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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fast Day 239 December 27 2011 {Susan's Christmas Tree 2011}

Susan's Christmas Tree 2011

Fill in around the manger scene,
bringing forth the fragrant reeds;
carols singing,
and gifts bringing;
daughters of the music rule,
enchanted in festive weeds!

Susan plans her Christmas tree
to inflate Time’s trifling show
of past year’s
alarms and fears -
left behind on Twelfth Night
with all her stars aglow!


weeds  - clothes, attire

I am getting ahead to keep time free for people coming to town and visiting and such. This should take us up to the week beginning with January 1, and a New Year's poem of some sort.
Happy Holidays.

Fast Day 238 December 20 2011 {Wildflower Girl}

Wildflower Girl

Daughter, oak and pine
of Christmas time!
Beyond the Jordan and within
the forests of Carmel;
handsome evergreen oleander girl;
upon the dried river beds
when gentle rain brings a flood
of gaudy tulip and blue lupin,
and fragrant winds blow to Bethlehem,
we embark and our confident bows
bite the foam of hollyhock!


bows  - bow of a boat
bite the foam  -  the white water of a boat's bow cutting through waves has been often compared to a dog biting a bone, hence bite the foam indicates a boat's progress... usually upstream, hence the turbulence.

even though the rivers may be dry, a rain brings a bloom of flowers like a botanic flood... and we launch our boats upon this torrent and wend our way to Bethlehem... 
Our prayer for the future this Christmas:  although the waters may be gone, send us a river of grace.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fast Day 237 December 17 2011 (Navidad en Belén / Christmas in Bethlehem}

 Near Manger Square in Bethlehem, December 2010

Navidad en Belén

Estos no son los androides
que ustedes buscan;
trucos mentales de los Jedi...
estos no son los pastores
que ustedes buscan:
estos no son los ángeles
que cantan en el cielo alto;
este no es el tesoro de oro,
este no es el incienso,
y este no la mirra ...
pero sí, es brillante y resplandeciente ...
como el amanecer incendiario
en los cedros abrasadores del Líbano;
y Belén,
la casa de pan duro,
la casa de carne roja,
espera un año más

"These are not the androids you seek"
Jedi mind tricks;
these are not the shepherds you seek,
these are not the angels that sing on high;
this is not the golden treasure,
this is not the frankincense,
and not the myrrh...
but it is as brilliant and shining
as sunrise burning
among the burning cedars of Lebanon;
and Bethlehem,
the house of coarse bread,
the house of red meat,
waits for yet another year.


Bethlehem   - Hebrew: house of bread and in Arabic a possible translation could be house of meat

Nothing is what it seems,,, as if we had Jedi mind tricks being played on us constantly.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fast Day 236 December 10 2011 {Mami Wata: How Government Began}

Mami Wata: How Government Began

Be careful where you step
by the river or by the sea:
Water,  she get no enemy.
Do not tread upon the old one.

Mami Wata was the ruler
of Sahara’s rosary:
lakes to the sunrise ceremony,
all the way from western ocean

Papa Legba of the crossroads
was land born from the sea;
fenced in, he believed himself not free:
riparian earth and sediments.

He gathered land-men far and wide
to go to parliament,
claim equality of descent,
to break the circle of Mami Wata.

They swore a suicide a month
until they got their way,
to reduce the mothers’ sway
and establish patriarchy.

Mami Wata ebbed and withdrew
to her palace lazuli
far away from the crazy
genocide of the dusty men.

Such is how we got government…
and Sahara desert…
leaving just aquifers covert…
and children soldiers bearing guns.


Mami Wata  - goddess of the waters (West African, Haitian)

Sahara's rosary - the string of paleo-lakes and rivers of the once lush Sahara. Of course, we mean all such ancient waters, ocean and all, and referring to the "rosary" of the Sahara is using a part for the whole.

Legba      -    a male god of the crossroads (West African, Haitian)

The picture is supposed to be a depiction of a lwa. (pronounced "L-WA"), and perhaps Mami Wata, although it does not resemble the usual depictions of her.

Mami Wata is goddess of waters. Here I picture her primeval spirit of the world. The land came later, and it is pictured as male, as seen by Papa Legba. To break the matriarchy of the goddess - and goddesses - of the waters, the oceans, the lakes, the rivers, Legba and like-minded men threatened to kill themselves until they were granted power.
The Mothers could not bear to watch their children kill themselves, so they withdrew from the places of mankind's power and authority, and the patriarchy and all it entails was set up.

(I am late getting this up. I have been back and forth between my parents' place; they had a cat crisis and we had trips to the vet.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fast Day 235 December 4 2011 {Vietnam And Other Wars}

Buddhist Monk Self-Immolation, Vietnam 1963

Vietnam And Other Wars

binge drinking is a multi-task
and is done by appointment:
on Saturday we party;
poisoned by too much booze,
overcome by a dark corner,
we followed a bouncing ping-pong
ball over the balcony
of the Amityville dormitory

or was it in Iraq
that a plate went through my head
and split my hemis into
double rockers,
and now I’m just a flathead grunt…
my hero was Connie Kalitta
from sulphurous Mount Clemens
but now I can’t even drive.

maybe opium from old Bactria
where we fight our war for
datura botany near Kandahar;
old men and children in the fields
ready to be harvested by
the fire of imprecise drones,
and wedding parties gone
to precocious funerals!

I came home and fell down
upon the beach and lay there
amidst unseen blood
from my hundred-eyed
Argus of wounds…
as transparent as an astragal
of hammered iron panels on
the plaguey windows of your houses!

I never wrote about Vietnam before today.

I don't think I'll explain anything.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fast Day 234 November 24 2011 {Procne Is Among The Slaves}

Procne Is Among The Slaves
Dedicated to the US Congress
November 23, 2011

there was construction on Mack Avenue
so I got out of the car and walk for a mile
walk for a mile
in my high heels
my crane-like high heels
in my black, black high heels

(chorus: her black, black high heels)

bike guy on my left
food truck on my right
I got out of the car
walk for a mile
in my running shoes,
black Converse running shoes

(chorus: her black Converse running shoes)

Eastern Market Thanksgiving turkey
no hormone nonsense for my babies...
I took the turkey home,
and gave it to my Sis;
get new gilded shoes on
and going to go to Greektown

(chorus: People Mover Greektown)

Greektown casino takes my money,
and tries to take gold lamé virgin;
heels, and my life
to sit like Procne
among the slaves.

(chorus: Procne among the slaves)

I will shoe my feet in rain clouds,
I shall clothe myself in line;
like a phoenix.
we shall rise and fly
away, swallows and

scorn the ruling tyrant owls-
carrion eaters of the night;
we leave them behind,
we high-legged herons!


Procne and Philomena were sisters and both became married to Tereus, king of Daulis, who symbolizes government.
He was depraved and eventually caused both sisters in their turns great grief. They escaped from his depraved tyranny and were turned into a swallow and a nightingale, while he was turned into an owl, or some stories say a hoopoe bird.
There are many variations on this story.

So was that tyrant Tereus' nasty lust
Changed into Upupa's foul-feeding dust
Lord Brooke; Declination of Monarchie.                   ( Upupa = hoopoe )

Hoopoe Bird

The poem is a symbolic story of the oppression of the poor and the powerless by bad government and its  supporters. It tells how the people will become free from their chains and fly away to freedom. It is about women and poverty.

line    =   linen


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fast Day 233 November 20 2011 {The Heidelberg Dolls}

The Heidelberg Dolls

I did not believe what I could see:
they stole the girls from therapy;
like organs smuggled from the poor,
sold today in some rich town;
they sit now in endless cinema,
watching future and the past…
chemo dolls
chemo dolls

The footprints left in memory
and recreated by Tyree,
leads through city and the forest,
their waves break upon the shore
of enigmatic and iconic
lost islands of Laz-y-Boy …
shadow feet
shadow feet

The vacuum cleaner armies stand
forever to unheard command
cleaning rooms through thwarted doors,
to answer flow’ring telephones;
Hastings Street pianos brood
as empty as cold fireplaces…
in the trees

A ruin is profound regret
while found-art is our future bet:
gravity defying hobby
reaches out for the all the stars
beyond half-buried pink limos
of Chemo Ken and Barbie:
take shelter
take shelter

The Heidelberg Project is a Street scale art project in Detroit, founded by Tyree Guyton. The photos is from the project. The art uses found objects… everything from a found Street down to the smallest objects.

chemo dolls – the abandoned dolls used in the work... the "chemo" refers to chemotherapy and I think the rest is obvious and somewhat painful.
vacuums – there is a empty lot with arrays of old vacuum cleaners
Laz-y-Boy - an adjustable chair in the midst of a path of shoes
thirty-threes - 33 1/3 records used in the art

I think everything becomes clear if one looks at photos of the project.

I like this poem, it is not the way I want it yet, and I feel it will take a long time.
I think I shall extend the rhyme and use the pattern of the last stanza:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Welcome Tänya

Welcome Tänya Priest as a friend.
I notice she is a runner. As I just wrote in a comment, I have been running for 45 years now. This year my ligaments and tendons have been a problem, and I hurt a knee ligament back in July, forcing me to lay-off running for 6 weeks. I returned cautiously and slowly. I still cannot do things like squat down comfortably, but I do not think I ever could. I never was able to sit of the floor very well.

I found that jogging or running for at least an hour was an important part life: it got one outside and right into Mother Nature, wet grass, hidden bumps, tumble, fall, roll, and bounce back up. You became part of the changing seasons, as you were running throughout the entire year, even in the winter: cruel winter wherein you ran eastwards to begin with the wind at your back, then sooner or later turning back and feeling the sadistic division wrought by winter wind, freezing the sweat on your body and forcing you to greater effort to warm yourself! The division of time into the Warm and the Unbearably Cold!

By being "within" the year, instead of merely living through the year and using a calendar as a way to mark off the passage of time, it changed my perspective on Nature and Creation forever.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Fast Day 232 November 12 2011 {Running Early)

Running Early

Early dark running on fall's last warm morning
I develop new shoes blisters
high and low on the plimsoll veins
of my feet... and it begins to rain...
each step agony,
I walk into gardens
of the houses along Detroit's rivers,
and untie my brand new shoes
sewn by children slaves in some far land
beyond the scope of hundred-eye TV...
remove my socks
and walk barefoot
along the sleek black rainy asphalt.

No longer do I practice safe-running habits,
the blood runs from my open sores
onto the rainy street, in payment for
the globalization of desire
and retribution
that it brings:
fearful of broken glass bottle shards,
gingerly stepping in chiaroscuro,
street lights glow brazen like Roman arms,
and my only apostles were the night,
those shoes,
and my wet socks!
As we tramp our way to Calvary!

plimsoll  -   plimsoll markings on the sides of boats


Friday, November 4, 2011

Fast Day 231 November 4 2011 {Day of the Dead)

Day of the Dead

I heard the water laughing loud
at some off-color joke;
it was a witchy tinnitus
raging within my ears;
then I saw many, many moons
up in the dark night sky
like bright and silver coins, oblate...
fallen from a pocket;
many moons and laughing waters!
and I was very drunk.

I smelled the autumn leaves burning
smoke that was like frost,
medicine moons are in the sky!
like ice in rum and coke!
medicine weed is in my head:
suspend animation -
it takes paleontology
science to walk back home!
we wrestle dominion away...
stars at elbow and foot!

Ah, love! Ah, love! All passion spent!
who is it that does not
need a friend in cold November...
Dia de los Muertos!
Let the vibrant orange-sienna
of autumn leaves rise up;
call out to all ghosts and spirits
to come here for the dance!
Oh, Grandfather! Oh, Grandfather!
flower... moon... deer... divine!

pix: Claudia Salguero

Day of the Dead - dia de los muertos, november 2

dominion -  death shall have no dominion... etc. etc. etc.

I am really beginning to like this poem.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fast Day 230 October 30 2011 {River Phoenix}

Mississippi River and Tributaries

River Phoenix

I googled "river" and they gave me River Phoenix, whom I had seen in "Mosquito Coast", a long time ago...
on the banks of a muddy water, flowing by stealth to the Caribbee, a sulphur sheen of unbroken surface...
so I stayed with River Phoenix, and I did not rerun my search.

River Phoenix is just like the memory of a river, or a tree, if you prefer;
since he has passed away, his image forms a substrate in a portion of our minds,
just like the gingko tree raped by a backhoe
by your living room window
when they came to widen the roads... to make things better...
nowadays they are always making things better...

The Rio Negro is one of many rios negros;
it is the river of the Mosquito Coast, itself an image and memory...
a river which miscegenates with the wide, broad Sea beyond the harbor
and the Jesuit churches cloistered around the Largo da Palacio
where incense rose like morning colder climes of time forgot.

I just sort of kept a beat going, changed it around at times, and wrote stuff out and tried to leave out the individual stanzas... sort of like reading an Ancient Greek inscription: all boustrophedon and run together with no punctuations.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fast Day 229 October 22 2011 {Coleman Young's Funeral}

Coleman Young's Funeral
(On a Friend's Funeral)

The many colored uniforms
of autumn line the street,
as we zouaves ramble on,
bearing him to Elmwood;
a telephone directory
of names and tears of your family -
they'll meet you on the other side
as now you fly away!

They came running to tell me news -
I’d heard it on the vine –
radio novelties all day
of our cold jubilees.
On wings of song you will soon lie
amid Egyptian sarcophagi
between neo-classic temples…
marching round Jericho!


Coleman Young  -  Mayor of Detroit,1974 to 1993

Elmwood - famous Detroit cemetery

zouave - soldiers, French and others, who wore colorful uniforms; three syllables pronounced zoo-AH-vee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome to Friends

There are four friends to welcome:

chubby..^_^.. aishiteru(n_n)..

Jan Preben Andersen



and it's nice to see their avatars hanging out.

I have been in low gear for a while. This entire century has been a bummer! I hope that when we come to the end of the century no one can say the same thing. That's why friends are so good: smooth over the rough patches on the black-top of life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fast Day 228 October 15 2011 {Drums}


That drum is Haitian
of African descent,
comes from Danhomey
and Native American
is this drum here
between my legs I play.

It is three days since
I have tasted music;
it is three days gone
I have drunk water,
and I am drawn taut,
like this tight drum skin!

I see fireflies
under your hair
and your teeth as white
as freshly bit apples:
it's for you, it's for you
I play this here drum.

I sleep with you,
the evening star;
I wake with you,
the morning star:
in an old house
down by Wayne State U.

we were billboards,
wearing shades,
selling rum and smokes:
rather drive a rag top
and stand up and dance -
East Grand and Jefferson!

Belle Isle summer days
of war-like birds!
and island summer nights
of preening, dancing
and display... drumming
mischiefs in our dreams!


Danhomey  -  a variant of Dahomey

rag top - convertible

East Grand and Jefferson  -  the entrance to the Belle Isle Bridge is there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fast Day 227 October 9 2011 {Detroit Buses We Can't See}

Detroit Buses We Can't See

Waiting for the morning bus
like yelling into an empty tin can

there is no food in there,
so it does no good to yell for it!

Cold and standing at the corner
of Woodward Ave. and Morning Blues,
waiting for the Detroit DOT
is a harsh charcoal reality.

We stand and wait like toy soldiers
a child forgot to put away…

or water bottles along the curb:
convex kaleidoscope decay!

There is a vacant lot nearby,
could we not roto-till the soil
and plant that fallow ground
and grow corn and okra while we wait?

The DPDub won’t interfere
and there’ll be no bus to, either!

But maybe the’re buses all along,
but only we can’t see them:

This gritty curb’s a cyclotron
that accelerates to light speed,
and our life is an experiment
for mankind’s betterment:

Neutrino buses of no mass,
like ghosts of physics in the night:

dancing on Woodward and John R,
tripping on Magic Street and MLK!

Can’t see those ghostly buses driving -
going through our bodies, going through
the Burger King, and it’s only by
hamburger scatter we know at all…

a diesel heart is beating blood
for casino arteries,

a diesel lung is breathing soot:
harsh ebony reality.


convex kaleidoscope =  the rounded bottles reflect light like a k-scope.

the're   =    "there are"  pronounced "there"

DPDub = DPW Department of Public Works, “Dub” is short for “Double U”

this needs a lot of work yet.

hamburger scatter - in particle physics, some elementary particles are only inferred by the "scatter" they cause on other particles.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fast Day 226 September 30 2011 {Pumpkins at Rapture Time}

Pumpkins at Rapture Time

climbing through the fields,
climbing through the glean,
looking for a pumpkin
with a green handle
to get for Halloween…

In the viney web
of jack o’lantern raw,
I bent to pick a pumpkin
as the Rapture winnow
harvested us all…

heavenly that combine,
and the call divine,
to disk the earth infected:
to rotate all the crops
and pick us from the vine!

As I bent to gather
a pumpkin from its patch
the Rapture passed on by me,
it swung down low and straight
but did not stoop to snatch.

All this for jack o’lanterns,
all this for Halloween,
self-righteousness has fled the earth
and it is more peaceful now
than we have ever seen!


Based on Ruth's story of how the Rapture missed her while she was picking pumpkins.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fast Day 225 September 23 2011 {Skinny Dipping at Summer Places}

Skinny Dipping at Summer Places

A metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle is pretty good-
rustic with the smell of the forest,
furniture in Murphy’s Oil mood
we sit, reflections in a log cabin window.

The androgeny of marshmallow is a simile:
roasted over a bonfire
on beaches of our midnight skinny,
where linen moths dance before the flame.

Reflections of summer moon float upon the river
in whose depths late night fish see
our antediluvian exposures…
from our swimming suits and morals free!


no notes

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fast Day 224 September 17 2011 {When Noble Flowers in Autumn Fall}

 Rudbeckia Blooming

When Noble Flowers in Autumn Fall

Let Loosestrife and Feverscourge now run free!
brawling with the recluse Japonica;
a shouting viridescence of flowers!
a tumult of their voices giving scent!
Look at Rudbeck, standing tall and gallant,
bleeding red salvia from num’rous wounds
from bayonets of the stiletto thorns!
The amaranthine tints of  burning bush
and outrage of fiery Jerusalem,
illuminate the stricken petall’d blooms:
a marmalade of shadows cinnabar
and chutney of smoked mahagonnay!
periled by mutual competition,
they thrust themselves into the mordant fray
and bind their green stems with black bandanas,
to await mass grave prairie fires of spring!
Let our hearts be contagioned by their blaze,
and find a chivalry and purpose to amaze!


Feverscourge = I change "feverfew" which comes from "febrifuge" meaning to make fever run away to the above "feverscourge" which seems to be the same notion.
Japonica = Japanese Anemone
Rudbeck = rudbeckia, pictured above
burning bush and fiery jerusalem are plants of vibrant color in the autumn.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fast Day 223 September 10 2011 {A Man From New Orleans...}

A Man From New Orleans Playing Music
At The Detroit Ball Park, September 10, 2011

To Thy mansions in the sky…
that raise me up from poverty,
blessed music give me wings
and the longitude of kings,
for that is where my soul shall fly!

I played the cornet-à-piston
from the birth bed and to the tomb:
my sacred language… and profane!...
oppress my music to your shame!
these harps, these pipes of doom and bloom!

They hear flash mob ragtime and jazz;
drowned neighborhoods, dope fiend, and brass;
Sweet Jesus, in dressed-up ease
sets down notes, for when He frees
us poor – the mighty to surpass!


cornet-à-piston  = original French name of the trumpet, the "pistons" are the valves the musician fingers.
New Orleans, past and present, music for cradle to the grave.

The Tigers were playing the Twins, and they won in the 9th.
There were many homeless outside on the streets, which is an odd sight in a Christian nation.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Fast Day 222 September 1 2011 {40th Anniversary}

40th Anniversary

I wonder where the vermilion roses bloom?
Why my soul… a trembling ruby hummingbird?
Why our walks into the woods o’er so soon?
How long our fiery words of love be heard?

When will mem’ry be estated wholesale
to the summer vacation’s antique store?
When old photos do fade to enigmas pale?
And poet’s metric cadence is no more?

Swimmers having climbed the last sandy hill,
feel the sun’s warmth again, bright as love’s coin;
I shall love you, young rose gardener still,
holding nectar as trembling souls rejoin!

Whoever with deft hand and eye fresh flowers has arrayed,
May memoirs and their beauty with roses be portrayed!


The lines are not of uniform length, and I had started writing with that intention, having recited a number of things of varying lengths, and had decided I liked the cadence of the irregular better than he regular length.

I like the word "estated", past of a new verb "to estate", which I take to mean that process by which a person's life is dissipated by one's heirs in a series of auctions or garage sales over the weekends of the late summer.
Thus, "to estate" = to distribute, dissipate, and otherwise disperse the material goods of someone after the heirs have culled them for any potential value, and assuming there are no items of discernible  value, historical or otherwise. The process begins with attempts to sell all such items, and eventually ends in disposal by whatever means available.
The process begins at any time of the year when there are items of value, and as the total value of the estate decreases, the process moves into the "garage sale" phase, which takes place in the late summer through "Indian" summer and finishes before cold weather.

Many items end up in antique stores near the beach of summer vacation hot spots.

I put this up early, since we'll be working on the 90th birthday party.
You would not believe what we are going through with my parents to try
and get this done! It's not a surprise party, just maybe 20 people. Very difficult.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fast Day 221 August 26 2011 {On My Mother's Birthday}

 Vessel Roger Blough in Fog

On My Mother's Birthday

Sitting on a glider…
Sitting on a glider in Marine City,
we fell asleep;

a cold front
inserted itself into a hot summer day
bringing rain and fog;

freighters surprised at noon
sounded ten inch steam whistles’ alarm
waking glider children.

the pilot houses floated
above the now obscure and fog-grey hulls
as if disembodied

and chased by the surprised
smoke stack, freed from the now invisible stern;
timelessness, summer, youth!

the photo is the closest I could come to describing the actual events. The pilot houses back then were taller and stood higher relative to the hull, and the fog totally obscured the hull, which in the picture above is slightly visible as a black line between the stern and the bow.

I am early with the poem, and early for the birthday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fast Day 220 August 20 2011 {Stuck in Botswana}

Stuck in Botswana

I suck my iPods like a cocainero noses blow,
and I listen to music, and I dance!
There is no worry: a big pumpkin for dinner!
and a bottle beer with misty gold boss!

Outside the house, by the kraal, the trannies giggle
as they go to the music box cafe
There is no worry: I smile at them,
and they throw sequins like stars down on me!

It is time to forget all this crap that has come down!
My girl will eat curcurbit,
and I will eat the pomegranate!
We shall spend the night all Okavonga!

Okavonga delta where Long Dry meets Deep Wet!
All the Namib desert cannot fill!
Rainy season makes the river laugh;
sleep beneath the Milky Way - on and off...


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fast Day 219 August 11 2011 {Counting Twigs} second draft

Fish Traps and Gill Nets

Counting Twigs

I count the twigs of fate.
There are many.
I think about the twigs of fate.
The number... is it odd or even?
I count twigs of fate.
I throw them into the wind,
I throw them into the sea.
The number... is it odd or even?

I count the thorns of life
upon the rose.

If I fall upon them, will I bleed?

Who will wear this crown of thorns?
I count the thorns of life.
Will I bleed real blood,
or will I bleed a dream?
Who will wear this crown of thorns?

I go to mend the fish nets.
There are many.
I think about their spider web:
which salmon lives and which will die?
I go to mend the fish nets.
What has set a net for me?
Who will come to set me free?
Which salmon lives and which will die?

originally in Russian:
Я рассчитываю ветки судьбы.
Есть много веток.
считаю ветки судьбы.
это число...  четным или нечетным?
Я рассчитываю ветки судьбы.
Я бросаю их в огонь ...
бросаю их в море.
это число...  четным или нечетным?

Pix:  EdBob  on

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fast Day 218 August 5 2011 {In the Ball-Park of the Madding Crowd}

In the Ball-Park of the Madding Crowd

In Mary Roberts Rinehart’s Yellow Room,
Shiva woke up after taking a snooze;
so there was a young girl dead, just one,
and Floyd the sheriff drove to the cottage
old man Spencer had bought in thirty-eight
before the war, before his own death.

Mrs. Spencer closed her eyes, exhausted;
her daughter, Carol, who’d lost her lover
in the war, resented digitalis,
mother’s med,
mother peevish, invalidish...
lost her lover in the war,

J. Robert Oppenheimer’s Age Atomica
was about a full month away; it was
June of the year Nineteen Forty-Five;
In July Trinity fathered Fat Man and Little Boy
and Shiva was the Destroyer of Worlds!
and Shiva was in the house, the big house!

Mrs. Spencer sipped her scotch and soda
and dreamed of her son, Greg, coming home on
a thirty day to be decorated
by FDR himself,
the President…
and a dead girl in the Yellow Room.

Now in August of Twenty-Eleven
the Dow will drop five hundred points;
now Shiva works for Standard & Poor’s!
Can’t CSI all the dead in all our
yellow rooms: Iwo Jima and Darfur;
in the ball-park of the madding crowd.

Mrs. Spencer sat in a white wicker chair
in the sun porch…
after this great war, things will
never, ever be the same;
the future will be bright:
the future when every TV
talking head will know
who killed whom...
the young lady
named Casey perhaps
in the Yellow Room.

Reading a murder mystery, The Yellow Room, by Mary Roberts Rinehart in an edition published in 1945.
Thinking how things are in the past and the present.

Casey  - Casey Anthony


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fast Day 217 July 30 2011 {Broken Statues}

Broken Statues

holy child with broken arm,
please keep me away from harm,
as far away as you were close
to bleeding head and broken nose,
victim of man
help me if you can!

sweet bambino on holy card,
victims of exploding shards!
divinity of spattered ink,
keep me from the fears I think
from my tomorrow,
road of sorrow!

Mary, jogger on bloody feet,
walking barefoot on the street
in the night of early dawn;
apocalypse decathalon,
now in training,
dark and raining.

oil discovering crucifix,
wellspring of our politics,
keep the candles til the end,
obscured,unlit, and never spend;

Joseph of the chipped paint,
father, carpenter, and saint
joiner with wooden pins,
let Him now forgive our sins;
treaty our days
in heaven's ways.

who will be the alpha saint
to cudgel us, box, and feint;
leading unruly canonized
in their daily exercise:
for fool's gold
our souls are sold.

little babe with broken nose,
broken arm and missing toes,
dropped upon my bedroom floor
soon to be killed hardcore:
the end of Lent,
all Passion spent.


The religious icons of my childhood come pouring forth in a time of discord. I have a statue with a broken arm and this is Nuestra Senora del Brazo Roto, and it is the arm of the Christ child that is broken.
My frame of mind in this week of Washington and Norway.

stanza 1
keep me as far away from harm as you were close to it; i.e., being beaten by the Roman soldiers, etc.

stanza 2
road of sorrow = via dolorosa, the route of the Cross carrying.

stanza 3
Mary was in training for pain from early on. Private and searing pain in the darkness.

stanza 4 crucifix
in the old days, people used to have crucifixes in their houses in which were stored the oil for the time of death and the candles to be lit at that time. The top of the crucifix slid back to uncover these things.
Politics of death and unlit candles, faith buried so deep that true belief (doxology) is only discoverable by deep geology through time.

stanza 5
St. Joseph,, father of Jesus.
treaty - make agreement between two things.

stanza 6
today... saints and men fighting to be the Alphas and beat their chests in holiness, yet beholden only to power and money and the currency of their unenlightened minds.

stanza 7
prayer to Jesus, soon to grow up and to be killed in the liturgical period of time after Lent and three days before Easter.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome: Rifatcoui and Ligia Guerra

Gardens are a form of autobiography.  ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

So are friends, I would guess.

My dream garden is prairie grasses, short and long, with native sedges instead of lawn. It is not a manicured lawn that needs constant watering and attention; it is an organic growth and comes about with some planning and attention, but affects an insouciance while its grasses bend in the wind, like people tossing their hair in the breeze to dry it off, not mindful of anything but that turn of the head.

Welcome, Rifatcoui and Ligia Guerra

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fast Day 216 July 23 2011 {The Price of Apples and Pears}

The Price of Apples and Pears

God was a good gardener
who knew the price of apples and pears
sold in Covent Garden,
planting a plantation full
of pippins in the county Eden
whose produce formed  no small and unimportant part
of the economy of that remote district,
providing fruits for the markets and
making the heart-cheering local
liquors, cider and perry.

Pomological, we the world
are in debt to such a grand gardener;
who taught us soils for the borders of Eden
be light rich loam, friable and crumbling,
such as is met on old sheep-downs,
calculated to grow fine trees and husbandmen
sprung from small portions of
the hereditary deeply laid sands
that form the beaches of blessed
isles within the seas!

There is a season for all fruit
which germinate and wax under the sun:
avoiding extremes, flourishing
between sun and shade, wet and dry;
hardy apples, rich and sweet,
golden pears, sugary and perfumed, ripe and gritty;
berries cockscomb shaped with
pale scarlet flesh and cinnabar
thorns, autumnal bergamot;
all gathered in flat-bottomed baskets
plaited from fragrant reeds.

Earth is the forcing garden,
built of deal timber oleaginous
and filled with resin, disposed with
dovetail joints of paradise:
here we live our accidental lives,
our derangements, hermetically warmed by alembic
alchemy of atmospheric
moistures up and down:
fire above, ashes below;
soon buried in dry sand.

Heaven is a good fruit room
with seven levels of stacked shelves
where lay the apples and the pears
wrapped in dry straw or canvas.
We are all electrical attractions:
walnuts, pine apples, acorn-crested nonpareil,
free from injury by agency
of wasp or moth or ant,
nor flying birds frugivorous
and quadrupeds injurious.


perry - liquor made from pears

pomological - adjective of the science of fruit or fruit trees (pomus)

frugivorous - fruit eating

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fast Day 215 July 16 2011 {Longwise Jean}

Longwise Jean

La pluie tomba latéralement à ma naissance;
elle ressembla à des arbres pliés par le vent
qui poussent sur ​​les hautes montagnes:
la pluie, presque parallèle à l'horizon;
on s'accrocha toujours au chapeau,
alors on perdit de nombreux parapluies!

Ohé! Il y eut un fleuve le long de l'horizon,
et mes parents m'appelèrent Longwise Jean:
je vois le monde à ma manière privée.

When I was young, I was a hunter
and one day I traded my skins for whisky;
when I awoke, I said
Oh, friends! Where is my gun?
They laughed, said "You drank it!"
I said then
Oh, men! Where is my knife?
They said I used it to buy drink.
I said then
Oh, devils! Where are my furs...
my wife's furs
my children's furs invested...
my shirt? my cheman... canoe?

Il y a un nouveau dieu en ville, m'amis.
soleil caché, lune cachée,
enfin un Dieu caché...
combien de temps faut-il
pour réussir l'archéologie?

The rain fell sideways at my birth;
it looked like trees bent by the wind
that grow on high mountains:
rain, almost parallel to the horizon;
people always held on to their hats
and they lost a number of umbrellas!
Hey! There was a river along the horizon,
and my parents called me Longwise John:
I see the world in my own way.


There is a new God in town, friends.
hidden sun, hidden moon,
and finally a hidden God.
How long will it take for
Archaeology to succed ? 
( i.e., in recovering the old, previous God, sun, moon, etc.)

I wrote this in the Passe Simplé tense of the verb in order to give an archaic and stilted sound to what is apparently a spoken discourse. The actions are old and long finished.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fast Day 214 July 9 2011 {Homecoming Into Mist}

Homecoming Into Mist

they await us
they await us at home,
they await us when
we have gone away by water.
they await our canoes

they read of us
they read of us in books
they read of us when
the dances are no longer danced
and no songs bathe newborns

they fall in love
they fall in love with us
they pant like summer when
they see our buff, painted bodies
they finger our coming

they look for us
they stand like trees on hills
and look for us when
there's nothing but the river mist
crestfallen are they

they will fight us
they will fight us at home
and will fight us when
we have come with peaceful gifts
they await with knives


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fast Day 213 July 2 2011 {My New Pickup Truck}

My New Pickup Truck

My brother has a pickup truck,
and I will have one, too;
I will take my reel lawnmower
with a wooden handle
to the casa of my girl friend
to  cut her long, long grass;
afterwards we will both relax
and drink some black coffee;
she may smoke a  long charuto
that girl is very much wi-fi.

I will take my new picape
and go to my parents’
to fix the roof of Friday’s storm
when fell their neighbor’s tree:
to tie the wood up in bundles
and set it out for trash;
maybe they could visit downtown
and I could drive them there;
then I will drink only iced tea
and radio my filial love.

My dog goes in the new pickup
sitting in the truck bed
with the Dee Zee silver tool chest
right next to the lawnmower;
I shall drive to my best friend’s house
to go fishing today:
there’s Corona in the cooler
and my feet in the sun:
and I may smoke a cigarro
that I have rolled myself.


Late posting since I was at my parents' where there is no internet, etc.
Written for a birthday in July.

casa:  house
picape:  pickup
charuto:  cigar
cigarro:  cigarette
Dee Zee:  brand of tool box

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fast Day 212 June 25 2011 {Looking To The Mainland} second draft

Looking To The Mainland

On our island, no one fixes things no more:
Joe Blackbird and his sons used to come
to do some work, but Homeland
Security keeps them out;
they don't come to Sans Souci much now.
The Border Patrol comes now and then
looking for the Chinese they say,
smuggled from Canada.

once a Coast Guard chopper
its searchlight on a hollow, empty
rowboat, Evinrude lashed to the side,
round and round in circles
a thousand guys from China
come ashore a couple miles down
while everybody watched a boat...
going round in vicious circles...

We had a party line;
our ring was two shorts and a long.
nothing works much here anymore...
... like living in Baghdad
Sometimes you talk to a neighbor...
Phone rings now, someone wants your money.
In Grandma's day there was a train
and we would wave to the engineer.

rails are all gone
only thing left is
the road named Short Cut.
Deer herds eat our flowers, and people
have given up planting them.
There are enormous herds of deer
that are taking over after our human history...
praying round and round in circles
the mantra of the empty boat.



Sans Souci  - a very, very small Michigan town. The name is French and means "without a  care".

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fast Day 211 June 12 2011 {Sweat on Velvet}

 Sweat on Velvet

The shameless excitement of sweaty skin
fracturing fluids upon a velvet couch!
Moaning like the breath that is blown
across a wide-mouthed jug!
Besom of hair wiping
fast as flames lick!

Her hairy vampire lovers like the dark;
I am mid-day sun and dry myself upon
hot backyard clotheslines where I pin
her love's humid mitten!
We show up on Doppler!
like...  it's pouring!

for the week June 12 through June 19

fracturing - hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, etc.

This Week

I am going to be pre-occupied, so I did the poem quick-like, and will post it early early.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fast Day 210 June 11 2011 {Islands in the Sea}

Islands in the Sea

Incubus of night, nightmare worry,
favored by the moon tonight
I stride the deck
far away from home
adrift in uncertainty.

Succubus of day, demon of the noon,
tumble aft! tumble everyone!
mind your helm –
top’s’l halliards let fly!
We drive before the gale!

The treacherous archipelago
once fertile isles, haunted by ghosts
of animals extinct;
asphalt palm trees –
and mad men on the hills!

I  could have said "... mad men on the Hill."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome Matt

I mean, welcome to "Matt at Shadow of Iris"... that's what I mean.

Since no one comments anymore, I shall do my own comments. I find my most recent effort too contrived. The poet strains at being inventive. But there is a great deal I like, particularly the quatrains titled by the seasons of the year. Perhaps I have found my voice... or a voice, at least.

Comments are appreciated, particularly critical comments. Criticism well intended makes us stronger.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fast Day 209 June 5 2011 {No One Lives Here Anymore}

No One Lives Here Anymore

There is probably good walking in the woods;
ground a little frozen now,
and you will not sink away…
we could go there now, if you wish

New Year’s Day is in the autumn months, I think September;
school orchards are applefull of sapling-kids,
sporting uniforms
of bright leaves and mystic stick hair:
trees untouched by axe or ootamuhikun
or tomahawk; trees unburnt, unscathed:
trees untired of standing, trees not weary
of the diadem of fruit
upon their pollard heads.

The pigment of snow has white-washed all the land;
make sure the snowshoe
line that goes across the toes
is firmly drawn and taut, if you please.

Ozzie and Harriet kitchen, a dated memory
of cabinets and counter-tops; June Cleaver
in the woodwork and
Ward Cleaver in the telephone:
“Hi, Doc! Can you come over? The boys
got into some trouble: David skinned his
knee, and Ricky got into drugs and died
in an aeroplane meth lab,
and Beaver went to ‘Nam… “

When the weather warms, my daughter’s often sick
the cold has passed away,
the solstice comes, I suppose…
and great bird cloud-trains fill the air.

I have some stockings and some leggings, and I take them off:
I no longer run in the morning cold;
breeze to my back, my
sweat poured until I turned to face
full western brute blasting wind, and I was
encased in carbonite like Han Solo,
zero to the bones, my crotch frozen
like a marble Gothic architrave
hung over a nave of sleet -
spring-melting into igloo dust.

There are frogs within the newly dug basements
of houses abuilding…
dusk smell of concrete and pond…
houses never to be sold!


ootamuhikun” = tomahawk (Cree Indian).
“applefull” = as full or crowded as an apple tree in the autumn

“mystic stick” = mistik or mistikoos (Cree Indian): a small stick, referring here to new branches on saplings, and comparing them to a child’s hair.
“cloud-trains” = long lines of birds flying through the clouds. The original meaning of “train” was large linear group of objects.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Poetus Interruptus

I shall probably be late posting this week's poem, although not late getting it together. I am at may parents, helping my father get back on his feet after pneumonia and working to get their summer place ready. Neither place provides any Internet connection. I used a Sprint card before, but recently it tends to get picked up by the Canadian system, and incurs roaming charges, making it expensive.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fast Day 208 May 28 2011 4 YEARS {Detroit}


We are stardust in the fearful void,
we are Tuareg in the waterless empire.
This land is our father whose hair is jet;
it is our mother who is beautiful:
Antimony eyes, pomegranate lips...
County guys bring bitumen to fill
the potholes of our Red Bull washboard
life of peaks and valleys, highs and lows!
mom and dad sing to us until we shine!

The last drive-in picture show in Detroit,
filled with the gaudy films  of memory:
when we were homicide perp-walk city!
Space heaters and cracked plaster...
Henry Ford and Malcolm X...
Going to Quebec to bury Aunt Stell,
a boy says  "Hear yer from Hockey Town, eh?"
No comic epitaphs, no eulogy;
We are the Bedouin of this New Age.

The Old Kingdom gives way to the New;
and the Motown Spring - neither ornament
nor imitation - was the harmony
of the spheres that drove our autos a while...
bring us our Prom Tux limos of desire!
bring us industry Elijah hearses of fire!
On the river there's the Don't-Look-Back Shack
most people call the Renaissance Center,
but history is coke and cognac...
that's suicide by a two-liter!


look to the future, not the past.

perp-walk :  the walk from the DA's office to the jail

coke and cognac: suicide drink; I knew a fellow Marcus who loved it. He was in love with a beautiful girl who lived in Ontario. When she split, he killed himself. He could not live in the future without his past continuing on.

Bedouins: to the eye of moderns, a poor people, but the basis of the future when the cities have died.

I did not plan on having two Detroit poems, one after another, but that's life in the big city.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Blogger seems to have supressed the "Friends" icons that used to be on the right. I can not see it. My Design area says that it exists. So, I was going to write a welcome, but I can't see who is there at all. Sorry.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Fast Day 207 May 21 2011 {Detroit Woodward Morning}

Part of Diego Rivera's murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Woodward Morning

In Detroit the parking meters never tell:
three quarters gets you twenty minutes.

The first pile of stones we set
was for our fathers dear,
that we may not forget the creation
from carbon and from iron.

Kirby and Farnsworth are seasonal
dry-up river bed streets;

The second heap of stones we set
was in memory of our mothers,
that we may not forget the harvest
from the incised earth.

Then we set marble for our brother and our sisters:
cool mausoleum buildings where we laid our books
and the icons of a Yankee Industry
and murals of Mexic Rivera!

Woodward is the Father of all thoroughfares:
a mighty Mississippi!
old cars sweep like snags of rotten trees,
and we bob our heads and bolt across the stream:
big-bottomed barges laugh at us,
while we dodge a wave of feral sloops...
nothing but day-trip kids!
Everywhere you look there are lascivious
cornrows, reaching down like willow trees
upon the shore,
grasping for muddy waters down below:
tight rows spaced like pregnant furrows
worked with time, patience, and agile fingers!
bursting with the Earth’s delights!

I am a thief, you know,
and I midnight swim that river
and come to you to steal the silken scarf
that you sleep upon…
and taste the fruit of those rows of corn.


tell - "tell" is used in the sense of "counting:, the idea being the meters do not seem to tally the coins one drops into them.

This is a visit to the area of the Detroit Institute of Arts, on Woodward between Kirby and Farnsworth, across from the Detroit Public Library, which is next to Wayne State University. I was waiting and walking around.

There is a voyage through space and time: we are explorers of old - perhaps the first Native Americans to wander into the Great Lakes.
We set markers or cairns of stones to denote important areas of power. Then - as time passes - we build the marble structures from the monies of our industry. Carbon and Iron could refer to the Auto Industry, or it could refer to the heavier elements created by stars long ago.
The thoroughfares continue, through good times and bad, and there is beauty.
There is laughter...  and kids run around... and we are all here: Black, White, Hispanic; we are waiting for that bright idea of the future. It is not a Renaissance, a concept which has been repeated until it is meaningless. The Future will be totally new, and we shall be in on the ground floor.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Welcome May 10 2011

Welcome, Emmie Overtown.
The name Overtown brings Underhill to mind, but that would lead us far astray in The Lord of the Rings theory and nomenclature... I think Frodo in The Fellowship went by the pseudonym Mr. Underhill.

It does not matter. What matters is the Fast. Everybody remembers the poems, but then they forget the second pillar of this blog: the fast one day per week. It's all rather simple once you get used to it, although there is a cumbrous lot of canonical laws relating to which days to fast and whether the sick or pregnant (!?) may be excused. There even is a section on forced feeding of poetry to recalcitrant children... all very medieval.... reminds me of those German Easter decorations where jazzy rabbits in zoot suits are pulling fast ones on little chicks, making them cry!! Nothing quite like German Easter decorations. Scary. We saved one for years where Jasper the Urban Rabbit is abusing a brace of cute baby chicks who are pulling a wagon with all their might, teamed to the wagon with harsh looking bits in their tiny beaks!  Really appalling stuff for tykes. However, when I was a mere child, we used to have one of those Germanic comix where the Scissors Man went around cutting off the thumbs of children who sucked their thumbs: two strikes and you're out!

Enough of that. Brrr! Depart, Memory!!

Fast Day 206 May 14 2011 {Invisible Palaces}

Invisible Palaces
Mothers' Day 2011

The old porch where she combed my daughter’s
golden hair, where we sat on second hand
rattan from my mother’s great-grand-porch
where I mosquito slapped and watched TV
on poplar summer evenings so peppered
with life that they could never, never be!

Combing golden hair, she transforms
the kiln-fired brick, dusty mortar, and the tile
into a glazed mosaic of elegant scheme;
she paints Sheherazad’s aviaries
matted within a garden of vermilion
parrots and bright and hand-dyed toucans!

We sit in our bergamot-scented Alhambra,
serene as the Caliph’s diligent Wazeers,
in the Middle Ages of parenthood -
an endless arcade where metal windows
turn to rich Arab wood, and esparto
shades undulate to distant seashore wind.

Posted early because I can't wait any longer. Maybe I'll start doing two poems a week. Look out!

Alhambra - the palace in Spain
Wazeer - the main minister of an Islamic ruler

This tries to express how love and parenthood transform humble surroundings into magnificence.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fast Day 205 May 5, 2011 {Graduation From Medical School}

Graduation from Medical School

What blush brings the night that sits upon your cheek?
What henna of sympathetic care stains your hands?
Which precious fine damask imprints the sun
to use for your graduation robes
in that princely gathering of laureates?

What color brings the day for your crowning gele?
Who is the Master Dyer who adorns your hands
with patterns magisterial to heal
all of mankind’s maladies and ills,
in your university of devotion.

More Colours! Many, many colours!
And lots of notes!

(1) Graduation from Michigan State School of Osteopathic Medicine.

(2) gele - the flamboyant and colorful Nigerian ladies head garb.

(3) The Master Dyer is Allah, or God.
This poem came about when I came across different translations of the word صبغة
or “sibgha” in Chapter 2, Verse 138 of the Quran. I was very surprised at the various interpretations of the word:

We see the old Muslim commentators seeing a reference to Christianity, a reference to the Christian ritual of baptism, a connection which I had never heard of before. I suspect many have not. Indeed, St. John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, has a title  الصابغ
"saabigh", meaning “The Baptist”, but it also means “(one) who is dyeing things, a dyer”.
'Abid A worshipper [of God]. A term generally used for a devout person. The word frequently occurs in the Qur'an: e.g., Surah ii, 132 {sic} "The baptism (sibghah) of God! And who is better than God at baptizing? We are worshippers ('abidun) of God!"
The word sibghah is translated by Professor Palmer  "dye"and "dyeing", but Sale, following the Muslim commentators, Al-Baizawi, Jalalu 'd-din, and Husaini, who say it refers to the Christian rite, translates it "baptism".
Others say that it means fitrah or din, the religion of God, with an adaptation to which mankind are created. See Lane's Lexicon  [BAPTISM].
 Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam.

Modern translators handle it:

Yusuf Ali:
(Our religion is) the Baptism of God: And who can baptize better than God? And it is He Whom we worship.
Zohurul Hoque:
"The dye of Allah, and who is better than Allah in dye? And we are worshippers of Him."
T. J. Irving:
[Such is] God's design! Who is better than God for a design? We are serving Him.
T.U. Hilali-M. Khan:
[Our Sibghah (religion) is] the Sibghah (Religion) of Allâh (Islâm) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than Allâh's? And we are His worshippers. [Tafsir Ibn Kathîr.]
M. Pickthall:
(We take our) colour from Allah, and who is better than Allah at colouring. We are His worshippers.
M.H. Shakir:
(Receive) the baptism of Allah, and who is better than Allah in baptising? and Him do we serve.

So we have connections across cultures that were – to me at least – unexpected and very interesting, and we have an ancient connection between colors and religion and faith.
That is where this graduation poem comes from.

The structure resembles the previous poem, but I could not get it out of my system, and I did not have much time to come up with this.

Welcome May 5 2011

I have totally lost track of everything. I lost one friend, and then I gained two or three others. At first I thought Thea von Harbou had become a friend and follower, but that was just dreaming about Fritz Lang films, Metropolis in particular.
There are Evgenia, Aikidoka-Samurai, and Karla Torres to welcome, and CoolGuys to say good-bye to. As mentioned earlier, I had a comment from a fine, local septic tank service that gave me pause, thinking it to be a comment, but it was a commercial link, too. I had to deep-six it.

If I have this all mixed up, I am mixed up. We are used to things happening at a much slower pace here. It has been almost 4 entire years, and things only happen towards the deadline, when I force myself to pay attention to meter and meaning (if possible!) and sometimes rhyme and get those poems out. Hold the presses! Get my gal Friday in here with her steno pad. Run the stock footage of printing presses. Extra!
Then back to hibernation for another week.
Actually, this week I am ahead of the curve, and the poem is done. Ha! It's only Thursday, but it is graduation season and I have a slue of people asking for high-falutin' words, oratory, and general speechifying... mostly from relatives who have no intention of paying.

Welcome, friends!


I deleted a couple of comments for my last post, since they were both linked to commercial sites. I wish them well, but I won't piggyback their advertising, specially since they offer me nothing.

The second one was from a septic tank service, and I thought it might indeed be a valid criticism and comment as well as a link to a business, and perhaps I should let it remain. I did not.