Monday, August 31, 2015

Jonny Applepoem

On the left as labeled; on the right, Braeburns.

Jonagold apples were developed in 1953 in the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Jonagolds are a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Jonathan. There are two possible heritages for the Jonathan, which was named either after Jonathan Lash or Jonathan Hasbrouck. Oddly, my mother's last marriage was to Louis Hasbrouck of the early New York Dutch Hasbroucks. I wouldn't mind if Jonathan was some kind of relation to Louis.

The exact source of Braeburn apples is unknown but they are probably a cross of the Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith apple.

Both these varieties of apples are commonly available in the fruit displays of America's west coast supermarkets.

Jonny Applepoem

I was trained to dash
from tree to tree, grabbing nuts
in my squirrel like
passage, modestly
crossing your mythos with mine,
me the wannabe
road guard all got up
in old military gear
with black grease striping
my eyes.

Eating hard
sweet apple, a Jonagold
or a good Braeburn,
I do feel it now.
I clean me all up - cold cream
to remove the grease.
Possibly God knows
what I really mean to say
but I surely don't.

‎June ‎2, ‎2014 11:14 PM

The poem was written near the end of a poetry collaboration between Irene Toh and me - a month long trade of poems back and forth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hard To Breathe - Three Word Wednesday

Art from Deviant Art by Yonaz, Lurking Behind The Tree. Find more of this work clicking on the link.

Today is Three Word Wednesday. Click on the link to find that site. Thom has offered these three words: Menacing; Rampant; Unravel.

One day at a time.

I have been outside in Oregon's Willamette Valley noontide, careful to keep in the shade. The temperature today is a wonder. If you sink into reverie there is no temperature - neither too cool nor too warm.

I have a calico cat we call Celeste. When I sit still outside my basement door she will come and weave all around me, allowing me touches if I want. When she settles, though, she is typically just beyond reach.

The shadows drape across the concrete ways and change as the sun moves along. My position is on the north side of the house so once the morning sun has reached some height there is shade the whole day through.

I awoke this morning and found myself climbing out of a deep chasm. I am still working that out and it is past noon now. I am seventy in a few months. I think something sits on my left shoulder most days now.

It's Gotten Hard To Breathe

You can be so fey.

Slipping away you left sign,
aromas twining through
the wooly branches
and the half eaten shadows,
the leaves of the old
grapes which no longer
bear any true fruit.

Or false
for all that matters.

A menacing time
has come and threads run rampant
through my crooked ways.

I watched you unwind
and your hair did unravel
while a dry wind blew
through my heart's channels,
rattling places full of dust,
the dust time laid down
so very long ago.

I would tell you of my love
if that made any
difference between
the broken remains of stars
and rings of shattered
moons. This should change me
but it does not.

I know well
these ends of the dead.

August 26, 2015 1:12 PM

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Last Great Ship - A Magpie Tale

Sunday at the computer - the air is serious - so many wildfires surrounding us.

In the last few hours the air has scoured out a bit. It was "Hazardous" and is still rated so in the last 24 hours as of last update by the Dept. of Environmental Quality. It is now only rated "Unsafe for sensitive groups" in my neck of the woods. It will probably drop to "Moderate" sometime soon. However, I am not liking it much. The light is yellowed and hazed. The sun looks weird.

My thoughts are unsettled. Normally it would be a "Magpie Tale Sunday" and I have written a Magpie anyway. Tess is on vacation. I will not link to her page because she does not have one. Tess runs a great poetry prompt, choosing images she likes. Over the years I have grown quite fond of the lass.

The Last Great Ship

On that day wild fires
appeared behind the dry dunes
and sand spit on us
on the red born wind.
We knew the end was coming
for the whales and all.

Bend over - kiss ass.
Say goodbye the ways you dare.
Board the lifer's boat.

Use your first class chit
at long last and sit right down
in the wide soft seats
up front near the hatch
so you can debark at once.

Then recall the rest
who stayed to feed fish
and wolf and high flown osprey
one toe at a time.

‎August ‎23, ‎2015 1:59 PM

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Hedge

In the spring a year ago, I was engaged with Irene Toh of Singapore in a poesy dance where she would write and then I would reply and off that reply she would write again and so on. This trading of poems was not really a conversation in any direct sense but in a deeper field it is instead a communion of sorts. We have of course remained friends as only the Internet could allow from Singapore to Oregon City on the instant.

Her poem was called Hills & Bamboo. Click on the title to see the poem.

The Hedge

I wear a cincture
on my craft. Should I call this
love? I must ponder
the old growth and ways
the new bamboo says to me
a gold coin safely
can be used, stipend,
it says, and by God coming
straight down from heaven.

Trying to rebuild
my holy place takes a skill
beyond all my days.

He said, keep the ruse
of my life a verdant hedge
and the art of it
divine in my core.
There I finish the touches,
then give it all back.

May 29, 2014 9:08 AM

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Asking The God

Asking The God
For The Gift

If you will present
me with quality beyond
my ken then I will
return to your hold
the dragon's eye and socket
I stole the last time
I came by your place.

I confess my shortcoming
right here and right now.

I am a small man -
a thief lacking in conscience
unless my motives,
hidden and exposed,
lead me elsewhere into stone
circles and cold sprays
of consequentials
beyond my control.

‎August ‎20, ‎2015 3:56 PM

I worked very hard all my life, first learning how to not get caught, but later learning how to live without having to worry about that. Now I am far too old and all reason to worry has been stripped by natural changes. I still try to steal from the Gods though. I like to think I amuse Them. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cthulhu Explains - Three Word Wednesday

Thom of Three Word Wednesday offered us these words: Kneel; Nasty; Purr.

I of course immediately thought of H.P. Lovecraft and the Great Old Gods:

Cthulhu Explains

Nasty times of day:
there are two. I try to jump them
best I can most days.
The main way, I dance
past the old dark gods of war,
kneel and pledge my blood.

Then if I find death
bubbling beneath my gill slits
I begin to sing out
all sweetness and light
as if my true tenor purr
could disperse the pain
of holding my soul
back from its old bitter ways.

I just kill for food.

‎August ‎19, ‎2015 10:24 AM

For those who do not follow vintage science fiction and fantasy, Cthulhu is a long time favorite of whom Wiki says this: Cthulhu is a deity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft and first introduced in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, the creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts Cthulhu as a gigantic entity worshiped by cultists. Cthulhu's anatomy is described as part octopus, part man, and part dragon.

As Wiki writes, one cannot read in the F & SF of the nineteen fifties and sixties for long without encountering at least a reference to Cthulhu if not a cracking good story, as they used to call them.

And as an aside, my maternal grandfather, a Dutch immigrant who participated as a mining engineer in the Alaska Gold Rush even though stone deaf, was known as H.P. Noordwal. Any guy with the initials H.P. can't be all bad... It goes further. For Lovecraft, H.P. stood for Howard Phillips. Howard is morphed from Old Norse Hávarðr, which means "high guard". My grandfather was Hartog Phillipus. Hartog is a Dutch surname and a Jewish given name where Hart relates to "deer" as it sometimes does in English.

To find the other contributors to Three Word Wednesday, click here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Tough Call

How can I write joy
without seeming a sappy
fool at the cliff's edge?

How can I touch you
when you are roiled and knotted
up with disaster
if I am so free
of the darkness that besets
you, many others?

How can I be you
if I am at peace when you steam
in the world kettle?
But how can I lie,
Tell you I'm fading and dim
when it's just not true,
when sadly and soon
it will be again my turn
treed, to snap and snarl.

January 17, 2011 3:52 PM

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's In The Seasons

disaffection tried and true
and you and me crossed
as if you were fall,
and I was winter falling
as ashy gray snow,
but no... no green, you
too late for green even though
time is definite.
And me, I am spread
on cold gray ground, added to
gray and windy drifts.

January 24, 2011 7:14 PM
Modified August 15, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015


Do I have to tell
all, reveal every crack
in the cosmic egg?
Do we not find peace
in between the toes of stones
laid to rest askew?

I would scratch your itch
if you would tell me the truth
of your windblown hair.
I would sing with you
as we traverse the rubble,
the rough ice bound ground.

‎January ‎24, ‎2011 4:41 PM

Thursday, August 13, 2015


My dire skin flakes off
and lands in piles on the floor
as if in the song
she sang yesterday.

The fresh binding shines, toughens
as I stretch my thews
and show my new bluff.

Here I stand astride it all
and pump my new blood.

January 24, 2011 6:07 AM

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Simian Anxiety - Three Word Wednesday

This is Three Word Wednesday and Thom has given us Enigmatic; Gruesome; Irritate.

To see other offerings, both stories and poems, click on this link to find the contributor list. By the way, this is week 440 by Thom's count. That is basically eight and a half years of Three Word Wednesday. I know Thom wanted to quit a while back and we wouldn't let him. I guess this is his version of penance for being a very bad little boy.

Simian Anxiety

The enigmatic
ape moans only when he is
urged while rolling on
his napping tangle
of flattened green fronds of fern.
The gruesome hunter
after freshly spilled
brains and dextrous apish feet
trips his own self up.
I did not intend
to irritate the tender
tissues on display
but the gorilla
made me overreach and touch
places I should not.

‎August ‎12, ‎2015 10:54 AM

Monday, August 10, 2015


I keep writing as if it makes a difference.
I hope my words are as deep as they seem.

Say the same thing this way:

The ocean's deep beneath my leaky boat.
I hope the bailing can is sufficient.

In the distance there are dolphins.

‎August ‎10, ‎2015 1:05 PM

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Really Screwed Up - A Magpie Tale

Image selected by Tess for today's Magpie Tale. Click on the link to see the contributor list and find the others who chose to write to this prompt.

I Really Screwed Up

The sky got that small,
as if a little white cloud
thinking of the storms
it contains but then
choosing to kiss you because
I did not move fast
and do so myself.

Now I'm seventy and I
remember all that
and a sting courses
the lip of my eye, leaving
a rising tidal
flow behind to show
the unutterable truth
of my heart's stature.

‎August 9, ‎2015 9:05 AM

This is a variant on a true story. Enough said.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Skirting The Edge

Image imported from Google, taken off this blog

"From Volastra to Corniglia, the trail follows stone walls covered in moss. How many men laid these rocks over how many centuries, I wonder?" Written of the Cinque Terre.

Of this area, Wiki says: The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination.

Skirting The Edge

I will answer no questions
in the never ending quest
because the inquisitives reach
beyond themselves in gyres
and gymbals, bruising all the walls
of self and skirting the edges
of not self as if to fall
into the pit of abscond.

If I were to answer, the poise
of things would wail in distress.
I would convulse legitimately
instead of as the fool I choose
to act. If you try for meaning
here, on your own head be it.

January 24, 2011 5:48 AM
Modified August 7, 2014 2:50 PM

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Street Life - Three Word Wednesday

This is Three Word Wednesday. Thom chose
Addicted; Defiant; Filth

You Can Get Used To Anything

It is no longer
strange to find myself a full
week without a bath,
wearing clothes stiff with
filth, only keeping the dope
and fit needle clean
as best I still can.

I am addicted to white
dope, can take or leave
the green but money
oh the money. I really
really need the gelt
and to know the way
to the dealer's open house
taking defiant
strides past the narcos
on their satanic black beat,
daring them to strike.

‎August ‎5, ‎2015 5:43 PM

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Telling The Truth

Telling The Truth

Who is talking now?
Which one of you all said that?
Putting me in blinds
on both eyes, leaving
one ear unstopped then jumping
all over the place -
even using sound
effects to cover your voice,
well, it worked, damn it.

What's next? Waterboard?
Me sent to Guantanamo?
Covered in orange
jumpsuits forever?
Sleeping in bright light, exposed
to whoever cares
but oh, no one will?
All because you say I pump
hot air in my truth.
Oh man, I never!
Well, I say hardly ever...
at least not this time.

‎May ‎27, ‎2014 1:43 PM

Written in collaboration with Irene Toh's A Glib Sheen Images in this post are of the prison facilities in Guantanamo.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lover's Anxiety - A Magpie Tale

This image of a sprite asleep in a forest nest was chosen by Tess for this week's Magpie Tale. Click on the link to find the contributor list.

Lover's Anxiety

I caught you sleeping,
mid-dream I suspect, sweetie,
and in your green nest,
your spooning repose
calling for me to join you
my front to your back
if only I could
figure how to silently
and feather light do
such a delicious
thing keeping you from waking
to my ungainly
and ugly presence.

‎August ‎2, ‎2015 6:44 AM

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