Friday, April 30, 2010

Poems 4/9-21

As subtle as
Sweet, licorice tea
As coarse as
Hard-boiled coffee
Their flavors
Never to blend

The sibling cats
As different
From one another
As my own sister and I
One aloof and sleek
The other warm and wild-haired
I leave tufts of my coat
She glides through
Without anyone
She’d been there

March winds have carried into April
They warm me
Cool me
Infuriate me
Put me to sleep
And keep me awake
They send fine grit
Through the cabin walls
March winds have carried into April

Some days the sun
Doesn’t come out
Until 6 pm
Hope is a thin, silver thread

Sweet scent of lilacs
Bush heavy with blossoms
Spring’s breath is my breath

In the mirror
She saw
Remnants of lovers long gone
Gold hoop earrings
From the sultry Spaniard
White seed pearls
From the sensible German
Delicate silver bangles
From the soulful Frenchman
Bonds never truly broken

Morning pages
Morning papers
Morning thoughts
Morning recalls
Morning discards
Morning blessings
Morning moments
Morning musings
Morning mournings

Confectioners say
Never refrigerate
Or it will weep
I can only wonder
What in the world
Has to cry about

Mallard skimming
Over cold pond water
Flapping wings
Arched body
Gliding to a halt
The morning

Christmas cactus
Blooming in April
Pale orange buds
That burst forth
While I sleep
I offer to share
My breakfast
A sip of cool water
You ask no more

Like the dancing Shiva
Lord of destruction
Lord of rebirth
I point my many limbs
This way and that
Surrounded by
A ring of fire
I am purified

Light across the sky
Spring storm moving in
It thunders
It jolts
It saturates
It unnerves
I acquiesce

I sat so long
In the library
I didn’t realize
It was snowing again
Minute flakes
That melted when
They hit the ground
A brief existence

Too Late, but Not Quite....

Thanks for that kind review Harold, but I took the show down at noon today, an hour before your review appeared. However, I'll have three pieces in the forthcoming group show at the Main Street Artists gallery. Come on by during Artists' Walk next Friday. Joe


If a picture is worth a thousand words then Joe has an exquisite 12,000 word essay hanging in the gallery upstairs at the Plumas County Museum. You oughta check it out... it's a great view of the world around us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Interesting article on the reading of fiction

Monday, April 26, 2010


Buddy awoke on New Year’s Day, crammed onto a too short living room sofa, clad only in his boxers and one sock. Oh Lord what a gathering last night. The first day of 2020 and he had a hangover that could stun and ox. His mouth tasted of ferrous metals and, behind their closed lids, his eyes were thick with smoke. Real or imagined his ears broadcast the sound of a dozen working garbage trucks backing up in a chorus of diesel rumblings and harsh clamorous bells. One arm, trapped beneath him, was completely asleep and he had a nasty and painful bruise ripening below his left knee.

To top it all off he slowly became aware of a steady, rhythmic knocking on his front screen door. Shit. Even in his compromised state he could recognize that knock. Steady and insistent, never loud nor demanding, it was the clarion call of missionaries. Windsorites of The Ned Ludd Society for Less Change were on the prowl in his neighborhood. Their scourge would not abate until they were able to meet everyone eye to eye, paste on a happy face smile and intone their mantra, “Hello, would you like to know more about the simpler life?”

They had been gaining a foothold in America since Dwight, the great grandson of H. H. Windsor, had his skewed epiphany in the spring of 2018 and began spouting rhetoric of doom and gloom, railing against everything from Facebook to GPS systems. When his revelation came to fruition, an angel of indeterminate gender and origins appeared at the foot of his bed and began a lengthy, rambling discourse on the evils of the information highway. The world, it insisted, was headed to hell in a cyber-driven hand basket and, starting with Pong and Donkey Kong, had been swirling the drain, speeding up incrementally with every faster download and smaller, more powerful micro processor. No, the revelator was not an actual Luddite, the world needed zippers and landlines and the internal combustion engine with its original attendant technologies. That being said, however, nobody needed googling nor texting and to that end it was incumbent upon Dwight to call to the nation and bring the sheep back to a fold created from a pastiche of the Eisenhower years. This celestial being had chosen Dwight to be the messenger simply because he was, indeed, the great grandson of H. H. Windsor, founder and architect of Popular Mechanics magazine. What better rock upon which to build this church than that bastion of DIY readership where plenty did abound but existed on a more humanity based scale? Sure people needed an oven that could cook dinner in 75 seconds but let’s keep it the size of a two door refrigerator. (Return with us now to those days of yesteryear when America was at its zenith and lesser countries gave way to our every whim…)

At first, still a grass roots, rumor driven shadow of a religion, congregants gathered in solidarity in the small, one car garages that dotted every state. The future had blessed us with a surfeit of massive SUV’s much too big to fit inside anything smaller than a blimp hanger and, as a consequence, nearly every house built before 1960 had a small, mostly ignored building at the end of two parallel ribbons of concrete, snugged up against the back property line. Cleansed of their lawnmowers, garden hoses, tangles of outdoor Christmas lights and other detritus, these architectural bastard children were both corporeally and metaphorically perfect sanctuaries for the novitiate to take the eternal step backwards. Most were already blessed with a homegrown workbench along the back wall and these quickly supported shrines to the new deity. They started with a homemade collapsible rowboat or a one-man, plywood commuter helicopter or some manner of low-tech delight made from mail order blueprints (just 50¢ and self-addressed, stamped envelope). Around these, supplicants would pile the physical manifestations of their memories; rotary dial phones, typewriters festooned with ribbons, mimeograph machines and sea monkeys.

Later, after groundswell enthusiasm populated their ranks, factions chose a more militant pathway home and these back-of-the-garage reliquaries were fronted by galvanized tubs filled with broken laptops or cell phones that had been scoured clean by the holy fires of a hand held propane torch. It didn’t take long for these tokens to be insufficient to the needs of those most fervent converts and by the holiday season of that first year the Twitter Wars had begun in earnest with small bands of low tech guerrilla fighters attacking the soft underbelly of Silicon Valley and its many adherents.

Taking the term “bricks & mortar” to heart, there wasn’t an iMac outlet or Verizon office across the land with storefront windows intact and anyone foolish enough to talk in public on a cell phone had to be ever vigilant lest their phone be snatch from them, dropped unceremoniously into a paper Starbucks cup filled with glue and thrust back into unwilling hands.

Bound by their credo, the Windsorites were disinclined to fight fire with fire by creating viruses or logging on en masse to crash popular websites. They chose, instead, to dynamite cell phone relay towers and jumper electrical wires to send massive power surges through offices filled with computer terminals. Invoking Popular Mechanics original masthead as a battle cry, tens of thousands stormed Hewlett Packard’s corporate headquarters lustily shouting, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today!” as they tossed equipment out windows, torched filing cabinet contents and flushed cherry bombs down the executive toilets.

Eventually the civil disobedience turned to real violence and in the early days of 2019 angry cyber-DINKS and a computer based mobilization of the military quashed the more belligerent facets of the movement. This did nothing to abate the faith of the followers and they simply chose a new tack into this new wind and began proselytizing with a vengeance.

With this new wave of disciples and their accompanying wealth came the ability to build a massive church glorious enough to pay tribute to belief and believer alike. Grand in scale, its reflective glass walls shimmered in the southern California sunlight. It was, in fact, a colossal crystal carport where literally thousands of pilgrims could sit in contoured plastic chairs and listen as Father Dwight ranted and called down plagues upon the techo-phillistines from his pulpit constructed from the only existing prototype of the 1967 Hiller Aerial Sedan while, behind him, the choir gave voice from naugahyde bench seats in a semi-circle of Edsel convertibles. Ushers motored up and down massive aisles in two-toned, pastel Nash Metropolitans while the faithful showered the back seats with coin of the realm. Every nickel and every convert fed the church and its fetal body politic while word spread throughout the church to watch for a Windsorite candidate coming soon to an election near you. The odd county supervisor here, the occasional judicial appointment there and before you knew it the faithful held sway in congressional committees and belief became legislation. Laws were bandied about limiting everything from planned software obsolescence to processor speeds, crippling the giants of the industry and destroying the economies of several third world countries.

Like loaves and fishes, these successes only served to feed the masses and increase a thousand fold the number of knuckles rapping so fervently on doors across the land and rousing Buddy from his somewhat dehydrated slumbers. He finally accepted the fact that they were not going to go away and, as he shuffled across the living room, pausing to kick off his one sock, he wondered if the believers on the other side of his door would appreciate the fact that the shotgun in his left hand was manufactured in 1939.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Canyons

I took the poem a day challenge


I inadvertently posted my first week of poems as a comment to Hannah's haiku. What can I say? I am techno-challenged. Now that I found them and remembered my password, I am sharing them with all. (I think.) More to come once I get them typed up. Happy Spring from the red canyons of Utah. See photo in separate message. (I think.)

Heavy, wet snow
Gray sky broken
by a row of crow
Teasing us toward spring
Warmer days just beyond reach

Earth absorbing water
as does the suede of my boots
Silly, fashionable suede boots
Impractical as I
this time of year

So who the fool
you or I
Out of the mountains
across the desert
to a home unknown
I am as unsettled
as the dust devil dancing
in the distance

Settling in
Familiar items around me
I find comfort in
a soft blue quilt
Home is where the heart is
Home is where the hearth is
Home is where the head is

Grit in her teeth
Wind in her ears
Horizon before her eyes
Mind a blank on which
nothing can be written
They come
They go
She stays
Lonely, but not alone
Here in the endless desert
A whore in Rawhide, Nevada

Awakened by the sound
of a German cuckoo clock
on the hour and the half
sleep wake
sleep wake
My dream had me
down a slick rock face
from ridge to water below
cuckoo cuckoo

A day behind
A day ahead
My calendar has a mind
of its own
It's all relative
We are all relatives
Tick tock
My biological clock
ticks toward death

A poem a day
keeps the blues away
helps you survive the fray
makes the sky lay
over you like a valet
eager to assist in play
the game life's way

The South American
made a kite
from tissue paper
and twigs so slight
He added a tail
and let it sail

Monday, April 19, 2010

What She Doesn't Say

She used to tell me things
Happily sometimes,
Sometimes not
Scenes from her personal landscape

I would marvel at her absolute delight
Watching her mouth and eyes dance
The sounds in her words rising and falling
Like shadows on the wall
Never failed to enclose me

But after that night I took her to the cafe
To listen to the cellist
Tell his sad stories with a reedy moan,
To the unsyncopated rain,

Her voice has gone

She has taken to leaving me scribbled clues
Of her inescapable musings
On random shreds of paper

And has me clinging
As I search for an embrace
In what she doesn't say

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Near-by Moon

Stardust, fallen and mixed into a chemical muck in shallow, saline seas, electrified up into beings. Pop. There we are, wet and responsive, kept quick by a star’s daily light, slumbered by its reflection off the near-by moon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Out Too

Hi Quincy Writers,
I started a new blog that's (I hope) going to help me organize my thoughts for the book I'm writing.
Sorry, just couldn't write a poem to express my rage & disgust at the southern governors promulgating April as THE COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR, even though April really is POETRY MONTH! So here's my brief essay in which I'm attempting to "hoist them by their own petards". Hope it works. Hope to get comments.

Never have I ever read a more persuasive justification of economic reparations for slavery than as stated in the state of Mississippi's declaration of secession before the Civil War quoted in the news article written by Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press and published today in the S.F. Chronicle (4/13/10). The Mississippi declaration of secession states:

"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery. … Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization."

Stating that the unpaid labor of slaves supplies the necessities of commerce and civilization is a clear admission that the economic welfare of the state of Mississippi (and all other states profiting from slavery) was based on the unpaid labor of slaves. It also clearly implies that the vast profits of plantation owners, based on their exploitation of the unpaid labor of slave workers, was the economic and political foundation of these states.

There would have been no reason to secede from the United States of America if plantation owners had been willing to pay wages to their workers. The abolition of slavery would not logically have led to the destruction of the plantation system if plantation owners had agreed to pay wages to their workers in which case the plantation system could have survived based on a more equitable distribution of the wealth produced by such a system.

However, the point of slavery is NOT to pay wages, even to that particular group of workers who "by an imperious law of nature" are uniquely suited for such labor. So, plantation owners could never have accrued such exhorbitant profits by paying wages to those black workers who alone "can bear exposure to the tropical sun", instead the owners' vast wealth was based on the oppressive exploitation of the "unique" labor power of the black race by enforced slavery. In other words, plantation owners bought their workers rather than hire workers. Plantation owners bought human beings stolen from their homelands, a practice legally sanctioned by slave states, to create their own individual wealth and the wealth of the slave states. In my opinion, Mississippi's declaration of secession makes a persuasive case that compensation wages are long overdue.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More in the way of junk haikus...

On Formatting:

MLA handbook
Edition 2002;
Nice touch to stove flame.


Notebook now finished;
I look back for reflection.
Notebook not finished...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Among the testing of haikus...

Pen ink is empty -
Will refill after long nap;
Nap lasts many years.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Hi All:


Roses are red;
Violets are blue (except for most Pacific Coast species which are yellow!).
I'm not a poet, and
Neither are you.

I may not be at all a poet, but I like a challenge. Who'd a thunk I would make the only two responses to Margaret's challenge for National Poetry Month?