Monday, May 31, 2004


Idée d’jour

The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes — ah, that is where the art resides.
— Artur Schnabel, pianist (1882-1951)

Sunday, May 30, 2004


Work in Progress

Scribble scrabble, scrabble scritch
Makes my pencil start to itch
In the watches of the night
Waiting by the faerie light
Pens & pencils start to dance
With hand-made paper in their hands
Funny what several subsequent sleepless nights will do to your subconcious. What's your vote on this one? Keep going, or till it back into the soil for the next plowing?
I'll note, once again, that I have little control over the banner ads. Apparantly a negative mention of cretinous talk-show hosts and doubly-cretinous commanders-in-chief generates ads which view same in a positive light. My laundry list of chicken-hawks, in other words, seems to have inspired an ad promoting the Amer Neo-Nazi Compassionate Conservatives. Just so you know.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Lectio Divina: On Anger

Reading. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

My former wife was fond of citing this verse when we were having an argument close to bedtime on a week-night. In retrospect, this manipulative on her part.  For, it seemed obvious even at the time that the only resolution possible was for her to "win" the argument.

Somehow, I don't think that's what Paul meant.  I suspect the word translated as "anger" here is more precise than the English word. "Anger" connotes a range of emotions from mild annoyance to near homicidal rage. Many suppress any expression of anger along that range for fear it will automatically turn into rage.

But, notice that Paul does not say "Don't express your anger." In fact, the New Revised Standard Version translates the verse thusly: "Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." So, it's clear that it is appropriate to express anger. There are, indeed, at least two incidents in the Gospels where Jesus is recorded as being angry (the cleansing of the Temple being the best known). I believe an argument can be made that we risk more by not expressing anger; that, by saying "don't let the sun go down on your anger" Paul is saying in effect that it is best if one does express one's anger before the sun sets.

But we do not have free reign open fire on the freeways either: "Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another." The piling up of adjectives makes clear the type of strong, negative anger Paul has in mind.

In other words, you must become the master of your anger or it will become the master of you.

What seems right for me, today, are appropriateness and assertiveness. The way to appropriately express one's anger is to first examine oneself; what is the cause of the anger?  If, after thoughtful humble consideration, the anger seems justified, then express it. Not yelling and screaming, per se, but at the very least saying "I'm angry about x because y." Then you may assert what you desire as an outcome; there is no guarantee, of course, that you will achieve that outcome, but you must assert it if you want to have any hope of realizing it.

Grant me discernment to recognize the cause of my anger;
courage to speak it when appropriate; and
the strength to release it once it has been spoken.

So be it.


Definition d’jour

Chickenhawk n.
A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person’s youth.
See also: GW Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly. Courtesty The Progressive Voice

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Lectio: from The Gospel of Thomas

Lectio Divina: from The Gospel of Thomas

Jesus said: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." translated by Gordon MacRae, quoted in Pagels, Beyond Belief, p. 32

This one phrase summarizes Pagels' point in chapter two of the referenced book: Thomas sees "salvation" differently than the canonical John:
Thomas' gospel encourages the hearer not so much to believe in Jesus, as John requires, as to seek to know God through one's own, divinely given capacity, since all are created in the image of God. (34)
Thomas, then, is even more of a mystic than John, which is really saying something. For, this "knowing" is not an intellectual or philosophical activity — it is founded on one's experience of the Divine within one's self.

But what is it that is "within you" that is to be called forth? I suppose it to be that recognition of my unity with the Divine. Not that I am God, but to acknowledge the fact that I was created in the image of God makes me as much a Son of God as Jesus. That type of unity is shared by every individual on the planet. St. Paul is right when he says we are "sons and daughters of God," but it is not by adoption through Jesus; adoption is not necessary, for all of us were "sons and daughters" from the beginning.

Although we share the unity of being created in the image of God, we remain unique individuals with our unique individual gifts — the "charisms" Paul writes about so movingly. So, when I read this passage from the Gospel of Thomas, I imagine that what needs bringing forth is my unique gift.

I woke up around 4:30 Tuesday morning, which is early for me, and could not get back to sleep. Although there are some stressors at work, I believe the primary reason for this particular incident of insomnia was the fact that I wanted to write something in response to Fr. Stan's death. Somewhere in the area between the conscious and the unconscious, I wanted to write down my reactions before I forgot them.

This reflects a common romantic notion of writers — poets in particular — waiting on inspiration, or being so consumed with inspiration that they are compelled to write. The draw-back to this notion, of course, is what happens when the author no longer "feels" inspired? The landscape of American letters is littered with authors who ended their lives because they believed the flame had gone out.

However, I think this passage from Thomas is about something more than creative inspiration. I think it also applies to one's vocation, or ministry. M. Scott Peck, in his seminal work The Road Less Traveled, defines vocation as the place where one's great gift meets the world's great need.

I have been wrestling with this sense of ministry, and whether I might be called to the ordained ministry. I've been assessing my perceived gifts with as much humility as possible. I've been listening more intentionally to what others say my gifts are, for example. Sometimes people comment positively on my singing or writing, which more or less confirms my own notion of my gifts. Other times, people see areas of competence I was unaware of — a recent example was someone telling me I had a good sense of group dynamics. News to me.

This notion of listening to how others perceive my gifts was suggested by Mother Susan, who recently pointed out that the call to ordained ministry is either affirmed or confirmed by the community. In other words, have people come up to me and asked me whether I've considered the priesthood.

I can recall at least one person at the Cathedral who has asked me this question. The question has come up several times over the past 10-15 years, in other churches. In fact, I've even been asked this question by people outside our denomination within the past couple of months.

A couple of other people at the Cathedral have perceived that I have a gift for teaching — which is certainly useful for an ordained person. All this is worth listening to, evaluating, and pondering. Especially as I prepare to make this process official, by visiting with the Dean of the Cathedral.

As I continue to wrestle.

Divine Teacher, grant me proper discernment of my gifts;
grant me the wisdom to recognize the best application of those gifts;
and the courage and strength to use my gifts in your Way.
I seek to collaborate in your great work of Love*,
that it may come to guide all your creatures.
I ask this calling upon your Holy Name.

So be it.

*See "Augustine Interviews God", part three

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Virgin de Guadalupe
Virgin of Guadalupe
For Fiona (note: actual size is approx. 2" tall)


Idé d’jour

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
— George Bernard Shaw, play write (1856–1950)

At The Cafeteria

At The Cafeteria

Three women
rise from the table,
then walk east.
One says, "I
can multitask. I'm
a woman."
Three women:
maid, mother, matron,
on their way.
Three women
walk as one.
Another try with the "Octologue", a syllabic form which is supposed to report a monologue, and have an air of mystery. This is more straight reportage (I actually saw & heard what's reported, yesterday).

Along with Mike Snider, I like to occasionally let you peak behind the curtain (the link is to Mike's "draft" blog). Happily, making poetry is not normally as messy as making saugages. At any rate, you'll see below an image of the first two drafts; on the left, the Moleskine Journal ™ (3.5 x 5.5"), on the right, my bedside journal (4.75 x 7").

Moleskine ™ version
Three women
rise from the table
then walk east
Three women
maid, mother, matron
walk as a group
One says, "I
can multitask.
I'm a woman."

The bedside journal version is more or less the final, except I've now given it a title, and I deleted the following lines (beginning at line 7):
Three women,
carrying their trays,
pass me by.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


  1. Finale:: Grand
  2. Martial arts:: film
  3. Flirt:: tease
  4. Energy:: wind
  5. Flavor:: full
  6. Guess?:: who?
  7. Accomplishment:: List of
  8. Prom:: Season
  9. Diploma:: mill
  10. Bloody:: hell!


"You know, back in 2000 a Republican friend of mine warned me that if I voted for Al Gore and he won, the stock market would tank, we'd lose millions of jobs, and our military would be totally overstretched. You know what? I did vote for Al Gore, he did win, and I'll be damned if all those things didn't come true."
— James Carville
Reminder: Al Gore won the popular vote.

Idee 5/25

Idée d’jour

In politics, everyone regards themselves as moderate, because they know some sumbitch who's twice as crazy as they are.
— from Blood Done Sign My Name, by Timothy B. Tyson; quoted
in Entertainment Weekly, #766, May 21, 2004, pg. 83.

In Memorium

In Memorium, Father Stan D.
November 20, 1921 – May 18, 2004

Father Stan died on Tuesday, May 18, a week ago today. His funeral was this past Saturday, May 22nd. I can't say I knew him very well. His primary liturgical duties were at the 11:00 service; I normally attend the 9 o'clock. I think I heard him read the Gospel once, about a year and a half ago.

So why did I cry at his funeral?

I suppose it could be by association. I mean, his funeral may have reminded me of other funerals I have attended in my my life. The loss of this man with whom I shared perhaps two face-to-face interactions somehow reminded me of other losses in my life.

But I think it was more than that.

I knew Fr. Stan through "The Community of the Broken Cross," a group of people studying the Rule of St. Benedict. A handful, including Fr. Stan, are oblates of a near-by Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery. The remainder of us seek to apply the Rule to our daily lives, to varying degrees, with varying degrees of success.

Fr. Stan led this group with Mother Nesbitt, who now continues his good work. Fr. Stan would read a passage from the Rule, a meditation, then a commentary. Then the group as a whole would reflect on these passages. This is an application of Lectio Divina, which I have discussed (and applied) elsewhere.

Naturally, Fr. Stan would have his own responses, either to the reading or to the reflections which came out of the group. His reflections were always based on his own experience of a dedicated spiritual life. I maintain that a primary foundation of "integrity" is to practice what one preaches; that is, that one's words be integrated with one's actions.

The man I came to know as Fr. Stan was one who lived his life with integrity.

This is perhaps best exemplified by how he responded to reflections from the group's members. Every time he responded to one of my reflections, for example, I could tell he had truly listened. Even when he disagreed with a point, he would respond respectfully.

As I write this, I remember the first funeral I attended. I was four years old when Grandfather Samuel H— died. Today, I only have two clear memories of Sam: playing chinese checkers, and walking with him to the ice cream shop. I also remember that I cried at his funeral, to the embarrassment of my older brother.

But I knew then, as I know now, that Sam H— loved me. Just as I know that Fr. Stan loved each member of our group. Granted, this was not the love of a grandfather for his youngest grandson — though an argument for similarities may be made. But it was the sincere unconditional love of one who had dedicated his life to the Source of All

Monday, May 24, 2004

Idee 5/24/04

Idée d’jour

We can put television in its proper light by supposing that Gutenberg's great invention had been directed at printing only comic books.
— Robert M. Hutchins, educator (1899-1977)

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Montage, with hat
Our spring day


Verses in Search of Haiku

Leaves whisper as water,
dapple slender stone paths;
late spring afternoon.

Even oak trees lean west,
monkey grass kisses the ground.
Late spring afternoon.

Canyon clouds slowly
scuttle across the sky.
Late spring afternoon.

Yelllow trumpets nod near
heavy wooden chairs.
Late spring afternoon.

This pocket journal
couched upon my lap.
Late spring afternoon.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Idée d’jour

While I have got religion several times in my life, I have always got over it.
Christopher Key, commenting at Dr. Omed's Tent Show

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Indian Blanket
Oklahoma's State Wildflower


Idée d’jour: Jesus, the Man With No Name

Who is Jesus?  He has no name.
— Meister Eckhart
Today's "Idée" was chosen at random from The Gospel According to Zen, ed. by Sohl & Carr.

I think understand why this chosen for a book related to Zen. It has a very koan-like quality to it. In other words, the statement seems to be a contradiction How can one say Jesus has no name right after they have said the name?

But what is true of most of us is equally true of Jesus: the truth of the whole person is not defined by the name alone. The fact I am called James, and that I inherited my name from my paternal grandfather, may tell you a little about me, but it does not give you much of a clue concerning the whole person. The fact that I have given myself a number of pseudonyms — jac, Jason, and Jonah — may tell you something about my sense of fractured identity and my sense of play, but it still doesn't reveal the whole person.

In the case of Jesus, this may be understood in the context of the pre- and post-resurrection Jesus.

Marcus Borg talks about the pre-resurrection Jesus and the post-resurrection Jesus. The pre-resurrection Jesus is the historical Jesus, of whom we know relatively little. Borg's claim is this person never referred to himself as "Son of God" or claimed equality with the Divine. There is no question this was a remarkable person, who reportedly performed a number of miracles. The persistence of a following after his grisly death suggests that much.

Borg sees the resurrection as a metaphor for the persistence of Jesus' teachings, rather than as a physical reality. So, when Borg talks about the post-resurrection Jesus, he is talking about how the disciples and the early church understood the life and teachings of the very human person Jesus.

I would extend this further to say the post-resurrection Jesus is given flesh (as it were) by those who sincerely strive to follow those teachings. In which case, Jesus may be James as easily as Jane. This is the Jesus who has no one name, but abides with each of us as we serve and allow ourselves to be served.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Ideé d’jour

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
— George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


“Poetry is not an occupation, but a verdict.”
— Leonard Cohen


Ideé d’jour

To kill time is not murder, it's suicide.
— William James, psychologist and philosopher (1842-1910)

Princeton Summer

I woke up face down at the east end of Nassau Street.
It was one o'clock Princeton summer.
I rolled over. The air was steamy.

Flat on my back, I watched the clouds.
Pink clouds, forming, then breaking apart.
I wasn't dreaming. They came from the factories.

Last I remembered, I had drank three boilermakers.
That was Friday. I was a block away
from the apartment, where three of us lived.

I was hung over. The pink clouds
hung over me. The sky was pot-luck.
The ground was hanging over the sky.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Indian Blanket as Watercolor
Elsie & I took pictures of native wildflowers on Friday. Here, you see a highly alterred version of Oklahoma's "State Wildflower."

Idee d'jour

Ideé d’jour

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
— Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Ideé d’

We have met the enemy, and he is us.
Walt Kelly, 1913–1973; author and artist of Pogo
For more along this line, see Stephanie's free-ranging post.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Newly Blog-Rolled

Just added a couple of new "virtual" friends to the list on your left:
  • Hail Dubyus! is an editorial cartoon up-dated Monday through Friday. The art is pretty good. I agree more than I disagree (though I do, sometimes, disagree). "Gregorious," as he styles himself, deserves increased readership. Check him out.
  • Saunter and Repose, where Keiko Sono has been posting for about a month. What I've seen so far (especially of her photography) impresses me. Go visit her, and leave a comment. Her recent series of photographs of peonies in progress is worth the price of admission alone.

Thursday, May 13, 2004



God Save King George,
who marches us into the forge,
long may he reign!

God bless his tax cut plan,
and bless the wealthy man
whose riches we maintain.

God save his army bright,
they battle a holy fight
to win God's victory.

Which God will bless the plan
of this compassionate man?
Truth: ’tis the God Ares.

The Poet As Fauve Painting

Old Friends

I've been inspired by Ms. Candide to share a bit of an old school book with you.

Our New FriendsThis comes from my elementary school, James Madison, which I attended from the first grade through the second. As I dimly recall, the book was being phased out, and the teacher simply gave the books to us at the end of the year.

This is one of the classic "Dick & Jane" books There is no print date, but the copyright is 1946 (Scott, Foresman & Co).

Here, you see the Table of Contents. The copyright information is that very fine print at the bottom of the page. The text is a little more complex than the stereotypical "See Dick run.  Run, Dick, run!" Here, the sentences are actually a little longer — as we shall see.

The selection I still remember is "Dark Pony," which the table of contents lists as a folk tale. Here's the first two pages:
Dark Pony

Dark Pony (Folk Tale)
Every night a little dark pony came running along the road.
Every night he took boys and girls to Sleepy Town.
Every night his four little feet came galloping, galloping, galloping.
His color was dark, and he came at dark.
So that is why all the children called him Dark Pony.

One night a boy met Dark Pony running along the road.
The little boy called,
 "Please take me down
 To Sleepy Town."
Dark Pony stopped running.
Up jumped the little boy, and away they went.
Galloping, galloping, galloping.

[Next a little girl, then a little puppy, then Grey Squirrel]

How happy they all were!
They sang and sang and sang.
Soon Dark Pony began to go slower and slower and slower and slower.
He was coming to Sleepy Town.
The puppy, the squirrel, the boy, and the girl were all very sleepy.
And so was Dark Pony.
Slower and slower he went, and at last he stopped.
He had come to Sleepy Town.
And so had the puppy, the squirrel, the boy, and the girl.
They all had come to Sleepy Town.
It's odd. Whenever I think of this entry, I think of it as a poem. It's sort of formatted as a poem, but it does not have a regular rhyme scheme or metrical pattern that I can discern. Primarily, it has repetition; but it is more or less the same sort of repetition common to the remainder of the book.

If it pleases me to call it a poem, it does no one any harm. But I wonder what Mike Snider would say?

Ideé d’jour

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
— H.G. Wells, writer (1866-1946)
The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God seed into God.
— Meister Eckhart, quoted in The Gospel According to Zen, ed. Sohl & Carr.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Insanity of War

Oklahoma Senator Jim Imhofe has guaranteed himself a spot on the news by making a patently absurd comment about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib: "You know, they're not there for traffic violations." Now, as a self-proclaimed "extreme right-wing radical conservative," Senator Imhofe no doubt believes that everyone American police arrest here are automatically guilty as well. Most others recognize, as do senators of both parties, that some in Abu Ghraib were falsely imprisoned. Hearing Senator Imhofe's comments make me want to disown the state in which I was born.

The recent murder of Nick Berg will most likely add fuel to Sen. Imhofe's righteous indignation. No doubt, Sen. Imhofe will view this video of proof that we battle barbarians, who must be destroyed utterly. Take, for example, this well-reasoned essay in the National Review. No doubt Sen. Imhofe will call for us to bomb them all.

Continuing with the Berg story, there's a new twist on blaming the victim:
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Berg was in Iraq "of his own accord" and had been advised to leave Iraq but refused. The official refused to elaborate but promised more information later Wednesday. [CNN on-line]
Happily, his father has been brave enough to offer another version of that story:
According to his family, Berg, a small telecommunications business owner, spoke to his parents on March 24 and told them he would return home on March 30. But he was detained by Iraqi police at a checkpoint in Mosul on March 24.

Berg was turned over to U.S. officials and detained for 13 days. His father, Michael, said his son wasn't allowed to make phone calls or contact a lawyer. On April 5, the Bergs filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, contending that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military. The next day Berg was released. He told his parents he hadn't been mistreated. His family last heard from him April 9 but it was unclear when and where he was abducted. [same article]
To connect these two stories, the "eye for an eye" morality cited by Mr. Berg's killers is no different from Imhofe's contention that the Al Ghraib prisoners got what they deserved because they're terrorists. If there is a difference, it is only by degree. Both incidents simply prove that humans are capable of inflicting untold abuse on their fellow creatures. Not exactly a major headline.

I believe it was Gandhi who originally said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth would eventually leave us hungry and blind. I pray people will not see this murder as a justification for our presence in Iraq, or for increased military retaliation.

The situation in that beleaguered country gets exponentially worse with each week, to the point that the VietNam analogy no longer holds. By which I mean to say that the situation seems to be getting worse faster than it did in 'Nam. For example, revelations about the Mai Lai massacre did not become public until sometime in the '70s — by which point, America had been involved in VietNam since sometime in the late 50s. The revelations about prisoner abuse are being made a little over one year after the "end of major conflict."
Britney Spears Sings the Blues
For Pat

The day is longer than my noonday shadow
the leaves are greener than her eyes
The wind comes up, the trees courtsey,
And the leaves sing with a voice of many waters

I walk the cathedral harbor
Where shellfish prayers
Prick my fingers
Barbed wire twines the afternoon
I walk the formidable sidewalk DNA
Through dog-bush warrens
And her impossible magnolia eyes

Light plays feline mazurkas
Across the fractured concrete
Each door could be hers
Each window a foreign country
And though I have chanted the ancient stones
Her shade follows me from pillar to post

Monday, May 10, 2004

More Current Events

Courtesy of the erstwhile Brother Dave, I've read this article by Greg Palast, which discusses Disney's decision not to distribute Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9-11. According to Mr. Palast, Moore's film is based on a documentary Palast unsuccesfully tried to distribute to the U.S.

The theme of Palast's documentary, and Moore's entertainment, is the background of why the administration has not further investigated possible Saudi ties to Al Queida and the 9/11 attacks. News flash for the handful of Faux News lovers who somehow stumbled here: most of the men who highjacked those planes were Saudi, not Iraqi or Afghani.

According to Palast (and Moore) the reason that particular lead has been stiffled is the most American reason around: money. GHWB has very close ties to the Saudis, and there's an amazing amount of Saudi money in GWB's campaign war chest.

Meanwhile, Emily forwarded an essay by Bill Moyers on how media conglomeration has affected the quality of information we receive. Sadly, I don't know the origin of the essay, so I can't link to it. Here's an excerpt:
The war in Iraq has become also a war of images. This week, we were troubled by pictures of tortured Iraqi prisoners. Last week, it was photographs of American soldiers who have given their lives there.

On Friday a week ago on Nightline, Ted Koppel read the names of the dead and showed their photographs. But their faces and names were blacked out on ABC stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting. Sinclair accused Koppel of "...doing nothing more than making a political statement."

But what about Sinclair's own political agenda? With 62 stations the company is the biggest of its kind in the country and has lobbied successfully in Washington for permission to grow even bigger. Its executives are generous contributors to the Republican party.
Sinclair's not alone with cozy ties to Washington. Clear Channel, the biggest radio conglomerate in the country (with twelve hundred stations plus), was a big winner in the deregulation frenzy triggered by Congress in 1996. Last year Clear Channel was a cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq with pro-war rallies.

Rupert Murdoch's a big Washington winner, too. Congress and the Republican controlled Federal Communications Commission let him off the hook even though his News Corp. owned more stations than the rules allowed.

Murdoch also controls Fox News, another big cheerleader for American policy in Iraq, [and] the New York Post. For a week, the Post refused to publish photographs of those tortured Iraqi prisoners saying the pictures would "reflect poorly" on the troops risking their lives there.
Nowadays, these mega-media conglomerates relieve government of the need for censorship by doing it themselves. So we're reminded once again that journalism's best moments have come not when journalists make common cause with the state but stand fearlessly independent of it. A free press remains everything to a free society.
Finally, from the Smiling Chimp, comes this theory that GWB has chosen stupidity as an Oedipal response to his mostly absent father (famously known as G "Herbert Hoover" WB). This gibes fairly well with what I'm currently reading in American Dynasty by Kevin Phillips. This book is an impressive combination political/psychological biography and sociological analysis.

Ideé d’jour

All know that the drop merges into the ocean but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.
— Kabir, reformer, poet (late 15th century)

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Benefit Concert Tonight

I know it's short notice, but Da Band is doing a benefit concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral tonight in Oklahoma City. Tickets are $5 at the door.

If you're new to this web-log, you don't know that I'm a vocalist/harp blower for this group of middle-aged miscreants. We're playing stuff from the 50s & 60s. Some Stones, a respectable amount of Beatles, some Carl Perkins ... well, you get the idea. We've been rehearsing for several months since our last gig, so I imagine folk will really hear a difference.

As vocalist, I'm sort of the "boy singer", in that I'm normally called on to sing ballads like "My Girl" or "And I Love Her". The exceptions are "Like a Rolling Stone" and the Elvis Presley medley. Folk try to give me Moon Pies after the Presley thing; not sure why.

Anyway, proceeds benefit St. Paul's Outreach Commission, whose projects extend beyond the cathedral walls — some even extend beyond Oklahoma City. So, it's a good cause.

St. Paul's is at N.W. 7th & Robinson, downtown OKC. The concert is in Dean Willey Hall, which is the middle of three buildings. Concert begins with an opening band at 7:00, then Da Band follows somewhere between 7:15 and 7:30.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Midday Sketch

Sky dome arcs
from north-east to south-west
from north-west to south-east
her marian blue robe
stretches from north pole
to southern cross

Great turtle slowly turns
as she builds her nest
creature of habit, she
tracks the course of her beloved
across the day

Dust is stirred by her massive feet
it colors the sky like a sand painting

Who doesn't belong?
Perhaps the vigilant owls
at the hem of Aurora's gown
Perhaps the four hawks preceding her
And the eight silver kites behind
Perhaps the buffalo or puma,
the coyote, or the jackrabbit
Perhaps this tiny circle of Red Dirt
she smiles upon
But she smiles because she loves it
most of all
Work in progress. You may note the "vigilant owls", which I have included as an homage to the good Dr. O.

What you see here is transcribed from my Moleskine Journal®. I have a feeling the "Who does not belong" stanza will change in the next transcription. Stay tuned.


Stray scrap of envelope flap
shopping list
credit card receipt
plastic-encased pictograph of Horus on papyrus
multi-colored ribbons

Where she works
where she once sang
her powder-blue scrubs
her green station wagon
her tent in the storm
the hovel where we kissed
even the street

Her head seen from behind
her long soft hair
her breast pressed against mine
her hands
her silken tongue
her voice in lost afternoons

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Hazardous Duty

I've seen and heard a couple of stories recently on the relatively short life spans of poets. This reminds me of the parlor game Dr. Omed & I like to play: listing all the writers we can think of who killed themselves.

Limiting it for the moment to 20th C Americans, there's Hemingway (who wrote some pretty bad poetry), Plath, Anne Sexton, and Fitzgerald (via drink). I believe there's a lot more, but those are all the names I can think of at the moment.

On the other hand, poetry might be less risky than construction work. Doubt I'm going to end up with 6 pens or pencils driven into my head and neck any time soon.

Actually, that short life-span thing seems like pretty hopeful news to me. My retirement plan consists of dying at age 65.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Current Events

Please read "Business as Usual" at Dick Jones' Patteran Pages.  It's the first sensible response to the "shocking" tapes of our soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq.  Bottom line:  we train these guys to kill.  At the same time, most major religions teach it is wrong to kill. In order to overcome this moral repugnance against killing, soldiers are taught to consider the enemy less than human. So, as Dick points out, it's more shocking we haven't heard a story similar to this sooner.

On the less sensible or reasonable side, see this report (Sick, Sick, Sick) on Rush Limbaugh's reaction. I've glanced at the transcript at Rush's site, and the quotes are accurate. Rush does say Marv Albert would be turned on by the pics, and seems draw a moral equivalence with Britney Spears' stage show. Proving once again that Rush is an entertainer, not a commentator who should be taken seriously.

Those who have used Saddam's torture palaces as justification for our invasion are hopefully reconsidering that position. It definitely must look to the Iraqis like the American bully is as bad as the Baathist bully. Certainly, the publication of these images make the situation several times worse.

Finally, this cartoon by Gregorious gives you a fair notion how civil liberties are doing here at home.

Ideé d’jour

Love is like war; easy to begin but very hard to stop.
— H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Monday, May 03, 2004

New Card

You may recall, a coupla weeks ago, my reporting an international collaboration with Natalie d’Arbeloff (the alter-ego of Augustine, or vice-versa; both of whom live in England). She was trusting enough to lend me four digitally-created images, and I have been ever-so-slowly writing poetic responses to them.

Originally, I had pictured this like a series of panels. Ultimately, we agreed it was best if each image/poem combination stood on its own. So far, we've got The Apparition and Escape. Just this morning I completed the penultimate image/poem. Natalie has approved it, so now I can share Stardust with you.

Between these wonderful images and aubergines, I hardly have an excuse to have residual writer's block.

Back to the Moleskine Journal® ....


  1. Sexy :: Beast
  2. Clique :: high school
  3. Pledge :: allegiance
  4. Carbs :: low
  5. Dream Job :: dream life
  6. Sweeps :: stake
  7. Soundtrack :: movie
  8. Hero :: sandwich
  9. Shave :: Burma
  10. Christina :: ballerina

Meditation on Owls

Dr. Omed posted the following mini-dissertation in the comments section of Thistle & Hemlock:
Owl, in Middle English "oule;" Old English "ille" cognate with Low German "ule" and German "eule" all from the presumed proto-Germanic "uwwalo" or "uwwilo." Another derivation of owl is Icelandic "ugla" cognate to "ugglier" which came into English via Scandinavian as "ugly." In contrast to the modern meaning of ugly, "uggligr" means fearful, dreadful. Owl in Hindi is "ul" or "ulu;" Latin "bubo" Greek "buas" Hebrew "o-ah" Nepali "huhu."

The Owl Lodge was an old institution among the Oglala Sioux. The Sioux venerated the Snowy Owl; warriors who had shown bravery in battle could wear a cap of owl feathers. However, many Athabascan tribes fear the owl and consider it taboo. The Yakama tribes in Washington State regard the owl as a powerful totem.

The Hindu Goddess Laxmi rides an owl.

There was flightless owl species on Andros Island in the Bahamas, now extinct and known only from recovered remains. "Tytopollens" stood one meter tall and according to old local tales were apparently thought to be leprechaun like imps called "chickeharnies," with three toes, and able to turn their heads all the way around.

Athena Pronoia's bird was a little owl, Athena Noctua; as it was held sacred and thus protected the owl inhabited the acropolis in great numbers.

Australian Aborigines believe owls represent the souls of women, as bat do for the men, Thus, an owl is every man's sister, daughter, and mother.

Owl in Scots Gaelic is "coileach;" cognate "Cailleach" means old woman. The owl is often associated with the crone aspect of the Goddess.

The earliest image of an owl may be a paleolithic drawing of Snowy Owls (Nyctea Scandiaca) in a cave in France. Other owl petroglyphs have been found from the Victoria River Valley in North Australia to the Columbia River in Washington. A Screech Owl is part of a bas relief of Mayan ruler "3" in Dos Pilas in Guatemala.

"I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls." Job 30:29

<snip> ...I've been trying to write a poem on owls, the owls that are not what they seem, for several years now. Thus far I have failed utterly.
Impressive work. As an aside, I've found that a lot of study on a topic can kinda plug up the poetic works. The temptation is to frustrate oneself while trying to throw in everything one has learned.

I had this same problem in my unfininshed poem on the Columbia disaster (I never got further than the introit). I bought a couple of special issues, read the official biographies of the astronauts who died, followed the theories on the cause of the disaster ... and ended up totally blocked. Finally had to let go of the project to move ahead with any kind of writing at all.

For good or ill, I did not have this problem with the Aubergine sestina which appears below. I did a bit of research, and a couple of the links reflect said research. Guess I did ok — Josh called it "rather lovely" in an e-mail.

As for owls, I'm content to ask them to make cameo appearances in an occassional poem.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

In Defense of Aubergine

Adam was in a restaurant in Cape Town
when he noticed something upon his plate:
a glossy fruit, a curious mad apple,
and the wild purple on the pure white
reminded him of eggs in a secret garden.
There — lightly sauteed — the mysterious aubergine.

Eve watched him delicately slice the aubergine
into neat quarters.  The Cape Town
afternoon swept across the restaurant garden
as sunlight danced upon his plate.
Adam speared a slice, carried it from white
to his mouth like a shiny forbidden apple.

And the "oh" of it was a tender apple
bush, that bitter-sweet aubergine.
The table cloth was blue, the sky was white
as silence seemed to rule that Cape Town
patio where Adam cleaned his plate
bite by bite, like birds in a garden.

Eve was thinking of summer jazz in the garden
of another eatery, near the Big Apple.
What was the name? — she had the salad plate —
ah, she knew it now — it was the Aubergine.
Well, that was a world away from Cape Town
where the sea is blue & the waves are white.

"This is good," he said, his eyes shining white
as his left hand swayed like a garden.
He was thinking of leaving Cape Town
for it was no longer a diamond apple.
But for now, he was lost in aubergine,
lost in the disks left on his plate.

Eve had already cleaned her plate
and was waiting for a soft white
chocolate mousse. She'd had no aubergine
that was not fresh from the garden.
For dessert, she ordered an apple,
a foreigner in Cape Town.

They left Cape Town, and Adam's plate,
sharing the apple and the white
sky. Left the garden, blessed by aubergine.

For more on this, see Josh's entries at Cahiers de Corey, beginning 2:21 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28. Josh is keeping a pretty extensive list of other blogs which have picked up this “meme” in his subsequent entries. Even Katey, one of my favorite poets, has entered the fray.
aubergine [oh-behr-ZHEEN], n.
1: hairy upright herb native to southeastern Asia but widely cultivated for its large glossy edible fruit commonly used as a vegetable [syn: eggplant, brinjal, eggplant bush, garden egg, mad apple, Solanum melongena]
2: egg-shaped vegetable having a shiny skin typically dark purple but occasionally white or yellow [syn: eggplant, mad apple]

WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University
<jargon> A secret term used to refer to computers in the presence of computerphobic third parties.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © 1993-2003 Denis Howe

Both courtesy of