Saturday, July 31, 2010



The folk master of the duduk, a double-reed woodwind akin to the oboe, was born in 1928 in Armenia and started to play with earnest by age 6. Djivan Gasparyan has circled the globe many times since with his music, often leaving a trance on his audience. He has played with everyone from Hossein Alizadeh to Lionel Ritchie (which is a stretch). He's been with me since twenty years ago when I came upon his first LP I Will Not Be Sad In This World in a dollar bin. Sealed. I was hooked by the title alone. The music was all a blessing.

Friday, July 30, 2010



please click on image to enlarge

Three color booklet of new poems and art work

by Ray
in fold-out splendor.

Both signed and unsigned editions.

Longhouse offers a free half-reading above.


Signed $15.
Unsigned $8.95

(International orders kindly inquire)

order here through Paypal with free shipping


Thursday, July 29, 2010


Oklahoma born and Texas raised, Terry Stafford was the one-or-two-hit-wonder who covered Elvis Presley's version of "Suspicion" two years after Elvis in 1964.

It was a favorite of a certain someone I know that year, and endured.

On the Billboard chart for that spring it was #6 — the same time the Beatles had locked in positions one-through-five.

The Elvis original is deep and lusty, maybe finer, but somehow he missed out having the cooing backup singers which shiver goosebumps up both my arms. Instead, on the Elvis version come guy-shouters, which often sends our kitten Kokomo flying up the stairs.

"Suspicion" (which sold one million copies) was written by the esteem Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, and produced by Bob Summers the brother-in-law of Les Paul. Terry Stafford passed away in 1996 at age 54 due to liver failure.

Terry Stafford and The Pixies Three

Of course I'm not about to avoid The King's version:

now, put the two songs together and it just might sound
like this ~

chris isaak /

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


stone construction & photo © bob arnold

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bob Arnold's ~

please click onto pages to enlarge

Bob Arnold's Dream Come True (Sanndroymd)
Published by Nordsjoforlaget, 2009
Bilingual edition in English & Norwegian
Translated by Lars Amund Vaage
Illustrated by Laurie Clark
Exclusive cloth edition
60 pages

$25 signed

order here through Paypal plus $2 shipping



Speaking of little — while I proceeded to clean up my tool room last night, still barefoot, handling hammers, saws and sharp blades, I managed to knock over a small box of screws from a shelf

The screws fell without a care, scattered like metal seeds all over the strong plank floor

I picked those up and put them back into the box, only to lift the box and have the entire bottom of the box collapse and all the screws fall and scatter again

I stared down at the screws
-------Saw my bare feet

This time a handful were caught between the planks of the floor

I could see them, brass tipped, not entirely lost to the below

I went to get tweezers, and the tweezers picked each one out like the doctor that once used these tweezers and picked out the stitches in my forehead after I smashed heads with a player in a backyard pick-up basketball game

I asked for the tweezers, knowing the doctor would ditch them after me

He looked at the tweezers, then into my eyes. "Sure", he said.

photo collage in tool room: © bob arnold

Monday, July 26, 2010



Never see how —

But see how —

The pine tree

Has grown a foot

Since a year ago


Hiking down from a hillside

Snow packed, saw on the shoulder

There is no doubt now

Of rain in the air

I stop at a sound

Far / nearing / wait

Two crows flying

Calling, wide apart

One straight south

The other — eastward

Belly on the tree line

I've lost sight of one

For keeping with the other


This river drifts the land,

In the long air of pines

I smell spring.

Down here, don’t wear gloves,

Don’t wear boots with leaks,

Stay working, and of course

Use the flat stones —

All the things

One learns

In a first year —

The boots take awhile, I know.

But come to you water gentle,

Very clear

Draw strong

Carry the river home to bathe.

It is November / wide open / colding

There is ice you shouldn’t trust.

from Where Rivers Meet, Bob Arnold
photo © bob arnold

Sunday, July 25, 2010


june '10

july '10

july '10

now '10

drawings © bob arnold

Saturday, July 24, 2010



For me, Wildwood Flower will always be sung by the Carter Family, and after them June Carter Cash.

Written in 1860 by Maud Irving with music by Joseph Philbrick Webster, this legend has seen many variations, including some retooling by Woody Guthrie, the master of Joan Baez, Iris Dement; Merle Travis gave us an instrumental and so did Bill Frissell, plus Jean Ritchie, Hobart Smith, and even Mike Ness took it home, wherever.

Now we have Loretta Lynn with a mountain stream opening and her usual but ever genuine Butcher Holler Kentucky way of phrasing and keeping it honest.

Born the second of 8 children, Lynn married at 13 and stayed married 50 years to a man named Doolittle. Their lives at the start was portrayed by Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones in a film with the above title, directed by Michael Apted (1980). It is well known Lynn and Doolittle tusseled but, she said, "he never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice."

Lynn, at age 75, has never stopped singing. Always this good.

Friday, July 23, 2010


from Mozart's Third Brain


At night once more the moon's quiet, mystical light

The moon is in the trees in the forest, no wind at all xxxNo one sees it

but me, from inside the sleeping house

Now a light breeze moves stiff leaves in the heat

What does human light have to do with me? Have I

turned away, esoteric; though this was never my choice

I don't know I cannot abjure inner sovereignty

Which is also external xxxI taste blood

in my mouth, on my lips xxWho am I sacrificing?

For whom shall I become an offering? Perhaps no one xxxNot even for that

would I be of any use xxxBut I shall touch you with life . . .

Native of Lund, Sweden (b. 1939) Goran Sonnevi is translated here by Rika Lesser.

The above poem is from Mozart's Third Brain (Yale).




The daughter of a sharecropper born (1928) Cora Walton in Shelby county Tennessee, Koko Taylor may be one of the very last of the hard blues singers/interpreters, and here we have her singing Lefty Dizz's "Bad Avenue" in true Muddy Waters style.

When people say they like their blues the dirtier the better — well, here you go.
Keep in mind the singer's almost 80 years old.

After recording with Charley and Chess in her early years, Taylor moved exclusively into
the good hands at Alligator Records until her unfortunate passing in 2009.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



If you watched the classic television westerns of the 1960s: "Gunsmoke", "The Wild Wild West" "The Virginian", etc., you know James Gammon. He was in Cool Hand Luke. He didn't last long in Natural Born Killers, which was unusual for him. Everything about his presence and face was about endurance. Nobody was like him and he was like everyone when you saw him in character as an outlaw or a gunman or a regular joe. With a voice that sounded like not a voice, maybe a boot on gravel. On film he'll only grow. From the stage they'll be someone missing.

“This was a guy who could act circles around most other actors,” Sam Shepard said. Gammon was a favorite of the playwright in many of his plays.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010



It was one of those stonewall jobs I laid up once upon a time

Hand dug the foundation ditch

Crushed in small stone

Someone brought me the rock each day to keep things busy

No machinery, no radio, no rattle, no traffic

The river through the trees

stonework & photo © bob arnold

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



The Grapes of Wrath, director John Ford

Monday, July 19, 2010


please click on image to enlarge

Back by Popular Demand! more hand-made booklets & jewels ~

Thomas Meyer, Dudley Laufman, Bob Arnold, Austin Smith, Daniel Smith, Tom Clark, Ed Markowski, Marcia Roberts, John Levy, Gloria Frym, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (trans. Mark Terrill)

Each title is the length & breadth of a chapbook, using far less paper product & waste.

Inquire about purchasing all eleven titles at one saving price.

Sunday, July 18, 2010



My wife's merits are too numerous

for an A4 sheet of paper.

She is multicellular, with rustling hair

thriving wonderfully at night, in her sleep.

Each and every hair is dear to me. She's well provided

with soft spots. Whenever her nostrils

vibrate slightly, I know: she's thinking.

How often she thinks, and how in arbitrarily she lives!

I know she can curl her tongue,

play footsie. When she laughs or grumbles

a new wrinkle appears at her mouth,

which I like. She's not entirely white,

is of more than one colour. Her breaths, too,

are numerous, not to mention

the manifold souls in her breast.

I am amazed that here,

where I happen to be, is where is usually is.

translated by Esther Kinsky


When she's lying there, so entirely

of this world as a cow or a cat,

without intention or regret,

in the semi-darkness a halo

hovers around her shimmering skin.

You can sense it, feel it,

when you're close enough to her,

this soft radiation

in the more distant glow of infrared.

A Fourier transform

No one will decipher.

It is only a breath,

touching you more deeply

than the touch,

and not to know why —

perhaps that is happiness.

translated by Esther Kinsky


When Steinar Petursson, a gaunt man

from Borgarnes in distant Iceland,

carpenter by trade,

arrived in Copenhagen by packet steamer

a good hundred years ago,

he saw a wonderful machine.

It was a band saw

of gleaming steel.

Yet when Steinar discovered what it cost,

as much as one hundred and fifteen

sheep by Faxafloi Bay,

he closed his eyes.

He ran his fingers

over belt pulley, hand wheel and step.

For four days on the packet

Steinar Petursson was silent.

At home he took the hardest wood

and shut himself into his workshop.

His work, a band-saw made entirely of wood,

only the blade is iron,

can still be seen today, among spinning wheels,

stuffed puffins

and old birch spoons, in a corner

of the local museum at Borgarnes.

translated by Martin Chalmers


When you meet someone

who is smarter or more stupid than you —

don't make too much of it.

The ants and the gods,

believe me, feel just the same.

That there are more people in China,

say, than San Marino,

is no misfortune.

Most people, no doubt, are

blacker or whiter than you.

At times you're a giant,

like Gulliver, or a dwarf.

Somewhere or other you're always discovering

an even more radiant beauty,

someone even worse off.

You're mediocre,

luckily. Accept it!

Seven degrees centigrade more

or less on the thermometer —

and you would be beyond saving.

translated by Martin Chalmers


It was cold in Bogord.

All the restaurants were shut for the day

in Much-Binding-on-the-Marsh.

In Fiji pouring rain.

Helsinki was booked up.

In Turin the refuse collectors were on strike.

Roadblocks everywhere

in Bujumbura. The silence

over the roofs of Pecs

was something close to panic.

It was least unbearable

under the pear tree

at home.

translated by Martin Chalmers


At first it's just a tiny number falling prey.

One is run over, the bigmouth from 6b,

or the chubby cousin with her plaits

who had this funny smell is gone,

suddenly gone. Others died in a fire

or were taken away, late at night. Later

bordered letters arrived. Like shadows

it grew, the little group of the absent ones,

and you can't remember this one's

hat and another one's mouth.

And then, one day, the moment comes,

imperceptibly, and passes, when half

of those who fed you, hated, taught

and kissed you have disappeared.

translated by Esther Kinsky

(Seagull Books /

Poet, translator, novelist, essayist, children's book author, and editor of the book series Die Andere Bibliother, Hans Magnus Enzensberger was born in Germany in 1929. In his teens he joined Hitler Youth, but was kicked out soon after for what may be termed a general insubordination, or nonconformity. For those seeking Enzensberger, he also writes under the name Andreas Thalmayr. Curiously, with the closing of this year's World Cup and a Spain victory; HME was a collaborating inventor of a machine that automatically composed poems which was used in the 2006 games to provide commentary on the games.

photo: ©

Saturday, July 17, 2010


If you listen to Monk / you listen to Mary Lou Williams, or you should. She was teacher, friend, mentor with him and many of the giants in Be-Bop. Born in the south and raised in Pennsylvania (1910-1981), at the age of six Williams was already playing for money to support her family. Self-taught and overwhelmingly spread through jazz, spirituals, ragtime, blues, swing; one can build up quite a record collection gathering and knowing the world of this composer, player and arranger, who gave some of her finest stuff to Duke Ellington. At the end, dying of cancer, she added it up, "I did it, didn't I. Through muck and mud."

Friday, July 16, 2010


from Music's Mask and Measure
Flood Editions

photo © bob arnold

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Over many years when working in the woods I cut out ironwood chunks and brought one or two home to bark peel, dry out and eventually paint to install on the wall as a clothes hook. We used them all the while Carson was growing up. Sometimes he carried one home for me as we came back from work. Eventually they all got moved for something new and Sweetheart took the hooks as a good sport thinking she would use them in her weaving room. Years ago.

This morning in a general cleaning-out-the-corner ceremony, I noticed the hooks all in my tool room, no word said. Everything said. I figured I'd take a photo of the gang before I start distributing them back outdoors where they always belonged. They got painted to 'go with the room'. Now I'll see how they do in the great paint-never-lasts outdoors. A place for a cap, a work rag, an old shirt, a canteen strap. They'll find their place.

Once upon a time a friend and I built a footbridge, heavy enough to take a tribe all at once. We cut out of the neighboring woods and used ironwood as stringers. But unpeeled. We had a boss who thought he knew better than we did, and of course the unpeeled stringers rotted.

How I was later hired to replace those rotted stringers, with a ladder, in a river, is another story.

photo, ironwood © bob arnold

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



A psychedelic barn-raising.

Great things were happening in the great state of Wisconsin recently.

A poetry reading by an old lamp in front of a great tractor. Hay on the floor.

Please have a look at Joshua Corey's spirited website and learn more.

p.s. folks: when you see "Clay Smith" mentioned, this is an error, innocently. Joshua Corey means Daniel Smith, the fine midwest farmer and poet, a favorite at Longhouse.