Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Robert Quine 12/30/42 - 5/31/04

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Robert Quine's death. The legendary guitarist was remembered tonight at New York City's Subterranean Records with a vigil led by proprietor and Quine friend Michael Carlucci.

At the stroke of 8 p.m., a candle was lit, the lights were dimmed, and "Waves of Fear" from Lou Reed's The Blue Mask - featuring what many consider to be Quine's definitive guitar solo - was cranked.

Rest in peace, Robert.


There is a season:
Summer breeze makes me feel fine—
Save for damn sunstroke.


"The role of the artist is to disturb."

—André Gide

* * *


iTuneage - recent baker's dozen

1. "Another Nail in My Heart" - Squeeze
2. "White Bird" - It's a Beautiful Day
3. "Supernova" - Liz Phair
4. "White Honey" - Graham Parker & The Rumour
5. "River's Risin'" - Edgar Winter Group
6. "Step Up" - Drowning Pool
7. "Escape" - Alice Cooper
8. "The Cowboy Song" - Thin Lizzy
9. "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) - Tom Waits
10. "It's the Same Old Song" - The Four Tops
11. "Rise" - The Cult
12. "Speechless" - Count Basic (Kruder & Dorfmeister mix)
13. "Rock Against Ass" - Turbonegro

Monday, May 30, 2005

Coney Island 5/30/05

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Nice weather for a
Memorial Day cookout—
White trash, Blue Ribbon.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


1. Total volume of music files on my computer: iMac: 7.89 GB, iBook: 10.98 GB, iPod: 8.9 GB.

2. The Last CD I bought was: Joint Special Task Force by General Patton vs. The X-Ecutioners. Featuring Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas.

3. Song Playing Right Now: "Gimmie Some Good Times" by Lou Reed (recorded live at The Bottom Line, NYC 3/12/78). If ever there was a tune to rival Trini Lopez's "Lemon Tree" for top spot on my musical obsession list, it is this version of Reed's little-known but brilliantly concise worldview:
Gimmie gimmie gimmie some good times
Gimmie gimmie gimmie some pain
No matter how ugly you are
You know to me it all looks the same

Sarcastic putdown or statement of empathy? Yes.

4. Five songs I listen to a lot (in no particular order): [I can play the same couple dozen songs over and over for months, so careful readers of this blog may note the redundancy.] Besides the two above-mentioned songs, I'd say "Hand of Fate" by The Rolling Stones, "Navy Blue" by Diane Renay, "Someday, Someway" by Robert Gordon, "A Little Bit of Soap" by The Jarmels, and "Girl" by Beck.

I tag Reed, Gina, and MsAPhillips.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

8-word poem

Pray for faith:
The only game
In town.


Watching shooting stars—
What did they do to deserve
Such an awful fate?

* * *

As many of you are aware, I wrote about the influence of haiku on modern poetry for the critical component of my MFA thesis. During the course of my research I came to learn that haiku written in Western languages generally don't follow the traditional 5/7/5 line and syllable count found in Japanese haiku (due to the differences in the way words are pronounced, etc.). I also came to learn, via my association with the Haiku Society of America, that most haiku poets sticking to the 5/7/5 format are considered amateurs by more "authentic" practitioners of the form.

After much consideration and haiku writing, I have decided that I prefer to stick to the 5/7/5 structure, as a perverse way of doing the thing purposely incorrect. That is to say: I am intentionally writing my haiku in a manner that is sure to irk the purists, and cement my reputation as a haiku poet with a grade-school aesthetic.

Let it not be said that I eschewed structure. Conversely: "Tough shit," as they say in Toledo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Grade-A nut job, that's me!

William Blake
You are William Blake! Wow. I'm impressed. Not
only are you a self-made artist and poet, but
you've suddenly become a very trendy guy to
like. It's not that we doubt that you have all
your marbles, it's just that we're not quite
sure what you did with them to come up with
those terrifying theological visions. The
people of your time were nowhere near as
forgiving as that, and all your neighbors
thought you were a grade-A nut job. But we
love you, so rest happy.

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Gettin' all CRUNK!!! up in here

We poets need to keep on top of verbiage and its various configurations, but once again a new word has sneaked in under the radar: crunk. As in a mixture of crazy and drunk, apparently.

What's more, an energy drink has been christened with this moniker (yes, upper case plus three exclamation points). The term seems to have been coined by one "Lil' Jon, the Atlanta born megastar Hip-Hop artist and producer to describe a style of music that influences the youth and street scene of Atlanta and the entire south," according to the CRUNK!!! web site.

So much for the laid-back Southern hospitality of yesteryear, when settin' a spell was considered a major ambition in life. With an ingredient listing that includes 100mgs. of caffeine along with no less than six B vitamins and Skull Cap, it's safe to say that CRUNK!!! would straighten anyone right out of a Hotlanta funk.

I come by my knowledge of this term and beverage (which came first is anyone's guess), by dint of having spied the following Yahoo! headline: "Lil Jon to Crunk Up Eminem-50 Cent Tour." No, the tickets are not 50 cents (hey, where's the fucking "cent" key?!). The tour has been dubbed "Anger Management 3" - rotsa ruck on that count with all that caffeine flowing, take it from me. Somehow I can't see Celestial Seasonings giving an endorsement to this crew.

Still, Lil Jon seems to be a level-headed guy, having noted: "I like to go to the clubs. As long as the environment permits, and it's not too knuckleheadish, I'm there, I go to the club." Knuckleheadish - now there's a good name for a drink!

Monday, May 23, 2005


Unless they can
Jam Boston Kremes
Through it.

* * *

Not sure whether I prefer the previous 8-word poem version, or this one. Thoughts? (As a gluttonous donut-eater, I figure I'll go with both.)

8-word poem

See that
My feeding tube
Is kept removed.

iTuneage - recent baker's dozen

1. "Gimmie Some Good Times" - Lou Reed (recorded at The Bottom Line, 1978)
2. "?Fire In The Hole! 0400hrs. (Joint Special Operations Task Force)" - General Patton Vs. The X-Ecutioners
3. "Evening Train" - Van Morrison
4. "That's What You Always Say" - The Dream Syndicate (from The Complete Live at Raji's)
5. "Fear of Drowning" - British Sea Power
6. "Wishin' and Hopin'" - Dionne Warwick
7. "Sweet Jane" - The Velvet Underground (from Live at Max's Kansas City)
8. "Queen Bitch" - David Bowie (from Bowie at the Beeb)
9. "Killing" - The Rapture
10. "Cherry" - Ratatat
11. "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
12. "Handsome Man" - Los Pacaminos
13. "Race for the Prize" - The Flaming Lips

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Fear of scienter:
The attempt at consciousness
Of one's own nature.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Another degree:
Knowledge they can't take away.
It's time to pay up.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


In mere minutes - minutes! - I will be attending The New School's recognition ceremony for spring graduates. No cap, no gown - but recognition. And isn't that all anybody really wants out of life?

The irony being that there are several key members of the NSU Writing Program faculty with whom I had such little contact over the past two years, it'll be a miracle if any of them can actually recognize me.

Aw heck, it'll be a blast. Pics to follow!

* * *

Still working on a joke concerning graduates of Sixth Sense University and their precognition ceremony.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

But I wanted to be Chewy!

Which Star Wars character are you?

I'm Han Solo! (Though I don't own a blow dryer.)

Monday, May 16, 2005


You'll be seeing this a lot
On location—100 years
Of deals in Brooklyn

Do you think he loves her?
What is she, anyway?

Patrick, you know
Who's really a radical


* * *

Poem written on the subway from the Love Dogs reading on Sunday evening, using advertising headlines, personal supposition and overheard dialogue.


Answer: Yes.

* * *

I wrote this poem riding the subway to last night's Love Dogs reading, and read it to the gathered crowd. It generated quite an enthusiastic response.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Poet and New School classmate Erica Miriam Fabri has created a very cool reading series she calls Love Dogs. Last night she commemorated two years of toil by gathering about-to-be graduates of The New School's MFA program.

The particulars for posterity:

Sunday 5/15
7:00 pm
Fuzion On A
211 Avenue A (at 13th Street)
New Yawk City

In attendance were some of the best and brightest new writers working in various disciplines. Pictures to come.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A "Classic" at 30

It's hard to believe it was 30 years ago that Lou Reed launched his most enduring assault on the senses - and his most bald-faced "fuck you." Still an utterly enigmatic and unprecedented event in the history of modern music, Metal Machine Music exists in defiance of every notion of accepted logic and sanity. That an entire double album (clocking in at more than an hour in length) of nothing but processed feedback could be released on a major label in the mid-1970s is still an astonishing thing to consider; that the album was nearly released on RCA's classical label just adds to the delicious absurdity of it all.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Well, you didn't
Really try to.

But you didn't
Try not to,

* * *

Poem drawing on actual events occuring next door to my apartment on May 1st. If the jackass in question is what my neighbors consider a house sitter, I'd hate to see their idea of a demolition crew.

(Photo by MsAPhillips)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hooked on Sonics

MsHellion has been blogging some very interesting record jackets from the would-be music stars of yesteryear. Permit me to contribute a similar curiosity:

Cultural Creative

You scored as Cultural Creative.

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.



Cultural Creative














What is Your World View?

* * *

Am I the only person who sees the irony of pairing the term "cultural creative" with such an ugly symbol?

Apparently, I am also a Postmodernist (note tie score of 81%), but it seems my yearning toward the spiritual was the difference-maker. Who knew?

(Thanks to Gina for pointing me to this quiz.)

Oh Sweet Death Come For Me

Well, not me (not now, anyway - but keep me in mind for later).

"Oh Sweet Death Come For Me" is the name of New School classmate and poet Steve Roberts' brand-new blog. Only three days old, but there are already a couple of great poems up.

Steve's a funny and insightful guy (must be something about the name Steve). Check him out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Just like ringin' a bell

Trying out the '52 Fender Telecaster reissue, a gift from the estate of Robert Quine.

(Photo by MsAPhillips)

The Wrongteous Brothers

Has anyone else ever thought of this?

As in: "That guy is one wrongteous dude!"

I believe I will take full credit for this construction if no one else comes forward. But feel free to pass it on.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Proud Papa

That's my son, Reed, taking his turn at bat in a Little League game in Prospect Park last month. His team frequently struggles, and sometimes the littlest thing is cause for celebration. But the games are thoroughly entertaining, and I enjoy supporting his efforts.

How I wish I had video tape footage of a terrific play he made in the field yesterday!

With a runner speeding home, Reed took the cutoff throw at second base from the right fielder. He then rocketed the ball to the plate. It was one of those moments in life where time stands still. Who could imagine so much tension in such little elapsed time?

The throw was fast, dead-on accurate. Smack of the ball in the catcher's mitt. The tag: "He's OUT!"

Pandemonium! Seeing him get the high fives from his teammates in the dugout afterward made me the proudest father in Brooklyn.

He had two other putouts, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention his three RBI's. But that play, the throw home, that was edge-of-the-seat exciting.

On the walk home I told him I would remember that play for the rest of my life. "Me too," he smiled.

(Photo by MsAPhillips)

Model Student - more MFA Thesis Reading pics

Well, model student might be pushing it a bit (though getting my thesis wrapped up and approved a full nine days before the deadline is completely unprecedented). And I'm definitely not purporting to be a student of modeling!

Here I am with one of my favorite teachers from the program, Sarah Manguso. Her class, on radical truthtelling and authenticity in poetry, was a highlight of the program for me.

And me with my amazingly perceptive and patient thesis advisor, Mark Bibbins. He led a great workshop last semester, offering insightful critiques tempered with his unique wit.

(Photos by MsAPhillips)

Who says poets are all flower-plucking fops?

I herein present pics from the New School MFA Thesis Reading, held last Friday, May 6th.

For most of the two years of the MFA program's duration, I had thought of myself as the scariest-looking student enrolled. Well, folks, in the waning weeks of our final semester I was completely outpaced on that count by fellow poet Paul Schwartzberg, shown here affecting his "Travis Bickle joins the WWE" persona. The poetry he read that evening matched his look well.

Schwartzberg: "You reading to me?"

Here I am affecting my "old fuck among twenty-somethings" persona (wait, I am an old fuck among twenty-somethings...).

What kind of person eats plums for breakfast?

(Photos by MsAPhillips)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

iTuneage - recent baker's dozen

1. "Don't Look Back" - Boston
2. "Goodbye's All We've Got Left" - Steve Earle
3. "White Flag" - Dido
4. "Moon River" - Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack
5. "Back It Up" - Nils Lofgren
6. "This Must Be the Night" - Mink DeVille
7. "On the Road Again" - Grateful Dead
8. "Jet Airliner" - Steve Miller Band
9. "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'bout Me)" - The Four Seasons
10. "Heart and Soul" - The Cleftones
11. "Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers
12. "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" - Meat Loaf
13. "Well All Right" - Santana

Saturday, May 07, 2005

New School MFA Thesis Reading

Last night I participated in my final official New School-sponsored reading, along with 39 other writers from various disciplines in the Writing Program.

It was great fun to share the mic with my classmates, and celebrate the end of a terrific two years as an MFA student.

The particulars, for posterity:

The New School MFA Student Thesis Reading
Lang Center
55 West 13th Street
2nd floor

Friday 5/6/05
6 p.m.

Pictures and details to follow.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Lack of java blues:
Never really waking up;
Never quite asleep.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

15 Things About Me

Taking a cue from some blogging friends, here are 15 things about me you may or may not (care to) know:

1. I created what I believe to be the first all-Shemp Three Stooges film festival: Shempfest ’99 (New York City).
2. I own two guitars from the collection of the late Robert Quine.
3. I once scored a perfect 10 at a poetry slam. The poem read was "I Dream in Black and White So You Don't Have To."
4. I have had two out of the following three “ectomy” procedures: appendectomy, tonsillectomy, vasectomy (guess which).
5. My daughter Astrid is named after Astrid Kirchherr, who designed the Beatles’ haircuts; my son Reed is named after Lou Reed.
6. I saw The Who perform with Keith Moon, and saw Led Zeppelin perform with John Bonham.
7. My favorite sports team is the St. Louis Blues (hockey).
8. I once served as a juror on a murder trial.
9. I had a dog named Vanna, and cats named C07 and Chernobyl.
10. I thought professional wrestling was real well into high school.
11. I successfully ran for president of my college dormitory on the Gonzo ticket; I was known as “Dr. Steve” thenceforth.
12. I have always thought that being a poet is the coolest thing one could aspire to.
13. I have played in the following bands: Fireworks & Sex, Bob, The Original Rays, Frank’s Museum, The Drives, The Moe, So It Goes, X-Rays, The Smell of Love Orchestra, Full Vinyl Jacket, Kranky, Bikini Bottom, and The Avoiders.
14. I have seen Apocalypse Now over 100 times.
15. My name is technically "Stephen." If you want to get on my bad side fast, call me "Steffen."

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


"No, Mr. Bond—
I expect you
To die."

Gert Fröbe as Goldfinger.

8-word poem

What kind of person
Eats plums
For breakfast?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bound and determined

Two (count 'em) bound copies of my thesis are now sitting in my advisor's mailbox at The New School Writing Office. There they are awaiting his signature and delivery to the proper authorities (i.e. the guy who runs the document shredder), thus signifying my completion of the major requirements of the Master of Fine Arts program.

This Friday - May 6th - is day two of the graduate student readings, on which date I am scheduled for three minutes of reading from my creative manuscript (I could probably get in about a dozen of my shorter poems, especially if I use my auctioneer persona). Then on May 19th is The New School's recognition ceremony, where all graduates receive a parting gift and a six-month head start before student loans kick in.

What to read on Friday? A full-throttle cussfest? (I could pull out "Aloha, Fuckface" - that one always sets a good, confrontational tone.) The kinder, gentler poems? (Must be one or two. Well, one. Maybe.) "The Jethro Tull Story"? The oldsters always appreciate that one.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Assk (sic) and ye shall receive

Now that my thesis is finally behind me, a little well-deserved r&r has been long overdue. And what better place to get one's ya-ya's out (particularly now that Peepworld has been shut down), than that New York landmark of seedy intrigue: Coney Island.

Recently, I took in the sights, sounds and stenches of said haven for refugee carny felons. The trip was beautifully documented by La Bouche Douce, and I will be presenting pics periodically.

In homage to Dr. Chingasa and his ladyfriend, MsHellion (you can see her shakin' it without breakin' it here) , I give you "Bump Your Ass Off":

(Photo by MsAPhillips)