And after it became obvious that the strange rain would never stop…

And after it became obvious that the president was doing everything

in his power to make the world safe for nationalism

his brilliant military mind having never realized

that nationalism itself was the idiotic superstition

which would blow up the world…

http://www.tucradio.org/TentativeDescription_Ferlinghetti.pdf

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Published in: on September 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eileen

Just finished the book Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh.   Everyone has a miserable life.  Some are more miserable than others.  There’s a kind of literature called pain porn.  This book is sad and it gets sadder.  There were no fun parts or funny parts.  Otessa Moshfegh is a really good writer.  She describes each scene with adroit elegance.   I’ll be interested to read her next book.  The book turned a turn a corner from darkness into darkness.

Published in: on September 2, 2017 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Heat

The heat is unbearable. It was 110 degrees today in the Valley, the heat blistering the sidewalks, the steam rising.  Fires popped up all over the California map.  When I walked this morning, the heat sizzled through the palm trees.  Zooey walked along lightly on the sidewalk feeling the wind in the fur, but the wind carried heat.

 

I know the other morning dog walkers.  The guy in his wheelchair with the beagle, the elderly Japanese man with a cane, the Sikhs, the Russians, the Pakistanis and the Armenians. The one man said to me, “What is this heat?” He is from India and his wife speaks very little English.  They always seem very happy to see me.

 

“I don’t understand the heat,” the man with the Australian shepherd said. “Just remember,” I said, “There is no global warming.”

 

“Of course not,” he said. “it’s a liberal conspiracy.” We both smiled and the heat thickened the air.

Published in: on August 31, 2017 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hollywood Bowl, Pink Martini

The first time I heard Pink Martini in concert was at the Hollywood Bowl seven years ago.  It was the first time Ari Shapiro sang with them.  That concert had a flow and magic to it.  At some point, it felt that I’d always been there listening to the torrent of China Forbes’ music.  They sang the Betty song, and the whole concert was seamless like a symphony.  The next time I saw them in concert, was similar, a lilting story that I entered.

 

This time was more like a series of musical pieces strung together.  Each piece beautiful on its own way, but not a coherent concert.  At the point, they stopped and Thomas Lauderdale laid out everything they had to sell, I felt that the concert had really fallen apart.  I love China Forbes. Her voice feels like thrilling water pouring over you, but I think part of the point of a concert is being lost.  I’m also not sure about Storm Large.  Her branding is very different than Pink Martini’s.  Both are exciting and energetic, but somehow don’t seem to blend.  Thomas Lauderdale is beautiful, a genius, and a musical magician.  I look forward to the next Pink Martini concert.

Published in: on August 30, 2017 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Eclipse

The eclipse stunned us. The sun turning black like it did on the day Christ died. You wonder what you would have made of the sun being swallowed by darkness before science. You wonder at what you would have made of your country swallowed by madness before this year. You would have said it wasn’t possible as the sun disappeared. You would have said America is better than this, and then here we are.  Nazis walk our streets and the combed over one applauds them. The sun emerges again, but who will we be after all? As Americans, we feel shame. We feel the darkness everywhere.  The narrative of this country is teetering on the edge of madness. There was a moment when it seemed the sun was lost, if you lived in the Midwest.  America is not lost, but the Obama years seem now like a distant memory.

Published in: on August 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blue drinks

The first time I bought a drink I wasn’t old enough, and I was alone.  I just walked into a bar and ordered something blue.  The drink came, a Rum Blue Island Splash in a tall glass, and I ate some of it with a spoon and drank the rest.  I had some French fries.  I was in Richmond working as a babysitter.  Everyone I knew was fancier than I was.  I lived in a small room which I had rented, and I spent five dollars decorating.  There was a Japanese scroll on the wall and a piece of fake gold fur on my bed.  I remember the Rum Blue Island Splash and the fries.  But mostly I remember transgressing in public.  No one stopped me as I drank my blue drink.

Published in: on August 21, 2017 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

To the Greek

It’s always been the family tradition to go to the Greek restaurant at the Ventura Harbor in the summer and tonight’s the night.  The kids used to love the dancers. I love the boats in the Harbor, I love the reminder of Greece which reminds me of breathing and swimming although we’ve watched Greece collapse over the years yet still retain all that beauty and magic. Rituals sustain us.

 

Like the dog following me around the house from room to room as I shut out the lights. She loves being in a house of writers and publishers. Our absences from the present world delight her. She seizes those moments to raid the trash can, steal the cat food.

 

Paying attention isn’t good for everyone.  Ask any kid who is reading comic books when they should be doing homework. “The worst kind of parent,” my son once told me “is the unemployed parent who has nothing to do but be vigilant.  Vigilance is a terrible quality in a parent.”

Published in: on August 11, 2017 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  

And yet, after all this time,

you can’t let go?

 

Set it down.

Set down the basket.

 

Leave the basket on the shore.

Go for a swim.

 

You do not want to be the girl

in the little red coat

 

Always carrying the basket.

Always in danger of being eaten.

Published in: on August 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Learning to swim or fly

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

 

Maybe things fall apart.  Relationships. Stories.

Narratives. Secrets. Maybe if the chain is broken

there was never a chain in the first place

just one you imagined.

 

The two of you sat on a wall.

One of you imagined a thread between you.

One of you was pushed off the wall into the water.

And learned to swim. The other never noticed.

Published in: on August 7, 2017 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Does working hard pay off? Not so much.

Of course, it depends what kind of payoff you were hoping for. If you thought that hard work would mean “people” would admire you, probably not. If you run into trouble, will the people you have been working hard for run to protect you? Not so much.

 

Why then do some of choose to work hard day after day? It isn’t the money. It isn’t the recognition. It isn’t the respect.  It isn’t the possibility of better work in the future with higher pay because honestly, if you’re a woman, none of that is going to happen.

 

I don’t know the answer.  Maybe we work because it’s our nature to work. If that’s the case, I want to make sure I’m enjoying this hard work because the journey is all there is.

Published in: on August 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment