Friday, December 31, 2010

Cold Hands

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Cold Hands

I leave my house running,
my breath making clouds in the
frigid morning air,
my bare feet stinging.
I grab my purse only
for the car keys inside.
Escape, my mantra.
I fear for my life.
If only I had my gloves---
my soft, comforting, luscious
leather gloves, everything would
be okay. No time, no time.
I see them on the floor
as I take a frantic look back.
No time, no time…


Posted over on her site Dragonfly's Poetry & Prolixity
Listed as #34 over on Magpie Tales 46


Image borrowed from Yahoo


they carry the memories
the scent of Florence
arthritic fingers
ease into elegance
youth is restored
dreaming of via guicciardini

Joan Tucker

Posted over on her site A Wild Patience
Listed as #58 over on Magpie Tales 46

Tony Triumphs

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE (born 31 December 1937), is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television. Considered to be one of the greatest living actors, Hopkins is perhaps best known for his portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor, its sequel Hannibal, and its prequel Red Dragon. Other prominent film credits include The Lion in Winter, Magic, The Elephant Man, 84 Charing Cross Road, Dracula, Legends of the Fall, The Remains of the Day, Amistad, Nixon and Fracture. Hopkins was born and brought up in Wales. Retaining his British citizenship, he became a U.S. citizen on 12 April 2000. Hopkins' films have spanned a wide variety of genres, from family films to horror. As well as his Academy Award, Hopkins has also won three BAFTA Awards, two Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Cecil B. DeMille Award.

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.

Hopkins has attended 12-Step meetings for alcohol addiction, and suddenly stopped drinking in 1975. As stated to TMZ in October 2010, Hopkins is a vegetarian. In 2008 he embarked on a weight loss program and by 2010 he has lost 80 pounds.

Hopkins is a prominent member of environmental protection group Greenpeace and as of early 2008 featured in a television advertisement campaign, voicing concerns about Japan's continuing annual whale hunt. Hopkins has been a patron of RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) since its early days and helped open their first intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit at Downview (HM Prison) in 1992.

Actors I admire? Ed Harris, or course, I think he's terrific; because I know he always had to fight being what he looked like a lot, but I think he's a terrific actor.
Anthony Hopkins

And I love a scary movie. It makes your toes curl and it's not you going through it.
Anthony Hopkins

Every time I try to retire, or even think of retiring from acting, my agent comes up with a script.
Anthony Hopkins

I am able to play monsters well. I understand monsters. I understand madmen.
Anthony Hopkins

I came here in 1974 to do a play, and then I went to L.A. I really like living in America. I feel more at home here than anywhere else.
Anthony Hopkins

I don't have people following me around, like bodyguards. I don't know how people live like that. Maybe the young movie stars have to live like that, I don't know. But it seems a little crazy to me. I don't think you need all that stuff.
Anthony Hopkins

I don't know what acting is, but I enjoy it.
Anthony Hopkins

I have a punishing workout regimen. Every day I do 3 minutes on a treadmill, then I lie down, drink a glass of vodka and smoke a cigarette.
Anthony Hopkins

I have dual citizenship, it just so happens I live in America.
Anthony Hopkins

I have no interest in Shakespeare and all that British nonsense... I just wanted to get famous and all the rest is hogwash.
Anthony Hopkins

I know that the arts are important. I'm not denying that, but I can't associate myself with all the claptrap that goes on around it.
Anthony Hopkins

I like the good life too much, I'm not good at going on stage night after night and on wet Wednesday afternoons.
Anthony Hopkins

I love life because what more is there.
Anthony Hopkins

I love roller coasters. I don't get a chance often, but I've gone to Magic Mountain and gone on the rides. I love roller coasters.
Anthony Hopkins

I never make conscious decisions.
Anthony Hopkins

I think all those actors from that generation, like Bogart - they were wonderful actors. They didn't act. They just came on and they did it, and the characters were wonderful.
Anthony Hopkins

I worked with Lawrence Olivier some years ago. He was a great mentor.
Anthony Hopkins

I worked with Steven Spielberg on Amistad... he seemed so very secure in himself that he let me do things.
Anthony Hopkins

I would like to go back to Wales. I'm obsessed with my childhood and at least three times a week dream I am back there.
Anthony Hopkins

I'm always cast in these strange men... that's not me, really.
Anthony Hopkins

Quoth the Cherub

Image borrowed from Bing

"Bite me, baby, ten to the bar", quoth the Cheurb on the way
in, and "This job will age you fast, smartass," said the Sage
on the way out.--Glenn Buttkus

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. ~Bill Vaughn

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~Bill Vaughan

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. ~Charles Lamb

New Year's Day is every man's birthday. ~Charles Lamb

Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty. ~John Selden

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

The merry year is born
Like the bright berry from the naked thorn.
~Hartley Coleridge

New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to. ~P.J. O'Rourke

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. ~Henry Ward Beecher

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain

The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows. ~George William Curtis

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. ~Mark Twain

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas. ~Author Unknown

And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
~Thomas Hood

Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. ~Brooks Atkinson

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.
~Walter Scott

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.
~Martin Luther

A new oath holds pretty well; but... when it is become old, and frayed out, and damaged by a dozen annual retryings of its remains, it ceases to be serviceable; any little strain will snap it. ~Mark Twain, speech in New York City, 31 March 1885

But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year-old habits. ~Andre Gide

When then is lost, as time is by,
we look upon the yearly wine
to see our substance in the lees.
Did tribe and purse most pleasing leave?
To look for clear and faithful sense,
that gives a bodied stance bouquet,
then see the vat at mirror's face
and find in it, the yearly pace.
~E. Marshall, Vintner Epilogue (Happy Old Year)

Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since. ~Dave Beard

I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second. ~Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive. ~Jay Leno

We meet today
To thank Thee for the era done,
And Thee for the opening one.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~John Burroughs

Of all sound of all bells... most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year. ~Charles Lamb

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest

It wouldn't be New Year's if I didn't have regrets. ~William Thomas

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions. ~Joey Adams

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
~F.M. Knowles

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. ~G.K. Chesterton

I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's. ~Henry Moore

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. ~Thomas Mann

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

Why won't they let a year die without bringing in a new one on the instant, can't they use birth control on time? I want an interregnum. The stupid years patter on with unrelenting feet, never stopping - rising to little monotonous peaks in our imaginations at festivals like New Year's and Easter and Christmas - But, goodness, why need they do it? ~John Dos Passos, 1917

New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions. ~Mark Twain

Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time. ~Jean Paul Richter

The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. ~W.H. Auden

After Our Wedding

Image borrowed from Yahoo

After Our Wedding

When you forgot the address of our hotel
in your suitcase,
the driver had to pull over
in front of the restaurant.

Men and women dining beneath the August sun
looked up from their salads
to clap for you,
a young, slender woman
in a wedding dress and tiara,
retrieving a slip of paper
from the trunk of a cab
in the middle of the street.

And since that day,
many of the guests at our wedding have divorced
or are gone,
and the restaurant has closed
to become a tattoo parlor.
And we have misplaced and found
many more papers,
but no one was clapping.

And the motion of the lives around us
has been like a great bus
slowly turning onto a crowded street.
And some of the passengers
have fallen asleep in their seats,

while others anxiously search
their jacket pockets
for the notes that might wed
their ordinary lives
to something lofty and astonishing.

Yehoshua Nobember

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac
"After Our Wedding" by Yehoshua Nobember, from God's Optimism.


Image borrowed from Yahoo


It's preposterous, Holmes.'
'It's...,' he smiled now, 'don't make me say know me, my dear Watson.'
'If you know, pick them up and take them over to the gentleman. This isn't murder!'
'Look at the darting eyes, Watson, he knows they are here."I was just here. They have to be here." That frantic expression, hopeless-eyed. Look. He's hiding his bare guilty hands in the overcoat.'
'Oh, yes, Watson. Look down. They're new, shiny buckle, finest unblemished leather in London, almost molded for a gentleman's hand. No scuffs. Perhaps a recent gift. He dares not to go home to his wife.'
'Pray tell, how do you know he's married?'
'Because he has a wedding band.'
'How can you tell? His hands are hidden.'
'I don't need to see his hands, Watson.'
'Look. He's young. Newly married I surmise. Lost a gift from his beloved. Overly careful now. No, Watson. He's removed his ring. Up in his vest pocket I deduce', he yawns, 'only to be worn under gloves now. Ah, the maître d' is shaking his head. Let's go, the games afoot.'
Holmes scoops up the gloves in his left hand, strides across the hardwood, presenting them with a flourish..
'These are yours I believe, sir,' extending his right hand for an introductory handshake, forcing the withdrawal of the man's left hand for the happy reunion. Both hands are ring-less.
'My work is done here, Watson.'

Outside, Holmes takes a deep, self-satisfied breath of fog-less air, Watson at his heels, blinking in the brightness. Across the stone-cobbled street, two of Moriarty's thugs approach, steely-eyed, hidden pistols inside coat pockets with sweaty trigger fingers beginning the slow squeeze of terror. A third man, approaching the famous detective and his associate from the rear, clears his throat, speaks shakenly..
'Excuse me, kind sir. These are not my gloves.'

Phil Heartland

Posted over on his site A Vagabond's Sketchbook
Listed as #43 over on Magpie Tales 46


Painting by Russ Ball

Black leather gloves
Wrap around my fingers
My fingers wrap around the reins
I am drawn to the dangerous, dark horse
On top and in control of all
That power beneath me
Oh, the thrill of

Mary Bach

Posted over on her site Writing In The Bachs
Listed as #33 over on Magpie Tales 46

At Every Stage

Image by Linda Wride

at every stage

at every stage
of life, there is
very little
when caught

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits


Image borrowed from Bing


The ants are always hungry. They spit fire to cook
their food before they bite. They are much more
civilized than us. They chew each bite thoroughly.
They never hide partially eaten donuts under the
passenger seat out of shame. They never have to
run five miles on a treadmill just to stop crying.
Ants never count their legs to make sure they
haven't misplaced one; they always know by smell.
They never fall into the same traps, or if they do,
it doesn't matter because there are 2000 more
behind them, and ants don't ever have names
to be missed.

The ants are always hungry.
They spit fire to cook their food before they bite.
They are much more civilized than us.
They chew each bite thoroughly.
They never hide partially eaten donuts under
the passenger seat out of shame.
They never have to run five miles on a treadmill
just to stop crying.
Ants never count their legs to make sure
they haven't misplaced one;
they always know by smell.
They never fall into the same traps,
or if they do, it doesn't matter because
there are 2000 more behind them,
and ants don't ever have names
to be missed.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on Jelly Roll Magazine
1. Cortney's prose poem
2. Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus


Image by Tarasov


Loving hands,
soft skin,
bare for me.

Stafford Ray

Posted down under on Stafford Ray
Listed as #66 over on Magpie Tales 46

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Wind Riders

Image borrowed from Yahoo

The Wind Riders

The wind blew steadily for three days before they came.
The power had been out since the first day from downed
trees. The water was out because the pump was electric.
We were pissing in the back yard, shitting in someone's
child's potty found in the attic. What we missed the most
was status updates. They came in hard, rocking the house
on its rotting foundations. Everything had already been
stripped from the walls, so there was nothing left to fall
but our hopes. They entered through the broken windows,
twirling in the dust that never rested. We threw the
remnants of our food at them, cowards that they were,
but they weren't looking for food. They were looking for
adoration, blind obedience, worthwhile coupons to
respectable establishments. They were looking for things
we could never understand. So we gave them cash.
They went through all our clothes, but refused even our
brightest socks. They sat on our couch, which made no
sense since TV was dead. They complained about
America, and its need for hats, the necessity of dry
hands in effective business introductions. The
syntactical structures of their whines were strange
and complex. Their shrill voices pierced our ears like
hot pins. When they left, they took only our
complacency, and some change from the bowl by
the door.


The wind blew steadily for three days
before they came.
The power had been out since the first day
from downed trees.
The water was out because the pump was electric.
We were pissing in the back yard,
shitting in someone's child's potty found in the attic.
What we missed the most was status updates.
They came in hard, rocking the house
on its rotting foundations.
Everything had already been stripped from the walls,
so there was nothing left to fall
but our hopes.
They entered through the broken windows,
twirling in the dust that never rested.
We threw the remnants of our food at them,
cowards that they were, but they weren't
looking for food.
They were looking for adoration, blind obedience,
worthwhile coupons to respectable establishments.
They were looking for things we could never understand.
So we gave them cash.
They went through all our clothes,
but refused even our brightest socks.
They sat on our couch,
which made no sense since TV was dead.
They complained about America,
and its need for hats, the necessity of dry
hands in effective business introductions.
The syntactical structures of their whines
were strange and complex.
Their shrill voices pierced our ears like hot pins.
When they left, they took only our complacency,
and some change from the bowl by the door.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on Jelly Roll Magazine
1. Cortney's fabulous prose poem.
2. Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus

Gloves Of Protection

Image borrowed from Yahoo


The gloves of
The horseman,
The maiden,
The repairman,

The plumber,
The workman,
The Indian Chief,
The biker,

The bowler,
The skier,
The raider,
The farmer,

Like dark ravens,
Ready for adventure.
Or a dark secret place,
To hide the evidence.

Wrap in warmth,
Hands that are,
Hands that do,
Hands that play,
Hands that work.

Each hand different,
Unique, one of a kind,
And yet a perfect pair.
Perfect to hold the heart.

In need of protection,
Against the North Wind's howl,
And other calamities encountered.

Annell Livingston

Posted over on her site Somethings I Think About
Listed as #39 over on Magpie Tales 46

Russell Hustle

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn (born December 30, 1934) is an American film and television actor, who is arguably best known for his performance in the 1961 movie musical West Side Story as Riff, the leader of the Jets gang.

Tamblyn was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of actors Sally Triplett and Eddie Tamblyn. He is the older brother of Larry Tamblyn, organist for the 1960s band The Standells.

Discovered at the age of ten by actor Lloyd Bridges after acting in a play, Tamblyn's first film appearance was a small non-speaking role in 1948's The Boy With Green Hair. He also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show as a child. He portrayed the young Saul in Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 version of Samson and Delilah. He played the younger version of John Dall's character in the 1950 film noir Gun Crazy. Later the same year, he had a minor role as Spencer Tracy's son and Elizabeth Taylor's younger brother in Father of the Bride, as well as in the following year's sequel, Father's Little Dividend, both directed by Vincente Minnelli. He was also a young soldier in boot camp in 1953's Take the High Ground. His training as a gymnast in high school and abilities as an acrobat prepared him for his breakout role as Gideon, the youngest brother, in 1954's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

He appeared with Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), where he performed an extraordinary "shovel" dance at a hoe-down early in the film. Though uncredited, he served as a choreographer for Elvis Presley in 1957's Jailhouse Rock. He portrayed the role of Norman Page in the 1957 film adaptation of Peyton Place, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He then played Tony Baker, a cocky, slang-slinging, switch-blading, drag-racing, dope-dealing tough teen in 1958's "High School Confidential". Performances in film musicals included the title role in 1958's tom thumb and Danny, one of the sailors in the 1955 film version of Hit the Deck. His most famous musical role was Riff, the leader of the Jets in the 1961 film West Side Story, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name.

In 1960, he portrayed The Cherokee Kid alongside Glenn Ford in Cimarron. He appeared in two 1962 MGM-Cinerama movies , The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm with a cast that included Laurence Harvey, Karlheinz Boehm, Barbara Eden, Jim Backus, and Buddy Hackett, and How the West Was Won with a cast that included Henry Fonda, Karl Malden, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart and John Wayne. He was seen the next year as Orm in The Long Ships, as Luke Sanderson in The Haunting, and as Lt. "Smitty" Smith in Follow the Boys. Tamblyn starred in the 1966 Japanese kaiju film War of the Gargantuas. Tamblyn played the supporting role in Neil Young's 1982 Human Highway while also credited for screenplay and choreography. He appeared in the horror film Necromancer in 1988.

Tamblyn is self-credited as director, choreographer and actor for Neil Young's Greendale concert tour.

Tracey Keeps Taking On

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Tracey Ullman (born 30 December 1959) is a British-born stage and television actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, screenwriter and author.

Her early appearances were on British TV sketch comedy shows A Kick Up the Eighties (with Rik Mayall and Miriam Margolyes) and Three of a Kind (with Lenny Henry and David Copperfield). She also appeared as Candice Valentine in Girls On Top with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

She emigrated from the UK to the US and created her own network television series, The Tracey Ullman Show, from 1987 until 1990, from which The Simpsons was spun off in 1989. She later produced programs for HBO, including Tracey Takes On..., for which she has won numerous awards. She has also appeared in several feature films. Ullman's most recent sketch comedy series, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union, ran from 2008—2010 on Showtime.

Ullman was born Trace Ullman in Slough, Buckinghamshire (now in Berkshire), the daughter of Dorin and Antony Ullman, a solicitor. Ullman later recalled, "My real name is Trace Ullman, but I added the 'y.' My mother said it was spelled the American way, but I don't think she can spell! I always wanted a middle name. My mum used to tell me it was Mary but I never believed her. I looked on my birth certificate and I didn't have one, just Trace Ullman." Ullman's mother was British and her father was a Polish soldier evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, subsequently working as a furniture salesman and travel agent. When she was six, Ullman's father died of a heart attack while reading her a bedtime story. He was 50 years old. In an effort to cheer up her family, Tracey recounts putting on shows in her mother's bedroom, performing alongside her older sister, Patty. That first show was entitled The Patty Ullman Show. "I was a spin-off!" recalled Ullman. In her nightly performances she mimicked anyone and everyone, including neighbours, family members, friends, even celebrities. Soon after, Ullman's mother remarried.

At the age of 12, a headmaster saw Ullman's future potential, and recommended her to the Italia Conti Academy stage school. Although the school gave Ullman her first taste of the stage, she does not look back on it fondly.

At the age of 16, Ullman began finding jobs as a dancer, and soon landed a role in Gigi in Berlin. Upon returning to England, she joined the "Second Generation" dance troupe. She also began appearing in variety shows.

The exposure led to her casting in numerous West End musicals, including Grease, and The Rocky Horror Show.[6] During this time Ullman was cast in a play at London's Royal Court Theatre for an improvised play about club acts. Entering the competition, Ullman created the character Beverly, a born-again Christian chanteuse. The performance was a big hit and she won the "Best Newcomer Award". The BBC became interested and offered her the chance to star in her own show. In 1983, Ullman took part in the workshops for Andrew Lloyd-Webber's upcoming musical, Starlight Express, playing the part of Pearl.

Emmy Awards
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program
1988 The Tracey Ullman Show
Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program
1990 The Tracey Ullman Show
Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program
1990 Best of The Tracey Ullman Show
1994 Tracey Takes On New York
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
1992 Love & War
1999 Ally McBeal
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
1997 Tracey Takes On

Ullman married producer Allan McKeown on 27 December 1983; they have two children, Mabel Ellen McKeown (born 1986) and John Albert Victor McKeown (born 1991). Ullman announced in 2005 her intention of becoming an American citizen; she became one in December 2006. In 2006, Ullman topped the list for the "Wealthiest British Comedians", with an estimated wealth of £75 million.

As I get older, I just prefer to knit.
Tracey Ullman

As you get older, you realize it's work. It's that fine line between love and companionship. But passionate love? I'd love to know how to make that last.
Tracey Ullman

Every character I do is based on someone I know.
Tracey Ullman

I don't get very involved in the L.A. scene. When you do get invited out, you are expected to be on all the time. It's just wearying.
Tracey Ullman

I hate clowns.
Tracey Ullman

I hope I never get so hard up I have to do advertisements. I've gotten ridiculous offers.
Tracey Ullman

I like going to France, because no one knows who I am.
Tracey Ullman

I like infomercials.
Tracey Ullman

I love John Waters. There's stuff in it that's beyond the boundaries of my taste, but his movies have always been like that.
Tracey Ullman

I loved the late Gilda Radner. I love Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin.
Tracey Ullman

I never wanted to do political satire because it seems too surface to me.
Tracey Ullman

I think serial monogamy says it all.
Tracey Ullman

I used to dress up and impersonate our next-door neighbor, Miss Cox. She wore rubber boots, a wool hat, and her nose always dripped.
Tracey Ullman

I wish I could believe that one person could make a difference.
Tracey Ullman

I worked with Paul McCartney for a while and saw what it does to you to be treated like a god for twenty years.
Tracey Ullman

I'm as famous as I want to be.
Tracey Ullman

I'm not a crazy, party-going sort of person.
Tracey Ullman

I'm still that little girl who lisped and sat in the back of the car and threw vegetables at the back of her head when we drove home from the market. That never goes.
Tracey Ullman

I'm usually put off by performers when they get political.
Tracey Ullman

I've never looked ahead very much in my life. I've never had any grand plan from the outset. I had no burning ambition to do what I do.
Tracey Ullman

Patti's Progress

Image by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

It’s the birthday of poet, punk rocker, and National Book Award winner Patti Smith, born in Chicago on this day during the Great Blizzard of 1946. She was raised a Jehovah Witness in New Jersey, the daughter of a waitress and a factory worker. She grew up reading a lot of books --- mostly fairy tales, biographies, and travel books about Tibet and the Himalayas. Straight out of high school she went to work on a factory assembly line. At 19 she was pregnant. She gave her child up for adoption and she moved to New York City.

She didn’t have any money when she arrived. So for the first couple months, instead of going to movies or plays or anything else, she just walked around the city. She said, “I didn’t need any entertainment. . . . It was beautiful going to Washington Square or Tompkins Square Park and seeing people gathered to read poetry or sing or play chess. For me, New York meant freedom.”

She worked at Scribner’s bookstore in Manhattan, a job that she adored. They were required to read the New York Times Book Review, and she loved that people there “took book clerks seriously”. At the store she read a lot of French poetry and biographies of poets and painters. Outside the store, she spent time at the St Mark’s Poetry Project, and also wrote articles for Rolling Stone magazine.

She had some friends who’d moved to New York City before her, and she was supposed to stay with them for a while. She showed up at their apartment looking for them. But it turns out that they didn’t live there any more, and instead of finding them she stumbled across a sleeping art student, Robert Mapplethorpe, a man who would go on to become a famous photographer. But at the time, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were each just 20 years old, and they became lovers and roommates --- inseparable young cash-strapped companions living out bohemian dreams in New York City. They rented the smallest room at the Hotel Chelsea, so they could reside in a place famous for housing writers and artists like Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Simone de Beauvoir.

She and Mapplethorpe vowed to support each other’s art. They would stay up on all night together working on their separate projects, and then take cigarette breaks to comment on each other’s work. She said, “We gathered our colored pencils and sheets of paper and drew like wild, feral children into the night, until, exhausted, we fell into bed.”

The two stayed close friends and artistic collaborators even after they ended their romance and Mapplethorpe discovered that he was gay. Their relationship is the subject of Patti Smith’s recent memoir, Just Kids (2010), which won this year’s National Book Award. The book has been described as “beautifully crafted love letter” to Mapplethorpe, who died in 1989.
He had encouraged her to draw, and she spent a lot of time hanging around the campus where he was an art student. Pretty soon she was writing poetry verses in her notebooks in addition to sketching up pencil drawings. She published her first collection of poems, Seventh Heaven, in 1972, when she was just 25.

She gave poetry readings around New York City, and became known for her dramatic delivery, in which she seemed to vacillate between anger and helplessness. One night, a friend played electric guitar on stage as she read poems. She said that they were aiming to “infuse new life into performing poetry---merging poetry with electric guitar, three chords—and to reembrace rock and roll.” To work at this ambitious project she formed a band, The Patti Smith Group. Four years after she released her first book of poems, Patti Smith released her first punk album, Horses (1975). It begins with the lyrics “Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.” The album was wildly successful, and it’s considered one of the top rock albums of all time. Patti Smith is known as “the godmother of punk”, and in 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
She’s recorded a dozen albums, including Radio Ethiopia (1976) Easter (1978), Wave (1979), Dream of Life (1988), Peace and Noise (1996), and Gung Ho (2000). Her most recent one is a live double album with Kevin Shields, The Coral Sea (2008).
Her books of poems and drawings include Witt (1973), Ha! Ha! Houdini! (1977), Babel (1978), Woolgathering (1992) Stranger Messenger (2003) and Auguries of Innocence (2005).

She’s the subject of a recent documentary by Steven Sebring, called “Patti Smith: Dream of Life” (2008).

Americans just don't know what being a movie star's all about.
Patti Smith

An artist is somebody who enters into competition with God.
Patti Smith

An artist may have burdens the ordinary citizen doesn't know, but the ordinary citizen has burdens that many artists never even touch.
Patti Smith

Artists are traditionally resistant to labels.
Patti Smith

As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag.
Patti Smith

Besides me wanting to be an artist, I wanted to be a movie star.
Patti Smith

Christianity made us think there's one heaven.
Patti Smith

Everyone thinks of God as a man - you can't help it - Santa Claus was a man, therefore God has to be a man.
Patti Smith

First of all, anybody who has lasted 30 and went through the 60's is really a survivor.
Patti Smith

Horses pretty much broke as a record in England.
Patti Smith

I always enjoyed doing transgender songs.
Patti Smith

I had a really happy childhood - my siblings were great, my mother was very fanciful, and I loved to read. But there was always financial strife.
Patti Smith

I have a daughter who's 11 years old. Maybe she'll grow up independent and really really heavy and become a movie star and she'll play me in my life story.
Patti Smith

I like gettin' old.
Patti Smith

I never thought I was gonna live to 30.
Patti Smith

I think I'm constantly in a state of adjustment.
Patti Smith

I've always thrived on the encouragement of others.
Patti Smith

If I have any regrets, I could say that I'm sorry I wasn't a better writer or a better singer.
Patti Smith

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.
Patti Smith

In fact, I thought my calling was to be a painter.
Patti Smith

Thanks to the posting over on the Writer's Almanac
and Brainy Quote

Be Mine

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Be Mine

I love mankind most
when no one's around.
On New Year's Day for instance,
when everything's closed
and I'm driving home on the highway alone
for hours in the narrating rain,
with no exact change,
the collector's booth glowing ahead
in the tumbling dark
like a little lit temple
with an angel inside and a radio
which as I open my window,
a little embarrassed by
my need for change
(until the silence says
it needs no explanation),
is suddenly playing a music more lovely
than any I've ever heard.
And the hand—
so open, so hopeful,
that I feel an urge to kiss it—
lowers the little life-boat of itself
and takes the moist and crumpled prayer
of my dollar bill from me.
Then the tap, tap,
tinkling spill of the roll of coins
broken against the register drawer,
and the hand returning two coins, and a voice
sweeter than the radio's music,
saying, "Have a good one, man."
I would answer that voice if I could—
which of course I can't—
that I've loved it ever since it was born
and probably longer than that.
Thought "You too,"
is all I can manage,
I say it with great emotion
in a voice that doesn't sound like me,
though it must be

Paul Hostovsky

Posted over on The Writer's Almanac
"Be Mine" by Paul Hostovsky, from Bending the Notes.

Gloves Off

Image by John Currin

Gloves Off

In crackling cold, I had it in my mind
To reach for you and take your little hands.
Outstretching through the space where years are lined,
Blinking away the falling time of sands.
We recognise each other from our prints,
The feel of familiar holding fast.
Our futures hinge on what was, ever since
Lives have been mapped, roles deftly poured and cast.
Fingers have been our hope, our loving hooks,
We've learned silent expression, talk by touch.
Closer than my next breath, I sense your looks,
In bleached and broken days, I have so much.
Your messages to me are clearly signed,
Gloves off, we leave uncertainty behind.

Martin T. Hodges

Posted over on his site Square Sunshine
Listed as #38 over on Magpie Tales 46

Wooden Soul

Image by Z. Shaghaghi

wooden soul

did I
doff a
heart for

beside your
wooden soul
even my
hoary hands
now wrinkled

softer than

R. Burnett Baker

Posted over on his site Efficient Agony
Listed as #35 over on Magpie Tales 46

Why In The Name of All That's Wonderful Doesn't English Tidy Up It's Pronunciation!

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Why in the Name of All That's Wonderful Doesn't English
Tidy Up It's Pronunciation!

There was a young fellow from Hove
who lost (from a pair) the left glove.
He said with a sigh
"How will I get bigh,
If the temperature downwards should move"

Richard Cavendish-Westwood

aka: Doctor FTSE

Posted over on his site This Is Getting Silly
Listed as #46 over on Magpie Tales 46

After All That

Image by James Maner

after all that

after all that
lollygagging, Winter
finally decided
to get the ball
rolling, throwing
a mean hook shot
with minimal spin

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feels Good

Image by Lady Utopia

Feels Good

Curling around me
He fits like a well worn glove
Lifetime guarantee

Helen Woonie

Posted over on her site Poetry Matters
Listed as #20 over on Magpie Tales 46

There Are Some

Image borrowed from Yahoo

there are some

there are some
wounds that cannot
be licked,
some faces
more revealing
than others

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Gloved Hand

Image borrowed from Bing

The Gloved Hand

On his left hand he wore a glove - we teased him, did he think he was Michael Jackson?

He wore it genuinely to keep his hand warm in the winter, to help the arthritis which had started to get into the old gunshot wound and to hide the ugly knot of scar tissue on the back of his hand.

The story was that his gun got jammed in its holster, he had slammed the gun into his hand to free it from the holster and it had just gone off - blowing a hole clean through the middle. He who had grown up with guns, he who had fired them every day of his life, he who could tell you the name, model number, where it was made, what sort of bullets it fired, all from a single glance - he slammed a loaded revolver into his hand to remove it from it's holster? It was the stupidest story he ever told but he wanted everyone to believe it because the truth was too difficult for him to explain. It took him twenty-eight years to tell me the real story.

One afternoon he and his girlfriend argued, he told her he wanted her to clear all of her belongings from his flat and to be gone by the time he got home. She wasn't. They argued more ... he grabbed a bag, stuffed her clothes into it and as he turned to put it by the door he saw her standing in the doorway pointing his revolver straight at him. He went to disarm her, there was a brief struggle and the revolver went off, straight through the middle of his hand. As he stood looking at the hole and the blood and listening to her screaming at the sight of his hand, he made up the stupid story. The story that would save her from an attempted murder charge and that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

As he told me the story I pictured the scene, her screaming hysterically, him trying to calm her down, telling her it was alright, then telephoning for the ambulance himself and explaining as calmly as he could the stupid story he had made up to save her. For years he would wake up in a cold sweat shouting and holding his hand out but it wasn't until the last afternoon we met that he told me the truth.

Jane Healy

aka: madamebutterfly

Posted over on her site A New Start
Listed as #12 over on Magpie Tales 46

Becoming a Babe

Image borrowed from Bing

Becoming a Babe

Everything about Susie's life was stale.
She got married at 20, and was pregnant at 21,22 and 23.
'I'm a cow' she thought, 'I love them babies, but Jesus, I am 24 and fit for a madhouse'.
She glanced at yer man sitting on his chair, proof of his manhood lying in gingham covered prams, plump babies sucking and mewing and looking so damn gorgeous she knew she'd have another three by the time she was 30.
Thirty, Susie thought, I can't get to 30 and just have pram loads of babies to show for my life.
She wanted to be flirty and flighty and wear inappropriate clothes. She wanted to drag that man out of his chair and dazzle the smugness out of him.
And he would go, Jesus, Susie, underneath all that black rimmed tiredness and coo-cooing of babies, you are a babe.
Yes, a babe, Susie thought, I want to be called a 'babe' just once, stupid word, but I want that word to apply to me, just once.
So Susie grabbed a lipstick, worn but still sufficient for pouting duties. She applied layers of scented make-up, each layer hiding the fear.
She put on her clingiest dress, a little tight, but just the right touch of inappropriateness. I'm looking like a woman of the night, she thought - Good!
She put on her high shoes, uncomfortable - great.
She walked around the room and thought, 'I'm tottering on high-heels, my make-up is stage worthy, my dress is inappropriate, but I'm missing something.
Gloves - that is what it is, gloves to hide my dishwater hands, black...leather...gloves...
Now I'm looking good'.
She looked at herself in the mirror,
'I am a babe' she said to her reflection, quietly.
'What's that Susie?', yer man in the chair shouted up the stairs.
'I AM A BABE !' she shouted back at him, waking at least one of the babies.
He tutted.
She walked down the stairs, black gloved hands tapping on the bannisters, shoes clippity clop on the stairs.
I am a babe, her heart sang.

Brigid O'Connor

Posted over on her site Sort of Writing
Listed as #5 over on Magpie Tales 46


Image borrowed from Bing


Two empty hands

Palms up lacking promise

Lacking care


Warm soft gloves

Keep lovers hands cozy while

Clasping mine


Two lost gloves

One right - one left make a pair

When desperate


Left behind

and on the other hand

you're right

Kathe Worsley

aka: Kathew

Posted over on her site Snappy Repartee
Listed as #6 over on Magpie Tales 46

As You Approach

Image by Jennifer Pace

as you approach

as you approach
the intersection
between your
prime and childish
things, heaven
just appears
more often
out of nowhere
reaching out

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Butterfly Breasts

Image borrowed from Bing

Butterfly Breasts

Do not pretend ignorance.
You too have noticed them, in
those short tight skirts,
those low-cut cleavage heaving blouses,
those stiletto heels and thin ankle straps,
those golden bare-midriff chains,
those black push-up bras, with
those cherry-red kiss-me lips,
those try-me-sometime looks--
seriously, what the hell can real men do
when confronted with this musky, lusty scent,
this tsunami of euphoria,
this total rush of super-charged pheromones?
There simply can never be enough
ice cold showers to fully extinguish
all those flames.

It probably started in the garden
when Adam’s Rib became
the primary Claymate,
part receptacle, part succubus--
kissing reptiles, biting fruit,
pissing off the Land Lord,
culminating in a hasty exit
Eden right, followed immediately
by the gnawing need to procreate,
to co-create the rest of us;
becoming the greatest melodrama
ever told, given credibility and testament
every time another temptress
emerges from her chrysalis,
stretches her beautiful soft wings,
shakes her tight butt
and takes flight--forcing
men to reach for their nets.

Glenn Buttkus

December 2010

Listed as #15 over on Magpie Tales 46

Would you like the Author to read this poem to you?

Essential Accessory

Image by Tess Kincaid

Essential Accessory

A gloved hand
is gentle, fickle,
like the soft wing
of an enigmatic bird.

One clandestine touch,
a tickle, the apocalypse
of taut leather and cashmere
ignites passion faster

than plywood of a naked
palm. Though embraced
a thousand times, still
it becomes the smooth

kidskin psalm, sung
by a beautiful stranger;
a splendid woolgathering,
that eats away the heart.

Tess Kincaid
December, 2010

Posted over on her site Willow Manor
Listed as #1 over on Magpie Tales 46

Monday, December 27, 2010

Breaking Stones

Joy Harjo: Image borrowed from Bing

Breaking Stones, some notes for a play

Yesterday I was in a prison quarry, breaking stones.

It was the quarry inside.

I had a talkative lunch, walked a few miles, photographed and found startling images that may turn into some large pieces. Watched some stand up comedy--all this with a beautiful illusion, a man with a beating heart, shining eyes, kindness, and a muscular, kinetic presence.

Because I am in the thinking/dreaming/inventing phase of my next play, I Think I Love You, An All Night Round Dance, about romantic love, I keep scanning people in restaurants, cars, airports, to notice the shape of romantic love in their consciousness. You can see it in the body, where it lives and how it works. Some have dismissed it. Others are in the throes of it. Some are nearly broken.

Then there I was, in it, I had become my own experiment. I had built a love story. I was the only one in it. I had to break the stones of illusion so that I would not linger there. And as I walked through the day I continued to lift the hammer and break stones. I continued to break stones way past sundown.

This morning the stones are broken. There is only sunrise.

Joy Harjo

Posted over on her site Poetic Adventures in the Last World Blog

Every Snowflake Lives

Image borrowed from Bing

every snowflake lives

every snowflake lives
and dies
by the code of
the snowflake –
imagination pulled taut

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Three Wizened Men

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Three Wizened Men

Bethelehem Police Station, December 24th - Year Zero
Officer P. Pilate reporting

I was just returning to the station when I espied three strange men on camels travelling across the desert.

Upon approaching them they claimed to be three wize men, following a star, but I distinctly smelt alcohol on their breaths.

Upon further questioning they claimed to be Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, Kings of the Orient who had been visited by a spirit telling them to bring gifts to a child in a manger. It seemed clear to me that they had been visited by several spirits, including the spirit of Jack Daniels on several occasions.

I proceded to ask them to dismount from their camels and to turn out their pockets. Upon searching the three so-called Kings I discovered that one was carrying Gold, the second Frankensense and the third Myr. They claimed that these were gifts for the child. When I questioned whether some form of cuddly toy wouldn't be more appropriate for a child they could not provide a suitable response.

I was just about to ask them to follow me to the station when we were interrupted by three shepherds coming in the opposite direction. They were also acting in a most peculiar manner and claimed to have followed the star. I decided that they were either in collusion with each other or that the Annual General Meeting of Village Idiots was in town.

However, as it was nearing the end of my shift I decided to follow them back to The Comfy Inn, Bethelehem, where I found a young family sleeping in the barn with the animals.

Having made a mental note to report the parents for child neglect I asked the two persons present whether they were, in fact, the parents of the poor child lying in the straw.

The male then responded that he was a travelling carpenter and that he was not the father. His wife had claimed that she had been impregnated by God himself, although he seemed to believe it was actually some fellow called Gabriel. I recommended the couple to marriage guidance, but decided not to pursue the issue of parentage as it was becoming increasingly clear that everyone was bonkers

It was at this point that I turned to the three men I had initially encountered and asked if they still had any of the spirits they had initially spoken of. Sadly they did not and I returned to the station where I had a bottle of Bells hidden under the desk

Don't Feed The Pixies

Posted over on Hungry Pixies
Listed as #89 over on Magpie Tales 45

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DayafterChristmas Eve

Image borrowed from Dick Clark Productions

DayafterChristmas Eve

We all need to be a bit reflective
this week during these tiny flaccid
final days of our tenth year within
the fecund womb of millennium,
gather our regrets, embrace our
follies, focus our gaze on the
furry breasts of the fickle future,
before the champagne will flow,
before the fireworks will blow,
before the open-mouthed kiss,
putting both hands on the butt
of last year, before they trot out
the taxidermist’s dream, Dick Clark,
held up with a balsa peg and
a peck of Popsicle sticks pasted
to his spine, moving his lips like
Charlie McCarthy on the radio,
just a ghostly voice out of synch,
repeating those trite platitudes;
then write out resolutions on
squares of Charmin, so as to imprint
them on our backside, giving
them the respect they deserve.

Where is Guy Lombardo when you really
need him--probably schmoozing with
Lawrence Welk in Spanish, arguing
about the chosen color of the bubbles
that will be ejaculated into the pristine air
of 2011; and once again the Questions
loom large on our forehead horizons--

Will there ever be peace again
in our lifetime? Or will we spread
ourselves even thinner and send
in the troops to a third area of operation,
a third quagmire, in South Korea?
Will Obama get his numbers up?
Will Michelle thin down those
naughty school children?
Will Hillary bitch-slap a photographer
on her next trip to Yemen?
Will Sarah Palin shave her head,
and wear a red-white-and blue
burka for the upcoming
Fourth of July capitol picnic?
Will Oprah interview Bin Laden
on her premiere show for her
new network, and we will discover
Osama likes to play the accordion?
Que sara sara.

Glenn Buttkus

December 2010

Would you like to hear the Author read this poem to you?

Winter Blahs

Image borrowed by Bing

Winter Blahs

As most people who know me very well know, I do not enjoy the Christmas holiday. It sort of goes way back for me to my "previous" life. I remember how we celebrated Christmas as a family and now that that "family" is no more, at least as it was back then, I always get the Christmas blues. I think others feel that way too. I know that is not the true meaning of Christmas so I try to just get beyond that and look forward to the new year. (maybe this should have been the Christmas Grinch post instead of Winter blahs) But I will forge ahead.

So winter has the cold, snow, sleet, slick roads, and cold feet. The landscape looks miserable, cold, no leaves, naked trees shivering in the cold. Even the air looks unhappy, gray and cold. So what is the good that I should be able to see and enjoy about winter??

Well lets see. It is a time to put on warm cozy socks and sweaters that I couldn't wear all summer. Time to enjoy the fireplace, (I am lucky enough to have one). Time to get together with family and friends. Time to maybe reflect on the year and make plans for the coming year.

So maybe winter should be seen as a time of slumber before the awakening of spring. A time for the landscape to rest and regenerate itself for burst of green and color to come.

Maybe we should look at our lives the same way and look forward to the new year and spring to come. Maybe ponder some of our past mistakes and look for ways to make life richer and show those we love what they mean to us.
Thought for the day: Experience is what you learn just after you need it.


Posted over on her site Things I Know
Listed as #97 over on Magpie Tales 45

Love's Icon

Painting by Generosa Orsini

love's icon

love's icon

clouds embrace the sky

waving flag


Posted over on her Idaho site First Tumblewords
Listed as #61 over on Magpie Tales 45


Image borrowed from Bing


eight years in the making, a
strand of winter falls

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

It was Christmas, 1882, the last time Atlanta had snow of this intensity.

Ferlinghetti Said It

Painting by Sergio Moyano

Ferlinghetti Said It

Ferlinghetti said it in his Christ climbed down,
Coney Island Christmas of the Mind. But,

You hit the nail on its fucking head this time, Bro’.
Billy Cruz, vomiting under the Murray Morgan Bridge
Would love ya guts, red-dressed in cocksucking tie.
Prick to butt in the consecration confession queue,
Wending yer way to the lip-smacking waifer an’
Carefull-wiped chalice full of Christ-knows what germs.
“O come all ye hypocrites in your hanky tonight.”

What the fuck’s all this giftmass about, Chrissie?
An’ I’m not pretending to tithe you the surplus,
Cuz’ that’s what Billy was vomiting his Beam for.
Bunk and sandals and orange incense galore,
It’s sold for a ticket, including the whore choir,
O cum all ye hypocrites in your sandwich tonight.

For auld lang syne, my friend,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll drink a cup o’ Glennfiddich yet
For auld lang syne.

David Robert (Burns) Gilmour

Saturday, December 25, 2010

River City Blues: Part VIII

Image by Diane Arbus

River City Blues – Part VIII

I couldn’t decide what movie to take Claire to so I asked Dad and Ms. Sandee.

“Take her to a scary one,” Dad said. “Like Hitchcock. She’ll get all agitated and hug up on you to protect her. And if it’s scary enough, she’ll be afraid to look at the screen, and she’ll just want to kiss all over you.”


“Ask her what she would like to see,” Ms. Sandee said. “That sets a nice tone of respect.”

“Yeah,” Dad said. “Chicks like respect.”

Ms. Sandee slapped him on the shoulder. He grinned and they locked eyes. I figured I’d had enough advice.
I asked Claire, and she said she wanted to see this new film shot here in Tennessee.

“What’s it about?” I asked.

“It’s art house,” she said.

I didn’t know what that meant, but it was called “Army of Darkness.”

Dad drove me over to her house. She came out in jeans and a jacket. She looked pretty, especially when she smiled when she saw me, but it was still only pretty.

The movie was supposed to be scary, but instead it was strange and funny. We had a tub of popcorn between us, and I was so nervous I ate just about the whole thing. Claire put it on the floor, finally. I really started to get into the movie, and then I noticed that she kept clearing her throat. I would look at her, and she’d smile. I kept getting the feeling she was trying to tell me something. Finally, she put her hand on mine on the armrest. I felt a little rush. I slid my hand over onto her lap. She stiffened and kept her hand on the armrest. I glanced at her, but she was staring straight forward. I caressed her thigh through the material of her jeans. I moved my hand up close to her body, and she stiffened a little. I moved it to her knee, and she relaxed. I moved it back and forth, slowly. Each time, she stiffened and relaxed, but she kept her hands on the armrests on either side of her, and she started straight forward. Eventually, I realized her eyes were closed, so I moved my hand back to the zipper of her jeans and then slid it down between her legs. She thrust into my hand, then. I kept doing that, half expecting her to start screaming or to jump on top of me, then the movie ended and the lights went up. I pulled my hand away. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. I noticed she was flushed.

We went out to the lobby. Normally, I’d play video games until Dad came and got us. We wandered over to the games anyway. There were some other kids there.

“Want to go wait outside?” I said. It was all I could think of.

“I’m going to beat you at Galaga,” she said.

So we played. It was fun, but it wasn’t what was on my mind. Soon, dad came and got us and took us to get pizza. When we dropped her off, Dad nudged me. I got out and followed her up to her door. She turned and smiled. I leaned in and she met my mouth, her lips firmly closed.

“I had a great time,” she said, turned, and went inside.

All that week at school, she was friendly but disinterested. I would put my arm around her, and she’d let me, for a while, then shrug it off. When I tried to kiss her, she either backed off, or lacked passion. I decided to take her to another movie, just to see. She picked another horror film. This time, when the lights went down, I reached out to hold her hand, tentatively. She squeezed my hand, and then pulled it to her lap. I repeated the motions from last time, massaging her thigh, but got to her zipper much more quickly. As I pressed between her legs, she made little noises. I slid my hand up and brought her zipper down slowly. She pressed into me. I reached inside her pants and felt moisture. I explored and rubbed, the whole time with her squirming and moaning softly, until she finally grabbed my hand and bucked. It caught me off guard. She grabbed me and drew me to her for a deep kiss, mouth open this time. When the lights went up, we were kissing. She pushed me off, and did her jeans back up. Then we went out and played Galaga again.

It went like that a couple nights a week. At school, and in front of anyone, she was standoffish. In the dark, she was kind of wild. Once, after the movie, on the way to Galaga she pushed me into a stall in the women’s bathroom. We made out, and she put her hand down my pants. I’d gotten so worked up working on her, that it didn’t take long to get me ready.

“Big,” she said, rubbing it.

It didn’t take me long after she said that. After we came out of the stall, she wouldn’t let me put my arm around her.

“You guys must be getting serious,” Ms.Sandee asked, after a couple weeks.

I shrugged. “I’m not sure,” I said.

“Well, she keeps agreeing to go out with you. That must be serious.”

“I guess,” I said.

“Well, don’t go too far too fast,” she said.

“I’m not sure what you mean,” I said.

She smiled and offered me a cookie.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on Troubadour 21

Writer's Rant

Writer's Rant

Today, I hadn't written in a while, so I thought, "Fuck it, I'll write some flash fiction. That won't take long. Then I can go back to watching reruns of 'Home Improvement.'" I mean, look at the evidence. Read some journals. They're full of flash fiction and most of it is shit. These folks aren't spending a lot of time on this stuff, and if they are, well that's just sad. Sure, every so often one of them stands out, but most of them are instantly forgettable. I'm not singling FF out--the same could be true of poetry or longer fiction. But FF is shorter, even than some poems. And one wonders if the bulk of 'fiction' writers publishing in journals these days even know how to sustain a longer piece of fiction anymore. But if I go much further with this, I'll have to start naming names.

To survive as a writer, one needs momentum. Now that can be tricky. Me personally, I often get it from positive reinforcement--publications, crowd reactions, etc. But publishing, especially online, doesn't really mean much these days. I keep sending my stuff out, and I keep having it picked up. And to be honest, most of the time I'm disappointed in myself when something I've written is picked up by an online journal. "I should've shot higher," say I to myself. Of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, sending your work to some head-strong grad. student to reject from a print journal because his professor told him not to like it or because he doesn't recognize your name can be a little frustrating too. So where to get momentum? The project itself (whatever I'm writing) offers a good bit. Sure, it's hard to keep up the pace of writing a novel when you work 12 hours a day, especially when you're looking at maybe someday getting it published and then having probably nobody outside of your friends and family read it. So to actually finish a project, I, for one, really have to feel strongly about it. Am I the only one? (I know that's absurdly unfair--there are tons of great writers out there. It's called making a point.)

There is just so much white noise out there. So many mediocre writers pumping out so-so work. So little of it is interesting or creative. What little is interesting or creative is buried in the white noise. So what's the point of it all? Some of the white noise is created by folks trying to bolster their resumes in order to nab or keep academic positions, sure. Some of them are still laboring under the antiquated model which leads them to believe there's some challenge to getting published. I'm talking about status, which is quickly becoming a thing of the past, in writing. Sure, the grad. students try to hold on to it, but there's nothing special about an MFA when thousands of other people are getting them every year.

Writing is all about telling stories, sure. Christmas is about giving, too, but we all want to receive every now and again. It certainly is nice when someone sends an email or makes a comment about something you've written. It would be nicer if they enclosed a check. Still, given the choice, I would rather be Van Gogh--the genius toiling in obscurity, than work for Hallmark, sure. Absolutely. No question. Except, of course, that Van Gogh had a LOT of venereal diseases. So we can skip that part.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on his site Murder Your Darlings

Wen the Snow is Drop In

Image by Mark A. Johnson

Lynne Rees, over at Applehouse Poetry
wrote this morning:

To close the year I have a poem by my great-niece
that is full, appropriately, of wonder and joy:

wen the snow is drop in,
it is lite,
the snow it is litlee
drop in drop in
it is like the sky is cumin undun,
frowin snowballs,
making a snowman today.

Ffion Richards, age 5

Chopping Sweet

Image by Jan Sandwich

chopping sweet

chopping sweet
at midnight –
a rabbit
never rests

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

I Can Pull Christmas

Painting by Norman Rockwell

i can pull Christmas

i can pull Christmas
out of a hat, but there’s nothing
that beats being home

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

When All Else Fails, Look

Image borrowed from Yahoo

when all else fails, look

when all else fails, look
them in the eye –
most people
have a hard time
seeing themselves

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Beloveds

Image from Alex Shapiro

My Beloveds

When a composer discusses a piece with someone,
particularly if that someone has had a hand
in bringing those notes into the air
as either patron or player,
it’s awfully helpful to remember
what the music actually looks and sounds like.

One moment amidst the conference din,
a musician enthusiastically declared to me
how much he liked playing something
to which he referred as “that piece with the cool stuff.”
To which I gratefully mumbled back
something about “the paper.”
At which he shook his head at me quizzically
and said something about “key clicks.”
To which I replied something about “low flutes.”
To which he protested, since he was a euphonium player.
At which point I finally deduced
which piece was “that piece.”

Each piece is a beloved child,
but they’re all running loose around the house,
wreaking one level of havoc or another.
Some works have recently been premiered
and upcoming performances tugged
at my hem for attention;
other commissions are newly delivered
and published with imminent premieres,
and yet others are in the process of being written.
As with a good book, I’m riveted
to find out exactly how they end.
People often say, “I can’t wait to see it!”,
to which my immediate and bemused response is,
“yeah, me too!”. Obviously,
I wouldn’t have it any other way
or I wouldn’t have gotten myself
into this fine mess.

Alex Shapiro

Posted as prose over on her site Notes From the Kelp
Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus.