Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Placing The Blame - 3 Word Wednesday

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Hamper; Pulverize; Taunt

Placing The Blame

There is the proof found
in the clothes hamper, the stain
on my tangled wash -
they said your true name
will pulverize the edges
of the left over
scheme that holds my dreams -
I hear your chief taunt which hangs
in the smoggy light
of the afternoon
drive, how all's come to dead stop -
you force my shame now.

Written June 27, 2012 5:25 AM

I refuse all blame for it. See how those three words darkened my imagination this morning. All is well here in this house. The neighbor cat who sometimes sleeps beside or even on me woke me in time for poesy. He wanted a little something and then release from this warmth and safety. I have no idea what I'm friggen talking about in the poem.

A good thing happened this week. I got access to pictures of the tiny building that housed The Brass Knocker, the coffee house coffee bean store where Paul Zeigler sat on a tall stool under the stairs, playing and singing the songs I learned over the next few years as I mastered his style. My training was deepened by the finger picking of Jorma Kaukonen. Indeed later on Paul provided a place for Jorma to play the summer of 1965, the year The Jefferson Airplane took off in August.

I sat in the audience in that former pizza parlor south of the San Jose State Campus that Paul rented. There I heard Jorma play blues, Paul Kantner play classical guitar, and the joy of Skip Spence whipping up the crowd with his solo rock and roll style. Skip before drugs took his sanity was a terrific showman. Jorma and Paul were original partners in making the Airplane fly. The name was Jorma's, why the Airplane became the Starship later when Jorma and his friend Jack Casady left to form Hot Tuna. Skip figured large in Moby Grape, a short lived San Francisco band.

Look here at this old summer cottage on Big Basin Way in Saratoga, California. Built in the 1890s, the building may be torn down soon. Built on a steep slope dropping away from the street, it has two floors, a street level upper floor and a lower floor down those stairs. In 1964, down the stairs, both inside and outside, was a coffee house that held maybe fifteen paying customers while a solo performer (there were several) sat beneath the inside stairs doing folk, blues and acoustic rock.

This historical structure is typical of the small gabled residences and summer homes built in Saratoga from the 1850s to the late 1890s. A number of local businesses have occupied the home over the last several decades. (Listed at $719,000, but not currently for sale.)

The Brass Knocker Viewed From Big Basin Way

The Upper Floor, A Coffee Store in 1964-65

The Lower Floor, A Coffee House


  1. Great poem and great comments and pictures to go with it.

  2. I am glad all is well in the is sometimes a mystery where words come from..i like how the post and the poem sat together..maybe it scratched a little but it was a perfect fit..Jae

  3. Sometimes poems are like dreams, beautiful mysteries even their authors don't completely get. That's why writing them is so much fun.

    Love that cottage. It has inspired me.

  4. 'I have no idea what I'm friggen talking about in the poem.' - Thank whatever literary gods have just decided to be kind to me. If I had to face another indecipherable poem I think I might just run screaming.

    So I'm going to say I preferred reading the little snippet from your life (You mentioned cats... therefore attained instant attention!) and thank you for sharing that *smile*

  5. LOL!! I surely didn't mean I had no idea what the sense of the poem was, only that it was so distant from my current emotional life. The poem is so dark when my circumstance these days is so easy and light. The darkness was in the three words rather than in my life and I have no effing clue why the words evoked this darkness.

    On the other hand, I find myself lacking in energy and I wind up doing strange things for me like watching a bunch of big league baseball on tv, just sitting there. I really like the baseball though, a surprise because I have always found the sport boring. Now it is soothing...

    It might be the way all the meds I must take for this and that (blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, diastolic heart failure and risks of pulmonary embolism, cholesterol control protecting a three year old stent, high stroke risk, prostate control, and borderline diabetes), it might be the way all this necessary chemistry or the conditions treated affects me.

  6. If you liked looking at the Brass Knocker I wrote another related post and comments here:

  7. I remember the name of the Brass Knocker; think my mom used to talk about it.

    Where is this little house in the picture in relation to where my parents and I lived?

    I hope I will get a chance to drive down Big Basin Way soon. I had a strange, vivid flashback to Saratoga recently. It was the bathroom of someone's house -- a friend of my parents -- with very bold wallpaper. I want to say owls, but it could have been clocks. Perhaps with some silver.

    I would have been 2 or 3, of course.

  8. My recollection is that the Brass Knocker building was close but on the other side of the street. I am assuming it really was Big Basin Way you guys were on. Even if you were on another street, I know you were on the one side of a parallel street and the BK on the other. Before this comment, I couldn't say that you were on Big Basin Way for sure, but if that's how you remember it then I do too. The Brass Knocker probably was closed as the business in that place in your time. I was only in your house once I think, and of course if you have the address you can be precise because you have the address of the Grover House. You can even go on Google maps and take a virtual walk up and down the street and see what's there at the time the street view was taken, certainly within the last five years or so.

    I recall your house being on the same slope fairly steep just as was the Knocker, the slope descending from back to front for you guys and from front to back for the Brass Knocker across the street. I admired your mom and dad for many things through the years and one of them was the Saratoga address. What a cool town to be from.

    Toni, Steve and Stan all went to the Brass Knocker at least once and Toni went somewhat often, always separate from me. I did not always approve of your mom's choices and one time she and a girl friend chose to expose a boy's marijuana use. This took place due to events that occurred in part at the Brass Knocker. I remember at the time being angry about that.

    Later of course Toni was instrumental in getting my mom back home to get me off the San Jose streets. I was furious about that at that time too, even though what happened to me was the exact right thing. I kind of knew that which is why I did not run away when I could have.

    The biggest piece of that was getting me medically tagged to protect me from eventual military prosecution for desertion. That was certainly okay with me and a bunch of scary bureaucratic work for my mom.

  9. 14521 Big Basin Way is the address of the Brass Knocker

  10. I just wanted to post again that the building will probably remain and will be updated to house a possible restaurant. So, this is good news. The building has been empty for years, so it will be nice to see it all fixed up.

  11. Hey, thanks. I don't have the address. But our place was definitely on Big Basin Way, in a light-colored house on the south side of the street. Assuming my hazy, toddler memories can be trusted, but I feel certain of these few facts. I remember running to the window to watch firetrucks going by, and the tree swing in the backyard, and the place I went with my parents and their friends while they ate and drank. It was across the street and had a brick patio. I remember that brick patio -- that's about it. Maybe that was the Brass Knocker?

    I'll try to go check out Google Maps and street view later. Thanks for the address.

    I'll keep my mouth shut about the other stuff for now, but I do enjoy hearing your memories. :-)

  12. The other stuff really isn't for here. I was careful.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!