ModPo Week Two – Thinking Ginsberg

My alternator belt broke on the road
from Seattle to Vancouver. I found
a way to patch it and we continued
on to our destination. My girlfriend
was very impressed with my ingenuity.
Her punk rock guitar playing cousin
was performing at a hole-in-the-wall.
Her first cousin. We couldn’t smoke
because we were Navy and subject
to random urinalysis. And because
of race, our number always came up. 

Bad Brains was all the way live
And Dr. Know was at the top
of his game. Nothing like a family
reunion. But the height of the visit
was when the storekeeper told me
the Canadian dollar was equal
to the US dollar in buying power
but far superior in spiritual value.


mourning coffee – an ModPo week 2 inspired production

I overfilled
my french press
this morning

the white foam
bubbled up to the top
then faded back
into blackness

tomorrow morning
the workers come
to service
the air conditioning

wife says no coffee
because it makes
the place stink

Here it is at soundcloud:

Saturday Haiku (new)


people traumatized –
big storms brew just off the shore –
keep the faith through all.


why is that trending?
Twitter’s fake algorithms –
slant truth is fake news.


gangs destabilize
while innocent souls are lost –
“Build that wall!” they shout.


Where are solutions?
Isolate the cause, distill
flaws. Tell all the truth.


gradually we
awaken from deep slumber –
anesthetized peace.


Bonus Twitter tweet:

The world has gone mad.
Omarosa has tapes –
Bob Woodward has tapes –
Feinstein – whose 20-year driver
was a Chinese Spy –
has a secret letter
about high school sex.
Gawd! These people are crazy!

Friday poem from the archives – Still Life

my ideal still life painting would contain
a non microwave-safe cup and saucer,
a piece of ripened fruit, a wind-up watch
with a leather band, and a book, hardbound,

with several bookmarks and tabs. On a desk.
And maybe reading glasses, depending
on the reader’s (and the painter’s) needs.
I’d stare at that canvas, and wonder

if he (or she) drank tea or coffee, hot
or lukewarm like I like it. I’d wonder
does the book have poetry inside it,
the bookmarks and tabs for his (her) favorite

passages. I’d hang it beside my wife’s
painting of the river ferry crossing.

Song of Myself #10 – first take

I read and recorded Song of Myself #10 just for shits and grins as they used to say in the Navy. Let’s face it, I am no James Earl Jones!

Late entry – #SundayHaiku

#SundayHaiku (9/9/18)

I almost forgot –
enveloped by stormy days:
it’s Haiku Sunday!

ModPo has begun!
Emails of introduction
deluge my inbox.

Emily and Walt –
their poems lift our thoughts, strengthen
our resolve to write –

– both bookends that close
their prior age and open
all of our tomorrows.

Some Whitman-mentioned snippets from the archives to jump off Modpo

1. March 31, 2013

I am thinking Whitman.
But it won’t be “the blab of the pave.”
No, more like the whispers of the dirt road,
the Southern dirt road. Tobacco Road.
The me inside, not the mask that I wear.

So it is Sunday morning
and I am going for the second cup.
Toss in a pod of cardamon
for a slight narcotic effect.
Sip slowly. “Write fearlessly.”

2. April 17, 2013

Dear Walt:
I seem to recall we met,
in the future, in the past, or in a dream –

maybe in engineroom lower level,
repairing a valve or calibrating a gauge
on an obscure hydraulic line;

or maybe on the bridge,
transiting the Strait of Gibraltar,
or the Strait of Bonafacio,
or the Strait of Messina;
or maybe having a smoke on the fantail
while the ship rounds the Cape of Good Hope,
or the Cape Horn, or Ras Kasar.

The physical place is less important
than the metaphysical space we share:
lonely, tired, perplexed, distressed,
missing loved ones –
lonely, tired, perplexed, distressed,
surrounded by loved ones –

seeking refuge from war’s alarm,
whether fighting on distant battlefields,
or negotiating in hostile boardrooms,
far or near, seeking refuge from war
and the rumors of war, seeking peace.

3. January 21, 2017

still needs a poem, an anchor
that limits the sway.

Something Walt Whitman
would say would make a cold Jan
speech palatable.

4. October 19, 2017

I read some Walt Whitman on the train
that puts me in a pleasant state of mind –
hypnotic, and I almost miss my stop
at the transfer point to the Blue, Orange
& Silver Line.

There could be worst things than the hustle
and bustle of commuting. Like these minstrel
shows – performing, dancing on the train platform –
dancing to the music. People are watching,
turning their heads to see as they walk by.
But why bother? It’s the same old minstrel show.
Why bend your neck to look? The dance
steps haven’t changed in 100, 200 years.

Not meaning to sound philosophic, but I worry
about my people, caught up in the same tricks
generation after generation, and doing the same
minstrel dance for white folks who are too
eager to be hypnotized. Oh well. The Orange line
train approaches, and I have more Leaves of Grass
to read before we reach the Bottom.

5. April 1, 2018

Enter the gallery. Turn right at the desk.
Continue until you pass bearded John Brown.
Those crazy eyes. Pass the bronze bust of Booker
T Washington. A gigantic portrait of an aged
Walt Whitman faces Ira Aldridge in his prime.