well, our kitten sees handsome ghosts

Ryan works as a security guard in the Oroville Hospital. He plays guitar. Soccer, too. He got pulled over in Texas and shot at in Afghanistan. Since he couldn't come to last Sunday's concert, Yuri and I played some songs for him in the other Ryan's bedroom. The indie cowboy Ryan. I mean, things didn't start out so well. When we got to indie cowboy Ryan's house, Rochelle was filling out a police report and comparing bruises with blonde ironyard-worker Ryan.

Three Ryans?

I know.

Anyway, good music will find you. I don't care how shifty or stoic your look. Here is some good music pining after you right now:

Frontier Ruckus

Green tomatoes. You can fry them: they're delicious but not ripe. Frontier Ruckus maybe isn't quite ripe, but neither is your heart. They sound like the Appalachian Neutral Milk Hotel. If you're anything like me, that band description has been on your Christmas list for a good several years. And you are like me. Here, look at my hands. We both have hands. Yours are a little bigger.

Let's say you stained the knees on your jeans. No, wait, slacks. Gray slacks. Let's say when you picked off one of the grass blades it turned into a key. Since you're a cool bitch, you knew this key would open that old brick shack down the street from the Antique Tool Museum. Inside the brick shack, you found singing saw, banjo, gas station light, moss on a well pump, snare brush, and some brown-eyed antelope singing "Anna let's die in some dim town." Pretty soon--one or three seconds later--you wouldn't want to sleep anywhere else.

Okay, so you want the antelope to scream a little. Maybe he will. You'll just have to wait and wait for the rest of your life, your sweet and thorn-pricked life.

Listen to the EP (and best) versions of songs on their MySpace -- also with a link to buy their EP

A Drum and An Open Window
Dustin and the Furniture

Hmm, what do you think: once you become aware of your own youth, hasn't it slipped off? Ah, but you still have your relation to others, and everyone else is still moving their heads in that off way, saying odd things you once understood or will understand in the future, and all those little brothers and mothers let you know where you stand, even if you're blindfolded and stepping a little unsure.

A Drum and an Open Window are Yuri and Whisper from Boston, MA, and they play that xylophone/melodica/banjo antifolk or twee folk that lives in your attic. Really. The twee folk run away when you peek, but still live there, stealing your cell phone charger and eating your berries. I played some songs with these guys in Oroville last Sunday. Before the show, we visited the Chinese Temple, ate all the blackberries of Oroville (see? I told you), talked a lot about classic Coca-Cola and less about armed robbery. Listen to "The Mom Song."

Dustin was there too, and he managed to identify a random group of rowdy Hawaiian boys as a band. How did he know? Dustin just knows. Don't play poker against him. Seriously. His music is like that too. I mean, don't play poker against his music. Don't play poker against his beard. Just refrain, kid. Listen to "Rap Song" instead.

Listen on yonder MySpace: A Drum and An Open Window and Dustin and the Furniture

In fact, listen to these songs too:

"Hannah We Know" -- Tiny Dancers (video link)

Speaking of attics, Britain has again produced one of the world's best pop band. What, you think they stop? They don't fucking stop.

Where the Ocean Meets My Hand -- Billie the Vision and the Dancers (free album)

Speaking of the World's Best Pop Band Belt (coming soon to your local wrestling federation), Sweden's Billie the Vision and the Dancers have given away another free album. All of the songs are good. Even the ones that read like tour diaries. Golly shit! My favs: "09. I Saw You On TV" and "10. I've Been Having Some Strange Dreams" plus Hello Saferide duet "07. Overdosing With You."

"Matagorda" -- Black Before Red (song)

If Paulie Mac accompanied your summer drive past old high schools and thrift stores and that one gully park shaded, hidden, and filled with pianos.

"Bad Times Are On Their Way -- My Darling YOU! (song)

A major FU to the last song. A little punk maybe, sneer too big for their cheeks, but who wants to grow into their sneer? We just want to make some noise.

"Dixie" -- Gill Landry (song)

When this song comes on: "Everybody please shut the fuck up and stop dancing and fake your southern accents and give somebody some fucking handshake drugs and a hug. Ahmen."

Dear Andrea -- Eileen Myles (live poetry)

"Spare me the postmodern experimental poet bullshit. Honey, think hard." I don't know the linebreaks, but the love is still there no matter what I don't understand.

I Haven't Got a MySpace Because MySpace Fucking Sucks -- Pete Green (song)

Well, um, I mean, I got one. You might. But this guy doesn't. What he does do is springy-dingy British wit, rhyme chops to boot. Megan's new favorite song.

you can be handsome i'll be pretty

OCHO #10

Full disclosure: A few of my poems hung out in OCHO #9.

Um, OCHO #11 is already out. But I want to talk about OCHO #10 because I got a free PDF version in my email. Didi Menendez, publisher of MiPOesias, publishes OCHO print-on-demand through Lulu.com. And what else should you buy but poetry? Those infomercial lights that illuminate your dresser drawers right when you open them? What, is your dresser a refrigerator? Do you store apples in it? Don't be an ass.

When OCHO started, each issue had eight poems, but now the name is more like Motel Six. A complete list of things unlike Motel Six: airplane hangars, hurricane shelters, my eyes. Menendez eschews the aesthetic myopia that ensnares most poetry rags edited by people who write clauses like "eschews the aesthetic myopia that ensnares." OCHO resembles a more frequent and poetic version of those NOW! compilations. The variety, I mean, not the suck. OCHO will deliver your scraggly first person Bukowski yawp, your elliptical la-la, your one style of poetry with a lot of abstract nouns, your search engine collage, your sexy confessional monologue, your syllabic freakout, your snarky syntactic inversions, your self-referential sigh, your cigarette poem, your childhood recollection + dialogue--okay. You get it. I mean, you didn't even read that whole sentence once you saw how long it was. We all like different shit. I like playing T-Ball and screaming.

Some of my fan vote all-stars from OCHO #10 include: the Amy duos of Amy Gerstler and Amy King. Amy Gerstler gives us the phrase "skinny dipping regret," our collective lack thereof, and this smiling sort of line that is like climbing a ladder out of a mine into a smile.

My friend and former haircare mentor Kasey Mohammad has this epic poem called "All of Me" which alone is worth the nine buck plunk. Not even shitting you. Witness these random, out-of-order quotes!

Part of me wants to feel bad for being such a beeyotch. Another part of
me slaps my own hand, face, and every other part of my skin it can
make contact with. Then another part of me beats that part up because
you never know if you don’t try.

Part of me feels deprived of the presence/friendship of other black
males. I still want them only and I mean only if they are not touching
my chest at all. A part of me understands the “personal touch” aspect,
but then another part of me is not much in favor of this practice. And
then another part of me sort of gets it a little bit.

Part of me thinks of everyone in the future having their own personal
helicopters. But then another part of me believes we’re going to die, all
of us. Die a horrible, horrible death. And then another part of me says,
let’s dance, whee, and there’s a fistfight in my mind. And then another
part of me opens my eyes to see all these beautiful white birds I am
blessed to have in my life.

--from K. Mohammad's "All of Me" in OCHO #10

Other favs: Emma Trelles's restaurant review and Letitia Trent's sonic gum crystal spark (those blue crystals that electrocute your teeth).

Was that a long blog post for one magazine? Probably. I should've included something practical, like a recipe for sexy avocado tacos. You should Google such a recipe while buying OCHO #10.


hamfisted sandwich

One of my friends is having a birthday today. We never hang out. Picture the opposite of razzmatazz.

Overdue: commentary (inevitably sodden and unelegiacal) on San Francisco, OCHO #10, Arcata hippie goats, and good music. Is this a "substitution" post? Of course not. These are not pinch hitter sentences. I care about these sentences, their birthdays, their razzmatazz.

What did you think I was going to talk about? Christianity?

Oregon tomorrow. Hello again, Oregon.


holy drum twitch

I am like the end of a slap tired. That tired.

I am in McKinleyville, CA. See above.

The reading went well. Logan talked about it. My danke to Logan, Elliot, Clay and everybody else in the slobberingly lovely Bay Area. Except that fucker on the way home from Mel's. Not him.

More tomorrow. I want you all--your sexy minds.


once again berkeley is next

7/7/07 Ringo Starr Birthday Poetry Extravaganza:

Elliot Harmon
Logan Ryan Smith
Mike Young

Pegasus Books @ 7:30pm
2349 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704

Also: this band Frontier Ruckus is my favorite new band. They are near my age. Listen to "Dark Autumn Hour," "Mohawk, New York," and "Mona and Emmy." Oh! Maybe especially "Adirondack Amish Holler," best version of which is found on their MySpace. Or, you know, all of them. More extensive wax coming soon. Fiends!


Beat You With a Railroad Spike

The Back to Oroville Post

If you can't cast a boat off the dock, don't chain one to your sedan. How about an old story first? One of my relatives planted all the purple flowers up the dam road. Another of my realtives helped build the dam. That is contribution, commitment. Like I am here, not moving: this is not a beach but a place to nail my logs.

What a thing to wish for! Home? Huh?


We went to Brownsville for their second annual bluegrass festival. No cowboy hats for sale; you 'sposed to done already got one. The portable sink was tricky, faucet involving a foot pump. I was mistaken for somebody who helped dig a trench. In the thumbpicks and lips of kids, bluegrass sounds like an incantation. Witness the Anderson Family, most of whom were under ten. Too-big belt buckles, mom on stand-up bass. "This song's by a right country gentlemen," said the girl with the tooth gap. They proceeded to sing about train crashes and cotton. If they make the right sounds, ape the right way, they will open the pyramids of bluegrass. Authenticity is an assembly. Authenticity as a righteous goal is shit. Or shit vapor. There is honesty, maybe. But not authenticity. We are all Halloween costumes. We head home. White peaches for sale. The roads that They won't fix.

MC Oroville

"Meth till death that's all I know / I don't give a fuck about Chico!" Nowadays, MC Oroville works at a thrift store in the East Bay. Reprezent much? Find MC Oroville on Youtube, lost, confused, hostile and bearded. Oroville sells its water south with no gain to us. Thank you State Water Commission. In motels of the AM hours, the new tattoos will keep us up. In Scoops, the chicken mango dog tastes like the chicken Mediterranean dog. But they're trying. If someone invents a machine that brings murals to life, Oroville will need new brochures. I bought Wayne the river for his birthday, and he promised to build a basement. At Staples, a drunk old lady in a cobalt sundress: "you like my john lennon sunglasses!!!" They look like the Wild Wild West sunglasses Burger King gave away in 1999. The Staples girl copies the lady's ID for her, some dispute with the law, the landlord. I drive home. Oddly enough, I am learning to drive.


What else? Well, I have been watching a lot of TRL on the internet. Pop music these days: incredible. Today's middle schoolers must be six whales of cool. Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen. All these meta-videos. How does Carrie Underwood manage to skirt the edge of suburbia's country accent tolerance? She does. Listen. Fall Out Buy turns Autotune into its own insturment. That Ping Pong song by Enrique "Hot Russian Tennis Player's Ex-Boyfriend?" This is the percussion: ping pong balls! Bouncing left channel to right! Shit, son. Even the new MCR joint is catchy. Pop music is in a good place.

Except for Daughtry. He blows penny muffs.

And Linkin Park, of course. We've given you "believer" types almost half a decade to explain Linkin Park. Well?

The Radio Station

When most of your (read: my) "aesthetic" involves calling John Cougar Melloncamp's "Small Town" on its shit, well--what happens when you hit material that fits too well? I visit the radio station to promote a gig among people I haven't seen in several years. Everyone laughs at my jokes. You should rent Gummo, I say, and then something about not being able to eat ice cream. Outside, Super Mario the plumber walks by in torn blue overalls. From the Inn. Ooooh. From the Inn. Half the time you can't get into the Inn for all the yellow police tape. Katie says: "Look, a hot girl." Where? "Outside, across the street." I don't see her. "Nevermind. She wasn't really." Oh. "She just wasn't a crackhead is all. I know some crackheads." Don't we all! I didn't say that. Something stops everything like that, something in the sundown on the tin. Ashley G. says: "I should just grow my mustache, buy an accordion, and change my name to Olga." I always pictured her with an accordion. Her mother used to work at the jail; now she owns a bakery. Ashley's birthday is one week before mine. She remembered and I didn't. You know that look people give you? You know that look. When we die, we take with our bodies three mix CDs and a litany of shame. Thank you for making flyers, Ashley. At 7:30 PM on July 15th @ Mugshots Coffeehouse and Internet Cafe in Oroville, CA, the following bands will play songs:

Dustin and the Furniture
A Drum and an Open Window
At Night (no MySpace I could find)

And I am going to play a few songs, too. Should I drop off flyers at the YMCA? Katie says: "Don't worry: it's small and fills up fast." I have this weird thought of where I shouldn't put flyers. Who shouldn't come? If I MySpace my friend Chris in Chico asking for crash space, is that rude? Help me out here. Do you ever get the feeling while looking at a picture of yourself--that isn't a real person. Almost, but not quite.

The Missing Rope Swing

David and Wayne are disappointed. The rope swing is gone. In its place: torn-up boxer briefs, PBR cans, dog shit, human shit. Human shit? Yeah. Butterflies and motorboats caress the inlet. Water really moves so easily. If only I could cope that well without offending you. I play a few songs. David has a sour personality and multiple hair styles, enough that I never recognize him when I'm back in town. He leaves his ID and keys on the dashboard, but they're fine down the road when noticed. Wayne likes my song about the saddest earthquake; he says it's "interesting." David wrings this statement from his hands and flat laughter: "You can sing and play at the same time. That's good. I'm going to say--I'm going to say I'm a little jealous." When most of your aesthetic involves "Where have you gone Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Are you still busted by the lights we sped and tied up in the kites above the lake?" -- what happens when you smell that again? Old hat. Really old hat, I mean. Wayne and David are probably coming to my show--if they can get work off.


At a gas station in Corning (have you been through Corning? you know the one), the wiring went screwy. No gas for anyone! I felt like a 1970s embargo newsreel. Looking around, I realized the first few blot drops of what will happen when all the gas goes poof. Meanwhile, we flee for another station. I consider buying a black cowboy hat with a peacock feather. When I get to the East Coast, I want to be authentic. Instead, I buy some fruit salad.

Epilogue: Berkeley

On July 7th, 7:30 PM, I will be reading at Pegasus Books with Elliot Harmon and Logan Ryan Smith (alphabetically ordered). If you are in the Bay Area, please drop by. Have some beers! Ask me to expand on the Oroville stories. See if you can spot my railroad spike. It's hidden all over.