Sunday, June 28, 2009


As I type this, apricots
ripen on the trees, growing
tart, deeply-orange,
faintly-fibrous puds inside
my favorite orange fruit.

(28 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v2
[food poem 5]

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mary Matalin's booking

Mary Matalin’s booking
Cheney Family memoirs
for Scribners’ new rightwing
Threshold imprint she runs:

Dick Cheney’s nightstand
awaits his hand-written
cheniad he's sure everyone
wants & needs to read

for rightwing perspective
& inspiration during today's
Republican party decline...
or so Mary Matalin imagines

moved far below the Beltway,
down to N’O’leans w/hubby
Ragin' Cajun James [D] Carville.

(26 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v9

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reggie, out&in-doors

Carolin's & my Maine Coon cat Reggie (~ 7) is still really an outdoor cat, so I feel guilty if I don't take him out every day for an hour here in the retirement community I now live in whose lease insists all pets must be on 'leashes' when outdoors, so on his 30' yellow nylon tie-out, Reggie does his daily-routine: daringly climbing a small tree, jumping down, disappearing into the bushes surrounding the large courtyard, looking for small animals & birds (that he never finds); when taken out as late as 8:30pm, he territorially prowls to drive off 2 feral cats that come by for dry food that Lois Overman in the next bldg. leaves out for them every eve. All this is much more exciting for Reggie than being confined to my 4th-floor 2rm apt. despite upholstered cat-towers in each room; he's snoozing in the tall tower (right behind me) as I type this. I apologize to him when I take my 10-speed bike out without him, but the one time we did, he was terrified of riding with me (in a webbed nylon cat-carrier on my back) fearing anything metallic-sounding/looking (bike, battery-powered go-cart, dumpster-on-wheels, traffic...) & moaned & groaned the entire bike-ride...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"What happens next?"

“You may well wonder…”
is redundant as an opener,
poetic or otherwise,

when everyone’s wondering
“what happens next?”

Get on the Internet; its
worldwide web reaches millions,
willing & otherwise.

(20 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v5

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Each poet works out something by writing poetry. For me, it's is also a means of self-therapy, within a self formed by culture, language, nation, family, education, experience, sex, body, organs, genes. It's dynamic. Writing out my thoughts (as I'm doing now) turns on some semi-dormant circuits in me so that I feel more alive; it's an energizing process, internal & then external, as are speaking, singing, dancing, painting, photography, filming, etc., all human animation, which I usually call: utterance.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baking goła,bki

I'm back with my
Polish mother baking goła,bki
(go-womb-ki = pidgeons),
multi-meat & rice burgers
stuffed inside smaller & smaller
boiled cabbage-leaves, stacked
in a turkey-baker, in our gas oven.
(not just Polish, they're common
to Eastern Europe.)

(10 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v11
[food poem 4]


In the coming energy scarcity,
bread will rise & bake as quickly
as the blazing sun can bake it.

Smiling people will co-toast
each other w/sun-toast slices.

California will come out with
California Sun-toast against
Texas-toast, twice as thick as
California's Best-toast.

California will remarket with
Baja-Toast, stymieing Texas,
'cuz nobody ever beats Baja!

(10 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v7
[food poem 3]


Baking for 1 hr. in the oven
will become an extravagance
no one can afford in a world
of desperate energy scarcity.
Comfort foods will become
raw, crunchy, preferably
grown in your own garden
as an energy-saving eco-plot...

(10 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v9
[food poem 2]

Something poetical

Last nite, I listened
to my fellow poets,

hoping for uplift & found it
among their poetical words.

This morning, I’m writing.
That’s how it works, I think:

something’s happening
in my head that wasn’t.

Something poetical.

(10 SUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v3

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dichtung u. Warheit

I've always felt, unlike Goethe, that poetry is truth, which means I write about things that are true & are thus poetic; I don't fabricate poetically. Too much poetry has been escapist, avoidant, & self-indulgent verbalizing for effect. Believing what we are expected to believe is poetry is anti-poetic. This makes for a fairly dry style, I admit.

Occasionally I do write something that's not strictly true. In my most recent poem "Wh@t coloss@l b@lls" (against Dick Cheney) that appears below & on The New Verse News edited by James Penha (a NYC-expat) in Jakarta, Java, Indonesia (really!) the 3 @-signs in the first line imply Cheney has 3-b@lls. He acts as tho he does, so I say so. Is that poetic truth? If so, Cheney provoked it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Which Poets?

Yesterday, Anita Schiffman Holzberg, originally from Rutherford NJ (Bergen County) where W. C. Williams practiced medicine as a GP, & I went about an hour north of Santa Clara to the City of Menlo Park’s library for The Gathering of the Poetry Groups, Poets, Musicians, & Artists - an arts festival.

It was introduced & hosted by Phil Hackett, formerly of Boston, (a lesser Jack Powers), who has since migrated to San Francisco. I could hardly recognize the Hackett I once knew; he didn’t recognize me. The poems he read were the same post-Beat ones he had sent me a few years ago. .

Anita was very disappointed - she’s a more inventive poet than Hackett is - so I told her that for festival purposes post-Beats offer a well-known, bookable quantity, demonstrably loyal to each other: Neal Cassady’s son John Allen sat in as a guitarist for poetess 'Violet Fire', giving Beat poetry news & Cassady family updates. Post-Beats can, will & do come as a package.

Anita finally had enuf, so we left early. As she drove me back down to Santa Clara, I said to her: "If, 50 yrs ago, you wondered which school of American poetry would last beyond 2000, you might well have said Black Mountain College (Olson, Creeley, Levertov, Duncan, et. al., all dead now) but actually it’s proven to be the Beats; post-Beats persistently function at the street-level." The general public can easily grasp their unacademic popular style, so post-Beat street-poets have become the model for poets - for unacademic audiences. This year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe even features a Charles Bukowski do-alike, 'Henry Chinaski' (Bukowski's personal pseudonym in his novels.)

But there's also a growing phenom. of appointed poets-laureate on all levels selected by varying sponsoring orgs to serve regional (national, state, county, sub-regional, city, island, town, village) constituencies with varying terms (one year to rest of life.) Here, in upper Santa Clara County, genial, accomodating, retired San Jose State prof. Nils Peterson (originally from NJ) is now serving a 2 year term as the 1st poet laureate of Silicon Valley, surely having earned it by decades of continuingly-varied public-poetic activities. (It pays USD$4K/yr.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wh@t coloss@l b@lls
CHENEY must have 2
announce he’s all for
gay-marriage as a matter
of states'-rights; can't
you see him smirking,
just waiting for Rush
2 denounce him as
as a closet liber@l?

(06 JUN 09, Santa Clara CA)v4

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SFO: Dawn->twilight w/MTT
Schubert's Unfinished B-minor (D. 759, 1822)
paired with Berg's 3 Pieces for Orchestra (Op. 6, 1913-1929)

Atonal music
gets precious little play by major American orchestras; here in S.F., MTT (Michael Tilson Thomas) is trying his best to shoehorn it in historically as a by-product of war. Think: how better to explain John Cage, Philip Glass, John Adams? The Cold War, Vietnam, Iraq/Afghanistan.

For the first time, I'm going down to Santa Cruz to the Cabrillo Festival in early Aug. to hear even newer music. I already listen mostly to Petris Vasks (1946-, a Latvian Baptist minister's son educated in Lithuania) who describes himself as a 'sad optimist' directly influenced by Poles Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Gorecki, American George Crumb (Sibelius, Messaien their relative common background) & James MacMillan (an R.C. Scot.) btw, I'm no longer a relentlessly progressive optimist (since my wife Carolin Combs died on 27 JAN 07.)

Schoenberg once (amazingly) said: "Someday the workingman will whistle my tunes." For most of us, atonalism's been an intellectually purgatory exercize. Art-wise, Larry Rivers' multi-panel collages are comparable to Berg's 3 Pieces for Orchestra; Harry Partch, Lou Harrison track well with Claes Oldenbourg's comical sculptures (see 2 in an internal/external courtyard of the Cantor Museum on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto CA)..

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lifetime guarantee

Like Rip Van Winkle, the whole
BabyBoomer generation awakens
to plenty reduced to the spare change
any grizzled guy on any streetcorner
hawking the STREET NEWS stems for;
last Wed. nite, opposite the S.F.Opera,
he said “God Bless You” as I hobbled by
on my segmented folding metal cane,
being rebuilt knee-by-knee (@ 67)
with a rest-of-lifetime guarantee
by Kaiser-Permanente..

(01 JUN 09 Santa Clara CA)v4