Monday, November 18, 2019

YOKEL ( 6 ) ~


I have worked on rich people’s gardens —

Old well-restored barns filled with all

Sorts of machinery and tools and even

Finer tools bought from the very best

Mail order catalogs and more times

Than not a hoe or trowel or shovel is

Left out in the rain, long watering hoses

Knotted up, vegetable seed packets strewn

And the overall place in an uproar of chaos

Because it is hard work to live a life of luxury

Between the city and the country unless you

Have lots of help, but Native has no help ex-

Cept for his wife, the little grandkid and one

Of his boys if he is visiting up there on the

Knoll, under the sugar maples, in what

Was once tarpapered and since Native is

A jack-of-all-trades he’s covered the walls

With plank siding and sits in the late

Afternoon on a crappy chair with a beer and

The radio on low, the fawning grandkid

Close by and something for you to sit on if

You like and wish to stay awhile amongst the

Plush flowers and little stonework path that

Leads from the kitchen to Native’s garden


Native’s wife drove a big bomb of a car —

Chevy, Buick, Plymouth or something?

It was long before four-wheel drive or

Front-wheel drive and everything counted

On the driver. But she never missed a

Day’s work and I can’t ever really

Remember her car ever being stuck.

And that’s when these roads were

Far worse, pre-newcomers —

Slick cold ice road mornings,

Bad old deep mud draw —

She got through.

She Talks

Standing in a

Chain saw repair

Shop waiting for a

New chain to be

Fitted onto her

Homelite, most of

Us standing close

To the woodstove,

Gloves icy, she

Said how today

Oodles of geese

Flew over her farm


That’s the best

way to see bright

red snazzy high

heeled shoes —

Native caught

in her dooryard

for a moment

and she had

just thrown

them on

Bob Arnold

Sunday, November 17, 2019


Jump start your day by listening to a compelling poem to spark an interesting thought, laugh, or 'aha' moment. Only a few minutes each day to let the beauty of poetry captivate you and perhaps offer a new perspective, appreciation, or life changing insight. So grab your coffee, relax, quiet your mind, and journey with me.

— Sharon Foley

B O B       A R N O L D

with a compelling poem

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

YOKEL ( 5 ) ~

B R I D E   O F

Once rigor is established
a certain beauty is possible


Work Day

I like



it used

to be



After ten days heat

Air still, a match

Flame unnerved

In the flue of the cook stove

We came out on the 11th day

To the breezes back cool,

Yellow leaves of a dying elm

Flying apart, grasses wet

To the high boots, and on that day

Quieter and the river clearer and

More part of itself, I crossed

Water at a narrow flow to find

Where this owl calls after days

Of silence, and while hiking up

The other side there was nothing


We knew Native must be still living

There even though her husband has been

Dead now over ten years and back then

They appeared inseparable. Sure enough

We came around the bend on bicycles and

Could see Native moving in the backyard near

The house pulling on something — black plastic

Skirted the place over winter and she was just

Getting to pull it off and put away. Stovepipes

Going up high on either gable end of the house,

Big barn now shut down across the road, all the

Other sheds and of course the sweep of pastures.

Here we are at heaven on earth as we glide

On bicycles closer and Native appears around

The corner limping bad and hair torn

Dragging the plastic and not about to stop to

Talk but when I ask how she has been she

Stammers with an awful hitch to her step that

Before the limp she was an awful lot better.


Working with her in the sun

We break for lunch in the sun

Share sandwiches in the sun

Finish and lay back in the sun

Soon we are kissing in the sun

Bob Arnold

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Credit...Lloyd Fox/The Baltimore Sun

1936 ~ 2019


"It was not my goal to join the ranks of Dylan’s biographers, for whom I have the utmost respect. Instead my motivation for writing the book was to tell an important story that had never been fully told, a story about what is arguably Dylan’s greatest album (Blonde On Blonde), an album that transformed popular music and the city of Nashville, as well. It is surprising to me the story had not already been fully told, and I think that was in part because it’s a story mostly set in Nashville. Being based in Nashville and covering the rock and soul scene here for the past forty years, I was acquainted with most of the Nashville musicians who worked with Dylan on the record. I was also acquainted with Al Kooper from his time living in Nashville in the ’90s. I think one of the advantages of focusing on not only a single record, but this record in particular, was it allowed me to take the readers on a deep dive into Dylan’s process when he was at the peak of creative powers, and give them a ringside seat in the studio as Dylan and the musicians recorded his masterpiece."

D A R Y L      S A N D E  R S

Read the book!

Chicago Review Press

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


I’ve just finished the new biography of Janis Joplin by Holly George-Warren. Great eye-catching photograph of the native Texan on the cover, a photo I always liked (half naked) but done here in a detail exposure of Janis all in the face. I have read over the years many of the other biographies and likewise watched those titles disappear or go into the fog. Janis has had her time. Watching her old videos on You Tube hasn’t helped her cause — mainly catching this highly vulnerable and native wonder in rough catches on the Dick Cavett Show (never missed a show when she was on, or Hendrix) all comes off now loose hippie, so for good measure I return to the D. A. Pennebaker film work at Monterey Pop ’67 where she is in fine Texas form. She only performed with a name for herself over four years and while few seemed to like Big Brother’s make-shift band, I always thought it captured the very best of Janis in its loud, made up, seat of the pants heroin guitar work and clash. Sit for awhile with the album Cheap Thrills. Most overlook the fact that the likes of the Airplane, Quicksilver, Moby Grape, Country Joe and the Fish, Big Brother and even the longer lasting Dead, were all a golden ball element of its time, and sound. Don’t try to make good musicians out of some of them. It’s a blip in musical history for time span, but it is essential stuff. Albert Grossman wanted to make a star of Janis Joplin, and did, but he lost her sound. It’s a cleanly written book, and remarkably carries on a two-step nature of providing a biography and a timetable of the era. You’re there.

[ BA ]

Simon and Schuster

Monday, November 4, 2019

YOKEL ( 4 ) ~


The time we worked in the woods

Cutting trees in the old sugar stand

Opening back up to the light and the

World some of the largest maples we

Had ever seen, Sweetheart called the

Job our Fitzcarraldo, after the Herzog

Film, when they cut a wide swath over

The mountain in a jungle to pull the

Ship over to reach another waterway —

But we were after no waterway

Just cutting tree after tree and

Brush and piling it all but still

Like the movie Sweetheart

Said she had the same opera

Music playing in her head

for Susan


If you don’t think a name

Or job description means

Anything let me tell you about

Preacher’s place when the high

Winds of summer went through one

Year and shook his woodland hills

Where at the base was built some

Time ago a prefab log cabin by the

Date I liked to look at on the stone

Chimney and though the cabin wasn’t

Much and Preacher came from out of

State to visit he must have lived here

Long enough for a guardian angel

To watch over his place because he 

Hired me after one of those storms

And said I might want to bring Native

And his tractor along and when we

Got there, sure enough, tall white

Pines had flopped down in the winds

As if placed by a higher being

And not a scratch to any of the

Four sides of the dinky cabin 

With its many windows vista

But it was something to see

The building boxed in by trees

That took most of the day to cut


Curious-lady always used to think every

Man in the village was a peeping-tom

Until she decided, in fact, who was her

Peeping-tom. Since Curious-lady lived

With her mother and was attractive with

A pink ribbon often trailed off in her

Chestnut hair we liked visiting with 

Her while tolerating these lame brain

Stories of nocturnal visitors she got-a-

Good-look-at-this-time. More often than

Not she would stop in the middle of a

Conversation and ask us pinpointedly

Just who was that woman or man we

Were with the last time she saw us and

When satisfied would nod her head and

You could almost see her gears turning.

Months even years later Curious-lady would

Remind us about our friends as if waiting

To hear a little more, needling some secret.

The peeping-tom in the village was a little

Guy who had a lowly government job in town.

His wife was nuts and kept a human scale

Baby doll in a glass top coffee table in their

House and a life-size doll in colonial dress

Out by the old stone water well. It’s too much

To think about. Though Curious-lady when got 

Going liked to talk about how peeping-tom 

Dressed the doll and other cruel innuendo. 

This is somewhat of a clue how folks made

It through these long dark winters.

Rule of Thumb

don’t stay

long in




out a





Bob Arnold