Monday, August 30, 2010

ask me now

It's a fatalistic view
of a bygone era.


Miles Davis blues.

It's a hand in an elegant glove


Gentle kisses on ear lobes

Whiskey neat


The fear . . . the fear . . . the fear

Old atomic age

Teen rebellion

A call for a simpler time, place, and way.

Daydreams of
chasing hobo ghost trains.

Friday, August 27, 2010

but the view is nice

Tall standing,
dream of high times
fair games.

Sun has set
Song turns in a verse
Plot is lost
One is left
alone in the square

Now you're a
high class

And it's that sensation,
the one you can't
put your finger on,

or even wish to consider


heavy and weary.

Your heart feels more like
a clenched fist
that wishes
it did not

From between your teeth,
picks out
the remains of what
you held back

and will be forced to swallow,


again until nothing of that life

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough: A Review

We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough is Mike Young's most recent book. His first, Look! Look! Feathers was published in 2010 by Word Riot Press.

In the poem “Money”, Young states “They know that being amusing is good because it makes you feel good and feeling is everything...” This line best summarizes the poems in We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough. There is a sly, yet comfortably awkward self awareness in these poems. The poems that make up this book are a collection of experiences that anyone can relate to, but what sets them apart from most contemporary poetry is they lack overwhelming self-indulgence. They're also really quite fun to read.

The poems in the book are of their time—the immediate present. The lines flow, the images shift with such fluidity and nonchalance they fit perfectly in the technological daydream we live in. But Young also borrows a style and use of imagery that recalls the cultural heroes of the 50's and 60's. Especially “Mindy the Famous Divebomber Visits the Thrift Store We All Care For”, which reads like a delightfully absurd short film treatment.

This is one of the better collections of poetry I've read this year. Please order your copy of We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough and check out Mike's blog Dragonfly On A Dog Chain.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sympathy for The Devil Review

Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil (1968) was made in the midst of the directors political period that had begun in 1967 with La Chinoise. Besides featuring long takes of the Rolling Stones recording their signature classic “Sympathy for The Devil”, the film is interspersed with scenes of The Black Panthers and other radical political moments that attempt to capture the turmoil and upheaval that was going on around the world in the mid to late 1960's.

The film begins with the title card “The Stones Rolling”. The viewer is given a glimpse of the Rolling Stones loosely jamming through “Sympathy for The Devil”. These scenes are mixed with shots of a girl spray painting slogans on windows and the sides of buildings. The shots of the Stones at work and the Graffiti Girl are tied together by the voice of Sean Lynch reading from various texts that are both erotic and political, much in the same sense that the Rolling Stones recording “Sympathy for The Devil” is; with Mick Jagger being the perfect poster boy for this exploration.

“Outside Black Novel” is the title of the second part. The scene opens with a member of the Black Panther party sitting in a wheelbarrow reading out loud from a book. The wheelbarrow is sitting in a junkyard littered with beat up, rusting cars, that is in an industrial area near a river. As the camera moves from him to other men, we see that all of them are reading from various revolutionary texts, including those of Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), while gearing up for an impending confrontation. Machines guns begin to be distributed as a car pulls up. Inside are three white women who have been taken prisoner. While these women are paraded through the junkyard one of the Black Panthers reads a piece in praise of white women.

“Sights and Sounds”. The return of Sean Lynch and the Rolling Stones.

“All About Eve”. A scene that involves a camera crew following a woman named Eve Democracy (Anne Wiazemsky), in a forest. She's dressed in a simple white peasant's dress. As she strolls around the woods she is being followed by a camera crew and an interviewer. Eve Democracy always answers "yes" or "no" to the questions being asked of her.

“Hi Fiction Science”. The Stones. Graffiti on parked cars. Charlie Watts is a bad ass.

“The Heart of Occident”. This scene takes up one quarter of the film and is shot inside a small bookstore that sells diverse items such as American comic books, Marxist pamphlets, and various men's magazines. Shots of the store are soundtrack by voice-over reading political text, Sean Lynch's continued narration, and The Stones playing Sympathy for The Devil. Alternating shots of the store and consumers casually enter the bookstore, approach a bookshelf, pick up books or magazines, exchange them for a sheet of paper, and then slap the faces of two Maoist hostages. Toward the end of the scene, a small child is admitted for the purpose of buying a pamphlet and slapping the faces of the hostages. This scene is the moment when Godard brings together all his ideas on the political and the erotic.

Mimicking the earlier scene of the camera crew following Eve Democracy is the last scene to the movie, where the camera crew mills about on the beach, and from afar, one man asks another, "what are they doing over there?" To which the other man answers, "I think they are shooting a movie." A large winch or crane is positioned on the beach, and a woman in white is laid down upon the end of the crane, and elevated on the platform until she is well above the beach. She doesn't rise up, she just remains motionless, half-hanging off the crane, one leg dangling.

The end of the film's soundtrack was altered to include a full take of the song in its final form. This angered Godard and caused a dust-up between him and the producer responsible.

During filming of The Rolling Stones' recording, a fire broke out in the sound studio. While footage of the studio on fire was not included on the film, it does exist and has been used in other films.

“Sympathy for The Devil” or “One Plus One” as it is also known, is an example of Godard breaking away from the conventional narrative in his films. He attempts in this film, as well as in 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and The Weekend, to give scripted scenarios a documentary feel. He also uses these films to make bold philosophical, political, and social statements without coating them in contrived plots and characters. What is also interesting about this film and the others of this era, is that if one watches all of Godard's films prior to this time period, his direction and evolution as a film maker seems to make more sense. Much in the same way that Godard's contemporary, Bob Dylan's evolution as a song writer doesn't seem as jolting or unusual if you study patterns of influence and fascinations beginning with his “Freewheelin'” album.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Do Fraggles Know About America Before Moving Here And Then Sending Postcards To Their Nephews?

This piece was written by my good friend Carl Polgar. It was originally posted on his blog Honey Brown Blues.

 This is not a rhetorical question, I’m looking for an answer: What do Fraggles know about America before they move here?

I think conditions in their cave system must be much worse than we can imagine. For example, even if I found a killer job at one of the Doozer’s many construction sites, (and killer jobs are available there,) I think I would first check to see where the Doozers stood on Westerners. If they seemed pretty cool, then I might consider the move. I would not think, “aw, I’m a nice guy, once they get to know me everything’ll be just fine” – because who knows what could happen before they figure out how swell a fellow I am?

NPR reports that Fraggles have been having a hard time dreamsharing in America. Even in 1995, studies showed that over half of the Americans polled believed dreamsharing was anti-American, anti-western, and pro-terrorism. After September 11th, these numbers have grown, obviously.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in support of Fraggles being given a hard time… I just wonder, do they have any idea before they come over here that they aren’t going to be met with overwhelming support? I doubt they do because Enemy Fraggles deep in their own cave system hate America, and have been spreading disinformation for generations to the good Fraggles. As a result, most Fraggles polled distrust Americans more than Americans distrust Fraggles.

Some of things I find most baffling:

1. They chose places like Tennessee. Did no one tell them how many Silly Creatures Of Outer Space live there? Having spent a lot of my life there, I still don’t feel that I can travel through some areas of the state without feeling some anti-Fraggle rhetoric. What makes someone drive through Columbia, Tennessee and say, “looks like as good of a place for a dreamsharing center as any?” All of the complaints mentioned by the man on NPR are for places like Omaha, parts of Iowa, Oklahoma… places that any progressive American would want nothing to do with.

2. Why come to America at all? Since so many in their cave system don’t like us or understand our ways or call us such demeaning names as “Silly Creatures”, why pick America of all places? I don’t know if their news covers it, but certain Americans are throwing quite a fit about a group of Christians immigrating and “taking their jobs” – and these people just happen to be a little darker and speak Spanish, not an entire cultural and Children’s-Television-Workshop-based upheaval.

3. The people who want to be kind and support them are usually not the kind of people a devout and faithful Fraggle would like. They will be the abortion supporters, the homosexuals, and generally sinful. Just coming from my own perspective, if I did believe in dreamsharing, I would want to stay as far away from America as possible. To disparage the President, people claim he is a Gorg. Many Americans believe we are at war with Fraggles, Gorgs, and Doozers. (Which there is an element of truth to, in the sense we never would have been so bold with white Christian puppets.)

In American, there is freedom of religion. There is a separation of church and state. However, I’m sure there aren’t many nations that stay occupied with it less. I have heard my entire life, mostly in the south, that we have lost our way and we need to get back to America’s original Christian values. Many Americans believe that the country was founded by Christians, rather than deist humanists. (Because our education system sucks, another nice thing about America.)

For the record, if there are any Fraggles that read this, I don’t want to deter you. All I am saying is you must realize that it is going to be hard to assimilate into the culture if you move into a place that is 98% Baptist, 75% white, 0% Fraggle and 56% of people suspect you of being a car-bomber in waiting.

There are many places in America that would be a great place to live as a Fraggle, but you should think before you set up housekeeping and build a dreamsharing center. One should check out all the options before making a firm decision on where to spend the rest of their life.

Columbia, Tennessee… Seriously? Not even Marjory The Trash Heap would want to live there.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

each time

It's all a gamble
even when you've rigged the game.

The pacing
that keeps you from sleeping,
more so than the nightmares.

Knee deep
in an inky
midnight sea

we close our eyes

until we feel starry-eyed


Friday, August 6, 2010

april showers

A plum,


remains resting,

in the heart of a memory.

The first violent rain of Spring.

The first contact we had

after the grief had


Monday, August 2, 2010

if we can

The sink is turned on
to cover up
the sound of emotion spilling.

The windows are closed tight
to cover up
the smell of splendid isolation.

The room is filled with doubts.

Hanging over our heads
like thick, suffocating
winter clouds.

There are a million directions
but which one will take us
to the anywhere
away from