Friday, November 30, 2007


Somebody called me interesting the other day. "Bruce," he said, "you're an interesting man." The assessment made me quite uncomfortable. I felt as if he were looking for a polite way to say that I am fucked up. Which I am. But I don't want anybody else to know that. I prefer for them to think that I might be underneath the appearance of normality.

You know?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

MySpace As A Home For Poets (Revisited)

I had a further thought on the proposition a few poets have raised about MySpace not being the right place for serious writers because the reaction to your poetry isn't critical enough.

Who cares? What kind of masochistic trip is this if people are in it so that other people can tell them they are shit? I get it quite often, in different ways (if only in indifference), and that doesn't make you a better writer. I just makes you bitter and cynical and hard around the edges. It can also discourage you to the point where you lose your desire to communicate with other people altogether. Most creative people have a tenuous grip on their own self-image. If you beat them too much with criticism, their sense of self-worth goes through the floor.

You can come on all tough at this and tell me sarcastically that you weep for them and their mummies are warming their milk on the stove at home, but it's true. So if a poet can get a few people in the neighbourhood to tell him he's fantastic, why shouldn't he enjoy it?

Musicians are allowed to enjoy it. They don't set up MySpace sites so that people can slag them off. They just want to sell you stuff. And be loved.

And isn't that what we're all looking for, in the end?


Today I was talking to a bloke in a band. The conversation had an interlude that went like this:

"So, you have your own home, right?"

"Well, yeah. A flat."

"And when you're there you just sit around writing poems."

"Pretty much, yeah."

"And drinking red wine."


"And that's your life when you're not at work."

"Oh, I also have a few friends I can bother."

"Your life sounds pretty damn good."

"It is, come to think of it. It is pretty good."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Technical Question

Does anybody out there know how to stop a damn pc automatically aligning everything to the left, even when I cut and paste something that ISN'T aligned left? I have a bunch of fantastic poems that I want to publish at THE BEATNIK and I can't do it because the computer keeps wiping out the poets' choice of spacing on the page.

Anyone who comes up with a solution that works gets a No-Prize.

Thursday, November 22, 2007



Someday somebody's gonna have to do a proper study of splake's work. Just to see how it all fits together and where it stands in relation to all the other stuff people have been doing on the quiet for the last twenty years without anybody overground in the mainstream of literature having a clue what's going on.

I think a study of splake's work would be interesting, just like a study of Mark Weber's work would be interesting. Or Todd Moore. He's a fucking treasure of contemporary literary life, in my prejudiced book, and "CONNECTIONS" provides further evidence that he needs to be given due appreciation.

It's another epistolary work. It's about a poet called t.kilgore splake. But it's deep and it's sweet and his language is effortlessly brilliant: when he blows he blows like a master jazz musician who doesn't seem to be doing anything and yet his sound could belong to no one else. splake's so much in command of his talents these days he doesn't even have to fake cynicism to make himself look good. He can be romantic and sentimental and forgive life for the blows it has laid on him and STILL seem ahead of the crowd.

I don't know if "CONNECTIONS" is out yet, but do yourselves a favour, go over to the Vertin site and see if you can get hold of a copy. It'd be especially nice to have one in those quiet moments over Christmas, when even the hardest heart has a touch of romance about it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Kerouac Book: Further Thoughts

Forgive me for returning to the Kerouac book for a moment. But just a couple of things. Rob Zoschke has kindly pointed out that a) I spelled Anne Waldman wrong (oops!) and b) I neglected to mention a significant contribution to the book by Gerald Nicosia. And on checking I found out he was right.

What a twat. (Me, not him.) But listen, proof reading was never a great skill of mine. My magazine "Blue Frederick" was so full of errors--at least, the first issue was--I spent a small fortune writing letters of apology after the mistakes were brought to my attention. And the carelessness of my wayward mind isn't much helped by the fact that I write this blog in an internet cafe in the middle of Northampton because I haven't got an internet connection at home these days (I refuse to pay for the installation of a telephone line when I'm renting).

But anyway. Suffice it to say that ANNE Waldman makes a fantastic contribution to the Kerouac book. I've been half in love with her ever since I saw her in "Renaldo & Clara" (that was you wasn't it Anne?) And Gerald Nicosia is a powerhouse on the post-Beat scene whose support of my own endeavours has given me far more credibility than I deserve.

There's LOADS of great writers in the Kerouac book actually, not just the ones I mentioned. But the ones I mentioned were the ones whose names I could remember without the book in front of me. I love you all equally. Really!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I just received my copy of "Jack Kerouac: Reflections Upon The Fiftieth Anniversary Of 'On The Road'" (ed. Ron Whitehead and Robert Zoschke, Published In Heaven Books 2007). The title explains the contents pretty accurately. Now, there are a million and one books about Kerouac, but this one--he said a tad snobbishly--is assembled by poets and written by poets, so it's a little different. And get the list of contributors: Anne Waldman, t.kilgore splake, Norbert Blei, Gerald Nicosia, Dave Church, Steve Dalachinsky, the actor Michael Madsen, Hersh Silvermann, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ron Whitehead, the force of nature that is Robert Zoschke. And many more. That's a pretty impressive line-up, don't you think?

Oh, and I'm in it too. A little essay I knocked up called "On The Road and Jack: A Meditation On The Run." Self-promoting blog entries are really boring, I know. And I bet they never increased a poet's sales by more than one or two. The main reason I'm mentioning this here is that I'm absurdly pleased with myself to be in the book. (Let's be honest.) Sitting in there alongside such august names I feel weirdly humbled, as if I'm gonna get found out and excised from the second edition.

For more information about the book, go to the splendidly-named

Saturday, November 17, 2007

City Lights

Here's one for the biography. Robert Zoschke informs me that Lawrence Ferlinghetti is buying 25 copies of the Kerouac book I have an essay in for sale in City Lights, San Fran. How about that? Whatever the reality of the place today--and I don't know, I've never been there--City Lights is a place of dreams to people who grew up on the Beats as I did.

I still have to go back to work at the care job tomorrow though.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

christmas turkey haiku
ten million deaths
to celebrate one birth--
the man upstairs harrumphs

Monday, November 12, 2007


An article in yesterday's Observer reckons that one-fifth of British employers now check Facebook or MySpace before taking on new employees to see if they have sites with anything insalubrious on them. Like songs about the glories of the trade union movement or something.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that a person was free to do what they bloody well pleased in their private time. You'd think. Sadly, we don't live in that kind of world anymore. Employers don't just have the right to judge your employment history when they're thinking of taking you on. Seems they have assumed the right to judge your politics and your moral character as well.

My own field of money work, "social care", as it's delightfully called, even issues you with a code of conduct that says you are a representative of your company at all times, even when you're not at work. We debated it at a training session once and I was the only one in the group who could see anything wrong with that.

Let me tell you most assuredly, whoever might be looking on, I represent only me when I leave work and start the long bus ride home. If you don't like that let's discuss it in the public arena so that everybody can see what presumptuous usurping wolves you have become. Then we might have a chance of restoring a little sanity in the employment world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

norman mailer
one more roaring voice
is quiet.
the shits are winning
don't deny it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Doing Something About It

People get trapped in dualistic thinking. Them Buddhists'll tell you it's a Western disease.

In these paranoid and simplistic times let me reassure you. Just because I say we should do something about the materialistic trap we're in here in the good old United Kingdom of America, nobody should assume I'm advocating terrorism or some kind of return to Communism. I hate fundamentalist Muslims as much as I hate fundamentalist Christians (they're really two sides of the same obnoxious and dangerous coin anyhoo). And it's the Communists who are putting fucking plastic panda waste bins or whatever it is all over the Delly Lama's palace in Lhasa. A pox on those evil bastards! (Somebody I know with a few brains says the Chinese Commies aren't really Commies anymore because they're realising the virchues of capitalism. Which they kind of are in Hong Kong etc. But if I were writing this in Beijing my computer wouldn't even let me, 'cos of the Government insisting Microsoft create programmes that censor blogs with political commentary.) (Let them free Tibet first, I say, then we'll talk about how much progress they've made.)

So what am I advocating when I talk about "doing something about it"? Read between the lines, dear people. Get someone to buy you a Gary Snyder or an Edward Abbey book for Christmas. Join a union. Turn off the television. Throw away your KSwiss trainers and go buy footwear from Shoezone. This will be a start.

Friday, November 09, 2007

All Good?

Readers may have noticed a slightly negative drift here in the last few posts. Well, that's life. A young friend of mine always hits you with the mantra "It's all good" whenever you're feeling down, but sometimes it ain't all good. I've watched a fair few friends of mine get royally screwed by life and the system this year, and fighting back side by side with them as they have fought side by side with me tends to wear you out and make the bile rise in your throat. They really do have us by the nuts, you know. But until enough of us are ready to do something about it nothing is going to change.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Life In England

The scales of justice are tipped only by coin.
The old lady herself has poor vision easily obscured by the glare from gold rings and Rolex watches.
This is the legacy of Margaret Thatcher.
In England, the wealthy will always win.
The company will always beat the worker.
Don't believe me? When was the last time you went out?