Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Princess and the Pea

Read a poem of mine up at the Blue Hour. It's about playing dress up.
Well, it looks like the year is closing out. 2012 is about to give way to 2013. Who knows what the year will have in store for me? There are some publications lined up. I have that to look forward to at least. There will be substitution jobs. Real jobs? I don't think they make those for people like me any more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Talk about the Look of Robot Pity in the Year of the Tiger

Three poems of mine are present in the Barefoot Review. One of them goes all the way back to my senior year poetry class at NYU. We had to take one another's lines and assemble them into a new work. You can probably tell which one of the poems was constructed that way. Look at me Professor Fitterman! I'm making good!

Friday, December 14, 2012

How to Be a Communist...

At this church they preach turning the other cheek to your enemies, giving all your wealth away, and paying taxes without complaining. You'd never hear that nonsense at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion!   
...and other poems of mine are up at Pyrokinection. There are three to be exact. The first one is a cut up formed out of lines taken from here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Fireworks Go Out

Read the poem at Randomly Accessed Poetics that commenter bzniditch writes the following about:

"A Commodity culture’s language forcibly commensurate with Ben Nardolilli’s poem in layered pattern of a brandished verse finely cast with a poet’s castaway feel for intonation and wrought in an international need for language."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Title and Deed

This is pretty much how I dress when I 'm a substitute
A new poem of mine is up at the Fat City Review. So you better get yourself over there and have a looksy. Another anthem of exhaustion because variations on a theme are what we all live for.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Evening Mysteries

This morning I have a new poem to link to and therefore a new poem for everyone to read. It is up at the Rainbow Rose. Read away! It is one of the only places online you will find the phrases "I feel down by the carport" and "beneath all craft." History is being made my dear readers!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Not to Be Confused with a Pushkin Art Nomination

Because really, Vasily Tropinin would win the prize anyway
Proving I'm still good for something, I've been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry by the swell folks at the Conium Review. Here is the issue my work was in and for proof, read this announcement. Tumblr never lies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Notes from the South Jersey Underground

SIX NEW POEMS of mine are available for you to read in the latest issue of the South Jersey Underground. My stuff starts on page 28. There are also some pretty pictures to look at along the way as you flip and Sweet Jane by the Velvet Underground may or not be playing in the background.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Poetry from Austria, Fiction from the Future

Here are some links to follow for your consideration. There are various publications out there you can see me in though I think they both require a fee. However I'm not the only one featured, so maybe you'll see someone else you like or know alongside me.

I have a poem in this issue of Poetry Salzburg. As the title suggests, it's from Austria.

Here at the Speculative Edge, you can find a short story of mine. It's Dickish, that is, Philip K. Dickish.  Also you can vote for it as the best of the issue.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Wish I Had Something Wonderful to Tell You

But I don't. Nothing enough to vote for at least. You can watch this disturbing clip instead.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Make Your Own Attack Ad and Read Some Poems

He was also called hermaphroditical 
If you want to make an ad either attacking or promoting yourself for a hypothetical candidacy, you can do so here. Make sure you have plenty of embarrassing Facebook pictures and statuses on hand.

Another poem of mine is up at Misfits' Miscellany

And here is one you can read over at Bard Is Bong.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An American Diplomat in Franco Spain: A Book Review

An American Diplomat in Franco Spain by Michael Aaron Rockland (paperback, 178 pages, Hansen) is a memoir from a former member of the Foreign Service who was stationed in Spain during the late 1960s, a period of time when the country was still under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The work is a quick read and filled with many amusing anecdotes along with comparisons between the American and Spanish ways of life. Several famous figures make an appearance within its pages as well as a first-hand account of a military disaster that threatened to become Spain's version of Chernobyl. However, Rockland's work has a tendency to digress into observations about the present as well as his life back in the States after serving in Spain. Both of these make the book seem padded for length. In addition, even though the term "Franco" and "Spain" are in the title, the memoir itself deals little with the everyday reality of life under the Caudillo. 

At the heart of the memoir is the story of a young diplomat's struggle to put his personal politics and beliefs aside to serve his country abroad. When Rockland arrives in Spain, he is overjoyed to be in a land whose language and culture he admires, but he is dismayed having to work with a fascist regime his parents raised him to oppose. Making matters worse, Rockland often encounters ex-Nazis the government is sheltering at routine diplomatic functions. Rockland does try to resist as best he can without becoming a persona non grata.  In one scene for instance, the author manages to sneak out of having to shake Franco's hand when the dictator comes to an event and the other diplomats have to stand in a line to greet him. As his time at the embassy goes on, Rockland's idealism wears away and when he is transferred from Madrid to Saigon, he decides to leave the Foreign Service for good.   

But he makes the most of his time in Spain and treats the reader to a series of amusing anecdotes and encounters.  As an aspiring writer, Rockland visits the haunts of Ernest Hemingway and meets a female bullfighter who has a secret theory that explains why the famed author killed himself.  Meanwhile, he engages in a battle of wills and wits with his neighbor's dog, whose owners he suspects of being Nazis exiled from Romania.  He also learns to adapt to his position as a Jew in Spain, which means clarifying numerous misconceptions among the Spanish, such as Jews having horns. For his part, he learns not to take offense at such things as the costumes of the Semana Santa despite their resemblance to those worn by certain groups back home. In a particularly fascinating turn of events, Rockland's son auditions for and wins a role in the movie Dr. Zhivago, which was filmed in Spain. 

Through his position at the embassy, Rockland gets to meet some of the important people of the era. One of these is Martin Luther King Jr. The author acts as an unofficial interpreter and assistant to the civil rights leader while he stops in Spain for a brief visit as part of a tour of Europe. In their time together, Rockland gives King a lesson in geography and helps him get over a bout of diarrhea.  King makes Rockland realize his own prejudices, particularly against the South, and that Black Southerners are as much a part of the region and its culture as are its Whites. A little while later, the diplomat meets Ted Kennedy and largely performs the same role for him, except that he also gets to serve as the senator's social companion. This comes with the downside of having to pick up the Senator's bar tab, which serves as another reality check for Rockland because it was his idolization of JFK which lead him into the Foreign Service in the first place.  He is also involved with the diplomatic response to the Palomares incident when a B-52s collided with a Stratotanker over Spain during a refueling mission. The collision caused the bomber to inadvertently drop several hydrogen bombs which had to be retrieved without setting off mass panic. In the end, Rockland went for a swim off the coast with Ambassador Angier Biddle Duke to assuage concerns about radioactivity   

Despite these picaresque incidents and others, they are not enough to justify a book-length treatment for Rockland's years in Spain. All too often, the chapters are bulked up with gratuitous asides which take the reader out of Franco's Spain (or Francoist Spain, why "Franco Spain" was chosen for the title is a mystery) and into the present with only the flimsiest link to the author's experiences in late sixties Madrid. Sometimes the asides can be interesting, such as his observations on bullfighting and tipping, but they still digress, along with his idea to have special personal ads for garlic eaters. All too often, Rockland tackles topics such as Columbus, cosmopolitanism in America, the Protestant work ethic, and our changing terms for Black Americans, instead of discussing the nature of the dictatorship he had to work with.  

An American Diplomat in Franco Spain starts out strong but finishes weak. Perhaps Rockland could have made his memoir about the sixties in general instead of his time in Spain since he often references what he was doing during the decade before and after his tenure in Madrid. He mentions the Kennedys, hearing Bob Dylan for the first time, working in South Vietnam, and dealing with campus strife, all subjects which could be elaborated upon to form a more perfect memoir. It would certainly give Rockland an opportunity to dig through his personal archives to find more interesting pictures. The photographs supplied for the book mainly feature him in a variety of seated poses, either by himself at a desk, or next to older men proudly crossing their legs to show off bit of calf.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald Fights Back!

Lovely, lovely Rockville
In honor of my birthday, here's a letter by F. Scott Fitzgerald responding to someone who wrote to him complaining about the morality of the characters in This Side of Paradise.

Also, here is another poem to read at Ol' Chanty. Just search for my name and scroll down.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Penny for Your Thoughts, a Nickel for Your Steak

Some poems for everybody to read. Here is one that mentions Marcel Proust. It is on the same site that has this poem as well. It makes reference to not-so-current-anymore-events.

Now let's get onto the main course since we've already devoured our Madeleines. At Nickel Steak I have two poems for consumption.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My First Attempt at a Meme

I saw this ad for Mitt Romney on Facebook today and knew I had to do something with it:

So I thought I might work with it a little to "make it new" in the parlance of Ezra Pound. Here's what I came up with. Keep in mind I am new to this 21st century game:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Show Time: A Book Review

Another book came for me in the mail a while back and I finally got around to reading it. Today's review is for Phil Harvey's Show Time, a 257 page novel from Lost Coast Press.  Lord of the Flies meets Survivor in this tale of seven reality TV contestants left stranded on an island in the middle of Lake Superior live in front of an international audience. However, despite this promising premise, Harvey's novel falls flat, with clunky and far-fetched dialogue, too many loose ends, and a failure to take account of the ways reality TV has changed since the late 1990s. Despite these flaws, the novel does hold some appeal if one forgets the reality TV show aspect and focuses instead on the characters' attempts to survive in the wilderness and make it through winter without starving to death.

Show Time is set in the not so distant future, when the viewing public has become bored with what violence is offered to them on the TV. To satisfy this demand, a group of TV executives have created a new breed of reality show, where seven contestants are brought together on an island and have to survive the elements and one another. If they can make it, the contestants will win $400,000 apiece. The group onsists of four men and three woman. Each one brings skills of their own, but also faults which threaten their ability to work together to improve their odds of survival. Most of the novel centers on Ambrose, who is a capable and levelheaded, but suffers from a severe gambling addiction that he can only pay off by participating on the show and winning.

One of the fascinating parts of the novel deals with how the characters enter into a shifting array of alliances to secure food, shelter, and other supplies. Even though the seven adults know they are being watched and judged by millions of people, it does not take long until their true, instinctual natures emerge. Harvey posits an interesting take on the different philosophies of human nature, which reality television is a ready means of conveying.  However, they do not surrender to their violent impulses and create a purely Hobbesian world of endless strife on the island. Nor do they build a peaceful Utopia fit for Rousseau's noble savage. Instead, their self-interest motivates them to work together in a Machiavellian fashion. A barter economy is set up where anything, including sex, can be exchanged for goods and the contestants continue to vie for power, especially the males Ivan, Rudy, Ambrose, and Valentin.

The novel could have spent more time focusing on this development, showing how over time the behavior of the individuals on the island becomes more institutionalized and the effects of their division of labor. The lives of the female characters, Ahai, Maureen, and Cecily  would also have been interesting to spend time on. Would their trading sex for protection and food become more regulated over time in this evolving dynamic? Or would they eventually be forced to deny their right to participate in such exchanges? The world of the executives producing the television show needed work as well. It could either have been expanded or dropped altogether. Throughout Show Time, the people putting the drama together constantly speak of how the violence of the show is necessary to keep the population pacified  but this idea is never quite fleshed out with too much telling and not enough showing.

Instead, their are too many scenes which seem designed to merely showcase the authors' idea of "snappy" and "witty" dialogue. Unfortunately it is this dialogue which is likely to take the reader out of the world of the novel. All too often the characters resort an affected speech that seemed drawn from pulp and noir novels and is out of place, especially among people starving in the wilderness. These ridiculous exchanges made me put down the book and write either "wtf," "ugh," "really?", or just "?" next to the offending passages. It is not a good sign for a novel when a reader has to stop eating their malai kofta and feels compelled to mark up your book.

Nevertheless, it is a quick and compelling enough read when the novel centers on the inhabitants of the island, and no one mentions or worries about the the cameras. These sections which deal with simply trying to survive are engaging and well written, even if they tend to get repetitive. There are only so many different ways of writing hunting and fishing scenes. Harvey also does a decent job of dealing with the effects of expose to prolonged calorie reduction and heat deprivation.  At times it seems the whole reality show conceit is just a way to write a novel about survival instead a scathing commentary on the media and American culture. It seems difficult to believe people would spend so many months risking death or serious injury just for $400,000 when there are so many other televised contests that require far less risk for far greater reward.

Show Time treads on previous concerns of where reality television might be heading without adding anything new to the discussion. More importantly, it ignores the ways reality TV has changed since it initially become popular with Survivor.  This work might have been timely in 1999, when shows were centered around competitive ordeals held out in the dark wilds of nature. Now, it feels dated, showing us a vision of a future which seems unlikely due to the rise of shows which deal with the lifestyles of the somehow rich and famous. These have become America's current opiate, not bloodletting spectacles. True, we are glued to our television sets so we can watch others' bad behavior, but these deprived actions occur within civilization, not outside of it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

When Sartre Talked to Crabs

"Good morning, my little ones, how did you sleep?"  
"After the politicians, I went to the poets, the writers of tragedies and dithyrambs and the others, intending in their case to catch myself being more ignorant then [sic] they. So I took up those poems with which they seemed to have taken most trouble and asked them what they meant... I am ashamed to tell you the truth, gentlemen, but I must. Almost all the bystanders might have explained the poems better than their authors could. I soon realized that poets do not compose their poems with knowledge, but by some inborn talent and by inspiration, like seers and prophets who also say many fine things without any understanding of what they say... At the same time I saw that, because of their poetry, they thought themselves very wise men in other respects, which they were not. So there again I withdrew, thinking that I had the same advantage over them as I had over the politicians."

I think this section from Plato's Apology (spoken by Socrates) pretty much explains how I feel about this poem of mine in the Fox Chase Review.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Artist Mystique, I Has It

See this? This is a link. The link will take you to the Artist Mystique. Once there, you can read their issue online. Be on the lookout of my poem, "I take Scissors to Newspaper."

See this? This is another link. This link will take you to Pyrokinection. Once there you will not have to flip any pages physical or electronic. Instead, you can just read the poem right on the screen. The name of this poem is "Bloom a Song."

This is a free service. Enjoy the lines. Email me if you are not having fun. Sovegna vos al temps de mon dolor.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Online Empire of My Presence Is Expanding

Getting published in other people's websites is pretty much all I'm good for anyways.

Poem up at Dead Beats.

Poem in the last edition of Guerrilla Pamphlets.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Louis H. Berman of Annapolis, Maryland Is an Idiot

Sometimes I read a letter to the editor at the Washington Post and suffer a minor attack of apoplexy. Unfortunately since I cannot go to a doctor for a cure and the apothecaries are all closed, I must turn to the next best substitute for leeches: a blog post. Louis H. Berman's letter here, buried away in the paper like a hateful jewel, is today's culprit. In a few spare paragraphs, Mr. Berman asserts the following about what's wrong with the Millennial Generation and while he spouts nonsense, in the process he reveals what is most wrong with the United States: namely that we have become a country willing to believe the most absurd and malicious lies about our fellow Americans. In sum, this is Mr. Berman's "argument:" 

1) Millennials are spoiled and lazy 
2) This is the fault of the Baby Boomers 
3) However, the reason for high unemployment is still not their fault.  Even though they were not in charge of Wall Street when it wrecked the economy, blame falls on the Millennials instead.
4) There are plenty of jobs for Millennials but they are too spoiled to find one. 
5) Millennials are supposed to "learn something" from their parents (who spoiled them in the first place) about what being in a real workplace means. 

I think Mr. Berman needs to go back and actually read the classifieds and want-ads some time. Sure there are plenty of jobs, but many require several years of experience and a decent portion of what do not are unpaid. Try looking for entry-level work Mr. Berman as I have, for multiple companies, in several fields, in different cities. It might be better than just talking out of your ass to tell the damn kids to get off your lawn. Now, you may claim that the Millennials are just too spoiled to take minimum wage, which was supposedly good enough for the folks of your generation. Remember that minimum wage was good enough for all of you because it was higher. A minimum wage job today pays less now when adjusted for inflation. Also, you may not know this because higher education used to cost a lot less, but many Millennials have college debts and need to earn money so that they can pay them off, debts they incurred in the first place so that they might not have to work for minimum wage all their lives.

I'm going to be generous Mr. Berman and assume you are not being motivated by spite, but rather an adherence to the just-world fallacy. In your view, unemployment is high because people are lazy and spoiled, especially young people. I hate to break it to you (who am I kidding, I enjoying enlightening you), but there are not enough jobs to go around. Roughly speaking, there are 3.5 unemployed people per each of the much vaunted job postings you discussed. No matter how many skilled people apply for a position, they are not all going to get it in this economy. The same applies even if they all decide to take minimum wage jobs. Have you been following the news? 44% of minimum-wage workers have either attended or graduated from college. I think we can safely assume they are not waiting out for their dream job. Their dream job is having a job. Mr. Berman, these attacks on a generation are a red herring, especially when you consider long-term unemployment rates among the Baby Boomers. But I guess they must be lazy and spoiled too, because of how the GI Generation raised them. 

This economy sucks. Period. Blaming the unemployed does nothing except possibly make you feel like unemployment could never happen to you. You seem to view joblessness as something that only exists for other people who must have done something wrong. Mr. Berman, this is a fallacy and an insult to the millions of formerly hardworking Americans who have been laid off in the past few years, and all the Americans of all ages, races, creeds, and classes who want desperately to work. Many of us loved our jobs before we lost them. Many of us have taken what we could find in the interim, only to lose those jobs as well. Many of us are the victims of discriminatory hiring practices that make it difficult for the unemployment to get work. Many of us graduated in the middle of a terrible market and could never get a leg up. Many of us have put having families on hold. Many of us have put owning a house on hold. Many of us avoid seeing our friends and family out of poverty and shame. Many of us go to bed every night praying for either a miracle or to be allowed to die in our sleep. 

And here Mr. Berman, is where I am going to engage in the same kind of attacks that you have, employing (see what I did there?) both the ad hominem and the gross generalization. Now, I am not doing this because it helps my argument, but because it is fun. You sir, are a dumb asshole. Unfortunately, you are not alone. The audiences of the GOP debates were filled with your ilk. You do not have any facts to back your assertions up, relying instead on worn-out narratives that have been applied to every previous generation. Despite setting yourself up as some sort of expert, you offer no real solutions to the problems you decry either. You lack any long term vision and fail to grasp the structural issues we are mired in. On top of this, you are callous. You are mean. You are judgmental even though your previous ignorance shows you have no right to claim any sort of capacity for judgment. 

Now if you were smart and an asshole, you would at least have enough self-interest to be worried about the true causes behind the problem of persistent unemployment because it affects you. Instead of spouting off against the usual suspects guilty of the usual sins, you would have some intellectual curiosity about several real solutions. If you were dumb and kind you might not grasp the nuances of the situation, but you would at least have nice things to say to those who are suffering. Of course, it would be best if you were both smart and kind, but I am willing to settle for the other two options if it keeps you from writing another letter to the editor at the Washington Post ever again. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Parade of Hits Continues

Still looking for a job and a way to punch my ticket to get out of my childhood abode. Currently reading a terrible book and not sure if I want to bother reviewing it or not. Being a member of the lumpenproletariat is no fun. AND YET I still get poems published. One even has a reference to Proust. Got to keep the synapses I cultivated in college still firing. They die people, they really do. If you do not keep them activated, one day you will wake up and say "My God, what have I done!" and not get the reference!  Nevertheless, go to the Aperion Review and Misfits' Miscellany. They are waiting for you. Also, I am mentioned here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In Parentheses We Trust

I have poems, poems, poems,
For you all to read, read, read,
Poems in In Parentheses
Poems in Humber Pie

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wax: A Book Review

Wax (Blue Star Books, 324 pages), by Therese Ambrosi Smith, is a novel set in the 1940s that mixes a coming of age story with a mystery. It is a piece of historical fiction as well, taking its inspiration from the struggles that women faced as they went into and out of employment for the war effort during World War II. It centers on the stories of three Rosie the Riveters who bond while working together at the Kaiser Permanente shipyards in Richmond, California. During the day they help to build the Liberty ships that kept the Allied effort well-supplied, while at night they grow close together and bond like sisters.   

Each of the three major characters comes to Richmond, California to escape the limited options facing independently minded women in the 1940s. Matilda “Tilly” Bettencourt leaves her family in San Mateo County so that she can do more then be a waitress at their restaurant. Inspired by an advertisement starring Katherine Hepburn, she wants to do her part for the war effort and make her mark in a world previously reserved for men. Meanwhile, Doris Jura decides to give up her life selling cosmetics in Pittsburgh in order to try something more exciting on the West Coast. She quickly becomes something of a celebrity in the shipyards for scoring at the top of the aptitude tests the company gives. Finally, there is Sylvia Manning, who is the oldest of the group and from Kansas City. She comes to California seeking a new start after a failed romance with another woman. 

The first part of the novel deals with their daily life in the shipyards, showing the difficulties that women came to face during this period, as well as their personal sense of accomplishment at helping the country win the war. It focuses in particular on the development of Tilly as she emerges from her sheltered and secluded life to learn the tricks of the shipbuilding trade. Even though her home is the closet to Richmond of all the characters, in a psychological sense she travels the furthest to get there. It might be hard to imagine now, but the Bay Area was not as always developed as it is today. Of particular shock to her is seeing a colored person for the first time. However, this will not startle her as much as when she realizes she has romantic feelings for Sylvia. Times being what they were, Tilly has to keep this affection to herself.

During their time in the shipyards, the three women learn new skills, gain a greater sense of their self-worth, and deal with their new found freedom by going to bars, movies, and clubs. However, there are still limitations to what they are allowed to do because they are female. Despite the opportunities that the war has opened up for them, the characters face discrimination in pay and participating in unions. Just like all the other Rosies, they also understand that once the conflict is over, they will have to vacate their positions in favor of the men returning from overseas. So it is with mixed feelings that Tilly, Doris, and Sylvia greet the news of the Nazi surrender. On one hand they are happy for peace and victory, on the other, they know it means a return to the world they tried to leave behind. 

Just as they predicted, work in the shipyards slows down and the three women are laid off. Their services, though appreciated, are no longer needed. Tilly and Doris decide to go into business together making candles using the paraffin wax that they came across while building Liberty ships. They will build a factory near Tilly’s house on property Doris has inherited from a recently deceased uncle. Sylvia, however, has no long term plans. She is interested in buying one of the trailers they were housed in at the shipyards and taking it across America to tour the countryside. But this dream never materializes. After saying goodbye to Tilly and Doris, she moves to Reno and lives a largely uneventful and isolated life.

At this point the novel shifts into its second part, which tells the story of Tilly and Doris as they adjust to peacetime and try to build their new business. Here, Wax does a good job of showing how difficult it was for the former Rosies to go back into their old lives. They had worked outside the home and had enjoyed the fruits of freedoms previously denied to them. Now they are all expected to put these experiences behind them. Even though Tilly and Doris have a plan to preserve their independence, they face the normal challenges of starting a company, plus the rampant prejudice against females in the business world. Luckily, they are able to find an understanding ally in John Callen, a local carpenter who helps the two women build their candle factory.  

John takes a liking to Tilly and courts her despite Tilly’s lingering feelings for Sylvia and the opposition of Tilly’s mother, who harbors a secret about Tilly’s true relationship to John. They date and John asks her to marry him, which forces Tilly to make a decision about what she truly wants out of life. Complicating matters further, Doris begins investigating the silent partner who also owns the land she inherited from her late uncle. One night, after an arson attack on the candle factory, a series of events are set in motion which reveal the identity of the hidden partner, Tilly’s true parentage, and a web of corruption that dates back to the Roaring Twenties and involves John’s grandfather, a local judge.  In the end, Tilly learns the cost of keeping secrets and decides to live honestly with Sylvia without repressing her feelings.

Overall, Wax is an enjoyable novel that is a quick read. It is easy to follow, particularly when the main characters become involved in the intrigues of Bay Area politics and real estate. Smith is a skillful writer and brings a forgotten side of World War II to life. She eschews both broad stereotypes and the temptation to turn the main characters into broad symbolic representations of what women experienced working for the war effort. Tilly, Doris, and Sylvia have their own personal stories and struggles. For instance, even though Sylvia is a lesbian, her relationship to her nephew and his death in the war defines her character in the novel more than her sexual orientation.   

However, the book does undergo such an abrupt shift in subject matter and tone that one cannot help but wonder if it would be better as two novels instead of one. While Tilly’s journey of self-discovery is integrated with Doris’ investigations, separating the two stories would allow for more focus on each one. This way the experiences of the women in the shipyards can be expanded upon, just as the struggles of post-war adjustment can be explored in depth. In particular, this would have given Sylvia more exposition, a character that I found myself wanting to know more about as I read the novel. Her experience as a lesbian in pre-Stonewall America was something I thought could be discussed without detracting from the rest of the novel.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Locofoco Memories

The Death of Locofocoism
A new poem is up at Wordsmiths. I know the website spells it differently, but the journal is Wordsmiths. The poem itself is culled from various memories I have of a trip I once took from San Francisco.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Listing in Poets & Writers

I am now listed as a poet in the directory over at Poets & Writers. Hopefully one day I will qualify for a listing as a (prose) writer. I guess when people ask me what I do (for a living) instead of looking down on the ground in shame I can say "I AM A POET!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Time for Justice: A Book Review

Hello there my longtime readers and my (as of this writing) 52 followers! Today I am inaugurating a new feature for this blog, book reviews. It seems my name and website have gotten into the hands of numerous esteemed publicists and they are clamoring for me to say a few things about the books by the authors they represent. Since I have nothing much else to do these days except wait for literary stardom and attendant publicists of my own, I have decided to give this new project a go.

The Time forJustice: How the excesses of time have broken our civil justice system, (Onward Publishing, 185 pages) is a new non-fiction book by acclaimed lawyer Anthony V. Curto, written with the assistance of Ronald E. Roel. Mr. Curto has worked for several decades representing clients as diverse as Ted Turner, Linda Lovelace, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn and has an insider’s view of the problems that have plagued our civil justice system for several decades.  Curto reduces these issues to one chief obstacle: time. Specifically, the way time is used to prevent settlements from being reached and enforced in a manner that helps those who need them.

While the shortcomings of our criminal system often receive more attention in the press, Curto reveals how the bureaucratic and administrative burdens placed on the civil courts have led to justice being denied to those who turn to the courts for help. These encumbrances allow numerous delaying tactics to bankrupt plaintiffs with attorneys’ fees or prevent judgments from being collected. Through the examples of numerous court cases, Curto shows how these methods work in practice. They include creating jurisdictional disputes, arguing over how to fill out paperwork, failing to show up in court, filing appeal after appeal, and pushing back trial dates as far as possible.

Curto spends most of the book focused on one particular example which did not involve him personally, but fascinated him nonetheless as it unfolded: the case between Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and his constituent Esther James. Their dispute began in 1960, during a television interview when Powell named James as a “bag woman” working for Harlem gangsters. James sued the Congressman to receive compensation for defamation of character and an apology. Through skillful manipulation of the judicial system, which included making use of his privileges as a Congressman, his residency in Puerto Rico, and the complicated ownership of his property, Powell managed to prevent the bulk of the settlement against him from being paid out. He also ended up avoiding punishment for contempt of court.

While Curto acknowledges that the Powell case had many extenuating circumstances involved (namely the benefits of his elected office) he nonetheless feels it showcases how the legal system can become tied up by a single case. At the end of the book, he notes that by 1969 more than 80 judges across 10 different courts had been involved in the proceedings, along with 59 jurors. The official paperwork for the case ended up forming a stack nearly 20 feet high.

In between his coverage of Esther James’ quest for justice, Curto also briefly focuses on several other cases that involve similarly lengthy periods of litigation. This helps to reinforce his arguments about specific ways the system needs to be changed and the consequences from justice delayed.  In one instance, Curto talks about a client frustrated with the stalling tactics of a deadbeat distributor. He hired goons to collect the money he was owed without telling his attorney. In another case, he shows how a man gets away without paying a jeweler for an expensive wristwatch because he manages to avoid court summons until the lawyers’ fees for the case outweigh the value of said watch.   

Curto’s The Time for Jusice is engaging and raises good points without being overwhelming to the reader or becoming mired in legalese. It is easy for anyone without a legal background to follow both the cases he discusses and the improvements he recommends. He helpfully structures the book to review his points and conveniently sets apart his suggestions from the rest of the text so that he can go into detail about them. Curto further helps the reader by reviewing these ideas at the end. His list for improvements to the civil justice system include the following:

  • Set trial dates as soon as summons are answered
  • Broaden the authority of judges
  • Eliminate pretrial paperwork
  • Require plaintiffs to pay expenses if appeal is lost
  • Enforce court decisions
  • Settle jurisdictional disputes upfront
  • Require litigants to attend their trials
  • Keep the same judge on a case
  • Expand small claims court

The only major problem with the book is how Curto assigns blame for the current state of the civil judicial system. Understandably, he wants to focus on exposing the problems that the courts face without getting bogged down in partisan politics or demonizing the legal profession. However, claiming that time is the chief enemy focuses the blame in the wrong direction. After all, time is a mere abstraction. Curto confuses a chief weapon of those who deny justice with those who allow them to get away with it. Instead we should be learning who is actually responsible for our state of affairs and who is in the way of effective reform.

By telling the reader that only time is the villain, our system appears to be tragically broken. Lawyers, judges, law enforcement, plaintiffs, and defendants are depicted as merely acting out a choreography of delay.  The story behind who or what created the rules that guide them is hardly discussed. Curto’s list of specific reforms is a good start of what should be done, but without being told what individuals or organizations are working to advance them, the average citizen is given no blueprint for actually making them a reality. All that can be done, it seems, is to try and appease Chronos for the return of a judicial golden age of quick and speedy trials.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Your Cultural Activity of the Day

Rubbing the works of Walt Whitman on a jellyfish sting is known to help ease the pain
Read two poems by me here at Jellyfish Whispers. Also, you can check out these Ottoman inspired renderings of famous movies.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Ginger Piglet of a Poem

Here a Lee! There a Lee! Everywhere a Nar-do-lil-li!
I have a poem up at Ginger Piglet. Take a break from your Independence Day activities to read it. Richard Henry Lee commands you to! In honor of freedom, you can read this essay by William S. Burroughs about his experiences with Scientology

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thousand Shades of Gray

New poems are ready for reading and a short story as well. First, there is a poem of mine up at Thousand Shades of Gray. It is based on a picture I once saw on Unhappy Hipsters. I write a lot of poems based on what I see there.

A not so big poem up at Big River Poetry Review.

Another poem of mine is in this anthology here.

Now for all of you who like your lines long and your words to build a narrative dome for you to sleep under, here's a treat for you, a piece of flash fiction courtesy of Danse Macabre.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Personal Ads and Eno Numbers

This month I have two poems up at Five 2 One Magazine. They are from my cycle of fake personals ads. 

New idea: the Eno number. Basically it functions like an Erdos number. It measures the distance a musician is from musician and producer Brian Eno. Eno has a number of 0. David Byrne of the Talking Heads has an Eno number of 1 because they worked together on several albums. St. Vincent has worked with David Byrne but not with Brian Eno (yet). Her Eno number is 2. Some people who also have an Eno number of 1: Philip Glass, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Paul Simon, and Mark Mothersbaugh.

Also, Donald Trump is a hoax.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A New Story, A New Method

I have a short story, Walled By the Clean Frame up at First Stop Fiction. It is a bit of sound and furry. Perhaps it signifies something. If you are pressed for time, do not worry. It is a piece of what we in the business call "flash fiction." Recently, I have been writing more of it than I usual.

In other news, I have been shortlisted for the Erbacce Prize (along with a lot of other people) and my book Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained is now at the Poets House in New York City. I think it will also be part of their summer showcase. Buy it here at Amazon!

Below is a poem I composed using nothing but this week's top search terms for my blog. I have been writing a few like it. Perhaps the form can be called a "keywording," or something like that. I have underlined the words that people typed in when they stumbled upon this old mirror sponge of a site.

What Animals Live In Romania!
(Top Search Terms June 9, 2012)

Once more, I slept in hopes of reaching
A good time emporium where I be
Empowered to reach a decision, instead
I got visions of Oktoberfest
With no end in sight, blinded by beer
And attractive cutouts of German girls,
At least the music was different this time,
Someone was laying down
Romanian fresh tracks - may 2012 album,
I had no idea what the translation
Was urging me to believe in,
I recall black men hair designs edge ups
Though it all came out sounding
Like Old English poems, Beowulf,
Tergo sex woke me up,
Plus a misplaced titled from
The of best "walter ancarrow" poetry
At least the words had an awesome font
Even if they were dumb poems about butts
I take what I can get these days,
Memory refuses to act like a sponge,
Picturing an germany eagle gif
Seems to make things better for once.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Things That Have Nothing to Do With Me

Just some links to entertain you this first weekend in June. The first is a link to some songs that my sister made. You can listen to them here :

An artist has been imagining famous albums as book covers, look at the results and judge for yourself:

And finally, a project where the sounds of our recent technological past are preserved for posterity, called the Museum of Endangered sounds. It even has the background music for Encarta's MindMaze:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Roaming Into Romania

May has been kind of slow for me, but here are some new publications for you all to look at and nod approvingly while scratching your full or nascent bears.

EgoPHobia, a Romanian website, has put up five of my poems. You can read all of them here.

I have 5 poems in Hotmetalpress:

There is a poem here as well:

Any day now my short fiction prince will come and give me links to post. Any day now. Until then, you can read a short story from friend of the blog Fred Bubbers:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eeldrop and Appleplex and Other Musings

Hey, here's a fun fact, T.S. Eliot, poet of the 20th century, wrote a shot story. You can read it here. It is titled "Eeldrop and Appleplex" and might be about T.S. Eliot and Ezra pound debating their ideas on art. Of course, that is mere speculation.

Poetry might be dead for once and for all, why? Because there is a program that takes tweets from Twitter and turns them into Shakespearean Sonnets. Which is all poetry is to all you people, right? Don't laugh, one day computers will replace your banking algorithms too and all of your statistical analyses about  charter school urchins. But we should just keep drinking right? That's right. Even if it's a Coke and not even tonic.

Meanwhile whatever creativity I can muster is being mustered. I have a poem reprinted at Reprint Poetry. I am also going to appear here. And hell, here is a short story I wrote called All of Brooklyn's Parties. It's from 2009. Praise it as contemporary vintage you hipster outlet sucking squid.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Science of Mind

Happy May Day to everyone out there. I myself did not join in any strikes, though I stayed home and did not work as a substitute teacher because I was sick. Does that count? I have another poem in Crisis Chronicles, special thanks to Jesus Crisis for accepting my work. I also have two poems at L'Allure des Mots, which is probably the sexiest publication I have appeared in yet. In case you are suffering from a poetry overload, do not worry. I am finishing up edits for a batch of short stories, including my Ted Berrigan inspired fiction, which I hope will see the light of day in various publications you may read.

Speaking of substitute teaching, I just realized a small irony which will probably only be of interest to history buffs. I substitute teach in Arlington County now, and it uses a service called STAN to notify me of jobs. STAN stands for Arlington Substitute Teacher Assignment Network. What's interesting is that I found out about something called the Stanley Plan, which was designed by the state of Virginia to prevent Arlington County (among other jurisdictions) from integrating its public schools. STAN, STANley Plan, coincidence? I think so.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Links to Australia and Toronto

Here's an interesting article I found about Ernest Hemingway's time in Toronto. As you can imagine, the city and the writer did not get along.

I am breaking into the Australian poetry scene with a post here.

When you get done with all that, check out another poem of mine from Crisis Chronicles.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things to Read

The following I offer to you all, for free:

Two poems in Nether Magazine, which is run out of Mumbai.

A poem up at Crisis Chronicles, about the time I was able to write a pre- and post-apocalyptic novel. I get to follow a poem by Ezra Pound.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Expat Hodgepodge of a Man in Noon

People, people, get on board with new poems on the Nardolilli Express. At Cavalcade of Stars I have a whole bunch up for you to read. Apologies if the spacing makes it hard to read them. I also have some a poem here at the bottom of the screen. Look for the familiar face trapped on the TV screen. Poetry for the Masses has another poem of mine in its April 2012 issue, which you should all read because you are all part of the masses. Right? Right. 

Something for you writers out there: here's a funny little generator you can use to come up with a title for your next TV show. See how many real TV shows you can recognize in the fake titles. My favorite is "Perfect Strokes."

Monday, April 9, 2012

DC Authors, Come Pitch Your Books!

On Wednesday, April 11, at 7 p.m at Politics and Prose in DC, my good friends The Book Doctors will be hosting Pitchapalooza, an event where authors can come and pitch their ideas about books and receive feedback from experts about how to put their passion into print. 

In other news, I have an interview up at Dan O'Brien's blog. He published me in a collection from Empirical Magazine called Latitude on 2nd. I also have a mess of poems up at MungBeing based around the theme of Exploration.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Poetry Month (With a Short Story Included)

It's that time of year again! April is National Poetry Month, so now you can feel seasonal when you read my work. If you are looking for something experimental, I have a poem based on work of Spinoza at The Internet Is Dead. Meanwhile, Houseboat has put up a chapbook's worth of work up here. I am a featured poet!

I have also a short story to share, which is appropriately titled Ars Poetica.

And in honor of Easter, a video on Jesus

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dumb Butt Poems

Well, I'm big in the Netherlands, apparently. That's Holland for all of your who aren't up to date on your Low Country arrangements. Hits keeps coming from there. America, if this keeps up you will be displaced. You better start stepping up your game, whatever t is. The Dutch keep hitting this website more than any other country, certainly on a per capita basis. Either way, I have poems in the following locations:

On an unrelated note, enjoy this map that shows all the wind currently blowing in these United States::

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thank Science It's Friday

Apparently I sent you all to the wrong website in the last post. To read my poems as they give directions from the backseat of The Vehicle, click here. Now onto the new stuff. The ripe stuff. The poetry just posted and sweating milk like fresh mozzarella. Read my lines up at Brawler or at Asbestos Boots. Or both. At the same time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Proceed to Party

New poems of mine can be found at Ken*Again as well as The Vehicle. This poem "American News" which is in Literbug, has been in the works since early 2008. I believe the lines originally came from stories I found on the AOL Homepage. It braved the poetry workshops of Robert Fitterman and is now published! I also have a short story in this collection from Circus of the Damned. It was originally published here.

Meanwhile, back in real life, the struggle continues...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Who Let the Dogs Out?

A leading presidential contender wants to know, especially since he can't find them on the roof of his car. Oh well. The article I mentioned in my last blog post on philosophy is mentioned up at Literary Kicks. Nice to be able to contribute to a site I've been following for several years.  New poetry is up as well. First of all, La Fovea, which has an interesting structure to it. One poet nominates another, who in turn finds other poets to post material. I was nominated by Seth McKelvey and will select other poets I know. So be on the look out for a possible email dear versifiers! There is also new work to ponder over and admire at The Rusty Nail.

Still have to figure out what I'm doing with my life. The spring weather makes me want to head out to new lands. It's probably the legacy of playing too much Oregon Trail as a kid.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Poems Safe for Work

Two poems up at a site I'm not sure I can mention directly by name without making things difficult for you, oh my readers. Things are already tough enough if you live in China and try to read my blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheers to Smarch, March, and Spring

The weather continues with its chaos and I continue to let my publishing credits roll. Even though it is March, the April Reader is already up and displaying my work. Look up north to One Title, a Canadian magazine, my poem is under the section labeled "the Bad" (out of the Good, the Bad, and the Sublime). The blog for the Circus Book, an anthology of sorts, has my work up as well.

An interesting article over at the New York Times by Colin McGinn. He asks if philosophers should take a step back from calling their field of inquiry "philosophy" and embrace a name which reflects (in his opinion) what the field is currently about.  His suggestion is "Ontics." Personally I think the piece shows an extreme bias against any non-analytic school of thought (why doesn't he want to use Ontology instead of Ontics?) and commits the etymological fallacy of focusing too much on the original definition of "philosophy" as the love of wisdom. Food for thought nonetheless. Pretty much indicative of why I quit trying to major in philosophy in college.

Also, if anybody wants to share with me things to post such as calls for submissions, new poems, links to websites, just let me know. Leave me a comment or contact me via Facebook.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Boosting My February Stats

In case you missed it, I had poems up in Tinfoildresses. My work starts at page 14 of the issue. Also, there is a poem to read at Bone Orchard Poetry. Now, here are some interesting links that I came across and have nothing to do with me. The first is an interesting piece about John Berryman and the carnival life. The second is a project dedicated to creating police composite sketches of characters drawn from literature using the descriptions given of them in the novels they inhabit.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Let This Noted Adhesive Stick to You

I've got a poem in the current issue of SPUDGuN. CCCPress' latest publication features work from not only me but Howie Good and Craig Scott. If you're looking for how to use poetry to help you stick to other people, here's a guide for you to use. Put down the Randall Jarrell and pick up the Jean Toomer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Some Fiction Under the Damned Big Tent

A slightly macabre short story is up for your reading pleasure at Circus of the Damned. See, it's not all just poetry up here at Lo Specchio e La Spugna. Well, there's also two poems up at fwriction and if you go to the front page you can listen to a song I chose for your listening pleasure. I don't know how long it will be up for though.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chuck Norris Endorses Gingrich, Expects to be Named Viceroy of Moon

Well, Newt just keeps racking up the celebrity endorsements. Besides Chuck Norris, he's already got Gary Busey behind him. Strangely enough, both of them appeared on Walker, Texas Ranger. Maybe Luis Guzman or Mila Kunis will be next to get on the Newtrain.

Speaking of trains, or at least underground ones and the above ground spaces they lead to, I have a poem up at Curio. Check it out, share it on the internets, leave a comment under it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Additions and Addendums

Happy Groundhog Day to everyone out there. Celebrate by reading poems of mine at Annmarie Lockhart's Vox Poetica. Also, you can continue the feast over at Hypertext Magazine. And by the way, there's an afterparty at Poydras Review. It's nonstop Nardolilli!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Buy My (Chap)Book

Listen to what the animatronic Jay Sherman says and go get yourself a copy of my chapbook Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained. Now it's in Kindle and Nook form. Buy it off Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Make the Grin of Urban Renewal Happy

A bunch of poems sprouting up across the Internet in the merry month of January.  Read them at your leisure. I wrote a piece at Everyday Other Things that mentions my home and current town Arlington, Virginia. Come on county board, make me the county poet laureate already! Meanwhile, I have several poems up at Death Head Grin and one at SCUD. Editors, if you're reading that last one, I hope it makes you happy.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Poem Straight From The Vine

I have a poem up in the first issue of Vine Leaves. The poem's one of my older ones, written around 2006 or so. It is based on the pictures up at NYU's home page for students. If you keep refreshing the page and ignore the pictures of the study abroad sites, you might see bits and pieces that I incorporated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Toast to Glorious 2012!

A new year is here and so far it seems to be off to a good start. I started another novel today, I'm working a temp job tomorrow, and New Year's Eve was a blast. However my ankles still hurt from it. I guess it must have been quite an oedipal time for me. Anyway, here are new poems to read, one from Nostrovia and the other posted on LitKicks. Now excuse me, I have to follow the business in Iowa.