Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Monday, May 30, 2011

We, The Living

Impatience is in all of us in the business of hope, tugging her kit closer.

I thought, Don't go, but she'd ramped, the plane lifted-off for an ill-at-ease, long airflight to a land less comfortable yet

filled with -- pick one -- deep and ancient blood feud, dengue, rice blight, bird flu, tyranny

You say good morning to the Colonel and they strike you silly

at what used to be Vocation.  But it's unsure, pretty surely not, a voice that's calling you

You call yourself, you're facing yourself, you've faced yourself

And I turn past the tourist toys and scanners, the Starbucks, escalators, skybridge, out through Departures into the concrete lot, unlock my Toyota with a beep, watch out for cars, and wend my way to home.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Wake

This might be said about the death

of anyone: that its quick memory springs from live mouths around a table

that someone is always looking at you when you bring it up, your tone forefashioned, grave --

an entourage frail as the body itself nods, and then a matter of drinking and eating

and for some, fucking.  Because when bodies grow cold, the spirit rises and swoops

and while the finally sedate fall into flimsy gravity

others swivel and clutch.  They insist on it.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Library Guy

With the enormity of holding keys, the anxiety of secret Sunday morning when no one ever comes the first hours

or late Monday when the sleep sets in on the studious and they clear out

that par-lit time the stacks have mass, get weight, hang heavy off a low-watt bulb

dead man- and spunky woman-names show on the spine, or in deep footnotes

stamping the place like a caught lover

me just being the sentry, acting the watch, my bowel holding a cosmos of ghosts, the knot of human mind I don't know my own

my walkabout a rendezvous with a fear that if I lie down I never rise, that there's only my walking then nothing

that the odd ideas smelling of thread and binding glue, they're the only real,

that, and the frontispiece of a dragon folded with a pencil note:  my home


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A teacher once said that satire can't just wallow in its subject; it needs to follow it with a keen, but quietly judgmental eye.  

Over the past 30 years, America's puritanical heritage has resurfaced in its politics, and much of that can be attributed to fear that what we see in P.T. Anderson's Boogie Nights was 'real', that it represents what was a 'mainstream deviance that corrupted our children'.  Even people who 'experimented' may wrongly believe that this movie shows 'what it was like'.

Actually, Anderson gets wonderfully comic performances out of these actors, some of whom have become fixtures, either as major names or solid supports.  They all play deluded people of average talent and intelligence, maybe a bit less, who focus on their American Dream which -- given the Southern California milieu -- means using the lens of a porno industry camera.

You don't watch Boogie Nights for sex or for music, though both suffuse the movie . . . uh . . . top to bottom.  You watch it to find the true nature of your pity.  How much human outreach do you have?  How would you -- if this were real -- how would you counsel any of these people?  You gladden when the ones who don't sink from their actions don't sink.

Most of the movie is simply fun, despite the awareness that  those dumb-headed actions happening recklessly at the edge of one behavioral cliff or another presage downfall.  For some of the characters, disaster comes.  For others, life plods on in very common ways.  

It's not real, but as you watch, you see how it could have been real.

Watching and seeing are retrospective skills.  That's what art is for.

Living is for mistakes.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kiss, Kiss

Within love

discontinuities, however

you count the bickering and maybe

one or two of the fallings-out

followed by climbings-back-in

they do say it's there anyway

the pair-bonding, for life, like

two swans.


Feel The Power

Australia's Aboriginal Elder, Cedric.

How 'primitive' must a culture be, still to hold onto a human interplay with -- not the physical world?

Hopi Chief Dan Evemhema.  His spiritual compass has centered in North America, but tapped into mystery, too.

For 'contemporary', 'scientific', 'secular', 'modern', 'technological' mankind, though,

when did the last 'respected elder' live and die?

Sometime when common households held several generations.  


Let's check Wikipedia on this.

(photo:  Ted Szukalski)


Friday, May 13, 2011

Street Saint, Saint Street

Attestation as to the ear-

witnessing of the heart's want.

Was as if i'd pulled a bunny out or flipped

a coin had landed on its edge as a naturist 

knowing a bird from a bat were a flutter in the belfry

weird and wild no plainer nor truer

was the angel talked from voices

vocal in my bowed-down head.

Sworn this day, as my maternal aunt

had a brother-in-law whose son was me.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Victory In Europe, 1945

This Vera Lynn RAF appearance.

Stanley Kubrick uses her song as the exit from his 1964 Dr. Strangelove, as an 'automated deterrent' of nuclear bombs mistakenly (subconsciously!) gets triggered -- the Doomsday Machine causing 'blossoms', one after the other, Springtime.

Kubrick's irony goes, as usual, that distance into the human heart . . . which only The Shadow seems to know.

This entry to the brave people, dead and living, who weathered those times and fought that 'good war'.

And good will to the many who oppose fascism in all its forms.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Laying Out The Cards

The town quarter where we have slept sleep, some men at golf under umbrellas, the women upturning diamonds and hearts,

unto the babies a donation of constant things,

what is magic after all except the continuance that has no answers for itself

that it's begun is all, that there was a start, that a stranger, a man choosing between two forks of a road goes headlong off onto the highway of his own making

and what of paths, anyway, they just go and we're not sure they stop since that end produces a fresh choice.

If you wander to the left and I move my hand to the left I am taking the same journey and if I cry at the season when sadness calls for it and you pinch tears from your own eyes you are feeling the same sadness

and when the woman needing distraction plays the deck, and after the lay observes what the cards have turned, the resultant,

she sees a woman playing the deck and observing, and still hears the infant, still feels what's been there the while, the squeeze at her breast, that surprise, that unconditional.