Monday, November 17, 2014

BAD NEWS


When the deliveryman rang the doorbell, it wouldn’t stop ringing. I removed the casing and watched the transformer vibrate with each ring. I could either unscrew the wires to the transformer, or clip them. I decided to do neither, and waited for the deliveryman to come back again and unring the doorbell. I was certain he had the power to do this. He reminded me of fresh strawberries. The aroma of possibility. His name was Bill. 

Ten thousand paintings and twenty thousand drawings later, John said, “Well, here I am.” Inside was over once and for all; there was nothing left to do but battle the ocean waves with a pen and a hat. Somehow it seemed easy; it both is and isn't. First, the thirty thousand things must happen. And then John must step outside.

Monday, November 10, 2014

PEOPLE WHO DON'T SLEEP

I have been considering writing down what I do at every minute of the day, but one minute per day. It would take sixty days to do an hour, six hundred days to do ten hours, and so on and so forth. (I would have to use a calculator to figure out a full day, or at least a pencil and a piece of paper, but I haven’t had those in a long time.) Anyway, it might be a lot of work, but I don’t want it to be fancy. The hard part would be certain hours - when was the last time I was up at 4:25 in the morning? Or did something interesting at noon? And I would probably change what I was doing at 8:02 AM if it was something like eating a bowl of corn flakes and instead I might start reading Dante’s Inferno or make travel plans to Tangiers. It might be more interesting if I traveled more or did more unusual things than I do because I really don’t travel or do exciting things. Perhaps I should try to convince someone who does a lot of exciting things to do this for me. The one thing I will say about myself is that I know a lot of interesting people who do exciting things. Perhaps I should ask a lot of interesting people.

I walk outside in the tropics at dawn and look down at the bay. Were anyone to jump into the bay for no good reason, dawn would be the best of all possible time to find them doing that. Also, it is the best time to find someone who, for no good reason, would be looking for someone who, for no good reason, might jump into the bay at dawn.


A very happy man died recently. Because he was famous, many people knew him. Because many people knew him, he made many people happy. He made many people happy because he was happy. Many people laughed because he laughed. So the best thing you can do for the world is be happy, be famous, be laughing.

Monday, November 03, 2014

A TRIBUTE TO MARK STRAND


A TRIBUTE TO MARK STRAND

I have a friend named Mark.
I have several strands of hair.
I like the name  ‘Mark Strand.’
I like movie theatres named ‘The Strand.’
I used to say “On your mark, get set, STRAND!” 
all the time.
I would like to say “Mark my words.” Someday.
I would love to listen to STRANDED, by Roxy Music, now.
My birthday is on the same day as Mark Strand.
Or Mark Spitz.
I can’t recall.
I would hate to be stranded.
Stranded with Mark Strand...would be good.
Like a steak.
One that is medium rare.
So here I am on an island.
With strands of hair.
Eating a medium rare steak.
And french fries.
Knowing there is life after death.
Science told me.
On your mark get set.
For you, Mark Strand, the poet.
For you, Mark Spitz, the swimmer.
Save me.
I confess.
For you, Mark Spitz.
I have not swum the deep blue ocean.
For you, Mark Strand.
I have not read thousands upon thousands of poems.
I have not read so very many things.
The poetry of Mark Strand.
In all its elegance. 
Magnificent to be sure.
Delightful in its contours.
Truly unforgettable in its cogitations.
I have not read so very many things. 
Mark Strand’s poetry.
Comes right to mind.



Monday, October 27, 2014

MUTE


It takes me a long time to get going in the morning because I have to record everything I am going to say that day on a little tape recorder that I keep in my pocket. Last week I ran out of batteries in the middle of a sentence right in the middle of the afternoon and I had to go home right away. Of course I locked my door and naturally it was a beautiful day. You could hear the sound of bird recordings in the trees in the late afternoon sunlight.

WORRY


I have worried about you all day. I know that if I picked up the phone to call you, the phone would be so charged with electricity that I wouldn’t be able to hold it in my hand. To think of the dozens of years where, despite the real electricity, holding the phone posed no problem. But now it is the pretend electricity which puts me in peril. I never would have imagined being afraid of something that is pretend, and thinking that which wasn’t could be my friend, or at least, not quite my foe.

Friday, October 24, 2014

CLEAR SKIES


I knew a fellow named Graham who liked to draw pictures of places but he wasn’t fond of drawing grass so all his pictures had snow in them. He didn’t like leaves, so luckily the trees were without leaves in the snow in winter. He was also lucky since he didn’t like to draw birds, that the birds had flown south because, again, it was winter. It is so quiet and desolate here that you might think that would be the perfect place for a murder scene but Graham also hated to draw blood and people. So if you look at this drawing you see a lot of snow, a few old trees, and three puffy white clouds. Graham loved the clouds of winter. Of all the things to draw in the world, clouds were what Graham loved best. Here’s why: Graham was a cloud with a pencil. In the summer, he was just a pencil.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yesterday there were so many crows in the trees that it was cantankerous. Faye, I thought of you.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

LEGACY


Years ago we sent a golden record into outer space filled with music from our planet Earth. Here is a list of the people who think they are really great because their music is in outer space: Bach (and his Brandenberg Concerto); Robert Brown (playing “Kinds of Flowers” on the court gamelan); people in Senegal (playing percussion); Australian aoborigines (singing “Devil Bird”);  Lorenzo Barcelata (playing the mariachi classic “EL Cascabel”); Pygmy girls (singing an initiation song in Zaire); men singing a house song (in New Guinea); more Bach (and his Partita #3);  Beethoven, Stravinsky, Louis Armstrong naturally, panpipes (from the Solomon Islands); Mozart (and The Magic Flute);  Peruvian wedding songs–the list goes on and on and then ends of course with Chuck Berry as some things often do while other things begin with Chuck Berry.





Sunday, October 05, 2014

FAYE'S TREE

A collection of photos of Faye's Yoshino Cherry tree planted in her memory in the old Salem Strollway in Winston-Salem, NC. In this small grove, there are magnolias and oak trees and another cherry tree, planted two years ago, in memory of her father. Faye's tree is close to the gravel road, and beams with sunlight, which she would love. When I was weeding the mulch at the base of the tree, a small, white butterfly rested on my arm.








CLOSE TO BLACK ELK


Drinking from a cup of sky, I see, far in the distance, something real - more sky.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BLACK CAT AT DAWN

A small animal walks across the lot at dawn. It could be anything until the sun comes up–why be a cat? Because he is happy with who he is. Meow, he declares, although upon closer examination it sounds more like Woof. Yes, he is a dog, trying his best to be a cat. Or perhaps he is neither. He does look a little like Bill, the animal lover, in a smart black coat.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I knew that Joseph Conrad’s 
real name wasn’t “Joseph.” 
Imagine my surprise, I told 
the policeman, when I 
discovered it was Józef.

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