Friday, June 30, 2006

dark water and pale skin...

sitting in a dull silence broken only by the low hum of the air conditioner as it struggles against the still pervasive heat of four a.m. in the deep burning south. the wings of insects beat against the thick moist air, hovering desperately. high overhead, like the sound of fragmented thunder, a few scattered planes disappear, their flashing wingtips mixing with the polluted light of stars. I cough and it echoes like a gunshot in a tomb. the long nights of summer loom, the long sweaty days. and with the rising of the sun comes the sinking promise of more, more rippling stretches of greasy asphalt, more hours spent pushing against the stone, more loss of the soul. with the dawn comes car engines firing, neckties and morning news, traffic and routine. with each new day comes more of the same. we waste our time too lightly here in the early moments of the twenty first century. we are satisfied with what glistens on the surface; we do not seek to know what bubbles up from the stinking depths, we do not wonder about the shadows flickering just out of sight, just out of comprehension.

and so the illusion of calm becomes the dream of safety. it seems as though we are happier with a well told lie than we are with the truth: we would rather believe that the polished glass shard slicing deep into our empty palm is a diamond. and eventually, that terrible shining object will be a diamond in the mind of the bloody victim; it is far easier than facing the reality of a handful of worthless broken glass. it is better to be decieved, it would seem, than to accept the deception. better to be herded, to be controlled, to be disinformed. better than fighting for the truth, no matter the ugly actuality. far easier to be told that all shattered glass, all broken promises, all suffering, all the cruelty of humanity, all of our failures, all of it, have become merely facets on the face of a perfect diamond, reflecting the death of our inherent outlaw individuality.

it is up to us not to be satisfied with hollow comfort. it is important that we refuse to accept the perception of the truth as the truth. we must always examine motives, we must look behind the curtain, we must ask questions, we must question answers. we must look to the poems, to the songs, to the paintings on the cave wall for honesty, for there we find ourselves. there we find our essences as humanity unsatisfied with the cold touch of the lie, desperate to understand those shadows, that broken glass, the dull silences and the rumble of thunder hanging above our mortal heads.

there we find the jewel.

World Cup Poetry #7

This is the seventh post of the World Cup Poetry series. Seven is the number of countries that have been crowned World Cup champions. What is amazing here is that six of the eight teams remaining in this tournament have been champions. The only country that is not here, which has been a World Cup champion is Uruguay, which was defeated by Australia in the qualifying rounds and failed to qualify for this tournament. The only two teams of the final eight that have not been a World Cup champion are Portugal & Ukraine, who have played their hearts out. Portugal's coach was the coach of the 2002 World Champion Brazil. Like Brazil, he is trying to defend his title, but after that disgraceful game with Netherlands, Portugal will be without two of its starters, who are disqualified for the next match due to "red cards" (unsportsmanlike play).

June 30, 2006

Germany vs. Argentina

Will the home crowd be able to defend Rodriguez, Crespo, or Riquelme? The German crowd can only do so much. It will be up to the Germans to defend and use their counterattack to hold back Argentina. This game could go down as one of the highlights of this tournament. The winner could very easily make it to the finals and win it all. The Germans have Klose, Ballack, and Podolski on their side, which won't be easy for the Argentine squad. This will be the toughest match for each team. Read what wrote about this game.

Read about Michael Hamburger, British translator, born in Berlin, here, here and here.

What is poetry without a little music? Carlos Gardel was known as the songbird of Buenos Aires. Read, hear, and view Gardel.

In the tango "Por Una Cabeza" ("By A Head", loosely translated: "By A Hair"), check out the video, even Bukowski would approve of this. At the end of the horse race, Gardel's pony lost "Por Una Cabeza" (and Tommy, Gardel was French-born, so if you want to put some dough on Argentina, you couldn't go wrong).

I can hear my dad's records of Gardel right now. If he were alive, he would be amazed by this site to Gardel. He was not fond of computers, but I'm sure he would get a kick out of these videos. "El d­a que me quieras" is the one song I remember from my father's record collection.

Link to Argentine poet, Carlos Barbarito, translated in Szirine Magazine

Italy vs. Ukraine

Ukraine are trying to make a little history for themselves here against Italy. One of their top players, Shevchenko, plays in the Italian soccer league. He will give the Italian squad all they can handle. Italy will try to impose their will and experience on the Ukrainian squad. This will be an interesting match. Italy can expect a battle. They will need to play well to win. Read about the game at here.

Ukrainian poetry link here: "The Language of a Nation, Reinventing the Poet."

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, London born poet, son of Italian scholar, Gabriele Rossetti, presented here.

Read about Eugenio Montale, world-famous Italian poet here.

July 1, 2006

England vs. Portugal

If you thought the Portugal vs. Netherlands match was rough, wait until these two teams meet. Portugal's coach Scolari has been visible, shouting instructions to his squad, hungry to capture another World Cup title. No, Portugal has not been World Cup champion in the past, but its coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari has, as coach of Brazil in 2002. England is looking to break out with a good game. Although they are still alive, they have not impressed. However, you can't count them out with Rooney and Beckham's long range shots. Deco will be missing from Portugal's squad due to a "red card" he received in the game vs. Netherlands. Portugal has the crafty Figo and Pauletta, who is a dangerous offensive weapon.

Read about England vs. Portugal pre-game preview here on

English poet, William Wordsworth, presented here.

Check out English poet, John Milton here, and dig the "old music" (church organ? The phantom of the opera lurking somewhere behind the music?). This is what the "hooligans" will have to listen to if they get out of hand. And go here for other English poets.

Read about Adriana De Barros, Portuguese graphic designer, co-owner of a clothing company, and editor of Scene 360 (The Film and Arts Online Magazine ) here and here.

Brazil vs. France

This will be another monster game. If all goes as most soccer experts predict, Brazil will get by France. With its beautiful style of play sometimes absent in this World Cup, Brazil has relied on its craftiness, experience, and defense to advance. Yes, they score goals in bunches. But sometimes it seems like Brazil is playing with half-a-tank. France is no push-over and has exciting players of their own to match Brazil's brilliance. (Now Tommy and his cohorts at the NSA will try their best to get France into the final four, but France is on their own here, and must rely on Henry & Zidane to be at the top of their game. Ronaldhino has not shined in this tournament. This spells trouble for France, because he is due).

Brazilian poet, Augusto dos Anjos, (Augustus of the Angels) translated by google here.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine, French writer, presented here and here.

A link to "The Art of Being the World's Best Player."

** posted for Luis C. Berriozabal by Christopher Cunningham**

Thursday, June 29, 2006

early morning jazz and kitten session...

ease into the day, kids:

more later; I'm thinking a good bit about perception and it use in our society as catalyst for control/disinformation. it is always amazing to me how merely saying something these days is enough to make it true. I will give examples with footnotes, teacher, don't worry.

but for now I hope you enjoyed the mellow cuteness.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

World Cup Poetry #6

June 26, 2006

Italy vs. Australia

The Socceroos, who face the Azzurri on Monday are looking to get into the quarterfinals. Read about the match-up on FIFAWORLDCUP.COM.

Australia has been able to score often in this tournament. Italy prides itself in its defense and counterattack. Most of the games in this round have gone to the favored teams and this game might go the same way. But this is soccer, and the teams must play, and leave everything on the field, or else they'll go home.

Link to information on Italian Poetry here.

Link to Australian Literature here.

Switzerland vs. Ukraine

The Swiss came in first place of their group, leaving France in second place. Ukraine bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain. These teams will fight to stay alive in this round. Read about their match-up on FIFAWORLD.COM.

This game is a tough one to predict and might be the first to come down to penalties.

Link to Swiss poet, Adolf Frey, here.

Link to Ukrainian poetry here.

June 27, 2006

Brazil vs. Ghana

FIFAWORLDCUP.COM story presented here on this fine match-ups of teams who play with speed, elegance, and beauty. Ghana has more rough edges, but are a dangerous draw for Brazil, 5-time and defending World Cup champs.

If anyone is going to upset Brazil, it could be Ghana, who disposed of Czech Republic, who were one of the favorite teams to dethrone Brazil.

Brazilian and Portuguese speaking poetry link here.

Link to Ghanaian writer, Ama Ata Aidoo, here.

Spain vs. France

This game will be one I would hate to miss. It appears I'll be at the office when these two teams square off on Tuesday. I hope to catch glimpses of this game at my lunch hour. Last week I took I walk to the Downtown underground mall, where they have Chinese Food, Mexican Food, Japanese Food, & American Food, including Carl's Jr. & other fast food restaurants. What was fantastic about that day was watching Spain take on Tunisia. There is a TV in the
lunch area, where workers, jurors, and other people were glued to the TV set, cheering and jeering the calls. I was one of them. There were people from all nationalities there. I heard many people speaking in languages I couldn't understand. I'm rooting for Spain in this one since the NSA have their money on France. {Tommy, Cunningham's NSA agent here: those cheese eating surrender monkeys better deliver, or else...}

Link to Spain's Lope De Vega, poet, playwright, and adventurer, "as famous as Shakespeare had the Spanish Armada defeated the English"

Link to famous French author, Jean Racine, here.

** posted for Luis C. Berriozabal by Christopher Cunningham**

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Background Noise #5

Artist/Album: Snow Patrol/Eyes Open
Drink: Riunite Lambrusco Emilia

In the last installment of Background Noise I opined about quantum theory and poetry. I tried to use my considerably mediocre intellect for something it was not wired. This time around I figured I would stick to something a bit more manageable. How about the timeless debate of print vs. online publishing? Let's go at it.

But first, a little history.
Just over fifteen years ago, a new form of communication was unleashed upon the masses: email. True, email had been around for a number of years before, but it was relegated, mainly, to closed networks and governmental control (businesses, military, etc.). It wasn’t until the advent of a world-wide, decentralized internet that email became the communication tool it is today.

With email, communication costs and transit times dropped considerably. Email combined the best of telephone communication with the best of letter correspondence. And for two people on opposite sides of the globe, the cost was cheaper than either form. A new dawn of interconnectedness had begun. The world instantly shrunk. And you thought it was a small world before email.

Shortly after the very first email was sent, a new innovation called the Listserv (or email list) was born. Some ingenious individual realized that email was perfectly suited for disseminating a newsletter/journal/pamphlet sort of thing. The premise was that people signed up for said newsletter, and periodically the publisher sent each person on the list the same newsletter. It’s exactly like a magazine subscription without the high costs of postage, paper, printing and distribution. Another ingenious person, perhaps the very same, quickly realized that the email list was even-more-perfectly suited for literature magazines. And so began online publishing.

Before Listserv poetry journals, there was only one way to have your work published: in print. There are various ways to accomplish that – letterpress, photocopying, mimeograph, desktop publishing – but the end result is the same. Words are printed with ink onto a tangible medium. The resultant piece can be held. It is real.

But suddenly, with the advent of the email list journal, everything changed. The email list isn’t tangible. There is no ink involved. There is no paper. True, one could print the journal/newsletter on their desktop printer, but each version printed by each reader would be different depending upon their printer/email/computer setups. This was something new and customizable. Something exciting. It caught on, big time.

Dozens of email lists popped up, seemingly overnight. Then, a newer interface to the internet was invented and we were suddenly viewing pages of the World Wide Web. What a glorious time. We could get weather, sports, news, porn and poetry quicker, easier and limited only by the speed of our modems. The number of websites grew exponentially. As the technology progressed, new things were tried. Some failed, some didn’t. One thing that didn’t fail was the advent of World Wide Web literary publishing. It turns out the World Wide Web is better suited to literary endeavors than even email was. It is easier (no need to keep track of the emails), it is infinitely more customizable (color, graphics, etc.) and it is accessible by many more people (no need to sign up to be on the email list).

With this new medium for literary expression, online publishing came into its own. As of right now (Monday, June 26, 2006, 4:30AM GMT) there are 53,600,000 hits that come up when a Google search of the words poetry and journal is made. I have no idea how many print poetry journals there are out there, but I would guess there are many less than 53.6 million (I am aware that there are probably not 53.6 million online journals and that a large percentage of the hits are probably online presences of print journals or references to journals of either kind, but my point is still valid).

Now, to the heart of the matter.
The astute reader might be asking themselves if there is any difference in quality between a typical online poetry journal and a print one. This is a good question, and one that can’t be easily answered, if at all. The reason is that quality is a subjective term. One person’s shitty poem is another person lifesaving gem. So, instead of looking at quality, let’s first look at quantity. Is there any difference in quantity between online and print? The answer is a resounding YES!

As stated before, online journals are cheap, and easy to produce. Therefore, there tends to be more poetry by more poets per issue. Unless there is a specific number of writers who are all being published in all the poetry journals on the web (which it sometimes actually seems like), logic dictates that this means there are also more poets now than there were before. Or, at least more poets being published.

Is this bad? Not necessarily. Just because there are more doesn’t mean they are bad. However, just as in any artistic medium, there is a percentage of poets who are, shall we say, less talented. If this percentage remains constant, then with more quantity of published poetry comes more quantity of bad poetry. Of course, this can and should be alleviated with judicious editing. However, there seems to be a psychological difference between the editors of online and print journals. This is not across the board, mind you, but the difference is generally true. Print editors understand the constraints they are placed with in regards to cost and space, therefore they are typically more selective in their choices.

The typical online editors have very few constraints, if any. Therefore, they can select more poems, AND loosen their standards to choose more lesser-quality poems. So, just on the surface, using logic, it would seem that print journals would be better in terms of quality. A typical print journal might not have as many good poems as a typical online journal, but it would seem that they would have a better ratio of good to bad. It's the simple definition of value. A print journal, at the cost of $5 would be a better value than an online journal at the same cost because though there might be fewer poems (and fewer good poems, even) there would be a better ratio for your money.

Of course, most, if not all, online journals are free, and this skews the value to make it totally nonexistent. What is the value of something that is free? Another thing to consider is the number of eyes that will read a poem. Ostensibly, more people will have access to a poem when it's online since they won't have to pay for it. I'm sure the statistics bear this out, but I wonder how many more that actually is. With an oversaturation of the online journal market, my guess is the difference is marginal at best, and negligible at worst.

I suppose what this boils down to is, what are you looking for in a journal, both as a writer and a reader? If you're a writer looking for a place to publish a poem – any place – then an online site would be your best bet as you're more likely to get in since they typically take more poems, and have looser standards. If you're the same writer looking for a place that is more selective, that might challenge you to hone your craft, then a print place would probably be your best bet; or one of the few highly-selective online journals that do exist. Of course, you can always do the opposite. This is not to say you won't get into print even if you are just looking for an easy score; nor that you won't be pushed or stretched as an artist by online journals. This is just my thoughts on it.

If you're a reader, the same applies. There are some very good poems that have been published in online journals. Some amazing pieces that could just have easily been in any of a number of highly-selective print journals. But, if my theory of ratios holds true, you'll probably have to wade through a lot more dross to read those scant few great poems. Conversely, with your typical print journal you're more likely to find a better quality poem to read between the great ones; or even more great ones to begin with. The cost issue mentioned above applies here as well. Are you a reader willing to pay for the better ratio, and are you willing to save your few dollars and filter through the sludge to find those gems?

Of course, the words good, bad and great are purely subjective. Whose terms are we using here? Well, mine. Some people might feel that what I call a good poems is junk and vice versa. So, I recommend each person do their own research into the quality/quantity issue between print and online journals. Decide what kind of journal you're looking for (either as a writer or reader) and head in that direction. Maybe even shake it up. If you're strictly an online kind of guy, try your hand at print submissions or in reading a print journal. Or, if you are adamant about being in print only, maybe search out a few online journals that meet your requirements (other than the print part) and give them a try. You might find a new audience and a new respect for either medium.

For me, I've been published in a plethora of both. I personally find it more rewarding to be in a print journal for two reasons: first, is the quality issue. I feel better about my own work when I know that more selectivity has taken place, and when my own poem is surrounded by a better quality of poem. Second, I like the tangibility of a print journal. I love holding it in my hands and pushing through the pages. There's just something about flipping through a print journal.

Some of the online journals I've been in have met the first criterion of quality. Others – most, actually – have failed miserably. But, they all failed when it came to feeling the heft of the words in your hands. This is why I've been concentrating almost exclusively on printed outlets for my work. I think they meet my expectations better, and more consistently, as a writer. This isn't to say I won't submit to the occasional online journal, but by and large I have been concentrating on print.

But, don't let my words sway you either way. They aren’t intended to do that. I just wanted to open up a little debate about online vs. print publishing and to delve a little deeper into the pros and cons of both mediums. I'm obviously not a print snob (and neither are you, likely) as this piece you are reading is published online, in a blog no less – the most ephemeral, and least selective, of online publishing outlets. I was also the editor of an online poetry journal for seven years, so I think the internet has a place when it comes to literary endeavors. My only concern is furthering the advancement of poetry through quality, one-of-a-kind, artistic publishing; through selectivity with which to hone the poet's craft; and with the intent of hooking and reader and keeping her hooked for life. I honestly feel that print is more adept and more capable of doing the job than the internet.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

changes at the Church...

the facelift at the Church of the Black Pearl, the central organizing force behind activity here at the Compound, has been completed. we here at UPRIGHT are the public relations arm, the "blogging" arm of the Church. we hope you will all head over and browse around. enjoy, and thanks for reading.

World Cup Poetry #5

June 25, 2006

England vs. Ecuador, Netherlands vs. Portugal

An unfortunate scene in the news last night in Germany had the English fans and German fans going out of control, tussling with each other and throwing chairs, some fires were lit. These type of occurrences gives the World Game a black eye.

England vs. Ecuador

England vs. Ecuador features a game of two good teams. Michael Owen from England will be missing due to injury. I look forward to this match and see a great struggle. Like most of the matches in this World Cup, the victor will be the one that makes the less mistakes on defense, will rely on a little luck & skill, and does not waste its scoring chances.

Two links to English poet & critic Matthew Arnold presented here and here.

Two links to Ecuadorian poet & journalist Alejandro Carrión presented here and here.

(Agony of the Tree & the Blood = Agonía del Árbol y la Sangre)

Netherlands vs. Portugal

Although Portugal won their group & Netherlands was second in their group, this does not mean Portugal would be the favored team here. Netherlands has a dangerous soccer squad & could very easily get by Portugal, who has firepower as well; Portugal is coached by Felipao, (Luiz Felipe Scolari) who coached Brazil to a World Cup title in 2002.

Interesting Dutch poetry links here and here.

Link to Scolari, coach of Portugal here.

Link to Jose Craveirinha, Portuguese poet, born in Mozambique, here.

** posted for Luis C. Berriozabal by Christopher Cunningham**

we all need some inspirado...

same thing for writer's block...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

the music never stops...

I meant to do this last week, but Vince Welnick, the last keyboard player for the Grateful Dead from 1991 until Jerry's death in August of 1995, passed away on June 2, 2006. we'll miss you Vince, "we bid you goodnight."

and like the song says: "they're a band beyond description/like Jehova's favorite choir/people joining hand in hand/while the music plays the band/the music never stops..."

enjoy some Dead with Vince:

saturday morning dogblogging...

good morning everyone. make sure you check out the minor changes to my dad's webpage; he says he might even have some poems up there later today -

stella blue cunningham

World Cup Poetry #4

June 23, 2006

France vs. Togo

France defeated Togo 2-0 and advanced to the next round of World Cup competition.

Link to Togolese poet, Kwami E. Nyamidie: here.

Strange thing when researching links to Togolese Poetry, my search brought up "Upright Against the Savage Heavens" blogspot as the second link. To think, a few weeks ago this wouldn't have been possible if I didn't have the invitation to contribute to this wonderful blog.

Link to Charles Baudelaire, extraordinary French poet, here.

Switzerland vs. South Korea

Switzerland defeated South Korea 2-0 and won their group and advanced to the next round. The Swiss will play Ukraine in their next game.

Link to Poetry from Switzerland with English translation offered here.

"Allen Ginsberg has called Ko Un, a magnificent poet, a combination of Buddhist cognoscente, passionate, political libertarian, an naturalist historian."

Link to Korean poet, Ko Un, here.

Ukraine vs. Tunisia

Ukraine bounced back from an opening day loss of 4-0, by defeating Saudi Arabia 4-0 and Tunisia 1-0 to advance to the next round of World Cup play.

Ukraine link here, and a link to Tunisian painters here.

Spain vs. Saudi Arabia

Spain edged Saudi Arabia 1-0 and secured their pass to the next round by defeating all three teams in their group. Spain will face France in their next game.

Here is a link to Spanish poetry in translation. Of interest in connection to Spain is the poetry of Antonio Machado, poet from Spain. Scroll down in the link and you can find Machado's Memory from Childhood. I was lucky to find the book mentioned in the link below at the local library, highly recommended, Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain, 1900-1975. It's an absolute enjoyable read from start to finish and includes some of the most important poets from Spain.

Saudi poet, Dina Ibrahim, poetry link here.

June 24, 2006

Germany vs. Sweden

This game will be a tough one for the host nation as well for Sweden. With the backing of the home crowd, Germany might get by the Swedes, who have a tough defense and able offensive weapons.

Link to the late German poet, Thomas Kling, here, and a link to Swedish poet, Verner von Heidenstam, here.

Mexico vs. Argentina

I'm pulling for Mexico in this game. That is no secret and I'm counting on the squad from Argentina coming in overconfident. Mexico might get its top offensive weapon back, Jared Borghetti for this game.

Link to Aztec poetry here.

Alfonsina Storni, Argentine poet, born in Switzerland, poetry link here, considered one of the most important Ibero-American poets.

** posted for Luis C. Berriozabal by Christopher Cunningham**

Friday, June 23, 2006

us tiny five percenters...

everyone should go over to this poet's life and read a great post by j.b on just how big stuff is. mostly, it's big.

and darksyde over at kos has a great article that dovetails nicely with our columnist j.b's great post above.

dark energy
the poetry
the universe.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the intangible necessity of our fragile beauty #1

Hello, Upright readers! My name is Cynthia Etheridge and I run the show here at The Compound. If you read Christopher Cunningham's poetry at all, you have me to thank for it: the poems don't get written around here without the smooth operation of the day to day functions at The Compound, and cracking the whip to get that lazy typist over to his machine in the first place. Kind of like Karl Rove to his G.W. Bush, for our wingnut friends out there. I mean, somebody has to take care of that irresponsible, drunken poet and his spoiled dog.

Anyway, I plan on presenting an irregular column that focuses on the small fragile beautiful things in our society, that captures the quick and fleeting instants of color in a dark world, that illustrates the intangible necessity of our fragile beauty. I'll try to tag each shot with a quotation that while not captioning the photo, will bring some additional perspective to the concept.

Hopefully, these flashes of something other than horror will help balance the struggle we all endure and can in some small way help us deal with the painful reality of life in such dangerous times.

(click to enlarge)

"When you only have two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other... - Chinese Proverb

"Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world..." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers..." - Basho

"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks..." - Tennessee Williams

Something small and simple to take with you, like the memory of a quiet place or the scent of a rose.


Posted by Picasa

coming up...

it won't be long. do you feel the rumbling of the earth? do you see the skies darken? is that the terrible pressure of deafening thunder? what manner of horror descends from those savage heavens?

The Second Coming
- W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

what "rough beast" indeed? well, the new column by Hosho McCreesh will burst forth from the ugly darkness and seek to

...INDICT everyone & everything that uses ANY BELIEF STRUCTURE to justify inhuman behavior, hides behind it, pretends their god condones it--whatever. & what I want to address most of all is WHAT HUMAN ANIMALS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ON THIS PLANET. I want a BIG PICTURE approach that is SO BIG that it forgets man-made borders, man-made governments, man-made gods & instead focuses on this tiny little planet in a 2nd rate solar system, tucked away in this lonely little corner of the universe...& this MISFIT who can't seem to figure out how to live there & survive.

- Hosho McCreesh

and if that isn't some kind of stand against the savage heavens, against the "rough beasts" of our sorry world, I don't know what is.

watch for THE SECOND COMING here at UPRIGHT soon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

World Cup Poetry #3

Greetings, it’s time for another edition of World Cup Poetry.

June 21, 2006

Mexico vs. Portugal
Angola vs. Iran
Argentina vs. Netherlands
Ivory Coast vs. Serbia & Montenegro

June 21 Mexico vs. Portugal

Ramon Lopez Velarde (1888-1921) is one of Mexico’s best known poets. I am proud to have inherited, Poesas Completas y El Minutero, Complete Poems and the Timer, from my father, who loved books from all subjects and sciences, from writers of all nations. Most of his books are in English, but there are many in Spanish, and a few in French, which I sadly don’t understand. If my father was here, we would have watched the Portugal vs. Mexico game on 06/21/2006. He would have turned off the TV and walked away, unwilling to see the game when it was tight and appeared as if Mexico would find a way to lose, break his heart. But Mexico would win sometimes, and the smile on his face would light up the room, and the jokes would be coming out fast and often. It was a proud day to be a soccer fan when the “tri-coloro” found a way to win. However, Mexico found a way to break our hearts on 06/21/06, losing 2-1, but they advanced to the next round and will face Argentina, two-time champions of the World Cup.

Lopez Velarde’s “Suave Patria: Sweet Land” translated by Margaret Sayers Peden here.

The original poem, Suave Patria, appears in the book, which I inherited from my father. Of note in the translation above is the section titled Cuauhtemoc, which in the book I hold in my hand is misspelled, CUAUTHEMOC. In the link to Ramon Lopez Velarde above are two excellent photographs by Tina Modotti and Manuel Ãlvarez Bravo.

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), was an amazing writer, who assumed different identities and wrote under multiple heteronyms. Please read about Pessoa’s trunk and his many identities.

June 21 Angola vs. Iran

This game gave Angola hope of reaching the next round. They needed to win. However, Iran spoiled their chances with a 1-1 tie and with a little luck, things could have fared better for the Iranians. Both teams will be heading home, but they can raise the heads and know that in four years, if they’re so lucky, can play in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Two poems presented by English poet Bryan Murphy, inspired by his stay in Angola. The second poem mentions Pele, Brazilian soccer star, in More Than A Game.

Read about Angolan poet, Mario Antonio Fernandes de Oliveira (born 1934). presents many poems from Iranian-American and other Iranian poets, including an archive of poetry from 2006.

June 21 Argentina vs. Netherlands

This game featured a game of two teams that have advanced to the second round and a rematch of the 1978 World Cup final, which Argentina hosted and defeated Netherlands in the championship game. No goals were scored in this game. Argentina will face Mexico and Netherlands will face Portugal. Each of these teams will be favored in their next match-ups, but the games will still have to be played.

An anthology of poetry from Argentina (1980-1996) is offered here from The XUL Reader.

Read about Juan Gelman, Argentine poet living in Mexico below. His book Unthinkable Tenderness with a forward from Eduardo Galeano is available.

Dutch poetry link here.

A History of Literature from Holland is presented here.

June 21 Ivory Coast vs. Serbia & Montenegro

These teams played for pride. Each team came in playing great football, but had the unenviable task of matching up with two soccer machines, Argentina and Netherlands. Each squad attempted to provide their faithful fans with a victory. Serbia & Montenegro defeated the Ivory Coast 3-2. Serbia & Montenegro was trounced by Argentina 6-0. They are not as bad as the score indicated.

The work of Annie Yapobi, poet from Ivory Coast, translated by Google.

A link to Literature from Serbia & Montenegro.

June 22 Czech Republic vs. Italy

Czech Republic vs. Italy will battle for group supremacy. The winner of this game will be first in the group. Each team was stung by teams they were favored over, Ghana defeated Czech Republic & Italy was tied by the American squad.

Czech Republic concrete poetry link here.

Leopardi was considered Italy’s greatest poet since Dante. Read about him here.

June 22 Ghana vs. USA

The speed of the squad from Ghana will be a difficult task for USA to handle. However, USA will have take advantage of every opportunity to win. USA is hoping Italy defeats Czech Republic. It is the only way the could advance to the next round. Of course, they have to win.

Please read poetry link to Ghana here.

Hart Crane (1899-1932) link here.

June 22 Croatia vs. Austria

Australia hopes to qualify for the next round with a win or a tie against Croatia, who wants to do the same. They each depend on Brazil being Brazil and a loss by Japan, who is coached by Brazilian soccer great, Zico.

Australian poetry here.

Damir Sodan , poet from Croatia link here.

June 22 Japan vs. Brazil

The Japanese have played well in spurts, held a 1-0 lead for 84 minutes over Australia, who scored three goals in the last 6 minutes of the game. Japan needs to win by 2 goals and expect favorable results in the game between Australia and Croatia.

Japanese poetry link here.

Brazilian poet and soccer fan, Laura Erber link here.

** posted for Luis C. Berriozabal by Christopher Cunningham **

somebody out there likes freedom...

how about some good news for a change?

they'd better hurry up. I mean, they'd really better hurry up.

just kidding. it doesn't really matter. we've already built the dossiers, we're just keeping them updated at this point. it's all window dressing to give the impression that us Republicans are strong on domestic civil liberties while we go about our business of Keeping America Safe and protecting the Voters by any means necessary. just ask your own NSA agent; merely speak clearly into your phone, computer screen, television screen, really anywhere you are right now.

and as for Shakespeare and his "crazy" post yesterday, I did some checking with my sources here at the NSA and found no credibility to any of his so-called "facts." in fact, Ted Nugent is not a "deranged nutdigger, fecal variety," whatever the heck that is. no, Mr. Nugent is a Great Patriot, and his unfortunate bodily disfunctions were a symptom of the tragic Communist plot to infect rock stars with a lingering cowardice that still pervades in your "bonos" and their ilk. thankfully for all of us, Mr. Nugent was able to shake off these ill-effects of subversives, clean himself off (mercifully without being killed in some far off war) and produce some great Patriotic music (and some great stories of righteously murdering dangerous animals).

anyway, carry on. nothing to see here. for you.

end transmission

Monday, June 19, 2006

back to the politics a bit (warning: expletive filled)...

hey folks. I'd taken a bit of a break from random political blogging having come to the obvious conclusion that the information is already out there, and if you want to find it/read it/etc., it is there for your consumption, at your leisure and with no comment from yours truly.

but what I've found is that my staying away hasn't accomplished what I'd hoped it would: a mellowing of my brain-twisting rage and utter incomprehension at what is going on in our society today. the apathetic aquiesence of a television/work dulled populace to the ugly, insidious soft fascism that has crept into our daily lives has continued to make me, for lack of a more poetic turn of phrase, motherfucking goddamned crazy.

so I'm going to go back to my daily reads of what's happening, and you can supplement your reading of my madness with the various links to your right on the screen. I also encourage, highly encourage, striking out on your own and linking my ass up with more information about the topics at hand. and in the future I plan on offering more commentary, more of my own analysis to ponder and discard, and less merely random links, less "hey, look at this crazy shit, huh?!"

and I'm going to start by making a suggestion to anyone out there who ever has to deal with a factless opposenik of some kind, the family Bill O'Reilly, some asshole at work who never reads a paper but has opinions on everything that is going on in the world, people who love to force you to defend your own political philosophy in toto, while they haven't bothered to gather anything resembling comprehensive rational fact-based opinions: the minute you find yourself in a so-called 'debate' with one of these people, just stop. then kindly inform them that you have lots of facts about Topic X, that there are a lot of sources out there to confirm your knowledge about Topic X. then let them know that the only way you are going to debate them and their "truthiness" any further is by putting some money on it. that's it. slap a hundred dollar bill on the table and ask em where their facts and sources are. then if you must, find a computer, look it up and unload. usually when looking at a buck on the table like that, people sometimes reconsider the urgency of their position. and if not, easy hundred bucks.

try it. you'll like it. and always remember: "reality has a well-known liberal bias" that supports those pesky "facts."

and now on to the March of the Assholes:

this guy is from Georgia. neat. shouldn't you at least BELIEVE THE SHIT THAT POURS FROM YOUR MOUTH?

um, John Murtha, to answer your question,Rove NEVER SERVED, in fact had MANY deferments including one where he wasn't even a full time student. and why doesn't John Murtha, 38 year veteran of the Marines, walk over to Rove's office and PUNCH that fat fuck in his COWARDLY LYING MURDERING FACE?

and speaking of draft dodging assholes with big fucking mouths, how about Ted Nugent?

According to a July 15, 1990 interview for the Detroit Free Press, Nugent described how he avoided the draft during the Vietnam War: He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last ten days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside pants caked with excrement and stained by his urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment, he says. His quote: “ but if I would have gone over there, I’d have been killed, or I’d have killed, , or I’d have killed all the Hippies in the foxholes… I would have killed everybody.”

and now, the Biggest Asshole of Them All:

he's the Prince ofthe Dark Side; he makes sure his boys are well taken care of, and they look out for him. he would never start a war for money, and makes sure the contracts are honest. when it comes to war and leadership, it's certainly not by example. and in the end, he's a realist, making accurate decisions based on facts.

what's going on here again? couldn't be anything like this could it? who's in charge here? the March of the Assholes rumbles on (see what our good friend The Jaded Prole is thinking)...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Background Noise #4

Artist/Album: Air/Moon Safari
Drink: Straccali Chianti

As a scientist by training and profession, and a poet by choice, I've recently been trying to merge the two in my head. What analogy to poetry can I see in science? Well, quite a bit actually. And, at its deepest science -- specifically physics -- is very much like poetry in the sense that it is simple, elegant and more profound than the sum of its parts.
And, in physics, there is nothing more poetic, more imaginative, more amazing than the theory of quantum mechanics. So, with that I will try to lay out a Quantum Theory of Poetry. I hope this to not be too technical, so I will try to define my terms as best as I can. I will also liberally link to external sources where you can read up on definitions, terms and ideas if you so desire.

First, what is quantum mechanics? Basically, quantum mechanics is the behavior of matter on the atomic or subatomic scale. It turns out, too, that it becomes very important in the understanding of the basic, fundamental workings of the cosmos, including the Big Bang. Why is there a need for a separate theory of matter for the subatomic realm? The reasons are many, but the main one is that subatomic particles behave differently, and sometimes surreally so, than those of our macro-cosmic lives.

And that brings me to poetry. A poem is a macro-alphabetic work (for lack of a better term); and by that I essentially mean that a poem consists of large accumulations of letters. The letters form words, which form sentences, which form stanzas, which form poems. In this realm, conventional thought and understanding prevail. Words have meanings, sentences have structures. It's all very ordered.

But, in the micro-alphabetic realm (letter-level) the rules break down. Words are the smallest intelligible unit of thought. Beyond that, all understanding is lost. Beyond the word-level, the classic laws of poetry no longer hold (e.g. meter, rhyme, spacing, alliteration, etc.). Though it is often advantageous, or prudent, to break down a poem to ever smaller divisions, the more this is done the more information is lost, or is unintelligble (just like in physics); until, ultimately, all information is lost and only a single unintelligible letter exists. These lone letters can tell us nothing about the context of where it is found, nor about the poem of which it is a part. A lone letter has no meaning beyond the simple sound it is a symbol for.

It is true that a poem is nothing more than a congregation of letters, each one unintelligible by itself; it is in the synergy of these letters, though, that a poem exists, not in the simple, individualistic symbolism of each letter. Without each letter, the poem would not exist; but without the poem’s framework and context, each letter would be meaningless. Likewise, however, without each letter a poem couldn't exist.

Obviously, at the word level, it can be an important technique of understanding to savor each word, to mull it over and let it take on a meaning beyond itself. Certainly, poets intend for that kind of analysis when they craft their poems and carefully choose certain words. But, beyond that, there is no point in breaking the poem down further. Like quantum mechanics, the rules have changed and conventional theories no longer apply.

In 1927 Werner Heisenberg made an important discovery based on quantum mechanics: that which he called The Uncertainty Principle. Basically, the principle states that there is a certain, limited degree of exactness that we (as observers) can know two different conjugate quantities of a subatomic particle (i.e. momentum and position). The more precise we are in measuring one, the less precise we know the other.

When I first learned of it, I thought The Uncertainty Principle was one of the weirdest ideas (though, it turns out, there are even weirder things in quantum mechanics). But, today it's become a normal part of quantum theory, one that is accepted and has been proven in endless experiments. What does this mean for poetry? Nothing, really, but could there be a Poetry Uncertainty Principle? I guess in a way, yes.

Poems are notorious for being obtuse. I don't mean those modern/experimental poems that are written purposely to make no sense. Even the most straight-forward poem can elicit different responses in different people; can mean different things. This is the Poetry Uncertainty Principle. There is a certain amount of uncertainty in the intent, the meaning, the understanding of a great poem. One person might latch onto the imagery and be comforted by the strong words, while another might be moved by the rhythm and lyrical quality; a third my like the interplay between the words, might simply enjoy moving the words around his mouth. Even the interpretations can vary. And, the great thing about a poem is the fact that there is no one right interpretation. The beauty of poetry is that each interpretation is correct. This is where the uncertainty lies. If two people read the same poem and come away with different interpretations, who is right? The answer is they both are.

The last part of the Quantum Theory of Poetry is the Poetry Exclusion Principle, which is a poetic corollary to the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Wolfgang Pauli's version states that no two identical fermions (or the form of matter that makes up everything we see) can inhabit the same quantum state simultaneously. In other words, two particles can't be in the same place at the same time. It seems self-evident, but it really is a very important principle that plays a large role in a huge number of physical phenomena including the large-scale stability of matter to the periodic table of elements.

What is the Poetry Exclusion Principle? This one is simple, but applies to the poet rather than the reader. No two poems should inhabit the same region of understanding. Or, to put it simpler, no two poems should be alike. The onus is on the poet to make sure she is creating something new; that she is not just regurgitating the same old poems. It is imperative that the poet be original, to exclude all other ideas, or else she will perish. This is the fundamental law of all of poetry. Be original.

That's it. That's the Quantum Theory of Poetry. Of course, this was just a little exercise in having fun with semantics and science, but the ideas are important. And if you forget everything else, please remember the Poetry Exclusion Principle. It is important to do it like no one else ever did. Just like Einstein and Heisenberg and Pauli and all the other great physicists and scientists of our time.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

saturday morning dogblogging...

good morning, everyone.

-stella blue cunningham

COMING UP SOON: the first installment in Cynthia's photoblog series entitled The Intangible Necessity of Our Fragile Beauty.

World Cup Poetry #2

Greetings, UPRIGHT readers. Time for another entry in the World Cup Poetry series.

June 15, 2006

Ecuador vs. Costa Rica
England vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden vs. Paraguay

Ecuador vs. Costa Rica

Ecuador vs. Costa Rica featured a contest of two Latin American teams with similar styles and equally dangerous offensive squads. Each squad scored two goals in their opening games. Ecuador’s defense was much better than Costa Rica’s, which enabled them to pull out a 2-0 victory over a disappointing showing by the Polish squad. Costa Rica fell to the host nation, 4-2, which was no surprise. Ecuador edged Costa Rica 3-0 in this game eliminated both Costa Rica and Poland from World Cup play.

Presented two poets, one from Ecuador & one from Costa Rica to match their two goals scored on June 9, 2006:

Read Claudio Gutierrez, poet from Costa Rica.

Read about Jose Joaquin Olmedo, poet & former President of Ecuador here and here, and Olmedo's connection to Lord Byron here.

England vs. Trinidad & Tobago

This game was not easy for England. Trinidad & Tobago gave Sweden a run for their money on June 10, 2006, coming away with a 0-0 tie. England will still be favored and their ticket to next round could be secured in this game. England earned three important points against Paraguay by beating them 1-0 with the assistance of a Paraguayan defender who deflected a shot into his own goal. England beat T&T 2-0, scoring 2 goals in the last 7 minutes of the game.

Read about Lord Byron here.

Try this out from a T&T blogger.

Here is a link to poems by women poets from Trinidad & Tobago

Sweden vs. Paraguay

This game was more important to Paraguay because they lost their first game. Sweden scored in the last minute of the game, eliminating Paraguay from World Cup competition.

Please read these links to “A Brief History of Paraguayan Poetry” (translated title by Google) here and here.

Please read the biography of Swedish author and poet, Harry Martinson, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1974, who sadly committed suicide in 1978.

Sweden was the site of 1958 World Cup, where Brazil was crowned the World Cup champion after defeating 5-2, and where 17-year-old Pele, made his first appearance in World Cup play.

June 16, 2006

Argentina vs. Serbia & Montenegro
Netherlands vs. Ivory Coast (Cote D Ivore)
Mexico vs. Angola

Argentina vs. Serbia & Montenegro

Argentina vs. Serbia & Montenegro will be a due or die game for Serbia &Montenegro. A loss by Argentina will put them in danger of making an early exit from this tournament. Expect a close score, perhaps a tie or 1-0 outcome, with any team winning, depending on who can capitalize on mistakes.

Argentina has many outstanding writers and poets. Read about Argentine poets.

I found an interesting article linking Nicaraguan poet, Ruben Dario, to an obscure Argentine poet, Pedro Na'n, who had dedicated a book to Dario, and while not an Argentine poet, here is a link to Mr. Dario.

An interesting link to Montenegro is here. Observe the link on the left hand side and learn about Culture, Education, Institutions, Literature, Printing, Arts, & other examples from Montenegro.

A football link from Montenegro here

Netherlands vs. Serbia & Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivore)

Netherlands comes off an impressive victory over Serbia & Montenegro looks to kill two birds with one stone by getting to the next round and eliminating Ivory Coast from this tournament with a victory. This game looks to be an easy one for Netherlands. But an upset is not out of the question and the African squad can use some luck from the soccer gods. Presented here is a link to Dutch poetry including English translation which can keep one busy & it includes picture-poems.

Mexico vs. Angola

Mexico vs. Angola is one game I have circled on the schedule. Mexico’s top scorer, Jared Borghetti, was injured in the game against Iran. But if they play like they did in the second half against Iran, I could see them getting past a tough Angola squad. Below is a link to soccer and people thrashing each other, including Borghetti. Can’t we all get along? Fair Play? Come on! Justin B., you’ll find some interesting words in here, in regards to Kalusha, and chuta-le, read this Nigerian blog in regards to Mexico & US soccer here.

Watch Jared Borgetti in a game against Italy.

Read about Angolan author & poet Jose Eduardo Angualusa.

June 17, 2006

Portugal vs. Iran
Italy vs. USA
Czech Republic vs. Ghana

Portugal vs. Iran

Portugal vs. Iran will be a game each team needs to win. For Portugal, a win will get them into the next round. Iran needs to win to keep its hopes alive.

Luis de Camoes, regarded as Portugal's greatest poet, presented here.

Other International Poets can be found in the portal above, including Du Fu, Pushkin, Dante, Celan and many more.

Italy vs. U.S.A.

Italy vs. U.S.A. will be the one game that America needs to win. Italy is playing well, which spells doom for the United States. The miracle suggested in the previous post never materialized. The U.S squad has to play with more abandon, while at the same time protect its goal from the efficient Italian counterattack. I don’t see U.S. winning, but a tie is not out of the question.

Read about Italian poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) here.

Read about American poet Poe and some The Simpsons fun.

Czech Republic vs. Ghana

Czech Republic vs. Ghana will be a game of two teams with contrasting styles. Both have dangerous offensive weapons, but Czech Republic is the favored here & America can bear witness to their effectiveness when their game is on.

Ghana poetry here.

Read one of the most famous Czech poets Erben and read about Svankmajerova.

June 18, 2006

Brazil vs. Australia
Japan vs. Croatia
France vs. South Korea

Brazil vs. Australia

Brazil vs. Australia will be a game pitting two teams, which won their first games. Surprisingly, Australia is ahead of Brazil based on goal difference. I see Brazil routing Australia by 2 or more goals. But then again anything can happen & Australia can score quickly and often as South Korea learned in their first game.

Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, considered one of the most influential Brazilian poets here.

Here is a link to Janice Bostok, reportedly Australia’s first haiku poet.

Japan vs. Croatia

Japan and Croatia are both searching for a victory or else they could be going home early. Croatia gave Brazil all they could handle, losing 1-0. Japan let a victory escape in the last 7 minutes of their game with Australia, losing a 1-0 lead, and falling 1-3 to the Aussies. Neither team can ill-afford to let this game slip away.

Read about Japanese poet Issa.

Read about the Younger Poets of Croatia.

France vs. South Korea

The French squad failed to score in their first game. They have some of the best players in the world, but played a disappointing game. Fortunately, they pulled out one point and a victory over South Korea would place them ahead of South Korea in this group. A victory by South Korea would qualify their squad for the next round. South Korea & Japan hosted the 2004 World Cup.

2002 World Cup link here.

Read Korean poet Ko Un.

Read this interview with French poet, Yves Bonnefoy, whose work I highly recommend.

June 19, 2006

Togo vs. Switzerland
Spain vs. Tunisia
Saudi Arabia vs. Ukraine

Togo vs. Switzerland

Togo lost to South Korea in their first game. The Swiss played the French to 0-0 tie in their opening match. Each team is going to need points to make it into the second round. Switzerland is the favored team here, but Togo has speed & is trying to make some noise in this tournament.

Togo links here and here.

Read about Swiss literature here.

Spain vs. Tunisia

As of this post, Spain & Tunisia had yet to play its first game. The Spaniards will be heavy favorites in this game and Spain is due to capture its first World Cup. This might be their year, but this is just a prediction.

Vicente Aleixandre, Spanish poet, here.

Tunisian link here.

Saudi Arabia vs. Ukraine

These are two teams looking to make their fans proud. I'm predicting a tie in this game, but the Ukraine can win if they use their counterattack against the speedy Saudi Arabian team.

Read this Saudi Arabian and Arab-American poetry link.

Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko, here.

June 20, 2006

Ecuador vs. Germany
Costa Rica vs. Poland
Sweden vs. England
Paraguay vs. Trinidad & Tobago

Ecuador vs. Germany

This between Ecuador and Germany is expected to be the best game between teams in this group. The host team will be favored in this game. Another high scoring game is not out of the question here. Germany edged Costa Rica 4-2 in the opening game of the World Cup. Expect a similar outcome in this game.

Link to indigenous poetry of Ecuador & other South American countries here.

Berriozabal translated in German here.

Read this fine link to poets translated into German & the work of poet Johannes Beilharz.

Costa Rica vs. Poland

Poland will do what it can to win this game. They have the better counterattack, although Wanchope of Costa Rica, was able to score twice against Germany & can be equally dangerous in this game against Poland. I'm predicting a low scoring game, 1-0, with the European squad prevailing.

Read the interview of Costa Rican poet, Alvaro Cardona-Hine.

Polish poets Wislawa Szymborska and Tadeusz Rozewicz here.

Sweden vs. England

Sweden is looking to shock England in this game between European powers. I can see Sweden pulling the upset here if England gets overconfident. This game is difficult to predict. Perhaps a tie is in order here.

Swedish poet Asaias Tegner.

English poet Alexander Pope, & the poetry of Chris Major, a fine poet from England and football fan. that's futbol folks.

Paraguay vs. Trinidad & Tobago

Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago hope to play a competitive game. Paraguay is expected to defeat Trinidad & Tobago, who has an outstanding goaltender, who turned away Sweden time after time in their first game.

Read Augusto Roa Bastos, known as the biggest Paraguayan writer, here.

Trinidad & Tobago poetry link here.

** posted by christopher cunningham for Luis C. Berriozabal **

Friday, June 16, 2006

latenight poetry session...


lately I've been getting some questions about my good friend Hosho McCreesh, poet. I first read his work back in late 2000 in a magazine called Rattle (no link because I think the poetry editor there, Stellasue Lee, is an idiot and mildly retarded when it comes to the making of a poem), and then again in a magazine called The American Dissident, which published my very first poem in that issue. I was intrigued. I'd not read anyone with such heavy lines outside of Bukowski. I'd been trolling thru the small press for about a year before I started sending out work in 2000 and found it to be relatively thin, one note "reportage" poems, more like broken lined journaling and less like universal poem making. then, as I perused Rattle for the first time, thumbing thru the pages in a Borders or some other giant soul crushing box store, this poem leaped off of the page and kicked me in the balls:

8 Nights & Their Subsequent Sunrises

Christ, it's enough to make you wanna
sit in a lukewarm tub with a
strait razor,
the terror of it all,
the agony, the realization that you'd better
play the game,
get in line,
plug into the grid,
do what they say
or else...

& you think, "Fuck it,
I don't need what they got!"
& you wage yr little war against the
American Dream.

& it costs you,
You get no ladies.
You get no livable wage for too-hard work.
You only get the food you can afford, the kind that makes you
sick and fat.
& for the brightest, the ones
furthest from the rest of the herd,
it's the crosshairs -
in some form or another.

& if they don't kill you they just
take it all away from you,
keep everything else from you,
make it so damn hard to
that you consider not doing it

Over a handful of long LONG nights
our tiny little lives can be decided.
I'd say you get about 8.
8 nights that can truly end you,
nights where a decision must be made,
one way or the other,
yes or no,
which will it be...
Nights where you're sure you've walked your last cold mile,
nights where you're convinced that this world
ain't exactly the place for you.

& if you slug through all 8 of them
then maybe you come out
on the other side of a long, dark tunnel &
wake to find yrself
middle aged, or in yr 70s, or maybe yr early 20s
because who's to say when they come, or how.

& in those 8 evenings
you've learned more about life
than in the remaining balance of all yr other tiny little years.
8 nights.
Maybe more, maybe less, but I'd say 8, on average.

& you ain't never seen a sunrise
like the ones you see
the day after

- Hosho McCreesh

so I rounded up his email from one of his editors, I think G. Tod at Dissident, and wrote asking if he had any books, etc. he replied that his book Something Random & Tragic To Set The Guts Aflame, now out of print, was on the way from Australia where it was published, and that he'd send me a copy. thus began a correspondence between him and I that has lasted for six years and covered some...jesus...maybe 8,000 or more pages of letters, letters that have both inspired me and sustained me thru some of my bleakest "8 nights."

here are a couple from the web:


& the fucking problem is (scroll down about four poems).

and I'd like to leave you with one more from his second book that may or may not have ever actually appeared (the trouble with a few small press operations is a level of unreliability that often reaches assholery), As The Dust Plumes Rise From The Blood-Spattered Face Down Nostrils.... this poem is one of my many many favorites:

Van Gogh Only Sold 1 Painting

for any of us
is there to do
with any of it

Safety & immortality
have become
as of late -
people broken up &
wondering when it'll
get better,
when it'll
wondering if there's
can do.

There isn't.

So laugh as the earth
under the weight of us,
of our brutality,
laugh as the oceans
as the forests burn &
the mountains crumble into dust,
the mud of it sliding
into the

Laugh up to the end
through it.

- Hosho McCreesh

his third book Deep Surface Fissures Revealing A Furious Molten Core is still available from McCreesh. if you want a copy, click on my profile and send me an email with the subject line: MCCREESH. he's the real fucking deal, kids, and me and my little poems, my little books, my thin fingers curling over my humming typewriter, we fear for the very structure of the small press when this guy loads up his machinegun and lets loose.

UPDATE: go here and make sure to check out the comments.

more later from The Compound.

Thursday, June 15, 2006



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

our state of mind...

here at the compound has deteriorated somewhat. we find ourselves in a state of affairs, worldview-wise, that has us, for lack of a more descriptive phrase, real fucked up. bad. wiretapping, outing covert agents, destruction of the environment, illegal war, murder, pure unashamed lying and political vileness, torture, the vast appetite of the military industrial complex, the giveaways to corporate criminals, theft of the democratic process and general ass-slappery in the face of everyone, everywhere.

good shit.

so what we've come up with here is a two fold plan for "winning the peace" here at home: first, with the help of my NSA agent Tommy, and his cadre, er, team of lunatics, er, Patriotic American Patriots, we've come to understand that we have absolutely nothing to worry about. each of our activities is being carefully monitored for our safety and all of my books, letters, poems, text messages, emails, thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc. have been catalogued and stored in a convenient, easy to use, easy to sell/lose/get stolen dossier. this is comforting, not threatening. it's like a gardian angel with the power to have us extraordinarily rendered to some kind Eastern European country for "friendly mental realignment" and "generous patriotism readjustment experiences."

second, we've fully embraced the Grateful Dead maxim: "nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile..." so we will stay in close contact with Tommy, Frimp, and Agent .45Freedom (not their real names) and let them report any of the important news stories of the day, as we here at the compound have been, obviously, turned around on the whole "Long War" thingy.

rest easy, good citizens. things are fine. go back to your poems and your wine and your meaningless happy lives. all is well in Oceania, er, America.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

doing the job...

greetings, Patriots and Citizens. Tommy from the NSA here. I just wanted to illustrate to you good people (and we know who you are) the kind of great work you can expect from us Decent and God Fearing Agents at your NSA.

Shakespeare is cleaning up dog gifts in the yard and Cynthia is studying up on her digital camera. see, they aren't worried about a thing.

and neither are you.

end transmission.

Monday, June 12, 2006

brief announcement...

this from columnist LCB:

Do you think we can make a mention on Jeff Vande Zande's novel on the blog? He is a good guy and a good poet. His work has been in the Blue Collar Review, also has a chapbook there, and I took one of his poems for the Remark edition (#25). I still have lots of those copies.

you got it, Luis: go here for information on the novel. I've obviously not seen it, but I have enjoyed Mr. Vande Zande's work in BCR, so I'm sure it will be a good read.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Background Noise #3

Artist/Album: Calexico/Feast of Wire
Drink: Pyramid Curve Ball Kölsch

Tonight, I had all intentions of answering the question, What is poetry? But, before attempting such a daunting task I decided to do some research. I did a simple Google search of what is poetry and read the numerous articles that have been written on the subject. I quickly realized there really was nothing I could add to the discussion. Poetry is inherently indefinable. My whole damn argument would probably end up being summarized by a single, nonsensical saying like: Poetry is the last dreams of a dying dog.

So, instead of writing about what poetry is (or isn't) I'll direct you to the articles and sites I think do a great job of trying to explain the unexplainable. Maybe we can gain a modicum of insight when we're done.

The first stop, certainly, is the dictionary. From there, you would, like I, probably go to an encyclopedia to see what they have to say on the matter. After reading what the encyclopedia and dictionary had to say, you'd probably test the academic waters. First, an historical perspective, then a more recent attempt, followed by another. Then you remember that has a poetry/literary site and you go over there to see what they have to say on the matter. After all this reading you'll come the same damn conclusion I came to. No one knows WHAT poetry is. Or at least they don't know how to define it, exactly. But, one thing that is for certain is that we all know what poetry isn't.

Poetry isn't litter on the side of the road.
Poetry isn't the loneliness of a homeless man.
Poetry isn't the bloom of an orchid in a muddy swamp.
Poetry isn't a vulture circling above a dying horse.
Poetry isn't the sound of your lover sleeping.
Poetry isn't any of this. But, in a way, it is all of it, really. Poetry is exactly that which it is not. Poetry is not life, but for some of us our lives wouldn't be much of one without it. Poetry isn't death, but for a lot of us poetry helps us come to terms with the reality of it. Poetry isn't necessary, except in the fact that culture would cease to exist as we know it. Poetry isn't, yet is, everything.

So, I don't think I'm going to attempt to define poetry, tonight. No, I'll leave that to the English majors in the universities across our once-fair land. I'll leave that to the philosophers and professors; to the historians; to the literary theorists. I'll leave it to those souls who are far more adventurous, far more intelligent and with far more time than I.

Instead, I'll let you in on a little of what poetry is to me.
The writing of poetry allows me to express myself; to get in touch with the inner self that all of us possess; to feel the primordial organism within me. Reading poetry connects me with the writer, with the endless generations of humans who've come before me and who will come after. It lets me know, on a level deeper than mere conversation and togetherness, that I am not alone; that someone else has had the same thoughts as I; that someone else has walked this path, and that it does lead somewhere. The writing and reading of poetry, to me, is the quintessence of humanity.

I am convinced there is life outside of our little sphere. But, I am not totally convinced that poetry would (or can) exist outside of it. Poetry is fundamentally human. Therefore, it is NOT the last dreams of a dying dog, however romantic or sentimental that may be. Neither a dog nor monkey nor bird nor whale can create or understand poetry. We are the singular owners of this particular aesthetic. We are the poetry-bearers of this world, and most likely of the universe.

If another race of sentient beings ever came to our planet, they would undoubtedly be struck by the variety and scope of our arts (paintings, movies, television, periodicals, music, etc.), but if they wanted to learn what it means to be human they could do no better than devouring the entirety of our poetries. All of our other arts, combined with our cultures and traditions, would give them a rough sketch of what humanity is, but poetry would be alone in giving that sketch color.

Enough with the sci-fi bullshit. What does this all mean? Well, since poetry is and isn't everything; since we as humans are the sole bearers of this aesthetic; since poetry is fundamentally human; since it is everything that all of our other arts and religions and cultures and traditions isn't, that means that poetry is the pinnacle of human ingenuity and passion. Poetry is the result of our attempts at forging a deep and final connection with the universe. Poetry is the zenith of humanity's struggle to understand.

And maybe that's the final definition of what poetry is: Poetry is humanity.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

latenight groove and poetry session...

greetings, Patriots, hope all of you Citzens out there in UprightLand are keeping their noses clean and their broadband streams open. Tommy here, I'm Christopher's NSA agent. don't tell anyone. or do, it doesn't matter, we'll know about it anyway. he is out with Cynthia and their dog Stella Blue right now, running a few errands. they needed "some dog food and some shit from the Whole Foods for dinner" (his words) then they were going to go to that "good old indy video joint Videodrome" (his words) and try to rent some kind of "subversive media propaganda" (my words).

well, as they'll be gone for awhile, I figured I'd get a jump on the post he was thinking about for tonight (yes, that's right: "thinking about"). he wanted to find some good jazz and poetry to make Saturday night "thoughtful, reflective." I personally favor Toby Keith and John Ashcroft, but Shakespeare (my nickname for the guy, The Boss loves nicknames) likes his hippie jazz and his weird poetry.

so he was thinking about Kenny Burrell and Hunter S. Thompson. here you go:

okay. hope you enjoyed it. and don't get any ideas: that "high water mark" is the best you hippies can do. just sit back and let us handle everything.

end transmission.

circles and ripples...

understand this: each of us is a stone in a pond. we each cast a ripple outwards. each ripple intersects, changing shape slightly, altering aspects of its course, shifting direction by fractions. we cannot control the ripples. we can barely control our own splash. and we never pause to consider the other objects entering the pond at each moment.

the right eyes can make judgements about the intersections of miniscule watery waves meandering across the surface. the right eyes can understand the type of stone that was cast, the weight of the object that caused these ripples. they want to know who threw the object, whose hands gripped it, the depth of the water, the speed of each circle spreading outward, all points on the compass under the gaze of the right eyes. those ripples. such eyes want to know each shore, every inch of surface area, each grain of sand touched by this sad water.

above us there is only the uncaring expanse of cold blue sky.

be aware of your own ripples, kids, because someone has the right eyes, these Orwellian days.

watch your backs. and the backs of your friends. and your friend's friends. and so on.