Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thoughts to Go with Two New States

Despicable is the only word for those who state John Edwards is looking for a bounce or sympathy vote from the announcement Elizabeth’s cancer is back. And chiding him for keeping his campaign going. Tony Snow has announced he will come back to work. Are they treating him the same way?

They should not be.


I call myself a mostly unbeliever, but I wonder. Last week I was interviewed by a believer for a church sponsored theology class. She was to interview a believer, skeptic or non-believer. She concluded I was an unbeliever with skeptic leanings.

But I’ve been thinking about whether I am. I think I’m more an unbeliever in religion, that I don’t see any reason for organized religion except control. And I’m don’t believe in creation, unless the creator was a small child with a chemistry set, who forgot the experiment as soon as it was started.

The Big Bang theory is good enough for me.


I do believe in Evil as an entity – that it is alive and feds off of humans, some such as Bundy or Pot taken over completely, even whole groups as in Rwanda. And if Evil is real, then I suppose there is a counter-balancing force for Good. Whether it is God or a god is debatable, though of course, we do hope it is more powerful than Evil.


This week’s states are New Hampshire and Oklahoma. But before they are provided, I would be remiss in telling you that three States have been published.

Colorado and New Mexico in Loch Raven Review’s Spring edition at http://www.lochravenreview.net/2007Spring/blankenship.html

Massachusetts in the first edition of Crush to Pulp at http://www.crushtopulp.co.uk/archive.php

There might be others but they are pending or were not accepted.

And in the interest of full disclosure, Jacket as a couple of River Transformed in the April issue, #32 at http://jacketmagazine.com/32/index.shtml

Bounded by Tony Barnstone and Forest Gander is like being in the company of Rock Stars.


Poetic States XLII – New Hampshire

The Frosting, Not the Cake

I'd just as soon play tennis with the net down.
--Robert Frost on free verse

His hands are work-rough, fingers bent;
his face weather-beaten, a crag,
lost in words that crowd his aged mind
though his energy never flags.

No longer a rock-and-roll star,
photo on the cover of Time,
he squints at the sun and recites
an old poem that does not rhyme.

America’s poet reads on the step
of Camelot’s new capitol –

This land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people…

as if its valleys were empty,
and Yankee blankets made it full.



In the link above, most critics see the hundred years as those before 1776 and our freedom from Britain. One, the last, does not and might agree with mine.


Poetic States XLIII – Oklahoma

American Idol Auditions, Houston

I never met a man I didn’t like.
- Will Rogers

With nothing more than a rope,
grin and prickly pear wit, he starts
his act with a joke about a county judge
and jackass, “though that may be the same thing.”

The producer, sharp as a horned toad,
turned his back and mumbled,
“Where does this clown think he is,
at an audition for a new Hee-Haw?”

The bass player compared him
to Jimmy Dean, another sausage
who made a fortune talking his way
through one song that can’t be sung.

The singer looked at his costume
and tried to thing of something nice
to say settling for “Are we back
in Seattle or did we land in Dogpatch.”

He never set foot on a stage again,
though in Rogers County, he wowed
the boys at the VFW with rope, smile,
and “Well, there was this one time…”


Until next week, when I may show you my Bushies.



BTW, it is my birthday.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The States of Colorado and Wisconsin

One of the funniest videos you will ever see for Mad the tv show. I'm not a fan of YouTube and its kin, but this is priceless:


Nearly as good is this opening for SNL by Chris Rock:


And of course there is the Hillary take on the Apple Big Brother commercial. I don't think it helps Obama all that much. For one thing, the speech she is making is not all that disturbing. In addition, the first primary is ages away; and do YouTubers really vote? The talking heads will cream over it for a couple of days, but the AG scandal is juicier and a lot more lasting.


Erik Larson is his book, Thunderstruck, wrote the captain of a cross-Allantic ship had:

"...a new rsponsibility - whether the ship's Marconi set and aerial were in good repair and ready to receive the inevitable flurry of trivial messages that engulfed a liner upon departure. Although the jokes, bon voyages, and riddles were utterly predictable, they nonetheless reflected the wonder with which people still treated this new and almost supernatural means of communication. (Italics mine.)

Sound like anything else we now use to communicate with?

Larson is also author of Issac's Storm, the best hurricane book ever, and The Devil in the White City, an equally well-written study.


You may not know it, but I have a book for sale - poems based on Wang Wei's River Wang poems: A River Transformed. You can purchase it at http://www.lulu.com/content/178110


This week's Poetic States include another of my favorites, Colorado. The full index of States is at http://garydawg.blogspot.com/2007/01/indexing-states-and-one-forgot-last.html

Poetic States XL – Colorado

Litter and Lice

Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.
-- Colonel John Chivington, leader of the volunteers
who attacked the Cheyenne’s Sand Creek camp

the old women, neške'e,
toothless, barren, are dead

their gray hair lies in the campfires
like last year’s leaves lie beneath birch

the old women are dead

the young women, he'eo'o,
brides, mothers, are dead

their scarred bodies lie in the teepees
like soiled rags in a trader’s wagon

the young women are dead

the children, ka'êškoneho,
babies, grandbabies, are dead

their broken bodies trampled under hoofs
like America’s flag in the Colorado mud

the children are dead

the old men, ma'hahkêseho,
elders, grandfathers, are dead

their blood floats in the creek
like sand in the stream’s floods

the old men are dead

the nits, the lice, hestaemo, are dead,
the red willow downed,
the rabbit skinned

justice, humanity, is dead,
Black Kettle’s peace, nanomonestôtse, is dead

the young men, hetaneo'o, are alive,
their horses driven hard to battle,
their knives revenged with blood

the young men ride to die





Poetic States XLI – Wisconsin

The Wonder of It All

…the Wonder Spot, a mysterious cabin where people can't stand up straight, water runs uphill and chairs balance on two legs, is no more. –AP News

The mysterious attraction closed for the same unrelenting
march of progress that demands cemeteries be moved
to construct reservoirs or an airport’s third runway.

“There were a lot of accidents.”

As if accident s are not expected in the vicinity
of an energy vortex no one can explain away –
as if an increase in mishaps could not be anticipated.

If the highway engineers have miscalculated,
watch for swimsuits at Noah’s Ark Water Park
to slide up the water tubes backwards.

“…it's hard to run water uphill when a car
is driving right by the fence…”

And it is hard to maintain the faith,
when all the world is an amusement park.

Quotes by the owner, Bill Carney.




Until next week.



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Monday, March 12, 2007

Tennessee and Wyoming

I finished Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box, and it is a good as I thought it would be. One of the best in the haunt genre you will read.

Today, I finally caught An Inconvenient Truth on cable. While it is largely a slide show (How many of those did I sit through while I was working), it is also excellant and well worth your time. The statistics and views of lost ice and snow (such as Soon-to-be No Glacier National Park) are impressive.

Maybe Al Gore should run for president.


Allen Itz sent me this: I just heard on NPR today, something about Bush's intelligence "experts" taking CIA analysts reports on Iraq and turning all the question marks into exclamation marks.

Should we be surprised?


This week, some blues in one of my favorite states, and having fun with Wyoming.

The index is at http://garydawg.blogspot.com/2007/01/indexing-states-and-one-forgot-last.html


The Yellow Jack Blues

I can’t purchase a ticket out of this mosquito summer,
I can’t find passage out of this mosquito summer -
no bottle passed in the park, checkers with a newcomer.

The wagons loaded on the way to Elmwood, hear the bells;
wagons empty on the way downtown, last toll of the bells.
When the death wagon comes, will there be room to ride to hell?

First time I saw the nuns they went house to house nursing,
last time I saw the nuns the houses empty, hands trembling…
No vespers rang last night, no call for confession, mass sung.

Quay wall bare of cotton; icehouses, fish markets closed.
No tinker calls for scrap tin, no ragman sings for old clothes.
Only dogs howl this yellow summer, city’s greed exposed.

Now my bones will rest below hot tarmac and taxi stands.
Yellow Jack lies with me for when skeeters cover the land.


The author of The American Plague (2006), Molly Caldwell Crosby, quoted the Lancet Infectious Disease (2001) that yellow fever is responsible for 1000-fold more illness and death than Ebola. In 1878, Memphis and the Mississippi River valley was the site of the worse outbreak in United States history – over 20,000 dead.

The form is the blues stanza.



Things You Never Learned in School

Pour a gallon of water west of Steamboat
and it will flow to Big Sandy and on down
the Green to where the Colorado disappears
beneath an immigrant crossing the Gran Desierto.

One hundred and forty miles, pour a gallon
down the opposite face of the Seminos,
and it will reach the Platte to eventually
flow down Big Muddy to a broken levee.

In between is a desert basin as empty
as the horse corrals behind house trailers
in Rawlins, as barren as the compassion
in Dick Cheney’s New Testament Rewritten.

Your water poured there will disappear
into oil fields, gas wells and uranium mines
as surely as the Tetons disappear in the fog
of exploration, exploitation and profit.

Bet you were never taught that in school.


Until next week, when hopefully my gout will be gone.


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm Glad March Is Finally Here

The sun is shining and you can smell spring arriving, but I am setting here preparing a new blog while I listen to Bill Maher’s Fishbowl on amazon.com. (a favorite of mine), when I should be doing outside stuff.

So it goes.

This week I will post a couple of new Poetic States. There are nine written and ready to post, and six more plus DC to write. Illinois and New Mexico, one of my favorites are below.

First, my good friend and partner, Thomas Fortenberry, sent me a couple of links worth your attention:


That President Bush is still making public relations visits to the areas wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, conveys a powerful message. He is still forced to scrounge around in sheer desperation, searching for anything that resembles progress. The story that this persistent state of disrepair should clearly and loudly convey to the American people is that within the Bush administration and the Republican Party, common everyday citizens -- working and poor Americans -- really don't matter. (cont. at the web site)


Scientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.
The discovery marks the first time such a large body of water has found in the planet’s deep mantle.

The finding, made by Michael Wysession, a seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and his former graduate student Jesse Lawrence, now at the University of California, San Diego, will be detailed in a forthcoming monograph to be published by the American Geophysical Union. (cont.)


Before the poems, a book recommendation: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (William Morrow, 2007).

Now I have to be honest. I’ve only read the first chapter, but it is good as any fiction first chapter I’ve ever read, and that includes the very best, John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.
It’s a horror story about haunted suit the novel’s hero bought on E-bay. That’s all you need to know except you should read it.

By the way, Hill is Stephen King’s son; and as the old saw goes, the eyeball don’t fall far from the severed head.


Before the Poetic States, one Rain short song:

Granmum Knew
(for Arthur Seeley)

Windows rattle, lights flicker, a lid sails by,
the gusts arrive, a broom sweeping the streets.
No eggs over, no sausage this morning –
“Art, it's raining iggs and swuthers aht theear.”

Iggs, et al is Yorkshire, nonsense words with no other meaning than it is raining in gusts and sheets.

Arthur is one of Britain’s outstanding poets. He has been winning awards and honors lately.


Poetic State XXXVI – Illinois

A Breeze Dies in the City
(for Lisa J, murdered)

geese land on lake Michigan
never to fly again

did she notice the geese as they swooped by Sear’s tower?

paper blows along the El
never to land again

did she notice the papers as they lay in State Street’s gutters?

garlic no longer grows
along the river

the Fox and Sauk no longer trap and trade
along the river

we can no longer hear the Black Shirts preach
of the black man they placed on a cross

does she see the traps and let the beaver go free?

does she hear Harrison’s lies in traffic to the airport?

smoke rises from barrels
never to heat again

the city moves on
less one brick

the garden grows
less one flower

the words speak
less one voice

and we wish we could hear
could see what she does
as the hoop moves on

as a breeze dies in the city

(An admission, this is the one Poetic State I had already written – in 2002. Lisa was poet in a forum I moderated. Her boyfriend killed her, though at first he denied it. The poem was written before he confessed.)


Poetic States XXXVI – New Mexico

Trinity’s Hour

A new sun bloomed out of the desert
defying Sol to roast white powder
glazed like broken pottery in a kiln

The light separated from the dark
to illuminate playas turned to steam,
clouds the sudden color of hell,
gypsum dunes and salt flats

It shone on chaparral forest,
creatures that crawled,
burrowed and fell from the sky,
seeds and fish waiting spring,
beasts that hunted beasts
and those that hid from the hunters

It lit a sheepherder in his hogan,
Alamogorda, Carlsbad, old Santa Fe,
lovers eloping from Las Cruces,
jingle dancer waking in her pueblo,
truth and its consequences,
the blood of a Spanish Christ

Its flash found a vendor on Honshu,
pineapple farmer on Oahu,
ballet dancer in Stalingrad,
soldier dying in a Pacific jungle,
rabbinical student at the Wailing Wall,
man of independence

as time shifted to five minutes
before the last midnight


(New Mexico and Colorado will be published in the spring Loch Raven Review at http://www.lochravenreview.net/.)


Until next week,


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