Thursday, March 24, 2016

Notes to Self

 I, You, Us, Them, Zero

Life are hard, he said.
Sammy, of the Kafka eyes,
he said that a lot.
He studied metallurgy and
Karl Popper.  Keeping in touch, but not often enough,
I'd mentioned the differences in bread
in his culture and mine -
his new wife wrote back, "You don't know me but
I regret to tell you
Sammy is dead."
He was only 33.
All these years later,
D and P  .... ML and FK  .... and  S, too -  all
Why am I still here?

And after all the lights go out (the Final Blackout), what then?
Do we get to come back? 
Or just meet up and
reconnect, despite the gap of years,
resume as if we weren't all
different ages now.  Would they even recognize us?
I could spot Sammy, in even the thickest cloud, but
his memory bank's closed, unupdated on the
changed world we'd inhabited. 
Do the dead even care?  We still talk to them
(and sometimes, they to us), but

I want to hear the other part of the conversation,
the part I don't get to know, that they can report about,
about what it's really like, about 
what comes After, when
all the lights go out.

Failure to Communicate

words, adroitlessly threaded
     my piece untangles,
all connection lost.


Inkless pen :: wordrust

Cezanne says Do apples, do
Oranges! Draw first, color later.
Fill your pen with Cobalt Blue, paint words
undiluted, ink the muted apples
purple, don't be such a
copycat.  For every passed try,
that's 20 missed flights
to later regret.  Go even
the odds, find colors that speak
go clean the clogged pen. Free-flowing
only comes
when  you work at it. 
When you can't be the pen,
be the ink.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


[That white snow-river is actually liquid typewriter correction fluid]

Some hand-painted 4" x 6" watercolor postcards made recently with quoties typed on via the 1982 manual typewriter I found at a yard sale last summer for $15 whose keyboard has French diacritical marks (acute, gràve, çedilla, circumflex, diaeresis, ümlaut, etc.)  No tilde or haček , unfortunately.

It was in perfect condition and came with a carrying case.
One can find ribbons for these trusty old chuggalugs for sale on Ebay,
in all black or red/black.

Some more of  the quotykards:

And a few quick, motivational ones:


[That's supposed to be an egret]

Remember "white-out" (for typos)? ha ha
It also comes in handy for fantasy trees' eyeballs.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Revisiting the Bookshelf

Sometimes I pass by a shelved book and open it up to whatever page it opens up to.
Yesterday it was a Paul Pines book and it opened up to page 34 and this poem:

Reading Cavafy

What I like most about Cavafy
is that he can't stop moralizing.

Growing old he sees he also grows
warmer to the barbarian in himself,
the Persian among Greeks,
the would-be voluptuary.

He spends days in cafes
by the sea,
drinking ouzo and wondering
if the whole world is destined to
become as small and seedy
as Alexandria.

The bodies of young men excite him.
He watches them from
his Garden of Missed Opportunities
until it resembles Gesthsemane
where he turns part Christian,
almost anti-Hellene

while the Greek in him
continues to weep
at the tomb of Patroklos,
insisting there is a grace in us
more magnificent than the god
it reflects.

     ~~ Paul Pines

(From:  Last Call at the Tin Palace: Poems by Paul Pines, Marsh Hawk Press, 2009)*    

 *A book of poems once gifted to me by its author. (Thanks again, Paul).
Poems are for sharing.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


eat your greens
don't be green with envy, go mellow
wear green today
everybody's Irish today
even if you're not
(so they say)

my mom used to collect four-leaf clovers,
for luck - and
as luck would have it,
she always managed to find one

possibly somehow somewhere someplace
this is a non-green day
we should eat our greens anyway

Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Giving in to Impulses

To save money last month, I cut my own hair -
watched some You-Tube vids to learn how.
"Hmmm. Not bad."

Well, a bit crooked here & there, but
only if you're really Looking.
So I splurged the other day to go
get it straightened out.

Lost in translation I signaled to the cutter:
No more than an inch,  please, & point the angle
like the model in the poster on the wall.
I shut my eyes, relaxed.

I should have been more specific.
She repeated "angle" but heard "Cut like in the poster on the wall" - as in
exactly.  As in not just the angle point but the entire haircut style,
clip for clip.

I reach for the hair at the back of my neck,
it's gone. ( Let's not talk about the sides.)
What is this new style? Half Angela Merkel, half
early Beatles.  The cutter is pleased.
I am stunned to silence.
I say Merci, pay, grab my coat and slink home, my
tuque pulled down over my ears as
far as it will go.

"Change is good," I tell my mate, unconvinced.
"It'll grow back," he smiles.

I don't recognize the person in the mirror
who stares back at me, a stranger.
We're slowly adjusting,
one comb pass at a time.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

It's Not Over 'Til It's Over

They say we will have four more days of the white stuff this week.  Quebec City got more, Montreal less.  It is like it is.

They say it will soon be "like spring".  But first, a little storm, followed by brilliant blue skies, and --
I heard birds out there singing the other day!!  (The birds know.)  Soon the geese will start coming back. According to the locals at the reserve who track these things, it will be from the 1st of April to the 8th of May this year.  Last year I believe it was later in April and over 200,000 of them came, all at once.  I still run outside as soon as I hear them, to watch them fly by.  It never gets old. 

(Are they into mud season and maple sugaring down in Vermont already, Bob?!)


Neighbor, clearing what was once the sidewalk

 And now the driveway

Road needs plowed -- again

Well-used path to shed

Running out of places to dump it.
(I want to capture, and  someday paint, that sky's mezmerizing blueness!)

In front of the Cultural Center

At every house, a dug-out path

Father and son, out for a walk

So the roof doesn't collapse

No skaters on the pond today.  Too cold.

What's another inch or two!

At  door of the pharmacy

Outside window
(there's a big, long wooden bench buried under there)

Here comes "Yellow", 
one of two strays we've been feeding and
sheltering all winter

"Where's my dinner!?"

Friday, March 4, 2016

On Lennon's Lucrative Hair

  Heritage Auctions image

How they won the war on the peaceniks, they
got the cynical idealist to play Pvt Gripweed,
cut his hair for this new film role, fit him
up with trendy, round glasses, and
parodied the anti-war parodies. 
     Should I laugh or beat my breast,
     because what's funny about war,
     or anti-war? 

14 years on, the bespecticaled muskateer dies
and the world mourns.
In 36 more, a clever keeper sells
that (now 50-year-old) lock of hair,
for 35,000 smackeroos, smiling
all the way to the bank. 
      (As we get old, do we cash in?)

Look, how we win today's war(s) is, we 

*  $ell Peace, one arm$-deal at a time, we
*  $ell "silly", to distract.
*  For the war on cancer we ask folks to 
        volunteer their hair
        to wigless fighters
*  For the war on poverty, we 
        ask the nation to don Austerity
        via needed cuts and trims.
*  For the Woe-Be-Me's, we 
        encourage the use of rosy glasses,
        to envision future bizness bloomings.  

Do we need new idols now to sing us Peace and Oneness
'mid war, and rumors of?
No, we need:

more "forward" thinkers,
        to example us to profit
*  more paid preacher$ 
        to promote pro$perity
        to the Never-Will-Haves
*  more devoted dividers 
        to direct the Disassemblings,
        one hate screed at a time.

See, Oneness is unthinkable (given our differences).

*  plan more detention center$,
*  erect higher wall$, 
*  build better fence$,
*  con$truct more temporary Permanent camp$
        for the perpetual (now global) 

Meanwhile, back at the Auction House  . . . 

Imagine! - a dead Beatle's hair attains a second life,
this icon of an icon, still retaining his DNA. 
Lennon LIVES!!! 

There IS no We anymore -  just the remembered things:
those words, those times;  bad luck, good "deals"; 
lyrics from our worshipped departeds, re-sung on the
way to the unemployment office, while pondering the
endless march of the war on all;  and on:      

what disappears,
  what lives on;   
    what never change$;
      what we keep,
        what we buy into,
          what we $ell,
           what we can't, and
            what we just

~~  Words that arose and tumbled out after reflecting on an article about the recent sale at an auction house, of a lock of John Lennon's hair for $35,000; about arms dealing (who buys what from whom and for what purpose). the ongoing migrant situation, and political doublespeak.