Tuesday, June 28, 2011

MALDITO

I have this very special photograph of Arthur Rimbaud, poet maldito, who wrote all of his genius work before he was 21. The photograph is special because obviously it is a black and white photograph but someone hand-tinted his jacket peacock blue. Arthur Rimbaud would never wear a peacock blue jacket! If you look at his writing, you know that right away. He writes of green zinc coffin, buttocks bearing Clara Venus, and the dance of the hanged man - not peacock jackets. And this is the great thing about writing - you know so much about the author through his works. And this is the terrible thing about dying - you end up wearing clothes that you normally would never wear.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

REPRINTED FROM JANUARY, 2007: R.I.P. GENE COLAN

I find it interesting that Jack Kirby and Gene Colan both served in the armed forces. Jack Kirby drew the incomparable Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Hulk, the Eternals, etc. Gene Colan drew Doctor Strange and Submariner and Daredevil and Howard the Duck. Jack Kirby turned Delancey Street, NYC, where he was beaten up with some frequency, into Yancy Street, NYC, where the Thing beat up young punks when provoked. Gene Colan sat in the seat of a tank in order to draw a schematic of its control panel and noted that he sunk so deep into the seat that he couldn't imagine how soldiers could see. "That's simple," said his commanding officer, "you weren't wearing a parachute, were you?" He wasn't. Jack Kirby served at Normandy ten days after D-Day. Gene Colan served in the Philippines and never saw action. Gene Colan wanted to work for DC, but ended up working, at first, for Marvel, then known as 'Timely Comics.' Later he would draw the Dark Knight. Gene Colan was called 'Gentleman Gene' by Stan Lee. Jack Kirby was called Jack 'The King' Kirby by Stan Lee. Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg. His father was a garment factory worker. Jack Kirby was Jewish. Gene Colan was Jewish. Stan Lee was Jewish. Gene Colan's favorite movie is 'The Treasure of Sierra Madre.' Jack Kirby went to Pratt, for one week. Gene Colan would trace stills from Hopalong Cassidy for reference. Gene Colan has file cabinets filled with pictures. "What use is it," he now asks, "to have a series of photographs of WW II destroyers?" Gene Colan was known for his extensive use of tints and shadows and hatchwork, a technique which drove early colorists crazy. Jack Kirby invented the 'Kirby Dot' - swirling images of vast cosmic planetry and debris, as real as anything you can find anywhere. Gene Colan knows how to turn a computer on and off. Jack Kirby quit Pratt, saying "They wanted people who would work on something forever. I didn't want to work on any project forever. I intended to get things done". Gene Colan drew under the name 'Adam Austen.' Jack Kirby penciled under the name 'Jack Curtiss.' Gene Colan was born in the Bronx. When Jack Kirby met Joe Simon, he was quite impressed. He had never seen a comic book artist wearing a suit before.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

PAGE ONE


I’ve always believed that there are two pages in the book of your life and you have to turn page one by yourself. It’s a whopper and a bear, and you have to stand with your legs apart and braced for balance and then fold the page over firmly yet gently like you would fold an fluffy egg white into a pie.

Page two: intermission.

How can that be?

NAMEOLOGY

Everybody loves Jacob. Since 1999.
Isabella is popular. But watch out Isabella.
Here comes Iker and Crew and Zuri. 
I know. I feel the same way.
Look at my database and weep.
I like to kick people with “names.”

Now

If you are looking for Grace and Emma 
and Julia and Anna and Ella and Hannah 
go to the library and pick out an old book
and sneeze from all the dust. The dust
of 2004!

Or pretend that you are riding a wave
on the that beach in California called
Nostalgia Beach. There are no jellyfish or
sharks there, only people named Grace 
and Ella and stuff. The clouds are white 
and puffy. I call that one “Anna.” I often 
refer to my heart as “Ella.” I like being 
a man. And I enjoy a good sno-cone.

I grew up with Williams and Davids
and Josephs and Jameses. I am not 
ashamed of it. And the odds are that 
my son and my son’s son will grow up 
with them, too. My son is named George, 
but I call him William David Joseph James 
because I love him. I love him so much.
SO much!

I am a nameologist. 
The letter “J” is not quite in the middle 
of the alphabet which explains why there
are more boys whose names begin with
“J” than any other letter. It also explains
why we often call marijuana cigarettes “J”s.

And why the “J” is silent in Lerue.
Also invisible to the eye. 

JoJo was a Beatles song, kind of. 

He thought he was a loner, or a rental car.

“A” for girls is more obscure. Although there
are a great number of Averys, Ariannas, and
Avas who are real tarts. I mean tarty as hell.
What were their mothers thinking? Or maybe 
their fathers. No, their mothers. I bet they all 
smoke cigarettes and said I don’t care what 
you think, Daddy. I don’t look forward
to these lives.

Most people’s names are now 5.9 letters long.
In the old days, they were 6.2 letters long.

Imagine a name that is 6 letters long.

I love postcards they are short.
Long letters make me sick.

Imagine a name that is 1 letter long.

What would happen if you took all the names
in the Bible and made them into one big name?
Nothing, I bet. 

Until the earth began to tremble
with the love and the trembliness.

We are English and we know it and 
names are perfect, perfectly fine
and awful. Our names are short and lovely.

Watch Sarah tumble down the stairs
until she is 49% of what she used to be.

AND I WILL SLEEP OUTSIDE among the CALLA LILIES


Who’s that knocking at my door?

Nobody.

I walk outside and knock on the door.

Who’s that knocking at my door?

Nobody answers. I don’t think anyone’s home.

I will knock one more time.

I am too tired to walk inside.

I hate mysteries.

I never noticed these flowers before.

They’re pretty.

My keys, My keys.

I’m sleepy.

IT'S WHAT WE CALL IN THE BUSINESS A RAILROAD TRACK

Sunday, June 19, 2011

OH DEAD MAN

Oh dead man
give me your saxophone
so I can scare everyone
out of the way
and you can make your way
up the stairs
to the pretty white cloud
of finally at last 

Friday, June 17, 2011

CRI DU CHAT

Is what they call a certain type of
mental infirmity, often found in
in small children, due in part to
a partial deletion of chromosome 5

It also reminds me of me in the car
in heavy traffic on summer days with
my cat, Chat.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

TOOTHBRUSH XVI

Nowadays toothbrushes have curved handles
sometimes they swoop to here from there
like a race car in a showroom tranquil
sometimes they are ribboned at the neck
ribbons in math writhe and twist
the brainy math people say:
like toothbrushes

I knew a poet once
who asked another poet
What can I do? I can’t draw
a straight line

The other poet said
Draw a curve

Have we run out of straight lines
and now we have curves
should I be worried
should I be afraid

Actually, I didn’t
actually once know
a poet at all who couldn’t
draw a straight line

Friday, June 03, 2011

AN OLD FRIEND

THE POETRY OF JEFF BRIDGES' GOLDEN BLOND HAIR WITH GUNMETAL GREY

Sometimes I worry about my abilities. Am I talented? I wonder. And even if I think I am talented, I think: But am I not as talented as that guy is, or that girl is, or especially as that guy is!

But then I like to look at the picture of Jeff Bridges smiling on the cover of MEN'S JOURNAL magazine. His hair is golden blond. But also, there are streaks of gunmetal grey. I like the golden blond, I always have, but now there are streaks of gunmetal grey to like, too. The golden blond strands are happy as they can be, and so are the gunmtal grey strands. And they don’t mind being next to each other. Still, the golden blond strands candidly admit that they are glad that they aren’t grey, even though they like grey. They like golden blond better. And the gunmetal grey streaks, candidly admit the exact same thing, they just have to admit it in reverse.

Jeff Bridges is really smiling on the cover of MEN'S JOURNAL magazine. Everybody is happy. And when everybody is happy, I am happy.
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