Sunday, January 30, 2011

bathe every open wound

five am -

nothing like not being able to sleep due to the feeling of the skin crawling off the muscle and the emptiness invading broken bones.

A cigarette now and then back into bed -

my skin feels oily, my chest is going to explode.

insomnia - the supposed friend of writers everywhere.

try being a cripple with a cripple walk and then try wearing slippers. Mine have the image of Freud but even that bit of funniness doesn't make them stay on any better when i cripple walk up a single step into the kitchen from the garage where one will fall right after I have outed the lights, followed quickly by the other in a scramble to replace the foot. crawling works better.

there is a child staring at me from the crack I've left in the door. It's not mine.

This is probably disturbing as hell to my wife who is going to read this when she wakes up and realizes that I did not get to sleep at all or at least until six am.

she's just learned that I've been cutting all my meds for weeks now.

this might be disturbing as hell to anyone reading this - or just mildly interesting.
I am not altogether invested in your reaction, although it is nice to read.

I didn't post yesterday because a friend lost someone and I didn't have words to comfort them.

I will probably delete this when I come to my senses later on.

until then - here's a pome...

bathe every open wound

bathe every open wound
murder me a rose
forgive the violations
adolescent pornographic magazine libido

a dirty young man
who has
old bones
who has
atrophied musculatures
doesn’t wear helmets
awakes in a plain mood
scribbles indecipherably

ill lighted back corner lots

limps triumphantly
dances incessantly
tears wildly at television commercials
who has
piles of unpublishable odes and laments
walks around with guns in pockets
gives to the rich
gives to the poor
gives lavishly to self
send out letters, mid-twentieth century formatting
masturbates feverishly under covers before trying to sleep
smokes privately, drinks publicly
once, in youth, stole a copy of John Lennon’s “imagine”
answers what, who, why and when
with why, what, who and now
walks lonely at night for no reason
cuts himself to cut out the childhood monster still haunting in dreams
quietly ignores the family dynamic of drama
sits up hours on end listening to poets in their own voices
uncompromisingly refuses to get up until all stiffness is diminished
rides motorcycles at 75-80 mph in route to therapy sessions
who has
forgiven people their existence but holds self at higher standard

I’ve given up
offer me that flower/rose from you garden
the one you promised me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The grand business of writing for a living, also, I eat a lot of ramen.

I've hired an agent.

I pay her in raw, unbridled sex.

though the secretary might get a bit jealous.

the secretary doesn't get paid, only attention

and my agent gets 50 percent, and sex - I'm assured this is scale.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Magpie #50

St. Sebastian

walked, mid January,
through snowy wood
stepping lightly the tracks
of those traveled before,
leaving some for those behind.

no turns but trees to rest upon
no crickets to sing or call
no voices but those of
my companions
no other sounds,
the winds unfettered,
but that of our feet
crushing through
and impermanent.

as I looked further, 
down the trodden path
we traveled,
it was Sebastian I thought of
and his arrows

 - Hoc Scripsi

image courtesy of Magpie Tales, #50

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

wearing this flesh

it always amazes
in conversations
when the perfect word
into the

 I have to stop a
moment to collect
it back
and see
that maybe words
are a skin
we wear.
wearing this flesh
has endowed me
a language.

 - Hoc Scripsi

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across... no I didn't

I finished eating the remainder of a bag of potato chips to cap off my lunch. I nearly hate them as think they are greasy, tasteless abominations. I ate them as I was hungry and not in a mood to be any more decisive.
I am having an odd day and the body and mind are not operating as a unit.
Having intended to nearly end my facebook profile and all things connected to this blog on the weekend - I did it last night, not wanting to put off the difficult task of deleting a little over 1500 connections to people I never knew and have not gotten to know - no matter what the intentions were. For now I am okay to leave it with the people that are left there, people I actually know or have gotten to know through this blog - facebook brought me no readers, sold no books or so few that I was unable to notice. Not worth the extended effort that it took.
I feel the pain of losing another close friend though. A person that I have associated with for 12 years and knew intimately, personally - a bond established before either one of us owned a computer. He is not at deaths door but at the door of something which I have been unable to join him, uninvited I do not intrude.

Life is becoming increasingly isolated, medications have proven no assistance as my mind's mettle cannot be undone by such simple ingredients. The New Yorker's jokes have become stale and it's commentary mundane and repetitive. Altogether my connection to the outside world is through magazines, tired of them all - I am reaching out through the space interrupted, the space between.

Today has many famous birthdays, but we recall that today my brother-in-law would have turned 31. He is remembered nearly daily around here and his magnitude is greatly missed.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is a direct quote taken from their user agreement:
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

It is for this reason that I am going to be ending my relationship with facebook as I have concern over their utilizing my intellectual property and copyrighted works for their own monetary gain - more so that they can sub-license (this means to a third party) without notification, permission or acknowledgment. The obvious question to me would then be "have they done so to my works" - not that I know of, but I cannot be sure as they are not required to report this activity to me.
A light example would be - while using facebook - have you ever seen a friends photo or avatar on an ad saying something along the lines of - "so and so likes this - do you?" - those ads are paid for, facebook sees monetary gain, the friend of yours did not. In an article on Mark Zuckerburg in Time Magazine they talked about how facebook has revolutionized the advertising market with its ability to target consumers directly for companies based on their likes and dislikes - no big deal, it's actually a little smart - they then use this same information about their users to sell this marketing, advertise it on facebook directly to you, in hopes that you will click on the link because your friend did so. In addition they sell this information, using your photos, other images, words, statements, your copyrights and allow it to be used for further marketing by third party companies - not as small of a deal and while clever, totally evil.
it is possible that while I use facebook you could see an ad for some company - say Pepsi or Coke or that says - "when life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your lemons. drink 7up" This would normally be in direct violation of my copyright, registered copyright and even not copyrighted it would still hold copyright status anyway - and I would be able to sue the living wallet from them and recoup my dignity. With facebook's user agreement containing the statement above - I would be unable to do that as they would have been able to license this major phrase from facebook for facebook's monetary gain while not even acknowledging I exist. All I can do in this world is protect my self, my family and my creations from those that would mean themselves gain by our harm. I have weapons in the house for such abuses from criminals but no such redress with facebook.
For those seeking out irony in my direct quote - it falls under the purview of fair-use as outlined by copyright law and subsequent statutes.
When in college I studied copyright law - not because I wanted to be a lawyer, but because I wanted to be able to protect myself from lawyers. In saying that, as funny as it is - my best friend is a lawyer - and a damn fine one at that.
facebook can get away with this because, among many reasons, it counts on its users not actually taking the time to read through the plethora of agreement for use of facebook. They are correct in assuming that the vast majority of us would never read such a thing and if we tried - become too bored with it to finish. I didn't even read all of it - just enough to learn that I don't want to be party to an advertising company without my direct consent and applicable royalties paid. Having used facebook as long as I have I am embarrassed to have not read it, I even read cell phone contracts.
A friend sent a link to an article dealing with the following issue - facebook needs some or most of this permission to be able to host your images and other content and to do so worldwide. This is true, however, if they were not intending to use this same content for their own personal corporate gain (which is now a company traded with foreign investors only) they would state that. It would be a simple addendum to the existing language to say that they will not seek gain by your intellectual property and that they can be held liable if they do - but the language is written specifically so that they can seek all the gain they can sell easily.

or maybe I'm just paranoid.

GO HERE: facebook_sponsored_stories
it feels good to be ahead of the curve on this!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday and just a few things

To begin, I thought  I would post a few links back to older posts that I liked or that I want you to like and read if you haven't.

A recent post - one that I truly love and if you haven't read it, please do. A note from K
why don't they shoot more poets?
When life gives you lemons, shot up and eat your lemons
being shot is not an everyday thing, but it doesn't surprise me.
stunned and lovely

that is all - I am sure that this is too much, but it is hard for us crazy people to control ourselves and I don't come here for control.

To end, at Rabbit's Creative Den there is a question regarding where we write and I thought it best to refer to an old post covering this topic but add a few more photographs to that - of the remainder of the room.

an old view from before I moved the typewriter - but it gets most of the room.

A current view of where I sit and type - sans chair in this photo.
view from the door - also sans chair.

here's one with my chair - it isn't too comfortable as I don't want to get lazy while being engaged.

Any questions? The photos contain every thing from a Dictionary, A WCW collection, an LCP .380, Gibson les paul custom, dean 12 string, Other reference materials, couch, painting of mine, Various typewriters (total of 3 - one is under a cover on the bottom shelf of the book case.
I will be changing my desk soon, so I can move a typewriter down to the coffee bar/library room and have more storage for reference materials. The room is always in some state of flux and more so when I am spending the appropriate amount of time in it. 
Other wise - this is where I usually write my blog - other times I bring the laptop to the garage or the writing room. Rarely anywhere else - except for notes of course.

The last place I do any writing should look familiar to most of you...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Post 300 and it's nothing special.

I like to write letters. I like to write them with my 1983 IBM Selectric III. It is not that I am of another, former, school or that I feel this connection to other notables who used similar machines, I simply get more out of the experience as it is tactile, auditory, visual, visceral, emotionally invested, and so on - This is my pleasure. I also get from this a poetry of substance as poetry often fills parts of the letters, written as I type and sometimes good and sometimes not, the whole process lubricates the synapse and fingers. Allows new ideas to come.
So, this I propose - I have had a few pen-pals the last few years but I am down to my last and she is no longer able to respond to my letters, she is reaching the end of her life, I already miss her terribly. My heart breaks even to consider a world without her direct influence. I am not looking for a replacement, there could be no replacing my current, when she goes into a place where there is no pain, I believe that I will continue to write to her anyway - I'll just have no-where to send the physical letter to anymore.
I would like to have other letter friends, communicating in the old way and helping the USPS (if you are in the Americas) or who ever does your post at the same time. Would there be any takers among you? You do not need a typewriter or even nice paper. Long hand works well as does printed out from the computer. The key is that it is mailed and it is thought out somewhat. The key is a quality communication.
If you would like to write to me - I will respond, it will be typed, it may have poetry, there may be misspelled words and bad sentences - there may be disorganized thought and sporadic insanities - one can never tell. But it will always be honest and unvarnished. Also, sometimes I draw on the paper if it sits in front of me long enough before getting into an envelope. Not that I can draw worth a damn - but it may be interesting.

Any takers? if so, e-mail me and I will give you my physical address. I promise any sent letter will garner a response be it one sentence or four pages of them. Who knows - this may become a thing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

AND NOW a word from K, my wife, on what it's like to support/live with a writer

This post in in response to the 'significant other blogfest' The theme of which is "what it is like to support/live with a writer'.
Written by K., My wife, partner, lover, ardent supporter and needed critic --

In true Jhon fashion, he signed me up for this without actually asking my permission.  It’s always so grand to put someone ‘on the spot’ that hates being anywhere near the center of attention.  Well – in the “public center’ anyways – at home I like to be what is first and foremost on J’s mind.  
I love that he calls me K and I call him J.  It is something very ‘us’ – and should not be invaded upon by anyone else.   To everyone else, I am Kara.  Kara – with the first “a” being long and the second “a” being short.  I would hate for anyone reading to have the wrong pronunciation of my name going through his or her mind. Yes, I am extremely territorial, hardheaded and opinionated.
What is it like being the ‘significant other’ of a writer?  Hmm, well that seems to be too narrow of a question, as I cannot separate the writer Jhon from the rest of him.  The title of ‘writer’ makes up who he is – just as does friend, husband, father, lover.
He does have those ‘things’ that only writers have – always carrying around a moleskin and pencil (has since I met him 11 years ago), scraps of papers, napkins, receipts filled with ideas, no book he reads goes unblemished of notes, idea and wandering thoughts. When he has a thought – he must put it to paper – no matter where or when – even mid-conversation (at which point I am shushed or a ‘wait” finger goes up.)  Sometimes I am surprised that he waits until we’re done ‘recreating’ before getting out that little black notebook.  I try not to be offended when that  ‘thought’ he must just put to paper has nothing to do with the love making that just transpired.
A ‘must’ on our list when looking for a house to spend the rest of our lives in – was that it must have a room just for him to write in.  Of course that room is more than just a place to write – it is a sanctuary to meditate, breathe, create, read,  study, and sometimes watch Family Guy.   It is where all of the typewriters are kept.  He prefers to type the old – fashioned way, which is highly romantic, and sometime a bit on the loud side.  I have only myself to blame for that as the first Birthday gift I gave him was a typewriter I rescued from a resale shop.
Jhon is inspired by everything around him – and sees things so differently from most – and this really comes through in his writing, music and art.  He feels with such depths of his heart and soul  - and is such a wonderful and good human being.  His thirst for knowledge is astounding –and I don’t think it will ever be quenched.  At any given moment he is in the middle of reading 2 or 3 books, several magazines, researching his latest obsession online, and of course keeping up with what you all are up to in the blogging world.  I must admit that some of the blogs out there bug the hell out of me – and I don’t see the point of them really – other than being romance novel sort of entertainment or on the lines of hustler.  I’ve never been a romance novel reader or an ‘adult magazine’ connoisseur – and the point of networking through such sites is – well a little beyond me.   But sometimes one does have to stretch outside the box to become more recognized.
Of course, there are the times when Jhon is extremely hard on himself; does not like anything he’s written and can’t stand to read his own work any more.  Aren’t we all our own worst critics?  If we weren’t we would never strive to be better and continue to learn.  I always try to be as supportive as possible.  I think Jhon’s a positively brilliant writer – and I probably don’t tell him that enough. 
I try to support – by keeping him well fed, well sexed, being aware of his needs – to know when to leave him the hell alone, and getting him a pair of clean socks everyday.
            As his wife, the one who knows him best, I have the distinct honor of getting to read almost all of his work – and have read more than anyone else.  I love having the chance to be his editor and agent.  It takes me a while to digest and to really be able to comment – which I think, drives him nuts sometimes.  But, it is an always-honest review of what he has written.  It speaks volumes of our relationship that he is able to take criticism from me, and even advice on how maybe to change things. 
            Jhon’s love of learning is truly an inspiration for me to keep learning as well.  It also inspires our son to love learning – it is wonderful that he already has such a love for the written word, writing his own poems and stories just like Daddy.  Jhon is a renaissance man – with so many passions in this life.  At times such a seemingly contradictory man, a Buddhist, a gun owner, an animal lover, a human rights advocate, a PTO Co-President.  Well, I guess the the only contradiction here is ‘gun owner.” But, he also love knives, too. (I forgot Biker!)
            This seems to have been a ramble of sorts – it’s always been very difficult for me to pinpoint my feelings about Jhon – they are so overwhelming – as I am so in love with him.  He’s my best friend -  and through everything we’ve been through over the past 11 years – nothing will ever come between us.  Being a writer is just who Jhon is – has always been – since forever.  He has overcome so many obstacles to get to where he is today – a very respected writer.  It’s hard to believe that anyone could have ever told him that he was not smart enough – just goes to prove that our past is what makes us what we are today.  
            And on one final note – one of Jhon’s favorite stores in Chicago – right down State Street from the Art Institute happens to be Blicks. (We went there after our first trip to the Art Institute together.)  I have been witness to Jhon’s wholehearted generosity more than once in the past years – and it always amazes me to be in the presence of such an Angel.  He’s my Angel  - and I would not be here without him. I only hope to be as good of a person as he is one day.   Through his writing, I hope that his light will shine on you as well.

It was -25 this morning with the wind chill. So I went for a motorcycle ride. I died.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I didn't mean to take a nap yesterday

It's god damned cold outside - or rather, in my garage where I am writing this at a little after one in the morning.  I can often be found out here in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep, simply, I can smoke out here. I suppose I could in the house but I detest the smell over everything and care about the lungs of the members of my family.

I took two showers today for no other reason than it was the right thing to do.

I keep tinkering with a few lines and haven't been able to decide what I want to do with them, maybe they are no good but I am attached to them these past few days.

there always is the undertow of violins, violas
played by the fingers of air

even around the smoothest of lakes
in the quietuses of night.

(hoc scripsi, unfinished)

It pleads for more but I can't think of it. I like it enough that I don't wish to regard it to the pile of unfinished and stuck poetry which is getting large. Going through today to organize last years efforts I couldn't find my original typewritten copies of nearly everything I wrote last year - such distress! Nearly in a panic I located it filed about three files away from where it should have been - such relief!

BTW, now all of my past posts have been labeled and can be found in groups (where that applies) at the bottom of the page, at least until Rabbit redesigns everything and I no longer know where shit is around here, like when K cleans everything without my being around; I get lost.

I think I have decided to break up last years efforts into a few (read two) different chap books. So I am going to start the deal of submission and rejection and hopefully acceptance eventually. I like the idea of something smaller and cheaper that may be easier to digest. For the paper impaired (I'm looking at you Patrick) I will insist that they also be available in an e-reader format or just do it myself and split the proceeds with whoever publishes. Any Suggestions? I don't expect that they'll be available this year as I am still trying to place many of them in journals and online and they will need tinkering and such, but this is now in the thought process.

okay I am a bit scattered tonight and it's taken me about an hour to write this and fuck around on the internet a bit (no porn though, don't worry my love).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

too early in the morning and I've yet to finish a poem this week

It's about two in the morning, I've a terrible headache and find myself gravitating to yet another mad writer. I had to put down my William Carlos Williams volume II because his imagery is enough to stagger my further ability to parse more poetry. Some poets I can sit and read through masses of their work, enjoying quite a bit of it, while others (like WCW) I have to ingest more slowly; make a complete study of his form and ability. But WIlliams was not mad and I've alluded to the insanity of another poet I've decided to start a study of now. Anne Sexton.
While being quite familiar with her works already and her death, there was scan familiarity with her and her somewhat unique dedication to her work. I've started with a perusal of her letters (what has been published) for now as I am not sure I can intake the severity of her work tonight. After all, I do want to sleep.
My writing method and Anne's seems similar in its obsessive rewriting and need to solidify the line and word structure. So this might be a positive influence on my poem but an ill advised influence on my mental state. Time will tell. I don't think I've found a better influence than WCW in that I don't write much like him and most certainly do not share his method or ability. WCW was much more prolific than I have ever been, Like Anne, I cannot leave a poem alone until it is it's own and I can no longer own it. Leonard Cohen is also like this in writing - I envy those that can write a completed poem nearly daily.

on that which has been plaguing my sleep...
Over the past few nights I keep dreaming that I am being pursued into hell by an enthusiastic and stunningly wretched demon or the devil himself - trapped in a wasting forest, mired ankle deep in mud and telephoning for a savior that can only quote useless scripture, my leg is grasped tightly by a minion looking for a replacement limb, a leg I think - where mine is already damaged, its is worse, its whole self is distorted and seems to be linking itself back together through the bodies of others, in its basement is kept the most vicious of animals and the floors are bathed in blood and alcohol. These dreams are not tempered by visions of former life or current joys, impenetrable in terror and my sleep is abating in restfulness.

so I don't leave this post on that note...
I've missed a magpie- I had no ideas for an image that is so familiar to me - well, there were ideas but they weren't good verse, at least in my view. I am not sure that the photo of old friends bundled in winter conversations in sepia tone is going to be much easier for me either.
I'll come up with something. This day, after I sleep is going to have to involve a letter to my aunt and some time with the typer. No matter what comes out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

just over 100 words

2am - corner diner and closing the joint.

Mark sat up slowly, eyes closed, to sip off his coffee. Once erect he opens his eyes, parted slightly, and sips while breathing through his nose and mouth, for the cooling effect.
"Is there anything on your mind, darling?" he asks
Janie shrugs her shoulders and looks off to her left. Her right hand firmly gripping her mug, a cigarette burning, ignored, in the ashtray.
Mark slides back down to prone in the booth seat. Breathing a heavy sigh as he mentally notes,
'well, then it's nothing'.
It's been a long day and tomorrow is going to start with a hell of a hangover.

 - Hoc Scripsi

Monday, January 17, 2011

American Balls

American Balls debuts today with an article written by yours truly. It is an expansion of my Huck Finn commentary. The site is not intended for an audience of the sensitive or under 18 - so be warned.
To go directly to my article click this.
The original commentary may be found here.

As the future progresses there will be more articles on freedom, second amendment, fifth amendment and other constitutional forays - including the occasional fiction piece. Currently I am working on a second amendment article, should be interesting.

Other contributors on the site are...

Brent Allard
Jack Dollar (editor as well)
Mr. C.C.
Rebecca Fitkin-Jones
Mick Parsons
F.N. Wright

Sunday, January 16, 2011

while in a diner some months ago

late or early


some people are indifferent

to the early morning hours



but, we’re singing.


serenading the stars,

wooing the moon;

without sleep or

the song

            of song birds.

only the chatter of


               animals and


shuffling along the


regardless of it being

early or late.

 - Hoc Scripsi 

recently there was a poem of mine in Madswirl and if you haven't been there to check it out - Go Now! Second from the bottom -       

Saturday, January 15, 2011

coloring the world

one crayola box at a time

Friday, January 14, 2011

short thought in form

 I would die
if my
wife did.
tho she does not
believe me, I
fear it is honest.

or –
A disagreement of sorts

I would die,
pass from physical life, cash in, check out,
croak, decease, meet my demise, my maker,
go, depart, drop out, expire, kick it, kick in,
pass away, kick off, peg out, pip, pop off, become extinct,
annihilated, silenced, fall to the long sleep,
snuff it, snuff out, perish, succumb, swelt, go to my fathers ,
breathe my last, shuffle off this mortal coil, give up the ghost,
kick the bucket, cash out my checks, meet my end,
toes up, tits up, push daises,  fail to exist, cease thriving
if my wife did.
tho she does not believe me, I
fear it is honest.

 - Hoc Scripsi

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I've been busy

Writing mainly and playing around with this really cool sporterized 03-A3, it's in nearly perfect condition and I have the opportunity to buy it for a little more than half its worth. I am still unsure though as I have a perfectly serviceable 30.06 and I don't really need it. But what is need anyway?
I've been writing an expanded version of my nigger post and think I've finally finished it. I am almost perfectly happy with it and it is looming on the screen, waiting for the moment in which it gouges out my eyeballs and renders my iPod useless as it becomes mired in my blood. Or maybe that is going too far.

I don't think I've checked anyone's blog in two days and probably will not get to it tonight. I can only hope that the world hasn't changed so much that going back to read the entries would be impossible.
You never know.

this is largely uninspired and as where I really want to make it interesting and publish more on this blog than I have been in the past months - fuck it. I am going to bed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

only sleep eases pain

only sleep eases pain

pain defines.

joy, happiness, collusion
love even distrust,
having dreams, night terrors, delusions.
all are unknown in entirety.

“how perfectly goddamned delightful it is
to be sure.”

every moments considered
length is by pains
varying degree.

 - Hoc Scripsi

Monday, January 10, 2011

on being a father

If you don't want to throw your kid out the window once in a while - then you are doing something wrong.

Hoc Scripsi explained, well mostly...

The number one unanswered question of this nearly virgin year and the whore year of 2010: What is "Hoc Scripsi", what does it mean?
easy - it's Latin and simply means - "I wrote this". I've thought about my next collection being titled this way. I had thought about using "Hoc poema condidi" which means - I wrote this poem, however, it seemed too much even for me; if not too specific.
My reasons for using it are unverifiable - so I'll keep those to myself.

Before anyone begins to think that I speak Latin I have to admit that as where I am familiar with Latin to a degree that would make my English teachers very proud, I was not able to come up with the translations on my own. For this I had to rely on a friend of mine, Noah Blan, whom I know through my wife and is a wonderfully studied man. I don't think he needed to refer to anything other than his brain for the translations, a talent I can only wish I possessed.

Today, I am tired. Not sleeping well as is part of my malady. As I am trying to postpone a nap until the opportune time to best leverage my tiredness, this means it must be put off until late tonight or I may not sleep, even if I close my eyes.
but I'm jumpy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I dreamt I was playing an old guitar, missing the G, for some old friends. They asked me to sing "wish you were here" to which I obliged. One friend, Kevin, came in perfectly with the solo. Tho each guitar was out of tune, the combined sound was emotionally stirring. In the dream I wept as I sang.
In dream I was older while my friends were younger, before their own malady, as I don't see them as cripples but as men.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Magpie #47


Shona stone carvings

stone smoothed,
polished with Johnson paste wax 
a mother, or father perhaps,
     with two children,
his children, her children?

dirty children with distended bellies and
our bearded confessor on his knees


playful image.
captured by African artists
selling to American tourists
and tradesmen
importing to California, New York
et cetera 
via ups and fed ex

This made of rapoko
but cast in silver,
I would hang it on the neck 
of my wife

 - Hoc Scripsi

image by Magpie tales  - prompt #47

Good morning and the world somehow looks different.

I can't decide if I want to now file the 2010 poetry separately from the 2011 like I have always done with past years, so far there doesn't seem to be a nice cap on last year but I am still working on several from the past few months, but the finished product would go in this year, not last year. I will probably do what habit dictates but we shall see. I usually give myself until February when I do the taxes to have all my files straightened out and properly stored for long term.
Last years output wasn't bad at all, more than the previous year and this has been going for awhile. I wanted to have written more and while I dealt with the three and a half month creative drought I cannot seem to allow that to be an excuse - though it be a damn good one.
This blog is finally recovering from said drought and I hope to keep up the pace for awhile. We shall see. I've never been the most prolific writer, but have always focused on making each offering the best it could be before it left my possession and entered the world on its own, others can do this faster than I but I don't mind that as long as I've got the process going - usually on several at the same time.
As of right now I think there are six or so nearly complete poems - including a long one (a few hundred lines) and in that one I owe to a great friend, Kevin - nearly complete but still struggling with a few lines - not perfect yet, soon - soon.
There is also a moleskine with many ideas for new work, several typed pages with ideas and of course - there are the notes made in the margins of what I've been reading lately and my brain which teems with ideas that float along through the noise waiting for better formulation to be written down.
I believe in Allen Ginsberg's "first thought, best thought." I also acknowledge that even this first thought is not always best said with the first words that come to describe it. A. Believed this as well - evidenced by his journals and early copies of his poems. He would work on some things for years and others would come off on the plane trip home. I refer to "Father Death" in this last instance.
When writing Haiku I usually come up with most of the wording right away - as it strikes me, a satori moment if you will, and then work hard to file it down to as few words as possible, sort of like Ezra Pound would focus on later in life. Then it is meter - the syllable - each one considered for its metrical flow. This seems clinical but it isn't and it thrills me while I am doing it. The act is also very taxing for me and sometimes I will require a mental break away from it lest I lose my mind again.
yes, I edit my poetry and I know that to some this is sacrilege. I am trying to do something with the line, the poetic form, and I am zeroing in on it. Hopefully, by old age, I'll have it sussed.

Why have I written all this out?

I have no clue.

now to work on my magpie prompt.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Twain, Huck Finn, New South Publications, Nigger Jim, and the whitewash of history as it may be found offensive.

I've recently been disgusted by New South Publications new edition of the Twain Classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where the words "nigger" and "injun" are removed. Nigger is replaced by the word slave as that somehow means the same thing with the same connotation. This is exactly what shouldn't happen. I have my many reasons and have been all over this blogosphere commenting about it, incensed, and giving it a lot of thought. Today I happened upon this blog...
Et tu, Mr Destructo?
It makes the argument against removal of harmful words from great texts very well and should be a must read for everyone that reads this blog. I agree with it in it's entirety. What follows are simply additional thoughts related to the matter at hand. I will get back to posting poetry very soon; it is all related though, isn't it?

I feel strongly about language and that language should never be cheated or cheapened. I wrap myself in the skin of language, it's importance to me can never be overstated. In writing I have yet to use the epithet "nigger" but know that someday it may come up and I would hope that I wouldn't hesitate to use it properly with the correct intent - because it is intent that gives any word it's power - a word on it's own is a collection of letters that sits meaningless.
I've often wanted to have a particular bumper sticker made and may do so during the next election cycle - I want it to simply say "Abortion" - nothing else. This word alone can mean many things and has several connotations, the ire it receives is astounding to me. The word alone is not an opinion but that is what people will ascribe to it and I revel in the reaction.
The word "nigger" is no different, only complicated by our shared history and that we do not want to own the pre-civil rights abuses but we must. We want to put the somewhat recent use of slavery as far away from us as we can and we mustn't - we should embrace our history, for good or ill, as our shared history. Then we can move forward together.

I have always ironically enjoyed fifties themed restaurants and can often be found asking where the "whites only" or "colored only" signs are or even ask to be seated in the whites only section. The related nostalgic experience excludes the actual past, I believe that this is a greater disservice. This is similar to when people talk about how the fifties or forties or - choose an era, were better in some way - more simple. Utter BS - selective memory and selective application of history is what that is. I point these things out to folks not to inflame but to enlighten and inform.

When did denying the past, obliterating it from our texts, do any good? Is the past not there to learn from, is the past not there and immutable.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

in rebuttal to some comments from yesterday

Mel, I have enjoyed your work in the past and will continue to do so in the future. In general, artists have very strong opinions about things and are not very reticent about sharing them. However, I am a bit dismayed that you did not truly read my commentary or that of those who disagree with you who I believe had quite solid points that are left unaddressed in rebuttal.
None of us here are stroking the phallus of academia - we are saying something quite different and that you and L. do not see that invalidates your argument in it's entirety.

Here is a list of things I did not say in my argument:
 - Academia is the only way to go. (we are not stoking the phallus of academia here)
 - you must adhere to rules to write good poetry. (on the contrary, actually, I say you should know them in order to write without them)
 - you must dissect a poem to find its value. (I don't know where you and L got this from)
 - without training, people should not try new things. (quite the opposite which is clearly stated in my original commentary.)
- of the "1000 styles of poetry" [sic] you must be versed in each of them to create without boundaries. ( I am unaware of all 1000 and would need to research that bit of proofiness, however, this has no place in my argument and does not follow my line of thought.((but there may be truth to it - I don't know, I don't create without constraints)) )

What I am saying:
 - You must learn to further your art, learning from those who are better and more advanced - reading only what you write and that of people of you caliber does nothing to extend your endeavor.
 - Writing in one style is not writing without restriction if you only know that one style. On the contrary - you are totally constricted to that one style.
 - Learn what is offered to know - then forget what you have learned to write without restriction. (mel, you did this and it seems to have benefited you quite handsomely)
 - My comment on the MBA has more to do with putting me in the position of teaching to expound on a greater level the value of learning not the value of formal training.
 - thinking that you don't need to learn and shouldn't study to be able to create truly and that is what is best is self centered in the extreme. (I find it difficult to parse why you are defending a line of thought that is so partisan, allowing no room for other expression)

What I should have added:
  - Whether or not any of us wants to admit it - all creation is done within constraints, chosen or unchosen - being able to choose your constraints creates more informed and better work.
 - I am basing my commentary on what he says, where quoted or referenced, not what he intends as I do not know his intention - I only have his direct wording.
- reading and quoting from his blog where he tries to pass himself off as a well learned and trained writer.

What I should have left out:
 - My personal opinion of his poetry as it has little to do with what I am talking about. Though I did think what I read was bad and self-centered - it may have been poor examples of his work as a whole - he may well be the second coming of Bukowski (who was indeed a trained writer and obsessive autodidact as well.)

Your argument is not a direct rebuttal of my statements but a continuation of L.'s which did not address my commentary and took everything I said out of context and inflamed it beyond its point.

Answer me this -, in poetry, after you have nearly mastered one form (in this case, free form) how is it creation to continue to write in that form when it isn't a choice but a limitation by chosen ignorance.

and L. You made my point with your argument about the laws of the land - you are not able to exercise your freedoms without knowing what they are, and the limits to them. If you create within one form only without knowing the other avenues how can you possibly expect to further your art? As K said - how can you create from within a box? I am sorry, L., I cannot answer your question without first knowing who the greatest poet ever is, and having some information about the parental tutelage as you inferred.

Is someone who can change oil a mechanic? Someone who can install a faucet a plumber? when you take out the garbage are you a garbageman/woman/person, when you mow your lawn are you a landscaper, when you fix a chair are you a woodworker, file your own taxes an accountant? what makes the difference? and are you limited to not do these things because you aren't fully informed? of course not.
If you are not learned should you resist the urge to write poetry or paint? not at all - you should give in to the temptation to create - if it suits you, you should continue in the endeavor and learn, study - no institution is necessary for this, but a love for what you are trying to do.

I thank you all for weighing in on the thought process and turning it to a debate of sorts - I would hope that you always feel comfortable enough here to disagree with me and my "elite" (so called) opinions.

I look forward to the beating that I may get as a response to this post. If writing in rebuttal on your own blog - I only ask for direct quotation of what you are rebutting and a link back. If you choose to not do this, that is fine as well but not honest. I chose to not link back in my original article as I didn't want to bring the argument to the person in question as I have no want to hurt his feelings or dissuade him from continuing to learn. This may be a mistake and I will consider informing him directly of my commentary.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

not to piss anyone off

Yesterday I was reading and interview with a so-called poet who wrote this tremendously bad poem (which I would offer a link but do not want to as I have no reason to hurt this mans feelings), I don't know why I was interested in reading the interview after reading the poem but I was. Or maybe I read the poem only after reading a statement that knocked me cold.
The statement was (by memory) - "I am not acquainted with styles or technical jargons [sic] known to trained poets and therefore I write unrestrictedly [sic]." This is probably extremely close to what was said or exactly what was said.

I was struck cold by the statement that this so-called poet believes that he writes without restriction. Absurd. the two statements that make up the quotation do not follow. While I am not sure that I write "unrestrictedly" I am also not sure I would want to. My training as a poet is lack and as where I have studied several forms intimately, I am still studying fervently.
I wanted to reach out to him or comment, neither of which I did, and inform him that he is most certifiably restricted. In not knowing how to write in other styles, forms or what have you means simply that you are restricted to a single form - free form, that's it. complete restriction - an inability to create outside this single parameter.

My greatest strength in writing is that I wrap myself in language and wear it as a skin. I am forever obsessed with it, and what can be done with it. My second strength is my understanding of the line and how it works and how it doesn't work.
This is all from formal training and training as an obsessive autodidact.
To be without restraint is to know intimately and abandon it at will as it suits the purpose and created form or lack of form (which is still a form mind you.)

This person goes on to say that he doesn't read poetry - only poetry by his fellow bloggers. I have to add that this is a further mistake.  It is a common thought that writers should spend more time reading than writing - I don't know that I fully agree with that but certainly most of us are not so prolific that we cannot read a lot of what is offered - both academic and not. I tend toward the less academic but have a healthy regard for what has come before. Even Picasso studied the masters first and continued his regard and admiration of others works throughout his life.
I would think that not knowing what has come before - meaning that not only was there not a decent perusal of the subject but a complete and willing ignorance - would place you in the aspect of recreating the art from near scratch - this may seem intriguing and almost preferable when trying to create a new style or completely eschewing style altogether, but what you are doing is futile. One mind does not create a history, one mind does not invent wholly from nothing. Without a decent regard to style (meaning here writing in general, as in style manuals like strunk and white), and a decent regard for language (which how do we know language but by living in it and surrounding ourselves with it) what you end up creating is a jumble of words lined neatly along the left of a page (or center, or left). This is not poetry. Poetry is not anything and everything by choice in the matter. What is created is simply what has already been created, commented on and moved beyond.

I really don't mean to offend anyone and am reasonably sure that the so-called poet in question doesn't read this blog and has not heard of me at all (why would he?) - I do know that the connection I have to this person does occasionally read my blog and I do not want to offend her or put her in a position to feel like defending herself. I don't honestly know that she would be up to the task anyway of defending this particular so-called poet. She requires no defense as she is a good person out in the world trying to do good things - I regard her highly and understand that she is only giving equal time and space to everyone who seeks it, my opinion of her selection of this particular person is not meant to reflect on her character, and should not be taken that way.

I also do not mean that he shouldn't write - everyone should give it a try, much like waiting tables or receiving military type training, I mean to say that his regard for himself is self-centered in the extreme and he would benefit from some humility in his regard to his creations and seek to learn more about what he is trying to do. Seek to learn anything!

You cannot learn to write poetry from reading prose, you cannot learn to write poetry from doing nothing. The argument would then be that the masters would teach you to do nothing to perfect your writing - but therein lies my argument. You must first learn to do something correctly to later forget that you know it. There is a difference between someone who has learned deeply and proceeded to put it away in his/her mind than someone who has never learned at all.

Without knowing the restrictions (constraints) how can one possibly hope to avoid them?

That persons statement gives me energy to go back and get my MBA.

I reserve the right to change my mind.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a poem for no reason

the old camera shop

I'll never forget the furling flags
above fire escapes
outside the walk-ups
     of downtown Chicago.

it was on S. Wabash near the 623
     S. Wabash Columbia College building.
an old camera shop
across the street,

now gone, replaced by a warehouse liquors.
and other signs of
progress washing over
     my city, --

Pizza Hut
Dunkin Donuts
Baskin Robbins
open 24 hours
and a Tamarind
for the hip in the South Loop

but I'll never forget the flags, furling,
above fire escapes 
outside the walk-ups
     of downtown Chicago.

- Hoc Scripsi

Monday, January 3, 2011

Magpie #46

I've been playing a bit with forms lately and doing some inventing of my own, typically for the constraint which helps me to write. This is a reflection of one of those forms - which my forms make little sense and still involve little to no rhyme scheme - I can't be bothered with it, not being able to use the best word is too constraining. I've done the rhyme thing and mostly wrote sonnets and the like during my juvenilia. 

left lying on the floor
where dropped 
in route to somewhere other
turned it's aspect
apart from and
saintly away

the moment smells of sweat
lying unrested
wearing a buckle attached
tight to a belt, 
fastened loose, but
for safe keeping

left lying on the floor
where dropped, dark
brown, augments worn and pale planks
a vision, past, present
a moment varied

 - Hoc Scripsi

image from Willow at Magpie Tales #46

Now I need a title. Again to reference the image without utilizing the image. Does the poem require the image?

I think I talk too much.

Especially in sleep.

2010 natural disastars kill 295,000 - no word on whether it was religiously motivated...

I have plans today and none of them involve a greater study of physics or the dynamics of mother nature to fuck shit up.

1. Write
2. Therapy
3. Write
4. Love my wife
5. Write a letter to my Aunt
6. Play with my boy
7. Eat less than I did yesterday (I was really a glutton yesterday)
8. Write
9. Do a little research into the affects of Caffeine on abnormal psychosis.
10. Practice some piano with the boy
11. Clean the dishes
12. Read Pearl's new chapbook and more of WCW's autobiography.
13. make a few phone calls

this is in no particular order, you see. I may write all in one block or two - and I cannot be held to a list I make on blogger until I make the list in my notebook which I will not do as I don't want to be help accountable to such an arbitrary thing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

the 1st, after bed and now, against my will, awake

holy shit - it's Saturday. I truly believed it was Monday and I was prepared to go to the doctors. got my coat, hat and new gloves - poured a to-go cup of joe and hugged my son goodbye - then my wife asked where I was going.
okay, she laughs beautifully, even when it is at my expense. I love her laugh so I can't be mad, only confused. Also a little peeved as the appointment was the only reason I got out of bed at all.

The great advantage of using cell phones is that I can turn it off when I want to not be bothered. The unfortunate side of that is I forget I shut it off or I just allow it to wane its battery until death and forget all about the fact that I have the bugger. It never occurs to me that no one calls, it never occurs to me that I should call other people.

I'll never forget the furling flags
above fire escapes
outside the walk-ups
     of downtown Chicago

Here is an image.

Happy New Year all - please party wildly and in some unorthodox way.

Kiss a stranger.
make love wildly.
drink to the kind of excess that makes you not drink for another year.
Stay off the roads and avoid police roadblocks.
play the piano until your fingers bleed.
I once got drunk on new years in Trafalgar Square,
if your there - get naked - take pictures and send them.
plan to sleep in tomorrow, show up late for work
if you're alone - 
masturbate twice and drink happily.
ladies, pour your own drinks.
don't allow video to trump your good time.
kill the documenter if it makes it to you tube.
be prepared for strong coffee at seven am
do not go skinny dipping, it is still cold,
unless it is warm where you are, then
by all means.
make no resolutions,
just change what needs to be changed.


Don't do what  I would do...

do it twice.

for auld lang syne - J.