shadow on the moon

i throw a shadow on the moon
the sun recoils
the planets
S W O O N

2016-07-16 00.03.54

Yesterday there was a Celebration of Life for my friend and classmate Charlie Rhodes. In the chapel, having arrived early, I wrote this before the Celebration began:

******
charlie rhodes, modest colossus

in the framed picture of charlie to the left
of his casket he is wearing number 55 on his
chest and shoulders a bengals cap on his head
and a moustache and his grin on his beaming face
there are three flower arrangements to the right of
his flag-draped casket and a slide show above it
charlie was so full of zest I would not be
too astonished if he burst out of his casket right now
“i really had you going didn’t i guys”
and he would give us his blessed cheerfulness
that charlie
joked at our 20th reunion that he had become an adult film star under the name ‘chuck stake’
the last i saw him was here at the service of his dad
so long, charlie
you were the king of cheer
so long, chuck
save a fluffer for me
*****
After the funeral I worked my shift at the airport and came home and wrote this to the music of Jackson Browne’s “Fountain of Sorrow”:
*****
layers 2016
there are two tabs on my browser now
jackson browne sings “fountain of sorrow” on the other tab
youtube as usual
and i write right now on this tab

but deeper into the background is the bus ride home
and the driver and his colleague talking about a friend
who was forced to take a cab
it bothered them: it was like the shoemaker’s children barefoot

and the next layer down is the shift i worked
and a mistake i made that almost resulted in a reprimand
i had interrupted a server taking an order
and the diner rightfully took offense

and earlier than my shift was a sandwich:
busride/funeral/busride
a friend’s remains boxed and outside the box
grievers “celebrated” as best they could

jackson browne has finished singing
my feet feel better unshod
my shift ended well
my dead friend sleeps without bad dreams

*****

As midnight approached I finished the poem and the drawing above, and here we are.

I have only a handful of posts to do before my 1000th post. I want them to be among the best posts I’ve ever done, and I want the 1000th post to be the best of all. I want it to help justify my existence . . .

. . . and I may try too hard and clench up. So this is the cautionary “SLOW DOWN!” that Darlene Goto, extraordinary Art Teacher of two-thirds of my life ago, wrote by way of critique of my first submitted portfolio, in her Drawing & Composition class at Glendale Community College in the Fall semester of 1973. With the handful of pre-1000th posts to do, and seven weeks or so to work with, I will unclench and unrush and have fun and be loose.

Back in a week or so . . .

 

Here is my artist’s conception of my good friend RussKaz. I went a little Doughy Van-Goghy with the oil pastels, both because Russ is a similarly coppery redhead and because with my yet-unease with the oil pastel medium I figured a vigorous ‘brush’work would help allay my clumsiness. Still have miles to go to get any proficiency at all in this medium, but this is better than the previous ones.

image

 

image (4)

The final vignette concerns Santa Claus’s psychic tussle with a mysterious menace who appears to be Native American. This staredown may have only one survivor.

There was more to my cover design than the four drawings I’ve posted. I embedded them in a template that includes the masthead/logo of AMAZING ARIZONA COMICS, and I also added a title and subtitle at the bottom, reading “SUMMER ALBUM ISSUE/featuring SPEED CAMERON, SANTA CLAUS, and their Friends & Foes.” Since AAC is Russ’s brainchild, I’ve encouraged him to make any changes to my drawings, design or title that he wishes. I frankly don’t know how the finished product is going to look–but I can hardly wait to find out.

image (3)

The story so far in Vignette 3: That despicable canine cad, Archie Wawa, has used cuffs as coercion to shanghai June Monsoon into a milkshake date at the 5 & Diner. Archie appears, and is, unpleased at the arrival of June’s friend and champion, Speed Cameron.

NOTE: The 5 & Diner is a popular 50s-style soda-fountain-type diner, variously located in the Valley of the Sun. Pictures of James Dean, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, the Life Magazine cover showing a movie audience wearing 3D glasses, and loads of other memorabilia festoon their 16th Street/Colter location. My daughter Kate and I have been known to pop over there for cherry Cokes and burgers in the middle of the night, though it’s been a long time. I wish I were there right now.

ANOTHER NOTE: These images of vignette panels I’ve been posting were not scanned, but badly photographed for expedience’s sake on the day I sent Russ my cover design. I know Russ and his superstar colorist brother Kyle have a challenge ahead of them, finishing and colorizing my design, but they will be working from the scanned originals and not these unholy photoimages, thank Goodness.

My Karaoke Fanboy friend, Russ Kazmierczak, Jr., asked me months ago to be his featured artist for the cover of the August issue of AMAZING ARIZONA COMICS. The plan solidified when he did a 24-hour drawing stint in a storefront window in downtown Glendale (my home town!), and used those 24 hours to draw the August issue. I asked him what the deadline was, and he said two weeks would be fine. Twelve days later I met my self-imposed Thursday-Midnight deadline, giving Russ two days of wiggle room.

The story is of four vignettes, so my design of the August cover includes four panels, each relevant to a vignette. Without further ado, and with Russ’s kind permission to post before release (“It’s not NASA secrets, after all,” he said with a karaoke sidelong grin), here is a panel from Vignette 1. Santa Claus has unmasked a Hobgoblinesque troublemaker, only to find a normal, befuddled guy under the mask, who had been possessed by the hot and dire villain Heatstroke. I was fairly faithful to the source, adding an incoming, dashing Speed Cameron.

image (1)

My thanks again to Russ for recruiting my involvement in his Magnum Opus. It is a privilege and an honor!

NOTE: This poem originally appeared in my Notes in Facebook, under the title “lonely for.” I changed the title because it was bet-hedging and wishy-washy.

lonely for a woman

lonely for a woman

lately the phrase “lonely for a woman” flits around
there in my uncaring-of-correctness skull
but like a hummingbird this morning it is hovering

demanding to be seen and acknowledged

well ok “lonely for a woman” i see you i acknowledge you

and it is embarrassing to acknowledge your taunting truth

sure you are true but you are not enough
there are a thousand flavors of loneliness and you imply lust alone
you say nothing for loneliness of moments
loneliness for those firsts that amp the mundane into the spectacular
first look not just into a pair of eyes but into the beyond of them
first deeper-meaning laughter first high-voltage touch

and yes first intimacy first joining

and here comes another hummingbird thought
side by side with “lonely for a woman”
this one is “unlucky in love again and again”

the beat of its hovering wings makes an irritating noise

now there’s a whole flock of them
“desperate, aren’t we?” “you’re not getting any younger” “what did you expect?”

and there is the background hissy rasp of many more

i dismiss the birds i cast them out
i have known love and i will know it again
and though it is instructive to be in the desert of ‘lonely for . . .’

it is dangerous to seek relief instead of rightness

i create a hummingbird

this one says “any day now”

that’s all i need on any given day
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