PLEASE JOIN US TODAY
BOOK FESTIVAL time is upon us. I will be at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books next weekend signing “After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame.”
Both days, I will be at the Angel City Press booth (#119 near Tommy Trojan). You can find me on Saturday from 12pm to 2pm and on Sunday from 2pm to 4pm. Please come by and say hello.
On Sunday afternoon 4/22, from 12:30pm to 1pm, I will be in conversation with Karen Tei Yamashita and Geoff Dyer on the topic of “Photography & Narrative” moderated by David L. Ulin. It’s free, but to reserve your tickets click here.
“I walked up a hill, up California past Chinatown, someplace I came to a white garage….and this guy in a swivel chair wanted to know what I wanted, I understood all of my moves as one obligation after another to communicate to whoever not accidentally but by *arrangement* was placed before me, communicate and exchange this news, the vibration and new meaning that I had, about everything happening to everyone all the time everywhere….” — Jack Kerouac born OTD 1922 .
.. Image: Jack Kerouac by Jerry Yulsman, 1957
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.
So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And so is music”
From Breakfast of Champions
Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut
Grocery on Venice Beach
by Denis Johnson
Thank you salesperson I see your heart
quivering redly in its gossamer
I with this fiery whirling atomic
symbol where I used to have a stomach
lighting my dead shoes
down the aisle
Briefly the gauzy but legible
future veils the place and is beheld
I can talk inside the mind
of my great-grandchild Oh unconceived
monster hurting your teeth on our dead Disneylands
we were here we touched this radioactive food
We didn’t have the claws and then something in our hearts sufficed
We didn’t have X-ray eyes we knew what was inside of everything
I have paid and I have left
walked out of the little store onto a white beach
the light declining and lavender
walked past two women
as they knelt covered with gooseflesh
beside the Tarot dealer
past a man pretending to be a machine in a circle
alongside but not too close
to people who no longer
live indoors or hide their thoughts
past the child
born in a towaway zone
the mother’s eyes like
and curses going by in the water
I leave you this record
of an invisible monstrosity and this
report of sadness
a semi-truck against the bruised roses
emeralds in the velvet wound
of Malibu the cold
from –The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly — Poems Collected and New
Excited to now officially report that I’ve been awarded the Huntington Library’s Alan Jutzi Fellowship to support the next leg of my research this summer in the Octavia E. Butler archive. I’m so grateful that she’s left so much of her story to learn from. Now looking forward to delving deeper.
It has been an honor to spend time in the archive and see a much more complex portrait of this Southern California native slide into view.
Stay tuned for more info about Butler here.
JOIN US tomorrow afternoon at 826LA Echo Park for Roar Shack. On the bill: Chip Jacobs, Dana Johnson Geza X, Steve Hodel, David Kukoff and yours truly. The event: “I Remember That: L.A. in the 70s.” We’ll be reading pieces looking back at when L.A. was a bit more open, wild and it took only 30 minutes to get just about anywhere…. See you there.