Nobody's creekbed

songs, prayers, poetry, stories, art, photographs, moving pictures, fondnesses, tall-tales and meditations

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The Anterior Insula and Hwy W

Friday, April 20, 2007

"Perhaps, Young Willie, you could call that album The Dead-Headed Stranger, or Shacked Up. Perhaps you could call it Sullen Cinema. First, however, you must write the songs."

Justin Stone, The Excessive Machine

"I know why the lazy bird doesn't sing."

Chris Heinrich, Water Over The Bridge

Monday, April 16, 2007

Let us assume for a moment that the rates for Mercury Automobile Insurance really are so low because the company is being run by Aliens from the Planet Mercury. Let us assume that the fellow driving around the country in a seemingly insane quest to get to the bottom of this mystery really is on to something amazing. My question is this: what would these Aliens from the Planet Mercury stand to gain by offering such low rates? What is in it for them? Did they cross the awful expanse of the solar system to more or less give insurance away to the drivers of our country? Could this be cosmic altruism at work? Or could it be that they are wildly ignorant to standard business practices within today's American automobile insurance industry? Could the Aliens from the Planet Mercury be that naive? It would not seem so, not given the fact that they were able to fly to our planet in the first place, and then go about getting a business license and plan together and all that. Why wouldn't they just sell us Brain TVs or Memory Pants? Either product would make tons of money. I mean, it just seems insane. Which leads me finally to wonder whether or not this isn't all some kind of trick? Are these automobile insurance rates--rates characterized by all involved as "so low"--are they some kind of smokescreen? Are we as consumers--lovers one and all of Earth life and sweet auto insurance deals--strolling blindly into a trap? The first stage of some evil scheme hatched in the cold, unrelenting brain of a Mercurian business dynamo?

Should I acquire Mercury Automobile Insurance? Do I have any choice?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It is Sunday and everybody knows that Sundays are great days to watch hardcore metal music videos. Today I was lollygagging about the interweb in my special little hat and special little shoes and I came upon a curious kernel. I was the lead actor in a music video for the song Eradication by California metal rockers All Shall Perish last year. I understand that the video has seen time on MTV2 Headbangers Ball and other outlets and that All Shall Perish is quite a popular band in their field. Today I see that the video has been posted on YouTube in an "uncut" version and that as of this moment the video has been viewed 70,814 times. (I should note that my mother is probably responsible for 30,000 to 40,000 of these viewings.)

Click here to watch the Eradication.

BONUS TREAT: If you are interested in debating the competitive merits of deathmetal versus hardcoremetal versus justplainmetal versus grindcoremetal versus horrormetal versus blackmetal versus technicalmetal versus clownmetal versus bobsegermetal versus oldschoolmetal versus newmetal and doing so with lots of indignation and curse words then brew up several pots of coffee and join in on the enlightening message thread accompanying the YouTube video.

It is a special age we live in. We truly are the most special people of all time. I am reminded of this every time I fall down the stairs and open my eyes.

When I am not sitting in my flooded basement writing these skinny creekbed notes or screenplays I sometimes like to put on my orange jump suit, rubber gloves and clothsack mask, string some dolls from the ceiling, mash up some cigarette butts in a bucket, tie a friend into an oldfashioned wheelchair and read aloud choice passages of literature.

Alright, alright. No, you are right, we are not done. I can read the thoughts in your mind as if you were this book of Leonard Cohen poetry on my desk. Longtime creekheads will know that this is not the first time I played a disturbed sociopath in a metal music video. Several years ago I was lead actor in the video for the hit song Decency Defied by deathmetal legends Cannibal Corpse. Went to Florida, hung out the Corpse, did some method work in Ybor City. Good stuff. A little search on YouTube reveals that the Cannibal Corpse video has been viewed 90,491 times. I cannot figure out what all of this means.

Click here to watch Decency Defied. (When this video was in post-production there was a big push to sanitize the visuals in an attempt to get it approved for air on MTV2, and this is why so much of the video now has the solarized effect, rendering it nearly unintelligible. Earlier versions of the video were much more graphic. I'm not sure such versions of the video are available anywhere other than my shelf. This is probably for the best.)

There is a great argument underway at the top of this YouTube video's message thread about whether or not Black Sabbath "invented" metal. What do you think? Do not sit there and try to tell me you haven't spent some time thinking about this. Well, get over there and let the seething mass know how you vaguely feel this second. The internet was given unto us that we might come together as one and argue over bullshit.

I have to ask, how much decency have you defied today? Any at all? Get out there, make your mothers and grandmothers proud.

On that note... Happy 75th birthday to my beloved Grandma T! She of the unmatched lifeforce, she of the keen eye and fine wit and quick smile. She of the finest living room in the known world. She who has loved and supported me with vigor. Grandma T, I love you. Hopefully I will act in another deathmetal video very soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spook Knee

That’s throwing me out with the bathtub.
That’s throwing bathwater on the baby when the baby is still in the bathtub.
That's suddenly remembering you left the water running on the other side of the world.
That’s throwing up in your bathwater.
That’s throwing a cast-iron butterfly to its freedom.
That’s giving indian nickels to the cowboy banker.
That’s drinking your bathwater after the bath.
That’s your baby throwing you out with the trash.
That’s the Midnight Town that had the Sunlight Blues.
That’s shooting a movie in your sleep and not finishing it.
That’s throwing the bathtub into the yard where your car already is.
That’s putting an oven-mitt on when the bathwater’s too hot.
That’s looking up when it’s raining and opening your mouth.
That's throwing the shine out with the apple's eye.
That’s your baby drawing you a bath in the evening.
That’s studying amateur ethno-botany in your post-adolescence.
That's reading the writing on the water.
That’s throwing stones at a bunch of babies.
That’s saying it was fun while it lasted knowing that it didn’t last very long.
That’s taking the Beverly Hills housewife out of the sports utility vehicle and assuming you have taken the sports utility vehicle out of the Beverly Hills housewife.
That's throwing the letter from your best friend out with the junkmail.
That’s a bathtub full of mirrors.
That’s a three-legged race across a tight-rope.
That's a movie no one can see or hear.
That’s taking a bath in Greece.
That’s throwing a party for a baby on somebody else’s birthday.
That’s getting in a bath you drew last year.
That’s throwing me out with your senses.
That’s taking a bath in a glass house.
That’s writing Son of Blob: Little Blob and then grossing a worldwide box office of only 300 million dollars.
That’s a bathtub made of dirt and bathwater made of rocks.
That’s throwing accusations out with the mirror.
That's water pooled up on a duck's back.
That’s dancing on the moon with no slippers.
That's taking a bath in somebody else's clothes.
That's throwing the kit out with the kaboodle.
That’s spinning your wheels in the mud and turning the stereo up.
That’s looking in a mirror and seeing a glass house in your left eye.
That’s getting struck by a bathtub when you’re walking down the street.
That's falling asleep under water.
That's babies making noises and thinking they're some kind of genius.
That's standing in an open door but being unable to move.
That's remaking Steel Magnolias with an all male cast.
That’s throwing your bathtub into the yard where your brokedown car already is and then digging a hole in the ground, bringing the hose around from the back to fill the hole and take a bath but then falling down and forgetting what you were doing.
That’s a baby explaining to you the finer points of taking a walk in the rain.
That’s waking up the day after your funeral.
That’s throwing the frying pan into the ocean when you’re in the fire.
That's a thousand little dream of fish.
That's a face coming in low over the water gathering wind and speed as it reaches land and suddenly becoming your own.
That’s throwing up in a baby’s mouth.
That’s believing everything you say.

Monday, April 09, 2007

People of Los Angeles, right now you have a rare opportunity to see an amazing work of cinema, but you only have until Thursday, April 12. The movie is Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, and it is having a revival run at the NuArt Theatre (11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, just west of the 405 Freeway). Burnett shot his movie in 1977 on location in Watts, Los Angeles, using 16 millimeter black and white film, and he achieved the sublime. To my mind, Killer of Sheep is an example of what cinema can be, what it ultimately should be. By that I mean both the act of making cinema—one’s responsibility as a storyteller—and as a viewer, being given to experience in a dreamlike way simple, transcendental knowledge, bliss, folly, heartache, beauty, fear, love; to live and breathe as another; the simple beat-beat-beat of every moment’s heart. No other artform allows for the totality of this experience. But it almost never happens in today's popular movie climate wherein we get our gags and bloodshed and manufactured moments and go home, almost instantly forgetting what we just saw.

And so we seek.

Killer of Sheep

I will be thinking about two men haggling uncomfortably over an engine block and then carrying that engine block slowly, precariously, painfully—nothing short of everything in the world at stake—down a steep, rickety flight of wooden stairs for the rest of my days. And I will also be thinking of a slow, desperate, tender dance between a man and a woman in front of a sun-filled window with, again, nothing short of everything in the world at stake. A group of kids playing under an abandoned rail car. My breath catches.

Killer of Sheep official website

If you have your wits about you and do not live in Los Angeles, please check the screenings page of the website for special engagements of this movie across the country for the next few months! It will be playing somewhere near you, dear reader—check the calendar, find the time.

This week I will be going again to see Killer of Sheep inside the mysterious dark of a theatre while I have the chance. Flicker. I have no choice. My body compels me.

Please go. Support. Partake. You will be rewarded.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

“mira, mira,” she said,
“there be eyes in your head,
there be instinct in chest.”

years spent in middling management
trying terribly to assess the situations.
day after day he steals into my office, my affairs,
and he makes a much better love to my wife.
that is the story of things,
but i have a river to build,
water to coerce,
i have a landscape to carve
and then boats to launch.
that is the story of cities and you and me,
that is the story in real time.

from the basement door i hear the wild call of natives,
sounds of things less defined,
less rigorously designed.
i hear these things being put to my family,
i hear mute responses from friends.
how now that is the story of things.
that is me in the well-worn pants,
that is you stretching on the floor—
we move our own ways toward our yawns.

buckbreaddoughcashmoolah coinsawbuckdollarwampum

[the hero chortles]

playground fights are known to multiply when the wind rises

[the hero grimaces]

tornadoes pluck the chicken of its feathers, the man of his guts

[the hero blubbers]

"only maddogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun"

[there is no valhalla; no hero’s paradise]

rainmaker with a secret for success. it was, after all, thunderstorms, electrical activities in the atmosphere, which brought our world to life

[duckman farts]

a bunch of people all saying ‘no’ at once,
a collective grimace—
that’s the toll that is the ass tax,
collected in the present past.

to dream of those formerly pledged love to
and then wake bruisy inside, depleted,
having left everything to another time & place,
having left everything soaked up in sheets.

it’s funny now—you in these heavy shoes
on cut-stone floors, in a cut-stone home,
making eyes at the desert & artisans,
making eyes to make eyes,
and it’s so good to see you,
seems we have waited so very long—
haven’t i seen you before?

there was a punch-up of lines
and thinks thunk in the night,
i would’ve sworn everybody said everything
simply having known no better,
but still you looked good standing there waiting
and the best line, the very best line,
was the one you said about the arrival of trains
and the uniqueness of smiles.

to have come all this way
with so many tight-packed bags
was a feat of no small endurance—
a precious thing with homely exterior,
and the talk now is funny for entirely different reasons,
the talk now is of you
and it is drawing across the sky.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

mother’s day 2003:
“it’s a sight to be so lazy . . .”
homespun—the living room and beyond in the space of an afternoon
and i with turkey in my chest, charlie horse in my head.
talk falls silent and we hear naught but our thoughts, the sounds of fountain
and the windy green outside dressed in birdcall and song.
i can think of missouri in no other way.
“most of the time, everything is alright.”

Thursday, April 05, 2007

justification round the dinner room table. you’ve said all these words before, silly parody, yet you feel the need—you want them to believe in wealth, in a great breaking.

jack buck says, “you know, improbably, i tire of baseball. it’s all just hits and pitches and spit. nostalgia.” he dreamed as a child of painting his face, dancing with folks round a blaze of fire. “i don’t know what ever happened to that.”

he’s in the Wood Shed, head cocked, listening. he’s picked up the local dialect, affected the common mannerisms, colloquialisms, routines of commerce. the days become seasons, the seasons a lifetime.