Dinner with Edgar Allen Poe

A friend of mine posted this snippet regarding the question: “If you could invite a famous writer or artist (dead or alive) to dinner who would it be?”

From New York Times Book Review’s Chuck Klosterman:

“The only problem is that dead people might not understand what was going on, why they were suddenly alive, or why they were being forced to make conversation with some bozo at a weird dinner party. They might just sit there and scream for two hours. And even if they kept it together, I’m sure they’d be highly distracted. If I invite Edgar Allan Poe to dinner, it seems possible he’d spend the whole time expressing amazement over the restaurant’s air conditioning.”

I’m far from an expert on Poe but I imagine, if you took him to dinner at a modern restaurant he’d be far more alarmed by the menu items than the air-conditioning.

Dinner with Poe

“Dandelion salad?  Thirty-four dollars and fifty cents? Highway robbery! Call forth the proprietor! He deserves a tongue lashing. I was assured that my return to this vile and wretched planet merited a meal at Manhattan’s finest establishment.”

“But Mr. Poe.  This is the finest ⏤”

“My morning repast, delivered ‘complimentary” to my chamber without my even having made a request, consisted of a plateful of delightfully crispy bacon, sweet rolls the likes of which I’ve not beheld since brief childhood, a full pot of coffee with pitchers of cream and sugar and even, fruit. Not one damned and cursed dandelion. And I was encouraged to dine in bed ⏤ to rest from my ordeal ⏤ in bedding as soft as the satin in my beloved Virginia’s coffin,” he paused “Where is my love? If I must be dragged from endless rest, why couldn’t she also be reconstituted by foul alchemy? Once again to cuddle, if just for a day.  It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea.”

“Ah, um …” The man in charge of Harvard’s annual Dinner With Your Favorite Author event didn’t know how to respond. The year before they had brought back both Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning at the insistence of an exceedingly wealthy donor.   But at least they were both adults. At the height of his creative output (which was when the bidders demanded their interviews) Poe was married to a thirteen year old. 

Luckily they were rescued from having to explain the Me-Too movement by the arrival of the high bidder and introductions were made.

Much to the organizer’s distress, Poe scowled at the high bidder. “You have made a donation to a university to converse with me?” I, who scarcely eked out a living ⏤ oft reduced to consuming only dandelion soup ⏤”

You’re a legend now, Mr. Poe.”

“A legend? What damsel in distress have I saved or battle charge have I led?  Sir, I daresay you have been swindled.  Did I not see beggars on the streets?  Did I not see mere children selling their bodies and men, even some women,  drinking spirits directly from a bottle in the middle of the day.  I say onto you – entirely too many dandelions are consumed in this time and place and you’re all quite mad!


Lone Wolf

Once again from Duke

tin hats

Art motivates my life.  I goof on it at most moments, regardless of where I am, what I am doing.  The only time this is not true is when I’m in real trouble.  If I think I’m dying or in a tight spot somewhere, my brain empties of typical thoughts and my muscles and bones take over and I find no beauty in the sky or the sea or the people I am with.  Art is meaningless.  Other people are almost invisible.  Everyone is concentrating on their own lives and there is not much to wonder about, maybe how the fuck did I get here, but beyond that it is only the body working and if you are levelheaded there might be a plan, but plans never seem to amount to much and everyone is a robot and motion is rote.

Art.  A painting.  There is one painting that has…

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The thunderclap of Eos

I have always worshipped the dawn, particularly during the warmer months when you can leave the windows open and let the birds sound a tribute to Eos on her flying chariot, growing ever nearer, soon to break through the darkness. I hear cymbals and then light bursts through the kaleidoscope of dreams and they break into ice crystals and float into space past all those constellations named after Greek gods.

But I’m generally too lazy to get out of bed.

Sometimes I will try to return to my dreams but as the room grows lighter, they become merely memories sorted into the wrong bins.  It’s a shame because often I have my clearest thoughts during that time. At least, I think they’re my clearest thoughts but then I’m not even 100% sure that I’m even awake.  It’s a blissful feeling but not every writer has felt the same.

Philip Larkin, Aubade (lovers separating at dawn)

I work all day and get half-drunk at night,
In time I see what’s really always there,
Unresting death, a whole day nearer

Hey Death, can you take a rest already?  This persistence of your’s is a pain in the butt.  Let a guy get drunk at night and wake up without seeing your ugly puss.

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale; look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east;
Night’s candles are burnt out and
day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Translation: Dawn, you’ve come to ruin my love life once again.  Eventually cruel circumstance will force me back into the arms of fair Rosalind.  Or perhaps I will opt for death instead.

Luckily musicians seem to have a different reaction to the thunderclap of Dawn. How about you – sunrise or sunset?

Ode to an old gas guzzler

I love the sight of thee,
symbol of liberty.

Oh thee I sing.
How many trips you’ve known
far far far from home.
From sunny Malibu to far off Nome
I love you so.

Rattling like a top,
engine about to pop,
Did you just see a cop?

Swallow the pot!

Thou art a joy to me,
Though thy owner
art crotchety God bless him for he still
….  loveth the trees.

This bit of silliness was inspired by a 1960s era VW van which I spotted in the parking lot of (where else) Trading Joe’s.  The driver caused quite a headache for the politically correct Priuses and Leafs anxious to get in and out before the July 4th crush for party supplies commenced. It wasn’t hard to guess what all the smirking drivers were thinking. Gas guzzling and noisy, driven by some old coot determined to back into a slot intended for “compacts only.”  What a nuisance!  But when I see one I think of independence in its truer sense.  Being faithful to who you are and to your ideals.

Because there’s a door somewhere here, I entering this in Norm’s Thursday Door extravaganza. I’m sure if you head on over you will be treated to some very good photography and interesting perspective on doors.  

Now I’m off to our small town parade which is always a gas.  Here are some blasts from past parades:  4th of July Rehash and The Girl with the Flag in her Hair

Be safe!


tin hats

Working out alone, in the prison of my own making, sit ups, pushups, lost time, the bird on my windowsill who comes from afar.  Its colors are not from around here and it’s only visiting me for a few seconds and then I’ll never see it again.

People are like that if you can only wait them out.  They might plop themselves on your couch and grow roots or repaint the bedroom, but eventually they leave and if you say the right things, they get the idea you don’t like them very much and they stop coming around all together.

I call those kinds of episodes, victories and if I find I really like someone, I usually fall totally in love with them, but not for the way their molecules sidle up to each other, but rather the emotions I can steal from them.  Love does not necessarily mean commitment. …

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Doors at the Crossroads

It’s been too long since I’ve been Doorscaping.  And so today I stopped on my daily walk to take a picture of a few historic though rather plain doors.  

This is the door to my town’s oldest restaurant, Casa Orinda.  It’s been in the same location for 84 years, predating the freeway through town, the tunnel that leads to the town and the town itself.  It’s founder, John Snow, was a cowboy from Montana and thus it’s interior boasts of a mahogany bar, hand-carved reliefs and an antique gun collection.  Although the ambiance has been described as “spaghetti western,” their signature dish is Southern Fried Chicken.

Even the storage unit at the back of the restaurant sports an antique lantern.

Across the street from Casa Orinda sits the De Laveaga Train Station which is only a landmark today.  However from this spot, the short lived California and Nevada railroad hauled produce from the valley over the hills and to the docks.

It’s a very tiny structure but then the railway only catered to passengers in its final years.  Today it remains locked.

However, someone put a welcome sign in front.

I’m sure you’ll all be welcome over at Norms’ Place for his weekly #ThursdayDoors challenge. 


Mom Saying Goodbye

I was going to blog about the best cars to buy to survive the coming Zombie Apocalypse but then a friend of mine sent me this beautiful poem which seems much more appropriate for this Memorial Day weekend.  Those of us with elderly parents can easily relate.

Mom Saying Goodbye
by Carol Teltschick 

I call my mother everyday
California to Texas
We talk and laugh

Around and in between the spaces
of a disease in her brain
We talk and laugh

Of things she knows but can’t remember
We know she loves
We talk

I remind her she combed lice
From my hair for

My hair was thick her hands grew tired
Always home for the daughter
who traveled to wild places

Still so much easier than
hanging up a phone

How do I turn this thing off, honey? What do I do with it now?
Ok, that’s the end of it.  Do I push anything down? Does it go there?

It’s always something going. I don’t know why.
We’ve got to get this thing going down.

Honey, can you help me? Gosh, she sounds so sweet.  I have to get it…

She’s gone? She’s gone.
Ok, it’s bye…

California to Texas: expect delays and alternate routes
We talk and laugh
With love

Morro Bay, March 2019