Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Issue

I have an extra copy of the inaugural issue of Blind Pen Journal, one that will hopefully continue to be published out of San Diego, Cali. This issue includes Craig Santos Perez, Alan Catlin, Nathan Graziano, Erica Arthur, Rebecca Schumejda, Alejandro Romero, Stephen Berry, Annelies Zijderveld, Sandra Chase, Mariel Romero-Ocaranza, Bradley Pickett, and yours truly. Also, some cool translations of poems by Jaime Sabines and Lorca.

If you would like this copy, please leave an email address in the comment section if I don't have it already. I'll contact you for directions to send on the snail's back.

* * *
Currently listening to Getz/Gilberto on the headphones. Can't help but feel cool with this stuff.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


A great, great man died today. Jimmy Cannon, my music teacher, and an Imperial Valley institution, the one who showed us how to hear. Who took us to Mardi Gras, whose jazz bands during the 70s lit up every stage they played. Whose mad presence filled up a room. I used to try and get to school as early as I could just to hear him play his horn every morning. Whose favorite horn player was Clifford Brown. Who used to say: Lopez, better quit ditching those classes. And: Mexican horn players got the chops. And: Lopez, you gotta big, round sound, but you gotta learn the words to the tunes if you want them to come out your horn right. Who sat us down the day Miles died and had us listen to Miles Davis tunes all afternoon.

Jimmy Cannon. Jimmy Cannon.

Here's a poem by another former teacher that was written for Duke Ellington, and now, Jimmy Cannon.

MAY 24TH, 1984
for Duke Ellington

that day began with a shower
of darkness calling lightening rains
home to stone language
of thunderclaps shattering the high
blue elegance of space & time
a broken-down riderless horse
with frayed wings
rode a sheer bone sunbeam
road down into the clouds

spoke wheels of lightening
spun around the hours high up
above those clouds duke wheeled
his chariot of piano keys
his spirit now levitated from flesh
& hovering over the music of most high
spoke to the silence
of a griot shaman/man
who knew the wisdom of God

at high noon the sun cracked
through the darkness like a rifle shot
grew a beard of clouds on its livid bald
face hung down noon sky high
pivotal time of the flood-deep hours as Duke
was pivotal being a five in the nine
numbers of numerology
as his music was the crossroads
the cosmic mirror of rhythmic gri-gri

so get on up & fly away duke bebop
slant & fade on in strut dance swing riff
float & stroke those tickling gri-gri keys
those satin ladies taking the A train up
to harlem those gri-gri keys of birmingham
breakdown sophisticated
ladies mood indigo
so get on up & strut across gri-gri
raise on up your band's waiting

thunderclapping music somersaulting
clouds racing across the blue deep wisdom
of God listen it is time for your intro
duke into that other place where the all-time
great band is waiting for your intro duke
it is time to make the music of God
duke we are listening for your intro
duke let the sacred music begin

-Quincy Troupe

Monday, May 18, 2009


by Roque Dalton

In the name of those washing others' clothes
(and cleansing others' filth from the whiteness)

In the name of those caring for others' children
(and selling their labor power
in the form of maternal love and humiliations)

In the name of those living in another's house
(which isn't even a kind belly but a tomb or a jail)

In the name of those eating others' crumbs
(and chewing them still with the feeling of a thief)

In the name of those living on others' land
(the houses and factories and shops
streets cities and towns
rivers lakes volcanoes and mountains
always belong to others
and that's why the cops and the guards are there
guarding them against us)

In the name of those who have nothing but
hunger exploitation disease
a thirst for justice and water
persecutions and condemnations
loneliness abandonment oppression and death

I accuse private property
of depriving us of everything.

tr. Jack Hirschman

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I spent much of Sat. morning and early afternoon recording new stuff for Boo Report. During this time, I found it interesting to see how the monitors and equalizers responded to my reading voice. For example, we had problems preventing a popping sound every time I read the word "pounds." It took several takes before we finally came to the conclusion: let's just change it to "kilos." Problem solved. I immediately thought, though, wow, am I spitting on people while I'm talking?

Peggy picked a pepper off her paninni. Imagine!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Reading JFH

While returning from the UCLA campus yesterday, i reread parts of Juan Felipe Herrera's 187 Reasons and couldn't help but remember Luis Alberto's Urrea's long ago blurb "[JFH] is passing other writers as if they were standing still."

When I concluded his long poem "Senorita X: Song for the Yellow-Robed Girl from Juarez," my eyes were wet, and I sat speechlessly for about 15 minutes, watching L.A. pass me from a charter bus window.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I am looking for the this book! If you see it anywhere, hit me up on my beeper. Or on my cell phone. Or if you see this guy, tell him I want part of his name back.
I recently met a guy who just moved to San Diego from the Bay Area. He shared (I never asked) that all he eats is burritos. He's been a bit frustrated with the move, though, because he said there aren't many taquerias in SD that use black beans. Really? I said. Apparently dude located three and mapquested them. Maybe this is his blog.
Speaking of Taqueria Cancún, o beloved Taqueria Cancun, my one and only Taqueria Cancun, I once defeated an employee there in an after hour arm wrestling match. (don't ask) They locked up the place, and we went at it! It was my greatest victory. I won't share his name, but all I can say is, I'll never remind him.

Friday, May 1, 2009

National Poetry Month

To celebrate the final day of April, I sat at a window somewhere on University Ave. sipping on beverage while reading O'hara's "Second Avenue." Scratching my head as I often scratch my head while reading O'hara's "Second Avenue," a woman stopped at the window and said: "Say, you look like you're working hard."

I looked up from my read, paused, then replied: "You don't even know." she smiled, laughed, and kept laughing as she crossed the street. I smiled, too, then continued to scratch my head while finishing up O'hara's "Second Avenue," but this time with a smile.