Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lesson


Sunrise, and a hole
in the clouds

that heals
before

I can tie
my shoes.

(first publication)


Updates:
“Lesson” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: live specimens.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things Just Come Through



As luck would have it, I received two more nifty volumes from Ed Baker the other day: Things Just Come Through, a batch of poems and drawings published by Red Ochre Press in 2005, and Between Two Houses, a tiny booklet of poems released by the 24th street irregular press in Sacramento, California, as the 778th installment of its ongoing Poems-For-All series. Nice stuff, generously given.

[click to enlarge]


Update:
In the Forum: a jug of wine, a box of chaps, and thou singing in the wilderness.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rory



[click to enlarge]


Friday afternoon. Slowly feeling my way into/onto larger surfaces. Using different pencils. Listening to Rory Gallagher’s first solo album. Looking out at the rain, and at the neighbor’s flowering plum.


2.26.2010 #4
2.26.2010 #3 (drawing)
2.26.2010 #2 (poem)
2.26.2010 #1 (poem)


Self-Portrait After Finishing a Poem


Self-Portrait After Finishing a Poem
February 26, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.26.2010 #3
2.26.2010 #2 (poem)
2.26.2010 #1 (poem)


Patience


For a time yesterday when death seemed irrevocably near, I did what any good poet-husband would do: I paid the bills, balanced our meager checkbook, dusted the piano and the pictures of the kids in our bedroom, finished the leftover potato salad and the plastic container of sliced olives, had coffee with two friends of our friend who died, discovered in them the same bright warmth of the one now gone, returned home, found death twiddling his thumbs, and smiled when I heard him say, “Now, where were we?”


Update:
“Patience” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

2.26.2010 #2
2.26.2010 #1 (poem)


Legal Tender


A forty-year-old woman
dressed as the Statue of Liberty,

holding up a red-white-and-blue sign
about mortgage rates, waving

at traffic from the sidewalk,
lips set, smile dead

on the ground —
put that on your bill and smoke it.

(first publication)


Updates:
“Legal Tender” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

My thanks to Lynn Behrendt for adding yesterday’s dream, Cucumbers, to the Annandale Dream Gazette.

In the Forum: cooling toads.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Into the Afternoon


Into the Afternoon
February 25, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.25.2010 #2
2.25.2010 #1 (dream)


Cucumbers


My father had everyone’s pay in a flat leather case, but he had decided that he was going to give the case to a courier for delivery. I tried to convince him that the courier would steal the money. Although there was doubt in his expression, he insisted that wouldn’t happen. Still hoping to persuade him, I followed him through the back entrance into a gloomy institutional kitchen. No one was around. We passed through a set of swinging doors with round windows in them. Suddenly there was about twenty feet of space between us. He met and whispered briefly with a very tall man in a suit. Then I followed him back outside. We were standing in the shade of huge buildings held up by granite columns. I tried again to tell him that the money would be stolen and that he would be held responsible. But he seemed powerless, as if the decision were now out of his hands. About that time, we were joined by the courier. She was about thirty-five, and clearly someone that shouldn’t be trusted. My father handed her the case. Once again, a large space opened between us, and I tried to guess which route she would take away from the buildings. There were several narrow passageways that led directly to the road, but she surprised me by taking the long way around. In no time at all, she had run on ahead of me, and was rounding the base of a mountain. I started to run after her, knowing full well that when I try to run in dreams I often have trouble gaining traction, or I run on my hands... so I stopped running and stood up to take a deep breath, trying to remember how to run properly — and then I was off again... until I was distracted by some cucumber plants alongside the road... the cucumbers were ripe, and if no one picked them they would be wasted... my father loved cucumbers... and then I remembered he was no longer alive. I felt one. It was soft. On closer examination, I found something wrong with all of them. I looked up in time to see the woman disappear as she followed the bend in the road.


Update:
In the Forum: Gerald Locklin’s “Beer.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dumas, Hardy, Dickens



The main reason I went to Goodwill this time was to look for odds and ends I could paint or attach drawings to. There was an old Russian in the picture aisle. His beard was white, except for its pattern of nicotine, and several inches longer than mine. He was leaning on a shopping cart with one hand and with the other he was wrestling with frames. By that time I had already found these three books, and they were hampering me in my search. Since the man was directly in my path, I moved to the frying pan aisle. How would it be, I wondered, if I painted something in the bottom of a six-inch cast iron pan? Two eggs sunny side up, perhaps. Of course I have no paint, and know nothing about surfaces and how it’s applied. One aisle over, a woman started singing. Softly — part lullaby, part lament.

[click to enlarge]


Recently Linked: My thanks to The Scrybe for signing on as a follower of Recently Banned Literature. In addition to being a member of the Flowers of Sulfur poetry collective, The Scrybe ponders the universe from a shallow window.

Update:
In the Forum: elves mixing up a batch of killer homebrew.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mighty Oak Was Once a Nut Like Me


The Mighty Oak
Was Once a Nut Like Me

February 23, 2010

[click to enlarge]


2.23.2010 #3
2.23.2010 #2 (drawing)
2.23.2010 #1 (haiku)


Knotty Pine


Knotty Pine
February 23, 2010
#2 Pencil on Index Card


[click to enlarge]



2.23.2010 #2
2.23.2010 #1 (haiku)


Winterwood


From the bare lilac,
the hummingbird

eyes the crocus;
that’s what I know.

(first publication)


Updates:
“Winterwood” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: “Dour since 1835.”

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tsunami: Dark Tide



[click to enlarge]


“Tsunami” is the third of the three poems by Gary B. Fitzgerald that I wrote about several days ago in The Great Reckoning. The second poem and drawing are here. Together they form a kind of “triptych unhinged” — I’m tempted to sew them together and frame them somehow, or mount them on a solid surface.


Update:
In the Forum: Henry, Eliza, and the Scotland mystery.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Man Named Nobody


A Man Named Nobody

For Vassilis Zambaras
on the occasion of his
beautiful poem

February 21, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.21.2010 #2
2.21.2010 #1 (poem)


Museum Piece


In need of a few days off,
I spent them among old trees
that were whispering
terrible secrets.

When I returned home
no one could understand me;

I was begged to come
in from the yard.

Doctors were called;

I pummeled them
with cones.

Now I’m a tree
in an institution,

whispering
secrets

of my
own.

(first publication)


Updates:
“Museum Piece” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: it must be the ink.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unexpected Guests


Unexpected Guests
February 20, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.20.2010 #3
2.20.2010 #2 (drawing)
2.20.2010 #1 (old books)


Spring


Spring
February 19, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card

Background
Hand-carved dish from Armenia


[click to enlarge]



2.20.2010 #2
2.20.2010 #1 (old books)


Paper Gems



The bottom book is a 653-page German-language geology volume published in Leipzig in 1887. It employs an old script that’s serious, ornate, and as hard to penetrate as the formations it describes. It’s also heavily illustrated, and interspersed with color plates shielded by vaporous onion skin — a real pride to own. Price: $3.00, “as is.”

The situation is similar with the front-facing volume at right. Published in Dresden, 1893. 522 pages. $1.50.

The other four books, I think, are fairly self-explanatory. They were published by P.F. Collier and Son in New York in 1909 and 1910. You can read about the Harvard Classics here. A complete list of volumes, minus the names of their respective translators, is included. If you’re curious about any of them, just ask. All are in good shape, and were only $1.50 each.

[click to enlarge]


Recently Linked: My thanks to Joanne May for signing on as a follower. Don’t miss her wonderful blog, Joanne May Illustration. It’s a beautiful world unto itself.

Friday, February 19, 2010

On His Blindness


A few days ago, I was disabled by a sinus headache — the clear sign of an upcoming change in the weather. And sure enough, our moist air has given way to frosty mornings and dazzling afternoon sunshine. The dawns are spectacular. To the northeast, behind and beyond the neighborhood trees, the Cascade silhouette resembles an ocean wave. Even now, nearly twenty-three years after leaving our family farm, I feel the urge to meet my father behind the house and head out into the field. Still February, our pruning is not yet done. Several rows of wine grapes still wait near their recently sculpted brethren. A new carpet of weeds has already sprouted. To the east, the snowy high Sierra looms clear and cold. The morning will be long: my father stuffs the pockets of his coveralls with just-picked oranges.

The pain was excruciating — the kind that teaches lessons and builds character. For this reason, I like pain. I don’t seek it, necessarily, but when it arrives I try to extend it my best courtesy. But there are limits. Due to his osteoarthritis, my father lived in a great deal of pain. His back was a mess — a skeletal puzzle of disintegration, fusion, and tortured nerves none of his surgeries could resolve, and which drugs only partly relieved. When he died a suicide, the morphine pump in his back went with him.

Recently, prior to the headache, I told my wife that I can no longer remember what it’s like to not have pain. The past several years, especially, have taken quite a toll. The whole time I was taking care of my mother, I was unable to rest and get proper exercise. And that period really began well before the final phase that made it necessary for me to live with her for three years. But I should also clarify: I could have exercised, but I chose to write instead. The result is myriad aches and pains, headaches, neck aches, and a general muscular weakness I find embarrassing and appalling — and yet now, when I hop on my bicycle and take it for a spin, I feel the old energy return, everywhere from my lungs to my fingertips. And so if I live long enough, I just might achieve my second wind.

It’s also important to note that my father could have worked less, and that he also chose to carry on instead — which leads me to this thought: sometimes, loving what you do is the most dangerous, addictive drug of all.

And then there’s this defiance I feel, this unreasonable need to gamble all — not money, or belongings, no, but the very identity I’ve created and upon which I stand. Thinking I am who I think I am is mostly a matter of habit and convenience. It’s a necessary convention, too, for those I love. It’s comforting for all concerned when I wake up in the morning knowing who I am and where.

I call myself a writer and a poet, and I am. But writing and poetry did not bring me here — life did, and so my allegiance must be to that relentless force that has temporarily granted me this human form. Rearrange my molecules, add a little sun and wind and rain, and I just might be that wise old grapevine clinging to your arbor. It would be an honor.


Updates:
“On His Blindness” is my newest Notebook entry. Old notes are archived here. Also: a link to Zena has been added to the previous Notebook entry, Obituary: Remembering Tim Hinshaw.

In the Forum: shisha according to the Hookahpedia.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Arrival


Sometimes, as I sit here writing in the dark,
I feel as if my hands belong to someone else working
just beyond the veil — a parallel realm in which objects
roam free of any given meaning, and the sound
of a passing train — I hear it now — is that
someone’s remembered childhood.

(first publication)


Update:
“Arrival” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Upon These Scrolls



[click to enlarge]


This is the second of the three poems by Gary B. Fitzgerald that I wrote about in The Great Reckoning. As you can see, I’m still ironing out the curl.


Recently Linked: My thanks to Bruce Coltin for signing on as a follower of Recently Banned Literature. You can keep up with Bruce’s thoughts on life and writing at his blog, Coltin1948.

Update:
In the Forum: Artificial Intelligence and parallel Willipedias.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Passing Disturbance


A Passing Disturbance
February 15, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card

Background
Size 58 Luxus hat purchased for 8 rubles
in Echmiadzin, Armenia, 1982



[click to enlarge]



Forum update: the whims of Willipedia.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Great Reckoning



[click to enlarge]


Isn’t this wonderful? The untitled poem is by Gary B. Fitzgerald, and the drawing, “Shelter,” is the last one I made in 2009. As you’ll see in the comments for that entry, Gary responded with a poem — this poem — and now, not quite two months later, I’ve received this lovely presentation of both from him in the mail. The piece, which measures approximately 9¾ x 22¾ inches, is one of three bearing images of mine “illustrated” with words by Gary in this manner. The others were curled more tightly in transit, so I’ll have to try to photograph them later. In the meantime, his untitled poem that accompanies “Birch Scrolls” can be found in the comments on this page, and his poem, “Tsunami,” which he used to illustrate my drawing, “Dark Tide,” can be found in the comments here. And a quick note note about “Dark Tide”: that drawing was a response to “Tsunami,” part of which goes like this:

          I see a dark tide of crows in the pasture
          as though the trees were hung with black crepe.
          I see hundreds of raucous and shouting
          black birds, but their bivouac is brief.


And so, around and around we go. These gifts were completely unexpected; and yet, knowing Gary, they’re really no surprise.

Note:
My thanks to Conrad DiDiodato and John Levy, who also responded with poems, and to everyone else who commented on those entries. Each time I hear from someone, I feel lucky all over again.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Many Are Called


In conceiving a work, the imaginative writer also imagines its significance. If he does his job well, his imagined audience imagines things it’s never imagined before. In your hand is a book. Can you imagine, for one precious, lonely moment, the imagination required to place it there? Or to make it disappear, unwritten, without a sound? All the more so if your hand’s a desert, and you’re miles from any town. What will you imagine now? The writer’s fear? His hunger? Your own?


Recently Linked:
It’s a pleasure to welcome Noxalio as a new follower of Recently Banned Literature. And this leads us to two interesting blogs: Noxalio and noxpix, which readers will also find linked in the “Reading Room.”

Update:
In the Forum: the pain; the angst; the withdrawal.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

riverrun


a stone so many times kissed
that it no longer minds

now yields
to these lips of mine

(first publication)


Updates:
“riverrun” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: pioneer boxes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In No Uncertain Ferns


In No Uncertain Ferns
February 12, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.12.2010 #3
2.12.2010 #2 (drawing)
2.12.2010 #1 (dream)


Just the Facts


Just the Facts
February 12, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.12.2010 #2
2.12.2010 #1 (dream)


Butterscotch Pudding


I was seated near one end of a very long dining table. A few strangers were present. The table was covered by a cheap white cloth that looked like a giant napkin. The main meal had been eaten. In the distance, the salt and pepper shakers looked like windmills or towers, and seemed to be part of a large, rugged landscape. My mother was standing beside me, fretting about what had happened to her butterscotch pudding. As usual, she had poured it into the funny little champagne glasses we had when I was growing up. But the pudding was grainy, pale, and thin. When I asked her if she’d remembered the brown sugar, she was too heartbroken to speak. Then someone said, “Corn starch?” I looked around. That someone was me.

Added yesterday to the Annandale Dream Gazette. My thanks to Lynn Behrendt.


Update:
In the Forum: The Regular Guy: a statistical abstraction, or a real thing in the real world?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Unexpected Guest


Unexpected Guest
February 11, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


Also: a silent sequence of drawings


2.11.2010 #2
2.11.2010 #1 (“Subversive”)


Subversive


One day, not long after they had removed his tongue
and cut off his feet and hands,

the authorities found him
begging with his eyes.

That will not do,
they said;

oh, no . . .

that will not ( ) ( ) do . . .


(first publication)


Updates:
“Subversive” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: in praise of italics.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Most Charitable Critic


While I realize no one is waiting breathlessly for the third volume in my Author’s Press Series — my mother, bless her, is no longer able to read — let me state here that I am making progress. One Hand Clapping, “a daily journal in two volumes,” is shaping up to be a thick, completely ridiculous book that will run in excess of 450 pages. Its saving grace, perhaps, will be the artwork featured on the cover — a lovely, intriguing piece by the Austrian artist, my gracious friend, Rudhi. Dear Rudhi — he must be a friend if he’s willing to jeopardize his reputation this way!

Meanwhile, the previous volumes, The Painting of You and No Time to Cut My Hair, remain quietly if not quaintly available, like earnest, soulful-eyed hounds in a shelter. On their behalf, I can say that my father brought home many such strays, and they all proved to be good and faithful friends.

I remember one in particular, a smallish, short-haired animal that was part terrier and part half a dozen other things. It made its entrance on my twelfth birthday, and was one of the quickest, smartest, happiest dogs we ever had. We called her Goordy, a name derived from a sound my brother and I made to egg it on as it raced in mad circles on our lawn. For years, Goordy was with us everywhere on the farm, running alongside the tractor, chasing jackrabbits, swimming in the ditch, rolling in the dirt, snorting, sneezing, and chewing on bones at backyard gatherings. She accompanied me, too, on many of my private adventures, serving as a silent witness and companion during my troubled-happy adolescent years. Those who have had dogs for friends will understand when I say she could speak volumes with her eyes, and knew best when her attention was needed.

Goordy, the dog who slept on top of her house in the deep shade of our mighty ash tree, didn’t die young, but she didn’t make it to old age either. The victim of a tragic accident, she was run over and hopelessly injured by the large rear wheel of our tractor. My father, who loved dogs and considered them family members, was driving. He carried her home in his arms and put her on the passenger seat in our pickup. As he was backing out of the yard, she jumped up in pain and bit him on the cheek — and then immediately sat down and apologized with those eyes of hers. There was no choice but to ask the veterinarian to help end her misery.

When it happened, Dad was not quite the age I am now. And he cried — as I am now crying, all these years later.

What does this have to do with my books? Well, in the end, I guess, as my father expressed himself through his farm, I express myself through my stories, remembrances, and poems. For the record, though, I am still a damn good gardener and pruner. On good days, I think it shows in my writing. And there are no bad days that have writing in them.


Update:
In the Forum: haggard mimes playing air guitars.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two Atop a Marble Tabletop



[click to enlarge]




[click to enlarge]


A special thanks to Caio Fernandes for his generous post this morning. In case you missed it, you can read my short review of his new book here.

My thanks, also, to Laura Tedeschi, Brad and Sandra Thome, and Amber Maida for signing on as followers of Recently Banned Literature. Laura is sharing some wonderful work on her blog, nouvelles couleurs. Her main website is here. You can explore Brad and Sandra’s world of Transcend Designs here and here. Amber’s blog is here, and her website is here. Wonderful artists!


Update:
In the Forum: old-age waistbands.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Similar Concerns


Similar Concerns
February 8, 2010

[click to enlarge]


2.8.2010 #2
2.8.2010 #1 (Caio Fernandes: The Pictorial Consequence)


Caio Fernandes: The Pictorial Consequence


The Pictorial Consequence
by Caio Fernandes
Blurb.com (2010)

Paper. 120 pages. 7 x 7. $25.00

[click to enlarge]


I bought this book for a very simple reason: it’s a lot cheaper than traveling to São Paulo to meet the artist and see his paintings in person. I would prefer the latter approach, though, because if Caio — I cannot possibly call him “Mr. Fernandes” — is half as exuberant, gracious, and comical as he is during the regular discourse of his blog, Mein Welt, I know it would be a memorable meeting. And I know, as good as the paintings appear online and in this glossy volume, seeing them in their raw, full-sized glory, each inhabiting its own space like a tree in a forest, would bring me that much closer to understanding the man behind them.

At the very beginning of the book, Caio says the paintings speak for themselves. They do — and they must, because they are presented on numberless pages without titles. While this makes it difficult for me to refer to any painting in particular, it does further the artist’s basic premise: each piece is what it is, according to the viewer’s own experience and temperament.

The book is really quite nice. It’s sturdy and slick, and it sits here on my desk like a rock. There is a painting somewhere around the middle, one of many self-portraits, in which the subject’s blue eye (the other one isn’t) threatens to burn a hole in your shirt, or through the other pages when the book is closed. This, I think, explains the smoke.

Let me call this a book of folk art. I say this because to me, most of the paintings feel simultaneously old and new. Several remind me of tribal masks. I’m sure wearing them would give me special powers.


Update:
In the Forum: talkin’ about my degeneration.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Report


A glimpse of dawn
with the street lights on

night spirits
finishing

their rounds

(first publication)


Updates:
“Report” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: a cab company gone to the dogs.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason



Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. The English version made from the French by Mercier Lewis, with a new Introduction by Fletcher Pratt, and with hand-colored illustrations by Edward A.Wilson. The Heritage Press, New York (1956). 325 pages, $3.00

Franklin, Woolman, Penn. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; The Journal of John Woolman; Fruits of Solitude, William Penn. P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, New York (1937). 395 pages, $2.00.

The Oxford Book of Essays. Chosen and edited by John Gross. Oxford University Press (1991). 680 pages, $3.00.

The Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Chosen by John Gross. Oxford University Press (1983). 383 pages, $2.00.

          “Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.”
          Novalis,
Detached Thoughts, late eighteenth century

Ulysses, by James Joyce. With a foreword by Morris L. Ernst and the decision of the United States District Court rendered by Judge John M. Woolsey. Includes a letter from Mr. Joyce to the publisher, reprinted in the 1934 edition by permission of the author. New edition, corrected and reset, 1961. The Modern Library, New York. 783 pages, $2.00. Takes its place alongside my 939-page Bodley Head edition (1992).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spell


Spell
February 5, 2010
#2 Pencil on 4 x 6 Index Card


[click to enlarge]


2.5.2010 #2
2.5.2010 #1


Overheard


“And,” said one tree to another, “if the sky is a suicide note?”

(first publication)


Updates:
“Overheard” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: freightless, melancholy, and wise.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Zena


In memory of my old pal Mr. Hinshaw, I took a drive this morning past the Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Zena. Founded in 1858, Zena, Oregon, is considered a ghost town. The church, built the following year and said to be haunted, is one of the community’s few known remaining landmarks; its scenic cemetery is home to around a hundred graves.

The trip out was fantastic. It was only the second time since Mr. Hinshaw’s death that I’d crossed the bridge into West Salem. The first was to pick up papers at the West Side office — a mission fraught with emotional peril that somehow caught me off guard, the hills and houses and river country all seemingly aware of his absence. At the bridge’s uppermost arc, I said to the invisible passenger beside me the only thing I could at the moment: I said, “Oh... you rascal....” and I shook my head just as if I were my own grandmother.

The second time across, I was much better prepared. In fact, for the past several days, I’d been thinking about retracing some of our steps in West Salem and beyond. Zena was high on the list. I even thought to take a camera. Of course, it started to rain. And I was thankful for it, because only a few minutes into my journey I realized photographs could never do justice to the images stored and still undergoing change in my head.

One thought I had early on: a good half of the taverns we used to frequent in our alleged newspaper days are now closed, gone, or completely demolished. The same can be said for one of our favorite corner stores, which sold the coldest beer in town and was the perfect place to stop on our way to an afternoon by the river. Many of the mom-and-pop businesses we dealt with are also gone — the barbers, mechanics, and nurserymen, the carpet stores and appliance repair shops, the purveyors of thin air and the sellers of trinkets and beads.

About this time, I arrived in the little almost-town of Lincoln, anchored to the good earth and given meaning by yet another corner store once and perhaps still run by a woman named Rachel, who also advertised in the paper. And wouldn’t you know it, as I made the turn and headed west toward Zena, I saw an exact replica of Mr. Hinshaw’s 1995 Ford Explorer snuggled up to the building. Its presence meant nothing, of course; on the other hand, it didn’t have to be there, either. It was so beautiful, I had to laugh.

From there on, the road was a smile of mossy barns, ancient houses defiantly out of code, and small flocks of sheep grazing in the rain. It was the same road we used to take beyond Zena to the neighboring town of Amity to watch Mr. Hinshaw’s son play baseball, and visit a corner store called Dad’s, and a nameless bar up the street across from a vacant building that was there when one of my father’s old California farm neighbors passed through town in the 1930s....

After having a look at the church, I continued on a few miles, then turned south onto Highway 99W. The fields now are all a lush green. The bare oaks have fuzzy limbs. Picking up speed, I thought about memory and how it arrives, and felt almost as if I could choose where I had been.


2.4.2010 #2
2.4.2010 #1


Away


The face, a field of ripened grain; the kiss, imagined once again.

(first publication)


Recently Linked: My thanks and a friendly welcome to Kenneth Griggs, who has signed on as a follower of Recently Banned Literature.

Updates:
“Away” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: a little sign over the cellar stairs that reads “Wine Oubliette.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Moon


February Moon
February 3, 2010

[click to enlarge]


2.3.2010 #2
2.3.2010 #1


rue Ballu


Maybe I think and write the way I do because of the absence or abundance of certain bodily chemicals, or their weird reactive interplay across chasmic synapses blazing brightly when they are meant to cool, and frozen tightly against ordinary demands. Whatever it is, I have grown accustomed to a daily arc of triumph and defeat, a kind of rue Ballu in a frenzied nowhere with irregular outdated bus service. To be or not to be is hardly the question. Instead I ask, why me, when it could be you?


Update:
In the Forum: sometimes you’re better off left behind.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Child’s Play


Drawings and dreams, reminiscences and poems, journal entries, fragments, and notes: they could stop anywhere, anytime, and one fine day they will. In the meantime, I am preoccupied with the art of the moment — the sense of harmony and balance in things, their inherent tragedy, triumph, melody, and dance, and the feeling of passing through, of being adrift, of living the life of a dandelion wish. Along the way, maybe once every thousand years or so, I find a new way to say and to see. But the voice you hear is most certainly your own. Mine is an echo. And then, the abyss.


Update:
In the Forum: when the right to be wrong is all you have left.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Don Quixote


Don Quixote
January 31, 2010
#2 Pencil on Index Card


[click to enlarge]



Update:
As the Conversation continues, every step forward is a step backward.