Thursday, November 27, 2014


Haiku Conversation

I weave webs of words;
clouds caress dust-yellow moon.
Which speaks more clearly?
Revised from ~1985

Larry G. responds:
From this web of words,
the caress of something said,
nothing else in mind.


Friday, November 07, 2014


Idée d’jour

I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth.
Steve McQueen


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Idée d’jour

The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.
— Vincent van Gogh


Thursday, October 09, 2014


Idée d’jour

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Twyla Tharp


Monday, October 06, 2014


Idée d’jour

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
— Gore Vidal


Saturday, October 04, 2014


Idée d’jour

If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, best teach it how to dance.
— George Bernard Shaw


Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Idée d’jour

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
— Elie Wiesel


Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Idée d’jour

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
— James Thurber


Sunday, September 21, 2014


Happy Birthday, St. Leonard

Revised version of previous post

Today is Leonard Cohen's 80th Birthday.

Shortly after he returned from 'Nam, Brother Dave brought several lps to the house to share with Padre and I. I especially remember Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation and Coltrane's Favorite Things and Other Songs. When he put the Cohen disc on the turntable, Dave told Padre and I that we'd need to listen carefully to the words.

I was immediately struck by the cover of Songs of Leonard Cohen: that black background; the machine photo brazenly addressing the viewer; the back cover art of a woman in chains being engulfed by flames. I was intrigued by these images alone, and knew something unique was in store. Songs from that album that still linger in my memory include "The Master Song", "The Stranger Song", and "Sisters of Mercy". I can sing snippets of these (and all of "Suzanne", of course) without reference to the lyric sheet or song book.

I had probably already heard Judy Collins' famous version of "Suzanne" by this point. I think I already had a copy of Judy's excellent live album, Living, which includes "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "Joan of Arc". But to hear that fractured voice sing his own words was like setting up camp in them, and learning to live there.

Sometime after Brother Dave introduced us to Cohen's debut album, I bought Songs of Love and Death. I believe that was the same year my stepmother attempted suicide. I was the first one home the day WL took her brand-new steak knife set into the master bathroom and cut both her wrists, length-wise, several times. The song "Dress Rehearsal Rag" from Love and Death soon became my theme song, although I did not catch the underlying humor of the song.

This was the summer between junior high and high school. I was around 16. WL's attempted suicide was probably too big for me to handle, but I counseled and comforted her until Padre got home. Leonard Cohen's songs taught me the language of the territory, so I could find the means to process the horror I had witnessed.

A number of other factors contributed to my use of poetry for self-expression, but WL's suicide attempt, and Cohen's profound linguistic cartography, were the primary catalysts.

Now, I sing so many of his songs, but not Dress Rehearsal Rag. Those days are so many years behind me. I much prefer "Hallelujah" or "The Guests". Or, a perfect psalm titled "If It Be Your Will":

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
   I will speak no more
   I shall abide until
    I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
   From this broken hill
   All your praises they shall ring
   If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
   Let your mercy spill
   On all these burning hearts in hell
   If it be your will
to make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
   In our rags of light
   All dressed to kill
   And end this night
   If it be your will
If it be your will.

© 1984, Stranger Music

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Idée d’jour

It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.
— William Carlos Williams


Monday, September 15, 2014


Idée d’jour

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
— Will Rogers


Thursday, September 04, 2014


Idée d’jour

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead
Thomas Paine

A Founding Father, predicting the level of discourse on most social media sites.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Idée d’jour

Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.
— Karle Wilson Baker


Friday, August 29, 2014


Alienation of Time

Eternal swinging of loose clock
hands like mirrors of broken
emptiness as in an endless lake
or swift leggéd horse of life
dream in nightmare
unknown in time.

A bleeding heart of time
drips on the face of the clock
as it hides in a nightmare
which has been broken
by the reality of life
shone in ripples of a lake.

For more, see Alienation of Time

This is a slightly revised high school poem (circa 1974-75); it won a competition for high school poets held by the Poetry Society of Oklahoma. Retyping it now, almost 30 years later, I see a lot of flaws.  Kind of amazed it won an award; might have been an "A for effort" in recognition of my attempt to write a sestina.

The school administration learned of the award through a blurb in the local paper.  I was essentially strong-armed into bringing the award (a small certificate in a plastic holder) to school so the principal could hand it to me at a school awards assembly.

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