Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Patti

Patti Smith is 65 today.  I've always been drawn to her.  I'm not really sure why, but if pressed to give a reason I would say it is her realness.  I strive to be real myself, though I think it comes natural to Patti, it isn't something for which she has to strive.  She just is.  It's not easy to be real in such an unreal world.  Somewhere, somehow, in my unconscious meandering, I have made Patti an archetype of the female, my Anima, my alter-ego.  She seems to have struck a balance that I want to strike as well.  Perhaps I have and just don't know it.  Stranger things have happened. 

I wrote this poem after waking from a dream about thirty five years ago.  I didn't know very much about Patti at the time, which should be evident to anyone who knows her or who has followed her life and career.  This, admission however, isn't offered as an apology.  It's a reflection on how little we know at times of someone, and yet, with just a few raw facts, some hearsay,  a scattering of observations, a couple of half-baked conclusions, we make a decision to either reject them or take them into our heart.  Often, the decision turns out to be all wrong, costly, regrettable, but once in a while we strike it rich and form an admiration and attachment that lasts a lifetime.  The latter is the situation I find myself in with Patti. 

Punk Dream

Harvey cut my hair too short.
I didn’t tip him.
It took me a month
maybe more
to adjust to my new-wave reflection.
Thank God
I wasn’t going anywhere special
how relieved I was
to wake up in my bed
next to Johnny-not-so-rotten
and oh
how relieved I was
to learn I hadn’t really
gone to do the shopping
with safety pins
in both my ears
and oh
how relieved I was
to know it wasn’t me
who pulled down my pants
and peed on all those crackers
in the Acme.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

For Isabel in the Wild Blue Yonder

In Madrid there stands a castle
made of tinsel so they tell
and within there lives a lady
by the name of Isabelle

All the dukes and princes court her
for her love and land as well
but there's none the king finds worthy
for the hand of Isabelle

Me and Isabel, Summer of 1966
Mrs. Isabel _____________ 52, wife of ______________,
died Tuesday, December 26, 1967 at her home.
Mrs._______ served in the WAAC's during World War II.  
She was a member of the American Legion; the S.P.C.A.
and the Philadelphia Zoo. In addition to her husband she
is survived by a son, ________. at home. Services will be
7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday at the _______ Funeral Home.
Burial will be in Gettysburg National Cemetery, Gettysburg.


Isabelle would have loved this story.  While in the WAAC, she 
wanted to fly bombers to Britain but couldn't because she was a woman.

While the C-5 was turning over its engines, a female crewman gave the G.I.s on board the usual information regarding seat belts, emergency exits, etc.

Finally, she said, 'Now sit back and enjoy your trip while your captain, Judith Campbell, and crew take you safely to Afghanistan '

An old Master Sergeant sitting in the eighth row thought to himself, 'Did I hear her right? Is the captain a woman? '

When the attendant came by he said 'Did I understand you right? Is the captain a woman?' 'Yes,'! said the attendant, 'In fact, this entire crew is female.'

Women are Angels.
And when someone
breaks our wings,
we simply continue to fly...

Friday, December 9, 2011

"LIFE is a tragedy - hurrah!"

"Even in his tragedies there is room for laughter.  But not laughter for its own sake -- comedy relief. O'Neill is interested in comedy only when it expresses character; for it is life itself he records -- how man, the mixture of good and evil, the compound of vitality and aspiration, copes with the accidents that make up his life."   Alta May Coleman - Theatre Magazine 1920

The entire article, titled "Personality Portrait: Eugene O'Neill" can be found  here

by: Eugene O'Neill
      LL night I lingered at the Beach
      And trod the board walk up and down--
      I vainly sought to cop a peach.
      I had prepared a charming speech,
      To woo the fair ones of the town--
      All night I lingered at the Beach.
      Quoth I "Sweet damsel I beseech
      That you will smile on me," poor clown!
      I vainly sought to cop a peach.
      With the persistence of a leech,
      I clung to every passing gown--
      All night I lingered at the Beach.
      I swore my love to all, but each
      Passed me the haughty freezing frown--
      I vainly sought to cop a peach.
      I prayed to all, both white and brown--
      They only "kicked my dog aroun."
      All night I lingered at the Beach--
      I vainly sought to cop a peach.

Bob Dylan Charlie Chaplin Beyond The Horizon

 August Sunset in the Endless Mountains
by Leo

Bob Dylan Charlie Chaplin Beyond The Horizon

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vacuums, Pumps & Other Suckers



Vacuums, Pumps and Other Suckers

Barber jelly nausea
gets you on a streetcar
and your sump-pump sucks away
automatic like the action.
What can you do but ride it out
hang on to your umbrella
and curse your inexhaustible ammunition.

It was strictly a business relationship.
We never took advantage
of bubble gum expense accounts.
In stinky half-room hideaways
illusions aren’t deductible
they’re nest eggs.
Come and lay some more on me
I’m a game preserve.

Dicky with his brand new flat-top
swigging lemonade
comic book king of the housing project
and me, poor beggar.
Little Lulu on the auction block
Bugs Bunny under my arm
Peeking over paper pillars
I catch a glimpse of Dicky’s
French Provincial sister.
She’s tomorrow in her mirror.
Me? I’m yesterday in rags.

Enter Tommy Stoutman
in your custom tailored
Boy Scout khaki
two hundred pounds of high performance
what a heavy pledge!
“What’ll you give me for fifteen Batmen?”
The moldy monuments answer.
The super structure topples.
Fatso and Flat-top
are buried alive.
What can I do?
Spend my lifetime stacking funnies?

I run
with my friendly concussion
and Little Lulu.
Miss Frenchie
is swallowed by the dust
of her war dance.
“Some penance,” cries the cannibal
chop-licking, spitting silver fish.
Excelsior. Excelsior.
And all that sort of crap.
It fills me up.

Dicky and his trusty side-kick
from the land of the living dead
fly sheet-metal kites
send messages that never reach me.
Pony Express man
carrier pigeon
am I that hard to find?
Wasn’t that Dicky
marching for dimes?
A sneer and a crew cut
wrapped up in flannel.
“Your canceled check is your receipt,” he said
winking at the mail man.

And that one
denies he’s Mr. Fatso.
says he’s from Missouri.
I never did trust boy scouts
they rub my bones together
marching, always marching
through my forest sanctuary.
But Little Lulu knows
she keeps me posted
and free
from trail blazers
with hot little merit badges.

How I came to write this poem:

When I was a kid, comic books were a big and wonderful part of my life. They were a great escape from the mundane. My favorites were Little Lulu, Bugs Bunny, Archie & Veronica, Batman, Superman and Prince Valiant. Occasionally I would get my hands on more gruesome (but innocuous) comics like Tales From The Crypt, Haunt Of Fear, The Vault Of Horror and others of that genre. Most of the time I bought my comic books from my weekly allowance or from money earned by babysitting . Sometimes I got paid for doing various odd jobs for neighbors; dusting knickknacks, scrubbing floors, or going to the store for them if they ran out of something they needed desperately, like a loaf of bread or a pack of cigarettes.

Another way of refurbishing my comic book stock and which didn’t cost me a dime (the actual cost of a comic book in those days was 10 - 25 cents), was swapping. These swap meets were usually arranged by the ring leader of the neighborhood kids whose name was Dicky Lacroy.  He had stacks and stacks of comic books on the floor in his room, and that’s where these swap meets were held. The only kid who had more comic books than Dicky, was Tommy Stoutman, a very large boy scout.  Dicky had to share the bedroom with his older sister who was not very friendly and resented the intrusion whenever there was a swap meet on Dicky’s side of the room. There was a makeshift divider of some sort, only about three feet high, running down the middle of the room and splitting it in two. Dicky’s bed was on one side, and his sister’s on the other. The divider was there only to mark territory and afforded no privacy at all for either of them. It was a joke.

Dicky was a very smug kid who wore his hair in the latest style called a flattop. He used some awful smelling pomade to keep every hair in place and sticking straight up on the top of his head like the bristles of a scrub brush. Tommy  probably weighed quite a lot, and had to have his boy scout uniform custom made. I was the only girl at the swap meets because, to my knowledge at least, I was the only girl in the project who loved comic books. I envied Dicky’s older sister because even though she had to share a room with Dicky, her side of the room was fit for a princess; white French Provincial furniture which included a small vanity and a canopy bed.  It was the first time in my life to see a canopy bed and it made an indelible impression on me.

The years passed. I moved away from the neighborhood, got married, had children. Once a man with a crew cut and a business suit came to my door collecting for the March of Dimes. He looked vaguely familiar. I asked him if he was Dicky. He said “no”. Another time I started to suspect that our very large mail man might be Tommy.   I asked him if he was. He said “no”.  And yet another time I was on the trolley going somewhere or other and a man got on and sat on the seat in front of me. He had a strange odor, the odor of Dippity Doo, the stuff Dicky used to keep his flat top spiffy.  All of a sudden, because of that odor, the memory of those comic book days in the old neighbor hood rushed back to me like a flood.

I went home and wrote a poem about it. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Delia, oh Delia: "toleration of the unacceptable leads to the last round-up"

World Gone Wrong
Produced by Bob Dylan
Recorded and mixed by Micajah Ryan
Guitar, Vocals and harmonica performed by Bob Dylan
Mastered by Stephen Marcussen at Precision Mastering, LA
Design -- Nancy Donald
Photos by Ana Maria Velez
Back cover photo by Randee St. Nicholas
All songs traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan
(ASCAP), published by Special Rider Music
except "Lone Pilgrim" written by B.F. White 
& Adger M. Pace 
(publisher and performance rights society unknown.)

 "DELIA is one sad tale-two or more versions mixed into one. the song has no middle range, comes whipping around the corner, seems to be about counterfeit loyalty. Delia herself, no Queen Gertrude, Elizabeth 1 or even Evita Peron, doesn't ride a Harley Davidson across the desert highway, doesn't need a blood change & would never go on a shopping spree. the guy in the courthouse sounds like a pimp in primary colors. he's not interested in mosques on the temple mount, armageddon or world war 111, doesn't put his face in his knees & weep & wears no dunce hat, makes no apology & is doomed to obscurity. does this song have rectitude? you bet. toleration of the unacceptable leads to the last round-up. the singer's not talking from a head full of booze".

Bob Dylan, liner notes from World Gone Wrong

Delia was a gambling girl, gambled all around,
Delia was a gambling girl, she laid her money down.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia's dear ol' mother took a trip out West,
When she returned, little Delia gone to rest.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia's daddy weeped, Delia's momma moaned,
Wouldn't have been so bad if the poor girl died at home.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Curtis' looking high, Curtis' looking low,
He shot poor Delia down with a cruel forty-four.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

High up on the housetops, high as I can see,
Looking for them rounders, looking out for me.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Men in Atlanta, tryin' to pass for white,
Delia's in the graveyard, boys, six feet out of sight.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Judge says to Curtis, "What's this noise about?"
"All about them rounders, Judge, tryin' to cut me out."
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Curtis said to the judge, "What might be my fine?"
Judge says, "Poor boy, you got ninety-nine."
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Curtis' in the jail house, drinking from an old tin cup,
Delia's in the graveyard, she ain't gettin' up.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia, oh Delia, how can it be?
You loved all them rounders, never did love me.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Delia, oh Delia, how can it be?
You wanted all them rounders, never had time for me.
All the friends I ever had are gone.

Bob Dylan
Copyright ©1993 Special Rider Music

Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem at  dylanchords 


The Ballad of Delia Green and Moses "Cooney" Houston

A murder tale in three posts
Dug up by  John Garst

June 10, 2000
When I told John Cowley I had found Ella Speed, he said, "Well, go find Delia.   You live in Georgia, and Robert W. Gordon wrote a letter saying that Delia was killed in Savannah.  His papers are lost, so we don't have his interviews with Delia's mother or the detective who investigated the case, but this ought to be enough information for you to find it."
So it was.  I got around to looking seriously for it after lunch today, and within two hours I had it.
Delia Green, age 14, was shot and killed by Moses "Coony" Houston, age 16, in the Yamacraw section of Savannah (characterized for me by a local historian as "poor, black, and violent") at about 11:30 pm on Christmas Eve, 1900.  She died early Christmas morning in her bed at her home.  She had been receiving Coony's attentions for several months, but when Coony claimed her as "his girl" she denied it. This enraged Coony, who shot her without saying another word.

Also, thanks to Eyolf Østrem,  you can read the rest of this story  here

Life = Art = Life = Art = Life = Art = Life = Art = Life = Art = Life = Art = Life = Art (ad infinitum)

I've always been attracted to poster art, especially when it's connected to a cause that I'm passionate about.  The visceral impact of this kind of art which represents the voices and ideologies of "the people" is like none other to me.  The current Occupy Movement has inspired some visually terrific, unique and diverse art from artists all over the United States and the World.  Here are some of my favorite posters.

Creator:   Christy Road, Brooklyn, NY 
Creator:  David Loewenstein, Lawrence, Kansas

Creators: Ernesto Yerena, Orlando Arenas, Sandra Castro & Ricardo Lopez
Hechoconganas  Phoenix, Arizona & Los Angeles, California 
Creator: Maya Mihindou, Gabon, Africa/Paris, Europe 
(no link available)

Creator: Cannon Dill, Oakland, CA 
(no link available) 
Creator:  Art Hazelwood, California
 Creator:  Pete Yahnke Railand Albuquerque, New Mexico 
Creator: Ronnie Goodman, San Francisco, CA (no link available)
See more at: Occuprint.Posters

Lalo Alcaraz - A Cartoonist's Guide to Life

Creator  Lalo Alcaraz

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Times We've Known

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us”   Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Bob Dylan - The Times We've Known (by Charles Aznavour)

Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
November 1, 1998

Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar), Larry Campbell (guitar), Tony Garnier (bass), David Kemper (drums & percussion)

The times we've known are slipping by
like vapour trails across the sky
The best of times, the worst of times
Have come and gone

The years of debt, the years of doubt
the years of 'what's it all about?'
Of holding fast, and holding out
And holding on

When life was hard and chances few
Still I was rich just having you
Though people said we won't go far
We went ahead and here we are

Together still through everything
Together still remembering
The times we've known

Sometimes the years were lush and green
Sometimes we lived on hope alone
A little bit of both have been
The times we've known

Some lucky flings, some rotten breaks
Some funny things, a few mistakes
The dreams that every dreamer takes
And makes his own

The time to laugh, a time to cry
A time to let the world go by
And if there were some tears to pay
No one can take those years away

On fragile wings our days have flown
Still we have things to call our own
The times we've known
The times we've known
The times we've known