Wednesday, January 31, 2018


News and scandal-gunner that I am, I watched all the State of the Union speech, including all the pomp and ceremony before hand. One could already sense no one was quite taking this speech or event seriously. Menace TV might be, but there was that trepidation seeping in from CNN and certainly from the good folks at MSNBC. This morning you probably caught Morning Joe folks calling the Menace “The Great Dictator” which should be more “The Little Dictator” so it doesn’t take away from the classic Charlie Chaplin satire. But I typed poems for the Birdhouse while the Menace went on, and on, and on, with that wispy voice and bullish nose in the air. Poems by Ellen Bass of lesbian love and her children, and Palestinian poems of homeland and family. Family, of which the Menace will allow one or two “into” the country, but not the whole chain. Like he’d allow Ivanie and Dum Dum Jr., “into” the country, and cut the throats of Derik and Tippy at the border. This is a man who not only speaks with full meanness and disdain, he looks it through and through, much as Al Capone looked like a satiated bloated fish of prohibition. 

The first line I read this morning before I got to the newspapers was by the Irish poet Louis MacNeice: “I meet you in an evil time” from his first book of poems published in 1935, born in the same town as my mother, Belfast. Halfway during the speech I went out onto the ice with flashlight and slip of paper to search for a book on witchcraft that had already sold. Amazon had its records wrong as to this listing. I clambered anyway through the studio wall shelves in a pinch of light believing I’d find the book having left a speech given by the great believer. Have you ever heard so many lies in a speech? I waited to listen afterwards to a rebuttal by young Joe Kennedy, earnest and golden, reminding me of Bobby Kennedy that fateful night in Los Angeles. I was watching that speech and it was live for us when he was shot dead. Now I stay up until midnight jumping television stations when it got too terrible and twisted listening to very smart people on CNN try to make hay of nothing (their new line of duty), while Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams and Nicole Wallace almost couldn’t help but blurt into helpless laughter, mostso the women. Look at the women during the speech — Nancy Pelosi gloriously stone-faced. She’s seen enough from a racist and sexual predator, liar, and all the rest of the gumbo I’m sure she has had in her own life and trials with men. The Menace is nothing but a harsh steady diet of nationalistic and defiant white white white man’s sermon. His gallery of freaks in the audience to show-off looked crippled, miserable, fraught. An evil time.

He’ll fire Mueller, move to North Korea bombast, engulf us in so much carnage we’ll seek solace anyway we can, while the criminal slips town.

Rain tomorrow with snow showers and that persistent chill. We're stuck right now in the dime of winter.


"Never let them see you sweat"
Dan Reeves
Head Coach
Denver Broncos


From Here

Tell me friends

I have died

Water always sings

under the trembling woods

Tell me friend

I have died

How the poplars

sway the silken sound —

Tell them my eyes

stayed open

that the immortal

blue handkerchief

covered my face

And ah!

that I went to my star

without bread

Federico Garcia Lorca
translated by Sarah Arvio

Monday, January 29, 2018


Baby Asleep

Walk around

Listening to

My boots

Break Away

Break away from the world

Even a loving child, friends

That travel long distances

To be with us; cross the

Shallow river to a bank of

Ferns, undress while wild

Chatter of the kingfisher

Hunts the long summer water

And years between us since

We’ve done this — naked but

For your necklace — under

Trees, evening in the leaves

My arms circled around you

From His Hand

From his hand

Awakening us

In bed, two small

Carrots brought

Out of the garden

Barely washed he

Wants us to bite

Down into what he

Terms a surprise

And we gamely do —

Watching his smile

At this given sweet —

Knowing five years ago

He was our surprise

Mother & Child

You lift


with a


& he



which lifts



I'm In Love With You
Who Is In Love With Me
Longhouse 2012

Sunday, January 28, 2018


F R I E D R I C H     N I E T Z C H E
Madness in individuals is something rare;
but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, 
it is the rule.

Bloomsbury 2017

Saturday, January 27, 2018


Steidl 2012
w/ music CD
and a film DVD

Friday, January 26, 2018


A crowd organized by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee sang “We Shall Overcome” in Farmville, Va., in 1966, after a speech by Stokely Carmichael. CreditThe New York Times



Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Early Peonies

the peony buds

   and their very own

      army of ants

  on maneuvers

   don't know tophats

           from tapioca

but a wind

      from the southwest

   they recognize

Seeing Snyder Again in the 80's

He's much the same

              truckin' stride

                        mountain goat demeanor

          Tibetan about the eyes —

                                      a feisty sprite

after his talk

       I come up to him

                     in a coat & tie

      and Italian leather shoes

    — gray in my hair

                          and paunch from citywide

              wheel of parentkarma

           introduce myself

& he cocks his head

             leans back a step

        and eyes me quizzically

I say

   referring to the way I'm dressed

        "Yup, it's me, all right"

He fixes me with a glance


                referring to his own getup

             (short patrician haircut

                                            [Bubbs Creek update]

                   professorial reading glasses

         neat blue suit coat

                                   snappy old tie

                         & buttondown shirt

      — still the earring     [diamonds, now]

& still three humpbacked flute players

                                             on his belt buckle — )


            "Yup, it's me, too!"

                          with eye crinkle

                       and gold tooth smile


Joey (2001-2016)
       for Orion and Lynn

our beautiful yellow cat

   who spoke to us so eloquently

  always groomed my beard

      as he did his father

     and his siblings

and even inside

         his dog's ears

died yesterday

     even as he was dying

he smelled like fresh-cut hay

I wept and kissed his forehead

     then each of his pure white boots

   then curled him in a shoebox

           and placed him in the basement freezer

      until next spring

               when we'll bury him

under the lilac hedge

    next to his father

I will forever

      see his upright stripy tail

   cutting through the wildflowers

as he makes his way home


Ken McCullough
Red Dragonfly Press



Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Author Ursula Le Guin at home with her cat, Lorenzo, in 1996. The writer’s “pleasant duty,” she said, is to ply the reader’s imagination with “the best and purest nourishment that it can absorb.”
Credit                                                                                                Jill Krementz, All Rights Reserved 

              1929 (Berkeley) ~ 2018

Nicanor Parra teaching in Santiago, Chile, in 1992. On the blackboard he had written: “Back to democracy for what? So the movie repeats itself? No.” 
                                                                                                 Alvaro Hoppe/Associated Press

                                                                                          1914 (Chile) ~ 2018



"Ali Ahmed Said was born in a small village in Syria in 1930. His choice
of pen name — Adonis — is an indicator of the audacity of both his poetry
and his writings on Arab culture and society. In 1961, this self-proclaimed
Arab Nietzsche published Songs of Mihyar the Damascene, a complex two-
hundred-page collection that many consider turning point in modern
Arabic poetry. Its impact on Arabic poetics has been no less substantial than 
the impact T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" had on English poetics."

— Kareem James Abu-Zeid


Monday, January 22, 2018



East Sierra Song

I’d climb the clouds

From the highway up

If you came with me

I Notice

Sunburn under her blouse

And more buttons are undone

When she is only

Around me


the blue of the pool

and the sky and

your eyes I swim

Love Life


For 40 years

Either of us —

Except by

Either of us


Summer dress

Covers you



I'm In Love With You
Who Is In Love With Me
Longhouse 2012