Thursday, April 1, 2010


we now interrupt our irregularly scheduled programming for a brief shout-out to one of my all-time favorite artists: d. boon would have been 52 today. the minutemen — singer/guitarist d.boon, bass player mike watt & drummer george hurley — have been and continue to be a huge influence on me, both in my writing and in the way i try to live my life. if you are unfamiliar with the work of the minutemen but are interested at all in awesomeness, i highly recommend you beg, borrow, steal or download a copy of the album "double nickels on the dime." shit'll change your life. (there is also an excellent documentary about the band called "we jam econo: the story of the minutemen." check it out.)

so this long weekend, while everyone else is biting the heads off rabbits to commemorate their zombie messiah, i'm going to grab my minutemen cds and instead celebrate the life of another man who died young, but whose words and deeds live on to influence the lives of us who would hear. ladies & gentlemen, d.-motherfuckin'-boon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

a quick one...

casualties of causality
slaves to the weight of history
and the sins of the fathers
of the fathers of the fathers

free will is relative.

the history of the many, the
history of the one
conspire to control what's to come
and the slaves of ghosts and gods
and the slaves of ghosts and gods
and the slaves of ghosts and gods
betray us all.

to learn from but not succumb
to face what's dead then bury it
tradition is a prison cell
tradition is a prison cell
amnesia is the key.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 short psalms for a sunday afternoon


elton john must pay for his crimes against humanity

how has it not all burned by now?
sitting home sick on a weekday
looking at the tv; one of those crappy
daytime talk shows. the glib phony host is
interviewing an internationally famous pop star
one of those assholes who has amassed an
absurd fortune making bland soulless music for
bland soulless people and as they tour one of the
singer's five mansions, the interviewer's tongue planted
firmly up his subject's backside, fawning over the obscene,
excessive displays of wealth, I can't help but ask myself
how has it not all burned by now?
I think of all the people around the country, sitting at home
watching this nauseating spectacle, all the poor, the broke, the under or unemployed,
the people who have to bust their asses just to have the basic
necessities; how they can look at this fat, arrogant piece of shit
and not just find the injustice of it all so supremely insulting
that they finally, FINALLY question the foundations of a system that allows
for such appalling inequities...

how has it not all burned by now?



peroxide moms in oversized rolling coffins jockey for position, bloody screaming asphalt death is just for the poor folk who can't afford the luxury of safety, fate drafted as reluctant assassin in one-sided class war, if your body burns bad enough you'll be a star, baby, of your very own fifteen minutes - more like five - more like two - maybe on the local news 'less your kids die too then you get to be a recurring character at least 'til the trial and some truck driver goes down for vehicular manslaughter and you're nothing more than a little white cross on the side of the road and the whupwhupwhup is not the sound of angels wings come to take you home its the vultures circling with telephoto eyes and they're staring at you glaring at you they come to watch you die as your blood drains, stains the freeway bloody red and the sirens whine in rise and fall like the wailing call of banshees and jesus that bitch is still on her cell phone!


the inevitability of death makes bitches of us all
and even god can't escape entropy
everyone and everything dies in the end
people, planets, suns, universes, we all
just run out of steam, lose momentum, cohesion
fall the fuck apart. maybe with a whimper
maybe with a bang, but the end result is always the same...
the Void. its unavoidable and on the surface it seems
utterly bleak and depressing but if you stop and think about it
what greater liberation is there than knowing that none of it -
NONE of it - really matters. in the end it's all just THE END so it really
is pretty pointless to get too stressed...the best course of action
is to just grab afuckinghold of what joy comes your way and make the
most of it before its eventual decay and dissolution into the dust from
whence it came.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Womperjaw Philosophy: A Photographic Primer
6,000 words, the easy way.

Making the most of randomness, happy accidents, and equipment failure.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

if you're not
you're not

Sunday, January 17, 2010


It was ten years ago. Man has it been that long? It was ten years ago that my cousin Jeff and I sequestered our arrogant, disagreeable asses in a small, cluttered room with nothing more than an old Mac, a scanner, a couple fistfuls of blurry photographs, angry poems & crude drawings, and an overriding belief that we could accomplish world domination through cheap photocopied art. After weeks of sweating and butting heads and teaching ourselves how to scan images and layout pages (to be fair, I had some experience from my brief career as a student journalist) we emerged with what we were sure was a magnum opus of literary asskickery sure to revolutionize and galvanize the dying zine culture (anybody remember zines?)

(Little did we realize at the time, we were apparently already too late. Story of my life.)

We worked hard on our little baby, and with pride and trepidation, we released it into the world. The response was...underwhelming. Recognition, respect, legions of beautiful women throwing themselves at us, loins aflame; non of these worthy rewards for our artistic genius were dumped in our laps. But we were undeterred. We resolved that the next issue would be the one to put our names on the map. But life has a funny way of cockblocking your grandest schemes. In Jeff's case, some particularly nasty personal demons he had been trying over the previous few years to fight off once again reared their nasty little heads. In my case, a combination of being overworked yet almost always nearly broke, coupled with a general malaise and bad attitude toward life in general conspired to sabotage my higher aspirations. A year passed and the existence of a Womperjaw #2 was a highly questionable prospect.

In early 2001, my dad died. Heart-attack. He was 52 years old. It's not a huge leap to conclude that this was the result of a life spent battling his own demons that were not too dissimilar from the ones that were at the time robbing me of the services of my co-editor and would-be partner in world domination. I was also, for all intents and purposes, out of work for nearly six months. (George W. Hugefuckingworthlesssackofputridshit was President; and if anybody cares to remember, we were already at the start of a recession.) Needless to say, I was depressed, pissed, broke, lonely and very often, convinced I was dying (really, chain smoking, eating poorly and watching late-night reruns of ER on tv every night so soon after the unexpected death of a loved one would be enough to send almost anybody into a hypochondriacal tailspin). And then 9/11 happened. One of my first thoughts (beyond FUUUUUUUUCK!) was "Things are about to get real fucked up around here, what with the worst possible administration in power to respond to this situation." (Not to sound like a Truther, but I still think there are unanswered questions.)

It was all too much, I had to do something. I picked up my notebook and started writing and before long had enough material amassed and slated for two more isues of the zine. I decided I couldn't wait for the return of my prodigal co-editor, and began production on Womperjaw #2, which was to be a solo affair, released in October of 2001. It would prove to be my most widely read, not to mention most well-received, issue (even garnering praise, via email, from one of my heroes, who called it, among other things, an "intense read"). Building off the momentum of the previous issue, as well as my sustained rage at the state of the world around me, I rushed into production and within a few months brought forth unto the public Womperjaw #3 in the Spring of 2002 (this time featuring work from new like-minded collaborators, including two pieces from my estranged partner.) Reviews were once again favorable...from the few people who read it, as distribution was, well, not as widespread as one would hope (once again the ramifications of operating within a medium rapidly approaching obsolescence).

And that was it for Womperjaw, v.1.0. This wasn't a conscious decision, of course, but once again, life just got in the cockblocking way. At first, it was the continued hardship of under-employment, financial difficulties, multiple changes of residence; frustration, aggravation, privation, etc. Then somewhere along the line the tide slowly began to turn. The employment/financial situation started to stabilize, I met a wonderful woman who I wanted to spend most of my time with; I started trying to take better care of myself so I didn't feel like crap all of the time, etc. Things started happening which I had always, for one reason or another, sworn would never happen: my lady-friend and I bought a house and moved in together (SINNERS!); I started working enough hours at a real (union) job for my health insurance to kick in; my smart, beautiful, funny girlfriend became my smart, beautiful, funny wife; I got set up as foreman at work (a mixed blessing to be sure, on the one hand there's the 10% bump in pay and a heretofore unimagined degree of job security, on the other hand, a much higher degree of stress and preoccupation); and then, the ultimate thing I swore would never, ever happen...last year, I became a father to a beautiful baby girl, and, much to my surprise, I couldn't be happier about it.

Yes, to the casual observer, all the markers are there to paint me as one of the most horrible and ignominious things a person of my previously-espoused politically-radical punk-rockitude can be: SELLOUT! The house, the wife, the kid, the job that requires both skill and a high degree of responsibility, not just primary but SECONDARY health insurance, a truck that is paid off, being really damn close to debt-free (mortgage notwithstanding), even a goddamned white picket fence--hell, if the me of 10 years ago could see the me of today, HE would probably call me a sellout too. And sometimes, yeah, I wonder myself; especially when I realize it's been 8 years since the last issue of Womperjaw came out, that it's been at least that long as well since I stopped hitting the local open mic nights; that I just can't find the time lately to write, draw, paint, etc. like I used to. I'll have the occasional crisis of confidence where I wonder: am I done? Have I lost it? Have I sold out? But deep down, I know I haven't. My beliefs, my attitudes haven't changed; they've only grown more refined. I haven't done nothing with this "down time". I've read, I've studied, I've honed my knowledge and my philosophy, sharpened my insight and most importantly, though now I may be a happier person in my own life, I have nurtured and fed and stoked my rage at the bullshit I see in the world around me. And creatively, the ideas are still there, gestating, slowly, like an elephant baby, waiting for the right time. (What was it Bukowski said? "Somebody at one of these places [...] asked me: "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it." Come to think of it, Bukowski, another hero, is a pretty good example, he went on a ten-year-drunk and didn't even write his first novel until he was almost 50).

But everybody has to get back on the horse sometime. So here it is: consider this my foot in the stirrup. A new venture for a new decade. The rebirth of Womperjaw. V.2.0. In (cyber) SPACE! I don't know yet what will become of this new undertaking, my vision for this new Womperjaw has not yet fully gelled. Will it be primarily political rants? Pretentious art? Bad poetry? A compendium of celebrity nipple slips? Only time will tell. The only thing I can hope for at this point is that I am able to keep up with this and update on a reasonable and regular basis. And hopefully a person or two out there in the vast wilderness of these internets will stumble upon and enjoy my humble words from time to time.

"But wait!" You're probably saying, "you've left us hanging! There is still the loose thread of your former co-conspirator to tie up! What of Jeff, the previously-plagued co-creator of Womperjaw OG? Oh please tell us the end of his story is a happy one!" As much as I would like to tell you that, tragically, I cannot. Despite years of trying, and for a long while seemingly succeeding, to extricate himself from the clutches of the aforementioned personal demons (a long while that saw a now-much-treasured reunion of both our friendship and our creative collaboration), sadly, he did not ultimately triumph and passed away in late 2008 at the age of 30. I can't adequately express the immensity of the hole that his loss has left in not just my life, but the lives of everyone who knew him. His talent, his creativity and his passion completely dwarfed my own and it still (and will always) fill me with a profound sadness to think of what we could have accomplished together had he managed to beat his own dark side.

And so it is with Jeff in mind also that I launch this new venture into the blog-o-world. I considered at first the idea of a new name for this gig, one that would be a fresh start, artistically speaking, but in the end I decided to stick with the Womperjaw appellation, as a tribute to my fallen comrade and as a continuation, albeit in digital form, of the work we started together a decade ago.

Like Watt without D. Boon, I pick myself up and start again. I miss you Jeff, this is for you...