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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fast Day 186 Christmas December 25 2010 {Getting Ready To Go Out}

Getting Ready To Go Out on Christmas Eve

Reflect Christmas flowers,
fragrant mirror!
Embroider that head gold and silver
above her limpid eyes,
where boats of one bright lantern
drift sunsetwards…
checking nets and traps…
silently as thieves of water
tiptoe across the unbroken:
O, surface of reflecting water!


meditation of watching my wife prepare to go out xmas eve. Her mirror reflects the flowers of xmas and renders an embroidery of her head with precious gold and silver hair. Her eyes are deep eyes of the festal season, not the surface eyes of work and rushing...
we grab joy like water bugs skimming like thieves across the surface of the river!

Again, an attempt to emulate Chinese Lyric poetry: note how not the flowers but the mirror is fragrant; this is the sort of ambiguity which may occur when you just view characters in a very strictly limited array: mirror fragrant flowers Christmas  could be read either way, I think.  By forcing the adjective into a new context, it frees up the verse in translation.
Also we do not tiptoe across an unbroken surface of water; we tiptoe across the unbroken and then address the water, giving you an indication of where we are and what we are crossing.I can't blame the Chinese poets for this; it is my own conceit.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fast Day 185 December 18 2010 {Nothin' But Safety Net}

Nothin' But Safety Net

People do not bounce much,
like basketballs swish'd - nothing but safety net!
When people fall from the higher places
they lay upon the streets in agony,
a crumpled heap of bone and sinew,
and a spreading pool of redness,
praying the office of pain.
People are not balls.

People cannot be shut
like old volumes cased in leathery hides,
like books may be shut between two covers.
Still they haunt you with ghosts of loveliness
and attar of love until you do
that desperate bounce thing!
People are not books.

People cannot be foreclosed,
as if their eyes were vacant window casements.
Sarah Dawn’s dollhouse is not digitized,
measured and tracked unto a sheriff’s sale,
her unseen friends that live therein are not
corralled in boxcars of diaspora,
a network of despair!
People are not stone.

People cannot fly… yet!
They have forgotten the wind-like face of earth!
Why can’t Johnny fly?  the parents wail;
doddering about in sunless alleyways,
following threads left by blind teachers
oblivious of the heliotrope science!
Everyone has lost their wings!
People are not birds.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fast Day 184 December 11 2010 (Notting Hill Pubs}

Notting Hill Pubs

I wish I could send a letter,
I wish I could place a call,
sitting here alone at midnight
no luck at the Bait-And-Switch Bar,
singing karaoke love songs
and wishing on a star.

I can't recall the words,
can hardly read 'em, too;
bloody mary garlands
of celery and glamor screeching eyes!
singing karaoke disco tunes
and fill the blanks with sighs!

The Muses sing "last call"
for one more foaming beer;
stileto shoes and hips,
procreate the world new again
with the spirit toxic brew
and none will feel the pain.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fast Day 183 December 4 2010 {Alana's Brother}

Alana's Brother

Alana said that Robert is
a contrary child indeed!
My brother will not learn, she said
while she really wished to punch him;
he's not stupid but he's stubborn
and too much time is wasted
on texting all his friends, playing
video games and computer!
He is the Facebooking-est kid!
The child will not learn!

Her mother went to work that day
saying Alana, help your brother
with his work; he's got the lowest
grades in Heilmann Elementary!

Alana asked her grandmother
who said that's the school where your mama
went everyday with braided hair,
hair tied like cinnamon bundles!
Sweet Cassie like cassia spice!
She was a student, honey; she
shined! When she did double skip rope
she threw off scintillas of fire!
Just like you do, honey! You shine!
and just like your brother will, too.
Perhaps he is not challenged and
electronic gadgets tire him.
Oh, Gramma! said Alana.

The child will not learn! Alana
said. He'd rather talk to his friends.
He's not stupid, but I can not
teach him anything; he'd rather
play his X Box three-six-oh instead!
Can I get a new cell phone do
you think for my birthday coming up?

Honey, come and help with cookies,
and get your brother to help grind spice.
There was a gingerbread halo on
her head at the Christmas season,
and her brain buzzed with the festive
hymns of ginger, clove, and nutmeg.
Grandpa came to join the recipe,
and Aunt Susan soon stopped by, too.
Robert, fetch the molasses, please;
the kind says "New Orleans" - no other
kind will do, honey. You can't make
gingerbread men and women without
the exactly right ingredients!
A hive of buzzing bees, indulgent
of nectar goodies soon to come.

How many a sweet tooth is drawn
to the cookie sheet delights!
Aunts and uncles and cousins, too,
swarm with sugary intensity
grating ginger and the nutmeg,
grinding cinnamon brown, brown braids.
Get the Wyandotte soda, honey!
What's that, grandma? Won't baking
soda do? Get the lard or butter,
blend it all together with careful
whisks and strokes until your arms hurt!
Then take out the jingle-jangle
cookie cutters, boys and girls
to cut the rolled out carpet of
sweet ging'ry bread... then bake... and wait
and dress them with rainbow frosting,
dot their eyes and bow their smiles!

Roll out culture of the dough with
all the several spices orient;
cinnamon comes from coppiced wood
old stump and deep ancient roots
but young shoots every year to harvest...
Jump Gingerbread! Jump Robert!
Jump all you children from boredom's orphanage!


Alana - I chose this name in case she does not believe that this is my blog.

This is a story of cookies. It takes a lot of people to bake cookies sometimes.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Welcome Alexander and Anaudos

Welcome to Alexander and Anaudos. I noticed their pictures in the rogues' gallery to the right. I believe Alexander to be Russian and Anaudos to be Greek; both names are of Greek derivation, and their presence makes me think of Byzantium, the Euxine Sea, and the ancient history I learned so long ago; Professor Vukevich's class: Russian History.
We learned of the earliest origins of the Kievan state and the profound influence of the Greek culture upon the noble Slavic peoples. We were mightily impressed. We used to call the Professor "Vuke the Duke". It was not mocking; it reflected our awe of the hitherto unknown Slavic history and the unknown influence of the Greeks in the times after the fall of Rome. We had always been taught history of the West and Rome, ignoring the East and Constantinople as if they did not exist. We were filled with wonder at the new world! Just like Balboa standing on his peak in Darien! We stood at Kiev and were speechless at the riches of the Greek Empire and its influence on the Rus!

I saw a magazine with an article that dealt with how the Internet is re-wiring our brains. I find the statement that the Internet re-wires our brains to be a doubtful proposition, but Lord Almighty how it expands our souls!

When I see new friends, I feel a twinge of shame at the admittedly rough poetic sketches I force upon them. I feel insignificant and a bit depressed....
But then I get over it.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fast Day 182 November 28 2010 6:00AM at the Westin Prince in Toronto

A Death in Toronto

I'm floating to Madagascar
on a raft of vegetation,
like a man without a nation;
like a grounded man without his amps;
adrift with lonesome concubeens
love's wikipedya in their jeans!

I count the steps to Jarvis Street,
I count them once again;
I count the cracks of brother's grave
I count from one to ten:
My friends are all in prison,
my family's a mutation
restrained within the prison bonds
and psychiatric observation.

Toronto's atmosphere electric:
madness of the Congee Queen,
lingual delights of Indochine;
I am the green wire marked "to ground",
everything changes, nothing's the same,
a cityscape of palette flame!


My sister-in-law had cancer surgery and we wait for 3 weeks for all the results.
Toronto begins to weary me: in 25 or more years, I have been able to stay with friends and/or family exactly once. I am so sorry for their pain. We get through life the best we can. Some of us wear our wounds for many years - like the Fisher King. But the result is not a whole lot of family and friends getting together one heck of a lot.

concubeen = concubine
Congee is a form of chinese cuisine. My niece says they make a soup and rice balls and "dump" different flavors into it; this is after she dragged us to the Congee Queen a couple years ago, singing its praises, while we wondered why this was supposed to be so good.

I remember my first hitch-hike to TO; I was barely 20 years old. We were let out on the 401 and wandered down Yonge. We stayed somewhere... maybe Dale Avenue off Castle Franck, maybe not. I remember being on The Danforth, The Mortimer, and The Dawes.

Sunnybrook Hospital was randomly built in the 60's? The elevation seems to be high and it is windier and colder there than at Don Mills and York Mills - the Weston - or even the Donway, which I used to think got pretty cold. Everything in TO is a micro-climate determined by elevation and the winnowing and funneling of the buildings and their shape and height.
 The complex was built before central air, so there is a large crop of window a/c's stuck into the facades like skin tags. They charge the concerned relatives $8 per hour to park. I parked back by the day care, called the "Something Creche". There is a petite cube of walls and roof for some sort of psychiatric program next to it; they are both perilously close to the steep ravine, at the bottom of which may be the eponymous Sunnybrook: it was a smallish brook, indeed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fast Day 181 November 21 2010 (Armies of the Zanj Slavers)

Armies of the Zanj Slavers

In time sandstorms will blow between our ribs
as sharp and biting as the sighs of love
unrequited do tonight.

The day breaks and the sun uncurls her tail
through eastern wadis like a scorpion
that jumps to strike with heat!

Now my dreams fall away from me like veils
fall from the Tuareg's face, and we ascend
the Niger for Zanj wealth.

Ragtag group of camel mounted slavers!
Ifriqeeya's women shall weep tonight!
My sword named "Division"!


The Zanj were black slaves of the early caliphate. The Zanj rebellion - very  much like that of Spartacus in Rome - was a ferocious rebellion which lasted 10 years or more.

This is a poem of Arab slavers in Africa, and there is a progression from the sublime to the nasty business of everyday.

I add this poem this morning, because I was sure my poem 181 was too familiar in its conceptual outline. I could not shake the notion that "cascade of flowers"... and particularly the rhyme! ... was too familiar. Looking back, I found the original form, not about Eve, but love in general.
I hope my Muse has not become a jade, as Swift would have said. So I wrote this this morning. I was always fascinated by the Zanj rebellion, mainly because I never heard of it for most of my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fast Day 181 November 20 2010 {The Creation of Eve}

The Creation of Eve

The tale of love told from eternity
was more ancient than any other thing:
all things created were for purpose wise,
or the beauty that they bring.

The earth brought forth a silken bathrobe green,
as dewy saunas enriched the bowers;
and everywhere was the Platonic thought
of you,  diadem cascade of flowers!

The idea is the creation of Eve and her emergence from the antiquity of creation.
She comes forth from a sauna (hot-house gas earth of early times) more like Botticelli's Venus than the usual stories about her.
The Platonic thought is an ideal plan or form; here the form of Eve and all of the create universe was moved by the perfect thought.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fast Day 180 November 14 2010 {Puzzle 1}

 Bruegel's Wedding Dance

Puzzle 1

Alive spent we our halcyon days
secure within our sylvan home,
free from th' assassin's blade;
never speaking, never dancing,
never buying, never selling;
and never spoken was a word:
cloistered like monkish priests;
meditation all sublime upon
the sun above and earth  below!

And when it came our time to die,
as all things mortal must,
we left our retired colonnade,
singing hymns, singing psalms,
with bells and drums and tabors;
a susurrous envelope widely
radiant; acreting stories
to sing at balls and wedding feasts!
We new factotums of your joy!


A puzzle; what is the poem about? It is about a certain class of things.

A hint: I based it on the motto of someone:
Viva fui in sylvis, sum dura occisa securi,
dum vixi, tacui, mortua dulce cano

th'assassin's blade   -  the assassin's blade
acreting - to gather to oneself
factotum - jack-of-all-trades

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Welcome and Thanks, Dmitri

I have two things to do, the first to welcome two new friends, then to thank the President of Russia for actually considering - and hopefully effecting - the demise of Daylight Savings Time.

First, I noticed  onny969      and   sa girl  .
I noticed  onny969  seems to be based in Malaysia, which is one of my favorite spots on earth, ever since I read Anthony Burgess' Malaysian Trilogy.  Then there's  sagirl, and I am glad you're both here. I actually invite criticisms of the poems. Tell me what you think, how you would change it, what you'd like to hear. Remember, I write them like one per week, so it's not as if I had years and years invested in them.
If you stand back about twenty feet and look at the poems, they look a lot like Jackson Pollock paintings, with words spattered instead of paint. 
I hope your lives are filled with joys.

Now, I wish to thank Mr. Medvedev for considering a ban on Daylight Savings. Statistics have shown that people undergo more stress at the time of the change. Lord knows, I certainly undergo a lot of stress. I'm going to tell my yearly story about Daylight Savings... (I hear undisguised groans throughout the audience).
Simply stated, I could not remember the direction of the change. Did I set the clock one hour ahead in the Fall, or one hour behind? And what did I do in the Spring, tra-la? So my wife had a little ditty: Spring forward, Fall back. This helped one remember that in the Spring, one set the clock forward one hour, and did the reverse in the Fall.
That would be the end of it for most people. They would go about their business, messing with their clocks, and all the clocks would run on time, except the clocks in their cars, of course. Those would be left unadjusted for another five months.

I, however, immediately faced the quandary whether the ditty was Spring forward, Fall back; or Spring back, Fall forward. I could equally envisage springing forward, like a lion, or springing back, like myself confronted by a spider. And I could easily see teams and armies fall back, but also I could imagine the same teams or armies standing at attention in the hot, hot sun until they fell forward on their faces from exhaustion. As a result, I immediately mixed up the little song that was supposed to help me with my clocks, and I was even worse off than before, because I had an extra worry - the stupid ditty itself.
 This whole process reached its climax when one fall I set the clock one hour forward instead of one hour back, resulting in the clocks being a full two hours forward. When I went out to jog in the morning at a sprightly 6:00 AM, I was surprised how little traffic the was on the streets and how few were the signs of life in the neighborhoods I ran through. It took me about three months to sort things out. I left the clocks in the automobiles on DST and their were my only source of chronometric solace until Spring.

So, in honor of Russia - another country I love and had long predicted would get over its troubles and re-emerge to leadership in the 21st century - I reprint the poem below:

To Russia
In Vladivostok once
in the eastern light
we bent our heads into a wint'ry day
and we all did strain mightily
to raise structures
sturdy and strong for Mother Russia.

If Time were as infinite
as it is in Mother Russia,
theotokos, iconic eye of God,
then all the lost would find their way:
the sick would dance
and the mourners rejoice!

To my oil cloth dacha
of the ashen windows
came a brown haired girl so calmly
beautiful; she warmed the day;
she took my eye;
we never returned to the wasteland.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fast Day 179 November 6 2010 {The Algiers Motel}

(Read the notes below first for background.)

Algiers Motel
August 1967

Black Orpheus sings Grand Boulevard songs;
born in Brewster
raised in Douglass.
heard Stevie's piano;
saw Diana do double-dutch;
started doing back-up and snap;
now he writes the hits.
This August day was witch-like - unspoken hex -
so he stopped
wondered what was up,
like his grandfather called Schoolboy
who working on the farm one day stopped
and caught the scent of ...freedom? Alertly
stopping in mid-hoe
with horizon-like awareness
that the lithe legs of freedom were
about to embrace him,
he drop the hoe
he ran north for all he’s worth, heels to head!

Black Orpheus grad Eastern High School
apples, peaches, pumpkin pie-
cheerleaders, parquet floors, and tuneful
hum of the poetry of basketball-
we all go to Eastern High!
His parents went to Jackson Colored
according to the shape-up history
of the race, the barber shop history,
the pomade and Readers’ Digest history
of the front parlor and the church hall.

Right now, he thought, we are high paid singers
and black birds in a coop of gilded wire.
and that wire was a garrot around his
throat that August day of 12th Street, Detroit.
He went to see his girl, Eurydice,
who waited to hear his sweet song approach.

Bull Death of all Hell, great god of disaster
broke into Detroit that August day
of 1967, wearing shades
and a ten gallon hat and riding boots.
Bull looked around and saw Eurydice
and remembered the sweet smell of rape.
He gathered her up
under his acrid armpit
and took her to
his loathely kingdom,
the underground Detroit,
flip-side of Virginia Park and Woodward;
an LP played backwards and
locked in forgotten tongues.

In Hell there is no conversation;
only immigration and cremation;
Bull made her queen by coronation.

Orpheus had to brave the rioting
streets and pass the gates of Hell
to save sweet ebony Eurydice.
Deputies and patrolmen of the Bull
stood in his way
with dark reflective eyes
like sunglasses in the night,
hollow eye orbitals of disgust;
but they gave way to Orpheus’ song.
Hell’s Top Forty radio repeated
“Standing in the Shadow of Love”
a 45 stuck in a groove:
“heartache to come… heartache to come”
And in this kingdom
of the dead, Orpheus
was at side B of the
Algiers Motel by now,
the side less played below
the pavement of Virginia Park:
the sound of gunshots,
the blood of bodies,
the red, winking eye
of Devil's Night and arson.

Bull Death let brave Orpheus take his sweet
Eurydice home.
The radio crooned,
“What you seen here tonight?”
They looked at the bodies in the rooms;
and there will be five mothers mourning.
Bull snorted and said, “You guys aint’ seen squat!”
Orpheus nodded.
The TV news said,
“You never saw nothin’. You weren’t even here!”
The deputies said “Don’t look back!”
“We will watch you go,
and if you stop or if you swivel
your heads back toward us,
we’ll shoot ya like dogs!”
And the radio added,
"Bitch walk behind ya!"

All the bodies officially not there,
bodies that would no longer care
to draw breath in open air.

They walked, Orpheus leading.
Far off shots – like New Years!
Screams – glimpses of army tanks.
Eurydice wept.
“Hold on, girl.” he told her. “Hold on.”
Slo-mo gunshots cut into asphalt;
silence… then the percussion of playground
chain nets when a bullet hits a backboard;
a crystalline night of shards
from barber shop windows;
smooth and slick predator bullets
that take their slow hand time in
the intercourse of metal and of skin;
somewhere someone's auntie cries out!
and Eurydice turns…. !

pix: Andrew in Windsor


The story of Orpheus: Orpheus was the greatest singer and poet in the world. His mate, Eurydice, was abducted by Hades, the lord of the underworld, and he took her with him back to his dismal kingdom. (A story similar to that of Proserpina and Pluto.) Orpheus followed her there, and after many trials, succeeded in getting Hades to agree that Eurydice return with him to the upper Earth. Hades insisted on one stipulation: if Eurydice were once to look back towards the underworld on her journey back home, she would remain with him forever.

The Algiers Motel was the scene of at least 5 killings during the Detroit riot of 1967. Three police officers were brought up on charges, but no one was ever found guilty of anything. John Hersey, who wrote Hiroshima and A Bell for Adano, wrote The Algiers Motel Incident. Read it.

Stevie    - Stevie Wonder
Diana   - Diana Ross

Brewster, Douglass   - Brewster is the high-rise part of the Brewster-Douglass Project. Frederick Douglass was the area for townhouses. It deteriorated into a nightmare of crime and crack, and has been shut down for a while now.

Bull Death - Hades, the lord of the underwortld is seen like some Southern sheriffs named Bull, like Bull Connors.

12 Street  -  where the riot started in an after hours bar, called a blind pig locally. The street was renamed Rosa Parks some time later.

Devil's Night  - the night before Halloween. Detroit used to have an arson problem that night.

flip side, side B   -  the idea here is that the realm of the underworld is under the earth, and we think of it like the other side of a record... the side on the "other side", the flip side of Life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fast Day 178 October 29 2010 {Homecoming}


Odysseus = Greek form of Ulysses

Circe, Calypso, Nausicaa = girls Odysseus met on his voyage home.
Penelope =  I assume she is rather like Guinevere, and actually possess lands.... mightr be a warrior queen, too, although we do not go there.
I imagine she holds green lands beyond Dodona.
Agamemnon= was killed after his return home by his wife, Clytemnestra and her lover. He was killed in his bath.

synopsis:  The Greeks went to war in Troy for 10 years. Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, went to war under his obligations to Agamemnon. Odysseus made the god Poseidon mad, so it took him another 10 to get home, where Penelope was waiting, while 100 men sought her hand in marriage. She put them off by saying she would wed when her weaving was done.  By day she wove and at night she unthreaded that which she had done during the day.

Penelope sits up late at the loom
that wove the dreams of twenty years,
wondering how to depict the full moon
playing in the wind-chased clouds.
Odysseus sits outside at the gate,
and when the moon filters through the trees,
it paints his skin with stripes, and he
looks feral  as an argent tiger.

Look at him…. A wild thing!
Sitting just where he sat
Twenty years ago, wond’ring whether
to take ship and sail to war.
Still we sit here.
Ah, well. What of it? What more did I wish?
He has killed one hundred lusty suitors
who would take my torch to warm their beds…
he is devoted to me… or to my dowered lands!
Great meadows beyond Dodona lush,
not like the rocky shores of Ithaca!

Damn! Agamemnon… killed in the bath! Of all places!
Even great Agamemnon gone! – our lives
misplaced from throne room to out-buildings!
Every friend with whom I sailed to Troy
has left this world. I am the only one
remaining. Is this fate? Or accident?
The aegis of the goddess that covers
the porridge of our lives, the layered mush
of steel-cut oats boiling in a pot.

(Odysseus hears the ghost of his mother.)

My son, Odysseus…
O, you were the boy, the very best son!
I waited on your return…
I saw no sails, nor white nor black!
I fell into death, tripped like a orant
of Poseidon missteps and falls into
the cruel maw of the sea unyielding!
I have waited here since the first snows.

(Odysseus cries out faintly. One of Penelope’s ladies  looks out the front door. His father, Autolycus, peers out into the night from his wooden hut by the barn.)

Ha!  Two decades toil!... and now he sits alone!
That bitch! That shrewish and unfaithful wife!
I was here! I saw it all! I am no fool!
She wove not stories of the goddesses
and gods, no themes of the holy erotic!
She wove and embellished lovers’ messages
and pornography of delights upon
that loom to show the lucky prick of the
hundred aristocrats the pleasures she
would bestow…  that very night upon the
panting suitors in their kennels wrapt!

What disturbs Odysseus?
He sits lonesomely.
If he broods upon
his lady wife’s fidelity…
well, for that I will avouch,
serving here long years.

(Sighing, Odysseus rises and turns to look at the bright window of his palace. Penelope has gone to bed.)

It seems that I am always waiting,
we straighten up what men disturb;
like Poseidon they quake the tender earth,
and women wait upon the littoral
to recreate after tidal waves.

(Odysseus enters silently, but she feels his presence fill the vacuum about her. He lays beside her. His skin seems surprisingly harsh, since she has been used to twenty years of lonely linen sheets.
Later, he is sleeping and Penelope thinks in the darkness…)

Some things never change…
He has kept in practice. That’s what comes from
hobnobbing with goddesses and witches!
I will not begrudge him Circe
nor the iconic Calypso, for when
a goddess beckons – or a woman with
an unnatural relationship with
herbs and snakes and circles where Faeries dance! –
it is best for man to answer
or they never find safe harbor!
But, Nausicaa! That tawdry little tramp!
a tart!... a whore!... playing at celebrity
and aristocratic ways… the duchess
of drop-my-britches! Men are such fools!
Twenty years, and he has not one friend left alive.
Twenty years of a war fought on a foolish whim,
an impulse erotic made disastrous!
There is no going back, and no need to
poison the future with
history’s failures!
I am all there is left. His mother’s gone,
and his father is quite mad, thinking that
he is a young bull living by the barn!
It has been a long, long journey, apart
and together, in joy and in sorrow:
Where is the thread so strong, the dye so bright
to weave the line of this devotion?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fast Day 177 October 21 2010 {Windy Days}

 Windy Days

A windy day is archaeology,
a day of vertebrae and fish...
lethal bones, thin and white;
hair combs from Persephone's
make-up bags that lie on tables
in the Women's Room of memory!

Fossil dinosaur fingers grasp the road
like broken twigs and scattered,
from a landscaper's dump-
truck that placed them here against the law;
where the small black birds reconcile
their grievances, and chase the hawk!

Tree branches lay enormous like femurs
of the quercal lizard race...
legs and arms of giants!
Dispossessed by war's alarm and tossed
in protesting disarray here:
our Cabinet of Steampunk Wonders!

Take three horns of the triceratops,
and oak leaves like dragons' teeth:
the flesh is gone from the bone,
blown about here and there by wand'ring death:
a pale groundskeeper who holds
the wailing leaf-blower of our tears.


written when someone illegally dumped yard waste and fish bones in the turn-around at the end of my favorite cul-de-sac: first exploit the world, then trash it! seems to be an acceptable cycle of life around here, and the trash and pruned tree branches became a history.

Persephone -  wife of Hades, lord of the underworld

like broken twigs and scattered -  like scattered and broken twigs

quercal - pertaining to the oak tree; the oak branches look like dino femurs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fast Day 176 Ocober 14 2010 {Sunny Days At Home}

 Concrete Front Door Steps

 Sunny Days At Home

When you have to work,
a sunny day is a Yellow Pages day,
a day when the phone company rep comes
for a meeting you've forgotten, and asks you
what do you think about what you never think about
and how does that work for you, anyway?
and what'll it  be for the next year?
and the threat of future meetings
while I sit there in my underwear and bathrobe
why'd I let this guy in? wondering
if the lord of the flies was salesmens' chatter.

Returning home on a sunny day
is like the fifteen wide and high,
the concrete steps leading to beitenu;
never an easy walk up,
while the upstairsike looks out her
window at me, the drapes covering
her beet red rouge-
a Russian immigrant face
with a tsar's ermine stole resting
on her upper lip! -
and she looks with empty eyes
and her lips move like conspirators
whispering to her cell phone...
when I was young, a youth,
I'd hang around stairs like this
hanging on warm nights
filled with the liquid mishnah
of life's ancient laws.
Now it's just a horse-race vasculitis,
and varicose veins bulge
like the grocery bags I hold.

Eating inside the house...
on a sunny day...
dust like whole wheat flour
from the mills of sunlit
barred, mortared, and flimsy curtain windows;
I want to eat, but even treif feel pain:
lobsters shriek in an incomprehensible
language of the lost when thrust into
the boiling pot on Salem's stove,
and I am so used to slaughter now,
that I sit at the omnivore table
and care not kosher nor halal
if God can not save the sunny days
from the onset of this darkness...
give back the steps where children played,
where the iron railing's legs
resist the rust of time
and do not loosen at their base
to swing crazily at the grasp
and let me fall
-heavily -
into the cheap shrubs in
their dusty dirty beds!

beitenu   = our home  = baituna (arabic)   It has a taste of Israeli politics: Mr. Avigdor Liebermann.

upstairsike = yiddish-english for the people living upstairs in a apartment building.

mishnah   =   commentary on the Law

treif    =   not kosher under jewish dietary regs.

kosher = jewish dietary regulations.
halal   =  muslim dietary regulations

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fast Day 175 October 8 2010 {Broken Statues in Ixmal}

 Olmec Statue

Broken Statues in Ixmal

elephant glue wont bind the Christ child's arm
- the statue you broke -
wont even let the tyke
grow up, go to school and have a girl friend:
he weeps Olmec tears-
break his arm and repeat!
crucify him before he's old enough to vote!

do you accept Jesus as your saviour,
super-glue his arm
like your other bric-brac;
where compound fractures pierce his holy hide
and you are so starved
for holy lust and faith
you see a grilled cheese sandwich in His face!

Aztec gawd amighty, I do wish we
sent him off to war!
broken arm and all!
to disrupt a military fun'ral -
or even say that
faith would have saved Sodom,
which He said, just before we broke His arm!

We put that arm back on, but upside-down-
it looks a little
scarey,  like a sleep
from Mayan hell of diarrheic gods;
what becomes of gods
broken by the children -
are tears the proper glue that binds God and man?

O, Brazo Roto! Ruega por nosotros!

brazo roto                      broken arm
ruega por nosotros          pray for us
diarrheic                        look it up and check the description of the lords of Xibalba!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Two welcomes in a row. It reminds me of a story, but first welcome to Mauro, who will be firmly in my memory, since the name is so similar to that of my own child.

So... the story. Well, it takes a turn and twist, not in the narrative itself, but in my own mind as I jumble it out of the storeroom of souvenirs and memory, and try to get it ship-shape and Bristol fashion for this particular regatta... or picnic - my mind being a great deal like La Grande Jatte .
My mother moi croidhe (mom-in-law, in my parlance ) used to have an expression "Collie will you lick!"  The word "collie" referred to a border type dog, the same breed we all know, but it was pronounced with a long "O", not a short "o" as we pronounce "collie" these days. So "collie" sounds exactly the same as "goalie", as in hockey or soccer.... excepting the first consonant, of course.
I was always able to figure out some sort of meaning for these expressions - me mother macree not being much into analyze and explain every nit, tib, scrub, and hatch that blew along the cornfield - like I was and so many others of my generation: we questioned endlessly and learned nothing new.
Anyway, the way she did explain it was that it was Rough Times and the mistress of the house went to the cupboard to get her doggie some food, and as the cupboard was bare, she extended her alabaster hands and invited the hound to lick them, potentially drawing sustenance from her own breakfast of hardtack and water.
A nice story, sort of Old Mother Hubbard, but what was the point of it? Why did she say it when she did? I remember once hearing it when there were cold cuts and fresh bread on the table, so I did not quite "get it".

So yesterday we were in Stratford, Ontario, taking in a production of Peter Pan. The last time I was scheduled to go to Stratford was 9/11/2001, and maybe now I shall remove the jinx, curse, and malocchio from the world. Who knows?
Anyway, it was raining, and we were coming out of the Bijou Restaurant behind the Stratford Arms (there is no such hotel, but I do like the name "Stratford Arms"; it is so Raymond Chandler or Donald Duck - can't make up my mind. I think the hotel is the Stratford Hotel.) A significant other was helping the elderly and the handicapped exit the doorway into the teeming rain, holding the door while they fiddled with their umbrellas (leading me to wonder whether Nero fiddled with his umbrella while it rained in Rome?).
As I exited, the oaken door was let loose to slap and inconvenience me to no end.
So I said that it was a fine thing that a person could be so helpful and polite and courteous when all these others were making their way out, but when it came my turn to get through the door and dodge into the rain, hopping lightly over the puddles, it was "Collie, will you lick!" , and the cupboard of courtesy was bare!

And I got it! It made so much sense that I laughed aloud. Whooped also. Did a bit of a dance... or a jig. When I have these "Ah-ha" experiences, I usually don't sit there and say "Ah-ha!", but sort of convulse in a not altogether uncharming way... somewhat like Darby O'Gill, it was. I finally understood what it all meant, and what that collie felt like.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I noticed a new face at the table, Stevany, so welcome, sit down, and be at home. It's good to see you. This morning I feel as young as you are.

If I were Orpheus,
humming "Only the Lonely",
walking the nighttime perimeter of the city -
only now and then descending from the tracks
to enter and walk
the cobbled streets
searching for Eurydice among the tangled web
of electric-line-hammocks spinning above;
where street meets sidewalk,
and brick wall the sky........

 I picked up on this on the other blog as " Orpheus Descending ".
My wife says it is a good thing that I amuse myself, being my own best audience, and so on.
Our friends in Cleveland said they read my blog..... couldn't say they got it, though.
Which was OK. Everybody is different.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fast Day 174 September 29 2010 {On MY Brother's Suicide}

On My Brother's Suicide

Autumn approaches like a maddened hag,
shaking her bony branches like a sing-song curse
against the sky, against the faithless fallen leaves.
She comes loud and keening,
a banshee with a necklace of curcurbits,
dressed in widow's weeds for the mourning of the trees
and the eve of all hallows and the dia de los muertos.
She bids me return north
to the lake to visit the memory of family beasts
and pray at the tolling of loose screen doors that
fan remains of the gunpowder residue dawn,
...and my brother's life.
His vertebrae are asbestos covered bones,
his hepatitis blood laced with PBB,
he offers brandy, cigarettes, beer:
kongo for a tongue-less god.
Quicklike, my brother's life that could-have-been sits,
drinking a bottle filled with smoking herbs - he smiles,
at me with misty legba that has more life than life!
seeking the heroin of Ezili,
and the love that fights for life until the death.

This promises to be a powerful autumn, and the season itself impels me to speak of it. I saw something odd on September 23... at the river... and we'll see what comes of it. My brother is not well and does nothing but drink now. I saw his life as it could have been, and it had more warm aura than most people... it was more real than being with people one cares little about. He/It was sitting in the chair by me, about 4 feet away.
Ezili has been mentioned, Ezili Danto - the mother who fights for us.
Legba is a metaphor for male beings.

gun-powder residue dawn - left-overs from suicide (sorry - a heavy downer)
kongo - a kongo packet, or paket kongo.

La vieille porte automne qui nous dirige a la maison de Baron Samedi.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fast Day 173 September 22 2010 {On Her Graduation}

On Her Graduation

Sweet accents mixed with sparkling words;
foods and fruits brought upon cool waters,
the wind's lethargy amid the willow wands
whispers softly and caresses leaves.

Her desires are ten leagues long,
her tongue is fair and bright;
shine forth swift-footed child of maiden dawn-
the journey's inception at first light.

Make us forget our sorrows!
And friends when we do speak...
like gods of olde within your bowers
in the precinct of Olympus' peak!


I have been trying to approximate classic Chinese poetic constructions at times:
"And friends when we do speak" can be read "we are friends when we speak" or "friends, when we speak..."

I am deliberately leaving logical connexions a  bit vague, forcing the reader to do a bit more. It is unclear at times, as if the words were Chinese characters and the interpretation could be various.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fast Day 172 September 15 2010 {Autumn Leaves}

 Autumn Leaves

My love is like a tree, he said.
Ah, wrinkled bark, she said,
somnolent, morose,
dropping leaves...
unhappy parallel!

No, he said; like this tree here!
Many branches, pointing
to all the stars!

Deep roots, covering the meadows!
Bird-friend tree!
The migrating wing'd gossips
return like clouds
from southern climes!

Fallen leaf ? - a message sent
in the haze and smoke
of autumn:

When All Saints approaches,
scarlet, orange,
rust, pumpkins and Thanksgiving;
trees still stitch
heaven and earth together!


early - I have no time next week. I wrote it for a birthday this week.
If I can get my other computers working, I shall have a picture.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I welcome a new friend, Eric. He came on board at our last stop,
and he seems well suited to the life of a sailor upon the deep, blue
Hexameter Sea.
I am reading Moby Dick and feel ancient and nautical, yet still
bright coin and Quito gold. Welcome.

Fast Day 171 September 4 2010 (The Waters of Shiloh}

The Waters of Shiloh

Lord, we shall go now, O Lord, we shall go!
to be baptized in the pool of Shiloh!
Mother and father, we gather to them
in our new home in Jerusalem;
where crops do not wither and banks do not fail!
and no one to weep at the sheriff's sale!

Lord, we shall go now, O Lord, we shall go!
to wash our eyes in the pool of Shiloh!
Father worked daily for Mom, house, and me,
and in his age he no longer can see.
His eyes be revived to see your sacred face,
when he arrives at your holy place!

Lord, we shall go now, O Lord, we shall go!
to rest our limbs in the pool of Shiloh!
Her arms which held me, her hands dry my tears,
her enfolding strength to drive away fears!
Now let Mother rest here from all of her chores,
and Your sweet grace her vigor restore!



mostly writ on the road to D.C.
like Fanny Crosby....
I have been reading a good deal about John Brown and his times, and I begin to take on the characteristics of the age and time of my focus. I should have been an actor.

stanza three
I used three different constructs of the verb to indicate sort of an eternal sense:  "held" - past, "dry" - present, and "to drive" - infinitive. I don't know if this seems ok and works; just tried it out.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fast Day 170 August 31 2010 {Litany for Mary}

Litany for Mary

Mary, Miriam, holy Mother...
autumn tanager!
pray for us
passenger of time,
pray for us
owl of foresight,
pray for us
goldfinch teenager,
pray for us
child-sung blue of robin,
pray for us
habitat and grassland,
pray for us
prairie falcon eyes,
pray for us
niche on high places!
pray for us
bluegrass and winterfat,
pray for us
squirrelgrass, wheatgrass,
pray for us
tumbleweed and sage!
pray for us
Lady sachem paint the world
with the autumnal palette!
I want some cloth of this color!
Hey! A cloth to give my sweet one!
She will make a coat of it!


Fast Day 170 August 31 2010


Mary, Miriam, holy Mother...
autumn tanager!
pray for us
passenger of time,
pray for us
owl of foresight,
goldfinch teenager,
child-sung blue of robin,
habitat and grassland -
prairie falcon eyes,
niche on high places!
bluegrass and winterfat,
squirrelgrass, wheatgrass,

tumbleweed and sage!

Lady sachem paint the world
with the autumnal palette!
I want some cloth of this color!
Hey! A cloth to give my sweet one!
She will make a coat of it!

early this week... early is good.

To be a precise Litany, each line, such as "owl of foresight" should be followed by a "pray for us", but I'm not sure if that's too unwieldly... so I merely put in the first few.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fast Day 169 August 28 2010 {Voyageurs}


I dreamed bees made a hive in our canoe;
came there flying daily, nectar laden;
buzzing heroic hexameters
of epic poetry ultra-marine.
Launch the ship into the wind, bearing north!
with sandwiches and tea.

Oars that deeply drink of argent liquid
of morning, carrier of the hopes of men,
deeply into a cartoon jungle,
to fabled shores chryselephantine.
Cruise among the Atlantean condos-
outspread like Trojan lunch!

We ate upon the Island of Tall Reeds,
drank martinis mixed well with sweet words,
and napped within papyrus' golden house.
Our sorrows drop away like clothes
strewn around the delight place of new lovers:
the light winds gossiping.


argent liquid  :  the morning sun drips like silver from the oars.

chryselephantine : a Greek word referring to an object make of gold (chrysos) and ivory (elephantine). I use it to make me feel the northern Mediterannean - Greece - and the south - Africa, where the elephants live.

papyrus :  commonly paper reed,  image of late summer tawny shafts, sunlit and tall.
goldren house  :  sun on the tawny papyrus and Nero's Domus Aurea.

bees :  there is this business of bees and the hive and honey... and fermented mead , eventually in the ancient, ancient myths of Dionysos, and the notion of resurrection.

Atlantean condos : houses on the water front, and beyond the Pillars of Hercules, the western end of the Mediterranean.

Trojan  : refers to Troy at the eastern end of the Mediterranean

Canoeing on the St. Clair River. In the delta of the river, there is Dickinson Island, Harsen Island and Russel Island, with many small islands scattered. In the northern part of Russel, there is a cut from the South Channel to the Middle Channel with another canal heading to the northernmost  part of the island which has various signs and icons of jungle animals here and there among the reeds.

I like the notion of our sorrows being like lovers' clothes: a hindrance, yet there is the possibility to cast them aside and transcend their limits.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fast Day 168 August 20 2010 {Miller's Crossing}

 Miller's Crossing

I was born in the green of Silvermines,
I grew in the Knockinroe;
The end of the earth was the Dublin Road,
from Shallee to Kilbo' .
I will never...
from here;
never to smell my sweetheart's hair !

I worked in the mines of Bellagowan
and never saw the light;
made love to a girl of my own tender age
in a cock, cut and scythe'd.
I will never...
that love;
exiled from those lands of desire !

My mother cried when I took ship to sail
to work with pick and hoe;
A lock of her hair to America,
the gowan of my soul.
I will never...
see her...
yet ne'er again to see her cry.

The streets they were not paved with gold;
I worked down in the mine;
and man fought against man as Goshen old;
my table set with line.
I will never...
my dears:
Thou loved my things, as I did thine.


Kilbo' :   license with the name "Kilboy"
Bellagowan:  the old name for Silvermines was Beal Atha Gabhann and Bellagowan.
cock: a place to store hay
gowan: a daisy flower
Goshen: where the Hebrews lived in slavery in Egypt
table: a tombstone
line: linen
things: in the sense of whatever is conceived to exist and as an assembly, a coming together in one person of many aspects.

first draft; I found this exhausting but in a good sense... it fills me with evanescence. 

The first 4 lines are to be read normally.
The next two are to be very slow and mournful:
"never......ever......see her.....again "   
with a slight quickening and rise on the last syllable "again" ; 
it goes long-short long-short long-short short-long, the last long syllable rising back up.

The last line is a bit slower than the first 4, and is realization: fulfillment of understanding, yet far from fulfillment of desire. 

Later: I came back and changed the form in the lines 5 through 8 to emphasize the slow and heavy punctuation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fast Day 167 August 12 2010 {What'll I Tell the Widow?}


What'll I Tell The Widow ?

The hay burned in the fields that year, beaten down
by the oven of the wind; I stood stock still
by the Rattle Run which was
hardly a trickle in August.
Danny looked at me like queer,
but I just throw my Johnny Deere cap down,
and said nothing until he drove over
left his motor runnin'
I could not hear him but I saw his lips
movin' , and I said "Enough".
He cup his hand to his head,
like he can't hear, so I make a universal
translate "turn the friggin' engine off" sign.
and when I could hear my heart beatin' in my ears
I said "Enough".
It took a century to walk out of that field,
leavin' Danny with the two tractors,
him gaping at me,
smoke and sun
But he took off at a trot
caught up with me in ten years
sayin' "You know, there's nothing out there.
The worlds end at Palms Road and Chick's Barbeque..."
where the yawning gap between our dreams
came to an end in aught-8, leaving me
a Mad Max with ethanol
a girl friend with 4 kids
widowed twice at 24
the Widow Greer she was
and her breath was hotter'n this wind.
Ah, what a future we had had !
We used to dream of crop circles
I went on walkin'
He yelled "Hey!... ... Hey!
What'll I tell the Widow?"
I ponder, "It's a hard rain falls..."

climate change poem

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fast Day 166 6 Agosto 2010 {Noon Prayers}

Noon Prayers

Say,honey,have a margarita,
drink a little pulque,
drive with me a little way
until we reach the sea.

So let us toll the rosary;
five tequila mysteries:
trust the diligence of dunes
and discretion of the trees.

She says she does not drink at all,
she says she does not swim;
she left the molten city
so she will not stop for me.

Tres milagros de ma vida, tres...
deja mucho a desear,
travelers on a desert road
my car, the Virgin, and me.


stanza 3 three miracles of my life, three/ there is still much to desire

odd prayer

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fast Day 165 July 31 2010 {The Uncertainty of Soccer}

The Uncertainty of Soccer

Sun Chopper with long hair runs, streaming like a breeze;
Sandwich Girl collides with him again... and again;
Snail Kid, climb Mount Fuji, but slowly, slowly,
Giacometti Leg, Pablo's Bathers, Demoiselles d'Avignon
and Bearded Miro, Pollack Spit and Arp Nose:
Mayan Ferlinghetti, Popeye, Sheer Pony Ass, surreal;
Max Ernst collage of running boys and girls...  and tattoos.

Run, slicers of the sun! Run, max quanta ! Kick neutrinos !
Run through all the levels and the states of being !
Run to your civil war ! Kick your way into the maze,
labyrinth of woodland god, disguised as bush of ghosts !
I hear the vuvuzela of my faith and parents !
I see the spider-goalie spin and guard his web !
Sun Chopper smiles: surreal panic erotic Magritte !


written after watching a soccer match on Belle Isle, Detroit
on Saturday, the date of record.

we also discussed the destruction of the Constitutional
and Enlightenment view of Man by the recent Supreme Court
decision setting Corporations up as "individuals"
equal to men and women.

More like ideas to be worked on later:

Surrealist paintings,
Amos Tutuola,
films of del Toro...especially Laberinto del Fauno
Spanish Civil War and civil wars in general
The young who will fight the wars...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fast Day 164 July 24 2010 {Riding the SMART Bus Home}

Riding the SMART Bus Home

Newly painted rainbows spill
through freshly washed windows,
bouncing off her laundered shirt
and rolling in the sheets.

Routine slav'ry of house work
holds her to the window;
waiting for him to return,
riding on the SMART bus.

The windows on the SMART bus
do not allow rainbows
to pass through where he sits in
licorice isolate.

Homeward does he turn his steps,
where the rainbow waits;
while tires slap the macadam
like an overseer's whip.

Tightly packed within the bus
are all his kinsmen's tribes;
sailors of the city asphalt
that flows beneath the heat.

Without the breath of Africa!
O, Lord ! I cannot breathe !
Without her eyes, without her face
or rainbows on her sleeve!

Detroit poem # 1
first draft

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fast Day 163 July 16 2010 {Algebra y Fuego}

US Civil War Wounded

Álgebra y Fuego

When I say I love you,
do you trust me?
When I say I care,
will I be true?
If I come back from far away
do you greet me,
Johnny and his gun come home
to join the prosthetic few?

Will you drive me daily
to my re-hab?
Will you buy me beer,
...  push my wheelchair?
Will you explain the fearful
algebra and fire
that guide our fatal honor
into grief, into despair?

Will I smoke the opium
of Afghanistan?
Or from Ciudad Juarez
will I do cocaine?
Wake up screaming from withdrawal -
or from nightmares;
my mind is nitrous oxide
a seep of jet methane!

When you say you still care,
will you be true?
When you say you love me,
may it inspire?
The algebra of the past
defines fidelity
and honor, but we blacken
like candy in the fire.

Spanish Civil War Poster

Johnny and his gun = Johnny Got His Gun  by Dalton Trumbo. That's about it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fast Day 162 July 8 2010 {Future Shock}


Future Shock

we eat apples and we spit them out,
we paint our bodies with saliva,
we chew blueberries,
and the haws;
I forget why I'm in this part of town.

we see old friends from the empty past,
and dash to re-ignite our love;
shake hand uncles,
bow to aunts
I think we have never seen before.

we smell the hollow wooden doors
with dark-light sunburn-picked veneer;
I left the car
with top down
and motor running on bright shoulder.

waiting for my daughter - don't know why:
I leave the soundstage filled with friends -
find her crying
by the car,
wondering where her daddy's gone!

pix: Samy Charnine


The story:
I left the convertible running as I waited for my daughter.
I saw old friends I hadn't seen in 20 years or more., and
ran like a handicap to get their attention. We talked, but
I wanted to get the heck out of there. Maybe that's why we hadn't
seen each other in so long.  When I returned to my car,
she was waiting with her suitcase.

hollow wooden doors

with dark-light sunburn-picked veneer;
Hollow wooden doors are the miserably cheap doors one finds in houses, new and old.
When the wretched things are old, they become dark and grimey, and in some places, the top veneer
wood comes loose; the dark-light is the grime (dark) and the newly exposed veneer base (light)...
it shows up when we pick away the veneer like sunburned skin from the back of someone we do not really
like with a fascination and sense of squeamish disgust.

The meaning?
I and my generation cannot let down my daughter and my daughter's daughters and sons.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fast Day 161 June 29 2010 {Visit to D.C.}

Visit to D.C.

It was hot in D.C. Some record setting days.
I remember Europe and the heat
when ten thousand died;
the Change comes on apace,
like a broken line within the Gulf.

Memorials abound here:
signposts between the quick and dead.
G20 tightens belts...
and the noose
around our necks,
memorial noose of Saddam who died
amid the jeers and curses recorded
by cell phone photographers.

Kids, don't buy that house yet!
Give it 2 years!
The world  shredded like tea,
read the future from the leaves
left within the broken china cups
from your wedding registry!
Pick-up-pieces generation!
Chips of broken china, like
White Haven's broken mausoleums of desire;
tombstones arrayed like single-
family houses along Old Georgetown Road.

The day before he died, Uncle Leonard
was cookin' up a storm, and he called
everyone he knew to come and eat
johnny-cakes and green bacon 
he learned to make in the lumber camps
up in the Pontiac, Quebec.
Now we eat corn cakes with butter and salt...

Georgetown's Hogwarts tower looms above
the zero mile marker of the C&O canal,
where the water gate still sits unused.
There are too many memorials in D.C.
I feel like a wraith of history,
eating copper and broze,
drinking limestone and steel,
until I vomit weaponry of gold.


on returning from DC and Georgetown and Bethesda.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Welcome to Luli, a new friend. I suppose now I shall have to actually work on my Portugese, no longer playing the dilettante of language. And I welcome her in the week of a poem on Fritz Lang's Metropolis - which is a bit much. I really don't know what to make of some of this stuff. It's almost like there's a scull full of crew and coxswain pulling at the metaphorical oars in the simile waters of the rhetorical Isis where the bumps race of Eights Week is always a-running... as it were. But poetry is not really "poetry", your grandmother's poetry, the "poetry" we learned in elementary schools: it is a launching pad to the universe, and Emily Dickinson put on the chains of rhyme and meter... to be free!... whereas some of us speak unfettered, but the only result is our enslavement.

Words are friends and companions. They are not mournful teachers and dons; they are not forbidding priests and stern Savanarolas...  If a word is a mighty tree, we climb it. If a word is a sea, we swim in it. If a word is a soft bed, trail forward lightly and invade a lover's delight-space !

Fast Day 160 June 26 2010 {In the Gardens of Metropolis}

The New Tower of Babel in Metropolis

In The Gardens of Metropolis

Between the hands of labor
and the head of tech a chasm dwelt
awaiting some tree-like paroxysm
of nature: a mediator to intercede -
to plant itself within the yawning gap
left fallow within the gardens:

first the kabbala of Rotwang
gave a fruit - the largest of the family,
colour pale next to wall,
colour red next to sun,
set in clay and sprung to life,
a golem like narcissos,
obedient to a malady of Hel
where an entire branch of
a summer day will die;
the fruit has a bitter kernel.

second the living and dying god
given to excessive growth as is seen
in maiden plants set in new made borders,
saddle-grafted onto old root stock:
October - bane of Freder - the time
to disburden a tree of fruit
and whip him with a light birch broom,
the straight switch, or the sturdy cane
to remove decaying leaves
to encourage wood's ripening
and maturation of blossom-buds
in next year's spring...
if spring does arrive!

third mutation yet unimagined!
a forcing garden to compel
by artificial means a cultivation
of fruits unnative to these climes;
in houses built of metallic mixtures,
as iron cased with copper, which
produce expansive force unequal
which tends to break
the hothouse glass
in consequence of a twisting
and a torsion
and a racking
in the bars wrought-iron...
so do machine men:
iron boys and iron maidens,
try to gather rosebuds,
but all is liable to rust!

Brought on by viewing the most recent and updated version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis on the night of June 19 2010.
Posted early since I'll be traveling to D.C.

Lang and Thea von Harbou, the writer, told a tale of society where there was antagonism between the hands - labor - and the head - technology & administrative science. It was a tale based on the history of the Industrial Revolution and the Technology revolutions leading into the 20th century. They saw that there must be a mediation between the head and hand, which would be the mediator, yet also the heart, even though "heart" and "mediator" were distinct entities in the film.
The possibilities were first: a type of medieval mysticism and Kabbala applied to science, Rotwang, the inventor, who had sacrificed his right arm in order to create a perfect android, a machine man or robot. He now wore a prosthetic arm covered by a dark glove, foreshadowing Dr. Strangelove, and Lionel Atwill as the village chief of police in Son of Frankenstein.
Second: a Christianity which was based totally upon the mediation of the dichotomy, seemingly leaving out all other doctrines. The Mediator would be an real man, Freder in the movie, and he would come forward in the fullness of time - apparently - and the golden age would be reached. Of course, a good deal of the City, particularly the workers' quarters, would have to be destroyed before this occurred.
Third: a surprise ending, which is actually what happened in Germany. The Mediator's followers became the Men at the dock at Nurnberg, and in the glass case in Tel Aviv.

The studio was UFA, by the way, which may or may not explain my sign in my other blog about OK, UFA!

Hel   deceased mother of Freder, beloved of Rotwang. Also name of the Norse goddess Hel, a goddess of some of the dead.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fast Day 159 June 19 2010 {Catamarans a Voiles-Etoiles...}

Catamarans à Voiles-Étoiles
dans le Golfe du Mexique

Les télescopes de MM. Green & Cook
étaient d'une grandeur considerable;
mais celui du Docteur Hubble était
encore beaucoup plus grand.
La mort d'une planète, deja agée,
d'un rang supérieur, nourricier de Galaxie,
présenta a la Science belle occasion
de connaître les cérémonies funèbres
dans les signes du zodiaque,
tout en disant:
Never, never shall we cease to long
for the Earth, not returning, exiled
upon the Euxine Sea; no delicious
homecoming sweet nostalgia;
prodigal we are in debt to Death.

an experiment.
title:  Sailing Catamarans of Stars in the Gulf of Mexico
meditation on technology and our lives.


The telescopes of Misters Green and Cook
were of considerable size,
but that of Doctor Hubble was
even larger.
The death of a planet, already quite old,
of a high rank, nourisher of Galaxy,
gave Science a perfect occasion
to observe the funeral customs
in the signs of the zodiac,
all the while saying:
(the rest in English...)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fast Day 158 June 12 2010 {Lawnmower Meet}

Lawnmower Meet

We crossed the wide Mississippi
riding our John Deere mowers,
like Farnsworth in Straight Story;
malachite green fields doubtful,
dotted with a hiatus of machines,
whirring gestures spinning,
a herd of residential
zero-turn lawnmowers
looming like phantoms in the night air:
we boiled water for coffee
and we baked our bread
and spit the fish we caught
in the waters of the wide Mississippi.

I've been at my parents and there was no computer access; they seem to take a Luddite stance against them, although singing fishes and other such oddities hold no fear for them. It is also hard to get a cell phone signal unless you get in  the car and drive a bit.

pictures won't load this AM... Blogger problem.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fast Day 157 June 5 2010 {Empty Seats at a Reception}

Empty Seats at a Reception

So ill my brother grew,
he could not attend the wedding feast
and so I sent Hakeem to search
the hungry, thirsty, and the poor.

Hakeem, whom I had met
last night, who'd journeyed from afar,
went into the early rain to search
for poverty to feed in Grosse Pointe.

Tradition says we share
the wealth and blessings on us bestowed,
parceling out in our finer detail
the general bulky benefits of grace.

All the prophets as one
in opinion and in holy writ
could not conceive the modern day:
in Grosse Pointe no poor were found!

We gave it to Solanus,
good father to himself hand out
to all the poor in all Detroit;
we all need loaves and fishes.

I couldn't get near my computer to post this until now.
The wedding was history relived:  great pageantry and warfare with weapons of silk and lace, with a great number of distinguished generals and their ladies posing for daguerreotypes. Pomegranate grenades lit the night sky.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Welcome to a new friend, Claire. Now there's a fine name, my daughter's middle name and that of mathair mo croidhe  ( "Mother Macree" ); I like to use mathair mo croidhe for "mother-in-law", which is a term that is ungainly and belongs strictly to people with the minds of lawyers. It means "mother of my heart". For me own mother, I just say "mother of my ___ ( whatever organ seems appropriate for our relationship at the time!).
So the name of mathair mo croidhe is Claire, too. She has gone, but her presence is still here, as well as her fine name, which resonates in the choir of her family in Quebec and Ireland.

I welcomed Dana twice, so I'm recalling one of them. Actually, as I look at them, the second one was not much of a welcome or anything: just a mumbling about whether I had done it or not. So it didn't count, I guess. So I'm restoring it. Unless he wants to send it back for a store discount.

It is early this morning, and I have a distinct sense of eternity & art, as well as the propinquity of time; time seems like a rider on a horse who will reach down and pull us up behind them, to ride wildly into the rest of the history that stretches out ahead of us.
I feel good.