My short story "at the gate" now up at HST!
Monday, December 7, 2020
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Monday, November 30, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
One should always be drunk. That's all that matters;
that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's
horrible burden, one which breaks your shoulders and bows
you down, you must get drunk without stopping.
But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.
And if, at some time, on the steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:
"It is time to get drunk!
So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause to rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!”
by Charles Baudelaire
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Now up at SPLICE TODAY, "Blind Liberation," my book review of Max Blumenthal's The Management of Savagery, in which he details how U.S. foreign policy under both Republicans and Democrats led to the rise of Trump:
Friday, November 13, 2020
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
My poem (which shall remain nameless so as not to attract Russian bots to my blog) is now up at HST. It's a 'form' I borrowed from David Trinidad: 17 haikus about one pop culture subject: one haiku for every syllable in a traditional american haiku. NSFW. click on the pic to go!
Friday, October 9, 2020
My review of Lima :: Limón by Natalie Scenters-Zapico, from Copper Canyon Press, now up at the Poetry Northwest website!
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
My friend writer/songwriter Reagan Sova interviewed on the Little Red School House Podcast ( @LRedSchoolHouse ) about anarchism, education and sports, and his novel Tiger Island:
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Friday, August 14, 2020
Meet Val, one of Scott Seckel’s characters in his short story “Despoblado” from Deep Wild 2020, as he meets some fellow backcountry animals:
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Recently re-discovered the copy of CURBSIDE REVIEW (I guess now defunct) in which this appeared, way back in 2003.
Tu es pure, tu es encore plus
pure que moi-même
If I say I have given up nothing
it is not true
and the smoke doesn’t care
if I go
I may be the only one to speak of them
the only one to have been surrounded
and choked by the heat
and fire has a face
a hated face
a hating face
you who I will not name who other men have known
the dirt says: on me
the ashes say: on me
embers sense your presence
and our best moments
the sadness of knowing you
the sadness of having you
the impatience of waiting
you who forgets
who brings absence and takes me from the world
I hate you for crying
which destroys me and creates itself
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Movies I've seen at least three times and have somehow formed my life
1. Star Wars
I saw the first movie thirteen times in theaters when it came out. It's a space opera, perhaps cheeseball, yet at the time, visually, it was amazing. I felt like Luke in real life, living lonely on a desolate planet. I still feel that way. And I wanted to be Han Solo. I still feel that way.
The first, Alien, is also a classic, maybe even visually and artistically more so than Aliens, but there is something about this one, the non-stop action, but I love Vasquez. Ripley too, she was even smarter, but both offered me the strong women of comic books, strong women I've always looked for since. But more than one other young man I knew in the 90s loved Vasquez too, and her call to action has been mine for my life: "Let's rock!!"
3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
I'd even argue The Life of Brian is better, but The Holy Grail was the first of theirs I saw, and changed how I saw humor: mockery and satire, above all to oneself. As a D&D nerd, this one hit home.
4. Blood of Heroes
With Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen. My group of high school friends, boys and girls, all loved this one, though I'm not sure how popular it ever was. That scene at the end—Joan Chen: I don't want to lose. Hauer: Then win.
All three times in my teens, I think. The original, with James Caan, spoke to something in the angry soccer player of my
younger self: "This isn't a game! It was never meant to be!" There's something about all sports in that statement. Recently re-watched and it holds up.
6. The Seven Samurai
I would be one of the group of misfits, wanting to do the right thing and defend the defenseless.
7. Blade Runner
Any version, though the Director's Cut (without the voiceover) is best. Combining sci-fi with noir is genius. But the question of what makes us human (memories? emotions?) is still relevant. Loved the sequel too.
8. The Piano
The only woman-directed film on the list, I know. All three of the actors are intense powerhouses. Holly Hunter (without speaking!) gave me the first real look into women's desires and fears and the balancing acts they have to perform. I would be (am) Harvey Keitel putting his tongue in the hole in her stocking.
Probably on everybody's list. The choice: he could get the woman, but gives her up for the greater cause. I want to love people because they serve a greater cause.
It's gritty. It's about the lowlife class which rarely gets representation. Which is what Charles Bukowski was always writing about. The beauty and the despair of being poor. Creating out of that.
11. Apocalypse Now
The original, not the Redux version. The extra footage doesn't add anything. I don't even like Martin Sheen or his performance—he was added late, was supposed to be Harvey Keitel I think (and imagine that)—it's everyone else in the movie, and it's the madness, not just of war, but of life. In a sense, and I just thought of this, Sheen works because he's so blank: he just wanders through the quest, already damaged from life, already shut down emotionally.
12. Spinal Tap
I saw the bass player Billy Sheehan give a talk, and he said, "I didn't think Spinal Tap was funny. All that stuff has happened to me." Which makes it funnier. The deadpan humor, everything played straight. I think it's somehow a mockumentary about men, in general, somehow. And not just musicians, but anyone who loves rock/metal music loves this movie. Because it's true.
13. Sex, Lies and Videotape
I relate to James Spader's character, his distance and desire, and I love the contrast between the people who are having sex but who are not connected/intimate, and his desire for, but fear of, intimacy.
Man On Wire
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Monday, June 22, 2020
Order Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry #2, 2020, here!
Friday, June 19, 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
It’s shaping up to be something special: 170 pages of creative work by 41 writers and two artists from 22 states and five countries, each of them sharing their insights and experiences from the backcountry.
If you love wild places and good words, please consider supporting our mission—to provide a home for creative work inspired by journeys to places where there are no roads—with a subscription for yourself and/or a friend, at https://deepwildjournal.com/subscribe/ The journal is compact and sturdy and 100% recyclable. It wants to go camping with you!
Monday, May 18, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Saturday, May 9, 2020
Honored to have had my essay, " Rain In Peace" up at littledeathlit, but the website is now defunct. Enjoy here:
Grey december skies with evening rain pattering on roof. Not that I'm attached to beautiful sounds except I am—fighting depression or malaise or existential crisis of christmas and all I've got here in Salem a few familiar faces—baristas and yoga instructors and whoever I see running—people from when I lived here if I ever really did. A bit of peace between summer lookout gigs for cheap rent though the gloom gets to me but better than Michigan which would have gloom plus snow plus cold and christmas music gives me a headache and worse—the whole month really starting w/my birthday—I have decided to be 47 indefinitely because I can't be 51, I don't feel like an adult, which I guess is my problem but I look at the adults around me not content, just doing what they think they should barely getting by—I'm not rich nor even middle-class these days but not in debt and could pay for a medical emergency unless it was some super C thing then adios Juanito—while the rest of the world has free health care we have bought politicians from both parties (which btw parties not in the Constitution)—republicans no surprise it's the democrats who betray us, smiling and talking well so we trust them and their Machines and days of impeachment to distract us from all the shit going down. They just voted for more military spending and a Space Force: time to get a guillotine tattoo and a molotov cocktail.
Taproot has the best brussels sprouts anywhere and GovCup café the cutest baristas. All the women my age have real jobs and real lives and money and those that don't—who wants to date someone like that? Not that I want to be with someone, or not all the fucking time—living w/someone the rest of my life seems like hell, topped only by listening to christmas music more than ten minutes. Sencha tea the only answer, small warm cup in hand, staring at cars all going somewhere—north to Portland. I should be in Costa Rica or Puerto Rico or Bolivia where the US government has sponsored yet another coup for white people because how dare indigenous people claim natural resources and not an american corporation? The Monroe Doctrine dammit! Assange and Manning in jail for revealing american war crimes. No one cares b/c they believe what corporate media tells them. Everybody likes a whistleblower when she's on your side, when there are no sides except the rich and us. I gotta get out of here—Ed Abbey would say, get outside! Even a smaller city becomes too much for me now though I don't want to become a mountain man just yet. Or maybe yes? Chinese style—not moving to Alaska to hunt caribou, though a cabin anywhere sounds good, even in the cold. I thought about buying one on Lake Superior long ago—how would that have changed my life? Would I be any less content? Not sure I could buy a house anywhere these days—maybe land—maybe live out of a shipping container off grid—I'd really get a woman that way. Or just an A-frame. I've heard it's the basic sturdiest of constructions.
Salem from Hebrew/Arabic for peace. Also witch trials. I knew a guy from Jordan named Salaam who was peaceful and patient and thought the singular of 'you guys' was 'you guy' which we loved tho not in a malicious way it just made sense in a language that doesn't. At least spanish has accents so you have a chance at pronunciation and unlike french which has accents but you don't pronounce half the letters—but french women are awesome and don't play games et vive la France or the people striking—we need that here, we need a general strike, the teachers unions showing the way. And the more I go online the lonelier I get tho better informed about how badly the MSM lies to us at the cost of my soul—sometimes I'd like to be that guy from The Matrix who chooses the illusion except most people can't—most people couldn't get the middle class illusion even tho half of Merica has Amazon Prime while Jeff Bezos laughs and doesn't pay taxes—cheaper to pay an ambulance than lower temps in his warehouses but you get free delivery on yr new vibrator—by drone—but who am I, I'm going to buy Victoria's Secret padded bras so I can keep my cross-dressing secret tho secretly wish a woman would force me to go to a store and buy them in person so again I'm not really building a case for women being interested. I don't wear bras in my towers only in town where I'm lonely—wearing women's intimates the closest I can get to being intimate or the closest I'll allow myself tho also too to wear a slutty dress and do slutty things—who doesn't want that? People everywhere staring into phones thumb-typing—maybe thery're taking notes for anarchist manifestoes or actually connecting and communicating with someone. Maybe they're writing poetry no one will read.
Re-steep the tea so it's mostly hot water at this point but that's all I need really don't want to wire myself for zen—I go early to help set up in place of a donation and just to help. I don't go in for all the bells and whistles and reincarnation bullshit but there is value in people coming together to sit quietly—we're helping each other become better people. Imagine how bad I'd be if I didn't meditate—probably in prison—not to say I'm great now but wanting to be better is key. seems to me I could live my life / a lot better than I think I am. Our corporate overlords would love us to practice non-interference and we're certainly not going to convert them—they're not even real christians (who is?)(not even Jesus). Not that I'm a fan of islam—desert flowers don't need protection and no man has a right or duty to hit a woman—though Sufis are ok: let's dance / put on your red shoes and dance the blues. I can't dance but would love to watch you—I'll play music that causes you to dance uncontrollably even if you're sad. I am sad. No peace in the world. Or doesn't seem it. Corporations torture the timber and strip off the land—we accept Merica as a paradise when maybe it's purgatory. I feel helpless about the Tongass National Forest desecration or fracking in Colorado or poisoned water in Flint—people care about these things but we don't matter.
What I mean is that sitting still trains you to not react to thoughts or emotions good or bad they always come it's just how or if we react to them so if you sit and are angry you just remain still which is good for real life—if someone angers just remain still and don't worsen the situation nor make an ass of yourself though anger's a self-defence mechanism—it wants to protect you so be aware of it but sometimes we direct it at the wrong person—pausing helps that (he says as if he's even good at it)—I don't own a gun even tho I'm merican and it's my dog-given right because I'd just end up using it and a gun never de-escalates any situation or rather two guns never do—with one I guess the fear of death in the other person gives you power though when the other person has a gun there's still a chance to de-escalate them—less so if your skin is dark—some guy took a UPS driver hostage on the freeway and 18 cops just opened fire w/people all around killing the guy, the hostage and a bystander and no one seems to care or remember because 'an historic' impeachment in the House of Representatives is happening even tho Senate won't confirm so all a show—the president's popularity rising and already high among supporters meaning he could win re-election which makes you wonder if that's what the democrats want—they certainly didn't impeach him on emoulements or waging unjust wars or invasions because they do that too meaning we're fucked unless the 20-40 progressive democrats split off and go green but even most of them voted for war while our infrastructure crumbles and life expectancy falls.
Rain all day emptying the city of conservative law students. Politicians only come here january-march because oregon politics don't rate fulltime representatives tho the governor hangs around a little—I've practiced yoga with her—she can rock a headstand—just too bad she's approving an oil pipeline because those things never leak though on the other hand if the few republicans don't like something they just leave the state so nothing can happen. The theme going into the 21st century is Avoidance of Responsibility—no wonder all normal folk do it too (or don't do it I guess)—I don't know why the poor don't rise up except poor whites hate poor blacks and all seem to think a privileged middle-class person wanting to challenge the idea of gender to be ridiculous while NPR listeners think a game show host for president is the problem not the symptom and the brits just re-elected a racist b/c the BBC and Guardian labeled the progressive candidate racist while old white men voted to leave Europe when all the young people want to stay though a European Union run by the IMF is a bad idea, but imagine if Scotland finally declared independence and Northern Ireland joined Regular Ireland—trying to look for good unexpected things from chaos hanging in the GovCup craving a falafel near winter solstice, plus rain makes darkness at 4:30 we should be hibernatiing. I don't mind the lights it's the goddamm music—just trying to have a normal day to keep my sanity—even ran in the rain this morning which felt better than not. I'm not well. Sad and angry and lonely and helpless but playing guitar and sat still for ten minutes this morning and made tea.
You can try to ignore homeless people but can't (especially guys w/tourette's wandering the streets). Some formed a camp under the bridge to West Salem for safety and self-governance but the city broke it up and now they have to camp solo right on Commercial Street, or if they don't have tents they can try the christian place and suffer thru a sermon for food and dog's love, or grab a blanket and sleep in a doorway next to a bar w/a bunch of middle-class people trying to have fun. I used to live off Asylum Avenue in the winters where there still is one tho not sure who can afford it—used to be those who needed could fly over the cuckoo's nest but got raused out under Reagan while regular homelessness increased under Clinton when he gutted welfare like a good republican. I could go on about Obama but you won't believe me, and apparently Bush II is a good guy now sharing our values though he killed a million people for oil and a lie—at McCain's funeral they should have locked the doors and begun war crimes trials but those are only for africans and occaisional east europeans and buddhism urges to take politics lightly. I just want to stand in the rain tonight let it fall on my face. I ate too much pizza and got sick on twitter and youtube though I like watching women play drum covers of metal songs. I like watching male drummers too or any good musician. My bare feet in cold puddles makes me feel alive. I want to do things that make me feel alive.
I don't hate cops I just feel better when they're not around—and if we had a group of 150 self-governing individuals we'd have to invent our own cops because people are stupid, but at least they wouldn't have guns or be militarized through anti-terrorist budgets and ex-soldiers getting jobs though I think I do hate the CIA and probably the FBI—if they'd just concentrate on catching sex traffickers and white supremists instead of basically all liberal groups, which is their real job and Robert Mueller liberal darling lied to Congress under Bush II about WMDs in Iraq but Shrub gave Michelle Obama a throat lozenge so it's ok now. Merica doesn't recognize the ICC anyways conveniently. I got the peace blue-ooze because it doesn't seem possible, the Permanent Deep State won't allow it and I can't believe once I thought about working for the State Department because I wanted to live in another country and replace lost passports for wanderers like me tho I am actually a federal employee (maybe not much longer if anyone actually reads this ooze, though I don't think an FBI agent would read this far into the text) and I still do want to live in another country—what if—what if I'd gotten an under-the-table job at a pizza place in Salamanca and maybe fucked Marta even tho I think she was just using me to get back at her belgian boyfriend but she did wear black bras. Or if I'd taught english in China I'd be in their facial recognition database and sent to the Uyghur concentrations camps for rehabilitation. Or I'd be a professor of eastern philosophy in Hong Kong studying if non-interference really works or leads to modernized China.
Sean Bonney anarchist poet from England who died too soon and whom I'm just now discovering, your voice is missed and needed. I can't replace you but I am with you and reading Amiri Baraka, trying to find a poetics of protest even as I retreat to my lookout, but at least I'm not interfering making things worse or working for Amazon. If this were a space opera I guess I'd get caught up in the Resistence, though that term got co-opted quickly here and means nothing. People who actually resisted, like in Ferguson, got stomped by white militias working with cops and their leaders now mysteriously die—just like the head of the child-trafficking ring—friends w/two presidents—mysteriously died in prison before his accusers could name names—except, you know, a prince of England and a former Democratic governor of New Mexico. Once you find out the CIA killed mericans in Merica, nothing seems impossible, including that they killed Kennedy or that Flight 93 was shot down by merican fighter jets—start with the idea that everything your government says is a lie and that corporate media vomits up talking points and you're close. Prove me wrong. This is only a poem disguised as an essay or the other way around—my porn history would offend you. My imagination even more so tho I bet you're curious. The FBI informant in your liberal group probably would be. Maybe you could turn me in collect some kind of reward. Rain spilling down and some guy on the corner just took of his pants and boots and wrote gibberish in chalk on the sidewalk wearing earbuds attached to nothing, humming to himself and doing pushups. A cop has finally arived—they do have to deal w/crazies, no wonder they treat us all that way. I hope the guy's alright.
I don't go up to Portland too much anymore—too expensive, and hard to find a parking spot and I only lived there two years—enough to get priced out of my studio apartment. a\And lost my chance to be a teacher ever again I guess, though I'm not sure I want to anymore—if someone asked I would, even if in North Dakota for a couple years I think, or maybe not? I lived on savings intending to be a writer and wrote and upped my pubs and so in one sense was successful but in another never got paid. 2019 3,000 journalists lost their jobs through corporate purge but supposedly unemployment is at an all-time low, because of the service industry and temp jobs with UPS where you too could be taken hostage and the cops will just shoot you and congratulate themselves on no cop deaths. At least I'm white and my chances of death-by-cop much lower, though I do have long hair which is still a 'bust me' sign. I suppose if a poodle tried to kill me I'd think all poodles dangerous. I don't know where I'll live if not in Peace. I just move. My plan just not to have to pay rent because who can afford rent now? When I was an full-time teacher I had a two-bedroom apartment and five pieces of furniture including a futon mattress and I just ate out a lot and bought new books and women approached me, even a couple/few students, which was scary. I didn't fuck anybody. I regret that now. Just thought I should be a decent person and not get involved with anyone I didn't want a ltr with, so all the women went on and got fucked by someone else—I fear I'm a Romantic don't tell anyone they'll take advantage. I know it's just sex I know it's just love I know nothing. I have to go and I don't know where.
I have motion sickness on this longest of Merican nights, thirsty and tired and moving again in the rain tho warmer today. I want to say that we'll better if we only want to be better people but I don't know if that's enough. Not enough people seem to. I mean do Jeff Bezos or the Koch Brothers, do they think that? Do they think they're being better people or want to? We should study latin again b/c really it's studying philosophy and poetry, which asks us how to lead better lives. But instead we get statistics. Math will not save what makes us sick. Not to sound like a Space Opera. But I wonder if there's snow in the Cascades and Santiam Pass is closed. Here in Salem people are out in the streets on a saturday night. Green EXIT signs. If I could just get over the mountains. I don't want to say goodbye to Peace and I will return to it but I don't want to live off Asylum Avenue anymore. Tis the season for black tights which is sexy. We need sexy. The chorus supposed to make some commentary on the story, but the poets we kicked out of the Republic long ago are in hiding. If you write on the walls facial recognition cameras will catch you. We have to not care and not feel guilty even for our sex stuff—act rightly speak rightly have sex rightly which sounds boring but bad guys don't read books or at least only mysteries and true crime—they'll come for us and chop off our heads and hands as an example. So let us and why not just live as examples to others. It's either change yourself you change the world or the other way or both/and, and this is difficult this is almost the end. We don't want fame we want glory, yes? And good music and dancing. What if everyone learned a musical instrument to near fluency?
We could hope for a world w/o leafblowers, but it will only come at the local level, and even then rich people will fight/spend to be able to pay undocumented workers to use them on their lawns. And hope is only something you hope for when you have nothing, which is why it was Obama's theme—he left us without it. The sound of tires on wet pavement and the smell of fog—leaving Salem behind in this new decade, will we be back? We never really lived here just a temporary place, due to Merican Peace, due to Merican War and bills. I've put it on credit that's what we've always done—keep you in debt so you're grateful for a gig job or three—living on a mountain doesn't seem so crazy if that's sane. Should we and why not just leave a goddamn big carbon footprint. This is all almost over and I don't know what to do. Two young hooded women bow to each other. No—they're checking their phones (for the revolution). We need to do positive things like fuck and write poetry, or at least masturbate and write micro-fiction about anarchism. Wolves coming back and employee-owned companies growing. More people letting their yards go wild which attracts foxes. If we can just get past christmas we'll be ok I promise, and I'll meet you further up the path in a good clearing—we can sleep out under the stars and talk about our dreams, and when the sun also rises pack our packs and keep going.