Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupation: Inform


Or: Shock , then Teach;

Word of the Year 2011: Occupy

Occupation shock troops

shocked everybody,

friend & foe alike, into

awareness, discomfort.

Everybody knows how

determined they are, not

Everybody knows what

they know, so it’s time to:

consolidate: inform, teach

from a position of security.

Occupiers are seeking

buildings to inhabit that

they can rest in safely.

You, out there, who own

abandoned buildings:

give them places to live,

recoup, show that living

doesn’t mean silence,

normalcy doesn’t mean

complete capitulation.

(01 JAN 2012, Santa Clara CA)v3

Saturday, December 24, 2011



Newt whizzes to Venus,

opening a campaign HQ

believing it’ll B AOK

after reading VENUS,

INC. (Pohl & Kornbluth)

eager for mega-votes

from its New-t Frontier:

“New-t President VENUS”

bumperstuck everywhere.

Write-in: Newt! Write-in!

(24 DEC 11, Santa Clara CA)v2

appears on The New Verse News
25 DEC 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Barry's Hand

All along, I've thought Obama's ultimate strategy was to give the public something nobody has yet been able to give them - a national health program - at a time when it's obviously most necessary. The political risk was that it would never get thru congress. Well, it did by a single-party manoeuvre; so now nothing much else can, except tax-cuts (until this little last one.). Which in itself should alert the public as to who wants what for them, if they're really watching, which remains to be seen. Details confuse them, so the Republicans say No! - which everybody imagines means No More! (Not quite.)

The Republicans have worked to confuse the public about this in every possible way, finally taking 'Obama-care' to the Supreme Court via the states where they will (presumably, given the current 9 justices) prevail. Penultimately, they want to make Obama look increasingly incompetent in every possible way about everything.

Inverting the political premise: 'You can't beat Something with Nothing', however, the much too large field of R-candidates in the primary is only exposing their spectacularly contentious disorganization, making Obama seem even more organized than he really is...unless all of this fits into his reelection plan. If so, Barry's one helluva political poker-player.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What the -ites don't like (short version)

The Occupy Movement strikes hot cultural oil when sub/urbanites feel their (so-called) hippiedom calls our superstructure into immediate question.

The -ites think: It's hard enough for us to keep things going, but do those hippies have to disgust, insult, obstruct, impoverish us while do? Do they have a death-wish...or something? Yes, they have Something...

Occupiers are a bread spectrum of people; some may look like hippies, but they come from many classes, and share a sense of how to focus everybody's attention on the centers of power - state houses, city halls, big bank offices (not credit unions), corporate HQs, Wall Street - where it is & what it symbolizes. They want to educate us; they aren't asking to be housed on their own behalves; they aren't panhandling us, they're accusing certain institutions of not doing what they should.

Meanwhile, The 1% want us to be distracted by appearances: to be charmed by the rich, disgusted by people sleeping on downtown sidewalks. But the more the Occupiers are rousted, the deeper our sympathy flows towards them..

One newspaper observer says that the Occupiers having cellphones shows they're not poor. Look, Occupy is not a Poor People's March. It's an Informed People's indictment of our economic situation. The more our situation worsens, the more disturbing their indictment gets, until we start to ask ourselves: Why, why...why can't we just fix it?

Answer: Resistant -ites prefer that things stay mostly the way they are, especially while they're being called into question before our eyes by Occupy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What the -ites don't like (long version)

There's a substratum of the Occupy Movement that yields some very hot cultural oil. What appears to the hardcore sub/urbanite as their radical deculturization (aka hippiedom) instantly calls much of our shaky cultural superstructure into immediate question.

The -ites think: It's hard enuf for us to keep all these things going, but do those whacko hippies have to disgust & insult & impoverish us while we work hard at it? Do they have a death-wish...or something? Yes, they actually do have... Something...

Occupy actually contains a bread spectrum of people, some of whom may look superficially like hippies, but come from many classes. They have a fine/instinctive dramatic sense of getting everybody's attention fixed on where & what they want it to be concentrated on: the centers of power - state houses, city halls, big bank offices (not credit unions), corporate HQs, Wall Street - where it is & what it symbolizes. This is a intended as a profoundly educative effort; they aren't asking to be housed on their own behalves - or hasn't anybody noticed & remarked upon this yet? They aren't panhandling us, they're visually & verbally accusing & distressing the institutional players who are actually ripping us off.

The 1% (of course) want us to be distracted by appearances, charmed by the usually envied & admired rich, while being disgusted by what appears to be the undeserving poor sleeping in little mountaineering gumdrop-tents on downtown sidewalks. But what actually happens is that the more the Occupiers are abused, the deeper our subconscious sympathy runs.

Some media-hacks (Willie Brown in his last Sunday's CHRON column) scorn the Occupiers for having cellphones & not really being abjectly poor. For the record: Occupy is not a Poor People's March. It's an Informed People's deeply disturbing indictment of our warped economic situation. The more our situation warps, the more disturbing the indictment: We ask ourselves: Why, why...can't we just fix it?

Ans: Some -ites like things just the way they are. So do the plutocrats who once used to inspire & now covertly fund them. That increasingly faltering delusion's being called into question now by the Occupy Movement, right before our decreasingly unbelieving eyes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


'Jewish' food is a matter of what Jews eat in different countries & how much they've adopted that cuisine. Jews are always amazed to find that I grew up on latkes. Well, they're actually called Sachsiche kartofflen (Saxon potatoes) in Germany, so they're not originally 'Jewish' at all; Poles call them platski (flatties). One young Jewish guy I worked with once said wistfully, "I wish I could have latkes more than once a year." I told him: "I had them often, because (most) Poles do." He was amazed. Poles eating latkes? Saxons eating platski?

Dunking German-Jewish pumpernickel into Polish chicken soup simply reunites what's already common to some Jews, some Germans, & most Poles. (Chicken soup is jokingly called 'Jewish penicillin' by Jews).

(flashback:) When I was young, my mother took me by bus across Lynn MA to a kosher butcher on Union St. in East Lynn to buy her chickens. She came from Salem, the next city east. 'Jack' the kosher butcher was the Nazi-cariacature of a Jew: big hooked nose, thick lips, big teeth, jet-black hair, etc. He must have wondered why this Polish woman came across town by bus for his kosher chickens. I assumed that's just where the chickens she wanted could be had. She, of course, never told me; I wonder what she told him? I assume it wasn't in Polish.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Danish Pastry Memories


Ginny walks into the bedroom

holding out a cheese-'Danish'

reviving my childhood memory

of delicious 'Danish' pastries

bought after Sunday mass from

New York Model Bakery in Lynn’s

Jewish ghetto, The Brickyard. Were

any other things I ate also Jewish?

(11 DEC 11, Santa Clara CA) v5

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


When the U.S.P.S. hand-delivers a 600pp book 1-1/8 inches thick by 5 ½ x by 8 ¼, it’s either a catalog, or an annual anthology from Arlington VA:

GARGOYLE 57 (2011) edited by Christine Ebersole & *Richard Peabody.

ISBN 978-0-931181-36-8, 600pp, USD$24.95, (703) 525-9296.

Here are all the contributors:

Non-fiction: Claire Blechman, Carolyn Cooke, Carmen Delzell Brandel France, Simki Ghebremichael

Poetry: Albert Abondonado, Clayton Adams, Heather Anastasiu, Nin Andrews, Saadia Ali Aschemann, JoAnn Balingit, Mary Bargteil, Laurel Bastian, Jeffrey Bean, Jill Beauchesne, Maria Bennett, Clifford Bernier, Linda Blaskey, Claire Blotter, Dan Brady, Elissa Braff, Steven Brayak, Philip Calderwood, Michael Casey, Alex Chertok, Katherine Coles, Antionette Constable, Robert Cooperman, Claudia Cortese, Nina Corwin, **, Kelly Coveny, Barbara Crooker, Jim Daniels, Kristina Marie Darling, John Davis, Barbara DeCesare, Liz Dolan, Philip Dozal, Doug Draime, Gabe Durham, Moira Egan, Kristina England, Bair Ewing, Sarene Friedman, Molly Gaudry, Megan Giller, Kimberley Grey, Michael Gushue, Jeff Hardin, David M. Harris, Nowan Hasm, Chris Haven, Kathleen Hellen, David Hernandez, Alison Hicks, Le Hinton, Jean C. Howard, Colette Inez, Fred Joiner, Don Judson, Ann Keefe, Stephen Kessler, Daniel Kharms, Alan King, Benjamin C. Krause, Sarah Layden, A. Loudermilk, Adrian C. Louis, K.E. MacMillan, Anthony Madrid, Stephen Matin, Aoife Mannix, Joyce Mansour, Peeter Marcus, Hugh Martin, Frank Matagrano, Steve MccClain, Sjohanna Bruce McCray, Alex McRae, Mark Melincove, Michael Monroe, Nancy Carol Moody, Steve Moran, Mary Morris, Kristine Ong Muslim, Tim Meyers, James Norcliffe, Jay Pabarue, Maria Padhila, Shelley Puhak, Kim Roberts, Ronald Simon Rubin, Tomaz Salamun, Sarah Sarai, Sami Schalk, Eric Paul Shaffer, Michael Shorb, Barry Silesky, Edgar Gabriel Silex, Joan Stepp Smith, Patricia Smith, Robert Spiegel, Carlie St. George, Marilyn Stabelin, Kurt Steinwand, D.E. Steward, Marc Swan, Adam Tessier, Samantha Tatangco, Meg Thompson, Jim Tolan, Billie Travalini, Meredith Trede, James Valvis, Mimi Vaquer, DanVera, Kim Vollmer-Lawson, Avni Vyas, Ronald Wallace, Pamela Murray, Bill Wolak.

Fiction: Forrest Aquirre, Robert Allen, Stephanie Allen, Alexander V. Bach, Jill Birdsall, Jamie Brown, Rae Bryant, Tom Carson, Kim Chinquee, Susan Cokal, Charles Conley, Bethe Couture, Ramola D, Jewnmarie Davis, Katrina Denza, Glenn Deutsch, Meghan, Dombrink-Green, Janice Eidus, Saskia Fischer, Thaisa Frank, Scott Garson, Alessandra Gelmi, James Grady, Myronn Hardy, Jessica Hollander, Suzanne Marie Hopcroft, Julie Innis, Robert Kloss, Bettina Lanyi, Nathan Leslie, Peter Tieyras, Ben Loory, Jonathan Mack, Cynthia, Newberry Martin, Susan McCarty, Lindsay Merbaum, Cory Mesler, Janet Mitchell, David Morhman, Teresa Burns, Claire Marie Meyers, Susan Smith Nash, ME. Parker, Meg Pokrass, Zena Polin, Meredith Pond, Wena Poon, Pilar Quintana, Michelle Reala, Doug Rice, Ethel Rohan, Gabriella Romeri, Ann K, Ryles, Kris Saknussemm, Robert Scotellaro, Lynda Sexson, Elisabeh Sheffield, Marcia Slatkin, Curtis Smith, Katherine Smith, Amber Sparks, Dawn Sperber, Daniel Stolar, Lee A. Tonuchi, Roz Kuehn Unruh, Judy Viertel, Elisabeth Warren, Paula Whyman, Bess Winter.

Artwork: Marilyn Stabelein, Matthet Kirkpatrick, C, Albert, Bill Wolak,

Contributors’ notes: pp. 570-91. * Rick Peabody is an adjunct prof. at Johns Hopkins; **My poem “Byrd fiddles in Purgatory” is on p.93

Why cite everyone? In a review like this, it’s analagous to the mag.'s thickness & breadth of contributors. Normally I’d cite a few whole poems as samples, but that's impossible/unfair with this many contributors. What if I just cite a single line & tell you where to find it? Here it is: All you need to do is write. (p.61)

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Adding a 2nd, double-thick

rose-patterned quilt

doubles my dozing pleasure

here in Norcal on a foggy

November-end morning.

Snow falls in the mountains,

but rarely the valleys. My

chilling blood bubbles, like

a hot cuppa…whatever.

(30 NOV 11, Santa Clara CA)v2 writer

Most people think writers are willing solitaries, deeply engrossed in writing & revising. That may apply to prose-fiction writers (esp. novelists who were once generally believed to be drunks. Californian Upton Sinclair wrote a critical study of famous drunk-writers.) but this doesn't apply to any poets I know, including me.

I do, however, experience a fair degree of low-key lonliness. I rarely get phone-calls (usually when I'm shaving) which I don't remember to retrieve until as much as a week later. I do, however, read my e-mails - often, very often, over & over. For constant company, I have a 10yr old 10 lb. Maine Coon cat named Reggie that Carolin & I got from a dairy farm in Vergennes VT. Since moving here, I've taught him to say: "Out!" & he's learned to say "Hello?"

What would a cautious 69-yr old poet would eat these days? safe foods: soy & ordinary plain yogurt; oatmeal/muesli w/soy-milk for breakfast; lentils & noodles w/crushed tomatoes dusted with dry basil/oregano; crock-potted carrots & whole beets, incl. greens; an occasional medium egg; various decaf (due to heart-attack) teas, esp. rooibos. No more Danish/Polish jams on crunchy sourdough bread


If you live nearby, I'll gladly have decaf tea with you*. I don't & never have driven, so I conveniently live on the VTA#60 bus line, 2+ blocks from the Winchester Transit Plaza (at the Valley Fair mall in west San Jose, where the #60 bus line ends & the #23 bus line runs west to DeAnza College in Cupertino & east to downtown San Jose.) I live 2 blocks from the east end of Pruneridge Ave. in Santa Clara, where it becomes Hedding once it crosses N. Winchester Blvd. & San Jose begins. My address is: 390 N. Winchester Blvd. apt 4-4D, Santa Clara 95050-6541, opposite 888 N. Winchester (actually in San Jose.)

*e-mail me if you're interested:

Friday, December 2, 2011

I've sent out my Plantable Greetings
Christmas cards with "Spread Cheer"
covered by a yellow Post-It (tm) with
OCCUPY written on it; inside:
this World pasted above the original:
"like a field of Wildflowers
this Christmas."

(02 DEC 11, Santa Clara CA)v3

I've sent out 11/12 of my altered-OCCUPY Xmas cards & await responses. So far: 1) Anita Holzberg, Sunnyvale CA: "Clever & beautiful; loved the whole idea." 2) Ruth Emmett, Bangor ME: "I love my card, thanks; its stunning originality cheers me." 3) Ann Wainwright, Leven, W.Yorks, GB "I give it a thumbs up, and it has plantable seeds too!!!!!"

HISTORY: in the Making

Occupy L.A. is visited

by high-school students,

gladly brought there

for a living-history lesson.

Imagine: Boston students

visiting Brook Farm (1841-7)

meeting Nathaniel Hawthorne*

& his wife Sophia Peabody.

(They were there. History's

always in the making.)

(02 DEC 11, Santa Cara CA)

* who wrote about it in his novel
The Blithedale Romance (1852)