Sunday, April 20, 2008


[I require prompts as of late. Write about sleep, she says. Ok, I say.]

sleep with bear
velvety nose, eyes glued askew
and matted hair
devotion true enough to surrender,
in its stead, the new markers
to the thief in dreams

sleep with mother
nesting, rubbing cold feet
tangling prickly legs
mid-night retelling of
of the dream cloud that
enveloped and with a shudder
carried troubles away

sleep with child
kicking pinwheel
claims real estate
evicts father
secret delight in having
the space and her alone
not to share

sleep with friend
years later when the life
between plants a woeful moan
and perception constrains consolation
armed only with wish to wash it away

sleep with love
and despite fairy tale advice
with mutual and stubborn ire
every turn and tug a slight
interpreted and intended
rogue caress escapes
only when consciousness slips

sleep with love
comfort so visceral
appendages are cursed
for getting in the way

sleep with trouble
crowning as knotted anguish
daunting mass of nothing discernible
pressing weight, wrenching grip
arresting breath
dissipated only by

sleep with love
gentle cloudy-headed nudge
wake up
it’s alright
only a dream

Saturday, April 19, 2008

that one bit of geography i lack

I'm not where it's at.

I own two Del Amitri albums: Twisted and Hatful of Rain. The first was purchased in cassette form, the second in CD. I had planned to buy the first in CD to replace the cassette, but discovered the second in the process and opted for the package deal of hits. Sadly, I was not aware before this that they had a large enough body of work from which to create such a culmination.

So, while I'm not one of those been a fan since the dawn of time people, I do love Del Amitri.

I saw Justin Currie perform on Thursday night. I have to say that I was a little taken aback by the age of the crowd. I wasn't expecting to see so many patches of gray hair. This is not at all a negative reaction, but more of a realization that my musical tastes—music that was current in my teens and 20s—plant me within a cohort no longer in its teens and twenties. Alas, I am not a young pup.

The performance was great—just Justin and one accompanist on the keyboard and accordion who reminded me of a petite and slightly hip Dwight Schrute. They had an odd but entertaining dynamic. Justin is amazingly talented as a performer and songwriter. And he's cute. And Scottish. Best of all, though, he—with his skinny tie and pompadour—didn't seem to take himself too seriously.

He performed his new stuff which I loved. It's mellow and, I have to assume, the result of many a heart break given and received. He was also very generous with the number of Del Amitri songs he played. The crowd was happy. The two brothers sharing the table with us were long-time, die hard fans. One had been to eight of their shows in the 90s, and proposed to his wife at one of them. When Justin sang "Tell Her This", that same guy turned around to us and, beaming, said "If I had panties, I'd throw them on the stage!" I had no idea there was such a following.

But then, I've never quite had my finger on the pulse of my generation. I just got my hand on my heart, I know no better location. [again.]

Before leaving, I purchased the new CD. I don't know if that makes me a dinosaur. If it does, I'm at peace with that. I'll be in good company until we die off.

Friday, April 11, 2008

say hello to joe

The first works I ever saw of R. Gregory Chrisitie's were the illustrations for The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children. He's illustrated many books (you can find Joe in Hot City). I only recently discovered his web site and that you can buy his "gregarious art" pieces.

Christie's lines and bold colors remind me of Jacob Lawrence's work, but where Lawrence spreads his attention across the canvas, Christie—at least in the paintings that appeal to me most—homes in on faces. I love his faces: squints, smirks, side cast glances, attitude, wisdom, resolve, and peace.

[There are some really phenomenal artists that illustrate books for children. I also really like Leo and Diane Dillon (regal, clean, surreal), David Diaz (angular, signature eyes and nose), Raul Colon (soft and scratched), and Vera B. Williams (bright and joyful).]

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

me, three weeks ago today

Important items to note:
  1. There, in the upper right hand corner: Green. Grass.
  2. SUNglasses.
  3. In those sunglasses: Blue sky. Palm trees.
Mooned my honey, and honeyed my moon in Hawaii.

Now I'm back, but a slacker. Looking for my misplaced motivation. Where the hell did I put it?

And I very well know that I'm in no position to make demands of you, my readers, but y'know, I would like to know where you're from.

In the meantime (it is unkind), I'll keep looking. If you have any ideas, any motivation mojo, don't hold back.

And what's with all this alliteration? I need help.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

where i'm from

[In honor of National Poetry Month, and because I can't stir up much else to write, I'm recycling an idea I spied over at Magnificent Octopus.]
Where I'm from

I am from album covers, RPM, and lyrics learned with skips
from a Hitachi AM/FM cassette tape recorder, and sound collecting expeditions.

I am from long journeys in the station wagon
(pitiless vinyl seats and late night destination disorientation)

I am from blackberry bush, white pine, lilac and live oak,
from shushing, swaying treetop domains.

I am from signature laughter, beer breath,
honey crosses on the forehead,
and sprinkled snippets of languages I'll never know
from Mary, Irene, Vernon, Henry, and Gene.

I am from short fuses, long lectures, and silent indignation
simple joys, splurges, vicarious living and charity
from keep a tight ship and hooka tooka my soda cracker.

I am from a non-denomination sampler, a Christian religious revue,
an abiding Catholic undercurrent, midnight mass, and tucking knees
to make way for the procession we couldn't join.

I am from semi truck, Cutlass Cruiser,
U-Haul, and the bus of many colors,
lefse and crumble-top apple pie,
pierogies, poppy, and garden cucumbers with salt.

From pen pal grandpa's squirrel watching tree
and lessons on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary
to tales of grandfather unknown and unstable
and the aftermath of his self-removal
to the eh-eh-eh! of my last remaining
who took her hand but didn't assume, just was. True blue.

Most evidence that survived the shuffle
has been dutifully stored, sorted, and finally dispersed
by the oldest and, by order, most responsible.
Packaged with care and meted.
Smaller portions that leave space, after all,
for evidence of where she and he
and theirs
and we
and ours
are from.
There, I've paid up. Now it's your turn.
Here is how it's done, though I fudged a bit.
Here is the source.