Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dawn I heard a rag rip

Greg Hall died. He was a good friend and a great poet. It drove me crazy to see him just throw away garbage bags full of his own fantastic poetry. He could shed it as easy as he could shed another "residential hotel" style apartment or an old self. Greg understood ephemera. We're always losing things. leaving the world behind with everything we do. I keep crying to think he's not still seeing and writing and losing - losing so intensely - and leaving things behind. Now he's left for good.

Sometimes he'd send me a pile of poems instead of throwing them away. I know Robert Pesich must have some, and Walter Martin, and F.A. Nettelbeck and certainly Bea Garth has got to have a ton.

Bitter, funny, sweet, profound, never boring or pretentious, slouching around chain smoking in his cowboy boots. He could swoop into cliche or pop culture or insanity and come out of that nosedive firing anti-bullshit bullets to blow your head off. Weird staccato heartfelt delivery full of line "breaks and "quote" "marks". I will miss his strange late night drunken phone calls. The man could drunk dial you a poem or just ramble endlessly about Genet or Merle Haggard. Whatever it was would make me feel like I was flying, and could say anything, as a poet and madwoman, and it would be heard & understood. You know that feeling sometimes, with a person, when the things you might write in your most private soul broken-languagely, becoming text, just connected right in; talking to him opened that up direct to conversation. There wasn't even any leaping to it, Greg was on that rocketship to fucking mars.

Greg reading Van Gogh Ambulance at a Barbershop late night living room Non-Salon, 2004.

Greg reading Chicken Little Shark Sky maybe around 2005?

Greg reading Pirate Ship 2005

some poems from Eos

One by one
the parts of a body
arrive & attach
& flight
becomes more difficult
barely escaping
collision with chimneys
I sweep
through the air
with great effort
they are sharks
the left leg
the left foot
the wrists the hands
the neck the head
"I felt a great heaviness
in the water & everything
became silent"
then I was lifted
only to be
swept down
all the while
caught in a vise
"I felt no pain"
all I saw
was the eye
it seemed flat
& dead
& then the
this is
now the doctors
with aspirins like frisbees
& tubes & wires
& admonishments
every time
I light a smoke
I felt better
when I had
no body
& all I did
was fly
& ecstatic
or remorse
I recommend
to the young
not to age
& to fly fast
the sky

Greg's "Explanatory Notes to Poems" doodle of his attitude towards literary criticism. Funny!!!
Explanatory Notes to Poems

Just about 2 poems a year...

So here, by the grace of Liz Henry, arrives an
unobtrusive collection of 23 poems by the
troublesome trouble man, that restless and sleepy
man, the elusive Greg Hall.

These poems, spanning 12 years, intruded
themselves as others faded, the stack was about a
foot high and these fugitives from the
crumpling fist somehow charmed, each in their
own way, the madman, who, although having
written them, longed to find no value in them,
or to find them fatally marred – Anything to
allow an exit “towards oblivion”, as Genet once told
an interviewer, when asked, “Where do you think
you’re headed?”

Oblivion will take care of everyone – Though
perhaps that is better left unsaid. I’m only here
because this place, this planet, this hour, is

“Only in it for the poetry.”

I sincerely hope you find something to like in
these pages.

and if you don’t, or can’t, or won’t,
at least I died
with a sword in my hand.

Greg Hall
March 20, 2002

Self portrait doodle by Greg. You can see the shark from Chicken Little Shark sky (and other poems) and "The Man With the Hoe" (from the poem by Markham) in the background.
Greg's self portrait with shark and hoe


In my chubby
I go around
with pliers
in one hand
and a hammer
in the other
for yr mother
so I can help
you out
I will twist
her thoughts so
you can find
a woman
who is not
with no screws
then you

(This poem especially hilarious out loud. It was in Cuts from the Barbershop)

I have Flame People as many people do & treasure; the poems from Inamorata, which I printed up into a sea-like little book with foam colored inside leaves; the manuscript of Whoregasm which I was going to publish with yellow legal pad paper marked up by cigarette burns and coffee mug rings and poem scribblings; Diary of a Desert Fox, and some other packets around here somewhere. Plus some recordings some of poems and some of Robert and me and Janel and mostly Greg, just rambling. But how much is out there? I wish I could read it. But more than that I'll miss his out loud readings and his beautiful conversation and his bad ass, innocent, bad attitude.


In the white morning light

everything was waiting.

Even the trees

in vibrant state of tension

seemed to be holding

a breath inside.

An implied cry

such as a crow’s

concealed itself

among the green leaves.

And though it is

late in the year

later in the year

than I have ever been

I too was waiting.

And now the Moon

faded in the sky

appearing as a Goddess.

And now the wind

orchestrating the trees.

And now the cries

the crows in the leaves.

And now the flood

the remembrances of you.

And now everything is moving

and now nothing is waiting.

And because I myself am lost

nothing can be lost

because everything

is lost.

(from Inamorata, dedicated to Abby Niebaur)

That little book, so amazing, what other great books of his, one-offs, or the product of the culling out process of several years, are out there?

I'd send him poems and he'd be all like WHERE DID THAT COME FROM and I'd be like WTF MAN, out of my BRAIN what do you think? and he'd be like WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THAT and I'd be like well what about you man, what are you doing, can you just like, send that shit to people to keep for you instead of throwing it away?!

We lost touch the last few years. I've missed him. Now I really miss him. He meant so much to me. It's fucking unfair. I know how he'd be about it but it's not fucking fair.

Greg Hall

A player piano
on slack key strings
called to tell me

"I can't rest or sleep
until I know
you've found your place."

Toothache - telephone -

"I used to have
this pain. My tongue
feels for it in the empty space."

Oldwood sounding box
on the hollowphone

"Even as we speak
people we could have loved
die in their beds."

Halt sway & slur worn-down cylinders
the turned up shirtsleeves of the player-mad ghost,
his lost gloves & blind fingers
lost generation




like him
you clutched your wrecked folder of printouts
like a derelict with a bottle of fire in brown paper
lurched about the room shy and a bit vacant,
your lifeline -

I can follow you a little ways now into the dark.

Rambling to the bus station with my bag of books.
Goodbye arthritic knees, goodbye neurotic carousel,

my mind freed to lightspeed floating in your words
your halting voice
I hear another voice

Struck, stunned, to follow your lightning words up into the dark
your soul in the stars
lost the sense
the stammering gaps,
the truth in the joke,
the little squares below waiting for my patient hand –

An artist


the family –




Did you stop there underwater, waiting for a tug on the line?
The slow bubbles in the blood, clots in the brain, shocks near to death.
The anguished rope of vision
the damage done to us

Faithless Rocinante how could you leave your master here like this?


my father, my father's father,
I fall from you like a plane in a tailspin, forgive me –
driving too fast down the highway with poetry in my lap
elementary particle I have seen photos of your tracks in cloud chambers


a crazy prince,
how cruel the world is!
How cruel the world’s beauty.
Old loon,
crying, haunted cracked vessel,

I follow your lightning words up into the dark beyond the thunderclouds
that cotton wool, that thick white, up to the clear night sky and the electric stars

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Planet of Swears

I'm writing some RSS feed scraper programs and while playing around with that, set up an install of Planet feed reader. It was very funny to see on the one hand, lots of people blogging or writing things like "Oh, this doesn't even need setup, just unzip it and you're basically done" -- and the Planet documentation itself saying that the config file's comments explained everything -- vs. actual step by step instructions of what to do, like burningbird's post, which I found very helpful. That's a lot of "nothing to do" to explain and it still didn't get far enough for what I'd like to figure out: how to set up one installation of Planet but also set up multiple feeds in different directories, each with their own template.

Meanwhile I'm very amused that for another project I get to write a spider with a curse word filter. I haven't had that hilarious of results since writing porn filters for Excite's web spider. My output files and screen output when runs are very funny. "Asshole Detected!"

A quick search on lists of dirty words gets some very amusing Supreme Court hearing transcripts. Like so!

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978), Decided July 3, 1978. The dissenting opinions are especially great!

"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used."
I'll try quoting that to my kid next time he frown at my liberal use of what he carefully calls "the f word".

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kiva lending and people with disabilities

Kiva has opened up to lending to entrepeneurs within the U.S. and I think this is something disability activists and independent living centers need to jump on immediately. This won't help everyone, but it could help quite a few people with disabilities to start their own businesses.

For example, look at these Pass Plan examples.

# PASS Plan Abstract: Joseph's goal is to become a full-time office clerk for the state. He has the disability label of Muscular Distrophy, Cognitive, and Vision Impairments, and uses a wheel chair. Joseph's PASS will pay for OJT training experiences, a van, insurance, registration, gas maintenance, and a driver. This PASS will be used to purchase of a van, install lift modifications, and hire a personal attendant. The yearly cost is $1884.00. This PASS is for six years and a total amount of $11,304. This PASS comes from the Chicago Regional SSA Office.

How different would that proposal look if it were a request for capital and a Kiva-style loan (OR... a donation.) I've been saying for a while that what is insurmountable to a PWD, like simply needing a ramp built and a decent wheelchair, say a $5000 cost, would be easily obtainable through profiles and requests for donations or loans. Make the problem and the solution visible, and people will help, because to someone that $5000 is like pocket change and to a much greater pool of people on the Internet, a lot of small donations could make it up in no time. This would eliminate some of the structure of "professionals" who, frankly, siphon off 2/3 of the resources allocated to empower people with disabilities. Think of the people who have comfortable lives as professional experts who administer charity but who keep the objects of their charity in crazy poverty. It's not their fault, it's a systemic fault, but there's something deeply wrong there.

How might a Kiva-like structure combine with Ticket to Work to make it easier for people with disabilities not just to find jobs but to go into business for themselves. Look at the collectives and cooperatives on Kiva and how a group of women will band together. That's the kind of organization we might need to develop. If you get benefits and depend on them for, say, your health care, your personal care attendent, your ventilator; then you can't have any resources and are trapped in an endless poverty, you can't accumulate resources, you are kept in dependency. I have some problems with "being middle class" as a goal and yet faced with things like institutional living and the loss of control of our lives I think it's not a bad goal to work towards.

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Rebel Girl! Riot Grrl nostalgia show

This is coming up tomorrow and you're all welcome to come! I'll be reading some fun, fiery rants and giving away a few zines and vintage "riot grrl outer space" buttons.

I believe there will be accordion-playing as well!

riot grrl nostalgia reading

The National Queer Arts Festival & San Francisco in Exile Present:
REBEL GIRL: a riot grrl nostalgia show
Thursday, June 11th
The Garage
975 Howard, San Francisco
Show at 7:30; Doors at 7pm
Tickets: $10-20

Buy Tickets on-line!!:

More details about the performance and the performers are at:

All Star, All Grrrl Cast!:

Gina de Vries
Chan Dynasty
Melissa Gira Grant
Liz Henry
Nomy Lamm
Zuleikha Mahmood
Melodie Younce

Join the National Queer Arts Festival and San Francisco in Exile for a
Riot Grrrl Revival -- where you can once again dress in your leopard
print thrift store finery, scrawl SLUT across your midriff, toss that
Huggy Bear 7" on the turntable, and make a fanzine extolling the
virtues of veganism + vibrators. It's Revolution Grrrl-Style, Now! --
with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Past and present zinestars and
grrrl revolutionaries will tell wax nostalgic about the old days, and
let you know what they've been up to recently. Zines and cupcakes will
be available for purchase.

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