Thursday, December 29, 2011


"How strange a vehicle it is, coming down unchanged from times of old romance, and so characteristically black, the way no other thing is black except a coffin—a vehicle evoking lawless adventures in the plashing stillness of night, and still more strongly evoking death itself, the bier, the dark obsequies, the last silent journey!" -Thomas Mann

M. Lee's Dad passed away two days before Christmas.
At his Mom's request we disassembled his music room.
Gig over. It was a bleak obsequy.

At twelve, Jim played bass in the Chicago Symphony.
At fifteen, and well on his way to 6'9", he played
professionally in Chicago clubs but from
behind a curtain because he was white.

In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco
and caught the end of the 50s North Beach Bebop scene.

Elvis wanted Jim to join him. So did the Jefferson Airplane.
He refused. He was a purist.

He left the Baby Grand to Nolan,
his piano player for the last forty years.

for Joe & Jim

In the evening we
carry down our dead
they leave our hands willingly
above Dog Star watches
cold, white
as on ancient evenings,
Dog Star
bringer of rain.

excerpt from Dead Reckoning by asha

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice 2011

Okay. It's nearly midnight but I don't like to see a Winter Solstice pass without wishing you a good day and new year. Of course this Solstice marks the beginning of the final countdown to the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar (5125 ears long) and some say the end of time and life on earth. It's always something.

And tonight I learned that Al Linde, an old friend, died about a week ago. Seems he was on blood thinners following knee surgery in preparation for the new baseball season, suffered a freak accident blow to the head and just bled out. WTF, Al?!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Submissions Update,12.11

To date, of the six poems I submitted in October, two have been rejected (with comments), two remain unanswered (I'm assuming rejected) and two were accepted. After the first of the year, I'll send out more. 

'Road's Eye View', a poem I wrote in Mexico a few years ago, was recently accepted by Sein und Werden for publication in their January online issue dedicated to Futurism. Sein und Werden features work that is "experimental, non-genre, erotica, horror, philosophical, noir, crime, hard-boiled, surreal" so cool. The deep night voices from that seaside swamp found roost.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baxter Blackwell

Not Baxter
but you get the idea.
Roy commented on a previous post that all my Bird Park lacks in complexity is a stray dog and complimentary dog catcher which brings us to the subject of one Mr. Baxter Blackwell. I take a lot of photos, some might say an insane number of photos of the passing parade, the Great Circus, the Theatre of the Absurd and Wonderful to which I say...why not? M. Lee has created what is, in practical terms, a Bottomless Pit of Storage and I have a fine camera so I take it as a personal responsibility to try and fill it. But, and I say this with much sadness and regret, I do not have one photo of the rag-a-muffin darling of our neighborhood, the fickle and fanciful, the wayward and whimsical, the ever and absolutely uncontainable hairy Houdini of scruffy little mutts, the one and only Mr. Baxter Blackwell (regrettably deceased).

I can't remember the number of times I scooped Baxter up and returned him to his home and family, who did not even realize he'd slipped out again only to see him, within the hour, trotting down the sidewalk on yet another walkabout. What mystery did he seek, this inscrutable lover of the open road? Was he driven by a mere doggie's thirst for adventure or was he under the glamour of a faerie spell? I tended toward the latter but, in any case, Baxter was a beautiful woolly gypsy soul. Whenever I saw him trotting by, whether or not I could capture him, I wished and prayed that the world were a safer place. Baxter was far too small and completely irrepressible. Unfortunately, it didn't end well. Not long after his death the couple divorced, sold the house and moved, as we say in these parts, back East. Happy trails, Baxter Blackwell, wherever you are.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fatty report

Not Fatty the Hawk but
another Fatty from last year
just before he snagged and
devoured one of the finches
enjoying breakfast
in the Bird Park.
We've had a blue sky cold week here in Nevada, just the kind of weather that drives birds to the feeders but Fatty the hawk has been hanging around so, for a couple of days, everyone stayed away. Fatty's a saucy little fellow. I invited him to go elsewhere but he was totally unimpressed. All I got for my effort was a "One step closer, girlie, and you're mine" look and an impassioned pitch from M. Lee about Predator Rights. I know. Hawks get to eat too. I'd just prefer they do it somewhere else. I don't like it when any of my bird buddies gets eaten alive. Finally Seven o'clock Magpie, the Bird Park's self-appointed magistrate, took it upon herself to make Fatty's life miserable enough that he stayed away until late yesterday afternoon and so far today he hasn't showed up at all. Now, if the damn cats would bugger off...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Common ground

Note to self: G'ville is hosting annual Festival of Lights this evening. When we go out tonight, do everything possible to avoid it.
I'm just now watching a couple of finches duke it out in the Bird Park in yet another late afternoon food fight. They get intense when seed levels drop to the bottom hole. Plus it's cold out there. And in here. I'm bundled up. Even my hair is mashed under the blanket. I am immobile as a giant winter doll, other than the freewheeling fingers typing these words. It took a few goes before they agreed to tap out "words" rather than "worlds". In the meantime, it seems to me that the repeated hard drives to the letter "L" scared the finches off. In spite of all their chest bumping, they are timid fellows.

Now, balancing along the fence top, the quail covey makes its twilight return to scratch and peck the remains of the day.* Three of them linger at the water bowl awhile then wander off to nibble the apples. Gray fat birds fading into eventide.

*All due respect to Kazuo Ishiguro.