Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Which is, of course, the Horse Flies, one of upstate New York's all-time best bands.  Dark and creepy Americana is just one of the ingredients the band throws into their musical stew.  Their first album opened with a cover of The Cramps' "Human Fly", and these guys TOTALLY OWNED IT.  Sounds nothing like the original.

A lot of their music centers around some oddly funkalicious rhythm, the banjo-pickin' & uke-strummin' of Richie Stearns and Jeff Claus and the thoroughly amazing fiddle playing of Judy Hyman.

First album also featured a cover of "Hush Little Baby", the video got some play on MTV.

Second Album Syndrome, it seemed to me, killed some of their momentum.  Waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy over-produced to my ears, kills a lot of the organic vibe, But DAMN "Sally Ann" is a ridiculously powerful tune.  Natalie Merchant covered this version a few years later and made it even MORE haunting.  Kudos to her.

Took them SEVENTEEN YEARS to follow up Gravity Dance, but Until the Ocean was worth it.  Much more organic, but still incredibly haunting and hypnotic.  Standout track on this platter, I'd say, is "Cluck Old Hen".

A lot of excellent live stuff can be found at .  When they get a jam going, they're just as insanely trance-inducing as Spacemen 3.  Ya can't beat that.

And, of course, they tend to be all over the upstate New York festival circuit every summer.  Do yourself a favor, see them often.

Image result for horse flies human fly

Image result for horse flies gravity dance

Image result for horse flies until the ocean cd cover

Time is your master

Tuesday, August 30, 2016



the bliss


I forgot about this stuff.  Is there still a Pushcart Prize?  Must be nuts now with the sheer amount of nonsense published on the internet.  I think I was nominated 10 or 12 times back in the day.  Apparently, I don't travel in those circles anymore.  I'm okay with that.  This was the 2001 nomination list from Red River Review:

I especially enjoy finding poets who have achieved a level of craft and deftness which makes their poetry outstanding. Each year the editors of The Pushcart Anthology ask editors of small journals like Red River Review to nominate up to six works of the highest quality published in a given year. Last year, I was very pleased to nominate the following poems for the Pushcart Prize:

"Regional Poem" by Carol Church (May 2001)
"The Doll is not Waiting" by Clara Hsu (August 2001)
"Losing My Wallet" by Roger Jones (May 2001)
"Leaving: the mother's poem" by Karen S. Mittelman (August 2001)
"Still Life with Boy and Trees" by Travis Ian Smith (May 2001)
"all i can tell you" by John Sweet (February 2001)

when have i ever told you anything worth knowing?

train tracks over a river of
blood at the edge of winter

wolves down from the hills and the
steady patient circling of vultures

the dead and the dying
which are your only choices

your only friends

and nothing to be afraid of out here but
blinding sunlight,
wide open spaces,
the clawed hands of politicians,
and nothing to measure yourself against
but the bitter failures of the past

nowhere to hide in the endless
empty hours of the future

just lie there naked & stoned,
waiting for all of your
truths to be exposed as lies

Monday, August 29, 2016


Sure, it's nice to finally be on ebay (Canadian ebay still counts), but DAMN!  Who the hell is going to pay that much money?  I did the converting, it's even worse in
U.S. dollars.

I guess the time to buy is now, tho, before this global economic collapse that I keep reading about on Yahoo's joke of a news home page begins.....


And who could be more impartial than me?

Raindog does amazing work at Lummox,
all proceeds help keep the press alive.

Don't be a senseless killer.
Buy today:

composition in black and grey

future illusion

Sunday, August 28, 2016


An awesome little blurb I wrote for a kickass book :

Image result for go here icon


Not to put too fine a point on it.  

I see some of them attempting to sell my books on amazon for $30, $40 & $50, and all I can assume is that they suffered massive brain damage at some point in the recent past.

To balance that out, I'm offering 3 of my titles for the low, low price of $20.  That's right. -  3 books, $20, AND I'll cover the cost of postage AND wrap everything in top quality packing materials.


PayPal me at

....and all the angels, howling


Another insanely good installment in the Lummox Series.  This is one print journal that deserves all the help it can get.  It rocks. Click on cover for ordering info:


No, not the Kinks (although they're quite cool, too).

Some more work by MK Chavez:

Friday, August 26, 2016


These guys were onto something.  Their first double-pack single and then their self-titled debut album were both amazing.  They slipped a little on their 2nd album, and even more on their third, but man did they start off in a shitstorm of fucktasticness......

Image result for bowery electric album

the days too short and neverending

the animals here insane and
chewing their paws down to blood and bone

the cages and the powerlines and
the bright green back yards

the shopping malls

map tells you you’re lost and
the children won’t stop crying and what i
believe in is the
empire of abandoned factories

all those daughters getting fucked in
dirty back seats in
empty potholed parking lots by men they’ve
never met before because money is the key

you either have it or you die
wondering why you were such a failure

you have this son who sets dogs on fire,
who laughs at their deaths
and of course he has friends

sickness cannot be contained

a junkie is nothing more
than a customer for life

wait long enough for everything
to go wrong and it will

Monday, August 22, 2016


I found out about Thomas Berger by accident at the local library in my early teens.   Luckily, the first book I discovered by him was NEIGHBORS. Definitely the place to start.  Pissed off, surreal, bleak, borderline psychotic - a definite roller coaster ride of a novel.  Never saw the movie but, from everything I've read, it takes a lot of liberties with the book.  Usually not a good thing.

I still haven't got around to LITTLE BIG MAN, it's my own fault, I'm sure I will someday.

I actually didn't realize Berger was American when I started reading him.  He has a very formal approach to language, which seems at odds with the characters and situations he writes about.  The books feel like they were written in a different language and then translated by a very literal-minded person, or maybe written in English by some one who had learned it as a 3rd or 4th language.  He definitely sounds like no one else.

SNEAKY PEOPLE and THE FEUD were two other Berger books I read early, I can't recommend them enough.  Farce, black humor, comedies of manner and misunderstanding, all very savage and biting.

Some of his later stuff was a little tepid, but the guy was in his 70s by then, so we'll cut him some slack. 

NOWHERE has a sort of GULLIVER'S TRAVELS vibe to it and, if I recall, the same main character as WHO IS TEDDY VILLANOVA?.  They both try a little hard, but they're not bad.

THE HOUSEGUEST, SUSPECTS and MEETING EVIL are all pretty ferocious, if I remember correctly.  Among his better ones.  The last two were very dark, THE HOUSEGUEST, again, more of a comedy of manners and errors.

BEING INVISIBLE and CHANGING THE PAST were both a little calmer, I think, not quite as viciously bleak as some of his work.

The libraries around my current hometown all seem to have purged a majority of Berger's work from their collections, so I haven't read some of them in 15 years or so.  Time to start trolling the used bookstores and Amazon.


Tooker's a tough one to figure out.  Very mundane stuff, but with creepy, threatening undertones and a constant sense of unease and dread.  Sort of like a Thomas Berger novel translated into visuals.  Or maybe the theme of NO EXIT laid out in tempera.  You gotta respect anyone who works in tempera.

Working in a huge building full of faceless cubicles and office drones as I do, I can relate to his stuff.

MP3 players are the technological innovation of our age, don't let anyone bullshit you.  "Surreal" is a good way to describe the act of viewing the mind-numbing blandness of office life while early Siouxsie and the Banshees is piped into your head.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Again, taking influences from the first wave of
European Surrealists and running with them.

More whimsical than menacing,
there also seems to be a little bit of
classic period Disney in here, too.





says he has something better than
the truth, like any pusher would

says the future is prisons

says hope is in the past

and i’m right there, you know,
i can hear every word but i can’t see
the fucker, and i don’t believe
in ghosts

i don’t believe in slavery,
but it exists

don’t believe in voting,
but votes are still cast

winners are placed against
one wall,
and losers another

it’s the age

it’s the season

the year of shovels & guns,
just like last year was the year
of open pits

like one god is better than
all the others

it’s something to tell yourself
while the soldiers
are breaking your hands