Wednesday, May 4, 2016
--I HAVE BEEN RUNNING AND FOR ONCE IT ISN’T AWAY
...It's early morning and my heart is warm. Someone just posted this on Facebook and I'm very humbled:
I'm reading this book by Len Kuntz and I'm so impressed with his talent. I feel like I'm in the presence of a great modern artist. I would say "writer", but Len is so much more than a writer, he truly makes art with his words. As most of you know I'm a voracious reader, and for some reason (it may be this age of technology) I find it hard to find time to read anymore. Reading these stories is like watching the likes of Meryl Streep acting in an amazing movie. Every story feels plucked from life, as if he's lived every word. It's raw, it's real and it's satisfying. If you're looking to get back into reading, or just looking for the next best thing, I highly recommend this little gem.
Monday, May 2, 2016
--WE ALL NEED SOMETHING TO PROTECT
…Hey, Monday, do you feel as sunny as you look? I hope so.
"Life's about friendships, the way you love your partner, the way you care for your children. That is what life is about. Not anything about earning a hundred zillion dollars because you toured America more than anyone else. I want life to be about creativity." Joe Strummer, former lead singer for the Clash rock band
"A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn't feel like it." Alistair Cooke
"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. These three alone lead to sovereign power." Lord Alfred Tennyson
"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, wracked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." Agatha Christie
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
"Every man stamps his value on himself... man is made great or small by his own will." J.C.F. von Schiller
"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. These three alone lead to sovereign power." Lord Alfred Tennyson
“Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame." Alexander Pope
"The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for." Joseph Addison
"The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them." Benjamin Jowett
"Judgement comes from experience, and great judgement comes from bad experience." Robert Packwood
"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." Thomas Jefferson
"We are fallible. We certainly haven't attained perfection. But we can strive for it, and the virtue is in the striving." Carlos P. Romulo
"The best portion of a good man's life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love." William Wordsworth
"You can have anything you want -- if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose." Abraham Lincoln
"Most true happiness comes from one's inner life, from the disposition of the mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is hard to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline." William L. Shirer
"Never neglect an extraordinary appearance or happening. It may be -- usually is, in fact -- a false alarm that leads to nothing, but it may on the other hand be the clue provided by fate to lead you to some important advance." Sir Alexander Fleming
"I don't think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done." Mike Ditka
"Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it, a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not." Henry Fielding
"As long as a person doesn't admit he is defeated, he is not defeated -- he's just a little behind and isn't through fighting." Darrell Royal
"In the final analysis there is no solution to man's progress but the day's honest work, the day's honest decisions, the day's generous utterances and the day's good deed." Clare Booth Luce
Friday, April 29, 2016
--YOU LOOK LIKE I NEED A DRINK
Another Way To See Me
Another way to see meIs to take a potato peeler
Strip away each layer of flesh
Don’t mind the blood or mess
Just work your way to the marrow
Through the lungs and rib cage
And find my still-beating heart
Its fisted hand and
Upraised middle finger
Waiting for you
A Kind of Eden
I find you whereWater comes together
With other water
Where there is no tide
Only a kind of Eden
Verdant shore side foliage
Smell of mango in the air
Midstream eddies swirling while
Egrets hike up their skirts
Like skinny nuns afraid of getting wet
And then you
Lazy as lost feather
Floating naked on a raft
Sun striping skin
Eyes to the sky
Asking, “What took you so long?”
We were the two white kidsBurned brown by the sun
Selling cucumbers outside of Albertson’s
Permitted because Mom was doing
If not half the clerks, too
We had cukes and zucchinis
The size of rolling pins
Heaped in a red wagon
Sometimes a granny would buy a few
Once or twice we ate half the wagon
Skins on, no salt
But what the hell
We were young and poor
But our bellies were full
And tomorrow was a moon away
Too Young To Ride
The man at the bus stationSaid I was too young to travel by myself
Though he had no authority
He said, “I’ve got a car if you need a lift,”
Tried to take my hand, tried again
I was on my way to live with grandparents
I’d never met, my own folks dead
The third time he grabbed
I reached inside my boot
A knife attached itself to my hand
And went swinging like a whip
I didn’t know there’d be so much blood
Didn’t know I could kill someone either
Me just nine years old
And wanting to be left alone
Wanting a decent future
The same as anyone else
He is sticking words in you like
Hatpins through an eye
There is no air
The light is too bright
Tomorrow could be a hoax this time around
You’re thinking, Mother was right
He’s never used fists before
But here you are again
Enduring another blow-back
For whatever reason
You find the clock, hold your gaze there,
Wait for minute hand to twitch,
Begging it to
Thinking to yourself
Move. Move now.
Nothing to do now but
Wait and see if midnight comes
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
--SOME THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT UNFINISHED
…April’s almost gone. It went by fast, but it was a very full month as should be May.
…Here are some random things I learned recently that you may or may not know yourself:
The Monarch butterfly can travel more than two thousand miles, from Canada to Mexico.
In a recent survey, traces of cocaine were found on 99% of UK paper money.
One in eight American workers has been employed at McDonald’s at one point in their life.
The most stolen book in the world is The Bible.
A herd of rhinos is called a Crash.
The number one importer of slaves in the world wasn’t actually the US, but Brazil.
It takes 100 years for a metal can to disintegrate.
A whale can grow up to 100 pounds a minute after it is born.
Falling coconuts and vending machines kill more people each year than do sharks.
Van Gogh created over 900 paintings and sold 1 (for 44 francs). (After his death, the highest paid price for one of his painting was $87.5 million)
Only 4% of women think they are beautiful.
62% of adults say they exercise enough;10% actually do.
Last year, ten Americans died from terrorism; 34,680 died in car accidents.
74 vs 686: Los Angeles’s Air Quality Index versus Beijing (500) is considered near lethal)
45% of Japanese couples said they have not had sex in the last month.
According to Author John Groom, the cost of the Obama’s lifestyle is $1.4 Billion per year, for vacations, Camp David, personal and political travel, and other items not directly related to the operations of the federal government.
$3.3 Trillion: Total projected 2015 revenue of United States government from individual, corporate, and social security taxes.
In 1913 the US government spending was 4.5% of GDP. Today it’s 47%.
$229 Billion: Amount donated by Americans to charity last year.
64.3 Million: Number of Americans who volunteered for a charity last year, totaling 8.3 billion hours.
The CEO of Viacom made $54.2 million dollars last year. Eleven CEO’s made over $30 million last year.
Cumberland college once lost an NCAA football game by a score of 222-0.
Monday, April 25, 2016
--I NEED AN ALIBI
You know the language of flowers,scents and sloped petals, stamen.
That was but one of your gifts.
You loved Irish poets and bawdy limericks, too.
Once, while trying to explain Keats to me,
I fell asleep with my head in your armpit.
Once, you claimed I was too thin,
bought me an orchid, and said,
“This is you; slanted, a frail rail
Now it’s too late to parse,
way past pruning bonsai trees.
The second hand sweeps.
Lawyers arrive while
the lacquered table smirks and winks.
Sign here. Sign there. Here, and here.
It’s over in a blur,
elevator doors closing like quicksand
leaving me standing
with the still-alive stem in my jacket pocket.
And when it’s finishedthere are no graves for us.
Two of my brothers lay in gray heaps,
sucking mud beneath the mangroves.
Two others flail on scorched prairie grass
under the cruel Kenyan sun
as nearby Acacia trees shift with a breeze,
accomplices by no fault of their own.
The marauders sounded so merry
filling their truck bed with our tusks.
In their wake, plumes of dust
rose like tired fire smoke
while lion and leopard,
our distant cousins,
loped away with eyes wide open.
See, little brother,the stray Acacia trees
with their umbrella branches?
They have shade for you
and if it is still too hot
we will bathe in the waterhole
with the albatross and hippos.
Keep close to me.
Fear only the sound of an engine,
the crack of manmade gunfire.
Be alert and you might live
till the moon bows its head
one last time.
There is a rifle in your hands,heavy as anvil.
Hearing your footfalls,
a flock of starlings lift
from tree branches like
the leftover mist of gunpowder.
Your father whispers, “Quiet,”
for the fifth time.
When a buck enters the clearing,
you are to take aim.
The animal is both ignorant and beautiful,
wild and alive.
You count breaths.
The sun is in your eyes, on your face
like a hot slap.
Squinting, you sight and fire
shot after shot
as the sun winks back at you,
pleased as a parent.
Midday sun broods over our cul de sacacross the street a moving van
sullen workers loading appliances
a sofa, two flat screens, cardboard boxes
everything but the crib and baby clothes
which must have been donated or destroyed
a lifetime ago.
Friday, April 22, 2016
--EVERYTHING ALWAYS CHANGES
…Yesterday in my junk folder I found two recent emails from widows wanting to give me huge sums of money. In total, it was close to $100 million. I get emails like these regularly. The scam must work or I doubt they’d be wasting all that time, though crooks are known to be stupid.
…I’ve had quite a few pieces published of late. It’s kind of nice:
http://ratsassreview.net/? http://www.chicagowrites.org/the-write-city-magazine/ page_id=1070#Kuntz
…I’m going to spend a weekend with my best friend in Vancouver today, so I won’t be back again for a few days. But here are some things I like for the weekend:
“I wouldn't be surprised if poetry - poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs - is how the world works. The world isn't logical; it's a song.” - David Byrne
“Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I grew up out of that strange, dreamy childhood of mine and went into the world of reality. I met with experiences that bruised my spirit - but they never harmed my ideal world. That was always mine to retreat into at will.” L.M. Montgomery
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” “Perks of Being a Wallflower”
"What is refused is lost." Zoe Ruiz
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
--THE STARS ARE FAMISHED
Demons on the Clothesline
All my other selves are hanging on the clotheslineThe thin ones, the sour, the sin-stained,
The bloody awful red ones
The sun looks away and the wind screeches to a halt
A pair of children wonder what to make of it
Raising a tree branch they treat me like a piñata
When nothing falls, they get a can of gasoline
And spritz my feet and calves and light a match
As the flames lick, I smolder black and tarry
There is no tortured screaming
I watch it all, sighing, thinking perhaps
It is finished
Your allergies are acting up againIt’s the pollen or the way the water warps
In the drinking glass you shatter in the sink
Meds can take the edge off, smooth a few sharp corners
But there are days and nights when volcanoes spew
Their lava down your throat and suffocation
Seems like a very real possibility
So under the bridge you go
The sound of the cars overhead a kind of
Peace is a slippery distance
And the demons are never satiated
If you could just come home
If we could just talk for once
Like father and son
Or friend to friend
We might forge a footprint
Cut down the weeds and detritus
And carve a way back to the beginning
Alone again, you find yourself without ribsYour heart hanging loose by a bloody tendril
The moon mocks you while
Stars form a bejeweled noose
You hear your mother’s ancient instruction
This is how we pick ourselves up
And so you walk to the window
To the lake
To the shore
Where the water accepts you as you are
Because what other choice does it have?
You float in an uneven eddy
Twirling in stilted patterns
Moonbeams striping your face
While galaxies expand for no other reason than
That they can
Seconds pass, minutes, too
And you as well
One with the unsteady current
A soggy carcass never so sad
Hoping to float to a new world
Where things bloom and can be resurrected
When the marauders come for youThere is nothing left to steal
Cornmeal perhaps, or stale bread
And still you are so lonesome that
You offer yourself as a proxy.
Take me, you say.
One bandit looks to the other
Then glances away
Before leaving without a word
Through the back door
You converse with the mirror
With a reflection in the window
With anything that might resemble
Lazarus Is Up
Lazarus is up.He looks dehydrated,
but that’s to be expected from a corpse.
He asks who all cried, who all cared,
writing down every name I tell him.
What I don’t say is that I wish he’d stayed dead,
that sometimes what’s done is done,
no tricks allowed,
mortality making meaning out of death.
Your hair is messy, the way he likes itHe’s hissing in your ear, sound of a tire going flat
He’s taken to using handcuffs or rope
To amplify the arc of his pleasure
Sometimes there is a wire or candle wax
You have a safe word but your mouth is gagged
His face is flushed the color of crushed berries
In it you look for the charming nineteen year old boy
With feathered hair and puka shells
You look and look, desperate as ever
Until it’s time to close your eyes