March 29, 2010


In the late 70s, David & I would often run into each other at San Francisco poetry parties where alcohol was consumed, pot was smoked & someone would always set a typewriter up with a blank piece of paper in hopes of fostering collaboration, usually long & rambling exercises in gibberish.

One night, David & I huddled by the typewriter in a more minimal mood, typing the following two collabs:


Most tightrope walkers don’t die
from falling.


There you are in the 12th century,
& there’s 8 more centuries to go,

at least.


Years passed before I ran into David again at the San Francisco Book Fair where he was celebrating the publication of his Men, Women & Vehicles: Prose Works by Black Sparrow Press. The publishers were astonished to meet me, were astonished that someone named, “G. P. Skratz” even existed.

Noting my bewilderment, they showed me the frontispiece to his book: “These stories are works of fiction & any resemblance between the characters & persons living or dead is purely coincidental, except for G. P. Skratz.”

David himself popped up & showed me the passage on p.166 that had led to the odd disclaimer:

“That reminds me of a poem I once wrote,” Dan said. “It was a collaboration. G. P. Skratz helped me write it.”


“It’s called ‘The Blues,’” Dan went on. “It goes like so: ‘Here you sit in the 13th century. And there’s at least seven more to go.’”


Not named for sleek-footed wood
nymphs or olympic warrior,
not named at all, they spin unsung
round the baby blue orb below:

nuts, bolts, flecks of paint,
aluminum oxide slags from solid
rocket exhaust, lens caps, hatches,
debonded thermal blanket segments,
protective shields, solar panels,
droplets of sodium/potassium coolant,
spent rocket stages, swarms of dust,
ever-expanding toroidal clouds
of break-up fragments, cords,
spring release mechanisms, spin-up
devices, explosive bolts, titanium
pressurant tanks,
mmmmmmmmmpieces of shit,
crystals of piss:
mmmmmmmmmthese are
the moons of earth…

Oakland, CA


there are no dragons.
there is no wind.

Oakland, CA


At twilight, my 5 year-old grandson, Mikey, & I decide to launch a couple of helium balloons to the bright crescent moon. On each, we attach a message from Mikey. On the first, he has me write, “Dear Moon: This balloon is filled with pasta!” On the second, he dictates, “Dear Moon: This one is filled with watermelon!”

I don’t “get it” at first, but it turns out we’re playing a trick on the moon! Earlier this morning, I’d demonstrated, to Mikey’s delight, how helium makes one’s voice sound strange. Now, his idea is that the Moon will be so tantalized by the promise of pasta & watermelon in those balloons that it will eat them, & the moon’s voice will suddenly start sounding strange!

mmmmnight after night
mmmmmmmmsweet airy drone
mmmmwhispered by moon
mmmmmmmmfor your ears alone
mmmmsounds funny these days
mmmmmmmmhigh yodeling moan
Oakland, CA


G. P. SKRATZ: poet/performance-artist
Skratz is the author of Fun, recent poems (Philos Press, Lacey, WA), the prose-poem collection, The Gates of Disappearance (Konglomerati, Gulfport, FL), & ghost-writer of the 3 Stooges bio, Larry, The Stooge In The Middle (Last Gasp, San Francisco). He taught poetry at Naropa Institute at the invitation of Allen Ginsberg; he’s been video artist-in-residence at Toronto’s A-Space & performance artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s La Mamelle. In 1990, he won the Bisbee Poetry Festival’s grand prize for performance poetry. Nowadays, he plays guitar in & writes songs for the acoustic band, Smooth Toad–“twisted roots & cast-iron crooning,” “for those occasions when your ordinary music just won’t do.”

2 Responses to “G.P. SKRATZ”

  1. Dave Morice Says:

    I’ve been trying to reach you via email, but I can’t ever get it to work. I always get the Mailer Daemon saying that the address doesn’t exist. I got that response this time for a different email address. So I’m trying this. I hope it works!

  2. G. P. Skratz Says:

    Hey Dave:

    Just now saw this! & yeah: there are a couple of my outdated email addresses published out there in cyberspace.

    I’m now at: gpskratz@sbcglobal.net. My band, Smooth Toad, can be found at: http://www.myspace.com/smoothtoad. & other projects luxuriate at: http://www.arundosalon.com.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

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