Thursday, October 30, 2008

Terence Fisher rules

Terence Fisher rules ... and
Peter Cushing cools
Christopher Lee's tools.

Bulbous boobs overflow.
Fangs for the mammaries.

I trek to Transylvania
to see the mania:

Pretty boy goes down
  (a bulbous butted dude)
to the chamber floor.
No, not him!

Unlistfully, he meets his match –
he's quite a catch:
vampirus erectus.

Luscious incisors grow
to lengths unknown.
  (Those are big ones!)

Living dead eat
flesh – that's what
they like.

Goth is sex secret
-ed away:
straight or gay,
it finds a way.

Movies for mummies,
Baskerville funnies.

Fear finds pleasure
in his technicolor measure.

Terence Fisher cines –
a brief adieu.

for read write poem prompt #50: the gothic (’tis the season)
2011/10/31: placed in the imaginary garden with real toads

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My plumber

from my youth – (what was his name?)
he came to my childhood house.

He smelled of wet dirt,
but his smile made it sweet.

Plumbers are mere saviors
of our clumsy messes.

Plumbers get bad rap,
but that is a trap
into thinking that they
all wear the same hat.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wales gentle'ly weeps

Wistful lyric's youth
White Horse Tavern's last caller
Wales gentle'ly weeps

for Dylan Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Sarah Palin Will Be A Winner – No Matter What

No matter what happens nine days from now, there is only one sure winner: Sarah Palin.

That Barack Obama will be a winner, unforeseen circumstances aside, is about as sure a thing as Michael Phelps beating Karl Rove in the 200 meter butterfly. (But it's still possible that he could be a loser.)

If McCain-Palin wins, McCain and Palin are both winners. Case closed. (But in that case either the unsuspected has occurred in the interim, or the repercussions — a much larger latent racism that went below the radar? voter disenfranchisement on a grand scale? — will be profound.)

If McCain-Palin loses, McCain is the only real loser. Palin may be "blamed" by some in the media (though many will say McCain would have lost even if he had made a safe choice like Tim Pawlenty — still a favorite with evangelicals — given the state of the economy), but only by indirection: it will be McCain's judgement in choosing Palin that will be part of the real blame. McCain will go back to the Senate for the final two years of his fourth term, could revive his former reputation, and even run again for Senate in 2010.

But Sarah Palin will still be a winner.

Conservatives may blame all sorts of things — liberal media overload? McCain was still too tied to Bush and the economy? — but they will not blame Palin. She will be the new Idol of the Right. Cable channel news discussion will swiftly shift to the Republican nomination for 2012: Sarah Palin vs. Mike Huckabee. She will consume(costume) lots of air(head) time on America's two premier right-wing Christian channels: Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and Fox News Channel (FNC).

Liberals, too, will still have Sarah Palin. (Tina Fey's comment that she can hang up her Sarah persona after the election if McCain loses? She'll be back, baby!) For someone who has gone to the Beehive for hairstyling in Wasilla and Out of the Closet consignment shop for clothes in Anchorage1, she will still be fodder for John Waters-esque risqué.

Sarah Palin is a drag queen dream come true?
Sarah Palin is a winner even if McCain is a loser?

You bet'cha.


1. Maureen Dowd (The New York Times, 2008/10/26): A Makeover With an Ugly Gloss

Saturday, October 25, 2008

24 fps

⌈       ⌉   ⌈       ⌉   ⌈       ⌉   ⌈       ⌉
⌊       ⌋   ⌊       ⌋   ⌊       ⌋   ⌊       ⌋     . . .

   Frames flick by   like fluttering butterflies   
   coloring the screen's   mise en scène.   
   Panoramas zoom   in to smaller rooms   
   where the screen massages   the mind with montages.   
   Talking heads use time   to reason or rhyme,   
   while music replaces   the silent spaces.   
   Point-of-View flows   as if it's in the know   
   of images to come   —its will be done:   
   Hitchcockian cutting,   John Fordian strutting,   
   Welles' Olympian tasks,   Kubrick's plethoric masks.   

. . .

24 fps (frames per second) is the standard frame rate of films shown in movie theaters.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Modal "echolalia"

Philosophizing remains a popular endeavor in the poetry world, but only so long as it's a poetic sort of philosophizing (Nietszche, Heidegger) and not complicated, logic-y stuff that involves formulations like ◊∃xφ→∃x◊φ1. Since Anglo-American philosophy has been dominated by the latter sort of thinking for decades, it's no surprise most poets don't go in for it.

The Politics of Poetry
by David Orr
POETRY July/August 20082

I could have sworn:

        that if it's possible
               there's something that's a unicorn,
        then there's something
               that's possibly a unicorn

        ( with single horn
          his forehead adorn )

—Would this leave possibly any poet forlorn?

for read write poem prompt #49: mission, echolalia
   (see also

The poem above contains a "poetization" of the ("echolalic") "formulation" in the Orr quotation. A point (against Orr's statement) is that even the arcana of modal logics and possible worlds is not that divorced from poetry. Another is that if one were to point to the philosopher closest to poetry, it might be Wittgenstein.

2. reader responses (POETRY October 2008)

•     •     •    •

(Perhaps the most famous modal "echolalia" would be: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?)


(October 25, 2008) Since posting this, this flikr group came to my attention: Robocop on a Unicorn

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Kal'mazoo did Kukla'n Fran

In Kal'mazoo did Kukla'n Fran
A stately com'dy-show decree:
Where Ollie, the sacred puppet, ran
Through ratings measureless to man
On black-and-white t-v.


for Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834)

Saturday, October 18, 2008


"If I can plow past that black ass I'll pass."

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Across chrome alleys,

(brilliant though I am,)

untouched meditations of tribal villas

(jettisoned memories)

host sacred tablature

(slink in antiquated courtyards
depleted of artifacts;)

screaming obscenities

(yet civil guards tenuously remain)

—forgettable words

( ... )

which nobody recognize

(to scavenge for lost jettison)


(like 'tatterdemalion'.)

for read write poem prompt #48: ("Tatterdemalion slink across chrome alleys ...")

•      •      •      •      •

par·en·thet·i·cal • adj. of, relating to, or inserted as a parenthesis: ignore the parenthetical remarks that pockmark every page.

The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English (2008)

The above form is what I call a parenthetical poem. A parenthetical poem can be read in three ways: as a whole, with the parenthetical "remarks" acting like a witty (or annoying) line-by-line rejoinder (the background breath); with the remarks removed; or by reading only the remarks.

The idea of the parenthetical derives from the double exposure, the form invented by Greg Williamson.

The poem above was made by taking the words from original poem in the above prompt

tatterdemalion slink across chrome alleys
villas deplete memories of sacred tablature
antiquated courtyards host tribal artifacts
which nobody recognizes nowadays remain
untouched yet civil guards scream obscenities
lost meditation resurfaces I brilliant though
forgettable words tenuously scavenge jettison

and remaking it as a parenthetical poem. (All the words from original poem are used with a couple of grammatical inflections imployed.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

hap    py birthday       e e

my shift        key
may   mal-
function now
my space        key
      random    ly
to tell u
hap    py bir

yours "truly"


Edward Estlin (E.E.) Cummings*

(October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962)

* who actually used a portable Smith·Corona

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who is 'That One' [unnamed]?

They "asked" the Angry Crowd:
       The One not one of Us?
       The pal of terrorists?
       Arabic middle-named?

The Crowd replied in kind:
       The One who'll scare my son!
       Off with his head! Kaboom.
       An Arab, not U.S.!

And They then feigned "Not so."

Reuters: From 'The One' to 'That One': McCain remark rankles
Associated Press: McCain booed after trying to calm anti-Obama crowd
... etc.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

wilted summer blooms

wilted summer blooms
drop like October sunbeams
on the clear blue pool

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When Dino loved Cecil


in that illicit love that
a quarter of a kilo-kin ago
a stone-aged Sarah

a Palino-begotten time ago
and who knew then

Dino and Cecil would be
the then's mavericks:
gaystruck dude-osaurs

strutted out to
to receive
their due

and who knew
wherefore art thou

for read write poem prompt #47: of monsters and dinosaurs

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence
by Paul Simon

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach to you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
in the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets

are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls."
And whisper'd in the sounds of silence.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pope Benedict starts off marathon Bible reading

. . . and the winners are:

the most Enigmatic
Matthew 10:34
Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword

the most Enerving
Matthew 3:12
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire

the most Effete
Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God

the most Erotic
Ezekiel 23:20
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose ejaculation was like that of horses

the most Entwined
Proverbs 21:19
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife

LA Times: Pope Benedict XVI starts off marathon Bible reading

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Wrap: 2008/10/05


The potentially1 transformational story this week was the down and up of the financial rescue bill and how McCain and Obama played into it. From today's Frank Rich column:2

McCain’s “dismaying temperament,” as George Will labeled it, only thickens the concerns. His kamikaze mission into Washington during the bailout crisis seemed crazed. His seething, hostile debate countenance — a replay of Al Gore’s sarcastic sighing in 2000 — didn’t make the deferential Obama look weak (as many Democrats feared) but elevated him into looking like the sole presidential grown-up.

The frenetic, irritated (and irritating) older guy vs. the stable, soothing younger guy.3 And the age factor (and questions about his medical condition4) is playing even more of a role here: the more McCain continues to act in this mode, the more he seems to age into crankyness – day by day.

And also, how comfortable would people be with someone like that as commander-in-chief with his finger on the trigger?

In Palin's Court

A big deal5 has been made about Sarah Palin not being prepared to answer the question What Supreme Court decisions, other than Roe v. Wade, do you disagree with? One case6 in particular was cited: Exxon v. Baker7, which was decided last June and when at the time she made clear her disagreement with the decision as the Governor of Alaska.

But say you gave her the benefit of the doubt. She did remember the case, but there is an obvious reason why she wouldn't raise her previous disagreement in her interview with Katie Couric: the decision was in favor of Exxon.

How would her citing disagreement with this now sit with McCain's big oil patrons? Maybe she was being cleverer than we thought. Or just lucky.

1. Gallup Daily: October 4,2008
2. Frank Rich: Pitbull Palin Mauls McCain
3. Joe Klein: Anger vs. Steadiness in the Crisis
4. AMERICAblog: A doctor's analysis of McCain video
5. YouTube: Sarah Palin can't name one Supreme Court case
6. Andrew Sullivan: What About Exxon vs Baker?
7. FindLaw: Exxon v. Baker

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I wonder if . . .

A four's not always two plus two
Those emeralds aren't green, they're grue
I'm in a dream 'til I come to
I do not know what I once knew
My brain is in a vat of brew
A god will ever make debut
What ought to be is just what's true
To multi-worlds, I could pass through
That stone I kick won't scuff my shoe
I'm not myself but a boy girl named Sue

References (from Wikipedia), by verse:
1. Two Dogmas of Empiricism   
2. Grue and Bleen
3. Dream argument
4. Gettier problem
5. Brain in a vat
6. Philosophy of Religion
7. is-ought problem
8. Multiverse
9. Samuel Johnson
10. Personal identity

•      •      •      •      •

If I were to choose 'my favorite philosopher', it would be Richard Rorty1. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature2 is something I've returned to often. The story in that book of the Antipodeans—persons who have brains but no minds!—was my introduction to his synthesis of 20th century pragmatism and deconstruction of twenty centuries of philosophical troublemaking. One of his last writings was a short essay published in Poetry3 last year, just a few months after his death.

Today would have been his 77th birthday. As a way of celebrating his birthday, I wrote the above 'philosophical' poem.

1. Wikipedia: Richard Rorty
2. Google Books: preview of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
3. Poetry, November 2007: The Fire of Life

Friday, October 3, 2008

Biden and Palin Debate, Doggonit!

Nothing interesting happened in last night's debate1. Except for one thing. More about that in a second.

Sarah Palin still played the ditsy, folksy, sitcom mom. She was able to use her scripted bits to fill in the gaps that she left in her Katie Couric interview by not trying to answer Gwen Ifill's questions when contemplation was required. She announced this strategy right up front:

I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.

Now the moderator is the one asking the questions. (The moderator obviously wants to hear her own questions.) That lapse of logic aside, her point was made. Joe Biden was still the sonorous, slumberous senator, but very competent with his garrulousness kept under control.

Now for the only interesting part, where Palin cluelessly thanks the Constitution for something that lives in Dick Cheney's fantasy world:

[on the constitutional power of the vice president]

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president.

Of course, we know what a vice president does. And that's not only to preside over the Senate and will take that position very seriously also. I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.

BIDEN: The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

Youbetcha, Joe.

1. Transcript of Palin, Biden debate

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tapestry of Devotion

He sits in silence
before the lighted tapestry
hanging on the wall. Bolts
of the shimmering panel

emitting colors and grays
transfix his gaze.
His mind absorbs
its vibrant threads, while

holding the rosary
in his right hand,
caressing its beads,
pressing them

with his finger,
the beads transport him
to the stations
of the cross. Currents

of present and past
inextricably entwine,
each station bringing
a new meditation of

fear storms passion
laughter pain sadness
suspense ecstasy feasting

... 'til
his soul's
the red bead –
rosary's last jade –
sends him back home and
the tapestry fades.

for read write poem prompt #46: sacred poetry

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Midweek Muse: 2008/10/01

Libertarianism: Just Another Creaky Cult

Libertarianism is just another creaky cult, like fundamentalism or dominionism, that makes no sense at all. (Communism, as being any significant "-ism", died years ago.) This became even more apparent on Monday when the primary defeaters of the the government-backed 'economic stabilization act' were the Limbaugh-Gingrich-Hannity wing of the Republican Party enraged over "a gigantic socialist takeover" of the U.S. financial system. (Using the word "socialist" is critical, as it is with defeating universal health-care, in getting a lot of people to phone or email their representatives in Congress.)

I can't remember right now of having any sympathy for President W. over the past eight years, but I was surprised to find I've had a bit of sympathy (my prediction: short-lived) for him (and Treasury Secretary Paulson) over the past few days. For, in this case (and in contradiction to his party's laissez-faire platform and his own past positions), he's doing the right thing.