Jamie Dedes is alive, though she was given but two years to live in a prognosis delivered before the end of the last century. She credits her son and “an extraordinary medical team” for her continued existence. Though I don’t know her well–I don’t even know how many syllables are in her last name, much less how to pronounce it–I would venture to add that Moxie also has something to it.

For she has Moxie in abundance. She cares enough about poetry and its practitioners to have created and maintained an outstanding resource-blog called THE POET BY DAY, which connects poets via showcased poet exemplars, essays, links to items of interest to poets, her own poems, and on Wednesdays, those springboarding challenges known as prompts, which are invitations to write about a specific thing, or on a certain theme, or some other limiting, focusing factor.

And it was a week ago Wednesday that I responded to one such prompt. This one:

Write a poem, a fiction or a creative nonfiction piece telling us how you envision a feminine God or about the feminine side of God.  What might S/he be like?  Does/would such a view change the way you feel about yourself and the world? Would it change the world? How? You don’t need to believe in God or in a feminine aspect of God. This is an exercise in imagination not faith. Have fun with the exercise and if you feel comfortable, share the piece or the link to the piece below so that we might all enjoy.

For some reason this prompt struck a chord and got me going. I don’t know if there is a Supreme Being. I have certain feelings but I don’t trust them, being a rationalizer and wishful-thinker. A much more intelligent man than I am, Stephen Hawking, envisions a cosmology that, in the words of Carl Sagan in his introduction to Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, gives “nothing for a Creator to do.” In other words, Hawking’s universe has no need for a Creator.

But if there IS a Supreme Being, it makes sense to me, since the Supreme Being brought us all to be, that since that Being birthed us all, that She be a mother. And so I took a weird word from a conspiracy theory about our 44th President, Barack Obama, for a title, and was off to the races imagining God as Mom:

*****

birther

o god
thou residest betwixt r and t

god s be thy name
birther of us all
mixmistress of galaxies
crecher of clusters
ovulatrix of ylem

thy mother’s care is in the dew
thy admonishment is in the don’t
and when we want to play in the woods of reckless fun
thou respondest “we’ll see”
which almost always means “fat chance”

thy human smartalecks speak of heat death
it is merely a pause
in thy menopause
and soon thou’lt bake us cosmic cookies again

thanks for Ever
y
Thing,
maman

*****

Sure was fun to write, and oddly, bouncily, spiritually uplifting. Things just seemed to naturally occur: the Heat Death of the Universe resonates with the “hot flash” of menopause–hey how bout that, menoPAUSE–perhaps prelusive of the Big Crunch and the next Bang–and double up on “baking us cosmic cookies” with us being some of the cosmic cookies she bakes–and Everything with the y, possibly the Spanish “and,” joining Ever and Thing–and the French word for Mama, maman, slightly hinting at both “amen” and “ma MAN.” Wrote it first, realized it later. Could it be that She helped? Fun to think so.

I posted “birther” in the Comments section of Jamie’s post, and she replied that she loved it and wanted to include it in her following-Tuesday post. I happily agreed, and supplied a photo and my poet’s curriculum vitae at her request. She published my and three other poets’ responses to her prompt last Tuesday, and I was proud and happy enough to be in such august company that I put a link to her post on my Facebook Timeline.

As fate would have it, the next day was Jamie’s Birthday, and it was there I learned about her “Sixty-seven Years on the Razor’s Edge.” You can too, and I think you should. Here is a link: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56465423/posts/1350565805

One thing I’d left out of my poet’s biography was the fact that my specialty is Acrostic poetry, i.e. poems where the first and/or last and/or midstream letters of the poem form words. In my gratitude to Jamie, and wanting to show off a little of this weird skill, I composed and illustrated a birthday acrostic for her, thus:

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Here are the words of what may be the first birthday-occasion, acrostic, limerickal, end-words-all-rhyme-or-nearly-so poem in human history:

Jamaica may thrill, undenied,
And Nawlins is burstful with pride;
MARVEL at, though, who’s hied
In the clouds with her stride,
Energetically shifting the tides.

Thanks again, Jamie, for Ever y Thing!

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Last night I watched the DVD of GUERNICA. It was about the village of that name that was used by the Condor Squad of Hitler’s Luftwaffe to test the effectiveness of Blitzkrieg, “lightning warfare.” The bombing was conducted by a cousin of WWI’s Baron von Richtofen. It was April 26, 1937, and the bombing was called by him “a birthday present for Hitler.”

It was a good movie, with personal stories of love, heartbreak, betrayal and loss. I kept getting distracted by the costumes, hairstyles, and vintage automobiles, though, and soon froze the frame for a sketch, and kept freezing it for an interesting expression, explosion, or other eye candy. Consequently it took the better part of five hours to see a two-hour movie.

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Today is Valentine’s Day Eve. On Facebook, I posted this message to my timeline:

Heads up, young-at-heart lovers everywhere. The only decent way to send a Valentine that isn’t hand-delivered or messengered is by snail mail. The only hope of it arriving tomorrow is if you send it today, early as possible. Even if it doesn’t arrive on Valentine’s Day, the postmark will prove timeliness–and what a pleasant surprise it will be!

Sound like a lot of trouble? That’s the point! She is worth it. He is worth it. You are worth it.

As for me, one Valentine is written and will be signed and sealed and mailboxed before noon today. She is worth it.

Since the post the Valentine has been signed and sealed, and stamped with a Forever stamp. After we’re done here I will drop it in a mailbox.

The image above is the substrate of the Valentine. It is dated and badly signed. The photo was taken before the Valentine was written in its interstices. The signature was corrected.

It goes to a very special lady who lives hundreds of miles away. Long ago she expressed a fondness for my more non-objective, abstractive artwork, so the substrate drawing was made especially for her. I’ve also put a few other pen sketches in the envelope.

I hope she will not object to my using this substrate as a funny Valentine for all those special someones who read this and know they have touched my life. Is that you, dear reader? Not necessarily. Due to the miracle of today’s instant, disseminative communication, some of you who read this don’t know me, and there’s a possibility that some who do will not want a Valentine from me. That is okay. That’s life! It’s humbling and character-building to know that we cannot connect with everyone, try though we might.

But if you, singular YOU, read this and know you have made a good difference in my life, this funny bloggy Valentine is for you, with my heart-filled thanks. You also get the hugs and kisses, two each if you look carefully, found in the heart. A joyous and Happy Valentine’s Day to you. And one of you gets two Valentines–this one, and the one that will soon be in the mail.

Love,

Gary

2017-02-07-17-22-40

Like many oft-untold tales, this one begins with Guilt.

I was supposed to meet Magali, whom we at the Devonshire Senior Center call Maggie, at breakfast at the Center this morning. I was not up to it. I had had a rough night. So I stayed home till she called me, put on my not-faking-much Sick voice, and told dear Maggie I wasn’t feeling well. She was nice about it.

Hours went by and I Facebooked and loafed, and ended up feeling better. But the nagging guilt of not having a Spanish lesson from Maggie got to me. Sloth of the day added to the guilt. So about one PM or so I walked to the Hideaway Lounge, where I knew it was Taco Tuesday, and had their $3 special and a small pitcher of Budweiser for my beverage. A sign said “Mystery Shot $2.00” so after I ate I had that. The barista asked me if I wanted another pitcher and I replied No, I Am Tipsy, You Better Cut Me Off, This’ll Be The First Time Ever I’ve Been Cut Off. She was thrilled to be a footnote in my history of Barfly-dom.

Catty-corner to the Hideaway is the Hispanic supermarket known as El Super. I had never been in there before. Somehow I thought it would balance my karmic books if I transacted business there and spoke only Spanish. So I went to the butcher’s counter and drew number 46. When I heard a number with “seis” at the end I waved and pointed to a pile of thin-cut steaks and said “uno.” The butcher lady wrapped my Bistec Sin Hueso and I got some other things and went to the counter and when the cashier lady said “Hi, how are you doing?” I said, “Bien, gracias” and she apologized, took my money, and gave me change.

Next to El Super is a Fry’s. They are like alternate-universe versions of each other. I’d been in Fry’s before, but not this time, opting instead for the Redbox next to it, where I rent DVDs. Got “The Accountant” starring Ben Affleck, gathered the grocery bags in one hand, and headed for home, a mile away.

The way an oldish man walks home with a good 25 pounds of groceries involves a constant shifting of the burden. First it is left-hand dead weight, then it is slung over the left shoulder, then let down and switched to the right hand, then slung over the.right shoulder. Four sets of muscles. “Teamwork makes the Dream work,” I am told.

It’s been a tough week for the world. Chaos seems to be on the up. A lot of my creative energy went into railing at the sorry start the new American White House is having.

This is the second of three days off. Yesterday was spent taking care of business, including doing my taxes and helping my brother out some. Tomorrow I’ll be renting a car and driving to Tucson, where a stylist of many years’experience, a high school classmate of mine whom I haven’t seen in more than 40 years, will be cutting my long hair down to size. So today was a good day for relaxing and recharging my batteries. This afternoon I. rented three DVDs at the Redbox, leisurely did some laundry, and languidly doodled. Some days it is vital to ignore the world’s woes and simply mellow out.

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jan_20170125_0001

The sad news that Mary Tyler Moore has died just hit the Internet. I didn’t know how much I cared about her until now. I did know that she was one of the first women I was “turned on” by, WAY back in the mid-60s; that she was a wonderful comedy actor but also skilled at drama, as with “First, You Cry,” a landmark movie that helped raise breast cancer awareness; that there was a playfulness she either had or inspired that manifested itself in her mogul husband Grant Tinker’s parodying the MGM Lion with the Cat’s Meow of “MTM Productions.” Still, this news hit me hard, and my instant reaction was to do the above image, in such haste that I grabbed an envelope blank on the back and had at it.

Here are the words:

The World you turned on with your smile

Will miss your grace and lack of guile.

From Dick Van Dyke to Lou & Ted

Your Mary-ment dispelled our dread.

Some day ALL wonders have to cease.

Thanks for the Lift, dear-rest in Peace.

jan_20170112_0001

The above image was done during my viewing of Barack Obama’s farewell address. The text blocks are all derived from the speech he made.

As always, the President was poised and both plain-spoken and articulate. His speech made a fitting bookend to his inaugural speech eight years ago. In both, he emphasized inclusion and rejected exclusion, stressing positivity and involvement of the citizenry.

I would like to thank him for his service to our country. In particular, I want to express admiration for his unbelievable grace under pressure. He remained collected and thoughtful in the midst of incredible, stressful times. We will never know how another would have fared in his place, but my guess is that history will regard him as exceptional.