Tuesday, April 30, 2013



Something sacred
Has occurred
If an old scarred goatherd
Of a youth
Has broken bread with me
And told me how
The moon goes,
And admired
My river wood.


What the full moon does
For the sunflowers
Is more
Than they do for the moon
They are brothers.


After dreadful winter
I discover
Frogs stitch it up.


Either the wet creek-wood sticks
In the fire or people outside
Whistle and sing.


Traveller approaching.
No. Moonlight on sunflower leaves.
Welcome him.


I hate these nights
When tulip tree leaves
Crack the pavement
And are not
And the leggy puss
Will not come in
Because her son is here,
And the lonely are always dispersing
And their lights going out.


The eye at the window
Is only night-bug.
Why did you ride away
In tears? I only
Said the amaryllis there
By the window
Is beautiful.


The first lightning-bug!
How many mint-eating nights
Without your coming?


Old moon
It is nice that you are
Sharp underneath
Soft topped.
Be slow going
Like an old white horse.
Come back some times
Come snorting, thick-thighed
Over snow hills.


While I write these
Fat little birds
Type upon the snow.


The horse with the sunflower eye:
Sinuous with bone
In three-ring breeze.


A no-moon night
I stand by the gate
And then by the fire
And then by the gate,
White skull of black horse
Let it burn.


Three evening primroses
Opposite new stars
Show up.
In the pines
Across creek
Some small animal
Dies crying.
Falls and wind.
Sing on.
I stir the fire. 


from Goat Songs, 1970
Ray Drew is not the defensive end for the University of Georgia Bulldogs

Monday, April 29, 2013


Tears and Rage as Hope Fades in Bangladesh


"The Rana Plaza building contained five garment factories, employing more than 3,000 workers, who were making clothing for European and American consumers. Labor activists, citing customs records, company Web sites or labels discovered in the wreckage, say that the factories produced clothing for JC Penney; Cato Fashions; Benetton; Primark, the low-cost British store chain; and other retailers. 

Everywhere near the building, the stench of death was overpowering. Men in surgical masks sprayed disinfectant in the air. Others sprayed air freshener. At one point, the police said, searches inside the structure were suspended because some rescuers were overcome by dust and the odor of decomposing bodies.

Savar is a crowded industrial suburb of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and the disaster has overwhelmed local institutions. A high school near Rana Plaza is now a staging ground for the identification of corpses. Nazma Begum, 25, stood beside a crude coffin that contained the remains of her sister, Shamima. She was standing guard over it until her father arrived to take the sister back to their home village to be buried. Sticks of burning incense had been wedged into the coffin to fight the awful smell. 

“I had hoped that my sister was still alive,” she said softly. “But that hope is now shattered.” 
Like so many young women in the country, the two sisters had gotten work in garment factories to help support their families. Ms. Begum makes about $85 a month; her sister made $56. Now Ms. Begum wants to quit her job. She has heard rumors that the building where she works is unsafe."

Jim Yardley
The New York Times



Sunday, April 28, 2013


James Joyce



There is nothing so deceptive and for [all] that so alluring as a good surface. The sea, when beheld in the warm sunlight of a summer's day; the sky, blue in the faint and amber glimmer of an Autumn sun, are pleasing to the eye: but, how different the scene, when the wild anger of the elements has waked again the discord of Confusion, how different the ocean, choking with froth & foam, to the calm, placid sea, that glanced and rippled merrily in the sun. But the best examples of the fickleness of appearances are: — Man and Fortune. The cringing, servile look; the high and haughty mien alike conceal the worthlessness of the character. Fortune that glittering bauble, whose brilliant shimmer has allured and trifled with both proud and poor, is as wavering as the wind. Still however, there is a 'something' that tells us the character of man. It is the eye. The only traitor that even the sternest will of a fiendish villian [sic] cannot overcome. It is the eye that reveals to man the guilt or innocence, the vices or the virtues of the soul. This is the only exception to the proverb. 'Trust not appearances'. In every other case the real worth has to be searched for. The garb of royalty or of democracy are but the shadow that a 'man' leaves behind him. 'Oh! how unhappy is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours'. The fickle tide of ever-changing Fortune brings with it — good and evil. How beautiful it seems as the harbinger of good and how cruel as the messenger of ill! The man who waits on the temper of a King is but a tiny craft in that great ocean. Thus we see the hallowness of appearances. The hypocrite is the worst kind of villian [sic] yet under the appearance of virtue he conceals the worst of vices. The friend, who is but the fane of fortune, fawns and grovells [sic] at the feet of wealth. But the man, who has no ambition, no wealth, no luxury save Contentment cannot hide the joy of happiness that flows from a clear conscience & an easy mind.



AMDG:  Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: 'To the greater glory of God', the Jesuit motto conventionally placed at the beginning of a pupil's essay, along with LDS, Laus Deo Semper: Please to God forever', at its end.

(This dates from Joyce's student years at Belvedere College, 1893-8. The college is a private Jesuit secondary school for boys located on Great Denmark Street, Dublin, Ireland)

Saturday, April 27, 2013


James Koller photo by Donald Guravitch

An interview & poems by James Koller ~

Friday, April 26, 2013

New from Longhouse ~

$10 postpaid, US addresses
Please inquire as to international orders

Available from
 PO Box 2454
West Brattleboro, Vermont

 credit card or check ~

Buy now through Paypal with this link for domestic addresses.

Our Waves

Thursday, April 25, 2013

AMBROSE BIERCE, 1842-1913(?) ~

An Occurrence At the Styx River Ferry

I love the dead and their companionship is infinitely agreeable.   Ambrose Bierce

It was his asthma, we're told, that kept him on the gad, a livelong search for disembarrassed air. He'd quickly arrive and as quickly leave, as if the asylum he pursued had shut its doors and moved away. That's all he was up to, seeking a sanatorium to ease his spasms and quell his rale — that's what drew and drove him, they say, a place to free his bated breath. But they mistook the man: the goal of his long-drawn chase was death, and he dogged it all his life.

He coursed it as though it were a species game, studied its terrain, its ways and hours, its own particular prey, became a mine of old campaigns, till, a soldier rising twenty, he himself began to kill. In the Rebellion, he was cited fifteen times for the red badge he was thought to wear, and he rose to rank from meat to major — but it was only death that he sought, the bright and brass-buttoned Angel. He failed to find it at Corinth and Shiloh, failed again at Stone River, failed once more at Kenesaw, though there, with a Minie ball in his head, it came close to finding him.

The warning was writing on the wrong wall: he was still fighting when the war ended, and thereafter he fought with his quill through fifty years of peace. Into his printed stint, he wrote a duel a day for the papers and on a good day more, and he wore a pistol for the beasts he hated most, vicious dogs and men. He frequented graveyards, walked among the stones, and tombs, read the names of buried bones, but always death had been there before him, delivered its dead and gone — and then his son was killed in gunplay, and from there to the end, dirty cerements filled the dore skies.

He came at last to the river. The Rio Grande, it was called, but its name might've been the Chickamauga, which in Indian meant River of Death, it might've been the Acheron or known merely as the Black Water, so rank, no mephitic, that no cup, no can would hold it. Whichever it was, he reached its bank one day, and there, not far from crossing . . . .


John Sanford
View From This Wilderness
(Capra Press 1977)

American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist — Ambrose Bierce wrote the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and compiled a satirical lexicon The Devil's Dictionary. He was born in Ohio and to this day no one knows where he ended his days. He was last seen traveling with rebel troops during the Mexican Revolution (1913).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


We used to call them "Woodburners"
 meaning not to burn (hardly)
 but burn with & within and stay warm by. . .
like sugar maple, beech, oak, yellow birch, ash



Clifford Burke. Dream Confluence, Love Poems for Gibi 
 Desert Rose Press

John Currin
Gagosian Gallery

Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp
edited by Basualdo and Battle

Lydia Davis and Eliot Weinberger, Two American Scenes
New Directions 

Susan Howe, Sorting Facts: Or, 19 Ways of Looking at Maker
New Directions Poetry Pamphlet # 3

A Thousand Thousand Fireflies Never Equal Zero
George Kalamaras, Omowale-Ketu Oladuwa, Michael F. Patterson
Midnight Lamp Records

Sylvia Legris, Pneumatic Antiphonal
New Directions

Rebecca Lepkoff photographs, Life on the Lower East Side. 1937-1950
Peter E. Dans and Suzanne Wasserman

Bernadette Mayer. The Helens of Troy, NY
New Directions 

Lorine Niedecker, Lake Superior 
 Lorine Niedecker’s Poem and Journal, Along with Other Sources, Documents and Readings Wave Books 

Octavio Paz, The Poems of Octavio Paz
 Edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger
 New Directions

once in vermont films
film © bob arnold

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


American Masters (PBS)
"Cachao : Uno Mas"


Monday, April 22, 2013

(is every day)

Octavio Paz

on a day we remember Richie Havens

( 1941 ~ 2013 )

back road chalkie earth day 2013
photo © bob arnold

Saturday, April 20, 2013


O Navigator

I'm an innocent bystander —

it's my lover who hikes

up river for mail and some-

times meets curious things

along the way, like the fellow

in the car just now, after the

flood in this valley, who needs

to get to "west layden road" — my

lover corrects him, "you mean west

leyden road?"  "yes," he says, then adds

"my navigator says it's this way"

pointing to his dashboard, then southward

"but there isn't any road this way since the flood"

she points south

"but my navigator says it is this way"

he points south

she kindly continues, "it is this way"

pointing south

"but the road's gone"

still pointing

inch by inch

pointing someone

back to earth


Beautiful Days
Longhouse 2013

photo © bob arnold
when "River Road" became a river
during Hurricane Irene

Friday, April 19, 2013


"There is no chance, and no anarchy, in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere. The young mortal enters the hall of the firmament: there is he alone with them alone, they pouring on him benedictions and gifts, and beckoning him up to their thrones. On the instant, and incessantly, fall snow-storms of illusions. He fancies himself in a vast crowd which sways this way and that, and whose movement and doings he must obey: he fancies himself poor, orphaned, insignificant. The mad crowd drives hither and thither, now furiously commanding this thing to be done, now that. What is he that he should resist their will, and think or act for himself? Every moment, new changes, and new showers of deceptions, to baffle and distract him. And when, by and by, for an instant, the air clears, and the cloud lifts a little, there are the gods still sitting around him on their thrones, —they alone with him alone."

(The ninth chapter in The Conduct of Life, 1860 by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Thursday, April 18, 2013


frog pond April 2013
film © bob arnold

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Here we are in that schizophrenic month of April. Whether it's the cruelest month in New England, or 'poetry month' (too bad poetry enthusiasts only want to celebrate one month!), it has been, already, one crazy spring (adding a little March with all of April).

Today we were raking every spot in a large yard where the snow has disappeared, melted, vanished, soaked into the softening ground. A bunch of snow is still around but we're working the opened yard. The work was going along very well for a few days, then two days ago came enough snow to cover every part of the earth we could see. All over again. Good ol' cuckoo April. We knew it should melt off if the next day broke some warmish sunshine but on snow day it didn't creep out of the low 30s. Pathetic. April just doing what April has always done all my New England life — acted the way it wanted to. It's getting rid of vast miles and ranges of snow and having to have mud up in its mouth and ears and nose so it can do just what it pleases. So relax. Summer could be boiling.

We're raking around a large flat stone my son and I put down after one of our great dogs died. Aren't all our dogs great? Of course they are. Yours and mine. We wept over this dog's passing worse than any person who has yet died in our lives. I think that's because a dog often comes with joy, or for healing, or for true companionship — when the dog often does what we say. A true companion. A humble guest. A dog's passing also allows passage for all those others we couldn't cry for, either because it wasn't in us and should have been, or we didn't know quite yet how to appraise and weep properly. I mean, with a dog, we are losing maybe the closet living being to ourselves. Or the dog was a gift. Or, as it happens, the dog was bought as a puppy for a child and lived the lifetime of the child at home and then passed away as the child was starting to think of leaving home. It's a loss beyond words. So we weep. Maybe for some years.

I know when we rake around this grave we say hello to our old pal. Aloud.

Aloud is quite something. To hear a voice. Yesterday, between the recent snowfall and this raking today we climbed a mountain we often climb and like a lot. I had a little birthday party up there last summer and maybe you saw the film? Well, we've been climbing up there every week ever since. The party was me, she, a chocolate cake, candles, matches, and the mountain. A river in the distance. Clouds. Sunshine. Breezes. Falling pine needles. Fellow climbers we didn't know, didn't matter. It was a party.

On the way back down the mountain on the woods trail yesterday I could see a young family coming our way: mom, dad, little boy, a little older girl. We met the boy first who stood himself right off the trail so we could pass. I remember being that little boy myself — getting a little higher up off the trail and then sneak a peek at just who these people are who are passing. He's wearing a pirate bandana and she's in an orange flying skirt, I must have a look, the little boy seems to be saying as I get closer to him. Right up close, and not wanting to frighten him, I stop a moment, smile, and ask the boy, "How're you doin'?" He stands fast, hands behind his back, studies me quite a bit like my own cat back at home does, and then says, "I'm climbing the mountain."

"I'm climbing the mountain." Said so beautifully matter-of-fact and all his. As it should be.

The boy was seven or eight years old. All in dark blue, no hat, brown blowing hair, jacket zipper all the way up.

He's exactly the same age as the children massacred at the school in Newtown, Connecticut. I looked at the boy and replied, "I know you are, and that's great."

I turned away down the trail and smiled at his approaching and glowing family.

'birch stump'
photo © bob arnold

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Jeffrey Foucault
(b. Whitewater, Wisconsin)


    2001 – Miles from the Lightning
    2003 – Redbird (with Peter Mulvey and Kris Delmhorst)
    2004 – Stripping Cane
    2006 – Ghost Repeater
    2009 - Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes: Jeffrey Foucault Sings the Songs of John Prine
    2010 - Seven Curses (with Mark Erelli)
    2010 - Cold Satellite
    2011 - Horse Latitudes

man alone with guitar, people walking by

Monday, April 15, 2013


Jonathan Winters

( 1925 ~ 2013 )

It was never called "bonding" but in the late 1950s through the 60s I used to watch television comedians with my father and that's how we bonded — not throwing a baseball or football or basketball since he didn't play — but with the comedians, and he taught me how to play drums, via Gene Krupa, which was okay since I was playing on my father's large and dull tuned kit with its huge base drum and tom-tom without a bottom skin, more like a kettle. That's how those old guys lived. It was white and loud and yet sincere. The greatest tv show for comedians we watched may have been "The Steve Allen Show." I was too young to know I was watching Jack Kerouac one night, but I was watching Jack Kerouac one night, reading aloud, Steve Allen on piano. It all looked too cool for words. Louis Nye, Don Knotts, Lenny Bruce, probably Jonathan Winters came on the show. Winters was square-shaped, clean cut, reminded me of our grade school janitor until he opened his mouth and used his eyes. There would never be another comedian like him. So many of the best ones came from the American midwest. Like almost everything great from America, Jonathan Winters didn't quite fit in — he was in films but he couldn't swing with it, or on a television series. He just had to appear and have someone interact with him, and then the genius showed, like Groucho, like Buster Keaton, the two other geniuses of that ilk. I'd go on to teach my son how to play drums. . .who became the best player in the family tree.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


~ Etta James ~
Blues to the Bone 
A gorgeous and gritty LP James cut, selecting twelve of her favorite blues tunes, with two of her sons and the rest of the band in 2004

Dust My Broom by Etta James on Grooveshark


Grey DeLisle


   2000 – The Small Time
    2002 – Homewrecker
    2003 – Bootlegger, Vol. 1
    2004 – The Graceful Ghost
    2005 – Iron Flowers
    2005 – Loggerheads soundtrack
    2006 – "Willie We Have Missed You", song on Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster
    2007 – Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash

Friday, April 12, 2013


Mary Austin

[The Land of Little Rain] "It aims to be, first of all, a meditation on place, though the place itself is also effaced a little, and is two places actually, which you can find by consulting a map: the arid country east of Bakersfield, California, where the San Francisco Valley ends in the transverse range of the Tehachapi Mountains, and the long narrow valley east of the Sierra Nevada that runs from Bishop in the north through Big Pine and Independence (note the name: the author of this book lived in these towns — Independence had a population of three hundred — at the age of twenty-six, having left her husband, and taught school to earn a living and tried to raise her retarded two-year-old daughter, without child care, while she worked, and tried to write) and Lone Pine, and south to the Coso Range and the Slate and Quail and Granite Mountains, places you cannot see much of now, since they are home to a U.S. naval weapons center and access is restricted. It is no surprise that the book she wrote is, save for the dreamy idyll of its last chapter, a cool-minded mediation on freedom and necessity, adaptation and survival."

~ Robert Hass, from his essay, "Mary Austin and The Land of Little Rain"
What Light Can Do
(Ecco 2012)

"For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars. It comes upon one with new force in the pauses of the night that the Chaldeans were a desert-bred people.  It is hard to escape the sense of mastery as the stars move in the wide heavens to risings and settings unobscured. They look large and near and palpitant: as if they moved on some stately service not needed to declare. Wheeling to their stations in the sky, they make the poor world-fret of no account. Of no account you who lie out there watching, nor the lean coyote that stands off in the scrub from you and howls and howls."

~ Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain

Owens River Gorge and the White Mountains looking SE from Swall Meadows in the Eastern Sierra foothills


Owens Valley

 Lone Pine Peak w/ the Alabama Hills in the foreground

Mt. Williamson, Owens Valley, California

Owens Valley and Wheeler Crest

Old wagon road down Sherwin Grade near U.S. 395, Mono County


Glenda Jackson 
 criticises Margaret Thatcher in Commons debate

Thursday, April 11, 2013


"Dark Holler: Old Love Songs and Ballads is a 2005 compilation album released by Smithsonian Folkways. The album is composed of Appalachian folk music 1960's recordings made and compiled by musicologist John Cohen in Madison County, North Carolina. Most of the songs are done in an a cappella style.

More than half of the songs on the album are sung by Dillard Chandler, a "mysterious" illiterate man who knew hundreds of songs. "Allmusic" writes that Chandler sings with "deft precision, often with the song's strong sexual undercurrents intact".

The songs contain several dark topics and themes such as murder, revenge, infidelity, and abandoned children. The New York Times describes the album as "traditional songs about love and murder usually traceable to England, a century or more before, but sung in a style rooted in the region: the singers all stretch out, irregularly, on vowels of their choosing, and add upturned yips to the end of stanzas".

Cas Wallin, who sings on two of the album's songs told North Carolinian author Sheila Kay Adams, "They’re studying this for a reason, Sheila, it’s because they don’t think it’s going to last much longer". Despite Wallin's fears, Cohen writes in his liner notes that traditional singing is still alive and well, and a source of pride in rural North Carolina. "

Track listing

"The Carolina Lady"     Dillard Chandler
"The Soldier Traveling from the North"     Dillard Chandler
"The Sailor Being Tired"     Dillard Chandler
"Young Emily"     Dellie Norton
"Pretty Fair Miss In Her Garden"     Dellie Norton
"When I Wore My Apron Low"     Dellie Norton
"Pretty Saro"     Cas Wallin
"Fine Sally"     Cas Wallin
"Neighbor Girl"     Lee Wallin
"Juba This"     Lee Wallin
"Gathering Flowers"     Dillard Chandler
"Gastony Song"     Dillard Chandler
"Cold Rain and Snow"     Dillard Chandler
"In Zepo Town"     Lisha Shelton
"Don't You Remember"     Lisha Shelton
"Awake, Awake"     Dillard Chandler
"Mathie Grove"     Dillard Chandler
"Scotland Man"     George Landers
"Love Has Brought Me to Despair"     Berzilla Wallin
"Johnny Doyle"     Berzilla Wallin
"Short Time Here, Long Time Gone"     Dillard Chandler
"Drunken Driver"     Dillard Chandler
"Jesus Says So"     Dillard Chandler
"Meeting is Over"     Dillard Chandler
"Little Farmer Boy"     Dillard Chandler
"I Wish My Baby Was Born"     Dillard Chandler

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Paolo Soleri


"Paolo Soleri was born on June 21, 1919, in Turin, Italy, the second of three children of Emilio and Pia Soleri. His father was an accountant. Paolo Soleri spent part of  World War II in a unit that built and maintained Italian military facilities.

In 1947, after receiving a Ph.D. in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Turin, Dr. Soleri traveled to Arizona to apprentice with Frank Lloyd Wright Wright at Taliesin West for 18 months. 

In 1949, he designed the Dome House in Cave Creek, Ariz., for a divorced woman from Philadelphia. Made from cast concrete and natural stone, the house featured a sunken living area and a glass dome overlooking the desert. He ended up marrying the client’s daughter, Corolyn Woods (known as Colly). 

In 1950, while the newlyweds were traveling in Italy, Dr. Soleri was hired to design a ceramics factory in the hillside town of Vietri sul Mare; he came up with the idea of using fragments of pottery for walls. Returning to Arizona in 1956, he designed a studio, gallery and foundry for a Scottsdale site he called Cosanti. In the late 1960s, he purchased 860 acres of desert north of Phoenix, near Cordes Junction, and began building Arcosanti. 

Dr. Soleri’s few buildings outside Arizona include the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater, an eccentric performance space in Santa Fe whose stage design evokes Salvador Dalí. In recent years it has sat unused, and preservation groups have been fighting to prevent its demolition. 

Dr. Soleri hoped Arcosanti would show other cities how to minimize energy use and encourage human interaction.  “He was part of a flock of utopian dreamers who designed mega-structure cities in the 1960s, but he had more of a social and ecological agenda than the others,” said Jeffrey Cook, a professor of architecture at Arizona State University, in a 2001 interview. “When so many others were theorizing, Soleri went out into the desert and actually built his vision with his own hands. That’s the reason he became such a counterculture hero.” 

Some critics detected a contradiction between Dr. Soleri’s communitarian ideals and what they perceived as an authoritarian insistence on a singular aesthetic. Mr. Goldberger saw “an arrogance” to Mr. Soleri’s designs, “a certainty that he knows what is best for all of us.” 

But Dr. Soleri’s work also showed a generation of younger architects an alternative to corporate modernism. 

“Paolo’s mind was always going out into the cosmos,” said Will Bruder, a Phoenix-based architect who apprenticed with Dr. Soleri in 1967. “I learned how much you can do with very little, the potential of simplicity and the ability to make unbelievable things from modest means, to dream huge dreams.” 

Dr. Soleri is survived by two daughters, Kristine Soleri Timm and Daniela Soleri, and two grandchildren. His wife died in 1982 and, at his request, was buried on a hillside at Arcosanti in view of his studio window. His foundation said it would honor his wishes that he be buried next to her." 

the nytimes