Monday, August 31, 2009

early recovery

My R-knee replacement op was rescheduled for 7:30am on Fri. 28 AUG; post-op doc & nurses saw me as rapidly recovering (vs last year's L-knee op.) so I was discharged from the Kaiser Hospital on Sun 30 AUG at 2pm.

I'm back in my apt. w/Reggie; phone me there at 1-408-247-1943; e-mailing's better:

I'm chipper, alert & can even proofread this only 3 days post-op. Once I've taken my 1st Percocets of the day, R-knee pain gradually shuts off while I take my scheduled post-op pills. I'm expecting a Visiting Physical Therapist tomorow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Just wrote & sent this2 NPR/S.F./KQED-FM "Perspective" (2min.) audio-feature heard often daily. (update: next day) Hi Bill Thanks for your interest in Perspectives.Unfortunately, I'll have to respectfully decline the submission. Mark Trautwein Editor, Perspectives


by Bill Costley (Jr.)

As Fall approaches, tho I now live at the bottom of San Francisco Bay, my thots drift back to Massachusetts Bay, & where I was born: Salem. You can’t be from Salem & never encounter Hawthorny thots.

Guilty from birth for John Hathorne, who’d tried & condemned the innocents of the Great Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, he changed his family name to Hawthorne by deftly inserting a w, but long-inherited shame continued to obsess him.

Centuries later, my Glasgow-born father would hide his physical shame – ‘the heartbreak of psoriasis’ – from people by only swimming at the U.S. Naval Air station beach hidden behind the Salem Willows amusement park, assuring me “It’s not because of dissipation.” (Whatever that was, I wondered as a boy.)

Decades later, I was complicatedly miserable in Salem at 43, having broken up with a young New England Conservatory-trained pianist to return to Scotland (& she to Switzerland.) Returning to Salem, I sat in the noonday sun on the naval jetty a few yards from the Custom House where Hawthorne had once worked, a few yards from the House of Seven Gables Settlement House where my Polish-speaking mother had been taught to speak Yankified American-English.

I watched something moving & wrote about it:

"Wet Dreams" speedboat cuts a wake btw us
as I cast pebbles @ nrby lobster-buoy 3278J,
its one red star-on-white bobbing as
I cast my thoughts towards you,
like handfuls of pebbles,
none touching you @ all.
I think of you on Lac Neuchatel
w/ its palisades, spinnakers, utterly unlike
sober Salem's as my heart treads water, like
a heavy black bird, rising to 1',
skimming out of the innah hahbah.

[from my neosonnet series "Hammered Silver" written in Scotland, England & New England, 1985.]

(26 AUG 09)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I arise to soak TJ's
in Nestle's Nesquick,
contemplative cocoa
suffusing mini-fiber.

(23 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v2

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No-Cost Health Care

Remote Areas Medical Foundation (RAMF), "Pioneers of No-Cost Health Care" is an all-volunteer non-profit medical group (based in TN) who serve remote underpopulated areas of the USA. This time they have set up massive free clinics in major cities (like L.A. & DC) to show that major urban USA is as badly off as Appalachia, a brilliant political stroke by some dramatic genius high up in RAMF who apparently realized they had the means to produce this great public drama at this time & did it to shame the American Heartland. A doctor went to one of these RAMF clinics 50 miles from where he grew up & was ashamed to find people just like those he grew up with desperately standing in long lines for dental work & a wide range of medical procedures, & was interviewed on national TV about what it did to him to see this; generally, Americans can't bear being ashamed; he was.

Sound nite'S Sleep

A sound nite's sleep is either the
cheapest or least affordable cure
for what ails us here in the USA.

Health Care here is no longer truly
affordable in any sane sense, though
desperately needed by everyone, &
the only certain employer nowadays.

Thank you, Remote Area Medical
Foundation for rescuing us alive.

(22 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v2

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Battle over Health Care

The conservative
health care plan:
undermine any
Democrat plan
for all Americans
to have affordable
health care,

then scare
older people
by making it
be imagined that
older Americans
will be euthanized
when they become
sick & disabled.

- Ginny Beecher Zeitman
(20 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fearing Any Fear

Kenneth Fearing
feared denunciation.
Fearing fear, we fear
anything fearable.

We fear taxes, fearing
we’ll never be able
to afford them now
Obama’s spending
trillions, forgetting
Dubya did for years.

Republicans want you
to forget all that; they
want you to fear any
spending: fear Any.

(19 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v2

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Wooden You?"

“Wooden You”

{a wooden dialog, after Carlo (Lorenzini) Collodi, 1883}

Geppetto: Pinocchio, my dear wooden Son,
you need fixin’ but my hands hurt too much.

Pinocchio: Soak them in clear water, Father.

Geppetto: I have, my wooden Son, I have,
but they still hurt, I cannot grip my knife.

Pinocchio: Who else can fix me, Father?
Who else can carve me as well as you can?

Geppetto: Any, who have knives & skill.
There are many skillful wood-doctors.

Pinocchio: Well, where are they, Father?
Bring me to them, or bring them to me.

Geppetto: It is not so simple my wooden Son.
Wooden insurance is needed to make it work.

Pinocchio: Then say those words, my Father,
& They will do it. You are their master, Father.

Geppetto: I wish I was, my one wooden Son;
I must choose among them & I am confused.
What does 'Public Option' mean? 'Single Payer'?
At the Coperativa, there is no wood-doctor.

Pinocchio: Father, somebody can explain
each of them to you so you will understand.

Geppetto: Who? I have no telephone. Besides,
Parlo solo Toscano, no capicce Talianno.

Pinocchio: How do I speak to you, my Father?

Geppetto: I do not know, my one wooden Son.
We just say what we have to say, somehow.

Pinocchio: Then think wooden Thoughts, Father.
Think wooden Thoughts & They well hear you.

Geppetto: I am thinking them, my dear Son.
I cannot fix you all by myself. I need help.
Please help me, o, skillful wooden-doctors.

Wooden Doctors: We are listening to you,
Geppetto, we hear your wooden thoughts.

Geppetto: Thank you, listening wooden doctors.
I need your skills to repair my wooden son.

Wooden Doctors: Are you covered, Geppetto?
What kind of wooden coverage do you have?

Geppetto: I have clothing of cloth & leather;
my wooden covering is my wooden roof.

Wooden Doctors: You do not undertand us,
Geppetto. Covering is wooden insurance.

Geppetto: I only need wooden insurance for
Pinnochio, my only wooden son, not myself.

Wooden Doctors: You both need wooden
insurance for us 2help you, Geppetto:
for us 2talk2 you & for us 2fix your son.

Geppetto: How do I get wooden insurance?
What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I see?

Wooden Doctors: You are doing it now, but
you alone must choose the type of coverage.

Geppetto: I do not understand this coverage.
What does it cover? My head? My hands?

Wooden Doctors: Your hands, because you
are a self-employed wood-carver, Geppetto.
Just your hands. They are what hurt you now.

Geppetto: Yes, they hurt me so much I cannot carve.

Wooden Doctors: Do you have Workmen’s Comp?

Geppetto: No, I work alone, I have no workmen.

Wooden Doctors: Then we cannot help you. We
cannot fix your hands to fix your wooden son.
That would make you a wooden doctor like us.

Geppetto: But you are skillful wooden doctors!
Wooden Doctors: Yes, we are, but we follow
the rules set by whatever coverage you have.
You have no coverage, so we follow no rules.

Geppetto: All men follow rules. I have a Rule
there on my workbench & I follow it carefully.

Wooden Doctors: We follow rules of practice,
If we do not, we could be sued for malpractice.

Geppetto: But you practiced for many years!
Questa mala fortuna has now befallen you?

Wooden Doctors: Health care reform, with
many new options, will soon re-regulate us.
We fear what it may do to our wooden skills.
(We should not be talking to you about this.)

Geppetto: Wait, please, skillful wooden doctors;
Do not fear talking to me; I try to understand.
I do not cause your mala fortuna malpractice.
I am a humble woodcarver. My hands hurt. My son…

Wooden Doctors: We do not want to hear any more
about your wooden son until you choose a health plan.
A wooden health plan for him, not you. Yours must
be a human flesh & blood health plan. For your hands.

Geppetto: [weeping] My hands are my only skill.
My hands have made my wooden son. My hands
are my only hope! [raising them towards the ceiling.]

[End of Scene 1. Wooden curtain descends.]

(18 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v5

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pissing Blood

Pissing blood in rage,
a GOP-agitated citizen slips
on his blood pooling up
on the hardwood floor
of a high-school gymnasium
in the flyover-heartland while
standing to rave at a D-politician.

His face reddens, his eyes
bloodshoot, bloodpressure
skyrockets; his GOP script:
‘Abortion leads to euthanasia
under diabolical Public Option.’
falls to the floor; he stammers:

“The gub-mint wants to kill us!”
soaking in his own blood; an
ambulance 911’d from a local
VA hospital takes him away...

(13 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v3

CHENEY stingz Dubya

Vexed by his having flexed for Dubya
while VPOTUS, CHENEY’s memoirs
sting Dubya as ‘an ordinary politician’
for having ignored CHENEY’S advice;
blind-sided by a late-changing Dubya,
CHENEY, freed now to speak on then,
stingz Dubya as unworthy of CHENEY’S
piercing perceptionz, steel-jacketed in-
iatives, steely rezolve, abzolute goalz.

(13 AUG 08, Santa Clara CA)v3

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So Much More

to & for Carolin Combs

While I’m still on this Earth,
& what's left of you is, too,
we’re still engaged in its
activities & significations,
my actions on your behalf
weigh heavily on me: I
have so much more to do
for you, your name, work;
so much more, out of love,
so much more in gratitude.

(12 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v2
(Carolin was born on 22 AUG 56;
she died on 26 JAN 07.)

Golijov, davening

Slowly davening
while his music’s being
rehearsed, Golijov reverts
to his embodied
Jewish music.

Off any horse,
off any motorcycle,
far below any bird floating above,
his wholly human heart beats
as mine does as I watch him daven.

(12 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)v4

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quail & Bunnies

During the Spring
many small baby quail are born.
Parent quail are very protective,
very alert to danger,
warning their babies of any
person or thing approaching.

When a high-pitched signal is given,
the babies run quickly
to the bushes for cover,
When there are bunnies about
who share fallen grain with them:
then the babies run to them.

Ginny Beecher Zeitman
(10 AUG 09, Santa Clara CA)

Cabrillo 2009: Golijov

Last week from Wed. to Sat. a.m., I was down in Santa Cruz for Cabrillo 2009 with Ginny Beecher Zeitman who has been going there since the late '60s & is now a sponsor.

The most stunning piece we heard last Fri (opening) nite was "Azul" by (Argentinian-Jewish) Osvaldo Goiljov, inspired by his trip to Macchu Picchu: a cello concerto with 2 native-instrument percussionists & a hyper-accordionist, backed up by "a lot of other people" (he Cabrillo Festival Orchestra); Golijov historicized: "In the 19th c., music(al rhythm) was (based on) horses, in the 20th, motorcycles, now birds floating on air-(currents)." What about the embedded rhythm of the resting normal human heart? (1ce/sec.) Ginny (who was medical staff on the Stanford heart-transfer program) thinks we may have longago (primitively) adopted it as a musical meter. Is it a setting of the std. metronome?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

bring me up (a rising round)

{round, rising from the bottom UP}

to where we ARE!
to where we ARE,
& where we WERE

to where we were

bring me UP
bring me uP
bring me up

{round, rising from the bottom, up}

(04 AUG 09 Santa Clara CA)
for the San Jose Peace Chorale

Monday, August 3, 2009

Letter to BBC on Bottled-Water, ctd.

In the week after I sent a 2nd letter to the BBC (see below: Sunday, July 26, 2009 CA: bottled-vs-tap water)

the NYT broke into print with "Ad assault on bottled water industry." by Stephanie Clifford, reprinted here in the San Jose MERCURY-NEWS, 02 AUG 09, Sunday Business section, p. E2, bottom left.

Lede sentence: "Can an ad campaign turn bottled water into the new tobacco?"

Subseq. par.: "Taking a cue from anti-tobacco campaigns, Tappening, a group opposed to bottled water on environmental grounds, has introduced a campaign called 'Lying in Advertizing' that positions bottled water companies as spreading corporate untruths.' ..."The 'lies' in question here are about the source of the bottled water. Eric Yaverbaum, a co-founder of Tappening, charged that some beverage companies did not list the source of their water -- and were using only municipal water." (ctd.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Farm

A big day today!

The pig gave birth
to ten little piglets,
all pushing each other
to get to her udders.

The fence around the pen
is crowded with hikers
oohing, aahing
& commenting.

-Ginny Zeitman
(01 AUG '09, Santa Clara CA)