Monday, February 28, 2011

In my wandering around San Diego today, I came across a small hedge with these amazing flowers. The blossoms are so beautiful that they obviously deserve the respect and care they receive. I clearly see why stink weeds and wild radishes aren't given the great care that is lavished on these flowers.

I have a question for Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Isa, Mrs. Palin, Mr. Limbaugh: Exactly which American citizens are the ones you don’t want to have adequate health care? Which children do you want to deny an adequate education? Who are the workers who should be denied a collective voice to approach their bosses with their case for better working conditions? I have other questions, but we can start with these before moving on to which children should be left in substandard housing with inadequate food while most of us have more than we actually need. What are the criteria for neglecting people.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Who empowers these dictators, anyway,
to stand on balconies
full of piss and vinegar
shaking their fists in the face of liberty?
Is it the uniform,
or what?

But power burns like hydrogen,
and the hovering ship of state
kept aloft by the tyrant's power
ignites, combusts and falls
with dizzing speed.

With power gone,
the tyrant all shrunk
stares from hollow eyes
fixed on death or prison,
a spent shell.
An empty sack.
TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS when the poem and photographs don’t have anything at all to do with each other. The poem put itself together slowly over the past couple of weeks as the world watched Algeria, Egypt, and Libya shake off the burden of long-time dictatorships. The citizens of several other Middle Eastern countries scared the daylights out of their oppressive rulers. Closer to home, I’m celebrating reunion with a longtime friend and introduction to his son and his friends. Pain and grief and determination to be free for people in one part of the world... Safety and comfort and freedom for our friends and family on our side of the world. I guess it's not supposed to make sense.AND WOULD YOU BELIEVE... SNOW BEHIND THE SAN DIEGO SKYLINE?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

We, the People

It's a wonderful thing that happens usually
when I'm most discouraged with the obdurate
posturing of politicians and their minions...
just before I swear there is no way to recover
the country from its swift spiral downward,
I come around a corner and there they are...
obvious reasons we must finally get it right.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Utter pregnant blackness...
like the stuff we all come out of, and go back to, I imagine,
awaits, what a pompous uncomfortable word pregnant is,
the magical illumination of the stage by light
piercingly more real than sunshine
and the strutting projections of actors
reciting thoughts wise as a grandmother’s.

Art is here made moment by moment
and lost forever in seconds following
the speeches, drowned lights and fallen curtain
if, indeed, Mona lisa isn’t there after I leave the Louvre.
But I much prefer to believe
no curtain is ever the final one,
in spite of what the critics say.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Picasso’s Smile

I think I know Picasso’s secret.

No model or special scenery...
no apprenticeship with a master
learning to mix the paints...

Everywhere he looked...
at the sky or out at the sea...

or down as he
stepped up
at the curb
to avoid falling

he saw the world
and enchanting.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Home is the place where, when you
have to go there, they have to take you in.”
--Robert Frost
HECTOR'S HOUSE“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.”
--Charles Dickens

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Whenever and wherever he saw pictures of palms
always always without fail he knew he would one day
live only in places where those trees can stay alive...
the Arkansas Boy who hadn’t been out in the world
and had never seen a palm tree except in a hotel
and on regular monthly trips to far away places...
to Egypt and Tripoli and Singapore and California
when the postman brought the world in living color...
the National Geographic with the African warriors
aloof, elegant, standing on one leg like regal storks...
always always without fail he knew he would go to see
for himself what they could see out there on the veldt.

Monday, February 21, 2011

THORNY QUESTIONSWhat is an appropriate response of enlightened, morally aware individuals to injustice? Under what circumstance does no response to injustice amount to complicity? Does preventable social inequity rise to the level of injustice? How do we classify pervasive, stultifying poverty among hardworking people who are doing their best within an economic system to take care of themselves and their families? Does government have responsibility to provide adequate shelter for citizens who have done and are continuing to try to provide for themselves but are unable to do so? Should people with physical or mental illness who have no insurance and no discretionary money be given help by government agencies? Are there acceptable reasons for government to ignore the plight of hungry citizens? If a CEO’s compensation in a successful company is several hundred times the amount paid in salary to a company worker in one its lowest paid jobs, compensation which doesn’t enable the worker to rise above the poverty level, does the situation rise to the level of injustice? In a democratic society who should decide which citizens are be denied basic rights which are extended to other citizen?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Circe’s warnings about the dangers men face
reverberates through the ages
It’s not smart to turn a deaf ear
Young sailors plug their ears with i-devices
no wax necessary to void the call of sirens
Odysseus grown old needs no binding to the mast
Even Lady Gaga’s thighs spread wide
her leg hiked over the backs
of cane-bottom chairs her mound
of venus barely concealed
silver and gold bangle
hiding almost nothing
distracts not at all
from mundane considerations
except except except the now
sails on and on and on
toward Polyphemus
in disguise as Ricky Martin
ask Nausicaae
what’s in it for her

Saturday, February 19, 2011


This morning Margaret and I attended a memorial service in Trotter Chapel for friend Robert Stadge who died at age eighty-seven. The homily was given by retired minister Mark Trotter (Trotter Chapel was named for him and his wife, Jean.) who had been Robert’s pastor and friend for several decades. His remarks were meaningful, sincere, and honoring statements about a man for whom he obviously had tremendous respect. Robert, the son of a Methodist pastor, had graduated from a Methodist university. A man whose life was an example of grace and integrity, Robert had been a member of First United Methodist Church in San Diego since the mid-sixties. It is appropriate and fitting that the funeral service for this good man was held at the church he loved and served.

I sat through the service feeling very glad to have known him, and I am glad to know Mark Trotter and other of Robert’s friends, like Joe Brooks and Doug Walker, who honored his memory by preparing a luncheon for people who came to the service.

Robert would not have pointed out an irony in his having been memorialized at a Methodist church. He was much too polite and gentle to call attention to the church’s failure to invite him and include him in all of the ways that it invites and includes most other people including me. I am not as polite as he was. It isn’t easy today for me to shake off a sense of sadness, not so much because of Robert’s death for he was “ready to go,” I am saddened that the church he loved limited his participation. The United Methodist Church didn’t apply fully it’s “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” to Robert while he was alive. A funeral service for him is permitted; but if he had wanted to be married in the church or even in another venue with a member of clergy attending, he would not have been allowed to do so. Robert was gay.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Photoshopped the image below...dry brush. Click on an image to see it larger. The one above is just the way Gainsborough would have seen the lady if he had been there today.
My photo du jourI'll call Lady Barbara. A docent at the San Diego Museum of Art, she made her hat to wear when she tells people about Thomas Gainsborough's women. I like her style. The other photographs today are curbs and other random stripes in front of the museum. They remind me of Museum's exhibit of Howard Hodgkin's abstracts.

The artist put midnight on a brush
and rolled it across a wide canvas
doing magical things to meadows.

Lovers hiding in thick moon shade
don’t ever go back to unhappiness
or on to consequences of leaving
promises broken or tasks undone.

In another room passion is red...
Disappointment is a bluer black
and green squiggles struggle
to undo the audacity of magenta.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber.  The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.  ~Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Wisdom of the Sands

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

I counted eight hooks and rings
thin gold ones that aren’t conspicuous
unless of course they’re hooked into the nose
or eyebrows or god knows where else
on this boy with hair bleached whiter than mine
cut short and flat on top
I wonder why the hell
would a boy who’s obviously self-conscious do it
tugging at his shirt tail to be sure it comes down far enough
to keep his I imagine ordinary belly button from showing
as if anybody in the coffee shop would try to peek anyway
but there he was selling coffee and cakes
asking can I help you and do you want leaded or unleaded
just like the pedants at the University faculty lounge
not really understanding what he was doing
mixing metaphors and similes with the lattes
and who cares anyway if the coffee is Columbian
au lait or expresso
except the heavy metal babes
hanging back by the magazine table
can’t be more than fifteen or sixteen
thinking with not much fear of contradiction
by experience or the god damned truant officer
that’s what she called him
or maybe her
that being in school interrupts education
what I want to know is who talked him into the rings anyway
right through that cartilage that divides the nose
hanging there where little cold day drops
drip one after the other
what happens now?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Negative isn't the same as "NO! “NEGATIVE” doesn’t have to be a bad idea. I’ve discovered the marvelous transformation that happens to a “POSITIVE” image of a flower when the magic of Photoshop is applied. There’s nothing wrong with the passion of these “positive” passion flowers, but WOW! Make them “negative,” and they are zingers. Sometimes "negative is YES!.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The journal writing today is for a young man for whom Valentine Day this year isn't a happy time.SEQUE

Get on with it.
The sun is rising
and the world has things to do.

Nobody is really interested
in how complicated your life has become.

You have no corner on loneliness.
Don’t forget that.
How maudlin to think you are the only one
swallowing the dry copper worthless penny tears
at midnight
imagining what’s happening

Move on.