Saturday, July 31, 2010

one plus one

Graffiti of protest. Getting the message where the I (eye) can see it. The words scream in the only way written words can. GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN. I stared at the wall contemplatively. A man walked up beside.

“I wonder if Afghanistan is painted over Vietnam?”
“Do you have any money?”
“We've met before, haven't we?”
“Dr. Nobody's lecture?”
“Was that the one where the one eyed man stood up and sang?”
“Did the song have to do with blood being the best lubricate for an orgy?”
“We've never met, have we?”

Show yourself sons of oblivion. Show yourself daughters of revolution. Godard is directing the dinner theater players and Madame Rose will not go on after the Rolling Stones. When the eternal prophet mutters, it's thunder. Everything is expanding, trying to break the chains. Everything is expanding, and I'm still wondering what set the universe in motion.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Flamingo Mart

They really know the taste of their patrons . . .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Right Cross: Review

Right Cross, released in 1950, was directed by John Sturges (The Great Escape) and written by Charles Schnee (Butterfield 8). The film stars June Allyson, Ricardo Montalban, and Dick Powell. The film also featured small appearances by Lionel Barrymore and Marilyn Monroe.

Right Cross is a drama that centers around the lives of three individuals in the world of professional boxing and is very reminiscent of the stories of Nelson Algren (Man With The Golden Arm, Neon Wilderness). In the film, prizefighter Johnny Monterez (Montalban) is in love with Pat O'Malley (Allyson) who is the daughter of his promoter Sean O'Malley (Barrymore). His best friend, sardonic sports reporter Rick Garvey(Powell), is also in love with Pat but knows that she loves Johnny. As any good depressed writer will do, Rick takes up drinking and womanizing. (cue Marilyn Monroe)

Unfortunately for Johnny, his boxing days are about over, so he has to fight fast to make as much money as he can before his right hand gives out and he will be washed up. Johnny is offered the opportunity of a lifetime by a big time promoter but standing in his way of a big payday fight is his lady-love's father, who he is still under contract with as his promoter.

The issue of ethnicity and the idea of making in the “Gringo” world is an important part of the film. Throughout, Monterez talks about the prejudice he has had to endure in his life, but in the film none of this is actually shown and one is lead to believe that this prejudice Johnny has experienced is based mostly on his own paranoia and misunderstanding. Which on one hand is an interesting way of looking at the problems of race in the United States circa 1950, but its also dismissive and more than a little troubling.

Though the film is at times melodramatic in a very typical 1950's Hollywood studio way, it still features strong performances from Allyson and Powell, and what might be one of Montalban's best. John Sturges direction is solid and does provide a glimpse of what he was capable of and audiences would see in a few years. Another strong part of the film was the score provided by composer David Raksin and was conducted by Raksin and Johnny Green.

Right Cross isn't a great film by any stretch but it is entertaining. Unfortunately, the film is currently unavailable on video or DVD but does occasionally turn up on Turner Classic Movies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

from W.E. Gladstone

“I absorb the vapor and return it as a flood.”

-W.E. Gladstone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

From Jimi Hendrix

“A musician, if he's like a messenger, is like a child who hasn't been handled too many times by man, hasn't had too many fingerprints across his brain.”

-Jimi Hendrix

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Love Is A Ghost Thing

To all of those out there that may not be aware. I have a book. I would very much like it if some of you bought this book. It's called Love Is A Ghost Thing. Lena Vanelslander, editor of Gloom Cupboard said, "This book is one of the things that makes me keep smiling: discovering a debut novel of an unknown author that is simply that delicious you can almost taste the lines of nectar."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Robert Johnson: Me and The Devil Blues

Not too long ago I another Robert Johnson video. I cam across this one and thought it was really cool. So here's some more Robert Johnson.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

some far off place

The last time will never be the last time. There will always be words--fantasies-- and those heart breaks that cause you to smile deep inside. We are between moon and sun. The night smells of juniper and salt water. It's high tide and you are throwing secrets into the sand and foam, while I toss invocations of seduction at your silver painted toes.

At the end of a feather from a bird that cannot die, there is world that begins when I am inside of you. There is always that moment when our paths cross--the sea in front and behind--all that surrounds goes black, white, gray--the shades in between. Then comes the delicate moment when she becomes my silent movie queen.

The lie she told was betrayed by her kiss. The salvation we saw on the other side of the accusations wasn't enough to prevent the common drift that surprised us both. There was little injury. The knives were out, but they never kissed the flesh. Because it was never meant to be the last time I'd smell your sweet perfume.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

she wants . . . she wants

She wants . . . she wants

to feel what it is
to be turned on and over
by my words.

to her
and all
the fantasies
she hides,
then resides in,
when everything is quiet
and she's alone.

I still want
the aphrodisiac
and the Novocaine

of our secrets.

Our love/lust exchanges.

Friday, July 16, 2010

From Eudora Welty

“Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists. The strands are all there: to the memory nothing is ever really lost.”

-Eudora Welty

Friday, July 9, 2010

From Charlie Parker

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.”

-Charlie Parker.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Outside of what used to be Mona's bedroom, but was now a guest room, was a large oak tree that she and I used to climb. We would get as close to the top as we could, then smoke cigarettes or the occasional joint, watch the squirrels, and hang out away from everyone.

Two years ago Mona decided it was time to chase after something she wasn't sure existed. With one suitcase, hundreds of goodbyes, and my heart, she left Tampa for New York. Over those last two years Mona turned up on occasion. A few days around Christmas, a week in the summer, three days after the birth of her nephew. She would never call me before hand, preferring to randomly appear. A bar where she knew I'd be at, a party I was likely to attend. Most of the time it was late at night or early in the morning when she knew I was asleep. She still had the key to my apartment I'd given her four years ago. Quietly she'd let herself in, walk on bare feet down the hall removing her clothes as she went. Her scent reached me just before she slid under the blankets, and the warmth that my life lacked with her absence returned.

When I got to the house, I was happy to see her brothers beat to shit F-150 in the driveway. He'd been driving it since Mona and I met. At the time we were still in high school and it was tough for Mona and I to find any privacy. I would sneak out of the house and come down to Mona's house, she would be outside waiting for me. We'd jump into the cab of the truck and have a quickie.

I walked around the side of house toward the back where the tree was. I had no idea what I was doing here. I knew Mona had been in town for a few days, but she hadn't called or come to see me. I was worried that she'd found someone, another guy that was something more than a hook-up or short lived fling. When I reached the tree, I scratched the rough bark until I could feel it splinter and lodge itself under my nails. I panicked and was about to make a run for it, when I heard a voice from above.

“Who's down there? Oliver, is that you?”

“Yes.” I whisper-shouted up into the branches.

“Come on up.”

I climbed up to where Mona was sitting. “What are you doing here?” She asked me.

“What are you doing up here?” I asked.

“I've been sitting in this tree since I was a kid. You didn't answer my questions.”

“I don't know. It's been a weird couple of days . . . and . . . I don't know. I should go.”

“Wait. Don't leave. I saw you at Ernesto's party.”

“Why didn't you say anything?”

“Honestly, I've been avoiding you since I got back into town.”


“I've been thinking about you. Not just in the way I usually do. I don't know, it's been weird.”

“Okay . . . How have you been thinking about me that's so different?”

“I've just been thinking about how much I love being around you, but how much I hate coming back here.”

“Oh.” I replied.

“Really? Oh? That's the best you've got.”

“Sorry. I'm just not sure what you're getting at.”

“Are you happy still being in Tampa?”

“Happy? I wouldn't say I'm happy, more like complacent.”

“You remember that time when we were sitting up here and that squirrel fell out of the tree?”

“Of course. There were like three or four of them running around in the upper branches and one jumped but the branch was strong enough to support his weight and down he went, landing with sickening thud. And you asked if we had gotten stoned, I just laughed at you.”

“Then you climbed down from the tree and headed toward the squirrel that I was sure was dead. But you were afraid to startle it, so you moved slow and easy. Then you got about a foot away, straightened up, and stared at the motionless little squirrel.”

“That's right. Then you asked me if it was dead. And I was like, 'No, it's twitching.'”

“Like a spasm?” I asked you.

“More like it's dreaming. Then the squirrel rolled, got on its feet and took off running, climbing back into the tree.”

“Yeah that was funny. I remember how we told everybody about it and no one else thought it was funny at all.”

“I want you to come to New York.”

“Like come visit you sometime.”

“Honestly . . . I want you to come live with me. I want us to be together. Like really together. No more of this separation with occasional hook-ups.”

I studied Mona's eyes to make sure she was being sincere. When the moment came, I tried to speak but nothing came out. She sensed my hesitancy and smiled. Those eyes, that smile, the deluge.

“I've been in love with you since we were sixteen and we spent that afternoon driving around in the rain listening to Blonde on Blonde. Your hair was short and dyed the color of merlot. You were wearing a green plaid button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up and you had six rings on your fingers. One of them is the one you still have on your right index finger.”
Mona and I came down from the tree, made love in the room that used to be hers, but was now a guest room. She told me all about New York, how exciting it was to live there, and despite the fact that she'd met tons of people and there were people form Tampa she'd known most of her life, she was still lonely.

Before she headed back to the city, she came by my apartment and packed up a box of my favorite books and all the old notebooks I'd been writing in since I was fifteen. Together we took them to the post office and mailed them to her apartment in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the moon and I

We're at that place,
She and I,
where you can hear
the earths beating heart.

The moon watches over
I, with thoughts lingering
breath in the jasmine.
She with eyes of
black pools
mysterious and piercing
watches over

the moon and I.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Grover Cleveland Alexander

Grover Cleveland Alexander was born in Elba, Nebraska, on February 26, 1887 during the first term of U.S. President Grover Cleveland. He was one of thirteen children, and it has been rumored that he learned to pitch as a small child by throwing rocks at birds. Alexander would go on to pitch in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938.

Cleveland's career began when he signed his first professional contract at age 20 in 1907 for $50 per month. He had a good first season, but his career was almost ended when he was struck by a thrown ball while base running. He remained unconscious for two days after the incident, and upon waking up he suffered from double vision. By the 1910 season, Grover was fully recovered and become a star pitcher again. He was then sold to the Philadelphia Phillies for $750.

Alexander made his official Major League debut on April 15, 1911 with the Philadelphia Phillies.
In his rookie year, Alexander led the league with 28 wins, 31 complete games, 367 innings pitched, and seven shutouts, while finishing second in strikeouts and fourth in ERA. From 1912 to 1920, Alexander led the league in ERA, wins, complete games, and shutouts five times. Innings pitched and strikeouts six times. He won pitching's elusive Triple Crown in 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1920.

After the 1917 season, the Phillies sold Alexander to the Cubs because Phillies owner William Baker, “needed the money". Because of the United States involvement in World War I, Alexander spent most of the 1918 season in France as an artillery officer, where he suffered from shell shock, partial hearing loss, and increasingly worse seizures.

Alexander, who grew up in a family of alcoholics, and was always a drinker himself, hit the bottle particularly hard after the war. He still managed to give Chicago several successful seasons despite his drinking. By 1926 the Cubs finally had enough of his increasing alcoholism and insubordination, and sold him to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1926 season.

Grover Cleveland Alexander's arrival in St Louis would help the Cardinals win the National League pennant. Alexander and the Cardinals would go on to meet the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Alexander, now 39, hardened and grizzled by a life on the road and constant drinking, would go on to pitch complete game victories in Games 2 and 6. The game six victory enabled the Cardinals to tie up the series and force a game 7. Jesse Haines started the game for the Cardinals but was forced to leave the game in the seventh inning due to nasty blister. When Haines was removed from the game the Cardinals had a 3-2 lead, but the Yankees had the bases loaded with two outs. Alexander was called in to face Yankee slugger Tony Lazzeri. Alexander managed to strike him out and then held the Yankees scoreless for two more innings to preserve the win and give the Cardinals the championship.

Grover had one last 20-win season for the Cardinals in 1927, but his heavy drinking finally ended his career in 1930. Alexander would go on to be elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in 1938. He died on November 4, 1950 in St. Paul, Nebraska at the age of 63 from heart failure.

In 1952 the biographical film The Winning Team about the life of Alexander was released. Ronald Reagan played Grover Cleveland Alexander in what baseball commentator Bill James called "an awful movie, a Reader's Digest movie, reducing the events of Alexander's life to a cliché."

In 1999, he ranked number 12 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

the return

The return.

All red lipstick and lovemaking.

This time it was subtle
like a ghost in a fog

The first,
like fire from the sky,
raining down.

There were moments in the middle.

Soft and languid afternoons
playing lost and found
until our world
had to say goodbye

I remember the sweet syrup.

The taste of the dream
as it clung to my tongue.