Sunday, July 30, 2006

sunday religion...

ahhh yes. it's always the jews, isn't it? or is it? especially when the Christians that are desperately praying for the end times let down their guard and reveal their real reason for "loving" the jews: hatred and strange, ugly deceit. and what's worse are the hordes of political ideologues who dance about the coattails of crazy to further their own twisted agendas.

anyway, do you really want this guy making any decisions for anyone?

or this guy:

meh. I'm sure it's gonna be fine.

Friday, July 28, 2006

the Guerilla that ate my blog...

I miss my old blog...

*wistful tear*

but this Guerilla is eating the entire small press, one brilliant poet at a time.



soon there will be politics and rage about WWIII and the US plan to completely destablize the entire mideast.


get yer duct tape and plastic. and some water. and maybe one of those tiny Wil-e Coyote umbrellas.

more later...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

some lit shiz...

our good friends at Partisan Press have a new release for sale, poems by Peggy Sapphire. the editor Markowitz, in addition to being a fine poet in his own right, is an astute reader of poesy and knows his business. I'm sure this will be a great book.

I rec'd my copy of Bill Taylor Jr.'s new book So Much Is Burning, and it is a fantastic read. the poems are stark and honest, teeming with the realities of life, good and bad. the production on the book by sunnyoutside is very nice indeed, crisp black and white with the poems and photographs working together throughout. great stuff, get your copy here.

I also rec'd a package of incredible work from Adrian Manning", including his Bottle Of Smoke Press book Wretched Songs For Out Of Tune Musicians and the joint chap Bring Down The Sun with Manning and Henry Denander. listen, this guy can write. he knows his way around the machine. if you have half a fucking brain in your head, you will go and buy one of his books right now.

I also rec'd Kriesel's new one, Feeding My Heart To The Wind; it is a fine chapbook featuring short poems that grab you immediately and linger in your mind for a long long time. they are snapshots that instantly pierce the veil of emotion and imagination, poems that are profound and simple. very well done, and the production by David at sunnyoutside is winning.

lastly, I rec'd the last available copies of Hosho McCreesh's most recent book Deep Surface Fissures Revealing A Furious Molten Core, and if you don't have it, you, sir, are a swine. email me for your copy, I might charge you something, but that's okay, it's better than me coming over to your house and chainwhipping you. which can be arranged. just buy the book, it's nicer that way. there are only seven copies left.

that's it. the Guerilla Poetics Project is storming ahead, without any concern for who gets crushed in the onslaught.

more later.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Background Noise #9

Artist/Album: Sigur Rós /( )
Drink: 2003 Mad Fish Shiraz

The title of this installment of Background Noise could easily be Guerilla Poetics, or the Future of Publishing. Christopher Cunningham, the host of Upright Against The Savage Heavens, and a few of us have decided upon venturing into what we feel will be the future of publishing. An ambush attack upon the unsuspecting millions (alright, thousands) who are purchasing and reading the work of our predecessors.

We are hoping that this alternative type of publishing will land us new readers around the globe. If done correctly, honestly and with the right amount of luck, we could potentially start a phenomenon in the small press.

Of course, there is also the more likely scenario that nothing happens, or it seems like nothing happens, and we continue to labor at the typewriter, banging out immortal poems that no one will read. But, if we can just capture one new reader, it will have been a success.

I won't detail the exact nature of our plan. Suffice it to say we have foot-soldiers in all 50 states, and across the world, ready to ambush the world's bookstores.

What I do want to discuss is why it is necessary for us to take such drastic measures in the first place. The types of poetry we Guerilla Poets write (and most small press poets write) is accessible, easy to read and rife with meaning and revelation. We strive to gain a readership of non-writers, but most of us have failed miserably. Why is this? I have no idea.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that our work CAN'T be found in Barnes & Noble, and most of the major literary magazines are stuffed with pretentious, academic poetry that means nothing to the world. These two things have given small press poets a double whammy: an inability to broaden our readership and a public closed off to poetry due to all the pedantic, bullshit poets out there.

Unless we want to continue to waste away in small, photocopied magazines for the rest of our lives, we must take action. All small press writers surely feel this way. But, what to do? Self-publish and sell on Possibly, but how many do you expect to sell, and how will you market yourself? Good luck with landing in any major publishing house, but don't quit your day job on that prospect.

The only thing left to do is attack the publishing houses with their own product. And this is what we, the Guerilla Poets, intend to do. There might be other alternative ways of publishing and disseminating poetry. I've been involved in a few with Shoshauna Shy's Poetry Jumps Off The Shelf, out of Wisconsin where coffee warmers had poems printed on them, and little tags with poems were attached to rental bikes. Both are great ideas, and The Guerilla Poets encourage more of that. Even something as simple as the 24th Street Irregular Press's matchbook size broadsides, called Poems-For-All, that can be left with a tip, or dropped off anywhere like bathrooms and public transit, can make a difference. Unfortunately, these forms of alternative publishing (like most) don't focus on the proper demographics: the reader amenable to poetry, and appreciative of our cause. The Guerilla Poets have found a way to target the right audience, and force them to notice.

Join me in discussing other ways we can disseminate our words, ways that aren't necessarily typical of what we'd call "conventional publishing" but are effective and creative.

And watch for future updates from the Guerilla Poetics Project. We plan to take the world by storm, one reader at a time!

the Guerilla Poetics Project Manifesto

okay. we are moving along quickly with this idea, go here and read where we are at.

it's gonna be sweet...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Guerilla Poetics Project thread...

have at it...

here is a link to the page:

Guerilla Poetics Project

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"something wicked this way comes..."

okay kids, if you've ordered it I thank you and Bill thanks you. if not, you are going to miss purchasing the greatest literary release in the history of mankind, and I don't think I'm exaggerating. so in the interest of self-promotion and shamelessness, if you've not recieved this email from Bill at Bottle of Smoke Press, then here you go:

Bottle of Smoke Press is proud to announce the release of:

christopher cunningham - And Still The Night Left To Go: Poems and Letters

This two volume set includes a book of all new poems and a book of previously unpublished letters. Strictly limited to only 100 copies. Each copy has an original ink & watercolor painting affixed to the cover. 62 pp. Wraps.

ISBN: 0-9777300-4-2

Limited to:

100 Copies $10 (+ $2 Shipping) - All copies will contain a unique piece of ink & watercolor artwork mounted to the cover.

** Many of this poet's earlier books have sold out and are now quite rare. Bottle of Smoke Press has pre-sold roughly half of the edition just based on word of mouth from the poet's website. Once these last 50 copies are gone, they will be gone forever. **

Ships on Monday 7/25.


the beautiful and tragic

Paris is far far off
and the night is cold and long
and houses burn
suicides take the easy way out
and a job is lost
and a child is lost
each moment is a
step away from
and then into
the fire
Paris sleeps, its old streets
and old alleys and
old bars and old memories
stored away for someone's
screaming future drifting
further and further into

and another wave breaks and
one more for the road
this dinner is cold cold
and the rain comes down in anger
and the
flower blooms and the stars explode
and the mind reels and
fingers press down on a pulse
searching and searching

a slice of bread
with butter
on such a night as this
is beautiful and tragic


To order, please pay with Paypal, or mail a check along with $1 postage to:

Bill Roberts
Bottle of Smoke Press
902 Wilson Drive
Dover, DE 19904

I accept paypal under the paypal id:

Please visit our website's new releases page for this and other great releases. Shipping gladly combined. Please e-mail with any questions.

Distributor discounts available. Please inquire.

All best,

thanks for reading and supporting the small press.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

an extra...

anyone who's not read the new Pearl magazine, and would like to, I have an extra copy of the newest edition, freshly arrived in the mail today.

first email gets it, and I'll spring for postage.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Our Fratboy King...

I mean, are you fucking kidding me? this is a world leader whose personal space is being violated at a major summit meeting, very formal, very ordered. you can tell by the vacant look on his face just how engaged he is with the world.

and this? is he our fucking king? deigning to speak with mortals? barely able to tear himself away from devouring the baby legs and puppy tails stuffed into his yawning, yellow-fanged maw?

I say, good show, Dear Leader: you make the rest of us slobs look positively classy.

(and off topic, but funnier than the above, click here at the top of my comment and watch John Stossel, Super Asshole, get bitch slapped)

Monday, July 17, 2006


on tuesday it's a primary election day, setting the stage for the November midterms (where hopefully a sizeable number of Republicans and a Dem named Joe get thrown out on their corrupt and simpleminded asses), and I hope everyone gets out and casts a vote into the Diebold sea of murky uncertainty, hoping that it actually gets counted and accurately reflects the will of the minority of citizens that actually do make it a priority to PARTICIPATE in the "democracy" that people are actually dying for in Iraq and Afganistan right now and have died for in the MILLIONS.

ADDENDUM: PartisanPoet has brought it to my attention that my statement above is not entirely accurate. he is right. people in Iraq are dying because of the lies of the Bush administration and the long term designs of Rumsfeld-Cheney. now, people certainly died for American democracy, in the Revolution, in WWII for example; but he is totally correct in his assertion that RIGHT NOW, the war is WRONG and all voting efforts on all levels should reflect our DISGUST with the MURDER and PROFITEERING that is going on in the Middle East right now. (not to mention, when Dear Leader is asked about the horror and impending WWIII (according to Gingrich), he is concerned with the fucking "pig" he's gonna have for dinner)

what's more, it is a sad travesty that our soldiers believe the lies they've been sold, either thru lack of access to real, accurate information or thru their own need to believe that their fight is just and honorable. hell, some of them, a HIGH PERCENTAGE still think that Osama and Saddam were connected in the 9/11 "attacks," they think they are there to help Democracy take hold in a land that has never been more than a British created nation, and warring religious factions before, currently, and in the future, as far as anyone can see. THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY THEY ARE THERE. <----- LISTEN TO THIS CLIP! the war mongers in this country want chaos and eternal war for the power, the money and the control.

oh, and let's not forget Iran on the horizon. no fight for democracy there, no matter WHAT spin is soon to be puked forth from the head of the Dire Beast snarling in the dark corriders of Dear Leader's stinking pit.

thanks to PartisanPoet/The Jaded Prole for giving me a pause for my word choices.

go here for Georgia candidates, races, find your district and lots of information and you can also use the site to search your own state.

oh yes, and if you don't vote, shut the fuck up.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Background Noise #8

Artist/Album: The Dingo Fish Band/The Dingo Fish Band
Drink: Negra Modelo

On my blog, this poet's life, there was recently a heated exchange between Christopher Cunningham (host of Upright Against The Savage Heavens) and Owen Roberts (Canadian poet and miscreant). The exchange quickly got ugly (as most "debates" and "exchanges" are wont to do when passions run high) and devolved into ad hominem attacks. Most of the posts and comments have since been deleted, so there is no record of the viciousness that ensued. As well, the original post that spawned the back-and-forth (a post by Chris of a letter he'd written to a certain editor) has been removed.

But, none of this is crucial to the topic of this week's installment of Background Noise. The argument (or at least the root of it) got me to thinking about literary criticism and the role editors play (or should play) in our particular genre.
Ancillary thoughts about HOW we create, the different ways are can be created and the importance of those ways, and the responsibility of the poet also crept in my mind, but they are not of the crux of our current matter (and have either been dealt with in previous installments, or will be addressed in future ones).

What this installment is about is literary criticism (specifically, as it relates to the kind from an editor to a writer). Also, what should the role of an editor be? Should he merely accept or reject a particular piece from a submission, or is he required to comment? If a comment is made, how should it tendered?

Personally, I appreciate criticism. I don't mind hearing an editor's opinion on my work. I do, however, want it to be honest and without malice. I don't want condescending attitudes. I don't want arrogance. But, if the editor thinks something I have written doesn't work, then I want to know. Not so that I can change it to appease him, but so that I can see how another person reacts to my poetry. And who better than either someone who writes poetry, or someone who comes across a lot of poetry in their life (e.g. an editor).

If I don't agree with what the editor has to say, then obviously I ignore it and move on. But, the criticism is still good to hear, I think. It allows us to know where we are in our creative process, and forces to think about what we're attempting to accomplish in it. But, if an editor suggests something that makes sense, a change that makes the poem stronger, I am all for it.

The host of Upright looks at poetry (and art) in a different way. I don't mean it's less valid, or wrong; just different. (I added this caveat because "different" is too often misconstrued as "wrong", and this just isn't true.) Christopher sees himself as a conduit of the creative energy that permeates and swirls around the cosmos. He is merely a medium for the muse. He doesn't edit his work and sees no need to. The poem is as the poem was created. It isn't about the end result as much as it is about the process.

I'll readily admit that this was a foreign concept to me when I first heard it. It's fascinating and utterly astounding to me that someone doesn't edit their work. But, I see his point and find it terribly romantic (in the poetic sense). The process IS the art. Therefore, he has no need for editorial comments or suggestions. The work is as it is. Like a living creature, each poem is born as is, with everything it will ever have in its life. No need to change or add a thing.

For me, though, and I assume most other writers, the end result is what it is all about. As such, editing is a major part of our process. I even have a system of letting each poem sit for at least a month before tackling the editing portion. This allows me time to remove myself from the initial burst of creativity that formed the poem and see it objectively. Most poems don't make the cut. But, the rare few that do are tightened, rewritten and ready for submission. And, at that point, any editorial criticism is taken for what its worth.

I suppose, like most things in life, there is no right or wrong way to look at literary criticism. It all comes down to how you look at the artistic process. Is it about the destination, or the journey? This will decide how you view literary criticism, or an editor's place in suggesting revisions. But, regardless of how you look at it, without a destination the journey is nothing more than aimless wandering; and without a journey there is no destination.

it's tubes, dagnabbit...

and lo, these are the leaders making decisions about whether or not we will have to pay EVEN MORE for the priviledge of using these danged newfangled tubes, consarnit...

and remember, the intertubes are not, in fact, a truck...

now git offa my property, ya whippersnappers.

yikes! duck and cover...

lit, miscellaneous...

drinking a 2002 Chateau L'Haut Beausejour, a solid smoky earth tinged deep ruby Bordeaux, layers of dry black fruit, some leather, perfect finish. it is my current favorite "everyday drinking" wine. the prices for Bordeaux wines are STUPID for the most part, there is a 1982 at the store where I buy my wine that is $260 (which isn't crazy, if you can believe it...), and the difference in a $10 bottle and a $60 bottle is dramatic. the 2002 I'm digging runs around $20. check it out, if you like serious wine, avoid it if you like big fruity hippie California wines. it's the terroir, folks (if you've not seen the movie I linked to, you should definitely check it out).

reading some of the mags I've been sent recently, some pretty good stuff out there. my contributor's copy of remark. had some good work from William Taylor Jr., Brian McGettrick, a dandy poem by George Anderson, Koweski, the poem "snobs" by Pransky.

my contrib. copy of Pearl arrived, and I swear, this mag gets better each time, the Lady Editors always make astute selections from 'big' and 'small' names alike, and a couple of the poems are great: the poem "after a call at six a.m saying my mother, terminal for months, has died" by Charles Harper Webb is a very moving rumination on the course of a daily routine after such a call, heavy and emotional and quite raw; Curt Last and his poem "the mad dogs of rarotonga," with the lines "I learn to carry stones and lift them/as a threat that these mongrels understand..." is a beast; solid work by Voss, Locklin, Runfola, Robin Merrill, many many more, well worth the measly ten buck cover price.

got the latest Blue Collar Review, edited by our good friend The Jaded Prole, with good work by baloian, Schneider, John Grey, Robert Cooperman, others; this mag is the only one out there that is expressly about the working class to which we all belong. its poems are filled with raw life, and the hope we strive to maintain. get a copy. support the small press.

got C. Allen Rearick's joint venture chapbook From Cali to Cleve., it's a strong read, with poems that swing at you with lines like "..truth is a bastard born of misfortune..." and "the slow burn from a lit match/and the obtuse smell of sulfur/circle the sky's mauve smile..." - good stuff, pick one up if you get the chance.

I've finished my final proof of my new Bottle of Smoke Press book And Still The Night Left To Go, and Bill says within a few weeks the motherfucker is gonna be sold out, so get your copy while you can, good supporters of barely literate poet/blogger/miscreants. don't bother me because you were too drunk to find the paypal button at BoSP.

okay. it's late and I've a pizza to eat, and one more glass of that good French wine to imbibe. more later, including an edition of Cynthia's Fragile Beauty.


while I enjoy the HaloScan comments, I didn't realize it would zap all comments from archives, etc. so we're back to el bloggo.

sorry for the confusion...

and let this be a lesson to you: back up your blog template.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

there are only so many of us...

I am sitting here drinking cold coffee in the oppressive Georgia heat. the crickets are a staccato chorus outside my broken windowpanes, their chatter vibrating thru my heavy mind. I press the cracked skin of my fingers against my red eyes. no relief from any of it.

I need to say a few things. the world is a terrible place, mostly, filled with venom and ugliness, laden with burden after impossible burden, there is never any mercy for any of us really. there are only moments of no struggle, no screaming, moments where we can catch our breath and try to find the reason to go on, try to find the reason to keep swinging even as we realize the futility of fighting.

in a world like that it makes no sense to do deliberate harm to another human being who is really alive, one who burns with the fire, one who truly believes that it is possible to find a way thru the madness and grief. and that is what I've done, in my exchange with Owen. I gave over to the miserable, basest portion of my Sicilian nature, and instead of accepting the opinion of another as something different from mine, yet still valid, and moving on with my life, I chose to be a smarmy, smartassed prick. no matter what theeffects said to me in regards to my letter/post, I responded poorly.

so: first and foremost, I do not think that Owen Roberts is a hack. I do not think him to be in any way shape or form a bad writer. rather, I think his poetry is strong, honest, and very real. and most of all, I raise my glass to any motherfucker with the GUTS to write poetry in such a vapid place as America Version 2006. theeffects has the guts and the will to keep standing up again each time the poem calls, and he does it as well as anyone, and better than most.

it is wrong of me to provoke someone, which is exactly what I did. I knew I was pushing buttons, and then when I got the response I sought, I acted even more snarky. I misunderstood theeffects "threat" of "kicking my ass," and reacted as I would had a real threat been made against me, as I'm sure anyone would in a similar circumstance. so there is no need for any "law" nor any "ass kicking." instead, I propose that I be LESS INCLINED TO FREAK OUT IN THE FUTURE in all situations. hopefully a deep breath, a cup of coffee and a smoke (h/t to Kat), and a more calm rational assesment of the actual nature of the problem at hand will yield more productive results for this high-strung poet.

okay. I've been "long winded" again (sorry, Owen) but felt this needed to be said. I was wrong for my part in this, I overreacted, and I never wanted to disparage ANYONE who faces the misery and pain of this savage life with the aplomb necessary to turn it into poetry. and that is what we are about here, all of us.

and on a personal note to theeffects: "what? are you kidding? we got ourselves a family here..." and I hope this little corner of the small press can continue its bold assault on the ranks of REAL HACKS and ACADEMIC FRAUDS and those too afraid to live, too afraid to burn.

thanks for reading.

**cross posted at This Poet's Life**

Thursday, July 13, 2006

good new poetry for you kids...

this just in from David at sunnyoutside. they will be publishing one by yours truly this fall, but in the meantime, please support the small press and an amazing poet, Michael Kriesel:

sunnyoutside is pleased to announce the release of Feeding My Heart to the Wind: Selected Short Poems 1999–2005 by Wisconsin native Michael Kriesel. This is Kriesel's first collected works and his first title since the award-winning Chasing Saturday Night (Marsh River Editions). The cover has been letterpress-printed with hand-set Alternate Gothic No. 2 type and an original linocut by Boston-based artist Adrian Rodriguez .

Orders placed through before noon on Monday (7/17) will also receive a free copy of Kriesel's broadside/pamphlet Three Poems . The title is also currently being carried by and It retails for $6, plus shipping & handling.

Please click here for the title page at sunnyoutside.

Sample Poem

"Rented Room"

Fall window sill
the beer's cool

watching a maple
I start to pay attention

to the light
the way the trees do

About Michael Kriesel
Michael Kriesel is a widely-published poet and reviewer living in the countryside near Wausau, Wisconsin. His poems have appeared in over 200 journals, including Nimrod, Rosebud, Bitter Oleander, and The Progressive. Winner of the Council for Wisconsin Writers 2004 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Prize, Kriesel is a member of the State Poet Laureate Commission and a lifelong Wisconsin resident except for ten years in the Navy as a TV journalist and newspaper editor.

The Details
ISBN: 0-9769857-3-X
28 pages
4"x 5.5"

Thanks for reading,

David Michael McNamara
Publisher, sunnyoutside

go. buy. enjoy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

shine on you crazy diamond...

Syd Barrett passed away, we learned today.

...wish you were here.

and now...

please enjoy the first installment of brilliant poet Hosho McCreesh's irregular column here at UPRIGHT, The Second Coming. go here for previous notes on this explosion.

[and the anthology project is in full planning swing. check back here for updates.]

[and some new work by UPRIGHT'S resident 'futbol' columnist and great poet Luis Berriozabal can be read here.]

and now: MCCREESH.

The Second Coming #1

Shame on us. Shame on all of us. From the humble beginnings of man, be them miraculous & divine or primordial & oozing, this is what we've done with it. We gave up painting cave walls and instead picked up a splintered femur & re-invented murder. We learned to hunt & trap animals, learned where the best tasting berries grew, learned how to stay out of the elements, how to keep warm...& since then we've become positively BORED with ourselves. Do we even do anything we want to anymore? Do we ever do anything we're proud of? Shame on almost the entire rotting stinking lot of us.

I am sick of people who believe things.

Listen, I believe things...some of them deep-rooted, powerful ideals...for me. But let's be clear about this: Just because I believe it doesn't make it so, doesn't make me right, doesn't make people who disagree with me wrong, or people who agree with me my friends. What I do is wander through the world that I perceive through my own eyes, reacting to what I encounter, & within me exists my own belief structure which may be well-calibrated or may be completely out of whack, but whatever the case, it's mine, & it's how I get through what's difficult, how I enjoy what's wonderful, how I find the "story in the suicide," & how I decide what to do next. Beliefs? Convictions? Ideals? What in the hell are they? They are little more than tools used to work through this agony & ecstasy, our way to make sense of the misguided majesty of living. Ours. Not others. & certainly not everyone's.

Carefully now, so there's no confusion: this is not to say that we should abandon all that we think we know & compromise our hearts--no no no. This is instead an indictment of any & all belief structures that harbor, in their fetid bowels, any hypocrisy, any judgment, any exemptions from their own unbreakable rules. I myself must refuse to allow my own stupid head to convince me that I know everything...or that I even know anything. Human ignorance has only begat more human ignorance, & it has done so for centuries, will do so for centuries. Humans invented their gods. Humans invented their governments. Humans invented the imaginary lines drawn on maps that humans sketched, supposedly separating us one from the other. None of these things are as simple as a sunflower & yet these ideas, these concepts, have drowned this planet in the black-caked blood of centuries, of millennia. This hurtling goddamned rock is blood-logged. How can we forgive what has been done in the name of god & country & government? What continues to be done? The horrors perpetrated? All of it based on imaginary notions made real by a deluded zealotry that has poisoned the human race. Our hearts know this. The sad truth is we humans have invented our own misery. Our hearts also know this.

I write poems. I paint. That entitles me to nothing. I live in America, but no gods favor me over their other countless creations, other planets, & most definitely not over fellow matter where they reside, how they look, or how they think. I am simply one of the many animate beings, a slave to my own capricious biochemicals & perceptions, misperceptions...we all are. We pretend at the divine while wallowing in the carnival of our own man-made damnation.

We'll have to dig deep holes to save all these meaningless trinkets we've hoarded, hide them from the hellfire doom we've wrought. There will be no revolution until we're forced to pack our intestines with gravel to simply remember what it's like to feel full; until we abandon all our vengeful & exclusionary gods & our bumbling countries & castrated governments & replace them with something that works...for us, something our hearts know as righteous, just, true. Beliefs? They are but a falcon, loosed like a plague on the unchaperoned heavens, they split the sky like from a womb. The seed embeds; grows fat; forms man--imperfect & inventive, this misfit. We began by learning one thing, then another & soon we were bored by all we knew & conjured up wacky things to believe in: gods, maps, borders, ways of thinking, ways of of ruling, ideals, judgments. The misfit then Balkanized Eden & reinvented murder. The march of time lands us here, now, with a globe overrun by knee-jerk reactionaries & still we do precious little to spare our atherosclerotic hearts, all gone aplump on the back-fat cuttings of each other. What sense is there to make of a world convinced that whatever they think is righteous, justified, true? Liquid & convenient, these random & foolishly taprooted ideals, invented to justify our murderous & self-serving hearts. Ours is a green god writhing, a golden calf without its neck slit, a false idol. We have only our foolish selves to blame now that sin has usurped virtue. Doom!--my unborn cousins, sisters, brothers, it begs purchase in the radioactive, blistered, weathered crags of the America womb! & thundercrack the skulls of too-soon-dead patriots, splintered, ground down to bonemeal 'neath the thunder of 2 billion feet marching bloody, red as Mao*, forming ranks & advancing, bent on the dusty end. Pitiless & blank, we the Sphinx churn our stoney thighs & trample what's left of Eden...& the worst need no reasons, no evidence, no proof, while the best know less tomorrow than they did today...

At least that's what I think...

Hosho McCreesh

*stolen from m.s. meier

**posted for Hosho McCreesh by Christopher Cunningham**

Sunday, July 09, 2006

a memo to Tommy, my NSA agent...

I just wanted you to know that we are watching you too, motherfucker.

and we also know that you've been at this since before 9.11. that renders all of your bullshit "patriotism/terrorism" arguments for crapping on our Bill of Rights completely moot. seriously, just look here, here and here.

yes baby, how's that Led Zeppelin song go? oh yes, "your time is gonna come..." Italy crushes France, and soon, the real patriots will crush your sorry ilk.

and Tommy?

end transmission

Background Noise #7

Artist/Album: Miles Davis/Kind of Blue
Drink: Straccali Chianti

I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty recently: its place in our world, our abilities to discern it and appreciate it, our fundamental need for it. The American Heritage Dictionary defines beauty as “a quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness, and originality.” That’s a fully functioning and bland, if not aseptic, definition. But, what does it mean? Moreover, what does it mean for the practicing artist?

Since one of the major purposes of art is to capture beauty, a new definition for artists might be helpful. In that way, beauty, to me, not only encompasses that which is beautiful or aesthetically pleasing or artistically excellent, but also the polar opposites. Beauty also encompasses that which is ugly or abhorrent or distasteful. Beauty can be at once lovely and disgusting; awe-inspiring and despicable; gorgeous and hideous; calming and painful. Finally, beauty is all that is true. Or, for brevity’s sake: beauty is truth. And it is the artist’s job to successfully and poignantly relay this beauty to his audience.

Granted, some art isn’t about capturing beauty (as truth). A good number of poems and novels and songs and sculptures (and other forms of art) are nothing more than exercises in advancing the boundaries of the socially acceptable. This form of art is typically called “experimental” or “avant-garde” and is usually more concerned with shocking people or confusing them, or even angering and/or insulting them. Yet, beauty – in its newfound definition – is still a prominent theme in even experimental art.

But, for the rest of us – creators and/or audiences of contemporary art – beauty is the predominant theme. Artists struggle to properly convey the beauty they encounter around them; and readers, listeners, art-lovers all turn to the works of their favorite artists to better understand and appreciate the same beauty in their own world.

This modified definition – beauty as truth– is important to remember when creating art, or in partaking in art. It is important for artists to be honest, to tap into the truth of each situation. It is equally important for the audience to be equally honest with themselves. The beauty of a summer thunderstorm charging in from the ocean is just as important, and profound, as the beauty of a blooming thistle in a deserted parking lot. There is beauty to be found in a freshly-killed deer steaming in the pristine snow of a highway off-ramp, and in the detonation of a bomb on the distant horizon. Even the hushed conversation between two, young lovers on a park bench in the middle of spring is beautiful. Beauty and truth are everywhere; and, it’s the artist’s job to find and capture them in such a way that anyone can relate.

This is merely something I’ve been thinking quite a bit about in the past few days. It’s also something I would like to hear your thoughts on. Let me know what you think about beauty and truth, and the artist’s role in capturing it, etc.

And with that, I’ll leave you with two poems that relate to my point:

the carpet at the walmart while she tries on red pants

I am squatting down low
next to some blue and pink
it is late and
with a shock of white hair,
hangs up the discards
from a long day
of people's
she looks tired.

the carpet is grey.
as I look closer,
I see that it is made up
of impossibly tiny loops of
spun and hidden amongst the
overtones of dull grey.
there is
peach and purple and blue and
pale white and cream and
brown and black and even some
rare like a ruby in coal dust.
I see that it often takes
many colors working closely
to strip themselves of their
to reduce themselves in the
working of the great
to a wash of individual grey.

Gussie's white hair over her
black face shakes as
my girl comes out in her
red pants
and spins in the glare
of the fluorescent lights.

I stand up and nod,

it is up to us to make our colors
in this bright grey world.

--Christopher Cunningham
from Thru the Heart of This Animal Life, A Measure of Impossible Humor

Of An Otherwise Stark, Rural Highway

There's a
certain aching
beauty in a kitten
lying dead across
rural highway
as broken,
diagonal rows
of loblolly pine
and a lone,
stinging nettle
thrusts itself up
through the
accumulated refuse
graveled chunks of
carbon black
of the soft
proclaim its

But, the key
is knowing where
to find




Saturday, July 08, 2006

saturday morning world cup dogblogging...

Stella Blue then...

and now, one year later...

she says, "GO ITALY!"

World Cup Poetry #9

CC here, I'd like to take a moment to thank Luis C. Berriozabal for the incredible amount of work, time and passion that went into making these World Cup Poetry posts. the links were fantastic, they went deep into the cultures of all teams and were an amazing glimpse into the art that we humans make, no matter where we live, no matter the arbitrary boundries drawn to keep us divided, to keep us apart, to keep us from recognizing in another that which is in ourselves. truly, it is in these expressions of our myriad similarities that we find hope for a more enlightened, peaceful and thoughtful future. I hope you all will return to the Archives (on your right) many times and explore the links you missed the first time. I know I will.

and now, on with World Cup Poetry:

July 8

Germany vs. Portugal

This is the game for third place. While each of these teams and their respective fans are disappointed not to be in the finals. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They played well and with a little luck and better marksmanship on their shots to the goal, this could have been the finals match-up.

An article for FIFAWORLDCUP.YAHOO.COM presented here.

German poet, novelist, sculptor, and printmaker, Gunter Grass, presented here, here, & here.

Portuguese poet, Antonio Nobre, presented here, here, & here.

July 9, 2006

The world's game will crown a new champion of July 9, 2006. Italy and France stood up to every test in this tournament. They had ups and downs along the way, but never lost sight of that goal, which all thirty-two nations coming into this tournament sought and fought for. Italy is coming into the game with a twenty-four game unbeaten streak. France is looking to win it's second tournament in eight years. They disposed of Spain, Brazil, and Portugal. Each of these three teams were good enough to be crowned champions. However, France took advantage of their opportunities and eliminated these teams. Italy defeated other outstanding squads, such as the host nation Germany, Ghana, and Czech Republic. Germany was a juggernaut, but Italy silenced them and its proud fans with two of this World Cup's most beautiful goals. Ghana played an exciting brand of soccer, but again, Italy's experience and skill was too much for them. Czech Republic was a disappointment. Don't forget Italy's 3-0 victory over Ukraine, who were turned back time and time again by Buffon, Italy's outstanding goalkeeper. I have no prediction in this game. May the best team win. Tommy, just sit back and enjoy the game; Italy will try to rock that boat you so desperately want. [oh, we at the NSA will be watching on many televisions all across this Great Country, you can bet on it. Tommy, NSA] In soccer, each team relies on eleven starting players, and is able to make three substitutions during the game. I will present 14 poets/artists from each country in this final installment of World Cup & World Poetry.

France vs. Italy


Paul Claudel, mystic poet and playwright, whose plays are poems in drama presented here, here, & here.

Jean Cocteau, one of the most versatile artists in French letters: novelist, dramatist, critic, poet, essayist, actor, director, and producer among other things presented here, here, & here.

Colette, famous female French novelist presented here, here, & here.

Hilaire Belloc, French essayist, novelist, poet presented here, here, & here.

Francois Villon, French poet presented here, here, & here.

Louis Aragon, French poet and novelist, known in letters with the Surrealist school of art and writing in Paris presented here, here, & here.

Andre Gide, French novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947 presented here, here, and here.

Andre Malraux, Paris born, French novelist and critic presented here, here, & here.

Jacques Maritain, French philosopher and Catholic writer, presented here, here, & here.

Francois Mauriac, French novelist, poet, and critic presented here, here, & here.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Paris born, critic, dramatist, and novelist presented here, here, & here.

St. John Perse, pen name of French poet and diplomat, Alexis Saint-Leger Leger presented here, here, & here.

Jules Romains, pseudonym of Louis Farigoule, French novelist, poet, dramatist, and essayist presented here, here, & here.

Guillaume Appollinaire, French poet , son of a Polish mother, and Italian father, presented here,
here, & here.


Ignazio Silone, controversial Italian novelist & journalist presented here, here, & here.

Cesare Pavese, Italian poet, novelist, critic, and literary translator presented here, here, & here.

Giovanni Pascoli, Italian poet & classical scholar presented here, here, & here.

Torquato Tasso, Italian poet of the 16th Century presented here, here, & here.

Paolo Lagazzi, critic of contemporary Italian and Japanese poetry presented here, here, & here.

Attilio Bertolucci, Italian poet, presented here, here, & here.

Vito Riviello, Italian poet, presented here and

Benvenuto Cellini: Florence born, goldsmith, sculptor, and writer presented here, here, & here.

Umberto Saba, Italian poet and novelist presented here,
here, & here.

Primo Levi, born in Turin, Italy, trained as chemist, wrote memoirs, novels, poems, and short stories, presented here, here, & here.

Giacomo Puccini, Italian composer, descendant of a family of musicians, presented here, here, & here.

Arrigo Lora Totino, Italian poet, a leader of the concrete poetry movement presented here, here, & here.

Elisa Biagini, Italian poet, presented here, here, & here.

Giovanni Greco, Italian poet presented here, here, & here.

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

Friday, July 07, 2006

some notes...

first, thanks to all who wanted to participate in our little idea of helping some of the homeless vets in this country. I am going to do some research and find out how to help specifically homeless vets. I will post what I find here.

but sadly, I am not the guy to coordinate such a wonderful thing as a charity. I am lazy and irresponsible and cannot be trusted to administer your money. what I hope is that after I find out some of the ways to DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTE money to ACTUAL VETERANS who live in their cars/eat at shelters/suffer needlessly in this country of OBSCENE WEALTH AND WASTE, and post the results up here, that all of you will do the same thing in your locale, in your towns, in your cities. these vets are everywhere. I am going to search at the Mission Shelter here, check with the VA, do some googling, etc. I want to put my money in a VETS HAND, not give to some charity that has had ample opportunity to do something to this point and has not.

anyway, I'm in a rush, so thanks again everyone, it touches me deeply that you would trust me to put this together and run with it, but I just cannot handle the weight of that responsibility. plus, I've rec'd some emails that suggest donating larger sums to me to distribute and that might require some kind of tax deductions/tax numbers/gov't intrusion into my life and as Tommy at the NSA will tell you, he's got that covered and then some.

I hope you understand, but keep looking here for more info. I will also post what we've decided to do so as to keep you informed.

second, look for the last installment of WORLD CUP POETRY #9 this evening.

lastly, the best readers/commenters in the blogosphere support UPRIGHT. and I thank you all for being such genuine, honest, generous and beautiful people.

much more later tonight.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

happy fourth...

this is better on the fourth of july

it is
to watch
an errant
in the weeds
of someone else's
an orange explosion
a blue and green canvas
still wet
from a thunderstorm

than to watch
in a department store parking lot
with thirty thousand people

the flower
is more independant,
turning its head
with heavy water towards earth
those people
look up as one

unable to
see the stars


it is hard for me to watch what is happening in our country. it is hard to fathom the hatred and the divisions and the ideologies and the disinformation and the fear. it is hard to listen to the reports of brutality in all its forms both here and abroad, both against us and in our name. it is hard to imagine our freedoms, our rights, being systematically dismantled and revoked in the name of war, murder and bloodshed. it is hard to think about children who are growing up today and this is the only world they will know.

but it is fucking impossible for me to gather with them and celebrate an Ideal that they do not even care enough about to stand up for when it is hacked and gushing on the gore-stained earth, when it is usurped and manipulated for the good of a few savage beasts with terrible yellow fangs dripping diseased thousand dollar bills.

nope. I'm gonna watch the storm roll in and pour heavy water. and wait.


I am vomiting on myself. think about THIS, then think about how few people in that goddamn department store parking lot, full of hotdogs and cheap beer and self-satisfaction for all the support they give to our troops, patting themselves on the back for what great fucking Americans they are, think about how few of them have ANY MOTHERFUCKING IDEA AT ALL about what happens to these boys and girls when they are FINISHED fighting for the OUTRAGEOUS LIES AND HORRIBLE GREED of G BUSH and CHENEY and RUMSFELD. how they don't think about the VA hospitals filled to overflowing with the wounded, tens of thousands of them not included in the always rapidly growing number of the American dead in Iraq. how they don't think about the nightmares that will plague these CHILDREN for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.

I cannot stand it. the war is WRONG. the way we act in the face of it is WRONG. there should be NO FIREWORKS, NO PARADES, NO SONGS, only contrition and sacrifice.

just like our brave soldiers who are the only heroes I can see on this bloody and miserable fourth of goddamn july.


thank god someone provided me with a measure of hope for what we do stand for here in America.

**Photo by Cynthia Etheridge, UPRIGHT's "staff photographer"**

World Cup Poetry #8

July 4, 2006

Germany vs. Italy

This is a match-up of two teams with a rich soccer tradition. Both countries have won the World Cup three times. If there is an edge in this contest, it would have to go to the Germans, who are hosting the tournament. Italy can score and defend. This team is much better than the team that tied the U.S. squad in a first round game. Germany's Ballack is due to have a big game. His shot has been missing. Italy has an outstanding goalkeeper, who managed to stop many Ukrainian shots in the previous game.

Pregame information here.

Check out an interesting blog of German poetry.

Salvadore Quasimodo, Italian poet, Nobel Prize in Literature 1959 here.

July 5, 2006

France vs. Portugal

Portugal is looking to keep its World Cup dreams alive. France is coming on strong
after defeating Brazil. They're seeking a second World Cup championship in 8 years.
I'm predicting Portugal to get by France in this game. Yes, Tommy, you hear? [don't worry, we're paying attention, Mr. Berriozabal. my soon-to-be-new boat The Parisian Whore will be paying attention also. thanks. Tommy, NSA] Deco will be back for Portugal to work his magic. The French counterattack can prove dangerous for any team to defend. This will be an exciting game to watch. Penalties could decide this game.

French playwright, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Moliere, here and here.

Portuguese poetry link here.

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

Monday, July 03, 2006

Background Noise #6

Artist/Album: The Doors/The Best Of...
Drink: Mad Fish Shiraz 2003

NOTE: First, let me apologize for the late posting of this installment of Background Noise. With my mother-in-law being in town for a week, and us undertaking the considerable job of packing and sorting and labeling for the impending move to our new house, and the intermittent outages of internet I've been experiencing recently, I just haven't had the time to devote to this week's installment. But, that being said, I finally stole a few moments to churn out some words, the result of which is below. It's a short missive, and I apologize, but I think it is no less important despite its length.

I've been thinking lately about our role as poets in this world – due in part to the wonderfully prescient and thought-provoking posts by our host, the venerable high priest of The Church of the Black Pearl, Christopher Cunningham, and due in part to my attempts at understanding why it is we do whatever it is that we do.

William Carlos Williams wrote, "It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably everyday for lack of what is found there."
This quote is obviously a bit of literary hyperbole, but the point is profound. This point is what I am writing about today. Why do men die everyday for lack of what is found in a poem? Why do they die miserably? What is actually found in a poem, or what should be found there? All of these questions are essentially unanswerable, or if answerable, can only be answered by each person, individually and personally. Another question that comes to mind is: If poems weren't lacking – in whatever way they are lacking – would this prevent these miserable deaths? My thoughts are yes, which, then, makes poetry the most important of the aesthetic disciplines.

But, since poetry is so damn important, isn't it imperative that the poet take his craft seriously? Of course, the answer is yes. The onus is on the poet to provide the cosmos with something it is lacking; with something of quality; with something vital and necessary and honest; with something embodying humanity, or the poet, or both. We, as artists, owe it to our readers (present and future) and to ourselves, to create the very best art we can. Just because we can bang out a few slapdash poems that might get picked up by a minor journal doesn't mean we have to. We owe it to humanity to leave them with a poem that is nothing less than perfect, in the sense that "perfect" is "to the best of our capabilities."

What good is it to manufacture as many mediocre poems as we can, without regard to quality? None whatsoever.
Like a carpenter or sculptor taking an apprenticeship in his craft and honing it until he is a master, we – as poets – must do the same. We must study those who've come before us, and those who are our contemporaries. We must read across all genres of literature, stay up-to-date in current events, yearn for ever-larger vocabularies with which to describe the world thus allowing our poems to explode across the page. We must look at what we do in much the same way a painter looks upon their work: each color, the right perspective, the right composition, each stroke is key to a successful piece. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The greatest paintings are complete and perfect in each of the above ways. The greatest poems, likewise, are complete and perfect in their brilliant choice of words, cadence, rhythm, subject matter, and pacing.

People don't read poetry to get the news of the day. They don't read poetry for instructions on how to live. They don't read poetry for excitement or as a diversion. People read poetry for understanding into the greater, unanswerable questions that haunt the cavities of our souls. They read poetry to gain insight into the common, yet flawed, psyche of mankind. They read poetry because every single human being is born incomplete, with something vital missing, and only poetry can fill that void.
Which brings me back to William Carlos Williams' quote. Don't let your readers down, dear poet. Aspire to successfully fill that void. Aspire to prevent the miserable deaths that Williams alludes to in his quote. Aspire to be the best craftsman you can be. The rest will work itself out.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

everything is a microcosm...

small things done well; so very necessary for a full life. and while you may not think a thing like this

is important, believe me, it is. in a culture consumed by vast conglomerates whose reach extends globally, in a society that is concerned with "growing the brand of Democracy," in a time of consolidation and unsustainable growth, as the last shreds of our individuality are subjugated to the will of the mass mind, the lowest common denominator, the cheapest, easiest, fastest goddamned everything, it is quite a feat to produce evidence of the individual, evidence of the belief in a job well done, to produce proof that it is still possible to shine as human beings.

and all this from a donut? well let me tell you my friends, it is a fucking miracle to taste a homemade donut. a piece of baking artistry. soft light yet substantial, pastry flour, real cinnamon, crumbly, magical. made in batches of FIVE fa chrissakes. this masterpiece came from Duck's Cosmic Kitchen here in Atlanta. the place is so small you can't sit inside. really, this is the best donut I've ever had, more like a piece of coffee cake. these people care about what they do. they understand that you make a great thing because you must make it great or you would be unable to live with the consequences. they make something they would eat.

here's the point: sometimes it isn't about how much or how many or how huge. it is about the quality of a thing. it is about handmade chapbooks with thick paint splashed on the cover, it is about Bill Roberts feeding sheets of colored stock thru a 1914 letterpress, it is about the feel of a typewriter as the keys punch into the paper, it is about making something sing, not drone.

it is about the world we live in being populated with people, human beings, who are unsatisfied with the shitpile in which they find themselves wallowing. people who seek more than the greybrown world of Walmart shelves stocked with Chinese made goods and boxes of industrial food manufactured in factories in New Jersey and Mexico and Taiwan. in the end we must decide between quality living and quantity living. do you need 5000 square feet of living space if you only have 150 square feet of life?

it's about a donut made by a human hand on a sunny saturday morning rather than a giant machine at Krispy fucking Kreme drizzling lard and apathy across the fat ass of a happily conforming, easily franchised, too-sweet to eat pop music world.

and remember, you only need to eat one if it's the fucking right one.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

we can neither confirm nor deny...


or this (and any large gatherings of Communista French-loving poets are on the list too. you can bet on it. if there were a list. which we will neither confirm nor deny).

but especially, we won't confirm nor deny this, even though it is on a D.O.D. site (seems like a bit of French-loving treason to this agent, posting Our State Secrets for the Godless Minions of Global Freedom Hatred like that...)(and since they are watching, HELLO BOSS RUMSFELD!).

oh, and your dog Rufus wants outstde, Mr. Dot Barrett (courtesy of Agent Frimp).

end transmission

saturday morning world cup dogblogging...

we call it soccer here at the compound...

-stella blue cunningham