Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Muse

The Muse Of Silence - 1973, Giorgio de Chirico

The Muse

You appeared today
near the ceiling, a warpage
in the atmosphere
up there. The fly who
had got in through the open
window flew though you
descending trapped in
a shaft of the sun's lit path.
I knew instantly
it was you up there
because poems called, whimpered
in my hungry ear.

April 30, 2013 9:48 AM

Self Portrait

Wiki says:
Giorgio de Chirico
Born: 10 July 1888; Volos, Greece
Died: 20 November 1978; Rome, Italy
Active Years: 1909 - 1978
Field: painting
Nationality: Italian
Art Movement: Surrealism, Metaphysical art

The founder of the Metaphysical art movement, Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian (Born in Volos,Greece)surrealist painter, whose work implied a metaphysical questioning of reality. After studying in Athens and Florence, he moved to Germany to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was influenced by the writings of Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. On his way to Paris, De Chirico traveled back to Florence and later to Turin, where he was moved by the metaphysical beauty of the surroundings.

De Chirico was a prolific artist, painting up until his 90th year. His paintings strongly influenced the surrealist movement, providing inspiration for such prominent artists as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Philip Guston. His paintings have further helped inspire books, music and even video games.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Michael Keaton as Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice), from the 1988 comedy-horror-fantasy movie directed by Tim Burton. This movie is still great, and very little about it is dated some 25 years later. It is still hilarious. I love Michael Keaton's acting almost solely for this character, which he just friggen nailed.

Here's one of those old Haiku style poems that I started with this go round, also written in early December, 2008. The style is eight lines, beginning and ending with the 5-7-5 syllables that I use all the time but in the middle there are two seven syllable lines. To be correct to the form, there is one haiku, then a bridge thought, then the other haiku. Wrong Place, Wrong Time meets all criteria except for not being about traditional subject matter. I read one place that this form is actually an ancient improvisational style typically used for expression in public teahouses. Poets would contest with each other sometimes using this style.

Before I began blogging I spent a few months in the comments of other blogs getting used to the medium. It was there that I started doing haiku and very shortly found this style so I could do larger pieces. Now I rarely use the style because my work requires nine lines or even fifteen. My poetry is rarely longer than that.

While Wrong Place, Wrong Time works well as an amusement, it could be allegorical too. I don't necessarily mean I think I am all that ugly. I don't think I am all that ugly even as obese as I am. Using allegory I may be masking that I am actually an alien on the planet, abandoned to my fate, ditched by my so called friends, who promised to pick me up but never returned. I really related to ET. I've been trying to phone home for a long time. So maybe I mean that, that you would know if you saw me naked. Maybe I'm an actual angel on a mission from God and you would know if you saw me... So try not to decide what was in one of my several heads. I really related to Men In Black also :)

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

What a freakin charge!
You saw me walk in naked,
Now look at your hair!

There's good reason to wear clothes
At least for the likes of me.

Gotta get you combed
Unsnarl the tangles and knots,
Say you were not here.

Written December, 2008
First Posted March 14, 2009
and intro modified and expanded for republishing today.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Latest Faux Pas - A Magpie Tale

Illustration by Helen Ward, offered by Tess as this week's prompt on The Mag: Mag 166.

To view and join The Mag creative writing group *click here*

My Latest Faux Pas

The banquet has been
overrun by ruffians
who disguise themselves
in genteel displays
and fancy foolish costumes.

My headache is just
desserts.  I know that.
My fault -I mean it, really.

I can only wish
that somehow you will
find it possible - forgive
me this.  I meant well.

Please remember that.

April 28, 2013 10:52 AM

The illustration is of course a depiction of Toad Hall overrun by stoats and weasels who have taken advantage of Toad's absence. Toad has returned to discover what has befallen his digs. Toad in the meanwhile has fallen in love with the newest rage, the motorcar. Oh bother! Oh blow!

Friday, April 26, 2013

That Old Song

That Old Song

I did not leave love
behind in San Francisco.
I am sure of that.
That old song is wrong,
at least for me but I left
behind a parrot.
I brought along Fred
who was a marsupial,
but he died Tuesday.

April 26, 2013 3:52 PM

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Walking On Clouds

Walking On Clouds

I look from above
To the clouds that cover you,
Keep you from my sight.

The clouds seem to say
I could float, even walk there
In mid-sky out past
The place you still live,
Home that I left, leaving you.

The sun's rays reach me
In horizontal
Lines that slice me right to left
Like you asking me.

January 17, 2009 2:06 PM
Posted first June 18, 2009

On January 17, 2009 according to the June 18 posting I wrote eight poems. This was the fourth one or maybe the fifth. I posted six of the eight poems over the course of three days.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Tree

The Tree

Too late you told me
to stop thinking about you.
I'm caught. This late light
is full of perfume
from your flowers within it.
If I climb the tree
of knowledge and pick
the fruit, should I drop it down
to you, would you eat?
I ate already.
Now I see why I risked it.
I see why I love.

August 4, 2010 11:21 PM

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Remember Making Love

Merganser ducks and seagulls,
Posted by EG CameraGirl at Thursday, October 27, 2011
for blog site *click here*

EG CameraGirl writes: "East Gwillimbury (I presume where she lives) is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go."

Relationships are complicated. I had this discussion with some people just today, how no matter how smart it may seem to keep it simple there is no way to do that in a relationship, especially one containing stuff as intimate as making love.

I am not sure how to rate a relationship in which lovemaking has ceased. I know I have one like that and I value it more highly than any other of my current relationships. It took a year to transit the shoals of that leave taking without losing the whole thing. I worked it hard from the spiritual angle and truly did not know if I could do it or accept God's terms on completion.

It is now several years later, and the issues involved in all that are over. There are new things in both our lives to respond to. This poem is not about that relationship except in the faintest of ways. I saw writing posted on a blog of a dear friend I met in forming my blog world and I am responding to that piece in this writing here. But this poem is not really about that piece of writing either.

I like to think that many of my poems might talk about how I relate to God. I am sure that any relationship with God as I understand Him must contain the deeply human, no, check that, the insides of sentient life as it happens on this planet. If I cannot be myself among the rest of you all, humans, cats, ducks and the rest, then the relationship I may have with God is of little value. In some small way this poem may be about that as well.

Talk about complicated.

I Remember Making Love

The lake is still there.
Of course you know it is, love,
and I am still here
among the rushes
at lake's side. It's breaking dawn.
There are ducks in pairs
as we once were paired
beneath the silvered surface
and the ducks, serene
as they seem above
the edge of things, feather smooth,
unless you look down
and see the little
duck feet churning and churning
until they hit mud.

April 23, 2013 11:10 AM

Monday, April 22, 2013

Heron At River's Dawn

Heron At River's Dawn

Your soul flew about
a silver fish in the light,
in the sky darting
and herding others,
doing God's bidding unknown
but certain like stones.
You told me one time
that it would be bright like this,
like a spring morning
with the Sun trying
already for summer's day
this early in the world.

Written on the Willamette River in Corvallis Or.
April 22, 2013 7:19 AM

Sunday, April 21, 2013

On Being Right Size - A Magpie Tale

James Browning Wyeth (born July 6, 1946) "Jamie" is a contemporary American realist painter. He was raised in Chadds Ford Township, Pennsylvania, son of Andrew Wyeth and grandson of N.C. Wyeth. He is artistic heir to the Brandywine School tradition, painters who worked in the rural Brandywine River area of Delaware and Pennsylvania, portraying its people, animals, and landscape.

Jamie Wyeth - Monhegan's Schoolteacher, 2004 - offered as a prompt by Tess Kincaid for The Mag: Mag165.

Because it's a nude I felt compelled to explain, "This is art, dammit! And it's art produced by a mainstream artistic lineage to boot, so it is of course a righteous vision." LOL!!

To view and join The Mag creative writing group *click here*

On Being Right Size

I'm an idiot!
Of course I am, split away
from the rest, singled
out from the wooly
herd, the sheep that came calling.

When I walked in on
you perched on the sill
I could smell the shower steam
and I thought how I
once was in your class,
how you taught me to think for
myself, so thank you.
I am not ashamed.

April 21, 2013 9:53 AM

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Winds Get In

I sat at your fire,
Watched you lay out your palette
Of fine colored sands.
I watched as you drew
The designs you learned from him,
From the holy man.
I saw them take shape,
Amazing true shapes in sand,
In my old gray eyes.

My story is told in sand.
The flaps of this tent shiver.
The winds outside stir, get in.

Written November 29, 2008 6:14 AM
First posted March 1, 2009

Thursday, April 18, 2013

State Of The Art

State Of The Art

I keep trying to
draw my own map, ride my own
dragon, make my wings
or other nonsense.
I persist in folly ad
infinitum, Dad.

I had a map one time
not laid in my lap but me
laid map like in yours.
This is really hard
to remember directly,
which is why I draw.

August 4, 2010 10:37 AM

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eve of Destruction - 3WW

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 join this week's 3 Word Wednesday writing group *click here*
This week's words:

Destruction; Endure; Trust.

Wiki says: "Eve of Destruction" is a protest song written by P. F. Sloan in 1965. Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. This recording was made between July 12 and July 15, 1965 and released by Dunhill Records. The accompanying musicians were top-tier LA session players: P. F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew") on drums, and Larry Knechtel on bass. The vocal track was thrown on as a rough mix and was not intended to be the final version, but a copy of the recording "leaked" out to a DJ, who began playing it. The song was an instant hit and as a result the more polished vocal track that was at first envisioned was never recorded.

P.F. Sloan a few years back, largely absent from the music field for many years, he has said due to ill health. Sloan is one of the musicians who knows well the seamy side of the music business and its abuse of artists. He has been one of the abused.

To My Friend

I am so angry
on this eve of destruction
and I would destroy
the shylocks if not
for the taint it would bring me.
But you do endure
and I trust this time
to release you from the chains
that have tied you down.
I know well the pain
like a tidal bore that found
the cracks in your soul.

April 17, 2013 6:36 AM

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bone Sitting

This photo of an elk skeleton was taken by edahl28 on May 18, 2010 using a Nikon D300S. It appears on this Flickr page:
*click here*

Bone Sitting

When the path bent round
that boulder, that's where I found
the bones of our beast
laid out on display,
stripped clean, large, belly side up,
and on the inside
edge of the long spine
some gray lichen grew, spreading
bone to bone. I felt
that change in my own
body as I stood still to see
this and the moth too
bone sitting so still
just like you told me it might
of an evening.

April 16, 2013 2:40 PM

Monday, April 15, 2013

After Breakfast

I have washed your dish
for the last time, I suspect
as I put it in
the rack, dripping on
the crusty drainboard (I should
scrub the board as well).
I sense the front door
quietly closing at just
this strange damp moment.

Picking up the pan,
I start to scrub you away,
scrub away the shape
of things as they were.
This would go better with more
elan, I suppose.
Later, I work up
yet another goddam speech
to give the lost boys.

April 15, 2013 3:53 PM

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Iconoclast - A Magpie Tale

Spring, 1935 by Kuzma Petrov-Vodin
Offered by Tess as the prompt for Mag 164

To view and join The Mag creative writing group *click here*

The Iconoclast

I drove a bargain
and you deemed it hard going
up the icy road.
You went north further
than most of us and longer
on the road as well.
There were big rumors.
I think you spread them as much
as anyone did.
I know the church frowned.
I was tentative after
all that, my old friend.

written April 14, 2013 9:45 AM

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What You Said

From Dante, The Suicides
Illustration by Gustave Dore. 1832-1883.

Back on June 4, 2009 I wrote:
I cringe a little posting this one. In my defense, I am convinced that God has a sense of humor, an infinite one to be sure...but He seems to have favorites, puns, pratfalls, practical jokes. He puts thieves in service as messengers, a position which they do really well.

So if you have certain sorts of holes in your moral compass, there is hope for you yet.

One piece of this, over and over in my experience, alcoholics survive the most incredible circumstances. They so frequently do not deserve any kind of break if you look at them with human eyes. Yet they get sober and have amazing "war" stories, sometimes some harrowing war stories for real, the sort you would not relate in public if you are not certain of your audience. Or maybe not even then. But God has an infinite sense of humor as well as infinite justice and infinite mercy, infinitely focussed at each and every point in the cosmos.

I am very happy to tell you I have not received what I deserve.

What You Said

You told me so much
Last weekend when I came home.
It's hard to keep it
All in view, but one
Thing you said, at least I think
You said this to me,

"Go and sign no more."

I'm not sure I know what you
Mean by saying that.

January 11, 2009 9:40 AM
Originally posted June 4, 2009

(Maybe I got that wrong somehow??)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Extravagant Promise

Extravagant Promise

If the breakup means
I must move down one more bed
Then I hope winter
Will stay forever.

I watch the sun, eyes wary,
Watch you too, looking
For signs that you've moved
Toward the closet, satchel
And your hiking shoes,
Ready to pray, plead
My case, promise you I will
Even clean the cat.

January 15, 2009 10:08 AM
First posted June 13, 2009

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In The Same Boat

In The Same Boat

I'm in the big soup,
swimming among the soup sharks
who haven't seen me,
not yet anyway.
I am clever just like that,
a master of clouds,
but this friggin' bowl
is heating up and we are
all beginning to

August 4, 2010 8:03 AM

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking My Rest - 3WW

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 join this week's 3 Word Wednesday writing group *click here*
This week's words:

Bask; Grief; Raise.

Taking My Rest

I have broken through
the old growth and the brambles
beneath. I shall lie
in the meadow, bask
in the afternoon of my
grief and slant sunshine.
I shall trust my God
that He'll raise me up to stand
in the morning's glow
once dark night is past.

April 10, 2013 6:24 AM

Monday, April 8, 2013

An Arrogant Man

An Arrogant Man

I am the weather
here. You shall wear your slickers
when I choose to rain.

If you resist me
I shall thunder and throw hail
down your robe, your shoes,
and you will bruise deep
all the way inside. I am
nothing without you.

August 3, 2010 8:35 AM

Many years ago I sat in a job review meeting and the A-hole (I never did like the guy) who was reviewing me called me an arrogant man. I was crushed. I could barely return to work, but it didn't matter much because the job finished and I was one of many laid back off. That layoff was normal in the market place for my line and meant nothing because only a superhero or a rapidly connected guy could survive beyond the layoff point under ordinary conditions. The job had served my purpose, getting me out of a former job that I needed out of.

The new information of my arrogance was hugely valuable and a powerful lesson of the huge gap that may exist between what I think I am doing and what I am actually doing. In any social environment other people get a vote in what I am doing and no matter what I think I am trying to do, if it comes across as arrogance then it is precisely that.

There are dozens of ways to do just about anything. A few of them are good, many are so, so, and a few are disastrous. I had no idea that my behavior was in the disaster realm. This was a watershed in my growing up, although it is perhaps embarrassing that I was already in my thirties...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What Could Have Been - A Magpie Tale

Woman With a Towel, 1898, Edgar Degas
Offered by Tess as the prompt for Mag 163

To view and join The Mag creative writing group *click here*

What Could Have Been

When you told me this
all my worlds took wing, and me
rising into clouds
trying to speak words
worth saying at such a time.
Since that one moment
distinct in my life
I often stand near as you
step out from your bath,
watching your womb grow
beyond our embrace of love,
beyond all we were.

April 7, 2013 12:41 PM

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Real Boy

A Real Boy

If I were a real
boy, really here, I would not
splinter, I would not
shiver to pieces
before your truly kind eyes,
in your honey arms.

If I were naked
I would be shamed all at once
that you would see dead
wood sluff off me.

gathers in my clothes and puffs
off me as I duck
around the corner.
Maybe tomorrow I'll be
more real than today.

August 3, 2010 8:14 AM

Friday, April 5, 2013

Relativity Stones

Relativity Stones

She has diminished
in the distance, perspective,
and I sit shrunken
in the change of things.
It is relativity,
the marriage of space
with time's flow and thrust
impregnating this old heart
with the stones of love -
that was then, this now.

August 1, 2010 10:53 AM

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Weekend Getaway

This one is a direct memory - my one weekend spent behind bars. It was the Santa Clara County jail and the cell a holding cell full of convicts mainly waiting for release at end of sentence served. I was twenty-one and had been walking down the street late at night on a Friday night with two other people. One guy was holding some marijuana. I was clean in all ways having just visited my sister, recently back from her time in Persia (Iran). We were both students at San Jose State. This was January, 1967.

The cell was stacked with double bunks four deep down one side and three the other. There was not much room between the bunks side to side but enough to walk up and down the aisle, an open toilet and sink at the end of the room taking the space of the fourth bunk on that side. We were let out only for meals. Every bunk was taken. The front face was a wall of bars. Fourteen people in the cell probably designed for four at the most.

At the time I was living on the streets of San Jose, the south side of the San Jose State campus. I was underfed and fairly well stoned most days, all day. They say of jail, three hots and a cot. That was certainly true for me that weekend. At the interview, the officer was angry with me for not saying much about what we were doing (but there really wasn't much to say) on the streets so late with one guy holding dope. We actually were walking back to that guy's rooming house where I was crashing in the spare bed in his room. I don't know what the third guy was doing with us, just hanging out. The angry officer got in my face and that's really what he said to me - that I was on the path to Sing Sing. I thought he was crazy. Sing Sing is near Ossining, New York.

Monday morning I was released. I had been booked into jail, but there was no business for me in court at all. Other than that brief encounter with the interviewer, I had no direct encounters with cops or guards the rest of the weekend. I am sad to say not so my friend who had given me a place to crash. I know he had earned trouble from the pot in his pocket.

A Weekend Getaway

Pacing like tigers
do, up and down the short walk
from stone wall to bars
and back, wearing down
the cold cold gray concrete floor
between the convict
bunks, two high, careful
not to poke the idling men
beside me waiting
for what's coming next.

I'm told I'm headed for Sing
Sing but even I
know that's New York
and we're in California.

July 29, 2010 9:44 PM

The rest of the story - what happened to me amongst those terrible county jail convicts was nothing at all. All was peaceful. One guy was proud of the purse he was going to give his girlfriend, woven of Pall Mall cigarette package covers. You might know that special dark red with white print. I met another young man who it turned out I had met one other time, a day when he visited relatives who lived next door to my family's rental on King Street in Santa Cruz. That was several years earlier, 1957, when I was in sixth grade. We knew this was right because the two houses shared a special land feature between them, a pond and drainage creek of concrete leading to an underground flow at the sidewalk of the street and beyond. There was nothing like that elsewhere up and down the street, so it had to be us. I have never known what to make of that chance meeting. I didn't go to Sing Sing, nor to any other jail at all. I got close, I think, a few years later but was never even booked. The story of that night is a whole other thing.

The Santa Clara County Jail main web site has this to say:
"The Santa Clara County Department of Correction is the fifth largest jail system in California, and among the 20 largest systems in the United States. Our jail is among the 100 systems nationwide with an inmate population of more than 1,000."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Independent Boy - 3WW

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 join this week's Three Word Wednesday writing group *click here*

This week's words:

Argue; Lick; Squint.

Picture taken by a neighbor in spring of 1953. This is me with John Neville's dog. This year I had a bicycle and used it to go many places quite far from home, totally normal behavior for a third grade boy alone in Berkeley, California at the time.

The Independent Boy

I will not argue
not today, and not with you.
It's like the track of
the lick slime right up
your fine cheek, left behind by
the backyard big dog.
No matter how much
I plead, "please don't", still you squint
at the morning sun.

April 3, 2013 9:47 AM

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