London Calling

I was in London once: British museum, Tate, bookstores, a little impromptu performance stuff before leaving for India.

King's Road was just closing; I picked up all the best boots, scarves, comics, EVER on clearance sale.  Which made me pretty darned kookie in Bodh Gaya, India.
My Mom, who is infinitely wise, strong, and loving (really!) challenged me to remember last Christmas.

The 24th and the 25th are a blank for me.  I know my behaviour must have been outrageous.


I did, will always ever, love a wonderful person who shared, or might have shared, or celebrate, or, whatever, holidays.

1) Refugee Thanksgiving

We made an orange and brown jello mold dessert.  I have that power, given assistance, and we worked together.  There were after dinner games, during which my partner didn't listen to me re:  hints on winning the game, and I did become a wee bit frustrated; afterwards, dancing on the steps of the Natural History Museum, which he refused to join.  We get home, full of turkey.  Everything I've said during the course of the evening, it turns out, revealed my stupidity, cupidity, and reflected poorly upon him.  Especially dancing with my dear friend from grad school.

2) Thanksgiving several years later

My sister is having Thanksgiving; more than 20 people will be there, and she is an amazing cook.  Somebody refuses to attend.  I roast two enormous Turkey drumsticks, make the sweet potatoes just right, rolls and stuffing and gravy.  I take out the good dishes, and serve the meal to him on a TV tray, because he is sulking in front of the tv.  I drive myself across town alone, have a decent time, although doing that sort of thing is very lonely.  The feasting lasts awhile, but I leave early, because there's an unspoken curfew.  I get home, the house is dark, and the untouched meal is in the garbage can.

3) A Thanksgiving Brunch

My sister and future brother-in-law have a better feast to attend, but I can't replicate former THX.  I invite my Uncle and Aunt, and my sister and her partner agree to come for brunch.  We have turkey sausage, omelets, home fries/stuffing.  It is cool.  My sister makes one of her signature dishes to bring to the other party.  They say, you know you can come with us.  I say, no, I can't.

4) The other party

So, this is another huge, gala, Thanksgiving feast.

I decide I'm going.  I show up early.  My sister and I make the gravy, seemingly out of nothing, because there aren't enough pan juices.  He decides to show up during the meal.  Thanks for working out the designated driver thing.

5) One Easter

Easter Sunday is a day an art auction is scheduled.  WiFi, computers, at the host house?  Nah.  I'm gonna stay home and buy a [major picture] by [major artist] depicting the aftermath of a huge holiday meal. Lovely painting.

these are out of order, right now:

6) Christmas?  Try New Years.

I don't even remember what happened during that Christmas anymore.  It was one of those holidays I packed my bags and was ready to leave.   After that, we fell in love with each other again; we booked a suite in a nice hotel on the beach for New Years, a place we could bring our pet.  My parents were very confused by this falling back in love situation.  We didn't like the band at the hotel, my friends who were supposed to have fun with us were going through their own problems.  We wandered around in tux and ballgown; I made some Bellinis.  We drank them on the balcony, we drank them on the beach, he proposed for the second time.  Gobsmacked, devastatingly romantic, honest and true.

7)  The worst Christmas ever #2

8) The worst Christmas ever #3

9) The worst Christmas ever #4

10) The time I went home and had a good Christmas with my fabulous family

11) The Christmas I was seriously ill

So I hadn't started radiation yet, but because I had had lymph nodes removed, I wasn't supposed to raise my arm.  So who is the short woman in charge of decorating the top of the Christmas tree?  The one who is unable to move a ladder?  Yeah.  Something snapped inside of my body.  I heard/felt it. Physical Therapist and Lymphatic message people said it was probably ok and sorta fixed it.

12) The Christmas I was only sick

A little bit of perspective:  my Mom always worked really hard on Christmas, our extended family came into town, often (or it seemed to me, almost always) in the middle of a blizzard, and most of these holidays, she became very sick.  I did it to myself more than once.  Call it a family tradition, except that my sister is much smarter than this.

This particular holiday, I'm already on antibiotic for an intestinal problem, and then the green phlegm starts.  Our internist calls in very strong antibiotic, says, "The green phlegm is laughing at your current antibiotic."  I spend most of the holiday in bed, waited on hand and foot by my husband, parents, sister.  My husband and Dad go to the library to get me reading material, and my husband begins my love affair with the very long, dense, book about a dictator (mentioned elsewhere on this blog).  Well done!  One of my favorite memories; he's a genius at selecting books.  Because there is no plot, it is difficult to read more than a page without falling to sleep.  Read a page about Mussolini, sleep.  Read another page about Mussolini, sleep.  By New Years, I'm still in bed, but he moves the television into my bedroom.  Many mutual assurances that I'm no longer contagious, and that some champagne isn't going to kill me.  Best New Years "in" ever.

13) The Christmas he was seriously ill

The previous Christmas had been difficult, so we book our flights and then my husband starts not feeling well.  I am callous, although concerned.  Our internist, who is a great diagnostician, can't figure it out.  Parrot Fever?  It is not pneumonia.  I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the ailment, so he stays home and I go to my family, 3000 miles away.  The evening of December 24, he calls me at my parents' party.  He has had to drive himself, all alone, to the emergency room, not being able to breathe, and was able to get treatment and beg the doctors not to spend the holiday in the hospital.  A friend of my family is a 1,000,000 miler; I get on the next plane home.  He is gasping for air, and can't fill his prescriptions.  Still in my party clothes, I go to the drugstore open on Christmas Day and get them filled.  I failed my true love.  This changed our lives.

14) The holiday we tried, but it didn't work, #1

15) The holiday we tried, but it didn't work, #2

16) The Christmas we pulled it together #1

17) Magical Halloween #1

18) Magical Halloween #2

19) Magical Halloween #3


Some Christmases

The Christmas Room with a tree so large most of the furniture had to be removed, and the chandelier swapped out, but with my sister's dollhouse in it, with a tiny tree in a room inside that lit up.

The giant gold ornaments stapled to the ceiling another year, the year moving the couch, he broke his foot.

The Christmas morning we loaded up the car with all our gifts and drove to my sister's apartment (where my parents were staying) in our pajamas.

The holiday in Florida where we begged out of the hotel and stayed with my family in the bed where I was conceived..

The Christmas he made a Santa Claus out of pillows and cotton balls.  The Christmas we made all of our ornaments -- and a creche -- out of vacuum tubes.  The Christmas we decorated the round ball ornaments as one might decorate Easter eggs.

The Christmas he gave my Dad a live chicken (help from my sister and I), and Dad retaliated by sending live lobsters for New Year's.

Our turducken holiday:  the Christmas after we were married and his step father died.  Fate rewarded us with an impossibly large tree for a very modest amount of money.  And then we had a New Year's banquet with a balloon drop and dancing and everything.


On Barcelona: Catherine Daly

On Barcelona: Catherine Daly: In the Garden Non Serviam Light falls, respects no source. Said, done: light bends, time dilates. Emit, detect ...


How to Jink High School GPA (old school)

After a singularly disappointing student/parent/teacher conference with my assigned freshman adviser, Mrs. "Sarge" Tregillis (she of the incarcerated husband; she who broke up a food fight in the cafeteria once by wielding a 2 x 4, and, yes, taught MARTIAN CHRONICLES in Honors Freshman English (what are we, 11?)), my Dad and I made a lunch date at Wendy's with some legal pads, black Pilot fine line felt tip pens, and the curriculum.

There was a scholarship for the incoming Freshman with the highest test scores.  Three students tied in the 99th percentile; only one of these was male, so he got the scholarship.

There were three tracks, and the Honors track was weighted, which meant that Bs counted as As in other courses, such as those required by the State, like "Health" and "Consumer Science."

I had been taking private French lessons since 3rd grade.  During 8th grade, we'd covered the French I textbook.  I was elevated to French II.  French II was opposite the Freshman Science course, so I took Sophomore Science (Biology).  French would be my first key.

There was a minor furor about this, even though in the public schools Bio was a Freshman course.  The school Principal, then a nun, told the parents at some meeting that "he" (meaning me), was an exceptional student.  Parents calmed down.

During the summer, I would take a History class.  This meant that Sophomore year, I would take weighted Science (Anatomy/Physiology), weighted French III, and no History, so that I could double-up on Math, and take both Geometry and weighted Algebra II.  Junior year, I would take Math IV (basically trig/pre-calc), French IV, and the normal etc.  By the end of Senior year, then, I would have taken every single weighted class available, and even if I got some Bs, would have a greater than 4.0 average.  I got to take Pottery as my first? only? elective. No wait, I took some social work-during-study-hall course that had me going to what passes as a sidewalk cafe in my hometown for lunch before being a TA at a grade school.

Thanks, Dad.  Even in a terrible school with no AP, no CLEP advisement, nada, we did it.


sign systems have developed for interpretive reasons
constraint is not form, but form  is a constraint
to quietly make in the face of loss
to be everywhere and nowhere
to know that however carefully and considerately made, all things will be lost
I do not look into your eyes; I look at them
I attend what you see and when you close your eyes
I guess we will lose our sight and our feeling, and the soft sounds we make will also vanish
I have a mild curiousity about animals in early film. 
Beings more or less than the makers.  
what I learned from living near a graft of a graft of the original Bo tree: 
things I have learned: 

don't tell anyone about the voices & visions

Actually, it is completely OK to tell some artist friends about the voices and visions, because either they have them too and/or they understand this is a talent and a tool, not a problem.

There is a joke my husband used to relate.  It started with the voice saying, "Kill your wife..." and the guy says, but I'm not married.  The voice says, "Is this Bob?"  The guy says, no, my name is Stu.  The voice says, "Oh, wait, ok, "Kill your boss...""

There's research that indicates that untrained composers who hear music and learn to transcribe it are hearing echos, that the music isn't wholly original, it is derivative.

There is evidence that many visionaries are migraineurs reporting/depicting their auras.

I get to control mine.  "I'm gonna amp up the bass and vary the beat a little."  Plus, the more you know, the more various the sounds and images become.

Never, ever tell anyone about the voices and visions who doesn't understand them.


a very big machine

I should have requested the metal template they made for me to direct the radiation.  They make one for each person; it has to be forged or something.  They make a jagged pattern in sharpie on your body, do a transfer onto graph paper, and then make the piece of metal.  I'm sure that I paid thousands of dollars for it; I guess it might be radioactive, though.  Or that they melt it down for the next person.

They give you little dot tattoos; I remember when I got mine, and joking with the tech that she would probably make a lot more money doing that for a living.  She agreed, but said she was better at science than drawing, but that the needles or whatever and ink were better quality than other gixmos for making tattoos (total lack of tattoo knowledge).

So the machine has a feature to project a big green target onto the sufferer, and the tattoos are to align everything before the med techs go into another room, very far away and behind foot thick walls of lead, and then turn the machine on.  It is one of those places a woman might work where you are on maternity leave the moment you conceive and get a day off if you're a little late.

They take xrays from different angles, and then zap through the metal template.  The machine moves around you.

Yes, I'm geeky; I read the documentation on the machine.  It was the brand new Aston Martin convertible of machines.  It was a pretty light green color.

A nice woman who gave me her more preferable appointment time when she finished said, why can't they make these tiny dots into hearts, smilies, or something?  I know a lot of women do that after the fact.

It doesn't hurt or anything, not just then.  Everyone's really nice, you get warmed-up blankets, they pipe in music over the intercom, tell you when you can breathe, when it is almost over. Because I was young, curious, not particularly afraid, and often commented on the music selections, they made me feel like I was getting a gold star every morning. "You're wearing lipstick and mascara!" I wore the flame doc martin mary janes my Dad gave me eons ago the first day.  Everyone thought that was hilarious.

They explained things, showed me their computer set up, acts which I find far more soothing than "calming music."  They stopped playing that calming music, and started playing actual, real, music for me.  They did get a little peeved at me for being bored and hopping on a computer to check my e-mail.  "You could be accessing other medical records!"  "But I'm not, and this connection is slow -- why? Call IT."

I suffer every single side effect from everything; I chalk it up to being a poet, rhetorically, in conversation, but this is not who I am.  This treatment temporarily harmed my lung below where the cancer had been.  I needed every single iota of good will I had built up from being cheerful when I went completely crazy.


I did request sound files from MRI and from the MRI companies themselves (very official, I can do that; redirected to another depaertment, hey), nada -- even though all the MRI machines are named things like "Symphony."  My friend Candy Campbell was able to send me the sounds from her MRIs.  She had a nice MRI tech.

reason for the season

Now that it is "season" in Florida, the paramedic and ambulance traffic has picked up, something I first noticed when family vacationing in Boca more than 30 years ago.


I like that holiday where you get to drag trees into the house.  The spring one, where you bring in branches and hang eggs as sort of a nesting indicator; the winter one with big evergreens to which I am allergic.

Last year's holiday seasons were dreadful.  The ones before were bad; heck -- I did my best and it just wasn't good enough.

I hear all these stories about how celebrating holidays is something that's gendered.

(must... think... more)


I like to celebrate holidays.  Holy Days, hook me up with the ones that are celebrations.  Symbolic days?  One of my favorite memories is baking a cake with Bea (we just wanted cake, obviously), and spelling out "Happy September 23rd" in frosting on the top.  (note:  memory dates and details may not be accurate)  

Kmal and I were talking on the phone the other night, and we shared our Jehovah's Witness stories.  You know, the religion that predicted the rapture, oh, a few years back, but "every day is a celebration" and so no holidays are celebrated.  In word processing at a merchant bank where I worked, there was a lovely woman who was a Witness.  She would go out and randomly buy her small son a briefcase, gifts, etc.  That was cool.  We in the department were able to convince her that Asti Spumante was not alcoholic. Every day IS a celebration.  

We lived in a neighborhood adjacent to a Kingdom Hall for a while, so Saturday afternoons were spent being dragged to the door from yard work and politely accepting copies of THE WATCHTOWER.  

Kmal had two nice women wake him from a sound sleep the other week, and he was struck by their questions.  "Do you celebrate every day?" they asked.  D'oh; he was obviously sleeping away an afternoon.  "Are you patient?"  they asked.  Then they gave him some magazines.  

Oh, the clip art!  The magical blend of poor writing and fabulation!

We decided that this was actually a great gig; just knock on doors, ask "do you celebrate every day?", "are you patient?" and hand out old National Geographics, Scientific Americans, or something.  


bad day that could have been an important day

So I'm late for my appointment in the a.m., but we're triple-agreed on the evening plan:  beach, dinner, sleep. My doctor forgives me for being late, and after that I spend a fun afternoon giggling with a dear friend in a pool cabana in an Hollywood hotel.  I'm running a little late to get to the beach, but just as I realize I have to shower and change, my surgeon calls me.  "Bad biopsy," she says.  Ultrasound appointment tomorrow to confirm the mass.  My first thought is, "ok, beach, dinner, sleep is the correct response" to this news.

He is frustrated by traffic; he has had a bad day; plans change.   He went to his happy place, a brew pub that, having visited previously, I knew offered no adult beverages I could drink and no food.  Dinner:  somewhere the hipsters he hates live.  The Vietnamese noodle shop nearby that has some vegan dishes and will not have unacceptable fellow consumers?  No.  Even the smell of fish is nauseating to him.  I anticipate a lot of whining.  Then, a baseball game, except that, while I like to see one game a year:   home opener, box seats, or neighborhood bus extravaganza, I really don't like baseball, I've experienced some stadium parking meltdowns in the past and he was annoyed by traffic already, and there is no food at the stadium either one of us can eat.  This was a TRIPLE-AGREED BEACH ROMANTIC PLAN AND I HAD RECEIVED AWFUL NEWS.

When I showed up at the brew pub and got some water, he was on his laptop re-booking his flight and looking for an airport-adjacent hotel nowhere near the beach.  I started answering e-mails and receiving sympathetic calls from my friends, and he took away my phone.  I actually sat there drinking water while he worked on his computer for a few minutes.  He loudly asks the brewery staff if they have anything I can drink.  I had been there before!  And then he gets another pint of beer.  As my cellphone battery lay dying... I grabbed it and ran to the bathroom and called some friends.  Full of moral support, I walked back to the table and picked up my purse and keys.

Two hours later, the fight finished.

a slammingly beautiful day

We walk out in the morning to a coffee shop, our orders are in sync by now, and the most beautiful barrista knows what we want; well, what he wants now that he's changed his order, realizes I want the same thing, but with less ice.  We say, "hey" to to the laptop-surfing dudes, and they clear the window table with view and sunshine next to the bookcase with Time-Life Encyclopedia of the Paranormal in it.  We have a typically morning-coffee loopy conversation, "what do you think about spontaneous combustion?  Look."

I go to my appointment -- not only great news, but I have been a lesson about how to do follow-on biopsies finding pre-cancer in breast cancer survivors.  I make the doctor's office print out the poetry manuscript I've been working.  I buy a bottle of champagne of a sort that has special meaning to us, but it is warm.   I interrupt his work to put it in the fridge, say "it is a celebration", then get lost.  I return at five, it is still sunny, and he says, "I'm going to get the rest of dinner."  While we generally cook together well, this is our secondmost exceptional meal (runner up is wild salmon poached in white wine with dill, broccoli rabe).  "Unusually yummy, what sort of meat was that?" we asked each other.  Thin-sliced rib eye (treated as skirt steak by me), we discovered, after I rifled through the trash.  And we finished the champagne as the sun set.

everything in my closet and all my shoes

I would do my hair, put on makeup, and wear a different pair of shoes each day.  I gave the med techs renovation advice; I complemented the ladies who did need to be accompanied on their beaded slippers; I bought stuff women were selling to raise money for their childrens’ schools.  I brought milk in, so I could have it in my coffee, instead of that weird powdered stuff.  There was a nice man who came in an ambulance every morning.  I would share The New York Times. 

I didn’t need a ride to radiation, which was what everyone wanted to do for me, drive me;  I needed peace and understanding that for the rest of the day, when everything would seem to me to be “deal off” or “where’s the party?” I would talk to the people who came to radiation with their friends & lovers to feel better about themselves.  “I’ve lost 20 pounds following  her cancer diet,” and “doesn’t she look great?”  Or I would ask the questions, carefully.

Driving there, I would pull back the sunroof on the car which smelled bad from hauling stuff (only BMW registered as a hauler at the Eagle Rock dump!).  It was sunny, being Southern California, and I accumulated mardi gras beads on my rear view mirror:   one with a parrot on it, from Dad, and some from when Dad and I visited New Orleans; one from the vet who helped us rescue cats; some left over from 17 years before, when we had been to New Orleans.

There was a Leonardo de Vinci coffee table book in the inner waiting room; my husband had written a play about him, and so I had done all of the research alongside him, out of curiosity.  I think I took notes on the book. 

I didn’t need casseroles I couldn’t eat (note to self:  accept food for husband), or yoga, or some crazy herbalist telling me what to do.  I accepted and respectfully tried all sorts of strange advice given to me by well-meaning friends.  I confronted the big machine every morning.  It is called death. 


I didn’t know that real people, people who care – we say care “body, mind, and soul” but to me those are not separable entities  -- you know, people who go to sleep with you at night and wake up with you in the morning – wouldn’t have minded the evil drain for the lymph and blood after the surgery and kept getting clogged.  Not that my husband wasn’t open to that, but how do you say, “I don’t need your help with this, but, see?”  if your relationship is so screwed that he sleeps on the couch watching security cameras and you know your best bet is putting a game face on, and he says, “oh, all this vomiting and your loopiness is from the pain meds – you’re on pain meds, aren’t you?”

Still he asks:  won’t you go out and adjust the cameras and the lights?  These plants are dying; can you water them?  Plenty of people with cancer have jobs.


Barbara Maloutas,
Bruce Williams
Anthony Lee

Join us on
December 9, 2012 
at The Majestical Roof at 5pm

This Open Mic poetry show, hosted by Alex M. Frankel, happens on the second Sunday of every month in the heart of Old Town Pasadena. Great poets perform their work, sell and sign books, plus mingle with audience members and open mic participants.


found in wikipedia

1 Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope?
2 Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook?
3 Will he keep begging you for mercy? Will he speak to you with gentle words?
4 Will he make an agreement with you for you to take him as your slave for life?
5 Can you make a pet of him like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls?
6 Will traders barter for him? Will they divide him up among the merchants?
7 Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?
8 If you lay a hand on him, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
9 Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering.
10 No-one is fierce enough to rouse him. Who then is able to stand against me?
11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.
12 I will not fail to speak of his limbs, his strength and his graceful form.
13 Who can strip off his outer coat? Who would approach him with a bridle?
14 Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth?
15 His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.
21 His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth.
22 Strength resides in his neck; dismay goes before him.
23 The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable.
24 His chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.
25 When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make him flee, sling stones are like chaff to him.
29 A club seems to him but a piece of straw, he laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 His undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing-sledge.
31 He makes the depths churn like a boiling cauldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is his equal— a creature without fear.
34 He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud.


Blake / Stevens

Struck last night by the similarity of Blake's passages re: cry in the four Los poems (Book, Songs, and the two in Four Zoas):

"they sing unceasing to the notes of my immortal hand.
Reverberates the living harmony...

[The Deep] lost in infinite humming wings, vanishes with a cry.
The fading cry is ever dying;
The living voice is ever living in its inmost joy."

The last two stanzas of this particular poem seem to have a similarity to T.S. Eliot:


an aubade

even if it begins in the afternoon,
even if the night ends when the sum begins to make the eastern sky blush a little

parallel rewriting



illusion, based in body...

negative afterimage (reversed colors)


sometimes thinking of the title first isn't very helpful



big fakers

cross-dressers, hermaphrodites (oh, wait, I appreciate that)



tell me a story, spark
or intervene,

can you really fly?  tesseract, shining glasses, food like damp sand

let me know how you home,
hold my hand, please

(although I don't think ya'll are well-mannered,
I probably don't think in yr book)

do you really love so much you fall,
as mermaids rise due to a like


it starts


what to do
with all this
what helps
the terror?

stop teasing me

subject to interpretation

play "keep away"

I did it too, and you took "snaggletooth" the wrong way,
though now you can smile

but don't back away from your constant insults;
it only made me push away

the falling light
pulling away
oh, we are the fallen,
slipping in and out of love

no, I don't take you seriously

[ok, this is a pretty wretched poem... hmmm]

gedanken / gedenken

thought, commemoration
to bear in mind
water-bearer -- is that an insult? --

something about completeness,
its impossibility;
as an ideal...

"you make me com/plete/ly miserable"

wretched need,
distress causing self-destructive behaviour.

"que sera, sera"

what will I think?
what will I make?

I'll remember increasingly less,
increasingly inaccurately;
I'll make a delusional narrative, a version of events,
in the service of remaining a little bit sane.

oh this language barrier,

"well loved" is an euphemism for "used"

systems' exclusions and inclusions

is that smile for me,
that grin, that grimace, a result?

does loss commemorate love?
what do we mark when we recall
slings and eros?


the weather is perfect here
but there and there are different versions of paradise

we may have lost the election;
no one wins wars

it is not a battle for hearts and minds
but for engagement


this little limit has proven inescapable


Process Engineering

why oh why did I sell my first edition hard copy flow chart again?  oh, I needed money.
Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio tempers her with various psychological torments—the "taming"—until she becomes a compliant and obedient bride. 

are there any weeds in meadows?  

ok, the title is going to have something about Los in it


I guess you're making
a shape
from a natural form,

proving tools' uses.

The curled shavings are nice
and smell good,

like death, I guess.

Like Persephone,
the deciduous toss their leaves,
the evergreens do throughout the year,
but the azalias, camillas, and roses need help.
We dead-head them and force blooms.

Going Negative

I prefer "mu" but "no" is expedient.

"The hushed pictures push."

Don't interrupt while I'm delivering a diatribe, or
giving you a much-needed, IMO, lecture on deportment.
Don't explode after I make salient points, facetiously,
about your lack of emotion, obsequiousness, etc.

I beg of you, allow me to do this thing while you sit quietly
with your hands folded in your lap.  You are pretty.
Make your time more useful.

You're strong. I expected you to challenge me on that.

Why don't you communicate only in response?
Why are you unavailable to me?

You can't call, and to write would be inappropriate.
What do you mean when you say "justify"?  "Humility"?
Not what I mean.  Shut up.  Revise your definitions.  Talk.
You have already written at length on these subjects.

Let's go to Bolivia and blow shit up, drunk on aged mescal.

I can be the rocket, and you the target, or vice versa.

Let's walk through the desert,
measure our lives in, I dunno, some sort of standard based in earth,
stars, animals.

Meanwhile, who cares?
We will make that art, or we are screaming, crying,
licking all the corners and sides,
together as we should be together.

The world moves.
Our perceptions of the world move us.

We have eaten enough, partaken enough
that the world lives in us.
We might roll our trousers up in a flood,
know which cutlery to use, and when, and how.

Dance with me, anytime, anyplace.
Please.  We can own time and place
with this small purchase.

Will you make me crazy, or I you?
But I want to go, with you.


more new poem drafts from 1st loss book

we attach easily,
we who suffer loss/lose

[sex after funerals, rebounding,
post-traumatic stress from disruptive attachment and detachment,

we all like to think we are seeing it and calling it as it is,
each person deserves respect and is beautiful
but what do I know?

a lot of pain and how to inflict it,
ways to suffer so that suffering can't mend,
but we all know these things

before zaniness ensued,
I thought I would walk away to some beach, watch the sky.

I learned the value of holding and being held by
a person I love,
a person who loves me,
a person who loves everybody,
anybody gentle and kind, tender and considerate,

I had expected to have that choice, but i don't.
I can make do with pillows and memories.


Is the end of every day like the end of all one's days?
Is sunrise hope or at least persistence?

I won't persist as longs as I thought,
just as long as I am able,
given my circumstances.

Maybe.  I moved from yet another slammingly beautiful day to weather.
And back.  And forth.

Sun and stars move, shine, but that's physics, mythology:  perception.
The surf inherently, without cease,
breaks shell, coral, rock, into sand.


We lose everything we ever thought we knew, loved,
as well as all those items,
even stars and strewn shells, shells which are things lost.

Let's get together on this.  We love and fail.
Gather pleasure?
Gone, slipped out to buy a newspaper.
We write, smear our hands with awe and more ink and graphite
than pages are inscribed by us -- words, symbols, figures, lines and shading.

We enact ephemeral
and intransigent.


Can I help this habit of thinking, homing?
so I try to love again, again, constantly,
despite experience of durable love's death,
rebirth reconfigured.

Love doesn't die as I will, it flickers and burns
as I do.

"I will" but what does it matter.  "I do" and just can't help it.

Hope, pray, act -- what is poetry but prayer, what is love or poetry but proof?

Centering even an emotional hurricane, peace.

Peace, hard work, proves use.

Open all the windows, turn on all the lights.
Shutter and protect, prepare.


Show up.  Act like you mean it.

There are too many beings.
There are too few.

Everything (automatically) concludes.



Please hold me.  Thanks.  I'm having a hot flash.
Cuddling is great but I need to sleep so that I can drive/take this meeting tomorrow.

When can I share an evening with you again?

Do you respect me?  Yeah,
tears are not like rain.
I like your smell and taste
(in my body, my mouth).  << OK THIS IS A DRAFT!!!!
My lost love taught me that.


We will be hosting a reading by local author Barbara Kraft this Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. She has recently published an eBook titled Anaïs Nin: The Last Days. With her sometimes loving and sometimes raw prose, Kraft captures the humanity and essence of one of the twentieth century's most celebrated literary figures. We hope you can join us.
Alias Books East
3163 Glendale Blvd.
L.A, CA 90039


there is no ask, no requirement, no expectation
but please thank you
please and thanks
why not...


all these words are tainted

all these words are tainted

my infinite regard & respect
unyielding joy

words beginning with "l"
even "lachrymose"
are past their due dates
or first application

what is sweet
sweetness, what is a sweetpea
when the drop next to the heart
has gone abandoned

touch, sigh
apparently the urge is to language

I "understand"
really "get it" but I guess never really will

the way you do that thing
beautiful swimmer
I'm sorry I mouthed an "l" word,
that was habit on my part, sheer laziness, ack, I can't stop

I didn't mean "overpowering lust"
oh, yeah, I did mean that

I want to tell you I can't talk anymore, yet I must
I want to speak with you every evening, but now the conversation's stopped
I want to draw letters on your limbs with my fingers,
and you would never let me
I want my tougue to express what I can't say, couldn't, wasn't allowed to




Dr. Marie Edel has served throughout.

Miss Carolyn Jakeman, Katharine Pantzer, Berte Shaw, and Dr. Jeanne Newline – unfailing kindness.

Miss Eva Faye Benton, my special thanks.

Finally, my wife, who read aloud to me the complete text (including punctuation marks).


Track & Field

I am not sure what grade I was in (I know it was a grade) when we, people in my school, were invited to the all-city (Decatur, IL) track meet.  Everyone else had uniforms, but I remember not having a track uniform and wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  We might have been asked to wear the super-sweaty poly doubleknit girls b-ball unis, I'm not sure.  *Everyone* seemed to have real track and field uniforms at the meet.

Anyway, because I suck at running fast, I signed up for the triple jump.  Some kind person who drove us there, under the label "coach", but it was a ride, I say, a van driver, had no idea what this contest was. Look it up on wiki, or watch the olympics, hey.

In any case, so I'm the "team member" on the triple jump.  I'm in line.  I'm like, hey, what do I do?  The other girls have some trepidation.  I insist, "I have no idea, I'm not going to win, just what is this thing?"  They tell me.  It is a hop, skip, and long jump or something.  I do one.  OK.  The girl with nice sneakers was so much better.  The second time, I fall flat on my face in the sand.  Alright.  Third time, I scratch.

And that's how I got my only ribbon in track and field.  Second place, red.


we agreed to no politics, except for dissuading their voting.

we couldn't converse about economy, art, or what we'd done that day.  We deferred the cocktail hour, made it worse (we suspected cocktails first).

Shopping and tourism stayed safe until they became impossible.

It became difficult to prepare and share a meal.

each child photo became a hidden challenge.


shopping became about the economy.
it became difficult to prepare a meal.
cocktails became suspect.

ideas about tourism came to be about shopping, the economy, what we'd done that day, or art.
conversation became suspect.
no politics but in children didn't work


The Story

The Bunnybee flew straight back out of the waterfall and took a spin around Xavier’s head teasing him to follow.
Xavier thought for a moment about what he had seen and decided to take a closer look at the waterfall. Sure enough, the waterfall wasn’t an ordinary waterfall at all. There was an inviting little dry cave behind the water. That’s how the Bunnybee survived! With that discovery, Xavier held his breath and splashed through the water into the hidden cave. He rubbed his eyes to adjust to the dim light and when he looked again he saw millions of beautiful sparkling crystals of all sizes and colors. Xavier was so surprised by the sight that he almost forgot about the Bunnybee! But that didn’t last long. Here came the Bunnybee buzzing him again, flying off deeper into the cave. Xavier took out his flashlight and started to follow. This was really becoming an adventure.

Maybe this cave is actually a tunnel, he thought. He wondered where it would lead. The end of the tunnel finally appeared but the opening was covered with Kudzu vines so you couldn’t see what was on the other side. Xavier took out his pocketknife to cut away some of the vines and poked his head into the bright sunlight once again.
Amazing! Bunnybees were flying all around sprinkling magic dust from the crystals onto the cabbages. Rows and rows of cabbages were everywhere. But, there was something different about them. Xavier blinked his eyes and squinted at what he thought was movement among the cabbage leaves. Xavier moved closer and soon could see that there were lots of small kids and babies sleeping and playing among the cabbages.


The Bunnybee flew and took a spin around X’s head teasing him to follow.

X thought about what he had seen and decided to take a closer look.  There was an inviting little cave behind the water.
X held his breath and splashed through the water into the cave.

He rubbed his eyes and when he looked again he saw millions of sparkling crystals, all sizes and colors. X  was so surprised he almost forgot about the Bunnybee! But that didn’t last long. Here came the Bunnybee buzzing him again, flying deeper into the cave. X followed. This was becoming an adventure.

This cave is actually a tunnel.  Where would it lead? The end of the tunnel appeared but the opening was covered with Kudzu; the other side was obscured. X took out his pocketknife to cut away the vines and poked his head into the bright sunlight once again.

Bunnybees were flying, sprinkling magic dust from the crystals onto cabbages. Rows and rows of cabbages were everywhere.  X moved closer and soon could see that there were lots of small kids and babies sleeping and playing among the cabbages.


spare those with regrets

bless and sanctify the ashes of this marriage, that they may be a wholesome medicine 
to those who in their consciences by sin are accused, who even in the face of the world's cruelty bewail their sins

who wouldest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live: we beseech thee to have compassion on the frailty of our mortal nature, and of thy goodness to bl ess these ashes now to be set upon our heads for a token of humility and for the remission of our sins: that we, acknowledging ourselves to be but dust and ashes, and that by reason of our vileness we must return unto the same, may of thy mercy be found worthy to obtain the pardon of our offences and the reward that thou dost promise to them that are penitent. 

who turnest unto them that abase themselves and art favourable unto them that offer atonement: incline thy merciful ear unto our prayers; and of thy pity pour forth upon the heads of thy servants now sprinkled with these ashes the grace of thy heavenly benediction: that they being filled with the spirit of true repentance may effectually obtain those things that they have asked according to thy will. And we beseech thee to ordain that we, being stablished in these thy blessings, may cleave unto the same to life everlasting.

Almighty and everlasting God, who upon the people of Nineveh, repenting in dust and ashes, didst bestow the healing of thy loving-kindness: mercifully grant, that we, who now do imitate them in outward fashion, may be made like unto them in the obtaining of thy pardon. Through.


secret kitty


contemporary art museum, houston, has as found art in current exhibit a pussy in a cup, which as I was critiquing flarf for Secret Kitty, I ran into (it is in the work), because pussy in a cup is a product in Japan... except the artist didn't know it, so made the thing, and I'm like, just go online and order it and then THAT'S found art -- the artist, being unaware, made her own... 

now I should be writing an art history essay...


I'm not that into you

"pulled you out of a jam, I guess, might've used a little too much force"  Bob Dylan

impenetrable demeanor
didn't dissuade me

affection follows logically from certain
behaviors, reproduced:  reliable

triggers yield results

"I need your help" is code

come with me
fellow, traveler,

let us traverse.

Lean into me?

Supports give

I am not the boss of you
you, not my superior,


but wait, I forgot to vote

I wanted to hold your hand at your end,
I wanted you to cradle me in your arms at mine

we acted too quickly,
as though

fools, Russians,
reach for revolutions

we engage
all the issues,
talked & talked

the impact wasn't in whole, nor in part

entangled, we
did triumph over the other

but we isn't an equation
or, you didn't allow
and I didn't permit

My dancefloor, your stage:
dance, perform... I'm involved,
you're obsessed.

Our society, its' means
(cruel, unforgiving)
whose salary yields
retirement, retreat?


I pick and choose at Pic 'n Save
my flaws are entrees to ?
joy or misery, yes, and
I'm not that into you.

the incapacity of doubt
differs from doubts' incapacity

to cope with what's real,

vital, intertwined, aware

overhead, underneath, move
and the world

Always, Forever, Love

heartsick pain
lightning flash, or storm,
thunder rolling,

don't tell me
I don't show you

don't demonstrate
words' failures

or breathe

my example
is trust, is true,
is true
to you
Lit swimming pools behind locked fences in the rain at night,
screens' small squares holding water,
a car, sun roof open, drink holders full

water flows and drips through gutters,
hits patio floors,
plashes ferns, grass, fronds

gentle, insisting on falling
suffusing already-heavy, fecund, erosion

what does time tell
how do we see the sadness of history
why, why, ways

Pool Rules

what were you thinking?
I was raised this way

it seems appropriate, fitting
peace at all costs:  well, it is not the status quo

I love you like an unfinished project is loved,
perfectible in heaven

where will we be, someday?
being being the obvious, impossible choice, never mere

we shall not go on and to no place
to walk along water, climb rocks, booted, prepared,
seeing vistas, yes, we call them that,
enhanced by effort

H'wood premieres with protesters, maybe misinformed, maybe just pushing an agenda
at all costs,

oh, love, what do you require?

don't run in the place of danger and repose

banter & surrender to beauties of plants and animals
and "no" complete in a peculiar "yes" --

what are clouds, but vapors riding vapors
seeded with cannon to make rain

end of "not intervening"


bland puree of terms

the visual Seth Abramson presents us with on http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/ seems to be a cartoon-ified Keanu Reeves.



song presentation

 an original musical about hopes and dreams...
 of "roads not taken", and some revisited...
still waiting to be fulfilled

script and lyrics by Tom Rickman
music by Barbara Rottman
directed by Dianne Haak Edson

 song presentation will begin at 8PM, June 22,2012
snacks and drinks to follow

3326 W. Victory Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
            1 (818) 841-4404    

by invitation only
RSVP             (323) 654-4936    


Kitty Wells, "I Heard the Jukebox Playing"

C)I knew that you d been  cheating

Cause you stayed away so  (G)long

(C)And I heard the jukebox  (G)playing 

(D)When you called me (G)on  the phone

(G)Now it couldn t have been  the radio

(C)Cause it had that honky  tonk sound

And the same old song kept  coming (G)and a going

(A7)And the feet kept  shufflin around

(D)When I heard the people  (G)laughing

(C)I knew there must be  somethin wrong

Brilliant example of media intrusion indicating something,
of a media malfunction and it's overlapping intrusion... truly meaning.

She goes onto comment about the sunrise, adding nature/time as another means to interpretation.

I <3 Kitty Wells, quote her all the time...


In music, solfège (French pronunciation: [sɔl.fɛʒ], also called solfeggio, sol-fa, solfedge, or solfa) is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable (or "sol-fa syllable"). The seven syllables commonly used for this practice in English-speaking countries are: do (or doh in tonic sol-fa),[1] re, mi, fa, sol (so in tonic sol-fa), la, and ti/si, which may be heard in "Do-Re-Mi" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's score for The Sound of Music, as well as the Robert Maxwell song "Solfeggio". In other languages, si is used (see below) for the seventh scale tone, while its earlier use in English continues in many areas.
There are two methods of applying solfege: fixed do (used in China, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Russia, South America and parts of North America, Japan, and Vietnam) and movable do (used in the United Kingdom, Germany, Indian classical music, and the United States).


Who Am I?

Some of you will be familiar with my Identity Theft and Where am I? poems... but a dear friend who wants to know, really -- what/who am I up to/about (some prepositions here) -- asks all the right questions.

I apparently did a pretty decent job with my profile on dating sites, and basically used meeting new people to get to know myself a bit?

One of the traps of dealing with constraints:  codes, applications, functionality, money, source material, etc., is that it erases taste and aesthetics in an odd manner -- do I really like this music, or is this wallcovering just right for the house, even tho I don't care?

I can and have lived in a monestery where I slept on a wood bench with basically a bunch of fabric as clothing and hardly any food.  I had my Scarlett O'Hara moment in 1990.

I like to make stuff, collect stuff; I appreciate things:  dirty toys or falling down buildings; fabulous brand-new skyscrapers, cool plants that bring birds and butterflies to me.

How to be positively identified, making, creating, rather than negatively -- vision, not constraint -- but constraints don't help anything unless they are simply a challenge to richness, responsibility... ok, this is seeming vague.

Because I have one life, I am determined to live it fully and well.  At somewhere beyond mid-life, I find that I've done that in my past from a very early age several different ways/means.  I'm going to try to do all those crazy dreams I DIDN'T follow, now.  That business, that way of living, that job, that piece of writing.

I'm thinking that technology, even though I've let my expertise age a bit, is mitigating the pain I suffered being in the wrong place and the wrong time, in the past.

I would rather eat red meat than have b-12 shots.

I am a participant and an observer, and I need to look and feel, listen and learn, in order to feel adjusted -- my experience is it is very hard to be in the world, but perception and creation changes the world...

Wow, way too vague.


Chad Sweeney and Catherine Daly
Monday March 26, 2012 at 7:30 PM
SPC at 1719 25th Street
Host: Tim Kahl

Chad Sweeney is a poet and translator. He is the author of four books of poetry, Parable of Hide and Seek (Alice James, 2010), Arranging the Blaze (Anhinga, 2009), An Architecture (BlazeVox, 2007), and Wolf Milk: Lost Poems of Juan Sweeney (Forklift, 2012, bilingual English/Spanish). He is the translator (from the Persian, with Mojdeh Marashi) of The Selected Poems of H.E. Sayeh:The Art of Stepping Through Time (White Pine, 2011). Sweeney edited the anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: the Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose (CityLights, 2009) and is coeditor ofParthenon West Review, a print journal of contemporary poetry, translation and essays, based in San Francisco. Chad’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2008, The Pushcart Prize Anthology 2011, American Poetry Review, Black Warrior, New American Writing, Colorado Review, Denver Qtly, Verse, Volt, Barrow Street and The Writers Almanac. He teaches poetry in the MFA program at California State University, San Bernardino, and lives in Redlands, California with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney, and their son Liam.
Parable of Hide and Seek
I was a junebug found by a vole.
I was a wave ruffled by a wind.
I stood in long bank lines.
I attended the Third Church of the Heretic.
I hid as the darkness
diminished by a torch.
I wore glasses and a bowler.
I lay flat like a spill.
I hid as a bullet fired into hay.
I hid as a system of government.
You were my partner in everything.
I lived for you to find me.

    —Chad Sweeney

Daly was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois. Educated at Trinity College and Columbia University, once a peripatetic developer of online environments, she now lives in Los Angeles. She has also worked as a technical architect, officer in a Wall Street investment bank, engineer supporting the space shuttle orbiter, software developer for motion picture studios, and teacher.
 She writes a fair bit of sound poetry and visual poetry in her books DaDaDa (Salt, 2003), Locket(Tupelo, 2005), Secret Kitty (Ahadada), Paper Craft (Moria), To Delite and Instruct (blue lion), and Chanteuse/Cantatrice(factory school), and Vauxhall (Shearsman, 2008).
Least Exclusive Jazz Club
Cuttings for ground cover root in a jam jar
    on the stained plastic table lit
        by candles guttering in shot glasses.

The music's close as
    a choosy club's Siberia.
        This is a ringside table.

The jam's recorded,
    does not relate
        to this landscape.

The music escapes
    to another venue, open when you care.

    —Catherine Daly

Coming Events at SPC and Elsewhere:

All events are at Sacramento Poetry Center at 7:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Host name in brackets.
April 2 [Bob Stanley]: Poetry from the writers at the New Folsom Prison workshop
April 9 [Emmanuel Sigauke]: Tule Review
April 14 [SPC Annual Conference] [Tim]: Steve Gehrke, Kate Gale, Christina Hutchins, Michelle Bitting and Christian Kiefer. [9:00 to 4:00]
April 16 [Rebecca Moos]: Fiction with Jerry Guarino and Scott Evans
April 19 [Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins] Poetry at the Central Library, 828 I Street, 12 noon
April 23 [Tim Kahl]: Susan Cohen and Jeanne Wagner
April 30 [Lytton Bell and Frank Graham]: Benefit for the Sacramento Food Bank with Josh Fernandez, Rebecca Morrison-Moos, Jen Jenkins, Allegra Silberstein, Trina Drotar, David Gay, and Todd Cirillo.

Poets Gallery [April]: Julia Connor

May 7 [Bob Stanley]: !X — Sac City Ethnic Theater Workshop
May 14 [Bob Stanley]: Nathalie Handal and Megan Kaminski
May 17 [Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins] Poetry at the Central Library, 828 I Street, 12 noon
May 21 [Rebecca Moos]:
May 28 [Tim Kahl]: Rob Davidson and Fred Arroyo



Eugene Meyer responded with a free-form poem. To him 291 represented:
”An oasis of real freedom
A sturdy Islet of enduring independence in the besetting seas of Commercialism and Convention
A rest – when wearied
A stimulant – when dulled
A Relief
A Negation of Preconceptions
A Forum for Wisdom and for Folly
A Safety valve for repressed ideas
An Eye Opener
A Test—
A Solvent
A Victim and an Avenger"



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Omphaloskepsis is contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation.[1]
The word comes from Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination). Similar words are "omphaloskeptic" (one who engages in the practice) and "omphaloskeptical" (related to contemplation of one's navel).
Actual use of the practice as an aid to contemplation of basic principles of the cosmos and human nature is found in Indian yoga and sometimes in the Eastern Orthodox Church.[2] Some consider the navel to be "a powerful chakra of the body".[3][4]
However, phrases such as "contemplating one's navel" or "navel-gazing" are frequently used, usually in jocular fashion, to refer to self-absorbed pursuits.[5] This criticism is often leveled at professions interested in themselves: movies about Hollywood, for example, or television shows about television writers.

[edit]See also


core "beliefs"

yes -- scare quotes -- for me -- belief:

an opinion or conviction
confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof
confidence; faith; trust
a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith (dogma)

which are negative, which have been damaged, which are kooky, and which are ok?

one theory seems to be that negative beliefs come from attempting to answer the why question without having the knowledge, perspective, etc. to answer the why question

what are mine?

question authority
exercise of power is often arbitrary, capricious, unnecessary
shut up AND don't hold it in
it is important AND let it go
thoughts are more trustworthy than feelings
you deserve it AND you don't deserve it
go away or just die or something
you are your accomplishments; everything you do is crap and no one cares
take care of it, fix it, for free; I can figure it out

hmmm.  will retun to this