cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (crap)
I roused the family from comfortable couch potato-hood so I could go downtown and buy a new Slingshot day planner. I went to the shop where I got one before, but they were out of stock. So my family and I walked a few more blocks to another shop. On the way, I noted a stopped police car with its lights on, but said nothing.

At the second shop, I got to choose from the red or blue version of the planner. On our way back to the car, we saw now two cop cars on the opposite side of the street as earlier, and one angry cop was searching a jeep while three scrawny young guys waited. Somebody mentioned incense. The cop was practically spitting: "You think this is my first day? This ain't my first day. Shut up and stand over there before I give you a ticket." The other cop was calm, so maybe it was a good cop/bad cop deal.

A man and woman went by and teased the kids about having messed with the wrong cop; I think they knew the calm one, who beckoned them over. I lingered for a while, to witness, because I didn't like the way the angry cop was talking to these boys.

JJ, who feels very differently about law and order than I do, said, "They don't have enough cops."

I said, "What?!" 

He said, "If people are just walking away as they search the car..."

"Who's walking away?!"

"That woman and the guy."

"They're not with them, they were just walking by!"

"Well, I didn't see that," J said.

I looked around and decided there were enough other witnesses (including one woman I kind of recognized from library or university circles) that it wasn't worth me sticking around and getting into an argument with J.

We returned to the parking garage where, for the second time in less than a week, our car battery was dead. I pleaded with J to be kind to the service guy from the car dealership, and the tow truck guy, because it wasn't anybody's fault. As dependent as he is on the car, he gets really het up when it's out of commission, whereas Tweetie and I are like, "Meh," because we're used to buses and taxis and hoofing it or staying put. She and I caught a bus home while he got a tow to the dealership, where he now sorts out a weekend rental and engine diagnostics, etc.

I just wanted my planner. :P

Car Sick

Nov. 19th, 2012 01:16 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (FML)
Goddamnit, our car got rear-ended again! At least this time J wasn't in the vehicle; it happened in a parking lot, with witnesses. I am beginning to think Agent Green's bodacious ass is the problem. Maybe her butt is just too big for this town. Poor girl.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)
I don't grok why, but American Poetry Review regularly runs a column on Cars and Culture by Jack DeWitt. I'm not complaining, it's just that there's not always an explicit poetry connection, which baffles me. But hey, I don't begrudge a fellow gearhead and poet. Nice work if you can get it! 

DeWitt's column in the Nov/Dec '11 issue is about rat rods. This is a rat rod.

It's supposed to look like that, rusty and crunky and not quite street legal. See, in kustom kulture, there's a trend of "checkbook" hotrodding, wherein rich people pay other people to build amazing cars for them and then never drive the cars because they're too fucking expensive to risk. Those cars are called Trailer Queens.

In reaction to this bastardization of hot rod culture, there are the traditionalists and the rat rodders. For traditionalists, writes DeWitt, "The historically correct homebuilt rod, even if imperfect, is more interesting...than a perfect show car....[They] are invested in a past, not their own, that is preferable to the present." Below is what may look like a trailer queen but is in fact a working "lead sled" that even tows other cars.

God, it's so fucking juicy I want to die.

But rat rods (a term that I didn't even realize is controversial until I read this article, because I've *never* heard it used disparagingly, which maybe goes to show the company I keep) "completely subvert the fetish of perfection that has been a part of kustom kulture from the beginning...Like the punk movement that has influenced them in many ways, rat rodders intend to shock, disturb, and amuse by celebrating the elemental, the crude, the bizarre, and, above all, the imperfect." Maybe it's like wabi sabi with bite.

The thesis that perhaps rationalizes DeWitt's column in APR is that reviewing "contemporary hot rod practice reveals some important lessons that parallel the history of art movements: the instability of the past, the persistence of art, and the indomitability of capitalism." The same instinct that drives traditionalists to design a retro lifestyle that moves past cars to encompass music, clothing, art, and tattoos also renders it vulnerable to commodification. Trends that have little-to-no basis in history are taking over, rewriting the past, as it were. Add in the creep of economic viability, and the rat rod's rusty edges get filed down, not unlike modern furniture given a "distressed" veneer or, as Forrest Aguirre points out, the slick delivery method of today's steampunk.

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. Synthesis is why we can't have beat-up, tetanus-bearing rusty things running riot on the road a la Mad Max. Synthesis is why

Also, Synthesis might be why there's a Cars and Culture column in APR. ;)

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)
This morning on his way to work, J got into a fender-bender. Actually, a teenage driver rammed into the back of our almost-new CRV (we got it around February). It's in for repairs now, and we've got a loaner from Enterprise. The loaner is a 2012 Dodge Charger SE, and in addition to being ugly on the outside, it's absolutely soulless on the inside. I would no more have sex in this car than I would in a doctor's waiting room. (Yes, that's the standard by which I judge a car: Would I have sex on or in it?) The plastic, pebbled dashboard that juts into the shotgun seat is especially heinous. J mourns the CRV's rearview camera, and I miss the XM radio. At least we all had insurance and no one was hurt. I hope we get our car back soon. She has heart.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (skull gloves)
On my bus ride home, I saw the most beautiful glitter-green 'Vette coiled curvy as a dragon in someone's dark garage. I thought it should be outside, preening in the unseasonably warm sunshine, but then, it might blind someone in all its viridescent glory.

Downtown, after my writing date with SarahP, I saw the crow-mitigation balloons and streamers in the trees of the Ped Mall. Some of the balloons already look deflated (beak stabbed?), but truth to tell, I can't imagine these things fool the crows even under optimum (for mitigation) circumstances.

The foil streamers are pretty, though. They look like jumbo versions of the tinsel I saw strewn in the grass near the curb on my street. The tinsel is inching away from a discarded Christmas tree, like shiny cilia seeking out a new home. I wish them luck!


Car Lust

Aug. 22nd, 2011 01:13 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)
This morning has been all cars and poetry. First, I read a fellow SPN fan's head canon for Dean, which asserted that Dean's favorite poet is e.e. cummings and one of his favorite poems is "she being brand new." I tracked down the poem and was slayed. I can't believe I lived without it til now.

she being brand new )

Then I transcribed several poems from my notebook to Sexy Beast. (I tend to write poetry longhand if I'm counting lines and/or syllables.) The last poem, "Loops and Spurs," is set on a Texas highway. In the midst of research--you wouldn't believe how much research goes into some of my poems--I discovered the term devil strip. And while it sounds like a naughty waxing job, it actually refers to that grassy area between street and sidewalk.  Or, if you're in the UK, it might mean the area between two sets of railroad or trolley tracks. Just add "devil" to the front of most anything and it becomes more interesting. :P

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (bruised)

Twice in the past week I've watched movies I really wanted to like, movies that featured elements dear to my heart, but that, as wholes, left me unsatisfied.

The first one, the one I actually sat all the way through, was Bajo la Sal (Under the Salt, 2008), a Mexican serial-killer mystery. This one starts off really well. During salt harvest, workers uncover a woman's dead body. She turns out to be one of several young women who've gone missing from the small town over the last five years or so.

dvd cover of bajo la sal with woman's hand sticking out of salt flat

The bright, sprawling, bleached landscape of the salt flats contrasts powerfully with the shadow looming in the characters' minds: the memory of the mass femicides committed around the maquiladoras of Juarez, Mexico. The male workers gather at a respectful distance around the body, their heads bowed. They know they are at ground zero of a tragedy. Several times, men ask the detective from the capitol if these murders might not be like what happened in Juarez. They are and they aren't. I admire how the movie invokes the femicide epidemic without sensationalizing it or exploiting it. Rather, the Juarez murders are depicted as a blight in Mexican memory; a mental bruise that isn't healing—and it shouldn't.

I also like the young main character, Victor. The son of the town mortician, Victor is not exactly coping with his mother's recent (unrelated to the serial killings) death, and his father less so. Victor is a Mexican emo/goth type, which I love because the personality is treated respectfully, without the ironic sneer that most movies aim at teen goths, especially Hispanic ones. Victor is a horror movie afficionado, but what he seems to respond to is old-school Dracula stuff, not grisly slashers. Nevertheless, Victor is clearly working something out as he makes his own homemade horror movie, a stop-motion animated slasher film called “Revenge of the Valley of the Dolls.” The lurid stop-motion work is painstakingly created with Barbie and Ken dolls, and interesting in itself, as well as for the characterization and the contrast it offers in color and pace to the rest of the film, which glides along as slowly and inexorably as an obsidian glacier.

Sadly, the film doesn't amount to much. There's no mystery as to who the killer is—and any mystery is stomped out when key dialog is repeated in multiple voiceovers. If the film is intended as a character study or coming-of-age story, then the key revelations or discoveries remain below the surface, as it were (pun!). If this were a book, I'd say the words just aren't on the page. Something deeper than the plot climax occurred, but I don't know what.

I tried to watch La Mission (2009) last night, but I got only halfway through this story of a Hispanic father who discovers his son is gay and reacts badly (to say the least). The father is played by Benjamin Bratt, who I've always liked (though in recent years he's been too thin for my tastes). The film has macho melodrama written all over it and that, plus the loving depiction of car culture, was what drew me in. But I just didn't feel it.

The movie-of-the-week style earnestness turned me off, and there was no depth to the characters. I mean, in my experience, part of what sends Hispanic fathers into homophobic rage at their gay sons is that deep down, the dads knew all along and preferred to ignore it. This papa seems genuinely stunned.

I liked that the film drew parallels between the homosocial low-rider subculture and the homosexual clubbing scene; I liked the few risks the movie took during the father-son confrontation: the son suggests the father must have some experience with gay sex after having been in prison; the father bristles at the idea of his son bottoming for a white guy. Wow. O_O

But aside from those strokes outside the lines, I didn't care about the characters or feel any urgency about their situation. These afterschool specials all have happy endings, right?

ETA: Today, Bradley James Nowell would've been 43. RIP, baby.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)

Say anything scene ala warhol with yellow zinger background and hot pink lloyd dobler

Day 8: Three Turn-ons

1. Jason Statham
2. Vin Diesel
3. Cillian Murphy knew those already, didn't you? I can try again.

1. Classic cars
2. Sleek motorcycles
3. Rock music surprises there, either. Hmmm...

1. Competence.
2. Focus.
3. Eye-fucking.

Oh dear. It's not getting any better, is it? But I'm having fun. ;)

I showed you mine. Now you show me yours!
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)


Three hundred miles and
innumerable lectures later
you still won't let me touch the stereo.
When you crowed, "Road trip!"
I imagined neon nights and greasy diners
not flow charts for punk, rock, and reggae,
not pop quizzes from an iPod hog.
Iggy Pop help you, my friend,
if you ever let go of the oh-shit handle
'cause I will reach over,
pop the passenger side door and shove
your snobby ass to the side of the road.
Then I'll rev off with "Highway to Hell"
cranked as loud as it will go.


A scenelet from the next novel. Clearly the iPod hog never watched Supernatural: "Driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cakehole."

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)

tires through puddles:
velcro-ripping sound of


We are taking the fam to the Mississippi River Museum today.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (lightbulb)

curandera sells
"previously owned" caddy
clingy spirit expelled
The one sign left of Uncle Frank,
a new LED palm in her window.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)


caddy for sale
outside the curandera's house
detailed y limpia


The Inspiration )
cafenowhere: abby from TV show NCIS, eyes closed, listening to music (abby dreaming)


watermelon Chrysler
sitting seedless in the sun
a surreptitious lick
and I am done

Photo of gleaming, watermelon pink 1957 Chrysler New Yorker parked on grass, taken from about fender level, driver's side, trees and blue sky in background. From

You think I'm kidding? I am not.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)


her skirts:
Floofy, he says.
Crinoline, she corrects.
They'll get dirty, he warns.
I don't mind, she replies.

weeks pass--
She doesn't mind.
He's astonished, watches
her skirts brush engine blocks,
his tools tarnish her hems.

his smile:
What smile? he bluffs.
That one, she says, pointing.
I can always hear you coming.
You can? She looks at her sneakers.
No, he says. It's your wrecked crumpet.

She laughs.
My crinoline?
Yeah, that. He blushes when
she test shimmies, patina-ed skirt
flaring against his smudged coveralls.

Like that?
she asks, head down.
Yeah. I like that, he says.

cafenowhere: abby from TV show NCIS, eyes closed, listening to music (abby dreaming)

Stuck at another red light
I sigh and look to my right
where the guy in the Range Rover
is swirling his tongue over
a vanilla ice cream cone
that lucky ice cream cone

I watch, puddling with envy,
each sweep of serious licking
'til a car horn blasts the dream
the light unseen, gone green
He revs off with his ice cream cone
that fucking lucky ice cream cone

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)


his shoulderblades
~ wing stubs, she calls them ~
grind against concrete
as he curses under the shadow of the car

her hands
~ the devil's workshop, he thinks ~
tickle his legs
as she chalk-outlines his lower half


wearing: BPAL Roadhouse: (acc to the site) Truck stop sleaze. Weedy dandelion and hops with a whiff of tobacco and hemp and a swirl of booziness. (acc to me) Dandelions and "Have you been drinking?"

also wearing: blue linen shirt; brown cargo capris; braids

reading: halfway through Fledgling. I'd forgotten how much of an Octavia Butler novel is about getting one's house (literally) in order and managing one's menage.

writing: draft YAY of novel is done; of course, I printed a copy for J and instantly remembered 13 things I meant to change before printing; looking at a lot of art and listening to a lot of music for the next novel

Family Film Night: Over the Hedge (a re-view) w/ Tweetie, then maybe finish the Transformers: Revenge movie I was sort of watching with J

Weekend: editing for the dayjob; buying socks for Tweetie; teh excitement, it never ends!

And you?
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (so tired)

minivan idles
in the graveyard; stow n go
seating for the win

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

Grinning, you tap the odometer.
Grinning back, I ignore
what you say.
I'd rather admire your dimples
than a bunch of zeroes
any day.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (IDK)

eagle highway--
staring out our sunroof
we cross the center line

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (raccoon)

Red hem
flirts, seems to say
"Seize the day," though it's caught
in a Buick door on the slushed



cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

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