Friday, May 28, 2010

Palin defences out

Palin defences out her new neighbor
who totes a loaded laptop, not
a loaded gun; fearing

his armed literacy, writing 24x7,
publishing ad lib., she starts to
shudder uncontrollably.

(28 MAY 10, Santa Clara CA)v5

Sunday, May 23, 2010

American Wriggle

Rand Paul opens
a new can of worms.

The worms wriggle
around in the can,
unaware they’re about
to become fish-bait.

“That’s it!” he tells them,
“I approve of wriggle!
Fish approve of wriggle.
Everybody approves wriggle.
It’s The American Way!”

Tea Partiers cheer, wriggling
like blind American worms.

(24 MAY 10, Santa Clara CA)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vahl's in Alviso CA

Yesterday, On our way back from watching coastal birds glide on the flyway of the bayside (Santa Clara) county park as we listened to the sighing, swaying reeds, Dr. Ginny suggested we stop for an early Sat. eve dinner at retro-trendy Vahl's restaurant in the small, below sea-level, bayside village of Alviso Once I said that my (68th) birthday was within days, Fremont pianist Anita Loos (her stagename), San Jose percussionist Joe de la Torre, & Santa Clara guitarist Bob Gibson sang; Anita customized "Bill Bailey" & then, at my request, Hank Williams' "Jambalaya"; Joe sang Joseph LaCalle's "Amapola" beautifully, saying he'd been practicing it that morning & now realized why. Backed by the trio (who perform on Fri & Sat. nites), regular patrons got up & sang other big-band numbers. (The trio also appears Weds & Thurs nites at Three Flames, 1547 Meridian, in San Jose.) Dr. Ginny & I had enormous chilled Shrimp Louis salads served in massive white ceramic seashells. It was our 2nd-time there, & there will be many more.

[anonymous San Jose Metroactive on-line review] Vahl's 1513 El Dorado, San Jose.Tagged onto the end of a quiet street in Alviso, homey Vahl's is a swellegant reminder of how our forebears used to live it up. The cocktail lounge & dining room are distinctly Midwestern: a little kooky, in the best sense of the word, but accommodating. It's the kind of place where the hostess will mention that she's been there for 56 years, & it's understood that that's a good thing. Allow plenty of time for dinner as it takes a while to get through the multiple courses. Make a go of it, though, or the motherly waitress might grouse that you didn't clean your plate before she brings dessert. Open 8am­9pm.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

CHENEY au bar

CHENEY sits in a FL bar
far from where liberals are,
nursing a Shirley Temple dry,

listening to local AM radio
for news of Crist vs Rubio,
smirking at its internecinity.

“Thank God for ex-Cubans”
he murmurs, cheerily; nearby
2 bar-flies stare blankly.

(16 APR 10, Santa Clara CA)v3

Friday, May 14, 2010

Congressional Bears

Once politicians
lumbered home
to their districts
bearing back-bacon
ear-marked from taxes,
to slumber virtuously
in caves of fiscal satiety.

What was once virtuous
is now suddenly criminal.

Turned-out on a pseudoReganal dime,
what they don’t bring back has become
proof positive of their innocence.

The neozen drawing shows them
“Empty-handed, bearing gifts to all.”

Wars remain virtuous.
Crackers gladly vote to spend
to keep American bases
in countries dependent on our PXes
propping up their economies
while steadily depleting ours.

These are the hallmarks
of late-imperial self-deception,
obvious to the aware, in-
admissable to the oblivious.

(14 MAY 10, Santa Clara CA)v3

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The next-to-last class this session consisted of 2 experiments:

Modelling a volcano:

Paper cups painted dark green, topped with small plastic cups in which baking soda & vinegar were mixed to bubble up & spill over again & again, until we ran out of vinegar. I drew a volcano belching smoke on the whiteboard to show context. A little (Chinese) boy named it “Storm”.

Making small magnets slowly repel each other
along a pencilled S-route.

Grinning Maggie (Chinese/German) instantly figgured out that a ‘better’ route would be a straight-line, or even no line at all! Finally, the little (Chinese) boy drew a cartoon face & used the small magnets as its googly-eyes, proudly showing it to his mother when she came to pick him up. She told me he had already made a volcano at home. Now he has 2.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mourning WASPs

Mourning the potential absence
of practicing Protestants on
SCOTUS (U.S. Supreme Court)

fluffs the less admissable possibility
of 6 Christians, no WASPs, dis-
ingenuously mourning Yankee Bankers

or the Ruling Class, omitting Muslims,
Mormons, Masons, Crackers,
Buddhists, Baha'i's, animists, etc.

(11 MAY 10,Santa Clara CA)v4

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tom Lehrer, boxed!

Goblins bless

Goblins bless
Tom Lehrer, satirist,
who hasn’t really rested, just
aged like some kinda cheese,
or izzit whine?

his outrageous parodies
of sacred cows & their cheese?

Cheesey as they may be,
they’re back again, on CD,
boxed tastefully.


(09 MAY 10, Santa Clara CA)v3

Cursing Obama

What goes down, may
come back up in spades.

Chanting ‘drill, baby, drill’
don’t always cut it; once
something big breaks it's
bring in the coffer-damn!

The strangely strategic silence
you hear now’s purely political:
nary-a-peep from off-shore oil’s
cheerleader Sarah Palin who

coughs “Coff, baby, coff!”
while cursing Obama.

(09 MAY 10, Santa Clara CA) v4

Friday, May 7, 2010

Recycled Books

Recycled Books (San Jose CA)

At my cardiologist's suggestion, I recently bought 2 South Beach diet books (one hardcopy, the other, paper) for half their cover price at Recycled Books' west suburban branch (275 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell CA); its main store is in bordering San Jose (1066 The Alameda, San Jose CA).

The Campbell store's so nicely visually-quiet (e.g., its large, orange tomcat naps comfortably on a storefront work-counter) that I'm considering offering them a few large potted jade plants for their windowsills, as well as proposing booking an occasional poetry reading series there. UPDATE: On Mon. 24 MAY I brought Stacey a 1'-dia., 2'-tall jade plant; look for it in the front window to the L, of course.

While I was there, I was told the main (San Jose) store mgr's an ex-Barnes & Nobler, but the Campbell store shows no visible elements of B&N's commercial style. (I've worked for B&N in MA and Borders in both MA & CA.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Marking, etc. Time

As a teenager, I read somewhere that you should read all of any author you really like.

I began with Percival Christopher Wren, who, fortunately, only wrote 3 novels: BEAU GESTE, BEAU SABREUR, & BEAU IDEAL. (Why? I’d seen a B&W film of the 1st. ) I even compiled a little notebook dictionary of the Arabic terms used in italics in them. (Stumper: a sidi of the bled.)

I then went on to Mark Twain, reading every book of his in the little branch public library in West Lynn. This year is the centennial of his death (21 APR 1910) & all the lit.supps contain treatments of his life, e.g. by his sartorial imitator rightwing proseur Tom Wolfe (in the NYT.) Ken Burns has now done a very thorough TV bio that reveals Twain as a shell of his public persona at the end, having become what the triumphant imperial world would tolerate as its court jester, leaving him profundly dark at his end. When the USA finally truly accepts & admits (never embraces) his last works, it will be a grimly sobering & possibly even liberating day.

Years later I would make an annual attempt on Turgenev, beginning with FATHERS & SONS, assigned to me personally during my Senior year in Xaverian prep-school by Bro. Kyrin Powers CFX; it quickly changed my life. I've tried again, for the nth-time to finish the 14 vols of Turgenev I’ve amassed, including The ESSENTIAL TURGENEV reader (884pp). Wish me a half-Polack's luck.

Years later than that, I read all of Erich Maria Remarque, beginning with ARCH OF TRIUMPH (also a film, twice).& have recently re-read his last novel, SHADOWS IN PARADISE (set in postWW2 NYC & Hollywood.) He's been pretty much my match. I leave it to those of you, who like me, were born in the mid-20th cent. to determine why.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

3pc-suited pirates

A few years ago, around Easter (in an Episcopal church here in Norcal), I talked to a corporate accountant who told me that the free-market was the most perfect system ever devised; I replied: No system is perfect. He remained loyal to his: anything done in the name of unfettered capitalism is perfect unto itself, (including selling contending derivatives, earning escalating bonuses, because anything that profits profiteers is good.) Such self-serving thinking justifies banking piracy in 3-piece suits. Now even captured Sudanese pirates claim to have been working for Goldman's CEO/Chairman Lloyd Blankfein, attacking ships he chose as targets, exempting them from piracy as a crime, because they were acting as 'legitimate' mercenaries! For more felonious flummoxing, watch the Senate Banking Comm. hearings on [{TV}]