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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Here is my final post for the Index Card A Day project. I have already met the challenge, but I had one more card left in me.

2019 0731 cold hey hey

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2019 0731 gossamer blossoms

Today is the last day of July, and the day of fulfillment for the Index Card A Day challenge. I end with some invented blossoms, drawing by the seat of my pants, with no photo source, and a minimum of word-clutter. Just thought of the blossoms as quiet, slow-exploding fireworks.

2019 0730 superhero

I’ve been watching an Amazon Prime series called THE BOYS, about a group of superheroes who not only, as Stan Lee once prescribed for such, have feet of clay beneath their super-boots, they also have a degree of wrongness to them that goes from corporate sellout to bad to the bone. My suspicion is that the title derives from the Shakespeare quotation “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.”

Be that as it might, it got me onto superhero conception and creation, and here is what I came up with. Townes Cryer, a talk-jock who has an emotional-catharsis program in the wee hours, gets hit with Earth, Air, Fire and Water one fateful night, when a mudslide strikes his station just as lightning hits the antenna and a fire springs up–and then the sprinkler system comes on, and a kindly Fairy-Godmother type of alien creature, a fan of Cryer’s show, effects his rescue, and a side effect of the instant-healing she subjects Cryer to changes him radically. He now has Magic Tears, no hair, and a row of cranial appendages that can fuel his lachrymal glands with moisture from the air, and can expel his tears as steam, as ice projectiles, as fog, or as saline.

Odds are I will do nothing else with this character, but that hardly matters. He lives.

2019 0729 tahr federer

tahr afar

this one’s altitudinous as an alpaca
and never at home on a skiff or a wharf
how dare all the disparagers mock a
resilient beast with a bleat for a roar

to roger federer

though every match begins with l’oeuf
oft next’ll be a slight kerfuffle
rally ho & volley tried
ouit-of-bounding serve is wide
gut it out through hour four
endless deuces till you score
righteous wins: le spofrt, l’amour

 

2019 0728 hack work

This post is dedicated to Jack Kirby, comic-book artist extraordinaire, who had an astonishingly prolific career. He was the John Henry, Steel Drivin’ Man of comics. And sometimes, and sometimes disparagingly, he was referred to by his colleagues as “Jack the Hack.”

The thing about Hackwork, though, is that it is deadline-driven. Comic books as published in America during most of Kirby’s career HAD to come out once a month, every month, without fail. And the better you were, the more demand for your work there was, and the more deadlines you had. Sometimes the deadlines were so many and so crushing that the quality of work suffered.

Writer Harlan Ellison, whose prolificity was legend, wrote “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” a story about the insidiousness of deadlines. Introducing the story in one of his antholgies, he quoted a mogul saying, “I don’t care if it’s GOOD, as long as it’s Tuesday!”

And in the intro to Phoenix Without Ashes, the novel of the Starlost he co-wrote with Edward Bryant, Jr., he told us about something Charles Beaumont told him when he moved to Hollywood, which was that attaining success in Hollywood was like climbing an enormous mountain of cow flop, in order to pluck one perfect rose from the summit–but, alas, after you have made that hideous climb, you have lost the sense of smell.

So this post is also dedicated to all hard-working people who dive in and get it done, day after week after month after year after decade. I want to specifically mention two Facebook friends of mine. One is Tom Orzechowski, who as letterer/calligrapher for the Uncanny X-Men and other mutant-related titles, and whatever else they threw at him, maintained a consistently high level of quality, of artistry, in his work. The other is my work colleague LaShawna Douglas-Muhammad, who worked her way up from line cook to manager for SSP America with class, determination, and sheer hard work. Tom and Shawna are two of my heroes and role models.

HACK Work

Have a Deadline!!! Don’t be sloW
Ah–your Hand flies to & frO
Crank & fizz like PerrieR
KIRBYESQUE IS A-OK

Edit/Add, 6:48 PM: After a text conversation with the hyperkinetic creator of AMAZING ARIZONA COMICS, Russ Kazmierczak, who’s done mountains of quality deadline-driven work of his own, including multiple stints of producing an ENTIRE ISSUE of his fine publication in a mere 24 HOURS, I want to emphasize that the concepts of “hackwork” and “s/he’s a hack” have been often unfairly applied to dedicated, hard-working creatives. Prolificity often results in quality of work much higher than may be attained by waiting for inspiration to strike. Olympic hopefuls realize that being the best means punching that workout timeclock with consistency and high frequency, rain or shine, feel great or feel awful, “in a relationship” or “just got dumped.” It is a quality of Champions.

 

20190727_052155

undertones

up the line from maginot [search “maginot line”]

no & what or nyet & shto [english or russian]

diploid/diptych bun/chignon [twofolds and hair arrays]

exoskeleton & bone [body frames outer and inner]

rigor mortis/combat zones [telltales of death in progress]

What are undertones? For the sake of this texted image, they are hard-to-hear hints of more than meets the obvious notice. One must pay focused attention to receive the hint, and then one must decrypt it. (“Decrypt? As in exhume?” he said in an undertone.)

This is a fear-of-war poem/image/post. The endword “tones” led me to muse about words ending with t that had a long-o last-syllable pronunciation. I was also mindful of previous use of such words or phrases (remembering, for instance, that I’d used “à bientôt” before) because I don’t like relying too heavily on the same words and phrases to solve the rhyme. Suddenly “Maginot” occurred to me, and a floodgate opened.

The Maginot Line was a barrier erected by the French to save their homeland from invasion, thought to be impregnable. It proved to be not much of a problem for the invading Nazis. Flash forward eighty years, and here in the United States of America, there is advocacy for the expending of resources for a barrier to save the homeland from invasion. It seems as though history’s lessons, though not undertoned, sometimes go unheeded.

That’s how the poem got started. Consider the rest of the message of the poem as a muttered warning. You will need an ear for subtlety to hear and correctly interpret the rest of the message. But you need not work so hard if you wish to simply enjoy an attempt at wordplay through juxtaposition, meter and rhyme.