Sunday, January 20, 2019


Out west
a murmuration of black starlings
flash semaphores from the setting sun
while in stoic slowness
bison stride across the tributaries.

In the north
their distant cousins
the musk ox
steam and scowl
under frosted scruffs.


Sunday, January 13, 2019



Portrait 1: Outside and Inevitable


The hermit grew delusional and portentous
about the outside and the inevitable
with dire moods invading his home

no more did he trust the press, phones
or the outside world in general.

During the day he activated his nocturnal headshrinker
Then again
he never thought he would ever be caught
violating the rules of day-night psychology.

Last words from the smashed and dying shortwave radio
warned that
 many inoperable ruptures 
frustrate the dreams of obstinate
 yet sentient beings.


Portrait 2: Elves Themselves

More benign than translucent
we prodded the tremulous elves 
into buses 
and provisioned them with crudites
for the expedition ahead.
Up north
when evil weasels find Etruscan elves elusive
they often turn to Elvis

and thoughts of industry
A rival tribe of trolls with souls

escaped into their underground game rooms.


Portrait 3: The Surreal Revolution

In his delirium,
the Archduke felt no remorse
when he consolidated his crockery
in the museum's sarcophagi
Below the parapets
scenes of the surreal revolution...
-Roving gangs of octogenarians feared nothing
but the lunar eclipse.

--A compendium of rhinoceros blubbered pluperfect odes.
--A barber refusing to abide by
the Vizier’s holistic manifests.

--Men in overgrown mutton chops
looked superfluous
but proved a fateful distraction

to the Bishop's defrocking.

--Justice was meted out for those that abandoned participatory architecture.

--More inflatable obelisks were deployed to allow the competition to continue
--Chocolate milk went on sale at the infanticide
but went unreported in the media.
Desirous of additional conspiracies
the man from afar said it all.


Portrait 4: Unreported Explorers

Finding the planet's fastidious pulchritude tolerable
Captain Des Jardins waded into the hoards

The incredulous hermaphrodites
of the Southern Hemisphere followed suit

The Francophile circumnavigation of the Chukchi Peninsula was
obstructed by the isthmus so he resorted to his dirigible.
On the camping trip
my daughter was chided for not bringing deodorant.
Do you think Daniel Boone would have used deodorant?
The sounds of disco fever wafted in tender tones
over the lonesome prairie.
Closer to home

my collapsible recumbent bicycle helped make many
new friends and leap frogged other bike technology
Over the time horizon
Conquistadors reclined in their mukluks on the charpois

Portrait 5: From a Military Standpoint

Eskimos should have more escalators on their frigates.
A kerfuffle erupted over the issuance
of a new and improved blunderbuss
The adoption papers went missing
after the adorable Panzer leader
executed a pincer movement in western Ukraine
A wounded Brevet Major General excoriated
the cheating charlatans of his command
and uttered unexpurgated oaths

“Tinker-bell in espadrilles equals fashion overkill.”
“Grandpa said you have to take care of the baby
while she gets tattooed.”

“I care not for your javelin experiments

and instead find favor with transubstantiation
and the simple pleasures of saltine crackers.”

“Fortify my carousers with embellishments and rectitude.”
Over the ridge
the violin marching band stormed the fortifications
without a single heartbreak.


Portrait 6: In Stores Now

At the motley, old haberdashery
preposterous dramas of amputation and pillow talk played out

amid a magnificent assemblage of gewgaws and gimcracks
In the aisles
pranksters never settled the great debate
between itching powder and sneezing powder.
The stock clerks favored his action items
but my checklist was supreme.
In the hubbub
the constable was so flummoxed

he put the kibosh on the kabob sellers and bamboozlers.
Contrast smartly 
the superior gamesmanship of Chico and the boy

allowing them to extricate the harpsichord from the estuary.
The hobos condemned the blubber display in the town square
while at the same time
 admiring its primordial qualities 
by stealth
At headquarters
not even Zeus, Napoleon and Trump
could restructure the postal rates

for the next fiscal year. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Returning to my random lists of books on my shelf after several years. I had to pause for a while after several moves that put my library into a state of of upheaval.  After moving from out of a house with built in bookshelves, I've had to keep my books stacked and double shelved on small shelves or stuffed in liquor boxes sitting in an attic.  I've finally been able to build shelves in my current house and see my books again.  Since then, I've also inherited books from both my parents who have passed away in the last few years. 

Write it Yourself - Part II

One of my first lists were books about diaries and journals including one of the most famous diarist - Samuel Pepys.  Write It Yourself - Part I

Diaries, journals, logs, notebooks -- may be for an audience of one to recording daily life or possibly as a record moments in history.  Diaries cover the widest spectrum of human experience -- the drama of war (Guadalcanal Diary or the introspective thoughts of a romantic like the seven volume Diary of Anais Nin).  Journeys are a large sub-genre of journals and within that there is the sub-sub genre of ship's logs.  

I have a soft spot for diaries.  I've kept a journal since I was 18 thanks to a high school graduation gift. I also inherited a diary from my paternal grandfather during his time as a second lieutenant in the US Army in WWI and a log book from my material grandfather recording his 1919 cross country drive across the country. 

Here's a few of those on my shelves:

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002), by David Sedaris (2017).  Diary of the humorist and writer David Sedaris from his early college days to his days become an established writer.  Bought new at an airport bookstore.


Guadalcanal Diary, Richard Tregaskis (1943).  Embedded with the U.S. Marines Tregaskis tell story of the U.S. Marines fighting the Japanese in 1942.  Bought used at the State Department book store.  Library stamp from Russell C. Heater.  Dust jacket encourages readers to buy War Bonds.  

Tregaskis followed on the next year with Invasion Diary (1944) about the invasion of Sicily. This one also bought used at the State  Department book store and once owned by Bruce Collmus of Norfolk, Virginia.  One of several war diaries.

Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763 (McGraw Hill 1950).  Boswell was 20-something young man in London seeking a commission in the Queen's Guard.  Lots of meals, connections, and debauchery.  Inherited from my mother's library. 

The Nagle Journal: A Diary of the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor from the year 1775 to 1841 (1988). Nagle joined the British Navy at the time of the American Revolution and served in American waters, later fought with Commodore Nelson's fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. His adventures took him to India, China and Australia. He died peacefully at the age of 80 in Canton, Ohio. Excellent color plates illustrating the era Nagle served. Bought used but can't remember where. A sample of one of the several ships logs from my library the subject of an earlier blog:

The Diary of Anais Nin, Vols. 1-6 (1931-1966)(1976).  Born in Paris she wrote about art, love affairs and observations about the world. Inherited from my mother.

Notebooks 1942-1951, Albert Camus.  Nobel laureate Camus kept journals of his ideas and outlines of his future books.  Covers the period of German occupation of Paris during which Camus was part of the underground resistance.  Bought used at the State Department book store.

The Reagan Diaries, Ronald Reagan (2007).  Edited by Douglas Brinkley, the diary covers the date of the Reagan's first day in office January 20, 1981 until his last, January 20, 1989.  Reveals his personal reactions to Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher.  Christmas gift.

The Journals Of Francis Parkman (Vols. I and II)(1947).  Parkman was a historian and adventurer who traveled the back country of New England, Canada, the Great Lakes, Europe and the American west.  His journals served as the basis for The Oregon Trail.  Can't recall where I bought them-- a used book store, possibly one in Amherst, MA.