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This is blog post #997.

In “come love me (part 1)” I alluded to variations. Over the last few days I have written fragments of where this poem might have gone, had the form or first line or sentiment been different. (See Arthur C. Clarke’s book The Lost Worlds of 2001 for some way mind-twisting variations on HIS story, including an alien named Clindar who strolled to a planet’s surface from above the atmosphere, and an earlier version of HAL 9000 named Athena, who was far wickeder than Hal, saying stuff like “All systems on Poole are No-Go. It is necessary to replace him with another unit.”) Here are some ways this thing could have gone:

 

come love me

“come love me” was the pixelated message
the lover stared until its afterimage
was seen mid-blink. its urgency, its pressage
presaged a tumbling intramural scrimmage.

*****

come love me

COME LOVE ME so beckoned in text
it left the recipient vexed
and so in reply
came HOW SCARY TO TRY
and the wonder of what would come next.

*****

come love me

“come love me,” said the pixelated text.
it pulled him with its offer of delight.
resistless, he typed, “yes,” for he was hexed . . .

*****

But in the end I went with the slightest of variations:

come love me

come love me said the blinking text
come play with fire come share my bed
we’ll doff our clothes and do what’s next
with no regrets and nothing said

come love me he replied at last
we’ll dine on scones & tea & such
our eyes will meet our souls hold fast
our hope will mix our psyches touch

come love me now & bring yr trust
her answer came ten minutes hence
we will be naked as we must
our lust become our sentiments

come love me if you dare he wrote
we’ll shed our bodies get our bliss
we need no flesh to cross the moat
nor lips to frame the perfect kiss

and hour passed
two hours

ten

the silence s t r e t c h e d and
too
despair

they sought a love

had never been

they wanted something
was
not
there

*****

Tragic that these two near-lovers could have gone both ways, with the tiniest leap of imagination, and pleased each other immensely on alternate days. But both were so fixated on getting things done a certain way that it became a battle of wills. I have found again and again that if a battle of wills, and not continual accommodation/compromise, sets the tone for a relationship, that relationship is doomed. I wrote all this to sort it out. I don’t really think that such a text exchange could take place, any more than I think it is natural for people to suddenly burst into song, as in anything that calls itself a Musical or an Opera. They are fables, and so is this; but a fable, such as this, is often a quest for a greater, or underlying, truth.

Let us now put the image in focus . . .

 

 

image (6)

Here is the “final” version of “buster browne,” my acrostic homage to Jackson Browne. I put “final” in quotes because I had intended to make this an oil pastel, and I may yet, when I am sure I will not ruin it. I refer you to Part 1 for a clue as to how shaky my proficiency with oil pastel is. This drawing has nuances that I cannot yet transcribe into that more difficult medium; but I see nothing wrong with glorious black and white, for now.

The title/acrostic is “buster browne” both for the irony of the reference to the shoe spokesboy Buster Brown and for my admiration for certain of Browne’s songs, in particular “Lives in the Balance,” wherein he calls to account (busts) the Reagan Administration and its shenanigans in Central America. “Lives in the Balance” is equally applicable to other misdeeds worldwide, with passages like this:

In the radio talk shows and TV
You hear one thing again and again
How the USA stands for Freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend.
But who are the ones that we call our friends?
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who find they can’t take any more
And they pick up a gun
Or a brick
Or a stone . . .

Browne is deservedly in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. He has solid songs in each of five consecutive decades. A year ago January I recited “For a Dancer” in its entirety, from memory, at a poetry event after the death of my beloved friend Karen Wilkinson. Here is its finish:

Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming round . . .
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
Just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning we may have found . . .
Don’t let the uncertainly turn you around–

( The world keeps turning round and round)

Go on and make a joyful sound!

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown;
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own,
And some time between
The time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive,
But you’ll never know . . .

Browne could be a bit of a rascal, too, with sexual innuendo. Try on his song “Red Neck Friend” and see where it gets you. And his song “Rosie,” about a sound man who lost a girl to the drummer of the band, has this chorus:

But, Rosie, you’re all right (you wear my ring)
When you hold me tight (Rosie, that’s my thing)
When you turn off the light (I got to hand it to me . . .)
Looks like it’s me and you again tonight,
Rosie.

And that is why in my drawing, in the background sub-portrait, I have Jackson Browne sporting a halo that also puts bunny ears, or devil’s horns, on him.

Here are the words, which refer to his songs “The Pretender,” “Walking Slow,” “For Everyman,” and “Running on Empty.”

buster browne

bitterness of brew and herb
urgency!!! dissolve and stir
some pretender? we dunno
though he takes his walking slow
every man ought say it plain
runs on empty keep us sane

*****

image (7)

Here is a rough cut of the illustrated version of my poem “come love me.” In Part 2 I intend to have a less sketchy illustration and a more calligraphic transcription, and I am also thinking of writing variations and additional stanzas. But as of now the words are these:

come love me

come love me said the blinking text
come play with fire come share my bed
we will disrobe and do what’s next
with no regrets and nothing said

come love me he replied at last
we’ll dine on scones & tea & such
our eyes will meet our souls hold fast
our hopes will mix our psyches touch

come love me now and bring your trust
her answer came ten minutes hence
we will be naked as we must
our lust become our testaments

come love me if you dare he wrote
we’ll shed our bodies get our bliss
we need no flesh to cross the moat
nor lips to frame the perfect kiss

an hour passed
two hours

ten

the silence s t r e t c h e d and
too
despair

they sought a love
had never been

they wanted something

was

.

not

.

.

there

image

I’ve spent the last few days in an off-and-on Jackson Browne immersion. Mostly this is due to some advice I solicited from my good friend and Confidante, Genevieve L, asking her for thematic input on my last few posts leading to Blog Post #1000. Among her many wonderful suggestions was to concentrate on a famous person.

So here we are with Clyde Jackson Browne. He has been in the American-Music Group Mind for more than 40 years. Bruce Springsteen, inducting him into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame, referred to Browne’s landmark LATE FOR THE SKY album as “America’s Paradise Lost.”

This being Part I, I will just add that from here to #1000 I intend to splice the finished image/text of a given Part 2 to the next installment’s Part 1. The next post will be titled “BB(p2)/come love me (part 1).” My Part 2s will be polished and complete; my Part 1s will be raw and exploratory.

Back in a week or so . . .

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.

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