Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dulcineas All

The Venerable Lady Nefarious has bestowed the Giant Tilting Vowel upon me for Excellence in Blogcasting. I’m honored to have received this from the Lady Nefarious, my long lost cousin from the Land of the Roll, Damn, Tide. Just when you think she’s probably dropped all evidence of ever having been a Bama Girl, she let’s fly with the tidal mantras deeply embedded in her DNA. The Fey Santans of Nuevo Mexico should feel blessed that she ain’t no Fayetteville razorback. Southern gentility stops at the banks of the Black Warrior River. Beyond that, you’re on your own, son.

Seems the Giant Tilting Vowel of the Church of the Risen Enron is a “pay it forward” bestowal, an opportunity to acknowledge other purveyors of Excellence in Blogcasting. I appreciate the sentiment and will do my own small measure of same, but I would have thought it obvious that anyone I list as one of my Blinks is already singled out as exhibiting the trait of blogcastive tilted vowel-ness.

The Tribe of SA Turtlers (props to Ms Bones for the appellation) is a fairly insular bunch, save for Ms Chrysalis, who has begun to fraternize with people of the Global South and the Global Other Time Zones. The Lady Nefarious (head of our San Antonio-West offices) is also one with a wider blog-global reach. Point being, Tribe SA could very easily end up tilt-voweling each other in swift boat fashion and be at a loss as to how to move beyond the Turtle Pond.

We’re all MacArthur genius grant winners on this bus, are we not (I hear the checks are in the mail)? So, I say E’s all round to all on my blinkroll, and while we raise our blue polycarbonate bottles of reverse osmosis water in honor of ourselves, let me say a few words about some of my fellow blinkers:

Tina Karagulian: Ms Tea is not, in truth, a blogger: she is a self-taught websiter and more importantly, The Turtle Queen, the distaff half of patina poems, and My One and Only. If living with me is not reason enough for a Tilted Vowel, then I do not know what is. Her website is a work of art (and filled with many more) and, even more importantly, her life is a work of art.

With passionate honesty, JSD of Influx Transposer brings her deep heartfelt search for God’s place in all our lives to the blogwaves. She, Wonder Woman, and their two beauties are embarked upon a journey of discovery that is an inspiration to all of us who might think life needs to get settled and over with long before that final Bluegrass Gospel Festival in the Sky. We are all blessed by their walkabout.

Ms. Bones of Bones of the Sky is embarked upon her own walkabout through the vast galaxy that is her awesome imagination. As I have told her, her unfolding Unkindness saga is so amazingly fine, so Biblical in its rhythms and power that I almost dread reading it, for fear that I may have to put down my own writer’s pen in sheer unworthiness.

Ms Lee of Chrysalis Dreams brings a great love and passion for the Art of Blogging that is an inspiration to us all. The beautiful art gallery that is her newly unveiled Chrysalis Dreamscape wonderfully matches the intensity of her quest to explore and discover and reveal the world around her.

Ms San of A Life With a View poked her nose in at the back door of my blog some months ago. We’ve cross-referenced so many aspects of our lives that I’m sure we are just a DNA-test away from finding out we are both, like Mr Brad, related to Senator Obama. Hopefully, that DNA test will also confirm that we are also the golden art-spawn of Grace Paley, Hundertwasser, Lady Bracknell, Teena Marie, and Roald Amundsen. This adopted Fey Santan and husband Bennie have created a wonderful kiva of art, family, and friends, under the gentle guidance of Trudy, their resident shaman. Shaman herself, San’s art is a Neo-Tuscan oracular cascade of her multicameral oceanic mind.

If you look elsewhere in Murat-world, you’ll find plenty of encomiums to Amy Rigby’s blog: I needn’t repeat them here.

In conclusion, let me say that Maryann Johanson’s Flick Filosopher is the only one of my Blinks to have suffered temporary exile from the roll of Tilted Vowels, after she quite rudely (and obtusely, I might add) dismissed a point I had made in response to one of her movie reviews. I’m not sure when I put her back on the roll: it was probably around the time of some marginally guilt-inducing Episcopagan holiday season. I must have been duly chastened enough to make an inventory of my transgressions and make some form of amends. I have to say that I seldom consult her anymore. I’m too busy filling up my queue for Netflix.

Love, peace, and soul (I wonder: does Don Cornelius have a blog?) to all the Tilted Vowel, unreimbursed MacArthur grant designees laboring for love out here in Blogworld.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunday Scribbling #104

The link is in the margin. Prompts are much too left-brained for this righty, but I likes the site. Generally speaking, the topic is "Do you believe in life beyond earth?" It reminded me, tangentially of course, about William Sloane Coffin's reversal of the usual-suspect question, "Do you believe in God?" Instead, WSC mused the question, "Does God believe in us?"

Without further ado, I give you:

[Is It Ever]

grassy knolled elvis
hoffa on the box

amelia making pralines at the five and dime

JayCee out the back door
Tooker Gomberg mighta known betta
if he could

Glenn Miller & Saint-Exupéry with their
fiddle-sticks in heaven—
who wouldn’t abduct a ‘bone?

Steely Dan for nearly twenty years:
Eagles, EasyBeats, Erstwhiles
& all the others
on the astral
reunion tours, buses
at the gate

Rosemary Tonks,
Azaria Chamberlain—
All of them in
the chummy lounge.

Blue dog’s out there, no?
Crooning Georgie half to sleep:
We’ve all been known to wander
at least once

or twice

to take a peek.

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Wetting his

Sabatino chatter
In his googly piddle pants
Stoking the long john
Chipmunking embarrassment in
Unilateral polarity
He dimes the beagles
Shunts the rhymes
Pretty boy philosophical in a doo
April was his cruelest month
When she wasn’t dithering—
Transatlantic, lethal,
Extramarital splash.

Bad boy’s hard to swallow
Scoop for scam
Remarkably deficient
I know him too well
Shag-o-busta conflagration
Have ya seen the mug?
Chuckie P mus be wetting
His spliff something terrible
So sad
Occidental mass
Pulitzer spritzer
Ergonomic blitzer
Alfred Hitchcock Orbital
After the sponge cake
After the vroom vroom
It’s an oh so mighty
battle of wits, sir.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bat Boy and Guana Girl at the Junior High Prom

The lights were dazzling, Hammond B-3 solo riffs bouncing off the gym walls. Bat Boy discovered servitude as his prom dress, and was dressed to the nines. Guana Girl was not amused: her effluvia was rising, the winds were out of the north: she was definitely having second thoughts. She’d seen Bat Boy in all his glory, carving the left temporal lobe of the Grand Wizard, slathering it with Beelzebub’s Reign of Fire Barbecue Rib Bath. Bat Boy in red satin and pumps—this was not GG’s idea of prom elegance; this was not even her idea of vanilla fudge. She felt let down, by life, by Prom Girl magazine, by the very Bat Gods themselves.

“Is it too late to opt out? My post-romantic urges are coiling,” said GG.

Bat Boy blushed, “Room 13? I get your drift. I’ve been meaning to myself.”

“You have no idea.”

“But, I—”

“No. Really. None.”

“No Carnival Time?”

“Son, not even Jimmy Dean.”

“But, I love—”


Sly was mopping the keys of his Hammond. Gerald checked out on the organ solo; good time for a cotton candy break, he thought, but his guitar pick got stuck in the hairy pink mess. While pugilating the candy beehive, Dr. Mrs. Christabel Darwin stepped out of the Moon Room; her legs and eyes were saffron. Glabrous, even.

Eying Gerald’s labors, the Dr. Mrs. spoke: “Something I can do for you, hon?”

Gerald’d had a crush on the lunar professor since he couldn’t remember when—it seemed he’d been born with his fervor. Blushing, he turned from the moony down of her décolletage—just a wisp of the valley, but Gerald was thirteen, a Victorian lad swooning at ankles.

“I’m fine, Dr. Mrs. Darwin”—the “Mrs.” always stung like a black asp in spring—“really, just fine.”

“It seems you’ve lost your way, Gerry. Sure I can’t—”

“Just fine I assure you, Dr. Mrs. Darwin. Couldn’t be—”

“Oh my, hon, but I think you can—”

“No, really, Mrs. Dr.—I mean Dr. Mrs. —”

“It’s okay, baby,” cool hand at his brow.

A voice from behind the moon goddess: “Christabel? Darling? Cherry blossom?— ”

Christabel rolled her eyes and mouthed, “Angel breath?”

—“Angel breath?”—

Mr. Ware advanced, dance card in hand.

“I was so hoping. But I broke my pencil.”

“Pobrecita. Que lastima.”

“You wouldn’t by any chance—”

“I’m sorry darlin’. I don’t do pencils. Or dances. Or Savanarola.”

Mr. Ware, moue’d moue-fully. “And I am?— ”

“All of them, darlin’. All of them.”

“Even with—”

“Especially with—”

“That doesn’t leave me much—”

“No, that doesn’t leave you any, sweetness.”

The moue-ful moue shuffled off towards the gym.

A momentary lunar pang: “I do know that Mrs. Hatchings—”

Moue-ful Ware: “Yes?”

“Is stunning in her peach parfait.”

Not what he wanted to hear. The shuffling moue re-shuffled.

Gerald was melting, but Mother Luna had not forgotten.

“Distaff troubles?”

“Only the beginning.”

“Nice prom song, I’ll admit, but it has what to do with you?”

“I’ve lost me cave,” said Gerald. “Time is not on my side.”

“Something tells that smelt is all that’s missing.”


“Smelt. Have you smelt her lately?”

“I thought you meant the fish.”

“I might have.”

“Dr. Mrs.— ”

“I prefer one—”


“Actually, I prefer the other—”

Stinging asp sunk its barb: “Mrs.—”

“I suppose Christabel would be pushing it, no?”

Adolescent DNA was swooning: Dr. Mrs. caught the drift: “Yes. I suppose it would.”

From down the hall, florid glimpses of Bat and Guana. Cries for more from the Shadows of Knight. Sly is perturbed: don’t they know this is a Hammond B, and where the hell is Gerald and his Stratocaster?

Gerald hears the mental drum roll of cousin Sly. He’d like to stay in the lunar tides, but duty calls. He sloshes down the hall.


From the throbbing gymnasium: “Love is an ocean, I can’t forget—”

Gerald: “That’s not even on our set list.”

Through the gym doors, an explosion of…(sloshes?)…of…(sloshes?!?)…guano?”

Bat Boy is airborne. Coach Faust and Coach Stella are climbing the ropes: it’s post-graduate funambulism at its best.

But, Guana Girl is beyond repair, an ether now, a recitation, a carotid affirmation, a less than blissful mess.

Washing me down, washing me down…

[Seeds of composition: darkly comic Graham Greene and Flannery O'Connor short stories in class, and looking with some juniors at the Prom Girl website: we picked out prom dresses for ALL the juniors, male and female, and faculty, too, of course. 'Splains the picture, no?]

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Foodshopping and Making Groceries

Seems I’m cribbing again off of my favorite rock and roller, none of whose music I own, but whose blog I visit on a regular basis, to see how the expats live in France. I found Ms Rigby via notable 70s bad boy Wreckless Eric, all of which has been chronicled elsewhere in this blog. There’s enough French in me via me relative Joachim Murat and his ambitious chick Little Ms Bonaparte, but when it all gets down to it, I just like the Rigby vibe whenever I “visit.” I love the fact that she is so real and so accessible. And our blogs have the same black background.

Ms Rigby is going on this time about the irony of horrible supermarkets in a country known for its fabulous food; the current irony takes her down memory lane’s horrorshow of other nasty markets it’s been her curse to have endured. I reason, if lip balm can spawn a blog post (spawn many blog posts, as it turns out), why not My Life in Supermarkets? I have no idea where this will go, and do not plan to be linear or chronological (yes, there is a difference), nor do I plan to be comprehensive.

Down on the Olmos Circle (I love traffic circle/rotaries, and I particularly love the one at Olmos, just two blocks from the apartment building where I passed some of my earliest years), there is a stuccoed sliver of a building currently masquerading as a Yarn Barn that was once a Handy Andy. Before venerable South Texas grocery tyrant HEB took umbrage with all its competing grocers, there was a thriving multi-grocer universe in SA that included Handy Andy and Piggly Wiggly. I think I preferred the pig as an urchin, but this memory is of my first day’s return to SA, after a three and a half year exile in Frankfurt, Germany, away from my childhood best bud, my cousin Lane. What strikes me about this HA were two things: the worn wooden floors of the store, much like what you’d expect to stumble onto in an IGA in, say, Knippa, Texas or in Mosca’s, the Mecca of Italian roadhouse food in Westwego, Louisiana. These were floors you could have skated on, or run endlessly upon with nary a fear of splinters. The marvel of the floors collided with the odd conversation my cousin was having with his mother about dinner: mind, this was a family that consisted entirely of the two people in conversation, contrasted with my own family of five soon to be six children and two parents: the horde of seven did not negotiate meals, we simply devoured them. These two were negotiating what for my aunt seemed an endless RE-negotiation of same old same old: plain unseasoned hamburger patties and white rice. Can we say bland? These were the days in which my aunt was still a stunningly beautiful wild woman about town, while her erstwhile offspring was dictating the most repressive of culinary politics on the home front. Did I care? Not a whit: I was home with my bud, and bland food on TV trays in front of the boob tube suited me just fine. As did that fine floor.

My current favorite HEB in SA, which I have little occasion to visit, save for purely nostalgic reasons, was actually a Handy Andy in its earlier incarnation, a convenient neighborhood spot to make late night phone calls to Valerie Reid, when the phone curfew had been levied for the evening at Lane’s house (he and Aunt Elaine had moved on up into relative bubble conformity with Uncle Ernie), during my last high school summer in SA, before joining my family in Mississippi. At the corner of Nacogdoches and New Braunfels, it is not the pay phones that draw me back (I have no idea where Ms Valerie is now, nor should I be looking, eh?), but the gorgeous wooden beams that form the most beautiful ceiling in any grocery store I have ever seen—an elevated version, it now occurs to me, of the floors at the old Olmos Circle HA. It is like shopping in a tree house.

I remember now that I invented an HEB on South New Braunfels Avenue, for a story I wrote fifteen years ago, in which I satirized my maternal grandfather’s lack of geographical immortality (the fictional conceit: he’d had all manner of brothers who’d had multiple roads named after them; he’d had to settle for a dirt alley out the back of the store, that he’d managed to slap his name onto). This was in my very early writer days, when I discovered the delicious yet nefarious pleasure of getting a fictional dig into folks who I felt deserved some manner of comeuppance—a chemical dependency best left to Mr Waugh: it is too fine a substance, and not one I need to indulge too terribly much.

Let’s get out of San Antonio, shall we?

On to the Mecca of groceries: New Orleans. In the glory daze, for many that could only mean “making groceries” at Schwegmann’s which, I believe (and this was even pre-Katrina), is no longer: the equivalent of HEB going out of business here in SA: unthinkable, but I suppose something to ponder in this goes around comes around world we live in.

I did not make groceries (standard N’awlins Y’at) at Schwegmann’s. For a brief time, on uptown Coliseum Street, I indulged the fancy of shopping two blocks over at the Prytania A&P, staffed, I think, by the same people who staffed the Key Food store in Ms Rigby’s early Brooklyn grocery shopping daze. Said A&P staff conspired with good friend Barbara to send me out to the suburbs of Metairie to the mighty Dorignac’s, where I thought I had died and gone to heaven. An insanely wonderful wine collection, cheeses galore, the finest of meats. It was like spurning Mardi Gras, simply because you had no clue where to stand to catch the parade: Dorignac’s was the Steps of the Synagogue on St. Charles Avenue of Groceries. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, cher.

Ire fueled Ms Rigby’s blog post, while clearly I am running off at the mouth, fueled on blissful memories, foodly and otherwise. I need to cut this short, but not without at least mention of two more places.

The original Central Market in Austin was and is a marvel—the only grocery store I have known to be a tourist stop must (save, perhaps, Central Grocery in the French Quarter—but who actually makes groceries at CG: we’re all just there for the muffalettas): the yuppiest of yuppies havens, with an 8 mile serpentine array of produce, fine wines, fine everything, samples out the wazzoo (heaven for grazers), a wonderful bistro, with music on the deck outside. Let me just say that, for all it’s “Gucci-ness,” SA’s Central Market (upscale flagship of HEB, by the way) pales miserably by comparison. Not that that keeps me out of there.

Can’t leave without mention of Whole Foods as well; we were there when WFM was one meager store at 10th and Lamar in Austin, known more for its hilarious customer and staff intercom announcements and the fact that, in my carnivorous earlier daze, there was not a decent hot dog to be found. The new WFM at 5th and Lamar is the Babylon of Babylons, the Taj Mahal of Taj Mahals, the Seventh Heaven of a Grocery Universe That Only Knows Six Heavens. I despise the place: it reeks of the self-conscious Austin We Are Hipper Than You and Your Next Sixteen Generations of Indigo Child Spawn Can Ever Hope to Be hipness that catapulted us out of the birthplace of the beautiful Mr Baby to the swarming teemingness of Lost in Translation that is this wonderful vibe we know as Tres Leches, Bouvet Island, San Antonio, Tejas.

Quick shout out, though, to Austin/Clarksville’s Fresh Plus: now THAT was a neighborhood grocery worth walking to.

And a last shout to the mother of Mr Baby, whose south Jersey equivalent of making groceries was (and is) “foodshopping.”

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Just About Midnight

This Weighing

Incandescent fever, it was
Midnight, the sharing rained down
Every day, every day, e-
very day, the
each and every, the
raging storm
yes-ing this,
weighing that,
osmotic caribou
me and you
no stoppin’ us in all this blue.

Tarragon Boo

sizzling motion,
tarragon boo—
and all the charms of me
‘n you.
Didn’t you find it
Babylon, didn’t
you find it
yours and hours
(oh so many ours):
undulation nation,
reckless magic,
midsummer night’s
nestling in the mist.


angle it this way,
nurse the night
out of time,
tadpole dreams
each and every way
rocketry down by the bay
soon come,
tarry come,
any way you
reach me come.

Topiaries Yearning

Tricksters tricking
evening sky,
Lilliputian lipsticks
yesterday away:
assiduous babbling,
butterfish rock and roll,
ovoid pachyderms
the syllables of sleep—
marginal topiaries,
baby boomers booming the gorgeous
yellowicious day.

Looking: Longing

titular fashionista
hems the day’s
estuary longing,
looking past all
our contrivance,
our continuing education,
kissing the oblivous
overdue otherwise,
faring pas
love’s lissome bloom.
o, for mercy’s
Velcro, ventral
eternity, her ubiquitous plume.

Empyrean Haberdashery

carry me,
lush me
optimize me
salivate me, in the biomass of prime
empyrean sky,
titillate me in the ergonomic
haberdashery of wisdom,
elevate me,
daughter of roses,
opiate of the virile tongue,
osculate all the
restless nonillions of this boisterous one.

Her Elvish Beauty

tenebrous tendrils, the
analysis of
excess, the jongleur’s
mulberry mulch,
evening naturopathy’s
temperature humidity index—
operant care,
tis the season,
hotel de ville and her
elvish beauty, her
restless eloquence
itching the drive,
vitriform spaghetti
every little thing she does—
recitatives into the restless night.

Babaloo Springtime

babaloo springtime,
ultrasonic haste:
you were there for the quickening,
you were there when grace
overturned the wheels of fortune,
urging angels down the line,
asking beyond ordinary time,
murmuring between
ebb tide and flood,
racing for the moon,
counting the days
rubrics unbound,
yestering at the five and dime.

Nearing Ebony

umber, the color beneath the lines,
every line the lines of your face,
nearing ebony, nearing
anarchy of the senses, the
vagabonds of interior angles,
integers of sensations,
soundless, windless, yet
timeless in an
avalanche of gaiety,
skies tumbling cerulean blue,
oceans of infallible embrace
called to the
immaculate dreams
aching in the night.
cast your fate:
leave your face
under the billows of time,
born on the wings of mercy.

Marian Babes

Just as if
u wouldn’t, you did—
showering roses
trilling lines
all but lost, he were—
bewitched, bewildered, & bamboozled
octagonal bliss
understated aftertimes
terrestrial blissfuls
marian babes
interpretive dance, interpretive
diminuendo, diplomatic immunity,
next to the lasts that linger—
holy stone,
tessellate, inscrutable, monumental—

In the Moonlight

marry me,
ogle me,
oogle me,
native me,
deliver me,
annunciate me,
nourish me,
caress me, your

[Acrostics all. The entire text of Just About Midnight, a chapbook I wrote to commemorate our 10th Anniversary as Black Madonna babies.]

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Friday, March 21, 2008

More From the Not So Distant Ark-hives

[There Is No Love But Puppies]

Pamela down the street, no,
Up and down the stairs—
Yes, it was Love,
Yes, we were 9,
Of course, we would marry.
My lunch box I kicked for her
Up and down the street,
Up and down the stairs, &
Up and down the Vast Appalachian Trail.
“I will die for you,” I said,
“Like Daniel Boone in Booneville,
Like Mickey Dolenz in Clarksville,
Like that three-time loser Henry in fields of clay.”
“Do I care?” she said. “My ribbons
Are orange. I am a Brownie,
I am no Appalachian Fairy.
I’ll sell you my cookies, but only
AFTER we say grace. You
Say grace, don’t you?”
“Yes, of course,” I said,
Fingering the orange ribbon,
Or was it pink?
Or brown?
The beanie, I know,
Was felt.
Brown felt.
Wet in the rainy day,
It stank. It was clipped
In place, until it unclipped &
Fell to black wet ground,
& then ribbons,
& then tears.
It was our last,
The very last,
The only last stanza
Of our holy days.

(Poem written on ribbon, front and back. Thanks to Enedina Vasquez and Mary Earle)

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Thursday, March 20, 2008


[Patina Poem written on March 8, 2008 at Little Aussie (gluten-free) Bakery and Cafe, Avenue B, Bouvet Island: the tenth anniversary of our wedding at the Chapel of the Black Madonna and the first of many menu-inspired collaborations. Little Aussie served up an awesome list of teas and gave us the copy to write on the back.]

A sPATtering of TEA

he prefers blackcurrent to wild encounter:
she knows, in reality, it's all oolong anyway;
fix me a mix of dreamtime delight,
a spicy relish of pomegranate sun,
a sweet green ginkgo that pearls your lemon tang
- sage, this one -
bust open your persimmon,
wild is your flight of myrtle madness,
your wave salon, it's all roasted, black -
in chichiban the lindens were gleaming -
leaf through the papaya,
one clove at a time:
your rosellas are flowering,
grey and green:
how's that for english breakfast, buster?

[ten it is: patina: 3.08.2008]

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tagging Along

Prowling Amy Rigby’s blog/diary, I have tagged myself with her “7 Deadly Dull Things About Me” post. Each of the seven will riff off of her opening statement. Ergo:

1. “I am a lip balm addict.” Well, I am not. If the topic were chocolate, or Padgett Powell fiction, or, believe it or not, the steamed kale at Greens restaurant here on Bouvet Island, well then, I could chime right on in. For years, I simply could not get the idea of that hard stick of chap my cousin assiduously applied (or was it rasped? How can you possibly “apply” something that hard to your “chap?”) to his weathered lips. I will say that in my later New Orleans days, I did finally stumble upon a lip balm “manufactured” in Taos that could in fact be applied: I called it Nanook, because I could never remember its actual name, though Nanook was close. Our delightful Whole Foods was so committed to serve me that it came up with its own pales by comparison substitute, 86’d Nanook, and left me mildly pleased with their tangerine flavor.

2. “I can walk pretty fast in high heels.” Well, I can’t, though I’ve had, let us say, decidedly less practice than Ms. Rigby. Mind you, I did have some, back in the early to mid-seventies, when we all sported at least one pair of platform shoes, so’s we could all hope to look like Rick James—sure as hell couldn’t move nor sing like the brother. I believe I retired mine after stumbling about Boston one very cold evening in search of Jimmy’s Harborside restaurant with a Simmons College undergrad who was eminently more practical in her choice of shoe.

3. “I love broccoli.” I believe the word with which I must take exception is the middle one. I “something” broccoli, but that something is certainly not love. If we’re looking for vegetarian love, I refer you to item #1 above—that kale was shockingly good.

4. “My current favorite movie is ‘A Star is Born’ with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.” Said flick was never on my current favorite movie list, though it is THE movie that marks the point at which I no longer went to BS movies without giving it a second thought. Van’s “Days Like This” album and Sting’s “Mercury Falls” rival ASIB as other sad benchmarks of “falling in and out of love” for me. Van clearly just wants to bartend his own little Belfast dive and be master of the jukebox (playing all of his faves, while sporting a cowboy hat) and it’s about time that Sting moved on to his frumpy Jungian analyst second career dream from way back (he’ll have a hard time with the frumpy part, what with all the yoga.) Mind you, these are the cries of deeply faded love for the master fishboys that brought us thirty years of pre-Days Like This and The Soul Cages. Yes, I know: what was McMurtry to do after his masterwork of Lonesome Dove? Ya gotta groove, no matter what, right?

5. “I really missed seeing the Oscars this year.” Amy’s been too long away from Amerika, too long in the French countryside. But, hey, who can blame her. Back in 1978, after 6 weeks of trolling the beauteous undercurves of Spain’s Costa del Sol, Italia’s glorious Firenze, and the quiet, simple opulence of Greece’s Sifnos Island, the Mississippi band of three rolled into Athens “aching” for “Amerikan” food. I’m sure there was as much baloney in that desire as in what Oscar rolled, or didn’t roll, out.

6. “I love making (and eating) good American pancakes.” The American part of this confession may be the problem. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that by cutting the flour content and the baking powder, you are left with positively delectable crepe-style pancakes. Ergo: “I love making (and eating) delicious French-style pancakes.”

7. “I have dozens of scarves.” Short of the basics, socks and underwear, there’s really not any article of clothing that I can say I have dozens of. I have, in truth, owned but one scarf, one of those enormously long wraparound wool scarves, the better to make snow angels while lying in Harvard Stadium with whatever Ali McGraw non-lookalike was snowswimming along with me. Ties? Well now: I have certainly loved me some ties in my NOLA days, back when Armani was the only designer who truly had the gift, long before any of the others figured out what a goldmine lurked in the souls of the latent American male clotheshog. This particular ex-hog now takes great delight in mining for elegant neckwear to be found, of all places, at Salon Goodweel. Easily 20 ties can be found for the price of one Armani; in some cases, the $1.50 artpieces are Armani themselves.

[Tag away, one and all…]

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From the patina Ark-hives


desire blooms vivid orange
i walked for daze to find my ♥
twas a whisper. my ♥.a whisper
nuestra señora in el barrio – radiant chiles
pico de gallo / tongues to burn blue Mary’s flame
empanada mama: guadalupanita: conjunto
burn on burn on burn on burn
let down your cloak of worry
breasts&thighs / dark&light / god’s little onions
a most excellent treat

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Infinite 8

[Excerpts from the latest chapbook, Just About Midnight, commemorating our 8th anniversary. The chapbook is a collection of acrostic poems; the acrostic messages are all songs we played at our dance par-tay at the parish hall last Saturday.]

[longing: looking]

titular fashionista
hems the day’s
estuary longing,
looking past all
our contrivance,
our continuing education,
kissing the oblivous
overdue otherwise,
faring past
love’s lissome bloom.
o, for mercy’s
Velcro, her ventral
eternity, her ubiquitous plume.

[prime empyrean]

carry me,
lush me,
optimize me,
salivate me, in the biomass of prime
empyrean sky
titillate me, in the ergonomic
haberdashery of wisdom
elevate me,
daughter of roses,
opiate of the virile tongue—
osculate all the
restless nonillions of this boisterous one.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ancestor Worship

[From Donald Barthelme’s posthumous “Flying to America”]

18 March

Sing, goddess, the brilliance of Perpetua, who came then to lend her salt-sweet God-gift beauty to the film. Sing to the beauty of the breasts of Perpetua, like unto the cancelment of action at law against you, sing the redness of her hair, like unto the anger of Peleus’ son who put pains a thousandfold upon the Achaeans. Sing the hauteur of Perpetua, like unto that of a thief of fine porcelains, sing the movement of her naked leg under the long gray gown, like unto the progress of that sad song, the Borodin Quartet in D Major. Sing the whiteness of her brow, like unto a failed poem pulped into Erasable Bond, sing unto her sudden smile, like unto the shriek of that swan which hid Zeus the powerful. Sing, goddess, the rancor of Perpetua, which is plain to see, sing her gold-glistering trumpet, with which she promulgates her rancor and earns her daily bread, by the sweat of her lip. Sing, goddess, the mystery of Perpetua, of which I cannot speak, without undue emotion, sing her stern eye, which tells me that, among the sons of men, I am not worthy.

Perpetua showed us her breasts.

“Yes, they’re wonderful,” I said.

All of the members of the crew were smiling.

She has just left her husband, Harold.

“Order is not interesting,” Perpetua said. “Disorder is interesting.”

“Thank you, Perpetua. Ezra will call you when we’re ready for you.”


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Saturday, March 01, 2008


Soccer ball matricide, it was the End of Days.
Shanking was the national pastime.
I needed a disguise.
The embassy was full.
The taco dogs ran for the border.
Avenue B was gluten-free, Aussies in the streets of Laredo.
Marty Robbins in sailor drag: it was the winter of our malcontent.
Terrible twos.
Anthems to the west; vitriol to the east.
We went east; we’d seen the better days.
No need for coddling.
We weren’t like Stu and Didi.
Biggest mistake was coddling Stalin.
They did their best.
That oldest child was canine. Vertiginous at that.
A veritable firestorm.
Of Chanel.
Stanford Law School (waiting list).
Palo Alto was pining in the oaks.
Her favorite flavor.
After Drew shut the blinds, you could never tell.
There was no tell.
Only Mamet.
Not Mammon.
Not Manet.
(Well, perhaps Manet—he’s an equal duck. Quite ducky, in fact.
Keeps them all lined up.)
Oh, yes: Mamet.
Do tell.
No—no tell.
Yes, we got that.
The reference.
Yes, the reference.
She could have used more.



Stu and Didi’s oldest? Stanford Law (waiting list)?
The veritable firestorm.
More references.
Wikipedia wasn’t good enough.
Wikipedia is never enough. For heaven’s sake, I hacked into Napoleon’s biography and said he came to my birthday party.
Did he?
Did he what?
Come to your party. I heard you played the Buckinghams.
Of course not.
No Buckinghams?
Yes, Buckinghams; no Napoleon, you fool.
I see. What did he do?
What do you mean, what did he do?
That you didn’t invite him.
He was dead, for Godsakes.
A little harsh, don’t you think?
A little—
There were pumpkins. He wouldn’t have liked it.

Orange. He loathed the color.
That makes me feel better. Lots better.
I hoped it would.
Taliesin mist.
Your chaperone?
One skanky perfume. I’d rather wear warheads.
Precisely. Only black cherry.
Your last one?
‘Fraid so.
It’ll cost me.
Not really.
That skank seems to have permeated the American West.
Two hogs frying.
Like they say.
American Samoa, too.
I was thinking—
I know what you were thinking.
I hear that density is everything.
That and accessories.
I can’t abide accessories.
Gob will forgive you.
The very one.
Who he?
Gob walks where you walk, sees where you see, inventories while you sleep.
Dressed in grey, walks around with a calculator-thingy in a holster?
The very.
Seems disheveled.
Sanity usually is.
The stray comb on occasion.
On occasion of what?
Song. Dance. The birthday of, say, Debbie Reynolds.
The unsinkable Molly—
The very.
Not Julie—
No, not Julie.
You’re sure. That Poppins chick—

I see your point.
Bit of a weasel, you get down to it.
That may be pushing it.

You see blue dogs in the morning, the way I do?
I see blue and dogs; I can’t say I see the two together.
You’re gazing east, yes?
I am.
And squinting?
Now why would I squint, the morning all decked out like Princess Grace in her glory?
The blaze of her, my good man, the blaze! The blaze is incalculable.
Territory of the grey holster man, I suppose.
If he’s so inclined. That time of day, he’s usually down at the well.
Drawing water, I suppose.
Chatting up the ladies, actually.
A real ladies man is our Gob, eh?
Anthropologist. Mead and Bateson. Mateson, you might say.
Law firm?
Not the last time I checked. I’d say it was downright flaccid.
Nothing to lose, I guess.
Not the least bit. Fortitude for Lent, but not much more.
Child’s play.
It always was. I’ve never known it not to be.
You obviously never knew Loretta.
Heard of, yes. Known, not at all. I hear she shelled pecans.
She may have. But not like the Holy Ghost of pecan shellers.
Tenayuca, yes—
May she rest in peace.
I doubt peace is what she wants. Justice, more than likely.
Do it, brother.
We all should.
You been to the Plaza del Zacate?
Been known to. To the Esquire more. But, I’ve seen the six story angel.
Emma, no doubt.
Beg pardon, but Emma can’t be measured in cubic centimeters of mosaic tile. Look for her in the roots.
Pecan trees. Whole grove of ‘em down by the riverside.
Chinaberry. Mulberry. Hell, even hackberry. Emma’s blessing’s on all livery. She wore her blue lightly.
She see the dogs of morning?
Every day, my brother, every day.
I had a voice, I’d sing a hymn.
That raspy gravel, that’s voice enough. I’ll sing with you.
Praises be.
Next to thee, my brother, next to thee.

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