Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Scribblings #200: Milestone/Millstone

Take it out to Whithorn,
querns abounding,

Samsonistas new-shorn

plodding their

albatross waddle,

the new boys

new parade,

visions of sugar plums

smacking their heads,

the grainy seas

anchor whey

while rotary & saddle

quell the hue and cry

of the Saturday boys

bonding in Newcastle

stinging the busybodies

down at the shipworks

camaraderie on display

for queen & quern

fossilized Marthas

in flowery tweed

blue-flavored workshirts


tendrils flaming

to the crime that plays:

crones await your pleasure

naming the drill

to suit the nearest

pandering. cuff the boy,

sez Tweed, alphabetize

him, the 200 lairs

embossing him


caramelizing him

dust, finagling

his surrey dreams

down the avenues of lust.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunday Scribblings #199: Yes

yessy girls all
hibbly bibbly

in their moats,

toasting the aftermen,

physical specimens

of glandular gloat:


the geriatric tenderfish,

misaligning the pigeon toes

of fossil fame, casting

new light on the limes

in the barrows

fruit, the dipsy doodle

parade, gallivanting

in tinseltown,


tinsel instigations
while we wile

the rest of the connotations

down the drain.

Meet me at the bus bench

if you doubt

the diagnosis,

a blistering critique

of the whetherwear

in the last row.

She flashed her

jellies &

the race was on

to see which

way the dilly


Rusticants all,

cherry time,

passive improper

fractions baiting

the Astrodome of flesh,

the Superdome of boggle.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

terza rima

The seniors and I are marveling at Dante's terza rima (okay, I am marveling - and possibly LDM), so we gave ourselves (okay, I gave us) the assignment of doing at least twelve lines, just to get the feel of it. Harder than I expected it to be: to chase rhymes is, predictably, folly: I needed a story, a set of feelings. Late in the afternoon, one of my ninth grade girls said this: "Anything my father can do, I can do - almost." Said very plaintively, as is much of what she says. I stored her line away as a possible place to begin. At dinner tonight came word that our friend Ella had passed. 90+ years old, a sweet sweet woman. I felt the story fall into me, and then found the rhymes. It's not Ella's, nor my ninth grader's, but it borrows from the feelings of both of them, and from friend Zet, Ella's daughter.

Still Dreaming
for Ella

me and pa, sucker-punched, down out of emporia,
ma’s death hung heavy, hearts black, we staggered
down the miles of Red, still dreaming a euphoria

now dead, acid coursing through our veins, haggard
ghosts, bodies bludgeoned by grief, we traveled
on through flatlands, black soil, carved and fevered

like the thistles round my heart, unraveled
but once, one clear morning in a box canyon
wet with paintbrush and Indian blanket coraled—

God’s heart, said pa, but for me such poison
stank of foolishness, bells of idiots clanging, strangling
the last breath in my soul, a blasted ruin

till sleep took me, grieving, heart-sore, caverned
within my mother’s journey, into blue sky returned.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest poet.

Two gorgeous poems by Tina Karagulian.


I imagine
that during the genocide,
my grandmother
walked on hot sand,
lost and betrayed
by her neighborhood community,
wondering how
this came to pass.

I imagine
that in her daze,
she could not see,
a community
of animals in the desert,
walking beside her,
peeking up at her,
sending her encouragement
and strength.

I imagine
a band of angels,
encircling her,
to her broken heart.

I imagine
God’s tenderness
amid brutal acts.

I imagine
that for every community
that denies a soul,
many more communities
scramble to retrieve,
to nurture,
and to mend
its severed remnants.
And as it comes together,
piece by piece,
we begin to see
the woven threads
of so many loves ones
smiling upon us.
When we see them,
we realize that they have always
been with us,
that they have always
sustained us.
We come full circle—
yet it never ends,
rippling out,
melting into,
the vastness



I came from the sea,
much like Aphrodite
in a tumble of wave,
unseen amid the foam;
it rose up,
and I could feel no ground.
Carried into
the brine
of a bigger Mother,
who claimed me
as Her own,
once more I tumbled,
mingling breath
with salt,
until I was spit up,
baptized through and through,
by the waters
of my Living God.
My heart remembers
my emergence:
my skin became supple,
my eyes revealed new sight.
I was remade,
I tasted a promise
of sustenance
until I am,
once again,
into the salted wine
of My Beloved.


Monday, January 25, 2010


More paragraphing.

Cupressaceae Your Face!

Start with a windfall of fuzz. To that, mix in a generous helping of sand. Following that, pour in liberal—by no means conservative—amounts of toxic nuclear waste. Naturally, all of this should be mixed together in a bright, cherry red Pyrex mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon for mixing, unless your supervising parent or guardian insists on plastic. If pressed to use the latter, curse gently under your breath, promise to do better by the children who will some day be in your charge, but by no means should you use wooden spoonlessness as an opportunity for disobedience, civil or otherwise. Once your ingredients are blended, you will need a half-inch drill bit. You see where we’re going here, don’t you? The elegantly coiffed among you might prefer the word “trepanning,” but why dissemble with such fancy words—we’re drilling holes in skulls here, my friends. Once you’ve opened that hard noggin of yours, pour your concoction into the skull portal, being careful not to spill its contents on your forehead. Burning will result, and bitter words can follow. If a green plastic Ace Hardware funnel is of help to you, then by all means find and use one. Re-stopper that skull hole with its very own skull-cork, and shake that head of yours around with maniacal glee. Once you’ve settled into a dull-eyed glaze, you will see what it feels and looks like to have your frontal lobes filled with the effusive winter bounty of cedar sludge, compliments of those diabolically reproducing juniper “weeds” of the Texas Hill Country. Rave on, mes ami, rave on.


Friday, January 22, 2010


With my middlers today, we were creating "perfect" paragraphs. Mine:

Veruso Illusions on Zewana

I have no place to go. Every place I’ve looked seems old, done, dried out. If you look across the room of this world of mine, the trees seem to tremble. There is a chasm—an unfathomable chasm—in my brain. Call it my soul. Call it your soul, if you buy the notion that we are all one. What a notion that is, eh? The thing is, I’m not sure that I buy it myself. Do your trees tremble? Do you even have trees? Perhaps when you look across the room of that world of yours, what you see is a wallpaper from the 70s—Andromeda in non-woven black and white, washable, flame resistant (thank God for that), and palpable. Product number 410112. Or, if not Andromeda, then perhaps Sampati, Elektra, or even Medusa. Perhaps your hand touches the furry textures and you are immediately transported to fourteen-foot walls in a hotel room in Bordeaux or Nice, or instead the clammy suburban walls of Luby’s Cafeteria on Loop 410, just down the street from Exotic Meats. Does knowing that Exotic Meats is just blocks away from the texture beneath your fingers make you feel any less sure of yourself, or does it bring the kind of epiphany you were hoping you’d find at the end of the movie “(500) Days of Summer”? Were you amused that Summer turns to Autumn, or did you think that, happy though you may have been for Tom, that was just one very cheesy bit of plotting? Okay, I’ll admit it: I was amused, and yes, it was a very cheesy bit of plotting, but furthermore, it was just the kind of thing we’re all looking for, hoping for, and praying for—the moment in our lives when we’re both curdled by the cheese on our plates and damned glad to find it there. It’s the kind of cheese that will fill a chasm, sew soul to soul, and maybe—if you squint yourself out of your pre-nuptial myopia—be just the cheese to turn tree to Sampati, and in so doing, bring your Product Number round to the perfect one.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Scribblings #198: The Good Old Days

[Excerpt from my story "Two Pair." A story of brothers, Louie and George. Louie is limping on through life, minus an asbestos-riddled lung; younger brother George is in the exquisite throes of worshiping at the feet of Professor Ehret's rational fasting mania. Ava Jones is just an onlooking looker.]

Loss of his member’s standing rendered Louie, mercifully, without too much memory of his long-eared meadow-romping proclivities. He retired to bouts of solitaire, browsing of tools more practical than sexual at Harry’s Hardware, and running commentary on the running commentary of his wife and sister-in-law in their daily descent into soap opera hell. Meta-commentary notwithstanding, he failed to see what was obvious to the two women—that he, too, was as hopelessly addicted as they.

“Plain as the mole on my ass,” said Mary, to his initial, and obligatory, protestations. What male among us has not felt compelled to deny our adulterous loves—be they for money, drink, other women, or, as in Louie’s declining state, the congenitally twisted affairs of Anytown, USA?

“I suppose you have a mole, too, to which this is all so plain?” said Louie to his sister-in-law Martha. Louie’s tongue was the sole remaining organ not rendered sexually harmless by cancer. Long gone was the leer, but not so the hot sauce.

“As if you didn’t know,” said Mary, the conquering martyr still enjoying the spoils of her mythical familial betrayal. Louie could only wish he had enjoyed the marital crimes for which he had been indicted. Martha, her leg throbbing yet again, could only wish that her husband George were not so enamored of the only house he’d ever lived in—where he had in fact been born. So eager was he to move into his two-story womb, he’d vacated his mother’s, before the taxi arrived to carry her downtown to the Nix Hospital.

Martha offered as lame an objection as her throbbing leg. “Mary, you know full well—”

“Full well is precisely what I do not know, sister,” said Mary in a manner that can only be reckoned as blood sport.

And so went the daily soap opera, both on and off screen.

Brother George, in addition to prowling for fruit vendors with the exact same fervor that his older brother had once prowled for women, had made his second obsession the resurrection of Louie’s Lazarus body. He tapped his litany out like a metronome rhythm behind his brother’s insatiable thirst for conquering King Sol.

“One word, Louie, one word. Fruit,” said George, adding, “Red five on black six.”

Louie minded the intrusion to his game every bit as much as the intrusion to his body’s protracted demise. “Fruit is for the living, George.”

“And what is my brother, if not living!!!” thundered George, given to Sunday exhortation when met with Louie’s willingness to go quietly into the night, etc. In hopes of suborning today’s sermon, Louie did not move the red five.

“I am not living, I am squatting. I gave up paying rent on this shell when they took the lung out.”

“My God, man, then grow another one! Thus saith the Professor!” In this, George was treading very thin ice. Professor Ehret, for all his deranged interest in fruit, was still at heart an empiricist. His program for health was, after all, rational fasting. He would make no such claim for the miraculous regeneration of organs. In that bit of heresy, George stood entirely alone.

Louie sighed and moved the red five after all.

“There, you see,” said the younger brother.

“See what?”

“I do know what I’m talking about. Now come.”

“Come where?”

“Over to the Pig Stand on Broadway. I found a new vendor.”

“For pigs?”

“For fruit, you idiot! He uses a corner of the parking lot. Forget the black six, you’ve lost anyway.”

Louie took the additional two minutes to prove his brother’s prediction correct, a prediction that in no way prepared the way for George’s more ludicrous ones. Louie’s decision to accompany his brother on his walk was based on an unaccustomed and sudden desire for fresh air, and the prospect of buying and eating a foot long hot dog while Brother George dickered for fruit.

Mrs. Jones the widow was showing her usual bit of thigh as she sat on her front porch knitting and teasing the loins of several generations of passing boys. World War II was long over, but Mrs. Jones was still doing her part for the war effort by forgoing the obligatory nylon stockings of the dowdy. George sniffed his customary disapproval as they passed her yard, but Louie could still only marvel at the loveliness of a pair of legs far into their eighth decade, at least six of which had rendered him awed and speechless. Only now that all hope of congress with the widow was gone had he found the words to be congenial.

“Afternoon, Ava,” said Louie. “Out for some fruit. Can we bring you back something sweet?”

“No thanks, Lou. I believe I’ve got all I can handle, as it is.”

Louie laughed heartily. It felt good in his one lung and remaining ventricles. He sometimes felt that for Ava Jones’ smile and words on a bright hot sunny south Texas day, he just might grow a new lung. Waving as he passed on, he said, “I’ve no doubt you do, Ava. No doubt you do.” Then, purely for the discomfort of his snuffling puritan brother, he added, “Maybe I’ll come by and help you handle it later.”

In homage to this fallen man’s proud history of living in her side of the world, a world that gloried in wet slick flesh and no covers on a bright hot sunny south Texas day, Mrs. Ava Jones blushed—blushed for all the world to see, this fresh peach of a woman who had blushed for none of the generations of weekend grease monkeys who had parked and worked on their cars in adoration of her miraculous thighs, all with dreams of inclusion, though none with their dreams fulfilled. Mrs. Ava Jones was just the right amount of cover for a woman whose heart and soul had long been in the able hands of Felicity Major—yes, the Felicity Major, Queen of the 1954 Battle of Flowers Parade—up in her mansion on Grayson Street. Separate houses was their one concession to the prejudices of the times, most notably those of Felicity’s now addled father, Dr. Alfred Major, the renowned alienist to San Antonio’s wealthy and wrecked families. No amount of analysis at the hands of Wilhelm Reich himself had been sufficient to crack the heavy armature about Dr. Major’s cold and sterile heart. His daughter, on the other hand, had compassion enough for the both of them, nursing him through his dementia as he stunk up a back room in her home while shitting on himself and his blankets.

“I don’t know how you can speak to that woman,” said George when they turned the block heading toward Broadway.

“I don’t know how you can’t,” said Lou. “Talk about peaches. There’s fruit for you, brother! What, by the way, is Professor Ehret’s philosophy on sex? Is that deranged look on his face the result of too much or too little? I know the answer in your case, George—”

“As in all things, moderation is the key.”

“I hardly call virginity moderation, George. You might want to write the Professor for a clarification—”

“I should think my daughter Claire is proof enough that I am no—”

“You know, George, I always found the story of the Virgin Birth a might too much for my taste. Mother Mary, by all accounts, was way too much a looker for Joseph to have kept his diddling to himself. Not that I blame them, mind you. Now you and Martha, however: I know the squeaky springs on that bed of yours upstairs and I haven’t heard them jumping since you and I were kids. Anyone wants to lay bets for immaculate conception, George, I’d say you’re the man.”

There was no doubt, nor need there have been, that Claire was, in fact, spawned by one of the few sperm George had sent swimming in Martha’s waters years ago, but Louie’s tirade was near enough the truth in alluding to George and Martha’s mutual state of nuptial neglect. Rather than refute his brother’s allegations, George chose to walk the rest of the way to his vendor in silence, a silence all the more suited to Louie’s pondering just what it was that Mrs. Ava Jones had more than enough of.

Innocente Vargas was entirely unworthy of his name, which was in fact as hot as the stolen fruit he purveyed on the corner of Broadway and Vine. Local police officers, had they shown a preference for vegetarian fare over their free meals at Art Chumley’s Pig Stand, would have recognized Innocente as Mike Finn, a longtime petty thief now given to robbing the likes of George in only vaguely more legitimate ways. Organic produce is what his sign said, though through what transformation it became organic after stealing it from his brother-in-law’s chemically fertilized farm in the Rio Grande valley, God only knew. Sympathetic readers needn’t worry over the apparent losses incurred by Mr. Vargas nee Finn’s brother-in-law, who was himself entirely aware of the Innocente procurement program, in fact was curious if he might follow suit and expand the market for chemically-enhanced organic produce in other unsuspecting parts of the state. Mike Finn was for the moment a useful pest that could at any time be rendered as easily harmless as the billions of vermin so rendered by the valley magnate’s decidedly inorganic fetish.

Mike Finn, though Irish by name, was sufficiently Cherokee and Italian as to be passably Latino at the corner of Broadway and Vine. It was assuredly not a piece of legerdemain he would have attempted on a street corner in west side San Antonio. At the corner of Broadway and Vine, his customers could take the added pleasure in noting “why, that Innocente, he speaks English damn near as good as I do.”

“George, mi amigo, I see you’ve brought along another soon to be satisfied customer.”

George was in fact trying to put a subtle distance between himself and Louie, as the latter was lavishly squirting ketchup on the dog he had promised himself from Art Chumley’s take-out window.

“I wouldn’t get your hopes up there, Innocente. My brother Louie is a hopelessly addicted carnivore. As you can see.”

“Your brother! Can’t say as I see the resemblance, but welcome,” said Mr. Finn-Vargas, extending a small trash bag for Louie’s used ketchup packets. “Like my daddy always said,” a man Mike Finn had in fact never known, “it takes all kinds of vores to make up this great planet of ours—that’s right, carnivores, omnivores and, uh— ”

“Vegevores?” said Louie, extending his unencumbered hand to shake. He nudged his brother with the offending bitten end of his dog. “I like this man already, George. Almost feel as if I’ve seen you before, Innocente. You always been in fruit?”

Historical inquiries and customers’ feelings of déjà vu were only two of many reasons Innocente Finn reserved for wearing sunglasses, even on the cloudiest of days. Mike Vargas understandably did not keep records on his past “customers”—a term he applied to those with whom he’d had more involuntary transactions as well—but had he done so, his ledger would have shown an entry some sixteen years ago for one Louis B. Nigel. Green wallet, no credit cards, eighty bucks in cash, pictures of kids and grandkids, one of lovely Mary, and, tucked inside a seam so even Mike Finn did not find it before throwing the garish green wallet in a garbage can at the downtown library, a tastefully but nonetheless decidedly nude picture of Cassie Waits, for a brief time waitress at the Menger Hotel coffeeshop and, even more briefly, though by no means casually, the apple of one red-socked trumpeter’s eye. Despite the understandable expectations afforded by her name, Cassie Waits was in no mood to stick around and see if Louie ever intended to make good on his stock assurances that he was “this close” to leaving a marriage that had long gone bad. For most of his conspiring dalliers, that statement had the reassurance of just the opposite meaning, but Cassie Waits was not so inclined. She was looking for a mate, and she found herself falling hard for the old coot (so hard as to let him take his damned picture), and she knew full well in her lovely and long bones that her man in red socks was not going anywhere but home to South New Braunfels Avenue. Midland is where she landed, with a husband short on Louie’s infernal charisma, but much longer on the millions from tending his oil fields. As to the fate of her picture, it remains in the oblivious back pocket of the downtown library custodian who saw no reason to report finding such a godawful looking wallet with pictures of a bunch of smiling white people.

“Always been in fruit, all my life. I was practically born in my daddy’s peach orchard,” said lying Mike, smiling innocently. Feeling his own bit of déjà vu, he decided to hurriedly push on. “So, what can I do for you boys this fine day?”

“Peaches!” said George. “All I can carry! Load my brother up with a bunch of those gorgeous avocados.”

Louie finished off his dog and took the paper towel Mike passed him. “Thank you, my good man. You know, Innocente, my brother George here claims that with all the fruit and vegetables he eats, his shit no longer stinks. What do you think about that?”

Momentarily forgetting just who his buying customer was (not to mention his current landlord), Mike Finn laughed and said, “If that was true, then why ain’t we all living in pig sties?”

Had Mike Finn’s chemically-enhanced peaches not looked and tasted better than any in his vegevorian span of months, George, ordinarily prone to easy offense, might have walked off in a huff. But Innocente Vargas knew he’d hooked his big fish when brother George forked over an extra ten dollars to his tab, saying, “By God, Innocente, we need more of you and what you’ve got, and if it means paying more to get it, then I’m all for it.”

Recovering from his business lapse, Mike Finn smiled and heaped another bag of peaches into George’s arms. “Gracias, amigo. Vaya con dios, George. Next time up, I promise you the best cucumbers you ever tasted.” Taste was debatable, but just that morning, Mike had located a field of cukes that looked ripe for the picking. “You boys need me to call you a cab or something? You know, George, you look a little pale, my friend.”

“Never felt better in my life, Innocente! Nothing your peaches can’t cure,” said George, despite feeling suddenly quite dizzy.

Louie, noting his brother’s color change, was not impressed with his attempts at bravado.

“Hey, George, maybe just a cup of coffee here at Art’s, before we head back.”

“Nothing of the kind, Louie. You know I’ve been off caffeine for months now.”

“Glass of water—”

“Lou! I’m fine!” said George, his head throbbing. “Innocente, thank you very much. Have a good day.” With that farewell, he headed off down Vine for South New Braunfels.

Louie shrugged his shoulders, shook hands with the still mysteriously familiar Mr. Vargas, and took after George. With one lung and half a heart, the prospect of catching up was tenuous at best, but Louie felt urged on by a resolve he’d seldom felt for his brother—for years now he had been the victim of everyone’s attentions.

He turned the corner onto their street just in time to see George collapse—into the arms of Ava Jones as she came flying off her porch to catch him. As he ran (hobbled) up the block, he was reminded of Michelangelo’s Pieta, this vision of his fallen brother across Ava’s lap. All lasciviousness was gone, though he did wish for a moment that the man in her arms was he, such was the tenderness of her hold upon George as she sat down in her lawn and stroked his temples. It was that tenderness, not sex, that struck Louie as he huffed his way up to them. George’s eyes were closed, his breathing labored, and he was moaning in a way Louie had not heard for years, not since the last of his children were infants, more the morning whimper of a hungry baby.

“How is he,” said Louie, whispering into the stillness of the afternoon.

“Not good, Lou,” said Ava. “The keys to my car are right there on the porch.”

“Oh, Ava, I couldn’t impose—”

“Get them, Lou! We haven’t got a lot of time.”

“Shouldn’t we call an ambulance?”

“We definitely don’t have that kind of time. Get the keys, Lou.”

“The girls will—”

“Lou. Keys. Now!!”

It had been years since Louie had been behind the wheel of his old VW bug. It had been since never that he had driven the likes of the old fifties Thunderbird that Ava drove. Pulling out onto Broadway, heading for Santa Rosa, he was frightened for all their lives, not just his brother’s, but Ava was adamant in staying with George in the back seat.

“Just pull the car right out into the middle of the road, Lou. No one will want to get near you in this boat.”

Something about Ava’s voice, her calm, the soft white leather of the seat beneath him, the smell of gardenia that he reckoned must be her scent—all this conspired to evoke a quiet confidence that Louie had not felt for a long long time, the kind of calm he used to feel whenever he stood for one of his solos down on the Riverwalk at Happy’s. Soft breeze off the river on his back, catching the eye of one of the regulars, blowing tunes with a grace that had nothing to do with the charade of red socks, waitress give and take, not even wet slick afternoon flesh—sounds from his horn he first used to think not even God could blow, until later he realized, as the humility of experience set in, that it was God Himself who was blowing. Ava’s quiet steady voice was the breeze all over again on the back of his neck. In that moment of recognition, his hands took the wheel with a confidence he had never felt in a car even one quarter the size of Ava’s, and he knew George would be fine, he would be fine, and the lovely Mrs. Ava Jones would be fine, too. He navigated the streets of downtown San Antonio like a riverboat captain, strains of an old slippery Dizzy Gillespie solo playing in his head. By the time Mary and Martha made it down to join him at the Emergency Room, he felt like a prophet for the calm that had descended upon him. George was already coming round, the nurse reported—would Martha like to join him? Louie kissed his sister-in-law on the cheek and then took his own Mary in his arms. In all their forty years together he thought she had never looked lovelier.

George and Martha spent the night at the hospital, while Mary and Louie spent the night out on the town, dinner at Mi Tierra, drinks at the Menger, long night at Happy’s in front of a band that honored Louie like he had returned a conquering hero.

Next day on the cab ride home, George, once again in the pink, told the driver to pull into the Pig Stand parking lot.

“Looks like your friend Innocente’s gone for the day,” said Louie. “His sign says, Gone Fishing.”

“I could give a damn about that man’s fruit!” bellowed George, squeezing Martha in a way until yesterday he had reserved only for fruit, a squeeze that did not go unnoticed by the car’s three other passengers, nor, as it happened later that afternoon, by the springs on the second floor bed. “All yesterday on my death ride in the lap of luxury and the beautiful Mrs. Ava Jones, all I could think of was, boy, could I go for some meat. Vegevore no more, my brother! Driver, to the window, my good man! This old hound has in mind a good dog for lunch!”

The grace of God­—river breeze, a kind woman’s touch, even, for some, a good old foot-long tube of meat.

As for Mr. Innocente Vargas—well, the moral is a sobering one. Not all of the men in blue disdain a good peach.



It's been many years since I've read any Updike, but Friday I picked up his story collection My Father's Tears. I'm hooked again, as in the days of old, when friend Steph and I were in awe, but always felt he was holding something back, even with all the abundant brilliance. The mere mortals could only handle so much. This paragraph ended "The Apparition." Knocked me out.

"Sleepless on the verge of departure, Milford saw that this had been truth, earthly and transcendent truth, one body's adoration of another, hidden Shivas and Parvatis united amid the squalor and confusion of happenstance, of karma. He rejoiced to be tasting lust's folly once more, though the dark shape he was lying upon, fitted to him exactly, was that of his body in its grave."


Saturday, January 16, 2010

So what...

Just heard this on NPR, off for pizzas for the Mr Baby Wii-gathering this eve. Lyrics not great, but I like the stylings and the energy on this classic.

And then, of course:


one word drum: major

soul brother mega
phoned big boy strut

halftime alkaloids


the daughters of time

thorny essence

liquid variations

settling for nothing

less than vigorous

abandon, she

plied both sides as

you wandered,

finding the time

for interrogations,

defining moments

charitable trusts

falling through

splendor: close

the door on


summations of the mighty

self, dingy

insinuations in your

doubting fires.

sweat the epiphanies

out, blow the rude

awakenings to the curb,

she calls

she beckons

she riffles

through the fineness

of your hair,

cranial bliss

all the ladies waiting,

home for the explosive

wonder of







Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bless the brother...

Theodore DeReese Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 - January 13, 2010). Musta been feelin it in December. Bless him.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

one word falling sand: powder

fathoms of you,
disparate souls,

desolate foals

casting fate,

echoing the chase
filing the least away,

aching beneath all

the aching sweat,

the nooning riposte

gathering moss

switchbacking the embers

of doubt.

Feel your way

past the icy core,

the masking time.

Bypass the mitigating


you were bent

on sharing, wont

to foist

in the name of

itinerant incineration.

I gave to lesser souls

in the name of all

the johns who ever

cast their dice

in the inferno

of my distillate joy.

Cowardice has its

pleasures, bellyfish

chaos, target practice

in the abyss. Find

your way home, crumpled

self and all, neon surgery

on the eyelids

of your back forty:

combustion screens

the closet door,

while your waifs -

abacus babies

in the mire -

lead from start to finish,

rosy peccadilloes

whining their way

to the more

& more.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Pure goofiness...

I was thinking, I wonder if Sammy Davis, Jr did a cover. Be careful what you wish for...This festoonery is courtesy of Mr. Baby, who started singing the song out of nowhere tonight and, of course, Mr. ZeroSumGames, better known as The King of Blogging.


A blessing...

[For Tina's new office space.]

Longer Now

Walk the trees,
Inside out,
The limbs that fall,
While singing the years
You might have & wanted & dreamed.
Walk them now,
In the longer trees,
Beside the longer streams;
Flourish in the mash
Of reverential hoopla,
Of God’s Good Grace.
The Black Rose Lighthouse
Your dreams,
Your songs,
Your stories—
All yours
To claim.

[For the TInaHouse: 1.11.10: paschal]


For Teresa and the Beast...


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Scribblings #197: Extreme (Reprised)

This little piggie came during the Christmas tsunami; I believe it'll do.


Anita bit the day in her usual way, hayseed waning with her dying moon, treasuring the day for what it would deny her. She would travel later, whether here in her trailer, or down the bright roads. The drench of coffee in the musty air would suffice for now, tamales steaming, Fahrenheit dropping, and her heart sore from the last go-round with her demons. She swore allegiance, swore gleeful embodiment, but they knew better. Much better.

Cal was headed her way, the first to spoon her the syrup, the first to fill her uptown days when it was Ray and Gene and all the rattling pleasure. Up at six in the evening, the motored cacophony of the island in Dutch, the fangs of need gripping. Shows uptown were plenty late—and plenty smooth, once Cal came to call. He’d resisted her eye for weeks, little girl, you ain’t got no idea, and you ain’t got a chance, little did he know, she rode horses with the best, been riding since the marathons, and the deadly puns were never lost on her. She’d pigged her way out of the Bowery slums, wiggled her way on the dance floors, until Gene rescued her for her doom.

Mr. Gloom drove up the caliche to her box on wheels, inched his way out of the battered truck to match his battered bones. Long gone the days and nights of them fine wheels. If I can get around on next to nothing, then so can we, still presuming a we she’d long thrown on the trash heap.

She’d left the door cracked to the day’s icy cold; save Gloom the trouble of struggling with the door and then banging the hell out of it for her, anyway. His stodgy breath punctuated each broken step up to the door.

He set his lunch box down on the kitchen bar, eased himself into the other vinyl stool; his look matched the gray stuffing that sighed out of the blotchy red vinyl. Day liked to think that she was still years younger than Gloom’s sag, but she was damned if she was keeping mirrors in the ragged trailer to check her misguided theory. She eyed the box on her counter, sniffed: “Chu got in that thing there, Gloom?”

Man may be three-quarters dead, still got the gleam of the devil in his eye. “I ain’t got to tell.”

Day read the dead day in her black coffee. “Makes you think I still do that stuff anyway?”

“Yesterday, for one, girl. Your mind that shot?”

“Talk about mind, man who drools through his solos.” She could feel the thrill in arms. Her heart ached for the eons ago of yesterday.

“Now, Day-o, no call for spite. Christmas is comin—”

“And only one goose is getting fat, from what I see.” She pinched an inch of the belly under his shirt, lit a cigarette, blew long and hard like the notes she used to hold. Krupa be damned for telling her she couldn’t hold a note for shit.

Cal cast his lazy eye around the dishevel of the trailer. More of Day out of her drawers than in them. One not so lazy eye on the sheer robe she sat in. He shivered. “Damn cold for no clothes on, girl.”

“Don’t go wishin on yourself, boy. I ain’t cleanin that up.”

Cal looked back to the battered coffee table on its side in the “living” room. “I know that. Last time you cleaned anyway, Day? Looks of that table, you been wrestling a hippopotamus in here.”

“Just the usual fools, brother.” Fools mostly inside her head.


“Dexter don’t count. Leave Dexter out of it. For all I know, he’s dead anyway.”

Sign of the slippage. Dex was dead ten years now. Neither Day or Cal could live it. Still cut them to the core. He’d gone clean, all the way clean, and then one year later fell on his face in the middle of 42nd Street. They weren’t the only ones cut up bad. Sonny’d threatened to take it all back to the bridge once again.

“Tamales smell awful good.”

“Yours for the takin. You know I don’t eat that shit.”

The age-old joke: What do you eat, girl? Too old for the asking these days.

Cal nudged the box her way. “You might eat this. Might just eat it up.”

There was just a spider’s web thread of gumption in her this morning; she’d woke hoping to parlay the Mephistophelian bargain. Cal sure wasn’t helping.

He reached for the metal clasp.

“Take that shit out my house, Gloom.”

“Now, Day—”

“I said, take that shit—”

Thermos in the lid of the box, but a videotape where the sandwich—or worse—should be.

“Hell is that?”

“Found it in my mailbox. Some Swede all the way from a town called Orebro sent it to me.”

“Hell he know where you—”

“Ahmet. Who else? We may have shit all over the man, but he’s still got a soft spot on the ranch for us.”

“No us about that, Cal. Soft spot for you.” She reached for the tape. “So, what’d Santa Swede send us?”

Cal looked around the upheaved ship. You still got that video player? I don’t see it, your maid service notwith—”

“Can it, Gloom. It’s in the tub. Don’t ask. I couldn’t tell you anyway.”

She could. She’d tried to drown herself. Busted pipes in the bathroom saved her.

Cal walked down the hall and came back with the black box. Hooked it back up to the TV on the counter near the stove; ejected the tape already inside, and read the label. “That Dorsey shit? No wonder you tried to drown yourself.” Gotta love the junkie’s mind for connections.

Somebody else calling her on it, she got defensive.

“Wasn’t that bad.”

“Who you kiddin? That was before the junk, missy. You stank.”

Cal slipped the new video in the slot.

“What’s this, then? More shit to rub my face in?”

They watched. Both of them there on the screen, radiant as God shining in the room, midst a quintet of strangers. It looked like Miles on trumpet, but it wasn’t. Lacked the cool.

One song was all: “But Not for Me.” She’d done it straight up, no sass, and from the looks of her, nothing but tonic water in her bloodstream.

For a moment, the day brightened. They played it seven times and then the tape unraveled in the machine.

“My luck,” said Day.

“Your damn machine, that’s for sure.”

Turkey buzzard swooped in the distance, between the trailer and the blue foothills to the north.

Cal sniffed: “Garland always said her cover was the cat’s meow. Owned the song, she said.”

“Let the sister rest in peace, Cal.”

She eyed the buzzard floating, all preeny in his glory.

For a moment, she felt her glory, too.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

"still i go on like this..."


For Lhasa (September 27, 1972 – January 1, 2010)

[you running]

eyes have
passed the revolutions
passed the years
of memory
children dawning
in the streets
your feet across the water
finality in your touch
the heart that shimmers
in the sanctuary of your breast
cover the opening
red showers
red flowering cradles
drive the lost news
poems freed in the night
cooing child
vividly before you
running, the green shade
the wonder
bleeds back to night
the taste of need
the taste of welcome
the night’s cowl greets
the dawn
through the window of your
you claim the ties
of houselove
the quiet fleece
of death
in her sinews
love’s grip released.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Sunday Scribblings #Something: New Leaf


Eve’s, Adam’s
Perhaps even Lauren’s, maybe
Valkyrie’s, collect enough
We’ll tree ourselves
Into the new year,
Beering the way
Down the days of attitude:
Through March we’ll obviate
The tomes, query
The snared rummies,
Scotch tape the valuables
To wrist, sleeve, cowl—
Elevator music our
Prozac (and prosaic) identities,
While Van and Gordon
Smile their way
Through the Roxannes

& Glorias
Of negative space, splitting
Adam’s apples
In serpentine fashion,
L.A. diet hounds weighing in
With opinions best left
In the velvet underground.
These are the days
Of time-managed
Blissful wonder,
Passions accrued,
Despairing interest rates,
Vigor in the nines,
Aspirant hopscotch,
Basal temperatures in the variant climes.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

La llorona

From Ms Mood comes the sad news of Lhasa de Sela's passing. 37 years old. Breast cancer. 21 months of battling the killer. Ms Mood has introduced me to some very fine music over the past year-plus: all the other wonders notwithstanding, nothing as powerful as this...


Sunday, January 03, 2010

one word palm: shift

our dreams
into the night
I would not ask

for the daggers

the simplicity
I felt
the cold

in your night

this was
the rest
we measured
the rest
failed to take
I was near joy

you were near me
the asking
was not

favored, flavored

by myrrh
our fallen
cast in night's
castles dreamt darkly

wisdom lost
seven times

the matter

the cherubim
of failure
i will not follow

twas green we
blue we filled

black we labored

quietest night


the twilight's exhaust

to be

to see
walk that line

fear that sensitivity

you will have

the voice

the mother's voice

you'll know the water

the depth of the well

we will pass

the darkest ways

consecrating loss

as the gods
their yearning.


Friday, January 01, 2010

A Maggot

[In the prologue to his (dreadful) 1985 novel A Maggot, author John Fowles (of the beloved The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Ebony Tower, and The Magus) excises the title of his book from the usual associations by informing us that a “maggot” is also a “whim,” or a “notion,” or even an “obsession.” An unextravagant notion, even.]

This little earworm of a sketch crawled in, while I was doing my usual prowling: cybernetic free association.


“Accountant, Mr. Plant?” said Mr. Page.

“Certified, sir.”

“Sure that’s not certifiable?” The predictable joke.

The blonde lion is nervous, yet still not amused: “I beg you pardon?”

Eyes back to the resume: “West Bromwich, then, is it?”

Coughing, “Born, yes, but I grew up in Dudley—Halesowen, to be precise.”

“Ah, I know it well,” said Mr. Page, fiddling with his tie. He knew nothing of the sort. Pushing on, as prevarication always made him nervous: “It says here that you left King Edward’s?”

The lion blushed, but pushed on: “I developed a passion.”

“A passion, you say?”

“For numbers.”

“Ah. Yes. I see. That explains your being here, doesn’t it?”

“I came to see that tarmac wasn’t for me.”

“Oh, indeed. I think that many of us have come to that conclusion, Mr. Plant.”

“It wasn’t seemly.”

“Absolutely correct on that point, too, Mr. Plant, though I must hasten to add that Wimpey”—eying the company’s name on the résumé—“is one of our oldest clients. Their tarmac notwithstanding, we hold them in the highest esteem.”

“Yes, sir.”

Eyes back to the paper, “Woolworths also not to your liking, Mr. Plant?”

“Very short time, that.”

“I can see. A short period of time. A rather odd entry, don’t you think?”

“I was thinking of going. I had an urge for it.”

“An urge, was it, Mr. Plant? Any place in particular? Smethwick, perhaps? Walsall?”

“California, sir.”


“But, the point is, I didn’t now, did I, sir?”

Mr. Page was indignant at the tone. He leaned forward. He once dreamed of being a solicitor. He dreamed it again now.

“May I point out to you, Mr. Plant, that there is in fact no means by which I might know one way or the other?”

“But, you have it right there in front—”

“What I have here, my good sir, is a rather flimsy piece of stationer’s upon which you have dribbled as little as possible, and in such disarray, as to suggest you were writing songs upon it. Going to California, indeed.”

“If you’ll beg pardon, sir, there was a blonde.”

“A blonde. How positively delight—”

“A blonde in the bleachers, sir.”

“Well, I’m so happy that we have a location for the lady in question. And did this lady have a name?”

“I couldn’t say, sir.”

“You couldn’t—”

“No, sir, I—”

“Didn’t glitter, by any chance, did she? You did mention blonde.”

The lion paused for a moment, reflecting. “All I know is that the stores were closed.”

A Holmesian arch to Mr. Page’s right eyebrow. “Closed? All of them?”

“It was Wolverhampton. You know the Black Country—”

“Of course I do, but what makes you so sure?”

“It’s a feeling I get.”

“A feeling, is it? Well, it makes me wonder, Mr. Plant. It really makes me wonder.”


"That treefall in the forest someone finally heard..."


one word memphis: stack

[Wrote this while listening to Joni's "I Had a King," so there's some intersecting.]

the backs of hands

have known much bliss

carrying beyond the ripe


the grains of sand

the vision that

fit the hearts of manor

beings, human offerings


time down the alleyways

time down the falls

of all who gain

the mast

the time we met

was left to find

moons new

suns due to the others

we came down the valleys

chiming for green

gracing the kings and queens

of our desire


was in the air

seconding on the narrow highways