Sunday, January 12, 2020

bright big venus

sometimes chores are a pain in the ass.  & sometimes chores are a kind of pleasure.  let me explain.  i am past the age where i think i need to be having some exotic adventures in order to fill my quiver for poetic material.  i am deep into middle age.  happily so.  never thought i'd make it this far.  i am happily married too.  anna & i have been together for quite some time.  but that ain't the crux of my thinking. because chores are a grounding to this earth & to this life that i have chosen to live.  doing dishes may not sound like poetic license but come on.  have you read some of the great buddhist texts?  often they are about friendship, wine, sex & the domestic life.  like issa who told the fleas that infested his house not to worry for, 'i keep house causually.'

now, i am not making a direct comparison of my own life & my poetics to the great poets of yore.  but i take strength from them.  if they can write about ordinary life well so can fucking i.  & yet, i ain't so freaking young.  so physical labor takes its toll.  yesterday, anna & i undertook a deep cleaning of our gardens.  our postage stamp patch of city is not so big but damn! it does collect a crap load of leaves & debris.  so that is what we did, cleared out most, but not all, of those leaves & debris from the backyard to the front yard making a pretty good sized pile for the city to haul away.

still, i am in pain even as i type.  last night i had a fitful night sleep as the muscles of my arms, legs & lower back said, use us?!  we're gonna fuck you up!  you are gonna feel us!!!

okay, still, even with my sore muscles it was fun being with anna as we did some necessary work.  i am past the age to complain about needed tasks.  rather, i do my best, even if i am bitching about having to work these chores, to roll up my sleeves & dive right in.  often, i put my air pods in my ears & listen to a favorite podcast as i work.  sometimes, i don't & let my mind drift wherever it might want to roam.

we used our electric leaf blower, rakes, shovel, & other tools to get the shit to the street where we made a nice big pile of leaves & other things.  i was happy as i toiled beside my great love.  we have made a life together.  one that is fulfilled by the ordinary things that create poetry.  afterward, we ordered dinner from our favorite thai restaurant.  there were a few things we needed at the store too.  so i did something i normally don't do: i drove, because i was so freaking sore!  i was beyond the threshold of pain, or so i thought, but every little thing i tried to do physically was cross wired with all kinds of silliness.

but as i walked to the car in the parking lot i saw a great sphere of light in the southwestern night sky.  i am no great, or even good, night sky watcher but i knew it was a planet i was staring at.  lo!  i took out that miracle of 21st century technology, my phone, found my astronomy app & pointed it at that bright sphere of light.  it so was bright it was like a small full moon.  venus, the app identified.  that made my happy.  why, i can't tell you.  maybe it was because i was in the delirium of pain.  maybe i was happy because i identified a planet in our solar system using a miracle of technology.  maybe i was happy because i was alive & could see that the cosmos, & our solar system, along with all the bodies within it, are there & sometimes these bodies can be seen by the naked eye.  whatever the cause, there it was bright big venus hanging in the northern califnornia night sky, not for my edification, or mystical wonder, but because it was there on its own, beautiful & indifferent to any eyes that might look upon it.  it was beautiful because it was there.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

catching up on blogs
& i am distracted by
john wick: chapter 3 - parabellum
playing in the background

Friday, January 10, 2020

neil peart doing that thing he does so freaking well

how do you like me now, death

there is little doubt that we are dying the moment we enter this earth.  some of us have dreams that our technology will kill death dead, like that great line by john donne, 'and death, thou shalt die,' when we upload our minds into large everlasting computers or we manipulate our genetic code to tweak or turn off the mechanisms that age, and finally, kill us.

good luck to all that.  i'm of a mind that death is necessary for life.  you can't have one without the other.  the knowledge of our death, real knowledge & not some abstract 'some day a long time from now' kind of thinking can quicken the breath, make these moments of our life beautiful.  death is the mother of beauty, said another poet.  i believe that with all my mind & heart.

& yet, death is ugly.  when it strikes the pain is sharp, deep & unbearable.  even tho i know, & even accept my own eventual death, it fucking sucks.  fuck you, death.

i was punched in the gut twice this week for death's quick work.  the journalist elizabeth wurtzel died on 1/7/20 at the age of 52 from breast cancer.  wurtzel was one of the voices of my generation x when she published her memoir prozac nation in 1994.  she became a cause celebre because, in part, she was lovely, outspoken about her demons: addiction & mental illness, with a keen intelligence that brokered no shit.  we are the same age.

the second death this week happened today.  neil peart, master drummer & keen lyricist for the canadian band rush, died a couple days ago after a 3 1/2 year struggle with brain cancer at age 67.  i have my issues with the music of rush but i think the three members are all first-rate musicians & peart was a very great drummer.  he wrote all the band's lyrics & his mastery of rock&roll wordsmithing & drumming earned him the sobriquet The Professor.  peart was a guide for my own efforts of writing lyrics when i was 12-13.  & today i learned that he authored several non-fiction books too based on his love of motorcycling the open roads.

when i texted a friend this afternoon about peart's death my friend, an avid motorcyclist, wrote me, in shock about learning peart's death, that he was just listening to the album 2112 today & was on peart's website last night reading about the drummer's adventures on his cycle.   

death works suddenly with a finality that one cannot avoid.  i don't know. . .as i texted my motorcycle driving friend death makes me want 'to double up on life: party on, brother for one day soon we too will be gone.'  i don't find that news morbid.  instead, knowing that i will die charges me with life because life is so precious & short. 

i have accepted my death.  even if i don't like death.  & death will always win.  even as i love life.  that is why i shall praise.   

Thursday, January 09, 2020

the nickname

fade in  

standing in line at the taqueria two dudes are talking
--yeah, man.  it is a crazy job but someone's gotta do it 
--i guess you are right about that.  those things don't make themselves
--is it fun?
--fun is a relativistic word, you know.  perhaps the word might be necessary
--i suppose that's true.  i don't know.  who would pass judgment
--so it doesn't embarrass you?
--i'm far beyond the city of embarrassing things
--then what do they call you.  how can i find your work.  what is your name?
--sir psycho sexy
--no shit?
--no shit.  that's the name.

fade out

Saturday, January 04, 2020

to sum up 2019 

i've read list upon interminable list of the best/favorite books of 2019 by critics, writers, readers & famous folk

i implore all of you list makers


pretty please


Wednesday, January 01, 2020

happy 2020

a couple days ago i heard the dj on the radio say, 'we are now living in the future but we still don't have our flying cars or our jet packs.'  at work a friend asked me to predict the next 20 years.  are you kidding, i said.  who could've predicted the past 20 years!

i do think we will get astonishing technology:  AI, automation & autonomous vehicles are being developed as we speak & they will transform our lives & everything we know, utterly.  how?  i don't know.  but i think of those early 1990s AT&T TV commercials 'you will' that predicted much of the tech that we use today.  what those commercials didn't do was accurately predict how the modes of tech would develop & change our lives & everything, utterly.

i do think we are living in the future.  how that future unfolds is unknown.  no one knows how things will turn out.  no one.  if i make a prediction i say that the near to middle future will be one of astonishing achievements & horrifying developments.  a cop out prediction, you say.  sure.  but the next few years will become a whirlwind of wild shit.

today is the first day of a new year of a new decade of a new millennium.  i don't have a crystal ball.  neither does anyone else.  i am more optimistic than i should be, i guess.  perhaps it is because i love life & i love the things of this earth, including its people.

so i'll go on into my late middle age doing what i've always tried to do: practice lovingkindness & forgiveness with a caveat of anger & disgust.  i don't do new year's resolutions unless those resolutions include eating more, drinking more, writing/reading more, & enjoying life more.

this is the future.

peace & love

Monday, December 30, 2019

have you ever met a person who gives you her life's story absolutely without provocation?
yesterday, i was in line to buy groceries when the clerk asked me my name
richard, i said.
cherie, she said.  meeting my gaze at her name tag.
a lovely name, i told her.
it's from a song, she said.  my father loved that song.
mon cherie, i guessed.
my cherie amour, by stevie wonder.
he died, let's see.  about 19 . . .no 2005.  my dad had about 500 people at his funeral.
that's a lot, i answered.  that's like a small rock concert.
he was a very popular man, she replied.
sounds like one of a kind guy.
yep.  he was.  want your receipt?

5 words for 2020