Monday, January 31, 2011

At the Berkeley Free Speech Cafe

Image borrowed from Yahoo

At the Berkeley Free Speech Cafe

The students are seated,
one to a table,
at tables for two,
ears wired,
laptops humming,
cell phones buzzing,
fingers texting,
iPods thumping,
toes drumming,
email flashing,
lattés cooling,
textbooks open,
reading for an exam
in Issues in Contemporary Culture 102.

Thomas R. Moore

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac
"At the Berkeley Free Speech Cafe" by Thomas R. Moore, from The Bolt-Cutters

Biblical Bedtime

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Biblical Bedtime

I am reading bedtime stories to my daughter,
three teddies, a pedigree horse and two angels;
re-telling the tale of Moses, as plastic Barbie
with blonde hair stares up with blank blue eyes.

I am nearing the conclusion where he is banished
from kissing the sacred soil of the Promised Land
despite surviving the Passover, pestilence of locus
the parting of, and crushing water wall of the Nile.

She placed her tiny fingered hand over the pages
of the Childs Bible, indicating that we’d finished.

Looking up at me she said “Dad, why didn’t God
just do what you and mummy do, when I’m tired
and grumpy - and put him on the naughty stair?”

Martin Cordrey

Posted over on Applehouse Poetry

New Year's Resolution

Image borrowed from Yahoo

new year's resolution

new year’s resolution:
chocolate cake
once-a-week –
January bakes
generously, and
we know ourselves
better than most –
it is easier to
make resolutions
that are bittersweet

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Bale Birthday

Image borrowed from Bing

Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is an English actor. In addition to starring in big budget Hollywood films, he has played in films produced by independent producers and art houses.

Bale first caught the public eye at the age of 13, when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun. He played an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. He has received critical acclaim for his performance in The Fighter, earning him several awards including the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He is also well-known for portraying Bruce Wayne in the new Batman films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. He was nearly unrecognizable in THE MACHINIST; losing like 60 pounds for the part.

In 1999, Bale played serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, director Mary Harron's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel. Bale was briefly dropped from the project in favor of Leonardo DiCaprio, but DiCaprio eventually dropped out to star in The Beach, and Bale was cast once again. He researched his character by studying the novel and prepared himself physically for the role by spending months tanning and exercising in order to achieve the "Olympian physique" of the character as described in the original novel.He went so far as to distance himself from the cast and crew to maintain the darker side of Bateman's character. American Psycho premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival to much controversy. Roger Ebert condemned the film at first, calling it pornography and "the most loathed film at Sundance," but gave it a favourable review, writing that Harron "transformed a novel about bloodlust into a movie about men's vanity." Of Bale's performance, he wrote, "Christian Bale is heroic in the way he allows the character to leap joyfully into despicability; there is no instinct for self-preservation here, and that is one mark of a good actor."

On April 14, 2000, Lions Gate Films released American Psycho in theatres. Bale was later approached to make a cameo appearance in another Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, The Rules of Attraction, a film loosely connected to American Psycho, but he declined out of loyalty to Harron's vision of Bateman, which he felt could not be properly expressed by anyone else In 2000, he again played a villain, this time in John Singleton's Shaft.

Bale has played an assortment of diverse characters since 2001. His first role after American Psycho was in the John Madden adaptation of the best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Bale played Mandras, a Greek fisherman who vied with Nicolas Cage's title character for the affections of the desirable Pelagia (Penelope Cruz). Captain Corelli's Mandolin was Bale's second time working with John Hurt, after All the Little Animals.

Bale returned in 2004 to play Trevor Reznik, the title character in the psychological thriller The Machinist. Bale gained attention for his devotion to the role and for the lengths to which he went to achieve Reznik's emaciated, skeletal appearance. He went without proper rest for prolonged periods, and placed himself on a crash diet of generally coffee and apples, which reduced his weight by 63 pounds (4 st 4 lb/27 kg) in a matter of months. By the end of filming Bale weighed only 121 pounds (8 st 9 lb/55 kg), a transformation he described as "very calming mentally" and which drew comparisons to Robert De Niro's alternate weight-gaining regimen for his role as Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. Bale claimed that he had not worked for a period of time before he was cast in the film. "...I just hadn't found scripts that I'd really been interested in. So I was really dying for something to arrive. Then when this one did, I just didn't want to put it down. I finished it and, upon the kind of revelation that you get at the end, I immediately wanted to go back and re-visit it, to take a look at what clues I could have gotten throughout". The Machinist was a low-budget production, costing roughly US$5 million to produce, and was given only a limited US release. It was well received critically with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 75% of the critics' reviews tallied were positive.

ll of the muscles were gone, so that was a real tough time of rebuilding all of that. But you have a deadline, you have an obligation. You've said that you will commit to this part, and I just can't live with myself for not really giving it as much as I can.
Christian Bale

An actor should never be larger than the film he's in.
Christian Bale

And being as I'm somebody who loves movies like The Machinist, I also love going along to big mass entertainment movies. I get in the mood for all kinds of movies, and so I like to try each of them.
Christian Bale

But I enjoyed getting sick, I didn't mind it at all. So in that short amount of time, I did actually go from 121 right back up to 180, which is way too fast obviously. And that resulted in some doctors visits to get things sorted out.
Christian Bale

Essentially, I'm untrained, so I just go with my imagination and try to put myself as solidly as I can into the shoes of whatever person I'm going to be playing.
Christian Bale

I don't personally look to my own life experiences for answers about how to play a scene.
Christian Bale

I don't think I'm like any of the characters I've played - they're all really far from who I am.
Christian Bale

I have a fear of being boring.
Christian Bale

I only sound intelligent when there's a good script writer around.
Christian Bale

I tend to think you're fearless when you recognize why you should be scared of things, but do them anyway.
Christian Bale

I think trying too hard to be sexy is the worst thing in the world a woman can do.
Christian Bale

I went backwards and forwards over it until I was 22. And then in the past few years I began to say to myself, OK, look, I'm not messing around. This is something I want to attack, instead of thinking, I'll just see what happens with it.
Christian Bale

I've had some painful experiences in my life, but I feel like I'm trivializing them by using them for a scene in a movie. I don't want to do that. It just makes me feel kind of dirty for having done that.
Christian Bale

If everyone really knew what a jerk I am in real life, I wouldn't be so adored in the slightest.
Christian Bale

It's about pursuing it rather than waiting to see what comes along. That's partly because I found myself getting typecast, as everyone does unless they pursue roles that are very different from what they've done before.
Christian Bale

It's not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.
Christian Bale

It's the actors who are prepared to make fools of themselves who are usually the ones who come to mean something to the audience.
Christian Bale

My hope is that people will be repulsed by the character's complete lack of ethics and obsession with consumerism - that's what I was saying about the difference between the character's message and the film's message.
Christian Bale

No, only disappointment in myself on those occasions I didn't manage to rise to the occasion as I felt I should've done. I can always see how to do it, and then the challenge is, Can I manage that each and every day?
Christian Bale

Obviously there are times with acting when exactly what is required is just going through the motions, and when doing nothing is the best thing. But at other times, you have to make that leap beyond the immediate environment of people putting up lights on the set.
Christian Bale

Brautigan's Birth

Richard Brautigan (1935-1984)

It's the birthday of poet and novelist Richard Gary Brautigan, born in Tacoma, Washington (1935). His work was introduced to me by pal, Doug Palmer, a couple of years ago, and there are dozens of his poem on this site. He moved to San Francisco, where he read his poetry at psychedelic rock concerts, helped produce underground newspapers, and became involved with the Beat Movement. He had long blond hair and granny glasses.

In the summer of 1961, he went camping with his wife and young daughter in Idaho's Stanley Basin. He spent his days hiking, and it was there, sitting next to trout streams with his portable typewriter, that he wrote his most famous work, Trout Fishing in America (1967).

Brautigan was raised in poverty; he told his daughter stories of his mother sifting rat feces from their supply of flour to make flour-and-water pancakes. Because of Brautigan's impoverished childhood, he and his family found it difficult to obtain food, and on some occasions they did not eat for days. He lived with his family on welfare and moved about the Pacific Northwest for nine years before the family settled in Eugene, Oregon in August 1944. Many of Brautigan's childhood experiences were included in the poems and stories that he wrote from as early as the age of 12. His novel So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away is loosely based on childhood experiences including an incident where Brautigan accidentally shot the brother of a close friend in the ear, injuring him only slightly.

On September 12, 1950, Brautigan enrolled at South Eugene High School, having graduated from Woodrow Wilson Junior High School. He was a writer for his high school newspaper South Eugene High School News. He also played on his school's basketball team, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall (1.93 m) by the time of his graduation. On December 19, 1952, Brautigan's first published poem, The Light, appeared in the South Eugene High School newspaper. Brautigan graduated with honors from South Eugene High School on June 9, 1953. Following graduation, he moved in with his best friend Peter Webster, and Peter's mother Edna Webster became Brautigan's surrogate mother. According to several accounts Brautigan stayed with Webster for about a year before leaving for San Francisco for the first time in August 1954. He returned to Oregon several times, apparently for lack of money.

On December 14, 1955, Brautigan was arrested for throwing a rock through a police-station window, supposedly in order to be sent to prison and fed. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and fined $25. He was then committed to the Oregon State Hospital on December 24, 1955, after police noticed patterns of erratic behavior.

At the Oregon State Hospital Brautigan was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression, and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy 12 times. While institutionalized, he began writing The God of the Martians, a manuscript of 20 very short chapters totaling 600 words. The manuscript was sent to at least two editors but was rejected by both, and remains unpublished (A copy of the manuscript was recently discovered with the papers of the last of these editors, Harry Hooton.) On February 19, 1956, Brautigan was released from hospital and briefly lived with his mother, stepfather, and siblings in Eugene, Oregon. He then left for San Francisco, where he would spend most of the rest of his life except for periods in Tokyo and Montana.

All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.
Richard Brautigan

I didn't know the full dimensions of forever, but I knew it was longer than waiting for Christmas to come.
Richard Brautigan

I don't want my daughter to be educated. I think women should just be decorative.
Richard Brautigan

I'll think about things for thirty or forty years before I'll write it.
Richard Brautigan

I'm in a constant process of thinking about things.
Richard Brautigan

It's strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult.
Richard Brautigan

Probably the closest things to perfection are the huge absolutely empty holes that astronomers have recently discovered in space. If there's nothing there, how can anything go wrong?
Richard Brautigan


Image borrowed from Bing


After midnight the blizzard howls itself out,
the wind sleeps, a tired lover.
Before bed, I think of you
and play the Meistersinger quintet
over and over, singing
along on all the parts,
dancing though the house
like a polar bear who thinks
it has joined the ballet.
You are in my arms, dancing too;
whirling from room to room;
frost crusted on the window
begins to glow like lit up faces.
My five fingers, now on fire
like these five voices singing,
imagine touching the skin
over your shoulders

Bill Holm

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac
"Blizzard" by Bill Holm, from Playing the Black Piano.

Falcon State Park Patrol

Image by Paul Bauck

Falcon State Park Patrol

Small armed bands routinely patrol Falcon State Park. With cameras on one shoulder and binoculars around their necks these grey-haired soldiers patrol the trails and roads in small groups, seeking their prey. When someone spots their quarry they huddle around a small book and debate the identity of the creature. Often this ends in agreement, but can lead to discord in the group. Individuals sometimes go out on patrol alone, seeking to surprise their quarry by stealth.

These troopers keep notebooks with long lists of the names of their targets. Often a joyous shout is heard when a new name is added to the list.

Small armed bands routinely patrol Falcon State Park.
With cameras on one shoulder
and binoculars around their necks
these grey-haired soldiers patrol the trails
and roads in small groups, seeking their prey.
When someone spots their quarry
they huddle around a small book
and debate the identity of the creature.
Often this ends in agreement,
but can lead to discord in the group.
Individuals sometimes go out on patrol alone,
seeking to surprise their quarry by stealth.

These troopers keep notebooks with long lists
of the names of their targets.
Often a joyous shout is heard when
a new name is added to the list.

Paul Bauck

Posted on Facebook and over on his site Travels With Picasso
1. Paul's prose.
2. Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus

Bledsoe on Grumpiness

Image borrowed from Yahoo

This is a rough sketch of the crankier side of the male psyche done in bear-form. I've spent many years studying and evaluating the test subject (i.e. me) to come to these conclusions. I hope it can be of some use to others.

1. Mumbley Bear: This describes a state of slight grouchiness stemming from such causes as sickness, hangover, or loud children. Characteristics include confusion, slight detachment, and crabby looks. Mumbley Bears are somewhat sullen and withdrawn, but not viciously so. They will communicate, but not very well. It's a bad idea to pounce on Mumbley Bears with a lot of demands or whining, especially before they've had tea or coffee and a little bit of breakfast. Once a Mumbley Bear has had a little bit of peace and quiet and some toast, they will be fit for human interaction.

2. Smart-Ass Bear: The causes of this condition vary but usually include consumption of too much alcohol along with other factors including: a rough day at work, a general feeling of unease resulting from a lack of accomplished goals, seeing some asshole succeeding when I'm stuck here in the muck, etc. This state is somewhat deceptive in that Smart-Ass Bear can appear very outgoing, though his crabbiness will make itself apparent by the nature of his jibes and comments. If given too much attention, Smart-Ass Bear will reveal his crankiness, leading to rude behavior and sullenness. Once Smart-Ass Bear has had some time to think about things, he tends to end up apologizing to everyone or just throwing up.

3. Black-Stare Bear: Almost always spurred by financial and/or job concerns, Black-Stare Bear is given to bouts of dangerously quiet introspection. It's a bad idea to let Black-Stare Bear near anything breakable, because he tends to be aggressive and clumsy. Black-Stare Bear is best sent away to perform tedious tasks so no one else has to deal with him until he gets over it. Also known as "Fuck-It Bear" or "I'm Surrounded By Assholes Bear".

4. Blood-Tooth Murder Bear: A rare but dangerous bear to be avoided at all costs. Not much is known about Blood-Tooth Murder Bear because sightings are so rare. Perhaps it is created from a fusion of traffic, bills, sexual frustration, and personal failure. Perhaps it is hormonal in nature. Regardless, Blood-Tooth Murder Bear is territorial and may attack anyone hapless enough to wander near. Blood-Tooth Murder Bear craves solitude and is, in every way, tired of your shit. Blood-Tooth Murder Bear cannot be tamed or reasoned with. He will rip your fucking throat out if you don't shut up and leave him the hell alone. No one wants to be around a Blood-Tooth Murder Bear, not even himself.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted on Facebook and over on his site Murder Your Darlings

Bed Bedlam

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Bed Bedlam

Spending over a thousand bucks
for a box spring and mattress, always
pisses me off, every decade or so--
even though my bulk has created
a form-fitting crevice on my side
and everything rolls to the center;
even as back and neck aches are
much too morning prevalent, even
when informercials late at night
show blow-up photos of the dreaded
dust mites that gorge themselves
on my constantly shedding skin cells,
after flipping the mattress 57 times
every which way to find the level--
and then there is the eternal quandary
about “which” mattress to buy,
a waterbed or the sleep-number mattress,
or the bowling ball mattress, or the one
with the wine glass that will not spill
as a child leaps up and down beside it?

For God’s sake, this is not Henry VIII’s spacious
canopy bed, or Gauguin’s panda ma palm mattress,
or Cleopatra’s goose-down love nest complete
with cheeta-skin pillow cases, or Andy Warhol’s
Campbell Soup-shaped bed, or Jackie Gleason’s
huge perfectly round bed, or Winston Churchill’s
bulldog-shaped day bed, or Bill Clinton’s
cigar-shaped napper--and besides, these nights
my wife and I spend more time sleeping in our
respective recliners than in the conjugal wrestling mat
center piece in our bedroom

Glenn Buttkus

January 2011

Posted over on Applehouse Poetry

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

Must-Haves For a New

Image by Rod Parrott

must-haves for a new

must-haves for a new
writing desk if you
must have a writing
desk –
a rain puddle, worn
coins, a set of
keys, an unflinching
stare, desire, a bolt
of lightning,
a very old
or new
city, a train
ride until
the path is clear

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Supported By the Same

image by Yi Ching Lin

supported by the same

supported by the same
resilient timbre, responsive
branch, each blossom
grows and unfolds
into its own
weight –
the way you and i
can look in the same
direction, be
on the same page,
yet draw such
different constellations

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Friday, January 28, 2011

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

There is an easier way for particles
as overweight and slow as you or I
to turn the trick. Go West, young man! How fast?
Bit faster than the Earth rotates around
its axis. The clocks will say you’ve reached your goal
before you started out. But you’ll be jetlagged,
sandbagged’s how you’ll feel. Is there an upside?
Sure! Begin your trip just after sunrise.
Then, every time you stop, face East and wait!
You’ll see Old Sol jump-start your day again.
And if you’re smart and fast enough you might
squeeze umpteen sun-ups into twenty four
short hours. But the folk just waking up
will scarce have time to see you whizzing by.
Hard work on the Equator. Further North –
Or South, from Oslo, say, or Santiago
you’d only need to saunter round the globe.
P.S. This works for sunsets too. Head East!

Lucy Westenra

Posted over on her site Lucy by Lucy
Listed as #45 over on Magpie Tales 50

Part of Embracing

Image by Yi Ching Lin

part of embracing

part of embracing
a neighborhood
is seeing what
you have gained
and reminiscing
on what you have lost

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Thursday, January 27, 2011

from Detached Sentences on Exile

Image borrowed from Yahoo


In Tityrus’ view, his two acres are those from which
all the rest of the world is in exile.

Who is not an exile when, in the evening,
he hears the wind in the trees?

Much that is good began with an exile.

What an exile it must be to be closed in a battle tank!

Whatever reflection may suggest,
the idea of exile is instantly congenial.

Death is the extremest exile.

Diogenes exiled Greece from his tub.

A garden, being less a place than a world,
is a proper work for an exile.

There is no exile, as there are no circles,
without an idea of a centre and a circumference.

Pythagoras believed his friend to be exiled in a dog.

“I wept and wailed when I saw the unfamiliar land.” –

Illness is a sort of exile from the every-day.

To be rehabilitated into Eden would be an exile for us.

Our true home may be found in exile.

Summer is no less an exile from spring,
than autumn from summer, and spring from winter.

Tall pine trees are the great oaks of exile.

Despotism exiles the people.

Wet days show up holidays as self-imposed exiles.

Illness and exile restore our horizons to us.

Vulgar people have no notion of the world as an exile.

Everyone feels he might bear an exile.
But to be a refugee…

In growing old, we stay into exile.

When the swallows gather, and twitter on the wires,
our staying seems an exile.

On winter water, and in the autumn clouds,
we see Apollo in his exiles.

Pine-cones and crab-apples are the chief fruits of exile.

Exiled lives are half-way to statues.

It seems the soul is so constituted, that Here is its exile,
There is its home.

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Posted over on Poems & Poetics

Detached Sentences on Gardens

Image borrowed from Yahoo


Installing is the hard toil of garden making,
placing is its pleasure.

Superior gardens are composed of Glooms and Solitudes
and not of plants and trees.

A liberal’s compost heap is his castle.

Solitude in gardens is an aspect of scale.

Certain gardens are described as retreats
when they are really attacks.

Ecology is Nature-Philosophy secularised.

Gardening activity is of five kinds, namely,
sowing, planting, fixing, placing, maintaining.
In so far as gardening is an Art,
all these may be taken under the one head,

Better than truth to materials is truth to intelligence.

The inscription seems out of place in the modern garden.
It jars on our secularism by suggesting
the hierarchies of the word.

Brown made water and lawns (&c.)
Palladian elements, as much as Lord Burlington did,
his columns and porticos.

Brown made water appear as Water, and lawn as Lawn.

The gardens of Kent and Brown were mistakenly
referred to the Chinese aesthetic,
just as today’s thoughtful gardens
are considered to be Japanese.
'Japanese garden’ has come to signify no more
than ‘art garden’. The contemporary ‘sculpture park’ is not –
and is not considered to be – an art garden,
but an art gallery out-of-doors.
It is a parody of the classical garden native to the West.

The main division of gardens is into
art gardens and botanical gardens.
Compared to this division all the others –
‘The Garden as Music’, ‘The Garden as a Poem’ -
& etc. – are superficial.

A bench, in our modern gardens,
is a thing to be sat upon;
in Shenstone’s Leasowes it was a thing to be read.

As public sex was embarrassing to the Victorians,
public classicism is to us.

Composition is a forgotten Art.

Artificial gardens – as Lamb describes them –
now strike us as not at all artificial,
since they have been made ‘natural’ by time.

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Posted over on Poems & Poetics

Detached Sentences on the Pebble

Image borrowed from Yahoo


A PEBBLE is a crumb of the Ancient Geology.

The place of THE PEBBLE in modern aesthetics is
that of Natural Man in the philosophy of J-J Rousseau.

Modern refinement has made THE PEBBLE
almost a relative of the Fairies.

PEBBLES are most prized by those whose temperament
discovers a dangerous possibility of controversy
in simple apples and pears.

A PEBBLE is a form of perfect vacuity,
as a wild-flower is of modesty.

Children pile up PEBBLES as pin-less hand-grenades.

It is no compliment to PEBBLES to say,
as a modern poet has said of stones,
that we can discover no ruined ones.

PEBBLES are, it may be, reformed,
but they have a long and warlike history.

The modern PEBBLE is prized as a sculpture,
as it were, of a PEBBLE.

Kettle's Yard, in Cambridge, England,
is the Louvre of the PEBBLE.

To inscribe words on PEBBLES would be a desecration
if thought knew no hierarchies.

Making PEBBLES skip is an obvious resort
of misanthropy.
(This with apologies to Hazlitt.)

The Victory of David proved the advantage,
not of the smaller size of the missile,
but of the superior range.
The boulder of Goliath would have been
the right retort to the PEBBLE of David.

Beside a true work of sculpture, the PEBBLE has
the advantage (to the modern mind),
that it is no sort of Test.

The wide appreciation of PEBBLES is
a remote consequence of Protestantism.

A shore of PEBBLES is a very picture of Democracy;
every PEBBLE on it is 'interesting'.

The PEBBLE never had so much dignity as when
it was employed as an alpha by the old Pythagoreans.

The PEBBLE is an infant compared to the net-cork.

The PEBBLE is foolishly admired as being hand-
made by the Ocean.

Too much has been made of the untutored PEBBLE.

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Posted over on Jerome Rothenberg's site Poems & Poetics

Walking In From Yet

Image from Yi Ching Lin

walking in from yet

walking in from yet
another winter
a hot oven
kisses the sweet

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

There I Stand All Alone

image borrowed from Yahoo

There I Stand All Alone

Some places out beyond the hills and seas,
Where no man has ever been,
In a far off place where dreams come true,
and there is only love and peace,
There I stand,
All alone.
Not a soul has seen what I have,
A place in only my mind and heart,
where anything is possible,
There I stand.
The only one to witness that it is truely there is I.
And though it is not real for others,
I stand alone.
I can make it be anything I want it to,
But I do not,
I let it stay as it is,
a far off land no one knows.

Dana Jackson

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Arrow & the Voice

Image borrowed from Yahoo

The Arrow & the Voice

"This way is the right way, the other way is the wrong way."

I could hear the voice echoing around me, I could suddenly see a smooth path before my feet. I even seemed to see an arrow in the sky, pointing to the right. But the road was open in front of me, while, on the right, was a hill whose top disappeared into the clouds.

"This way is the right way, the other way is the wrong way," the voice insisted.

But I was tired, and the hill was I-knew-not-how-high. Surely, if there were a town nearby, it would be somewhere along the road ahead of me, possibly behind those trees at the end of the lake, I reasoned, so I hesitated.

"He who hesitates is lost," said another voice, probably the one in my own head.

The smooth path in front of my feet shimmered for a moment, then disappeared. The arrow, which couldn't possibly have been real, disappeared also.
I continued along the road in the direction I'd been traveling all day. Exhausted, I slipped. Unable to regain my balance, I fell, and tumbled downhill toward the lake. As I felt the ice break under my weight, I heard the voice again.

"This way was the right way, your way was the wrong way."

As I felt the cold water closing around me, I looked up, and saw a castle appear as the clouds rose away from the top of the hill. Castles are built on hills to discourage newcomers.

Kay L. Davies

aka: Kay in Canada

Posted over on her site An Unfitties Guide to Adventurous Travel
Listed as #13 over on Magpie Tales 50

Walk Home

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Walk Home

"Will you let me walk you home?"
She looked at the twilight outside
and nodded. An inch of freshly fallen
snow pristine on the ground.
We walked that old familiar path
like the first people on earth, or the last;
every step a venture into the unknown.
All along I tried to imagine
what her lips would feel like
softly pressed against mine - moist,
not chapped as they appeared.
We spoke of other things:
an upcoming class trip, chemistry,
and what our last summer would be like.
"See ya", we said at her dooryard gate.
Then the walk home. The walk home.

Andreas Hishiriyo

Posted over on his site Love as Poetry
Listed as #5 over on Magpie Tales 50

She Cried

Image borrowed from Bing

She Cried

She cried. In her mind – for her form and substance had been stolen – she cried for a very long time before the crying turned to hopeless weeping and then quiet whimpering. Was it months? Years? Moments? It was hard to say. She was trapped in a slime-covered boulder wedged in the runoff from the hot springs. The natural hot springs were located downhill from the elevated section of county road that followed the bends in the river. If she could see she would have recognized the place from the many visits there with her family. She could not see. Neither could she feel nor hear nor smell nor use any of her physical senses.

The smooth, black, granite river boulder she was trapped inside was wedged where the hot, mineral-laden water streamed into the icy waters of the river carrying snow melt and spring water down from the mountains. In her rock she was pure essence of Corinna, pure emotional and psychic content. Her memory and personality were intact but she herself was without shape or form or freedom. The stone was now her body, tumbled smooth by the eons, continually etched and scarred and smoothed again. The slime of bright green algae trailed away from the rock’s surface, undulating in the warm, trickling, burbling stream.

But she saw none of this, nor could she hear the running water, the birdcalls, the voices of children and grown-ups enjoying the hot springs. She knew only fear and the fear chilled her essence. She was exhausted. She would be three in July. Perhaps she was three already.

She was still learning language when she was torn from her family. She was a quick learner, surprising those around her as she moved quickly from single words to phrases to sentences and then paragraphs. Her grasp of ideas and concepts were childlike but still astonishing for a little girl not even three years old. Everyone agreed that she was a rare child but none of her giftedness prepared her for the sudden terror of waking up alone, blind and disembodied, in absolute silence and in space the color of unlit absolute nothingness Was her situation hopeless? Could nothing save her? Was her best and kindest hope for insanity so sudden, so overpowering it extinguished all memory and consciousness? Lesser insanities would merely make an endless streaming hell of memory and love.

To have salvation come from an altogether different quarter was something her kidnappers never imagined and therefore never prepared against. She was a child concealed in a place beyond the natural order. Nor did her anguished family imagine she could be anything but lost to them. They found the girl missing from her room. Seeing the horrific mess of human blood the kidnappers spilled and spread about in order to deceive did its work. Wish otherwise as they might the parents could only believe their child dead, an innocent victim of senseless brutality. Neither kidnappers nor family nor investigating authorities imagined the natural world might have a natural interest in recovering its own, mush less the ability to do so. None imagined that in the deepest part of the child’s heart images older than humankind were taking shape and rumbling voice and calling to their own in the hearts and essences of the land and water creatures now nosing around the girl.

The plan of the kidnappers had always been to steal the girl and park her essence inside a rock until she went totally, irretrievably insane. Then, in the guise of rescuers, return the gibbering, raving child to her parents, forcing them to recognize the depths of horror she had suffered and to wish instead for the quick and merciful death they had previously dreaded. As the cloaked enemy, the kidnapper’s hatred of this family knew no bounds; it was implacable, remorseless and only wanted the family dead, all its lines and branches snuffed. First though, they wanted to hear screaming and keening and to see suffering to the very extreme of death. And then they wanted suicides.

If it weren’t for the turtles, the minnows and trout, the birds and field mice and beaver nosing about the girl the enemy would have had its satisfaction. But destiny hiccuped and lost its place when Corinna suddenly became aware of sentient life and interest surrounding her, aware of her, moving closer. Beyond the motile, individual life forms the larger web of life pulsed with gathering light. The awareness of all this display of interest and power pulled her from her hysteria. The life about her was curious and warm. It circled, moved and nuzzled her and she forgot herself completely – no sobbing, no hiccupy transition; just a fine and instantaneous focusing of her attention. She thought as a child for her mind was a child’s mind, but it was an extremely sharp one, and exceptionally strong.

In the darkness she suddenly saw moving colors and shapes. Inside the colors and shapes she saw pulsing holograms of hearts and veins, capillaries and arteries. Cold and warm blooded creatures came to her as if with one mind. She knew their quickening interest, saw fiery leaps across synaptic chasms, watched intention and feedback race across interconnected neural networks, whole galaxies lighting up, dimming, lighting again at the speed of intuition, recognition, knowing. She saw small moving bodies as dazzling electrical fields and she saw what few humans could – the dynamic, responsive fields and reaching tendrils that extended far beyond the physical boundaries of the bodies of the creatures nosing about her.

Awestruck she watched creation’s pulse, its essential waves and cross-currents as they swept and combed the life-forms around her. Life had given her new eyes, and she used them as if she had always known how. Life had also given her its undivided attention and she responded, shedding fear and terror like dried husks of a chrysalis. She was at a perfect age to respond, to wrestle free of the no longer useful and to thrive. Squeezing through unyielding hardship to meet the life around her strained and stretched the damp, curled wings of her human potential. She was at a perfect age, developmentally, to change. She was at a perfect age and in the perfect circumstances to find her wings and learn to use them.

And change she did, and though she could not have put any of this into words she found the recognition she sought. She saw that she was neither abandoned nor forgotten. She found the security she, and perhaps all humans, craved. She found she was no longer held by the binding spell for she was no longer the same person who had been bound. She was still essence, presence, life and awareness; she was still content without form but she was changed. The frightening void of her entrapment was now filled with color, presence and movement and she was motile. The rock released her and the world welcomed her back. The images released from her heart’s depths flowed effortlessly, endlessly.

When she once again had hands and fingers, elbows and toes, words and images would flow from her mouth, her toes, her fingertips. She would conjure worlds, languages, dances and spells, she would weave mythic histories and fill creation with the missing stories, stories, stories. Stories and more stories; some to light like butterflies, others to bomb to earth like hummingbirds attracting mates. Those things would happen, but first she had to get her body back and find her parents and for all of this Corinna was going to have to find her brother and enlist his help.

…to be continued (maybe)

Rick Mobbs

Posted over on Facebook and his site Mine Enemy Grows Older

Gathering Bluebells

Image borrowed from Bing

Gathering Bluebells

They all told her to follow the route
to the left of the woods.
'Take the path to the left, it leads
to a clearing where bluebells grow in spring', they said.
'The road to the right is uphill
and brambles will scratch your pretty face
and you may find yourself lost and frightened.
Your heartbeat will race and you will find
your old childhood fairy tales
spring from your imagination,
the wolf might get you !.
Please take the road to the left',

they said, until it became like a prayer.

'My love takes the road to the right', she said.
I will risk the brambles
and the darkness of my imagination.
I will slay the wolf,
my love is leading, I must follow'.

They must wait in the clearing to the left of the wood,
the mother gathering bluebells
to pin to her daughter's dress.
She would return, sometime soon,
when the teen years are past.
Mothers are good at waiting.

Brigid O'Connor

Posted over on her site Sort of Writing
Listed as #24 over on Magpie Tales 50

Ronco Y Dulce

Image by Elizabeth Bell


"Life, like reporting, is a kind of death sentence.
Pardon me for having lived it so fully."--John Ross

Coming out of the underground
On the BART escalator,
The Mission sky
Is washed by autumn,
The old men and their garbage bags
Are clustered in the battered plaza
We once named for Cesar Augusto Sandino.
Behind me down below
In the throat of the earth
A rough bracero sings
Of his comings and goings
In a voice as ronco y dulce
As the mountains of Michoacan and Jalisco
For the white zombies
Careening downtown
To the dot coms.
They are trying to kick us
Out of here
They are trying to drain
This neighborhood of color
Of color
This time we are not moving on.
We are going to stick to this barrio
Like the posters so fiercely pasted
To the walls of La Mision
With iron glue
That they will have to take them down
Brick by brick
To make us go away
And even then our ghosts
Will come home
And turn those bricks
Into weapons
And take back our streets
Brick by brick
And song by song
Ronco y dulce
As Jalisco and Michaocan
Managua, Manila, Ramallah
Pine Ridge, Vietnam, and Africa.
As my compa QR say
We here now motherfuckers
Tell the Klan and the Nazis
And the Real Estate vampires
To catch the next BART out of here
For Hell.

John Ross

"Then there was John. Even in his seventies, a tall imposing figure with a narrow face, a scruffy goatee and mustache, a Che T-shirt covered by a Mexican vest, a Palestinian battle scarf thrown around his neck, bags of misery and compassion under his eyes, offset by his wonderful toothless smile and the cackling laugh that punctuated his comical riffs on the miserable state of the universe."
--Frank Bardacke, in the Nation

Rebel Journalist, Poet, Novelist, Human Shield
He was a good friend. May he rest in peace.--Bobby Byrd

Posted over on Bobby Byrd's site White Panties & Dead Friends

Hansel and Gretel and the Rock Festival

Image borrowed from Bing

Hansel and Gretel and the Rock Festival

Mum and Dad had put their foot down. They were adamant.

“You are not going to the disco, and that’s final. I don’t care how many of your friends are allowed to go, you are not going. You are too young, ask us in a year or so and we’ll think again.”

Brother and sister were crushed. They’d told their friends that they’d all go together to the rave to be held in a large barn on the outskirts of the local town, just four miles away from their village.

The place was called ‘Escape’ and that’s what it appeared to be to the village kids, a place where you could get away from boring adults and their restrictions.

Gretel stamped her foot. “I hate them”, she wailed, “they never let us do anything. I bet Hannah’s Mum lets her go.”

Hansel scowled. “Serve them right if we just went without their stupid permission.”

The seed was sown.

The Saturday of the rave was bright and cold. There’d been snow overnight, the countryside looked cheerful and inviting in the sunshine.

Still sore, Hansel and Gretel kept to their rooms after lunch. Mum was busy in the kitchen and Dad was tinkering in the garage. The party was to start at four pm and last till seven, when the kids who’d been allowed to go would be picked up and ferried home again.

Hansel burst into Gretel’s room. “Come on, get your coat on, we’re going,” he commanded. Gretel was ready for him, she’d already got her sparkly silver top on under her jumper and her black leggins under her jeans. “If we go now, by the path through the wood and across Farmer Giles’ field, we’ll get there by four. We’ll cadge a lift home and Mum and Dad will never know that we’ve been out.”

They sneaked out by the French doors into the garden and ran. As planned they got to the barn in good time, the music had only just started and not many of their friends had arrived as early as they had. But a group of much older boys and girls from the town were there, standing at one end of the barn in private huddles, with a skinny, tall boy going from group to group, handing them something.

Gretel stared. “They’re not meant to be here.” she said curiously. “They’re a bit old, aren’t they,” she added. Hannah agreed. “Keep away from them, they’re bad news. Some of them are druggies.”

Gretel shuddered. She soon forgot all about them as she started dancing with the other girls, all of them in a circle, with the boys doing their own thing somewhere else. She felt a little guilty at having come without permission, but where was the harm; she and Hansel would be home again soon, with Mum and Dad none the wiser.

The music got louder, the barn heated up and the girls stopped for a drink of water. The tall boy was loitering by the improvised bar. He eyed Gretel, who was tall and looked older than her fourteen years, appreciatively. “Fancy a little booster?” he asked. “Ever tried it?” Gretel found it hard to get away from him in the crush. “Here you are, have a bit, just a quarter won’t do you any harm. Try it, it’s free.”

He took her by the arm and manhandled her out of the crush by the bar. and out by the barn door. “Get off me, let go of my arm, I don’t want your booster.” She was alarmed now. He gripped her a little harder. “Come on, be nice, have a little fun.”

Suddenly, Hansel appeared. He was only thirteen and much smaller than the tall boy. “Hey, leave my sister alone”, he shouted; the tall boy turned and laughed. “Says who?” Hansel threw a feeble punch at him. The boy side-stepped him and laughed louder, letting go of Gretel’s arm. Furiously, Hansel picked up a thick broomstick leaning against the barn wall. He swung it, hitting the tall boy on the side of his head. At the same time Gretel shoved him hard and the boy staggered and fell back into the snow, momentarily winded.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Gretel said, “home, Hansel.” They ran to pick up their coats and legged it, back through Farmer Giles’ field and into the woods that would lead them home.

Gretel could have sworn that she saw a large pale arrow pointing them homewards, back on the right path.


Posted over on Friko's World
Listed as #28 over on Magpie Tales 50

I Resolve

Image borrowed from Bing

I Resolve

not to shoot the neighbor’s dog,
though it needs a bullet badly;
not to run any more yellow lights,
as those damned cameras nail you every time;
not to rail so vehemently against winter,
for it garners no results--it’s like
throwing a sock full of cat shit at the moon;
not to buy a good digital camera
and learn how to use it properly
until Summer, even though
images beckon and icons lurk
behind headstones and junk yard fences;
not to purchase flowers weekly for my wife,
because even beauty can become boring
and love’s flames only need so much fanning;
not to wait another full year before
contacting my brother, for we are both
old men now and need to hug more often;
not to pine for that pistol,
the .357 Ruger revolver
that haunts my dreams;
not to give up seeking Sasquatch
for he waits patiently
for our encounter to come.

Glenn Buttkus

January 2011

Posted over on Applehouse Poetry
Would you like the Author to read this poem to you?

When Things Are Not

Image borrowed from Bing

when things are not

when things are not
down, living
heavier, losing
is a requirement,
and lost just means
you haven’t
gotten there

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Looking Into Your

Image borrowed from Bing

looking into your

looking into your
face – drowning in the sound of
your clever motors

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Zhivago's Zeitgeist

Zhivago’s Zeitgeist

In 1965, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO made a ton
of money, more than all the other David Lean
films lumped together, but it was created in
its own chaos, and its production blemishes
and secrets were covered up in make up and
costume, conspiracies, politics, and egos.

Everyone wanted to shoot it in Russia,
but the regime of Alexei Koygin
would not allow an imperialist film
based on a banned novel to be
filmed there, so the cameras were
set up mostly in Spain, with some
shots done in Finland substituting for Siberia.
The finished film, considered a classic
love story, was not shown in the
Soviet Union until 1994.

Director: David Lean
Writer: Boris Pasternak (novel)
Robert Bolt (screenplay)
Cinematography: Freddie Young
Omar Sharif Yuri
Julie Christie Lara
Geraldine Chaplin Tonya
Rod Steiger Komarovsky
Tom Courtenay Pasha
Alec Guinness Yevgraf
Rita Tushingham The Girl

Carlo Ponti bought the rights to the novel,
and then hired the entire production crew
who had made LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,
wanting to cast his wife, Sophia Loren,
to play Lara-- but Lean turned her down, saying
“She was too damned tall.”

David Lean wanted Peter O’Toole to play Yuri,
but O’Toole was still angry about the experience
he had with Lean on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
The producers wanted Albert Finney to play Yuri,
but Lean was still angry at him for turning down
the title role in LAWRENCE. Later Dirk Bogarde
and Max Von Sydow were considered for Yuri.
Lean wanted Marlon Brando to play Komarovsky,
but Brando never returned his calls, so
James Mason was cast, later dropping out before
Rod Steiger snagged the role.

Jane Fonda, Yvette Mimieux, and Sarah Miles
were all approached to play Lara, but Lean
had seen BILLY LIAR, and politicked for Julie
Christie, wisely. He wanted Audrey Hepburn
to play Tonya, but was so impressed with
newcomer Geraldine Chaplin’s audition,
he cast her on the spot.

Pasha: They rode them down, Lara--women and
children, begging for bread. There will be no more
peaceful demonstrations.

The Moscow scenes were shot in Canillas,
a suburb of Madrid, on a ten acre site, with
a replica of the Kremlin stately towering.

Gromeko: They’ve shot the Czar and all his family.
What a savage deed. What’s it for?
Zhivago: It’s to show there’s no going back.

Tagline: A love caught in the fire of revolution.

Now let’s see, Yuri, the good doctor, was married
to Tonya, an aristocrat. Lara was married to Pasha,
who left her to become a revolutionary. Komarovsky
lusted after Lara, and Lara became the muse for
Yuri as poet, star-crossed love mired in the
blood bath of dialectical materialism.

While shooting in Spain in 1964, this was still
the regime of Gen. Francisco Franco, who sent
his secret police to hang around the set, and
infiltrate the crowd scenes. During a major crowd
scene shot at 3 a.m., the extras were singing
the Revolutionary Internationale so loudly,
townsfolk came out of their homes mistakenly
believing that Franco had been overthrown.

Pasha: Yuri, I used to admire your poetry, but I should
not admire it now. The personal life is dead. History
killed it.

At nineteen years old, watching the film,
I did not like Omar Sharif’s watery eyes or
Arabic accent, and I felt that Julie Christie
had been better in John Ford’s YOUNG CASSIDY--
but I did enjoy the fantasy of someday
becoming a writer, and the spirit of
revolution was rampant midst the
melodrama and twisted history lesson,
better served years later in Warren Beatty’s
REDS. I was raised in a very liberal family,
and the patriots of this drama seemed
contrived and pale to me.

Still some semblance of sanity prevailed,
and decades later most of us remember
the romance, the tragic love story, and
have let the limp politics loose in the wind.
Even the Academy sensed the truth,
only giving Oscars for cinematography,
screenplay, and musical score--honoring
none of the acting, directing, or popularity;
and we are left with a salient fact--
Varykino is actually a city to the west
of Moscow, but it is not to the east
in Siberia as the film portrays.

Glenn Buttkus

January 2011

Listed as #40 over on Magpie Tales 50

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


Image borrowed from Bing


You hunt us
Not sustenance but pleasure
Scope pointed with steady hand
Our little faces peak from
Knotted holes
Our eyes flash
Shade tail twitch
Our sight sharp with your image
You waiting, taking
Will it leave us
Breathless or upset
Our bodies unconsumed
Our tails twitch
Already difficult
Only those that
Revel in our antics
Delight in our existence
Care or care not
Should we leave
We chew to collect
Building to burrow our young
Sleep for another day
Tiny hands resemble many hands
We wait, we watch
We hope

Kristen Haskell

Posted over on her site Living in the Middle
Listed as #11 over on Magpie Tales 50

After The Storm

Image by Tess Kincaid

After the Storm

You stop the car
along the frozen Scioto
and point to deer tracks
on the ice. I imagine a timid doe
coaxed across the brittle river
by her partner, in naked,
fragile love. Alone,
in the exposition of cold,
we are Lara and Zhivago,
enveloped by lust and white,
on a silent ride to Varykino.
Reins lace your gloved fingers,
my hands; all of me in your pocket.
We thrust, slow, unable to see past
the crosshatch of blue ash
and sycamore, catalysts for hope,
and wonder how this flux
can remain without time, unbodied,
this fresh, uncorrupted rush,
the calling card of winter.

Tess Kincaid
January, 2011

Posted over on her site Willow Manor
Listed as #1 over on Magpie Tales 50

Monday, January 24, 2011

Divagations (2)

Image by Mike Rayhawk

A Field on Mars

Hunted from their places,* fierce+ & hungry# hordes
& nomads plunge into our streets.

The word is desiccation, somewhere that was fertile once,
& now, battered by a hostile wind, becomes a field on Mars,
a world more lonely than the world allows.

Behold the grandmother, her skin a dirty grey^
as if the light were of a foreign color, absent,
hidden from the hole in which she dwells.**

These are no children’s games – or are they?

Cards slapped on a table, thrown against a wall,
brought as a pack down on the willing skin.

Saints alive!++

The call to battle rattles the savage mind,
a premise from the present yet no less exotic.

Granted: that their funds are toxic comes as no surprise;
that the lack of means betokens a further struggle;
that nations once deprived rise in their millions.##

It is a thought on which to dwell, shaken^^ from sleep.

* pastures.... + skinned..... # angry.... ^ [trying to see it in his mind]
** she smells..... ++ [words that her ghost called forth] .....## with
their minions .....^^ rousted

Jerome Rothenberg

Posted over on his site Poems & Poetics

Divagations (1)

Image borrowed from Bing

The Birth of Time

Results run backward gathering in force until they end up
in some sort of cavern miraculously well lit
& everyone there feels surprise & wonder.

They are more like phantoms than like little men:
a symptom of the way they cough & breathe.*

From the depths the girl at center rises,
edges toward the stooping man & calls him father.+

She is a distant runner, trained to smash against the wind
& carry on until some place draws nigh –
where the whole point of speed is relaxation.#

It fits & lessens our predicament,
although no final strategy permits it.

Even so.

My hand in yours allows a sleep in which each dream
is like a hole in paradise.^

The more you fall through it**
the more it takes you to the birth of time.++

* bob & weave........+ [maybe the stupid man is what you meant.]
# execution..... ^ a holy paradigm. .....** stall in it .....++ of rhyme

Jerome Rothenberg

A series of new poems with footnoted variant readings, scheduled for publication as a Big Bridge Press E-Book with drawings by Nancy Victoria Davis.
Posted over on his site Poems & Poetics

The Boys

Image borrowed from Bing

The Boys

tied rebel yells to their truck antennas
when they cruised the loop at Sonic.
They drove up slow and made sure
they weren’t alone before turning in.
Couldn’t be too safe from gangs,
they said. If they caught a black kid alone,
they’d drop off their girlfriends for safety
and follow him, force his car into the parking lot
of the old Jitney-Jungle, two, three trucks
full of grinning, yellow-toothed white boys
with bats, brass knuckles, wrenches. A couple
carried ropes for a joke. Mostly, they’d laugh
while the black kids beat feet.

In the school parking lot, they untied the flags
from their trucks so they wouldn’t be suspended
and stalked the halls bragging about the tooth-necklaces
they were going to collect as soon as somebody
stood his ground. They talked about getting tattoos
but couldn’t decide between crosses
or flags—they needed something to set them apart.
They’d never hide their dignity under hoods
like their daddies, they said, never march
on city hall to be ridiculed. They smoked cigarettes
in the parking lot, picked fights
with the skinny freshmen, but dropped their eyes
when the older black kids strode by.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on his site Murder Your Darlings
Originally appeared in Pank Magazine

Sail A Child

Image borrowed from Bing

Sail A Child

sail a child like a ship out on the sea
anchor her with love, then set her free
hear the splashing of the spray
as she goes laughing on her way
sail a child to sea.

sail a child and your heart around the world
tiny, shiny angel dancing girl
stand upon the windy shore
where so many have stood before
sail her ’round the world

can it really be that little speck
out on the sea is your daughter?
you knew there’d come a day
when she would sail away
but it seems too soon
oh, your little baby on the water
pulled away by love and tides and moons

sail a child wherever she will dream
far away on waves of blue and green
trust the stars to lead her way
and sail her safely home one day
sail a child who dreams

Jannie Funster

Posted as song lyric over on her site Jannie Funster

Our Garage

Image borrowed from Bing

Our Garage

Our garage
is not one of these tidy places
you see on TV or in ads,
it’s full of junk, gardening tools,
two thirds empty cans of paint,
shelves with bottles of home-made wine,
sacks of dog food and bird food,
large terracotta pots and tubs
that would crack if left outside in winter,
yard brooms, etc. It all works.
Everything is stacked
and shoe-horned in and secured,
and there is enough room for the car too,
provided you snap back the wing mirrors
and stop when you hit the tennis ball
hanging from the ceiling on a string at one end
and line up the front right hand car door
exactly with the door leading into the workroom.
It’s easy. A child could do it.


Posted over on her site Friko's World

On Friday Morning

Image borrowed from Bing

on Friday morning

on Friday morning
the mailbox on the
corner held on to
our most
insulated beneath
a fresh coat of snow

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Sepia Coloured Mary-Anne

Image borrowed from Bing

Sepia Coloured Mary-Anne

My grandmother was a beauty, apparently. She was six feet tall and had jet black hair and brown eyes. She lived in the North west of Ireland in a beautiful mountainous place called Donegal, where they speak in a lilting accent that contains woodsmoke and mountain air. Even today, it hasn't changed much.

Mary-Anne was a beauty inside and out. We never met unless you count the hours I gazed upon her photos, sepia coloured Mary-Anne. As a child, I always wondered what she would look like in colour? Why was she trapped in forever 'sepia'?.

Mary-Anne was a great story-teller, in Irish a 'seanachai'. She would walk miles to visit family and friends and knock on the door and spend hours at other people's fires spinning tales and making people laugh and cry with her stories.

She married a soldier located in the barracks close to her home, a grey stoned building overlooking the wild Atlantic ocean. 'Next stop, New York', the locals would say.
She married my grandfather, a blue eyed soldier and they moved inland. He was an orphan and had been raised by what people referred to as a 'spinster aunt' in those days. She had been a nanny in the States and returned to take over his care. Mary-Anne became his family, this beautiful, warm-hearted girl with a wicked sense of humour.

On her grave, each spring, daffodils grow. Even in death, Mary-Anne brings joy.

I imagine her somewhere, sitting by a fire, spinning tales and mischief making.
I hope I can continue her story-telling here, I think Mary-Anne might have liked that.
I think she would approve of a little mischief making.

Brigid O'Connor

Posted over on her site Sort Of Writing
Listed as #11 over on Magpie Tales 49

Cryogenic Camera

Image borrowed from Bing

Cryogenic Camera

Three Queens of Sepia,
Under the spell of a Winter lens.
Fun seeking heroines,
Locked in a moment,
Wrapped and gifted
To a hooded shutterbug.

Too late for a wakening kiss,
Fairytale voices fade
On turning the final page.
Inescapable framing,
Heart-stopping development.
1905 was a good year for freezing.

Martin T. Hodges

Posted over on his site Square Sunshine
Listed as #19 over on Magpie Tales 49

Fresh Snow, Like

Image borrowed from Yahoo

fresh snow, like

fresh snow, like
fresh bread, is
for time, is
unsinged with
tired grill marks,
though always
ready to crumble

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

An Entire World

Image borrowed from Yahoo

an entire world

an entire world
can retreat
gracefully into
the contours of her
eyes while
the rest of
her face

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

I Did This To My Vocabulary

Painting by Michael Drozd


The moon is my alibi. My tenders throw a hissy fit.
My scalp’s at the foot of the precipice.
My lume is spento, there’s a creep in my cellar.
You can stand under my umbrella, Ella.

Who put pubic hair on my headphones?
Who put the ram in Ramallah?
I’m just sitting here spinning my spinning wheels—
Where are the snow tires of tomorrow? [/ta’marah/]

The llama is burning! My heart is an ovary!
Let’s chase dawn’s tail down state lines,
sing “Crimson and Clover” over and overy,
till wonders are taken for road signs.

My fish, fast and loose, shoot fish in a kettle.
The boys like the girls who like heavy metal.
On Sabbath, on Slayer, on Maiden and Venom,
on Motörhead, Leppard, and Zeppelin, and Mayhem.

Michael Robbins

from POETRY (December 2010

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Being Alive Is

Image borrowed from Yahoo

being alive is

being alive is
penciled in,

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

No Amount of Ice, Sleet

Image borrowed from Yahoo

no amount of ice, sleet

no amount of ice, sleet,
snow, nor rain
could bring you
down the rabbit
hole as effortlessly
as a box of
sweets with a
candle for luck

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Friday, January 21, 2011

When New

Image borrowed from Yahoo

when new

when new
snow turns into
old snow, we all wait
on the curb the same
way, toeing
gravity, coveting
another’s sturdy
footprints, waffling
between a full
leap and a very
slight spring

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Butt Bunnies

Image borrowed from Yahoo

Butt Bunnies

It can be hard to do the hustle
while wearing a bustle, though I think
I remember Mae West doing it several times
while crossing a room in front of Cary Grant--
no, maybe it was little Miss Alice Faye
or was it Jeanette MacDonald shaking it with
class in NAUGHTY MARIETTA, or in THE
MERRY WIDOW, or was it Ava Gardner moving
like a gazelle in rut in SHOWBOAT?

George Bernard Shaw once said after seeing
Margaret Leighton in costume for his play
ARMS AND THE MAN, “A woman wearing
a bustle was like watching a snail wear a dress.”

Women of the Victorian era wore that bustle,
masking their natural charms with a fashionable
bubble butt, moving from voluminous crinoline
to a pronounced hump shape at the back
of the skirt--looking like an Al Capp cartoon
rendition of the perfect hourglass figure--
posterior just as protruding as bosom.

Most of us are unabashed proud pygophilists,
but men specifically can let loose of reason,
and become so distracted they fall over furniture
or crash their car while staring at a young lady
with a shapely backside.

My own puberty emerged during the 1950’s
when a large bust and ample posterior were
the apex of eros, the height of sexuality--
Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Sophia Loren;
the lexicon of tight skirts was inexhaustible.

The bulky bustle was replaced with the girdle,
and thanks be to the lingerie gods that the girdle
was replaced with no-line pantie hose, bikini
panties, and skin-tight trousers and shorts--
so that the boys on the corner can gawk,
pop their gum, wolf-call, whistle, pant, clap,
and snap pics with their cell phones while
inevitably the conversation rotates to the bottom;
“Damn dude, did you see the derriere, backside,
butt, booty, bootie, bottom, breech, bum, buns,
ass, sweet cheeks, caboose, can, buttocks, duff,
fanny, hams, haunches, heinie, nates, keister,
keester, posterior, rear end, rump, seat, tail,
tush, tushie, tuchis, glutes, aft, stern, or poop
on that babe?”

“Yeah man, I’m afraid to move since there’s no
blood left in my head and I may pass out!”

And most probably none of the smitten will
have ever set eyes upon the famous
George Seurat painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on
the Island of La Grande Jatte”, where the bustled
ladies strolled with their frilly parasols and huge hats,
and received the same results in 1901.

Glenn Buttkus

January 2010

Listed as #55 over on Magpie Tales 49

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