12.22.2006

laundry vans and lumber yards

The tour diary is done. Scroll down past the laundromat entry to read about the Bay Area of California, USA, Earth, Universe.

Also: I have new stuff up at some familiar places. Check out Juked and SmokeLong. Sort of like winter sweaters, these places. Comfortable and fantastic. So more like winter sweater firework ninja snowmen.

12.19.2006

i was like: lovers are waterproof

Spent much of the day at the laundromat, back in Oroville.

Something was messed up with my left ear. Clogged, very quiet.

A blue, suspicious towel hung on the doorknob in the public restroom.

I read Roy Kesey's Nothing in the World. It fit the mood of my bad ear. It made me want to wash my heart in a storm drain. And stare at any cute, depressed-looking gutterpunk girls like the history of a desert. Until they shivered or gave themselves a little hug.

Someone in the laundromat laughed and said, "That's what she said. She said that's the thing about death. You got to die or you don't!"

They had King of the Hill up on the television.

A couple argued over two choices: happy hour at the casino, or an unspecified something else. He yanked the clothes out of the dryer and was all, "These are all the baby's shit. We wash any of our stuff?" His ladyfriend waved a washcloth in his face.

This crinkled lady in a belly shirt and big glasses tossed clothes into the dryer like it was some sort of ballet. But then she saw me looking and stopped.

A man asked me if cotton were the highest temperature. He owned a beard half pirate, half vagrant, and sat on an overturned clothes basket in a bare chest, waiting. When his dryer stopped, he was able to cover his well-tanned veins with a guayabera shirt.

A woman, who sounded very spent, like an alley full of cigarette butts and tinfoil, chewed somebody out over the phone. She talked about how her husband needs heart surgery and how that put her under a lot of stress.

The sunset reminded me of persimmons. It colored the bricks of a store that used to sell some sort of Chinese coconut candy. Now they appear to sell shoes. Full of sexy. Sexy shoes.

It was an eventful laundromat.

12.16.2006

tour diary part très

Kindness. It sizzles me. Let me explain.

We left Ashland in the wee hours of the morning, waltzing down I-5 through eerie Shasta clouds and talking about National Geographic documentaries, Lemurians, power ballads, the etymology of the word emo, the California Highway Patrol, and how to turn a forest fire into a delightful barbecue adventure.

At some point, I ate breaded jalapeño bites with cherry sauce. At a different point, thankfully, I ate chocolate covered coffee beans. They filled me with thunder.

Pretty soon we got into San Jose. Early to our show, we hung out at a dive bar called the Dive Bar. They had music videos playing on a giant TV behind me, and every time someone started staring at the sexy dominating the screen, I accidentally believed they were staring at my considerable sexy reserves. It was a confusing bar. Full of Christmas parties, too. Lots of tipsy, bitter secretaries and melting hairspray.

Still early, we hit San Jose's Christmas parade, which involved a lot of kettle corn and a circular design. Poe tried to get some cops to take pictures of us. Didn't work. Go figure. The parade felt cool because we were strangers. It made Christmas feel quaint again. Plus they had this tacky blue tree, which was huge and pretty much enthralled me.

Now! Part one of the kindness. The show at the Anno Domini gallery went fucking lovely. Basically, the proprietors Brian and Cheri have their act so together that they would spur the next revolution in space exploration were they to enjoy space exploration. If you're ever in San Jose, stop by the gallery and check out their retail shop, where they sell art shirts, little prints, zines and Lomos, indiecore Russian film cameras.

So we had theatre lighting, a raspy gospel singer-songwriter to throw some local into the show, shared giggles and twitches and many sold books. But we also had a slight dilemma. No place to stay.

Luckily, Ocho has a friend in San Francisco named Elliot Harmon. Elliot's ridiculously amazing girlfriend Erin hooked us up with a room at the Fisherman's Whatf hostel where she works. So there you go. Kindness. It does a body good. By the way, the Wharf hostel is a very nice place. It will clean and cuddle your bones. Free bagels and shit for breakfast. We met some young Australians. They were afraid of snow but headed for New York. Australians are brave, I guess.

And the San Fran show went off pretty nice, with nods and clicks. Our host at the Modern Times Bookstore painted a bookcase blue then introduced us. I don't mean that in the sense of "paint the town red." She took a break. From painting.

Anyway, on Telegraph Hill we (I) ate French apple sausage omelets and nachos and peanut butter mocha fudge. We slunk around City Lights Bookstore. Much must and historic spots with their reality superceded by their history. Some camera crew was there to film Lawerence F. One crewmember needed to use the bathroom and seemed skeptical of everything.

Someone in North Beach asked us to translate the utterance of his female friend, which went something like "maughguuuuuuuuuughhhhhhhhh." He pointed to his chest and then to hers, and he said "We're the white trash Will and Grace!" Then he laughed and wished us a good morning. He had a close-razored beard and eyed that looked entirely satisfied with their aperture.

Now, um, the show in Berkeley. Well. I guess everybody at our scheduled stop, an anarchist cafe, had too much anarchy brewing. In other words, they weren't open.

Uh oh. No show.

But okay! We just gathered in our arms the sobbing throngs who had crawled down from the canyons and up from the rivers to see us. Together with the sweet and lovely Clay Banes we herded them to a restaurant named for a quizzical Irish playwright and Joyce typist, where we ate Cobb salad and Greek chicken fingers. Clay entertained us and got into a well-spirited argument with Ocho about whether MySpace porn causes frustration or frustration causes MySpace porn.

By the way, yes: yes. My memory cares a lot about what I eat. No control here, kids. Lo siento.

So: all in all, a rockcore of a time. Random introspection? I missed a lot of holiday buildup, as I was too busy reading poems about screwy and scrawny friends. Slept near fireplaces and sewing machines. Owe much much to Ocho and T-Poe for everything, and of course to everyone I met along the way, under all of the (all! of! the!) rain rain rain.

Thank you for you reading. Now go and get your merry and bright on. Here are photographs, though not Lomographs:



A radio show in Ashland, where Ocho and I studied our eyelids. Also: I lost that black thumbpick.



Outside Anno Domini in San Jose. Me. Appreciating. Art.



Ocho is metal to the max. Inside Anno Domini.



City Lights.



Tao: I know, I know. I know what's missing from this blog. I haven't had the chance to finish it. But the good news: your book seems to make reality @ City Lights a little blurry and afraid.



Elliot Harmon in the big red hair. His friend Patrick next to him. They run an e-zine called Idiolexicon.



Ocho Ocho Ocho with Clay Banes Clay Banes Clay Banes. I do my part for the Google schemes. I do I do.

12.12.2006

tour diary part dos

Glorious evening to all of youze. When I started this entry, I was in Portlandtown beside a fireplace, staying with one of T-Poe's childhood friends. The Portland show went well. We played in a converted garage. After the show, I ate a piece of pound cake with strawberries in it. Many of T-Poe's friends and relatives came and cheered, and the venerable Rodney Koeneke showed up and wrote a blog about it, in which he references an ancient Jewish council.

An extra day allowed us to eat extremely cheap and delicious Eggs Benedict at My Father's Place, play pinball, and attempt to trick the hot water in the Powell's Bookstore bathroom into staying on for more than the time it takes a centipede to drown.

After Portland, we stopped over in Eugene to graze on a lovely open-mic at Cozmic Pizza. It featured improv opera singing and a host whose pep tipped the scale and took off for neighboring galaxies. Chuck breezed through with his hair a little wet, so we chatted about antique bicycles and the underground magpie trade.

Tonight we do a home home hurrah-ba-dee-be-doo gig in Ashland. If you live in Ashland but for some reason miss this show, Santa will burn seven cheerful angels and place carefully inside your stocking a thimble full of angel ash.

Now, pictures!



All of us plus Laura Boo in Van to the Cou.



The night blaze of Canada.



Leaving the Pacific northwest.



Enthusiastic in Eugene.



We made two and a half new friends in Eugene.

12.10.2006

tour diary part uno with a lot of passive voice

Hello. I am currently sitting on a kitchen floor in Vancouver, BC. We are staying at Laura Boo's house. There is a slab of wood across the back door and a sewing machine on the table. We, the minor poets, ate artisan pastry bits leftover from a major poetry release party at the gallery where Boo works.

Tonight, our first Roadshow featured a very polite host with a very large beard. David and his homemade sampler opened for us. One song featured modulation of the words "no adam" over and over. David explained thusly: one time he was in this room with a guy named Adam, but Adam was leaving, to which David reacted defiantly.

Our audience arranged itself in a semi-circle. One guest acted concerned about geography. He kept asking if any other states were close to Oregon.

A biker dude showed up with his wife, who told us about sitting on a toilet and having her husband burst in to share a poem. She insisted he would do it for us if pressured. It was called Achin' for the Bacon. He performed it like a cross between slam style and tweedy Shakespearean actor. It dealt with his love of bacon.

Last night we stayed in Tacoma, WA with Ocho's friend. We looked at photo albums, and T-Poe put out a grease fire. In the bathroom, I noticed that the shower curtain had a skull motif.

Photographs:



North of Eugene



Pacific Northwest through the Pacific North-Window



Ocho plays so fast. And I can't hold a camera, I guess.



People fucking love this cat.



Evolution allows me to have hands.



The many beards and eyebrows of the PMR.



Laura BOO! She just fixed the toilet too. Rocktacular.