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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Rummaging through the image archives I found a spate of portraiture tries from five years or so ago. These are the best of a not-all-that-good bunch.

Here’s James Joyce:

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Robert Heinlein:

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Margaret Bourke-White, with a seeming touch of Clint Eastwood:

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Eleanor Roosevelt:

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The enigmatic and tragically-overlooked Alice Sheldon, alias James Tiptree, Jr.:

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The prolific inventor and thug hirer Thomas Edison:

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And, last but not least, the physically driven, self-sculpted Mikhail Baryshnikov:

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The drawings, though all flawed, represent the work it has taken to make what I do now, though flawed, less so with time and trouble. The best two-word advice for the art student, courtesy of stellar artist and sensei Darlene Goto, is “SLOW DOWN!;” the best three-word advice, available through the public domain, is “Practice, practice, practice.”

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Even though there is no such word as Geckolalia, an Internet search revealed a definition in a WordPress blog called Practicing Noticing: “The tendency to repeat after lizards.” And the real word Echolalia means a tendency to repeat what has just been said. To repeat what has just been said. To repeat–you get the point.

In the Valley of the Sun, in residential areas, geckos often make a successful living hanging out at front porches, snagging small bugs and looking cute with their nictitating eyelids seeming to extend to their entire pinkish bodies. They have sticky or suctiony toepads that enable them to stick to walls and even ceilings. They seem a little not-of-this-earth and magical.

The acrostic may work as an extended metaphor for creatures who hunt prey and avoid being prey themselves by being hidden in plain sight. The end letters demanded, as they so often do, unconventional rhyming words. Does A rhyme with I? No, but Flea rhymes with III (Three).

Here are the words:

Goshawks gawk from angles aerial
Eyes for detail small as flea
Ceiling clingers dodge a burial
Kestrels clueless: Stooges III
Out unbugging sand verbena
Others hunt in prey’s arena

 

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Some time in the late 70s my great-Aunt Zilpha, now deceased but then living in the tiny upstate New York community of Oxford, gave me a softcover book entitled Franck Taylor Bowers 1875-1932. The cover of the book, a photographic self-portrait of the artist, is the main photo source for my image. Thank Goodness his first name had its peculiar spelling. It makes him a perfect triple acrostic.

Franck was no N.C. Wyeth, but he was good enough for Binghamton, New York, where a retrospective of his work was displayed in 1977, becoming the basis for the book Aunt Zilpha gave me. An Internet search reveals that his father, LaMont Bowers, a financial advisor for John D. Rockefeller, Jr., may have had something to do with the Ludlow Massacre, a shameful episode in the history of American labor relations. Tsk tsk on him if so, and tsk tsk on him for saddling Franck with family business obligations (anchors and other ancillaries) when Franck could have been painting his way to greatness. Instead, eight years of his life was misspent on anchors and invoices.

Franck died of aplastic anemia four days after his 57th birthday, so I have outlived him by two years and counting. He did some nice drawings and paintings, some of which are findable via Internet search. It would make my day if someone reading this honored his memory by checking out some of his images.

The words:

FLAWLESS execution with a pen or pencil nub
Raw sienna add cerulean to brush or rub–go
Anywhichway & pursue your muse w/ebb & flow
Nobody sincere is selling you a line to toe
Continental voyages took dilettante to doer
Kept an artist-voyager alive and new toujours

In the house that Denise bought, there is an adjunct to the garage that is badly infested by Black Widow spiders. Soon we will call the Bugman, but by way of prep I divested the space of my boxes-o-stuff. In the process I liberated one of my sculpted birds and set it in the front yard, beside the gorgeous and enormous agave, facing two of its fellows previously placed:

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“Horned Bird,” the one on the left, is the newest addition to this quasi-diorama. The two other birds are unnamed. The globular vase was made by my Phoenix College fellow ceramics-studio rat Richard R. Richard’s monogram is perfect: he is a former railroad man.

I also attempted my first bisque fire with the kiln I bought several moons ago. I set both dials to High and let it toast for four hours, which is probably not enough, but next time I’ll try five, and if that doesn’t work, next time, six. I have 04 pyrometric cones but I don’t have 05s or 06s, so I’ll trial-and-error it till I get more cones or a thermometer. But it cast a lovely light just before I shut it off, as evidenced by the view through the peephole:

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There are four pieces of ware in there. Can’t wait to pop the top and see how they did!

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing a father & daughter duet on ukulele and harmonica. The gentleman is 92 years young. The lady has been my friend for more than twenty years.

The words:

Daughter & Dad blow harp & pick
It is Magic but it ain’t no trick–a
Cat’s meow in a reedy blur
Keeping time that is loose yet sure
& Dad & Daughter’s musical fun
& games: years long yet new-begun

The words will come first for this one, the image last. The image won’t last but some of the words might.

NOTE: Like American Raku, American Haiku does not adhere to the rules of its Japanese namesake. I am a native-born citizen of the United States of America. The only rule I adhere to for my own “Haiku” is that it have a five-syllable line followed by a seven-syllable line followed by a concluding five-syllable line. They’re succinct!

the baggage unclaim’d
by conscientious thinkers
need not be opened

blink outside the box
sink rapidly to moisten
think or swim; you’re Choice

the fog is meringue
in the middle distance, a
surrounding scrim close

if life’s but a dream
then dreams are life subroutines
else life’s but a glitch

insomniac x:
why zee? DOUBLE you be, see?
just no-bud D saw.

the Road Less Traveled
may be dangerous or dull
better ask around

PAIN is not a gift
TORTURE is not an art form
Respect must be paid

unstressed syllables
are the sorbets of verses
they cleanse the pallette

friendly host zombie
chowing down on Ringo Starr:
who wants a d r u m s t i c k?

exclusivity
and loneliness may well go
hand in empty hand

5-7-5 is
an aggregate 17
–so QUICK: SAY something

Twin edifices
Tumbled down twelve years ago.
The Republic STANDS.

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Cats are bloodthirsty and duplicitous. They will disembowel their played-with prey without a care, and five minutes later act the innocent in your lap, their purr-motor set to Lull. But you gotta love ’em.

My friend and fellow blogger Michel Lamontagne once praised my predacious-cat drawings, and so I hope he likes this one; it might not have happened but for his kindly comment.

The words:

Penelope June also answered to Peej
Uganda D. Mouser was fond of the bijou
Rough Justice was dealt twixt boudoir & foyer
Remains to be seen? Maybe so–not today

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Three posts ago I quoted Carly Simon. I then realized that her name might make a doable double acrostic, and that I’d been smitten by her since the mid-70s, and that her spirit is ageless and enduring. Then I struggled for days. I could well struggle more, but I will never do her justice, so I rely on the adage “A work of art is never finished; it is only abandoned” and abandon ship.

The phrase “slow-sculpted as a Bonsai” is a tip of the hat to Theodore Sturgeon and his “Slow Sculpture,” which is just as much a prose poem as a humdinger of a science fiction story.

The words:

Cheerful-mouthed, hopeful-eyed, ageless
Angel-voiced, scalpel-witted, slow-sculpted as a Bonsai
Romance-hearted, nimble-lyricked, at home in the boardroom & on the farm
Lovingly maternal & brimming w/brio
YES!!! is the answer, You LIKE her? the question