To the Point

An empty shell as president, a torturer running the secret government, Education run by a privileged amateur, and the EPA pivoted to environmental destruction for pay, I’d say America is actually sporting a government that is representative of the American government.--Upthepeople/CommonDreams

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Haiku/RP Thomas


          her bare feet on the
 plymouth dashboard dripping from

          a dip at the creek

          flathead roaring home

 vinyl beer and the fire chief
          waiting at the door

         I like the smell of

 hot summer full of this girl

         lilac to the brain

--RP Thomas 


Friday, May 18, 2018

Read and Give

The key component of this presidency is the same as that which has been inseparable from at least the majority of his predecessors. The main difference which is disgustingly and unavoidably central to Trump’s presidency is his vain, brutishly honest expression of his (and most presidents before him) lack of integrity between his words used to get elected and his actions after being elected. This slimy method of misrepresentation is made uniquely Trumpian by the crudeness of his interpretation, but his rudely indifferent wording is, perversely, a more  honest expression of what is the long established method of operations within the global corporetum known as the “USA.”--CTS

Good stuff here, and a boatload of more good stuff.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Old Man in a Stained and Tawdry White Suit

On Tom Wolfe.

I liked his journalism and art criticism enormously, but found his novels a slog, though I did somewhat in the end and belatedly, after I burped, enjoy Bonfire of the Vanities.

Come to think about it I bought a lot of Wolfe, helping make the fucker rich.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018

History of Whitey

From time to time, Americans will talk about the mass killing, treaty-breaking, impoverishment, and forced removal or assimilation of Native peoples in the U.S. as “a shameful period in our history.” While this may sound like the noble acknowledgement of a genocidal crime, it is far too half-hearted and disingenuous, since these acts are central to the entirety of U.S. history, from the first landing of European ships on North American shores to the recent events at Standing Rock and beyond. An enormous body of scholarly and popular literature testifies to the facts.--JJ

Exceptionally well done, Whitey. Whitey is a curse.  He lives everywhere. My old friend CL has always been fond of pointing out the exceptional white qualities of his peers, the whiter the more annoying. 

He acknowledges and measures the degrees of whiteness in everyone.  America is snuggled up in a white blanket like a babe.  America is a shit-hole country of whiteness, dontcha know?



In his best journalism, it’s often hard to distinguish between lucid reports of actual events and his wildest hallucinations. For Thompson, there was a special benefit to choosing the drug you used when reporting a particular experience – whether it was a presidential campaign, or a sequin-fraught Debbie Reynolds stage-show, or a convention of boozy district attorneys watching propaganda flicks about the dangers of marijuana. Drugs could either help you comprehend the madness or maintain your sanity. Gonzo journalism wasn’t simply about getting the insane facts right. It was about enduring them.--SB

He became a "caricature of himself."


Thursday, May 10, 2018


While it is true that Balzac’s Paris is a multifarious monster—precursor to the textual Berlins and Dublins that came after—the difference between Balzac and his city-novel progeny is that the modernists were less concerned with a city’s “biological continuity” (its unity, progression, and connective tissue) and more interested in what could be called a city’s “biological discontinuity” (its intrinsic inability to adhere to a tidy narrative). This is what Döblin meant when he referred to “the chaos of cities.” In exploration of this biological discontinuity and in articulation of a certain urban texture, the modernists implemented new ways to embody the city’s multitude: the stream of consciousness, multiple perspectives, free indirect discourse, appropriation, fragmentation, and, especially, montage.--TM

I think I know Portland well enough to write a novel with the city as a central character.  Yet I get lost and can't find a narrative, truth or fiction, that suits me whenever I sit down to write about Portland and its other characters.

I should have quit Art long ago, but then what would I have done?  Nothing appealed to me as much as the dream of literature. I found nothing else worthy. Nothing that might move me along a reasonable path and into the heart of the mundane, where society thrives and coexists with "reality," where jobs and status and money and the ordinary prevail.

So, in Nightscape in Empire I wrote:

The Insane Lover's Question

How did it
come to this,
that I became
an insane lover
of the world's madness,
that the sight and sound of it
repelled me in my dreams as I
tossed through the night,
and never learned to
live a quiet life
before taking flight;
never quite getting
very much right?


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Prize Fight

In 1964, when Joseph Brodsky was 24, he was brought to trial for “social parasitism.” In the view of the state, the young poet was a freeloader. His employment history was spotty at best: he was out of work for six months after losing his first factory job, and then for another four months after returning from a geological expedition. (Being a writer didn’t count as a job, and certainly not if you’d hardly published anything.) In response to the charge, Brodsky leveled a straightforward defense: he’d been thinking about stuff, and writing. But there was a new order to build, and if you weren’t actively contributing to society you were screwing it up.--RW

For as long as I can remember my own creative life has been a skirmish between switching off and turning on, not in the Tim Leary sense, but in the sense that political thought will occasionally put you down for the count. By that I mean politics is out of the hands of the ordinary man, but art can give him succor, even save him.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Survival Mode

I'll be watching.  I did my part as a community organizer, 1974-1976, fresh out of college, semi-idealistic.

The snow in New England was deep, the bullshit even deeper.

Yet, over 40-years later, I'm simpatico.  But I don't know what to do.

I'll live out my days, such as they are.  Any assault on seniors and Social Security in this country at this time ought to be greeted with a hail of bullets.

It might come to that, but not likely in my lifetime.


Friday, May 4, 2018


Your weekend reading should include this batch of scintillating essays; big on style and content.

Seattle's playing better than usual this season.  See what happens in the dog days, though, when the Mariners usually pack it in, fold it up, and otherwise disembark from the cause.

Ichiro is moving into the front office, finally slowing down after a 17-year career with the Mariners, Yankees and Miami.  That was after playing 9 years in Japan.

Great player, surefire first ballot HOFer.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Artist of the Day

I've read a couple of Vlautin's novels.  They're very good, highly recommended.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Surreal Gossip

When Salvador Dalí came to lecture at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936, he arrived with two Russian wolfhounds on leads. He wore a deep-sea diver’s suit and carried a billiard cue. A jewelled dagger hung from his belt. The subject of his lecture was ‘Paranoia, The Pre-Raphaelites, Harpo Marx and Phantoms’. The audience couldn’t hear him through the diving helmet, so it was not immediately obvious that Dalí was suffocating. When friends did eventually sound the alarm, they found the bolts on Dalí’s helmet stuck fast. Send for a spanner! By the time they’d taken the helmet off, Dalí was close to death.--LF

Sounds like a hoot. I went through a long gestation with the Surrealists.  What they did still interests me, though I haven't recently read or looked at their work.

I think the way they grovelled and clamored for recognition must have influenced many, many artists thereafter.  Warhol most notably.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Feeling It

It is what it is. Happy Monday.