Archive for May, 2010


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fourteen

C. M. S. Red by Hedges 2008I don’t have to work tomorrow, so it’s a good time to celebrate. However, I’m slightly weary from being in the sun all day, so my celebration will consist of this entry and episodes of M*A*S*H, the best tv show ever.

Today’s tasting is the Hedges C. M. S. 2008, where C. M. S. stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. It’s out of Columbia Valley in Washington, which is a fine wine making region.

I smell mushrooms, darkness, cherries, and dark chocolate. There’s something in there that’s tingling my nose hairs. I hope that something is tasty. It’s kinda mentholy. (My girlfriend gets darkness, cherries, and chocolates in the nose.)

Coco CrispIt tastes like chocolate milk on the front of the tongue, and it has a spicy finish. This would go good with Cocoa Puffs or Coco Krispies, the food not the player, but he might like it too.

It’s a fat, juicy wine. Fat and juicy like the gristle or fat from a steak. That’s more in the middle of the tongue.

It’s got white pepper on the finish.

It’s a big wine that probably does need a big, fat, gristly steak.  As a nighttime drinker and a vegetarian, I don’t know when I’d drink this. I’m sure some will love it, and I can understand why, but it’s not for me. That is, I’ll drink it, I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me, but I probably won’t get this again.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirteen

Day thirteen of the tour and I’m reminded Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 51of Dr. Who. There are supposed to be thirteen regenerations of Dr. Who. As we know, however, the tenth doctor, David Tenant, had two regenerations. He once regenerated into himself. And like Dr. Who, the Juiciest Wine Tour also had a repeat with the Chateau de Paraza Minervois 2007. So maybe this is only day twelve. Maybe it won’t be unlucky. Maybe Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 51 will be good. Let’s find out. Allons-y.

The back label says it is “predominantly comprised of Zinfandel.”

The wine looks young. It’s got a big clear meniscus where the surface of the wine meets the side of the glass. The color looks zinny.

It’s got a slightly spicy nose. It smells earthy. When I smell it, I think of the paleolithic painters who painted the bisons and ibexes  in a cave in Altamira. (By the way, the plural is “ibexes” or “ibices.”)

Oh, man. This is jammy. Lots of fruits and berries that I didn’t expect. I think I got some green apples, too. Definitely some cherries, and in the background some juicy plums. I envision those same paleolithic painters dancing with the shadows cast from a fire made from animal fat. I imagine some type of singing, as well. I imagine the fire, shadows, and singing animate the images of the bisons, ibexes, reindeer, boars, and horses. I imagine an underground party. I want to give them this wine. I want to party with them. I want to dance. I want my head bobbing up and down while I strut in a circular path inside the cave. I want my footprints in the dirt to last as long as the images on the walls. I want to play tunes on a flute made from a woolly mammoth’s tusk. I want Dr. Who’s TARDIS. . . .

This will go good with pasta and the summer squash, green peppers, mushrooms, and chick peas sautéed in Felix Oliver’s 18-year-old special reserve balsamic vinegar and a Tuscan Garden (oregano, rosemary, sage, and garlic) extra virgin olive oil. . . . And it was. Yum.//


Writing Poetry Aloud

Sean Thomas Dougherty and I started a Facebook poll. We are asking our poet friends the following question: During the composition of a poem do you read the poem out loud?

Sean and I want to know because it seems there are a lot of “ear dead” poems out there. While we wait for responses, I am thinking about how I read the poem aloud during its composition.

I can tell you right now that I don’t read my poems out loud during composition that often, but I tend to read the poem aloud once during the composition. But why don’t I read  aloud more often during the poem’s composition? Why only once if at all? especially when I love reading them out loud at poetry readings, especially when I love the rhythm my body falls into and the trance I fall into when I read the poems aloud.

Charles Olson

Charles Olson. Creator of Projective Verse.

I used to read out loud a lot more often, especially during my Charles Olson and Projective Verse phase, which lasted about three or five years. I had to get the poem’s layout with all the spaces between the words to match my breathing, which is more fun when you try to match it to how you smoke!

I should go back further.

I have written in almost every form and every quantitative and qualitative meter that I could find in English, Latin, and Greek. And I have written at least three poems for every meter or form. The only way to write in every meter is to read aloud.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

"Algernon Charles Swinburne" painting by George Frederic Watts 1867.

Swinburne taught me the most about qualitative meter, and it was Ezra Pound, I think, and a Latin dictionary that taught me the most about quantitative meter. By the way, qualitative meters are based on syllabic stress while quantitative meters are based on syllabic length.

Back in the early 90s I heard of a guy who would talk in complete sonnets. He just made them up on the spot in mid-conversation and as part of the conversation. I wanted to do that. So I began another level of training. After a while, I was able to talk in rhyming iambic pentameter fairly well and in blank iambic pentameter with hardly any effort. I never did reach the sonnet level. Maybe once.

I also learned to read slow so I could hear each sound, how it moved, and how it connected to other sounds. Did you know that each letter of the alphabet is made of multiple sounds? That’s useful in harmony making. Did you know there are five levels of stress? They only teach you two in school: stressed and unstressed. But there are five. I even created my own five-level scansion symbol system to mark all the syllables.

Did you know that it’s impossible for the first syllable of a poem to be unstressed? It’s not necessarily stressed, but it’s not completely unstressed. This is because you are speaking for the first time. There’s an extra build up of air. More air comes out here than it would in another spot. For example:

The house had gone to bring again
To the midnight sky a sunset glow.

That’s from Robert Frost’s “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things.” That first “the” has more of an accent than the “the” in the second line. It’s because of the initial expulsion of air.

Robert Duncan

Robert Duncan

Also, in every poem there is one syllable that is more stressed than any other syllable. That’s what Robert Duncan said. I’ve confirmed it true, usually. Sometimes there are two syllables that are the strongest.

So how do I accurately explain how much I read out loud? I don’t know, but I did. Every poem I read, I read out loud. In fact, there came a point when I thought you could derive a poem’s meanings strictly from its sounds. You can. Not always, but often. In fact, there came a point when I didn’t care about the content in any poem. I just wanted sounds. Long vowel sounds especially. Like Bob Dylan’s vowels or Campion’s. Eventually I learned that in a poem the vowels carry the emotion and the consonants carry the meaning. That’s what the letters do. Go read a poem. The emotional ones have lots of long vowels or good vowel movements. The heady poems are consonant based.

T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets

T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets

Almost all my papers on poems were about sound, meter, and rhythm. What I’m trying to say is that I spent an intense twelve to fourteen years reading every poem aloud multiple times and in different intonations. The beginning of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets may be the most beautiful sounding poetry in the history of the English language.

Plus, I scanned poems. I wrote down the stresses and unstresses using my five-level scansion symbol system. I wanted to see what I was hearing. By seeing what I was hearing, by recording it, I was better able to train my ear.

Now, I don’t read out loud that much. Now, when I read out loud, I read for pitch and tone. Because of all my self-imposed training, my mental/silent ear can pick up on the vowel movements and harmonies and rhythms quite well, at this point. It’s actually like a visual and internal-audio dialogue as to how I hear most of the poem. But it’s not so good at hearing the height of the sound, or at least in hearing how the heights work throughout the poem, and how those heights affect the poem’s tone. The poems I don’t read out loud while composing are the ones that are generally flat in language and imagination and end up being to thinky or cerebral. Plus, I want to hear the puffs from my lungs. At some point in the composition, I want my lungs involved. Also, if I’m trying to work out sounds in the poem, I will read it aloud a number of times.

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

Thinking of pitch and tone. If you want to learn about pitch, read Allen Ginsberg. If you want to learn about tone read Ezra Pound or Christopher Howell.

Now, I wanna write a long Ginsbergian poem because those are the most fun to read aloud.


Everything I wrote above is true. At the same time I’m being defensive. I’m rationalizing my laziness for not reading aloud my poems during their compositions.

Jack Spicer

Jack Spicer

A poem needs energy to exist. The hardest part about revising a poem is keeping the original energies. The more revisions that occur, the less of the original energies that remain. That’s generally true. That’s why I think Allen Ginsberg “revised lightly.” That’s probably why Robert Creeley didn’t revise. That’s probably why Jack Spicer trusted the Martians who gave him his poems.

And a poem can’t have energies if it’s written flatly on the page. It can only have two dimensions that way. Writing with the voice creates additional energies and dimensions. The vowel aloud has more emotion that what I hear in my head.

A poem written on the page is a zombie.

It needs breath to be alive. Charles Olson knew that, and now I am reminded of that.

It’s time to stop being lazy. It’s time to sing aloud.//


Dylan Hears a Who

I stumbled upon this, and as long-time Dylan enthusiast, I immediately fell in love. Now I want to share with those who don’t know about it.

Dylan Hears a Who

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think (video)

Green Eggs and Ham (video)

Miss Gertrude McFuzz (sound)

Too Many Daves (sound)

The Zax (video)

I couldn’t find “The Cat in the Hat.”

Most of the songs can be heard here:

Here’s a little story about it:


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day twelve, d’oh

Chateau de Paraza Minervois 2007I wanted to find a spicy Cotes du Rhone and try it out for my friend. He’s looking for a certain type of wine to cook with. Based on his needs, I suggested a spicy Côtes du Rhône. As part of my search, I found the Chateau de Paraza Minervois 2007, d’oh. I just wrote about it on day eight.

Well, since it’s here, bottom’s up.

Oh yeah, it’s still wonderful. It makes my jaw quiver. It’s so delicious. It seems juicier today, and it’s still all wobbly wubbily, jiggily flopsy, and curvy wurvy.

There must be grenache in here somewhere. I just looked on the back. It doesn’t say, but then again it’s written in 7 pt Times New Roman, so who can tell. The tiny type is the only flaw with this wine.

I also checked the price. $8.99. Oh my. I love Mahan’s. Long live Mahan’s. I can afford to drink this as an everyday wine.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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May 2010


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