Monthly Archives: May 2021


This is a shot of Crown Royal. Crown Royal was my stepfather Marty Stoneman’s spiritous liquor of choice.

It’s a hair after 9 PM. It might be ill-advised for me to be out so late on a “school night” (I report to work at the airport at 6:30 AM tomorrow), but the NBA Playoffs are on, the Utah Jazz just came from behind to take a 2-1 lead against the Memphis Grizzlies, and I’m enjoying the last of my tater tots at my favorite dive bar, tbe Hideaway Lounge, toasting Marty’s memory, and doing research on a bar-specific double acrostic I intend to do, “Deep Dive.” And I have no current romantic entanglements nor familial obligations, and am enjoying a shallow walliow in melancholy, the way my late, great friend Karen Wilkinson did when she played Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” I miss Karen with all my heart. I miss Marty too. And I miss the collaboration of Roy Thomas and Barry Smith on CONAN THE BARBARIAN. I am especially thinking of when Conan delivered to the wizard Zukala the body of Zukala’s daughter. Zukala cried with his one good eye. Just before he rode away on his horse, Conan told Zukala something like, “I’ll drink a toast, to the living and the dead, when I come to the next tavern I meet. Farewell.” That’s the important thing I’m doing right now. Here’s to you, my present and absent Friends.

2021 0526 grim repo

Stick around long enough on this slowly-twirling bonbon of a Planet and you’ll get little hints that the Fates want to keep you from overstaying your welcome. Your body begins to betray you, sprouting skin tags and inappropriate hair, gifting you with gout flareups and tooth tragedies, scaring the stuffing out of you with odd sensations in the chest, or the lungs, or the throat. Can’t you take a hint? Time to go.

But, Friends, it is not time to go. Not for me, and I suspect not for you either. Some of us have unfinished business, and that business includes the fulfillment of long-held dreams. It also includes betterment. What kind of difference might we make, in the time we have left? Whose days might me lighten? Which causes are the most worthy of our contributions financial, advocative, or immersive?

Today I went shopping, at Arizona Art Supply and the supermarket Fry’s. I had a less cluttered version of the page above with me. I was especially keen to get an electric eraser, being frustrated with the limitations and ineffectiveness of the erasers I have. A demo online showed a little jackhammer of a thing making precise, superclean erasures. Want!!!

Got!! And now I hope my images will enjoy a crispness many of them have lacked. I mean–look at the page above. Don’t feel bad if you think it’s ugly. It makes its metaphorical point with overlay and Breughel-like misdirection, but damn. The next one better be easy on the eyes, and a joy to behold.

Inventory: there is a grocery list for an art supply store and a grocery store. Art supply items: big paper (got some Stonehenge White 30″ x 40″, three sheets, $7.21 per sheet, and a 99-cent bargain basement whocares practice sheet, 20″ x 30″), electric eraser ( they had three; I got the most expensive one, Sakura’s SumoGrip, $41 and change), scratchboard (didn’t get) and plaster/resin (got modeling clay instead). Grocery items: St. Pell (San Pellegrino, my favorite sparking water; got two glass-bottle bottles at an outrageous $1.99 each, just to tide me over till I get another case), dental floss (got the Glide, two kinds; my personal superstition says that if I ever run out of dental floss, the Universe will punish me severely), bus pass (31-Day Reduced fare because I’m over 65 years old, a STEAL at $32!!), and “old people vitamins” (didn’t get; decided to wait till I used up the ones I had, even though they have probably lost some of their potency).

Lists like these are death-defying. They tell the Fates that the listmaker has better things to do than die. And realizing that fact, as I held the list, the notion of making the list a part of a death-defying image took hold. So, Inventory (cont.): an ominous hooded figure with scythe is saying “Time’s UP, Bud.” Defiant not-THAT-old Gary holds up a “You Shall Not Pass” left palm, balls the right hand into a fist, and says “Get lost. My number’s NOT up–I CHANGED it.”

Inventory, concluded: The double acrostic “grim repo.” Defiant signature beneath

grim repo

go black camel to the rear
rise and trot off far from here
in the prime immortal soup
my bird bathes–so toodle-oo


G Bowers
26 May 2021

Trivia note: the Black Camel is a symbol of death in some cultures. When it kneels in front of your tent, it is your time.

This has been a time of loss, and many we’ve lost managed to reach the century mark. Lawrence Ferlinghetti was one of them. He was a dreaming visionary, and one of my heroes. I will strive to live at least as long and as dreamily as he did.

2021 0525 well well well

I am going to repeat myself. It is not only a consequence of being a man in his mid-60s who has said so much he is losing track, but it is also a reflection of the Zeitgeist, the Spirit of the Times, wherein indoctrination all over the belief spectrum involves repetition. Say something enough times and it becomes part of you. (Aldous Huxley described a process called “hypnopaedia” in his Brave New World, imagining that the World Controllers would have their citizens listen in their sleep to things the Controllers wanted their citizens to believe, like “Ending is better than mending” because it increases consumption and helps the economy thrive. But hey, if you search my blog posts for Huxley references you’ll find I’ve mentioned that already. I am repeating myself.)

I’ll also repeat a riff I made long ago, cheerfully ripping off Walt Whitman. He said something like “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” Now, as long before, I say, “Do I repeat myself? Very well then, I repeat myself. I am redundant. I contain backup systems.”

I’m not EXACTLY repeating myself, though. Time is too precious for me to hunt down the original thing I said. And the flaw I found in my favorite book in the Bible, the Book of Ecclesiastes, is a slightly different flaw from the one I’m looking at now. The flaw, then as now, may be found in Ecclesiastes Chapter One, Verse Nine, which–surprise!–is about repetition. One translation: “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun.” The flaw I found long ago was in the last phrase, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The flaw is describing Earth and its repetitive travails as being UNDER the sun. We are NOT under the sun. We are OVER the sun. When we drop something into a well it goes DOWN into the well, not UP. And the Sun is at the bottom of our local gravity well.

The other flaw in Ecclesiastes 1:9 is that of COURSE there are new things. Humans did such a thorough job of changing the environmental mix that we now have much more strontium-90 in our skeletons than we did a hundred years ago, and all kinds of nasty stuff in our fat cells. Communication is now nearly instantaneous for almost all of us: I write this at 9:29 PM, Mountain Standard Time, on Tuesday, 25 May 2021. As quickly as five seconds after I post it I will probably see that someone, somewhere on Earth, has seen it. And that instant communication is changing the course of world history.

My triple acrostic is a repetition of the word “well.” But one of the delights of my native English language is that “well’ means many more than three things. My eyes well up just thinking about the possibilities. Also reminiscing: I once conceived a character named Aloe Vera Welling-Goode, which is a bad pun of “All very well and good.”

I’m slightly sorry that my image is too chaotic for the viewer to easily read the acrostic. My sorriness is alloyed by the delight that its chaoticism (is that a new word? sounds like Catechism, doesn’t it?) may be viewed (watch that definition there!) as a metaphor for four fir fore the way the Universe ACTUALLY is shaped, as opposed to the way it’s SUPPOSED to be shaped–symmetrically pristine–and smart-aleck scientists are still grappling with the Actual. (“Smart-aleck scientists” is not my actual view of scientists, but an echo of intellectual thuggery as can be found in alt-right propaganda. I repeat their view satirically.)

Here is a much easier to read version of the acrostic:

well well well

when the warp and weft of flow
elongate a startled doe
lenses singular/sensational
loose their bedlams gravitational

The words are easy to read, but what do they mean? By “warp and weft of flow” I meant that aspect of Space/Time we call Gravity, which knits the All together, and the Altogether, and the Alto–get her on YouTube; she’s fantastic! As for that poor doe, she has strayed too close to a Black Hole and its gravitational force is so different from her nose to her hindquarters that she is being stretched like taffy. Thank Goodness, and Wellness, that she doesn’t exist! As for Lenses, Singularities and Sensations, they all also relate to Gravity. And “bedlam” is contractual of both Bethlehem and Craziness.

I wish you well, Friends. I also wish you well. Well…

2021 0523 variously woven

We all attract each other in the physical sense. The Law of Gravitation demands it. In the psychic sense, attraction can vary from less-than-zero repulsion to “gotta keep em separated.” Thius life is made tricky, miserable, comforting, delightful, and [choose your adjective].

When I say Tricky, I am thinking of a yearning that is for an idea of someone rather than the real someone. When we get to know that someone, our idea of that person, if we are sane, morphs into a truer fit to the actual person. But Optimism and Want sometimes weave an insidious magic.

Bob Dylan long ago wrote a song called “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” In one set of his lyrics he refers to “A fish that walks and a dog that talks.” He also wrote “Forever Young,” which in my image I’ve represented by my imagining of what Bobby looked like before he was thirteen, i.e. Bar Mitzvah age.

I’ve been fiddling with this image for more than a month. If I fiddle with it much longer it would have to become a movie. Time to release it into the wild.

Thanks for your willingness to be woven into my whimsy, Friends.

2021 0520 master class

Rather, what this is is a PARODY of those Master Class things so heavily advertised on the Internet. People with more money than they know what to do with are getting yet more of that money by doing an instructional video of their area of expertise. Writers Neil Gaiman, David Baldacci, Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oates are in on it. Three of them have my utmost respect, and one of them has my grudging admiration. (I leave it to the reader to guess Who’s Who.) Steve Martin teaches Comedy. So-And-So teaches Graphic Design. Whatshername is your new instructor for Profound Obscurity.

Not that it’s not a good idea. Who wouldn’t want to learn from one of their Heroes? The entertainment value alone would be immense. And anything that may contain a Clue, that X-Factor that turns strugglers into Superstars, may well be worth looking into.

But what nags at me is something Robert Mitchum said about people going to acting schools: “It’s like trying to learn to be tall.”

Long before these Master Classes came to be, Stephen King gave us Stephen King on Writing. It received well-deserved praise for its wisdom, and my own approbation for King’s sharing of the nuts and bolts of becoming good at a craft. He went into detail about his rejections, his slow acquisition of savvy, and the REwriting process, which really separates the wannabes from the doingits. I haven’t seen any of the Master Classes of the four writers I mentioned above, but I’ve seen all of their trailers, and all of them will have some overlap with the soil that Stephen King has already plowed.

The image I’ve posted above is something I have already put, in slightly different form due to a different scan/photoedit process, on Instagram and Facebook. I advised my readers on those media that anyone who really wanted a Master Class on Acrostic Poetry need only do an Internet search on the strings “Gary Bowers” and “acrostic poetry.” When I make blog posts like this one I put tags specific to the post; this post will have the tags “Gary Bowers” and “acrostic poetry” and “Master Class” and “Stephen King on Writing.” I might throw in the celebrity names I also mentioned, but probably not. Their fans might be disappointed that they are mentioned so peripherally. But a “Gary Bowers” and “acrostic poetry” search ought to yield hundreds of examples of my work, and the examples, plus the clues I leave on the image above, should be all the Master Class from me that you’ll ever need. 🙂

2021 0519 rose and sara

My poet friend Sara J Griffin seemed to have the post-birthday blues, so via text I asked her what her favorite flower was. She told me it is the Rose. So I told her Roses Rock and I’d be back in a couple of hours, and about an hour and twenty minutes later, I sent her this, telling her the likeness didn’t do her justice, but I think I got some of her Vitality. She is quite vital, and very much a force for Creative Greatness.

Rose & Sara

Revels of random Holiness
Of Waldorf and Astoria
Secure and power a girl and Flower
Engage and transit Gloria

The last line riffs off the famous Latin saying “Sic transit gloria mundi,” which translates “Thus the Earth’s glory passes.” Roses pass through briefly, the Earth’s glory comes and goes, and Sara J Griffin is visiting us, on her way to a higher plane of existence.

2021 0519 catty poem

catty poem

o to be a frisky feline
make for snacks and feasts
eke a living at the treeline
run with other beasts
taking shelter in a hollow
you’ll be fine and kits’ll follow
with a cat’s clairvoyance

Some people are Dog people, some Cat people. I consider myself both.

The man the world knew as Cordwainer Smith was a Cat person. He had a cat named Cat Melanie who inspired his iconic character C’mell, who by appearances was a human being but was in fact one of the Underpeople, derived from cat DNA.

If you’ve never read a Cordwainer Smith story, “The Ballad of Lost C’mell” is available in PDF form. If you are a Cat person I think you will enjoy it. Cat person or not, I think you will find a sense of wonder and magic in Smith’s fables.

2021 0513 mikel w

I had done A-for-Azalea and B-for-Begonia, and was going to do C-for-Chrysanthemum for Mother’s Day, but this Mother’s Day, as all three ( 🙂 ) of you faithful readers know, I directed my efforts elsewhere. Today I realized it has been almost exactly a year since Mikel Weisser’s untimely, life-ending heart attack. Alas, he did not live to see his efforts as an advocate to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, to which he devoted the last eight years of his life full-time, result in the passage of the bill that legalized recreational marijuana in his home state of Arizona. So C is for Champion of Cannabis Sativa. C is for Cheerful, Compassionate, Cacophonic Mikel Weisser. (The Cacophony may be heard in his superb denunciation of expansionism, “Manifest Destiny.”)

Mikel, wherever you are, ya done good and I thank you. I was thinking of you when Ted C and I fired up some Train Wreck, celebrating legalization. Your legacy lives on. And I hope you forgive my goofiness with the riff on “Abby Normal” from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. I think you and I shared a little of that zaniness.


An Anodyne 4 grief & pain
Yet shunn’d–relief went down the drain. O
Enterprising HEROES for
Bestirment took the Law by Storm
Ending cycle. THANK you MIKEL