shadow on the moon/countdown

shadow on the moon

i throw a shadow on the moon
the sun recoils
the planets

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:
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 . . .


  1. The pacing in this post was so engaging – like tumbling along in your consciousness, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your work, and my condolences.

    • Luke, your condolences and your thoughtful comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you. This was a long post, and I’m gratified and relieved to learn that you found it well paced. Certain episodes do tend to send our consciousnesses tumbling, all right!

  2. Ms Goto. I don’t know if you remember me, but I was one of your students(Debra Girard) in Drawing and Composition, back in the mid-70’s, at Glendale Community College. I consider you my best professor. What you taught me about composition I have carried with me in my paintings, like varying my mark making, and running the object off the page to create dynamic compositions. I am forever grateful. Thank you so much!

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