Friday, September 30, 2011

foxiously noxious

When Nixon was on his way out

we shuddered: the daily paper's

top news was always bad news.

Republicans now insist bad news

is all Obama's fault, including

foxiously noxious bad news.

(30 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v8

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perry, balladed

Rick Perry (ballad)

Texas got a man

in snakeskin boots,

spits in a can,

smokes cheroots.

Sing Yippie-ay-yay, ay-yo!

When Texans lurk,

Perry's their jerk,

tells a damn good lie

with a cold glass eye.

Sing: Yippie-ay-yay, ay-yo!

Chorus 1:

You know Rick Perry,

Don't feel no werry. (bis)

Chorus 2:

Sing Yippie-ay-yay, ay-yo!

(23 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v5

Rick Perry

Rick Perry (ballad)

Texans, elect galoots

in snakeskin boots

who're in cahoots,

& smoke cheroots.

Sing Yippie-ay-yay, ay-yo!

Texans, y'all smirk

when he talks jerk.

Texans, y'all hoot

for his snakeskin boot!

Sing: Yippie-ay-yay, ay-yo!


You know Rick Perry,

so don'tya werry. (bis)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Contemporary Class Warfare

The 1st time heard a Republican operative I knew use the term 'class warfare' was when I interviewed him on Wellesley College radio in the late '80s. It came out of nowhere, & went nowhere we were talking about. He was just trying it out because he was on the radio. It was the propaganda hot-bullet of that year. Now it's back.

It's an attempt to make a European term American, but only applies to the American present if you admit that if any class suffers a relative taxation injustice, it's the middle- vs the upper-. Which pays a higher % of taxes? (You know the answer.)

Post WW2, a greater number of Americans have aspired to & achieved many traditional middle-class perks: a college education, a white collar job with a larger paycheck, a car, country-club membership. Owning a home became the American Everyman's Dream. When polled, most Americans soon claimed they were middle-class. Those middle-class people whose homes were (temporarily) worth a realty (not real) million imagined they were actually millionaires. They've just had a rude awakening recently: what goes up, can come down. Nonetheless, their delusion persists:

Rabid Republicans are belatedly conning them with the propagandistic distortions of the "Death Panels","Death (Estate) Tax" & "Class Warfare."

Demonstrating that: some people never learn; some don't want to; some don't want you to. Which are you?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Early Riser


w/out radio

Wake @ daybreak.

Take a dump & flush it.

Take an Extra Strength Tylenol.

Go back to bed, get under the quilt.

Rub my cat Reggie; put him aside.

Drift off...composing this poem;

bolt up & type it out.

(20 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v2



My feet get prickly, hot;
I pull off my crusty sox,

soak my feet in cold water,
then in soapy hot water,

apply clear aloe lotion,
rub on oatmeal lotion,

pull on clean white sox.

One day later,
my feet feel much better.

(20 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v7

Friday, September 16, 2011

Public Transit Blues

Public Transit Blues

The more you read about the S.F. Bay BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system, the worse it gets.

The system that I, as a lifelong Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) rider, had longed to ride is now in constant turmoil over its police shootings. (cf. Oscar Grant, fatally shot by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in the early morning of New Year's Day 2009)

Once I'd come to live on S.F. Bay, & rode the BART, I was chilled, & exhausted by its long distances. Now I avoid them entirely..

But not the connecting CalTrain commuter line on the Peninsula. It's an hour & a half from S.F. to Santa Clara (48mi.). The view’s the industrial side of every stop: lots of car repair shops & municipal yards. Riders often fall asleep. I quickly learned to store my black Shogun 105 in the final bike-car & sit in one of the bank of seats reserved for stringy, fraternal bikeoids who noisily drank beer, offering me none.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Repugs Conclude

Repugs Conclude

A time-traveller asks

the R-presidential candidates

to discuss welfare: First

they call it workfare, then

they call it payfare.

Lacking any idea

of a life worth living,

they won't consider

population control;

finally reaching a really

Repugnant Conclusion:

A world of miserable people

is more affordable than

a world of happy people.

(15 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA) v5

Sunday, September 11, 2011

11 SEP 2001

11 SEP 2011

Like chloroform-soaked sponges,

gravestones silence questioning;

grief extends from year-to-year,

decade-to-decade, necessarily.

The perpetrators are dead,

but the exploiters are alive

with ever-expanding strategy.

Nobody wants this to end.

(11 SEP 01, Santa Clara CA)v3

on The New Verse News: Tues. 13 SEP 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

on 11 SEP 01

My sister, (who I hadn't spoken to for years), called me in the morning from Spring Hill FL (at her children's insistence) to tell me my mother (b. 13 SEP.14) had just died in an Alzheimer's care-facility there. I couldn't fly anywhere.

I wasn't shaken by what was happening in NYC & DC.

Perspective: The aerial attack on NYC was much less devastating than the London Blitz. (Sept.7. 1940- May 10, 1941), or the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) & Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945)

Compare & Contrast:
NYC: 09/11/01
London: 09/07/40-05/10/41

Americans under-30 can’t.
They don’t remember the Blitz.

They think we’re unique. We are;
we think History begins & ends

with us.

(10 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v2

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dreaming of...

I’m dreaming of

the fluffy white pillows

& white down-filled quilt

of my Polish grandparents' bed

on Forester St. off Salem Common

where as a child I slept away

Sunday afternoons after WW2.

(9 SEP 2011, Santa Clara CA)v2

Monday, September 5, 2011




From 1968, the more

I got to know Hugh,

the more he perplexed:

transvestitism as Connie,

conversion to Judaism,

really only amounted to

ordinary provocations.

Q: What next? I wondered.

A: Death by cancer.

(05 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)5

Sunday, September 4, 2011


In today's Biz.arrow World

companies pay top CEOs

to hire bottom workers

who can't buy what

they make; buying less,

economies plunge, CEOs

claiming to be unaware

that Henry Ford sold

Fords to his workers.

(04 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v10

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My father never taught me how to garden

My father went to Essex Agricultural Institute ('The Aggie') in Danvers MA, but hardly gardened in West Lynn where I grew up (7-21.) He never taught me to garden. Maybe it was because we rented.

But taking me along with him to the cemetary on Mother's Day, he would stop at a florist to buy a flat of hot-house pansies, his mother's favorite annual, to place on the family plot.

After retiring early (62.5) from the Lynn GE River Works, he bought a small house a block from where I'd grown up & gardened in the back yard. I'd moved away by then, & when I visited again, he showed me some Egyptian walking onions with tiny bulbs at the tip of scallion-like stalks.

He still never taught me how to garden, keeping that to himself. He was strangely secretive.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Poets, Verging

As a young poet (25) in 1967 I verged at Wind in the Timothy, an 'upcountry' poetry festival held across the road from the old Shaker colony in Canterbury NH. It was mostly anti-war.

I came along with my poetic mentor, Tom Sheehan (Boston College '56) , a pro-war poet who had joined me (Boston College '63) in producing Earthwork/Redoubt a xeroxed 10-pg. pro-/anti-war poetry booklet we sold for 60c (the cost to produce it.) We read it to a mostly-poet audience; amazingly, it sold out.

Biologist Dr. Bob Chute of ME, an anti-war poet & editor we met at the festival soon began publishing both of us in his new 'small-press' mimeo quarterly, The Small Pond of literature.

44 years later, Bob & I exchange our latest poems via internet. Here's his blog: A Poet On the Verge of Science

Holding an apple in my hand
takes me back over a half-century
to my Massachusetts childhood,
sinking my teeth into Winesaps.

(What did they taste like? I forget.)

Today, I read in the NYT online
that Gravensteins are fading from
California’s winey Sonoma County.

Where are the Winesaps of yesteryear?
Answer: Growing in Virginia.

(01 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v6

Thursday, September 1, 2011


It’s one thing to be half-something, but it’s quite another for them to be dissimilar halves.

In my case it’s Scottish (my dad was born in Glasgow, Scotland ) & Polish (my mother was born in the Salem MA Polish-speaking community.) He was allegedly monolingual; she was perfectly bi-lingual

Anyone familiar with Scotland knows that most Scots speak a dialect of English, but also 'The Scots' with its distinctly Scottish vocabulary.

When I was living in Fife, Scotland, the father of my poet-friend Tom Hubbard suddenly turned to me and said “D’ye ken the braid Scots?” (Do you understand the broad Scottish dialect?) I carefully answered in Boston-American: “I ought to, my dad was born in Glasgow.” Thereafter, he comfortably spoke broad-Scots when I was around.

All my life I’ve switched (mentally & vocally) between multiple linguistic frequencies: Belarusian Polish, Glasgow Scottish, New England American & std. American English. In prep-school & undergraduate college I also learned Latin, French, & Russian. All of them have filtered what I say or hear.

I feel it makes me not quite what I appear to be. Indian- & Asian-Americans must feel this even more acutely.

But who ever bothers to ask them? How to begin? Q: “What’s it like to live with embedded linguistic filters?”

Would they be startled to know that anybody else knows?

(01 SEP 11, Santa Clara CA)v2