Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pass The Planchette, Please?

On the day it happens, her old voice croaked soprano from the throat, something great will pass.

(I speak not of myself, but of the Spirit of the Age)

(To which I feel a strong affinity in my flesh and bones)


Dodging The Puddles

Lie, but don't do it as a profession.


Centaur Mentor

Lord Hippo rode with manly abandon

Don't ride me he called to his burser

The purse hung heavy and large at his leg, 

Beat a tattoo as his gallop raised dust

Beating the race of the sun

At whose decline the ship's sail raised

To American bays declined from the cliff

Where a man and a horse were one.


Maieutic Narcissistic

Falling in love with the words I disentangle and clear by each other.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bright Star

Rarely are there reviews here, and this is not one.

Being an honorary 'Hollywood guy' my entire life, each 'awards season' I feel much like a black sheep.

Oscar, even an enlarged one with double the movie nominees, Oscar still fails the test of taste.

Abby Cornish and Paul Schneider have received some minor award notice for their acting, and the Academy is throwing them a bone by mentioning the costumes -- convincing ones -- of this film.

Jane Campion, so 'indie' in the world of megadollar film production, is one of those undernoticed directors who actually yield -- let me discharge this word once, and let it echo in our ears -- art.

The richness of this film's sound and images honors the richness of Keats' poetry.

And whereas relationships, nowadays the province of sentimentalized, tooth-bleached status-dating yuppies, or alternatively, infibulated tatterdemalion punks and skanks -- whereas those current relationships seldom register unless stinking of money or rough-and-tumble orgasm,  this film honors the mutual attraction of its principals with simple, but deep tenderness.  Another word worthy of echo in this context -- love.

The world of all true art is the world of self-conscious imagination.  When we live there, in imagination, we find larger space even in the trivial.  Greatness seems to fill a small world.  Much of the Campion film deals with 'everyday' Hampstead, seen as then a world of bluebells and reeds, of needlework capable of duplicating forms of nature, of amateur neighbor voices charming a room with their chorus, of bedchambers made into 'butterfly farms'.

Of such things, our world, by extension, too.  Likely more often than we admit, more than we give serious notice to for more than a flicker -- as though its fleetingness makes it less than real.  What's imagined inhabits our world.  So that we can inhabit it.  Doing that, our lives have meaning.  

They do.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vermicular Highway

The still-cold young in tees and open shoes, arms and elbows tight at their torso bones for the wet mornings of early Spring, yet sex-exposed for this season of coming-out.

The luggage of this old man, teacher-heavy books and briefcase rolled and dragged, dodging worms raised up from inches of rained-on grass, semicircling around the cut corpse of some.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Humpty Dumpty

Opening the silent refrigerator, I pluck-up from its door-coddle an egg only the top half of which yields to my fingers.

Its interior is black, not yellow-clear, and its smell screams more loudly than the sound of my retch.

Thick cloth across the nose and mouth.  Handling a mass grave.


David Bowie. 'Fame'.

Norm, who welcomes me daily, waits at his usual table until I get my 'Morning Bun' heated by the Starbucks staff.

In the meantime, re-fixing the plastic lid onto the paper coffee cup so that the cup seam is farthest away from the lid hole (thus preventing slosh, drip, and even spill), I recognize a song coming through speakers hidden away in the ceiling board or where metal baffles meet and join adjacent drywall.

Fresh, hot bag in hand, I pass him on my way to the paper napkins.

He says, smiling and friendly, Norm does, Like that jungle music?

Somewhere in memory, Norm's 'political index' comes to me, fixed as I would place it, somewhere around 1931.

Actually, that's an Englishman, I respond, and with my customary, friendly motions push open the side door into meek drizzle.  Have a good one!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Last Meal . . . Today

Squash soup and couscous

Tuna fish and cheese

Ciabatta, apple juice

Angel hair and peas

No cigar, no digestifs


Keeping One's Eye On The Ball

Asked if he'd been afraid during his long imprisonment, which had been interspersed with torture and brainwashing [, the Buddhist] monk replied, My greatest fear was to lose my love and compassion toward those who were torturing me.

-- Matthieu Ricard. The Monk And The Philosopher

Monday, February 22, 2010

'Where To?' 'As Far As You're Going.' 'Hop In'

Guy, false name 'Steven', know him, lawyer, retired two years, age 65 or 66, diagnosis:  Alzheimer's.

Gal, false name 'Barb', know her, teacher, retired one year, age 65, diagnosis: Esophageal cancer.

Question.  Would these illnesses have occurred at the exact time they did if an official retirement had not preceded them?

Is this like the heavy machinery operator of yore, who, upon his 30 year union-negotiated retirement, gets a massive heart attack three months out?


Saturday, February 20, 2010

'Local Rotarians Bring Health Care To Belize'

Good for them.  

One wonders:

a)  What has been their position on USA health care debate these past months?

b)  Are they laying the groundwork for the retirement they plan at the luxury beach condo they're currently scoping out?  Right off the private golf course.

c)  Is there a concommitant religious anxiety impelling this altruistic act, a 'paying one's way into heaven' -- a clearing of conscience over hardnosed, heartless economic decisions made at the expense of others?  'It's only business'.

d)  Do they believe that the risk undertaken by the economic investment of two owners is worth the physical and social sacrifice of 200 workers?  (Brown lung, black lung, carcinogen-exposure, carpal tunnel, repetitive stress, PTSS, layoffs, gutted or forsworn benefit packages, personal harassments, 'suggested' asskissing, bad coffee).


Friday, February 19, 2010

Paper Or Plastic?

. . . and B says, I think it was a woman, this retail checker, 6 feet tall, with white gloves, an inch-thick of make-up, and a broad smear of deep red lipstick.

. . . and I say, Sounds like a John Waters movie -- was there 50s 'quippy' rock 'n' roll in the background?

. . . and B says, nodding, There should be.

. . . and I go on to say, You're telling me it was a woman who wanted to appear like a man wanting to appear like a woman?

. . . and she nods, with something of a genuinely-bemused smile.

. . . Heavy! I think, for some reason dipping into the vocabulary of 1969.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not-So-Commonplace 3

The cruelest obstacle to creating one's own ethic is that no principle is incorruptible.  Indeed, to cleave to a principle is to corrupt oneself.  To shift from one principle to another can, however, be promiscuous.  Life is not simple.

-- Norman Mailer.  On God.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Haute Cuisine

The real test of fine food at chez moi:

If it's salty or sweet at the right time!



Keep biting onto the bitter until it's sweet -- a motto from one who doesn't learn.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Those 'Future Troops' Out There

Writing these notes.

'Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal'.

Yeah, for any eyes

So many that they equal none.

This definition of freedom

Exposed and 'known'

Sub specie aeternitatis.


Midnight At The Oasis

In reaching for the last heart pill,

Mozart instead


Sex Work

Avenging one's own rape by trying to control its circumstances again and again.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Of The Vulgar Since It Stays

Selfishness only 'me'?

let's call it a vulnerability, a circling of wagons, a defense against demands

so is 'thinking of others' a selfless act?

let's propose that it's a guise for claiming what one wants.

What is the general will, and who validates its clamor

certainly no better than the quiet reading of a book 

or the writing of one;  and where does music fit if not 

concertizing with and against crowd sounds, the crude laugh spray.

Hopkins wrote some great religious verse, some wistful lines:

Leaves, like the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

He died tending an epidemic.  He developed to that point.


The Magical Los Angeles Mystery Tour

It's like Monopoly, except you can't buy property.  You do buy gas for your car.

Start outside Santa Monica, just at the cusp, the corner of Bundy and Pico.

Pico east into downtown, turn left at Central.  North to 1st turn right (east) one block

to Alameda, turn left there.  Veer right onto Main which (after I-5) becomes Valley.

Which curves NE to Alhambra where you turn north (left) on Fremont.

Follow until the Huntington Drive (a right), shortly a left again on Fair Oaks.  South Pas.

Fair Oaks hits Woodbury for a left, changes its name to Oak Grove which lets a left

(now northwest) onto Foothill, then a while and a left (now west): Verdugo, which becomes

Honolulu (short name change to Penn, then continues NW as Honolulu), only to allow

a further westerly cut as La Tuna Canyon for quite a rural way until it hits Tuxford, takes that name.

Cut SW on it and find out you're renamed (west) as Roscoe, go until you reach Van Nuys.

V.N. goes south to Ventura where the left turn comes and a short right onto Beverly Glen.

It will cross Mulholland and take you passing Sunset, and a right jog, cross it, take it back to Pico,

about a mile or so from where it all began.  This is the tour that might take two or so full hours at 3 a.m.

Unadvised in daylight, for it doubles time.  It never snows there, but the fire risk's high from June

until the late Fall rains, and then there're slides, you watch them on the news, houses built on spec or

lasting too many years on neglected slopes.  I'd like to catalogue the grandmas, aunts, and in-laws, the

girlfriends, dates, the places seen on my own during lonely times when I sought poetic quiet.  Can't.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not-So-Commonplace 2

A writer leaves you with everything to say.  It is in the nature of his medium to start a conversation within you that will not stop until your death, and what he is really after is to be among the last voices you will hear.

-- Clive James.  'Georg Christoph Lichtenberg'. Cultural Amnesia.


Not-So-Commonplace 1

If I don't have the attention of each and every student, how can I maintain my self-respect?

(With that remark I learned in a flash the secret of all despotism).  

-- E.L. Doctorow  City Of God


Stuffy Schnoz, Shiatsu Grace

Not blow hard, no.

Common wisdom snot rag in the hand

Goofy-eared and in a suit, no less

Pretending you're of business class

Though Depression out-of work

And just had coffee and a nosh.

Blow hard, not never, no

Ear canals ready and upset

Preparing to get red and throb.

No, no.  Instead dislodge

The mucus from without,

Get gone the nasal clog.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Tonsorial

Always instruct the al Q'aeda barber:

Short trim, nothing too severe.


Sunday, February 7, 2010


I'm seeing connections others aren't picking up.

I'm writing some of them out.

Maybe other people see them, but brush them off.

Or bury them deep deep.

My chemical balances are good, I sleep well.

Not claiming to be divinely special or CIA.

Only:  even the people listening, aren't.

They watch my lips, then take their turn

At moving onto the next guy's words.

This is my fate.  To wait.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Virtue Of Improvisation

Getting 'under' with 50s jazz

Under what's 'over' --

What's still 'above' --

But who's peeking 

Who's not just listening

Feeling things real

Making the inversion 'up there'



Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Echo Of The Classic Voice

After hearing a piece and shutting it in the closet of my head,

After the mark of three full days, its melodies rise.

An art, containing spirit, might make quick, but never be, the dead.

Like a holy corpse, what matters never really dies. 

'Indian Winter'

Silveira, his gusto.  The travel his fingers take, pan-frying linguisa. 

On the concrete food-load dock, his kitchen crew, 

Marcelo himself, the whole bunch, angling-up their face --

The animals -- toward the bright, blond, false-Spring sun.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Vulgarians 1: 

A 19 year-old mother of 2 whose own mother is humping the father-to-be of child number three ('in the oven') all of whom exchange accusations against one another and wear their hearts on their sleeve, though he has a sly smile, and after the daughter chokes out tears, she makes for her momma and hurls the word 'bitch' into the face of the woman who once sang songs of joy into her infant-ears, as the audience howls with mock shock and hard laughter.

Vulgarians 2: 

More-or-less 6.69 Billion global humans (and counting copulating).

Singing In The Shower

Is it possible that yours truly was put on Earth

In order to delight himself with his own blog entries?

Poly Sigh 101

1)  Political Parties:  highly efficient social machines to get and keep power and to use it well enough to appear to deserve it.

2)  'Independents':  inefficient political non-machinery.

3)  'Public Opinion':  a) inchoate complaint; b) belief that efficiency yields good; c) having the half-life of a micro-second flecking a fearful, enduring sourness.

Pangloss 2010

Whatever is, is at its best.

The not-come-into-being owns the rest.