Saturday, June 27, 2015

Imagine us all, he said


        ...    ...    ...    ...

If we do not see each other again
in this life or any other, let’s agree
to each take the time,
whenever we can,
to imagine us all standing at the rail
confused but delighted at the endless,
deathless sea before us
with no need to speak of desperation
for once.  Imagine us all
in sunset, in sunrise, under a laughing moon.
Imagine a shared moment
where it didn’t need to make sense
that there was no sense to the voyage.

~~ Excerpt from "This Ship", by Tony Brown.

Thanks to permission from Tony Brown, who several years ago told me I could share any of his poems, and will do so again in an upcoming issue of too-long dormant Salamander Cove in July/August.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Grande vente de garage at Parc Ile Saint Quentin yesterday.

 What I found:


a leather-boot keychain, for 25 cents

A lovely green stone necklace, 50 cents

   Two pen holders and 6 drawing nibs (new!!), $1

A black and gold-colored metal wildcat pin, $2

Artwork made from pressed flowers, herbs and seeds
from Quebec artist/botanist Julie Corbeil,
signed and framed,  $4

(This photo doesn't do it justice.)

A little hand-carved wooden figure by
sculptor Robert Jean, of Saint-Jean-Port-Jolie, $1

When I brought him home, I put him next to another carved wooden figure
that I got some years ago that's actually an incense holder.
They seem to be getting along just fine together.

I was not so sure, however, about Francis and François.
Francis is a wooden deer with broken antlers, carved from driftwood, gotten in Vermont.


This carved horse, now called  François, was sitting on a table
 at the garage sale,  ignored by all the passersby.
He reminded me a bit of Francis.  I, too, passed him by -
but then went back.  Something about those eyes. 

His backside includes this gaping hole
that resembles a mouth, howling.

Here's an imaginary (photographic) intro between the two sculptures
as they size each other up.

"Hello, who's this you've brought home with you?"

May I present François, I said,
emphasizing his finer-sculpted points.

Francis checks him out.

No comment.

 François waits.

I'm taller than you, Francis thinks.

You can join me in sentinel duty at the window,
he says, authoritatively.

Because photographers can manipulate perception,
here it would seem they are the same height
and Francis appears more friendly.

As in all contrived, anthropomorphic stories,
a happy ending trumps a not so happy one.

 I truly do not know if Francis and François will get along,
or if the perpetually smiling wooden man won't occasionally
feel like frowning --  but in our world, inanimate objects
don't speak or feel, and so can't really tell us.

And yet they do, when imagination takes over,
giving a tiny, decorative clunk of metal
one pins on a garment, to "accessorize",
the ability to leap, to dream.

"Can I go now?"

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tree Talk

Good morning, Maurice
you show-off, you,
conspiring with the sun to make
your limb-shadows dance on my curtains
just so

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

27 years ago

It's like you're on this long, long journey that never ends, and the
voices in the back keep asking:

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Frag Jots


Hanging up clothes in the back yard yesterday
a wave across to neighbor Clement
and his dog Charlotte
who then walk on over and
Clement tells me the tests are back, he has
cancer of the blood and that
despite eating six pieces of toast every morning,
he's still losing weight.  
The neighbor on the other side is moving out
for lack of sleep, on account of her downstairs neighbor who 
despite several visits from the police
(and eviction notice from the landlord)
rampages on.
This morning we'll have rain,
(so the weather people say).
The community garden folks want us there at 9:00
to stake and rope the plots.
A second cup of jumpstart dark-roasted Trader Joe coffee
and I'm off.  Should I or should I not take
an umbrella?

Friday, May 8, 2015

mini rescue

On the way to work this morning, a bee
in the visitor cat's water bucket.
Lacking a twig or spoon to extract it,
he used his car key - bee stopped
flailing, struggled aboard, got a
short ride, then wobbled off
into the grass. Recovery imminent.

Had he left bee in the carport,
the cat who'd come soon would get curious,
probably get stung - doesn't
need another wound as badge of survival -
like its frost-chewed half
ear, compliments of one more winter
worse than the two last.

Creature headcount stats so far this year -
less bees
   more stray cats
Life coming life going, now
spring, and revival -
until the wind changes
and the drinkwater in the bucket freezes

Whispers from the not-yet garden:
Be back, bee

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Welcome back

The snow geese in autumn honk and fly by on their way south, but seldom stop.  During spring, however, as many as 500,000, on their way to Baffin Island (Nunavut territory)  descend en masse on  Baie-du-Febvre, on the shores of Lac Saint-Pierre, Quebec.  Why here?

The 5,000-kilometre journey requires a lot of energy. Prime sources of energy are the residues of maize crops left on the fields from the previous autumn, and they are safe here in the Biosphere Reserve, from natural predators.  They will spend several days in these staging areas, then continue on to the Canadian Arctic, arriving there in June.

Some snippits from a local spring geese migration report

April 12 - Sunday - "Respect"
Observers are urged not to cross the fences or approach the winged visitors in the field, to let them feed and rest. This is a crucial step in their migration where they will accumulate the energy they need to continue their journey.

April 13 - Monday - "Against All Odds"
10:30 a.m. An estimated 200,000 snow geese suddenly arrive in Baie-du-Febvre sector.

April 14 - Tuesday - "Migration Stable"
An estimated 175,000 to 200,000 geese in Baie-du-Febvre sector today. No less than 40 varieties of birds including a golden eagle and two eagles in our area spotted. Also several varieties of ducks.

Spring is really here.  The geese have come back.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


spring rains
warm winds
snow gone!

muddied boots in the hall
Maurice our tree
breaks out in buds

saved seeds dehibernate,
clothesline gets re-strung -
which perennial will be first
to wiggle through, reborn?

Friday, April 10, 2015

River Watch

Last week, along the St. Lawrence,
near the port


 Early this week,
along the St. Maurice

Foggy morning walk across the old railroad bridge

Winter hanging on


  Let the melting begin!

One bent and grasping
toward the snow-dented tracks -
these bare-limbed trees the sentinels, its watchful companions,
each rooted but vulnerable
to  nature, to man.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tree, bird, words

Some Hidden
thoughts and unsaid words
collect and build in
pools of verse, like land-locked trees
that try to fly.  (How many ever do?)
These quirky pre-launched poems-to-be,
in  struggling to expand their reach,
find here a way yet to emerge,
  to coax the word buds through.
One makes a tree, draws it just so, dressed up as 'poem'
with words that show it's all in vain this stealthy surge,
that tries to just prevail -- cuz all
too often what you get is simply soup (and lacking worth);
deep down inside you know it's doomed, and that it will just fail.
And yet, one learns and can evolve.
Like honing, hearing (new resolve!), and this
type task's of value, yet.  So try  another one.

                                                              Dawn! –
                                                           rooster tells
                                                    us, 'Here comes sun'. Look,
                                                             o’er the treetops, greet the
                                                                sky,   the   snow-filled   fields, the    frozen   brook
                                                                   two squirrels   chase,  in 
                                                                         morning’s light on
                                                                          banks   deep, cold
                                                                            & white. O life!
                                                                                  Another                                                                                                                                                                     D                                                                                                                                                                        A

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I worry
you worry
they worry
we all worry, 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

At Dawn, Revisitation

awynfoto - 19 January 2015

The Snow Mind

Though one be accustomed to
winter's flakefall and drift,
tree limbs encrusted with snow,

or cedars' boughs iced and
heavied in the wake of
each freezing sweep

as January's cold gels dreams of
spring thaw, keeping one frosted
in the moment,

no thinking, no feeling,
no sight nor sound should permeate,
so that one can behold

the all and the nothing,
be-ing, non-thereness, and the
That that just is.

Inspired by:

by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter

To regard the frost and the boughs

Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time

To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think

Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land

Full of the same wind

That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,

And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

 It was -29C last week.  Yesterday it warmed up to about  -17C  and we got new snow.
Early morning, I saw my elderly neighbor out the window, already shoveling.

awynfoto-19 January 2015
 Partout, l'hiver.
C'est ça. C'est bon.

awynfotokard, 19 January 2015

*Blackie #3, a neighborhood stray, inspects the new snowpath. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The keys you're given

 On Remembering the Discovery
 of  Two Grand Old Masters 

And when you can no longer speak
or move 
                 or think
                              or see,
will Beethoven enter the room
to remind you of when you first met?
You thought you heard an echo
in his deafening howl
of something deep and known,
of some collective fist
 screaming out "Not Yet! 
Not YET!"
(the one one thrusts toward the heavens
to rail against Death's grip
or life's 
cruel unforeseens)

"You must listen to Mozart," said the bearded professor,
 "for he is Purrfection."   ('Tis true, what he claims, 
Wolfie calms and delights,  sometimes you sense "God" 
and that music heals  - you later found so) -
but sometimes the fire in your belly is such,
 no contentment can quell, and its sparks burst right through,
 to plead with the universe, just one more 

(Some flames don't die.
"Not yet, please,  not yet,
. . . not yet!")

Beethoven's fingers,  on keys with no sound,
a world gone silent, can't hear his own screams.
(Like Van Gogh's anguished eyes,
 face thick-slabbed and framed,
 the museum warns DON'T TOUCH!!!
 (As if you need fingers,
 to feel his cries.)

Two worlds collide, arms reach to explore,
 yet to learn of the Gray that hides, that obscures
in the world of Either/Or's -
That's not the point. 
Hierarch toward  mastery
or highest Peak - or just stumble 'round -
until journey's end,
so to speak. But are Heaven or Hell
 the only two doors?

Poor mortal, you want it both ways -
 to get the prize, but not end the chase;
Paradise on earth, and Heaven ungated
(no pre-vetting, no measuring, no "scale",
no rock-hard rule that says 
you graduate or fail.

Schiller oded the 4th of the Ninth
with  thunderous joy sparkled by gods,
exhorting us to seek The One
o'er the canopy of stars -
but his There's not a there, 
nor a place out in space,
and The One seems more sensed than e'er known,
(some have shown).

And when you can no longer be who you were,
find yourself in a room all alone
in which even Mozart doesn't come 'round anymore,
 remember  -
That you have gone to the stars and back
(and not just once or twice)
on rides hitched with all manner of extraordinary souls, 
genius and lessers alike.

 Art, music, and words, and above all, great love
take you there, bring you back, keep you sane.
 You suspect there are slits in that canopy where
 even oft-blinded mortals can peek  past the Peak -
no need anymore
for a key.


*First draft publication

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Too much attention to a mountainized molehill clouds the purview . . . 
you can't press PAUSE or mute the buzz, it's now too shrill.
Escape to sleep?  Evade time's march, as whirlwinds of every sort
sweep past?     Look, when you awake it's all still there, at every edge, in each nook.  
It's all around, you cannot hide, don't try.  
At each new crash you still rush to look,
it's all a game (they've said as much). 

Those mountains still beckon. 
Just don't get trapped in the woods.


*The above art image is tweaked from an early original sketch/watercolor  in an ol, forgotten practice notebook.  It seemed to fit the mood of this draft piece, a spontaneous reaction to having too many things coming at one all at once -  but rather than question the urge to instantly react, this imaginary person attempts to reset the clock to allow for time "out".   Or something like that. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Eye on Wall Street

The ever-present bull,
forever charging.
Both it and us,


[camoseenities] -
also good for
 virtual weather monitoring,
armchair visits to the Big Apple,
and for the utterly bored -- hours of 'people-watching'.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Feet, Remembering

Have been trying to re-learn some steps, sequences, variations, etc.
by watching their feet

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of Year Summations

At the end of our lives, they say we get judged.
At the end of each year, we have a tendency to sum up ourselves . . . kind of:

       Here's what I accomplished this year.  Here's what I didn't.  
       Here's what I'm going to/ not going to/  do next year.

Mostly, though, some of us just keep repeating the same old patterns.

It was interesting looking at what some fellow bloggers posted along the line of end-of-year personal summations.  Some had to do with announcement of change of habits (mainly to do with creativity:  I'm going to stop doing this; I'm now going to start doing this, etc.)  The mere mention caused me to reflect on what things I've elected to continue doing, and which things I feel most need changed.

One artist blogger  tells us he no longer feels like painting. Just like that.  Doesn't need it anymore--and it's mutual, he writes, likening it to a friendly divorce. Speed biking makes him happier.  Some things will always (always) make us happy.  But we sometimes have to take a break from even  them temporarily, to concentrate on something of more compelling interest.  It is not always temporary.  Nor always an Either/Or situation. But sometimes it is.

Some writer bloggers list the number and names of all the books they've read during the past year (one noting that 80 of them were written by men and 80 were written by women, disclosing his preference). (Sorry, ladies, it weren't you.)  :)  One writer blogger
reminds us of kitchen pantry 'culling' as a metaphor for assessing what's stored but forgotten and what needs to be discarded.  It's what we do at the beginning of each New Year, we take a look back and assess what we've accomplished (or neglected to), and declare our intentions for the coming year.

These such all led me to examine my own reading, writing and creativity in general during the past year, and in this imaginary scenario I see myself quietly slinking to the back of the Input/Output Judgement Line - the one where you're asked  "What have you learned?  What have you done?  How have you spent your time?"

I haven't kept track of the books I've read but I can tell you, sadly, they're nowhere near the number others report that they've read.  But I do read--constantly.  And I'm always writing something.  So I'm engaged in the process and have produced a certain quantity of stuff.   (Nice try, but what have you actually produced worth bragging about?  I query myself.) 

Voracious and prolific describe actions an Energizer bunny can relate to, in terms of stick-to-itiveness and unstoppability.  But that same energy can also manifest as frequent, instantaneous bursts of direction-turnings  elsewhere, with equally satisfying results.  Some might call this Distraction, because it takes you away from the self-programmed usual run track. What it's labeled is irrelevant, and disruption of  routine is sometimes a necessary wake-up call.  Bread can't stay fresh forever and sometimes you get tired of duplicating the same 'ol same 'ol.  Inspiration is needed.  This year has been a dam-burst of ideas, possibilities, new projects and plans, the mere thought of which has yanked me from certain customary, passive-type habitudes to more active redirection.  Not to say this may have been jumping the gun a bit, dreaming up more than I could handle or am equipped to effect, but this was an unforeseen change where a pattern kind of reversed itself.  A new window opened, I'm deciding to run with it. 

Try to take on too many new things and you can immediately get overwhelmed.  As to the question, what have I (so far) to show for it, that would depend, I suppose, on who this would be important to.  A lot of things one does never gets put out there, intentionally.. And what does is sometimes sporadic, off-the-cuff experimental type pieces as one tries to get better.  (In other words, 'practice.' )   Have I made progress?  Well, yes and no. Depends on which year, which project. 

The stuff I'm more inclined to share on a regular basis is work done by others.  I get real pleasure in discovering and sharing, for example, really good poetry - poets who've written poems I wish I had written - and am  appalled to realize it'll be soon be three years (THREE.YEARS!!!) (!!!)  since I've worked on Salamander Cove, except to tweak the design. That is one of the things that's going to change in the new year.  Look for more frequent postings of more poets' great poems!

One of the new time-takers that's graduated from mere dabbling into full-blown interest, has been researching.  A number of years ago friends asked me to help them find a new job, an apartment, or information about something.  This was pre-Googledom.  I  discovered I not only enjoyed it but apparently was good at it (so they tell me).  I loved the challenge and soon became hooked. It changed the way I deal with puzzles.

Congenital curiosity led me to begin fact-checking when something didn't make sense, which set the pattern, for I began noticing things I would normally not have noticed before, which is, as it's turned out, both a blessing and a curse.  Because I soon developed a real interest in, of all things, investigative journalism.  Some years ago I helped  with certain researches, which sharpened analytical skills.  Who knew, ha ha.  I do so poorly at math.  Scanning documents and pouring over reports, looking at 'wordings', tracing the history of something, noticing anomalies, contradictions, and  intentional obfuscation, led me to probe further, where I'd sometimes find  unrelated, but incredibly interesting 'other' information that proved even more intriguing. 

 You see where this is going, right?  It's like octopus tentacles, you wind up hopelessly entangled. But it did introduce me to fields I'd normally have little to no interest in (the financial field, contracts, legal transcripts, real estate transactions,  regulatory codes and all that boring stuff you avoid getting into because your eyes just start glazing over and you can't decipher the acronyms or understand the jargon.  Not that I do (understand it completely) but it's written in English and there are ways you can say (or not say) a thing which you can learn to spot when something should be there but isn't, or what is that suggests other than what is presented.  Sometimes it's absolutely blatent, and you wonder how nobody's noticed.  

Some people sit down and read a dictionary, the way others sit down to read a novel.  Bizarre as that sounds, it's all in how one relates to words on a page.  Understanding the jargon, decoding the meaning, exploring places one normally bypasses as a dead-end but from a different angle - what can I say, some people spend hours playing digital "complete-the-mission" skill-games on a tiny digital device or days positioning little cardboarded images together or solving difficult crossword puzzles.  I enjoy finding stuff and solving certain mysteries.  Unfortunately, it's taken time from other pleasurable pursuits, which are demanding equal time.  Plus it's probably ruining my eyes.

So, in sum,  there's not much to actually show for time spent this year on personal or selected creative projects.   There are just not enough hours in the day,  but that's no excuse.

My New Year's resolution this year is - to stop making New Year's resolutions.  Stop resolving to act, then revolving back to what went before;  start solving the problem and evolving, stop getting sucked into the whirlwind where you get so involved in something, you forget what day it is.  Change the damn pattern.  Perhaps I could advance a tad farther up the Input/Output Judgment line. Yeah. but stop explaining, Yabbit says.  Wrap it up already.

Happy New Year, all.  Let's all keep trekkin'.