It’s a Damn Shame

When I heard the news the baby and I went to bed. I don’t know how … but we both fell right to sleep. Perhaps it was the shock.

Before John Lennon formed The Beatles, entertainers were brand names to be marketed and sold. The words they spoke were fed to them based on careful calculations. A really good example of what I’m talking about is the Netflix movie “Mank.” It’s about the early days of Hollywood when the public was fed stories about their favorite stars and those stars were expected to play the roles assigned to them. For example, the story that Mary Pickford was a forty year old virgin was a joke in Hollywood but apparently believed by her adoring public. Screenwriters were generally established writers slumming it for a few easy bucks. If asked to write a script for a political ad that deliberately mislead voters, they were expected to comply or risk being ruined both financially and professionally. However, when a writer knowingly deceives his readers, he generally calls it fiction.

Anyway, like the Mank character, John Lennon, whether you liked him or not, showed us that honestly over time is the only thing that gives art meaning. It’s just a damn shame he’s not here to lead us all into old age.

Tragedy Wears Many Hats

If you’ve ever read Duke Miller’s stories (which I repost here often), often they are grim recollections of his twenty years of refugee work, filled with regrets and sorrows but beautifully written. This is particularly true of his first book “Living and Dying with Dogs” and its companion piece “Handbook for the Hopeless,” a guide to getting and keeping a job (and your head) in a war zone. After our publisher closed up shop and we formed John’s Motorcycle Storage and Rare Book Disposal Publishing, Duke combined the two books into “Living and Dying with Dogs, Turbo Edition.”

It has been said of Duke that being pissed off is his way of dealing with life, however, his newest book, Tragedy Wears Many Hats, reflects a man who is in love with love, living in a world that conspires against its survival.  Oh, there are a few pieces of “prose poetry” as he calls them, which bemoan the human condition, either comically or tragically but … well … I’ll post a few passages and you tell me if I’m right.

From Map of the Lungs:

My happiness blinked as I rolled to touch your warm skin, you were an ocean where the mountains rose beneath and the skeleton fish darted through slim channels, in never times, hours unkept, and I journeyed there, sighting upon your star-shaped pores, drinking at your eyes, never to live like that again, and I saw your map of lungs, there, at the bottom of the sea

From Dressing:

We are all so helpless in this life, even the strongest and the richest and the wisest … the burden of scars forcing us to crawl while others run

Yet, there is the dressing of love, let us gently press it down

From Emaciated Horses

You need only tilt your head and let the wonder become your eyes and there it will be, everything great and small, the warm sad beauty that gives us life, that covers us with this terrible love we cannot name or forget

From Your Eyes:

I think of you and how easy it is to die, so very easy, and it is a lonely thing, but what a joy to have been part of your eyes

Sometimes I am filled up with so much feeling I can hardly stand it, it is like I’m trying to squeeze the last drop of life out of my brain and let it stream out of my eyes and onto a page of paper, like this one

Duke Miller

The Worst Thanksgiving Ever

Unlike New England or even Jolly Old England, here in California we generally have two seasons: Green and Brown. Right now we’re between the two. Cold, dry days but not enough rain for our season of green to commence.

Last night my husband said to me “this was the worst Thanksgiving ever.” Considering that he generally has to be dragged to holiday celebrations and makes faces when I invite guests over to share “his” turkey, it provoked a sharp response from me. “You bloody hypocrite!” But in truth I’ve always known he doth protest too much. If he doesn’t get at least five requests for his famed Mac and Cheese recipe at holiday events, his year is ruined. Last year my best friend’s children fought over the leftovers and he spent the whole next day typing meticulous instructions (three pages long) to email to them all. He was a happy man.

Joel’s pumpkin pie – he makes three of them at Thanksgiving.

This year, although he wasn’t “forced” to share his pumpkin pie, he realized maybe it’s not so much fun to eat it all by himself. A good lesson as that’s what the holiday is supposed to represent. Not the massive gathering of family during which deep seated resentments are bound to leave at least one family member hurt. Or hosting large gatherings that leave you cleaning the house for days afterward. But just simply sharing.

Speaking of families, the “children” of my Red Squill (seen above at its most glorious) continue to sprout at her withered base.

The eldest is above and below the youngest.

I know it’s greedy but I’m hoping she will have many more children who will somehow survive the coming winter and rise again in late August 2021.

Five Points Of My Life: Point Number One

My computer died and while I am setting up a new one, another haunting piece from Duke.

tin hats

The boat dropped me off on a Sobat River sandbar.  The Ethiopian border was fifteen miles away and if you looked on the map, you’d find my location to be on the southern edge of the Greater Upper Nile region.  There were 600,000 displaced Sudanese on the march.  The Mengistu government had fallen and all of the safe-haven camps on the border were now closed. The Sudanese had to go home and so they left by the hundreds of thousands, crying and complaining; grieving over the lost protection of Mengistu, who happened to be one of the world’s worst dictators at the time. He’d eventually be found guilty of genocide and the death of 2,000,000 people, but due to the winds of Africa, he would avoid arrest and float down to a luxurious life in Zimbabwe.   

Poetry and music were of no help to the Sudanese fleeing Ethiopia. Thoughts…

View original post 276 more words

A Kind of Madness

tin hats

I’ve settled upon a few things about writing and reading and they are like imprints I can feel … breath and heartbeat on my walk, smooth stones in my lungs … and they take in everything that I can see and think, everything that is real

Voice is the key to writing, on the wire, in the wind as the Indian nations listen to pole and track … falling upon the ground in disbelief, dying suddenly, asleep, a great sadness, as if all the blood in the world has vanished upon some threshold unknown to me

Style is more important than content, just ask the sun in the sky, a unique style gives one the confidence to refashion birth and death with cotton candy and endless spoons

Honesty over truth, since no one knows the truth, particularly people who were there, hurt in those lost moments, so far away, dense…

View original post 323 more words

The cub is coming

I received a 2021 calendar in the mail today. It’s nice to know that someone is hopeful.

2020 lies exhausted and sends forth her fierce and determined cub. It’s an image I’ll keep in mind as we go forth into strange territory.

The strange Red Quill which bloomed so spectacularly as my mother lay dying and a million acres burnt to dust here in California, is now spent but at its roots, seems ready once again to surprise me.

I noticed a bit of green at the base of the dried stalk on Halloween day.

A few days later it was splitting. And what’s that on the other side?

Another bit a green amidst the dying leaves. You just never know.

I voted weeks ago and so tomorrow I’m making bread … from scratch. Rosemary, garlic bread. And I’ll eat it hot with plenty of butter. And I’ll try to keep in mind that fierce little cub. She’s coming.

Feeling My Body

The way I’m feeling …

tin hats

This is from something I wrote a long time ago and I had forgotten about it as I have with most of what I have written. When I read it, I was surprised. Why did I write that? I can’t recall.

We are more than just what we do and say, more than our DNA and the way we grow. We are also the way we remember. Our memories, regardless of how accurate, are like paint and brush upon skin. We become what we remember.

This is a cutting of what I recalled, and like I say, I have forgotten it, but now try to remember it once again. Life is confusing, but everything will be peaceful at the end. No more doubts and worries, no more heart attacks at night, or moans in the soft garden, only a great longing for something we cannot name.

I have updated it…

View original post 503 more words

Spent #WordlessWednesday

I took this picture early this morning just before dawn broke. I believe this plant is called a “smoke bush.”

The morning air was a nippy 57 degrees with bright blue skies and finally, finally some hope the temperatures were cooling. And they did but only slightly. Tomorrow should be a repeat of today.

Meanwhile the red quill is spent. It’s five and a half inch stalk now lies on the ground, it’s tip propped up by other plants also dying.

To Connemoira on a perfect day

Today would have been Connemoira’s birthday and she would have celebrated at that lake high in the mountains she loved so much if she hadn’t hated life just a little bit more.

Oh wait … she tells me not life. Just the machine. The clogs.

I’m not sure what she means but let’s on, shall we?

Why … has been a puzzle for a long, long time…

The machine Jan. The machine!

I continue: She was born to loving parents, the eldest of five siblings, a rollicking group prone to taking off in pirate ships (aka rubber rafts) and looting the peaceful villages along the river looking for gold.

This much is true, she says with a smile. We were best when we were wild.

Perhaps the last rosebud

September 21: As Americans wait to find out which bimbo cutie-pie judge gets tapped by our nitwit king to flounce her golden locks and confirm how pro-life she is to all those traitorous hypocrites who’d eat their own mothers to stay in office, I continue to watch this quirky plant blossom towards its tip.  

I guess I was expecting (hoping for) some kind of showy explosion at the end but there are still a few buds that refuse to blossom. Perhaps it’s the smoke still lingering.  Or  perhaps, for this particular plant, it’s not the destination but the journey that matters.  After all, it started out looking like a penis.

On this muggy, smoky day, I anxiously searched for important papers while pondering how the documents we can’t live without … the certificates, the licenses, the brokerage statement, the records, the photos, photos and more photos … are, in the end, the anchors we shed.  The only truly happy people are those without the anchors. Of course, I’m assuming one doesn’t need a certificate to be a Tibetan monk. But I’m probably wrong.

September 24

Below is perhaps the last rosebud.  Although here in California it is still hot and will be on and off for at least the next ten days.  So like the Tibetan monk thing I could be dead wrong.

Update September 27: Okay, I was wrong. Trump went against type. He selected the mother of seven, including two adopted African American kids. An attractive woman but hardly a bimbo. I watched just a few minutes of her “acceptance speech” during which she talked about how much she enjoyed being an an active participant in her children’s lives. Including driving car pools. When I organized car pools for brownies, soccer, field trips, etc., it was virtually impossible to recruit a mother with a high profile job to help out but … I guess things have changed (yeah right, wink, wink). My first thought was, if your life’s so wonderful then why are you uprooting those children you love so much and moving them to a viper’s nest like Washington DC where you will be considered by many as a justice whose legitimacy is tainted? I just don’t understand it.

And … I’m almost positive that Supreme Court Justices aren’t allowed to drive carpools.

Meanwhile the rose continues to unfold but my Red Squill is now just a stalk covered with spent blooms … except for these strange pods.

What do you think they’re planning to do?