New Found Gap Highway, Gatlinburg, TN

New Found Gap Highway, Gatlinburg, TN

While we weep

Today I visited the national secular temple
to worship the Goddess Minerva, Virgin
of Wisdom and War –

we make ablution with the warm waters
of Jeffersonian idealism before we enter
the holy of holies –

we shut our eyes and ears to the hypocrisies,
and our collective birth defect gets banished
to the wine cellar –

while we weep, while we weep –

North Head Lighthouse – Washington’s Outer Coast

Lighthouse - Washington's Outer Coast

Making the bed

Since I retired my wife insists
on making the bed together every day.
I guess I was at work when all this excitement
happened before. We fluff and straighten
the pillows, aligned but not touching.
Sheets tight and tucked, folded over at the top.
All equally distributed side to side.
(She cannot think until the bed is made!)
Then she calls me an amateur when I
walk away before she has taken the final
measurements. “This is not boot camp,”
I whisper to myself. But by then
the kettle is whistling, the freshly ground
coffee requesting total submergence.

Josephine Goes Shopping, 1926. Honor C. Appleton (1879 – 1951)

Josephine Goes Shopping, 1926.  Honor C. Appleton (1879 - 1951)

Man and the expanding universe: art

moral courage died
and corruption’s stench prevailed –
lies erased the truth

my LinkedIn friends keep endorsing me
for Government. But me and Uncle Sam

are a shrinking universe. I’m leaving
the troop that errs, the team that lies,

leaders who destroy lives for sport, as art –
themselves a crime, a sin, a plague. Farewell.

Staircase Rapids, North Fork Snohomish River

Staircase Rapids, North Fork Snohomish River

The Lone Ranger

There is a rumor the Lone Ranger
was a Negro and that’s why
the white guys who always play him
wear a full-face black mask.

Hi-Yo Silver! Away!

When I was in the seventh grade
(must have been 1968/1969),
I wrote a theme paper entitled,
“The Story of the Negro Cowboys.”

Who was that masked man, anyway?

Nat Love, also known as Deadwood Dick,
Bill Pickett, One Horse Charley (also
known as Nigger One Horse Charley)
and Bass Reeves, slave-turned-lawman.

Was Bass Reeves really the Lone Ranger?

Maybe. Maybe not. But the last thing
we need right now is a mythological Negro,
on a white horse, here to save us from
a mythologized Negro on a white horse.

Hi-Yo Silver! Away!

An episode:

Grotte de Rouffignac (Dordogne)

Grotte de Rouffegnac (Dordogne)

Your poem about carrots
made me think about tobacco –
stalks so tall, rows so long,
long as the eye could see…

I only lasted a couple of weeks –
the fat worms on the broad green leaves –
and the hot sun beating on me,
on my head, the days so long.

Portrait of Christ from the Book of Kells

Portrait of Christ from the Book of Kells

Man and the expanding universe: peace

the big bang of war
makes us fear that peace is far –
removed from our dreams.

yet peace is gaining critical mass each
moment that passes: its energy is spreading

diametrically, at an accelerating rate, and reasons
for war and conflict are shrinking, like fear

and greed, and the senseless need to dominate
others. Let peace expand and grow.

Postcard from British Columbia

postcard from British Columbia

El Gusto!

in postcard absence I’m writing about
a concert I attended night before last –

El Gusto, playing Chaabi,
music of the Casbah in Algiers–

music of the streets,
of the village, clubs and bars –

like jazz, and blues, and gospel –
and fado I have known –

they played, they sang,
they stood up and danced –

they made a joyful noise –
old men of the Casbah –

muslim and jewish and other –
getting down together with song.

Cheval Volant. Bronze, Chine. Epoque des Hans posterieurs.

Cheval Volant.  Bronze,  Chine.  Epoque des Hans posterieurs.

Man and the Expanding Universe – Love

Love expands in space
Fills every crack and crevice
overcomes all hate –

Physicists say it’s not the universe
but space that expands – and material

things spread out to fill the new space
if their internal energies allow it –

love in the world wants to spread and
fill the expanding space – we gotta let it…

Tommy Bartlett’s Water Ski Show

postcard from J Busch

Flashbacks to Pike Place

Yesterday I received a poem on
a postcard about a city I used to know
and a street market I often visited
to buy seafood and books and frankincense.
The poem even featured a recent emigrant
from North Carolina: me, time-traveling
again. I quickly flashed back to the early ‘80’s,
and long, lonely submarine deployments,
and the Cold War. And rainy rides to Seattle
via the Bainbridge Island Ferry, to shop
for books in the U district and
at Pike Place Market, always anticipating
the next voyage to the bottom of the sea.

Postcard from Spokane

Postcard from Spokane

Man and the expanding universe: truth

truth expands outward
yields right-of-way to falsehood
continues on its path

Maria dos Santos Pittsylvania
is my Muse and avatar in Second Life

she is a pink body-suited android
and she knows how to dance Kizomba

her steps are pure poetry –
her smile – deliverance – truth

Postcard from Seattle

Postcard from Seattle

Got my transfer orders the other day,
be heading out to my next post
real soon. Brushing off the
old dust, washing all those memories
of the process right out of my head.
Delivery was a tortuous path,
and labor was unusually lengthy –
not like the last time when the path
was smooth and we just slid right
out. Oh no, this time was painful,
and slow and unpredictable – but in
some ways better, thorough, meaningful,
more comprehensive. Thank God it’s the
last transfer point on the Orange Line.

David Sibley, Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), 2013

David Sibley, Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), 2013

Found Poetry (notes from LSC 557)

love, the layout of the homepage –
hyperlinks to all contents

feedback –

print function takes you to a list
of pdf’s that are transcripts for each section –
first game: concept blocking, also called nesting

Andrea Sechrist, Dreaming of You, 1922

Andrea Sechrist, Dreaming of You, 1922

Introducing Maria

another crazy dance with Maria dos Santos Pittsylvania:
she loves to do the Tango, Lambada, Kizomba –
always well-dressed, her steps are technically
choreographed, mechanically proficient.
The rhythm, the beat of the music determines
each step, each twirl, each bump, each groove:
but the melody stirs the heart, and you want
to peek into her eyes, cast a flirtatious glance, at least –
then the beat shifts, requiring a technical adjustment,
precision; and attention to the glance you seek
gets diverted to the mechanics of the dance, again –
and you know it’s OK, because Maria is an android
in a pretty pink body suit. And you think yourself
a knight in shining armor – this is Second Life, silly.

Harmony ca. 1930, collection of Levi Hirschler

Harmony ca. 1930, collection of Levi Hirschler

Morning river walk

The tide is low
the current is calm –
and flat, and still
like a mirror, reflecting
in near perfect symmetry
images of flora and statuary
from the far side –

and on the near side
the polk salad weeds are
growing tall
and bowing over –
their leaves too long,
too brown
for human consumption.

John Drysdale, Odd Girl Out, 1965

John Drysdale, Odd Girl Out, 1965

I wake up with the hiccups,
my coffee jones is down on me –

I stumble to the kitchen,
still some powder left in the grinder

from yesterday’s yesterdays –
I fire up the kettle – twice-boiled

water will do just fine, thank you.
My hiccups are getting worse…

The french press is full of sludge.
I pour the sludge out – most of it –

what remains will season the new batch,
sort of like making yogurt. The whistle

is blowing, the water is boiling again.
Won’t be long now. Won’t be long.

The Grace Museum – Abilene, Texas, 1928 Kitchen

The Grace Museum - Abilene, Texas, 1928 Kitchen

High culture and low
polished and profaned
sanctified and ghettoized –
all the decisions we make
stem from false dichotomies
presented to us – opposing options

in a narrative, neither of which
makes us better or worse for the wear —

just older and grayer –
more wrinkled and cataract’d
until our vision is blocked,
and our tastebuds deadened
by the novocaine they give us –
for good behavior.