I Am Just like Johnny Mnemonic

Johnny Mnemonic is a bad movie. It cannot be saved by Ice-T or Henry Rollins or Beat Takashi, who are all bad-asses. It cannot be saved by Dolph Lundgren who plays a cyborg-priest-assassin. It cannot even be saved by the bionic dolphin that uses its high-frequency sonar to help Keanu Reeves hack into his brain so he can get the data the Pharmacon Corporation put in his brain and save the world.

I don't know what makes Johnny Mnemonic a bad movie. The screenplay was written by William Gibson (badass) who adapted it from a short story from his collection Burning Chrome (I can't remember the name of the story, but it is shorter with more action and there is some kind of duel on a net high above an underground society). I don't mind the costumes and the second rate set designs.

There are some good parts to this movie. There is a ninja with a thumb that turns into a laser-whip. He cuts Udo Kier into three pieces. He also chops off some heads. There is a part where Dolph Lundgren is sonared to death by a bionic dolphin. I don't think it is Keanu Reeves' fault that this movie sucks. I think Keanu Reeves is an interesting actor and people who think he is boring suck because he made a ton of rad movies and no one else can play the parts he plays. I feel like his part in Johnny Mnemonic is a part like this.

In his long essay about The Matrix, this is what Joshua Clover says about Keanu Reeves' acting in Johnny Mnemonic:

"Like Schwarzenegger's Terminator, Keanu Reeves was meant to realize himself as not-quite-human. But unlike the processed bodybuilder/future Governor, Keanu wasn't quite made to play a machine. With his unassignable looks (often attributed to his genetic heritage of Chinese, Caucasian, and Hawaiian) already seemingly digitally smoothed, and his immediate proffering of pure surface without depth, he's closer to the dream of a next generation - a post-modern poster boy. In both appearance and manner, his quality is that of the actor without qualities - the New Star, destined not to distract from the digital mise en scene but to integrate with it seamlessly."

This is a good thing to say about most of Keanu Reeves acting, maybe not his acting in classics such as Point Break, or Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. He is more expressive in those movies. But I think it applies to most of his movies, especially The Matrix movies and A Scanner Darkly.

Sometimes I feel like Johnny Mnemonic. Like I have all this important information in my head I can't get to because an evil corporation doesn't want me to have it and all I need is a super-intelligent bionic dolphin and Ice-T and Henry Rollins and I can save the world. Do you ever feel that way?



I Feel My Life Slipping Away

I was in a taxi last night coming back from Brooklyn and I had the feeling nothing could make me feel better about my life. The feeling was abstract and it had something to do with the economy. I felt like everything in my life was going to fall apart and I felt stupid for taking a taxi instead of the train. I was also afraid I would never find someone to love and share my life with. Here are some reviews of some chapbooks:

Hit Wave by Jon Leon (Kitchen Press, 2009)

When I read this book I wanted to be the main character. The main character is what I would call "very cool". He is some kind of publisher/writer/entrepreneur/genius who can do anything he wants, but only cares about highly metaphysical concerns like the spiritual benefits of hedonism, or the application of limitless freewill. Reading this book will make you feel powerful, like you can accomplish anything you want, even if the economy is fucked and you have no savings. I like the way the chapbook was constructed. It has a stapled binding and a nice spine that feels like a "real" poetry book. The cover is classy and unpretentious. I give this chapbook three arbitrary Obamas.

Untied by Sunnylyn Thibodeaux

I like all the poems in this book. All of the poems feel sincere and private like they are being told to one person and that person may not be you, but you are lucky to listen in. Some of the poems feel like they are being told to no one. Every one of the poems looks nice on the page. The lines of each poem feel like the author spent time placing each of them in a loving way. I don't think you can buy this chapbook anywhere online. If you live in San Francisco you might be able to get one somewhere like Needles and Pens or Dog Eared Books. It has a nice letter-pressed cover and a pleasing size. I also give this chapbook three arbitrary Obamas.

They All Seemed Asleep by Mattew Rohrer (Octopus Books, 2009)

Matthew Rohrer has a good sense of humor. It is very measured and not "over the top". This book reminded me of certain parts of A Farewell to Arms, because the writing has a flat affect and is very accurate in the way it describes things. Also, it is about some crazy shit that goes down where the main character has to take sides and fight in a war he is not really a part of. I guess that's not like A Farewell to Arms, but it's close. I read this book in one sitting, but I think that's ok because it is kind of an adventure story and has a pulpy feel. This chapbook has nice flourishes, like gold end-papers and and an awesome cover. I feel that this chapbook should receive my highest rating:



Thanks Nick and Michelle for helping me make my blog look good. You guys are the best.


Illegal? Blogworthy? Cheeseburgers?

This is a page from Poetry's November 2008 issue. Poetry magazine has an endowment of 678 billion dollars. They are the best know poetry magazine in the universe. This picture/poem is by a Canadian "visual poet" named Derek Beaulieu. I was in Beeswax Magazine Issue 4 with Derek. His art is great to look at/read. I liked his work and Greg Santos and I asked him to contribute to the small journal we edit called pax americana. pax americana has no endowment. Actually, I have four dollars and twenty five cents in my pocket, so pax americana has an endowment of $4.25. We don't have any money really and we all work for free. Recently, we published some of Derek's art in our Canadian Issue and some in our second print issue. This is from the second issue of pax americana, published in November. I think this might be illegal, but maybe not. It seemed blog worthy.


I Am Trying to Waste My Life

I just watched four hours of TV. I watched The Office and some other stuff like old episodes of Family Guy. Then I watched Predator 2. It was rad. There are some good parts in that movie. I forgot that Gary Busey and Bill Paxton were both in that movie. One of the best parts is when the Predator cuts Gary Busey in half with his blade thing. First the blade thing cuts through five or six sides of beef and then it cuts Gary Busey in half. When the Predator kills Bill Paxton it's kind of sad. At first it's hard to like Bill Paxton's character, but then you realize he's really just misunderstood and an ok guy and then the Predator kills him and keeps his spine and his skull as a trophy. Overall, I give Predator 2 a very high rating. If I had a rating system to rate movies I would say that Predator 2 gets four out of five thumbs up or stars or zucchinis or whatever. This has nothing to do with writing, or maybe it does. Maybe it's exactly like poetry. I am probably going to watch Robo Cop 2 next.


I don't know what I am doing.

I am surrounded by all these poems. I have a lot of poems that I don't know what to do with. Maybe they're good, but I don't know. They are probably mediocre. I want someone to publish them, but they do not seem publishable. Either they are works of misunderstood genius or they are mediocre.

I am going to try to write a chapbook, but maybe I have enough poems for a book book. I probably have enough poems for two chapbooks, but I don't know. I don't know what to do.

I am afraid that my poems are "all over the place". I am afraid I will never be able to make a coherent aesthetic statement with my poems. I am afraid I don't know anyone who will publish my poems.

I published my own poems once. I published a chapbook called Diagrams and one called Collected Ghost. I published Diagrams in 2004 and Collected Ghost in 2005. I think those poems are sophomoric now.

The covers were the best part about the chapbooks. One was a lithograph of my dad when he was fifteen with some cranes in the background fighting each other. I drew all the lettering on the cover by hand, using my Royal Quiet DeLuxe typewriter font as a model. The other cover was a collage I made using a bunch of old collages and the outline of Maryline Monroe from an old Playboy I found at the Oakland Flea Market. I spent a lot of time on the poems and a lot of time on the covers. (If you click on the pictures you can see them better. Please, do.) I also spent a lot of time at Office Max copying the poems for the guts of the chapbooks. I was going to make another chapbook called Notebooks of the Mouse Prince, but I never did.

I still have copies of Collected Ghost and one copy of Diagrams. If you want one, email me or leave me a comment with your address and I will send you one for free.

I don't want to publish my own writing ever again. I think I was pretty good at it, but I don't want to do it again. I want someone else to publish my work, but my poems are a shit-hole fuck mess.

I am just going to write this and go to bed.