Friday, September 17, 2010

NIGHT NOISES poetry collection available NOW!!!

Howdy folks,

Just a little note to let you know that I've published a collection of poetry that I'm calling NIGHT NOISES. It's got 27 poems in it, and the sucker is pretty long (almost 80 pages), so it's technically JAM PACKED WITH POETIC GOODNESS! And you can get it right through!

Here's a link:


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Update from the FRONT!!!

Update from the FRONT!

Well, "Update from the back" anyway, or the side. Yeah, let's call it the side, or side-lines, even. Ok, here we go: "UPDATE FROM THE SIDE-LINES!!!" I've been doing this internet radio thing for three years now. I've played thousands of songs by thousands of bands. I've gotten nasty, critical emails, and I've gotten really cool comments and compliments, even a few "thanks for playing our shit" messages. And still, the music scene here in my town is even more dire than it was when I started. Our one local music store has closed up shop, leaving Wal-Mart, Target, and Fred Meyer as the only places where someone can actually go and physically browse for new music. Sure, we have pawn shops and thrift stores all over the place, but those venues are slap-dash at best. And, even stranger, we don't even seem to have that many kids playing IN BANDS anymore. The GUITAR-HERO craze has died down, and few of the fanatics have kept at it.

But I'm still going. I still make mixed CDs for people. I'm still checking blogs and buying records and making podcasts and "playing out." I DJ weddings and school dances and company picnics and backyard parties, on rare occasions I get into a bar or dance club, but it seems to me that all anybody wants to hear anymore is stuff they already know. Where is the sense of adventure? Where is that curiosity for new sounds, new experiences? I keep hoping that something like disco or new wave will make a comeback and kids will flock to dance clubs again, but I'm not seeing it happen. (There is some MINOR cause for hope in the sense that my girls, who are 17 and almost 13, both like electronic music. The older one enjoys things that her friends listen to like Owl City and Metro Station, and I've seen her, when I've DJed at teen events, dance to disco inflected pop music along the lines of Lady GaGa and Ke$ha, which is great, but it doesn't seem to reflect any kind of GENERAL TREND in the youth markets. And my younger daughter is an absolute anomaly for her age, enjoying crazy stuff like Wondawolf, Caspa, and Mochipet, along with the classic new wave, techno, punk, and 80s club music that her Dad likes to listen to. Again, she doesn't reflect the total population, and may be the only kid in the state of Washington under the age of 15 who likes both Crystal Castles and The Accused, so no trend there, either. But they still give me SOME hope.)

I've been struggling for the last three decades with the idea that, someday, the world will wake up and start to like GOOD, FUN, COOL, INTERESTING music, but to my sorrow and pain, that hasn't happened yet. When techno hit big, it was five years after the fact, and performers like MADONNA and DARUDE made the charts, not fucking awesome shit like ACEN or RADIOACTIVE GOLDFISH or SOLAR ENEMY. WTF? Punk hits, and it's BLINK-182 selling a million copies, not the REZILLOS or GROOVIE GHOULIES. At one point, I started to think that the problem was with ME, that I was just so odd and weird that I couldn't tell bad music from good, but then I realized, while I was preparing a lecture on punk rock that I gave to the Rock and Roll History class at Portland State University, that people, in general, just don't get it. We now STUDY the STOOGES and TELEVISION and THE DAMNED and BLACK FLAG in colleges, because they were so awesome and great, but who the FUCK, especially around here, listened to anything like those bands when they were new? A handful of people, at best, because people just don't get it. They have to be shown. They have to be MADE to believe. People have to be led by the hand and have their noses rubbed in it, before they realize when something is worthwhile, and even then most of them are still lost.

And that's all because, for most people, music is background. They know songs from movies, or from WEDDINGS (ugh), or from their drive to work. They passively encounter what is sent in their direction and they accept it. Most people don't go LOOKING for something new (for ANYTHING new), because they don't need to, it will be pushed on them and they'll take it.

Not me. I dig. I dig under rocks and in caves and in attics and old suitcases. I listen to demos. I go to (CHEAP) shows. I TRY things. I don't like everything I hear, and I CERTAINLY have a preference for things the SOUND LIKE things I already like, but I'm willing to try almost anything. (And I'm certainly willing to admit that I am a junky, a SOUND junky, and that I have a problem. Addiction can be a nasty thing, even when it's not drugs or alcohol.)

So, where does that leave us??? I don't really know. The internet has become my largest source of new music, which is good in the sense that I now have ACCESS to millions of things that I wouldn't have ever heard, but it has, in a very real sense, DESTROYED that sense of UNITY that used to come with the establishment of a music SCENE. There are SO MANY CHOICES now, so much available, that there doesn't really seem to be any way to consolidate things. And, if things aren't consolidate, given a name, grouped, classified, then people don't know how to handle them. It's weird to me. My favorite stuff is always the hardest to classify: "It's based on an old jazz sample, but the drums are fast, like jungle techno, except during the breakdown where it gets all slow and nasty and crunky like, with wobbly bass and science fiction noises. You know that sound, don't you?" Usually, they don't.

I work. I have a family. I write. I can't afford to dedicate myself to music on a full time basis, but that doesn't mean I don't still love it. Every WEEK I find new, interesting, sometimes fucking unbelievable music floating around out there. Sometimes I FORCE those teenaged kids at those school dances and parks-and-rec functions to listen to things that I KNOW they won't enjoy, just on the odd hope that ONE OR TWO of them will connect with the experience and realize that there is more to the music world than top 40 radio and movie soundtracks. I live in a culturally impoverished area. I know that, but for some reason, I still keep trying to light my matches in the midst of the windstorm of indifference. Someday, I keep hoping, either the gale will die down, or I'll catch the attention of enough people to set up a wind-block, and we'll get a fire started right here, in this overgrown logging town, that might keep burning even after I'm gone.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Very Own Diary

"My Very Own Diary"

I started a diary when I was 8 years old, a few days before my 9th birthday, and kept at it, off and on, until I was 12, with one single entry in the book from my first year of highschool. It's interesting to see what types of things strike a young person (this young person, anyway) as being important enough to write down. Notice that the only holiday mentioned in here is the 4th of July, though the point of the entry is what we bought in preparation for the day not a description of the actual event. I remember some of these incidents quite well; others are gone completely. I know most of the names in here, but not all, and I understand that most readers won't know any of these people. That's not the point. Just notice which names get repeated most often and try to guess my relationships to those people. The exciting thing here is how so few details can convey so much information. I was a much better writer back then. I knew how to hold back. I've kept all the spelling errors and most of the capitalization and punctuation intact. If something doesn't make sense, try to sound it out. That's what I was doing when I was writing it.

7-13-1981 I woke up and mommy Gave me this Diary. Then we playdd with Davids Air plane. Then I plade with Andy's Geep called Big Bronk. But first I coud'nt Shut this book! Then we whent over to Candises house and plade Two Games of Lawn Dawts. I won I. Me and Andy won The other.
7-14-1981 I plade 2 or 3 Games Of frisby And I broke Dave's Air playne.
7-15-1981 I stade at candises house Wile She did her paper Rout.
7-16-1981 I did The hole side of the paper rout.

1-1-1982 I whent to Dennis's house and played Astroids.
1-2-1982 I wached 9 to 5.
1-3-1982 I went to Lukes house and plaided Atory From 1 to 4.
1-4-1982 We got out at one at scool.
3-31-1982 I got my cards back.
4-1-1982 I played base ball at practis.
4-11-1982 We got Lazer Blast. And Me and Dave got a Knife. Andy got a harmonika.
4-12-1982 Mr. Fitch come to be our teacher for 3 Days. Andy got a Knife and a coat.
4-15-1982 We won our fist Baseball game.
4-18-1982 I shot a 22. We did a light brite.
4-19-1982 I got a pair of cleets.
4-24-1982 We won Woods Logging in Base Ball.
4-25-1982 I went to the Beech and lost my Kite and did not catch a fish or clam.
4-26-1982 We lost our game and Nita threw the bike on my foot.
4-27-1982 Today the school had a tallent show and Traci use a bitton. She was good.
4-28-1982 I went to Practes with David.
4-29-1982 We lost by 1 pount.
4-30-1982 Mom left for the cyack races and I got 15067 on Pac Man.
5-1-1982 I went to a boxxing mach and to spend the night at Goels house.
5-2-1982 We got back from the Boxing turnement and got back from Joels house.
5-3-1982 I went on patrol and Traci went too. Nita dident give me anything to eat.
5-4-1982 David got reported and lost his paseball game.
5-5-1982 We lost our baseball game and got out erly at school.
5-6-1982 Mr. Larson gave us 5 pages to do and Traci can't Potroll anymore.
5-7-1982 I spent the night at tresas.
5-8-1982 We lost by one Rich did not play and the coach protested.
5-9-1982 I shot a pistole and allmost whent fishing.
5-10-1982 I whent fishing and cought 3 fish and did not go to school.
5-11-1982 We won Woods by 6 pounts.
5-12-1982 I saw a Dr. Suess movie and I am making a rug.
5-13-1982 I kicked Traci in the face.
7-17-1982 I got a hellocopter.
*7-18-1982 I got a watch, some mags and whent to farils.
7-28-1982 Bobby and I were beating up Nikia and DJ and thier cosins. I got 4 Fire balls and 1 Fire Stick.

2-10-1983 We came in 2nd in basket ball on the Sonics.
2-24-1983 I cut Tracis pucture out of the paper. And we won our first hockey game.
7-18-1983 I had a bunch of freinds spend the night.
7-31-1983 We went to the beach and mom bought 3 Air matresses and a frisby.
8-1-1983 Grandma got back from Portland for good.
8-2-1983 I got ready to go to S.O. On Sat.
8-3-1983 Ronnie and I made Boo a cat house and Grandma has had third day back from Portland.
8-4-1983 We went to Gary's P. house then Erve's house, the Gary's the his Sister's then home.
8-5-1983 We went to the fair and me, Dave, Andy, and Ron got a Five Buck Braclet. I won a little lion and 2 little snakes and more.
8-6-1983 Today We were rolling cars into the reven and Terry got me the tap "Flying Smurf" for my viewmaster.
8-7-1983 We are stay at S.O. We are sleeping in a tent. Half Boys half girl. shanna to. It looks neat outside.
8-8-1983 Shane came back with us from S.O.
8-9-1983 Shane Pridicted that Dave would fall and he did. Me and Shane were taking vive's off people.
8-10-1983 I made some neat picture and broke alot of stick's.
8-11-1983 Grandpa died today at 11:00. Grandma L. came up almost all day and mom gave me a thing for my pictures.
8-12-1983 We made it to S.O. for Jake's f. tomaro. Peggy and Mike came to.
8-19-1983 We came back from S.O. With shane and his mom and dad.
8-22-1983 We went shoping for pants and underware and socks. Shane came with us.
8-24-1983 Grandma is spending the night.
8-25-1983 Mom got home from work ealy and was in a good mood.
8-26-1983 We saw Reture of the Jedi and then we whent to grandmas.
8-31-1983 Boo had Kittens. she had 4.
9-6-1983 School started and every thing was different from Last year.
9-22-1983 We had are pictures taken at school and Alicia wore a gray dress. We one owr first flag foot ball game 13 to 0.
9-23-1983 I am spending the night with Bryce and I hope I can go to Alicia's tomorro.

4-2-1984 Alicia, Wynne, and Alicia's friend were chasing Jeff, Tod, Kurt, Brian, Bryce, and I. It was a nice first day back from Spring Break.
4-3-1984 Today I took my autograph book to school. Lots of people signed it. Alicia gave me her phone # and her friends. Mom whent to Her Bridal shower at Teresas house.
4-4-1984 Today I was recording with Davids recorder. Cindy said Alicia liked me better than Josh. She also said she liked Mark K. insted of Kurt.
4-7-1984 Mom got married to Terry. There was a big reseption. We saw Shane. Teresa was going to take me to the R.H.P.S. in Port. Grandma said no.
4-8-1984 Mom left from Port. to Reno. Grandma is staying until Wen. We went to Bobs dads house and the arcade.
5-24-1984 It was the last night of Cispus and I danced the whole last dance with Mary. It was a slow dance. I got 2 kisses from Patty because I put a bandana around my leg.
5-25-1984 We got back to school and I shot a shot in the gym that made it when mom was there because I had my lucky bandana on.
5-26-1984 Ronny came down from S.O. I went to donny's birthday party. Yuck. I still have my bandana on.
7-2-1984 We got fireworks at Black Jack. Some peoples is try to shut down it. But when they took them to court Black Jack won (again). Only two days till the fourth.
9-7-1984 Dad took us up to Grap. Yates's house to ride our cycle. dad flipped it with Andy on. I rode a few wheels, and jumped to. We got home and watched wrestling.
9-8-1984 Dad took off for Cal. then to Sadi Ar. Terry Rented a movie player and four tapes. Soceress, Curupt, Swing Shift, and Revenge of the Ninja. I like Rev/Ninja the best.

9-24-1986 WENT TO SCHOOL. BORING AS Ever HEre in Longview. WanT TO Go back to Castle Rock this weekend.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Walk in the Park

Richard F. Yates
“A Walk in the Park”
12 July 2010

“The myth that everything in the world can be rationally explained had been gaining ground since the time of Descartes. An inversion was necessary to restore the balance” (Hans Richter, Dada - Art and Anti-Art, p. 64).

You can’t have a party in the jungle without breaking a few eggs.

Never had I seen such misery, such mischief. It smelled, faintly, of cinnamon---and I felt compelled to fotograph it’s gritty underbelly.

Nothing lead me to this conclusion. Nothing mercuried, brassed, or silver-oxided me to it, either, but I came on bended knee and deposited seventy-five cents in nickels at its feet in tribute.

I protest your government---your cares and wants---your photos and advertisements and coupons. I’ll have none of it---excepting the chocolate milk, of course.

You’ve heard, perhaps, that I’ve a weakness for string-cheese. I assure you, the inoculations are painful, but they are working, and my tolerance to the substance grows by the day. I only fear, now, that coming mulberry dawn when the windows are wet with dew---and slightly moldy.

Undercover of bright search lights and glittering lightning bug pulses, he broke loose from his captives’ lair and drank his fill from the neighbors’ swimming pool next door.

I don’t like you much. You won’t pay me enough to validate your beliefs, and, therefore, I shant own the pinball machine that I want before the first flakes of winter begin to descend.

Wallow in my ignorance!

Mumbling caused the First World War.

I have no sympathy for the holes in your shoes. They are clearly a function of your perverse banking practices.

Lunch-time is an expression of the will of God---as long as we hold the pickles.

Never lick your fingers after shaking a stranger’s hand.

Construction of the castle began in 1941. It was completed in 1912, a full 3 years ahead of schedule.


We buried the old girl in the back yard next to two cats, a rat, and half a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich.

There are three reasons why I refuse to take politics seriously: (1) most people are too self absorbed and stupid to understand how their actions might affect the rest of the world---and I firmly believe that nothing I do can remedy this situation; (2) all politicians are people (see (1) above) as well as being liars, crooks, and (like all police officers) bullies who enjoy holding power over as many people as possible; and (3) by participating in any way in the political system, I feel as though I am not only endorsing that ridiculous joke, but I’m also, in some sense, validating it. In place of political action, I propose ART---acidic, confrontational, shocking, melodramatic, ridiculous, unfine, unreasonable, irrational ART, which forces those people who encounter it to wonder why it was created and what, if anything, it might mean.

Break the spokes
Rust the cogs
Salt the gardens
and Piss on the sacred grounds
and if anyone should ask:
“Why did you do that?”
answer them:
“Why indeed! This is a mystery that requires further investigation!”

The fantasy world (however dystopian) in which we all currently live was constructed out of lies, and few people today seem to poke their heads out of their electronic bubbles long enough to let their eyes adjust to natural light. We have been fed a constant stream of advertisement and pseudo-ethical propaganda, disguised as entertainment, for so long now that our search for ULTIMATE VALUES, that series of questions that each of us must ask of the universe (most unanswerable) that will help us to decide how we act and think and believe, comes not from our own earnest enquiry, but from media programming, a process that begins in our earliest youth and continues throughout our lives. We all know these things to be true:
*Believe in God and you will go to Heaven (where the streets are paved with gold.)
*Buy these products and you will be happy and loved.
*Follow the rules (except when you are expected to break them) and society will keep rolling along---progressing---saving lives and making the world a better, safer, and happier place.
*Try your hardest, and you can be anything you want to be.
*Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain---he’s just a harmless lobbyist helping to save the world.

It’s all bullshit.

I don’t care about Tom Cruise’s religion or Brad and Angelina’s marriage or Dick Chaney’s shotgun or the bloody glove in the SUV or Sarah Palin’s chest hair or that new rap song or those old Levi’s jeans or tea parties or CSI or oil leaks or tran-fats or anything. I hate it all. It’s boring. It’s not me. “It says nothing to me about my life.”

...which will be over before I’ve finished doing my thing—and then all the people who care about me or who like my writing or my paintings or my taste in music will all be gone, too---and then the sun will explode or a huge hunk of space rock will hit the earth or some super-bug will kill all the living things on the planet---AND WHO’S GONNA GIVE A SHIT THEN??

Not me. Certainly not the Martians living in their hidy-holes beneath their planet’s crust.

So...what the fuck do we bother doing until then? I don’t know. (I’ve been trying to decide that for way more than a week now. It’s exhausting.) It doesn’t matter, really, ultimately, anyway, but that doesn’t mean we should give up, does it?

I say: Have a glass of chocolate milk. Go dancing. Lay a wet one on your lover. Bake some cookies. Or just draw a picture. Who gives a fuck if it isn’t any good? Anyone who doesn’t like it is gonna die someday anyway, so fuck ‘em! If drawing that picture (or singing that song or writing that poem or doing that dance...) gives you joy, then take it while you can get it, and if it makes others smile when they look at it (whether they’re smiling with you or AT you doesn’t matter, either---see above) then that shit is worth doing.

AND if you believe any of this, I’ve got a bottle of Premium Quality SNAKE OIL I can let you have, REAL CHEAP! (It’ll get you HIGH!!! I guarantee it!!!)

And if it takes batteries to make you happy, then by God, use the damn batteries.

---So Sayeth the Supreme Bunny Warlord!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Poem: "Challenges"

Here's a new poem that I wrote today. My method is subconscious, and I don't understand it, but I am often entertained by the outcome!


taste old

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Still looking for participants for fancy art project!

We have a few contributions to the 13th Dimension Box Project so far, but we need a couple more to complete the first edition and get that sucker in the mail. I posted a blog note a few months ago (just look a few entries down in this list) that contains all the fancy details. If you have any questions about the project, send me a note and I'll spill all!!!

It's shaping up to be a very exciting project so far. The contributions have included conceptual art photography, collage prints, music, and zines! Don't get left out of the fun!!!


Four Poems published in the 2010 Salmon Creek Journal

These four poems were recently published in the 2010 edition of the Salmon Creek Journal, which is a reality-based, paper magazine, and very cool, BUT the editors, in order to fit more material into the book, didn't keep my stanza structures or line breaks, so some of the poems read a bit wonky in there. Here are the poems in their original, poet-approved forms!


Richard F. Yates
5 Jan. 2009

A crow
standing on the back
of a little pick-up truck
staring right at me
through the windshield of my car
is barking about something

I hear the noise
but can't catch
the meaning

The rationalist in me
assumes it's squawking for food

The weirdo in me
believes it's a mystical moment

That the bird
is trying to impart
some vital information
a warning
or a message from some loved one
channeling through this creature
from beyond the grave

But I don't understand
and sit here watching
tilting my head like a confused puppy
and making notes in my little book

until the bird gets frustrated
and hops away


Richard F. Yates
5 Nov. 2006

Are there any lighthouses
that are not haunted?

I would hope not

Think about what a lighthouse is for:
keeping boats from losing their way
in dangerous waters
and sailors from socializing
with the fish

I like to think that lighthouse keepers
in charge of the safety
of who knows how many sea travelers
would be a dedicated lot
unable to let a simple thing like death
get in the way of performing
their solemn duty

A dark night
waves wrestling with a wooden fishing boat
assassin rocks just under the surface of the water
like trolls waiting under a bridge
anticipating the crunch and crackle
of their stone teeth cutting through hull

And only that thin beam
the shining eye of the lighthouse lamp
keeping our desperate sailors on course

I would image that all lighthouses are haunted

Especially those
where the light has gone out


"I Have Stories"
Richard F. Yates
9 Dec. 2008

I have stories
that I've told
to no one
Written them in little books
closed the covers
and hidden them in a box
A treasure chest
waiting for an adventurer
to come find it
in this cave
And I'm the dragon
guarding my horde
secretly wishing to be slain


"The Face of the Moon"
Richard F. Yates
1 Nov. 2007

Evenings I stroll the lake
a man-made affair
called Fowler's Slough
a hundred years agao
now known as Lake Sacajawea

Cool air from the approaching night
mingles with the warmer water
of the fake-lake
invoking water spirits
dancing wisps of steam
that catch the light of the awakening moon
and shimmy with the subtle breeze

Upward she climbs as I stroll
The glowing false light
sometimes disguised as a rabbit
or playing transvestite
and smiling down a masculine grin

Her face is huge
a pale yellow-blue
moving closer to me
much brighter
much larger than ever before

Too bright
too large

A phrase creeps into my mind:
Orbital Decay

How few evening strolls are left to us
before the headlines read
before her beautiful face is all we can see
before her body embraces the earth
and we
the forgotten children
are swallowed once again
by the deep waters