now is England, Count Dracula starts to make the rounds. At theater he meets Dr. Seward, who in turn introduces the Count to his daughter Mina (Helen Chandler), her fiancé John Harker (David Manners), and Lucy Weston (Frances Dade). Lucy is immediately intrigued by Count Dracula, and that night, after Lucy falls asleep, Dracula enters her room as a bat and feasts on her blood. She dies the next day after a string of transfusions. At this time two tiny marks on her throat are discovered.

Dracula then visits Mina, asleep in her bedroom, and bites her, leaving neck marks similar to those on Lucy. The next morning, Mina tells everyone about a dream she had the night before in which Dracula paid her a visit. Later on Dracula stops by the Seward's for a visit. Van Helsing, already suspicious of the Count, notices that Dracula does not have a reflection in a mirror. When Van Helsing draws attention to this "most amazing phenomenon", Dracula smashes the mirror and leaves. Van Helsing deduces that Dracula is the vampire.

Things start to pick up at this point in the film. Mina is attacked by Dracula in the garden and later found unconscious. Lucy rises from the dead and begins luring children with treats then feasting on them. Renfield escapes from his cell and listens to the three men have a discussion about vampires. Before his attendant, arrives to take Renfield back to his cell, he relates to Van Helsing, Harker and Seward how Dracula convinced him to enter the sanitarium by promising him thousands of rats.

Dracula and Van Helsing have a confrontation at the Seward's and Dracula informs him that Mina now belongs to him. Harker and Mina are on terrace and Harker notices Mina’s changes, not realizing that she is slowly transforming into a vampire. Mina then tries to attack Harker. Fortunately, Van Helsing and Dr. Seward arrive just in time to save him.

The film now rolls into its final moment. All the major players are assembled at Carfax Abbey for one last confrontation as dawn approaches. Dracula has brought Mina there to be his bride, but his plan is quickly thwarted when Van Helsing and Harker arrive hot on the heals of Renfield, who had been following Dracula. Dracula, feeling that Renfield had betrayed him, strangles him. Unfortunately for the Count the sun is almost up and he is forced to sleep in his coffin. Van Helsing prepares a wooden stake while Harker searches for Mina, finding her in a strange stasis. Van Helsing impales Dracula, Mina returns to normal. Mina and Harker leave Carfax Abbey together, while Van Helsing stays behind. At the very end Church bells are heard.

This version of Dracula is by far less sexy than the Francis Ford Coppola remake, and nowhere near as terrifying as Nosferatu. All in all its a pretty good film and definitely the high point of Bela Lugosi's career. There is also a terrific Spanish version of the film that was shot at the same time, using the same sets. It's include in the Universal Studios Dracula Legacy Collection set.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

From Nadine Gordimer

“Writing is making sense of life. You work you whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area.”

-Nadine Gordimer

Friday, June 25, 2010

from Sinclair Lewis

“Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.”

-Sinclair Lewis

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nashville and The Hurt (Pt 3)

It's AB followed by STRACT

Outside black smoke billows from where a star fell to earth and caused the fall of an empire. I watch it all from behind a pair of dark shades. In the kitchen, i mix paint in various Campbell Soup cans and I'm transformed. I shed a tear and find myself high.

The rubber cement sniffed, brought back a flood of memories. From the back of my head to the front, old movies replay.

The room is filled with bare skulls and they are all wondering if there is a porn star alive that doesn't have acne on her ass. The cold that comes in from the outside brings us back to the moment of birth. Being ripped from the womb and placed on the front lines of a nasty and endless war.

Kindness is a stripper that makes change.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nashville and The Hurt (Pt 2)

The traffic is raging outside, yet the dust has settled. I can't keep my hands off the breasts of the eighty year old woman that's sitting beside me in the theater.  Citizen Kane is playing and I know I must hurriedly get out  because it feels like pornography in here.

I walked into a rest room where a girl was giving a stubby-dicked motherfucker a hand job. They watched themselves in the cracked mirror. When I walked in, they screamed. I told them I had to take a piss. She began to cry, so I pissed on their shoes. When I walked out, I watched two lesbians pour water down each others shirts. I asked them if they knew Nashville. "Sunday's two days away," they said in unison.

The longer this play continues, the sadder the boy with chubby hands gets. He's a big zero, a man dependent upon his teenage angst to get him through. The older he gets, the longer it takes him to get an erection. Soon it will take him sixteen hours to even feel it. A strange German girl tells me they call him Impotent Billy, fighter of the good fight.

The Cains who need no Abels. The victims of a war within themselves. The ones that notice the dishinesty of their world when it is viewed in the moonlight.

Between you and I, I am looking for a place to go--another roof to cover my head.

More dreams to leave unfulfilled.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nashville and The Hurt (Pt 1)

The sight of dead roses can't stop my thoughts from swaying with the days. And here and there we all get a glimpse of heaven but never a brighter day. The front porch of a drunk is hung on the wall in front of me, and advice is being given freely on the fine art of giving a lap dance to the legless superheroes that were wounded by good intentions.

I go looking again for the already been. I'm left standing alone. In the park the rain is falling and Sister Lover has a nose full of coke. And a bald man is rejoicing because of the lack of rules in the game. Sixteen times a day and in seventy-nine different ways, I unleash my unexpected madness without regret.

The best kisses are stolen and the best resurrections are at hand. My windows are beginning to reflect and the moon is beginning its descent. I've had all the fun I'm allowed to exhuming the dead. All the commercials are running together and forming patterns of orange, leaving me with a feeling that's something like centripetal force or a punch in the mouth. And the back door has closed on the night--the lonely spider crawls down the wall and eternity flashes before me like a supernova. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bob Dylan: Love and Theft

Bob Dylan proved once again that he is as defiant in his sixties as he was in his twenties. After the 1980's, which almost saw Dylan become culturally irrelevant, the 90's which saw him reinvent himself by embracing his own past and the music that influenced him (ie 1993's World Gone Wrong). Then what many thought might be his last go round with Time Out Of Mind and 'Things Have Changed'. Dylan blew everyone away by releasing Love and Theft on September 11, 2001. Gone from Love and Theft is the rich and slick production that Daniel Lanois brought to Time Out Of Mind, in favor of a loose after hours bar jam feel brought to you by Dylan(aka Jack Frost) and his touring band (List Musicians).

After the success of Time Out Of Mind and “Things Have Changed” a confidence and swagger returned to Dylan and he mixed this new energy with rockabilly, Western swing, jazz, and even lounge music, to create his most appealing and ambitious work since Blood On The Tracks.

Lyrically, Love And Theft is composed in the same cultural patchwork style that his classic mid-1960's albums were. Blues, folk, poetry, film, literature, and biblical references are all used by Dylan as the springboard for his creative thought. Arguments have been made about the numerous references contained on this album and even those on his earlier albums about whether or not this constitutes plagiarism. Another argument is that these references are genuinely literary allusions like poets and prose writers use as a literary technique. It's hard not think of Bob with a sly wink, knowing full and well the Dylanologists of the world would pick these songs apart in the fools quest to understand them in hopes of better understanding the man. Just for moment think of Bob smirking, knowing that people were now reading Confessions of A Yakuza by Junichi Saga (which is referenced thirteen different times), or the poetry of Henry Timrod, or listening to Charley Patton. Or maybe not, the album is called Love and Theft.

Love and Theft also resembles The Basement Tapes in its use of quintessentially American myths, mysteries, and anecdotes delivered by Dylan with a voice that is bawdy, roguishly charred, humble and ironic. The album is kicked off by the swinging “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum” which features a pair of absurd folk heroes who seem to be taken out of a forgotten American landscape that's one part the old, weird America of The Basement Tapes and one part Mark Twain.

“Mississippi” is probably the most lyrically interesting and challenging song on the album. The lines “Well my ship’s been split to splinters and it’s sinkin' fast / I’m drownin’ in the poison, got no future, got no past / But my heart is not weary, it’s light and it’s free / I’ve got nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me.” Has always invoked the image of Theodore Gericault painting
The Raft of Medusa.

“Summer Days” is an up-tempo rockabilly tune filled with boozy rural and early rock n' roll references. The song has so much vigor and swinging energy that makes it the most striking departure from the songs on Time out of Mind on the album.

“Bye and Bye” finds Dylan settling into the groove of a nice shuffle, delivering lines with a shrug about a man getting along. Then he drops the key lines “The future for me is already a thing of the past/ You were my first love and you will be last.” The narrator has clearly accepted his fate and with a cares little about it, except he knows he must go forward and find the little joys in life.

“Lonesome Day Blues” is a rough and ready blues number. Dylan's voice is at its full raspy best as if he's trying to pull off his best Howlin' Wolf impression.

“Floater (Too Much To Ask)” is a pop country shuffle that lives in nostalgia. A broken string of images that feels like a man pulling memories and thoughts from the ether, then writing a stanza for each.

With “High Water (For Charlie Patton)”, Dylan took the flood saga of Charley Patton's original “High Water Everywhere” and reworked it into a tragic, yet oddly comic surreal apocalypse play with a cast of characters reminiscent of something off Highway 61 Revisited. The song is a collection not only of Patton references (“Shake It & Break it”, “High Water Everywhere”, and “Devil Sent the Rain Blues”)
But also nods to Clarence Ashley and Robert Johnson can also be found.

“Moonlight” is a tender love song that feels like something that could have been released in 1950's.

“Honest With Me” is the most modern sounding track om the album. A bit of a rocker that finds Dylan cantankerous and cocky all at once.

“Po' Boy” is a song that has a certain 1920's charm as if written by Groucho Marx.

“Cry A While” is a classic just for Dylan's growl and getting the opportunity to hear him sing the line
Last night 'cross the alley there was a pounding on the walls/ It must have been Don Pasquale makin' a two a.m. booty call.

With “Sugar Baby” Dylan has once again elected to close out an album with a long song. (ie Desolation Row, Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands...) The music and lyrics in this song aren't at ease with one another which creates the foreboding mood that moves the lyrics along in a haunting and disconcerting way. The song shares a similarity with “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall” is the sense that each line is independent from others, thus lacking any real cohesion except in mood. Dylan also borrows the lyric “Look up, look up and seek your Maker, 'fore Gabriel blows his horn”, from Gene Austin's “Lonesome Road”.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Willie Keeler

K is for Keeler,
As fresh as green paint,
The fastest and mostest
To hit where they ain't.

-Ogden Nash

William Henry Keeler was born on March 3, 1872 in Brooklyn, New York, and played professional baseball from 1892 to 1910. At 5' 7”, Wee Willie, as he was nicknamed, holds the distinction of being one of the shortest players in the history of professional baseball. Keeler also has the distinction of being one of the best hitters to play the game as well.

From 1892 to 1910 Keeler played for the New York Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Superbas, and the New York Highlanders, which would later become the Yankees. As arguably the best hitter in the league at the time, Keeler used to advise other hitters to, “Keep your eye clear, and hit 'em where they ain't”.

Keeler began the 1897 season with a 44-game hitting streak, beating out the previous single season record of 42, set by Bill Dahlen. Since Keeler had a hit in his final game of the 1896 season, he set a National League record with a 45-game hitting streak. In 1942 this mark was broken by Joe DiMaggio, who compiled a 56-game hitting streak, which is a record that many in baseball feel may never be broken. In 1978, Pete Rose tied Keeler's single season mark of 44 games. No other player in baseball has ever matched this feat. Keeler also set the record for consecutive seasons with 200 hits or more with eight, which was finally broken by Ichiro Suzuki on September 13, 2009, when he recorded his 200th hit for the 9th consecutive season.

Keeler would finish his baseball career with a .341 batting average, 2,932 hits, and 1,719 runs scored. His 2,932 hits was second all-time at the time of his retirement in 1910. William Keeler passed away January 1, 1923 in Brooklyn New York. He is interred at Calvary Cemetary in Queens, New York.

Willie Keeler would be posthumously be elected into the Major League Hall of Fame in 1939. Keeler would also appear on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, where he ranked number 75. Then in 1999, Willie was named as a finalist to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Having played his last game in 1910, he was the most chronologically distant player on both Top 100 lists.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

a cuckoo calls

A cuckoo calls

the word of God

to the man who
put out his own eyes.

The night spent wandering the countryside.

Corrupt and ugly.

Carrying the burden of
memories that could
strangle a weaker person.

I came across the blind man
looked at his face.

I came across the blind man
and walked away.

I heard him say,
“You'll never find satisfaction.
You'll never reach the break of day.
I'll be seeing you on judgment day.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

her stories(yours and mine)

I struggle to understand
the novels she's written

in letters,
mathematic equations.

She begins composing
everyday by
a half past eight.

The tip of her
blue Bic




the space between

the top of her knee
and the sun.

Ritual and warm-up.

She removes a black and white
Composition notebook
from her cart.

It's wrapped in plastic
and a towel.

Hidden behind aluminum cans,
tin pans,
an umbrella,
and a ball of wool scarves.

Tip of the blue Bic,

one line after another of
signs and symbols.

The tale of Ida Belle
and the smokestack lighting
she saw as a child
coming from the trains
on the Gulfport Island rail line.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cleo 5 to 7

Agnes Varda's Cléo 5 to 7 (1962) is the story of, Florence "Cléo" Victoire (Corinne Marchand), a French pop singer who is awaiting the results of a recent medical test. For ninety minutes we watch beautiful Cléo dance on the razors edge between life and death as she waits to find out if she has cancer.

Varda chose to not only depict this slice of life, but capture the city of Paris itself. As Cléo moves about Paris from 5 to 6:30 as she waits to meet her doctor at 7, Varda shows Paris in a clinical way, almost as if she was shooting a documentary. This concept and style was used frequently by other directors of what was called La Nouvelle Vague. (The most famous being Jean-Luc Godard in his film Breathless.) But what separates the cinematography of this film from that of a documentary, is Varda and her eye. She was a photographer first and foremost and her talent turns the humdrum of Paris street scenes into something beautiful and alive without any of the contrived Hollywood sensibility. Her technique also reinforces the idea that even in film, the world moves on with or without us, which interrupts the idea of make believe we're so used to in cinema.

The ninety minutes this film lasts begins as a study in existentialism as Cléo meets with friends all the while grappling with topics such as mortality, the idea of despair, and leading a meaningful life. Cléo unfortunately finds most of the people closest to her, treat her with a kind of indifference upon learning of her possible diagnosis. Overcome by loneliness and fear she abandons her life and goes for a walk alone. Thus begins the inner journey and evolution of Cléo.

Cléo, now alone, goes from spoiled vapid childlike doll who doesn't seem to have the depth to deal with her fate, to being strong independent person who suddenly realizes the great depths of human existence. Eventually, Cléo ends up in a park were she meets a soldier whom she is able to have what she feels is the first sincere conversation she's had all day. The stranger then accompanies Cléo to the doctor so she can receive her diagnosis.

Agnes Varda's Cléo 5 to 7 is also one of the few films of the New Wave to have a strong feminine point of view. The film is bold for taking on the subject of feminine identity and how women are perceived in the world, especially given how much of a masculine boys club the French film community, particularly the New Wave, was at the time. It is also very interesting to see how the the pop star/starlet was viewed five decades ago and how contemporary the portrait still is today.

Cléo 5 to 7 also includes cameos by Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine and Jean-Claude Brialy as characters in the silent film Raoul shows Cléo and Dorothee, while composer Michel Legrand, who wrote the film's score, plays "Bob the pianist".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Muriel Rukseyer

“Breathe-in experience, breathe out poetry.”

             -Muriel Rukeyser


Friday, June 11, 2010

the moon looks down and laughs

The winds carry
a faint odor
of death
or at least

The moon
is fat
full of romance
like a drunk
on his way home
from a
salacious night out.

The stars,
cold and judgmental,
watch it unfold
until the last light
is extinguished.

Until the last prayer
leaves lips
before they grow cold.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wafflehouse Blues

It's between breakfast and lunch and the Waffle House is virtually empty. I take a seat in a booth near the end of the row. As I do a middle aged woman with skin like a roasted chicken steps up to the side of the booth.

Can I get you something to drink?”

A water and coffee.”

All right sweetie.”


I go over the menu without any reason to. I always order the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with hash browns, smothered.

Hey buddy, you're in my booth.” I turn and look up to find a bow legged old man standing next to my booth. He's gotta be 75, 80 years old, stocky with a small gut, arms hanging long, slightly disproportionate, big hands with gnarled knuckles, fingers folded into palms.

Huh?” I muster.

I sit in this booth every day. It's my booth.”

Fuckin' New Yorkers. Southerns, especially Floridians have no love for Yankees. I'm not from the South, I ended up here from the West. I always thought it was a played up stereotype, like the dumb Southerner in the north. The cultural struggle from the Civil War to Civil Rights is still fresh in people's imagination. Native Floridians dislike has grown even stronger in the last decade. Yankee gold has turned the once sleepy vacation and retirement destination into a jam packed, fatalistic, rat race, peninsula of the doomed. A thousand new people a day, mostly from the Northeast, move to the state. Not that this migration is new, people have always come to Florida to die. Now the young families are coming and at a rate faster than the retirees are dying and so a strip mall/subdivision wildfire has eaten up the land.

This guy standing next to the booth with his Yankee's cap on is one of those here to die. At least he's not one of those trying to pass as a beach bum. Dressed is a loud tropical shirt, shorts, socks and sandals and a goddamn cap. They've all got one of some sort, marking their individuality. Sailors, captains, Gilligian's, paper boy, ball, trucker, cowboy, pirate. This guys wearing a short-sleeved blue and white check shirt, pressed, clean, blue jeans and a nice pair of Nike's. Trade in the Yankee's cap for a UF one and he'd be a regular ol' cracker. I stare at him, not sure how to react, the situation feels like a bad hangover joke.

Aren't you staying at the Glass House?”

Yeah, why?” I responded to his inquiry.

You came in pretty drunk last night.”

How'd ya now?”

I'm in the room above you. I don't sleep much so I was sitting outside when you came in.”

Oh yeah.”

How about we share the table?”

Sounds good.” I say with shrug.

Luckily the waitress was quick to get there because I sensed this was going to be awkward at first.

Hey Jack,” She says, bringing two cups of coffee over.

Hello Tanya. How's the day treating you?”

Good sweetie. Can't complain. You want your usual?”

Of course.”

This your grandson or somethin'?”

Nah. He was sitting in my booth and I decided to be nice.”

All right, I'll have y'alls food right up.”

Where you from?” Jack asks as I drink my coffee. I had been trying to think of something to say before he spoke but my brain feels too soft for conversation. I hope he likes to talk a lot, it make this meal easier.

I was born in New Mexico but I've spent most of my life in Florida.”

I'm a New Yorker. Born and raised. My kids are still there. No grandkids, though. My daughters a high priced, high powered attorney and my son never grew up. Still chasing women like a kid even though he's fifty-three. He's got more money than God too. What do you do?”

I'm between places and things.”

You some kind of free loader of something?”

No, at least I don't think so. I had a steady job was engaged to a nice girl, the whole thing. Then it all fell apart and now I'm trying to figure out what to do. I guess I'm just lost.”

Tough break. I guess that explains your condition last night. Just don't a habit of it, then you'll really be lost.”

I guess it does and I'm going to try not to.”
Jimmy, the guy who owns the motel, he's a good guy. You've met him, right? We get to together and watch ballgames. You like baseball?”

Yeah. Been following it since I was five.”

Me too. You should come by my room tonight, Rays and White Sox tonight at 7:00.”

Yeah, sure, I'll come up for that.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

moanin' low

His stories are
fertile and
filled with

Art and architecture
of a city by the sea.

This city sleeps
as he lays long
limbs and leaves
of banyan trees.

He hopes
the stars
will not
from his eyes.

the cops or a drunk
won't beat him
out of boredom
or just to hear
his cries.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bob Gibson

"Bob Gibson was so mean he would knock you down and then meet you at home plate to see if you wanted to make something of it."

-Dick Allen

Pack Robert "Bob" Gibson was one of the greatest, and by far the most intimidating pitchers in the history of Major League baseball. Gibson was born on November 9, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska, three months after the death of his father. During his childhood, Bob suffered from asthma, pneumonia, rickets, and a heart murmur, and despite this he still played basketball and baseball through his youth, then at Tech High School, later receiving a basketball scholarship to Creighton University.

Gibson's professional athletic career began in 1957 when he signed a contract with the St Louis Cardinals which earned him a $3,000 bonus. Bob though, put the start of his major league career on hold for a year electing to play basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning himself the nickname "Bullet" Bob Gibson during his time with the team. In 1958 he left the Globetrotters, even tough he was one of the teams most popular players, because he grew tired of the clowning around. Bob spent 1958 pitching for the Cardinals AAA affiliate in Omaha, rising up to the majors in 1959.

In 1962, Bob Gibson would post the first of his nine 200 strikeout season, but it was from 1963-1970 that Gibson was quite possibly the most dominating pitcher in the game, posting a record of 156-81 during that span. Gibson was also awarded, Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970, World Series MVP Awards in 1964 and 1967 and 8 Gold Glove Awards.

1968 was the year of Bob Gibson. He would finish the season with an incredible 1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts, and at one point a streak of 47 consecutive scoreless innings. Due to a weak Cardinals offense that season he would only post a 22-9 record, losing five 1-0 decisions. The Cardinals would go on to face the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series. In Game 1 of the series, Gibson struck out 17 Tigers, setting a World Series single game record that has yet to be broken. The Cardinals would unfortunately go on to lose the Series 4 games to 3.

Bob Gibson would go on to have another big year in 1971. On August 4, he beat the San Francisco Giants to earn his 200th career win, and on the 14th of August, he threw a no hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out the great Willie Stargell three times.

The last great milestone of Bob Gibson's career happened on July 17th, 1974 when he struck out Cesar Geronimo earning Gibson his 3,000th career strikeout. Coincidently, Geronimo would also become the 3,000th career strikeout of Nolan Ryan in 1980. Gibson would continue to pitch for a few more years, before retiring after the 1975 season.

In 1981 Bob Gibson had his #45 retired by the St. Louis Cardinals which coincided with his election to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Even with retirement and all the accolades, Bob Gibson's competitive nature continued. In 1992, Bob pitched at an Old-Timers game in San Diego during the All-Star Game festivities, allowing a home run to Reggie Jackson. The next year at the game, Gibson was on the mound and Jackson was at the plate. This time Gibson threw a brush back pitch at Jackson. Though, he didn't hit Jackson, Gibson made his point, and Jackson would not get a hit off of him that year.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

from George Farquhar

“Poetry's a mere drug.”

-George Farquhar

Friday, June 4, 2010

From Agnes Repplier

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.”

-Agnes Repplier

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Emerald and The Ghost of Kerouac (Part 2)

"You boys need another round?" Francine asked, giving us the universal pleasant but distant bartender/cocktail waitress smile.

We both nodded at her then went back into our silence. I had finished three quarters of my beer and a few cigarettes before he said anything.

"So what do you do?"

I ashed my cigarette and took another swallow of beer. I was perplexed by the question. It's one I hear frequently. Especially when meeting new people. It gives them a quick reference tag. But in the Emerald, the question sounded lewd, obscene.

"A writer." I wasn't sure why I said this. I usually only used this card when meeting pretentious classicists and beautiful girls, who are often enough pretentious classicists themselves.

"You make a living doing that."

"A living no. I barely get by."

"You read a lot then."


"Who do you read?"

"Different stuff. Recently, I read some stories by Nelson Algren."

"That sounds familiar. . . Man With a Golden Arm."

"That's him."

"He wrote about Chicago some."


"I lived up there for I guess about five or six years."

"I like it there. I was just up there last summer."

"I've been reading John Jakes. You ever hear of him?"

"Yeah, he wrote The Bastard and the Kent family stuff."

"Yep. You ever read him?"

"I read The Bastard because I like the title."

"Yep, that's something."

"I've got them all. Everything he's put out. If you want, I could leave them here for you sometime so
you could read them all."

"Well I'm not sure when I'll be by here again."

"I'll just have Francine keep them behind the counter for you."

San got up and headed towards the toilets at the other end of the bar. I finished off my beer and got another. I took a cigarette out of my pack and noticed I only had two left. I'd either have to pace myself or see if Francine had any for sale.

I was working off some of the excess weight of my glass and savoring my cigarette when I saw six or seven drunk white-haired men, including San go out the back door and off to Drake's. It must be
clientèle shift change at the Emerald, I thought to myself.

The afternoon was passing by, my head, getting closer and closer to the heavily lacquered hardwood bar; time moving by unnoticed, due to the lack of any windows or view. I'd been keeping to myself since San left, until a woman in her early sixties sat down beside me.

"Great Caesar's Ghost! It's Valentine's Day? When you get old, you forget holidays like this."

My head swung to the left, my mouth went crooked as I looked at her. "No, it was yesterday," I mumbled to her. It was the first time I realized how drunk I was. I wasn't sure how long I'd been there. I just knew I'd put down twelve or thirteen beers.

She looked over and gave me a worn out smile that barred her brown teeth. All the lines in her leathery face seemed to come out at once. I returned her smile and tipped my beer to her gin and tonic.

"Did you spend Valentine's Day with your sweetheart?"

I glanced over in her direction, but didn't say a word.

"You look pretty down. Some hussy break your heart?" She paused for a moment, studied my expression and flashed her tobacco and plaque-stained teeth at me again. I had to say, and even before I could think of anything, she drew a deep breath and began.

"Doesn't matter, you don't need love anyway. I was married for forty-one years. Turns out my husband was messing around with my sister for twenty-five of those years. She was married, too. It wasn't until her son got sick and died that the two of them told me my husband of forty-one years was the boy's father. Her husband had no idea, either. It was a big mess! Now I don't talk to any of them. That's what love's all about. Pain. Nothing but pain."

The glimpse into her life struck me in the gut. I felt a long way from everything that had been troubling me.
There was no world outside at that moment and to celebrate, I had three more beers.

The night crew began pouring in and I could barely hold a cigarette. The bitter old dame and left, still carrying her pain in her heart. I knew that, outside, the sun had long ago made its rust-colored finish. I had to leave. What I was still searching for wasn't there at the Emerald.

I'm not sure how I ended up there or why, but I found myself swaying in the front yard of Jack Kerouac's death house, tucked away in an unassuming residential area. My chest felt hollow, despair overwhelmed me, as I stutter-stepped up the front porch. I stood there, looking back into the street . . . and at the apartment building across the street, glowing in its standard, public lighting orange. The more time I spend in this city, the more I detest the glow of those lights, the way they wash out all natural color and fill the sky with browns, even during the darkest time of night.

My eyes, heavy from drink, began to tear up, as I continued to look out into the world. For a moment, I could feel ol' Kerouac's suspicious, ghost-like eyes staring out of the window, muttering to himself, "Why have you come here?"

In the distance, I swear I could hear bells tolling. The more I concentrated on the beautiful song that was playing, the fainter it got. Then, from the corner of my eye, I saw something pass by. When I turned to look, there was nothing. Now, no bells were tolling and the phantom that passed by me before was moving left, right, left, around and back again. Something was tormenting me in my drunken state.

My mind unraveled, tears poured down my cheeks, and muffled sobs escaped through my lips. I was propped up against a post, gazing through tear-filled eyes at the overgrown bushes that slightly camouflaged the front porch of a dead American poet. Looking, waiting, praying in the only words I knew for a sign. My mind was coming apart; I was in dire need of some help, some guidance. Something to get me through one more day.

The specter was still there. I couldn't see it, but I could hear it breathing, whispering in a tongue I couldn't understand. What I did know, was that it was telling me what I already knew, but was afraid to admit. I had created in my mind the false hope that the ghosts of my heroes would see me through this life. Now, I realized I was alone. My life depended on me and only me. No greater power was illuminating the way.

Deep in both my heart and alcohol-soaked mind, I knew that there was no gentle spirit to lead me by the hand. Jack Kerouac, whose house I was haunting in my own living spectral state, was not home. The Jack I was looking to find had never lived here. This house was the last refuge of a fat, worn-out, lifeless drunk. The last stop on a long journey. The tomb of a man who believed in life, but ended up drunk, disinterested and buried in his memories. I was standing on the front porch of the house where his karma meat took its final beating and ended up vomiting blood all over the floor. The specter that was here, made it obvious that what I sought was never going to be found here or perhaps anywhere.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Emerald and The Ghost of Kerouac (Part 1)

I was at the Emerald Bar, ridding myself of the cold reminder of reality that came with her . . . and, at the same time looking for something I wasn't sure I could find. I was in an old hero's hang out, and I was just hanging. Distracting myself with eighty-five cent drafts of Bud and chain smoking Marlboro Reds, wandering which bar stool old man Kerouac favored in the days of his final horrors.

In the air hung that stale smell of cigarettes and cheap cigars, and the nonsense chatter of old men, who'd spent the morning quietly weeping before arriving in time for the opening of the Emerald's door.

Anytime I came to drink here, I always arrived in the early afternoon. It was when all the old drunks held court. I was a kid of twenty-five and in this place surrounded by hard drinking people in their sixties, seventies, and eighties, was the only time I felt surrounded by my peers.

I was only on my second beer, when the guy sitting next to me started eying me. His face was worn but ageless. I watched him out of the corner of my eye while I smoked a cigarette. When it was down to the dirty little butt, I put it out and looked over at him. In his left hand he was clutching a glass of beer, with the fingers of his right he was playing with three quarters. I looked up at his face and noticed he wasn't looking at me, but eying the door. When he noticed I was looking at him he cracked his lips a bit and nodded at me. I nodded back.

"Hey Francine," he said with a soft raspy voice in the bartenders direction.

"I'll be right there sweety," She said, looking over at him and smiling.

He finished what was left in his glass and I did the same.

"You need another one?" Francine asked. The old guy nodded.

"What about you honey?" She asked looking over at me.

"Yeah, sure," I responded.

"You come in here much? I don't think I've ever seen you." He asked me.

"Not too much anymore."

"Yeah, I'm here almost everyday. Some days if I'm not feeling good I'll meet everybody over at Drake's in the evening. You ever been to Drake's"

"Once or twice."

"All us old timers down on this end of the bar, usually meet up here and then go to Drake's in the evening."

"Oh yeah."

"How old are you?"


"You're just a kid."

"Don't feel much like one."

"Yeah, life will do that to you?"

"When I was around your age, I was over in Korea. Hating life and getting shot at by Koreans and Chinamen."


"Say, what's your name," he asked.


"People around here call me San."

"Nice to meet you." I said nodding at him.

"You know, I see this mess on the TV that this dumbass President Bush has got us in over in Iraq."

"Yeah, I got friends over there right now."

He paused for a minute and looked me in the eye. He was gone for a moment.

"Shit. Sorry to hear that."

I nodded at him and took a long drink of my beer. He did the same. We stayed quiet for awhile. I lit another cigarette, he went back to playing with his quarters.

"I feel real sorry for your friends over there. I feel sorry for all of you. This country isn't what it once was. Every thing's really going to shit."

"Seems that way."

"I was a kid during the depression. Let me tell ya, things were hard. Families didn't have shit. But you could count on your neighbors and friends. They might not have had shit either. But you'd always do what you could for each other.”

"Oh yeah."

"Now days, nobody does nothin' for each other. People just as soon spit on you then help you out. That's what I like about these people here. We all grew up in a different time. I can ask anyone of them for something and they'd help me out and I'd do the same for them."

“Of course it was different with my family. You know, when I was a kid, my dad was a drunk, loved betting on dogs. Mom, well, she was sweet lady, but she died when I was eight. That really messed me up . . . Dad didn't know what the fuck to do with me, so he just left me alone. When I turned 15, you know what I did? I ran away, just took off. I wanted to join the circus. When I was a kid, I read a book about a kid who ran away and joined the circus. I'd always liked the idea. Well . . . I traveled around until I found a circus . . . A guy named Lester gave me a job selling tickets and cleaning the animal cages. Then I met a girl, a contortionist named Sandy. Was she somethin' else. What a body. Not much up top, but an ass that could bring tears to your eyes. I traveled with them for awhile. Sandy and I became an item, which pissed off her parents and some of the other performers. Most of these people were circus folks for life, had been for generations, and they didn't care much for me. They thought I'd get tired of it and want to leave, taking Sandy with me. After a few months, we ended up in Texas. Man, Texas . . . God awful place. You know I have this fear that I'll either die in Texas or that when I die my soul will be trapped in Texas for all of eternity. It was in Texas that Sandy broke it off. That fucked me up. I left and went back to Missouri. When I got there I found out my father had taken off.”

“That is a hell of a story,”

“Yeah, well, I hate telling it. it's too painful to think about for too long. You never get over your first love.”

“I hear ya . . . I think about mine more than I should.”

"How are your friends in Iraq doing?" San asked, trying his best to change the subject as quickly as possible.”

"Best they can, I guess."

"I hope so. I lost some good friends in Korea. Myself I got a free pass back home. I took a couple of Chinaman's bullets."


"Yeah, but don't be getting ideas. I'm no hero or anything. I hated being over there. Didn't even give a shit as to why we were there. Who gives a flying shit about Communists and what not anyways? It's all the same thing."

“What is?”

“Politics. Communists. Capitalists.”

“You think so?”

“Sure. It's all about power. Someone's got it. A whole lot of people don't. Either way, people are starving and dying. The whole thing just keeps going on. Call it whatever you want.”

I was at a loss for words. I nodded in agreement and kept drinking my beer and smoking my cigarette until Francine came back over.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


She dresses like an art student
or a

1930's newsboy cap,
woolen over coat,

Her hair

dyed from black
to chestnut
landing somewhere
in between.

Ageless eyes
peer out from
the space

bill of the cap
and her knees,
which have been
drawn up to
her chest,

absorbing the
poetry of
passing images.

Hands tell
a story,
novel in length.

A woman lost
in middle age
and madness

occupied by
the moment when
what she sees,
all cross together.

When the lines become
and the trinity

she rises from the bench
trying to decipher
which of the three
is happening

by talking through
their plots.

Rapid fire mutterings
in broken


She sits back down

a black skirt
amphetamines and forays
into the underground.

The night
she met

Kan Mikami
just after her
return from
her third year at