May 14, 2004

A new month, a new baseball season underway, more readings taking place at the apartment - although the "season" ends next week - and another devastating month of setbacks in Iraq. The Detroit Tigers are actually doing OK, the Red Wings ran out of gas against the Flames, and the Pistons are making a strong bid to reach the finals. Here in San Francisco, it doesn't look too good for the Giants, who seem to have assembled a AAA club to surround Barry Bonds, and the A's don't look much better, although there's still hope because at least they have starting pitching. This morning walking to my office after dropping off my car at the mechanics' I stopped to jot this down:

The Stolichnaya Russian Vodka billboard that looms over the 101 overpass - why am I so fascinated by it? The almost futurist, Rodchenko-like design of it, with the white lettering in satisfyingly thick red bands going up either side of it; between them the richness of the b & w photo of three elegant beauties, the strong-featured blonde in the foreground the only one of them vaguely Russian, holding a drink and glancing suggestively to her right as if she's just caught the eye of a man to your left, the smooth white line of her knuckles held beside the dark plane of her cheek; then the Asian and the brunette leaning close behind her, as if they've spotted some men who don't yet have the courage to return their gaze, smiling; unlike the serious, seductive blonde, they won't be as hard to get, and the dimpled chin of the brunette hints at a lilting humor. And they glance slightly away from you making it safe to gaze on their beauty, even as you're drawn into the tinkling martini hilarity of the barroom lounge. Then there's the effect of this enormous construction, the three faces bigger than the cypress trees on Brannen, the while scene broad as a cloud, as if these goddesses await the judgment of some bohemian Paris with infinite grace and sublime disdain, all of it floating with cartoon affrontery against the blue sky.

There's another No Nude Men production coming soon; Love, Egos, Alternative Rock (LEAR) opens Thursday, May 27 at New Langton Arts. For those of you in the poetry world, Stephanie Young has a small but key role in the play as 1/4th of the alternachick band the Cunning Stunts. The play runs through June 12th.

Another long-anticipated project I'm looking forward to getting underway is the Poet's Baseball League. No, we're not going to invent a whole league of fake players and teams and have them do battle through the season a la Jack Kerouac. We're actually going to play the frickin game. Spring training is scheduled to begin Sunday, May 30 - yes, that's Memorial Day weekend, but we're shooting for that anyway. If you are a poet and you live in the Bay Area and are interested in joining us, you can contact me here for more information.

Let's see, what else? Finished another semester with Tom Clark, who has generously allowed me to audit his New College classes for the past year. This term we did a survey of English Renaissance Poets including Thomas Wyatt, Ben Jonson, Jonne Donne, Robert Herrick, and Andrew Marvell - just a little light verse, you know.

Meanwhile of course there have been a couple of wonderful readings at our apartment in the Outer Richmond - thanks to Brent and Karen, and David and Rodney - and it'll be sad to shut down for the summer. But there'll be baseball and other projects and other readings, as always, too, and we'll be back in the fall. Well, that's it for now; my car's ready, so I have to walk down to pick it up. Have a good month.

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January 2004
November 2003

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