To the Point

There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed.--TL Simons

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bob Hicks on Deemer's "In My Old Age"

The astute former Oregonian writer nails it in this art scatter review of CD's "In My Old Age":

"Those of you who follow Deemer’s bracing, political, personal, sometimes crotchety blog The Writing Life II will remember a while back when poems started poking out, almost on their own, as if demanding voice among the general background noise of sports rants and teaching woes and struggling with scripts and ramming one’s head against the broad national venality and extolling the virtues of a simple cup of coffee and a good plate of scrapple in the morning. Old men, Deemer has discovered to his delight, get to say and do pretty much what they like, or at least what they’re still capable of saying and doing. This book is the result of that irascible fit of creativity, and I, for one, am happy for it."

It certainly is nice when someone "gets it," and follows up with humor as able as the poet's.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Project Moving Toward Completion

(The Scream of the Butterfly, by Charles Lucas)

I'm looking forward to wrapping up Ubiquitous Serpentine by Charles Lucas early in the week. It'll be nice to finish this one and shut down for awhile while contemplating where to take things next.

Plus, I really would like to begin to feel healthy again. It's been awhile. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so perhaps I'll learn something then.


Friday, October 28, 2011


Get your popcorn ready. Game 7 of the World Series begins in 15 minutes.

I'll be switching between the Series and the BYU v. TCU football game. I need another computer or a TV, one or the other.

The football game is in Arlington. That's Texas Ranger territory. I wonder if anyone will go to the game?

Big night, but small potatoes compared with tomorrow's schedule. My Ducks at noon, Nebraska and Michigan State in the morning, Stanford and USC in prime time.

That last one is huge for Stanford if the Trees want to play in the NC this year, which would be cool if Oregon can't beat them.

I've always liked Stanford, my second favorite PAC team.


U.S. Military in a Dither About Fashion

"I believe that we can better visualize to the American people and the Army what it means to be an American soldier than we're doing now," Chandler told Army Times' Bacon. "Those can be done through personal grooming standards and standards of appearance and . . . the uniforms we wear and how we choose to wear them. I think we can do better. Now's the time to take a look at it."

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "dressed to kill".


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Classic Game 6

If something dramatic is going to happen in the World Series it'll usually happen in game six.

I started listening to tonight's game in the bottom of the eighth, when Texas held a 7-4 lead. The St. Louis Cardinals scored one run and left the bases full that inning, missing a huge opportunity.

But then, with his team behind 7-5 and down to his last strike in the ninth, the Cards' David Freese tripled off the wall to drive in two runs and send the game into extra innings.

The Cards again fell behind by two before tying the game in the 10th when they were again down to a last strike, this time on Lance Berkman, who singled in a pair of runners.

In the 11th they were finally able to shut Texas down.

Freese came up in the bottom of the 11th and slammed a walk-off homer into the bleachers.

Ball game.

If something dramatic is going to happen in the World Series, it usually happens in the sixth game.

The series is tied 3-3 with the final game set for tomorrow night in St. Louis.

My, my.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Number One Shit Clown So Far

Remember when Sarah Palin blew the GOP out of the water in '08?

This idiot is attempting to duplicate her idiocy.

Could this guy please go away? Do everybody a favor?


Christian Petzold

I haven't been feeling well of late.

Little energy and a persistent nausea have kept me low. This isn't good, I'm in the middle of a project (Lucas's Ubiquitous Serpentine), but the oomph just isn't there most days.

I was laid up all of Saturday. Fortunately, I've found a streaming website to watch college football, so that is all I did.

I got up a couple times, went downstairs once, grabbed a cup of jo from the senior center across the street, felt terrible, returned to my lair. Back to bed.

I cancelled a Monday appointment with Lucas (we meet today, but I'm not completely recovered so it may be a waste).

I have a medical appointment on Monday. Hope I don't get any scary news on Halloween.

When my energy is low like it has been since Friday, I get somewhat morbid. I've always had a dark and silent streak. Sickness just elevates it. I never wanted to be a mere mote, a dot on a six-billion human flow chart.

I've always wanted to live forever. Despite your best efforts, it's difficult to make life count.

Who's watching? Who gives a damn?

Still down last night, I watched a pair of films by the German director Christian Petzold.

Petzold is a leading figure in the newest New German Cinema, or the "Berlin School." The two films I watched last evening, Yella and Jerichow, concern life in Germany since reunification in 1990.

They are far different than the German historical films I've reflexively regarded as the best Germany offers.

Who knew this isn't 1933-1945?

I'll put it this way--Petzold does for venture capitalism in the new Germany what Fassbinder did for Nazism in The Marriage of Maria Braun, i.e., to elucidate that life doesn't revolve around ideology, but rather around the crudeness of the survival instinct.

Necessarily, darkness falls.

How beautiful is that? Watching Petzold's films, it's as if I'm asking for it.

So be it.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is Boho Dead?

Just a thought: On the question of bohemianism, I think it is dead because one can no longer live on the cheap in America without suffering terrible ramifications and scorn. I know many younger people. Few if any are concerned with that lifestyle, surprising numbers of them don't even have a context for such thinking. They scorn it themselves and are fighting to "succeed," struggling with college debt, and working much harder than I ever felt it necessary to work, and for comparably far less money in an extremely limited job market. I don't see boho out there as much as I see anger. Look at all the young people involved in the Occupy This and That movement. That isn't boho. That is an extreme version of social dissent borne of real and justifiable concerns about the future.

Maybe they are being forced into a more realistic, or material, worldview themselves. Ten years in Starbucks could do that to a worker.

For the record, Deemer says I'm wrong, that boho has perhaps changed and gone further underground, but remains a vital force.

For his part, Bacon says I'm full of "shit."

Come on you guys, you probably think books are still relevant, too!


Now That the War is Over I Can Show These (I've Been Waiting Impatiently)

(My anti-war drawings)


Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Clown Prince Dead

What are we to do?

After the Treaty of Westphalia, who thought this nonsense would persist?


from Ubiquitous Serpentine

(Reach for the Sun, by Charles Lucas)

Nature’s Underworld

A sensuous beauty shimmers through the paintings (glass paint on ceramic) Round Bend Press is pleased to present in Ubiquitous Serpentine, recent work by Portland, Oregon ceramic artist Charles Lucas.

Distaining anything like a straight line in his compositions, Lucas’s ambition is to enhance the serpentine, a profound explication of the mysteries inherent in nature. His bold, color-laden brush strokes wend like suddenly revealed secret pathways in a magical garden, where everything seen is impetuously drawn from a cellular essence invisible to the naked eye.

The viewer must go deep inside the artist’s vision of nature to feel the meaning of these paintings. They are interpretive, and to a large degree merely the guesswork of imaginative recognition. They contend that we are more than our understanding and far removed from our belief.

Light and texture clash with the forces of chaotic beauty in these works, balanced by the lushness of the compositions’ shadowy recesses. To peer at them closely is to be taken in, submerged in the possibility of what lies below the obvious, the surface, in nature.

Each composition represents a particular place in the natural world, or a rendition of a particular organism as seen through the artist’s view of how things might be in nature’s underworld.

Splashes of unexpected light counterbalance the steadfast reality Lucas has conjured in each painting. What prevails in every composition is a joyous celebration of what might be. The puzzling question thence is what do we really know about the natural world that hasn’t been summarized under the botanist’s microscope or notated in a scientific journal?

The answer lies in what we make of the known while leaving nature open to interpretation.

What we might make of nature is just this, the artist says in a stunning display of beyondness.

These are imaginative works by the Chicago-born artist who is widely known for his ceramic sculpture and mosaic tile installations.

Round Bend Press sincerely hopes you enjoy Charles Lucas’s newest vision in Ubiquitous Serpentine.

(To be published on Nov. 1)


Sweet Home Autzen Stadium

This little kid knocks me out.

Come on. If you don't love it you're cruel.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shit Clowns on Parade

This is the best they have to offer?

Good lord.


On Charles Lucas

(The Transformation of Reason, by Charles Lucas)

“Everything in Nature is Serpentine…”

I have long admired the work of ceramic tile artist and sculptor Charles Lucas. I met Charles many years ago in Northwest Portland, when we were young hell-raisers on the lookout for good times in the bars and cafes of the old neighborhood.

In those heady days of cheap rent and long, beer-addled nights, we lived luxuriously bohemian lives. With little effort, we could afford to be artists first and proper citizens of the community second. Compromise was then unthinkable as we strived to take part in a rich artistic tradition, now a bitter-sweet memory.

Our generation is perhaps, in this technological age of instant gratification and 15 minute pigeonholes, the last to see things through “boho” eyes.

Lucas grew up in Chicago and developed an interest in art as a child. He dropped out of high school after his sophomore year and went the GED route. Rebellion was thick in the air for many during that era and Lucas took his place among the protesters. He still has the memory badge he earned as a 15 year-old in Grant Park, when Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley unleashed the police on Vietnam War protesters during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Lucas survived that bloody riot with a few bumps and bruises before throwing himself into the social milieu of the city’s south side, where he practiced the benevolence he’d learned as a good Catholic youth by feeding the poor and meting out his own unique brand of mystical and political awareness.

The quest to dispense good will and change the status quo from the inside took him on a wending journey throughout the U.S., to ghettos in New England, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Denver, and finally, Portland.

In Portland, Lucas began working construction and remodeling jobs to pay the rent, while simultaneously mastering the demanding crafts of tile design and installation. Before long he had his own thriving business, with more work than he could handle alone. Whenever I hit a dry spot in my own often sketchy attempts to pay the bills, I could usually count on Lucas for a job. In this manner I learned to appreciate the artist’s expertise in all things ceramic—-particularly his ability to sculpt with clay.

These days painting rather than sculpting is Lucas’s priority, while still involving his ceramic mantra. The thirty-five paintings on ceramic in Ubiquitous Serpentine might be, aside from a clear effort to paint pictures of the circular forces of Nature, a metaphor for the long and serpentine road every artist is engaged with throughout his or her career.

“Everything in Nature is serpentine,” Lucas says. “I’ve attempted to capture that feeling in these paintings.”


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

from Ubiquitous Serpentine

(The Unraveling of Reason, by Charles Lucas)

The longer I look at the paintings from this collection by Charles Lucas the more I like them.

This one and thirty others will be published by RBP in November.

"It is as if the artist has entered a heretofore unknown realm of scientific truth, where a new vision of reality has displaced what we understand about the universe--" Buddy Dooley.

Dooley perhaps overstates the case, but yeah.


Monday, October 17, 2011

My Kind of Town

William Faulkner and Archie Manning are just two of the many luminaries who have called Oxford, Miss. home.

Never been there, but it sounds like my kind of town.

It even embraced a fallen star last year--Jeremiah Masoli.


Ubiquitous Serpentine

I've finished the tentative layout of Round Bend's newest publication-in-progress, a look at recent paintings on ceramic by Portland artist Charles Lucas.

We've settled on a title--Ubiquitous Serpentine--which represents the body of the work and adheres to the painter's determination to reflect Nature by avoiding straight lines in his compositions.

"The straight line is a human invention," says Lucas. "Nothing in Nature has that kind of rigidness--everything is serpentine. I've attempted to capture that feeling in these paintings."

Lucas, a noted mosaic artist and sculptor, has created many ceramic mosaics for the McMenamins' pub and brewery chain.

Look for an early November release.


Friday, October 14, 2011


An intense work day ahead as Charles Lucas and I finally begin to assemble the Portland artist's RBP publication (as yet untitled).

We'll select fifty photographic images of the ceramic sculptor and painter's work and create something like a coffee table book.

The fun in doing a project like this will come from the small surprises that await us as we build the thing.

I anticipate a day of sweat and inspiration resulting in a big payoff artistically.

We'll see.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is Money For?

"When the (total) nation hasn't or cannot obtain enough food for its people, that nation is poor.

When enough food exists and people cannot get it by honest labour, the state is rotten, and no effort of language will say how rotten it is.

But for a banker or professor to tell you that the country cannot do this, that or the other because it lacks money is as black and foetid a lie, as grovelling and imbecile, as it would be to say it cannot build roads because it has no kilometres."

Ezra Pound

Here is the complete essay.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Buddy Art

Charles Deemer says the "Buddy art" I have put up at this blog is an example of "wit and mind" overcoming the limitations I have as a graphic artist.

I like that, for he nailed the essence (Deemer does that frequently).

I created the 20-odd ClipArt pieces below during the dreary winter months of 2009. I had only recently purchased my first laptop and I started to mess around with Microsoft Paint, a program I knew little about at the time.

I began with the distraction of color, splashing it around randomly like an abstract expressionist, a poor man's Jackson Pollock.

Despite my decidedly untrained art background I've always been a colorist at heart. Though I am fond of and admire technical artists, the strong renderers and the masters of perspective, it is color that sets me off when I look at a painting.

Color has always done it for me, I suppose, ever since filling the pages of my first coloring book.

The images I've posted here aren't sophisticated, nor was I talking myself into believing they were at the time I composed them.

"Childlike," my good friend Lucas, no slouch as a colorist himself, said recently.

So there I sat at my desk every day that winter, the rain pounding the window pane of my cheap basement room. I played with Paint and I played my guitar. I wrote poetry and drank beer and let the ideas come as they might.

A childlike experience indeed. I was home alone, fusing boredom and an obsession with my new toy, a shiny Toshiba laptop. Fortunately I was old enough to buy my own beer.

The overriding question became, "How do I use these wonderful tools?"

I began with juxtaposition, clashing imagery, nonsense, a childlike vernacular rooted in primary colors.

I have several favorites in the batch of thirty I made in that stretch of obsessive work, but I think I finally accepted I was onto something when El Toro En Bolero came to me. Combining wordplay in its title, a composition by Ravel which has always disgusted me, and a couple of ClipArt images that ordinarily wouldn't have meaning, I created a personal statement.

Which could read--"Don't tell me it's good when I consider it bullshit, and by-the-way, dig this red and black sheen."

"Cool," Deemer said.
"Childlike," Lucas said.
"Clever," Bacon said.

You make the stuff because you have to or don't know enough not to, but when someone "gets it" you appreciate the fact and move on to the next obsession.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Dooley's Dilemma

Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Young Buddy

Portrait of the Artist with Hair, 1971
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy at Chess

Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Dooley's Homage

Homage to Louis Bunce
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Buddy Cheney

Torture Scene
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy's College Debt

Don't Work Too Hard
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dooley's Ex-Wife

Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy's Field Work

Moment Before the Death of an Anthropologist
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Friday, October 7, 2011

Ten Years After/I'm Going Home

Wish the troops in Afghanistan could say the same thing ten years after their worthless war started.

Ten Years After at Woodstock, 1969.


Buddy's Gift

Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Blackbird Reading, Oct. 5

CD has been kind enough to post a six-minute video at his University of North Carolina literary archive of me reading from A Marvelous Paranoia at Blackbird on Oct. 5.

It's a little hard to hear, but you may get the idea.

My opinion of it is that I was expressive part of the time and sluggish the rest of the time.

I hadn't read in performance for years, so I was a little rusty.

But thanks, CD!


Rainy Night, Sparse Crowd at the Blackbird

(Portland artist Charles Lucas)

A disappointing crowd on a rainy First Wednesday at the Blackbird last night. Nevertheless, Charles Deemer, guest reader Portland artist Charles Lucas, and I read from the RBP canon for about 80 minutes.

Deemer's awful cold kept him muted as he read from In My Old Age, as well as from Bill Deemer's Variations. I felt bad for CD as I know he wanted to be at full-strength for this event. Understandably, he lacked his typical energy last night.

The small but sympathetic audience appreciated him toughing it out.

Alas, the flu season has arrived and brought its usual misery to many.

I thought Lucas handled Sam White's (Robert P. Thomas) "The Huncke Poems" from the Cold Eye anthology with grace and a fine tone.

I did my thing, reading a selection of prose and poetry along with selections from K.C. Bacon's Morandi's Bottles. You'd have to ask somebody else to describe how that went.

Here's a link to Deemer reading for the Lewis and Clark-sponsored Oregon Poetic Voices archive.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dooley's Neighborhood

Street of Dreams
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Where's Buddy?

Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy's Dream

Enigma with Objects
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Fascist in Dooley

Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy's View

View of Another World
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Dooley's War

The Apparition
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy Conducts Bolero

El Toro En Bolero
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy's Tightrope Act

Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Buddy Dooley's Big Date

Big Date
Buddy Dooley, 2009
Published in: Yes, But You Don't Understand!
Round Bend Press, 2010


Monday, October 3, 2011

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone*

My childhood friend and more recently my annoying beer drinking pal Buddy Dooley dropped by my pad in Southwest Portland over the weekend.

In the crook of one arm he carried a brown paper bag containing a six-pack of his favorite micro-brew, a pack of cigarettes, a sandwich baggie with the remnants of his pot stash, a pipe decorated in the style of an R. Crumb knock-off, a book of matches, and a book of Schopenhauer's aphorisms.

"I'm ready, are you?" Buddy said, switching on his old-fashioned cassette player.

TS: Did you bring an opener?

BD: You're telling me you don't have an opener?

TS: I don't. I don't buy your fancy-pants beer. Ever heard of twist-offs? Ever heard of pop-tops?

(Buddy pulled a Leatherman pocket knife out of his pants and opened two bottles with the convenient bottle opener provided among the knife's other survival tools)

TS: (drinking and smacking my lips) Mmmmmmm...that hits the spot.

BD: You're welcome, Simons.

TS: What's on your mind today, Buddy? You seem to be in your usual irascible mood.

BD: I'm here for you aren't I? Let's talk about this thing, whatever it is, that you're doing Wednesday night.

TS: The reading...

BD: That's what you call it?

TS: Of course, jackass...

BD: Let me get this straight. You're going to get up in front of a group of people at the Blackbird Wine Shop and Cheese Pooh-pa and read something you wrote?

TS: Cheese pooh-pa?

BD: Do you think this is a wise move?

TS: Um...yes.

BD: Why?

TS: I'm doing it for the vast, suffering, silent, heretofore ignorant morass of humanity that doesn't know I exist.

BD: Whoa...whoa with that, big fella. What makes you certain anybody fucking cares who you are?

TS: I'd like to sell one goddamn measly book, Buddy. Is that too much to want out of life?

(Buddy loads his pipe)

TS: Buddy!!!

BD: What!!!

TS: You can't smoke here. The neighbors will call the DEA!

BD: Give me a break.

TS: I'll get tossed out! I'll be homeless again!

BD: What do you care? You're a poet after all...If Li Po could do it so can you.

TS: Well, put a towel under the door then.

(Buddy obeys and puts a towel at the door base)

BD: I don't get it...You want some of this?

TS: Nah...

BD: (inhaling deeply) Good shit... (exhaling, coughing) So this crowd you're playing to Wednesday in this Pooh-pa. Who are they?

TS: Christ, Buddy. I don't know. Wine drinkers. People who enjoy listening to readings I guess. And stop calling it pooh-pa. Whatever that is.

BD: But why would they bother listening to you? I mean, who are you? It seems to me that you are pretty much a nobody, right?

TS: No, no, no. I wouldn't agree with that...Besides, Deemer will be there, too. He's a somebody, isn't he?

BD: Well, who are they? A crowd of people who like wine? That's it? (long pause) Say you actually could write something worthwhile, something people might like, the question is why should you care if they listen?

TS: Writers want to be heard.

BD: They'll kill you...

TS: Why? Why do you say that?

BD: You'll die on the podium. A shriveling flower casting rays of obdurate and senseless sunlight into the void. The non-meaning which you excel at will be lost in the wine-haze of the evening. A dull silence awaits you. Some might call it doom.

TS: Not a pretty picture...I think.

BD: But good luck.

TS: So you're anti-readings?

BD: Not all of them. Just yours, and anything by Jay McInerney. Sure you don't want some of this?

TS: What the hell. Why not?

(coughing, coughing, loud, long coughing)

BD: Are you okay, Simons?

TS: I'm fine...I think. (weakly, gasping for air) You gonna come to the Blackbird Wednesday night, Buddy?

BD: I'll consider it. We'll see what's on TV that night first.