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playing jacks with laura
To Laura J Young

there was a girl
about two years older than my sevenandahalf,
and her name was laura
and she taught me how to play jacks.

she used a golf ball, which was good, because
it had more bounce and truer bounce
than that red ball with a seam.

laura was always better than me,
always getting up to her tens
while i was still on my fives or so,
and then she’d get through piginapen
or doublebounce
while i was only up to my nines or so.

we also played chutes&ladders
or candyland
out of the charity of her kind soul,
for she had long outgrown those games.

she had a spool with four nails pounded partway
into one end, the nailheads forming a square,
and she could make an endless snake
of yarn or twine
come out of the other end
just by a kind of weaving.
i thought it was neat.
she taught me how to do it too.

our dads got mad at each other over something.
it might have been the mulberries our tree shed
in their yard,
which were sweetly yummy but awfully stainy,
or it might have been the way our dog liked to pee
on their pyracantha,
or maybe that we were supposed to be the first ones
to swim in the swimming pool we helped dig
and we ended up never swimming there at all.

it only matters because after that
laura and i never played any more.

more than fifty-one years later
i saw her name as a friend of a facebook friend,
another neighbor,
and now we’re friends again
though many miles apart.

she is a shepherd and a yarnwright
and a champion of the environment.
i find that delightful.

i will probably never see her again
since she lives in one of the carolinas,
but i do hope there is something to
the lifeflashingbeforeyoureyes notion,
because i would so love, however briefly,
to go back to
playing jacks with laura.

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Yesterday was a Life-Changer. I finally gave in to reality’s mandate and purchased a smart phone, specifically a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime. I am now able to do this blog post in the comfort of my apartment, using the phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot. If not for the phone I’d be at Hideaway West, or at the Jack In The Box across the street from O’Brien’s Irish Pub, to be able to go online.

image26~2~2

seize the daisies do not sob

avarice unlocks the rofl

antiquated networks nu

make us grin & games ensue

HISTORICAL NOTES: In 1999 I purchased a 1.0 megapixel camera for $400.00. Yesterday I bought a smart phone with a pair of approx. 5 megapixel cameras, and 4G LTE hotspot capability, for $49.99.

Smart phone? WTF
Will wonders ever fail
Idle chatter of the cognoscenti
Takes  hop or a skip
Cause we all jump
Having been play’d

 

This is my second showcasing of the remarkable Ms. Jones. I also did a truly idiotic double-acrostic of “Jennifer adorable” but she again spoke to me, advising me to crop it out. I have done so, but include the text below the image, for the curious.

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Jellybean eyes! Woulda

entertained as should

now we’ve a notion to go

Northwesterning a l’amour

it’s such fine phenomena

finds us in a discombob

Electrolux, set sail

reality’s a whale

 

 

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Back in the mid-80s I was in a bowling league. I was the second-worst member of a five-person team. Our two best bowlers were not only very good, but also wise to the ways of bowling-league success and, most vital to the discussion that follows, unscrupulous. They wanted a trophy in the worst way, and so in the early games they indulged in a practice called sandbagging. To Sandbag is to deliberately not do your best, in order to gain an advantage.

These fellows were shameless about it. One night one of them claimed he’d injured his bowling arm, and so he bowled with his other arm, getting, of course, bad scores for all three games. Other times one or both of them would ‘experiment’ with different grips or approaches. All of this stuff mysteriously ended at the end of that part of the season wherein a team’s handicap, or points automatically added to level the playing field of bowler skill, was determined. After that, our two stars bowled to the best of their ability, enjoying the extra points they’d “earned” by not doing their best. (PS: Our team won the trophy. I also got a patch for bowling a game 75 points above my average, which was a semi-dismal 150 or so. I feel that I earned my share of the trophy and my patch, since I was not a Sandbagger at the time.))

Now we come to the image above, my latest acrostic-poem card. It has good possibilities as a work of art, but the execution is rushed and slipshod, and the poem is needlessly confusing. I can draw, and have drawn, far better; I can compose, and have composed, far more coherent verse. Why didn’t I do a better job?

Well, I can claim that my time is severely limited, which is 100% true; and I can tell you truly that I did this particular card to provide a not-too-intimidating example of acrostic poetry, in order to persuade my fellow members of the poetry group Poets All Call to try acrostic poetry themselves. I’m also slightly distracted by the migratory lingering gout that has now settled in my right knee.

But the whole truth is, about this and many other cards I’ve done, that I COULD have done better, and out of respect for the concept, SHOULD have done better, but I simply CHOSE NOT TO, and shame on me.

Shame on me, because you, the viewer, deserve the best I can do in the presentation of my artwork: you are giving the most precious thing you have in the world, Time Out Of Your Life, to paying attention to what I’ve done. And I am grateful that you do so, and I don’t want to waste your Time.

So–what advantage do I gain by not doing my best? Foremost, I think, is the indulgence of my laziness. I have chosen to work only so hard and no harder.

Second, I’m getting older astonishingly quickly, and I have so many ideas and ideas are my strong suit, and if I don’t record my ideas they tend to evaporate on me. If I spend too much time on one idea it is at the expense of others I may record, and won’t.

Third, just like those bowling teammates I had, I hope to look good-by-contrast later. Blog Post #1000 is fewer than 75 posts away. I am hoping it will be the best thing I have ever done in my life, arts-wise. That post may well serve as the equivalent of a master’s thesis, or an application of upgrade from apprentice to journeyman status, or, time not permitting, my valedictory farewell . . .

Thank you for your sweet Attention, my friends!

Here are the words to the OK-but-not-great acrostic:

Silly humans! They don’t know

Amorousness. Tally ho

Finding out about a partner

Enters realms Erle Stanley Gardner’d

NOTE: Erle Stanley Gardner wrote the Perry Mason books. With this line I compare growing intimacy to courtroom trials, with their Objection, Your Honors and their And Is It Not Also A Facts. As for “safe word,” it is a neologistic phrase referring to a word a lover may use to indicate, no kidding, that the other lover ought to cease and desist whatever s/he is doing, pronto. The phrase became popular after the release of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, which I have not yet seen.

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Friend, you can’t spell Brush without RUSH. If you can make your brush sing the way B. B. King made his Lucille sing, you are blessed. From the tortured ecstasy of Vincent to the Spatterday Night Fever of Pollock, Brushwork reflects the soul.

Bristles UP! Look out below
Releasing pigment we will go
Unleashing swath-razed ribs of color
So Life & Surface are unduller
Have havoc on a ferruled track
Hew HUE & CRY-EYE back 2 back

Go thou and do likewise, Friend. Brush up and have YOUR Brush With Destiny!