I Swear to Satan…

… I can’t watch or listen to Stuart Adamson and Big Country performing The Storm without shedding blood-red tears. The loss, the waste. God, I wish I could have been there in that stupid hotel in Hawaii 2001 and talked him out of the closet and the rope.

Stay alive.

Ω

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HELLO, BEAUTIFUL (Repost)

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Moon Map (big)

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Original Photos by Ilcato

All Moon Photos: NASA

Ω

New Poem, “DEATH IS COMING”

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Photograph by Alex Majoli / Magnum for The New Yorker

Death Is Coming

Death is coming, and I can’t stop it,

even if I were an Angel with a flaming sword

I can’t halt Death’s advance

—fuck—

I can’t afford bus fare to the funeral.

So many words left unsaid,

Not in anger, but in love.

Words unspeakable on the phone,

Because I need to see their faces,

I need to see their eyes,

And I want them to see me.

Death is no conscious entity—

No Seventh Seal, no Sandman

But a very big can of insect repellent

Wiping us out, indiscriminate,

(This is not news.)

I love cemeteries, I love the sleepers in the ground,

With their tombstones, their names,

Their stop and start dates.

And I know—more to come.

Not strangers. The ones I love.

And I still won’t have bus fare.

November 3, 2017

Ω

VIDEOSCOPE #104 IS IN THE HOUSE!

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AS USUAL, chock-full of great shit. But I was so dismayed that The Phantom didn’t like Kong / Skull Island! (Although I’m still laughing over “Viet Kong.”) But for fuck’s sake, MIGHTY JOE OLD! Finally, an American kaiju movie that got it right! So much better than Peter Jackson’s dizzy, sloppy, head-scratching remake in 2005—even if it did feature my beloved Naomi Watts barefoot and in bondage…

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… and ten zillion times better than 2014’s Godzilla

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… I mean, LOOK at this. LOOK AT THIS SHIT. Mighty Kong smacking down choppers in vengeance against those pesky bi-planes of 1933!

The Phantom’s lack of appreciating Kong-sized entertainment notwithstanding, VideoScope #104 is outta sight. Visit The Phantom here.

Ω

 

The Rope Slave Rises Against the Darkness

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Ω

“What Am I Going To Be For Halloween?!”

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For fuck’s sake, I AM Halloween! I’m Halloween 365, 24/7! I’m on Darth Vader’s security detail, I wrote the program for The Terminator T-800 Model 101! People fucking FLY out of my way on the sidewalk!

But really I’m just a big black cat, looking for love. Why, WHY don’t they love me? (Ha ha.)

Ω

 

Happy Anniversary, ALWAYS APOCALYPSE

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THIS HASN’T SOLD A SINGLE COPY. Which doesn’t make me sad, it just make me shake my head. I don’t think it’s a “brilliant” collection of poems, but it is my heart. Which Gojira, King Kong, and the world all appear intent on smashing.

But my heart is greater, and harder, than all three.

ALWAYS APOCALYPSE.

Ω

Mighty Denis Johnson, My Hero and “Contemporary,” RIP, Part II

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THIS POST IS INEXCUSABLY LATE. IT WAS A ROUGH SUMMER. IT’S BEEN A ROUGHER FALL. ANYWAY, LET’S ROCK.

Hey, warning: copious name-dropping ensues in the following text. I can’t help it. This is my Denis Johnson story: fact, not fiction. Denis wrote about weirdos and losers burning at the edge of town, weirdos and losers burning at the edge of everything. I’m one of those weirdos and losers. Denis saw right through me. His sentences blasted my shadow on the concrete. Here we go.

IN THE FALL OF 1986 I was 21 years old and trying to write a dystopian novel called RUIN. (A dystopian novel! Jesus Christ, what a concept!) Anyway, my immediate readers—friends, slackers, poseurs, weirdos, losers—they all shook their heads and said, “Who the fuck is going to want to read this?”

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Well, my teachers read RUIN and liked it. My teachers at the time were Peggy Rambach, onetime wife of Andre Dubus, and Robert Waukenon of The Art Institute of Boston. And they both said to me, independent of each other, “Go read Denis Johnson.”

God, I wish Denis could read this. He’d be amused.

Let me clarify: when Peggy Rambach and Robert Waukenon told me to go read Denis Johnson, they were in NO WAY likening my sentences to Denis Johnson’s. BUT they recognized what I was aiming for—the darkness, the yearning, the passion.

Peggy recommended that I should read Denis’ first novel, ANGELS. I had to special-order it. The special order took months. It was worth the wait.

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“Dazzling and savage.” Indeed. Denis Johnson’s ANGELS ripped me to shreds. SHREDS. What a book. What words. Holy shit, Peggy Rambach had ushered me into an arena I wasn’t fit to enter.

Waukenon suggested I read Denis’ second novel, FISKADORO.

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Like the rest of the world, I didn’t like FISKADORO. “Curse of the second novel,” which is a myth I do not buy into, it’s nonsense. For example, Iian Banks’ second novel, Walking On Glass is infinitely superior to The Wasp Factory. But at the end of the day FISKADORO just didn’t work. As much as I wanted to like it, I didn’t.

But then…

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“Daring” is putting it mildly. I’ve never read a text written by a man more convincing in conjuring of the voice of a woman than The Stars at Noon. What… balls. no screwy pun intended. I wouldn’t have even tried such a feat.

BUT THEN—

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JESUS’ SON hit the reading/writing community like an ELE (Extinction Level Event) slamming the planet. Suddenly, everybody fucking loved Denis Johnson! Writers, readers, and editors whom I loved and respected were all over him like Uncle’s Day at a whorehouse, an indelicate but accurate comparison. It was sick. But no one made me sicker and madder than Gordon fucking Lish.

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For those not in the know, Gordon Lish’s chief claim to fame is to have “discovered” Raymond Carver— a claim Carver himself came to vehemently refute, going as far as commanding Random House to forbid Lish from editing his final books.

Lish was my editor, my publisher, and my “employer,” ha. I would show up at his office  early in the day and do all his slave work, and all the other editors in Random House (Knopf, baby) would walk by Lish’s office and shout, “GIVE BOUCHER SOME MONEY, GORDON.”

He never did.

Anyway, when Denis Johnson hit the planet like an ELE around 1991, 1992, 1993, Lish was THE BIGGEST poseur, like he was in on Denis from the start. He wasn’t. Not even close. Which really incredibly pissed me off—Lish was just following the fucking crowd, the same way way he did a year before when Cormac McCarthy made it really big with ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and Lish crowed and crowed that McCarthy made Faulkner look like “a punk.” (He didn’t. Not even close.)

Which led me to an important realization: despite Lish’s self-delusion that he was a trail-blazer, Gordon Lish revealed himself as a follower, a fucking privileged white boy coming from money and literary snobbery— a liar, a faker, a ghost.

Denis Johnson was a real man, man. He ate, bled, shat, fucked and wept like a real man.

These are all of his books:

https://www.amazon.com/Denis-Johnson/e/B000AQ3FL0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1508181439&sr=8-2-ent

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Crying as I finish this. Goddamn it. God fucking damn it.

Ω

 

 

My Stupid Dream, October 7, 2017

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SO, my brain was very kind to me this morning: it granted me a very nice dream, a dream that contained everything I love. (Well, almost everything.)

It began with a friend buying me a gift. A deluxe super nice tri-fold edition of a YAMATO movie (curiously, VHS), but the packaging and design was SO beautiful, and I say this as an Art Director who has executed and produced over 1,000 books; I treated each book as an object of beauty: the book should be beautiful, the reader should love to gaze on it, hold it, even smell it. (I will never ever forget the smell of the freshly pressed ink of the Star Wars soundtrack double LP in the summer of 1977).

Anyway, the YAMATO package design was wicked cool. It unfolded as a triptych, in three parts: the first holding the title and literature, the second the movie itself (VHS!) and the third a slim but elegantly designed book of concept art of all the YAMATO characters.

I was so ready to cum.

BUT THEN—

The EVIL TEACHER yelled at me, “YOU MUST WRITE!”

The Evil Teacher was SUCH a cliché of a librarian! Mousey. Short hair. Glasses. Conservative skirt. LOAFERS, for fuck’s sake! She said,

“YOU MUST WRITE A REVIEW OF THE YAMATO MOVIE YOU JUST RECEIVED!”

I sputtered, “Huh? What? Why? When?”

She pointed a hooked claw at the clock. ‘YOU MUST PRODUCE SIX THOUSAND WORDS IN FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES!”

“WHAT?!” I countered, going dah-dah-do-jib-jib, “that’s impossible! Even Stephen King couldn’t do that!”

“You must,” she hissed, “and so must he.”

I turned. “He” was the young man whose life I had saved earlier in the week.

He, George, lounged sleepily on a bed behind black iron bars. He roused when I turned to him.

“Hey, Drax. What up.”

He had a million fucking needles sticking out of his arms. Clive Barker would have loved it.

“George.”

“Drax,” he drawled, his eyes those of a zombie, “get over it.”

And then the librarian was hitting me, hitting me, and I loved it, and I woke up.

The end.

Ω

One more time: Neil Young / Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World

God, we need passion like this more than ever.

Me, to liquor store man (who is a stoic, humorless, unimaginative robot): “How’s it going, Sarge?”

He (as always), “Can’t complain.”

Me, after a solid sigh: “A man who can’t complain is a man without consciousness, self-awareness, vision, compassion, guts. There is PLENTY to complain about: Las Vegas. Our failing ecosystem. Donald fucking Trump.”

He: “That’ll be $10.26.”

Jesus. Keep on rockin’ in the free world, kids. Don’t give up.

Ω

 

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