Thursday, December 31, 2009

Paths and Windows

Painting by Bei Wei

Paths and Windows

Everyone has their own reaction to the end of the year.
Inescapable holidays. Unstoppable chronology.
Opportunities gained, and others lost.
Family, friends, loneliness,
or just peaceful solitude taken at home,
while the rest of society swirls
in a mad dash of annual tradition.

I start and stop with Thanksgiving; beyond that,
no other holiday captures my time or heart.
I count myself among many who view Christmas
with a cynic’s raised eyebrow
Some people truly adore their families
and anticipate the yearly holiday gatherings with delight.
For others, the odd discomfort of being artificially thrown
into a food-infused petri dish with people
simply due to a shared a strand or two of DNA,
speaks only to the absurdity of social expectations.

While I have little emotion for what December represents,
I do love January. I love the new year.
I have a birthday soon after.
I love getting older, racking up more experience,
filling my life with more emotions and people
and musical discoveries and mistakes and joys.
It’s all real and it’s all vibrant and passionate.
Each New Year’s is my time to hope
and envision and dream and plan.
And and and.
There is always more that tugs and invites.

I see this time of year as a series of paths and windows.
Directional choices made and yet to be determined,
and views to external and interior landscapes
defined by my heart and its frailties.
This is what has meaning to me.

Alex Shapiro

Posted as prose over on her site Notes From the Kelp

Short Days

Short days

I'm mad as hell!
The sun seems to just get lower and lower
in the sky every day.
What if it never came up at all?
How would the wheat grow?
Where would we get our bread?

I'm going to do something about it!
I mean it!!

I'm going to bring the sun back
You just watch me!!!

In the meantime

As a Christmas gift to the world,
and to show their belief in the sanctity of all life
from conception on,
the catholic church is making a saint
out of a Nazi collaborator.

Why am I not surprised?

Way to go, religion.

Doug Palmer December 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009



Every afternoon he went to San Marco,
Looked at the desk where Savonarola
Wrote his works while standing up.
But this afternoon, he would not go
To San Marco, but to Piazza Palazzo Vecchio
To look at the plaque on the spot
Where Savonarola was burned.
As he stared at the plaque,
He took out his ball pen,
Broke it into bits, went
To the cantina to drink wine.

Duane Locke

Posted over on The Hold



About 3 AM, people were awakened
By the sound of saxophones.
It was a disturbing sound,
terrified the people.
On their knees,
people peeped through their curtains.
They saw the saxophones,
bright in the moonlight,
But could not make out who was playing
This disturbing and terrifying music.
The people grabbed their shotguns
And went outside
to find the saxophone players.
When they went outside, they heard
The disturbing and terrifying sound
Coming from the insides of their houses.
From outside, the people peeped inside
their houses,
Saw that they were playing the saxophones.

Duane Locke

Posted over on The Hold



When the newspapers were delivered
By the boy on the bicycle, every one talked.
But one day the delivery boy
fell off the cliff.
The papers were not delivered any more.
No one talked anymore.
There were many suicides.
One brave citizen decided to climb down
The jagged cliff’s side and bring back
The never-delivered newspapers, now
Old and yellowed. The old newspaper
Were read over and over. Even some
Of the suicides returned to life so they
Could read the old newspapers. People
Were surprised to see someone whose
Funeral they had attended sitting next
To them reading an old newspaper.
One ex-dead man was seen with
The rope with which he had hung himself
Still around his neck as he avidly read
the sport pages.

Duane Locke

Posted over on The Hold

The Boy With the Slingshot and the Giant

"David & Goliath" by Caravaggio


It is difficult to keep in stock
A statue of a boy with a sling shot.
These statues sell as soon as they arrive.
Usually when a customer buys a statue
Of the boy with the sling shot,
He also buys a statue of a giant.
But statues of Venuses are difficult to sell.
The more refined and intense the Venus
Statues are sculptured the more difficult to sell.
People often look at statues of Venuses
Leaning dusty in the corners and inquire
“Who is she?” Garish statues
Of strip-teasers and lap-dancers are
Easy to sell. The more tawdry
Sell the best, but never are best sellers
Like the boy with the sling shot.

Duane Locke

Posted over on The Hold


"tangerine dream" painting by Veronica Jackson


All day, I’ve been trying to remember
What music was coming from her radio
When the oak branch fell in her front yard.
I can’t remember. The music disappeared
When the crash occurred. The oak branch
Knocked down the electric wires.
There was no lights in her house.
She threw an ash tray against her wall.
She was angry about something
That happened at the beauty shop,
But would not talk about it.
She also threw a bottle of champagne
Against the wall. The bottle
Had never been opened.
There was so much noise
After the oak branch fell,
Even the Grecian Urn in the attic
Cracked and fell apart.
This moment was the last time I saw her.
I did not want to speak upon departure,
So I handed her a tangerine.
When I drove away, she was peeling the tangerine.
I wish I could remember the music I heard
Before the oak branch fell,
It was something I would like to preserve
From our long love affair.

Duane Locke

Posted over on The Hold

The Garden

Painting by Laura Barat

The Garden

by CL Bledsoe

Thurgood noticed it a few days after he planted the garden, the way the deer, always in groups of three or four, crossed the edge of the driveway just outside his office window each afternoon around 5, 5:30. It happened so regularly, he soon got into the habit of dropping whatever he was doing[1] and went to watch them walk daintily, perfectly, sweetly across. It was one of the six or seven things he really liked about the place, which he tried desperately to make somehow balance the fifty or sixty things he didn’t like. The problem was that even the good things had 3 or 4 negative side effects. For example, it was immensely pleasing to witness a herd of deer[2] though it was another matter entirely driving in the evenings with said groups of deer around, as they tended to run out in front of (and into) vehicles. He’d also been warned that they would wreak merry havoc on gardens, and he had definitely found this to be the case.

But that was the tickler, wasn’t it? Every evening, at 4:59, the garden was fine (as well it should be, he spent the better part of his mornings maintaining it). But as soon as he returned from witnessing the (flock, perhaps?) of deer cross and retraced his didactic steps to the garden, it was a disaster. It usually looked as though a very large cat had sat on it, cleaning itself thoroughly for several hours, which was, of course, impossible: cats rarely appeared in that size in this part of the country.

And, of course, the growing of a garden was precisely the reason why the good doctor (retired) had located himself in the country for his retirement. He’d always wanted a garden, but the rigors of university life[3] had precluded one.

It had only taken a couple of times for the good doctor (retired) to see the pattern, and, regardless of whatever snickering it may have drawn forth from anyone in line at the grocery store when related within their earshot, he’d tested the hypothesis and skipped his usual deer viewing, watching, instead, the garden. And, of course, nothing happened; the garden remained pristine. The next evening, he poked his head into the office, with one foot out the door, and waited a full 45 minutes for the deer to appear, which they never did. The next evening, they were back, and just as they crossed he ran back to the patio door only to find the garden already in shambles. The evening after, he constructed a dummy of himself using old clothes which he duct-taped [4]together. He’d left the dummy sitting in the office, but nothing happened, so he switched it with himself, and left it sitting on the patio until the deer passed the next evening, and he raced back to find the dummy unmade, his clothes neatly folded, with a ball of duct-tape lying perfectly on top. He could’ve sworn that one of his socks had had a hole in it, but now it was neatly darned[5].

This would have raised most men’s dander, Thurgood knew, and yet he found it fascinating. It was so clearly a calculated move, and he found it hard to believe that this (dander?) of deer could be responsible. This was an act of malice or perhaps taunting, which was practically the same thing. Malice came from jealousy, and deer were incapable of jealousy. It came down to simple anatomy: deer lacked opposable thumbs, and therefore had never developed the basic hand-eye coordination[6] necessary to utilize said opposable thumbs. A thumb is a tool. One can’t eat a thumb [7]and therefore the thumb is only useful as a means to an end. This means thinking ahead, solving the problem of how to get from thumb to food. Deer brains simply hadn’t evolved in that direction. They didn’t think ahead long enough to hold a grudge. If they wanted something, they tried to take it just then, without a plan. No, this was something else entirely[8].

The next morning, Thurgood drove to a different town and bought a digital camera. He set it up to record the garden from a hidden spot inside the house (he liked to think he was craftier than deer imitators) and sat, admiring the Alzheimer’s of deer as they crossed majestically. And when he made his way back to the camera’s hiding spot in the living room, he discovered that the camera was gone. He slept little that night, spending the long evening re-watching Golden-Age Hollywood musicals on VHS and a couple of early silent Hitchcock films. In the morning, he woke stiff and confused as someone knocked on the door, but when he answered it, he found his camera on its tripod. He connected it to the TV only to discover that it was a recording of him sitting on the couch, drooling at the sight of Ginger Rogers. He turned it off and considered jumping up and down on it or breaking it. Instead, he turned it back on and watched the whole thing for clues, but found none.

He returned the camera that afternoon[9]. Thurgood was at a loss. He pored over his books on dramatic history, finding nothing of any use (to the present predicament, of course; study is its own reward) and finally, he looked up to realize that it was that magic time and the deer were, again, crossing. In desperation, he threw himself through the door and ran out after them, yelling,


Which only launched them into flight. One turned after it had run a good ways and showed Thurgood a look a lesser-educated man would’ve definitely interpreted as disdainful.

“Why are you doing this? I just want to understand!” Thurgood called out, but, of course, the deer didn’t answer. Thurgood returned to his home and made his way through to the patio and out to the garden, which was totally decimated. He went back inside, poured himself a glass of wine, and returned (with the bottle) to the patio and drank the lion’s share of it, which, after forty years of teaching, was the closest Thurgood could come to crying.

* * * * *

This is when things started to go badly for Thurgood. Though he’d vowed to never return, he found himself once again chatting up the checkout girl and lamenting his predicament.

“What I need is another set of eyes—real eyes, not electronic ones. Eyes with a brain. Would you consider coming to my place and looking at my garden? I’m sure I could retrieve the video camera, if you would like to film our exploits,” he said. He smiled expectantly, waiting for a reply, but instead the girl walked away without speaking and a man calling himself a manager escorted Thurgood out of the building, with the help of the man whom Thurgood had grown to hate for his well-timed, though intellectually lacking attempts at humor.

Thurgood explained that he meant no offense, which didn’t seem to be enough for the man, who took a perverse pleasure in threatening Thurgood and pushing his car until Thurgood was forced to drive away, for fear of the damage his shocks might sustain, though he managed to yell several choice epithets at the man, including one regarding his chances of bedding[10] the checkout girl, along with a brief list of possible previous contenders for her affections.

It was after this, bruised and badly shaken, that Thurgood, in a fit of shame, tore the garden out. He ripped every shred of plant life out and threw them, haphazard, like a digging dog. He waited long into the evening in his office, watching, but the slut of deer never appeared. He wandered back through the house, yelling to the ceilings, and eventually emerged in the barren waste he’d created only to find everything replanted, pristine, immaculate. Something like relief flooded through him. He fell to his knees [11]and wept, yes, like a babe, actually wept, perfect, innocent, and powerless. It was then that Thurgood truly realized that he did not understand the country, but he liked it.

[1] This is only a turn of phrase, of course, as Thurgood hadn’t dropped anything in a good long while, and even then, it had been grudging. A more accurate way to say it would be that Thurgood set whatever he happened to be engaged in down carefully, making sure that no sudden gusts of wind or slight realignments of the Earth’s crust might budge it with untoward results.

[2] Do deer travel in herds, he wondered, or was that only cattle? Were they like birds, which had, seemingly, different names for groupings of each different species—a murder of crows, for example, or rats, he suddenly remembered, which when grouped were referred to as a mischief, so it wasn’t only birds, then. What were deer, then, a Bambi? He’d asked a checkout girl at the grocery store and a local had overheard him and called out, “We call that venison,” to general laughter, which was another thing, the locals, who weren’t quite to the point of cutting off strangers’ faces and wearing them for masks, but were definitely a tad territorial.

[3] It should be noted that Thurgood was not, in the strictest sense, a medical doctor, but rather a doctor of the dramatic arts, as he’d taught play writing and the general study of the history of drama on the college level for four decades, having also written the seminal text (his own words) on the subject: Playwriting. A Guide. Which he’d used in many of his classes, this being the only reason it had remained in print.

[4] Not the commonly referred to duck tape which is a simple mispronunciation of the name, which he had to explain to the boys at the grocery store, of whom there were beginning to be several. It is, in point of fact, ‘duct’ tape, as in tape used on ducts, not tape used on ducks. That would be just quackers. This, of course, left the good doctor (retired) in a paroxysm of mirth, while the checkout girls smiled politely and the other customers glared at him as though he’d raised a bad smell in their living rooms. There’s no helping the willfully ignorant, he’d stated, retrieving his purchases and making for the door.

[5] Well I’ll be darned, the man at the store said, at this point, to general merriment. Thurgood was beginning to dislike this man immensely.

[6] Humans considered it basic, but in reality, it was anything but, just ask the overweight child at recess picked last for the team.

[7] Not one’s own, anyway, at least without extreme discomfort.

[8] I’m talking about first truths, here, gentlemen, he’d told the assembled grocery store patrons. We call it Old-Timers, the local said. I think you mean Alzheimer’s, the doctor stated. Whatever, doc, admitting your problem is the first step, the man said. You’re just repeating things you saw on TV, Thurgood said; you’re not clever, not like those deer. This made the other customers titter tremendously. As Thurgood stormed out, he heard the man call out, you guys should charge for tickets for that crazy old coot. Thurgood didn’t do him the honor of turning around.

[9] Which was met with some opposition until he grudgingly told the story of its failings. The response was, at first, surprised and mirthful, but as the story progressed, the group of sales associates who had gathered to hear it began to disperse nervously, and finally, the manager approved the return and then quickly disappeared to the back.

[10] Which Thurgood now saw as the man’s total motivation.

[11] Badly bruising one of them, very nearly requiring reconstructive surgery, he explained to the obviously distracted checkout girl at the electronics store in the next town.

Posted over on Northville Review
With a link on Cortney's blog site Murder Your Darlings

Delta Blues

Painting by Richard Harvey

Delta Blues

You’re sitting at a bar, sucking up
smoke from cheap cigars and unfiltered
cigarettes in a room-full of drunks
and ramblers, good-time girls

and grifters. From a makeshift stage,
a wizened old guitar picker drops

blue notes into your head like quarters
in your own personal juke box.
His calloused fingers fly across

the frets, soaking that wood with every
drop of sorrow he’s ever known.

Seems like a man should roll a stone
over hurt that deep, but here he is,
lifting it up like Lazarus for anybody
lucky enough to listen.

Terri Kirby Erickson

Posted over on The Smoking Poet


Painting by James Abbott McNeill Whistler


Rain drips from the roof with the rhythm
of tr(i)bal drums
I‘ll never know what it is to’ve had
everything st(ol)en from me

d men stagger under the weight of their years.
Their greedy eyes weigh them d(own)
ership is the illusion that keeps us working
long h(our)s

needs are neighbors we’re afraid to meet;
our wants are
the brothers-in-law of the (sou)l
p heals all wounds; if Mamaw taught you
nothing else, it’s t(his)

nails have grown yellow, curving into claws.
His teeth blacken and c(rum)ble
sinks into the bellies of the faithful.
It will re-emerge
like rain

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on Requited Journal

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Dark Night of the Body

The Dark Night of the Body

Birch bark gone,
The canoe hull,
Spider webs.

Green spiders,
Emerald stars
Shine out of dark.

I sit on a slant
Of river bank
Watch willows

Walk towards me,
Carrying in their hands
The evening.

Twilight is placed
In the upturned cup
Of my cupped hands.

The twilight
Has many rivers
And dark hills.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Whistling Shade

Wild Bay

Wild Bay

The wild bay galloped through my body.
Chiarra, you stood still,
watched oyster clusters on the black mud.
I thought the wild bay galloped
through your body also.
Since you disappeared, I now know.
When you stood by mangroves on the shore,
The wild bay did not gallop through you.
Inside you were ancestor's footsteps
and their ancient close order drill.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Poetropical

A Polish Blonde

Painting by Vargas 1943


Once she had
A real rose
Growing inside
Her heart.

But the real rose
Had thorns,
She tore
The real rose out.

Now he has
A red wax rose.
It has no thorns,
It never wilts,

Its petals
Stay intact
On its
Wax stem.

The new rose
Stays stiff
And secure,
Gathers dust.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

After Listening to an Open Mic Poetry Reading, I Write a Poem Inspired by George Herbert' "Jordan"

Painting by Johannes Vermeer


Who says that girls with brass globes bored
Into the middle of their snake-like tongues
And girls with their heads shaved bald
Are the only fit subjects
for postmodern love poems?
Is there no longer any attraction to a body
That is not mutilated with rings and tattoos?
Is there no longer any beauty
in a Vermeer face,
Or a Botticelli Venus arising among flung roses
Of a white-capped sea to stand
on a scallop shell?
Must Venus have a bouquet of roses
tattooed on her ass?
Is all good structure, a termite-eaten,
collapsing stair?
Must one only speak once-tabooed,
Meaningless, monosyllabic words
To express the intricacies
and profundities of love?
Who states this new aesthetics? Is it
The high school teacher with a paper tiger
Tattooed seven inches about her ankle?
Or was it the spaced-out college professor
With a pink knee peeping out
of torn blue jeans?
Or the old, lickspittle professor
trying to be au courant
And be liked by the hoi polloi?
I say, "No." I go back to Italy
To touch magpie shadows on a bare shoulder
As we sip Campari
among olive trees and poppies.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

Joseph, After the Annunciation


Were my eyes blindfolded? Now I pace,
The tongues of sawdust lick my ankles
And snails crawl on sawed boards.
The red bedsheets in our separate rooms
have turned pale.
What used to be my life
is now stripped naked.
In the future, I'll wear a black cape
over my face.
I, who have read many books, will be
Spoken of as simple-minded,
obedient saint.
I'll keep paying the rent,
try not to think
About the rich man who lives
in white stone house,
Where Mary worked as housekeeper.
If I were French, I would drink much absinthe.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

Black Rabbits and Lettuce


In the backyard
Of the unsuccessful man,

Black bunnies nibble on green lettuce,
The event
Reminds of
Japanese scenes
Of ebony and jade
Done in lacquer.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

The Well Wrought Gate


I observe the well-constructed gate
In the front of my decaying house,


The tree was cut,
Why was the wood was sawed,
Why were the nails were hammered?

I ask why this beautiful gate
That required
So much labor to build.

Why this gate
When there is no fence?

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

Real Love Cannot Come From An Ordinary Man


The church had an uneven floor.
It was like small paralyzed waves
Of cream-colored and dark blue stones.
Light came in from a high-up small window,
Spread as if the petals of a flower.
Some of the light fell on the floor,
Looked like the scattering of silver coins.
No blue skies in the paintings, only gold,
Madonnas with large, egg-shaped
Byzantium eyes
And stiff lips and stiff cheekbones.
The bride thought that there had been
No blue skies in her life, only black,
Soft, clutching velvet and its lint.
There was a gold ikon that lost
Its body and only a brilliant gold head
And a twisted, thin wire remained.
Inside her, red lava poured from Venus' lips.
But in front of her, by her,
The wax dropped from the burnt candle
And ashes raked into a neat pile
Had a ring in a silk-lined pocket.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Anirondack Review



At five o'clock
Came to the bush
To let their wings
Talk to flowers
Wearing red dresses.

We sat on white sand
This tête-à-tête.

Moths are always

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

Earth's Rainbows

Earth's Rainbows

The opal ring
On her slender finger
Looked like
The neck feathers
Of a blue pigeon
Caressed by the hands
Of the sun.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

Abandoned Azaleas In a Vacant Lot

Abandoned Azaleas In A Vacant Lot

Azaleas are reading aloud
Stories from Arabia..
There purple camels in the stories,
Small white donkeys
With ears shaped like ascots.
There are sand dunes
That look like the arms of stars.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

A Weed in a Yard Where a Fence Has Fallen

Photograph by Martin Frank

A Weed In A Yard Where A Fence Has Fallen

I breathe,
My breath goes out into the world.

I breathe,
The thin stem of a tall weed
With a flower, pink-white,

The flower thanks me for supplying music
For her dance,
Spreads open her pink-white wings.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania

River Bank With FOR SALE Sign

River Bank With For Sale Sign

Goldenrods hide the river's trickle,
It flows until it has five fingers.
Fingernails are small blue stones,
Each stone
Has the large green eyes
And face of a dragonfly.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Storymania


Painting by Vargas


Hours that have the same designations
Are different.

11:59 PM is different when you are twenty
from when you were forty,
from when you were sixty.

At seventy, 11:59 PM no longer
Has a number and a PM,
But has lips, hips.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

The Rains Touch the Earth

The Rains Touch the Earth

The rains touch the earth,
looking for hard, low places
where can be left a puddle
and a dark circle.
I step out to know
the rain¹s girl-fingers defying
separation by going
through my clothes
to leave their fingertips
on my skin.
The scrape of wetness
uncovers the source
that started the word
that was spoken away.
I, in my fenced-in urban backyard,
feel the infinity of a swamp,
and recall the once-known fecundity
of a once-known earth.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

The Diggers

Drawing by Francisco de Goya

the diggers

The three men are digging
It could be a trench
It could be a grave
It could be a groove
to place sewage pipes
under a house

All the diggers wear white gloves
In their back pockets
hope plugged with cork

One is measuring
for the digging must descend
to an agreed upon level
It is part of the game
It was the rules
invented for the occasion

There should be no unevenness
if uneven
the unevenness will be overlooked
for one cannot live without hope

Old joys that have been dead
and buried for years
are found
They are tossed aside

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Sanibel Notes (1)


White dust leaps up
From bleached shell,
White sand road,
Swoops through the air
Like a Snowy Owl,
Perches on edges
Of mangrove leaves,
The mangrove rattles.
Concealed in mangrove leaves,
A kingfisher.
I hold out my hand
To be touched
By the sound
As it walks by me.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Mankind After the Extinction of Bald Eagles, Coyotes, Panthers, etc.

mankind after the extinction of bald eagles, coyotes, panthers, etc.

1. Man’s relationship with his family:
six boys

The first boy said, “My father can beat up all
your fathers.” The second boy said, “My father
can beat up all your fathers.” The third boy said,
“My father can beat up all your fathers.”
The fourth boy said, “My father can beat up
all your fathers.” The fifth boy said,
“I don’t have a father.” The sixth boy said,
“All your fathers can beat up my father because
my father refuses to fight.” The first five boys
beat up the sixth boy, and then the first four
beat up the fifth boy, and then they went home
and beat up their fathers.

2. Man’s relationship to history: Columbus Day

When I was a child, my teacher told me to honor
Columbus. I even lived on a street named
Columbus Drive. My uncle lived in Columbis, Ohio.
My parents were planning to send me
to Columbia University.

I thought about all the tortured, raped, robbed,
crippled and murdered Indians. I asked my teacher
why we do not honor Charles Manson and the man
who went up into a Texas Tower and shot people
at random. Why are there no days, streets,
and universities named after them?

She replied, “Because they did not try to find
a shorter route to salt and pepper.”

3. Man’s relationship to his work:
The tiger trainer

With a sharp stick the tiger trainer forced
the tiger to sit still on the sawdust.
The tiger trainer jumped through a flaming hoop.
The tiger trainer bowed before the tiger,
but the tiger did not applaud.
The tiger trainer jumped again through the hoop,
but the tiger did not applaud.
The tiger trainer jumped again.
No applause from the tiger.
The tiger trainer shot the tiger,
and now the tiger trainer is unemployed.

4. Man’s relationship to his self:
Self Reliance, based on an essay by Emerson

That night somebody stole my radio,
and I had to do my own singing.

5. Man’s relationship to progress:
The restaurant that turns in the Peachtree
Center at Atlanta, Georgia

The current went off, and I had to pick up
my plate and run around in a circle.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Autobiography 5

Painting by Vargas


In my silence, a dark scar
Shouts to the closet
Of winter sweaters.

Through a crack in the sidewalk
Her tongue emerged to lick
The blue off the sky.

Now that she is drowned
In the plate glass of downtown,
Her last breath burns holes in my wrists.

Each puff under my aged eyes
Is a pale wall of rosaries
Around the necks of vacant lots.

Wine dug my skin out of the ground,
Found her brown eyes had turned
Into black spots on white dice.

Her goodbye is crawling
On the charred boards
Of burnt river pavilions.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Autobiography 4

Painting by Vargas


It is the hour when
The tense laurel wreath
Around the knee slips to the ankle.

When a choir of clocks
Tremble inside the foot.
The shoe begs the prophet for a penny.

The rag doll on the backseat
Of a star traveling away
From the earth washes her hair.

The eyes come to a boil,
Evaporated into steam,
Scalded the dry kisses of the ditch.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Autobiography 3

Painting by Vargas


0n the upper lip, two dolls on a cake.
On the lower lip, the bird songs of poppies.
On the bottom of a wine bottle, her tongue.

While her body spins, chips are
Are placed on her toenails, coins
Stuck in her mouth. The croupier, death.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Autobiography 2


Inside her bra she hid the sideshow
Where a priest swallowed a sword
And a sparrow took sixteen baths.

From her mouth fell the keys
To the necropolis with its limp necks;
The keys crowed like a cock
thirty-three times.

Nuns knelled to their crucifixes because
They had a naked Jesus with no cloth
over his thighs,
Sewed the torn spots
in their black net stockings.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

Autobiography 1

Painting by Vargas


A whisper of words that never came
From a mouth, but from a “for rent” sign
Stuck through a lamb
in a stained glass window.

The street’s blood vessels are crawling
Out of the city’s body to bite apples
And twists around the hips of darkness.

Again, I invoke the shadows of wine
To wrap around the absent breasts
Whose left hand strokes the light bulb.

Will the mauve mausoleum of her lips
Become my wristwatch, manic in
Disobedience to numbers and circuses.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars

May 8

Painting by Mikkel Steen Petersen


Climbing up to the window,
he saw
the room was empty
for the shadows that crisscrossed
without sources.

The shadows
never shut their dark eyes.

The shadows scream.

A shadow stumbles.

The men with arrows
stand by the ladder
propped on the window.
The bowmen have no breath.
Their chests never move.
Their mothers stand by
and ring bells.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Scars Publication

Al Fresco Cafe Poems, No. 244

Al Fresco Cafe Poem #244

I have waited 244 days for Renata

Rain was hidden in the surrounding air that
rubbed its dampness over my cheek
spotted my forehead with invisible drops
cloud shadows give birth to a blue
That almost weightless sunk
to the lake's bottom
And sent out a deeper and darker blue
to circle around the stem bottoms
of purple toned water weeds
Washed away the water color washes
from the brain's galleries
Turned the nerves into mirror
that reflected
The coral colored lips
on the sand grains beneath the water.

Duane Locke

Posted over on JMWW

E Mail to Damniso Lopez: Bookkeeping

E-mail to Damniso Lopez


She is so figurative
Calls it bookkeeping
After the third Crimean cognac
Calls it accounting
I call it samsara
On holiday she calls it
Uncle Sam
Except on July 4
She calls it
Uncle Tom
But I don’t understand
Her system of debits and credits
I do sense
An accounts receivable
Her sister
Is an auditor
I once auditioned for her
I need a patron
I need a pardon
During rehearsals
I always hear hearses
She is now calling it
Break dancing
Such spinning
In shopping malls

Is anachronistic
I do flamenco much duende
When a child
In Las Vegas
I saw a white ball
Run in and out of numbers.
No it was in Havana
Before Castro
I do not know where it was
I do not even know
Where I am
She pretends this room
Is a tumble weed
She claims there are
No cars outside
It is a desert
And what is moving
Are birds called roadrunners
But I hear at my back
The sounds
Of horns and motors

Duane Locke

Posted over on Autumn Sky Poetry

The Moon

The Moon

First, the moon's dress drifted
Onto the blue boards of my front porch.
Then the moon's body dropped
from the night sky,
Spread out among the geraniums and ferns.
The moon resembled Botticelli's Venus
As revised by Titian. I was glad
That Tineretto was not around
To put sores on her legs
and destroy the apparition.
I wondered what to do.
Should I keep my door locked,
As I have done most of my life,
Being trained by Kant and Kierkegaard.
Or should I tear the door off its hinges.
I looked again, as I peeped through
The blinds on the door at the moon's body.
I took a crowbar, tore off the hinges.
The moon stood up, rushed in.
The moon left at dawn.
Happily, I felt my wasted life was redeemed,
I went outside, repaired the door,
And looked at the number on my house,
And saw I had a new address.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Sugar Mule

E Mail to Damniso Lopez #21

E Mail to Damniso Lopez #21

It seem self evident.
I believed
It self evident;
I believed ardently it was self-evident.

Therefore I was stymied, the self-evident
My progression, truncated
By axioms and aphorisms the approximations
That were my existence,

Then an epiphany, Doubt.
This divine manifestation, Doubt,
Appeared in my neural system
When at a marsh I saw a moorhen
Trying to spin a discarded
Old bicycle wheel sunk
In black shiny mud.
I felt paralyzed, numb as if stung
By a stingray.
I was in a state of aporia,
And felt euphoric,
This euphoria came from my
Now doubting everything.
Never before had I had
Such a feeling of happiness.
It was like a state of beatification.
I felt the douceur de vivre.

I felt as if I had broken out
Of the imprisonment
Of organizing my existence arboreally
And was now rhizomatic.
I no longer thought of my life
As being a fixed point trying
To find a straight line to a fixed point.
The points had disappeared,
Vanished into oblivion.
There were no points
And I sought a line that was not straight,
But one that swerved like a flying tree swallow,
Or fluttered like a butterfly over a flower,
And was invisible as the paths
Of a swallow or butterfly.
It was a line that could not be known,
Its beginning, its end could not be known.

Life was Cyrenaicism, an expansion
Of eudaemonism, but then
I thought of her with
The long, straight, white-gold, blonde hair.
She thinks that some things are self-evident,
And my joie de vivre was diminished
for a moment.

Damniso, I will try to comment
On my relationship with Jackie, the one
With the dark hair, streaked slightly grey,
The women you asked about in my next E Mail.
I am sorry
I overlooked her in this communication.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Unlikely Stories

E Mail to Damniso Lopez #20

E Mail to Damniso Lopez #20

I have been contemplating,
the intimacy of her giving
And what is refused in the donation.
There is always in this gain a loss
And a blockage to the opening towards
The realization of the potential of temporary
Exaltation and a rapture
That bring the mirage of totality
And completeness for a moment.

As I study our relationship,
the hugs, the kisses,
I am very much concerned
With the genesis of disclosure,
And disclosure's inevitable withdrawal.
What is the remainder, what is the remnant.
The only sense of anything is its nonsense.

The true home, the place of a body's dwelling,
Its habitation ultimately slips
into being a mirage,
An abstract verbalization that resonates
Forever in our inseparable corporeality
And its function, spirituality
Because life is basically homeless and nomadic.

Damniso, I based the above discourse
On relationship
With some other woman
Than the woman
You definitely asked about.
I know you asked about Linda
And my thoughts on her house by the river,
Her BMW,
But thoughts of my relationship
With another moment leaped into my mind.
Hope you are proceeding well
With the writing of my biography.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Unlikely Stories

E Mail to Damniso Lopez #6

E Mail to Damniso Lopez #6

"Beore I answer your questions about
Linda, Jackie, Greer, and the Seventeen year old
Whose name you do not know
And I cannot remember-but she went back
To her home in Ireland
And married an Old Catholic
Who was a closet Atheist,
I almost forgot you asked about
The quasi-Japanese who
Use to own a bar in Seattle,
But came to Tampa to be a massagist
And rubbed men until they had a mystic vision.

Damniso, you know how I aspired
To become a Jaques Lacan.
I have been psychoanalyzing this woman
Who is one of the beautiful women
I have ever seen. I was studying
Her face the other evening as we shared
Wine, a Peterson's Shirez.
The contours of her face are enchanting,
They are shaped like a sculpture
Of Lucca Della Robbia. The way
Her face curves under her eye
Down to beginning of her cheek
Is aesthetically exciting. It is a delicate
Beauty. As I look at her, I want to kiss
Every inch of her flesh, but I have
To control myself and not let
This intense love of her destroy
My objective psychoanalysis.
I am not on this earth to be happy
And have love, I am only here
To psychoanalyze. I seek eternal truth,
Not my personal happiness.

Well, Damniso, I discovered
That this woman has lived a life
That everyone should struggle not to live.
She is an example
Of living a type of life
That should be avoided.
Her type of life will only lead to insanity,
And she with her hallucinations
And beliefs borders on insanity now.
She is insane, this woman believes in God.

But she has survived a background
Of having a husband
Who came from old religions and the old days
When gays were persecuted and condemned.
Her husband
would not face the fact he was gay,
Tried to prove he was not
By having sex six times a day.
He related to her through logic
And logically caressing.
This impoverished woman
Has never known the touch
Of a man's hand who really loved her.

You know, Damniso, when I think of her,
I think of Maud Gonne and Yeats.

Her husband treated her as an object
And his marriage was a mask.
It resembled the typical American marriage
When the woman is reduced to an object,
And is not to a figural being, an allegory, a symbol.
She is not a vision
As when a willow becomes a green wind
That wrinkles away the epidexis
Of the river's fixed surface
And becomes an epiphany,
And this is the way love should be.

In her existence,
The simulated ordinary
The extraordinariness
Of the ordinary.

Her life became like a soldier dead
On a busy street corner with
A vandal-destroyed mail box
In the whore section of Iraq.
She was given a medal post humorously
For serving a vague and indeterminate cause
Of having children, grandchildren,
Great grand grandchildren
And talking all the nonsense and lies
That all the respectable citizens
Of America talk.
Now she is only an uniform
Covered with medals and honors,
Only an uniform with no flesh inside.

I was with her
When for a moment, she refused the stability
Of comfortable past habits,
Of comfortable false beliefs,
And succumbed
To true and radical form
Of skeptical behavior,
Became intoxicated
With supreme happiness,
The tepid and false underpinnings
Of her fraudulent existence
Were transformed. She was freed
from a few moments
From the stabilizing role
Of her acted
And her pinned butterfly life.
She flew,
Flapped her wings, fluttered.

But her ascent into the beyond,
The real, crumbled
When among her grandchildren
And great grandchildren.
She immediately became a norm, a nun;
Once again she was a cipher.

The last time I saw her,
She said to me
And then hurried away,
"Frost's poetry allegorizes concepts
Of Heideggerian phenomenology."

Duane Locke

Posted over on Unlikely Stories

Fear and Hesitation, No. 10


I no longer afraid to be an outcast, speak.
I say let the words leap from everything,
Let the words leap from the sand dollar's fur,
Let words leap from dark spots made
by rain on shore sand.
Even let the words leap from the beautiful dead,
The skeleton of the fish hooked and abandoned.
The green eye of the murdered shark
decaying in sunlight.
Let the words leap from the cry of willets,
From the white flashes of their wings.
Let the words leap from the pink spots
on cream-colored backs of stone crabs.
From barnacle covered black driftwood.
From the lonely hermit crab
that has lost its shell.
From horseshoe crabs buried in oozing mud.
Let a holy language be born.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Nieve Roja

Fear and Hesitation, No. 9


I pick up coral, stare
Into the dark openings.
Each dark opening has a word to create.
The dark purple threads that fall from
the dome of the jelly fish
That have touched coral give me a word.
The golden light from the sea worm
Coming out of a coil to touch the coral
gives another word.
The dark rainbows inside the shell
of the mussel that clings to coral
Gives another word.
The purple cloud inside the sea hare,
forest on side of sea slug,
Transparency of baby octopus give more words.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Nieve Roja

A High-Up Town in Italy

A High-Up Town in Italy

It was in some town in Italy,
So we
Could stand
This summer’s heat wave.
It had not rained in ten days.
We stayed at an albergo
Where the locks
On the doors
Would not work,
And the door
To the balcony
That extended
The length of the building
Was not there.
Instead, brown leather
Flapped in the wind.
We felt secure
In this small town
In Italy, for it
Was not our home
On North Jefferson
In Tampa, where
Each door had three locks,
All the windows, burglar bars.

We walked up to see
If any wine still remained
In the bottles
Stacked behind the bar.
We found statues of
Snow White and the seven dwarves .
All the dwarves remained
The same, but someone
Had repainted Snow White
To resemble a nude Venus.
Perhaps it was a joke,
Perhaps it was a desire;
The Italian mind is hard
For Americans to understand.

Duane Locke

Posted over on Whistling Shade

Philosophical Visitation 46

Philosophical Visitation 46

Downpour on the white marble steps
That lead down into the deep water.
The rain glow on white marble, marvelous.

So many girl suicides had walked
Down the steps to drown in the deep water.
Many white silk slippers left on white marble.

Duane Locke

Posted over on JMWW

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

40 Years of TV GUIDE Covers

The national TV Guide was first published on April 3, 1953. Its premiere issue cover featured a photograph of Lucille Ball's and Desi Arnaz's newborn son, Desi Arnaz, Jr. Lucille Ball appeared 39 times on the cover. Judy Garland only had four covers.

TV Guide as a national publication resulted from Walter Annenberg's Triangle Publications' purchase of numerous regional television listing publications such as TV Forecast, TV Digest, Television Guide and TV Guide. The launch as a national publication with local listings in April 1953 became an almost instant success with the magazine becoming the most read and circulated magazine in the country by the 1960s. The initial cost was just 15¢ per copy. In addition to subscriptions, TV Guide was sold from grocery store counters nationwide. Until the 1980s, each issue's features were promoted in a television commercial. Under Triangle Publications, TV Guide continued to grow not only in circulation, but in recognition as the authority on television programming with articles from both staff and contributing writers. Over the decades the shape of the logo has changed to reflect the modernization of the television screen. At first, the logo had various color backgrounds (usually black, white, blue or green) until the familiar red background became a standard in the 1960s with occasional changes to accommodate a special edition.