Monday, May 04, 2009

AWAY FROM US: For the Spirit of Roger Wolfe

The shadow of your smile
when you are gone
will color all my dreams
and light the dawn.
P. F. Webster

Big birds flying across the sky
throwing shadows on our eyes
leave us helpless....
Neil Young


October moonrise
on empty DeKalb cornfields,
Year of assassinations,
police brutality and

driving Chicago
streets in bleeding August heat,
the Tet offensive
and leaving San Francisco—
away from Reagan’s attack

on education,
cats and kittens in the car.
Canadian geese
flying south with the frost, sun
falling into Scorpio:

We are far from home,
from the Magnolia Beach house,
childhood in Eastern
Washington wind and snowstorms,
apartment in the Richmond,

classes in the fog,
classic films at the DeYoung.
Now we’re in the core
of the country, where maples
bleed their leaves into the snow

and we lose the love
we found on Roanoke Street
gliding along the
Fox River in a kayak
that you built, easy as pie—
it just slid away
from us up an island bank
into the nettles.
There is a stinging when love
is replaced by a friendship

that isn’t easy:
Like ocean water hitting
a cut you don’t know
you have when you wade into
a perfect day at the beach.


3 years was enough
of being blown around on
the icy streets
by winds off the prairie, so
I designed to resign

from my teaching job,
go back to graduate school
and have a baby.
You went along for the ride
through falling leaves in Amherst,

I walked barefoot through
Copley Square in October—
too pregnant for high-
heeled shoes. And a daughter comes
at the November full moon:

We are not alone.
At 6 days Renate sleeps
through The Mily Way,
starts a childhood of midnight
movies, trips to antiques shows

up in the Berkshires
or where my people come from,
Quebec—where you pose
as the winning general
at the door of Montcalm’s house.

I think we wore out
New England—knocked mussels off
the rocks on the beach
at Newport, walked up and down
main streets of villages

until we were tired
of colonial houses,
Provincetown tourists,
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” on
the pizza joint’s jukebox,

packed up to go home,
crossed the country again, with
a kid and a cat—
white clapboard houses speeding
away from us in a dream.


Our apartment looks
down over Elliott Bay;
I can walk downtown,
but the city I walk through
is not aging very well.

Sunsets compensate
briefly; better move by the
where that which we lost began
over glasses of draft beer

in the Red Robin,
where I danced to “Rescue Me”
on the bar and knew
we would be young forever
and ready for adventure.

Another house to
paint, coloring on the pages
of my unhooked life.
You drive back and forth
to work in another town—

sometimes outrunning
alcohol with cigarettes
rivers of coffee,
lakes of t.v.—sometimes not—
still up for midnight movies

though Renate shouts
in her stage whisper: “Dad, what
are we doing here?”
Even a 5-year-old knows
when something is broken not

to keep fixing it;
another round of marriage
counseling, I take
a job at a printer, we
buy you a used Fiat and

fill out the papers
for Do-it-yourself Divorce.
In the courthouse hall
the loneliness only 2
can share fades away from us.


25 years pass:
Yours in work, hikes to the beach,
clothes I bought you in
the 70s, mushrooms hunts;
mine in different careers

and mostly alone—
free to pull up stakes and head
for the Not-Yet-Known.
When I fly from Mexico
to the States, Renate says

you weigh 90 pounds
and have gone south with the wife
to Baja, searching
for retirement property.
“He’ll never make it!”, I shout.

“It’s Midnight Cowboy—
his favorite movie—with
Ratso Rizzo dead
On the bus in Miami.”
Folks in the restaurant look

at me in horror,
as the reality of
our fiction swamps me,
and later Renate calls
to say “We jinxed Ratso: He’s

in the hospital.”
The now-diagnosed cancer
takes over your life,
leaves you waiting for your death
for 15 months of t.v.

and Marlboro Reds,
and your wife doesn’t want me
to visit you, so
I wait in Mexico for
the shadow of your smile to

be erased from my
life’s pages. One Saturday
while I was napping,
you came and said good-bye, and
then you went away from us.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Delirium of Reason, Images by David LaChapelle


“Louie Louie, me gotta go”.

Richard Berry

We all came here through

the dark rumbling birth canal

of other rubble:

genetic recollections

of flame trees in Africa,

shady caves in Spain,

freezing Siberian steppes;

stepping numbly on

a path of frozen ocean,

building fires in a canyon

to sear the chased deer

with an arrow in its heart,

sleeping 2 meters

deep under the Armory

vibrating with rock music—

while the big river

pulses down a slalom run

of salmon hell-bent

on reproduction, Darwin’s

ghost urges the fish upstream.

We were the odd ones

streaming down the highway to

the Spanish Castle,

dancing and spawning dreams to

The Wailers’ “Louie Louie”.

In our innocence,

we refused to pick up the

burden of guilt, our

history trailing behind

us like an ancient snake’s skin

to be buried in

a common grave or sent home

in a body bag

from Vietnam, or other

places we ripped to pieces.


“Jesus, where has Nature gone?”

Neil Young

Christ’s passion, riding

in Bucephalus’ hoofprints,

leads to holy wars:

good shepherds against bad,

horns of plenty against piles

of rifle bullets,

oil rigs, a fractured ferris

wheel in the landscape

of mosques, in the dead soldier’s

hand a bloody Blackberry.

The technology

of death has taken over:

the more the car crashed

its performance was enhanced,

and Gulliver is tied down—

a Ken doll threatened

by 72 Barbies

in purple burkas.

Destruction and disaster:

what was paradise is hell,

and God may be dead,

but Jesus is my homeboy

so we will be saved;

the Old Testament prophets

were just along for the ride

to the old folks’ home

or the Alzheimer’s ashcan.

In this pop-up book

all is feast, and decadence

is insufficiency of

attainable things:

nothing can fill up the hole

left by the absence

of reason—the pretext for

erasing other species.


“My luck hasn’t run out yet.”

Keith Richards

In the Boston night

the former president’s hair

shines in the spotlight

while one of the Rolling Stones

enfolds his mother-in-law.

A concert begins:

the aging Italian

director jump cuts

the guts from Jumpin’ Jack Flash,

and it’s not all right—in fact

it is not a gas

at all, but an exercise

in releasing flies

from their coffins of amber

to sweat and melt on the stage

like tears going by,

or our imagination

running away with

us one more time, and going

absolutely nowehere, fast.

Art has dribbled down

to mad camera angles

smashing life open

like an over-ripe melon,

getting no satisfaction

and on to the next

kill—while Jagger’s horse’s teeth

splatter on the lens,

dance like piano keys—

and it’s only rock and roll.

When we arrive with

our suitcase at the world’s end—

and find that it’s gone—

will there be a new earth with

2 moons? Maybe not, for us.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Rave is staring at the computer screen with that fixated, I need an Alka Seltzer look.

What gives, guy?

"Too much of that shortrib leftover cazuela. And waaaay too much gringo acrobatics."


"Yeah. Everybody is patting himself on the back for electing a half-black guy as president. And saying that Gringolandia is now post-racist. How absurd to say that and to celebrate Martin Luther King Day when they assassinated him for being black and having the balls to speak his mind. This guy Obama isn't speaking his mind--he's just a puppet saying what his owners tell him to say."

What's he saying, Rave?

"He's not even president yet but he's foaming at the mouth about Chavez being an impediment to progress in Latin America, and saying he's only going to talk to other leaders when it's BENEFICIAL. Right--when it benefits Big Oil and Big Guns--neither of which has to do with Chavez."

I would say that there is going to be a rude awakening and a bad hangover in Gringolandia when folks see that they voted for a shell and a shill--except most of them wouldn't know the difference. The only thing that prevents Obama from being the Worst US President is that Baby Bush broke the mold.

"Broke the mold? He blew it to smithereens!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Raven would be fed up to the teeth--if he HAD teeth--with the genocide taking place in Gaza.

His only comment, cynically wise bird that he is, has been:

"The zionists kill as many children as they can--so that they won't grow up and become guerrillas. And the Palestinians try to produce as many children as they can--to keep up with attrition. It's just like the Middle Ages."

How can I top that--even though I am blogging on other sites and neglecting my own?

I am not wishing anyone a happy 2009, as I don't want to be taken for a hypocrite.