milestones

March 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

the hummingbirds are starting to bunch-up at the feeder

and the damned jays are at it again 

doing that thing they do, trying to build a nest on the light fixture under the rafters,
the slippery surfaced fixture with which twigs do not entangle but simply slide off or blow off, nevertheless they bring twigs and strings and bits of paper and lay them up there and they fall down or blow away and undaunted the jay picks them up and again lays them down and off they fall or don’t until twenty minutes later the many of them closer than not to a nest slide off and undaunted the jays pick them up and lay them down again and down they slide. It is an awesome thing to watch, it breaks even the most stalwart heart makes you want to run out and do it for them, not that in the long run we (people) are doing a better job of keeping our nest intact…

paul planted the potatoes in the barrel out front

I am on a diet, losing those pesky 5 pounds

and though spring is nigh, it’s still cool enough to burn the fire, nothing in the world like the warmth from a wood stove, nothing

It’s been just a year now, give or take a week, that I’ve been at the shop. And somehow it was seemly, if not timely, and the perfect, oh for lack of a better word, ritual—though at once a fundamental part of the work—that I spend the afternoon distributing type. A perfect tribute if I will, and on Fat Tuesday, to boot, to make way. Decomposing. Deconstructing, dismantling, not to belabor the point, it was all of it. And if there is an ineffable but unmistakable quality to a finished work, carved onto, into, a piece of paper, which is dimensional and sculptural, there is an equal and not exactly opposite state that comes of letting it go you should pardon the expression. There was something about handling the words. And taking them apart. Distributing each sort into its proper spot in the case, (where they’ll rest until another job comes along,) that was, yes, freeing. Not only in terms of clearing the slate to make room for what comes next, but it is an unequivocating end. In a real sense. The end of the story. No more just dashing off another copy. Or changing it all of a sudden. It is a demarcation. And sorting the letters out, ending the extant relationship one letter to another freeing them from their bonds was, oh I don’t know, liberating and exhilarating, was Beethoven at his best. I was dismantling the poems from DRUM, a book conceived as an amulet on the occasion of a rotator cuff repair and as things went, I had my last physical therapy appointment and my shoulder is well on its way to good repair. Voilá!

I am finishing my second book, KNOWN PERIL, a graphic poem in the shape of a book; an exploration of nuance or the lack thereof. Interestingly, fleeting and ephemeral as that project was, I dismantled each of the forms after I pulled the last print. And no one of the 6 books in this limited edition will be like any other.

I printed a second set of cards. So different than the first one. A good measure of the distance I’ve traveled.

I’ve taken out my novel again. Another measure of the distance I’ve come. And have yet to go.

And I give thanks to the many who lend zest, and love, and wisdom, and hope and who add kindness and generosity and laughter and bring music

 

 

 

 

 

what me worry

February 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I thought it was me, anxious
about I had no idea what but
it’s the jibber jabber before sunup jays jawing on the job
disagreeing about every damn thing, or
just jubilant, either way it’s not

me

.

devolution of a business card

February 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

the other day was the anniversary of my father’s death, the same day I married the first time, my mother will have died 4 years and 4 days later, it doesn’t go without saying, the yahrzeit candles are lit

rolled the presses the other all day long and did print an other sheet, (2 pages) of KNOWN PERIL, and a poem (perfect for my valentine) that has been sitting in the galley, and not being able to contain myself printed a business card that well isn’t, after all I’m not drumming up business and who the hell keeps a business card anymore, you get the info and before I can even say ‘right now’ it’s plopped into your personal device and the card is unceremoniously tossed, so it is these days a throw away, ephemera at its best, forgotten like what time was it the last time looked at your watch that probably isn’t a watch anymore or your phone that isn’t a phone anymore either, that said the card seems distilled to its original design–a calling card, announcing simply oneself, at large, &s0 (and so) there’s no earthly reason why the cards need to be the same, or in keeping with the ephemera they are, fit in a card carrying case…though, I haven’t yet simply printed them on flimsy ass paper, or newsprint, ah newsprint a whole other story…

typeset in 16th century roman and poliphilus printed on the vandercook, on scrappy painted paper
it was all a series of lucky accidents, and yet maybe that’s what design is, and for all of it, fact is in the end, having asked or been offered a card, the damn thing tells just about everything you need to know, and I damn sure like that bus, I mean look at the wheels…and fact is, you’re still either on the bus or off the bus, and there are times when we can’t wait, wow
you know and damn if that don’t just like keysey’s bus, well except for the colors

speaking of anniversaries, I will have been at the shop for almost a year, it has changed me

this to say about that

January 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

birthdays have come and gone, some remembered, some even hailed others the way of the days gone busy, try as I might whelmed by too many pages, pages of a book hard to keep together in their coming together as kittens, or puppies frantic with enthusiasm, try as I might to leave with everything I came with by way of notes and mock ups I have so far not been able to, it’s unsettling, and humbling, and childlike or perhaps just godhelpme kittenish or impulsive which brings to mind

as if I were, or maybe thoughtless or  brash or off on a tangent I’m saying in what otherwise might be lighthearted conversation the oddest things and then wondering why I would have possibly even said it, like talking about having gone to the funeral of a patient’s daughter, and isn’t that a whole kettle of blackened fish of its own, only to realize innocently enough, that was what came up in the course of the conversation for me, which isn’t to say folks aren’t left wondering what the hell made me say that in the course of an otherwise lighthearted conversation,

speaking of out of turn, we have a rose budding for crying loud and the pear tree and the camelias are in fullbloom the chickadees are at the feeder and the yute are running around in sleeveless tops and shorts

speaking of talking about we’re talking about, did you know, no matter who the hell is or isn’t paying that most hospitals can’t afford to give you the kind of care you would expect to get at even the best ones? And do you know why? If you don’t you should find out, and even more do something about it

and today, already the 22nd, at Quicksliver Mine Co. is the opening of Bakers Dozen 2011, Art Words, the art of 13 Bay Area Artists, artist reception 4—6 pm, can’t wait.

bravura

January 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

whale watching season is upon us, did my 1st docent tour, it was one of those glorious winter clear crisp no fog see for miles days that after so many gray days so many gray days reminds one of horizons and sun light, refurnishes one with hope and willingness

and then there was coming up over the hill just past goat rock and looking out over the ocean

and then there were the whales, a pod of humpbacks out there and young grays closer in, perhaps one or two or three who have become resident rather than stragglers heading with some sort of purpose southerly, or heading north ahead of the gang as the adolescents have a wont to do

and the sea lion under the water, the light was shining through the curling wave just right you could see him surfing down the line

we are a motley bunch, the docents, not so much of an age as you might think, held together by a certain cast of spirit and awe

it is the awe that repopulates resets stokes as it were the passion ignites in me that willingness that wont to set out

and of course people asked have you seen any and when are they coming but, they also asked do they travel in groups and when are they sexually active and are they going north or south and there was laughter and cavorting and talking to strangers and children perilously close to the edge

not surprisingly I’m reading thousand mile song; david rothenberg, and for the moment there is talk about music in general and I came across george crumb talking about bravura, it sticks with me as that quality of courage and recklessness which adds up to a kind of fearlessness in the moment allowing one particular virtuosity–it is the bravura, that I am missing in ‘nuance’ as it sits, not so much the excellence but just that soupcon of passionandrisk one word otherwise known as heart that will take it over the top, you know,

how funny what I mean of course is, it is the bravura that I am missing

and at the same time that is really not true, it’s just scary–now that’s a chickenshit word if you ever heard one, when really I mean chilling or shuddery or awesome, yes there it is–it is awesome and whelming being on that precipice smart enough to know better trying something new that either will or won’t work and as george crumb might say falling flat on your face

all het up;

January 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve been for daze, (see what I mean)

to book, (once again borrowing a phrase from he who 1st used it so cunningly, as always my thanks, doug)

DRUM was a closed book long before it hit paper, the notes were already written, it was mostly a matter of playing it, this other I’m working on now, nuance, is a whole other story, I cannot contain it, I sat yesterday with the goats hoping some manner of goatish insistence would rub off and for at least one readthrough it would hold its shape, I with purpose didn’t even bring a pencil, it did not, the goats didnot hold any sway, which is not to say there’s no container or retainer perhaps and certainly there is a central, to go back to the original metaphor, tune if you will that can and does bind it together but beyond that each phrase–like a good riff I suppose–changes, is changeable and changing and so it rattles and creates racket and it plagues, it decomposes no surprise perhaps simply a reprisal a recapitulation of the theme of nuance as nuisance and to remind nuance is not a closed book but I get it, and would that it would give me respite, it does not won’t but hand to hair ready to pull out I ran uncle in mind to the press yesterday and carved out the first pages, nuance is a nuisance more than a play on words
that said I am calmer now, I can see though it will be held together with a shoelace, it is a neverending onslaught I already wish I had said more than a ply of words and there you have it

dogma dogs
dog dogma

(and that can go any which way)

doggone godded doggedness
ohdeargod I am losing
my good sense

did I say:
he said known peril, I thought he mispronounced nonpareil

before you book, I will…

here we go loopty-loo

January 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

or no matter how young a prune may be he’s always born with wrinkles

there’s no law against being crazy, or acting crazy, though I can’t help but point out jared loughner wasn’t so crazed he couldn’t get a gun, or plan to use it, and successfully carry out his plan and he wasn’t even crazy enough afterward to give up his right not to self-incriminate, or his right to lawyer up
and even if you are crazy you have the right to your freedoms unless you are an imminent danger to yourself; or to others; or cannot provide food clothing and shelter for yourself as a result of a mental illness, and even if a person is suspected of being a danger to himself or others and the police are called, and they take the person to a hospital for evaluation the standard of imminent danger is not as clear as you might think–
we all have hunches but unless the person is actually stating he has intent to do harm we really have no data that supports the notion we can accurately predict danger in the future–
if imminent danger is not established the person must be let go unless he wants help, and even when the person is found to be a danger he still can not be–treated–medicated against his will as long as he is competent to refuse, which in most cases is as simple as saying I don’t like the side effects and as easy as not saying the man in the moon told me I shouldn’t take pills, in order to medicate someone against his will it requires a second judicial hearing to establish competency, or incompetency in this case to refuse medication, all of which takes in-hospital time and it is not a onetime deal, these steps must be gone through each and every time a person comes across the radar; ask any family who has a member stricken with mental illness how arduous this is, and how even when it seems clear the individual needs help there is nothing, for worse and for better, they can do–
people with mental illness have fought long and hard for their rights, and the protections against being locked up just because someone thinks they’re crazy and they have fought equally hard and successfully not to indiscriminately be drugged out of their minds–

let’s face it though, the only time these days we talk or care about people with mental illness and the shoddy state of available services and treatment is when there has been a violent episode, the fact of the matter is the decline of treatment for the mentally ill has been long and steady, and across the board funding that would provide necessary mental health services and adequate treatment is being cut, that’s one problem,
the corollary is people with mental illness have not been given a concomitant responsibility, which is to say if an individual has the right to refuse treatment, and medication, then that same individual should not be excused subsequent behavior because of a mental illness, the degree to which we excuse the mentally ill their violence is the degree to which it is to be expected–
that said it should be noted only a small number of mentally ill are actually more violent than the rest of us–

the second problem is we are a nation with an increasing tolerance for disrespect and violence in general

the third problem is pistols kill people and we think the right to bear arms, and to enjoy them is of greater value than human life

the fourth problem is each of these as a singularity is big and hard enough to sort through, it’s nearly impossible when they are entangled, and of no help when the discussion takes place with righteous indignation guns drawn no one listening each man for himself already thinking the other person is a besotted idiot

the long needed conversations to address each of these issues must be guided by people who know everything we know, about human behavior at large to include mental illness, and who understand the complexities of social and not so social actions for all the reasons we have, and must include soldiers and pastors and philosophers and poets and for godsakes historians and anthropologists and psychologists and educators and physicists and engineers musicians mathematicians and laborers elders and juniors with points of view rather than axes to grind and we must listen more

I am reminded just how far we have to go each time I come through sebastopol and see the support our troops enclave on one side of the street and the anti-war enclave on the other

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