Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Scene: At, Around, In, And Behind

In the end, no one knows 'the studio',

The students, the admirers, helpers,

Hefters, or the curious, the gawkers,

The ones just looking, buyers, talkers,

Or the ones who glance a bit, then addio.

     (thanks to Ben Gage at blog: Poems to throw into the fire)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just In Case One Contemplates

One does not fiddle-with,

One does not diddle-with

Ahem! [hint: T. Soprano's wife is one]

It's 'bad form'; it 'just isn't done'.


Verbal Drawing On Drawing-Back

B is going into what is assumed to be her 'last year on the job'.  You can't believe how happy she is about that.  Well, maybe you can.

In talking to R in Pasadena:  he's retiring in June.  You can't believe how happy he is about that.  Well, maybe you can.

The question is how, when that golden day arrives, to view it?

Usually, such pivot points in my life go almost 'slow-motion' on me, make me an observer of inconsequential details surrounding the moment, distance me from what's going on, remove me from the rite of passage, smear the line of demarcation and just leave things unresolved.

After the gold watch and celebratory dinner with friends, an isolated walk in my party clothes acknowledging that a -- work -- life has ended.

Of course, there will be things to do.  But psychologically, a bridge will have been traversed, one land will be a past land.


The 'Perfect 80'


Road Speed.

Life Span.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Portland Central Library

Dignity of clean granite stairs

And the hand wood rail

Room in natural eye light

Large heavywood tables

And heavy old chairs, the highbacks,

Older than half the earth's people.

Foundational, fragile as a mountain.


Café Nell, 2 P.M.

Myrtle blooms, drummed by pellets of rain

Hitting the pave by the window glass,

Inside whose perch the late lunch sits, of bread,

Steamed mussels, broth an oily cream, salty

As that offshore orage -- brace yourself! --

And a tureen of cut-thin potatoes,

Curled upon themselves like French hairpins,

Like a Renaissance-fresh language,

But sliding almost frictionless, on aioli mayonnaise,

Like the wet tires of a Facel-Vega losing the road

Becoming myth with the death of Camus.


Café Nell, 9 A.M.

During the tail-end of breakfast, B's unfinished,  it was possible to commandeer, after superficial politeness, the remainder, to shoo it all onto the plate extended by sturdy wrists, and, being solicitous of the washers, making sure to complete the catsup ponds, and those puddles having dried, to move the home fries by the dollop dish of jam, fishing out the odd, accidentally sunken ones, saving them from that drowning and more constructively applying them to a living appetite.


Becoming What You Are

When does breaking a routine become a new routine?

Or just transitional?

Or a failed routine?

Or a never-having-departed circle?

Or the summa that you are recognized by and becomes you?


The Art Appreciating Me

I'll tell you, Robert Motherwell, your painting and me alone in Oregon

And I'm only sitting here trying to keep my posture, no one coming by

In this pass-through gallery, just that painting of yours staring at me, 

Its orange face, eye-nose 'goggle', mouth-reptile whose end sneers up

With a faint serpentfang, the darkness, the deep black shadow behind,

Which makes me shy back into the welcoming orange.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

7 Spades. Doppelgänger. Re-Doppelgänger.

I've been having this strange feeling . . . out of the corner of my eye when I turn to look . . . no one is like me except that man in the periphery . . . if he is indeed there . . . but you say you, too, saw him, met him . . . not looking like me, but sharing my travail, the lack of lights . . . therein lies some clue . . . they hang up when I answer --  just saying hello the timbre of my voice must signal their retreat . . . his retreat . . . if it happened as I say it must have, since I remember it, remember it clearly as I see you now, as I watch your face . . . just . . . don't go away . . . 

Woof. Meow.

Animals are so much better than people.

Or did Heinrich Himmler say that?  

Or was it Adolf Eichmann I remember photographed with a cat after his abduction, arrest, and Israeli trial?  

Or Hitler's love for Blondie, the German Shepherd?  

Or when I addressed several young assembled women at a dog run did they look at me funny?  

And some others smile knowingly, wanting my autograph?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Purpose Of Dining

As if sitting on a warm evening alone at a table

Waiting for the Sole Meunière

Catching a 'dish of the sun' before the Earth swallows its edge

Moving the fingers to and from the water glass

Wondering why the only thing worth reading is still upstairs

Glancing back to the left where the woman and her elderly mother sit

And noticing her look, the daughter, to me, she about forty-five,

Spooning her sherbet, then mouthing, almost,

Now look at the moon, we're expecting you.


The Fan

Hair meticulously shampooed, the rest of me just sponge-bathed over the week, nails cut, face close-shaven for 'the kiss', a daub of Canoë behind each ear, tux on, ticket given at the door,

Her entrance then, in glittered gown, her saucy, lit, electric glance, 

I love you Ann-Margret Olsson!  

Hurling my room key onto the stage, the applause and brass overture oversounding my cry just after shouting, the crowd-scuffle lost in the quick press of the ushers, the big bouncers.

All this echoing through the mockery at Precinct 8 and their holding cell, echoing through therapy.


Reconstituted Convention

. . . My fellow delegates . . . I present to you . . . to be resolved . . . a new Republic of Commerce . . . dedicated to . . . undying notion of Free Markets . . . 'One' nation under the restrictive eye of the God of Guilt . . . amen . . . sine die. . .


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clear Moon


Pianist unfamiliar, a very skilled contestant at a high-level competition.

I'm watching her technique.  I'm taking-in her orange dress, her smooth arms, her arched wrists and fingers.

The occasional audience foot-shift.  Jerry-built background curtain.  Cut-up stage.  Compartmentalized room.

Low coughs.  Dead Debussy.  Human, all-too-human, context.

Gorgeous music.

What makes me hear something 'better' in what man composes than what I see of him moment by moment?

I want the transcendence.  We do transcend.  I do insist so hard.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pucker Up

We're (pretty) good -- therefore, sour to the taste.



'The Top' thrills to look at, when it's open for the climb.

When it's occupied, it's just the place for envy.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Unused Words Worthy

(Have been waiting for a poem to come by)






Thursday, March 11, 2010

Daily Dairy

A profligate use of cheese, unthinking amounts of yoghurt, ice cream by the tank truck.

Extravagances written in the blood chemistry of lab work.


Still Close

The leaf and branch bin, steady morning rain on it,

Picked up by the unseen compost truck, then rolled by me

To its modest square by the fence,

Damp beauty bark some inches deep.  The rise

My synthetic shoe soles make around that

Mound of yard, sequestered, dense,

Barely confers with nature, except perhaps

In having her thump back against my moving 

And hold me up -- its motherly sense.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sea Lane Litter

The Wreck Of The Hesperus

The Wreck Of The Mary Deare

The Wreck Of The Deutschland


Power Out

Bedroom cold:  entering the breathing world

Again born, again slapped awake

Conscious that it's gone, whatever it was,

Blinking out now onto acres of yield, years of it.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Biting One's Tongue

Having spoken too soon, having played the odds

When one should have (in quiet) respected the gods --

Seattle, outside The 100 Days,

Outside the window: snow, in 100 which-a-ways


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Black Cloud Evening, Lite

Politically speaking, as far as I'm concerned, the world is over.

This is a prerogative of my age, education, and position as anonymous pontificant.

Let me exercise a bit of Voltairean observation.

There might be a couple of thousand people within reach of real power who are acting sanely.

All others with power or near it, not to mention 6 billion-plus with none, are those who:

1) believe that all interests cancel each other to yield the best (the only!) possible result for the whole; or

2) believe that "I protect me and mine"; or

3) believe that [fill in label for deity here] oversees the result; or

4) believe in 'gimme'.

Fear is yielding to ideology is using technology is killing the only goose ever in town who laid any eggs.

Ergo, I'm reading up on, and will subsequently be listening to many hours of, foreign language grand opera.  On the agenda, as well, are writings on arcane theological reconstructions and long novels that will keep me until my eyes grow seriously dim or my brain squirrels back to the small streets of toddlerhood.

Yes.  I'm sure I'll feel better about it all tomorrow.  You know me.  Basically cheerful and ready to meet the challenge of winning-over the people we all (in theory) should love.



Spiritual guy, all caked with matter

I know the covering goes, gets gone.

What meets what's left, what steps up

Goes two-thirds of the way my way

When I go to the shadow, get better?


Me, Americano

Things at which I am 'best' : none.

The amalgam of all things that I am : exceptional.


Dead Class Reunion Letter

L.C. :  Ran into her at a coffee house then, when they played live folk music.  She and I 'played a scene' of 'having to part reluctantly'.  I went a few short lines of movie dialogue and was willing to laugh it off as a good mutual joke, but she drew the scene out to (for me) uncomfortable lengths -- practicing a role as she would any actual lines of rehearsal?  Casually prick-teasing, just for practice?  Less 'reality' inside than even yours truly, thus filling-up an exterior to provide an interior?

Very, very sophisticated for her age.  From my (yes, yokel) vantage.  Troubled, likely.  Ambitious.  Dangerous, if loved.

D.B. :  She plain, healthy, 'of ambiguous lure'.  

A type I might have ventured for, found out a 'dark secret' about, pursued anyway, 'gotten talked to', and spilled seed in desperate aloneness over.  

Or just shared a liking for the mature films of Bernardo Bertolucci?

M.G. :  He dead so long ago, it must have been a couple, three, Imperial wars back. 

Name on a monument erected on Federal land and given homage heavily by those who hate Feds and want to sell Fed land.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hard Work

Keeping an appetite for biftek in Paraguay.

Keeping the Holocaust alive.


Dream Queue

This natural sound in the postal line.

A woman bends over, next to a child

Absorbed by the racket inside her box.

Inside this box are yellow chicks,

Some party-colored ones, soft brown 

And striped, and one keeps climbing

As they cheep, they all go cheep.


Bird Sighting

About the girl, says Alfie, It's tall, it contains not too much substance, it's good for a giggle.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

'The Hundred Days'

No.  Not a political comment.

For 100 days, Seattle is vulnerable to possible snow.

As calibrated here, roughly November 22 through the first days of March, about a hundred.

They're over now.

And this year such white falling, once, turned wet 20 feet above the head,

And it just splashed!  It just splashed.

How goodly are thy tents, El Niño!